How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Patients at Pure Sound always bring in the most interesting show and tell items.
This week a patient brought in her stapes bone that was removed 40 years ago!
The stapes is the smallest bone in our body. It's also the innermost bone of our auditory ossicles in the middle ear, which is responsible for transmitting sound waves from the air outside to the fluid-filled labyrinth (cochlea).
Whether or not you have a hearing-related, or an ear-related, item to share with us, contact Pure Sound to schedule an appointment if you need a hearing test and consultation.
Our experiences change as we age. There are more responsibilities and different priorities that we need to deal with. We’ll notice that some family members will need additional help and care.
If you recognize any of these things, you’re probably the caregiver in your family. There are some tips on how to handle this role to make your life easier.
Attention to All Caregivers
Anyone can be a caregiver. Maybe you are taking care of a sick or aging parent, relative, friend, or child with special needs.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. The Family Caregiver Alliance has reported that annually, nearly 44 million Americans assist with 37 billion hours of unpaid, ‘informal’ care for adult family members and friends who have chronic conditions or illnesses. Most people manage these situations with some or no help from a professional. Out of this population, there’s a large number of people who need aid and assistance as a result of an injury - or age-related hearing loss.
What is Age-Related Hearing Loss?
The term presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, has been used and described in our previous blog posts.
When you think about a caregiver, managing hearing loss probably doesn’t immediately come to your attention as the main part to consider. Aging and looking after hearing problems could become a significant responsibility that you will also need to handle.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause cognitive decline and depression due to social isolation. It can impact your self-worth and general outlook on life, which can make things more challenging as you age. If you notice or even suspect a loved one has hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Just like with any serious health problem, it’s important to receive early treatment and care to help slow down or even prevent worsening effects.
At Home Care for Your Hearing Needs
It’s important to be able to care for your hearing loss on your own, with the guidance of a hearing healthcare professional.
If you are a caregiver for someone with hearing loss, start by making sure that the hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices are properly functioning. Batteries and wax guards should be switched out regularly. If the person you are caring for hears whistling or anything abnormal with their hearing aids, their device probably needs to be repaired. You can clean their hearing aids from dust and earwax buildup, and make sure they are dry. Professional-grade cleaning wipes or soft cloth should be used to wipe the hearing aids down.
The way their home is arranged is also something to look into. You should ask the person with the hearing impairment whether they can hear the TV, or if it’s easy for them to answer the telephone or their smartphone. If they do find it difficult to use these devices, maybe you should rearrange some furniture or the entertainment system. Most modern hearing aids feature Bluetooth®, so streaming media or phone calls are easier. A major part of caring for someone with hearing loss is working as a team to find the best solution for their unique lifestyle and needs.
You should also consider creating a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Struggling to hear can lead to listening fatigue, so help make their living space calm and relaxing.
Don’t Forget to Take Good Care of Yourself
It’s easy to feel burnt out in these situations. It happens to every caregiver. The most common signs of stress in a caregiver are fatigue, consistent feelings of worry, and depression. If you notice any of these feelings, address them immediately. Taking care of your own needs is just as important as taking care of your loved one.
There are support groups available or even consider advice from a medical professional. If possible, talk to loved ones - even the person who you are caring for. Make reasonable expectations. A conversation could help with future tensions that are felt by everyone involved.
Make an Appointment with a Specialist
Setting up an appointment with a hearing aid specialist is important for caregivers with loved ones who have hearing loss. They will help keep the devices functioning properly, repair them, provide professional cleanings, cleaning tools such as professional-strength cleaning wipes, and other accessories. Remember to keep information on your loved one’s hearing aid warranty on hand, in case it is needed, and go to their appointment with them.
If you, or a loved one, need a hearing test or new hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Your Hearing Test Results Indicate that You Have Severe to Profound Hearing Loss (SPHL). What Should You Do?
The difficulties caused by severe to profound hearing loss are not simply that they are a little worse than mild to moderate hearing loss. There’s much more to it.
Insight on the repercussions of Severe to Profound Hearing Loss (SPHL)
Patients who have mild to moderate hearing loss experience frustration, confusion, and isolation - which can lead to depression - due to feeling less confident during social situations where listening environments are challenging. Patients with severe to profound hearing loss experience the same problems, but there are additional struggles.
When anyone who has difficulty with hearing also needs to put extra effort in trying to listen to others, they can experience fatigue. People that you communicate with may not be accommodating or sympathetic, which discourages you from trying to fit in or reach out to others.
SPHL makes itself known in every Situation
If you have severe to profound hearing loss, you probably have a lot of trouble with communicating in noisy environments AND in just about any conversation that you engage in, or attempt to engage in. This invisible boundary can hinder your ability to create and build upon relationships. Having friendships or work relationships with others is important to understand where we fit in this society.
Communication isn’t the only problem that you may have. You might feel less confident if something sounds confusing, or isolated if you miss the punchline to a joke that someone makes and everyone else laughs except for you. You could also feel as though you need to rely on others to speak clearly or translate things for you. Sometimes, those moments during a conversation lose their magic or significance when it needs to be repeated.
How Hearing Loss affects Your Mental Health
If your interpersonal relationships are negatively impacted by your hearing loss, that can also negatively affect you. It’s easy to see how isolation can snowball into other problems in relation to your mental health. Anxiety and depression have been closely associated with severe and profound hearing loss. Anxiety and depression significantly increase the chances of social isolation, which can be an issue caused by miscommunications, so the cycle continues.
There have been studies on high rates of depression among people who have normal hearing abilities who communicate with people who are hard of hearing. So it’s not necessarily hearing loss that’s at the center of the problem, but the constant interruption of how a normal conversation should be.
Hearing Aids and a Healthy Social Life
In addition to receiving a great pair of hearing aids that are properly fitted and programmed by a hearing instrument specialist, and possibly auditory training sessions, people with hearing loss MUST HAVE contact with others who are having the same challenges as they are. Whether it’s advice from someone with firsthand experience or just an empathetic person who understands what they are going through, it’s important to have those relationships.
Find those communities, whether it’s an online group or a local hearing loss association chapter. There will be people in similar situations that you can connect with.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some listening devices for your journey towards better hearing.
