8 Reasons Hearing Loss is More Dangerous Than You Think

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Hearing impairment is dangerously sneaky. It creeps up on an individual over the years so gradually you hardly notice, making it easy to deny or ignore. And afterwards, when you finally recognize the signs and symptoms, you shrug it off as inconvenient and irritating because its true consequences are hidden.

For as much as 48 million Us citizens that report some amount of hearing loss, the consequences are much greater than simply irritation and frustration.1 Here are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is far more dangerous than you may assume:

1. Link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

An investigation from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging reveals that people with hearing loss are considerably more liable to suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in contrast with those who maintain their hearing.2

While the cause for the link is ultimately unknown, scientists suppose that hearing loss and dementia may share a common pathology, or that a long time of straining the brain to hear could produce damage. Another explanation is that hearing loss frequently results in social isolation — a top risk factor for dementia.

No matter what the cause, repairing hearing might be the optimum prevention, including the use of hearing aids.

2. Depression and social isolation

Scientists from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have found a strong link between hearing loss and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3

3. Not hearing alerts to danger

Car horns, ambulance and law enforcement sirens, and fire alarms all are created to notify you to potential hazards. If you miss out on these types of signals, you put yourself at an higher risk of injury.

4. Memory impairment and mental decline

Studies suggest that adults with hearing loss experience a 40% greater rate of decline in cognitive performance when compared to individuals with healthy hearing.4 The top author of the investigation, Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, said that “going forward for the next 30 or 40 years that from a public health perspective, there’s nothing more important than cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages.” that is the reason why increasing awareness as to the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s highest priority.

5. Lower household income

In a review of over 40,000 households carried out by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was shown to negatively influence household income by as much as $12,000 annually, depending on the degree of hearing loss.5 Those who wore hearing aids, however, cut this impact by 50%.

The ability to communicate on the job is crucial to job performance and advancement. The fact is, communication skills are without fail ranked as the number one job-related skill-set coveted by recruiters and the leading factor for promotion.

6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it

In regard to the human body, “use it or lose it” is a saying to live by. As an example, if we don’t make use of our muscles, they atrophy or reduce in size with time, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through physical exertion and repetitive use that we can reclaim our physical strength.

The the exact same phenomenon pertains to hearing: as our hearing degrades, we get ensnared in a downward spiral that only gets worse. This is identified as auditory deprivation, and a ever-increasing body of research is confirming the “hearing atrophy” that can manifest with hearing loss.

7. Underlying medical conditions

Although the most common cause of hearing loss is connected to age and regular direct exposure to loud sound, hearing loss is occasionally the symptom of a more serious, underlying medical condition. Possible ailments include:

  • Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • Otosclerosis – the hardening of the middle ear bones
  • Ménière’s disease – a disorder of the inner ear affecting hearing and balance
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Infections, earwax buildup, or blockages from foreign objects
  • Tumors
  • Medications – there are more than 200 medications and chemicals that are known to cause hearing and balance issues

Due to the seriousness of some of the ailments, it is vital that any hearing loss is quickly evaluated.

8. Greater risk of falls

Research has unveiled a variety of links between hearing loss and serious conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. A further study carried out by investigators at Johns Hopkins University has found yet another disheartening link: the link between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6

The study reveals that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, labeled as mild, were approximately three times more likely to have a track record of falling. And for every extra 10-decibels of hearing loss, the probability of falling increased by 1.4 times.

Don’t wait to get your hearing tested

The optimistic side to all of this pessimistic research is the suggestion that preserving or repairing your hearing can help to diminish or eliminate these risks entirely. For those of you that now have normal hearing, it is more vital than ever to take care of it. And for the people suffering with hearing loss, it’s vital to seek the services of a hearing specialist without delay.

Sources

  1. Hearing Loss Association of America: Basic Facts About Hearing Loss
  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked in Study
  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: NIDCD Researchers Find Strong Link between Hearing Loss and Depression in Adults
  4. Medscape: Hearing Loss Linked to Cognitive Decline, Impairment
  5. Better Hearing Institute: The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income
  6. Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling

Professional musicians at greater risk of developing hearing loss

Over time, extremely loud noise will cause irreversible harm to the hair cells of the inner ear, which are the sensory receptors responsible for transmitting sound to the brain. They can be damaged from repeated overexposure to loud noise. Sadly, you can’t regrow these hair cells.

