Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help

Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help

When we are faced with personal limitations, many of us feel a tendency to hide them. Rather than let the world know we have a weakness, we would rather brush these limits under the rug. If only the world was unable to see what happens behind the scenes, we could continue on forever young and healthy. Although this seems like a nice enough imaginary reality, hiding the truths about ourselves doesn’t change them. In the worst cases, hiding the truth about our limitations can actually make things worse. Hearing loss might be one of these conditions that actually makes things worse by hiding it. Let’s take a good look at the reasons that some people pretend to hear when they can’t, as well as the effects this process can have on other domains of life. 

Why People Pretend

The reasons people pretend to hear are as varied as the individual minds behind the scenes. Some people don’t want to admit weakness, while others don’t want other people to change their treatment. When someone learns that an associate has hearing loss, the best intentions to accommodate them can run afoul. Talking down to a person with hearing loss as if they were a child is one of the worst possibilities, making that person feel belittled and humiliated. Despite the many reasons a person might pretend to hear when they can’t, the snowball effect of other problems makes the act far from worthwhile.

Practical Problems Caused by Pretending to Hear

On the one hand, pretending to hear can cause practical, everyday problems in communication. When a coworker, family member, or loved one tells us something, they rely on our knowledge down the road. However, when it becomes clear that the message did not come through, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. Furthermore, practical problems can ensue, not limited to planning issues and inconveniences. Particularly in the workplace, the misperception that an instruction has been delivered can lead to other problems down the road when that instruction is not followed.  

Relationship Problems Caused by Pretending to Hear

On the other hand, pretending to hear can cause a breach of trust with others. Whether these others are family members, loved ones, friends, or casual acquaintances, the realization that your communication was not understood can feel like a betrayal. Particularly when something is disclosed of a personal nature, this expression is a gesture of trust in the first place. To find out the message was never heard can feel like a rift in the connection that was being built by the disclosure itself. 

Cognitive Problems Caused by Pretending to Hear

On a deeper individual level, untreated hearing loss has been tied to cognitive problems, even including dementia. When we are not able to communicate freely, it appears that the brain goes into overdrive trying to piece together random syllables into a meaningful whole. This process of constantly assembling a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces forces the brain to scramble, and that process can spill into other domains of cognition. With evidence of a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher rates of dementia, the act of pretending to hear could have devastating consequences for the individual in question. 

Seeking Treatment

Although pretending to hear can feel like a solution, we have seen that it causes a domino rally of other negative effects instead. Rather than masking a problem, the only durable solution is to seek treatment. Some of the apparent problems caused by hearing loss that might lead a person to pretend to hear can be solved through treatment. Rather than fearing that others will belittle or look down on you, treatment can restore the ability to communicate freely. 

Workplace activity can become reliable once again, and deep intimate relationships can be strengthened, as well. When you add to these benefits the potential to prevent cognitive decline and even dementia, the decision to seek treatment is clear. The latest hearing aids have a remarkable range of features and functions, integrating them into lives in newly seamless ways. If you are ready to pursue treatment, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with us! We look forward to meeting you. Contact us today!

Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can change life in ways you might not imagine. Whereas you might expect the condition to make talking on the phone difficult, but you might not expect that your loved one would face other symptoms, such as exhaustion, a short temper, and even an overwhelming cognitive load. 

Accommodating hearing loss entails much more than simply speaking more loudly. There are practical steps you can take to make hearing easier and to improve these associated conditions, as well. If there is one principle to remember, it is that patience will make any interaction better for all involved. Those who have hearing loss tend to feel frustrated, anxious, or otherwise overwhelmed in conversations, leading to understandable agitation. If you can keep your cool and remain calm in the face of the struggle to communicate, you can provide better accommodation in other domains, as well. 

Audible Accommodations

When it comes to your speaking style, some people feel the need to change the way they talk in dramatic ways. Although this accommodation strategy can come from the best of intentions, the effect can be demeaning to some people with hearing loss. In the worst cases, slowing down your speech and using simple phrases punctuated by heavy consonants can make it seem like you’re talking to a child. Rather than modifying your speech, why not start with a simple increase in volume. 

