The staff from Pure Sound Hearing wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July!
All office locations are closed on 7/4/22.
Are you ever roused from your sleep by the sound of tinnitus? For 1 out of 5 adults, it’s a common problem that interferes with a restful night.
A research team from the University of Oxford hypothesized the reason for this phenomenon, which may also hold the key to improving treatment options for tinnitus.
Why does Tinnitus Stir You from Your Sleep?
Researchers came up with a new model for how tinnitus interferes with sleep using current evidence.
When a person falls asleep, the brain obstructs noises that are occurring in the room. For example, this is how people can fall asleep to certain music or a TV that’s playing something. It’s uncertain how this occurs. It is also unknown how a person’s sleep patterns change when responding to internal experiences of pain or tinnitus.
There are five stages that your brain repeatedly goes through when you sleep. Non-REM sleep falls under stages 1, 2, 3, and 4. The fifth stage is REM sleep. The stages where you do not dream make up about 75% of your total sleep time. The brain produces different kinds of wave activity that gradually disperse throughout the brain during that time.
Initially, the wave activity might repress the brain signals that cause tinnitus. When the wave is less severe, tinnitus symptoms might worsen and then wake you up or interfere with a deeper rest.
Tinnitus might cause the Brain to Stay Awake
This can cause wakefulness in a resting brain, which can stop you from starting the dreaming stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Night terrors, which have been connected to adults with tinnitus, also occur during this transition stage.
Sleep patterns are connected to the way tinnitus develops. This information will help researchers figure out a moment when providing tinnitus treatment will be the most effective before it becomes permanent. The research will also help them find out how the quality of sleep is affected by tinnitus. This may evolve into other research about whether better rest can help repair irregular activity in the brain that is connected to tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Poor Rest
Those with tinnitus tend to be light sleepers. In a survey of over 14,000 Japanese residents between the ages of 45 and 79, roaring tinnitus nearly tripled the risk of insomnia. Even a mild case of tinnitus made it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or feel rested. Sleep apnea was another condition connected with tinnitus. It can cause snoring, sleepiness during the daytime, high blood pressure, stroke, and other health issues.
Difficulties with sleep are different for each age group. Night terrors, which are common in young boys, are connected to adults (age 20-44) with tinnitus.
Poor rest can lead to difficulty in managing tinnitus symptoms or any other chronic conditions. Women with tinnitus and bad rest are more likely to experience headaches, neck pain, or feelings of anxiousness, whereas men are more likely to experience depression.
Even though there’s no cure for tinnitus, counseling and different therapies - including sound therapy - can reduce the severity of the problem and make sleeping easier.
Tips for Better Rest
First of all, stop looking at your phone, computer, and TV screens. The blue light from your devices causes your brain to remain active.
Try listening to restful music for two hours. It’s important to only listen for two hours - after that period of time, the white noise may over-stimulate the brain.
This technique was tested on 30 patients with tinnitus by an audiology and speech specialist at Gaziantep University in Turkey.
Some patients claimed they stopped noticing their tinnitus, and others heard quieter tinnitus noises after six months. These patients’ symptoms of depression also felt eased. The objective was to help patients “fall asleep with less exposure to the disturbing effects of tinnitus”, instead of stopping them from waking up. On average the length of the first non-REM sleep cycle is 70 to 100 minutes, therefore it should only take about two hours to cover up your tinnitus.
If these techniques did not prove to be effective, try hearing aids. Hearing aids feature a tinnitus masking technology, so the symptoms won’t be noticeable as long as you are wearing them. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation from one of our providers.
Have you noticed a cold or flu can also make your ears feel stuffy? Your ears, nose, and throat are interconnected, so when you have a problem in one area, it can cause problems in the other areas. Congestion in the ear(s) is just one of numerous symptoms that can occur when there’s an issue with the nose, sinuses, or throat.
The Cause of Ear Pressure
The small passageway that links your middle ear to your throat is known as the Eustachian tube. This tube helps to balance the pressure in your middle ear by opening up whenever you sneeze, swallow, or yawn. This system stops air pressure and fluid from accumulating inside your ear canal, behind the eardrum.
When there’s an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, noises can sound muffled. It’s normal to feel pressure, pain, and fullness in your ears. Your Eustachian tubes can become partially blocked due to allergies, colds, flus, or sinus infections. Inflamed tissues and mucus discharge are primary reasons for dysfunction in the Eustachian tube.
Air travel or traveling up high altitudes can also change the way your Eustachian tubes are not functioning properly.
Tips to Relieve Ear Pressure
In order to use the best remedy, you must identify the cause.
Primary Causes of Sinus Congestion:
Managing Fluid Buildup
If there are drainage issues in your ears, fluid can build up. As a result, fluid can become trapped behind the eardrum. Here are some symptoms that you may notice:
If the problem is not resolved, the fluid build-up behind the ear can lead to a rupture.
Remedies to remove fluid from the ear canals:
Earwax, or cerumen, can build up when it becomes pushed deeper into the ear canal or obstructs the ear canal. This blockage can lead to hearing loss, dizziness, pain/fullness in the ears, pressure, and tinnitus. Q-tips should not be used to clean the ears. This will push the earwax further in the canals. Wearing hearing aids or earplugs can also cause cerumen buildup.
The best way to remove earwax is by running warm water in the ear canal (during a shower) for a couple of minutes. You may use an irrigation kit for this. When the water softens the wax, it will drain through the outer ear.
Ear congestion can be caused by allergies. Antihistamines and decongestants can relieve allergy-related ear pressure, along with other symptoms. Be aware that some medications can cause hearing loss, so discuss this with your hearing healthcare provider.
Traveling by Air or High Altitudes
When you are on a plane that’s about to take off or land, a sudden pressure change can occur in your environment and the middle ear. This imbalance stops your eardrum from vibrating the way it should. Ear pain, full feelings in the ear, and pressure can cause “airplane ears”.
Remedies to reduce pressure:
Infections in the Middle and Outer Ears
Otitis media, or more commonly middle ear infections, can cause symptoms of dizziness, hearing loss, and pain in the ears. The culprit is usually viruses from respiratory infections.
Swimmer’s ear, or outer ear infections (otitis externa), is usually caused by water that’s left in your ear after it is exposed to moisture. Water that becomes trapped after swimming or bathing is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive.
Usually, ear infections will resolve themselves. Ear drops and pain medications can help relieve symptoms.
There are various causes of ear pressure. It’s important to find the cause of it and treat it appropriately. There’s generally a simple home remedy. If symptoms worsen, seek professional help. If you are noticing hearing loss as a result of ear pressure, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
You may have experienced hearing a wide range of noises from the softness of a loved one’s voice to the sirens on a fire truck, or a more soothing sound of your favorite music. These sounds are measured using a decibel. This is a ratio between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Measuring the Intensity of Sound
Sound moves in the form of energy waves. It is measured via frequency and amplitude.
The Increase in Decibels is Exponential
A 10 dB increase indicates that the sound is 10 times louder, and a 20 dB increase indicates that the sound is 100 times louder.
A List of Decibels for Common Sounds
Simply being told a number for a decibel measurement probably doesn’t mean anything, unless you are a hearing healthcare professional or someone who frequently uses a decibel meter app.
Hearing loss can occur with decibels as low as 70 (that’s after frequent or prolonged exposure).
These noises can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss after one exposure at close-range:
150-160 dB - A shotgun/firearm
140 dB - A jet engine as it departs a runway/fireworks
120 dB - An emergency vehicle siren/concerts
These noises can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) after regular, prolonged exposure:
110 dB - A rock concert
105-130 dB - Sports events (based on the size and style of the arena/stadium)
105 dB - Playing music through earbuds or headphones at the highest volume
100 dB - A motorcycle
90 dB - Power tools/lawn mower
80-90 dB - Heavy traffic
Anyone with untreated mild-to-moderate hearing loss tends to struggle with hearing these softer sounds:
70 dB - Vacuum cleaner
60 dB - Normal conversation with one other person
50 dB - A conversation among a group of people
20 dB - Rustling leaves
10 dB - Breathing
How are Decibels Measured?
