Hearing Loss & Depression
You don’t need clinical evidence to understand the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline or depression. After all, humans are social creatures. So it’s easy to understand that someone experiencing hearing loss might purposefully minimize or avoid social situations. This leads to less interpersonal interaction and stimulus, which can lead to decreased mental sharpness and the kind of depression that isolation can bring. It just makes sense.
But if you’re the kind of person who wants data and proof (psst, we’re in that camp), clinical studies conclude the same thing.
Untreated hearing loss increases the likelihood of depression
As far back as 1999, a study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) reported that people with untreated hearing loss were “more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities” than people who treated their loss. And, in 2014, researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found a strong association between hearing impairment and depression among U.S. adults.
If you’d like to talk to a medical professional about hearing loss and what you can do to minimize its impact on your emotional, psychological and social well-being, we’re here to help. Just call 937-222-0022.
American Academy of Audiology. (1999). Untreated hearing loss linked to depression, social isolation in seniors. Audiology Today, 11(4). Retrieved from: http://www.audiology.org/publications-resources/document-library/untreated-hearing-loss-linked-depression-social-isolation
Alzheimer’s & Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is now associated with many physical conditions, and in the last few years, it has been proven that hearing loss is connected with cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, we wanted to take a closer look at how hearing loss and Alzheimer’s are connected.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging found that while the brain shrinks with age, this change is hastened in older adults with hearing loss.
Frank Lin, M.D., PhD. and his colleagues studied the differences in brain changes (e.g.. how much the brain shrinks) based off data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging where 126 patients were studied over the course of 10 years. Using routine brain scans and hearing tests, the team measured the width of the brain tissue for each subject and found that the subjects who had entered the study with hearing loss exhibited accelerated rates of brain atrophy when compared to those subjects who had normal hearing.
Those with hearing loss saw the following results:
While Lin said it was no surprise those with hearing loss saw more shrinkage in the areas responsible for sound and speech as that may occur due to an “impoverished auditory complex”—the results of the hearing loss itself—but he also said that because those areas don’t work alone, their diminishment may signal overall degradation of the brain. For example, the middle and inferior temporal gyri also help with memory and sensory integration and have been shown to be in involved with early stage Alzheimer’s.
The findings of this research indicate that hearing loss and Alzheimer’s are correlated, but what it also shows is that there is urgency to treating hearing loss early. Lin suggested that if the hearing loss is contributing to the brain changes they found in the MRIs that it is key to take action early.
Getting your hearing checked and treated early could mean better long-term brain performance, a lesser chance of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and overall, better long-term health and wellness. A recent study has even shown getting your hearing checked early can help prevent cognitive decline.
Have you gotten you considered a hearing check lately? It might help you more than you think.
Five Simple At Home Hearing Aid Cleaning Tips
With any investment, there is a certain degree of maintenance required to be sure that money is being well spent and the purchase is well kept. A hearing aid is no different. While there are certain maintenance items that are recommended only for the manufacturer or a hearing healthcare professional, there are many other preventative measures that you, or your caretaker can complete regularly to ensure the your hearing aid is well maintained and functioning at its full capacity.
At Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center we can provide you with the basic steps and instructions on how to properly take care of your hearing aids so you get the most out of your investment.
How Loud is Too Loud?
While we may be accustomed to the noises that surround us, we may not be aware of the damage they can cause. Noise-induced hearing loss is a major problem in the United States, and the average age of hearing loss is dropping! One in 8 children and teens has permanent hearing loss due to high volume sounds.
So when does a noise reach a dangerous level? Most hearing professionals say that level is anything louder than 85 decibels (dB), the equivalent of busy city traffic. Sounds that exceed this level include a rock concert (115dB), a jet plane engine from 100 ft (135dB) and gun shots (145dB).
Fortunately there are ways to protect your hearing when faced with dangerous levels of noise. The first is to avoid situations where noise can cause damage, like being within 65 feet of fireworks or using loud tools like a jackhammer. If this is inevitable, using hearing protection, such as earplugs can help prevent against this kind of damage. Noise cancellation headphones may also be helpful.