Once you are steadily communicating, you can ask your loved one if there is anything you can do to make it easier to understand. Some people would like you to tend toward one “good ear” over the other. Others find it easiest to talk when they are able to see your face and lip movements. Although some people might ask you to slow down your speech, this strategy doesn’t work for everyone. Follow the lead of the person with hearing loss to accommodate effectively.

Positive Positioning

When you speak to someone with hearing loss, positioning is a crucial accommodation strategy. Perhaps the worst thing you can do for a person with hearing loss is to call out from another room. Not only are the material obstructions lowering the volume of your speech, despite your yelling or calling out, you are also invisible to the listener when you are speaking. Although it can be a deeply ingrained habit, make a habit of moving into the same room with the person who has hearing loss before you begin speaking. It is often helpful to stand not only in the same room but also right in front of the person, making it possible to use visual cues to interpret sound. Even when we don’t realize we are doing it, lip reading can be a helpful unconscious aid to what we hear. 

Emotional Empathy

If you find that your accommodation strategies are not solving the communication problems you face with your loved one who has hearing loss, take a moment for active empathy. When you are out and about in the world, you might become frustrated at your loved one’s inability to decipher conversations, putting you in the role of an ad hoc interpreter. Rather than let your frustration get the best of you, why not take a moment to imagine what your loved one is experiencing and to understand the context. When you put yourself in their shoes, you might find that there is something simple you can do to fill in the gaps in the conversation. 

Taking a moment to imagine your loved one’s experience can lead to specific accommodation steps, but it can also help ease your frustration and resistance to the interaction. A simple relay from other speakers to your loved one might be enough to make the conversation easier for everyone involved, and an empathetic mind is the only way to discover how you can best be of assistance. 

Treating Hearing Loss

Although accommodation strategies can make things easier for your loved one with hearing loss, treatment is the only durable option. When you choose to pursue assistance with us, you will get a complete diagnosis of the hearing loss as well as a recommendation of hearing aids that are suited to that diagnosis. Hearing aids can accommodate hearing loss through technology, easing the burden of communication for all involved. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, and reconnect with the ones you love!

March 3 is World Hearing Day: Hearing Care for All

March 3 is World Hearing Day Hearing Care for All

What is your favorite holiday? Although many of us choose those big events that take over our stores and airwaves with the sights and sounds of an entire season, others of us like those quirky days that remind us of something unique. Groundhog Day is a great example of a fun holiday to celebrate the coming of spring, and we can now find a “National _____ Day” for almost anything. Among the contenders for your favorite holiday, why not consider World Hearing Day? 

This annual event is sponsored by the World Health Organization as a way to remind ourselves, loved ones, communities, and indeed the world of the importance of hearing health. Not only do they set aside March 3rd as a holiday each year, but they designate a special theme for the annual event. 

This year, rather than simply focusing on the people who are already engaged in the hearing health care system, the theme expands the boundaries of the hearing community by advocating for “Hearing Care for ALL!” 

Do you know someone who needs hearing care yet hasn’t taken the plunge? Are you concerned for the people in your community who need care but face obstacles? Are you concerned with the world stage on which many people in need of care simply do not have access? If you can answer “Yes” to any of those questions, then World Hearing Day might be a holiday that tops your list!

Our Families and Loved Ones

Advocacy for hearing care can begin right at home with our own loved ones and family members. If you live with someone who has hearing needs, then you might know what a challenging experience it can be for all involved. Not only do they struggle to have conversations and get vital information, they can also have physical, mental, and cognitive health effects that are associated with hearing loss. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is have a conversation about the matter. A simple question can open the door toward disclosure of the ways that hearing loss changes everyday life for your family member. Some people are hesitant to talk about these things, believing that it might change the way others see them. Reassurance that you are there to help and that there is no stigma attached to hearing loss can be all it takes to make your family member or loved one ready to receive hearing care. As a crucial member of the care team, you can look back on World Hearing Day 2021 as a turning point in the hearing health of your family!