Nearly 48 million Americans experience some range of hearing loss, but most are unwilling to acknowledge it. Due to the ageism that is deeply steeped in society, many people see hearing loss as a sign of getting old, so it’s ignored and goes untreated.
The aesthetics of hearing aids or their cost is also a concern for many individuals. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, the average person waits at least seven years to seek help. There are serious consequences to untreated hearing loss. Here are nine reasons why you - or your loved one - should get treatment.
1. Wearing Hearing Aids is as Natural as Wearing Eyeglasses
While it’s important to note that hearing loss and vision loss are not the same things, - nor does treatment for them work the same way - normalizing the use of hearing aids the way wearing eyeglasses has been accepted is important.
Presbyopia, or the inability to focus on close objects due to age-related deterioration, is the visual equivalent to presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). For some, hearing aids may not be considered a trendy accessory - although they are available in bright colors. There are more discreet styles that rest in the inner ear canal. Many famous people also rely on wearing hearing aids like Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Robert Redford, Rob Lowe, and Whoopie Goldberg.
2. Mild Hearing Loss can change Brain Function
Ears transmit information to the brain, therefore when hearing loss occurs the brain will also change. As hearing loss progresses, the areas of the brain that process visual and sensory elements will start to utilize parts of the auditory cortex to comprehend sounds. This change results in an under-stimulation - which leads to deterioration - of the auditory cortex.
3. Untreated Hearing Loss Negatively impacts Memory and Cognitive Abilities
You may have had trouble hearing in a crowded room. Your frontal and prefrontal cortex - these are the areas of the brain that assist with thinking, focusing, concentration, and remembering things for brief periods (A.K.A. - working memory) - become more active. These are the parts of your brain that listen, so they won’t be effective if they become deteriorated due to hearing loss. When it comes to the way their brain processes speed and executive function, research has shown that individuals with hearing loss have shortcomings. As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss has been linked to dementia. In 2017, The Lancet published an international study that concluded that hearing loss is one of the biggest modifiable risks for developing dementia. There’s a lot of hope in the fact that a person with hearing loss can manage their memory and cognitive abilities, and adapt to life like any other person with a hearing aid that is fit and programmed by a professional.
4. The Safety and Security of Hearing Better
Some ranges of hearing loss may put your life in danger. If you can’t hear a smoke alarm, house alarm, sirens, severe weather warnings, or even a doorbell, this can put you at greater risk.
According to research from Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute of Aging found that anyone with mild hearing loss is three times more likely to fall than people with healthy hearing abilities.
5. The Stress of Straining to Hear
Mild hearing loss can cause stress. This stress can lead to anger, anxiety, depression, frustration, headaches, and irritability.
6. Interpersonal Relationships can Suffer
Relationships can become strained if you don’t have a partner/spouse, family members, friends, or colleagues who are patient with you. Following along during conversations can be challenging. It can require more concentration and fatigue. After a while, you may no longer enjoy socializing and begin isolating yourself, which can lead to depression.
7. Hearing Health helps Your overall Health
Getting a routine hearing test and treatment, if necessary, is one step towards better overall health. A good diet and an exercise routine are also great ways to help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
8. Hearing Aids have seen Great Technological Improvements
Hearing aids can be discreetly placed in the ear canal or even behind the ears. Digital signal processing lets your hearing instrument specialist tailor the devices for your specific listening needs, which improves your hearing health and cognitive health. This gives users a customized listening experience.
9. It’s Almost Impossible to Mask Your Hearing Loss
If you are constantly asking others to speak up or repeat what they’ve said, you might need hearing aids.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. They will help you find the right solution for your hearing needs.
Anxiety is an unrelenting and intense state of alertness. While this is completely normal when you encounter stressful circumstances, for some people it becomes an unmanageable condition that consumes their thoughts.
Hearing loss can provoke or even encourage these anxieties, but there haven’t been comprehensive studies on this matter. These worries aren’t simply about hearing loss, but also missing out on important information, embarrassment from a misunderstanding, thoughts of hearing aid batteries running out of power, or feeling left out of job opportunities/social circles.
Experiencing Physical Anxiety
You may have had strong feelings of anxiety which led to physical symptoms, such as:
If any of these symptoms are becoming so frequent that they are negatively impacting your life, you should seek help from a professional. This might include treatment for hearing loss and anxiety.
What Triggers Your Anxiety?
Anxiety is separated into five categories:
If you were in an automobile accident and suffered a head injury, you might suffer from rapid hearing loss and other symptoms of PTSD. Your specific symptoms and treatment may be different from someone who is gradually losing their hearing and constantly pays attention to signs of dementia (but it’s only their hearing that’s been impacted).
People with hearing loss might have tinnitus or Ménière's disease, which can also be distressing and lead to anxiety.
The Statistics on Anxiety and Hearing Loss
Constantly struggling in everyday circumstances that aren’t a problem for most people can lead to stress. Anxiety is one reaction to this stress. Over a 12-year study, about 4,000 French citizens who were at least 65-years-old, and had hearing loss at the beginning of the study had a higher risk of developing symptoms of anxiety over time.
People who had vision loss were not more likely to show symptoms of anxiety. This may be due to the reduced stigma in wearing eyeglasses over wearing hearing aids.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Severity Raise the Risk of Experiencing Anxiety
The link to hearing loss and tinnitus severity was found in adults of every age group. The study found in 17,000 adult participants, there was a higher risk of anxiety if your hearing loss was more severe or you had tinnitus.
This does not automatically conclude that you will be anxious due to hearing loss. In five studies that examined symptoms in hard-of-hearing individuals, between 15 to 31 percent of participants had significant symptoms of anxiety. So overall, most people did not have these symptoms.
Among the general population, anxiety is common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 18 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Are You Anxious in Social Situations or Simply Frustrated due to Problems with Hearing?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), slowly happens over time. Many people don’t notice it, until much later in life.
You can be slowly overcome with feelings of loneliness, which contribute to your mental health - i.e. anxiety.
People who have social anxiety fear any circumstance where they may be negatively judged, whether it’s with people that they work with, or engaging in small talk.
