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 annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) reveals innovation in new products and possible trends that are set for the future. The 2021 trade show focused on inclusive tech, which encourages everyone to actively participate in life.
The significance of this is being able to provide access to others. Healthy hearing paves the way for people to enjoy and fully participate in what matters, and those who matter to them, in their lives. For example:
Forms of inclusive tech presented at the 2021 CES
Modern hearing aid features include:
There have been so many new advancements to improve your life, overall health, and hearing. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test, hearing aid trial, and consultation to learn which digital hearing aids would work best for you and your lifestyle.
Check out the latest smartphone app from CaptionCall. This free app lets people who experience hearing loss make phone calls and receive them through the Android smartphone.
This app makes it easier for users to understand others when they speak to them and gives people a more independent life.
Easy Access to CaptionCall
As long as they have decent Wi-Fi service available, the CaptionCall Mobile app can be easily accessible. Features include:
The app is currently available to download at the Google Play store. It can be used with Android smartphones that have an Operating System (OS) 7.0 or newer and the Jitterbug Smart2 smartphones that have the Android 7.0 OS or newer.
The app can be connected to your hearing aids via Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to enhance your CaptionCall by:
Smartphone Usage with Bluetooth®-compatible Hearing Aids
People of all ages experience hearing loss, but the aging population is more likely to experience it. A 2019 Pew Research Center study found that more and more seniors are using smartphones than ever before. About 46 percent of individuals who are at least 65 years old use smartphones.
The CaptionCall Mobile app (for Android smartphones) is convenient for anyone who relies on smartphones to communicate with others - whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, healthcare providers, or the general public.
If you or a loved one are interested in Bluetooth®-compatible hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Just about all modern appliances, from your doorbell to your washing machine, can be connected to your smartphone through an app. So it’s obvious that hearing aids can also function with the use of an app.
Nearly everyone uses apps these days. They help make something new become familiar in an effortless manner. For hearing aid users, there are many features within each app to make wearing hearing aids more customized to a person’s unique experiences.
Hearing Aid Apps
There are many hearing apps that can be used with smartphones. For example decibel (dB) meter apps can measure how loud your environment is. Remember, the average hearing threshold is 85 dB. Anything higher than that can lead to hearing loss.
Other apps can perform a basic hearing screening, or can even help train your brain with listening exercises.
For anyone who currently wears hearing aids - or is thinking about getting hearing aids - you should look into apps that were created by your hearing aid manufacturer. For example, there’s the Oticon On app which has a remote control, HearingFitness (hearing training), tinnitus sound support, and other features that connect to an IFTTT network (this is a network that stands for “if this, then that”.) It helps you connect all of your apps and devices when you engage in certain practices. For example, if your coffee maker is connected via Bluetooth®, your Bluetooth®-connected hearing aids will also turn on when you switch your coffee maker on to start making your coffee - as long as everything is in its place.
These apps can be linked with the hearing aids that you wear via Bluetooth® by using an Apple or Android phone.
Available App Features
There’s a range of apps for a range of different features. Here’s a list of the most common features on popular hearing aid apps:
Hearing Aid Adjustments
Many hearing aids can automatically adjust their volume and settings based on the environment that you are in. If you prefer controlling the bass, treble, and volume, smartphone apps give you a more discreet option - instead of reaching your hand up to your ear to press a button. It’s like changing the volume or setting on a remote-controlled stereo.
Personalized settings can be saved.
If you frequent a certain area or building that is difficult to hear in, you can make adjustments that provide the best listening experience and save those settings when you go back to that place. Some settings may already be programmed by your hearing instrument specialist.
You can monitor the status of your device.
Apps let you know what the battery life is on your hearing aids - that way, you can check when they need to be recharged or when you need fresh batteries. There’s also a “Find my Hearing Aid” feature in most hearing aid apps if you lose your hearing aid. You can also see how many hours you wear your hearing aids each day/week/month. This is great to monitor your cognitive health. Remember, it’s important to wear your hearing aids each day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed.
Hearing aids can have a direct connection to audio.
You may use an app and connect straight to sound sources. This lets you stream music, phone calls, and TV through your hearing aids.