Our Neighbors and Communities

Beyond our doors exists a world of community members who need assistance getting hearing care. For some people, this assistance comes in the form of a ride to the audiologist or hearing health professional’s office. If you can offer someone a lift, you can also become a source of moral support through the journey. With so much information to gather and such a whirlwind of options to navigate, some people would like to have a friendly face along for the journey. Getting involved in a senior center or assisted living facility is a great way to advocate for hearing care among your community’s seniors. If you find yourself in the position to assist your community in this way, perhaps this is your way to celebrate World Hearing Day!

Our Sounding World

Throughout the world, people are in need of hearing care yet unable to access those services and devices. What can you do at such a grand scale? Advocacy happens in the big gestures as well as the small moments of our lives. If you simply place a call to your legislator or policymaker, you might not feel like you’re making a big difference on the global stage. Yet, if each of us took that simple step, we would be able to amplify our voices and resound through institutions and government bodies in support of hearing care. However you choose to celebrate World Hearing Day, your participation can be one small step among so many others, adding up to the big picture of a transformative global holiday!

Musicians & Hearing Loss

Musicians & Hearing Loss

A great tragedy faces many musicians who have built their lives on sound. Although hearing protection can do a great deal to hang onto ability into the future, for many musicians some damage is already done. Many rock musicians have lost hearing ability due to noise exposure. Not only during concerts but also rehearsals and even recording sessions can expose a person to enough volume to risk hearing ability. 

For musicians, losing the ability to hear can feel like not only a lost ability to express and create, but it can also feel like a loss of identity. Currently, there is no known way to restore the tiny hairlike organelles of the inner ear called stereocilia that make hearing possible. However, hearing protection can help to preserve your hearing going forward. In addition, hearing assistive technology can bring back a musician’s ability to enjoy and experience sound in frequencies that were all but lost. 

 

Musicians’ Hearing Protection

Some musicians act as if hearing loss is just part of the territory, when in fact there is a lot you can do to protect yourself. At the very least, disposable foam earplugs can reduce the overall volume of an environment by 10 to 15 decibels. Many music venues offer these for sale at the bar, and one should not feel shame or stigma associated with wearing these essential tools of the trade. Particularly for musicians who are enjoying another person’s performance, earplugs are a must. 

Beyond these basic protective devices, more advanced forms of protection are available, as well. In consultation with a hearing health professional, you can get customized protective devices that are fitted to the shape of your outer ear. One of the benefits of customized earplugs is the ability to reduce particularly harmful frequencies while keeping hearing close to natural in the range of music. 

Musicians tend to love these earplugs not only because they allow you to hear music uninhibited but also because they make conversation easier. Whether at a rehearsal, recording session, or a concert, it is necessary to converse with others while protecting hearing at the same time. 

 

Musicians’ Hearing Assistance

In addition to protective devices, assistive devices can be particularly helpful for musicians. Once you have lost hearing in a particular frequency range of sound, hearing aids might be the only way to recapture that spectrum of sound. Particularly for those who play instruments that utilize that frequency range, hearing aids are not only a way to hear others in the ensemble but also to hear oneself. 

Violinists and violists are particularly subject to hearing damage from their instruments, due to the positioning of the instrument so close to the ear. After hours of daily practice and years of rehearsing and performing in groups, that exposure to sound can add up to a damaging experience. Once that hearing ability is lost or limited, one might feel self-conscious performing, lacking complete knowledge of the texture and pitch of sound. 

Hearing aids can step in and restore that knowledge, making it possible to perform confidently once again. Not only do you need to hear yourself playing to adjust your technique, but you also need to be able to listen and respond to the others in an ensemble with astute responsiveness. With hearing aids and protection working in tandem, you can experience the satisfaction of music performance both as a player and a listener.  

If you are a musician who has lost some hearing ability over the years of playing, you are not alone. Many household names have lost some hearing ability over the years, and they find it necessary to wear hearing aids to continue their careers. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis of your hearing ability, particularly taking note of the range of hearing that is currently missing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test! 

Going Digital with Your Hearing Aids

Going Digital with Your Hearing Aids

Do you remember your old cassette players? How about vinyl records? These recording devices used an analog process to express sonic information. By imprinting tape or wax with a continuous representation of sound, this device became a carrier for a sonic imprint that was transformed into an electrical signal. 

