Acupuncture for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Does it Really Work?

Acupuncture for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Does it Really Work?

Acupuncture is trendy right now in terms of treating conditions like hearing loss and tinnitus. Not everyone believes that Tinnitus is curable through acupuncture, but there are definitely some people who swear by it. What this means is that it could make sense to try it out if nothing else is working for you, however, it may also make sense to at least try more conventional means of treating these maladies first as well. Here’s a little bit of information on all of these subjects, including how they relate one to the other.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a condition that’s often permanent. There are at least two major ways that hearing loss tends to happen, with the added caveat that sometimes it’s a mix of these two types. One type includes hearing loss that occurs because of damage of some kind being done to the tiny hairs in the ear that detect sound and then send this information to your brain. These hairs can be damaged for many reasons, including simply age, or a head injury, or hearing noises that are too loud, for example. The second kind involves damage to the auditory nerve and everything connected to it. So, in other words, either you are physically prevented from hearing something, or there’s a break in your body’s communication system so that you can’t actually process the sound.

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition where you hear sounds that aren’t there due to a problem with your auditory nerve. This could sound like a ringing in your ear, it could be a buzz, it could be a sort of clicking or humming, it could be anything really. The problem is that the sound can keep going for hours or even days at a time, and interrupt absolutely everything that you do. It can make it hard to sleep, it can make it hard to concentrate, it can make it hard for you to do just about anything. That’s why it’s a potentially serious condition in terms of quality of life.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is from Traditional Chinese Medicine. The idea is that little needles are used to help activate the qi energy in the body, a central tenant in traditional Chinese medicine. In particular, the belief is that the needles can be inserted into key points of the ear, helping to bring the body back into alignment to relieve problems like hearing loss or Tinnitus. The belief here is that the body can have a lack of certain kinds of energy and too much of other kinds. It’s these imbalances throughout the body that cause the problems, and the needles can control the flow of energy in order to restore the balance and stop the problems.

Does Acupuncture Actually Help Tinnitus and Improve Hearing?

The studies on this matter from actual scientific research are a bit mixed. In general, there’s not a lot of conclusive evidence to suggest that this is the case. Some studies show a mix of some people gaining some help from the practice, reducing their Tinnitus and improving their hearing. IN a few rare cases there are claims it helped cure deafness altogether. However, other studies show that the practice didn’t do much at all. The jury is still out, in other words.

Seeking Treatment

In general, if you need help with hearing loss or tinnitus, the best thing to do is visit your traditional Western doctor. They will be able to help you out the best with proven methods that aren’t the slightest bit controversial. This will generally include have you come in and take a test to check what’s going on with your hearing in a general sense. After the testing, which will likely include different types of tones, they will likely outfit you with a hearing aid if it’s determined that you have some kind of hearing loss. In terms of tinnitus, they will have options to help you with that particular problem as well, so that you’re covered in both situations and you can get your hearing back to normal.

Hearing Loss Cures of the Past

Hearing Loss Cures of the Past

Today, people facing a hearing loss are more fortunate than those in years past. This is because of the technology available to help improve hearing loss. In days-gone-by, a person was pretty much out-of-luck when it came to solving the hearing loss problem. There were some very interesting “cures” offered to those suffering from a loss. Let’s take a look at what some people did in the past in hopes of being able to hear better.

Strange “Cures” for Hearing Loss

It was believed that if a person sat in a chair for three days and three nights without eating any food or drinking any water, his/her deafness would be cured.

Another belief was if you mixed your urine with garlic and olive oil, stirred it gently, and drank it three times a day, then your hearing loss would be cured.

To cure a hearing loss, some people would fry peach kernels in hog lard. Then they would put the drops in their ear. Do you think that actually worked?

One really far-out idea was to stick a twig in your ear. You were instructed to keep it there all day and all night, and then the deafness would be cured.

Hearing Loss Treatment in the 19th Century

If you had a hearing loss in the late 1800s, you might have been offered “artificial eardrums.” It was reported that tiny devices were placed in the ear. The devices supposedly would help sound resonate through the auditory canal. Some of them were made from metal, which caused a lot of pain when inserted.

