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Are You Fed Up of Your Hearing Aid Whistling Sounds?

Thursday, March 29, 2018 5:29:07 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing aids are very delicate devices that need proper care and maintenance, otherwise it might backfire on you. If you have been experiencing feedback sounds, such as whistling, quite often from your hearing aid devices, do not tolerate these noises. It’s high time that you need to change them. It is quite annoying and in fact, harmful for the hearing aid user. In such a case, instead of treating your hearing loss, hearing aid devices with annoying whistling sounds might even damage your overall hearing health. Are you paying for making your hearing health grow more adverse?

Health Issues Caused due to Untreated or Improperly Treated Hearing Loss

Now you may ask the most obvious question, “How is my hearing health going to be affected due to feedback sounds arising out of hearing aid devices?” Untreated or badly treated hearing loss can have a negative effect on the brain. This is to say, that if the sound processing (auditory) centre of the brain is not properly stimulated with all kinds of sounds, then a time may come, when the brain will forget the sounds it did not hear properly for a long time. As a result, it would not recognise those sounds, and the person might eventually suffer from Auditory Deprivation. Studies show that a person suffering from Auditory Deprivation for a long time would gradually develop the risks of Dementia - a condition in which the affected person suffers from mental disorders like anxiety and forgetfulness. All these issues will lead to social isolation and loneliness. So it is extremely important for you to not only treat your hearing problems on time, but you should also wear your hearing aid devices properly.

 

Causes of Feedback Sounds

There can be many causes of feedback sounds arising out of your hearing aids, the most obvious being -

  • Improperly fitted ear mold or shell.

  • Excessive accumulation of earwax in your ear canal, for which the hearing aid devices are not in their proper place.

  • Another astonishing reason of feedback sounds is when the ear mold of the listening device is pointed in the wrong direction, that is, instead of being pointed towards the eardrum, the mold is pointed towards the walls of the ear canal. This causes the sound waves to strike hard against these ear canal walls, thus creating feedback sounds.

  • Some internal damages in the parts of the hearing aid devices might also result in acoustic leakages and the production of feedback sounds. This may include hole in the ear mold due to rough cleaning.

 

How to Fix It?

Too much accumulation of earwax might block the ear canal, and this has become the major cause of feedback generation from your hearing aids. While sound waves leave the ear mold, they get reflected back from the solid walls of the earwax and if the mold is fitted improperly the sound leaks out and thus they create disturbing whistling sounds. It is very similar to a hose pipe spraying the water all over the garden, in all directions. Hence, it is very important for you to consult an ENT Specialist to get your ears cleaned of any excessive earwax and dirt.

Another common reason of feedback sounds is loosely fitted hearing aid devices. In case of children who are at their growing stage, due to the growth of their ear canals, their hearing aids become loose. So it is very important to change the ear mold of your hearing aid devices from time to time so as to make them properly fitted in your ears, and not experience any annoying sounds. Also, these annoying feedback sounds affect the user’s listening experience tremendously, as a result of which the person might altogether lose the interest to wear hearing aids. Not wearing hearing aids might in turn have adverse effects on the hearing impaired person.

A complete solution to all the above problems is to opt for digital hearing aid devices, which not only take care of these issues but also have a feedback cancellation technology. These are custom made and easily adjustable user-friendly devices, wearing which you will feel comfortable.

In a nutshell, always wear custom-made hearing aid devices, that fits properly in your ear. Never compromise on listening devices, as a wrong decision might make situations adverse. However, always keep in mind to consult a trained Audiologist before arriving at a final conclusion.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aid Devices By Phalguni Bannerjee

How to Improve Sound Quality of Your Hearing Aids?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 2:10:18 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing aids are delicate instruments that need proper care regularly so as to increase the machine’s longevity. Your Audiologist will give you proper guidance for keeping your hearing aid in good condition for as long as possible. This will not only improve the performance of the device, but will also provide a better sound quality. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to take care of your precious device, and your hearing health as well.

