The holidays are coming, so people are getting ready to gather with friends and family to celebrate! Planning and communicating through texts, emails, social media, and phone calls can get hectic.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It is commonly associated with hearing loss that has gone untreated, so we also want to remind people to monitor their hearing health - which often goes unnoticed.
Alzheimer’s is Not a Natural Part of Aging
Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts the area of the brain that manages memory, speech, thought processing, and problem-solving. The most common type of Alzheimer’s is dementia. Not all elderly people develop Alzheimer’s. Simply being a little forgetful does not indicate that you have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can manifest itself as standing in a familiar spot and not knowing where you are, getting lost in familiar places, difficulty handling money and paying bills, repeating yourself over and over again in a short span of time, taking longer to complete simple tasks, having poor judgment, losing things or putting them in strange places, or changes in mood and personality.
Dementia and Hearing Loss
Over 48 million people in the U.S. have some range of hearing loss. Most people who would benefit from hearing aids do not use them. Several factors can account for the reason why including the stigma that comes with hearing loss, the cost of hearing aids, or not believing their hearing is as bad as it actually is. Evidence and professional research have associated dementia with hearing loss that went untreated.
Problems with hearing can affect the way the brain functions and researchers believe that untreated hearing loss shifts cognitive performance - overworking some areas while not using others - which raises the chances of dementia. The brain works like muscles in the body, they become atrophied if you don’t exercise them. Hearing is an exercise for the brain. When you find it difficult to process information during conversations due to hearing loss, this is known as cognitive overload. Struggling to process sounds, while reading people’s lips when they talk, or reading non-verbal cues causes stress to the brain. As a result, other parts of the brain that are used to solve problems or create memories can’t function properly. Brain imaging that was done on seniors who had untreated hearing loss showed evidence that there were areas of the brain which were inactive.
Isolation and Dementia caused by Hearing Loss
A healthy brain thrives on socializing, exercising, and keeping up with your hobbies. Those with untreated hearing loss have been shown to be socially isolated due to struggles with hearing and communication. Alienating themselves feels easier and less frustrating than trying to make out a conversation with someone.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can have a ripple effect on your life and mental health. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Get Your Hearing Tested Immediately
If hearing aids are recommended after your hearing test, studies have shown that seniors who have hearing loss and cognitive problems can find hearing aids to be helpful.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers. They’ll go over your hearing test results and recommend the appropriate treatment options.
The New England Journal of Medicine stated that the fourth leading cause of disability around the globe is hearing loss. One in three Americans between 65 to 74 years old experience hearing loss. The pervasiveness of hearing loss also doubles for each decade of life. It’s crucial for people of all ages to get regular hearing tests and interventions, but it is especially true for the elderly.
As frequently mentioned in our blog, hearing loss can lead to more hospitalizations, falls, isolation, and dementia. It can also increase anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness. Poor communication skills can strain relationships across every aspect of your life.
The Primary causes of Hearing Loss
Being more aware, taking the right precautions, and making better decisions when it comes to your overall health can help with hearing health.
If you, or a loved one, are noticing any changes in hearing contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Nearly 2.5 billion people around the world are estimated to have some range of hearing loss by 2050. Hearing loss usually occurs slowly, so it’s difficult to figure out there’s any loss until it becomes a little more severe. High-frequency hearing loss is more common than low-frequency hearing loss. Examples of high frequencies are children’s voices and domestic fire alarms. Examples of low frequencies are deep voices and diesel engines.
Primary Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss usually gets worse as you age. Here’s why:
The Inability to Hear Certain Volumes
A normal, healthy ear can harness sounds that range from a single decibel to sounds in triple decibels. As hearing abilities worsen, the volume that is needed for the ear to pick up sound rises.
If there’s mild hearing loss, a person will not be able to hear sounds under 20 dB (decibels).
A person with moderate hearing loss cannot hear noises between 41 to 55 dB.
When a person cannot recognize sounds between 55 to 70 dB, it can negatively impact their quality of life. The average volume of human speech reaches 65 dB. Not being able to hear others speak can cause confusion, and create isolation because one or both parties are unaccommodating. As a result, this can lead to loneliness and depression.
Those with profound deafness cannot hear any sounds under 90 dB. Having a verbal conversation is nearly impossible.
Loss of Sound Frequencies
A young person with healthy hearing abilities can hear from 20 to 20,000Hz. The higher frequencies are harder to hear as people age. On average:
Most sounds that we hear on a daily basis range between 2,000 and 5,000Hz. The sounds of birds singing can range between 1,000 to 8,000Hz. The majority of human speech frequencies range between 2,000 to 4,000Hz. When a person can no longer hear frequencies below 7,000 to 8,000Hz, their hearing abilities have significantly declined and should be tested.
The inability to hear frequencies is why some struggle to hear a conversation when there’s any background noise.
What Are Early Symptoms of Hearing Loss?
It’s tough to notice early symptoms of hearing loss. A person’s ability to hear high frequencies will start to worsen when a person reaches their 30s, but no negative effects will be noticeable.
Here are early symptoms of hearing loss:
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, schedule a complimentary hearing test and consultation with us at Pure Sound Hearing. The appropriate solution will be recommended by our providers.
When you’ve scheduled your hearing fitting, you might want to prepare yourself for what will happen during your appointment. A proper fitting is more than just receiving the right hearing aids.
