Do you know that over 80% of 80-year-olds experience hearing loss?
As we age, it is more likely that we will have hearing loss.
According to the New York Times, tests conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study concluded that 80 percent of individuals who were in their 80s “have mild to moderate hearing loss or worse.” That number is significantly higher than people in lower age groups.
Luckily, you can help your deteriorating hearing health by getting fitted for hearing aids.
If you or a loved one have hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test, consultation, and hearing aid trial.
Some people have described adjusting to hearing aids as kind of like walking out of a dark restaurant or movie theater and into a bright environment. You may instinctively shield your eyes and squint. This is a brain reflex that’s communicating your new surroundings are too bright.
The average person waits several years before they seek treatment for their hearing loss. Their ears are not used to hearing sounds regularly, so when they can suddenly hear more clearly than they have in years, it’s overstimulating for the brain.
The longer you have hearing loss without receiving treatment, the harsher noise will seem when you can hear them again. A Consumer Reports survey on 17,626 people discovered that at least 6 out of 10 waited over 2 years after initial experiences of hearing loss, to get hearing aids.
When that amount of time has elapsed, the brain becomes completely acclimated to listening at a substandard level. That’s why an adjustment period is necessary to become accustomed to these new sounds that are being heard.
According to the survey, about 3 in 4 people stated that it took them under a month to get more comfortable with their hearing aid.
Here are 5 Tips for a Smooth Transition to Your Hearing Aids
1. Get a Proper Fitting
Be sure that the hearing aids are properly fit in your ears. If they feel too loose or too tight, tell your hearing instrument specialist before taking them home.
The hearing aids will feel more comfortable and you’ll get the best experience from them. In the beginning of your trial period, the hearing aids should feel comfortable. You’ll still notice there’s something in your ears for the first few weeks, but it should not hurt when they rest in your ear canals.
Your hearing aid provider will show you how to correctly put your hearing aids on. Most modern hearing aids feature a program that will reduce or eliminate feedback, so it’s possible to have harsh noises or whistling sounds if the device is not properly fitted.
Show your hearing aid provider that you can correctly remove and insert your hearing aids. They’ll help you if you’re having trouble.
2. Practice Adjusting to Sounds
It’s important to be patient when learning to hear sounds again. Your hearing instrument specialist will program your devices, to calibrate the proper amplification for your unique hearing needs.
If the sounds are so loud that it’s painful, the amplification can be set at a lower volume, and gradually go higher as you become accustomed to hearing again. Most hearing aids can be programmed to slowly rise in volume over several weeks until you arrive at your goal.
It’s normal for sounds to seem too loud and high-pitched if you’re a first-time hearing aid user. The best, and only, way to get the most out of your hearing aids and allow your brain to adapt is by regular noise exposure.
Wear your hearing aids from dusk until dawn, unless you’re taking a shower or swimming in a body of water.
You should take breaks from wearing your hearing aids while adjusting. It is not recommended to enter a noisy area and remain there for hours at a time. Background noises in these types of areas can over-stimulate your listening experience, and make hearing conversations more challenging.
3. When Should You Go Back to Your Hearing Instrument Specialist?
At Pure Sound Hearing, after you have started your free hearing aid trial, you will have six months-worth of follow-up services. These services will include refittings, adjustments/fine-tuning, and a thorough cleaning done by a professional. If you are having any difficulties with your hearing aids, whether it’s the inability to hear certain sounds or any discomfort with the devices, address these issues with your hearing instrument specialist.
4. Pure Sound Hearing offers Auditory Training
If you are struggling with understanding speech sounds and following along during conversations, even with your new hearing aids, try auditory training.
These short-term programs can help improve the way you process sounds while enhancing your listening and communication.
It’s common for anyone with damaged sensory cells to require practice with hearing new sounds or sounds that they haven’t heard in several years. It’s akin to someone who has received a prosthetic limb and needs physical therapy.
5. Be Patient and give Yourself Reasonable Expectations
Many people who experience hearing loss have permanent damage to their auditory system. It’s crucial to understand that even the best hearing aids, that are tuned by the best instrument specialist, cannot completely restore your hearing. What hearing aids can do, is help preserve the hearing abilities that you still have. Many hearing aid users have acknowledged that hearing aids may not be perfect, but they can significantly improve hearing and cognitive health, and reduce depression caused by isolation.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, check out these resources.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment for a free hearing test, consultation, and hearing aid trial.
It's Time to do Your Taxes
Are you a hearing aid user, who is hoping for a big refund on your tax return? If you document your medical expenses, hearing aids are tax-deductible. This can save you money that can be used on other expenses that you may have, which can help reduce your overall medical expenses. The IRS has ruled that you may qualify for this tax deduction, if you spend over 7.5% of your income on medical and dental expenses, and itemize your medical expenses. If you itemize your medical expenses, you may include hearing health-related purchases when preparing your tax return.
If you normally do not document your medical expenses but spent a significant amount due to a hospital stay or surgery in 2020, talk to a professional tax advisor in order to find out whether you would benefit from itemizing your medical expenses this year. Also, if you plan for impending medical expenses for 2021, take advantage of this time to find out whether you or your spouse needs hearing aids in the near future. You’ll be able to deduct them from next year’s tax return.
Deductible Expenses for Hearing Healthcare
If you itemize your medical and dental expenses with a Schedule A Form 1040, you may deduct the following hearing-related medical expenses:
Additional Hearing Loss-related Costs that can be deducted from Your Taxes
The team at TurboTax wants to remind you that you should include the following hearing-related deductions if you plan to itemize medical expenses:
If you suffer from a chronic medical illness, you may deduct your attendance at a conference related to the illness, but you may not deduct meals or lodging.
For Caregivers of Hearing Aid Users
If someone in your household (parent or child) purchased hearing aids last year, you may deduct the cost of these on your taxes if you claim them as a dependent. If you are uncertain whether you qualify for this, talk to a tax professional or an accountant for the details in regards to your personal situation.
The IRS has a helpful online resource about what is covered. You will be given questions about your personal situation to help determine the correct action you need to take.
This year, the IRS extended the deadline to file your taxes to May 17. You have some more time to find your receipts. If you purchased hearing aids from Pure Sound Hearing in 2020 and need documentation, contact one of our providers.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of a free hearing test and consultation for a hearing aid trial, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Until you begin to experience hearing loss, you may not realize how much you depend on hearing sounds while driving.
Although driving heavily relies on your visual abilities, being able to hear is also important. Here are some driving tips if you experience hearing loss.
Talking to other Passengers
Communicating with others while driving is difficult for anyone, no matter how good your hearing is.
If you need to read lips, it is very difficult to understand what others are saying while focusing on driving. Using assistive listening devices, like Phonak’s RogerTM Select Mic. Your passengers can speak directly into the device, and their speech sounds will transfer to your hearing aids. It is very important to stay focused on the road when driving. If you are having an important discussion that requires your undivided attention, pull the car over to a safe area.
Here are some additional tips.
The inability to hear sirens from emergency vehicles that are approaching is a fear for drivers who have hearing loss. Not knowing whether to pull over or continue driving through intersections can cause anxiety. You can avoid this by being aware of your environment. Frequently check your rearview and side mirrors for oncoming vehicles. Your surroundings can quickly shift. You should ask your passengers to listen for approaching vehicles with sirens to warn you.
