Author Archive for Ears to U

Holidays with Hearing Loss

The holidays are approaching.  For most of us, we anticipate these joyous celebrations and all the festive activities with family and friends.  Unfortunately, for the hard of hearing these gatherings can lead to isolation, sadness, and even depression.

In the background, nostalgic holiday music can be uplifting, unless it hinders the hearing impaired from understanding even one on one dialogue. Music and TV, mixed with excited group discussions all lead to a very noisy environment for the hard of hearing person who is trying to participate.   Heart-to-heart talks with children due to their soft voices are overwhelming. Even more challenging are group conversations.

For these reasons, even the lure of sharing a meal with loved ones with their favorite holiday foods, your hard of hearing senior may opt to stay home and not say why.

Some seniors find it difficult to admit to their hearing loss.  They may feel angry because they can not follow a conversation and think everyone mumbles, or wonder why people speak to them with a shouting voice.  Even the simplest discussion leads to confusion. If you have normal hearing, it is hard to understand their struggle.

Don’t let hearing loss deprive them of their loved ones. Instead of missing the holiday, be proactive.  Firmly suggest it is time to get help. Interacting with family and friends keeps them in the stream of life.  Recent studies show hearing loss effects your health and your life.  Not only can hearing loss make it harder to communicate, left untreated the isolation and withdrawal from life can lead to dementia. Encourage making an appointment with a hearing professional. Hearing aids can make a difference.

Today’s hearing instrument technology can help people better understand conversation in a noisy environment.  Keep your hard of hearing loved one involved this holiday season.

Social Isolation with Hearing Loss

This time of year, we celebrate and give thanks for our family and friends.  It is a time to gather together for holiday meals and festivities.

Perhaps you made a commitment to yourself or loved one to hear better in 2018.  If you made that decision, congratulations!  The gift of hearing can help you stay active and involved. If you have not had the opportunity to follow up on your pledge, perhaps now would be the time to do so.  Family gatherings should be occasions to look forward to.  If you or a family member can no longer participate in discussions and activities due to hearing challenges, unfortunately, these gatherings can lead to feelings of isolation.

We are sharing the following information from Starkey Hearing Technologies.  Their latest technology Livio AI hearing aids can track social activity.

“One big reason people become socially isolated is because of hearing loss.

For every 10 decibel drop in hearing sensitivity, the odds of social isolation among 60-69-year olds increase by 52%.

Social isolation — especially as we age — increases the risk of numerous mental and physical health challenges, including depression, heart disease, abnormal immune systems, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Social isolation is also a growing epidemic which, according to the former Surgeon General of the United States, is associated with a “reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

One big reason people become socially isolated is because of hearing loss. Often, as hearing becomes challenging, people avoid social, business or transactional situations where interaction is key — and instead choose to withdraw and isolate themselves.

Our new Livio AI hearing aid was designed specifically to help. Not only is it our best sounding and best performing hearing aid ever to help people hear and engage better, it’s also the first wearable device that helps you track how socially active you are.”

Enjoy your holidays.  Don’t let hearing loss create a life of isolation for you or a loved one!

Why aural rehabilitation is important

Since Aural Rehabilitation is an important topic discussed with patients and their family during a hearing appointment, we wanted to share this informative article from Healthy Hearing.

The importance of aural rehabilitation

Thanks to your magnificent brain, you’ve been learning things since you were a child. In fact, much of what your brain does for you goes unnoticed – blinking, swallowing, listening – and we only become aware of it when doesn’t work like it should.

Take hearing, for instance. Scientists have been studying the relationship between hearing and brain function for decades. Turns out, the two are pretty dependent on each other. Our ears keep the brain supplied with a constant stream of stimuli and, when it stops coming in for whatever reason, our brain is at a greater risk for developing illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Your hearing loss

Like any other part of your body, you can’t begin rehabilitation without a proper diagnosis. That’s why hearing healthcare professionals urge you to have a hearing test as part of your annual healthcare regiment, especially if you’re over the age of 50 or notice you are having problems hearing.

