How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

Hearing loss is an issue that begins in the ears but affects much more. What can begin as simple misunderstandings and having to ask the people in your life to repeat themselves, can build up over time into resentment, loneliness, anxiety and estranged relationships. While hearing loss is often irreversible it is treatable with hearing aids. These amazing devices amplify the sounds you struggle to hear so you can participate in your relationships again. It takes people five to seven years on average, after they suspect they have a problem to address the issue. In addition, of those 70 and older who could benefit from hearing aids, only one in three people, or 30 percent have ever tried them. The dangers of ignoring or choosing not to treat your hearing loss can not only impact you, but the people you care about.

Communication is Key to a Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships are built on communication. When hearing starts to decline it often becomes difficult to stay connected to people in your life. In the instance of your partner or significant other, you may have shared years and life experience together, but even so, healthy communication is still essential. Tension builds and miscommunications become standard. Often the significant other with more hearing ability will take on the responsibility of an interpreter for the other, which can cause unhealthy codependency and resentment on both sides. However, It’s not only important conversations and logistical issues that cause stress. It’s the casual banter and inside jokes which build intimacy and help both people in a relationship feel understood. As hearing loss minimizes these interactions, feelings of closeness fade.

Communication and Professional Relationships

In the workplace hearing loss can affect your relationships as well. It is all too common to seem distracted or disinterested during conversation when it is actually that you cannot hear. It’s tempting to pretend to understand but this can add to miscommunications and failures in the workplace. However, the effects of losing your hearing in the workplace extend beyond communicating with others. Ultimately our auditory system involves the brain. When sound doesn’t reach the brain, it is forced to work overtime. This can cause cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal. These emotional impacts of hearing loss can affect your value at work, causing a huge portion of the workforce who have hearing loss a significant decline in wages when compared to people with healthy hearing or those using hearing aids. 

How Hearing Aids Improve Relationships

Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants allows you to hear what you may have been missing for years. The longer you have lived with undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss, the greater the potential for a strain on your most precious relationships. The good news is you can start to rebuild them when you invest in your hearing.

Improved Communication

Everyone’s hearing loss is just a little different. This is why it’s important to have your hearing tested. We can diagnose your particular type of hearing loss and find the best hearing aids to amplify the sounds you struggle with. With hearing aids, you will be able to follow conversations and begin to reconnect to old friends as well as build new relationships. This can ultimately cause a rise in your self-esteem and sense of independence. With hearing aids you’ll feel comfortable going out more, pursuing your interests and improving your quality of life.

Increased Earning Power

Not only do hearing aids improve your relationships, but they can actually increase earning power at work! A report from The Better Hearing Institute found that not treating hearing loss can lower annual earnings by as much as $30,000. However, the study found that hearing aids minimized this risk by more than 90 percent for those with mild hearing loss! For those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss, a loss of earnings was decreased by 77%. This is just one example of how important it is to be able to communicate as clearly as possible.

Don’t Put This Off!

Maybe you suspect you have hearing loss, but you are reluctant to find out. Hearing loss is often associated with old age, causing many to put off treatment. The irony of this is, that nothing can make you seem more out of touch than struggling to hear without hearing aids. If you have put off dealing with your hearing loss for years, it will take time to heal some of the damage that has been done. The sooner you get started, the better. The first step is simple. Call and book an appointment to have your hearing tested today!

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!

How Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Hearing Affect Brain Aging

How Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Hearing Affect Brain Aging

Have you been wondering what factors affect your brain, and what can lead to early aging? Exercise, diet, sleep, and hearing all affect brain aging. If you look after your health today, you can look forward to a future with a healthy brain, but if you ignore the advice of your doctor, you could be facing some serious consequences as you age.

What Happens to the Brain as We Age?

