Author: Dr. Stephanie Moore

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus: Common, Constant, Treatable, and Manageable

Do you hear a phantom ringing, whooshing, or buzzing noise – but no one else hears it? You’re not alone. It’s a common condition known as tinnitus.

For some people, tinnitus is a simple fact of life. For others, it’s a minor inconvenience. But for many, the condition is debilitating. Currently there is no cure. Thankfully, relief can come from a variety of treatments.

 

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus usually indicates an inner ear problem, but the mechanisms involved in tinnitus aren’t clear. There are many things, however, that result in tinnitus, such as hearing loss. Your provider will most likely look for:

  • Hearing loss
  • Damage to your auditory system
  • Jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Chronic neck muscle strain
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Certain medications
  • Wax buildup
  • Cardiovascular issues

Research is ongoing, and the mechanisms that create tinnitus in the brain and inner ear are being more closely studied all the time.

 

What Are the Different Types of Tinnitus?

Subjective tinnitus

This is the most common form of tinnitus, and exposure to excessive noise is often the culprit. The sound is only heard by the affected person. This type can appear and disappear suddenly. It can last a day or two, several weeks, months, or indefinitely.

 

Sensory tinnitus

This common type of tinnitus is usually a symptom of a disorder such as Meniere’s disease. These health problems affect the way your brain processes sound.

 

Somatic tinnitus

This type of tinnitus is related to movement and touch. Muscle spasms, a twist of the neck, and dental issues are all examples of somatic causes of tinnitus.

 

Objective tinnitus

This is a rare form of tinnitus caused by the circulatory or musculoskeletal system. This is the only form of tinnitus that can be heard by others. If the cause can be treated, the tinnitus usually stops entirely.

 

Notable Subtypes

  • Musical tinnitus: This type is less common. It’s also called musical hallucinations or auditory imagery. Simple tones or layers of tones join to recreate a melody or composition. Musical tinnitus is more prevalent in those with long-term hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Pulsatile tinnitus: This is a rhythmic tinnitus that syncs up with the beat of your heart. It usually indicates a change of blood flow near your ear.
  • Low-frequency tinnitus: Perhaps the most confusing type of tinnitus – those with this type can’t tell whether the sound is being produced internally or externally. Often, the tones correspond to the two lowest octaves on a piano and are described as a humming, murmuring, rumbling, or deep droning. This type of noise seems to affect people most strongly.

 

What Are Some Common Tinnitus Treatments?

There are numerous treatment options, but effectiveness varies depending upon the type of tinnitus. Your provider will usually help you manage your tinnitus with strategies to make it less bothersome.

No single approach works for everyone, and there is no FDA-approved drug treatment, supplement, or herb proven to be any more effective than a placebo.

Behavioral strategies and sound-generating devices offer the best treatment results. Some of the most effective methods are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Tinnitus-retraining therapy
  • Masking
  • Biofeedback
  • Hearing aids

Hearing loss is very often accompanied by tinnitus. In fact, some researchers believe subjective tinnitus can only happen in the presence of hearing damage.

Hearing aids do ease tinnitus symptoms, but they’re not the only method. That’s why it’s essential to see a professional with years of experience creating solutions for tinnitus sufferers.

If you or a loved one experiences tinnitus, contact us today. We’ll be able to help you determine the next steps toward relief.

The History of Hearing Aids

The History of Hearing Aids

The History of Hearing Aids

Modern hearing technology is truly amazing. Some devices are so small they’re practically invisible, others are waterproof, and most have advanced features that allow you to stream music and phone calls directly to your ears. But how did we get here? Through thousands of years of scientific innovation! Take a walk through the halls of hearing aid history to learn more about the evolution of hearing technology.

 

Prehistory

Humans have been trying to cure hearing loss since at least 1550 BC. The condition is referenced in ancient Egyptian manuscripts, and later on, ancient Greeks and Romans offered their own remedies for deafness. These usually involved various medicinal concoctions and the occasional object inserted into the ear canal. Definitely not the recommended treatment these days!

