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Hearing & Empowered: Embrace the Season With Gusto

Embrace summer with gusto. Whether having some local fun or taking a trip, here are six ways your hearing technology can help you dive in.

Nothing says “Summertime, here we come!” like hitting the road, rails, trails, and friendly skies to make new memories with loved ones far and nearby. Whether having some local fun or taking a trip, here are six ways your hearing technology can help you dive in.


Look for the Loop

Touring a new city? Some sites — museums, theaters, houses of worship, and more — may have installed a hearing loop, letting you receive enhanced audio by wirelessly connecting through the T-coil setting on your hearing aid, if it has been enabled. Look for the hearing-loop logo at participating spots.

Discover AGXchange

If you’re traveling well beyond your local area and are one of our patients, check with us to find an AudigyCertifiedTM practice near your destination. With the AGXchange Program, you get the same quality hearing care you’ve come to expect from us. Now, that’s peace of mind.

“Cache” Up on AI

The future is here with artificial intelligence at your ears! You can monitor your physical and mental well-being with the AGXS liv and its Thrive app. Some devices and apps even have a translation feature, letting you communicate with others even if you don’t know their local language.

Charge Into Some Fun

What’s worse than dead batteries? Not having spares when in need. Rather than worry about keeping extras on hand, consider the convenience of rechargeability. With many manufacturers offering rechargeable technology, you can live it up with the confidence of all-day hearing aid power.

Tune Up for Tunes

Hearing tech is optimized for speech, but if live music is on your mind, we can nudge your settings to help you enjoy tunes without compromising how you hear speech. With some hearing aids, we can even make minor adjustments remotely via the AGXR Attune app’s Audigy Assist feature or the Thrive app!

Bookmark Your Faves

Through selected apps, you can “bookmark” or geotag your hearing aid settings to your favorite locations — a happy-hour hangout, the gym, or a golfing spot, for example — so that the app automatically adjusts your technology to your listening preferences for that venue.


Make it a summer to remember with hearing technology that has your back every step of the way. For more on optimizing your devices or to experience a demo of the latest hearing aids, schedule a consultation with our expert team today!

Destigmatizing Hearing Loss: It Affects People of All Ages

Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages

When you think about eyeglasses, what do you think of? Most likely your own pair or those of loved ones. If you’re more fashion-minded, you might even think about that funky pair you saw recently on one of your favorite celebrities. You definitely don’t think of old age.

But what about when you think of hearing aids? Probably a different story.
 

A PR Problem

In the United States, 14 million people 12 years or older have a visual impairment. Thirty million people 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears — that’s one out of every eight people.

Both eyeglasses and hearing aids correct a sense impairment — so why are eyeglasses a fashion statement, but it takes, on average, seven years for someone to even get their hearing tested after noticing a hearing loss?
 

Hearing Loss Affects All Age Groups

The idea that hearing loss is something that happens to people in their old age simply isn’t true. Significant numbers of people across all generations experience some degree of hearing loss.
 

Children
  • 2 to 3 of every 1,000 U.S. babies are born with a detectable hearing loss
  • 1 in 5 U.S. teens has some degree of hearing loss
  • 1 in 8 U.S. kids ages 6 to 19 has hearing loss from using earbuds to listen to music at unsafe volumes
  • Over 90 percent of U.S. children born with hearing loss have parents with no hearing loss>/li>
Young adults

According to a World Health Organization report, 50 percent of millennials risk hearing loss because of damaging volumes via personal audio devices; 40 percent do so via noisy entertainment venues such as concerts.

Adults
  • About 1 in 7 U.S. adults ages 20 to 69 has hearing loss
  • 22 percent of U.S. adults are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work
  • About 1 in 10 U.S. adults experiences tinnitus (a ringing, pulsing, or buzzing only they can hear)
  • About 90 percent of tinnitus cases have accompanying hearing loss
Service members
  • 3 in 5 returning service members experience hearing loss
  • Among both active and veteran service members, hearing loss and tinnitus are the most reported health issue
  • 50 percent of all blast-induced injuries result in permanent hearing loss
  • Hearing loss among service members has become a big enough problem that the Department of Defense spearheaded an interactive course that provides early and ongoing hearing loss-prevention training

 

Normalizing Hearing Loss

Clearly, hearing loss is even more prevalent than vision problems. And it leaves no age group untouched. But the stigma remains, such that only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing technology actually uses it.