Another bazaar “cure” was “blistering.” People were given blisters using caustic plaster. Once the blistering occurred, it was thought the pus was evidence the toxins were being extracted from the body. Unfortunately, this was another failed attempt to restore hearing loss.

Some unusual “cures” were given to Beethoven, the musical legend. When he was in his 20s, he suffered from buzzing and ringing in the ears. Today we call this tinnitus. He also had other hearing issues. Beethoven went to several different doctors in Europe looking for a cure to his hearing loss.

One of these involved the doctor prescribing that he place almond oil earplugs along with galvanism (a procedure that passes an electrical current through the afflicted part of the body to offer it stimulation) in his ear. The electrical shock was to restore the hearing. However, the result was not successful, and his hearing was not restored.

Another doctor told Beethoven he needed to isolate himself. The doctor said he needed to “rest” his ears. Apparently, no instructions were given as to how one “rests” their ears, but the idea did not help the musician.

Other offers to cure hearing loss involved different contraptions. The purpose was to stimulate the ear’s nerves. Some people were given a large contraption to put in his/her ear. It was fixed so it would vibrate the inner ear. Another failure! 

A Magical Pill?

Have you ever heard of the hearing loss pill? The claim is that taking this pill for 60 days will cure your loss. This was guaranteed. And, if it weren’t successful, your money would be refunded. However, each sell of the pill came with a disclaimer which stated that the testimonials on the website were some of the better results and were not typical. So, it seems the pill did not work!

This Cure is a Leap!

The next one required you to be a brave person. It was suggested you climb very, very high (it did not state if we are talking about a tree, a bridge, or what) once you up a great way, you suddenly jumped down. It was reported that the fall would restore your hearing. It seems doubtful this cured many people with hearing loss!

Seeking Proper Treatment for Hearing Loss

None of the above “cures” healed a person from hearing loss. Fortunately, today, we have a variety of ways to help many people to recover from their loss. The hearing aid is one of the most common solutions to hearing loss. It can improve the quality of life, and today technology has added many features to make them even better. If you have a more severe loss, you might be offered a cochlear implant. If you have a hearing loss, contact us and make an appointment to visit us at The Hearing Consultants and learn more about the proper way to treat hearing loss!

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

Hearing works by sounds traveling down your ear canal and then hitting tiny hairs that then relate this information to your auditory nerve, which is then processed through electrical signals in the brain. Due to the fact that hearing loss actually happens inside of the brain in many cases, hearing loss can actually affect more than just your ability to hear. IN other words, it can affect your intellectual and cognitive abilities. Hearing loss has a huge effect on your mind, in other words, because your ability to receive and process sound is an important part of how you cogitate in the first place. Here’s some information about how hearing loss and cognitive decline are related.

Understanding Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss, called SNHL, or Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs due to damage in the inner ear. The condition affects the nerve pathways that connect from your inner ear into your brain. It can make it so that you can’t hear softer sounds, and it can also affect louder sounds too, making them sound muffled. It’s important to understand this because it’s the most common kind of permanent hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by various drugs and illness, genetic causes, physical damage such as being hit in the head, a problem with how your inner ear formed, noises that were too loud and too close to you, or simply by getting old.

Studies on Cognitive Decline and Untreated Hearing Loss

The studies here indicate that cognitive decline is likely related in some way to untreated hearing loss. It doesn’t mean that one causes the other, but it does mean that they are related. The more that you can’t hear and process the sounds around you, the more you’re going to be isolated. According to recent studies, such as the one at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, a link was found that showed that hearing loss is connected to a larger risk of cognitive decline. It was 30 percent higher among subjects who had hearing problems.

In cases where the hearing loss was significant, the percentage of decline was as high as 54 percent or even higher.

