The holidays are coming, so people are getting ready to gather with friends and family to celebrate! Planning and communicating through texts, emails, social media, and phone calls can get hectic.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It is commonly associated with hearing loss that has gone untreated, so we also want to remind people to monitor their hearing health - which often goes unnoticed.
Alzheimer’s is Not a Natural Part of Aging
Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts the area of the brain that manages memory, speech, thought processing, and problem-solving. The most common type of Alzheimer’s is dementia. Not all elderly people develop Alzheimer’s. Simply being a little forgetful does not indicate that you have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can manifest itself as standing in a familiar spot and not knowing where you are, getting lost in familiar places, difficulty handling money and paying bills, repeating yourself over and over again in a short span of time, taking longer to complete simple tasks, having poor judgment, losing things or putting them in strange places, or changes in mood and personality.
Dementia and Hearing Loss
Over 48 million people in the U.S. have some range of hearing loss. Most people who would benefit from hearing aids do not use them. Several factors can account for the reason why including the stigma that comes with hearing loss, the cost of hearing aids, or not believing their hearing is as bad as it actually is. Evidence and professional research have associated dementia with hearing loss that went untreated.
Problems with hearing can affect the way the brain functions and researchers believe that untreated hearing loss shifts cognitive performance - overworking some areas while not using others - which raises the chances of dementia. The brain works like muscles in the body, they become atrophied if you don’t exercise them. Hearing is an exercise for the brain. When you find it difficult to process information during conversations due to hearing loss, this is known as cognitive overload. Struggling to process sounds, while reading people’s lips when they talk, or reading non-verbal cues causes stress to the brain. As a result, other parts of the brain that are used to solve problems or create memories can’t function properly. Brain imaging that was done on seniors who had untreated hearing loss showed evidence that there were areas of the brain which were inactive.
Isolation and Dementia caused by Hearing Loss
A healthy brain thrives on socializing, exercising, and keeping up with your hobbies. Those with untreated hearing loss have been shown to be socially isolated due to struggles with hearing and communication. Alienating themselves feels easier and less frustrating than trying to make out a conversation with someone.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can have a ripple effect on your life and mental health. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Get Your Hearing Tested Immediately
If hearing aids are recommended after your hearing test, studies have shown that seniors who have hearing loss and cognitive problems can find hearing aids to be helpful.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers. They’ll go over your hearing test results and recommend the appropriate treatment options.
If you have difficulty with hearing, conversing with others, and find yourself feeling left out in certain situations, in addition to using hearing aids, you can try an app.
Here’s a list of five apps to help you communicate with the people around you.
If you, or a loved one, are noticing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Nearly 2.5 billion people around the world are estimated to have some range of hearing loss by 2050. Hearing loss usually occurs slowly, so it’s difficult to figure out there’s any loss until it becomes a little more severe. High-frequency hearing loss is more common than low-frequency hearing loss. Examples of high frequencies are children’s voices and domestic fire alarms. Examples of low frequencies are deep voices and diesel engines.
Primary Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss usually gets worse as you age. Here’s why:
The Inability to Hear Certain Volumes
A normal, healthy ear can harness sounds that range from a single decibel to sounds in triple decibels. As hearing abilities worsen, the volume that is needed for the ear to pick up sound rises.
If there’s mild hearing loss, a person will not be able to hear sounds under 20 dB (decibels).
A person with moderate hearing loss cannot hear noises between 41 to 55 dB.
When a person cannot recognize sounds between 55 to 70 dB, it can negatively impact their quality of life. The average volume of human speech reaches 65 dB. Not being able to hear others speak can cause confusion, and create isolation because one or both parties are unaccommodating. As a result, this can lead to loneliness and depression.
Those with profound deafness cannot hear any sounds under 90 dB. Having a verbal conversation is nearly impossible.
Loss of Sound Frequencies
A young person with healthy hearing abilities can hear from 20 to 20,000Hz. The higher frequencies are harder to hear as people age. On average:
Most sounds that we hear on a daily basis range between 2,000 and 5,000Hz. The sounds of birds singing can range between 1,000 to 8,000Hz. The majority of human speech frequencies range between 2,000 to 4,000Hz. When a person can no longer hear frequencies below 7,000 to 8,000Hz, their hearing abilities have significantly declined and should be tested.
The inability to hear frequencies is why some struggle to hear a conversation when there’s any background noise.
What Are Early Symptoms of Hearing Loss?
It’s tough to notice early symptoms of hearing loss. A person’s ability to hear high frequencies will start to worsen when a person reaches their 30s, but no negative effects will be noticeable.
Here are early symptoms of hearing loss:
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, schedule a complimentary hearing test and consultation with us at Pure Sound Hearing. The appropriate solution will be recommended by our providers.
You hear with your ears. Your brain interprets the sounds. We’ve discussed the importance of protecting your ears when in loud environments or while listening to any audio sounds, but brain exercises are just as crucial so that it can make sense of the sounds. Here are some exercises that can be done alone or with another person.
Partnered Hearing Exercises
If you’ve been isolated from family and friends, and now feel comfortable and safe enough to reconnect with them, try some of these exercises with at least one of them.
Tuning out Background Noises
Environments that have too much background noise can be distracting for anyone, especially those with hearing problems. It’s good to practice tuning these distractions out in a relaxed setting. Turn the TV or a podcast on at a normal listening volume, and talk to your family or friend. Concentrate on the discussion you’re having, and ignore any background noises. Take a pause from the exercises as needed.
Motionless Marco Polo
A more fun game to play is similar to the pool game Marco Polo. Shut your eyes or put a blindfold on. Your partner should quietly move around different areas of the room. Guess what they are standing by so that you can estimate the direction they are speaking from, and the distance they are standing from you.
Solitary Hearing Exercises
If you live alone or your partner is away from the home for most of the day, try some of these exercises.
