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Are You Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 12:48:13 PM Asia/Calcutta

Your hearing aids are not only precious - they are a part of your life! If you are a person who solely depend on these devices for enjoying the world of sounds - then they are an important asset as well! When hearing aids have been so responsibly performing their duties day by day, it is your responsibility too to take care of them. Otherwise you will lose that wonderful hearing experience you have been enjoying all these days.


How Do I Take Care of My Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are delicate devices - so it is a good practice to clean them regularly, so as to keep them going without fail for many more years! Here are certain tips to effectively take care of your valuable devices -

For BTE (Behind the Ear) Hearing Aids

  • Regularly examine the device for any debris and remove it with a soft brush (specially designed to clean hearing aids) or with a dry and soft cloth.

Cleaning Hearing Aid with Hearing Aid Brush

  • Never use wet hearing aids! If your BTE hearing aids accidentally falls in water or gets wet, immediately remove the batteries and dry each part - especially the earmold and the battery compartment by using a forced air blower or hearing aid dryer (never use a microwave or a hair dryer) to dry up the internal parts of the device. Let it dry overnight, with the battery compartment left open.

  • Never allow humid or moisture to enter into the device - humid is the biggest enemy of your hearing aids! Keep them dry and clean with a soft dry cloth from time to time.

  • Gently remove the earmold carefully - as instructed in your product manual or as advised by your Audiologist. Soaking it in a mild soap solution once a week might help. Never use alcohol or other strong chemicals - as they might damage your device!

  • Replace the batteries regularly, and NEVER EVER use old batteries! Also, dispose off old or dead batteries properly, because they are highly toxic! Store hearing aid batteries in a cool and dry place.

  • Remove batteries when the device is not in use - such as while you are sleeping or while participating in water sports or taking a bath.

Cleaning Hearing Aid with Hearing Aid Air Blower

For ITE (In the Ear) Hearing Aids

While cleaning an ITE model of hearing aid, try applying the following tips -

  • Mainly focus on cleaning the opening parts of the hearing aid - which might have an accumulation of earwax - with a soft bristle brush which is specially designed for cleaning hearing aids (it may or may not be provided with your product - if not, then get one!)

  • If there is anything that couldn’t be cleaned with the brush, then use a wax pick or a hook - which are designed for cleaning hearing devices - to clean inside the holes.

  • Clean the whole device gently with a soft and dry cloth from time to time - to remove debris or other unwanted particles from the case of the hearing aid.

  • Again store batteries in a cool and dry place, and remove them from your hearing aids when you are not using them!


So are you taking proper care of your precious device?

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

The Concept of Directionality Used in Digital Hearing Aids

Monday, August 6, 2018 5:30:55 PM Asia/Calcutta

The progress and development of hearing aids is an amazing procedure worth studying! Right from its beginning of its evolution starting with horns, down to the modern day digital hearing aids, hearing devices have been continuously been incorporated with innovations and technological advancements. While the past few decades saw the use of analog hearing aids, the past few years have being seeing a wonderful evolution of the technologically advanced digital hearing aids that have proved themselves to be absolutely indispensable in the present generation.


What is Directionality?

First let us understand what are directional systems. We, as the listeners, are surrounded by various kinds of sounds throughout the day - even during sleep! It is just that while we are asleep, our brain simply ignores any incoming sounds, and hence let’s us have a ‘sound’ sleep! We get to hear sounds coming from every direction, and our brain is clever enough to understand and identify which sound is coming from which direction! Thus, we can understand whether a speeding car is approaching from the left backside or the right while we are on the roads!

But among these hundreds and thousands of sounds that we get to hear every single day, some are soothing to us, some are important to us, while some are absolutely unwanted to us. Our brain again does the job of filtering each of these sounds - it helps us stay focussed on the important and soothing sounds that we actually want to hear, by preventing all the unwanted and disturbing sounds (termed as noises) from diverting us.

This same mechanism is adapted by the digital hearing aids of our generation. The term ‘directionality’, therefore, refers to a hearing aid’s sensitivity to the different kinds of sounds coming from various directions. This feature of directionality is now incorporated in the digital hearing aids of today, which help us to stay focussed on some particular sounds which are important for us - by leaving out the unwanted noises; such as the ones coming from front of us like speech sounds, while the background noises are diminished or are cancelled out altogether.


What are the types of Directionality?

  • Omni-directionality

Omni-directionality refers to the phenomenon in which the hearing aid amplifies each and every sound coming from all the directions. If we imagine ourselves standing at the centre of a circle, the sounds which are coming from the centre as well as from the further distance on or near the circumference, are all amplified equally.

Omni- Directional Systems in Hearing Aids

  • Fixed Directionality

This feature is found today in most of the digital hearing aids, which enables them to amplify those sounds which are coming from your front, such as the speech sounds coming from the speaker you are conversing with and who is sitting in front of you. Suppose you are sitting at a dinner table and you want to listen to a particular person speaking with you, and hence do not want to listen to what the other persons sitting at the sides or at the back of you are saying. The Fixed Directionality feature present in digital hearing aids is capable of distinguishing between speech and noise, and hence reduces or cancels out the background sounds, and amplifies and makes you stay focussed only on the important sounds in front.

Fixed Directional Systems in Hearing Aids

  • Adaptive Directionality

But what if the source of the sound keeps changing? It means that the direction of sound is also changing, thus constantly shifting your point of attention. What if you want to listen to people speaking from various directions around you - such as from the front, back and the sides? In such a case, the Adaptive Directionality feature found in almost all the advanced and updated digital hearing aids, comes at your rescue! This system has a remarkable speed of analyzing the loudest sounds which enables you listen to all the important sounds coming from all the directions around you. The feature is also advanced enough to take into account different sound frequency ranges and analyzes and adjusts the amplification in each of them. Accordingly it enables us to hear only specific ones, which we want to hear - by cancelling out the unwanted ones.

Adaptive Directional Systems in Hearing Aids

  • Hybrid Adaptive Directionality

This feature performs exactly like a healthy, open ear canal. It is much more advanced due to its capability to help the person wearing digital hearing aids actually listen clearly to important sounds even in challenging situations - such as the wind, or at environments which have a echo - such as at a wide hilly region. The Hybrid Adaptive Directionality feature combines two patterns - the Adaptive and the Omni Directionality ones. It maintains the important sounds by “fixing” or adjusting the amplification on the low frequency ranges and constantly adapts to the higher ones so as to help reduce the unwanted noises.


In a nutshell, it is always advised by certified Audiologists to go for the advanced and the more updated digital hearing aids, as they would not only make you hear better, but would also enable you to enjoy what you hear!

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

5 Diets to Boost Your Hearing Health

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 1:24:08 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you know that following a balanced and healthy diet chart might boost your hearing health? For example, minerals can play a vital role in promoting not only good hearing, but also improves your overall health and your immune system. So why go for a hearing loss treatment when you can actually prevent and preserve your hearing naturally!

Let us take a look at the list of important diets which are responsible for preventing hearing loss, and hence keeping the complicated issues and a hearing loss treatment at bay -

1. Potassium

Since potassium is responsible for regulating the amount of fluids in your body, it therefore, regulates the fluid in your inner ear. This is very important because as we start ageing, the potassium levels tend to drop naturally, which might lead to hearing loss or presbycusis (hearing loss due to ageing). Because inner ear is the most essential part of our ear as it transmits the sound signals - after converting them into electrical impulses - into the auditory nerve, which then transfers these signals to our brain. It is the brain which actually recognises the sounds and only then do we ‘hear’! Hence potassium is a vital component to be included in your diet, and never think of a hearing loss treatment!

Some potassium-rich diets include -

  • Potatoes

  • Spinach

  • Tomatoes

  • Lima beans

  • Apricots

  • Raisins

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Melons

  • Low-fat Milk

  • Yoghurt

You can probably include these diets in your salads while you are on an outing, such as picnics!

2. Folic Acid

Do you know that folic acid is an essential element which aggravates your body’s ability to generate the growth of new cells? Not only that, folic acid also helps to maintain and regulate your body’s circulation system. And how does it help in preventing hearing loss? As folic acid is responsible for a good body circulation. It therefore helps in keeping the hair cells and the inner ear healthy and in good working condition. Studies show that taking folic acid rich foods and even supplements can reduce hearing loss to a great extent - and it also prevents presbycusis - which is most likely to occur in case of low folic acid levels in the body.

Diets rich in folic acid are -

  • Organ meats

  • Fortified breakfast cereal

  • Bananas

  • Potatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Asparagus

3. Magnesium

According to research studies, people who included magnesium along with Vitamins A, C and E in their diets, were more protected while being exposed to loud decibels of noises. It is because, while you are exposed to loud sounds, the magnesium acts as a protective shield to the hair cells in the inner ear. Lack of magnesium levels lead to the narrowing of blood vessels in the inner ear, thus causing oxygen deprivation! So instead of neglecting your hearing health and being obliged to go for a hearing loss treatment later on, choose the healthy option of following the following magnesium-rich foods -

    • Bananas

    • Artichokes

    • Spinach

    • Potatoes

    • Tomatoes

    • Broccoli

4. Zinc

Zinc is responsible for cell growth increase and also to heal wounds. Another health benefit of zinc is that it promotes and improves the body’s immune system which in turn fight against infection-causing germs which might cause common cold and are therefore, harmful for the ear, and might cause hearing loss. According to some studies, zinc can not only prove to be an effective hearing loss treatment, but it also helps in treating tinnitus problems (ringing in the ears) which are often found among individuals with normal hearing. However, certain supplements might contain antibiotics and diuretics which might interact with zinc, so always consult your physician, and especially your Audiologist before consuming them.

Certain diets which include zinc as one of their key elements are -

  • Dark-meat chicken

  • Pork

  • Beef

  • Almonds

  • Cashews

  • Peanuts

  • Dark chocolate

  • Split peas

  • Beans

  • Oysters

  • Lentils

5. Omega 3 Fats & Vitamin D

Studies show that an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids have reduced hearing loss to a great extent, especially in the ageing population. Also, these fatty acids are not only efficient in managing and controlling hearing loss problems, but these are also known to reduce and treat tinnitus problems as well.

Foods rich in omega 3 fats are -

  • Fish and fish oils

  • Krill oil

  • Flaxseed oil

  • Salmon

  • Soybean oil

  • Sardines

  • Walnuts

  • Canola Oil

  • Flaxseeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Mackerel

On the other hand, a deficiency of Vitamin D might cause cochlear deafness, as due to demineralisation, there is a damage in the cochlea of the inner ear, which contains hair cells - the vital elements responsible for hearing.

Vitamin D rich foods include -

  • Fatty fish, like -

    • Tuna

    • Salmon

    • Mackerel

  • Egg yolks

  • Beef liver

  • Cheese

  • Dairy products

  • Orange juice

  • Cereals

  • Soy milk

In a nutshell, when you have so many healthy and yummy foods to choose from, so why neglect with having a hearing loss treatment as the only option! When you can boost up your hearing health naturally, why wait until situations grow adverse?

So eat healthy for a healthy hearing!

Comments | Posted in Hearing loss treatment India By Phalguni Bannerjee

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Friday, July 20, 2018 5:51:10 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss is a common issue nowadays, especially if you are in your late 40s. But situations are aggravated if you are a patient of diabetes. Because recent studies have found a good association of diabetes with the development of various hearing problems. According to a study made by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in June 2008, and which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a strong and persistent association of impaired hearing with diabetes has been found.


Incidence and Prevalence

The most common problems that come along with diabetes is hearing loss. Diabetes and hearing loss are the two most widespread health concerns in America. About 30 million US inhabitants are suffering from diabetes, and about 34.5 million people is suffering from some type of hearing impairment. Therefore, you must be concerned, and an early treatment of hearing loss becomes extremely necessary.

According to a study made in 2008, using the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a higher prevalence of about 21% of hearing damage is found among the diabetic patients, and about 9% is found among the non-diabetic patients. Also, it is analysed that this relation between diabetes and hearing loss has been the strongest in the younger survey participants who are less than 60 years of age.


How is Hearing Loss Related to Diabetes

As we all know that due to diabetes, there is a rise in the blood sugar levels. This damages the small blood vessels in the inner ear, thereby causing a deficit in oxygen supply. Due to a lack of oxygen, the hair cells are damaged, thus failing to transmit the sound signals received by them from the middle ear to the auditory nerve. In such a case, you must not delay in getting a proper treatment of hearing loss.


How would I know whether I have Hearing Loss?

If you notice the following 5 signs, then you are probably having some type of hearing impairment, and your ears need immediate attention!

  • You ask people to repeat themselves quite often, and almost regularly.

  • Do you face difficulties talking over the phone, and hence started avoiding them frequently?

  • Having difficulty in participating in one-to-one conversations.

  • Frequently raising up the TV/Radio volume more the the usual one.

  • Often thinking that others are mumbling.

  • Facing problems hearing in a noisy area such as at a busy restaurant.

All these are the ‘red flags’ which indicate that your hearing health is calling for help and you need to opt for a good treatment of hearing loss soon by consulting a certified Audiologist!


Can I Prevent Diabetic Hearing Loss?

The good news is that you can very well prevent hearing loss caused due to diabetes. The trick is to follow a healthy and balanced diet, and of course having a control over it! All you need to keep in mind that you have to control your blood sugar levels. Then it will be much easier for you to have a control over the diabetic-related problems and might be successful in preventing hearing loss as a result.


Which is an Effective Treatment of Hearing Loss?

If you are already suffering from hearing problems, then, as already mentioned, consult and discuss with a highly qualified Audiologist immediately. Get a proper hearing check-up and follow as suggested by your Audiologist. Hearing aid has proved to be quite an effective treatment of hearing loss till date. In cases of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, when hearing aids normally fail to give much benefits, cochlear implants have been opted for by Audiologists worldwide and these devices have proved to give excellent results! So why worry when there are so many innovative and advanced options out there?!