Even if you don’t need hearing aids, you’ll most likely benefit from learning better communication strategies. That’s especially true if you’re older. Karen Van Doorne Nagelkirk, Au.D., FAAA, of Van Doorne Hearing Care in Michigan said while the average person speaks approximately 150 words per minute, people over the age of 60 typically only understand 124 words per minute.

“When people talk fast, it’s often not an audibility issue, it’s a processing issue,” she explained. “No matter how well you hear, you may not be able to process it. One of things we teach is how to communicate using clear speech and to pause frequently in order to let the brain catch up.”

Your hearing aid

After your hearing has been evaluated, the next step in rehabilitation may be learning to use hearing aids.

“Aural education is critical to hearing aid success,” Joseph K. Duran, Au.D., of New Generation Hearing in Florida, said. “Many people don’t even realize they’ve lost hearing and you forget what you’ve not heard for awhile.”

Dr. Duran said the duration of the rehabilitation varies from patient to patient, depending upon the severity and nature of the hearing loss. The worse the loss, the longer rehabilitation may take.

“When you first start using hearing aids, even the sound of your own voice sounds strange,” Brooke Tudor, Au.D., of Hearing Health Center in Michigan, said. “We typically encourage our patients to read the newspaper or a magazine out loud in order to get used to the sound of their own voice. We also ask them to keep a journal so they can record how they’re doing with different parts of speech.”

Learning to listen again

With any type of rehabilitation, it may take some time for your brain to relearn things it’s forgotten. The sooner you seek treatment for your hearing loss, the shorter amount of time your rehabilitation may take. Unfortunately, research indicates most individuals wait an average of seven years after their hearing loss has been diagnosed before seeking treatment.

“When you first get hearing instruments, your brain is aware of all the soft sounds you haven’t been hearing for awhile, such as the sound of your own breathing or feet on a carpet,” Dr. Van Doorne explained. “We know that 75 percent of conversation happens at soft conversation levels, which is why we like to fit you earlier rather than later. If we can fit you earlier, you’ll adjust easier because your brain hasn’t yet forgotten what it knows.”

Assistive listening devices

Thanks to recent advances to technology, today’s hearing aids work in tandem with other devices to enhance your hearing. Part of your aural rehabilitation may involve learning how to use these assistive listening devices, depending upon your expectations, lifestyle and personal situation.

“It’s not always about the hearing instrument, it’s about making the patient successful,” Dr. Van Doorne explained. “Bluetooth and hearing loops help make that possible.”

Dr. Van Doorne told the story of a 95 year-old patient who came to see her. “She was wearing the latest technology, but she still wasn’t happy. She had been to three other hearing centers before she came to me. I said “I don’t know what else I can do for you. What is it you want to do?” She said “I want to be able to hear the radio that’s 12 feet away while I’m doing dishes and looking out the window.” I said “Oh, you need Bluetooth.” Now she’s 99 years old and on her second set of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. She absolutely loves them.”

For full article: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52465-The-importance-of-aural-rehabilitation

 

Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Eight years ago in 2010, Dr. Frank Lin,MD, PhD, and other collaborators published, at that time, new research regarding links between hearing loss and developing dementia.  Dr. Frank Lin, MD, PhD, is an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Dr. Lin, as an ENT and epidemiologist, one who studies patterns of frequency and the causes and effects of diseases in human populations, is a perfect fit for this type of research.  These findings were published in John Hopkins Journal of Medicine.

The study found three links where hearing loss threatens healthy brain function which can lead to dementia.  Cognitive resources, brain atrophy and social isolation, all influencing someone who has an age related hearing loss.

