Going over the side effects of a medication when you first begin using it is a normal thing to do. Will it cause you to get a dry mouth or make you feel nauseous? There is a more serious possible side effect that you might not recognize which is hearing loss. Ototoxicity is the term medical professionals give to this condition. Broken down, ototoxic means ear poisoning.
It’s still not known how many drugs cause this problem, but there are at least 130 that are known to be ototoxic. Which ones should you watch out for and why?
Some Facts About Ototoxicity
How can a pill reap havoc on your ears after you swallow it? There are three different places these drugs can damage your hearing:
- The stria vascularis – Located in the cochlea, the stria vascularis generates endolymph, the fluid in the inner ear. Too much or too little endolymph has a considerable impact on both hearing and balance.
- The vestibule of the ear – This is the part of the ear that sits in the center of the labyrinth that comprises the cochlea. It helps manage balance. Vestibulotoxicity medications can cause you to get dizzy or feel like the room is spinning.
- The cochlea – That’s the seashell-shaped element of the inner ear that takes sound and converts it into an electrical message the brain can understand. Damage to the cochlea impacts the range of sound you can hear, usually starting with high frequencies then escalating to include lower ones.
Tinnitus is caused by some drugs while others cause hearing loss. If you hear phantom sounds, that might be tinnitus and it usually shows up as:
- A windy sound
When you quit the medication, the tinnitus generally stops. Some ototoxic drugs, however, can lead to permanent loss of hearing.
What is The Risk Level For Each Drug?
Permanent hearing loss can be caused by a list of drugs that will probably surprise you. Many of them you could have in your medicine cabinet right now, and chances are you take them before you go to bed or when you have a headache.
Over the counter pain relievers are at the top of the list of ototoxic medications:
Salicylates, better recognized as aspirin, can be added to this list. The hearing problems caused by these drugs are normally correctable when you quit taking them.
Antibiotics rank a close second for well known ototoxic drugs. Some antibiotics are ototoxic but many aren’t. You might have heard of some of these that aren’t:
The issue goes away after you stop taking the antibiotics just like with painkillers. The common list of other drugs include:
Diamox, Bumex, Lasix and Edecrin are diuretics that trigger tinnitus but there are bigger culprits in this category: Every time you drink your morning coffee, you are subjecting your body to something that could make your ears ring. Once the drug is out of your system it will pass and that’s the good news. Ironically, some drugs doctors prescribe to deal with tinnitus are also on the list of possible causes such as: The doctor will prescribe much less than the amount that will trigger tinnitus. The symptoms of tinnitus differ depending on your ear health and what medication you get. Slightly irritating to absolutely incapacitating is what you can generally be expecting. Look for: If you have any of these symptoms after using a medication even if it’s an over-the-counter herbal supplement, you should get in touch with your doctor. Does ototoxicity mean you shouldn’t take the medication? You always should take what your doctor prescribes. Remember that these symptoms are not permanent. Keep yourself informed by always asking your doctor about the possible side effects of a medication and don’t be reluctant to ask about ototoxicity. You should also make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to have a hearing test.
Ototoxicity Has Specific Symptoms
Diamox, Bumex, Lasix and Edecrin are diuretics that trigger tinnitus but there are bigger culprits in this category:
Every time you drink your morning coffee, you are subjecting your body to something that could make your ears ring. Once the drug is out of your system it will pass and that’s the good news. Ironically, some drugs doctors prescribe to deal with tinnitus are also on the list of possible causes such as:
The doctor will prescribe much less than the amount that will trigger tinnitus.
The symptoms of tinnitus differ depending on your ear health and what medication you get. Slightly irritating to absolutely incapacitating is what you can generally be expecting.
If you have any of these symptoms after using a medication even if it’s an over-the-counter herbal supplement, you should get in touch with your doctor.
Does ototoxicity mean you shouldn’t take the medication? You always should take what your doctor prescribes. Remember that these symptoms are not permanent. Keep yourself informed by always asking your doctor about the possible side effects of a medication and don’t be reluctant to ask about ototoxicity. You should also make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to have a hearing test.
