Are you ever roused from your sleep by the sound of tinnitus? For 1 out of 5 adults, it’s a common problem that interferes with a restful night.
A research team from the University of Oxford hypothesized the reason for this phenomenon, which may also hold the key to improving treatment options for tinnitus.
Why does Tinnitus Stir You from Your Sleep?
Researchers came up with a new model for how tinnitus interferes with sleep using current evidence.
When a person falls asleep, the brain obstructs noises that are occurring in the room. For example, this is how people can fall asleep to certain music or a TV that’s playing something. It’s uncertain how this occurs. It is also unknown how a person’s sleep patterns change when responding to internal experiences of pain or tinnitus.
There are five stages that your brain repeatedly goes through when you sleep. Non-REM sleep falls under stages 1, 2, 3, and 4. The fifth stage is REM sleep. The stages where you do not dream make up about 75% of your total sleep time. The brain produces different kinds of wave activity that gradually disperse throughout the brain during that time.
Initially, the wave activity might repress the brain signals that cause tinnitus. When the wave is less severe, tinnitus symptoms might worsen and then wake you up or interfere with a deeper rest.
Tinnitus might cause the Brain to Stay Awake
This can cause wakefulness in a resting brain, which can stop you from starting the dreaming stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Night terrors, which have been connected to adults with tinnitus, also occur during this transition stage.
Sleep patterns are connected to the way tinnitus develops. This information will help researchers figure out a moment when providing tinnitus treatment will be the most effective before it becomes permanent. The research will also help them find out how the quality of sleep is affected by tinnitus. This may evolve into other research about whether better rest can help repair irregular activity in the brain that is connected to tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Poor Rest
Those with tinnitus tend to be light sleepers. In a survey of over 14,000 Japanese residents between the ages of 45 and 79, roaring tinnitus nearly tripled the risk of insomnia. Even a mild case of tinnitus made it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or feel rested. Sleep apnea was another condition connected with tinnitus. It can cause snoring, sleepiness during the daytime, high blood pressure, stroke, and other health issues.
Difficulties with sleep are different for each age group. Night terrors, which are common in young boys, are connected to adults (age 20-44) with tinnitus.
Poor rest can lead to difficulty in managing tinnitus symptoms or any other chronic conditions. Women with tinnitus and bad rest are more likely to experience headaches, neck pain, or feelings of anxiousness, whereas men are more likely to experience depression.
Even though there’s no cure for tinnitus, counseling and different therapies - including sound therapy - can reduce the severity of the problem and make sleeping easier.
Tips for Better Rest
First of all, stop looking at your phone, computer, and TV screens. The blue light from your devices causes your brain to remain active.
Try listening to restful music for two hours. It’s important to only listen for two hours - after that period of time, the white noise may over-stimulate the brain.
This technique was tested on 30 patients with tinnitus by an audiology and speech specialist at Gaziantep University in Turkey.
Some patients claimed they stopped noticing their tinnitus, and others heard quieter tinnitus noises after six months. These patients’ symptoms of depression also felt eased. The objective was to help patients “fall asleep with less exposure to the disturbing effects of tinnitus”, instead of stopping them from waking up. On average the length of the first non-REM sleep cycle is 70 to 100 minutes, therefore it should only take about two hours to cover up your tinnitus.
If these techniques did not prove to be effective, try hearing aids. Hearing aids feature a tinnitus masking technology, so the symptoms won’t be noticeable as long as you are wearing them. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation from one of our providers.
When you notice difficulties with hearing, it’s not just your hearing that you’ve lost. It’s also a loss of good communication. The family member with whom you communicate regularly needs to be a part of your journey to better hearing. That means bringing them along to your hearing health care appointments.
Do You and Your Family Members Feel Frustrated when Trying to Communicate?
Hearing aids or assistive listening devices (ALDs) may be recommended if your hearing healthcare provider determines that you have hearing loss. Understanding how you usually communicate with your family and finding effective ways to communicate will benefit everyone. Inviting a family member to your appointments will help them get involved in the entire process, making your relationship easier to manage.
The Complexities of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be complex, so having another family member at the appointment who can easily listen and follow instructions is always helpful. It can also help a non-hearing impaired person learn and be more aware of the intricate workings of hearing aids/hearing loss.
Patients and Family Members can Learn About the Unique Problems that come with Their Hearing Loss
Self-assessments from the patient, and the way family members respond to them is an important step toward a journey to better hearing.
Maybe the family member will recall moments when they noticed their loved one wasn’t totally engaged or responded awkwardly to a question.
Does Having a Family Member at Appointments Make the Time Spent at the Office Longer?
This is not true.
Most of the appointments are quicker and easier because there is another person learning the information that’s being discussed.
Other Recommendations when Bringing a Family Member to Your Appointment
The patient’s well-being is of utmost importance. Being able to discuss how the patient and their loved one are feeling about their hearing loss and finding a solution to improve communication, can also improve their relationship.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
You may have experienced hearing a wide range of noises from the softness of a loved one’s voice to the sirens on a fire truck, or a more soothing sound of your favorite music. These sounds are measured using a decibel. This is a ratio between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Measuring the Intensity of Sound
Sound moves in the form of energy waves. It is measured via frequency and amplitude.
The Increase in Decibels is Exponential
A 10 dB increase indicates that the sound is 10 times louder, and a 20 dB increase indicates that the sound is 100 times louder.
A List of Decibels for Common Sounds
Simply being told a number for a decibel measurement probably doesn’t mean anything, unless you are a hearing healthcare professional or someone who frequently uses a decibel meter app.
Hearing loss can occur with decibels as low as 70 (that’s after frequent or prolonged exposure).
