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.

How Hearing Loss Could Possibly Ruin Your Social Life

Black and white picture of sad woman looking out the window because of hearing loss.

Is hearing loss more than just awkward? Left undiagnosed, hearing loss has a major effect on wellness, careers and, yes, including your social life. Individuals tend to take their hearing for granted, that is until they start noticing little things like conversations that seem faint or chronically low sound on the television. It might take a minute to connect the dots between the things they no longer hear and their potentially failing ear health.

Of course, there are ways to circumvent hearing challenges in the beginning like asking people to repeat themselves all the time or turning up the volume but it does change things – beginning with your social life. Consider some ways that your social life might suffer if you don’t take the steps necessary to improve your hearing.

You’re Left Out of the Conversation

Communication is a large part of being social, but that becomes difficult with a gradual hearing loss. It will start small with certain sounds dropping out when you are listening to someone talk. For instances, people with mild hearing loss tend to complain about not hearing words with “S” or “F” clearly. Certain voices might sound faint or mumbled, as well – usually high or low pitches.

In time, background noise takes over your conversations. It’s impossible to hear anything but the fan blowing or the AC running as you try to listen. Something as simple as the wind blowing leads to frustration.

You may start to feel left out as the people around you talk but you struggle to hear and understand everything they say. That feeling of isolation in a room full of conversation has an impact.

You Experience Real Isolation

Not being able to hear a loved one, friend or family member says leads to mistakes and maybe even conflicts. The people in your life can start to treat you differently, trying to avoid conversations because you don’t understand them. They can’t talk to you, so it makes them uncomfortable to be around you. The phone stops ringing because you never answer anyway. When you do hear it ring, it’s a struggle to interpret what is being said.

The people in your life don’t ask you to hang out anymore, as much as they used to either. You don’t understand the movies or TV shows, anymore, so it just gets messy. When your hearing loss began, you felt a little isolated, but as it gets worse, you spend more time alone or on social media pages instead of seeing your friends in person.

Intimacy Diminishes

They say good relationships require effective communication, but that suffers when you start to lose your hearing. What once was a partnership built around your ability to talk to one another is now a series of miscommunications. Maybe, you didn’t stop and pick up milk because you have no idea she asked you to do it or you miss a date because you got the time wrong.

That special person in your life may get frustrated because every conversation consists of you saying “What?”. As difficult as it is to experience hearing loss, it’s just as hard to see a change in someone you love without understanding why it’s happening. You lose that connection you once had with a close friend or partner because you refuse to accept that you need to see a hearing professional for help.

It’s depressing to think of how many ways losing your can hearing cost you, but for most people, there is hope. It’s estimated that 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 65 suffer mild to moderate hearing loss. For these individuals, getting a professional hearing test and investing in hearing aids is all it takes to return them to the social life they once enjoyed.

5 Startling Reasons You Should Really Love Your Ear Wax

Picture of woman using a swab to clean her ears.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), your box of swabs, and your hearing care professionals would like to echo the sage wisdom of your grandmother: Do not stick anything smaller than your elbow into your ear—and that includes swabs. Even the swab box itself comes with that warning, so take our advice and use the swabs for some other, safer application. Because ear wax is actually your ears’ best friend; trying to aggressively remove it can actually hurt your ears, so stop it today. Here’s 5 reasons why you need to let your ear wax alone:

1. Ear Wax: Better than Swabs

Cerumen is a special ear cleaning solution that you should use to clean out your ears. And cerumen, by any other name, is ear wax. Special glands in your ears produce it for cleaning and other ear health benefits. So stop trying to dig it out like it’s some kind of a nuisance, because it isn’t.

Cerumen traps dirt, dust, and debris, detouring it away from going deeper into your ear canal. Then, as you go through your day talking, chewing and yawning, those actions actually move the soiled ear wax down and out of the ear canal where you can easily wipe it out with a washcloth during your shower.

