4 Mistakes New Hearing Aid Owners Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Man adjusting to new hearing aids by adjusting volume on his smartphone.

So you finally went out and invested in a new pair of hearing aids. Nice job taking the first step to better your life. Modern hearing aids are newer technology and there are things you should learn to do and things that you should learn not to do. The list with hearing aids is not huge, but it’s an important one.

There are other things to consider besides simply caring for your hearing. The things you fail to do can make the devices less useful or slow down your adjustment time. Others in your shoes have made mistakes that you can learn from. These four things that you shouldn’t do need to be taken into consideration.

1. Straight Out of the Box Into Your Ear

You may be disregarding powerful features if you don’t take some time to learn the basics of how your hearing aid functions and discover the features that come with the brand. If you just turn on your hearing aids and put them in, more than likely they won’t work efficiently. Bluetooth and noise filters are some of the best features that you may also miss.

Conversely, if you simply slow it down somewhat and read the included documentation, you can figure out how to get the cleanest sound quality and practice the various adjustments that improve the hearing aid’s function.

You will already have a basic idea of what your hearing aids can do by the time you buy them. Now you need to learn how to use them which takes a little time.

2. Take Into Consideration The Adjustment Period

Your eyes need to adapt to the shape of the frame and the difference in lenses when you get a new pair of glasses. There is also an adaptation period with hearing aids. High quality sound in a new hearing aid does not happen by magic. That’s not how it works.

Your ears will require a couple days to adapt to what is a massive change, especially if you’ve never worn hearing aids before. Adjusting to new hearing aids as quickly as possible is all about consistency.

Once you’ve put them in leave them in. Often, new users feel an urge to keep removing them. That urge should be ignored. If you are uncomfortable, think about why.

  • Is the noise too loud? Perhaps you should turn the volume down.
  • Until you get used to it, take out the hearing aids when it gets uncomfortable. Go back to the retailer and have your hearing aids checked if they don’t really fit right..
  • Does the background noise seem overwhelming? Go to a quiet place for a few minutes when you first put them in each day. Sit down with a friend and talk. Ask if you are talking too loud. By doing this, you can balance the sound out by making adjustments.

Don’t make a huge mistake and give up on your hearing aid. If you just forget about your hearing aids, shoving them in a drawer somewhere, they will do you no good.

3. Neglect Getting a Professional Fitting Upfront

There is a lot involved in finding the right hearing aids, and it begins before you even start shopping. If you are not telling the truth about what you can and can’t hear at the hearing test at the audiologist, that’s a problem. You could wind up with hearing aids that aren’t right for your level or type of hearing loss. Some hearing aids amplify a high-frequency sound by design for instance. These are not the correct hearing aids for you if you can’t hear mid or low tones.

In many situations, hearing aids may not seem to fit your lifestyle. Bluetooth technology is a feature that you will want if you use a phone allot.

Make a note of when you wish your hearing aid did something different or when they aren’t functioning correctly while you are still in the trial period. You can go back and talk about those issues with your hearing care technician. You may need a different type of device or you might just need an adjustment.

Most retailers do free fittings so makes certain to find one of them when you buy your hearing aids. They won’t work right if they are too big for your ears.

4. Careless Maintenance

Often inadequate upkeep is simply a question of not understanding when you should or shouldn’t do something or how to do it. Take the time to learn how to take care of your hearing aids even if this isn’t your first rodeo.

After you buy your hearing aids, Take a close look at at the warning signs listed in the user manual such as using hair products with your hearing aids in or failing to turn them off when you take it out.

Don’t forget to study the maintenance guide and troubleshooting instructions.

Cleaning is an important part of Taking care of hearing aids, so make sure you understand all the hows and whys. Don’t quit at only cleaning the device, either. See what the manufacturer suggests for cleaning your ears, too.

If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids, it’s up to you. The process starts as you are shopping for them and proceeds when you start wearing them. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to learn what kind of hearing aid will work best for you.

These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Shock You

Man suffering from hearing loss considering the side effects of losing his hearing.

An elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think of when hearing loss is discussed. Affecting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased sharply among all age groups. There are surprising health repercussions for people who ignore it. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.

1. Mental Decline

Though you might not have previously known it, hearing loss can impact your general health. The most serious is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Some conditions frequently connected to aging are in fact caused by hearing loss.

When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. The difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is processed by this mechanism.

The brain experiences sound each microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It still expects it to be there, though and struggles to find it. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress bringing about cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.

2. Gut Trouble

That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been connected to side effects like:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Upset stomach

The constant stress can cause intestinal issues like:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.

3. Mental Health Concerns

The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is probably the most noticeable side effect. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to the loss of hearing in adults below the age of 70.

