Hearing Tips

How can Doctors With Hearing Impairment Get By in Their Jobs

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 21, 2017

Picture of an audiologist

Are there jobs that you wouldn’t want to try if you are hearing impaired? It might seem like hearing loss is the kind of thing that would hold one back, but it affects more than 20 percent of the people in the U.S. Many of them have jobs that might appear difficult to do without almost perfect hearing. You’d be surprised, individuals with hearing loss are lawyers, actors, musicians, lawmakers, judges and, yes, even doctors.

The fact is determined people who are hearing challenged find few limitations in their lives, especially given today’s advancements in hearing technology. Physicians that face this problem just look for workarounds that help them accomplish their goals. It is, after all, one small obstacle in a road full of challenges. How do physicians who have hearing loss manage their jobs?

They Understand Their Condition

Who knows better than a medical practitioner that hearing loss and intellectual ability having nothing to do with one another. Being hearing impaired is simply a mechanical failure of one or more portions of the auditory system. It has nothing to do with cognitive function or problem-solving skills.

A person with hearing loss must start by accepting that they can’t let themselves be held back by this one sense or lack of it. Doctors look for solutions to overcome the potentials hurdles related to their ear health.

They Get a Professional Diagnosis

A doctor who notices a gradual hearing loss should automatically do what everyone else needs to, as well — see an ear specialist and get a proper diagnosis. The hearing reduction can occur for different reasons, some of which will be reversible. Maybe the problem is excess ear wax, for example.

Chances are a medical doctor will also know to get regular hearing tests to gauge their decline. This allows you to be proactive about your hearing health.

They Get Hearing Assistance

Just because you have hearing loss doesn’t mean you necessarily have to just live with it. A physician understands the importance of hearing assistance tools like quality hearing aids. After getting a hearing test, you can work with a certified retailer to find a brand and model hearing aid that best suits your needs.

For instance, a physician might benefit from hearing aids that are Bluetooth compatible and have directional microphones. Bluetooth allows the physician to connect the hearing aids to a smartphone or computer and directional microphones enhance conversation in noisy environments. Noise reduction probably comes in handy, as well, to filter out background noise.

They Get a Strong Support System

For a medical provider that might include joining professional organizations to network with colleagues facing the same challenges. The Association of Medical Professionals With Hearing Losses is a good fit for our industrious doctor. They not only connect you with other professionals online and via conferences, but they offer some must-have resources, too including ones that help the hearing challenged physician to find the right stethoscope.

They Use Their Disability to Grow

There is little doubt that hearing loss, whether it is new or something you have lived with your whole life, opens up new challenges, but, just maybe, it opens the door to opportunities, as well. Take Dr. Philip Zazove, for example. Dr. Zazove has been deaf most of his life and faced those challenges first hand. He states in an article for CNN Health that he applied to 12 different medical schools and struggled to even get interviews despite doing well on the MCATs. After attending graduate school, he finally was given a chance to go to medical school.

Today, he uses his hearing loss to better relate to his patients. In his family practice, he works with many who are hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. His life experiences have given him a unique opportunity to help others find their path.

What do doctors with hearing loss do? The same thing anyone does, they push forward against the things that work to hold them back and that starts with a proper diagnosis and hearing test, though.





One Hearing Aid or Two: What Do You Need and How Would You Know

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 14, 2017

Picture of a person making a decision

When it comes to making the decision to be fitted for hearing aids, you may be wondering, “Can​ I get by with wearing a hearing aid in just one ear?”

Let’s take a look at when you should consider getting two hearing aids and when you should consider just getting one.

Temporary Versus Permanent Hearing Loss

It’s important to first determine whether your hearing loss is temporary or permanent. This can be answered by a qualified professional following a thorough examination. If your hearing loss is attributable to any of the following situations, it’s likely temporary.

  • Wax buildup that can be remedied in a clinical setting
  • Prescription medications with a side effect of partial loss of hearing in one or both ears
  • Head cold, ear infection or other illness
  • Exposure to loud sounds

If the hearing loss is temporary, your doctor can address ways to work with this prognosis. But if you’re hearing loss is permanent, you’ll want to consider hearing aids. Now the question becomes, one hearing or two?

When Should I Consider Getting Two Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are an investment, so It’s tempting to purchase just one and save the expense of a second device. You might want to reconsider, though. There are benefits to getting a hearing aid for each ear, especially if you have some hearing loss in both such as:

  • Better clarity and alertness that having two functional ears gives you
  • Research suggests that hearing well in both ears lets your brain distinguish between important auditory input and useless background noise
  • Two hearing aids help you locate where sound comes from so you can fully tune into the message
  • Offers a sense of clarity through balancing incoming stimuli
  • Lowers the risk of developing tinnitus
  • Decreases the chance of auditory deprivation, in other words, there is a tendency for the function of an unaided ear to decline

What Is Single-Sided Hearing Loss?

Single-sided, or unilateral, hearing loss occurs when you can hear well in one ear and have difficulty in the other.

When Should I Consider Getting One Hearing Aid?

The three primary reasons to purchase just one hearing aid is that you have single-sided hearing loss, you’re completely and irreversibly deaf in one ear or you have age-induced cognitive delays.

Assuming you do have some hearing loss in just one ear, you won’t need a hearing aid in your other one. This is also true if you are permanently deaf in the one ear, there is no point in purchasing a second hearing aid. These two situations will not improve with the addition of a second hearing aid.

If you are a person over the age of 85 and have cognitive delays, choosing to wear two hearing aids might create excess auditory stimuli, enough that it becomes overwhelming and confusing. You might find you struggle to separate speech patterns from other speech or background noise, as well.

The final reason to choose only one hearing aid is it’s just too big of a financial burden if you do try to buy two. Make sure you exhaust all of your options first, though, before settling for just the one hearing-assistance device. Look to social services and your insurance company for help.

