Can Anything be Done to Stop That Irritating Ringing in Your Ears?

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Regardless of whether you hear it once in a while or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus can be annoying. Annoying may not be the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating? No matter what the description, that noise that you can’t get rid of is a big problem in your life. What can you do, though? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?

Know Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is

Begin by finding out more about the condition that is causing the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition itself. Hearing loss is often the primary cause of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a typical result of hearing decline. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. Currently, the theory is that the brain is filling the void by generating noise.

You encounter thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds every day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. What about the turning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air blowing through a vent. You don’t normally hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.

It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. If half of those sounds are turned off, what happens then? It becomes bewildering for the portion of your brain that hears sound. It may generate the phantom tinnitus noises to compensate because it realizes sound should be there.

Tinnitus has other possible causes as well. It can be connected to severe health problems like:

  • Head or neck trauma
  • Turbulent blood flow
  • High blood pressure
  • Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
  • Poor circulation
  • A reaction to medication
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)

Any of these things can trigger tinnitus. You may get the ringing despite the fact that you hear fine or possibly after an injury or accident. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before trying to find another way to get rid of it.

Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?

Once you know why you have it, you can determine what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants may be the only thing that works. If tinnitus is due to the lack of sound, create some. It doesn’t need to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background might generate enough noise to shut off the ringing.

A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is made just for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are relaxing natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some have pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.

Investing in hearing aids is also a good solution. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is listening for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. The brain doesn’t need to produce phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.

A combination of tricks works best for the majority of people. For example, you could use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.

If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is severe, there are medications that could help. Certain antidepressants can quiet this noise, for example, Xanax.

Manage You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes

It will also help if you make a few lifestyle changes. Determining if there are triggers is a good place to begin. Keep a journal and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:

  • Did you just drink a soda or a cup of coffee?
  • Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
  • Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
  • What did you just eat?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?

You will begin to see the patterns which trigger the ringing if you record the information very precisely. You should find ways to relax like biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be the cause.

An Ounce of Prevention

Preventing tinnitus in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:

  • Turning down the volume on everything
  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Using ear protection when around loud noises
  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system

That means you have to eat right, get plenty of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. Finally, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues that increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.

Negative Perception of Hearing Loss Impacts General Health

Man with hearing loss looks concerned but won't get hearing aids.

The loss of hearing can have a significant impact on you, one that goes beyond the inability to hear things. Having difficulty carrying out daily tasks, and strained relationships are examples of the general effect of loss of hearing.

A survey conducted by AARP found that untreated hearing loss had a more significant impact on quality of life than:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

There are a lot of people who don’t get help with their hearing loss despite the fact that it gets in the way of their lives. A perceived stigma attached to hearing loss is one reason why people who have hearing loss won’t get the treatment they need, say researchers. People are scared they will be treated differently if others learn they have hearing loss. This perception can change how they see themselves whether they are 8 or 80.

Many Other People Also Have Hearing Loss

Even though it can impact people of every age, it is true that as lifespans grow longer there are more instances of hearing loss. The World Health Organization reports that there are more than 1.1 billion people, a lot of them young adults, in danger of hearing loss and the perceived perception that comes with it. Hearing loss is, in fact, one of a young adult’s biggest health threats. Persistent reluctance to get help continues even as the number of people who suffer from hearing loss increases. What is the impact on overall health?

How Is Hearing Loss Viewed?

By definition, stigma is a brand that marks someone as inferior and that pretty much tells the story. Feeling older, less healthy, and less capable are worries that many with hearing loss have.

Historically, there is some foundation for this worry. A 2010 study revealed people were not as well accepted when they suffered from hearing loss. But the data from this research is almost 10 years old. As hearing loss is becoming more widespread, this perception is improving. Celebrities openly wear hearing aids and the devices are becoming more cutting edge, stylish, and fun. Other health problems related to aging, like cognitive decline and dementia could be delayed or even prevented by getting treatment, researchers say. This is also helping to improve the perception. Despite this, many people still don’t get the treatment they need.

What Difference Does it Make?

Don’t permit your fear of negative perception keep you from getting help or you might suffer long-term health consequences. An AARP survey revealed that more people agree to get colonoscopies than hearing tests. Not having a hearing exam because you refuse to recognize your hearing loss will impact your health as you get older.

