How to Select the Right Hearing Aid Model

Hearing Aids

Today’s advances in technology ensure that your hearing loss can be successfully remedied with the right hearing aid model.

The difficulty is choosing the right one.

With all of the hearing aid models available in the market, it can be just a little overwhelming. But by considering four factors—together with assistance from a seasoned hearing care professional—you can readily find the ideal hearing aid model for you.

How All Hearing Aids Work

Before we discuss the differences, it helps to remember how all hearing aids have in essence the same components.

Modern digital hearing aids are small electronic devices that are composed of four standard parts:

  1. The microphone picks up environmental sound and sends it to the digital processor.
  2. The digital processor adjusts the sound signal based on the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The revised sound signal is then directed to the amplifier.
  3. The amplifier heightens the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has problems hearing. This signal is then sent to the speaker.
  4. The speaker delivers the magnified sound to the ear, leading to louder, clearer sound.

Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and additional features and functionality that we’ll talk about next.

How Hearing Aids Are Different

While all hearing aids have the same vital parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When picking out a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will help you narrow down your choices according to the four variables, which are:

  1. Style – There are numerous different styles of hearing aids. The style best suited for you depends on several things such as the intensity of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening goals.
  2. Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too difficult for you to physically handle? Would you like to use your cell phone as your hearing aid remote control?
  3. Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can utilize your hearing aids with your phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on speech?
  4. Price – Most hearing care professionals are very good at uncovering a hearing aid that will meet your preferences and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based upon where they think you will get the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available.

Let’s go over the four variables in more depth.

Hearing Aid Style

Hearing aids come in a variety of styles, and your final choice might hinge plainly on aesthetic taste.

Here are a few of the most popular styles:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid parts covered in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear; the case is then attached to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids can also be found that are smaller. These hearing aids are easy to manipulate and simple to maintain.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts enclosed in a shell that fills in the exterior portion of the ear. The ITE aids are more compact than the behind-the-ear aids but larger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to manipulate than the smaller in-the-canal aids and less conspicuous than the behind-the-ear aids.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids – these hearing aids are contained in tiny cases that fit partially or completely in the ear canal, making them virtually imperceptible.

When it comes to picking out a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and ensure that you go over these items with your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use

A consideration that is frequently overlooked is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the virtue of being small, they may also be tricky to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.

You may also want to look into digital hearing aids that can be manipulated with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it easy to monitor battery life, adjust the volume, and switch among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Functionality

Functionality is commonly a concern, and you need to work with your hearing specialist about any special situations or activities you regularly perform. As an example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll likely want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.

Also inquire about directional microphones and background noise suppression that can maximize your capacity to hear speech and participate in conversation.

Hearing Aid Cost and Financing

Finally, after thinking about the above factors, you should establish the price you’re ready to invest for the benefits you’ll achieve from better hearing.

Although it’s true that no one can make this judgment for you, most of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without constantly straining is well worth the price.

In fact, the per month expense of a hearing aid is commonly less than the monthly expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a bigger influence on your overall quality of life than watching reruns of Law and Order.

Final Considerations

After you have an idea of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can help you to narrow down the options. Then, you can choose the model that matches all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.

After you’ve decided on your ideal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your individual hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing exam (audiogram). And keep in mind, irrespective of the model you pick out, it won’t function correctly unless programmed by a hearing care professional.

Lastly, you’ll have the opportunity to try out your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take some time to get used to them, but after a short while you’ll be astounded at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.

If you’re ready to find your ideal pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!

How to Become an Effective Communicator Despite Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids

Communication is regularly cited as one of the most—if not the most—crucial factors to strengthening and maintaining healthy relationships. According to the PBS program The Emotional Life:

“How couples behave when solving problems together or arguing can predict the character and success of their relationship. A raised eyebrow, a hand on the arm, or a greeting all may seem like small things, but research shows that the quality of everyday interactions can make or break a relationship.”

Likewise, communication skills are equally important at work: one 2014 survey of about 600 employers found that communication skills are the most in-demand skill set among recruiters. In fact, of five leading skill sets employers consider most valuable when making a hiring decision, communications skills top the list.