Meditation does not strictly require people to hear, and in fact, studies have indicated that those with hearing loss have found meditation to be helpful. Meditation doesn’t just benefit your ability to focus, it also stimulates blood flow to your inner ears which is important for healthy hearing. Check out these apps for guided meditations.
Sound isolation is another mindfulness exercise to help your brain recognize sounds. Follow these three easy steps to practice listening:
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered when getting your hearing tested. Do you or a family member suspect that you have trouble with your hearing? Or do you notice further hearing loss after receiving a hearing test?
Your age and work environment are also important factors to consider.
You should schedule an annual hearing test if:
If you are noticing any additional loss before your annual hearing assessment, contact your hearing healthcare provider to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
The Difference between a Hearing Test and a Hearing Screening
A hearing test is provided when you, a loved one, or a healthcare provider think that you may have hearing loss because you’ve been having the common symptoms. A hearing test is conducted by having the patient sit in a sound-proof booth while getting their existing hearing levels measured and recorded on an audiogram. This is known as a comprehensive hearing exam.
A hearing screening is provided when you don’t show signs or symptoms of hearing loss. A screening takes less time and is simpler than a test. If you are frequently exposed to loud noises on the job, you can participate in a screening program.
What to do if Your Hearing Loss is Confirmed
If you have already been told that you have hearing loss through a previous test, you need to be retested regularly by your hearing care provider. You should make observations about your hearing health with a hearing journal, in case you notice any changes. Hearing loss happens slowly, so you may not immediately notice a difference.
Get a Checkup for Your Hearing Aids
It’s important to understand that wearing hearing aids means that you are going to need to get them adjusted/reprogrammed, especially if they’re a new pair of hearing aids that you’re trying out. Your hearing loss may decline from moderate to severe, which makes the initial programming for your devices ineffectual for your latest degree of loss.
The average lifespan of hearing aids is three to seven years. This depends on how often you use streaming features, keep up with daily and professional cleanings/maintenance, and the amount of exposure to cold, heat, and moisture.
If you suspect that you have hearing loss, get a complimentary hearing test and consultation from Pure Sound Hearing. We have offices located in Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Strasburg.
The month of September highlights Deaf Awareness and Healthy Aging. It’s a time to learn and raise awareness of the culture and history of the Deaf community while continuing to advocate for the rights of Deaf people, while also reflecting on better habits that you can start to incorporate into your routines as you age.
Here are some interesting facts about the Deaf community:
If you want to learn sign language, you should always get lessons from a Deaf teacher. The center of Deaf culture and community is sign language. Deaf people are experts in their own language, therefore students should consult them so that they can be paid for their work. Deaf people have historically been stigmatized and discriminated against by the hearing society for being deaf and using sign language, so if hearing teachers take Deaf jobs and profit from teaching would be considered cultural appropriation.
No matter what age you are, it’s never too late to pick up healthier habits. This will help you out in the long term.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
Smartphones can remotely control hearing aid features - such as volume - or help you find your hearing aids if they are misplaced, through apps.
If you are in the process of looking for a new phone that’s compatible with your hearing aids, here are some things to take into consideration:
Just like smartphones, hearing aid technology becomes increasingly innovative each year, so it’s important to ask your hearing aid provider about a suitable solution that will work with your smartphone. They can also help you connect the hearing aids to your smartphone.
All Smartphones are Compatible with Hearing Aids
Smartphones are currently used by the vast majority of cell phone owners. There are constantly new models and features that are readily available for the general population, and the FCC regulates them in order to make sure they are hearing aid compatible (HAC).
Smartphones used by People with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
Acoustic coupling is a hearing aid feature that allows users to speak over their phones like normal, while the microphone on the hearing aid automatically picks up the sound. Many people with mild to moderate hearing loss benefit from this feature. It is important to note there’s a chance that background noise can get picked up by the hearing aids’ microphones.
When shopping for a smartphone, look for the M rating. This signifies whether the phone is compatible with hearing aids. The M scale goes from 1 to 4 - 4 illustrates the highest compatibility level. A higher rating suggests that there will be less background and feedback noise, but some unwanted noise may still be heard. The most common rating is M3. Every iPhone that is currently on the market is rated through this category.
Smartphones used by People with Severe Hearing Loss
If you experience severe hearing loss - or if you often use your smartphone and want a clearer signal - switch on the hearing aid’s telecoil (t-coil). T-coils transfer sounds to the hearing aid’s processor without using the microphone.
The t-coil may automatically switch on, or it may need to be manually switched to telecoil or T mode. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist if you have more questions about this. When you are looking for and testing out different phones, keep this information in mind. Pay attention to the T grade for hearing aid compatibility if you plan on using the telecoil feature.
The T rating is also on a scale from one to four - one being the worst, and four being the best. T4 is used in most modern smartphones. If you want to direct sound through Bluetooth®, you need to make sure your hearing aid is compatible with your specific smartphone. Some hearing aids are only compatible with Android® phones, and others are only compatible with iPhones®.
Another important feature to consider with your smartphone is volume control. A control for the ringer volume is available so that you don’t miss a call. Choosing your own ringtone, one that you can hear better than others, is also something to consider.
You also have the option of having a vibration or flashing lights on your phone when someone calls.
If you prefer texting to communicate with others, you’ll probably want a phone package that has unlimited texting with a keyboard that’s easy to use.
If you are also looking for a new pair of hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary consultation with one of our providers. They will give advice on the smartphone that would work best for your hearing aids.
If you were told that you need hearing aids, here are some questions to ask your hearing instrument specialist before purchasing:
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.
Sometimes having hearing loss while trying to watch a movie in theaters or at a drive-thru can be challenging. Will you be able to hear and follow along with the movie? Will it be worth your time and money?
Luckily for you, most movie theaters in the U.S. are required to provide closed captioning and audio descriptions. These laws were passed in 2018 through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This makes it easier for anyone with hearing loss to enjoy the movies.
