Hearing Tips

Why Wearing Your Hearing Aids Matters

By: Scot Frink : August 14, 2019

Woman wearing hearing aids enjoys a hike with friends.

So you don’t wear your hearing aids all that often? Most of the time you keep them in the drawer unless you are, for instance, going to the theater or to a party. Is it really necessary to wear them more often than that?

The issue is that when you don’t wear your hearing aids on a regular basis, you’re developing some troubling disadvantages for yourself over time. You could irreversibly injure your hearing. Cognitive decline and social isolation could be the outcome. Your overall health might be jeopardized. So, if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, you should definitely be reading this.

Why Aren’t Your Hearing Aids in Your Ears?

You probably have a good reason for keeping your hearing aids in a drawer somewhere. Sure, perhaps you haven’t specifically been honest about what those reasons might be. Perhaps, when your family questions you, you even say something generic and elusive, such as, “I just don’t like them”.

Certainly, though, there’s more to the story than that. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll likely find that there’s a particular complaint at the heart of your irregular hearing aid use. Specific grievances are positive because they create the possibility to find an equally specific remedy.

The following are some of the most common complaints;

“My Hearing Aids Don’t Feel That Comfortable”

One of the most regularly cited reasons that individuals stop wearing their hearing aids regularly is discomfort. Often, the hearing aid won’t stop falling out of your ear. Or perhaps pain and tenderness are developing in just the wrong spot with your over-the-ear model.

It’s not supposed to be uncomfortable to use hearing aids, so something is surely wrong if they are causing any sort of irritation. And it’s easy to understand that you wouldn’t want to use a piece of technology that creates pain, frustration or soreness.

Possible solution: If your hearing aids are not comfortable, consider setting up an additional or follow-up fitting appointment. A couple little adjustments might be all your hearing aid requires. Some models can even be completely personalized to the size and shape of your ears. You will be able to leave your hearing aid in longer if it fits properly and is comfortable.

I’m Experiencing Poor Quality Sound From my Hearing Aids

Maybe you find the sound of your hearing aid to be too fuzzy or tinny so you don’t wear them very often. If that’s the circumstance, it’s not surprising that you’ve decided to stow your hearing aids in your nightstand drawer and save them for “special occasions”.”

This fuzzy or tinny sound can happen because hearing aids are doing complex auditory processes all the time, filtering out some sounds while trying to amplify others. So the sound quality might seem hard to rely on if your settings aren’t properly adjusted.

Solution: This issue has two potential answer: calibration and upkeep. It’s possible that your hearing aids are damaged in some form or another and require repairs. But it might be possible that they just need a simple calibration (generally this is something your hearing specialist can do for you).

Voices Are Muffled When I Use my Hearing Aids

When you listen to people talk, you want to be able to hear them with clarity. When you first bought hearing aids that was the whole reason! You didn’t want to miss out on one word. So it may be a little bit aggravating if all the voices you hear with you’re hearing aid sound muffled or hard to comprehend.

Because your brain and ears aren’t communicating effectively anymore, this issue commonly occurs when you first purchase your hearing aids.

The Remedy: Keep practicing. Your brain is going to have to get used to hearing language again, so whatever you can do to help provide some repetition will help. Try reading along to an audiobook or reading along with the closed captioning while you watch tv. Merely having more discussions with the people around you is a perfect way to practice, too.

Getting Solutions

You can discover a solution regardless of why you’re not wearing your hearing aid. And you have to wear your hearing aid routinely in order to protect your cognitive health and the health of your hearing.

So if your hearing aids don’t seem to be working perfectly for you? After determining the problem, find a solution, so you can get active in your life again. If you believe your hearing aids require adjustment, consult your hearing care expert right away.





I Hear Noises in my Ears But I’m Not Sure What They Are

By: Scot Frink : August 7, 2019

Man touching ear in response to crackling noises in his ear.

Do you ever hear thumping, buzzing, or crackling noises that appear to come out of nowhere? If you wear hearing aids, it could mean that they have to be adjusted or aren’t fitted properly. But it may also be possible that, if you don’t wear hearing aids, the sounds may well be coming from your ears. There’s no need to panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Here are some of the more common noises you might hear in your ears, and what they could indicate is going on. Although most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any of these sounds are lasting, painful, or otherwise impeding your quality of life, it’s a smart strategy to consult a hearing expert.