Hearing loss is measured according to the lowest range of decibels that you can hear. A person with normal hearing can hear leaves rustling or water dripping into the sink or on the ground (~10 dB), but someone with mild hearing loss would not be able to hear that sound. Frequency and pitch are other parts of hearing loss. Loss of hearing in higher frequencies is more common than in lower frequencies. There are different combinations of decibel and frequency loss.
Normal hearing ability: 10-20 dB
Mild hearing loss: 25-40 dB
Moderate hearing loss: 40-55 dB
Moderately severe hearing loss: 55-69 dB
Severe hearing loss: 70-89 dB
Profound hearing loss: 90-120 dB
How can You tell if an Environment is too Loud?
If you are in a noisy area and concerned that you could lose your hearing, here are a few things you can do:
Be Cautious, especially if You Have Hearing Loss.
If you wear hearing aids, you need to be aware of the noise levels in your environment. Hearing aids amplify sounds, so you are still at risk of hearing loss just like everyone else. You can ask your hearing instrument specialist to program a special setting for these occasions.
Do not turn off your hearing aids as a way to try and protect your hearing. If they are not snugly fit in your ear canal, they will not be able to block out harmful sounds when switched off. Instead, you won’t be able to hear the sounds that you want/need to hear.
Work with a professional hearing instrument specialist to establish the correct hearing protection for the event that you will attend or the activity that you will be participating in.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Work plays a significant role in your social status. A general sense of achievement and self-worth is felt in us when we work. Tinnitus Hub, a group of people with tinnitus who work for the tinnitus patient community, focus on patient support and education, promote research, and raise awareness, gathered data indicating that over a third (38 percent) of employees have expressed that their symptoms had a negative impact on their work.
This doesn’t just disrupt the workflow of the employee, but it can affect their income and the economy in general. Tinnitus Talk is a worldwide online community for tinnitus patients. Volunteers who run this organization are pushing to raise awareness so that it’s taken more seriously as a problem that can impact work environments.
Tinnitus Hub Statistics from 2018
A survey with 1,800 participants asked, “Has tinnitus affected your job or work prospects?”
Difficulty with Concentration
The main effect of tinnitus on the job is the inability to focus. There’s a spectrum of how patients with tinnitus struggle. According to the survey, tinnitus affected concentration mildly (41 percent), moderately (33 percent), or severely (20 percent). Only a small percentage reported a lack of problems with concentration.
This is significantly different from the “concentration/listening fatigue” that individuals with hearing loss may encounter. In some cases, their brain needs to make an extra effort to interpret what they heard. It’s due to constantly hearing the tinnitus in their head while refocusing it to the background in order to concentrate on something else.
Anyone who struggles with tinnitus can find coping mechanisms from sound machines or hearing aids, to meditation. Patients with severe forms of tinnitus generally experience anxiety and/or insomnia, which can affect their performance at work. Most people cannot grasp the daily stress of constantly hearing a high-pitched sound.
Difficult Work Environments
There are certain jobs that frequently expose people to loud noises that can damage hearing or induce tinnitus. These include construction, manufacturing, military service, and the music industry.
Low-level exposure to sounds on a regular basis for hours at a time, like in a call center, school, or restaurant can cause some harm to a person’s hearing health. Anyone with tinnitus may notice more sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis). As a result, normal office work environments can lead to ear pain or loud instances of tinnitus.
Commuting to work can be a struggle for someone with hyperacusis. Traffic noises can spike tinnitus symptoms.
Potential Negative Reactions from Employers and Coworkers
Many people with tinnitus have pointed out the ignorance of employers or colleagues, along with how unwilling they are to make changes that would benefit a person with tinnitus. Some are hesitant to reveal this information for fear of discrimination.
How to Help
Every employee should be accommodated. If the tinnitus is stress-induced, the anxiety tends to pass for most people. It can take weeks, months, or even years to obtain habituation. Others may turn to permanently adjust their situation by working a less demanding job.
If you’d like to consider using hearing aids to mask tinnitus symptoms, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
June has been designated as Men’s Health Month. Please be aware that hearing health is just as important to keep up with as regular checkups for your overall health. Hearing loss affects men differently than women.
Men are almost twice as likely to Experience Hearing Loss than Women
Researchers have concluded that the reason why hearing loss is so widespread among men is due to their lifestyle. Even though more women are now working jobs that were mostly dominated by men, more men continue to work in high-risk fields. For some, especially in the older generation, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss. This means that most men are less likely to reach out for help when they need it.
An Increased Risk of Developing Hearing Loss is Type II Diabetes
For patients with hearing loss and Type II diabetes, the patients who had diabetes were at a higher risk of hearing loss than those who did not have Type II Diabetes. Researchers hypothesize that small blood vessels in the inner ear can be harmed by high blood glucose levels.
Regular Doses of NSAIDs can Increase the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), like Advil and Tylenol, can have a major effect on younger men’s hearing health. A survey that was filled out every 18 years by approximately 27,000 men between the ages of 40 and 74, showed that regular use of aspirin increased the possibility of hearing loss by 50% and 61% in men under the age of 50. So, if you or a loved one in your life uses these drugs, get your hearing tested regularly.
Untreated Hearing Loss in Men Show Symptoms of Depression
Hearing loss can lead to difficulty with communication. This in turn can cause a loss of interest in normal activities, social withdrawal, poor work performance, and depression.
Using hearing aids has proven to provide the opposite. Men have reported that their relationships, social life, work-life/income, confidence, sense of safety, and overall mental health have improved when wearing their hearing aids.
Preventative Measures can be Practiced
Maintaining a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables can help with your hearing health, and overall health. Foods that are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and zinc can reduce the risks of hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Tinnitus levels can vary each day for different reasons. Sometimes it’s a physiological condition within your body, your surrounding environment, or the type of tinnitus management that you practice. We’ll go over some factors that can affect the sounds of this phantom noise.
Stressors can Affect the Volume of Tinnitus
Stress is one of the primary agents of tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms may become bothersome during a stressful moment in life, or when we’re having a stressful day.
When there’s a significant shift in life, whether it’s at home or with your job, stress lets the body react and respond mentally, emotionally, and physically. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to an imbalance which can trigger louder tinnitus on some days over other days.
Common causes of stress can include life-altering circumstances such as grieving a loved one or losing a job. A steady flow of stress that is caused by ordinary circumstances such as deadlines for work, or caring for loved ones, can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Living through these situations can make your tinnitus sound louder on some days and quieter on other days.
Conditions caused by stress are also associated with tinnitus and make the phantom noise worse. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and tinnitus have comparable structures and can bring attention to one another.
Taming Internal Stressors
Even though external stress can impact the perceived loudness of your tinnitus, the way you manage the stress (a.k.a. internal stress) is just as important. If your body is not sufficient or healthy enough to deal with external stress, tinnitus symptoms can get worse.
In order to better manage stress, you need proper nutrition, exercise, and an adquent amount of sleep that’s consistent.
Your Diet’s Influence on Stress
It’s easy to ignore the persistent messages from experts encouraging you to eat healthily, but it’s one of the crucial elements to lowering your stress levels and keeping them down in order to better manage your tinnitus.
Processed foods should be left out of your diet, as consuming them makes it harder to manage stress. These foods are often high in sugar. If there’s too much change in your blood sugar levels, the sympathetic area of the nervous system becomes stimulated. This is the area of the brain that handles our fight or flight and makes us ready to react. When this occurs, stress hormones are released which can lead to symptoms of stress. These could include anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and interruptions in sleep patterns, which can be common while experiencing symptoms of tinnitus.
A healthy and well-balanced diet also lets us replace nutrients and vitamins, which may be expended during stressful moments. For example, vitamins B complex, iron, magnesium, and zinc can help aid with stress.
Tinnitus can seem worse after consuming caffeine, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. These tend to raise your adrenaline. It doesn’t need to be a permanent change, but it’s helpful to let your body get used to this new diet to see if it has any impact on your symptoms.
