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What is the best way to get used to my new hearing aids?

We recommend you wear your hearing aids in the quiet of your home for a few hours the first day and add an hour a day for each following day. Eventually you will wear your hearing aids most of your waking hours.

Helpful Steps to Learning to Use a Hearing Aid:

  1. At first, wear your hearing aids in your own home environment while listening to just one person.
  2. Do not strain to catch every word; even people with normal hearing do not hear every word.
  3. Practice locating the source of the sound by listening only.
  4. Listen to something read aloud, “books on tape” are available at your library.
  5. Gradually increase the number of people with whom you speak and gradually increase the level of noise in situations in which you use your hearing aids.
  6. Be patient, wearing hearing aids opens a whole new world of hearing.

 

We believe that hearing loss is a serious problem that deserves serious care.

A hearing loss makes it more difficult to meet new people, to enjoy social gatherings, to hear what’s funny in a joke. One of the hardest things about having a hearing loss is that other people just don’t understand. They can’t understand why sometimes you seem to hear fine, and other times not at all.

The selection of your hearing aid is based on a number of factors: degree of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, cost and appearance. By working with several manufacturers, and not just one brand, we are able to match the proper hearing aid to each patient on an individual basis.

As you well know, we can’t cure hearing loss, but most people can do surprisingly well — in spite of a significant hearing loss! Our commitment is to work with you to help you reach your maximum hearing potential.

What is the best hearing aid on the market?

The best hearing device on the market depends on you. How much hearing loss do you have? How long have you been hearing impaired? Are you concerned the hearing aid may show? What is your lifestyle; are you active and involved in many activities, or are you more sedentary and relaxed? Do you want to hear the very best possible or are you willing to compromise features to cut costs?

There is no “best” hearing aid. The idea of using the right tool for the right job comes to mind. In order to determine and successfully fit the best hearing aid for each individual, an audiologist must perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation to assess the type and degree of hearing loss as well as discuss individual lifestyle and specific needs. Our commitment is to work with you to help you reach your maximum hearing potential.

How can I help a hearing impaired person?

There are steps you can take to help someone with a hearing loss hear you better. Get the listener’s attention before you speak; call their name and wait for them to respond. Be sure to face the person when you are talking and be at a good distance (5-10 feet). Make sure you can see the whites of each other’s eyes. Keep your hands away from your mouth so that the hearing impaired person can get all the visual cues possible. Do not talk from another room and expect to be heard.

Slow down and pause between sentences. Speaking at a moderate pace, with a slight pause between phrases and sentences can allow the hearing impaired person to process the information easier. Most importantly, empathize and be patient with the hearing impaired person.

Your Third Ear

Many of us have a third ear. You may not realize it; you may not use it all the time. Your third ear helps you out of a bind, clarifies for you what was just said, and repeats the punch line of a joke. Your third ear is usually a partner or close friend who already knows you have a hearing loss.

Your third ear loves you and is trying to keep you in the game. Sometimes your third ear gets tired of working so hard or frustrated that you won’t seek help for yourself. Why not give your third ear a rest? Call today and schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation, your third ear will be glad you did.

My ears itch. Is there anything I can do?

The ear canal is dark, warm and moist. People often over clean their ears in hopes of stopping the itch. For the most part ears are self-cleaning. They only need a little soap, water and a dry towel. Stop putting things in your ears! No more cotton swabs, keys, or paperclips. No more alcohol, peroxide, vinegar or witch-hazel. If your skin gets dry and itchy you usually apply a moisturizer.

MiraCell is an all-natural product that helps soften, smooth, and replenish your skin. Our patients who were familiar with this product asked us to carry it. Some ingredients include: aloe vera oil, Vitamins E, A, and D3, as well as avocado and jojoba oils. A few drops in the ear canal can really help with the itching. If you feel the need to scratch into your ear canal, try a few drops of MiraCell instead.

MiraCell is available locally at Hearing Consultants.

My sister wants to clean my ears with a candle. Is this safe?

Ear candling is an often asked about ear cleaning method. To perform this procedure, the individual lies on their side and a cone-shaped object covered in wax is placed in the ear and is lit on fire. This allegedly creates a vacuum that draws impurities out of the ear. The act of ear candling is extremely dangerous and ineffective. There are many reported cases of hot candle wax dripping and burning the user or even obstructing the ear canal.

The ear will usually take care of itself and should not need to be cleaned. Wax in your ear protects it from dirt and debre. If you feel your ears are being blocked by excess ear wax, the best method of removal is to visit an Audiologist or physician.

Protect your hearing when around loud sounds

Loudness is measured in decibels (dB). As decibel level increases the length of time that you can safely hear without ear protection decreases. For example, sounds that are 90 dB can be dangerous to your ears if you are exposed to them for 8 hours or more. As the dB level increases by 5 the length of time decreases by half. A noise, which is 95dB, is only safe for 4 hours and so on.