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

As of the current date, there aren’t a lot of options for curing hearing loss in most situations, especially sensorineural hearing loss. However, you can find treatment to make the situation much better, even to the point where it may not affect you very much at all. The main way to do this is by going to get a test from a doctor and then finding a hearing aid that fits you properly. It takes some time to accumulate to a hearing aid, so the quicker you do this, the better off you’ll be in just about every way, including with resisting the potential onset of dementia.

Cognitive Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

The benefits of treating hearing loss are substantial. For one thing, you will probably experience positive effects on your place of work. If your hearing is improved, you will be able to communicate with others much more effectively. This will likely lead to more happiness at work, more job promotions, and more prospects in general. Those who can’t communicate effectively can’t really properly participate at their place of employment.

Additionally, you will end up with social benefits, since you may not even realize how much you were missing when you were suffering from hearing loss. If you can’t hear what someone is saying, you’re often going to shy away from socializing with them.

Scheduling an Appointment Today

The key is to schedule an appointment with a qualified hearing professional today in order to make sure that you get started on treating this problem as soon as possible. You’re definitely going to want to get that risk of cognitive decay down as soon as you can, and treating hearing loss is a great way to do that. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get everything corrected and back on track again.

Studies on Hearing Loss & Injuries

Studies on Hearing Loss & Injuries

Prevalence and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

There are more than 466 million people worldwide that suffer from hearing loss, and 34 million of these are children. Studies estimate that by the year 2050, there will be over 900 million people with hearing disabilities. 60 percent of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes, undressed hearing loss poses an annual global loss of 750 billion dollars, which is why it’s important to identify the symptoms of hearing loss and work towards repairing or managing those symptoms. There are 3 different types of hearing loss, Conductive (outer or middle ear), Sensorineural(inner ear), and Mixed( inner and outer ear).

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Voices Sound Muffled

If you happen to notice your hearing becoming muffled or if you’re constantly adjusting the volume of your TV, you may be suffering from hearing loss. It may simply be caused by a build-up of ear wax, which can be remedied with ear drops, but you could also be experiencing the beginning stages of hearing loss. When you start to experience difficulty hearing a phone ring, the radio, or things that you would typically have no trouble hearing, you are more than likely experiencing hearing loss.

Trouble Understanding What People are Saying

When a person initially experiences hearing loss, they often have trouble hearing what other people are saying, which can lead to misinterpretations between you and who you’re speaking to. If you often mistake what other people are saying, you may be suffering from the beginning stages of hearing loss. You also may find yourself constantly asking others to repeat themselves, which is not only frustrating, but can make you feel uncomfortable as well. This is why many seniors who suffer from hearing loss often find themselves nodding or simply smiling when others are talking to them.

Difficulty Listening in Crowds

Another sign of hearing loss is, when you have difficulty following conversations in a group of people or amongst a crowd. If you notice yourself having trouble differentiating between who’s speaking, you could be suffering from the early stages of hearing loss.

Ringing in Ears

One of the most noticeable symptoms of hearing loss is tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ear. Tinnitus is especially common in hearing loss related to noise damage, which can be caused by obsessive loud noises such as construction, the sound of a gun firing, or simply by having your headphones turned up too loudly. If you notice a ringing in your ear, you should make an appointment with an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist and have your hearing evaluated immediately.

Studies on Injuries Related to Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is more than just an inconvenience; it can also cause injury or jeopardize your life. For example, if your home happens to catch on fire, you may not hear the smoke alarm go off, which is why there are now smoke alarms equipped with strobe lights, along with shakers to alert you when danger is near. Hearing loss can also impair your ability to hear a tornado sirens or if a neighbor is calling for help. If you begin to feel you’re losing your ability to hear loud of soft dangers, this can put yourself and your family at risk. A study that involved 232 million US adults (51%) determined that accidental injuries occurred in 2.8% of survey respondents.

Hearing Loss Treatment with Hearing Aids

One of the most common types of hearing loss treatment is being fitted with hearing aids, which can often full restore a person’s hearing. A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is inserted behind your ear, which amplifies sounds. It can slow cognitive decline, reduce tinnitus, and increase your quality of life. There are more than 28 million U.S. adults that could benefit from hearing aids, which can improve mild to moderate hearing loss.

