As more people are getting back to traveling by plane, ear pain caused by air pressure may be inevitable for some.
Usually, the pain that you feel in your ears is a minor discomfort. In other cases, it can turn into a serious issue. In rare occurrences, ear pain and pressure can result in hearing loss.
More Ear Pressure
The shifts in air pressure affect the pressure in your ears. Generally, the air pressure in the inner ear and the air pressure outside are nearly identical. When you walk up a large mountain, the slow speed of your ascent gives your body time to distribute the pressure, which equalizes it while walking. The discomfort you feel, due to increased ear pressure only happens during a quick shift in altitude. The pressure inside your inner ear and the pressure coming from outside do not have enough time to equalize. This is known as ear barotrauma.
When the airplane that you aboard take flight, it starts its ascent, and the air pressure in the inner ear quickly passes the pressure outside. The eardrum swells outward, like a loaf of bread that rises as it bakes in an oven.
On the contrary, when the air pressure in the inner ear quickly gets lower than the air pressure outside, the tympanic membrane will get suctioned inward like a vacuum. The Eustachian tube becomes flat and needs your help to bring airflow into the inner ear so that it can function properly. It doesn’t matter if you are rapidly going into a high altitude or low altitude, when the eardrum stretches it can be painful.
When experiencing this, since the eardrum cannot vibrate you will also notice some hearing loss and muffled noises.
3 Ways to Prevent Ear Pain in Flight
When flying on an airplane, you may have felt the shifting altitudes on your ears, i.e. feelings of fullness in the ear and popping. Pressure needs to be equalized by presenting as much air as possible through the Eustachian tube. Here’s how to do that:
1. Swallow or yawn - Doing this will help airflow through the nose to the middle ear, which will equalize the pressure. When you swallow, the clicking or popping noise that you might hear is actually a tiny air bubble that drifted from the back of the nose and into the middle ear through the Eustachian tube. This tube makes sure that there is regular airflow in the middle ear. This air becomes absorbed into the inner ear’s membranes and the cycle repeats. This continuous air flow makes sure that the pressure on each side of the ears remains equal. Swallow or yawn as many times as necessary. When flying on an airplane, make sure the Eustachian tubes are working more than usual and open them up more often in order to adapt to the pressure change.
2. Chew gum or suck on hard candy - Doing this will encourage you to frequently swallow, which helps to equalize air pressure.
3. The Valsalva Maneuver - To do this maneuver, inhale air and hold your breath. Then close your mouth and pinch your nose shut. Gently release the air out until your ears pop. This will open up the Eustachian tubes. This maneuver is not meant to be used if you have allergies or a cold, because it may lead to a severe ear infection. You should use the Toynbee maneuver. This is when you close your mouth and nose while swallowing several times until you reach equalized pressure. Repeat either technique as necessary.
6 Additional Tips
Airplanes and Ear Pain in Children
The Eustachian tubes in children are significantly smaller and narrower than in an adult. This is why a change in air pressure is much more painful for them. Sucking on a bottle or pacifier is helpful in order to increase the number of times the child swallows, especially when the plane is about to descend.
Older kids can suck on a lollipop, drink through a straw or blow bubbles through a straw in order to relieve pain in the ears. Before the plane ride, you may talk to your pediatrician about ear drops for pain relief.
The Risk of a Ruptured Eardrum
If you have allergies, a cold, flu, or any other similar illness, you may want to change travel plans. It would be considerate to the other people on the plane, and your illness may include a blockage of the Eustachian tube, which would prevent pressure equalization. If your eardrum becomes ruptured or if you have a severe infection, either one may lead to hearing loss or permanent damage to your ear.
If you experience hearing loss due to a plane flight, and your hearing has not gone back to normal, within several days after your flight, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
If you’re a city dweller, you are probably used to the bustling sounds in the streets. All traffic that occurs throughout the day and into the night can put your hearing health at risk. Whether the noises come from nearby airports, sports arenas, highways, or construction zones, neighborhoods in the city produce a lot of noise pollution that impacts a vast amount of people.
The Noisiest Neighborhoods
Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago are some of the loudest cities in the U.S. Residents are exposed to at least 80 decibels (dB) of noise from transportation per day! There are even heavily traversed areas that emit more than 90 dB. You should wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing in those areas, especially if these are places you travel through daily.
You can look at this map to get a better picture of what we’re talking about.
Is there a Negative Impact on Property Value for Noisy Neighborhoods?
It’s difficult to avoid loud areas, especially in a big city or suburban area with highways or an airport nearby. It’s important to spread awareness about potential hearing loss, so that others may take preventative measures. Realtor.com has reflected on noise levels vs. property value. They have indicated that more people prefer quieter environments, so the prices of homes will reflect that.
Noise in the Workplace
Exposure to dangerous noise levels while on the job should concern you. If you do not currently protect your hearing health, you should talk to your manager about being provided with earplugs or industrial ear muffs. Check the noise levels in your work environment by using a decibel meter app. Anything over 85 dBs is considered to be a dangerous level of noise exposure.
Talk to family, coworkers, and friends about their exposure to noise in heavy traffic, construction, and concerts while working with power tools, operating heavy machinery, using common electric appliances around the home, etc. All of these interactions could lead to hearing loss. To be safe, always carry around a pair of foam earplugs with you. They can easily be stored in your pocket or handbag. Get your hearing tested at least once a year.
How Would You Know If You Had Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss happens very slowly over time. Most people won’t catch it early. This is especially true if you are constantly exposed to loud noises, whether it’s in a workplace environment or if you live in a bustling city. If you find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, moving closer to people to hear them better, asking others to speak up, or it's challenging to hear others in noisy environments, you might have hearing loss.
If you need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Lititz, Elizabethtown, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
It’s time to look forward to sunny weather and summer holiday gatherings! And with these get-togethers, you’ll want to make sure you can still enjoy conversations by hearing your best. Here are some tips on how to protect your hearing health and, if you are a hearing aid user, get the most out of your hearing aids.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in three Americans between 20 to 69 years old, experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss, so you should always carry a pair of foam earplugs with you.
Inserting the earplugs into your ears, while being in loud environments - such as watching a fireworks display or going to a sporting event - can reduce the noises and the chance of permanent damage to your ears.
Be aware of Swimmer’s Ear
This condition can be painful and may cause temporary hearing loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that you should:
Hearing Aid Users
If you are a hearing aid user, be aware that you will probably come in contact with more humidity and moisture caused by sweat and hotter temperatures this summer. As with any electronic device, water can damage your hearing aids.
