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Hearing Loss Isn’t Just For Seniors

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Hearing Loss Isn’t Just For Seniors

Many people seem to simply accept that hearing loss is “normal” as you age. Presbycusis is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss, which can be caused naturally as your auditory system ages. It is a gradual onset hearing loss, and can often go unnoticed for a while.

However, it’s not only the elderly who are at risk of hearing loss. Nobody should take their hearing health for granted. Statistics show that anybody can be impacted by hearing loss:

  • 15% of all American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.
  • Only 35% of people diagnosed with hearing loss are older than age 64.
  • 14.6% of baby boomers (ages 41-62), have a hearing problem.
  • 7.4% of Generation Xers (ages 29-43) have a hearing loss
  • At least 1.4 million children or 5 in every 1000 (18 or younger) have hearing problems.

Reducing the Risks of Hearing Loss

You can protect your hearing, if you’re aware of the risks and symptoms of hearing loss.

One of the more common causes of hearing loss in the younger generations, is prolonged exposure to loud noises – most commonly music enjoyed through headphones. But did you know:

  • The NIDCD suggests that at least 10 million adults in the U.S. under age 70 may have Noise induced hearing loss.
  • The WHO warned that 1.1 billion young adults are at risk for developing hearing loss, due to increased use of headphones and attending loud music festivals.
  • The CDC found that at least 12.5% of children aged 6 to 19 have suffered permanent damage to their hearing due to excessive noise exposure.

Day to day loud activities can have an impact on hearing loss. These can include machinery, a noisy workplace, playing in a band, motorcycling and more. Knowing the risks of these noisy environments, take measures to protect your hearing by:

  • Wearing ear defenders or ear plugs
  • Take regular breaks, or auditory detoxes. Even 15 minutes in a quiet environment can be enough!
  • Turn the volume down, or avoid prolonged listening to loud music
  • Purchase noise cancelling headphones. These can eliminate background noises and help you enjoy your music at lower volumes.

Preventative Protection

Adults 45 and over are recommended to have annual hearing screenings. Those younger than 45 are recommended to have bi-annual hearing screenings, to increase the chances of catching any changes to your hearing ability early. This also helps maximize the impact that treatment will have.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s only noise that can threaten your hearing. Lifestyle factors can also play a role. Smoking, excess weight and alcohol consumption can increase your chances of hearing loss by restricting blood flow to the ears. This can result in long term damage or contribute to cardiovascular disease, which increases chances of hearing damage.

A healthy combination of a diet full in natural nutrients and vitamins, alongside the use of apps that help to monitor the volume of your surroundings can go a long way in helping to prevent hearing loss. Want to learn more? Call us today on (507) 208-7002 or Request an Appointment now.

Posted by Admin

Can You Get Tinnitus Relief with Hearing Aids?

Hearing specialists will often prescribe hearing aids to a patient who has hearing loss with associated tinnitus. When it comes to helping relieve the symptoms of tinnitus, hearing aids may actually provide positive benefits,  particularly when used in conjunction with a hearing loss treatment plan.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common underlying factor of hearing loss, however even individuals with normal hearing can experience tinnitus. Loss of hearing is often an unnoticeable and gradual process, and many people are surprised when they are told that they have a hearing loss. It is not uncommon for a patient to presume that their tinnitus is causing difficulty hearing, rather than hearing loss.

Hearing Aids and Tinnitus

Although the direct cause of tinnitus is unclear, researchers agree that tinnitus is most commonly found in conjunction with hearing loss. The purpose of a hearing aid is to help alleviate hearing loss, and therefore can have a positive impact on the symptoms of tinnitus also.

Is there a positive effect on tinnitus by using hearing aids?

Some studies have looked at the effect of hearing aids on every day life for the tinnitus patient e.g. how a hearing aid may help reduce tinnitus and improve quality of life. Bilateral hearing aids (namely, an aid in each ear) have shown to provide more benefits than the use of a singular hearing aid.

With the improvements in hearing aid technology in recent years, particularly with the introduction of digital hearing aids, audiologists are able to more accurately tailor a hearing solution on an individual basis. This has seen an increase in the benefits that hearing aids can bring to sufferers of tinnitus.

If you are struggling with tinnitus and want to learn more about how a hearing aid might be the right solution for you, contact us today. Our hearing specialists will be glad to discuss your hearing aid options. Click here to request an appointment, or call us on (507) 208-7002 now.

Posted by Admin

Tips for Protecting Your Hearing On July 4th

July 4th is a celebration of independence, hallmarked by festivities, barbeques and fireworks. But it is also an occasion that tends to make people prone to over-indulgence.

The exposure to high quantities of alcohol and loud environments (such as loud firework displays) can temporarily impact hearing. These tips can help you enjoy the celebrations, while minimizing the risks to your hearing.

Fireworks

Fireworks and July 4th go hand-in-hand. The rumbling explosions and bursts of sparkling light elicit ‘oohs and aahs’ from most observers. And for most, the louder the better! Firework explosions can potentially reach between 150 and 175 decibels. However, the World Health Organization recommends the maximum safe decibel level for adults is 140 decibels, and for children only 120 decibels when watching fireworks. You can still enjoy the fireworks and keep your ears safe by:

  • Maintaining a safe distance from the display
  • Where possible, attend professional shows that are normally set up with safe hearing distances in mind
  • If you experience any ringing in your ears, move to a more quiet environment

Drinking alcohol

While binge drinking is typically associated more with more acute symptoms like hangovers, it has been found that prolonged alcohol consumption is linked with negative changes to the auditory complex of the brain.

Research from the University of Ulm in Germany found that high alcohol consumption can result in changes to a person’s hearing. Significant alcohol consumption can cause the brain to shrink though the exact quantities and duration of alcohol consumption are still to be investigated further. There was also a finding that people who suffer from alcoholism may suffer damage within the ears due to high levels of toxicity from alcohol in their bodies.

The adage stands true–everything in moderation. Particularly when it comes to protecting your body’s health and your hearing. To maximize comfort after the 4th of July, hearing protection measures could include limiting alcohol intake and guarding your ears against prolonged exposure or proximity to loud music. If you want to learn more about protecting your hearing, contact us today.

Posted by Admin

Can Stress and Hearing Loss Be Related?

Stress is a natural part of life. Between family, job, and social obligations, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. It can impact your health in very profound ways, including impacting your hearing. Being mindful of the degree and duration of stress is an important way to monitor your overall health.

Acute vs. Long-term Stress

During acute stress responses, your heart rate and breathing may increase as a result of your adrenaline flowing. After the threat triggering this “fight or flight” response is neutralized, the body typically returns to neutral to recover from the surge of adrenaline.

However, there are times when stress continues for an extended period, thereby causing the body to keep releasing adrenaline without much (or any) rest and recovery time. This type of long-term stress is harmful to your health and can affect your immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems.

Chronic Stress and Hearing Loss

Stress is often not an isolated condition. Its interrelationship with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking can have significant health consequences. These conditions impact and restrict your circulation, which in turn can affect your hearing.

The small sensory hairs of your inner ear need good blood circulation to survive and thrive in doing their job of interpreting sound. With poor circulation, these inner ear hairs can be damaged or die and result in hearing loss.

4 Tips for Managing Stress

More stress causes more health complications. Therefore, proactively managing it is a crucial way to protect yourself. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) publishes a stress index to help…

  1. Exercise regularly. Maintaining a regular flow of physical activity boosts cardiovascular health. Commit to even 15-20 minutes a day of getting your heart pumping and worry less about your heart health.
  2. Talk to someone. Finding a therapist or counselor to talk to during difficult periods can be a big help to reduce and process stress.
  3. Get a checkup. Visit your doctor, naturopath, or other healthcare professional to get a clearer picture of the impact stress is having on your body. They may be able to prescribe additional medications, supplements, or strategies to help your body recover.
  4. Get your hearing checked. If you’ve noticed a change in your hearing or have concerns about circulatory conditions, book an assessment with your hearing healthcare professional.

Concerned about the effects of stress on your hearing health? Talk to us today.

Posted by Admin

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