Whether it’s only with you once in a while or all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus in your ears is annoying. There may be a more appropriate word than annoying. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating and downright frustrating might fit better. That sound that you can’t turn off is a problem however you decide to describe it. What can you do, though? Can that ringing actually be stopped?
Why do You Have Tinnitus And What Exactly is it?
Start by finding out more about the condition that is causing the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population endures tinnitus, which is the medical term for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus per se is not a condition but a sign of something else. Hearing loss is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Hearing loss often comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. It’s not really clear why tinnitus happens when there is a decline in a person’s hearing. That the brain is creating the sound to fill the void is the present theory.
You encounter thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of sounds every day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air coming through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less obvious. You don’t normally hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.
The main point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. Shut half those sounds off and how would the brain respond? Confusion occurs in the portion of the brain that hears sound. It may create the phantom tinnitus sounds to fill in the blanks because it recognizes sound should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. Severe health issues can also be the cause, such as:
- Head or neck trauma
- High blood pressure
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Meniere’s disease
- Head or neck tumors
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Poor circulation
Any of these can cause tinnitus. You may get the ringing even though you hear fine or possibly after an injury or accident. Before searching for other methods of dealing with it, you need to consult a doctor to have a hearing exam.
What to do About Tinnitus
You need to find out why you have it before you can begin to figure out what to do about it. In some cases, the only thing that helps is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is causing your tinnitus, you need to generate some. A sound as basic as a fan running in the background may create enough noise to switch off the ringing, it doesn’t need to be much.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is made specifically for this purpose. They imitate a natural sound that is calming such as the ocean waves or rain falling. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.
Another thing that also works is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is listening for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer created by the brain.
For the majority of people, the answer is a combination of tricks. You could wear hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for example.
If the tinnitus is more severe and soft sounds don’t work there are also medications that you can get. Certain antidepressants can silence this noise, for example, Xanax.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
It can also help if you make a few lifestyle modifications. Determining if there are triggers is a good place to begin. Write down in a journal what’s happening when the tinnitus begins. Be specific:
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just drink a cup of coffee or soda?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
The more precise your information, the faster you’ll see the patterns that might be inducing the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus from the beginning is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Using ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
That means you have to eat right, get lots of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes along with it.
Inability to hear is not the only effect of hearing loss, it can also have a powerful impact on your overall life. Relationships can be strained and daily pursuits can be interrupted by loss of hearing.
A study conducted by AARP found that untreated hearing loss had a more significant impact on quality of life than:
The loss of hearing, when left untreated, can definitely get in the way of your lifestyle, nevertheless, there are many who don’t get help. A perceived stigma attached to hearing loss is one reason why people who suffer from hearing loss don’t get the help they need, say researchers. People are scared they will be treated differently if people learn they are dealing with hearing loss. It doesn’t matter how old they are, this perception can distort the way they see themselves.
Many Others Also Have Hearing Loss
As lifespans grow longer, hearing loss has become more commonplace, in spite of the fact that it can impact people of any age, The World Health Organization reports that over 1.1 billion people are at risk of hearing loss and the perceptions that come along with it, many of them young adults. Hearing loss is, in fact, one of a young adult’s most significant health threats. Persistent resistance to getting help continues even as the number of people with hearing loss grows. How is one’s overall health affected?
What is The Perception of Hearing Loss?
By definition, stigma means a brand that marks someone as inferior and that pretty much says it all. A lot of people who suffer from hearing loss are concerned they will seem older than they are, less healthy, or less capable.
Historically, there is some basis for this worry. A 2010 study revealed people were not as well accepted when they suffered from hearing loss. But that study is based on data almost a decade old. As hearing loss becomes more widespread, this perception is changing. Hearing loss technology is becoming Stylish, fun, and cutting edge. Even celebrities are openly wearing hearing aids. Research shows that some other age related health concerns, such as dementia, could be slowed or even prevented by getting treatment. This is changing peoples mind about hearing loss and also their hearts. Some people still won’t seek help in spite of this research.
Why Does It Matter?
It is simple to say that perception doesn’t matter, but if this fear is keeping you from seeking help, recognize that there are health repercussions for not getting treatment. People get colonoscopies, according to an AARP study, more often than they get hearing tests. Not having a hearing exam because you refuse to recognize your hearing loss will impact your health as you get older.
