We know that the ability to hear and the brain are interconnected, so it isn’t a revelation that hearing loss has been directly associated with dementia.
A yearly hearing test is recommended to keep track of your hearing health. Hearing loss occurs gradually over time, so it’s easily overlooked until it becomes significantly worse. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help slow down and preserve some of the loss.
We’re just starting to learn more about how the ears and brain are linked to each other. This new study, which was discovered by coincidence, is a connection that may enhance assistive listening devices that are utilized by anyone with movement disorders or limb loss.
BrainGate is a group of researchers that develop brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). These are essentially implants that utilize nerve signals in the brain to control assistive devices, like a prosthetic limb. The majority of BCI implants are placed in the area of the brain that oversees the plans to act known as the motor cortex. The research team wanted to know how applicable it was to gather nerve signals earlier than this.
They hypothesized whether nerve signals from one area in the brain that’s in charge of the urge to act could be used before the area of the brain that plans to act becomes involved. If it is possible, they may have the ability to speed up BCI response times.
An Unintentional Discovery with Surprising Results
There was one participant in the study who suffered from a spinal cord injury, and couldn’t use their arms and legs. While engaging in a basic movement exercise that used visual cues, their brain was observed through fMRI. It demonstrated activity in a specific area of this urge-to-act part of the brain.
The test was repeated using the BCI implant, rather than the fMRI. The implant did not show any activity in the same region. As researchers reviewed the data from a similar research session, they discovered something that surprised them. Throughout the movement exercise, when verbal cues were used, the implant harnessed strong signals from the same urge-to-act area.
A Study on One Participant
According to the BrainGate team, it appeared that the urge-to-act region did not care about the visual cues, and only focused on sound-based cues. A new study was created with the BCI implant to try out their prediction. There was a sample size of just one participant - the previously mentioned participant who suffered from a spinal cord injury - and the research switched between only visuals to only sound-based cues.
The urge-to-act area was responsive to sound-based cues, but not to visual cues. The planning-to-act area was responsive to both, and there were no preferences. Results were published in the Scientific Reports article entitled “Auditory cues reveal intended movement information in middle frontal gyrus neuronal ensemble activity of a person with tetraplegia.”
The Significance of the Study
Individuals with ALS, brainstem stroke, and spinal cord injuries have been able to control a computer cursor by thinking about the parallel limb movement. Their research demonstrated that they were able to have intuitive control over advanced prosthetic limbs. Also, those with paralysis were able to easily control powerful external devices.
The discovery of this urge-to-act area that is responsive to sound cues, allows people to use it with the planning-to-act area, and BCI implants can gather movement data from separate areas of the brain. The researchers may be able to use BCIs to create trustworthy, instinctive, and naturally managed movement of paralyzed limbs.
Improved hearing could be a part of all this.
Whether you are beginning to notice hearing loss, or have been experiencing hearing loss for a long time, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Did you know that if left untreated for too long, hearing loss can cause irreversible damage to the brain?
Research from Johns Hopkins and Ohio State University has proven that hearing loss leads to alterations in the brain. These changes have been connected to cognitive decline and dementia.
It’s still unknown as to whether treating hearing loss can thwart changes to the brain. But studies have shown that for those with hearing loss, using hearing aids reduces memory loss and can delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Experts have unanimously agreed that the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the more likely those changes in the brain will become permanent, or harder to care for.
If you or a loved one experience hearing loss, and want to get help, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing. We have offices located in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, and Strasburg.
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Our offices are located in Strasburg, Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Mount Joy.
It should be no surprise that whether you are listening to music or media, a long length of time spent listening plus a high volume level can eventually lead to hearing loss.
This can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time.
Across the globe, children, teens, and young adults spend time listening to music for several hours each day. The volumes often surpass the recommended limits for each person. Awareness of this issue, and actions taken against it, is the best way to practice self-care.
The previous threshold for listening was 85 decibels (dB), but that has currently been lowered to 70 dB by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 50 percent of people between the ages of 12 to 35 are susceptible to hearing loss after long and disproportionate exposure to powerful sounds from music playing through earbuds or headphones.
It’s important to remind readers that serious levels of hearing loss are not signs of normal aging. It’s a result of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
It’s similar to how many falsely believe that large wrinkles and dark spots of skin are signs of normal aging. They are the result of harmful exposure to solar and UV rays.
Important Hearing Statistics
Anyone who frequently uses a personal listening device, along with earbuds or headphones, is damaging their hearing health.
The younger population tends to have listening devices that come with earbuds or headphones. While others can’t hear their chosen media, they are doing serious harm to their hearing.
Many of these young people will begin to notice difficulty with their hearing by the time they reach their mid-40s. They will struggle with hearing just as much as their grandparents, who are at least in their 70s.
Hearing loss not only impacts your ability to hear and communicate but as frequently mentioned in this blog, cognitive decline and risks of dementia become more serious.
In a study from 2011, people with hearing loss had a higher chance of having dementia symptoms if:
Research indicates that anyone who does not receive treatment for their hearing loss promptly is at higher risk of dementia.
There have been studies that showed hearing loss that was treated with hearing aids reduced risks of cognitive decline and dementia.
Even though this information is important, the key to healthy hearing is preventative care. General health habits like diet and exercise help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
Follow Healthy Limits to Noise
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss from noise can occur instantly or gradually over time.
Some people live in bustling cities or work in loud environments, causing recurring exposure to unsafe levels of noise which could impact long-term health.
Here are tips on how to keep your hearing health safe:
Hearing health in children and teens is particularly important. Their bodies are still developing. They need to hear to learn and acquire social skills. Hearing loss impedes that process for social development and education, which can negatively impact work performance and income.