What to Expect
After the hearing instrument specialist (HIS) presents you with options for hearing aids, the next step is selecting which pair to try out during your fitting appointment. This session will help determine comfort and compatibility in different situations. You will also learn about various features, how your hearing aids function, and maintenance practices. There will be a discussion about your lifestyle and hearing needs.
How to Prepare Yourself
There aren’t any specific things to do to prepare for your appointment, but you can alleviate any concerns you may have by learning about hearing aids. Understanding a little bit about the devices will make you feel less anxious. Ask your HIS about the devices before settling on your hearing aids. Be prepared to receive a tutorial from your provider when you have your follow-up appointment.
Do Your Hearing Aids Hurt while being Worn?
Some people give up on wearing hearing aids because the devices hurt their ears. Hearing aids should not cause pain when inserted in your ear canals. If they feel uncomfortable, your provider should readjust the size of your domes or create a new hearing aid mold until they feel comfortable. During the fitting session, you and your HIS will discuss which hearing aid style you prefer and how they will help with your listening needs.
After being fitted for hearing aids, you will need to revisit your HIS. Your provider may need to recalibrate your hearing aids so that you are getting the most out of them. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the devices if you have any problems.
Are you, or someone you know, looking for new hearing aids? Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our specialists.
Maybe you’ve seen vitamins promoted online or in the supplement aisle at your grocery store or local health food store that claims to help with certain afflictions.
Are any of them actually helpful for your hearing health?
Let’s take a look at what some supplements offer when it comes to helping maintain your hearing health and protecting yourself from hearing loss, and what they cannot provide for consumers.
Your Diet Affects Your Hearing Health
The foods and drinks that you consume, and refrain from, impact your overall hearing health. A Mediterranean diet or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, might help ward off an age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). These diets promote healthy blood circulation which impacts every organ in your body, including your ears.
Taking vitamins is also an important part of your diet.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) funded research that concluded those who had “higher intakes of certain vitamins…whether from diet or supplements, appear to be at lower risk for developing hearing loss”.
New Research is currently being conducted to Discover the Effect of Supplements
If your diet can affect your hearing health, supplements that you take can also have varying effects.
There currently isn’t enough evidence to link supplement usage with hearing health or hearing loss.
There are, however, supplements that might help lower the chance of hearing loss and tinnitus.
Vitamins and Minerals that can Help Treat Hearing Loss and/or Tinnitus
Please note that if you are constantly experiencing bothersome tinnitus, do not take Gingko biloba, melatonin, zinc, or other dietary supplements. This is for temporary symptoms.
Infants who are deficient in vitamin B6 might have irregular acute hearing. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that not enough vitamin B12 and low folate levels could be linked to age-related hearing problems.
B12 might also help treat chronic tinnitus for those who have a deficient level.
Folate is a B vitamin that is used by your body to make DNA and helps divide cells. Folate can be found in beans, nuts, and vegetables. Foods like bread and cereals are enriched with folic acid, which is a synthetic version of Vitamin B.
This common vitamin is readily incorporated into most people’s diets. Those with a higher intake of this vitamin have appeared to have a reduced risk of developing hearing loss.
A random clinical trial that took place in the Netherlands showed that supplements with folic acid reduced the decline in the hearing and speech frequencies linked to aging. Even though this is significant to the Netherlands, and possibly other countries, most Americans already have easy access to foods that are fortified with folic acid.
Carotenoids are orange, red, or yellow substances in fruits, grains, oils, and plants. This can include, for example, sweet potatoes. It’s an antioxidant and provitamin (something that transforms into a vitamin - in this case, carotenoids have the ability to change into vitamin A in your body).
High intakes of carotenoids might lower your risk of hearing loss. In a 2015 study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a higher intake of certain carotenoids, and folate, was connected to a reduced risk of hearing loss.
Omega-3 fatty acids can only come from foods that you consume. It cannot be produced naturally in the body. These fatty acids help with many things from your heart function to the way your immune system works.
Omega-3s are found in fish, which can help prevent or delay age-related hearing loss.
For women, incorporating fish into their daily diet lowers the risk of hearing loss.
If you do not eat fish for any reason, you may get your Omega-3 intake from fish oil supplements. If you are allergic to fish, check with an allergy specialist prior to taking any fish oil supplements.
A small study showed that magnesium may relieve severe symptoms of tinnitus. Additional research is necessary, but magnesium is currently being marketed as a mineral that can reduce tinnitus symptoms. Other herbal remedy treatments include vinpocetine (VPC), ginseng, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and Ginko biloba.
If you have tinnitus and a deficiency of zinc, taking zinc supplements can be helpful. If your zinc levels are low (this is common for vegetarians, anyone who consumes too much alcohol, or experiences digestive disorders), taking zinc supplements might help lower symptoms of tinnitus.
If your zinc levels are normal, taking supplements will not relieve tinnitus symptoms.
For anyone who already suffers from tinnitus, falling asleep can be a problem. Melatonin - a hormone found in your brain that regulates your circadian rhythm - will help you fall asleep better.
Which Supplement Should You Limit if You Have Hearing Problems?
Since supplements are easily available over-the-counter, consumers may not always be cautious about taking them. Some can actually harm your hearing system.
If you take too much Vitamin C - which is found in various fruits - it can raise the risk of hearing loss.
