Hearing Resources (199)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 54 million Americans suffer from some type of disability. 36 million Americans have hearing impairment and approximately one million Americans are completely deaf.
Statistics like these reflect the overwhelming need for communities to develop emergency plans with the disabled in mind. During emergency situations, it is vital that rescue workers are able to identify those most vulnerable: the elderly, the very young, and those with disabilities.
Do you or a loved one have hearing impairment? Would you know what to do in case of an emergency?
Here are some ideas to help you prepare:
- Place a sign or decal that indicates you are hard of hearing in your vehicle, your wallet or purse, and in your home to indicate to rescue workers that you are hearing impaired.
- Currently, though there is a universal symbol for people who are deaf, there is no universal symbol for the hard of hearing.
- Prepare an emergency kit. Include extra hearing aid batteries, a spare set of hearing aids (if you have one), a pad and paper to help in communication challenges, as well as flashlights, batteries, a warm blanket, water, cell phone charger, etc.
- Equip your home with assistive hearing devices that will alert you to the phone, doorbell, a baby monitor and smoke alarms by flashing lights or vibrating your bed.
- Ask a neighbor to alert you in case of a fire, weather emergency or other disaster.
- Sign up for free text messages. Organizations, such as EmergencyEmail.org, will alert you to emergencies on your cell phone.
- Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather/All Hazard Alert Radio with Text Messages. They are equipped with an alarm feature that will alert you to an emergency and can be connected to bed shakers and flashing lights.
Another important aspect of preparedness is raising awareness for the need for a universally recognized symbol for those with hearing impairment. Working with organizations, such as Hard of Hearing, to increase consciousness of the need for the symbol may just mean the difference between life and death for someone with hearing loss in an emergency situation.
All eyes are on our ears as we recognize national Audiology Awareness and Protect Your Hearing Month in October. Because hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States, with over 36 million Americans suffering from it, the need for increased awareness is vital.
Learning more about the causes, symptoms and ways to protect your hearing is more important than ever.
Here are some startling facts about hearing loss:
- The most common cause of hearing loss is due to exposure to loud sounds, not from aging. Damage can occur from sounds above 85 decibels.
- Other causes of hearing loss include frequent ear infections, ototoxic medications, and even trauma to the ears or head.
- The majority of people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
- The onset of hearing loss is often a gradual process that goes unnoticed. Would you recognize the symptoms?
- Your degree of hearing loss often helps determine treatment options.
- Studies show that people wait an average of 5-7 years before seeking treatment after first noticing signs of hearing loss.
- Untreated hearing loss in infants and children can greatly impact the ability to communicate, learn, and develop social skills and can cause low self-esteem.
- In older adults, untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which can lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s.
Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), the most common cause of hearing loss is cumulative, permanent and preventable. Following these tips may help preserve your hearing:
- Discover which sounds you’re exposed to are above 85 decibels. You may be surprised to find out that noise from hair dryers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, blenders, sporting events, and even heavy traffic are potentially damaging.
- Whenever possible, distance yourself from the source of the sound. When that option isn’t available, employ the use of hearing protection products.
- When using MP3 players or other personal listening devices, limit time and volume. An often recommended rule of the thumb is the 60/60 Rule: listen for no longer than 60 minutes, at 60 % of the volume. Then give your ears a rest.
In the recent MSN Health article “The Most Neglected Health Test For Women and Men”, Molly Raisch refers to a Virginia Commonwealth University study that says, “one of the most routinely missed tests is the hearing exam, it gets bypassed nearly 70 percent of the time.” Many people with problems hearing don’t even realize they have a hearing loss because of physicians skipping hearing exams during yearly checkups!
Why you need a hearing test NOW?
Hearing loss can mean a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Hearing loss is a result of nerve damage in the ear. Nerve damage in the ear can mean there is nerve damage in another part of the body like the brain. “For every 10 decibels of hearing loss, the chance of developing Alzheimer’s increases 20 percent.” Untreated damage to your hearing will only worsen over time.
Hearing loss could be a red flag for cardiovascular disease.
Trouble hearing low-frequencies can mean you have a heart problem. The inner ear has a ton of tiny, sensitive blood vessels. These tiny blood vessels are so sensitive that any changes, like hearing loss, could be a sign of issues with bigger blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).
A hearing exam could spot CANCER…yes, the big C word.
