It’s Springtime! The nice weather is probably drawing you outdoors more often.
Unfortunately, the beautiful flowers that have blossomed have raised the production of pollen and allergies. Even though airborne allergens can be breathed in at any time of the year, there tends to be a spike in allergy-related hearing loss and tinnitus during the spring season.
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, can induce symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, ear pressure, feelings of fullness in the ears, or clogged ears. For some, inflammation and/or too much fluid affects a person’s hearing abilities or causes tinnitus. Those who suffer from tinnitus might notice a louder ringing or worsened symptoms of tinnitus.
Can Hearing Loss be caused by Allergies?
In response to allergy exposure, the body’s immune system will produce antibodies that release histamine. Histamine is what causes itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. This is basically hay fever. When mucus overproduces, this can block the Eustachian tube - this tube is the draining passage for the middle ear. The middle ear makes sounds louder and transfers sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. If this area becomes inflamed or obstructed your hearing can be affected and/or you can get an ear infection.
Generally, patients who have allergic reactions may notice minor hearing loss with feelings of fullness or pressure in the ear. This indicates that the person may have hearing loss and possibly fluid or inflammation in the middle ear.
Categories of Allergy-Related Hearing Problems
Fullness: Excessive fluid in the ear causes pressure or a feeling of clogged ears. The fluid gets pushed up against the eardrum, creating irritation and making it challenging to hear. Usually, the irritating feeling will eventually go away. If you are noticing any pain, you may have an ear infection and should get help immediately.
Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss happens as a result of sound waves that are unable to correctly travel through the ear and into the tiny bones of the middle ear. If there is excess fluid or ear wax, sound may not properly travel through the cochlea. Conductive hearing loss can be treated and may improve on its own, but it is hard to figure out whether hearing loss is short-lived, treatable, or permanent without thorough tests. If you experience sudden hearing loss or noticeable hearing loss, make an appointment with us at Pure Sound Hearing right away. If you wait too long, it can be difficult to treat.
Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is caused by allergies happens when the ringing only occurs simultaneously with other symptoms of allergies. If you have allergy-induced tinnitus for many months during the year contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for hearing aid treatment options.
When Should You Seek Professional Help?
When your tinnitus symptoms get worse with allergies, it can impact your hearing abilities, your general mood, sleeping patterns, and overall quality of life. If you or a loved one has tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Whether you are a new or long-time hearing aid user, you have probably had some concerns or personal experiences with device damage. Depending on how extensive the damage is to these digital devices with intricate electronics, getting them repaired or replaced can be costly. Proper cleaning and maintenance can prevent you from needing serious repairs and replacements.
Careful and Thorough Cleanings
If you wear your hearing aids for the entire day, they need proper maintenance.
When you’re ready to wind down for the day and go to bed, clean them out using a soft, dry cloth and a loop pick/brush. These tools should be provided to you after purchasing your hearing aids. If you are missing these tools, go to your hearing aid provider’s office to get them replaced. At Pure Sound, we recommend scheduling a cleaning with our office every six months, or less if you need a professional cleaning. You can check if there is any damage to the hearing aids.
If your ears are full of wax, gently wipe off the ears with a warm washcloth or clean them with warm water while showering to remove excess dirt and wax. Do NOT clean your ears by inserting anything small, like a cotton swab or a hairpin, into your canals. Inserting a cotton swab into your ears can cause earwax to get pushed further into the ear canals, leading to impacted earwax. A hairpin or anything of that size may puncture your eardrum, leading to further hearing loss and damage.
Do Not Drop Your Hearing Aids
Dropping your hearing aids, especially on a hard surface, can damage the devices. Depending on the impact of the fall, they may be irreparable. In most cases, if your hearing aids fall to the ground, you might need to get them repaired by your hearing aid provider, or they will send them out to the manufacturer for repairs. To avoid these problems, when you remove your hearing aids, sit down and place a towel down as a safety net in case they fall.
Remove Your Hearing Aids before Going to Bed
Even if your hearing aids are properly fitted or customized for your ears, they may still fall out when tossing and turning at night or as you rest your head against them. Prevent possible damage or losing your hearing aids by removing them and keeping them in a storage box. If you wear rechargeable hearing aids, you should place the hearing aids in a rechargeable device for storage and to recharge them for the following day.
Remove Your Hearing Aids when You’re Near or Go into a Body of Water.
Hearing aids are water resistant but not waterproof. The devices should work fine if you experience perspiration or briefly get caught in the rain. If you go swimming or shower/bathe, the devices should be removed and placed in a dry space.
Hearing aids are becoming more intricate, with novel features and ways to adjust them in any circumstance or environment. It’s important to understand that even with these advancements, proper care and maintenance will always be crucial to prevent repairs and replacements.
If you need professional cleaning or repairs done to your hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for an appointment.
Is it Time for a Hearing Test?
In most cases, hearing loss isn’t as easy to notice as any other symptoms - but that doesn’t make it less urgent to seek treatment.
1. Do you find it easy to hear but difficult to understand what others are saying? Does it sound like they are mumbling or talking too quietly?
2. Group conversations may be hard to keep up with, especially if there’s background noise.
3. Do you often ask others to repeat themselves? It might be a sign of hearing loss.
4. Have other people outright said that you have problems with hearing?
5. Do you rely on your spouse or a close family member/friend to help fill in the parts you missed during the conversation?
6. Do you crank up the TV or your music so loud that others ask you to turn it down?
7. Do you have trouble with conversations over the phone or during video calls?
If you said “yes” to any of these scenarios schedule a hearing test with Pure Sound Hearing.
A hearing test can be conducted by a licensed hearing healthcare professional. The test is painless, and the person who performs the test determines whether you have hearing loss. Sometimes it might be impacted earwax.
