How Hearing Aids Can Change Your Life

The last thing you want to think about is hearing loss, but you’ve been having a hard time following conversations, and the other day your spouse had to repeat themselves again. For active and young 60-year-olds, it’s hard to talk about hearing loss, or admit that your ears aren’t picking up sounds as well as they used to. The good news is that modern hearing aids can change your life.

The Early Signs of Hearing Loss

John was in his late 50s when he started noticing the first signs of hearing loss. He’d spent most of his adult life on construction sites working around heavy machinery, so he was around noise all the time. This is probably what caused his hearing loss.

His hearing loss became more noticeable when he started asking his wife to repeat what she’d said in almost every conversation. John also had a harder time hearing the TV and talking on the phone. But he didn’t want to consider hearing aids. After all, he thought hearing aids were only for seniors, and he definitely wasn’t old.

Life Changes When You Have Hearing Loss

Over the next couple years, John’s hearing loss slowly grew worse. He started ignoring the phone when it was ringing since he couldn’t hear clearly. His wife stopped watching TV with him and complained the volume was too loud. After he retired, John started spending more and more time at home. It was hard to enjoy social events when he couldn’t follow conversations, so he made up excuses to stay home. He felt embarrassed if he had to ask people to repeat themselves, and he didn’t want his wife to have to nudge him every time he said the wrong thing. Soon he started feeling isolated and alone.

Missed Opportunities

It wasn’t until 4 years later that John realized what he was missing. He was in the backyard with his grandchildren when his granddaughter ran up to him and started telling him something. He could tell from her smile and her facial expression she was excited, but he just couldn’t understand what she was saying. The next day he made an appointment for a hearing test.

Stylish Hearing Aids

John didn’t want to think about hearing aids. After all, he was imagining they’d be clunky and large, and stick out behind the ear where everyone would see them. But when the hearing test showed he had moderate hearing loss, he decided it was time to look at hearing aids. What he saw surprised him!

Modern hearing aids are small and stylish, and they’re not an eyesore. Behind-the-Ear hearing aids are curved to match the ear, and they sit discreetly behind the ear. Some hearing aids are In-the-Ear or In-the-Canal, and these hearing aids are almost impossible to spot.

Hearing Made Easy

When John first tried on his new hearing aids, he was amazed at what he could hear. It took about a week to adjust to the new sounds, but after that he couldn’t imagine his life without hearing aids. He could follow conversations, and he stopped asking his wife to repeat herself. He enjoyed talking on the phone and he turned down the volume on the TV. He could even hear conversations when they went out for dinner with friends!

Not only that, but he could hear soft sounds he didn’t even know he was missing. He could hear the neighbor kids playing next door for the first time in years, and even hear the squeaking of the pantry door.

Being More Social

With his new hearing aids, John started spending more time out of the house. But almost no one noticed he was wearing hearing aids. His friends were glad he was being more social and they noticed he didn’t ask people to repeat themselves. But unless he pointed out his hearing aids, no one even seemed to realize he was wearing them. 

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

Have you been putting off getting hearing aids? Do you think you don’t need hearing aids, or are you worried that hearing aids won’t look good? The best way to learn about your hearing health is by scheduling a hearing test. Find out what sounds you’re missing, then explore your hearing aid options. Our team of hearing health specialists will help you choose the right hearing aids to match your hearing needs and your life.

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

Did you know that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 have a hearing loss? That number grows to 1 in 2 people over the age of 75! Hearing loss is an inconvenience and frustration for many. Hearing loss makes it hard to follow conversations, enjoy watching TV, or hear during concerts or religious services. Not only that, but hearing loss also affects the brain in some surprising ways.

Hearing Loss Is Linked to Dementia

Hearing loss makes it harder to have a laugh with friends, but hearing loss does a lot more than make your dinner parties difficult. Hearing loss has a major impact on the brain. In fact, a recent study found that older adults with hearing loss are far more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than adults who can hear clearly.