Are you chatting less often on the phone because you don’t hear so well. Hearing loss, as time goes by, can cause you to feel isolated. Don’t break up with your phone. It is possible to stay in touch with friends and family.
Communication is The key
With any relationship, communication is the key and the same goes for your phone. What can be done to make things better is the important question.
- Do the voices sound too quiet? Maybe the volume needs to be turned up.
- Have you had an ear exam? Not all loss of hearing is permanent, so get a proper diagnosis. It may possibly be something as basic as too much earwax or an ear infection.
- Bluetooth or headphones could be options if you’ve already turned the volume up. It’s a comparatively inexpensive way to improve the sound quality on the phone, and that might be all you need.
If you’ve already looked at at the most obvious issues and have ruled them out, it will be time to think about more in depth solutions.
You Can Get an App For That
There are really quite a few possible apps. There are many apps you can download that work to get you, and your phone back on the same page, some of them are pretty cool.
What the other person says can be turned to text with some of these apps. These apps are far from perfect, but you should be able to work with them. Brands to look up include:
Not all voice to text apps are free, but the majority are affordably priced.
They Make a Phone For That
If you want to find a landline solution, you can find phones for your home that do the same thing as an app. They can amplify the voice on the other end, making it easier to hear. They also work to equalize the tone, so high pitched sounds that tend to get lost become clearer.
Another solution is a captioning phone. The captioning service involves a unique phone which has an LCD screen. Captioning works with an operator that either repeats the spoken words so speech recognition software can translate them into text or types them right into the system. The words are then displayed on the captioning phone’s screen. You will need to have the internet to use a captioning service.
a traditional phone system that is still around which works similarly to a captioning service is Text-to-Voice Teletype (TTY). You need to get a TTY device that sits near the phone to display the text, though.
The Best Option Are Hearing Aids
In the past, every time a hearing aid got near a phone, there would be ear piercing feedback, but new hearing aids don’t usually do that. The newer technology can work with a hearing aid compatible phone to improve the sound quality and get rid of interference like background noise. What’s more, they are wireless and work even when you’re not on the phone.
State of the art, high quality hearing aids can also have a more advanced program that allows them to be compatible with almost any phone whether it’s a landline or smartphone. The technology functions by holding the hearing device up to the phone and streaming the sound from the one to the other.
Bluetooth compatibility is also a standard feature of today’s hearing aid tech. You simply pair the phone up with the hearing aids just like you would with wireless headphones or earbuds. When the phone rings, the sound is sent directly to your hearing aids.
There’s no reason to allow hearing loss spoil a perfectly good relationship. Get back on your phone whatever it takes so you can start talking again. You can check out the newest hearing aid technology by making an appointment with a hearing care specialist.
You’ve purchased a pair of new hearing aids. Nice job taking the first step to improve your quality of life. There are things you should learn to do and not to do with newer technology like modern hearing aids. It’s not a long list when it comes to hearing aids, but it is a significant one.
It’s not only about caring for your hearing aids, either. The device will be less useful and your adjustment time will be slowed by the things you fail to do. Now learn from the mistakes others in your shoes have made; consider these four things you shouldn’t do with those new hearing aids.
1. Straight Out of the Box Into Your Ear
You could be disregarding powerful features if you don’t take the time to understand the basics of how your hearing aid functions and check out the features that come with the brand. If you simply turn on your hearing aids and put them in, more than likely they won’t work effectively. Bluetooth and noise filters are some of the best features that you may also miss out on.
You can learn how to get the cleanest sound quality and practice the numerous configurations that maximize the hearing aid’s function if you just slow down and read the included documentation.
You will already have a basic understanding of what your hearing aids can do when you buy them. It will take a little more time but you have to learn how to use them correctly.
2. It Takes Time For Your Ears to Adjust
Your eyes need to adjust to the difference in the lenses and the shape of the frame when you get new glasses. There is also an adaptation period with hearing aids. High quality sound in a new hearing aid does not happen by magic. That’s not how it works.