Be Sure to Wear Your Hearing Aids
Most hearing aid users won’t need additional help.
Those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss are still able to hear well in movie theaters when donning their hearing aids. Speech sounds tend to be clearer in movie theaters than watching TV or movies from home. This is mainly due to the volume level, sound system quality, and placement of the speakers.
If you are concerned that the film will be played too loudly for you, slightly adjust the volume on your hearing aids to an appropriate level. Today’s hearing aids can be programmed to suppress loud noises so that your hearing health remains protected.
Accessibility services at local theaters should be researched if you have severe hearing loss or are deaf. Get there early so that you can request accommodations and have time to set up the equipment. If things did not go as planned, you can ask for a refund.
Here are some possible options that may be offered:
Opened captioning - text will appear onscreen during the movie so that everyone in the audience can see it.
Closed captioning - these captions are private and transmitted through a personal device.
It’s rare to see open captions for a general audience. Some theaters have the option of “open caption” viewings for those who need/prefer to watch a movie with subtitles/captions, or if there’s a large group that requested a special screening. There are also captions for foreign films.
With closed captions, it is required that you ask for a device that displays the captions at your seat. The device, technology, and availability will be different for each movie theater chain, so you’ll want to do some research before heading to the theater. If necessary, call or email the company.
Accessibility Options from 4 Major Theater Chains
Regal had a plethora of information. They feature an accessibility services page, along with a list of every theater in each state and the accessibility options that are available in each local theater.
Regal offers open captions through Sony Access eyeglasses. It allows audiences to see captions in their direct line of sight. Users can wear these over their regular eyeglasses.
Prior to your visit, it is recommended that you contact your local theater to make sure that you will be accommodated as necessary. The movie descriptions should read “accessibility devices available.”
Last year, AMC announced they would be adding more showings that featured open captions. This is significant because AMC is the largest movie chain in the world.
Other accessibility options from AMC include:
The accessibility page for Landmark lists which theaters have assistive listening technology and what they use. It’s different for each theater, but typically includes:
This large chain provides assistive technology that is similar to Landmark.
If your local theater does not provide the latest captioning technology, they may have assistive listening devices (ALD) like telecoils (which require your hearing aids to be paired with them), assistive listening systems (ALS) which are system-wide technology used in public spaces like a theater, airport, or lecture hall.
Three types of ALS recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include:
Every ALS must be an option for hearing aid users' access, whether they have telecoils or not.
It’s easy to connect to a hearing loop if your hearing aids feature telecoils. Most people prefer using hearing loops out of the three types of ALS.
If you are having problems hearing in theaters and need help with your hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation.
Hearing Loss: Are You or a Family Member Headed Back to School? Here are 3 Tips for Better Communication.
School is almost back in session. Here are three tips to help make learning easier if you have hearing loss.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing difficulty with your hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Receiving treatment for hearing loss can alter your life. It’s always nice to share this news with people, especially those who need help with their hearing loss but haven’t sought care. Here are five tips to be a better advocate for anyone with hearing loss.
1. Share Your Journey to Better Hearing
The average person with hearing loss waits more than a decade after they begin to notice the loss before receiving proper treatment. Think about all of the things you could miss out on for a decade. There are also physical (balance issues), mental (anxiety and depression), social (isolation), and financial (losing a job because you can’t follow directions due to poor hearing) repercussions to untreated hearing loss.
Simply sharing your story can encourage others who continue putting off care for their hearing health to seek help.
2. Be there to Support Someone
Getting help is a major step that feels easier with family and friends by your side. Your loved ones are some of the primary people who are also affected by your hearing loss. Have you noticed communication issues with them?
Having family members at your hearing care appointments can help your hearing aid provider better understand how you communicate with others and find the best solution for everyone. The emotional support, a better perspective about your hearing needs, or being able to hear a familiar voice when you are trialing a pair of hearing aids is always comforting.
3. Be Available to Offer Advice
With all of the different features available, it can be overwhelming to learn how it all works. Hearing instrument specialists are available to guide you through the technology so you can get the most use out of them. There are all sorts of tips, apps, and smartphone compatibility features that will be beneficial to your hearing needs.
4. Practice Self-Care
Hearing health often goes overlooked. Remind yourself and family members, no matter what level of hearing abilities you/they have to get annual hearing tests, monitor hearing health, pay attention to problems that come up with hearing aids, and seek professional help as soon as possible.
Adults who received treatment for hearing loss have reported improvements in all of their relationships, their mental health, social life, and other important areas. The loved ones in their lives have noted the same. For your sake, and theirs, get your hearing tested and seek treatment if necessary by getting in touch with Pure Sound Hearing.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your background is. Hearing loss can affect anyone. There are different causes and ranges of hearing impairment. Detecting hearing problems early and receiving proper treatment is key to health management, preventing or slowing down a further decline.
1. Have Others Noticed a Change in Your Hearing?
If other people complain about needing to repeat themselves or if you don’t hear them when they say something to you, this can be another sign of hearing loss. Your loved ones or other people that you frequently interact with are usually the first to notice there’s something wrong with your hearing.
2. Do You Have Difficulty with Hearing Consonant Sounds in Words?
If you can’t clearly hear the beginning of words, especially consonants, this might be an early sign of hearing loss. If you have problems with differentiating some words from each other, like ring and sing, this can also be an early sign of hearing loss.
3. Do You find it Difficult to Hear in Loud Environments?
If you avoid certain places, spending time with others, or frequently need to ask others to repeat themselves, particularly in busy or loud areas, you may be experiencing hearing loss.
4. Are You Cranking up the Volume on Entertainment Systems?
This is one of the most common signs people experience when they start to lose their hearing. If others ask you to turn the volume down when watching or listening to something, you should get your hearing tested.
5. Do You notice a Phantom Ringing Sound?
Tinnitus is a common type of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among those who experience regular exposure to loud noises. Get a hearing test immediately if you notice consistent ringing noises that are difficult to ignore and have no outside/physical source.
