Your Hearing Loss is Getting Worse, can you prevent it?

Couple enjoying their motorcycle while protecting their ears from further hearing loss.

Hearing loss is not necessarily inevitable, despite the fact that it is quite common. The truth is, the majority of people will start to recognize a change in their hearing as they age. After listening to sound for years, you will begin to recognize even small changes in your hearing ability. Like most things in life, though, prevention is the key to managing the extent of that loss and how quickly it progresses. There are a few things you can do now that will impact your hearing later in your life. It’s never too soon to begin or too late to care when it comes to ear health. What steps can you take now to protect your hearing?

Understanding Hearing Loss

Understanding how the ears actually work is the first step to knowing what causes most hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss, known medically as presbycusis, is affecting one in every three people in this country from 64 to 74. It is a cumulation of damage to the ears over time. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets worse over time.

Sound goes into the ear in waves that are amplified a number of times before they finally get to the inner ear. Once there, the sound shakes little hairs cells, causing them to bump structures which release chemicals to create an electrical message which the brain translates into sound.

All of this vibration eventually causes the hairs to begin to break down and malfunction. Once these hair cells are gone they won’t come back. Without those cells to generate the electrical impulses, the sound can’t be translated into a language the brain can comprehend.

So, what brings about this destruction of the hair cells? It can be considerably increased by several factors but it can be expected, to varying degrees, with aging. How strong a sound wave is, is generally known as “volume”. The higher the volume, the stronger the sound wave and the bigger the injury to the hair cells.

Loud sound is surely a factor but there are others too. Chronic sicknesses like high blood pressure and diabetes take a toll, as well.

Safeguarding Your Hearing

Taking care of your hearing over time is dependent on consistent hearing hygiene. Volume is at the root of the problem. Sound is much more dangerous when it’s at a louder volume or decibel level. It doesn’t take as much as you might think to lead to hearing damage. A noise is too loud if you have to raise your voice to talk over it.

Your hearing can be impaired later on by even a few loud minutes and even more so by continued exposure. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to take safety measures to protect your ears when you expect to be around loud sound. Wear hearing protection when you:

  • Go to a concert
  • Run power equipment
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Do something where the noise is loud.

Avoid using devices made to amplify and isolate sound, also, like headphones and earbuds. The old-fashioned way is a safer way to listen to music and that means at a reduced volume.

Day-to-Day Noises That Can Become an Issue

Even the things in your home can produce enough noise to be an issue over time. When you buy an appliance for your home, check the noise rating of the product. The lower the rating the better.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if the noise is too loud when you’re at a restaurant or party. A restaurant manager may be willing to turn the background music down for you or possibly even move you to another table away from loud speakers or clanging dishes.

Be Noise Conscious When You Are at Work

Take steps to safeguard your hearing if your job exposes you to loud noises. Purchase your own hearing protection if it is not provided by your employer. Here are some products that can protect your ears:

  • Earmuffs
  • Earplugs
  • Headphones

If you mention your worries, chances are your employer will be willing to listen.

Stop Smoking

Put hearing health on the list of reasons you shouldn’t smoke. Studies demonstrate that smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. This is true if you are subjected to second-hand smoke, too.

All The Medications That You Take Should be Closely Inspected

Some medications are known to cause hearing damage. This is called ototoxicity. Several common offenders include:

  • NSAIDS
  • Cardiac medication
  • Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Aspirin
  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Diuretics

This list is a combination of over-the-counter products and prescription medications and it doesn’t cover all of them. Only take pain relievers when you really need them and make sure you check all of the labels. If you are unsure about a drug, ask your doctor before taking it.

Be Kind to Your Body

The little things you should do anyway like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are a major part of preventing hearing loss from getting worse, especially as you get older. Do what is needed to deal with your high blood pressure like taking your medication and lowering salt intake. The better you take care of your body, the lower your risk of chronic sicknesses that could cost you your hearing over time, like diabetes.

If you have hearing loss or if you have ringing in your ears, get a hearing exam. Pay close attention to your hearing because you may not even know that you may need hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with a hearing expert to keep any problems from getting worse. It’s never too late.

What to Look For When Selecting Hearing Aids

Woman suffering from hearing loss choosing a hearing aid.

You already recognize that you need hearing aids, so what now? Finding the correct hearing aids is an important choice since they will become such a major part of your life. There are different kinds of hearing aids available including some pretty cheap ones available only on the Internet. If you truly think that you can buy a quality device for less from the internet, then the sacrifice is how well you hear, and that’s your choice. When shopping for hearing aids, what sacrifices are you willing to make.