Popularity, wealth, and screaming fans are all part of the life of a professional musician. In spite of this, a lot of “hearing loss” or “tinnitus” can result from all that fortune and fame. The sad fact is, a musician’s hearing is what is most vulnerable to harm from the performance of their trade.

As a matter of fact, musicians are about four times more likely to acquire noise-induced hearing loss compared with the average individual, as indicated by researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology. The scientific study also determined that professional musicians are roughly 57% more likely to suffer from tinnitus — a condition connected with a recurring ringing in the ears.

How musicians, and fans, can protect their ears

Even though musicians are at greater risk for developing hearing loss or tinnitus, the threat can be substantially diminished by employing protective measures. As a result of the specialized requirements of musicians — and the importance of maintaining the debt due to the specialized requirements of musicians — and the significance of maintaining the details of sound — the initial step is to make an appointment with an audiologist.

When the below symptoms are found to exist, the harm has already been done. So, the best thing a musician can do to prevent long-term, permanent hearing loss is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist before you experience symptoms.

An audiologist can recommend custom musicians’ plugs or in-ear-monitors that will give protection to your hearing without limiting your musical abilities. As a musician, you have unique needs for hearing and hearing protection, and audiologists or hearing specialists are the experts specifically trained to offer you this customized protection.

Don’t delay seeing an audiologist until you experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • A ringing or buzzing noise in the ears
  • Any pain or discomfort in the ears
  • Difficulty comprehending speech
  • Difficulty following discussions in the presence of background noise

Even concert-goers are susceptible to hearing damage. 120 decibels of hair-cell-killing volume is pumping from the loudspeakers right into your ears. Wear ear plugs and take other actions to protect your hearing each and every time.

Louder is not better

In non-technical terms, rock shows are literally ear-splittingly loud, and repeated unprotected exposure can cause some substantial damage, which, sadly, many popular musicians have recently attested to.

To properly show the problem, hearing loss starts with routine exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels (decibels being a unit used to calculate loudness). That may well not mean much to you, until you take into account the decibel levels connected with common actions:

    • Whisper at 6 feet: 30 decibels (dB)
    • Common dialogue at 3 feet: 60 – 65 (dB)
    • Motorcycle: 100 dB
    • Front row at a rock show: 120 to 150 dB

Chris Martin, the lead vocalist for the band Coldplay, has suffered with Tinnitus for many years. Martin said:
“Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem. I’ve had tinnitus for about 10 years, and since I started protecting my ears it hasn’t got any worse (touch wood). But I wish I’d thought about it earlier. Now we always use moulded filter plugs, or in-ear monitors, to try and protect our ears. You CAN use industrial headphones, but that looks strange at a party.”

Guess who else has suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus? Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Bono, Sting, Ryan Adams, and more, many of which express regret that they hadn’t done more to give protection to their ears through the course of their careers. Lars Ulrich from Metallica stated: “If you get a scratch on your nose, in a week that’ll be gone. When you scratch your hearing or damage your hearing, it doesn’t come back. I try to point out to younger kids … once your hearing is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no real remedy.”

Take this as a warning and get your hearing checked. Wear ear plugs and do all you can to protect your precious ears, especially if you are a musician or a frequent concert goer.

Preventing work related hearing loss with high fidelity, custom-fit ear plugs

85 decibels: the sound measure at which repetitive exposure can result in significant hearing damage.
100 decibels: the sound degree reached by a rock concert, which is not-so-good news for performers or live concert goers.

4 reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are significantly better than standard foam

Here are four reasons why custom-fit ear plugs are a level above foam ear plugs.

1. Conservation of sound quality

Standard foam ear plugs muffle speech and music. By decreasing noise largely in the high frequency range, rather than in the mid-to-low frequency range, music and voices appear to be unnatural and unclear. Foam ear plugs also cut sound by 30-40 decibels, which is unnecessary for the prevention of hearing damage.

Custom-fit ear plugs will decrease sound more uniformly across frequencies while reducing sound volume by a lower decibel level, thereby preserving the natural quality of speech and music.

