Author: Advanced Hearing Care

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

Are These Misconceptions Standing Between You & Needed Care?

Most hearing loss can be effectively managed with appropriately fit hearing technology. Yet more than 80% of children and adults worldwide who could benefit from hearing aids don’t use them. That’s at least 1 in 5 people missing out on potentially needed help. Lack of access can play a part, but myths and misconceptions might also get in the way.

We’re breaking down 10 hearing aid myths that can be a barrier to better hearing health. Some of them may sound familiar or even remind you of perceptions that gave you pause about hearing technology. Read on for the facts and a fresh perspective on today’s innovative hearing solutions. They might be just the nudge you or a loved one needs to reclaim the sounds you’re missing.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids cost too much to be affordable

Fact: Today’s hearing technology comes in a range of budget-friendly technology levels. Plus, financing programs, potential insurance coverage, and even possible leasing opportunities can go a long way. With research linking hearing loss to other conditions such as cognitive decline and increased risk of falling, the consequences of inaction could prove an even bigger cost.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids don’t actually help.

Fact: Millions of hearing aid users — and science — would disagree. We see firsthand the positive effect improved hearing has on our patients and their families, helping people reconnect with the relationships and activities that matter most. Quality hearing aids make it easier to understand speech and other sounds, and research ties hearing aids to better physical, social, mental, and financial health.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids are ugly and bulky.

Fact: Ugly? Not 21st century hearing aids, which are sleek, small, and — in many cases — virtually invisible. With some 10–11% of people worldwide with what researchers consider “disabling hearing loss” wearing hearing aids, you’ve probably encountered folks wearing them and didn’t even notice. Devices include various styles and colors, and some sit deep in the ear canal or behind the ear, largely out of sight.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids are a pain to maintain.

Fact: With a little TLC and periodic professional checkups, hearing aid care is easier than you may think. The devices might require some basics — cleaning, changing wax guards, removing moisture or earwax buildup — but cleaning kits, hearing aid dryers, and other accessories help make it a cinch. Plus, rechargeable options eliminate the inconvenience of replacing disposable hearing aid batteries.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids are for older adults with hearing loss — not for me.

Fact: Even babies, some of whom have had permanent hearing loss from birth, wear hearing aids. As a critical public health issue, hearing loss doesn’t discriminate, making it important to have the best hearing aids at any age. If you have signs or symptoms of hearing loss, today’s innovative devices — tailored to your needs by a trained, licensed professional — may be just the solution for you.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids don’t last.

Fact: Quality hearing technology that’s well-maintained can last quite a while — on average about three to seven years. Plus, we’re here to help you get the most from your devices for as long as possible through support such as periodic clean-and-checks, repair services, and guidance on easy, home-based DIY care. We also offer extended warranty packages for further peace of mind.

 

  1. Myth: Buying hearing aids online, by mail, at a big-box retailer, or drugstore saves time, money, and offers the same results as devices fit by a licensed hearing care professional.

Fact: Nothing takes the place of a proper diagnostic hearing evaluation and professional selection of hearing technology tailored to your hearing level, lifestyle, and key listening situations. Rather than focus on a widget, we’re dedicated to building trust, providing long-term value, and delivering solutions backed by our knowledge, experience, and commitment to your optimal hearing health.

 

  1. Myth: Hearing aids just make a sound louder — nothing special.

Fact: Hearing aids do amplify sound, which is important, but they also accomplish so much more for your hearing health. They filter out background noise; often have directional microphones that can help you further focus on the sounds that matter; and can connect with wireless mics, hearing loop systems, smartphones, laptops, TVs, and other resources that help you work or play on your terms.

 

  1. Myth: One hearing aid is good enough — I don’t need two for my hearing loss.

Fact: Binaural hearing, or the ability to perceive sound through both ears rather than just one, plays a critical role in working with the brain to distinguish the source and direction of sounds — commonly known as “localization.” Using two hearing aids not only assists that function but curbs the need for choosing higher volumes on your devices. That’s because lower tones seem louder when the brain has the benefit of both ears.

 

  1. Myth: A personal sound amplification product, or PSAP, is sufficient for my hearing loss.

Fact: Wearable electronic amplifiers, designed to hear environmental sounds for those who don’t have hearing loss, only make a sound louder and are neither regulated nor recommended to treat actual hearing loss. Inappropriate use of PSAPs could even cause or aggravate hearing damage, so it’s best to let your licensed hearing care professional evaluate your hearing and work with you on the best solution for your individual communication needs.

With some 10–11% of people worldwide with what researchers consider “disabling hearing loss” wearing hearing aids, you’ve probably encountered folks wearing them and didn’t even notice.

 

What Do Hearing-Aid Wearers Say?

Hearing aids can feel like an overwhelming step — especially if misconceptions have given you or the people in your life a bit of pause. On average, people who suspect a hearing loss typically wait an estimated seven or more years before pursuing help and might delay getting professionally fitted with hearing aids for over a decade after a hearing-loss diagnosis.

Hearing-aid use, however, has changed countless lives, from babies hearing their parents’ voices for the first time to teens, young adults, and the young at heart reconnecting with the sounds that matter most — whether at home, work, or play. But don’t just take it from us; hear what users have to say through some interesting studies demonstrating the power of hearing aids!

An analysis of the Hearing Industry Association’s MarkeTrak 2022 online survey, for example, found that 64% of hearing aid owners who had gotten their devices in the prior five years reported quality-of-life benefits. The number marked a jump of 9 percentage points from the 2019 version of the survey and a 16-point rise from the 2015 research.

A Eurotrak UK 2022 study by the British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers also reportedly found a high percentage of responding device users — 95% — associating their hearing aids with an improved quality of life, including social engagement, relationships, and more. Two-thirds of respondents even wished they had gotten their hearing technology sooner.

Similarly, older adults who use hearing aids are more likely to report significant improvement in their physical and mental health, sense of independence, sex life, ability to play sports, and other important areas of life, per a 1999/2000-released study by the National Council on Aging. Notably, family members of loved ones who used hearing aids also reported significant improvements in quality of life.

Knowledge is power, so don’t let myths and misconceptions stop you or a loved one from moving forward on the path to optimal health. Contact our caring team for comprehensive support on your better-hearing journey!

Hearing Loss Q&

Hearing Loss Q&A

Hearing Loss Q&A

Q: When someone speaks, I often miss nuances, like tone. Could this be hearing loss?

