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9 Tips to Protect Our Hearing Health

Friday, September 13, 2019 8:11:45 PM Asia/Calcutta

While you have been worrying about how to choose the right hearing aid devices or which would be a reliable hearing aid clinic, did you know that you could have prevented this from happening? It would have been better if you turned the volume down while watching the favourite show of yours or listening to that favourite music. Yes, there are a host of reasons that might cause hearing loss, but most of the time it is due to exposure to loud noises. And surprisingly, most hearing loss problems are preventable. Prevention is always better than cure!

Why Should I Protect My Hearing?

It’s simple! You need to prevent yourself from acquiring hearing loss! Because a healthy hearing health means a healthy and happy life.

We often take our hearing for granted and never even realise that we need to take care of it! We listen to music, watch TV shows or listen to our favourite radio programme, for hours together, without almost giving a break in between. We don’t care to protect our ears while stuck in a noisy road full of honking of vehicles. We love attending rock concerts and dance to the rhythm of the playlist played by some cool DJ at a disco. The list is endless!

Among all these activities, your ears are crying for help! You might fail to realise that such habits and activities might damage thew very hearing that is enabling us to hear! So while you enjoy listening, take care that you do it responsibly and within certain limits!

Hearing loss, in most cases, it is progressive in nature and is irreversible if it is a permanent one. So let’s face the harsh truth. Once you lose your hearing, it’s gone forever! Yes, it’s true that as you start ageing, you are going to face certain loss of hearing. But the more careful and protective you are about your hearing health, the more would be the years you are going to enjoy with a healthy hearing.

 

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Most of us are sure to experience hearing loss at some point in our lifetime because it is almost inevident as we start ageing. But delaying the age of onset is in our hands, and we can prevent it till as long as possible. While some causes are not in our hands, but the major cause is preventable - that being exposed to very loud noises.

 

What occurs in your ears that leads to hearing loss?

Now, coming to the main scenario that causes you to suffer from a hearing impairment, let’s understand a bit of hearing mechanism first. The inner ear has a spiral-shaped cochlea which receives sound waves from the middle ear, after getting amplified by the ear ossicles. Our cochlea consists of thousands of tiny hair-like sensitive structure called hair cells. After receiving these sound waves, the hair cells in the cochlea convert them into electrical impulses and send them to our brain via the auditory nerve. It is at this point when sound is perceived by us.

This is why it is necessary to go for an early hearing diagnosis than regretting later! So before it’s too late, here are nine easy tips for you to protect that vital organ of yours!

 

9 Ways You Can Protect Your Precious Ears!

  • Use earplugs or earmuffs while you are around some loud noises. Always make it a point to carry a pair in your bags wherever you travel. According to studies, noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is the most popular cause of permanent hearing loss across the world.

  • Turn the volume down. While listening to music, make sure that you don’t put the volume too high. Also, lessen the duration of listening at a stretch. Many audiologists suggest following the 60-60 rule while listening to your favourite music - which states that the ideal and safe volume should not be more than 60%, having a duration of not more than 60 minutes.

  • Take listening breaks. It is always recommended that one should not listen to anything for hours together. You must always take listening breaks in between. This will give time for your ears to recover, especially if you are at a loud listening situation like rock concerts or a disco. If possible, step outside for 5-10 minutes after every half an hour or so and give your ears the required time to rest.

  • Take medications only as directed. There are certain ototoxic medications which are harmful to your hearing health. So always refer a doctor before taking any.

  • Stop using cotton swabs or sharp tools to clean your ears. Firstly because your earwax has a lot of beneficial qualities like keeping away dirt and infection germs, and secondly because these might hurt or injure the internal delicate parts of your ears.

  • Keep your ears dry. Make sure you wipe your ears dry with a soft cloth or better still you can block water from entering the ear canal with the help of custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs after bathing or swimming. Excess moisture can be harmful to your ears as it attracts bacteria which might attack your ear canal and cause infections.

  • Exercise properly. Do you know exercise is good for your ears as well? Activities like walking, cycling, running or jogging improve blood circulation in your ears, thus keeping them healthy and properly functional. However, while you are cycling or riding a motorbike, make sure to wear a helmet, so that if you fall you can protect your head, along with your ears.