Cognitive decline materializes as the brain is constantly coping with sounds and words that are harder to hear and process.  The second link, brain atrophy, “People with hearing loss show less brain activity on functional MRI scans when listening to complex sentences.  Poorer hearers also had less gray matter in the auditory cortex suggesting that areas of the brain related to auditory processing may show accelerated atrophy when hearing ability declines.” (Pennmedicine.org)  Social isolation, the third theory, is perhaps the easiest to understand. Social support is an important part of healthy living.  When understanding conversation is challenging and exhausting, it is easier to retreat into isolation.

In conclusion,  “If you want to address hearing loss well,” Lin says, “you want to do it sooner rather than later. If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we’re seeing on MRI, you want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place.”

And Jonathan Peelle, PhD, research associate in the Department of Penn Neurology suggests, “As hearing ability declines with age, interventions such as hearing aids should be considered not only to improve hearing but to preserve the brain.”

References:

John Hopkins University, HopkinsMedicine.org

Pennmedicine.org

 

Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services Special Event

Hearing Problems… or maybe just earwax? Join us on July 30 & 31 in Pagosa Springs, August 1, 2, 3 in Alamosa to FIND OUT!

SPECAL GUEST! Nationally Known Hearing Aid Expert, Kristen Schardein will be available for our special event – AT NO CHARGE!!

We’ll look into your ear canal with our Video Otoscope. As you are watching the TV screen we’ll do a complete inspection of your ear canal and eardrum.  If there is any amount of wax blockage, you’ll know immediately.

FREE! ***Video Otoscope Exam. It may just be wax blockage. ***Computer Hearing Screening with a licensed hearing professional to see what you hear and what you don’t. ***Hearing Aid Inspection. All makes and models. ***Trade-in Appraisal of your old hearing aids. ***Package of Hearing Aid Batteries.  Limit one free pack per family.

Preview the latest technology from Starkey. WE PROVIDE HEARING SOLUTIONS TO MEET EVERYONE’S BUDGET. Financing Available for those who qualify.

 

MUSE iQ: Introducing Synergy, powering Starkey’s latest hearing technology Muse.  Synergy is hearing technology made for the next generation  of patients. Muse are hearing aids made for life.

 

 

 

Introducing Halo iQ: The made for iPhone Hearing Aid.  Go anywhere and do everything with Starkey’s breakthrough Made for iPhone® Hearing Aids and TruLink®, the easy-to-use hearing control app. These advanced new hearing aids enhance every listening experience, and connect easily to your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch® and Apple Watch® via the TruLink app. Enjoy phone calls, music, videos and more streamed directly into your ears with pristine sound quality — no background buzzing and whistling.

R.S.V.P. today to reserve your opportunity to join us for this special event. We are a family locally operated business since 2005. Our Pagosa Springs event dates are July 30th & 31st.  Alamosa is August 1, 2, 3. 

Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services: Pagosa Springs: (970)731-4554

Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services: Alamosa: (719)587-9820

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THERE, AND AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

 

Improving your life with hearing aids

Let’s face it.  We make decisions regarding our health and lifestyle choices everyday.  Whether it is the food we consume, the physical exercise we do or don’t do, smoking, alcohol use, and even our social interaction, all affect our well being.  Although there are many health decisions we engage in, our hearing ability is major.  Interaction with our family, friends and community can suffer due to hearing challenges. If you or someone you love is delaying the decision to purchase hearing aids, consider this.  You are investing in your quality of life when you invest in hearing aids.

The following is an article I would like to share with you, found on starkey.com.

How will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?

“Treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve:

  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Earning power
  • Sense of control over your life
  • Social participation
  • Emotional stability

Hearing aids can provide valuable benefits to improve your quality of life in a number of important ways. They can help you to:

Hear better in situations that are important to you – Fully participate with family, friends and co-workers again.

Stay connected – Hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression. With hearing aids, you can connect with the world and regain your quality of life.

Avoid becoming a burden to those around you – Wearing a hearing aid can be a courtesy to others, reducing frustration and eliminating the need for them to raise their voices or repeat things to you.

