A new study (the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders - or ACHIEVE) published by The Lancet revealed that hearing aid usage lowered the risk of cognitive decline in older adults by 48%.
What did the ACHIEVE study reveal?
The study took place for over three years. The study examined about 1,000 adults (between the ages of 70 and 84) from two different health backgrounds. One group was labeled “healthy community volunteers,” and the other group was already participating in a study regarding cardiovascular health. All participants had untreated hearing loss with no significant cognitive detriment.
At random, the participants were separated into two groups. The first group received proper help for their hearing (hearing aids and consultations). The second group received health education but no hearing aids.
The participants already in the study on cardiovascular health who received help for their hearing showed a 48% delay in cognitive decline over the three-year study, compared to the peer group in the cardiovascular study who only received health education.
Studies on Hearing Loss and Dementia
Multiple studies, including the Lancet Commission on Dementia, Prevention, Intervention, and Care, in addition to Johns Hopkins Medicine, have found a connection between hearing loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Hearing loss was named the primary variable risk factor to prevent dementia.
This study backs up the importance of helping anyone with hearing loss by using the proper treatment. Wearing hearing aids programmed for your specific loss can help lower the 10 million new cases of dementia globally every year.
Contact one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Reverse-slope hearing loss, or low-frequency hearing loss, is a rare type of hearing loss. The name itself comes from how it looks when visualized through an audiogram - a standard chart used to measure levels of hearing when a person receives a hearing test. Anyone who experiences this type of hearing loss finds it harder to hear low-pitched sounds like the bass sounds in music, male voices, and thunder. Your ability, or inability, to pick up these sounds is contingent upon the range of hearing loss, which can be mild to profound.
The volume of speech sounds you can hear and interpret may be impacted. The ability to detect vowel sounds, which are lower-pitched than consonant sounds, can also be challenging. If you don’t wear hearing aids, ask others to speak up if you have trouble hearing low-pitched sounds.
What are reverse-slope hearing loss symptoms?
What causes reverse-slope hearing loss?
Reverse-slope hearing loss can be a genetic form of hearing loss, or a person may experience it after a childhood illness (chickenpox or measles) or a viral infection. Most cases also occur alongside autoimmune disorders, Ménière disease, or otosclerosis. With Ménière disease, troubles with hearing can change and progress into other types of hearing loss that impact how sounds come across in various pitches.
A risk factor for heart disease is low-frequency hearing loss, but more research is needed to understand this connection.
If you are experiencing any range of hearing loss and believe hearing aids can be a solution, please contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Everyone knows that hearing aids help make sounds louder for people who have hearing loss, but that is where those similarities end. Hearing aids are unique and have different power levels, amplification abilities, sizes, smartphone compatibility, etc. The style, model, daily lifestyle, and hearing needs are also part of the conversation with your hearing aid provider.
Here are some questions that you might go over:
These questions will help your provider determine which hearing aids are best for you and how to program them for your listening needs. People’s voices will be easier to hear while drowning out background noises. A hearing instrument specialist will help you during your fitting and trial period.
Some people with hearing loss wait years until they get help for their hearing loss - this can be due to not being aware that they are losing their hearing, financial reasons, or just plain stubbornness. When you first start with hearing aids, noises that you have not heard for a long time might come across as sounding very loud and annoying -- the clacking of a typewriter or the rushing sound of water. Hearing aids have become so advanced that users can hear speech sounds while blocking out or training their brains to ignore annoying background noises.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and need help choosing hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists.
The musician Huey Lewis is discussing his hearing loss with the world.
As a musician, there’s likely nothing more callous than losing your hearing. He was part of the ‘80s very successful pop rock bands Huey Lewis and the News and received nominations for several Grammy Awards. Towards the end of the 1980s, Lewis started experiencing problems with his hearing. He is now deaf. He and his old bandmates are releasing a 40th anniversary vinyl version of their “Sports” LP.
"I can't hear music at all. I can't hear pitch at all,” said Lewis. “Even one note is out of tune with itself for me, so that's been a bitter pill and a hard pill to swallow. But you've got to move on in life. I have hearing aids in, and I'm Bluetoothing to the computer so I can hear you now. Without my hearing aids, I'm completely deaf."
He recounted the moments when he first started noticing that his hearing was waning and how he was affected by the loss.
“I lost my right side [of hearing] 35 years ago. When I lost my left side and couldn’t hear music anymore, it was traumatic. It was six months of pretty much lying in bed, just wondering, and trying different protocols and acupuncture and chiropractic and all-organic diets - no salt, low salt, all that stuff. And finally, thanks to my kids, you’ve got to move on.”
Lewis said he didn’t want to wallow in sorrow and focused on other creative endeavors. He’s working on a musical he is deeply committed to called “The Heart of Rock & Roll” - even though his hearing is gone. Lewis also had an idea for a TV show, but there’s been a delay due to the writers’ strike. He said, "I remind myself that there are many, many others much worse off, and that’s important to remember. My life is not as good as it used to be when I could hear, but it’s still pretty good."
Are you or a loved one beginning to notice hearing loss? Don’t wait to seek help. Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Noise-induced hearing loss is the only preventable type of hearing loss. Listening to sounds that are at least 70 decibels (dB) over an extensive amount of time can lead to hearing loss. Noise over 120 decibels can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss.
Wearing earplugs is recommended, but not all earplugs are made to protect your ears from the same level of noise. This is why some people still experience hearing loss even when they wear protection for their ears.
According to the Noise Reduction Rating System (NRR), earplugs are scored on a scale. Each score equals the number of decibels that the earplugs block out.