These noises can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss after one exposure at close-range:
150-160 dB - A shotgun/firearm
140 dB - A jet engine as it departs a runway/fireworks
120 dB - An emergency vehicle siren/concerts
These noises can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) after regular, prolonged exposure:
110 dB - A rock concert
105-130 dB - Sports events (based on the size and style of the arena/stadium)
105 dB - Playing music through earbuds or headphones at the highest volume
100 dB - A motorcycle
90 dB - Power tools/lawn mower
80-90 dB - Heavy traffic
Anyone with untreated mild-to-moderate hearing loss tends to struggle with hearing these softer sounds:
70 dB - Vacuum cleaner
60 dB - Normal conversation with one other person
50 dB - A conversation among a group of people
20 dB - Rustling leaves
10 dB - Breathing
How are Decibels Measured?
Hearing loss is measured according to the lowest range of decibels that you can hear. A person with normal hearing can hear leaves rustling or water dripping into the sink or on the ground (~10 dB), but someone with mild hearing loss would not be able to hear that sound. Frequency and pitch are other parts of hearing loss. Loss of hearing in higher frequencies is more common than in lower frequencies. There are different combinations of decibel and frequency loss.
Normal hearing ability: 10-20 dB
Mild hearing loss: 25-40 dB
Moderate hearing loss: 40-55 dB
Moderately severe hearing loss: 55-69 dB
Severe hearing loss: 70-89 dB
Profound hearing loss: 90-120 dB
How can You tell if an Environment is too Loud?
If you are in a noisy area and concerned that you could lose your hearing, here are a few things you can do:
Be Cautious, especially if You Have Hearing Loss.
If you wear hearing aids, you need to be aware of the noise levels in your environment. Hearing aids amplify sounds, so you are still at risk of hearing loss just like everyone else. You can ask your hearing instrument specialist to program a special setting for these occasions.
Do not turn off your hearing aids as a way to try and protect your hearing. If they are not snugly fit in your ear canal, they will not be able to block out harmful sounds when switched off. Instead, you won’t be able to hear the sounds that you want/need to hear.
Work with a professional hearing instrument specialist to establish the correct hearing protection for the event that you will attend or the activity that you will be participating in.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Work plays a significant role in your social status. A general sense of achievement and self-worth is felt in us when we work. Tinnitus Hub, a group of people with tinnitus who work for the tinnitus patient community, focus on patient support and education, promote research, and raise awareness, gathered data indicating that over a third (38 percent) of employees have expressed that their symptoms had a negative impact on their work.
This doesn’t just disrupt the workflow of the employee, but it can affect their income and the economy in general. Tinnitus Talk is a worldwide online community for tinnitus patients. Volunteers who run this organization are pushing to raise awareness so that it’s taken more seriously as a problem that can impact work environments.
Tinnitus Hub Statistics from 2018
A survey with 1,800 participants asked, “Has tinnitus affected your job or work prospects?”
Difficulty with Concentration
The main effect of tinnitus on the job is the inability to focus. There’s a spectrum of how patients with tinnitus struggle. According to the survey, tinnitus affected concentration mildly (41 percent), moderately (33 percent), or severely (20 percent). Only a small percentage reported a lack of problems with concentration.
This is significantly different from the “concentration/listening fatigue” that individuals with hearing loss may encounter. In some cases, their brain needs to make an extra effort to interpret what they heard. It’s due to constantly hearing the tinnitus in their head while refocusing it to the background in order to concentrate on something else.
Anyone who struggles with tinnitus can find coping mechanisms from sound machines or hearing aids, to meditation. Patients with severe forms of tinnitus generally experience anxiety and/or insomnia, which can affect their performance at work. Most people cannot grasp the daily stress of constantly hearing a high-pitched sound.
Difficult Work Environments
There are certain jobs that frequently expose people to loud noises that can damage hearing or induce tinnitus. These include construction, manufacturing, military service, and the music industry.
Low-level exposure to sounds on a regular basis for hours at a time, like in a call center, school, or restaurant can cause some harm to a person’s hearing health. Anyone with tinnitus may notice more sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis). As a result, normal office work environments can lead to ear pain or loud instances of tinnitus.
Commuting to work can be a struggle for someone with hyperacusis. Traffic noises can spike tinnitus symptoms.
Potential Negative Reactions from Employers and Coworkers
Many people with tinnitus have pointed out the ignorance of employers or colleagues, along with how unwilling they are to make changes that would benefit a person with tinnitus. Some are hesitant to reveal this information for fear of discrimination.
How to Help
Every employee should be accommodated. If the tinnitus is stress-induced, the anxiety tends to pass for most people. It can take weeks, months, or even years to obtain habituation. Others may turn to permanently adjust their situation by working a less demanding job.
If you’d like to consider using hearing aids to mask tinnitus symptoms, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you wear hearing aids and plan to attend a concert this summer, consider some of these issues that may come up.
Whether you wear your hearing aids to a concert depends on your preferences. Some would recommend removing your hearing aids and wearing earplugs instead to protect your hearing. Depending on the music genre, the sounds will generally be loud enough for you to hear.
If you choose to wear your hearing aids during a concert, you can turn down the volume on the devices.
Additional protection like noise-canceling earmuffs can be helpful. These are better at canceling out sounds than earplugs while shielding the sound-transmitting bones that make up your ears. Encourage others who arrived at the concert with you to protect their hearing health.
Concerts run for about 60-90 minutes, so bring your hearing aids along. After the event is over you’ll need them to hear your friends.
Ask the Venue about Accessibility Services
Prior to your visit, contact the music venue to ask about accessibility options. Most concert halls and venues feature systems to help audience members who can’t hear clearly, have mobility issues, or have any other problem that can interfere with how they enjoy their time at the concert.