Adults with moderate hearing loss are more likely than their hearing peers to have a dementia diagnosis. And adults with severe hearing loss are much more likely to develop dementia.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

But why is hearing loss linked to dementia? It’s because hearing loss has a big impact on the brain. Hearing doesn’t just happen in your ears. A lot of your hearing actually happens in the brain. That’s why untreated hearing loss is very damaging for your brain in a number of ways. Older adults with hearing loss experience rapid cognitive decline, have a hard time doing cognitive tasks, and even have more cell loss and brain shrinkage.

Auditory Deprivation from Hearing Loss

When you live with untreated hearing loss, your brain experiences auditory deprivation. This means that your brain is deprived of certain sounds. When your ears can’t pick up on all the sounds around you, they don’t send signals about these sounds to your brain. The brain experiences auditory deprivation, since lots of sounds in your natural hearing range aren’t making it to your brain anymore. 

After some time without hearing certain sounds, the brain cells in the auditory region start to atrophy or die, shrinking the auditory centers in the brain. In fact, parts of the auditory regions in the brain even get reassigned to other sensory systems, such as vision. When this happens, you’ll discover that the rule “use it or lose it” applies to your hearing as well. After prolonged auditory deprivation, you’ll lose those brain cells, and even when you finally treat your hearing loss, you may never regain the ability to hear those sounds.

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

The good news is that there’s a simple thing you can do to support your brain. Just treat your hearing loss! Wearing hearing aids helps the cells in your ear pick up more of the sounds around you. More signals will get sent to your brain, and you won’t need to worry about auditory deprivation. When you treat your hearing loss, you’ll have an easy time hearing conversations, hearing speech even in noisy environments, and hearing all the soft sounds around you.

Slowing Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Another way hearing aids can support your brain is by slowing hearing loss. When you wear quality hearing aids that reduce auditory deprivation, your brain will hear more of the sounds around you. This keeps your ears and brain healthier and can slow hearing loss.

Treating hearing loss also supports your brain by slowing the rate of cognitive decline. People who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are less likely to develop dementia than those who don’t treat their hearing loss.

Early Treatment of Hearing Loss

To support brain health, prioritize your hearing health! As soon as you notice any changes in your hearing, schedule a hearing test to discover exactly what sounds you’re missing. We recommend that adults over 50 have a hearing test every 2 to 3 years, and adults over 60 get their hearing tested every 1 to 2 years. 

If you have hearing loss, find the hearing aids that help you hear. This supports your brain before you notice any auditory deprivation. It will take you a few weeks to adjust to your new devices, but once you’re used to wearing hearing aids, these devices will keep your ears and your brain healthy.

How Treating Hearing Loss Helps Your Mental Health

Do you have hearing loss? You know that hearing loss makes it harder to hear all the sounds around you, making you miss a lot of the sounds in your environment. You don’t hear the chirping of birds, you can’t hear someone calling to you from another room, and you have a hard time knowing where a sound is coming from.

Hearing loss also makes it difficult to communicate. You’ve noticed that hearing loss makes you more stressed and anxious as you struggle to follow conversations. Hearing loss can even make you feel isolated, lonely, and depressed! If you’ve been dealing with poor mental health, treating hearing loss is one of the best things you can do to connect with loved ones and improve your quality of life. 

Hearing Loss and Mental Health

Did you know that your hearing loss and mental health are closely linked? A new study by Clear Living, a lifestyle website, looks at how hearing loss can impact your mental health and wellbeing. During 2019 and 2020, researchers gathered data from website users. They asked users to fill out a survey, and they got 3,700 responses. The questions were all about how hearing loss affects personal and social wellbeing and mental health.

After looking at all the data, researchers discovered that 89% of the study participants dealt with personal and social issues because of their hearing loss. These older adults responded that they felt lonely, disconnected, and sad. 58% of the survey responses mentioned close relationships, saying that hearing loss drove a wedge between them and their loved ones. Some even said their hearing loss led to a breakup. Many participants also talked about feeling isolated or dealing with depression.

How’s Your Mental Health?