For example, 24 NRR will only protect 24 dB of sound.
The most decibels that a pair of earplugs can block is 33 dB. On average, earplugs can block out 15-30 dB.
If you wear a 24 NRR earplug while attending a rock concert (about 120 dB), you will still be exposed to 96 dB which can cause hearing loss.
Here’s a guide to help you select earplugs based on your lifestyle.
Are You Attending or Performing at a Rock Concert or a Concert with Loud Music?
Performers and audience members should always wear hearing protection during a loud concert. As previously mentioned, the sound levels at an average rock concert can reach up to 120 dB. Classical music can reach 98 dB.
Many musicians have complained about the music sounding distorted when wearing earplugs, which can obviously be a problem while trying to perform. As a result, many musicians have stopped wearing hearing protection.
If they’ve stopped wearing hearing protection, now is the time for them to use it again. Earplug technology has made advancements. They can now equally reduce decibels, without distorting the music. There are earplugs specifically designed to protect the ears while listening to different music genres.
Do You Use Power Tools?
If you use power tools at home, you are probably being exposed to noise that can damage your hearing. Electric drills, sanders, and saws can create 95 to 120 dB when in use. A few hours of this noise exposure can lead to severe hearing loss. Make sure your earplugs have at least 15 NRR.
Are You an Active Military Service Member?
Anyone who serves in our military has the highest risk of noise exposure which can seriously damage hearing. About 7.5 percent of military service members reported having hearing loss after being deployed. Veterans reported having a significantly higher rate of hearing problems, like tinnitus. Make sure you are being provided with strong hearing protection.
There are now earplugs that are advanced and military-improved; they feature two settings. The main setting lets users hear commands and other background noises. The other setting has an NRR 33 rating, which is the highest possible rating. This setting can keep your hearing safe through loud combat noises including gunfire and explosions.
Do You attend Arenas to Watch Live Sports?
Football stadiums can be a fun place to be, but they can also be very loud. One football game recorded 142.2 dB of noise from the crowd. That’s almost the same noise level as a firecracker.
Temporary hearing loss can occur. There’s still a risk if you wear low-level earplugs. That’s why you should get hearing aids that withstand more substantial noises if you plan to attend a sports game.
It’s important to protect your hearing. Choosing the proper hearing protection is crucial. If you see earplugs that are not specifically made for the activity that you are going to participate in, do some research to find out the maximum decibel level of the specified activity, and find earplugs that would be suitable for that decibel range.
It only takes one very loud exposure to noise to cause permanent hearing loss. Preventative measures are easy and affordable.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss. Our offices also offer earplugs, so if you are planning an outing where it might be loud, stop by one of our office locations to purchase a pair of earplugs.
In the past, there have been strong cases that presumed the interconnectedness of hearing and brain health. New data is helping to back up that speculation.
The Lancet published a study this year that hearing aids can significantly lower the risks for the onset of dementia. This research maintains the understanding that seeking help and treatment for hearing loss might protect and improve cognitive abilities.
How and why is healthy hearing crucial for proper cognitive function? How are hearing aids helpful for someone’s brain and overall health?
The Relationship between Dementia, Hearing problems, and Hearing aids
For some, hearing aids may only be known to improve hearing. More benefits come with wearing them, like a user’s ability to process sounds.
Hearing loss can make traditional learning experiences more challenging, as processing new information can become daunting. If you can’t hear clearly, struggling to hear can lead to listening fatigue. In addition to exhausting efforts to listen, hearing loss has a connection to increased brain shrinkage. This phenomenon can occur through atrophy or loss of brain tissue.
Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which can lead to dementia. The inability to hear can lead people to withdraw from others. Socializing with others stimulates the brain, which can prevent atrophy in the brain while helping overall cognitive function.
Hearing aids, Socializing, Cognitive Function, and Overall Well-Being
As mentioned, socializing is necessary for cognitive function. It helps reduce loneliness, isolation, and depression. These are all risk factors for dementia. Healthy hearing is crucial for enjoyable socializing. In the same way that impaired vision stops people from seeing everything around them, hearing loss can prevent people from hearing in their environment - that’s part of a healthy social life. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported that withdrawing from socializing increases dementia by 50%.
Hearing aid usage can change that. The ability to hear a simple conversation can exercise your brain. Active listening, remembering something from the past, and expressing yourself can improve cognitive function. Hearing aids can make socializing easier while being more aware of your environment.
You can calm any worries about your safety when there’s a better awareness of your surroundings. If you are in your home or a public space and there’s an emergency, hearing aids will help you become alert to those emergencies. If you don’t have hearing aids, or they are not working, figure out a different means of communication. That can include texting or writing things down using a pen and paper. Hearing aids can help lower the chances of falls due to imbalance. Your balance and hearing are interconnected.
According to The Lancet, about 8% of dementia cases are preventable through professional hearing intervention. Hearing aid users have 19% less risk of cognitive decline and 17% less possibility of dementia than those who have not had their hearing loss treated.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that dementia is more common among the study’s participants who experience moderate or severe hearing loss - at a 61% higher rate than participants with normal hearing. There were 32% lower cases of dementia among participants who used hearing aids with mild to severe hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can improve the user’s ability to correctly understand information and perhaps be better at retaining that information. Hearing aids don’t cure anything, including hearing and memory conditions. Instead, hearing aids help users hear better with the hearing abilities that they still have - also known as residual hearing. People may remember things better if they can listen and understand others.
The Best Ways to Protect Yourself Against Dementia
Protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss. If you are noticing hearing loss, seek help immediately. When you receive a hearing test and if the results indicate hearing loss, the professional who conducted the test may recommend hearing aids or an assistive listening device.