Hearing aids have become so advanced with new features that help make your life easier. Contact us at Pure Sound for a hearing aid trial and more information on these incredible pieces of technology.
Hearing loss is a serious problem, but you can still entertain yourself while exercising your ears. Practice activities to keep your sense of hearing in tip-top shape. Here’s a list of apps and activities that hearing aid users and non-hearing aid users of all ages can do each day.
Children’s Hearing Exercise Apps
This app was developed for 4 to 12-year-olds who have auditory comprehension and processing disorders. It was created by a certified speech and language pathologist. The app features over 1,000 listening exercises that concentrate on correcting auditory attention and memory. Directions to exercise a person's comprehension are given verbally. In the game, a virtual basketball coach rewards users with a basketball for every correct answer.
AB Listening Adventures (iPad only)
Adults who care for children (ages 4 to 10) with hearing loss will love this app! The program guides and develops listening and language skills that use six different story-based games which concentrate on listening for various elements, plurals, pronouns, or minimal pairs.
VocAB Scenes (iPad only)
Children between the ages of 4 and 10, who experience hearing loss, can expand their vocabulary with fun and different scenes. These include outdoor fun in the water, beach scenery, a pet store, a swimming pool, camping, and a wintery setting. A caregiver or therapist can assist the child during listening exercises utilizing three different games for each scene to encourage language development and listening skills.
Hearing Exercise Apps for Adults and Children
Hear Coach (Android or iOS - iPad and iPhone)
Starkey Hearing Technologies developed this app. It features listening games that teach the auditory system how to listen in numerous situations. The games are helpful for anyone with hearing loss, especially those who have difficulty hearing when there’s too much background noise.
LACE Auditory Training programs (Computer/laptop, iPad, or Android device)
LACE can be used by children and adults to practice listening and communication skills. It features a daily training program that develops methods on how to communicate in busy settings. The training sessions last about 20 minutes.
Forbrain® uses a person’s voice to increase their attention span, sharpen concentration, memory, and pronunciation. This bone-conduction headphone (for children and adults), has a filtered microphone that is used while talking out loud or to a person. The architects of this headset advise using the program for a few minutes every day for a minimum of six weeks.
Auditory Training - Use a Wide Range of Sounds
Enhance your auditory memory by recognizing environmental sounds. Practice listening to voices with activities that incorporate 209 varieties of animal, musical instruments, transportation sounds, and more.
Do you enjoy word searches? Then you will like Hearing Hunt. This game lets users listen to word-clues and try to beat the clock to figure out the words to search. The game has three levels of difficulty and can be used with Bluetooth®-enabled hearing aids.
Games 4 Hearoes (iPad)
This interactive auditory training program can help new hearing aid users recognize and remember sounds from their environment and vocabulary. There are 30 activities that concentrate on five main areas to help new users familiarize themselves with the sounds to gain confidence.
This app can teach your brain to detect noise by playing sounds that are just below detectable levels for you. After the training session, you can create a personalized “sound therapy” to listen to while engaging in other activities. The app’s developers claim that this will lead to an improvement in your hearing health.
Hearing Exercise Offline
Online brain games can be fun, but some day-to-day exercises for your brain can be done at home.
Solo Hearing Activities
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Communicating with others in your workplace can be tough when you experience hearing loss. There are some things that you can do to make your day go smoother.
1. Understand Your Own Hearing Loss - Each person experiences hearing loss differently. It’s good to examine different situations that require you to listen. It’s also a good idea to discover which environments you find challenging and what changes you can make to ease your listening fatigue. Ask for help and request certain accommodations if necessary.
2. Get an Adequate Amount of Rest - Some people can hear better after getting some much needed R&R. If you have important discussions or meetings, it’s best to schedule them early. You’ll be well-rested and your brain and hearing should be functioning at their best. If this is impossible, schedule some time to rest before your important meeting to recharge your mind and body. You can simply walk around outside or even listen to a short meditation to clear your mind.
3. Advocate for Your Needs - Letting coworkers know about your hearing loss is a personal decision, but in many cases, it’s best to be open and honest about it. This makes things less awkward if you need help from others and explaining why you need help.