2. Avoidance of the “Occlusion Effect”

With foam ear plugs, the user will notice a hollowed out or boomy sound in their speech when speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. This frustrating sound is referred as the “occlusion effect.”

Custom-fit ear plugs are molded to the ear, forming a deep seal that helps prevent this distracting sound.

3. Cost & convenience

Custom ear plugs can keep working up to four years, typically at a cost of well under $100.

Let’s do some calculations on the throw-away foam plugs:
$3.99 for 10 pairs equals $0.39 per pair
$0.39 per pair X 5 days per week X 52 weeks per year X 4 years = $405.60
With custom-fit ear plugs, you will certainly save money in the long run and will prevent all of those trips to the store. No one enjoys purchasing ear plugs, so while the initial visit to the audiologist seems like a burden, in the long run you will also save yourself time.

4. Preserving the environment

Throw-away ear plugs generate a lot of waste:
5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = 260 pairs of foam ear plugs tossed out every year.

A Look at the Numbers

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 30 million individuals in the U.S. are subjected to unsafe sound levels, representing one of the major occupational dangers over the past 25 years.
Alarmingly, here are some decibel volumes linked with general work related activities: a power saw can reach 110 decibels, a newspaper press 97, a chain saw 120, a sporting show 105, and a jet takeoff 150. music players, manufacturing workers, construction workers, airport staff, emergency staff, plumbers, and carpenters are all at risk of suffering from serious hearing loss and tinnitus.

Occupational hearing loss affects so many

This next story is a narrative that is all too familiar: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 there were 21,000 occurrences of work-related hearing loss documented.

Meet Kevin Twigg of Stockport, England, who is intimately knowledgeable of the occupational dangers of sound. Twigg worked on analyzing and fixing law enforcement car sirens — which reach between 106 to 118 decibels — for more than 30 years.
Twigg began to suffer severe tinnitus in addition to significant hearing loss that necessitated the use of hearing aids after retirement. Having failed to adopt the appropriate actions that would minimize the sound levels, Twigg’s employer was found responsible in court, losing a case in which Twigg would secure a large settlement.

How to protect your ears at work

The optimum method requires the use of custom-fit ear plugs, sometimes referred to as musicians plugs, that your hearing consultant can individualize specifically to you, your profession, and your preferences.

There’s a problem though: the world requires performers, craftsmen, and emergency and construction staff, but you can’t make power saws and police sirens any quieter.

The remedy? Reduce the level of noise that makes its way into your ear. Simple, right? Well…not so fast.
You could simply travel to the neighborhood store and pick up some disposable foam ear plugs, but there’s a higher quality alternative: a custom fit.

Schedule a consultation and give protection to your ears

Take a look at the benefits of custom-fit ear plugs.
If you work in a job that exposes you to a high risk for hearing damage, or if you participate in rowdy concerts or sporting events, schedule an consultation with a hearing specialist today. Custom-fit ear plugs will protect your ears, and distinct from the disposable foam varieties, will also conserve the quality of sound. Call your audiologist today!

A Brief History of Hearing Aids

It’s unbelievable how many millions of people wear hearing aids in this country, all thanks to 200 years of research and history. The growth of technology has manifested itself in a variety of shapes, sizes, capabilities and colors of devices designed for young and old. Check out this brief history of hearing aids and just how much these devices have improved. Compared with the devices of two centuries ago, which were very large and uncomfortable, today’s hearing aids only weigh a few ounces. It’s this unparalleled versatility that lends itself to better comfort for the hearing impaired individual.

What we Have Today

To put it into perspective, 90 percent of today’s hearing impaired people wear digital devices. It’s necessary to go back a bit to the more primitive modern iterations that started in 1964 when Zenith Radio made the first behind-the-ear models. Through recent decades, inventions brought to light digital signal-processing chips, hybrid analog-digital models and fully digital models by the end of the 1990s. The new million witnessed the emergence of programmable hearing aids for better flexibility, customization and comfort. Today’s hearing aids can seamlessly connect to Bluetooth technology as well as filter out annoying background noise.