The T-Mobile Arena accessibility guide features different accommodation options. Captioning services can be provided to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Make sure that the services which are listed on the venue’s website, will be available during your visit. The majority of venues need a warning beforehand so that they may accurately accommodate your needs.
Get Recommendations from Your Hearing Instrument Specialist
All hearing aids are different with a variety of features, so talk to your hearing instrument specialist for recommendations. For example, some hearing aids feature telecoils or t-coils.
T-coils can connect with loop systems within buildings. The loop system focuses on the music at the concert, while blocking out background noises like echoes. If your hearing aids feature a telecoil, your hearing instrument specialist will demonstrate how it works.
Hearing aids can also be programmed by your hearing instrument specialist so that you can have the best listening experience during the concert.
Preparing for a Live Concert
To make sure you have a great concert experience, here are some tips.
Don’t go alone
Not only is going with a friend more fun, but if your friend has stronger hearing abilities, they’ll be able to guide you through the area if the volume on your hearing aids needs to be turned down.
Stand or sit near the stage
If possible, be closer to the stage or a speaker. There will be less interference from other audience members. If you depend on an ASL interpreter, you’ll be more likely to see them if you are near the stage.
Be prepared when making purchases
Whether you are buying drinks, food, or merch, it can be overwhelming to choose when there’s too much background noise. Instead of making decisions on the spot, look online for merch or at a menu before selecting.
Switch off hearing aids if necessary
If sounds become overwhelming, turn off your hearing aids or wear hearing protection. Make your friends aware of this before the show so they know the best way to get your attention.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you need your hearing aids programmed before your next concert.
Men who have hearing loss are at a 69% higher risk of developing dementia than men who do not have hearing loss.
Several studies over the years have traced hearing loss that is untreated to a rise in risks of dementia.
The reasons why hearing loss tends to increase the risks of dementia are still being researched, but there’s an unequivocal link between the two.
Men who experience hearing loss are more likely to have dementia. An Australian study revealed that men with hearing loss were 69 percent more likely to develop dementia than individuals without a hearing problem.
The good news is that getting hearing loss treated early can help prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
If you or a loved one are noticing hearing loss, or if it’s been a long time since you received a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. If hearing aids are recommended, our providers will patiently work with you to find the best solution.
It’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. What does that have to do with hearing health?
You Hear with Your Brain, not with Your Ears
Did you know that hearing health and brain function are intertwined? Arthur Wingfield, Ph.D., of Brandeis University, is a Professor of Neuroscience who found that people who have untreated hearing loss have problems with remembering and processing that information. It gets harder and harder for a person’s brain to process information when they have hearing loss. This includes comprehending quick and complex speech.
A Decline in Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Disease
Poor hearing abilities lead to poor brain function. Untreated hearing loss negatively impacts a person’s ability to accurately hear sounds and their cognitive function.
It’s not simply the inability to hear, but it’s also not being able to think, remember, or process information quickly or efficiently.
Alzheimer’s and dementia can impact the mind, personal relationships, and how you function as a human being. The disease can become progressive.
Get Your Hearing Tested
Receiving a hearing test is an easy way to protect the connection between your brain and your ears. It’s a simple way to keep track of your hearing health so that you can intervene and slow down the process.
Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
June has been designated as Men’s Health Month. Please be aware that hearing health is just as important to keep up with as regular checkups for your overall health. Hearing loss affects men differently than women.
Men are almost twice as likely to Experience Hearing Loss than Women
Researchers have concluded that the reason why hearing loss is so widespread among men is due to their lifestyle. Even though more women are now working jobs that were mostly dominated by men, more men continue to work in high-risk fields. For some, especially in the older generation, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss. This means that most men are less likely to reach out for help when they need it.
An Increased Risk of Developing Hearing Loss is Type II Diabetes
For patients with hearing loss and Type II diabetes, the patients who had diabetes were at a higher risk of hearing loss than those who did not have Type II Diabetes. Researchers hypothesize that small blood vessels in the inner ear can be harmed by high blood glucose levels.
Regular Doses of NSAIDs can Increase the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), like Advil and Tylenol, can have a major effect on younger men’s hearing health. A survey that was filled out every 18 years by approximately 27,000 men between the ages of 40 and 74, showed that regular use of aspirin increased the possibility of hearing loss by 50% and 61% in men under the age of 50. So, if you or a loved one in your life uses these drugs, get your hearing tested regularly.
Untreated Hearing Loss in Men Show Symptoms of Depression
Hearing loss can lead to difficulty with communication. This in turn can cause a loss of interest in normal activities, social withdrawal, poor work performance, and depression.
Using hearing aids has proven to provide the opposite. Men have reported that their relationships, social life, work-life/income, confidence, sense of safety, and overall mental health have improved when wearing their hearing aids.
Preventative Measures can be Practiced
Maintaining a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables can help with your hearing health, and overall health. Foods that are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and zinc can reduce the risks of hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Tinnitus levels can vary each day for different reasons. Sometimes it’s a physiological condition within your body, your surrounding environment, or the type of tinnitus management that you practice. We’ll go over some factors that can affect the sounds of this phantom noise.
Stressors can Affect the Volume of Tinnitus
Stress is one of the primary agents of tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms may become bothersome during a stressful moment in life, or when we’re having a stressful day.
When there’s a significant shift in life, whether it’s at home or with your job, stress lets the body react and respond mentally, emotionally, and physically. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to an imbalance which can trigger louder tinnitus on some days over other days.