According to Stephen M. Stahl, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, exercise, diet, sleep, and hearing are the 4 biggest factors that affect the brain as we age. “In normal aging, our brains slow down,” explains Stahl. “Intelligence remains stable, but we become less mentally flexible. We have longer processing time and declines in motor, sensory, and cognitive abilities.” In fact, in normal aging, the brain shrinks, and there is less white matter tissue in an older brain, as well as less myelin, the coating along neural pathways that speeds up synaptic activity in the brain.

Exercise and the Brain

It’s no secret that staying mobile is the key to staying young. Running around the park with your grandchildren will keep you young at heart, help you maintain a healthy weight, and keep your joints working smoothly. For those who are active as they age, the risk of dementia is lowered by 32%, meaning that your brain is a lot healthier! Even exercising for half an hour 3 or more times a week has great benefits for your overall health and wellbeing as well as your brain health. Recent studies show that exercising leads to improved attention and processing speed, as well as better memory recall and decision-making skills.

Diet and the Brain

They say you are what you eat, and this might hold more truth than you realize. Two diets that are great for the brain are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and the Mediterranean Diet (MediDiet). While you can follow any healthy diet, the reason these particular diets showed great brain health was due to the high recommended consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Both diets also recommend a low intake of red meat or any processed meats. For adults following these diets, studies show improved cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline, and better brain health.

Sleep and the Brain

This one is a real no-brainer, and we all know how tired and unfocused we are if we haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Sleep disorders are increasingly common among seniors, and many adults struggle with insomnia or sleep apnea, both of which impact your ability to fall asleep and sleep deeply through the night. A lack of sleep has some extremely negative health outcomes, including stress, anxiety, and depression. You might also experience irritability, moodiness, and the inability to concentrate on tasks.

Hearing and the Brain

Finally, hearing has been closely linked to brain health. Hearing loss affects millions of Americans of all ages, and especially among seniors, living with untreated hearing loss is hurting your brain. Hearing loss is linked to rapid cognitive decline, and a higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Those with hearing loss aren’t able to communicate easily, often withdraw from conversations, and face social isolation. The brain doesn’t get enough exercise, and in a case of use it or lose it, hearing loss can lead to poor brain health. Hearing loss has also been linked to problems with memory, attention span, and the ability to focus on difficult tasks, whether at home or at the office.

Hearing Consultants

Do the right thing for your brain, and call us today at the Hearing Consultants. According to Stahl, treating hearing loss can lead to cognitive improvements, and when you get a quality pair of hearing aids, you’ll notice the difference not just in your hearing, but in your cognitive abilities. Your friends and family will be amazed at how well you can hold your own in battles of the wit, and you’ll wish you’d treated your hearing loss sooner. Once you’ve looked after your hearing health, take a close look at your exercise, diet, and sleep patterns, and learn new ways to preserve brain health.

 

Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss

Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss

Here we are, right in the midst of the holiday season! One highlight of this time of year is the opportunity to spend time with family and friends at big parties, small get-togethers, and even getting some quality time with our immediate families. The preparation for these events can’t be forgotten either. Although the tasks can feel endless at times, they are also fun aren’t they? Buying groceries and cooking for a big event can test our culinary skills indeed. Running errands around town can be chaotic with holiday traffic everywhere we turn, but the hustle and bustle also puts a buzz of excited energy in the air. Cleaning up the house for a gathering may seem mundane until you remember the connections with our loved ones that are maintained through these annual events. Those of us who have to travel across the country to meet up with our loved ones have a difficult task, as well, but the travel to see our loved ones has an underlying tone of anticipation.

Through all of these holiday activities, both attending gatherings and preparing for them, we can’t forget to include our loved ones with hearing loss in the process. A few simple tips can help us incorporate these family members into everything we do without overwhelming or stressing them out.