Where it all Started

When the 19th century came about, electrical technologies emerged spurred on by the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Thomas Edison was inspired by this invention and came up with the carbon transmitter for the telephone in 1878. This was designed to boost the basics of the telephone as well as the electrical signal to improve hearing. The 17th and 18th centuries produced devices that offered only limited amplification qualities. The phone invention acted as a starting point for advancement leading to electrical transmission of speech.

Cumbersome Vacuum Devices

These kinds of vacuums are different than what you’re used to. Vacuum tubes, made by Western Electric Co. in 1920 in NYC, utilized technology taken from Lee De Forest’s discovery of the three-component tube previously. The result was far better amplification as well as better frequency, but the comfort level was very low because the items were quite large and impractical. Still, they got smaller as the years passed and indeed served a purpose.

Devices Worn on the Ear

In the 1930s, hearing aids could finally be worn on the ear with relative comfort, produced by a Chicago electronics manufacturer. World War II saw the introduction of more compact models that were reliable thanks to the prevalence of printed circuit boards. These early devices were characterized by a thin wire connecting an earpiece to a receiver, but the wearer had to strap a battery pack to his leg.

Comfort levels and adaptability have certainly come a long way!

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hearing Aids

The last 200 years have seen many advancements in hearing aids, hinging on growing technology that seems to result from the hard work of committed scientists who have a hearing impaired loved one in their life. Take Alexander Graham Bell, for instance. His mom had hearing loss, as did his wife who was deaf. Here we give you some other little-known facts when it comes to hearing aids.

1. Hearing aids used to come in just one color: beige. This helped the hearing aid blend into the ear better. While practical and discrete, today’s young hearing aid wearers are seeking out the bold and beautiful, with devices that come in a rainbow of bright colors. This is one way people can embrace their devices and feel proud.

2. Digital hearing aids have only come out in the last 20 years or so. Their emergence has helped reduce the feedback, echoes, and background noises that can be distracting to users. These annoyances were considered an unfortunate side effect of the older technologies, contributing to the difficult time picking up sound.

3. Hearing aids and wireless devices go hand in hand today, thanks to state of the art technology like Bluetooth. This technology sends direct signals from anything from a smart phone to an MP3 player to a TV.

4. Hearing aids are the smallest and most compact they’re ever looked. This is a relief from the large, cumbersome and uncomfortable hearing aids of years past that weighed several pounds. The earliest versions couldn’t even be worn solely on the ear because there were so many components to it. Their sound amplification abilities left a lot to be desired as well. Users can now enjoy smaller and more light weight versions that weigh in at just a few ounces.

5. Simple sound amplification is not enough for modern hearing aids to be effective. That’s why they now have the capability of enhancing and clarifying sound for a much better listening experience.

6. Did you know there’s such a thing as water resistant and waterproof hearing aids? With your active lifestyle, you will appreciate that water resistant hearing aids can withstand low levels of humidity and moisture, and waterproof hearing aids can withstand moisture that may occur as a result of a shower or a dip in the swimming pool.

7. Induction loops were invented to help people hear better in crowds. They can more accurately pick up announcements in crowded places or in corporate meeting conferences, minus all that background noise and frequency distortion. This can be helpful in airports, stadiums, and other public transportation areas.

8. Many hearing aids, now manufactured with rechargeable technology to better manage upkeep costs, allow the user to forget about having to replace so many batteries all the time.

9. Don’t think you can just buy a hearing aid at the big box store and bring it home. A big part of the process is the programming that must take place by a certified audiologist. This helps the hearing aid to automatically revert to the most comfortable settings that the user enjoys, based on previous use and interaction with the surroundings.

10. Hearing aids don’t just concentrate on the amplification of sound. They often times have special components like tinnitus therapy for much-needed relief for users who suffer from constant ear ringing.
These interesting facts hopefully have enlightened you about hearing aids and the technology that comes with them.

How Ibuprofen Can Lead to Hearing Loss

Did you know you can stop taking certain medications so you can avoid further hearing loss? It’s true, thanks to a new study. Ibuprofen is a pain killer that can hurt your hearing, so be careful when taking it. Hearing loss is a common side effect for those getting on in years, but you don’t have to fall victim to it. Now, avoiding certain medications can help you protect your hearing health as you age. Of course, you should still stay away from noisy situations such as concerts and long-term noise exposure such as those found in clubs.

