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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?

Pretending to Hear Won’t Help Anymore!

Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:10:48 PM Asia/Calcutta

Are you sure that you really are able to hear? Don’t be confused! Make sure that you are able to hear clearly! “Well, of course I can!”, might be the immediate statement that runs in your mind! We understand that you are reluctant to go for a treatment of hearing loss because you feel that you can hear, so why not just make yourselves doubly sure?

 Pretending to Hear

How do I Know Whether I have Hearing Loss?

Try answering the following questions, to check whether you or your loved one is fully able to hear -

  • Are you often straining to understand what others are saying?

  • Are you unable to follow every group conversation that’s going on?

  • Did you fail to laugh at jokes when everyone else is, because you missed all the fun?

  • Are you unable to participate and fully give yourself in debates?

  • Are you even able to follow one-to-one conversations in a quiet room?

  • As a result of that, are you often relying on lip reading because you cannot understand what’s being said?

  • You feel that people are mumbling!

  • You often ask others to repeat themselves!

  • Are you often ignoring phone calls because you are unable to follow?

  • You cannot hear the doorbell or the telephone ring?

  • Are you frequently turning up the volume of your TV or radio more than the normal one?

  • Do you face difficulties in understanding speech while sitting at a restaurant or while at concerts or parties?

  • Do you experience ringing sounds in your ears quite often, especially if you are in a quieter place?

  • Are you missing the natural environmental sounds recently like the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, the pitter-pattering of the rain, etc.?


If you answered ‘Yes’ to most of the questions above, then you probably have a hearing loss! YES! And you shouldn’t deny that anymore! It’s high time that you must opt for a good treatment of hearing loss.


What will Happen If I Don’t Get a Treatment of Hearing Loss?

You might think that you are okay with an untreated hearing loss, but it is really not so! There are so many complications you will have to face with having to live with a hearing impairment! Social isolation, relationship problems, reduced productivity at work or in studies, misunderstanding with family members and friends - and the LIST IS ENDLESS!

If you continue to pretend that you are able to hear well - these are the consequences that awaits you -

  • Social Consequences

    • The speaker might feel disappointed and even insult you if you fail to answer him/her appropriately!

    • The speaker might feel that he/she is not given attention to!

    • The speaker might feel deceived!

    • If you don’t opt for a treatment of hearing loss, you might want to avoid attending social gatherings and box yourself up in your room, because you cannot follow what’s going on and what’s being said!

    • You might find yourself avoiding calls because you cannot follow the person on the other side!

    • You might unknowingly agree to things which you were otherwise not willing to do!

    • All of the above might lead to a relationship gap, and as a result, your friends or family members might even lose that trust and faith in you!


  • Emotional Consequences

    • If social conditions go on this way for days, and you still do not care to start a good treatment of hearing loss immediately, you might notice that you are gradually getting depressed and frustrated more often than not!

    • You might even notice gradual signs of memory loss, or forgetfulness. This can be a sign of Dementia! This calls for help and a proper treatment of hearing loss immediately!

    • You might get too anxious, or even angry about small issues!

    • You might feel a strong sense of guilt and shame, because you are continuously deceiving your loved ones - and this might destroy your peace of mind!

    • You might feel yourself isolated and boxed up, because you are continuously having to pretend listening!


  • Cognitive Consequences

    • When you are continuously pretending to hear people, a tremendous pressure is created in your brain - which is continuously trying to fill in the gaps in the conversation that you missed! This fatigues the brain and loses its energy!

    • This will result in your brain to compensate for the missed links - which, over time, will form bizarre meanings out of these haphazard links!

So the only solution for all of these problems is to get your EARS CHECKED IN TIME, by consulting a certified Audiologist, and to start a TREATMENT OF HEARING LOSS as early as possible! Delaying will only aggravate these problems!

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

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
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