If you do have hearing loss, and hearing aids would be beneficial to you, your hearing healthcare provider may also be able to provide and program your hearing aids for you. Everyone’s hearing loss is unique, so calibrating your specific hearing needs in a programmable setting is necessary to get the most out of your hearing aids.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
Tinnitus symptoms become triggered for different reasons in each person. It can range from poor sleeping habits to your diet. We’re sharing some foods to avoid along with lifestyle changes that can help make symptoms more manageable.
Certain foods and eating habits can directly impact your overall health. A diabetic with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels follows a specific diet. Most are unfamiliar with ototoxic foods.
Ototoxicity refers to the harmful effects on the ears that certain substances (like foods or medications) can induce. If you have problems with your ears and/or hearing health, you should avoid these substances.
Some foods are good for protecting your ears. These foods are rich in folic acid, Omega 3, and Vitamin C. some foods are harmful to the ears.
Which Foods can be Harmful to Your Hearing Health
Hearing healthcare providers urge anyone with hearing problems to cut down their consumption of the following:
4 Bad Habits
Alcohol and tobacco: Everyone knows that consuming these substances can take a toll on your health. It’s also worth noting that tobacco smoke can decrease blood flow to the inner ear.
Frequent noise exposure: overexposure to loud noises harms the auditory cells located in the inner ear. Hearing slowly worsens over time if the exposure lasts too long. Background noise, excessive workplace noise, or listening to loud audio with headphones/earbuds, pose serious risks to hearing health. Always carry around earplugs and wear them if you are exposed to loud noises.
Poor hygiene: Too much earwax that isn’t removed correctly can lead to a blockage in the ear canal. Gently rinse your ears with warm water and a cloth. DO NOT insert anything small like cotton swabs to remove the wax. Depending on the amount and type of earwax you produce, you are pushing the earwax further into your ears. Some people’s earwax can be dry and flakey, and others can be moist and sticky.
Medications: Ototoxic drugs can worsen symptoms of hearing loss or induce other hearing problems. Salicylate, used in common anti-inflammatories, can harm a person’s hearing if taken in high doses. Discuss medications that you currently take or ones that you plan on taking with your hearing healthcare provider.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Daily hearing aid cleanings that are performed by you will help you get the most out of them, and expand their lifespan. Follow these steps for proper maintenance.
Before You Clean Your Hearing Aids
We recommend that you lightly clean your hearing aids each day. A more thorough cleaning should be done by a professional every 6 months. Here are some simple tips:
Cleaning Tools for Your Hearing Aids
Steps for How to Clean BTE Hearing Aids
Get a Professional Cleaning from Pure Sound Hearing
As mentioned earlier, take your hearing aids to get professionally cleaned every six months, or sooner if your hearing aids are looking too unkept, or not functioning properly. Our professionals at Pure Sound have special tools and expertise to remove wax and other debris from difficult-to-reach areas. We can also replace your wax filters, hearing aid domes, and other parts that are worn or dirty. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
6 Tips to Prevent Worsening Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a prevalent health concern for about 466 million people, making it the most common chronic physical condition worldwide.
It is impossible to restore hearing loss, but hearing aids can help patients better manage their loss.
6 Tips to Prevent Hearing Loss from Getting Worse
1. Stay away from Loud Areas
One of the most preventable forms of hearing loss is exposure to dangerous noise levels. About 70 decibels or higher can harm your hearing if the exposure lasts for an extended period. Anything over 120 dB can immediately harm your hearing. Temporary or permanent hearing loss may occur. If you can, stay away from loud areas or wear hearing protection.
2. Hearing Protection
It’s not always possible to avoid noise exposure. If it’s part of your job, or if you live in a loud bustling city, it’s a good idea to wear earplugs or earmuffs when you know you will be around loud noises. Make sure they properly and comfortably fit in your ear canals so that they will seal off any noise. A good way to know whether an area is too loud is if you need to shout for someone nearby to hear you, or you can download a decibel meter app.
3. Take care of Earwax Build Up.
Excess earwax (cerumen) can build up in the ear and worsen hearing. Earwax is supposed to fall out on its own, but in some instances, it can clog up the ear. Do not insert anything, like a cotton swab, into your ears. That will push the earwax deeper into the canals and make it worse. Instead, you can soften the wax with warm water and a washcloth, as long as your eardrums aren’t perforated.
4. Don’t Take Ototoxic Drugs
Some medications, such as cancer treatments, can be ototoxic - they can damage the inner ear. They can cause hearing loss or make existing hearing problems worse. You may want to refrain from taking the medication or ask your healthcare provider about the risks and alternative treatments to reduce potential harm to your hearing health.
5. Take care of Your Hearing Health and Overall Health.
Poor heart health, kidney health, diabetes, dementia, or other health concerns can result in hearing loss. Focusing on your overall well-being - like a good diet, exercise, and a healthy social life - is essential for your health and hearing health. Getting a hearing test regularly can help catch any early loss and slow down further decline by intervening with appropriate treatment options. This may include a change in your diet and exercise routines, or receiving hearing aids.
6. Digital Hearing Aids
Modern technology is very helpful in managing hearing loss. Hearing instrument specialists like our providers from Pure Sound will patiently work with you to customize your hearing aid needs. Services for proper fittings, programming, and cleanings can be arranged through your hearing instrument specialists.
Get in touch with us to schedule your free hearing test and consultation.
5 Hearing Aid Cleaning Tips
It’s normal for your hearing aids to get clogged with earwax after wearing them for an extensive amount of time.
Earwax, or cerumen, is crucial for ear health. It’s a natural, protective coating for the skin inside your ear canals. It traps bacteria and debris while keeping the ears lubricated so that your ears don’t get itchy and dry.
If you produce too much earwax, it can get impacted and obstruct your ear canals and hearing aids. The sounds you hear may become distorted. If earwax is causing problems with your hearing aids, here’s some advice on cleaning out the wax from your devices.