Hearing loss can lead to situations that can frustrate others. When you are unable to hear clearly, you may not notice when someone is about to talk or has not finished speaking, and interrupt that person. You might pretend that you can hear, or make a guess as to what was said, and give an inappropriate response. Maybe you didn’t hear a joke - so you’re the only person who didn’t laugh. Hearing loss can make you feel isolated and create awkward social situations.
If you still enjoy being social with others, you probably have mild social anxiety. If the simple act of sitting with others makes you anxious, you probably have extreme social anxiety.
Those with GAD might have a lot of worries and struggle with physical symptoms for days prior to a date or a job interview.
Tips for Communication
Can Having an Anxiety Disorder Negatively Impact Your Hearing?
A French study conducted on 10,500 Taiwanese adults concluded that there was a higher risk of anxiety among those who experienced sudden hearing loss (SHL). Participants in the study who were diagnosed with GAD, but not hearing loss at the beginning of the research were more likely to develop hearing loss than individuals who did not have GAD. The adults with GAD were not more likely to experience worsening vision.
Additional studies are needed to determine why hearing might be impacted by anxiety.
Treatment for Anxiety is Available
Most people who have anxiety are not treated. It often gets overlooked.
If you want to get help for anxiety, you will need to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation, or medication may be suggested.
Hearing Aids of Assistive Listening Devices
If hearing loss is causing your anxiety, hearing aids can significantly improve your condition. They cannot restore your hearing back to normal, but they can help you manage the anxiety that you feel with communication and listening. Phone apps that provide captions and decibel readers can also be helpful. If the sound of your alarm causes anxiety, you can set one that creates a light that slowly shines like a sunrise, or even a gentle shaking alarm to wake you from your sleep.
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety, or any other concerning symptoms, due to hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
The third most prevalent chronic disease that affects the elderly is hearing loss. Hearing loss has been linked to weakened overall health including depression, loneliness, isolation, and poor physical health. Hearing loss usually goes untreated, where only 11 percent of older adults who experience hearing loss own hearing aids and about 24 percent of them do not use the devices.
Hearing loss is linked to a faster rate of cognitive decline in elderly adults, which can result in dementia. The majority of studies on cognitive decline are centered on older adults, but recent evidence showed that the onset of hearing loss that occurs in mid-life is associated with being diagnosed with dementia before the age of 60. Therefore, in mid - and later- life, hearing loss raises the risks for dementia and cognitive decline.
Prior to Hearing Aid Usage
Before receiving a hearing aid fitting, the male and female test subjects had no significant difference in hearing loss. The range of hearing loss was not connected to the person’s age. Mood and anxiety levels were within normal limits, with 17 percent of participants who reported experiencing higher anxiety and/or depression. This may partly be due to the fact that a participant’s degree of hearing loss was only mild to moderate. As a result, the effects of hearing loss on their mental health and loneliness were not as severe.
Receiving higher education has also been shown to have a protective effect against symptoms of anxiety and depression. About 44 percent of these participants reported feeling lonely. The average Health Utilities Index mark 3 (HUI3) for overall quality of life scored at 0.74 (the maximum score is 1). An analysis showed that the range of hearing loss, and a person’s age, predicted poorer executive function. Strengthening education attainment was linked to better managerial function and visual learning.
The Results After 18 Months
Cognitive function was reexamined in 37 participants 18 months after receiving their hearing aid fitting. Twenty-eight percent of the test subjects used their hearing aids for over 90 percent of their waking hours, and 31 percent of the test subjects used their device for 60-90 percent of waking hours. Speech perception in quiet environments and overall quality of life improved significantly with the majority of the group. About 57 percent of the self-reported listening disability scores significantly improved. Individuals who had high symptoms of anxiety and depression did not report experiencing either of those conditions at 18 months. Participants who were severely lonely at the beginning of the experiment were not at 18 months.
The group’s average performance improved for measures on executive function, psychomotor function, attention, working memory, and visual learning. There was no decline during the 18 months. During a follow-up, 30 percent of the follow-up test subjects were better at executive function, 67 percent were stable, and the condition of three percent worsened. There was an improvement in the working memory, visual attention, and visual learning for the female participants.
When the cognitive changes from hearing aid usage were studied, considerably greater gains in executive function were discovered in participants who used their hearing aids or assistive listening devices for over 90 percent of their waking hours, compared to those who used their devices for less than 90 percent of their waking hours. Women test subjects used their hearing aids on a more regular basis and for longer periods of time than men, at 56% vs. 33% during a span of 14-hours per day.
More gain in executive function, and improvements in three other test subsets among female participants, recommend a dose-effect of hearing aid usage on cognition. Prior studies reported this contrast in hearing aid usage between men and women. They imply that it could be because women value social communication more than men, have a greater awareness of the root causes of hearing loss, and struggle with more stress and anger as a result of hearing loss.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and believe hearing aids would be helpful, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide selection of hearing aid brands and styles for your listening needs.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age in life. Some people are born with hearing loss, some people gradually lose their hearing as they age or due to an illness, and others experience hearing loss caused by overexposure to loud noises.
For any young people who have hearing loss, it can make them feel out of place. Society has ingrained the idea that hearing loss only happens to the elderly, which is not true.
The Hearing Loss Association of America has reported that two to three out of 1,000 infants are born with detectable hearing loss. One in five American teens experiences some range of hearing loss.
Don’t Assume that People are “Too Young” to Have Hearing Loss
In many instances, when others comment on the premature age of a person with hearing loss, the young person with hearing loss tends to feel inadequate. Some people with a hearing loss already experienced “imposter syndrome”, and that feeling increases because they don’t feel like they belong to the hearing community or the deaf community. Saying, “You’re too young for hearing loss” makes that person feel even more “othered”.
The mainstream culture rarely includes people who are hard of hearing. Most of us have learned about Helen Keller, a deafblind activist. We may have seen Marlee Matlin acting in a movie or TV show. Currently, there is an accurate portrayal of the deaf and hard of hearing community in the Netflix series Deaf U.
Due to the lack of representation, deafness and hearing loss are usually associated with the elderly or someone who is profoundly deaf. Most people who are hard of hearing do not fit in any of those categories, so it tends to cause a lot of misunderstandings.