Preparing for the Holidays

Although you might worry that the process could be stressful or overwhelming, why not invite your family members with hearing loss along with you while you prepare for the holidays? They can join you for all of these preparatory tasks with just a few accommodations made. First of all, make sure that your family members with hearing loss are driving safely. If they do not have hearing aids, you might want to start a discussion about the dangers of driving with impaired hearing. For those who do have hearing aids, make sure to remind them how important it is to have assisted hearing on the road. While you go together shopping or running errands, be sure to stay within eyeshot as much as possible. If your loved one gets separated from the group, they may not be able to hear you calling their name. If noisy locations are a part of your preparation process, stand close by your loved one to communicate, looking them straight in the eye to assist communication.

Holiday Gatherings

When the time finally comes for a holiday party or gathering, it’s your time to really shine! Make sure that your loved one with hearing loss is able to do the same. A few simple tips will help make any gathering easier on your family member with hearing loss. First of all, it can help to speak more loudly, but take care with your tone. Raising your voice can often come with a feeling of annoyance or even anger. Be careful to keep your voice easy and gentle even when you raise the volume.

If you find your loved one in an awkward placement at a table or other arrangement, take the initiative to help them move to the middle of the group. Some subtle acts of translation can be helpful, as well. If you know that a person is speaking too quietly or is to far away to be understood, fill in the details for your loved one with hearing loss; context clues are very helpful. Don’t simply repeat the same thing over and over if your loved one cannot hear what you say. Instead, rephrase slightly, offering new context clues to help aid in the process of understanding. Reducing the background noise can be quite helpful, as well. Some music in the background is a surefire way to get any party in the festive mood, but make sure that it doesn’t simply make people raise their voices to compete for volume. If so, turn the background music down a few notches and watch as the group speaks more quietly.

These are just a few of the ways that you can consider the needs of your hearing-impaired family member at the gathering, but the most important thing is to make sure they feel included and like an essential part of the group.

Visit Us at Hearing Consultants

If you believe you have a hearing loss, why not give yourself the gift of hearing this holiday? Hearing loss affects you – and your loved ones. Difficulties with speech recognition could make communication a struggle, especially during the busy holiday season. Contact us at Hearing Consultants to schedule an appointment for a hearing test today.

Consider Hearing Protection in Your Activities

Consider Hearing Protection in Your Activities

 

Hearing is not a renewable resource. Once you damage your ears and begin experiencing hearing loss, it is not something that can grow back or repair after time. The first step towards preserving this resource is making sure you get an up-to-date hearing evaluation each year at Hearing Consultants. If you feel some experience may have damaged your hearing recently – get a test, even if it hasn’t been a year. A hearing test will give you important information on your hearing abilities and ensure that you are treated if a hearing loss is found.

Noise is everywhere

While there has been a lot of emphasis on workplace noise and noise induced hearing loss, you should be protecting your ears during what may seem like routine activities. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces regulations to protect the hearing of Americans who work in noisy places, but there is no enforcement body for Americans who don’t wear ear protection when they should during daily activities.

Recreational activities

Since the 1800s there have been reports of people losing their hearing after exposure to gun shots. Competitive shooting, skeet shooting, and trap shooting are all hobbies Americans indulge in and those activities involve guns and shooting. Some occupations require range practice and ear protection is supplied, but many Americans forgo ear protection during “hobby” activities involving fire arms. That’s a bad idea. Invest in some good protection and get into the routine of carrying it with you.

In terms of decibel range, anything over 85 decibels is starting to get you into the range of a sound that can damage your ears. The energy of a single shot of a high-powered rifle or shotgun is a sharp 90 decibels. So, exposure to one gunshot without ear protection is the equivalent of one week of noise exposure at a workplace. Looking at it in another way, a target shooter can amass a year’s worth of hazardous hearing exposure in just a few minutes at the range without ear protection.
Another recreational activity with a high noise ratio is rock concerts. The average decibel rating of a rock concert is 103.