Consequences of Undiagnosed or Untreated Hearing Loss

Not taking care of your hearing loss can have the following health repercussions;

Fatigue

Everything in life is more challenging if you are struggling to hear. Just trying to hear conversations and normal sounds is hard work. Because you can’t hear oncoming traffic or that person walking up behind you, you need to put more work into keeping safe as well. You can become chronically fatigued simply by attempting to hear common sounds.

Migraines

Tension and anxiety can cause migraines and other types of headaches. Studies have shown a link, though you may not have recognized there was a correlation, between some forms of hearing loss and migraines. Your brain needs to compensate for the sounds you can’t hear, so even if you don’t normally suffer from migraines, the constant effort can make your headache.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are some mental health issues you could also face as a result of untreated hearing loss. Social isolation is worse when you have hearing loss and it can also lead to dementia. Moodiness and reduced energy levels go along with these other issues.

The Negative Perception of Hearing Loss Can be Surmounted

Conquering these negative perceptions begins with getting help. It is possible to treat hearing loss. Your only causing your own hardship by not seeking help.

You also might be stressing over nothing because not all hearing loss is permanent. Something as basic as earwax buildup may be the reason, but you won’t know that unless you schedule an appointment to get a hearing test.

Recognizing you have hearing loss is not enough, you need to do something about it. Hearing aids come in many style options now. More inconspicuous styles are available if you are concerned about people knowing you have hearing loss.

Finally, prove them wrong. You can be just as active and healthy as anyone, so wear your hearing aids with self-confidence. Everyone who experiences hearing loss will also be benefited by your actions. Negative perceptions are social poisons so be strong and increase awareness to change them.

Hearing loss is a medical condition, not a weakness. So see a hearing professional for a hearing test right away.

Can Glasses be Worn With Hearing Aids?

Couple wearing hearing aids with glasses enjoy a vacation.

Hearing aids and glasses probably seem like oil and water, but is there a means to get these two very important accessories to work together? This typical question is particularly true if you are considering a behind-the-ear (BTE) model. Is it even possible to wear them both and still be comfortable? The answer is yes.

Before picking out hearing aids, there are some things to think about if you wear glasses. Use these guidelines to be sure your hearing aids and glasses work well together.

What Kind of Hearing Aids Are Best for Your Needs?

There are quite a few things, in general, to look at when buying new hearing aids. Shape, style, and size are all personalizations that are readily available. You can even get them in fancy colors if you’re into that type of thing. Modern hearing aids are not like the ones that grandpa wore.

The first step is to find out what types of hearing aids are on the market. They divide into three basic categories:

  • In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE model but it sits deeper inside the ear, making them almost invisible.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is much more advanced. With this model, the main section of the device sits directly behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold resting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit models are basically the same setup except without the earmold.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name suggests, this style of hearing aid fits right into the opening of the ear canal with nothing mounted behind the ear.

There are pros and cons to each style, but if you wear glasses, ITE and ITC hearing aids will save you from a lot of problems. The features of your new hearing aid should be considered after deciding on a style.

Learning About The Features

When buying, it’s the features that should be your primary concern not the shape of the hearing aid. Features are changing all of the time as hearing aid technology improves. Watch for some of these common ones:

  • T-coil – This feature allows you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is helpful when you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or at the movies.
  • Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear when you are in a noisy space. For instance, if someone is talking to you at a cafe, you will be able to hear their speech clearly despite the noise all around you.
  • Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to augment speech.

Finding the right features to fit your lifestyle is the aim. After that selecting the style should be easy.

Can You Even Use BTE Hearing Aids With Glasses?

Glasses and BTE hearing aids absolutely can be worn together. The secret is to wear both of these essential accessories correctly, so they are comfortable. Here are some tips:

  • Pick the correct size BTE before you commit to a purchase. Although the standard size will still work with glasses, it’s a little bulky. A newer style choice is the mini BTE. Because the behind the ear portion is smaller, you get improved comfort and less feedback. The only certain way to know which one will be best for you is to try them both out.
  • Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice taking off your glasses. Taking them off like this won’t become a habit immediately. Every time you knock off your hearing aids, though, will help to reinforce the practice.
  • First put your glasses on, then put in your hearing aid. Positioning of the hearing aid unit is a little bit more flexible so you can work it in around the arm of the glasses to make it comfortable. Look in a mirror after placing the hearing aid so you know it looks natural and isn’t hanging off your pinna, which is the outer part of the ear.

