Home » News

Cognitive Decline is a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

Dementia a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

If you think of hearing loss as just an inconsequential part of getting older, you’re not alone.

The truth is, however, that the condition can strike even the youngest among us ó more than one in 1,000 babies screened has some form of hearing impairment, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data ó and it can trigger other health problems, too.

Take cognitive decline, for example, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Research has long pointed to links between hearing loss and reduced brain functioning over time, but the statistics may surprise you.

Consider these startling findings:

  • On average, seniors with hearing loss experience significantly reduced cognitive function 3.2 years before their normal-hearing counterparts.
  • Hearing-impaired seniors experience thinking and memory problems 30 to 40 percent faster than their normal-hearing counterparts.
  • Older adults with a hearing disability may lose over a cubic centimeter of brain tissue annually beyond normal shrinkage.
  • Those with hearing loss are two, three, or nearly five times as likely to develop dementia, depending on the severity of the hearing impairment.

So what’s the connection between hearing impairment and cognitive decline? It’s not completely clear how hearing loss, which is also associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other common public-health challenges, contributes to development of dementia.

What is clear, however, is the importance of regular hearing checkups to help stave off the threat of cognitive impairment. Tackling risk factors such as hearing loss earlier on could cut dementia cases by a third, according to a research collaborative led by UK psychiatry professor Gill Livingston and involving the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and other individuals, institutions, and organizations.

As one of your most crucial senses for communication and perception, hearing not only helps you stay connected to the world but helps keep your brain sharp. Give your hearing health and overall wellness a hand by staying active, eating a diet rich in important nutrients, avoiding excess noise, and scheduling regular hearing checkups.


Munch to Better Hearing

Hearing power is brainpower, and some key foods can help! Certain vitamins and minerals can go a long way toward supporting your hearing wellness, according to HealthyHearing.com. In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, check out these examples:

  • Bananas

    These reliable delights are rich in potassium, an important mineral for regulating blood and tissue fluid levels ó including in the inner ear, which plays an important role in hearing and balance.

  • Broccoli

    This versatile vegetable with an edible stalk and green flowering head provides folate, which studies have linked to healthy outcomes such as decreased risk of hearing impairment among older men.

  • Tomatoes

    These juicy fruits ó easy to grow and delicious cooked in a sauce or served raw ó offer magnesium, which, combined with vitamins A, C, and E, help thwart noise-induced hearing loss.

  • Dark-Meat Chicken

    This flavorful part of the bird ó along with other foods such as beef, oysters, and legumes ó delivers zinc, which supports the immune system and may help fight tinnitus or ringing in the ears.


Sources:
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Accelerates Brain Function Decline in Older Adults. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_accelerates_brain_function_decline_in_older_adults. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss_. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
The JAMA Network | JAMA Neurology. Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/802291. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. A Prospective Study of Vitamin Intake and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853884/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. Free Radical Scavengers Vitamins A, C, and E Plus Magnesium Reduce Noise Trauma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1950331/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. The Role of Zinc in the Treatment of Tinnitus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12544035. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.

What Is Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss and How Can It Be Treated?

Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss

Your Refrigerator Is Running – Can You Hear It?

You’re probably familiar with the many telltale, well-known signs of hearing loss ó asking people to repeat themselves frequently, turning up the TV to uncomfortable levels for others in the room, or leaning into a conversation on one side to use your ìgood ear.î

But what if speech is clear to you and you never turn up the TV ó but you can’t hear whether the car you’re standing next to is running? This is an actual type of hearing loss, called reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL), and people with this type often don’t realize they have a hearing impairment.

What Is Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss?

Hearing Loss Basics

The most common type of hearing loss ó the kind most people think of when they think of hearing loss ó is characterized by loss of sounds at higher frequencies and is sometimes called high-frequency hearing loss. These frequencies correspond to what we think of as high notes or high-pitched voices. As such, when someone first notices this type of hearing loss, it’s usually because they’re having trouble hearing women’s voices or those of the children in their life, and having difficulty hearing conversation in a restaurant.

