Hearing Loss

Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

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Hearing Aids

Tips to Adjust to Your New Hearing Aids

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Do’s And Don’ts With Your Hearing Aid

Your hearing aid is an advanced piece of technology which can maximize your hearing experience. To help you make the most of your hearing device, we have compiled a list of tips, as well as do’s and don’ts. Read on, whether you’re a first time hearing aid user or a long-time wearer.

General Advice

  • Firstly, make sure your device has been fitted professionally. It was chosen to suit your hearing loss and lifestyle. Take the time to get to know it’s features, enabling the best hearing experience possible.
  • Gradually get used to different noise levels and situations. Some features help you focus by reducing distracting background noise.
  • If you suffer with tinnitus, check for features that help cancel it out.
  • Loud sounds will be jarring at first, and busy environments tiring. Be patient; your tolerance will improve.
  • If your voice sounds different to you, don’t worry, you will adjust to this!
  • Learn about apps, Bluetooth functions and find out where you can connect to hearing loops (usually theaters, cinemas and sporting centres).
  • If the skin of the ear feels irritated, check for any scratches in the ear canal and check your device for mold.
  • Gently clean and dry your aid and your ears. If irritation persists, contact your hearing center as you could have an allergy to one of the hearing aid materials.

When to wear and when not to

It is recommended to wear hearing aids most of the day. However, if this is your first pair you will need to build up the time you feel comfortable with them in. But remember, it can take a while to get used the sensation of hearing with them and also with how it fits.

There are times it is not recommended to wear your hearing aids…

  • Whilst you sleep – it is best to give your ears a rest.
  • Avoid wearing in humid environments, whilst near to water i.e swimming or showering and when playing sports.
  • When applying hairspray, sun lotion, perfume or cosmetics.

Hearing Aid Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t keep hearing aids or batteries in reach of dogs or children.
  • Don’t expect to hear everything perfectly, it would be overwhelming if nothing was filtered out.
  • Do a quick check when you put them; rub your hands together near each ear. Can you hear this on both sides?
  • Do keep spare batteries.
  • Do dab baby oil in the ear to help insert your device easier.
  • Do make the effort to listen to people, not just hear. Watch body language, their mouth and hand movements too.
  • Do try these exercises to adjust to wearing hearing aids:
    • With eyes closed, work out where something is by its sound only.
    • Eyes closed, see if you can tell the difference between sounds of speech.
    • Listen to an audio-book and read along at the same time.
    • Watch television with subtitles.

Hearing Aid Maintenance

  • Clean away earwax, grease and moisture using a soft cloth, or cleaning tools.
  • Store switched off and in a cool dry place with battery compartment open.
  • Use a damp (NOT WET) cloth to clean receiver tube and dome.
  • If any parts look discolored or feel brittle contact your hearing center.

Above all, do persevere with your hearing aids. It takes time to get used to them, but amongst other health benefits they can help keep your brain sharp for longer. If you would like further advice on any of the points raised, please do get in touch. Request an appointment today, or call us on (507) 208-7002.

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Did You Know How Easy it is to Damage Your Hearing with Headphones?

We accept the fact that loud noise exposure damages hearing. Stats show there are more people than ever with Noise Induced Hearing Loss and sufferers are getting younger. 20% of our teens today have a noticeable hearing loss, which is 30% more than in the 1980’s.

The World Health Organization, among others, concludes that although it cannot be directly proven, headphone use could be a culprit. So heeding the warnings about loud noise, let’s start by looking at why headphones pose a threat to your hearing health.

How does loud noise damage hearing?

The hair cells of the inner ear need to send signals to the brain when we hear a sound. But, loud noise damages these hair cells by disrupting the fluid of the inner ear. This then causes a reduction in the threshold of sounds that can be heard. When this keeps happening, more and more hearing loss occurs.

Why blame headphones?

Our workplaces have to protect us from loud noise exposure. We naturally limit time in loud environments – such as speeding past roadworks, or rushing a meal in a noisy restaurant, or sitting away from a crying child etc.