Wearing fitted and programmed hearing aids tailored to your specific hearing loss is crucial to reduce any additional hearing loss or cognitive function.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and believe hearing aids would be beneficial, please contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
According to the National Institute on Aging, hearing loss is common, especially for anyone 85 and older.
The population of people who will be 80 years and older is supposed to double within the upcoming years, and hearing technology will continue to become more advanced.
Modern digital hearing aids are a great example of innovation in hearing technology. Not only can you hear better with this new technology, but the additional features and perks will help make life easier.
The ability to hear is a significant part of life. Whether you want to have a meaningful conversation or enjoy simple things like music or nature, hearing aids can help make life more fulfilling. Imagine not being able to hear your favorite music, waves crashing at the beach, birds chirping, or the laughter of loved ones.
Some risks come with hearing loss that remain untreated.
What are the risks of untreated hearing loss?
As you get older, untreated hearing loss can negatively affect:
Voice volume - Your vocal cords may become strained because you might talk louder or shout because you’ve lost the normalcy of speaking in an average tone.
Speech - The sounds in certain words and letters can become challenging to hear based on the loss of frequency levels.
Relationships - The efforts necessary to keep up with others during conversations can create a strain with loved ones, colleagues, professionals you need to keep in contact with for various services, etc.
Brain Health - The brain goes under stress and strain when it cannot interpret what is said, leading to cognitive fatigue. Some people need to take a break from socializing. If the break from socializing becomes routine, it leads to isolation. It doesn’t just harm your relationships with others but can also lead to depression and dementia.
Background noise in conversations - When there’s too much background noise, it can make conversations unpleasant.
Enjoying entertainment - Movies and music on your TV or stereo system might make listening to entertainment challenging with others. They need a standard volume level, while you need to turn up the volume, which can risk the hearing health of others.
Performance in school or at work - The ability to understand and efficiently communicate with others during a meeting, interactions with co-workers, and hearing crucial announcements can become problematic.
Security - The inability to hear alerts such as fire alarms, tornado warnings, or emergency vehicles can be dangerous to you and others around you. Have a plan in case you come across that problem.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
AC/DC’s singer-songwriter, Brian Johnson, was nearly filled with hopelessness after hearing problems drove him to leave the band’s 2016 tour Rock or Bust. Axl Rose replaced him.
Johnson shared in his new memoir, The Lives of Brian, that he had suicidal thoughts after leaving the tour or risked going deaf.
Johnson mentioned during an interview with Rolling Stone that he had “pretty serious” issues with his hearing and could not hear the tone of the guitars while on stage.
He remembered how painful it felt when he told his tour manager that he wouldn’t be able to perform for the rest of the tour.
"I called Tim, the tour manager, on my mobile right there in the room to tell him that I just couldn't continue," Johnson reportedly writes. "It was one of the most difficult conversations of my life — the pain of it made worse over the weeks that followed when the tour simply went on without me. It was a sheer cliff. I didn't tumble down. I was in free fall."
Axl Rose, the frontman of Guns N’ Roses, replaced Johnson. He said Rose did a “great job” even though it was still a crushing ordeal.
Before receiving support for his hearing problems, Johnson was “literally getting by on muscle memory and mouth shapes” while on stage. He said it felt “crippling” to be “standing there and not being sure” during performances. He had a small device that utilized the bone structure in the skull as a receiver. The device allowed him to return to performing on stage.
AC/DC hasn’t done a tour since Rock or Bust, but Johnson joined the band again and recorded Power Up, their 2020 album. The surviving band members - Johnson, lead guitarist Angus Young, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Phil Rudd - were reunited. Malcolm Young passed away in 2017. Since 2014, his nephew Stevie Young has been performing in his place.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
To get help with your hearing loss, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. We also sell earplugs so you can protect your ears next time you go to a live concert.
Tinnitus impacts 10% to 20% of people in the U.S. It’s important to monitor your hearing if you notice a buzzing, chirping, clicking, or ringing noise and get a hearing test immediately. Prevention is the best course of action.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be the result of an underlying health problem, but it usually manifests after being exposed to loud noises.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
Tinnitus and hearing loss tend to occur simultaneously. This condition does not cause hearing loss, but hearing loss and tinnitus will feed off of each other, and make both symptoms worse.
Risks of Tinnitus
Tinnitus, like hearing loss, can affect anyone of any age. There are some risk factors that can increase the chances of developing symptoms of tinnitus.
The following demographic are at high risk of tinnitus:
Preventative Measures for Tinnitus
You can’t completely prevent the risks of tinnitus. There’s always a possibility of encountering loud noise no matter where you are (in the workplace or in your own home). Avoid risk factors when possible by:
Understand that there is no cure for tinnitus. There are however ways to manage symptoms which include sound therapy, meditation, or noise-masking features on hearing aids. If you are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
September is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. How can Hearing Aids help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Aging leads to the deterioration of brain cells, some of which can become permanently destroyed. As a result, “brain atrophy” or “cognitive decline” occurs, which can cause dementia.
It’s a complicated process. Genetic factors can cause cognitive decline, but sometimes it's manageable. Hearing loss treatment is one of the ways you can slow down or prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. Treating high blood pressure, reducing your alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, managing depression, taking action if you are socially isolated, and exercising are all risk factors you can control.
If you experience hearing loss and dementia, will hearing aids help?
According to The Lancet, older adults who practiced hearing aid usage and regularly received help from a hearing healthcare provider lowered their dementia risks by 50% over three years.
