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How to Pick the Right Hearing Aid Model

Hearing Aids

Modern-day breakthroughs in technology assure that your hearing loss can be successfully remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.

The difficulty is choosing the right one.

With all of the hearing aid models to select from, it can be just a little overwhelming. But by taking into consideration four factors—together with help from a qualified hearing care professional—you can readily find the optimal hearing aid model for you.

How All Hearing Aids Work

Before we examine the differences, it will help to remember how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same components.

Today’s digital hearing aids are small electronic gadgets that consist of four standard parts:

  1. The microphone picks up environmental sound and transmits it to the digital processor.
  2. The digital processor adjusts the sound signal based on the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The customized sound signal is then sent to the amplifier.
  3. The amplifier increases the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has problems hearing. This signal is then transferred 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 functions that we’ll discuss next.

How Hearing Aids Are Different

Although all hearing aids have the same fundamental parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When choosing a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will assist you to narrow down your choices according to the four variables, which are:

  1. Style – There are several different styles of hearing aids. The style most appropriate for you is dependent on many things such as the extent of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening objectives.
  2. Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too challenging for you to physically manipulate? Would you prefer to use your mobile phone as your hearing aid remote control?
  3. Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can utilize your hearing aids with your mobile phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on conversation?
  4. Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at finding a hearing aid that will meet your needs and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based on where they think you will achieve the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available.

Let’s consider the four variables in more depth.

Hearing Aid Style

Hearing aids come in a range of styles, and your selection might rely plainly on aesthetic preference.

The following are some of the most popular styles:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have most of the hearing aid components contained in a small plastic case that sits behind the ear; the case is then attached to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids are also available that are scaled-down. These hearing aids are easy to handle and simple to maintain.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts contained in a shell that fills in the external portion of the ear. The ITE aids are smaller than the behind-the-ear aids but bigger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to manipulate than the smaller in-the-canal aids and less noticeable 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 totally in the ear canal, making them virtually imperceptible.

In terms of deciding on a style, keep in mind the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and make sure you go over these items with your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use

An aspect that is often neglected is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the benefit of being small, they may also be tricky to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.

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

Hearing Aid Functionality

Performance is normally a concern, and you should communicate with your hearing specialist regarding any special situations or activities you frequently perform. As an example, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll most likely want hearing aids equipped with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.

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

Hearing Aid Price and Financing

Last, after evaluating the above factors, you need to decide the price you’re willing to invest for the benefits you’ll enjoy from improved hearing.

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

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

Final Considerations

Once you have a notion of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can make it easier to narrow down the options. Then, you can choose the model that accommodates all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.

After you’ve picked your ideal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your distinct hearing loss, which was measured during the hearing exam (audiogram). And keep in mind that, irrespective of what model you go with, it won’t function properly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.

Lastly, you’ll get to try your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a bit of time to become accustomed to them, but after a short while you’ll be amazed at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.

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

How to Communicate Effectively Despite Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids

Communication is regularly cited as one of the most—if not the most—important factors to strengthening and sustaining healthy relationships. As reported by 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.”

Similarly, communication skills are just as important at work: one 2014 survey of about 600 employers discovered that communication skills are the most in-demand set of skills among recruiters. In fact, of five major skill sets employers consider most valuable when rendering a hiring decision, communications skills top the list.

From preserving healthy relationships to getting hired to getting promoted, communication impacts practically every aspect of our lives. Seeking to develop our communication skills, then, isn’t a bad place to begin if we desire to make some positive changes.

How to become an effective communicator

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

Step one is to realize that the goal of any communication situation is a genuine, open-ended exchange of ideas where all parties can be heard and understood. This necessitates assertive and articulate speaking skills, but, just as significantly, requires robust listening skills.

In truth, listening skills may be the most important component of communication. The reason is simple: if you are not able to understand what is being said, you won’t be able to formulate a relevant and significant reply. This failure to understand is the underlying cause of countless misunderstandings, arguments, and bad feelings.