Choosing The Right Hearing Aid For You

Of course, you want what’s best for your ears, so you can continue to participate in all the activities you love. For more information on hearing health, check us out today!





5 Common Problems With Hearing Loss – Which Ones Do You Need to Beat?

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 7, 2017

Picture of person standing on the mountain

As your hearing declines, it will be the little things that grab your attention — tiny problems that interfere with your quality of life. One or more of these issues may eventually be what gets you to the ear doctor, but, until then, how can you overcome these typical problems? If you’re one of the millions of people in the U.S. that have a gradual hearing loss, here are five things that can change your life and what you can do about it.

1. Ringing in the Ears

That ringing you think you hear is tinnitus, an annoying side effect of hearing loss and something that can definitely change your life. This phantom sound is a symptom of hearing decline, especially when related to age. Not everyone hears a bell, though, for some people tinnitus is a:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing

Regardless of the sound you hear, it can get interfere with your ability to focus.

A good place to get started is by figuring out what irritants might trigger the sound such as caffeine. Keep a record what you do right before the noise starts like listening to music using an earbud or eating a meal with a lot of salt. Over time, you will identify your personal tinnitus triggers and learn to avoid them.

You may also need to find ways to cover this noise up, especially at night when you are trying to fall asleep. Something as simple as a fan running in the room can mask the sound of tinnitus and give you some relief.

2. Problems Following Conversation

Gradual hearing loss can mean you start noticing people mumble more or certain words are never clear. Hearing aids will go a long way towards eliminating all these issues. If you are not quite ready to go down that road, there are a few tricks you might try.

Put yourself in the best position to hear. Face the person you are talking to and look at them as they speak. The combination of what you hear and what you see might be enough to clarify things.

Go out of your way to have conversations in quiet areas, too. Background noise will make it harder to understand speech. Step away from fans and turn off the TV, for instance.

Ask for clarification, as well. If you are having problems hearing, it’s probably not a secret, so just put it out there. Telling someone you are talking to that you have a hearing challenge is enough to get them to speak clearly and turn up the volume a bit.

3. Irritability

Fighting to hear every word is exhausting and that fatigue catches up with you. Looking for ways to eliminate that extra stress such as wearing hearing aids can reduce your frustration, but so will learning different ways to relax. Find a hobby that refocuses your mind, something like learning to paint or crochet. Practice extreme breathing exercises, too. They will teach you the art of calming yourself when you feel overcome with stress.

One of the best ways to handle this type of chaos, though, is to exercise daily. Working out forces your body to release hormones that help calm you and make everything seem less stressful.

4. Social Withdrawal

Loss of hearing will leave you feeling left out of the loop and maybe different than everyone else in some way — like you can’t understand even the simplest of things anymore. That’s will make anyone want to turn down a chance to get out with friends. As a result, you may end up spending more time alone and socially isolated.

The way to get back your life is to accept what is happening to you. Once you take that step, you can find ways to fight the desire to avoid time with family and friends. When you do head out for the night, tell the people you are with about your struggle. You might find that instead of being alone, you end up with a support system that can help.

5. Denial

Age-related hearing loss is gradual, so it’s easy to deny. People tend to find other reasons for the problem like the volume on the TV isn’t working as well as it used to or that one friend was always a mumbler. Pay attention to the patterns that are forming and listen to what the people in your life are telling you. Often, they are the first to realize someone they care about has hearing loss.

Of course, you have the ability to overcome most of these problems at one time by getting an ear exam, a proper diagnosis and, maybe, hearing aids. If even one of these scenarios sounds familiar, then it’s time to for a professional hearing test.





Can a Hearing Deficit Affect Your Driving Ability?

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 31, 2017

Picture of senior driver behind the wheel | How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Driving Skills?

Hearing loss is one of the most common afflictions to hit older individuals, but is that a reason to stop driving? There is no clear cut answer to that question because no two people drive exactly the same way.

Hearing impairment is certainly something to consider when getting behind the wheel of a car, but a good driver doesn’t change just because they’ve noticed they have to turn up the radio these days to hear the music. For that matter, if you were a bad driver before your hearing started to decline, you’re probably still a bad driver.

What should a person who is experiencing hearing loss think about when planning to drive to work each day or take a road trip this summer? Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?

Think Beyond the Wheel

If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just ignore your decline. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.

What About Driving?

Driving requires effective observational skills and some of that relates to your auditory ability, but none of that means you can’t drive when there is hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication states that about 48 million people in the U.S. have major hearing loss and a generous segment of them do still drive.

There is one study that found individuals driving a car with hearing loss are generally more visually aware of what’s going on and, typically, more careful than some hearing drivers. They drive at a slower pace when on the road and make use of their mirrors more to compensate for what they can’t hear.

Tips for Driving With Hearing Loss

 

Tip 1:

The first thing to consider is to stop procrastinating. See an ear specialist, get a professional hearing test and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids will eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” problem once and for all.

Tip 2:

When wearing your hearing aids, you need to be be a more observant driver, which leads you to tip number two – get your vision tested. After all, when it comes to driving, vision is the thing that matters most, so it’s time to ensure yours is good enough for driving. Ask your physician to double-check your night vision, too, just so you know whether driving after sundown is a viable option for you. If you don’t hear well, you need to be extra cautious about your eye health and vision.

Tip 3:

Keep the chaos down inside the car, too. In other words, get the noise to a minimum, so you can focus on hearing the important stuff without distractions. Shut the radio off completely and ask anyone riding with you to keep quiet, as well.

Tip 4:

Get used to checking your dashboard regularly. It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking to see what your car is trying to tell you.

Tip 5:

Make maintenance a priority. You’re not going to hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.

Tip 6:

Watch the other cars closely. Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars pulling over to the side, you should too. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.

Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to see an ear specialist and find a solution to improve your situation like wearing hearing aids.