The lowered risk included people with other risk factors for dementia (heart disease, social isolation, and physical inactivity).
An indiscriminate controlled trial studied how treating hearing loss impacted dementia. The test subjects in this study used hearing aids, a hearing “toolkit” which helped the individual manage their hearing loss, and continued instruction and counseling with a hearing healthcare professional.
After three years, the results indicated that the intervention lowered the rate of anticipated cognitive decline for adults between 70 and 84 years old. These benefits only included people with hearing loss and additional risks like dementia, heart disease, lower levels of education, and reduced physically active lifestyle.
The primary conclusion is that anyone with hearing loss, especially if they are older, should get a hearing checkup and treat any symptoms. There are no risks to intervening to take care of your hearing.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association-Neurology, wearing hearing aids can effectively reduce the risks of cognitive decline.
Another study by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society revealed that using hearing aids delayed the onset of cognitive impairment, dementia, depression, social isolation, and falls that can lead to injuries/hospitalizations. This study was not a randomized controlled trial. The results could have been due to other reasons: some hearing aid wearers have higher incomes, allowing them to access better medical care.
The Best Hearing Aids for Dementia
There isn’t one particular hearing aid or assistive listening device that helps with dementia, but there are multiple types and styles of hearing aids that can improve symptoms.
Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Research what hearing aids work best for that loved one. Discuss your concerns about them with a professional hearing aid provider. Your loved one’s daily routines, specific listening needs, and abilities will be incorporated when selecting hearing aids.
Contact one of our hearing instrument specialists from Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation.
September is Healthy Aging Month! There are activities, information, and advice to help observe this month. Most people will do things like exercise, eat a healthier diet, and practice a better sleep routine. It’s also a great reminder to keep active to improve your physical and mental well-being. These are also things that can and should be incorporated to help improve hearing health, in addition to preventative measures.
Healthy Aging Month encourages everyone to prioritize their health while taking preventative measures to help them navigate the issues that arise with aging. The message is that no matter what age you are, you can embrace change for a healthier lifestyle.
Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is when your ears gradually lose hearing abilities. Since this type of hearing loss is slow, it’s hard to notice if anything has changed in your hearing health. There should be an annual hearing test for people aged 60 and over.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
National D/deaf Awareness Month is recognized in the US every September. During this month, people celebrate and advocate for the D/deaf community. Awareness specific to the issues, people, and culture of the D/deaf community is the primary focus.
The D/deaf and HoH (Hard of Hearing) Community
There’s a diversity by which people in the D/deaf community choose to identify themselves.
1. Something to think about is how a person becomes deaf or Hard of Hearing (HoH).
2. The range of hearing, age of onset, educational background, means of communication, and cultural identity may be part of their identity. There’s a personal level of how each person relates to one another and labels themselves. Some are content with the phrase “people with hearing loss.” Others born deaf or HoH don’t consider themselves as someone who “lost” their sense of hearing. Different terminology that is inclusive is acceptable include: “deaf,” “Deaf,” and “hard of hearing.”
“Deaf” vs. “deaf”
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) differentiates “Deaf” and “deaf” as such: the uppercase Deaf refers to a particular group of deaf people who share a language - American Sign Language (ASL) and a culture. The lowercase deaf refers to the audiological condition. A person with mild-to-moderate hearing loss or someone who is deaf but doesn’t have or desire a cultural affiliation with the Deaf community may identify as HoH. Each person may identify through an audiological or cultural context based on their level of comfort, means of communication, and acceptance. However they choose to identify themselves, they should all feel welcome within the community and in society.
Sign Language is Unique across the Globe
The World Federation of the Deaf found that there are over 200 languages signed around the world. Sign language is not a universal language. Just as with spoken languages, variations of sign language have developed within countries and communities. There are even differences in sign languages among countries with the same or similar spoken language. For example, English sign language includes American Sign Language (ASL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and British Sign Language (BSL). Spanish Sign Language (LSE or SSL) differs in the Americas and Europe. SSL is signed in every part of Spain, except in Catalonia - the people there use Catalan Sign Language (CSL) - and in Valencia, where they use Valencian Sign Language (VSL). In Mexico, Mexican Sign Language (MSL) is practiced.
Ways to Support the D/deaf and HoH Communities
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and believe hearing aids might be an appropriate solution, contact one of our hearing instrument specialists for a hearing test and consultation.
Whether you are trying to fit in that last summer vacation, planning for Labor Day, or are readily available to travel all year long (Hello retirees!), sometimes it’s nice to get away by yourself. It is fun to explore a new place, and traveling is a great way to socialize and improve your overall health.
For some, hearing loss can make traveling slightly more challenging, especially if you plan to travel solo. Being prepared can make traveling alone easier.
1. Receive Treatment for Hearing Loss Before Traveling
If you experience hearing loss and haven’t sought treatment, get your hearing tested immediately. As with any health concern, early treatment is better for your health. Your hearing healthcare provider will offer treatment options suitable for your hearing loss. That may include hearing aids or an assistive listening device.
If you wear hearing aids, your hearing instrument specialist can program channels on your hearing aids to make it easier to focus on crucial things to hear, like a flight delay, while blocking out unwanted noises like a crying baby on the plane.
2. Pack Accordingly
In addition to your clothes and other essential items, don’t forget to pack accessories used with your hearing aids. Bring extra batteries or your hearing aid charger, a waterproof case, tools, cleaning wipes, and any other things you use to care for your hearing aids. If you forgot any of these items, look up a local hearing aid business to get your supplies.
