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2014 Monkeys Mailer

Why EVERY Employer Should Promote Hearing Healthcare

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get back into the swing of being active, healthy, and alive – which includes your hearing!

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is reaching out to employers about hearing healthcare and is offering a free and confidential online hearing check on the BHI website to help workers determine whether or not they should seek out a hearing healthcare professional to get a comprehensive hearing test.

Hearing health is tied to several aspects of employee wellbeing and should be on the front-of-mind to EVERY employer, especially to those who have a corporate wellness initiative and/or health management program. The earlier the hearing loss is detected and treated, the better of the patient will be. Hearing aids, along with other appropriate treatments and workplace accommodations, can help individuals function better while on the job and more importantly, enjoy a better quality of life.

95% of employees who suspect they suffer from hearing loss and have not sought out treatment reported to the “Listen Hear!” survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare that they feel their problem impacts their job in at least one way.

These workplace hearing loss impacts include:

  • asking people to repeat what they have said (61%)
  • misunderstanding what is being said (42%)
  • pretending to hear when they can’t (40%)

Leaving hearing loss unaddressed weighs heavily on both an individual’s personal and professional life.

According to the RAND Workplace Wellness Programs Study, over half of United States employers offer wellness programs and initiatives. By sponsoring and including hearing tests and hearing healthcare information into their current wellness program, employers will encourage workers to treat hearing loss rather than hide it. This will not only improve the workers wellbeing, but will ensure that the worker’s hearing issues doesn’t interfere with his job performance, productivity, safety, quality of life, morale, opportunities, or success in the workplace.

We need to band together to encourage businesses to include on-site hearing tests to employees!

5 Reasons Employers Should Promote Hearing Healthcare

1) Several people with hearing loss are in the workforce.

According to EPIC’s “Listen Hear!” survey, more than 10% of employees who work full-time have a diagnosed hearing problem. What’s worse is that 30% of employees suspect they have a problem, but have not sought out the proper treatment.

2) Treating hearing loss can enhance employee performance.

According to BHI research, employees in the workforce who use a hearing-assistant device (hearing aid) say it has helped their performance on the job and helps them communicate effectively, building stronger relationships at work.

3) Leaving hearing loss unaddressed doesn’t pay.

Brushing off hearing loss can limit our ability to communicate effectively and can negatively—and unnecessarily—affect job performance and productivity.

Other impacts include:

  • fatigue and distress
  • restricted interpersonal interactions
  • difficulty receiving and interpreting auditory information from computers & machines
  • not hearing sounds that signal hazards in the work environment
  • increased sick leave

4) Hearing loss is tied to other health conditions.

Research shows that hearing loss is linked to depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, dementia, cognitive decline, moderate chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, and the risk of falling and hospitalization.

5) Today’s hearing aids are better than ever.

Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids make it easier to hear sounds and people from all directions and even filter out unnecessary noise. They sit comfortably and discreetly inside the ear canal and out of sight. There are even wireless ones that work well with devices such as smartphones and conference speaker phones. Some are even waterproof, and others are rechargeable.

What’s the bottom line?

According to BHI research, 91% of owners of hearing aids purchased within the last year are satisfied with their hearing aids and 90% of people who purchased their hearing aid within the last 4 years say they would recommend a hearing aid to a friend or family member.

When was the last time you had your hearing checked?

If you can’t remember the last time you had your hearing checked or the answer is “never,” you should get a hearing test! First that this quick, self-hearing test. If your results point toward hearing impairment, maybe it’s time to take the first step to better hearing.

iPods and Hearing Loss

A Northwestern University audiologist and professor found more hearing loss in younger people with the use of iPods and earbud headphones that is similar to that found in aging adults.

Earbuds are placed directly in the ear and can boost the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels. It’s enough to cause hearing loss after only about an hour and 15 minutes.

The recommendation is what the researchers call the 60 percent/60 minute rule. They recommend using the MP3 devices, including iPods, no more than about an hour a day and at levels below 60 percent of maximum volume.

To avoid permanent hearing loss in the middle ranges – the range required to hear conversation in a noisy restaurant, for example – they recommend the older style, larger headphones that rest over the ear opening.

Another option is the use of noise-canceling headphones that eliminate background noise so listeners don’t have to crank the volume so high.

If You Suffer With Hearing Loss…

The main purpose for hearing is communication. We need to be able to hear and understand speech to effectively communicate. As we age, some of us experience a decline in our hearing ability. If left untreated, a hearing loss will eventually affect communication skills. We have identified Five Steps to Better Hearing. When followed, they can improve communication skills.