 

1200s

By the 13th century, rudimentary hearing instruments were crafted from hollowed-out animal horns. Since they couldn’t amplify sound, they weren’t very effective, but funnel-shaped objects would serve as the dominant form of hearing aid for the next few centuries.

 

1600s

The first officially recognized hearing aid appeared in the 17th century. Known as ear trumpets, these devices worked the same way as animal horns – by funneling sound waves to the ear. They came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.

 

1700s-1800s

Collapsible ear trumpets hit the scene in the 18th century, making hearing aids more portable. They were often custom made for specific people and were becoming more commonplace. By the 19th century, ear trumpets were being commercially produced alongside other hearing devices such as hearing fans and speaking tubes. Ludwig van Beethoven owned multiple custom ear trumpets and used them for years. They’re on display at the Beethoven Museum in Bonn, Germany.

 

1900s

Invention of the carbon microphone in 1878 led to the development of several electric hearing devices in the early 20th century. These devices helped amplify voices, which the listener would hear through a speaker held at their ear. They were large and unwieldy, but the door to modern hearing technology was open, and hearing aids would advance very quickly from then on.

 

1920s

Developments in vacuum-tube technology starting in the 1920s led to lower-voltage, battery-powered hearing devices that were still bulky but small enough to be worn on the body. Vacuum tubes vastly increased the amount of amplification available in hearing aids, making it possible to treat greater degrees of hearing loss.

 

1940s

Vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors in the mid-20th century, leading to pocket-sized, lighter-weight hearing aids. Amplification was still pretty basic and couldn’t yet be customized to the user’s hearing loss, but miniaturization meant that more people found hearing aids convenient enough to try.

 

1970s-1980s

The arrival of microprocessors in the 1970s miniaturized hearing aids even more, and wearable analog devices were common throughout the decade. They were simple and equally amplified all sounds – including potentially unwanted noise – but some could be programmed for different listening situations. Analog devices became hybrid devices, and finally, the first fully digital hearing aid was created at the City University of New York in 1982. It wouldn’t become a commercially available technology until the 1990s, but it was the breakthrough that led to the hearing aids we know
today.

 

1990s-Present Day

1996 is the year hearing tech officially went digital. Improvements to their design and functionality made them more powerful and comfortable, and now these devices provide more sonic customization than ever before. Streaming, adjusting automatically to specific environments, filtering out background noise, and detecting falls are just some of the features you can expect in a contemporary hearing aid, and they’re continuing to evolve.

Excited about the marvels of current hearing technology? So are we, and we’d love to share the magic of better hearing with you! Contact us today for a demo of the latest hearing devices and see what hearing tech can do for you.

Q: How do I get the most out of a hearing evaluation?

Q: How do I get the most out of a hearing evaluation?

Q: How do I get the most out of a hearing evaluation?

A: You’re already off to an ideal start – it’s important to see a trained hearing professional. They’ll help you make safe, effective decisions about your hearing health. But let’s get to some specifics – keep the following in mind.

 

It’s More Than a Hearing Screening

Hearing care isn’t one-size-fits all. A simple hearing screening (“Can you hear this tone?”) is important, but it doesn’t reveal enough about your situation.

Hearing is complex, so your appointment is a comprehensive evaluation. And the more engaged you are in the process, the better your outcomes will be.

 

Trust That Each Test Has a Purpose

During your evaluation, your provider develops a comprehensive picture of your hearing health.

 

Possible Causes

It’s crucial to determine the cause of your hearing loss before any treatment plan can be developed. The cause could be simple (earwax buildup or debris), common (loud noise or aging), or complicated (disease or head trauma).

 

Physical Health

Your ear canal, eardrum, middle ear, and inner ear all need to function
correctly. If one of them doesn’t work as they should, a hearing aid is a
band-aid at best. It might even make things worse.

 

Speech Understanding

This is a huge piece of the hearing puzzle. You’ll test how well you understand speech in a quiet setting, but also how well you hear in increasing amounts of background noise.

 

Your Hearing Loss Is Unique

No two hearing losses are alike, and no two people have the same circumstances. Your hearing aids are customized and programmed to meet your specific needs. Hearing professionals are especially skilled in ensuring they’re right for you now and in the future.