From preserving healthy relationships to getting hired to being promoted, communication affects practically every element of our lives. Seeking to improve our communication skills, then, is not a bad place to start if we wish to make some positive improvements.

How to become an effective communicator

Coming to be an effective communicator is not complicated, but it will require some elementary skills and the disposition to practice.

Step one is to recognize that the goal of any communication situation is an honest, open-ended exchange of ideas where all parties can be heard and understood. This calls for assertive and articulate speaking abilities, but, just as significantly, requires strong listening skills.

The reality is, listening skills may be the most important component of communication. The reason is simple: if you are unable to understand what is being said, you won’t have the capacity to articulate a relevant and significant response. This lack of ability to understand is the root cause of countless misunderstandings, quarrels, and bad feelings.

Improving listening skills, then, is the single most important thing you can do to become a superior communicator. And while active listening is often difficult in its own right, hearing loss makes things even harder.

Hearing loss and the obstacles to active listening

Active listening necessitates investing all attention to the speaker. Only by fully comprehending the message can you craft a relevant and substantive response, and that’s why inadequate speakers are nearly always distracted listeners.

But what triggers the distraction?

Here are four typical sources of distraction and how hearing loss has a tendency to make things worse:

Distraction # 1: Stress

If you’ve ever been overly stressed or anxious, you understand how challenging it can be to concentrate. You’re more inclined to be concentrated on your own thoughts and emotions rather than on the speaker’s, and you’re very likely to lose out on essential non-verbal signs and to misread what other people are saying.

Regarding stress, hearing loss by itself is a major source. You may feel anxious about missing important information or coming up with embarrassing responses. And, the battle to hear speech in the presence of hearing loss is a source of stress and strain itself.

Distraction # 2: Lack of focus

Active listening is challenging because our minds have the normal propensity to wander. You can’t both listen to the speaker and daydream, check your email, text, and plan what you’re going to say next. Remaining within the present moment and focusing on the speaker is the only way to pick up on the subtle details of the speaker’s message.

Hearing loss brings about a lack of focus because it takes you out of the present moment. If you’re attempting to determine what the speaker just said, you’re also missing out on what they’re saying at the moment. The continual catch-up virtually guarantees that you’ll never completely understand the message.

Distraction # 3: Misunderstanding

Stress and lack of focus can both cause you to misread the message. This introduces the chance of you becoming upset or irritated with a message that the other person never actually meant to send.

This at the very least wastes time and in the worst case manufactures bad feelings. Not to mention the aggravation of the person who is consistently misunderstood.

Distraction # 4: Lack of confidence

If you lack self-confidence, you’ll find it difficult to assert yourself while interacting. You’ll likely also be preoccupied with what the other person thinks rather than on the content of what they’re saying.

Hearing loss makes things much worse, as you can imagine, because your misinterpretations could be thought of as a sign that you just don’t understand the message. If you’re continuously asking for clarification on simple points, it makes it difficult to feel confident enough to be assertive.

How hearing aids can help you

Coming to be a better communicator requires becoming a better listener, but how can you become a better listener if you have hearing loss? You have a few options, but because hearing aids have advanced so far with respect to recognizing and amplifying speech, they really are the ideal solution.

Contemporary digital hearing aids have a host of extraordinary features made exclusively for speech recognition. Many hearing aid models have background noise suppression, directional microphones, and state-of-the-art digital processing so that speech comes through loud and clear.

Without having to strain to hear speech, you can concentrate all of your efforts on comprehending the message. Then, as you become a more effective active-listener, your self-confidence, assertiveness, and speaking skills will all take care of themselves.

If you have hearing loss and you’re ready to begin building distraction-free listening skills, arrange your hearing test today.

How Modern Hearing Aids Can Save Your Holiday Season

Holiday Hearing

Dealing with hearing loss during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.

While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear a few of your relatives, the conversations you do wish to indulge in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.

If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and left out.

Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your choices?

It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were conversing with.

But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.

Background noise reduction

Older analog hearing aid models were actually very simple devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was detected by the microphone, amplified, and transported through the speaker to the ear.

The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet environment, you had a tough time hearing voices.

Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you really require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is precisely what contemporary digital hearing aids can accomplish.

Digital hearing aids, in addition to containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can use to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.

By identifying and marking different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with targeted traits, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be easily identified and silenced.

Speech focus

In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.

Speech has a unique property in that it is composed principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.

On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re conversing with.

Book Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again

Are you ready to get back your holiday season?

Give us a call today and we’ll guide you to choose among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—equipped with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.

As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.

Why Two Hearing Aids Are Better Than One

Hearing Aids

Are two hearing aids better than one?

If you’re searching for the quick answer, then yes, most cases of hearing loss are best treated with two hearing aids.

If you want to learn why, or are curious about why we have two ears in the first place, then continue reading.

The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision

Let’s start with vision.

When we observe an image, each eye is provided with a slightly different version of that image. Our brains then measure the differences between the two versions to construct the perception of depth. This additional dimension of depth—coupled with height and width—enables us to experience the world in three dimensions.

If we had just one eye, our capability to perceive depth and distance would be considerably compromised.

The Advantages of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)

The same applies to our ears and our hearing. Although we may not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can ordinarily determine both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.

Each ear obtains a slightly different version of each sound, and those differences are interpreted by the brain in a way that reveals location and distance. This permits us to hear in three dimensions, so that we recognize how far away and which direction sound is coming from.

In addition to being able to judge depth, distance, and location, having two ears also enhances the quality of sound and enhances the range of sounds you can hear.

To verify the principle of sound quality, the next time you’re listening to music in a vehicle, turn off both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.

The Benefits of Two Hearing Aids

If our eye doctor informs us that we have vision impairment in both eyes, we don’t honestly think about the benefits of getting fitted with one lens.

So when our hearing specialist informs us that we have hearing loss in both ears, why do we need to be persuaded to use two hearing aids?

As we’ve seen, our ears work together so that our brains can best understand the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.

With the power to determine the precise location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:

  • concentrate on speech during a discussion even with significant background noise.
  • pick out distinct voices among many.
  • extend the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
  • hear sounds without straining, which is less exhausting.
  • listen to sounds without the abnormal feeling of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
  • Prevent the deterioration of hearing in the non-fitted ear.

That last point is significant. If you have hearing loss in both ears but wear only one hearing aid, your hearing in the non-fitted ear can become even worse with time. This will quickly restrict your ability to enjoy all of the benefits just described.

If you think you have hearing loss, the initial step is to arrange a hearing examination with an experienced hearing specialist. After your hearing is tested, your hearing specialist will share the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.

The audiogram will reveal if you have hearing loss in one or both ears, but the majority of cases of hearing loss are in both ears.

If this is the case, your hearing specialist will almost certainly suggest binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be offered the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great chance to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.

Why Hearing Aids Make You Happier Than Winning the Lottery


Presuming that you have hearing loss, what’s most likely to make you happy?

A) Winning the lottery, or

B) Getting a new pair of hearing aids

It might seem clear to you that the answer is A, but research on happiness conveys a quite different story.

First of all, people do tend to THINK that extraneous scenarios are more likely to make them happy. They consistently mention things like more wealth, better jobs, a brand new car, or winning the lottery.

What numerous studies have found, on the other hand, is surprisingly the opposite. The things that people in fact REPORT making them happier are not external or materialistic—they are mostly innate.

The things that make people happiest are high self-esteem, strong social skills, robust relationships, free time, volunteering, and humor, as demonstrated in the Stanford University video We Don’t Know What Makes Us Happy (But We Think We Do).

Winning the Lottery and the Hedonic Treadmill

If you answered that winning the lottery would make you happier, you might be correct, but research is not necessarily on your side.

In one routinely referenced study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers interviewed several Illinois state lottery winners and compared them with both non-winners and with accident victims that were left paraplegic or quadriplegic.

The interview questions focused on assessing happiness levels, and the results revealed that lottery winners were roughly just as happy as both non-winners and the accident victims.

The study concluded that people will usually have a fixed happiness level. Significant events like winning the lottery or suffering a debilitating trauma cause a short-term spike or drop in happiness—but the person’s happiness level in both cases will return to the fixed point.

