It should be no surprise that whether you are listening to music or media, a long length of time spent listening plus a high volume level can eventually lead to hearing loss.
This can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time.
Across the globe, children, teens, and young adults spend time listening to music for several hours each day. The volumes often surpass the recommended limits for each person. Awareness of this issue, and actions taken against it, is the best way to practice self-care.
The previous threshold for listening was 85 decibels (dB), but that has currently been lowered to 70 dB by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 50 percent of people between the ages of 12 to 35 are susceptible to hearing loss after long and disproportionate exposure to powerful sounds from music playing through earbuds or headphones.
It’s important to remind readers that serious levels of hearing loss are not signs of normal aging. It’s a result of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
It’s similar to how many falsely believe that large wrinkles and dark spots of skin are signs of normal aging. They are the result of harmful exposure to solar and UV rays.
Important Hearing Statistics
Anyone who frequently uses a personal listening device, along with earbuds or headphones, is damaging their hearing health.
The younger population tends to have listening devices that come with earbuds or headphones. While others can’t hear their chosen media, they are doing serious harm to their hearing.
Many of these young people will begin to notice difficulty with their hearing by the time they reach their mid-40s. They will struggle with hearing just as much as their grandparents, who are at least in their 70s.
Hearing loss not only impacts your ability to hear and communicate but as frequently mentioned in this blog, cognitive decline and risks of dementia become more serious.
In a study from 2011, people with hearing loss had a higher chance of having dementia symptoms if:
Research indicates that anyone who does not receive treatment for their hearing loss promptly is at higher risk of dementia.
There have been studies that showed hearing loss that was treated with hearing aids reduced risks of cognitive decline and dementia.
Even though this information is important, the key to healthy hearing is preventative care. General health habits like diet and exercise help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
Follow Healthy Limits to Noise
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss from noise can occur instantly or gradually over time.
Some people live in bustling cities or work in loud environments, causing recurring exposure to unsafe levels of noise which could impact long-term health.
Here are tips on how to keep your hearing health safe:
Hearing health in children and teens is particularly important. Their bodies are still developing. They need to hear to learn and acquire social skills. Hearing loss impedes that process for social development and education, which can negatively impact work performance and income.
Sound Level Meter App
You may use a free or inexpensive sound level meter app to measure noise levels in any environment and determine whether you should leave the area for a quieter space.
Detect Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to know what the warning signs of hearing loss are so that you can immediately seek help. Oftentimes, it’s family members, friends, or co-workers who notice your hearing loss before you do. Here are some common signs:
This rounds up our work of raising awareness for Protect Your Hearing Month.
If you are noticing hearing loss, or if you haven’t had your hearing checked in a long time, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some assistive listening devices for a wide range of hearing loss.
This blog has covered various causes of hearing loss. There’s noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), presbycusis, hearing loss that is caused by illness, infection, or may be present at birth. While playing sports is a great form of exercise and helps build teamwork skills, it may also lead to a higher risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. Athletes are more prone to injuries and tend to be exposed to excessive noises.
Hearing Loss in relation to Sports Injuries
Hearing injuries while engaging in sports on the field are one of the highest risks to an athlete. Damage to the ear or auditory system of the brain can be caused by a head or neck injury, which may lead to permanent hearing loss. In contact sports, like football, the injuries in athletes are more frequent. The majority of football players have experienced at least one concussion throughout their professional career. A number of them have had multiple head injuries, and endured damage to the inner ear or ear canal.
These head injuries do not only affect cells in the inner ear, but they could also cause harm to the bones in the middle ear, or obstruct the ear canal. This creates challenges for sounds to reach the inner ear. Concussions and head injuries may also induce symptoms of tinnitus.
The obvious loud noises that are associated with sports stadiums can also cause hearing loss. Athletes and fans express excitement over scores during live games. In addition to the music that plays during the games or at halftime shows, fans will cheer, shout, and stomp their feet. This can be overwhelming for the ears and cause hearing loss for athletes and fans.
Hearing loss usually goes unnoticed at first, so there’s a risk for athletes who participate in games where the noise is intense.
If You’re an Athlete, Protect Your Hearing
It’s important for athletes to wear hearing protection, when they are in high risk situations. It’s also important for them to avoid injuries while playing on the field. Wear earplugs that are customized for your ears, so that they don’t fall out while engaging in sports.
If You’re a Sports Fan, Protect Your Hearing
If you’ve been to live gaming events, there’s a chance that you have been exposed to harmful levels of noise. If you have left an arena and notice everything sounds muffled or hear a buzzing/ringing sound, that indicates the environment was too loud and there may be damage to your hearing.