Popping or Crackling

When the pressure in your ears changes, whether it’s from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you might hear crackling or popping noises. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling sound occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, enabling fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. It’s an automatic process, but in some cases, like when you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your tubes can actually get gummed up. sometimes surgery is needed in severe cases when the blockage isn’t improved by decongestants or antibiotics. If you’re experiencing persistent ear pain or pressure, you should probably consult a specialist.

Could The Buzzing or Ringing be Tinnitus?

It may not be your ears at all if you are wearing hearing aids, as previously mentioned. If you’re not using hearing aids, earwax may be the issue. It makes sense that excessive wax might make it tough to hear, and cause itchiness or possibly infections, but how could it make a sound? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what causes the ringing or buzzing. But don’t worry, the extra wax can be professionally removed. (Don’t attempt to do this at home!) Tinnitus is the name for prolonged buzzing or ringing. Even noise from too much earwax is a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of some sort of health concern and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Besides the buildup of wax, tinnitus can also be associated with anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help reduce tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.

Rumbling

This sound is one we cause ourself and is a lot less commonplace. Have you ever observed how in some cases, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumbling? It’s the sound of little muscles in your ears contracting in order to offer damage control on sounds you create: They reduce the volume of yawning, chewing, even your own voice! Activities, such as yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that though they are not really loud, they can still be damaging to your hearing. (And since you can’t stop speaking or chewing, we’ll stay with the muscles, thanks!) These muscles can be controlled by certain people, even though it’s quite unusual, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can create that rumble at will.

Pulsing or Thumping

If you at times feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat in your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s largest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate’s high, whether from that big job interview or a difficult workout, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the term for this, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that not only you hear, if you go to a hearing specialist, he or she will be able to hear it as well. If you’re experiencing pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to see a specialist because that’s not normal. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom; if it continues, it might point to a health issue. But if you just had a hard workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate goes back to normal.





Several of The Benefits of Wearing a Hearing Aid Are Not Well Appreciated

By: Scot Frink : July 31, 2019

Woman struggling to hear without her hearing aids.

What’s the point of wearing hearing aids? It’s probably to hear better, right? Needless to say, that will be the majority of people’s answer. A hearing aid is manufactured to aid your hearing.

But that’s not the actual motivation for wearing them. We wear them so we won’t become estranged from the people in our lives…so we can not only hear interactions, but be a part of them. The key lines from our favorite show, our favorite music, or the punchline of a joke are all things that hearing aids help us enjoy.

Put another way, there are all kinds of benefits, under-appreciated benefits, that come with wearing your hearing aids. And those less acknowledged benefits may be the difference between wearing your hearing aids regularly or keeping them tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Undoubtedly, these five overlooked advantages of hearing aids have earned their time in the spotlight.

Clearer Sound

So it’s not simply that your hearing aid makes things louder. They make the sound clearer. The reason for this is that your hearing doesn’t decline evenly: select frequencies are the first to go. So the sounds near you will be easier to understand and clearer.

Depending on the room your in and its natural audio characteristics, modern hearing aids can be adjusted or even self-adjust to compensate. Hearing aids don’t simply make everything louder, they target improving the right sounds so that you hear more clearly as a whole.

Social Life That is More Active And Enriching

If the sounds around you are less difficult to comprehend, you’re more inclined to engage in social activity and that’s a big boost. Think about it this way: when you’re not able to follow the conversation at a packed (and loud) restaurant, you’re not as likely to jump in with a joke. But you will know exactly when to spring your funny retort when your ears are nice and crisp and so are the voices near you.

Social situation are exhausting when you don’t need to ask people to repeat themselves and voices sound cleaner and clearer; instead, interacting socially goes back to being something you can enjoy again.

Being Able to Concentrate Better

A large part of your mental resources are spent attempting to decipher the mess when you are struggling to hear. You will need to divert such a large amount of your brainpower towards interpreting jumbled or incomplete audio information that your general concentration takes a dip. Whether you’re are listening to TV, reading the news, or prepping your taxes, your focus will be much better if you are wearing hearing aids that are working properly.

You’re Safer

Research indicates that people with untreated hearing loss have a greater chance of falling down. There are a couple of ways that hearing aids can help protect you against a fall. One is by stopping falls from the beginning. When you’re able to concentrate better (and, thus, you’re less mentally exhausted), it’s less difficult to take steps without stumbling over something. Second, some hearing aids have automated technology that activates when the wearer has a fall. If a fall happens, friends, family, or emergency services can be automatically called.