People who suffer from hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that probably accounts for the depression. The research suggests that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more prominent.

Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems such as:

  • Negativism
  • Lack of focus
  • Anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability

People who can’t successfully communicate stop trying and that results in sadness and psychological anxiety.

4. Relationship Troubles

Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.

Hearing loss creates problems in personal relationships, as well. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:

  • Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
  • Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it

Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, and your relationships. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action is best for you.

How to Stop That Frustrating Ringing in Your Ears

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Whether you hear it occasionally or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. Maybe annoying isn’t the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? No matter how you decide to describe that sound that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s a problem. What can you do, though? Can that ringing actually be stopped?

Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it

Begin by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the clicking, ringing, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition in and of itself. For many, that something else is loss of hearing. Hearing decline typically comes with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. The latest theory is the brain creates the noise to fill a void.

Thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less noticeable. These sorts of sound are not normally heard because the brain decides you don’t need to hear them.

The main point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. If half of those sounds are switched off, what happens then? It becomes bewildering for the part of your brain that hears sound. It might produce the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it recognizes sound should be there.

Tinnitus has other possible causes also. It can be connected to severe health issues like:

  • Head or neck trauma
  • Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
  • Turbulent blood flow
  • Poor circulation
  • A reaction to medication
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • High blood pressure

Any of these things can cause tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you may experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before attempting to find other ways of dealing with it.

What to do About Tinnitus

You need to understand why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is causing your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.

A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. They simulate a natural sound that is calming such as the ocean waves or rain falling. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.

Getting hearing aids is also a good option. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is looking for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain has no further need to produce phantom noise.

For most people, the answer is a combination of tricks. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this strategy.

There are also medications available if soft sounds are not effective or if the tinnitus is more severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus

Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. A good starting place is determining what triggers your tinnitus. Keep a record and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:

  • What did you just eat?
  • Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
  • Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
  • Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?

The more precise your information, the faster you’ll see the patterns that could be inducing the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.

An Ounce of Prevention

Preventing tinnitus in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:

  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system
  • Using ear protection when around loud noises
  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Turning down the volume on everything

If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. To rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.

Hearing Loss is Often Perceived Negatively Which Will Impact Your Overall Health

Man with hearing loss looks concerned but won't get hearing aids.

Inability to hear is not the only effect of hearing loss, it can also have a serious impact on your overall life. Relationships can be strained and day-to-day tasks can be interrupted by loss of hearing.

A survey conducted by AARP found that untreated hearing loss had a more significant effect on quality of life than:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Obesity

There are a lot of people who don’t seek help with their hearing loss despite the fact that it negatively impacts their lifestyle. A lot of people who suffer from hearing loss avoid getting help because they believe that there is a stigma associated with hearing loss, according to researchers. Being treated differently is one reason people with hearing loss are scared to let anyone know they can’t hear that well. This perception can change how they view themselves whether they are young or old.

Many Others Also Have Hearing Loss

As lifespans grow longer, hearing loss has become more commonplace, in spite of the fact that it can affect people of every age group, The World Health Organization reports that there are more than 1.1 billion people, a lot of them young adults, in danger of hearing loss and the public perception that comes with it. Hearing loss is, in fact, one of a young adult’s greatest health threats. Even as the number of people who have hearing loss continues to grow, the resistance to seeking help for hearing loss seems to persist. What is the impact on general health?

What is The Perception of Hearing Loss?

A brand that marks someone as inferior is how sufferers of hearing loss feel and that is the meaning of stigma. Lots of people with hearing loss are concerned they will look older than they are, less healthy, or less capable.

Historically, there is some basis for this worry. A 2010 study revealed people were not as well accepted when they had hearing loss. But the data from this study is nearly a decade old. This perception is changing as hearing loss becomes more widespread. Hearing loss technology is becoming Stylish, fun, and sophisticated. Even celebrities are openly wearing hearing aids. Other health concerns relating to aging, like cognitive decline and dementia could be delayed or even prevented by getting treatment, according to research. This is also helping to change the perception. In spite of this, many people still won’t get the treatment they really need.

Why Does It Matter?

It is simple to say that perception doesn’t matter, but if this worry is preventing you from getting help, know that there are health repercussions for not getting treatment. More people get colonoscopies than hearing tests according to an AARP survey. Not getting a hearing exam because you refuse to acknowledge your hearing loss will impact your health as you get older.

Untreated Hearing Loss, What Are The Consequences?

Your overall health will be affected by these physical consequences;

Fatigue

Everything in life is more tedious when you are working hard to hear. You have to work more than other people to hear conversations and sounds. You also need to be more careful to protect your safety because you can’t hear warning sounds or cars coming. You can become chronically fatigued simply by trying to hear day-to-day sounds.