Untreated Hearing Loss, What Are The Consequences?
These physical consequences of not dealing with your hearing loss will affect your general health;
Struggling to hear makes just about everything in life more challenging. Just attempting to hear conversations and everyday sounds is a difficult task. You also have to be extra careful to protect your safety because you can’t hear alert sounds or cars coming. Just working hard to hear common sounds can cause chronic fatigue.
Common Headaches and Migraines
You can get headaches and migraines if you have too much fear and tension. You might not recognize there is a connection, but studies have revealed a link between migraines and certain types of hearing loss. Even if you don’t normally get migraines, your brain has to make up for the sounds you can’t hear, and that constant struggle can make your head hurt.
You might also be facing mental health concerns as a result of your untreated hearing loss like depression and social anxiety. Social isolation is increased by hearing loss and it can also result in dementia. Moodiness and reduced energy levels go hand-in-hand with these other challenges.
The Negative Perception of Hearing Loss Can be Surmounted
Taking the first step and seek out help if you want to conquer these negative perceptions. Hearing loss is a treatable condition. If you decide not to get treatment, you should recognize that you are the one who suffers.
You also might be stressing for no reason because not all hearing loss is permanent. You can’t be sure what the issue is unless you make an appointment to get a hearing exam. It could be as simple as earwax buildup.
Acknowledging you have hearing loss is not enough, it’s important to do something about it. Nowadays you can get hearing aids in many shapes and sizes. There are hearing aids that are less noticeable if your worried about people learning you have hearing loss.
You can prove everyone wrong if you deal with your hearing loss in the right way. You can be just as active and healthy as everyone else, so wear your hearing aids with self-confidence. Your attitude will change people’s perception not only of you, but of everyone who has hearing loss. Increase awareness and keep healthy by not surrendering to negative perceptions.
You don’t have to be less able if you have hearing loss, because it’s actually a medical condition. Get your hearing tested today.
Hearing aids and glasses probably seem like oil and water, but is there a way to get these two very necessary accessories to play nice? If you are considering a behind-the-ear (BTE) device, this common question is even more pertinent. The question is, can I use them both comfortably? The answer is yes.
There are some things, for those people who wear glasses, to think about before they invest in new hearing aids, though. Use these tips to make sure your hearing aids and glasses work well together.
There Are a Few Styles of Hearing Aids That Could Work For Your Situation
There are quite a few factors, in general, to think about when getting new hearing aids. Hearing aids come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. You can even get a cool color if you want. Modern hearing aids are not the same as the ones that grandpa had.
Start your research by really learning about what types of hearing aids are available. They divide into three basic categories:
- In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE version but it sits deeper inside the ear, making them nearly invisible.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is much more advanced. With this model, the main section of the device sits right behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold resting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit models are basically the same setup but without the earmold.
- In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name indicates, this format of hearing aid fits directly into the opening of the ear canal and has nothing sitting behind the ear.
ITE and ITC models will allow people who wear glasses to avoid many hurdles. The features of your new hearing aid should be reviewed after deciding on a style.
Learning About The Features
Essentially, it’s really the features that should drive your purchase as you look for hearing aids, not the shape. Hearing aid technology is evolving all the time, so features change. Watch for some of these common ones:
- T-coil – This function allows you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is effective if you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at church or at the movies.
- Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to augment speech.
- Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear while you are in a noisy place. For instance, if someone is talking to you at a cafe, you can hear their speech clearly despite the noise around you.
Determining the right features to fit your lifestyle is the goal. After that choosing the style should be easy.
What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?
Glasses and BTE hearing aids can be worn together. The trick is to wear both of these essential accessories in the correct way, so they fit comfortably. Here are some tips:
- Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice removing your glasses. It will take a little time before you get into the habit of removing them this way. Each time you knock off your hearing aids, though, will help to reinforce the practice.
- Think about the size of the BTE hearing aids before purchasing. There is the traditional version, which is a little bit bulky but will still work with glasses. The other choice is a fairly new style called mini BTE. Reduced feedback and improved comfort are gained by making the behind the ear part smaller. The only certain way to tell which one will work best for you is to try them both out.
