It should be no surprise that whether you are listening to music or media, a long length of time spent listening plus a high volume level can eventually lead to hearing loss.
This can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time.
Across the globe, children, teens, and young adults spend time listening to music for several hours each day. The volumes often surpass the recommended limits for each person. Awareness of this issue, and actions taken against it, is the best way to practice self-care.
The previous threshold for listening was 85 decibels (dB), but that has currently been lowered to 70 dB by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 50 percent of people between the ages of 12 to 35 are susceptible to hearing loss after long and disproportionate exposure to powerful sounds from music playing through earbuds or headphones.
It’s important to remind readers that serious levels of hearing loss are not signs of normal aging. It’s a result of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
It’s similar to how many falsely believe that large wrinkles and dark spots of skin are signs of normal aging. They are the result of harmful exposure to solar and UV rays.
Important Hearing Statistics
Anyone who frequently uses a personal listening device, along with earbuds or headphones, is damaging their hearing health.
The younger population tends to have listening devices that come with earbuds or headphones. While others can’t hear their chosen media, they are doing serious harm to their hearing.
Many of these young people will begin to notice difficulty with their hearing by the time they reach their mid-40s. They will struggle with hearing just as much as their grandparents, who are at least in their 70s.
Hearing loss not only impacts your ability to hear and communicate but as frequently mentioned in this blog, cognitive decline and risks of dementia become more serious.
In a study from 2011, people with hearing loss had a higher chance of having dementia symptoms if:
Research indicates that anyone who does not receive treatment for their hearing loss promptly is at higher risk of dementia.
There have been studies that showed hearing loss that was treated with hearing aids reduced risks of cognitive decline and dementia.
Even though this information is important, the key to healthy hearing is preventative care. General health habits like diet and exercise help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
Follow Healthy Limits to Noise
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss from noise can occur instantly or gradually over time.
Some people live in bustling cities or work in loud environments, causing recurring exposure to unsafe levels of noise which could impact long-term health.
Here are tips on how to keep your hearing health safe:
Hearing health in children and teens is particularly important. Their bodies are still developing. They need to hear to learn and acquire social skills. Hearing loss impedes that process for social development and education, which can negatively impact work performance and income.
Sound Level Meter App
You may use a free or inexpensive sound level meter app to measure noise levels in any environment and determine whether you should leave the area for a quieter space.
Detect Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to know what the warning signs of hearing loss are so that you can immediately seek help. Oftentimes, it’s family members, friends, or co-workers who notice your hearing loss before you do. Here are some common signs:
This rounds up our work of raising awareness for Protect Your Hearing Month.
If you are noticing hearing loss, or if you haven’t had your hearing checked in a long time, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some assistive listening devices for a wide range of hearing loss.
Have you ever wondered if you heard a real noise, or if it was all in your head?
If you are hearing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound that nobody else around you hears, there’s a possibility that it is tinnitus. You should get it checked immediately by a hearing healthcare professional. After going over your medical history with them, they will examine your ear canal with an otoscope and check for earwax build-up. After carefully cleaning out the earwax, your hearing may be restored. If it’s not caused by earwax obstruction, a hearing test will be conducted.
If there is an obstruction or tinnitus, you may be referred to a physician. If there are no other obstructions present, i.e. a foreign object, and no other possible causes are found, you may have hearing loss. Tinnitus and hearing loss usually go hand-in-hand. If you are experiencing tinnitus, chances are that hearing loss is inevitable. Nearly 90% of individuals who have tinnitus, also have some range of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Tinnitus Assessments from a Hearing Healthcare Professional
At Pure Sound Hearing, our hearing care providers may conduct a pure tone audiometry test. This test would have a high chance of being administered if your tinnitus is single-sided (unilateral) or if you also experience hearing loss. The pure tone audiometry test will play a range of frequencies at different volume levels. Even if you cannot detect any difference in your hearing, this test can show areas where your hearing has weakened. Remember, hearing loss occurs gradually over time and you might not notice the loss until it becomes very severe. Catching your hearing problems early can potentially slow down the loss. You may be asked to repeat words back to your hearing healthcare provider so that they can hear how accurately a patient repeats these words.
Tinnitus is the perceived noise that a person hears, which cannot be heard by anyone else. Our specialists will use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. This practice involves playing audio clips to recognize which sound is closest to the sound that the person hears internally.
Our hearing instrument specialists may use a minimal level of masking to conclude whether a patient experiences tinnitus. This will also determine how loud a sound is conveyed. Our providers will play an audio clip at gradually increasing volume levels until the patient indicates that the external noises completely cover up the phantom sounds.
Your Experiences with Tinnitus
By discussing your tinnitus with our hearing instrument specialists, they will be able to help you understand how your symptoms are negatively affecting your daily life and overall well-being.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but the symptom of an underlying health condition. If you are noticing a beeping, buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to talk about the problems you are experiencing and we'll help you find a solution.
This blog has covered various causes of hearing loss. There’s noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), presbycusis, hearing loss that is caused by illness, infection, or may be present at birth. While playing sports is a great form of exercise and helps build teamwork skills, it may also lead to a higher risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. Athletes are more prone to injuries and tend to be exposed to excessive noises.
Hearing Loss in relation to Sports Injuries
Hearing injuries while engaging in sports on the field are one of the highest risks to an athlete. Damage to the ear or auditory system of the brain can be caused by a head or neck injury, which may lead to permanent hearing loss. In contact sports, like football, the injuries in athletes are more frequent. The majority of football players have experienced at least one concussion throughout their professional career. A number of them have had multiple head injuries, and endured damage to the inner ear or ear canal.
These head injuries do not only affect cells in the inner ear, but they could also cause harm to the bones in the middle ear, or obstruct the ear canal. This creates challenges for sounds to reach the inner ear. Concussions and head injuries may also induce symptoms of tinnitus.
The obvious loud noises that are associated with sports stadiums can also cause hearing loss. Athletes and fans express excitement over scores during live games. In addition to the music that plays during the games or at halftime shows, fans will cheer, shout, and stomp their feet. This can be overwhelming for the ears and cause hearing loss for athletes and fans.
Hearing loss usually goes unnoticed at first, so there’s a risk for athletes who participate in games where the noise is intense.
If You’re an Athlete, Protect Your Hearing
It’s important for athletes to wear hearing protection, when they are in high risk situations. It’s also important for them to avoid injuries while playing on the field. Wear earplugs that are customized for your ears, so that they don’t fall out while engaging in sports.
If You’re a Sports Fan, Protect Your Hearing
If you’ve been to live gaming events, there’s a chance that you have been exposed to harmful levels of noise. If you have left an arena and notice everything sounds muffled or hear a buzzing/ringing sound, that indicates the environment was too loud and there may be damage to your hearing.
Protect your hearing when you go to sports games, and encourage friends and family to do the same. You can easily purchase earplugs made from foam, plastic, or wax. You can tell if your environment is too loud if you find yourself shouting in order to communicate with someone who is sitting or standing right next to you.