Those Internet Imitations

Hearing assistance devices that are found on the internet are not really going to save you money and their not actually hearing aids. They don’t perform very well or very efficiently. You have to replace dead batteries so often that it winds up costing you a lot.

Amplifying sound is the only thing these poor-quality devices do. Modern, high-quality digital hearing aids combine different technologies to create a device which can be customized to your exact needs. You can go cheap and purchase one online but you will miss out on important features.

You need to understand that your new hearing aids are an investment in your future. If you can’t hear well it can make your life very overwhelming and could end up costing you money, so it’s a bad choice to go cheap with your hearing aids. There may be other ways you can get hearing aids if you can’t afford them, so make sure you get the ones you really need.

Analog Vs. Digital

Digital hearing aids offer better quality sound that is much more dependable. Analog units are outdated and are not worth even considering.

If you consult with a reputable hearing aid retailer, all of the units will be digital. You have to be careful because analog devices are still out there if you don’t know what to look for. Analog means the type of audio signal the hearing aid gets and the quality of the sound. Analog hearing aids have some major problems with consistent sound quality.

Selecting The Very Best Features

Features and style are the two elements when hearing aid shopping. You want features that make your life better in a style that is comfortable. A few standard features to consider include:

  • Wireless connectivity
  • Direct audio input
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Environmental noise control
  • Synchronization
  • Remote controls
  • Noise reduction
  • Directional microphones
  • Telecoils
  • Bluetooth
  • Variable programming

Take Into Consideration The Different Styles

You will see, when you begin researching hearing aids, that there are numerous styles to pick from. That is good news since it means that there is certainly a style that will work for your needs. Some of the different styles are:

  • Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
  • In-the-Ear (ITE)
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
  • Open Fit
  • Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
  • In-the-Ear (ITE)

fairly obvious description of each style is given by the names. BTE hearing aids consist of a piece that sits behind the ear. An ear-mold rests at the ear’s opening and has clear tubing that attaches it to the BTE.

Alternatively, ITE hearing aids sit, as you may have guessed, inside of the ear. This device is at the opening of the ear canal and is just one unit. There is nothing that goes behind the ear. ITC devices are very similar but go deeper inside the ear, making them less visible.

RIC devices and RIE devices have a “receiver in the canal” and a “receiver in the ear” respectively, which are then connected to a unit behind the ear. These types of hearing aids are less conspicuous than a BTE.

Rather than having ear-molds, open fit units, which are a kind of BTE, have a thin tube that goes into the ear canal. This format works well for anyone who doesn’t like the feeling of something inside their ear.

After going over all of these options, it’s time to choose which style and options will fit your needs the most. As an example, Bluetooth is a great function to have, especially if you use your smartphone or computer a lot. You will save money on replacement batteries if you get a model with a rechargeable battery and a telecoil is ideal for listening to lectures or seminars.

Lastly, Your Buying Options Should be Taken Into Consideration

You should go to a qualified retailer to buy your hearing aids, One that offers a free trial period and custom fits the device. Truthfully, when it comes to hearing aids, you can’t be certain until you try them, so having the opportunity to wear them for a while is helpful.

A good warranty will come with a quality hearing aid, so don’t overlook that. What kind of coverage does it come with? Will you get a new hearing aid if something goes wrong or does the warranty only cover parts and possibly labor?

Before purchasing hearing aids schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist for a checkup and hearing test, also. Your hearing issue may not even call for hearing aids.

After I Get an Ear Infection, Will I Get my Hearing Back?

Woman recovers her hearing after an ear infection and listens to her grandaughter whisper something in her ear.

An ear infection is the popular name, but it’s medically named otitis media or AOM. Ear infections are very common after a sinus infection or cold and they not only affect children but adults too. Even a bad tooth can cause an ear infection.

If you get an infection in the middle ear you will usually have some hearing loss, but how long will it last? To come up with a complete answer can be fairly complicated. There are quite a few variables to take into consideration. To understand the potential risks, you need to learn more about the damage these infections can cause and how they affect hearing.

What is Otitis Media?

Put simply, otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. Bacteria is the most common cause, but it could be caused by any type of micro-organism.

The principal way in which an infection is defined is by what part of the ear it occurs in. Otitis externa, otherwise known as swimmer’s ear, is an infection of the pinna or outer ear. An inner ear infection, also called labyrinthitis is caused by bacteria in the cochlea.