Your ears will require a couple days to adjust to what is a massive change, particularly if you haven’t worn hearing aids before. Adapting to your new hearing aids as quickly as possible is all about consistency.
Put them in your ear and leave them in place. Usually, new users feel an urge to keep removing them. That urge needs to be resisted. Ask yourself why you might be uncomfortable.
- Is the noise too loud? Perhaps you should turn down the volume.
- Take the hearing aid out if it gets uncomfortable for short intervals. If the hearing aids just don’t really fit right, go back to the retailer and have them checked.
- Does the background noise seem overwhelming? Spend a few minutes in a quiet place each day when you first put them in. Sit with a friend and talk. Ask them if you are talking too loud. This will help you make adjustments to balance out the sound.
Don’t make a huge mistake and give up on your hearing aid. If you throw your hearing aids in a drawer and forget about them, they will do you no good.
3. Neglect Getting a Proper Fitting Upfront
Getting the right hearing aids begins before you start actually shopping and there is a lot to it. During your hearing test at the audiologist, it’s important to tell the truth about what you can and can’t hear. You could wind up with hearing aids that aren’t right for your level or type of hearing loss. Some hearing aids amplify a high-frequency sound by design for example. These are not the right hearing aids for you if you can’t hear mid or low tones.
In some situations, hearing aids might not seem to fit your lifestyle. If you have to be on your phone allot you will want to get a hearing aid that has Bluetooth technology.
Make a note of when you feel your hearing aids aren’t working correctly or you wish they did something different while you’re still in the trial period. You can go back and talk about those concerns with your hearing aid technician. You may need a different type of device or you might just need an adjustment.
Most retailers do free fittings so be certain to find one of them when you get your hearing aids. They won’t work if they are too big for your ears.
4. Careless Maintenance
Knowing when and how to Take care of your hearing aids are the keys to success. Take the time to understand how to care for your new device even if you’ve worn hearing aids before.
After you buy the hearing aids, look closely at the warning signs listed in the documentation like using hair products with your hearing aids in or failing to turn them off when you remove it.
Additionally, read the troubleshooting instructions and the maintenance guide.
Cleaning is a big part of caring for hearing aids, so be sure to understand all the hows and whys. The hearing aid is not the only thing that needs to be cleaned. Correctly cleaning your ears is essential too.
You have to take the initiative if you want to get the most from your hearing aids. It’s a continuing process from shopping to use. Schedule an exam with a hearing professional to find out what type of hearing aid will work best for you.
An elderly person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think about when hearing loss is discussed. The fact is, hearing loss has gone up sharply among all age groups and it affects more than just your ability to hear. Startling repercussions result from not getting it taken care of. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing checked.
1. Mental Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health issues, although you may not have previously known about them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, such as memory loss, might actually be caused by hearing decline.
The brain’s innate ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. For someone with regular hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. It’s that mechanism of hearing that allows you to identify the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it drives down your street.
Even if you’re not aware of it, the brain encounters sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other ambient sounds are around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to expect this stimulus. All of a sudden, when there is hearing loss, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. It still expects it to be there, though and struggles to hear it. The fatigue on the brain and absence of stimuli can cause cognitive decline that raises your risk of dementia later in life. Studies have shown that memory loss and cognitive decline is about 40 percent higher in seniors with hearing loss. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to improve their cognitive functions if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Issues
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Side effects associated with changes you experience due to hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing strain can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
Probably, the most apparent side effect is the effect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults below the age of 70.
Research published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery found people with untreated hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others and that likely is the reason for the depression. The research suggests that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems including:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who can’t effectively communicate stop trying and that results in depression and psychological strain.
4. Troubled Relationships
Your physical and mental health are not the only things that are impacted by hearing loss. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.
Hearing loss causes problems in personal relationships, as well. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting annoyed when someone with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and how you feel about yourself. When you get hearing aids quite a few of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to find out what solution works best for you.