Once the electrical signal entered your home audio device, it was further transformed into the variations in air pressure that we recognize as sound. What a remarkable process! However, since the advent of the CD, we have been living in the digital audio world built around strings of 1s and 0s. This manner of representing sonic information has much to offer us in terms of precision and compatibility with computer applications.

Hearing aids have advanced remarkably in the past decade, and many of these improvements can be credited to digital audio technology. Not only do the latest aids make it possible to work with sound in a highly precise and individualized manner, but they also create the context for other digital features and services. 

Before digging into the benefits of digital hearing aids, let’s begin by exploring the comparison with analog technology. The new possibilities might surprise you, and there are many ways to understand how our sonic environment is shifting with the introduction of digital sound. 

Analog vs. Digital Hearing Aids

What is the difference between analog and digital hearing devices? The difference is much like that between the music recording and reproduction technologies mentioned above. Analog hearing aids use tiny microphones to capture differences in air pressure according to sound. That pressure is converted into an electrical impulse that is then amplified and projected at a louder level through the speaker in the devices. At no point does this process require transformation of audio into a binary code of 1s and 0s, but digital hearing aids do just that. 

With digital hearing aids, after using a microphone to identify those pressure differences we call sound, that signal is converted not only to an electrical impulse but into a code. That code includes fine-grained details about the features of the sound. Just like the vast information included in other digital applications, this process makes it possible to analyze digital sound by complex algorithms. Let’s take a look at some of the types of analysis that digital hearing aids can provide that analog ones cannot. 

Digital Audio Analysis

When your digital hearing aids convert sound into binary code, they can transmit that information through wireless technology to an application in your smartphone or computer. Once housed there, your app can analyze many components of the sound captured by your hearing aids. 

Benefits of Digital Hearing Aids

One of the best offerings of digital audio is the presence or absence of background noise. when there is a consistent hum, whir, or buzz in the background, this analysis can identify the “noisy” parts and separate them from the variable parts, such as speech. Analog hearing aids simply raise the volume of the entire sonic context, meaning they raise the volume of background noise alongside speaking voices. 

Digital hearing aids make it possible to keep the background noise at a lower level while raising the volume of voices. Digital audio is also able to isolate the proximity of voices. This ability makes it possible to raise the volume on the voice of a person talking to you close by while keeping the other voices of people in the room at a lower level. These remarkable offerings of digital hearing aids make them better able to serve the functions of communication that make them most valuable to you. 

In addition to these functions, digital hearing aids can use wireless technology such as Bluetooth to connect to a wide range of other services, apps, and streaming audio. Not only can you use this digital technology to send phone ringers and notifications directly to your ears but you can also listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and television directly through your aids. 

By seamlessly transitioning from listening to a television program to picking up a phone call and then walking outside and hearing the birds, you can integrate many aspects of your life into a single set of tiny devices: digital hearing aids. 

Looking for an Upgrade? 

If you are interested in learning more about digital hearing aids or think you might benefit from an upgrade to the latest technology, we’re here to help! Contact us today to learn more and to schedule a consultation. 

Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids

Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids

If you have made the choice to get hearing aids, you have already overcome the barriers facing some other people with hearing aids. All too often, those with hearing loss resist getting the help they need for one reason or another, and you can count yourself among the fortunate who know they need help and are willing to seek it. 

Once you embark on the path to hearing loss treatment, you are prepared to engage earnestly with the process, and yet it can still feel confusing at times. With new terminology and so many options, how are you to know which aids are the ones suited to your needs?

When you get in contact with us, you are in good hands in this regard. You can trust that this expert has your best interest in mind when suggesting the options that will work for you. In addition to relying on the expertise of our team, please check out the following tips as a way to prepare yourself for the process. Keeping these helpful points in mind will make the task of getting hearing aids easier to manage and even enjoyable!

 

Enlist Your Support Team

Although you could embark on this process alone, why not enlist some help from others? Not only will your appointments and conversations at the hearing health professional office become more enjoyable with a friend or loved one involved, but you can also get help managing all the information that will come your way. 

