5 Secret Ways to Stretch the Shelf 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.

6 Things Should You Do to Avoid Damaging Your Hearing

Sound Waves | 6 Ways To Avoid Damaging Your Hearing Today

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

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

1. Learn More About Hearing Loss

There are two primary reasons you might lose your hearing:

  • Age
  • Noise

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

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

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

2. Stop Putting on Those Headphones

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

3. Figure out the Noise Factor

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

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

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

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

4. Cut Back on Your Noise Exposure

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

5. Get Some Good Hearing Protection

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

6. Schedule Regular Ear Checkups

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

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

What can You do When Your Loved Ones Fail to Notice Your Hearing Loss

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

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

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

Get Your Family Involved

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

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

Ask Your Physician for a Hearing Test

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

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

Make Some Life Changes on Your Own

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

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

Ask Them for Help

Don’t leave the people in your life in the dark about hearing loss. That only hurts you. Make sure they understand your concerns by making them part of the solution. Start by taking a friend or family member with you to the doctor and when you go for your hearing test. Allow them to sit with you when you get the diagnosis and the hear more about the depth of your hearing loss. Make them part of the decision-making process as you pick out the different hearing aids you want to try.

You might have hearing loss, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it alone. When you include your family in the process, you make them apart of that world, too. Now, you are not the only one who understands what hearing loss is like and how it affects your life. By asking them in, you help them see what they didn’t notice on their own.

Hearing loss changes things but so much harder when you struggle with it alone, so don’t. You are taking the step by helping your friends and family overcome it with you.

What Ought You Discover From Your Hearing Test?

What You Want To Know From Your Hearing Test | Doctor Giving a Hearing Test

You made the first step to managing your hearing issues by getting a hearing test from a qualified audiologist, but now what? What kind of data can you expect to acquire with this test and what does it mean for your hearing future? These are reasonable questions because hearing tests are meant to go beyond the traditional an ear exam. The purpose of a hearing test is to gauge how well sound reaches the brain.

Hearing tests are performed by a specialist to provide a thorough evaluation of your hearing, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. That’s important information for both you and your ear doctor to have but what exactly can you expect to learn from the hearing test?

How Hearing Tests Work

That’s the first question you should ask the audiologist when you sit down for the test to really appreciate the importance of this data. A sound is really a vibration in the air that travels in waves. Measures are taken of these vibrations determine the specific frequency (pitch) and height or amplitude (volume).

Hearing loss, especially when it is part of aging, rarely means you just stop hearing everything all at once. Instead, most people hear little bits and pieces of sound based on these two factors: frequency and amplitude. When hearing starts to fade, it’s common to hear some voices better than others. This is because that voice falls into a range of frequency and amplitude that your ears can still hear.

Hearing tests introduce sounds at different levels to see what you can and can’t hear. In most cases, you are asked to sit in a sound proof booth with headphones on and acknowledge when you hear a sound. The audiologist gets a record of what frequency and amplitude you hear in each ear to measure your specific level of hearing loss.

A comprehensive hearing test measures:

  • Pure tone audiometry – Tonal hearing
  • Hearing in Noise – Hearing in both quiet and noisy environments
  • Speech reception and word recognition

In some cases, the audiologist tests the actual structures of the ear, too. For instance, a tympanogram will measure how well the eardrum and middle ear works. An auditory brain stem response tests the brain’s reaction to sound. All this gives the specialist a well-rounded metric of your hearing ability and where it fails.

What You Should Understand After the Hearing Test

For very straightforward hearing tests, the audiologist makes a map of your hearing ability, called an audiogram, using frequency and aptitude as points to plot it. The purpose is to gauge each individual’s hearing loss and how best to accommodate it. The hearing specialist takes that audiogram and then uses a formula to create a single number from it that summarizes your hearing loss in a concise manner. Using this single measure, they determine your degree of hearing loss. For example:

  • Under 25dB – No hearing loss
  • Between 56 – 70 dB – Moderate to severe with difficulty understand some speech and with group conversations
  • Over 91 dB is considered profound hearing loss

With this information in hand, you can make choices that will affect not only your hearing health but your quality of life, as well. A person with moderate to severe hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids, for instance. The data obtained via a hearing test also helps a certified hearing aid retailer create a strategy when fitting you for hearing aids. The technician can get a feel for what feature might best suit your needs like direction microphones and noise filtering.

Most people can benefit from a hearing test even if they are not experiencing hearing loss. The test serves as a baseline to measure changes to your hearing over the years.