Remember, supplements can be helpful, but they are not a cure for whatever ails you. Other factors besides your diet, can also impact your hearing health. It’s still important to have a good and balanced diet so that your body can function to the best of its ability.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
You hear with your ears. Your brain interprets the sounds. We’ve discussed the importance of protecting your ears when in loud environments or while listening to any audio sounds, but brain exercises are just as crucial so that it can make sense of the sounds. Here are some exercises that can be done alone or with another person.
Partnered Hearing Exercises
If you’ve been isolated from family and friends, and now feel comfortable and safe enough to reconnect with them, try some of these exercises with at least one of them.
Tuning out Background Noises
Environments that have too much background noise can be distracting for anyone, especially those with hearing problems. It’s good to practice tuning these distractions out in a relaxed setting. Turn the TV or a podcast on at a normal listening volume, and talk to your family or friend. Concentrate on the discussion you’re having, and ignore any background noises. Take a pause from the exercises as needed.
Motionless Marco Polo
A more fun game to play is similar to the pool game Marco Polo. Shut your eyes or put a blindfold on. Your partner should quietly move around different areas of the room. Guess what they are standing by so that you can estimate the direction they are speaking from, and the distance they are standing from you.
Solitary Hearing Exercises
If you live alone or your partner is away from the home for most of the day, try some of these exercises.
Meditation does not strictly require people to hear, and in fact, studies have indicated that those with hearing loss have found meditation to be helpful. Meditation doesn’t just benefit your ability to focus, it also stimulates blood flow to your inner ears which is important for healthy hearing. Check out these apps for guided meditations.
Sound isolation is another mindfulness exercise to help your brain recognize sounds. Follow these three easy steps to practice listening:
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Ear infections can make wearing hearing aids complicated for any user. If you are experiencing an ear infection, immediately receive antibiotics. This usually helps to clear the infection. Regular cleanings (completed by you on a daily basis or your hearing aid provider every 6 months or less, depending on how clogged up they are), and replacing hearing aid domes can also reduce the risk of infection.
If you experience swelling in your ears, this can lead to an improper hearing aid fitting. Swelling may also muffle sounds or temporarily alter the way you hear acoustics. Some patients who had ear infections for many years may notice hearing loss for the duration of the condition.
Recurring infections may require users to purchase new hearing aids altogether. Bacteria cause ear infections, and if the hearing aids are not thoroughly cleaned or can’t be completely disinfected, infections can occur over and over again.
Hearing Aid Users should Treat Minor Outer Ear Infections
What you should do if you wear hearing aids and have an outer ear infection, and it does not clear on its own:
If you are a hearing aid user, who experiences recurring ear infections, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation. We offer hearing aid cleanings, replacement parts, and hearing aids.
Did you know that you can gradually lose your hearing if you drive with the windows rolled down?
The Journal of the American Academy of Audiology published a study revealing that people who drive on a daily basis with their windows rolled down, for at least an hour, are three times more susceptible to hearing loss.
Another study from the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Otolaryngology showed that cyclists are subject to 85 decibels (dB) of wind resistance when traveling at the speed of 15 MPH and 120 dB at the speed of 60 MPH.
These studies confirm that operating a vehicle with the windows open can put you at more risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) since a car has more resistance than a bike.
On average, driving a vehicle on a highway with the down can reach 90-115 dB.
Noise exposures that reach over 100 dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing in under 15 minutes.
The only way to prevent NIHL is to avoid loud environments that reach over 70 A-weighted decibels (dBA) - this is an expression of relative loudness of sounds that are perceived by the human ear. Constant exposure to noises between 70-85 dBA (depending on your personal sensitivity to sounds) can slowly harm your hearing.
3 Ways to Protect Your Hearing Loss
1. Keep Your Windows Rolled Up
Studies have proven that keeping your windows up lowers the risk of hearing loss related to driving. If you drive a vehicle that has a loud engine, especially at higher speeds, you can experience symptoms of tinnitus. Heavy city traffic noises (80-85 dB) are also something to consider while driving. When assessing your risks for hearing loss and tinnitus, think of this formula: Noise level + length of time = risk of hearing loss/tinnitus.
2. Lower the Volume of Your Music
Traffic noises are already a risk factor that you can’t control, so listening to loud music while driving can worsen symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus. Turning the volume up to cover up heavy traffic noises will put you at an even higher risk of hearing loss, and you may miss important environmental cues that can make you a safe driver.
3. Get a Hybrid or an Electric Car
If you are looking for a new car and it’s within your budget, get a hybrid car, an electric car, or a 4-cylinder engine vehicle.
These cars produce less noise compared to gas-powered vehicles because of the electric motor.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can come in many different forms. Some have it from birth. Others get it from an autoimmune disease or medications. It can be caused by noise exposure after being in an environment with dangerous sound levels.
Physical abuse is rarely discussed as a culprit of hearing loss.
Academy award-winning actress Halle Berry has hearing loss after being struck by a former boyfriend in the early 1990s. The impact caused her left eardrum to become punctured.
Maria Halle Berry was born in 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s the youngest daughter of an English mother and an American father. Her parents got divorced when she was four years old because her father was mentally and physically abusive.
Berry moved to New York City in 1989 to start her acting career. She became one of Hollywood’s most successful and highest-paid actresses of the early 2000s. Sadly, she personally endured abuse.
She confirmed that she encountered battery and sexual assault as a child and adult. She stated in a speech during an NYC benefit that she “devalued” herself and didn’t deem herself worthy. She chose partners who were like her father.