This is why it’s so important to keep your hearing aids dry. You may get a hearing aid dehumidifier, which has desiccant and place the devices inside to extract moisture due to condensation, humidity, or sweat.
If you or a loved one are a Lancaster County resident who experiences hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 75% of Farmers experience hearing loss as they age. Other jobs that induce hearing loss include construction work, factory work and musicians.
Driving or working around an operated tractor, for hours at a time without hearing protection can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Hopefully, by raising awareness about this issue, preventative measures can be addressed among the farming community.
Whether you or someone who you know is a farmer, reach out to us at Pure Sound Hearing and schedule a free hearing test and consultation.
Did you know that the month of June is dedicated to men’s health?
On average, men tend to ignore their health at a higher rate than women, which leads to so many other health problems down the road.
It’s important to raise awareness on men’s health, particularly preventative health measures that can be detected and treated if it’s caught in the early stages.
Hearing loss is more common in men, due to the fact that they are more likely to work in an environment that’s louder than the average work setting - including construction zones, mines, industrial areas, etc.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can lead to more risks of falls, lower opportunities for employment, lower salaries due to an inability to accurately perform tasks, social isolation which can lead to depression and dementia.
Preventative care isn’t the only reason to treat your hearing loss.
Healthy hearing is good for your overall health. Being included in conversations or enjoying music or TV, and not missing out on things like a good joke and laughter is important for your mind, body, and spirit.
The old stigma of wearing hearing aids is no longer valid among the younger generations. Many people wear their devices proudly, but if you’re still uncomfortable with visible hearing aids Pure Sound has discreet hearing aids available.
Get back to enjoying the sounds of music, fun, and laughter. Contact us at Pure Sound to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
Are You Hearing a Rumble in Your Ear? You may be Experiencing Tonic Tensor Tympani in addition to Hearing Loss.
Are you hard of hearing and experienced a vibrating sensation and the sounds of rumbling in your ear? You may not be able to completely describe this new feeling, as it may not resemble your average type of tinnitus.
The rumbling is actually a common symptom of tinnitus. It tends to occur as a way of protecting your ears from noises that are too loud. There are some treatable conditions that may cause this rumbling.
What causes the sound of rumbling in your ears?
In some cases, the rumbling sound resembles rushing water or wind that’s whisking through the air and into your ear.
As mentioned, a rumbling sound is used to safeguard your ears. The ears protect themselves by tightened muscles in the inner ear, which suppress sounds. These muscles are known as “tensor tympani”.
These muscles can pull the malleus (a bone that helps with the ability to hear) in the ear away from the eardrum. Therefore, the eardrum cannot vibrate as much as it normally should. This stifles the ear, causing the rumbling noise.
This could happen while:
It’s important to note that these sounds are not experienced by everyone, but some people do notice the rumbling sounds during these occasions.
Hidden Medical Reasons
In some cases, there are underlying medical issues that can lead to a rumbling sensation to the ear. These causes can include:
There are treatments for both of these conditions.
Some people can consciously generate these sounds.
In some instances, you can control this rumbling sound. There’s a small subdivision of people who have the ability to contract their tensor tympani muscles in their inner ear whenever they want.
Some people create the sounds subconsciously.
One way to notice whether you are creating the sound is if you anticipate hearing the rumbling sound when you are about to do a specific thing, such as yawn.
If you have the ability to control when the tensor tympani muscles contract, this could be useful for protecting your ears from louder inner noises. If you can tense your muscles, you may also be able to shield against low-frequency noises so that you can hear higher (and usually more difficult to hear) sound frequencies that are higher in pitch.
Being able to contract these tensor tympani muscles isn’t something that you should be worried about.
Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome (TTTS)
This is a rare type of tinnitus. This is a form of objective tinnitus, meaning that both the person with the condition and others can hear a sound. Patients with TTTS hear sounds in a different way.
TTTS is also considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus. This means that the condition is related to irregular blood flow. Individuals with high blood pressure, blood vessels with calcifications, and other conditions can have this type of tinnitus.
Is Tonic Tensor Tympani associated with Tinnitus?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a noise when there isn’t an identifiable source of the sound nearby. People have often described it as a chirping, clicking, hissing, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise.
The impact of tinnitus on hearing health varies from person to person. Some experience tinnitus due to irregularities in their blood vessels. Others encounter issues with muscles in their ears, including the tensor tympani muscles.
There’s a possibility that the rumbling noise is tinnitus, particularly if it doesn’t happen when chewing or yawning.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Healthy hearing is important in the development and quality of a child’s life. Without proper treatment, children with hearing loss can fall behind when it comes to establishing their communication, language acquisition, learning abilities, and social skills. Some parents or teachers may mistake a child’s hearing loss for a learning disability or a stubbornness when it comes to learning new things.
Today, more and more hospitals screen newborns for hearing loss. When an infant is born with hearing loss, this is known as congenital hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is usually genetic.
Temporary Hearing Loss
Some children may experience temporary hearing loss. If this type of hearing loss frequently occurs, it can be harmful to children’s speech and language acquisition as they age. It can also cause deterioration to the eardrum, bones inside your ears, or auditory nervous system which can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which is a type of permanent hearing loss.
A Parental/Guardian’s Guide to Children’s Hearing Loss
Normally, parents or guardians will not immediately notice hearing loss in their child until other problems arise. If there is no immediate treatment for the child, the condition could get worse and become more difficult to manage. Your child will most likely receive a hearing test in school, and if they do not they should be receiving one at their annual doctor’s visit.
Based on how severe the hearing loss is and what the cause was, hearing aids may be recommended.
What are Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are powerful electronic devices that can help make sounds clearer for people with a wide range of hearing loss. It essentially hones in on the sounds that a person wants to hear, using directional microphones while reducing less important background noises.
If you have a child or grandchild who experiences hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Newborns in Australia who fail their routine hearing screening test, have been asked to enter an experimental trial to determine the most common growing cause of the hearing loss.
The study is being conducted by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne, and four maternity hospitals. The objective of this research is to explore methods to determine whether hearing loss is found in young infants, who were born with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection at a faster rate.
Congenital CMV may be innocuous but it can also potentially cause hearing loss, along with additional neurodevelopmental disorders like cerebral palsy and vision loss in some infants. Providing a saliva swab testing kit to parents of newborns will help researchers discover the virus in the baby during the first three weeks of being born. Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne would like to screen 200 babies for the trial study, where three or four may have congenital CMV.
