Hearing Resources (199)
If you or somebody that you know has hearing loss, there are strategies that can be utilized, in combination with hearing aids, in order to improve communication success. Don't let hearing loss keep you from participating in conversations with your friends, family and loved ones! Here are a few simple tips that may help:
- Stand face to face: Look at the person you are communicating with directly. By doing this, you will be able to make use of visual cues, such as lip reading and facial expressions, that can help you better understand what was said. Do not try to have a conversation with someone who is facing away from you, in another room or who is far in distance.
- Get rid of background noise: Although our hearing aids have the ability to reduce background noise and enhance speech, technology can only go so far. Turn off the television or radio when speaking with others at home. Choosing a quiet restaurant in New York City can be hard, so ask the host to seat you at a table where the noise is mostly behind you.
- Ask people to speak slowly and clearly. Most people are willing to slow down their speech in order for you to understand them clearly. Instead of asking someone to repeat themselves, ask them to rephrase what they just said.
- Take advantage of hearing assistive technology. Many hearing aids can be paired with other devices that will aid in speech understanding. Also, captioning can be very helpful, as it displays the words as text at the bottom of your television and even your telephone (pictured above). Ask about the Caption Call Telephone, which can be made available to you free of charge.
If both of your ears have hearing loss, both of your ears should be receiving stimulation from amplification, such as hearing aids! Because of financial reasons or poorer hearing in one ear versus the other, some patients question the recommendation of two hearing aids. However, research has proven that bilateral amplification is preferable for those with aidable hearing loss in both ears. Researchers, such as Kobler & Rosenhall (2002), have examined speech intelligibility under conditions that simulate conversational speech in real-world scenarios. They have done so by using multiple noise sources and sentence-based materials rather than monosyllabic words in quiet. Their findings showed that bilateral amplification improved speech intelligibility and localization performance over unilateral fittings and unaided conditions.
Sound localization is beneficial in order to hear environmental sounds as well as speech perception. While hearing birds chirping is a beautiful part of nature, what is most important for many hearing aid users is understanding conversation in complex environments. Localization, provided by wearing two hearing aids rather than one, aids in identifying speech first and separating it from competing sound sources before higher level auditory processing in the brain can occur (Stevens, 1996). Therefore, the effect of bilateral hearing aids on localization impacts your overall ability to hear and understand conversation speech in a noisy environment, while a unilateral fitting may not be successful at doing so. Furthermore, someone with a moderate to severe hearing loss, for example, who wears only one hearing aid may hear only on the aided side. With a binaural fitting, time and intensity cues are preserved!
Auditory deprivation is a major reason why the consensus among clinicians is the recommendation of bilateral hearing aids. First described in 1984 by Silman, Gelfand and Silverman, it was reported that individuals who had bilateral hearing impairment, but were unilaterally fit, experienced a reduced speech discrimination in the unaided ear relative to the aided ear. Studies thereafter showed that subjects who experienced the phenomenon of auditory deprivation due to a unilateral fitting who were later fit with a second hearing aid experienced improved word recognition (Silverman & Silman, 1990; Silverman & Emmer, 1993; Silman, et al., 1992). With that being said, the best way to treat auditory deprivation is to avoid it, with bilateral amplification as part of the solution!
March 3, 2015 is the World Health Organization's International Ear Care Day. The annual advocacy day aims to raise awareness about ear health and hearing loss. This year's topic "Making Listening Safe" draws attention to the dangers of noise exposure on our hearing. Millions of young people, as well as adults, are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss due to exposure from personal audio devices, noisy entertainment venues, and other environments.
According to Dr. Ana Kim, of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, listening to music with ear buds at the highest volume can damage a child's hearing forever in just 15 minutes. Dr. Kim said, "Headphones can be cranked up to a volume about 110 decibels, far exceeding the recommended level of 80 decibels. As a general rule I tell them to keep the volume around 50 percent." Earbuds that fit completely into the ear canal can isolate noise and allow the listener to keep the volume lower.
Other environments such as nightclubs, bars, concerts and sporting events can damage our hearing. In 2014, the Seattle Seahawks Centurylink field set a Guinness World Record for the loudest sports arena, reaching a level of 137.6 decibels. Sustained exposure for hours to levels over 100 decibels can be very damaging to our hearing. It is important to wear hearing protection such as earplugs when in environments with lots of noise.
Making listening safe is so important since once you lose your hearing, it won't come back! Some preventative actions include keeping the volume down by determining safe listening levels on your personal audio device or by wearing ear plugs in noisy venues. It is best to use carefully fitted, and if possible, noise cancelling ear/headphones. Another action you can take consists of limiting your time spent engaged in noisy activities. In noisy venues, take short listening breaks and move away from loud sounds. We recommend limiting the daily use of personal audio devices to <1 hour/day. Monitor safe listening levels through use of smartphone apps.
Most importantly, get an annual hearing test if you are over the age of 50 and every to two years for those under the age of 50. It has been estimated that 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Over 43 million people 12-35 years live with a disabling hearing loss. You should look after your hearing the same way you look after your eyes and teeth!
It is important to heed the warning signs of a noise induced hearing loss, such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and difficulty hearing high pitched sounds, understanding speech on the telephone and following conversations in a noisy venue.