Identify speech in noise – Hearing aids can improve the brain’s ability to process speech when there is competing background noise, like in a restaurant or crowd. Hearing aid technology continues to improve and hearing better in noise is a primary focus of the current hearing aid technology.

Stay sharp – Hearing loss contributes to reductions in cognitive and communication abilities — it can even be misdiagnosed as dementia. Hearing aids can help improve your abilities, keeping you on top of your game.

Be alert to what’s happening around you – Hearing enables you to sense alarms, sirens, traffic, telephones, doorbells and other important signals at home, work and in the community.

Work longer and earn more – Studies clearly demonstrate that untreated hearing loss can impact your success on the job, with even a mild hearing loss reducing earning potential. Using hearing aids can help you communicate successfully on the job so you maintain your productivity, professional standing and income.”

Stay connected and confident. Make that investment in YOU!

Scott Erickson, Owner, Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services

 

The Power of Rechargeable Hearing Aids

If you or a loved one is holding off your decision to invest in hearing aids due to poor vision or dexterity, rechargeable hearing aids could be your solution.  Hearing aids, as medical devices, can greatly improve your daily hearing experience. Rechargeable options is one of those improvements.  Hearing aids require a lot of power to function.  Due to todays advanced digital technology, hearing aids are computers in your ears and the battery is a key factor in their performance.

Rechargeable aids eliminates the task of frequently changing the battery.  It also phases out the chore of opening the battery door on the aid to extend the life of the disposable battery.  Instead, you are recharging your actual devices at night in their charging unit without opening the battery door.  They automatically turn off in the charger when they are fully charged.  In the morning, your aids are ready for your day, and you can confidently go about your daily activities.

No matter what level your hearing loss, rechargeable hearing aids are suitable for you.  Whether you are an experienced user or just realizing you need hearing help, rechargeable options are hugely popular.  The user friendliness of the charging unit has helped those who previously were concerned they could not properly handle the small hearing aid battery.

In conclusion, with todays advanced technology in the hearing industry, there are many choices for those who need hearing assistance.  If you or a loved one have been dragging your feet due to the hassle of changing batteries in hearing aids, help has arrived.  Rechargeable hearing aids are an option worth looking into.

Starkey’s Rechargeable Hearing Aids: Rechargeable Muse iQ

synergy-charger-with-hearing-aids

Our new best-in-class Muse iQ Rechargeable hearing aids last 20 percent longer than other systems, are 30 percent smaller and are 100 percent easy to use. Plus, with the industry’s longest lasting charge, your hearing aids will always be ready to go.

 

Seniors, Dementia & Hearing Aids

Recently there has been a lot of discussion and research published in regard to hearing aids possibly preventing dementia.  As a hearing care professional, many questions regarding this issue are asked daily by my patients and their families.  I am re-publishing this article by Robert Preidt, a HealthDay reporter found on WebMD News, to help answer some of their questions.

Scott Erickson, Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services

Hearing Aids May Help Keep Seniors Mind Sharp by WebMD News from HealthDay

Hearing Aids May Help Keep Seniors’ Minds Sharp

Ability to stay engaged in conversation could help ward off dementia, study suggests

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A hearing aid may do more than help you hear better: New research suggests that the devices might also help prevent mental decline in elderly people with hearing loss.”  We know that hearing aids can keep older adults with hearing loss more socially engaged by providing an important bridge to the outside world,” Dr. Anil Lalwani, a professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a center news release.”In this study, we wanted to determine if they could also slow the effects of aging on cognitive function,” he added.  The study included 100 adults, aged 80 to 99, with hearing loss. The 34 who regularly used a hearing aid had much better scores on tests of mental function than those who didn’t use a hearing aid.  The researchers also found that mental function was directly linked to hearing ability in those who didn’t use a hearing aid.The study was published online April 25 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.”Our study suggests that using a hearing aid may offer a simple, yet important, way to prevent or slow the development of dementia by keeping adults with hearing loss engaged in conversation and communication,” Lalwani said. More than half of people older than 75 have hearing loss. But, fewer than 15 percent of those with hearing loss use a hearing aid, the researchers said.Previous research has shown that hearing-impaired elderly people are at increased risk for fall- and accident-related death, social isolation and dementia, compared to those without hearing loss.Previous studies have also found that hearing aid use can improve hearing loss-related social, functional and emotional problems, the researchers said.