5 Things People Think When Denying a Hearing Problem

Man Holding his Ears | People Who Deny Hearing Loss

I can’t be my hearing because…if that’s something you find yourself saying a lot these days than you already get how easy it is to deny hearing loss. The Hearing Loss Association of America explains that simply knowing that hearing loss exists is the biggest obstacle people face. It starts with admitting there’s a problem and then getting proactive about it. The first step is to see a doctor and get a professional hearing test. Consider some of the more common excuses people use to deny their hearing loss.

1. The Change is Too Gradual to Notice

This is especially true hearing loss related to age. This form of hearing loss can early and get progressively worse over time. People don’t always notice it until little things start happening like a family member harping on them about the TV being too loud or they feel like they are always behind in the conversation. For some, the first real symptom that there is a hearing problem comes with the onset of tinnitus or ringing in the ears. By the time the ringing starts, though, the loss is already affecting your life.

2. You Pass the Hearing Loss Buck Most of the Time

It’s not you; it’s that outdated television set. Maybe it’s not you but the spouse who is always mumbling. Your first instinct may be to pass the buck because it just doesn’t occur to most people that they have a hearing problem. If your hearing has always been so good, why would you suddenly think it is failing? It probably seems much more likely that what you are trying to hear is at fault even though that is rarely the case.

3. My Doctor Didn’t Say I had any Hearing Loss

During your last check-up, the doctor didn’t say anything to you about hearing loss, so it must not exist. The problem with that excuse is even the best doctor can miss a hearing problem unless he or she knows to look for it.

This form of age-related hearing loss generally affects the inner ear, so it’s not something that will pop up during your annual checkup. It may be the doctor notices you are struggling to hear, but people with this problem tend to compensate without even knowing it. It is easy for a doctor who sees you only occasionally or maybe for the first time ever to miss.

4. No One Else Said I Had Hearing Loss Either

Well, maybe you just didn’t hear them. While most of the time the people in your life will recognize your hearing loss before you do, it is hardly a deciding factor. If they do notice something, they may think they’re being over critical or maybe they’re just mistaken.

In the end, this is still how most people figure out there is a problem, but it may take time for your family to notice enough to say something. In fact, if you are sharing your life with a spouse who is aging right along side you, then he or she has their own hearing struggle going on. It’s understandable if it didn’t come up in conversation. Adult children don’t see their parents as often as they used to, either, so it might be awhile before they recognize the signs in mom or dad.

5. It Seems to Come and Go

It’s very common for hearing loss to affect high-frequency sounds only. What that means to you is that the hearing problem can seem to come and go, so it doesn’t seem real. That’s a common reason many people with hearing loss put the blame on the speaker. You seem to hear everything else just fine, after all. You blame the mumbling as opposed to noticing your hearing loss. At some point, friends and family might point out that you seem to be missing parts of the conversation, but you can continue to deny your hearing loss until that happens.

What can you do to stop denying the problem? The answer is simple. Ask your doctor next time you have a physical if you might have hearing loss or go ahead and make an appointment to double check. A simple in-office test using a tuning fork can shine some light on the problem.

If the answer turns out to be “maybe”, then you at least have factual information to consider. The next step will be a professional hearing test with an audiologist to see the extent of your loss and to find solutions to fix the problem. There is no way to reverse age-related ear damage, but something as simple as hearing aids is a real life-changer for people who have been denying their hearing loss for way too long.

How Could Your Hearing Loss be Making You Cranky?

Is Hearing Loss Turning You Into A Grump? | Picture of Grumpy Man

You know you are feeling more cranky these days but don’t know why? Hearing loss is a problem nearly 50 million people in this country face, according to the Hearing health Foundation, but, for many, it sneaks up on them with age. The problem doesn’t end at your ears, either. Research shows that even mild hearing loss puts you at risk for memory problems and dementia. What your might decide is just a sign of age may actually be a treatable medical problem. It’s time to find out and end that cranky state then you can look for ways to manage age-related hearing loss.

Find Out More About Hearing Loss

Finding out a little more about what you’re dealing with is a practical place to start. For many individuals, hearing loss is a natural side effect of getting older. One out of every 3 people over the age of 65 has some variation of hearing loss. It’s not fully understood why this happens, but it may be due to years of the noise. Everything from the music you listened to when you were 16 to driving with the window down in traffic. The world is full of potentially ear-damaging noise that can erode the delicate mechanisms that help you hear.

Chronic illnesses that become more common with age are a possible factor, as well. High blood pressure, for example, or diabetes can both interfere with blood flow, which causes damage to the nerves of the inner ear.