If this study is seen as a way to conduct timely diagnostic testing for congenital CMV, the team may use this screening nationwide.
If there’s a child in your family who you think may be experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer hearing aid solutions for people of all ages and ranges of hearing loss.
After a man from Texas contracted Covid-19, he suffered from a number of symptoms. One of these symptoms was tinnitus.
It is uncertain as to whether tinnitus has a direct link to Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe tinnitus as a symptom, but hearing issues are linked to other viruses.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), listed tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. as symptoms of long Covid.
The Journal of International Audiology studied about 60 cases. The data uncovered that 15 percent of adults who had Covid-19 reported experiencing tinnitus. The researchers concluded that the participants in the study were detailing the symptoms of a new ailment or an existing one that was getting worse.
There has been some confirmation that Covid-19 could provoke symptoms of people with tinnitus, prior to becoming infected with the virus. According to a study published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal, in a survey from 3,100 individuals who had tinnitus, 40 percent of the 237 respondents who contracted Covid-19 reported that their symptoms were “significantly exacerbated” after becoming infected.
As mentioned in our previous blog posts, many viruses can poorly impact our hearing health. This includes measles, mumps, and rubella. Medications that are taken to reduce the spread of Covid, might worsen symptoms of tinnitus. We are well aware of the vicious cycle that can occur from stress-induced tinnitus. The study mentioned how an increase in stress for just about everyone due to fear of catching the virus, or social distancing have intensified feelings of isolation and loneliness. Home-schooling has also increased levels of stress, as have people over consumption of coffee and/or alcohol.
There are nearly 200 causes of tinnitus, some of which include exposure to loud noises, hearing loss, stress, and perforated eardrums. There is no cure for tinnitus, but therapy for cognitive behavior - or talk therapy that’s meant to refocus your thoughts and behavior - or training on how to acclimate yourself to the condition is available.
If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
Have your ears ever felt like they were blocked up with water after taking a swim? It’s a frustrating feeling when you still feel the obstruction for the following days. This symptom is caused by a bacterial infection known as acute otitis externa A.K.A. swimmer’s ear. Generally speaking, it’s harmless, but you should still get it checked out by a hearing healthcare provider. If it goes untreated, it could affect your ability to hear.
How Swimmer’s Ear Affects Your Hearing
Swimmer’s ear can occur after being in any body of water, although it typically develops after spending time in hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and rivers. Due to the greater amounts of bacteria that are found in these areas, water that becomes trapped inside the ear is more likely to lead to painful infections on the skin. Your inner ear is the ideal place for bacteria or fungi to grow and thrive. Skin irritations caused by some hair products can worsen the condition when there is an infection.
If this condition spreads throughout the body, it can cause harm to other areas, not just your ears. Most people who have swimmer’s ear also experienced pressure and pain in their ear, along with redness in their skin, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pus or fluid drainage. Under more serious instances, temporary or permanent hearing loss could occur when sensitive organs located in the inner ear are compromised and the infection begins to develop in the brain and base of the skull.
Your inner ear has tiny hair cells, which are called cilia. These hair cells collect the quality of sounds. The hearing nerve cells are delicate and cannot regrow. When infection damages the cilia, it causes some permanent hearing loss - depending on how many of the hair cells are destroyed.
When Should You Get Treatment?
If you have any concerns about your ears or hearing, please consult a hearing care professional as soon as possible. Early treatment can help to slow down and prevent further damage.
Here are some ways to know if your inner ear is infected due to trapped water:
It’s advised that you do not swim, fly in an airplane or drive up to elevated areas like the mountains, to prevent the chances of your ears popping. Your ears will need time to heal. If you get proper treatment, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear should go away in 14 days or less.
Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
Here’s what you can do to make sure your ears are safe when you swim:
Use earplugs or custom-molded ear protection to prevent water from penetrating your ear canal.
Before dipping into a pool, the water should be chlorinated or filtered to avoid high levels of bacteria. If you are going to be in a natural body of water, do not go to stagnant locations and find out whether the water’s sanitation levels are available for the public to view before heading out there.
After your swim, you should try to remove excess water from your ears in your own home. The safest method is to lay your head on its side, move your jaw around by chewing or yawning to pop your ears and release the pressure, you may also try to place a warm compress on your ear, or place your ear over a bowl of warm steaming water. Do not use a hairdryer or hand dryer to make the water evaporate. The loud noises from those appliances could worsen your hearing.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing sudden hearing loss after being in the water, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Listening through Headphones or Earbuds: What’s the Safest Volume Level and Length of Listening Time?
Noise-induced Hearing Hoss: Your Environment and Your Entertainment
The most common form of hearing loss is aging. The second most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss that we can control by wearing hearing protection or avoiding loud environments/forms of entertainment.
Today, more people are taking proactive measures to protect their hearing health. It’s normal to see construction workers or people who use loud power tools to wear earmuffs or earplugs. In some workplaces, it’s mandatory.
The combination of widespread knowledge and changes in safe hearing practices has grown alongside the universal usage of headphones and earbuds. Although more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of noise exposure, just about every human being is constantly wearing earbuds to listen to a podcast, music, or have phone conversations throughout their day.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
According to experts in the field of hearing health, you may listen to whatever media you’d like - but you need to limit the volume level and length of listening time. It’s important to find a good balance between the volume level and time spent listening. It is recommended to have the volume level at 80 percent, and listen for a maximum time of 90 minutes, with breaks in between.
The type of listening equipment is also important. People who wear loose earbuds tend to raise the volume to hear better, which in turn damages hearing health. Over-the-ear, or noise-canceling, headphones block out background noises so that you don’t need to turn up the volume.
When listening through your earbuds or headphones, please be aware of how loud your volume is and maybe set a timer so that you know when to give your ears a break.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is only impacted by aging.
This is false.
It’s common for people to believe this. While this is only partially true, there are other factors. Your body changes and your health conditions tend to worsen as you age. These changes and worsening conditions to your body are what impact your poor hearing health.
You may wonder whether your hearing abilities are normal for your age. No matter what age you are, you must hear over 25 dB to hear the normal speech sounds. This standard range of sound does not change when you age. When someone begins to lose their hearing, they don’t consider it to be a big deal. Instead of addressing the problem immediately, they avoid seeking treatment until it turns into a bigger problem.
Hearing loss can occur due to ruptured eardrums caused by autoimmune diseases, ear infections, abnormal bone growths, tumors, or exposure to loud noises.