Hard of Hearing People, of All Ages, Should Receive Accessibility
In many cases, the online events that have recently become very popular are usually inaccessible to anyone who has hearing loss.
Accessibility and accommodations should be available, regardless of whether it’s an event primarily for the older generation or a younger generation. Videos with closed captions should always be provided.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Usually, hearing loss happens slowly as you age. Eventually, you may notice that the music you once enjoyed now sounds different. If you’re an avid music listener, you may discover when a new instrument begins to play, you won’t know which one it is. Lyrics could be difficult to understand. Overall, the music might have a flat tone.
With hearing aids, you’ll be able to hear the sounds that you missed. Just like musical instruments, hearing aids need to be finely tuned to clearly hear with them. Adjustments from your hearing instrument specialist, along with your feedback on what is and what is not working will help find the best settings for you. Hearing aids can also help reduce tinnitus - the repetitive beeping, buzzing, or chirping noises that many musicians and music lovers experience when exposed to too much sound.
How Can You Enjoy Listening to Music Again?
The default settings on your hearing aids are meant to improve speech sounds, so music may actually sound dull or flat. Simply switching the volume levels won’t help with this problem.
Ask your hearing instrument specialist to program a music setting. When you want to listen to or play music, you can switch your hearing aid to this setting.
Do Not Turn the Volume Up
There’s a range of sounds in music, where some sections may get louder and then softer.
If you experience profound hearing loss, the wide range of sounds can be challenging to hear. Some new hearing aid users who listen to music tend to raise the volume very high which can cause more damage to their auditory system.
Early hearing aid models were unable to handle these bigger ranges without distorting the sounds. Today’s digital hearing aids are significantly better at processing music. Simply communicate what you like or dislike about your hearing aid with your hearing instrument specialist. Everyone’s ability to hear is unique, so they will create a customized program just for you.
Hearing Aid: Music Program
Hearing aids can have many different programs. These are special pre-programmed settings that help users hear clearer in different environments.
Hearing instrument specialists can create and customize these settings based on a user’s situation. So whether you are having a conversation with someone, or sitting in a noisy area where there’s music playing in the background, there’s a setting for that. You can control these settings by using a remote that pairs with the hearing aid, an app on your smartphone, or pressing a button on the hearing aid. Talk to your hearing aid provider for guidance.
A “music” program is needed for hearing aids to better understand speech sounds. Speech sounds in a normal conversation can range between 30 to 85 decibels (dB) (Remember the average person’s hearing threshold is 85 dB.). Human speech sounds can range between 250 to 6000 Hz. For a “normal” hearing aid setting, which is honed for normal spoken conversation, the range or frequency and volume are lower than what’s used for music. For example, a piano has approximately 40 percent more frequency ranges than the average female speech sounds.
Music vs. Conversation
Music generally has more range in frequency and volume. It incorporates vital sounds that are softer or blaring than conversational sounds. This can be challenging for any hearing aid user.
Customized programs that enhance the sound of music, generally have more amplification in lower frequencies. This is vital to enjoying music. If you have any problems with listening to music with hearing aids, do not hesitate to talk to your hearing instrument specialist.
Use Assistive Listening Devices
To stream sounds through your hearing aids, try the Roger Select microphone, uDirect3 remote control, ConnectLine, ConnectClip, TV Connector, or ask about other options that are available at Pure Sound Hearing.
To take your first step towards enjoying music again, get in touch with us. Our hearing instrument specialists will guide you through a journey to better hearing.
As more people are getting back to traveling by plane, ear pain caused by air pressure may be inevitable for some.
Usually, the pain that you feel in your ears is a minor discomfort. In other cases, it can turn into a serious issue. In rare occurrences, ear pain and pressure can result in hearing loss.
More Ear Pressure
The shifts in air pressure affect the pressure in your ears. Generally, the air pressure in the inner ear and the air pressure outside are nearly identical. When you walk up a large mountain, the slow speed of your ascent gives your body time to distribute the pressure, which equalizes it while walking. The discomfort you feel, due to increased ear pressure only happens during a quick shift in altitude. The pressure inside your inner ear and the pressure coming from outside do not have enough time to equalize. This is known as ear barotrauma.
When the airplane that you aboard take flight, it starts its ascent, and the air pressure in the inner ear quickly passes the pressure outside. The eardrum swells outward, like a loaf of bread that rises as it bakes in an oven.
On the contrary, when the air pressure in the inner ear quickly gets lower than the air pressure outside, the tympanic membrane will get suctioned inward like a vacuum. The Eustachian tube becomes flat and needs your help to bring airflow into the inner ear so that it can function properly. It doesn’t matter if you are rapidly going into a high altitude or low altitude, when the eardrum stretches it can be painful.
When experiencing this, since the eardrum cannot vibrate you will also notice some hearing loss and muffled noises.
3 Ways to Prevent Ear Pain in Flight
When flying on an airplane, you may have felt the shifting altitudes on your ears, i.e. feelings of fullness in the ear and popping. Pressure needs to be equalized by presenting as much air as possible through the Eustachian tube. Here’s how to do that:
1. Swallow or yawn - Doing this will help airflow through the nose to the middle ear, which will equalize the pressure. When you swallow, the clicking or popping noise that you might hear is actually a tiny air bubble that drifted from the back of the nose and into the middle ear through the Eustachian tube. This tube makes sure that there is regular airflow in the middle ear. This air becomes absorbed into the inner ear’s membranes and the cycle repeats. This continuous air flow makes sure that the pressure on each side of the ears remains equal. Swallow or yawn as many times as necessary. When flying on an airplane, make sure the Eustachian tubes are working more than usual and open them up more often in order to adapt to the pressure change.
2. Chew gum or suck on hard candy - Doing this will encourage you to frequently swallow, which helps to equalize air pressure.
3. The Valsalva Maneuver - To do this maneuver, inhale air and hold your breath. Then close your mouth and pinch your nose shut. Gently release the air out until your ears pop. This will open up the Eustachian tubes. This maneuver is not meant to be used if you have allergies or a cold, because it may lead to a severe ear infection. You should use the Toynbee maneuver. This is when you close your mouth and nose while swallowing several times until you reach equalized pressure. Repeat either technique as necessary.
6 Additional Tips
Airplanes and Ear Pain in Children
The Eustachian tubes in children are significantly smaller and narrower than in an adult. This is why a change in air pressure is much more painful for them. Sucking on a bottle or pacifier is helpful in order to increase the number of times the child swallows, especially when the plane is about to descend.
Older kids can suck on a lollipop, drink through a straw or blow bubbles through a straw in order to relieve pain in the ears. Before the plane ride, you may talk to your pediatrician about ear drops for pain relief.
The Risk of a Ruptured Eardrum
If you have allergies, a cold, flu, or any other similar illness, you may want to change travel plans. It would be considerate to the other people on the plane, and your illness may include a blockage of the Eustachian tube, which would prevent pressure equalization. If your eardrum becomes ruptured or if you have a severe infection, either one may lead to hearing loss or permanent damage to your ear.
If you experience hearing loss due to a plane flight, and your hearing has not gone back to normal, within several days after your flight, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
If you’re a city dweller, you are probably used to the bustling sounds in the streets. All traffic that occurs throughout the day and into the night can put your hearing health at risk. Whether the noises come from nearby airports, sports arenas, highways, or construction zones, neighborhoods in the city produce a lot of noise pollution that impacts a vast amount of people.
The Noisiest Neighborhoods
Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago are some of the loudest cities in the U.S. Residents are exposed to at least 80 decibels (dB) of noise from transportation per day! There are even heavily traversed areas that emit more than 90 dB. You should wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing in those areas, especially if these are places you travel through daily.
You can look at this map to get a better picture of what we’re talking about.
Is there a Negative Impact on Property Value for Noisy Neighborhoods?
It’s difficult to avoid loud areas, especially in a big city or suburban area with highways or an airport nearby. It’s important to spread awareness about potential hearing loss, so that others may take preventative measures. Realtor.com has reflected on noise levels vs. property value. They have indicated that more people prefer quieter environments, so the prices of homes will reflect that.
Noise in the Workplace
Exposure to dangerous noise levels while on the job should concern you. If you do not currently protect your hearing health, you should talk to your manager about being provided with earplugs or industrial ear muffs. Check the noise levels in your work environment by using a decibel meter app. Anything over 85 dBs is considered to be a dangerous level of noise exposure.
Talk to family, coworkers, and friends about their exposure to noise in heavy traffic, construction, and concerts while working with power tools, operating heavy machinery, using common electric appliances around the home, etc. All of these interactions could lead to hearing loss. To be safe, always carry around a pair of foam earplugs with you. They can easily be stored in your pocket or handbag. Get your hearing tested at least once a year.
How Would You Know If You Had Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss happens very slowly over time. Most people won’t catch it early. This is especially true if you are constantly exposed to loud noises, whether it’s in a workplace environment or if you live in a bustling city. If you find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, moving closer to people to hear them better, asking others to speak up, or it's challenging to hear others in noisy environments, you might have hearing loss.
If you need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Lititz, Elizabethtown, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
If you are looking for a good entertainment list for the summer, we’ve got you covered!
Here’s a list of uplifting and captivating choices that cover the topics of hearing loss or sound. Read, watch and listen if you need some time to relax.
The Way I Hear It: A Life With Hearing Loss (Book)
In this book, humorist, actress, public speaker, and hearing loss advocate Gael Hannan, shares life lessons and more. She offers advice and encouragement to both individuals with hearing loss and their loved ones.
My Deaf Friend Can Do Anything You Can Do (Book)
Other people’s misconceptions and stereotypes can hinder their ability to truly understand each other. This children’s book can give you and your family a chance to learn about the experiences of those with hearing and appreciate what everyone has to offer.
Sound of Metal (Movie)
This movie tells the story of Ruben, a heavy-metal drummer, who suddenly begins to experience profound hearing loss while on tour. It’s been praised by the deaf and hard of hearing community and has become a strong contender for the 2021 Oscars.
See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary (Movie)
This film follows entertainers with hearing loss, who pursue their dream careers. The award-winning 2009 documentary shows the very real highs and lows of drummer Bob, comic CJ, actor and educator Robert, and singer TL.
Twenty Thousand Hertz (Podcast)
This podcast covers topics on sound. What is it? How does it work? How can beings hear? The host, Dallas Taylor, also discusses topics like synesthesia (Ep. “Synesthesia” from Jan. 13, 2021), and tells the backstory of familiar sounds that you may recognize.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this summer's list of entertainment!
If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
It’s time to look forward to sunny weather and summer holiday gatherings! And with these get-togethers, you’ll want to make sure you can still enjoy conversations by hearing your best. Here are some tips on how to protect your hearing health and, if you are a hearing aid user, get the most out of your hearing aids.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in three Americans between 20 to 69 years old, experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss, so you should always carry a pair of foam earplugs with you.
Inserting the earplugs into your ears, while being in loud environments - such as watching a fireworks display or going to a sporting event - can reduce the noises and the chance of permanent damage to your ears.
Be aware of Swimmer’s Ear
This condition can be painful and may cause temporary hearing loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that you should:
Hearing Aid Users
If you are a hearing aid user, be aware that you will probably come in contact with more humidity and moisture caused by sweat and hotter temperatures this summer. As with any electronic device, water can damage your hearing aids.
This is why it’s so important to keep your hearing aids dry. You may get a hearing aid dehumidifier, which has desiccant and place the devices inside to extract moisture due to condensation, humidity, or sweat.
If you or a loved one are a Lancaster County resident who experiences hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 75% of Farmers experience hearing loss as they age. Other jobs that induce hearing loss include construction work, factory work and musicians.
Driving or working around an operated tractor, for hours at a time without hearing protection can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Hopefully, by raising awareness about this issue, preventative measures can be addressed among the farming community.
Whether you or someone who you know is a farmer, reach out to us at Pure Sound Hearing and schedule a free hearing test and consultation.
Did you know that the month of June is dedicated to men’s health?
On average, men tend to ignore their health at a higher rate than women, which leads to so many other health problems down the road.
It’s important to raise awareness on men’s health, particularly preventative health measures that can be detected and treated if it’s caught in the early stages.
Hearing loss is more common in men, due to the fact that they are more likely to work in an environment that’s louder than the average work setting - including construction zones, mines, industrial areas, etc.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can lead to more risks of falls, lower opportunities for employment, lower salaries due to an inability to accurately perform tasks, social isolation which can lead to depression and dementia.
Preventative care isn’t the only reason to treat your hearing loss.
Healthy hearing is good for your overall health. Being included in conversations or enjoying music or TV, and not missing out on things like a good joke and laughter is important for your mind, body, and spirit.
The old stigma of wearing hearing aids is no longer valid among the younger generations. Many people wear their devices proudly, but if you’re still uncomfortable with visible hearing aids Pure Sound has discreet hearing aids available.
Get back to enjoying the sounds of music, fun, and laughter. Contact us at Pure Sound to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
Are You Hearing a Rumble in Your Ear? You may be Experiencing Tonic Tensor Tympani in addition to Hearing Loss.
Are you hard of hearing and experienced a vibrating sensation and the sounds of rumbling in your ear? You may not be able to completely describe this new feeling, as it may not resemble your average type of tinnitus.
The rumbling is actually a common symptom of tinnitus. It tends to occur as a way of protecting your ears from noises that are too loud. There are some treatable conditions that may cause this rumbling.
What causes the sound of rumbling in your ears?
In some cases, the rumbling sound resembles rushing water or wind that’s whisking through the air and into your ear.
As mentioned, a rumbling sound is used to safeguard your ears. The ears protect themselves by tightened muscles in the inner ear, which suppress sounds. These muscles are known as “tensor tympani”.
These muscles can pull the malleus (a bone that helps with the ability to hear) in the ear away from the eardrum. Therefore, the eardrum cannot vibrate as much as it normally should. This stifles the ear, causing the rumbling noise.
This could happen while:
It’s important to note that these sounds are not experienced by everyone, but some people do notice the rumbling sounds during these occasions.
Hidden Medical Reasons
In some cases, there are underlying medical issues that can lead to a rumbling sensation to the ear. These causes can include:
There are treatments for both of these conditions.
Some people can consciously generate these sounds.
In some instances, you can control this rumbling sound. There’s a small subdivision of people who have the ability to contract their tensor tympani muscles in their inner ear whenever they want.
Some people create the sounds subconsciously.
One way to notice whether you are creating the sound is if you anticipate hearing the rumbling sound when you are about to do a specific thing, such as yawn.
If you have the ability to control when the tensor tympani muscles contract, this could be useful for protecting your ears from louder inner noises. If you can tense your muscles, you may also be able to shield against low-frequency noises so that you can hear higher (and usually more difficult to hear) sound frequencies that are higher in pitch.
Being able to contract these tensor tympani muscles isn’t something that you should be worried about.
Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome (TTTS)
This is a rare type of tinnitus. This is a form of objective tinnitus, meaning that both the person with the condition and others can hear a sound. Patients with TTTS hear sounds in a different way.
TTTS is also considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus. This means that the condition is related to irregular blood flow. Individuals with high blood pressure, blood vessels with calcifications, and other conditions can have this type of tinnitus.
Is Tonic Tensor Tympani associated with Tinnitus?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a noise when there isn’t an identifiable source of the sound nearby. People have often described it as a chirping, clicking, hissing, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise.
The impact of tinnitus on hearing health varies from person to person. Some experience tinnitus due to irregularities in their blood vessels. Others encounter issues with muscles in their ears, including the tensor tympani muscles.
There’s a possibility that the rumbling noise is tinnitus, particularly if it doesn’t happen when chewing or yawning.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Healthy hearing is important in the development and quality of a child’s life. Without proper treatment, children with hearing loss can fall behind when it comes to establishing their communication, language acquisition, learning abilities, and social skills. Some parents or teachers may mistake a child’s hearing loss for a learning disability or a stubbornness when it comes to learning new things.
Today, more and more hospitals screen newborns for hearing loss. When an infant is born with hearing loss, this is known as congenital hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is usually genetic.
Temporary Hearing Loss
Some children may experience temporary hearing loss. If this type of hearing loss frequently occurs, it can be harmful to children’s speech and language acquisition as they age. It can also cause deterioration to the eardrum, bones inside your ears, or auditory nervous system which can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which is a type of permanent hearing loss.
A Parental/Guardian’s Guide to Children’s Hearing Loss
Normally, parents or guardians will not immediately notice hearing loss in their child until other problems arise. If there is no immediate treatment for the child, the condition could get worse and become more difficult to manage. Your child will most likely receive a hearing test in school, and if they do not they should be receiving one at their annual doctor’s visit.
Based on how severe the hearing loss is and what the cause was, hearing aids may be recommended.
What are Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are powerful electronic devices that can help make sounds clearer for people with a wide range of hearing loss. It essentially hones in on the sounds that a person wants to hear, using directional microphones while reducing less important background noises.
If you have a child or grandchild who experiences hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Symptoms of tinnitus can be stressful. Did you know that negative feelings that are connected to tinnitus can make your symptoms worse? Let’s learn more about the link between tinnitus and pessimism. Hopefully, this will help you break the cycle of negative thoughts circling in your mind.
Tinnitus and its connection to Anxiety
The brain and nervous system are designed to respond to threatening encounters, to help you survive. This is known as the fight or flight response. Your brain can not always distinguish the difference between perceived danger and actual danger. This is the reason why you may feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins when you hear a ringing or buzzing noise in your ear, as though you are running away from a bear or other dangerous predator.
Tinnitus induces stress, which signals to your brain that your life might be in danger. Your fight or flight response is triggered, which causes a physiological reaction such as a higher heart rate and sweating, which is commonly associated with anxiety and fear.
Your Inclination to Negative Thoughts
Any thoughts that you associate with your tinnitus can regulate how you react on an emotional level. Your emotions may intensify your suffering. They also structure how you remember things. This is known as negative memory bias.
When you correlate your symptoms of tinnitus with the side effects, it will create stress any time you think about it. That makes sense. You are more likely to think about tinnitus when it negatively impacts your daily life. You can shift your frame of mind to control how you react to the symptoms to alleviate the irksome noise.
Dealing with Your Negativity
If you, or a loved one, are still experiencing tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation. Most modern hearing aids have a tinnitus masking feature that needs to be programmed for your specific listening needs. Our hearing instrument specialists are ready to help you.
As regular readers already know, hearing loss is one of the most common health problems. You also know that hearing loss can be a pathway towards cognitive decline, dementia, and social isolation which can lead to depression. Many people do not take this issue seriously enough.
Studies on Hearing Loss
Research from the Lancet suggests that receiving treatment for hearing loss in midlife is one of the ways to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
According to these latest studies, and previous knowledge of the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, healthcare professionals encourage everyone to take their hearing loss more seriously and immediately get treatment for it. Medical care may help to prevent, delay or reduce the impact of hearing loss.
If you are ready to seek help for your hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Newborns in Australia who fail their routine hearing screening test, have been asked to enter an experimental trial to determine the most common growing cause of the hearing loss.
The study is being conducted by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne, and four maternity hospitals. The objective of this research is to explore methods to determine whether hearing loss is found in young infants, who were born with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection at a faster rate.
Congenital CMV may be innocuous but it can also potentially cause hearing loss, along with additional neurodevelopmental disorders like cerebral palsy and vision loss in some infants. Providing a saliva swab testing kit to parents of newborns will help researchers discover the virus in the baby during the first three weeks of being born. Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne would like to screen 200 babies for the trial study, where three or four may have congenital CMV.
If this study is seen as a way to conduct timely diagnostic testing for congenital CMV, the team may use this screening nationwide.
If there’s a child in your family who you think may be experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer hearing aid solutions for people of all ages and ranges of hearing loss.
Based on how severe a person’s hearing loss is, hearing impairments are classified as a disability. This is significant because it is associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Social Security Regulations. Under this act and these regulations, an individual may be given some protections depending on their hearing loss or disabilities. Under Social Security Regulations, a person under these circumstances can be provided with certain benefits for their disability.
Laws over the classification of disabilities appear to be insufficient. This can lead to uncertainty as to whether wearing hearing aids is considered a disability under U.S. law. We’ll discuss this concern, along with other frequently asked questions regarding hearing disability or impairment.
Is a Hearing Impairment a Disability?
For each organization, disabilities are classified accordingly. For the World Health Organization (WHO), any definition of a disability can be separated into three categories:
Hearing impairment can be added to these three categories. Some organizations characterize a disability by breaking down the severity of the loss. The precise classification of a person’s hearing disability depends on their diagnosis. Hearing loss might be categorized as mild, moderate, profound, or severe.
Hearing Loss: A Range of Disability
When can hearing loss be identified as a disability? Without a hearing test and treatment, hearing loss can worsen. There are specific levels of hearing loss that people who wear hearing aids need to arrive at. These include:
When a person reaches any of these thresholds or stages, they might be eligible for disability grants for their hearing loss.
Is Wearing Hearing Aids Considered a Disability?
We mentioned the different stages or thresholds that someone with a hearing impairment needs to have to have access to disability grants. The test to confirm a person’s level of disability is performed without the person wearing their hearing aid. The Social Security Regulations and Americans with Disabilities Act states that wearing a hearing aid would not be categorized as a disability.
In many cases, hearing aids are worn in order to improve minor hearing loss that are below the thresholds in the Act and Regulations for hearing disabilities. Wearing hearing aids assists in hearing loss, thus to some level, eliminates the disability. You cannot be classified as having a disability if you wear a hearing aid.
Disabilities are not easily defined. In many cases, any type of disability that is not immediately visible usually gets ignored or is deemed invisible. This has impacted the form of protection that is available to people with hearing loss.
It’s important to address and take care of your hearing loss. Proper care for your hearing aids is also vital. Immediately seek treatment if you experience hearing loss. If you already have a hearing impairment, it’s important to get your hearing tested regularly so that your hearing healthcare provider can detect any changes and provide the proper treatment or modifications to your devices.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound for a hearing test and consultation.
If you have an aging father who is losing his hearing, discussing the prospect of receiving hearing aids probably won’t be easy. Statistically, it’s more likely that men will need hearing aids than women. This usually comes down to the work environment that men usually spend time in, i.e. construction, loud industrial facilities, operating heavy machinery, etc.
There are many reasons why some people decide not to wear hearing aids, but what should you do when your dad begins to show clear signs of hearing loss? Here are some tips to get a loved one so that they can get their hearing loss treated.
Recognize the Stigma that sometimes comes with Wearing Hearing Aids
Modern hearing aids can rest behind the ears, along your outer ear, or deep inside your ear canal. A lot of men tend to ignore obvious signs of hearing loss, so they may choose not to get hearing aids. Or, they may get hearing aids but won’t use them. The stigma of hearing aids was more widespread in the past, so it might be difficult for them to shift their mindset.
Today, there are so many different styles of hearing aids that are powerful and discreet:
Why Some Men Don’t Want to Wear Hearing Aids
There are practical reasons for this:
Depending on your hearing loss, the discreet ones may not work best for someone with severe or profound hearing loss.
And there are emotional reasons for this:
4 Tips to Discuss Hearing Loss with Your Dad, or the Male Figure in Your Life
When you decide to sit down and talk about hearing loss with your dad, or an important man in your life, you need to have a strategy.
1. Research information about hearing loss: He may appreciate it if you can give helpful and accurate information on hearing loss, treatment options, and how using hearing aids can be beneficial. Let him know that there are different and more discreet styles that are available.
2. Timing is everything: Make sure both of you are in a good mood before bringing up this topic. The conversation might be futile if one, or both of you are frustrated while talking about it.
3. Raise awareness about the negative impacts of hearing loss: Rather than focusing his attention on his hearing loss, inform him on how the hearing loss impacts his daily life. Maybe he no longer participates in things with you, or anyone. Hearing loss can atrophy the brain, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
4. Be patient, and help as much as you can: Find help for him. Take him to get a hearing test and help look at the options that are available for him.
If you believe that you have a loved one who has hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Our hearing healthcare providers are professional hearing instrument specialists who can program your devices to suit your individual listening needs.