 

You Might Have Other Conditions

Hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or balance issues. A hearing evaluation from a professional might help shed light on these other health care concerns. If your provider doesn’t specialize in these issues, they can certainly get you pointed in the right direction.

 

A Final Thought

As mentioned already, it’s great that you’re seeing a trained hearing professional. Recently, the U.S. FDA gave the go-ahead to manufacturers interested in selling over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. But as you can see, a lot happens at a hearing evaluation, and for a reason. Simply buying OTC hearing devices might end up masking a genuine health concern. Plus, an error in programming could make your hearing worse, not better.

If you’ve been wondering about your hearing lately,contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Tips to Help You Live Longer With Hearing Loss

Tips to Help You Live Longer With Hearing Loss

It’s Not Just About Hearing

Hearing loss can affect not only your well-being but your overall quality of life as well. If you have hearing loss, read on for ways to be the happiest, healthiest you.

 

Hearing Loss and Falls Are Linked

Research backs up the connection between hearing loss and falls. In one study, those with at least a mild hearing loss fell more often than those with healthy hearing. In fact, the odds of a fall increased as hearing loss worsened — falls were 1.4 times more likely for each 10-decibel increase in hearing loss.

One possible cause is that hearing loss robs your brain of resources. As more brainpower becomes devoted to hearing, less is available for postural control, which increases the risk of falling.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA):

  • Falling is the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans.
  • Falls threaten safety and independence, and they generate enormous economic and personal costs.
  • Falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations.

 

Hearing Technology Can Help

In a study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, participants with hearing loss had better balance when using hearing aids than when they didn’t. Senior author Timothy E. Hullar explained they seemed to use “the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance.”

 

Lifestyle and Hearing Are Linked

A study done by Age and Ageing looked at hearing loss alongside disability and mortality in older men. The study found that, compared with those with no hearing loss, those with hearing loss have a greater risk of mobility problems and difficulties when performing daily activities. It also found that men with hearing loss have a greater risk of dying of any cause.

In a different study, it was reported that hearing loss is 5.5 times more prevalent in men than in women. In particular, those with high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as smokers of more than 20 years, are more likely to have a hearing loss.

 

Hearing Technology Can Help

study done by the National Council on Aging found that people who used hearing aids reported an increased sense of independence and safety, as well as improvements in depression, anxiety, and social isolation compared with the time before they treated their hearing loss.

 

Nutrition Affects Your Hearing

Nutrients are a great first-line defense against hearing loss, especially folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

Folate, a B vitamin, helps prevent age-related hearing loss. It does this by regulating the amount of homocysteine (an amino acid) in your system. A lack of homocysteine reduces blood flow to the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss. Good sources of folate include broccoli, leafy green vegetables, pulses, and liver.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a building block of your cell membranes. They fight inflammation, too. These are two properties that make omega-3 fatty acids ideal protectors of hearing health, and research backs this up. It’s well established that omega-3 fatty acids do, indeed, prevent age-related hearing loss. Good sources of this nutrient are fish, nuts, seeds, plant oils, and fortified foods.

 

Hearing Technology Can Help

If you do have age-related hearing loss, it’s easy to miss out on children laughing in another room, birds chirping, or your sweetheart’s whispered “I love you.” It’s these little moments that make life so rich. But hearing technology is now so advanced that you can adjust your settings to your surroundings.

 


Don’t miss another moment — contact us today!

New Year’s Resolution: Tackle Tinnitus

New Year’s Resolution: Tackle Tinnitus

Tackle Tinnitus: Start 2023 Off Right by Telling the Ringing to Take a Hike

Tackle Tinnitus: Have you heard a bothersome buzzing, ringing, whooshing, or hissing that seems to hang around or come and go in your head or ears? You might have thought it was just your imagination. Or maybe it’s clear that it’s real, and you feel stuck with it.

Millions of people around the world experience tinnitus — as a chronic issue, it might impact 8% to 25% of the global population — but only a fraction of those affected take action. And for some, the problem can be debilitating, interfering with everyday activities.