What’s more, if you try to dig out the ear wax with a fingernail, swab, fork, pencil, key, chopstick or other pointy foreign object, you’re actually reversing your ears’ self-cleaning mechanisms by pushing soiled cerumen further into your ear canal with all the dust and dirt it’s collected. Over time, soiled ear wax can build up as it gets shoved into the ear canal, blocking your ear drum. This is called “ear wax impaction” and it’s not pretty or helpful.

2. Ear Wax: Antimicrobial

So while ear wax isn’t what we think of as pretty, nor would anyone like to eat an ear wax flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor jellybean, cerumen is specially designed to benefit your ears and keep them health in several ways. Several glands lining the inside of your ear canal produce a special recipe of cerumen just for your own ears. This recipe isn’t actually wax, though it creates the waxy substance we know and love out of long-chain fatty acids, sebum, cholesterol, alcohols, enzymes, sloughed off skin cells and other chemicals. This ear wax stew has some great properties:

  • It’s antimicrobial; it protects your ears against viral, fungal and bacterial infections very effectively.
  • It repels insects—their sensitive sense of smell finds ear wax too stinky.
  • It lubricates and moisturizes the ear canal, keeping it healthy and soft.
  • Healthy ear wax is slightly acidic, something else that hinders fungal and bacterial growth in your ears.

Let’s face it—ear wax is marvelous and healthy!

3. Ear Wax Removal Doesn’t Help Your Hearing

You may already have sustained some level of hearing loss, just from the process of swab-based ear wax removal habits. This type of ear wax removal actually shoves soiled, old ear wax further down into the ear canal where it can become impacted and cause hearing loss. If you’ve been doing this for years, schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to have them check whether you have impacted ear wax that might be causing some amount of hearing loss.

Now, you may be one of those people who actually do have a problem with ear wax (beyond just wanting it gone). Some people make too much, while others don’t make enough. Occasionally, it may be too wet, too dry or not have the right balance of ingredients to get the job done right. Nevertheless, you still shouldn’t try to remedy or clean it out yourself with a swab or anything else (smaller than your elbow). If you’re worried about the health of your ear wax, please get in touch with your hearing care professional for an evaluation.

If you wear hearing aids, ear wax can become impacted if proper care protocols aren’t followed. Fortunately, following your hearing care professional’s advice is a very good way to avoid this. Make sure to properly clean and store your hearing aids at the end of each day and follow any instructions on ear cleaning—instructions that will be entirely devoid of swabs. If you’re having difficulties with hearing aids and ear wax, schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional right way.

4. Avoid These Ear Cleaning Accidents Before it’s too Late

Every day, at least 34 children somewhere in America are carted off, in tears and pain, to the doctor’s office with tympanic membrane tears, cuts and lacerations from ear cleaning accidents. Sometimes the parents are a little too keen on digging out the ear wax, but sometimes it’s the kids who are learning this bad ear cleaning habit from their parents and lack the fine motor skills to do it without harming their ears. Either way, this is something the entire family needs to stop doing. Remember what grandma said: Nothing smaller than your elbow goes into your ear, or you could suffer pain and hearing loss.

Some of you out there may be wondering out loud about the “natural” ear cleaning technique called “ear candling”. Thousands of years ago, someone apparently thought it was a good idea to stick a hollow tube into the ear and set it on fire. But it’s a bad idea with no science behind it, although the practice doggedly remains displayed in health food stores across the nation. Here’s what you should know about ear candling:

  • It’s been proven ineffective for ear cleaning and can actually make ear wax impaction worse.
  • It causes burn injuries to the face, ears, hair, etc. – even burns that go all the way to the ear drum and middle ear.
  • It’s also been known to puncture the ear drum.

So please—avoid ear candling and just clean your ears the proper way…

5. The Right Way to Clean Ears Is…

It’s so simple, you probably already do it: just gently wash around the outside of your ears with a washcloth while you’re showering. Then gently towel off the water and that’s about it. No follow-up with a swab needed, and definitely not recommended.

If you have any concerns about your ear wax, your hearing, ear wax removal, ear cleaning habits or anything else associated with your ears, schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional today—and be grateful for your wonderful ear wax!

