Tagged: hearing loss

What Are Receiver In The Canal Hearing Aids?

July 13, 2015

Once you’ve finally decided to move forward with the process of purchasing hearing aids, how do you know what hearing aid will be best? How do you decide between the many choices? Luckily, you won’t have to go back to school just to understand the jargon and technology behind hearing aids. That’s what a partnership with your hearing healthcare provider is all about. You can trust that he or she is going to suggest the best possible solution for your hearing loss as well as one that fits your budget. Part of that discussion will focus on the styles of hearing aids that are available. One of the more popular styles these days is the Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid.

woman listening to gossipThe Receiver-in-the-canal hearing aid or RIC is a type of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. RIC’s consist of a case which houses the majority of the working parts of the hearing aid and a speaker/dome component. The case sits behind the pinna, which is the scientific name for the part of the ear that you see on the side of your head. In the case of the RIC, the case has a small speaker wire attached which travels down the front of the pinna and into the ear canal. The speaker itself sits in the ear canal and is responsible for producing sound. The dome on the end of the speaker is a small silicone cap that keeps the ear canal from being injured with the insertion of the speaker, while allowing for a comfortable grip on the ear canal itself, which prevents the speaker and its attached wiring from slipping out of the ear canal.

RICs can be used for mild to profound hearing loss. They are available in all the technology levels, making the RIC hearing aid a popular choice. One of the other benefits of this hearing aid is that it has a very effective moisture protection system, making it less likely to have corrosion over time. As the majority of the electrical components are located outside of the ear canal, the chance for earwax damaging the components is reduced as well. Both of these factors can decrease the likelihood of needing a repair and increases the life expectancy of the hearing aid greatly.

The Receiver In The Ear hearing aid is a great choice for just about anyone. Its smaller behind the ear components, the power availability and the fact that it is less likely to require repairs make the RIC a natural choice. If you’d like to know more about the Receiver In The Canal hearing aid, please give us a call. We’ll set up a no-obligation consultation so that you can determine if this type of hearing aid is right for you. Call Today! We’d be glad to help!

iPODs – Are They Dangerous Or Not?

July 6, 2015

“Turn down the music, it’s too loud! I can hear it all the way across the room! You’ll ruin your ears if you keep that up!” Sound familiar? This scenario is certainly a common theme in your house if you have children between the ages of 10 and 21 and they happen to have some instrument of parental torture in their arsenal such as an iPod or MP3 player. But is it true? Can listening to loud music through headphones damage your hearing?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of different factors. Interestingly iPODs and other MP3 players are safer than what parents grew up with using the portable Walkman CD players of the past. That’s because those sorts of devices actually put out louder more hazardous levels of music that went uncontrolled by any sort of limiter in the gadget itself. Because newer devices actually allow the user to put a limit on how loud sound can be through the headphones, today’s music players can be much more safe.

Can Be…

Damage risk to ears is based primarily upon two factors: how loud the music is and how long the person plays the music. Today’s players can cause damage to ears if played loud enough for long enough. If the limiter is raised too high or is not set at all, damage can occur fairly readily.

The type of earphone used can make a difference in how loud the sound is delivered to the ear as well. When surrounding background noise is loud, like in a work out gym or riding the bus or train, people typically turn up the volume of their music player to compensate. Most types of completely over the ear headphones can block out some outside noise and therefore the volume does not need to be increased as much as with other headphones. The lower the volume, the less likelihood for damage.

A good rule of thumb for safe iPod or MP3 player use is keep the volume below 80% and to listen for less than 90 minutes per day. Using the device at 60% of total volume is safe to use all day every day. Parents should check the user manual of the device to find out how the limiter is set on each individual device. You know they’re still going to wear the headphones at a volume too loud for your liking but you’ll know that they can “Pump Up the Volume” and still keep their ears in good shape.

Alleviate Your Concerns About Hearing Aids

June 29, 2015

Hearing loss has many repercussions. Failing to treat a hearing loss can lead to depression, frustration, insecurity, irritability, anxiety, cognitive impairment and social isolation. It can even be life-threatening if you can’t hear signs of possible danger, such as a stranger approaching you on the street. Despite these facts, only 20% of individuals who have hearing loss that could benefit from hearing aids choose to do so.

People choose not to wear hearing aids for many reasons. For some, they are not ready to accept the fact that their communication difficulties are due to their hearing loss. They prefer to accuse others of not speaking as clearly as they used to: “I can hear just fine. She just mumbles.” For others, cosmetics, or how a hearing aid looks in the ear takes precedence. The good news is that technology has made it possible for hearing aids to be virtually invisible. Many hearing aids manufactured today are so small that they can go almost undetected to the naked eye. No longer are they the “big shrimp” behind the ear like your grandfather used to wear. There are even hearing aids that are placed deep into the ear canal by your audiologist and stay there for up to four months! (check out Lyrichearing.com)

Another reason someone might choose to not wear hearing aids is because of the fact that almost everyone knows of someone who bought hearing aids and didn’t like them. This could be due to any numbers of reasons. Perhaps they received a poor quality instrument, they didn’t get it fit properly or didn’t receive enough counseling to use the hearing aids properly. Keep in mind that in most states, hearing aid purchasers have 30-days to evaluate the product in their own listening environments. If you find that the hearing aids are not providing the benefit you are looking for, the hearing aids can be returned with only a nominal fee. On a case-by-case basis, many audiologists are willing to extend the evaluation period longer if necessary. The goal of any good audiologist who has your best interests in mind is to find the right instrument that meets your hearing needs, however long that takes.