Because this particular kind of hearing loss doesn’t affect lower frequencies but does affect mid-level and high frequencies, it has a distinct appearance on what’s called an audiogram ó the graphical representation of the results of a hearing test. On an audiogram, the graph starts in the upper-left-hand corner and may slope downward steeply, like a ski slope or more subtly as a gradual decrease across this frequency range. This is where this type of hearing loss gets its most common name: ski-slope hearing loss, sometimes shortened to simply sloping loss.

Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss

RSHL is so named because its shape on an audiogram is the reverse of ski-slope hearing loss. In this type of hearing loss, the low frequencies are affected far more than the higher ones. This gives the audiogram the opposite shape ó the graph starts in the lower-left-hand corner and slopes upward steeply. Because it affects mainly the lower frequencies, it is also known as low-frequency hearing loss.

RSHL is rare: It affects only 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada. Put differently, for every 12,000 cases of hearing loss, only one person has RSHL. Like ski-slope hearing loss, there are different degrees of RSHL.

Causes of Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss

Many people don’t suspect they have RSHL unless someone in their family already has it, which underscores one of the main sources of RSHL: genetics. Wolfram syndrome, Mondini dysplasia, and inheritance through a dominant gene have all been identified as sources of RSHL.

Certain diseases have been implicated as well, mainly those affecting the hair cells, which are responsible for sending sound information from the inner ear to the brain. Examples include sudden hearing loss, MÈniËre’s disease, and viral infection.

The third most common source of RSHL is anything that causes a change in the pressure of the endolymph, a fluid in the inner ear. This includes things such as spinal or general anesthesia, intracranial hypertension, and a perilymphatic fistula.

How Is Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss Diagnosed and Treated?

From symptoms to industry norms, hearing care is focused chiefly on ski-slope hearing loss, so RSHL can be difficult to recognize, diagnose, and treat. Because it is often hereditary or genetic ó that is, because they were born with it ó many who have RSHL don’t realize that the way they hear is different, so they may never seek out a hearing appointment.

Symptoms of RSHL
  • Difficulty understanding speech on the phone. The aspects of speech that give it clarity (the consonants) are in the higher frequencies, the treble side of sound, but the aspects of speech that give it volume (the vowels) are in the lower frequencies, the bass side. Because RSHL involves the lower frequencies, speech loses its volume but retains its clarity. Face-to-face conversation, therefore, is not usually a problem. But the phone mainly delivers the low and middle frequencies, so it can pose a problem for RSHL.
  • Ease understanding women and children but not men. Again, because RSHL affects the lower frequencies, those with RSHL more clearly understand higher-frequency speech ó that of women and children ó than lower-frequency speech, such as that of men.
  • Inability to hear low-frequency environmental sounds. Thunder and a refrigerator humming are examples of low-frequency environmental sounds. Because the click of a refrigerator is a high-frequency sound, someone with RSHL might hear their fridge click, but they wouldn’t know if the hum was the fridge turning on or off, even if they were standing right next to it.
Diagnosing RSHL

Because of the prevalence of ski-slope or other high-frequency hearing loss, diagnostic tools focus on that type. Therefore, many with RSHL may ìpassî a hearing screening or are treated as though they have other issues. Naturally, this leads to frustration for all involved.

Key to diagnosis is a well-educated patient. Because this condition is rare, many in the hearing care field simply haven’t encountered it. RSHL has a distinct set of characteristics that an audiologist will look for but is not limited to:

  • Unusually good speech
  • Sensitivity to high-frequency environmental sounds
  • Poor speech perception in the absence of visual cues
  • High speech-detection thresholds
  • Pure-tone hearing losses
  • Inability to adjust to standard ski-slope hearing technology settings

A simple test any hearing care provider can use as an initial screening for RSHL is the Ling sound test performed while standing behind the patient. RSHL is most likely present if the ìsî and ìshî sounds are heard at a much softer sound level than the other sounds.