  • Manage stress levels. Too much stress and anxiety are often linked to permanent or temporary tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Stress creates pressure on your nerves and blood vessels, thus affecting blood circulation in your body parts - including your ears.

  • Regular hearing check-ups are a must! Even if you might feel that you are hearing fine, you might never know. It’s always better to be sure. Get your hearing tested from time to time by consulting a professional and certified audiologist at your nearest hearing aid clinic.

A hearing loss treatment or the act of wearing hearing aid devices is not as easy as you might think. They will definitely help you out, especially if you buy the latest digital hearing aids. But they can do nothing other than making the most out of your residual hearing abilities. Once your hearing is gone, it won’t come back again! So protect it while you can! Isn’t it better to prevent it than buying hearing aid devices?

Stay healthy and be a responsible family member!

I Can Hear, But I Cannot Understand!

Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:22:50 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you know what is the most received complaint from people who have recently started facing hearing difficulties? It’s ‘I can hear, but I cannot understand!’ or ‘the words appear blurry and unclear’, or ‘why don’t you speak clearly and stop mumbling?’, and the like. If this is the case with you, then yes it’s most likely that you have hearing loss. Or if you have faced any of your loved ones coming up with statements like this, try to help them out. You (or your loved one) need to treat this condition at the earliest - because most of the times, hearing loss is progressive in nature. Hearing loss treatment is not a big deal nowadays, with such advanced technological innovations in the field of audiology.

Our Hearing Mechanism

This brings us to the question of how the hearing procedure works and what are the steps involved in it.

Our hearing is a complex process which is not limited to the functioning of the ears itself but involves the brain as well. It is our brain that is responsible for the actual part of hearing. If your brain fails to work properly, you won’t be able to understand or decode the meaning of the sound you are hearing. And this is why some people with untreated hearing loss complain that even though they could hear, they find it difficult to understand the meaning of it, and this is most evident in speech understanding such as during conversations.

While it is the job of the brain to translate the sounds as they receive into meaningful words, our ears are responsible for amplifying and delivering the sounds to the brain after converting them into meaningful signals which can be decoded easily by our brain.

To know more about how the hearing mechanism of human beings and other mammals works, consider going through this blog: https://hearingplus.in/ourblog/How-Do-We-Hear-An-Insight-into-Our-Hearing-Mechanism/

 

Hearing vs. Understanding

The first thing that you must do is getting a hearing test done. In a hearing diagnostic test, your results would be plotted on an audiogram. If you are diagnosed with a high-frequency hearing loss, you would find it difficult to hear the high-pitched sounds. While on the other hand, you might have a completely normal hearing ability in the low-frequency range and can hear low-pitched sounds quite perfectly. In speech, the high-pitched sounds include the consonant sounds like S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, P, while the vowels A, E, I, O and U are low in pitch. Studies show that most of the people with hearing impairment experience a high-frequency hearing loss. This explains why some people with hearing loss find it difficult to get hold of the meaning even though they can hear the sounds.

 

Signs of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Check out for these signs that are common with people suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

  • Difficulty following and understanding conversations both in quiet and in noisy listening situations

  • Difficulty talking over the phone

  • Trouble understanding TV or radio shows even after turning the volume up

  • You no longer find listening to music soothing or pleasurable as they seem distorted, especially at higher volumes

  • Trouble understanding the voices of women and children because they are usually high-pitched in nature

  • Friends, family members or colleagues often get frustrated and feel you aren’t listening to them

  • This leads to misunderstandings in your personal relationships

  • You feel tired and exhausted from listening

So the next time your spouse accuses you of having a ‘selective hearing’ you must not delay on getting a proper hearing loss treatment, because it’s high time that you should! An untreated hearing loss would bring along more health issues including both physical and psychological.

Talk to your audiologist today and get the right hearing aid machine. The digital hearing aids of today not only help you get rid of all these difficult situations but would also make your life a healthy one, making this world a happy place to live in.

