Tag: advice

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

10 Hearing Aid Myths We’re Busting

Are These Misconceptions Standing Between You & Needed Care?

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

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


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

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


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

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


  1. Myth: Hearing aids are ugly and bulky.

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


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

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


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

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


  1. Myth: Hearing aids don’t last.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


What Do Hearing-Aid Wearers Say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hearing Loss Q&

Hearing Loss Q&A

Hearing Loss Q&A

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

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


Hearing Loss Q&A -Hearing Basics

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


Hearing Loss Q&A Area 1: The ear

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

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


Area 2: The auditory nerve

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


Area 3: The brain

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


Put It All Together

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


Hearing Loss

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

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

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

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

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

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


Auditory Processing Disorder

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

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

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

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


Symptoms of APD

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

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

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


Communication Skills Affected by APD

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

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

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

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

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


APD in Children

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

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

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

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


APD in Adults

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

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

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

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


Causes of APD

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

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


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

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

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

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

8 Back-to-School Communication Tips

Make Hitting the Books Even Easier with These Helpful Tricks

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

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


How’s Their Hearing?

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

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

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

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.

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!

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.



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!

Traveling? 8 Tips for Better Hearing on the Go

Traveling? 8 Tips for Better Hearing on the Go

From Loops to Batteries, We’re Covering the Bases

Traveling? 8 Tips for Better Hearing on the Go: Hearing devices help you communicate your best no matter where you are, so it’s especially important to lean into them when traveling. Make those unforgettable on-the-go moments even more special with these helpful reminders.

1. Get to Know Your Hearing Devices

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

2. Pack Extra Batteries

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

3. Remember Your Storage Container

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

4. Change the Wax Guard

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

5. Include a Quick-Cleaning Kit

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

6. Add Your Bluetooth Gear

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

7. Get Yourself in the Loop

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

8. Protect Your Hearing

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

Taking to the skies? As of this writing, it’s A-OK to bring your hearing devices through airport screening and wear them during your flight. It’s always good to check with relevant authorities in advance, however, if you’re flying out of the U.S. or Canada.

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

Allergies and Hearing Loss

Allergies and Hearing Loss — What’s the Connection?

A: This is a great question! Let’s start with some allergy basics.



An allergy is when your body’s defenses overreact to something that is not typically harmful. These are called allergens, and common ones include latex, pet dander, and peanuts.

When you come across an allergen, your immune system goes into defensive mode. Chemicals called histamines flood your body and where you encountered the allergen.


The Allergic Response

Histamines are like security guards — once released, they do what’s needed to remove the allergen. Reactions such as inflammation, itchiness, and excess mucus production result. But how does this cause hearing loss?


Seasonal Allergies and Hearing Loss

Because the allergic reactions leading to hearing loss so often involve seasonal allergies, that’s where we’ll focus. Other allergies, such as those triggered by mold or pets, would also work as examples.


The outer ear

Let’s use pollen as our allergen example. We’ll begin with the effects on the outer ear:

  • Pollen lands in or near your ear canal
  • Histamines kick into high gear and try to remove the allergen
  • Inflammation, itching, and possibly swelling begin
  • A strong enough reaction blocks sound trying to get to your eardrum
  • Hearing loss is the result


The middle ear

Continuing with pollen as our allergen example, let’s look at the effects on the middle ear:

  • Pollen lands in your nostril or nasal passage
  • Histamines kick into high gear and try to remove the allergen
  • Inflammation and excessive mucus production begin
  • Mucus builds up in your middle ear
  • Your Eustachian tube, which drains excess mucus from your middle ear, becomes blocked (from inflammation or mucus)
  • Discomfort, hearing loss, or an infection result


The inner ear

Finally, continuing with pollen, the effects of allergies on the inner ear are:

  • Pollen lands in your nostril or nasal passage
  • Histamines kick into high gear and try to remove the allergen
  • Inflammation and excessive mucus production begin
  • These have been known to worsen symptoms of other ear-related problems, such as Ménière’s disease, which includes symptoms such as hearing loss, balance issues, and tinnitus


As you can see, it’s simple cause and effect — and the cause is usually inflammation, mucus, or a combination of both in the tiny passageways in your ears.


Contact us today if you think your hearing issue could be more than the temporary effects of seasonal allergies!

Give Mom the Gift of Better Hearing This Mother’s Day

Give Mom the Gift of Better Hearing This Mother’s Day

Hearing on Her Terms Makes Moments More Special

Moms are a busy bunch.