Protect your hearing when you go to sports games, and encourage friends and family to do the same. You can easily purchase earplugs made from foam, plastic, or wax. You can tell if your environment is too loud if you find yourself shouting in order to communicate with someone who is sitting or standing right next to you.
Get Your Hearing Tested
There’s a higher risk of hearing loss among athletes, so regular hearing screenings and hearing tests need to be administered during their healthcare check-ups. Sports fans who regularly attend live sporting events, or even watch them on loud TVs, should also be conscious of their hearing health.
Start by getting a baseline hearing test. This will show you your specific hearing range. When you go to follow-up appointments, you can use the baseline hearing test results and compare them with your latest hearing test results. Getting treatment for your hearing loss can help you keep the hearing abilities you still have while slowing down further loss. It will also be easier to adjust to your hearing aid or assistive listening devices, to improve your overall hearing and health.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you are experiencing hearing loss. Our providers will patiently work with you to find the best solutions.
The ripple effect of hearing loss on your life and the life of your loved ones is serious, which is why it’s important to be aware of potential ways that you can lose your hearing.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
The only avoidable type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Being in a loud environment, like a concert or a noisy workplace, could pose a danger to your hearing health.
It’s important to practice preventative measures because once you lose your hearing, you cannot get it back.
Ears have tiny hair cells that help you hear. Once the hair cells are damaged, they cannot be reconstructed and hearing cannot be restored. This is why it’s so important to start protecting your ears at a young age. If you already have difficulty with hearing, it's still important to take precautions in order to slow down or prevent worsening symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus.
3 Hearing Loss Facts
Decibels: A Unit of Noise Measurement
Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Listening to sounds that are 85 dB or higher can eventually lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. Consider this “equation”:
volume level + length of time spent listening = risk of damage to your hearing health
Examples of Sounds and their Decibel Levels
Whispering - 30 dB (Safe noise level)
A humming refrigerator - 40 dB (Safe noise level)
Dishwasher - 45 to 65 dB (Safe noise level)
A conversation (with your normal speaking voice at arm’s length) - 65 to 80 dB. This is considered a safe noise level, but if you need to yell at someone during your conversation who is at arm’s length, the background noise is probably too loud.
Lawnmower - 80 to 100 dB. You may lose some of your hearing, so wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
A movie playing in the theater - 70 to 104 dB. Protect your ears by sitting far away from the speakers, and wear earplugs.
Motorcycles - 80 to 110 dB. Riding or being around a motorcycle after an hour can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs and then put on a helmet before you start your ride.
Sports events - 94 to 110 dB. Hearing loss can occur in less than half an hour at a sports game. A combination of a cheering and/or stomping crowd, and blaring music can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs.
Headphones - 96 to 110 dB. If you listen to music through headphones at the highest volume, you could lose some of your hearing within a few minutes. Protect your hearing by lowering the volume.
Rock concerts, parties, or nightclubs - 95 to 115 dB. Hearing loss can occur within a few minutes, so it’s important to wear earplugs. The band wears them as they play. Don’t stand near the speakers.
Sirens - 110 to 129 dB. The sirens from an ambulance, police car, or fire truck can cause some hearing loss in under a minute. When you see one of these vehicles approaching, get away from the noise, if it’s possible (you can close your car windows.) If you are outdoors, simply plug your fingers in your ears until after they pass by.
Fireworks - 140 to 160 dB. Fireworks are fun to watch, but they can harm your hearing. If a firecracker explodes close to your ear, you can completely lose your hearing. Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs, and watch from a safe distance.
Hearing Loss Warning Signs
Warning signs, such as pain or ringing in the ears, don’t occur until there is hearing damage. If you notice that loud noises aren’t as aggravating as they used to be, this indicates that you have lost some of your hearing.
You can figure out whether your environment is dangerous to your hearing if you need to yell at someone who is standing just a couple of feet away, in order to communicate with them. This means you should put your earplugs in, or go to a quieter space.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
It’s important to protect your hearing health. Poor hearing can negatively impact your daily life, interactions with other people, your job, your income, and your overall health. This is why it is crucial to learn the difference between earplugs and earmuffs. Both of them can protect your ears, but they help in very different ways. It all comes down to your personal preferences. Before selecting hearing protection, do some research.
Protection for Your Hearing
Hearing protection can help preserve your hearing health and the health of your ears. They are meant to be worn either in or around your ears when you are in an environment with noise levels that exceed the average human’s hearing threshold of 80-85 decibels.
Devices used for hearing protection are made to decrease the risks of noise-induced hearing loss, which can be annoying and in some instances irreversible. Equipment used for hearing protection can help shield your ears from noise-related syndromes such as overall discomfort, hypertension, stress, and tinnitus. There are two primary types of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Let’s learn about their differences and similarities.