Being Pulled over by the Police
This is going to happen at some point or another. Be prepared to immediately let the officer know that you have hearing loss. There is a visor card for the deaf/hard of hearing, that will help the officer understand your communication needs.
Be Aware of Honking
Some drivers who have difficulty with hearing, are concerned about honking drivers. The honking sounds make them feel vulnerable as they drive. Keep your eyes on the road and drive your best to avoid the honks altogether.
If you or a loved one, experience hearing loss contact us at Pure Sound Hearing 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.
Did you know that most hearing aid users do not use services that are available through their hearing aid provider?
According to a study from Johns Hopkins, only one-third of hearing aid users take advantage of the hearing care services that are accessible through their provider.
Hearing aids are an important investment for not only your hearing health, but also your personal/work relationships, and your overall health. Just like with anything you invest in, why not get the most out of it?
Receiving hearing aids from a professional hearing instrument specialist ensures that you will have the proper fitting, along with the maximum performance, satisfaction, and quality service.
The hearing devices and hearing aid services that an experienced hearing instrument specialist can give you are verified. Hearing aids purchased over the internet may not work properly, and will most likely cost you more in the long run.
At Pure Sound, we provide thorough testing, custom fittings, and tuning along with follow-up appointments, advice, and hearing aid cleanings/maintenance from our staff.
Patients who do not utilize these services tend to become more discouraged about wearing their hearing aids. As a result, they do not get the most satisfaction from their hearing aids, which will exacerbate their hearing health.
Avoid this situation for the sake of your health and investment.
If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation at one of our offices in Lititz, Elizabethtown, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg. We're always here to help.
Hearing loss is a serious problem, but you can still entertain yourself while exercising your ears. Practice activities to keep your sense of hearing in tip-top shape. Here’s a list of apps and activities that hearing aid users and non-hearing aid users of all ages can do each day.
Children’s Hearing Exercise Apps
This app was developed for 4 to 12-year-olds who have auditory comprehension and processing disorders. It was created by a certified speech and language pathologist. The app features over 1,000 listening exercises that concentrate on correcting auditory attention and memory. Directions to exercise a person's comprehension are given verbally. In the game, a virtual basketball coach rewards users with a basketball for every correct answer.
AB Listening Adventures (iPad only)
Adults who care for children (ages 4 to 10) with hearing loss will love this app! The program guides and develops listening and language skills that use six different story-based games which concentrate on listening for various elements, plurals, pronouns, or minimal pairs.
VocAB Scenes (iPad only)
Children between the ages of 4 and 10, who experience hearing loss, can expand their vocabulary with fun and different scenes. These include outdoor fun in the water, beach scenery, a pet store, a swimming pool, camping, and a wintery setting. A caregiver or therapist can assist the child during listening exercises utilizing three different games for each scene to encourage language development and listening skills.
Hearing Exercise Apps for Adults and Children
Hear Coach (Android or iOS - iPad and iPhone)
Starkey Hearing Technologies developed this app. It features listening games that teach the auditory system how to listen in numerous situations. The games are helpful for anyone with hearing loss, especially those who have difficulty hearing when there’s too much background noise.
LACE Auditory Training programs (Computer/laptop, iPad, or Android device)
LACE can be used by children and adults to practice listening and communication skills. It features a daily training program that develops methods on how to communicate in busy settings. The training sessions last about 20 minutes.
Forbrain® uses a person’s voice to increase their attention span, sharpen concentration, memory, and pronunciation. This bone-conduction headphone (for children and adults), has a filtered microphone that is used while talking out loud or to a person. The architects of this headset advise using the program for a few minutes every day for a minimum of six weeks.
Auditory Training - Use a Wide Range of Sounds
Enhance your auditory memory by recognizing environmental sounds. Practice listening to voices with activities that incorporate 209 varieties of animal, musical instruments, transportation sounds, and more.
Do you enjoy word searches? Then you will like Hearing Hunt. This game lets users listen to word-clues and try to beat the clock to figure out the words to search. The game has three levels of difficulty and can be used with Bluetooth®-enabled hearing aids.
Games 4 Hearoes (iPad)
This interactive auditory training program can help new hearing aid users recognize and remember sounds from their environment and vocabulary. There are 30 activities that concentrate on five main areas to help new users familiarize themselves with the sounds to gain confidence.
This app can teach your brain to detect noise by playing sounds that are just below detectable levels for you. After the training session, you can create a personalized “sound therapy” to listen to while engaging in other activities. The app’s developers claim that this will lead to an improvement in your hearing health.
Hearing Exercise Offline
Online brain games can be fun, but some day-to-day exercises for your brain can be done at home.
Solo Hearing Activities
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 a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
If you are a new hearing aid user or a long time wearer who received new hearing aids, it is strongly encouraged to keep a journal about what’s bothering you when you wear your hearing aids and what you think needs to be adjusted.
Notice whether there have been any improvements, and what difficulties you experience.
The Advantages of Recording Experiences with Hearing in a Journal
Anyone who has mild to moderate hearing loss struggles with similar problems. Usually, many voice concerns with understanding speech in busy areas. Hearing aids can help with speech comprehension and reduce the strains of hearing. The benefits of hearing aids can be overlooked by users, due to other hearing problems that they have. Writing in a daily journal can help determine the progress that you experienced since wearing hearing aids, and the difficulties that you still face. You can take into consideration what your expectations are, and then talk to your hearing aid provider to find out whether they are practical or not.
Our Experience with Hearing
Humans use a number of sensory stimuli (auditory, visual, taste, smell, and touch) in order to shape our experiences in certain environments. A hearing aid helps the auditory stimuli that someone with hearing loss would normally miss. Wearing a hearing aid can feel overwhelming for a new user. In many cases, new hearing aid users go years without getting help for their hearing loss. As a result, hearing sounds that haven’t been heard in years can feel overstimulating. It requires the brain to relearn and process these sounds and information. Therefore, it takes a lot of time and patience to adapt to hearing aids. This can be a different experience for each user.
Auditory stimuli can form positive or negative listening experiences. Positive experiences that relate to comfort, excitement, happiness, joy, and peacefulness. This can include music that you like, laughter, a friendly and familiar voice, and sounds of nature. Negative experiences like anger, frustration, or fear can be caused by hearing intense or discomforting sounds like screaming children, sirens, or sudden explosions. General noise is usually what bothers hearing aid users the most.
Bad experiences with hearing aids can drive users to stop using the devices all-together due to unfulfilled expectations. It’s best to try out your hearing aids in the real-world and ask for advice or adjustments as necessary from your hearing aid provider. These things will help to improve:
Keep a Hearing Journal
Record your daily experiences with hearing. For hearing aid users, it would be best to jot down what you are experiencing while wearing your hearing aids. Daily logs let hearing aid users record good and bad incidents. These will give you and your hearing aid provider useful understanding about your regular listening activities, the environments you frequent, partners, feelings, expectations, hearing aid usage and adjustments, and the benefits of hearing aids when used in those listening circumstances. Here are more helpful reasons to keep a hearing journal:
Most contemporary hearing aids keep track of how often you use the devices. Generally you will learn how long you wear your hearing aids each day, how frequently you use the volume control and your exposure to different listening environments. Your hearing aids will not record personal experiences you have on certain days, in one particular type of environment. This is why you should keep a journal.
