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Personal Sound Amplification Products vs. Hearing Aids: What's The Difference?

Personal Sound Amplification Products vs. Hearing Aids: What's The Difference?

In August 2017, the U.S. President signed a bill known as the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act of 2017. The bill required the Food and Drug Administration to create and regulate a new category of hearing aids similar to Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs).


Many of these devices were already available to consumers for some years before the bill was signed. However, until the bill was signed, these were not intended as hearing aids, nor were they branded as such.

They were, as you might expect, designed to amplify sound, and marketed primarily at customers who were not hearing-impaired. Under the new legislation, some PSAPs will be made available as OTC hearing aids.

However, they still differ from professional hearing aids in several key categories.

They don't require a hearing professional to prescribe and program them. While this may, on the surface, seem like it would save you time and money, it also means there's a certain degree of danger to purchasing one of these devices. Because you don't have the guidance of a professional audiologist, you may end up with a device that further damages your hearing.

They're only intended for mild hearing loss. If you're suffering from major hearing loss, or worse, a condition like tinnitus, an OTC hearing aid likely isn't going to do the trick.

They lack selective amplification. Depending on how much you spend on your PSAP, you may end up with one that amplifies all sound in a given radius. Some modern PSAPs can limit and tweak your amplification, and come with a range of programmable settings.

They're one size fits all. Professional hearing aids are specifically designed and fitted to your ear's unique shape. Not so with OTC hearing aids. They come in one of several basic sizes. If they don't fit your ears, then you are, unfortunately, out of luck.

They're feature-scarce. Modern hearing aids actually have a ton of cool features, including Bluetooth connectivity, configurable/programmable amplification, and easily-rechargeable batteries. By contrast, OTC hearing aids are basic and bog-standard, though they cost significantly less as a result.
Ultimately, while PSAPs may be a feasible option for individuals suffering from minor hearing damage or hearing loss, they're no replacement for one prescribed and installed by a professional audiologist. If you suspect you may be suffering from hearing loss, your best bet is to consult an audiologist or hearing care professional.
Remember that your hearing is precious, and can't be fully restored once lost. It's imperative that you choose hearing care tailored to your unique needs. If you have any questions or want to know more about getting the best care, our friendly professionals will be happy to assist you. Better yet, you can book a free online hearing test right now.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-08-13

8 Tinnitus Myths: The Truth About Tinnitus

8 Tinnitus Myths: The Truth About Tinnitus

Because patients exhibit a variety of reactions to tinnitus, multiple myths have emerged about the condition, some of which are not entirely true. Additionally, most patients respond to tinnitus treatments very differently, and some tinnitus may even go away on its own.

Tinnitus has existed for centuries, with some of the oldest records of tinnitus-like symptoms dating back to ancient Egypt. Each generation has researched, analyzed, and experimented with the condition, though currently, no specific cure exists.

Here are a few myths you may have heard about tinnitus that you might want to reassess.

Myth #1: There’s nothing you can do about tinnitus
Tinnitus is a complex condition that can range from a dull buzz to a more severe ringing. At this time, there is no cure for tinnitus, though there are treatment options available that allow you to reduce tinnitus.

For example, listening to white noise, tinnitus sound therapy, tinnitus hearing aids, and even cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the effects of tinnitus.


Myth #2: Tinnitus means your brain is dying
No, tinnitus in itself does not mean your brain is dying. However, tinnitus is a symptom that many people with brain injuries experience.

One study showed that roughly 76 percent of veterans with a traumatic brain injury also experienced tinnitus. So while tinnitus does not impact your brain, it could be an indicator of some other issue that is affecting your brain.

Myth #3: Tinnitus feels the same every day
Unlike other chronic conditions, tinnitus does not feel the same every day. You’ve probably asked yourself questions like:

Why does tinnitus get louder sometimes?
Why is tinnitus worse some days?
Why is my tinnitus worse at night?

Tinnitus can be irritated by several factors, including diet changes, loud background noises, high-stress levels, and drinking.

Myth #4: Vapor rub can help
While numerous bloggers have recommended vapor rub to reduce tinnitus, there is no scientific evidence backing this claim. Additionally, the manufacturers do not claim that it does this either.
Myth #5: Only people experiencing hearing loss struggle with tinnitus
Roughly 90 percent of people struggling with hearing loss also struggle with tinnitus, though hearing loss is not the only cause of tinnitus.

Brain injuries and whiplash are also common causes of tinnitus, even if the patient never experiences hearing loss.

Myth #6: Tinnitus only affects you physically
This is one of the most tragic myths about tinnitus. While it is a physical condition, it can lead to mental conditions, most notably depression. One study showed that 9 percent of women and 5.5 percent of men suffering from severe tinnitus either committed or attempted suicide.

Even though it's a physical condition, tinnitus can undoubtedly affect your mental health.


