Have you ever heard the seemingly incessant sounds of a child screaming, thumping music from a teenager’s bedroom, someone who was vacuuming an entire house, or never-ending traffic noises? On a typical day, you might hear a lawnmower, barking dogs, loud sirens, or workers at a construction site.
Harmful Sounds in Your Environment
Noise pollution is dangerous because it’s invisible. Most people don’t have a second thought about it. Without the proper precautions, it can be harmful to your hearing health and - in some cases - unavoidable.
Define Noise Pollution
Noise pollution occurs when there is excess noise that is so loud that it can damage a person’s ability to hear. As a result, their daily activities can be interrupted, whether at home, school, work, or during their downtime.
Noise Pollution is a Serious Problem
About 30 million Americans are regularly exposed to dangerous levels of noise. This is an increase of 10 million from the previous few years. There are millions across the globe who are affected by noise pollution.
Most Common Sources of Noise Pollution
This mainly depends on where you live, what your job is, and what your hobbies are. A construction worker who lives in a bustling city and regularly takes the subway is more likely to hear a lot of noise pollution than a bank teller who lives in a quiet neighborhood and typically drives alone. Generally, these are the leading sources of noise pollution.
How does noise pollution affect your health?
Do you ever feel annoyed when you hear a car alarm? How about the wailing sound of an emergency siren? It’s normal to hear all of these sounds at once in large cities. It’s stress-inducing, and experiencing recurring stress is not good for your health. The noise can be distracting, harm the health of your hearing, and lead to a poor night’s sleep which affects your ability to function throughout the day.
Chronic noise in your environment can lead to sleep deprivation, irritation, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), heart disease, harm to your endocrine system, higher risks of diabetes.
The following are related to excessive exposure to noise:
Noise Pollution Awareness
Noise pollution is just beginning to be made aware of, in addition to how it affects your hearing and overall health. There are some organizations that are working to make the world safer and quieter. Silencity, a New York City-based organization, increases awareness on the dangers of noise pollution and searches for restaurants and public areas where people can have a quiet and safe visit. Pipedown, a UK-based organization, works to eliminate music inside of restaurants and shops. Noise-free America advocates for both political and public awareness on the harmfulness of noise pollution.
Protect Your Hearing from Noise Pollution
Stronger initiatives to decrease noise pollution are needed in every bustling city. Here are some tips to protect your hearing and health against harmful noise pollution.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a vast selection of hearing aid brands and styles for a wide range of hearing loss. We offer a variety of hearing aid brands including HANSATON, Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Rexton, Signia, Starkey, Unitron and Widex.
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 Instruments and Lyrics
As a hearing aid user, you may have a special music setting for your hearing aids.
Simply wearing hearing aids can make listening to music a more pleasant experience. When your hearing gets worse, have you ever noticed that when a new instrument starts to play it’s indistinguishable from some of the other instrument sounds? Do you struggle to hear lyrics that are sung? Hearing aids can help you hear those sounds that you are missing.
Hearing aids are also helpful in reducing symptoms of tinnitus (beeping, buzzing, clicking sounds). Tinnitus is connected to damage that your ears endure as a result of exposure to excessive noise. Musicians usually experience tinnitus because they frequently perform concerts.
Anyone who has profound hearing loss generally has difficulty hearing soft sounds. Those who enjoy listening to music may blast the volume so loudly, that their headphones may risk more damage to their hearing health.
Average speech sounds reach between 35 to 85 decibels (dB). Remember, 85 dB is the threshold for safe listening. Music has double the range of volume - approximately 100 dB. Music also features many more frequencies than average speech sounds. A piano can emit 40 percent more frequencies than the average female voice.
Earlier hearing aid models were unable to manage larger ranges of frequencies without becoming distorted. The latest models have gotten better at processing music for hearing aid users. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist about different hearing aid options that can be helpful for your hearing loss. It’s important to be open and honest about your hearing health needs in order to get the proper treatment.
What are some issues that may arise with earlier hearing aid models?
Modern hearing aids now have a solution for the distortion sounds of music. It is recommended that hearing aid users listen to music in the same setting that is used when listening to a conversation in a quiet environment.
Earlier hearing aid models may cause users to be unable to hear lower frequencies. Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), usually affects the higher frequencies. Are you unable to hear young children or some women? If you can’t, you may have high-frequency hearing loss. Hearing aids need to be programmed in order to hear those specific sounds. When it comes to music, lower frequencies are important sounds that need to be heard.
Many people with hearing loss, also have difficulty comprehending speech in busy environments, like a crowded restaurant. Modern hearing aids can be set to reduce background noise, but earlier hearing aid models may be programmed to misinterpret a sustained chord as noise.
Hearing aids that are programmed to reduce feedback noises from high-frequencies, like a whistle created by your hearing aid, could have unintentionally restrained pure tones in an organ or flute melodies from your favorite classical music.
There is a hearing aid feature known as “wide dynamic range compression”, which compresses the range to increase the volume in softer sounds. As a result, it can remove the lively range that the composer and performer had originally intended.
Modern hearing aids should not have these problems. If you believe that your hearing aids are altering the music from your computer, radio, record player, smartphone, stereo system, or TV, try lowering the volume. If there is a volume control on your hearing aid, you can raise the volume if necessary. If you experience mild or moderate hearing loss, you may simply remove the hearing aid.
Musicians: Discuss your hearing issues with your hearing instrument specialist
Musicians may occasionally miss having hearing loss when they listen to music because they are recreating the sounds in their mind. Ludwig van Beethoven recreated music in his mind when he became deaf. It almost becomes a sixth sense.
For musical performers, hearing aids can change the sound of your own voice or instrument. This is known as “occlusion”. In some cases, it’s helpful to wear one hearing aid instead of two. It may require the need for a more open earpiece or a hollow earmold, or lowering the amplification for the low frequencies may help.
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive Listening Devices should be tested before making a commitment.
A hearing loop gives hearing aid users a wireless signal that can be detected on the hearing aid’s telecoil (t-coil) setting when using a smartphone or if you are in a church, concert hall, theatre.
Live sounds can be picked up and streamed through your hearing aids by placing a remote microphone by the source.
These are small devices, like the Roger Select TM microphone, that transmit sound from other wireless audio accessories to your hearing aids. Talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing to enable a streaming program on your hearing aids.
If you or a loved one, miss listening to music, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test, hearing aid trial, and consultation.
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 face mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.
Tinnitus is the perceived sound of incessant buzzing, clicking, hissing, ringing or whistling noises.
Are you one of the millions of people across the globe who experience tinnitus? If so, you are well aware of how it affects every aspect of your daily life. If untreated, this condition can result in depression and stress.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, there are millions of Americans who suffer from tinnitus. With a vast number of people who experience these symptoms, it’s important to discredit any false information. Learning about the facts of tinnitus can guide you to find the appropriate treatments that can help to reduce symptoms and improve your overall health.
Myth #1: Tinnitus is a disease.
Tinnitus is a symptom of a hidden medical condition, NOT a disease. Brain damage, dangerous noise levels, heart disease, or a traumatic brain injury can all cause tinnitus. Tinnitus, which can lead to hearing loss, can be induced by certain medications. There is currently no known cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms.
Myth #2: Tinnitus is not real.