ITE and ITC styles will be the only choices for those people that can’t wear a BTE device with their glasses. If you of your glasses a lot, for instance, a BTE device will be a real inconvenience. Children will usually have problems with this kind of hearing aid and also adults with small ears. Which style is best for you can be determined if you schedule an appointment with a hearing aid specialist and make use of the free trial. Use this time to see if you can wear both or not.

Your Hearing Loss is Getting Worse, Can You Prevent it?

Couple enjoying their motorcycle while protecting their ears from further hearing loss.

It’s typical to have hearing loss as you get older but is it necessary? As they age, most adults will start to notice a change in their hearing ability. Even slight changes in your hearing ability will be able to be noticed after years of hearing sound. The degree of the loss and how rapidly it progresses is best controlled with prevention, as is true with most things in life. Your hearing can be impacted later on in life by the things you decide to do now. It’s never too soon to start or too late to care with regards to your hearing health. What steps can you take now to protect your hearing?

Comprehending Hearing Loss

Understanding what causes the majority of hearing loss begins with finding out how the ears actually work. Age-associated hearing loss, known medically as presbycusis, is affecting one in every three people in America from 64 to 74. It is an accumulation of damage to the ears over the years. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets worse over time.

Sound waves get to the inner ear only after having been amplified several times by the ear canal. Sound waves vibrate little hairs which bump into chemical releasing structures. These chemicals are transformed into electrical signals which the brain interprets as sound.

The negative aspect to all this shaking and vibrating is that the hair cells eventually break down and stop working. These hair cells won’t repair themselves, either, so once gone, they’re gone. If there are no little hairs, there are no chemicals released to produce the electrical signal which the brain translates as sound.

What’s behind this hair cell damage? There are many contributing factors including ordinary aging. The word “volume” makes reference to the strength of sound waves. The louder the volume, the stronger the sound wave and the bigger the injury to the hair cells.

Loud noise is absolutely a consideration but there are others too. Additionally, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic ailments will take a toll.

Safeguarding Your Hearing

Protecting your hearing over time depends on consistent hearing hygiene. Volume is at the root of the problem. When sound is at a higher volume or decibel level, it is significantly more damaging to the ears. You may think that it takes a very high volume to cause injury, but it actually doesn’t. A noise is too loud if you have to raise your voice to talk over it.

Everyone has to cope with the random loud noise but continuous exposure or even just a couple of loud minutes at a time is enough to impact your hearing later in life. Taking precautions when you expect to be exposed to loud sound, fortunately, is pretty simple. Wear hearing protection when you:

  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Do something where the noise is loud.
  • Go to a concert
  • Run power tools

Headphones, earbuds, and other devices made to isolate and amplify sound should be avoided. A lower volume should be chosen and use regular speakers.

Manage The Noise Around You

Even the things in your home can generate enough noise to be a problem over time. When you get an appliance for your house, consider the noise rating of the product. Try to use appliances that have a lower noise rating.

If the noise is too loud while you are out at a party or restaurant, don’t be scared to let someone know. The party’s host, or possibly even the restaurant manager may be willing to help accommodate for your issue.

Be Noise Conscious While at Work

When you’re working, protect your ears if your job is loud. Purchase your own hearing protection if it’s not provided by your manager. Here are some products that can protect your ears:

  • Earplugs
  • Headphones
  • Earmuffs

Your employer will probably listen if you bring up your concerns.

Stop Smoking

Hearing impairment is yet another good reason to stop smoking. Studies show that smokers are much more likely to get age-related hearing loss. This is true if you are subjected to second-hand smoke, too.

Make Certain to Look Closely at Medications That You Take

Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they can cause damage to your ears. A few typical culprits include:

  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Aspirin
  • Diuretics
  • Cardiac medication
  • NSAIDS
  • Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
  • Certain antibiotics

The true list is quite a bit longer than this one and contains prescription medication as well as over the counter medicines. If you use pain relievers, do so only when necessary and read the labels. Consult your doctor first if you are unsure.

Treat Your Body Well

To slow down hearing loss it’s particularly important, as you get older, to do the normal things that keep you healthy, like eating right and exercising. If you have high blood pressure, do what you can to manage it like decreasing your sodium consumption and taking the medication prescribed to you. You have a lower risk of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, if you take good care of your body and this leads to lower chances of hearing problems.

If you believe that you hear ringing in your ears or if you have some hearing loss, have your hearing examined. You might need hearing aids and not even know it so pay attention to your hearing. If you detect any changes in your hearing, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. It’s not too late to take care of your hearing.

