Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

A recent study shows that people with diabetes can be twice as likely to develop hearing loss. This month is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health by scheduling an appointment to have your hearing checked! 

 

Understanding Hearing Loss 

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition that people experience today. Impacting over 48 million people, nearly 1 in 8 people have some degree of hearing loss. Impaired hearing reduces one’s capacity to detect and process sound which results in a range of symptoms that strains communication. This includes: 

 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, or clicking like noise heard in one or both ears
  • Sounds are muffled or blend together 
  • Needing to increase the volume on the television or other electronic devices 
  • Asking others to repeat something they’ve said, speak louder, and/or slower
  • Difficulty hearing in places with background noise, during conversations with more than one person 
  • Frequently missing words people say, experiencing miscommunication, needing 

to lip read to identify individual words 

 

These symptoms take a toll on communication which has multifaceted effects on various aspects of life. Untreated hearing loss can strain relationships, cause people to withdraw socially, and increase specific health risks like cognitive decline. Hearing loss is a permanent condition so practicing ways to protect hearing health is a useful way to be as preventative as possible. 

 

Link Between Diabetes & Hearing Loss 

Research reveals a link between diabetes and hearing loss. Studies show that diabetes can significantly increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes a recent study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Researchers analyzed data from a national health survey that included results from hearing tests and a diabetes questionnaire for over 11,000 participants, ages 20-69. Findings highlighted that participants with diabetes were significantly more likely to also experience hearing loss, compared to participants without diabetes. Specifically, among people with hearing loss, 

  • 54% had high-frequency hearing loss compared to 32% of people without diabetes.
  • 21% had mid-frequency hearing loss compared to 9% of people without diabetes. 

 

These findings show that people with diabetes can be more than twice as likely to develop mid-frequency hearing loss. Diabetes is known to damage blood vessels throughout the body. Experts suggest that this can include the blood vessels in the inner ear which can potentially explain the correlation between both conditions. The inner ear is critical to the processing of sound – hair cells in the inner ear help convert incoming soundwaves into electrical signals that then go to the brain to be further processed. Damaged blood vessels can restrict this capacity, causing hearing loss. This underscores the importance for people with diabetes (and people who are also prone to diabetes) to prioritize hearing health. 

 

Ways to Protect Your Hearing Health

There are several ways you can protect your hearing health, reducing your risk of developing hearing loss. A few tips you can start immediately practicing includes: 

  • Schedule a hearing test. Establishing a baseline of your hearing capacity and needs is the first step. This involves having your hearing assessed by a hearing healthcare specialist, like an audiologist, who is trained to diagnose and treat hearing-related conditions. Hearing exams involve a painless process that uses speech and sound tests to identify what your hearing capacity is in both ears. This identifies any impairment and the degree of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider can make recommendations for treatment options that can maximize your hearing capacity. 
  • Reduce your exposure to loud noise. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. Loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, reducing their capacity to process incoming soundwaves. Reducing your exposure is a useful way to mitigate this risk. There are several ways you can do this including lowering the volume on electronic devices which can reach hazardous levels, avoiding places with background noise, using noise cancellation headphones that reduce background noise, spacing out social events that take place in louder settings, etc. 
  • Wear hearing protection. Another useful way to reduce your exposure to loud noise is by wearing hearing protection. This can include headphones or earplugs which reduce the amount of loud noise you absorb. 

 

This month is a great reminder to take action around your health. You can commit to this by calling us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test!

Working with Hearing Loss

Working with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can make some everyday tasks a bit more complicated. You need to carefully focus on what your loved one says over breakfast, and you can’t multitask and listen at the same time. Hearing loss also impacts your job. Working with hearing loss can present a few unique challenges, but with the right hearing aids you’ll easily keep up at the office or on the job site.

Know Your Rights

If you have hearing loss, make sure you learn more about your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act is clear that employers may not treat you differently based on any disability. This includes hearing loss.

Your employer also has the legal responsibility to help you do your job effectively. They’re required by law to provide reasonable accommodations that can help you be a great employee. Reasonable accommodations could include requesting a quieter workspace further away from the break room or providing speech-to-text technology to help you keep up during meetings. 