You can recover from audio exposure from a rock concert after a few hours, or, sometimes, a few days – but ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones would let you enjoy the concert at a more respectable decibel level. If that’s not an option, consider taking a break somewhere away from the noise during the concert and then going back. Many young people are damaging their ears without realizing it when they blast their personal stereos or iPhone music at a loud level for a prolonged period of time. Some personal stereo volumes can go up to 120 decibels.

Ear protection

The two most common kinds of ear protection are ear plugs or earmuffs. Ear plugs come in a lot of styles and sizes. They are relatively comfortable, low cost and portable. They are available in sporting good stores and even at some larger drug stores and retail stores. They should be thrown out when they start losing their shape and elasticity. Ear plugs should be rolled to a smaller size and then inserted into the ear canal. They then expand to fill the space. They should be stored in their original case to keep them clean and dry.

Earmuffs fit over the ear. They are heavier and offer more protection than ear plugs. They should fit snugly over the ear forming a seal which acts as a noise barrier. They are available in fashion colors and in several different styles and weights, so it isn’t difficult to find one you – or a child – would like. There are a couple of types that will limit the volume of a personal stereo so if you have a child that keeps their stereo volume louder than you would like, this would be helpful. If you are investing in earmuffs it is good idea to find an electronics store that has a selection on hand for you to try out.

If you are a musician, you should be using ear protection because of the constant barrage of sound that is part of your profession. There is special ear protection designed for musicians and at Hearing Consultants, we can help you with that. If you are unable to find ear plugs or earmuffs that work for you, don’t hesitate to call and we can work out custom ear protection. Ear protection as well as a current hearing test from Hearing Consultants will help you protect your “resources.”

To protect your hearing, contact us at Hearing Consultants today.

Meditation Could Help Alleviate Tinnitus

Meditation Could Help Alleviate Tinnitus

Tinnitus, the medical term for a ringing in the ears, is a condition with no known cure. There’s no question – chronic tinnitus can be frustrating. A persistent ringing in the ears can dominate your thoughts and detract from focus. While there isn’t a cure for tinnitus, there are tinnitus treatment options to manage the condition to help make it less prominent in your mind. Among possible solutions, many people are turning towards meditation techniques to provide relief for their tinnitus symptoms.

Recognizing Tinnitus

There are many factors that can contribute to tinnitus, and most involve some damage or restriction in the auditory system. Tinnitus is a malfunctioning of the auditory system, triggering the brain to hear sound where no sound exists. Often these sounds are tonal or ringing, but tinnitus can also take the form of other sorts of sounds such as buzzing and clicking noises.

If you have hearing loss, the occurrence of tinnitus may be especially distracting for you. While other, actual sounds may be muffled or softer, tinnitus noise can dominate your hearing by being the clearest and prominent sound. The best course of action once you’ve recognized it is to pursue treatment that can help you manage tinnitus.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation aspires to help you recognize and accept the subtle sensations of your body and mind. There are many online resources to help you get started with mindfulness meditation, to begin you will simply need a quiet space and a comfortable sitting position.

This meditation involves sitting still and silent and allowing the sensations of the body to come and go. This means not indulging the urge to scratch an itch or shift your seating as well as not allowing your mind to fixate on any single thought. For tinnitus sufferers, the urge to try to alleviate your tinnitus through movement or introducing other sounds may seem overwhelming at first. Don’t worry- over time this meditation can allow you to rest with your tinnitus, observing it for what it is and releasing stress your body carries from tinnitus.

While it is often recommended that you meditate with your eyes closed, many people with tinnitus suggest beginning with your eyes open. Visual observation can help downplay the dominance of tinnitus sound and make you more relaxed throughout the process. By passively observing the tinnitus sounds, even surrendering to them, your body is better able to combat their intrusiveness. Many people have found that mindfulness meditation, though initially challenging, changes the role tinnitus plays in their life and helps them better manage their hearing. Organizations, such as the British Tinnitus Foundation, have even developed mindfulness programs specifically built around tinnitus management.