Sleepless Nights and Stress
Sleep is VERY crucial in keeping a healthy body and mind. Less sleep = more stress and louder symptoms of tinnitus.
A good night’s rest allows you to better handle stress. Giving your body a chance to recover and rest is important to properly manage stress. Poor rest can affect your mood, memory, and judgment.
Exercise to Manage Stress
Struggling to manage your stress, can make tinnitus worse. And tinnitus itself can be stressful. It’s a vicious cycle. This can trigger the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system. That indicates that there are more stress hormones moving throughout the body like adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline.
Try to lower these hormones by engaging in a relaxing exercise, like yoga. The more relaxed you feel the quieter tinnitus symptoms can be.
Quiet Environments and Tinnitus
Tinnitus can seem louder because of your surroundings. If your environment is too quiet, tinnitus will be more noticeable.
Lower noise levels in the background that are meant to mask tinnitus can actually make the symptoms seem louder.
Also, silence can activate a response to stress in the body which increases internal auditory sensitivity. Your hearing can become more perceptive while getting yourself ready for a possible threat. This form of hearing can make internal noises, like tinnitus, louder.
Going from a loud environment to a quieter area can make it seem like the tinnitus has gotten worse. Give yourself time to adjust. This might involve rubbing our ears, doing breathing exercises, and practicing mindfulness when we respond to symptoms of tinnitus.
Focus your attention on something else, meditate with music in the background, use a sound machine, or if you are also noticing difficulty with hearing in addition to tinnitus, try hearing aids. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and hearing trial.
Seniors are at a higher risk of a number of health problems. It’s important to take care of your overall health and make better decisions about your diet, exercise routines, and lifestyle. This can help you better manage any potential health problems that stand in the way.
Hearing and vision loss are two of the most prevalent health conditions that seniors experience. More than 42% of individuals over 50 years of age have some hearing loss, and about 71% of individuals over 70 years of age have some range of hearing loss.
There are a lot of preventative measures, treatments, and daily habits to help you live a healthier life, even with presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). With knowledge and ways to manage health concerns, you can help your condition from getting worse.
Taking precautions now can make a huge difference. Listening to music or media at a low volume can help lower your risks of hearing loss. If you are in a noisy environment for an extensive period of time, wear earbuds or, if possible, move yourself to a quieter space. Wear earbuds when using loud tools or any motor-powered devices.
With age-related hearing loss, you may notice tinnitus, you may struggle to keep up with conversations, or have memory issues. Built-up earwax can obstruct sounds and should be softened and removed by a professional, not by inserting cotton swabs in the ear canal.
Diabetics should be attentive when taking care of their blood sugar. A healthy weight can help reduce the chances of hearing loss, along with regular exercise and eating healthily.
Immediately seek help if you begin to notice hearing loss.
Alleviating the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
To help manage your hearing loss, hearing aids can, and should, be worn. Hearing loss can deteriorate brain function because the brain is not reacting to sounds like it used to. Listening is a brain exercise that needs to be worked out on a regular basis.
Managing your hearing loss also means that you need to communicate your needs to family, friends, and coworkers so that they can better understand your situation and adapt accordingly. Maybe you’ll need to tell them to face you in a well-lit room when they speak, or they need to talk louder in certain situations. Communicating these things will help a great deal. Those with hearing loss may need to be patient with them, as they work through this new normal with you. Make a plan.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing problems with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss crosses all age groups. We’ve gone over hearing loss among older adults, and the risks associated with hearing loss as you age.
It’s important to raise awareness that more and more young adults are experiencing hearing loss for a number of different reasons. Young adults who have hearing loss face a unique set of challenges as they go through college, dating, employment, growing relationships, and parenting.
How prevalent is Hearing Loss in Young Adults?
According to the CDC, around 12% of adults between the ages of 18-39 report struggling with following along during conversations when there is too much background noise. Nearly 6% have tinnitus. These numbers are higher in older age groups.
People who have hearing loss are more likely to experience low rates of employment, lower work productivity, and higher healthcare costs compared to their peers.
Causes of Hearing Loss for Young Adults
Noise exposure is one of the most widespread causes of hearing loss for young adults, as well as older adults. This can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Across the U.S. millions of Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Y have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise, including hobbies like woodworking, music, city noises, and workplace environments.
Additional risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, taking ototoxic medications, viruses, bacterial infections, genetics, or they were born with it.
Young Adults with Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is one of the other most common medical causes of hearing loss in people of this age group and middle-aged adults. This is when there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear section. Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by it - the people with the highest risk being middle-aged women.
The Affect of Hearing Loss on Young Adults
The different causes of hearing loss for young adults differ greatly from the older generation but wearing hearing aids when you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s can look and feel different than wearing them when you are older. Occupation, family, relationships, and activities are - for the most part - different than older people.
Working with hearing loss, while NOT impossible, can be tricky at times. People in their 20s are fresh out of college and looking for their first job. They have the choice of when they should inform their potential employer that they wear hearing aids. Depending on where your job path takes you, you may need special equipment - like a telephone with amplification or captions. Your employer is required by law, via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to accommodate you for your hearing needs. You can apply for any job that you want, but there are some careers that may be easier to navigate through if you have hearing loss. Take a look at our article “Careers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”.
Working Remotely with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, depending on the job, working from home can have its ups and downs. You can raise the volume on your computer as much as you want, without bothering coworkers. The technology for virtual meetings doesn’t always work smoothly, so it can hamper communication. Read up on some tips on how to prepare for video conferences or virtual meetings.
Parents or Guardians Raising Children and Young Adults
Taking care of a child as a hearing aid user has its challenges. Hearing aids are needed for better communication and safety, but using them requires consideration from those who are communicating with the hearing aid users. A parent may need a baby monitor that flashes, vibrates, and has a video monitor. Making sure your hearing aids are always in good condition is also important, especially if there’s a sudden emergency.
Attending College or Higher Education
Another concern that differs among generations is that young adults are deciding whether to attend college or higher education. People in this age group might not receive the support that is needed to thrive in school. Young adults may be learning how to be their own advocates for the first time.
Hearing Aids can help You Maintain or even Raise Your Income and Improve Overall Health
The ability to hear in a work environment can impact your household income, which is a common concern for people who are in their prime age of employment. According to a survey that was done through Better Hearing Institute 40,000 households in the U.S. indicated that using hearing aids and assistive listening devices was beneficial to one’s earning potential. There was also a 90 to 100 percent reduced risk of income loss for anyone with mild hearing loss, and a 65 to 77 percent reduced risk for anyone with moderate to severe hearing loss.
Hearing aid usage has a more obvious asset to mental health for younger people. A study from 2014 indicated that hearing loss is linked to depression in adults of every age, but it's more common in young adults. Even though hearing aids help people of all ages, younger users appear to gain the most out of them when it comes to depression. Socializing leads to a healthy overall quality of life.
Hearing Aid usage is becoming Less Stigmatized
In regards to hearing aid usage, there are major distinctions between the older generation and the younger generation. Most people of the younger generation are more accepting of wearing hearing aids. Today, just about everyone wears something in their ears, whether they are earbuds, headphones, or hearing aids; therefore hearing devices draw less attention. The stigma of hearing aid usage is dwindling and the younger generation is noticing that their untreated hearing loss is more noticeable than the hearing aids themselves.
If you are a young adult or middle-aged with hearing loss, you have the chance to seek treatment and engage in practices that protect and slow down the hearing abilities that you still have.
For a complimentary hearing test and consultation, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment.
If you have osteoporosis, there’s a chance that you may also experience hearing loss. These comorbidities are often related to one another.
A study from 2021, concluded that the risk of hearing loss for women who had a low bone density, or osteoporosis, was 40 percent higher than for those without low bone density.
Bisphosphonate, an osteoporosis drug, did not appear to reduce any risks of hearing loss. More research is needed for a conclusive answer.
Osteoporosis happens as a result of bone breaking down at a faster rate than it can be replaced by the body. This leads to higher risks of bone fractures. It can happen to anyone, but it is most common in Asian and white women.