Get Your Hearing Tested
There’s a higher risk of hearing loss among athletes, so regular hearing screenings and hearing tests need to be administered during their healthcare check-ups. Sports fans who regularly attend live sporting events, or even watch them on loud TVs, should also be conscious of their hearing health.
Start by getting a baseline hearing test. This will show you your specific hearing range. When you go to follow-up appointments, you can use the baseline hearing test results and compare them with your latest hearing test results. Getting treatment for your hearing loss can help you keep the hearing abilities you still have while slowing down further loss. It will also be easier to adjust to your hearing aid or assistive listening devices, to improve your overall hearing and health.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you are experiencing hearing loss. Our providers will patiently work with you to find the best solutions.
The only avoidable type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Being in a loud environment, like a concert or a noisy workplace, could pose a danger to your hearing health.
It’s important to practice preventative measures because once you lose your hearing, you cannot get it back.
Ears have tiny hair cells that help you hear. Once the hair cells are damaged, they cannot be reconstructed and hearing cannot be restored. This is why it’s so important to start protecting your ears at a young age. If you already have difficulty with hearing, it's still important to take precautions in order to slow down or prevent worsening symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus.
3 Hearing Loss Facts
Decibels: A Unit of Noise Measurement
Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Listening to sounds that are 85 dB or higher can eventually lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. Consider this “equation”:
volume level + length of time spent listening = risk of damage to your hearing health
Examples of Sounds and their Decibel Levels
Whispering - 30 dB (Safe noise level)
A humming refrigerator - 40 dB (Safe noise level)
Dishwasher - 45 to 65 dB (Safe noise level)
A conversation (with your normal speaking voice at arm’s length) - 65 to 80 dB. This is considered a safe noise level, but if you need to yell at someone during your conversation who is at arm’s length, the background noise is probably too loud.
Lawnmower - 80 to 100 dB. You may lose some of your hearing, so wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
A movie playing in the theater - 70 to 104 dB. Protect your ears by sitting far away from the speakers, and wear earplugs.
Motorcycles - 80 to 110 dB. Riding or being around a motorcycle after an hour can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs and then put on a helmet before you start your ride.
Sports events - 94 to 110 dB. Hearing loss can occur in less than half an hour at a sports game. A combination of a cheering and/or stomping crowd, and blaring music can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs.
Headphones - 96 to 110 dB. If you listen to music through headphones at the highest volume, you could lose some of your hearing within a few minutes. Protect your hearing by lowering the volume.
Rock concerts, parties, or nightclubs - 95 to 115 dB. Hearing loss can occur within a few minutes, so it’s important to wear earplugs. The band wears them as they play. Don’t stand near the speakers.
Sirens - 110 to 129 dB. The sirens from an ambulance, police car, or fire truck can cause some hearing loss in under a minute. When you see one of these vehicles approaching, get away from the noise, if it’s possible (you can close your car windows.) If you are outdoors, simply plug your fingers in your ears until after they pass by.
Fireworks - 140 to 160 dB. Fireworks are fun to watch, but they can harm your hearing. If a firecracker explodes close to your ear, you can completely lose your hearing. Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs, and watch from a safe distance.
Hearing Loss Warning Signs
Warning signs, such as pain or ringing in the ears, don’t occur until there is hearing damage. If you notice that loud noises aren’t as aggravating as they used to be, this indicates that you have lost some of your hearing.
You can figure out whether your environment is dangerous to your hearing if you need to yell at someone who is standing just a couple of feet away, in order to communicate with them. This means you should put your earplugs in, or go to a quieter space.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Just about everyone has experienced getting a song stuck in their head. But have you ever heard a tune that isn’t actually playing?
You could have a condition known as, musical ear syndrome (MES) or musical tinnitus. This is similar to tinnitus, except you hear music or singing when there’s no actual source for the sounds.
If you are experiencing this, be aware that this is NOT an early sign of dementia. However, it may be the result of hearing loss.
Let’s learn a little more about MES, treatment options, and whether there are tricks to lower the volume.
Musical Ear Syndrome: An Explanation
MES is a chronic condition that causes musical auditory hallucinations. It’s actually fairly common but rarely diagnosed. It’s derived from hearing loss, but the basic details of this condition are still unknown.
The brain gathers information from your five senses to help you understand your environment. When you have complications with your hearing, the brain won’t completely shut off its functioning. Instead, the brain will find something to replace the lack of ability to hear with a sound that will stimulate it. It essentially fills in the void with noises that it has heard in your different environments. An assortment of sounds can be produced. When it comes to MES, the brain will replace the void with music.
Do we know the causes of Musical Ear Syndrome?
Even though the logistics of MES are still being researched and studied, some causes of the syndrome have been identified.
1. Hearing Loss
Disregarding other hallucinatory or cognitive symptoms, hearing music that is not actually playing may be caused by hearing loss. It is possible to have MES and other conditions like dementia.
2. Wearing a Cochlear Implant
Some reported cases that caused MES includes the insertion or removal of a cochlear implant.
The connection between cochlear implants and MES has not been thoroughly analyzed, so there is insufficient information. A study on 82 patients, showed that 22 percent had developed MES - 7 prior to implantation and 11 post-implantation.
Some medications can induce hallucinations, which include auditory hallucinations. These instances generally include hearing voices or noises.
It is very uncommon that medications would cause MES. If you do notice that your medication is causing any type of hallucinations, mention it to your healthcare provider.
What are treatments for Musical Ear Syndrome?
1. Hearing Aids
Getting treatment for hearing loss could reduce the symptoms. If your hearing can be improved with hearing aids, that could help stop your brain from trying to fill in the blanks.
If your MES is not being induced by your medication and you have run out of options, other medications might help. Here are some medications that have been used to treat MES:
There are possible side effects to every medication, so talk to your healthcare provider before selecting a treatment option.
Changes in Your Lifestyle
Other things that you can do, besides hearing aids and medical treatments, are little changes to your daily routine that may reduce the impact of MES.
If you can hear, whether it’s with or without a hearing aid, add some external noises. This may seem unusual or unhelpful, but listening to music or background noise might deter your brain from creating its own noise.
Strategies to practice if the music is distracting you:
Activities to practice in order to lower stress in connection to MES:
MES happens when you hear music even when there’s no outer source that is creating it.
It is created in your brain. It is NOT a psychological problem or symptom of dementia. It’s generally caused by some range of hearing loss, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin.
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids could be a solution to MES. If you have MES, find out whether you have hearing loss by contacting us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
It’s important to protect your hearing health. Poor hearing can negatively impact your daily life, interactions with other people, your job, your income, and your overall health. This is why it is crucial to learn the difference between earplugs and earmuffs. Both of them can protect your ears, but they help in very different ways. It all comes down to your personal preferences. Before selecting hearing protection, do some research.
Protection for Your Hearing
Hearing protection can help preserve your hearing health and the health of your ears. They are meant to be worn either in or around your ears when you are in an environment with noise levels that exceed the average human’s hearing threshold of 80-85 decibels.
Devices used for hearing protection are made to decrease the risks of noise-induced hearing loss, which can be annoying and in some instances irreversible. Equipment used for hearing protection can help shield your ears from noise-related syndromes such as overall discomfort, hypertension, stress, and tinnitus. There are two primary types of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Let’s learn about their differences and similarities.