1. Use a Hearing Aid Cleaning Kit
Your hearing instrument specialist should offer cleaning kits when you purchase hearing aids. If they don’t provide a cleaning kit, you can stop by one of our Pure Sound Hearing offices and buy one. The kits include a soft cloth, a brush, a wax pick/wire loop, and a wax guard tool. You may also purchase professional-grade cleaning wipes. Do not use alcohol or alcohol wipes to clean your hearing aids or any electronics, as they can damage the devices.
2. Examine Your Hearing Aids
Before cleaning the devices, look at your hearing aids to see what areas need polishing. You should be able to pinpoint the grimy spots where earwax, dust, and other debris have built up. To remove it, carefully use the soft, dry cloth or a brush tool from your hearing aid provider to brush it off. If earwax cannot be removed, use the wax pick/wire loop.
3. Filters and Wax Guards
Most standard hearing aids feature a filter or wax guard. The user can remove and replace these without trouble. Depending on how much earwax you produce, you should change them regularly. Examine these areas each day and replace them as necessary.
4. Earmolds and Sound Bores
Sounds get collected to your ears through earmolds (the part that rests in the ear canals) or sound bores (avenues through the earmold where sound is received from the hearing aid and transmitted to the ear canal). These sections need to be regularly checked. If there’s earwax on it, use the brush or wax pick/wire loop to clear it off.
5. Clean the Tubing
Earwax can clog the tubing in behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. If there’s earwax in the tubing, use an air blower or small flexible wire to dislodge it.
If you are experiencing any problems with your hearing aids or need help cleaning them, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. We recommend getting a professional hearing aid cleaning at least every six months or less.
Have you noticed after a few months, or maybe a year since you started using your hearing aids that they don’t work as well as they did after you fully adapted to them? Maybe sounds were pretty clear in most situations, but that might not be the case anymore.
We’ll go over some of the most common reasons why your hearing aids are beginning to lose their high performance and quality of sound.
1. Earwax Build-up
Your hearing aids may be working fine, and it may actually be your ears that are the problem. Impacted earwax that builds up can block the ear canals, making it harder to hear. If your hearing aids make a whistling sound, that can be another clue that there’s too much earwax build-up. A professional ear cleaning can be performed, or you can carefully remove it on your own.
2. There’s a Problem with the Batteries or the Charger
Digital hearing aids are intricate devices. Just like any piece of electronic technology, they need battery power. There are rechargeable batteries and disposable batteries available for hearing aids. One of the most common issues with chargers is that they may not come in direct contact with the charging device. As a result, the hearing aids may not be charged at all, they will die off earlier than expected, or they will only work intermittently. This is common when the hearing aids are 3-4 years old.
If you plan to purchase hearing aids, think about getting contactless rechargeable devices that function based on induction. The latest generation of rechargeable hearing aids does not have electrodes but uses induction to charge the battery. If you’re experiencing problems with your hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. Our hearing instrument specialists will help you with a solution.
3. Blockage in the Receiver Path
Sounds that are harnessed by the hearing aids will travel through the thin tubes (behind-the-ear model) or a wire (receiver-in-ear model) to the ear canal. At the end of the wire, there’s a receiver made of a silicon dome or a customized earmold. Each of them can be obstructed with earwax. The result is weak or no output. The BTE models can be fixed by detaching the thin tube and checking if the hearing aids can still make any sound. If it did, there’s a good chance that the thin tube just needs to be cleaned or replaced.
Look closely and check for any earwax that is stuck in the thin tube or tip of the receiver by the wax guard. Use cleaning wipes or a soft cloth to wipe off the tube or replace the wax guards. Contact or stop by one of our Pure Sound Hearing offices for help, if necessary.
4. Blocked Microphones
Every hearing aid features tiny grooves where sounds reach the microphones. This slot could be compacted with dirt and debris. The small cleaning brush that you’ll receive with your hearing aids should be used to sweep over the outer part of the microphones at least once a week, or more often if you produce a lot of earwax so that the entryway for the sound is unobstructed. Sound will not be able to travel through the hearing aids if they aren’t properly cleaned. A deep cleaning done by a professional should take place every six months, or less, depending on how dirty your hearing aids get. The microphones should be cleaned daily or weekly by the hearing aid user.
5. Your Hearing has Worsened
Hearing naturally deteriorates as we age. Antibiotics, cancer treatments (particularly chemotherapy), gout, and high blood pressure can speed up and create a weakened auditory system. You should get your hearing tested annually, especially if you are a hearing aid user. Monitor any gradual or sudden changes. Keep a hearing journal if necessary. If your hearing aids worked fine, but then you noticed over 12-18 months that they no longer sound as clear as before, you may need a hearing re-test. Your hearing instrument specialist should reprogram or re-adjust the hearing aids according to your new test results.
6. Technology Malfunction
Like all electronics, hearing aids may unexpectedly malfunction. Some common problems include:
Malfunctions in hearing aids usually only occur in one hearing aid. Luckily, the majority of hearing aid providers give patients a long-term warranty on the devices. Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for troubleshooting or any other repairable problems.
7. Moisture Build-up in the Tubes
If you produce a lot of sweat, your hearing aid tubes probably tend to get obstructed with condensation. You can usually see the moisture build-up in the tubes.
Based on how much condensation builds up in the tubes, there are multiple solutions. You can place the moistened hearing aids in a special dryer or dehumidifier case overnight. They should be dried out by the next morning. If you sweat profusely and your hearing aids need to constantly be dried throughout the day, get in touch with one of our hearing aid providers at Pure Sound. You may need to get the earmold re-sized or re-shaped. A larger vent size (may acoustically) might be better for air circulation in the ear canal, decreasing moisture build-up.
If you need help with your hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment.
