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Hearing Aids

7 Must-Have Hearing Aid Accessories

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Hearing Loss

Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

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7 Must-Have Hearing Aid Accessories

Did you know that every May we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month? The theme for 2019 is ‘Communication Across the Lifespan’. If you have a hearing loss and wear a hearing aid, you are likely well aware of how much of a life-changing investment it can be. To make the most out of your hearing aids, we’ve put together 7 must-have hearing aid accessories.

Batteries

Batteries are the lifeline of your hearing aid. Although it may seem like a fairly obvious accessory, running out of battery power in your hearing aid has a direct impact on your ability to communicate.

Devices can be rechargeable. at Clear Wave Hearing Center we are pleased to offer the ‘Zpower’ rechargeable system for new and current ‘Opticon Opn’ ‘miniRITE’ hearing aid users. (All rechargeable devices require their own charger.)

If your device uses disposable batteries, then we strongly suggest that you keep spare batteries with you at all times. Batteries can last up to 10 days, but do remember to switch off your device when it’s not in use.

Cleaning Kit

Your hearing aid is a piece of modern technology that needs thorough care and maintenance. When you purchase new hearing aids, our team at Clear Wave Hearing Center will teach you the proper cleaning techniques. (We are also on hand for repairs if they’re ever needed!) Regular cleaning keeps your device working effectively. A cleaning kit should include all the items you require including a storage case.

Dehumidifier

If you are active, frequently go from hot to cold environments or you live in a humid area, we recommend investing in a hearing aid dehumidifier. Store your device overnight in one of these to remove condensation and preserve your hearing aids.

Bluetooth Compatible Technology

If you have a Bluetooth compatible device, there are many innovative products that could benefit you. For example, if you find background noise challenging, a wireless microphone in a central position will transmit conversation directly to your hearing aid, enabling you to more fully engage. A phone clip can do a similar thing, streaming calls, music and other audio straight to your hearing aid from a smartphone.

Caption Phone

A qualified hearing specialist can provide you with proof of your hearing loss and the need for a hearing aid compatible phone. That could entitle you to a caption telephone. This useful accessory shows a text of the conversation coming through the telephone for you to read along.

Note: This type of accessory may need a broadband internet connection.

Remote Control

A hearing aid remote control enables you to easily change the settings and volume of your device without removing it. You can also switch between audio sources and check your remaining battery level.

Television Streaming

It can be frustrating when watching television with others if you need the volume at a different level. A television streaming device sends the audio directly to your hearing aid at your desired volume, meaning you can all enjoy your favorite shows together!

If you’d like more information on accessories for your hearing aids, come in and speak with the hearing care professionals at Clear Wave Hearing Center. Call us on 507-208-7002, or click here to request an appointment online.

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International Noise Awareness Day: Are Restaurants Getting Too Loud?

The 24th April is the 24th annual International Noise Awareness Day. The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) founded this event to encourage us all to do something about bothersome noise in our daily lives.

We can encounter dangerous levels of noise in many parts of day to day life, from commuter traffic to the rumbling of the subway. Going out to eat, however, is often one place where we don’t think about the noise volume. To celebrate this year’s International Noise Awareness Day we’re asking: Are restaurants getting too loud?

Noise

Loud noise can affect our health in many ways. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a major concern, but recent studies have also been investigating links to depression, cognitive decline, heart disease and much more.

In brief, the louder the noise, the shorter period of time it’s safe to be exposed to it. Guidelines from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health state a maximum of 8 hours at 85 dB. They also warn that hearing can be damaged by exposure to 110 dB after only 1 minute and 29 seconds.

Restaurants

Tom Sietsema, a Washington Post Magazine food critic, began recording the noise volumes in restaurants alongside his impressions of the food and menu. By using a decibel meter, he ranked restaurants from those that allow comfortable conversation, to those that were extremely loud.

In his Spring Dining Guide, Sietsema used a decibel meter to rank the noise volumes alongside the food in the restaurants. Alarmingly, in the 30 restaurants reviewed, only 5 measured as 70 decibels or below, which Sietsema noted as volumes that allowed for comfortable conversation. 18 measured between 71 – 80 decibels, requiring “raised voices”. 7 measured over 80 decibels, which Sietsema marked as “extremely loud”.

So why is this happening?

The way modern restaurants are designed as minimalist spaces offer little to no sound absorption. The walls are exposed brick, the tables are undressed, materials used can be cold and hard such as marble or metals. The noisy kitchens are often openview, flat screen televisions adorn the walls and high-spec music systems are seamlessly fitted into the ceilings. Let’s not forget that more the restaurant is incentivized to fill as many tables and chairs as possible. Combined, these can all lead to one noisy environment!

What Can You Do?

If you already have a hearing loss, loud restaurant environments can further complicate conversation. But there are things that you can do to make the most of your dining experience.

Sound print is a new app that is building a database of quiet restaurants. Using this database you can look for a restaurant that fits your needs. You can also add in your own recommendations for quiet restaurants, and help others find appropriate places to dine.

To avoid the crowds, try to choose a quieter time or day of the week to dine. When you book, don’t be afraid to ask for a quiet table. You may consider a table situated away from the kitchen, or perhaps ask for a booth that may help reduce the background noise. Finally, set your hearing aid accordingly to manage the background noise.

Noise can permeate into most areas of our lives, but noise induced hearing loss is avoidable. We highly recommend regular hearing checks to screen for any changes. If you have any concerns or would like to arrange a hearing assessment, call the team at Clear Wave Hearing Center on 507-208-7002 or click here to book.

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Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

An estimated 17% of American adults have a hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only 1 in 4 of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. The reasons for not seeking professional help range from affordability, assuming hearing loss is a normal part of aging, being unaware of a loss of hearing, or perceived stigmas surrounding hearing aid use. By highlighting the risks of untreated hearing loss, we hope to encourage more people to get their hearing checked.

Relationships

Untreated hearing loss can put a strain on relationships at home, work and with friends. Frustrations can be felt on both sides and relationships may start to deteriorate without treatment intervention.

Mental Well-being

Do you avoid going out because you worry about the potential embarrassment of not hearing others well? Maybe you struggle to concentrate around background noise or you believe you would be judged if you talk about your hearing impairment. These conditions can lead to social isolation, anxiety and ultimately to depression.

If this wasn’t serious enough, there are other risks too…

  • A John Hopkins study has shown that untreated hearing loss may cause cognitive decline to speed up by as much as 30-40%, potentially due to the extra sound processing workload.
  • John Hopkins also discovered that even with a mild untreated hearing loss, you are twice as likely to develop dementia. This risk increases 5 fold with more severe hearing loss.

Accidents

Yet another John Hopkins study has highlighted that your risk of falls will triple if you have a mild hearing loss and the risks increase as your degree of hearing loss worsens. Further to this, Professor Neil Bhattacharyaat of Harvard Medical School attributes our hearing as having “a tremendous protective role.” He explains that “if you can’t hear well, you lose that crucial warning system that would signal to you that a car or truck is driving up behind you while you’re biking, for example.”

Health Conditions

Your hearing loss could be an indicator of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. For example, Harvard University found that hearing loss is 54% more likely if you have heart disease, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) state that hearing loss is twice as common in those with diabetes.

Many of the above mentioned studies go on to show that treating hearing loss with hearing aids helps to mitigate the risks. If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, please don’t delay seeking treatment. Call Clear Wave Hearing Center on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your hearing check today.

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Tips to Adjust to Your New Hearing Aids

Hearing aids and other assisted hearing devices are great tools for individuals who are suffering from a variety of hearing loss. The adjustment period that comes after being fitted for your specialized hearing aid can be a tough time. Getting used to hearing aids is both a physical and emotional experience. We’ve put together some tips to make the adjustment easier.

It’s important to note that hearing aids are not meant to fix your hearing 100% – they are a great resource and tool to get you as close to you optimal hearing as possible. Because there are so many factors to consider when starting to wear your new hearing device, it’s good to remember that with some adjustments to your device and some routine, you’re hearing will accommodate and adapt to your new hearing aid in no time! A hearing aid’s job is to amplify sound to help you hear it, and understand it better. That being said, there are some things you can do to help better adapt to your new assisted device and get even better results.

Be patient – At first, it may be wise to only wear your hearing aid a few hours at a time. It’s going to take some getting used to, having a new device in your ear. The look and feeling of it may catch you off guard. It’s ok! The more you use it, the less you’ll notice this new change. If how it looks bothers you, consider changing your hairstyle or wearing a hat that can help conceal it.

Start out slow and quiet – When you first try out your new aid, it might be a good idea to do it in a quiet room, and keep things nice and quiet. Adjusting the volume too much can be problematic, so if you don’t have a lot of ambient noise or too many people talking, you can better focus on adjustments you may need to make to get the optimal assistance from your new hearing aid.

Practice active listening with friends and family – Having a hearing impairment likely means you’ve grown accustomed to having the T.V. up louder, or having your friends and family talk louder while you’re near. A great way to help your brain reconnect appropriate sound with voices and active conversation is by engaging your friends and family in group conversations. Make sure you’re attentive and looking at the speaker, then ask them to carry a conversation with others. This will help your brain identify familiar sounds and will also help you re-establish the connection between voices and people. Watch tv at a normal level and really focus on what you’re watching. Turning on the captions is a great way to make your brain really pay attention to the sounds it’s hearing.

Read aloud – When you sit down with a book in hand, simply read the words out loud as you go along. Again this will help your brain make the connection between words and sounds, and hearing your own voice helps gauge those new auditory connections your brain is having to remember.

Set reasonable goals – You’ve lived your life with a hearing impairment and that was enough of a struggle. Don’t be over ambitious and set frustrating goals that might hinder your progress. Keep a positive mindset, ask for assistance from friends and family and make sure you go to all your follow up appointments. The process can feel daunting but the very best positive results are 100% obtainable!

At Clear Wave Hearing Center, we have a variety of hearing aid devices available. Our team of professionals are not happy until you are pleased with your hearing, and this includes your hearing aid. If you’d like to come in, give us a call on (508) 208-7002 or click here to request an appointment.

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