How to Improve Hearing Health By Being Particular About Your Plate

A plate of healthy foods that can prevent or reduce hearing loss..

Does diet matter when it comes to ear health? One thing medical science is starting to understand is that diet matters for just about everything. The best way to protect your hearing is to be mindful of noise hazards like the earbuds you wear when you listening to music or by wearing ear protection when around loud noises you can’t control.

If you already do that then the next step is to focus on other smart lifestyle choices like diet and exercise. What foods should be on your plate for better hearing health?

Get Some Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are a good dietary addition for just about every function in your body including your hearing. Scientists from the University of Sydney state in a 2010 paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that adding just two helpings of oily fish — a common source of omega-3 fatty acids — every week lowers your risk of age-related hearing loss by up to 42 percent.

That’s just one of a number of good reasons to include fatty acids in your diet, though. Omega-3 is connected to the reduction of blood triglycerides, it reduces the risk of dementia and is the right choice for better heart health. Now, we can add hearing to the list too.

Fish is a good source of this critical element but be careful what kind of fish you choose. Look for wild salmon, tuna or sardines if you want more omega-3 fatty acid.

Folate

Folate is a type of folic acid, one that is often given to women expecting a baby to help prevent neural tube defects during gestation. Folic acid is also listed on the World Health Association’s List of Essential Medicines. At least one study indicates that taking folate will reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss by as much as 35 percent.

The recommended daily intake of folate is 400 micrograms, and the food is always the best source. You’ll find folate in those green leafy vegetables, the dark ones, like spinach or kale, along with beans and in black-eyed peas.

Potassium

Potassium plays an important role in the balancing of specific metabolic processes such as fluid levels and that makes it critical for good hearing, too. The inner ear is where you’ll find the cochlea, a bony labyrinth that is filled with fluid. As sound enters your ear, the fluid vibrates. Those vibrations are what move the hair cells so they send electrical messages the brain can translate into sound.

Clearly, having the right balance of fluid in the inner ear is necessary for effective hearing. In fact, the current theory about conditions that affect what you hear like Meniere’s disease relates directly to this fluid balance. A change in fluid levels might also be a factor in the age-related hearing loss, so add some potatoes, spinach, bananas or yogurt to your daily diet to ensure you get the potassium you need.

Zinc

Zinc is another one of those minerals that make a difference when it comes to your health, especially in the fight against infection. How much zinc you get matters, though. Too much is has negative consequences. The recommended dosage for zinc is around 11 mg per day for adults.

Just enough zinc each day will help reduce the risk of the ear infections. They can interfere with your hearing and may damage the delicate mechanisms of the ear. Zinc also improves wound healing, including the ones inside the ear canal after an infection.

There is some indication that zinc intake helps those with tinnitus, too. Tinnitus is the ringing that some people hear when there is a change in their hearing. Not everyone hears ringing, though. Some individuals with tinnitus complain of wind blowing or clicking noises in their ears. More evidence is needed to prove that zinc is effective in the treatment of tinnitus, however, but it can’t hurt.

Foods that offer plenty of zinc include beef, nuts, and beans. You can enjoy the occasional sweet treat and get your zinc, too, so get some dark chocolate next time you shop.

Good lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet and doing plenty of exercises are also the right way to lower the risk of chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Any of those problems will increase your odds of age-related hearing loss. Add the direct benefit eating certain foods has on ear health, why wouldn’t you fuss about what you put on your plate?

Are You Missing Out on Compliments?

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Can hearing loss leave you feeling just a little less than? Less than smart, maybe, because you’re struggling to keep up with the conversation all the time. How about less than liked? It might seem like everyone is avoiding you. Perhaps instead of your usual pep, you are feeling less than energetic. The fight to hear and comprehend takes a toll on you physically.

Depression is a natural side effect of hearing loss, especially when it’s a gradual consequence of aging that is easy to ignore. In between the mood swings are periods of anxiety because you are not really sure what’s going on. If all this sounds a little too familiar, then you could probably use a pick-me-up. How about a compliment?