Still others may be intimidated by complicated terminology that seems to accompany hearing aids like, “digital signal processing”, “directional/dual microphones”, or “compression circuitry”. In many ways, the more advanced the hearing aids are, the less the person wearing them has to do. For example, digital hearing aids have automatic volume controls to adjust accordingly for soft, medium, and loud sounds. They can also change the workings of the hearing aid when it gets noisy, without you having to tell it to do so. Hands-free operation with digital processing actually makes using a hearing aid much easier!

The most common concern for anyone considering purchasing hearing aids is the cost. Hearing aids can indeed be expensive but the improvement in your quality of life can be well worth the investment. Keep in mind that there is no tax on hearing aids and they will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can include repairs and replacement for loss and damage (a deductible may apply). Additionally, many audiologists include all office visits for fine-tuning and servicing the hearing aids for the life of the hearing aids in the total cost. If you are concerned about cost, talk to your audiologist. There are hearing aids to fit any budget. Be sure to ask about payment plans, as well. You might be surprised at how easily the cost of hearing aids can be accommodated.

The size of hearing aids, how they look, confusion about technology and cost are all valid concerns when you are considering the possibility of purchasing hearing aids. The best thing to do is to get your questions answered by a professional. Working alongside someone who has your best interests in mind can put your concerns to rest. Call our office today! We’ll be glad to help.

Accumulation of Birthdays Causes Hearing Loss

June 22, 2015

Do you find yourself asking people to speak up or to repeat themselves? Have others complained that you turn the TV or radio up too loud? Do you experience ringing, buzzing, or other noises in your ears or head? Have you had any significant noise exposure at work, during recreation or in military service? Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in a noisy restaurant or crowded room? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, chances are that you are among the more than 32 million Americans who have a hearing loss. If you answered, “yes” to more than one of these questions, it strongly suggests that a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist is needed.

An audiologist is a hearing care professional who identifies and manages hearing disorders. For some, the hearing loss requires medical treatment. In this case, audiologists work alongside physicians to determine the necessary medical intervention. If the hearing loss is not medically treatable, the next best step is to consider hearing aids. The most common type of hearing loss that cannot be treated by a medical doctor is age-related hearing loss.

The accumulation of birthdays can cause all sorts of issues: hair loss, a thickening around the middle and age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), which begins around age thirty. The most common type of hearing loss as we age is called sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which affects around 40% of those 65 years of age and older with the prevalence increasing with each decade. A sensorineural hearing loss, often called “nerve deafness”, is a type of hearing loss that cannot be treated medically or surgically. Therefore, audiologists recommend rehabilitation primarily in the form of hearing aids in order to “treat” such a loss.

Hearing aids are just that; they are a device to aid in hearing. They will not restore hearing back to how it was when you were twenty. But, most people with a hearing loss benefit significantly from hearing aids that are properly selected and fitted for their individual needs. Working alongside an audiologist, you will find that a hearing aid brings back some of the enjoyment of life. No longer will you be left out of the conversation at the dinner table. You might even start to enjoy the activities you’ve been avoiding because you know you can’t hear. Isn’t it time to take that first step? Don’t let hearing loss keep you from the life you enjoy. Call our office today and make an appointment for a hearing evaluation today. You’re worth it!

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

June 15, 2015

Millions of Americans experience hearing loss. For most, the appropriate treatment is hearing aids. Research suggests that the longer and more severe the untreated hearing loss exists, the more severe the consequences.

So why don’t more people get hearing aids?

Mad Couple

For some, it may be for financial reasons. For others, it may be difficult to accept the fact that it’s time for some assistance. Others may not even realize that they have a hearing problem.

A hearing evaluation is the best way to understand the type and severity of any hearing loss. To determine if a hearing evaluation is needed, answer these following questions:

• Has anyone ever suggested that you have your hearing checked?
• Do you have difficulty understanding speech in multi-talker or environments with background noise?
• Do you have trouble understanding over the phone?
• Is the television too loud for others?
• Does it seem like everyone mumbles?
• Are you able to localize the direction of a sound?
• Do you need to ask people to speak louder or to repeat themselves?
• Are women’s’ and children’s voices difficult to hear?
• Do you avoid some situations because communication is difficult?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to see your hearing healthcare professional for a hearing evaluation.

Because many hearing losses worsen gradually over time, it may be years before its presence is noticed. Unfortunately, there are many consequences of leaving a hearing loss untreated. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging revealed something that hearing healthcare professionals have suspected for some time now – that hearing loss is linked to dementia in older adults. Researchers found that mild hearing loss doubled a person’s risk of dementia and that those with a severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those who had hearing in the normal range.

Untreated hearing loss can also negatively affect a persons quality of life, which is made worse by the severity of the loss. Research shows that those suffering from even moderately severe hearing loss can suffer from:

• Difficulty on the job and decreased earnings
• Loneliness, Depression, Seclusion
• Less social activity
• Insecurity
• Fear, Worry, Anger, Frustration
• Interference in short-term memory

If you suspect a hearing loss, don’t delay. Have your hearing tested soon. The sooner the better! Hearing aid technology is truly amazing these days. Not only are instruments much more cosmetically appealing than a generation ago, some are virtually invisible!