- Your hearing aid should be put in only after you put on your glasses. Placement of the hearing aid unit is a little bit more flexible so you can work it in around the arm of the glasses to make it comfortable. After positioning the hearing aid, check in a mirror to be certain it’s not hanging from your outer ear.
There are some people who will have to stay with ITE or ITC models. BTE devices will be a hassle if, for example, you take your glasses off a lot. Children will commonly have problems with this kind of hearing aid and also adults with small ears. If you schedule an appointment with a hearing aid professional you can get a free trial period to see which style is best for you. Trying the different styles is the only way you will know for sure which style works best for your needs.
It’s typical to have hearing loss as you grow older but is it necessary? The fact is, the majority of adults will start to perceive a change in their hearing as they get older. After listening to sound for years, you will notice even slight changes in your hearing ability. Prevention is the best way of managing the extent of the loss and how rapidly it progresses, which is the case with most things in life. Later in your life, the extent of your hearing loss will depend on the choices you make now. When it comes to your hearing health, it’s never too late to care or too early to start. You really want to keep your hearing from getting worse, but what can be done?
Comprehending Hearing Loss
It begins with understanding how hearing works and what causes most hearing loss. Age-associated hearing loss, known medically as presbycusis, affects one in three people in America between the ages of 64 and 74. It is an accumulation of damage to the ears over time. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets progressively worse.
Sound comes into the ear as pressure waves that are amplified a number of times before they get to the inner ear. Once there, the sound jiggles very small hairs cells, causing them to bump structures which release chemicals to create an electrical message which the brain translates into sound.
Failing over time, because of the constant vibration, the tiny hairs eventually quit. These hair cells won’t fix themselves, either, so once gone, they’re gone. Without those cells to produce the electrical impulses, the sound is never translated into a language the brain can understand.
How exactly do these hair cells get damaged? There are lots of contributing factors such as ordinary aging. Sound waves come in various strengths, though; that is what’s known as volume. If the sound is at a higher volume, then the power of the sound wave is greater, and the hair cells take more damage.
Loud noise is surely a factor but there are others too. Also, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic ailments will take a toll.
How to Protect Your Hearing
You need to depend on consistent hearing hygiene to protect your ears over time. The volume of sound is the biggest problem. Sound is far more unsafe when it’s at a louder volume or decibel level. You may think that it takes a very high decibel level to cause damage, but it actually doesn’t. A noise is too loud if you have to raise your voice to talk over it.
Even just a few loud minutes, not to mention frequent exposure, will be enough to have an adverse effect later on. Taking precautions when you expect to be subjected to loud sound, fortunately, is pretty easy. Use hearing protection when you:
- Do something where the noise is loud.
- Go to a performance
- Ride a motorcycle
- Run power equipment
Avoid using devices designed to amplify and isolate sound, also, including headphones or earbuds. The old-fashioned way is a less dangerous way to listen to music and that means at a lower volume.
Every-Day Noises That Can Become a Problem
Over time, even everyday sounds will become a hearing threat. When you get an appliance for your home, consider the noise rating of the product. It’s far better to use appliances with lower noise ratings.
Don’t worry about speaking up if the noise gets too loud when you are at a restaurant or party. A restaurant manager may be willing to turn down the background music for you or possibly even move you to another table away from loud speakers or clanging dishes.
Be Noise Conscious When You Are at Work
Take the proper steps to protect your hearing if your job subjects you to loud noises. If your manager doesn’t provide hearing protection, get your own. Here are some products that can protect your ears:
Your employer will probably be willing to listen if you bring up your worries.
Give up Smoking
Hearing impairment is yet another good reason to quit smoking. Studies show that cigarette smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. This is true if you are exposed to second-hand smoke, as well.
Check And Double Check Your Medications
Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they damage your hearing. A few typical culprits include:
- Narcotic analgesics
- Certain antibiotics
- Cardiac medication
- Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
There are many other examples that go on this list, among them some over the counter and some prescription medications. If you use pain relievers, do so only when necessary and check the labels. If you are uncertain about a drug, consult your doctor before taking it.
Treat Your Body Well
Regular exercise and a good diet are things you should do for your general health but they are also important to your hearing health as well. Do what is necessary to deal with your high blood pressure like taking your medication and lowering salt consumption. You have a lower risk of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, if you take good care of your body and this leads to lower chances of hearing loss.