Figure out How to Recognize the Signs

People tend to take their hearing for granted, so when it starts to fail, they don’t recognize the signs. For instance:

  • It’s a struggle to understand words when there is background noise like a fan or the AC
  • Always asking people to repeat themselves or even worse, saying "what" a lot
  • Always feeling like you are being left out of the conversation

No wonder you’re cranky. It’s the small things that are the most frustrating. For example, it becomes more difficult to understand words with "S" or "F" in them. You might not appreciate that’s what is happening, though, because you don’t hear the words well enough to make the connection.

Develop a Plan to Manage Hearing Loss

First find out if you actually have hearing loss. Start by asking a family member if they notice you struggling to keep up with conversations or if you say "What?" a little too often. If there is any doubt, then a hearing exam will clarify everything for you. The physician will look inside your ears for obvious problems like a build up of wax or visible trauma.

The next step is to get a hearing test from a professional. This not only helps to confirm your hearing loss but it also gauges the extent of it. The audiologist will recommend the next course of action for you based on the results of the test. In most cases, that will involve getting hearing aids. If you are experiencing this kind of age-related hearing loss, you will benefit greatly from these medical devices.

Bus Some Quality Hearing Aids

Find a certified hearing aid store and take some to time find the right brand and model for your needs. Modern devices do more than just amplify sound. They block out the background noises, connect to phones and computers and even pinpoint the direction of a sound. Different styles and types of hearing aids come with different features, so research them all to find out what you need to improve your life.

Consider the style you want for your hearing aids, too. They come in fashionable colors or with no color at all, so they are practically invisible.

There is no downside to dealing with your hearing loss, but, plenty if you don’t beyond just making that grumpy attitude.

What is the Biggest Blunder Someone With Hearing Loss Makes

The Biggest Mistake People with Hearing Loss Make | Elderly Man Holding His Head

If you have hearing loss then it might be time to do something about it, but for most people, there’s a learning curve. The stuff you need to manage the problem doesn’t always come cheap such as a good hearing aid, for example, or a hearing test, so your might be tempted to look around and see what else is available.

If you do, you’d be making the biggest mistake of your life when it comes to your hearing loss. Like any sector, there are good and bad products out there for hearing loss, so you need to take your time and make smart choices. Consider some of the more common mistakes people make when it comes to hearing loss.

Buying Candles for Your Ears

It’s the right idea, but the wrong approach. Hearing loss might be due to wax build-up but ear-cleaning candles are not the answer. In theory, ear candles should break up and pull out the wax plug, giving you back your hearing, but there is no proof that it works that way. The truth is the candles may do more harm than good. It’s possible you may damage an otherwise healthy ear by using them.

The best option in this scenario is to get an ear exam. Let a doctor tell you there is wax build up and fix the problem for you, instead. A physical exam provides you with a proper diagnosis, so you can develop more realistic treatment solutions – ones that improve your quality of life, instead of just cost you money.

Too Much Focus on Style

Not all hearing aids are the same. You want to find a high-quality device that comes with functions that benefit you –that rarely comes in a tiny, cute package, though. Some of the newer digital hearing aids are very smart looking but they may not have the power necessary to help you hear.

When shopping for hearing aids, use a certified retailer. Sit down and discuss what you need to get from your new device. Look at the various functions and decide what each one can do for you personally. Once you have a working idea of what you need from your hearing aids, start looking at the various designs to see what fits and what doesn’t. If you make the style your primary concern, you may end up with a hearing aid that does less, costs more and needs batteries daily.

Ask Plenty of Questions

Going from diagnosis to wearing hearing aids takes time and patience. Make sure you ask plenty of questions along the way, instead of rushing into a purchase. Start by creating a list of questions for your ear doctor before your ear exam. Once you confirm that the problem isn’t simple ear wax build-up, you’ll need to see an audiologist for a hearing test. Make a list of e questions you want to ask before the test, too. When you get to the point where you are buying hearing aids, bring with you a whole new set of questions for the retailer. Informed consumers make better buys.

Know What Kind of Hearing Device You are Buying

Consider your hearing aids an investment, so do your research. There is a big difference between a personal amplification device you might buy off the Internet, for instances, and a digital hearing aid you get from a certified distributor. It’s up to you to understand where these difference lie so you can make an informed decision before the purchase.

Hearing loss is a complex problem, but there are solutions for most people. You can make the choice to face your condition with as much information as possible or to try to make shortcuts that will ultimately cost you.