Hearing Loss Q&A: That’s an interesting question! Hearing loss shares symptoms with other conditions, though. Let’s look at what hearing loss is and consider another possible culprit.

 

Hearing Loss Q&A -Hearing Basics

Hearing is complex. It’s more than just your ears taking in sound. Your nerves and brain actively partner with your ear in a delicate dance to accomplish hearing. Here’s how it happens.

 

Hearing Loss Q&A Area 1: The ear

Your outer ear collects sound waves, which travel down your ear canal and cause your eardrum to vibrate. Your eardrum passes the vibrations to the three smallest bones in your body, in the middle ear, which amplify the vibrations and send them to your inner ear.

In your inner ear, the vibrations become waves in a fluid-filled cavity. These waves jostle tiny hair-like cells, which convert the wave information into electric impulses.

 

Area 2: The auditory nerve

Your auditory (hearing) nerve carries all those electrical impulses as nerve signals to the part of your brain that processes what you hear.

 

Area 3: The brain

Your brain does a lot of behind-the-scenes work making sense of sound information. It pinpoints where the sound is coming from, focuses on it, separates out background noise, determines whether it recognizes the sound, and identifies whether it’s speech, music, etc.

 

Put It All Together

As you can see, a lot happens during the process we call hearing! The delicate dance happens all day, every day, effortlessly, and there are a lot of moving parts — and a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong.

 

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is anything that does go wrong in that first area — your ears. Hearing problems can occur because of earwax buildup, damage to your eardrum, an ear infection, or damage to any of the tiny structures in your middle or inner ear.

A standard hearing test will determine whether you have hearing loss. Common symptoms are:

  • Trouble understanding people on the telephone
  • Difficulty following conversations with two or more people
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the TV so loud that others complain
  • Problems understanding speech in background noise
  • Thinking others mumble
  • Trouble understanding children and people with higher-pitched voices

A hearing care professional should be your first stop when trying to determine whether you have hearing loss.

They’ll get to know you, test your hearing, and check the fitness of your ear canal, ear drum, middle ear, and inner ear. If they determine you have hearing loss, they’ll make recommendations about a treatment solution. Often, the treatment includes hearing devices.

But the symptom you mentioned — missing nuances like the tone of people’s speech — is more often a symptom of something else.

 

Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing disorder (APD) has a lot in common with hearing loss. All the symptoms listed above, for example.

But many (not all) people with APD pass a hearing evaluation with flying colors! What’s going on here?

This is where the third area you use for hearing, the brain, comes in. With APD, something interferes with the way your ears and brain coordinate. You might hear sounds loud and clear — your ears are doing their job — but something keeps your brain from processing the sounds effectively.

How common it is? It’s hard to even pin down an estimate, because providers use different diagnostic standards. Conversations about APD typically focus on children, but it affects adults as well.

 

Symptoms of APD

Certain symptoms point more strongly to APD than to hearing loss, for example:

  • Difficulty remembering directions spoken aloud
  • Mishearing words or sentences
  • Sensory overload in noisy environments
  • Problems picking up nuances in speech
  • Being easily distracted by background noise
  • Inability to appreciate music

It’s not about intelligence — someone might remember written directions very well. But if those same directions were spoken aloud instead, they might misremember them. It’s about how the sounds are received and processed.

 

Communication Skills Affected by APD

Someone with APD could struggle with one or all of the following four communication skills.

Auditory discrimination. Auditory discrimination lets you notice, compare, and distinguish the distinct sounds in words. Someone with auditory discrimination problems might confuse similar words (like “seventy” and “seventeen”), find learning to read challenging, and have difficulties following spoken directions even when paying close attention.

Auditory figure-ground discrimination. Auditory figure-ground discrimination allows you to pinpoint the sounds you want to hear in a noisy background. Someone struggling with auditory figure-ground discrimination has trouble filtering out the background noise of a restaurant, for example. In the case of a child, their learning potential might suffer if they can’t block out classroom sounds during a lesson.

Auditory memory. Auditory memory lets you recall what you’ve heard. It includes both short-term and long-term memory. Someone with auditory memory challenges might have difficulty remembering names, memorizing phone numbers, or following instructions with multiple steps.

Auditory sequencing. Auditory sequencing allows you to understand and recall word and sound order. Someone with auditory sequencing challenges might confuse numbers (for example, 14 and 41), lists, or sequences. A child with this problem might complete a series of tasks out of order, even if they seem to have understood the directions.

 

APD in Children

Early diagnosis of APD in children is crucial, because, if not managed, it can lead to listening and learning problems. The auditory system in children doesn’t develop fully until around age 14. Early intervention, thus, helps with listening skills and the development of stronger auditory pathways.

In addition to the symptoms listed in the previous section, one classic APD symptom in children is improvements in behavior and performance in quiet settings.

If your child has trouble communicating or exhibits any of these symptoms, an audiologist can evaluate them using use a specific group of listening tests. Strategies to help your child thrive in school are determined in consultation with the audiologist and can include:

  • APD is not widely known, so sharing information about APD with school staff can help them understand how best to help children with APD.
  • Physical accommodations. These improve the listening environment and include remote microphone systems, strategic seating that reduces sound and sight distractions, and slow, deliberate speech from the teacher.
  • Individual therapies. These include computer-assisted programs, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling.

 

APD in Adults

If you’re an adult with APD, you may well have had it your entire life. You might have had difficulty learning to read, keeping up in class, or paying attention in noisy situations. But it all went under the radar and, thus, unaddressed.

Many adults with APD don’t even realize they’ve developed strategies to cope, choosing activities and jobs that allowed them to flourish with APD.

An audiologist diagnoses APD in adults through an APD evaluation consisting of a series of listening tasks, then develops a treatment plan that could include:

  • Speech-language therapy, especially auditory training
  • Brain-training techniques to improve processing skills
  • Computer-assisted-programs that help you learn to process language advantageously
  • Counseling or art/music therapy if depression, anxiety, or self-esteem issues are present

 

Causes of APD

Just like we don’t really know how common APD is, we don’t understand the causes very well, either. It does, however, tend to be linked with ADHD and dyslexia. Suspected causes include:

  • Frequent ear infections
  • Head injuries
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Genetics
  • Low birth weight

 

There’s No Easy Answer: Hearing Loss Q&A

As you can see from this Hearing Loss Q&A, a lot must happen for you to successfully hear and understand a sound. Your symptom — missing nuances in speech — is just one symptom to consider. It could be hearing loss. It could be APD. Or it could be something else, because other health issues also show up as a problem noticing speech nuances.