When you go to your appointments, the new information can feel overwhelming at times, and having a supportive person along with you will double your memory power. Not only can this person help you remember what’s going on in the meetings, but you can also use their help to recall the questions you need to ask and to inform your hearing health professional of the features of your lifestyle that require accommodation. 

Having things written down can help in two regards. If you take notes during your meetings, those words and scribbles might be enough to job your memory in the future. Further, you can bring a list of questions and concerns to make sure you’re not forgetting anything. 

 

Full Disclosure

One of the most important steps in your process of hearing loss treatment is to disclose all of your needs to our team. Although you might not be trying to leave anything out, it is easy to overlook important details that can be relevant to your process. Perhaps the most important information you can provide is when and how you struggle most to hear. For some people, it is most difficult to hear when lots of people are talking at once. Others have trouble with the voices of children. Still, others might find that rooms with an echo or background music make it difficult to hear the person standing nearby. 

Each of these details is helpful to our team to determine the best devices to address your listening needs. Beyond these pieces of hearing information, you will likely want to include any details of your lifestyle that might be unique. For instance, if you spend a lot of time camping, long battery life might be useful. If you enjoy jogging, you might want aids that fit securely and are resistant to moisture from sweat or the elements. These details help you make the best decision possible. 

 

Ongoing Engagement

Rather than thinking of your process of getting hearing aids as a one-time event, consider this process an ongoing conversation with an expert. You will likely need some support in the early days of getting your aids, making sure the settings are correct and you can fit them properly. 

In some cases, you might realize early on that a particular feature of your aids is frustrating to you. For example, a person with long hair might find that it brushes annoyingly against the microphone of some aids, whereas self-contained in-ear units would be a better choice. In that event, contact us! The more information, engagement, and communication you can provide, the more thorough will be your process of getting the perfect aids for your individual lifestyle and needs. 

If you are ready to benefit from the life-changing experience of using hearing aids, contact us today! We look forward to helping you. 

Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss

Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss

For some people, there is no illusion that hearing loss is underway. If you notice a new inability to understand people in public and private settings, turn up the television to a loud volume, or find yourself moving closer to sound sources, you might be well-aware that you have some hearing loss. Some people know that they have hearing loss yet remain unwilling to seek the treatment they need. Yet, there is another group of people who might not realize they have hearing loss at all. These people are likely getting by as best they can with the hearing ability they have. They might be taking unconscious shortcuts in communication to either get closer to understanding what is going on or to mask their embarrassment at not following the conversation. Let’s pay attention to this group of people, looking more closely at the signs that hearing loss might be an underlying cause of communication difficulties. 

 

Asking Others to Repeat Themselves

In many cases, hearing loss leads us to ask others to repeat themselves, but we might not even realize we’re doing it. With that repeated phrase “What was that?” is uttered so often, many people with hearing loss don’t even realize they’re saying it anymore. Each of us misses something in conversation from time to time, but the frequency of those requests for others to repeat themselves can be a sure sign of an underlying need for a hearing test. 

 

Missing Important Information

If you have taken part in a conversation, stepped away from the situation, then later learned that you missed out on important information, the background reason for the misunderstanding might be hearing loss. In the context of a face-to-face conversation, we follow lots of bodily and facial cues to put together a whole picture of intended meaning, but hearing loss can obscure crucial details that change the entire landscape. If you find yourself getting the facts or information wrong after someone else says they’ve told you, it might not be your inattention to detail that is at fault.

 

Feeling Socially Isolated

Even if you’re able to get by in conversations, you might notice a rising tendency to simply “check out” in groups. If others are having a conversation, it is natural to pay attention and join in when appropriate. However, those with undiagnosed hearing loss tend to find themselves mentally wandering during conversations. If you find that you struggle to pay attention to what others are saying, losing interest, or tuning out others’ speech, then hearing loss might be the underlying cause. In the worst cases, this experience can lead those with hearing loss to feel socially isolated. Even when they are in a group of people, a party, or a dinner out at a restaurant, the underlying feeling of being alone can creep in for someone who can’t follow what’s going on. Even when it is no fault of others, hearing loss can cause this sense of isolation for some people before they realize the underlying reason. 