Some might think that the symptoms of tinnitus are imagined, or that it’s just all in their head. There aren’t any tests that will indicate that you have tinnitus, but that doesn’t make the symptoms any less real. There are millions of people across the globe who suffer from mild to severe cases of tinnitus.
Myth #3: I can’t do anything about my tinnitus symptoms.
There is ongoing research and the treatments are always changing and getting better. A hearing healthcare specialist can provide solutions to help treat your symptoms and make them more manageable.
Myth #4: Only people who have hearing loss can get tinnitus.
Even though it’s true that people who experience hearing loss can also suffer from tinnitus, a person can also get tinnitus if they do not have hearing loss. Exposure to blaring noises from concerts, an explosion, or loud machinery, may lead to experiencing a brief ringing sensation in the ears. As previously mentioned, there are certain medications that can induce tinnitus. Even if you do not believe that you have hearing loss, it’s still a good idea to get a check up from a hearing healthcare provider.
Myth #5: Tinnitus will disappear if I have a healthier diet.
Some have made claims that additives and food, like alcohol, caffeine and sodium can make symptoms of tinnitus, worse. Consuming any of these items is typically not the main cause of tinnitus. Your overall health requires a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. Your tinnitus has to be treated individually. Reducing symptoms of tinnitus MIGHT include changes to your diet and exercise routines, but they will not cure you of your symptoms.
Myth #6: Everyone who has tinnitus will end up going deaf.
Even though tinnitus and hearing loss usually occur together, they are two separate syndromes. If you have tinnitus, it does not mean that you also have hearing loss. If you have some hearing loss, it does not automatically indicate that you will be completely deaf. Hearing aid devices can simultaneously help to keep your residual hearing intact and help drown out tinnitus symptoms.
Myth #7: Hearing aids cannot help relieve tinnitus.
The latest advancements in hearing aids, actually can tackle the problems of tinnitus and hearing loss by enhancing external sounds. This masks internal sounds caused by tinnitus. Other methods of tinnitus relief may include better diets, exercise, meditation, and managing stress.
Myth #8: Tinnitus is only caused by listening to loud music, or media, through earbuds.
Listening to music at dangerous noise levels can lead to tinnitus, but there can be other causes. Tinnitus can affect anyone, but there isn’t always a clear reason. The risks are not eliminated, simply because you don’t regularly listen to loud music/media or listen to these things through earbuds.
Myth #9: There’s no harm in having tinnitus.
Usually tinnitus is harmless. For some, it can be a sign for an underlying health issue, like acoustic neuroma, heart disease or high blood pressure. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Get checked out for it. For anyone who has tinnitus that is severe, chronic and/or causes distress, it can reduce their quality of life, and affect personal and professional relationships. There have been cases where some people’s tinnitus symptoms have led them to experience suicidal thoughts.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation. We offer a wide variety of hearing aid solutions that can be tailored to your specific needs by our hearing instrument specialists.
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. If you need hearing aid service, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. A staff member from our office 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.
Modern life is a fast-paced world that puts us up against many challenges. The stress caused by this velocity can wear you down if you don’t take time out of your day to effectively manage it. Stress can lead to unexpected obstacles, such as a poor night’s rest that can interfere with your ability to accomplish tasks at work.
The Fallout of Stress
The human body receives a rush of energy or strength by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream in order to handle stress. This is a normal reaction from our bodies. It supports us through demanding moments, but excessive amounts of stress can deteriorate and weaken your body. Stress isn’t just emotionally tiring, it can lead to additional health problems by diminishing our immune system, cause anxiety attacks, diabetes, headaches, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal complications, migraines, and more.
The Connection between Stress and Hearing Loss
The body’s response to stress leads to adrenaline being overproduced. This causes a restriction of blood flow to the ears, which is how it affects a person’s ability to hear. Delicate hair cells, or cilia, are found in the inner ear. They need constant blood flow in order to receive the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients. Each day when stress builds up, it may lead to a disruption of the blood flow to the rest of the body. Without steady circulation, these hair cells can become permanently damaged. Hearing loss can occur if an individual becomes overstressed to the point where blood no longer flows to the ears.
Stress, Hypertension and Hearing Loss
Hypertension is high blood pressure that occurs alongside stress. There are serious consequences of these symptoms that can harm the health of your hearing. High blood pressure weakens blood vessels, which affects the rest of your body - including your ears. If there is damage to the blood vessels in your ears, your hearing can be impaired. Recurring episodes of stress that manifest in the form of hypertension normally cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss symptoms that are caused by stress include feelings of fullness, blockage, pain or pressure in the ear(s).
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Over the years studies have associated stress with tinnitus. It is both a cause and a symptom. Tinnitus is the perceived buzzing, hissing or ringing noise in your ears when there is no outside source of the sound. It is normally caused by excessive exposure to loud noises or even some medications. It can linger and then fade away, but it has a tendency to occur when a person is feeling stressed. A study found that 53% of patients who have tinnitus claimed that their symptoms began amid a stressful point of their lives, or became severe during a stressful period. It’s a continuous series of stress that induces tinnitus, which leads to more stress, and that stress leads to more episodes of tinnitus.
How You Can Relax
If you experience hearing loss that was caused by stress, you first need to lower those levels of stress in order to thwart more damaging effects.
Pause everything for a moment. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, rest your mind. You can stop for 20 minutes and simply close your eyes.
Engage in regular exercises. Stress impacts your brain as well as your body. If your body feels great, your mind will too. Exercise and other physical activity create endorphins (chemicals in your brain that are essentially used as natural painkillers), and they improve sleep, which lowers stress levels. It only takes 20 minutes of exercise each day to increase your blood flow, which in turn will improve the health of your mind and body.
Discuss ways to reduce stress with a friend or healthcare professional. Talking to someone who has experienced what you have, or has credible knowledge, can encourage you to get through it.
Mediation. This can help your body and mind focus and relax. You can go out to a quiet place in nature, listen to calming music or a mediation podcast.
Participate in your favorite activities. Take out time each day to do something that you enjoy. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite music or reading a book.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions that can be customized for your particular needs.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. One of our staff members will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
This Fourth of July will probably look different than past celebrations. It’s still important to take extra safety precautions, especially if you have hearing loss. Whether you need to maintain social distancing between yourself, friends and family, wear a face mask, or wear hearing protection, there are measures that can be taken to care for your overall health.
In preparation for your festivities, here are some facts about noise and healthy hearing tips to consider.
Fireworks are at the center of the Fourth of July. Please be aware that damage to your hearing can happen due to excessive noise exposure. It only takes one short burst of loud noise to possibly cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Fireworks can generate the same amount of noise that a jet engine produces. That’s somewhere between 125-155 decibels (dB). As mentioned in previous blog posts, 85 dB is the threshold of noise that a human can tolerate before it causes hearing damage. Being in close proximity to fireworks can instantly cause hearing loss.
Faint noises: 30 - 40 dB. These include sounds like a whisper or a quiet room.
Moderate noises: 50 - 60 dB. These include sounds such as moderate rainfall and normal conversations.
Very loud noises: 70 - 90 dB. These include vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks, city traffic, hair/hand dryers, motorcycles, truck traffic.
Extremely loud noises: 100 - 130 dB. These include noises from power tools, a lawnmower, a snowmobile, or rock concerts.