It’s not easy to see your own ears. We don’t recommend that a family member check your ears, as they are not equipped. We recommend a physician who will likely spot any abnormalities on or around your ear when checking your hearing. Think of it as a bonus checkup during your exam.
I’m hearing perfectly with my old hearing aids…I don’t need new ones!
Advances in hearing technology have introduced many features that weren’t available just a few years ago...features you may have been waiting for but couldn’t get when you were first fitted. Audio Help Hearing Centers provides hearing instruments that are smarter than ever, working with your brain to do a better job of separating conversation from background noise and preserving the spatial ‘soundscape’ of a room — new features that enhance comprehension and reduce fatigue. The micro-brains inside these devices work hard to adjust automatically and optimize performance, to take the strain off your brain. Today’s advanced hearing aids are more fun, too. They can connect easily to all the new electronic devices around you — TVs, computers, smartphones, audio equipment and more. And there are more options than ever for size and fit: more colors, completely invisible devices, and newer, more comfortable external hearing aids.
In short, it pays to keep up to date with advances in hearing technology, regardless of how well your current hearing aids are performing. Next time you visit an Audio Help Hearing Center professional for new batteries or other services, try asking, “What’s new?”
You may be amazed at what you find!
Why do I need to clean my hearing aids every night?
Maintaining your hearing aid through daily cleaning and regular service is extremely important. Proper care helps retain optimum hearing conditions, extends the life of your hearing aid, and ensures proper hygiene.
How to care for your hearing aid:
- Handle your hearing aid with care.
- Store your hearing aid in a safe place that’s dry and cool.
- Change hearing aid batteries often so they don’t suddenly run out of power.
- Switch off your hearing aid when you’re not using it. If you don’t use it for a long period of time, remove the battery.
- Battery contacts should be cleaned regularly. Use a cotton swab, taking care not to bend the contacts. Dirty battery contacts can cause improper device function.
- Remove earwax from your hearing aid to prevent temporary malfunction or permanent damage.
- Clean your hearing aid using the small brush or the soft cloth that came with it. Never insert tools into the sound outlet. Doing so could damage the receiver. If you can’t clean the hearing aid completely, ask your hearing professional for help.
- Change filters often so they don’t collect wax or dirt.
- Accumulated earwax may prevent sounds from traveling from the hearing aid into the middle ear. Contact your doctor regularly to have your ear canals cleaned. Never remove the earwax from the ear yourself. Doing so could damage your ear.
- Don’t wear your hearing aid: in the shower; swimming; or when using a hair dryer, hair spray or other types of spray.
NOTE: Use a specialist for repairs and servicing. Never attempt to repair your hearing instruments yourself. You may cause more damage, which may be irreparable. Check the instructions for use that came with your hearing instruments for more details.
Always contact your hearing care professional at Audio Help Hearing Centers if you are having problems with your hearing aids.
Are you in the market for hearing aids? Do you find the process confusing and overwhelming?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, in a recent study published by Consumer Reports, two-thirds of the participants found the process of choosing and buying hearing aids to be complicated and stressful.
To help simplify the process, we’ve compiled a list of points to make buying hearing aids easier.
Should you buy online?
Purchasing hearing aids online may be tempting because the prices are often cheaper than those you’ll get from a hearing professional. But in this case, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. We caution against purchasing hearing aids online for several reasons, including:
- An audiologist will conduct an interview to learn about your unique listening challenges and will perform tests to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss to find the best device for you. (Some audiologists will even offer a free hearing screening to determine if further testing is required.) Online distributors don’t perform hearing tests, so the chances are good you’ll choose the wrong instrument for your lifestyle and needs. And if you discover your hearing aids aren’t helping, you may not be able to return them for a full refund.
- Fitting and programming – Most people who purchase hearing aids online are unable to properly fit and program their own devices, which prevents optimal performance and may damage their remaining hearing. A hearing professional will be able to ensure correct fitting and programming of your devices.
- Follow-up care – Some audiologists offer Complete Hearing Health Care (CHHC) programs, which include annual testing, adjustments and reprogramming (as necessary), thorough cleanings and maintenance, repairs, batteries, and ongoing consultation, as well as aural rehabilitation.
- Most major manufacturers (such as Oticon) do not sell their hearing aids online, so the quality of devices sold online may be questionable.
What’s the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser?