When Choosing a Hearing Aid, What Should You Look For?

Woman suffering from hearing loss choosing a hearing aid.

You already realize that you need to get hearing aids, so what do you do next? Hearing aids are soon to become an essential part of your life so choose wisely. If you find some hearing aids which can only be purchased on the internet, then you can be sure that they are probably pretty flimsy. If you truly believe that you can get a quality device for less money from the internet, then the sacrifice is how well you hear, and that’s your choice. When shopping for hearing aids, there are some sacrifices that you should be ok with, but is your hearing one of them?

Cheap Internet Imitations Are Not Actually Hearing Aids

Hearing assistance devices which can be found on the internet are not really a bargain and their not really hearing aids. They don’t perform very well or very efficiently. You have to buy new batteries so often that it ends up costing you a lot.

The only feature that these cheaper devices have is sound amplification. Customization to your exact needs can be accomplished with the integrated technologies found inside of a modern quality digital hearing aid. Several significant features will be sacrificed if you decide to buy a cheap online device.

You need to understand that your new hearing aids are an investment in your future. It’s great to try to stretch your budget, but not when it comes to something that affects every part of your life like your hearing. Be certain to get the hearing aids you really need. Even if you can’t afford them there might be other solutions.

Digital Vs. Analog

A higher quality, more reliable sound is delivered by digital hearing aids and they’re far more consistent also. It’s not even worth spending the time to consider analog units.

It’s likely all of the hearing aids you see at quality retailers will be digital. You should be careful because analog devices are still out there if you don’t know what to look for. Low-quality analog signals are what the older hearing aids process. The sound quality is very inconsistent with old analog models.

Selecting The Perfect Features

Features and style are the two elements of hearing aid shopping. You want a comfortable style that comes with features that make your life easier. Some standard features to consider include:

  • Wireless connectivity
  • Remote controls
  • Environmental noise control
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Noise reduction
  • Directional microphones
  • Variable programming
  • Telecoils
  • Bluetooth
  • Direct audio input
  • Synchronization

Take Into Consideration The Different Styles

There are a lot of styles available to you, as you will find out when you begin researching hearing aids. That is great news since it means there is surely a style that will work for you. The various styles of hearing aids include:

  • In-the-Ear (ITE)
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
  • In-the-Ear (ITE)
  • Open Fit
  • Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)

To get a pretty good idea of each style just take a look at their names. BTE hearing aids incorporate a piece that sits behind the ear. An ear-mold sits at the ear’s opening and has a clear tube which connects it to the BTE.

As is obvious by its name, ITE devices go “in the ear”. This device is at the opening of the ear canal and is only one unit. There is nothing behind the ear. ITC indicates “in the canal” and they are very similar to ITE’s but ITC’s go further into the ear canal so you won’t see them so much.

RIC and RIE, as the name indicates, have a receiver unit that sits in the ear and connects by a wire to a piece that attaches behind it. These types of hearing aids are less conspicuous than a BTE.

Finally, open fit units are BTE devices but instead of connecting to an ear-mold, a tiny tube goes into the ear canal. This style is a good choice for people who don’t like the feel of something inside their ear.

After taking all of these styles and options into account, it’s time to choose the one that would best fit your needs. For example, Bluetooth is a useful feature to have, particularly if you use your smartphone or computer regularly. If you listen to seminars and lectures, telecoil is an excellent option and you won’t have to keep shelling out money for new batteries if you get a hearing aid with a rechargeable one.

Lastly, Your Buying Options Should be Taken Into Consideration

Most qualified retailers will offer custom fitting and a free trial period. That’s where you want to go to purchase your hearing aids. Having a chance to try your new hearing aids before you purchase them will give you confidence that you are making the best decision.

A good warranty will come with a quality hearing aid, so don’t overlook that. What does it cover? Do you get a new hearing aid if something goes wrong or does the warranty only cover parts and maybe labor?

Before picking out hearing aids schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional for a checkup and hearing test, too. There are several reasons you might detect a change in your hearing and you may not even need hearing aids.

After I Get an Ear Infection, Will I Get my Hearing Back?

Woman recovers her hearing after an ear infection and listens to her grandaughter whisper something in her ear.

Otitis media is the medical name for what you most likely call an ear infection. Ear infections like this are often found in infants and young kids but they can also affect adults, as well, particularly during or after a cold or sinus infection. If you have a bad tooth, that can also lead to an ear infection.

