Category

Resource

Let Healthy Aging Month Be Your Wake-up Call to Check Your Hearing

By | Healthy Aging, Resource | No Comments

Have you heard about the new Lancet report presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017 (AAIC 2017)?

It recommends that people be ambitious about prevention. And it lists hearing loss as one of nine potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia—with an emphasis on managing hearing loss in midlife. That means: Don’t wait until you’re older.

Potentially reducing your risk of cognitive decline, and perhaps dementia, is serious. Very serious.

But it isn’t the only reason to treat hearing loss. We already know—from years of research by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI)—that addressing hearing loss has a very positive impact on quality of life.

In fact, addressing hearing loss may be one of the best things you can do to stay vibrant and maintain an active lifestyle as you evolve into your older, and arguably better, self.

Need some convincing? Consider how addressing hearing loss could benefit you:

  1. Your can-do attitude may shine through. BHI research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic.
  2. You may experience a rush of confidence. Many people with hearing loss say they feel more confident and better about themselves due to using hearing aids.
  3. You may find yourself really loving life. People with hearing difficulty who use hearing aids are more likely to get pleasure in doing things and are more likely to feel engaged in life, BHI research shows. In fact, most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their overall quality of life. In fact, people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are less likely to feel down, depressed, or hopeless, according to BHI research findings.
  4. Your social life and relationships may feel the perks. Most people with hearing loss who use hearing aids say it has a positive effect on their relationships and ability to participate in group activities. They’re also more likely to meet up with friends to socialize and have a strong social network.
  5. You may hear yourself shouting, “I’m ready!” when life’s next challenge comes your way. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems actively, research shows. And most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job.

Tips to avoid costly hearing aid repair

By | Resource | No Comments

If you use a hearing aid, you know that regular maintenance and routine service is necessary to keep it functioning at its best. To help you hear as clear as possible and avoid more costly hearing aid repair work, the experts at Ontario Hearing Centers in Rochester, NY, say there are some simple steps you can follow to maintain proper function and troubleshoot basic problems.

First, it’s important to identify when your hearing aid is not working properly. If you notice that your hearing aid is not loud enough, its performance is inconsistent, or the sound is unclear or distorted, there may be an issue that needs to be resolved.

Before heading to your local hearing aid center, follow these simple steps to care for and troubleshoot your hearing aid problems:

Storage & Handling: Always handle your hearing aid with care, being sure to store it in a dry, safe spot when not in use. Never wear your hearing aid in the shower, while swimming, or when using a hair dryer, hair spray, or another aerosol product.
Battery Care: Change your hearing aid batteries often so that they don’t run out of power when you’re wearing them. Open the battery door at night before retiring for the evening. This will prolong its battery life and help dry any moisture trapped in the battery compartment.

Proper Cleaning: Always clean earwax from your hearing aid and change out the filters regularly. A buildup of earwax could cause it to malfunction and may even result in permanent damage that a professional hearing aid repair may not fix. In addition, clean out your battery contacts regularly with a clean cotton swab. Dirty battery contacts can cause your hearing aid to malfunction.
If following the steps above does not troubleshoot your hearing aid problem, consult your hearing aid specialist to see if a hearing aid repair is necessary. If you’re in the Rochester area, visit Ontario Hearing Centers; their audiologists and hearing aid specialists will work hard to find a solution to your problem.

To have an evaluation of your hearing aids performed by the specialists at Ontario Hearing Centers, visit their Rochester, NY, hearing aid center or give them a call at (585) 442-4180 or (585) 247-4810 to schedule an appointment. Be sure to also check out their website for a complete list of their services.