Ask For Accommodations

When you know your rights, you’ll feel confident in asking for reasonable accommodations. You can let your boss know about your hearing loss, and explain how it affects your job. With a few changes, you’ll be able to overcome these challenges and be a more effective team player. Possible accommodations may include: 

  • Sitting at the front of the room during meetings so you don’t miss any key information.
  • Getting meeting minutes in writing so you can review the information and make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • Requesting instructions in writing so you’re always on the right track.
  • Asking that any background music is turned off, that meetings are held in a quieter room, or that the door is closed to dim distracting background sounds.
  • Moving your workspace to a quieter part of the office to minimize noises that make it harder for you to focus on tasks or hear on the phone.

Use the Right Technology

In a post COVID world, we’re relying on technology more than ever before. This could lead to communication issues, such as having a hard time hearing during zoom meetings or mishearing important information. 

If you have hearing loss, there’s a lot of technology that can help you work with hearing loss. 

  • Assistive listening devices can make it easier to hear during in-person meetings. For example, you can place a mic near the speaker, and send the audio directly to your earbuds or your hearing aids for better comprehension. 
  • Real-time translation can also help during those in-person briefings. These speech-to-text programs can give you a written version of everything being said, so you never have to guess the details you didn’t hear. 
  • Request video calls rather than audio calls. In the post-COVID world, we’re all used to using zoom for many of our meetings. Going forward, you can request to have more meetings on zoom rather than having audio calls or conference calls. Having video, or even video with auto-captions can make it much easier to work with hearing loss. 

Hearing Aids at Work

The best technology you can use when working with hearing loss is hearing aids. These sophisticated devices will make it easier to hear at work, both in-person and online. You’ll be able to focus on the sounds you want to hear using advanced speech enhancement programs. This program not only makes speech louder but also makes it clearer. You’ll have an easier time distinguishing speech sounds and hearing every conversation. Meanwhile, noise reduction settings help reduce distracting sounds you don’t want to hear.

Advanced connectivity features can be a lifesaver at work. Your hearing aids can connect directly to your phone, computer, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. You’ll be able to stream audio from calls, video calls, or other sound sources right to your ears. 

In the post-COVID world, hearing loss has become more mainstream. People have been talking about hearing loss, as well as realizing how challenging it can be to hear with face masks and while social distancing. Communication challenges are being understood by more people, including co-workers and employers. Visit us today to find out more about your hearing health and hearing needs! Find out how working with hearing loss can be a breeze.

Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Hearing loss, unlike most disorders, is invisible and develops over time, making it challenging to identify and mark as a problem. If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone who seemed to misunderstand or forget what you just said or who kept asking you to repeat yourself, they most likely had hearing loss.

The facts are staggering: 48 million Americans have hearing loss, and 90 percent could benefit from hearing aids. But only 14 percent have them—and many don’t use them with any consistency. The average age of first–time hearing aid users is approximately 70, even though half of them began to lose their hearing at least a decade earlier. That is a pretty long time not being able to hear the world around you. You may wonder what’s the harm in waiting. You probably think you can get by without too much of a problem.

If you don’t use it, you will lose it!

Consider what happens to a person’s arm after it has been in a cast for months. Once the cast is removed, the arm will typically look smaller and less muscular than before the break. This process can be defined as atrophy. If you don’t use your arm for an extended period, you lose muscle mass and strength. 

This “use it or lose it” concept can also be applied to our hearing. However, the most significant difference between the two is that you can rebuild muscle mass after a broken arm. Because hearing happens in the brain, a hearing loss that has been left untreated for too long could affect your cognitive processes and re-wire your neural pathways. 

The Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss has physical and psychological consequences that far outweigh the inability to hear well. Hearing loss has been linked to depression and social isolation, paranoia, and personality changes like becoming more introverted. Hearing loss has also been linked to a greater risk of falling. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show a three-fold increase in the risk of falls among people with a very mild hearing loss making it extremely dangerous to walk independently with hearing loss.

In the workplace, untreated hearing loss contributes to underperformance. More than half of people with hearing loss are under age 60—prime working years—and they are the least likely age group to get hearing aids.

It turns out that all of the people who can’t hear in restaurants or other noisy places, whose loved ones “mumble,” who can’t hear on the telephone—all those people who say they don’t need hearing aids—are putting themselves at greater risk for cognitive decline.

This can increase the risk of dementia. Clinical research has shown that hearing loss is found in nine out of ten subjects with dementia. This could be because those with hearing loss are more likely to isolate themselves, which is a risk factor for faster cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is a common condition

Some people with hearing loss think they hear—and understand—perfectly well. Others assume that the loss is part of aging. Some people with hearing loss simply can’t afford hearing aids. Some worry that hearing aids will make them seem old. While these people are concerned about money and appearances, their hearing loss is not only getting worse; it’s also becoming a hazard to other aspects of their life and health.