When it comes to music and computer games, we feed it directly into our ear canal. We even turn it up to drown out the rest of the world, and some of us frequently do this for hours. It’s the direct feed of loud noise into our ears for long periods, frequently repeated that poses the threat to hearing.

The louder the sound, the less time you should be exposed for. A daily limit guideline is…

  • 95 dB, less than 4 hours.
  • 100 dB, less than 2 hours.
  • 105 dB, less than 1 hour.
  • 110 dB, less than 30 minutes.
  • 115 dB, less than 15 minutes.
  • 120-plus dB, damage occurs almost immediately and causes pain.

For comparison, a soft whisper is usually measured at 30dB.

How to tell the volume is too loud

  • You can’t hear or understand someone 3 feet away from you.
  • You have to raise your voice to be heard.
  • When you remove headphones, speech around you sounds muffled or dull.
  • You have ringing or pain in your ears.

I want to use headphones – how do i limit the damage?

  • Choose noise cancelling headphones.
  • Do not use earbuds – they have no sound buffer.
  • Keep the volume at around 60% of the maximum.
  • Limit your time and take a ten minute break for every hour during the day to let your ears recover.
  • Use both earphones.
  • If you use a hearing aid – look for bluetooth headphones to regulate the volume.

If you’re concerned you may have impacted your hearing from prolonged headphone use, get in touch to arrange a hearing evaluation. Any damage may not be permanent and our advice may just be music to your ears. Request an appointment today, or call us on (507) 208-7002.

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Tips for Traveling with Hearing Aids / Hearing Loss

Travel has become an important part of our everyday lives. From leisure to business travel, it can be an invigorating and enjoyable experience, but can also be stressful. For the over 10 million Americans who wear hearing aids, travel can be even more difficult. We’re here to help with these tips for traveling with hearing aids.

Remember the Essentials

The last thing you want to happen when you’re traveling is for you to forget something important to keep your hearing aids in working order. Have you packed the following essentials?

  1. Extra Batteries – It may be more difficult than you anticipate to find new hearing aid batteries when you’re away from home. Pack an extra pair, to ensure that you have your needs covered.
  2. Cleaning Kit – It’s easy to fall out of a routine when you’re away, but it’s important to remember to maintain your daily cleaning of your hearing aids as much as possible. This will also provide the added bonus of helping to protect them against any additional wear and tear.
  3. Charging station and charger cable – It’s one of the most important tools to pack if you use rechargeable hearing aids, but also one of the easiest to forget! Make sure you pack your necessary charging kit.
  4. Dryer or dehumidifier – Traveling somewhere hot and humid? Make sure you bring your dryer or dehumidifier along. Using it every night will help dry out your hearing aids and keep them in working order.
  5. Bluetooth accessories – Don’t forget your bluetooth accessories, particularly if these are something you use regularly. Often these accessories can actually make travel easier. A remote mic, for example, can make communication with airline employees much easier if you’re in a crowded environment like an airport.

Flying with Hearing Aids

If your travel plans involve air travel, remember the following:

  1. Keep important hearing aid supplies in your carry-on bag – Unexpected delays are unfortunately part and parcel of air travel. You do not want an unanticipated delay to cause difficulty with your hearing aids, but by keeping supplies in your carry-on you needn’t worry or wait until you finally access your checked luggage. Make sure you include extra batteries, accessories and a cleaning kit in your bag.
  2. Wear your hearing aids through security – Before going through the scanner, let the security agent know that you are wearing hearing aids. Although they are unlikely to set off the metal detectors, it’s always best to give them a head’s up! Wearing your hearing aids through security will ensure you can hear any instructions from airport staff.
  3. Wear your hearing aids during the flight – Don’t be tempted to take your hearing aids out in the air. Wearing your aids will ensure that you will hear important announcements or information during your flight. Alert flight staff that you are wearing hearing aids.  

Remember, travel should be an enjoyable experience! Follow the tips above to maximize your enjoyment and reduce stress. If you want to learn more about traveling with hearing aids, we’d be happy to speak with you. Call us on (507) 208-7002 or click here to Request an Appointment today.

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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.

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