How Do We Hear? An Insight into Our Hearing Mechanism!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 1:48:58 PM Asia/Calcutta

Human beings can be an active part of this world only with the help of the five senses - namely sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. If one of the senses breaks down, an individual faces great changes with difficult challenges coming on the way.

 

Hearing Loss and Its Causes

Partial or total inability to hear is termed as hearing loss. Various causes like ear infections, malformations in the internal ear structure, overexposure to loud noises, infections or other health conditions, genetic issues and even leading an unhealthy lifestyle might lead to hearing impairment. However, there is always a way out. There are many hearing loss treatment options like advanced and smart digital hearing aids and cochlear implants which are designed to make your life better.

To know more about how a hearing aid machine works, this blog might be helpful: Understanding Your Hearing Aid Machine.

 

Parts of the Human Ear

The human ear comprises three main parts, namely the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

  • The outer ear - It consists of the pinna or the auricle and the auditory canal. The tympanic membrane or the eardrum divides the outer ear from the middle ear.

  • The middle ear - The middle ear of mammals consists of three small ear bones, namely malleus, incus, and stapes (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) - together known as the ossicles. The ossicles provide further energy and impetus required to transfer the sound signals from the eardrum to the oval window of the cochlea. The eustachian tube is another part of the middle ear. It connects the middle ear with the back of the nose and helps to equalise the pressure in the middle ear, thus helping in the proper transfer of the sound waves.

  • The inner ear - The inner ear consists of the most important organ responsible for hearing - the spiral-shaped cochlea. Apart from the cochlea, the inner ear also comprises the vestibule and the semicircular canals which are responsible for body balance.

 

How Do We Hear?

The human hearing mechanism is quite a complex one. There are a series of steps involved in between the receipt of the sound waves by the outer ear to our actual act of ‘hearing’ it. Let’s have a brief look at them -

  • The outer ear receives the sound waves which travel down the auditory canal and strike the eardrum.

  • This causes the eardrum or the tympanic membrane to vibrate.

  • These vibrations are then passed over to the ossicles or the three tiny ear bones.

  • The ossicles amplify the sounds and transfer them to the inner ear.

  • The fluid-filled hearing organ - the cochlea receives these sounds and processes and converts them into electrical impulses.

  • These converted sound signals are then transferred to the brain via the auditory nerve.

  • The brain on receiving them translates them as sounds which are then perceived by us. This is the moment when we can actually ‘hear’.

However, apart from hearing, the vestibular system situated in our inner ear is also responsible for body balance and equilibrium. This is why hearing loss is often associated with vertigo and balance problems.

Our ear is, therefore, an important organ of our body. Damage caused to it would bring about many health conditions.

Consult a certified audiologist to get your hearing test done from time to time, to avoid any complications. An untreated hearing loss might have a great impact on one’s life. Treat any hearing problem on time and never delay in getting proper treatment of hearing loss.

If you want to learn more about hearing loss and the various hearing loss treatment options available, this article might help: Hearing Loss Treatment Center.

Discuss with your audiologist and learn about the different hearing aids types and the hearing aid price list before you buy hearing aids. Consider going through this article: https://hearingplus.in/cheapest-hearing-aids-india/

Do I Have Hearing Loss? 5 Early Signs and Symptoms

Saturday, August 31, 2019 1:25:28 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss often comes in creepingly and gradually stealing your hearing ability without your knowledge until the damage is done. And in most of the cases, hearing loss is due to ageing - a condition known as presbycusis and is permanent in nature which is irreversible. In other words, once you lose your hearing, it is gone forever. You will, of course, be able to hear again with the help of hearing aids, but your natural hearing abilities won’t be recovered.

One doesn’t realise that hearing loss has already entered into one’s happy life until the individual starts facing various problems. You might start noticing changes in your hearing like missing out your favourite sounds or parts of an important conversation. All these changes are so gradual that often people with hearing loss can’t realise it until it’s quite too late.

You might think that people are mumbling or that the TV or the radio needs repairing because they are not as audible as before. But the fact is your hearing changed, so it is you who needs to consider taking part in a proper hearing loss treatment programme from a recognised hearing aid clinic.