Painful noises: 140 dB or more. These include noises from fireworks or gunshots.
When sounds are heard the stereocilia (delicate hair cells) located in our inner ear vibrate. This creates nerve signals that are interpreted by the brain as sound. It is possible to experience too many vibrations in the stereocilia. Exposure to loud noises can harm to these hair cells, and lead to sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus. The first cells that become permanently damaged are the ones that vibrate the fastest. These are the ones that provide clearer higher-frequency sounds, such as chirping birds or the sound of children and some women speaking.
You can still enjoy fireworks without risking your hearing health. It’s best to see a professional fireworks display, and maintain an appropriate distance to enjoy the visual aspects. If you are not sure how loud the fireworks will be, or won’t be able to enjoy the show at a distance, carry some earplugs with you to wear. Your earplugs need to closely fit your ear canals and seal off as much noise as possible in order to sufficiently block out excessive noises. Read the instructions on your earplug packaging for proper usage. Earplugs are an inexpensive and simple way to protect your ears.
Here are some warning signs if you are exposed to dangerous noises, and experience hearing loss:
If you are experiencing hearing loss that was caused by any loud noises, like fireworks, or another reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. Our hearing instrument specialists will go over the best treatment options with you.
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. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
There can be a number of different causes for each type of hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus are typically caused by being exposed to loud noises. Hearing loss can also be caused by a birth defect, genetics and a reaction to different types of drugs, particularly ones used for cancer treatments or for chemotherapy.
Causes of Two Different types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss
If you, or a loved one, have experienced any of these types of hearing loss, schedule a free-hearing test and consultation with us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions for a wide range of hearing loss.
According to the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 50 million Americans have experienced tinnitus.
1. Tinnitus Defined
Tinnitus refers to the sensation of hearing sounds in your ear, even if there are no actual external noises. Typically, tinnitus is subjective, which means that the person who has this condition is the only one who can hear the noises. Generally, those who have the condition have characterized the sound as a “ringing in the ears”. Others have explained it as a chirping, buzzing, hissing, roaring, or whistling noise.
Not only do the sounds vary from person to person, but the effects are also unique for each individual. Some have experienced irregular instances, while others have relentless symptoms.
The need for some relief is so great that many will do anything from getting acupuncture, to using eardrops, herbal solutions, hypnosis, etc.
2. Causes of Tinnitus
Experts have not determined the precise cause(s) of tinnitus. There are many sources that are known to trigger or worsen ringing sensations in the ears:
Aging - Natural aging will gradually destroy the cilia. This is one of the main causes of hearing loss. Tinnitus is a frequent syndrome when it comes to age-related hearing loss.
Hearing Conditions - Conditions like Ménière's disease can cause tinnitus.
Health Conditions - There are numerous health conditions that have been linked to tinnitus, including:
Loud sounds - Being exposed to loud noises can destroy cilia (small hairs) located in the cochlea. These small hairs cannot regenerate, which causes permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Tinnitus that is noise-induced is the result of exposure to very loud noises from your surroundings, which may include a loud concert, a factory environment, being around heavy machinery, or from gunshots.
Ototoxic medications - Certain prescription medicines like antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, diuretics, etc. can be ototoxic (harmful to the inner ear and the nerve fibers that connect the cochlea and the brain).
3. Is tinnitus curable?
Tinnitus has no known cure. According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), there are therapies and treatments available that may help lessen the problems associated with tinnitus.
One of the options is using hearing aids. Hearing health care professionals have noted that 60 percent of patients who suffer from tinnitus have felt a sense of relief when wearing them.
Sound therapy is another alternative to treating tinnitus. Hearing aids can be used effectively during acoustic or sound therapy sessions, making the ringing or buzzing sensations less evident.
4. What to do if You or Someone you know has Symptoms of Tinnitus
Because the precise cause of tinnitus is unknown, it is recommended that you see a professional for a hearing test evaluation. There are specific features that are measured for tinnitus:
5. How to Relieve Tinnitus
As aforementioned, there’s no cure for tinnitus, but there are hearing aids that can help relieve symptoms.
If you suffer from tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation for the best options that we have available for you!
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 having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Muffled noises can sound and feel as though there are cotton balls in your ears. It's a similar feeling to the pressure that is felt when reaching a high altitude while flying in an airplane. There isn't a total inability to hear, but you may struggle to hear clearly.
The phenomenon of muffled hearing develops when sound waves have difficulty transferring through the inner ear. Different circumstances can cause an obstruction in the ear. Some cases are insignificant and can be resolved immediately, but other instances need immediate medical attention in order to prevent further hearing loss.
Signs of muffled hearing
Experiencing muffled hearing is not only identified by the sensation of having cotton balls in your ears. Here are some other symptoms:
Causes of muffled hearing in one ear
The symptom of muffled hearing can be caused by multiple conditions. Some of these include:
Buildup of earwax
Earwax stops dirt and debris from getting into the ear canal. It's also a natural lubricant for the ears. Occasionally, earwax can build up and be impacted in one or both ears. Earwax that builds up and obstructs the ear canal can be a small problem, but excessive buildup can cause muffled hearing.
Other problems that may arise due to earwax build-up include earaches, too much pressure, and tinnitus.
This type of hearing loss is caused by aging and those who experience it are unable to hear high-pitched sounds. Those who suffer from this type of hearing loss may have difficulty hearing a phone ring.
Other signs of presbycusis include difficulty hearing while there is background noise, tinnitus, and struggling to hear women or small children's voices.
Middle ear infection
Bacterial or viral infections develop when fluid builds up in the middle ear due to swelling or inflammation in the eustachian tube. This tube siphons the liquid from the middle ear.
There are some middle ear infections that are moderate and tend to clear out on their own. Other middle ear infections may cause pain in your ears, ear drainage, or hearing loss if left untreated.
Symptoms of an ear infection in children include tugging at the ear, crying more than usual, a loss of appetite, and fever.
The common cold may induce muffled hearing from congestion blocking the Eustachian tube. Colds are generally innocuous. A clogged ear will clear up as soon as the congestion clears up.
Symptoms of hay fever are similar to symptoms of cold and sinus infections. Allergies can cause congestion in the ear, which can trigger a mild muffled hearing.
Airplane ear is caused by an imbalance of air pressure in the middle ear, and the air pressure in your surroundings. This tends to occur in an airplane, elevator, or while going up a tall mountain.
You may experience ear pain, bleeding from the affected ear, or vertigo. Normally, this is not considered a serious condition, but it can lead to persistent tinnitus or hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs when there is damage to your auditory nerve. You may experience mild, severe, temporary, or permanent hearing loss. It only takes a one-time, brief exposure to loud noise to cause NIHL, or repeated exposure thereafter.
Blockage in the ear
In addition to earwax, any foreign object in the ear canal can cause muffled hearing. This could include an insect, water, or any small object. This is a common culprit for children.
If there is a foreign object obstructing your ear, seek immediate medical attention to avoid further damage to the ear. These types of blockage may cause pain, feelings of fullness in the ears, and hearing loss.
Some types of medication can adversely affect the nerve cells in your inner ears. These include:
Anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin and ibuprofen)
Other symptoms of medically induced hearing loss include fullness in the ear, tinnitus, and vertigo.