An Improvement in Cognitive Awareness

It’s not just your concentration that improves when you use your hearing aids. You also get a mental boost as well. When you begin to isolate yourself because you’re having a tough time hearing, a complicated process of brain atrophy starts to happen. A hearing aid can help protect several mental cognitive activities, meaning your mental health, your mood, your self-esteem could all profit from using your hearing aids.

Get The Advantages Now Rather Than Later

So if you’ve recognized that your hearing has begun to diminish, there’s not much to gain from taking a slow approach. Hearing aids can give both immediate and long lasting results. So get in touch with our hearing care professionals and get a hearing assessment right away.





Protect Your Ears From The Hazards of Summer

By: Scot Frink : July 24, 2019

Women enjoying a summer concert with hearing protection.

Summer is finally here, and you’re ready for all that fun we’ve been looking forward to: swimming in the pool, going to the beach, and some activities that may injure your ears. That’s correct, summer has a lot of unseen hazards to your hearing, either from loud noises or the external situations you might find yourself in. Any sounds over 80 decibels can damage your hearing, while enduring hearing loss can take hold in swimming pools or other bodies of water. You need to take preventative measures and be mindful of your surroundings so that you can keep your hearing safe this summer. Here are 6 of the summer’s concealed hearing hazards.

Use Hearing Protection at Concerts

The summer season is concert time, but even if you go to an outdoor venue, you still should take care of your hearing. 90 decibels is inside the danger zone for ear injury and live music reaches this level even at outdoor shows. So whether you’re going to inside or outside shows, it’s a smart idea to use earplugs. You can still hear the tunes with earplugs it’s just dampened a little bit. If you’re taking young children to a show, consider buying them a heavy duty set of earmuffs since their ears are much more sensitive than those of adults.

Fireworks Are More Than Just Loud

Honestly, there are a lot of reasons to avoid fireworks in the summer. We’re not talking about the specialized 4th of July displays, we mean the backyard fireworks that lead to many of injuries throughout the summer. Home fireworks achieve decibel levels of nearly 155 which can hurt your ears along with causing hand injuries, loss of sight and home fires. This 4th of July, leave the fireworks to the pros and enjoy the display from a safe and sound distance.

Mowers Can Cause Loss of Hearing

If you care about your yard, mower, edger, and trimer are your best friends. But this muffled sensation in your ears is a signal that your ears have been damaged. That’s because the lawn tools, which are constantly loud, have a slow and steady impact on your hearing. You’ve likely noticed landscapers using some type of hearing protection, next time you work on your yard with noisy power equipment, you should take a cue from them and use earplugs or earmuffs.

How to Protect Your Ears at Beaches And Pools

Huge numbers of people suffer from swimmer’s ear every summer, which happens when bacteria-packed water gets trapped in your ear canal. The bacteria will then infect the ear, leading to painful earaches and swelling. It’s not only rivers and lakes that hold these bacteria, they can sometimes be found in pools and hot tubs if they aren’t cleaned and treated thoroughly. No lasting injury should occur if you get your ears examined by a hearing expert. To be safe, when swimming in your pool, use special swimmers earplugs and keep the chemical balance precise to lessen the likelihood of getting swimmers ear.

Water Sports And Boats

If you love the water, the summer season is beach and boating time for you. But, boat and jet ski engines can be loud,they can get up to over 100 decibels. Long term hearing injury can happen after about 15 minutes of exposure to that kind of noise. In this circumstance also, putting on a set of throw away foam earplugs is a smart plan.

Car Races Can Harm Your Ears

It doesn’t matter what kind of auto racing you like, stock cars, midgets, motorcycles, drag racing, Formula 1. If you go to a lot of auto-races this year, they all pose a peril. It’s estimated that volume levels can go beyond 120 decibels at certain races, which is absolutely inside the danger zone for hearing impairment. As pointed out before, your children should wear muffs while you should use earplugs at least. Because you may not be able to appreciate the sounds of any races in the future if you don’t.





Several Medical Conditions Have Been Associated With Loss of Hearing

By: Scot Frink : July 17, 2019

Doctor speaks with patient about medical conditions related to hearing loss and tinnitus.

Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss and let’s face it, try as we might, aging can’t be stopped. But were you aware hearing loss can lead to health issues that are treatable, and in certain scenarios, can be avoided? You could be surprised by these examples.