3. Start by Taking Small Travel Trips
Your first solo trip doesn’t need to be abroad. There are lots of places to visit and enjoy within your local region. Whether you plan to travel by airplane or train, traveling to a closer area can give you practice on what it’ll be like to go through airports or train stations without the intimidation of being too outside of your home/comfort zone.
4. Do thorough Research Before Your Trip
Learning and understanding more about your means of travel, hotels, motels, an Airbnb that you are staying at, and the city/town you’re visiting will be to your advantage. You can feel more confident and secure when traveling. In addition to the area where you will be staying, it’s a good idea to research museums, parks, restaurants, theaters, or other spaces you plan to visit so you know what to expect regarding the establishment’s accommodations for people with hearing loss.
5. Keep in Contact with Loved Ones
Solo travel should still include loved ones. Have regular check-ins. When traveling abroad, ensure you can text and call each other, even with the international barrier. A reliable method of contacting someone is crucial in case of emergencies.
If you, or a loved one, experience hearing loss and need new hearing aids, supplies, or a professional cleaning for your hearing aids before traveling, schedule an appointment at Pure Sound Hearing.
Are you interested in better understanding your hearing loss and specific hearing needs?
Pure Sound Hearing is ready to guide you through your progress with better hearing because staying connected with loved ones and people you need to interact with is necessary.
Hearing Loss Facts
Experiencing hearing loss means that you can no longer hear certain sounds. You may be able to hear clearly in quiet settings, but louder ones are more challenging. Most people lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds. The sounds of birds singing or children laughing may be hard to hear or not heard at all.
For some people, hearing loss can suddenly happen due to noise exposure, medication side effects, etc. For most people, it’s a barely noticeable progression until they can no longer hear something or someone.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are numerous causes of hearing loss. Here are some of the most common:
The type of hearing loss and the severity depends on which part of the ear the impairment occurs in.
The Repercussions of Neglecting Hearing Loss
Failing to receive a hearing test and treatment can worsen the effects of hearing loss. That includes depression due to social isolation. When a person can’t hear well or has a tough time communicating with others, this can lead them to give up on their social life.
You may hear and then misinterpret instructions. This might happen in school, the workplace, medical appointments, or any other instance where hearing instructions is crucial.
The inability to hear if there’s something wrong with your car engine/tires or not hearing emergency sirens are other repercussions of hearing loss. It puts you and others who share the road with you in danger. Ensure that your car inspections are up-to-date, and follow these driving safety tips.
If you or a loved one notice hearing loss, please contact Pure Sound Hearing in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We have three office locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, and Strasburg.
Are you a hearing aid user who has been to a theatre, auditorium, or any other public space where the assistive listening device doesn’t work?
Your hearing aids should be able to connect with the loop system or an infrared listening system, which is found in most public spaces in the U.S., or paired with an assistive listening device provided by the theatre establishment.
What’s a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop (or an audio induction loop) is a sound system that helps people with hearing aids hear in theaters, banks, waiting areas, auditoriums, teaching spaces, or any area with public announcements. The hearing loop produces a wireless, magnetic signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when the ‘T’ (telecoil or t-coil) setting is on. It has an audio source linked to an amplifier that processes the signal. The signal is transferred to the loop cable - a wire installed around the perimeter of a designated spot i.e. a small meeting room, but it can be designed to wrap around complex areas.
Hearing loops provide high sound quality. This is the only assistive listening technology that can stream directly to various hearing aids styles. They are the leading choice for audio accessibility in public spaces.
Employee Sensitivity Training
Employees should have required training on handling and accommodating patrons who are hard of hearing and require an assistive listening device.
For example, if a theater or any establishment touts accessibility accommodations for people who cannot hear very well and then fails to follow through on that promise, there should be a notification, an explanation, or an apology. There should also be an update to their system or an announcement on their website. For some businesses, accessibility services tend to take the back burner, which is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Advantages of Using a Hearing Loop
If you, or a loved one, are missing out during your favorite or important situations, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation about a hearing aid trial.
Research has confirmed that there is an evident relationship between depression and hearing loss. Unfortunately, both of these conditions are often overlooked and untreated by primary healthcare professionals. It’s important to highlight this dilemma to improve the overall health of millions of people.
The Link Between Depression and Hearing Loss
Many people who have hearing loss face difficulties with communication. This can cause a lot of stress, fatigue, and social isolation. Older adults are at a higher risk of depression caused by social isolation.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), over 11 percent of individuals who experience hearing loss also have depression, compared to 5 percent of the general population. Depression was shown to be common among people between the ages of 18 and 69.
There had been a considerable link between moderate to severe depression and hearing loss. The study had not confirmed the cause and effect of this affiliation.
Hearing loss is the third leading condition found in elderly adults. Presbycusis is the most prevalent type of hearing loss related to aging. It happens very gradually, so it’s difficult for a person to detect unless they get a hearing test. It is described as losing the highest frequency consonant sounds and having difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise. About 25 to 40 percent of adults over 65 years of age experience hearing loss. For most people in that age group, hearing loss tends to go undetected and untreated. This could be because just 9 percent of general healthcare practitioners recommend that their older patients receive a hearing test. Even when people do get tested, just 25 percent of those with treatable hearing loss take the initiative to get hearing aids.
What are the signs of Hearing Loss and Depression?
It is recommended that you get a routine hearing test, and familiarize yourself with symptoms of depression.
Symptoms that can be mistaken for signs of aging - such as difficulty with following along in a conversation, social isolation, or even feelings of paranoia - may be caused by hearing loss.