One of the most prevalent chronic conditions that impact older adults is, hearing loss. The main risk factor, and only preventable type of hearing loss, is exposure to noise. When this gets paired with aging, it exponentially raises the risks. Additional health problems, like anemia, diabetes, and heart disease can create even more risks. But these aren’t the only causes of hearing loss.
What is the Connection between Osteoporosis and Hearing Loss?
The actual relationship is still being determined for certain, but they are suggesting that tiny bones in the ears lose their minerals and weaken. These bones are vital for your hearing system. Osteoporosis may also negatively impact the bones that support the nerve structures used for hearing. These are found in the cochlea.
Low bone density, osteoporosis, or a medical history of fractures could lead to higher risks of hearing loss. Regular hearing tests are important, especially when there’s an onset of hearing loss. Most hearing loss is so gradual that you don’t notice it. It may seem like everyone is mumbling. Hearing tests and immediate treatment is crucial to preserving your residual hearing.
Sudden Hearing Loss
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it’s unlikely, but sudden hearing loss can be common in patients with low bone density and osteoporosis.
Sudden hearing loss normally occurs in one ear and tends to happen all at the same time or within a few days. Nearly all sudden-onset hearing loss is “idiopathic”, which means that the cause is unknown. For the few numbers of cases where a cause is found, the connection to osteoporosis is a meaningful discovery.
Hypotheses about the onset of sudden hearing loss include a relationship with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular systems along with bone demineralization, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction (issues involving blood vessel linings).
Osteoporosis and Balance
Some people with hearing loss also tend to have balance issues. This can lead to falls, bone fractures, and even death.
Prevent falls by wearing hearing aids, and if needed prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, assistive listening devices, keeping up with an active lifestyle, and making sure there are safety measures in place where you live.
What should You lookout for if You Have Osteoporosis?
Pay close attention to your hearing health and your bone health. If your healthcare provider does not take that correlation seriously, advocate for yourself and make your concerns known.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Spring is here! If you have a green thumb and your own garden, maybe you’ll be interested in planting homegrown produce that supports healthy hearing. If you’re a local Lancastrian, did you know that our county has the most productive non-irrigated farming in the entire country? Why not try some of the bountiful produce that our county has to offer while improving your hearing health?
It takes time and patience to grow asparagus. The first harvest might take a few years, but it will be worth it! Asparagus is a great source of folate, which is great for hearing health. Folate has been found to possibly lower the risk of hearing loss in elderly men.
Blueberries are delicious on their own, in a smoothie, in pie, or scattered over pancakes. They are full of vitamin C, which when combined with magnesium and vitamins A and E, can help treat worsening symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss.
Kale is great on its own, or as an addition to lasagna, salads, or soups. This leafy green also has folate.
If you plant pumpkin seeds around late May, the pumpkins should be ready for harvesting by the summer or fall season. Fresh pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which helps the immune system - and taking a medicated oral form may help treat symptoms of tinnitus.
Tomatoes are vine-grown fruit that is rich in potassium - which helps regulate blood and tissue fluids. This includes fluid in the inner ear, which is crucial for hearing health and balance.
If you’re trying to eat healthier for your ears, and/or overall health, try to incorporate these foods into your diet. Another way to improve your hearing health is by getting your hearing tested on a regular basis. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation at one of our office locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, or Strasburg.
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the top causes of hearing loss around the globe for the 466 million people who have moderate to severe hearing loss. Noise exposure can harm anyone’s hearing, but young people are especially prone to this risk due to their music listening habits. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that approximately 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are risking their hearing health as a result of noise exposure during recreational settings.
International Noise Awareness Day helps to bring attention to the fact that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent but can be prevented by avoiding loud areas and protecting your hearing with earplugs/earmuffs or covering your ears when in contact with loud noises.
What Noise Levels are Considered to be Too Loud?
If you live in a quiet neighborhood or have a job in a quiet work environment, most of the sounds are at safe listening levels. However, there can be noises that are unsafe for your ears. Overexposure to noises from kitchen appliances, heavy traffic noises, subway trains, power tools, rock concerts, industrial work environments, or construction zones can damage your hearing.
Environmental sound intensity is measured in decibel (dBA) units. The softest sound that can be heard by a human ear is zero decibels (dB). Noises that are over 70 dB can harm your hearing over a prolonged amount of time. Loud noises that are over 120 dB can instantly harm your ears. Essentially, the louder the sounds are, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.
Many years of research have documented damage to the inner ear’s hair cells that is caused by excessive noise. Recurring pounding sounds of pressure against the nerve fibers may initially lead to temporary hearing loss, and then permanent damage. Any damage to these hair cells can cause permanent hearing loss.
Noise Exposure Raises the Risk of Tinnitus
Tinnitus - the phantom buzzing, chirping, ringing, or roaring noise in the ears or head - can be caused by exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus might ease over time, but in some cases continue as an irregular or permanent symptom.
One of the primary causes of tinnitus is noise. Some of the most common triggers of tinnitus are concerts, weddings, and receiving MRIs. In other cases, it can be caused by one very loud event or a sequence of exposures. Hearing aids or sound therapy may be recommended to mask the noise.
How NIHL Occurs
NIHL accumulates over time. Usually, people don’t notice the hearing loss until much later. By that time it’s too late the save what’s been lost. Hearing aids can help slow down the loss, but they cannot restore hearing.
With NIHL, you may begin to notice a problem with your hearing if you notice tinnitus right after the noise is heard, and/or sounds that are slightly muffled. Your ears are warning you that you have hearing loss if it’s difficult to understand others when they speak. Get your hearing tested immediately in this case.
If you start to notice noise-induced hearing loss or any other form of hearing loss, it’s a good idea to create a timeline and journal about your experiences so your hearing healthcare provider can get a better idea of what you’ve gone through.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
April is Stress Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the correlation between stress and hearing loss, along with how to manage it.
Stress can be harmful to your overall health. It can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. Some tips to reduce your stress levels include regular exercise, spending time with people you love, getting an adequate amount of rest, and treatment for your hearing loss.
Anyone with hearing loss experiences daily stressors that are connected to hearing loss. It’s called listening fatigue. This is when the concentration from listening to speech, focusing on reading lips, and social cues physically and mentally exhaust you. It’s a common feeling among anyone with hearing loss, but these symptoms can be reduced by wearing hearing aids.
Stress from Tinnitus
Tinnitus is connected to stress and is usually an underlying symptom of hearing loss. People with tinnitus may experience louder and more consistent ringing sounds when feeling stressed.
A study found that 53.6 percent of patients with tinnitus reported that their symptoms worsened when they felt stressed. Another study from hearing healthcare providers revealed that nearly 60 percent of their patients had minor to significant tinnitus relief while wearing hearing aids. One out of five experienced major relief.
Stress is almost impossible to avoid, but there are techniques that can help you manage from meditation to exercise, or simply taking a moment to laugh at something.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus, hearing loss, or both please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.
We’ve discussed many work environments that can contribute to hearing loss from construction zones to gyms. Well, it should be no surprise that musicians, especially rock musicians, are also vulnerable to hearing loss. Lots of famous musicians have hearing loss, tinnitus, or both. Research suggests that they are four times more likely to have hearing problems than the general population.
1. The former Nirvana and current Foo Fighters band member, Dave Grohl, recently revealed that he has had hearing loss for years. He cannot hear out of his left ear and crowded restaurants are the worst spots for him to visit. Masks make things worse for him. He read lips for 20 years, and has to remind people that he is a rock musician, he’s deaf, and he cannot hear what others are saying.
2. Pete Townshend of The Who has been open about his hearing loss for many years. He pinpointed the problem to studio headphones, not from playing live music.
3. Another member of The Who, Roger Daltry, said that he is “very, very deaf”.
4. Danny Elfman, who scored Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and numerous other films, lost his hearing and developed tinnitus after playing frontman in his band Oingo Boingo.