Could Your Hearing Be At Risk – 3 Clever Ways to Avoid Hearing Loss

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 24, 2017

Picture of ear with sound waves | Your Hearing Could Be At Risk - 3 Tips to Avoid Hearing Loss

One in every three people over the age of 65 suffers from some form of hearing loss, according to Hearing Loss Association of America. Is it possible that they could have taken steps early in life to protect their hearing?

Age-related hearing loss is really the break down of the tiny hair cells in the ears that vibrate as sound hits them. Noise plays a big part in that process, though. Doing little things early in life can protect those delicate cells, reducing your overall risk of hearing loss as you age. There is no guarantee that you won’t be that one in three who suffers some hearing loss, but the odds are better if you take precautions now. Consider three basic steps you can take to lower your risk of hearing loss.

1. Do a Home Noise Evaluation

Start at home by figuring out what things you do regularly that expose your ears to loud noises. For example, what is the standard TV volume in your home? How about music? Do you use headphones for either one?

Now is a good time to lose the headphones. Sound travels in waves. Headphones and ear buds introduce those waves directly into the ear canal. It’s a little like the difference shooting a gun from point blank range instead of from 100 feet away. By putting headphones on, you are exposing your ears to sound waves that are much stronger than they should be and damage the intricate components of your ears in the process.

Consider what other things you might do around the house that can introduce loud noise into your life. Perhaps you have a woodworking shop or some other craft that requires you to use loud equipment? Even things like mowing the lawn will take a toll. You don’t have to stop doing the things you love, just make sure you have the proper ear protection on hand when you do them like noise dampening ear muffs.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body– including your ears. Regular fitness schedule lowers your risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes or hypertension. These illnesses can affect your hearing as you get older. The truth is any kind of exercise will do, so go out and pick something you really enjoy like swimming or biking. Keep track of your activity, too, and ensure you meet the recommended standards offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For adults, that means about 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity along with strength training at least two days a week.

3. Get Regular Ear Checkups

Like most health problems, the earlier you detect hearing loss, the better. A regular ear check-up will spot problem areas and allow you to see an ear specialist if necessary. For most people, it will also mean the occasional professional hearing test. Get the first one as early in life as possible. This can serve as a baseline as you grow older. When you get additional tests every few years, you will start to see how your hearing is changing. If you notice a drop, medical intervention might be able to slow or even stop the hearing loss progression.

A trip to the doctor each year for an ear exam helps you manage your hearing and control loss. The doctor can eliminate earwax blockage safely, for example. A physician will also know what types of drugs put your hearing at risk, preventing medication-related damage.

There is no perfect way to make sure you don’t have hearing loss later in life, but a little forward-thinking will certainly improve your odds of enjoying your golden years with the best hearing possible. 





5 Neat Tips to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Hearing Aids

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 17, 2017

Picture of sun through fingers | 5 Secrets to Extending the Life of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are the most common form of hearing technology, but they have one major flaw. They tend to burn through batteries at an alarming rate. With close to 20 percent of the population in this country experiencing some form of hearing loss, you can bet the battery manufacturers are only ones happy right now.

The reality is, though, that good working batteries are a necessity if you want the hearing aid to work well but there are things you can do to make them last. For the savvy hearing aid customer, a little forward thinking about how long the batteries last will save you tons of cash on replacements and keep you hearing at the same time. Consider five covert ways that you can use to extend that hearing aid’s battery life.

1. Shop Well

Hearing aids are expensive and that cost factor doesn’t stop after they are paid for, either. How the hearing aid utilizes battery power is a primary consideration as you buy. There are many reasons for a serious battery drain such as:

  • Type hearing aid
  • Type battery
  • How you use the hearing aids
  • How many hours you wear the hearing aids
  • Features

Selecting the features that fit well with your life is one of the most important decisions you make when picking out your hearing aids. Get the features that improve the quality of your life, but know what you are buying. The little add-ons like wireless connectivity, direct audio input and synchronization may use more energy, so you have to balance out your need for each one with how much they contribute to battery burn.

Start by talking to a certified hearing aid seller, taking time to discuss each feature and don’t forget to ask how it affects battery life, then pick out the ones that matter most. Be sure you have a clear understanding of how each feature changes the way the battery operates and how that will, in turn, alter the cost of replacement batteries down the road.

2. Practice Good Hand Hygiene

When you do have to replace your hearing aid battery, hand washing should be your first step. Cleaning your hands well will remove any grease and dirt from your skin before you touch the battery. This debris can affect the performance of the battery and actually damage the hearing aid, too. Take the time to dry your hands thoroughly before handling either the battery or the hearing aid, because water does work well with either.

3. Practice Good Hearing Aid Hygiene Too

You’ll also want to clean the HEARING aids themselves. Dirt and ear wax build up can have a real effect on how each device works and, in turn, affecting the battery life. There are problems with poorly maintained hearing aids. First, ear wax, dust and other stuff will accumulate on these devices, keeping the speakers and ports from working well. This means you might be turning up the sound more often and draining that battery power in the process. The second concern involves changing the batteries out. If you put your fingers on a dirty hearing aid, you will transfer that debris to the battery.

Read the manufacturer’s recommendations to for keeping your hearing aids well maintained. This will likely include a good cleaning before switching out the battery and instructions to wash your hands right before making the change.

4. Follow the Storage Instructions for the Batteries

Often batteries come in a pack, so there are extra ones to store. Read the instructions on how you should properly keep them to ensure they are safe. Some common storage advice includes:

  • Leaving the tabs on all unused batteries
  • Storing them loose batteries at normal room temperature
  • Keep the batteries away from metallic objects like coins or keys
  • Let the battery sit for one minute after removing the tab and prior to inserting it into the hearing aid

These are basic steps designed to enhance the performance and lifespan of each battery.