Earplugs will provide the most protection for those who wear them. Generally, they are small, shaped like a tube, and can be inserted in your ear canal. There are disposable and reusable versions. You may select foam earplugs, custom molded or preformed earplugs, musician earplugs, electronic earplugs, or non-linear acoustic earplugs that are filtered.
Earplugs are easy to take with you when you’re on the go, because they are small and lightweight. They are more affordable than earmuffs, and disposable earplugs are even less expensive than reusable ones. Earplugs are comfortable to wear, especially if you have to work in a hot, humid environment or an area that has confined space.
The downside of earplugs (both reusable and disposable) is that it takes extra time to place them in your ears correctly. They need to be properly placed in your ears in order for them to function at an optimal level. It is recommended that you place the earplugs in your ear’s canal, then use your fingers to dig them in and out of the canal until they feel comfortably fitted.
Good hygiene is important while touching your earplugs. Your hands should be clean whenever you handle your earplugs, otherwise, they can become infected or irritated with dirt and bacteria. Keep your earplugs in a case or purchase a pair with cords attached, so that you don’t misplace them.
Earmuffs have a basic design that is intended to block out noise. It looks like a headband that features ear cups on each end. The ear cups are donned on the outer part of the ear while utilizing the headband’s clenching force to ensure that it fits comfortably on the head as it obstructs loud sounds. You may select the standard earmuffs, click-onto helmet earmuffs, active electronic earmuffs, or active noise reduction earmuffs.
Earmuffs are easier to wear and remove than earplugs. They are usually worn in environments with an irregularity of noise. They are also designed to fit most head shapes. No matter what size your head is, you can find earmuffs that will fit. It’s easier to find and keep track of where your earmuffs are since they are larger than earplugs.
The less convenient aspects of earmuffs are that they are heavier and not easily portable. Due to their size and difficulty to travel with, earmuffs can also be a hassle to wear along with your current personal protective equipment (PPE). Earmuffs also tend to be uncomfortable to wear in warmer weather.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer hearing aid solutions, assistive listening devices, and hearing protection for your individual needs.
It’s rare to experience sudden hearing loss after getting dental care, but there have been some instances where this has happened. It’s important to seek help if any hearing problems suddenly come up, whether they are noticed shortly after your dentist visit. Early detection and treatment can help to prevent worsening symptoms.
Experiencing sudden hearing loss, which could also come with tinnitus, feelings of fullness in the ear, or dizziness, can be caused by inflammation after receiving dental work. There’s a very low chance that the issue was caused by an ear infection, but it’s possible that an existing infection was irritated by drilling or deep cleanings.
There’s a chance that the hearing loss could be caused by not receiving regular dental care. Tooth decay, abscesses, and inflamed gums have been linked to temporary hearing loss and tinnitus. Medications that are taken to reduce tooth pain can also lead to hearing loss.
Hearing Loss caused by Toothaches and Pain Relievers
Pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are safe and effective when taken as directed for temporary relief. But if you are trying to relieve the pain in your gums and decaying teeth due to not being able to afford dental care, you might give in and take more than the recommended dosage.
High doses of aspirin, or even moderate doses that are taken frequently, can cause temporary hearing loss and tinnitus.
Causes and Treatments for Tinnitus
Tinnitus is associated with phantom sounds of buzzing, ringing, or whistling noises. There is no exterior source for these noises. In some instances, the sounds of tinnitus may throb at the same pace as the person’s heartbeat. The sounds might sound loud or faint, could be heard continuously or on occasion, and might be heard in one ear or both ears.
Nearly 1 in 5 people have some form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is not a health condition, rather it’s a symptom of a condition. For example, it could be a symptom of an ear injury, a problem with your circulatory system, damage to the inner ear, dental inflammation or gum infections, exposure to loud noises, or presbycusis (age-related hearing loss).
If you or a loved one experiences hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing instrument specialists.
We’re all feeling a bit stressed these days. Throughout the pandemic, approximately 4 in 10 American adults reported feelings of anxiety and depression. That number was lower before these current circumstances with just 1 in 10 adults who felt these symptoms in 2019.
A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) - an independent source of health policy information - discovered that many adults have reported poor states of mental health and overall well-being. These included struggling to sleep (36%), a rise in alcohol consumption/substance abuse (12%), and a decline in chronic conditions (12%) due to anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.
Tinnitus does not Pair well with Stress
Reports of tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears) have surged since the beginning of the pandemic. This was inevitable, as stress is a contributor to tinnitus.
Several studies in the past have shown that tinnitus symptoms can be exacerbated due to stress, insomnia, and a poor diet. Consuming too much alcohol or caffeine can also make tinnitus symptoms worse. Day-to-day worries about dealing with family, security in your job, interpersonal relationships, and contracting the virus have raised stress levels and feelings of pessimism.
Dealing with tinnitus can be problematic and induce stress. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Hearing Loss Caused by Stress
Depending on your age, you may not consider stress when it comes to your hearing health or your overall health. But stress can induce hearing loss.
When your body responds to stress, adrenaline overproduces which lowers blood flow to the ears. This affects your hearing. The hair cells in your ears need constant blood flow to get the proper level of oxygen and other nutrients. When recurring moments of stress build up, this can disrupt blood circulation throughout the body. The lack of constant blood flow to the hair cells can lead to damage. In some cases, this can cause permanent hearing loss.
It’s easy for many of us to know when anxiety interrupts our well-being, but the idea that our hearing might be affected may not be very obvious. As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss can lead to or even worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is also problematic for hearing health. High blood pressure can lead to damaged blood vessels. This deterioration doesn’t just impact one part of the body. Your whole body, including your ears, is affected.
Ways You Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
Everyone can use some awareness and coping mechanisms to help themselves and their loved ones.
Take these small steps to reduce feelings of stress. You may find that it can make a big difference! Healthy habits can improve your overall well-being.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Could there be a connection between Tinnitus and COVID-19?
There is possible evidence that shows this is the case. A study from the University of Manchester reported that 6.6% of patients claimed to develop tinnitus after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
It’s important to note that tinnitus can worsen in people when they are under too much stress. A global study found that some who already experienced tinnitus felt their symptoms had become worse due to lockdown and new pandemic regulations.
Could there be a connection between Tinnitus and long-COVID?
There have been reports of tinnitus as one of the side effects of long-COVID. Again, stress may also be a cause for the onset or worsening symptoms of tinnitus.
Please know that there are many ways to manage tinnitus. Simple techniques such as:
Have Your symptoms of Tinnitus worsened since working from Home?
Working from home has been a change for some and a challenge for others. Usually, it gives you a quieter environment. This means there’s less distraction in general, and also less distraction from tinnitus. It also means less face to face interactions and more video calls, which can cause additional anxiety and stress. When possible, relax when you can. When you’re not working, do things that bring you joy.
Is the frequent use of Headsets giving you Anxiety and Negatively impacting your Tinnitus?
If you are using headsets more often while working from home, you may be concerned that it’s making your tinnitus worse.