Here are some topics to think about when writing in your journal:
It’s very important to record the good and the bad experiences. The only way to improve those negative experiences, is by recalling/reading over them and determining whether the expectations you have are realistic. Take into account whether you still need to adapt to those environmental sounds, if professional advice or support from loved ones can provide a better outcome, or if an adjustment to the device is the only resolution.
Whether you are a novice hearing aid user or a long time wearer, here are some additional tips for you.
Don’t wait any longer to get help. Bring your hearing journal with you to your hearing healthcare appointments. Have a discussion with your hearing care provider.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
There has been a lot of progress made on studies about hearing health within the past 12 years, but there are still many misunderstandings about hearing loss - particularly among people who do not have hearing loss.
1. Hearing Loss only Impacts the Elderly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 percent of Americans - that’s nearly 48 million Americans of every age - have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is prevalent among five out of every 1,000 American newborns. This condition can occur due to usage of ototoxic medications, genetic factors, spending too much time engaging in loud hobbies, loud work environments, or loud recreational activities. The causes of hearing loss can also be unknown.
Children and young adults are at high risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This is the only preventable form of hearing loss. About 26 million Americans between 20 to 69-years-old are affected by NIHL. The CDC reported that 16 percent of teens between 12 to 19-years-old have reported experiencing some loss of hearing due to exposure to loud noise.
2. My Doctor will Inform me if I have Hearing Loss.
Think about the last time you went to get a physical exam. Did your doctor administer a hearing test on you? Probably not. Few doctors perform hearing tests unless a patient expresses concern about it. It is unlikely that your doctor will detect any shifts in your ability to hear unless it is clearly noticeable.
Professionals in the field of hearing healthcare are specially educated and trained to conduct hearing tests, evaluate the results and recommend suitable treatment options. Annual visits will allow for the detection of additional hearing loss that may occur, along with proper treatment. Yearly visits offer a stable relationship with specialists who can better understand your hearing needs and means of communication with others.
3. I only have Hearing Loss in one Ear, so it’s not a Big Deal.
The brain relies on hearing sounds through both ears to accurately interpret sound.
Experiencing hearing loss in one ear, also known as single-sided deafness (SSD) or unilateral hearing loss, can interfere with your ability to detect where sounds are emanating from. This is known as sound localization. It makes it more difficult to understand speech in noise. It can also make it more difficult to multi-task because listening to others when you have hearing loss requires a lot of concentration. As a result, you may experience more fatigue due to cognitive overload.
SSD can be treated with CROS hearing aids. Talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists about a solution to your hearing loss.
4. There is no Treatment for Hearing Loss.
Ask a hearing healthcare provider about treating your hearing loss. Many types of hearing loss can be treated with hearing devices, medication, surgery, or removing impacted earwax. If you haven’t visited a hearing healthcare specialist in a long time, or ever, make an appointment. There have been many advancements in hearing healthcare and hearing aids. Hearing loss that was too complex to address even a few years ago, might have treatment options now.
5. My Hearing will go back to normal with Hearing Aids.
Modern hearing aids are highly advanced. The microphones have the ability to automatically adjust so that it focuses on speech sounds while blocking out background noises. They can be programmed with a smartphone, and connected to other devices via Bluetooth®. Hearing aids CANNOT completely restore your hearing to normal, but they can preserve the hearing abilities that you still have or slow down the loss.
Hearing aids can significantly improve your ability to hear. Using these devices will make communication with others much easier. The most important thing is to work with a hearing healthcare professional who knows how to program and create settings for your specific listening needs and lifestyle.
6. I am the only person who is Affected by my Hearing Loss.
Some people with hearing loss believe that they can manage their hearing loss without treatment, but they don’t consider their overall quality of life. Hearing loss affects those with whom you need to communicate. Sometimes, other people easily get frustrated. Getting treatment for your hearing loss will allow you to feel less isolated from your family, friends, and colleagues. It will provide a more independent life so that you don’t always need to rely on a significant other or family members to repeat something important that a doctor or anyone else said. Hearing loss can put a tremendous strain on these relationships. If you still think that you can manage your hearing loss without treatment, think of your loved ones, colleagues, and the vital information that you may miss because of your hearing loss.
Don’t wait any longer to get treatment for your hearing health. If you or a loved one, notices hearing loss contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
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 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 problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
How are you going to choose which hearing aids are going to work for your specific hearing needs?
The features of each hearing aid are slightly different but unique.
Canceling Feedback Noises
This feature is available in the most basic hearing aids. It recognizes any whistling and feedback sounds and then cancels them out. It also reduces the annoying and distracting noises that come with feedback sounds.
Automated Noise Reduction
This feature is also available in the majority of hearing aids. Automatic Noise Reduction can identify background noises and block out some of those sounds. It won’t make them completely disappear, but it will significantly reduce the amount of distracting noises that you do hear.
Low Battery Signal
When the battery power in your hearing aid runs low and needs to be replaced with a fresh one, the hearing aid will make a sound. This is especially useful for anyone who forgets to change their battery and winds up with hearing aids that are not functioning at their best. This feature, along with keeping extra batteries with you at all times, should make you worry less about whether the hearing aid will stop working when you are out and about.
The microphone is one of the most essential parts of a hearing aid. There are varieties of hearing aid styles. Each type harnesses sounds in different ways. An adaptive (directional) microphone, will focus on where the speech is emanating from, whereas an omni-directional microphone will gather sounds within a 180-degree radius. If you wear two hearing aids, sounds will be picked up from any direction.
A tinnitus masker is not a regular feature in every hearing aid. A tinnitus masker will create a low-level sound to cover up the noise that comes with tinnitus. This is also known as a combination device. The hearing aid will create a low, and consistent sound that you cannot hear to mask the tinnitus. It may not work for everyone, but it has helped many people.
Hearing aids are only as helpful as the person who programs them. If you’d like to learn more about features that are available in hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists.
Our hearing instrument specialist, Christine, is inspecting a patient's hearing aids. It's important to get your hearing aids cleaned and inspected for wear and tear.
At Pure Sound Hearing, we recommend our patients schedule a cleaning with us every 6 months.
If you need a professional cleaning for your hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Hearing aids are complex instruments that can help you hear better and improve your ability to hear. It is important to know when it’s time to get an upgrade.
Other than instances when your hearing aids cannot be repaired by your hearing instrument specialist, there are additional reasons to recognize when it’s time to get a new pair.
There has been a Shift in Your Hearing and/or Health
In the same way that your vision changes as you age, your hearing abilities also change. You may notice the sounds harnessed by your hearing aids are weaker. This is notable for those who use standard hearing aids and have severe-to-profound hearing loss. A stronger hearing aid, like Oticon’s Dynamo, might be more effective.
A shift in your overall health can trigger the need for a new hearing aid. For example, if you have arthritis the dexterity in your fingers makes smaller hearing aids difficult to handle. In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids feature a very small battery door, so it may be a good idea to get behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. Some models are rechargeable, so there is no need to change any batteries.
Are Your Hearing Aids over 5-years-old?
