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Pros and Cons of Small Hearing Aids

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 12:26:47 PM Asia/Calcutta

You have been diagnosed with hearing loss, and your Audiologist have suggested you to take hearing aids. Till then it is well and clear! But the most confusing question is, “Which hearing aid would suit me the best?!” There are so many to choose from - starting from the stylish ones, the easy-to-handle ones, the technologically advanced and smart ones to the small and completely invisible ones.

 

Pros and Cons of Small Hearing Aids

So which one should you choose?

About 80% would go for smaller hearing aids - like the ITE, ITC, CIC or the IIC - which would remain hidden in  the ear, and not be seen by anybody else from outside. It is because a majority of the people are worried about what others would think, hence they deny showing their weaknesses. But often small hearing aids fail to show the expected outcomes as might have been shown by the larger ones. It is because small hearing aids often does not suit everybody! So before arriving at a solution, go through their pros and cons! These will help you choose the right hearing aid!

 

Pros

  • Very small in size, making them completely or nearly invisible

  • No external tubes or wires

  • Light-weight with custom-made sizes that fit inside your ear canal, thus making them absolutely comfortable to wear

  • Perfect for people having mild to moderate hearing loss

  • Due to their proximity to the eardrum, it needs less power for them to transmit the sound to your middle and inner ear

  • Provides much natural sound as there is no or little feedback (whistling) sounds as there is no plastic mold present. This also frees the user of the feeling of an ‘occlusion effect’ which renders in them a sensation of talking ‘in a barrel’!

  • Since these hearing aids are seated inside your ear canal, they are protected by the outer ear - thereby being shielded from the wind sounds while enjoying outdoor activities. Also due to their advantageous position, users of small and invisible hearing aids can having better experience while using telephone and headsets! Yes a plus point for song lovers!

 

Cons

  • Not at all fit for all - especially for people with severe to profound hearing losses. BTE hearing aids work best for these hearing loss types.

  • Associated with having dexterity issues - that is, elderly people and children, in most of the cases, are not able to handle these devices properly due to their extremely smaller size

  • Features can be limited as due to small size, they are not powerful

  • You will need to change batteries more often than those in BTE or other larger models

  • It is often difficult to see or feel the controls properly due to the tiny sizes of these hearing aids - thus often making you confused about how to change their functionalities. It makes all the more difficult for people with weak eyesight!

  • Not recommended for people with ear infections - such as in the cases where there is excessive accumulation of earwax, or pus or other ear fluids coming out  from the ear canal. This will not only damage these hearing aids, but will also ruin your hearing experience, thus making you feel uncomfortable!

Now that you are well aware of each side of the coin when it comes to small hearing aids, you can now set your preferences which will further guide you in taking the right decision. But always make sure to consult a certified Audiologist. A good decision taken now can change your entire life!

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

5 Tips to Get the Best Out of Your Digital Hearing Aids

Monday, September 3, 2018 11:39:56 AM Asia/Calcutta

The modern day smart and advanced digital hearing aids are designed to provide you the best hearing experience. People worldwide have given quite positive feedbacks after using digital hearing aids for sometime - and are living quite happily. But there is a trick! To get the best out of your hearing aids, you need to follow certain rules and tips, so as to get connected with the hearing world better!

Digital Hearing Aids

Tips to Hear Better with Digital Hearing Aids

  • Wear them for most of the day! Never go without your hearing aids at any time of the day, even while at home. If you keep them aside, your brain might start forgetting certain natural sounds which it did not hear for a long time. Give your brain enough food for it to stay in good working condition.

  • Start by using your digital hearing aids in a quiet room. One-to-one conversations at home might help, as no background noise would distract you.

  • If you are a new hearing aid user, or are using it after a long time, then follow conversations at TV and radio. If you are watching a movie, then try following the subtitles. It will make you understand speech more easily. Remember! Escaping from difficult situations won’t help! You have to face them to wipe away your fears!

  • Try using them in noisier environments. Go out at a busy crowd, a local supermarket or a restaurant. It will help improve your speech perception even in noise, and will also help your digital hearing aids store your preferred programs so that these can be referred to whenever needed.

  • Use the phone well. Place the phone close to the hearing aid’s microphone. It will enhance your speech perception, and will also reduce whistling and other feedback sounds from the device.

So what are you doing to get the most out of your valuable digital hearing aids?

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

I Can Hear Ringing Sounds - Do I Have Tinnitus?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:14:02 PM Asia/Calcutta

Are you hearing ringing sounds recently, while no one else around you can? Then yes! You probably have tinnitus! However, apart from ringing, there are many other sounds associated with tinnitus - such as buzzing, hissing, whispering, clicking or even roaring! If you are hearing any of these sounds for quite a few days now, then you have tinnitus! Tinnitus is not a disease - it is a symptom of some other health condition or medical complexity. So it is very important for you to know the underlying cause of tinnitus - and if hearing loss is the cause, then undergoing a proper treatment of hearing loss is mandatory! You don’t want to face the darker side of it, do you?

 

Do I Have Tinnitus?

How Common is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common complaint among quite a good number of Indians - statistics say it’s about 7-8% of the total Indian population! And what’s worse? People with tinnitus are facing a range of physical and emotional disorders - which is greatly affecting their quality of life! Globally, about 1 in 5 people are having tinnitus problems, and about 1 to 2 out of 100 people face such disturbing tinnitus sounds that it affects their overall health as well as mental problems!

Tinnitus is generally highly associated with hearing loss, but in a study made in the US in 2008, approximately 13 million Americans out of 29.7 million, do not have any hearing loss. However, you must get your hearing checked from a certified Audiologist and if any loss is found, then start a treatment of hearing loss at the earliest.

 

What Causes Tinnitus?

There are many risk factors that can be associated tinnitus, such as -

  • Ear disorders (like Meniere’s disease) - in such a case get an immediate treatment of hearing loss

  • Neurological conditions

  • Psychological conditions (such as, anxiety and depression)

  • Head/neck injuries or disorders

  • Ototoxic drugs or medications that are harmful for the ear

  • Other conditions, like - hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, hormonal changes during pregnancy, etc.)

 

What Should I Do?

If you face any ringing or other tinnitus sounds, do not wait for it to go by itself! Consult a certified and well-trained Audiologist immediately - he or she will study your medical conditions (both past and present), and will first identify the cause of your tinnitus problems. If you are facing tinnitus due to hearing problems, then your Audiologist will proceed towards giving you a proper treatment of hearing loss.

Don’t make compromises and think that you will be habituated with ringing sounds. Don’t neglect it, as it might not only affect your hearing health, but can also invite other problems like physical, psychological and social complexities. Going through a methodical and systematic treatment of hearing loss along with other auditory stimulation - like music therapy, cochlear implant, and individualised sound stimulation, such as Auditory therapy - will reduce your tinnitus problems.

To know more about the Preventive Measures for Tinnitus, read our blog on: How to Beat Tinnitus?

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

Hearing Loss and Our MP3 Generation

Saturday, August 25, 2018 3:43:06 PM Asia/Calcutta

We know that you just love that moment when you can sit down and relax, with your headphones on, and a loud music put on! Or even that moment when you can throw some random dance steps on the floor, while putting on a banging rock song in the background! We know that without mp3 songs, you cannot imagine your life! But do you know that with each day of listening to loud music, you are losing your good hearing health - with the deterioration of your good hearing ability?!

Hearing Loss and Our MP3 Generation

How is Listening to Music Affecting Hearing Health?

Listening to loud music has always been a favourite pastime for teens, and sadly, this is the beginning of every hearing problems as seen in teenagers and youngsters! Do you know that according to statistics, the exposure to loud noise for prolonged periods of time is the greatest cause of hearing loss among teenagers and young children - and it is ever on the rise?! And the worst part is that this is completely preventable! But technology has been so evolved and the audio players have been improved listening experience so much, that it has become almost indispensable for children and teenagers to keep them aside! These days, kids and teens are losing their hearing at an alarmingly faster pace, and the impacts are really life-changing!

Live concerts as well as personal audio devices are extremely hazardous for your ears, because their volume often exceeds the 85-decibel (dB) level limit which is considered as safe for listening up to 8 hours at a stretch, reaching, in many cases, over 100 dB (which is considered safe only for 15 minutes). Repeated exposure to that hazardous level will gradually damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear, which are the vital elements for one’s hearing - and this eventually leads to permanent hearing loss.

However, recent research studies indicate that young people disregard all these warnings and willingly endanger their hearing!

 

Incidence and Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Teens

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, about 12.5% of kids of the age group of 6 - 19 have hearing loss - with listening to loud music being the cause, particularly through earbuds at excessively loud and unsafe volumes! More recent studies, however, estimate that about 16% of teenagers, or approximately 6 million children, suffer from permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This means that hearing loss in such a case is irreversible, and one cannot regain his/her natural hearing health!

 

What is the Solution?

Here are certain tips that might protect your hearing and might help you to prevent hearing loss -

  • Teach your child to respect their hearing - and keep them away from gadgets and audio systems as much as possible. Spend enough time with them - because spending time with family is priceless! Make them realise the value of family and the joy of it!

  • Keep the volume low! Avoid listening to music, especially while using headphones, at a noisy environment - because that would make you make the volume higher to combat the external noises! This is very harmful for your ears! Also make a safe headphone choice and use a good quality one, which will cancel out background noises, and make the music soothing - thus promoting a wonderful listening experience.

  • Set time limits! Make sure that you are not listening to high decibels for overly long hours. Also take occasional listening breaks in between! This will keep noise-induced hearing loss problems at bay!

  • Follow the 80-90 rule. That is, practice keeping your device volume below 80% and limit your listening time to 90 minutes or less.

  • Use the Arm’s Length Rule to test your child’s hearing health. If your child is unable to listen to what you are saying, then he or she is probably listening to music at very high volumes. Check this now!

  • Make your child wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect his or her hearing at a noisy area - this will at least prevent hearing loss!

 

So what are you waiting for? Never let technology ruin your health, and engulf your life and the better half of you!

Comments | Posted in Hearing Loss Problem By Phalguni Bannerjee

Importance of Auditory Training in Adults

Thursday, August 23, 2018 2:43:42 PM Asia/Calcutta

You might have come across or heard about auditory training programmes and other early intervention programmes designed for children, to aid them learn speech and language skills. But did you ever realise that auditory training for adults, especially the senior citizens is equally important and should be performed along with hearing aids - to have better outcomes. In 90% of the cases, auditory training as a part of a proper hearing loss treatment programme, has proved to be beneficial!

Auditory Training

What is Auditory Training?

According to Schow & Nerbonne study done in 2007, Auditory Training can be defined as an intervention in which listeners are taught to make perceptual distinctions between various sounds. These sounds - which are from various sources - are presented to the listeners systematically. The main focus of auditory training is on improving listening and communication skills of hearing aid users - because the world of sounds with hearing aid devices is relatively ‘new’ for them!

 

Incidence and Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Adults

However, the saddest part is, although about 90% of the world’s total hearing impaired population are adults, and according to WHO, approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. Yet about 75% people do not wear hearing aids! They fail to realise the importance and the urgency of getting a proper hearing loss treatment, and do not understand the necessity of opting for good hearing aids at the earliest!

 

Why do I Need an Auditory Training?

Because only wearing a hearing aid won’t help! After wearing a hearing aid you might feel that though you can hear various sounds, you are, however, unable to understand them. You might even fail to understand the meaning of what others or even you yourself are saying! This situation becomes more adverse if you opt for a proper hearing loss treatment after living many years with hearing loss. To overcome this situation, you need to participate in a post-fitting auditory training to aid you in proper hearing and understanding - so as to achieve the maximum benefit.

 

How is Hearing and Understanding Different?

Wearing hearing aids might help you to hear the sounds better which you were unable to before opting for them (or some other hearing loss treatment like cochlear implant)! But you might be confused at first which sound is associated with which object or phenomenon - even though the sound might be quite a common one. Besides, you might also face difficulties in understanding what other people are trying to convey - although you might be able to hear them quite well. Now why does this happen? We actually listen rather than hear! Listening involves understanding - and it occurs in the brain. The brain processes the sound signals received via the auditory nerve, and translates them into meaningful signals - and this is the time when we can actually listen!

 

What are the Benefits of Auditory Training?

Research studies have proved auditory training programmes for adults to be effective and beneficial enough for adults - including the older population with hearing aids (or other such hearing loss treatment like cochlear implants). Some undoubted benefits of auditory training sessions clubbed with hearing aids (or cochlear implant) include -

  • Auditory training involves actively listening to common sounds such as tones, parts of words or basic units called phonemes, or even whole words or phrases over a long period of time. This improves the person’s ability to pronounce, utter, process sounds, and say words, phrases and whole sentences with ease.

  • This method of hearing loss treatment also improves and strengthens listening, understanding and communication skills of the person.

  • Studies have proved that auditory training improves attention and cognitive abilities which support our listening skills.

  • After the training, participants have shown greater motivation and an increased interest in trying to improve their hearing and their overall health - which they previously lacked, and as a result have been neglecting their hearing health.

  • The programme is interactive and engaging enough to make people feel the need for living a better life with good hearing health through a proper participation in a hearing loss treatment programme.

  • The modern auditory training programmes are computer-based that can be easily adapted by adults and elder people, hence giving fruitful and productive outcomes.

 

So when are you opting for today’s advanced and updated hearing aids, along with a proper auditory training programme - being a part of an effective hearing loss treatment?

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