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Diabetes and Your Hearing | Diabetes-Friendly Recipe

Diabetes and Your Hearing

Did you know hearing loss and diabetes have something surprising in common?

Sure, they’re both health issues affecting millions of people around the world: Hearing loss affects 466 million worldwide, and diabetes affects 422 million people worldwide, per the World Health Organization. But they have even more in common.

Hearing Loss Is Linked to Diabetes

Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Even among adults with prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than those with normal blood-sugar levels. What’s the connection? Researchers are always fine-tuning their knowledge, but poor blood flow to the inner ear does play a role.

Diabetes-related hearing loss can affect one or both ears, may occur gradually or suddenly, and may or may not have related balance problems.

How You Can Fight Back

You don’t have to let diabetes get the best of your hearing — fight back by reducing your overall risk of hearing loss:

  • Keep up the good work managing your diabetes in collaboration with your medical doctor.
  • Avoid loud noise. Use hearing protection if that’s not possible. Excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.
  • Avoid using tobacco, which increases the risk of hearing loss.
  • Stay physically active, because excess weight affects your hearing.
  • Have your hearing evaluated by a licensed audiologist at least once a year — just like regular eye and teeth care — for early testing, detection, and treatment of any problems.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet, which is crucial for managing diabetes, is also crucial for optimal ear functioning. During the autumn and winter, when we’re all a little more prone to snacking on sweets, is a prime time for this peanut butter and banana oat bite recipe from the American Diabetes Association.

Peanut Butter & Banana Oat Bites

Ingredients
1 egg
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1/2 cups peanut butter (heated in microwave for 30 seconds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar blend
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together wet ingredients and Splenda Brown Sugar blend.
  • In a small bowl mix together remaining dry ingredients.
  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix well.
  • Scoop batter into 1 Tbsp. balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Head to the recipe page on their website for nutrition information. Plus, there are plenty of additions, substitutions, and raves below the recipe in their Reviews section!

Take control of your overall health and wellness with an annual hearing exam. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!

Illustration of a crowd from above walking in all directions

Better Hearing, Resilience & You: 5 Tips For Resilience

“All things in moderation,” the saying goes, but can one have too much resilience? Looking back on such an unprecedented year, we’re not too sure about that.

Like improved hearing, resilience can make a significant difference in quality of life — after all, it reflects an invaluable ability to adapt to, recover from, or withstand challenges, change, and adversity.

As your hearing care team, we’ve some tips for building resilience in your life. For today, the new year, and beyond, keep these five steps in mind:

  1. Remember You’re Not Alone

    If you’ve felt somewhat disconnected in these times, that’s not uncommon. Challenges such as the pandemic have upended the way we live, work, and play. Newer norms can feel uncomfortable. Drawing strength from the knowledge that others share your experiences can make a difference.

  2. Gain Empowerment Through Preparation

    If you wear hearing technology, it’s probably no surprise that a little maintenance goes a long way toward helping you stay engaged. Regular DIY care, supplies such as extra batteries and wax guards, and periodic clean and checks with our team can help you feel prepared for anything life brings.

  3. Think Total Wellness

    Hearing plays an important role in overall wellness, which in turn plays a role in resilience. Did you know? Ears and eyes work together to help you perceive the world. Conversely, hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline, heart disease, isolation, and other issues, so protect your hearing health.

  4. Commit to Learning

    Learning not only stimulates the brain but supports resilience. It also supports better hearing, especially when learning more about your existing hearing device’s helpful features and capabilities — streaming, for example — that can help you communicate confidently and navigate your world.

  5. Reach Out for Help

    Expanding and tapping into your network of support — including friends, family, and neighbors — can help fortify your resilience. Count on our hearing care team as part of that important network, letting us know how we can help!

Has it been a while since your last hearing evaluation or technology clean and check? Please don’t wait. Schedule your appointment with us today!