Any hearing loss which negatively impacts your ability to understand others when they speak is a major issue. The longer you wait to get treatment, the worse your hearing will get. This delay will make it more difficult to adjust to your hearing aids.
Audiometric pattern as a predictor of cardiovascular status: Development of a model for assessment of risk, a study by David R. Friedland MD, Ph.D., Christopher Cederberg MD, and Sergey Tarmia Ph.D., suggests that 85% of patients who were diagnosed with strokes, also had some range of hearing loss. The inner ear is very sensitive to blood flow. This study indicates that vascular problems may negatively impact auditory and cardiovascular systems.
In the study Diabetes and risk of hearing impairment in adults: A meta-analysis, test subjects with diabetes were twice as likely to have hearing loss. This link between hearing loss and diabetes was more prevalent in people under 60 years of age. Analysts hypothesize that high levels of blood sugar might deteriorate the inner ears’ vessels, which can lead to hearing loss.
More than 200 prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that are considered ototoxic - “poisonous to the ears”, are currently sold to the public. As mentioned before in this blog, common ototoxic drugs include aspirin, antibiotics, some anesthetics, loop diuretics, anti-cancer drugs, and quinine.
When someone has heart disease or diabetes, they don’t think that this it’s normal for someone their age and then wait to seek treatment. No matter how old you are, if you experience heart disease, diabetes, or hearing loss you should immediately get help.
Other Causes of Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) has been mentioned frequently in this blog. NIHL is caused by hearing sounds that are too loud. It can be caused by one extremely loud blast, or occur over time due to listening to loud music on a regular basis.
Learn more about NIHL here.
What can you do to protect your hearing health?
Think about your habits, and whether they are culpable to cause hearing loss.
Did you know…
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 free trials on a wide variety of hearing aids, as well as listening devices like Phonak's Roger Select ™.
If you are not hearing very well, or as you usually do, the cause could be anything from aging to viral infections.
Based on the reason for your hearing loss, it might be temporary or permanent.
Get treated immediately if You experience Sudden Hearing Loss
If you experience rapid or sudden hearing loss in one ear or both ears immediately get treatment. There could be harmful inflammation that can be treated with steroids. Sudden hearing loss that goes untreated could lead to permanent hearing loss.
How do you know if You need to see a Medical Professional?
Here’s a guide to follow:
If you responded with “No” to all of these questions, you might be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss needs immediate medical attention.
Prevailing causes of Temporary Hearing Loss?
The majority of temporary hearing loss does not suddenly occur. It happens gradually within a few days or weeks, by the time a person notices it. Temporary hearing loss can be caused by a blockage in the ear canal or another ear-related health condition. Here are some possible causes:
Stereocilia (tiny hairs) and glands located in your inner ears create cerumen, A.K.A. earwax. Usually, this wax naturally falls out or it can be removed through a gentle wash with water. In some instances, it can build up and obstruct your ear canals. When this occurs, your ears may feel as though they are plugged, you might hear a ringing or buzzing noise (tinnitus), or experience some hearing loss. If you are unable to gently remove the earwax by using a warm washcloth, consult a healthcare professional. Do not attempt to remove the wax with any sharp objects like a hairpin. Q-Tips or cotton swabs can push the earwax deeper into your ear canal, causing the eardrum to become perforated and.
Vigorous Exercises or Stress
Your exercise routine might be the cause of your hearing loss or tinnitus. If you exercise past your personal fitness levels, you could experience temporary hearing loss. Your ability to hear should go back to normal within a few hours. See a hearing healthcare professional if the symptoms don’t go away. Severe cases of stress may induce hearing loss or tinnitus.
Temporary hearing loss and/or tinnitus is a common result, after being exposed to loud noises. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In most cases, your hearing will go back to normal, but it’s always helpful to protect your hearing by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. Hearing loss prevention is the only way to protect yourself from NIHL. Frequently being exposed to loud sounds could lead to permanent hearing loss.
Typical Causes of Permanent Hearing Loss
Long exposure to extreme noise
One loud blast of noise may only temporarily make your hearing worse, while a repetition of exposure to blasts or other loud noises could cause permanent loss of hearing. This is the most prevalent type of sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent. The term sensorineural applies to the nerves located inside the ears, along with the tiny sensory cells that are extremely delicate and easy to destroy.
Presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, is another common form of sensorineural hearing loss. Most people who are 75 years of age or older, will notice they cannot hear as well as they could in the past. The beginning of this type of hearing loss arrives gradually, so it will go unnoticed for months or years. Getting treatment for your hearing loss is not simply linked to better hearing, it also helps reduce other health problems such as dementia, depression caused by isolation, or risks of falling.
Health conditions that cause permanent hearing loss
Get your hearing loss treated
Whether or not you suspect that you are experiencing permanent or temporary hearing loss, get your hearing tested. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide variety of hearing aids styles and brands that can be programmed for your specific hearing needs.
Do You Experience Hearing Loss due to Seasonal Allergies? Hearing Aids can Improve Your Self-Confidence.
Seasonal Allergies may induce Hearing Loss
Are you frequently noticing an increase of pressure in your body due to seasonal allergies? Maybe you are only able to hear through one of your ears or find it difficult to notice where sounds are emanating from. Are you constantly noticing tinnitus from your good ear?
Perhaps you felt as though you wouldn’t be able to walk around in an unfamiliar setting, and worried that you wouldn’t be able to hear. Stop canceling your plans due to this temporary hearing loss.
Treating Temporary Hearing Loss
Hearing aids can be a solution for your temporary hearing loss. Any hearing loss that goes untreated raises the risk of permanent hearing loss.
It’s good to practice wearing your hearing aids regularly to ease those concerns, whether you’re with another person or alone. Giving your brain listening exercises lets you remember background noises and distinguish voices from each other.
Hearing aids can help boost your self-confidence and become more independent.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. Our hearing instrument specialists will patiently work with you to make sure that you are getting the most out of your hearing aids. We offer the options of battery or rechargeable hearing aids, to fit with your hearing needs and lifestyle.
The sound of someone whispering a secret, the music from a rock concert, or a car horn that beeps are all measured in decibels.
Decibels are a measurement of ratios between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Sound intensity is measured in Decibels
Sound is the energy that moves in the form of waves. Frequencies and amplitude are measured.
Frequencies are recorded in Hertz (Hz) and measure the number of vibrations in one second. Amplitudes, which are on the decibel (dB) scale, measure the pressure or forcefulness. If a sound has more amplitude, it will be louder.