5. Turn off the Hearing Aids

When you are not wearing your hearing aids, make sure to turn them off. Place the device in a safe container, preferably the one that came with it and then pull open the battery door. This allows any moisture inside the hearing aid to escape while cutting back on the units battery drain. If you plan on leaving the hearing aids out for an extended period, remove the batteries completely.

Keep in mind, too, that the better quality the battery and the hearing aid, the less time and money you’ll spend in the long run. It’s tempting to save money by buying cheap, but, in the end, it just ends up costing you more. Hearing aids and batteries go hand in hand, so shop smart and take care of your investment to keep both of them working at their best.





What You Can Do If a Friend Needs a Professional Hearing Test

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 10, 2017

Picture of two guys talking to each other | What to do Do When A Friend Really Needs To Get Their Hearing Tested  title=

Do you have someone in your life who you suspect has hearing problems? You are not alone. Statistically speaking, it’s possible that most people know at least one individual who is hearing impaired and probably doesn’t realize it. About 36 million people in the United States have hearing challenges, according to Dr. Bettie Borton, AuD, president of the American Academy of Audiology. If it’s not a friend, it might be a spouse, parent or a grandparent.

Often hearing loss is a progressive issue for most, so even though you can tell there is a problem, they may not see it. It’s common for a person’s friend or family member to be the one who recognizes the problem in the first place. Maybe, what you should be asking is what you can do about it? It’s your job to help your friend or loved one come to the see what you already know. It’s time for them to schedule a hearing test.

It’s a complex topic for most because hearing loss and aging tend to go hand-in-hand. Consider some practical and less offensive ways you can get your close friend to agree to get a professional hearing test.

Start With a Discussion About Why Hearing Loss is a Concern

Make it about you, though, and not your friend, if that helps. For example, medical science has found a link between some kinds of hearing loss and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, a 2014 report issued by Johns Hopkins Medicine shows there is a certain amount of brain shrinkage in patients that ignore their hearing loss as opposed to managing it with hearing aids and other devices.

Talk to your friend about the fear you have that undetected hearing loss can hurt you down the road and why you think it’s time for to think about a hearing test.

Get One Yourself

The truth is that most people benefit from getting the occasional hearing test, so why not schedule one for yourself and challenge your friend to join you. Instead of talking about potential hearing loss, make the test part of a comprehensive wellness strategy, something you can work on together You get your nails done together, maybe, you go to the gym together, you might even head to the dentist together, so why not a hearing test?

Maybe, tell your friend you need some help because you’re not sure what to expect from a hearing test. You might even claim to that you’re not sure if you have hearing problems of your own. It can’t hurt you to get tested, especially if it helps out a friend.

Recognize the Signs

Maybe just being honest is the better approach for this particular friend, but before you start that discussion, take some time to get the facts right. It’s possible what you’ve noticed isn’t about hearing loss, but a sign of another condition. This is the right time to get familiar with the signs of hearing loss, so you can talk intelligently with your friend. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Your friend avoids social settings
  • Your friend feels tired all the time
  • Your friend is having unexplained headaches
  • Your friend complains about ringing in the ears
  • Your friend tends to get the details wrong a lot
  • Your friend mutters “What” during every conversation
  • Your friend keeps turning the volume up

These little things are not something a person might pick up on their own, but stuff you as a friend might notice.

Now, Point Out the Things You’ve Noticed

Start a conversation about what you’ve noticed like:

  • You’ve been repeating yourself a lot
  • Your friend is getting some details wrong during your conversations
  • You’ve noticed this friend seems to struggle to hear you talk

Point out some of the tell-tell signs of hearing loss, such as turning the head to one side to hear or the seemingly automatic “What” all through your discussions. It might be your friend always has a look of extreme concentration or even confusion during a conversation.

Take the time to write some specific examples, too. The more details you offer, the more your friend will recognize the symptoms. Even it if it doesn’t sink in the first time around, you planted a seed and now this person will start to notice things on their own. Don’t be confrontational, just caring and concerned.

Once, you’ve had the talk, offer to make the appointment for your friend. It will usually start with a trip to the ear doctor. Afterward, you can go along for the test as support.

Hearing loss is not an easy thing to accept, but an important challenge to face because there are consequences if you don’t. Be that friend that understands the need and help that someone in your life find their way back to healthy hearing.





6 Steps You Must Take to Avoid Damaging Your Hearing

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 3, 2017

Sound Waves | 6 Ways To Avoid Damaging Your Hearing Today

Your hearing is one of your most beneficial assets, but what can you do to keep it safe? You probably already know that most people experience some hearing loss with age. What you might not know is that it has very little to do with getting older. This type of hearing loss occurs because of the damage people do to their ears over time. Looking for practical ways to protect your hearing right now will make all the difference later to prevent hearing decline.

The fact is there might still a slight decline in your hearing when you get older, but taking steps now can reduce the extent of the damage and reduce your risk of significant hearing loss. Consider six things you can do right now to avoid requiring hearing aids in 10 years.

1. Get Educated About Hearing Loss

There are two primary reasons you might lose your hearing:

  • Age
  • Noise

Hearing is a very mechanical process. It starts when sound moves into the outer ears as a wave of vibrations. The ear drum amplifies that wave as it moves down the canal where it hits three small bones causing them to vibrate. Those bones, in turn, transmit the vibrations to the inner ear, or cochlea. Inside the cochlea are tiny hairs that move as the vibrations hit them.

It’s the hair cells that are typically the root of most age-related hearing problems. Extreme noise can damage the cells even though they naturally lose some viability over the years. It’s the combination of normal aging and chronic loud sound that hurts you, though.

Your goal is to come up with ways to keep the hair cells healthy and that starts with reducing their exposure to loud sounds. It’s a combination of environmental damage and natural aging is what leads to hearing aids for many people. Since you can’t do anything about aging, focus on what you can control – environmental damage.