Some signs of depression, like feeling sad and hopeless are more obvious; whereas feeling fatigued, struggling with concentration, experiencing a loss of appetite, irritability, and losing interest in your favorite hobbies can disrupt your daily life and how you interact with others. Your family healthcare provider, family, and friends should also observe symptoms of depression. These symptoms make it very important to regularly get your hearing tested.
Typical signs of hearing loss are turning up the volume level on the TV or computer, to the point where others ask to turn it down, constantly asking others to repeat themselves, or experiencing difficulty with following along during conversations.
The latest research may allow healthcare providers to become more mindful of depression symptoms in patients with hearing loss or refer those who have these symptoms to get additional treatment. Proper treatment could help these individuals acknowledge their feelings, take action, and become more socially engaged with others to improve their overall health.
Hearing tests can change how depression is treated. For someone with depression that is caused by or worsens due to underlying hearing loss, a hearing test should be taken before prescribing antidepressants. This will help patients avoid unnecessary medications. There have been some medications that are known to cause hearing loss, which can further damage your mental health.
How to Discuss Hearing Loss
It probably won’t be easy to bring up the topic of hearing loss with an older adult. Many do not appreciate being told what to do, because of the switch in roles of authority.
It may be more effective to structure the discussion in a way that highlights the benefits of getting treatment. For example, they may find that it’s easier to participate in conversations and become more independent by not relying on others to repeat themselves or relay something that was said. Remind them that there have been considerable advancements in hearing aid technology. There are so many more benefits such as blocking out distracting background noise so that you may focus on a conversation.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance you will have to keep the hearing abilities that you still possess.
A study by Canadian scientists and The Lancet revealed that hearing loss sometimes occurs alongside other health conditions. It can raise the risks of dementia, falls, hospitalizations/emergencies, long-term care, and detrimental effects from drugs.
Researchers believe dealing with health problems requires more and improved care for those with hearing issues.
Patients with Hearing Loss have a Higher Risk of not recovering from Medical Treatment Provided
The objective of the Canadian researchers was to study the connection between hearing loss and various clinical outcomes in more than 4.7 million adults who lived in Alberta, Canada, from April 2004 to March 2019. Within this population, 152,766 people (3.2%) had hearing loss.
The study found that people with hearing loss were more likely to have unfavorable clinical outcomes than people who didn’t have hearing problems. They had more days spent in the hospital, were more likely to fall, had adverse reactions from drugs, and had emergency visits.
People with Hearing Loss are at more risk of the following:
In Canada, the study suggests that approximately 15,631 people with hearing loss need to be placed in different long-term care facilities each year. Of those listed, 1,023 were hearing loss-related. There is an estimate of new cases of dementia: 14,959 and 4,350. For strokes or transient ischemic attacks, there were about 11,582 and 2,242.
The results indicate higher rates of comorbidity for people who experienced hearing loss and more risk of detrimental consequences. This additional risk may worsen communication abilities among patients and healthcare providers. For instance, the continuous and heightened risk of long-term care might indicate that additional support is needed for people with hearing problems so that they may live independently.
More investment, research, and organized resolutions to revamp the healthcare and outcomes for anyone with hearing loss are needed. By addressing the hardships of comorbidities and enforcing preventative measures, the quality of life for patients can significantly improve.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Anyone who has tinnitus can attest that it’s not just distracting but also very irritating. Going about your daily routines and being able to focus on them can feel impossible on some days.
There are some instances where tinnitus can be relieved by treating the underlying cause. In most cases, there’s no direct cause. But across the board, most patients with these symptoms note more stress.
But don’t worry. There are some ways to relieve tinnitus. Let’s go over them.
If tinnitus is something you are constantly experiencing, habituating is a handy tool. It’s the process of ignoring or tuning out the noise.
There are different types of habituation methods. Everyone’s tinnitus experience is unique, so try a few techniques.
You can close your eyes and visualize a space where you feel safe and comfortable. It might be a nature environment. Imagine a clear blue sky. You are sitting by a mountain with streams of water rushing nearby. Imagine the scent of the fresh mountain air and the cool breezes. Hear the gentle winds and movements of tree branches and bushes. You can imagine birds chirping or the buzzing of insects flying by.
Increase Relaxation in the Muscles
This technique can be accomplished while sitting or standing. To begin, tense up the muscles in your toes and feet for five to 10 seconds. Gradually relax these muscles for 30 seconds and repeat with your legs, hips, abdomen, lower back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and jaw.
Daily Strategies to Handle Tinnitus
Protect your hearing with earplugs or noise-blocking earmuffs.
If your job involves handling or working near heavy/loud machinery, or you are near speakers at a live concert, wear foam earplugs or earmuffs so that the tinnitus doesn’t worsen. Noise exposure can provoke tinnitus in some people. It can also harm your hearing health, making the tinnitus symptoms sound harsher.
Deal with Stress by Exercising or getting a Massage
Exercise is a great stress reliever. It’s excellent for your body and mind. Tinnitus connected to high blood pressure can be relieved by becoming more physically active. It can help control your blood pressure, thus reducing tinnitus symptoms.
Yoga is an excellent exercise to practice. This workout integrates meditation, breathing, and relaxation in addition to a full-body workout.
Excess sodium and caffeine can worsen symptoms of tinnitus. Try to reduce your salt and caffeine intake. Eat foods that are rich in nutrients for your hearing. For patients with Meniere’s disease - a combination of dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus - reducing salt in your diet can help.
Your mental health and relationships can be negatively affected by tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you handle the emotional stress of tinnitus.
If you’ve tried everything on our list, and you still experience stress from tinnitus, maybe hearing aids will help. Hearing aids can be programmed to mask the noise you hear from tinnitus. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is prevalent but not exclusive to individuals 65 and older. Anyone can have a gradual or sudden hearing loss, making communication challenging.