Regardless of whether you hear it from time to time or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. There might be a more appropriate word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating? That noise that you can’t turn off is a problem however you choose to describe it. What can you do, though? Is even possible to prevent that ringing in your ears?
Understand Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Begin by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tinnitus, which is the medical term for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a symptom of something else. Hearing loss is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a typical side effect of hearing decline. It’s not really clear why tinnitus appears when there is a change in a person’s hearing. That the brain is generating the sound to fill the void is the current theory.
Thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. There are the obvious sounds like a motor running or someone shouting, and then there are noises you don’t even notice. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less noticeable. You don’t normally hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. So what happens if you shut half of those sounds off? The portion of your brain in charge of hearing gets confounded. It might create the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it realizes sound should be there.
Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, however. Severe health problems can also be the cause, like:
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Poor circulation
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Meniere’s disease
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
- Head or neck tumors
- High blood pressure
Any of these things can cause tinnitus. You may experience the ringing despite the fact that you hear fine or possibly after an injury or accident. Before you go looking for other ways to get rid of it, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor to have a hearing exam.
What to do About Tinnitus
You can figure out what to do about it after you find out why you have it. Giving the brain what it wants might be the only thing that works. You have to create some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. It doesn’t need to be very much, something as basic as a fan running in the background may generate enough sound to switch off that ringing.
Technology such as a white noise generator is made just for this purpose. They simulate soothing natural sounds like rain falling or ocean waves. You can hear the sound as you sleep if you buy one with pillow speakers.
Another thing that also works is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer generated by the brain.
A combination of tricks is most effective for most people. For instance, you could use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is more severe, there are medications that could help. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus
Making a few lifestyle changes can help, as well. Identifying if there are triggers is a good place to begin. Write down in a journal what’s taking place when the tinnitus begins. Be specific:
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Did you just drink a cup of coffee or soda?
- What did you just eat?
- Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
The more specific your information, the faster you’ll notice the patterns that could be triggering the ringing. Stress can also be responsible, so try to find ways to relax including exercise, meditation or even biofeedback.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the appropriate steps to prevent tinnitus from the start. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. To rule out treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.
Your life can be significantly affected by hearing loss, in a way that goes beyond the inability to hear. Having difficulty executing daily tasks, and strained relationships are some examples of the overall effect of hearing loss.
A study carried out by AARP found that quality of life is more seriously impacted by hearing loss than:
Despite the fact that it has a negative impact on their lives, many people who have hearing loss refuse to seek treatment. Researchers have found that many people experiencing hearing loss are still worried about a perceived stigma attached to it. Being treated differently is one reason people who suffer from hearing loss are afraid to let anyone know they can’t hear that well. A distorted self image can be formed as a result of this perception, affecting the young and the old.
Your Not The Only One
Nowadays, people are living longer, that means there are more individuals around with hearing loss, as well, although it doesn’t only affect seniors. The World Health Organization reports that over 1.1 billion people are in danger of hearing loss and the perceived perceptions that come along with it, many of them young adults. In fact, hearing loss is one of the most widespread health issues adults deal with. The reluctance to get help persists while the number of people with hearing loss grows. How does this affect one’s general health?
What is The Perception of Hearing Loss?
The story is pretty well illustrated by the very definition of stigma, which is a brand that labels a person as inferior. Lots of people with hearing loss are worried they will look older than they are, less healthy, or less capable.
Historically, there is some basis for this concern. A 2010 study found people were not as well accepted when they suffered from hearing loss. But that research uses data nearly a decade old. As hearing loss becomes more common, this perception is changing. Hearing loss technology is becoming Stylish, fun, and sophisticated. Even celebrities are visibly wearing hearing aids. And helping to change hearts and minds, research reveals that getting treatment could delay or prevent other health problems linked to aging such as cognitive decline and dementia. Some people still won’t get help despite this research.
Does it Even Matter?
Don’t let your anxiety about negative perception stop you from seeking treatment or you may suffer long-term health consequences. An AARP survey discovered that more people consent to getting colonoscopies than hearing tests. Not acknowledging your hearing loss, not getting a hearing test and seeking treatment will take a physical toll, this is especially true over time.