Why are my Hearing Aids making a Static Noise?
Hearing aids can be useful to the user, as long as they are functioning properly. Daily cleanings that are done at home or professionally, along with proper maintenance are crucial in getting the most out of your hearing aids.
If you, or others around you, start to hear static noise emanating from your hearing aids, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your hearing instrument specialist.
Hearing aids will digitally reproduce or amplify sound, but in some cases, static noises are created, and others can hear them. This can make you feel uncomfortable while wearing your hearing aids.
What is Static Noise?
Frequencies of electromagnetic or thermal sound make up static noise, and sometimes that noise is recognized by hearing aids. If you hear this noise, it doesn’t always mean that your hearing aids need to be repaired. It might indicate that they are harnessing external noises in specific frequencies. Most homes have appliances - such as radios and Wi-Fi routers - that can generate static noise. If the static noise persists, even if you go into another room or leave your home, you may want to take a closer inspection.
The batteries are one of the simplest things to check to pinpoint the source of static noise. Make sure to clear out the battery compartment in your hearing aids of dust, and switch out the old batteries with fresh ones.
Protection from Moisture
Just like any electronic, hearing aids should be shielded from anything that can cause dampness. Be cautious if you are near any body of water, get caught in the rain, closely pass by a waterfall, or tend to sweat profusely when outdoors or during a work-out. Static noise can occur if any moisture gets into your hearing aid. If they do become moist, remove the batteries if the devices use disposable batteries and let them dry out for a few hours or overnight. You may purchase a hearing aid dry kit to place them in. Or you can even submerge them in a container of dry, uncooked rice or desiccant packs.
Brushing up Against Clothing
If you wear a hat or scarf over your ears, the fabrics can meddle with the sound waves or possibly press up against your hearing aids. This can also cause feedback noise. Try to readjust or remove your hat or scarf and notice whether this resolves the issue.
Are Sounds Too High?
Did you forget to adjust your hearing aid’s volume when you went from a busy environment to a quiet and calmer one? If you frequently need to change the volume on your hearing aids, visit your hearing instrument specialist for an adjustment.
If there’s too much earwax that is impacted inside your ears, this can tamper with your hearing aids and create static noise, or any undesirable noise. Your ears should be gently cleaned with a warm, wet cloth while bathing or showering. You should clean your hearing aids each day by using a soft cloth or a cleaning brush/loop and get a thorough cleaning from a professional every six months or less.
Noises from Your Environment
Maybe your hearing aids are fine, and the noises that you hear are coming from your environment. Ask others around you if they can also hear static noises. Normal sounds that come from a refrigerator humming or a fluorescent light may be producing static noise.
Is there a Problem with Your Hearing Aids?
The hearing aid itself may have an issue. Regular check-ups for your hearing health and hearing aid devices should be scheduled. Repairs can be made to your hearing aids in your provider’s office or they can be sent to the manufacturer, but if the problem persists, you may need new hearing aids altogether.
If you’ve ruled out the common and easy-to-fix problems, and need professional assistance, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Have you noticed a cold or flu can also make your ears feel stuffy? Your ears, nose, and throat are interconnected, so when you have a problem in one area, it can cause problems in the other areas. Congestion in the ear(s) is just one of numerous symptoms that can occur when there’s an issue with the nose, sinuses, or throat.
The Cause of Ear Pressure
The small passageway that links your middle ear to your throat is known as the Eustachian tube. This tube helps to balance the pressure in your middle ear by opening up whenever you sneeze, swallow, or yawn. This system stops air pressure and fluid from accumulating inside your ear canal, behind the eardrum.
When there’s an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, noises can sound muffled. It’s normal to feel pressure, pain, and fullness in your ears. Your Eustachian tubes can become partially blocked due to allergies, colds, flus, or sinus infections. Inflamed tissues and mucus discharge are primary reasons for dysfunction in the Eustachian tube.
Air travel or traveling up high altitudes can also change the way your Eustachian tubes are not functioning properly.
Tips to Relieve Ear Pressure
In order to use the best remedy, you must identify the cause.
Primary Causes of Sinus Congestion:
Managing Fluid Buildup
If there are drainage issues in your ears, fluid can build up. As a result, fluid can become trapped behind the eardrum. Here are some symptoms that you may notice:
If the problem is not resolved, the fluid build-up behind the ear can lead to a rupture.
Remedies to remove fluid from the ear canals:
Earwax, or cerumen, can build up when it becomes pushed deeper into the ear canal or obstructs the ear canal. This blockage can lead to hearing loss, dizziness, pain/fullness in the ears, pressure, and tinnitus. Q-tips should not be used to clean the ears. This will push the earwax further in the canals. Wearing hearing aids or earplugs can also cause cerumen buildup.
The best way to remove earwax is by running warm water in the ear canal (during a shower) for a couple of minutes. You may use an irrigation kit for this. When the water softens the wax, it will drain through the outer ear.
Ear congestion can be caused by allergies. Antihistamines and decongestants can relieve allergy-related ear pressure, along with other symptoms. Be aware that some medications can cause hearing loss, so discuss this with your hearing healthcare provider.
Traveling by Air or High Altitudes
When you are on a plane that’s about to take off or land, a sudden pressure change can occur in your environment and the middle ear. This imbalance stops your eardrum from vibrating the way it should. Ear pain, full feelings in the ear, and pressure can cause “airplane ears”.
Remedies to reduce pressure:
Infections in the Middle and Outer Ears
Otitis media, or more commonly middle ear infections, can cause symptoms of dizziness, hearing loss, and pain in the ears. The culprit is usually viruses from respiratory infections.
Swimmer’s ear, or outer ear infections (otitis externa), is usually caused by water that’s left in your ear after it is exposed to moisture. Water that becomes trapped after swimming or bathing is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive.