But there’s a growing online trend of people discussing their lives with hearing loss — many of them millennials or slightly older — in an attempt to remove the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids.

  • Living With Hearing Loss is written by Shari Eberts, who was recognized as a HearStrong Champion for her tireless work to change the stigma surrounding hearing loss.
  • The Invisible Disability and Me is written by a woman with a cochlear implant who hopes to raise awareness of and support those who’ve experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Cosmopolitan magazine’s brand connection to millennial women is so strong that it launched a Cosmo Millennial Advisory Board staffed with millennials who are experts in their fields; Cosmopolitan regularly features articles about life with hearing loss, covering topics from dating with hearing loss to becoming a NASA engineer despite having been born profoundly deaf.
  • The Twitter page Normalize Hearing Loss is “on a mission to normalize hearing loss and hearing aids and other tech the way we’ve normalized glasses,” and encourages users to include @NormalizeHL or #NormalizeHearingLoss in their tweets.

 

Hearing Tech for Today’s Connected Culture

What’s more, the hearing technology of today is a far cry from the hearing aids of 50 years ago. The digital tech of today is sleek and discreet, minimizes background noise, improves speech clarity in complicated sound environments, and focuses on what’s in front of you rather than taking in and amplifying all sounds equally.

Plus, hearing devices are becoming as connected as everything else. You can stream audio wirelessly from your mobile device to your hearing aids, geotag the hearing aid settings for your favorite locations, even hear a phone call in both ears simultaneously — and control it all on the sly with a smartphone app!


Sources:
Fang Ko et al. Prevalence of Nonrefractive Visual Impairment in U.S. Adults and Associated Risk Factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. JAMA: 2012;308(22): 2361–2386. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019.

Good Nutrition Can Help With Tinnitus – Here Are Our 5 Favorite Recipes

Tinnitus isn’t curable, but it’s effects can be managed through treatment. Recent studies suggest that a nutritious diet can be a good place to start.

From sound-based therapies to mindfulness-based exercises, new ways to manage or reduce the sounds associated with tinnitus — a ringing, buzzing, or pulsing that has no external sound source — are being developed every day.

 
Though there’s no cure, treatment options abound. One promising option: nutrition.
 

Recipes With Tinnitus-Friendly Ingredients

A growing body of research is linking not food but nutrition with tinnitus. For example, people with Ménière’s disease-related tinnitus should keep their salt intake from fluctuating to control tinnitus symptoms. Some encouraging studies have shown that folate, B12, and certain antioxidants are linked to improved tinnitus symptoms.
 
In honor of National Nutrition Month, enjoy these recipes bursting with tinnitus-friendly nutrition!

Beef With Broccoli

Whether you serve it over chow mein or skip the noodles for a low-carb option, this hearty and healthy recipe can’t miss. Packed with B12 (flank steak), folate (spinach), and antioxidants (spinach), this is a blast of sweet and savory flavor.
 

Spaghetti With Tomato and Walnut Pesto

If you saw “pesto” in the name and thought, “Basil? No thanks…,” don’t worry — the basil takes a back seat among the delicious, complex flavors in this recipe. The ingredients are rich in antioxidants (cherry tomatoes, walnuts, basil), hearing-healthy omega-3s (anchovies, basil), and folate (cherry tomatoes).
 

Herb Garden Potatoes With Fresh Spinach and Lemon

You finally figured out how to get your windowsill herb garden to thrive. Now what? We’ve got just the thing! With this hearty salad, you can mix and match the herbs to suit your palate, while the main ingredients — tinnitus-friendly potatoes and spinach — provide a heapin’ helpin’ of antioxidants and folate.
 

