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How to Prevent Hearing Loss

Friday, December 22, 2017 8:12:42 PM Asia/Calcutta

It is a good news that many of the cases of hearing loss, that is, the temporary or permanent inability to hear, is preventable. It is upto the person whether he should follow the preventive measures for keeping hearing loss at bay. Experts have agreed upon the maximum volume that a person should be exposed to so as to avoid hearing impairment to be 80-85 dB (decibels). If exposed to higher volumes, a person’s hearing ability starts to deteriorate over time, gradually resulting in deafness.

In most of the cases, hearing loss is caused by a damage in the inner ear, and sadly, this is caused by continuous and unchecked exposure to loud noise. Statistics show that generally the sufferers of hearing impairment are from the work or the educational fields. Any hearing loss problems that are caused by noise, known as the NIHL or Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, are usually irreversible. Another type of hearing loss is the TIHL or the Tobacco-Induced Hearing Loss, in which people who smoke regularly are vulnerable to hearing impairment. It is better to prevent them rather than going for a hearing loss treatment.

Prevention of hearing loss should begin by minimizing the exposure to high decibels of sound (termed as noise). A person should not be vulnerable to loudspeakers, loud music or noisy machines for an overly long period of time. Effective preventive measures include turning down the music volume and also reducing the time dedicated to listening to music per day, using earplugs or other ear protectors while in a noisy environment or working with noisy machines like drillers, chainsaws, etc., using noise-cancelling headphones that allows one to listen clearly to low sound music, standing away from loudspeakers or avoiding staying too long in such environments, following the 60:60 rule, that is, to listen to music at 60% of the maximum volume of the music device for not more than 60 minutes a day and to stop smoking or at least reduce it. It is upto you to safeguard yourselves from exposures to noise as nobody else would care to turn down their cacophony for you.

There are some other prevention strategies like immunization against rubella virus to prevent congenital rubella syndrome (which causes sensorineural deafness) and immunization against bacteria like H. influenza and S. pneumoniae to prevent meningitis (which results in the inability to tolerate light or loud noises). The World Health Organisation also recommends immunization against measles and mumps, prevention of premature birth and avoiding certain medications. Also, medical practitioners recommend avoiding ototoxic drugs like aspirin and certain antibiotics which may cause hearing impairment. One should also have healthy food habits by maintaining a balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Getting one’s blood pressure checked regularly and then consulting with a doctor can also prevent hearing disorders. Recently, research is being carried out about the use of antioxidants for the prevention of hearing loss, particularly for those who could not avoid exposure to high decibels, for example, the soldiers working in the military areas and the factory workers.

There are several organisations or institutions that arrange programmes to educate specific groups like children, workers and youngsters about the causes of hearing loss and their preventive measures. These educating bodies make people aware of the habits that are harmful for one’s ear, and some even offer screening tests regularly to check the health of their ears. Some common habits that one should immediately stop from doing are listening to high volumes for an alarmingly high time without a break, regularly attending noisy clubs, disco bars and rock concerts, lighting very loud and explosive firecrackers, too much shouting, exposure in high volumes to radio and television for very long hours and not giving time to recover from an high-decibel exposure. These habits if repeated, will gradually weaken the hearing abilities and also show certain signs like Tinnitus or ringing in the ears, dull hearing, pain in the ears, and the like.

Hearing loss treatment should be the last option for any person, as prevention is always better than cure. However, if one faces the above mentioned symptoms of hearing loss, then one should not delay in getting their ears checked and follow the treatments as suggested by audiologists. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology hearing loss treatment have become quite hassle-free and can completely or partially cure hearing impairment.

Comments | Posted in Hearing loss treatment India By Phalguni Bannerjee

Which is the Right Hearing Loss Treatment for Me?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 1:23:20 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss has become a common problem in our century, and about 10% of the world’s population today is suffering from hearing impairment. Just in case you are not fully aware of the problem - hearing loss or hearing impairment is the inability to hear either temporarily or permanently, in one or both the ears. You will be surprised to know that about 50% of the hearing problems are caused due to the over exposures to high decibel sounds, and the rest 50% of the causes include ageing, infections, malformations in various parts of the ear, hereditary reasons and other factors.

If you face any hearing problems, then you must not delay in getting a good hearing loss treatment from a certified Audiologist at a recognised hearing clinic. Some people still believe in the popular myth of hearing loss that it occurs only to older people with age. Unfortunately, it is not so as it does not spare the children, and even the newborn babies. So do not sit back relaxed assuming that you won’t be affected by hearing problems until you reach a later age. Consult a trained Audiologist today, as delaying a hearing loss treatment may have make it grow more severe.