The space in front of the cochlea but behind the eardrum is known as the middle ear. The membranes of the inner ear are vibrated by three tiny bones called ossicles which are housed in this area. An infection in this part of the ear tends to be very painful because it puts a lot of pressure on the eardrum, often until it breaks. Your failure to hear very well is also because of this pressure. The infectious material accumulates and blocks the ear canal enough to interfere with the movement of sound waves.

A middle ear infection includes the following symptoms:

  • Ear drainage
  • Ear pain
  • Reduced hearing

For most people, hearing returns in time. The ear canal will open up and hearing will come back. This will only happen when the infection is resolved. Sometimes there are complications, though.

Chronic Ear Infections

The majority of people experience an ear infection at least once in their life. The issues can become chronic for some people and they will keep getting ear infections. Chronic ear infections can lead to problems that mean a more significant and possibly permanent hearing loss, especially if the problem is neglected.

Conductive Hearing Loss Caused by Chronic Ear Infections

Conductive hearing loss can be brought on by repeated ear infections. Which means that the inner ear doesn’t receive sound waves at the proper intensity. The ear has components along the canal that amplify the sound wave so by the time it gets to the tiny hair cells of the inner ear, it is strong enough to cause a vibration. Sometimes something changes along this route and the sound is not correctly amplified. This is called conductive hearing loss.

Bacteria don’t just sit and behave themselves inside the ear when you get an ear infection. The components that amplify sound waves are broken down and eaten by the bacteria. The damage is normally done to the tiny little bones and the eardrum. The bones are very delicate and it doesn’t take much to break them up. These bones will never come back once they are gone. You don’t just get your hearing back once this damage happens. Surgically putting in prosthetic bones is one possible way that a doctor may be able to correct this. The eardrum may have scar tissue after it repairs itself, which can affect its ability to vibrate. Surgery can correct that, also.

This Permanent Hearing Loss Can be Prevented

It’s essential to see a doctor when you think you may have an ear infection. You shouldn’t wait if you want to protect your hearing. Always get chronic ear infection examined by a doctor. More damage is caused by more severe infections. Ear infections normally begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to avoid them. If you are a smoker, now is the right time to stop, too, because smoking increases your risk of having chronic respiratory issues.

If you are still having difficulty hearing after having an ear infection, consult a doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that causes conductive hearing loss. Hearing aids can be very helpful if you have permanent hearing loss. You can schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info on hearing aids.

Wearing Hearing Aids Can Put You Back in Control of Your Life

Woman with hearing loss happy to have her freedom and independence while riding in a convertible.

Remember when you got your first car? Nothing can compare to that sense of freedom. It was your choice when and where you went and with who you went with. Many people who suffer from loss of hearing have this exact same experience when they get their first hearing aids.

How could investing in your first pair of hearing aids be similar to getting your first car? There are some subtle reasons why having hearing aids can help you keep your independence. It so happens that your brain’s functionality is significantly impacted by hearing loss.

Neuroplasticity

The following example illustrates how your brain responds to changes: You’re on your way to work, taking the same way you always take. Now, suppose you go to make a turn only to discover the road is closed. How would you react? Is quitting and going home a good decision? Probably not unless of course you’re trying to find an excuse to avoid the office. Seeking out another route is most likely what you would do. As long as your regular route was closed this new route would become your new routine. If this new route turned out to be even more efficient, you would substitute the old one with it.

In your brain, when normal functions are blocked the very same thing takes place. Brand new pathways are routed in the brain due to a function defined as neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity can assist you in learning new languages, or to learn new abilities such as playing an instrument or building healthy habits. Activities that were once-challenging come to be automatic as physical modifications to the brain slowly adjust to match the new pathways. Neuroplasticity can be equally as good at causing you to forget about things you already know as it is at assisting you in learning new things.

Hearing Loss And Neuroplasticity

Hearing loss is the perfect example of how neuroplasticity has a negative impact on your day-to-day life. As explained in The Hearing Review, The pathways in your brain will quickly begin to get re-purposed if they quit processing sound according to a study done by the University of Colorado. And it probably isn’t ideal for them to change in that way. This reordering of your brain function explains the connection between loss of hearing and cognitive decrease.

When you have hearing loss, the areas of your brain responsible for functions, like vision or touch, can solicit the less-utilized pathways of the brain responsible for hearing. The available resources inside your brain which are used to process sound are diminished and so is your ability to comprehend speech.

So, if you are repeatedly asking people to speak up, hearing loss has already started. And even more significant is the fact that your brain may already be beginning to restructure.