Earplugs will provide the most protection for those who wear them. Generally, they are small, shaped like a tube, and can be inserted in your ear canal. There are disposable and reusable versions. You may select foam earplugs, custom molded or preformed earplugs, musician earplugs, electronic earplugs, or non-linear acoustic earplugs that are filtered.
Earplugs are easy to take with you when you’re on the go, because they are small and lightweight. They are more affordable than earmuffs, and disposable earplugs are even less expensive than reusable ones. Earplugs are comfortable to wear, especially if you have to work in a hot, humid environment or an area that has confined space.
The downside of earplugs (both reusable and disposable) is that it takes extra time to place them in your ears correctly. They need to be properly placed in your ears in order for them to function at an optimal level. It is recommended that you place the earplugs in your ear’s canal, then use your fingers to dig them in and out of the canal until they feel comfortably fitted.
Good hygiene is important while touching your earplugs. Your hands should be clean whenever you handle your earplugs, otherwise, they can become infected or irritated with dirt and bacteria. Keep your earplugs in a case or purchase a pair with cords attached, so that you don’t misplace them.
Earmuffs have a basic design that is intended to block out noise. It looks like a headband that features ear cups on each end. The ear cups are donned on the outer part of the ear while utilizing the headband’s clenching force to ensure that it fits comfortably on the head as it obstructs loud sounds. You may select the standard earmuffs, click-onto helmet earmuffs, active electronic earmuffs, or active noise reduction earmuffs.
Earmuffs are easier to wear and remove than earplugs. They are usually worn in environments with an irregularity of noise. They are also designed to fit most head shapes. No matter what size your head is, you can find earmuffs that will fit. It’s easier to find and keep track of where your earmuffs are since they are larger than earplugs.
The less convenient aspects of earmuffs are that they are heavier and not easily portable. Due to their size and difficulty to travel with, earmuffs can also be a hassle to wear along with your current personal protective equipment (PPE). Earmuffs also tend to be uncomfortable to wear in warmer weather.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer hearing aid solutions, assistive listening devices, and hearing protection for your individual needs.
Did you know that you can experience noise-induced hearing loss, without even knowing it?
Our environments are getting louder and louder every year. Whether it’s due to traffic noises, machinery that’s used on the job, or attending a concert. Taking the proper precautions to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is not only easy to do once you know how, but you can protect yourself from future health problems that are linked to hearing loss.
As mentioned on this blog, there is a different segment of the population that is experiencing NIHL: Millennials. This generation is constantly using their smartphone to listen to music and podcasts, watch videos, and stream Netflix. And they are listening at dangerous volume levels.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NIHL is considered a global public health emergency. One in every 5 teens between the ages of 12-19, has quantitative hearing loss due to loud noise exposure. Currently, those who are at risk of NIHL are significantly high. The WHO estimates about 1.1 billion young people around the world experience NIHL. It’s important to raise awareness about this issue because NIHL is the only type of preventable hearing loss. Other forms of hearing loss can be present at birth, caused by different diseases, or can be the result of taking certain medications.
The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss that goes untreated can harm the heart and brain; lead to mental health problems such as depression, disrupt sleep patterns, and cause cognitive decline.
These things can affect your school and work performance, which can negatively impact your income. Don’t put your life or future at risk, especially when there are preventative measures that you can take.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time in their life. A one-time exposure to very loud noise - or even exposure to loud noises over a long period of time. Be aware of the noise levels in your environment, and protect yourself with earplugs, earmuffs, or by simply moving away from the source of the noise.
Damage to your auditory system can build up over time. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the higher risk you are at permanently damaging your hearing.
There are ways to protect yourself.
Keep the Volume Low
Previously, dangerous noise levels were considered to start at 85 dB. But recently that’s changed to anything over 70 dB (normal conversational tone). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), considers any sounds that are at 70 dB or lower to be safe.
Turn the volume down on your smartphone, record player, mP3 player, or whatever you prefer listening to your entertainment on. Sounds that reach 100 dB or more, can lead to permanent hearing loss in 15 minutes. You can change your settings to make your devices only reach 70 dB at the maximum level. Others even recommend listening at 50 percent of the overall volume range. It would be best to start out at the lowest setting, and gradually raise the volume to a comfortable setting.
Take breaks in between listening to rest your ears. These breaks can just be for a few minutes every hour. Stay as far away from speakers as possible, when attending a concert.
If there’s a noise you cannot control, simply walk away. If that’s not possible, use earplugs to block out noise. This includes using them in mundane settings like in a kitchen with a very loud oven timer, at a restaurant, in bars, at the subway, or when working out in a gym.
Try out some different earplugs, and test them out until you find a pair that you like and work for you.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s the best way to prevent possible hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are in need of hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. If you don’t have a way to protect your hearing, stop by one of our offices and get a pair of earplugs.