Here are some simple tips for safely using headsets to protect your hearing:
Do You Feel Anxious about Navigating through the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic?
We are currently in between continuing to live through the pandemic while trying to ease into a post-pandemic life. You may still notice feelings of anxiety and stress, which can impact your symptoms of tinnitus.
Please be aware that no one knows what the future is going to look like, and we can’t worry about things that are beyond our control. It’s absolutely normal to feel anxious due to these significant changes. So when it’s possible, take time out to do things that you enjoy.
Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. If you have recently developed tinnitus, and/or notice hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free consultation.
How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Anxiety is an unrelenting and intense state of alertness. While this is completely normal when you encounter stressful circumstances, for some people it becomes an unmanageable condition that consumes their thoughts.
Hearing loss can provoke or even encourage these anxieties, but there haven’t been comprehensive studies on this matter. These worries aren’t simply about hearing loss, but also missing out on important information, embarrassment from a misunderstanding, thoughts of hearing aid batteries running out of power, or feeling left out of job opportunities/social circles.
Experiencing Physical Anxiety
You may have had strong feelings of anxiety which led to physical symptoms, such as:
If any of these symptoms are becoming so frequent that they are negatively impacting your life, you should seek help from a professional. This might include treatment for hearing loss and anxiety.
What Triggers Your Anxiety?
Anxiety is separated into five categories:
If you were in an automobile accident and suffered a head injury, you might suffer from rapid hearing loss and other symptoms of PTSD. Your specific symptoms and treatment may be different from someone who is gradually losing their hearing and constantly pays attention to signs of dementia (but it’s only their hearing that’s been impacted).
People with hearing loss might have tinnitus or Ménière's disease, which can also be distressing and lead to anxiety.
The Statistics on Anxiety and Hearing Loss
Constantly struggling in everyday circumstances that aren’t a problem for most people can lead to stress. Anxiety is one reaction to this stress. Over a 12-year study, about 4,000 French citizens who were at least 65-years-old, and had hearing loss at the beginning of the study had a higher risk of developing symptoms of anxiety over time.
People who had vision loss were not more likely to show symptoms of anxiety. This may be due to the reduced stigma in wearing eyeglasses over wearing hearing aids.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Severity Raise the Risk of Experiencing Anxiety
The link to hearing loss and tinnitus severity was found in adults of every age group. The study found in 17,000 adult participants, there was a higher risk of anxiety if your hearing loss was more severe or you had tinnitus.
This does not automatically conclude that you will be anxious due to hearing loss. In five studies that examined symptoms in hard-of-hearing individuals, between 15 to 31 percent of participants had significant symptoms of anxiety. So overall, most people did not have these symptoms.
Among the general population, anxiety is common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 18 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Are You Anxious in Social Situations or Simply Frustrated due to Problems with Hearing?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), slowly happens over time. Many people don’t notice it, until much later in life.
You can be slowly overcome with feelings of loneliness, which contribute to your mental health - i.e. anxiety.
People who have social anxiety fear any circumstance where they may be negatively judged, whether it’s with people that they work with, or engaging in small talk.
Hearing loss can lead to situations that can frustrate others. When you are unable to hear clearly, you may not notice when someone is about to talk or has not finished speaking, and interrupt that person. You might pretend that you can hear, or make a guess as to what was said, and give an inappropriate response. Maybe you didn’t hear a joke - so you’re the only person who didn’t laugh. Hearing loss can make you feel isolated and create awkward social situations.
If you still enjoy being social with others, you probably have mild social anxiety. If the simple act of sitting with others makes you anxious, you probably have extreme social anxiety.
Those with GAD might have a lot of worries and struggle with physical symptoms for days prior to a date or a job interview.
Tips for Communication
Can Having an Anxiety Disorder Negatively Impact Your Hearing?
A French study conducted on 10,500 Taiwanese adults concluded that there was a higher risk of anxiety among those who experienced sudden hearing loss (SHL). Participants in the study who were diagnosed with GAD, but not hearing loss at the beginning of the research were more likely to develop hearing loss than individuals who did not have GAD. The adults with GAD were not more likely to experience worsening vision.
Additional studies are needed to determine why hearing might be impacted by anxiety.
Treatment for Anxiety is Available
Most people who have anxiety are not treated. It often gets overlooked.
If you want to get help for anxiety, you will need to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation, or medication may be suggested.
Hearing Aids of Assistive Listening Devices
If hearing loss is causing your anxiety, hearing aids can significantly improve your condition. They cannot restore your hearing back to normal, but they can help you manage the anxiety that you feel with communication and listening. Phone apps that provide captions and decibel readers can also be helpful. If the sound of your alarm causes anxiety, you can set one that creates a light that slowly shines like a sunrise, or even a gentle shaking alarm to wake you from your sleep.
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety, or any other concerning symptoms, due to hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Are You Hearing a Rumble in Your Ear? You may be Experiencing Tonic Tensor Tympani in addition to Hearing Loss.
Are you hard of hearing and experienced a vibrating sensation and the sounds of rumbling in your ear? You may not be able to completely describe this new feeling, as it may not resemble your average type of tinnitus.
The rumbling is actually a common symptom of tinnitus. It tends to occur as a way of protecting your ears from noises that are too loud. There are some treatable conditions that may cause this rumbling.
What causes the sound of rumbling in your ears?
In some cases, the rumbling sound resembles rushing water or wind that’s whisking through the air and into your ear.
As mentioned, a rumbling sound is used to safeguard your ears. The ears protect themselves by tightened muscles in the inner ear, which suppress sounds. These muscles are known as “tensor tympani”.
These muscles can pull the malleus (a bone that helps with the ability to hear) in the ear away from the eardrum. Therefore, the eardrum cannot vibrate as much as it normally should. This stifles the ear, causing the rumbling noise.
This could happen while:
It’s important to note that these sounds are not experienced by everyone, but some people do notice the rumbling sounds during these occasions.
Hidden Medical Reasons
In some cases, there are underlying medical issues that can lead to a rumbling sensation to the ear. These causes can include:
There are treatments for both of these conditions.
Some people can consciously generate these sounds.
In some instances, you can control this rumbling sound. There’s a small subdivision of people who have the ability to contract their tensor tympani muscles in their inner ear whenever they want.
Some people create the sounds subconsciously.
One way to notice whether you are creating the sound is if you anticipate hearing the rumbling sound when you are about to do a specific thing, such as yawn.
If you have the ability to control when the tensor tympani muscles contract, this could be useful for protecting your ears from louder inner noises. If you can tense your muscles, you may also be able to shield against low-frequency noises so that you can hear higher (and usually more difficult to hear) sound frequencies that are higher in pitch.
Being able to contract these tensor tympani muscles isn’t something that you should be worried about.
Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome (TTTS)
This is a rare type of tinnitus. This is a form of objective tinnitus, meaning that both the person with the condition and others can hear a sound. Patients with TTTS hear sounds in a different way.
TTTS is also considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus. This means that the condition is related to irregular blood flow. Individuals with high blood pressure, blood vessels with calcifications, and other conditions can have this type of tinnitus.