It wasn’t until after the abusive relationship where she lost 80% of her hearing abilities that she realized she needed to stop this vicious cycle.
Berry still has 20% of hearing in her left ear. She was able to overcome this disability by winning an Oscar for best lead actress. She has been a strong advocate for domestic abuse prevention.
If you, or someone that you know, are experiencing domestic abuse call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788.
If you, or someone that you know, are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered when getting your hearing tested. Do you or a family member suspect that you have trouble with your hearing? Or do you notice further hearing loss after receiving a hearing test?
Your age and work environment are also important factors to consider.
You should schedule an annual hearing test if:
If you are noticing any additional loss before your annual hearing assessment, contact your hearing healthcare provider to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
The Difference between a Hearing Test and a Hearing Screening
A hearing test is provided when you, a loved one, or a healthcare provider think that you may have hearing loss because you’ve been having the common symptoms. A hearing test is conducted by having the patient sit in a sound-proof booth while getting their existing hearing levels measured and recorded on an audiogram. This is known as a comprehensive hearing exam.
A hearing screening is provided when you don’t show signs or symptoms of hearing loss. A screening takes less time and is simpler than a test. If you are frequently exposed to loud noises on the job, you can participate in a screening program.
What to do if Your Hearing Loss is Confirmed
If you have already been told that you have hearing loss through a previous test, you need to be retested regularly by your hearing care provider. You should make observations about your hearing health with a hearing journal, in case you notice any changes. Hearing loss happens slowly, so you may not immediately notice a difference.
Get a Checkup for Your Hearing Aids
It’s important to understand that wearing hearing aids means that you are going to need to get them adjusted/reprogrammed, especially if they’re a new pair of hearing aids that you’re trying out. Your hearing loss may decline from moderate to severe, which makes the initial programming for your devices ineffectual for your latest degree of loss.
The average lifespan of hearing aids is three to seven years. This depends on how often you use streaming features, keep up with daily and professional cleanings/maintenance, and the amount of exposure to cold, heat, and moisture.
If you suspect that you have hearing loss, get a complimentary hearing test and consultation from Pure Sound Hearing. We have offices located in Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Strasburg.
According to a 2021 study that the JAMA Psychiatry published, the relationship between tinnitus and mental health was studied among over 6,000 middle-aged Rotterdam residents for five years.
Participants were examined in order to evaluate age-related conditions and health problems like tinnitus. Test subjects who had tinnitus (those who found it bothersome and not bothersome) had more concerning issues than those who did not have the condition in three main areas: symptoms of depression, anxiety, and their quality of sleep.
Tinnitus and its Impact on Your Mood
Just like with any new diagnosis, patients can become devastated by their new symptoms. This can be irritating when a person develops or already has another chronic illness.
Mild chronic tinnitus and other comorbidities can overwhelm patients, and that can lead to emotional/mental health problems.
Tinnitus can also be a sign of hearing loss, particularly presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). Hearing loss that goes untreated can worsen and cause even more isolation, loneliness, and depression, along with cognitive decline caused by brain atrophy.
People with tinnitus need to be reassured that they’re not crazy because they can hear sounds that nobody else can, but it can impact their mental health.
There is no cure for tinnitus but in addition to counseling or support groups, there are ways to manage it. Don’t mistake an incurable symptom with no treatment options. If you also have hearing loss in addition to your tinnitus, hearing aids feature a tinnitus masking option that can be programmed into your devices. Simply using other masking techniques, such as white noise machines, can also be helpful in tuning out the tinnitus.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone at any time, but you may not expect it to happen after giving birth.
After Edda Collins Coleman had her third C-section, her baby daughter was checked out for standard complications. While this was happening, Coleman felt a strong pain after her vitals were taken and a nurse pressed down on her stomach. She then experienced hearing loss.
The anesthesiologist went over Coleman’s condition and reassured her that her hearing would go back to normal after the head congestion, a common symptom in pregnancy, went away. In Coleman’s case, her hearing never came back.
The Mysteries of Hearing Loss during Pregnancy or Childbirth
There is still no explanation as to why hearing loss may occur during pregnancy or childbirth. We do know that changes in hormones or high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss. This may include ears that feel blocked up or hearing buzzing noises in the background. It’s worth noting that losing your hearing during pregnancy and/or childbirth is rare.
Coleman’s head congestion went away the following day, but noises were muted and her hearing did not feel normal. For months, things did not get better. She heard loud humming noises in her ears, her children’s voices sounded unclear while they were sitting in the back seat of her car, she couldn’t hear the cashier at the grocery store, and she was unable to hear co-workers who spoke to her while approaching her desk. She frequently had to ask others to repeat themselves while they were speaking directly to her.
The Delay in Seeking Help for Hearing Loss
It took Coleman nine months after giving birth to seek help, with some encouragement from her husband.
She was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears. Over a quarter of her hearing was lost in her left ear and nearly 40 percent was lost in her right ear. She has difficulty hearing the differences in lower tones. This affects the way she hears music and people speaking.
According to the British Tinnitus Association, more than one-third of pregnant women develop tinnitus. It can be triggered by stress, headaches, high blood pressure, and other conditions that are associated with pregnant women. Most of the time, tinnitus will go away after the baby is born.
Otosclerosis, which is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, can occur during pregnancy. It might be the result of changes in a woman’s hormones. Mild or severe hearing loss may occur, but hearing aids or surgery can relieve these symptoms.