What to expect when adjusting to new hearing aid

By | Resource | No Comments

If you need a hearing aid, you should prepare for a few weeks of adjustment once you start using it. The hearing specialists at Ontario Hearing Centers in Rochester, NY, have been helping people overcome hearing loss for 60 years. Their experienced staff works to educate patients on what to expect once they’re fitted for new hearing aids. They inform patients that the brain needs time to readjust to new sounds and changes in tonal quality. Hearing properly involves a patient’s entire auditory system, which will need some time to adjust. Changes in voice quality and awareness of new environmental sounds as well as speech reception containing more high pitches is common and actually extremely beneficial to improved speech understanding.
The hearing specialists at Ontario Hearing Centers can make adjustments during your fitting by using “real ear” technology, which is a essential process of verification used on ALL their hearing aid fittings. Often times minor adjustments, that would often be missed without real ear equipment, can be made to new hearing aids to assure optimal outcomes. All hearing aids come with a 45-day assessment period, during which time the audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will work with you to make necessary adjustments and measure the improvements.
If you need an experienced hearing service center to measure your hearing loss and recommend a plan that works best for your specific needs, call Ontario Hearing Centers at (585) 442-4180 to schedule a free hearing screening. You can also learn more about their services and products online

3 Signs You Might Need a Wireless Hearing Aid

By | Resource | No Comments

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, certain medications, noise exposure, trauma and aging just to name a few. At Ontario Hearing Centers in Rochester, New York, their audiologists and professionals have helped thousands of patients better understand their hearing loss by administering hearing evaluations, counseling patients, family and friends, and fitting hearing aid devices when appropriate.

If you’re having trouble hearing, here are three signs you may need wireless hearing aids.

Trouble Hearing Telephone Calls: If you have difficulty understanding the person on the other end of a telephone call, your hearing may be the reason. Check to see if you have turned your call volume up to full blast. If this is the only way you can properly hear a person on the other end, you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test.

Misunderstanding Conversations: Do you tend to misunderstand conversations? Do you feel as though everyone you converse with speaks too softly and doesn’t enunciate enough? If this is the case the reason may be your own hearing versus the volume and the articulation of your friends and family. A full hearing evaluation is the best way to find out for sure.

Family Complaints: Take a look at the volume setting on your stereo, radio, and television. Is it constantly cranked up to the maximum in order for you to follow along? Do your loved ones complain that your music or the TV is too loud? You may be a prime candidate for wireless hearing aids so that you can enjoy your programs at a more tolerable level.

Practice Safe Ear Cleaning

By | Resource | No Comments

Rochester Hearing Service Specialists Explain How to Practice Safe Ear Cleaning

Are you using cotton swabs to clean your ears? If so, you could be putting your external ear canal at risk, because cotton swabs only push wax deeper. Don’t feel bad – there are many people who make this mistake. The professionals at Ontario Hearing Centers in Rochester, NY, want to help you maintain healthy ears and prevent hearing loss by explaining the proper way to care for them:

Assess Your Need: You should only try to remove ear wax if you have excessive build-up or a blockage in your ear canal. Ear wax is a natural product of the body that helps protect your inner ear, but having too much wax can lead to problems.

Use The Right Method: To rid your ears of wax build-up, place a few drops of a liquid solution into your inner ear. Some safe options are commercial ear drops, mineral oil, and baby oil. You can also use a stream of saline solution to rinse the ear using a drug-store syringe. Just be sure not to insert it too far into your ear, as it could cause damage to the fragile membranes in your ear canal. After you’ve inserted the liquid, allow it to sit in your ear for a few minutes. Then, turn your head to let the liquid drain or flush with body temperature water.. To absorb the drainage, gently apply a cotton ball to your outer ear.

Let The Doctor Do It: Keep in mind that the safest way to have your ears cleaned and prevent an ear infection is to have a doctor perform an in-office cleaning.

Taking the proper steps to care for your ears can help keep your ears safe for a long time.

Why you shouldn’t clean your ears with a cotton swab

By | Resource | No Comments

Contributed by Amanda Tonkin, associate editor

Tuesday, August 19th 2014
There are some people that swear by sticking a cotton swab (Q-Tip) into their ears to remove excess wax and debris. Anyone in the medical field can tell you, they have seen many catastrophes resulting from using cotton swabs. From punctured eardrums to super impacted wax, there are many negative consequences associated with “do-it-yourself” ear cleaning.

Many people do not realize you shouldn’t clean your ears with cotton swabs. This could lead to hearing loss, damage or more. 

  • Cotton swabs (Q-Tips)
  • Hair pins
  • Tweezers
  • Pens and pencils
  • Straws
  • Paper clips
  • Toys

While this is only a partial list, it’s important to realize nothing should be placed inside the ear to remove dirt and debris. This is dangerous and could cause hearing loss or a damaged ear canal.