If you have hearing loss, it’s time to think about your mental health. Hearing loss can lead to a number of communication issues. You may ask your loved ones to repeat themselves over and over again. You feel frustrated that you can’t hear, and your loved ones can get annoyed that they have to keep repeating themselves. You may find yourself more easily upset or irritated. Many people with hearing loss stop putting in the effort to communicate, since it easier to avoid conversations and avoid getting frustrated. 

Living with untreated hearing loss can also make you exhausted. You use so much energy straining to hear that by the evening you’re far too tired to try to have a meaningful conversation with your family. 

Hearing loss makes it very difficult to hear in places with background noise, so you may decide to avoid social events. You don’t see your friends as often, and this can lead to more feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Other negative outcomes of hearing loss can include:

  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Reduced mobility
  • Worse balance
  • Increased memory loss
  • Higher risk of dementia

Treating Hearing Loss Improves Mental Health

Now for some good news. When you treat your hearing loss, not only are you making it easier to hear, you’re also improving your mental health! We can fit you with quality hearing aids to help you hear in a variety of listening situations. 

You’ll be able to hear during conversations with your loved ones, and even hear in places with background noise. When you can hear clearly, you won’t feel so frustrated, and you’ll be able to communicate easily. Hearing aids give you the confidence to go to social events, and hear conversations even in crowded restaurants. With hearing aids you’ll maintain your relationships with family and friends, and have the social support you need to be healthy. 

You’ll also have more energy! Hearing aids reduce listening fatigue, and you’ll have energy in the evenings to talk to your loved ones or do the things you love. You’ll be more social, enjoy time with family and friends, and get back to your hobbies. 

Treating your hearing loss helps your mental health. Wearing quality hearing aids that match your hearing needs will help you hear when you need it the most. You’ll follow conversations, talk on the phone, enjoy outdoor activities, and hear the TV. Don’t waste any more time straining to hear or let your mental health suffer. Visit us today to find out how hearing aids can help your mental health.

Q&A About Hearing Loss

You may have some questions about hearing loss and hearing aids. That’s completely normal! We get lots of questions every day about hearing health and hearing devices. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about hearing loss.

Question: Do I Need Hearing Aids if My Hearing Loss is Mild?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked is about treating mild hearing loss. If your hearing isn’t too bad, you might be wondering if you need to invest in hearing aids just yet. The answer is that treating your hearing loss early is the best thing you can do for your ears and your overall health.

When you have mild hearing loss, certain cells in the ear aren’t sending signals to the brain, and you don’t hear all the sounds around you. This might not be a problem when you’re in a very quiet place, but when you’re anywhere with background noise, it becomes very hard to follow conversations. You’ll start to notice the effects of untreated hearing loss, and start to be less social.

Living with mild untreated hearing loss can lead to more rapid cognitive decline, social isolation and loneliness, depression, and even an increased risk of dementia. If you have mild hearing loss, the best thing you can do for your hearing and your health is to treat your hearing loss.

Question: Do I Actually Need Two Hearing Aids?  

Most people have slightly different levels of hearing loss in each ear. You probably have a “good” ear and a “bad” ear. However, if you have hearing loss, in most cases even your good ear isn’t picking up on all the sounds around you. Having clear hearing in both ears is also very important for sound localization, or determining where a sound is coming from. With only one hearing aid, you won’t be able to quickly tell where sounds are coming from. Not only that, but having only one hearing aid can still leave you straining to hear, and you won’t get relief from listening fatigue.

Treating your hearing loss with two hearing aids is the best way to hear all the sounds around you, and enjoy clear hearing. 

Question: Will I Go Deaf?

You may be concerned that as your hearing worsens, you might go deaf. In most cases, people with hearing loss don’t go deaf. Your hearing loss will probably get a little worse every year, but for many people this hearing decline will eventually stop, and the level of hearing loss will stay mostly the same.

If you have hearing loss, it’s important to get a hearing test every year to monitor your hearing health. If your hearing ability has changed, your hearing aids can be recalibrated to match your level of hearing loss. However, you don’t need to worry about going deaf.  

Question: Will Hearing Aids Restore My Hearing?