Patients with signs of hearing loss, whether detected by you or others with whom you consistently interact, should seek a hearing test.
If you responded “yes” to any of these and believe hearing aids are a solution, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
The Types of Hearing Loss
Multiple parts of the ear cooperate to create the ability to hear:
Three leading types of hearing loss alter different parts of the ear:
The Causes of Hearing Loss
If there’s an obstruction or damage in the external, middle, or inner ear, you may experience hearing loss. Common causes of hearing loss include:
The Symptoms of Hearing Loss
You may experience hearing loss in one ear (unilateral hearing loss) or both ears (bilateral hearing loss). Indications of hearing loss include:
You may exhibit other symptoms in addition to hearing loss, like tinnitus.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss or problems with your hearing, please contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
As frequent readers of this blog know, this entire website is dedicated to hearing health awareness, seeking treatment, preventative measures, and many other related topics to hearing health. But did you know August is the national month of hearing health awareness?
What are the signs of Hearing Loss?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 466 million children and adults experience some form of disabling hearing impairment. There are treatment options for most hearing loss.
One of the primary steps in treating hearing loss is to be aware of possible signs:
If you or a loved one are starting to notice the hearing loss or have been experiencing hearing loss for some time, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Do you experience hearing loss in one of your ears? This is known as single-sided deafness (SSD). For some, it may manifest itself as a shrill noise that permeates your head with a feeling of pressure. Then the ability to hear is gone. For others, it may be noise-induced, caused by an ear infection, genetic disorder, or a tumor.
In some cases, this type of hearing loss cannot be treated without the use of hearing aids.
A hearing aid provider may conduct tests including, pure tone audiometry, bone conduction, loudness discomfort, and word recognition.
A Contralateral Routing of Signal (CROS) hearing aid, which is available at Pure Sound Hearing, can be used to treat this type of hearing loss.
CROS hearing aids are made for people with severe SSD, also known as unilateral hearing. The average user has fairly normal hearing abilities in one ear, but standard hearing aids can’t help with the other ear.
CROS hearing aids are worn in both ears. For the ear that can’t hear, a device is used to harness sound. It then reroutes the sounds to another device that is worn on the other ear. In addition to the sounds that are normally heard in one hearing aid, sounds can also be heard in that same ear from the good ear, without amplifying it.
Some users are hopeful that being able to hear additional directions will help them feel more confident while communicating with others. If you need to communicate with a person, background noises can be blocked out so that it’s not distracting.
If you’re experiencing SSD and would like a free trial of one of our CROS hearing aids, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
A healthy and balanced diet can improve your overall health - the likelihood of chronic diseases is reduced, you have better cognitive health, and it can keep you active.
A study on 71, 000 female nurses over a 22-year period, showed that women with a healthy diet lowered their risk of hearing loss by 30 percent.
Data had been collected on these women’s diets every four years and they concluded that those who followed a healthy diet regimen had less risk of moderate or worsening hearing loss than those who did not have a healthy diet. They followed the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Their meals consisted of more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains -- and refraining from consuming too much alcohol, fruit juices, refined sugar, and processed meat.
Keeping your hearing health in good condition includes regular hearing tests. Once you turn 50, you should get your hearing tested every three years. If you have genetic concerns or notice hearing loss at an earlier age, get a hearing test from your primary healthcare provider during your annual health exam.
The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Your mental health can improve
When you hear better, social anxiety and isolation help you reconnect with others by joining volunteer groups, taking a class, or joining a club.
You can remain physically active
Do you garden or exercise? Healthy hearing lowers the risk of tripping over something or losing your balance and falling by making you more aware of your environment while supporting your walking and balance.
The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care recently reported that receiving help and properly caring for your hearing health by age 40-65, can hinder or delay dementia.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid specialists.
Are you concerned about how stealth electric vehicles (EVs) can be? Even though hybrid and electric cars are better for the environment and reduce noise, they can be dangerous for anyone with hearing problems.
The growing demand for hybrid and fully electric EVs has shown an increase in efficient rechargeable batteries and charging stations. These cars have cut gas consumption and air pollution, but they are so quiet that Deaf and hard of hearing individuals have trouble detecting them in the streets. Even for those with good hearing, noticing whether the engine is on isn’t always clear unless you look at the dashboard.
The University of California did a study on detecting gas-powered cars and EVs. Those with good hearing could notice the gas-powered vehicle at a 36-foot distance while blindfolded. These same individuals could only recognize an EV passing when it was 11 feet away.
The same study was conducted with background noise to replicate realistic city noises. In this trial, the gas-powered vehicle was detected from 22 feet away when the test subject was blindfolded. On the other hand, the EV was not detectable at all.
Should Noises be Emitted from EVs?
Anyone, especially children and people with hearing problems, can be in danger of neglecting to notice EVs approaching them. Adding a simulated car noise or siren could be a solution in the future. For now, be more aware of your surroundings near roads.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing problems, contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Are You getting ready to Travel for a Vacation? Here are some ways to Prepare if You wear Hearing Aids.
Traveling on a plane can be stressful. That stress can magnify if you also experience hearing loss. If you’re a hearing aid user, you must take extra precautions while traveling.
Preparing for Travel
Protect the circuitry of your hearing aids from nature’s elements.
If you’re traveling somewhere humid/hot or where you’ll be near a body of water, make sure you have a dry box to store your hearing aids to protect them from the water. A hearing aid dehumidifier is also helpful if moisture builds up in your devices. A waterproof hat or umbrella is beneficial if you find yourself in an unexpected rainstorm.
