Hearing Loss
HEARING LOSS
How to check your child's hearing aid every day?

How to check your child's hearing aid every day?

Hearing aids are electronic devices, but sometimes they are damaged. Every day, children rely on their parents to check whether the hearing aids are safe and functioning properly. The earlier problems are found, the faster they can be solved. For example, charging at night, rechargeable bte hearing aids used during the day. Need to check whether the child forgets to charge before going to bed.

This is the way to keep your child's hearing aids in the best condition:

Rechargeable hearing aid for children

Get the right tools

When the child is fitting the hearing aid for the first time, the store should provide or ask the parents to prepare the hearing aid Maintenance Kit by themselves, and ask the audiologist to demonstrate how to operate. The tools in the maintenance kit include: simple monitoring earplug / ear mold, measuring appliance, drying box, earwax brush, blowing balloon, etc. If you have any questions or need to learn how to use it again, please feel free to ask your audiologist.

Quick check

Morning is often one of the busiest time for everyone, so the minimum requirement is the following quick check.

  • Turn on the hearing aid, hold it in your hand and listen to see if there is a whine. If yes, it means that the hearing aids are working now; If you don't hear it, please check the battery or ear mold for earwax blockage, broken sound pipe, etc.
  • Simple safety check. For example, whether the safety lock is locked or whether the ear hook and acoustic catheter are connected normally.

Children's language awareness test

Keep children's hearing aids in their best condition

If the child is old enough to participate, the child voice detection test or Lin's six tone test can be conducted in the morning, which is another good choice. It checks the child's hearing and hearing aids at the same time. If you have any questions about your child's hearing, or if they plan to do something that focuses on listening, such as language lessons or speech therapy, they can do it repeatedly during the day.

  • Choose a quiet room.
  • When you stand one meter behind the child, please make a sound at the normal voice volume, send out randomly at a time, and Pause briefly for the child's response.
  • Once the child confirms or repeats the sound, please change to the next sound.
  • Step back, about two to four meters from the child, and then repeat the exercise to see how distance affects their listening.
  • The sound, a child hears with a hearing aid depends on the type and extent of hearing loss. Please contact your audiologist to find out what your child should be able to hear at different distances.

Other tips

  • Use of drying hearing aid tools: storing the hearing aid in a drying box can make the hearing aid dry, thus reducing the number of maintenance. This is especially important in humid environments or when children sweat more.
  • Encourage independence: if the hearing aid doesn't work, please observe the child's reaction, ask the child to tell you if there is any abnormality, and gradually let them participate in taking care of their hearing aid.
  • Keep dry: unless you have a special waterproof hearing aid, remove the aid before bathing or swimming.
  • Remove the hearing aid before going to bed: it's a comfort consideration. Even if the child is open when sleeping, if it is just a nap, it can not be removed, so it is not afraid to disturb them.

It's important to check your child's hearing aids every day. You need to do this until your child is old enough to tell you when something is wrong. If you have any questions or want to order cleaning accessories, please contact your fitter or manufacturer.

About AUSTAR Hearing Aids

AUSTAR is a professional hearing aid manufacturer for medical standards in China, wholesale behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) types of hearing aids, rechargeable hearing aid. Digital programmable hearing aids use our own fitting system software for programming hearing aids to ensure superior quality of hearing aid and make price competitive in this industry. Our main customers are hearing aid wholesalers/dealers across the USA, Europe, Asia and Mid East.

Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing aid wholesalers/ distributors and looking for a trustworthy Chinese manufacturer/ supplier. No only provide a full range of hearing aids, we have a strong R&D teams and engineers to support your any special requirement and development. We are not only your supplier, but also your partner and technical supporter. AUSTAR commit to provide customers with excellent service, satisfactory quality and competitive prices, help you expand your market and save hearing aid price/ costs!

2021-07-21
How to maintain hearing aids in summer?

How to maintain hearing aids in summer?

Summer Hearing Aid Care Tips

The weather is getting warmer and summer is coming. Are you ready with your hearing aid?

In summer, the climate is hot and humid with more precipitation and high air humidity; In addition, the human body is more likely to sweat, hearing aids are also vulnerable to moisture erosion. Therefore, the most important thing for hearing aid maintenance in summer is to take moisture-proof and waterproof measures.

Guide for Summer Hearing Aid Care

1.Routine maintenance.

Wash your face, hair and bath. Don't wear it immediately after washing. Wear it after ear canal and auricle are wiped clean.

2.Sweat protection.

High temperature in summer makes people sweat a lot, which may corrode hearing aids and affect the performance and life of hearing aids. Therefore, after using the hearing aid every day, clean the sweat on the surface of the hearing aid with a dry soft cloth, and then place it in the hearing aid drying box regularly for drying.

Hearing aid drying box

3.Rainwater protection.

In summer, there is a lot of precipitation, so it is better not to wear hearing aids or do a good job of rainproof on rainy days. Return to the room and dry the hearing aid in time.

4.Cerumen protection.

Summer ear secretion will also increase, for customized ITE hearing aids, to check whether there is earwax or impurities blocking cerumen baffle. If this happens, please clean or replace the baffle with a small brush. For behind the ear hearing aids, if the sound guide tube is blocked by earwax or impurities, please clean it immediately.

Hearing Aid Care

5.Swimming protection.

Swimming is a good summer activity. Before any water sports, you should take off the hearing aid and keep it properly. For swimming without hearing aid, please always swim with others to avoid missing the relevant warning and lifeguard's voice and ensure safety. If the hearing aid has been flooded, such as swimming in the sea, you should also pay attention to the protection of sand, to avoid sand dust into the hearing aid.

Hearing Aid Care

6.Sunshine protection.

Outdoor sunscreen is very important in summer. Avoid applying to the hearing aids when applying sunscreen lotion. When using sunscreen spray, be careful not to spray on hearing aids to prevent hearing blockage or other injuries. Wipe with a dry soft cloth after daily use.

Hearing Aid Care

7.Condensate protection.

Wearing hearing aids frequently in and out of cold and hot alternating environment, hearing aids are prone to produce condensate. In summer, we often go in and out of the hot outdoor and cool air-conditioned room, so it is very easy to make the hearing aids produce condensate. If there is condensed water, take off the sound guide tube of the ear back machine, dry the water drops, and then place the hearing aid in the drying box for drying.

Summer heat, summer protection, help to delay the service life of hearing aids, improve the listening experience.

About AUSTAR Hearing Aids

AUSTAR is a professional hearing aid manufacturer for medical standards in China, wholesale behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) types of hearing aids, rechargeable hearing aid. Digital programmable hearing aids use our own fitting system software for programming hearing aids to ensure superior quality of hearing aid and make price competitive in this industry. Our main customers are hearing aid wholesalers/dealers across the USA, Europe, Asia and Mid East.

Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing aid wholesalers/ distributors and looking for a trustworthy Chinese manufacturer/ supplier. No only provide a full range of hearing aids, we have a strong R&D teams and engineers to support your any special requirement and development. We are not only your supplier, but also your partner and technical supporter. AUSTAR commit to provide customers with excellent service, satisfactory quality and competitive prices, help you expand your market and save hearing aid price/ costs!

2021-07-14
Why is it still hard to hear with the most expensive hearing aid?

Why is it still hard to hear with the most expensive hearing aid?

Is the more expensive hearing aid on the market, the better? In fitting work, we will hear complaints from some users, such as “I can't hear clearly when I am equipped with one of the most advanced and expensive hearing aids or brands”, “I can't hear clearly when I have spent so much on hearing aids” and so on.

A hearing aid is a device designed to improve hearing by making sound audible to a person with hearing loss. Hearing aids are classified as medical devices in most countries, and regulated by the respective regulations. Small audio amplifiers such as PSAPs or other plain sound reinforcing systems cannot be sold as "hearing aids".

Hearing aid brands and prices

Will products at different prices affect the sound quality of hearing aids? The answer must be yes.

Hearing Aid Reviews

The more expensive the hearing aid is, the richer its functions are and the more advanced the technology is, so as to meet the higher listening needs. However, the price is not the only factor affecting the sound quality of hearing aid, and it is better to say that the suitable one for users is the best. Our latest mini rechargeable digital hearing aids are affordable and popular with hearing-impaired people. Let's look at the factors that affect the sound quality of hearing aids?

1. User's listening

The types of hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss and the direction of audiogram have certain influence on the listening effect. For example, if the user has no residual hearing, the better hearing aids can not achieve the effect.

2. Is the power of hearing aid appropriate

The power selection of hearing aids is very important. Too large or too small can affect the listening effect. For example, if the user's hearing loss reaches 100 dB, but the hearing aid with ordinary power is selected, then the amplified sound of the hearing aid can not meet the user's demand, so it is impossible to listen clearly. Therefore, only when hearing aids of suitable power are selected, can we hear comfortably and clearly. If your hearing loss is less than 70dB and you like the type of hearing aid in the ear, then the rechargeable cic hearing aid is very suitable for you.

3. Binaural selection

If both ears have hearing loss, hearing aids are recommended. If both ears have hearing loss and only one ear is worn, it is easy to cause asymmetry of hearing threshold of both ears, resulting in loss of sense of direction and balance, and the ear that is not worn is prone to hearing deprivation

4. Speech recognition rate of users

The speech recognition rate affects the user's speech listening ability, which determines whether the user can understand the speech. If the user's speech recognition rate is low, no matter how light the hearing loss is, no matter how expensive the hearing aid is, the user may only hear the voice, and cannot understand the meaning of the voice

5. Level of Hearing Fitting Engineer

There is a saying in the listening industry that 30% of the effectiveness of hearing aids is determined by hearing aids, and the remaining 70% is determined by the fitting engineer. Therefore, in the selection of hearing aids, we must go to a professional fitting center and find a qualified fitting specialist for fitting.

Hearing Test

There are many factors that affect whether hearing aids can hear clearly. Hearing aids can help hearing impaired patients to listen by amplifying and processing the sound, but there is no way to replace our own cochlea and auditory system to analyze and identify the sound, which is impossible to achieve the effect of normal ears. Therefore, we should have reasonable expectations before fitting. Gradually adapt to the initial discomfort of wearing, actively practice, make hearing aids become practical and effective, become a good helper in life and work.

AUSTAR is a leading manufacturer of hearing aids in China, specialized in research and development, production and sales of hearing aids and hearing equipments.

2021-07-09
Hearing aid maintenance

Hearing aid maintenance

Information about hearing aid maintenance, how to clean the hearing aid microphone, etc.

Hearing aids require special attention to ensure their proper functioning. You should have special cleaning tools for hearing aids and drying tanks provided by hearing aid companies. If so, please use it every night. Rechargeable BTE hearing aids and ITC hearing aids also require maintenance. If you need to replace parts or purchase consumables, please contact your audiologist to confirm whether these consumables can be shipped to your home. Remember these tips to keep your hearing aids in good working order.