Improving listening skills, then, is the single most important thing you can do to become a better communicator. And while active listening can be challenging in its own right, hearing loss will make things even harder.

Hearing loss and the obstacles to active listening

Active listening calls for investing all attention to the speaker. Only by thoroughly understanding the communication can you develop a relevant and significant response, and that’s why ineffective speakers are almost always distracted listeners.

But what causes the distraction?

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

Distraction # 1: Stress

If you’ve ever been overly stressed or anxious, you know how difficult it can be to focus your attention. You’re more likely to be focusing on on your personal thoughts and feelings rather than on the speaker’s, and you’re likely to lose out on essential non-verbal signals and to misread what other people are saying.

With respect to stress, hearing loss itself is a major source. You may feel anxious about missing out on important information or coming up with awkward replies. And, the battle to hear speech in the presence of hearing loss is a source of anxiety and strain itself.

Distraction # 2: Lack of focus

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

Hearing loss brings about a lack of focus because it removes you from the present moment. If you’re working to determine what the speaker just said, you’re also losing out on what they’re saying right now. The continuous catching-up virtually guarantees that you’ll never properly understand the message.

Distraction # 3: Misunderstanding

Stress and lack of focus can both force you to misunderstand the message. This introduces the chance of you becoming upset or agitated 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 irritation of the individual who is persistently misunderstood.

Distraction # 4: Lack of confidence

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

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

How hearing aids can help

Becoming a better communicator necessitates becoming a better listener, but how can you become a better listener if you have hearing loss? You have a few choices, but because hearing aids have come so far in terms of identifying and amplifying speech, they actually are the perfect solution.

Contemporary digital hearing aids have a number of wonderful features made exclusively for speech recognition. Many hearing aid models come with background noise suppression, directional microphones, and innovative digital processing so that speech comes through loud and clear.

Without having to struggle to hear speech, you can focus all of your efforts on comprehending the message. Then, as you become a more effective active-listener, your 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

Coping with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.

While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.

In order to engage in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible situation that can make you feel isolated and excluded.

Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?

Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the person you were talking to.

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

Background noise suppression

Earlier analog hearing aid models were actually very simple gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.

The trouble was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a hard time hearing voices.

Because holiday events are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.

Digital hearing aids, combined with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between different types of sounds.

By distinguishing and marking different types of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with special qualities, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.

Speech focus

Along with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.

Speech has a distinct trait in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is principally low frequency.

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

Reserve Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again

Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?

Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability 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.

The Advantages of Wearing Two Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids

Are two hearing aids better than one?

If you’re searching for the short answer, then yes, almost all instances of hearing loss are best treated with two hearing aids.

If you want to understand why, or are wondering about the reasons why we have two ears to begin with, then keep on reading.

The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision

Let’s start with eyesight.

When we look at an image, each eye receives a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then calculate the differences between the two versions to produce the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—together with height and width—permits us to experience the world in three dimensions.

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

The benefits of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)

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

Each ear obtains a slightly different copy of each sound, and those differences are translated by the brain in a way that indicates 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 evaluate depth, distance, and location, having two ears also heightens the quality of sound and expands the range of sounds you can hear.

To test the concept of sound quality, the next time you’re listening to music in a vehicle, disable both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.

The Advantages of Two Hearing Aids

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

So when our hearing specialist tells us that we have hearing loss in both ears, why do we need to be persuaded to get fitted with two hearing aids?

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

With the power to identify the exact location of sound from using two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:

  • focus on speech during a discussion even with substantial background noise.
  • identify specific voices among many.
  • enlarge the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
  • hear sounds without straining, which is less exhausting.
  • listen to sounds without the unnatural sensation of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
  • Prevent the weakening of hearing in the non-fitted ear.

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

If you believe that you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with a qualified hearing specialist. After your hearing is tested, your hearing specialist will discuss the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.

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

If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will most likely highly recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great chance to test for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.

Why Hearing Aids Make You Happier Than Winning the Lottery


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

A) Winning the lottery, or

B) Purchasing a new pair of hearing aids

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

To start with, many people do have a tendency to THINK that outside circumstances are most likely to make them happy. They consistently mention things like more wealth, better jobs, a brand new car, or winning the lottery.