Researchers are continuously working on making hearing aid devices better, so as to improve the listening experience of the hearing impaired persons. So accordingly it is their duty to take extreme care of their devices, so as to keep them functional for as long as possible. Here are some tips that Audiologists give to the users of hearing aid devices worldwide, so as to keep their quality and performance intact.

  • Clean your device regularly - You must clean your device daily with a soft, dry cloth to remove dirt and impurities so as to avoid any blockages or disturbances in the hearing aid devices. Remove the earmolds to clean them up in mild soap solution. Dry them properly using forced air blower or hearing aid dryers (not with hair dryers, microwave or oven), and make sure that they are completely dry before replacing them in the hearing aid devices. Consult your product literature for getting a proper guidance on cleaning your device.

  • Replace batteries regularly - Consult your Audiologist and/or your product literature for instructions on how frequently you are required to change and/or recharge the batteries of your hearing aid devices. Generally batteries last for about 1-2 weeks; however, it may vary from product to product. You should always keep spare batteries handy, so as to avoid any issues during emergency situations. Also, test your batteries with a battery tester regularly, to check whether they are in full strength. Always store your batteries in a cool and dry place. Another tip to increase the longevity of the batteries of hearing aid devices is to remove the batteries from your device whenever you are not using it, for example, while you are sleeping or taking a shower. Also, keep in mind to dispose off weak and old batteries properly, as they contain toxic substances.

  • Perform listening checks daily - Your Audiologist will show you how to perform a listening check of your device, generally by using a listening tube. You should do this regularly to test whether your hearing aid devices are producing good quality and distortion-free sound. If you find the sound to be cracked or raspy even after changing the batteries, immediately consult your Audiologist.

  • Check whether the volume keys and program keys are properly controlled - If you hear weak and feeble sounds even with fresh batteries, then check whether your volume keys are turned up. Even after turning them well up if you hear weak and feeble sounds, then consult your Audiologist for reprogramming your hearing aid devices and properly regulating the program keys.

  • Avoid feedback sounds - Wear your hearing aid devices properly so as to avoid any feedback from within the device, like annoying whistling sounds. Feedback occurs when sound comes out of the earmold and re-enters the microphone. It arises mainly when they are fitted improperly. These noises affect the sound quality, and the overall performance of the machine. Hearing feedback might suggest that the earmold is too small, and it needs to be changed. So clean your device and your ear canal regularly, or get your earmolds changed, by consulting with your Audiologist. You can also try turning down the volume, as it not only reduces feedback, but also allows you to hear only the important sounds. However, modern digital hearing aid devices come in a feedback cancellation feature.

  • Prevent moisture from entering the hearing aid devices - Avoid your device from getting wet or catching moisture. So it is very important to dry clean your hearing aid from time to time, and to take it off before going to the shower. Always remove hearing aid devices in a safe and dry place, such as your bedroom where you can sit down and remove them properly, and not in your bathroom. Also, remove them by laying a soft cloth, to cushion the blow and to avoid bouncing of their parts over a hard surface. Always store your hearing aid devices properly in the product box, and in a cool and dry place. If by any chance your device falls in water, then immediately remove its batteries and keep the battery doors open, and dry them completely with hearing aid dryers. Rest them for about an hour or two, or if possible, overnight. If they do not work in the morning, even with fresh batteries, then consult your Audiologist immediately. Preventing moisture from entering into your hearing aid devices will not only improve their sound quality, but will increase their longevity as well.

