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.
Do you suffer from tinnitus? Using the proper tools to manage it, is key to having a good quality of life.
If you own a smartphone, you’re already one step towards managing your tinnitus. There are so many different apps that are available to deal with tinnitus, which include:
Don’t feel disheartened when a healthcare professional discloses that you simply have to live with tinnitus. There are so many methods of tinnitus relief such as engaging in relaxation and meditation, wearing earplugs or earmuffs, staying away from too much noise exposure (which can harm your hearing health and worsen symptoms of tinnitus).
Top Apps to Mask Sound
When used properly, sound masking can be one of the best coping tools if you suffer from tinnitus. It’s easy to use. Different types of background noise can be utilized to mask the beeping, buzzing, humming, hissing, ringing, static, whooshing noises that come with tinnitus. For many people who have tinnitus, having the proper background noise may provide temporary, but instant relief.
It has been proven to be an effective way to manage the symptoms, but it’s complicated. Each masking sound is different, and there’s an infinite amount of sound masking/sound therapy apps. Recommended apps:
MyNoise (Android and iOS)
MyNoise includes a vast library of ambiances and soundscapes, which features some experimental sounds that were primarily developed for individuals with tinnitus. You may customize the soundscape by adding or reducing bird, rain, wind, and chime sounds. The myNoise app is a simple way to adjust to the best soundscape to mask your tinnitus.
NatureSpace (Android and iOS)
The NatureSpace app features soundscapes that were created using high-fidelity audio recordings of authentic nature sounds.
What is a Leading App for overall Tinnitus Relief and Habituation?
Quieten (Android and iOS)
There is currently no known cure for tinnitus, but sufferers can experience relief via habituation. There are only a few apps that have been made to help you habituate to the sound of your tinnitus.
A human brain has the ability to tune out the tinnitus, just as it ignores other background noise. Complications that arise when it becomes severe, are provoking strong and worsening fight-or-flight stress as a never-ending reaction. Tinnitus can’t simply disappear. This fight-or-flight response restricts the brain from the ability to ignore the sound. Humans are designed to concentrate on sounds that the brain and nervous system interpret as dangerous.
Humans have the ability to adjust the underlying emotional, physiological, and psychological reaction to tinnitus. When you do this, your brain can begin to naturally tune out and ignore the sound of your tinnitus more often.
Quieten is a great app from Julian Cowan Hill, who is an author, therapist, and tinnitus expert. The app has a vast number of free audio and educational content that will help you habituate and learn more about tinnitus, along with meditations, coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques, etc.
Paid apps for Meditation
To manage tinnitus, you must significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. You may engage in mindful meditation, which is one of the most powerful tools that can be used. Mindfulness has been proven to help deal with tinnitus, and also manage the way your brain functions.
Some mindful meditation apps include:
Best Free app for Meditation
Insight Timer: This is the most popular free meditation app. It has over 60,000 guided meditations, breathing exercises, and music tracks.
This is not your traditional guided meditation. There are guided meditations that improve sleep, relieving anxiety, relaxation, focus, and more. These are great options for those who experience tinnitus and are interested in using various types of meditation to help cope.
Insight Timer also has a meditation timer feature that is incorporated into the app, which lets users create custom meditation sessions. This is a training tool that plays a chime sound of your choice to help you focus at different intervals to keep you focused as you meditate. If your mind begins to wander, the chime will sound to focus your attention back to the meditation.
Best apps to use for Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques are an effective method of dealing with tinnitus, particularly when there are spikes or severe cases on certain days. Some apps feature guided breathing exercises to help you learn and practice the best ways that work for you.
Some breathing techniques can quickly bring about a relaxed response to the nervous system. Others can help you fall asleep quickly, reduce levels of stress, improve emotional regulation, or increase energy levels and focus.
Breathwrk app (iOS)
This is one of the best breathing exercise apps for iOS. It received 4.9/5 stars. It has over 10 guided breathing techniques, audio, visual, and vibration cues, lessons in breathing, tracks your personal progress, etc.
Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate (Android)
This is a very popular and effective free guided breathing app that is used with Android. It features 8 preset breathing protocols, audio, visual, and vibration cues to make it easy to follow, in addition to the option of setting up customized breathing sessions with your choice of times during the intervals. Prana Breath gives users control over increasing the level of complexity and difficulty of each technique that you practice while tracking your progress.
Best Apps to Improve Hearing Loss
AudioCardio (Android and iOS)
Most people who have tinnitus, also experience hearing loss. These two symptoms may require extra approaches in treatment. If you can improve your hearing, chances are there will be better relief in your tinnitus symptoms. AudioCardio provides a new type of sound therapy that can be compared to physical therapy, but for hearing health. It may help to strengthen the hearing abilities in patients who have sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).
The app will perform a hearing test to determine the lowest decibel level of sound that you can hear at a range with different frequencies. The app will target the user’s lowest frequency levels and deliver a unique type of sound therapy known as Threshold Sound Conditioning.
In many cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the hair cells become damaged, but not destroyed. A person will continue to hear certain frequency sounds if they are loud enough. The app uses a generated tone that was created with an algorithm right at the threshold of what the person can hear.
The tones are either inaudible or barely audible. The creators of the app stated that by stimulating the hair cells at the threshold, the app can strengthen hair cells, which leads to better hearing.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We will be offering curbside services. If you are visiting us for a repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. A staff member will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.
An uncommon disease that occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the inner ear is known as an autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). It can lead to dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
Under 1% of 28 millions Americans who experience hearing loss have AIED. Middle-aged women experience AIED at a slightly higher rate than the overall population.
What are Symptoms of AIED?
AIED and hearing loss go hand-in-hand. The hearing loss will begin in one ear and then it will also develop in the other ear. It may take weeks to a few months for the loss to occur.
Possible Additional Symptoms:
What causes AIED?
The human body’s immune cells are constantly on their guard if germs attempt to invade the body. They could mistake cells located in your inner ear for a bacteria or virus, and then attack them. This is known as an autoimmune reaction.
Immune cells in your body can also harm other organs. Nearly 30% of individuals who have AIED, also have another autoimmune disease that affects their entire body. This includes lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, ulcerative colitis, or Sjoegren’s syndrome (dry eye syndrome).
The Difficulty of Diagnosis
The symptoms of AIED are common in other diseases, so it makes it difficult to diagnose. It is often confused for an ear infection until the hearing loss has spread to the other ear.
You can start by getting a free hearing test from us at Pure Sound Hearing. There’s no test that can confirm if you have AIED, but the results might indicate that you are experiencing an autoimmune reaction.
A hearing aid can help you adjust to hearing loss, but more severe cases may require a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is a small device that uses the nerves located in your inner ear and transmits signals to your brain. The brain then transforms them into sound.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test 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 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 at 717-945-1477 before visiting one of our office locations.
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:
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.