Guided Meditation

Another form of meditation is guided meditation where the meditation session is led by verbal guidance and soothing sounds to help you pay attention to different aspects of your life and experience. Guided meditation can be used to help focus on a certain element or goal as well as directly reinforce new thought patterns and strategies.

Many people who cope with tinnitus find solace in using guided meditation to help redirect their thoughts and focus. Guided meditation can provide more cues and reminders to help you redirect your mind from fixating on intrusive sounds or disabling thought patterns. A guided meditation path can also help your body find rest and relaxation strategies that you can carry into everyday stressful situations. Using soothing sounds to accompany your meditation may provide the most comfortable path for you, similar to working with white noise patterns to neutralize the tinnitus.

Other Treatments

It usually takes some trial and error to learn what works best for your personal tinnitus. Meditation can help deconstruct stress and relax your mind, helping to make tinnitus more manageable. This may work by itself, or meditation may be one of multiple strategies you employ to cope with tinnitus.

Using a sound generator to reduce the tinnitus you focus on is one of the most popular tinnitus therapies. Many hearing aids can be equipped with personal tinnitus management therapies, including white noise sounds, simple harmonic tones and customizable sound palettes to create your own sound relief. Whatever course of action you pursue, with some trial and error you can find what helps you relieve tinnitus and helps you function every day.

Many cases of tinnitus are linked to hearing loss. To learn more and to schedule a consultation and hearing exam, contact us at Hearing Consultants today.

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids

Hearing Consultants - Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids

Welcome Summer! While the chilly weather can present come challenges to hearing aid wearers, so can the warm weather. Remember, Hearing Consultants maintains an extensive supply of parts, cleaning tools, and specialized equipment for your hearing aid repair and maintenance needs. But we want you to enjoy the summer so here are some tips for keeping your hearing device in tip-top shape no matter what the temperature or activity you want to be involved in.

Sound issues?

With the change in temperature there can be moisture and perspiration issues with your hearing aids. If you think the quality of sound is changing and there are issues with how they are functioning with other devices – give us a call and bring them in for a check-up. Most times a simple cleaning or perhaps a little bit of an equipment change is the answer.

Avoid water damage

If you are an avid swimmer or enjoy activities near the water, it is best to remove your hearing aids. Salt water especially is dangerous. When salt water dries, it can leave crystals on your hearing aids and they can cause permanent damage. Avoid areas near the pool where you can be splashed, like near the diving board, if your hearing aids are still in. Keep your hearing aids in a waterproof case if you are lying on the beach or near the pool to avoid water damage.

Golf, tennis, gardening, mowing the lawn, attending a barbecue – all great summer activities. But participating in these activities will likely mean a little bit of perspiration. Perspiration can lead to moisture build up on your hearing aids. This moisture can damage microphones, receivers and corrode battery contact points. High constant humidity can also wreak havoc on hearing aids just like perspiration.

If you hearing aids don’t have nano coating which repels dirt and moisture, that might be something to think about for a future purchase. If you are planning on hitting the pool or the beach for some serious swim time – see us about custom swim molds tailored for your hearing devices. Another great investment is a dehumidifying unit, which helps your hearing aids stay dry and moisture-free.

Prevent clogging

Keep your hearing aids away from any form of debris. Sand, sun screen, bug spray, tanning lotion, conditioning spray you put on your hair while outside and all forms of allergens can damage hearing aids. Greasy, sticky parts of spray or lotion can clog the microphones, tubing and other important parts of your hearing devices. Bits of seeds, pollen and vegetation floating around outside will do the same thing.  Pollen and tiny plant cells needed to fertilize plants float around in the air and can clog microphone parts as can mold spores. Ragweed can also clog hearing aid parts and cause the devices to start to malfunction.

Never touch your hearing aids if your hands are sandy or have lotion or spray on them. Remove your devices before applying lotion or spray. Don’t wear them if you are lying on a sandy beach. Sure, you may be absolutely positive you aren’t going to touch them, but you have no control over a breeze kicking up the sand.