In the end, you should always consult your Audiologist regularly to give you the right type of hearing aid devices according to your specific needs and to make minor adjustments in them. Never take any decision yourself, as all hearing aids would not suit you. It is your duty and responsibility to take proper care of your ear, which is an extremely important organ of your body, and your ear health determines your overall quality of life.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aid Devices By Phalguni Bannerjee

Tympanometry Test For People With Hearing Loss Problem

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 9:28:11 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you know about Tympanometry? Tympanometry is a test done to diagnose the functionality of the middle ear. This is done when a problem in the middle ear is suspected. It has been generally observed that hearing loss goes undetected for a long time. Avoiding embarrassment from peers because of the hearing loss may be a possible reason why many avoid treating hearing loss. However if hearing loss goes untreated for long, the problem only gets worse. It means missing out on important information. It ultimately leads to social isolation and depression thereafter. So a visit to the audiologist is crucial even with the slightest symptom of hearing loss. Hearing Plus is India’s largest chain of hearing aid centers providing professional audiological services to restore hearing problems both for children and adults. In this blog we would explain the facts about Tympanometry.

What is Tympanometry?

Tympanometry is a test to analyze the functioning of the ear drum and the middle ear. The test is conducted by creating air pressure vibrations in the ear canal. It is done to evaluate the transmission levels in the middle ear. Tympanometry helps the audiologist to understand whether the hearing loss is of the sensorineural nature or of the conductive nature. The readings made during the test are recorded on a graph called the Tympanogram. Normally when the air pressures are applied in the ear canal, the ear drums should be able to move easily. But sometimes there may be ear infections inside the middle ear. The Eustachian tube, connects the back of the nose, the throat with the middle ear. This may not work well and the eardrums do not move as well as they should. This gets detected in the Tympanometry test.

The Tympanometry Procedure:

Prior to the actual test the doctor looks inside the ear canal. This is done with a special instrument for looking into the ear, called otoscope. The audiologist does this to ensure that no foreign object is obstructing the eardrum. Following this a probe type device is placed in the ear. Then different ear pressures are generated in the ear. The movement of the eardrums as a result of the application of different air pressures occurs. The measurement of the eardrums along with other readings is noted. During the process the patient may feel a bit uneasy. He or she is likely to hear loud tones as the device starts recording the measurements. The process of Tympanometry can be carried out on young children even. When the procedure is being carried out, the patient is not allowed to speak or swallow. This is to done to avoid any incorrect readings being recorded. Extra care is to be given for children on whom the test is being done. Normal results from the test may be the absence of any fluid in the middle ear, normal movements of the eardrum and conducting bones. If the results are abnormal, it may be because of the presence of fluid in the middle ear. Other abnormalities may be perforation of the eardrum, lack of contact between conduction bones of the middle ear etc.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Plus Tympanometry Test By Phalguni Bannerjee

3 Types Of Hearing Loss

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:45:37 PM Asia/Calcutta

The three main section of the ear are termed as the outer, middle and inner ear. The types of hearing loss is generally identified by detecting which section of the hearing pathway is affected. The identification of the affected section in the ear is very important in the determination of hearing loss and hearing loss treatment. Scroll on to know the 3 types of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss:

Sound waves originating from any source are initially received by the outer ear. Then, it reaches the middle ear. When hearing loss occurs due to the problems in outer or middle ear, it is termed as conductive hearing loss. Such problems mean that the hearing is not conducted properly through the outer or middle ear. Hence, this type of hearing loss is termed as conductive hearing loss. Generally, this type of hearing loss may be cured with proper medication. If not cured with the help of medication or surgery, patients with such problems can be benefited from using a hearing aid, because sound amplification is what that they need the most.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

After sound is conducted through the outer or middle ear, it reaches inner ear

(innermost part of the ear). When there is a damage in any part of the inner ear or auditory nerve that connects the inner ear

to the brain, hearing is hugely affected. Such problems can be termed as sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss due to disorder in cochlea area of inner ear is of sensory type and if concerning nerve disorders, then it is known as neural. Together it is known as sensorineural hearing loss. It is the most common type of hearing loss.