5. Alice Cooper dons hearing aids after losing his hearing from being around loud rock music for 55 years.
6. Huey Lewis talked about how hearing loss and Menière’s disease cut his singing career short and recommended hearing aids.
7. Sting admitted that he has hearing loss, but still refused to get hearing aids.
8. Mick Fleetwood revealed that he has hearing loss, and played a “quiet” rock concert to raise awareness about hearing loss. The concert took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with 100 people in attendance. There were mixed responses. The band Eagles of Death Metal played two songs without amps. The audience listened with miniature radio receivers. Most just smiled. Later the band played three songs that were amplified through speakers, and the crowd jumped and danced around while waving their arms. The unamplified sound reached 62 decibels (dB) - which is normal - and the amplified sound reached 124 dB, which is the same noise level of a jet engine.
Fortunately, there’s more awareness about this issue today. Musicians can even wear customized earplugs that are specially designed to wear while performing at concerts.
If you are a musician, or someone who you know is a musician, with hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
We’ve discussed in this blog the known risks that can contribute to hearing loss. Genetic factors, being born with hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, diet, and what you consume are just some of them. We’re going to go over the latest studies on the impact of hearing loss on smokers.
Whether you are a smoker or are exposed to secondhand smoke, the chemicals from cigarettes can have serious consequences on your health.
A study from this past January of 2022 exposed a connection between regular smokers and hearing difficulties. This study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, reviewed hearing loss patterns over a 30-year span that covered three groups: never/former smokers, people who quit smoking during the study, and smokers who continued smoking during the study. The smokers who never quit had poor results on their hearing tests.
Previous studies had similar patterns - the high risks affected non-smokers who live with a smoker. They were two times more likely to develop hearing loss than individuals who had no exposure. About 80 percent of the test subjects were unaware that the health of their hearing was affected.
It’s been shown that smoking is also closely related to dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus.
Smoking’s Impact on Hearing Health
The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces oxygen levels in the blood. They also constrict blood vessels throughout the body, which include the ones located in the inner ear which function to maintain the health of hair cells. Nicotine and cigarette smoke may:
Smoking and Tinnitus
Smoking may induce tinnitus, but more research is needed to verify this. There has been “sufficient evidence” that smoking is connected to tinnitus. This indicates that rates of tinnitus are higher in smokers than non-smokers, but there is no conclusive evidence of the direct cause-and-effect.
Smoking and Ear Infections
Smoking has been connected to ear infections in children and adults. The immune system becomes weaker and ravages tissues located in the nose and throat. This is what makes them more vulnerable to infections that harm the ears.
Due to the anatomy of children’s ears, they are already at a higher risk of ear infections. That risk becomes more serious when they come in contact with secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause more frequent and more severe asthma attacks, infections to the respiratory system, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There have been some instances where middle ear infections in children caused loss of hearing.
Check out our article “What is the link between Vaping and Hearing Loss?” to learn more about the impact of vaping on hearing health.
Positive Outcomes from JAMA Study
According to the aforementioned 2022 JAMA study, former smokers had better hearing test results than those who smoked regularly. This proved that quitting can benefit your hearing health and your overall health.
The American Lung Association revealed that your blood pressure decrease and your circulation gets better 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette. In about 8 hours, the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your body go back to normal. In about 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste will get better, while your nerve ending starts to regenerate.
If you have hearing loss and smoke, take the steps to quit smoking for good. If you are concerned about your hearing or notice hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss can be caused by so many different things like aging, head trauma, over-exposure to noise, genetics, or you can be born with it. These things impact the auditory nervous system, which results in sensorineural hearing loss. This is the most prevalent form of hearing loss. It happens when there’s damage to the inner ear nerves and hair cells that are caused by aging or noise damage. There is usually no medication or surgical procedure that can correct this, but hearing aids are a common form of treatment.
There is another, lesser-known type of hearing loss. This is called conductive hearing loss. This form of hearing loss impacts the outer or middle ear, unlike sensorineural hearing loss, which affects the auditory nerve. A blockage in the middle ear usually causes conductive hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infections
When the middle ear is vibrating, sounds are sent to your auditory nerve. Any blockage can hinder sounds from traveling through the middle ear and lead to hearing loss. An infection in the middle ear can lead to the build-up of fluid, restricting the vibration of the eardrum and the tiny bones connected to it.
Impacted earwax, fluid build-up in the middle ear, or a hole in the eardrum can also lead to conductive hearing loss.
The medical term for a middle ear infection is “otitis media”. This type of infection can lead to fluid build-up, and make it challenging for the eardrum and ossicular chain to cooperate and transfer sounds to the auditory nerve. The ossicular chain located in the middle ear is the three smallest bones in your body. They are called the malleus, incus, and stapes bone. Each of these bones is about the size of a single grain of rice.
Can an Ear Infection cause Hearing Loss?
When you talk about an ear infection, it typically refers to a middle ear infection or acute otitis media. This type of infection involves the area behind the eardrum where the three hearing bones (ossicles) are located. A person with this type of infection may need medical treatment, but it usually resolves itself naturally.
A mild form of conductive hearing loss can be temporary while the infection is still thriving. Permanent hearing loss is NOT usually a cause for concern. In some cases, if there are a number of long-term infections, the eardrum or middle ear can be permanently damaged and cause permanent hearing loss. Seek treatment immediately if you feel pain in your ears or sense an ear infection.
Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infections, For the Most Part, Are Temporary
Hearing loss that is caused by an ear infection is normally temporary and goes away when it is treated. You may be given antibiotics. If they work, your hearing should revert back to normal. If you have a history of ear infections, fluid may be drained from your ears.
Getting rid of fluid buildup can bring relief to the pain and pressure that usually comes with an ear infection and can stop the eardrum from rupturing. If fluid continues to build up without any intervention, the pressure can lead to a rupture in the eardrum.
Recurring episodes of ear infections can lead to tympanosclerosis. This is when the tympanic membrane becomes thick and will scar. A perforated eardrum and tympanosclerosis can affect the eardrum’s function and worsen the ability to hear. If treatments from a primary care physician do not resolve the problem, hearing aids may be recommended.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss caused by an ear infection or for any other reason, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
What happens during Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)?
You have most likely experienced this after leaving a concert: the noises you hear sound muffled, you notice feelings of fullness in your ears, and you might even hear tinnitus. The tiny hair cells in your ears came in contact with very powerful sound waves. This is known as temporary threshold shift (TTS). Hearing is usually recovered in these cases, and tinnitus goes away.
If you have symptoms of clogged ears or tinnitus, this could mean that your hearing is damaged. If you have recurrent episodes of TTS, permanent hearing loss could ensue.
How does the Ear become Damaged from Loud Noise?
Loud noises, whether it’s from a concert, earbuds with high volume settings, or a work environment, can seriously damage your hearing health. To better understand this, let’s go over how hearing works.
Essentially, sound travels into the ear and then stimulates the fluid located in the inner ear (A.K.A. the cochlea). The fluid produces waves across microscopic rows of hair cells. Every single hair cell is arranged in a tonotopic (tuned) manner to a particular frequency. This provides the best transmission of the sounds you hear.
There is Damage in Your Ear’s Cells
When loud sounds come in contact with your ears, the hair cells become distressed by becoming permanently bent over. This occurs even if there’s no noise. As a result, you may notice tinnitus, feelings of fullness in the ears, and temporary hearing loss.
High sound frequencies are affected when TTS occurs. This impacts the way you hear consonant sounds. In the English language, you may not be able to hear the difference between certain words, like “car” or “far”. This is an example of being able to hear, but not understand.
When it comes to TTS, your hearing threshold will recover to normal after a brief period.
Is TTS Serious?
The answer to this question isn’t clear-cut, because it’s a short-term symptom and for some people, things may seem normal for a while.
Even if the hearing loss is temporary, it’s not an excuse to regularly attend concerts, work environments, or loud recreational activities without protecting your hearing. If you experience too many instances of TTS, it may turn into a permanent threshold shift (PTS).
If you only experience TTS once, you probably won’t have permanent damage to your hearing.