Consequences of Undiagnosed or Untreated Hearing Loss
Your overall health will be affected by these physical consequences;
In life, everything is more challenging when you are struggling to hear. Just trying to hear conversations and common sounds is hard work. You also have to be more careful to protect your safety because you can’t hear alert sounds or cars coming. All the additional work you put into daily tasks will lead to chronic fatigue.
Common Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and even migraines can be caused by stress and tension. You might not realize there is a connection, but studies have demonstrated a link between migraines and certain kinds of hearing loss. The constant extra effort of your brain to make up for what you can’t hear can cause your head to hurt even if you’re not prone to migraines.
You could possibly also face mental health concerns as a result of your untreated loss of hearing like depression and social anxiety. Hearing loss can increase social isolation and has even been linked to dementia. These challenges, in turn, often come with physical symptoms like reduced energy levels or moodiness.
The Negative Perception of Hearing Loss Can be Overcome
Surmounting these negative perceptions starts with seeking out help. If you are losing your hearing, it’s probably a treatable condition. Understand that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get that treatment.
You also may be stressing for no reason because not all hearing loss is permanent. Something as basic as earwax buildup may be the reason, but you won’t know that unless you schedule an appointment to get a hearing test.
If it turns out you do have hearing loss, you need to deal with it. You can get hearing aids in all shapes and sizes nowadays. If you don’t want other people to be aware of your condition, then get a hearing aid that is less obvious.
Most importantly, show everyone that you have plenty of confidence despite your hearing loss. You should wear your hearing aids with confidence because when you can hear, you will be just as active and healthy as anyone else. Everyone who has hearing loss will also be helped by your actions. Negative perceptions are social poisons so be strong and raise awareness to change them.
Hearing loss is a medical condition, not a weakness. Make an appointment to have a hearing exam today.
Hearing aids and glasses most likely seem like oil and water, but is there a means to get these two very essential accessories to work together? If you are considering a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, this typical question is even more relevant. Is it even possible to wear them both and still be comfortable? The answer is yes.
People who wear glasses need to think about some things before buying new hearing aids. Use these guidelines to be sure your hearing aids and glasses work well together.
Choosing The Hearing Aids Which Best Serve Your Needs
There is a lot to think about when you shop for hearing aids, even when you don’t happen to wear glasses. You can get hearing aids in many shapes, sizes, and styles. They even offer them in stylish colors if you like that sort of thing. Today’s hearing aids are a lot better than your grandpa’s.
Begin the process by really getting to know what styles of hearing aids are available. They break down into three basic categories:
- In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is very much like the ITE model but it sits deeper into the ear, making them nearly invisible.
- In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name suggests, this style of hearing aid fits directly into the opening of the ear canal with nothing sitting behind the ear.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is way more advanced. With this model, the main section of the device mounts directly behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold sitting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit models are essentially the same setup except without the earmold.
If you wear glasses, you can keep away from a lot of issues with ITE and ITC models. You can compare the many features of a new hearing aid, but first, you need to decide on a style.
Getting to Know The Different Features
When buying, it’s the features that should be your primary concern not the shape of the hearing aid. Evolving hearing aid technology is causing features to change all of the time. Some common ones to watch for include:
- Directional microphone – This will help pinpoint the sound you need to hear when you are in a noisy place. For example, if someone is talking to you at a party, you can hear their speech clearly in spite of the noise all around you.
- T-coil – This feature enables you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is helpful if you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or on the radio.
- Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to enhance speech.
Your goal is to determine the ideal set of features and functions to fit your lifestyle. Then the style of the hearing aid can be decided on.
What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?
It is possible to wear BTE hearing aids at the same time as glasses. The trick is to wear both of these important accessories in the correct way, so they fit comfortably. Here are some tips:
- Get in the habit of putting on your glasses first and then your hearing aids. You can maneuver your hearing aid around the arm of your glasses which is a little more rigid. To be sure that the hearing aid isn’t hanging off your outer ear, after you place it, check in the mirror.
