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How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Our experiences change as we age. There are more responsibilities and different priorities that we need to deal with. We’ll notice that some family members will need additional help and care.
If you recognize any of these things, you’re probably the caregiver in your family. There are some tips on how to handle this role to make your life easier.
Attention to All Caregivers
Anyone can be a caregiver. Maybe you are taking care of a sick or aging parent, relative, friend, or child with special needs.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. The Family Caregiver Alliance has reported that annually, nearly 44 million Americans assist with 37 billion hours of unpaid, ‘informal’ care for adult family members and friends who have chronic conditions or illnesses. Most people manage these situations with some or no help from a professional. Out of this population, there’s a large number of people who need aid and assistance as a result of an injury - or age-related hearing loss.
What is Age-Related Hearing Loss?
The term presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, has been used and described in our previous blog posts.
When you think about a caregiver, managing hearing loss probably doesn’t immediately come to your attention as the main part to consider. Aging and looking after hearing problems could become a significant responsibility that you will also need to handle.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause cognitive decline and depression due to social isolation. It can impact your self-worth and general outlook on life, which can make things more challenging as you age. If you notice or even suspect a loved one has hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Just like with any serious health problem, it’s important to receive early treatment and care to help slow down or even prevent worsening effects.
At Home Care for Your Hearing Needs
It’s important to be able to care for your hearing loss on your own, with the guidance of a hearing healthcare professional.
If you are a caregiver for someone with hearing loss, start by making sure that the hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices are properly functioning. Batteries and wax guards should be switched out regularly. If the person you are caring for hears whistling or anything abnormal with their hearing aids, their device probably needs to be repaired. You can clean their hearing aids from dust and earwax buildup, and make sure they are dry. Professional-grade cleaning wipes or soft cloth should be used to wipe the hearing aids down.
The way their home is arranged is also something to look into. You should ask the person with the hearing impairment whether they can hear the TV, or if it’s easy for them to answer the telephone or their smartphone. If they do find it difficult to use these devices, maybe you should rearrange some furniture or the entertainment system. Most modern hearing aids feature Bluetooth®, so streaming media or phone calls are easier. A major part of caring for someone with hearing loss is working as a team to find the best solution for their unique lifestyle and needs.
You should also consider creating a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Struggling to hear can lead to listening fatigue, so help make their living space calm and relaxing.
Don’t Forget to Take Good Care of Yourself
It’s easy to feel burnt out in these situations. It happens to every caregiver. The most common signs of stress in a caregiver are fatigue, consistent feelings of worry, and depression. If you notice any of these feelings, address them immediately. Taking care of your own needs is just as important as taking care of your loved one.
There are support groups available or even consider advice from a medical professional. If possible, talk to loved ones - even the person who you are caring for. Make reasonable expectations. A conversation could help with future tensions that are felt by everyone involved.
Make an Appointment with a Specialist
Setting up an appointment with a hearing aid specialist is important for caregivers with loved ones who have hearing loss. They will help keep the devices functioning properly, repair them, provide professional cleanings, cleaning tools such as professional-strength cleaning wipes, and other accessories. Remember to keep information on your loved one’s hearing aid warranty on hand, in case it is needed, and go to their appointment with them.
If you, or a loved one, need a hearing test or new hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Your Hearing Test Results Indicate that You Have Severe to Profound Hearing Loss (SPHL). What Should You Do?
The difficulties caused by severe to profound hearing loss are not simply that they are a little worse than mild to moderate hearing loss. There’s much more to it.
Insight on the repercussions of Severe to Profound Hearing Loss (SPHL)
Patients who have mild to moderate hearing loss experience frustration, confusion, and isolation - which can lead to depression - due to feeling less confident during social situations where listening environments are challenging. Patients with severe to profound hearing loss experience the same problems, but there are additional struggles.
When anyone who has difficulty with hearing also needs to put extra effort in trying to listen to others, they can experience fatigue. People that you communicate with may not be accommodating or sympathetic, which discourages you from trying to fit in or reach out to others.
SPHL makes itself known in every Situation
If you have severe to profound hearing loss, you probably have a lot of trouble with communicating in noisy environments AND in just about any conversation that you engage in, or attempt to engage in. This invisible boundary can hinder your ability to create and build upon relationships. Having friendships or work relationships with others is important to understand where we fit in this society.
Communication isn’t the only problem that you may have. You might feel less confident if something sounds confusing, or isolated if you miss the punchline to a joke that someone makes and everyone else laughs except for you. You could also feel as though you need to rely on others to speak clearly or translate things for you. Sometimes, those moments during a conversation lose their magic or significance when it needs to be repeated.
How Hearing Loss affects Your Mental Health
If your interpersonal relationships are negatively impacted by your hearing loss, that can also negatively affect you. It’s easy to see how isolation can snowball into other problems in relation to your mental health. Anxiety and depression have been closely associated with severe and profound hearing loss. Anxiety and depression significantly increase the chances of social isolation, which can be an issue caused by miscommunications, so the cycle continues.