The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

If you’re a person who suffers from hearing loss, you should have it evaluated immediately and get back to living your life. Having your hearing loss treated will drastically improve your ability to communicate with others, along with improving your psychological well-being. Untreated hearing loss can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and isolation, which can eventually develop into Alzheimer’s or dementia. Having your hearing treated will also help you stay connected and aware of your surroundings, which can improve your safety, both at home and outdoors.

Hearing Loss Cures of the Past

Hearing Loss Cures of the Past

Historically, humans have not the kindest to deaf people or any person with any kind of sensorial condition. Deafness, in particular, was seen as terrible because it was obvious but not as obvious as blindness. Blindness, people learned to live with fairly quickly. Deafness is something people can live with for quite a while before others pick up on it.

Random “Cures” People Created

Curing deafness, up until the 1950s, was considered highly prevalent. Though deafness posed no immediate danger to the afflicted or those around, people believed that deafness needed to be cured at all costs. Sometimes, those cures were humorous; other times, the cures were cruel and painful. Whichever cure was used, one thing is clear about past attempts to cure deafness: none of them worked.

Science and medicine made their attempts to cure deafness through some wacky means, but the strangest “cures” always come from common people trying to solve big problems. The most common cure-all for hearing loss problems was sticking or pouring something into the ear. In the simplest way, sticking something in the ear seems like a good idea. Today, hearing loss can be caused by blockages or growths. None of the objects used to stick people in their ears back then were specially designed enough to cure hearing loss, but there is a slither of sense in the method.

After twigs and pieces of metal didn’t work, people started pouring things into their ears to cure hearing loss. They poured everything from distilled water to hog lard and boiled fruit juices. Sometimes, they even gas down their ears, hoping to wash the deafness out. Other home remedies involved pouring bear fat and water steamed from urine into the ear.

Of the most bizarre, the “cure” that called for people to jump from high heights is interesting. People, when jumping from heights, can experience popping in the ear. Maybe that’s what people associated deafness with back then, so jumping may have seemed like a logical cure.

Then, science and medicine mixed with home remedies and people just started taking drugs. It reached a point where anything herbal medicine or exotic drug that even remotely had healing properties was being shoveled into people’s bodies in some way. According to an “informative flyer” being placed around towns back then, opium could restore hearing. For those wondering, it’s been proven that hardcore drugs can actually cause hearing loss.

Aside from the comical home remedies and dangerous drug remedies, there were also cruel remedies. During a time when surgery usually caused death, doctors were surgically catheterizing the ear and cutting the body to let some blood out (better known as bloodletting). There was also the horrifying practice of deliberately blistering the skin using caustic plaster.

Modern medicine has no explanation for the darker treatments other than doctors and scientists simply using the ill for their own personal experimentation. Those kinds of “cures” are the same category of “electromedicine” and overmedication.

Modern Cure Trickery

Though it seems like bizarre medicine and scams have gone from the world, people are still making wild claims of how they cured hearing loss. One of the oldest “cures” still around is hypnosis. Hypnosis is directly related to people’s beliefs, so eliminating hypnosis as a cure-all will not be an easy task. In many countries, people still take deaf and blind people to their priests and healers even if the afflicted person doesn’t want to go.

These days, with technology as advanced as it is, there are plenty of pharmaceutical and biotech companies producing what they call cures. None of these cures are clinically proven or tested and even the companies admit their products only work for a handful of people; yet, they sell millions of units every year.

The Only Real Cures

To prevent hearing loss or restore hearing, the only option is going to see a trained professional. Only a licensed hearing specialist can properly help people regain their hearing. ENTs are also the only ones capable of providing real hearing aids; not the phony personal sound amplification devices. They may also perform surgery and implant cochlear devices.

Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is unable to reach the inner ear. To understand hearing health, first you need to understand how the ear processes hearing. The outer ear consists of two parts, the ear canal and the eardrum. The middle ear is a small air-filled space containing tiny ear bones. The inner ear is where you can find the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail shaped coil filled with thousands of tin hairs and is connected to the hearing or auditory nerve. It is also filled with fluids. The auditory nerve is connected to the pathway leaving to the brain stem.

Sound waves are collected into the ear and through the ear canal. The eardrum vibrates sound to the tiny bones in the middle ear. After, the sound travels to the cochlea where the tiny hair cells differentiate the different pitches and tones. From here, information is sent to the brain.

Understanding Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss can occur in three parts of the ear. Loss of hearing can be due to an obstruction or blockage in the outer ear. Most commonly, there is a buildup of earwax causing the obstruction. Another issue could be a hole in the eardrum causing sound to not be able to travel through. Thirdly, hearing loss can be in the ear bones. Missing ear bones or a stiffness in the ear bones could be a factor is the loss of hearing.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Signs and symptoms that are common when someone is losing their ability to hear are asking someone to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on a tv or radio that would seem too loud for others, and irritability when unable to hear someone speaking. a major cause for a person losing their hearing is old age. Typically, by the age of 40 is when a person will start to notice issues with their hearing. Constantly being exposed to loud noises is another way someone may experience loss of hearing. Another cause can be untreated hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss is caused by an ear infection that is ignored or left untreated.

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

Hearing health is important and at any point when a person notices the first sign of the inability to hear clearly should seek treatment. Treating hearing loss starts with a quick and easy hearing test. Our team at Hearing Consultants may begin treating hearing loss with a voice test where the patient covers one ear and the doctor whispers or speaks at lower levels to determine what the patient can hear. Another test that can be administered is an audible test. An auditory specialist will place headphones over the patient’s ears and begin playing different tones and pitches in each ear at different levels to determine at what level the patient is unable to hear.

After the initial hearing tests, we will go over options to help correct the patient’s hearing. There are several treatment options available that could benefit the different kinds of hearing issues. Fixing a hearing issue could be as simple as a hearing health provider clearing out built up earwax either by suction or by a small scraping tool.

If this is not the cause, a hearing aid may be fitted. There are two types of hearing aids. One the attaches behind the ear and one that snuggly fits inside the ear. A hearing aid collects sound and makes it louder for the person to hear. They can be adjusted to the person’s hearing needs.

In a more serious condition, a cochlear implant may be needed. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is attached during an operation. This device is attached to the cochlea and it helps the damaged hairs by turning sounds into electrical messages that stimulate the brain directly. If someone has a cochlear implant, they have to wear a speech processor that looks like a hearing aid. A child must be at least one year old and have a severe hearing impairment before receiving a cochlear implant. 

Preventing Conductive Hearing Loss

Preventative ways to protect your hearing are, proper cleaning, keep noises and sounds at a normal level when watching TV or listening to music, and if you spend a great deal of time around loud noises or work in a loud environment, wear ear protection or ear plugs.

Hearing Consultants

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!

Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

Most everyone has had an ear infection from time to time. They are mostly annoying and mildly irritating but you probably never thought you could end up suffering from untreated hearing loss after having an ear infection. You may have experienced a temporary loss of hearing or the sounds may have been muffled or unclear. But after the infection had been treated, everything went back to normal again.

Types of Infections That Can Cause Hearing Problems

Hearing loss comes in several different stages: severe, mild, permanent, or temporary. An infection can cause any of these types of loss of hearing depending on the type of infection.

An infection or inflammation in the ear canal is usually called “swimmer’s ear.” This type of infection is not just from swimming but even though a person’s hearing is impaired, it gets better once the infection is gone.

When the infection affects the middle ear, it is a little more serious and the symptoms include pus that builds up in the ear along with swelling and a temporary loss of hearing.

A fluid buildup in the inner ear can occur without an infection. You may experience muffled hearing but it is only temporary and as long as the buildup doesn’t become infected there is no problem and hearing loss will be returned to normal.