If you’ve been putting off getting help, here are three reasons to seek relief in the new year.

 

1. Tinnitus Can Be Successfully Managed

Tinnitus can be addressed in ways that lessen its impact on your life. Effective treatment, which often depends on the underlying cause, can range from earwax removal, hearing technology, or sound devices, to medication adjustments, lifestyle changes, or interventions such as tinnitus rehabilitation or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Relief also could come in the form of habituation, in which the brain adapts to tinnitus such that symptoms don’t negatively affect your life. Sound therapy can be a big help in that approach. In some 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.

 

2.  It May Point to a Serious Underlying Issue

Tinnitus is more of a symptom than a condition. It can have a number of causes, including:

  • Earwax blockage
  • Some medications, such as antibiotics
  • Ear infections
  • Head injury
  • Dental problems
  • Barotrauma
  • Excess noise exposure
  • Blood vessel disorders

 

It also can go hand in hand with problems such as hearing loss or stress. A comprehensive evaluation can help you understand any underlying issues, work with the provider on a treatment plan, and follow up with any potential referral to a specialist if needed to address a medical matter contributing to the tinnitus.

 

3. You Deserve Good Health

In the bustle of life, it’s not uncommon to put health needs last. And though health-related goals often occupy one or more of the top spots in New Year’s resolutions, only 9% of resolvers follow through on their intentions.

So how can you take that first step toward more control over the sounds you hear? Visualize what freedom from tinnitus symptoms looks like in your life — at home, work, and play — and use that motivation to take action now. You deserve good health.

 


You don’t have to live with unwanted noises in your head or ears. Make 2023 the year you triumph over tinnitus. Relief can come in many options, but it starts with a professional evaluation. So don’t wait. Contact our caring team for more information today!

6 Hearing Trends for 2023

6 Hearing Trends for 2023

Keep Your Eye on These in the New Year

As an exciting new year nears, what can you expect in the world of hearing wellness? We’re taking a look at six trends to keep your eye on for 2023 and beyond.

 

1. Rechargeables

Aah, the convenience of rechargeability:

  • Less waste
  • Easy charge-and-go convenience
  • No fussing with spent disposable batteries that require removal and replacement

With an increasing number of hearing aid manufacturers offering rechargeable options for devices, it’s just a matter of time before they become the default. True, the smallest hearing aids that fit completely in the ear may not yet be widely available in rechargeable styles, but stay tuned. A breakthrough could be just around the corner!

 

2. Telehealth

The unprecedented global public-health challenges over the last couple years have called for adaption and innovation. An example: The rise of telehealth or video-based patient-provider appointments. Though not unheard of before the pandemic, telehealth rose in prominence as digital companies and others stepped up with apps and improved platforms to help keep health care accessible amid lockdowns, quarantines, and distancing.

One federal study of Medicare health care access showed a significant increase in patient telehealth participation during the pandemic — from an estimated 840,000 in 2019 to over 52 million in 2020. Overall, telehealth use has jumped 38-fold from pre-COVID rates. And with consumers and the industry embracing it even more as an additional option for effective patient-provider engagement, it’s here to stay.

 

3. OTCs

You may have heard about over-the-counter (OTC) hearing technology, a new class of devices in the U.S. regulated by the Federal Drug Administration and approved for those 18 and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. OTCs are expected to soon join the market, representing a new option for some consumers exploring their hearing-health needs.

The good news? OTCs could spur more people to consider seeking help for hearing loss — a growing global problem expected to impact some 700 million children and adults by 2050. However, self-treating for hearing issues rather than seeking help from licensed hearing care professionals can lead to under- or overtreatment, making it important to get a comprehensive evaluation before deciding on solutions.

 

4. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Speaking of a growing global problem: Excess noise is one of the culprits behind an increasing risk of hearing loss among people ranging from preteens to mid-30s. Why? Popular activities such as using personal media players, hitting the club, enjoying a game at the sports arena, and rocking out at concerts can be lots of fun while also being hard on the ears — especially at noise levels beyond the danger threshold of 85 decibels.