The 5 Common Myths About Hearing Aids Get It Completely WRONG

Picture of scale weighing myths and facts - The 5 Myths About Hearing Aids That Are Plain WRONG

Hearing aids will always make life better – is that a true statement? Like most medical devices, there are larger than life myths surrounding hearing aids. Which ones are right and which ones are wrong, though? It’s difficult to know because there is such a wide range of hearing aids on the market and hearing loss is a complicated topic. What do you think? Do hearings aids make life better? They do for most people, however; they don’t work for every kind of hearing loss. Consider five more myths about hearing aids that are plain wrong.

1. Hearing Aids Look and Feel Old

Some styles of hearing aids are unique and, perhaps, a little dated, but the technology has come very far in the last few decades. Modern hearing aids come in brilliant colors that should make you feel anything but old. They are also available in stealth designs, so no one even has to know you are wearing one.

2. You have to be Almost Deaf to Need a Hearing Aid

Hearing aids are a practical choice for most levels of loss, not just those almost profoundly deaf. Studies show the even mild hearing loss has a considerable impact on thinking and brain health. Hearing aids provide filtering and amplification, too, so, if even the hearing loss isn’t severe, having them helps make things better.

3. Get Just One Hearing Aid and Save Money

This is a common misconception. The problem is that you don’t just hear in one ear, so even if your loss is more pronounced on one side, get two hearing aids to localize the sound. It’s just confusing if the hearing on one side sounds different.

4. Hearing Aids Turn Up the Volume

That is the primary function of a hearing aid, but not the only one. Today’s modern hearing aids do many amazing things. They measure the amount of amplification you need based on the volume and quality of the sound, for example. A soft voice is just as clear as the TV show you are watching.

Hearing aids are able to filter out background noises, too. Environmental sounds are a problem for those with a hearing impairment. Something as basic as a fan may block out all other sounds. Hearing aids can filter out that fan noise, so you hear people talking to you. Many hearing devices come with directional microphones, as well, so those days of trying to figure out where a sound is coming from are over.

5. Don’t Plan to Use Your Phone with a Hearing Aid

Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, many hearing assistance devices are Bluetooth ready, so they are designed to connect to your phone, tablet or computer just like any audio equipment. May also have microphones built into them, letting you can talk on the phone hands-free.

The proper provider will consider different things before making a list of hearing aid recommendations for each customer. They look at your hearing test, for example, to determine your level of hearing loss. They consider what you do for a living and what features like Bluetooth might work well for you. Your job is to ask questions so you can make an informed decision when buying hearing aids and not be fooled by the myths.

Advice For Ladies With Husbands That Need A Hearing Aid

Happy couple together because of hearing aids.

It’s hard to watch someone you love struggle, especially with something as basic as hearing. The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates one in every three people over the age of 65 will develop age-related hearing loss – many of them will be husbands with loving wives by their side letting them avoid testing. That leaves the wives with a struggle of their own. How do you get that silly man to a hearing test and maybe to get hearing aids?

The ability to talk to one another is the core of a good marriage, but what can you do with the man that doesn’t want to hear about hearing loss? Consider some tips that will get you talking once again.

Know the Facts

Knowledge is power, so here’s what you need to know about age-related hearing loss. This condition called presbycusis and most people get it eventually. Presbycusis is the wear and tear breakdown of the nerve cells that translate sound into electrical impulses that the brain can interpret. The sound goes into the ear in a wave that moves small hair cells designed to create electrical impulses. Over time, the hair cells stop working well so the brain doesn’t get a clear signal.

Not all age-related ear conditions affect the nerves of the inner ear, though. For some, conduction or the movement of sound waves to the inner ear is the problem. Maybe the eardrum or bones in the middle ear wear down. This is why getting an ear exam and a hearing test is a critical step for the proper treatment of hearing loss. Not all forms respond to hearing aids, so an accurate diagnosis is a key to getting him the help he needs.

Learn to Recognize the Signs

The next step is to figure out whether he really can’t hear or is just not listening. There are a lot of changes in the body as you go into those golden years, many of them could make him seem distant or like he’s not paying attention including cognitive problems such as dementia. Only a medical professional can make a diagnosis but wives can look for the signs of hearing loss to get some insight.

  • Does he asks you to repeat yourself often?
  • Does he covers his ears when the TV is on or a fan is blowing in the room?
  • Does it seem like he has problems understanding conversion in public when there are background noises like other people talking or cars going by on the street?
  • Does he seem like he is trying to avoid talking to people or joining discussions?
  • Does he act depressed for no clear reason?
  • Anyone one of these signs may indicate the onset of hearing loss.