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

The things that make most people happiest are high confidence, strong social skills, healthy relationships, free time, volunteering, and humor, as presented 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 right, but research is not necessarily in your favor.

In one commonly referenced study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers surveyed 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 aimed at evaluating happiness levels, and the results demonstrated that lottery winners were about as happy as both non-winners and the accident victims.

The study concluded that individuals will usually have a preset happiness level. Major events like winning the lottery or experiencing a disabling trauma cause a temporary spike or decrease in happiness—but the individual’s happiness level in both cases will revert to the fixed point.

This supports the “hedonic treadmill” theory, which claims that most people maintain roughly 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 higher income, you in all likelihood will be temporarily happier. But once your happiness level reverts to average, you’ll just desire a job with even greater income, and on and on.

Buying Happiness with Hearing Aids

If you answered that using hearing aids would make you happier, your response is more consistent with the research.

As reported by social psychologist Dr. Dan Gilbert, two decades of research on happiness has uncovered that the single most significant 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 dependent on healthy hearing, hearing aids enhance relationships and a sense of confidence in those who wear them.

And research tends to give credibility to this view. Several studies have demonstrated that hearing aid users are pleased with their hearing aid performance, notice a positive change in their general mood, and achieve 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 drop by the local hearing specialist instead.

Alarming Hearing Loss Statistics You Need to Know About

Far too many times, we hear people state that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.

These comments couldn’t be further from the facts.

Here are statistics you need to know about:

Prevalence of hearing loss in the US

Hearing loss, to some amount, impacts 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 entire state of California by 10 million people.

1 out of every 5 people in the US has some degree of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. So, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, relatively high.

Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and globally the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health problem worldwide. This truth is, those living with hearing loss outnumber those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.

Hearing loss by age group

Even if 1 out of 5 people in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, correct?

This is a accepted myth, but the answer is an definitive no.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only about 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 amount 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 detectable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is common across all age brackets, the intensity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. Whereas only around 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate increases 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 highly prevalent (both in the US and around the world), impacts all age groups, and has become more widespread as time passes. What’s the cause behind all of this?

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

With respect to sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 are suffering from hearing loss as a consequence of exposure to loud sounds at the job or during leisure activities.

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

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

Do hearing aids help?

The prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom-made ear protection are three tactics that can conserve your hearing.

But what if you currently have hearing loss?

Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in technology and hearing health care, just about all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And in contrast to the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, modern day hearing aids have proven to be effective.

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three prominent types examined) 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 reviewing years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Similarly, 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 chances of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even in the event that you currently have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids is very high

Whether you need custom ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new set of hearing aids to amplify the hearing you’ve already lost, we can help. We have experience with all degrees of hearing loss and can help find the right treatment for you.

5 Good Reasons to Get a Hearing Test

Hearing Test

In the US, roughly 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 reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing decide not to do so.

And that’s not all.

After being shown that they need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.

Several studies have shown that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.

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

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

With that in mind, we’ve compiled the most common “triggers” that have prompted our patients to finally arrange 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 of times.

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

For that reason, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids begin avoiding the grandparents, and this provides a powerful incentive to schedule 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 parties.

If you suffer from hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your partner probably thinks you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.

Unfortunately, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that a lot of problems could have been averted if hearing loss were resolved earlier.

3. Feeling left out

How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?

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

It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to grab the phone and book a hearing test. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a harmful way.

4. Being unproductive at work

We’ve heard a great deal of stories of people that reach their breaking point at the job. Frequently they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their co-workers sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to speak 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 aware of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to impaired 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 most people wait far too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.

If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar situation to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.

4 Important Sounds You’re Missing With Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Here’s one thing most people are surprised to discover: in most cases of hearing loss, people can hear a number of sounds just fine, and have trouble only with specific sounds.