A perforated eardrum is also known as a ruptured eardrum. This is also another cause of muffled hearing. It happens when a hole or tear forms in the tissue, which separates the middle ear from the ear canal.
A ruptured eardrum normally doesn't require urgent attention and can heal on its own. Other symptoms may include:
If you are experiencing hearing muffled sounds, it could be a sign of a tumor. Acoustic neuroma is a benign growth that forms on the main nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain. Other signs are losing your balance, facial numbness, tinnitus, or vertigo.
A lump on your neck can be a symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer. This type of cancer grows in the upper part of your throat and may cause muffled hearing, tinnitus, and pain in your ear.
This disease occurs in the inner ear. Symptoms include muffled hearing, pain in the ear, tinnitus, vertigo.
It is not known as to what causes Meniere's disease. Some speculate that it could be linked to abnormal fluid in the inner ear. There's no cure for it, but symptoms might improve or go away with time.
Brain injury or trauma to the head
Serious injury to the brain or head trauma can damage bones in the middle ear or nerves located in the inner ear. This can occur due to a serious fall or impact to the head.
Treating muffled hearing
Remove anything that is blocking your hearing.
If earwax is obstructing your ear canals, you may use an earwax removal kit which will soften and flush out the wax.
Do not use a Q-Tip. That could push whatever is obstructing your ear further into your ear.
In some instances, the muffled hearing won't improve. This might happen with Meniere's disease, age-related hearing loss, NIHL, or hearing loss caused by trauma or medication.
If your hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids may help to amplify sounds.
Pure Sound will only be open by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings.
About one out of six Americans, or 50 million people, are affected by tinnitus. Here are some questions that are commonly asked in regards to the condition.
How can you determine if you have tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a perception of buzzing, hissing, or ringing in your ears, with no outside source of the sounds. Symptoms vary for each person. There are some who may experience signs of tinnitus when they are in a quiet room, and others will constantly hear those noises. It’s important to note that tinnitus is a symptom and not a diagnosis. It’s important to get properly diagnosed by a hearing healthcare professional.
If you have tinnitus, what can be done about it?
There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are things that you can do to relieve the symptoms. You may engage in counseling and sound therapy. You can also get programmed hearing aids that are customized for your needs. Many people who have tinnitus notice that the better you can hear, the less likely you are to experience its symptoms.
In a survey from 2007, 60 percent of people who have tinnitus felt some relief when they used a hearing aid. About 22 percent had expressed feelings of significant relief.
Can tinnitus be caused by medications that you take?
Yes, there’s a possibility that you can experience tinnitus as a side effect of certain medications. Those medications include antidepressants, aspirin, some antibiotics, chemotherapy, and diuretics.
Do tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand?
In most instances, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss. It’s possible to have tinnitus and not have hearing loss. Tinnitus can be a first sign that you have some damage to your hearing.
What may cause worsening symptoms to your tinnitus?
Consuming too much caffeine, or salt can worsen your tinnitus. Stress, being exposed to loud noises, and some medications can also worsen your tinnitus.
How can you treat tinnitus?
Hearing aids are a good way to treat tinnitus. You can also try tinnitus retraining therapy, changing your diet (notice if anything works based on your individual diet adjustments), exercising on a regular basis, to help relieve the symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Tinnitus is the perceived sound of buzzing, clicking, hissing, ringing, etc. with no outside source of the noise. Over 45 million Americans suffer from this condition, and 90 percent have some range of hearing loss.
When it comes to tinnitus, sometimes the symptoms are tolerable and other days they are unbearable. The pitch and volume levels can change from day to day. It is not precisely known as to why the symptoms last long on some days, and don’t last long on other days.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
A shift in a person’s hearing is a prevailing cause of tinnitus. The cause of these shifts may be:
Other Possible Causes of Hearing Loss:
In some cases there are no clear causes for tinnitus. The root cause can be treated, or it could be a sign of a serious condition related to high blood pressure or heart disease. Tinnitus may also be the side effect of a medication that you take.
Triggers for Tinnitus:
Medications that may Affect Your Hearing:
Some medications are classified as ototoxic. This means that they are toxic to the ears, particularly on the ear’s nerves. Common drugs are:
If you notice symptoms of tinnitus contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. There is no cure for tinnitus, but treatment options are available to ease the symptoms.
Have you ever felt your ears clog up for no reason? Have you ever heard muffle sounds when there was nothing obstructing your ear canals?
Here are four typical reasons why your ears may feel clogged.
Earwax is generally a great way for your body to protect your ears. It helps to catch dirt and other particles by acting as a coating, and it easily falls out of your ear canal on its own, serving as a way of self-cleaning. In some cases, the earwax can become impacted and influence how well you can hear.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery have listed the following symptoms as an indication that earwax is probably causing an issue:
Do not try to remove the earwax by using a cotton swab, baby oil, or hydrogen peroxide. You could unintentionally puncture your eardrum or push the earwax further into your ear canal, which can become impacted. Getting rid of this naturally occurring, protective lubricant can cause dry, itchy ears.Find out whether your ears need to be thoroughly cleaned by discussing it with a professional.
Swimmers generally encounter this problem more than others. Occasionally, non-swimmers can also get fluid in their ears. Fluid build-up in the ear can happen for a number of reasons:
Excessive noise exposure
This can cause feelings of clogged ears or tinnitus. You may have felt this after going to a crowded sports stadium or concert. These symptoms normally go away within 48 hours, but it’s always a good idea to prevent this from happening by:
Pressure due to sinuses
Hearing loss, due to sinus infections, pressure or sinusitis, is usually temporary. Hearing should go back to normal when the sinus congestion clears up. If you, or a loved one, experience pain or unexpected hearing loss from sinus congestion, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. You can have your hearing evaluated. An initial test will help you, and your hearing healthcare provider, monitor your hearing health.
Hearing loss can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender.
In honor of Women's History Month, here is a list of well-known women who had, or have, hearing loss and were able to live with it and manage it.
Juliette Gordon Low
The founder of Girl Scouts of America, Juliette Gordon Low, suffered from hearing loss throughout her adult life. When she was 29 years old, a grain of rice was thrown at her wedding, which caused a puncture in her eardrum. This resulted in her becoming deaf in one of her ears. She never allowed her hearing loss to deter her life. In 1912, she established the Girl Scouts organization.
Low encouraged girls with disabilities to be involved in society. She started offering opportunities to others like her and gave young girls more fulfillment in their lives.
American actor, comedian, author, and TV personality, Whoopi Goldberg has suffered from hearing loss over the years. She has shared the fact that she wears hearing aids, and pinpointed the cause of her hearing loss to listening to loud music.
After experiencing hearing loss first-hand, she became an advocate for Starkey Hearing Foundation, which provides free hearing aid devices to children across the globe. Goldberg shared her past experiences and encouraged others to be careful of overusing music listening devices.
In a 1985 interview with broadcast journalist Barbara Walters, American singer, actor, and filmmaker, Barbra Streisand revealed that she has suffered from tinnitus since she was 9-years-old. As a child, she would wrap scarves around her head in order to block the noise. She stated that she felt different and isolated from other kids. She lived with this secret for several years, until she got help from a medical professional.