It is, however, a good news that a majority of the hearing problems can be treated, if not fully cured. So there is no reason for you to believe that hearing impairment is a life changing catastrophic event. After opting for a proper and correct hearing loss treatment in time, you can get back your hearing ability as closer to its natural effect as possible. Although the modern hearing aids amplify the sounds as naturally as possible, no such treatment exists in which you can get back your natural and God-gifted hearing abilities.

You should never decide anything by yourself regarding matters of hearing loss treatment, as it will only be decided by an experienced Audiologist after he/she has done a detailed analysis of your hearing health. Depending on the severity and type of your hearing loss, your Audiologist will prescribe the appropriate hearing loss treatment for you from which you will be benefitted. You must also be aware of the various diagnostics and treatments available, and they include -

  • Diagnostic tests to diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss, and they include Pure Tone Audiometry, Tympanometry, Eustachian Tube Function Test, Speech Audiometry, BERA, ASSR, OAE and other specialised tests.

  • Rehabilitative treatments include hearing aid trial and fitting, hearing aid reprogramming, auditory training, Tinnitus matching and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Auditory Verbal Therapy.

  • Surgeries of damaged parts of the ear, and special surgeries like Cochlear Implant that bypass the damaged regions of the Cochlear area in the inner ear.

A hearing loss treatment vary depending on the severity of the hearing problems. Hearing loss is either temporary or permanent. The causes of temporary hearing loss might be some internal ear injury or an infection. It can be treated with cleaning the ear canal, certain medications or injections. Permanent hearing problems are irreversible, and if not given timely attention, may lead to serious consequences. These are caused from various reasons, and can be best treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants, if hearing devices did not provide much benefits.

Regaining hearing back depends upon the choice of the hearing loss treatment. If the right and appropriate treatment procedures are followed, then you can get back most of your normal hearing. If you delay in the hearing loss treatment, then a time may come when your brain will stop receiving the important sound signals, known as Auditory Deprivation. So you need to keep the auditory centre of your brain stimulated. Auditory Deprivation may also lead to Dementia, which includes the symptoms like depression, anxiety, loneliness, confusion, and forgetfulness.

Therefore, it is not at all a good idea to delay getting a good hearing loss treatment even if it is mild and in its initial stage. Also, if your child is suffering from hearing loss, then you must immediately take his or her to a trained Audiologist, as it is the appropriate age to learn communication skills. If a child is deprived of hearing abilities, then he or she might face problems in learning speech and language skills, and as a result of which, other developmental skills might get affected as well. Therefore, get a proper hearing loss treatment without delay, as it is foolish to sit back and endure your problems in silence.

Comments | Posted in Hearing loss treatment India By Phalguni Bannerjee

Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

Monday, March 5, 2018 7:08:22 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss is gradually becoming a common problem day by day, and although it is seen mainly among old aged people, it, however, does not spare young people and even children. Studies show that about 7% of children are born with hearing loss every year. You just need to start an early intervention into the matter, so as to prevent further deterioration of your natural hearing health gifted by God.

Always remember that there are many other people out there who have a hard time listening to day to day conversation and other important sounds. They have to strain so as to listen to something properly. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, hearing loss ranks third in the list of the most common chronic health condition that the adults are facing worldwide. This problem could only be managed by going through a routine and methodical scientific hearing loss treatment procedure. This approach has proven very effective in treating a majority of the hearing loss problems. There are so many people with hearing problems who are living quite a happy and healthy life after going through a good hearing loss treatment. However, you should always keep one important thing in mind, that you should always visit your Audiologist from time to time for a regular check-up of your hearing health. This is an extremely vital step as your hearing health keep changing from time to time.

Before arriving at any conclusion, or panicing for facing difficulties in hearing, you should have a good knowledge about the various types of hearing loss treatment available at various clinics, and their advantages and disadvantages as well. Let us have a look at a brief of the same:

  • Hearing Aids - These electronic devices are very effective for hearing loss treatment. They amplify the natural sound that they receive, hence making the sound louder for the person to hear. Some hearing aids even have the capability to regain back a hearing impaired person’s normal and healthy life. There are many hearing aid users who are absolutely enjoying their life, and facing no hearing problems at all. The person just have to get a hearing check-up done from time to time, without delay. Also, hearing aids are available in a variety of types, designs and sizes based on your lifestyle choices and your hearing needs.

  • Assistive Listening Devices - Although hearing aids can solve a majority of the hearing problems, still there are a lot of people who prefer very specific and personalised hearing devices in every field of life. A single technology used in a hearing aid might not always cover each and every field. Therefore, to enhance the hearing experience of a hearing aid user, assistive listening devices are required as they are very effective for any hearing loss treatment. They include devices like, amplified telephones, assistive listening devices for televisions, compatibility of hearing aids with smartphones, FM radio, and even alerting devices - which alert you about your surroundings, thus protecting you wherever you go.