Finally, have your hearing examined if you believe you might have hearing loss or if you hear ringing in your ears. The sooner you acknowledge there is a problem, the sooner you can do something about it, like getting hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with a hearing expert to keep any issues from getting even worse. It’s never too late.
What is the plan when you’ve realized that you need to invest in hearing aids? Hearing aids are soon to become an essential part of your life so choose wisely. High-quality hearing aids can be purchased from a hearing aid specialist, but the cheaper flimsy ones can be found only on the internet. If you truly think that you can get a quality device for less from the internet, then the sacrifice is how well you hear, and that’s your decision. What should you expect when investing in hearing aids?
Cheap Internet Knockoffs Are Not Actually Hearing Aids
Even though they seem to be a bargain, those internet hearing assistance devices will wind up costing you more over time. They are very poor in quality and don’t work very well. You have to buy new batteries so often that it winds up costing you a lot.
Amplifying sound is all these low-quality devices do. Modern, top quality digital hearing aids incorporate various technologies to create a device customized to your needs. You can decide to go cheap and buy one online but you will lose out on several essential features.
You have to see your new hearing aids for what they are – an investment in your future. If you can’t hear well it can make your life very difficult and might wind up costing you money, so it’s a bad choice to go cheap with your hearing aids. There may be other ways you can get hearing aids if you can’t afford them, so make sure you get the ones you really need.
Analog Vs. Digital
A better quality, more reliable sound is delivered by digital hearing aids and they’re more consistent also. Analog units are outdated and are not worth considering.
It’s likely that all of the hearing aids you see at a quality retailer will be digital. If you don’t know the difference you may mistake an analog device for a digital. Low-quality analog signals are what the older out-dated hearing aids process. With analog hearing aids, the quality of the sound is very inconsistent.
Selecting The Perfect Features
When you go shopping for hearing aids think about the two elements which are features and style. You want features that make your life better in a style that is comfortable. Some common features to consider include:
- Environmental noise control
- Direct audio input
- Wireless connectivity
- Rechargeable batteries
- Remote controls
- Variable programming
- Noise reduction
- Directional microphones
Take Into Consideration The Different Styles
There are many styles available to you, as you will realize when you begin researching hearing aids. Luckily, there are so many styles to pick from that finding a style that works for your needs is almost guaranteed. Some of the different styles are:
- Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
- Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
- Open Fit
A pretty good description of each style is offered by the names. BTE hearing aids consist of a piece that sits behind the ear. A clear piece of tubing connects the BTE to an ear-mold that rests in the opening of the ear canal.
As is apparent by its name, ITE devices go “in the ear”. It’s a single unit that sits in the opening of the ear canal. Nothing attaches behind the ear. ITC indicates “in the canal” and they are very much like ITE’s but ITC’s go further into the ear canal and that means that you don’t see them so much.
RIC devices and RIE hearing aids have a “receiver in the canal” and a “receiver in the ear” respectively, which are then connected to a piece behind the ear. Both styles tend to be less noticeable than BTE hearing aids.
As opposed to having ear-molds, open fit units, which are a type of BTE, have a thin tube that goes into the ear canal. This style works well for people who don’t like the feel of something stuck in their ear.
When you’ve taken all of these styles and options into account, it’s time to decide which one that would best fit your needs. To give an example, if you use your phone or a computer regularly, you will want a device that has Bluetooth capability. You will save money on replacement batteries if you get a model with a rechargeable battery and a telecoil is ideal for listening to lectures or seminars.
Lastly, Your Buying Options Should be Considered
You want to purchase your hearing aids from a qualified retailer, one that custom fits the devices and offers a free trial period. It’s hard to be confident that you are making the right decision if you don’t have a chance to try your hearing aids before you purchase them.
A good quality hearing aid will come with a good warranty so be sure to check that out as well. What does it cover? Do you get a new hearing aid if something goes wrong or does the warranty only cover parts and maybe labor?
Before buying hearing aids schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional for a checkup and hearing test, also. There could be many reasons you might observe a change in your hearing and they don’t all require hearing aids.