Illustration of an audiologist speaking to two women who have question marks above their heads.

Why Do I Need a Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment?

Q: What can I expect at my hearing aid fitting?

 

A: Hearing aids are wonderful, sophisticated devices. But better hearing is a journey, not a transaction. That’s why we bring you into the office and spend some time with you answering questions and demonstrating features. Let me walk you through what the typical fitting looks like.


Making Sure Your New Hearing Aids Fit
Before anything else can happen, you have to pull your devices out of the box and slide them in your ears to ensure they fit you. If not, your audiologist will have to exchange them for ones that do, which most likely means returning for another fitting appointment.
 
Programming Your Devices and Verifying They Meet Your Specific Needs
If everything fits, your audiologist will program your hearing aids with fitting software. They’ll base the programming on your audiogram, which was developed at your hearing evaluation. Your audiogram indicates:

  • The sound frequencies that need to be amplified, and by how much
  • The sound frequencies that you can hear just fine
  • The sound frequencies that can remain loud but might need to be adjusted to minimize your discomfort

Once programmed, if your audiologist is using best practices, they’ll follow up with real-ear measurement. With this process, a slim tube microphone rests in your ear along with your hearing aid. Different sounds are played, and your audiologist can confirm for each whether the volume reaching your eardrum is the correct amount based on your audiogram.

This is where you first experience the benefits of your hearing aids. Especially for those who have a loved one with them at the appointment, this can be an emotional and profound moment.
 
Learning About Features and Maintenance
Hearing aid developers make sure today’s hearing aids are as user-friendly as possible. But you still need to learn the basics, so by the time you leave your fitting appointment, you’ll know:

  • How to change and dispose of batteries. If your hearing aids are rechargeable, you’ll learn the features of the charging station.
  • How to change programs, adjust volume, or make any other adjustments that aren’t automated.
  • How to clean and maintain your hearing aids.
  • How basic features work, such as connecting via T-coil to a looping system.
  • How advanced features work, such as streaming audio from your smartphone directly to your hearing aids.
  • How to use remote controls and other accessories.

You’ll also get an instruction guides, cleaning tools, a storage case, and a supply of batteries (or a charging station).
 
Understanding What’s Ahead
Today’s hearing aids are technologically sophisticated and easy to use, but they’re not a grab-n-go solution. Your brain is, in a sense, out of practice. All of a sudden, it has to make sense of sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time.

That’s why there is an adjustment period. Your audiologist will discuss this in more detail, so you know what to expect and don’t get discouraged. They’ll also give you a wearing schedule for the first few weeks, so you don’t overdo it. Easing you into this new world of sound is the best way to ensure success.
 
Scheduling the First Follow-Up Appointment
A skilled audiologist and advanced fitting software do a lot of the heavy lifting, but it all happens in the controlled environment of a clinic. As you live your life, you’ll enjoy the benefits of better hearing. But you’ll also notice ways your devices could help more, especially in noisy environments.

That’s why you’ll schedule a follow-up appointment. Your audiologist expects you to have feedback on how to improve your listening experience. You’ll also no doubt have questions you’ve thought of since the fitting appointment.
 
Your Hearing Care Partner
Don’t be shy. Speak up with any worries or questions. Your audiologist’s main concern is you hearing better. They’ve no doubt allotted 90 minutes to two hours for this appointment — they want you to leave the fitting appointment feeling confident and excited about the possibilities. Think of them as a knowledgeable partner eager to help you on your better-hearing journey!

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

5 Sounds to Stream Through Your Hearing Aids for the Holidays

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 devices. Let’s get started!
 

HOLIDAY PODCASTS

More than an estimated 1 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 volume 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 topics 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 throughout the season.

Try this: Sites such as AllMusic 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!

Illustration of hand holding a smart phone with several different icons representing types of virtual communication surrounding it

5 Tips to Hear Better in Virtual Meetings + Gatherings

5 Tips to Hear Better in Virtual Meetings + Gatherings

Working remotely with hearing loss can be a big challenge.