It is unknown whether pregnancy directly causes otosclerosis, but there does seem to be a connection. It’s more common in women who are in their 20s and 30s, and it can be genetic or caused by their environment.
Coleman’s hearing loss did not happen during her pregnancy, so otosclerosis was eliminated as a probable cause.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), or sudden deafness, is when there is nerve damage in the inner ear. This became another possible cause that was examined by her physicians. She was informed that this type of hearing loss is permanent.
A Closer Examination, but with No Concrete Answers
After undergoing a number of other tests, she was diagnosed with another problem that her doctors believe caused her hearing loss: Coleman has an abnormally shaped cochlea - this is located in the inner ear and converts sound into nerve signals to the brain. Even though this does not explain why childbirth caused her hearing loss, she can get more genetic testing done to understand why her cochlea is deformed. This will also help her three daughters understand if they also inherit this problem.
The year after her daughter was born, Coleman started wearing hearing aids. They significantly helped her hear again. Her tinnitus is unnoticeable while wearing the devices, but can be heard again when taking them out before bedtime. It’s not disruptive enough to affect her sleep. Hearing aids helped her hear her daughter’s first words, laughter, music, theater, birds chirping, and important conversations during meetings. Asking others to repeat themselves and enunciating their words is still something she has to deal with, but it’s better than it was before she started wearing hearing aids.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Exposure to loud sounds for an extended period can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Whether it’s noises you don’t like, for example, construction noises or noises from city traffic, or noises that you enjoy like a concert, your hearing is at risk.
The Loudest Instruments: A Study
Researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney conducted a study to determine which musical instrument was most likely to cause hearing loss.
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene published the results in 2013. They studied 143 professional French horn players. The musicians who were 40 years of age and younger were 18 to 33 percent more likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss. Just 18 percent of professional musicians wore hearing protection.
About 81 percent of those who wore hearing protection, only wore them ‘sometimes’ and 50 percent responded that they use generic foam earplugs or other substandard forms of hearing protection.
A professional French horn player and doctoral researcher from the University of Sydney discovered from their research that they still need to educate horn players, their mentors, and hearing healthcare providers about protecting their hearing and the best way to accomplish this while not interfering with their ability to play.
Everyone should take hearing loss seriously. Musicians, and anyone who is repeatedly exposed to loud noises, should get regular hearing tests. Any loss in the hearing range can make distinguishing different pitches difficult, cause tinnitus, or make some sounds abnormally loud. This can affect their performance and their musical career.
Instruments and their Decibel Levels
The French horn is the loudest instrument, but it’s not the only instrument that produces dangerous sound levels. Here are some common instruments and their decibel ranges:
Protect Your Hearing
By wearing proper hearing protection, you can continue playing your favorite instrument while preserving your hearing abilities. Musicians can get custom earplugs that allow them to still hear the music while keeping their ears safe.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Power tools are noisy and annoying to anyone within a certain radius. There are ways to curtail the noise, but understanding why they are so loud can help you discover a good solution. In some cases, a loud power tool may be a signal of mechanical problems but most of them are naturally noisy.
The Reason Why Power Tools are so Noisy
Power tools create so much noise because they feature loud fans that prevent overheating. Metal gears whirr while making the motor louder. Drill bits that get dull, motors that deteriorate, unlubricated gears, and higher RPMs (Rotations Per Minute) cause the power tool to be louder than usual.
We’ll go deeper into why power tools are so loud.
1. Metal gears make the motor louder. Most of the noise from your power tools comes from the gear train. Multiple gears rotate around one another, creating a loud grinding noise. These movements generate vibrations and produce power and direction for the tool.
2. Power tools feature loud cooling fans. Every electric tool needs to cool off. Friction between metal pieces produces heat. If fans were not part of the tool, they would be too hot to handle, and the motors would be damaged within minutes of usage. The pricier tools have fans that are quieter than cheaper tools.
3. If there isn’t any lubrication, the internal components will scrape against each other and screech. Just like ceiling fans, lubricants are applied to avoid overheating. Lubrication can be found where moving parts come in contact. The gears need to be pre-lubricated to prevent the tools from being worn down, otherwise grinding sounds will be heard.
4. Dull bits can make your tool loud. When the bits are worn down, they will vibrate more frequently. Drill bits need to be replaced whenever they get dull. The metal that they are comprised of will affect how long they last. For example, low-quality aluminum will chip, vibrate, and become dull very quickly.
5. A motor that’s failing or if it runs at high RPMs will make more noise than usual. The more power that the tool creates, the louder it will sound. High RPMs make everything function at an accelerated speed, including fans. A defective motor can overheat, grind, and create irritating noises.
How Loud Can Power Tools Get?
Power tools can get loud enough to harm your ability to hear based on how long you are exposed to the noise, as well as the distance between you and the noise source. Wear hearing protection whenever you use power tools.
Power tools and decibel output
Table Saw: 93 dB
Belt Sander: 94 dB
Router: 95 dB
Hand Drill: 99 dB
Circular Saw: 101 dB
Chain Saw: 109 dB
Hammer Drill: 114 dB
Steady exposure to any noise that reaches at least 70 dB can start to harm your hearing.
How to Muffle the Noises from Power Tools
As mentioned, the main reasons why power tools are so noisy are because of vibrations, metal rubbing against each other, and overheating. To reduce noise from power tools:
1. Fasten the project you are working on to reduce excessive vibrations.
If possible, anchor the material onto a solid surface. An unclamped board will move around, making the tool struggle to work and the material will produce a loud noise.
