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.