What to Do

Scientists don’t really know for sure why medicines like naproxen don’t affect hearing loss while ibuprofen does. Get your doctor’s OK before taking ibuprofen so you’re aware of the potential side effects regarding hearing loss. Read all labels beforehand, as you’ll find ibuprofen in several cold and sinus medications found over the counter. You can still take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for your pain relief needs but if you’re concerned about hearing loss, talk to your doctor. Or, you could use a different kind of medicine like naproxen.

Causes

It’s good to know you can better your hearing if you stop taking certain medications. Consult with your doctor to find out what’s best for your particular situation. So how do pain relievers such as ibuprofen cause hearing loss? They restrict blood flow to the inner ear’s cochlea so that it doesn’t work like it should. When you take acetaminophen, especially, you can really damage the ear structures that are there to protect your cochlea. Tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo can all be worsened by ibuprofen, which has been proven by other studies. Certain analgesics can hurt your kidneys as well as your ears, leading to ototoxicity. While researchers have already connected this link with ibuprofen and hearing loss in men thanks to previous studies, this new study has proven the same happens in females. Those who take Ibuprofen for pain relief may also experience fuzzy and unclear sounds if they have a cochlear implant.

Conclusive Findings

Recent findings thanks to the American Journal of Advanced Epidemiology, we now know over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can bring on hearing loss in women. The study showcase about 60,000 women over a period of 14 years. The conclusion was that a quarter of those women who ingested ibuprofen and acetaminophen several times a week found a lowering of their hearing ability.

More Research

More research must be done. Other factors that affect hearing loss include hormones, diet and alcohol consumption along with ibuprofen. You can also increase your chances if you exposure yourself to loud noises over a long period of time. To answer this call, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is studying 150,000 women across the nation to determine all the factors that can contribute to hearing loss.

How Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Holiday Gatherings

Everyone loves to get together at the holidays. However, for the hearing impaired, this could pose a challenge. While many around the country will gather together and have a harmonious time in one another’s company, people who suffer from hearing loss will not have such an easy time with one another. Hearing loss can truly affect many aspects of a person’s overall happiness and health. Let’s check out the effects of hearing loss on social happiness, how to manage hearing loss, and also how to help people who suffer from hearing loss.

What Can We Do About Hearing Loss In The Holidays?

You may be at a loss as to how to treat someone with a hearing impairment. Bring them over and make sure that everyone completely understands their situation. Break the ice any way you can and build the room’s conversations around them in order to build their confidence. Also, you can be sure to help people with hearing loss by making sure that you are speaking to them loudly and slowly depending on their overall preferences. Take a person-first approach to their needs.

The first thing you can do is work through the basic barrier of isolation that these people with hearing loss put up. You can invite your hard of hearing family members to events and make them incredible welcome in your home. While the hearing loss can have a huge impact on the way that people approach and celebrate the holidays, there are ways that you can do something about it.

Another way that you can combat hearing loss is by consulting a hearing specialist. These specialized medical professionals can work to the advantage of their patients by giving them the ability to examine possible hearing solutions available to them. After all the best way to help integrate family and friends with a more active community is being sure that they can actually hear conversations as they are happening. A hearing specialist will typically offer two great ways to go about helping your hearing- surgical options and device solutions. Surgery can repair the physical structures of the ear that have been harmed throughout your life. For hearing devices, there have been many advances in technology that have allowed hearing aid devices to give an incredible amount of hearing back to the patients. With all of these means, hearing specialists are able to help people with their overall hearing health and with making the most out of the holidays.

Hearing Loss Problems

The side effects of hearing loss are largely social. This is significant in terms of hearing loss during the holidays because, more than anything else, the holidays are a time to gather with your close family and friends. If you cannot communicate with these people that you love, it can cause some significant effects on your overall sense of well-being. For example, people who suffer from hearing loss are much more likely to have issues with depression as well as anxiety. After all, not being able to take part in the holiday festivities is enough to get anyone feeling the holiday blues. This is only compounded by the fact that hearing loss may stop people from even going out and participating in any form of family activity in the first place. This social isolation will result in other problems in life as well, and can show themselves in health problems such as brain damage and even dementia later on.