The majority of hearing aids have a lifespan of three to seven years. Hearing aids are meant to be used all day, from the moment you wake up to the time when you go to bed. Even with thorough care and cleaning, exposure to natural outdoor elements, along with moisture and earwax, can lead to damaged hearing aids over time.
Older hearing aid models do not function as efficiently as modern hearing aid models. The latest hearing aids are basically miniature computers that rest inside your ears. They can sequence algorithms to regularly improve your ability to hear. Based on the type of hearing aid that you get, it will probably feature better technology that can:
Have You Made Big Changes in Your Lifestyle?
In some cases, a change in your lifestyle is a great reason to get new hearing aids. The old technology may not fit with your personal needs, or it may simply be out of date. For example, maybe you got an upgrade on your smartphone and watch videos, but are unable to stream the sounds directly to your hearing aids. Maybe you are spending more time outdoors, which requires a hearing device that can withstand different environments, such as blocking wind. Perhaps, if you no longer get out of your home as often as you used to, a basic hearing aid model might be your best option.
Your Perspective on Hearing Aids has Changed
Most individuals with hearing loss are hesitant to purchase their first pair of hearing aids. On average, many people wait 10 years to get hearing aids after being informed that they have hearing loss. Those who know exactly what they need - in regards to hearing - and feel comfortable with hearing aids, may want advanced devices with a variety of settings.
If you are unsure about what you should do, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for guidance from one of our hearing instrument specialists.
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. For any repairs, 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 problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule a hearing test and consultation with Sean Mark, BC-HIS.
Hearing loss is a prevalent health problem that people across the globe currently experience. Seeking the proper treatment should be based on the severity of your hearing loss, its underlying cause, type of hearing loss, and your personal lifestyle.
You should start your hearing loss treatment with a simple hearing test that is conducted by a professional.
The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss that goes untreated in children will adversely affect their development in language acquisition, learning, and socializing with others. Older adults who experience untreated hearing loss typically struggle with following along in conversations. As a result, they might withdraw from activities and other things that they usually enjoy. This leads to social isolation, depression, cognitive decline, and an increase in falls for those who are at least 66-years-old.
Research has shown that Hearing Aids Help with the Following:
Treating Age-Related Hearing Loss
Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), is the most prevalent type of hearing loss. As we age, the cilia (hair cells located in the inner ear) start to lose their function. Half of the adults who are 75 or older have hearing loss.
Presbycusis is a type of sensorineural hearing loss. This indicates that the loss of hearing begins in the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. It’s usually caused by damaged hair cells in the inner ear. In addition to aging, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is also a major cause of this type of hearing loss.
Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. The cilia are irreparable when they become damaged. Anyone who experiences this type of hearing loss can use hearing aids as their best option.
Many people gradually lose their hearing as they age, and it needs to be treated. It’s important to get a regular hearing test because you probably won’t notice the subtle loss of hearing. The earlier you get treatment the more likely you will be able to preserve the hearing that you still have. The ability to hear is important for your safety and overall health. It helps you stay connected to the people in your life, and your surroundings.
How can Hearing Aids Benefit You?
If your hearing instrument specialist recommends hearing aids, based on the results of your hearing test, they will patiently work with you to calibrate the devices to your individual hearing needs. This method is known as a fitting. The fundamental goal of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds. Modern hearing aids can be customized and programmed to your particular needs, like increasing important sounds such as speech noise, while reducing background noise. Hearing aids cannot imitate the same normal hearing that you used to experience, but they are helpful for anyone with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids can be worn behind or inside the ear. It depends on your severity of hearing loss and personal preferences.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid options and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids are very useful but don’t always address every single person’s needs. Those who cannot benefit from hearing aids can use assistive listening devices (ALDs) in situations where hearing is difficult. These devices can improve your experience while you watch TV, listen to music, or talk to someone over the phone. You may use amplified phones, captioned phones, FM systems, TV hearing devices, smartphone apps that use captions, and hearing loops that are connected to hearing aid telecoils (T-coils). Scroll through this page to see the options that we have available at Pure Sound.
Do You also have Tinnitus?
As you age, it’s common to encounter tinnitus if you begin to experience hearing loss. Tinnitus is one of the first signs of hearing loss. Just about all modern hearing aids have a “tinnitus masking feature”, which helps drown out the buzzing or ringing noises. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist for available tinnitus treatments.
Where to Get Help
Hearing loss is common, but modern hearing technology can help with nearly any hearing problem that you have. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Hearing aids can only be recommended for someone hard of hearing when they seek help. As frequently mentioned in this blog, the average person with a hearing loss usually waits after 10 years of hearing decline to actually get help. The decline is usually not noticeable at first, and then most people think it’s not a big deal. If you find it difficult to follow along during conversations, frequently raise the volume on some of your devices or TV, or ask others to repeat themselves, you might need hearing aids.
Hearing Instrument Specialists and Hearing Aids
A hearing instrument specialist recommends and helps you choose hearing aids. If you are new to hearing aids, you will probably have a lot of questions, especially before your first appointment. Hearing instrument specialists can give you a lot of information and advice on hearing aids and hearing loss.
Before determining which hearing aids are best for you, get a hearing test. At Pure Sound Hearing, our hearing instrument specialists will conduct a pure-tone audiometry test. The test incorporates playing a series of tones with an audiometer. The hearing tone test measures which frequencies of tones you can hear.
The outcome of your hearing test will provide an accurate depiction of the severity of your hearing loss. You may discover that you can hear better in one ear than the other, or there are certain frequencies that you can or cannot hear. The results of the test will help you and your hearing instrument specialist determine which hearing aids would work best for you.
Hearing Aid Fitting and Adaptation
After choosing the hearing aids that feel most comfortable to you, a hearing instrument can properly fit the devices in your ears. After the fitting, there is an adjustment period which is when your brain, which has not clearly heard sounds in years, can get used to hearing those sounds again. Good maintenance and care are necessary for your hearing aids to perform at their best. You need to clean the devices regularly, and the batteries will eventually need to be replaced. It is recommended that you get a professional cleaning done at least every 6-months.
Everyone adapts to hearing aids at a different pace. Some people get used to wearing them within a few days, while others can take months. Your hearing instrument specialist will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Protect Your Hearing Health
In addition to guiding selecting hearing aids, fitting and programming the devices, and proper maintenance, a hearing instrument specialist can also give you tips on protecting your hearing health. Don’t hesitate to contact them for help.
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 issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before stopping in at one of our office locations.
A recent report from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) showed that based on the 15% of Americans who have reported some range of hearing loss, approximately 60 percent spend most of their time in the workplace or an academic setting.
Some extra effort is necessary when it comes to hearing loss, but this factor should not interfere with how productive you are or add stress to your experience. The majority of your problems are rooted in misunderstandings, so it is important to have effective communication. Be firm when asking others to accommodate your needs, whether you need to ask someone to speak more clearly, or you need someone to look at you while they talk. These small changes can help make your workplace or classroom run with ease.
If you experience hearing loss, let your coworkers and boss know the most efficient ways to communicate with you. There will most likely be a learning curve, so be patient.
Hearing Loss: Employment
American employers are legally required to implement a workplace with equal opportunities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes workers who have hearing loss. Some adjustments can include providing assistive listening devices or using other accommodations to help ease communication.