2. Lose the Headphones

One practical approach is to protect the delicate inner ear is by losing the headphones so many people love to wear when listening to music or watching TV. Headphones isolated the sound, so it enters the ear in a stronger wave. The mechanisms of the ear don’t change just because the sound is loud. When a strong wave hits the ear canal, the eardrum still amplifies it and the tiny bones still vibrate. The sound is now a violent wave as it hits the hair cells causing damage along the way. That happens every single time you put on those headphones no matter what the volume.

3. Calculate the Noise Factor

Even once you lose the headphones, your ears will still experience different dangerous sound levels. Everything from the local band to your lawn mower will impact your hearing in the future. Learn to filter out the sounds are causing hearing damage.

NHS lists the sound level of normal conversation at about 60 dB, so use that as a guide. Compare it, for example, to the sound of your lawnmower, which is closer to 85 dB, and you’ll start to get the idea. Going to see your favorite band exposes you to about 120 dB.

  • Typically, noise that you experience weekly over 105 dB causes damage.
  • Lower daily noise levels at 80 to 90db also cause damage

If you play your music on the loud setting each day, the level is about 112 dB, so think about turning it down.

4. Limit Your Noise Exposure

Find ways to avoid loud noises. For instance, on you get used to listening to music at lower volume levels; it will seem completely normal to you. You’ll be surprised on easily the ears can adjust, especially in a tight space like the car. Ask others to respect your need for lower noise levels, too.

5. Wear Hearing Protection

Making smart hearing choices doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your a concert or make major lifestyle changes to avoid the sound of a jackhammer. Plan ahead and wear ear protection when you must. A simple and inexpensive pair of ear plugs makes that concert much safer and if you decide to mow the lawn, put on a pair of sound-dampening headphones. Work with your employer to ensure ear protection is available on the job, too.

6. Get Ear Checkups

A good ear health strategy will start with a baseline hearing test. From there, all you need is an ear checkup at least once a year. You will want to talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a couple of hearing tests as you grow older to monitor your hearing ability.

Today, most healthcare plans focus on wellness, so extend that thinking to your ear health, as well. The sooner you start factoring in ear health, the better your hearing will be later in life.





6 Ways That Will Always Help You Avoid Damaging Your Hearing

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 3, 2017

Sound Waves | 6 Ways To Avoid Damaging Your Hearing Today

Your hearing is one of your most beneficial assets, but what can you do to keep it safe? You probably already know that most people experience some hearing loss with age. What you might not know is that it has very little to do with getting older. This type of hearing loss occurs because of the damage people do to their ears over time. Looking for practical ways to protect your hearing right now will make all the difference later to prevent hearing decline.

The fact is there might still a slight decline in your hearing when you get older, but taking steps now can reduce the extent of the damage and reduce your risk of significant hearing loss. Consider six things you can do right now to avoid requiring hearing aids in 10 years.

1. Get Educated About Hearing Loss

There are two primary reasons you might lose your hearing:

  • Age
  • Noise

Hearing is a very mechanical process. It starts when sound moves into the outer ears as a wave of vibrations. The ear drum amplifies that wave as it moves down the canal where it hits three small bones causing them to vibrate. Those bones, in turn, transmit the vibrations to the inner ear, or cochlea. Inside the cochlea are tiny hairs that move as the vibrations hit them.

It’s the hair cells that are typically the root of most age-related hearing problems. Extreme noise can damage the cells even though they naturally lose some viability over the years. It’s the combination of normal aging and chronic loud sound that hurts you, though.

Your goal is to come up with ways to keep the hair cells healthy and that starts with reducing their exposure to loud sounds. It’s a combination of environmental damage and natural aging is what leads to hearing aids for many people. Since you can’t do anything about aging, focus on what you can control – environmental damage.

2. Lose the Headphones

One practical approach is to protect the delicate inner ear is by losing the headphones so many people love to wear when listening to music or watching TV. Headphones isolated the sound, so it enters the ear in a stronger wave. The mechanisms of the ear don’t change just because the sound is loud. When a strong wave hits the ear canal, the eardrum still amplifies it and the tiny bones still vibrate. The sound is now a violent wave as it hits the hair cells causing damage along the way. That happens every single time you put on those headphones no matter what the volume.

3. Calculate the Noise Factor

Even without headphones, your ears are exposed to a variety of sound levels. Everything from the local band to your lawn mower has an impact on your future hearing ability. You need to figure out what sounds are causing hearing damage.

NHS lists the sound level of normal conversation at about 60 dB. Compare that to the sound of your lawnmower which is closer to 85 dB and you’ll start to get the idea. Going to see your favorite band exposes you to about 120 dB.

  • Regular weekly noise over 105 dB causes damage.
  • Lower daily noise levels at 80 to 90db also cause damage

If you are playing your music on the loud setting each day, the level is about 112 dB, so turn it down.

4. Limit Your Noise Exposure

If you can avoid loud noises, then do. Start by getting used to listening to music at lower volume levels. You’ll be surprised on easily your ears adjust, especially in a tight space like the car. Ask others to respect your need for lower noise levels, too.

5. Wear Hearing Protection

Being hearing smart doesn’t mean you have to miss your favorite concert or change jobs to avoid the sound of a jackhammer. Just wear ear protection if exposed to loud noise. Get ear plugs for the concert and when mowing the lawn, you can wear headphones. If your job puts you at risk, make sure your employer requires all employees to wear ear protection.

6. Get Ear Checkups

Start with a baseline hearing test and then get an ear checkup at least once a year. Talk to your doctor about scheduling follow up hearing tests as you grow older, so you know if you have hearing problems.

Healthcare reform focuses on wellness care. You should extend that concept to your ears and protect your hearing now, so you can enjoy it later.