I hope this has given you food for thought and a good starting place. Feel free to contact us to get a hearing evaluation on the books today!

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

Make Hitting the Books Even Easier with These Helpful Tricks

It’s practically back-to-school time! Whether the students in your life are returning to class in person or online, keep these helpful tips in mind.

  1. Maximize lipreading. Hearing and lipreading work together to enhance communication, making clear sight lines between instructor and student all the more crucial. During virtual lessons, it’s important for the speaker to appear on camera so participants can see their lips.
  2. Curb background noise. Distracting sounds can make learning difficult. Noise-filtering hearing aids; windows and doors closed off to outside noise; and classrooms with carpet, sound-proofing wall panels, and other elements designed to optimize acoustics can be a big help.
  3. Activate captions, which can take a load off when viewing videos, watching online webinars, or otherwise following speech. Free phone-based apps — for example, technology company Google’s Live Transcribe — and web-based services are also available for real-time transcribing of speech.
  4. Lean into assistive listening devices. Those with hearing aids or cochlear implants may be able to wirelessly connect to options such as FM systems to send audio directly to their ears. Some venues even have audio looping systems that connect with T-coil settings on compatible hearing aids.
  5. Pair a compatible wireless microphone with the student’s hearing aid to enhance listening in one-on-one and group environments. The discreet, portable mic is easily moved from one flat surface to another and, depending on the model, could even be clipped onto clothing for convenience.
  6. Use the chat function — if available when using an online virtual platform — to help clarify any missed points or to ask a follow-up question. Some sessions might also be recorded for helpful playback later, so be sure to ask the instructor, who may need to initiate the recording option.
  7. Stream audio right to the hearing technology. Bluetooth hearing aids can receive audio directly from sources such as smartphones, computers, stereos, and more — depending on compatibility — and make it easy to personalize sound for specific listening and learning needs.
  8. Book a hearing checkup, because regular evaluations with our licensed hearing care professionals can catch potential problems early and help you and those you care about kick off back-to-school season with your best foot forward.

 

How’s Their Hearing?

Book regular hearing checkups for the students in your household — just as you would for their eyes and teeth — and recognize some of the signs of potential hearing loss:

  • Trouble following lessons or instructions from teachers
  • Ringing, buzzing, or other perceived noise (tinnitus) in the head or ears
  • Struggling to understand people speaking through masks
  • Frequent responses of “Huh?” or “What?”
  • Complaints of earaches
  • Turning up the television volume
  • Failing grades or reports that your child doesn’t respond in class
  • A gut feeling that something’s off with your loved one’s hearing

Improved hearing can play a big role in helping students of every age perform their best in class. So don’t wait. Schedule back-to-school hearing evaluations for the whole family today!

I Don’t Want to Hear It: 3 Steps to a Comfortable Dialogue About Hearing Loss

I Don’t Want to Hear It: 3 Steps to a Comfortable Dialogue About Hearing Loss

How to Discuss Hearing Loss With a Loved One

It could be core memories of Grandpa’s loudly beeping 1960s hearing aids. It could be the cost. There are many reasons why your loved one just doesn’t want to hear it.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16%) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.”

There’s no getting around it — there is a perceived stigma surrounding hearing aid use. Some folks may worry they’ll be judged as old or weak. These are powerful words. Hidden within the thought process of even being tested for hearing loss lies your loved one’s entire self-perception, and how they feel they will be perceived by others. These feelings shouldn’t be disregarded — they are very real and impede many people’s path to hearing improvement.

The good news is that you can help your loved one jump this hurdle.

Sometimes, all it takes to get them on the path to improving their hearing is a compassionate invite to a discussion, where everyone’s voices can be heard.

Try this three-step course of action to help send you and your loved one on a journey of acceptance that leads to better hearing and a greatly improved quality of life.

 

Acknowledge

Getting them to acknowledge their hearing loss in the first place can be difficult, so a gentle and respectful approach is key. Using hearing aids is a deeply personal decision, and family dynamics are at stake.

Use words that aren’t pointed — no one wants to be told they have a hearing problem. This is especially true if, for years, your loved one has been blaming their lack of understanding on a mumbling spouse or grandkids who play “too loudly.”

Suggest that maybe Grandma isn’t mumbling; that you can hear her just fine. You could also try going along with their story — ask them, “Wouldn’t it be nice to hear Grandma without having to strain? You know how she mumbles.” Try a few roads like these and see which one helps them admit that maybe it’s time to see an audiologist.

If they wear glasses, ask them if they’d ever consider leaving their vision unchecked. Could they live without their glasses on a daily basis? That may help put the level of necessity into perspective.

 

Educate

This can get into sensitive territory. Again, gentility and respect are crucial. Weave your facts in over time, rather than providing one big information dump. Turning on a firehose of information can be overwhelming. They may already feel embarrassed or frustrated at the thought of even discussing hearing loss, let alone talking about how it applies to them.

Help your loved one understand that hearing loss affects more than just being able to hear people speak. Hearing loss affects other facets of their health.

For example, the National Institute on Aging published an article that details the many ways hearing loss can affect cognitive health. Let them know about findings such as, “Studies have shown that older adults with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia than older adults with normal hearing.” You can follow that up with other data, like the fact that older adults with hearing loss tend to lose their cognitive abilities more rapidly (including memory and concentration) than those with no hearing loss or those who use hearing-restorative devices, like hearing aids. They may even flinch at the words “hearing aids.”

Wow them with all the new technology available. These aren’t your grandpa’s hearing aids — the latest devices not only look more sleek and subtle than they did years ago, but they can do fancy new tricks. Audio streaming via Bluetooth technology has been introduced into many hearing aids. You can pair them to a phone, your laptop, and even directly to your TV, with no extra gadgets.

Some newer hearing aids can act as built-in foreign language translators. Others include emergency sensors, or a “fall alert,” that can detect when the wearer has taken a tumble and send out an alert message to their emergency contact. This feature could be an actual lifesaver.