- Before you make an investment look closely at the size of the BTE. While the traditional size will still work with glasses, it’s a little bulky. The mini BTE is a relatively new alternative. Because the behind the ear portion is smaller, you get enhanced comfort and a reduced amount of feedback. The only certain way to tell which one will be best for you is to try them both out.
- Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice removing your glasses. Taking them off in this way won’t become a habit immediately. When you forget to do this motion you will knock off your hearing aid and that will help reinforce the practice.
The only choice for those that have a real problem wearing a BTE hearing aid with glasses would be the ITE or ITC devices. BTE devices will be a hassle if, for instance, you take off your glasses a lot. This combination will also be a hassle for people with small ears and for children. Which style is best for you can be determined if you schedule an appointment with a hearing aid specialist and make use of the free trial. Use this trial to see if you can wear both or not.
Hearing loss is not actually inevitable, despite the fact that it is quite common. The reality is, the majority of adults will begin to notice a change in their hearing as they get older. After listening to sound for many years, you will notice even small changes in your ability to hear. The extent of the loss and how fast it progresses is best managed with prevention, as is true with most things in life. Your hearing will be impacted later on in life by the things you decide to do now. You should carefully consider it sooner than later because you can still avoid further hearing loss. You really want to keep your hearing from becoming worse, but what can be done?
Learn About Your Hearing Loss
Understanding what causes most hearing loss starts with learning how the ears actually work. Age-related hearing loss, medically known as presbycusis, is affecting one in three people in America from 64 to 74. It is an accumulation of damage to the ears over time. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets worse over time.
The ear canal amplifies sound waves several times before they make it to the inner ear. Chemicals are discharged after being bumped into by little hairs, which are in turn shaken by incoming waves of sound. These chemicals are interpreted by the brain as electrical pulses, which are then “heard” by the brain as sound.
Failing over time, due to the constant vibration, the tiny hairs eventually quit. When these hair cells are destroyed, they are gone for good. Without those cells to generate the electrical signals, the sound can’t be translated into a language the brain can understand.
How exactly do these hair cells get damaged? It will happen, to some extent, with normal aging but there are other factors which will also contribute. The word “volume” refers to the strength of sound waves. If the sound is at a higher volume, then the strength of the sound wave is greater, and the hair cells take more damage.
There are some other considerations apart from exposure to loud noise. Additionally, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases will have a strong effect.
How to Protect Your Hearing
Good hearing hygiene is a big part of taking care of your hearing over time. Sound volume presents the biggest problem. Sound is a lot more dangerous when it’s at a louder volume or decibel level. It doesn’t have to be as loud as you might think to lead to hearing damage. If you find that you have to raise your voice to talk over a noise, it’s too loud.
Your hearing will be impaired later on by even a couple of loud minutes and even more so by continued exposure. Fortunately protecting your hearing from expected loud noises is pretty easy. Use hearing protection when you:
- Run power equipment
- Go to a performance
- Ride a motorcycle
- Participate in loud activities.
Headphones, earbuds, and other accessories made to isolate and amplify sound should be avoided. A lower volume should be chosen and use regular speakers.
Day-to-Day Noises That Can be a Problem
Enough noise can be produced, even by common household sounds, to become a hearing hazard over time. When you get an appliance for your house, check the noise rating of the product. The lower the noise rating the better.
Don’t worry about speaking up if the noise gets too loud when you are at a restaurant or party. The host of the party, or maybe even the restaurant manager might be willing to help accommodate for your issue.
Be Aware of Noise Levels at Work
If your job exposes you to loud sounds like equipment, you should do something about it. If your manager doesn’t provide hearing protection, get your own. Here are some products that will protect your ears:
The chances are good that if you bring up the concern, your boss will listen.
Give up Smoking
Hearing damage is yet another good reason to give up smoking. Studies reveal that smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. If you are exposed to second-hand smoke this is also true.