Clean the microphone parts with a soft dry cloth to avoid clogs or damage to your devices. If there are still sound quality issues, clogged parts can be cleaned or replaced at Hearing Consultants.

Heat is not your friend

Keep your hearing aids away from extreme heat. This means if you remove them to go swimming or lay on the beach, they need to go in the shade – not a hot vehicle! The plastic casing on your hearing devices can melt under direct sunlight. Heat will also damage the batteries and can cause shorting out or even battery failure. Always store your aids in a cool, dry space.

Protect your hearing aids

Soft, hard and/or waterproof cases are available for your specific type of hearing devices from the manufacturer and we can help you order what you need. Remember if you start to notice a drop in sound quality from your hearing aids and you’ve cleaned them, they should be serviced right away. Leaving grit or grease on areas you can see will continue to damage them. Cleaning, maintenance, extra batteries, Hearing Consultants can help with all those things, so you can keep enjoying your summer activities.

Improve Family Communication by Treating Hearing Loss

Perhaps the best gift you can give dad this Father’s Day is the gift of re-engagement into family life. What do we mean? Positive reinforcement to have dad or grandpa get their hearing loss treated will help them engage in the world around them – including the family! We offer personalized hearing loss treatment at Hearing Consultants. Each customer gets an individualized treatment plan, and doesn’t dad deserve that?

Hearing loss leads to tension

Is Dad turning the radio up louder and louder? Turning the television up all the time? Does this mean family members aren’t engaging in quality social activities at home because they are bothered by the volume? This leads to a feeling of frustration on the part of the family member experiencing hearing loss. It also leads to a sense of isolation in one’s own home.When communication is difficult because you are constantly asking someone to repeat themselves or explain what you just tried to hear on the television, radio or even a phone conversation it can be exhausting and tempers fray. Perhaps the kids or grandkids don’t visit as much because there’s a lot of yelling going on.

Skipping social situations

You don’t want to be the dad or grandpa that stops going to recitals because you just can’t hear and then you can’t engage in a conversation about what you just attended with other family members. You don’t want to skip the celebrations of achievements at the ice cream or pizza parlor because conversations in a noisy place are just too difficult and its embarrassing to keep asking people to repeat themselves.

You don’t want to miss out on camping or fishing trips because you’re the guy that the others must keep yelling at or you are unable to participate in that quiet conversation around the campfire. You want to hear what family members have to say because communication is the foundation of all relationships. And they want you to hear them, they want you to be engaged in their lives!

Is it worth the risk?

Dads are one of the cornerstones of a family. If dad or grandpa is experiencing hearing loss, chances are its been going on awhile and hearing loss treatment would make things so much better! There are numerous studies that have documented the negative effects of untreated hearing loss on relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Over 48 million Americans has some hearing loss problems and many wait five to seven years after they begin having issues to get treatment.

A study done by Action on Hearing Loss involved 23 sets of domestic partners discussing hearing loss. They interviewed the person experiencing the loss and the partner. Each of the supportive partners said they wanted the partner with hearing loss to get treated and those not experiencing the hearing loss said that relationships were suffering because of it.

Often family members around someone experiencing hearing loss start thinking they are the problem and the person with the hearing loss is avoiding them. They think they’ve done something wrong. That is so far from the truth. You may be skipping interactions because you can’t understand the conversation and you don’t want to keep asking people to repeat themselves and other family members may be avoiding you because they think you are ignoring them.

The time for treatment is now

So Dad, the best gift family members can give you on Father’s Day if you are experiencing a hearing loss is a lot of supportive encouragement to get a hearing exam and get back on the road to a healthy family relationship. There are too many things you will miss if you don’t get your hearing loss treated.

Get out there and enjoy yourself at picnics, golf outings and even playing cards with your buddies without worrying about what someone just said and making an appropriate answer.