A rock concert can average between 110 and 120 dB. The maximum length of exposure for those levels is around 15 minutes, but the average concert is two hours in length. Permanent hearing loss can occur instantly from sounds like firearms (150 dB) and impact tools. 

Repeated exposure to loud noise will damage your hearing permanently.

How to Manage TV Volume

When I visit my parents, the TV volume is so loud I must leave the room. Is there a device that will keep the TV volume at a normal level, but also allow my parents to hear it comfortably?

TV Ears is a wireless infrared system that consists of a headset and base/charger that sits on the television. The TV could be turned all of the way down while the person with the TV Ears headset listens at a comfortable volume level. TV ears have improved TV viewing for people with hearing loss while relieving family members from the stress caused by loud TV. Currently there are four models of TV Ears. The Original model is used most often. The professional model is recommended for plasma TV’s. We have TV Ears in stock, as well as a demonstration set in our waiting room.

What is the normal life of a hearing aid battery?

How long your battery lasts will vary across brands, length of time worn, and by the type of technology in the hearing aid. Depending on the size of the battery and the power of the hearing aid, the battery may last between 3 days and four weeks. Once you remove the sticker from a battery it begins to drain whether you use the battery or not. Placing the sticker back on the battery does no good. If you would like to measure how long your batteries last, place the sticker that you remove from the back of the battery on your calendar every time you open a new battery. After a few battery changes, you will have a good estimate of your battery life.

Myths and Facts of Hearing Loss

Myth: If I had a hearing impairment, certainly I would know it.

Fact: Not necessarily. Often hearing loss develops gradually over time. Soft sounds are lost first, the refrigerator hum, the sound of a zipper. Losing the soft sounds may not be noticeable to you but when you begin to loose conversational sounds other people around you will notice.

Myth: Hearing loss is a sign of aging.

Fact: Aging yes, growing older no. If we live long enough we will all loose our ability to hear well. However, more than 60 percent of people with hearing loss are 64 years of age or younger.

Myth: There is nothing that can be done for my hearing loss.

Fact: Tremendous advances have been made in hearing aids. Today’s digital hearing aids can help 95 percent of people with hearing loss and the majority of those who have chosen hearing aids are satisfied with their decision.

Questions you may want to ask before you purchase hearing aids

  • Will my hearing be tested by a licensed audiologist, or by a hearing instrument specialist who has a high school diploma and sales training? Ask to see their credentials.
  • Will I have more than one option to choose from, or do they represent only one manufacturer?
  • Are routine hearing aid check-ups & cleanings provided at no extra charge forever?
  • Are they truly looking out for your best interest, or pushing to meet their sales quota?
  • Call the Better Business Bureau (421-3015) before scheduling your appointment. Our record is spotless. 

Remember, you’re not just choosing hearing aids. You are choosing your hearing healthcare provider; both are equally important.

I am getting a new cell phone. How do I make sure it is compatible with my hearing aids?

Cell phones create “Radio Frequency Emissions” when a call is placed. These emissions create an electromagnetic field, which hearing aids may or may not be able to shield. The electronics used for backlighting, display and circuit board can cause magnetic interference. Flip-up phones tend to work better with hearing aids because the electronics that cause this interference are farther away from the hearing aid. Speakerphones, text messaging, and vibrating ring mode are standard features that benefit the hearing-impaired cell phone user.

Models and features of cell phone technology change quickly so it is important to stay informed. The Cellular Telecommunication and Internet Association (CTIA) website on accessibility and wireless technology is www.accesswireless.org. It includes wireless and cell phones that work well with hearing aids.

Dead Ear Information: What You Need to Know

First, no hearing aid restores normal hearing. Yes, there is a hearing device that is used when the hearing loss in one ear is too severe to benefit from a hearing aid. These devices are called CROS hearing systems. In a CROS hearing system, a device that looks like a hearing aid is placed on the poor ear to act strictly as a transmitter, picking up the sounds on that side of the head. The sound is routed across to the other ear, where a second device is worn. This allows the better ear to hear sounds from the poorer side. The hearing impaired person hears only in the good ear but has regained localization abilities and directionality of sound. CROS hearing systems can be either hard wired together or can be wireless.

If you suffer with hearing loss

Admit you have a problem. We need to be able to hear effectively to communicate with people. Your hearing loss and the mistakes you make are more conspicuous than wearing a pair of today’s miniature hearing aids. Acknowledge the problem that others already know exists and do something about it.

Have you hearing tested by an audiologist.

If you have been tested by an audiologist and told you need hearing aids proceed with a positive attitude. Your motivation will determine your success.

Educate yourself. Learn all you can about your hearing loss, your options and new technologies available.

Ask questions. Your audiologist will make recommendations that are appropriate for your hearing loss and your life style, cosmetic concerns & budget.