After a man from Texas contracted Covid-19, he suffered from a number of symptoms. One of these symptoms was tinnitus.
It is uncertain as to whether tinnitus has a direct link to Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe tinnitus as a symptom, but hearing issues are linked to other viruses.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), listed tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. as symptoms of long Covid.
The Journal of International Audiology studied about 60 cases. The data uncovered that 15 percent of adults who had Covid-19 reported experiencing tinnitus. The researchers concluded that the participants in the study were detailing the symptoms of a new ailment or an existing one that was getting worse.
There has been some confirmation that Covid-19 could provoke symptoms of people with tinnitus, prior to becoming infected with the virus. According to a study published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal, in a survey from 3,100 individuals who had tinnitus, 40 percent of the 237 respondents who contracted Covid-19 reported that their symptoms were “significantly exacerbated” after becoming infected.
As mentioned in our previous blog posts, many viruses can poorly impact our hearing health. This includes measles, mumps, and rubella. Medications that are taken to reduce the spread of Covid, might worsen symptoms of tinnitus. We are well aware of the vicious cycle that can occur from stress-induced tinnitus. The study mentioned how an increase in stress for just about everyone due to fear of catching the virus, or social distancing have intensified feelings of isolation and loneliness. Home-schooling has also increased levels of stress, as have people over consumption of coffee and/or alcohol.
There are nearly 200 causes of tinnitus, some of which include exposure to loud noises, hearing loss, stress, and perforated eardrums. There is no cure for tinnitus, but therapy for cognitive behavior - or talk therapy that’s meant to refocus your thoughts and behavior - or training on how to acclimate yourself to the condition is available.
If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Have your ears ever felt like they were blocked up with water after taking a swim? It’s a frustrating feeling when you still feel the obstruction for the following days. This symptom is caused by a bacterial infection known as acute otitis externa A.K.A. swimmer’s ear. Generally speaking, it’s harmless, but you should still get it checked out by a hearing healthcare provider. If it goes untreated, it could affect your ability to hear.
How Swimmer’s Ear Affects Your Hearing
Swimmer’s ear can occur after being in any body of water, although it typically develops after spending time in hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and rivers. Due to the greater amounts of bacteria that are found in these areas, water that becomes trapped inside the ear is more likely to lead to painful infections on the skin. Your inner ear is the ideal place for bacteria or fungi to grow and thrive. Skin irritations caused by some hair products can worsen the condition when there is an infection.
If this condition spreads throughout the body, it can cause harm to other areas, not just your ears. Most people who have swimmer’s ear also experienced pressure and pain in their ear, along with redness in their skin, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pus or fluid drainage. Under more serious instances, temporary or permanent hearing loss could occur when sensitive organs located in the inner ear are compromised and the infection begins to develop in the brain and base of the skull.
Your inner ear has tiny hair cells, which are called cilia. These hair cells collect the quality of sounds. The hearing nerve cells are delicate and cannot regrow. When infection damages the cilia, it causes some permanent hearing loss - depending on how many of the hair cells are destroyed.
When Should You Get Treatment?
If you have any concerns about your ears or hearing, please consult a hearing care professional as soon as possible. Early treatment can help to slow down and prevent further damage.
Here are some ways to know if your inner ear is infected due to trapped water:
It’s advised that you do not swim, fly in an airplane or drive up to elevated areas like the mountains, to prevent the chances of your ears popping. Your ears will need time to heal. If you get proper treatment, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear should go away in 14 days or less.
Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
Here’s what you can do to make sure your ears are safe when you swim:
Use earplugs or custom-molded ear protection to prevent water from penetrating your ear canal.
Before dipping into a pool, the water should be chlorinated or filtered to avoid high levels of bacteria. If you are going to be in a natural body of water, do not go to stagnant locations and find out whether the water’s sanitation levels are available for the public to view before heading out there.
After your swim, you should try to remove excess water from your ears in your own home. The safest method is to lay your head on its side, move your jaw around by chewing or yawning to pop your ears and release the pressure, you may also try to place a warm compress on your ear, or place your ear over a bowl of warm steaming water. Do not use a hairdryer or hand dryer to make the water evaporate. The loud noises from those appliances could worsen your hearing.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing sudden hearing loss after being in the water, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
A good diet is not only important for overall health, but there are foods that you can consume that can specifically improve hearing health.
Here are some great summertime drinks that are full of nutrients for your ears.
Fitter, Happier, and More Productive Hearing
Trim down your waistline with this smoothie. A study on mice showed that restricting calories could delay the onset of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Try this low calorie smoothie:
8 oz. water
8 oz. kale
4 cucumber slices
4 oz. blueberries
4 medium sized strawberries
4 oz. orange juice
The juice of half a lemon
6 oz. almond milk
The Folate Float
A study concluded that individuals with presbycusis tend to have low levels of folate. Here’s a smoothie packed with folate to quench your thirst and improve ear health:
8 oz. water
4 oz. orange juice
4 oz. almond milk
1 mango (with the skin left on)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 stalk of celery
4 oz. blackberries
4 oz. cantaloupe
The Magnesium Blend
A study on 300 recruits from the military showed that daily supplements of magnesium helped to protect the ears from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This is a great drink to try before attending a summer concert.
8 oz. water
2 handfuls of spinach
½ an avocado
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 small handful of almonds
2 tablespoons of low-fat yogurt
3 medium strawberries
4 oz. blueberries
1 tablespoon of honey or guava
4 oz. of orange juice
4 oz. almond milk
The Music Lover’s Antioxidant
Antioxidants provide a number of benefits for the body, which include improving people’s hearing. This smoothie is packed with antioxidants that benefit your ears.
1 medium sized sweet potato (boiled 30-35 minutes, or until soft, remove skin)
1 handful of kale
1 small to medium sized carrot
1 small sweet red pepper
8 oz. cantaloupe
5 oz. orange juice
2 oz. almond or low fat milk
1 small handful of almonds
1 teaspoon of honey
Cool off this summer by trying out these refreshing smoothies!
Don’t forget to protect your ears with some earplugs, when using a blender to make these drinks.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.