How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
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’re a city dweller, you are probably used to the bustling sounds in the streets. All traffic that occurs throughout the day and into the night can put your hearing health at risk. Whether the noises come from nearby airports, sports arenas, highways, or construction zones, neighborhoods in the city produce a lot of noise pollution that impacts a vast amount of people.
The Noisiest Neighborhoods
Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago are some of the loudest cities in the U.S. Residents are exposed to at least 80 decibels (dB) of noise from transportation per day! There are even heavily traversed areas that emit more than 90 dB. You should wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing in those areas, especially if these are places you travel through daily.
You can look at this map to get a better picture of what we’re talking about.
Is there a Negative Impact on Property Value for Noisy Neighborhoods?
It’s difficult to avoid loud areas, especially in a big city or suburban area with highways or an airport nearby. It’s important to spread awareness about potential hearing loss, so that others may take preventative measures. Realtor.com has reflected on noise levels vs. property value. They have indicated that more people prefer quieter environments, so the prices of homes will reflect that.
Noise in the Workplace
Exposure to dangerous noise levels while on the job should concern you. If you do not currently protect your hearing health, you should talk to your manager about being provided with earplugs or industrial ear muffs. Check the noise levels in your work environment by using a decibel meter app. Anything over 85 dBs is considered to be a dangerous level of noise exposure.
Talk to family, coworkers, and friends about their exposure to noise in heavy traffic, construction, and concerts while working with power tools, operating heavy machinery, using common electric appliances around the home, etc. All of these interactions could lead to hearing loss. To be safe, always carry around a pair of foam earplugs with you. They can easily be stored in your pocket or handbag. Get your hearing tested at least once a year.
How Would You Know If You Had Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss happens very slowly over time. Most people won’t catch it early. This is especially true if you are constantly exposed to loud noises, whether it’s in a workplace environment or if you live in a bustling city. If you find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, moving closer to people to hear them better, asking others to speak up, or it's challenging to hear others in noisy environments, you might have hearing loss.
If you need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Lititz, Elizabethtown, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
It’s summertime, which for many means it’s time for a swim! Children who have problems with their ears would normally be recommended with wearing earplugs. Does your child need them? Which ones work the best?
Determining whether Your Child needs Earplugs
The ears are prone to getting water stuck inside the canals, so it’s important to wear earplugs:
Other children may be advised to regularly use earplugs while diving or swimming in untreated water, like lakes, rivers, and oceans. Wearing plugs can help prevent bacteria from going into the ear canals.
Should Earplugs be Worn in Chlorinated Water?
Generally, earplugs are unnecessary for most children when going into treated water, like a public swimming pool. Although, there is one exception. If you have a child, or grandchild, who wears tubes in their ears and prefers swimming in the deep end, they should wear earplugs. When diving and swimming in deeper water, the pressure intensifies in your ears and water could seep into them.
If you, or any children in your family, are on a swim team and often get water stuck in the ears, it’s always a good idea to wear earplugs for preventative measures.
If a child wears ear tubes, earplugs should also be worn whenever the ears become submerged in soapy water during baths. Soap acts as a lubricant, which lessens surface tension and allows water to enter the tubes.
Is it Safe to Swim when You have an Ear Infection?
Swimming underwater can lead to pressure changes that cause pain for any child with an ear infection. If an ear infection with a ruptured eardrum (A.K.A. ruptured acute otitis media) occurs, DO NOT swim or submerge yourself underwater until the infection goes away.
Swim Earplug Styles
You can choose between two styles of earplugs: custom-fit plugs and one-size-fits-all swim plugs. They are both capable of keeping your ears dry, but based on your personal preferences there are advantages and disadvantages. A hearing healthcare provider can help you get the right kind for you and your child.
Customized Earplugs for Swimming
A custom-fit earplug used for swimming would need to be ordered through a hearing instrument specialist. The great things about these customized earplugs are the excellent comfort, quality, and durability compared to cheap drugstore earplugs. You can wash and reuse them, which is more hygienic, cuts down on waste, and saves you money.
These earplugs are a little pricier. They are sometimes easy to misplace and cost more to replace as opposed to a pair from your local drugstore. You may wear a swim ear band to help prevent them from falling out and losing them.
Plugs that are One-Size-Fits All
There is the option of purchasing a one-size-fits-all earplug that can be purchased from any drugstore, online, and even at a local hearing aid business like Pure Sound Hearing. These can be made from foam, silicon, or putty material. It’s convenient to find them and cheaper than a custom swim earplug. If you lose them, it’s easy and less costly to replace. A custom fitting is unnecessary for these plugs, and they are available in bright colors so that they are easy to find in just about any environment. Kids can put them in on their own.