There is no cure for hearing loss. Hearing aids are a very successful treatment option for hearing loss, but they can’t restore the hearing you have lost. Instead, hearing aids help you hear the sounds around you, including the sounds you can’t hear on your own. Hearing aids have a number of advanced programs and features that reduce background noise and help you focus on speech. Some hearing aids can even connect to your phone and stream audio right to your ears. Hearing aids are a great way to treat your hearing loss, and easily hear without straining to make out what’s being said. 

Question: Are There Natural Cures for Hearing Loss?

There are no natural cures for hearing loss. Hearing loss is usually caused by damage to the cells in the inner ear. These cells translate sound waves into electrical signals and send them to the brain. When these delicate cells are damaged, they don’t regenerate. This means there’s no way to cure hearing loss or restore your hearing. No natural remedies for hearing loss can repair these cells, or make your hearing come back.

Treating Hearing Loss

These are just some of the questions we get asked every day, and we have lots more answers to share. There are no silly questions, so if you have any questions about your hearing loss, ask our team of hearing health specialists and get the answers you need. 

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunions

Your 2020 holiday plans might look a little different this year, but you can still get together with your family virtually. There are lots of ways to connect with loved ones online, and you can plan a virtual family reunion to celebrate the holidays. These tips will help you have a fun virtual get together.

Make a Schedule

The best way to have a successful virtual event is to make a clear schedule. It’s frustrating waiting for everyone to show up to a meeting, so make a plan before your family reunion and let everyone know the schedule ahead of time. These are the things you should include in the schedule:

  • The reunion start time
  • The order of events
  • The reunion end time
  • Anything to prepare, such as food items, games, or holiday clothing

Sharing all this information with your family ahead of time will help make your virtual family reunion a big success.

Keep Your Holiday Traditions Alive

Does your family have some holiday traditions? You can find ways to share your traditions online. 

  • If your family plays games during the holidays you can try a game of Pictionary, or find an online game you can play together. 
  • If you love to share food over the holidays, ask each family member to bring a special dish to the reunion and show it off for the family.
  • If you love listening to holiday tunes, set aside some time in the schedule to listen to some music together.
  • If you love dressing up for the holidays, challenge your family to come in their holiday finest, or to find a great holiday sweater to wear to the reunion.

Test It Out Ahead of Time

If you’ve never held an online meeting before, test it out ahead of time. Make sure you know how to start the meeting, invite participants, and work out any technical glitches before reunion day. You can also invite several family members to test it out ahead of time. Some of your family members may not be very comfortable with online meetings, and you can help them learn to log in, turn on their camera, or unmute their mics. 

Having a test before the reunion will take the pressure off, and you’ll be confident hosting the meetings. It will also relieve the stress some of your family members may feel about having an online reunion.

Helping Everyone Hear

Is someone in your family hard of hearing? Virtual meetings can be challenging for people with hearing loss, but there are a few things you can do to make it easy for your loved ones to participate in the reunion.

  • Ask your family to speak one at a time. When several people talk at once, the audio will jump back and forth between the people talking, and it’s very hard to understand what’s being said.
  • Ask everyone to set up their screen in a brightly lit room. Making sure all the faces are well lit helps everyone communicate. It’s easy to see who’s speaking, and to see facial expressions or other non-verbal cues.
  • Ask the family to join the meeting on their computers rather than their phones. The larger screen will make it easy to see all the participants, and it will also keep the screen from moving during the call.
  • Turn on Closed Captioning. When your loved one with hearing loss can read what’s being said they’ll be able to keep up with the conversation.
  • Be willing to repeat or rephrase what’s been said if your loved one didn’t hear it the first time. 

Gift Ideas for Your Loved One with Hearing Loss

The best gift you can give your loved one with hearing loss is the gift of hearing. If your loved one doesn’t have hearing aids, encourage them to schedule a hearing test with us!

You support your loved one and  find out more about their hearing loss. Together you can learn about their hearing aid options and find the right devices to help them hear. Help your loved one pick out hearing aids before the holidays! They’ll have time to get used to their devices so they can enjoy hearing clearly during your virtual family reunion.