2. Get a new bit set that is sharper and made of high-quality materials.
Cheaper materials will become dull and won’t remain steady. High-quality drill bits are sharp and sturdy, so they should last longer, drill with precision, and be less noisy.
3. Regularly clean your power tools. This will prevent the fan from overheating.
Inspect the vents to make sure there isn’t any dust or debris causing an obstruction. This makes them work harder. Use an air compressor to clear out anything that can’t be reached with a soft cloth.
4. Lubricate gears in tools, if possible.
Some tools cannot be opened. Check your manufacturer’s guide. If the gears on a power tool are in an enclosed case and do not feature screws, you’ll have to wear hearing protection to deal with the noise. Enclosed gearboxes are usually lubricated and infrequently need to be replaced.
Should You Use Cordless Tools?
Batter-powered tools are less noisy if you don’t want to deal with noisy power tools.
The most powerful tools are often the loudest, but a high-quality, battery-powered tool can make up for it. Here’s why cordless tools make less noise than corded tools:
1. Most cordless tools are not as powerful.
The majority of power tools that use a battery are quiet because they don’t feature RPMs. The fewer RPMs there are, the less likely you’ll be able to tackle challenging projects. This may not be a problem for your tools or needs.
2. There isn’t as much pressure put onto gearboxes as corded power tools.
Weaker power equals fewer cracks caused by friction, less grinding, and less weathering. Some cordless gearboxes are made to withstand the force, and others were made to make less noise by being coated in lubricant.
3. Traditional drills with cords do not feature modern cordless technology.
You may notice that your oldest tools make more noise than battery-powered ones. These power tools were not designed to be quiet due to the material that was available. It was naturally loud, so there’s not much you can do to muffle the noises like today’s cordless tools.
If you want quieter tools, get a high-end style. Low-quality tools won’t have the power you need to get your projects done.
If you are experiencing hearing loss that was caused by exposure to loud power tools, or for any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Researchers have discovered the first gene that is connected to otosclerosis, a common cause of hearing loss that affects three million Americans.
In a study that was published in Human Genetics, a team of researchers from Canada’s Memorial University and Western University identified the gene as FOXL1. This discovery indicates that there may be the imminent possibility of earlier diagnosis and advanced treatment options.
How does Otosclerosis lead to Hearing Loss?
Patients who experience otosclerosis have an abnormal bone growth that causes the tiny bones, known as the stapes, to lack the ability to vibrate which is crucial to hear. The bones are unable to create sound waves that are supposed to travel to the inner ear, which is how hearing loss occurs.
There is currently no cure for otosclerosis, which normally worsens over time. Many people who have this condition wear hearing aids or receive a surgical procedure where a prosthetic device is inserted into the affected ear. This prosthetic device conducts sound vibrations that travel to the inner ear.
The Otosclerosis Gene
It’s already known that otosclerosis can be passed down from one parent to a child, so researchers only needed to locate a single gene mutation instead of a pair of genes.
Gene mapping, along with advanced sequencing techniques, was utilized to separate DNA so that it could be analyzed. The mutation takes place in the FOXL1 gene.
The new gene that is responsible for otosclerosis helps researchers better understand the biology of this bone disease while helping to figure out new drugs and therapies, or even stopping the condition from occurring.
The FOXL1 gene was identified in a family from Newfoundland in eastern Canada by researchers in the field. The family was given a simple genetic test which identified members who were at risk and those who were not at risk of developing otosclerosis.
A genetic test allows healthcare providers to verify whether a patient has otosclerosis. It’s recommended that family members of those with this condition should also take a test to find out if they have otosclerosis.
Early Confirmation of Otosclerosis
Knowing whether you have otosclerosis through genetic testing before you begin to notice changes in your hearing, can allow you to seek early treatment options and prevent any worsening decline by protecting your hearing health. This can be beneficial for younger family members who have yet to show signs of hearing loss. Even if treatment is not necessary for these family members, it’s still helpful to understand why you and some of your family members are experiencing issues with hearing and know how to protect themselves from noise exposure.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
There are many different root causes of tinnitus, but the symptoms are nearly universal. Everyone who has it described hearing a “phantom sound” that has no external source. Each patient who has tinnitus would handle it differently. Sound machines, a different diet, sleep routine, or hearing aids may be recommended to make the noises bearable. Let's go over some of the signs and symptoms.
Hearing sounds, such as buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or ringing that have no external source is the primary symptom of tinnitus. The noises can be constant or intermittent. Your hearing care professional can determine what type of noise you are hearing, the underlying cause, and proper treatment options.
Tinnitus tends to lead to depression and insomnia, due to its consistent and bothersome nature. Some can train themselves to ignore the sounds through sound therapies or meditation, while others may need a white noise machine or a masking feature through hearing aids.
A poor night’s rest can worsen symptoms of tinnitus. A very quiet environment can make tinnitus more noticeable. Most patients can go about their day without noticing the noise. But once they find themselves in a quiet space, for example, when they wind down for bedtime, it can become unbearable. Insomnia is not only dangerous for your health but it can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
An obvious indication that a patient’s tinnitus is caused by earwax buildup would be pressure that is felt in the ear canal. When there is more pressure on the eardrum, tinnitus, hearing loss, and vertigo can occur. This can be found in one or both ears.
