Author Archive for Ears to U

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

Hearing Loss Common Myths

If you are struggling to follow in everyday conversations, or your loved ones are complaining that your radio or television is too loud, take action.  There are positive solutions to keep you involved with your family and community.  Do not let these common myths prevent you from being engaged in your everyday life.

Re-posting this informative article from HearingLink.org.

Man, Old, View, Question Mark, Direction

Myth #1 – If I had a hearing impairment I would know about it

The truth is that hearing loss tends be gradual, and the signs can be very subtle at first. We also have an in-built ability to adapt, so self-diagnosing a hearing problem can be difficult.

Myth #2 – Living with hearing loss is no big deal

Wrong. Hearing loss can have a huge impact on your everyday life. Psychological effects like frustration, social withdrawal and depression are common – even for those with mild hearing impairment.

Myth #3 – I can get my hearing loss treated with minor surgery

Although some types of hearing loss can be treated with medical or surgical intervention, this only applies to between 5-10% of adults.

Myth #4 – I may have one bad ear, but the other works perfectly fine

Almost all patients who believe they have one ‘good’ ear actually have two ‘bad’ ears – it’s just that one is worse than the other.  Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.

Myth #5 – Hearing loss only affects ‘old’ people

Not true. Only about 35% of people who suffer from hearing loss are over the age of 64. Hearing loss can affect all age groups.

Myth #6 – My hearing loss cannot be treated

In the past it may have been true that there was nothing that could be done to help your hearing loss. Today, though, almost all patients with some form of hearing loss can be helped to some extent by some extent by hearing aids.

Myth #7 – Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing aids

Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds, so can help anyone who has a form of hearing loss – however mild it is.

Myth #8 – Hearing aids will make everything too loud

As hearing aids are essentially amplifiers, it used to be the case that the wearer would have to turn up the volume to hear soft speech – which would mean normal conversation would then be too loud. Nowadays, though, hearing aids are much more intuitive and can control the level of sound automatically. Indeed, many of them don’t even have volume controls any more.

Don’t let these common myths and misconceptions keep you from seeking the help you need.  As trained and experienced professionals, we are here to assist you stay in the conversations of life.

Scott Erickson, Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Center

Why do hearing aids & services from a professional cost more?

Updated on March 7, 2018 by Scott Erickson, Owner Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services

 I have had many conversations with our new and existing patients who are trying to make an educated decision on the amount of money they need to spend on new Hearing Aids.

Regardless of the severity of your hearing loss, in a nutshell, not hearing in your everyday environment is a handicap. Because hearing instruments are not a quick fix like glasses are for vision, in my opinion, consultations and follow-up adjustments with a professional provider, along with hearing aid maintenance for the life of the hearing aid is the key factor for a patient’s success.

As a professional hearing aid provider who has been helping patients just like you for thirty plus years, who also wears hearing aids, I understand the process of what it takes to be a long-term, successful hearing aid wearer.  My goal is to improve your outcome with hearing aids.

When you make a hearing aid investment, it is best to factor into the cost what is included in your purchase.  Are the hearing aids providing you with state-of-the-art technology to help you understand speech in noise, or are they just amplifiers?  How many appointments are provided for professional clinical hearing screenings, computer adjustments, clean and checks, wax removal, and additional consultations at no cost to you for the life of the hearing aids?

No additional cost to you for these visits is the key.

When reviewing your less expensive options, please consider this. With a pay as you go agreement, many patients who invested in a contract which only provides a limited amount of free appointments stop the needed professional maintenance hearing aids require. Wax, hair, body oil, and every day environmental challenges tax the hearing aid’s performance. Today’s hearing aids are computers in your ears! Professional clean, checks and adjustments are a must for success!

Unfortunately, too many hearing instruments bought with a limited amount of appointments provided, wind up in a drawer instead of being worn. The patient is frustrated and gives up. Patients who have had this experience conclude hearing aids just don’t work and are not worth the effort. Hearing is worth the effort! Professional office consultations with a qualified hearing specialist coaching you can make a difference. Adjusting to hearing aids is a process and every patient has individual needs. Knowing the number of visits someone requires to be successful varies.

Lastly, I would like to share the experience of one of my patients who purchased hearing aids from me nine years ago. His hearing had changed and he needed his aids adjusted. After being rescreened and the hearing aids were computer programmed to his new hearing loss, he was amazed these services were included in the initial cost of his hearing contract. That is one of the benefits of including services for the life of the hearing aids. Unlimited adjustments and professional services.

Please help me, help you, keep your hearing aids out of the drawer and into your ears! I hope this commentary helps answer your questions.

As always, thank you for your business and looking forward to seeing you soon.

Scott

 

Special Event: Is it hearing loss or just ear wax?

Special guest Jon Wilson, an Audiologist with Unitron, will be joining me for a three day event to present new technology and ways to optimize your communication abilities.  Jon has over 22 years experience helping people hear better, with a passion for fitting hearing aids and helping rehabilitate hearing impairments. 