Another angle to use is that living with unchecked hearing loss could eventually hinder their independence. Sometimes, people who can’t hear are mistakenly thought to be (at best) confused or (at worst) unresponsive or uncooperative. The latter traits can lead to family members and medical professionals, together, revoking their ability to do enjoyable things, like drive.

 

Support

Offer to drive them or just ride along to their audiology appointment. Tell them you’ll go in to see the doctor with them. Suggest that you can sit and take notes for them so they can concentrate on being examined. Come from a place of service and support. Remind them that you are here because you care.

How can you support them through the feelings surrounding the stigma of using hearing aids? Part of supporting them on this journey will include finding the words to boost their confidence and sense of self. What do they love about themselves? Do they have beautiful hair? If so, you can use that to your advantage and say something such as, “Your beautiful hair will be covering those hearing aids. How wonderful that your gorgeous coiffe is the only thing everyone is going to be staring at!” Are they proud of their striking eyes or their talent for making a joke? Assure them that those traits will outshine any hearing device.

Communicating with health insurance providers can be the most difficult part of any medical journey. Offer to do the prep work for them — call their insurance company, contact a local audiologist, get some answers, and do the math and detail exactly how much this may cost them, including giving them a range of prices for different types of technology.

Let them know you love them, care about them, and want to keep them out of danger. Untreated hearing loss creates a safety hazard for them and the people they encounter throughout their day. For example, it can affect their ability to drive safely, as honking horns and police sirens go unheard.

Having someone you love continually put in harm’s way is stressful for you and for them, especially when all they need to do is visit their local audiologist and come up with a plan to tackle their hearing challenges. Make sure they know they aren’t facing this challenge alone.

Here are some tips for broaching the subject of hearing care to a resistant person:

  • Ask how you can help. Come from a place of service.
  • Gently alert them to the downsides of not being able to hear well.
  • Laugh! Keep the conversation light.
  • Be patient. People with hearing loss may also be frustrated by their condition.
  • Stay positive and relaxed.
  • Don’t give up. It may take several conversations to get them on board.

No one likes to be the bad guy, but a few moments of awkwardness and a little risk could turn one conversation into a new lease on life and better hearing for your loved one.

Start the conversation today!

5 Tips for Living with Balance Problems

5 Tips for Living with Balance Problems

5 Tips for Living with Balance Problems

Get back on sure footing with these easy ways to prevent falls

If you live with balance issues, you’re not alone. About 35% of U.S. and Canadian adults 40 or older are no strangers to them. Let’s take a look at what they are and some simple ways to ease their burden.

 

The Basics of Balance

Is It a Balance Problem?

How do you know if what you’re experiencing is a one-off or a true balance problem?

Some people have difficulty with tree pose in yoga class. Others aren’t so hot on a unicycle. These are not balance problems — these are illustrations of how each of us has different skills.

Do you feel unsteady walking from a carpeted floor to a hardwood floor? Does a trip to the supermarket make you light-headed? These are examples of what life is like for someone with a balance problem. Simple daily tasks become a battle.

You might be surprised that so many adults have firsthand experience with this sort of problem. But a look at how complicated your balance system is might shed some light.

 

Your Balance System

Your ability to achieve and maintain balance depends on your brain coordinating input from three sources, integrating the input, and sending output to your eyes and muscles. The three sources are:

  • Your eyes send information to your brain about where you are relative to the objects around you.
  • This ten-dollar word is simply your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location. Your skin, muscles, and joints constantly send messages to your brain about what position you’re in and what you’re doing.
  • Vestibular system. This is named for the vestibule, a part of your inner ear. This system is responsible for providing your brain with information about your head’s motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation. There are many small structures that all work together to constantly send your brain information.

Your brain sorts all this information and combines it with information from the parts of your brain responsible for coordination, thinking, and memory. Then it sends messages that control the movements of your eyes, head and neck, torso, and legs to ensure continued balance.

When your balance system works properly, you see clearly while moving, stay oriented with respect to gravity, know your direction and speed, and automatically make posture adjustments to maintain stability.

 

Causes of Balance Problems

For many people, balance problems set in because of age-related issues such as cardiovascular disease, stiff or damaged joints, or an autoimmune condition. But the inner ear is the most common source of these disorders for all ages, from fluid imbalances to bone damage.

Symptoms range from short and mild to chronic and debilitating. Some common ones are general unsteadiness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), noise or light sensitivity, nausea, coordination problems, and concentration or memory issues.

 

Diagnosing Balance Issues

Many systems and sources contribute to balance — and interact with yet other systems. That’s why diagnosis is often not straightforward. Your first step, however, should be an audiologist, who might perform any combination of the following.

 

Videonystagmography (VNG)

This test tells your provider if your brain is getting conflicting messages from your eyes and inner ears. You wear goggles that monitor your eye movements and perform tasks such as following a target and placing your head and body into different positions.

 

Rotation tests

There are different kinds of rotation tests, but they all provide information about how well your inner ears and eyes work together. You wear goggles or electrodes and your head moves (usually slowly) while your audiologist monitors your eye movements.

 

Video head impulse test (vHIT)

This also provides information about how well your inner ears and eyes work together. You wear goggles or electrodes, your head moves, and your audiologist monitors your eye movements. The major difference is the head movements are very slight and faster.

 

Vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP)

VEMP testing evaluates whether certain balance structures and associated nerves are intact and working normally. The test uses adhesive, skin-surface electrodes on the neck and around the eyes as well as earphones like the ones during a hearing test.

 

Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) testing

DVA testing evaluates your ability to use your inner-ear balance system while your head moves. You identify a target on a computer screen while your head is still and then with your head moving.

 

Tips for Living With Balance Issues

If you’ve been diagnosed with a balance problem — or you’re starting to think this all sounds familiar in your life — let’s look at five ways to ease your balance burden.