Tinnitus that goes untreated can become permanent. When hearing health declines as you age, there’s also a higher chance of experiencing tinnitus. Slowing the process of hearing loss is important for your overall health.
If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing immediately for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can occur as a result of multiple reasons.
The ear and our auditory system are made up of many different parts:
The following terms describe types of hearing loss where there is an abnormality in a person’s auditory system:
The following terms describe the range or amount of hearing loss a person has:
The following terms explain the side or sides on which the hearing loss occurs:
The only type of hearing loss that is avoidable is called noise-induced hearing loss. It’s important to always be prepared to protect your hearing with earplugs or earmuffs if you find yourself in a loud environment.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
The month of September highlights Deaf Awareness and Healthy Aging. It’s a time to learn and raise awareness of the culture and history of the Deaf community while continuing to advocate for the rights of Deaf people, while also reflecting on better habits that you can start to incorporate into your routines as you age.
Here are some interesting facts about the Deaf community:
If you want to learn sign language, you should always get lessons from a Deaf teacher. The center of Deaf culture and community is sign language. Deaf people are experts in their own language, therefore students should consult them so that they can be paid for their work. Deaf people have historically been stigmatized and discriminated against by the hearing society for being deaf and using sign language, so if hearing teachers take Deaf jobs and profit from teaching would be considered cultural appropriation.
No matter what age you are, it’s never too late to pick up healthier habits. This will help you out in the long term.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
There are still so many unknown factors about tinnitus, and there isn’t much proof that there is a link between the two. There have been some complaints from people who have tinnitus that reported their symptoms got worse when they consumed specific foods or drinks.
We know that consuming alcohol can be a primary factor in worsened tinnitus and hearing issues, but there are other things that we consume that can also worsen these symptoms.
Consuming caffeine and sodium can also exacerbate symptoms of tinnitus for some individuals. For others, those things might actually help. Everyone is different, and so are their tinnitus symptoms to certain foods.
Reports on Tinnitus and Nutrients
It’s difficult to do research and analyze how nutrients impact tinnitus, but a study from the U.K. made an attempt. Over 34,000 residents completed a questionnaire about their challenges with hearing, tinnitus, and diet. Researchers observed patterns among the three. They concentrated on vitamins and minerals. Salt consumption was not analyzed.
A Diet that is High in Fat can be Detrimental
Generally, consuming foods that are high in calcium, fat, and iron are linked to a higher risk of tinnitus. On the other hand, higher intakes of B12 and meat consumption were connected to lowered risks of tinnitus.
Consuming too many foods that are high in fat may affect blood vessels, which provide healthy circulation throughout the body, including the ears. Unhealthy blood vessels are the reason why heart disease and diabetes are connected to hearing loss.
Limits of this Research
The study was unable to determine the cause and effect of tinnitus. It was not made to test if adding an abundance of vitamin B12 will ease hearing problems. Rather, it was created to distinguish patterns in the self-reported diets and symptoms of tinnitus. There would then be a controlled trial that was randomized. In this scenario, test subjects’ diets were rigidly controlled for a certain amount of time, and tinnitus symptoms were measured.
It’s important not to completely change your diet based on this report, but you may want to start keeping a journal or record of what you eat on a day-to-day basis while taking note of how the tinnitus symptoms sound and how your ears feel. Adjust your diet and find out what works for you. Things like alcohol, caffeine, dark chocolate, red meat, cheese, or salty foods might need to be avoided.
Tinnitus and hearing loss tend to occur simultaneously. If you are experiencing tinnitus and or hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Getting treatment for your hearing loss has so many benefits besides better hearing. Reducing your risks of falling and having a healthier brain are just a few.
Did you know that people with difficulty with hearing are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after being discharged?
Researchers from New York University found that patients who were 65 or older and had trouble hearing, were 32% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital than those without hearing problems.
Hospitals can be tricky to navigate, even without hearing loss. They are very loud, bustling areas. It’s crucial to clearly hear and understand directions during your discharge. You may be given instructions on which medications you need to take, warning signs to watch out for, or any other crucial information that is necessary to avoid another trip to the hospital. Not being able to hear important instructions can slow or worsen your recovery.
A study from the University of Michigan concluded that hearing loss that receives treatment has resulted in fewer hospitalizations and ER visits by older adults.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. We have offices located in Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Strasburg.
Hearing loss is the third leading chronic physical condition in the U.S., following high blood pressure and arthritis. Hearing loss is the most prevalent work-related illness, due to dangerous noise levels in these environments. Here are some recommendations to reduce the risks of exposure to noise in the workplace.
Nearly every industry can put employees at risk of work-related hearing loss
Prevention is important because noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable type of hearing loss and it’s the easiest to manage.
Preventing Hearing Loss on the Job
Find out whether the noise in your work environment is dangerous. Just like with any loud space, if you need to speak louder when the person you are talking to is just an arm’s length away, the noise level is too loud.
Use a noise level meter app to determine the noise level in your environment. Discuss checking noise levels in your workplace with your manager or supervisor.
Decrease noise from the source. Use quiet tools and equipment, or wear hearing protection - like earplugs or earmuffs - while using them.
Reduce exposure to noise:
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or both, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Defining Hearing Loss
Hearing loss, or a hearing impairment, makes it difficult to hear or interpret sounds. It occurs as a result of a complication with one or multiple components of the ear, the nerves in the ears, or the part of the brain that interprets sounds.