You may be asking yourself, is it hearing loss or just ear wax?  We can help you answer that question.  You are invited to a FREE HEARING AID CONSULTATION.  Now, with state-of-the-art fiber optic otoscope technology, you can find out what’s happening inside your ear. 

We will also be introducing the latest in RECHARGABLE hearing aids.

Unitron is proud to introduce the MoxiTM

Moxi_Fit_R

Fit R, the worlds smallest rechargeable hearing aid. An easy, overnight charge keeps you hearing all day with no interruptions. Now you can have comfort, style and convenience all in one package.

We invite you to take the first step towards better hearing by calling us today.  This is a three day event only!

 

 

  • Tuesday, August 8th

  • Wednesday, August 9th

  • Thursday, August 10th

Call us today to schedule your appointment.

Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Services

Alamosa, Colorado (719)587-9820

Pagosa Springs, Colorado (970)731-4554

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Seniors Who Walk

Here is a terrific article from Uplifting Mobility, regarding the benefits of seniors who walk.  To enjoy the entire article, please visit their website: upliftingmobility.com

“People are spending more time indoors. While walking around a city center may be common in some countries, people in the United States are walking much less. The lack of movement is a major issue for the current generation of seniors.

Walking may not seem as beneficial as other cardiovascular exercises like, running, biking or swimming, but there are a lot of health benefits to walking regularly. Especially for seniors.

should seniors be trying to walk more often?

We strongly believe so. Here are some reasons why:

Walking Can Stop Bone Mass Loss

Bone mass loss can lead to bones that break faster and more easily. Older people that are at risk of osteoporosis should be walking in an attempt to maintain their bone mass into old age. Hip fractures, a common occurrence in seniors, was reduced by 40% by walking just 30 minutes per day, according to one study.

Walking Strengthens Muscles

A major complaint that follows aging is that a person isn’t able to maintain their muscle mass going into old age. The loss of muscle mass is natural, and it begins occurring in your 30’s and 40’s, but these losses can be offset or stopped with regular exercise.

Walking has been shown to strengthen the:

  • Legs
  • Abdominals

Stronger muscles lead to better overall mobility, and they also alleviate pressure put on the joints, which can worsen the effects of arthritis.

Improved Circulation

Circulation problems do occur when you age. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and a variety of other health-related issues. The University of Tennessee found that walking improves circulation, offering the following benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less risk of heart disease

Poor circulation can further lead to swelling and water retention among many other issues. Studies find that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure by nearly 11 points on average.

Weight Loss

Weight gain is detrimental to a senior’s mobility. Walking increases the metabolism and helps to burn excess calories. Just 30 minutes of walking per day can lead to an additional 200 calories burned per session.

This can lead to weight loss and an easier time maintaining weight.

Mental Sharpness is Increased

The mental sharpness of a senior is very important for self-esteem and confidence. The University of California conducted a study on walking and the slowing of mental decline. The study included 6,000 women who were aged 65 and older.

Women who walked more often were found to have less memory decline than their non-walking counterparts.

Women who walked an average of 2.5 miles per day were able to lower their mental decline to 17%, rather than 25% for women who walked less than 0.5 miles per week.

Studies have also been conducted on the lowering of Alzheimer’s risks and walking. Men between the age of 71 and 93 were found to have a lower risk (roughly 50% less risk) of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia if they walked just a quarter mile per day.

Your brain needs walking to stay young and vibrant.

Walking Makes You Happier

Depression plagues a lot of people as they age. When seniors lose some of their mobility, they may even become depressed. Happiness and walking have been linked together. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, will help your body release endorphins.

These endorphins are what make you happy and also increase your mental stability.

Walking Increases Lifespan

Seniors who want to live a happy, long and healthy life will find that walking has been shown to reduce the risk of death. A study conducted on people that exercise regularly in their 50’s and 60’s found that these individuals were 35% less likely to die over an eight-year period than their counterparts.

Final Thoughts

Walking just 30 minutes a day is recommended for seniors and people of all ages. A brisk walk can help you lead a happier, healthy life well into old age. It is very important as you get older to stay active. Maintaining your muscle mass and flexibility goes a long way in keeping you healthy and independent. It will also greatly reduce the need for a walker or other type or walking aid. However, if you do find that you are needing some support when you are getting around you may need a mobility aid. To see what we recommend please click the following link: http://www.upliftingmobility.com/walkers-for-seniors/.”

Summary: Hearing Aids Lessens Cognitive Decline

Research Summaries

Use of Hearing Aids Lessens Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults who Report Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition affecting older adults—some 30% of people aged 65 or older have some degree of hearing loss, and some estimates suggest that as many as 70–90% of people 85-years-old or older have some degree of loss. Hearing loss can lead to symptoms of depression and isolation, and research suggests that older adults with hearing loss can also have cognitive performance problems. In fact, in one study of a group of people aged 70 to 79, hearing loss was linked to faster cognitive decline and impairment independent of any other symptoms.