Though it is a permanent problem, hearing restoration is absolutely possible with the help of hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing loss:

A combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss (problems in both outer/middle and inner ear) is termed as mixed hearing loss. Sometimes, if conductive hearing loss is neglected and left untreated for a longer period, this type of hearing loss occurs. Hearing aids or other hearing devices can help in hearing restoration for most of the patients suffering from this type of hearing loss.

Other types:

Pre-lingual or before learning language/speaking

Post-lingual or after learning language/speaking

Congenital hearing loss or present at birth

Acquired or hearing loss after birth due to one/more reasons

Hearing loss in one ear is termed as unilateral hearing loss

Hearing loss in both ears is termed as bilateral hearing loss

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Treatment Of Hearing Loss In Children: Things You Need To Know

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:36:04 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss or hearing impairment is a condition when an individual loses his or her ability to hear sounds partially or totally in one or both the ears. The problem is generally considered to be a major one among adults and elderly. But, it is equally common among infants as well.

The loss of the ability to hear at the time of birth or after birth is becoming a common phenomenon to be seen and observed all around the globe. It is estimated that around a quarter or half of the profound or severe issues in hearing occurs due to genetic or hereditary causes. Before opting for the treatment of acoustic loss among children, get informed about the various types of loss of acoustic ability that occurs in the young ones and the reasons that are responsible for the same.

Types of Hearing Loss in Children:

A) Based on the age of onset of losing acoustic power, the loss of hearing can be -

  • Congenital Hearing Loss – which is present since birth
  • Acquired Hearing Loss – Acoustic issue occurs at any point of time during the developing years but is not present since birth.

B) Based on where the acoustic issues are located it can be of:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss – The loss of audiometric ability that occurs due to problems in outer and middle ear is called conductive acoustic issues.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss –Loss of audiometric ability that occurs due to a problem in inner ear is known as Sensorineural Loss. This kind of issue is permanent in nature.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss – Acoustic loss that occurs due to a problem in both outer or middle ear as well as inner ear.

Being a critical component to speech and language development, communication, literacy, and learning, hearing becomes mandatory for children. In absence of the ability of this sensory organ, it becomes extremely difficult for the children to cope up with the society and to deal with the regular educational curriculum followed by others.

Causes of Hearing Loss in Children

Loss of audiometric ability among children can be caused due to genetic, non-genetic factors and acquired factors.

Genetic Factor:

Genetic factors also known as the hereditary factors is considered to be the root cause of more than 50% of all acoustic issue caused among individuals. This hereditary problem at times shows its symptoms at birth itself and is also known for affecting the individuals in the later part of their life.

Most of the genetic loss can be described as autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant, some of the ways through which the trait or disorder passes down through families. Other, rare types of this audiometric loss include the X-linked (related to the sex chromosomes) or the mitochondrial inheritance patterns, which affects the individual’s life.

Nongenetic Factors:

The nongenetic factors account for about 25% of the loss of auditory. Some of the nongenetic factors that cause loss of acoustic ability among individuals include:

  • Premature birth
  • Maternal infections such as rubella, herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus
  • Injuries during birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Lack of oxygen or anoxia
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Toxemia during pregnancy
  • Toxins, including drugs and alcohol consumed by the mother during pregnancy
  • Inner ear malformations
  • Complications associated with the Rh factor in the blood/jaundice
  • Outer/ middle ear malformations (Atresia, stenosis)

Acquired Factors:

Acquired loss of audiometric power as the name suggest is acquired by the children at any point during their lifetime after their birth. The condition might be temporary or permanent. The conditions that causes acquired acoustic issues in children include:

  • Measles
  • Ear Infections
  • Noise Exposure
  • Chicken pox
  • Mumps
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Meningitis
  • Head Injury
  • Accident
  • Exposure to sudden outburst of noise
  • Encephalitis

Treatment of Hearing Loss in Children

Losing any sensory organ as a child does mean losing childhood permanently. It is thus recommended to take the child immediately to the specialist in a professional clinic in order to help them get treated as soon as possible. The treatment procedure might vary among children depending on several factors which include their type of audiometric loss, their age and the level of impairment.