There have been studies on high rates of depression among people who have normal hearing abilities who communicate with people who are hard of hearing. So it’s not necessarily hearing loss that’s at the center of the problem, but the constant interruption of how a normal conversation should be.
Hearing Aids and a Healthy Social Life
In addition to receiving a great pair of hearing aids that are properly fitted and programmed by a hearing instrument specialist, and possibly auditory training sessions, people with hearing loss MUST HAVE contact with others who are having the same challenges as they are. Whether it’s advice from someone with firsthand experience or just an empathetic person who understands what they are going through, it’s important to have those relationships.
Find those communities, whether it’s an online group or a local hearing loss association chapter. There will be people in similar situations that you can connect with.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some listening devices for your journey towards better hearing.
Nearly 48 million Americans experience some range of hearing loss, but most are unwilling to acknowledge it. Due to the ageism that is deeply steeped in society, many people see hearing loss as a sign of getting old, so it’s ignored and goes untreated.
The aesthetics of hearing aids or their cost is also a concern for many individuals. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, the average person waits at least seven years to seek help. There are serious consequences to untreated hearing loss. Here are nine reasons why you - or your loved one - should get treatment.
1. Wearing Hearing Aids is as Natural as Wearing Eyeglasses
While it’s important to note that hearing loss and vision loss are not the same things, - nor does treatment for them work the same way - normalizing the use of hearing aids the way wearing eyeglasses has been accepted is important.
Presbyopia, or the inability to focus on close objects due to age-related deterioration, is the visual equivalent to presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). For some, hearing aids may not be considered a trendy accessory - although they are available in bright colors. There are more discreet styles that rest in the inner ear canal. Many famous people also rely on wearing hearing aids like Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Robert Redford, Rob Lowe, and Whoopie Goldberg.
2. Mild Hearing Loss can change Brain Function
Ears transmit information to the brain, therefore when hearing loss occurs the brain will also change. As hearing loss progresses, the areas of the brain that process visual and sensory elements will start to utilize parts of the auditory cortex to comprehend sounds. This change results in an under-stimulation - which leads to deterioration - of the auditory cortex.
3. Untreated Hearing Loss Negatively impacts Memory and Cognitive Abilities
You may have had trouble hearing in a crowded room. Your frontal and prefrontal cortex - these are the areas of the brain that assist with thinking, focusing, concentration, and remembering things for brief periods (A.K.A. - working memory) - become more active. These are the parts of your brain that listen, so they won’t be effective if they become deteriorated due to hearing loss. When it comes to the way their brain processes speed and executive function, research has shown that individuals with hearing loss have shortcomings. As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss has been linked to dementia. In 2017, The Lancet published an international study that concluded that hearing loss is one of the biggest modifiable risks for developing dementia. There’s a lot of hope in the fact that a person with hearing loss can manage their memory and cognitive abilities, and adapt to life like any other person with a hearing aid that is fit and programmed by a professional.
4. The Safety and Security of Hearing Better
Some ranges of hearing loss may put your life in danger. If you can’t hear a smoke alarm, house alarm, sirens, severe weather warnings, or even a doorbell, this can put you at greater risk.
According to research from Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute of Aging found that anyone with mild hearing loss is three times more likely to fall than people with healthy hearing abilities.
5. The Stress of Straining to Hear
Mild hearing loss can cause stress. This stress can lead to anger, anxiety, depression, frustration, headaches, and irritability.
6. Interpersonal Relationships can Suffer
Relationships can become strained if you don’t have a partner/spouse, family members, friends, or colleagues who are patient with you. Following along during conversations can be challenging. It can require more concentration and fatigue. After a while, you may no longer enjoy socializing and begin isolating yourself, which can lead to depression.
7. Hearing Health helps Your overall Health
Getting a routine hearing test and treatment, if necessary, is one step towards better overall health. A good diet and an exercise routine are also great ways to help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
8. Hearing Aids have seen Great Technological Improvements
Hearing aids can be discreetly placed in the ear canal or even behind the ears. Digital signal processing lets your hearing instrument specialist tailor the devices for your specific listening needs, which improves your hearing health and cognitive health. This gives users a customized listening experience.
9. It’s Almost Impossible to Mask Your Hearing Loss
If you are constantly asking others to speak up or repeat what they’ve said, you might need hearing aids.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. They will help you find the right solution for your hearing needs.
Anxiety is an unrelenting and intense state of alertness. While this is completely normal when you encounter stressful circumstances, for some people it becomes an unmanageable condition that consumes their thoughts.
Hearing loss can provoke or even encourage these anxieties, but there haven’t been comprehensive studies on this matter. These worries aren’t simply about hearing loss, but also missing out on important