Contact us today to learn more about our assistive listening devices and hearing aid technology. 

Brain Exercises Could Help You Hear in Noise

If you have ever tried having a conversation in a noisy restaurant, or bar, it can be completely frustrating to have to yell over all the commotion. If you deal with hearing loss then this can add a whole new set of hurdles in listening. 

In fact, one of the first signs of hearing loss is often trouble hearing speech in noisy settings. Even with the use of hearing aids this can still be a challenge. It’s important to remember that while we hear with our ears, we actually listen with our brains. Even if our ears can’t hear like they used to, there are exercises we can practice to develop skills to understand speech amongst a world of noise. 

While these exercises can’t bring back our hearing, they certainly can sharpen our minds, in conjunction with the use of hearing aids to focus on the sounds we need to hear, in order to follow speech while sending noise pollution to the background of our minds.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing damage, permanently affecting the inner ear, which sends auditory information to the brain for processing. Many forms of hearing loss begin with the loss of just certain tones, consonants or pitches. 

As hearing loss progresses, this struggle can become more severe. This creates a chronic condition where the brain is forced to interpret sound with limited information.  Hearing aids are helpful for treating sensorineural hearing loss because they are programmed individually to amplify the specific sounds, which pose a problem, sending the signal to the inner ear where it can be sent to the brain. 

Hearing aids are proven to help improve people’s ability to hear, and they take time to get used to. It takes training to hear in noisy settings even with the added amplification. Often people have to learn to hear again with hearing aids, especially if the hearing loss was left untreated for years. With the use of simple exercises people can learn to hear conversation much more clear in noisy settings.

Train Your Brain

Similar to a muscle, the more you use your brain the sharper and quicker it becomes. Concentrated exercises are used to help focus the brain on the sounds you want to hear and send the other sounds to the background. These listening exercises can’t restore damaged hearing, but can help restore listening compression for hearing aid users, by restoring lost connections.

Strengthening Localization

One aspect that can be particularly challenging for people with hearing issues is distinguishing the direction in which sound is coming from in a noisy indoor or outdoor space. This is referred to as localization and when compromised, can develop into a safety and health issue. This is why people with hearing impairments are at a higher risk for falls, accidents and hospitalizations.  

One way to strengthen localization is to play a sound over a speaker in a room. Then play another sound from a different room in a house. Feel free to turn up the sound on both speakers, creating a noisy environment. Ask a family member or friend to read a book and pace around the house. Close your eyes and repeat the sentences they are reading to you. This type of exercise can give you the tools to improve your localization skills over time.

Practice Listening Skills

Many listening skills can be done at home. In the time of smartphones and personal computers there is no need to visit a speech pathologist to regain conversational skills. There are many apps you can download to help you practice listening and sharpen those auditory connections. One app is called AB CLIX helps you to practice distinguishing between words, in both quiet and noisy environments. The HAPPYNeuron app uses sound-focused games to help you remember, concentrate, and react to sound confidently.

Deal with Hearing Issues

Most importantly, don’t ignore your hearing issues. If you suspect you have even a slight hearing loss, make sure you set up an appointment for a hearing test. 

Hearing tests are quick, painless and can diagnose a hearing loss before it can develop serious communication issues. No matter your age, have your hearing checked annually and keep your brain sharp and on top of any possible hearing issues.

Improving Communication with Your Family

With hearing loss affecting approximately 48 million people in the US alone, there is a good chance that someone in your family may be dealing with some degree of hearing damage. This is especially true if someone in your family is 65 years or older. It is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65 and half of seniors over 75 deal with some degree of hearing loss. 

Even so, hearing loss can affect you or family members at any age due to exposure to loud noise, head trauma, certain medications and infections. While it is important to take steps to protect yours and your loved one’s hearing it is not always possible. Once hearing loss occurs it cannot be reversed only treated with hearing aids.

A Strain on Relationships

Communication is affected more and more as hearing loss becomes more severe. It can be difficult to communicate important information to family members with hearing loss but just as importantly, it becomes challenging to share casual comments and inside jokes that build intimacy. You may start to feel distant from family members with hearing loss and not understand why. 