The HLAA compiled resources for workers who have hearing loss. There is also a comprehensive employment toolkit that includes nearly every dilemma an employee with a hearing impairment may experience.
Federal Resources on Workers with Hearing Loss
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has a guide on deafness and hearing loss in the workplace, in addition to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Using Hearing Aids on the Job
Hearing aids are very beneficial for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. New users should be aware that it takes time to adapt to hearing aids, particularly when you are moving from one environment to another. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist for advice. Your hearing aids can be programmed for different environments, including your daily working conditions and for listening to others through a facemask.
Which Assistive Listening Devices Should I Use at Work?
If you work in an office, you might need more help than what your hearing aids are capable of providing. In this case, use an assistive listening device.
How to Communicate in the Workplace
Effective methods of communication are different for everyone. Generally, people with hearing loss communicate best in person rather than over the phone. The current social distancing rules complicate things, so someone with hearing loss will need to use a series of context clues such as lip reading, facial expressions, and body language to piece the conversation together. An email, chat window, or text, might be more helpful than a phone call or Zoom call unless there are captions available.
If it is necessary to visit in-person, ask others to walk in front of you if you are not responding to their attempts to draw your attention. It’s much less startling to see someone walk towards you than it is to have someone tap you on the shoulder. During meetings, ask others not to speak while facing away from you - for instance, if they speak while writing something on a dry-erase board. Their voice becomes projected at the wall, making it difficult to understand no matter how good your hearing may be.
An office that has an open-layout of cubicles is not the best for those with hearing loss. The bustling workers can be distracting. Having overlapping phone conversations at the same time as your coworker is challenging, even with normal hearing. Ask to work in a private room with a door, if one is available. Noise can be closed off and you can concentrate on your work.
Helping a Coworker who Experiences Hearing Loss
Coworkers of the deaf or hard-of-hearing can help make a positive workplace environment by doing the following:
Noise-induced Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Work environments are the most common places where a person is exposed to harmful levels of noise. This raises the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Your employer should provide hearing protection if the noise reaches dangerous levels.
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 a variety of hearing aid styles and name brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
After receiving your new hearing aids and wearing them, there is an adjustment period - especially for new hearing aid users. The first days of wearing your new devices are important for your journey towards better hearing. This is usually when you determine whether you want to continue wearing the devices. Here are 13 tips on how to smoothly transition into a daily hearing aid user.
1. In the beginning, they will feel strange. Do not feel discouraged.
In the same way that your feet need to break in a new pair of shoes or your nose needs to get accustomed to the feeling of eyeglasses resting on it, your ears need time to get used to hearing aids. If you wear eyeglasses, here is some advice on which style of hearing aids you should wear.
2. Start by only wear the hearing aids for a few hours each day.
Based on your comfort level, you may wear your new hearing aids in familiar environments and situations during the initial wearing period. Hearing instrument specialists would recommend that you try wearing them from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. You will eventually become less and less aware that you are even wearing hearing aids. When your brain can recognize and filter out more sounds, in addition to determining whether a noise is bothering you, this can help your hearing instrument specialist adjust the devices to your specific needs at your follow-up appointment. Wearing your hearing aids more often, even when there is very little noise occurring, allows you to detect the sounds and filter out noise. As a result, your brain will acclimate at a faster rate.
3. Start listening in a quiet room.
During your first day, find a quiet room to sit in. Simply listen to faint sounds and your brain will eventually get used to them, such as the sound of your refrigerator humming or a tea kettle whistling. Initially, everything might seem too loud. That’s only because your brain probably hasn’t heard these noises in a long time, so it’s getting used to hearing these sounds again. You can keep a journal to make note of what’s bothering you, and bring them up during your follow-up appointment if they are still bothersome. Your hearing instrument specialist will make the necessary adjustments.
4. Do not adjust the volume too often.
Most modern hearing aids will automatically adjust to your environment, so you probably won’t need to make manual adjustments too often. If you raise the volume levels, do not make them too loud. It’s not advised that you make your hearing aids do what fully-functioning ears cannot do, for example, hear faint sounds from afar. This is not how hearing aids work, and you’ll actually cause more damage to your hearing. Most people with hearing loss want to hear clearer, not louder.
5. Practice talking with a group of people.
You will want to start having conversations with close friends and family. Their voices will be easier to identify. Due to current circumstances, it is advised to set up a Zoom chat or FaceTime with one another. Active listening is a key factor in hearing. A speaker’s face must be easy to see, so ask others to look directly at you and make sure the area that you are talking to them in isn’t dark, but brightly lit. This will help you see their facial expressions, read lips, and notice their body language.
6. Ask friends and family to turn the TV to a “normal” volume setting.
Your new hearing aids should help you hear better, therefore, you can lower the volume levels to how people with normal hearing would set it. Ask your friends or family members to set the TV to an appropriate volume level, and try to keep it at that level.
7. Read the captions or subtitles to movies or shows.
Listening to words while reading them, is a good method to retrain your brain to associate the sound with language. You can do this by switching on the captions while watching a movie or show.
8. Listen to an audiobook and read along with a physical or digital copy.
This is similar to the previous tip. Listen to the audio version of a book, while the physical copy or digital copy on your tablet. You may also ask someone to read to you out loud while following along.
9. Read aloud to yourself.
Initially, your own voice will sound different when wearing hearing aids, but eventually, you’ll get used to it. Reading out loud will help you quickly become accustomed to your own voice, and retrain yourself on how to speak at a normal volume.
10. Close your eyes and engage in some listening exercises.
Try to identify the direction that the sounds are emanating from, without looking around for the sound’s source. You may also try to listen to determine the difference between sounds and speech patterns.
11. If your hearing aid features telecoils or t-coils, use looping systems.
Many public spaces have looping systems set up that transmit wireless signals, which are then received in the telecoil feature of a hearing aid. Not all hearing aids have t-coils. Some phones also feature looping systems. Ask your hearing instrument specialist whether your hearing aids have the telecoil. If they do, request that they are activated when fitting and programming your device.
12. Make talking on the phone easier by placing the receiver over your hearing aid’s microphone.
If you still prefer to use a phone to talk to someone, it’s recommended that you slightly tilt the phone forward so that the receiver is hovering over your microphone. This will help you hear better. For behind-the-ear models, the microphone is typically located on the hearing aid part that rests behind the ear. Angling the phone will help reduce the amount of feedback when holding the phone to your ear/microphone. Or, you can make things much easier by using Bluetooth® to stream your phone calls directly into your hearing aids. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist about this.
13. Steadily begin to wear your hearing aids all day.
After two weeks, your hearing aids should be worn from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. If you go swimming or take a shower, remove the hearing aids. If your hearing aids become submerged in water for any amount of time, contact your hearing instrument specialist. If you own a hearing aid dryer, put your hearing aid in it. You may also use some uncooked rice to soak up the moisture and dry it out.
Your brain must adjust to sounds so that they will become effective in your journey towards better hearing.
Hearing aids can change your health and your life for the better. If you or a loved one would like a free trial for hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Hearing aids are a marvelous wonder for anyone who wears them. If they are well cared for, these devices should last for a very long time. They are delicate and need to be regularly monitored to detect any problems with them. In some cases, you can handle these repairs on your own, but there may be a more complicated issue that your hearing instrument specialist can fix for you.
