Hearing Loss

How to Recognize Hearing Loss Symptoms

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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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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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What Kind of Specialist Should You See for Hearing Loss Problems?

What Type of Specialist Treats Hearing Loss?

If you’re concerned that you, or someone you know, is suffering from hearing loss, it’s important to get evaluated by a hearing loss specialist.

Choosing which type of hearing care professional to see will depend on what concerns you have about your hearing or your ears. Understanding what type of hearing care professional you should see can help save you time and money in an extra office visit.

When To See An ENT Doctor

ENT doctors (Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors), or otolaryngologists, are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, and throat problems. ENT doctors will often receive a few years of training in general surgery, enabling them to perform surgery on serious conditions that affect the ear, nose, and throat.

ENT doctors will generally handle hearing issues that relate to a medical condition, such as Meinere’s or an autoimmune disease.

You should visit an ENT if:

  • You have issues with pain in your ears
  • You believe a medical issue may be causing hearing loss
  • Your hearing loss is accompanied by additional symptoms, such as sinus pressure, headaches, etc.

When To See A Hearing Care Professional

A Hearing Care Professional can help diagnose and provide support for individuals suffering from hearing loss. They are experienced in providing hearing aids or other assistive listening devices.

Hearing care professionals will actively try to improve your quality of life by helping to improve your hearing through the use of hearing aids or other devices. If they believe that your hearing loss is medical, or could be corrected surgically, a hearing care professional would refer you to your medical doctor or an ENT.

You should visit a hearing care professional if:

  • You frequently ask people to repeat things
  • You struggle to hear in crowded situations like a restaurant
  • You watch the TV at a very high volume

If you’re concerned that you are suffering from hearing loss, contact us today to schedule in an appointment.

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Veterans and Hearing Loss

Returning home from duty, veterans face many challenges, especially those who have served in combat zones. Among them, is hearing loss – ranking among the most prevalent health issues for recently returning and former solders. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 933,000 veterans have received compensation for hearing loss and 1.3 million veterans are receiving disability benefits for tinnitus. Beyond hearing loss and tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) affects a high number of veterans who were exposed to blasts. APD impacts the brain’s ability to understand speech despite the sufferer being able to register sounds normally. While injuries to the ear or brain may cause physical damage, a communication breakdown with loved ones may be the greatest casualty of hearing loss.

Special risks for soldiers’ hearing

No matter where they train or deploy, soldiers face environmental factors that can be harmful to hearing. BioMed Central’s Military Medical Researchers looked at which environments were the loudest and biggest threat to noise-induced hearing loss. They found that the impact of noise on hearing in the military varies among the branches of service.

Yet almost every soldier, sailor, airman or marine will be exposed to very high levels of noise from:

  • Weapons – shotguns, rifles, pistols, grenades and anti-tank weapons
  • Armored vehicles
  • Engine rooms and carrier decks of navy vessels
  • Helicopters, fighter planes, transport aircraft and various jets
  • Jet propulsion fuel

For some, a single explosion with sounds exceeding 140 dB can cause irreparable damage instantly. This sort of acoustic harm to the ears results in permanent hearing loss.

For others, longstanding exposure to dangerous levels of noise can contribute to ear damage over time. Chronic exposure to high sound levels may lead to changes that soldiers don’t notice immediately.

Why veterans should address hearing loss

Many people associate hearing loss with the elderly. However people of all ages can lose their hearing – especially if they have had extraordinary exposure to noise. This is one instance when silence isn’t golden. Hearing well means communicating well. Think about it, if you can’t listen:

  • How can you engage with your loved ones completely?
  • Can you understand your colleagues or customers or participate fully in the workplace?
  • How can you really enjoy your favorite music, movies or television? Sure, closed captioning or subtitles may help but it’s not the same as hearing the intonation in voices.

Unlike the loss of sight, hearing impairment is usually more gradual. You may miss bits and pieces of sentences, but you think that your brain can fill in the missing information. Yet sometimes, the brain guesses wrong. You may believe you comprehended the information when you actually misunderstood it! This can lead to needless conflict and unpleasant rounds of “he said – she said.”

Stylish options for veterans

For hearing aids, design matters! If you have a hearing deficit, these devices may provide a vital service to your well-being just like eyeglasses aid your vision. As with glasses, you want hearing aids to fit well while looking great. Today’s models come in many colors and styles so we can be sure to match you with the right device for your individual needs.

Hearing loss is nothing be ashamed of and hide. But if you choose to, we offer many discrete hearing aids that are hardly recognizable to the naked eye. Whether you wish to wear a stylish mini-computer that sits subtly behind your ear or you hide your hearing aids in the ear canal, there are plenty of options.

Thank you for your service! Now, take time to focus on your needs now!

At Clear Wave Hearing Center we offer free hearing assessments* for veterans and non-vets alike. If you have concerns about your hearing or that of a loved one, we are happy to discuss your options with you. Make an appointment today to get started.

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