If you have an infection in the middle ear you will most likely have at least some loss of hearing, but will it go away? To come up with a complete answer can be somewhat complex. There are a lot of things happening with ear infections. There is damage that can be caused that you need to understand and also how that injury can affect your ability to hear.

Otitis Media, Exactly What is it?

The simplest way to comprehend otitis media is that it’s an infection of the middle ear. It could be any type of microorganism causing the infection but bacteria is the most common.

Ear infections are defined by where they manifest in the ear. The outer ear, which is called the pinna, is the part of the ear where swimmer’s ear occurs, which is called otitis externa. If the bacterial growth is in the cochlea, the medical term is labyrinthitis or inner ear infection.

The middle ear consists of the area behind the eardrum but in front of the cochlea. The membranes of the inner ear are vibrated by three very small bones called ossicles which are housed in this area. An infection in this part of the ear tends to be very painful because it puts a lot of pressure on the eardrum, often until it actually breaks. This pressure is not only painful, it also causes hearing loss. The ear canal can be blocked by infectious material that can then cause a loss of hearing.

The signs or symptoms of a middle ear infection in an adult include:

  • Ear leakage
  • Pain in the ear
  • Reduced ability to hear

For most people, hearing comes back in time. The ear canal will then open back up and hearing will come back. This will only happen when the infection is resolved. Sometimes there are complications, however.

Chronic Ear Infections

Ear infections affect most people at least once in their life. Some people, however, will get ear infections again and again and they will become chronic. Chronic ear infections can lead to problems that mean a more considerable and possibly permanent loss of hearing, especially if the issues are left untreated.

Conductive Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infections

Conductive hearing loss can be brought on by chronic ear infections. As a result, the sound waves going to the inner ear are not loud enough. The ear has components along the canal that amplify the sound wave so that when it gets to the tiny hair cells of the inner ear, it is strong enough to trigger a vibration. When you have conductive hearing loss, something changes along that route and the sound isn’t amplified quite as much.

When you have an ear infection, bacteria are not just laying inside your ear doing nothing. They must eat to live and multiply, so they break down those mechanisms that amplify sound waves. The damage is in most cases done to the tiny little bones and the eardrum. It doesn’t take very much to destroy these delicate bones. Once they are gone, their gone. That’s permanent damage and your hearing won’t return on its own. Surgically putting in prosthetic bones is one possible way that a doctor may be able to correct this. The eardrum may have some scar tissue after it repairs itself, which will affect its ability to vibrate. Surgery can fix that, also.

This Permanent Hearing Loss Can be Prevented

Most importantly, see a doctor if you believe you have an ear infection. You shouldn’t wait if you want to protect your hearing. Also, don’t ignore chronic ear infections. More damage will be caused by more severe infections. Finally, take the appropriate steps to avoid colds, allergies, and sinus infections because that is how ear infections normally start. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit, too, because smoking increases your risk of having chronic respiratory problems.

If you are still having trouble hearing after having an ear infection, consult a doctor. It is possible you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that causes conductive hearing loss. If you find out that it’s permanent, hearing aids can help you hear once again. To get more information about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.

In my Hearing Aids I Can Hear The Sound of Feedback, Why is This?

Woman suffering from feedback in her hearing aids covering her ears.

Are you starting to hear a high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? Feedback is a common issue with hearing aids but it’s not something that you can’t have fixed. If you really want to come quite a bit closer to knowing why you keep getting that high pitch whistling sound, you should try to learn how your hearing aids function. What can be done about hearing aid feedback?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the basics of a hearing aid. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it back in your ear. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets a little complicated.

After the sound enters the microphone it gets converted into an analog signal to be further processed. The analog rendition is then translated into a digital signal by the device’s digital signal processor. The device’s advanced features and settings activate to amplify and clarify the sound.

The digital signal processor then transforms the signal back to analog and forwards it to a receiver. At this stage, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog signal and that’s not something your ears can hear. The sound waves, which the receiver converts the signal back to, are then sent through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea turn it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.

It’s hard to comprehend but all of this happens in a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it still feedback?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Hearing aids are not the only place where you hear feedback. Sound systems that come with microphones usually have some level of feedback. The receiver produces sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. After coming into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which creates a loop of feedback. Simply put, the hearing aid is hearing itself and doesn’t like it.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are quite a few things that could go wrong to cause this feedback loop. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you press the “on” button. This feedback is caused when the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off your hand and back into the microphone. The resolution to this problem is very simple; you should wait until the device is inside your ear before pushing the switch.