Difficulties with volume levels
If noises sound muffled, no matter how loud the volume is, that could indicate that there is a problem with the hearing aid’s tubing. The tubing can become clogged with earwax or moisture, which can alter the sounds you hear. Some people can replace the tubing on their own, but you can also stop in at your hearing instrument specialist’s office to get it repaired.
You hear whistling noises through the hearing aid
This could be caused by the earpiece, or the hearing aid’s dome, which is placed inside your ear canal, is not correctly placed on. You can check if this is the problem by removing the dome, then carefully placing it back on. There could be too much earwax obstructing the dome, so you can use a loop brush cleaning tool to clear out any excess wax. You can also use an earwax softener to remove excess earwax in your ear canals. DO NOT use cotton swabs or Q-Tips. These will push earwax deeper into your ears.
Your hearing aid might be “dead”
If your hearing aid stops working, you could have low batteries or a low charge, if you have rechargeable hearing aids. Simply change out the old batteries and replace them with a fresh pair of batteries. If that still doesn’t resolve the issue, make sure there isn’t any earwax that’s obstructing the tubing. The tubing may need to be replaced. If none of these solutions help, go to your hearing instrument specialist so that they can fix it.
Your ability to hear is intermittent
Intermittent hearing aid performance can be traced back to the battery. Change your battery again and notice whether that was the issue. If that doesn’t work, contact our office and let us know.
You notice a decline in your hearing
If your hearing appears to be getting worse, even if your hearing aids are working perfectly fine, your hearing aid might need to be reprogrammed or replaced with a new model. Contact us and discuss this with one of our hearing instrument specialists.
If you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned problems with your hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer hearing aids, hearing tests, retests, hearing aid repairs, and hearing aid supplies.
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.
Our digital media assistant, Vi, is working on some research topics for our blog. Click here to learn more about sensitivity to sounds.
If you are experiencing problems with your hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. We are offering curbside services at our office locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, and Strasburg.
Based on data collected from academic studies, laboratory settings, parents, teachers, and children who experience unilateral hearing loss (UHL), it has become clear that this type of hearing loss raises the risk of children having psychoeducational difficulties and other obstacles that are associated with it.
Studies conducted within the past several decades has led to learning more about the impact that UHL has on children. One of the earliest studies that help foster this research showed that children who experience permanent UHL are much more likely to have academic and behavioral problems than their peers who had healthy hearing abilities. Children with UHL are at a higher risk of having problems with speech and language, cognitive function, and balance than their peers with normal hearing. About 50% of children with UHL have been shown to have academic difficulties that would require tutoring or therapy.
General Information on UHL
There are different degrees of UHL in children. UHL is any amount of hearing loss in the impaired ear with average air-conduction thresholds in the normal hearing ear (≤15 dB of hearing loss). Profound unilateral hearing loss is also known as single-sided deafness (SSD). This term implies that there is profound hearing loss in one ear and/or significantly poor ability in speech perception, which restricts the use of that ear. In this article, the term UHL will be used to represent all degrees of UHL, unless noted otherwise.
Early studies showed that the majority of children who had UHL were identified when they were 4 to 6 years of age, or when they started attending school. In recent years, approximately 97% of infants that were born in the U.S. have been screened for hearing loss shortly after being born. About 1 in 1,000 are diagnosed with UHL. This makes up 43% of children who have UHL and are identified with hearing loss before they reach 6 months of age. When children reach school age, the pervasiveness rises to about 3 to 6 per 100 and 14 per 100 when they are adolescents.
The increase in how common hearing loss is among those between the newborn period and school-age period could be due to progressive or late onset of hearing loss, and the undetected minimal or mild degrees of UHL because newborn screenings are not designed to detect those types of hearing loss.
The cause of UHL is still unknown. Among 31-54% of children with UHL, there are no risk or correlated factors identified.
Studies have indicated that UHL may become progressive and bilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in both ears) could develop in 7-11% of cases. Therefore, it’s important to monitor the hearing health of individuals with UHL.
What are the possible impacts of UHL?
The immediate repercussions of UHL are losing binaural function. This can make it harder to identify speech sounds while there’s background noise and it may also be difficult to determine where sounds are emanating from. The loss of interaural time and level differences can lead to safety concerns for children with UHL who rely on cues to navigate the streets. Also, failing to identify the source of a speaker will most likely delay contact with relevant visual cues that improve perception in speech. The lack of binaural cues, like binaural suppression, can adversely affect the ability to comprehend speech when there is too much background noise. This may interfere with how you socially interact with others and impact language acquisition and learning.
As previously mentioned, in the early 1980s and 1990s, research studies that had been published indicated that approximately 50% of children who had UHL, failed a grade in school or needed resource assistance. This revealed that they were about 10 times more likely than their normal-hearing peers to be unsuccessful in their academics. The more severe a child’s UHL is, the more likely they are to struggle with listening and learning. Several analysts determined that having hearing loss in the right ear is more harmful to a person’s academic achievement than experiencing hearing loss in the left ear. Other studies found that there were no ear-specific differences in language measures.
There has been evidence that indicates that children who experience bilateral hearing loss use up more energy to listen. This leads to concentration and listening fatigue. There is currently limited data based on listening effort and fatigue in children with UHL, but there have been self-reports of fatigue in children who have hearing loss versus children who do not have a hearing impairment. There was not, however, a link between the degree of hearing loss and a rating on fatigue. It is plausible that children with UHL would be prone to listening-fatigue. Children who use and sustain their energy to listen during class may have less energy to think of questions, respond with an answer, take less accurate notes, etc.
Managing Your Child’s Hearing Needs
In addition to many hearing aid device options, there are other ways to manage the hearing needs of a child with UHL. A hearing healthcare professional can provide a practical survey or questionnaire to recognize and determine specific risks that are of concern such as localization, difficulties with listening, and educational achievements. The Vanderbilt Fatigue Scale is a tool that will soon be available for measuring and listening-related fatigue in children.
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 a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for people of all ages.
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 will be offering curbside services. If you are visiting us for a 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. A staff member will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or an assistive listening device, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.
If you don’t take proper care of your hearing aids, frigid winter weather can lead to problems for your devices. Although the hearing aids can be repaired, the device’s overall function requires taking serious preventative measures.
How Hearing Aids are Affected by Cold and Moisture
Extreme climate can negatively impact hearing aids, along with their batteries. It’s not simply the chilly temperatures that cause the damage, rather it’s the condensation that develops as a result of changes in temperatures. This moisture is what damages the electronic components of the hearing aids. Severe temperature shifts can lead to condensation, which could lead to deterioration in the electronic make-up of the hearing aids. Moisture is always present in the colder seasons, due to intense temperature shifts that are prevalent during the winter season.
Take, for example, if you are walking through very cold weather, you’ll probably be wrapped in warm clothes with a hat covering your ears. When you go indoors, it might be significantly warmer because the thermostat is turned up. After removing your coat and other winter clothes, the shift in temperature can create condensation inside your hearing aids. If you were sweating from the warm clothes or from moving around, sweat may have dripped from your head, which can lead to damaged hearing aids and hearing aid batteries.