Treating RSHL

Those with RSHL tend to have high expectations of hearing aids, which can lead to frustration. An audiologist who hopes to successfully fit an aid for RSHL has to build the settings from the ground up, for several reasons.

  • Manufacturer-recommended hearing aid settings are meant for high-frequency hearing loss. As previously mentioned, only 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada have RSHL; many millions have high-frequency hearing loss. It makes sense that the industry would weigh toward the type of hearing loss with the highest incidence but still allow audiologists to customize individual aids for rare types of hearing loss.
  • Hearing aids may be programmed based on computer settings that are based on the audiogram. These computer settings assume the most typical situation: ski-slope hearing loss. These settings rarely work for RSHL.
  • Hearing aids are built with the expectation of a high-frequency hearing loss. Often high-frequency losses need amplification in the high frequencies. The shape of the aid complements the shape of the typical ear canal, and this combination dependably treats high-frequency loss very well. But RSHLs require different amounts of amplification across a different range of frequencies.
  • People with RSHL have already successfully adapted to their speech needs. Having been born with this condition, many with RSHL develop the ability to navigate speech easily.

Treating RSHL means parking industry standards and theoretical fitting curves. It requires taking time to really listen to the patient, and then build the settings channel by channel, frequency by frequency, to what they find comfortable, audible, and helpful.

But there are certain starting points that may help in the treating of an RSHL. A study by Kuk et al. determined that

  • A digital, multichannel, nonlinear hearing aid is optimal
  • Wide dynamic range compression, a low compression threshold, and high-level compression might more effectively preserve hearing and comfort
  • Amplification in the lower frequencies is preferred, but gain may vary depending on input levels
  • A broad bandwidth with individualized amplification customization is desirable
  • The paired comparison technique may help customize individual settings
Why Is It Important to Treat Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss?

You may well be thinking, ìThose symptoms don’t sound so bad ó why bother putting myself through all the frustration of getting diagnosed and fitted?î

The key reason is safety. Much of what you lose with RSHL is environmental sound. If you can’t hear a car coming, you can’t avoid it. If someone some distance from you is trying to warn you away from something, you might not hear it, because volume is a product of the lower frequencies.

Another reason is enjoyment. There are many aspects and nuances in music that you might be missing out on if you have RSHL, because you’re missing the low-frequency sounds ó for example, much of what is below middle C.

Contact us today if you think you or someone you love might have reverse-slope hearing loss.

Sources:
Kuk F, et al. Changing with the Times: Managing Low-Frequency Hearing Loss. Hearing Review. November 2003. http://www.hearingreview.com/2003/11/changing-with-the-times-managing-low-frequency-hearing-loss/. Accessed Feb 2, 2018.
Bauman N. The Bizarre World of Extreme Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss (or Low-Frequency) Hearing Loss. http://hearinglosshelp.com/blog/the-bizarre-world-of-extreme-reverse-slope-hearing-loss/#characteristics. Accessed Feb 2, 2018.

Earwax Dos & Don’ts. Hint: Hold the Cotton Swabs!

Earwax, that yellowish-brown goo, might inspire an ìIck!î or two, but managing it the right way can make a difference in your hearing health.

Here’s a primer on why you have earwax and what to do about it.

Why is earwax in your ear?

Earwax, or ìcerumen,î results from secretions by the ceruminous glands in the outer ear canal. The secretions help lubricate the ear canal and help maintain an acidic environment that curbs harmful bacteria and fungi.

Life without earwax would be a lot less comfortable: It not only helps keep the ear canal clean but prevents dirt and other debris from reaching and potentially damaging the eardrum. In addition, earwax can help keep ears from feeling itchy and dry.

When should earwax be removed?

Normally you needn’t remove earwax; your ears will naturally handle that function by pushing out the excess.

Sometimes the glands may produce more wax than the ear can eliminate, and blockage can occur. People who use hearing aids, wear earplugs, or push objects such as cotton swabs into their ears can be more prone to these problems.

When excess buildup gets to the point of causing pain or symptoms such as hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or dizziness, it’s time to clean it out.