Perform visual inspections every day. Start from the part that directly enters the ear, and take a closer look at the entire hearing aid body. Check whether the earwax may prevent the sound from entering normally. The hearing aid body or tube should also be checked for cracks.

Rechargeable Hearing aid maintenance

If you are using custom-made hearing aid, check the cerumen cap-if you see a lot of earwax, this is a good time to replace it!

If you are using a open-fit hearing aid, please check whether there is earwax on the earplugs of the hearing aid. If there is a large amount of earwax, please find out how to clean or replace it from the user manual. Please check whether the sound tube is broken or needs to be replaced. If it is a thin tube back-to-ear machine (BTE-OE), please also remove the earplugs and clean the sound tube. You can use fishing line to clean it.

Check the battery. Hearing aid batteries should be kept for at least 5 to 10 days, depending on the hearing aid model, battery size and the use of the connectivity function (Bluetooth). If you have a battery tester at home, please check whether the battery is sufficient to make the hearing aid work with the best performance; if you do not have a battery tester, it is recommended that you record the battery usage time. And make sure to do the following:

Please carry spare batteries with you and store them in a cool and dry place (not the refrigerator)

For rechargeable hearing aids: such as rechargeable cic hearing aids. Please reserve enough recommended charging time to enable the hearing aid to be fully charged. If necessary, you can check the relevant instructions in the user manual. Record the length of time the hearing aid has been used. If you find that the charging status is not as expected, please contact your optician.

Please clean the hearing aid regularly with a soft dry cloth. Please check hearing aids, earmolds, earplugs or pipes for dirt and earwax.

For users of hearing aids using customized ear molds, please note that they can be removed from the hearing aids, cleaned with warm (rather than hot) soapy water, and then washed clean. Make sure the earmould is dry before re fitting it to the hearing aid.

Circular earplugs used with open-fit hearing aids should be cleaned with dry cloth or special tools provided by the fitting engineer. Some fitters will provide replacement earplug spare parts. If your earplug is discolored, broken or damaged, please remove it and replace it with a new one and connect it to the hearing aid.

Minimize moisture in hearing aids. The drying equipment (drying box) can prevent moisture from accumulating inside the hearing aid and prolong its service life. Please remove the battery before putting the hearing aid into the storage container. If you live in a very humid area, please ask your fitter if you use proper drying equipment for your hearing aid. If a simple jar or dryer is not enough, a more advanced dryer can be used.

2021-07-06
Can hearing aids reduce tinnitus?

Can hearing aids reduce tinnitus?

Reading this article will help you answer related questions such as hearing aid for tinnitus masking, can hearing aids make tinnitus worse and hearing aid for tinnitus cost.

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom of persistent hearing of disturbing calls.

The cause of tinnitus?

At present, there is no exact evidence to prove why tinnitus occurs, and there is no completely objective examination that can directly reflect the cause of tinnitus. At present, it is speculated that tinnitus may be caused by physiological phenomena, such as acoustic neuroma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, etc; It may also be accompanied by hearing changes, such as sudden deafness (hearing loss); Other reasons may also be due to sleep, diet and so on.

Best hearing aids for tinnitus masking

The majority of tinnitus patients are associated with long-term hearing loss or sudden deafness (hearing loss). It is generally believed that hearing loss will reduce the stimulation of sound to the brain, and then cause changes in the brain's processing of sound. Tinnitus is the product of these abnormal brain discharges of sound.

How can hearing aids relieve tinnitus?

According to a survey in 2007, about 60% of tinnitus patients feel relieved when wearing hearing aids, while 22% of them feel significantly improved. When tinnitus and hearing loss coexist, most patients can feel relieved by using hearing aids.

Hearing aids can amplify sound and increase the stimulation of subtle environmental sound to the brain auditory system. Under the long-term sound stimulation, we hope to slow down the abnormal discharge of the brain to sound. And most of the hearing aids now have the function of tinnitus masking. There are different tinnitus masking sounds that can slow down tinnitus or distract attention. Of course, it won't have an immediate effect. It also needs a period of stimulation to slow down the symptoms and influence of tinnitus. Our rechargeable BTE hearing aids and rechargeable CIC hearing aids have such a tinnitus masking effect.

Hearing aids not only increase the ambient sound, but also cover the patients' perception of tinnitus, so as to reduce the physiological and psychological impact of tinnitus on patients.

In addition to the common hearing loss will be accompanied by tinnitus, there are many reasons closely related to tinnitus, when tinnitus has an impact on life, we should actively look for hearing professionals for relevant consultation, in order to eliminate the relevant risk factors and deal with it as soon as possible!

2021-07-01
Hearing loss may cause Alzheimer's?

Hearing loss may cause Alzheimer's?

With the social and economic growth and the continuous improvement of medical conditions, my country has entered an aging society, and the elderly are a high incidence of cognitive dysfunction. Mckhann et al. first linked hearing loss with cognitive function when studying mental illness. In recent years, hearing loss and Alzheimer's have a close relationship, which has been understood by more and more people.

Effects of hearing loss on cognitive development. According to WHO data, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease for elderly people with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss is 2 times, 3 times, and 5 times that of the elderly with normal hearing; each increase of one standard deviation of hearing loss will increase 0.23% of dementia manifestations.

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer disease (AD), also known as senile dementia, is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system, with an insidious onset and a chronic and progressive course. Mainly manifested as neuropsychiatric symptoms such as progressive memory impairment, cognitive dysfunction, personality change and language impairment, which seriously affect social, professional and life functions.

What is the relationship between hearing loss and Alzheimer's? Can alzheimer's cause hearing loss, is hearing loss a sign of dementia?

dementia prevention intervention

First, let's see how we hear the sound.

Sound is collected through the auricle and transmitted to the inner ear through the middle ear of the outer ear. The cochlea of the inner ear senses the sound and transforms it into nerve impulses that are transmitted to the auditory center of the cerebral cortex through the auditory nerve, and are connected with the language center to finally understand the meaning of speech. How does hearing loss affect the body?

However, when hearing declines, the auditory pathway is inhibited, and the brain's input (stimulus) is significantly reduced. This may greatly reduce the available resources of the language center to process sound, and affect the speech recognition ability of patients with hearing loss.

Side effects of hearing loss

While hearing loss directly affects the auditory center and language center, it also affects other areas of the brain. Due to hearing loss, the auditory center of our brain cannot be effectively stimulated, and the brain will allocate the functions of other regions to the auditory center, which causes the stimulation of other regions to be reduced, thereby increasing the overall load of the brain. Therefore, hearing loss is an important factor in inducing Alzheimer's disease.

Some scholars believe that hearing impairment can be used as a factor that promotes the occurrence of senile dementia, that is, the more severe the hearing impairment, the more severe the cognitive impairment.

Early intervention for hearing loss

Early intervention for hearing loss

The curative effect of early treatment of any disease is better than late treatment, and Alzheimer's is no exception.

Studies have shown that the use of hearing aids in the elderly can effectively avoid cognitive decline. After wearing hearing aids, the continuous listening ability is ensured, so that the centers of the cerebral cortex can maintain effective activity and slow down the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease. Rechargeable bte hearing aids or rechargeable CIC hearing aids are usually ideal for the elderly, eliminating the hassle of frequent battery replacement.

Of course, in addition to hearing intervention and improvement of hearing, maintaining an optimistic attitude, healthy eating, and strengthening exercise all have a certain effect on preventing Alzheimer's disease.

2021-06-25
What should the family members of hearing loss patients pay attention to?

What should the family members of hearing loss patients pay attention to?

Communicating with People with Hearing Loss, If you are speaking with someone who has a hearing impairment what should you do? Hearing loss not only affects patients' listening and communication, but also affects their lives, psychologically, and emotionally, so our family needs to give them more patience and care.

Communicating with People with Hearing Loss

Communication

  • Both parties should talk face-to-face, preferably within 3 meters;
  • Keep the sound intensity moderate, speak as clearly as possible, and avoid shouting;
  • The speech speed remains stable. If the hearing impaired person cannot hear clearly, the speech speed can be reduced appropriately, not too fast;
  • Avoid talking in a noisy environment;
  • Attract the attention of the hearing-impaired before speaking, and notify the hearing-impaired before changing the topic;
  • Family members do not cover mouth shapes or facial expressions during communication, so that hearing-impaired people can better obtain information;
  • The speaker should try to use short and clear sentences, and try to simplify the complicated sentences as much as possible;
  • When the hearing-impaired person does not hear clearly, you can change to another more concise and easy-to-understand expression.

Psychological

Although hearing-impaired people with the help of hearing aids or cochlear implants, these two are only auxiliary tools after all and cannot restore the wearer's normal hearing. What the hearing-impaired people need most is to be accepted and understood by others.

How to help and support someone with hearing loss

  • Family members should give more positive and positive feedback to the hearing-impaired, and encourage them to listen and talk more;
  • When communication is not smooth, family members need to be more patient and not show impatience. Otherwise, it will be easier for the hearing-impaired to use hearing aids.

Maintenance

For hearing-impaired people, especially children or the elderly, they may not be able to maintain their hearing aids well, or they may not be able to make a good judgment when a hearing aid fails. As family members, we need to always pay attention to the condition of their hearing aids and help clean and maintain them on time. To ensure that the hearing aid always provides the best hearing aid. It is recommended to use a rechargeable BTE hearing aid, or a rechargeable CIC hearing aid, to save the trouble of replacing the battery.

Tips for Hearing Impared Family Members

Hearing and hearing aid effects

Hearing-impaired people sometimes cannot find that their hearing conditions and hearing aid effects have changed, or find that they have not expressed them. At this time, we need our family to pay more attention and judge by some small daily details. For example, wearing hearing aids only needs to be normal before. It can be heard at the volume, but now it needs a louder sound or it needs to be repeated many times to hear clearly, then the hearing of the hearing-impaired person or the hearing aid effect of the hearing aid may have changed, then the family needs to help the patient make an appointment with audiologists, re-evaluate their hearing or adjust hearing aid parameters in order to achieve the best hearing aid effect.

As family members, it is necessary for us to understand the deafness and mental state of the hearing-impaired, master the correct communication methods, the correct way to use hearing aids, and maintain love and patience in communicating with the hearing-impaired. Patience and participation of family members will help increase the confidence of hearing-impaired people in using hearing aids and the effectiveness of hearing aids.

2021-06-23
How to make an earmold/ear impressions for hearing aids

How to make an earmold/ear impressions for hearing aids

Making ear impressions for hearing aids is one of the important steps in the fitting process of hearing aids. Whether the ear impressions are made correctly is related to the hearing aid effects. For example, if the ear impressions are too large, the patient may feel swollen and painful when wearing the hearing aids; Too small will cause howling problems. In addition, making ear impressions is also the most dangerous step in hearing aid fitting. If you are not careful, it may be difficult to take out the ear impressions. The preparation of ear impressions is very important. The steps and precautions for the preparation of ear impressions are listed below.