Decibels and Hearing Loss
High decibel levels can immediately destroy or even slowly deteriorate your ability to hear. It can happen from just one quick exposure during a loud blast, or it can gradually occur over time due to daily noise exposures. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), everyone exposed to loud noises is at risk of hearing loss. About 15 percent of Americans between 20 and 69 years of age experience hearing loss. This loss may have been induced by loud noise exposure while on the job or during recreational activities. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey from 2010 reported 16 percent of teens (ages 12-19) had some hearing loss that may have been caused by loud noise exposure.
Researchers studied the effects of NIHL. According to the sound levels of our environment, strong recommendations have been established for safe listening. You may ask yourself, “How do I know if a noise is too loud?” Generally, if you need to speak up louder than your normal speaking voice when talking to someone close-by, it means your environment is too loud. Remember that the louder the sound is, the shorter amount of time it takes to deteriorate your ability to hear. Being repeatedly exposed, or prolonging the exposure (over 8 hours per day) to noise that exceeds 85 dB, can result in permanent hearing loss.
Here are some examples of sounds that measure up to 85 dB:
The good news is that NIHL prevention is possible as long as you prepare. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you always carry hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) if you plan to go to a concert, sports event (in a bar or arena), use power tools, ride a motorcycle or use lawn equipment. Under these circumstances, you risk exposure to noise levels that exceed 85 dB. We advise that you invest in proper hearing protection.
If you are unsure what type of hearing protection you should use, talk to a hearing healthcare provider.
Decibels for the Hearing Loss World
Anyone who has hearing loss should be aware of the decibel levels in their surroundings. Make sure that you reduce further hearing loss by protecting the hearing abilities that you still have.
Untreated hearing loss - If you have mild hearing loss, preserve your residual hearing by wearing the proper hearing protection. Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause additional health problems like dementia, depression, and lower-income due to the inability to accurately accomplish tasks on the job. Take action in preserving your hearing. Get a hearing test and treatment before your hearing gets worse.
Hearing aid wearers - Anyone who wears hearing aids should measure the decibel levels in their surroundings. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and clearer, whereas assistive listening devices make sounds louder.
The hearing that you still have left has a chance of deteriorating due to NIHL. You may be tempted to switch off your devices because you think that you’ll protect yourself from hearing harmful noises, but that will not work. If the hearing aids are not securely fit to the ear canal, they will not filter out dangerous noise levels. If you switched-off your devices, this can stop you from hearing sounds that want or need to hear. These sounds can include concerts or emergency vehicles. It’s important to work with a hearing instrument specialist to find out what the best hearing protection would be useful in your activities and lifestyle. The proper hearing protection lets you wear your hearing aids and still hear important alarms in your environment to be safe.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of a hearing test and consultation, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
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 wait in your car while wearing your mask and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to you to get them. If you are having any issues with your devices or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
There has been a lot of progress made on studies about hearing health within the past 12 years, but there are still many misunderstandings about hearing loss - particularly among people who do not have hearing loss.
1. Hearing Loss only Impacts the Elderly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 percent of Americans - that’s nearly 48 million Americans of every age - have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is prevalent among five out of every 1,000 American newborns. This condition can occur due to usage of ototoxic medications, genetic factors, spending too much time engaging in loud hobbies, loud work environments, or loud recreational activities. The causes of hearing loss can also be unknown.
Children and young adults are at high risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This is the only preventable form of hearing loss. About 26 million Americans between 20 to 69-years-old are affected by NIHL. The CDC reported that 16 percent of teens between 12 to 19-years-old have reported experiencing some loss of hearing due to exposure to loud noise.
2. My Doctor will Inform me if I have Hearing Loss.
Think about the last time you went to get a physical exam. Did your doctor administer a hearing test on you? Probably not. Few doctors perform hearing tests unless a patient expresses concern about it. It is unlikely that your doctor will detect any shifts in your ability to hear unless it is clearly noticeable.
Professionals in the field of hearing healthcare are specially educated and trained to conduct hearing tests, evaluate the results and recommend suitable treatment options. Annual visits will allow for the detection of additional hearing loss that may occur, along with proper treatment. Yearly visits offer a stable relationship with specialists who can better understand your hearing needs and means of communication with others.
3. I only have Hearing Loss in one Ear, so it’s not a Big Deal.
The brain relies on hearing sounds through both ears to accurately interpret sound.
Experiencing hearing loss in one ear, also known as single-sided deafness (SSD) or unilateral hearing loss, can interfere with your ability to detect where sounds are emanating from. This is known as sound localization. It makes it more difficult to understand speech in noise. It can also make it more difficult to multi-task because listening to others when you have hearing loss requires a lot of concentration. As a result, you may experience more fatigue due to cognitive overload.
SSD can be treated with CROS hearing aids. Talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists about a solution to your hearing loss.
4. There is no Treatment for Hearing Loss.
Ask a hearing healthcare provider about treating your hearing loss. Many types of hearing loss can be treated with hearing devices, medication, surgery, or removing impacted earwax. If you haven’t visited a hearing healthcare specialist in a long time, or ever, make an appointment. There have been many advancements in hearing healthcare and hearing aids. Hearing loss that was too complex to address even a few years ago, might have treatment options now.
5. My Hearing will go back to normal with Hearing Aids.
Modern hearing aids are highly advanced. The microphones have the ability to automatically adjust so that it focuses on speech sounds while blocking out background noises. They can be programmed with a smartphone, and connected to other devices via Bluetooth®. Hearing aids CANNOT completely restore your hearing to normal, but they can preserve the hearing abilities that you still have or slow down the loss.
Hearing aids can significantly improve your ability to hear. Using these devices will make communication with others much easier. The most important thing is to work with a hearing healthcare professional who knows how to program and create settings for your specific listening needs and lifestyle.
6. I am the only person who is Affected by my Hearing Loss.
Some people with hearing loss believe that they can manage their hearing loss without treatment, but they don’t consider their overall quality of life. Hearing loss affects those with whom you need to communicate. Sometimes, other people easily get frustrated. Getting treatment for your hearing loss will allow you to feel less isolated from your family, friends, and colleagues. It will provide a more independent life so that you don’t always need to rely on a significant other or family members to repeat something important that a doctor or anyone else said. Hearing loss can put a tremendous strain on these relationships. If you still think that you can manage your hearing loss without treatment, think of your loved ones, colleagues, and the vital information that you may miss because of your hearing loss.