Know the Signs

Hearing loss is a progressive health issue starting slow and growing worse over time. It is common for people with hearing loss to not be aware of the condition until it progresses to the point where it’s hard to hear even in the most ideal of listening environments. 

It is often family members that recognize a hearing loss first. The sooner this condition is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin. Untreated hearing loss has not only been connected to strain on relationships but a lack of self confidence, higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, social isolation, and a greater risk for accidents that lead to hospitalization. 

Knowing the signs of hearing loss can allow you to diagnose yourself or a family member before relationships can start to suffer and related health conditions can progress. If you or a family member asks to repeat statements more often than not, complains about the volume of the TV or insists that others mumble, then it is a good idea to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible.

Treat Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids

The most important step for family communication is to wear your hearing aids at all hours from the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep. It is not just enough for your hearing aids when you go out in public. When your hearing aids are left unused, you are back to missing important casual conversation between family members that build intimacy and connection. 

Important Communication Strategies for Family Communication

Communication requires at least two people. If you are the speaker, it is important to get the listener’s attention first so they can be fully present to receive the information. This cannot be stressed more for family members with a hearing impairment. 

Make sure you maintain eye contact and that they have a full view of your face. This way they can rely on facial expression, body language and even lip reading to supplement for what they cannot hear. If you are the listener it is your job to let the speaker know that you understand what they are saying. When everyone in the family works together to ensure active communication hearing issues can cause less stress and strain in the family.

Clear Communication Strategies

Knowing and using communication strategies will relieve stress when speaking to people in the family with hearing loss. Make sure that the person with a hearing disability can see you before you start speaking. Avoid speaking to them from another room as this communication can be missed. Start by saying their name or lightly tapping them on the shoulder before you start speaking. Avoid yelling as this can actually distort the sound. Instead speak clearly and slowly enunciate each word. 

Make an Appointment for a Hearing Exam Today

If you suspect that you or someone in your family is dealing with even a slight amount of hearing loss make sure to set up a hearing exam as soon as possible. Hearing tests are quick and painless and can diagnose the extent of a hearing issue so the proper hearing aids can be recommended. The sooner you start wearing hearing aids, the sooner you can lower the stress level in your family, continue to build relationships and get back to enjoying life you love.

Earbud Use Could Harm Your Hearing

Personal listening devices offer a way for people to listen to music privately in a public setting. Earbuds are small headphones, which fit in the base of the ear canal, delivering sound like headphones. Earbuds are convenient and popular because they offer portability with decent sound quality. However, this convenient technology can damage your ears if you are not extremely careful. 

How Earbuds Damage the Ears

Many people understand the dangers of noise induced hearing damage. They know it is a safe practice to wear ear protection in a noisy work setting, when attending a loud concert, sporting event or while using power tools like a lawnmower, leaf blower or chainsaw. However many people don’t even suspect that earbuds are one of the greatest dangers to our hearing. This is especially true for a younger generation of listeners who may not be considering the dangers earbuds could cause their ears. Sound is measured in decibels and any decibel level over 85 dBA can damage the tiny hair cells, which send sound to the brain to be processed. The higher the decibel level and the longer the exposure, the more damage is incurred. This is why a low level of noise in a workplace setting can damage hearing over years. Power tools like a lawnmower or chainsaw can reach decibel levels of 100 dBA damaging hearing quickly. However, many people do not understand that earbuds can easily reach levels as high as 106 dBA, sending damaging sound into the ear canal. As the Internet provides endless streaming sound information, people listen for longer, permanently damaging hearing at a younger age.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss affects more than just your ears. Hearing loss is a communication issue. For teens and younger adults hearing loss makes it difficult to participate in conversation. People with unaddressed hearing loss are more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety and sleeplessness as they struggle to keep up with conversation. Many with hearing loss choice to self isolate, rather than struggle through conversation with hearing loss. Once earbuds or other noises damage hearing it cannot be repaired. Even so, this does not mean it cannot be treated.