Hearing tests are painless and the team at Hearing Consultants can go through all the newest digital hearing aids and the wonderful technology associated with them that makes them easy and convenient to wear. They are more comfortable, there are invisible models and you can even wear them for a trial period to make sure you’ve got the model that is right for you!

A Possible Link Between Exercise and Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

Hearing Consultants - A Possible Link Between Exercise & Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

By now you likely know that exercise has great benefits for a variety of physical and mental health issues. Regular exercise—even low to moderate levels of exercise, such as taking a walk every evening—can reduce the risk of heart disease, can stave off some forms of depression, and is very important to maintaining a weight that is healthy for you. Ultimately, exercise boosts your mood and improves your energy, and also helps you get better sleep. Recent research suggests that exercise can also have a positive impact on your hearing health, as well.

The Link Between Exercise & Hearing Loss

A 2016 study in the Journal of Neuroscience conducted safe experiments on mice to determine the different hearing capabilities of mice who were primarily sedentary and those that exercised. The results showed that the hearing structures of mice who were sedentary were negatively affected. They lost important hair cells and strial capillaries in their cochlea, which are responsible for sensing sound waves and delivering oxygen to the larger hearing system. When the cochlear system is unable to circulate the oxygen required to keep your larger auditory system functioning in a healthy way, there can be long-term damage (and thus, hearing loss). The mice who did not exercise also had fewer spiral ganglion, which are the nerve cells responsible for sending the sound signals from the ear to the brain. Compared to mice who exercised, these sedentary mice experienced an average of 20% hearing loss over their lifetime.

The mice who exercised, on the other hand, experienced just 5% hearing loss. This means that 95% of the mice had active hearing. All told, the mice who exercised lost working hair cells at a much slower rate than mice who did not exercise. This exercise appeared to diminish the effects of inflammation that accompanies aging mice, and the mice simply heard more clearly for longer periods of time. Following these results, the lead researchers of this study suggest that human exercising may also help to reduce potential damage to hearing structures.

The study complements a different study done by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University. There, they found that seniors who exercised regularly also maintained healthy hearing habits. The seniors who completed low to moderate exercise activities for just three hours a week fared far better on hearing tests than those seniors who did not exercise at all. Taking just 30 minutes a day to exercise can have great effects on your hearing health. This is because exercising promotes blood circulation throughout your body and invigorates oxygen circulation at the same time. This results in reduced inflammation—inflammation that can damage those sensitive and fragile hair cells and capillaries that are key to maintaining healthy hearing.

Healthy Hearing Habits During Exercise

Once you get going exercising, there are important things you should be doing to make sure that you are practicing healthy hearing habits. There is a link between loss of hearing and headphone styles, so be sure that you use over-the-ear headphones while working out. In-ear headphones easily cause noise-induced hearing loss. No matter the style of headphones you use, be sure to listen at maximum 60% volume and only for 60 minutes max. You can also practice healthy hearing when taking fitness classes that play loud music (or if your gym plays loud music). You can simply bring a pair of ear plugs to have on hand. You can also take short breaks from the loud music if you can.

There may be moments where you experience temporary hearing loss while exercising. The combination of noise and exercise can sometimes lead to sudden hearing issues, ranging from dizziness to ringing in the ears. Sometimes strenuous exercise can lead to a membrane rupturing in your inner ear, allowing fluid to seep into your middle ear cavity. This perilymphatic fistural can be temporary, but it sometimes requires surgery. Other moments of temporary hearing loss are far less severe and are often due to an imbalance in pressure in your inner ear. Yoga, for example, involves important breathing exercises. But, when performed incorrectly, this breathing can inadvertently cause sudden hearing loss.

There are many rewards to incorporating exercising into your healthy hearing habits. It is important to be in communication with any exercise professional you may be working with to ensure you are always performing the proper technique in order to avoid temporary and sudden hearing loss.