Is Tonic Tensor Tympani associated with Tinnitus?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a noise when there isn’t an identifiable source of the sound nearby. People have often described it as a chirping, clicking, hissing, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise.
The impact of tinnitus on hearing health varies from person to person. Some experience tinnitus due to irregularities in their blood vessels. Others encounter issues with muscles in their ears, including the tensor tympani muscles.
There’s a possibility that the rumbling noise is tinnitus, particularly if it doesn’t happen when chewing or yawning.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Symptoms of tinnitus can be stressful. Did you know that negative feelings that are connected to tinnitus can make your symptoms worse? Let’s learn more about the link between tinnitus and pessimism. Hopefully, this will help you break the cycle of negative thoughts circling in your mind.
Tinnitus and its connection to Anxiety
The brain and nervous system are designed to respond to threatening encounters, to help you survive. This is known as the fight or flight response. Your brain can not always distinguish the difference between perceived danger and actual danger. This is the reason why you may feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins when you hear a ringing or buzzing noise in your ear, as though you are running away from a bear or other dangerous predator.
Tinnitus induces stress, which signals to your brain that your life might be in danger. Your fight or flight response is triggered, which causes a physiological reaction such as a higher heart rate and sweating, which is commonly associated with anxiety and fear.
Your Inclination to Negative Thoughts
Any thoughts that you associate with your tinnitus can regulate how you react on an emotional level. Your emotions may intensify your suffering. They also structure how you remember things. This is known as negative memory bias.
When you correlate your symptoms of tinnitus with the side effects, it will create stress any time you think about it. That makes sense. You are more likely to think about tinnitus when it negatively impacts your daily life. You can shift your frame of mind to control how you react to the symptoms to alleviate the irksome noise.
Dealing with Your Negativity
If you, or a loved one, are still experiencing tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation. Most modern hearing aids have a tinnitus masking feature that needs to be programmed for your specific listening needs. Our hearing instrument specialists are ready to help you.
After a man from Texas contracted Covid-19, he suffered from a number of symptoms. One of these symptoms was tinnitus.
It is uncertain as to whether tinnitus has a direct link to Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe tinnitus as a symptom, but hearing issues are linked to other viruses.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), listed tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. as symptoms of long Covid.
The Journal of International Audiology studied about 60 cases. The data uncovered that 15 percent of adults who had Covid-19 reported experiencing tinnitus. The researchers concluded that the participants in the study were detailing the symptoms of a new ailment or an existing one that was getting worse.
There has been some confirmation that Covid-19 could provoke symptoms of people with tinnitus, prior to becoming infected with the virus. According to a study published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal, in a survey from 3,100 individuals who had tinnitus, 40 percent of the 237 respondents who contracted Covid-19 reported that their symptoms were “significantly exacerbated” after becoming infected.
As mentioned in our previous blog posts, many viruses can poorly impact our hearing health. This includes measles, mumps, and rubella. Medications that are taken to reduce the spread of Covid, might worsen symptoms of tinnitus. We are well aware of the vicious cycle that can occur from stress-induced tinnitus. The study mentioned how an increase in stress for just about everyone due to fear of catching the virus, or social distancing have intensified feelings of isolation and loneliness. Home-schooling has also increased levels of stress, as have people over consumption of coffee and/or alcohol.
There are nearly 200 causes of tinnitus, some of which include exposure to loud noises, hearing loss, stress, and perforated eardrums. There is no cure for tinnitus, but therapy for cognitive behavior - or talk therapy that’s meant to refocus your thoughts and behavior - or training on how to acclimate yourself to the condition is available.
If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
We’ve talked about tinnitus on this blog many times, but we haven’t discussed pulsatile tinnitus.
Many experience a common form of tinnitus where a ringing or buzzing sound can be heard after being at a concert or a noisy environment. Usually, it fades after a while, but in some cases, it does not. This is how most people experience tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus is a less common form of tinnitus. It’s also known as pulse-synchronous, rhythmic, or vascular tinnitus. It’s like regular tinnitus, in that only the person affected can hear the continuous noise, but the sound is different from the typical buzzing or ringing.
This type of tinnitus follows the rhythm of your heartbeat. It tends to have a thumping or whooshing sound, at a consistent beat. It may be detected by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. This is the only characteristic that distinguishes pulsatile tinnitus from regular tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus happens due to a specific health issue. The primary causes are abnormal blood vessels, high blood pressure, anemia, atherosclerosis, tumor growths in the head and/or neck, and connective tissues found between the arteries and veins. Pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of an underlying disease that requires treatment.
Treatments offered for Tinnitus from Pure Sound Hearing
Hearing aids may be paired with apps on your smartphone. Talk to our hearing instrument specialists if you experience tinnitus.
Two Types of Tinnitus
The most prevalent kind of tinnitus is known as subjective tinnitus. These symptoms can only be heard by the person who is experiencing them. This can be chronic or temporary.
Objective tinnitus can be detected by a healthcare professional. It generally moves at the same pace as your heartbeat, but there can be other rates of speed.
Getting treatment for both subjective and objective tinnitus is available. Make an appointment with Pure Sound Hearing if you need help with tinnitus, or have difficulty hearing. We offer free hearing tests and consultations at our offices in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, and Strasburg.
If you are not hearing very well, or as you usually do, the cause could be anything from aging to viral infections.
Based on the reason for your hearing loss, it might be temporary or permanent.
Get treated immediately if You experience Sudden Hearing Loss
If you experience rapid or sudden hearing loss in one ear or both ears immediately get treatment. There could be harmful inflammation that can be treated with steroids. Sudden hearing loss that goes untreated could lead to permanent hearing loss.
How do you know if You need to see a Medical Professional?
Here’s a guide to follow:
If you responded with “No” to all of these questions, you might be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss needs immediate medical attention.
Prevailing causes of Temporary Hearing Loss?
The majority of temporary hearing loss does not suddenly occur. It happens gradually within a few days or weeks, by the time a person notices it. Temporary hearing loss can be caused by a blockage in the ear canal or another ear-related health condition. Here are some possible causes:
Stereocilia (tiny hairs) and glands located in your inner ears create cerumen, A.K.A. earwax. Usually, this wax naturally falls out or it can be removed through a gentle wash with water. In some instances, it can build up and obstruct your ear canals. When this occurs, your ears may feel as though they are plugged, you might hear a ringing or buzzing noise (tinnitus), or experience some hearing loss. If you are unable to gently remove the earwax by using a warm washcloth, consult a healthcare professional. Do not attempt to remove the wax with any sharp objects like a hairpin. Q-Tips or cotton swabs can push the earwax deeper into your ear canal, causing the eardrum to become perforated and.
Vigorous Exercises or Stress
Your exercise routine might be the cause of your hearing loss or tinnitus. If you exercise past your personal fitness levels, you could experience temporary hearing loss. Your ability to hear should go back to normal within a few hours. See a hearing healthcare professional if the symptoms don’t go away. Severe cases of stress may induce hearing loss or tinnitus.