Sound Level Meter App
You may use a free or inexpensive sound level meter app to measure noise levels in any environment and determine whether you should leave the area for a quieter space.
Detect Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to know what the warning signs of hearing loss are so that you can immediately seek help. Oftentimes, it’s family members, friends, or co-workers who notice your hearing loss before you do. Here are some common signs:
This rounds up our work of raising awareness for Protect Your Hearing Month.
If you are noticing hearing loss, or if you haven’t had your hearing checked in a long time, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some assistive listening devices for a wide range of hearing loss.
Have you ever wondered if you heard a real noise, or if it was all in your head?
If you are hearing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound that nobody else around you hears, there’s a possibility that it is tinnitus. You should get it checked immediately by a hearing healthcare professional. After going over your medical history with them, they will examine your ear canal with an otoscope and check for earwax build-up. After carefully cleaning out the earwax, your hearing may be restored. If it’s not caused by earwax obstruction, a hearing test will be conducted.
If there is an obstruction or tinnitus, you may be referred to a physician. If there are no other obstructions present, i.e. a foreign object, and no other possible causes are found, you may have hearing loss. Tinnitus and hearing loss usually go hand-in-hand. If you are experiencing tinnitus, chances are that hearing loss is inevitable. Nearly 90% of individuals who have tinnitus, also have some range of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Tinnitus Assessments from a Hearing Healthcare Professional
At Pure Sound Hearing, our hearing care providers may conduct a pure tone audiometry test. This test would have a high chance of being administered if your tinnitus is single-sided (unilateral) or if you also experience hearing loss. The pure tone audiometry test will play a range of frequencies at different volume levels. Even if you cannot detect any difference in your hearing, this test can show areas where your hearing has weakened. Remember, hearing loss occurs gradually over time and you might not notice the loss until it becomes very severe. Catching your hearing problems early can potentially slow down the loss. You may be asked to repeat words back to your hearing healthcare provider so that they can hear how accurately a patient repeats these words.
Tinnitus is the perceived noise that a person hears, which cannot be heard by anyone else. Our specialists will use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. This practice involves playing audio clips to recognize which sound is closest to the sound that the person hears internally.
Our hearing instrument specialists may use a minimal level of masking to conclude whether a patient experiences tinnitus. This will also determine how loud a sound is conveyed. Our providers will play an audio clip at gradually increasing volume levels until the patient indicates that the external noises completely cover up the phantom sounds.
Your Experiences with Tinnitus
By discussing your tinnitus with our hearing instrument specialists, they will be able to help you understand how your symptoms are negatively affecting your daily life and overall well-being.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but the symptom of an underlying health condition. If you are noticing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to talk about the problems you are experiencing and we'll help you find a solution.
This blog has covered various causes of hearing loss. There’s noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), presbycusis, hearing loss that is caused by illness, infection, or may be present at birth. While playing sports is a great form of exercise and helps build teamwork skills, it may also lead to a higher risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. Athletes are more prone to injuries and tend to be exposed to excessive noises.
Hearing Loss in relation to Sports Injuries
Hearing injuries while engaging in sports on the field are one of the highest risks to an athlete. Damage to the ear or auditory system of the brain can be caused by a head or neck injury, which may lead to permanent hearing loss. In contact sports, like football, the injuries in athletes are more frequent. The majority of football players have experienced at least one concussion throughout their professional career. A number of them have had multiple head injuries, and endured damage to the inner ear or ear canal.
These head injuries do not only affect cells in the inner ear, but they could also cause harm to the bones in the middle ear, or obstruct the ear canal. This creates challenges for sounds to reach the inner ear. Concussions and head injuries may also induce symptoms of tinnitus.
The obvious loud noises that are associated with sports stadiums can also cause hearing loss. Athletes and fans express excitement over scores during live games. In addition to the music that plays during the games or at halftime shows, fans will cheer, shout, and stomp their feet. This can be overwhelming for the ears and cause hearing loss for athletes and fans.
Hearing loss usually goes unnoticed at first, so there’s a risk for athletes who participate in games where the noise is intense.
If You’re an Athlete, Protect Your Hearing
It’s important for athletes to wear hearing protection, when they are in high risk situations. It’s also important for them to avoid injuries while playing on the field. Wear earplugs that are customized for your ears, so that they don’t fall out while engaging in sports.
If You’re a Sports Fan, Protect Your Hearing
If you’ve been to live gaming events, there’s a chance that you have been exposed to harmful levels of noise. If you have left an arena and notice everything sounds muffled or hear a buzzing/ringing sound, that indicates the environment was too loud and there may be damage to your hearing.
Protect your hearing when you go to sports games, and encourage friends and family to do the same. You can easily purchase earplugs made from foam, plastic, or wax. You can tell if your environment is too loud if you find yourself shouting in order to communicate with someone who is sitting or standing right next to you.
Get Your Hearing Tested
There’s a higher risk of hearing loss among athletes, so regular hearing screenings and hearing tests need to be administered during their healthcare check-ups. Sports fans who regularly attend live sporting events, or even watch them on loud TVs, should also be conscious of their hearing health.
Start by getting a baseline hearing test. This will show you your specific hearing range. When you go to follow-up appointments, you can use the baseline hearing test results and compare them with your latest hearing test results. Getting treatment for your hearing loss can help you keep the hearing abilities you still have while slowing down further loss. It will also be easier to adjust to your hearing aid or assistive listening devices, to improve your overall hearing and health.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you are experiencing hearing loss. Our providers will patiently work with you to find the best solutions.