Check And Double Check Your Medications
Some medications are known to cause hearing damage. This is called ototoxicity. Some typical offenders include:
- Certain antibiotics
- Mood stabilizers and antidepressants
- Cardiac medication
- Narcotic analgesics
This list is a mix of over-the-counter products and prescription medications and it’s not even all of them. Read the label of any pain relievers you purchase and take them only when you really need them. Ask your doctor first if you are unsure.
Take Good Care of Your Health
To slow down hearing loss it’s especially important, as you get older, to do the normal things that keep you healthy, like eating right and getting regular exercise. Cut down on the amount of salt you eat and take your medications to deal with your high blood pressure. The better you take care of your health, the lower your chances of chronic health problems that could cost you your hearing over time, like diabetes.
If you think you have hearing loss or if you have ringing in your ears, get your hearing tested. The sooner you recognize you have a problem, the sooner you can do something about it, like getting hearing aids. It’s never too late to take care of your ears, so if you notice any change, even a small one, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to find out what you can do to keep it from getting more serious.
You already realize that you need to get hearing aids, so what now? Finding the right hearing aids is an important decision because they will become such a major part of your life. If you find some hearing aids that can only be purchased on the internet, then you can be fairly certain they are probably pretty flimsy. Only you know how much you can afford to spend and what quality of hearing aids you are willing to purchase. When you are shopping for hearing aids, there are some sacrifices that you should be ok with, but is your hearing one of them?
Those Cheap Internet Imitations
Cheap hearing assistance devices are not really the bargain they seem to be. They are very poor in quality and don’t work very well. The money you save on the device itself, you lose by having to continuously replace the batteries, and you will replace them a lot.
These low-quality devices will help amplify sound, which is one basic function of hearing aids but that’s all they do. Customization to your specific needs can be accomplished with the integrated technologies found in a modern high-quality digital hearing aid. You can go cheap and get one online but you will lose out on important features.
You need to see your new hearing aids for what they are – an investment in your future. Hearing impacts every part of your life so it’s not the place to try and save money. Be certain to get the hearing aids you really need. Even if you can’t afford them there may be other solutions.
Digital Vs. Analog
Digital hearing aids deliver higher quality sound that is more dependable. It’s not even worth spending the time to look at analog units.
Reputable retailers don’t even have analog devices at this time. You have to be careful because analog devices are still in existence if you don’t know what to look for. Low-quality analog signals are what the older out-dated hearing aids process. Analog hearing aids have major problems with consistent sound quality.
Choosing The Ideal Features
Features and style are the two aspects when hearing aid shopping. You want a comfortable style that comes with features that make your life easier. A few common features to consider include:
- Directional microphones
- Rechargeable batteries
- Variable programming
- Remote controls
- Direct audio input
- Environmental noise control
- Noise reduction
- Wireless connectivity
Consider the Styles
There are numerous styles available, as you will find out when you begin researching hearing aids. Luckily, there are so many styles to pick from that finding a style which works for your situation is almost guaranteed. Some of the different styles are:
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
- Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Open Fit
- Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
fairly obvious definition of each style is provided by the names. BTE means “behind the ear” and that’s exactly where the piece goes. A clear piece of tubing connects the BTE to an ear-mold that sits in the opening of the ear canal.
Alternatively, ITE hearing aids sit, as you may have guessed, in the ear. It’s a single unit that rests in the opening of the ear canal. There is nothing that goes behind the ear. ITC devices are very similar but go deeper into the ear, making them less visible.
RIC and RIE, as the name indicates, have a receiver unit that sits in the ear and then connects by a wire to a piece behind it. These types of hearing aids are not as obvious as a BTE.
As opposed to having ear-molds, open fit models, which are a type of BTE, have a thin tube that goes into the ear canal. If you can’t deal with the feeling of something in your ear, this style is a smart choice for you.
Your task is to go over each of these options and decide which of them is most important to you. For example, Bluetooth is a useful function to have, particularly if you talk on your smartphone or computer a lot. You will save money on replacement batteries if you get a model with a rechargeable battery and a telecoil is great for listening to lectures or seminars.
