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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!

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
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