Making ear impressions for hearing aids

Hearing aid earmold making guide

Before making ear impressions, prepare the tools one by one, and perform alcohol sterilization on the making tools such as tweezers for the search light.

Ask for medical history

Ask the patient whether he has had ear infections, surgery, etc. in the last 3 months. In particular, some patients undergoing radical mastoidectomy will have surgical cavities, which can be filled more when filling the cotton barrier, so that the patient's surgical cavities can be filled to avoid difficulties in removal.

Check the external ear canal

First check whether the external auditory canal is red and swollen; whether the eardrum is intact; whether there is pus or inflammation; whether there is ear wax blocked and need to take it out. For inflammation and pus, let the patient seek medical treatment first, and wait until it stabilizes, and then,take an ear impression. Then check the size, curvature and direction of the ear canal to determine where to place the ear barrier.

Place a cotton barrier

First, put the cotton barrier at the mouth of the ear canal, and then slowly push the center of the cotton barrier with the head of the ear probe to push the barrier flat across the second bend of the ear canal by 2-3mm (The position of the cotton barrier can be placed according to the type of hearing aid to be made. Slightly adjusted).

Ear impression materials are mixed

The matrix of the ear impression material and the coagulant are kneaded in a one-to-one ratio in the shortest possible time, knead it into a ball, put it into the syringe as soon as possible, and push it to the tip of the syringe with the syringe core to eliminate air bubbles and extrude the front Discard the impression material about 0.5 cm long and start the injection again. For some patients with dry ear skin, especially the elderly, you can apply some baby moisturizer to the external auditory canal first to avoid damage to the external auditory canal when the ear impression is taken out.

Fill the ear canal

When injecting, always hold down the cotton barrier and pull the cord to avoid deepening into the external auditory canal due to injection pressure. The tip of the syringe is 0.5-1.0cm deep into the external ear canal (note that there is a little gap between it and the ear canal). During the injection process, the front end of the syringe must always be buried in the ear print material, so that the ear print material overflows, and the syringe is withdrawn thereafter. The injection in the ear canal needs to be light and slow; when it reaches the ear concha cavity, the injection needs to be completed quickly. After the injection is completed, do not press hard on the outside to avoid the model being too large.

Take out the ear impression

After injecting the ear impression material, you should always pay attention to the solidification of the ear impression, and lightly scratch the ear impression with your fingernail. The best time to take it out is when it can pop up quickly. It is necessary to gently pull the impression away from the auricle to allow air to enter the ear to prevent the patient's discomfort due to the negative pressure in the ear canal. Then first take out the triangular fossa area, then tighten the auricle, raise the impression slightly, move the ear impression back and forth, and gently rotate it upwards, forwards, and outwards to remove it smoothly. If you encounter flat and large curvature, you cannot use the forward and outward turning method, and you must use the method of gently lifting the lower end of the ear, pulling it gently, and stopping it.

earmold for hearing aid

Check the ear impression

Observe whether the whole ear impression is intact and has no defects, whether the surface is smooth without swelling, dents, cracks or bubbles; whether the external auditory canal opening, interscreen notch, and concha cavity are intact; whether the ear impression exceeds the second bend by 2-3mm; Whether the mold has complete helix casters. If there is any defect, take it again immediately and pay attention to the operation of the defective part.

Check the external ear canal

After taking it out, use an electric otoscope to carefully observe whether there is any residual material left in the ear. If there is redness and swelling, use hydrogen peroxide to wipe the ear canal. The purpose is to quickly eliminate inflammation (the pressure of injection and injection may cause redness and swelling of the ear canal). Instruct patients to take a bath or wash their hair these days, if the ear canal gets water, it should be wiped dry with a cotton swab in time to avoid inflammation.

2021-06-18
Learn the truth about tinnitus to improve the quality of life

Learn the truth about tinnitus to improve the quality of life

If you are one of the millions of people in the world who suffer from tinnitus, then you know that it affects everything from work to home and social life, and the constant sound in your ears can also cause stress and frustration.

Tinnitus is the perception of sound without actual sound. For many people, tinnitus is characterized by ringing, but it also sounds like whistling, buzzing, or hissing. Ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears that may be constant or come and go, often associated with hearing loss. Ringing in ears can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease. Examples include exposure to loud sounds, whiplash, head injuries, too much ear wax, or medication side effects.The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.

ringing-in-ears

According to the American Tinnitus Association, there are millions of tinnitus patients in the United States. Since many people suffer from tinnitus, it is more important to distinguish facts from rumors. Knowing the truth about tinnitus can provide you with the best opportunity to effectively cope with and reduce symptoms, thereby improving your quality of life.

tinnitus

Tinnitus is a disease?

Tinnitus itself is not a disease, but a symptom caused by many underlying diseases. The harmful noise, nerve damage, vascular disease and even brain trauma are just some of the possible factors that cause tinnitus, and it can also cause tinnitus (and hearing loss) due to certain drug reactions. There is currently no "cure" for tinnitus, but there are treatments available that can reduce symptoms and make it easier for people to coexist with it.

As long as you change your eating habits, tinnitus will disappear?

Although some people think that certain additives and food ingredients (such as alcohol, sodium, caffeine) can aggravate tinnitus, they are usually not the underlying cause. A balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (including exercise) are always important to overall health, but tinnitus needs to be dealt with separately, and these alone cannot “cure” tinnitus.

Only people with hearing loss have tinnitus?

People with hearing loss may have tinnitus, and it is highly correlated, but tinnitus may also occur without hearing loss. If you are exposed to very loud noises such as rock concerts or explosions, you may hear temporary tinnitus. Certain diseases or drug use can also cause tinnitus, so even you don’t have hearing loss, it is worth a hearing examination.

Everyone with tinnitus will eventually become deaf?

Tinnitus and hearing loss often exist at the same time, but their condition are self-existent. Having tinnitus does not mean that you have hearing loss. Even if you have hearing loss, it does not mean that you will be completely deaf. Hearing aids can compensate for hearing loss, and some models can even deal with tinnitus symptoms at the same time.

Hearing aids for tinnitus

The tinnitus masking technology of hearing aids can conceal the internal sound of tinnitus by adding special external noises, thereby solving hearing loss and tinnitus symptoms. This is the so-called “masking”. The progress of sound therapy has achieved great success. Other methods include meditation, stress management techniques, and changes in diet and exercise. You can consult an expert specializing in tinnitus treatment some method that suits you.

Can hearing aids help with my tinnitus? Amplification with hearing aids can bring relief to people experiencing tinnitus, as they may boost ambient sounds that can help take the focus off of tinnitus.

2021-06-17
Hearing Loss In Young People

Hearing Loss In Young People

Hearing loss is a common condition in the western world, and the UK is no exception. Over 9 million people are thought to suffer from some degree of hearing loss. According the RNID (The Royal National Institute for Deaf People) out of the UK’s 9 million hard of hearing, the vast majority (>70%) are over 60 years old and suffer from age related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis. Hearing loss amongst those younger than this can be from a variety of causes, it can be present at birth or occur because of disease or infections later in life, or even be caused due to noise. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) appears an unfortunate consequence of our industrialised lives.

Around 840 babies a year are born with a significant hearing impairment. About 1 in 1,000 children are deaf at age three. Effects of hearing loss will vary according to the severity of the loss, and at what age or stage of development the loss occurs within each child. Hearing loss in children needs to be diagnosed and managed by a team of health care professionals.

Whilst more severe hearing loss in children may be easier to identify, there is a growing concern among hearing healthcare professionals that prolonged exposure to high levels of noise is leading to hearing loss (albeit milder losses) among young people. While UK figures are not widely available, according to the American Academy of Audiology, more than 5 million children age 6 to 19 in the USA are thought to show noise-induced hearing loss. The degree of any resultant hearing loss caused by noise exposure will depend on the level of the noise and the duration of exposure. Children and teens may be more at risk due to the widespread use of devices such as MP3 players. Many of these devices are capable of producing high volume levels for long periods of time due to their high-tech long-lasting batteries.

For the vast majority of hearing loss causes including NIHL, once damage has been done, it is permanent, and can be managed rather than cured. Ways to reduce hearing loss amongst young people include education, use of hearing protection as well as setting an example for them to follow.

1. Education - Children should be made aware of the dangers of loud noise. Sounds that exceed 85 db are potentially harmful to ones hearing system and appropriate action should be taken. Children are acutely aware of the actions and reactions of their parents, so you should lead by example and demonstrate that you understand the risks of hearing loss and doing your best to prevent those.

2. Music Devices – When headphones are worn, volume settings are often increased to override environmental noise, which can place the listener at risk for noise damage. Some headphones and MP3 players will automatically limit the volume of sound.

3. Hearing Protection - Earplugs are the most popular form of hearing protection. These are inserted in the ear canal to protect the wearer's hearing from loud noises caused by any number of reasons. Noise can be from machinery such as when mowing the lawn (100 db) or even from strong wind such when riding a scooter. Ear protection in the form of headphones is also available, and can offer even more attenuation of sound than earplugs.

4. Precaution – Encourage young people not to stand too close to loud speakers at concerts – however tempting it may be!

If you suspect that your child’s hearing might be impaired, visit your GP for a hearing test. This testing is quick and painless.
2021-03-10
Loud Or LOUD

Loud Or LOUD

‘Speak up please…..ok, there’s no need to shout!’
If you have a relative or acquaintance with hearing loss, you may have heard those words before…or perhaps you’ve had to say them yourself?

Most people understand ‘hearing loss’ to mean that more volume is required in order to hear. However it is not only about adding more volume; many people with hearing loss perceive loud sounds in a similar way to normal hearing individuals; and may even be more sensitive at certain frequencies or pitches.

The ability to manage the range of incoming sound volume is referred to within the world of psycho-acoustics as a person’s ‘dynamic range’. Psycho-acoustics is the study of how sound is perceived; and is central to developing products designed to help with hearing loss such as hearing aids. So, in other words, dynamic range is the range of hearing between hearing threshold (i.e. just audible) and uncomfortable listening levels.

Being able to process different volumes is controlled by the cochlea, which is a part of our inner ear. This is a non-linear organ, in that it handles sounds with lower intensities differently to sounds with higher intensities. Within the cochlea, tiny hair cells pick up various aspects of the incoming ‘wave’ of stimulation. Hearing loss occurs when these hair cells are damaged. If this happens, we often see a reduced dynamic range which indicates that the ear’s ability to process loudness is impaired.

For the normal hearing ear:

10dBHL is ‘I can only just hear it’ ; 100dB HL is ‘very very loud!’
Therefore the dynamic range is 90dB.