In some cases hearing aids don’t fit as well as they ought to and that leads to feedback. Loose fitting devices have a tendency to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since you last had them fitted. Getting it adjusted by the retailer is the only real answer to this one.

Feedback And Earwax

Earwax isn’t a friend of hearing aids. Earwax accumulation on the casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting right. Now, feedback is once again being caused by a poor fit. Read the manual that you got with your hearing aids or check with the retailer to determine exactly how to clean earwax off without damaging the device.

Maybe It’s Simply Broken

This is your next thing to start thinking about when you’ve attempted everything else. Feedback can definitely be caused by a damaged hearing aid. The casing could have a crack in it somewhere, for example. You should never attempt to fix this damage at home. Make an appointment with a hearing aid expert to get a repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Actually Something Else Altogether

There is a chance that what you are hearing is actually not feedback to begin with. There are a few other things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, like a low battery, which can give you a warning sound. Listen to the sound. Is it really a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device comes with this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you use. Most hearing aids are going to produce it and the cause is usually pretty clear.

Hearing Aids Will Give You Back Your Independence if You Have Hearing Loss

Woman with hearing loss happy to have her freedom and independence while riding in a convertible.

It’s impossible to forget getting your first car. Nothing can be compared to that feeling of freedom. You could go where you wanted, anytime, with who you wanted. Many people who suffer from loss of hearing have this same type of experience when they invest in their first pair of hearing aids.

Why would getting your first hearing aids compare to getting your first car? It’s not only the well known reasons for having hearing aids, but also the subtle factors that can restore your independent lifestyle. It so happens that your brain’s functionality is significantly affected by hearing loss.

Neuroplasticity

The following example demonstrates exactly how your brain reacts to changes: You’re on the way to your job, taking the same way you always do. As you go to make the first turn you discover that there is a road-block. What would be your response to this blockage? Is giving up and going home an option? Most likely not unless you’re looking for a reason to avoid the office. You would probably quickly find a different route. As long as your regular route was closed this new route would become your new everyday routine. If the new route ended up being even more efficient, you would replace the old one with it.

In your brain, when normal functions are not working the same thing takes place. The term neuroplasticity defines when the brain reroutes it’s processing along alternative pathways.

Neuroplasticity can help you master a new language, or in learning new abilities such as martial arts or forming healthy habits. Tasks that were at one time challenging come to be automatic as physical modifications to the brain gradually adjust to match the new pathways. Neuroplasticity can be just as good at making you forget about what you already know as it is at helping you learn new skills.

Hearing Loss And Neuroplasticity

Hearing loss is the perfect example of how neuroplasticity has a negative impact on your day-to-day life. As explained in The Hearing Review, researchers from the University of Colorado discovered that even in the early development of hearing loss, when your brain quits working to process sounds, it will be re-purposed for other tasks. This is something you may not want it to be working on. The association between loss of hearing and cognitive decline can be explained by this.

The areas of your brain that are responsible for hearing will be re-purposed for other functions like vision and touch. This reduces the brain’s available resources for processing sound, and it impairs our capacity to understand speech.

So, if you find yourself asking “what was that?” regularly, you already have loss of hearing. Additionally, it may be a more substantial issue than damage to your inner ear, it’s possible that the untreated hearing loss has induced your brain structure to change.

How Hearing Aids Can Help You

This talent of the brain has a positive and a downside. Neuroplasticity improves the performance of your hearing aids even though it might cause your hearing loss to get worse. You can really make the most of current hearing aid technology because of the brain’s ability to regenerate tissue and reroute neural paths. As the hearing aids stimulate the parts of the brain that handle loss of hearing, they stimulate mental growth and development.

In fact, a long-term study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Cognitive decline was decreased in people with hearing aids, according to this study. The study, titled Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study, followed over three thousand adults age 65 and older over a 25 year period. What the researchers discovered was that the speed of cognitive decline was higher in those with hearing loss compared to those with healthy hearing. However, participants that used hearing aids to correct their hearing loss displayed no difference in the rate of cognitive decline as compared to those with normal hearing.

We already knew a lot about neuroplasticity and this study verifies that understanding: if you don’t use it you will end up losing it because the brain arranges its functions according to the amount of stimulation it receives and the need at hand.”