It’s Time for the Talk

Consider some ways you can approach the subject. For example, you might begin leaving some hearing aid literature around the house and forgetting about them. If he asks, say you were just looking into options for yourself. It’s a good time to mention that you would like to schedule a hearing test, as well, but you think you should get them together. It’s a discreet way to introduce the subject without making it all about his hearing loss.

If he says there is nothing wrong with his hearing, point out times when you both struggled with a conversation. Make it clear that there is a problem but you are not sure if it’s you, him or both.

Getting Direct

If the tentative approach doesn’t work on your man, then be more direct. Sit down with him and talk about how you feel. Avoid talking specifically about his hearing problems but, instead, talk about how hard it is for you to watch him struggle or how much you miss conversations with him. Tell him, gently, that having to repeat yourself or keep checking to make sure he heard you is upsetting to you.

Concentrate on his fear of the diagnosis, too. Most people, probably even you, experience hearing loss at this time in life. It’s a natural process and not a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Discuss about how simple hearing tests are and how much that technology has improved over the last few years. There are hearing aids available the no one can see, ones that work with phones even hearing products that look like Bluetooth devices. No one would have to know he was wearing a hearing aid or he can use it to impress his friends and family his mad tech skills.

The most important thing is to let him know he is not alone in this struggle. Offer to get a hearing test of your own and to accompany him to all his appointments. Just having you there by his side may be all it takes to get him on the right track.

Tinnitus: What Can Explain That Weird Noise in Your Head

Woman holding her ear in pain from tinnitus

Do you hear that ringing in your ears and wonder where it comes from? You’re not alone. It is estimated by the Hearing Health Foundation that 20 percent of Americans hear that same ringing sound, or ones similar to it, each day. Only around 16 percent of those with tinnitus will discuss the problem with a physician even though it disrupts their lives. Of that 20 percent, 90 percent of them also live with hearing loss even if they realize it. It is a growing concern throughout the country, but what does all the noise mean?

About Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical name for the phantom sound in your ears. There is no one source for this noise – it’s actually a symptom of another problem, one usually associated with loss of hearing.

Tinnitus is more of a sensation than an actual sound, too. This is why no one else hears the noise that’s keeping you awake at night. There are no sound waves causes this phenomenon, instead, it relates directly to tiny hairs inside the inner ear that produce an electrical signal telling the brain there is a sound. These cells are misfiring, sending random electrical impulses not based on any true noise.

There is More to Tinnitus Than Just Ringing

Tinnitus is usually described as a high-pitched ringing, but not everyone hears the same thing. Some report:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing

Others say it sounds like you are pressing your ear up against a seashell to hear the waves. The diversity of sounds is one thing that makes this condition confusing, especially for some who fails to get medical treatment or a hearing test.

What is Behind Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is basically a mechanical breakdown of a critical element in the inners ear. For most people with it, the answer is presbycusis, an age-related cause of hearing loss.It’s a problem that gets worse after age 60. Other possible causes of tinnitus include:

  • Exposure to loud noises – This could be a one-time bang or daily hearing abuse from machines, headphones or loud music
  • Earwax – Build up of earwax causes temporary hearing loss that triggers the ringing
  • Changes in the ear bones – This is a hereditary condition caused by abnormal bone growth in the ear

There are other possible, but less common, triggers for tinnitus, too, such as Ménière’s disease, a condition that leads to abnormal fluid pressure in the inner ear. TMJ disorders may also be at the heart of that phantom sound. For some, the noise is a consequence of a head injury that damaged the nerves in the ear. It might also be a sign of high blood pressure, a rare tumor in the ear or a side effect of a medication.

What Can You Do About Tinnitus?

The first step is to get a hearing test and ear examination to find the root cause of the problem. Once you treat the underlying condition, like getting hearing aids, the tinnitus may become less prevalent or disappear completely. Tinnitus is usually a sign of hearing loss that may be affecting your life in other ways, too, like isolating you during conversations or leaving you feeling like you are missing things. Once you identify your hearing loss, then getting hearing aids increases real sounds so the phantom ones are less of an issue.

There are other things you can do at home, too, to help deal with what can be an annoying and distracting problem. White noise machines produce environmental sounds that sooth your mind, especially if tinnitus is keeping you awake. You can fall asleep listening to the rain, for example, instead of that buzzing in your head.

You can create your own background noise, too, to deflect some of the tinnitus chaos. A fan blowing in the room might help or a humidifier – anything that produces a soft, but persistent sound to keep the hair cells in the ear busy so they don’t misfire.

It’s important to remember, though, that the ringing is trying to tell you something. Most likely the message is about hearing loss, so it’s worth a trip to the doctor to get a hearing test and find out more about your ear health.