Myth #7: Tinnitus is always permanent

For many patients that have recently been diagnosed, their first question is, "Does tinnitus go away?" Thankfully, tinnitus is not always permanent. One study estimates that as few as 25 percent of tinnitus cases are permanent, and in many cases, it will go away on its own without treatment.

Myth #8: Eating a healthy diet will cure tinnitus
While eating a healthy diet will certainly contribute to a higher quality of life, there is no evidence that a healthy diet will cure tinnitus. In fact, there is little research that even suggests a healthy diet correlates with lessened tinnitus symptoms.
Your future
It's difficult to predict how your tinnitus journey will end, but know that there is hope. Advancements in hearing aids for tinnitus as well as behavioral therapies and support groups can help reduce your symptoms. Additionally, there is still a chance that your tinnitus will go away on its own. Reach out to your doctor and learn how you can manage your symptoms.

Hearing Knowledge2020-08-13

How Does Hearing Loss Lead to Depression

How Does Hearing Loss Lead to Depression?

Hearing loss can have a number of hidden side effects, from emotional impacts like depression and anxiety, to physical ones like an increased risk of falling.

Studies have shown that five percent of the general population has depression – but as much as 11% of people with hearing loss are depressed. This is most prevalent among adults between the age of 18-69.

Seeking help for both hearing loss and depression is vital. By understanding the link and knowing the signs of hearing loss and depression, you can take the appropriate actions to get the treatment you deserve. If you allow either to remain untreated, you may find yourself developing other, more serious side effects, like cognitive decline and dementia

Understanding the link
Hearing loss affects our ability to hold conversations. We may struggle to hear what others are saying – especially in locations where there is a lot of background noise – and as a result may struggle to communicate back. Group conversations can be particularly difficult. This frustration can make us stressed and tired, as well as making us feel socially isolated. This in turn can lead to depression.

An audiologist can often prescribe a hearing aid that can help to treat hearing loss. This may help to relieve depression by helping you to live a more normal life. Unfortunately, many people fail to realize that they have hearing loss and so do not seek treatment. In other cases, people may put off seeking treatment for hearing loss. This can cause both the hearing loss and the depression to get a lot worse.

Knowing the signs
By identifying the signs of both hearing loss and depression, you can seek out appropriate treatment.

In the case of hearing loss, there are many signs to look out for. Do you find yourself regularly turning up the volume on your TV or radio? Are you constantly telling people to repeat themselves or telling people to speak louder? Do you have particular difficulty following conversations in crowded places or areas where there is a lot of background noise? If the answer to these questions is yes, it is likely that you may have hearing loss. By seeking out an audiologist, you can confirm this with a hearing test.

As for the signs of depression, these can be more personal but generally include a feeling of hopelessness, a sense of fatigue, a lack of motivation for day-to-day tasks, loss of appetite or trouble sleeping. In the case of hearing loss, you may feel a great sense of loneliness and an aversion to social interaction due to not being able to understand people. You may even be experiencing relationship troubles, both as a result of hearing loss and depression.

What you can do
If depression is the direct result of hearing loss, you may be able to minimize this depression by seeking out hearing loss treatment. An audiologist will be able to arrange a hearing test – this will help to measure the extent of the hearing loss so that the right treatment can be taken.

A hearing aid may be able to help you hear more clearly. An audiologist will be able to find the right prescription. There are many different types of hearing aid, including devices that can be used to treat tinnitus.

By hearing more clearly, you may feel more confident engaging in social interaction and may be able to follow conversations more easily. This may help to reduce symptoms of depression. If you continue to feel depressed, it could be worth seeking treatment from a counsellor alongside hearing loss treatment.

On top of being prescribed a hearing aid, there are other things that you can do to make day to day life easier and to ease depression. When meeting up with friends and relatives, choose places where there are little background noise so following conversations is a less of a struggle. Tell people that you have hearing loss so that they know to speak more slowly and clearly. By taking these measures and pushing yourself to be more social, you may feel less isolated.

Why choose us?
At Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center, our goal is simple; to help you hear well. We have a team of expert audiologists that can diagnose your hearing problem and help you to find the right treatment. We offer a range of hearing services from hearing tests to hearing aid fitting.

Hearing Knowledge2020-08-12

Tinnitus Try Hearing Aids with Relief Sounds

Tinnitus? Try Hearing Aids with Relief Sounds

Living with tinnitus can be difficult. It is a condition that can challenging to identify and even harder to treat without the help of an audiologist and hearing technologies. Luckily, with a combination of techniques and devices provided by your audiologist, there are ways in which you can reduce this difficulty. One such solution is hearing aids with relief sounds.

This guide offers more information on tinnitus and how hearing aids with relief sounds can help you.

What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sounds in the ears or head without any external source. It is often described as ringing in the ears but can take the form of various sounds from buzzing to whistling. Some people even hear familiar tunes, while others may hear a pulsing sound in time with their heartbeat.

There are many possible causes of tinnitus. Some of the most common causes are loud noise exposure, earwax build-up, middle ear infections and age-related hearing loss. It is most common in people over the age of 65, however people of all ages can develop tinnitus.