The main differences between a licensed hearing aid dispenser (also referred to as a licensed hearing instrument specialist) and an audiologist are education and experience.
- In the state of New York, a licensed hearing aid dispenser requires only a high school diploma (or equivalent), two years of college accredited coursework, and a passing grade on a board-administered examination.
- However, an audiologist in New York must have a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology and a minimum of nine months of supervised training. He or she also must pass a rigorous board-administered examination.
Audiologists have acquired knowledge and extensive training and are best qualified to provide comprehensive solutions to patients seeking complete hearing health care.
Once you’ve chosen a provider you trust, be sure to ask questions, and be thorough in explaining your needs and expectations. Inquire about warranties, trial periods, promotions, and whether they offer a free hearing screening.
Choosing and purchasing the right hearing aid doesn’t have to be difficult. At Audio Help Hearing Centers, our experienced audiologists have been providing hearing solutions to residents of New York City since 2000. Let us help you hear again. Schedule an appointment today.
In an effort to enhance the shopping experience for customers in the New York City area with hearing loss, Fairway Market’s flagship store, on Broadway in Manhattan, has introduced a hearing loop at the deli counter.
The loop works in conjunction with a shopper’s telecoil-equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant. When the deli clerk speaks into a microphone connected to the loop, a wireless signal is transmitted directly to the T-coil, allowing the customer to hear better by amplifying the voice and eliminating ambient sound. In noisy environments, like a deli, shoppers will benefit greatly and enjoy a better overall market experience.
Fairway Market is the first food retailer in New York City to implement this technology.
News flash: Studies show that from street traffic to subway sounds, New Yorkers are subjected to a lot of noise. And noise exposure is the number one cause of hearing loss.
For those thousands of New York City residents with hearing loss, enjoying films on the big screen is now as easy as watching a television program at home. Thanks to Regal Cinema’s new Sony Entertainment Access Glasses, deaf and hearing impaired moviegoers in New York can enjoy all aspects of the movie theatre experience.
Regal Cinemas has equipped theatres in the New York City area, including the UA Kaufman Astoria, Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX, and Regal Union Square, with the new closed captioning glasses, which fit like 3-D glasses and work by projecting text of the actors’ dialogue as well as sound descriptions in front of the user.
Cinema employees will set up the glasses for you. After you find your seat, all you need to do is put them on. When the movie previews begin, green text will appear over a slightly darkened box. The glasses are large and can be worn over regular eyeglasses but may take some getting used to due to the weight. You are able to adjust the display distance on the attached receiver box.
Nanci Linke-Ellis is a partner in Captionfish, a search engine for captioned movies and trailers. She calls this technology “a game changer,” as it provides a better opportunity for those in the hearing-impaired community to watch films on the big screen. In the past, other options included limited screenings for movies with open captions (where the whole audience sees the subtitles), personal closed-captioning devices that were uncomfortable, and assistive listening devices, which aid in amplification, but may not be compatible with all hearing aids and helpful at all for people who are completely deaf.
Some tips to consider, if you plan on going to a movie on a weekend, call ahead to ensure that the Access Glasses will be available; arrive early so that you can get set up with the glasses; and choose a good seat, ideally in the middle of the theatre, where viewing is best.
Oh, and don’t forget the butter on your popcorn!
Studies show that even if you see your doctor for an annual physical, physicians bypass the hearing portion of the physical nearly 70 percent of the time.
Because the onset of hearing loss is often gradual, people may not even realize they have any impairment. Many people lose their hearing as they age. But noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is affecting people of all ages. In fact, research indicates that 1 in 14 people between the ages of 29- 40, and 1.4 million people under the age of 18 have some degree of hearing loss.
The following questions will help you determine whether you need your hearing evaluated:
- Do you have trouble following conversations when two or more people are speaking at the same time?
- Do you have problems communicating by telephone?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have ringing, humming or buzzing in your ears?
- Does background noise make listening difficult?
- Do people tell you that the volume of your television is too loud?
If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may be experiencing hearing loss and should schedule a screening.
Getting your hearing tested is simple, quick and painless.
At Audio Help Hearing Centers, located in New York City in your Manhattan and Scarsdale neighborhoods, we offer a free hearing screening. This screening will help us determine whether or not further testing is needed.
So what are you waiting for? Schedule your free, no-obligation hearing screening today. It may be one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones, your social life, and yourself.