Finally, Consider Your Buying Options
A qualified retailer that has a free trial period and that will custom fit the device is the best place to get your new hearing aids. Having a chance to try out your new hearing aids before you purchase them will give you confidence that you are making the right decision.
A good warranty will come with a quality hearing aid, make sure to look for that. What kind of coverage does it come with? Some will only pay for replacement parts, some cover the labor, also, and what about a new hearing aid if something goes wrong?
Make an appointment with a hearing professional for a checkup and hearing test before you purchase your hearing aids. Not all changes to your hearing require hearing aids.
What is typically referred to as an ear infection, is medically called otitis media or AOM. Ear infections like this are often found in infants and young kids but they can affect adults, as well, especially during or after a cold or sinus infection. If you have a bad tooth, that can also lead to an ear infection.
Hearing loss is one of the major symptoms of an infection in the middle ear. But is it going to last forever? The answer to this question might be more challenging than you think. There are a lot of things happening with ear infections. To understand the risks, you need to learn more about the damage these infections can cause and how they impact hearing.
Otitus Media, What is it?
Otitus media is an infection of the middle ear to put it simply. It could possibly be any kind of microorganism causing the infection however bacteria is the most common.
It’s what part of the ear that the infection develops in that identifies it. When the infection is in the pinna, or outer ear, or in front of the eardrum, the condition is known as otitis externa or swimmer’s ear. The term labyrinthitis is the term for an infection of the cochlea or inner ear.
The area behind the eardrum but in front of the cochlea is referred to as the middle ear. This area contains the three ossicles, or very small bones, that vibrate the membranes of the inner ear. The eardrum will often actually break as a result of the pressure from this kind of infection, which tends to be extremely painful. That pressure is also the reason why you don’t hear very well. The ear canal can be obstructed by infectious material that can then cause a loss of hearing.
The symptoms of a middle ear infection in an adult include:
- Drainage from the ear
- Ear pain
- Reduced hearing
For most people, hearing returns in time. The ear canal will open up and hearing will come back. This will only happen when the infection gets better. Sometimes there are complications, though.
Repeated Ear Infections
Ear infections affect most people at least once in their lifetime. Some people, however, will get ear infections again and again so they become chronic. Chronic ear infections can cause problems that mean a more considerable and maybe even permanent loss of hearing, especially if the problem is neglected.
Conductive Hearing Loss Caused by Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections can lead to conductive hearing loss. As a result, the sound waves going to the inner ear are not strong enough. By the time the sound reaches the tiny hairs in the inner ear, they are amplified by the elements of the ear canal and reach their maximum power. Sometimes things change along this route and the sound is not correctly amplified. This is known as conductive hearing loss.
Bacteria are very busy in your ear when you have an ear infection. The mechanisms that amplify sound waves are broken down and eaten by the bacteria. The damage is in most cases done to the tiny little bones and the eardrum. The bones are very delicate and it doesn’t take much to break them up. These bones will never grow back once they are gone. That’s permanent damage and your hearing won’t return on its own. In certain cases, surgeons can install prosthetic bones to restore hearing. The eardrum can repair itself but it may have scar tissue influencing its ability to move. This can also potentially be fixed with surgery.
This Permanent Hearing Loss Can be Avoided
It’s important to consult a doctor when you think you may have an ear infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Always have chronic ear infection checked out by a doctor. The more serious the infections you have, the more damage they will cause. Ear infections normally start with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to avoid them. It’s time to quit smoking because it leads to chronic respiratory issues which will, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If you are still having problems hearing after having an ear infection, see a doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. If it turns out it’s permanent, hearing aids can help you hear once again. You can schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info on hearing aids.
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“I have been with the Advanced Hearing & Balance for almost eight years. During this time, the staff has always responded in a timely fashion to all my hearing needs: testing, fitting, aid changes, questions and appointments. I have been so pleased with the service, I have recommended the group numerous times to friends. They too have been satisfied with the professional advice and service.”
Tom H., Patient