Common causes of stress can include life-altering circumstances such as grieving a loved one or losing a job. A steady flow of stress that is caused by ordinary circumstances such as deadlines for work, or caring for loved ones, can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Living through these situations can make your tinnitus sound louder on some days and quieter on other days.
Conditions caused by stress are also associated with tinnitus and make the phantom noise worse. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and tinnitus have comparable structures and can bring attention to one another.
Taming Internal Stressors
Even though external stress can impact the perceived loudness of your tinnitus, the way you manage the stress (a.k.a. internal stress) is just as important. If your body is not sufficient or healthy enough to deal with external stress, tinnitus symptoms can get worse.
In order to better manage stress, you need proper nutrition, exercise, and an adquent amount of sleep that’s consistent.
Your Diet’s Influence on Stress
It’s easy to ignore the persistent messages from experts encouraging you to eat healthily, but it’s one of the crucial elements to lowering your stress levels and keeping them down in order to better manage your tinnitus.
Processed foods should be left out of your diet, as consuming them makes it harder to manage stress. These foods are often high in sugar. If there’s too much change in your blood sugar levels, the sympathetic area of the nervous system becomes stimulated. This is the area of the brain that handles our fight or flight and makes us ready to react. When this occurs, stress hormones are released which can lead to symptoms of stress. These could include anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and interruptions in sleep patterns, which can be common while experiencing symptoms of tinnitus.
A healthy and well-balanced diet also lets us replace nutrients and vitamins, which may be expended during stressful moments. For example, vitamins B complex, iron, magnesium, and zinc can help aid with stress.
Tinnitus can seem worse after consuming caffeine, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. These tend to raise your adrenaline. It doesn’t need to be a permanent change, but it’s helpful to let your body get used to this new diet to see if it has any impact on your symptoms.
Sleepless Nights and Stress
Sleep is VERY crucial in keeping a healthy body and mind. Less sleep = more stress and louder symptoms of tinnitus.
A good night’s rest allows you to better handle stress. Giving your body a chance to recover and rest is important to properly manage stress. Poor rest can affect your mood, memory, and judgment.
Exercise to Manage Stress
Struggling to manage your stress, can make tinnitus worse. And tinnitus itself can be stressful. It’s a vicious cycle. This can trigger the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system. That indicates that there are more stress hormones moving throughout the body like adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline.
Try to lower these hormones by engaging in a relaxing exercise, like yoga. The more relaxed you feel the quieter tinnitus symptoms can be.
Quiet Environments and Tinnitus
Tinnitus can seem louder because of your surroundings. If your environment is too quiet, tinnitus will be more noticeable.
Lower noise levels in the background that are meant to mask tinnitus can actually make the symptoms seem louder.
Also, silence can activate a response to stress in the body which increases internal auditory sensitivity. Your hearing can become more perceptive while getting yourself ready for a possible threat. This form of hearing can make internal noises, like tinnitus, louder.
Going from a loud environment to a quieter area can make it seem like the tinnitus has gotten worse. Give yourself time to adjust. This might involve rubbing our ears, doing breathing exercises, and practicing mindfulness when we respond to symptoms of tinnitus.
Focus your attention on something else, meditate with music in the background, use a sound machine, or if you are also noticing difficulty with hearing in addition to tinnitus, try hearing aids. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and hearing trial.
If you have hearing loss, you may feel isolated because you don’t feel comfortable, or have too much difficulty, with communication. Try out some of these active listening techniques to help with how you communicate with others.
It’s also important to emphasize this message if you are someone who regularly communicates with a person who has hearing loss: Please be patient. Remind yourself that the person you are talking to cannot hear the same way you do.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss should be taken more seriously by the general population, primary healthcare providers, and of course those in the field of hearing healthcare.
There are a number of consequences to one’s mental and physical health when hearing loss goes unaddressed. Rates of depression, falls caused by imbalance, emergency room visits, and cognitive problems can arise as a result of untreated hearing loss. All of these interconnections have been studied in a general sense and have been covered in our blog.
Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is one of the leading researchers of hearing loss in the world. His team focuses on hearing loss and its effect on the brain as we age.
Dr. Lin’s thorough research recommends what we’ve discussed before: getting treatment immediately will greatly improve your overall health, and make it easier to manage. If hearing aids are recommended, understand that it takes time for your brain to adapt to the technology.
The Lancet Commission’s study suggested that hearing loss that is treated between the ages of 40 and 64, is one of 12 risk factors that you can alleviate to help prevent or slow down dementia or Alzheimer’s. So look into seeking treatment right now if you notice any hearing loss, and are concerned about cognitive health as you age.
For a free hearing test and consultation, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Seniors are at a higher risk of a number of health problems. It’s important to take care of your overall health and make better decisions about your diet, exercise routines, and lifestyle. This can help you better manage any potential health problems that stand in the way.
Hearing and vision loss are two of the most prevalent health conditions that seniors experience. More than 42% of individuals over 50 years of age have some hearing loss, and about 71% of individuals over 70 years of age have some range of hearing loss.
There are a lot of preventative measures, treatments, and daily habits to help you live a healthier life, even with presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). With knowledge and ways to manage health concerns, you can help your condition from getting worse.
Taking precautions now can make a huge difference. Listening to music or media at a low volume can help lower your risks of hearing loss. If you are in a noisy environment for an extensive period of time, wear earbuds or, if possible, move yourself to a quieter space. Wear earbuds when using loud tools or any motor-powered devices.
With age-related hearing loss, you may notice tinnitus, you may struggle to keep up with conversations, or have memory issues. Built-up earwax can obstruct sounds and should be softened and removed by a professional, not by inserting cotton swabs in the ear canal.