 

Keep Rooms Clutter-Free

Cutting down on clutter means far less likelihood of tripping. The following will go a long way toward preventing falls:

  • Keep walking paths and stairs free of books, clothes, shoes, and children’s or pets’ toys
  • Ensure carpets are secured and put no-slip strips on carpet-free floors
  • Keep electrical cords out of the way
  • Arrange your furniture to ensure clear walking paths
  • Keep walking areas outside clear of children’s and pets’ toys, tools, and fallen branches

 

Use Assistive Devices

Having the right fail-safes in place can make all the difference in one moment of unsure footing:

  • Make sure there are secure handrails on both sides of all stairs
  • Place easy-access grab bars near toilets, tubs, and showers as well as nonskid mats on surfaces that get wet
  • Keep a night light and flashlight close to your bed
  • Use a reach stick to grab something that’s out of reach
  • If you decide to try a cane or walker, ensure it’s the correct size for you

 

Dial in Your Diet

Ménière’s disease and hydrops are caused by fluid imbalance in the inner ear. Modifying or eliminating certain substances from your diet can help maintain fluid stability. Check with your doctor before making big dietary changes — discuss the proper approach to:

  • Spacing food and fluid intake evenly throughout the day
  • Reducing salt and sugar intake
  • Eliminating caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol consumption
  • Adjusting or eliminating any supplements that might affect your symptoms

 

Dare to Dine Out

For those with a vestibular disorder, busy settings such as restaurants and supermarkets can be difficult to handle. The mazes of tables, bright lights, tile or carpet patterns, and turning your head to talk can make you dizzy or disoriented. And it saps a lot of energy.

But with some adaptations, you can still eat in relative comfort:

  • Avoid rush hour and choose a restaurant with quiet background music.
  • Seek out carpeted floors without busy patterns and avoid shiny surfaces, ceiling fans, and busy wallpaper.
  • Download a menu in advance to plan your meal ahead of time.
  • Choose restaurants that will cater to your dietary needs.
  • Sit in the corner away from the bustle, kitchens, and cash registers.

Fine-tune Your Footwear

To help you balance, your feet and ankles constantly gather information about your body position and movement. That’s why it’s crucial for those with balance issues to choose the right footwear:

  • Ensure your shoe’s heel is 2.7 cm high or less
  • Wear shoes with a hard, thin midsole
  • A treaded sole and a treaded, beveled heel helps prevent slipping
  • If you tend to slide your feet, wear smooth-soled shoes instead
  • Walking barefoot or in socks or slippers might seem like a good idea, but studies have shown those with balance problems do best with shoes, even around the home

If you — or someone you love — have seemed a little unsteady, contact us!

9 Hits for Your 2023 Summer List

9 Hits for Your 2023 Summer List

The Summer Reading/Watch/Listen List You Need

No summer’s complete without a good reading list, so we’re hooking you up.

From books to films to podcasts, we’ve put together some inspiring, entertaining, or thought-provoking options that have some connection to hearing loss or sound. Take a listen, watch, or read, and let us know what you think!

 

The Way I Hear It: A Life With Hearing Loss (Book)

Humorist, actress, public speaker, and hearing loss advocate Gael Hannan takes readers on a journey of life lessons and more in this 2015 book. Her insights offer advice and inspiration not only for those with hearing loss but for their loved ones, too.

 

Sound of Metal* (Film)

Imagine being a musician on tour when suddenly confronted with profound hearing loss. It’s the challenge of a lifetime for heavy-metal drummer Ruben, who’s also in recovery. The deep-diving movie has garnered praise in the Deaf community and took home two Academy Awards.

 

The Hear Me Out! [CC] Podcast (Podcast)

Everyone has a story worth hearing, and host Ahmed Khalifa sees to it. Whether talking deaf representation in pop culture, censorship in captions, or success at audiology appointments, Khalifa — a host with firsthand hearing loss experience — offers interviews and more in this candid series.

 

The Walking Dead>* (TV series)

You’ve probably heard of this juggernaut zombie series that wrapped up after its 11th season. But did you know recent seasons include two amazing actors — Angel Theory and Lauren Ridloff — who use American Sign Language on the show and have hearing loss in real life? Check it out!

 

Impossible Music (Book)

This young-adult novel follows two Australian teens navigating deafness after having been able to hear most of their lives. The coming-of-age story about change, identity, belonging, relationships, adaptation, and resilience offers another perspective on life’s twists, turns, and blessings.

 

See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary* (Film)

What’s it like as an entertainer with hearing loss to follow your professional dreams? This award-winning 2009 documentary offers an unflinching up-close look through the ups, downs, adventures, and triumphs of drummer Bob, comic CJ, actor and educator Robert, and singer TL.

 

My Deaf Friend Can Do Anything You Can Do (Book)

Misconceptions and stereotypes can get in the way of building better understanding. This children’s book offers an opportunity for the whole family to explore the experiences of those with hearing loss and gain greater appreciation for what everyone brings to the table.

 

Twenty Thousand Hertz (Podcast)

Cool title, right? This podcast is all about sound — as in, what it is, how it works, how beings can hear, and so on. It breaks down interesting topics such as synesthesia — dig into the January 13, 2021, episode to learn more — and serves up backstories on well-known sounds you might recognize.

 

Holland’s Opus* (Film)

We’re hitting the archive for a classic! A composer who takes a teaching position as a temporary job discovers life sometimes has different plans for us. An important subplot film is the relationship between the titular character and his Deaf son.

We hope you enjoy this summer list. You might come up with a few entries of your own, too! And remember, we’re here to help you get the most out of the season by hearing your best. So don’t delay. Schedule a hearing evaluation with our caring team today.

*Viewer discretion advised for language or visuals.

CBD for Tinnitus: What’s the Buzz About?

Some Use CBD for Tinnitus, but Is It a Good Idea?

CBD for Tinnitus: What’s the Buzz About?

Some see the cannabis compound as a key to tinnitus relief, but not so fast!

Hissing, clicking, roaring, or ringing in ears. Head noises that can interfere with everyday activities. Tinnitus, which as a chronic issue affects an estimated 8% to 25% of the global population, can take a toll on quality of life. Whether mildly annoying, somewhat burdensome, or — for a significant subset of people — downright debilitating, the condition can bring an unwelcome dimension to daily life.

But is cannabidiol (CBD) the answer some people think it is? The natural chemical, one of more than 100 compounds within the cannabis plant, has been touted as a possible medical solution or aid for a gamut of conditions and most commonly has been used for issues such as pain. The health claims, however, aren’t always backed by the facts.

Unlike the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD doesn’t create a psychoactive sensation or high. Selected CBD or products containing CBD are legalized in Canada and parts of the U.S. as of this writing, but there are regulations and restrictions. Read on for a closer look at tinnitus and the hype around using CBD to address it.