For the ear with sensorineural hearing loss:

60dBHL is ‘I can only just hear it’ ; but 100dBHL is ‘very very loud!’
The dynamic range is 40dB.

Hearing aids can not (yet!?) replace a normally functioning cochlea however they try to imitate the function of the hair cells, particularly when it comes to restoring normal loudness growth. For a hearing aid to do this well means that a hearing aid wearer should perceive soft sounds as soft, medium sounds should be comfortable and loud sounds should sound loud, regardless of their dynamic range. Digital hearing aids therefore aim to provide what is referred to as non-linear amplification so that low-intensity inputs are given more increased volume more than high-intensity inputs.
2021-02-25
6 Lifestyle Changes for Better Hearing Health

6 Lifestyle Changes for Better Hearing Health

Your ears are more connected to the rest of the body than you might expect. Your physical health can, and often does, have a direct impact on your hearing. Take good care of your body, and you have a much better chance of having healthy, functioning ears through to old age. Consequently, if you fail to care for your body, you have a much higher chance of hearing impairment. With that in mind, let's go over a few things you can change about your lifestyle to keep your ears both healthy and functional.

Work On Your Nutrition
According to a study published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, there exists a known link between diet and the susceptibility to conditions like tinnitus, the sensitivity of the inner ear to noise, and age-related hearing loss. Per the study, a diet high in vitamin B12 reduced the odds of these conditional, whilst high intakes of fat, iron, and calcium had the opposite effect. Vitamin D also reduced hearing difficulties, as did a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. 

In other words, if you tend to overindulge in stuff like pizza, burgers, and other unhealthy meals, your hearing health (and your health in general) will suffer. If you focus on a balanced, healthy diet rich in natural foods and low in stuff like sodium and saturated fat, you will be in far better shape overall. And not just where your ears are concerned. 

Do Some Light Exercise
As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise reduces the risk of a wide range of debilitating conditions, including both diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. It's also been linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and dementia. In addition, because it promotes better cardiovascular health, it can even help protect against age-related hearing loss.

Make sure you don't overdo it, though. You should start with 15 to 30 minutes of light exercise daily. Just enough to get your blood flowing and work up a bit of a sweat. 

You can always amp things up later, so as to reduce the risk of self-injury. 

Stay Away From Cigarettes

Even secondhand smoke can cause hearing loss, according to a study published by Web MD, an online health information network. Not only do cigarettes wreak havoc with your blood pressure and central nervous system, but the smoke can also create blockages in the eustachian tube. Any of these problems can cause hearing loss.


Sleep
It seems like we never get enough sleep. Especially now, with all the stress of what's going on in the world around us. And that's a problem.

Not only does a lack of sleep cause significant issues with your mental health, but it can also cause a number of different problems related to your physical wellbeing, including increasing your risk of developing a wide range of illnesses and diseases. And yes, this includes hearing loss. 

Watch The Noise

As you might expect, loud noise tends to be one of the most significant causes of hearing impairment and hearing loss. Fortunately, protecting yourself against it isn't too difficult. Avoid listening to loud music via headphones for extended periods, and wear hearing protection in loud environments such as construction sites and nightclubs. 

Schedule Regular Hearing Tests

Last but certainly not least, talk to an audiologist. Especially as you get older, it's critical that you contact an audiologist and schedule a hearing test at least annually. Not only can this help you correct any ongoing issues with your hearing, but it can also help you catch potential causes of hearing impairment before they cause permanent damage.




2021-02-19
Is there a tinnitus cure?

Is there a tinnitus cure?

The answer: Not yet, but there may be a tinnitus cure on the horizon. Read on to see what's being done to help people with tinnitus.

Tinnitus – the ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears that may be constant or come and go – has annoyed people for thousands of years. It is a phenomenon highly associated with hearing loss. Not all people who experience tinnitus have hearing loss, and some people with hearing loss don’t experience tinnitus. HearingLife’s professionals have options for you to help you treat tinnitus.

Despite worldwide efforts to address a chronic issue that impacts more than 50 million Americans,¹ scientists and audiologists are still searching for an overarching cure for tinnitus. Until there is one, here are some remedies that could mean an improved quality of life for millions.

Recent research and a cure for tinnitus
Fortunately, researchers are examining multiple aspects of tinnitus. Across the globe, studies are ongoing to expand understanding of the phenomenon, including exploring new treatment options for tinnitus, with the goal of a tinnitus cure. Some are looking at triggers for tinnitus, others at therapeutic treatments.

In one study researchers, including Martin Jensen with the University of Marburg in Germany and Eriksholm Research Centre, are investigating how retraining the brain could improve tinnitus symptoms. (Eriksholm Research Centre partners with Oticon in developing Oticon More™ and other hearing aids that offer tinnitus settings.)

Covid-19 and tinnitus
In late 2020, researchers from the UK and the United States looked at links between Covid-19 and tinnitus. The study of more than 3,100 people found that Covid-19 exacerbates tinnitus for people who already had tinnitus prior to having Covid. The study included patients in 48 countries. 40% of participants experienced a worsening of tinnitus after becoming ill with the Coronavirus.² If you or a loved one have experienced increased tinnitus with Covid and would like to discuss treatment for tinnitus, we invite you to schedule an appointment online. As scientists continue to look at the impacts of the pandemic, there may be more news on this front.

Is there research for a tinnitus cure?
With diverse causes, a tinnitus cure may not be one-size-fits-all. In the interim, research continues in both treatment and cures. Focusing on the causes of tinnitus, which are very similar to hearing loss, may lead to new ways prevent it. on the causes of tinnitus and how to prevent it. Tinnitus has many of the same causes as hearing loss.

Hope on the horizon with clinical trials
If you are considering seeking innovative therapies, you may want to look into joining a US government-approved clinical trial. More than 20 tinnitus clinical trials are recruiting candidates as of February 2021. You can find the latest admissions criteria and opportunities to take part at the U.S. government’s clinical trials online information. To learn more, talk to your physician to find out if this is right for you.

The American Tinnitus Association is a professional organization focused on tinnitus relief. Since 1980, they have contributed more than $6 million to sponsor research aimed at finding a cure and optimizing treatments. For information on their research program, how to submit a proposal, and to learn about their findings, go to https://www.ata.org/research-toward-cure/research-program.

Tinnitus and hearing loss and why it’s important to check your hearing
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, roughly 90% of people who have tinnitus also have underlying hearing loss.³ If you have debilitating tinnitus, it may be beneficial to check for hearing loss.
2021-02-19
When Should You See a Doctor About Tinnitus?

When Should You See a Doctor About Tinnitus?

Tinnitus, or ringing in your ear(s), is often a symptom of some other underlying health condition. As it's not a disease itself, it can be challenging to treat, and many people avoid going to the doctor.

However, if your symptom persists, you must seek medical attention. Some underlying conditions can be cured or at least slowed if treated early enough.  

Even if the condition can't be cured, healthcare professionals will be able to help you find solutions to deal with tinnitus.

So when should you see a doctor for tinnitus?

Below are some indicators that you should discuss your tinnitus symptoms with a healthcare professional immediately. 

You’ve experienced ringing in the ears for more than a week
If you woke up this morning with a slight ringing in your ear, it might not be anything to worry about. Perhaps you have water in your ear from last night's pool party or a buildup of wax.

However, if you've experienced a constant ringing, static or buzzing sound for at least a week, you should contact a doctor to see if there is an underlying condition.

Therefore, even if your tinnitus is bearable, don't hesitate to go to a doctor if your symptoms persist.

You’re experiencing discharge from the ear
If you're experiencing discharge from an ear and also experience a constant ringing or buzzing (tinnitus), you may have an ear infection. 

Ear infections are particularly common in children with four out of five children experiencing an ear infection before their third birthday. An ear infection occurs when an infection overtakes the air-filled space in the middle ear. The ear is typically painful to the touch. 

While some ear infections go away on their own, you can contact your doctor to receive an antibiotic to speed up the healing process. If left untreated for an extended period of time, ear infections can result in hearing loss, mastoiditis, perforation of the eardrum, and more.

This type of tinnitus usually isn't lasting, but it's worth getting a doctor's opinion.

You feel dizzy or nauseous
If dizziness or nausea accompanies your tinnitus symptoms, you should contact a doctor immediately. While there are multiple causes for tinnitus, dizziness and nausea are also symptoms of Meniere's disease. There is no cure for Meniere's disease right now, but treating it quickly will help slow the disease's progression. 

In the meantime, you should avoid caffeine, tobacco, high sodium foods, and even chocolate.

While Meniere's is a rare disease that affects only about 0.2 percent of American adults, it should be seriously examined.

You only experience symptoms in one ear
Tinnitus usually occurs bilaterally (in both ears). However, if you experience tinnitus unilaterally (one ear ringing), you should talk to a doctor as soon as possible. 

Unilateral tinnitus is usually a sign of Meniere's disease, or Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (ISSNHL). ISSNHL is quite serious, and studies have shown that patients that are treated earlier (in say 24 hours) have a much higher recovery rate. In fact, most doctors will refer you to a specialist for a same-day appointment to begin treatment immediately.

The symptom is rhythmic with your pulse (pulsatile)
Tinnitus noises can be constant or infrequent, though if you notice it's steady with your pulse, you should make a doctor's appointment sooner than later. 

Pulsatile tinnitus can be an indicator of anything from high blood pressure and vascular malformations to head and neck tumors or aneurysms.

However, the majority of underlying conditions are not very serious, and pulsatile tinnitus is usually just an indicator of a blood vessel with fluid in the eardrum.

Only 10 percent of all tinnitus patients suffer from pulsatile tinnitus, and it is often audible to doctors as well.

What Kind of Doctor Treats Tinnitus?
As nearly 90 percent of those with tinnitus also experience hearing loss, a tinnitus audiologist is an ideal doctor for hearing loss. The audiologist will give you a tinnitus hearing test to see what is causing your tinnitus and better understand how to treat it. You will be able to live with tinnitus and there are options to increase your quality of life.





2021-02-18
What People with Hearing Loss Can Teach Everyone About Better Communication

What People with Hearing Loss Can Teach Everyone About Better Communication

Today’s post is written by Zina Jawadi, a medical school student at UCLA with prelingual bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. In this post, Zina explains what people with hearing loss can teach industry about better communication. 

At the end of our first full week of working from home due to the COVID-19 crisis, my team held a 20-person meeting over Zoom. Cheering to a hard week of working from home, attendees turned off Mute to start clapping. Unlike the other team members, I applauded the Deaf way, using sign language, which I felt was appropriate for a virtual meeting – raising, waving, and shaking my hands along with an expressive face. My team loved the idea and followed my lead. 

A week later, in another large meeting, the head of my team used the Deaf silent applause. I was touched that my team had remembered this small tidbit. My voice as a hearing loss advocate felt valued, and I realized how much the world can benefit from the communication styles of the hearing loss community during this COVID-19 crisis.