Tinnitus can be a sign of an underlying health condition, so get your hearing tested as soon as possible so that you can receive immediate treatment.
6. Do You Hate Talking on Your Phone?
Hearing conversations through a phone is difficult for some people with hearing loss. Voices may not sound loud or clear enough. If you tend to switch to the loudspeaker option, this can be a sign of hearing loss. All modern digital hearing aids have Bluetooth® technology, so it’s possible to stream your phone calls directly through your hearing aids.
7. Do You Often Feel More Fatigued?
If you feel tired more often, this could be due to the amount of energy you use to pay attention to what others are saying. Get a hearing test if this is the case for you. Listening fatigue is a real problem among those with hearing loss. Receiving adequate treatment can help you focus easier, and make you feel less drained.
If any of these issues have occurred to you, or a loved one, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Google introduced Android 10 in 2019, which featured Live Caption and Live Transcribe. These apps highlighted captioning, with the purpose of providing accessibility options for Android users who have hearing loss. These two apps were developed by students and researchers at Gallaudet University - the only university in the world where students live and learn using American Sign Language (ASL) and English.
The Live Caption option is accessible on some Samsung devices - and most Pixel devices. It provides captions for any media that’s played on the device.
Some have voiced complaints that it does not have built-in auto-captioning. As a result, videos on social media are less accessible.
Live Transcribe is a popular app that became available in 2019. It utilizes machine learning tools to give users captions for spoken words that are gathered by the phone’s microphone. Live Transcribe also lets users pause, save, and search for old transcriptions. It also lets the user transcribe speech to other languages.
This was a personal investment by several employees at Google. At least one of the employees is hard of hearing.
Sound Amplifier is an app that can be found through the Google Play store. It’s pre-installed in Pixel and some Android devices like Samsung. It harnesses sound through the microphone on your phone and plays optimized sound through headphones. You can use the app to adjust volume, fine-tune, and reduce background noise. It can also be used to enhance audio for various media like videos or podcasts.
If you have different degrees of hearing loss in each ear, you can make one side louder than the other when wearing headphones or linking hearing aids to the app.
Complications with Android
Google lends its Android operating system to different smartphone manufacturers such as Huawei, Motorola, Samsung, and Xiaomi. Because of this, Google does not oversee which software features are used on each device. It solely depends on the manufacturer and which software they select.
Google’s Pixel is the only exception. It is managed directly by Google, allowing the company to easily introduce new accessibility features on Pixel phones.
Compatibility with Hearing Aids
Android’s Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids protocol was issued as part of Android 10 in 2019. This audio streaming service lets hearing aids that are compatible stream audio wirelessly through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) through the user’s phone.
It’s important to be aware that compatibility with hearing aids is not the same for every hearing aid manufacturer. There are lots of inconsistencies with software when it comes to Android phones. Be sure to bring this topic up before purchasing.
If you or a loved one are noticing any hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. Our hearing instrument specialists will patiently guide you towards better hearing with their experience and expertise.
Be more Productive on the Job by Treating Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss and work with other people, missing or mistaking what you heard can lead to an unproductive day. In a survey that was recorded through The Hearing Journal, workers were asked about the repercussions of untreated hearing loss and how it affected their productivity. Nearly all participants in the survey reported serious obstacles they faced while accomplishing their work before using hearing aids.
Results from the Survey
These negative impacts of hearing loss should be a case for employers to offer hearing health benefits, encourage employees to seek help and treatment, and offer appropriate accommodations. Not only does it offer employees the hearing treatment that they need for their overall health and well-being, but it can also help them be more productive in the workplace.
Another recent survey showed that 51% of adults have reported hearing problems. Just 11% requested treatment. The cost of treatment accounts for 85% of why they do not get treatment, 45% reported the challenges with adjusting to hearing aids, and 28% account for the stigma of wearing hearing aids. Only 12% did not demonstrate any concern. This demographic can give hearing aid providers the chance to educate and provide resources that would help make getting hearing aids easier.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and need hearing aids, Pure Sound Hearing offers a free hearing test and discount hearing aids. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Auracast™ is the latest Bluetooth® connectivity platform that allows audio transmitters like TVs, laptops, smartphones, or PA systems to relay audio to all Bluetooth® devices like hearing aids or earbuds.
Telecoils (or t-coils) in hearing aids have been available for decades, and they are reliable enough to gather broadcast audio in any area that features loops with a magnetic induction system. Telecoils may not provide a steady stream of good sound quality in every situation. Loops need to be maintained on a regular basis, and a skilled hearing instrument specialist needs to properly program the telecoils.
The Basics of Auracast™
Auracast™ is essentially a more powerful version of telecoils. With Auracast™ hearing aid users will be able to access audio streams securely and privately, without being confined to hearing loop cables. Audio will be streamed via a secure Wi-Fi network, without relying on electromagnetism.
If you are traveling through an airport, crucial flight/gate changes and other announcements will be streamed directly to your hearing aids. If you attend a live lecture or play, an Auracast™ transmitter will give you an alert on your smartphone to let you know that audio streaming can be accessed. The Auracast Assistant™ will be used to locate and select the sound stream and transmit it to your hearing aids or, other Bluetooth®-connected devices.
The only earlier options for these situations were t-coils, FM transmitters, or infrared receivers. Auracast™ may be the future of assistive listening systems.
The ability to hear and comprehend speech in different settings is an ongoing struggle for people with any range of hearing loss. New and quality technology is beneficial for everyone, including improvement in communication for those with hearing loss. Giving more options to people with a wide range of hearing loss is important.
The Telecoils are Still Beneficial
While the Auracast™ has many perks, there’s one significant flaw: it will only work if you have both a Bluetooth®-compatible hearing aid and the Auracast-enabled transmitter (a smartphone, computer, or tablet).