In a nutshell, never be depressed for being a diabetic patient, because there are thousands of solutions to preventing and controlling diabetic hearing loss.

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

5 Tips to Hear Better in a Noisy Environment

Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:10:30 PM Asia/Calcutta

It is often advised by Audiologists to avoid communicating in a noisy environment, especially if you are suffering from hearing loss and is a new user of digital hearing aids. This trick really works in adjusting to the new world of hearing. But what if you have no choice but to attend or go through some noisy situation? Or if you are the one who have been indoors for quite a while now, and are planning to face this world with your new digital hearing aids on? In either of the case, the very foremost thing that you need to do is to stay calm and not to panic. We are here to help you out!


What are the Tips to Help Me Communicate Easily in a Chaotic Environment?

Although the modern day digital hearing aids are designed to make you feel comfortable even in some cacophonous situation, yet you need to know some tricks and tips about how to tackle these unwanted situations, especially if you are a new hearing aid user. If, however, you are feeling comfortable in using analog hearing aids and are reluctant to switch over to digital hearing aids, our advice is either to opt for the later (after consulting an experienced Audiologist) which are much more advanced, thus having the capability to handle noisy situations, or else it is a must for you to follow these important tips for communicating in such situations. So let’s go through 5 most important ones which you MUST follow!

1. Use two hearing aids rather than one. There are a number of advantages of using two hearing aids which include -

     a) The better ability to hear sounds from all directions coming from either side.

     b) Increased loudness and clarity, as the amplified sounds are equally distributed to both the ears.

     c) You will be able to understand and locate from which direction the sound source is originating.

     d) Using binaural devices, especially digital hearing aids, will increase your ability to hear speech sounds better and will enhance speech understanding even in noisy backgrounds.

     e) Using binaural digital hearing aids will prevent accidents from happening. If you are on the streets with only one hearing aid put on, you might have a wrong notion of the direction of a vehicle approaching from behind. For example, you are on a major crossing and a car is speeding from behind from the right side (suppose). In such a case you might assume that it is coming from the left side, because you are wearing your device in the left ear (suppose). It is a dangerous situation as your brain will prompt you to move to the right side from which the car is actually proceeding. It might lead to serious accidents.

Although you might do better with one hearing aid in normal situations, but in noisy situations you will realize that your devices are performing better.

2. Use digital hearing aids as they have digital signal processing (DSP). This technology allows the device to differentiate between speech and noise. In other words, the digital hearing aids - due to their DSP technology - enable you to listen to speech sounds clearly as the device reduces or cancels out background noise. Also, you must use the directional microphone setting of your digital devices so that you can switch the device from an omnidirectional setting to a directional setting. In case you do not know the difference between the two - if your digital hearing aids is in the omnidirectional mode, then you will hear sounds coming from all directions - namely front, back, right and left, top and bottom. But if you switch over to the directional setting, your hearing aid will pick up only the primary sounds which are coming from the front of the hearing aid user. So if you sit face-to-face with the speaker, you will clearly be able to listen to his/her speech - and not only listen, but also understand what the person is saying. In this case, you are able to focus only on a particular and an important sound source - which is speech. To attain the best result, make sure that the directional microphone is properly positioned.

3. Use the FM technology of your digital hearing aids. FM technology is the best solution for you if you have difficulty hearing in noise. It comprises two components -

     a) An FM transmitter which will pick up the speaker’s speech sounds and send it to the FM receiver.

     b) An FM receiver which will receive the speech sounds picked up by the transmitter and deliver them directly to the person’s ears (such as via loudspeakers).

FM technology is an advanced feature in the modern day digital hearing aids, as it helps the user clearly listen to the speech sounds which are which are closer to him/her. This technology amplifies the speech and makes it louder than the other background noises as much as 20 dB higher.

4. Take part in regular auditory training sessions. Recent researches have proved auditory training programs for adults with hearing impairment to be quite effective in improving their speech understanding capability in noise, while using advanced digital hearing aids.

5. Be at a comfortable position while conversing and face the speaker properly. Choose a place which is not dark, but well-lit. Make sure that the speaker’s face is visible clearly enough. This will enable you to read the person’s lips while trying to listen and understand his/her speech.


To conclude, the above tips will be quite effective in enabling you to listen much clearly even in noisy areas, especially if you are a new hearing aid user, and will also enhance your speech understanding capability. If you are still facing problems in understanding speech even while using good quality digital hearing aids, you must immediately consult an expert and certified Audiologist without delay.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee
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