Everyone wants their hearing aids to be invisible. If I had a dime for every time I heard, “now, I’m not vain, but…”, I’d be rich! Even though new technology advancements have miniaturized hearing aids, the fact remains that they are visible. Even the smallest of the completely in the canal versions are noticeable in the ear. And, even though you may have come to grips with the fact that you must wear hearing aids, you probably would like to be as discreet about wearing them as possible. Well, now you can.
Lyric hearing aids, from InSound Medical, are a new extended-wear hearing aid. Unlike the everyday-wear hearing aids, which are placed in the ear each morning and removed each night, Lyric hearing aids are placed in the ear canal by an Audiologist or hearing specialist during a routine office visit. The Lyric will remain in the ear for up to 120 days. That’s right, no cleaning, no changing batteries, just better hearing…24/7.
Because the instrument can be worn continuously for up to 120 days, it is purchased on a subscription basis. When the instrument’s battery dies, the entire piece is replaced. This provides the advantage of uninterrupted sound and the benefit of always having the latest technology. If there are upgrades in the product, you will receive the upgrade at no additional cost. There are many advantages to this sort of technology and people who are wearing them report that the sound quality is unmatched. Call us today for your free 30-day trial and visit LyricHearing.com for more information.
Most of us don’t think twice about an annual checkup with the doctor. Seeing your doctor regularly is important for understanding your body, maintaining good health and increasing the possibility for a long, productive and happy life. Understanding your hearing is just as important and seeing a Doctor of Audiology (hearing specialist/ hearing healthcare provider/Audiologist) can be an important first step in helping to improve your overall quality of life.
Hearing loss often goes undetected for many years. In fact, it may be a spouse or loved-one that first brings the hearing loss to your attention before you recognize a deterioration in your ability to hear what others are saying. How often does it happen that you have to ask others to repeat? Does your spouse have to tell you the punch-line to nearly every joke? Do you notice that you are removing yourself from social situations because it has become too difficult to communicate? It may be time to take the first important steps to getting back to your old self. It may be time to find out what you’ve been missing.
Once a hearing loss is recognized, the first step is to have a hearing evaluation to determine the type and severity of the hearing loss. Working with your Doctor of Audiology, you can then determine the next best step. In some instances, hearing loss is caused by a condition that is medically treatable. In this case, your Doctor of Audiology will refer you to a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear. In other instances, hearing aids are the best solution for the hearing loss. In some cases, the hearing loss may have gone undetected for so long that a secondary hearing loss occurs which affects the brain’s ability to make sense of words. Hearing aids, in this case, will only solve part of the problem. Auditory training will then be necessary in order to retrain the brain to listen effectively. Working with your Doctor of Audiology, you will be able to understand your hearing healthcare needs and find the appropriate solution for your hearing loss.
Call to make your appointment today!
Did your mother ever tell you, “don’t cross your eyes or they’ll get stuck that way”? Or, how about “don’t swallow your chewing gum, it takes seven years to pass through your digestive system.” What about, “don’t put anything in your ears that’s smaller than your elbow”? Unlike the first two, this old wives tale is actually true. There are some very delicate structures at the end of your ear canal, including the eardrum and the three smallest bones in the body, which are housed in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Cleaning your ears can potentially cause damage to the middle ear system. And, using cotton swabs, a hair pin or your house key to clean your ear canals might feel good or give you a sense of accomplishment but can actually cause earwax to become lodged in the far reaches of the ear canal, requiring removal by your physician or audiologist.
So, if I my elbow doesn’t fit, what do I use to clean my ear canals?
Believe it or not, your ear canals are self-cleaning. Glands in the ear canal produce oil and earwax (cerumen). These secretions are meant to coat the ear canal in order to prevent dryness, trap dirt and dust particles and they act as a natural bug repellant, too. The secretions will gradually move out of the ear canal on their own. If you must, you can use a home remedy of a 50/50 mixture of warm water and white vinegar dropped gently into the ear canal with a bulb syringe. If done regularly, this mixture can keep earwax from building up but may dry out the skin of some people. If you happen to have dry skin anyway, earwax and sloughing skin may stick to the canal wall if not managed regularly. A drop or two of olive oil or mineral oil placed in the ear canal each day can help earwax stay moist and will keep it moving in the right direction: out of your ear canal.
For those who wear a hearing aid, having the ear canals checked regularly by an audiologist is a great way to make sure excess wax doesn’t develop. The last thing you want is for wax to get in the way of sound getting through to the rest of the system. But let your provider take care of the wax and leave the cotton swabs for art projects, the hair pins for holding a ballerina’s bun and your house key for opening your mail. Your mother would be proud you did.