A 2012 study published by the National Institutes of Natural Science discovered that people improve when someone offers them a compliment. The ability to give and receive compliments provides a number of health benefits like a stronger immune system and better productivity, too. Of course, if you have hearing loss, you are not enjoying those compliments like you used to or the health perks that come with them. What kinds of compliments do you think you might be missing?

The Ones That Offer Support

When is the last time a person you cared about said they believe in you? With hearing impairment, they might be doing just that and you wouldn’t know. That feeling of accomplishment that comes with this compliment is difficult to muster regularly without the support from your friends and family. Maybe you feel a sense of power when you finish a project or get in a workout, but it’s fleeting sensation without reinforcement. As a society, we rely heavily on what the people in our lives think of the things we do.

If you have presbycusis, the technical name for hearing loss that occurs with age, you may not hear your grandchild say she believes and loves you or that special person in your life’s message of support. This type of hearing problem makes high tones like the female voice hard to comprehend.

You might, on the other hand, easily pick out the sound of a man’s voice, but it isn’t clear and crisp. The deep tones come off more like gruff and less like a statement of support because you miss the occasional word and your brain fills in the void.

Age-related hearing loss is a consequence of the things people do all their lives that damage their hearing like wearing headphones or going to concerts each week. Even playing the music in the car loud has a cumulative effect. These actions take a toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, which is why professionals warn people to start protecting them early in life.

Nature’s Own Complements

Often the sounds that help the most are not man-made. Nature has its own way of soothing you with her diverse set of sounds. Do you enjoy hearing the birds sing in the morning or the wind blowing through the trees? Perhaps you like listening to the rainfall. Since presbycusis tends to develop slowly, you might not even know these things are missing from your life, well, until you put on hearing aids for the first time and they all come back to you.

The Benefit of Feeling Safe Compliments Your Life

When you lose your hearing there is more to consider than just how you feel, too. Hearing loss is a safety issue because you’ve lived your whole life relying on your ears to warn you of danger. Sound tells you there is a car coming your way and you need to move, for example. If you miss the sound of the horn, the person standing behind you yells a warning to get you going. Those danger flags are likely gone when you live with untreated hearing loss.

The Environmental Compliments

What about the little things around the house that you know longer hear? When is the last time the dryer signaled that clothes were ready? All those wrinkled clothes are enough to make anyone depressed.

There are more serious issues to think about at home, too, like the smoke alarm. Conventional ones offer a high-pitch sound that a person with a hearing problem might miss. Manufacturers now provide special types of smoke and carbon monoxide warning systems with low-frequency tones just for that reason along with other types of signals like flashing lights or shaking the beds. You won’t have these safeguards in place, though, unless you recognize your hearing loss.

Getting Back on the Compliment Track

Now that you know what you are missing, what can you do about it? There is more at stake here than just the occasional compliment to make you feel good. Hearing loss has a significant impact on your quality of life and safety. If you are noticing fewer compliments coming your way, maybe it’s time to make an appointment for a hearing exam and professional hearing test.

7 Tongue Twisters You Must Know for Fit Hearing

Picture of a woman with letters coming out her mouth

Do tongue twisters help improve your ear health? One could make the argument that tongue twisters are effective for brain health and there is a clear overlap between the brain and ears. Tongue twisters bring with them a unique linguistic anomaly – the double onset. In one study, a team from MIT, working with a number of universities, looked closer at this phenomenon. They brought together some volunteers and had them record different tongue-twisting word groupings to see if they could create problem scenarios like word reversals – a good example of the double onset

What they discovered was a pattern of mistakes relates to each tongue twister. What does all that have to do with your ear health? The tongue twisters we face in adult life are not as clever as “Rubber baby buggy bumpers” but they can be just as tricky. Medical terminology is a fine example of this in action and the hearing health industry is full of many of these types of tongue twisters. Even if you can’t say them fast, you still need to understand them and know what they mean for you and your ears. Consider seven tongue-twisting words that you should know.

1. Otolaryngologist

That’s a tricky word. It’s pronounced like this: [oh-toh-lar-ing-goluh-jist]. An otolaryngologist is an ear doctor with a focus in otorhinolaryngology – a medical-surgical subspecialty for the study and treatment of conditions that affect the ear, nose and throat. Doctors who study this specialty may also be called ENT surgeons. Their job is to do surgeries of the ear, nose, throat and base of the skull. This is the specialist you would see for many different procedures including cochlear implants.