What are the dos and don’ts of ear cleaning?
  • DO use a warm, soft cloth ó after washing or showering ó to remove normal amounts of earwax at the outer ear, if needed.
  • DO gently soften the earwax with drops of warmed olive oil, almond oil, water, or a commercial solution to remove larger amounts of earwax or an earwax plug.
  • DO try irrigating the ear by gently rinsing it out with water.
  • DON’T use ear candles, which may cause serious injury and have not been proven effective in scientific studies.
  • DON’T stick cotton swabs or other objects in the ear; they can cause injury and push wax farther into the ear canal.

Sometimes earwax buildup requires the attention of a professional who can examine your ears, determine the nature of the problem, and customize a treatment, which may include prescribing eardrops, irrigating the ear, using a suction technique, or providing another appropriate solution.
 

Why do people still clean their ears with cotton swabs?

Despite the unequivocal warnings from the medical community and the warning on each box, people still clean their ear canals with cotton swabs. Why is that? To put it bluntly, it feels good, because of the numerous sensitive nerve endings in the ear canal. Compounding the problem is the itch-scratch cycle: You use a swab to calm an ear itch, but the more you use cotton swabs, the more your ear itches.


If you’re experiencing problems such as persistent ear pain, hearing loss, blockage of the ear canal, or potential perforation of the eardrum, contact us for an evaluation.

8 Notable African Americans With Hearing Loss | Black History Month

With an estimated one in five Americans directly touched by hearing loss ó a common chronic condition that spans race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status ó some icons in pop culture and beyond have experienced this challenge in their own lives.

As the nation celebrates Black History Month this February, take a look at these eight African-American notables who triumphed over hearing impairment to bring their dreams to life.

  1. Whoopi Goldberg

    Oscar-winning actress, comedienne, activist, writer, and The View moderator Goldberg cites longtime exposure to loud music for her hearing loss, according to published reports. The Sister Act and Ghost icon, who has collaborated with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, wears hearing aids and has advised others to take care of their hearing health.

  2. Derrick Coleman

    As the NFLís first legally deaf offensive player, Falcons fullback Coleman began tackling adversity at an early age ó just 3 years old when he lost his hearing ó to eventually not only make it in the NFL but to win a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2014. He launched the nonprofit Derrick L. Coleman Jr. No Excuse Foundation to give back to hearing-impaired kids, teens, and adults in need.

  3. Tamika Catchings

    The four-time Olympic gold medalist and retired WNBA great of Indiana Fever fame was born with a hearing loss, using the experience to help fuel her drive to win. ìIn the classroom, kids could make fun of me for being different,î wrote Catchings in a 2011 ESPN profile. ìOn the soccer field (my first sport) and eventually the basketball court, they couldnít. I outworked them, plain and simple.î

  4. Andrew Foster

    Being the first African-American to hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gallaudet University, the renowned school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, is one of many firsts for Foster, who then earned two masterís degrees at other institutions and eventually launched more than 30 schools for the deaf in over a dozen African nations.

  5. Halle Berry

    An alleged domestic-violence incident led to Berryís hearing loss, but the Oscar-winning actress, activist, beauty-brand spokesperson, and X-Men megastar didnít let that setback torpedo her goals. Berry, also a producer, has some 50 or so film and television acting roles under her belt and continues a robust career.

  6. Will.i.am

    This Emmy- and Grammy-winning recording artist, tech visionary, producer, DJ, and designer is known worldwide for his Black Eyed Peas hits. Many may not know that the global entertainer experiences tinnitus, which he describes as a constant ringing in his ears.

  7. Claudia Gordon

    After losing her hearing at age 8 and migrating to the United States from Jamaica with her mother at age 11, Gordon defied the naysayers and earlier experiences of discrimination to not only reportedly become the first deaf black female attorney but to help enforce the rights of the disabled as a lawyer in the federal executive branch under former Pres. Barack Obama.