Visit Us at Hearing Consultants

In addition to incorporating an exercise regimen, make sure you schedule an annual hearing test! To schedule a test and consultation, contact us at Hearing Consultants today.

Get Your Hearing Tested for Better Speech and Hearing Month

Hearing Consultant - Get Your Hearing Tested for Better Speech and Hearing Month

Every May, the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) raises awareness around hearing loss and communication disorders with Better Speech and Hearing Month. This year, ASHA’s theme is “Communication for All.” With the understanding that hearing loss affects the way all of us communicate – whether you or a loved one experiences the condition – we hope Better Speech and Hearing Month encourages you to schedule an annual hearing test, regardless of your hearing abilities.

Understanding the Prevalence of Hearing Loss

There’s a good chance that someone you know experiences a hearing loss. In the United States, an estimated 48 million Americans (20%) experience some degree of hearing loss. Approximately one in three older Americans (ages 65 and over) experience hearing loss, while for school-aged children, the statistic is 30 out of every 1000.

Based on data from federal surveys, the number of Americans (age 3 and older) living with hearing loss has doubled in 30 years, between 1971 and 2000. Statistics show that an estimated 1 to 6 out of 1000 infants are born with congenital hearing loss, while some may congenital hearing loss may not occur until later in childhood.

As for adults, sudden sensorineural hearing loss occurs within 5 to 20 cases out of 1000, while noise exposure is the most common risk factor, with 30 million Americans exposed on a daily basis to dangerously high sound levels. Approximately 60% of the American workforce experiences some degree of hearing loss.

As the third most common medical condition in the US, after arthritis and heart disease, people from all walks of life may struggle with the difficulties of hearing loss.

 

What are the Types and Causes of Hearing Loss?

As a subjective condition, hearing loss appears in different degrees and configurations for everyone affected by it. There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss is localized to the outer and middle ear structures. Conductive hearing loss might occur due to congenital malformations of the ear canal and middle ear structures or head trauma, infections, tumors, impacted earwax, or other medical conditions.

Sensorineural hearing loss refers to problems with the inner ear structure, the ear cells, and the process by which sound waves are transformed into electric signals sent to the brain. Exposure to loud noise, aging, head trauma, and Meniere’s disease are all related to sensorineural hearing loss.

Mixed hearing loss is the combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, in which different elements of the auditory system (outer, middle, and inner ear) are damaged or affected by any combination of the above conditions.

Hearing loss ranges in degrees of severity, from slight to profound. People with mild hearing loss might not be able to hear a whisper or the buzz of a mosquito, while those who suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss will struggle to hear a conversation in a busy space, a TV set at high volume, or a doorbell. Profound hearing loss prevents people from hearing most musical instruments, and the shout of a human voice, to name a few.

The Importance of Annual Hearing Tests

Regardless of your age, an annual hearing test is an important part of every health care regimen. In the same way people get their eyes tested or go in for an annual physical, hearing tests are a crucial part of your overall well-being.
Untreated hearing loss has many negative consequences that may not even be obviously linked to hearing loss. People may find themselves struggling with conversations, such as mishearing sentences. Over time, people with untreated hearing loss isolate themselves from their communities because difficulties with speech recognition create a barrier to socializing. It should come as no surprise that people with untreated hearing loss are at risk for developing depression, anxiety, and stress. In the workplace, untreated hearing loss interferes with productivity and communication. Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss have lower earning power than their colleagues with normal hearing and colleagues who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids.

The first step to treating hearing loss is taking a hearing test. It is recommended for people over the age of 50 to schedule an annual hearing test – but it doesn’t hurt to make it a practice before you turn 50! Furthermore, people who currently treat their hearing loss with hearing aids should check in once a year to make sure their devices are still current.

 

Visit Us at Hearing Consultants

Our team at Hearing Consultants is experienced in providing comprehensive hearing tests and hearing aid fittings. In honor of Better Speech and Hearing Month, get your hearing tested with us by scheduling an appointment.