These earplugs are generally not washable, which makes them unhygienic. They tend to get disposed of after one or two uses, due to debris and earwax buildup. If you use swimming earplugs that are made out of putty, there’s a chance that small pieces of putty could get stuck to your ears after removing the earplugs. One-size-fits-all silicone plugs are washable, so you can feel safer about preventing ear infections.
If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids or other hearing care solutions, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for guidance towards better and safer hearing.
It’s time to look forward to sunny weather and summer holiday gatherings! And with these get-togethers, you’ll want to make sure you can still enjoy conversations by hearing your best. Here are some tips on how to protect your hearing health and, if you are a hearing aid user, get the most out of your hearing aids.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in three Americans between 20 to 69 years old, experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss, so you should always carry a pair of foam earplugs with you.
Inserting the earplugs into your ears, while being in loud environments - such as watching a fireworks display or going to a sporting event - can reduce the noises and the chance of permanent damage to your ears.
Be aware of Swimmer’s Ear
This condition can be painful and may cause temporary hearing loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that you should:
Hearing Aid Users
If you are a hearing aid user, be aware that you will probably come in contact with more humidity and moisture caused by sweat and hotter temperatures this summer. As with any electronic device, water can damage your hearing aids.
This is why it’s so important to keep your hearing aids dry. You may get a hearing aid dehumidifier, which has desiccant and place the devices inside to extract moisture due to condensation, humidity, or sweat.
If you or a loved one are a Lancaster County resident who experiences hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Have your ears ever felt like they were blocked up with water after taking a swim? It’s a frustrating feeling when you still feel the obstruction for the following days. This symptom is caused by a bacterial infection known as acute otitis externa A.K.A. swimmer’s ear. Generally speaking, it’s harmless, but you should still get it checked out by a hearing healthcare provider. If it goes untreated, it could affect your ability to hear.
How Swimmer’s Ear Affects Your Hearing
Swimmer’s ear can occur after being in any body of water, although it typically develops after spending time in hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and rivers. Due to the greater amounts of bacteria that are found in these areas, water that becomes trapped inside the ear is more likely to lead to painful infections on the skin. Your inner ear is the ideal place for bacteria or fungi to grow and thrive. Skin irritations caused by some hair products can worsen the condition when there is an infection.
If this condition spreads throughout the body, it can cause harm to other areas, not just your ears. Most people who have swimmer’s ear also experienced pressure and pain in their ear, along with redness in their skin, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pus or fluid drainage. Under more serious instances, temporary or permanent hearing loss could occur when sensitive organs located in the inner ear are compromised and the infection begins to develop in the brain and base of the skull.
Your inner ear has tiny hair cells, which are called cilia. These hair cells collect the quality of sounds. The hearing nerve cells are delicate and cannot regrow. When infection damages the cilia, it causes some permanent hearing loss - depending on how many of the hair cells are destroyed.
When Should You Get Treatment?
If you have any concerns about your ears or hearing, please consult a hearing care professional as soon as possible. Early treatment can help to slow down and prevent further damage.
Here are some ways to know if your inner ear is infected due to trapped water:
It’s advised that you do not swim, fly in an airplane or drive up to elevated areas like the mountains, to prevent the chances of your ears popping. Your ears will need time to heal. If you get proper treatment, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear should go away in 14 days or less.
Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
Here’s what you can do to make sure your ears are safe when you swim:
Use earplugs or custom-molded ear protection to prevent water from penetrating your ear canal.
Before dipping into a pool, the water should be chlorinated or filtered to avoid high levels of bacteria. If you are going to be in a natural body of water, do not go to stagnant locations and find out whether the water’s sanitation levels are available for the public to view before heading out there.
After your swim, you should try to remove excess water from your ears in your own home. The safest method is to lay your head on its side, move your jaw around by chewing or yawning to pop your ears and release the pressure, you may also try to place a warm compress on your ear, or place your ear over a bowl of warm steaming water. Do not use a hairdryer or hand dryer to make the water evaporate. The loud noises from those appliances could worsen your hearing.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing sudden hearing loss after being in the water, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is only impacted by aging.
This is false.
It’s common for people to believe this. While this is only partially true, there are other factors. Your body changes and your health conditions tend to worsen as you age. These changes and worsening conditions to your body are what impact your poor hearing health.
You may wonder whether your hearing abilities are normal for your age. No matter what age you are, you must hear over 25 dB to hear the normal speech sounds. This standard range of sound does not change when you age. When someone begins to lose their hearing, they don’t consider it to be a big deal. Instead of addressing the problem immediately, they avoid seeking treatment until it turns into a bigger problem.
Hearing loss can occur due to ruptured eardrums caused by autoimmune diseases, ear infections, abnormal bone growths, tumors, or exposure to loud noises.