It’s also important to watch the volume on handhold electronics such as iPods. Earbuds, like surround sound speakers, bring the sounds closer to your ears making the potential for damage much higher. When using these devices keep the volume at an appropriate level. In general, if someone is wearing earbuds or headphones and you can hear the music on their iPod, the volume is too loud.
Parents should monitor their children’s electronics volume level as noise induced hearing loss in children and teens are a growing problem. Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Listen Carefully campaign has worked to raise awareness of this issue, and you can find more information on the campaign website, www.listencarefully.org.
For a general reference of the decibel levels of common sounds, look at this chart here. If you are unsure of where something falls on this chart, there are apps available for mobile phones that can determine the decibel level of a noise by picking it up on your smartphones speaker.
Three Reasons to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids
Hearing technology has been advancing over the last several years, as exemplified in products like Starkey’s Made for iPhone® Hearing Aids, Halo™. Years of research and clinical trials behind these new products have helped to maximize the benefits of hearing aids for the wearers.
If you are a hearing aid wearer, you may be wondering if this new technology is right for you and when/if you should upgrade your devices. Here are three factors that you should take into consideration when upgrading your hearing technology:
Hearing Changes: Age-related hearing loss is often degenerative, meaning that changes can happen over the course of years. This means it is important to get your hearing checked annually by a hearing care professional. If there are changes, newer technology may help correct any problems. Talk to your hearing care professional to learn which options are available and which would work for you.
Lifestyle Changes: New occupational requirements, living situations and activities may require better performance and features from your hearing aids. Many of our new products, such as Halo, make it easier to adjust to different noise levels in different settings. Other advancements have made it easier to hear in noisy situations such as at a busy restaurant. New, sophisticated technology may make it easier to adapt hearing aids to your lifestyle, not the other way around.
Performance Improvement: New features in our hearing aids allow the wearers to do more and experience more. With the Halo TruLink™ Hearing Control app, wearers can stream music and calls directly to their hearing aids. The increased functionality in new products like Halo also allows more control of settings, allowing the wearer to adjust their hearing aids easily when transitioning from different settings, such as an outdoor baseball game to a quiet room. Other advancements prevent feedback and allow hearing aids to “talk” to each other which make hearing in difficult situations less of a challenge.
If you think you may be ready for an upgrade, or would simply like more information, make a hearing appointment today by calling 937-222-0022.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and FaceTime are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. "Made for iPod," "Made for iPhone," and “Made for iPad" mean that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod, iPhone, or iPad, respectively, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. Apple is not responsible for the operation of this device or its compliance with safety and regulatory standards. Please note that the use of this accessory with iPod, iPhone, or iPad may affect wireless performance.
Healthy Hearing Tips
May is Better Hearing Month, and this year, we are all about hearing protection.
Losing your hearing isn’t the same as breaking a bone, which often can be broken and repaired multiple times. Hearing loss can’t be repaired. It’s permanent. Once you have lost even a fraction of your hearing, there is no going back.
In order to preserve your hearing, it is important to take preventative steps early on and to always protect your ears whenever they are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time. Below are some tips for keeping your hearing healthy:
Keeping your hearing healthy is an important part of your physical and mental well-being. Many people take their hearing for granted until it’s too late, so take these preventive tips to heart for better hearing. Call the office at 222-0022 to schedule a hearing test today.
Hear your Best- Staying on Top of your Game
We all want to be at the top of our game, whether it be on the basketball court or in the office. But staying at the top of your game at work requires remaining alert and keeping your skills sharp. That includes hearing your best!
You might not consider listening an important job skill, but it is crucial in the workplace. If you’re missing important information on phone calls or in meetings you may be missing opportunities to succeed!
So what is the first step to good listening skills? Hearing your best.
Fortunately, if you suffer from hearing loss there are solutions to improving your hearing! A study by the Better Hearing Institute found that 95 percent of Americans with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Turned off by the clunky, awkward appearance of hearing aids? No worries! Today’s sleeker hearing aids are digital, wireless, and even invisible.
Research shows that hearing aids really do help you in the workforce! According to the Better Hearing Institute using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90-to-100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and 65-to-77 percent for those with moderate to severe hearing loss. What’s more, people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are nearly twice as likely to be employed as their peers who do not use hearing aids.