An ear infection is the accepted name, but it’s medically named otitis media or AOM. Ear infections just like this are normally found in infants and young children but they can also affect adults, as well, especially during or after a cold or sinus infection. If you have a bad tooth, that can also lead to an ear infection.
Hearing loss is one of the primary signs and symptoms of an infection inside the middle ear. But is it permanent? You might not realize it but the answer can be complicated. Ear infections have a lot of things happening. There is damage which can be caused that you need to understand and also how this injury can impact your ability to hear.
Otitis Media, What is it?
Basically, otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. Bacteria is the most likely cause, but it could be caused by any micro-organism.
Ear infections are identified by where they manifest in the ear. When the infection is in the pinna, or outer ear, or in the front of the eardrum, the condition is called otitis externa or swimmer’s ear. An inner ear infection, also called labyrinthitis is brought about by bacteria in the cochlea.
The space in front of the cochlea but behind the eardrum is called the middle ear. This area has the three ossicles, or tiny bones, that vibrate the membranes of the inner ear. The eardrum can actually break due to the pressure from this kind of infection, which is likely to be extremely painful. This pressure is not only painful, it causes hearing loss. Sound waves are then hindered by the accumulation of infectious material in the ear canal.
A middle ear infection includes the following symptoms:
- Leakage from the ear
- Pain in the ear
- Diminished ability to hear
Usually, hearing will come back in the course of time. The pressure dissipates and the ear canal opens. This will only happen when the infection gets better. There are some exceptions, though.
Chronic Ear Infections
At least once in their life, most people experience an ear infection. For some others, the issues become chronic, so they have infections again and again. Because of complications, these people’s hearing loss is more serious and can possibly become permanent.
Conductive Hearing Loss From Chronic Ear Infections
Conductive hearing loss can be brought on by repeated ear infections. Put simply, sound waves don’t get to the inner ear at the proper intensity. By the time the sound reaches the tiny hairs in the inner ear, they are amplified by the mechanisms of the ear canal and reach their maximum power. When you have conductive hearing loss, something changes along that route and the sound isn’t amplified quite as much.
Bacteria are very busy inside your ear when you have an ear infection. They need to eat to live and multiply, so they break down those mechanisms that amplify sound waves. The damage is in most cases done to the tiny little bones and the eardrum. The bones are very delicate and it doesn’t take much to destroy them. These bones will never grow back once they are gone. You don’t just get your hearing back once this damage happens. Surgically putting in prosthetic bones is one possible way that a doctor may be able to correct this. The eardrum may have scar tissue after it repairs itself, which will affect its ability to vibrate. Surgery can fix that, also.
What Can You do to Prevent This Permanent Hearing Loss?
If you believe that you might have an ear infection, call a doctor immediately. You shouldn’t wait if you want to protect your hearing. Also, don’t overlook chronic ear infections. The more severe the infections you have, the more harm they cause. Finally, take steps to avoid colds, allergies, and sinus infections because that is where ear infections usually start. It’s time to stop smoking because it leads to chronic respiratory problems which will, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If you are still having trouble hearing after having an ear infection, consult a doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. If you find out that it’s permanent, hearing aids can help you hear again. You should schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info on hearing aids.
Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teapot right now? The well-known issue of feedback inside of your hearing aids can most likely be fixed. Understanding how hearing aids function and what is behind that incessant whistling sound will get you a little closer to getting rid of it. So what can you do about it?
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Hearing aids, basically, are actually simply a microphone and a speaker. The speaker plays the sound into your ear which the microphone picks up. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that becomes a little complicated.
After the sound is picked up by the microphone it gets transformed to an analog signal to be further processed. The analog form is then converted into digital by the device’s processor. The sound is clarified after becoming digital by the device’s properties and controls.
The digital signal processor then changes the signal back to analog and transmits it to a receiver. You’re ears don’t hear these electrical signals which were once a sound. The sound waves, which the receiver converts the signal back to, are then transmitted through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.
This all sounds very complicated but it takes place in about a nanosecond. In spite of all of this state-of-the-art technology, the device still has feedback.
Feedback Loops And How They Happen
Feedback happens in other sound systems besides hearing aids. If the sound system uses a microphone, chances are there is some feedback. In essence, the microphone is collecting sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and being processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. The system doesn’t like hearing itself over and over again and that makes it scream.
Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?
A feedback loop may be brought about by several difficulties. One of the most common causes is turning the hearing aid on while it’s still in your hand and then putting it in your ear. Your hearing aid begins processing sound waves right when you hit the “on” switch. The sound coming from the receiver bounces off of your hand back into the microphone causing the feedback. The solution to this concern is quite simple; wait until the hearing aid is snuggly in your ear before pressing the switch.
Feedback can also be caused when your hearing aid isn’t fitting properly. Maybe you’ve lost some weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids are older, you might have a loose fit. If that’s the case, you should head back to where you got it and have the piece re-adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.
Feedback And Earwax
With regards to hearing aids, earwax is not a friend. Earwax accumulation on the casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting properly. And we are already aware that a loose fitting device will be the cause of feedback. If you consult your retailer or perhaps if you read the manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.
Perhaps It’s Simply Broke
When you’ve tried everything else but the feedback continues, this is what you do next. Feedback can definitely be caused by a broken hearing aid. The casing may have a crack in it somewhere, for example. You should never try to fix this at home. Schedule an appointment with a hearing aid specialist to get a repair.
When is Feedback Not Really Feedback
There is a chance that what you are hearing is actually not feedback at all. There are a few other things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, like a low battery, which will give a warning sound. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it actually sound like feedback? If your device has this feature, the manual will tell you.
Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Most hearing aids are capable of producing it and the cause is usually quite clear.
Do you remember getting your first car? The feeling of freedom was unparalleled. At any time you could call a few friends and go wherever you wanted. Many people who have loss of hearing have this exact same experience when they invest in their first pair of hearing aids.
How could investing in your first pair of hearing aids be like getting your first car? It’s not just the obvious reasons for using hearing aids, but also the less obvious ones that can help you maintain your independence. As it turns out, your hearing has a profound effect on your brain’s functionality.
The following example illustrates how your brain reacts to changes: You’re on your way to work, taking the same route you always take. As you go to make that first left you discover that the road is blocked. What is your reaction to this blockage? Is giving up and going home a good decision? Most likely not unless you’re looking for an excuse to avoid the office. More than likely, you’ll use a different route. If that new route was even more efficient, or if your regular route stayed closed for some time, the new route would become your new routine.
The same thing occurs inside of your brain when a “normal” function is stopped or otherwise not functioning. The name neuroplasticity defines the brain’s process of rerouting along alternative pathways.
Neuroplasticity can help you master new languages, or to learn new abilities such as drawing or painting or developing healthy habits. Gradually, the physical changes inside the brain adapt to match the new pathways and tasks that were once challenging become automatic. Neuroplasticity can be equally as good at causing you to forget about what you already know as it is at helping you learn new things.
Neuroplasticity And Loss of Hearing
A perfect example of how neuroplasticity can have a negative impact is hearing loss. As explained in The Hearing Review, researchers from the University of Colorado found that even in the early stages of loss of hearing, if your brain stops working on processing sounds, it will be re-purposed for other tasks. And it may not be ideal for them to alter in that way. This reordering of your brain function clarifies the connection between loss of hearing and cognitive decrease.
The areas of your brain which are responsible for hearing will be re-purposed for different functions like vision and touch. The available resources in your brain used to process sound are lessened and so is your ability to comprehend speech.
So, if you are continuously asking people to repeat themselves, loss of hearing has already started. And even more significant is the fact that your brain might already be beginning to restructure.
Can Hearing Aids Help You
This ability of your brain has a positive and a downside. Neuroplasticity improves the performance of your hearing aids even though it may make your hearing loss worse. You can really take advantage of advanced hearing aid technology because of your brain’s amazing ability to regenerate tissue and reroute neural paths. As the hearing aids activate the parts of the brain that handle hearing loss, they stimulate mental growth and development.
The American Geriatrics Society published a long term study, in fact. Cognitive decline was minimized in people who wear hearing aids, according to this study. The study, titled Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study, followed over three thousand adults age 65 and older over a 25 year period. The study showed that people with hearing loss had a higher rate of cognitive decline. However, participants that used hearing aids to correct their hearing loss showed no difference in the rate of cognitive decline as compared to those with normal hearing.