How Hearing Aids Can Help You

As with anything, you get both a negative and positive side to this astonishing ability. Neuroplasticity may possibly make your loss of hearing worse, but it also elevates the performance of hearing aids. You can really make the most of current hearing aid technology because of the brain’s ability to regenerate tissue and reroute neural paths. As the hearing aids stimulate the parts of the brain that handle loss of hearing, they stimulate mental growth and development.

In fact, a long-term study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Cognitive decline was lessened in people with hearing aids, according to this study. The study, titled Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study, followed over three thousand adults age 65 and older over a 25 year period. What the researchers discovered was that the speed of cognitive decline was higher in those with hearing loss compared to those with healthy hearing. However, people that used hearing aids to correct their hearing loss showed no difference in the rate of cognitive decline as compared to those with normal hearing.

We already understood quite a bit about neuroplasticity and this study verifies that understanding: the brain will manage functions according to the current need and the amount of stimulation it receives. In other words, you need to, “use it or lose it.”

Having a Youthful Brain

It doesn’t matter what your age is, the adaptability of the brain means it can change itself at any point in time. It’s also important to note that hearing loss can speed up mental deterioration and that simply using hearing aids prevent or minimize this decline.

Hearing aids are not cheap over-the-counter sound amplification devices, they are high-tech hearing enhancement technology. According to leading brain plasticity expert Dr. Michael Merzenich, by challenging yourself to engage in new activities, being active socially, and maybe even practicing mindfulness you can enhance your brain’s functionality no matter what your age.

To ensure your quality of life, hearing aids are a must. Becoming isolated and withdrawn is a common problem for people with hearing loss. If you want to stay active and independent, get a pair of hearing aids. Don’t forget that if you want your brain to stay as young as you feel it needs to keep processing sound and receiving stimulation.

While Vacationing You Need to Know How to Deal with Your Hearing Aids

Couple enjoying vacation thanks to buying new hearing aids to treat their hearing loss.

 

You make a financial investment when you purchase hearing aids, so take steps to keep them safe and secure as you hit the road. It would be great if all getaways were stress-free, but unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Taking precautions to protect your hearing aids will give you one less thing to be worried about when going on vacation. What protective steps can you take for your hearing aids when you go on vacation.

Start With the Basics

Make certain to bring along a complete cleaning kit to begin. Everything you do while at home to keep your hearing aids clean, you’ll need to do while you travel. Most good quality hearing aid brands come with or offer a specialty cleaning kit that includes a brush or pick. You will also want to pack a soft dry cloth to wipe the surface down and a carrying case to store them in when you are not wearing them.

It’s a prudent idea to pack replacement batteries, as well. You will probably wear your hearing aid more than normal so backups are a smart idea. Don’t forget that extra charger if you have a hearing aid that has rechargeable batteries. Your replacement charger should be put somewhere separate in case one gets lost.

Here are a few other things you should bring along:

  • Tubing
  • Soft domes
  • Sport clip

Creating a checklist is crucial to be sure you don’t forget something you might really need. You never know for sure when you might need one of your hearing aid supplies, so pack them in an easy to get at place. Carry on luggage is the perfect spot to put these items if you are going on a plane.

An Expert Cleaning And Checkup is a Good Move Before You Leave

Take your hearing aids in for a cleaning and tune-up a week or two before your trip. When traveling it’s important that they are properly functioning. Ask the retailer about any warranties you may have on the hearing aids and take any paperwork with you just in case something happens. Learn how to file a claim otherwise you might miss something and you could void the warranty.

It won’t hurt to find out if there is an office close to where you will be staying, as well. Or look up hearing aid repair or retailers by yourself. This will make it that much more convenient if you need servicing or a replacement battery.

Using Hearing Aids at The Airport

With all of the changing security specifications, going to the airport is often puzzling. When you are walking through the security checkpoint, wear your hearing aids. Inform security that you have a hearing aid as you approach so that they know ahead of time. If you adhere to the security agent’s direction you most likely won’t have to take them out to pass through the metal detector.

It’s also not a problem if you wear your hearing aids on board the plane. You will not need to turn them off before the plane takes off like you do a cell phone, either. Be prepared because sometimes your hearing aid doesn’t work as well on the plane. Use visual indicators to let people know you might not hear as well. Cupping your ear, for instance, sends a signal that you can’t understand.

A Drying Kit or Dehumidifier is a Good Idea

Vacations typically go right along with water fun and humidity. Even if you don’t plan on going swimming, that doesn’t mean humidity is not still a potential problem. A dryer is very important while on vacation and also year round.

Make Sure You Know How Your Hearing Aids Function

Different features work best in different settings. For instance, you’ll need to filter out background noise in a restaurant or at an amusement park. You will have more fun at the beach if you use outdoor settings. You can’t know what feature to take advantage of if you are not familiar with how your hearing aid works.