Whether you work in construction, retail or in a corporate office, new hearing technologies can help you play at the top of your game! Schedule a hearing consultation appointment with Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center by calling 937-222-0022 and learn how you can hear your best today.
Tips for Traveling with a Hearing Loss
Travel, while exciting, can also be an exhausting task given today’s rigorous security procedures. Add in struggles with a hearing loss to the process and it can become even more daunting of a challenge. To help in this process, the Transportation and Security Administration has recently provided some helpful tips on their website.
Their suggestions refer to the security screening process and offer some helpful insights. Firstly, they confirm that hearing aids can and should be worn when walking through the metal detector. While hearing aids will not set off an alarm, they will not be affected by the metal detector or x-ray screening, should you choose to pass those through in a checked bag or carry-on tote. Also, TSA security officers have been trained to help accommodate travelers with disabilities to make sure to be clear in your needs if you would like them to talk slow for lip reading purposes or need to communicate with sign language. Lastly, those who use a dog companion for hearing or seeing purposes can go through security checkpoints with their animal but need to follow service animal guidelines in doing so.
We want to also provide some tips for taking your aids with you on a vacation to ensure no damage occurs in adverse conditions. Our first suggestion is a simple enough one but may be overlooked by many to their own dismay. When packing your hearing aids in a suitcase, make sure to do so by putting them in their case, which will protect them from damage. Also, we would recommend bringing a small dri-aid kit if you are traveling to a climate with considerable humidity for an extended period of time. This can help prevent moisture damage to the hearing aid as a result of the climate elements. Lastly, bring extra batteries, especially if you are traveling abroad, to make sure you are never left without the ability to take in the sounds of your destination with your hearing aids. If you are in need of any of these supplies or have further questions, you can visit one of our five locations to purchase the necessary supplies.
Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center
Don’t Let Hearing Loss Affect Your Most Important Relationship
Nearly all people who have experienced a long and healthy marriage will agree that good communication is the key to a successful partnership. A marriage is much more rewarding when two people can both confidentially communicate. Yet, with nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 suffering hearing loss, this ability to clearly communicate is often put to the test. In fact, a 2009 study from Britain shows that some failing marriages can be attributed to untreated hearing loss. The survey of 1,500 hearing-impaired people over 55 revealed that:
Ten Questions About Hearing Loss to Ask Your Hearing Professional
On average, people tend to wait five to seven years between first experiencing hearing loss symptoms and actually seeking help. But research shows there are good reasons to begin hearing loss treatment sooner rather than later.
Once you suspect you might be losing your hearing, it is important to see someone right away. Whether you are first learning about your hearing loss or ready to purchase hearing aids, the hearing professional will guide you through the process but you should come equipped with the right questions to ask the professional.
Here are ten good questions you should ask about your hearing loss:
If you think you may be losing the ability to hear, contact Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center at 937-222-0022 right away for a hearing consultation.
Hearing Loss and Employment Success
Recently, the non-profit Better Hearing Institute took a close look at the impact untreated hearing loss has on the workplace — and its workforce. What they discovered was intriguing. Untreated hearing loss affected worker’s earnings, and even employment rates.
Make sure you’re working at the level you want to be.
At Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center, we can help individuals with hearing loss difficulties. If you feel that you or a loved one are struggling with hearing loss, we encourage you to take the first step to better hearing and make an appointment for a free consultation today. Simply go to the 'Contact Us' page or call us at 937-222-0022 to schedule your consultation.
*The dollars and sense of addressing hearing loss in the workplace. McClatchy Newspapers, June 2012
Utilize Games to Sharpen Your Hearing
When hearing loss occurs, the brain loses its ability to interpret sounds. In addition to reduced ability to detect sound, hearing loss damages your ability to process many aspects of the auditory world. You may find it more difficult to filter out background noise, locate a sound source, or remember a verbal sequence of information.
While hearing aids can restore the world of sound to those who have suffered from hearing loss they cannot restore these lost auditory perceptual skills. Fortunately, the patient can bring back those skills through practice.