 

Noise exposure is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss. A few simple steps can help keep this harmful trend from gaining any more stream:

  • Limiting the amount of time exposed to loud sounds
  • Wearing quality hearing protection customized to your ears
  • Turning the volume down on personal audio devices
  • Staying atop your hearing health with annual evaluations

 

5. Connectivity

Whether streaming TV audio, jazz tunes, telephone calls, or your favorite morning-show radio duo, being able to channel sounds right to your hearing aids is pretty terrific. Essentially acting as headphones, the hearing devices make it easy to lean into the sounds you love — wirelessly. Plus, compatible apps make it a cinch to control your hearing technology right from your smartphone.

But let’s talk about the next level of connectivity. Imagine, for example, being able to directly surf the web, control access to your home, get instant ambient-temperature information, or turn off an appliance with your hearing device. Though these possibilities may not happen in the immediate future, the world of hearing-technology connectivity is always expanding to exciting new heights.

 

6. Artificial Intelligence

Netflix suggests movies you might love. Your household thermostat chooses a comfy temperature, without even needing to be programmed. Your smartphone accurately finishes your sentences before you’ve typed the words. Machine learning, a category of artificial intelligence (AI), is becoming the norm of everyday life, and we’re here for the ways it can support your health.

AI will increasingly play a role in hearing aid functionality, contributing to greater convenience and empowerment for users. One line of hearing aids already can track brain and body health, detect falls, and translate other languages in real time to help bust communication barriers. Look for even more AI capabilities as technology continues to evolve.

 


Hearing technology is always progressing to help you stay healthy, engaged, and connected with the people and activities that matter in your life. We’d love to show you the latest innovations, so don’t wait. Contact our caring team to schedule a test-drive today.

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

Bring the Festivities Right to Your Ears

Have you been putting off exploring your hearing technology’s streaming capabilities? We’ve got just the fix. Delve into the world of streaming this holiday season with our five picks. Before long, you’ll be wondering why you waited to channel old favorites and new sounds directly to your hearing aids. Let’s get started!

 

Holiday Podcasts

More than an estimated 2 million podcasts exist, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s listening. Here’s why you should: With tons of topics from poinsettias to politics at the ready, you’ll likely have no trouble settling on something interesting.

Try this: Search “holiday podcasts” on your favorite web browser for stories, songs, sermons, inspiration, motivation, conversations, and more among the many offerings you can download to your smartphone or computer for direct streaming to your hearing aids.

 

Must-see Classics

Got a favorite classic movie or television show that makes the holiday season extra special? Make it even more enjoyable by sending the audio directly to your hearing devices. The best part? You can enjoy it at the volume that sounds just right for you — without the setting changing for everyone else.

Try this: Check out a beloved holiday-themed DVD from your local library or use your preferred video-on-demand service, and experience the audio in a whole new way through Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.

 

Virtual Reunions

Who’s on your mind that you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time? The holiday season can be perfect for getting the crew back together online to enjoy laughs and talk new-year plans. Streaming the conversation right to your hearing devices helps ensure you don’t miss a single word.

Try this: Choose your favorite video-chat platform — or try a new one — and invite five friends from near and far to join you on a fun virtual call.

 

DIY Fun

That skill you’ve been wanting to add to your repertoire? Don’t wait for the new year. Learn it now! And with billions of videos on popular sharing platform YouTube, someone’s bound to have a helpful tutorial or two on the topic you seek.

Try this: Find and explore DIY videos on your favorite subjects with a quick and easy keyword search in YouTube’s vast collection. Streaming the audio straight to your hearing aids and, if desired, turning on the captioning function can help make listening and learning a cinch.

 

Merry Music

When was the last time you put a holiday playlist together? Never? Gathering up your favorite tracks may take a little time, but it can pay off big with a go-to tailored list of tunes for streaming that keep you happily humming and rockin’ throughout the season.

Try this: Sites such as Soundcloud, Last.fm, YouTube, and Spotify can be a big help in discovering terrific holiday songs you didn’t even know existed. Keep that in mind while compiling tunes for your festive playlist.