Many modern hearing aids feature Bluetooth® audio streaming technology. Most of the hearing aids that do not have Bluetooth® streaming are smaller devices. For example, in-the-ear (ITE), completely-in-the-canal (CIC), and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids drain the batteries faster when Bluetooth® streaming is utilized.
Basic hearing aids are less likely to feature Bluetooth®. Many behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-the-ear (RIC), and custom-designed hearing aids can feature a telecoil. Venues around the U.S. are required to have assistive listening systems, so a telecoil is useful for these areas.
Even if Auracast™ functions well, it may take at least 10 years until the vast majority of hearing aid users can use it to their advantage. Telecoils are still a great solution to hear speakers or in noisy environments that use a loop system. So if you are shopping around for hearing aids, request a pair with telecoils if possible, and/or when your hearing instrument specialist recommends them.
Bluetooth® technology will grow and change in ways that will improve communication in many different types of settings and situations. Just about all hearing aids in the future will have streaming features. Auracast™ is still a major innovation that can expand the way hearing aids, earbuds, and speakers audibly adapt to their environments.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
When you notice difficulties with hearing, it’s not just your hearing that you’ve lost. It’s also a loss of good communication. The family member with whom you communicate regularly needs to be a part of your journey to better hearing. That means bringing them along to your hearing health care appointments.
Do You and Your Family Members Feel Frustrated when Trying to Communicate?
Hearing aids or assistive listening devices (ALDs) may be recommended if your hearing healthcare provider determines that you have hearing loss. Understanding how you usually communicate with your family and finding effective ways to communicate will benefit everyone. Inviting a family member to your appointments will help them get involved in the entire process, making your relationship easier to manage.
The Complexities of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be complex, so having another family member at the appointment who can easily listen and follow instructions is always helpful. It can also help a non-hearing impaired person learn and be more aware of the intricate workings of hearing aids/hearing loss.
Patients and Family Members can Learn About the Unique Problems that come with Their Hearing Loss
Self-assessments from the patient, and the way family members respond to them is an important step toward a journey to better hearing.
Maybe the family member will recall moments when they noticed their loved one wasn’t totally engaged or responded awkwardly to a question.
Does Having a Family Member at Appointments Make the Time Spent at the Office Longer?
This is not true.
Most of the appointments are quicker and easier because there is another person learning the information that’s being discussed.
Other Recommendations when Bringing a Family Member to Your Appointment
The patient’s well-being is of utmost importance. Being able to discuss how the patient and their loved one are feeling about their hearing loss and finding a solution to improve communication, can also improve their relationship.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you own a dog who you believe has trouble hearing, you may have wondered whether dogs could wear hearing aids.
In the Starkey Sound Bites podcast, you can listen to a conversation with Dr. Peter ‘Skip’ Scheifele, the executive producer of FETCHLAB, which is the University of Cincinnati’s internationally distinguished animal hearing and bioacoustics laboratory.
The podcast features a story about Dr. Scheifele fitting his dog with hearing aids.
When Dr. Scheifele began testing at FETCHLAB, his dog was making several TV appearances, notably on Animal Planet. When the dog turned 12 or 13, he started to lose his hearing. Dr. Scheifele and others realized the dog was confused when given verbal commands off-camera.
He discussed this with a colleague and decided that they should try to fit the dog for a hearing aid.
They used behind-the-ear hearing aids. A cape was customized for the dog so that the hearing aids could be easily attached to it with Velcro, and the tubes were placed in. The dog received excellent training from Dr. Scheifele’s wife, so it made fitting and accepting the hearing aid easy.
A lot of people have asked whether hearing aids can be fitted for dogs. It is possible, but it also involves a lot of commitment to train the dog to keep the hearing aid in their ear. It’s also good to note that even if a dog is trained to wear and keep the hearing aid in their ear, they may never acknowledge that there’s a hearing aid in their ear or that it’s benefitting them in any way.
If you, or another human in your life, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation for a free hearing aid trial.
Most new hearing aid users are unprepared for the amount of time it will take to get used to their hearing aids. In addition to learning about how they work, you will probably be overwhelmed by noises that you haven’t heard for a long time. Your brain needs time to adjust. Your hearing instrument specialist will be an integral part of this process, so don’t hesitate to contact them in between appointments if you have questions or concerns.
Your Own Voice may Sound Different
Hearing aids are not going to restore your hearing back to normal. Your voice is going to sound different when you hear it while wearing your hearing aids.
Initially, your voice will sound strange. Some have described that it’s similar to an echo sound or like you’re in a barrel. It may sound louder than usual. The noises you make from chewing and swallowing may also be more prominent. They’ll be irritating, but eventually, you’ll acclimate to the sounds and won’t notice them as much as long as you wear your hearing aids from the moment you wake up to the moment when you go to bed. Obviously, you should not wear them if you are going to take a shower or go into any body of water. If you are still noticing these noises, contact our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound for help.
How to Adjust to Your Hearing Aids
1. Wear Your Hearing Aids in Your Home
Begin wearing the devices around your house or in other quiet places. Have one-on-one conversations. Inform family, friends, and colleagues about your hearing aids so they can support you and help keep you on track as you work towards healthier hearing. Practice listening while wearing them by reading out loud or talking to someone. This will help you adjust to your own voice.
2. Practice Wearing Your Hearing Aids
To help you get used to the devices, try to find out where different sounds in your environment are coming from. Have a conversation with a loved one. When you are alone, listen to an audiobook or a podcast.
3. Take Breaks from Your Hearing Aids
They should be worn for a few hours during the first day of using them, then gradually add a few more hours each day onwards. After you’ve adjusted to them, they should be worn all day, from the moment when you wake up to the moment when you get ready to sleep.
4. Schedule Follow-up Appointments
You should visit your hearing instrument specialist whenever necessary so they can make adjustments as needed. This could include changes to the programs on the hearing aids, or the way they fit in your ears. Discuss any problems that you are having with the devices with your provider. Most people schedule an appointment with their hearing instrument specialist about two weeks after their first fitting to get the hearing aids tuned or fix the volume.