 

Tinnitus 101

What is tinnitus? Most people have never even heard of it, but tinnitus is more common than many realize. It’s not a disease. Rather, it’s a medical condition generally characterized by noises in the ear or head that usually can be heard only by the person experiencing the sounds. Ringing, buzzing, humming, clicking, or swooshing might be described, and, more rarely, some may even perceive musical notes.

In some cases, the ringing in the ears can be heard by an impartial observer — the person’s doctor, for example. This is referred to as “objective tinnitus” and is much less common than the more typical “subjective” version, in which only the person with the condition can perceive the sounds. Most people don’t experience objective tinnitus, which reportedly comprises under 1% of tinnitus cases.

Tinnitus appears to be most common in people between 40 and 80 but can affect all ages. It can eventually resolve on its own or at least lessen in intensity. For many, however, it’s chronic — lasting three or more months. The condition can affect the ability to think and focus and can impact mood and mental health, at times potentially resulting in anxiety or depression.

 

Tinnitus Types

Tinnitus may occur in one or both ears and generally comes in two forms, pulsatile and nonpulsatile:

  • Pulsatile tinnitus is caused when sounds are generated through the movement of muscles close to the ear. It can result from other reasons as well, such as changes in blood flow.
  • Nonpulsatile tinnitus often results from problems with the structures in the inner ear, associated with hearing.

Determining the type of tinnitus involved can play a role in uncovering the cause.

 

Tinnitus Causes

Tinnitus can have a number of different causes. It’s typically considered a symptom or sign of another issue, making it all the more important to seek an evaluation.

Some potential causes include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Effects of excess noise exposure
  • Wax buildup in the ear
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Ear infections
  • Head injuries
  • Dental problems
  • Barotrauma
  • Blood vessel disorders

A comprehensive exam can help shed light on any underlying issues, inform a treatment plan, and include potential referral to a specialist if needed to address a medical matter contributing to the tinnitus.

 

Stress Factor

Stress could also be a factor in tinnitus. Whether stress can lead to the condition or the other way around may not be entirely conclusive. What is clear, however, is that stress may be a risk factor that warrants greater attention when diagnosing and treating tinnitus — with as early an intervention as possible.

In one study of 180 men and women living with chronic subjective tinnitus, researchers uncovered interesting findings while assessing the presence of stress and its correlation with tinnitus’s impact on daily life.

Among the outcomes, investigators learned that:

  • A majority of the investigation participants — 65% — had symptoms of stress.
  • Increased stress levels seemed to pair with higher levels of perceived tinnitus difficulty.
  • Tinnitus may serve as an alarm signaling the need to manage contributors to stress.

The study, published in 2018, stopped short of concluding whether tinnitus precedes stress or vice versa. It does, however, point to a close relationship between the two conditions and the potential need for stress evaluation and management strategies attendant with a tinnitus diagnosis.

 

Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus can be effectively managed. Depending on the underlying cause, addressing the problem may include approaches ranging from earwax removal, hearing aids, or sound devices to medication adjustments, lifestyle changes, or interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Other types of counseling, such as sleep, cognitive behavioral therapy, or relaxation methods, can also play an important role in helping someone manage tinnitus symptoms by reducing the stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness often associated with the condition.

Relief might also involve habituation, in which the brain adapts to tinnitus such that symptoms are significantly less bothersome. Sound therapy can play a role in that approach. In certain situations, surgery recommended to correct an underlying issue — an acoustic neuroma or benign tumor along a hearing nerve, for example — may help resolve tinnitus symptoms.

 

CBD Connection

Some have looked to CBD for tinnitus relief. Online search results show an array of CBD products — especially in the form of gummies or oil — promoted as a tinnitus cure or a solution to stop symptoms, but no conclusive evidence at this juncture necessarily supports the claims.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A 2020-released study that reviewed several prior investigations found, for example, “no compelling data either from animal or human studies for the use of cannabinoids to alleviate tinnitus.”

Research has even pointed to potentially adverse effects of CBD on tinnitus. A 2015-released report involving rats found that a mix of the cannabinoids CBD and THC might actually exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.

Still, other research, such as the 2020-released report, “Cannabinoids, Inner Ear, Hearing, and Tinnitus: A Neuroimmunological Perspective,” points to the possibility that CBD’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties might offer therapeutic value in future trials. For now, the jury’s out.

 

8 Fast Facts About Tinnitus

  • With tinnitus often linked to excess noise, reduced exposure and hearing protection are critical.
  • An overwhelming share of tinnitus cases — 90% — develop in concert with hearing loss.
  • Musicians are at 57% greater risk of tinnitus than the general population.
  • Most instances of tinnitus can be managed so that it’s less of a distraction in everyday life.
  • Science is on the case with continuing research.
  • On a global scale, tinnitus spans all ages, including over 740 million adults.
  • An estimated 16 million people each year reach out for medical help regarding tinnitus.
  • The majority of people who report tinnitus as a major challenge in their lives are 65 or older.

Science will continue exploring the possibilities of CBD in addressing tinnitus and other conditions. In the meantime, it’s important to avoid unproven treatments that could do more harm than good. If you or a loved one is experiencing tinnitus symptoms, relief could be just an appointment away, so don’t wait. Contact our caring team for information today!

6 Exciting Innovations in Today’s Hearing Aids

These Aren’t Your Grandfather’s Hearing Aids

6 Exciting Innovations in Today’s Hearing Aids

Get Ready for the Future of Hearing

According to the CDC, in the United States alone, 7.1% of the population aged 45 and over use hearing aids. That’s almost 24 million people on the receiving end of some seriously futuristic options to help tackle their hearing loss. It’s mind-blowing to see the latest strides hearing aid technology has taken. People will be experiencing sound like never before, so don’t miss out!

 

Don’t Miss a Moment of Better Hearing

Typically, folks wait as long as possible before getting a new hearing aid. The old one stops functioning properly before they even make an appointment to upgrade! This time around, you may not want to wait — these tantalizing innovations may tempt you into an early upgrade.

Hearing aid technology runs the gamut from basic to advanced, but even basic technology models are rapidly improving and providing even more new benefits to wearers than ever before. Here is a list of just some of the sparkling new hearing aid options.

 

Hearing Aids With Bluetooth Technology

Look around you. Chances are if there’s an electronic device at hand, it uses Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth can be found in our phones, cars, portable speakers, computers, and even in our refrigerators — why not in our hearing aids?