Diabetics should be attentive when taking care of their blood sugar. A healthy weight can help reduce the chances of hearing loss, along with regular exercise and eating healthily.
Immediately seek help if you begin to notice hearing loss.
Alleviating the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
To help manage your hearing loss, hearing aids can, and should, be worn. Hearing loss can deteriorate brain function because the brain is not reacting to sounds like it used to. Listening is a brain exercise that needs to be worked out on a regular basis.
Managing your hearing loss also means that you need to communicate your needs to family, friends, and coworkers so that they can better understand your situation and adapt accordingly. Maybe you’ll need to tell them to face you in a well-lit room when they speak, or they need to talk louder in certain situations. Communicating these things will help a great deal. Those with hearing loss may need to be patient with them, as they work through this new normal with you. Make a plan.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing problems with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss crosses all age groups. We’ve gone over hearing loss among older adults, and the risks associated with hearing loss as you age.
It’s important to raise awareness that more and more young adults are experiencing hearing loss for a number of different reasons. Young adults who have hearing loss face a unique set of challenges as they go through college, dating, employment, growing relationships, and parenting.
How prevalent is Hearing Loss in Young Adults?
According to the CDC, around 12% of adults between the ages of 18-39 report struggling with following along during conversations when there is too much background noise. Nearly 6% have tinnitus. These numbers are higher in older age groups.
People who have hearing loss are more likely to experience low rates of employment, lower work productivity, and higher healthcare costs compared to their peers.
Causes of Hearing Loss for Young Adults
Noise exposure is one of the most widespread causes of hearing loss for young adults, as well as older adults. This can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Across the U.S. millions of Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Y have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise, including hobbies like woodworking, music, city noises, and workplace environments.
Additional risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, taking ototoxic medications, viruses, bacterial infections, genetics, or they were born with it.
Young Adults with Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is one of the other most common medical causes of hearing loss in people of this age group and middle-aged adults. This is when there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear section. Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by it - the people with the highest risk being middle-aged women.
The Affect of Hearing Loss on Young Adults
The different causes of hearing loss for young adults differ greatly from the older generation but wearing hearing aids when you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s can look and feel different than wearing them when you are older. Occupation, family, relationships, and activities are - for the most part - different than older people.
Working with hearing loss, while NOT impossible, can be tricky at times. People in their 20s are fresh out of college and looking for their first job. They have the choice of when they should inform their potential employer that they wear hearing aids. Depending on where your job path takes you, you may need special equipment - like a telephone with amplification or captions. Your employer is required by law, via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to accommodate you for your hearing needs. You can apply for any job that you want, but there are some careers that may be easier to navigate through if you have hearing loss. Take a look at our article “Careers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”.
Working Remotely with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, depending on the job, working from home can have its ups and downs. You can raise the volume on your computer as much as you want, without bothering coworkers. The technology for virtual meetings doesn’t always work smoothly, so it can hamper communication. Read up on some tips on how to prepare for video conferences or virtual meetings.
Parents or Guardians Raising Children and Young Adults
Taking care of a child as a hearing aid user has its challenges. Hearing aids are needed for better communication and safety, but using them requires consideration from those who are communicating with the hearing aid users. A parent may need a baby monitor that flashes, vibrates, and has a video monitor. Making sure your hearing aids are always in good condition is also important, especially if there’s a sudden emergency.
Attending College or Higher Education
Another concern that differs among generations is that young adults are deciding whether to attend college or higher education. People in this age group might not receive the support that is needed to thrive in school. Young adults may be learning how to be their own advocates for the first time.
Hearing Aids can help You Maintain or even Raise Your Income and Improve Overall Health
The ability to hear in a work environment can impact your household income, which is a common concern for people who are in their prime age of employment. According to a survey that was done through Better Hearing Institute 40,000 households in the U.S. indicated that using hearing aids and assistive listening devices was beneficial to one’s earning potential. There was also a 90 to 100 percent reduced risk of income loss for anyone with mild hearing loss, and a 65 to 77 percent reduced risk for anyone with moderate to severe hearing loss.
Hearing aid usage has a more obvious asset to mental health for younger people. A study from 2014 indicated that hearing loss is linked to depression in adults of every age, but it's more common in young adults. Even though hearing aids help people of all ages, younger users appear to gain the most out of them when it comes to depression. Socializing leads to a healthy overall quality of life.
Hearing Aid usage is becoming Less Stigmatized
In regards to hearing aid usage, there are major distinctions between the older generation and the younger generation. Most people of the younger generation are more accepting of wearing hearing aids. Today, just about everyone wears something in their ears, whether they are earbuds, headphones, or hearing aids; therefore hearing devices draw less attention. The stigma of hearing aid usage is dwindling and the younger generation is noticing that their untreated hearing loss is more noticeable than the hearing aids themselves.
If you are a young adult or middle-aged with hearing loss, you have the chance to seek treatment and engage in practices that protect and slow down the hearing abilities that you still have.
For a complimentary hearing test and consultation, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment.
A Study on Women's Exercise Routines and Hearing Health
Analysts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA reviewed 20 years of female nurses’ health records. They examined whether body mass index (BMI), the circumference of their waist, and physical activity had any relation to hearing loss.
The authors of this study were aware of the adverse repercussions of hearing loss that went untreated, observing how communication and social skills can impact a person’s psychosocial well-being and overall quality of life. They strived to determine lifestyle factors that could be changed by the test subjects so that they may lower their chances of hearing loss.
Conclusions on the Study
The study found that female nurses with higher BMI and larger waist circumferences were linked to a higher risk of hearing loss. There was a reduced risk of hearing loss if the test subjects engaged in regular exercise - these included walking, aerobics, swimming, and other less intense exercises.
They also found walks that lasted at least 2 hours each week, lower the risk of hearing loss.
If you’re working up the motivation to increase your exercise routine, add hearing health to that list.
Are you, or a loved one, experiencing hearing loss? Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you have osteoporosis, there’s a chance that you may also experience hearing loss. These comorbidities are often related to one another.
A study from 2021, concluded that the risk of hearing loss for women who had a low bone density, or osteoporosis, was 40 percent higher than for those without low bone density.
Bisphosphonate, an osteoporosis drug, did not appear to reduce any risks of hearing loss. More research is needed for a conclusive answer.
Osteoporosis happens as a result of bone breaking down at a faster rate than it can be replaced by the body. This leads to higher risks of bone fractures. It can happen to anyone, but it is most common in Asian and white women.
One of the most prevalent chronic conditions that impact older adults is, hearing loss. The main risk factor, and only preventable type of hearing loss, is exposure to noise. When this gets paired with aging, it exponentially raises the risks. Additional health problems, like anemia, diabetes, and heart disease can create even more risks. But these aren’t the only causes of hearing loss.
What is the Connection between Osteoporosis and Hearing Loss?
The actual relationship is still being determined for certain, but they are suggesting that tiny bones in the ears lose their minerals and weaken. These bones are vital for your hearing system. Osteoporosis may also negatively impact the bones that support the nerve structures used for hearing. These are found in the cochlea.
Low bone density, osteoporosis, or a medical history of fractures could lead to higher risks of hearing loss. Regular hearing tests are important, especially when there’s an onset of hearing loss. Most hearing loss is so gradual that you don’t notice it. It may seem like everyone is mumbling. Hearing tests and immediate treatment is crucial to preserving your residual hearing.
Sudden Hearing Loss
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it’s unlikely, but sudden hearing loss can be common in patients with low bone density and osteoporosis.
Sudden hearing loss normally occurs in one ear and tends to happen all at the same time or within a few days. Nearly all sudden-onset hearing loss is “idiopathic”, which means that the cause is unknown. For the few numbers of cases where a cause is found, the connection to osteoporosis is a meaningful discovery.
Hypotheses about the onset of sudden hearing loss include a relationship with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular systems along with bone demineralization, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction (issues involving blood vessel linings).
Osteoporosis and Balance
Some people with hearing loss also tend to have balance issues. This can lead to falls, bone fractures, and even death.
Prevent falls by wearing hearing aids, and if needed prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, assistive listening devices, keeping up with an active lifestyle, and making sure there are safety measures in place where you live.
What should You lookout for if You Have Osteoporosis?
Pay close attention to your hearing health and your bone health. If your healthcare provider does not take that correlation seriously, advocate for yourself and make your concerns known.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Spring is here! If you have a green thumb and your own garden, maybe you’ll be interested in planting homegrown produce that supports healthy hearing. If you’re a local Lancastrian, did you know that our county has the most productive non-irrigated farming in the entire country? Why not try some of the bountiful produce that our county has to offer while improving your hearing health?
It takes time and patience to grow asparagus. The first harvest might take a few years, but it will be worth it! Asparagus is a great source of folate, which is great for hearing health. Folate has been found to possibly lower the risk of hearing loss in elderly men.
Blueberries are delicious on their own, in a smoothie, in pie, or scattered over pancakes. They are full of vitamin C, which when combined with magnesium and vitamins A and E, can help treat worsening symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss.
Kale is great on its own, or as an addition to lasagna, salads, or soups. This leafy green also has folate.
If you plant pumpkin seeds around late May, the pumpkins should be ready for harvesting by the summer or fall season. Fresh pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which helps the immune system - and taking a medicated oral form may help treat symptoms of tinnitus.
Tomatoes are vine-grown fruit that is rich in potassium - which helps regulate blood and tissue fluids. This includes fluid in the inner ear, which is crucial for hearing health and balance.
If you’re trying to eat healthier for your ears, and/or overall health, try to incorporate these foods into your diet. Another way to improve your hearing health is by getting your hearing tested on a regular basis. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation at one of our office locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, or Strasburg.
We’re raising awareness about potential hearing loss caused by loud noises. The inablity to hear can affect your speaking abilities. Not being able to hear after many years can impact your ability to remember the way speech sounds.
Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) started in 1927. Every May, hearing health and speech issues are given a platform to remind people to take care of their hearing health and get it tested.
Identifying and intervening immediately when hearing loss is suspected is crucial for a better outcome. Most people live with hearing loss, but are often unaware that there’s a problem. Getting your hearing checked annually, or if you suspect you have hearing loss is crucial for proper care and treatment.
The first World Report on Hearing from the World Health Organization
Hearing Health Facts
On average, a person is born with nearly 16,000 hair cells in their inner ear. These cells pick up sounds and transfer them to the brain so that they can be interpreted into something that makes sense. Often, when people notice hearing loss that indicates that most of the hair cells are damaged. Between 30% to 50% of hair cells can be lost before a difference in your hearing can be measured through a hearing test. Once the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, it’s permanent and they cannot regrow.
Noise not only harms hair cells but also damages auditory nerves that transfer information regarding sounds to the brain. Early stages of damage may not appear on your hearing test results.
There is no way to restore hearing that’s been lost. Preventative measures are the key. Wear earplugs or earmuffs if you are going to be in a loud environment or use loud tools. If you already have hearing loss, tinnitus, or experience pain/discomfort, be aware of your surroundings and protect your hearing so that it does not worsen.
For better hearing and communication, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Every May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) gives everyone who has hearing and speech difficulties and those who regularly interact with anyone who has hearing and speech challenges a chance to raise awareness about communication disorders.
The theme for this year is “Connecting People.”
Hearing loss is experienced by about five percent of the world’s population. Five percent of this population also has problems with speech.
Communication is a crucial part of our daily lives. BHSM raises awareness about the obstacles that those with hearing loss or speech challenges have with it.
We’ll go over a brief history of Better Hearing and Speech Month.
In 1927 BHSM was founded by the Federation of Organizations for the Hard of Hearing as part of National Hearing Week. In 1958, the event eventually became Better Hearing Month and then evolved into Better Hearing and Speech Month in 1972.
Previous themes for Better Hearing and Speech Month included: “Communication for All”, “Communication Across the Lifespan”, and “Communication at Work”.
Easy Ways to Observe Better Hearing and Speech Month
Spread the word by sharing a link to this article. Our blog also has a lot of helpful information.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and need a free hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the top causes of hearing loss around the globe for the 466 million people who have moderate to severe hearing loss. Noise exposure can harm anyone’s hearing, but young people are especially prone to this risk due to their music listening habits. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that approximately 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are risking their hearing health as a result of noise exposure during recreational settings.
International Noise Awareness Day helps to bring attention to the fact that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent but can be prevented by avoiding loud areas and protecting your hearing with earplugs/earmuffs or covering your ears when in contact with loud noises.
What Noise Levels are Considered to be Too Loud?
If you live in a quiet neighborhood or have a job in a quiet work environment, most of the sounds are at safe listening levels. However, there can be noises that are unsafe for your ears. Overexposure to noises from kitchen appliances, heavy traffic noises, subway trains, power tools, rock concerts, industrial work environments, or construction zones can damage your hearing.
Environmental sound intensity is measured in decibel (dBA) units. The softest sound that can be heard by a human ear is zero decibels (dB). Noises that are over 70 dB can harm your hearing over a prolonged amount of time. Loud noises that are over 120 dB can instantly harm your ears. Essentially, the louder the sounds are, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.
Many years of research have documented damage to the inner ear’s hair cells that is caused by excessive noise. Recurring pounding sounds of pressure against the nerve fibers may initially lead to temporary hearing loss, and then permanent damage. Any damage to these hair cells can cause permanent hearing loss.
Noise Exposure Raises the Risk of Tinnitus
Tinnitus - the phantom buzzing, chirping, ringing, or roaring noise in the ears or head - can be caused by exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus might ease over time, but in some cases continue as an irregular or permanent symptom.
One of the primary causes of tinnitus is noise. Some of the most common triggers of tinnitus are concerts, weddings, and receiving MRIs. In other cases, it can be caused by one very loud event or a sequence of exposures. Hearing aids or sound therapy may be recommended to mask the noise.
How NIHL Occurs
NIHL accumulates over time. Usually, people don’t notice the hearing loss until much later. By that time it’s too late the save what’s been lost. Hearing aids can help slow down the loss, but they cannot restore hearing.
With NIHL, you may begin to notice a problem with your hearing if you notice tinnitus right after the noise is heard, and/or sounds that are slightly muffled. Your ears are warning you that you have hearing loss if it’s difficult to understand others when they speak. Get your hearing tested immediately in this case.
If you start to notice noise-induced hearing loss or any other form of hearing loss, it’s a good idea to create a timeline and journal about your experiences so your hearing healthcare provider can get a better idea of what you’ve gone through.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
April is Stress Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the correlation between stress and hearing loss, along with how to manage it.
Stress can be harmful to your overall health. It can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. Some tips to reduce your stress levels include regular exercise, spending time with people you love, getting an adequate amount of rest, and treatment for your hearing loss.
Anyone with hearing loss experiences daily stressors that are connected to hearing loss. It’s called listening fatigue. This is when the concentration from listening to speech, focusing on reading lips, and social cues physically and mentally exhaust you. It’s a common feeling among anyone with hearing loss, but these symptoms can be reduced by wearing hearing aids.
Stress from Tinnitus
Tinnitus is connected to stress and is usually an underlying symptom of hearing loss. People with tinnitus may experience louder and more consistent ringing sounds when feeling stressed.
A study found that 53.6 percent of patients with tinnitus reported that their symptoms worsened when they felt stressed. Another study from hearing healthcare providers revealed that nearly 60 percent of their patients had minor to significant tinnitus relief while wearing hearing aids. One out of five experienced major relief.
Stress is almost impossible to avoid, but there are techniques that can help you manage from meditation to exercise, or simply taking a moment to laugh at something.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus, hearing loss, or both please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
If you or someone that you know struggles with communication due to hearing loss, here’s a practical guide to follow:
If you, or a loved one, are noticing hearing loss please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions among people of all ages in the U.S. When it goes untreated, can lead to problems that may impact the way you learn, work, and even drive.
Hearing while Driving
Even though your sense of sight is the most important when it comes to driving a vehicle, hearing alerts you when an emergency vehicle is approaching, it lets you know when another driver is feeling impatient, or if your blinker signals are on. Hearing unusual noises coming from your car can make you aware of possible mechanical problems with your vehicle. It’s not only a safety issue for you, but also for others who are sharing the road with you.
Mild hearing loss may not impact your safety while driving, but it is always a good idea to be prepared. If you have severe hearing loss, depending on where you live, you may need to abide by some restrictions.
Driving with Hearing Aids
Wearing hearing aids while driving is very helpful so that you can be more aware of your surroundings. They help you hear others on the road while maintaining a good auditory system so that your brain is healthy enough to remember how to interpret sounds.