5. Attend a Hearing aid Demo Event
In addition to one-on-one appointments with our hearing instruments specialists, Pure Sound occasionally offers demo events for new hearing aid users. They are very helpful demonstrations that can make transitioning into a hearing aid user easier, and so you can get the most out of your hearing aids.
6. Be aware that Adapting to Hearing Aids Takes Time
There will be moments of frustration or feeling overwhelmed by noises that you haven’t heard in a while. The sound of a refrigerator or any other background noise that most people don’t notice may suddenly seem distracting. This is due to the fact that your brain forgot the process of blocking out background noises and prioritizes some sounds more than the less important sounds. Adapting to new hearing aids requires relearning how to block out background noise. As you get used to the hearing aids, programs within the devices can be set up to block out the background noise. Just ask your hearing instrument specialist for this adjustment.
7. If You feel Pain while Wearing Hearing Aids Notify Your Provider
Based on your personal hearing requirements, you might wear hearing aids with customized earmolds. This means they should rest snugly against your ears. When you first put them on, the devices may slightly hurt your ears. If it’s very painful, inform your provider and schedule an appointment immediately so that they may correct the problem. Generally, hearing aids that have the receiver-in-ear with domes are easier to become accustomed to because they don’t make your ear canals feel plugged the way earmolds can. They also don’t hurt the ear canals.
If you or a loved one are noticing hearing loss and may need hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Summertime has arrived! If you are experiencing difficulties with hearing while having fun in the sun, find out how hearing aids can help.
Participate in Group Conversations Outside
Digital hearing aids can be programmed to focus on the conversations that you are participating in, rather than hearing background noises and other conversations going on around you. Directional microphones were created to pick up sounds that you are facing toward. When you or others speak, you typically face each other. Some directional microphones will change positions based on where speech sounds are emanating from.
Background noises like the crackling from a campfire or other people talking can be filtered out, so you can concentrate on the conversation at hand or sing-alongs instead of struggling to hear through the other chatter and sounds. Listening fatigue is a common problem among people with hearing loss, so the less energy you need to use in order to hold a conversation, the better.
Your smartphone or an assistive listening device can also be used as a microphone. You can place the smartphone or assistive listening device onto a table, and while everyone is talking near it, the audio will stream directly into your hearing aids. You can also download speech-to-text apps on your smartphone, if necessary.
Muffle Sounds of Fireworks
Modern hearing aids feature noise suppression. It will automatically or you can manually, lower the volume that you hear if there’s a sudden, brief noise - like a crashing sound if something falls over. Fireworks can still be enjoyed at a safe noise level. Ask one of our hearing instrument specialists about this feature for your hearing aids.
Instantly Switch Hearing Aid Settings
All digital hearing aids are paired with a smartphone and apps. You can use them to control the volume, change your hearing aid settings, and more. Geotagging is another application that you can use. It makes a geographical “bookmark” for your favorite locations. Just optimize your hearing aids for a specific location, like a park or restaurant, and add a geotag. When you go back to that environment, your settings will automatically switch to those settings so that you can have an optimal listening experience.
Wind Blocking Technology
Would you rather enjoy the feel of an ocean breeze than hear how loud it is through your hearing aids?
With behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids, the microphones rest over the back of your ears. As a result, they can harness lots of noise from gentle breezes to gusty winds. You can ask our hearing instrument specialists to create a special program so that you may switch to a channel on your hearing aids, so the sounds of wind are obstructed.
If you or a loved one are looking forward to an easy, laid-back summer that’s not hindered by your hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation for a free hearing aid trial.
National Senior Health and Fitness Day is celebrated annually on the last Wednesday of May. This year it is being recognized on May 25th. This day promotes the betterment of health for seniors. The overall objective is to help seniors maintain fitness and health routines. A number of organizations across the country create events to raise awareness about the significance of eldercare and suggestions on how to accomplish it in a productive way.
National Senior Health and Fitness Day is celebrated as part of the Older Americans Month activities. It is the biggest health and wellness campaign for American seniors.
It’s important to look for a variety of selections when it comes to physical activities that seniors can participate in, and highlight the values of good nutrition and exercise to prevent poor health. Healthy diets improve energy and immunity. Whether it's a an easy walk outdoors or more rigorous workout routine, exercising on a regular basis retains bone mass while reducing the risks of fractures along with other diseases or conditions.
In the U.S., assisted-living facilities provide transitional care for the elderly who do not need to be in a nursing home but can no longer live independently.
More than 1,200 locations which include health clubs, health departments, hospitals, retirement communities recreation centers, and senior centers celebrate National Senior Health and Fitness Day. Local organizations for health and seniors coordinate, sponsor, and host events. Popular programs like health fairs, group exercises, walking tours, and more are implemented at these events.
Here’s how you can observe National Senior Health and Fitness Day.
1. Spend some time with the elderly people in your life. Make them feel special and loved.
2. Host an event. Set up an event in your neighborhood or through an online event for seniors. Discuss the importance of good health and spread the message on social media with the hashtags #SeniorHealthDay, #SeniorHealthAndFitnessDay, and #NationalSeniorHealthAndFitnessDay. You can add more localized hashtags based on the area where you live.
3. Volunteer. Raise awareness by volunteering at health fairs or working with local non-profits to send emails about offering to help the elderly in your community.
Hearing health has a direct impact on your overall health and the ability to accomplish fitness routines. Being able to hear important directions from healthcare professionals or follow instructions during a fitness routine is vital to making progress in your overall health and wellness.
If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties with hearing, improve your health by getting your hearing tested, and sign up for a free hearing aid trial at Pure Sound Hearing.
Animals, like humans, use their hearing in order to sense impending danger. Let’s learn some fun facts about animals and their hearing abilities!
Do Cats Enjoy Music?