  • Cochlear Implants - These are electronic devices that are implanted in the cochlea of a hearing impaired person and thereby replacing the damaged inner ear, that is the cochlear portion. It is done by highly trained and certified Cochlear Implant team which comprises an Audiologist, Surgeon, Speech Language Pathologist, ENT Specialist, Psychologist, and others. It is implanted in the ear of the patient with the help of a surgery done by an expert Surgeon. Although Cochlear Implants are the last option for hearing loss treatment and is done when all else fails to give satisfactory results, they are very effective and efficient in treating severe to profound hearing loss.

However, it should always be kept in mind, that none of the above hearing loss treatment would restore your natural God-gifted hearing - they can only improve your hearing abilities and help you hear better, which you were, otherwise, facing difficulties in.

It can be said in conclusion, that today’s advanced hearing loss treatment methods would help you resume your happy and peaceful life that you have been missing all this while. With so many modern technologies to explore with, you will never regret in getting a good hearing loss treatment, as they will prove very effective as well as efficient. Delaying a treatment might result in irreversible effects, such as Auditory Deprivation and even Dementia. Also, if the patient is a child in his or her early ages of development, his or her speech and language skills might even get affected due to this. So a good hearing loss treatment becomes extremely essential for starting your life’s journey anew.

Comments | Posted in Hearing loss treatment India By Phalguni Bannerjee

5 Diets to Boost Your Hearing Health

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 1:24:08 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you know that following a balanced and healthy diet chart might boost your hearing health? For example, minerals can play a vital role in promoting not only good hearing, but also improves your overall health and your immune system. So why go for a hearing loss treatment when you can actually prevent and preserve your hearing naturally!

Let us take a look at the list of important diets which are responsible for preventing hearing loss, and hence keeping the complicated issues and a hearing loss treatment at bay -

1. Potassium

Since potassium is responsible for regulating the amount of fluids in your body, it therefore, regulates the fluid in your inner ear. This is very important because as we start ageing, the potassium levels tend to drop naturally, which might lead to hearing loss or presbycusis (hearing loss due to ageing). Because inner ear is the most essential part of our ear as it transmits the sound signals - after converting them into electrical impulses - into the auditory nerve, which then transfers these signals to our brain. It is the brain which actually recognises the sounds and only then do we ‘hear’! Hence potassium is a vital component to be included in your diet, and never think of a hearing loss treatment!

Some potassium-rich diets include -

  • Potatoes

  • Spinach

  • Tomatoes

  • Lima beans

  • Apricots

  • Raisins

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Melons

  • Low-fat Milk

  • Yoghurt

You can probably include these diets in your salads while you are on an outing, such as picnics!

2. Folic Acid

Do you know that folic acid is an essential element which aggravates your body’s ability to generate the growth of new cells? Not only that, folic acid also helps to maintain and regulate your body’s circulation system. And how does it help in preventing hearing loss? As folic acid is responsible for a good body circulation. It therefore helps in keeping the hair cells and the inner ear healthy and in good working condition. Studies show that taking folic acid rich foods and even supplements can reduce hearing loss to a great extent - and it also prevents presbycusis - which is most likely to occur in case of low folic acid levels in the body.

Diets rich in folic acid are -

  • Organ meats

  • Fortified breakfast cereal

  • Bananas

  • Potatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Asparagus

3. Magnesium

According to research studies, people who included magnesium along with Vitamins A, C and E in their diets, were more protected while being exposed to loud decibels of noises. It is because, while you are exposed to loud sounds, the magnesium acts as a protective shield to the hair cells in the inner ear. Lack of magnesium levels lead to the narrowing of blood vessels in the inner ear, thus causing oxygen deprivation! So instead of neglecting your hearing health and being obliged to go for a hearing loss treatment later on, choose the healthy option of following the following magnesium-rich foods -

    • Bananas

    • Artichokes

    • Spinach

    • Potatoes

    • Tomatoes

    • Broccoli

4. Zinc

Zinc is responsible for cell growth increase and also to heal wounds. Another health benefit of zinc is that it promotes and improves the body’s immune system which in turn fight against infection-causing germs which might cause common cold and are therefore, harmful for the ear, and might cause hearing loss. According to some studies, zinc can not only prove to be an effective hearing loss treatment, but it also helps in treating tinnitus problems (ringing in the ears) which are often found among individuals with normal hearing. However, certain supplements might contain antibiotics and diuretics which might interact with zinc, so always consult your physician, and especially your Audiologist before consuming them.