Don’t wait any longer to get treatment for your hearing health. If you or a loved one, notices hearing loss 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 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.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, at any age. The latest research has shown that more and more young adults and teens are experiencing hearing loss due to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Millennial Hearing Loss Statistics
The millennial generation includes people who were born between 1981 and 1996. Reports have shown that one in five millennials have some form of hearing loss. Even younger people (12 to 17 year-olds) have been impacted by some range of NIHL.
Causes of NIHL Among Millennials
The main cause of hearing loss among this age group is listening to music or other audio through earbuds. Modern listening devices are much louder than they were in the past, and earbuds rest much closer to your eardrums. Blasting the volume can damage the tiny hair cells located in your ears, which can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Other possible causes:
Remember, hearing loss begins to occur when you are exposed to 85 decibels or more. It’s easy to expose yourself to this amount of noise, by simply walking around a bustling city. Many people tend to listen to loud music or some other form of entertainment to block out unappealing noises in their surroundings. This just doubles their chances of experiencing hearing loss.
Practicing Preventative Care
There are simple and practical ways that anyone, of any age, can do to protect and preserve their hearing health. Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of any possible noise sources that could pose a danger to your hearing.
Get your life back on track with help from Pure Sound Hearing. Contact us for a free hearing test and consultation at one of our office locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
Sensitive hearing is important to address. Find out what type of hearing sensitivity you experience. Notice how you react to certain sounds. That’s a can tell you, and your hearing healthcare provider, a lot about your experiences and what solutions can help.
Do You Have Tinnitus?
If there’s a ringing sound that no one else can hear but you, this might be a sign of tinnitus. This is a condition where people hear an internal buzzing, clicking, ringing, or whooshing sound when there is no external noise that produces it.
Tinnitus usually occurs when people experience age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) or noise-induced hearing loss, high blood pressure, or a build-up of earwax. These symptoms damage the tiny hair cells located in your ear canal. Incessant ringing sounds can be distracting and dangerous. It can result in long-term hearing loss and social withdrawal.
Do You have Hyperacusis?
If you cannot stand the ear-splitting noise of nails scraping against a chalkboard, you have hyperacusis. This condition can lead to physical pain in your ears that may persist for days to weeks. Average volumes of sound can lead to severe pain, and if the sounds are louder, the more pain you may feel.
Hyperacusis is generally associated with hearing or head trauma. It usually occurs alongside tinnitus. Again, this is caused by lasting damage to the ear’s hair cells. A hearing aid specialist can program hearing aids with sound therapies to detect and mask trigger sounds.
Do You have Misophonia?
The hatred of sound is known as misophonia. Many people with the condition have extreme, and irregular, reactions to certain noises. It’s not merely a dislike of a noise. The sound of chewing, scratching, or tapping might make you want to leave an area.
Physical and emotional reactions as a result of misophonia:
It’s still uncertain as to what causes misophonia. It is grouped with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and tinnitus. It normally develops in children between the ages of 9 to 12. Hearing aids can help drown these sounds out.
Don’t let your sensitivity to sounds interfere with your life. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation with one of our specialists.
Impact and Origins of Hearing Loss
Millions of Americans are affected by hearing loss. How they are impacted often remains overlooked in this country, but living with hearing loss is frustrating and can overall, lead to poor quality of life. Their daily activities, like listening to music or TV, and having conversations over the phone may feel exhausting after an extensive period of time. Instead of effortlessly following along with the lyrics, dialogue, or discussions, they may strain to decipher what others are saying.
The vast majority of adults slowly lose their ability to hear over time. Two of the main culprits are aging and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). There are very tiny hair cells located in each ear that sense sounds. Hearing loss occurs if the hair cells become permanently damaged. You can save the hearing abilities that you still have by wearing hearing aids. It's important to schedule an appointment with a hearing instrument specialist for professional hearing aid fittings and programming.
Can Hearing Loss be Restored with Medication?
There are no medications available to treat hearing loss caused by aging or exposure to noise. In the future, there may be a drug that can regrow new hair cells but it's still in the developmental stages.
Some research is being done for the possibility of gene therapy for hearing loss, but it could take several years to even start testing on humans. There are so many new developments in hearing restoration, but they are still primitive.
Can Steroids be Used for Sudden Hearing Loss?
If you experience sudden hearing loss, you may receive an injection of steroids into the ear or receive it orally to treat any inflammation. If steroids are immediately injected into a person, it may help them completely regain their hearing. Talk to your hearing healthcare provider about this option.
There are only a few immediate treatments for hearing loss. In many cases, hearing aids would be recommended. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
It’s our final day of tinnitus-based articles for Tinnitus Awareness Week.
As we’ve previously discussed and reiterated, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sound without an external source.
Tinnitus is derived from the Latin verb "tinnire", which means "to ring". Even though most people describe tinnitus as a ringing sound in the ears, it can also be described as a buzzing, clicking, hissing, swooshing, or whistling noise.
In nearly every case, tinnitus is caused due to the brain’s reaction to hearing loss. This diminishes the auditory sound or input to the brain. The brain does not react well to that, so it will create a new sensation that replaces the sound of what it had been hearing and expecting.
Temporary vs. Chronic Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be a temporary condition or a continuous health problem. Tinnitus that is short, spontaneous, and lasts seconds to minutes, is an almost universal experience. In other instances, acute or temporary tinnitus that lasts minutes to hours typically happens after extreme and extensive noise exposure leads to a short-term ear injury. Chronic tinnitus - which is defined as lasting for over three months - is more common.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 15% percent of the general population - that’s more than 50 million Americans - experience a variety of tinnitus. About 20 million people endure chronic tinnitus, and two million people experience severe and debilitating cases.
For the majority of patients, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss that is caused by age (presbycusis), long-term hearing damage, or severe trauma to the auditory system. Hearing loss leads to reduced stimulation of external sounds to the brain. As a result, the brain sustains neuroplastic shifts in the way it processes different frequencies of sound. Tinnitus is the result of maladaptive neuroplastic changes.
Individuals with hearing loss and tinnitus may experience relief from using hearing aids and other devices that can be used for amplifying sound.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids that are helpful with tinnitus relief and hearing loss.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sounds when there is no external sound present. People who experience tinnitus may hear the following sounds:
Facts about Tinnitus
Causes of Tinnitus
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately seek help. A lack of medical attention can lead to further hearing loss. Hearing aids can help mask the sounds. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation.
It is tinnitus awareness week, and we’re kicking it off with information on hearing loss and tinnitus as possible side effects of certain antibiotics and medications.
What is ototoxicity?