Why does TTS Happen?
Overexposure to loud noises causes TTS. Concerts are a major culprit. Being near the speakers at a concert can endanger your ears to 110 decibels (dB).
It only takes over 70 dB to induce hearing loss. TTS is a type of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), but its impact is fleeting.
Other circumstances that can cause TTS are exposure to loud noises, like listening to music through earbuds/headphones, fireworks or an explosion that goes off near you, a gas-powered lawnmower, or an ambulance/police car siren.
How long can TTS Last?
TTS is a temporary symptom that can last anywhere from a couple of hours, a few days, or maybe several weeks.
The longer and more intense the exposure is, the stronger and longer-lasting the TTS could be.
Other influences could make an impact, such as an individual’s age, sex, history of noise exposure, frequented environmental settings, smoking, or diabetes.
How do You know when an Area is Too Loud?
Preventative Measures for TTS
It is unlikely that TTS will occur unexpectedly. The only cause is exposure to loud noise, so avoid these loud areas or be prepared to protect yourself.
It sounds simple but in the modern world, you may encounter many unexpected situations that could be a danger to your hearing. Loud machines or movie theaters can reach anywhere between 74 to 104 dB. You can still enjoy the movies by wearing earplugs that tune out most, but not all noises.
For earplugs that cancel out almost all noises, get earplugs that feature the highest noise reduction rating (NRR). If you are going to watch a movie in the theater, you can try earplugs that are designed for musicians.
If you are noticing hearing loss and need a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Hearing Loss can range from being mild to profound. If you experience mild hearing loss, there’s a high chance that you haven’t sought help and have forced yourself to fake your ability to hear in many circumstances.
Mild hearing loss can be serious, especially when it’s not treated early or at all. It can negatively impact the way you communicate with others - like your family members - to understand important information during a healthcare visit. The mild symptoms may be too subtle to immediately notice.
Mild Hearing Loss Defined
Symptoms of mild hearing loss are characterized as the inability to hear noises that are under 25 decibels (dB) for adults and 15 dB for children. These noises include whispered conversations, water droplets, rustling leaves, and birds singing. Low and high-pitched sound frequencies may also be challenging to hear. Most people lose their ability to hear high-pitched sounds (children and some women’s voices) first.
The degrees of hearing loss include normal, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound. These ranges will be identified during a hearing test in the form of an audiogram. For the average adult, a normal range of hearing is between 0-25 dB. The normal range of hearing for children is between 0-15 dB.
Common Symptom of Mild Hearing Loss
You have the ability to hear but cannot comprehend conversations - especially when there’s too much background noise.
Mild Hearing Loss and Communication
If you have mild hearing loss, you are probably most comfortable in quiet settings where the conversation is limited to you and one other person. A noisy environment, if a person is facing away from you, or if they are standing too far from you can also cause communication problems.
The primary complaint about many people with mild hearing loss is that they can hear, but cannot clearly understand conversations.
Causes of Mild Hearing Loss
There are a number of possible causes for mild hearing loss. Some cases can be restored with prompt and proper treatment.
If medications or surgery cannot treat mild hearing loss, you should get fitted for hearing aids.
Digital hearing aid technology has changed so much since the earliest styles and they perform better in just about any environment. A proper hearing aid fitting and proper hearing aid programming will help you hear as best as you can.
Preventing Mild Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable type of hearing loss. Use protective hearing equipment, such as:
The only preventative measure that you can take is immediately seeking treatment. Whether it’s an ear infection or noise-induced, get help as soon as possible.
If you wear hearing aids and have mild hearing loss, you’ll have more options available than someone whose hearing has worsened to severe or profound loss. You might also be able to select more discreet styles that go in the ear canal if that’s the style that you want.
The Importance of Getting Treatment
As mentioned in this blog, untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline This can lead to higher risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s, compared to people without hearing problems. Isolation, depression, difficulty with communication, and falls can also be symptoms of untreated hearing loss.
Most people wait at least seven to 10 years before getting help. In the time frame, your hearing will worsen, and your brain will forget how to hear or will have difficulty identifying sounds. The ability to comprehend speech sounds also deteriorates over time.
Mild hearing loss that is noticed and treated immediately can give you better hearing and a better overall quality of life.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. Our providers will guide you toward better hearing health so that you can live your best life.
Stress Factors that Impact Auditory Processing
Can experiencing stress early in life impact the way children interpret what they hear? A grant of $2.3 million was awarded by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health, which will be used by Northeast Ohio Medical University to research this subject.
Included in the study will be an examination of how stress that occurs early in life, impacts auditory processing. It would also focus on children with conductive hearing loss. This research will help analysts concentrate on potential experiments to determine the best way to reduce these emotional issues in children.
On Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
There are some chemotherapy drugs that can save a patient’s life, but they can also damage the ears. A U.S. National Cancer Institute grant of $5.7 million will be used to investigate and research this topic. The study will focus on surveying “long-term health outcomes for cancer patients who receive platinum-based chemotherapies”. This will help determine whether certain cancer treatments cause or worsen hearing loss or tinnitus. Not only will identifying the potential risks be determined but how to reduce those risks will also be determined.
Hearing Health and Effects from COVID-19
There have been more and more reports of possible connections between COVID-19 and hearing loss. The University of Manchester in the U.K. is doing a more thorough study on this. The school’s Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness is analyzing the long-term impact of COVID on an adult’s hearing abilities. Over 10% of test subjects who were treated for COVID-19 had reported tinnitus or worsened hearing in a previous study by the same analysts. The conclusion to these studies has yet to be made public, but they will hopefully offer better solutions for protecting and preserving hearing health.
If you or a loved one are having trouble with hearing or experience tinnitus, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a solution.
Hearing loss can happen suddenly or gradually and remain undetected until you or others need to repeat themselves around you.
How can you determine whether you have hearing loss? The symptoms are based on the type of hearing loss and its severity.
1. Are you having trouble with hearing consonant sounds?
Symptoms of presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), may include the inability to hear high frequencies. The sounds of F, K, P, S, Sh, Th, V are the usual consonant sounds that become tricky to hear. These are crucial sounds that help distinguish the differences between words that sound similar like “keep” and “sheep” or “fan” and “van”.
You may misunderstand important information during a conversation or a medical-related appointment, or other people sound like they’re mumbling. You may be experiencing the ability to hear, but not understand.
2. Nature and other sounds are on mute
When was the last time you heard birds, crickets, or other critters? Are you aware of the sound of your car’s turn signal when it’s blinking on? Is it difficult to hear women and children when they speak?
Higher pitched sounds and voices reach 2,000 Hz or more. Anyone with high-frequency hearing loss tend to have a hard time hearing these ranges of noise.
3. Do you have difficulty with following along during conversations when there’s too much background noise?
Another sign of high-frequency hearing loss is not being able to separate speech sounds in a noisy environment. You might turn down get-togethers and socializing with others because it takes too much energy to focus on conversations.
4. Listening fatigue can lead to depleted energy, so you might avoid going out altogether.
Conversations may resemble a low-volume stereo that’s slowly breaking down or a poor phone line where some of the words in the conversation are missing.
Hearing is a signal that is read by your brain. When your auditory system isn’t working properly, your brain uses more energy so that it can process sound from the inner ear. Basically, having hearing loss is a broken signal that isn’t transferring all of the sounds to the brain. Untreated hearing loss can lead to auditory pathways to the brain becoming atrophied. As a result, dementia can begin to set in.
5. Ringing ears
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that over 50 million people have some range of tinnitus. This makes it one of the most prevalent health issues in the U.S.
Age-related and noise-induced hearing loss can lead to tinnitus. Researchers on this subject believe that tinnitus could be the brain’s way of replacing missing frequencies that it is not receiving from the auditory system.
High-frequency hearing loss is generally a form of sensorineural hearing loss. This indicates damage to the tiny hair cells located in the inner ear. These hair cells turn sounds into signals that are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain so that they can be interpreted. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by exposure to noise, disease, infection, or genetics.