 
Virtual Meetings Highlight the Need for Communication Best Practices
 

With social distancing, virtual meetings, and working from home, effective forms of verbal and nonverbal communication are more important than ever. As compared to phone calls, video calls provide enhanced abilities to read someone’s body language. Utilizing virtual whiteboards for brainstorming sessions allows for visual ways to illustrate concepts, making it easier to follow unstructured conversations. Sending next steps in an email promotes accountability and sets clear expectations. The world is beginning to prioritize written forms of communication, speechreading, and active listening, communication best practices that the hearing loss community have always used.

The same is true with technology. Many technologies that support people with hearing loss have revolutionized the world, not just in the COVID-19 crisis, but for decades. Although I strongly disapprove of his view on deafness, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone for people with hearing loss. Dr. Vinton Cerf reported that he invented the Internet in part to help people with hearing loss. Speech-to-text technology, such as Google’s Live Transcribe, is an extraordinarily powerful tool with a wide range of applications for both hearing and hard-of-hearing people. Hearing aids have inspired the hearables industry.  

Today, the entire world is relying on these very tools to work from home in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve. 

 

Tips For Inclusive Virtual Meetings
 

Here are some tips for making your next virtual meeting more inclusive for people with hearing loss.

 * Create multi-sensory experiences by using visual features, to ensure that the meeting is not solely audio based. For instance, Zoom has annotations and whiteboard features. Write down the key transitions and main points being brought up by others on the screen. Alternatively, a meeting attendee can share a screen and type in Word.
 * To minimize background noise, turn on Mute when not speaking.
 * Turn on videos so others can speech-read. Research shows that nonverbal communication is often as important as verbal communication.
 * Make sure that only one person is speaking at a time.
 * Summarize key points and next steps in a follow-up email.
 * Ensure everyone is in a quiet room with good Wi-Fi connectivity.
 * Have all meeting attendees test their microphones to make sure the sound is loud enough.
 * Utilize headphones, if needed, to hear better.
 * Make sure there is no light behind you, which prevents others from seeing your face clearly and from speech-reading.
 * For more tips, see Hearing Loss Association of America’s employment toolkit. 

As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, I hope that the world continues to apply the skills of effective listening valued and relied on by the hearing loss community. I hope that we better appreciate the hearing loss community. And most importantly, I hope that society continues to value and learn from the hearing loss community.




2021-02-09
An Audiologist’s Guide to Hearing Loss

An Audiologist’s Guide to Hearing Loss

by Callum McPhillips

We have 5 senses vital to everyday life, yet hearing is thought to be one of the most important. In terms of communication, hearing allows us to connect with loved ones, contributing to our happiness and well-being.

However, to communicate effectively, our hearing should be accurate and instant. Hearing reduction can gradually affect how well we communicate with one another.


Hearing reduction
 

Because hearing loss can be so gradual once many of us reach 50, it can be difficult to detect hearing reduction over several years. People close to you are often the first to notice.

Yet, suffering from hearing loss is not necessarily a serious condition. There are many hearing solutions available. Suffering from hearing loss is no more serious than experiencing a loss of close vision. Yet, even mild hearing loss can affect our quality of life and how effectively we communicate with others.

 

Causes of hearing loss
 
There are several potential causes of hearing loss. Some of these include:

* Ageing
Genetics
Infection
noise exposure
trauma, strokes and more.
It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of hearing loss sometimes, yet often it is due to the natural ageing process. Only 1.7% of people aged below 40 in western society (NIDCD) suffer from significant hearing loss, yet these figures increase after the age of 40.

Levels of hearing loss
 There are different degrees of hearing loss. These include:

Normal
Mild
Moderate
Severe
Profound
There are, however, solutions to each above level of hearing loss.

Hearing solutions
 
Each level of hearing loss has its own issues and solutions. It is important to look for solutions quickly if possible. Taking a proactive approach by having regular hearing tests and check-ups can catch any form of hearing loss early.
Over 90% of people who experience hearing loss are in groups 1-3. It is straightforward to find hearing solutions for these degrees of hearing loss. Same-day solutions can even be arranged.
Some solutions include hearing aids, as well as several hearing accessories which work in conjunction with phones, doorbells, and televisions. There are hearing solutions which can help with several aspects of hearing, not just communicating. Following a hearing test, if appropriate, the audiologist will be able to determine which hearing aid and programming are most suitable for you. The programming is just as important as the hearing aid.

 

Hearing tests
 Audiologists can carry out regular hearing checks to maintain good ear health.

As mentioned, hearing loss is usually gradual, with the slow decline being hard to detect. It is often picked up by loved ones before us. This is why regular hearing checks are so important. They are quick, non-invasive, and often free of charge. If same-day service is available solutions can be provided on the day.

 

What is normal hearing?
 

The 2 main elements of normal hearing are volume and frequency. Volume determines how loud (how many decibels) a sound needs to be before we hear it, whereas frequency determines the range of pitch we are able to identify. This is why there is a difference between how loudly and how clearly we hear.

Hearing tests determine the effectiveness of both elements. Audiologists can then determine an appropriate hearing solution depending on the results of the test.

 

When should we have regular hearing tests?
 

Whereas eyesight begins to reduce from 40, our hearing naturally reduces from the age of 50. Usually, our ability to hear frequencies reduces first, then eventually volume reduces too. Hearing loss does not necessarily affect our quality of life until it interferes with how well we hear volume and clarity of speech. This can take many years of gradual hearing loss.

Over 40% of people of 50 experience hearing loss, this figure rises to 70% for people aged over 70.

Hearing is vital for communicating with loved ones and forming connections with new people. When our hearing decreases, whether it is how well we perceive volume or frequency, this ultimately affects our quality of life.

Hearing tests can determine how you struggle to hear and allow an audiologist to provide you with appropriate solutions. Modern hearing aids restore hearing ability similarly to how glasses restore vision.

Ultimately, hearing solutions can have a great effect on our hearing, and our everyday lives.





 
2021-02-09
How to Handle the Holidays When You Have a Hearing Loss

How to Handle the Holidays When You Have a Hearing Loss


The holidays are a great time of year, filled with family dinners and celebrations, gatherings with friends, holiday parties, and lots of socializing.  I love getting dressed up, enjoying the decorations and participating in the general feeling of happiness that comes along with the season.  But if I’m not careful, all the socializing and holiday hubbub can become exhausting and overwhelming. I want to be a part of the fun, but the concentration required to hear can be taxing, particularly at holiday parties held in noisy restaurants or similar venues.

But, let’s NOT let that put a damper on the holiday season!  I hope these tips will help you approach the holiday season with more joy and less fear.  Please let me know your suggestions in the comments.

Living With Hearing Loss’s Tips to Survive and Thrive at Holiday Gatherings

Position yourself in a good spot: For me, it is very helpful if I have a wall behind me to block the background noise.  If it is a seated meal, I try to sit near the middle of the table, which gives me a better shot at hearing more conversation. If it is a cocktail party, I scope out a quieter area of the room away from the music and high traffic areas like the buffet or bar area and try to spend time there.  If the party is in multiple rooms, I head to the quieter room. You can invite some friends to come with you.  I bet they will enjoy the lower volume too.

 * Avoid background noise when possible:  If I am hosting, I always keep background music to a minimum. Other hosts may like to play music more loudly.  Try asking your host to lower the volume a bit or to adjust the volume in different parts of the room or venue.  I always ask restaurants to turn down the volume of the music too!
 * Converse with those next to you:  At a seated dinner, don’t try to participate in conversations across large distances.  If you would like to talk with someone, move closer to him, or ask that you continue the conversation when you have a chance to be closer together. If it is a party with multiple rooms, you can ask someone to join you in a quieter spot.
 * Wear your hearing aids:  Many of us hate to wear our hearing aids, but they really can help.  Experiment with a couple of different settings to find what is optimal.  You can even practice at home if you don’t want to spend time experimenting at the event. It may take some time getting used to the new setting, but the investment of that time will be worth it.
 * Try other technologies: There are many new technologies now available that can help you hear in a group setting including personal FM systems or other one to one communication devices. Some of my friends swear by these.
 * Have reasonable expectations:  You probably won’t hear everything that everyone says, but that is ok. Enjoy talking to the people near you, then seek out others to talk with during other parts of the party.
 * Take a break:  Don’t be shy about taking a break from the action for a few minutes to give your ears and brain a rest. Head to the restroom, or find a quiet spot in another room.  Or go stand outside for a few minutes.  It really helps me to clear my head and build up some energy for another round of socializing.
 * Don’t fake it:  It is very tempting to just nod along and pretend that you hear what others are saying or laugh just because others are laughing. But it can be dangerous, particularly if someone is asking you a question.  Be brave and be honest with others if you are having trouble hearing. It will make your interactions more memorable on both sides.
 * Give visual clues to indicate if you are having trouble hearing:  If you are having trouble hearing, you can cup your ear with your hand to indicate to the speaker to speak louder without interrupting the flow of the conversation.  I have seen this in action and it is very effective.
 * Bring your sense of humor: It can be hard to keep it all in perspective during the holidays when you feel like you are missing out on the fun, but try to laugh a little and be grateful for the wonderful friends and family around you.  You may not hear every word they say, but you can partake in all of the good feelings nonetheless. Try to enjoy the moment.

2021-02-07
I Can’t Hear in the Dark

I Can’t Hear in the Dark

Can you hear in the dark?  I recently realized that I cannot.  It was sort of a strange realization, and a bit scary, in case there is an emergency at night.  Just one more thing to overcome with hearing loss, I guess.  Here is the story.

We were having some lighting work done on the outside of our home this summer, and one night the lighting company came to do a demonstration.  The sky was dark and the landscape lighting was on, but not too brightly.  The project manager was walking us around the house discussing the lights and asking us if we wanted them brighter or dimmer or angled in different directions.  I couldn’t hear a word.  My husband was answering the questions and I kept nudging him with my elbow trying to get him to repeat things, but it wasn’t working.  I hadn’t realized I was so dependent on visual clues to hear!  Finally I just came clean, and announced that I couldn’t hear since it was dark out and they would all need to speak louder and face me when they were talking.  That made things a bit better for a little while, but it is hard for people to remember to adjust their speaking patterns for extended periods of time.

Maybe this is obvious to most people with hearing loss, but for some reason I had never been in this situation before.  At night in bed, there is not much to hear, so maybe I never noticed. And I usually do keep the lights on until I am ready to sleep.  I was scared by this new realization.  What if there was an emergency in the middle of the night and I needed to hear instructions?  What if the power went out?  What if my children were calling to me in the dark and I didn’t hear them?  What if I just wanted to take a nice moonlit walk with friends?  I decided I better figure out a strategy.