 

Streaming 101

What is streaming?

Streaming essentially involves sending audio from a sound source — for example, your smartphone, TV, stereo, or computer, depending on compatibility — to your hearing device. With streaming, your hearing instruments essentially act as wireless headphones, providing an even more personalized experience.

 

How does streaming work with hearing aids?

Hearing aids facilitate streaming either directly or through a clip. In direct streaming, audio is transmitted right to your devices, without an accessory. The clip method uses a wireless accessory — a streamer — that clips to your clothing or may hang around your neck. Audio is transmitted to the clip, which then sends it to your hearing aids.

 

What makes this possible?

Through Bluetooth technology typically embedded in both the hearing aid and the smartphone, television, or other audio source, the electronics can be wirelessly paired, allowing streaming to happen. Our caring team can explain the specific steps and help ensure you have what you need.

 


 

Want to make sure your hearing devices are ready for holiday streaming? Contact us today to make an appointment or to get your questions answered. We’re here to help!

Keeping the Peace: 5 Holiday Communication Tips

Keeping the Peace: 5 Holiday Communication Tips

Keeping the Peace: 5 Holiday Communication Tips: Preventing arguments and heated discussions around the dinner table isn’t impossible. Though some of us may not want to admit it, family gatherings during the holidays are sometimes stressful. With people of different ages coming together, generations can collide, leading to communication roadblocks and misunderstandings. Here are five ways to keep things copacetic.

Redirect Problematic Topics

Many families attempt, year after year, to implement a “no politics or religion” rule for holiday conversations, but since these subjects are so personal and integral to our daily lives, that rule is almost always broken. Who can resist talking about beliefs they hold dear? The key to keeping the peace is redirecting the flow of conversation before it engrosses guests. At the first sign of a potentially polarizing topic, gently change the subject. If one guest in particular is a repeat offender, try to involve him or her in a distracting activity. Maybe the kids need help building a gingerbread house or some after-dinner dishes need washing. If all else fails, proposing a fun game like charades or Cranium could do the trick. Who has time to argue about elections when they’re acting out a movie scene?

Maintain a Positive Atmosphere

Nobody’s life is perfect. Even the most upbeat, amiable guest can experience setbacks and emotional upset during the holidays. You can’t foresee problems like delayed flights, sick children, marital tensions, or accidents, but you can ensure that the general vibe of your get-together is welcoming and inclusive. Offering sincere regard and gratitude for each guest goes a long way toward making everyone feel comfortable.

Reignite Happy Memories and Create New Ones

Celebrating the holidays with family means you likely have a long history with most of the people present. A great way to boost everyone’s mood is to reminisce about the good times you’ve shared and avoid revisiting old hurts like childhood rivalries or traumatic events. Ask relatives to retell beloved jokes and anecdotes, congratulate them on recent achievements, and try to make this occasion one that will be remembered fondly.

Keep an Eye on the Kids

If there are children at your gathering, the potential for a ruckus is high. Depending on their ages, it may be necessary to keep a close eye on them to ensure no one is being bullied or excluded from playtime. Not only will this make them happier and reduce disruptions like tantrums and crying, but it also mitigates the animosity parents might feel for one another when their children aren’t getting along.

Be Mindful of Hearing Difficulties

With hearing loss affecting 1.5 billion people globally, there’s a good chance that at least one of your guests lives with the condition. Whether they wear hearing aids or not, there are steps you can take to ensure they’re included in conversation and feel heard and understood:

  • Make sure you have the person’s attention before speaking
  • Use facial expressions and gestures to accentuate your message
  • Raise your voice slightly
  • Use short, simple sentences
  • Rephrase your words if the person is having a hard time understanding you

Let us help make this year the most peaceful one yet! Contact us today for a complimentary hearing consultation.

5 Holiday Side Dishes That Support Your Hearing

5 Holiday Side Dishes That Support Your Hearing

Celebrate the Holidays — and These Side Dishes

Nutrition is a powerful defense against hearing loss, and the holidays offer a great opportunity to load up on some delicious and hearing-healthy nutrients!