There is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss, but hearing aids can treat it.
Contact one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation. Whether you have hearing loss, tinnitus, or both, our providers will help you find a solution that is suitable for you.
If you experienced a traumatic brain injury (also referred to as TBI, a concussion, or head injury), this can harm or even displace fragile bones located in the inner ear, rupture your eardrum, and even disrupt areas of the brain that help with auditory processing. Tinnitus could appear in one ear or both.
Some patients with TBI have complained about hyperacusis, or the experience of extreme sensitivity to sound. Also, any harm to the inner ear can negatively impact the vestibular system, which is composed of small fluid-filled canals that transfer signals about the position of your head to your brain. Extracting parts of the vestibular system causes spatial disorientation, dizziness, vertigo, and estimating distances.
The Prevalence of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
According to the CDC, the 1.6 million TBI that occur annually is the result of contact sports, car crashes, and recreational activities. Out of those injuries, nearly 50% involve hearing loss or sudden-onset tinnitus. TBIs are common among football players. Nearly 10% of college players and 20% of high school players have a TBI. Among the elderly, falls are the primary cause of TBIs. These can be severe if they also take medication for blood-thinning.
Permanent or Temporary?
The overwhelming cases of hearing loss that is caused by TBI, go away naturally after a few months. While the brain heals, the auditory processing should resume. If there is a fractured or displaced bone, surgery can help. There are rare instances when permanent hearing loss occurs as a result of a damaged cochlea.
To prevent TBI, wear a helmet that will protect your head, along with any other protective headgear, while playing a sport that could lead to head trauma. If you drive a vehicle or are a passenger in one, always wear your seatbelt. In the wintertime, carefully step around icy areas and hold onto any available railings to reduce the chances of falling. Be careful when stepping into or out of a shower. It’s easy to slip and fall on a wet bathroom tile.
You should see a doctor immediately if you suffer from a traumatic brain injury. There are risks of hematoma (bleeding in the brain), and imaging tests need to be conducted. If there is a physical injury to the ear, you may need a CT or MRI scan.
If you are noticing hearing loss, hearing aids may be a solution. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
When you have disruptive tinnitus, the added stress from traveling can make it worse.
Traveling by air, land, or sea can aggravate symptoms of tinnitus. Whether it’s jet lag, various airplane engine sounds, airplane cabin pressure, or unhealthy food and drink options (over salty snacks, sugary drinks, or alcohol), tinnitus might be an extra thing that you need to worry about.
You can plan ahead of time and avoid the most common problems with tinnitus when traveling.
10 Tips for Traveling with Tinnitus
1. Make sure you have a plan to help you manage tinnitus symptoms.
Problems that may arise while traveling can cause stress, which can lead to distracting episodes of tinnitus. That can ruin your vacation or business trip.
Planning for these scenarios can help. Worsening tinnitus - whether it becomes louder, becomes more intense, or creates an emotional reaction - can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes tinnitus spikes can be identified easily, other times it can be too vague to pinpoint. Tinnitus spikes are some of the more problematic scenarios that just about everyone with tinnitus suffers from each day.
What are tinnitus spikes?
This occurs when the ringing sound abruptly changes or worsens.
Causes of tinnitus spikes can include:
It can feel almost impossible to fight against an emotional reaction that is caused by a very bad case of tinnitus. Your anxiety and fear can set in, making the way you usually manage symptoms ineffective.
Understand what triggers your tinnitus, and then immediately implement a coping mechanism if the symptoms arise while traveling. You can ask for help from fellow traveling companions so they can help you reduce the spikes as soon as possible.
Even though you cannot turn down the volume of the tinnitus spike, you can calm yourself down by getting as comfortable as possible. If you wear hearing aids, you can ask your hearing instrument specialist to program your devices to mask the noise. Or, you can even listen to a meditation. Sooner or later the spike will pass.
2. Reduce the impact of jet lag
Jet lag eventually goes away, but it can still create stress for a few days. Your body has a circadian rhythm, which adapts to a day to night cycle. So if travel from one time zone to another, your circadian rhythm is still following the previous time zone. This leads to temporary insomnia, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, changes in mood, stomach problems, and a general feeling of ailment. Symptoms of jet lag can worsen tinnitus, making it harder to manage.
One way to reduce the effects of jet lag is to take melatonin. This will reset your sleep/circadian rhythm. Just like with any medication or supplement, discuss using it with your doctor.
Melatonin is a hormone that discharges from the brain that signals to your body that it is nighttime and it’s time to sleep. Melatonin is available in pill form as an over-the-counter (or prescription) sleep aid in many countries, including the U.S. If you take it at your usual bedtime and then at a different time to adapt to your new time zone, it can help you sleep easier and also relieve jet lag by syncing up your circadian rhythm to the new time zone at a faster pace.
3. Pressure-equalizing earplugs can be worn during flights and drives that take place in higher elevations
Everyone who has ever been in an aircraft that ascended into the sky or drove up any mountain has noticed that a quick change in elevation can impact your ears.
The pressure levels in airplane cabins can reach from about 6,000 - 8,000 feet above sea level, and mountainous terrain can reach even higher levels. Based on the level of elevation that you start off on, this can equal a significant rapid change.
Feelings of fullness, pain, and popping in the ear are normal experiences when there’s a quick pressure change. The pressure that occurs in your middle ear cannot change as quickly as the air pressure in the environment. As a result, the eardrum winds up swelling inwards or outwards.
This doesn’t happen to everyone. If your ears are susceptible to elevation shifts, barometric pressure, or even changes in weather, it can negatively impact your tinnitus.
A solution is wearing pressure-equalizing earplugs. You can find an affordable pair that uses filters to steadily equalize the pressure. Check out EarPlanes® or Mack’s FlightGuard Aviation Earplugs.
4. Pack different types of hearing protection so you’re ready for any noisy environment
Everyone, no matter how good their hearing is, should be prepared to protect their hearing from loud noises. It’s even more important to do so if you have tinnitus. Dangerous noise levels can destroy your hearing and permanently worsen symptoms of tinnitus. Even if there isn’t permanent damage, just about everyone who has tinnitus has noticed spikes in symptoms when exposed to loud noises. If you know that your environment will be loud, remember to pack earplugs. There may be loud environments that where you were not anticipating to be in when traveling.
To avoid potential hearing loss, always have two sets of earplugs that are easily accessible when traveling: a pair of regular foam or silicone earplugs (these are helpful in very loud settings) and another pair of high-fidelity musician’s earplugs (these reduce volume levels, but you can still hear music and other people’s voices when they speak to you).
Customized earplugs that are perfectly contoured to your ears can also be made. You can talk to our hearing instrument specialists about getting them made.
5. Pack your own food and snacks
The selection that is available for food at most airports and rest stops are generally fast food or junk food that is high in salt and sugar. If your tinnitus tends to worsen after consuming salt, sugar, or caffeinated drinks, it would be best to pack foods that are healthier for you. Even if these things do not trigger your tinnitus, consuming unhealthy foods can take its toll on your body and add unnecessary stress during your trip.
You are allowed to bring your own food through airport security checkpoints. There are regulations when it comes to international travel - laws are different in each country, so you might not be able to carry on certain fruits and vegetables.
6. Shop in a local grocery store
When you make it to your destination, go to a local grocery store. They’ll have healthy options for food and drinks that are less expensive than the stash that’s available in the hotel or their minifridge.
7. Preview restaurant menus
It’s tempting to simply go to a fast-food restaurant, or picking just any restaurant if you’re really hungry. Following a low-sodium diet is going to be difficult in these places, which can add stress.
Prior to each trip, do a little research and look at restaurant menus that will cater to your diet. You can even book a reservation so you know that you’ll have a place and time set aside.
If you decide to rent a home or an Airbnb, you can simply cook your own meals and control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into your meals instead of worrying about what restaurants will serve you.
8. Give yourself some R&R
While traveling, your health habits and daily routines may go out the window. Your sleep schedule will probably be disrupted. This could create stress, and stress usually equals spikes in tinnitus. Always make time for self-care. Rest and relax when possible.