3 Hearing Aid Cheats Worth Avoiding When You Buy

Picture of magnifying glass over the word scam

With an estimated 48 million people here in the U.S. suffering from some degree of hearing loss. It makes sense that there are scams associated with hearing aids, especially given the fact that many of the individuals in need of these devices are elderly and not a knowledgeable about technology. Current studies show that one in every three elderly people has hearing loss that would benefit from some kind of hearing device. The problem is not all hearing aids work like you might expect them to or they use a marketing tactic that is less than honest. Consider three hearing aid scams you need to avoid.

1. Getting a Mail Order Hearing Aid

Years ago, hearing aids were a one size fits all prospect. The initial hearing assistance devices were trumpet-shaped you would put up to the ear to collect sound waves and make them louder. These days, hearing aids are both better designed and more convenient. If you choose to buy mail order, you might as well get ahead and settle for that trumpet. A top of the line hearing aid is customized to the wearer’s ear – something you can’t get through the mail. They also offer add-ons that fit each person’s needs, too. Instead of hunting for something online, do your shopping at a certified hearing aid dealer and get fitted properly. The price may be more, but so is the value and most dealers have financing plans available for you to consider. A hearing aid is an investment, so make sure it is worth the price you pay by shopping in person. Buying in person also allows you to make comparisons of different brands and models to see what each one has to offer. You can only learn so much from a picture on a screen or in print. Buy a quality hearing aid from the right dealer to ensure you have a good fit, all the right features and an honest warranty.

2. Settling for a Short Trial Period

A short trial period only serves one purpose – to push users into purchasing a less than perfect device. Smart shoppers need more than just a 10-minute demo or three-day trial to really get comfortable with new hearing aids. It could be that a business that shortens or completely eliminates the trail period is getting rid of an old display model, something that was returned or a product that they have had complaints about in the past. Even if you know the brand and model you are considering, there is no guarantee that particular unit will fit right or work well. It’s too risky no matter how you look at it. A savvy hearing aid consumer understands the value of a good long trial period. Shop only with dealers selling devices they can back up with a 30 to a 90-day trial, along with an in-store demo. You’ll need that much time to try the aids in a variety of real-life situations. An experienced dealer will even extend the trial period if you need more time.

3. Marketing Madness to Push the Sale

It’s an old expression but “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” is appropriate in the hearing aid industry. There are companies that use online and print marketing to create a sense of urgency around their products.

  • Buy one get one free
  • Buy one get a free gift card
  • Today only discounts

Marketing gimmicks like this push buyers into making a purchase quickly. The hearing aids they rushed to buy may be a poor physical and lifestyle fit. There is more to picking out hearing aids than just price. For example, you’ll want a professional hearing test before you buy to provide essential information to ensure a hearing aid will work for you. It allows you to select a style that best fits your level of hearing, too. You also need time to consider adding features. Things like directional microphones or Bluetooth access sound interesting but do you really know what they are for or how they affect you personally. Take you time and do some homework. Don’t buy until you can answer these questions:

  • What is your level of hearing loss – requires a professional hearing test and medical exam
  • What different styles work best for your life – is behind the ear okay or do you want something more compact and stealth
  • What does each feature do and how does it improve your hearing life
  • What are the warranty and trial period
  • Are there any hidden fees
  • What is the average battery life

These are all critical questions that you don’t have time to answer when pushed into the sale. You are making a choice when buying hearing aids that are going to change your life. Do it right and avoid hearing aid scams.

Here are 10 Things You Need to Know Before Spending Money on Hearing Aids

A woman trying on a hearing aid

You have made a choice to deal with your hearing loss, but now? As a careful healthcare consumer, you’ll want to think about a few things before you make take the next step and buy. Hearing aids come in various brands and styles, so finding out more before you buy is just smart. They come in so many different shapes, sizes and with features that seem confusing at first. Each variation changes the final hearing aid cost, too, so it’s all matters when you shop. Consider 10 things you need to think about before buying hearing aids.

1. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to hearing aids

Don’t let the tiny size confuse you. Small hearing aids are compact and stealth, but the better choice for some people. It appears as if that tiny device can’t really be as effective has the chunkier ones, but the mechanisms in the small hearing aids are just as effective.