4. Tell Your Coworkers about the Best Ways to Communicate with You - Communication requires you and other people to interact with one another. You will need help from coworkers to help you efficiently perform your job. You can begin with a simple rule like, only allowing one person to speak at a time. This will make conversations easier to follow if you also rely on lip-reading and/or facial cues to understand what is being discussed. Make sure other people have your attention before talking to you and ask that they face you while clearly speaking. These tips will be helpful if you have a Zoom meeting or another form of video-conferencing call.
5. Use the Latest Technology - There are so many speech-to-text apps available. Currently, the most popular, and accurate, app for Android smartphones is LiveTranscribe. Nothing that is spoken into this app is recorded or saved. Otter, another speech-to-text app, can be used on multiple platforms. Users can save the conversation and create a transcript. Ask your boss if these apps can be used at your company before using them.
6. Be Precise About Your Suggestions - hearing loss is not an easily discernible disability, so most people won’t know that you need help if you don’t ask for help. Be up-front about it and be specific with your needs. Some people might yell because they think it helps you hear them or lean close to your ears, but this will cancel out the ability to lip-read and read facial cues. Describe or show them what you need if they do not understand.
7. Visual Cues - Rather than immediately asking someone to repeat themselves if you miss what was said, listen for a little longer to try and piece together what was stated by using the context you are in. You may also cup your hand behind your ear to indicate that you are having trouble hearing whoever is speaking. The speaker can talk louder without interfering with the flow of the discussion.
8. Diet, Exercise, and Keep Learning - Make sure that you get enough rest, have a healthy diet, and exercise. When you feel better and well-rested, you have more energy to listen. Listening fatigue is real! Knowing the context of a conversation is important, so keep up with current events so that it’s easier to follow along.
9. Accept Your Hearing Loss - This is difficult for many people. If you appear to be at ease about your hearing loss, the people who you interact with will also feel comfortable. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you miss what was said. If you begin to experience listening fatigue, pace yourself so that you have the energy to continue with other conversations. Sometimes what you mishear can be funny. Just go with the flow and laugh at yourself. This will make you, and others feel more relaxed, and maybe open up a dialogue about your personal experiences with hearing loss.
If you are struggling to hear at work, due to your hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing solutions for your individual hearing needs.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Is there someone in your life who has hearing loss? There are about 466 million people around the world who experience crippling hearing loss. According to this statistic, there’s a high probability that you do know someone with hearing loss. You may notice that they are asking you to repeat yourself more often, you can tell that they are having difficulty in keeping up with conversations, or you notice that they are isolating themselves from social interactions. Here are some tips to handle this situation.
1. Practice effective communication.
When talking to someone with hearing loss, get their attention. Your face and lips need to be visible in order to better understand you. Do not talk from a different room that has walls around it. Do not talk while eating. Enunciate and speak at a steady pace. Do not yell, this makes it more difficult to lipread. When in a group setting, please only allow one person to speak at a time. If the topic changes, notify the person who is hard of hearing.
2. Create an environment that will help people hear best.
A good environment is important to let people hear at an optimal level. Have very little to no background noise and a brightly-lit space to provide ease with lipreading. Have the person with hearing loss choose the location to meet. They can pick a place that will help with their communication with everyone. Let them choose where to sit in order to maximize their ability to hear others as best as they can.
3. Give support, rather than pity.
If someone discloses their hearing loss, don’t apologize or pity them. You can be direct by asking them what you can do to help them hear at their best and then follow their instructions.
Hearing aids are not like eyeglasses. A person with hearing loss will not have normal hearing by using hearing aids, the way that eyeglasses restore vision. Repeating yourself may be annoying, but try to stay positive and patient.
Listening to someone, when you have hearing loss requires a lot of effort. You might only catch parts of some words or phrases, so your brain is working overtime in order to piece together what was stated based on the context of the discussion. After enduring a long day of carefully listening, it can cause exhaustion. If necessary, a break and rest.
4. Exercise useful means of communication without reminders.
It may be exhausting to continually explain to those who you regularly interact with how they can help you hear at your best. You may feel as though you are nagging when frequently reminding those closest to you about what they need to do in order to make you feel included. Simply facing someone with hearing loss, with their mouth uncovered and using the previously advised means of communications, shows that they are making an effort and that they care.