Whether you’re conducting business online or just want to virtually connect with family and friends, these listening strategies and tactics can go a long way toward helping you stay engaged.

  1. Explore the conferencing platform well before the online meeting or gathering — including reading a little about it or checking out a few quick instructional videos from other users — to build familiarity and confidence.
  2. Encourage everyone to use the video function — not just the audio option — to aid in lipreading and interpreting facial expressions. Also, try to keep your eye as much as possible on the person speaking rather than on your own camera image.
  3. Turn on the closed-captioning option, which can help take a big load off. In addition, consider using the real-time chat function, when available, to get clarification if you missed a point or have a follow-up question. Some video conferences may also be recorded for helpful playback later, so be sure to ask the host, who may need to initiate the recording option.
  4. Wear connected headphones if possible, which can make listening a whole lot easier. Quality headphones not only help block distracting background noise in your environment but can also improve reception of the audio’s full tonal range to make speech and other sounds more understandable.
  5. Stream directly to your hearing technology, if you wear hearing aids. Today’s sophisticated hearing instruments help make it a cinch to receive audio from various sources — phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, stereo, and more, depending on compatibility — directly to your ears, so be sure to take advantage of that functionality.

Want more virtual-communication tips? We can help with accessibility strategies and solutions that empower you in managing hearing loss and remote work. So don’t wait. Contact us today!

Illustration of two hands; one holding a green puzzle piece and the other holding a yellow puzzle piece.

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood This Winter

Hearing health and mental health have a clear connection.

In fact, untreated hearing loss increases your risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, and more. Winter is also a prime time for seasonal blahs. If you could use a little mental-health boost, here are some simple ways to get started.


Express Gratitude

Gratitude improves happiness, well-being, and mental health. The best-researched method is keeping a gratitude journal. Once or twice a week, choose one act or person you’re grateful for and write a few sentences detailing why. In daily life, you’ll begin to seek out the positive — rather than the negative — and writing it down allows you to really savor that positive emotion.
 

Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which relieve stress and boost your mood. You can even use small things that add more activity to your day, like skipping the elevator in favor of the stairs or taking a short, brisk walk. If you work from home, tackle chores that require you to walk to another room or — better yet — another floor. Aim for 30 minutes a day.
 

Spoil Your Senses

Use your senses to quickly find calm. For some people, it’s an uplifting song or the smell of ground coffee. For others, it’s squeezing a stress ball. Each person’s relationship to their senses is a little different, so experiment to figure out what works best to bring you back to center.
 

Lose Yourself

Doing something you love, something you know you can lose yourself in, allows you to forget about life for a while. You don’t have to be a parent, a spouse, or an employee — you can just be.
 

Find a Furry Friend

Interacting with a pet lowers cortisol — the stress hormone — and raises oxytocin — the feel-good hormone. It also lowers blood pressure and eases loneliness and depression. Don’t have a pet? Walk a friend’s dog, volunteer to cat-sit for a vacationing neighbor, or volunteer at a shelter.

Contact us to learn more about the hearing health–mental health connection!

Illustration of couple traveling with hearing aids

Hear Your Best On The Go

6 Tips to Keep Your Hearing Aids at Their Best

Whether youíre on the town or out of town, you depend on your hearing technology to keep you consistently connected. Donít miss a moment when youíre on the go with these tips for maximizing your hearing.

 
Protect Your Tech
Hearing aids are tiny computers ó keep them safe! If youíre in warmer climes, invest in hearing aid accessories such as a splashguard, a wind protector, or a sport clip. For those of you in less toasty towns, a hat, a scarf, or earmuffs can provide protection.

Use Geotags
Many hearing aids now come with a smartphone app that can assign a geographical “bookmark” ó or geotag ó to your favorite locations. Simply optimize your hearing aid settings for a location (for example, a coffee shop) and apply a geotag. Every time you return to that spot, the app automatically switches to your preferred settings.