In particular, if you have difficulty only with high-pitched sounds, you may suffer from the most common type of hearing loss, known as high-frequency hearing loss.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you can in all probability hear lower-pitched sounds normally, creating the perception that your hearing is normal. Higher-pitched sounds, however, may not be detected at all.

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

To begin with, sound can be defined both by its loudness (measured in decibels) and by its frequency or pitch (measured in Hertz).

With standard hearing, you’d have the ability to hear sounds inside the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hertz, but the most worthwhile sounds are inside the range of 250 to 6,000 Hertz. Inside of that range, you would be able to hear most frequencies at a relatively low volume of around 0-25 decibels.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you might 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 profound hearing loss).

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

Here are four:

1. Consonants

Speech incorporates a blend of both low and high frequency sounds.

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

Problems surface with consonants like “s,” “h,” and “f,” which have higher frequencies and are much harder to hear. Since consonants present most of the meaning in speech, it’s no wonder that those with high frequency hearing loss have difficulty following discussions 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 might for once have a valid defense.

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

Many of our patients do complain about not hearing their grandkids, and this will often be the key incentive for a hearing test.

3. The chirping of birds

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

Indeed, we’ve had patients specifically point out 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 people with hearing loss.

Music as a whole does tend to lose some of its power in those with hearing loss, as certain instruments and frequencies cannot be distinguished.

How hearing aids can help

In addition to the above, you may have trouble 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 key to treating high-frequency hearing loss is in amplifying only the specified frequencies you have trouble hearing. That’s why it’s important to select the right hearing aids and to have them programmed by a knowledgeable professional.

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

If you believe you might have high-frequency hearing loss, give us a call today. Our seasoned hearing professionals will comprehensively test your hearing, pinpoint the frequencies you have trouble with, and program your hearing aids for optimal hearing.

Are you ready to start enjoying your favorite sounds again?

The Health Benefits of Better Hearing

Family at the beach

It’s commonly said that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this appears to be specifically true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only difficult to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.

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

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

Hearing and Relationships

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

Hearing loss can be especially troublesome 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 trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. And since the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had an especially challenging time hearing his wife.

But because Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie simply spoke too softly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she always had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.

In this way, hearing loss builds a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards each other.

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

Julie concurred, and both expressed how much stronger 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 interviewed stated that they exercised more after purchasing hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they regularly take part in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent believe that their hearing aids have a favorable effect on their general health.

Hearing loss can make communication challenging to the point where people tend to avoid the social events and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities with confidence, resulting in more exercise and better physical health.

Hearing and Mental Health

In a recent study, researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) discovered a strong link 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 increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Clearly, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss produces 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 reaping the benefits of better hearing are quite another.

If you wear hearing aids, let us know in a comment below how your life, relationships, and/or physical or mental health has improved! You may find yourself 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 a pair of glasses—which correct vision impairment—is perceived as an indication of intelligence, while wearing hearing aids—which treat hearing impairment—has been perceived as an indication of old age.

Perhaps 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 prefer living an active life

Most social gatherings and activities require healthy hearing, while hanging out 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 allow hearing loss stop you 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 overcome them. You don’t wait around feeling sorry for yourself or maintain 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 miniature computers, equipped with amazing capabilities like wireless connectivity, bluetooth streaming, directional microphones, and background noise reduction.

By wearing a pair of modern hearing aids, it shows that you are on the leading-edge of technology, ready to reap the rewards that new technology has to offer.

4. You’re health conscious

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

Wearing hearing aids shows that you value living an overall healthy lifestyle, proactively taking the steps necessary for a lengthy, healthy life—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

5. You treasure your relationships

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

Your relationships are just too important to permit 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 trying to conceal the reality that you wear hearing aids—you’re proud of it. You love to live an active, sociable life and you’re proud that you’ve taken the steps to secure your own quality lifestyle.

In fact, many hearing aid users have reported greater performance at work, and research by the Better Hearing Institute reveals 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 numerous reasons to wear hearing aids with pride: Tell us in a comment some of the reasons you wear hearing aids so we can keep the list going.