You’ve been diagnosed with a certain degree of hearing loss, but you’re not really sure what that means.
Your degree, or severity, of hearing loss is determined by measuring your hearing threshold, which is the level of sound that is just barely heard in each ear. The louder the sound must be before you can hear it represents your degree of hearing loss. The results are placed on an audiogram, which documents hearing threshold at varying pitches. Loudness is measured in decibels hearing level (dB HL) on the vertical axis and pitch (or frequency) is measured in Hertz (Hz) and is represented on the horizontal axis of the audiogram. Results can vary by frequency and ear.
Degrees of hearing loss can be broken down into the following categories (see graph for visual):
Mild hearing loss– thresholds for various pitches between 25 to 40 dB HL (sounds such as a whisper or the chirping of birds). With mild hearing loss, it may be difficult to hear people speaking with soft voices, from a distance, or over background noise.
Moderate hearing loss – thresholds for various pitches between 41 to 55 dB HL (examples of sound may include light traffic or a distant train.) Moderate hearing loss makes conversations difficult, even without background noise.
Moderately severe hearing loss – thresholds for various pitches range between 56 to 70 dB HL (sounds in this range include a vacuum cleaner and a barking dog). Group discussions present the biggest challenge for those in this category.
Severe hearing loss – thresholds for various pitches between 71 to 90 dB HL (sounds within this range may include a piano playing and the ringing of a telephone.) Normal conversation is not possible, and there will difficulty in all situations. Speech may only be understood at close range or in a shouting tone.
Profound hearing loss – thresholds at 91 dB HL and above (lawn mowers, motor cycles, jet engines are all sounds above 91 dB). Even with amplification, those with profound hearing loss may not be able to understand speech.
*The shaded area represents the sound created from the human voice at a normal conversation level.
Our recommendations for treatment options will be based, in part, on your degree of hearing loss. Different makes and models of hearing aids are best suited for people with certain degrees of hearing loss as well.
Earlier this year, USA today published an article linking dementia to hearing loss. A study revealed that millions of hearing-impaired older adults are more likely to suffer early memory and thinking problems than adults without hearing loss.
According to research online featured in JAMA Internal Medicine, cognitive problems were developed an astounding 30% to 40% faster when hearing declined to a mere 25 decibels – which is a mild hearing loss. Frank Lin, lead author, stated that common symptoms of this type of hearing loss is noticing more difficulty with speech clarity in restaurants or whenever there is a constant stream of background noise.
Estimates on the number of people who have some degree of hearing loss in the United States varies, but this population ranges from one-third to two-thirds of adults who are 70 years old and older. The authors of this study indicated that of this enormous population, only 15% reportedly take action and seek help (hearing aids). About sevem million people in the United States suffer from some form of dementia and this number is expected to double every 20 years.
Dr. Lin, an Otologist and assistant profession at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, stated that due to this uprising trend of dementia, these findings show how important it is for physicians to discuss hearing with their patients and encourage them to be proactive in addressing their hearing health.
Dr. Lin reported that it is important to note that this study was funded by the National Institute of Health and there was absolutely NO funding from hearing device manufacturers.
"It could also be that if you're constantly having to expend more (mental) energy decoding what you hear, then it comes at a cost,'' Lin says. "Hearing loss doesn't directly contribute to dementia, but leads to cognitive load on the brain."
Arthur Wingfield who is the chairman of neuroscience at Bradeis University in Waltham, MA has conducted research revealing that even a mild to moderate hearing loss can undermine the cognitive resources of an “otherwise healthy young adult.”
There is a clear link between mild hearing loss and cognitive skills. This should be a red flag and a call for alertness to the public as a health issue but unfortunately it has received less attention that it should.
What are your plans for the upcoming Independence Day holiday? If you’re like many Americans, you’ll be celebrating the birth of our great country with loved ones at an event that may include loud music and fireworks.
Your friends at Audio Help Hearing Centers, with five locations in the New York City and Stamford area, would like to remind you to that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the number one cause of hearing loss, and can be caused by sounds above 85 decibels. Fireworks measure between 140 and 165 decibels, which means just one minute of exposure has the potential to cause permanent damage to your hearing.
Fortunately, NIHL can be prevented. We offer custom ear plugs and molds, to protect your hearing in a variety of different situations.