An otolaryngologist is a physician who must complete an additional five years of surgical residency training. Once done, he or she undergoes fellowship training that lasts one or two more years.

2. Sensorineural

That’s is a real tongue-twister. Sensorineural pronounced: [sen-suh-ree-noo r-uh l] and it indicates a very specific kind of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, or sensory hearing loss, means you have an inner ear problem that is causing a hearing defect — usually involving the hair cells in the cochlea. That is different than a conductive hearing loss, which is about the movement of sound waves to the inner ear. About 90 percent of reported hearing loss falls under the category of sensorineural.

3. Audiological

Yeah, that’s a twister for sure. The pronunciation is: [ô′dē-ŏl′ə-jē-kel] and it means something related to audiology, which is the study of hearing. Another word that falls into that same core classification is an audiologist, which is a specialist that performs and interprets various kinds of hearing tests such as the pure tone audiometry or the otoacoustic emission measurement.

More tongue twisters but, ultimately, it boils down to assessing your hearing deficits and strengths to determine the level of hearing loss and make recommendations for things like hearing aids.

4. Presbycusis

Hard to pronounce, [prez-by-coo-sis], but an important term to know. This is what most people call age-related hearing loss. Presbycusis is not really about age, though. It is the cumulation of various stressors that eventually affect hearing ability. Every time you put on those headphones, you are stressing out the delicate mechanisms of the ear, leading you one step closer to presbycusis.

5. Tympanometry

It sounds a little like something you’d play in band class, but tympanometry is actually a type of hearing examination. Pronounced [tim-panohm-i-tree], this test involves the introduction of air pressure into the ear canal to see how the mechanical components of the ear function. Specifically, this test is a measurement of the mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and it tells a specialist if there is fluid in the middle ear, how well the middle ear system moves and the ear canal volume.

6. Ototoxicity

This word has critical meaning when it comes to hearing health. Pronounced [o-tuh-tok-sis-i-tee], it refers to something that is toxic to the ear and usually applies to medication. Certain types of antibiotics, for example, can cause hearing loss. This is also true for certain over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. If you worried, you should ask your doctor before taking a drug to find out if it is ototoxic.

7. Audiogram

That one’s not quite so hard to say but it is a good one to know. Pronounced [aw-dee-uh-gram], this is a chart produced by a professional hearing test. It maps out the tones at different frequencies and how well you can hear them.

Whether they twist your tongue or not, these are words worth understanding. Your hearing health relies on the little things you do to protect it like seeing an ear doctor regularly and getting a hearing test done. Now is a good time to educate yourself by learning the terminology that affects your ear health.

What can Doctors With Hearing Loss Do?

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.

Is It Just One Hearing Aid or Two and How to Choose

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When it’s time to make a decision about hearing aids, you might wonder, “Do I really need two hearing aids or will one do?”

Is there a point to spending the money on two hearing aids when your hearing loss only affects one ear? Let’s look at why you might consider getting two hearing aids and when one really is enough.

Temporary Versus Permanent Hearing Loss

This is a critical distinction. Is your hearing loss temporary or permanent? The best person to ask is a qualified medical specialist after getting a full ear exam. If you find your hearing loss is due to any of the following situations, chances are it is temporary:

  • A wax blockage that can be remedied in a clinical setting
  • A side effect of prescription medications
  • The common cold, an ear infection or other acute medical condition
  • Exposure to a loud noise

Assuming your hearing loss is temporary, your doctor can find a solution that returns it to you. If you’re hearing loss is permanent, though, then your next decision will be regarding hearing aids — but is that one hearing aid or two?

When Should I Consider Getting Two Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are expensive, and it can be tempting to choose to buy just one to save money. You’ll want to consider getting two hearing aids when you have hearing loss in both ears for the following benefits:

  • The clarity and alertness that having two functional ears gives you
  • Research suggests that hearing adequately in both ears allows your brain to distinguish between relevant auditory input and irrelevant background noise
  • Supports your ability to locate the origin of a sound in order to tune into the message
  • Offers a sense of clarity through balancing incoming stimuli
  • Reduces the likelihood of developing tinnitus
  • Decreases the risk of auditory deprivation which refers to the tendency for the function of an ear to decline if left unaided

What Is Single-Sided Hearing Loss?