Temporary hearing loss and/or tinnitus is a common result, after being exposed to loud noises. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In most cases, your hearing will go back to normal, but it’s always helpful to protect your hearing by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. Hearing loss prevention is the only way to protect yourself from NIHL. Frequently being exposed to loud sounds could lead to permanent hearing loss.
Typical Causes of Permanent Hearing Loss
Long exposure to extreme noise
One loud blast of noise may only temporarily make your hearing worse, while a repetition of exposure to blasts or other loud noises could cause permanent loss of hearing. This is the most prevalent type of sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent. The term sensorineural applies to the nerves located inside the ears, along with the tiny sensory cells that are extremely delicate and easy to destroy.
Presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, is another common form of sensorineural hearing loss. Most people who are 75 years of age or older, will notice they cannot hear as well as they could in the past. The beginning of this type of hearing loss arrives gradually, so it will go unnoticed for months or years. Getting treatment for your hearing loss is not simply linked to better hearing, it also helps reduce other health problems such as dementia, depression caused by isolation, or risks of falling.
Health conditions that cause permanent hearing loss
Get your hearing loss treated
Whether or not you suspect that you are experiencing permanent or temporary hearing loss, get your hearing tested. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide variety of hearing aids styles and brands that can be programmed for your specific hearing needs.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that about 15% of Americans have some form of tinnitus. It can be described as a buzzing, clicking, or ringing sound in the ear when there is no environmental sound source. It can be difficult to live with and manage. It is generally reduced to a small inconvenience. Most people who occasionally experience tinnitus will adapt to living with it. If tinnitus frequently interrupts your daily life, there can be a negative impact on it.
The Causes of Tinnitus
If your tinnitus symptoms continue to linger, it can become a long-term problem.
1. Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss and tinnitus tend to go hand in hand. In most instances, tinnitus normally occurs before a person loses their hearing. The inability to hear can negatively impact your life. Conversations during social situations can become challenging. As a result, a person with hearing loss may avoid socializing altogether and become more isolated. This can lead to depression.
Relationships, whether personal or professional, can be strained due to a person’s hearing loss and tinnitus. Mishearing what was said can lead to arguments, especially between couples. Poor communication can also hurt a relationship. A hearing instrument specialist can determine the best hearing aid solution for you, so as not to further weaken relationships with others.
2. Trouble with Sleep
Keeping a healthy sleep schedule is vital for good mental and physical health. Tinnitus can interrupt your sleep, making it difficult to maintain a good sleep routine. Poor sleep is a prevalent side effect of tinnitus. It’s much harder to sleep when you hear noises in your ears. Many people with tinnitus have noticed that their symptoms of tinnitus become worse at night. When a room is too quiet, the noises caused by tinnitus are easy to recognize.
Poor sleeping patterns can lead to low energy, which can impact your performance at work and increase your risk of mental issues. It’s very important to follow a healthy sleep pattern. You can use a white noise machine to make the tinnitus symptoms less noticeable for a restful night.
3. Difficulty with Concentration
A continuous ringing sound makes it very difficult to focus, particularly if you need to execute a complex task. Those with tinnitus may experience poor work or school performance, and quit or drop out. You may not make progress in your career, work up to the level of your, or your employer’s, expectations. As a result, you may not earn as much money due to poor performance.
The inability to concentrate can also negatively impact hobbies, such as reading or writing. Poor sleep patterns can worsen these issues.
Tinnitus can lead to unsafe situations. If you are a driver and begin to experience symptoms of tinnitus, concentrating on driving will be more difficult. If you operate heavy machinery in a work environment, tinnitus can distract you, which can put you and others at risk. It’s important to get help right away.
Some easy ways to handle mild symptoms of tinnitus include:
Treating more Severe Tinnitus:
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Our experienced hearing instrument specialists can offer the best solutions for your tinnitus symptoms.
Sensitive hearing is important to address. Find out what type of hearing sensitivity you experience. Notice how you react to certain sounds. That’s a can tell you, and your hearing healthcare provider, a lot about your experiences and what solutions can help.
Do You Have Tinnitus?
If there’s a ringing sound that no one else can hear but you, this might be a sign of tinnitus. This is a condition where people hear an internal buzzing, clicking, ringing, or whooshing sound when there is no external noise that produces it.
Tinnitus usually occurs when people experience age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) or noise-induced hearing loss, high blood pressure, or a build-up of earwax. These symptoms damage the tiny hair cells located in your ear canal. Incessant ringing sounds can be distracting and dangerous. It can result in long-term hearing loss and social withdrawal.
Do You have Hyperacusis?
If you cannot stand the ear-splitting noise of nails scraping against a chalkboard, you have hyperacusis. This condition can lead to physical pain in your ears that may persist for days to weeks. Average volumes of sound can lead to severe pain, and if the sounds are louder, the more pain you may feel.
Hyperacusis is generally associated with hearing or head trauma. It usually occurs alongside tinnitus. Again, this is caused by lasting damage to the ear’s hair cells. A hearing aid specialist can program hearing aids with sound therapies to detect and mask trigger sounds.
Do You have Misophonia?
The hatred of sound is known as misophonia. Many people with the condition have extreme, and irregular, reactions to certain noises. It’s not merely a dislike of a noise. The sound of chewing, scratching, or tapping might make you want to leave an area.
Physical and emotional reactions as a result of misophonia:
It’s still uncertain as to what causes misophonia. It is grouped with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and tinnitus. It normally develops in children between the ages of 9 to 12. Hearing aids can help drown these sounds out.
Don’t let your sensitivity to sounds interfere with your life. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation with one of our specialists.
Over 80 percent of individuals who experience tinnitus, also have some degree of hearing loss. Please, take the initiative today and get a hearing test. If you plan to be in a space where you are exposed to loud noises, take precautions and carry a pair of earplugs or ear muffs that block out sound to use.
There is no cure for tinnitus, but wearing hearing aids with tinnitus masking programmed into the devices can help relieve its symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is a prevalent health problem that people across the globe currently experience. Seeking the proper treatment should be based on the severity of your hearing loss, its underlying cause, type of hearing loss, and your personal lifestyle.
You should start your hearing loss treatment with a simple hearing test that is conducted by a professional.
The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss that goes untreated in children will adversely affect their development in language acquisition, learning, and socializing with others. Older adults who experience untreated hearing loss typically struggle with following along in conversations. As a result, they might withdraw from activities and other things that they usually enjoy. This leads to social isolation, depression, cognitive decline, and an increase in falls for those who are at least 66-years-old.
Research has shown that Hearing Aids Help with the Following:
Treating Age-Related Hearing Loss
Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), is the most prevalent type of hearing loss. As we age, the cilia (hair cells located in the inner ear) start to lose their function. Half of the adults who are 75 or older have hearing loss.
Presbycusis is a type of sensorineural hearing loss. This indicates that the loss of hearing begins in the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. It’s usually caused by damaged hair cells in the inner ear. In addition to aging, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is also a major cause of this type of hearing loss.
Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. The cilia are irreparable when they become damaged. Anyone who experiences this type of hearing loss can use hearing aids as their best option.
