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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!

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!

How Loud is Too Loud?

Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:05:11 PM Asia/Calcutta

You may be a great music lover and love to keep your favourite playlist running on for hours with your headphones put one. You love to dance to its rhythm and be absolutely lost in your own world. But do you know that even that lovely tune is harmful to your ears?

Each day we are exposed to harmfully loud sounds - be it traffic, loudspeakers on the streets, construction equipment, televisions, and the like - which means a constant attack to our ears and hence our precious hearing! Most of the times you get tempted by those loud songs and end up being exposed to high decibels of noises, such as going to a rock concert, burning firecrackers in celebration or during Diwali - our favourite festival of lights, blowing the horn in impatience while travelling to office, or as simple as turning the TV or radio volume or playing some music player at the comfort of your room. All these little activities might greatly increase the risks of hearing loss and it’s high time that you must be cautious.

Yes, there are advanced methods of hearing loss treatment today - be it high quality digital hearing aids packed with a host of smart and intelligent features or cochlear implants, which are designed to provide you the best listening experience, but the harsh reality is no treatment of hearing loss can ever bring back your natural hearing, once it’s gone! And in most cases, noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is permanent in nature and the damage remains forever. A good hearing aid machine can only amplify the sound for you and do nothing more!

 

How Will You Know If You Are at Risk of Hearing Loss?

Did anyone ever tell you to turn down the volume of your music in your headphones, or your television or radio? If yes, then do listen to them; they might be right! It is simply because the music which you feel is okay or you are comfortable in, might be too loud for others. Now before you turn up the volume again, learn how loud is really very loud for your ears? And what is the safe listening duration for each decibel of sound? Here’s a table describing each sound decibel along with their sources.

 

Noise Source

    dB   

  Safe Exposure Time

  Effect on Humans

Whisper

30

Infinite

None

Rain

50

Infinite

None

Dishwasher

60

Infinite

None

Food Mixer

70

Infinite

None

Washing Machine

80

Infinite

None

Traffic

85

8 hours

Risk

Lawnmower

90

2 hours

Risk

Power Tools

100

15 minutes

Injurious

Chainsaw

110

2 minutes

Injurious

Jackhammer

120

15 seconds

Injurious

Ambulance Siren

130

0 seconds

Dangerous

Firecrackers

140

0 seconds

Dangerous

Gunshot

165

0 seconds

Dangerous

 

When to Seek Help?

While some noises can be avoided easily, others are not in your hand. In such a case where you can’t help it but be exposed to these loud noises, do consider self-protecting your ears with the help of earplugs or earmuffs. Do consider carrying them wherever you go, because in certain situations you are really going to need them.

However, if you do find certain hearing problems, do get a hearing test done immediately. Learn about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in our previous blog: ‘Hearing Loss: Early Signs and Treatment’.

Depending on how loud the sound is and how long the duration of exposure is, you can be at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). While some noises can cause mild to moderate hearing loss, other extremely loud ones can cause severe to profound loss - thereby, damaging your hearing permanently.

But there is nothing to panic in such a case. There are so many advanced hearing loss treatment technologies like digital hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are both highly effective and risk-free.

Learn about some cool must-have features in the modern-day digital hearing aids, if you are planning to buy one: ‘7 Must-have Features in Your Digital Hearing Aids’.

Consult a certified Audiologist before making a decision, and get your hearing checked from a recognised hearing aid clinic from time to time. Based on your test results your Audiologist will decide the best solution for you in case you are diagnosed with a hearing loss.

Protect Your Unborn Baby Against Hearing Loss

Friday, August 16, 2019 5:09:15 PM Asia/Calcutta

Yes, your baby might have a risk of developing hearing loss even before birth! While some causes aren’t quite preventable, some others can really be prevented and are completely in your hands. Many a time the cause of hearing loss in the baby in your womb is due to a lack of carefulness and caution. You as a mother must make it a point to take care of your baby in every possible way. Always remember, a healthy you mean a healthy baby!

However, simply talking about the mother’s health would be wrong. The health of the father matters equally and therefore, both the parents must follow healthy habits to avoid any complications of the baby - including hearing. Because leading a healthy lifestyle is key to protect your child’s hearing health, which is much better than hearing loss treatment. Always keep this in mind that if a baby is born with permanent hearing impairment, no treatment of hearing loss can ever replace it with the natural hearing of an individual.