Keep Distractions at a Minimum
We are all aware of the dangers of using a phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2019, distractions while driving claimed nearly 3,200 lives. Here are some tips to reduce distractions:
Use visual cues to help piece together conversations.
Be as aware as possible while driving. Make sure you have all of the tools you need to be a safe driver, who also has trouble hearing. Get annual hearing tests, wear your hearing aids, and keep up with hearing aid maintenance. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
If you’re a regular golfer, you know that swinging the club and hitting the ball with just the right amount of force and at the right angle is an intricate skill.
Golfers may not realize how much their hearing is used in the game. Here are five ways that better hearing can help you while playing golf.
1. Hearing the Clubhead Hit the Ball
Every experienced golfer knows that perfect hit. It’s when you hear the sound of your clubhead striking the ball at just the right spot. The scope and precision are usually guaranteed when you hear that sound.
Being able to hear that strike is also necessary when you don’t hit the ball correctly. Learning from that mistake lets you make adjustments for the next shot. This is critical in order to chip and put, where you want to focus on skill rather than the force of the strike.
2. Socializing during the Game
Playing the game with others is a huge part of golf culture. Coming up with a strategy, heckling, and mingling with each other is part of the fun. You may even run into other people that you know, or meet new people, in other parts of the course.
All of these instances require communication, so it’s important to have good hearing.
3. Would You be able to Hear a Warning?
Being on a golf course can pose a danger at times.
The common, and most obvious, one is the possibility of being hit by a golf ball. The person who strikes that ball will hopefully shout a warning if the ball is headed towards anyone.
Then there are the less common risks of encounters with animals - like bears or rattlesnakes.
4. Walking the Course and Balance
Hearing loss can affect a person’s balance, and golfing requires good balance. Poor balance can lead to missed shots, falling from throwing your club, or an accident involving the golf cart.
5. Focusing on the Game
It takes a lot of concentration to play golf. That’s why brain health is so important. We’ve mentioned many times how poor hearing can impact cognitive abilities. One study reported that seniors with hearing loss had a 30% to 40% higher rate of cognitive problems than peers who did not have hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid can significantly reduce cognitive decline by nearly 75%.
Thin-faced titanium drivers started becoming more popular in 2009. The sound of some clubs hitting a ball has been known to cause a very loud noise, so if you prefer using these clubs you should probably also wear hearing protection. Earplugs are a simple and discreet way to do this.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can be frustrating, isolating, and depressing. In addition to a better diet, routine exercise, and getting help for your hearing loss, scientific studies have proven that listening to sounds of nature can be therapeutic for all living creatures.
Heal Yourself by Hearing Elements
Stress caused by work, living in a bustling city, or everyday life can take its toll on a person. The ability to go outside to breathe in the fresh air, see verdant landscapes, and hear lush waterfalls and animals feeds your mind, body, and soul.
How Nature Sounds Effect Us
In addition to the beautiful countryside, fresh scents of nature - minus the manure, if you live in Lancaster County - one part of nature has a serious effect on humans: sound. Compare the racket from a construction zone or loud music that’s blasting, to the sounds you hear while out on a hike in the forest or by the mountains. Nature sounds are much more soothing and have been proven to impact the way a human brain functions.
Published Study on Nature Sounds Impact the Brain
According to a survey from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School that was published in “Scientific Reports” in 2017, there was evidence of the positive impact of hearing natural sounds. Dr. Cassandra Gould and her team used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on a test group. While the participants were presented with artificial and natural sounds, their brain activity was measured with an MRI machine. The activity of the automatic nervous system was measured through a person’s shift in heart rate. The results showed that based on the sounds that each participant heard, the activity changed in their Default Mode Network, in other words, the region of the brain that remains active when a person rests.
Nature Sounds Help with Focus and Lowers Stress
When participants heard artificial sounds, the activity in their brain signified that their attention was changing inward. Noises that sound good can be a cause for concern: inward focus is also found in individuals who have clinical depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The participants in this study actually focused their attention outward while listening to nature sounds, which indicates that they were wide awake and focused. However, at the same time, they relaxed. The sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight-and-flight response was at rest, whereas the parasympathetic system, which controls metabolism, recovery, and development of the body’s resources, was activated.
Appreciate Ordinary Nature Sounds
Everyone can benefit from listening to nature sounds. You don’t need to go to a secluded part of the world or go hiking outdoors every weekend. It just takes a little bit of time spent around some fresh air. If it’s nice out, your lunch break outdoors. Notice the sounds of animals, breezes, or falling rain. You’ll feel the rewards.
If you can’t go outdoors when you want to, you can listen to sounds of nature through a CD, various streaming services, and apps. The Sea Sounds will let you create your own mix of ocean sounds. Nature Sounds give you a wider selection and offer water, fields, and forest sounds. A Soft Murmur provides noises like fire, rain, wind, and white noise. Even though white noise is not from nature, it can help if you have tinnitus.
Do You Have Hearing Loss? Listen to some Natural Sounds.
People with various types of hearing loss can also find relief with natural sounds. Please be aware that not all sounds are enjoyable for each person. One person’s relaxation sounds can induce stress in others. It’s important to find what works best for you.
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you have hearing loss, wearing a hearing aid can help reduce the risks of dementia that are associated with poor communication and isolation.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can raise the risk of dementia by nearly 50%.
Studies have suggested that for people with hearing loss, treating hearing loss could significantly reduce the likelihood of potential cognitive problems. A recent study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that those with hearing loss, who then received hearing aids within three years of the diagnosis had reduced rates of dementia than individuals without hearing aids.
Another study from that same journal showed that hearing aids lowered the risk of cognitive decline that is linked to hearing loss.
If you are noticing hearing loss, it’s important to get treatment immediately. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.