5. Have someone with you during your own self-advocacy.
Someone who is hard of hearing may get tired of constantly asking a waiter to repeat the day’s specials at every restaurant, or when they need to request the closed captioning device at any theater that you attend. When there is someone to help them with these needs, it helps in understanding the struggle of hearing loss and helps that person save their energy for listening and requests for other needs.
6. Refrain from saying, “Never mind.”
It may be tiring to repeat yourself, but do not simply reply with “Never mind”, “it’s not important”, or “forget about it”. Those with hearing loss take those words as being brushed-off, scolded and insulted all at the same time. Frequently being treated in that manner can lead a person with hearing loss to isolate themselves, which can lead to depression.
When a person with hearing loss needs something repeated, rephrase what you said. You can ask them to repeat what they thought they heard in order to fill in the missing words. Sometimes the miscommunications can be humorous, so you can share a laugh with each other.
7. Test out different technology.
While hearing aids are useful, there can still be the occasional miscommunication. This is especially true in busy areas. There are always new technological advancements that are being made with hearing aids, including talk-to-text apps.
It’s a good idea to test some of them out to know what works best for you and the person with hearing loss.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid brands and styles that suit a wide range of hearing loss.
Do you suffer from tinnitus? Using the proper tools to manage it, is key to having a good quality of life.
If you own a smartphone, you’re already one step towards managing your tinnitus. There are so many different apps that are available to deal with tinnitus, which include:
Don’t feel disheartened when a healthcare professional discloses that you simply have to live with tinnitus. There are so many methods of tinnitus relief such as engaging in relaxation and meditation, wearing earplugs or earmuffs, staying away from too much noise exposure (which can harm your hearing health and worsen symptoms of tinnitus).
Top Apps to Mask Sound
When used properly, sound masking can be one of the best coping tools if you suffer from tinnitus. It’s easy to use. Different types of background noise can be utilized to mask the beeping, buzzing, humming, hissing, ringing, static, whooshing noises that come with tinnitus. For many people who have tinnitus, having the proper background noise may provide temporary, but instant relief.
It has been proven to be an effective way to manage the symptoms, but it’s complicated. Each masking sound is different, and there’s an infinite amount of sound masking/sound therapy apps. Recommended apps:
MyNoise (Android and iOS)
MyNoise includes a vast library of ambiances and soundscapes, which features some experimental sounds that were primarily developed for individuals with tinnitus. You may customize the soundscape by adding or reducing bird, rain, wind, and chime sounds. The myNoise app is a simple way to adjust to the best soundscape to mask your tinnitus.
NatureSpace (Android and iOS)
The NatureSpace app features soundscapes that were created using high-fidelity audio recordings of authentic nature sounds.
What is a Leading App for overall Tinnitus Relief and Habituation?
Quieten (Android and iOS)
There is currently no known cure for tinnitus, but sufferers can experience relief via habituation. There are only a few apps that have been made to help you habituate to the sound of your tinnitus.
A human brain has the ability to tune out the tinnitus, just as it ignores other background noise. Complications that arise when it becomes severe, are provoking strong and worsening fight-or-flight stress as a never-ending reaction. Tinnitus can’t simply disappear. This fight-or-flight response restricts the brain from the ability to ignore the sound. Humans are designed to concentrate on sounds that the brain and nervous system interpret as dangerous.
Humans have the ability to adjust the underlying emotional, physiological, and psychological reaction to tinnitus. When you do this, your brain can begin to naturally tune out and ignore the sound of your tinnitus more often.
Quieten is a great app from Julian Cowan Hill, who is an author, therapist, and tinnitus expert. The app has a vast number of free audio and educational content that will help you habituate and learn more about tinnitus, along with meditations, coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques, etc.
Paid apps for Meditation
To manage tinnitus, you must significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. You may engage in mindful meditation, which is one of the most powerful tools that can be used. Mindfulness has been proven to help deal with tinnitus, and also manage the way your brain functions.