Maintaining a Youthful Brain

It doesn’t make a difference what your age is, the versatility of the brain means it can change itself at any time. You should also take into consideration that hearing loss can hasten mental deterioration and that simply using hearing aids can stop or at least minimize this decline.

Hearing aids are high-tech hearing enhancement technology, not just over-the-counter amplification devices. According to leading brain plasticity expert Dr. Michael Merzenich, you can increase your brain function despite any health conditions by pushing yourself to perform challenging new activities, being active socially, and practicing mindfulness amongst other strategies.

To guarantee your quality of life, hearing aids are a must have. Becoming isolated and withdrawn is common for people with hearing loss. If you would like to remain active and independent, invest in a pair of hearing aids. Keep in mind that if you want your brain to stay as young as you feel it needs to keep processing sound and receiving stimulation.

Learn How to Take Care of Your Hearing Aids When you go on Vacation

Couple enjoying vacation thanks to buying new hearing aids to treat their hearing loss.

When heading out to your favorite getaway you should take steps to protect your hearing aids. Sometimes getaways are not as free of worry as you would like. If you plan ahead to care for and maintain your hearing aids properly, that’s one less thing to stress about while you travel. When heading out, are there any special measures to take for the safety of your hearing aids?

What Are The Basics

First of all, you will want to bring a cleaning kit. Clean your hearing aids the same way as you would when you are at home. Most quality hearing aid brands come with or offer a specialty cleaning kit that contains a brush or pick. When you’re not wearing them, you should put them in a case for storage. Don’t forget to bring a soft cleaning cloth to wipe them down with.

It’s a good idea to pack extra batteries, as well. More than likely you’ll be putting in the hearing aids longer than usual, so it’s prudent to have a backup set. Don’t forget that extra charger if you own a hearing aid that has rechargeable batteries. Carry your chargers in separate places in case one gets lost.

These are a few other things you may want to bring along:

  • Tubing
  • Soft domes
  • Sport clip

When packing up your car double check so that you may be certain you have everything you might need. An easy to get at spot should be chosen to put your hearing aid products in. Keep these things in your carry on luggage if you are flying.

An Expert Cleaning And Checkup is a Smart Idea Before You Get Going

One week prior to going bring your hearing aids in for an expert tune-up. Properly functioning hearing aids will make traveling safer and much more pleasant. You may need to take your hearing aids in for unexpected emergency service when you are on vacation so consult your retailer concerning any warranties you may have. Make sure that you know the steps for filing a claim, so you don’t neglect something and void the warranty.

You ought to check into if there are any hearing aid repair shops close to where you are going. If you need a new battery or maybe even some repairs, you will be able to bring it right in.

Some Considerations If You Are Using Hearing Aids at The Airport

Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend all of the constantly changing security requirements while at the airport. The first thing you need to be aware of is to wear your hearing aids while going through the security checkpoints. Tell security that you have a hearing aid as you approach so that they know ahead of time. most of the time, you probably won’t need to take them out as you walk through the metal detector, but follow the directions of the security agent.

It’s also not a problem if you use your hearing aids on the plane. Usually, you may be required to shut off cell phones and mobile devices when taking off but you can leave your hearing aids on. When on the plane, your hearing aid may not work as well. Try to fill the void by using visual signs to the flight attendant and the others around you so they understand you can’t hear. For example, you can cup your ear to show that you don’t understand.

A Drying Kit or Dehumidifier is a Good Idea

Vacations typically go right along with swimming and humidity. Even if you don’t plan on going swimming in a pool or going in the ocean, it is a smart idea to bring a way to dry out your hearing aids at night to protect against water damage. A dryer is really important while on vacation and also all year round.

Learn About How Your Hearing Aids Operate

Different features work best in different environments. For instance, you’ll need to filter out background noise in a restaurant or at an amusement park. You will have more fun at the beach if you use outdoor settings. You can’t know what feature to use if you are not familiar with how your hearing aid works.

A Remote Microphone is a Good Thing to Bring Along

In noisy environments, this will come in handy. When you are speaking with someone, clip the mic to them and you will be able to hear them better.

Notify the Hotel or Resort

Normally, popular vacation destinations accommodate for the hearing impaired. Since you won’t be using your hearing aids at night you will want to take advantage of that. Ask them about rooms with smoke alarms that flash the lights or shake the bed. Find out if they provide special phones for the hearing impaired and televisions with closed captioning.