How do You know if there is Moisture Damage to my Hearing Aids?
Any ounce of moisture can destroy your hearing aids’ microphone and receiver. It can also obstruct the tubing that is connected to the domes or earmold, which can lead to corrosion. Here are some common signs that your hearing aids are damaged from moisture:
Hearing Aid Adjustments
After your hearing aids have been exposed to moisture, check the following:
If none of these appear to be the problem, there may be moisture in the hearing aid. For behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, examine the outside and inside part of the tubing for moisture droplets. For earmold users, an earmold puffer can be purchased and used. This device will blow out moisture.
If you wear in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, it may be a little more difficult to extract moisture. If you don’t already own a hearing aid dryer to store your hearing aids in, getting one would be handy to dry them and prevent damage.
What to Wear with your Hearing Aids in Cold Weather
It’s not easy to stop moisture from getting in your hearing aids, but there are some things that you can do to try and keep your hearing aids dry and fully functioning.
Protect Your Hearing Aids with Earmuffs
Earmuffs not only keep your ears warm, but there are special pairs that can protect your hearing from dangerous noise levels. If you already have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to prevent further damage by taking precautions and reducing the amount of time spent in loud areas. Noise-reduction earmuffs are not simply for winter. They will be helpful in any noisy environment, from areas that require you to operate heavy machinery to watching and hearing fireworks.
Protect Your Hearing Aids with Sweatbands
If you are active in the wintertime and wear hearing aids, your sweat could be a damaging factor for your hearing devices. You may also encounter heavy snow or freezing rain. Reduce the amount of moisture you expose to your behind-the-ear hearing aids. If they are exposed as a result of sweat or precipitation, invest in sweatbands. These will absorb the sweat from your body instead of allowing the moisture to ruin your hearing devices. They typically repel moisture and block the sound of wind from your hearing aids.
Wise Investments for Your Hearing Aids
Protect Your Ears in the Winter
If your ears hurt when exposed to cold weather, this could be frostbite. Please keep your ears covered in frigid weather to reduce feelings of frostbite.
Too much exposure to extreme elements of cold and wet conditions can cause exostosis. This is also referred to as “surfer’s ear”. It occurs to those who spend a lot of time in or around cold water. Exostosis occurs when exposure to cold leads to abnormal bone growths on the bone that surrounds the ear canal. As a result, there can be an obstruction in the ear canal, which raises the risk of infection caused by trapped fluid. The condition can be corrected through surgery, but it’s still advised to keep your ears warm and dry.
Cold Weather and Tinnitus
Tinnitus can trigger some people’s tinnitus. Research indicates that people search the internet more frequently about tinnitus during the winter. It’s not completely known as to why tinnitus cases rise during the winter season. It may be affected by colds and cases of the flu (which can cause more pressure in the ear), consuming salty foods that cause high blood pressure, as well as higher rates of depression and stress. All of these factors can trigger tinnitus.
Sudden Pressure Change
A shift in barometric pressure can lead to a clogged feeling in your ears during any season. Common respiratory infections that occur during certain periods of the year can leave you feeling lousy. You can learn more about clogged ears from this link.
Why do Ear Infections frequently occur in Winter?
In the winter, parts of your body get colder which leads to poor blood circulation. This includes blood that is circulated to your ears. The winter season also brings a higher risk of bacteria and virus infections. When you combine these factors, you have a high risk of sinus infections and a condition called otitis media - an ear infection.
Otitis media cause painful swelling and inflammation in the middle ear. The swelling and infection can build and add pressure behind your eardrum, which obstructs the fluid that drains from the Eustachian tube. Most ear infections can be treated with antibiotics, but the fluid needs to run clear, or else you can experience temporary hearing loss. The flu and colds should be treated immediately with medication, rest, and consuming fluids.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and need a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Guidance from Hearing Instrument Specialists
When making an important purchase - whether it’s for a vehicle, eyeglasses, or hearing aids - receiving guidance or an opinion from an expert has been helpful for many people.
The patient demographics for hearing aids has significantly shifted. Today’s hearing devices are much more intricate, therefore it’s important to stress how essential hearing instrument specialists are to hearing aid users.
Hearing aids have undergone considerable research and development in their technology. There are different levels of efficiency based on the brand and style. These ever-advancing pieces of technology continue featuring newer algorithms based on the manufacturer’s software for each unique hearing loss. The only way to know if a hearing aid is suitable for you is to try them with the guidance of a professional.
Choosing Hearing Aids
Selecting hearing aids is a team effort between you and your hearing instrument specialist, where good communication is necessary. Patient-centered care or mutual decision making is important to make the proper treatment options based on the results of the patient’s hearing test. Topics such as personal lifestyle - such as how active the patient is inside or outside the home - and what is to be expected from the hearing aids should be considered.
The hearing aid test drive (HATD) is used in today’s hearing health care practices. This is patient-centered care, and a shared decision-making process, where patients are critical in their treatment options. With the help of their hearing instrument specialist, they may try out the hearing aids in their own home, work environment, and/or social situations to determine whether the device works for their individual listening needs.
If you, or a loved one, need a hearing test, hearing aids, and trial please contact us for a free hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands which include HANSATON, Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Rexton, Signia, Starkey, Unitron, and Widex.
Hearing loss is common among Americans, so there’s a good chance that you know someone who has difficulty with their hearing.
Poor hearing has been linked to adverse physical, psychological, and social well-being. These conditions can become more prominent during the holidays, and even more so during COVID. Christmas and the holiday season can give you a great chance to provide or receive a very purposeful gift.
Here are some gift ideas for the person in your life who experiences hearing loss:
Give the gift of hearing to someone special, by supporting small businesses like Pure Sound Hearing. If you have questions about any hearing aid supplies or accessories, contact us at Pure Sound. If you, or a loved one, are in need of hearing aids contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
As frequently mentioned in the blog, hearing loss generally goes unnoticed because it occurs gradually over time. There are usually subtle signs before you, or a loved one, realize that you need a hearing test. Have you noticed that you turn the volume up to hear your T.V. or listen to music? Even after a person is informed that they have hearing loss, on average, most of them wait about 10 years before they will get hearing aids.
What is Auditory Deprivation?
Please avoid the mistake of putting off your hearing health. Untreated hearing loss can lead to auditory deprivation in the long run. The sections of your brain that are vital for hearing can shrink or become atrophied due to lack of use.
Auditory deprivation is when the brain struggles to comprehend and process information because it is not receiving enough stimulation.
The brain will become active when it hears sounds and turns it into information that can be understood.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Brain Atrophy
Hearing is an activity for the brain. Ears funnel sounds to the brain as electrical impulses through the auditory nerve. Your brain will then translate the electrical impulses into sound.
Hearing loss leads to sensory deprivation. The auditory segment of your brain requires sounds to stimulate it and keep the mind agile. Mild hearing loss can lead to an under-stimulated brain, so it’s important to get help for your hearing loss as soon as you, or a loved one, notices these symptoms.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to atrophied auditory pathways, due to lack of usage.
When fewer sounds travel to the brain, the brain will respond by adjusting the way it works. Subtle hearing loss causes the brain to deal with auditory processing by focusing more on visual processing.