The continuous sound produced by tinnitus can cause chronic stress and fatigue. Those with serious tinnitus may have trouble sleeping because of the noise. Depression and anxiety are also common side-effects. Seeking out relief can therefore be vital for your physical and mental health. If ignored, symptoms may get worse.

Can tinnitus be treated?
There is no way to cure tinnitus, however there are fortunately many treatment options that can relieve it. An audiologist may be able to identify the cause of the sound, which could help when identifying the best treatment option. It could be something as simple as earwax removal. In other cases, sound therapy and specialist counselling may be recommended to help mentally block out the sound.

Another possible treatment option could be hearing aids with relief sounds. This has become an increasingly popular option and could allow you to live a more normal life.

How can hearing aids with relief sounds help?
Eighty percent of people that experience tinnitus also have hearing loss. For this reason, a hearing aid can often be recommended. However, a hearing aid can also help those with tinnitus that don’t experience hearing loss.

Hearing aids with relief sounds are designed specifically for tinnitus. They work by generating soothing sounds that help to mask the ringing or buzzing sounds that you may be experiencing. Such hearing aids may offer a variety of sounds to choose from and may be operated via an app with volume control. This allows you to experiment with different sounds and volumes until you are able to mask the tinnitus.

An audiologist will be able to prescribe you such a hearing aid and can talk you through how they work.

What types of hearing aids are there?
There are many different types of hearing aids to choose from. Aside from the function, you may also want to consider the style.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids sit inside the ear. They may be custom molded in order to fit the shape of your ear and may be prescribed if you also have mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are another option. Positioned behind the ear, they often serve as a more discreet option and tend to be the most common style of hearing aid.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are another style worth considering. They are smaller and fit inside the actual ear canal.

An audiologist may recommend a specific style that is most suitable for your individual hearing problem. Certain brands of hearing aid may only come in certain styles.

Why choose Hear for You
When seeking out an expert to help treat your tinnitus, look no further than Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center. We have a team of experienced audiologists that can help you to find relief for your symptoms. We’ll arrange a hearing test for you to determine the extent of your tinnitus and your hearing. From here, we can help you find the right solution, whether it’s a hearing aid or other form of treatment.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-08-12

Test Your Newborns Hearing to Prevent Future Complications

Test Your Newborn’s Hearing to Prevent Future Complications

In the United States, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 infants are born with a hearing loss, with an estimated 1.3 million children under the age of three diagnosed. You might think that this type of hearing loss would be hereditary, but in over 90 percent of cases, the parents of these children have regular hearing. For this reason, new parents both with and without hearing loss should plan to have their child’s hearing tested before they can speak, to determine if there are any complications present from birth.

Hearing loss in newborns is often the result of exposure to chemicals during pregnancy, genetic disorders, tumors, low birth weight, structural problems in the inner ear, and infections passed from mother to baby. With early treatment, these issues can be addressed and your child will likely be able to hear and communicate at their age level.

Parents often wait until their child fails to develop proper language and social skills before visiting a hearing care professional. However, babies are capable of soaking up language and grammar at an astonishing rate well before they can speak, making it important for them to hear the sounds and speech of their parents and caregivers clearly in the first crucial years. In fact, audiologists have determined that children who have their hearing loss treated before 6 months of age are most likely to experience a full recovery.

In some cases, a child may need to have a cochlear implant surgically installed to restore hearing, but this procedure is rare and reserved for patients with severe hearing loss. Most children can restore their hearing and develop their language skills with the help of hearing aids and training exercises with a speech pathologist both in and out of school.

Hearing screenings for infants are fairly common in most hospitals, but you should still check with your doctor before taking your baby home to discuss the results of their audiogram and other related tests. Should your child’s test display signs of abnormal hearing, there is no reason to panic—almost 10 percent of all American newborns fail their hearing test, but less than 1 percent actually have permanent hearing loss. Still, parents should plan to bring their newborn back for future follow-up screenings, as many types of hearing loss can develop shortly after birth.

In addition, pay attention to the way your child reacts to auditory stimuli in their environment. At two months old, babies should quiet down when they recognize your voice, and by one year, they should be able to babble and respond to loud and soft sounds, including music. Toddlers that become easily frustrated with instructions or show signs of antisocial behavior may also be suffering from a debilitating hearing loss. If your child seems to be developing these skills late or poorly, a visit to a hearing care professional should be a priority.

The symptoms of autism in young children are often similar to the symptoms of hearing loss. Even if you don’t suspect that your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you should have a talk with a developmental pediatrician or psychologist to determine if their symptoms are hearing related or if they could be signs of a separate disorder.

Ideally, treatment for newborns should begin as soon as the first symptom is detected, as the time spent waiting for an official diagnosis could lead to further developmental delays. Keep your child safe from the lifelong dangers of hearing loss by contacting a hearing care professional online and scheduling an appointment.

Hearing Knowledge2020-08-11

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