A Remote Microphone is a Good Thing to Bring Along

A remote microphone will come in handy in noisy environments, when driving in the car, or if you are on a plane. You just clip the microphone to the person who you are talking with which enhances their voice so that you can converse freely.

Call Ahead to The Resort or Hotel

Usually, popular vacation spots accommodate for the hearing impaired. Since you won’t be using your hearing aids at night you will want to take advantage of that. Ask them about rooms with smoke alarms that flash the lights or shake the bed. Find out if they have special phones for the hearing impaired and televisions with closed captioning.

Vacationing is enjoyable, but it can be frantic, too. Deal with your hearing aids before you go, so you can relax and enjoy your trip. Schedule an appointment for a tune-up today.

Is Loss of Hearing Stopping You From Having Fun This Summer?

Man grilling unaware of his hearing loss and how getting a hearing aid could help him enjoy time with his family.

Why let your summer be ruined by flawed hearing? Most likely it’s much worse if you don’t know it. A few ear diseases and getting older can bring a prolonged loss of hearing that you might not even recognize. You might also stay away from engaging in fun summertime events you love simply because you can’t hear as well. You will still be able to get out and have a blast if you look for some practical solutions to your hearing loss difficulties.

Summer Barbecues

Barbecuing in the summer can be tricky when you have loss of hearing. Background noise is one big problem. There are a lot of conversations happening around you. On the lawn and in the swimming pool youngsters are shouting and playing. You get the sounds of nature such as singing birds, barking dogs, and the sound of food cooking on the grill.

All that noise interferes with any residual hearing you have left. Background sounds will overtake someone who has hearing loss.

Here are some tips to help you compensate:

Some of the overwhelming background noise can be lessened by finding a peaceful place to sit for a while. Turning away from the sun will allow you to see people when they are talking and read their lips to figure out words you miss.

  • You can turn down the volume of background music. You could choose to go without the music if you are hosting the barbecue. Tell the host about your problem if you are going to someone else’s cookout.
  • Walk away from time to time. It takes a lot of energy struggling to hear. Step indoors and away from everyone for a short time each hour and go somewhere quiet to recharge.
  • Let people know if you can’t hear. People will get annoyed when you attempt to fake it. If you don’t hear what someone said, let them know. Visual clues such as cupping your ears will help others realize you’re having trouble hearing. Usually, people will step closer or speak louder to help you.

Don’t attempt to hear everything. The fact that you can’t take part in every discussion is something you need to recognize. Set realistic limits for yourself and try to engage in smaller groups instead.

Go Outdoors

Do you truly realize what you might be missing outside? Don’t be afraid to go outdoors and concentrate on the sounds of the natural world. No, you won’t be able to hear everything but with a little focus, you might hear more than you might think.

Make a game out of it and listen for:

  • Chirping birds
  • Insects buzzing
  • Crickets in the evening
  • Blowing leaves
  • The rain falling
  • Kids running around and playing
  • Dogs barking
  • Waves splashing

Temper expectations when going outdoors, to the beach, or for a walk in the park by attempting to hear one thing at a time.

Enjoy Day Trips or Even a Much Needed Vacation

That’s truly what summer is meant for, isn’t it? What sort of vacation do you enjoy? What constraints come along with your hearing loss that will affect it? For instance, an amusement park might be a little too much stimulation, but sailing or fishing work nicely. Going out into nature should also work. Walk on the boardwalk near the beach or head to a museum.

Don’t let your hearing loss take away your chance to travel this summer. Tell the airline about your condition when you get your ticket if you are flying. Alert the hotel or resort, too, so they can offer you a room that has accommodations for the hearing impaired such as smoke alarms with flashing lights or shaking beds and TVs that have closed captioning.

Improve Yourself

Learn how to paint or maybe take a fitness class to better yourself this summer. Show up early, so that you can find a place up front. If you miss anything, it would be prudent to bring a couple of friends with you to fill in the blanks.

Safety Precautions Should Be Taken This Summer

There are a number of summertime traditions which require you to take precautions to protect yourself, your ears, and any expensive hearing assistance devices you own. Play it safe by:

  • While you are enjoying the pool or beach, make sure you play it safe. Use earplugs to prevent ear infections and keep your hearing aids dry.
  • Take a friend with you when you go on those enjoyable evening walks. There are potential risks like a vehicle driving toward you or somebody lurking close to you which you probably won’t hear.
  • Safeguard what hearing you do have left by wearing ear protection if you go to watch the fireworks for Independence Day or to an outdoor concert.