At Audio Help Hearing Centers, our team of skilled Audiologists provide complete audiological evaluations to test hearing and determine any hearing loss. In addition, we provide comfortable and custom-made hearing protection for all types of noisy environments. In particular, we fit musician's earplugs, which conserves the musical sound quality while providing a safe listening environment. Be informed and protect your hearing now before it's too late!
Hearing loss is very personal. That’s why when you are in the market for a hearing aid, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Take time, explore your options, and consider these 5 tips when deciding on a hearing aid.
1.Get a checkup.
When you visit an audiologist, they examine you to rule out simple causes of hearing loss, such as earwax or an infection. Once the basic factors are eliminated, they will assess your hearing and tell you what type of hearing loss you have. This will help you find an appropriate hearing aid.
2.Ask about a trial period.
It may take you a while to get used to the device and decide if it's right for you. It’s ok to ask to "test drive" the hearing aids recommended for you.
Sure, using Q-tips feels great; until someone bumps your arm and you spend the next few hours -and several hundred dollars getting the white, fuzzy danger-stick professionally removed from inside of your eardrum. The pain and risks of using a cotton swab greatly outweigh the benefits, but if you have ever used a Q-tip, you know how wonderful it feels.
This delightful sensation is caused by stimulating the large amount of nerves found in, and around your ear. When the nerves are activated by, say, a soft cotton swab, it feels great. Overstimulate them with a jab to the ear drum and watch out.
What inspires you?
For Lydia, a first year graduate student in the CUNY doctorate in audiology program, it was her father’s journey with hearing loss that influenced her career path.
In 2004, Lydia’s father Damon was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis II (NF II), after physicians discovered tumors throughout his body – the largest being a grapefruit-sized mass on his spine.
After removing the tumor on his spine, an MRI revealed two tumors growing on his right and left auditory nerves. Damon opted for laser surgery in both ears to remove the tumors, leaving him with 15-20% hearing in his left ear and approximately 80% in his right ear. He has since been fitted with behind-the-ear hearing aids, which have benefitted him greatly.
Damon says, “It would be a real struggle at work if I didn’t have hearing aids. Luckily, I am able to adjust the volume throughout the day, and I work on the phone often so I can use my right ear.”
He’s found that large social gatherings present the biggest hearing challenges. He often has to lip-read in order to follow conversations in noisy environments, a common problem for people with hearing loss.
Lydia’s commitment to hearing health led her to participate in and raise funds for the New York City Walk4Hearing in September 2013. She says she, “enjoyed seeing people of all ages come together to support those in the New York City community with hearing loss.”
Inspired by the team of physicians and audiologists who provided her father with such excellent care, Lydia is eager to finish her education and share her passion for helping people like her father.
As technology continues to evolve, the FCC has implemented new rules governing hearing aid compatibility (HAC) for digital wireless phones so that everyone benefits from the advances in the hearing aid and cell phone industries.
These developments are designed to make communication more effective by reducing background noise, allowing you to hear the sounds you want to hear.
Leading the way, Apple has recently upgraded its operating system and has collaborated with hearing aid manufacturers ReSound, Oticon and Starkey to create iPhone compatible phones.
Some of the new features included with the Made for iPhone programs (MFi):
• Seamless connectivity between your mobile device and hearing aids.
• The ability to control your hearing aids’ settings through your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, providing you with more discreet and easier “hands-free” conversations.
You have a new way to experience phone calls, FaceTime conversations, music, and movies – all with the tap of a finger.
Are you looking for the latest technology in hearing health care in Manhattan and the surrounding neighborhoods in New York City? Call us today to schedule an appointment: 888/832-9936888/832-9936.
In 2011, the New York City Department of Health conducted a study on noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in young adults. Of those who participated, 23% reported having hearing problems.
The cause? Listening to music through headphones (or ear buds) at an extraordinarily loud volume. The same adults who reported having hearing loss or tinnitus symptoms are those who admitted to listening to headphones at 90% of the volume at least five days a week, for four hours each day.
There is plenty of research on the topic of NIHL. All of it concludes that repeated exposure to loud sounds can potentially cause damage to the cells of the inner ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
The message? You may live in the “city that never sleeps,” but you need to allow your ears to rest. Employ the 60/60 rule: listen with headphones (or ear buds) at no higher than 60% of the volume, for only 60 minutes at a time.
If you think you already have hearing loss, schedule an appointment at one of our three New York City locations, in the Manhattan and Scarsdale areas.
Who remembers those old cell phone commercials, "can you hear me now?" Good hearing doesn't just make phone conversations easier; it makes life easier. If you find that others are constantly asking you, "Can you hear me now," it might be time to see an audiologist.
Audiologists focus on helping people with hearing and balance problems. An audiologist is specially trained to understand how both the hearing and balance systems work and how to help those who don't experience either of these systems normally. They see people of all ages – babies, children, and adults.
An audiologist will test your hearing and work with you to provide the treatment options that best treat your hearing concerns. If you find that you need to turn the TV up louder than others would like, or are having difficulty hearing clearly in a crowd, on the phone, or in the car, a comprehensive hearing test may significantly improve your quality of life. There are many treatment options aside from hearing aids – such as TV listening devices and hearing training – which your audiologist can discuss with you to ensure you have the quality hearing you desire.
If any of this sounds familiar, stop with the, "can you hear me now," and make the first step in improving your quality of life. To hear your best and to have continued hearing and balance health, see your audiologist today.