Get Your Equipment Ready
Pack your hearing aid equipment in your carry-on bag. You don’t want to be without these items if your bag is misplaced during transit. It can be challenging to replace these things, particularly when traveling to secluded destinations.
Hearing aids need a power source - via batteries or recharging. Whatever number of batteries you believe you’ll need, pack extra. Depending on how often you use them and how much streaming is used, the average hearing aid battery lasts 5-14 days. So always pack extra just in case. Remember to bring your hearing aid charger if you wear rechargeable hearing aids.
You should also pack a power strip and a power adapter (if traveling overseas). Sometimes there’s a limited number of outlets for you to plug things in at hotel rooms, so it’s good to have these to prevent any instances of not having fully recharged hearing aids.
Schedule a visit at Pure Sound Hearing
If you want reassurance that your hearing aids or assistive listening devices are correctly functioning before your trip, schedule an appointment with one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing.
Traveling through the Airport and on the Airplane
When you travel, you should be able to see the Hearing Loop logos at popular tourist destinations and public transit spaces.
About 90% of hearing aids use telecoils or t-coils so that travel and tourist information can be heard through your hearing aids or assistive listening devices. Bluetooth® hearing aids can be used during a flight, but it needs to be set in airplane mode if the flight attendant requests passengers to do so.
Going Through Security Checkpoint
You can wear your hearing aids through the security checkpoint - they won’t set off any alarms. Notify the security personnel that you have hearing loss in case they notice that you are not following directions. While walking through a metal detector, switch the volume to a lower setting. Your hearing aids might produce a loud distorted or static noise.
Checking in at Your Hotel/Destination
If you haven’t notified the hotel staff about your hearing impairment before arriving at your destination, give the receptionist your phone number and ask to receive text messages for vital information (room service, wake-up calls).
Many hotels have amenities that help people with hearing loss - fire alarms that light up as a visual aid or assistive listening devices paired with the TV in your hotel room. Contact the customer service representative at your hotel to ask about their accessibility options.
If you need new hearing aids or supplies for your hearing aids during traveling, please contact Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment.
Stay safe! Enjoy your travels!
Are You Prepared for Summer Concerts? Wear Hearing Protection and Know how and when to use Hearing Aids Properly.
Are you looking forward to live music performances coming to Lancaster County this summer? Or are you traveling out of the area to see your favorite musician or band? Do you enjoy listening to the banter in between songs from the singers?
Whether you’re a hearing aid user or not, prepare for your upcoming concert.
Sometimes it can be challenging to hear at a comfortable and safe level. Most people with hearing loss face challenges with hearing higher frequencies. Therefore, some music or vocal ranges are difficult to hear.
On the other hand, some live shows, like rock concerts, can be dangerously loud for people of any hearing range. Being part of the audience at a rock concert can create risks for everyone who doesn’t take precautions beforehand.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 3 people between 65-74 and half of people older than 75 experience hearing loss.
Standing too close to speakers can lead to hearing loss in minutes. Exposure to noise that reaches over 70 decibels (dB) for a prolonged period can harm your hearing. Noise over 120 dB can instantly damage your ability to hear.
Tinnitus and hearing loss are common occurrences after attending a loud live concert. Sometimes it’s temporary, or it can last longer. Seek help immediately if you experience either of these symptoms.
Before Leaving to Attend a Concert
The JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery published a study in 2016 based on 51 concert attendees. They concluded that just 8 percent of concert-goers who donned earplugs with a noise reduction rate of 18 dB experienced noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) compared to 42 percent of those who did not wear earplugs.
Just 12 percent of earplug users experienced tinnitus compared to 40 percent of nonusers after a 4 ½ hour concert.
If you are ready to attend a concert, you’re in luck. Pure Sound Hearing has simple foam earplugs available in our offices.
Selecting the Safest Seats or Standing Area for Your Hearing
It doesn’t sound fun, but being further away from speakers or the stage would be safer. Staying about 500 feet away from anything that emits loud noise is safest.
Giant speakers are usually on the stage, but sometimes they can be located in other spaces in the venue. You can contact the concert organizers to figure out which area is safest for you.
Venues located outside can be safer because the sound doesn’t get trapped inside a confined space, as it does with an indoor venue.
If Necessary, Take a Break
Sometimes, if the sounds are overwhelming, temporarily move yourself to a quiet space - maybe you need to go outside the venue. You can rest your ears for as long as you need, which could help prevent hearing damage.
Use a sound meter app to measure the noise levels in your environment.
For Hearing Aid Users
If you have hearing loss and use hearing aids, you probably want the best possible experience at a concert.
In some cases, hearing aids might lead to a not-so-great listening experience. The devices have been designed with speech as the primary listening experience instead of music. Music has more ranges of frequencies than speech sounds that are difficult to reproduce with hearing aids.
With newer hearing aid features, there can be a problem with how music is perceived. Feedback suppression or blocking out background noises may inadvertently suppress sounds from other instruments, so you’d miss out on a full experience.
Talk to your hearing instrument specialist, who will demonstrate how to adjust your hearing aids’ volume setting while experiencing a live concert. You can also ask how to stop other features, like feedback suppression or noise reduction. Your hearing aids are programmable by your hearing instrument specialist with a “music setting” feature that automatically switches to this feature.
Before traveling to your concert venue, find out if it has a hearing loop system. This sound system is available in most public spaces that connect to people’s hearing aids or assistive listening devices.
If you experience hearing loss and need hearing aids, schedule an appointment with Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers in Elizabethtown, Lititz, or Strasburg.