The ripple effect of hearing loss on your life and the life of your loved ones is serious, which is why it’s important to be aware of potential ways that you can lose your hearing.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
The only avoidable type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Being in a loud environment, like a concert or a noisy workplace, could pose a danger to your hearing health.
It’s important to practice preventative measures because once you lose your hearing, you cannot get it back.
Ears have tiny hair cells that help you hear. Once the hair cells are damaged, they cannot be reconstructed and hearing cannot be restored. This is why it’s so important to start protecting your ears at a young age. If you already have difficulty with hearing, it's still important to take precautions in order to slow down or prevent worsening symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus.
3 Hearing Loss Facts
Decibels: A Unit of Noise Measurement
Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Listening to sounds that are 85 dB or higher can eventually lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. Consider this “equation”:
volume level + length of time spent listening = risk of damage to your hearing health
Examples of Sounds and their Decibel Levels
Whispering - 30 dB (Safe noise level)
A humming refrigerator - 40 dB (Safe noise level)
Dishwasher - 45 to 65 dB (Safe noise level)
A conversation (with your normal speaking voice at arm’s length) - 65 to 80 dB. This is considered a safe noise level, but if you need to yell at someone during your conversation who is at arm’s length, the background noise is probably too loud.
Lawnmower - 80 to 100 dB. You may lose some of your hearing, so wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
A movie playing in the theater - 70 to 104 dB. Protect your ears by sitting far away from the speakers, and wear earplugs.
Motorcycles - 80 to 110 dB. Riding or being around a motorcycle after an hour can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs and then put on a helmet before you start your ride.
Sports events - 94 to 110 dB. Hearing loss can occur in less than half an hour at a sports game. A combination of a cheering and/or stomping crowd, and blaring music can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs.
Headphones - 96 to 110 dB. If you listen to music through headphones at the highest volume, you could lose some of your hearing within a few minutes. Protect your hearing by lowering the volume.
Rock concerts, parties, or nightclubs - 95 to 115 dB. Hearing loss can occur within a few minutes, so it’s important to wear earplugs. The band wears them as they play. Don’t stand near the speakers.
Sirens - 110 to 129 dB. The sirens from an ambulance, police car, or fire truck can cause some hearing loss in under a minute. When you see one of these vehicles approaching, get away from the noise, if it’s possible (you can close your car windows.) If you are outdoors, simply plug your fingers in your ears until after they pass by.
Fireworks - 140 to 160 dB. Fireworks are fun to watch, but they can harm your hearing. If a firecracker explodes close to your ear, you can completely lose your hearing. Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs, and watch from a safe distance.
Hearing Loss Warning Signs
Warning signs, such as pain or ringing in the ears, don’t occur until there is hearing damage. If you notice that loud noises aren’t as aggravating as they used to be, this indicates that you have lost some of your hearing.
You can figure out whether your environment is dangerous to your hearing if you need to yell at someone who is standing just a couple of feet away, in order to communicate with them. This means you should put your earplugs in, or go to a quieter space.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Just about everyone has experienced getting a song stuck in their head. But have you ever heard a tune that isn’t actually playing?
You could have a condition known as, musical ear syndrome (MES) or musical tinnitus. This is similar to tinnitus, except you hear music or singing when there’s no actual source for the sounds.
If you are experiencing this, be aware that this is NOT an early sign of dementia. However, it may be the result of hearing loss.
Let’s learn a little more about MES, treatment options, and whether there are tricks to lower the volume.
Musical Ear Syndrome: An Explanation
MES is a chronic condition that causes musical auditory hallucinations. It’s actually fairly common but rarely diagnosed. It’s derived from hearing loss, but the basic details of this condition are still unknown.
The brain gathers information from your five senses to help you understand your environment. When you have complications with your hearing, the brain won’t completely shut off its functioning. Instead, the brain will find something to replace the lack of ability to hear with a sound that will stimulate it. It essentially fills in the void with noises that it has heard in your different environments. An assortment of sounds can be produced. When it comes to MES, the brain will replace the void with music.
Do we know the causes of Musical Ear Syndrome?
Even though the logistics of MES are still being researched and studied, some causes of the syndrome have been identified.
1. Hearing Loss
Disregarding other hallucinatory or cognitive symptoms, hearing music that is not actually playing may be caused by hearing loss. It is possible to have MES and other conditions like dementia.
2. Wearing a Cochlear Implant
Some reported cases that caused MES includes the insertion or removal of a cochlear implant.
The connection between cochlear implants and MES has not been thoroughly analyzed, so there is insufficient information. A study on 82 patients, showed that 22 percent had developed MES - 7 prior to implantation and 11 post-implantation.
Some medications can induce hallucinations, which include auditory hallucinations. These instances generally include hearing voices or noises.
It is very uncommon that medications would cause MES. If you do notice that your medication is causing any type of hallucinations, mention it to your healthcare provider.
What are treatments for Musical Ear Syndrome?
1. Hearing Aids
Getting treatment for hearing loss could reduce the symptoms. If your hearing can be improved with hearing aids, that could help stop your brain from trying to fill in the blanks.
If your MES is not being induced by your medication and you have run out of options, other medications might help. Here are some medications that have been used to treat MES:
There are possible side effects to every medication, so talk to your healthcare provider before selecting a treatment option.
Changes in Your Lifestyle
Other things that you can do, besides hearing aids and medical treatments, are little changes to your daily routine that may reduce the impact of MES.
If you can hear, whether it’s with or without a hearing aid, add some external noises. This may seem unusual or unhelpful, but listening to music or background noise might deter your brain from creating its own noise.
Strategies to practice if the music is distracting you:
Activities to practice in order to lower stress in connection to MES:
MES happens when you hear music even when there’s no outer source that is creating it.
It is created in your brain. It is NOT a psychological problem or symptom of dementia. It’s generally caused by some range of hearing loss, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin.
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids could be a solution to MES. If you have MES, find out whether you have hearing loss by contacting us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
You may have heard or read about something called 'deaf anxiety'. Some people with hearing loss may experience feelings of anxiety due to their inability to hear clearly. In general, anxiety is a complex topic where each person who struggles with it reacts differently. Deaf anxiety can occur as a result of:
These things can happen on a regular basis and require a lot of effort.
Mental Health in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community
Over 11% of people with hearing problems have moderate to severe depression, and just over 19% experience mild symptoms of depression.
People with hearing loss are two times more likely than people with normal hearing to have mental health issues (anxiety and depression).
According to The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, one research study showed that there were significantly more symptoms of anxiety and depression among the deaf participants than among the hearing participants.
In some instances, the term ‘deaf gain’ has been viewed as something positive.
Deaf Anxiety Triggers
It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with anxiety is different, whether you have difficulty with hearing or not.
Here are some triggers that you might identify with:
It will take time, but practicing and learning how to manage these triggers is important in order to ease your worries and participate in life.
Managing Deaf Anxiety
Everyone has their own way of handling their anxiety. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Put headphones on
If you’re wearing headphones, there’s a lower chance of strangers who are unaware of your hearing problems trying and communicate with you. This way, if you are doing something mundane like shopping at the grocery store, you don’t need to be completely alert or forced to listen all of the time.
This should only be utilized when it’s necessary, otherwise, you’d be socially isolating yourself which can lead to depression.
2. Practice breathing exercises
Deeply inhaling, and exhaling helps slow down your heart rate. It’s great to help you mentally prepare when you are going to interact with someone that you don’t know.
3. Make an appropriate work environment for yourself
If possible, being able to create your own work environment can be very beneficial to managing your anxiety.
Ask your employer to make reasonable accommodations that will help to make you more productive.
4. Create an appropriate environment in your home
Make your home a sanctuary for relaxation and rest.
You don’t need any fancy electronics. Make sure you surround yourself with things that you love. That could be good food, comfortable furniture, and a clean space.
5. Read a book
Reading something new can give you more insight into something that you didn’t know much - or anything - about, or allow you to escape from reality for a little while.
You can find books on how to manage stress, improve communication, connect with others, and build the life that you want.
A good book can put you at peace with your life.
6. Practice mindfulness
Everyone has moments when they’re just going through their day, and they don’t stop to think about what they are actually doing or thinking about how they feel. You might not even be aware of your own abilities.
Instead of being stuck in the past, or worrying about the future, reduce your anxiety by simply being present.
This blog has mentioned exercise before. It’s not only good for the body, but it’s also good for the mind. It helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Simply going out for a walk or breathing in fresh air can help reduce anxiety.
8. Social events: Avoid going to the event altogether or leaving the event early
It may not be ideal, but you do have this option.
If you’re not in the mood or feel like you can’t handle a noisy environment for a party, work event, or socializing, it can be avoided.
You may try to attend for as long as you can, but if you need to you can leave early. The listening fatigue that you may feel can ruin your time, so for your own mental health, it’s okay to avoid some social events if you’re really not in the mood. But remember, don’t go overboard. This can lead to social isolation and depression.
9. Be your own advocate.
No one is going to advocate for you, if you don't advocate for yourself.
Recognizing your limits can be difficult to accept.
If something is not accommodating to your hearing needs, speak up and let your requirements be known.
You may not be able to control things in life, like your hearing loss or other people’s reactions to you, but you can control other aspects. Focus your energy on that.
Have your own support system. This can help you manage your anxiety.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule a free hearing test and consultation.
It’s important to protect your hearing health. Poor hearing can negatively impact your daily life, interactions with other people, your job, your income, and your overall health. This is why it is crucial to learn the difference between earplugs and earmuffs. Both of them can protect your ears, but they help in very different ways. It all comes down to your personal preferences. Before selecting hearing protection, do some research.
Protection for Your Hearing
Hearing protection can help preserve your hearing health and the health of your ears. They are meant to be worn either in or around your ears when you are in an environment with noise levels that exceed the average human’s hearing threshold of 80-85 decibels.
Devices used for hearing protection are made to decrease the risks of noise-induced hearing loss, which can be annoying and in some instances irreversible. Equipment used for hearing protection can help shield your ears from noise-related syndromes such as overall discomfort, hypertension, stress, and tinnitus. There are two primary types of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Let’s learn about their differences and similarities.
Earplugs will provide the most protection for those who wear them. Generally, they are small, shaped like a tube, and can be inserted in your ear canal. There are disposable and reusable versions. You may select foam earplugs, custom molded or preformed earplugs, musician earplugs, electronic earplugs, or non-linear acoustic earplugs that are filtered.
Earplugs are easy to take with you when you’re on the go, because they are small and lightweight. They are more affordable than earmuffs, and disposable earplugs are even less expensive than reusable ones. Earplugs are comfortable to wear, especially if you have to work in a hot, humid environment or an area that has confined space.
The downside of earplugs (both reusable and disposable) is that it takes extra time to place them in your ears correctly. They need to be properly placed in your ears in order for them to function at an optimal level. It is recommended that you place the earplugs in your ear’s canal, then use your fingers to dig them in and out of the canal until they feel comfortably fitted.
Good hygiene is important while touching your earplugs. Your hands should be clean whenever you handle your earplugs, otherwise, they can become infected or irritated with dirt and bacteria. Keep your earplugs in a case or purchase a pair with cords attached, so that you don’t misplace them.
Earmuffs have a basic design that is intended to block out noise. It looks like a headband that features ear cups on each end. The ear cups are donned on the outer part of the ear while utilizing the headband’s clenching force to ensure that it fits comfortably on the head as it obstructs loud sounds. You may select the standard earmuffs, click-onto helmet earmuffs, active electronic earmuffs, or active noise reduction earmuffs.
Earmuffs are easier to wear and remove than earplugs. They are usually worn in environments with an irregularity of noise. They are also designed to fit most head shapes. No matter what size your head is, you can find earmuffs that will fit. It’s easier to find and keep track of where your earmuffs are since they are larger than earplugs.
The less convenient aspects of earmuffs are that they are heavier and not easily portable. Due to their size and difficulty to travel with, earmuffs can also be a hassle to wear along with your current personal protective equipment (PPE). Earmuffs also tend to be uncomfortable to wear in warmer weather.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer hearing aid solutions, assistive listening devices, and hearing protection for your individual needs.
A study conducted on American adults explored the possible connection between hearing loss and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that blocks airflow from entering the lungs. When oxygen levels in your blood drop, this can harm your hearing by preventing healthy blood flow to your ears. Like all of the organs in your body, your ears need healthy blood flow to function properly.
Symptoms of COPD:
Causes of COPD include long-term exposure to:
Complications related to COPD:
When you have poor blood flow, this can negatively impact your hearing health. Just like all of the organs in your body, your ears need healthy blood circulation to function properly.
The best way to prevent COPD is to:
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss caused by COPD, or any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Raising Awareness on Health Education
National Health Education Week (NHEW) is observed during the third full week of October. This week raises awareness on health education and how it keeps us strong.
In 1995, the first National Health Education Week took place. Since the beginning, health education specialists have strived to raise awareness of their services and contribute to wellness and educating the next generation. Individuals in this field give knowledge, skills, and training to help healthcare providers, policymakers, educators, and other professionals make meaningful impacts on human wellness.
Health education is meant to improve people’s health, along with local communities, and the rest of the country. Educators focus on establishing a quality of life and longevity for each person while reducing premature deaths and disabilities. Health education that concentrates on preventative measures, helps to reduce the financial hardships from receiving medical treatment. Chronic conditions, such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, and diabetes make up over 75% of all funding that is annually spent on health care in the U.S. Educating more people is a major part of health status in this country. Without specialists teaching these important subjects, members of those communities can be negatively impacted.
October 21st focuses on advocating healthcare for vulnerable populations. This first day highlights groups that have historically been ignored and silenced. They may have felt this way due to their economic status, educational opportunities, environmental safety, or lack of access to health care. Trauma, socio-economic status, and discrimination can all raise the risks of developing a chronic disease.
Hearing loss falls under the category of chronic diseases. It is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S. and is more common than cancer or diabetes.
How to Promote National Health Education Week
1. Advocate for yourself and for others
Public policies have a critical impact on your long-term health.
2. Be social
National Health Education Week can be found on social media. A number of online tools and resources can be used to promote the value of health education.
3. Get a checkup
If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, schedule an appointment. If you are experiencing hearing loss and need hearing aids, schedule an appointment with us at Pure Sound Hearing.
According to a 2016 study from the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, wearing earplugs is effective in preventing temporary hearing loss that is caused by exposure to loud music over the course of several hours.
In a study on 51 adults (with an average of people who were 27 years old), researchers randomly selected 25 people and asked them to wear earplugs that were provided by the researchers while attending an outdoor concert. The other 26 concert attendees did not wear earplugs. The earplugs had a reduced rate of 18 decibels (dB). Before and after the 4.5-hour concert, a standard hearing test was conducted on each participant.
The authors of the report concluded that eight percent of the participants who wore earplugs for the duration of the concert had some temporary hearing loss; whereas 42 percent of the participants who did not wear earplugs experienced some hearing loss.
Tinnitus - a beeping, buzzing, hissing, ringing, etc. noise that can be caused by exposure to loud noises - was diagnosed in 12 percent of participants who donned earplugs, compared to 40 percent of participants who did not wear earplugs.
Hearing loss can be caused by a number of reasons from machinery used in a work environment to leisure activities. The only way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), is by wearing hearing protection - such as earplugs or earmuffs - or limiting the amount of time you are exposed to dangerous noise levels.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises or any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer many hearing aid styles and some assistive listening devices for your specific hearing needs.
The University of Michigan found that adults who received hearing aids shortly after experiencing hearing loss had reduced risks of anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, depression (caused by social isolation), and falls.
Only 12% of people who are diagnosed with hearing loss actually get hearing aids - even if their insurance helps cover the cost. There are also disparities in hearing aid usage among people who are part of different races, ethnicities, genders, and geographic locations.
A team from the University of Michigan studied reports from about 115,000 individuals who were over 66 years of age and experienced hearing loss. The people in this case study had insurance through Medicare HMO from 2008 and 2016.
As frequently mentioned in this blog, those who experience hearing loss are more prone to poor health events, and additional comorbidities. The study demonstrates how intervening affects a person’s health while showing the beneficial link between wearing hearing aids and the outcome of a patient's health.
Hearing aids cannot prevent anxiety, cognitive decline, depression, and falls, but they can delay the onset of dementia. Hearing aids have also been shown to improve how a person understands and responds to others.
Distinctions in Hearing Loss and Other Comorbidities
Analysts studied the patients who received hearing aids for three years and compared them to those who did not receive hearing aids. Discernable differences came to light.
Overall, the risk of being diagnosed with dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) within three years of experiencing hearing loss was 18% lower for those who used hearing aids. The risk of being diagnosed with anxiety or depression by the end of three years was 11% lower for those who used hearing aids, and there was a 13% lower risk of needing treatment due to a fall-related injury.
This study also supports past studies, which determined that individuals with hearing loss had significantly greater risks of dementia, depression, and injuries due to falls than the overall population.
Common Signs of Hearing Loss
The familiar warning signs for hearing loss are constantly asking others to repeat themselves, raising the volume on your TV, and missing parts of verbal conversations.
Modern digital hearing aids are available in small/discreet sizes and styles. They also feature Bluetooth® technology which allows you to stream phone calls, TV, and music directly into your hearing aids.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free pure-tone hearing test and consultation. Our hearing instrument specialists can help you select hearing aids and program them for your specific listening needs.
If you are noticing any hearing loss or trouble with communication, inform your hearing healthcare provider immediately. Treating hearing loss in a timely manner can reverse and slow down the hearing loss.
If you experience changes in your hearing, whether it’s struggling with phone conversations, having trouble hearing others in a crowded environment, or constantly turning the volume up on your TV or computer to the point where it bothers other people, you need to seek treatment.
Hearing loss impacts nearly 48 million people in the U.S. (that’s 20% of the population), and it becomes more common as you age.
The way that you communicate with others on a regular basis, is negatively affected. Relationships with family, friends, colleagues and healthcare providers can become strained.
The ability to hear your healthcare provider, so that you can understand their diagnosis and receive proper treatment can impact you for the rest of your life. Any range of hearing loss, whether it’s mild or profound, can diminish the ability you have to fully communicate with your healthcare provider and decrease your ability to share personal health information with them.
Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, or smoking habits, might raise your risks for hearing loss.
When should You see a Hearing Aid Specialist?
Here are a series of questions to reflect on to determine whether you should seek help.
If you answered “Yes” to at least one of these questions, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing assessment and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. They will go over possible treatment options which may include hearing aids and/or an assistive listening device.
When experiencing a health problem, you want to quickly get answers for it so that you can begin treatment options as soon as possible. The best and timely treatment can help get better and quicker results.
When you have a cold or allergy, you treat them with different medications. The same thing goes with hearing loss. When you give more details about your experiences and problems, it makes it easier to narrow down the possible causes and treatments. You can think about:
When thinking about these things, you can address the specific issues with your hearing loss, discuss the best treatment options for you, and then go back to living your best life.
What type of hearing loss am I experiencing?
Hearing loss can be classified under three categories: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, or mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most prevalent type of hearing loss. It occurs when the inner ear nerves and hair cells have deteriorated - as a result of age, exposure to excessive noise, an injury, or an illness. This type of hearing loss cannot be corrected with medication or surgery, but it can be treated with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage in the outer or middle ear. The blockage can be from earwax, fluid, a tumor, or even the way your ear is naturally formed. This obstruction prevents noise from traveling into the inner ear. Treatment options for conductive hearing loss include surgery or medication.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is simply a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Causes of hearing loss
There are a number of causes for hearing loss. The top two causes are aging and exposure to loud noises. Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are causes of sensorineural hearing loss.
Here’s a list of other less common forms of hearing loss:
How severe is my hearing loss?
The only way to find out is to get a hearing test by a trained professional on an audiogram. A number of tests will be administered, and there will be a record of your hearing thresholds. Your hearing instrument specialist will make note of the softest sounds that you are able to hear at various frequencies and tones. The results will be recorded on an audiogram - a visual depiction of the sounds you struggle to hear and how severe your hearing loss is.
Schedule an appointment A.S.A.P.
To get answers to these three questions, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing and schedule an appointment. Our providers will give you a hearing test, go over your results, and treatment options.
Did you know that you can experience noise-induced hearing loss, without even knowing it?
Our environments are getting louder and louder every year. Whether it’s due to traffic noises, machinery that’s used on the job, or attending a concert. Taking the proper precautions to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is not only easy to do once you know how, but you can protect yourself from future health problems that are linked to hearing loss.
As mentioned on this blog, there is a different segment of the population that is experiencing NIHL: Millennials. This generation is constantly using their smartphone to listen to music and podcasts, watch videos, and stream Netflix. And they are listening at dangerous volume levels.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NIHL is considered a global public health emergency. One in every 5 teens between the ages of 12-19, has quantitative hearing loss due to loud noise exposure. Currently, those who are at risk of NIHL are significantly high. The WHO estimates about 1.1 billion young people around the world experience NIHL. It’s important to raise awareness about this issue because NIHL is the only type of preventable hearing loss. Other forms of hearing loss can be present at birth, caused by different diseases, or can be the result of taking certain medications.
The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss that goes untreated can harm the heart and brain; lead to mental health problems such as depression, disrupt sleep patterns, and cause cognitive decline.
These things can affect your school and work performance, which can negatively impact your income. Don’t put your life or future at risk, especially when there are preventative measures that you can take.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time in their life. A one-time exposure to very loud noise - or even exposure to loud noises over a long period of time. Be aware of the noise levels in your environment, and protect yourself with earplugs, earmuffs, or by simply moving away from the source of the noise.
Damage to your auditory system can build up over time. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the higher risk you are at permanently damaging your hearing.
There are ways to protect yourself.
Keep the Volume Low
Previously, dangerous noise levels were considered to start at 85 dB. But recently that’s changed to anything over 70 dB (normal conversational tone). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), considers any sounds that are at 70 dB or lower to be safe.
Turn the volume down on your smartphone, record player, mP3 player, or whatever you prefer listening to your entertainment on. Sounds that reach 100 dB or more, can lead to permanent hearing loss in 15 minutes. You can change your settings to make your devices only reach 70 dB at the maximum level. Others even recommend listening at 50 percent of the overall volume range. It would be best to start out at the lowest setting, and gradually raise the volume to a comfortable setting.
Take breaks in between listening to rest your ears. These breaks can just be for a few minutes every hour. Stay as far away from speakers as possible, when attending a concert.
If there’s a noise you cannot control, simply walk away. If that’s not possible, use earplugs to block out noise. This includes using them in mundane settings like in a kitchen with a very loud oven timer, at a restaurant, in bars, at the subway, or when working out in a gym.
Try out some different earplugs, and test them out until you find a pair that you like and work for you.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s the best way to prevent possible hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are in need of hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. If you don’t have a way to protect your hearing, stop by one of our offices and get a pair of earplugs.
In this blog, we’ve discussed the various connections between our hearing health and overall health/well-being. Here, we'll be focusing on age-related hearing loss and depression.
Hearing Loss Studies and Conclusion
A study on depression in adults of Hispanic descent (aged 50+) discovered that symptoms of clinical depression were connected to hearing loss. The more serious a person’s hearing loss was, the more likely they were to experience depression. Another study associated hearing loss to higher risks of depression.
These studies led to the conclusion that hearing loss treatment may reduce risks of depression later in life.
Results of this study are parallel to what many hearing aid users attest to: they feel better and happier when they are able to hear others clearer, and participate more in life. Conversations are less of a struggle and they have more energy that’s not drained due to listening fatigue.
Being able to hear at an optimal level allows you to forge better relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and communicate easier with anyone that you may encounter in your day to day life.
If you or a loved one are having trouble with hearing, get started on your journey towards better hearing with our specialists at Pure Sound Hearing.
We're continuing our coverage on Deaf Awareness and Healthy Aging, by taking a deep dive into a better understanding of hearing loss and how it can accelerate symptoms of dementia.
By the year 2050, the number of people with dementia is predicted to increase from 50 to 150 million across the globe. There is currently no cure for this condition, but research has shown that it is possible to lower your risk through lifestyle changes. For example, exercise regularly, refrain from smoking and consuming too much alcohol, or seek help for health problems like diabetes and hypertension.
If you have hearing loss, it must be treated as it can lead to dementia. An article that was recently published in the Alzheimer’s Association Journal, confirmed this fact.
The article highlighted a common experience among individuals with hearing loss: the inability to hear speech sounds when there is too much background noise.
Finding the Origin of Dementia
There are a number of possibilities as to why hearing loss and dementia are associated with each other. People who have difficulty with hearing tend to socially isolate themselves, which leads to depression. The lack of socialization and a high rate of depression may lead to dementia.
There’s a possibility that dementia actually causes hearing loss. Dementia tends to develop long before a person receives a diagnosis. It usually manifests prior to obvious symptoms, such as problems with memory and other cognitive functions that become noticeable.
Current findings have shown that the diagnosis of dementia that occurs nine to 11 years after a hearing test, “insufficient and poor speech-in-noise hearing” was linked to a 54% and 85% increase of dementia.
This research adds to other evidence that treating hearing loss is helpful in the prevention or delay of dementia. It has been believed that if hearing problems are the origin of dementia, treating this may prevent 8% of dementia cases where patients do not show discernible symptoms.
Please be aware that there is ongoing research about this subject.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss - whether it’s mild, moderate, or severe - please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
One thing that many people with hearing loss miss out on is enjoying the music that they grew up listening to, or enjoying their time hearing live music at venues. It’s possible to appreciate music again.
Here are some recommendations:
1. Understand your current hearing capabilities and hearing aids. This will guide you in using the hearing
devices to their fullest potential.
2. Discuss solutions for listening to music with your
hearing instrument specialist.
3. Practice listening
8 Tips for Listening to Music with Hearing Aids
5 Tips for Musicians
Tips for Hearing Aid Usage
For People who use Hearing Aids
listening via earbuds, headphones, loudspeakers, and at live performances.
3. Discuss the impact of rehabilitation resources on the act of
listening over an extended period of time.
4. Oversee and keep a log on the use and effectiveness of ALDs
in various music settings.
For Musicians who use Hearing Aids
For Hearing Instrument Specialists
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and tinnitus, or any other hearing issues, please contact us at Pure Sound for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
As frequently mentioned in this blog, untreated hearing loss can negatively impact your overall health and quality of life. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss diminishes a person’s cognitive abilities, there are more incidences of depression, falls, hospitalizations, and higher risks of dementia due to social isolation.
What these studies fail to mention is how neglecting to seek help for hearing loss can devastate your social life, the ability to enjoy watching TV and movies, and the ability to enjoy listening to music or sounds of nature. It can also make you feel left out. Also, hearing loss that goes untreated could put your personal safety at risk if you are not fully attuned to your environment. You may find performing tasks on the job more challenging or might make mistakes more frequently. This can negatively impact your income.
Most people do not seek help, and instead, ask others to repeat themselves or turn the volume up on their preferred form of entertainment. This may be due to their own denial, lack of healthcare insurance, or the inability to afford to get help/get necessary treatment due to their personal financial situation.
In any case that involves a loved one’s health, support from family, friends, healthcare providers is crucial to their recovery and/or daily life.
What can be done?
Be available for your loved one. Patience and support are very important. You may not be able to know exactly what they are going through, but you can just be available to listen, advocate, and help them out with whatever they need.
Remind Them That You are also Affected by Their Hearing Loss
Give them a gentle reminder that you and others whom they interact with are also affected by their hearing loss. It might be the frustration of having to repeat things over and over again. Or it can be a safety concern that they might miss important warning sounds like sirens, alarms, an approaching vehicle, or news/weather alerts.
Raise Awareness on the Poor Quality of Life that is Associated with Hearing Loss
Mention the negative impacts that were mentioned at the beginning of this blog article. Also, let them know that there are so many positive outcomes to treating hearing loss. Adults who regularly wear hearing aids, every day from the moment they wake up to the moment when they are winding down to go to bed, reported significant improvements in their overall quality of life. Also, receiving early treatment for hearing loss can help prevent or slow down the risks of dementia.
If you are more worried about falling as a side effect of your hearing loss, it’s important to know that wearing hearing aids has been linked to a reduced risk of falls.
Steps to take towards Better Hearing
The longer they wait, the harder it will be to treat. Like with any health problem, untreated hearing loss worsens over time which could mean more costly treatment options or no other treatment options.
Get in touch with one of our hearing aid specialists at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
The five senses - hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling - help you, and other living animals, navigate through daily life. They not only help you enjoy the pleasures of life but also alert you of potential dangers that you may encounter.
The Sense of Hearing
The sense of hearing is the result of a reaction to mechanical stimuli, where vibrations from sounds are translated into nerve impulses that are received by the brain.
The Sense of Sight
The human eye has the ability to see when visible light is processed by the eye and interpreted by the brain.
The sense of touch is the result of a stimulus that becomes triggered and activates the sensory neuron. This stimulus notifies the area of the brain that is responsible for the specific body part.
The Sense of Taste
A chemical reaction occurs when a substance comes into contact with taste bud receptors, creating the sensation of taste.
The Sense of Smell
The sense of smell happens after the brain receives signals that molecules in the air attach to areas of the olfactory receptors.
If you are noticing changes in your sense of hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
A study from Geriatrics Healthcare Professionals concluded that there is a connection between osteoporosis and a greater risk of hearing loss. This study indicated that individuals who had moderate or high levels of hearing loss were 40% higher in the group who had osteoporosis. The test subjects (more than 144,000 women) were part of the research over several years. If you have osteoporosis, you should consider getting an annual hearing test.
Results from the Study
The research was conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as part of the Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS). They looked over data from about 144,000 women for up to 34 years. Data from two extensive Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS and NHS II were utilized. The studies were observing two large groups of female registered nurses. One group was established in 1976 and the other in 1989.
The study concluded that the risk of hearing loss was greater in women who had osteoporosis or LBD (Low Bone Density). Taking bisphosphonates did not lower the higher risk. They discovered that the risk of moderate or worsened hearing that occurred later was up to 40% higher in participants with osteoporosis or LBD.
Having a history of fractures in the vertebrae was linked to a 40 percent risk of hearing loss. This was not the same in the case of hip fractures.
There is still ongoing research on this subject. Future studies will observe whether the intake of calcium and Vitamin D has any impact on hearing loss since these are commonly used supplements to help prevent osteoporosis.
If you have osteoporosis - or notice hearing loss, you should regularly get a hearing test. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
Exercise is a great way to improve your strength and overall health. If you prefer being in a gym, or blasting music/media while exercising, please be aware that excessive workouts and blaring music/media can induce hearing loss or tinnitus.
Can Lifting Weights Lead to Hearing Loss?
Do your ears get clogged or plugged while exercising? Engaging in heavy exertion, like straining as you lift weights, leads to intracranial pressure (pressure in the brain). As a result, your ears also feel that pressure. If you also have the habit of holding your breath as you lift heavy weights, additional pressure is added to the inner ear. This is similar to the pressure you feel during take-off while sitting in an airplane.
How can you avoid this?
Clear your ears by yawning or practicing the Valsalva maneuver: Gently blow your nose, while keeping your mouth closed, and pinch your nostrils shut. Do not lift anything that’s too heavy, and NEVER hold your breath while lifting. If you are working out while you have a cold, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to also take a decongestant.
Do You Notice a Ringing in Your Ears, Post Exercise Session?
When there’s more pressure in your inner ears during or after intense workouts, this can cause perilymphatic fistula (PLF). It happens unexpectedly and the average person isn’t immediately aware of this pressure. PLF is basically a small tear or deformity in the thin membrane located between the inner ear and the middle ear. The tear can be caused by built-up pressure in the inner ear that happens due to excessive straining. A shift in your hearing occurs when the strain from your workout causes fluid from the inner ear to leak through the tear and into the middle ear.
The symptoms of this may include tinnitus, feelings of fullness in the ears, dizziness, and in some instances sensitivity to normal noises.
Exercise Advice and Precautions for Hearing Health
Your hearing can be negatively impacted by exercise in two central ways:
What You Should Do
How will you know if a gym or workout room is too loud?
If you need to shout in order to communicate with someone who is close-by, your environment is too loud.
Also, if you leave the gym or workout room and notice ringing ears and muffled hearing, you probably have damaged hearing.
When should you get help?
Do not hesitate to practice a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, but remember to be aware of your surroundings and what you can safely handle when working out. If you notice feelings of fullness in your ears, dizziness, muffled hearing, or tinnitus after an intense workout routine, seek help immediately. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment.