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Hearing Loss

Hunting & Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech?

We often focus on how a hearing loss impacts our ability to hear what is said to us, or what is happening around us. Many are aware how common social isolation is in those who experience these difficulties. But what if your hearing loss is affecting your ability to speak with others?

Although affected speech is often seen in those who have had a hearing loss since childhood, it can also be an issue for adults with long term or severe hearing loss. This is especially noted when the hearing loss goes untreated.

Why Is Speech Affected?

As your hearing capability reduces, so do the frequencies at which you can hear sounds. When speaking and forming words, each verbal sound and letter is associated with a unique frequency range. When an individual with hearing loss loses the ability to hear the range, a couple of things happen. Initially, the letters, words and sounds that use or involve these frequencies become difficult to hear and harder to identify or understand.

If the hearing loss is left untreated, the brain begins to adjust to not being able to hear the sounds associated with these frequencies. This can impact how the brain interprets, and uses, speech. This relates to the close connection between the sounds that your ears hear, and how your brain subsequently interprets those same sounds.

So the letters and sounds you struggle to hear within words, you can begin to struggle to say.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Having both a hearing loss and a speech impairment can lead to withdrawal, depression, anxiety and problems concentrating. Luckily, there are a number of techniques that you can apply. The first step is to ensure you’re fitted for the appropriate hearing aids. Other things include:

  • Reducing background noise, eliminating any unnecessary distractions.
  • Using gestures, visual cues and speak clearly and deliberately. Communicate in the easiest way for you, i.e. pointing, writing, sign language etc.
  • Seek out support groups.
  • Utilize assistive technology.

It can be difficult to accept that a hearing loss is having an impact on your day to day life. If you’re concerned that your hearing may be impacting your speech, our hearing care experts can help. Early treatment and detection is the best way to reduce the impact of hearing loss on your life. Our team is friendly and patient-focused; call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

Posted by Admin

8 Reasons to be Thankful For Hearing Aids

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for. Hearing aids may not be the first thing that spring to your mind. It’s easy to take them for granted, or maybe even to harbor some resentment toward them. But we would like to take this opportunity to list 8 reasons to be thankful for these fantastic, life enhancing devices.

Reasons to be Thankful

  1. Having the option. Although hearing aids can be expensive, we cannot forget how lucky we are to have them as an option. In the past, and even today in certain parts of the world, many individuals do not have the option.
  2. Having a choice. Hearing technology offers tailored solutions for treating hearing loss conditions that suit all lifestyles. Various styles, sizes and colors of hearing aids are available with several different features, accessories and apps. Add to this other products such as amplification devices, cochlear implants etc.
  3. The stigma is changing. The stigma of hearing loss is fast changing with more individuals working, socialising and participating in activities more confidently. Hearing technology has become less obvious and bulky, and has hugely advanced.
  4. Directional microphones. Hearing aids have built-in directional microphones, which help you determine where a sound is coming from and if it is background noise or speech. This helps you know what to focus on.
  5. Health benefits. Studies have shown that using a hearing aid to treat hearing loss has many additional health benefits such as improving quality of life, reducing the chances of depression, social isolation and Dementia.
  6. Improved communication. Hearing Aids can greatly improve communication by giving back the sounds you hadn’t realised were lost. Missing high frequency sounds like the consonants ‘s’ ‘h’ and ‘f’ ‘k’ or ‘t’ or the sounds ‘ch’ or ‘sh’ ‘th’ makes some words difficult to understand.
  7. Sounds of the world. Some simple everyday pleasures return to you again. Bird song, bees buzzing, or the wind in the trees to name a few.
  8. Reminder of their importance. Every time you remove your hearing aids, clean them and reinsert them – you have the opportunity to acknowledge how much they do for you. Things instantly sound more sharp and loud. This helps demonstrate how easily we adapt to a slow reduction of sound in our life.

Your Hearing Aid works hard every time you use it to enrich your hearing experience. Don’t take it for granted – regular maintenance and check ups are important. If either of these things are due, or you feel that something isn’t quite right with your hearing or your device. Please call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Talking to a Loved One About Hearing Loss

Has your loved one recently had a hearing loss diagnosis? Or perhaps you’re concerned that they are struggling to hear, but keep putting off speaking to them about it? Either way, it can be a difficult time for all involved. If you are unsure how to address the issue without causing any upset, we have compiled some tips that may help.

Choose a Time and Place

As this is a sensitive issue, the conversation is best planned ahead of time and held in a private, relaxing and quiet place. If you can, avoid sitting with bright light behind you as this makes lip reading more difficult.

Allow plenty of time to talk and get into an understanding frame of mind. Consider how you may feel if the tables were turned. Ensure that you are approaching the conversation from a place of caring, this will help the other party avoid a defensive reaction.

Try to Be Positive and Supportive

Rather than saying “I think you need your hearing checked”, why not try “I noticed recently your TV was on very loud, I was wondering if you might be having trouble hearing?” Ask about any difficulties they may have noticed, perhaps they’ve been struggling with background noise? Actively listen, it may help them see the situation more clearly. Offer to help them find professional advice and solutions, and offer to attend any appointments with them.

Think about how you talk

Do not shout, or talk directly into their ear. Instead, speak clearly in a normal voice toward their face, so that they can see your lips. Make plenty of eye contact and offer encouragement. If they don’t understand you, try to rephrase what you said instead of repeating it. If they still aren’t clear, ask them to repeat back what they did hear and go from there.

Give Them Reasons to Face the Problem

Let them know that this is not just ‘their’ problem, they are very much vital to the group dynamic. Without making them feel guilty, mention that you worry that they are less able to enjoy things lately, such as going out for meals or playing with the younger family members. Remind them of the things they can enjoy to the fullest with improved hearing.

Not Just Hearing Aids

If your loved one is open to further discussion, you could inform them it’s not only about hearing aids; there are community support groups, yoga classes, nutrition advice, and more. Advise them how common hearing loss is, show them how hearing aids have advanced so much that they are barely visible anymore. If you know someone with first hand experience of hearing loss treatment you could offer to arrange a chat with them.

Patience

It may take time and a few conversations before your loved one accepts their hearing loss. In any conversation, only discuss as much as they seem willing to take on board at the time. They may feel like the hearing loss is a sign that their best days are passed, or they feel their symptoms aren’t serious enough. Your goal here is to repeatedly offer support, love and awareness of the help available which can enable a more full hearing world.

Rest assured, we understand how difficult it can be for your loved one to ask for professional help and to accept a hearing loss. Our trained team offer patient centered care, so you can count on us to offer a comfortable atmosphere and tailored results. Call us on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment today.

Posted by Admin

Tips for a Safe Halloween with Hearing Loss

Most of us love Halloween, and why not? We can dress up, go to Halloween parties, trick or treat, and enjoy scary movies. But if you have a hearing loss, Halloween can be a difficult day of the year. With the dark making tripping a greater hazard, and the colder nights bringing higher likelihood of cold or flu, it’s unsurprising. Fear not though! We’ve compiled a list of tips for a safe Halloween with hearing loss.

General Safety Tips

  • When out and about, stay within a group and in well lit areas.
  • Agree upon a meeting spot, in case anybody gets separated from your group.
  • Carry a flashlight. Not only will this help to illuminate your way, it can help with signing and lip reading. Just don’t forget to check it’s working before leaving your house!
  • Consider wearing high viz or reflective tape. You may even want to consider a neon badge that informs others that you’re deaf/hard of hearing.
  • If you’re planning on dressing up, choose a costume that won’t restrict your vision or hearing. Avoid costumes that may cause you to trip. If you are going to be wearing a mask, opt for one that is removable, making it easier to both speak and hear.
  • Plan your route in advance, only approach homes that are well lit and be vigilant for hazards on your way through yards.

Hearing Loss Safety Tips

So we’ve covered the general safety tips, but what about specific hearing loss safety tips? Here are our top 5:

  • Low temperatures can cause hearing aid batteries to drain faster. Bringing a spare pair will ensure you don’t have to worry about this.
  • Keep your ears warm and dry. This will help to reduce your risk of an ear infection by ensuring adequate blood circulation to your ears.
  • If you’re planning on throwing or attending a party that will have loud music or fireworks, bring ear protection. Noise from either could easily exceed safe levels and potentially damage your hearing.
  • Smoke can irritate your ears and make tinnitus worse. If you’re planning on checking out a bonfire, stay back to avoid the smoke.
  • Take regular breaks from loud environments. Concentrating on conversations can be more overwhelming than you realize. Not to mention, the environment is likely to be louder than you’re aware of. Allow your ears regular hearing detox breaks throughout the night.

Halloween should be fun for everyone involved, and we want you to have a safe and enjoyable night. But if you’re concerned that you may have put your hearing health at risk, call us on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment today.

Posted by Admin

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