The most serious of conditions of the ear is a viral infection of the main hearing organ, the cochlea. It results in a loss of hearing that occurs suddenly and can return completely, partially, or not at all. The type of virus that affects the cochlea is said to be the same type as you would get with a cold, influenza or an upper respiratory infection.

Symptoms of Ear Infections

Small children may be hard to diagnose with an ear infection but it probably starts when they complain that their ears hurt. Other symptoms of problems with a child’s ears include: a fever, pulling around the ear and scratching, and some secretions that come from the ear.

As children get older and when they and adults get an ear infection it starts with an earache, they may feel pressure in their ears, and they could become dizzy or lose their balance.

How Middle Ear Infections Are Treated

When an ear infection is the result of a fluid buildup, the treatment that works best is an antibiotic. It is important with all antibiotics to take the entire dosage even if you feel better within a day or two. If not, the infection can return.

If a child or an adult continues to suffer from constant infections, they may have to have a procedure administered where a tube is placed in the eardrum that will help the fluid buildup to pass.

If the fluid that builds up in the ears is not taken care of right away it can turn into a serious situation. Untreated loss of hearing due to an infection has the possibility of becoming a permanent loss of hearing. The buildup of fluids could create enough pressure for your eardrums to rupture. A perforated eardrum can occur if someone suffers from recurring infections.

Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss

If you go swimming and you get water in your ear it doesn’t necessarily mean you have swimmers’ ear. Turn your head to the side so that if you do have water in your ear it has a chance to drain out. If not, and you experience a temporary loss of hearing, you may want to visit a health professional to determine if it is something that can be resolved.

Usually, loss of hearing happens over a period of time so you may not notice it right away. At the first sign of hearing problems, you should see a doctor. Untreated hearing problems could turn out to be permanent loss of hearing.

Hearing Consultants

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing due to ear infection and are struggling with communication, contact us today. It is better to deal with untreated hearing loss immediately. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!

Can Hearing Loss Be Cured?

Can Hearing Loss Be Cured?

Loss of hearing occurs when the ability to hear the sounds is reduced. Loss of hearing makes it difficult for acuity speech and sounds. The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and air pollution, as well as aging. Loss of hearing is an irreversible condition that cannot be cured, but in most cases, it can be treated using hearing aids. After being diagnosed with hearing loss condition, acknowledging the situation can be difficult. There is social discrimination associated with loss of hearing, vanity in the use of hearing aids, and ageism to contend with others and oneself.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can either be sensorineural, conductive, or a combination of the two. Sensorineural hearing loss results when the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. Presbycusis, also known as age hearing impairment, together with a noise-induced hearing disorder, a permanent loss of hearing caused by prolonged exposure to noise, are some examples of sensorineural hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is fluid buildup in the middle ear reducing the movement of sound from the outer ear through the middle ear to the inner ear.

Mixed hearing impairment is a condition that arises when there are difficulties in conducting sound to the inner ear, and at the same time, the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. Often, it is a combination of sensorineural hearing impairment and conductive hearing impairment. Loss of hearing can also be bilateral, affecting both ears, or single-sided hearing impairment affecting one ear.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Many factors can cause hearing impairment, but the most common causes are age and noise. Hearing impairment is the natural consequence of aging. Too much exposure to noise increase the risk of having a hearing impairment. The noises may be from our place of work, voluntary exposure to noise, or loud music and stereos.

However, other potential factors can still result in loss of hearing. Some of these factors include:

  • Head injuries
  • Heredity factors
  • Some infections such as upper respiratory diseases
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Allergies
  • Damages to the ear
  • Cholesterol

Hearing Loss Treatment

Hearing impairment can be treated, but it is impossible to restore hearing. The use of hearing aid devices is the most common treatment option that is widely used. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated through surgery to remove the blockage in the ear. The use of hearing aids usually treats sensorineural hearing loss. Sudden loss of hearing should be urgently addressed, and the hearing loss treatment mostly involves the use of steroids.