Her successful career, as someone who suffers from tinnitus, is a great example of not allowing a hearing problem discourage her.
Halle Berry, one of the most famous actresses today, is partially deaf with 80% of hearing loss in one ear due to domestic violence.
She has devoted her time to speak out against domestic violence and supporting victims of abuse. Berry not only lives with hearing loss but uses her status to promote effective change.
These historic and modern women have been able to show everyone that it is possible to live with and well beyond hearing loss.
If you, or a loved one, suffer from hearing loss, please contact us for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid devices for a wide range of hearing loss!
The symptoms of tinnitus vary from person to person. For some, a sudden ringing may occur. It could have been triggered by a loud noise, but maybe you do not recall being near any boisterous sound.
Perhaps it was something you ingested that triggered the noise. Diet and hearing health generally aren’t discussed as frequently as age-related or noise-induced hearing loss.
Alcohol and Tobacco
The most important things to abstain from to reduce the risks of tinnitus are alcohol and tobacco products.
Your overall health can be affected by alcohol and tobacco. It mainly affects your blood pressure. Tinnitus is more prone to occur the more you drink and smoke.
Caffeine that is consumed late in the day can interfere with a restful night’s sleep. Poor quality of sleep increases the chance that tinnitus will occur.
The caffeine is not what causes tinnitus. It’s the lack of rest. Only drink caffeinated beverages in the morning, and drink non-caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon and evenings.
Find the best diet for you
Each person’s hearing and tinnitus symptoms are different, therefore each person’s diet to reduce tinnitus symptoms will be different. Keep a journal that tracks your diet, hearing and tinnitus symptoms. Make adjustments where necessary.
In the journey, you can make better choices by identifying what affects you and how much it affects you. Observing how your hearing system reacts might shed some light on the tinnitus symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, continue to experience tinnitus symptoms, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free consultation. We offer a wide selection of hearing aid devices that can help those who have tinnitus.
Making resolutions to improve your life is always a great idea, as long as you follow through with them!
This year, it might be a good idea to prioritize your hearing health. So many people, of all ages, frequently engage in unhealthy hearing habits. There are many things that you can do to support and protect your hearing.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common cause of hearing loss. It can also be easily prevented. NIHL refers to hearing loss that is caused by very loud noises that cause damage to your auditory system. This type of hearing loss can result in lowering your sensitivity to hearing, tinnitus, or even cause physical deterioration to your ears.
Prevent NIHL by protecting your hearing when you are near loud noises. Lower the volume when watching a show or when listening to something through your headphones. Wear hearing protection when using a lawnmower or if you are at a loud concert. A good way to determine whether your surroundings are too loud is if you, or others, need to shout in order to hear each other.
Engage in exercises
Exercising is usually part of many people’s New Year resolution. Did you know that exercising is also helpful for your hearing health? High blood pressure and obesity is related to problems with hearing. Exercising regularly can help you manage these issues.
Some good routines to help with your hearing health include low-impact cardio exercises such as cycling, hiking, tai chi, walking, or yoga. Discuss which exercises would work best for you with your healthcare provider.
Get a hearing test
An easy way to protect your hearing is to monitor it. Get a hearing test. Most family healthcare physicians do not check a patient’s hearing health, unless the patient explicitly expresses concern about it. The next time you get your annual examination, talk to your healthcare provider about getting a hearing test.
You should also schedule a hearing test if:
Wear your hearing aids each day
If you already have hearing aids, you should wear them every day. Many people who suffer from hearing loss have a tendency to wear them only when they believe they need them. Not wearing hearing aids every day can cause hearing and cognitive decline.
Wearing your hearing aids on a regular basis helps you “break in” the devices. As time passes, your ears will have an easier and easier time hearing sounds and your brain will effortlessly be able to interpret the sounds that you hear. Remember that adapting to hearing aids takes time.
No matter how old or young you are, please take good preventative measures for your hearing health. Many people don’t realize how important their hearing is to them, until it’s gone. If you, or a loved one are in need of a hearing aid solution, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer hearing aid options for a wide range of hearing loss.
Statistics and history of hearing loss and tinnitus among those in the dental care industry
It has been reported that dentists suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus at double the rate of the overall population. The cause is due to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) from the sounds of high-speed dental drills.
Since the 1960s, the high-speed dental drills have not decreased in noise intensity. During the 1970s, American and Canadian governments authorized legislation in workplace safety. This included laws that determined what the limits were for being exposed to noise. There were surveys given to occupations that were normally not associated with dangerous noise levels. This interest raised concerns for dental clinics and universities that had dental labs. The surveys showed a strong connection between the use of high speed dental drills, and increased risks of NIHL and tinnitus among those in the dental care profession.
Addressing NIHL in the dental care profession
Dentists, and dental hygienists, may wear protection for their hearing or reduce how often they use the high-speed dental drills. The easiest solution is to wear custom-made high-fidelity earplugs for musicians. They have a snug fit, are discrete, and will not disturb communication or interfere with the procedure.
The only other alternative for a high-speed dental drill is a dental laser. A dental laser will provide the same quality service, minus the excessive noise.
NIHL has been reported in many other professions from construction workers to those who work in the public transportation industries. Even though high-speed dental drills produce less noise than larger machines, there is still a risk of hearing loss. It’s similar to using a hairdryer. The noise is loud, but tolerable as long as it stays at a distance from your ears.
Enduring many years of practice around these loud tools can cause dental care professionals to become accustomed to the intense noises, just like any job that uses loud equipment. Long-term exposure to high-speed dental drills can cause permanent hearing loss.
Losing the ability to hear high-pitched frequencies
Higher-pitched frequencies are the first regions impacted by age and NIHL. Even mild hearing loss in this region that distinguishes speech sounds will affect communication, especially if there are distracting background noises. There isn’t much that can be done about age-related hearing loss, but it can be possible to reduce workplace NIHL by using hearing protection.
Noise levels in operating rooms and university labs
Although there have been many advances in dental tools, they remain just as loud as they were in the 1960s. The average high speed dental drill can reach sound levels between 70 to 105 dBA. Noise from the ultrasonic scalers can produce 80 to 92 dBA, and suction tools can produce 74-80 dBA. To put this in perspective being exposed to sounds that reach at least 85 dB can cause hearing loss.
It has been reported that 25 percent of dental students who are exposed to harmful sound levels while practicing in labs, have experienced an average of 15-minutes of a temporary threshold shift (TTS) after they practice using a high-speed dental drill. This is a temporary shift in the auditory threshold that can abruptly occur after being exposed to a high noise level. Many people’s hearing abilities are temporarily reduced as a result. If someone frequently experiences a TTS, it can cause permanent hearing loss.
Tinnitus and other comorbidities
Hearing loss can effect secondary neurological, physiological and psychological shifts. The most common symptoms are ringing or buzzing noises that are heard as a result of tinnitus. Although tinnitus is typically associated with NIHL, it’s not noticeable by 84 percent of people.
Tinnitus symptoms that are irritating tends to occur when three connected neural systems - the aural system, autonomic nervous system, and limbic system - react by misinterpreting the tinnitus as a threat. The limbic system creates negative emotions, or the fight-or-flight response, and the basic process of interpreting sound in the aural centers which affects the response. This causes a combination of stress-induced physiological and psychological shifts which include growth in producing stress hormones, higher blood pressure, and a lack of restfulness.