Any hearing loss which negatively impacts your ability to understand others when they speak is a major issue. The longer you wait to get treatment, the worse your hearing will get. This delay will make it more difficult to adjust to your hearing aids.
Audiometric pattern as a predictor of cardiovascular status: Development of a model for assessment of risk, a study by David R. Friedland MD, Ph.D., Christopher Cederberg MD, and Sergey Tarmia Ph.D., suggests that 85% of patients who were diagnosed with strokes, also had some range of hearing loss. The inner ear is very sensitive to blood flow. This study indicates that vascular problems may negatively impact auditory and cardiovascular systems.
In the study Diabetes and risk of hearing impairment in adults: A meta-analysis, test subjects with diabetes were twice as likely to have hearing loss. This link between hearing loss and diabetes was more prevalent in people under 60 years of age. Analysts hypothesize that high levels of blood sugar might deteriorate the inner ears’ vessels, which can lead to hearing loss.
More than 200 prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that are considered ototoxic - “poisonous to the ears”, are currently sold to the public. As mentioned before in this blog, common ototoxic drugs include aspirin, antibiotics, some anesthetics, loop diuretics, anti-cancer drugs, and quinine.
When someone has heart disease or diabetes, they don’t think that this it’s normal for someone their age and then wait to seek treatment. No matter how old you are, if you experience heart disease, diabetes, or hearing loss you should immediately get help.
Other Causes of Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) has been mentioned frequently in this blog. NIHL is caused by hearing sounds that are too loud. It can be caused by one extremely loud blast, or occur over time due to listening to loud music on a regular basis.
Learn more about NIHL here.
What can you do to protect your hearing health?
Think about your habits, and whether they are culpable to cause hearing loss.
Did you know…
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer free trials on a wide variety of hearing aids, as well as listening devices like Phonak's Roger Select ™.
The sound of someone whispering a secret, the music from a rock concert, or a car horn that beeps are all measured in decibels.
Decibels are a measurement of ratios between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Sound intensity is measured in Decibels
Sound is the energy that moves in the form of waves. Frequencies and amplitude are measured.
Frequencies are recorded in Hertz (Hz) and measure the number of vibrations in one second. Amplitudes, which are on the decibel (dB) scale, measure the pressure or forcefulness. If a sound has more amplitude, it will be louder.
Decibels and Hearing Loss
High decibel levels can immediately destroy or even slowly deteriorate your ability to hear. It can happen from just one quick exposure during a loud blast, or it can gradually occur over time due to daily noise exposures. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), everyone exposed to loud noises is at risk of hearing loss. About 15 percent of Americans between 20 and 69 years of age experience hearing loss. This loss may have been induced by loud noise exposure while on the job or during recreational activities. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey from 2010 reported 16 percent of teens (ages 12-19) had some hearing loss that may have been caused by loud noise exposure.
Researchers studied the effects of NIHL. According to the sound levels of our environment, strong recommendations have been established for safe listening. You may ask yourself, “How do I know if a noise is too loud?” Generally, if you need to speak up louder than your normal speaking voice when talking to someone close-by, it means your environment is too loud. Remember that the louder the sound is, the shorter amount of time it takes to deteriorate your ability to hear. Being repeatedly exposed, or prolonging the exposure (over 8 hours per day) to noise that exceeds 85 dB, can result in permanent hearing loss.
Here are some examples of sounds that measure up to 85 dB:
The good news is that NIHL prevention is possible as long as you prepare. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you always carry hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) if you plan to go to a concert, sports event (in a bar or arena), use power tools, ride a motorcycle or use lawn equipment. Under these circumstances, you risk exposure to noise levels that exceed 85 dB. We advise that you invest in proper hearing protection.
If you are unsure what type of hearing protection you should use, talk to a hearing healthcare provider.
Decibels for the Hearing Loss World
Anyone who has hearing loss should be aware of the decibel levels in their surroundings. Make sure that you reduce further hearing loss by protecting the hearing abilities that you still have.
Untreated hearing loss - If you have mild hearing loss, preserve your residual hearing by wearing the proper hearing protection. Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause additional health problems like dementia, depression, and lower-income due to the inability to accurately accomplish tasks on the job. Take action in preserving your hearing. Get a hearing test and treatment before your hearing gets worse.
Hearing aid wearers - Anyone who wears hearing aids should measure the decibel levels in their surroundings. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and clearer, whereas assistive listening devices make sounds louder.