Power Up
Always have extra packages of batteries on hand ó donít wait for the low-battery warning beeps from your devices. If you have rechargeables and you know youíll be gone overnight, donít forget the charger!

Keep a Kit on Hand
Whether hitting the road or just heading to the park, you never know when moisture or debris might strike. A pocket-size case filled with essential hearing aid cleaning and maintenance basics is a must. A cleaning cloth, a soft-bristle brush (like the one included with your devices), wax guards, and domes (if applicable) take up almost no space but will be lifesavers in a pinch.

Loop It
More and more public spaces are installing hearing loops. Enable the T-coil setting on your hearing aids and the loop allows you to wirelessly receive audio directly in the devices. Look for the loop logo at participating venues.

Check AGXchange
Headed out of town? Check with us to find an AGXchange practice near your destination. With an AGXchange practice, you can depend on the same level of quality hearing care youíve come to expect from us.
 

Contact us to find out more about DIY tips for caring for your hearing devices!

You Need Hearing Aids. Now What?

You Need Hearing Aids. Now What?

You Need Hearing Aids. Now What?

Q: It turns out I need hearing aids. Whatís my next step?

A: Hearing aids arenít one-size-fits-all devices, so your question is a good sign youíre approaching this with the right mindset. Your first step is to confirm youíve had a complete audiological evaluation.

An online “hearing test” canít determine whether you need hearing aids ó it simply reports whether youíre hearing certain sounds. Only an audiological evaluation can determine if you have hearing loss that requires hearing aids. If you havenít had one, this is your next step. If you have, itís time to schedule your hearing aid consultation.

Choose Your Provider
Any hearing aid is simply a tool. It has to be selected, customized, and fit to your ear by an experienced professional in order treat your specific hearing loss. Then itís your key to a better quality of life.

A clinical audiologist or doctor of audiology has had postgraduate education and training in all aspects of the human auditory system. Theyíre experienced in diagnostics, hearing aid fitting and programming, providing strategies for adapting to your new technology, and supporting you in your adjustment period. In short, with an audiologist, you get a partner and guide, not a transaction.

Use the Buddy System
Itís ideal to bring a friend or family member to the appointment to have a second perspective on your hearing loss journey.

Review Your Results
You and the audiologist will review the results of your evaluation as well as all the things youíd like to improve through better hearing, such as hobbies, conversations with loved ones, and activities. Knowing what your goals are will help determine the ideal type of hearing aid for you.
 

Select a Hearing Aid

Weigh the variables
Many factors determine what hearing aid you need, such as which sounds you canít hear, how loud those sounds need to be amplified, and the size of your ear canal. And thatís just the beginning.

Do you want to be able to control the volume and nudge the settings with a smartphone app? How about “hearable” tech that monitors your heart rate and other body and brain wellness factors? Do you hope to stream music, video, and other audio from a mobile device direct to your hearing aids? You and your provider will discuss these factors and more. Youíll be surprised at everything hearing technology can do now!

Consider the recommendation
This is where the audiologistís expertise really shines. When they make their recommendation, they will have synthesized all the hearing lifestyle information you provided, all the data from your hearing evaluation, and their wealth of knowledge about the hundreds of available hearing aid styles. They will have truly custom-tailored your solution.

Order the hearing aids
After you test-drive and decide on your hearing technology, thereís a strong chance it will have to be ordered and shipped to the provider. There are hundreds of styles ó too many for your average provider to keep in inventory. Plus, many styles need to be custom fit to your ear canal. When they arrive at your providerís office, your provider will call to schedule a fitting appointment.
 

As you can see, itís not as simple as pulling a box of hearing aids off a shelf. But all these steps lead to you experiencing a world alive with sound!

Hearing Aids and Your Brain

You won’t “mind” this news about better hearing and improved cognition!