In their new study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers from the University of Bordeaux in France examined whether or not using hearing aids impacts cognitive decline in older adults who have hearing loss.

The researchers collected data from a study began in 1989 and included 3,670 people 65-years-old and older. At the start of the study, participants were asked whether or not they experienced hearing loss. Overall, of the participants:

  • 4% reported having major hearing loss,
  • 31% reported having moderate problems (such as, difficulty hearing conversations when several people are talking or in noisy backgrounds), and
  • 65% said they had no hearing problems.

Among the 1,276 older adults with hearing problems, 150 people used hearing aids. During follow-up visits every two or three years throughout the 25-year study, researchers gave participants the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), a test that measures a person’s state of cognitive impairment.

Regardless of age, people who had hearing loss had lower MMSE scores at the start of the study and a slightly greater decline in their scores 25 years later compared to those who didn’t have hearing trouble. However, people who used hearing aids over the course of the study experienced less cognitive decline and scored about the same, cognitively, as did people who had no hearing problems.

The researchers noted that hearing aids—by partially restoring an older adult’s ability to communicate—could improve mood and social interactions and could potentially slow cognitive decline.

http://www.healthinaging.org

Happy Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

 

Father’s Day is fast approaching.  Every year, the perfect gift is discussed within the family.  Something for Dad’s car?  A new grill tool set for the BBQ?  An item for his golf game, a wallet, or a crossword puzzle book? Or maybe some of the latest ideas including a “bacon me crazy gift set,” or a “Fitbit,” which is a heart rate and fitness wristband.

Although Dad may gladly welcome all of these gift ideas, this year, consider the gift of better communication.  If you have noticed changes in Dad’s ability to understand normal conversation, this could be a sign of hearing loss.

Years past, occupational noise exposure in many occupations was not closely monitored.  While Dad was working to provide for his family, depending on his occupation, he may have been repeatedly exposed to damaging noise causing permanent hearing loss.  On the job hearing protection devices were not, in most cases, a priority.  Sadly, many of our older generation now suffer from hearing challenges due to this workplace hazard.

If you suspect Dad is experiencing hearing difficulties, make an appointment for a hearing screening.  This is a FREE service, and the problem may just be ear wax.  So, instead of the “bacon me crazy gift set,” remember this.  While Dad was working to bring home the bacon, he may have developed hearing loss that has compromised his ability to communicate with you.

Scott Erickson (BC-HIS)

 

Better Hearing Month and CaptionCall

Better Hearing Month and CaptionCall

In the hearing industry, May is considered “Better Hearing Month.” As a Board Certified Hearing Specialist, (BC-HIS) my goal is to assist you with all of your hearing needs.  My intent is to improve your quality of life not just with hearing instruments, but any device, tool or solution I can offer.  My 30+ years of professional experience in this industry helps me accomplish this goal.

That being said, a CaptionCall telephone is one device I would like to share with you.  Are you, or a relative not understanding conversations on the telephone?  Many of our patient’s are miles away from their loved ones.  This separation causes the telephone, as their main communication instead of in-person visits, crucial.  Now and then, some aided patients can not hear properly on the telephone.  Holidays, special occasions, and even emergency update phone calls are challenging to say the least.  The good news is a CaptionCall telephone which allows binaural listening, (listening with both ears) can be a lifeline to the outside world.  Hearing a conversation with a state-of-the-art speakerphone system with both ears AND reading the dialogue simultaneously, dramatically improves the quality of the call.

More good news:  This telephone system is FREE!  Once the application paperwork is completed, a qualified technician will simply visit your home, install the system, and coach you and your family on CaptionCall.  Many technicians witness the immediate positive impact of a newly installed system.  The CaptionCall customer makes a call, smiling and nodding their excitement since they can now understand the conversation.   Staying connected to their family and loved ones just became easier.

In conclusion, with an estimated 28 million people in the U. S. experiencing some type of treatable hearing loss, “Better Hearing Month” is an excellent time to commit to your hearing health.  Call us to schedule your annual hearing test.  After being tested, if you are experiencing any communication challenges, together we will create a positive solution that can be life-changing.

Scott Erickson (BC-HIS)

Alamosa: 2101 Main Street, Suite C, Alamosa, CO  81101 (719)587-9820

Pagosa: 190 Talisman Road, Suite C-3, Pagosa Springs, CO  81147 (970)731-4554

Coloradohearingaid.com

What is CaptionCall?

“CaptionCall is the world’s best captioning telephone designed to help people with hearing loss use the phone to stay socially connected with loved ones, conduct important business, and best of all, maintain confident communications for a longer, happier, healthier life.”

TIA-4953ComplianceGraphics

 https://captioncall.com

Go online or call 1-877-557-2227 to request a CaptionCall telephone