The hearing that you still have left has a chance of deteriorating due to NIHL. You may be tempted to switch off your devices because you think that you’ll protect yourself from hearing harmful noises, but that will not work. If the hearing aids are not securely fit to the ear canal, they will not filter out dangerous noise levels. If you switched-off your devices, this can stop you from hearing sounds that want or need to hear. These sounds can include concerts or emergency vehicles. It’s important to work with a hearing instrument specialist to find out what the best hearing protection would be useful in your activities and lifestyle. The proper hearing protection lets you wear your hearing aids and still hear important alarms in your environment to be safe.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of a hearing test and consultation, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We ask that you wait in your car while wearing your mask and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to you to get them. If you are having any issues with your devices or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? Before you ring in the new year, consider these solutions for your hearing health.
1. Protect Your Hearing Health
One out of three people living in the U.S. experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Damaged sensory cells (hair cells) located in the inner ear (cochlea), lead to NIHL. Exposure to loud noise causes permanent damage to the hair cells and they are eventually destroyed. Hair cells cannot regrow after they die. Noise can harm your hearing if it is too loud and if you are exposed to it for an extensive period of time. Here are three ways to protect your hearing health:
2. Stop Smoking
Smokers are nearly two times more likely to experience hearing loss than non-smokers. If you are a non-smoker who lives with a smoker, you are also more likely to develop hearing loss. Smoking affects a person’s hearing when the nicotine and carbon monoxide found in cigarettes restrict the amount of blood flow, which prevents the circulation of oxygen to your inner ear. Insufficient blood flow could lead to lasting damage to your ear's sensory cells
3. Regular Exercise
Your overall health is vital to healthy hearing. Engaging in regular exercises can reduce the risks of chronic illnesses and additional risks to your hearing. Anyone who is overweight is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Those with diabetes are two times more likely to experience hearing loss. Being overweight makes the heart work harder to sufficiently circulate blood to the rest of the body. This includes the ears. High blood glucose levels can lead to damaged blood vessels in the inner ear.
4. Get a Hearing Test
Getting a hearing test is the first step to identifying whether you have hearing loss. Just like any health concern, getting your hearing loss treated early can improve your overall quality of life. This includes:
If you experience hearing loss, the remaining natural hearing abilities - also known as residual hearing - refers to how sufficiently you can hear without a hearing aid device. It’s very important to protect the hearing that you still have because that is all your hearing aids will work with, in order to give you an optimal listening experience.
The Importance of Residual Hearing
Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss but are used to amplify and make sounds clearer to hear while drowning out background noises. You need to use your residual hearing to hear those sounds. Hearing aids are specifically programmed for your individual hearing needs. You may suffer from high-frequency hearing loss, low-frequency hearing loss, or sensorineural hearing loss. A hearing instrument specialist will patiently work with you so that you can get the most use out of your hearing aids.
The more residual hearing abilities that you still have, means the more useful your hearing aids will be for you. This is why it’s important to protect residual hearing.
How can You Protect Your Residual Hearing?
Wear hearing aids to protect your residual hearing. Most people wait several years until they decide to get fitted for hearing aids. Even after receiving a fitting, some people still don’t wear them. Hearing aids are used to help you relearn sounds that you haven’t heard in years. They stimulate your auditory nerves and help your brain from feeling fatigued due to over-concentrating on sounds that you are struggling to comprehend.
It is normal for new hearing aid users to go back to their hearing instrument specialists and get their hearing aids adjusted after a few times.
It’s important to be honest with your hearing instrument specialist if something doesn’t feel right with your hearing aids. They will make the adjustments to make sure that the devices function properly for you.
When the settings are programmed at their best, it’s important to use your hearing aids as often as possible. Try to wear them whenever you are awake. Remember that adapting to hearing aids takes time and patience. Choosing not to wear your hearing aids is a waste of time, money, and benefits that you’ve invested in. As a result, your hearing will get worse.
Why Should You Wear Two Hearing Aids?
Even though you may have different ranges of hearing loss in each ear, it is recommended that you wear two devices:
Decrease Your Exposure to Noise
While wearing hearing aids, protect the hearing that you still have by reducing your exposure to loud noises. This will help to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Blaring noises can permanently damage your inner hair cells, and your hearing loss will get worse.
When you are in your home, keep music, podcasts, and TV at a low volume. Use Bluetooth® technology to stream these sounds directly through your hearing aids, at a safe volume level.
Remember, your hearing can be damaged from using power tools such as a lawnmower, power saw, or wood chipper. If you need to use these devices, always wear earplugs or earmuffs. Wear hearing protection if you go to a concert, sports arena, or even a movie theater.
If you take medications, mention your hearing loss to your doctor. Some drugs can affect your hearing or induce tinnitus.
Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise
A diet that is full of vitamins and minerals, along with exercise, can induce blood flow to the entire body, including the inner ears, lessen the number of free radicals and stop or slow the loss of inner hair cells located inside the ears.