  8. Connie Briscoe

    New York Times best-selling author Briscoe was born with a hearing loss, but she never let it slow her down. The Money Canít Buy Love and Big Girls Donít Cry writer has sold more than 600,000 hardcover and paperback copies of her first novel alone, according to her website, and she gives back by helping ìother writers craft their novels so they can reach their writing goals and dreams.î


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Non-Hispanic African-Americans ìhave the lowest prevalence of hearing loss among adults aged 20ñ69,î per the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • Some 48% of hearing-impaired people overall had jobs in 2014, per a 2016 report by the National Deaf Center, but only 40.6% of hearing-impaired African-Americans are in the labor force.
  • Since 1982, the nonprofit National Black Deaf Advocates ó along with more than 30 local chapters ó has worked with parents, professionals, organizations, and others to help ensure representation of deaf community members in public policy, leadership, economic opportunity, and more.

This year, donít let hearing loss get in the way of reaching your own dreams ó not even a little bit! Be a hero to the people who count on you by keeping your hearing in top shape. Contact us to schedule a hearing exam or clean and check of your hearing aids today.

January is National Soup Month! Celebrate with 5 healthy-hearing recipes

January Is National Soup Month ó 5 Healthy-Hearing Soup Recipes to Get You in the Spirit

Nutrition is a great way to prevent hearing loss. Read on for great soup recipes that will get your hearing health on sure footing for the coming year.

Itís National Soup Month! What better way to kick it off than with an old Italian proverb?

ìSoup does seven things: It takes away hunger, takes away thirst, fills the stomach, cleans the teeth, makes you sleep, makes you slim, and puts color in your cheeks.î

Not enough reason to ladle out some of the good stuff? Hereís another: Many ingredients that go great in soup are great for hearing health!

Soup Recipes for Maintaining Hearing Health

Savor the taste and the hearing health with these five soups that are rich in folate and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients ensure your cochlea ó the part of your inner ear where sound is converted to signals that get sent to your brain ó is nourished with healthy blood flow.

1. Salmon Chowder

Nothing says ìheart of winterî like a steaming bowl of chowder! This easy-to-make recipe calls for both clam juice and salmon, which has more than three times the hearing-healthy omega-3 content of clam. You still get the familiar hint of clam, but you also get to enjoy the nutrition and taste of salmon.

2. Beef and Cabbage Stew

OK, you caught us ó this is a stew, not a soup. But how can you go wrong with beef and cabbage stew? Itís a hearty bowl of warm winter goodness! Plus, this recipe has three strong sources of folate: cabbage, carrots, and celery. Itíll warm your heart and keep your cochlea happy.

3. Four-Bean Chili

Just when you thought there were no new chilis on the horizon, along comes this little four-bean wonder. No matter where you land in the debate about whether chili is a kind of soup, youíll agree this is a little bowl of heaven. We wonít tell you the secret (youíll have to check out the recipe to find out), but this four-bean chili is a folate fountain with its pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans.

4. Easy Fish Stew

Thereís just no stopping the flavor or nutrition in this rich stew. From more traditional fare like celery and carrots to the zesty bouquet garni, youíll be pleasantly surprised at all this Mediterranean fish stew has to offer. And if that isnít enough reason to try it out, itís rich in both folate (celery, carrots, tomatoes) and omega-3 fatty acids (anchovies, white-fleshed fish). Your cochlea wonít know what hit it!

5. Squash Soup

Donít let the uninspiring name fool you. This butternut squash soup is unassuming but mighty! The ginger, nutmeg, and honey provide just the right balance to the hearty squash foundation. Plus, squash is a good source of folate ó hearing health never tasted so delicious!

Did you know? Exercise can also help prevent hearing impairment

Making Moves for Hearing Health

Search Top 10 New Years resolutionsî and what are you sure to find? Lists that often start with ìfitnessî or exercise. With benefits from better skin and stronger bones to weight loss, improved mental health, and more, itís no wonder that exercise pops up as a perennial New Yearís resolution favorite!

But did you know? Exercise can also help prevent hearing impairment.