Treating Hearing Loss

If you are struggling with noise induced hearing loss then you can benefit from hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the specific sounds, which are lost due to noise exposure. Noise induced hearing loss affects everyone differently so it is important to make an appointment to have your hearing tested. You’re your audiologist understands what sounds you struggle with they can prioritize these pitches making it easier to hear and participate in conversation again

Using Earbuds the Correctly

While noise induced hearing loss is a far reaching problem, it is important to remember that it can be avoided in many cases. Feel free to enjoy listening to headphones and earbuds but be aware of the risks. Understanding and following safe listening practices can allow you to listen safely for years to come. 

First of all, though it may be tempting, avoid turning up the volume on your earbuds and headphones to levels past 60% of the available volume. Of course, due to varying compression levels on different media platforms, volume can vary, from song to song. Be sure to turn your headphones all the way down, whenever switching media platforms and raising the sound up slowly.  

Another thing to take into consideration is that the length of listening can also affect your hearing. Make sure to take a break every hour from your earbuds or headphones. This allows your ears to recover, avoiding damaging the tiny hairs or even destroying them. 

Another trick that can let you know if your earbuds are too loud requires you to ask a nearby person for feedback. If the person sitting next to you can hear your earbuds then they are at a dangerous listening level.

Listening Alternatives

With more education and awareness around the damage earbuds can cause, many people are turning to active noise canceling headphones to protect their hearing. This technology actively detects the noise around you and sends out an inverted sound wave, which actively cancels out the damaging noise. 

This amazing technology allows you to listen to your favorite media through headphones and earbuds without feeling tempted to turn up the sound to block out background noise. Consider exploring this technology and preventing damaging hearing loss for the future.

If you are concerned about your hearing abilities, contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test!

Everyday Activities That Could Harm Your Hearing      

Hearing loss is not just an issue with our ears but affects how we connect to the people in our lives. When our hearing suffers it becomes difficult to keep up with conversations that make us feel involved and connected. As hearing loss progresses and communication breaks down people often become depressed, anxious around social interaction, struggle with sleep, and self-isolate. The important thing to remember is that hearing loss is often avoidable. When we understand instances that can put our hearing in risk of damage, we can take proper precautions to avoid permanent hearing injury.

Noise induced hearing loss

There are many factors that can damage your hearing over time. The most prevalent cause of hearing loss for people of all ages is caused by exposure to excessive levels of noise. Sound is measured in decibels and any sound that crosses the threshold of 85 decibels can damage your hearing over time. This can add up if you are exposed day after day in a work environment.  This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide hearing protection for any worker exposed. After working the same job for 10 years you can have developed serious hearing damage if proper protection is not worn. However, as the decibel level climbs the speed in which your hearing incurs damage becomes quicker and more severe. While there are high instances of hearing loss from noise exposure in work settings, many causes of noise induced hearing loss happen while we are engaging in recreational activities.

Recreational activities that put your hearing at risk

Public events: Many of the activities we love to do can permanently damage our hearing. For instance the sound of a nightclub or concert can soar to decibel levels over 100 dBA easily. Similarly, some stadium sports events have been recorded higher than 130 decibels, which is loud enough to damage hearing instantaneously.

Motorcycles: Another way to cause damage to your hearing quickly is when riding a recreational vehicle like a motorcycle. The decibel rises very quickly as you reach speeds up to 70 miles and spend hours on the highway, with engine noise and the sound of the wind.

Hunting and Shooting: Hunting can be a great way to connect to the outdoors and may even provide a meal in the process. However, guns pose a huge risk to our hearing. Sound level meter measurements have recorded peak noise levels during gunfire at levels greater than 160 dBA, which can instantaneously damage hearing. Make sure to wear proper hearing protection whenever handling a firearm

Headphones and Earbuds: One of the most common threats to the hearing of people of all ages are personal listening devices which send sound directly to your ears via headphones or earbuds. This practice has become so commonplace that many people put their ears at dangerous levels of exposure without ever realizing. Headphones can send sounds to your ears at levels over 100 dBA. Because of endless streaming possibilities of audio information available the length of time that people listen can contribute to serious hearing loss in only a couple of years. This poses a real threat to the hearing of a younger generation. To ensure that you are listening at a safe level, it is important to keep the potential volume of your personal listening device below 60% of its potential volume. It is also important to make sure to take listening breaks, which can give your ears a moment to recover from the sound.