Sautéed Spinach and Tomatoes

This easy, light, delicious side dish is sure to become a spring and summer staple in your home! The tart sweetness of the cherry tomatoes perfectly complements the earthy punch of the spinach, and both are overflowing with — you guessed it —antioxidants and folate.
 

Wild Blueberry Banana Spinach Power Smoothie

Looking for a great way to start the day off with a nutrition boost but really don’t like greens? Look no further than this recipe! Nestled among the berries, banana, and your choice of milk (the recipe uses almond milk), you won’t even know the spinach is there. And like the pesto dish above, this smoothie is packed with antioxidants, folate, and hearing-healthy omega-3s.

New Study Says Hearing Aid Use May Reduce ER Visits & Medical Costs

A new study conducted by the University of Michigan indicates that seniors who use hearing aids may see a reduction in Medicare spending and ER visits.

Putting Off That Hearing Test? Here’s Another Reason to Hear Your Best!

It’s no surprise that getting hearing help can make communicating and connecting with the world around you so much easier, but did you know that using hearing aids might also have a hand in cutting down emergency-room visits and hospital stays?

In a study published earlier this year in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, University of Michigan researchers investigating connections among hearing technology, health care consumption, and spending linked seniors’ self-reported use of hearing aids to changes such as the following:

  • Reduced ER visits and hospitalizations — each by 2 percentage points
  • Decreases in overnight hospital stays by about 0.46 nights
  • A reduction in Medicare spending — by approximately $71

So … less hospital food? Add that to the ever-growing list of better-hearing benefits. (Just kidding; some hospitals bring their A-game to patient meals!)

An estimated 466 million children and adults around the globe live with disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, with about a third of older adults affected. It’s one of the top chronic public-health challenges — potentially curbing the ability to thrive physically, socially, mentally, and financially.

Most hearing problems can be effectively treated with today’s advanced hearing technology. Even so, only a fraction of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them, making awareness, access, and encouragement an important part of boosting treatment rates.

With past research already connecting hearing loss to a greater chance of hospitalizations, extended illnesses, or injuries among hearing-impaired adults, the above-mentioned study, “Association Between Hearing Aid Use and Health Care Use and Cost Among Older Adults With Hearing Loss,” points to another crucial difference life-changing hearing devices can make.

Hearing better keeps you in touch with the people, places, and experiences that matter most in your life. It might also help keep you out of the ER. If you’ve noticed a change in your listening ability, or it’s been a while since your last hearing checkup, contact our caring team to schedule a consultation today!

How High Humidity Can Affect Hearing Aids and What You Can Do About It

Humidity means moisture, which can effect your hearing aids. Find out the signs of moisture damage and steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

One of the great things about starting your better-hearing journey is that your world is more enjoyable when you can hear all those sounds you’ve been missing.

That might also mean you’re getting outside more, possibly exposing your hearing devices to humidity. Your hearing aids are tiny computers, and just like with laptops and tablets, moisture can present a challenge.

Humidity

Let’s discuss humidity first. Simply put, humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hot air can hold a lot of water vapor, but cold air cannot. When hot air meets cold air, the drop in temperature means a drop in how much water vapor the air can hold.

Let’s consider a can of soda pop: When humid air makes contact with a cold can of soda pop, the air temperature around the can drops quickly. Any water vapor from the humid air that can’t fit in the cold air around the pop can has to go somewhere. That’s when condensation happens, creating the water droplets on the side of the can.

Humidity and Hearing Devices

The why

Humidity affects hearing aids in a couple of ways.

First, just like with condensation on that can of soda pop, moisture results when warm, humid air meets the cooler metal components of your hearing devices. This includes the components inside your devices.

Second, humidity makes you sweat — but humidity also makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. Plenty of that ends up in or on your devices.

The how

How does all this condensation and perspiration cause trouble?

Moisture clogs ports and openings. It also builds up in tubing, which can affect the frequency response of your hearing technology. It can also corrode components and battery contact points or short-circuit the microphones and receivers.