Think about the sounds that make up your world and your life. You want to preserve this vital sense for as long as you can. Studies have shown that the more proactive you are about your hearing health. The faster you pursue amplification once you are a candidate for hearing aids, the greater the possibility of the progression of the hearing loss slowing down somewhat.

It is important to note that this does not mean that hearing aids can stop your hearing loss from getting worse. However, they have been proven to keep the hearing organs and nerves functioning longer than if aids are not used.

If you have been delaying getting a hearing test, don’t put it off any longer. Please schedule an appointment for a hearing test today with us today! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Building Connections | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Building Connections | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month is this month, which makes it an ideal time to discuss your hearing health. The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) dedicates an entire month to raising awareness of communication disabilities, including speech and language disorders and hearing loss. They work relentlessly to minimize the stigma associated with these conditions and to inspire people to seek help. 

Every year of Better Hearing and Speech Month has a theme. This year’s theme is “Building Connections”, a timely topic given how little we’ve been able to connect with our loved ones over the past year. 

Hearing aids help your communication

If you have trouble hearing, you know how difficult it is to communicate. And if the individual repeats themselves a few times, you strain to hear and miss a lot of what is being said, even in the silence of your living room. All of this can be improved with hearing aids. 

Every connection starts with communication, and hearing aids are the best way to maintain that communication when you have hearing loss. You’ll be able to hear every sound clearly with hearing aids, whether you’re at home, in the park, or at a crowded restaurant downtown. Not only will you be able to devote more time to your close relationships and social support networks, but you will also feel more self-sufficient and secure in making new connections.

Hearing aids help you in the workplace

Hearing loss affects more than just relationships. Hearing failure that goes untreated puts people’s employment and financial stability in jeopardy. 

According to studies, employees with hearing loss are often passed over for promotions, receive lower pay, and are fired more often than their hearing counterparts. According to one report, people with severe hearing loss make up to $15,000 less a year than people with moderate hearing loss! You will not be able to communicate easily at work or complete your tasks if you have hearing loss.

You will also have difficulty focusing or concentrating on tasks if you have hearing loss. Even basic tasks will take longer to complete. Hearing aids help you focus, connect, and be the team player that helps you get you the promotion you deserve.

Hearing aids protect you from damage.

Hearing loss comes with a slew of potential dangers. Have you ever gone for a walk with your earbuds in your ears and nearly walked in front of a speeding car? You’re less likely to hear threats in your area, such as traffic, emergency vehicles, or honking if you have hearing loss. You put your safety and the safety of those around you in jeopardy while walking or driving in your neighborhood. Since the equilibrium and balance systems depend on the ear for details about the world around you, those with hearing loss are more vulnerable to slips and falls.

Hearing aids help you stay safe by alerting you of incoming dangers. They will also help you maintain your spatial awareness.

Columbus, OH teenager, speaks up on the need for hearing aid health insurance coverage.

Children pick up vocabulary by listening to their surroundings. However, their ability to hear is essential for more than just language development. Their listening abilities significantly impact their ability to learn to read and write and their social skills

Hearing aids are critical for children with hearing loss, and that is what took 13-year-old Alexis Klugo to the Ohio Statehouse last month. Klugo was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth and started using hearing aids at 18 months. Her hearing aids were dubbed her “Magic Ears” by her audiologist.

“My Magic Ears keep me safe because I can hear noises like the doorbell, cars coming down the street, the fire alarm, or my mother telling me to clean my bed,” Klugo told lawmakers.

She was speaking in favor of House Bill 198, which would include up to $2,500 in hearing aid coverage for those under the age of 21 for 48 months. The bill’s supporters are optimistic that it will pass.

Visit us for a hearing test today!

Visit our practice for a hearing evaluation if you want to see the difference hearing aids can make. We’ll get you fitted for a good pair of hearing aids that suit your lifestyle and needs, teach you how to get the most out of your hearing aids and provide the best in hearing health care.

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!

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.

Brain Exercises Could Help You Hear in Noise

Brain Exercises Could Help You Hear in Noise

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

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

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

Hearing Loss and the Brain

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

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

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

Train Your Brain

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

Strengthening Localization

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

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

Practice Listening Skills

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

Deal with Hearing Issues

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

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