Does hearing aid use help your brain? A growing amount of research associates hearing technology with improved cognition and slowed or decreased risk of cognitive decline. Get the latest on research that supports your better-hearing health ó and your mind.

 

Have you heard? Yet another study links hearing aid use to reduced risk of cognitive decline!

We’ve long talked about connections between hearing and the brain. They work together to help keep you empowered and engaged, so it’s no wonder that hearing difficulties could go hand in hand with cognitive problems.

The good news? An increasing volume of research links hearing loss treatment to improved brain function or reduced risk of cognitive impairment.

A University of Melbourne study published in early 2020, for example, suggests that “more frequent use of hearing aids was associated with greater improvements in cognitive function,” per a university news release.

Investigators, whose study assessed nearly 100 hearing-impaired adults aged 62 to 82 before and after an 18-month period of hearing aid use, also discovered substantial improvement in “speech perception, self-reported listening disability and quality of life.”

“Most notably,” according to the release, “97.3 percent of participants in this study showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function ó their mental ability to plan, organise information and initiate tasks.”

The conclusions dovetail with other various studies over the years whose data suggest, respectively, that with hearing aid use:

As you can see, hearing health is connected to more than just the power of communication, and hearing aids can play a big role in your overall wellness. If you have questions about hearing and brain health or if it’s been a while since your last hearing exam, don’t wait. Contact our experienced team today. Together, let’s keep you hearing ó and living ó your best.

Are You Protecting Your Hearing?

Fireworks and concerts might come to mind when pondering ear-busting sounds, but power tools and even some livestock can reach dangerous decibels, too. Letís talk hearing protection, which can go a long way toward keeping harmful noise at bay.

 

Types of Hearing Protection

At home, work, or play, the world can be an exciting but noisy place, putting your hearing health at risk. How? Loud sounds ó especially those in the danger zone of 85 decibels or higher ó can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, or both.

Itís helpful to avoid loud environments in the first place. Thatís not always practical, however, especially if the job you love, favorite hobbies, and other important activities bring joy ó and add some noise ó to your everyday life.

Letís talk about different types of hearing protection that can help keep you and your loved ones listening ó and living ó your best. Added bonus: Many of these options can be customized for a secure fit and maximum comfort.

 
CONCERT PLUGS
Rock out to your favorite artists without the dangerous decibels that can do a number on your hearing. These plugs are also ideal for machinists, airport and airline staff, dentists, music instructors, and others working in high-noise environments.

MUSICIAN PLUGS
Give it your all on stage without hurting your ears. Musician plugs can offer a high-quality audio experience that helps deaden external noise, provides clear sound, and helps achieve consistent performances.

HUNTING PLUGS
When it comes to hunting, you want the shot ó not the hearing loss. Hunting plugs help keep out intense, harmful sound while allowing you to easily hear conversations, warnings, and other critical conversation.

SLEEPING PLUGS
Nothing beats a good sleep. Uninterrupted rest is even easier with plugs that help block out unwanted sounds and stay in place as you sleep. Especially recommended for light sleepers and those who work alternative shifts.

SWIMMING PLUGS
Not quite noise-related but still an important issue. Excess moisture in the ear from sweat or swimming can lead to otitis externa or ìswimmerís ear,î an outer-ear infection typically caused by bacterial or fungal growth when the skin in the ear canal potentially becomes irritated from water activities. Appropriate-fitting swimming plugs can help reduce this risk.

PET PLUGS
Itís true: Fur babies need help, too. During fireworks, noisy home repairs, or other super-loud situations, a quieter space may not be an option for the doggo or kitty. Earplugs and earmuffs made especially for pets can help soften intrusive sounds. Whether your pet will wear them, however, might be another matter!

 

Hearing protection is important and available for just about every member of the family. For solutions tailored to your or your loved oneís specific hearing-protection needs, contact our knowledgeable team today.