Any cat owner may tell you that their feline friend may exude grumpy, disinterested, or just plain bad behavior. Can music make an impact on, or even improve, a cat’s behavior? Three researchers hypothesized this and came up with the theory that cats naturally communicate with distinct ranges of frequencies and tempos. So if you put on some music that’s composed of certain frequencies and tempos, the cats will probably enjoy it.
The researchers produced two cat songs, then found cats to play the songs for. They entered 47 households that had cats and played the two cat songs, along with two classical songs. The cats appeared to enjoy the cat songs by moving toward or rubbing against the speaker while these songs played.
The young and old cats were more enthusiastic about the songs, whereas the middle-aged cats seemed indifferent to them.
Dolphins Hear Underwater with their Jawbones
Dolphins hear underwater sounds by using echolocation. The cavity beneath their blowhole allows them to create clicks and whistling sounds, as well as other noises. These sounds echo back and the dolphins will use that information from the echo to learn about the ocean floor, depth of water, obstructions, predators, prey, and other dolphins.
Here’s one uncommon fact: The sound waves that echo back produce pulses in the dolphin’s teeth and jawbone. The fat that surrounds these areas creates pulses that travel to the middle ear. Essentially, their teeth, jawbone, and fatty tissue function the same way that a human’s outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum function.
Elephants Communicate with Each Other when They are 6 Miles Apart
Anyone with normal hearing abilities knows what an elephant sounds like. It sounds like a loud trombone. Did you know that they predominately communicate using a low-frequency sound that cannot be heard by the human ear?
This is known as infrasound. Elephants can hear these low-pitched sounds from at least 6 miles away. Infrasound is used for many things from leading a herd’s migration to warning competing males during mating season, or keeping track of calves who have been separated from the herd.
In 2012, researchers figured out how they did this. Instead of tensing and releasing the muscles in their vocal box, they create a noise that’s similar to purring, and force air through the voice box, the same way humans do when they talk or sing.
Ears Located on the Knees? That’s what Katydids Have.
Katydids, or long-horn grasshoppers, have “ears” that are similar to humans.
Human ears feature an internal eardrum that harnesses sound frequencies, which leads to slight vibrations. Three tiny bones in the inner ears give off a strong vibration. This then causes waves in the cochlea’s fluid, and the waves turn into neural impulses and which are interpreted by the brain as sound.
For the katydid, the outer eardrum gathers sound frequencies that cause light vibrations. This makes a small plate strongly vibrate. The after-effect is waves in the fluids or something like the cochlea, and these waves are translated into neural impulses and interpreted as sound.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
If you have hearing loss, you may feel isolated because you don’t feel comfortable, or have too much difficulty, with communication. Try out some of these active listening techniques to help with how you communicate with others.
It’s also important to emphasize this message if you are someone who regularly communicates with a person who has hearing loss: Please be patient. Remind yourself that the person you are talking to cannot hear the same way you do.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you, or someone in your life, are a hearing aid user, making sure that the devices are working at their ideal function is crucial for healthy hearing, great communication, and good quality of life. Here are some tips that you may not be aware of when taking care of hearing aids.
1. Before Inserting and Removing Your Hearing Aids, Clean Your Hands.
Avoid bacteria from infecting your ears by regularly cleaning your hearing aids. Dirt buildup might not allow your hearing aids to function at their best. Clean your hands before inserting them and removing them.
2. The Battery Door should Always be Closed
Unless you use hearing aids with rechargeable batteries, make sure that the battery door is firmly closed after the disposable batteries are placed in the hearing aids. If the door is opened, the hearing aids may not work or the sound amplification may be lowered.
If the battery door won’t shut completely, try flipping the battery around. Check if there’s any damage on the battery door, it may need to be fixed.
3. If a Friend or Family Member Hears Feedback Noises from Your Hearing Aids
Sometimes hearing aids might make a high pitches noise. This is known as feedback noise. It can happen for two different reasons: poorly fit hearing aids or the feedback loop is too close to a speaker/another device that makes a sound. Someone that you are with will probably hear this, but you may not be able to hear it as clearly.
If this happens, remove the hearing aid(s) and cup it/ them in your hand. This will decrease the high-pitched noise and remove the hearing aid(s) away from whatever may be causing the noise. When the noise subsides, place the hearing aids back in your ears. The microphones and receiver should work correctly.
4. Keep Hearing Aids Protected from Extreme Weather
Conditions that are too hot and humid or too cold can damage your hearing aids. The best place to store them is in a cool, dark, dry place. Use a special case for the devices when you are not wearing them.
If they get wet, you can soak them in silica gel or even place them in a bowl of dry, uncooked rice.
5. Daily Cleanings
Hearing aids need to be lightly cleaned each day. Use alcohol-free cleaning wipes and cleaning tools to help remove dirt and debris. Every six months, we recommend getting a professional deep cleaning. You can get these cleaning wipes, tools, and services from our offices at Pure Sound Hearing.
6. Use a Dryer
Hearing aids retain moisture from the body and other external elements like rainy weather. Like any electronics, moisture can damage the hearing aids, resulting in subpar efficiency. Get a hearing aid dryer to prevent this from happening. A dryer removes moisture from the devices so that they can work at optimum levels.
7. Dome Replacements
The part of the receiver that goes into your ear canal is the dome. These should be replaced every four to six weeks. Hearing aids with domes that are not properly cleaned or replaced after four to six weeks, will not have the best possible sound quality. This is caused by clogged debris and bacteria.
Your hearing aid provider can replace the dome for you, or you can change them on your own. Make sure that they are properly placed on the receiver or other problems may arise, like feedback noise or the dome might get stuck in the ear.
8. Wax on Hearing Aids, Wax off Hearing Aids
Earwax can impede a hearing aid’s performance. Cleaning your ears and hearing aids regularly from earwax can help your hearing aids work at their optimal level.