The ear canal has specialized cells that produce cerumen, commonly known as ear wax. For some people, ear wax accumulates much faster than others. This can lead to wax build-up that causes decreased ability to hear and in some instances, pain. As an easy way to avoid seeing a medical professional, many folks resort to using swabs to remove the excess wax. While this may seem like an excellent alternative to spending countless minutes waiting in a doctor’s office waiting room, using a cotton swab may do more harm than good.

The eardrum is easily reached with a swab. Because the eardrum is so delicate, it can be easily ruptured by using even the gentlest of pressure when using a swab. Ask anyone who has experienced a punctured eardrum – it isn’t a pleasant experience. The pain is quite severe and the ear may also leak a clear fluid. While a punctured eardrum will heal, it typically takes awhile and can even lead to conductive hearing loss.

So this leaves us with the question, do we really need to clean out our ears? The answer is a little confusing, as both a “yes” and a “no,” are appropriate. The outer ear that can be seen does need a good cleaning every now and then. This can be accomplished with a little soap, water and a washcloth.

In most cases, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned. During hair washing or showers, enough water enters into the ear canal to loosen the wax that has accumulated. Additionally, the skin in your ear canal naturally grows in an outward, spiral pattern. As it sloughs off, ear wax goes with it. Most of the time the wax will loosen and fall out on its own while you are asleep. The need for a cotton swab isn’t really necessary.

For those that have heavy wax build-up, a trip to the doctor may be needed. Doctors can easily remove ear wax with a little peroxide mixed with water and injected into the ear. The process is virtually painless and is very effective in removing impacted wax. If this frequently becomes a problem, patients can ask their physicians for directions to do the procedure at home.

If you are experiencing wax or dirt build-up in your ears, contact your medical care professional for instructions on how to safely clean your ears. Never stick anything into your ear canal, including your own fingers. This could further impact the wax or damage the eardrum. As a good rule of thumb, if you aren’t sure if what you are doing is safe, contact a hearing health professional or a physician.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss In Teens

By | Resource | No Comments

eenagers are on the receiving end of a lot of daily lectures:

Make your bed; it improves your character.

Don’t frown; your face will get stuck like that.

Sit up straight; you’ll have bad posture.

The fear these statements are supposed to instill in their adolescent subjects wears off fairly quickly, to which any parent can attest. So why should they listen when they’re lectured on the potential hearing damage their lifestyle can cause? While headphones, concerts and their friend’s speaker system can create a hearing problem when they’re older, teens oftentimes ignore the warning signs. Their hearing is fine, so why should they worry? If the music were really too loud, wouldn’t it hurt their ears?

Is high quality music damaging our hearing?

Listen up! Those warnings about noise-induced
hearing loss aren’t just suggestions, they’re
fact-based! 

A 2005 study printed in PEDIATRICS, the publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests there is proof that loud music is causing measurable noise-induced hearing loss in adolescents. Researchers posted a voluntary 28-question survey to MTV.com, prompting the participants on issues of general health and hearing wellness. What they found was startling: out of 9,963 participants, 61 percent had experienced tinnitus at music concerts, and 43 percent had experienced tinnitus at clubs.

Tinnitus, a ringing or hissing noise in the ears that is often an indication of an underlying hearing condition, is a symptom that approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience. The MTV study concluded that a majority of young adults have experienced tinnitus and hearing impairment after exposure to loud music.

Despite these statistics, only 14 percent of respondents said they used hearing protection while in loud music venues. Fortunately, however, 66 percent of the respondents said they would consider wearing earplugs if they were properly advised on the potential for hearing loss.

So the question is, how to advise them? We’ve already established that teens often ignore their parents when it comes to everyday advice, but in fact, another recent survey found that many parents don’t even attempt talking to their teens about hearing loss.

Try asking them specific questions, like if they have had any hissing or roaring in their ears when they’re out listening to music with their friends. Ask if any of their friends have complained about tinnitus symptoms, and introduce them to the research that’s been done on adolescent hearing loss. Point out anyone you know personally who suffers from hearing loss and how their condition developed.