Today’s Bluetooth hearing aids can connect to devices like smartphones, laptops, televisions, and more. You can play audio directly from your devices — such as a workout playlist, your favorite movie or TV show, or a simple phone call — directly through your hearing aid’s speakers.

The use of hearing aids is more prevalent in adults over the age of 45, and that can go hand in hand with loss of dexterity as we age. The tiny buttons on hearing aids and remote-control accessories are just not ideal for many hearing aid wearers. With Bluetooth, you can control them with an app from whichever personal device you choose — perhaps one that’s already practically attached to your hand (cell phone, anyone?).

These are some of the most helpful benefits to using hearing aids with Bluetooth technology:

 

Advanced Sound Quality

If a high-quality hearing experience is what you’re after, Bluetooth technology is the way to go. With Bluetooth, sound is sent consistently and steadily, directly to the ears. Unwanted noise and sounds are diminished, and feedback is minimized.

 

Hearing More Clearly

More communication is always better — what if your two hearing aids could talk to each other? Bluetooth technology is a huge win for people who wear hearing aids in both ears. Hearing aids that communicate with each other (via Bluetooth) can more properly balance and control sound. The result? More clarity of sound.

 

Simpler Customization

Your hearing needs are as unique as you are. A variety of customizable options are featured and available in most Bluetooth hearing aids for maximum personalization. These are options that the user can control without having to visit their audiologist. Adjustments to volume or sound frequency can be made to these hearing aids remotely.

 

Remote Control

Hearing aids that are Bluetooth compatible can be accessed from a phone, a tablet, or any other connected devices. The apps accompanying your connected device can be used to very simply change programs or adjust settings, rendering those tiny buttons you remember on your hearing aids obsolete. No more fiddling with your hearing aid buttons in the dark — just light up your phone and head straight to the app!

From language translation to reduced background noise, Bluetooth hearing aids have too many benefits to count.

 

Hearing Aids With Rechargeable Batteries

No battery? No problem! Say goodbye to the days of your hearing aid’s batteries running out of power at the most inconvenient times. Lithium-ion technology has changed all that.

When you go to sleep at night, you probably have a cord waiting by the bed to charge your phone overnight. Now you can put your hearing aid’s charging cord right next to your phone’s and sleep soundly, knowing you’ll wake up to fully recharged hearing aids ready to face the day with you.

If you establish a charging routine with your rechargeable hearing aids, you put yourself on the path to having the most carefree hearing-improvement experience possible.

Some exciting benefits to rechargeable hearing aids:

  • Simplify: If you have vision difficulties, you’ll find plugging your hearing aids in to charge to be a much simpler action than fiddling with tiny batteries.
  • Save: There’s no need to constantly buy batteries. The electricity pulled by a tiny hearing aid adds much less to your electrical bill than the cost of batteries.
  • Endure: There is no tiny battery door and no need to open the device. This makes for a much smaller chance of damage to the device or the battery.
  • Outlast: Longer battery life is yours. Your hearing aid will likely use lithium-ion batteries, which last for years before replacement is necessary.
  • Preserve: Rechargeable hearing aids are an eco-friendly choice. With no need to dispose of batteries regularly, rechargeable hearing aids may have a smaller footprint on the environment.
  • Protect: Kids and pets have us living in a world full of choking and insertion hazards.  Not having loose, tiny batteries laying around diminishes the chance that a child or animal will swallow one or try to put them in their nose or ears.

Emergency Alert Feature

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

New hearing aids are saving lives, and not just through improving hearing, which can be lifesaving in many other ways.

The CDC states that, “Each year, millions of older people — those 65 and older — fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year.”

Some hearing aids can now detect when you fall and will automatically generate and send a message to your emergency contact. It will alert your loved one that you might have taken a spill and should be checked on immediately.

 

AI & Hearing Aids

Imagine: Hearing aids that learn from your actions and make adjustments like a person would — artificial intelligence (AI) is astounding. AI is the power of machines to simulate the intelligence of a real-life person.

What do AI-powered electronics do best? They learn. It’s almost unsettling the way they can learn everything about you and anticipate your wants, your needs, and your likes and dislikes.

How does this apply to your hearing loss treatment? It is now possible for hearing aids to adapt precisely to your needs. AI applied to your hearing aids isn’t unsettling, though, as you’ll discover once your hearing aids are experiencing constant, automatic, personalized adjustments that get better and better.

Regarding the new AI-powered hearing aids, WINK News, out of Fort Myers, Texas, explained, “Every setting has different sound dynamics. Whether you’re in a workspace, a car, or outdoors, there are noises you want to tune out in order to hear better. AI devices are smart enough to cut through the clutter.”

 

Built-In Tinnitus Care

Certain innovations have been around for a while, and are well-known by professionals, but patients may have not known about them — for instance, tinnitus care via a hearing aid.

Looking for relief from the noise(s) in your ears or head? Some new hearing aids are equipped with tinnitus features. The American Tinnitus Association documented that, “Hearing aids can augment the volume of external noise to the point that it covers (masks) the sound of tinnitus. This makes it more difficult to consciously perceive tinnitus and helps the brain focus on outside, ambient noises. The masking impact of hearing aids is particularly strong for patients who have hearing loss in the same frequency range as their tinnitus.”

Treat your tinnitus at the source; hearing aids with tinnitus functions can handle it.  Through the amplification of background sounds, tinnitus symptoms can be managed, and you can go back to focusing on what’s important.

 

Telecoil

Another awesome piece of tech that audiologists know backwards and forwards, but patients may not know about, is telecoil technology. Also called a “T-coil” or “T-switch,” this feature will have you touching your hearing aid and saying, “Beam me up!”

The telecoil is a small induction pick-up coil that can be placed inside of a hearing aid. When you choose to use this option, the telecoil allows your hearing aid to pick up the signal from your phone or any public venue fitted with an assistive listening system called a hearing loop.

According to Let’s Loop Seattle, a public education and access advocacy campaign launched by the Hearing Loss Association of Washington, “The telecoil can connect you to assistive listening systems in theatres, airports, houses of worship, and thousands of other public spaces. Better still, a telecoil connects you to a hearing loop without the need for additional Assistive Listening Device (ALD) equipment — you simply switch your aid or CI to telecoil mode (or T mode). Telecoils can also connect you to your home loop or TV loop.”

The future is now, folks, and your hearing loss care will be all the better for it. Contact us today to schedule a hearing consultation and tech demo!