Usually, ear infections will resolve themselves. Ear drops and over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve symptoms.
Remedies for infection:
There are various causes of ear pressure. It’s important to find the cause of it and treat it appropriately. A simple home remedy will generally suffice.
If symptoms worsen, seek professional help. If you are noticing hearing loss as a result of ear pressure, or any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can be caused by so many different things like aging, head trauma, over-exposure to noise, genetics, or you can be born with it. These things impact the auditory nervous system, which results in sensorineural hearing loss. This is the most prevalent form of hearing loss. It happens when there’s damage to the inner ear nerves and hair cells that are caused by aging or noise damage. There is usually no medication or surgical procedure that can correct this, but hearing aids are a common form of treatment.
There is another, lesser-known type of hearing loss. This is called conductive hearing loss. This form of hearing loss impacts the outer or middle ear, unlike sensorineural hearing loss, which affects the auditory nerve. A blockage in the middle ear usually causes conductive hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infections
When the middle ear is vibrating, sounds are sent to your auditory nerve. Any blockage can hinder sounds from traveling through the middle ear and lead to hearing loss. An infection in the middle ear can lead to the build-up of fluid, restricting the vibration of the eardrum and the tiny bones connected to it.
Impacted earwax, fluid build-up in the middle ear, or a hole in the eardrum can also lead to conductive hearing loss.
The medical term for a middle ear infection is “otitis media”. This type of infection can lead to fluid build-up, and make it challenging for the eardrum and ossicular chain to cooperate and transfer sounds to the auditory nerve. The ossicular chain located in the middle ear is the three smallest bones in your body. They are called the malleus, incus, and stapes bone. Each of these bones is about the size of a single grain of rice.
Can an Ear Infection cause Hearing Loss?
When you talk about an ear infection, it typically refers to a middle ear infection or acute otitis media. This type of infection involves the area behind the eardrum where the three hearing bones (ossicles) are located. A person with this type of infection may need medical treatment, but it usually resolves itself naturally.
A mild form of conductive hearing loss can be temporary while the infection is still thriving. Permanent hearing loss is NOT usually a cause for concern. In some cases, if there are a number of long-term infections, the eardrum or middle ear can be permanently damaged and cause permanent hearing loss. Seek treatment immediately if you feel pain in your ears or sense an ear infection.
Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infections, For the Most Part, Are Temporary
Hearing loss that is caused by an ear infection is normally temporary and goes away when it is treated. You may be given antibiotics. If they work, your hearing should revert back to normal. If you have a history of ear infections, fluid may be drained from your ears.
Getting rid of fluid buildup can bring relief to the pain and pressure that usually comes with an ear infection and can stop the eardrum from rupturing. If fluid continues to build up without any intervention, the pressure can lead to a rupture in the eardrum.
Recurring episodes of ear infections can lead to tympanosclerosis. This is when the tympanic membrane becomes thick and will scar. A perforated eardrum and tympanosclerosis can affect the eardrum’s function and worsen the ability to hear. If treatments from a primary care physician do not resolve the problem, hearing aids may be recommended.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss caused by an ear infection or for any other reason, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
4 Earwax Cleaning Facts
There are some common misconceptions about ear-cleaning methods. Most people do not know how to safely clean their ears. We’ve got a set of guidelines to clarify four of the top myths when it comes to cleaning your ears.
Use Cotton Swabs
Do NOT insert cotton swabs in your ear canals. They are more likely to damage your eardrums and your ear’s canals. Using a cotton swab actually pushes the earwax deeper into your ear. This could lead to impacted earwax or even puncturing your eardrum if your place too much pressure on it when inserting the swab.
There is a growing popularity among people who are pouring melted candle wax into their ears and then removing the wax, along with any earwax/debris in their ears. This can actually be more harmful. Instead of becoming solidified and gathering the earwax, the candle wax might end up getting stuck to your eardrums and ear canals. This would result in scraping the rest of the wax in a dangerous manner. Pouring hot candle wax on any part of your body can be painful and removing it can cause infections.
Not all earwax buildup needs to be removed. Earwax is meant to naturally lubricate your ear canals and act as a safeguard against foreign debris that enters your ears. Everyone produces earwax, some more than others. Completely removing all earwax is not recommended. If you have impacted earwax that is affecting your hearing, seek professional help.
Your ears are, in fact, self-cleaning. As mentioned earlier, the function of earwax is to stop dirt and debris from making their way into your ear canal. It moves it to the surface so that it does not enter your ear.
If you or a loved one are noticing hearing loss, please contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing Loss can range from being mild to profound. If you experience mild hearing loss, there’s a high chance that you haven’t sought help and have forced yourself to fake your ability to hear in many circumstances.
Mild hearing loss can be serious, especially when it’s not treated early or at all. It can negatively impact the way you communicate with others - like your family members - to understand important information during a healthcare visit. The mild symptoms may be too subtle to immediately notice.
Mild Hearing Loss Defined
Symptoms of mild hearing loss are characterized as the inability to hear noises that are under 25 decibels (dB) for adults and 15 dB for children. These noises include whispered conversations, water droplets, rustling leaves, and birds singing. Low and high-pitched sound frequencies may also be challenging to hear. Most people lose their ability to hear high-pitched sounds (children and some women’s voices) first.
The degrees of hearing loss include normal, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound. These ranges will be identified during a hearing test in the form of an audiogram. For the average adult, a normal range of hearing is between 0-25 dB. The normal range of hearing for children is between 0-15 dB.
Common Symptom of Mild Hearing Loss
You have the ability to hear but cannot comprehend conversations - especially when there’s too much background noise.
Mild Hearing Loss and Communication
If you have mild hearing loss, you are probably most comfortable in quiet settings where the conversation is limited to you and one other person. A noisy environment, if a person is facing away from you, or if they are standing too far from you can also cause communication problems.