The Centers for Disease Control report more than five million young adults suffer from some sort of hearing loss that frequently comes from prolonged exposure to loud music or some other type of loud noise. If your teen isn’t experiencing hearing loss now, such a talk could prevent him from developing it in the future. Talking about specific hearing loss could also identify any existing issue your teen does have, and your teen will be more likely to talk to you about it if he or she notices it later on down the road.

Your teen’s hearing might be fine now, but the gradual damage that happens over time often starts at an early age. Do your research and take time to have a real discussion with your children, instead of just instructing them to turn the volume on their iPod down when they’re running to catch the bus.

And be observant; they might only pretend to have hearing loss when you ask them to take out the trash

Coming to Terms with Your Hearing Loss

By | Resource | No Comments

Grief is an intrusive emotion. It settles deep in our nooks and crannies, slipping out randomly and without warning. At times we feel as though we will never escape its heavy embrace; other days we are unaware of its presence. Grief is a natural part of the human condition. Not many of us get through life without experiencing it at some point; however, everyone moves through the process differently.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swedish-American psychologist, wrote about the five psychological stages terminally ill patients experience in her book On Death and Dying in 1969. These stages can also be applied to other painful life-changing experiences such as divorce, the death of a loved one – even coming to terms with hearing loss.

Grieving a hearing loss

Accepting and grieving a hearing loss is
a natural and normal process. 

Stage 1: Denial

In many situations, especially with older adults, hearing loss occurs gradually. You may not realize you haven’t heard the birds sing outside your bedroom window lately. Can you remember the last time you heard the sound your vehicle’s turn signal makes? In other words, you may think your hearing is just fine until a friend or family member calls it to your attention. Even then, it’s normal to want to deny the obvious.

You may tell yourself “My hearing isn’t that bad” or “I’ve had a cold lately. My ears must be stuffy.” Even those who relent and see an audiologist for a hearing test wait an average of seven years after their hearing loss is diagnosed before purchasing their first set of hearing aids.

Stage 2: Anger

Once you can no longer deny you’re not hearing well, you may move into the second stage of grief — anger. You might be upset about having to add another doctor to your growing list or the money you have to spend on tests and medical devices. You may become angry with family members who continually ask you to down the volume on the television or insist you have your hearing checked by a health professional.

In the case of hearing loss, it’s important to realize the stages of grief can apply to all family members as well as the one who’s lost their hearing. This is especially true in this particular stage. Realize that your family members may be angry, too. They may think you’re ignoring them on purpose — or have a hard time understanding why you won’t make an appointment to see the doctor.

Regardless, it’s important for all affected parties to work through the anger. If you’re the one with hearing loss, consider talking to a trusted friend or counselor about what you’re feeling, writing in a journal or exercising to release stress and tension. If your anger is directed at a loved one with hearing loss, talk to their doctor.

Stage 3: Bargaining

After the anger has passed, it’s common to enter the bargaining stage and search for ways to restore normal hearing. Maybe it’s a promise you make to yourself to eat healthier, wear hearing protection when you’re pushing the lawn mower or turn down the volume on your car stereo.

Depending on the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, the reality is you may never hear normally again. The good news is, if your hearing loss is associated with presbycusis (old age) or another sensorineural condition, you are most likely a perfect candidate for hearing aids. Your audiologist can make that determination following an extensive hearing test.

Stage 4: Depression

If you’re feeling a bit depressed about your hearing loss, you’re not alone — especially if you’re an older adult. When it becomes difficult and exhausting to participate in daily conversations with friends and loved ones, it’s natural to want to avoid those situations. Knowing we’ve lost something valuable, like our hearing, can make us sad — no matter what our age.

Hearing health professionals know untreated hearing loss can lead to anxiety, depression, paranoia and social isolation. It’s one of the reasons they stress the importance of maintaining contact with friends and family as we age.

Stage 5: Acceptance

The final stage of grief is acceptance. In the case of those with a hearing impairment, that means you’ve accepted your physical limitations. Hopefully, you’ve elected to consult with a hearing health professional and are a candidate for one of the numerous ways of improving your ability to hear. If your audiologist has recommended hearing aids and you’ve decided not to purchase them, you may want to reconsider. Recent research confirms a direct link between hearing aid usage and improved quality of life. Most hearing aid users report higher levels of happiness and say hearing aids have significantly improved their relationships with family and friends and given them a greater sense of independence.