9. Keep track of your medications and hearing aids
So many things can go awry while traveling. Your bags get lost, plane delays, or a change in plans. Always keep important medications and devices with you, NOT in a checked bag or inaccessible suitcase. Make sure your hearing aids are fully charged or you have extra batteries with you. If you get stuck in a location, they’ll be easier to locate.
10. Proper sleep can go a long way
Insomnia is a common cause of tinnitus spikes. Tinnitus can make sleeping difficult, which generates a vicious cycle.
It’s not always easy to fall asleep, especially in unfamiliar places. Research indicates that the left side of your brain stays on alert during the first night, and possibly into the second night if you are in a new space.
You can prioritize and protect your sleep routines by going to bed and waking up during normal hours. Use any means necessary to make sure you get enough sleep. You might want to use a sleep mask, sound machine, earplugs, or meditate before going to sleep. You might even want to bring your own pillow if it’s easy to store during your travels.
If you have tinnitus and/or hearing loss, hearing aids could be a solution to get control of your tinnitus so that it’s more manageable. Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
The symptoms of tinnitus include the buzzing, clicking, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noises that are heard when there are no external sound sources. It can cause distress and distract you from your daily life. It’s important to seek help and monitor your hearing health before it worsens.
Nearly 15-20% of Americans have experienced tinnitus at least one time. While it can happen to anyone, it’s pervasive among adults and seniors. There is currently no definite cure for tinnitus, so taking preventative cautions is crucial.
What are the signs of tinnitus?
As previously mentioned a buzzing, clicking, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise may only be heard by you. There are various frequencies and tones to the noise. If you notice tinnitus, write down what you are experiencing. Keep a journal to record when you started hearing these noises, in what situations/environments you notice the sounds and anything else you feel is worth noting. Bring this information with you when you talk to your hearing instrument specialist about treatment options.
Discuss the sounds you are hearing with the people around you, who can provide accurate assessments if you think you are experiencing tinnitus.
What causes tinnitus?
The main causes of tinnitus are due to underlying conditions, such as injuries to the ears or poor blood circulation. Think about possible reasons that brought about the symptoms. This will help your hearing healthcare provider give you proper treatment options.
Frequent exposure to loud noises, or even just one exposure to a very loud noise, can induce tinnitus symptoms. The tiny hair cells in the inner ear can become damaged from the sounds, which leads to false impulses that are transmitted to the brain. This is what causes tinnitus.
Aging, and the hearing health problems related to aging, can cause tinnitus. Diabetes, unhealthy blood vessels, autoimmune diseases, changes in bone growth throughout the ears, muscle spasms, ear infections or obstructions, head, neck, or ear injuries could also cause tinnitus. Like with any health condition, detecting the problem early will lead to earlier treatment, which may help reduce any serious impacts.
Tinnitus is common in men, the older population, regular smokers, and alcoholics who are regularly exposed to loud noises. Take your job environment into consideration, and wear ear protection when working under loud conditions. Any underlying health conditions such as arthritis and obesity should be carefully monitored.
What are the impacts of tinnitus?
The frequency of tinnitus is different for everyone. Most people who experience tinnitus find it to be distressing and bothersome. They may suffer from fatigue, headaches, depression, stress, an inability to focus, problems with accomplishing tasks, and disruption in their sleep routines.
What preventative measures should be taken?
Always carry around small earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs if you are going to work in a noisy area. For example, if you are employed in an industrial workplace that has loud machinery make sure you are wearing earplugs. Your employer should also be able to provide the proper ear protection in these situations.
Avoid overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Make sure you are exercising and following a healthy diet. This will help with your overall health, which will help your hearing health.
Listen to music and media at lower volumes. If you need to turn the volume up, to the point where others complain about the level you should seek help for your hearing.
What treatment options are available?
Hearing aids that feature a masking option may be used to treat your tinnitus and hearing loss. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
We’re kicking off Tinnitus Awareness Week, which is recognized during the first full week of February. This year, it spans from February 7th to the 13th.
The purpose of this week is to inform the public about what the symptoms of tinnitus sound like and how it impacts people on a day-to-day basis. Tinnitus is the perception of noise when there is no environmental or physical source of the sound. It may manifest as a buzzing, chirping, clicking, hissing, humming, ringing, or roaring noise in the ear. About 15 to 20 percent of people experience it. It isn’t an actual condition, but it is a symptom of an underlying illness. Some of it may be caused by age, hearing loss, an injury to the ear, or a circulatory system disorder.
A Brief History Lesson on Tinnitus
Ancient Egyptians called it the bewitched ear or humming in the ear. Treatments were used with the hope of a cure. Infusions of frankincense, herbs, oil, soil, or tree sap were applied to the outer ear by using the stalk of a reed. Egyptian art, known as “ear stelae”, portrayed each ear with images of devout worshipers. They would pray to gods and ask for their symptoms to be cured.
4th Century B.C.E.
Early Greco-Romans were the first to consider treating tinnitus as a symptom, and not as a condition in and of itself. Based on how the tinnitus started, different treatments would be implemented. If it was caused by a cold, the ear would be cleaned out and they’d hold their breath for as long as they could. If it started from the head, exercise, rubbing, and gargling was recommended as a remedy. Aristotle and Hippocrates utilized masking, which suppressed the noises from their tinnitus by listening to something else.
Other experimental methods were used during the Middle Ages. Different liquids were drained into the ear of those who were afflicted. They would also toss dampened pieces of wood onto a fire so that the crackling noises from the blaze would cover up the tinnitus until they fell asleep. Another method was ear candling. This is when liquified wax from a burning candle is drained into the ear, and once solidified is pulled out of the ear canal to draw out wax and debris. This is method is not recommended by any hearing healthcare professionals.
The French physician Jean Marie Gaspard Itard, made progress in studies on tinnitus during the 19th century. Itard linked tinnitus to hearing loss and gave detailed descriptions of early reports on objective and subjective tinnitus. He made attempts at creating methods for masking the noise with little results but eventually, new improvements on tinnitus research became available. Even though tinnitus has become more manageable with treatments like meditation, vitamin intake, tinnitus noise-masking apps, and hearing aids with tinnitus masking programs, there is still more research that is needed to better understand it.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss, please get in touch with one of our hearing aid providers for a complimentary consultation.
Severe/profound hearing loss (SPHL) can be more than just a worsened state of mild/moderate hearing loss.
Anyone who has mild/moderate hearing loss can experience frustrations while communicating. This can lead to socially withdrawing from others because it becomes too challenging and requires too much effort. As we’ve all been made well aware of, we know that becoming too isolated can cause depression.
The strain of trying to hear others, or read their facial expressions can cause a person with hearing loss to become fatigued. When others communicate with you, they may not be accommodating to your listening needs.
SPHL is Apparent on a Daily Basis
Anyone who has SPHL has difficulty with communication in every conversational situation. It doesn’t matter if the room is loud or quiet.
This obstacle hinders your capacity to form and maintain relationships that are crucial to functioning in society. It’s how we understand ourselves and know where we fit in.
Not only does SPHL cause a hindrance in communication, but you may also experience other negative circumstances:
SPHL influences Mental Health
Any roadblocks that interfere with relationships that you have with others will affect the way you see yourself. This can lead to mental health issues, i.e. anxiety and depression. These two factors escalate social isolation, which is already compounded by poor communication skills.
It’s important to point out that very high levels of depression and anxiety can even be found in those with healthy hearing, who regularly communicate with people who have SPHL. In other words, the main concern isn’t necessarily hearing loss, but the interruption of a natural flow of communication between two or more people.
Getting Help for SPHL
Patients with SPHL need the best intervention immediately. Providing the proper hearing aids, along with auditory training, can guide them to their best hearing. Getting in touch with others, in a safe manner, who are going through the same problems can be of help. Peer support for any dilemma, including hearing loss, can be effective. Knowing that others have gone through the same or similar experiences can give you hope.
If you are noticing any range of difficulty with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.