Making the Most of It This Summer

Three easy things will help you avoid most of these things.

  • Get your ears examined by a hearing care specialist. It may be possible your hearing loss is treatable.
  • Get a professional hearing test, to determine if you do have hearing loss.
  • Wear high-quality hearing aids. They will filter out background noises so that you will hear what is relevant.

Summertime is all about having fun. Don’t let the loss of hearing take it away from you.

Are Your Hearing Aids Getting Wrecked by Humidity?

Dog jumping into water to demonstrate how hearing aids can get wet easily when you're having fun this summer because moisture damages hearing aids.

There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but few have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Even if you already know that and take care to protect your investment from the shower, pool, or a good face washing, chances are you are missing the most common reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.

Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.

Understanding Humidity

Even though the word humidity is very common, what does it actually mean? PBS describes humidity as water molecules in the air. When presented as a percentage, for example, the relative humidity is 40 percent today, it refers to the amount of water vapor in the air compared to what air could hold. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.

Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient way to cool down the body. When humidity levels are high our sweat will not evaporate as fast. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.

As A General Rule Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Coping With Humidity

Oddly enough, electronic devices are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the intricate elements that make electronic devices work, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.

Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. A sophisticated audio processing chip controls noise levels in a modern hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:

  • Noise reduction
  • Anti-feedback
  • Targeted listening programs
  • Digital sound streaming

Moisture can accumulate inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as dropping your hearing aid in a tub of water.

Controlling Humidity

Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.

If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about using a room or house dehumidifier to decrease water vapor indoors. It’s not just your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronic devices in the home will also be protected. Dehumidifiers reduce the risk of mold, mildew and dust mites, so everyone breathes a little better, too. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. You will need to take other steps at the same time.

Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially for hearing aids. They come at all costs levels. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the electronics. You put the device in the dehumidifier for a couple of hours to eliminate moisture. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce moisture.

Don’t forget to leave the battery door open when you store your device. When you expose the battery and inner elements to air by leaving the door open, condensation can evaporate by itself. Do this all year round, not just in the summer months.

Always store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. On the table in the sun, in the glove compartment, or in a hot room are examples of where not to store your hearing aids.

Other Moisture Concerns

Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:

  • Don’t touch your hearing aids with hands that are still moist from lotion.
  • Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
  • Wear a sweatband when exercising. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. Later that sweat will cause problems.
  • Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. You don’t want to place it in a wet spot left by a glass or coffee cup.

Treat your hearing like the valuable asset that it is. Consider how moisture and humidity can impact them and take steps to prevent water damage. If your hearing aid already has water damage make an appointment for service with a hearing aid specialist.

Old Hearing Aids Should be Updated

Small robot made of old tech is suggesting those with old hearing aids upgrade to new digital hearing aids.

That out of date ear horn is definitely not cutting-edge and must be updated. The question is, should I do it now, or should I hold off? Your hearing aids seem like they still work, right? Did you realize they are more than 10 years old?

Do you think that your old hearing aids are good enough? Ask yourself “what is the actual cost”? In the past couple of years, hearing aid technology has come a long way. We’ve moved from analog to digital, first of all, and there are features now that weren’t yet in the design phase a decade ago. It’s definitely time to consider an upgrade. Think about several reasons why.

Old Hearing Aids Quit Regularly

Older or maybe even cheap hearing aids have many problems including that irritating buzzing you hear every now and then. How about that feedback anytime you go near a phone, that’s lots of fun. Then for no apparent reason at all, it begins to make weird noises. “What now”?

You Can’t Keep Denying That Your Hearing Aid Usually Fails When You Need it The Most

It’s not unusual for you to hang by yourself and miss the good discussion. How distressing was the time when your grandson sang you a tune he learned but you could only hear little bits and pieces? You had to pretend that you heard it but you didn’t.

Old hearing aids have all of these failings. With the past generation technology, we just turned up the volume. Today’s technology filters out frustrating loud background noise like a humming fan. It was not even that loud.

Over Time Out Of Date Hearing Aids Can Cost You More

One consideration when purchasing new hearing aids is definitely cost. When you consider all the factors, you will come to realize that out of date hearing aids will wind up costing you more than new ones. Analog devices need new batteries regularly. If you are changing the battery on a daily basis, or even more frequently than that, the expense adds up.

Don’t forget the repair costs with out of date technology. You can compare it to an old truck. Repair services are expensive when your hearing aid is in the shop more than it’s in your ear.