Common Headaches and Migraines

You can suffer from headaches and migraines if you have too much anxiety and tension. You might not realize there is a correlation, but studies have revealed a link between migraines and certain kinds of hearing loss. The constant extra effort by your brain to make up for sounds you can’t hear can cause your head to ache even if you’re not prone to migraines.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are some mental health issues you could possibly also end up facing as a consequence of untreated loss of hearing. Social isolation is increased by hearing loss and it can also lead to dementia. You will have less energy and will be moodier if you have these other challenges.

Surmounting Negative Perceptions of Hearing Loss

Overcoming these negative perceptions begins with getting help. If you are losing your hearing, it is treatable. Understand that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get that treatment.

There might not even be any reason to stress out because not all loss of hearing is permanent. You won’t know what the problem is unless you make an appointment to get a hearing exam. It could be as simple as earwax buildup.

Make sure you deal with it if it turns out that you do have hearing loss. Nowadays hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes. More inconspicuous styles are available if you feel concerned about people finding out you have hearing loss.

Most significantly, show everyone that you have lots of confidence in spite of your hearing loss. You should wear your hearing aids with confidence because when you can hear, you will be just as active and healthy as anyone else. The perception of people who have hearing loss will be changed if you act in this way. Increase awareness and stay healthy by not giving in to negative perceptions.

Hearing loss is not a personal weakness it’s a medical condition. Make an appointment to have a hearing exam today.

Can Glasses be Worn While Wearing Hearing Aids?

Couple wearing hearing aids with glasses enjoy a vacation.

Is it feasible to comfortably wear hearing aids while you are also wearing your glasses, despite the fact that the two don’t seem very harmonious? If you are thinking about a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, this typical question is even more pertinent. The question is, can I wear them both comfortably? Yes is the answer.

Before picking out hearing aids, there are a few things to consider if you wear glasses. Use these tips to make sure your hearing aids and glasses work well together.

There Are a Few Types of Hearing Aids That May Work For Your Situation

There is a lot to consider when you’re shopping for hearing aids, even when you don’t happen to wear glasses. Styles, shapes, and sizes are all personalizations that are readily available. You can even get a cool color if you want. Modern hearing aids are not the same as the ones that grandpa wore.

Start your research by really getting to know what styles of hearing aids are out there. They break down into three basic categories:

  • In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE model but it sits deeper into the ear, making them nearly invisible.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name implies, this style of hearing aid fits right into the opening of the ear canal and has nothing sitting behind the ear.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is way more advanced. With this model, the main section of the device mounts right behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold sitting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit versions are essentially the same setup except without the earmold.

There are advantages and drawbacks to each style, but if you wear glasses, ITE and ITC hearing aids will save you from a lot of issues. You can compare the many features of a new hearing aid, but first, you need to choose the right style.

Considering The Features

Essentially, it’s really the features that should drive your decision as you look for hearing aids, not the shape. Evolving hearing aid technology is causing features to change all of the time. Watch for some of these common ones:

  • Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to augment speech.
  • T-coil – This feature allows you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is useful if you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at church or on the radio.
  • Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear when you are in a noisy space. For example, if someone is talking to you at a cafe, you can hear their speech easily despite the noise around you.

Your aim is to determine the ideal set of features to fit your lifestyle. At this point, you can make a decision on the style of hearing aid.

What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?

It is possible to wear BTE hearing aids at the same time as glasses. If you want them to fit together comfortably you have to wear both of these important accessories the correct way. Here are some tips:

  • Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice taking off your glasses. It will take some time for this to become a habit. If you forget to use this motion you will knock off your hearing aid and that will help reinforce the practice.
  • Before you make a purchase look closely at the size of the BTE. Although it’s a little bulky, the standard version will still work with glasses. The other choice is a relatively new style called mini BTE. Because the behind the ear portion is smaller, you get better comfort and less feedback. The only sure way to tell which one will be best for you is to try them both.
  • Your hearing aid should be put in only after you put your glasses on. Positioning of the hearing aid unit is a little more flexible so you can maneuver it around the arm of the glasses to make it comfortable. After placing the hearing aid, look in a mirror to be sure it’s not hanging from your outer ear.

The only option for those that have a real problem wearing a BTE device with glasses would be the ITE or ITC models. If you take your glasses off a lot, for instance, BTE devices will be a real hassle. Children will usually have problems with this kind of hearing aid and also adults with small ears. Most reputable hearing aid sellers offer a trial period, so schedule an appointment to find out what model is best for you. Trying the different styles is the only way you will know for sure which style works best for you.

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.