1: Diabetes

A widely-cited 2008 study that looked at over 5,000 American adults found that diabetes diagnosed individuals were two times as likely to have mild or greater hearing loss when analyzed with low or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but not as serious. It was also found by investigators that individuals who struggled with high blood sugar levels but not so high as to be diagnosed with diabetes, put simply, pre-diabetic, were more likely by 30 percent than those with normal blood sugar levels, to have hearing loss. A more recent 2013 meta-study (yup, a study of studies) revealed that there was a persistent association between hearing loss and diabetes, even when when all other variables are accounted for.

So it’s well established that diabetes is connected to a higher risk of loss of hearing. But why would diabetes put you at increased danger of suffering from loss of hearing? The answer isn’t really well known. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health concerns, and notably, the kidneys, extremities, and eyes can be physically damaged. One hypothesis is that the disease might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management could be the culprit. A 2015 study that investigated U.S. military veterans highlighted the connection between loss of hearing and diabetes, but in particular, it discovered that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, that those with untreated and uncontrolled diabetes, it discovered, suffered worse. It’s necessary to get your blood sugar tested and speak to a doctor if you suspect you could have undiagnosed diabetes or may be pre-diabetic. It’s a good idea to get your hearing examined if you’re having a hard time hearing too.

2: Falling

All right, this is not exactly a health problem, since we aren’t dealing with vertigo, but having a bad fall can trigger a cascade of health problems. A study carried out in 2012 found a definite link between the risk of falling and hearing loss though you might not have suspected that there was a connection between the two. While investigating over 2,000 adults between the ages of 40 to 69, scientists discovered that for every 10 dB increase in loss of hearing (as an example, normal breathing is about 10 dB), the chance of falling increased 1.4X. Even for individuals with slight hearing loss the relationship held up: Within the past year individuals with 25 dB of hearing loss were more likely to have fallen than people with normal hearing.

Why would having problems hearing cause you to fall? There are several reasons why hearing problems can lead to a fall other than the role your ears play in balance. While the exact reason for the individual’s falls wasn’t looked at in this study,, it was speculated by the authors that having trouble hearing what’s going on around you you (and missing a car honking or other important sounds) might be one issue. But if you’re having difficulties paying attention to sounds around you, your split attention means you may not be paying attention to your physical environment and that may lead to a fall. The good news here is that dealing with loss of hearing may potentially decrease your risk of having a fall.

3: High Blood Pressure

A variety of studies (like this one from 2018) have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure and some (including this 2013 study) have observed that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even after controlling for variables including if you’re a smoker or noise exposure, the link has been pretty consistently discovered. Gender is the only variable that seems to matter: The link betweenloss of hearing and high blood pressure, if your a guy, is even stronger.

Your ears are very closely related to your circulatory system: In addition to the countless little blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. This is one reason why individuals who have high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, it’s ultimately their own blood pumping that they’re hearing. (That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; it’s your pulse your hearing.) But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears which is the leading theory behind why it would quicken hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears might possibly be injured by this. High blood pressure is manageable, through both medical interventions and lifestyle change. But if you believe you’re experiencing loss of hearing even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related problems, it’s a good decision to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert.

4: Dementia

Loss of hearing may put you at higher risk of dementia. A six year study, begun in 2013 that followed 2,000 individuals in their 70’s discovered that the risk of mental impairment increased by 24% with just minor hearing loss (about 25 dB, or slightly louder than a whisper). A 2011 study by the same researchers which followed people over more than 10 years found that when the subject’s hearing got worse, the more likely it was that he or she would develop dementia. (Alzheimer’s was also found to have a similar connection, even though it was less significant.) moderate hearing loss, based on these findings, puts you at 3 times the danger of someone who doesn’t have loss of hearing; severe loss of hearing nearly quintuples one’s risk.

It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to recognize that while the link between loss of hearing and cognitive decline has been well documented, experts have been less effective at sussing out why the two are so strongly connected. A common theory is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to avoid social situations, and that social withdrawal and lack of mental stimulation can be incapacitating. Another hypothesis is that loss of hearing short circuits your brain. Essentially, trying to hear sounds around you exhausts your brain so you might not have much energy left for recalling things like where you put your medication. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or brain games could help here, but so can treating loss of hearing. If you’re capable of hearing clearly, social situations become much easier to deal with, and you’ll be capable of focusing on the important things instead of trying to figure out what someone just said. So if you are coping with loss of hearing, you need to put a plan of action in place including getting a hearing test.





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