Today, I am much more aware of the lighting in any given situation and try to use it to my advantage.  For example, I try to sit so that others are well-lit and visible.  If it is dark, I ask people if I can turn on a light.  I sit closer to people if it is darker.  I also turn up the volume on my hearing aids.  And I made sure that outdoor lighting on our house was turned up very bright!
2021-02-07
How to Tackle Thanksgiving Dinner When You Have Hearing Loss

How to Tackle Thanksgiving Dinner When You Have Hearing Loss

A few months ago, I started a blog Living With Hearing Loss, but It has been a while since my last post. I find it unsettling to talk about my hearing loss, maybe that is why. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it was time to post again, as there might be others out there with hearing loss worrying about the upcoming holiday. Maybe reading this post will help them approach the holiday with more joy and less fear. I hope so.


I always go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving, which is a lot of fun. It is a big group event, with lots of cousins, grown children and seniors. We can sometimes have up to 20 at any given Thanksgiving family meal.  There is a lot of energy, but also a lot of noise, with people all talking at once and kids laughing and joking in the background.  This is a great recipe for family fun, unless you have a hearing loss. The general noise level makes it hard to hear, and the multiple conversations going at once, makes it hard to follow any of them.  Older men often speak very quietly (at least it seems that way to me!) Plus, children can be notoriously difficult to hear, and rarely remember to look at you when they are talking.




But let’s NOT let this be a recipe for disaster!  I have been thinking about how to make the most of the holiday and these are my tips. I hope they help. Please let me know your suggestions in the comments.

Living With Hearing Loss’s Tips to Survive and Thrive at Thanksgiving Dinner

1.  Sit in a good spot:  For me, it is very helpful if I have a wall behind me and am seated more in the middle of the table.  This gives me a better shot at hearing more conversation and not being distracted by background noise behind me.  Maybe you have a spot you like better.  Don’t be shy about talking to the host so that your seat is in an opportune spot for you.

2.  Keep background noise down if possible:  I try to keep any background music to a minimum.  While your host, may like to play music a little more loudly, perhaps you can ask him or her to keep the volume low during dinner.

3.  Converse with those next to you:  Don’t try to participate in conversations across large distances.  If you would like to talk with someone, move closer to him, or ask that you continue the conversation when you have a chance to be closer together.

4.  Wear your hearing aids:  Many of us hate to wear our hearing aids, but they really can help.  Experiment with a couple of different settings to find what is optimal.  You can even practice at home if you don’t want to spend time experimenting at the event.

5.  Try other technologies:  There are many new technologies now available that can help you hear in a group setting including personal FM systems or other one to one communication devices. Some of my friends swear by these.

6.  Have reasonable expectations:  You probably won’t hear everything that everyone says, but that is ok. Enjoy talking to the people near you, then seek out others to talk with during other parts of the party. You might even suggest to the host that people rotate seats for desert.

7.  Bring your sense of humor:  It can be hard to keep it all in perspective during the holidays when you feel like you are missing out on the fun, but try to laugh a little and be grateful for the wonderful friends and family around you.  You may not hear every word they say, but you can partake in all of the good feelings around the table. Try to enjoy the moment.

Readers, do you have any tips for tackling Thanksgiving dinner when you have a hearing loss?




2021-02-06
Making the most of the holidays virtually

Making the most of the holidays virtually


If you are an employee with a Flexible Spending Account, you might want to double check your balance. Now may be a smart time to take care of your hearing healthcare needs, especially if you are one of the 48 million Americans1 with hearing loss. HearingLife has more than 600 locations open most days in December. For most locations, we now offer convenient online booking.

What is a Flexible Spending Account and why are FSAs important?
Many employers offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)2 as part of their benefits package. Sometimes referred to as a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement, an FSA is an account in which you place pre-tax dollars to cover certain medical expenses. FSAs save you money by allowing you to withhold pre-tax money from your pay, up to $2,700 per year.

Who can you use FSA for, and what does it cover?
These funds can be used for yourself, your spouse and your dependents throughout the calendar year. They can be used for:
Health-related spending, including hearing aids

Copayments

Deductibles

Medical and dental costs

Some medicines

Eyeglasses


Why the urgency? Because FSA is “use it or lose it!”
Although you can spend the money on a wide array of medical services, prescriptions and medical expenses, unfortunately, it is “use it or lose it” money. You must spend the money within the calendar year. Although some programs have a grace period, others require you to spend all funds by December 31st.

Can I use my FSA spending on my parents’ hearing aids?
Maybe, but only if you claim them as dependents on your tax return. Even if your parents live with you, they may not be your dependents, and therefore you cannot use FSA monies toward their healthcare. The same applies for your children. If you claim them on your taxes, you can cover certain medical expenses using FSA funds.

Don’t have a flexible spending program? We have financing and other options, too
Even if you don’t have this option, HearingLife sometimes has special offers and other ways to keep hearing aids affordable. CareCredit® is a financing program for health-related costs that may help you pay over time. Check out if you have hearing aid insurance coverage. Find out if Medicare covers hearing aids?





2021-02-05
Welcome to Living With Hearing Loss

Welcome to Living With Hearing Loss

Welcome to Living With Hearing Loss, a new blog for those living with hearing loss.  I have a genetic hearing loss that I first began to notice in my mid to late twenties. It has gotten progressively worse since then and I now wear hearing aids every day to hear better. I am lucky to have only mild tinnitus so far.

When you have hearing loss, it impacts your life almost every minute of every day. Whether it is trying to hear schedule announcements at the train station, watching TV, hearing the waiter discuss the specials at a restaurant, or talking with your children, having hearing loss makes everyday tasks more challenging. Socializing becomes less fun, particularly in settings with significant background noise. Movies and plays are harder to enjoy. Communication in general takes more effort and concentration than it does for those without hearing loss, and can sometimes be exhausting. Supportive family and friends are key, as is advocating for yourself. I have now begun to request quiet tables at restaurants and to remind friends to face me when they speak to me.

Being vocal about your hearing loss can make a big difference in enhancing communication and improving the quality of your life. I don’t want my hearing loss to define me, but I find that being open about it can help relieve the pressure of always having to hear everything perfectly.  I hope this blog will serve as an outlet for my experiences as well as a community for those dealing with similar issues.

Readers, how are you living with your hearing loss?
2021-02-05
50 is not too young to have my hearing checked

50 is not too young to have my hearing checked

Recently, I turned 50, and I am healthy and active for my age. I eat (mostly) well and exercise several times a week. In addition, I keep my brain active in my work as a content writer and with hobbies that include knitting and doing crossword puzzles. And while I focus on educating people about hearing loss, I hadn't thought much about my own needs. Lately, however, I noticed that I am turning up the volume higher when watching TV and sometimes I hear a high-pitched noise when the room is silent. It is a single tone, which vanishes as quickly as it comes.

Knowing the signs of hearing loss
As I work for one of the country’s largest hearing care companies, and I write a lot about hearing loss, I know that struggling to hear the TV and tinnitus are both signs of hearing loss. So, since I’ve worked for the company for nearly four years and never had my hearing checked, I thought it was a good idea to have a hearing assessment.* If you wonder whether you have hearing loss, you can take our online hearing test or find out if you need to have your hearing checked.

What to expect at your hearing assessment
When I arrived at my appointment at HearingLife in Westfield, New Jersey, I met my audiologist, Dr. Kristen Handal. She asked me a little about my symptoms, and I explained that I had tinnitus and felt that I was putting the TV on higher than before and that I often use closed captioning when watching shows so I can follow the dialogue. Because Westfield is one of HearingLife’s newly redesigned offices, there is no traditional “booth.” The testing room is soundproofed specifically for hearing examinations. Otherwise, it was just like my last hearing assessment (when I was in elementary school many decades ago). My audiologist asked me to listen for tones and push a button as soon as I heard one. Then I was asked to repeat words that Dr. Handal said. Although some sounds were very faint, it was quick and easy.

Checking for hidden hearing loss
I thought I was done, but there was one more assessment. It checks my ability to decipher the most important speech in a complex sound environment. This wasn’t a test I had done before, but I remembered something similar from years ago when my son was tested for auditory processing disorder. (Auditory processing disorder often impacts people with attention deficit disorder [ADD] and is thought to be an issue related to the central nervous system.) Dr. Handal asked me to listen to more than one person speaking at the same time. Then, I had to repeat what I heard. As a parent of two kids, I’m used to hearing multiple people speaking at the same time and trying to understand who was saying what. This test had both a person speaking to you and newscasts playing in the background. It became more and more challenging to pick out any words, but I found it fun to try. Afterwards, Dr. Handal explained that checking for hidden hearing is an important check for people who have symptoms of hearing loss but have a normal audiogram.

Caregivers need care, too!
My story is pretty common. Until recently, I was part of the “sandwich generation.” For several years, I balanced taking care of an aging parent while raising my own children. As with many other caregivers, I often put my own needs on the back burner. But it is important for people who take care of others to not ignore their own healthcare. In fact, when I went with my father for his hearing test a few years ago, it would have been easy to have my own hearing checked at the same time. (If you are a caregiver for someone with hearing loss, we have tips for you.)

Good news: I have normal hearing
Hearing loss can happen at any age and often happens gradually over time. In fact, nearly 30% of adults age 50 to 59 have hearing loss.¹ I’m very happy to hear that my hearing was normal, and that for the time being I don’t need hearing aids. Dr. Handal did recommend an app that researchers have shown helps combat tinnitus symptoms.

Even though I didn’t need hearing aids, I’m glad that I had my hearing checked. I now have a baseline to compare against over time. And I had a great experience with Dr. Handal. I'll go back in a few years. In the meantime, I'll do what I can to prevent hearing loss, such as keep the volume down when listening to music, wear protective earmuffs when I mow the lawn and use earplugs when I go to a concert. 

Booking a complimentary hearing assessment is easier than ever before

I booked the appointment on HearingLife’s new online booking feature, and it only took a few minutes. I got an email confirming my request, and later received both text reminders and a phone call from the Patient Care Coordinator. She explained where I could park and how to get to the office. It was an easy process. 




2021-02-04
Focus on hearing wellness in 2021

Focus on hearing wellness in 2021

As the end of 2020 approaches (finally), the team at HearingLife wants to encourage everyone to focus on their hearing in the new year. This year taught everyone what an important role basic communication plays in our lives. That's why we hope you will continue to do everything you can to stay connected to your community in the new year. That can start with resolving to make sure you and your loved ones are hearing well.

Keeping hearing resolutions is easier than other resolutions!
Many of the most common resolutions are difficult to keep up with. Some people struggle each January to lose weight or quit smoking. Others want to get more exercise or maybe even downsize and live better in 2021. 

Tips for better hearing
We have 5 easy tips that will help you make a big impact on your hearing health with minimal effort.