Smart Technology Gives us Great Advantage Over Out of Date Devices

Most modern hearing aids come with Bluetooth capabilities. Old analog devices won’t have that. Having Bluetooth built into your digital hearing aid means it’s compatible with your phone, your computer, and maybe even your television (unless they’re a decade old, too.)

In Your World, if You Can’t Communicate Your Lost

Studies indicate that hearing loss could mean a lower paycheck. Doesn’t it make sense then, that better hearing aids would certainly be a career asset? When you’re working, it is important to hear your bosses instructions or maybe even a customer’s questions. You will follow instructions without wondering whether you got it right and will take part in essential discussions without worrying about whether your hearing aids will work or not.

And we all know that quality communication is the foundation of a quality life. It’s not necessary to sit alone like a wallflower during discussions any longer. Jump in and engage with the people all around you.

Did You Realize How Awesome The Newer Hearing Aids Are?

How do you really feel when you see yourself in the mirror with those out of date hearing aids on? Awkward? Obvious? Seriously?? One of the most important benefits that come with replacing those old hearing aids is stylishness and flexibility. There is an endless variety of personalizations possible with modern hearing aids including size, color, and shape. You can have one tucked so tightly into your ear, no one will ever see it, or you can make a fashion statement by getting a visible hearing aid in your favorite color.

Is it Time to Buy a New Hearing Aid?

Now you are aware of all the reasons to upgrade your hearing aids. However, some telltale clues will indicate that your hearing aid is an antique:

  • Your hearing has changed. You don’t hear as well as you once did even with the hearing aid in place.
  • Your life has changed, and your hearing aid has a rough time keeping up. It’s difficult to take it out just so you can talk on the phone, or maybe you’ve switched jobs and now you need to cope with more background noise.
  • Your hearing aid keeps cutting out. It just isn’t reliable anymore, and that’s a concern.
  • You know for sure your hearing aid is analog. Ouch, time to go digital.
  • Your hearing aid is heavy. Clunky, old technology is heavier.
  • When you look in the mirror, your hearing aid is all you can see. That old technology takes up a lot of space, too.
  • You are replacing the batteries constantly. Modern hearing aids are much more energy efficient and have rechargeable batteries.

It’s not brain surgery. If you’ve had your hearing aids for more than seven years, it’s time to trade up and hear better. Contact a hearing aid professional to get started.

When You Are Attending Events and Festivities be Sure to Consider Ear Protection

Family enjoying independence day celebration oblivious to the risk of hearing loss from fireworks.

The warm weather season is here, and your schedule is probably already packed with lots of parties and plans. Almost everyone you know will be outside for some event the next couple weeks as The Fourth of July is just around the corner. You love to attend concerts, parades, marching bands, and of course-fireworks. There is no cause to stay in your house and miss out on the fun, but take a minute to think of how you will protect your ears when you do go out to celebrate this holiday season.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on around 6 percent of the U.S. adult population under the age of 70; that equals around 40 million people. The sad part is this form of hearing damage is pretty much 100 percent preventable. All you need is a little planning and good sense. Take into consideration some reasons you need to take care of your hearing as you enjoy yourself this season and the best ways of doing it.

Fireworks are the Summers Most Harmful Hearing Risks.

There are many potential dangers of fireworks but hearing damage tops the list. Despite that, you rarely hear experts warning people about this threat like they do with fire or burns.

Boys Town National Research Hospital states you’re at risk of hearing loss from fireworks regardless if you’re shooting them off yourself or watching them at a public show. Noise-related hearing loss can begin at 85 decibels with repeated exposure. 150 to 175 decibels is the typical range of fireworks. For short durations 140 decibels is the limit for adults and 120 decibels for children before hearing damage may happen. Both those numbers are lower than fireworks.

The good news? Your risk of hearing loss is reduced the further you are away from the explosion. Watching the fireworks show from nearby is definitely more damaging than watching them from your porch at home. Boys Town recommends you stand at least 30 yards away if you are an adult. Children should be 70 yards away to protect their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.

Because You Love Live Music

Who doesn’t? And summer celebrations bring out some of the best musicians in the world! The World Health Association states that a billion teens are at risk for hearing loss from music whether it is coming from ear-buds, a parade or a favorite band playing on stage.

Any person exposed to loud music faces the same possible consequence, but time is a factor when it comes to live music. Live shows are usually louder than 100 decibels which becomes dangerous after only 15 minutes. It’s safe to say; most people attend concerts for longer than that!

Then There are the People

Crowds are the most underestimated hearing danger at celebrations. When the crowd is into the celebration everybody is talking and yelling loudly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says that at sporting events the crowd volume is 80 to 90 dB. Unfortunately, it will probably be higher and more consistent at a parade or celebration.

