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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.

 

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.

  • Maintain a proper and balanced diet. Talk to your pediatrician 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.

How to Save More and Hear Better with Hearing Aids?

Thursday, August 8, 2019 12:18:27 PM Asia/Calcutta

With very few insurance plans covering hearing aids, customers often complain that they have no other option left than to let go of a lump sum amount from their pockets at once! Therefore, it is not surprising why people come up with the most commonly asked question, ‘Why hearing aids cost so much?’ So read on to find out whether a hearing aid machine is really worth the price you are paying for.

Considering the price of hearing aids, especially if you are going for the advanced and updated digital hearing aids of this day, the price you are having to pay is a huge barrier to many. But if you buy hearing aids by carefully considering certain things, then we assure you that you would get the most out of your hearing aid machine and at the same time you will be able to save your pocket! Finding the right hearing aid price list and what aspects you must look for in your device is what we are here to help you with.

 

What is the Price of Hearing Aids?

In India, the price of hearing aids can be quite difficult to quote, because they come in a large variety of styles and features. To put it roughly, the price of a basic hearing aid machine can be around 10,000 - 35,000, while premium or advanced digital hearing aids can go up to 1 - 2.5 lakhs.

To learn more about how to find the right hearing aid price list and the things to consider before you buy hearing aids, click here.

 

Why Such a Huge Price Range?

The price of hearing aids depends upon the features that they come in. The higher the number of features, the higher would the price go. But, most hearing aids are really worth the price. Primarily because, you can hear really well with them, especially if you were missing out the joy of hearing, and secondly because your lifestyle becomes so much easier and better. Some advanced digital hearing aids can let you be a part of the hearing world via the wireless media and the internet, thus helping you live a better quality of life.

If you ask why do the hearing aids come in such a huge price range, we would say that they are worth it and you won’t regret buying them. Starting from good sound quality, performance, advanced features, customized designs and fits, and of course, the happiness that comes along with it, to leading a healthy life, you would want to pay a little amount for all these wonderful things. After all, nobody wants to live a life without sounds. No words can explain how frustrating and distressing it is to live with a hearing loss.

You may often get tempted to go for attractive offers and discounts. But before you actually buy any device, do consider certain points (which we are about to discuss in the next section), and also remember to go through the terms and conditions and the policies of the hearing aid dealer carefully. Don’t get distracted by misleading offers. Also, do consider comparing several dealers and go for the one who would provide you with the best service. Most importantly, consulting with a certified and professional Audiologist is a MUST in any case! He or she will help you make the right decision - for which you won’t be regretting in the long run.

 

What to Consider Before You Buy Hearing Aids?

Although we have covered this section in our previous blogs: ‘Choosing the Right Type of Hearing Aid Device’ and ‘What to Consider When Comparing Hearing Aid Brands’, but briefing up again would be helpful -

  • The sound clarity

  • The performance of the hearing aid machine

  • Whether you are getting good warranty periods and what things are covered in them

  • Whether you are getting the right fit

  • Whether your hearing aid machine is meeting your personal needs

  • Check for the hearing aid price list and go for the best price

  • Whether the hearing aid dealer is reliable

  • Check for the longevity and the durability of the device. Look for a good battery life

  • There are digital hearing aids that come with wireless connectivity technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc at affordable prices. You can check out on those

  • Definitely go for the aesthetics, but never make that the first priority. For instance, you might want to go for the smallest and invisible hearing aid machine to hide your weakness. But that shouldn’t hamper with the quality of your hearing experience. Better hearing should always be your first priority and you must focus on it above anything else. Other things will be sorted out by themselves.

You might also want to consider checking out our blog on ‘5 Tips to Get the Best Out of Your Digital Hearing Aids’.

Always remember, better hearing is a key to living a better quality of life.

Meniere's Disease and Hearing Loss

Saturday, August 3, 2019 1:14:02 PM Asia/Calcutta

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that typically starts in one ear in most cases, but later might affect both. The most common symptom of this condition is vertigo (dizziness) or having a sensation that everything around the person with vertigo is spinning.

Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

The common symptoms of Meniere’s disease include -

  • Episodes of dizziness or vertigo

  • Nausea, vomiting and sweating

  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears

  • Having a feeling of fullness

  • Hearing loss

  • Balance problems

  • Headaches

 

What are the Causes?

The exact causes of Meniere’s disease are still unknown. It occurs when there is an abnormal amount of fluid buildup in the inner ear. But why that happens still needs to be found out.

However, the possible reasons that might affect the fluid, thus contributing to Meniere’s disease include -

  • Improper fluid drainage

  • Viral infection

  • Immune problems

  • Genetic conditions

How is Hearing Loss Linked with Meniere’s?

Since Meniere’s disease affects the inner ear which comprises the main auditory organ that is responsible for hearing - the cochlea, the hearing ability of the individual gets affected as well. Unfortunately, Meniere’s disease cannot be cured, a number of treatments like medications and rehabilitation can help reduce the severity of the condition and control the episodes of vertigo. However, the hearing problems associated with the disease can’t be cured. Hearing loss in such cases can be treated with the help of a hearing aid machine which would only help you to listen better.

It is always advised to consult a professional Audiologist before taking any decision. A good hearing loss treatment is extremely important to live a better quality of life. Digital hearing aids are always better than analog ones, as they provide better sound quality and hearing experience. A good quality hearing aid machine will support you for years!

Understanding Your Hearing Aid Machine

Thursday, July 11, 2019 5:22:50 PM Asia/Calcutta

You are having difficulties in hearing and therefore, you thought that now you should buy hearing aids and made it a habit of wearing them regularly. Bravo, you have been doing great till now! But do you often think that you can get back your natural hearing? Yes, hearing aids have the ability to enable you to hear better.