Simply use a soft dry cloth or cleaning wipes to get the wax off from your hearing aids each night when you take them out before going to bed. Do not use cotton swabs to clean out the ears. They can worsen your hearing loss by pushing earwax further into your ears. Instead, clean them out with a washcloth dipped in warm water.
Check out these additional tips.
If you need a hearing test and maybe even hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss crosses all age groups. We’ve gone over hearing loss among older adults, and the risks associated with hearing loss as you age.
It’s important to raise awareness that more and more young adults are experiencing hearing loss for a number of different reasons. Young adults who have hearing loss face a unique set of challenges as they go through college, dating, employment, growing relationships, and parenting.
How prevalent is Hearing Loss in Young Adults?
According to the CDC, around 12% of adults between the ages of 18-39 report struggling with following along during conversations when there is too much background noise. Nearly 6% have tinnitus. These numbers are higher in older age groups.
People who have hearing loss are more likely to experience low rates of employment, lower work productivity, and higher healthcare costs compared to their peers.
Causes of Hearing Loss for Young Adults
Noise exposure is one of the most widespread causes of hearing loss for young adults, as well as older adults. This can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Across the U.S. millions of Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Y have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise, including hobbies like woodworking, music, city noises, and workplace environments.
Additional risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, taking ototoxic medications, viruses, bacterial infections, genetics, or they were born with it.
Young Adults with Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is one of the other most common medical causes of hearing loss in people of this age group and middle-aged adults. This is when there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear section. Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by it - the people with the highest risk being middle-aged women.
The Affect of Hearing Loss on Young Adults
The different causes of hearing loss for young adults differ greatly from the older generation but wearing hearing aids when you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s can look and feel different than wearing them when you are older. Occupation, family, relationships, and activities are - for the most part - different than older people.
Working with hearing loss, while NOT impossible, can be tricky at times. People in their 20s are fresh out of college and looking for their first job. They have the choice of when they should inform their potential employer that they wear hearing aids. Depending on where your job path takes you, you may need special equipment - like a telephone with amplification or captions. Your employer is required by law, via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to accommodate you for your hearing needs. You can apply for any job that you want, but there are some careers that may be easier to navigate through if you have hearing loss. Take a look at our article “Careers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”.
Working Remotely with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, depending on the job, working from home can have its ups and downs. You can raise the volume on your computer as much as you want, without bothering coworkers. The technology for virtual meetings doesn’t always work smoothly, so it can hamper communication. Read up on some tips on how to prepare for video conferences or virtual meetings.
Parents or Guardians Raising Children and Young Adults
Taking care of a child as a hearing aid user has its challenges. Hearing aids are needed for better communication and safety, but using them requires consideration from those who are communicating with the hearing aid users. A parent may need a baby monitor that flashes, vibrates, and has a video monitor. Making sure your hearing aids are always in good condition is also important, especially if there’s a sudden emergency.
Attending College or Higher Education
Another concern that differs among generations is that young adults are deciding whether to attend college or higher education. People in this age group might not receive the support that is needed to thrive in school. Young adults may be learning how to be their own advocates for the first time.
Hearing Aids can help You Maintain or even Raise Your Income and Improve Overall Health
The ability to hear in a work environment can impact your household income, which is a common concern for people who are in their prime age of employment. According to a survey that was done through Better Hearing Institute 40,000 households in the U.S. indicated that using hearing aids and assistive listening devices was beneficial to one’s earning potential. There was also a 90 to 100 percent reduced risk of income loss for anyone with mild hearing loss, and a 65 to 77 percent reduced risk for anyone with moderate to severe hearing loss.
Hearing aid usage has a more obvious asset to mental health for younger people. A study from 2014 indicated that hearing loss is linked to depression in adults of every age, but it's more common in young adults. Even though hearing aids help people of all ages, younger users appear to gain the most out of them when it comes to depression. Socializing leads to a healthy overall quality of life.
Hearing Aid usage is becoming Less Stigmatized
In regards to hearing aid usage, there are major distinctions between the older generation and the younger generation. Most people of the younger generation are more accepting of wearing hearing aids. Today, just about everyone wears something in their ears, whether they are earbuds, headphones, or hearing aids; therefore hearing devices draw less attention. The stigma of hearing aid usage is dwindling and the younger generation is noticing that their untreated hearing loss is more noticeable than the hearing aids themselves.
If you are a young adult or middle-aged with hearing loss, you have the chance to seek treatment and engage in practices that protect and slow down the hearing abilities that you still have.
For a complimentary hearing test and consultation, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment.
We’re raising awareness about potential hearing loss caused by loud noises. The inablity to hear can affect your speaking abilities. Not being able to hear after many years can impact your ability to remember the way speech sounds.
Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) started in 1927. Every May, hearing health and speech issues are given a platform to remind people to take care of their hearing health and get it tested.
Identifying and intervening immediately when hearing loss is suspected is crucial for a better outcome. Most people live with hearing loss, but are often unaware that there’s a problem. Getting your hearing checked annually, or if you suspect you have hearing loss is crucial for proper care and treatment.
The first World Report on Hearing from the World Health Organization
Hearing Health Facts
On average, a person is born with nearly 16,000 hair cells in their inner ear. These cells pick up sounds and transfer them to the brain so that they can be interpreted into something that makes sense. Often, when people notice hearing loss that indicates that most of the hair cells are damaged. Between 30% to 50% of hair cells can be lost before a difference in your hearing can be measured through a hearing test. Once the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, it’s permanent and they cannot regrow.
Noise not only harms hair cells but also damages auditory nerves that transfer information regarding sounds to the brain. Early stages of damage may not appear on your hearing test results.
There is no way to restore hearing that’s been lost. Preventative measures are the key. Wear earplugs or earmuffs if you are going to be in a loud environment or use loud tools. If you already have hearing loss, tinnitus, or experience pain/discomfort, be aware of your surroundings and protect your hearing so that it does not worsen.
For better hearing and communication, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.