Exercise Your Hearing Abilities
If you don’t seek help for your hearing loss, it will become much more difficult to comprehend and process information. In other words, you might be able to hear speech sounds but not understand what is being said. You may feel as though you have cognitive decline, but it is actually hearing loss. But remember, untreated hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline.
Can Auditory Deprivation become Permanent?
There is still uncertainty as to whether the atrophied sections of the brain that convert sound is permanent or not. It can be different for each individual.
On a hopeful note, the brain is extremely flexible. It can adapt and shift when stimulated. New connections can be made for more information to be understood.
A study found that negative shifts in the brain can be improved when hearing aids are worn regularly.
What causes Auditory Deprivation?
Auditory deprivation is usually caused by a lack of treatment for a person’s hearing loss.
For instance, if a person has hearing loss and receives hearing aids, but does not wear the hearing aids regularly (or at all), this can lead to auditory deprivation.
If a person with hearing loss does not receive auditory stimulation, the connection between the ears and the brain becomes ineffective. The auditory nerve will start to atrophy and become weaker.
A different reason as to why auditory deprivation can occur is if a person experiences hearing loss in both ears, but only wears a hearing aid in one of their ears.
Auditory deprivation may also occur if the hearing aids do not fit correctly or properly programmed. This is why it’s important to have follow-up appointments and work with your hearing instrument specialist to tailor the hearing aids for your specific needs. Unlike eyeglasses, hearing aids may require a custom fit and will definitely require a customized program for your particular type of hearing loss. Your hearing will shift over time, so it’s important to regularly schedule appointments with your hearing instrument specialist.
Two Hearing Aids are Better than One
Only wearing one hearing aid - when you have hearing loss in each ear - will lead to poor results.
The ear that wears the hearing device will remain strong, but the other ear that does not have a hearing aid will become weaker and atrophy at a faster rate than the ear that is aided.
Remember, Adapting to Hearing Aids Takes Time
It will take time to adjust to listening, putting your hearing aids on, and wearing them from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep. This is particularly true if it has been a long time since you’ve been able to hear clearly.
You’ll be able to hear things like the hum of your refrigerator, the clicking sound of your blinker lights, birds chirping outside. It may be overwhelming at first, but your brain will eventually become accustomed to the sounds that you haven’t heard in years.
Wearing hearing aids all day helps the brain acclimate to the sounds, but it requires a lot of time and patience.
How to Prevent Auditory Deprivation
It is possible to prevent auditory deprivation by taking safety precautions when you know that you’ll be in a loud environment. Wear earplugs or earmuffs when attending a concert or any other noisy setting.
You should get your hearing tested annually, whether you are having trouble hearing or not. Mild hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline.
If you, or a loved one, need a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer several hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
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 will be offering curbside services. If you are visiting us for a 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. A staff member will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or an assistive listening device, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.
On average, hearing aid users replace their hearing devices between three to five years. You may need to replace them before that. Technology is as ever-changing as your hearing loss. Hearing aids that are worn out could indicate that it’s time for an upgrade.
Has there been a Shift in Your Ability to Hear?
A human’s ability to hear is always evolving. More powerful hearing devices will be more helpful for hearing loss that has shifted from moderate to severe. Modern technology has made so many advancements that older models can’t compete with them.
With the help of an experienced hearing instrument specialist, many modern hearing aids can now be programmed to block out background noises and even the sound of wind.
Has there been a Change in Your Lifestyle?
As long as they are charged or having functioning batteries in them, your hearing aids are constantly working. If you have an active lifestyle, that can wear down your devices. There are hearing aids, like Starkey’s Livio AI, which help support an active and healthy lifestyle with the Thrive Hearing app.
Your physical health will also determine which hearing aids would work best for you. If you suffer from arthritis, behind-the-ear hearing aids will be easier to put on than devices that are placed inside your canal.
Today’s hearing aids can conveniently stream audio from phone calls, tablets, or TV directly into your ears.
Do Your Hearing Aids Need to be Repaired?
Are you hearing aids frequently being sent out for repairs? If this is the case, you may need to invest in a new pair. Exposure to elements such as debris, dirt, humidity, sweat, and wax will wear down your devices at a faster rate.
Proper maintenance such as light cleanings, thorough cleanings from a professional and keeping the devices dry in a dry aid kit will help them last longer. If they’re not jostling around in your purse, bag, or pocket - or if they are dropped - the device’s algorithms can be impacted.
If you, or a loved one, need to replace or repair your hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Think about past conversations you’ve had or lectures that you’ve listened to, where you could only hear some parts. Did you feel your heart racing in these situations? Were you nervous that someone was going to ask you a question?
Rather than letting the person who is speaking know that you have difficulty hearing them because you can hear, for the most part, you may concentrate harder and manage to piece together the message. Initially, it may not seem serious, but what if this is how you hear information in every single conversation or lecture throughout your life? It is going to affect the way you engage with others and process information given to you.
The Inability to Recognize Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
Mild hearing loss may go unnoticed for years, which makes it seem less serious. As a result, it can cause confusion for the speaker and the listener. The listener may be able to hear sound and speech, but might not be understanding the main message.
Mild to moderate hearing loss suggests that there is little to no risk for a person, but every range of hearing loss can cause serious issues.
In some instances, excuses like blaming others for mumbling or not fully paying attention to what was said may be used instead of considering one’s own hearing inabilities.
Socializing with others is Impacted
Whenever a person with hearing loss socializes with others, it brings up the risk of missing what is being said during conversations. A mild hearing loss won’t initially affect you. When it’s left untreated, you may notice that you will slowly withdraw from social settings.
How Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss affects the Brain
Everyone has a working memory, which is essentially a sketchpad in your brain that briefly collects information as the brain processes thoughts. Specific parts of working memory manage different stimuli. One area of the brain holds sounds. This is known as auditory working memory (AWM).
Those who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss have a weakened AWM. This affects a person’s capability to distinguish speech sounds, and without equal access to language and education, this can lead to learning disorders.
If the ears are not properly stimulated during the early stages of a child’s development, their AWM will be diminished. If one ear receives less stimulation, it can affect how the brain processes sound from that ear. If a person cannot hear with both ears, part of the brain that processes sound will shrink or stop growing.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to those who are hard of hearing. Their ability to hear can vary, based on the situation. Background noises, or the distance between them and the person who they are interacting with, can make it difficult to hear. They might only be able to temporarily hear.
They work harder to comprehend what is being said, which can cause them to become exhausted and mentally drained. This makes it harder to piece a conversation together, and they may be too tired to engage in the discussion.
The Effect on Children
Children who have a hearing impairment may have an even harder time communicating because they are still in the process of learning languages. A study found that children are more likely to imitate their peers, even if they do not understand what is happening.
Unfortunately, this can make things more difficult for teachers to associate the child’s behavior with their hearing loss.
All teachers should have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) Plan for every range of hearing loss. An itinerant teacher can help out with anything that the student is having difficulty with, make sure that they are wearing and using their hearing aids, and set up an FM system for them.
Get help with Hearing Aids
Most people who have hearing loss suffer from a mild range of loss. Any level of hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. It would be helpful to wear them in order to clearly understand language. This will help reduce how much effort is exerted while having a simple conversation or when understanding instructions.
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. Whether you have mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss, we offer a variety of hearing aids for your individual needs.