Hearing Aid Care Information

Examine your hearing aids daily. Clean them if necessary with the tools you were given. Don’t use any sharp objects or toothpicks in the openings. Wipe them off with a soft cloth or tissue if slippery or wet. Don’t use hairspray while wearing hearing aids. Spray your hair before you put your hearing aids on, let it dry and then insert your hearing aids. Don’t wear your hearing aids while exercising; your perspiration is harmful to the electronic components. If you want to use hand lotion put your hearing aids in first, then use the lotion. You don’t want to clog up or drop the hearing aids. Open the battery door when not in use. Not only does this turn off the instrument, but also allows harmful moisture to evaporate.

Earwax Removal

Clearing The Way

One of the most common causes of troubled hearing is a buildup of earwax or, in medical terms, cerumen.  Cerumen helps protect your sensitive eardrum by trapping dirt, sand, insects and other foreign substances.

Earwax also repels water.  As a moisturizer, it helps prevent excessive dryness in the ear canal and on the outer ear.  And, as an antibacterial agent, it helps prevent infection.

For some of us, though, it’s too much of a good thing.  Too much earwax can block the ear canal and make hearing extremely difficult.  You see, excess earwax is supposed to flow outside your ear.  Dried or excessive cerumen normally either falls outside the ear or can be wiped free.In younger people, earwax is usually softer and more flexible.  But, as you get older, earwax can harden and become even more difficult to remove.

This “hardened” earwax is more likely to block your ear’s passage.  If exposed to water, it’s more likely to swell.

What’s more, if you produce a lot of earwax, have small ear canals, or both, you may be more susceptible to blockage.  If you wear a hearing aid or wear earplugs at work, you may face even more difficulty.  Hearing aids or earplugs – by blocking your ear canal and preventing the flow of earwax – can actually keep your ears from naturally eliminating wax.

Regardless, if you produce too much earwax, or if its natural flow to the outside of your ear is disrupted, it can become impacted.

And your hearing can suffer.

Serious Problem

Impacted earwax must be removed.  Because it can seriously diminish hearing, excess earwax can lead to other serious social and physical problems.

Fortunately, the solution may be as simple as removing the excess earwax.

That said, it’s important to remove it properly.  You’ve probably heard, “Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.”  That’s good advice because if you try to remove earwax by using cotton swabs, fingernails or other small instruments,  you’re likely to make matters worse.

You probably won’t remove the impacted earwax.  Instead, you’ll just push it farther down, making it even harder to remove.

You Have A Choice

Fortunately, you have a choice.  Improving your hearing may be as simple as clearing your ear canal by removing the impacted earwax.  Our audiologists can perform this procedure.  Occasionally, before earwax can be removed it must first be softened and loosened.  At Hearing Consultants, we use Audiologist’s Choice, which contains Carbamide Peroxide – the only FDA-accepted, safe and effective agent for softening and loosening earwax.

Please call the office, at 513-489-3300 and schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists for a thorough ear examination, because if you have shown a tendency to build up earwax once, chances are, before long you’ll have the same problem again.

Successful Hearing Aid Use

People naturally think that buying a good hearing aid is the first and last step to better hearing.

But you can’t buy the ability to hear again. You can only relearn it.

Improving your hearing is not just a matter of having the best technology that is available. Your brain has to adapt to the new way you receive and process sound with your hearing aid. That’s why we say that a driving desire to learn is a fundamental requirement to overcoming your hearing problem.

The most successful hearing aid users will tell you: the real price they paid for better hearing was the time they spent practicing. Fortunately, it’s a great investment!

Here are 7 steps that you can take to complete your transition to the use of hearing aids:

  • Admit that you have a permanent hearing problem.

Improving your hearing isn’t a New Year’s resolution you can give up by February. Changing your quality of life will take a lifetime of new habits.

  • Seek help with a positive attitude.

Change is easier with a can-do approach. As your hearing professionals, we can offer you lots of support. So know what we know: you can do it.

  • Learn all that you can about your hearing problem.

The more you understand about your hearing, the better. It’s always easier to work toward a solution when you have a good grasp of the problem.

  • Commit not to quit.

By purchasing your hearing aid, you’ve taken the first step toward better hearing. But it’s only the first one on your journey. Make a plan to put in the work and stick with it.

  • Set realistic expectations for yourself.

Talk with your hearing professionals about the hearing changes you can expect in the short term and the long term, and work toward those goals.

  • Practice the use of your hearing aids.

Practice, practice, practice! You didn’t master a musical instrument or learn to play your favorite sport without putting in the time.

  • Have patience while your brain acclimates to ambient sound and noise.

Remember your first day on a new job or the first time you tried to get around a new city? You didn’t expect to be comfortable and confident right away. Change is hard! You may find it bewildering and exhausting at first to get used to your new hearing aid. Give yourself a chance to adapt to your new way of hearing.

Hearing aids are only a starting place. Time spent in practice with patience and a willing attitude is the most important step.

The decision to have a good attitude about going through the process to improve your hearing must be yours. As hearing professionals, we cannot make this commitment for you; it is your choice alone.  A cheerful attitude will not only affect your success but will be an encouragement to everyone you know!
To achieve better hearing, you have to work at it daily. So what’s your plan for today?