 

You Hear What You Eat

It’s well-established that folate, omega-3 fatty acids, the antioxidant-magnesium combo, and potassium offer robust support for the tiny world inside your inner ears. The following side dishes are packed with all of these cochlea-cuddling nutrients.

 

Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin

This dish has all four nutrients mentioned above, and in abundance. But this hearing-health powerhouse is as delicious as it is good for you. The veggies, sugar, olive oil, white wine vinegar, herbs, and spices provide a sweet-spot balance of savory and sweet — plus the inspired addition of goat cheese! Mix and match the root vegetables to suit the tastes of your household.

 

Honey-Thyme Butternut Squash

All by itself, the butternut squash holds its own as a flavor favorite — but it also packs a punch with all four inner-ear friendly nutrients listed above! Like the root-vegetable tarte tatin, it has just the right balance of sweet and savory: The butternut squash is complemented by the perfect hints of cream, honey, and herbs. Could it — dare we say it — replace mashed potatoes as your go-to holiday side?

 

Skillet Zucchini and Sausage

The classic familiarity of meat and veggies meets hearing-health support in this savory delight that’s sure to please everyone. The zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and green pepper are the stars of the show, but feel free to swap out the sausage for a lower-sodium meat such as chicken.

 

Cranberry Rice Pilaf

This dish is a triple threat — delicious, packed with all four nutrients mentioned above, and an excellent crash course for those new to cooking! Show your nephew how to sauté. Show a trustworthy teen grandchild how to dice onions and celery. Or don’t, and enjoy preparing an easy and delicious side dish yourself.

 

Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic and Cranberries

It’s entirely possible this easy, amazing side dish will make brussels sprouts converts out of even your most picky eater. Roasted brussels sprouts are drizzled with a balsamic-sugar reduction, then dried cranberries are sprinkled on top — the perfect complement to whatever meat is the star of the show!

6 Fun Facts About Ears and Hearing

6 Fun Facts About Ears and Hearing

Who Knew Hearing Was So Fascinating?

Until you have a problem with your hearing, it’s easy to overlook it. But the world of ears and hearing is far more interesting than you might have thought.

 

Parrots in World War I

Parrots can pick out very subtle differences in pitch, tone, and rhythm. They’re also excellent at locating where a sound is coming from. They’re so skilled, in fact, they stole one duty from the soldiers during World War I: Parrots were kept on the Eiffel Tower in Paris to warn of approaching enemy aircraft.

 

Teeny Tiny Bones

The smallest bones in your body are in your middle ear. They’re called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup (or the malleus, incus, and stapes, for you science fans). They’re critical for hearing, because they help sound information get from your eardrum to your inner ear. All three can together fit on a penny!

 

The Curious Case of the Chorda Tympani

After ear surgery, some people experience changes in their sense of taste! A nerve called the chorda tympani connects your front taste buds to your brain. This nerve also passes very close to your eardrum. During surgery on the middle ear, one common complication is damage to the chorda tympani nerve. A taste disorder — for example, a persistent metallic taste at the tongue tip — is the most common result. Symptoms usually do subside, but it can take up to two years in severe cases.

 

Ears Aren’t for Everybody

Snakes pick up vibrations from the ground using their jawbones. Some spiders hear using nerve-based receptors on their legs, which pick up soundwaves and send the impulses to their brain. Male mosquitoes use feathery antennae covered in fine hair, which sense sound from vibrating air particles.

 

In the Loop

You have three small loops in your inner ear, above your cochlea, called semi-circular canals. They’re lined with microscopic hairs and filled with fluid. Every time your head moves, so does the fluid. The little hairs pick up on the movement and communicate it to your brain. Your brain adjusts your body accordingly to keep you balanced.

 

Your Ears Are Self-Cleaning

Your ear canals produce earwax on purpose! Earwax is antibacterial, and it protects and lubricates your ears. What’s more, your ear canals have a slight downward slope. Your earwax naturally travels toward your outer ear, picking up dirt and debris with it. Sure, we find it gross. But it’s essential for healthy ears!