What to do If They Don’t Notice You’re Struggling with Hearing Loss

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : July 27, 2017

Invisible Woman on Bench | What To Do When Nobody Can See Your Hearing Loss Struggle

What happens if you are the only one to realize you have hearing loss? It’s a common scenario among elderly people. They fight to stay involved in conversations but the people around them assume there are other reasons they seem distracted. Older folks can suffer from a number of issues that make them seem distant. It’s possible hearing loss is not the first conclusion they draw.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability, too. In other words, there is nothing to point that hurts. You can’t show someone the problem. It’s hard to understand how hearing loss affects your life unless you experience it for yourself. So, what should a person who thinks they have hearing loss do to make themselves heard?

Get Others Involved

Put your friends and family to working solving your hearing mystery, explains the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders. Even if you think you have hearing loss, it might be difficult to be sure that’s what’s happening without some feedback from the people in your life. Ask them straight out if they think it’s a problem. Pose questions like:

  • Have they noticed you asking them to repeat themselves often?
  • Are you turning the TV up too loud?
  • Are you misunderstanding what they tell you sometimes?
  • It might be the idea of hearing loss just hasn’t occurred to them. Once you bring it up in conversation, they might start picking up on the clues.

Ask the Doctor for a Hearing Test

A physician that sees you one a year of a wellness check may not pick up on your hearing problems. Many conditions that lead to hearing loss don’t present with physical symptoms that a physician will see when examining your ears, either.

If you suspect hearing is causing you a problem, then it’s time to speak up. The doctor can ask questions to clarify your concern and even do same baseline tests in the office prior to sending you for a more comprehensive hearing test with an audiologist. None of that will happen, though, if you fail to make the doctor aware of your hearing loss.

Make Changes on Your Own

Once you have a real diagnosis and a professional hearing test, you have everything you need to improve your hearing health. For most people, hearing loss is a treatable condition. With the right tools at your disposal, your hearing loss will have less of an impact, so you struggle less. The audiologist and your doctor can look at your test results and help you make smart decisions designed to improve your life like getting hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.

Go slow picking out hearing aids to give yourself a chance to explore all the different features available and come up with the right mix for your needs. A certified hearing aid retailer will sit with you and go over the benefits of each brand and model. You will learn how different features work, too. Look for a dealer that offers a trial period, as well. This gives you the chance to test drive each feature, so you know if you need it or not.

Don’t Go It Alone

What they don’t know can hurt you, so talk to the people in your life. Make them understand your concerns about your hearing loss and make them part of the solution. Take a friend or family member with you to the doctor and when you go for your hearing test. Let them help as you listen to the diagnosis and the interpretation of the range of your hearing loss. Make them part of the decision-making process as you pick out the different hearing aids you want to try.

Just because you have hearing loss, doesn’t mean you have to live with it alone. When you incorporate your family into the process, you make them apart of that world, too. You are no longer the only one who understands what hearing loss is like and how it affects your life. By including them, you help them see what they can’t see otherwise.

Hearing loss is a life changer but so much harder when you struggle with it alone, so don’t. You are taking a courageous step by dealing with your loss, now; help your friends and family understand it with you.





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How can Doctors With Hearing Impairment Get By in Their Jobs

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 21, 2017

Picture of an audiologist

Are there jobs that you wouldn’t want to try if you are hearing impaired? It might seem like hearing loss is the kind of thing that would hold one back, but it affects more than 20 percent of the people in the U.S. Many of them have jobs that might appear difficult to do without almost perfect hearing. You’d be surprised, individuals with hearing loss are lawyers, actors, musicians, lawmakers, judges and, yes, even doctors.

The fact is determined people who are hearing challenged find few limitations in their lives, especially given today’s advancements in hearing technology. Physicians that face this problem just look for workarounds that help them accomplish their goals. It is, after all, one small obstacle in a road full of challenges. How do physicians who have hearing loss manage their jobs?

They Understand Their Condition

Who knows better than a medical practitioner that hearing loss and intellectual ability having nothing to do with one another. Being hearing impaired is simply a mechanical failure of one or more portions of the auditory system. It has nothing to do with cognitive function or problem-solving skills.

A person with hearing loss must start by accepting that they can’t let themselves be held back by this one sense or lack of it. Doctors look for solutions to overcome the potentials hurdles related to their ear health.

They Get a Professional Diagnosis

A doctor who notices a gradual hearing loss should automatically do what everyone else needs to, as well — see an ear specialist and get a proper diagnosis. The hearing reduction can occur for different reasons, some of which will be reversible. Maybe the problem is excess ear wax, for example.

Chances are a medical doctor will also know to get regular hearing tests to gauge their decline. This allows you to be proactive about your hearing health.

They Get Hearing Assistance

Just because you have hearing loss doesn’t mean you necessarily have to just live with it. A physician understands the importance of hearing assistance tools like quality hearing aids. After getting a hearing test, you can work with a certified retailer to find a brand and model hearing aid that best suits your needs.

For instance, a physician might benefit from hearing aids that are Bluetooth compatible and have directional microphones. Bluetooth allows the physician to connect the hearing aids to a smartphone or computer and directional microphones enhance conversation in noisy environments. Noise reduction probably comes in handy, as well, to filter out background noise.

They Get a Strong Support System

For a medical provider that might include joining professional organizations to network with colleagues facing the same challenges. The Association of Medical Professionals With Hearing Losses is a good fit for our industrious doctor. They not only connect you with other professionals online and via conferences, but they offer some must-have resources, too including ones that help the hearing challenged physician to find the right stethoscope.

They Use Their Disability to Grow

There is little doubt that hearing loss, whether it is new or something you have lived with your whole life, opens up new challenges, but, just maybe, it opens the door to opportunities, as well. Take Dr. Philip Zazove, for example. Dr. Zazove has been deaf most of his life and faced those challenges first hand. He states in an article for CNN Health that he applied to 12 different medical schools and struggled to even get interviews despite doing well on the MCATs. After attending graduate school, he finally was given a chance to go to medical school.