Many people gradually lose their hearing as they age, and it needs to be treated. It’s important to get a regular hearing test because you probably won’t notice the subtle loss of hearing. The earlier you get treatment the more likely you will be able to preserve the hearing that you still have. The ability to hear is important for your safety and overall health. It helps you stay connected to the people in your life, and your surroundings.
How can Hearing Aids Benefit You?
If your hearing instrument specialist recommends hearing aids, based on the results of your hearing test, they will patiently work with you to calibrate the devices to your individual hearing needs. This method is known as a fitting. The fundamental goal of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds. Modern hearing aids can be customized and programmed to your particular needs, like increasing important sounds such as speech noise, while reducing background noise. Hearing aids cannot imitate the same normal hearing that you used to experience, but they are helpful for anyone with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids can be worn behind or inside the ear. It depends on your severity of hearing loss and personal preferences.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid options and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids are very useful but don’t always address every single person’s needs. Those who cannot benefit from hearing aids can use assistive listening devices (ALDs) in situations where hearing is difficult. These devices can improve your experience while you watch TV, listen to music, or talk to someone over the phone. You may use amplified phones, captioned phones, FM systems, TV hearing devices, smartphone apps that use captions, and hearing loops that are connected to hearing aid telecoils (T-coils). Scroll through this page to see the options that we have available at Pure Sound.
Do You also have Tinnitus?
As you age, it’s common to encounter tinnitus if you begin to experience hearing loss. Tinnitus is one of the first signs of hearing loss. Just about all modern hearing aids have a “tinnitus masking feature”, which helps drown out the buzzing or ringing noises. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist for available tinnitus treatments.
Where to Get Help
Hearing loss is common, but modern hearing technology can help with nearly any hearing problem that you have. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
It’s our final day of tinnitus-based articles for Tinnitus Awareness Week.
As we’ve previously discussed and reiterated, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sound without an external source.
Tinnitus is derived from the Latin verb "tinnire", which means "to ring". Even though most people describe tinnitus as a ringing sound in the ears, it can also be described as a buzzing, clicking, hissing, swooshing, or whistling noise.
In nearly every case, tinnitus is caused due to the brain’s reaction to hearing loss. This diminishes the auditory sound or input to the brain. The brain does not react well to that, so it will create a new sensation that replaces the sound of what it had been hearing and expecting.
Temporary vs. Chronic Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be a temporary condition or a continuous health problem. Tinnitus that is short, spontaneous, and lasts seconds to minutes, is an almost universal experience. In other instances, acute or temporary tinnitus that lasts minutes to hours typically happens after extreme and extensive noise exposure leads to a short-term ear injury. Chronic tinnitus - which is defined as lasting for over three months - is more common.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 15% percent of the general population - that’s more than 50 million Americans - experience a variety of tinnitus. About 20 million people endure chronic tinnitus, and two million people experience severe and debilitating cases.
For the majority of patients, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss that is caused by age (presbycusis), long-term hearing damage, or severe trauma to the auditory system. Hearing loss leads to reduced stimulation of external sounds to the brain. As a result, the brain sustains neuroplastic shifts in the way it processes different frequencies of sound. Tinnitus is the result of maladaptive neuroplastic changes.
Individuals with hearing loss and tinnitus may experience relief from using hearing aids and other devices that can be used for amplifying sound.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids that are helpful with tinnitus relief and hearing loss.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sounds when there is no external sound present. People who experience tinnitus may hear the following sounds:
Facts about Tinnitus
Causes of Tinnitus
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately seek help. A lack of medical attention can lead to further hearing loss. Hearing aids can help mask the sounds. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation.
It is tinnitus awareness week, and we’re kicking it off with information on hearing loss and tinnitus as possible side effects of certain antibiotics and medications.
What is ototoxicity?
Ototoxicity refers to having a toxic substance in your body that is harmful to the ear and can negatively impact the health of your hearing abilities. It can induce symptoms of tinnitus, or worsen them, and it can affect your body’s balance because these are all functions of the ear.
Ototoxicity can occur after taking common drugs, including certain pain medications and antibiotics (particularly salicylates). Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as loop diuretics, are a major type of drug that can harm your ear health. Some of the other harmful drugs include chemotherapy agents (particularly if they are platinum-based). If any of these ototoxic drugs are prescribed to you, and you have a history of hearing problems, talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effects.
If you do notice a shift in your ability to hear, such as a different tone in your tinnitus, the onset of tinnitus, and your ability to maintain overall balance in your body (symptoms of dizziness or vertigo), contact your healthcare provider and notify them about these symptoms. There may be instances where you cannot change the medication because it may be life-threatening, but it’s still important to talk about it with your healthcare provider. It’s important to note that NOT ALL ototoxic medications induce tinnitus. Some make a stronger impact on a person’s balance, whereas others have a strong effect on a person’s hearing loss.
The platinum-based drugs (for chemotherapy) would be more likely to cause a person to lose their hearing loss than cause tinnitus. The advantage of the drug would significantly outweigh the side effects. Some medications take a longer time to flush out of your system, so the effects of the drug could happen later. Other medications may cause the effects to happen immediately.
Does tinnitus occur or change when taking an ototoxic medication?
Some medications almost have an immediate onset of tinnitus. After a pill is taken, in 10 to 15 minutes symptoms can begin to occur. If the medication is injected into the body, the onset will occur quicker. If you take one of these medications and within 20 minutes you notice a buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or ringing sound, - that is not coming from your environment - it’s probably a side effect of the medication. Some people may not immediately put two and two together. You may not form a timeline for when you started taking the medication, or when the dosage was added or increased. A new medication may have been taken with an older medication, and you could be dealing with a combination of effects, which could be the sounds that you hear inside your ear.
If you lose track of the timeline for when you took the medication, you can contact your pharmacist and find out when you picked up that prescription. That can help you piece together your timeline.
If you started taking the medication the day you picked up the prescription, or shortly after, and notice the symptoms of tinnitus, you could conclude that the medication is affecting your hearing. Cardiac medications commonly cause tinnitus. You can talk to your healthcare provider and go over your medications and medication intake routine.
To help you with this process, document everything. Document your medication, when you take the doses, and when you begin to notice the tinnitus or hearing loss symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer many hearing aids that help mask the sound of tinnitus.
Hopefully you have been diligently reading our blog posts, because here’s a pop quiz on hearing loss!
True or False? I can purchase hearing aids the same way that I purchase reading glasses from a drug store.
This is false. A hearing healthcare professional must run a hearing test on you and prescribe individual treatment that addresses your specific hearing needs. For example, if you have sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids could be a great option for you. In addition to the range or type of hearing loss that you have, your hearing health care provider will discuss your lifestyle and other preferences in order to program the devices to fit with your needs.
If you experience conductive hearing loss, amplification may not be necessary. Your hearing could be restored by removing ear wax that is obstructing you ear canals, or there could be a benign tumor that needs to be surgically removed. Hearing loss could also indicate an underlying health problem, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
In order to find out why you cannot hear, you need a hearing healthcare professional to test your hearing.
True or False? Hearing aids will make me hear like I did before experiencing hearing loss.