No doubt hearing aids are the most widely used and are quite effective as a hearing loss treatment solution. But hearing aids do no more than simply amplifying the sounds as they receive. If you think that by wearing a hearing aid machine your hearing will be restored, then you would be wrong. An ear hearing device uses your residual hearing, that is your remaining hearing ability to amplify the sounds and to enable you to hear.

 

Why is it So?

Let’s get into the basics of the human ear structure. Well, you know that the human ear is divided into three parts, namely the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. 

If we take a closer look into the inner ear, we find the spiral-shaped cochlea situated in the rigid bony labyrinth situated in the outer wall of the inner ear. Inside the cochlea, we have thousands of tiny hair-like structures called hair cells - 3,500 inner hair cells and 12,000 outer hair cells. These tiny hair cells are very sensitive and once damaged, they could never be recovered.

 

How Do We Hear?

Let’s quickly summarise the whole complex procedure of hearing and the functioning of the human ear into some basic steps. The sound waves are received by the outer ear which after travelling down the long passage of the ear canal strike against the eardrum or the tympanic membrane and cause it to vibrate. These vibrations are then transferred to the ear ossicles or the small ear bones which further passes them over to the inner ear. The hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear convert these sound stimuli into electrical impulses which are then sent to the brain via the auditory nerve. The brain understands and recognises these signals as sounds, and only then can we actually ‘hear’. Although this whole process occurs within a fraction of seconds, yet it is quite a complex one and involves many other by-processes and chemical reactions.

 

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

A hearing aid machine typically has three parts - a microphone which picks up the sounds, an amplifier which makes the sound louder and a receiver which sends the amplified sounds to the ear canal of the user. Yes, the modern digital hearing aids are advanced and takes the listening experience to a whole new level by transmitting the sound signals to a computer chip which adjusts the pitch and volume by working with discrete sections of the sound frequency according to the hearing requirements of the hearing aid machine user. But no matter how smart and intelligent your digital hearing aids are, your natural hearing ability won’t be recovered. It is because the hair cells once damaged won’t be regenerated again!

 

Analog or Digital?

Of course, digital hearing aids! While the old hearing aid machine users who are comfortable in using the analog devices of the previous few decades and would say that these devices are really well, we would suggest one and all to try out digital hearing aids. They are designed to enhance your hearing ability. And what’s more? The updated digital devices are packed with so many features that would cater to your individual needs and lifestyle preferences, thus making your life much easier. Also, they are much more user-friendly with easy programmable options and buttons. And not to forget the sleek designs and extremely small sizes which are absolutely lovable.

The maximum that can be done is that your Audiologist can fine-tune your hearing aid machine or filter out the wind or other background noises, and make some certain program upgradation. The digital hearing aids can thus match with your specific hearing loss pattern and customise your listening experience. You can also directly stream audio, take calls and even adjust your program settings using smartphone apps.

Here is a post on the different features one would get in the modern-day digital hearing aids: ‘Latest Technologies Used in Modern Day Digital Hearing Aids’. You can also go through another blog of ours on ‘7 Must-have Features in Your Digital Hearing Aids

 

Factors that Affect the Success of a Hearing Aid Machine

Whether or not your hearing aid would work for you depends upon a variety of factors. These include -

  • The type and severity of hearing loss

  • Your lifestyle choices

  • Whether you have ear infections

  • Your dexterity and ease of use

  • Whether you have been ignoring your hearing problems for a long time

  • Whether you have lost your hearing before learning a language or after it

  • Whether you are going to use it on a regular basis as and when suggested by your Audiologist

You can check out our blog on ‘Does Hearing Aid Machine Work for Everyone?’ for more information on this topic.

 

Which Would be the Right Hearing Aids Types for Me?

The main types of hearing aids include -

  • BTE or Behind-the-Ear

  • Power BTE

  • RIC or Receiver-in-the-Canal

  • ITE or In-the-Ear

  • ITC or In-the-Canal

  • CIC or Completely-in-the-Canal

  • IIC or Invisible-in-the-Canal

Each has its pros and cons. Do check out the advantages and disadvantages of each of the hearing aids types in our previously written blog: ‘Advantages and Disadvantages of Hearing Aids Types

 

Now that you are aware of what each hearing aid device has in store for you, you can shortlist them by analysing which one would match your needs. Of course, consider discussing with your Audiologist throughout this important decision-making process at a recognised hearing aid clinic near you.

 

Some Buying Tips

With so many features in today’s digital hearing aids, one would get really confused as to which device to go for. Don’t worry! We are here to help you out. Here is a guide for the hearing aid buyer: ‘10 Tips for Buying Hearing Aids

 

Care and Maintenance Tips

Things wouldn’t just end once you buy hearing aids. Your devices need to be taken care of. The more you take care of them, the more they would take care of your hearing. We have a separate blog on ‘Are You Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids?’. Do check it out, it might be helpful.

 

What If You Meet Hearing Aid Disasters?

While you might try your best to take care of your new hearing aids, accidents are sure to happen. In such cases, we don’t want you to panic. Instead, we have for you a guide to how to cope up and deal with these situations: ‘5 Common Hearing Aid Disasters: How to Deal With Them?

 

For more help, check out the blog post from Consumer Reports. It has got some wonderful information and would be a complete guide for the hearing aid buyer: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/hearing-aids/buying-guide/index.htm

 

To sum up, you are definitely going to hear and do so quite well, but you won’t get back your normal hearing ability, that is, you can’t hear with using a hearing aid machine.

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