This supports the “hedonic treadmill” theory, which claims that most people maintain approximately the same levels of happiness throughout life, comparable to when you adapt to and increase the speed on the treadmill.

For instance, if you secure a job with a larger salary, you probably will be temporarily happier. But once your happiness level returns to average, you’ll just want a job with even greater income, and on and on.

Buying Happiness with Hearing Aids

If you answered that wearing hearing aids would make you happier, your answer is most consistent with the research.

As stated by social psychologist Dr. Dan Gilbert, two decades of research on happiness has uncovered that the single most vital determiner of happiness is our relationships. He points out that our brains have evolved so that we can be social, and that “friendless people are not happy.”

Which is great news for hearing aid users.

Because the cornerstone of any healthy relationship is communication, and communication is contingent upon healthy hearing, hearing aids enhance relationships and a sense of confidence in those who use them.

And research tends to give credibility to this view. Several studies have confirmed that hearing aid users are satisfied with their hearing aid performance, notice a positive change in their overall mood, and develop enhanced relationships and social skills.

Consequently, wearing hearing aids promotes all of the things that tend to make us happier, while winning the lottery provides more money, which at best will only make us temporarily happier. So the next time you head out to buy lottery tickets, you may want to stop by the local hearing specialist instead.

The Alarming Hearing Loss Statistics You Need to Know About

Far too many times, we hear people claim that hearing loss only affects “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.

These claims couldn’t be further from the facts.

Here are statistics you should know about:

Prevalence of hearing loss in the United States

Hearing loss, to some amount, affects 20 percent of all Americans, or 48 million people, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. If everyone with hearing loss in the US resided in the same state, its population would be larger than the whole state of California by 10 million individuals.

1 out of every 5 people in the US has some degree of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. So, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively high.

In addition, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and worldwide the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most prevalent health disorder worldwide. In fact, those living with hearing loss exceed in number those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.

Hearing loss by age group

Although 1 out of 5 people in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, correct?

This is a universal myth, but the answer is an incontestable no.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only around 35 percent are over the age of 65. Well over 30 million Americans under the age of 65 have hearing loss. Of those:

  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some kind of hearing loss.
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss.
  • 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing issues.
  • 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Although hearing loss is prevalent across all age brackets, the extent of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have debilitating hearing loss, the rate rises to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, around 25 percent for adults aged 65 to 74, and about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.

The causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is remarkably common (both in the US and all around the world), affects all age groups, and has become more prevalent over time. What’s the cause behind all of this?

There are several causes, but the two leading causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.

Concerning sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer with hearing loss as a consequence of exposure to loud sounds on the job or during leisure activities.

The World Health Organization has also reported that 1.1 billion teens and young adults worldwide are in danger of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at extreme volumes.

Regarding aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is growing, and hearing loss is more widespread among this group.

Do hearing aids help?

The optimal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying away from loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing customized ear protection are three strategies that can spare your hearing.

But what if you currently suffer from hearing loss?

Fortunately, owing to the innovations in technology and hearing healthcare, practically all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And distinct from the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, today’s hearing aids have proven to be highly effective.

A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three popular types tested) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

Patients have also observed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after studying many years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Likewise, a recent MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey found that, for consumers with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.

The data speak for themselves, and your odds of acquiring hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the numbers also demonstrate that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.

Whether you need customized ear protection to avoid hearing loss or a new set of hearing aids to enhance the hearing you’ve already lost, we can help. We have experience with all degrees of hearing loss and can help find the ideal treatment for you.

5 Good Reasons to Get a Hearing Test

Hearing Test

In the US, about 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing choose not to do so.

And that’s not all.

After being shown that they need hearing aids, people wait on average 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.

Many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.

Regrettably, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.

The question is: if people are waiting 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally swaying them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it encourage us to address our own hearing loss sooner?

With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have inspired our patients to finally schedule a hearing test.

Here are the top five:

1. Not being able to hear the grandkids

Here’s one we’ve heard more than a couple times.

The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are many times higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially difficult to understand.

As a result, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this provides a strong incentive to book a hearing test.

2. Strained relationships

Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.

If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you talk too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.