These symptoms can range from an annoying distraction, to being unable to tolerate the sounds. This can cause distress to an individual’s mental and physical well-being. In some instances, tinnitus sufferers have considered ending their own lives as a way to escape the sound. Dentists suffer from tinnitus at twice the rate of academic and laser dentists, medical doctors, and the population in general.
Hearing loss that goes untreated has been associated with depression, being hospitalized, socially isolated, decrease in motor coordination, and poor cognitive abilities. It has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Neurons that aren’t being used by your auditory system, will then be used by your visual center. The auditory centers will move out to your frontal lobes, searching for neurons that can be used, which is what causes the decline.
If you are a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental student who is experiencing hearing loss due to noise exposure from high-speed dental drills, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Researchers of tinnitus have been trying to find out why there are so many individuals who experience a ringing sensation in their ears with no surrounding causes, in addition to the methods of how to stop it. There have been new advances in genomics, cognitive psychology, and MRI technology.
Here are some of the latest facts, understandings, and developments:
Fundamental Facts About Tinnitus
Research on MRIs
MRIs have been very helpful in researching tinnitus. New information, and suggestions show that there may be answers to how tinnitus is caused, and the possibility of treatment.
Patients who have tinnitus had the component of their brain that is identified with emotions restructured. It was discovered that these individuals process emotions differently than those who have normal hearing abilities.
Methods to Treat Tinnitus
Those who have tinnitus can use hearing aids, which can stimulate the ear with sound. Over time, symptoms of tinnitus can be relieved.
If you, or a loved one, suffer from tinnitus, contacts us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free consultation on tinnitus relief.
Statistics on SSNHL
Every year, out of 100,000 people between five to 30 individuals suddenly lose their hearing within a minute or a few hours due to sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Unfortunately, most people do not seek immediate medical attention because SSNHL and other forms of hearing loss are very much alike and can be confused with a temporary obstruction that is caused by earwax or fluid. SSNHL should be treated as a medical emergency, and any instances of sudden hearing loss needs to be addressed immediately.
A background on SSNHL
SSNHL, or sudden deafness, is characterized as having a drop of 30 dB or more in over three frequencies over a brief period of time. Normally, it only affects one ear, but it’s possible that both ears can become affected. It appears to be most prevalent for those between the ages of 30 and 60. About 50 percent of those individuals regain their hearing within two weeks without any treatment. In order to have a better chance of restoring your hearing, some medical professionals may treat you with steroids and antiviral medication. These treatment should only be used with the guidance of a medical professional, who should take into account any possible side effects.
If you experience SSNHL, you may hear a pop in the ear that is affected. After this popping noise occurs, the hearing could immediately disappear, or slowly decline within a few hours. You may only notice SSNHL when you use a phone on the ear that is affected, and it might be accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear), or if your ear feels full.
Causes of SSNHL
Some causes of SSNHL include:
In many cases, the precise cause is never discovered. SSNHL can occur at any age, whether or not you’ve had any previous hearing problems. Approximately 10 percent of people who are diagnosed have a detectable cause.
A high dosage of steroids are commonly used to treat SSNHL. Get treatment within two to three days for the best outcome. Even if you wait two weeks to get help, there’s a chance that steroids will not be helpful. You might need follow-up tests and frequent hearing assessments in order to observe the progress or your recovery.
Preventative care for SSNHL
It’s difficult to prevent SSNHL, but the best practice is to monitor your general well-being and take care of your ears:
Who would typically experience SSNHL?
If you recently experienced an ear infection, problems with blood circulation, head trauma, neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, or Meniere’s Disease, you could be at a higher risk of SSNHL. This type of hearing loss can happen without a warning, so it’s important to address any sudden hearing loss that you experience.
If you have already sought immediate medical attention for SSNHL, but continue to experience any range of hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. Our hearing instrument specialists will discuss hearing solutions for your specific needs.
Consuming alcohol can not only lead to liver damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, but it can also cause hearing loss.
Drinking alcohol and your brain health
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can be harmful to the brain’s auditory cortex, which will affect the way your brain processes sound. The auditory nerve translates the auditory information from the noises that are heard through the cochlea, located in the inner ear to the brain where they are translated. Even if your ears are properly able to hear, your brain may not be accurately processing sound waves.
German researchers from the University of Ulm determined that abusing alcohol for a long period of time will harm the central auditory cortex, which will lengthen the time it takes for someone to process sound. In other words, you could have difficulty with hearing people who speak quickly or identifying individual voices or sounds if there is too much background noise.
How does alcohol affect hearing?
Drinking excessively produces a toxic environment in your inner ear. The inner ear has tiny hair cells that translate sound that your ears collect and turn into electronic vibrations. The inner ear then transfers them to the auditory nerve and then to the brain. The toxins that are produced in the inner ear from overconsumption of alcohol damages and destroys the hair cells, and they cannot regenerate. Since damaged hair cells are permanent, hearing loss is also permanent.
A study on young adults living in London showed that overconsumption of alcohol may lead to difficulty with comprehending low frequency noises. This syndrome is known as “cocktail deafness”. Hearing abilities would go back to normal when the participants stopped drinking. Researchers hypothesized that recurring instances of alcohol induced hearing loss could cause permanent hearing damage.
Dizziness and tinnitus
Drinking can cause imbalance issues and feelings of dizziness.
The Vestibular Disorders Association claim that alcohol changes the composition and volume of fluid in the inner ear. As a result, it can cause dizziness and imbalance in addition to loss of hearing.
Alcohol will absorb into the inner ear’s fluid and remains there, even when it is no longer present in the blood or the brain. The inner ear oversees balance, and this may cause vertigo and spatial disorientation. Tinnitus - a ringing or buzzing noise - can also occur in addition to the dizziness. Tinnitus may happen if alcohol causes the blood vessels to swell. This can then cause more blood to flow in the inner ear. This problem is not life-threatening and will go away within a few hours, but it can be bothersome.
Ask yourself if you, or a loved one, have alcohol use disorder (AUD). You may use this information to seek treatment.
Even if you do not excessively drink alcohol, reducing the amount that you consume can be beneficial to your overall health and protect the hearing that you still have.
If you think you are noticing hearing loss, or want to find out whether you do have hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Determining whether or not you have hearing loss requires a hearing test conducted by a professional, but if you suspect you may have hearing loss here are some indications.
Five signs that you have hearing loss
Solutions to Your Hearing Loss
High-frequency hearing loss is generally a type of sensorineural hearing loss, indicating that hair cells located in the inner ear have been damaged. These hair cells translate sound into signals and transfer them to along the auditory nerve and into the brain in order to be interpreted. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a multitude of things, including disease, genetics, infection, or noise exposure. There’s no cure for sensorineural hearing loss, but it can be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. It is important to get diagnosed early and seek treatment. Early diagnosis allows for early intervention, which will help preserve the hearing abilities that you still have. Additionally, hearing loss that goes untreated has been associated with mental health conditions like anger, anxiety, decrease in cognitive abilities, depression, frustration, isolation, and loneliness.
Get help from a professional hearing aid provider
The majority of modern hearing aids are discreet, stylish and advanced. They can strengthen the sounds in high frequencies that you may be missing, without amplifying the lower frequencies that you are able to hear.