Some people with hearing loss are born with it. Hearing loss can happen suddenly, or gradually over time. Hearing loss can be hereditary, caused by birth defects, infections, or medications. If you know ahead of time that the medication that you need to take can induce hearing loss, try to look for an alternative before taking it.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. Exposure to a sudden noise - like a loud explosion or frequently being around loud sounds over time can cause damage to the tiny hair cells found in the inner ear, making it challenging to hear clearly. You can tell whether your environment is too loud if you need to shout for someone close by to hear you. If you find yourself in a crowded area and have trouble hearing the person/people you are speaking to, you may have some hearing loss.
If you’ve ever noticed a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears after being at a loud concert, a sports stadium, or any other loud event, you’ve had tinnitus. It normally quiets down after a day or two. Continuous tinnitus or hearing muffled noises indicates that there is some damage to the hair cells in your ear. Hair cells harness sound waves and translate them into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain. When hair cells become damaged, they can no longer transmit sound signals as clearly as they normally did. Tinnitus and hearing loss often, but not always, go hand in hand.
Repeated exposure to loud noise or music can worsen symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. This is why musicians, construction workers, airport runway employees, and people who work in other noisy settings wear ear protection. Common tools and appliances like lawnmowers, power tools, or blenders are also loud enough to induce hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
Here are some of the best ways to prevent NIHL:
If you are noticing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Science researchers directed by King’s College London, Karolinska Institute, and Erasmus University have discovered 10 new genes that are connected to hearing loss and detected which areas of the ear were affected by them.
In June 2022, this discovery was published in The American Journal of Human Genetics. As a result, it created some skepticism about current knowledge on the origins of age-related hearing loss that stems from sensory hair cells. Based on their findings, researchers strongly believe that the stria vascularis, an area of the cochlea - which is located in the ear, is a new area of focus for treatments that help individuals with hearing loss.
Due to various factors, many people experience hearing loss as they age. By 2050, about 2.4 billion people will have some range of hearing loss. Age-related hearing problems are one of the primary chronic disabilities. It’s also a high-risk factor for dementia.
This group of researchers also reviewed genetic analyses that were made by different centers across the globe. They used samples from 723,266 patients in 17 studies who were clinically diagnosed or self-reported hearing impairment. This is currently one of the largest studies conducted on the genetic factors of hearing health. The researchers found 48 genes connected to hearing loss, including 10 new variants that are recently related to hearing.
This discovery identified genes that can be focused on for screening purposes, developing drugs, and gene therapy. It’s a secure foundation to help improve therapies against hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and believe hearing aids may be beneficial, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic. In most instances stress from the current situation has exacerbated chronic conditions.
These circumstances - the social isolation, unpredictability, the news, financial troubles, an interruption in our routines, inaccessibility of or challenges with visiting healthcare providers, have caused hardships for everyone, including people with tinnitus.
Stress and how it Affects Tinnitus
Stress triggers many chronic conditions, like tinnitus. More stress can make tinnitus louder and more difficult to tune out.
Here’s a simple way to mentally visualize this issue. Imagine the capacity of managing your stress in the form of a big glass tank. The tank symbolizes the amount of stress you can handle each day. When your stress rises and the tank overflows, you begin to have symptoms of anxiety or other negative health problems.
Anyone with tinnitus can tell you that the stress that comes while living with this condition can flood the tank. Even if the stress that you associate with tinnitus is not flooding the tank, it can still be very distracting. Other stress factors that usually don’t affect you, may be enough to overwhelm you and induce anxiety.
When people are able to habituate to their tinnitus and experience some relief, the ability to manage stress will be reinforced.
Stress can come from anything, so it’s not just stress from the tinnitus that you need to take charge of. Other factors can be related to work, relationships, family, finances or lack thereof, health problems, the pandemic, etc.
Reduce stress by checking out tips from these articles:
How can Stress Lead to Hearing Loss?
Soothe Your Stress by Listening to Nature
How Can Art Therapy Help Patients with Chronic Conditions like Hearing Loss and Other Comorbidities?
Do you have Hearing Loss and Anxiety?
If you or a loved one experiences tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Ear infections may occur in your middle ear - the area behind your eardrum - if there’s fluid build-up. That build-up can lead to bacterial and/or viral infections. Ear infections can be caused by allergies, colds, and the flu. Ear infections can also occur in the outer ear or ear canal if it comes in contact with bacteria or contaminated water. Some hearing aids are designed to seal off the ear canal. As a result, an ear infection can linger if they are frequently worn without proper regular cleanings.
Hearing aids are supposed to be worn all day, from the moment when you wake up to the moment when you get ready to sleep unless you take a shower/bath, or go into a body of water. To help prevent ear infections, it’s important to keep up with daily hearing aid cleanings at home and schedule professional cleanings every six months or less. If there's too much debris or earwax impacting the function of the devices, you should visit your hearing instrument specialist sooner.
Some signs of an ear infection are pain and swelling. Hearing aids are custom-fit, or a standard dome size is recommended for each user, so if there’s pain and swelling it indicates that the devices were not correctly fit. The improper fitting will also affect the sound quality that you hear when wearing them.
What Should You Do if You Have an Ear Infection from Wearing Hearing Aids?
If you or a loved one need a professional cleaning for your hearing aids or a re-fitting for a more suitable fit, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment.