Severe/profound hearing loss (SPHL) can be more than just a worsened state of mild/moderate hearing loss.
Anyone who has mild/moderate hearing loss can experience frustrations while communicating. This can lead to socially withdrawing from others because it becomes too challenging and requires too much effort. As we’ve all been made well aware of, we know that becoming too isolated can cause depression.
The strain of trying to hear others, or read their facial expressions can cause a person with hearing loss to become fatigued. When others communicate with you, they may not be accommodating to your listening needs.
SPHL is Apparent on a Daily Basis
Anyone who has SPHL has difficulty with communication in every conversational situation. It doesn’t matter if the room is loud or quiet.
This obstacle hinders your capacity to form and maintain relationships that are crucial to functioning in society. It’s how we understand ourselves and know where we fit in.
Not only does SPHL cause a hindrance in communication, but you may also experience other negative circumstances:
SPHL influences Mental Health
Any roadblocks that interfere with relationships that you have with others will affect the way you see yourself. This can lead to mental health issues, i.e. anxiety and depression. These two factors escalate social isolation, which is already compounded by poor communication skills.
It’s important to point out that very high levels of depression and anxiety can even be found in those with healthy hearing, who regularly communicate with people who have SPHL. In other words, the main concern isn’t necessarily hearing loss, but the interruption of a natural flow of communication between two or more people.
Getting Help for SPHL
Patients with SPHL need the best intervention immediately. Providing the proper hearing aids, along with auditory training, can guide them to their best hearing. Getting in touch with others, in a safe manner, who are going through the same problems can be of help. Peer support for any dilemma, including hearing loss, can be effective. Knowing that others have gone through the same or similar experiences can give you hope.
If you are noticing any range of difficulty with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
It can feel scary and isolating when you lose your hearing. The subject isn’t always easy to broach. You may feel self-conscious about your hearing loss, or even from wearing hearing aids.
You can feel less alone knowing that people who have hearing problems are more common than you’d think.
If you think that you are losing your hearing, here are three steps you can take to guide your way toward a healthy hearing journey.
Do some research on Different Technology that’s Available
You may think that hearing aids are big, ugly, clunky devices that sometimes make a squealing noise. That’s no longer the case today. Modern hearing aids have a sleek design, and many are so discreet that they can’t be seen by the untrained eye.
Schedule a Hearing Test
In some cases, hearing loss won’t become a major issue if you seek immediate help. Get your hearing tested as soon as you begin to notice trouble with your hearing. They are free in most cases.
A hearing test that is conducted by a professional can detect whether you have hearing loss, along with answers and suggestions on how to treat it.
Discuss Your Hearing Loss with Family or Close Friends
Hearing loss can lead to isolation, which can turn into depression. It can change the way you navigate through your day. It’s always a good idea to talk to family and friends so they can better understand what you are dealing with. You might even want to ask one of them to tag along with you to any hearing care appointments that you may have.
If you have any concerns about the process or feel like you need to speak with someone who has similar experiences to your own, check out the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).
Book an appointment for a complimentary hearing test and consultation at Pure Sound Hearing. We have offices located in Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Strasburg.
Do you know that there have been numerous studies on the link between heart health and hearing health?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. One in four deaths is caused by heart disease. This is our reminder to you: having a healthy heart is crucial to maintaining healthy hearing.
How is heart function related to your ear health?
Blood circulation throughout the body impacts your ear health. The microscopic hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear) only thrive when there’s a healthy amount of oxygen that goes into the blood.
Heart disease may reduce the amount of blood that comes in contact with the cochlea, which can deteriorate them and impair the way they function when sounds enter the ears. When these delicate cells become weak and damaged, they cannot regrow - this is what leads to permanent hearing loss, especially low-frequency hearing loss.
The Heart and Hearing Health Connection
According to this study, having a personal history of heart problems in addition to obesity, smoking, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) contributed to both low and high-frequency hearing loss.
In a different study conducted by analysts from Miami University in Ohio, the test subjects who were more physically fit and healthy had better scores on their hearing screenings, particularly among people who were over 50 years old.
More exercise to boost heart health along with other lifestyle changes, like diet or smoking habits, can affect heart and hearing health for the better.
Improve the way you eat by following a heart-healthy diet. Eat fruits, whole grains, and vegetables instead of foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.
Quit smoking. We are all well aware of the health risks when it comes to smoking. In addition to damaging your lungs, smoking can increase your risk of getting heart disease.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or can no longer hear clearly, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing healthcare providers. We offer hearing aids and assistive listening devices that can get you back on track towards healthy hearing.
Maybe you know a thing or two about what it’s like to have hearing loss, but here are 16 facts that you may not know about.
If you or a loved one are noticing hearing loss, get your hearing checked immediately. A hearing test and proper treatment can help save hearing loss or slow it down from getting worse. Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Do have hearing loss and experienced the frustrations of communicating with people at a hospital? Here are some tips for managing your hearing loss during a hospital visit.
Hearing loss can be equally as important to address as the healthcare emergency that landed you in the hospital. Not being able to completely understand the medical professionals who are taking care of you can be just as scary as your health emergency.
Hospitals can be busy and noisy. People rush in, there are loud machines or announcements over the intercoms, and all sorts of people - from personnel to other patients and their loved ones - are around you and talking all at once. From masked staff members to healthcare workers with unfamiliar accents, it can be overwhelming.
It’s important not to guess or tell people who are helping you that you understand what they are saying when you don’t. An incorrect response could put your entire health at risk.
A lot of people, particularly the older population, go to the hospital without hearing aids. Many people with hearing loss don’t even have hearing aids due to financial reasons, or denial about their hearing loss.
When you are in a noisy and busy environment, like a hospital, your hearing loss can lead to more problems.
People who have Hearing Loss are More Prone to Hospitalizations
Approximately 40 million adults in the U.S. have some range of hearing loss and are more likely to require hospital care. According to research from Johns Hopkins, of these 40 million adults, untreated hearing loss has a 17 percent higher risk of visits to the emergency room. They are also more likely to stay in the hospital, spend more days in the hospital, and have a 44 percent risk of being readmitted within 30 days.
Practices the Hospitals can Implement
Hospitals can help patients with hearing loss by:
Make sure to Advocate for Yourself, or Get Help from a Loved One
Let staff, personnel, and other medical professionals know that you have hearing loss. If necessary, caregivers may need to take on this role.
It is very important that you speak up about your hearing loss, and ask for accommodations. Hearing loss is an invisible disability. On rare occasions, patients have been sent to the “behavioral health” unit where individuals with mental health issues go after misunderstanding or mishearing a question, or even misspeaking.
Wearing Hearing Aids in the Hospital
Even though it is recommended to wear hearing aids from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, some people leave them at home because they are afraid of losing them.
If you decided to do this, alert the hospital staff about your hearing loss. Ask for a hearing amplifier. Plan ahead of time and practice using captioning apps. Otter is a great choice. With this app, conversations can be transcribed in real-time on your smartphone. For legal reasons, hospitals cannot provide this for you, but you may use it yourself.
If you choose to bring your hearing aids, and they need to be recharged, bring your charger along. The hospital that you go to might be able to track down a charger for you. Remember to carry extra batteries. You can always ask staff members if they have hearing aid batteries available for you.
Hearing is Important to make Proper Medical Decisions
Making medical decisions can happen at any stage during your hospital visit, especially if you arrived for an emergency. Whether you can hear or have trouble with hearing, it can be difficult to understand complicated or unfamiliar medical terms/procedures.
Whenever possible, have a friend or family member with good hearing and concentration involved in your decision. You may also use a transcriber on your phone. Make sure it’s accurate, and get help from the medical staff to verify its accuracy. If you find it too distracting to listen and watch at the same time, record the conversation and read the transcript at a later time.
Remind doctors, nurses, and other staff members that you are hard of hearing and ask them to speak up or repeat themselves when necessary.
What if Your loved one won’t Admit They Have Hearing Loss?
You cannot assume medical staff members will notice that your loved one has hearing loss. On average, only about half of the staff employees will be able to recognize this. Make sure that you inform staff members during the initial admittance and when seeing new medical staff members that your loved one has difficulty with hearing. This is especially important in hospice care and nursing homes.
If you or a loved one, experiences hearing loss and want an easier experience interacting with medical staff, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. We offer assistive listening devices that can help make your emergency visits pan out better, or we can show you how to use transcription apps.
If this is the year you plan to travel, take a much-needed vacation, or have a long-awaited family reunion, you’ll want to cherish those moments by being able to hear as best as you can.
A few ways that you can prepare for this are by receiving a hearing test, a new hearing aid upgrade, a professional hearing aid cleaning, or maybe a repair.
After extensive periods of isolation and communication with masks, you’re probably anticipating a reconnection with loved ones through conversations, laughter, and the simple joy of each other’s company in person.
Our hearing instrument specialists are ready to help you with the professional care that you deserve.
If you currently experience hearing loss, protect your hearing from getting worse and discover what helps you hear better.
How to Stop Your Hearing from getting Worse
Medication and surgery are not treatment options for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Hair cells that are damaged cause permanent hearing loss, so it’s very important to protect your hearing. If you experience hearing loss, here are some tips to stop or slow down the additional loss.
Consider a Device to Help You Hear
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD)
If you or a loved one notices a change in hearing abilities, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Two National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publications have recommendations on the best practices in preventing hearing loss. The first is Criteria For a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure and the other is Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss – A Practical Guide.
In 1983, a hearing conservation program was required to be implemented if a worker’s noise exposure was equivalent to or greater than an 8 hour time-weighted average sound level of 85 dBA.
The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for job-related noise exposure (85 dBA, decibels A-weighted, as an 8-hour time-weighted average). An updated risk assessment reconfirms this level and time of exposure for 85-dBA REL.
In regards to hearing protection, NIOSH noted that the noise reduction rating (NRR), a single-number according to a laboratory-approved rating, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires to be displayed on labels of every form of hearing protection that is sold in the U.S. is insufficient. NIOSH recommends calculating the noise exposure to the person who uses hearing protection in a work environment. The NRR should be derated by subtracting from the NRR 25%, 50%, and 70% for industrial-strength earmuffs, formable earplugs, and all other styles of earplugs.
A Guide to Preventing Hearing Loss on the Job
NIOSH published Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss - A Practical Guide in 1996. Practical modifications can be made as followed:
The most successful programs for hearing loss prevention all feature the following eight elements:
Learn about accommodations that can be made by your employer, so that you and your company get the most out of your workspace.
If you are noticing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers.
Pay Attention to Hearing Loss
In some cases, hearing loss is immediately noticeable. In other instances hearing loss can start to occur before you realize that you can no longer to hear certain sounds or comprehend speech. Loss of hearing can happen due to nerve damage in the ear, which results in your brain not being able to interpret speech the same way that healthy ears can. Hearing loss can be temporary or become permanent. Either way, seek help as soon as you notice there’s something wrong with how well you can hear. Temporary hearing loss can become permanent when essential parts of the ear are damaged and cannot be restored.
Hearing Loss caused by Loud Noise
Loud noise is incredibly detrimental to the inner ear (cochlea). It only takes one very loud exposure to noise or listening to loud sounds for a lengthy amount of time, to induce hearing loss. Cells and membranes found in the cochlea can become damaged from loud noise. Over-stimulation from listening to loud noises for an extensive amount of time can exhaust hair cells, which can cause them to die off. They cannot regrow. This is what causes permanent hearing loss.
Hearing loss can become progressive if the exposure to loud noise continues. Additional harm can affect hearing health after the noise exposure ends. Any damage to the inner ear or auditory neural system is usually permanent.
The Harm that is done to Hair Cells can Accelerate Hearing Loss
On average, each person is born with approximately 16,000 hair cells which are located in their cochlea. These cells let your brain identify sounds. Nearly 30% to 50% of hair cells can be harmed or destroyed before shifts in your hearing become measurable through a hearing test. When you start to notice hearing loss, numerous hair cells are already destroyed and beyond repair.
After attending a loud event like a concert, you may have a hard time hearing. Quiet voices may sound muffled or you might experience tinnitus. If no damage was done, your hearing will usually return within a couple of hours or a few days. Like blades of grass, hair cells will curve a little more if the sound is louder. They will straighten out after it recovers from being in contact with the sounds.
In other instances, if loud noise destroys too many hair cells, some will die. Recurring exposure to loud noise can eventually damage a lot of hair cells. You may slowly have a harder time understanding others when they speak, especially if there’s background noise. If hearing loss progresses, it could become more challenging to comprehend speech in quiet environments.
Noise Exposure can Harm Nerves in the Ears
Noise can also harm the auditory nerve that transfers information about sounds to the brain. Early damage may not appear on your hearing test, but it can cause ‘hidden hearing loss’. This can make it challenging to understand speech in noisy settings. Loud noise exposure can impact your ability to hear as you age. It also impacts how quickly you might develop hearing loss, even when you are not exposed to noises.
If you or a loved one are noticing any changes in the ability to hear, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
In a survey conducted by the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association, the topic of tinnitus awareness was discussed.
Approximately 82% of hearing aid providers from the panel revealed that their patients are informed about the connection between hearing loss and tinnitus, leaving 18% who said that their patients are not aware of this association.
One out of 8 people experiences tinnitus. Two-thirds of individuals who have tinnitus, also experience hearing loss. In most instances, hearing loss may be the source of the tinnitus. There are numerous people who, unfortunately, are unaware that they have both symptoms.
The Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Combo
Finding out that you have tinnitus is similar to finding out that you have hearing loss. If you have difficulty hearing high frequencies, the tinnitus usually sounds like a high-pitched beeping, ringing, or hissing sound.
Some individuals who have hearing loss may be able to recognize tinnitus more easily. This is due to their inability to hear as many sounds in their environment that could mask the noises.
Wearing a hearing aid might help with hearing loss and tinnitus. Many digital hearing aids can be programmed to cover up tinnitus by making other sounds slightly louder.
People frequently mistake their tinnitus as the main problem, when it’s the hearing loss that’s causing their frustration. So it’s important to educate and raise awareness about the affiliation between hearing loss and tinnitus. This will help to prevent some of the hardships that may arise and provide the proper resources to help them.
If you or a loved one believe you may be experiencing tinnitus and hearing loss, or only hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Are You a Hearing Aid User with an Active Lifestyle? Here are some Tips for Keeping Your Hearing Aids and Hearing Health in Shape.
Exercise is an important part of maintaining your overall health. If you’re a hearing aid user who practices physical exercises regularly, it’s advised that you wear your devices during workout sessions.
3 Reasons why Hearing Aids should be used during Exercise Routines
Be prepared by bringing Hearing Aid Gear during Workouts
To get the most out of your workout, reduce distractions and feel confident while wearing your hearing aids by being prepared. Here’s a suggestion of supplies you should keep with you.
How to take care of Your Hearing Aids after Your Workout
If you frequently work out, be cautious about wear and tear. This will help your hearing aids last longer, after each workout session.
Keep up an Active Lifestyle
According to the Hear the World Foundation, 70 percent of hearing aid users have said that they wear their hearing aids while participating in sports and did not experience any problems. About 37 percent of users said they enjoy participating in sports more when wearing them. So if you aren’t already wearing hearing aids while playing sports, try it out.
Be aware of Dangerous Noise Levels in the Gym
Gyms are well-known for blasting music too loudly during workout sessions. This can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. If you lift very heavy weights, while holding your breath, this can also cause hearing loss and tinnitus. It’s important to protect your ears from lesser-known risks to hearing health. Special settings can be programmed into your hearing aids for all sorts of environments, like gyms.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing and talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists about programming a customized setting in your hearing aids before your next visit to the gym, or workout session from home.
Do you have older family members who lost their hearing when they were younger, or have experienced difficulties with their balance or even dizziness? Talk to them and learn more about their health issues, it could be genetic.
Hearing Loss within the Family
Types of hearing loss, like presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), can be affected by genetic factors. Essentially, you can acquire an increased risk of hearing loss as you age.
More research is required, but in a study on 376 Caucasian families, genetic influences are a part of presbycusis. The study also noted that even though men generally have more instances of hearing loss, mainly due to noise exposure in traditionally male-dominated jobs, women’s hearing loss was mainly caused by genetic factors.
It is difficult to sift through other components that may impact these studies - such as people’s behaviors that can lead to hearing loss. Families may share the same occupations and habits, so it’s unknown as to whether it’s their genes or the similar behaviors that are connected to hearing loss. It may be a combination of the two.
Be Curious About Your Family‘s Health History
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have stressed the importance of learning about your family’s health history and helping you reduce the risks of developing any potentially avoidable health issues. It is recommended that you create a list of immediate family members, and ask if they have any chronic or severe illnesses and what age they developed them. Share this information with family members and your family doctor. This information can help your doctor determine the proper tests and what age you should start these screenings.
Otosclerosis occurs when there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear and affects the stapes bone. Some symptoms of otosclerosis include a gradual loss of hearing, usually struggling to hear low-pitched sounds. Other symptoms may include dizziness, tinnitus, or problems with balance.
The risks of developing otosclerosis are based on your family’s history with the disease. It is usually a genetic problem that is passed from parent to child. A child who has one parent that was diagnosed with otosclerosis has a 25 percent chance of developing the disease. There’s a 50 percent chance if both parents have the disease. The demographic that is at most risk are middle-aged white women.
Conductive hearing loss can be the result of the disease. Surgery can usually fix this problem. In rare instances, otosclerosis can damage sensory cells and nerve fibers located in the inner ear, which can induce sensorineural hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss or difficulty with hearing for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, and be caused by anything. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid it. You can reduce those chances by being aware of possible symptoms. The obvious factors, like a loud blast or repeated exposure to intense noises, are obvious causes of hearing loss, but one lesser-known cause is weight gain.
The holidays have ended, and you may have noticed some weight gain after eating all of those delicious foods.
How Obesity Impacts Hearing Health
Obesity can be a heated topic for many people, but some things are undeniable about it: cholesterol that builds in the arteries can lead to blood clots and inhibit proper blood flow. Like every functioning organ in the body, blood flow is needed to make sure that your ears function properly. Bad cholesterol levels that obstruct your arteries cause strain, and as a result, your ear health can be permanently damaged. Obesity is not a direct cause of hearing problems, but there is a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss due to other health factors and obesity can worsen these issues.
What Changes Can You Make to Lower Your Risks?
You can avoid hearing loss by:
You can have high cholesterol whether you are obese or not, so it’s still important to monitor your diet.
If you, or a loved one, are noticing hearing loss contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Temporary hearing loss can be caused by so many different factors, including infections, impacted earwax, or exposure to loud noises. In many instances, this type of hearing loss is mild and it goes away very quickly. In other cases, consistent or severe hearing loss that suddenly progresses should always be addressed by your hearing healthcare provider. Here’s a list of the most common causes of temporary hearing loss.
5 causes of Temporary Hearing Loss
1. Middle Ear Infections
If the region behind the eardrum fills up with bacterial fluid, there’s a good chance that an infection will develop. It’s important to note that the middle ear has a passageway that leads to the back of the throat, so an ear infection can spread due to the flu or virus. These infections are usually found in children, and they may briefly affect their hearing abilities. Typically, only one ear is affected.
An infection in the middle ear can cause fluid build-up as the body tries to fight against the infection. Ear pressure caused by the fluids can affect the middle ear bones, which are used in hearing. In some instances, these fluids create a lot of pressure to the point where the eardrum can become punctured and discharge blood and pus from the ear. A ruptured eardrum can be painful, but it can usually heal itself when the infection is gone.
You can use antibiotics to treat these infections. If you are given an antibiotic for your ear infection, do not stop taking them because you are feeling better. It’s important to continue taking the medication until the infection is gone to make sure the infection is completely gone. Please be aware that some antibiotics can cause hearing loss. Talk to a hearing healthcare provider when considering treatment options.
2. Swimmer’s Ear
If you have recently gone swimming and now have itchy ears, pain, or feelings of fullness in the ears, you might have swimmer’s ear. This is an outer ear infection that occurs in the outer canal when water stays in your ear after being submerged in a body of water. It can infect one or both ears, and it can cause ear pain.
Did you scratch your ears and can’t hear? Swimmer’s ear can also occur as a result of an abrasion or a scratch on your ear canal from using cotton swabs, hairpins, or your finger to clean your ear canal. Please refrain from placing anything small inside your ear canal. This can damage your eardrum.
Again, you can use antibiotics to treat this infection. Your hearing can go back to normal with the proper treatment. Take preventative measures by making sure you get rid of any water that gets trapped inside your ear canal.
3. Loud Noises
Any exposure to very loud noises - whether you’re at a concert, or using power tools without ear protection - can cause temporary hearing loss.
What causes this to happen? The inner ears feature tiny hair cells that gather and transmit sound waves to the brain. These hair cells can become damaged due to very loud noise exposure. It normally affects both ears, although the severity of hearing damage can be worse in the ear that was exposed to more noise. There is usually no pain. Noise-induced hearing loss is sometimes permanent.
As soon as you realize your ears have been damaged, rest your ears immediately. If possible, refrain from being exposed to any more noise by using earplugs or covering your ears with your hands.
In most cases involving exposure to loud noises, the hearing should return in a short amount of time. There may be some permanent damage to the ear’s hair cells. If your hearing does not get better in a day or so, seek professional help.
Remember to carry earbuds or earmuffs that help block out loud noises, if you’re going to be in a loud environment.
A combination of continuous muffled hearing and ringing ears is a sign of tinnitus, which can be caused by exposure to loud noises. Be mindful of the volume, and turn it down on your devices. Where hearing protection.
4. Earwax Buildup
Earwax helps trap dust and other tiny particles that enter your ears before they reach your eardrums. Earwax naturally falls out of your ear canals, but sometimes the wax becomes impacted and obstructs the ear canals. This blockage can lead to sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, which can interfere with sound waves as they make their way through the ear canal and towards the eardrum. A malfunctioning eardrum can lead to poor hearing. It can affect one or both ears and usually doesn’t cause pain.
5. Side Effects from Medication
Some easily accessible drugs, like aspirin, have been connected to hearing loss and tinnitus in both ears. If you notice anything different about your hearing after taking a new medication, inform your healthcare provider. You may be advised to switch medications. This form of hearing loss is typically temporary, but there are some instances - particularly if another medication isn’t available for serious conditions - when hearing loss can become permanent.
Don’t ignore hearing loss, whether it’s temporary or you have been experiencing it for a while now. Untreated hearing loss can worsen and cause additional problems other than the inability to hear.
Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
Sounds are heard through vibrations, A.K.A. sound waves that come in contact with our ears. The brain then interprets those vibrations as either speech, music, or other sounds.
The Outer Ear
The outer ear - the anatomy of the ear that you and others see externally - harnesses sound waves into the ear canal. Sound waves move through the ear canal until it reaches the eardrum.
The Middle Ear
Harnessed sound waves cause the eardrums to vibrate. These vibrations are transferred to three tiny bones in the middle ear. These bones make the sound vibrations louder and transmit them to the inner ear.
The Inner Ear
A small snail-shaped structure that is full of fluid and located in the inner ear is known as the cochlea. Vibrations of sound create waves in the cochlear fluids. When the waves reach their highest, the tiny hair cells bend, and the vibrations are turned into electrical signals. The tiny hair cells are called stereocilia, which are receptors that can recognize the sound.
The Auditory Nerve
Electrical signals from the inner ear are transferred to the brain through the auditory nerve. The brain interprets the signals as sounds that you identify and comprehend.
If you are having trouble with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Whether you are listening to nature sounds, the noise of laughter after a funny joke, or becoming aware of a warning signal from an emergency, hearing is a fundamental part of life.
Think about the ways that hearing, or the lack of hearing, impacts your life.
1. Be Aware of Initial Signs of Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization reports that over 466 million people have a disabling form of hearing loss. It is crucial to be aware of the first signs of hearing loss so that you can immediately seek help. Immediately getting help from a healthcare provider can potentially save your hearing. If you notice muffled sounds when others speak, trouble hearing over the phone or in a crowded area, struggle hearing women’s or children’s voices, or other family members or colleagues notice you can’t hear very well, get a hearing test.
2. Reduce Exposure to Noise
The only preventable form of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), yet it is the most prevalent form of hearing in children and adults. Make sure you wear hearing protection before being exposed to things like loud music, fireworks, or power tools. If possible, avoid these areas altogether or limit the amount of time you spend there.
Be aware that your work environment may also cause hearing loss. Your employer is responsible for providing any hearing protection - such as earplugs or industrial style ear muffs - that you may need as a result of being exposed to loud noises on the job.
3. Do Not stick anything inside Your Ear Canal
Many people have the habit of using cotton swabs in their ear canal. It’s a dangerous habit that can injure your ears.
Inserting anything into your ear canal, like cotton swabs, actually pushes the earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can cause impacted earwax. If you must remove excess earwax, wipe it off of your ears with a warm soft cloth after your shower or bath. You may also soften the wax using ear drops, warm olive oil, water, or a commercial solution. It is not advised to use any of these if you have a perforated eardrum. If you are noticing any pain, hearing loss, or blockage, please contact us for an evaluation.
4. To Hear Healthy, Eat Healthy
A proper diet and exercise are not only beneficial to hearing health, but also to your overall health.
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes should be incorporated into a well-balanced diet. To help with the steady flow of inner ear fluid, eat potassium-rich foods like bananas. Consume other foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as folate, magnesium, and zinc.
Take a look at these articles for more advice on what to eat to improve your hearing:
Which Vitamins and Minerals May Help Stop Hearing Loss?
What Seasonal Autumn Foods can Improve Your Hearing Health?
5. Get Your Hearing Tested on a Regular Basis
Just like your other annual health check-ups, hearing health should be tested every year. Getting regular check-ups on your hearing can help catch any potential issues that you may have. Noticing problems early can help avert more serious situations in the future.
Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer a number of hearing aids that can be programmed and tailored for your specific listening needs.
Most would argue that our sense of hearing and our sense of sight are the most important senses. If either of these senses weakens - especially as we age - it needs to be treated immediately.
Anyone who receives eyeglasses, contact lenses, or Lasik surgery usually doesn’t wait until it gets so bad that it becomes irreversible.
The reason behind this is because the impact of vision loss is immediate, and it’s more obvious that it needs to be treated. The inability to drive, read, use a computer, or watch TV is serious, and it’s more evident than hearing loss.
That’s not the case with hearing loss.
3 Reasons why Hearing Loss goes Untreated
1. Hearing loss sometimes happens gradually, so it’s not immediately noticeable unless you get a hearing test. Hearing tests are generally not automatically given to patients unless they voice concerns to their healthcare provider.
2. Another reason may be that most people don’t take it seriously. They may think, “It’s not a big deal.”
3. Not being able to afford hearing aids is a major factor that goes into untreated hearing loss.
6 Myths about Hearing Aids
1. “They make too many squeaking noises.”
A squeaking noise can easily be fixed with help from your hearing instrument specialist. They can make readjustments for a better fitting hearing aid.
2. “There is no treatment for hearing loss.”
Even though hearing loss is irreversible, you can still do something to help slow down the loss and save your brain from cognitive decline. Hearing aids can amplify sounds, and use directional/omnidirectional microphones to hear others in your surroundings. Anyone with mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss can get help with hearing aids. A professionally trained hearing instrument specialist can program your devices to hear sounds that you couldn’t without your hearing aids.
3. “My primary healthcare provider would have informed me that I have hearing loss.”
As previously mentioned, general practitioners are too busy to give patients a hearing test. So unless you mention any problems with your hearing, they won’t test your hearing. In a recent poll, 80 percent of adults over 50 stated that their doctor did not ask them about their hearing in the past two years. One-third of patients have not had their hearing tested for over a decade.
4. “Hearing aids are too complicated.”
The latest hearing aid technology has become more complex with advancements that make using them easier.
Rechargeable hearing aids allow users to place the hearing aids in a charger so that it eliminates the hassle of changing batteries.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and programmed sound processing technology will automatically hone in on speech and block out distracting background noises. Sounds are detected based on the direction from which it emanates, and automatic or manual adjustments can be made so that you can hear your best in any environment.
If you are tech-savvy and prefer playing around with hearing aid features and apps, you have the freedom to do so.
If you are less tech-savvy, and simply need to put them on when you wake up and remove them before going to bed, a hearing instrument specialist can install programs and settings for you. All you need to do is wear them.
5. “Hearing aids will make me stick out and look old.”
Even though people of all ages wear hearing aids, for some, there is still a stigma around wearing hearing aids. In today’s society, that stigma is going away:
6. "Hearing aids are not worth the cost."
Throughout this blog, we’ve discussed the potential strains on a person’s mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life if their hearing loss goes untreated. With time and patience, hearing aid users eventually discover life’s benefits of wearing their hearing aids on a regular basis.
One way to get affordable hearing aids is through Pure Sound Hearing. Contact us to schedule a free hearing test and consultation. Our providers will help you select the right hearing aids for your specific needs.
It’s very difficult to escape from noises that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. Kids and teens have a lower hearing threshold than the average adult, making them more vulnerable to hearing loss.
They are often placed in noisy settings like a loud band room, or they are constantly listening to loud music, media, or video games with their headphones. Toys that make too much noise can also be dangerous.
According to the CDC, about 14.9% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some range of hearing loss. Parents should be more aware of this. Dangerous noises that we often come across include:
The closer you are to the source of the sound, the louder it will be. Under these conditions, children are at higher risk of hearing loss. Spending one evening to see fireworks up close could instantly lead to hearing loss. Their daily environment at school can be too noisy, from bells ringing to loud chatter in a crowded hallway.
One of the main causes of hearing loss in children is dangerous listening habits. Children and teens generally listen to music, watch videos, or play games with earbuds resting snugly in their ears while the volume is turned up.
For teens who are traveling to and from school, they tend to blast the volume to cut out the background noise. Even though that usually works, the risks of hearing loss become higher.
The maximum volume level on personal listening devices can reach up to 100 decibels (dB). This is the same volume as an extremely loud leaf blower. It’s dangerous for anyone, especially kids to listen to loud music that’s blaring directly into their ears.
Protect Your Child’s Hearing Health
Talk to your children, or grandchildren about noise levels. Make them aware of the damage that can happen to their hearing. Rules need to be set for a safe listening routine. Volume levels should be kept at 60 dB or lower for babies, 82 dB or lower for children, 70-85 dB for teens.
If your children don’t take you seriously, find real accounts of people living with hearing loss and show them how difficult it can sometimes be to navigate through life with it.
If you, your child, or grandchild experience hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Did you ever wonder why we have two ears? It’s not just to follow the symmetrical pattern of the rest of our body.
Having two ears that both function properly is called “binaural hearing”. Our ears are designed to harness sounds from our environment. If you have ever experienced, or if you currently experience, hearing loss in one ear, you understand the difficulty of hearing noises or knowing which direction they are coming from without another ear to hear them. Hearing aid users might also observe a difference while only wearing one hearing aid.
Ears transfer sound waves to the brain, which is where the sound gets interpreted. A working ear on each side of the head makes it easier to figure out where sounds are emanating from. This is known as “sound localization”, or “directional hearing”.
An Extensive Range of Hearing
Two ears that can hear lets you hear sounds clearer from each direction. Only being able to hear sounds out of one ear is limiting to the other side of the head. The range of hearing becomes restricted for noises, and it makes them harder to understand.
When you socialize with other people, it’s easier to hear what others are saying with two ears. Struggling or feeling frustrated from not being able to hear others creates anxiety and listening fatigue. One healthy ear can hear up to 180 degrees, whereas two healthy ears can hear up to 360 degrees.
Improved Quality of Sound
You’ve probably experienced a few moments when just one stereo speaker or one earbud/headphone created sound. It had a poor sound quality that wasn’t loud or clear enough. This is basically what happens with your ears. Two ears provide a more balanced and natural sound. Only hearing with one ear feels odd because your brain is not receiving equal stimulation.
A Buffer Zone for Loud Noises
Two ears essentially create a buffer zone that allows sound to become divided among the two ears. Louder noises become easier to tolerate. Binaural hearing saves our hearing health by letting sudden, loud noises become less intense by dividing it between the ears.
Hearing out of both ears is important for your overall quality of life and significantly helps with daily responsibilities.
Whether you are having trouble hearing out of one ear, or both, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Our providers will help you select an appropriate option for your listening needs.
It’s that time of the year when family and friends are gathering together for the holidays. If you experience hearing loss, it can feel frustrating to communicate with others.
What can you do to Communicate Better?
If you believe that you may have hearing loss, schedule a hearing test immediately. Whether it’s mild or severe, a hearing test can determine whether you need additional treatment.
If you do have hearing loss, your hearing instrument specialist can give proper recommendations for hearing aids. They will go over your lifestyle, goals, and budget and fit you with the appropriate devices.
Do You Struggle to Hear in a Busy/Crowded Environment?
Wearing hearing aids is helpful, but here are some extra tips to help with communication.
Selecting the Proper Devices
Everyone’s hearing loss is different. What works for one person may not work for you. Choosing a hearing aid that focuses on speech and helps block out background noise may be helpful for most people with hearing loss. Many hearing aids feature advanced technology including Bluetooth®-connection to your smartphone and other devices, apps, customized programs, algorithms with noise reduction, remote microphones, and multi-directional microphones.
Give the gift of hearing and communication by contacting us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid professionals.
It’s that time of year when many people are traveling by plane to visit loved ones. Not only should you, as passengers, be aware of potential hearing hazards, but employees at airports should also be aware of dangerous noise levels.
In the U.S., one of the most prevalent injuries that happen while working is occupational hearing loss. There are numerous noises that workers come in contact with when they are coordinating flights.
Noise Sources on Aircrafts
CDC Recommendations for Noise Levels in Work Environments
The Unknown Correlations between Aircraft Noise and Hearing Loss
What Should You Do to Protect Your Hearing Health on an Aircraft?
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss due to a job environment or any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
One of the first signs of hearing loss is being able to hear in quiet spaces, but struggling to hear when there’s too much background noise.
Even people with normal hearing abilities can have trouble deciphering speech if they’re in a noisy area. This is because context clues are used throughout a conversation. These are clues that we can decipher in order to fill in the blanks that are caused by too much background noise.
Background noise blocks out certain speech sounds, such as consonants. So sounds like “F”, “K”, “P” “S”, “Ch”, “Sh”, and “Th” might be difficult for anyone to hear in a busy setting.
If you also have hearing loss, you will probably strain your brain just to try and hear. The brain is not always adept at isolating speech sounds from background noises or filling in the blanks for sounds that are missed. Listening fatigue is a consequence of this exhaustive effort.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
Modern hearing aids can differentiate between speech sounds and background noise.
Noise tends to stream steadily, without too many changes in its frequencies or volume.
Hearing aids can analyze and separate each sound that’s harnessed by the microphone (nearly 55 million times per hour), then compute noise and speech differently so that speech sounds are louder and background noise is suppressed.
Proper Hearing Aids, with the Right Fitting and Programming can Change the Way You Hear.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) or Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs) are designed to amplify all sounds. This is why they are a cheaper option that makes noisy environments more challenging.
Modern hearing aids that are properly fit and programmed by a hearing instrument specialist make a world of a difference in the way you hear. So it’s not just important to find a hearing aid that works for you, you’ll also need to find an experienced hearing instrument specialist who can customize your hearing aids for your specific listening needs.
We’ve discussed the effects of caffeine on hearing health in this blog.
Caffeine itself doesn’t appear to have any negative impact on hearing health. But it’s the lack of sleep that caffeine causes which can negatively impact your hearing health, and overall health. Your safest bet is to drink it early in the morning and never after noontime or later.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It’s also added to many energy drinks, common cold and allergy medications, and pain relievers. It helps to stimulate your central nervous system, which helps with blood circulation and the ability to concentrate. It also helps us stay alert after a poor night’s rest. Some studies have even suggested that caffeine might lower the risks of certain types of cancer (liver, mouth, and throat), along with type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
The impact of Caffeine on Hearing Health
Overall, the average consumption of caffeine (2 cups per day, or less) does not have a serious long-term influence on your hearing health. Blood vessels do become constricted and there is a change in blood pressure levels when caffeine is consumed. Remember, healthy blood flow is important for your hearing health and your overall health. A South Korean study determined there was no connection. They actually found that their test subjects who drank coffee had lower rates of hearing loss compared to those who did not drink coffee.
Caffeine has been shown to possibly exacerbate temporary hearing loss after noise exposure.
Have you ever left a very noisy environment and noticed your hearing abilities were different or muffled? You probably experienced something called, temporary threshold shift (TTS). This indicates that the hair cells found in your inner ears have been exhausted. Remember listening fatigue? Under normal circumstances, your hearing should return to normal in a few days, or sooner. Cutting down, or completely cutting out caffeine until your hearing goes back to normal may help.
Cancer patients should be careful.
If you, or a loved one, are a cancer patient who takes the drug cisplatin, be careful about taking it with caffeine. Cisplatin can cause hearing loss and tinnitus in chemotherapy patients. This is known as cisplatin-induced hearing loss. A study from 2019 showed lab rats that were given caffeine raised the risks of hearing loss. The researchers concluded that there was a possible drug interaction between caffeine and cisplatin for ototoxicity. They suggested that cancer patients should be careful with their caffeine consumption when taking cisplatin.
Caffeine consumption and Tinnitus
According to research, there’s no need to completely stop consuming caffeine if you experience tinnitus. Some patients with tinnitus have reported improvement in their symptoms when they cut down on their caffeine consumption. Official research has not shown that cutting back will lower tinnitus symptoms. One study found lower rates of tinnitus for women who consumed a lot of coffee.
A similar study found that completely abstaining from caffeine was not an effective method of treating tinnitus. The symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine may actually induce distress.
Ménière's disease and its association with Caffeine
Anyone who has Ménière's disease may have been advised to reduce their alcohol, caffeine, and sodium intake to reduce their symptoms. Changes in diet can be beneficial for some people, particularly low sodium diets. There’s still little proof on this subject, especially for caffeine and alcohol consumption.
There is some evidence that caffeine and alcohol consumption can lead to constricted blood vessels - known as vasoconstriction. When the blood vessels become constricted, the blood flow to the ear reduces, which can worsen symptoms. A change in diet is the easier and cheaper option.
But the evidence is not overwhelming. Yes, a simple change in diet is helpful but also getting more effective treatments, like using hearing aids, can reduce the progressive impact of hearing loss.
So remember, if you enjoy coffee, soda, or energy drinks and are in a healthy state, the latest research suggests that you don’t have to stop consuming them (perhaps a limit on them can be beneficial). You can monitor your hearing health and overall health when consuming caffeine and see how you feel when reducing your caffeine intake. Again, only drink it in the morning and not in the afternoon or evening. This will make it very difficult to fall asleep and have a restful night, which can affect your hearing health.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss, tinnitus, or Ménière's disease, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss not only affects the person who has it, but it also affects anyone with whom they interact, how they walk, increases risks of falling, and raises the risks of dementia.
In a study that was conducted by a research team from Johns Hopkins, they found that even mild hearing loss doubled the risk for dementia. Those with moderate hearing loss are three times more likely to develop dementia and those with severe hearing loss are five times at risk of developing dementia.
Hearing and Overall Health
Results of brain scans from participants in the study showed that hearing loss might contribute to higher rates of brain atrophy. Individuals with hearing loss tend to become more isolated, which contributes to anxiety, depression, and dementia. When you’re not hearing at your best, avoiding others, or less participation in conversations happens more often. All of these elements can lead to dementia.
As you navigate through different environments, your ears harness subtle cues that support your balance. The inability to hear these vital signals can lead to imbalance and falls. Your brain also struggles just to process sound. This can lead to listening fatigue. This subliminal multitasking may interfere with how your brain controls your ability to safely walk.
Causes and Symptoms
Hearing loss can be caused by:
Experiencing difficulty with hearing soft or high-pitched sounds is the first sign of damaged stereocilia - the fragile hair cells that transmit sound waves to electrical signals in the ear.
Soft sounds are conversations that take place over the phone or background noises in busy settings like a restaurant. Examples of high-pitched sounds include children’s voices and some women’s voices. Tinnitus is also a sign of possible hearing loss.
4 Myths about Hearing Aids that Stop Some from Using Them
There are no drawbacks to wearing hearing aids if you experience difficulty with hearing. They are beneficial to most individuals who use them. Being able to engage with friends, family members, colleagues, and other acquaintances can make a huge difference in a person’s life. It just takes time and patience.
People of all ages have some range of hearing loss, but few people use them. Different factors such as affordability, flat-out denial of having hearing problems, the stigma that some people still associate with wearing hearing aids, or any other personal reason, may prevent people who need hearing aids from getting them.
Myth #1: My hearing loss isn’t too bad
The average hearing aid user waits 10 years before seeking guidance for their hearing problems. It is during this timespan when communication with others becomes challenging, and there are higher risks of isolation which impacts overall health. Advocate for your health.
Myth #2: Hearing aids are for old people
People of all ages, from newborns to senior citizens, have hearing loss and some of them also wear hearing aids. Some people want to hide their hearing loss because they think it’s proof that they are aging. Having a hearing loss might seem like a sign of weakness or incompetence, but it’s actually all about figuring out the best way to communicate that works for you. That could include wearing hearing aids, using an assistive listening device, using a voice-to-text/caption app, using sign language, or any other method of communication. Staying connected to others helps your brain stay healthy and less isolated.
Myth #3: Hearing aids don’t look cool
First of all, these days, just about everyone has something in their ear. It could be earbuds, air pods, or hearing aids. No one thinks twice if they see something in your ear, or even notice that there’s something in your ear.
Hearing aids are available in many sizes and styles from completely-in-canal (CIC) to behind-the-ear (BTE). Proper fittings by a hearing instrument specialist can ensure no whistling sounds and a comfortable experience while wearing them. Whether you're looking for hearing aids that are discreet or a pair that is visible and colorful, we’ve got you covered at Pure Sound Hearing.
Myth #4: Hearing aids are complicated to use
With proper guidance and a trial period, adjusting to hearing aids can be a smooth transition. Trying out hearing aids is important before making a final choice. Our hearing instrument specialists will help you through this stage of adjustment. Hearing aid demonstrations, training, and guidance with the right pair of hearing aids are all necessary for an optimal listening experience.
If you need a hearing test and consultation for hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Think about the sound of birds chirping, the siren alarms from an emergency vehicle, listening to a funny joke (and hopefully the laughter that follows), or your favorite music.
These are the sounds that make us aware of our surroundings and allow us to enjoy simple pleasures in life.
The ability to hear is important. Here are five tips for better hearing.
1. Recognize the signs. According to the World Health Organization, over 466 million children and adults across the globe have a debilitating form of hearing impairment. Nearly every type of hearing loss can be treated. First, it’s important to recognize the signs. Do you hear muffled sounds when others speak? Do you have trouble hearing someone over the phone or if you’re in a crowded area and someone is standing/sitting within arms-length of you? Is it difficult to hear women or children’s voices? Do family members complain that your TV, movie, or music is too loud?
Family members will usually recognize hearing loss in their loved ones first.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
2. Reduce your exposure to noise. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. It impacts people of all ages, and it’s on the rise as one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Whether you are at a concert, watching fireworks, using power tools/vacuum cleaners, or working in a construction zone, limit your time in those loud environments when possible and wear proper hearing protection.
3. Do not use cotton swabs. It’s common to insert cotton swabs into your ear, but it is dangerous. Pushing the swab too far can damage your eardrum. If you are using them to clean, here’s news for you: the swabs are actually pushing earwax (cerumen) further into your ear canal, which can cause the earwax to become impacted. Remove excess cerumen by rubbing a soft, warm cloth on your ears after showering or soften the wax with drops of warm olive oil, water, or over-the-counter ear drops. These should only be used if you don’t have a perforated eardrum.
4. Follow a healthy diet with regular exercise. A proper diet is not only beneficial for your hearing, but also for your overall health. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like folate, magnesium, and zinc should be incorporated into your diet.
5. Get your hearing tested annually. Hearing tests are rarely conducted during routine physical exams with your primary care doctor. Other pressing matters tend to take up more time during your appointment. If your hearing health is an urgent concern, you may be referred to a hearing healthcare professional.
At Pure Sound Hearing, we offer free hearing tests and consultations. Contact us today.