Some mindful meditation apps include:
Best Free app for Meditation
Insight Timer: This is the most popular free meditation app. It has over 60,000 guided meditations, breathing exercises, and music tracks.
This is not your traditional guided meditation. There are guided meditations that improve sleep, relieving anxiety, relaxation, focus, and more. These are great options for those who experience tinnitus and are interested in using various types of meditation to help cope.
Insight Timer also has a meditation timer feature that is incorporated into the app, which lets users create custom meditation sessions. This is a training tool that plays a chime sound of your choice to help you focus at different intervals to keep you focused as you meditate. If your mind begins to wander, the chime will sound to focus your attention back to the meditation.
Best apps to use for Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques are an effective method of dealing with tinnitus, particularly when there are spikes or severe cases on certain days. Some apps feature guided breathing exercises to help you learn and practice the best ways that work for you.
Some breathing techniques can quickly bring about a relaxed response to the nervous system. Others can help you fall asleep quickly, reduce levels of stress, improve emotional regulation, or increase energy levels and focus.
Breathwrk app (iOS)
This is one of the best breathing exercise apps for iOS. It received 4.9/5 stars. It has over 10 guided breathing techniques, audio, visual, and vibration cues, lessons in breathing, tracks your personal progress, etc.
Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate (Android)
This is a very popular and effective free guided breathing app that is used with Android. It features 8 preset breathing protocols, audio, visual, and vibration cues to make it easy to follow, in addition to the option of setting up customized breathing sessions with your choice of times during the intervals. Prana Breath gives users control over increasing the level of complexity and difficulty of each technique that you practice while tracking your progress.
Best Apps to Improve Hearing Loss
AudioCardio (Android and iOS)
Most people who have tinnitus, also experience hearing loss. These two symptoms may require extra approaches in treatment. If you can improve your hearing, chances are there will be better relief in your tinnitus symptoms. AudioCardio provides a new type of sound therapy that can be compared to physical therapy, but for hearing health. It may help to strengthen the hearing abilities in patients who have sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).
The app will perform a hearing test to determine the lowest decibel level of sound that you can hear at a range with different frequencies. The app will target the user’s lowest frequency levels and deliver a unique type of sound therapy known as Threshold Sound Conditioning.
In many cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the hair cells become damaged, but not destroyed. A person will continue to hear certain frequency sounds if they are loud enough. The app uses a generated tone that was created with an algorithm right at the threshold of what the person can hear.
The tones are either inaudible or barely audible. The creators of the app stated that by stimulating the hair cells at the threshold, the app can strengthen hair cells, which leads to better hearing.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We will be offering curbside services. If you are visiting us for a repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. A staff member will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.
How to Prepare for Social Distanced Holidays
The fall and winter holidays are coming up soon. While they may look different this year, you can still safely enjoy the company of family and friends through video chats.
This year has already drawn attention to the challenges that hearing aid users experience. Getting help and working with your hearing instrument specialist is a great way to prepare yourself for virtual or socially distanced holidays.
Using Technology to Communicate
Video chats have a tendency to create complications in the way sounds are heard. Computer speakers are likely to distort sounds and a person’s voice. This will affect a person who has difficulty hearing and can make it harder to follow along during conversations.
If you are speaking to someone who has difficulty with hearing, ask the person if there is an easier way to communicate with them. This may include speaking slower and enunciating clearer, using a speech to text app, making the room brighter so that they can see your face when you speak, mentioning the topic of a conversation before speaking, etc.
Let the person who cannot hear clearly know what the topic of the conversation is, this will help them fill in the blanks for words that they may miss. Some people who are hard of hearing have described listening to others speak as being similar to a game of “Wheel of Fortune”. They may not be able to hear certain letters in words and will need to piece the conversation together based on the topic that is being discussed, people’s facial expressions, hand gestures, and/or lip-reading.
When video chatting, it’s important that the person who has trouble with hearing is in a space that is quiet with little to no background noise. It would also be best if hearing aid users sit near the WiFi router so that they can get a clear and uninterrupted connection.
A poor internet connection can slow and distort a person’s speech. This creates challenges when it comes to lip reading. Raising the volume on the hearing aids or the speaker in order to improve hearing may actually make the person who is speaking sounds even worse.