Today, he uses his hearing loss to better relate to his patients. In his family practice, he works with many who are hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. His life experiences have given him a unique opportunity to help others find their path.

What do doctors with hearing loss do? The same thing anyone does, they push forward against the things that work to hold them back and that starts with a proper diagnosis and hearing test, though.





One Hearing Aid or Two: What Do You Need and How Would You Know

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 14, 2017

Picture of a person making a decision

When it comes to making the decision to be fitted for hearing aids, you may be wondering, “Can​ I get by with wearing a hearing aid in just one ear?”

Let’s take a look at when you should consider getting two hearing aids and when you should consider just getting one.

Temporary Versus Permanent Hearing Loss

It’s important to first determine whether your hearing loss is temporary or permanent. This can be answered by a qualified professional following a thorough examination. If your hearing loss is attributable to any of the following situations, it’s likely temporary.

  • Wax buildup that can be remedied in a clinical setting
  • Prescription medications with a side effect of partial loss of hearing in one or both ears
  • Head cold, ear infection or other illness
  • Exposure to loud sounds

If the hearing loss is temporary, your doctor can address ways to work with this prognosis. But if you’re hearing loss is permanent, you’ll want to consider hearing aids. Now the question becomes, one hearing or two?

When Should I Consider Getting Two Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are an investment, so It’s tempting to purchase just one and save the expense of a second device. You might want to reconsider, though. There are benefits to getting a hearing aid for each ear, especially if you have some hearing loss in both such as:

  • Better clarity and alertness that having two functional ears gives you
  • Research suggests that hearing well in both ears lets your brain distinguish between important auditory input and useless background noise
  • Two hearing aids help you locate where sound comes from so you can fully tune into the message
  • Offers a sense of clarity through balancing incoming stimuli
  • Lowers the risk of developing tinnitus
  • Decreases the chance of auditory deprivation, in other words, there is a tendency for the function of an unaided ear to decline

What Is Single-Sided Hearing Loss?

Single-sided, or unilateral, hearing loss occurs when you can hear well in one ear and have difficulty in the other.

When Should I Consider Getting One Hearing Aid?

The three primary reasons to purchase just one hearing aid is that you have single-sided hearing loss, you’re completely and irreversibly deaf in one ear or you have age-induced cognitive delays.

Assuming you do have some hearing loss in just one ear, you won’t need a hearing aid in your other one. This is also true if you are permanently deaf in the one ear, there is no point in purchasing a second hearing aid. These two situations will not improve with the addition of a second hearing aid.

If you are a person over the age of 85 and have cognitive delays, choosing to wear two hearing aids might create excess auditory stimuli, enough that it becomes overwhelming and confusing. You might find you struggle to separate speech patterns from other speech or background noise, as well.

The final reason to choose only one hearing aid is it’s just too big of a financial burden if you do try to buy two. Make sure you exhaust all of your options first, though, before settling for just the one hearing-assistance device. Look to social services and your insurance company for help.

Choosing The Right Hearing Aid For You

Of course, you want what’s best for your ears, so you can continue to participate in all the activities you love. For more information on hearing health, check us out today!





5 Common Problems With Hearing Loss – Which Ones Do You Need to Beat?

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : September 7, 2017

Picture of person standing on the mountain

As your hearing declines, it will be the little things that grab your attention — tiny problems that interfere with your quality of life. One or more of these issues may eventually be what gets you to the ear doctor, but, until then, how can you overcome these typical problems? If you’re one of the millions of people in the U.S. that have a gradual hearing loss, here are five things that can change your life and what you can do about it.

1. Ringing in the Ears

That ringing you think you hear is tinnitus, an annoying side effect of hearing loss and something that can definitely change your life. This phantom sound is a symptom of hearing decline, especially when related to age. Not everyone hears a bell, though, for some people tinnitus is a:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing

Regardless of the sound you hear, it can get interfere with your ability to focus.

A good place to get started is by figuring out what irritants might trigger the sound such as caffeine. Keep a record what you do right before the noise starts like listening to music using an earbud or eating a meal with a lot of salt. Over time, you will identify your personal tinnitus triggers and learn to avoid them.

You may also need to find ways to cover this noise up, especially at night when you are trying to fall asleep. Something as simple as a fan running in the room can mask the sound of tinnitus and give you some relief.

2. Problems Following Conversation

Gradual hearing loss can mean you start noticing people mumble more or certain words are never clear. Hearing aids will go a long way towards eliminating all these issues. If you are not quite ready to go down that road, there are a few tricks you might try.

Put yourself in the best position to hear. Face the person you are talking to and look at them as they speak. The combination of what you hear and what you see might be enough to clarify things.

Go out of your way to have conversations in quiet areas, too. Background noise will make it harder to understand speech. Step away from fans and turn off the TV, for instance.

Ask for clarification, as well. If you are having problems hearing, it’s probably not a secret, so just put it out there. Telling someone you are talking to that you have a hearing challenge is enough to get them to speak clearly and turn up the volume a bit.

3. Irritability

Fighting to hear every word is exhausting and that fatigue catches up with you. Looking for ways to eliminate that extra stress such as wearing hearing aids can reduce your frustration, but so will learning different ways to relax. Find a hobby that refocuses your mind, something like learning to paint or crochet. Practice extreme breathing exercises, too. They will teach you the art of calming yourself when you feel overcome with stress.

One of the best ways to handle this type of chaos, though, is to exercise daily. Working out forces your body to release hormones that help calm you and make everything seem less stressful.

4. Social Withdrawal

Loss of hearing will leave you feeling left out of the loop and maybe different than everyone else in some way — like you can’t understand even the simplest of things anymore. That’s will make anyone want to turn down a chance to get out with friends. As a result, you may end up spending more time alone and socially isolated.