Even if you are not experiencing any signs of hearing loss, it’s best to get a yearly hearing test. Treat your hearing health like your vision or overall health care. Do not wait for these issues to arise.
Get a free hearing test from us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. Our hearing instrument specialists will evaluate your test results and discuss the best options that we have available for you.
Essential oils have recently become very popular, mainly because of the growth in interest for using alternative medicine.
What exactly are essential oils?
These are concentrated liquids that are extracted from plants, such as fruits and herbs. Popular essential oils are lavender, lemon and peppermint. Normally, these oils are used in foods or other products, like candles, to add flavor or a pleasant scent.
There have been several claims made about essential oils, which are not FDA regulated. There is little to no evidence that essential oils can help with ear infections, hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo. There has not been enough clinical research on whether essential oils are helpful, and most claims are either unfounded or only based on people’s self-evaluations.
CBD Oils and Tinnitus
CBD oil is one of the few types of oils that has been thoroughly researched. There has been conflicting research demonstrating that CBD oil is helpful for tinnitus.
Essential Oils for Vertigo and Ear Infections
There has been no evidence that essential oils are useful when it comes to treating vertigo, or ear infections.
Do Essential Oils Pose Any Risks?
Essential oils are not severely dangerous, and most likely won’t cause permanent damage. If you decide to use them, be aware of any allergic reactions to your skin.
Essential oils should never be applied in your ear canal. The oil may burn delicate mucous membranes in the ear if it is not diluted upon application.
What to do if You are in Need of Care for Your Hearing Health
As previously mentioned, essential oils are not proven to help with any hearing problems that you may have.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, or any other issues related to your hearing health, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to schedule a free hearing test and consultation.
Veterans with Hearing Loss or Tinnitus
There are many veterans who suffer from hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Those who have served in our military may receive hearing healthcare benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Every year, approximately one million veterans collect disability compensation for their hearing loss.
Due to regular exposure to loud noises during active combat, and other job-related duties, hearing loss is the most common service-related injury among veterans.
In order to help veterans deal with their hearing loss, or tinnitus, the VA provides these two services:
How do you know if you are eligible for hearing aids from the VA?
In order to obtain hearing aids, you have to qualify for VA Health Benefits. After being enrolled, veterans may search for benefits for hearing tests, exams and hearing aids. You may apply here, you may call 1-877-222-VETS or visit your local VA healthcare facility or regional office.
Not every veteran will receive hearing aids. The following veterans are likely to benefit from hearing aid care:
To speak to a representative from your nearest VA medical center, contact them here.
Preventative Measures for Hearing Loss in the Military
Veterans who are at least 65-years-old - particularly those who served an extensive amount of time in combat zones - are twice as likely to develop severe hearing loss than others.
Here are some things that current service members can do to protect their hearing health:
Veterans with Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a prevalent issue for veterans. If you constantly hear a ringing, buzzing or whistling sound, you might be eligible for hearing care, disability payments, and the VA’s tinnitus management program. Please contact your local VA office for more information. There is no known cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments to help those who suffer from it.
If you, or a loved one, are a veteran who does not qualify to receive hearing aids from the VA, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer a free hearing test and a variety of hearing aid solutions for any range of hearing loss.
Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, are rare noncancerous tumors that push on nerves located in the inner ear, which affects hearing and balance. They develop on the vestibulocochlear nerve, which is the nerve that is connected from your inner ear to the brain and is responsible for the function of your hearing and balance. They slowly grow due to an overproduction of vestibular schwannoma (or Schwann cells).
This is a rare tumor that is typically found in middle-aged individuals, between the ages of 30 and 60. They affect women more than men. It is diagnosed through hearing tests and imaging tests.
Two Types of Acoustic Neuromas
Unilateral acoustic neuromas: This usually affects one ear. It’s the most prevalent type of acoustic neuroma, and can progress at any age. Acoustic neuroma may be caused by nerve damage from environmental circumstances.
Bilateral acoustic neuromas: This affects both ears and is hereditary. Neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2) is a problem that affects the makeup of genes.
Causes of Acoustic Neuroma
Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
A number of physical issues may arise as a result of tumors growing and pushing against brain structures or cranial nerves. Here are some symptoms:
To lower the risk factors of acoustic neuroma, be mindful of loud noise exposure. Symptoms of these tumors can be similar to issues with your middle or inner ear, which makes it difficult to diagnose. Procedures prior to a diagnosis include an exam for your ears and a hearing test.
A computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can aid in figuring out the location and size of the tumor. An early diagnosis can give you the best chance for a successful treatment. Be sure to wear hearing protection if you do need to get an MRI scan.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Our digital media assistant, Vi, is working on an article about tips to improve your sleep if you have tinnitus.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids, if you need hearing aids to help relieve your tinnitus symptoms.
Struggling to Sleep while Suffering from Tinnitus
Sleep is very important for the health of your mind and body. If you have tinnitus - the sensation of hearing a ringing, whistling, or similar sound when no external noise is actually present - the noise is always present. As a result, the ability to sleep becomes a huge struggle which can affect your daily life.
Your anxiety from it makes it difficult to fall asleep, and being deprived of sleep makes the tinnitus worse, thus a vicious cycle begins.
Using the right methods can help you quickly fall into a deep, restful sleep.
Here are 12 tips to help you quickly fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and improve your sleeping conditions each night.
1. Reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume
Tinnitus is frequently caused by consuming too much caffeine. In instances when it does not trigger tinnitus symptoms, it still makes it difficult to sleep if you drink it in the afternoon or evening. It diminishes your quality of rest.
It may be a good idea to completely remove caffeine from your diet because it activates your nervous system. If you are already irritated by tinnitus, your nervous system is worked up, and caffeine tends to increase your stress and feelings of restlessness.
If you do not want to completely take out the caffeine from your diet, the best thing you can do is cut down on your overall caffeine consumption and avoid it for at least eight hours before going to bed at night.
2. Reduce screen-time with your devices
Everyone has an internal day and night cycle. This is called the circadian rhythm. Being awake during the daytime causes our bodies to release what are known as daytime hormones. At night, when the sunlight is gone, your brain releases melatonin - a hormone indicates that it is nighttime, and that you should sleep.
The bright blue light the comes from our phones, computers, TVs or any other screens with light will send a signal to your brain to stop releasing melatonin. Falling asleep becomes a bigger struggle after exposing yourself to this blue light.
It is recommended that you refrain from looking at any electronics with blue light for at least 90 minutes before going to sleep.
You may also use blue light blocking technology if you do not want or cannot give up your screen time. A simple option is to get a pair of glasses that can block out the blue light.
Another option is to download an app onto your smartphone and computer that will make the screen dimmer and add a filter that is tinted in red, which will remove most of the blue light spectrum.
Apple and Android phones have a setting that will allow you to filter out the blue light from your screens.
3. Mask the sounds
If you still have partial hearing abilities, sound masking is a simple way to improve your sleep if you have tinnitus. You can do this by playing background noise (it’s best to play it at a volume level that is just under the volume of your tinnitus) to drain out the perceived volume of sound, and it should help you ignore it so that you can sleep.