Hearing Solutions

There are different styles of hearing aid devices. The type of hearing device to use may depend on the severity of your condition, personal choice, availability, and cost. Hearing aid devices vary in their functionality, depending on the electronic system used. Generally, there are only two types of electronic systems analog and digital. Before getting a hearing aid device, it is essential to ask your audiologist the following questions:

  • What are the best hearing aid features for you?
  • What is the cost of hearing aid? Do the benefits of new technology outweigh those of older technology?
  • Whether there is a trial period for testing the hearing aid?
  • Which instructions and precautions to observe while using a hearing aid?

Benefits of Treating Hearing Impairment

Untreated hearing loss can result in profound long term physical, emotional, and social effects on seniors. Sometimes, the process of treating hearing impairment can be complicated, but the results are worth the struggle. Treating hearing impairment comes along with plenty of benefits. Below are just but a few:

  • Cognitive benefits – several studies have linked untreated hearing loss as the leading risk factor of developing dementia and increasing cognitive decline. The exciting recent research shows that treating hearing impairment with hearing aid devices slows the decline of memory and thinking retention.
  • Emotional benefits – any hearing impairment can make you feel disconnected from your sense affecting how you feel and think about yourself. Treating hearing impairment improves your sense of well-being and enhances your desire to connect with friends and loved ones.

It is important to treat hearing essential to reduce the risk of permanently losing your hearing ability. Even though there is no cure, there are available effective treatment options to help people live a happy and productive life.

Hearing Consultants

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help! 

Hearing Loss and Millennials

Hearing Loss and Millennials

Although hearing loss is common among older people, a new generation of young people are experiencing hearing loss before the age when Presbycusis would set in. This young generation of Millennials have noise-induced hearing loss at alarming rates and at extremely young ages compared with prior generations. What might be causing this sudden upswing in hearing loss?

Understanding Hearing Loss

Among the many types of hearing loss, there are two main kinds that affect the majority of people. The first is presbycusis, another name for the natural process of age-related hearing loss. As you know, the tiny hairs of the inner ear are incredibly sensitive to differences in sound. However, this same sensitivity makes the susceptible to damage from loud noise. From birth to death, our ears are incessantly inundated with sound, and it is remarkable that they remain functional as long as they do.

The other type of hearing loss, however, is noise-induced hearing loss. Whereas normal noise creates the conditions for Presbycusis, very loud noise is responsible for this other main cause of hearing loss. When the noise is too loud for too long a duration, the hairs of the inner ear are similarly damaged.

Dangerous Decibels

Many point to the development of loud technology when looking for an answer. The machines that increasingly surround us in urban and rural spaces generate sounds of all kinds, some very loud. As we are exposed to more and more noise, our ears might suffer at younger ages from this exposure. Yet, why would there be such a sudden uptick in hearing loss among young people? Workplaces have been the source of noise for many people, whether loud industrial sites and factories or even noisy restaurants. Although this might explain the effect on young people of working age, we have seen drastically higher rates of hearing loss even among teenagers. In fact, 17 percent of American teens between the ages of 12-19 have some form of hearing loss.

One answer given by many hearing specialists, researchers, and public health officials is the use of earbuds and headphones. Although these inventions have been around for some time, the creation of portable music devices did not come up about at the level of the mass-market until the 1980s, just about the time Millennials began to be born. Those portable music devices, such as the Walkman and later the Discman quickly turned into smartphones with an ever wider range of audio possibilities. Today’s Millennials can listen to music, videos, television, podcasts, and even movies on their phones. They carry these devices with them everywhere, and the duration of audio use has skyrocketed.

If headphones and earbuds were only generating sounds below 85 decibels, they would not pose such a danger. However, these devices can generate punishingly loud sound, and users seldom know now much to limit their use. If a set of headphones at maximum volume emits 100 decibels of sound, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that they should only be used for 15 minutes at a time. However, many Millennials are using their headphones and earbuds for much longer stretches of time.