 * Protect your ears from loud noises: You may not realize what types of noises and sounds can actually cause permanent hearing loss. Many people already know that loud concerts, gunshots, fireworks, airplanes and machinery are loud enough to cause damage; however, there are unlikely culprits.

 * How loud is too loud? Noise levels over 85 decibels can become dangerous, especially over long periods of time. You can download a smartphone app that will let you know how loud an environment you are in. When you use it, you will realize that power tools, vacuums, lawn mowers or even restaurants can be loud enough to cause noise-induced hearing loss if you are exposed for extended periods of time. Spend a little time looking into options, and you'll find that there are lots of ways to prevent hearing loss. 

 * Turn down the volume when using media: Another cause of noise-induced hearing loss is listening to media through earphones. Most newer devices give you a warning alert when the level is too high and we encourage you to pay attention to it. This applies to any sound listened to through headphones, including phone calls, music or other entertainment. If you find yourself constantly turning the volume up past 60% in order to hear through your headphones, then consider speaking with a professional hearing care provider.

 * Exercise: This is a common New Year’s resolution; however, exercising isn’t just for weight loss! Studies have shown that you may be able to exercise your way to better hearing when you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Yoga and other fitness programs have been shown to promote healthy hearing. 

 * Eat healthy: Just like exercising, eating right is another popular New Year’s resolution. In fact, research shows that a healthy diet also helps preserve your hearing as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Do what you can to prevent dementia: This year, the Lancet published new research that stated that addressing hearing loss can help lower the risk for developing dementia.

See your hearing professional regularly: If you are concerned that you are experiencing any hearing loss, then resolve to make an appointment for a complimentary hearing assessment with HearingLife in early 2021.

More resolutions for better living and better hearing in 2020
For more ideas to focus on your hearing, check out HearingLife's blog or our e-newsletter, Connected Living. With interesting tips and ideas on healthy living, activities, armchair travel, re-creating fine dining at home and more, we have plenty of tips to add a little adventure to your life. From learning how how to create culinary masterpieces in your kitchen, to trying a life-changing hobby, you are sure to find something to inspire you in the coming year. 

Book now online and start hearing with confidence

HearingLife made booking your annual hearing assessment much easier with online booking. Simply find your local provider and answer a few questions. You will receive a confirmation email as well as text message reminders.




2021-02-04
The consequences of untreated hearing loss

The consequences of untreated hearing loss

The sooner you take action on hearing loss, the sooner you begin to regain sharpness, confidence and control. Beginning as soon as possible is also vital to put a stop to the many negative effects that can result from hearing loss, such as:


Sensory dulling
When you can’t hear what’s going on around you, your mental sharpness suffers. This is because the reduction in aural stimulation over time can impair the brain’s ability to process sound and recognize speech. The brain doesn’t get the practice that it needs.

Mental decline
Research consistently demonstrates the considerable effects that hearing loss has on social, psychological and cognitive performance. It can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.

Social withdrawal
Because conversations take so much more mental energy when you struggle to hear, an untreated hearing loss often causes people to withdraw from socializing. This can lead to isolation and depression if you leave it untreated.

 
Do you or a loved one experience these effects?

Feeling insecure when you are outside because you don’t know where sounds are coming from
 * Feeling depressed and alone
 * Becoming more tired and needing to rest after work or social functions
 * Having problems remembering what people have said
 * Experiencing problems picking out conversations, especially in gatherings with several other people
 * A decreased quality of life due to hearing loss
 * Hearing loss affecting not only the sufferer but also the sufferer’s family

It is important to seek help if you notice signs of hearing loss in yourself or in a loved one.

Hearing care experts stand ready to advise you
If you couldn’t see well, you would go to the optician. If you had a tooth problem, you would go to the dentist. But for many reasons such as misplaced pride or embarrassment, many people avoid going to a hearing care expert. At HearingLife we are ready to help you.
2021-02-03
Why do we have earwax

Why do we have earwax

First and foremost, earwax is natural and necessary – we evolved it for a reason.

Earwax is a natural lubricant that protects the sensitive skin in the ear canal. It also acts as a barrier that stops dirt and foreign objects from reaching the eardrum.

What’s more, earwax is part of the ear’s self-cleaning mechanism. The skin inside the ear canal grows outwards, carrying earwax with it. And because the earwax captures dirt and dead skin, this all naturally comes out of the ear together with the earwax. 

Chewing and yawning also help to move the wax outwards along your ear canal. 

So how do I clean my ears?


Since earwax is necessary, you shouldn’t clean it too much – you simply don’t need to. However, you can wipe away any visible excess earwax using a wet cloth. But … do no use Q-tips, cotton buds or cotton swabs!

In fact, you shouldn’t stick anything in your ear canal. 

Q-tips are definitely a bad idea. They may look soft, but they are made from artificial fibres that can scratch and inflame the sensitive skin inside the ear canal, leaving it open to infections. 

If you think you have a blockage in your ear canal or think you are experiencing excessive earwax, then you need to consult a hearing care expert for specialist cleaning. 

Earwax can create a blockage
It is possible. Ironically, it is often when people try to clean their ears by sticking things in them that they can push earwax inwards and create a blockage. Pushing earwax too far in can make it go in beyond where the skin grows outwards, so it gets stuck. Over time, wax can become compacted, leading to hearing loss. 

Excessive earwax
In general, our ears produce the amount of earwax they need. However, some people do experience excessive earwax. This can be caused by too much cleaning, where the ear produces more earwax in an effort to re-establish an appropriate amount. It can also be caused by some medical conditions.

In some cases, hearing aids can contribute to the perception that people have more earwax, because they sit in the ear canal and prevent it coming out naturally. Hearing aids are fitted with wax filters for this purpose, which need to be changed regularly. 

How should I clean my children’s ears?
The same way you clean your own ears: minimally and without sticking anything into the ear. Some people use cotton swabs are available in shapes that are designed to prevent you putting them too far into the ear canal. However, these are still abrasive, so we don’t recommend these.

We recommend you use a wet cloth to wipe out earwax only from the outer part of the ear. 





2021-02-03
What do you know about tinnitus?

What do you know about tinnitus?

Often referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’, tinnitus can be many different types of sound such as hissing, chirping, or wooshing.

What these sounds all have in common is that they are only audible to the person who is suffering from tinnitus. 

This is because tinnitus is a symptom of damage or dysfunction inside the hearing system. There are many possible causes, one of which is exposure to loud noise. 

Tinnitus often comes together with hearing loss
More than 80% of people with tinnitus also experience some degree of hearing loss. However, many tinnitus sufferers are not aware that they have hearing loss. Fortunately, experts are able to treat both conditions using hearing aids, because hearing aids are now available that can play soothing relief sounds. 

Why do we ‘invent’ noises that aren’t there?
Experts don’t know exactly what causes us to hear sound that isn’t there. Many suspect that it happens when the auditory system reacts to damage by trying to compensate for missing signals. 

However, some people who experience tinnitus don’t have hearing loss. This means that there are other causes of tinnitus, in addition to it being a symptom of hearing loss. 

Factors affecting tinnitus include …
Ensure auditory stimulation – Make sure you can hear well by adopting hearing aids if necessary. This can help to minimize the appearance of your tinnitus symptoms.

Get quality sleep – If you don’t get enough sleep, your blood circulation can be reduced, which affects both hearing loss and tinnitus. In addition, using an extra pillow to keep your head raised can reduce congestion, which can also aid your tinnitus.

Eat and drink healthily – Alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, and artificial sweeteners (aspertane) may all negatively contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus.

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, it pays to be aware of these factors and try to notice if they affect your tinnitus.

Importantly, how you feel has a big effect on how annoying you find tinnitus. Reducing the impact is therefore often about reducing how much you notice it. 


 

Get effective tinnitus treatment
Beyond paying attention to the factors that affect your tinnitus, there are many treatment options too. 

Some people use white noise players that sit next to their bed and play sound that has no discernible features. This background noise helps to mask the tinnitus sounds inside their head, helping distract them while they fall asleep. 

Increasingly, hearing aids are incorporating such technologies. These are programmed by a hearing care expert to match your tinnitus symptoms, giving you a range of relief sounds to choose from whenever you need them.

How can I explain my tinnitus to an expert?
We know, it’s not easy to describe! But before your first visit to an expert, it might help you to think about the sounds.

 * When did you start experiencing tinnitus? Did you also find hearing problems around then?
 * Is the sound high- or low-pitched? Is it loud or soft? 
 * Does the sound change throughout the day? 
 * How does it vary and when? 
 * Does it get worse in some situations? 
 * Does it worsen after drinking coffee or being in a noisy environment?
 * Is it in both ears? 
 

The causes of tinnitus
The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea. This is the snail shell-like organ in the inner ear where sounds are converted into electrical signals. Damage to the hair cells here causes tinnitus and hearing loss. 

However, tinnitus can also be caused by a middle ear infection, earwax build-up, inflamed blood vessels around the ear, medications and other drugs, and anxiety and stress. 

Recent research suggests that the condition of having tinnitus in both ears may also have a genetic basis, especially in men. 

Preventing tinnitus
As with hearing loss, the best way to prevent tinnitus is by wearing hearing protection whenever you are in a situation where noise could be dangerous. In addition, it’s important to move away from the noise as often as you can or for as long as you can. 

You can get more information about tinnitus here.




2021-02-02
What challenges does summer bring for hearing?

What challenges does summer bring for hearing?

For people who use hearing aids – as well as those who don’t – there are a few things to consider during the warm summer months.

Beware of sunscreen and lotions
When you slap on the cream to protect your skin, watch out for your hearing aids! The plastic they are made from can be affected by the chemicals in various cosmetics. You should remove your hearing aids while you apply suncream, and put them back on after you have rubbed it in and cleaned your hands. 

Festivals and music concerts
Are you heading to an open-air concert? Or perhaps your children or grandchildren are? If it will be loud, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of hearing damage. In open-air settings where the atmosphere is more open than an indoor environment, people often forget to be aware of the dangers of loud noise. 

Remember this: If you have to shout to make yourself heard, your hearing is under strain. Consider wearing hearing protection such as disposable earplugs, and take regular breaks from the loud environment. 

Keep hearing equipment cool, and beware the dangers of heat
Hearing aids and their accessories can be negatively affected by the heat, so you need to keep them cool. Avoid leaving them in your car for any length of time, and always keep them out of direct sunlight.



Flying off on holiday
When we fly (or dive underwater), we often feel discomfort caused by a sense of pressure in the ears and nose. This is caused by a difference in air pressure between the outside and inside of your ear, nose, or sinuses. 

If the air can flow relatively easily, the higher pressure air will quickly flow to the lower pressure air, and the pressure difference will disappear. 

However, if the air can’t flow freely due to a blockage, we can experience discomfort as the air presses on the blockage. Blockages can be caused by earwax, inflammation, or a common cold. 