 
WebMD News from HealthDay

Benefits of Hearing Aid Users

Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who is 80+ and lives alone.  He was sharing how important it was for him to remain in his own home and continue to be independent for as long as possible.  His confidence and sense of security with his decision to stay in his current residence comes from being able to hear. He also participates at his local senior center.  He wears his hearing aids daily.

The following article from American Academy of Audiology discusses the positive benefits of hearing aid users.  A sense of independance and social interactions are included.  More information can be found from The National Council on Aging. https://www.ncoa.org/

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation in Seniors

Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons, according to a major new study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The study was conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between NCOA and Market Strategies, Inc.

“This study debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition,” said James Firman, EdD, president and CEO of The National Council on the Aging. The survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.

Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States, affecting more than nine million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans age 45 to 64. But about three out of five older Americans with hearing loss and six out of seven middle-aged Americans with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

The survey found that significantly more of the seniors with untreated hearing loss (those who do not wear hearing aids) reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks during the previous years. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 30 percent of non-users of hearing aids reported these sad feelings, com-pared to 22 percent of hearing aid users.

Another measure of emotional distress is the perception that “other people get angry at me for no reason,” which psychologists often identify as an indicator of paranoia.

Older non-users were more likely to agree with the statement “people get angry with me usually for no reason” (14 percent of users vs. 23 percent of non-users). Among those with more severe hearing loss, the difference was even greater—14 percent for users vs. 36 percent for non-users.

Because social isolation is a serious problem for some older people, the study also examined social behavior and found that people who don’t use hearing aids are considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 42 percent of hearing aid users participate regularly in social activities com- pared to just 32 percent of non-users.

Carolyn Holmes, PhD, of the Seniors Research Group said, “This survey is groundbreaking not only in the large size of the sample but also in the inclusion of 2,090 close family members or friends of the hearing- impaired respondents who were asked a parallel set of questions.”

Benefits of Treatment

Hearing aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives, ranging from their relationships at home and sense of independence to their social life and their sex life. In virtually every dimension measured, the families of hearing aid users also noted the improvements but were even more likely than the users to report improvements.

Improvement Area Improvement Reported by Hearing Aid User (%) Improvement Reported by User’s Family (%)
Relations at home 56 66
Feelings about self 50 60
Life overall 48 62
Relations with children, grandchildren 40 52
Mental health 36 39
Self-confidence 39 46
Sense of safety 34 37
Social life 34 41
Relations at work 26 43
Sex life 8 NA

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

Home

October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month.”

At Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services, we do our best to educate the public regarding their hearing health and how to protect their hearing.  During the month of October, we increase those efforts.

“Loudness is measured in what’s called decibels (dB).  Over time, any sound that’s 85 decibels or higher can cause hearing loss – or other hearing problems, like tinnitus (a ringing sound in your ears that won’t go away).  The louder a sound is, and the longer you listen to it, the more it can damage your hearing.

So how can you tell when a noise is hurting your hearing? If there’s so much noise around you that you need to talk extra loud when your friends are only a few feet away, it’s probably hurting your hearing. Time to bring out the earplugs — or go somewhere quieter!”

Click on the following link which has been provided by NIH.  You can experience a noise meter to see how loud different sounds are – and how you can protect your ears when you’re around them.

Remember: Exposures above 85 dB can be hazardous to your hearing.

 

https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/listen-infographic