So if you or your loved ones are kicking off the new year with physical fitness goals in sight, keep in mind these four tips for better hearing health:

1. Exercise May Delay Age-Related Hearing Loss

An estimated one of every three adults between ages 65 and 74 lives with hearing impairment, per the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, making it a common health challenge among seniors. Research, however, shows that exercise can stave off age-related hearing loss (AHL). One relatively recent study using mice, for example, found that ìregular exercise slowed AHLî and deterioration of the cochlea, the part of the inner ear that detects sound.

2. What Helps Your Heart Helps Your Ears

People with heart disease, a leading cause of death worldwide, are 54 percent more likely to experience hearing loss. Research shows, however, that individuals entering their 50s with good cardiovascular health have better hearing than their counterparts with poor cardiovascular fitness. Just ì30 minutes a day, five times a weekî of moderate or vigorous exercise can help cut the risk of heart disease, per the American Heart Association, and it doesnít have to be hard: ìThe simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking.

3. Brainpower Is Hearing Power

Ears are vital to hearing, but the brain does the heavy lifting ó recognizing sound, using ears to help orient the body, and separating desired sounds from competing noise. Studies show that exercise supports brain health. Wrote Harvard Health Blogís executive editor: ìThe benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors ó chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.

4. Less Noise Makes a Big Difference

Whether kickboxing to the latest beats at the gym or hitting the walking trail with your MP3 player, getting the most out of a hearing-healthy workout includes protecting your ears from excess noise ó the most preventable cause of hearing loss. Wear quality earplugs and keep a good distance from speakers in group exercise classes, where music volumes can reach well above the danger threshold of 85 decibels. If using an MP3 player or other personal music device, remember to turn it at least halfway down or lower from full volume.


What are your goals for better hearing and wellness this year? At [practice-name], weíre here to help you achieve them! Contact us to schedule a hearing exam or a clean and check of your hearing aids today

Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss and When to Get a Hearing Test

Give Yourself and Your Health the Best Possible Start in 2018. Know the Signs of Hearing Loss and Get Your Hearing Tested!

Hearing Loss Is More Common Than You Think

About 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. We share the common signs or hearing loss and what to do to get your hearing tested.

When it comes to communication, hearing is our most critical sense. Even a relatively mild hearing loss can seriously disrupt how we interact and connect with others.

Healthy hearing requires a number of processes in the inner ear and brain to work properly and correctly interpret the sounds you hear. Inner-ear problems, or ear problems in general, can prevent crucial sound information from reaching the brain, leading to confusion and an inability to hear and understand speech.

Quick Hearing Loss Statistics

  • About 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss
  • Hearing loss is more common in those with a history of smoking, binge drinking, and circulatory disorders such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes
  • Hearing loss is 5.5 times more common in men than women
  • Approximately 50% of Baby Boomers (individuals aged 45 to 64) have a hearing loss

 

How Do I Know If I Have a Hearing Loss?

The most common type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which is caused by continual exposure to noise levels greater than 85 dB. NIHL usually occurs slowly over time, and you might not know that you have a hearing loss until it’s been established for several years. Even then, you may assume it’s only a temporary problem, but most of the time, NIHL is permanent.

In the early stages of hearing impairment, the highest frequencies are usually the first to go. Symptoms include difficulty hearing or understanding high-pitched voices, and understanding speech in background noise. People with hearing loss often have difficulty differentiating between words that sound alike, and in particular words that contain S, F, SH, CH, H, TH, T, K, or soft C sounds. These consonants are in a much higher frequency range than vowels and other consonants.

You should contact an audiologist or hearing care provider if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves often
  • Difficulty following conversations that involve more than two people
  • Thinking that others are mumbling or speaking quietly
  • Difficulty hearing speech in noisy situations
  • Stress from straining to hear what others are saying
  • Withdrawing from normally enjoyable social situations more often

If you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, let us help! [Contact our practice today] to schedule a hearing evaluation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis’ Connection to Hearing Loss

What does rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have to do with hearing loss? Quite a bit, according to a new study released by the Open Rheumatology Journal.