Brain Stimulation and Function
Learning something new, like an instrument or another subject matter that you are interested in can improve your hearing. According to researchers, practicing a musical instrument helps you concentrate on auditory skills, improves auditory memory, and increases the ability to hear speech in busy settings. But be careful not to engage in practicing music for too long.
How we spend our time and stimulate our senses and way of thinking shapes the people we become - thus affecting how our senses function.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings, and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please contact us before visiting one of our offices.
Just about every surfer has shared stories about the injuries they got while surfing gnarly waves. It may have been a head bunt with their board, a hand cut on a fin, or even a dislocated joint from a huge wave. While these are rare injuries, they do help paint a more interesting narrative.
Surfer’s Ear: How it happens and who can get it
This blog has frequently discussed swimmer's ear, but there’s a syndrome of surfing that is more prevalent, yet rarely acknowledged. It could actually be more dangerous. This syndrome is known as surfer’s ear (exostosis). Surfer’s ear occurs when the ear(s) become(s) irritated from cold water. This normally happens as a result of long exposure to cold water. Surfers, old and young, can experience it.
What happens is, over time, the ear canal becomes irritated and as a result bone will start to grow in that area. This causes the canal to become more and more narrow, which leads to hearing loss.
Ultimately, the bone growth becomes very obvious because a person with this problem can experience complete hearing loss. The only treatment for this issue is cutting off or shaving the bone growth. This procedure would need a recovery period of six to eight weeks.
Surfer’s ear doesn’t just lead to hearing loss, but the bone growths will trap water which leads to frequent infections. This leads to high risks for people who spend a lot of time in the water to surf. Wetsuits are providing surfers with the opportunity to go into the water almost year round, raising the risks for surfers of all ages.
About one in three surfers experience this problem, and if left untreated it can lead to pain and severe hearing loss.
Are there Treatments for Surfer’s Ear?
The only real cure for surfer’s ear is surgery. It’s best to take preventative measures, like wearing earplugs, prior to going into the water. You can also try these Swedish company's earplugs
that are specially designed for surfers. Sound waves can be heard, while the real waves stay out.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid brands including HANSATON, Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Rexton, Signia, Starkey, Unitron and Widex.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Swimming or running through a sprinkler is a great way to spend a hot summer day. There’s a chance that all of the contact with water could raise the risk of water becoming trapped inside your ears. Some symptoms of water being trapped in your ears are sensations of fullness inside your ear canals, and/or feelings of water moving around in your ears. It can occur in just one or both ears.
If the water doesn’t drain out on its own, this could cause otitis externa, which is more commonly known as swimmer’s ear.
The reason behind Water becoming Trapped inside the Ears
There are several reasons why water can stay stuck inside of your ears. One reason is if a person has narrow ear canals. Another reason could be that there is something that is obstructing the ear canal, like too much earwax or a foreign substance.
Some People are more likely to Experience this than Others
Children and adults who spend a lot of their time in the water are at a higher risk than others. Water can get stuck in your ears anytime you submerge yourself in water. If you turn yourself upside down, for example during a flip or handstand, water can become trapped in your ears.
7 Tips to Remove Water from Your Ears
DO NOT insert any objects in your ear, like cotton swabs, hair pins, or other small objects. This can damage your ears.
Are there Risks to having Water Trapped in Your Ears?
In some cases there are risks to having water trapped in your ears. Everyone’s ears produce earwax (cerumen), which is waxy and water repellent. In most cases, water will gently fall out on its own. If it doesn’t, this can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which could cause swimmer’s ear.
Bacteria thrive in a wet and humid environment, with an ear canal that is full of scratches and abrasions, or reacting to allergies and other skin diseases.
What are Early Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear?
The following could be mild symptoms swimmer’s ear:
Contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, or if water has been trapped inside your ears for days or weeks.
Wear earplugs that are specially designed to use in water. They might be pricier than the average ear plugs that you get from the drugstore, but they can be customized to fit your ears and they are reusable and washable.
Monitor the Health of Your Ears
If you notice any changes in your hearing, keep a record of it and talk to a hearing healthcare provider. A hearing test can be conducted in order to determine whether or not you are experiencing hearing loss and how severe the loss is. Getting early treatment, with hearing aids or other listening devices, will help you keep the hearing abilities that you still have. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Musicians, Protect Your Hearing
If you are a musician, your ears are needed to keep your instruments in tune and get inspired by your surroundings. Without the ability to hear, it would cause musicians to struggle with doing what they love.
Your hearing abilities shift over time, especially if you play an instrument. About one in eight Americans - of any age - experiences some range of hearing loss, so it’s very important for musicians to properly protect their ears.
Modern technology has significantly advanced earplugs. You no longer need to wear over-sized foam plugs, because today’s earplugs are more discreet.
Here are Some of the Best Earplugs for Musicians that are Available Now:
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.