So here are five most common signs of hearing loss which would help you to understand where the problem lies behind your missing out being a part of this beautiful world of sounds.

  • You have difficulty hearing consonant sounds. If you are old enough to have developed age-related hearing loss or presbycusis, then you could probably relate to this. Presbycusis usually comes with high-frequency hearing loss, that is one would not be able to hear the high-pitched sounds. In speech, one would have difficulties hearing the consonant sounds like S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, and P.

  • You can no longer hear the sounds of nature. When did you last hear the beautiful sounds like the birds chirping, or the pitter-patter of the rain, or the leaves rustling on the blowing of a gentle breeze? Yes, you have been missing them out for quite a long time.

  • Understanding conversations in crowded places is a challenge. For instance, if you are in a restaurant you would find it difficult to focus on what the person you are conversing with is trying to say. In such a situation, audiologists often suggest opting for advanced digital hearing aids with noise reduction features that would eliminate the background noises and help you stay focused on your conversation.

  • Listening is strainful for you! Hearing loss means you are bound to miss out on parts of the conversation you are taking part in. And naturally, you would try not to miss out any, and hence end up putting more effort to listen properly. This would tire out your brain, making you feel more tired and fatigued at the end of the day.

  • You hear ringing sounds constantly. Nothing is more annoying and disturbing than constant sounds like ringing or buzzing running on persistently. They are quite unpleasant, often making it difficult for you to stay focused on your work.

If you consult a professional Audiologist, you would probably be recommended wearing good digital hearing aids, which perform better than the analog ones. Buy hearing aids only after getting expert consultation to have the best listening experience. So no more missing out on the wonderful moments of life!

Otitis Media and Hearing Loss

Sunday, August 25, 2019 11:56:46 PM Asia/Calcutta

One might never know what caused a person to lose his or her hearing ability - (until he or she gets a diagnostic test done, of course). Because it might be due to any reason or condition and there are so many of them. It might be due to exposure to loud noises, due to some injury in the head and neck region, due to ageing, due to smoking, due to some health conditions and genetic reasons, or due to some viral infections - one among which is Otitis media.

 

What is Otitis Media?

Otitis media is an ear infection affecting the middle ear - the air-filled space behind the eardrum or tympanic membrane. In the condition, there is an inflammation of the middle ear which is usually associated with fluid build-up. It mainly affects infants and young children. The symptoms, severity, frequency and duration of Otitis media might vary.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Usually, there is nop pain or fever associated with Otitis media. So how can you tell if your child is suffering from the condition? Here’s a checklist to guide you.

  • Inattentiveness

  • Inappropriate speech and language development

  • Misunderstanding directions or instructions

  • Wanting to raise up the TV or radio volume

  • Unexplained irritability

  • Pulling or scratching at the ears

 

What are the Causes?

In children, the most common cause of the condition might be fluctuating conductive hearing loss. The other causes of Otitis media are -

  • Upper respiratory infections, like common cold, allergies, flu

  • Sinus infection

  • Smoking (even second-hand)

  • Drinking while laying down

  • Infected or enlarged adenoids (a mass of soft tissue behind the nasal cavity present in infants and gradually disappears with age)

Relation Between Otitis Media and Hearing Loss

Middle ear infections can affect the hearing abilities of children. Infections like Otitis Media might hamper the smooth conduction of sound waves from the outer ear to the inner ear via the middle ear. However, the condition is almost always temporary and doesn’t cause any permanent damage to hearing.

Link with Speech and Language Development

However, the sad news is if you avoid the condition and leave it thinking that it would heal naturally, then you would be doing the worst mistake of your life! If you don’t get a proper hearing loss treatment for your child suffering from Otitis media, then your child’s hearing problems might lead to impaired speech and language as a child learns communication skills only by the way of hearing. And even if you do get a proper hearing loss treatment later realising that your child’s speech and language development is way behind than his or her peers, then also he or she would not do it quite as naturally as the learning process should have been. Because there is a golden period in which a child learns particular developmental skills - including speech and language.

Therefore, going for a good hearing loss treatment for any of your child’s hearing problems is necessary. Consult a professional audiologist and secure your child’s future.

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