Certain diets which include zinc as one of their key elements are -

  • Dark-meat chicken

  • Pork

  • Beef

  • Almonds

  • Cashews

  • Peanuts

  • Dark chocolate

  • Split peas

  • Beans

  • Oysters

  • Lentils

5. Omega 3 Fats & Vitamin D

Studies show that an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids have reduced hearing loss to a great extent, especially in the ageing population. Also, these fatty acids are not only efficient in managing and controlling hearing loss problems, but these are also known to reduce and treat tinnitus problems as well.

Foods rich in omega 3 fats are -

  • Fish and fish oils

  • Krill oil

  • Flaxseed oil

  • Salmon

  • Soybean oil

  • Sardines

  • Walnuts

  • Canola Oil

  • Flaxseeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Mackerel

On the other hand, a deficiency of Vitamin D might cause cochlear deafness, as due to demineralisation, there is a damage in the cochlea of the inner ear, which contains hair cells - the vital elements responsible for hearing.

Vitamin D rich foods include -

  • Fatty fish, like -

    • Tuna

    • Salmon

    • Mackerel

  • Egg yolks

  • Beef liver

  • Cheese

  • Dairy products

  • Orange juice

  • Cereals

  • Soy milk

In a nutshell, when you have so many healthy and yummy foods to choose from, so why neglect with having a hearing loss treatment as the only option! When you can boost up your hearing health naturally, why wait until situations grow adverse?

So eat healthy for a healthy hearing!

Comments | Posted in Hearing loss treatment India By Phalguni Bannerjee

Importance of Auditory Training in Adults

Thursday, August 23, 2018 2:43:42 PM Asia/Calcutta

You might have come across or heard about auditory training programmes and other early intervention programmes designed for children, to aid them learn speech and language skills. But did you ever realise that auditory training for adults, especially the senior citizens is equally important and should be performed along with hearing aids - to have better outcomes. In 90% of the cases, auditory training as a part of a proper hearing loss treatment programme, has proved to be beneficial!

Auditory Training

What is Auditory Training?

According to Schow & Nerbonne study done in 2007, Auditory Training can be defined as an intervention in which listeners are taught to make perceptual distinctions between various sounds. These sounds - which are from various sources - are presented to the listeners systematically. The main focus of auditory training is on improving listening and communication skills of hearing aid users - because the world of sounds with hearing aid devices is relatively ‘new’ for them!

 

Incidence and Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Adults

However, the saddest part is, although about 90% of the world’s total hearing impaired population are adults, and according to WHO, approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. Yet about 75% people do not wear hearing aids! They fail to realise the importance and the urgency of getting a proper hearing loss treatment, and do not understand the necessity of opting for good hearing aids at the earliest!

 

Why do I Need an Auditory Training?

Because only wearing a hearing aid won’t help! After wearing a hearing aid you might feel that though you can hear various sounds, you are, however, unable to understand them. You might even fail to understand the meaning of what others or even you yourself are saying! This situation becomes more adverse if you opt for a proper hearing loss treatment after living many years with hearing loss. To overcome this situation, you need to participate in a post-fitting auditory training to aid you in proper hearing and understanding - so as to achieve the maximum benefit.

 

How is Hearing and Understanding Different?

Wearing hearing aids might help you to hear the sounds better which you were unable to before opting for them (or some other hearing loss treatment like cochlear implant)! But you might be confused at first which sound is associated with which object or phenomenon - even though the sound might be quite a common one. Besides, you might also face difficulties in understanding what other people are trying to convey - although you might be able to hear them quite well. Now why does this happen? We actually listen rather than hear! Listening involves understanding - and it occurs in the brain. The brain processes the sound signals received via the auditory nerve, and translates them into meaningful signals - and this is the time when we can actually listen!

 

What are the Benefits of Auditory Training?

Research studies have proved auditory training programmes for adults to be effective and beneficial enough for adults - including the older population with hearing aids (or other such hearing loss treatment like cochlear implants). Some undoubted benefits of auditory training sessions clubbed with hearing aids (or cochlear implant) include -

  • Auditory training involves actively listening to common sounds such as tones, parts of words or basic units called phonemes, or even whole words or phrases over a long period of time. This improves the person’s ability to pronounce, utter, process sounds, and say words, phrases and whole sentences with ease.

  • This method of hearing loss treatment also improves and strengthens listening, understanding and communication skills of the person.

  • Studies have proved that auditory training improves attention and cognitive abilities which support our listening skills.

  • After the training, participants have shown greater motivation and an increased interest in trying to improve their hearing and their overall health - which they previously lacked, and as a result have been neglecting their hearing health.

  • The programme is interactive and engaging enough to make people feel the need for living a better life with good hearing health through a proper participation in a hearing loss treatment programme.

  • The modern auditory training programmes are computer-based that can be easily adapted by adults and elder people, hence giving fruitful and productive outcomes.

 

So when are you opting for today’s advanced and updated hearing aids, along with a proper auditory training programme - being a part of an effective hearing loss treatment?

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