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Hearing Info

What are the Effects of Hearing Loss?

Left undiagnosed or untreated, hearing loss can damage communications and erode relationships. It’s sad but hearing loss can go from a strictly physical condition to a psychological one, which is just one of the reasons it is so important to seek a solution promptly. There are also safety risks associated with hearing loss– all compelling reasons to take the steps now to address this problem!

Types of Hearing Loss

There are many TYPES of hearing loss. The most common is a problem called SENSORINEURAL – it is a problem with the inner ear, the acoustic nerve, or both. Most physicians call this condition “nerve deafness.” More than 90 percent of all hearing aid wearers have sensorineural hearing loss. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are: age related changes, noise exposure, inner ear blood circulation, inner ear fluid disturbances and problems with the hearing nerve.

The second most common type of hearing loss is CONDUCTIVE. Conductive hearing loss is due to any condition that interferes with the transmission of sound through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can be successfully treated in most cases. Conductive loss may result from earwax blocking the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, middle ear infection, obstructions in the ear canal, perforations (hole) in the eardrum or disease of any of the three middle ear bones. People with conductive hearing loss may notice their ears seem to be full or plugged. This person may speak softly because they hear their own voice loudly. Crunchy foods, such as celery or carrots, seem very loud to the person with a conductive hearing loss and this person may have to stop chewing to hear what is being said. Even if people with conductive hearing loss are not improved medically or surgically, they stand to benefit greatly from a hearing aid, because what they need most is amplification.

Frequently, a person experiences two or more types of hearing impairment, which is called mixed hearing loss. This term is used only when both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses are present in the same ear. However, the emphasis is on the conductive hearing loss, because available therapy is so much more effective for this disorder. For most people with hearing loss, there is help. Properly fitted hearing aids improve communication for at least 90 percent of people with hearing loss.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus (pronounced as ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus, both pronunciations are correct), is defined by the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) as “the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present.” Sometimes it is called “ringing in the ears” or “head noise,” but some people describe it as a buzzing, whistling, roaring, or even chirping sound. No matter what the sound is, it is constantly with a person day and night, robbing him or her of any peace and quiet.

The ATA reports that 1 in 5 people are affected by tinnitus. The exact cause is still unknown, but there are many sources that may trigger or worsen tinnitus, including head or neck trauma, jaw misalignment, noise exposure, and more. The good news is, that tinnitus is usually NOT a sign of a serious ongoing medical condition, and there are ways to manage the noise.

Realistic Expectations Regarding Hearing Aids

When wearing hearing aids:
• In quiet environments, your hearing should improve
• Your hearing in moderate background noise should improve
• Your hearing with background noise is NOT going to be as good as your hearing in a quiet environment.
• Your hearing with loud background noise is NOT WORSE than without hearing aids.
• Soft speech should be audible, average speech should be comfortable, and loud speech should not be uncomfortable
• Your ear molds should not hurt.
• Your voice should be “acceptable” to you.
• There should be no feedback when the hearing aids are properly seated in your ears.
• Your hearing aids should allow you to listen with less effort.

At Audicles Hearing Services, we are committed to personal, one-on-one service to assist in the transition to hearing aids and to make your hearing experience the best it can be.

Care Giver Corner

Hearing loss affects approximately 34 million Americans, or 11% of the population! While its impact is felt mainly by senior citizens (50% of those over 75 have the condition), hearing loss is increasing among baby boomers and young people alike.

Because age-related hearing loss occurs gradually, many don’t realize it has happened. They think others are mumbling, or background noise is to blame. For some it’s an ego-based problem – they don’t want to be the old guy with the hearing aid. But make no mistake, hearing loss can take its toll on everyday activities, relationships with spouses and family members, and even a person’s mental and physical well-being.

Here are a few things you can do to help a loved one accept hearing loss.

• Be as compassionate and understanding as you can. Let them know how your relationship is being affected by his/her hearing loss. Research tells us that continuous “family recommendation and pressure” is the number one reason people seek hearing aids.

• Don’t be afraid to involve your grown children, a close friend or a trusted doctor. Sometimes, this type of information is better received coming from others.

• If cost is a concern, gather information on healthcare payment plans. There are many attractive financial options available for purchasing hearing aids. At Audicles Hearing Services, we have financing options available.

• Sometimes the objections are based on the myth that hearing aids are big attention attracting devices. Do your research and show them how virtually invisible they can be.

• Find “Success Stories” among friends, neighbors or people from your church who’ve had positive outcomes with their hearing aids.

• If you find that you’re repeating yourself, raising your voice or the volume on the television; stop and point it out. You’re only enabling them.

Make an Appointment! Our free, caring consultation can lead to a proper and a customized solution. The right hearing aid will make all the difference for your loved one and you.

The Family’s Role

You, the family, play a critical role in helping to meet the emotional and psychological needs of your hearing impaired family member. It is a role filled with understanding and support. The following are six steps to consider when speaking to someone with a hearing loss:

1. Attract their attention. There is little benefit in speaking if they do not realize you are talking to them.
2. Always face the person. They need to watch your face for clues. Lip movements and body gestures are an important part of their listening.
3. Move Closer. Voices can fade around the corners and across distances.
4. Speak slowly and distinctly. Louder is NOT better. Yelling will distort the words and hurt your throat.
5. Wait and watch. Stop when you see signs of uncertainty. Repeat yourself. Start again and watch to be sure that you are being understood.
6. Save important talk for appropriate times. Discuss important matters during ideal hearing conditions. Find a quiet, calm environment.

Your support and sincere encouragement are just as important as the hearing aid itself.