Let Not Your Unborn Baby Suffer

Factors Affecting Hearing Health in the Fetus

Certain health conditions of the mother do affect the hearing health of the child during pregnancy. For instance, suppose if a mother has some infections, then certain viruses or infections can get transferred down to the fetus. However, apart from health conditions, there are certain unhealthy habits that might damage the hearing of your baby, such as smoking, alcohol intake, not maintaining a proper and balanced diet, and other such detrimental lifestyle habits. Let’s have a look at how these habits or health conditions hamper the hearing development of the fetus.

 

Unhealthy Habits

  • Smoking and Intake of alcoholic beverages - Toxins from cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are very harmful to hearing as well as the overall health of the child. These substances reduce the cell formation of the fetus which affects the hearing organs, which remain underdeveloped for life. The child in such a case is born with fewer auditory sensory cells than its peers with normal hearing development, thus increasing the risks of hearing loss caused due to noise exposure or aging.

  • Not following a balanced and healthy diet - Malnutrition leads to the underdevelopment of the fetus - including hearing. If a woman doesn’t maintain a good and healthy diet as advised by the doctor, the hearing organs and cells won’t develop properly, thereby increasing the risks of hearing loss both during the fetus stage and after birth.

  • Exposure to loud noises - Even in the mother’s uterus, the baby is highly vulnerable to noise. The hearing mechanism of the fetus is fully developed after 20 weeks of conception and is quite unprotected. If a woman is exposed to high decibels of noise for most of the day or for a significant amount of time, it is highly possible that her baby will be born with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Studies show that exposure to loud noises during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery.

 

Health Conditions

  • Rubella (German Measles) - It is an infection that affects the skin and lymph nodes and is caused by a virus. If a pregnant woman is affected by the infection, then it can have serious effects on the child, thus affecting the hearing health of the baby.

  • Measles - This can spread easily, causing rash, fever, cough and hearing loss.

  • Herpes - Studies show that four out of five children born of mothers infected with the herpes virus during early pregnancy might develop hearing loss.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) - This is a common virus that can pass over to the fetus from an infected pregnant woman. This is known as congenital CMV which is a leading cause of non-genetic hearing loss, thus affecting speech and language developmental skills.

  • Toxoplasmosis - This infection, often caused by undercooked meat or touching cat poop, causes problems like headaches, body aches, fever, fatigue and hearing loss.

Sadly, some congenital hearing loss (which is present at birth) cannot be prevented. However, following a proper and well-planned hearing loss treatment schedule can help you manage your child’s hearing loss better - especially in the generation of a technological boom. Today’s advanced hearing loss treatment methods like the updated digital hearing aid machine and cochlear implants can help your child develop speech and language skills on time at par with the developmental milestones.

To learn more about factors causing hearing loss during pregnancy, visit this link: https://www.hear-it.org/Protect-your-unborn-baby-against-hearing-loss

 

How to Prevent Your Baby from Developing Hearing Loss?

Now that you are aware of the possible factors affecting the hearing health of your baby in your womb, let’s talk about some preventive measures that can help you protect your child’s hearing health.

  • Quit smoking immediately. Not only you as a pregnant woman should quit smoking (if you have the habit), but you must also ask your family members in your home or other people you are living with to do so - because second-hand smoking is much more dangerous. Motivate them to quit smoking and make them realise that it is harmful to your baby. Every individual must keep this in mind and be responsible.

  • No alcohol intake. Similar is the case with alcoholic drinks. Quit them during pregnancy. It is harmful to both your baby and yourself.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

  • Maintain a proper and balanced diet. Talk to your paediatrician or a mother and child healthcare specialist about the good foods and the bad ones. Also discuss your health conditions (if any), so that he or she might set a proper diet chart for you.

  • Avoid being exposed to loud noises. If you have the habit of listening to loud music for hours together, then it’s high time that you must drop it at once! Yes, of course, you will listen to music - it is good for your health as it brings mental peace and calm. But if you do so for hours without a break or without controlling the volume, even that soothing music might turn dangerous for your baby! Make it a habit to reduce the timing and volume of the music.

  • Treat any health condition or infectious diseases at once. Being an expecting mother, never delay or ignore any health issue. Get proper treatment right away. Certain diseases or infections can be carried down to the fetus and might affect its hearing.

  • Avoid taking ototoxic medications.  Certain medications are toxic for the fetus. Consult your doctor and child specialist before taking any medicine.

Prevention is better than any hearing loss treatment. A little care makes a huge difference!

Are you aware of any other causes or preventive measures to protect your baby’s hearing during pregnancy? Tell us in the comment box below.

Also, tell us if you like informative blogs like these. You are also free to recommend if you have a topic in mind and you want us to cover any subject.

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