Treating Hearing Loss

While noise induced hearing loss is irreversible it can be treated rather effectively with hearing aids or cochlear implants. Hearing aids amplify the sounds you struggle with and send the audio information to your inner ear to be more easily registered. Hearing aids can make it easier for you to converse with the people in your life who make you connected.

If you suspect that you or someone you care about is dealing with hearing loss make sure to set up a hearing test as soon as possible. The sooner you deal with a hearing loss, the sooner you can get back to enjoying your life and hearing your best. Contact us today!

Age-Related Hearing Loss is Often Untreated

As you age there is a big chance you may be dealing with age related hearing loss. Age related hearing loss is the most common reason for hearing loss, affecting 1 in 3 seniors 65 and over and half of those over 75 years old. Age related hearing loss also known as presbycusis is the natural breakdown of your inner ears as the loud noises your ears have endured and lifestyle choices of a lifetime can build up. 

Hearing Loss Develops Over Time

People are often reluctant to admit or accept they have a problem because often they do not know they have a problem at all. Presbycusis is often undiagnosed and untreated because it develops slowly over time. It tends to start slowly that most do not realize that they have hearing damage until one struggles even in the most quiet of environments. 

Knowing the Signs of Age-Related Hearing Loss 

When we know the signs of age-related hearing loss we can make wise choices around treatment. It is often the people in your life who spend the most time with you that will notice you have a hearing loss before you diagnose the condition yourself.  They may notice you asking them to repeat themselves over and over or catch you misunderstanding or pretending to understand what was said. If you are having trouble hearing people in a crowded room, you find you need the television or phone turned up louder than people around you or you are missing alarm clocks and door bells then it is a very good idea to have your hearing checked as possible.

Denial of Hearing Loss

There are many reasons that keep seniors from admitting they have a hearing loss. Some of these reasons for denial include not believing that their hearing has declined enough to seek treatment, or see it as a sign of weakness they are not willing to admit to. Denial around hearing has serious health complications as seniors age. It is important to understand that while presbycusis is a permanent condition it can be treated using hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the sounds that your ears struggle to decipher and send them to your inner ear. When seniors are reluctant to admit they have a hearing problem they deny treatment, which allows dangerous side effects to progress to the detriment of their health.

Negative Effects of Denial Around Hearing Loss

When hearing loss is ignored and goes untreated it can make seniors feel out of the loop in conversations. They may start to struggle in communication, opting to avoid social interactions, leading to depression and self-isolation. Relationships between partners, family, friends and co-workers begin to struggle and self confidence suffers. Seniors who struggle to hear can struggle with memory problems that have been linked to a higher risk in developing dementia. Mobility is also compromised as seniors have less auditory information helping them navigate the world, leading to higher incidence of falls and hospitalizations. 

Treating Age-Related Hearing Loss

When seniors treat their hearing with hearing aids they have a chance to stop these negative side effects before they can progress into more serious conditions. Hearing aids have been shown time and time again to help ease the effects of presbycusis, making the people and sounds of your life audible. 

Despite the positive benefits of hearing aids many seniors avoid dealing with their hearing. Of people 70 and older that could benefit from hearing aids only 30% have ever even tried them. Don’t be part of this statistic. Hearing aids can make it possible to communicate with the people in your life, continuing to build and develop relationships. You will have a greater sense of mobility and self- confidence, allowing you to stay active, connected and engaged.

Schedule a Hearing Test Today

Don’t let hearing loss slow you down from continuing to enjoy your life. As you arrive at 65 and older it is a safe bet to have your hearing checked annually. Make an appointment to have your hearing checked today. We can help you understand if you have a hearing loss, to what extent and help you find the best hearing solutions for you and your lifestyle.