The answer is false. Even though there have been many advancements in hearing aids, especially in the last few years, the devices will not be able to restore your hearing back to normal. It will only preserve the natural hearing abilities that you still have left. Also, if you wait too long - as many people tend to do - your brain needs to relearn how to decipher sounds that you haven’t heard in many years. It’s similar to rehabilitation for a joint replacement or another type of physical injury.
True or False? Your brain helps with the function of hearing.
This is true. Scientific researchers have spent decades studying the correlation between our ears and our brains. Modern hearing aids help our brain determine which sounds we should concentrate on - like a conversation that you are having with someone at a busy restaurant - and which sounds can be ignored.
Your outer ears harness sounds and transfer them into the inner ear, where your tiny sensory hair cells turn them into electrical signals. It’s then transferred through the auditory nerve for the brain to interpret and recognize as sound.
When sensory hair cells become damaged or die off, they can no longer accurately process noise that they receive. The result is sensorineural hearing loss, which can normally be treated with hearing aids. According to Johns Hopkins and the National Institute of Aging, elderly adults who have untreated hearing loss lost an average of a cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to individuals who had healthy hearing abilities.
True or False? Your hearing health can be negatively impacted by the foods that you consume.
The answer is true. In order for your entire body to perform at its best, it requires eating a healthy and balanced diet. Obesity and excessive drinking can contribute to poor hearing. Your auditory system, along with the rest of your body, needs proper blood circulation with the help of a good diet and exercise.
True or False? Hearing aids were not useful for other people that I know, so they probably won’t work for me.
This answer is false. The experience of hearing loss is different for everyone. Your hearing healthcare provider will need to determine whether hearing aids will benefit you. Your range of hearing loss, personal lifestyle and hearing aid style preferences will be factored in to help decide which hearing aid model you will purchase.
After an initial hearing aid fitting and programming, your hearing instrument specialist may need to do additional adjustments and other maintenance to your hearing aids during future appointments. This will ensure that your hearing will improve based on your lifestyle and the environments that you frequently visit.
True or false? The main disability among those in the military service and veterans is tinnitus.
This answer is true. A study from the American Tinnitus Association revealed that over 50 million Americans have some form of tinnitus. Over 12 million Americans, mostly veterans, suffer from tinnitus that is so severe, it can disturb their personal and professional lives. The military reported that tinnitus has been listed as the largest category for disability claims. Hearing loss is the second.
According to hearing healthcare professionals, the majority of tinnitus cases are caused by noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). They account for 90 percent of all tinnitus cases. Any jobs that require workers to be in a noisy environment are at risk of extensive exposure to loud noises - like operating heavy machinery or loud explosions in a veteran’s case. This can cause NIHL.
True or false? Musicians have a higher risk of developing hearing loss.
This is true. Studies have shown that musicians are nearly four times more likely to endure noise-induced deafness, and 57 percent more likely to experience tinnitus. Some well-known musicians who now have hearing loss due to dangerous levels of noise exposure are, Phil Collins, Ozzy Osbourne and Pete Townshend.
True or False? Hearing loss that goes untreated can impact your salary.
The answer is true. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone who has a hearing disability, but research has shown that if you have untreated hearing loss you could lose $30,000 each year. This is due to the inability to accurately or efficiently accomplish tasks because of your hearing loss. Fortunately, the study showed that individuals who get proper treatment for their mild hearing loss by using hearing aids, reduce that risk by 90 to 100 percent.
True or False? My hearing loss only affects me.
The answer is false. Anyone who you communicate with will also be affected, and maybe even frustrated. As mentioned before in this blog, untreated hearing loss can result in anxiety, depression and social isolation. This is due to the person’s struggle to communicate with the people in their life.
The best solution is to get your hearing loss treated as soon as possible. Close to 70 percent of people who got treatment for their hearing loss with hearing aids, indicated that their social life had significantly improved.
True or False? The most effective way to prevent hearing loss is by using ear protection.
This answer is true. NIHL and aging are the top reasons for developing sensorineural hearing loss. If you frequently work in a noisy environment, request hearing protection from your employer. If you have a noisy hobby (woodworking or playing a musical instrument),or attend something like a concert or fireworks display, wear proper hearing protection. It may be wise to invest on a good pair of headphones that block out noise or ear plugs. You won’t be able to stop aging, but you can reduce the risks of NIHL by taking preventative measures.
True or False? The average child will experience their first ear infection by the time they reach the age of three.
This is true. A child’s ears are more likely to get ear infections (otitis media). This is due to how their Eustachian tube is positioned throughout their childhood. Over 75 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media before they turn three years old.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions for people of all ages.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are in need of a hearing aid repair, call us prior to an office visit. We ask that you please place your hearing aids in a clean ziplock bag and wait in your car for our curbside services. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
COVID-19 has recently been associated with long-term health problems including heart disease, lung disease, and neurological disorders. New research is coming out on whether hearing loss and tinnitus can be a side effect of COVID-19 - it may be a symptom or a complication that emerges days or weeks after becoming infected.
We have been aware of different bacteria and virus infections that may abruptly lead to hearing loss. Previous versions of coronaviruses that caused epidemics, like SARS and MERS, did not appear to be the root of hearing issues.
Hearing Loss: COVID-19
Symptoms of sudden hearing loss had been a rare symptom of coronavirus.
A report from June 2020 indicated several Iranian patients informed healthcare workers about experiencing hearing loss in one ear, along with vertigo. Another report showed an Egyptian man who did not show any other coronavirus symptoms had developed sudden hearing loss, and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Other than these reports, there has not been any additional research that was published.
Please be aware that sudden hearing loss, whether it’s in one ear or both, is a medical emergency that should be treated immediately. The faster you receive treatment, the more likely you will restore your hearing.
Hearing Loss caused by COVID-19
What has been shown as slightly more common, but still rare, is experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus due to COVID-19. This suggests that hearing loss or tinnitus are not immediate symptoms of the virus, but can develop at a later time.
There was a case in October 2020 based on a 45-year-old man from the U.K. who developed tinnitus and sudden hearing loss in one ear after becoming critically ill with COVID-19. His hearing was partially restored after accepting steroids for the hearing loss.
It cannot be proven that COVID-19 was the direct cause of the man’s hearing loss, but it appears to be very likely that is what happened. It was also reported that he did not receive any ototoxic medications.
Additional research is needed to determine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on hearing health.
Can COVID-19 Weaken Your Hearing?
A study from Israel examined 16 patients, where half had tested positive for COVID-19 and half tested negative. There were no differences seen in the group members’ auditory nerves.
The study is still in progress. There were 16 test subjects enrolled, and all of the patients were asymptomatic. Researchers plan to conduct a larger study, which would include those with more severe complications due to COVID-19.
Side Effects of COVID-19 Medication
Some medications that are used to treat COVID-19 lead to a high risk of side effects including hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo. These medications include chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and quinine.
In Conclusion: Hearing Loss and COVID-19
Additional research is necessary to get a better understanding of how COVID-19 impacts hearing and balance.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Please contact our office before stopping in at one of our locations in Elizabethtown, Lititz, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.