The primary complaint about many people with mild hearing loss is that they can hear, but cannot clearly understand conversations.
Causes of Mild Hearing Loss
There are a number of possible causes for mild hearing loss. Some cases can be restored with prompt and proper treatment.
If medications or surgery cannot treat mild hearing loss, you should get fitted for hearing aids.
Digital hearing aid technology has changed so much since the earliest styles and they perform better in just about any environment. A proper hearing aid fitting and proper hearing aid programming will help you hear as best as you can.
Preventing Mild Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable type of hearing loss. Use protective hearing equipment, such as:
The only preventative measure that you can take is immediately seeking treatment. Whether it’s an ear infection or noise-induced, get help as soon as possible.
If you wear hearing aids and have mild hearing loss, you’ll have more options available than someone whose hearing has worsened to severe or profound loss. You might also be able to select more discreet styles that go in the ear canal if that’s the style that you want.
The Importance of Getting Treatment
As mentioned in this blog, untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline This can lead to higher risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s, compared to people without hearing problems. Isolation, depression, difficulty with communication, and falls can also be symptoms of untreated hearing loss.
Most people wait at least seven to 10 years before getting help. In the time frame, your hearing will worsen, and your brain will forget how to hear or will have difficulty identifying sounds. The ability to comprehend speech sounds also deteriorates over time.
Mild hearing loss that is noticed and treated immediately can give you better hearing and a better overall quality of life.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. Our providers will guide you toward better hearing health so that you can live your best life.
16 Facts About Hearing Health
Maybe you know a thing or two about what it’s like to have hearing loss, but here are 16 facts that you may not know about.
If you or a loved one are noticing hearing loss, get your hearing checked immediately. A hearing test and proper treatment can help save hearing loss or slow it down from getting worse. Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Are You a Hearing Aid User with an Active Lifestyle? Here are some Tips for Keeping Your Hearing Aids and Hearing Health in Shape.
Exercise is an important part of maintaining your overall health. If you’re a hearing aid user who practices physical exercises regularly, it’s advised that you wear your devices during workout sessions.
3 Reasons why Hearing Aids should be used during Exercise Routines
Be prepared by bringing Hearing Aid Gear during Workouts
To get the most out of your workout, reduce distractions and feel confident while wearing your hearing aids by being prepared. Here’s a suggestion of supplies you should keep with you.
How to take care of Your Hearing Aids after Your Workout
If you frequently work out, be cautious about wear and tear. This will help your hearing aids last longer, after each workout session.
Keep up an Active Lifestyle
According to the Hear the World Foundation, 70 percent of hearing aid users have said that they wear their hearing aids while participating in sports and did not experience any problems. About 37 percent of users said they enjoy participating in sports more when wearing them. So if you aren’t already wearing hearing aids while playing sports, try it out.
Be aware of Dangerous Noise Levels in the Gym
Gyms are well-known for blasting music too loudly during workout sessions. This can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. If you lift very heavy weights, while holding your breath, this can also cause hearing loss and tinnitus. It’s important to protect your ears from lesser-known risks to hearing health. Special settings can be programmed into your hearing aids for all sorts of environments, like gyms.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing and talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists about programming a customized setting in your hearing aids before your next visit to the gym, or workout session from home.
Whether you are listening to nature sounds, the noise of laughter after a funny joke, or becoming aware of a warning signal from an emergency, hearing is a fundamental part of life.
Think about the ways that hearing, or the lack of hearing, impacts your life.
1. Be Aware of Initial Signs of Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization reports that over 466 million people have a disabling form of hearing loss. It is crucial to be aware of the first signs of hearing loss so that you can immediately seek help. Immediately getting help from a healthcare provider can potentially save your hearing. If you notice muffled sounds when others speak, trouble hearing over the phone or in a crowded area, struggle hearing women’s or children’s voices, or other family members or colleagues notice you can’t hear very well, get a hearing test.
2. Reduce Exposure to Noise
The only preventable form of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), yet it is the most prevalent form of hearing in children and adults. Make sure you wear hearing protection before being exposed to things like loud music, fireworks, or power tools. If possible, avoid these areas altogether or limit the amount of time you spend there.
Be aware that your work environment may also cause hearing loss. Your employer is responsible for providing any hearing protection - such as earplugs or industrial style ear muffs - that you may need as a result of being exposed to loud noises on the job.
3. Do Not stick anything inside Your Ear Canal
Many people have the habit of using cotton swabs in their ear canal. It’s a dangerous habit that can injure your ears.
Inserting anything into your ear canal, like cotton swabs, actually pushes the earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can cause impacted earwax. If you must remove excess earwax, wipe it off of your ears with a warm soft cloth after your shower or bath. You may also soften the wax using ear drops, warm olive oil, water, or a commercial solution. It is not advised to use any of these if you have a perforated eardrum. If you are noticing any pain, hearing loss, or blockage, please contact us for an evaluation.
4. To Hear Healthy, Eat Healthy
A proper diet and exercise are not only beneficial to hearing health, but also to your overall health.
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes should be incorporated into a well-balanced diet. To help with the steady flow of inner ear fluid, eat potassium-rich foods like bananas. Consume other foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as folate, magnesium, and zinc.
Take a look at these articles for more advice on what to eat to improve your hearing:
Which Vitamins and Minerals May Help Stop Hearing Loss?
What Seasonal Autumn Foods can Improve Your Hearing Health?
5. Get Your Hearing Tested on a Regular Basis
Just like your other annual health check-ups, hearing health should be tested every year. Getting regular check-ups on your hearing can help catch any potential issues that you may have. Noticing problems early can help avert more serious situations in the future.
Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer a number of hearing aids that can be programmed and tailored for your specific listening needs.