Masking the volume of your tinnitus isn’t completely possible for everyone, but it can still be useful. Masking forms a barrier of sound that obstructs quiet sounds that may wake you. It also prevents you from waking up in total silence, which is generally a difficult environment for most who suffer from tinnitus.
You may use any sounds that are relaxing to you. This can include anything from ambient music to nature sounds.
4. Write down your thoughts
Another reason why people struggle to sleep is due to thoughts running through your mind. Consciously, and subconsciously, we think about random thoughts that we want to remember, making it harder to get a good night’s rest. When tinnitus is thrown into the mix, your endless thoughts and feelings of anxiety make the tinnitus worse.
You can calm your thoughts and ease your mind by writing down what ever is that is keeping you up. By doing this, you are freeing up your mind and should fall asleep better.
It may also be useful to create a to-do-list for the following day, along with any thoughts you have about your tinnitus. This could help take it off of your mind.
5. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day
Although this is not a fast way to improve your sleep if you have tinnitus, it is a good idea to improve the consistency of your sleeping routine. Go to bed and set your alarm to wake up at the same time each day. If you end up waking up earlier than you had planned, due to your tinnitus, that does not mean you are doing it incorrectly. This is mainly a way to train your body to fall asleep at a certain time each night.
If you go to sleep and wake up at a different time every day, this can cause your body to experience a physiological state that is akin to jet lag. As a result, this will most likely prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep.
6. Create a relaxing routine in the evening
A very helpful way to quickly fall asleep is to have a relaxation routine every evening before going to sleep.
Watching TV, using your smartphone, or computer before bedtime makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Develop a routine that helps you relax, so that you will be able to better manage your tinnitus.
Physical relaxation Tips: Take a hot bath, engage in trigger point self-massage with a tennis ball, stretch, and engage in progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Mental relaxation Tips: Read a book (an actual, physical book, not an e-book), meditate, listen to relaxing music, spend your time with a loved one or pet, and practice breathing techniques.
Select any of these relaxation techniques, and be consistent by doing the same routine every evening. Your brain will begin to make the connection between your routine and going to sleep.
7. Darken your bedroom to make it pitch black
Having a bedroom that is pitch-black can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
A simple and inexpensive way to do this to wear a sleep mask to cover your eyes. You may also use blackout curtains over your windows, or use blankets and black electrical tape to cover any light sources emanating from electronics.
8. Replace your night lights
Night lights tend to use white or blue light, which can make it more difficult to sleep. There is a red light option that won’t disturb your sleep. If you use nightlights, replace blue, white, or clear bulbs with the red night light bulbs. This will obstruct the blue light spectrum, or you can purchase red night lights.
9. Turn down the thermostat
Some studies have indicated that the best room temperature for a good night’s rest is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Author and sleep expert, Shawn Stevenson, explained in his best-selling book “Sleep Smarter” that when it is time for your body to rest, your core body temperature drops to help initiate sleep. If the temperature remains too high, it can be a physiological challenge for your body to get into the best condition for a restful night’s sleep.
To feel comfortable with a blanket over you, it would be a good idea to wear socks if you tend to get cold feet.
You don’t need to turn your thermostat to 60 degrees if you have difficulty sleeping with tinnitus. You can just try to turn the temperature down a few degrees.
10. Brainwave entrainment
Brainwave entrainment is a technology that helps you sleep faster, generates shifts in your mental state, and how you feel, by only using sound.
You can alter your mental state, and how you feel, by influencing your brainwave pattern to change by using external stimulation. The effect is called brainwave entrainment. This can be accomplished by using a flashing light, sounds, and vibrations.
You may synchronize your brainwave frequencies to the frequencies that complement with falling asleep. As a result, you will begin to feel more relaxed, sedated, and sleepy in minutes. All you need to do is push a play button.
11. It is not advised to toss and turn
If you haven’t been able to fall asleep, whether you haven’t gotten any sleep or you woke up at night and struggled to fall back asleep, do not simply toss and turn with the0 hope that the buzzing or ringing will stop.
What you can do instead is get up, and make yourself a light snack. Digestion requires physiological energy, and eating a small snack normally makes you feel tired. After eating, sit down on a comfortable chair or couch. You can play music to cover up the tinnitus and read an actual physical book, not an eBook.
When you begin to yawn or feel tired, go back into your bed. This change in routine makes it easier to fall back asleep.
12. Get help for your tinnitus
There is hope for those who struggle with tinnitus. The first step is to improve your quality of sleep. Hearing aids can also be used to help drown out the noise, in addition to taking your focus away from the tinnitus.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing instrument specialists.
A Study on Hearing Loss
According to a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine, in 2060, the amount of individuals over 20-years-old who have some form of hearing loss will double. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, but it is mainly due to living an average modern life.
The activities that we engage in and the environments that we put ourselves into all pose a risk to hearing health. The main culprit is high decibel levels. It takes 85 decibels (dB) or more to cause permanent NIHL (noise-induced hearing loss) or tinnitus (ringing sensation in the ears). That is nearly the same level of noise that is emitted from a typical lawn mower.
There are a number of things you can do to protect your hearing, without sacrificing the things you enjoy doing.
When Using Earbuds
Refrain from blasting the volume when listening to music. Keep the volume at a low level, and take breaks from wearing them. A good tip is to keep your device under 60% of its volume level.
Going out to Bars and Restaurants
Bars and restaurants can be noisy when there’s a big crowd of people. On average, conversations between people reach 50-65 dB. When there are several conversations happening at the same time, while music is playing in the background, it can be difficult to understand others. Sports bars are widely known for having many TVs and bustling crowds.
When you are out at one of these places, if the area is too loud, ask your waiter or bartender to turn the volume down on the TV or music. Your hearing health should be a priority, so your bartender or waiter should be accommodating.
When seeing a Movie in the Theater
Watching an action-packed movie is entertaining, but can also be loud. There are some films that can reach up to 100 dB. Unfortunately, movie theaters across the U.S. do not have regulations for the volume level on speakers.
If you don’t want to miss out on a theater experience, wear protection for your ears. You could also wait until the movie is available to watch from home, so you can save money and adjust the volume to a comfortable setting.
Experiencing a live performance from your favorite band or musician is always exciting, so don’t let noisy venue ruin your hearing. A typical rock concert can reach 110 to 140 dB. This can cause NIHL, even after one concert. Have you ever noticed symptoms of tinnitus? If you have, there may be permanent damage to your hearing.
When you go to a concert, remember to carry a pair of earplugs. If you have children coming along with you, there are special earmuffs available for them. If possible, look for a spot that is not too close to a speaker or rowdy concert goers.
Going to Sports Arenas
Attending a live sporting event is exciting, but it can get loud at these games. It was reported that two of the loudest stadiums in the U.S. - Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MS and Centurylink Stadium in Seattle, WA, surpassed 100 dBs, which is very dangerous for your hearing health! In 2013 the Seattle Seahawks reached 137.6 dB, while the Kansas City Chiefs reached 142.2 dB! Remember, it only takes at least 85 dB to cause permanent NIHL or tinnitus. This is why it’s very important to wear protection for your ears.
Modern life can cause issues for your hearing health, but never let these things stop you from enjoying fun experiences.
If you, or a loved one, have hearing loss and want to enjoy fun activities again contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids and we’ll find a hearing aid solution!