The first step towards the treatment of hearing loss is the evaluation and diagnosis of the children, gauging their level of hearing impairment. The Hearing Loss in children can be treated through different ways, depending on their type of acoustic loss, level of impairment and age. The several ways of treatment includes:

Treatment of Hearing Loss through Hearing Aids

Joint Commission on Infant Hearing (JCIH, 2007) recommends children with suspected hearing loss should have their hearing loss confirmed by 3 months of age and that amplification in terms of hearing aids or cochlear implant should be fitted by 6 month of age. It thus helps overcoming the impact of hearing loss.

Best Suitable Hearing Aid For Children:

The Behind-The-Ear or BTE is the type of aid that is mostly recommended for the infants and the young children. The reason being as follows:

  •  BTE’s can fit in with various types of ear molds.
  •  Since ear molds are easily detachable from BTE’s they can be made again and again as the child grows.
  •  Also as the ear molds are easily detachable they can be cleaned easily.
  •  Parents can easily cross check the functionality of the hearing aid and can make necessary arrangements.
  •  BTE’s can accommodate wide variety of Hearing Loss.
  •  It can be easily connected with other listening devices like DAI and telecoil.
  •  Ear molds in BTE can be made of soft materials hence it is becomes very comfortable for children.

Hearing Aid Features:

The technological features which are essential and which makes the device extremely friendly for the children are:

  • Digital Noise Reduction
  • Directional Microphones
  • Frequency Lowering Strategies
  • Signal-Processing Features

Treatments of Hearing Loss through Cochlear Implants

A Cochlear implant is a medical electronic device that is used for replacing the function of the damaged inner ear. It bypasses the damaged hair cells of the inner ear and helps to provide sound signals to the brain.

When Is Cochlear Implants Suggested For Children?

The decision of using cochlear implant as the treatment of acoustic loss among children depends on the evaluation of their medical, audiological and psychological or habilitative condition. This treatment is used for children who suffer from:

  • Auditory Neuropathy/dyssynchrony
  • Bilateral Severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss
  • History of limited or no benefit from binaural hearing aids which are coupled with intensive auditory training
  • Absence of medical contraindications and other medical issues

Treatment of Hearing Loss through Hearing Assistive Technology: Personal FM Systems

Hearing Assistive Technology or HAT system is known for equipping the individual with the right kind of ability to overcome the negative consequences of the background noise and reverberation effect that interferes with the optimal audibility. Thus, improving the ability of the children to communicate and gain access to communication in adverse listening environments.

When Hearing Assistive Technology Is Suggested For Children?

When it comes to the use of HAT systems in children, the degree of audiometric loss is the major thing that is looked upon. Another factor that affects the selection of the children for the use of this system includes:

  • The degree of loss among the children
  • Situations such as hyperactivity, behavior, cognition and auditory issues
  • Technology issues
  • Ability to use the device and the financial resources

Treatments of Hearing Loss through Other Devices (Osseointegrated Devices, Auditory Brainstem Implants)

Osseointegrated Devices are considered for the children with the permanent bilateral, mixed and single-sided hearing loss. FDA has not approved the surgical implantations of bone-anchored aids in children within 5 years of age; however, they are permitted to wear the external processor until they are old enough for implantation.

Auditory Brainstem Implants is used and is recommended for the people who do not have a cochlea or auditory nerve. This implant helps in providing electrical stimulations of the cochlear nucleus in the brainstem.

Treatment of Hearing Loss through Pediatric Audiologic Re/Habilitation (AR)

The Pediatric Audiologic Re/habilitation (AR) therapy is provided for the children to help them improve their speech, language and communication skills and to develop a strong hold on their auditory behaviors. It enables the audiologists to use the varied form of communication methods which include the listening and spoken language, cued speech and language and sign language to help them with the right kind of modality of communication that they require.

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