Think about the sound of birds chirping, the siren alarms from an emergency vehicle, listening to a funny joke (and hopefully the laughter that follows), or your favorite music.
These are the sounds that make us aware of our surroundings and allow us to enjoy simple pleasures in life.
The ability to hear is important. Here are five tips for better hearing.
1. Recognize the signs. According to the World Health Organization, over 466 million children and adults across the globe have a debilitating form of hearing impairment. Nearly every type of hearing loss can be treated. First, it’s important to recognize the signs. Do you hear muffled sounds when others speak? Do you have trouble hearing someone over the phone or if you’re in a crowded area and someone is standing/sitting within arms-length of you? Is it difficult to hear women or children’s voices? Do family members complain that your TV, movie, or music is too loud?
Family members will usually recognize hearing loss in their loved ones first.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
2. Reduce your exposure to noise. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. It impacts people of all ages, and it’s on the rise as one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Whether you are at a concert, watching fireworks, using power tools/vacuum cleaners, or working in a construction zone, limit your time in those loud environments when possible and wear proper hearing protection.
3. Do not use cotton swabs. It’s common to insert cotton swabs into your ear, but it is dangerous. Pushing the swab too far can damage your eardrum. If you are using them to clean, here’s news for you: the swabs are actually pushing earwax (cerumen) further into your ear canal, which can cause the earwax to become impacted. Remove excess cerumen by rubbing a soft, warm cloth on your ears after showering or soften the wax with drops of warm olive oil, water, or over-the-counter ear drops. These should only be used if you don’t have a perforated eardrum.
4. Follow a healthy diet with regular exercise. A proper diet is not only beneficial for your hearing, but also for your overall health. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like folate, magnesium, and zinc should be incorporated into your diet.
5. Get your hearing tested annually. Hearing tests are rarely conducted during routine physical exams with your primary care doctor. Other pressing matters tend to take up more time during your appointment. If your hearing health is an urgent concern, you may be referred to a hearing healthcare professional.
At Pure Sound Hearing, we offer free hearing tests and consultations. Contact us today.
Have you ever wondered if you heard a real noise, or if it was all in your head?
If you are hearing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound that nobody else around you hears, there’s a possibility that it is tinnitus. You should get it checked immediately by a hearing healthcare professional. After going over your medical history with them, they will examine your ear canal with an otoscope and check for earwax build-up. After carefully cleaning out the earwax, your hearing may be restored. If it’s not caused by earwax obstruction, a hearing test will be conducted.
If there is an obstruction or tinnitus, you may be referred to a physician. If there are no other obstructions present, i.e. a foreign object, and no other possible causes are found, you may have hearing loss. Tinnitus and hearing loss usually go hand-in-hand. If you are experiencing tinnitus, chances are that hearing loss is inevitable. Nearly 90% of individuals who have tinnitus, also have some range of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Tinnitus Assessments from a Hearing Healthcare Professional
At Pure Sound Hearing, our hearing care providers may conduct a pure tone audiometry test. This test would have a high chance of being administered if your tinnitus is single-sided (unilateral) or if you also experience hearing loss. The pure tone audiometry test will play a range of frequencies at different volume levels. Even if you cannot detect any difference in your hearing, this test can show areas where your hearing has weakened. Remember, hearing loss occurs gradually over time and you might not notice the loss until it becomes very severe. Catching your hearing problems early can potentially slow down the loss. You may be asked to repeat words back to your hearing healthcare provider so that they can hear how accurately a patient repeats these words.
Tinnitus is the perceived noise that a person hears, which cannot be heard by anyone else. Our specialists will use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. This practice involves playing audio clips to recognize which sound is closest to the sound that the person hears internally.
Our hearing instrument specialists may use a minimal level of masking to conclude whether a patient experiences tinnitus. This will also determine how loud a sound is conveyed. Our providers will play an audio clip at gradually increasing volume levels until the patient indicates that the external noises completely cover up the phantom sounds.
Your Experiences with Tinnitus
By discussing your tinnitus with our hearing instrument specialists, they will be able to help you understand how your symptoms are negatively affecting your daily life and overall well-being.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but the symptom of an underlying health condition. If you are noticing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to talk about the problems you are experiencing and we'll help you find a solution.
If you are not hearing very well, or as you usually do, the cause could be anything from aging to viral infections.
Based on the reason for your hearing loss, it might be temporary or permanent.
Get treated immediately if You experience Sudden Hearing Loss
If you experience rapid or sudden hearing loss in one ear or both ears immediately get treatment. There could be harmful inflammation that can be treated with steroids. Sudden hearing loss that goes untreated could lead to permanent hearing loss.
How do you know if You need to see a Medical Professional?
Here’s a guide to follow:
If you responded with “No” to all of these questions, you might be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss needs immediate medical attention.
Prevailing causes of Temporary Hearing Loss?
The majority of temporary hearing loss does not suddenly occur. It happens gradually within a few days or weeks, by the time a person notices it. Temporary hearing loss can be caused by a blockage in the ear canal or another ear-related health condition. Here are some possible causes:
Stereocilia (tiny hairs) and glands located in your inner ears create cerumen, A.K.A. earwax. Usually, this wax naturally falls out or it can be removed through a gentle wash with water. In some instances, it can build up and obstruct your ear canals. When this occurs, your ears may feel as though they are plugged, you might hear a ringing or buzzing noise (tinnitus), or experience some hearing loss. If you are unable to gently remove the earwax by using a warm washcloth, consult a healthcare professional. Do not attempt to remove the wax with any sharp objects like a hairpin. Q-Tips or cotton swabs can push the earwax deeper into your ear canal, causing the eardrum to become perforated and.
Vigorous Exercises or Stress
Your exercise routine might be the cause of your hearing loss or tinnitus. If you exercise past your personal fitness levels, you could experience temporary hearing loss. Your ability to hear should go back to normal within a few hours. See a hearing healthcare professional if the symptoms don’t go away. Severe cases of stress may induce hearing loss or tinnitus.