Hearing loss has been linked to a decrease in overall mental and physical health. Research has proven connections with age, smoking, cognitive decline, heart health, and a diminished quality of life — and now rheumatoid arthritis.

This is the first study of hearing impairment in RA. The study’s conclusion: Those with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of hearing impairment over the course of the disease. In addition, the study suggests it’s obvious that hearing impairment in RA is a multi-factorial disease because environmental factors like smoking, disease characteristics like rheumatoid nodules, and patient characteristics like age can affect it. However, it’s still unclear if these factors affect one another both directly and indirectly.

One environmental factor found in this study to increase chances of both RA and hearing loss was smoking. Researchers stated, “there is a strong correlation between smoking and rheumatoid nodules in RA.” They recognized that passive smokers as well as active smokers are at a higher risk of hearing impairment.

Though more investigation is needed to determine a consensus regarding the management of hearing impairment in patients with RA, researchers stated, “… regular audiometric test and [otoacoustic emission test] is advisable and can diagnose hearing loss at an early stage.”

An estimated 48 million Americans — about one in five people — have some form of hearing loss, according to a Johns Hopkins study. It’s a chronic public-health challenge that, if left untreated, can have far-reaching consequences for physical, mental, social, and even financial health.

Hearing loss especially affects older adults, many of whom don’t seek hearing help. Only 30 percent of adults ages 70 or older who could benefit from hearing aids use them, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

If you believe you or a loved one could benefit from a hearing test, contact us today to schedule a hearing screening. We can help get you on a path to better hearing and better health.

‘Hearable’ Holiday Gift Guide

Tech tailored to you, your lifestyle, and your goals

Looking to get yourself or your favorite tech-savvy, fitness-focused loved one a pair of hearables this season? Check out our helpful hearable gift guide that covers what they are, some of the different features, various brands, and the ordering process.

What ‘Hearables’ Are

The definition of a “hearable” is constantly evolving, like the technology. To attempt to encompass all the variations of this technology, a hearable is a wireless in-ear computational device. This mini-computer uses wireless/Bluetooth® technology to complement and enhance your sound experience. Fitness tracking is another key feature that sets these apart from wireless headphones.

These devices are transforming according to wearers’ ever-changing wants:

    • The ability to sync with wireless devices to stay connected to people, hobbies, and music
    • The technology to measure biometrics (like heart rate, calories burned, etc.)
    • Quality sound streaming

What to Look for in a Hearable

These little guys can do so much, so how do you know which one is for you? Check out some of these highlighted features:
HEARABLEIMAGE
Resound-owned Jabra’s Elite Sport wireless earbuds (like Bragi’s The Dash Pro) feature nearly every benefit we’ve highlighted in our table, from audio transparency (so you can be more aware of your surroundings while still enjoying your tech) to high-quality sound and calls.

wireless arbud guide
Wireless earbud guide (click to enlarge)

Timeline for Fitting

Some hearables are customizable, such as the Bragi family of technology. In this case, the wearer would need an earmold impression created by a dispenser or audiologist (like us!). Any hearables that can be customized follow the same process. Contact our office about our policy.

The process for creating an earmold impression begins with the consumer getting an otoscopic evaluation from a professional to ensure an earmold impression can be taken. The actual earmold impression is created by inserting a block into the ear canal along with the earmold impression material. This cures for about 10 minutes, and then the earmold impression material — now a mold of the ear — is sent to the hearable manufacturer for customization.

Have questions? Would you like to get an earmold made? Give the gift of hearables this season with our help!

Sources:
everydayhearing.com

——————————————————————————–

Title: Holiday Gift Ideas for Better Hearing Technology 2017

Meta: Get the latest information on hearable technologies for your tech-savvy and fitness focused loved ones this holiday season.

Slug: hearable-holiday-gift-guide

Categories: Hearing Accessories, Holidays, Tips & Tricks

Alt Text: Latest hearing technology for the holidays