2. The top hearing aids offer more than just amplification

Hearing aids cost money, so shop for styles that provide more than just a tiny speaker. Consider the different features offered, so you know you are getting the ones are right for your lifestyle. Think about what you want to accomplish with the device, too. Start by making a list your priorities and carrying it with you when you shop. This will help you pinpoint your personal needs.

3. Having a hearing aid is not going to bring back your hearing

There is a real difference between the way you used to hear things and the way you’ll hear with a hearing aid. Make sure your expectations are practical. Even good hearing aids will not restore normal hearing.

4. Hearing aids can improve the quality of your life though

Maybe you won’t hear things the way you once did, but, even so, the hearing aids will make your life better. You will hear what you were missing before, understand speech without working so hard and keep those background noises from becoming uncomfortably loud.

5. Get help finding the right hearing aids

A hearing aid is not something you pick up off the shelf or buy off the Internet from a big box store. Find a professional provider and let them help you select the best hearing aid for your life.

6. Get a hearing exam before buying hearing aids

This will pinpoint the cause of your hearing loss and be instrumental in finding the right hearing aids for your condition. Not all types of hearing loss will benefit from the basic hearing aid, so go into the buying process with all the information you need to make an informed decision including a professional hearing test.

7. Look for a provider that offers an in-store demo and trial period

The hearings aid cost requires you to be a smart consumer. It’s an investment, so make sure to try the hearing aids out first. The in-store demonstration ensures you know how all the features work and how to make adjustments as needed. If possible, get a trial period, as well, so you have a chance to use the devices in a real world setting to make sure they fit properly.

8. Don’t miss out on those critical add-ons

Things like directional microphones and telecoils are necessities in some careers and wireless technology means you can use phones with your hearing aid without having to resort to always using the speaker.

9. Read your contract carefully

Along with a 30 to 60 day trial period, you need to fully consider the warranty, maintenance choices and follow up appointments that come with your purchase. Ask for a written copy of the contract and read the fine print to see if there are hidden costs or nonrefundable fees.

10. Know the battery lifespan

Small, compact hearing aids require small batteries that may need replacing often. Some will last just days and that will factor into the cost. A larger unit is less stealth, but possibly more cost-efficient. Take your time when shopping for hearing aids, so you make the right choice at the right price for your budget and lifestyle.

Hearing Loss: Could Your Work Put You at Risk?

Man holding his ears with noises around him. Hearing Loss

Could it be that your work increases your risk of losing your hearing? It’s called occupational hearing loss and it is a very common problem. Certain work environments expose employees to loud noises that cost them their hearing without the right common sense precautions in place. Let’s review a few facts regarding occupational hearing loss and how it might factor into your job.

How Big of a Problem is Occupational Hearing Loss?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates four million people in the United States work at jobs that expose them to damaging loud noise. It’s a problem most industries face but tends to be more common in:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Entertainment

The CDC goes on to state that a carpenter subject to regular noise like pounding hammers could have the hearing of a 50-year old at the age of 25 because of the constant loud noise.

How Can This Occupational Hearing Loss Happen?

People diagnosed with job-related hearing loss deal with loud noise repeatedly at work that eventually damages the delicate mechanisms of the ears. Think about what it would be like to listen to a jackhammer every morning, only this one isn’t on the street outside your window. It sits just one meter away from you all day. The noise level of a jackhammer at that distance is around 120 dB.

The measuring of decibels looks beyond how loud something is, too. Decibels also figure in sound pressure and intensity. In the case of the ear-wrecking jackhammer, the real problem is vibrations. Sound enters the ear in waves that vibrate and anything over the 80 dB is a potential problem. If you are standing near the person using the jackhammer, you’ll probably have some temporary hearing loss at first. The person operating that jackhammer, though, will develop permanent hearing damage after constant exposure to this high decibel sound.

This ear trauma isn’t limited to excessive exposure, either. A onetime loud noise can do damage, too. Consider a firefighter standing next to a building that explodes. This person might have permanent hearing loss even though there isn’t constant exposure to sounds at that decibel level. The intense vibration created by the explosion is all it takes to cause damage.