The majority of modern hearing aids feature Bluetooth®. This allows your hearing aids to connect on a call via smartphone, computer, tablet, and any other Bluetooth®-enabled devices. Check your devices to make sure they are updated with the latest software, and test out some calls a few days prior to your video chat to ensure proper function.
If you notice that you are not hearing as well as usual with your hearing aids, clean them, make sure there are fresh batteries, or they are fully charged. If you’re still having trouble with hearing clearly, schedule an appointment with your hearing aid provider. It may need a deep clean or reprogramming. Adjustments may need to be made in order to understand others when they are wearing a mask.
Let Pure Sound Hearing help you get ready for the holidays this year. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Modern technology has changed the way we hear, and there are always new specialized advancements being made. In addition to enhancements in hearing aid features, the latest technology provides its users with total control over the devices.
A wide range of hearing technology is readily available through your smartphone or tablet devices. Features such as hearing loss simulation, communication tools, hearing aid control and amplification can be used on your smartphone or tablet.
There are so many apps available these days, so it might be difficult to find the one that works best for you.
Here are five of the top hearing loss and tinnitus apps:
1. Clear Captions: This app is for people who have difficulty while speaking to others over the phone. Whether you wear hearing aids or not, Clear Captions is a useful tool to communicate with others.
After turning the app on, Clear Captions automatically generate captions of your phone call. This allows you to simultaneously listen and see the words of the person who is speaking, thus reducing your frustration.
In order to use Clear Captions for free, you must be diagnosed with hearing loss and be a resident of the U.S. Submit your certification of hearing loss (provided by your hearing health care professional) and you will be given access to the Clear Captions app - and other services/equipment - free of charge.
The smartphone app is currently only available through the Apple App Store, so you will need an iPad or iPhone to access it. You may also access Clear Captions with certain landlines, so it can be utilized without a smartphone.
2. Signia app: The Signia app is easy to use, provides connectivity, and advanced functionality. Your smartphone with the downloaded Signia app lets you control your hearing aids discreetly and quickly. You can control the volume level, programs, sound balance, improve directional hearing aids and allows you to tweak adjustments when needed.
For connectivity purposes, if you use StreamLine TV or StreamLine Mic, use the Signia app to smoothly and instantly adjust the settings. If your hearing aids feature tinnitus therapy, you can change the settings to reduce your symptoms.
This app is available for Android and iOS.
3. Sound Scouts: This hearing test app is for teens, adults and children ages 4 and up. You still need a hearing test from a professional, but the Sound Scout app’s hearing test lets users monitor their hearing health at the push of a button.
It’s a great tool to use for those who feel anxious about getting a hearing test because it prepares them for what they should expect. It utilizes interactive tests, images and animation.
Sound Scouts is available for both Android and iOS, which lets you use it on different devices. The creators of this app recommend that people of all ages, who are being tested, wear a good quality pair of adult headphones while using the app. After the headphones are placed on, download the app and begin the hearing test.
4. Noise-induced hearing loss: Also known as NIHL, being exposed to excessive noise can damage your hearing health. It’s difficult to determine when noises are too loud. These apps let users monitor the volume in their surroundings, so that you can know when you’ve reached your hearing threshold and protect yourself.
NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss, but it’s not always possible to determine when you are exposed to hazardous levels of noise. Many people have hearing loss or tinnitus due to this exposure. In the future use these apps, if you plan to go to a public space that might be too loud.
5. Purple P3 Mobile: Purple Communications provides a number of VRS (video relay services). Now it offers the option of remaining connected from anywhere with the P3 mobile app. This app is available on iOS and Android.
Functioning as a VRS allows P3 to easily communicate with others through the telephone. An ASL interpreter will be available. Just open the app and indicate who or where you would like to call. P3 includes smartwatch notifications, incoming call notifications, number lookup, a selection of themes, and full screen notifications.
Get Help for Your Hearing
If you are noticing that you, or a loved one, are becoming more isolated and depressed due to hearing loss, get help. At Pure Sound, our hearing instrument specialists will patiently work with you to find the hearing aids that work best for you and program the devices for your specific needs.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.