Single-sided, also known as unilateral, hearing loss is when you can hear perfectly fine in one ear and have difficulty in the other.

When Should I Consider Getting One Hearing Aid?

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

If you have hearing loss in only one ear, there is no need to have a hearing aid in your other ear. Likewise, if you are permanently deaf in one ear, there is no point in purchasing a second hearing aid. Neither of these situations would improve with the addition of a second hearing aid.

For persons over the age of 85 with cognitive delays, wearing two hearing aids might cause the auditory stimuli to become overwhelming and confusing. They might also struggle to separate speech patterns from other speech or background noise.

A fourth reason to choose only one hearing aid is if it’s absolutely financially unfeasible to purchase two. It is highly advisable to exhaust all options before settling for just one hearing aid when you need two. Insurance may help, as well.

Choosing The Right Hearing Aid For You

You want what’s best for your ears. You want to be able to continue to participate in all the activities you know and love. For more information on hearing health, check us out today!

5 Familiar Hearing Problems -What Things Do You Want to Overcome?

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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 concerns? 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 start 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 may mean you notice that people mumble more often than they used to or that keywords drop off unexpectedly. Hearing assistance devices like hearing aids help eliminate this problem. If you are not able to get them yet, though, there are a few tricks you might try.

Make sure you are in the best position to hear clearly during your conversation. For example, always turn to face the person you are talking to and watch closely as they speak. The combination of what you hear and what you see might be enough to help you understand what is said.

Try to have conversations in quiet areas, too. The noise around you can make it more difficult to understand what people say. Step away from fans and turn off the TV, for instance.

Ask for clarification, too. If you are having problems hearing, it’s probably not a secret, so just let the people you talk to know. 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

Struggling to hear is exhausting and it can take its toll on you. Finding ways to ease the hearing stress like getting hearing aids will eliminate some of that frustration, but you also need to learn to relax. Take up a hobby that distracts your mind, perhaps painting or knitting. Deep breathing exercises can teach you the art of calming down with you start to feel overwhelmed, too.

One of the most effective ways to handle this type of irritation, though, is to exercise regularly. Working out triggers the release of hormones that naturally calm you and make everything feel better.

4. Social Withdrawal

Hearing loss can make you feel left out of the conversation and leave you thinking your abnormal or broken in some way — like you can’t understand even the simplest of things anymore. That’s enough to get anyone to turn down those invitations to dinner. You might find yourself spending more and more time alone as a result.

The first step to getting back to your life is accepting that you have a problem with your hearing. Once you understand why you feel the way you do, you can find ways to squash that desire to avoid social situations. When you do go out, just be honest about what is happening to you. You might find that instead of being alone, you end up with a solid support system that keeps you from withdrawing.

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.

How Will Hearing Loss Change Your Driving Skills?

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

Hearing loss is a common ailment that older individuals must deal with, but should it be why they stop driving? There is no real answer since few people drive exactly the same way.

A loss of hearing is definitely something worth considering when getting behind the wheel of your car, but a safe driver isn’t going to change just because they notice mild hearing loss. People who were bad drivers before their hearing challenge are probably still bad drivers.

What should you do if you are experiencing hearing loss and still want to drive to work each day or take a car trip this summer? Is it safe even though you don’t hear as well?

Think Beyond the Wheel

If you do notice hearing loss, chances are it won’t really affect your driving…not right away, at least. That day may be coming, though, especially if you don’t do something to stop the decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a direct connection between ear health and brain health. Fighting to hear changes the way the brain uses valuable resources. It’s a struggle to understand words, for instance. This is likely a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which means dementia. A person suffering with dementia certainly can’t drive.

What About Driving?

Driving requires keen observational skills and some of that does relate to hearing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss and a good portion of them do still drive.