In short, moisture is like kryptonite to your hearing aids. A little exposure won’t matter all that much, but prolonged exposure will do a lot of damage and affect the performance of your devices.

The what

Common signs of moisture damage include:

  • Sound is full of static or crackling
  • Sound is distorted
  • Sound cuts out during loud noises
  • Sound fades in and out
  • Device works intermittently
The fix

If you suspect you have moisture damage, do a general check first to make sure it’s not something easily solvable. Is the device turned on? Are the batteries in correctly or near the end of their life? Do the battery contacts need to be cleaned or dried? Is the tubing intact? How are the filters and ports?

If all else checks out, it could be a moisture problem. If you have in-the-ear technology, get them in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

If you have behind-the-ear technology, check the earmold tubing for moisture. If at all possible, use an earmold puffer to remove the moisture. Then put your technology in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

In either case, leave the devices in the dryer for a few hours, even if they look dry.

Prevention

Common, effective preventive measures include:

  • Choosing devices with nanocoating or a high IP (water resistance) rating
  • Hearing aid sweatbands that allow sound through but keep moisture out
  • Exercising during the cooler parts of the day
  • Removing your technology when exercising
  • Keeping your technology in a drying device when not in use

Contact us via email or call us now at (918) 532-6539 for a complimentary clean and check of your hearing technology.

What Does Hypertension Have to Do With Hearing? Plenty!

We’ve got a tip for your wellness checklist: Keeping your blood pressure down may help keep your hearing up!

Both hearing loss and hypertension, or high blood pressure, impact millions of people around the world, but few realize that these two chronic conditions might go hand in hand.

For your best health, here are three important things to know:

Hypertension and Hearing Loss Are Connected

Like hearing loss, which affects an estimated 466 million people worldwide, hypertension is a serious public-health challenge that can take a toll on your health and overall quality of life. It could also put you at greater risk of hearing impairment.

In one study of 274 men and women ages 45 to 64, researchers found a strong relationship between high blood pressure and age-related hearing loss, with hypertensive patients having a higher threshold below which they couldn’t hear — indicating hearing loss.

The study didn’t pinpoint the causal link between the two conditions, but suggested that hypertension may damage inner-ear blood vessels, accelerating age-related hearing loss.

High Blood Pressure Can Be Reined In

The bad news? Hypertension, often labeled a “silent killer,” can develop gradually, persist without any signs or symptoms, and lead to dangerous complications such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and more. It’s a big risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is also linked to hearing loss.

The good news? Detecting possible hypertension is as simple as getting blood pressure readings during regular checkups with your medical provider, and you can control the condition with lifestyle changes and medication. One high reading doesn’t necessarily indicate hypertension, so it’s important to check your blood pressure over time.

It’s also important to know the risk factors for hypertension, which can include age, race, family history, alcohol and tobacco use, stress, obesity, chronic conditions such as diabetes, and more.

Regular Hearing Checks Can Make a Difference

It’s unclear exactly how high blood pressure and hearing loss are connected in all cases, but the potential links between them offer another compelling reason to take care of your circulatory system and your hearing.

Eat a balanced diet, stay active, keep stress in check, and remember to schedule an annual hearing test. Keeping an eye on your blood pressure and catching potential hearing problems early helps ensure better health and an improved quality of life.

Do you have hypertension? Don’t delay. For a comprehensive hearing evaluation, contact our caring team at today!

Cognitive Decline is a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

Dementia a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

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

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

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

Consider these startling findings:

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

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

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

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


Munch to Better Hearing

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

  • Bananas

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

  • Broccoli

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

  • Tomatoes

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

  • Dark-Meat Chicken

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


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

8 Notable African Americans With Hearing Loss | Black History Month

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

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

  1. Whoopi Goldberg

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

  2. Derrick Coleman

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

  3. Tamika Catchings

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

  4. Andrew Foster

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

  5. Halle Berry

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

  6. Will.i.am

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

  7. Claudia Gordon

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

  8. Connie Briscoe

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


DID YOU KNOW?

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

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