How Hearing Aids are Programmed

Your hearing aid should gel to your ears and yours alone, taking into account your existing hearing capabilities. Thus, no two hearing aids are exactly alike because everyone has customized features that are dependent on the specific degree of hearing loss, comfort level and other personal considerations will. This is why you must have your hearing aid programmed to your ears rather than take a one-size fits all approach. This process is performed by a certified audiologist. Just like you wouldn’t fit any lenses into your frames without the help of an ophthalmologist, you’ll have to get your hearing aid programmed by an audiologist.

Programming Hearing Aids

The hearing aids of today are able to help with noise reduction and feedback reduction algorithms. You’ll find that several doctors use a surround sound system in order to simulate real noise from the outside environment and make adjustments based on feedback in real time. This surround sound system approach, while it can simulate crowd noises and help the doctor adjust noise reduction factors, is valuable too because it offers unparalleled troubleshooting capabilities. A hearing aid, with the ability to be customized to the individual, must incorporate real ear measurements, as well as visual mapping and environmental simulations. Real-ear probe microphones, which pick on the sounds that are hitting the eardrum, assists the doctor in more accurately programming the device. Visible speech mapping (VSM) shows how various sounds of speech hit the eardrum and process sound, a state of the art alternative to traditional measurements. Your doctor should have access to the right hardware, software and cables to connect to the hearing aid so the programming process can be a success. While some people actually know how to program their own hearing aids, this can be an expensive way to go about it. Plus, you could be doing yourself a disservice if you attempt it yourself. See a professional instead.

What Factors can be Adjusted?

Audiologists take many components into account when they program your hearing aid, prompting them to adjust anything from volume, frequency and intensity levels, to compression ratios, maximum output of power and noise reduction. They can also incorporate microphone usage. For example, doctors can tweak a setting that’s just too sensitive to noise so the user feels the most comfortable. You’ll also be glad to know that many devices can also filter out the din of background noise.

Processing Time

Older hearing devices were pretty easy to operate and adjust, typically with just a screwdriver. Now you’re able to personalize hundreds of elements within digital hearing aids to match the hearing needs of the individual. Programming depends on various subjective preferences thanks to a thorough hearing evaluation. Adjustments often happen on an ongoing basis as the user troubleshoots preferences in the real world. You wouldn’t just buy a mattress or a car without trying it out first, right? Same with hearing aids. Users may return to the office with suggestions on what they would like to incorporate. The brain can’t immediately adjust to the new sounds emitted by the device. This is why much time is needed to evaluate different listening situations, such as crowd noise that you just can’t achieve in an office setting. Digital hearing aids are the best option available today, thanks to this innovative trouble shooting approach.

Brain Hearing Restores Optimal, Natural Hearing

Over the last 10 to 15 years, hearing aids have been breaking through barriers. Hearing aids that were once bulky, expensive, and ineffective are now compact, affordable, and capable of reproducing the subtleties of natural sound.

What has happened is, hearing aid technology is advancing faster than hearing aid reputation, and many people continue to associate hearing aids with the ugly, massive contraptions of the past. It’s not just better technology that makes them work, but a fundamental change in the overall approach to research and design – a new approach researchers are calling “brain hearing.”  Nevertheless, in sharp contrast to their older ancestors, modern hearing aids are sleek and nearly invisible – and most importantly, they work as they should.

How you can benefit from brain hearing

At this point, you may be asking yourself how you can get your hands (and ears) on this new brain hearing technology. While hearing aids are not off-the-shelf products and need to be professionally fitted and programmed, the process is likely to be easier than you think.

The first step is to schedule a hearing test with any board-certified audiologist. Next, your audiologist will precisely measure your hearing loss, using that information in the custom programming of your new state-of-the-art hearing aid. Enjoying the sounds of life again is the best benefit of them all so that you’re free from the burdens of hearing loss.

So what is brain hearing, exactly?

Did you know that sound actually occurs in the brain, and not in the ears. Traditional hearing aids, designed with the ears in mind, tend to amplify any and all sounds, pushing through a mass of noise directly to the brain. The result is terrible sound quality that causes the brain to become overwhelmed and fatigued. And that, unfortunately, sums up the majority of the history of hearing aids.