Research indicates that participation in an auditory training program during the initial weeks of wearing new hearing aids significantly increases the wearers’ perception of benefit, and overall satisfaction.
Hear Coach is a suite of listening games developed by Starkey Hearing Technologies designed to help hearing aid wearers sharpen their listening and hearing skills. Available for the iPad, iPhone and Android systems, it features games that challenge both your cognitive and auditory sharpness.
Hear Coach allows you to track your progress over time and unlock more difficult levels as your performance improves. A different background noise stimulus within each of the levels provides you with varying degrees of difficulty to help you train your auditory system in different environments. This app is designed to help people who think they might have a hearing loss, people who have new hearing aids, and even experienced hearing aid users who want to get the most out of their listening.
If you are experiencing hearing difficulties, be sure to call Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center today for a hearing screen and information on Hear Coach.
How a Hearing Aid Works
In its simplest form, a hearing aid is an amplifier that makes sound louder. Today’s hearing aids do much more than that, but they wouldn’t help much if they didn’t amplify. Let’s take a look at basic elements that make amplification possible.
A microphone converts sound into an electrical digital signal.
An amplifier increases the strength of that signal.
A speaker/receiver converts the amplified signal back into sound and sends it to the inner ear. The brain “hears” and understands the sounds.
Hearing aids require power to amplify sound. An inexpensive and convenient source is a battery. Hearing aid batteries come in five sizes, which are based on the style and size of the hearing aid.
Of course, hearing aids do much more than just amplify sound. They also improve hearing in difficult situations with advanced technology features like feedback elimination and the ability to hear better on the phone. Wireless hearing aids also allow you to wirelessly connect to your favorite devices like TVs, music, phones and more.
To learn more about differnet hearing aid options, contact Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center today.
How Untreated Hearing Loss Impacts the Workplace
Recently, the non-profit Better Hearing Institute (BHI) took a close look at the impact untreated hearing loss has on the workplace — and its workforce. What they discovered was fascinating, showing that untreated hearing loss not only cost companies money (in terms of lost productivity, accidents and more), but also affected workers’ earnings, and even employment rates.
Luckily hearing loss is largely manageable if addressed properly. The BHI study found that the use of hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss dramatically—by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate loss. The study also found that people with severe hearing loss who use hearing aids are nearly twice as likely to be employed as their peers who don’t.
If you think hearing loss may be affecting your ability at work, get help today. Call Hillcrest Hearing and Balance Center at 937-222-0022 and schedule an appointment with one of our qualified audiologists who can help you find the hearing aid that’s right for you.
Ten Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Hearing Aid
Selecting your first hearing aid can be a stressful experience. With so many options, brands and styles available, it can be easy for a first-time hearing aid buyer to get overwhelmed. Audiologists and certified hearing specialists can not only diagnose your degree of hearing loss, but also guide you through the process for selecting the best hearing aid to match your specific needs.
During your hearing consultation, consider asking some of the following questions about your new hearing aids:
July 2015July 2015
Early Hearing Detection Can Prevent Serious Impact in Learning
Hearing is a critical component of language development, communication, learning and social skills. In the United States more children are born with hearing loss than any other congenital health issue. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, various studies estimate that between one to six per 1,000 newborns are born with hearing loss. 90 percent of the children are born to hearing parents who have no experience raising a child with hearing loss.
There are several ways in which hearing loss affects children’s ability to learn. Vocabulary develops more slowly in children who have hearing loss. Children with hearing loss have difficulty understanding words with multiple meanings and have difficult learning the meaning to more complex words.
Hearing loss also affects children’s ability to speak. Children with hearing loss may not hear their own voices when they speak and may speak too loudly or not loud enough.
Children with hearing loss have difficulty with all areas of academic achievement, especially reading and mathematical concepts. In fact, a recent study indicated that children with mild to moderate hearing losses, on average, rank one to four grade levels lower than their peers with normal hearing.
The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious the effects on the child's development. Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention is begun, the less serious the ultimate impact.
Hearing loss is a widespread condition, affecting nearly 50 million people in the United States. Changes in our hearing don't typically occur all at once. Rather, hearing loss symptoms appear over time. Hearing loss is a gradual process that often impacts certain listening frequencies more than it affects others.
