Myths about Hearing Aids

Myths about Hearing Aids

 

Hearing loss is often referred to as an “invisible disability,” because it is not always obvious when people have hearing loss, and often it is not talked about.  Studies show that only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses them, and on average, people with hearing loss wait almost 10 years before they do something about it. Using a hearing aid presents a number of advantages to a hearing-impaired person. First and foremost, you will hear a lot better. Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal, but they improve it significantly. Hearing aids usually improve the user’s social, psychological and physical sense of well-being.

Sometimes it’s related to cost, but other times it has to do with the stigma that hearing loss carries. People might associate hearing loss with becoming old or obsolete or don’t want to wear hearing aids because they find them aesthetically displeasing.

There are a lot of misconceptions that people have about hearing loss that if dispelled could help allot of people seek the treatment that could benefit them greatly.

Myth: Only the Elderly are Affected

Truth: An estimated 48 million people live with hearing loss in the U.S., and about two-thirds are under 65 years old. A 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association study found that 1 in 5 children ages 12 to 19 showed some sign of hearing loss in one or both ears. The World Health Organization has warned that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss “due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars, and sporting events.”

Myth: Your hearing loss was caused by clubs and concerts years ago.

Truth: While attending too many loud shows without the proper ear protection can be a major contributor to hearing loss, there are many other contributors, including the normal aging process, genetics, medications, smoking, a poor diet and diabetes. All of these destroy the hair cells in the inner ear — and it’s the hair cells that send auditory signals to your brain. Once hair cells are damaged, they’re damaged and they will not grow back.  It’s important to understand the contributors to hearing damage so you can take the appropriate steps to protect your hearing.

Myth: If other people would just talk louder, you would hear just fine.

Truth: Hearing is the body’s biological microphone. If you’ve ever heard anyone speak into a microphone that’s damaged, it might be loud, but there’s a  distortion that makes sounds hard to comprehend. The goal of today’s digital hearing aids is both to make sounds louder, clearer, reduce background noise and extract the most important aspects of sound to clarify speech.

Myth: Hearing loss does not affect the other aspects of my health.

Truth:  An untreated hearing loss increases one’s risk of experiencing cognitive decline, falls, social isolation, and depression. There is even a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. It’s theorized that the “cognitive load” on the brain may take away resources the brain uses for other function, such as short-term memory. Researchers have observed that treating the hearing loss, such as with hearing aids, can reverse or even prevent some of these conditions. New research from Johns Hopkins University shows that hearing loss may increase your risk of developing dementia. The upside is that research also shows you can improve memory and mood by correcting the hearing loss.

Myth: As long as you can hear some sound, it’s OK to wait to get hearing aids.

Truth: The longer you wait, the worse your hearing will become, making it harder to treat than ever. When the auditory system in your brain isn’t stimulated, the brain stops recognizing sound. If people wait too long to start using hearing aids, they can find that they don’t help as much as they hoped. Fortunately, our brains can “relearn” to hear, thanks to neuroplasticity — the fairly recent finding that the brain can reprogram itself into very old age with the proper stimulation. Practically speaking, that means you have to teach your brain to hear again, by wearing the hearing aids regularly.

Live Your Truth

All the research points to treating your hearing as soon as possible.  If you have suspected that you’ve had a hearing loss for a while, don’t delay any longer. Contact us at Hearing Consultants to schedule a hearing test and join those hearing and living life again!

 

A Link Between Stress and Hearing Loss

A Link Between Stress and Hearing Loss

 

Today’s world is fast paced full of constant challenges. The pace of these days can be challenging and ultimately stressful if we don’t make sure to put time aside in our busy days to deal with stress. No one wants to live with stress as it can cause so many unplanned complications, including lost sleep interfering our work, and damaging relationships at home.

Negative Consequences linked to Stress

Your body deals with challenging situations by releasing chemicals into your bloodstream that give you a burst of energy or strength. While this is a natural response in our bodies that has helps us through difficult moments an excess of stress can be extremely damaging. Stress can wear us down and exhaust our bodies. Not only is stress emotionally exhausting but it is a health risk as well, weakening our immune systems, causing headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety attacks, and more.

Stress can Cause Hearing Loss

When your body responds to stress, the overproduction of adrenaline reduces blood flow to the ears, affecting hearing. The fragile hair cells in the inner ear rely on a constant flow of blood to receive the right amount of oxygen and other nutrients. When daily stress builds up day after day it can disturb blood circulation throughout the body and without a constant blood flow, the hair cells can become damaged sometimes permanently. This can lead to immediate hearing loss if you become so stressed that blood flow to the ears is stopped completely.

Stress and Hypertension

Hypertension and hearing loss also share a link. Hypertension is high blood pressure that often accompanies stress, and has severe hearing repercussions. When your blood pressure is high, your blood vessels are damaged. This damage isn’t centered in one area of the body – your entire body is affected, including your ears. And when the blood vessels in your ears are damaged your hearing could be impaired. Chronic stress in the form of hypertension often leads to hearing loss and tinnitus. The symptoms of hearing loss due to stress include a blocked feeling in the ears, pressure or pain in the ear, or a complete loss of hearing in one or both ears.