Traveling? 8 Tips for Better Hearing on the Go

From Loops to Batteries, We’re Covering the Bases

Hearing devices help you communicate your best no matter where you are, so it’s especially important to lean into them when traveling. Make those unforgettable on-the-go moments even more special with these helpful reminders.

 

1. Get to Know Your Hearing Devices

Your hearing aids likely come chock-full of features — some you might not have fully explored just yet. Options may include streaming, geotagging, and controlling the devices through your compatible smartphone or tablet. Take time now to get to truly know your hearing technology for a better experience on the road.

 

2. Pack Extra Batteries

Keeping your hearing aids powered is even easier when you bring an extra supply of batteries — just in case. And be sure to remove batteries from your hearing devices when they’re not in use. If you’re using rechargeable hearing aids, it’s a good idea to have an extra charger on hand specifically for travel.

 

3. Remember Your Storage Container

Just like at home, your hearing devices need proper storage when not in use. This helps prevent misplacement or damage and protects them from moisture, small pets, and kiddos. Dehumidifiers made especially for the devices not only dry and sanitize them; they’ll do double duty as convenient storage containers.

 

4. Change the Wax Guard

Your hearing device’s wax guard serves as an important protection against a damaging buildup of earwax, skin particles, and other debris. If it’s been close to a month or more since you last changed out the wax guard, take care of this easy maintenance task before you go, and pack a couple extra guards.

 

5. Include a Quick-Cleaning Kit

Dust and dirt can make their way onto your hearing devices, but a small cleaning kit is just the thing. Wipe the earmold — if it’s part of your device — with a soft, dry cloth; carefully brush over the microphone and battery contacts with a soft-bristle brush; and use a wax pick to remove earwax from the earmold.

 

6. Add Your Bluetooth Gear

From table microphones to phone clips, TV streamers, and more, Bluetooth-enabled accessories that work with your hearing devices can go a long way toward enhancing your communication and enjoyment. Make sure they’re part of your checklist.

 

7. Get Yourself in the Loop

Some museums, theaters, houses of worship, and other spaces have installed hearing loops, letting visitors enjoy enhanced audio by wirelessly connecting through the T-coil setting on their hearing aids. Look for the hearing loop logo, or ask the info desk if they’re a participating venue.

 

8. Protect Your Hearing

A new environment can mean new or unexpected sounds — some of which may hit the danger zone of 85 decibels or higher, which can harm your hearing. Avoiding excess noise when possible and bringing quality hearing protection that softens loud sounds can help guard your hearing health while on the go.

Want more travel tips? Need custom hearing protection or accessories, such as wax guards and a cleaning kit? We’re here to help. Contact our caring team today!

title: Traveling? 8 Tips for Better Hearing on the Go

meta: Careful planning paves the way for a care-free getaway. So how do you make sure you’re prepared to take in the wonderful sounds of your trip? We’ve got you covered with this helpful checklist.

alt: An illustrated travel agent speaking over the phone with a client

slug: /8-travel-tips-for-better-hearing/

cat: Travel

Smoking and vaping are harmful to hearing health.

The Hearing Dangers of Smoking and Vaping

The Hearing Dangers of Smoking and Vaping

While the two most common causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud noise and aging, certain chemicals can damage the inner ear and other physical processes involved in hearing. One major source of harmful chemicals is cigarettes. The dangers of smoking are well-known, but research is increasingly showing that vaping isn’t any safer.

 

How Smoking Affects Hearing Health

Cardiovascular concerns

Smoking impacts your blood pressure, and the structures in your inner ear depend on good, sturdy blood flow to function properly. When blood pressure changes, the inner ear has difficulty processing sound. In pregnant people, smoking also restricts blood flow and oxygen supply to the fetus. If the developing inner ear doesn’t get enough oxygen, it may develop more slowly and lead to speech-language problems later on.

 

Central nervous system

The parts of the central nervous system (CNS) responsible for hearing continue to develop well into adolescence. During childhood, the CNS is easily damaged by toxins such as nicotine, which could explain the prevalence of hearing loss among adolescents exposed to secondhand smoke. Indeed, one study showed a higher incidence of sensorineural hearing loss in adolescents and a 60% increase in otitis media among children and teens exposed to secondhand smoke. The chemicals in smoke also irritate the eustachian tube, which contributes to ear infections and hearing difficulties.

 

Neurological networks

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that carry information between cells in your body. Nicotine interferes with how the body regulates neurotransmitters, changing how they transport sound information from the inner ear to the brain. If the brain doesn’t receive enough sound input, it has a harder time making sense of the sounds you hear. Some researchers suspect that smoking may also cause tinnitus.

 

Vaping Isn’t a Safe Alternative

Not only do e-cigarettes contain the same amount of nicotine (or more) as traditional cigarettes, but, for a long time, many of their flavored additives were unregulated by the FDA. While there are stronger protections in place now, manufactures are still looking for loopholes and new ways to produce vape products that escape federal oversight, so we don’t always know what kinds of chemicals may be present in vape juice. They could be ototoxic, cardiotoxic, hepatoxic, or nephrotoxic. Additionally, nicotine is one of the most addictive substances around and there is currently no research indicating that vaping is any easier to quit than smoking.

What’s worse is that many smokers use e-cigarettes and regular combustible cigarettes. According to two recent studies supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, smoking and vaping each increase different biomarkers for cardiovascular disease, which means that using them together can cause greater health risks than using just one product individually.

 

Tips for Quitting

The good news is, there is some evidence that smoking cessation may benefit hearing health. We know quitting is tough, but here are some tips for success:

  • Discuss your plans with a physician and determine whether medical support is necessary.
  • Boost your mood and diet by including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy, whole foods in your daily meals.
  • Remove temptation by disposing of cigarettes, vapes, ash trays, and smoking/vaping accessories. Check everywhere! Don’t forget the ones you may have stashed in your car, garage, office, or spare room.
  • Remember the benefits of a tobacco-free life — write down a list of reasons for quitting and refer to it whenever you feel tempted to resume.
  • Be realistic with your goals and don’t get demoralized if there are setbacks. Habits can be very difficult to break. Struggling is normal and won’t prevent you from succeeding in the long-term. You can do this!

It’s never too late to quit smoking and vaping to avoid further damage to your hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to get your hearing tested and explore your treatment options.