The way to get back your life is to accept what is happening to you. Once you take that step, you can find ways to fight the desire to avoid time with family and friends. When you do head out for the night, tell the people you are with about your struggle. You might find that instead of being alone, you end up with a support system that can help.

5. Denial

Age-related hearing loss is gradual, so it’s easy to deny. People tend to find other reasons for the problem like the volume on the TV isn’t working as well as it used to or that one friend was always a mumbler. Pay attention to the patterns that are forming and listen to what the people in your life are telling you. Often, they are the first to realize someone they care about has hearing loss.

Of course, you have the ability to overcome most of these problems at one time by getting an ear exam, a proper diagnosis and, maybe, hearing aids. If even one of these scenarios sounds familiar, then it’s time to for a professional hearing test.





Can a Hearing Deficit Affect Your Driving Ability?

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 31, 2017

Picture of senior driver behind the wheel | How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Driving Skills?

Hearing loss is one of the most common afflictions to hit older individuals, but is that a reason to stop driving? There is no clear cut answer to that question because no two people drive exactly the same way.

Hearing impairment is certainly something to consider when getting behind the wheel of a car, but a good driver doesn’t change just because they’ve noticed they have to turn up the radio these days to hear the music. For that matter, if you were a bad driver before your hearing started to decline, you’re probably still a bad driver.

What should a person who is experiencing hearing loss think about when planning to drive to work each day or take a road trip this summer? Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?

Think Beyond the Wheel

If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just ignore your decline. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.

What About Driving?

Driving requires effective observational skills and some of that relates to your auditory ability, but none of that means you can’t drive when there is hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication states that about 48 million people in the U.S. have major hearing loss and a generous segment of them do still drive.

There is one study that found individuals driving a car with hearing loss are generally more visually aware of what’s going on and, typically, more careful than some hearing drivers. They drive at a slower pace when on the road and make use of their mirrors more to compensate for what they can’t hear.

Tips for Driving With Hearing Loss

 

Tip 1:

The first thing to consider is to stop procrastinating. See an ear specialist, get a professional hearing test and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids will eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” problem once and for all.

Tip 2:

When wearing your hearing aids, you need to be be a more observant driver, which leads you to tip number two – get your vision tested. After all, when it comes to driving, vision is the thing that matters most, so it’s time to ensure yours is good enough for driving. Ask your physician to double-check your night vision, too, just so you know whether driving after sundown is a viable option for you. If you don’t hear well, you need to be extra cautious about your eye health and vision.

Tip 3:

Keep the chaos down inside the car, too. In other words, get the noise to a minimum, so you can focus on hearing the important stuff without distractions. Shut the radio off completely and ask anyone riding with you to keep quiet, as well.

Tip 4:

Get used to checking your dashboard regularly. It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking to see what your car is trying to tell you.

Tip 5:

Make maintenance a priority. You’re not going to hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.

Tip 6:

Watch the other cars closely. Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars pulling over to the side, you should too. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.

Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to see an ear specialist and find a solution to improve your situation like wearing hearing aids.





Could Your Hearing Be At Risk – 3 Clever Ways to Avoid Hearing Loss

By: Audiology Associates of Westchester : August 24, 2017

Picture of ear with sound waves | Your Hearing Could Be At Risk - 3 Tips to Avoid Hearing Loss

One in every three people over the age of 65 suffers from some form of hearing loss, according to Hearing Loss Association of America. Is it possible that they could have taken steps early in life to protect their hearing?

Age-related hearing loss is really the break down of the tiny hair cells in the ears that vibrate as sound hits them. Noise plays a big part in that process, though. Doing little things early in life can protect those delicate cells, reducing your overall risk of hearing loss as you age. There is no guarantee that you won’t be that one in three who suffers some hearing loss, but the odds are better if you take precautions now. Consider three basic steps you can take to lower your risk of hearing loss.

1. Do a Home Noise Evaluation

Start at home by figuring out what things you do regularly that expose your ears to loud noises. For example, what is the standard TV volume in your home? How about music? Do you use headphones for either one?

Now is a good time to lose the headphones. Sound travels in waves. Headphones and ear buds introduce those waves directly into the ear canal. It’s a little like the difference shooting a gun from point blank range instead of from 100 feet away. By putting headphones on, you are exposing your ears to sound waves that are much stronger than they should be and damage the intricate components of your ears in the process.

Consider what other things you might do around the house that can introduce loud noise into your life. Perhaps you have a woodworking shop or some other craft that requires you to use loud equipment? Even things like mowing the lawn will take a toll. You don’t have to stop doing the things you love, just make sure you have the proper ear protection on hand when you do them like noise dampening ear muffs.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body– including your ears. Regular fitness schedule lowers your risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes or hypertension. These illnesses can affect your hearing as you get older. The truth is any kind of exercise will do, so go out and pick something you really enjoy like swimming or biking. Keep track of your activity, too, and ensure you meet the recommended standards offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For adults, that means about 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity along with strength training at least two days a week.

3. Get Regular Ear Checkups

Like most health problems, the earlier you detect hearing loss, the better. A regular ear check-up will spot problem areas and allow you to see an ear specialist if necessary. For most people, it will also mean the occasional professional hearing test. Get the first one as early in life as possible. This can serve as a baseline as you grow older. When you get additional tests every few years, you will start to see how your hearing is changing. If you notice a drop, medical intervention might be able to slow or even stop the hearing loss progression.

A trip to the doctor each year for an ear exam helps you manage your hearing and control loss. The doctor can eliminate earwax blockage safely, for example. A physician will also know what types of drugs put your hearing at risk, preventing medication-related damage.

There is no perfect way to make sure you don’t have hearing loss later in life, but a little forward-thinking will certainly improve your odds of enjoying your golden years with the best hearing possible. 





 

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