Temporary hearing loss and/or tinnitus is a common result, after being exposed to loud noises. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In most cases, your hearing will go back to normal, but it’s always helpful to protect your hearing by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. Hearing loss prevention is the only way to protect yourself from NIHL. Frequently being exposed to loud sounds could lead to permanent hearing loss.
Typical Causes of Permanent Hearing Loss
Long exposure to extreme noise
One loud blast of noise may only temporarily make your hearing worse, while a repetition of exposure to blasts or other loud noises could cause permanent loss of hearing. This is the most prevalent type of sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent. The term sensorineural applies to the nerves located inside the ears, along with the tiny sensory cells that are extremely delicate and easy to destroy.
Presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, is another common form of sensorineural hearing loss. Most people who are 75 years of age or older, will notice they cannot hear as well as they could in the past. The beginning of this type of hearing loss arrives gradually, so it will go unnoticed for months or years. Getting treatment for your hearing loss is not simply linked to better hearing, it also helps reduce other health problems such as dementia, depression caused by isolation, or risks of falling.
Health conditions that cause permanent hearing loss
Get your hearing loss treated
Whether or not you suspect that you are experiencing permanent or temporary hearing loss, get your hearing tested. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide variety of hearing aids styles and brands that can be programmed for your specific hearing needs.
It’s no secret that everyone’s hearing gets worse as they age. Usually, individuals have one ear that can hear better than the other. In some instances, hearing loss can abruptly occur in one ear for no reason. Under these circumstances, you may have experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), or sensorineural hearing loss (SHL), which is a type of nerve deafness.
According to Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, there are approximately 66,000 instances of SHL each year in the U.S. There are probably more cases because this condition frequently goes undiagnosed.
Most people do not perceive it as being serious enough to get the help that they need. The lack of early intervention and care increases the chances of permanent hearing loss.
The exact cause of SHL is unknown, but specialists who study this phenomenon have identified some potential reasons:
People of any age can experience this problem, but it usually affects people who are in their 50s or 60s. As previously mentioned, it normally occurs in one ear. You might hear a “pop”, or feel as though there is an obstruction in your ear. Oftentimes, your hearing won’t disappear all at once. There is a steady decline that happens within several minutes or hours, like when air seeps out from a tire.
Other than hearing issues, SHL can influence your balance, which can increase your risk of falling. SHL may also be an indication of a small stroke or tumor. It tends to be overlooked because the symptoms resemble a common cold, feelings of impacted earwax, or water that’s trapped in the ear. Most people will try to treat it on their own by using a common cold or sinus medication, ear drops that swimmers use, or by simply cleaning their ears out. Mistaking it for an irritating ear that feels stuffy will cause some to leave it untreated until it’s too late.
Distinguishing the Difference between a Stuffy Ear and SHL
Here is something you can do to determine the difference between a common stuffy ear and sudden hearing loss: hum out loud to yourself. With normal hearing, sound can be heard equally by each ear. If you hum when you notice a new loss of hearing in one ear, the humming will transfer from one side to the other.
For instance, let’s say that your left ear is affected and the hum is heard louder in that ear. The loss of hearing is more likely a conductive hearing loss, and probably caused by obstruction due to a cold or earwax buildup. You may simulate this effect by humming as you cover your left ear.
If the humming sounds louder in the right ear, it indicates that the left ear with hearing loss is caused by recent nerve damage. This will need immediate medical attention.
The time period to get your SHL treated is 10 to 14 days. If it goes untreated, your hearing loss may become permanent. Get your hearing tested. You may not regain your full hearing abilities, but you may preserve the hearing abilities that you still have with proper treatment. If you have moderate to severe hearing loss, there’s only a 20% chance that you will completely recover from SHL, even when you get it treated immediately.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing SHL lasting more than 24-hours, immediately contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. If necessary, our hearing instrument specialists can offer a referral and they can go over hearing aid options.
Earwax, or cerumen, naturally produces to protect your outer ears. It is made up of dirt, oil, sweat, and dead skin cells.
Is your earwax dry or wet?
Producing dry earwax is common among Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
Producing wet earwax is common among Africans and Caucasians.
What is the pigment of your earwax?
Old earwax is generally dark brown or black. Its color is caused by trapped bacteria and dirt. This earwax color is more common in adults.
Light brown, orange, or yellow earwax are considered healthy and normal. Children generally have softer, light-colored earwax.
Dark brown earwax, with any red, might indicate a bleeding wound.
White earwax that is flaky, is a sign that your body does not produce a chemical linked to body odor.
What produces excess earwax?
Normally, your body will know how much earwax it needs to make. Keep a healthy diet, practice proper hygiene, and move your jaw around (the same way you do when talking and chewing food). Doing this will let your ears naturally remove excess cerumen, debris, or dirt. If you routinely remove earwax, this alerts your body to generate more. Excess earwax can prevent the ability to hear, which will put you at a higher risk of ear infections and other ear or hearing health problems.
Too much stress and over-exercising can increase the amount of earwax that is produced. The same apocrine glands which create sweat, also produce earwax. Excess earwax is typically found in individuals who:
Tips to safely clean out your ears:
Although there are benefits to having earwax, too much wax obstruction can induce conductive hearing loss (when sound waves cannot travel through the inner ear, because of the earwax obstruction). If your ears feel stuffy and believe that earwax may be the cause:
If you are unable to hear out of your hearing aids and notice that there is too much earwax that is clogging up your devices, contact us at Pure Sound for deep cleaning. We will be happy to help.
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. Get in touch with us if you need to schedule a hearing test, or if you are having any problems with your hearing aids. If you need any supplies for your hearing aids, please contact us before your office visit.