By taking into account the entire hearing process, brain hearing research is leading to the development of some incredible hearing aids. Researchers now know that the processing of sound within the brain, and quality of the signal the brain receives, are just as important as the amplification of sound in the ear.

How do brain-focused hearing aids work?

By maintaining a natural, clear signal that is full of detail, brain-focused hearing aids work with the brain’s four key functions used to make sense of the sound it receives:

  1. Spatial recognition – brain hearing preserves the difference in sound between the two ears, allowing for the ability to accurately locate sounds.

  2. Sound filtering – brain hearing preserves the ability to identify and separate relevant information from background noise.

  3. Speech recognition – brain hearing preserves the natural characteristics of speech, making it easier to focus on conversations and switch between speakers.

  4. Sound focusing – brain hearing preserves the ability to focus on relevant sounds and speech, even in noisy environments with abrupt changes in background noise.

Improved hearing aid performance is a result of brain hearing. By changing only the sounds that the inner ear cannot already hear well, the natural quality of sound is preserved, and the brain is not fatigued and overwhelmed with unnecessary amplification.

Consumers love brain-focused hearing aids

Brain hearing is certainly making a splash. Companies like Oticon, a global leader in the hearing industry, are currently producing brain-focused hearing aids and receiving outstanding feedback. This company reports that while average hearing instrument user satisfaction is 79%, user satisfaction associated with one of its brain-focused hearing aids is 96%.

“BrainHearing is a natural evolution of Oticon’s long-standing commitment to putting the needs of People First,” says Søren Nielsen, President of Oticon. “This comes back to our research from our Eriksholm research facility, where we have understood that treating hearing loss is much more than presenting sound through amplification. We have known for some years that the brain has a unique ability to process sound if it receives a robust signal that is full of detail.”

 

How Cell Phones Are Revolutionizing The Hearing Aid Industry

Just exactly how are cell phones representing a major shift in the hearing aid industry? Well, for starters, they now have state of the art technology to accommodate the growing needs of their hearing impaired customers. For several years, hearing aid devices have dominated the market and have helped hearing impaired individuals hear more clearly every day. That’s still true. But now, cell phones and smart phones are getting in on the game as well. Cell phones can help these people go about their day with safety and confidence because they know they can rely on their devices for assistance. One of the latest forms of this technology comes in the form of cell phones, offering a great way to help people suffering from hearing loss.

Here we learn about why cell phones continue to revolutionize the use of modern day hearing aids for those who have varying degrees of hearing loss.

Cell Phone Technological Advancements

Most cell phones today feature a T3 or T4 standard. What does this mean? It means they have met or exceeded the overall power and efficiency that they are required to have in order to function well with the hearing impaired. This is punctuated by the fact that several new advancements recently made in both the hardware and software of cell phones have begun to come out in the assistance of hearing impaired individuals. Sufferers of hearing loss, in turn, experience a far greater range of accessibility to their cell phone. To put this into perspective, many modern cell phones come with a telecoil, which that is responsible for changing magnetic signals from the phone into sound signals that can be interpreted by the user. This occurs when the telecoil and the cell phone are used in conjunction.

Smart Phones- Leading The Way

Smart phones have powerful components that allow them to run many helpful applications. This aids hearing impaired individuals, making them feel safe and secure in their daily lives. Did you know that some apps have the capability of locating active subtitles for a movie a user wants to watch, or even a syndicated television program on TV? Two other ways in which these phones can also alert users is via a phone call or text with blinking LED lights to garner immediate attention. They can also help through vibrations when a message or phone call or text is received so the user can count on their device to notify them.

Static and noise cancelling technology inherent in the latest models is yet another way that people who use hearing aids are taking advantage of using smart phones. What happens? Using a hearing aid together with a cell phone will not result in feedback or static, giving the user complete clarity while in use. Known as hearing aid capability, or HAC, this means hearing impaired people can learn their device’s capabilities before they spend their hard earned money. Smart phones have been dominating the market with superior technology built right in. Just like regular cell phones, these devices often feature high-level telecoils built into the device itself. This is a revolutionary way of being able to hear better each and every day using a crucial device to today’s communication.

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