Regrettably, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of frustration before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that loads of problems could have been averted if hearing loss were dealt with sooner.

3. Feeling left out

How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t comprehend what others are saying?

Many individuals with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This takes many down a path of solitude.

It’s this feeling of seclusion—and missing out on social activities—that inspire people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a detrimental way.

4. Being unproductive at work

We’ve heard several stories of people that come to their breaking point on the job. Frequently they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to communicate louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain silent because they can’t follow along.

There’s a reason why using hearing aids is linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and productive at work.

5. Concern about overall health and well-being

Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming gradually more cognizant of the health hazards connected with hearing loss. While there are several conditions tied to diminished hearing, the most worrying relationship is that between hearing loss and dementia. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing.

What’s your reason?

The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to attend to their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.

If you wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar situation to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.

4 Important Sounds You’re Missing With Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Here’s something most people are surprised to learn: in the majority of cases of hearing loss, people can hear many sounds without any problem, and have trouble only with particular sounds.

Particularly, if you have trouble only with high-pitched sounds, you may suffer from the most common form of hearing loss, referred to as high-frequency hearing loss.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you can in all probability hear lower-pitched sounds normally, causing the impression that your hearing is normal. Higher-pitched sounds, on the other hand, may not be heard at all.

So which frequencies should you be able to hear with normal hearing?

To start with, sound can be defined both by its intensity (calculated in decibels) and by its frequency or pitch (calculated in Hertz).

With standard hearing, you’d have the ability to hear sounds within the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, but the most important sounds are within the range of 250 to 6,000 Hz. Within that range, you would be able to hear most frequencies at a relatively low volume of between 0-25 decibels.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you may be able to hear the lower frequencies at reasonably low volumes (0-25 decibels), but you wouldn’t be able to hear the higher frequency sounds without increasing the volume (by as much as 90 decibels with severe hearing loss).

So which higher-pitched sounds, in particular, would you have difficulty hearing with high-frequency hearing loss?

Here are four:

1. Consonants

Speech entails a mix of both low and high frequency sounds.

Vowel sounds, like the short “o” in the word “hot,” have low frequencies and are usually easy to hear even with hearing loss.

Problems arise with consonants like “s,” “h,” and “f,” which have higher frequencies and are harder to hear. Since consonants present the majority of of the meaning in speech, it’s no wonder that individuals with high frequency hearing loss have trouble following conversations or TV show plots.

2. The voices of women and children

For the large number of men who have been accused of ignoring their wives or of having “selective hearing,” they may possibly for once have a valid excuse.

Women and children tend to have higher-pitched voices with less amplitude, or loudness. Because of this, people with hearing loss might find it easier to hear the male voice.

Several of our patients do complain about not hearing their grandchildren, and this will often be the principal motivator for a hearing test.

3. The chirping of birds

The sounds of birds chirping are in the higher frequencies, which means you could stop hearing these sounds entirely.

Indeed, we’ve had patients specifically mention their surprise when they could hear the sounds of birds again with their new hearing aids.

4. Certain musical instruments

The flute, the violin, and other musical instruments capable of generating high frequency sounds can be difficult to hear for those with hearing loss.

Music in general does tend to lose some of its potency in those with hearing loss, as specific instruments and frequencies cannot be distinguished.

How hearing aids can help

In addition to the above, you may have difficulty hearing several other sounds, like rustling leaves, rainfall, and the sound of flowing water.

But it’s not impossible to get these sounds back.

The secret to treating high-frequency hearing loss is in amplifying only the specific frequencies you have trouble hearing. That’s why it’s crucial to obtain the right hearing aids and to have them programmed by a qualified professional.

If you amplify the incorrect frequencies, or worse yet amplify all frequencies, you’re not going to get the results you want.

If you suspect you might have high-frequency hearing loss, give us a call today. Our experienced hearing professionals will meticulously test your hearing, pinpoint the frequencies you have difficulty with, and program your hearing aids for optimal hearing.

Are you ready to begin enjoying your favorite sounds again?

The Health Benefits of Better Hearing

Family at the beach

It’s frequently said that we don’t truly appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be particularly true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.

As one of our primary senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall health in jeopardy. But repairing our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.