A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way

What can you do to take care of your ears? It’s a lot more common sense than you may think. Try to determine what the hearing risk is before the event:

  • Will there be loud music?
  • Large crowds?
  • Fireworks?

What precautions you take depends on how loud you think the celebration will be. It is important to wear hearing protection if you are going to be around loud music, crowds, or fireworks. With something simple like foam earplugs, you can still hear what’s going on, but at a much safer level.

The family should be kept at a safe distance during a fireworks show. Fireworks can easily be enjoyed from a safe distance. A block or two away is the safest minimum distance. Being a little further away helps you avoid large crowds making the show more enjoyable

Hearing Damage is not the Only Risk of the Summer

Noise is only one of several concerns. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. If you have tinnitus or suffer from hearing loss these things will make them worse.

Try to take it easy. Don’t go to the celebration too early if it’s going to be a late night. If you’re planning on partaking of alcohol try moderation and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. Can you find some shade? Can you get access to an air-conditioned building?

Celebrations come and go but your ears are a one time deal. Enjoy the holiday but be sure to take care of your ears also. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

What’s the one Thing to Know About Hearing Loss?

Woman not letting hearing loss and use of hearing aids stop her from feeling young and playing with her grandkids.

As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only has an effect on the older generation. Almost all of us have had experience with older people attempting to comprehend conversations, or using hearing aids.

As you become more mature, you start to learn that there is a different factor regarding hearing loss other than aging.

Most people are afraid to admit they suffer from hearing loss because it causes them to feel old.

Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Problem”

Even before we turn 13, audiologists already begin to diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 30 years there has been a 33% increase in teen hearing loss.

What are the key factors involved?

2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds already have debilitating hearing loss.

It’s not an aging problem. It’s 100% possible to avoid, although most people might consider it an aging problem. Considerably minimizing your hearing loss is within reach.

Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical term for age-related hearing loss, is generally brought on by loud noise.

For ages hearing loss was believed to be inevitable as you age. However thanks to today’s science we know a lot more concerning hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.

How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise

Step one to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “innocent” as noise causes hearing loss.

Sound is composed of waves of pressure. Going down into your ear these waves go beyond your eardrum and into the inner ear.

Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how frequently these little tiny hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone crying for assistance, a jet plane, or any other sound which might be near you.

The problem is that as noises get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The sound shakes them until they die.

If you don’t have them, you can’t hear.

Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Permanent

Various kinds of damage can be healed by your body. But when you harm these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they will not grow back. Every time you are subjected to loud noise, a few more of these cells die.

Hearing loss progresses as they die.

Common Sounds Which Cause Hearing Damage

Most people are surprised to discover that everyday activities can cause hearing loss. It’s very easy to overlook:

  • Going to a concert/play/movie
  • Wearing earbuds/head phones
  • Turning the car stereo up too loud
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Using farm equipment
  • Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
  • Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
  • Working in a manufacturing plant or other loud profession
  • Hunting
  • Playing music in a band

It’s not necessary to quit these activities. Fortunately, you can take practical steps to reduce noise-related hearing loss.

How you can Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” old

If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t need to cause you to feel older. The longer you disregard it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will end up feeling older much sooner because of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • Increased Fall Risk
  • Social Isolation
  • More frequent trips to the ER
  • Strained relationships

It’s significantly more common for people with untreated hearing loss to have problems with one or more of these.

How can you Avoid Continued Hearing Damage?

The first thing you have to do is learn how to to avoid hearing loss.

  1. Put a sound meter app on your phone, and find out how loud things truly can be.
  2. Harmful volumes should be avoided without the proper ear protection. More than 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing loss in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above results in immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
  3. Know that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing temporarily after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. Over time it will become worse.
  4. Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
  5. Observe workplace hearing safety policies.
  6. Minimize your exposure time to loud sounds.
  7. Steer clear of standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
  8. Invest in earbuds/headphones that come with built-in volume control. These never go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to cause permanent damage.
  9. High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be certain, never listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
  10. Wear your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s the same as your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.

Get a Hearing Test

Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Make the right choice now rather than later. The faster you make the wise decision the less damage you will continue to do.

Speak to Your Hearing Professional Concerning Hearing Solutions

There are no “normal cures” for hearing impairment. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.

Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hearing Aids

Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them seem old. Or they believe that they cost too much.

But as soon as they realize that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause various health and personal complications, it’s simple to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.

Talk to a hearing care expert now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are needed, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids at present are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you probably think!