When flying with hearing aids, you can keep your devices on as you go through security, and onto the plane. So keep them switched on as you travel – they’ll help you hear any important announcements.

At the beach and by the pool
Few hearing aids can tolerate much water – even if they are water-resistant. So make sure to take them off before getting stuck into that waterfight!

Equally, it’s important to have a dry place to store them while you are swimming, and afterwards when you reach for your towel.

Some people get a small ‘dry box’, which are inexpensive, waterproof containers. These are especially important if you go canoeing, sailing, or take part in other wet activities where you need to take your hearing aids with you.

Finally - dry your hair before putting your hearing aids back on.

Clean hearing aids regularly
With the heat of summer, we all sweat a little more. This makes a perfect environment for fungal microbes to develop in your hearing aids.

To avoid fungi, keep disinfectant cleaning wipes handy so you can clean your devices regularly. You may also benefit from changing filters and domes more often.

It is also important to ensure good air circulation through your hearing aids. Open the battery drawer at night so fresh air can get inside and the old, moist air can get out.

If you find significant moisture building up, it may be wise to invest in a hearing aid dryer.

Take spares on holiday
You will enjoy your precious weeks away in the sun more if you can hear well, so make sure you have everything you need for your hearing aids.

Extra batteries, tubes and filters are just some of the accessories you might get through, but it depends on the type of hearing aid you have. What else do you periodically need to replace?

You can read more about the different types of hearing aids here.





2021-02-02
Preparing for your visit to HearingLife

Preparing for your visit to HearingLife

If you’ve never been to an audiologist before, it helps to know what to expect. And whether you know you have hearing loss or are just going for a hearing check-up, it is good to prepare a little.

To help you the best they can, the hearing care expert needs to know all about your unique hearing. So please think about the following:

 * Think about what situations you find especially difficult
 * Review the ten warning signs of hearing loss – it’s in our guide
 * Bring someone with you to help contribute information that only a third person can

Once you arrive for your visit, your hearing care expert will discuss your hearing history to understand what factors have influenced your hearing. They’ll want to get more information about your personal hearing needs.

The hearing care expert will also inspect your ears for blockages or any other visible problems.

Your visit may also include a listening experience with hearing devices, to see what kinds of sounds you can hear. Your hearing care expert will explain the results to you clearly. It will then be time to develop a plan for the next steps.

If you have a hearing loss, they may recommend hearing aids. If you are fitted with new hearing aids, don’t be afraid to go back for additional follow-up visits. You might walk out after the first visit completely pleased with your purchase. For other people, getting used to wearing new hearing aids can be tough. Especially if this is your first pair of hearing aids, it can take several weeks or even months to get used to them.

About hearing loss

There are different types of hearing loss, and different levels of severity. Without going into the details too much here, it is caused either because sound cannot get to the inner ear (conductive hearing loss), or because sound is not properly sent from the inner ear to the brain (sensorineural hearing loss).

Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. What we call deafness is sometimes in fact ‘profound hearing loss’ – when the person suffering from it can hear very loud noises.

Hearing loss figures

 * About 1 in 6 people are currently hearing impaired (about 1.1 billion people)
 * At the age of 65, one 1 in 3 people has a hearing loss
 * Hearing loss is the 3rd most common health condition among adults
 * On average, people with hearing loss wait 8 years before getting treatment
 

Tinnitus (ringing or whooshing sounds in the ears) is related to hearing loss, and often accompanies it.

Because it takes so much more effort to listen, hearing loss can be very socially isolating. It can lead to depression and can hasten the onset of dementia. With more severe hearing loss, the risk of dementia is considerably higher. Not only does it disconnect sufferers from other people, it also cuts them off from current affairs and broader cultural participation via TV, radio, theatre and so on.

So how can people with hearing loss reconnect?

Hearing aids
The level of hearing loss a person has affects the type of hearing aid they need. Typically, more mild types of hearing loss can be treated with smaller devices. However, the choice of hearing aid also depends on the size and shape of people’s ears – especially where ‘invisible’ hearing aids are concerned.

Hearing loss can affect only one ear. However, it often occurs in both. Some people choose to treat it only in one ear to save on buying one hearing aid. We don’t recommend this, because with only one working ear we lose many of our capabilities, such as the ability to determine where a sound is coming from.

Whether people need one or two hearing aids, each person’s hearing is unique – because hearing is, in fact, thinking.

We hear with our brains
Our ears are the organs we use to gather the sounds around us, but we actually hear with our brains. So if your ears are not properly picking up sounds and delivering them to your brain, your brain can have a hard time. Because the brain has to work harder to make sense of what’s going on – especially during conversations – hearing loss makes people more tired. The extra effort it takes to listen makes it measurably harder to remember things too.

Put simply: hearing is thinking.

Just as we all think in different ways, people hear in very different ways too. Your hearing is unique! So hearing aids must be tailored (fitted) to your ears.

Most hearing aids have different settings for different environments. If you are fitted with hearing aids, you will need to switch between programmes when you are in a noisy restaurant, listening to music, or having a conversation on a telephone. These programmes all need to be set by your hearing care expert.

If you are fitted with new hearing aids, don’t be afraid to go back for additional follow-up visits. You might walk out after the first visit completely pleased with your purchase. For other people, getting used to wearing new hearing aids can be tough. Especially if this is your first pair of hearing aids, it can take several weeks or even months to get used to them.

2021-02-01
Living with someone who has hearing loss

Living with someone who has hearing loss


It is one of the most common health conditions. Among the billions of people of the world, one in six has a hearing loss. Among the people aged 65 and over in the world, one in three people has a hearing loss.

Despite this, many people live with untreated hearing loss.

Although hearing loss can suddenly occur, it is often a gradual process. Without a marked change from one day to the next, it can be difficult to notice that your hearing has become worse.

In fact, it is often the friends and family of someone with hearing impairment who notice how much it affects life – long before they do.

Spotting the effects
You may notice that someone turns the volume up very loud on devices such as the TV, music player and radio. Perhaps it is difficult for them to follow conversations when you’re together in a restaurant or café. Maybe they struggle to hear what young children are saying.

Other people notice problems when they are on a busy street – they find it hard to understand sounds among the traffic and other diverse noises.

If someone you know is suffering from untreated hearing loss, you will probably find their social behavior has changed. They may have withdrawn from social activities and feel shame, guilt or anger. They may also become more self-critical, frustrated or depressed. All these types of behaviour can also have a negative effect on anyone who is near and dear.

Depending on the ears of others
If you spend a lot of time with someone who suffers from untreated hearing loss, you may find you regularly have to repeat what you say. They may ask you to explain things more often, and may depend on you to amplify what other people have said, whenever they feel the need.

In a way, you can easily become a supplement to the person’s ears. However, while they may cope with this situation, you probably feel exhausted by the end of the day – though it can continue into the night.

Breaking unhelpful habits
On average, it takes eight years for someone with hearing loss to get treatment. Those are eight years when they are missing out on sounds that make life rich: the laughter of children, the tweeting of songbirds, the crashing of waves on the beach.

Becoming aware of the numerous efforts you make to 'translate' could be an important first step towards their treatment. Realizing the extent of the support they need may empower you to take action, on behalf of you both.

When confronted, some people simply deny it. In these cases, it may take courage, patience, and persistence to get a loved one to accept they have hearing loss. It is usually best to approach it calmly and gently. And gradually. If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t push it – just try again another time.

Accepting you have a hearing loss is a big event in a person’s life. It takes everyone time to come to terms with hearing loss. The good news is that everyone can, and most can benefit from hearing aids.
2021-02-01
Be Proactive with your Hearing Safety

Be Proactive with your Hearing Safety

Louder isn’t better!

It seems obvious – but it’s worth a reminder: the louder the noise and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of damage to your ears. Even some sounds that don’t seem loud or give you noticeable discomfort can damage your hearing. Loud sounds, of course, can cause damage much more quickly. Always remember that safety counts.


Measuring noise and understanding decibels (dB)
The decibel scale is matched to human hearing, so 0 dB is the very quietest sound that a human can hear without hearing loss. A “typical” spoken conversation is generally estimated to be 60 dB. Although this is not enough to hurt you, many every-day sounds are in the near-harmful range and can impact your hearing long term – so think safety first. A lawnmower, for example, averages in the 90 dB level, so it can cause damage. That’s why it is important to wear protection whether you are mowing the lawn or around loud engines. Even a car travelling at 65 miles per hour or a vacuum cleaner can irritate your ears.


Workplace challenges
Most experts – including the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health – agree that continued exposure to sounds over 85 dB risks damage to hearing. Therefore, workplace safety regulations usually require employers to provide protection for employees exposed to noisy environments. In the US, the Department of Labor regulates occupational noise exposure and has set a “permissible exposure limit” (PEL) of 90 dB for an 8 hour long day.


The biggest sources of dangerous noise
More dangerous – with immediate impact – are sounds in the 140 dB range. These include jet engines and gun shots. Even louder, is 180 dB of a rocket launch. These sounds can lead to permanent hearing damage. According to Purdue University, your eardrum can rupture if you are 25 meters or less from a jet as it is taking off.


Knowing the danger signs and preventing damage to your hearing
Unfortunately, it is rarely immediately obvious when we damage our hearing – normally we notice it afterwards. However, with awareness, we can help protect our hearing. If you have to shout over background noise to make yourself heard, you may be in the danger zone where prolonged exposure could lead to damage.


Heed your ears’ warning
If you notice ringing in your ears or experience pain, these are signs that your noise exposure is too high. This often appears after a noisy event such as a music concert. If you find it difficult to hear for several hours after exposure to loud sounds, or hear ringing in your ears or other unusual effects, then you probably have been around harmful levels.


Safety first: tips for protecting your hearing
Avoid loud noises. If you are attending a loud event, avoid sitting near the amplifiers or take breaks outside the main venue.
Invest in earplugs. Whether you want to spring for higher-end ear plugs that are moulded to your ears or use noise-cancelling headphones
Take sound breaks. If you are near loud noise, escape for a break every hour.
Lower the volume. Turn the sound down on your earphones or earbuds.


Earphones and hearing loss
Many people regularly use earphones or earbuds – on the way to school or work, while out running, or just while relaxing at home without considering the excess levels of noise exposure.

Earphones generally produce up to 100 dB, while some can produce even more. At this level, you risk damage to your hearing after a mere 15 minutes. Some smartphones have a feature that warns uses when the volume is at a dangerous level. Heed this warning and limit music at excessive volumes piped directly into your ears.


City life’s impact on your ears
According to a recent study, just living in an urban area can increase your risk of hearing damage – by 64%. Traffic, construction, loud music, sirens and other environmental sounds of the city provide continuous exposure to noise can cause hearing damage.

At HearingLife we strive to educate and advise. If you want to learn if exposure to music, explosions or other noise has damaged your hearing, contact HearingLife for a complimentary hearing assessment*.
2021-01-29