Do you or a loved one sometimes have a difficult time hearing? Consider these questions:
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider getting your hearing checked as soon as possible. Schedule your appointment by calling 937-496-2600 and making an appointment in one of our five locations.
Just as eye exams are a part of your routine health checks, it’s a good idea to get annual hearing tests, too — for these reasons:
May is Better Hearing Month, making it the ideal time to schedule your annual hearing test with the hearing professionals at Hillcrest. Check out our location that is nearest to you and give us a call today!
Studies have shown that, on average, people will wait eight to ten years between first experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and finally seeking help. Unfortunately, during this timeframe, people fall into coping mechanisms. They ask people to repeat themselves, turn the TV up louder, or avoid places where hearing is more challenging. These behaviors are actually exacerbating the negative effects. That’s why early intervention is always recommended.
The ability to make instant association depends on repeatedly hearing a word. If you do not hear a word for a long period of time, difficulty connecting the sound to its meaning occurs. Over time, reduced stimulation to the brain can impair its ability to process sound and recognize speech. Once speech recognition deteriorates, it is only partially recoverable with hearing aids.
Not being able to hear what’s going on around you contributes to reduced mental sharpness and communication abilities.
The earlier people begin to use hearing aids, the sooner they get comfortable wearing them, and the easier it is to maximize their advantage.
Next month is Better Hearing Month — meaning now is a great time to be proactive about your hearing loss and seek treatment before its negative effects get worse. Call for an appointment today!
Research indicates that young people today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers have some hearing loss.
Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston examined data collected from more than 4,600 12-to-19-year-olds in two ongoing federal surveys. The first covered 1988 to 1994, and the other 2005 to 2006.
Some other interesting results from the survey:
While the study did not examine specific reasons for the increase in teens, most experts agree that it is due to listening to loud music for long stretches of time on MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices.
The issue received national attention in March 2013, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the cause as his latest public health crusade, announcing a $250,000 social media campaign to caution young people about the dangers of too loud music on personal listening devices.
How can adults encourage young people to listen more carefully to stop this alarming trend? One good tip is to use the 60/60 rule. Listen to music at 60 percent of the max volume and for only 60 minutes.
Hearing professionals also encourage people to wear hearing protection when they go to concerts. Inexpensive ear buds are available for as little as a $1 that can significantly reduce the amount of potentially damaging noise at a concert without affecting the musical experience.
Today’s hearing aids are precision instruments, utilizing advance digital technology that can and should be customized to fit your specific hearing loss and your unique lifestyle needs.
This is why the Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit center for hearing advocacy, published a consumer warning against “do-it-yourself hearing care,” writing,
While the Internet is an increasingly convenient place to purchase many items, consumers should be cautious about purchasing their hearing aids online. Any upfront cost savings will likely be used towards after purchase costs like maintenance, cleaning or reprogramming an aid, services that are included in the purchase at a hearing care professional.
A hearing professional will ensure that you receive a proper evaluation and help prescribe the proper treatment for your loss. Your ears will be visually examined and you'll be tested with state-of-the-art equipment to determine the type of hearing loss you have.
If it's determined that hearing aids can help, your hearing professional will show you the best solutions to fit your unique needs and lifestyle.
Tinnitus ("TIN-a-tus" or "Tin-EYE-tus") is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears or head when no external sound is present. In most cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning only the sufferer can hear it. Typically, sufferers describe the sound as “ringing in ears,” though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping.
Because tinnitus is subjective, it affects people in different ways. For some, it’s a minor annoyance that does not require help or treatment. For others, it can cause a host of serious issues, including:
Currently, there is no known tinnitus cure. No pill or surgery has been shown to eliminate tinnitus in any scientific or clinically accepted study.
According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), there are ways to get tinnitus relief. One of the most effective ways is sound therapy, which uses sound to make tinnitus less noticeable and take the person’s mind off it.
Amplification from hearing aids is one component of sound therapy that has been shown to provide relief.
The ATA recommends that anyone with tinnitus should see an audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) experienced in tinnitus treatment.
We have experience helping people with tinnitus. If you, a friend or a family member experience tinnitus, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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