FIVE STEPS TO BETTER HEARING

    1. Admit you have a problem. If you have had your hearing tested by an Audiologist and have been told you have a permanent hearing loss and need hearing aids, you can accept or deny it. Denial only hurts yourself. You cannot hide a hearing loss from others. Your symptoms will give away your secret. Your hearing loss is more obvious than a pair of hearing aids. Untreated, a hearing loss can lead to a downward social spiral. You will find yourself no longer participating in activities you once enjoyed. Acknowledge the problem and that others already know you have a hearing problem.
    2. Decide to proceed with a GOOD ATTITUDE.  Your attitude will determine how successful you will be.  The hearing instruments alone cannot make you hear better.  Listening is a learned behavior.  Learning how to listen to speech and tune out background noise will take time and practice.  Be patient with getting used to hearing aids while your brain acclimates to ambient sound & noise.
    3. Educate yourself.  Learn all you can about your hearing loss.  What type of hearing loss do you have?  Learn whether it is a conductive, sensorineural (nerve) or mixed loss.  What is the degree of loss in each ear?  How has the brain been affected?  The hearing loss has probably been gradual.  Putting on hearing aids will “startle” your brain with all of the missed sounds.  It will need time to adjust.  Voices will sound unnatural until you are used to hearing the once-missed consonants (like /s/, /f/, /k/, etc.). Background noises (like fans, appliances, etc.) will be distracting until you learn to tune them out, as normal-hearing individuals do.  Understanding speech is a brain function and will take time.  It needs to be re-familiarized with sound.  This sudden improvement in hearing could cause “auditory confusion”.
    4. Set realistic expectations.  Hearing aids, while advanced in technology, are aids.They cannot replace your original hearing.  Set expectations on “better” hearing and understanding – not perfection.  Know that the aids are only a substitute for original hearing. However, without them, you would be handicapped.  It is not unusual to need to have the hearing aid remade for a better fit. They should never make your ears sore.  The electronic adjustments will be made step-by-step over several weeks. As you become more acclimated to your hearing aids the Audiologist will adjust your hearing aids with your input. Your own voice may sound strange at first, but will sound natural in time. Background noise is normal. Normal hearing people hear it too.  Background noise can be diminished by using a two microphone system. Ask about this.  It’s normal for hearing aids to need repairs from time to time.  Ear canals are very humid and contain wax. These things are harmful to electronics.  It’s best to see your Audiologist routinely for a check-up
    5. Practice + Patience = Success! One investment for success is practice. It will cost you time and patience, but will be worth it. You will need to start at a slow pace at home. Build up to wearing your hearing aids all day, every day. Wear them even when you may think you don’t need to be wearing them This will help you adjust quicker. If your hearing aids are not a part of your habit through daily use your brain will not to be able to adjust to the change. Things will always sound funny then. It is OK to stop when you are tired – just commit to not quit. Stay in contact with your Audiologist. New hearing aid users should come back 2 – 3 times during the first 30 days for adjustments, progress checks and assistance. Commit to increasing your hearing aid use by 15 or 30 minutes each day the first week. You will be wearing them all day in no time!

Better hearing will depend on (a) your commitment to make your hearing aids work in your everyday routine, (b) time spent wearing your hearing aids to become comfortable using them in different environments, (c) your patience while your brain adjusts to unfamiliar sounds.  Does this sound overwhelming?  Call us!  We’ll walk you through this process one step at a time.  We are committed to helping you hear better.

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

Aging, hereditary, exposure to loud noise, medications, infections, or disease, can cause hearing Loss. It negatively impacts quality of life, personal relationships and, of course, the ability to communicate.  You may have a hearing loss if…

  • You hear people speaking but have trouble understanding their words.
  • You don’t laugh at jokes because you missed the punch line.
  • You frequently complain that people mumble or speak to fast.
  • You need to ask others about the details of a meeting you just attended.
  • You listen to the TV or radio louder than those around you.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.  Most hearing problems do not require medical intervention.  In fact over 95% of all hearing losses are not medically or surgically treatable. However, it is very important to receive the proper diagnosis before considering amplification.  For more information or to schedule an appointment please call us.

What good are the Roses…

What good are the Roses…If you can’t hear the sweet nothings?

Valentines Day is here and therapists tell us that the best aphrodisiac in the world is effective communication. The impact of even mild hearing loss can make a partner seem remote and unresponsive, when in reality they just may not hear certain key phrases. Your spouse may feel rejected when in fact he or she very much wants to be close. The same problem often haunts couples in long-term relationships when one of them develops a hearing problem but refuses to deal with it.
It’s hard to feel romantic and attracted to someone who never seems to listen. Yet, that’s how someone with untreated hearing loss often comes across. If you or your partner has trouble hearing, hearing aids may help ensure romantic cues are picked up and whispered sweet nothings are heard.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us.

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.

For more information on protective hearing products, please call us at 513.489.3300.

Three Stages of Hearing Loss

Most people who suffer from hearing loss pass though three stages of impairment: mild, moderate and severe, each one characterized by its own set of symptoms.

The most transient stage, mild hearing loss, is the stage where resistance to hearing help begins, but the individual must be encouraged to have a hearing test and receive amplification and/or intervention. Studies show that when a loss is corrected at this early stage, basic hearing functions remain within the normal range.

During the second stage, when moderate hearing loss occurs, people can experience growing frustration. The emotional feelings of insecurity may lead to a gradual withdrawal from social relationships and activities.

The third phase, the severe hearing loss, can isolate them from their families, friends and social networks, and plunge them into depression. They may feel trapped in a hostile world, fending against what they perceive as disrespect and ridicule.

When people start to realize how critical the sense of hearing is to one’s quality of life, they will begin to take advantage of the wonderful hearing solutions awaiting them. Then, their lives can be enjoyed to the fullest.