The most useful part of this study is that we can confirm what we already understand about neuroplasticity: the brain will manage functions according to the current need and the amount of stimulation it receives. In other words, you need to, “use it or lose it.”
Maintaining a Youthful Brain
The bottom line is, the brain is powerful and can change itself drastically no matter what your age or stage in life. It’s also important to note that hearing loss can accelerate mental deterioration and that simple hearing aids can stop or at least minimize this decline.
Hearing aids are not simple over-the-counter amplification devices, they are sophisticated hearing enhancement technology. According to leading brain plasticity expert Dr. Michael Merzenich, you can enhance your brain function despite any health issues by pushing yourself to perform challenging new tasks, being active socially, and practicing mindfulness among other techniques.
Hearing aids are a vital part of ensuring your quality of life. People who have loss of hearing often become withdrawn or isolated. Simply by investing in a pair of hearing aids, you can make sure that you remain active and independent. After all, you want your brain to keep receiving stimulation and processing the sounds you hear so it will stay as young as you feel!
Purchasing hearing aids is an investment so when you are setting off on a trip, take precautions to protect them. Vacations are supposed to be hassle-free, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. If you want one less concern, make a plan to take care of your hearing aid while on your trip. What safety steps can you take for your hearing aids when you go on a trip.
There Are Some Basics Things You Can do
Make sure to bring a full cleaning kit to start with. Anything you do at home to clean your hearing aids, you’ll need to do when you go on vacation. A brush or pick comes with most quality brand cleaning kits. It’s a good idea to bring a carrying case for storage and a soft cleaning cloth.
It’s a prudent idea to pack extra batteries, also. You will potentially use your hearing aid more than normal so backups are a smart idea. Don’t forget about that extra charger if you have a hearing aid with rechargeable batteries. Carry your chargers in separate bags just in case one gets lost.
Give consideration to some additional items you might need for your hearing aids including:
- Soft domes
- Sport clip
Creating a checklist is crucial so that you can be sure that you haven’t forgotten anything you might need. You never know for sure when you may need one of your hearing aid supplies, so put them in an easy to get at place. If you are flying, as an example, put these items in your carry on luggage or bag.
Make Sure You Get Them a Good Cleaning And Checkup
One week prior to going bring your hearing aids in for an expert tune-up. When traveling it’s important that they are properly working. Ask your retailer about any warranties you may have on the hearing aids and take any paperwork with you in case something happens. Don’t accidentally void the warranty by missing something. Take the time to learn to file a claim.
You ought to find out if there are any hearing aid retailers close to where you are going. Then you will know where to go if you need quick service, a new battery or even a new hearing aid.
Some Considerations If You Are Wearing Hearing Aids at The Airport
Considering all the changing security specifications, going to the airport is always confusing. When you are walking through the security gate, keep your hearing aids in your ear. Tell the security officer that you have a hearing aid as you approach so that they know ahead of time. If you adhere to the officer’s instruction you most likely won’t need to remove them to pass through the metal detector.
While you are on the plane you can still keep your hearing aids in your ears as well. You will not be required to turn them off before the plane takes off like you have to with a cell phone, either. When you’re on the plane, your hearing aid may not work as well. Use visual hints to make people aware that you may not hear as well. As an example, you can cup your ear to indicate that you don’t understand.
Consider Getting a Dryer or Dehumidifier
Swimming and humid weather go hand in hand with vacations. Even if you don’t plan on going swimming in a pool or going in the ocean, it is a prudent idea to bring a way to dry out your hearing aids during the night to protect against water damage. A dryer is a precaution worth having year round, but it’s especially important when you travel.
Make Sure You Know How Your Hearing Aids Function
Different features work better in different environments. For instance, you’ll need to filter out background noise in a restaurant or at a theme park. Some have outdoor settings that can make the beach more fun. You can’t know what feature to use if you are not familiar with how your hearing aid works.
A Remote Microphone is a Good Thing to Bring Along
In loud settings, this will come in handy. When you are conversing with someone, clip the microphone to them and you will be able to hear them better.
Notify the Hotel or Resort
Popular vacation venues usually have accommodations for the hearing impaired. Since you won’t be wearing your hearing aids at night you will want to take advantage of that. Smoke alarms that shake the bed or have flashing lights should be available to you. Find out if they have special phones for the hearing impaired and televisions with closed captioning.