Ototoxicity refers to having a toxic substance in your body that is harmful to the ear and can negatively impact the health of your hearing abilities. It can induce symptoms of tinnitus, or worsen them, and it can affect your body’s balance because these are all functions of the ear.
Ototoxicity can occur after taking common drugs, including certain pain medications and antibiotics (particularly salicylates). Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as loop diuretics, are a major type of drug that can harm your ear health. Some of the other harmful drugs include chemotherapy agents (particularly if they are platinum-based). If any of these ototoxic drugs are prescribed to you, and you have a history of hearing problems, talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effects.
If you do notice a shift in your ability to hear, such as a different tone in your tinnitus, the onset of tinnitus, and your ability to maintain overall balance in your body (symptoms of dizziness or vertigo), contact your healthcare provider and notify them about these symptoms. There may be instances where you cannot change the medication because it may be life-threatening, but it’s still important to talk about it with your healthcare provider. It’s important to note that NOT ALL ototoxic medications induce tinnitus. Some make a stronger impact on a person’s balance, whereas others have a strong effect on a person’s hearing loss.
The platinum-based drugs (for chemotherapy) would be more likely to cause a person to lose their hearing loss than cause tinnitus. The advantage of the drug would significantly outweigh the side effects. Some medications take a longer time to flush out of your system, so the effects of the drug could happen later. Other medications may cause the effects to happen immediately.
Does tinnitus occur or change when taking an ototoxic medication?
Some medications almost have an immediate onset of tinnitus. After a pill is taken, in 10 to 15 minutes symptoms can begin to occur. If the medication is injected into the body, the onset will occur quicker. If you take one of these medications and within 20 minutes you notice a buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or ringing sound, - that is not coming from your environment - it’s probably a side effect of the medication. Some people may not immediately put two and two together. You may not form a timeline for when you started taking the medication, or when the dosage was added or increased. A new medication may have been taken with an older medication, and you could be dealing with a combination of effects, which could be the sounds that you hear inside your ear.
If you lose track of the timeline for when you took the medication, you can contact your pharmacist and find out when you picked up that prescription. That can help you piece together your timeline.
If you started taking the medication the day you picked up the prescription, or shortly after, and notice the symptoms of tinnitus, you could conclude that the medication is affecting your hearing. Cardiac medications commonly cause tinnitus. You can talk to your healthcare provider and go over your medications and medication intake routine.
To help you with this process, document everything. Document your medication, when you take the doses, and when you begin to notice the tinnitus or hearing loss symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer many hearing aids that help mask the sound of tinnitus.
It’s no secret that everyone’s hearing gets worse as they age. Usually, individuals have one ear that can hear better than the other. In some instances, hearing loss can abruptly occur in one ear for no reason. Under these circumstances, you may have experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), or sensorineural hearing loss (SHL), which is a type of nerve deafness.
According to Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, there are approximately 66,000 instances of SHL each year in the U.S. There are probably more cases because this condition frequently goes undiagnosed.
Most people do not perceive it as being serious enough to get the help that they need. The lack of early intervention and care increases the chances of permanent hearing loss.
The exact cause of SHL is unknown, but specialists who study this phenomenon have identified some potential reasons:
People of any age can experience this problem, but it usually affects people who are in their 50s or 60s. As previously mentioned, it normally occurs in one ear. You might hear a “pop”, or feel as though there is an obstruction in your ear. Oftentimes, your hearing won’t disappear all at once. There is a steady decline that happens within several minutes or hours, like when air seeps out from a tire.
Other than hearing issues, SHL can influence your balance, which can increase your risk of falling. SHL may also be an indication of a small stroke or tumor. It tends to be overlooked because the symptoms resemble a common cold, feelings of impacted earwax, or water that’s trapped in the ear. Most people will try to treat it on their own by using a common cold or sinus medication, ear drops that swimmers use, or by simply cleaning their ears out. Mistaking it for an irritating ear that feels stuffy will cause some to leave it untreated until it’s too late.
Distinguishing the Difference between a Stuffy Ear and SHL
Here is something you can do to determine the difference between a common stuffy ear and sudden hearing loss: hum out loud to yourself. With normal hearing, sound can be heard equally by each ear. If you hum when you notice a new loss of hearing in one ear, the humming will transfer from one side to the other.
For instance, let’s say that your left ear is affected and the hum is heard louder in that ear. The loss of hearing is more likely a conductive hearing loss, and probably caused by obstruction due to a cold or earwax buildup. You may simulate this effect by humming as you cover your left ear.
If the humming sounds louder in the right ear, it indicates that the left ear with hearing loss is caused by recent nerve damage. This will need immediate medical attention.
The time period to get your SHL treated is 10 to 14 days. If it goes untreated, your hearing loss may become permanent. Get your hearing tested. You may not regain your full hearing abilities, but you may preserve the hearing abilities that you still have with proper treatment. If you have moderate to severe hearing loss, there’s only a 20% chance that you will completely recover from SHL, even when you get it treated immediately.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing SHL lasting more than 24-hours, immediately contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. If necessary, our hearing instrument specialists can offer a referral and they can go over hearing aid options.
Hopefully you have been diligently reading our blog posts, because here’s a pop quiz on hearing loss!
True or False? I can purchase hearing aids the same way that I purchase reading glasses from a drug store.
This is false. A hearing healthcare professional must run a hearing test on you and prescribe individual treatment that addresses your specific hearing needs. For example, if you have sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids could be a great option for you. In addition to the range or type of hearing loss that you have, your hearing health care provider will discuss your lifestyle and other preferences in order to program the devices to fit with your needs.
If you experience conductive hearing loss, amplification may not be necessary. Your hearing could be restored by removing ear wax that is obstructing you ear canals, or there could be a benign tumor that needs to be surgically removed. Hearing loss could also indicate an underlying health problem, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
In order to find out why you cannot hear, you need a hearing healthcare professional to test your hearing.
True or False? Hearing aids will make me hear like I did before experiencing hearing loss.
The answer is false. Even though there have been many advancements in hearing aids, especially in the last few years, the devices will not be able to restore your hearing back to normal. It will only preserve the natural hearing abilities that you still have left. Also, if you wait too long - as many people tend to do - your brain needs to relearn how to decipher sounds that you haven’t heard in many years. It’s similar to rehabilitation for a joint replacement or another type of physical injury.
True or False? Your brain helps with the function of hearing.
This is true. Scientific researchers have spent decades studying the correlation between our ears and our brains. Modern hearing aids help our brain determine which sounds we should concentrate on - like a conversation that you are having with someone at a busy restaurant - and which sounds can be ignored.