Will You Be Able to Tell if You Have Occupational Hearing Loss?

Unfortunately, the main symptom of this problem is the hearing loss itself. This presents workers with considerable risk because the damage happens without them even realizing it. By the time they suffer hearing loss, it might be too late to take steps to protect their ears. If you start to hear even occasional ringing in your ears, especially after work, then it’s time to find ear protection such as ear plugs or muffs to use while on the job.

If you think you have an occupational hearing loss, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. This is a regular requirement in some industries. They expect their workers to have annual hearing exams and tests to ensure they are not losing their hearing. In fact, it is very common for bartenders and servers who work in clubs where ear protection would interfere with their job.

What Should You Do if You Have Occupational Hearing Loss

If you do think you have hearing issues related to work, take immediate measures to protect your ears. For some employees, that will mean changing jobs. Occupational hearing loss is progressive in most cases. You can limit the damage by avoiding loud noise in the future.

The next step is to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. If the hearing loss is conductive, meaning the nerves in the inner ear are intact, then wearing hearing aids will allow you to hear once again.

The best tool at your disposal when it comes to occupational hearing loss is prevention. If your job exposes you to loud noise, wear ear protection, but take precautions at home, as well. Don’t leave headphones on for long periods of time and protect your ears during recreational activities like shooting at the gun range. The things you do now will matter later in life when hearing naturally declines.

Hearing Aids: Will They Make You Richer and Happier

Hearing aids work to improve your quality of life, but how? You probably will hear better, sure, but does better hearing mean a better life? Does having hearing aids also mean more money in the bank? If you are one of the many people out there struggling daily to hear daily you might wonder if a hearing aid can save money and make your life better. Here are 15 ways having hearing aids will make you richer and happier.

1. Better Budgeting at the Grocery Store

When you don’t hear well, your eyes do twice the work. That’s a big problem when you are trying to keep your local grocery store from over charging you, especially if the cashier is talking in the background. Hearing aids mean you can watch the scanner and know exactly how much each item costs without being rude.

2. Getting the Most Out of That Class

You pay a fee to attend the class, but are you hearing everything that is being said. Even if the teacher has a microphone and you miss out on discussions with other students. Now, is that money well spent?

3. The Confidence Factor

Is a strong ego the secret to happiness? At least one study conducted by the National Institute on Aging says it is a contributing factor. Self-esteem is really the basis for happiness because it means you like yourself. That’s not easy when you always feel like you are missing something important in the conversations with friends and family, verbal instructions and even the right lyrics for your favorite song. Feeling confident relies on your ability to hear in many ways.

4. The Lack of Confidence Factor

Of course, without a healthy self-esteem, you will let opportunities pass you by like the chance to get a better paying job with more responsibility.

5. What About a Better Job

Is your poor hearing holding you back at work? Maybe you have trouble following oral instructions or are unable to listen to customers. Coworkers might even get annoyed with you because you ask them to repeat themselves. A 2011 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute discovered that not getting hearing aids can cost you as much as 30,000 dollars in income each year.

6. Hearing Aids Improve Relationships

Clinical research shows that almost 70 percent of people claim that having hearing aids improve their personal relationships. Another 81 percent stated they were pleased when a partner finally got a hearing aid.

7. Hearing Aids Enhance Friendships

Let’s face it; no one really likes to have to repeat themselves. It’s as frustrating for your friends and family as it is for you to be left out of the conversation all the time.

8. Music Means Happiness

The opposite is true, as well. When you can enjoy the music you love, you develop a feeling of loss. Listening to music isn’t just fun, either, it triggers a neurological response that makes you feel better.

9. The Joy of Live Theater

You won’t find closed captioning in a live theater show, but with hearing aids, you won’t need it. Whether you are headed out to a Broadway musically or just want to you see your grandchild star in the latest school production, you’ll a better audience member if you can hear the show.

10. The Beautiful Sounds of Nature

People tend to take things like the sweet sounds of birds and the wind blowing for granted – that’s until you no longer hear them. Hearing aids bring those sounds back into your life.