At least one study found that people behind the wheel that do have hearing loss tend to be more visually observant and, generally, drive more cautiously. They drive slower in traffic and use their mirrors more to make up for what they may not hear.

Tips for Driving With Hearing Loss

 

Tip 1:

The first tip is to stop procrastinating. See a doctor, get a hearing test and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.

Tip 2:

Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver, which brings us to tip number two – get your eyesight checked. Let’s face it when it comes to driving, vision is the sense that matters most, so make sure yours is up to snuff. Ask the doctor to check your night vision, too, just to be safe. If you don’t hear well, you need to be extra cautious about visual acuity.

Tip 3:

Keep the noise down inside the car. This will allow you to focus what hearing you do have on the road without distractions. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.

Tip 4:

Learn to check your dashboard often. 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.

It’s Your Hearing That Could Be At Risk – 3 Tips That can Help

Picture of ear with sound waves

One in every three people 65 years or older suffers from a degree of hearing loss, according to Hearing Loss Association of America. It could be that they took precautions early in life to save their hearing but was it enough?

Hearing deficits related to aging amount to the break down of many delicate hair cells in the cochlea, the inner ear, that move when sound hits them. Loud sounds play a big part in that process, however. It’s the little things you do now that can save those tiny hairs, reducing the danger of hearing loss as a person ages. There is no guarantee that you won’t be that one in three who experiences some hearing loss, but the odds are in your favor if you take steps to protect your ears now. Consider three simple things you can do to lower your risk of hearing loss.

1. Do a Home Noise Evaluation

Evaluating your home environment is a good place to start. Try to figure out what things there might expose your ears to uncomfortable noise levels. For example, what is the normal TV volume in your home? How about your tunes? Do you use headphones to listen to them?

When doing your evaluation, make a pledge 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 a few other things you might be doing at home to expose your ears to loud noise. Maybe you are into woodworking, for example, or enjoy other craft that requires loud tools? It’s the things like mowing the lawn that takes the most toll, though. What’s the solution? It’s not that you have to stop doing these things that you love, just enjoy them while wearing proper ear protection like noise dampening ear muffs.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercise isn’t just good for your heart – it’s good for your ears, as well. Regular workouts are your best defense against chronic illnesses that can affect your hearing later in life such as heart disease or high cholesterol. It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you choose, so go out and have some fun shooting hoops or going for a swim. Just make sure to 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 things, the earlier you catch problems that might affect your ears, the better. That means seeing your doctor regularly and going to 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.

Going to the doctor at least once a year for an ear check up with also help you manage your ear health. The doctor can remove earwax blocking the canal for you safely, for example. Certain kinds of medications can damage your hearing and that’s something a doctor would pick up on during your visit, too.

There is no full proof way to ensure 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 Covert Ways to Lengthen the Life of Your Hearing Aids

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

Hearing aids are the most typical types of hearing technology, but they have one serious downside. They tend to burn through batteries at an alarming rate. With close to 20 percent of the population in the U.S. experience at least minor of hearing loss, you can be sure 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

Figuring out what features will work well in your life is a critical and something you need to research before picking out your hearing aids. Look for the features that will enhance your quality of your life, but get educated about what you’re buying first. Those little add-ons like wireless connectivity, direct audio input and synchronization can sometimes use lots of energy, so you have to balance out what you need 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 to Do When a Good Friend Really Needs To Get Their Hearing Tested

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 that 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 support because you’re not sure what to expect. You can even claim to suspect your own hearing problems. It won’t hurt you to get tested, especially if it helps out a friend.

Recognize the Signs

Maybe straightforward is the better approach for this friend, but before you bring it up, make sure to have all your facts right. Maybe what you’ve noticed isn’t hearing loss at all, but a symptom of something else. Now is a good time to get familiar with some of the signs of hearing loss just to be sure. Some common symptoms include:

  • Your friend starts avoiding social situations
  • Your friend complains of being tired often
  • Your friend seems to have headaches a lot
  • Your friend mentions a ringing in his or her ears
  • Your friend gets the details wrong often like times or key words
  • Your friend says “What” during every conversation
  • Your friend is always turning the volume up
  • These are little things that a person might not notice about themselves, but friends pick up on easily.

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.