Vacationing is fun, but it can also be frantic, too. Deal with your hearing aids before you leave, so you can relax and enjoy your trip. Schedule an appointment for a tune-up today.

Is Loss of Hearing Stopping You From Having Fun This Summer?

Man grilling unaware of his hearing loss and how getting a hearing aid could help him enjoy time with his family.

Is the loss of hearing getting in the way of your summer fun? Chances are it’s even worse if you don’t know it. The prolonged decay of your hearing that goes along with getting older and some ear diseases will mean that you won’t always realize that there are things which you don’t hear any longer. When your hearing has declined it’s very likely that you won’t go to many awesome summertime activities. There are some solutions to your loss of hearing that should get you back out there having summer fun.

Summertime Cookouts

Cooking out during the summer might be difficult when you have hearing loss. One of the most challenging issues is background noise. People are talking all around you. Kids might be playing in the yard or yelling in the pool. You have the sounds of nature like singing birds, barking dogs, and the sound of food cooking on the grill.

All that noise competes with any remaining hearing you have left. Background noises will overwhelm someone who has hearing decline.

There are things you can do to compensate like:

Sitting in a peaceful spot for short periods will help eliminate some of that overwhelming background noise. Facing away from the sun will permit you to see people when they are talking and use their lips to figure out words you miss.

  • You can turn down the volume of background music. If you are hosting the barbecue, you can simply decide not to play music. If you are going to somebody else’s cookout, mention the issue to the host.
  • Now and then simply walk away. It can be tiring when you are struggling to hear. Every hour or so try to go indoors or a little ways away from all the noise.
  • Let others know when you can’t hear. People will get frustrated if you attempt to fake it. If you don’t hear what someone said, let them know. Visual clues such as cupping your ears will help others realize you’re having a problem hearing. Normally, people will step closer to you or speak up to help.

Don’t try to hear everything. Understand that you can’t get involved in every conversation. Instead, attempt to participate in small groups and set practical limits for yourself.

Go Outdoors

Do you truly realize what you might be missing outside? Don’t be frightened to go outside and concentrate on the sounds of nature. No, you won’t be able to hear everything but with a little focus, you might hear more than you think possible.

Make a game out of it and listen for:

  • Singing birds
  • Insects buzzing
  • Evening crickets
  • Rustling leaves
  • Rain on your roof
  • Kids running around and playing
  • Barking dogs
  • Splashing waves

If you simply try to listen to one thing at a time, you can manage your expectations every time you go outdoors, head for the beach or walk in the park.

Enjoy a Vacation or Maybe Just a Day Trip

That’s really what summer is all about, isn’t it? What type of vacation do you enjoy? What limitations come with your hearing loss that will affect it? For instance, a theme park might be a bit too much stimulation, but sailing or fishing work nicely. Going out into nature would also work. Going to a museum or taking a stroll on the boardwalk by the beach are great choices.

Don’t let your loss of hearing take away your chance to travel this summer. Tell the airline about your condition when you get your ticket if you are flying. Alert the hotel or resort, too, so they can get you a room with accommodations for the hearing impaired like smoke alarms with flashing lights or shaking beds and TVs that have closed captioning.

Work on Yourself

Look for ways to better yourself this summer like taking an exercise class or learning how to paint. If you want to find a spot up front, get there early. If you do miss anything, it would be smart to bring a couple of friends with you to fill in the blanks.

Take Safety Measures This Summer

There are a number of summer activities that require you to take precautions to protect yourself, your ears, and any expensive hearing assistance devices you own. Play it safe by:

  • Taking care when by the pool or beach. Wear earplugs to avoid ear infections and keep your hearing aids dry.
  • Remember not to take evening walks by yourself. The loss of hearing means that you don’t always hear sounds including automobiles coming towards you or even a stranger coming up behind you.
  • Protect what hearing you may have left by using ear protection if you go to watch the fireworks for Independence Day or to an outdoor concert.

Try to Make The Most of it This Summer

Many of these summer obstacles become less significant when you do three simple things.

  • Have your ears checked by a hearing care specialist. It may be possible that your hearing loss is treatable.
  • Get a professional hearing examination, to determine if you do actually have hearing loss.
  • Get good-quality hearing aids. They can filter out background noises so that you will hear what is relevant.

Having fun is what summer is all about. Don’t allow the loss of hearing take it away from you.