11. That Sense of Unease

What about that icky sensation that comes with not being able to hear what is going on around you? It’s a combination of uneasiness and dread. Your senses give you a feeling of security when you are moving around a room, and without your hearing, you lose that clarity.

12. You Never Played Better

Whether you are on the company bowling league or just love to spend an afternoon at the local golf course, your game will improve with the right hearing aids on the team. Better gameplay means more enjoyment and confidence.

13. The Things You Don’t Even Realize Your Missing

One problem with hearing loss is you tend to get complacent. You forget the things you are missing out on, but hearing aids change all that for you. You’ll spend the first couple days in awe hearing all the things you’ve been missing.

14. A Sense of Wellbeing

Avoiding things you know you need creates anxiety. If you are putting off getting hearing aids, it is sitting there in the back of your mind causing stress. Giving in to that need means you are doing something good for yourself and that feels good.

15. Hearing Aids Improve Cognation

The struggle to hear can take a toll on your brain and is a factor in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Getting hearing aids will lower your risk.

Hearing Loss: What We Think You Need to Hear Before It’s Too Late

Side view of an ear with waves emanating.

Sound is deeply ingrained into our lives and it becomes hard not to take it for granted at times. Still, each year 20 percent of Americans lose their ability to hear. In fact, by 65 years of age, one in three of them suffer from some level of hearing loss, states the Hearing Loss Association of American.

You may still think that losing your hearing is just a part of the aging process, but there is more to know than that. What you do before you grow older to protect your ears can slow the process and maybe prevent it entirely. The main factor is education. The more you understand about hearing loss, the better. Let’s discuss few facts about hearing loss that you need to understand before it’s too late.

The Different Types of Hearing Loss

Understanding what type hearing loss you have helps to find solutions. There are three to consider:

  • Conductive – Conductive loss is what you might associate with aging. This form of hearing loss means there is a change in the mechanisms of hearing, so sound waves can’t reach the inner ear. What’s important to remember about conductive hearing loss is it might be reversible. Something is simple as a buildup of ear wax can cause it.
  • Sensorineural –Trauma from an accident or a disease to the ear prevents the nerves from translating sound to the brain. The sensorineural hearing loss not fixable.
  • Mixed –This means you have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Once you understand why hearing changed, you can figure out ways to enhance your quality of life with things like hearing aids.

Aging Isn’t the Only Possible Cause

Advanced age does put a person at risk for conductive hearing loss, but it’s not the only factor. The ears are very delicate, so environmental stressors take their toll, as well. This may be part of the reason why elderly folks tend to lose some of their hearing. By paying focusing now to the things that will cost you later, you can keep your ears safe. Other dangerous scenarios to consider include:

Loud noise – Studies indicate that at least 48 percent of plumbing professionals suffer hearing loss. Why – because they are exposed frequently to loud noises on the job. Even small things like listening to music with the volume up, spending evenings watching your favorite local band perform or riding in the car with the windows down can be a problem. Loud sounds create potentially dangerous waves that will eventually damage the sensitive elements that allow you to hear.

Medication – Some forms of medication are ototoxic, meaning they cause damage to the inner ear. There are currently around 200 different medications capable of triggering hearing or balance problems including over the counter aspirin.

Trauma or Illness – An injury to the ears or certain illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic ear infections

Hearing Loss Starts Slow and Builds

It’s best to be proactive because hearing loss begins slowly and increases over time. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Mumbling when people talk
  • Complaints of people needing to repeat themselves
  • You need the volume up high on the TV
  • Certain sounds become difficult to understand, specifically words with the letter S or F and high pitched voices
  • You have trouble following conversations
  • You respond inappropriately to questions

If you feel like you are having difficulties in any of these areas, schedule a hearing test. The earlier your hearing loss is diagnosed, the better the prognosis in most cases. Prompt medical care for your hearing defect will increase your chance of recovery.

The good news is there is life after hearing loss if it does happen to you. There are personal listening devices like hearing aids that help your tune out background noise and enhance dialect, for example. The more you understand about your hearing loss, the better able you are to find ways to manage it.