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many studies have linked stress to tinnitus, both as a cause and as a symptom. Tinnitus is described as a ringing, hissing or roaring sound in the ears frequently caused by exposure to loud noise or certain medicines. It can come and go but tends to be more acute when a person is dealing with stress. A study by S. Herbert found that 53% of patients with tinnitus said their symptoms started during stressful period of their lives, or became significantly acute during a stressful time. It’s a vicious cycle, as stress causes tinnitus, which inevitably causes more stress, which in turn causes even more tinnitus.

Ways to De-Stress

If you have hearing loss due to stress, the first step is to reduce your stress levels and prevent further damage.

    • Take a moment. When you are feeling overwhelmed take a moment to decompress. Even 20 minutes away from the source of a stressor can give you perspective to help you feel less overwhelmed.

 

    • Exercise. When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Just 20 minutes daily increases blood flow to your body each day provides health benefits for both your body and mind.

 

    • Talk about it. Talk to someone who can understand what you’re going through and provide positive feedback. This could be a close friend or a professional.

 

    • Meditate. Like exercise, meditation helps the mind and body relax and focus.

 

  • Do the things you love. It’s important to make time every day to do things you love. Listen to music, go for a swim, making yourself a cup of tea, start a new hobby, read a book or watch TV – make sure you take the time to unwind.

Seek Help for Hearing Loss

If you are suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, we can help. Visit us at Hearing Consultants to schedule a hearing test. With comprehensive hearing tests and personalized advice, we’ll work with you to find the best treatment to de-stress your life.

 

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

 

At least 20 percent of U.S. adults, at some point in their lives experience a significant difficulty in hearing. These challenges can compromise physical and emotional health and affect the social, educational, vocational, and recreational aspects of life. Ever since 1927, The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) has designated May as Better Speech and Hearing Month. It is a time to raise public awareness of the hearing and speech-language disorders that affect over 14 million Americans. Every May ASHA helps spread a hopeful, positive message about communication disorders—and the important role of the professionals who treat them. This year is no different, with the theme of “Communication Across the Lifespan. ”

Hearing Loss Across the Life Span

According to the Center for Hearing Loss and Communication, 48 million Americans are affected by hearing loss, which can begin at birth or develop at any age. For example, hearing loss can be present at birth or develop over time and effect adults who use their voices a lot in their jobs, such as teachers and performers. ASHA supports a wide range of research to help develop effective diagnostic and treatment strategies relevant to communication throughout the lifespan.

One of the most common communication disorders in older adults is hearing loss, affecting approximately one in three adults ages 65 to 74, and nearly half of those older than 75. Hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation and loss of connection from family, friends, and the community. Although hearing aids and other assistive devices can improve quality of life, only about one in four adults (age 20 and over) who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them.

Knowing the Signs Of Hearing Loss

Before you can seek treatment for hearing loss, you must first accept that you have a condition hindering your communication. Most cases of hearing loss develop gradually so the symptoms are often difficult to recognize. Some clear signs of hearing loss include;

  • – You believe people are mumbling
  • – People often complain that your television or radio is turned up too loud
  • – Difficulty in hearing someone calling from behind you
  • – Difficulty communicating in small groups of people
  • – Communication difficulties in noisy environments
  • – A frequent need to ask people to repeat themselves
  • – Difficulties in hearing the doorbell or the telephone ringing
  • – Family, colleagues and friends suggest you might be suffering from hearing loss
  • – You have to lip read the people who talk to you
  • – You feel that you must really concentrate to hear someone talk or whisper

The Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss

If you experience these signs of hearing loss, you may feel that your social life is suffering too because of hearing and communication difficulties. You may even be tempted to avoid social gatherings and other social situations where misunderstandings become common. This can put a real strain on your relationships with friends, family and even your spouse.  Hearing loss often leads to poor performance at work, causing your earning power to plummet and employers to values you less. Ultimately these communication difficulties can lead to isolation and depression, and there is even a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia.

The Benefits of Treatment

Fortunately, hearing loss is treatable. According to the Better Hearing Institute, 95 percent of Americans with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids and individuals who treat their hearing loss early have shown significant benefit. Hearing aids help process incoming sound making it easier for your brain to understand them.  With the modern innovations of hearing aids today they are more user friendly than ever before and designed to work with your lifestyle.  There has never been a better time than now to need hearing aids, and, in the future, the innovative features of hearing aids will only be more affordable.

Hearing Consultants

If you suspect you have hearing loss use this May’s Better Speech and Hearing Month as a call to action.  At Hearing Consultants, we can help.  Contact us to set up a hearing test.  Hearing tests are quick and painless and can confirm whether or not you have a hearing loss.  You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!