Your outer ears harness sounds and transfer them into the inner ear, where your tiny sensory hair cells turn them into electrical signals. It’s then transferred through the auditory nerve for the brain to interpret and recognize as sound.
When sensory hair cells become damaged or die off, they can no longer accurately process noise that they receive. The result is sensorineural hearing loss, which can normally be treated with hearing aids. According to Johns Hopkins and the National Institute of Aging, elderly adults who have untreated hearing loss lost an average of a cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to individuals who had healthy hearing abilities.
True or False? Your hearing health can be negatively impacted by the foods that you consume.
The answer is true. In order for your entire body to perform at its best, it requires eating a healthy and balanced diet. Obesity and excessive drinking can contribute to poor hearing. Your auditory system, along with the rest of your body, needs proper blood circulation with the help of a good diet and exercise.
True or False? Hearing aids were not useful for other people that I know, so they probably won’t work for me.
This answer is false. The experience of hearing loss is different for everyone. Your hearing healthcare provider will need to determine whether hearing aids will benefit you. Your range of hearing loss, personal lifestyle and hearing aid style preferences will be factored in to help decide which hearing aid model you will purchase.
After an initial hearing aid fitting and programming, your hearing instrument specialist may need to do additional adjustments and other maintenance to your hearing aids during future appointments. This will ensure that your hearing will improve based on your lifestyle and the environments that you frequently visit.
True or false? The main disability among those in the military service and veterans is tinnitus.
This answer is true. A study from the American Tinnitus Association revealed that over 50 million Americans have some form of tinnitus. Over 12 million Americans, mostly veterans, suffer from tinnitus that is so severe, it can disturb their personal and professional lives. The military reported that tinnitus has been listed as the largest category for disability claims. Hearing loss is the second.
According to hearing healthcare professionals, the majority of tinnitus cases are caused by noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). They account for 90 percent of all tinnitus cases. Any jobs that require workers to be in a noisy environment are at risk of extensive exposure to loud noises - like operating heavy machinery or loud explosions in a veteran’s case. This can cause NIHL.
True or false? Musicians have a higher risk of developing hearing loss.
This is true. Studies have shown that musicians are nearly four times more likely to endure noise-induced deafness, and 57 percent more likely to experience tinnitus. Some well-known musicians who now have hearing loss due to dangerous levels of noise exposure are, Phil Collins, Ozzy Osbourne and Pete Townshend.
True or False? Hearing loss that goes untreated can impact your salary.
The answer is true. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone who has a hearing disability, but research has shown that if you have untreated hearing loss you could lose $30,000 each year. This is due to the inability to accurately or efficiently accomplish tasks because of your hearing loss. Fortunately, the study showed that individuals who get proper treatment for their mild hearing loss by using hearing aids, reduce that risk by 90 to 100 percent.
True or False? My hearing loss only affects me.
The answer is false. Anyone who you communicate with will also be affected, and maybe even frustrated. As mentioned before in this blog, untreated hearing loss can result in anxiety, depression and social isolation. This is due to the person’s struggle to communicate with the people in their life.
The best solution is to get your hearing loss treated as soon as possible. Close to 70 percent of people who got treatment for their hearing loss with hearing aids, indicated that their social life had significantly improved.
True or False? The most effective way to prevent hearing loss is by using ear protection.
This answer is true. NIHL and aging are the top reasons for developing sensorineural hearing loss. If you frequently work in a noisy environment, request hearing protection from your employer. If you have a noisy hobby (woodworking or playing a musical instrument),or attend something like a concert or fireworks display, wear proper hearing protection. It may be wise to invest on a good pair of headphones that block out noise or ear plugs. You won’t be able to stop aging, but you can reduce the risks of NIHL by taking preventative measures.
True or False? The average child will experience their first ear infection by the time they reach the age of three.
This is true. A child’s ears are more likely to get ear infections (otitis media). This is due to how their Eustachian tube is positioned throughout their childhood. Over 75 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media before they turn three years old.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions for people of all ages.
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. If you are in need of a hearing aid repair, call us prior to an office visit. We ask that you please place your hearing aids in a clean ziplock bag and wait in your car for our curbside services. 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.
COVID-19 has recently been associated with long-term health problems including heart disease, lung disease, and neurological disorders. New research is coming out on whether hearing loss and tinnitus can be a side effect of COVID-19 - it may be a symptom or a complication that emerges days or weeks after becoming infected.
We have been aware of different bacteria and virus infections that may abruptly lead to hearing loss. Previous versions of coronaviruses that caused epidemics, like SARS and MERS, did not appear to be the root of hearing issues.
Hearing Loss: COVID-19
Symptoms of sudden hearing loss had been a rare symptom of coronavirus.
A report from June 2020 indicated several Iranian patients informed healthcare workers about experiencing hearing loss in one ear, along with vertigo. Another report showed an Egyptian man who did not show any other coronavirus symptoms had developed sudden hearing loss, and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Other than these reports, there has not been any additional research that was published.
Please be aware that sudden hearing loss, whether it’s in one ear or both, is a medical emergency that should be treated immediately. The faster you receive treatment, the more likely you will restore your hearing.
Hearing Loss caused by COVID-19
What has been shown as slightly more common, but still rare, is experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus due to COVID-19. This suggests that hearing loss or tinnitus are not immediate symptoms of the virus, but can develop at a later time.
There was a case in October 2020 based on a 45-year-old man from the U.K. who developed tinnitus and sudden hearing loss in one ear after becoming critically ill with COVID-19. His hearing was partially restored after accepting steroids for the hearing loss.
It cannot be proven that COVID-19 was the direct cause of the man’s hearing loss, but it appears to be very likely that is what happened. It was also reported that he did not receive any ototoxic medications.
Additional research is needed to determine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on hearing health.
Can COVID-19 Weaken Your Hearing?
A study from Israel examined 16 patients, where half had tested positive for COVID-19 and half tested negative. There were no differences seen in the group members’ auditory nerves.
The study is still in progress. There were 16 test subjects enrolled, and all of the patients were asymptomatic. Researchers plan to conduct a larger study, which would include those with more severe complications due to COVID-19.
Side Effects of COVID-19 Medication
Some medications that are used to treat COVID-19 lead to a high risk of side effects including hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo. These medications include chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and quinine.
In Conclusion: Hearing Loss and COVID-19
Additional research is necessary to get a better understanding of how COVID-19 impacts hearing and balance.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Please contact our office before stopping in at one of our locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.