Raising Awareness & Hearing Loss Prevention

What can be done about the public health crisis of hearing loss among Millennials? This phenomenon does not only affect American youth or those in the technologically developed world. Indeed statistics generated around the globe demonstrate the same phenomenon. A number of solutions are available. Corporate leaders and policymakers can regulate the features of amplification devices, and new technology can be created that at least provides information to users about the duration and decibel level of sound.

Public awareness campaigns can alert people to the crisis that is currently underway with youth hearing. Yet, beyond these solutions at the higher levels, you can be responsible for yourself and those you love to regulate audio exposure. Make sure to inform young people about the risks they face when it comes to noise exposure.

Hearing Consultants

If you or someone you love seems to be struggling with hearing loss, don’t delay to seek out a hearing test and consultation with us at Hearing Consultants. The time is now to consider the ways you can protect your hearing!

Household Items That Could Damage Your Hearing

Household Items That Could Damage Your Hearing

Hearing loss comes in many forms, but there are two major forms that affect most people. The first is called presbycusis, which is the hearing loss incurred from the normal process of aging. The other common form of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss, which is an acquired condition due to years of exposure to dangerous decibels.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

As you know, the ears are exposed to sound from birth to death, and the simple addition of more years of sound exposure has an effect on the ability to hear. The tiny hair-like structures of the inner ear are designed to be sensitive to slight fluctuations in sound. However that sensitivity also makes them prone to damage. Those hairs that are used to detect high-frequency sound can become damaged with age and no longer pick up the vibrations that they pass along to the brain.

Some people work in loud places like factories where the sound of machines has a more profound damaging effect on hearing. However, noise damage can happen not only in the places we expect it, such as among musicians who spend time in loud venues and clubs, but as features of our everyday lives, as well. Let’s take a moment to consider some of the everyday sounds that can cross the threshold into damaging noise, particularly when they are heard for a long period of time.

Decibels & Noise Exposure

The crucial threshold of volume when it comes to damaging our hearing is 85 decibels. As you know, the volume or loudness of sound is measured in decibels, and some quieter sounds can only be measured in a few decibels. For instance, the sound of a watch ticking is only 20 decibels. As we climb higher, the length of time a person is exposed to a sound has to do with the amount of damage it can do. Up to 85 decibels, the use of most household items is no cause for concern. However, we have many common household items that can cause hearing loss, particularly when they are used for a sustained period of time.

Household Items and Machines That Could Harm Your Hearing

Take, for example, some cleaning and household appliances. A vacuum cleaner can be up to 85 decibels. This device is just fine to use for a short time, once a week for example. However, those who use vacuum cleaners as part of their jobs, such as hotel maintenance, should consider wearing hearing protection to limit the exposure to damaging noise.

Another common example is a lawn mower. Many lawn mowers can be rated at 90 decibels, meaning they should not be used for more than four hours at a time. However, some people whose jobs include landscaping or property management can be expected to use them for a full day. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulations against that type of work, but some employers can skirt their worker-protection laws.

If you or someone you know is engaged in an occupation with a high level of noise, particularly when it takes place for a long duration, you can begin by wearing your own hearing protection and proceed to contact authorities if you feel that your workplace is unsafe.

Some items are louder than these common household appliances, such as firearms, chainsaws, and heavy machinery. Each of these items should be treated on a case-by-case basis, but wearing noise-cancelling earmuffs is a wise course of action in any case.

One nearly invisible culprit that might surprise you is a pair of earbuds you might have laying around the house. These small devices are designed precisely to channel sound directly into your inner ear, and they are quite effective when you want to hear music or the sound of a video from your phone, computer, or media player. However, they should not be used at maximum volume, nor should they be worn for a long time. Earbuds can issue sounds well into the damaging range, so limit the time of use to a half hour at a time whenever possible.

Hearing Consultants

With an awareness of these household items that can cause hearing damage, you should be able to avoid the threat they pose. Careful protection and limited times of use are the two keys to preserving your hearing ability far into the future. At Hearing Consultants, we provide custom hearing protection and comprehensive hearing health care. Contact us to learn more.