Beauty is in the “ear” of the beholder. What may be noise to one person may be a beautiful melody to another. In fact, I distinctly remember my mother saying, “turn that racket off!” when all I wanted to do was turn the music up louder. I wish I would have listened. Now, I have a constant ringing sound, called tinnitus in my ears. The average person doesn’t realize that there are other noises, not just music, that occur in our daily lives that can be dangerous to our ears.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day and 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from exposure to noise. And, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 15% of American teens suffer from some measure of hearing loss. The sad part is that this type of hearing loss is completely preventable.
How loud is too loud?
Normal conversational speech occurs at approximately 60 decibels. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to raise your voice to be heard over the sound, it’s probably too loud to listen to for a long period of time. The length of time you can be exposed to a loud sound before permanent damage occurs depends on the volume of the sound. As the volume gets louder, the amount of time you are exposed to the sound should decrease in order to keep your ears safe. For example, exposure to 110 decibels (the volume of a chain saw) for only a few minutes without ear protection can be as damaging as an exposure to 85 decibels (the volume level of the typical lawn mower) for 8 hours.
What are the symptoms of noise induced hearing loss?
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) usually develops gradually over time. It’s possible for someone to lose a significant amount of hearing before becoming aware of its presence. Often, the first sign of NIHL is a slight ringing sound in the ears that may only be noticeable in a very quiet environment, like when you are trying to go to sleep at night. If noise exposure continues over time, you might begin to notice that the high-pitched sounds are not as clear. I will often hear, “I can hear just fine, I just can’t understand what people are saying.” The high frequencies are responsible for the majority of the clarity of speech. NIHL affects the high frequencies.
People fail to notice the impact of unsafe noise exposure because it causes few symptoms and for most people, occurs gradually over time. Hearing loss is rarely painful. At first, the ringing sounds may go away several minutes or hours after the noise exposure ends. You might assume that if the symptoms disappear, the ears have returned to normal. Even in the absence of symptoms, some of the cells in the inner ear that are necessary for hearing clearly may have been permanently damaged or destroyed by the noise. With repeated noise exposure, more cells are destroyed and a permanent hearing loss is likely to develop.
How can I prevent noise induced hearing loss?
Hearing loss caused by excessive noise exposure is not reversible, but NIHL is preventable.
There are three general rules for preventing permanent hearing loss due to noise:
1) Understand what noises put you at risk. Remember, if you have to raise your voice to be heard, it’s probably too loud.
2) Decrease the volume whenever possible.
3) If in doubt, wear ear protection.
The American Academy of Audiology is leading the way to get the word out about noise induced hearing loss, especially to kids. The “Turn it to the left” campaign is educating kids and teens on the hazards of noise exposure in order to protect their hearing for a lifetime. To learn more about noise induced hearing loss or to determine whether noise exposure has damaged your hearing, contact your audiologist today.
Starkey Laboratories is an industry leader, known for new and innovative hearing aid technology. Starkey was the first hearing aid manufacturer to make a custom canal hearing aid available to hearing aid wearers. It isn’t surprising, then, that Starkey’s new Amp Personal Audio Amplifier is making headlines. The Amp is a tiny new invisible hearing aid that was specifically designed “for people who aren’t ready for a hearing aid.” Whether you are a first-time wearer or have worn hearing aids before, you would probably prefer that the hearing aid be as discreet as possible. Well, you’re not alone. Research says that the number one reason people don’t wear hearing aids is because of what they look like (MarkeTrak VII, 2007). If I had a dime for every time I heard, “I’m not vain, but…” when discussing what hearing aids look like with patients, I’d be rich. No one wants to advertise that they are wearing hearing aids. Starkey’s new AMP is a cosmetically appealing option that can be fit the same day you are in the office.
There are several popular “invisible” hearing aids on the market today. Although this instrument isn’t for everyone, the Starkey AMP fits deep enough inside most ear canals to be virtually invisible. A one-size-fits-most design with a choice of different sized pliable casings allows your Audiologist to adjust the instrument to different sizes of ear canals. Being able to go home with a pair of hearing aids programmed to your specific needs after your very first visit to the office reduces the hassle and time usually involved with fitting a pair of hearing aids.
So what does it cost? That’s the question most people are really interested in. While not inexpensive, the AMP hearing aids are priced far more inexpensively than other hearing aids, even within the same class of instrumentation. This provides first-time users a more affordable way to start wearing hearing aids. Even if you’re not a first time user, this new, innovative product could be just what you’ve been waiting for. Why not give it a try today? Call our office for a demonstration at no cost to you. You’ll be amazed at how small, how invisible and how affordable the Starkey Amp is.