 

Seeking Treatment

The good news is that you don’t need to struggle with communication without assistance. If it is true that undiagnosed hearing loss is the underlying cause of your difficulty, your hearing health provider is there to determine what your hearing needs look like and how they can help. The first step will be to get a thorough diagnosis through a hearing test. 

This hearing test simply plays pure tones at different pitches and volumes to determine the threshold of what you can and can’t hear. Once the results of that test are in, your hearing professional can assess which ranges of sound are most difficult for you to discern. 

With that information in hand, as well as a consultation with you to learn unique features of your lifestyle and needs, our team can recommend a range of hearing aids or other assistive technology, if necessary. You will be guided through the process of selection to balance the features you desire with the budget you have available. If you are concerned that your communication difficulties might be a sign of undiagnosed hearing loss, contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Do you wake up to the sound of a barking dog, music blasting from the apartment next door, or the sound or early morning traffic? Noise pollution is all around us. And all this noise affects both your physical and mental health.

Sources of Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Unless you live in a small town or in the countryside, you’re no stranger to noise pollution. Background noise is around you all the time, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. And if you live on a busy road or near an airport, noise pollution may even continue during the night.

The World Health Organization defines noise pollution as noise that “seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.”

Some of the most common sources of noise pollution in your neighborhood include:

  • – Traffic noise
  • – Loud music from passing cars
  • – Emergency sirens
  • – A lawn mower
  • – Sound from a nearby construction site
  • – Sound from a nearby concert hall or sports stadium
  • – An airplane overhead

Indoor sources of noise pollution can include:

  • – Shouting kids
  • – The TV blaring
  • – Loud music
  • – The vacuum cleaner
  • – The noisy air conditioner or dishwasher

These are just some of the sounds you hear every day. Can you think of any more sounds that contribute to your neighborhood noise pollution?

How Excessive Noise Is Harmful

All this background sound may seem like just an annoyance, but noise pollution can actually be very harmful. 

Hearing loss: One of the biggest risks from noise pollution is hearing loss. The constant sounds may not seem so loud, but because your ears never get a rest, you have a higher risk of developing noise induced hearing loss.

Poor sleep: Another consequence of noise pollution is poor sleep. All the extra racket during the day makes you more stressed and you’ll have a harder time getting to sleep at night. And if your neighborhood is noisy through the night, this noise could be waking you up during the night and affecting the quality of your sleep.

Negative physical outcomes: According to one recent study, noise pollution can affect your physical health in a number of ways. The constant noise increases your risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, reduced immune system function, endocrine disruption, reduced productivity, and difficulty learning.

Negative mental health outcomes: Noise pollution also affects your mental health. Have you noticed that you get irritated easily? The constant noise in your environment adds to your overall stress levels and poor sleep makes you chronically tired. Noise pollution can contribute to stress, anxiety, irritation, and even depression.

How to Deal with Noise Pollution

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of noise pollution. Start by turning down the volume or your TV or radio so that the inside of your home isn’t another source of noise pollution. Also turn down the volume on your personal listening device whether you’re listening at home, at work, or on the commute. Turning the volume up past 60% to drown out noise pollution can actually lead to hearing loss!

To deal with noise pollution, use area rugs or carpets in your home to absorb sounds and make it softer in the house. It’s also a good idea to put up a fence around your yard and plant trees, since this can block some of the neighborhood noise. You can also invest in quieter home appliances, a quiet vacuum cleaner, and quieter gardening equipment. 

Protecting Your Hearing

As well as reducing your exposure to noise pollution, make sure you’re protecting your hearing. Whenever you’re in a very noisy environment, pop in a pair of foam or wax earplugs to reduce the volume of the sound. Some places where you should protect your hearing include:

  • – Noisy bus or subway car
  • – Loud concert
  • – Sports game
  • – When riding a motorcycle
  • – When driving a boat
  • – When mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
  • – When operating power tools

It’s important to deal with noise pollution in your neighborhood and create a peaceful and quiet environment in your home to give your ears a chance to rest.

If you are interested in learning more about custom hearing protection, contact us today! We can give you more information on the best ways to protect your hearing. 

How Hearing Aids Can Change Your Life

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

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.