Going on vacation is enjoyable, but it can be frantic, too. Get your hearing aids situated before you go, so you can relax and enjoy your trip. Schedule an appointment for a tune-up today.
Is loss of hearing interfering with your summertime fun? Most likely it’s even worse if you don’t know it. The prolonged decrease of your hearing which comes with getting older and certain ear diseases can mean that you don’t always realize that there are some things which you can’t hear any longer. You might also hold back on doing summer activities you love because you don’t hear as well. You will still be capable of getting out and having a great time if you look for a few practical solutions to your hearing loss challenges.
Barbecuing in the summer may be challenging when you have loss of hearing. For starters, there is a large amount of background noise. There are so many discussions happening all around you. Kids could be playing in the grass or yelling in the swimming pool. You get the sounds of nature such as singing birds, barking dogs, and the crackling sound of cooking on the grill.
All that noise interferes with any residual hearing you have left. This type of background noise will easily overtake someone who has hearing loss.
Try these things to compensate:
Find a peaceful spot to sit to eliminate some of that overpowering background noise. Turning away from the sun will allow you to look at people when they talk and read their lips to figure out words you miss.
- You can turn down the volume of background music. Deciding not to play music is an option if you’re the host. At other peoples cookouts make sure you tell the host that you have hearing difficulties.
- Now and then just walk away. It can be fatiguing when you are struggling to hear. Every hour or so try to go inside or away from all the noise.
- Inform others that you can’t hear. Don’t attempt to fake it because that can frustrate others. If you don’t hear what someone said, let them know. Visual clues such as cupping your ears will let people know you’re having a problem hearing. They will automatically step closer or speak up to help out.
Don’t try to hear everything. The fact that you can’t participate in every conversation is something you need to recognize. Set sensible limits for yourself and try to participate in smaller groups instead.
Do you really understand what you are missing outside? Don’t be scared to go outdoors and concentrate on the sounds of nature. No, you won’t be able to hear everything but with a little concentration, you might hear more than you might think.
Make a game out of it and listen for:
- Birds singing
- Insects buzzing
- Crickets at night
- Rustling leaves
- Rain on your roof
- Kids running around and playing
- Barking dogs
- Splashing waves
If you just attempt to hear one thing at a time, you can manage your expectations every time you go outdoors, head for the beach or walk in the park.
Enjoy Day Trips or Even a Much Needed Vacation
Isn’t that what summertime is meant for? What type of vacation would you enjoy? What restrictions come along with your hearing loss that will affect it? As an example, a theme park may be a bit too much stimulation, but sailing or fishing work nicely. Go to the zoo or maybe go to a nature preserve. Walk on the boardwalk near the beach or go to a museum.
Don’t let your hearing loss take away your opportunity to travel this summer. If you are flying, notify the airline that you have hearing loss when you get the ticket. Alert the hotel or resort, as well, so they can give you a room that has accommodations for the hearing impaired including smoke alarms with flashing lights or shaking beds and TVs that have closed captioning.
Work on Yourself
Learn how to paint or perhaps take an exercise class to help better yourself this summer. Show up early, so you can find a spot up front. Bring a couple of friends with you and let them fill you in on what you are missing during the session.
Safety Precautions Should Be Taken This Summer
There are a couple of summer traditions that require you to take precautions to protect yourself, your ears, and any costly hearing assistance devices you own. Play it safe by:
- Taking care while by the pool or swimming. Wear earplugs to avoid ear infections and keep your hearing aids dry.
- Remember not to go on evening walks on your own. The loss of hearing means you don’t always recognize things like automobiles driving towards you or maybe even a stranger lurking behind you.
- If you are going to fireworks or maybe a concert, wear ear protection.
Try to Make The Most of it This Summer
Most of these summertime challenges become less substantial when you do three simple things.
- Have your ears examined by a hearing care specialist. It may be possible your hearing loss is treatable.
- Get a professional hearing test, so you know if you do have hearing loss.
- Get high-quality hearing aids. They can filter out any background noises so that you hear what’s relevant.
Having fun is what summer is all about. Don’t allow hearing loss take it away from you.