These duty-juggling, many-hats-wearing heroes can be hard-pressed to find time for themselves. So whether they’re hitting the dance floor, perfecting their golf game, catching up with a BFF, or scaling a rock wall, they can enjoy those special moments even more with healthy hearing. And you can help!


Recognizing the Signs

Is your mom, or a mom you know, missing out on the sounds of her life? Potential hearing loss has many signs. She may often turn up the TV, say “Huh?” or “What?” in response to clear questions, and have trouble following phone conversations or video calls.

Withdrawal from social situations can also signify a hearing issue. Your mom might not even realize she’s pulling away from her life. And it’s not uncommon for people to put off life-changing hearing help for more than a decade even after a diagnosis of hearing loss.

Mom might need a loving nudge in the right direction.


Better Hearing, Better Life

The benefits of seeking hearing care can go far beyond better communication. We love seeing patients reconnect with family, friends, and favorite hobbies thanks to a whole new world of sound in their lives.

And with hearing loss linked to other conditions, including dementia, cardiovascular disease, depression, and falls, it’s encouraging that a growing body of research connects improved hearing to better cognitive health and other benefits.


Modern, Invisible Technology

The traditional barriers to seeking hearing care — feeling stigmatized for needing a hearing aid, for example — are things of the past. Today’s technology is not only practically invisible, but it also works seamlessly and continuously with the environment to maximize the wearer’s experience no matter where they go.


Some of today’s sophisticated hearing instruments can even work alone or with apps on compatible smartphones and tablets, handling activities such as:

  • Conveniently controlling hearing aid settings through the smartphone or tablet
  • Streaming TV, music, phone calls, and other audio straight to the ears
  • Tracking brain and body health to help with fitness planning
  • Communicating with people of other languages through real-time translation
  • Enjoying remote care — including professional hearing aid adjustments — in the comfort of home


Reuniting your mom with the sounds she loves could be just a visit away. Contact us today to schedule a hearing consultation that could change her life. We’re here to help!

This Mask Supports Effective Communication

This Mask Supports Effective Communication

Which Mask Can Help You Be Heard?

You probably chose your go-to masks based on safety and comfort. However, communicating while wearing a mask can be tricky — so how do you know which type of mask is best for helping others understand you?

A team at Washington University conducted a study to answer just that question. But before we look at the study, let’s try to understand why your choice of mask would even matter.


How Masks Affect Communication

Muffling your voice

Singing in the shower sounds different than singing in the living room. Your voice bounces off mirrors, porcelain, tile, and glass differently than it does off carpet, upholstery, electronics, and your pets’ fur.

Speaking into a mask is no different. Woven cloth interacts with the sound of your voice one way, and the material in surgical masks affects your voice in a different way.

They all, however, muffle sounds at high frequencies. You can start mistaking one word for another; “cat” sounds like “hat,” and “top” sounds like “pop.” What sets one type of mask apart from another is how often this happens.


Covering up nonverbal cues

Your face gives many nonverbal cues as you talk or react to what others say. But when you wear a mask, your eyes and eyebrows are the only source for these cues. One type of mask tries to solve that problem by using a large transparent panel so that others can see your mouth as you speak.


The Findings of the Mask Study

The study setup

The team at Washington University studied speech understanding using four kinds of masks: surgical, cloth with an inserted filter, cloth without an inserted filter, and transparent.

A researcher read sentences unmasked and then while wearing each of the four mask types. The participants, none of whom had hearing loss, wrote down what they heard and how hard they had to work to hear it. Then they heard the sentences spoken with three different levels of background noise.


General results

When there was no background noise, participants understood every sentence. It didn’t make a difference if the speaker wore a mask or not.

When background noise entered the picture, however, the differences between the masks were clear. Communication was easiest through a surgical mask. A cloth mask (no filter) was second-best. Tied for last place were the transparent mask and the cloth mask with a filter.


The unexpected result

The big surprise was the transparent mask. When background noise was at its peak, only about 30% of what was said was understood. The plastic panel affected speech more than the other mask materials. But it also obscured nonverbal cues and lip-reading — because fog developed on the panel.

In fact, the researcher who read the sentences aloud had this to say about transparent masks: “They’re super uncomfortable and wet. They’re pretty gross.”


The winner

The surgical mask came out on top. It provided more than 50% accuracy of understanding in loud noise, and it took less effort to achieve that level of understanding.

It should come as no surprise that surgical masks won — they’ve been used for decades in settings requiring a sterile environment and clear communication, such as operating rooms and dentist chairs.



Have you been having more trouble than usual navigating the world of mask wearers? Contact us to schedule a hearing consultation!