Here are three ways enhancing your hearing can elevate your social, mental, and physical health.

Hearing and Relationships

The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is compromised. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it produces.

Hearing loss can be especially disruptive to a marriage, as Julie and Charlie Kraft had to find out the hard way.

For the majority of Charlie’s adult life, he has had a common form of hearing loss known as high-frequency hearing loss, in which he has difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. And since the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had an especially hard time hearing his wife.

But given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie just talked too quietly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.

In this manner, hearing loss generates a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards one another.

In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the good sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to address it. After Charlie began wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loud, and he started hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one perk he reported he appreciated the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.

Julie agreed, and both conveyed how much healthier their relationship is without the burden of hearing loss.

Hearing and Physical Health

Does using hearing aids tend to make you more active?

The answer is yes, according to a survey conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which discovered that 21 percent of those surveyed stated that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they regularly participate in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent feel that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their general health.

Hearing loss can make communication difficult to the point where people tend to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities with confidence, leading to more exercise and improved physical health.

Hearing and Mental Health

In a recent study, researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found a strong connection between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.

Other studies by Johns Hopkins University have linked hearing loss to general cognitive decline, including memory problems as well as an enhanced risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Clearly, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss causes several negative effects, leading to an increased risk of depression, social isolation, and mental decline. But the good news is, studies have also shown that wearing hearing aids can reverse or prevent many of these issues.

How Has Better Hearing Improved YOUR Life?

Statistics are one thing; stories of actual people enjoying the benefits of improved hearing are quite another.

If you use hearing aids, let us know in a comment below how your life, relationships, and/or physical or mental health has improved! You may end up inspiring someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.

6 Encouraging Things Wearing Hearing Aids Says About You

Family at the beach

It remains a mystery as to why wearing glasses—which correct vision impairment—is perceived as a sign of intelligence, while wearing hearing aids—which correct hearing impairment—has been perceived as an indication of old age.

Maybe it’s about time the stigma of hearing loss is corrected, and we redefine what it means for our bodies to engage with technology.

The question is, when you look at someone wearing a pair of hearing aids, what do you think?

Here are 6 of the favorable things we think wearing hearing aids says about you.

1. You love living an active life

Most social gatherings and activities require healthy hearing, while spending time by yourself at home does not. Wearing hearing aids is therefore a sign that you like to be active and social, and that you’re not going to let hearing loss hold you back from pursuing your favorite experiences.

2. You’re an open-minded, proactive problem solver

When you’re confronted with difficult challenges or obstacles, you find ways to conquer them. You don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself or assert a stubborn denial of the issue—you’re open-minded enough to admit to your hearing loss and proactive enough to correct it.

3. You’re tech-savvy

Today’s digital hearing aids are like mini computers, complete with exceptional capabilities like wireless connections, bluetooth streaming, directional microphones, and background noise reduction.

By sporting a pair of modern hearing aids, it illustrates that you are on the leading-edge of technology, set to experience the rewards that new technology has to offer.

4. You’re health conscious

Several new studies, particularly from Jonhs Hopkins University, have connected hearing loss to dangerous medical ailments including depression, general cognitive decline, memory issues, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Wearing hearing aids illustrates that you appreciate living an overall healthy lifestyle, proactively taking the steps necessary for an extended, healthy life—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

5. You treasure your relationships

You understand that the foundation for any healthy relationship is strong communication, and you’re not going to let hearing loss erect a barrier between you and those you love.

Your relationships are just too significant to allow hearing loss to produce occasions of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and the stress of others always needing to repeat themselves.

6. You’re self-confident

You’re not attempting to keep hidden the fact that you wear hearing aids—you’re proud of it. You love to live an active, social life and you’re proud that you’ve taken the steps to ensure your own quality of life.

In fact, many hearing aid users have reported enhanced performance at work, and research by the Better Hearing Institute shows that hearing aid users reported higher household income than those with untreated hearing loss.

What do hearing aids say about you?

What did we leave out? What would you include in the list?

There are many reasons to proudly wear hearing aids: Tell us in a comment some of the reasons you wear hearing aids so we can keep the list going.

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