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6 Tips For Dealing with Tinnitus

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How to Recognize Hearing Loss Symptoms

Hearing loss isn’t one-size-fits-all. It affects about 15% of American adults in some capacity. There different types of hearing loss which can be caused by many things, but the overall symptoms can often be similar. Here some of the most common hearing loss symptoms and what you can do to alleviate them.

Changes in Everyday Habits

If you find yourself struggling to understand speech, you might be experiencing hearing loss. Particularly in environments chock full of ambient noise, it is common for people experiencing hearing loss to need to ask others to repeat themselves. Difficulty hearing consonants or having to read lips are other signals that you may want to get your hearing tested.

Maybe you have observed (or been told of) changes to your daily routine. Needing to increase the volume levels on a TV, radio, or telephone are critical indicators of hearing changes. Missing phone calls or doorbells can also be a sign to look out for.

Changes in Social Behavior

Avoiding social situations can be another indicator of hearing loss. You might be trying to avoid any frustration or embarrassment from struggling to hear in loud environments (like restaurants or bars). Perhaps the hum of a bustling social scene triggers discomfort or proves exhausting. While withdrawing may feel more comfortable at first, it can lead to isolation and depression over time.

Changes in Your Health

Certain medications and illnesses can affect hearing. Certain drugs like chemotherapy medications, antimalarial drugs, and pain relievers can cause anything from temporary tinnitus to permanent hearing loss. Diseases that cause a high fever, like meningitis, can put you more at risk for damage to the cochlea. If you observe any changes in your health that could correlate with changes to your hearing, consult your doctor.

Noticing any of the hearing loss symptoms above can help to identify that changes to your hearing are occurring. Keeping a journal or using an app can help in keeping track of health symptoms and observations. Rather than accepting a muted world around you, consider making an appointment to check your hearing health. Contact us for more information.

 

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Hearing Aid Technology: How to Choose the Right Hearing Aid for You

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, you’re not alone. It is estimated that almost 38 million Americans have hearing loss. For many, hearing aids help to correct hearing loss and improve overall quality of life.

With the many choices available, buying the right hearing aid for you can be a challenge. Both your lifestyle and the noise environments you are regularly in will play a role in the best hearing aid for you. Consider the following scenarios to help narrow down your choices.

What is your lifestyle like?

Lifestyle is one of the biggest factors to take into consideration when you’re choosing a hearing aid. Are you frequently in noisy environments? Do you often go to bars or restaurants. Perhaps you’re an avid sports enthusiast, or you watch a lot of TV. Considering your day to day lifestyle is important when selecting the solution that’s right for you.

How comfortable are you with new technology?

There’s no denying that the hearing aid technology of today is very different to what it was 10 years ago! Depending on your level of comfort with technology can help narrow down the listening aid devices you should be looking at. Do you want to consider Bluetooth compatibility? How about hearing aids that can link to a smartphone app?

Have you previously worn hearing aids?

If you’ve previously used hearing aids, what is it that you did, or did not, like about the model you had? Where there features that you loved, and why? Was there anything that you’d change?

Speaking to a hearing care professional is an important step in choosing the hearing aid that’s right for you. By having the answers to the above questions ready in advance of your appointment, you can work with your hearing care professional to find the style that is best suited to your budget, lifestyle and hearing loss. Contact us today to schedule your appointment now.

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6 Tips For Dealing with Tinnitus

6 Tips for Dealing with Tinnitus

It isn’t really known why tinnitus happens, but it affects one in every five people. It can be annoying and feel concerning at times, but these six tips can help you to deal with tinnitus.

But First, What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself. It’s more of a symptom of an underlying issue like an injury, circulatory system disorder, or ageing. It is often described as a buzzing, ringing or clicking type of sound that can occur in one or both ears. It may be present all the time or come and go, and it might sound like either a high or low pitch.
Though sufferers can report that their tinnitus manifests with a number of sounds, there are two main types:
Subjective tinnitus is something only you can hear and is usually caused by problems with the ear (middle, outer, and inner ear) or auditory nerve.

Objective tinnitus is something that your doctor can also hear during an examination. Much rarer, this type of tinnitus may be due to a blood vessel problem, middle ear bone conditions, or muscle contractions.

What Causes Tinnitus?

In short – many things. Tinnitus may be caused by inner ear cell damage which affects how your ears take in noise and translate it to the brain. Age-related hearing loss can also cause tinnitus, exposure to loud noises, earwax blockage, or even changes to the ear bone. In some cases, certain medications can also cause or worsen tinnitus, including Aspirin, certain antidepressants, cancer medications, and antibiotics.

Tip 1: Protect Your Ears at Work
Prolonged exposure to loud or noisy environments can cause inner ear cell damage. Construction workers, factory workers, musicians, and soldiers are examples of professions that may be prone to tinnitus. Wear hearing protection and take regular breaks from loud environments to try and protect your hearing.

Tip 2: Quit Smoking
Smokers have a higher risk of developing tinnitus. Consider protecting your hearing a bonus to your improving your overall health!

Tip 3: Mind Your Heart Health
High blood pressure or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) can increase the likelihood of tinnitus as these conditions affect your blood flow. Regular exercise and healthy eating not only manage your heart health but also can prevent tinnitus caused by blood vessel disorders.

Tip 4: Turn Down the Volume
If you’re a music lover who cranks the tunes, you might want to consider turning down the volume. Prolonged exposure to loud music without hearing protection or through earbuds can cause tinnitus as well as hearing loss.

Tip 5: Get in the Zen Zone
While it can be stressful to experience tinnitus, consciously trying to reduce stress levels can help you to deal with it. Consider mindfulness or other stress busters to help you feel more balanced and steady.

Tip 6: Check Your Medications
As mentioned above, certain medications can make you more prone to tinnitus. If you’ve started a new medication or notice a change in your hearing, be sure to speak to your healthcare professional.

In addition to these tips, consulting with a professional can help you prevent hearing loss or minimize discomfort. Contact us to request an appointment, or call us on (507) 208-7002 today!

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6 Tips To Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can’t always be prevented – sometimes it’s just part of getting older. But there are ways that you can protect your hearing to help reduce the risk of hearing loss.

1. Take precautions at work

Do you work in a noisy environment, such as a factory? If so, you may be putting your hearing at risk. In such environments, your employer should have a hearing protection program in place. But you can offer yourself additional precautionary measures by wearing earplugs, earmuffs or noise-cancelling headphones.

2. Limit your exposure to loud environments

Concerts, sports arenas, bars and live music events will all expose you to a louder than normal environment. While these are great fun, they can also potentially damage your hearing. To mitigate the risk, try the following:

  • Consider earplugs
  • Keep your distance from the sources of loud noises (such as loudspeakers)
  • Take a ‘quiet break’ every 15 minutes

3. Opt for headphones, not earbuds

Headphones often offer better sound quality than earbuds. In addition to improved sound, headphones are often far more efficient at blocking outside noises, meaning you are able to enjoy your music at a lower volume.

4. Practice the “60/60” rule

When listening to music, practicing the “60/60” rule can be an easy way to help protect your hearing. Simply listen to your music at 60% of the maximum volume for no longer than 60 minutes at a time. After this, take a break! A short 5 or 10 minute break can do wonders to help protect your hearing.

5. A healthy lifestyle will lead to healthier ears

Exercise, good food and proper nutrients will all help lead to a healthier lifestyle. With a balanced combination of all three, you can help protect your ears.

6. If you have hearing loss, get a hearing aid

If you struggle with hearing loss, get a hearing aid, as opposed to a hearing amplifier. Hearing amplifiers are generally designed to help people hear when engaging in activities such as bird watching, as opposed to helping with hearing loss.

If you are at risk of hearing loss, for example you work in a loud environment, regular appointments with your hearing care provider can help to catch signs of hearing loss early. Contact us today to schedule in an appointment, and find out how we can help to protect your hearing.

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