LifeIsWorthHearing

11 Apr 2016
Written by in Hearing Loss News | 2431 Views | Comments Closed

Buying Online? Your Hearing Deserves Better

by: The Hearing Doctor

Whether you’re shopping for shoes, furniture, or a new computer, the Internet is an easy and efficient way to purchase what youonline shopping need. If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, the Internet is also a wonderful resource to learn more about hearing loss and hearing aids. However, caution should be exercised when it comes to purchasing hearing aids online or over the telephone via a free area code.

The prohibitive cost of hearing aids is often cited as the primary reason for people with hearing loss to avoid purchasing hearing aids. While cost is a factor for many people, it is important that you understand that hearing aids are an investment in yourself, your family and in your quality of life. Cost, combined with a lack of insurance coverage, has resulted in many consumers setting their sights on finding the best or cheapest deal online or through the mail.

Purchasing hearing aids in these manners may possibly save you a few hundred dollars up front. However, keep in mind that you may be sacrificing listening experience, wearing satisfaction, hearing safety and the guided expertise of a hearing professional in the process. In fact, the money you saved will more than likely end up being spent when you are in need of reprogramming and follow‐up care from a local provider. Many of the hearing aids available online and over the phone can only be reprogrammed at the source. This means that a simple in-office repair, that could possibly have taken five minutes, now means you have to ship your hearing aid out-of-state and wait for it to return to you in a week or two. That is time lost not hearing and processing sound. That is time lost not hearing your loved ones or co-workers. THAT is time wasted!

The Face-to-Face Purchase IS important!

A successful hearing aid fitting is dependent on many factors!

  1. otoscopeA hearing professional should evaluate your hearing loss through simple, painless testing ‐ This is a critical aspect of any hearing aid purchase. Unfortunately, when you buy hearing aids online, there’s no professional there between you and your purchase. So, the chances are pretty good that you’ll end up buying the wrong hearing aids for your needs and lifestyle. Hearing testing performed over the telephone or through headphones through your computer is not the same as the comprehensive testing that is performed in a soundproof booth by an audiologist. Our providers are compassionate, understanding, and will answer all of your questions in person. We even encourage you to bring a family member or friend. A great deal of information is provided at the initial visits. Sometimes that information will be hard for you to recall when you need to. Your time is valuable and we understand that! When you bring someone with you, you can begin your journey to better hearing sooner!
  2. Hearing aids should be programmed by a hearing professional based on hearing loss and verification testing ‐ A hearing test is the first step in choosing and programming hearing aids. However hearing loss alone cannot predict accurate hearing aid settings. The hearing professional often performs additional subjective and objective testing to fine‐tune the hearing aids. These are valuable tools our offices provide to our patients to ensure you are delighted with your hearing aids!hearing aid family
  3. Properly fit hearing aids are essential to success – When hearing aids are purchased online, safety can become a concern. Hearing aids come in many different sizes and shapes. Custom hearing aids require the art of an ear mold impression done by a professional who is trained. This ensures the hearing aid will fit properly and will not provide feedback. Self-impressions can be extremely dangerous. Ear mold impressions should not be done if earwax is present in the ears. The presence of earwax can only be ascertained by a professional. Many of our locations use video otoscopy to show you what your ears looks like inside! We will refer you for cerumen management if needed.
  4. Maintenance ‐ We provide a long term maintenance program so your hearing aids are always scheduled to be professionally cleaned and taken care of. Your hearing aids will be connected to a computer at each visit because the hearing aids will tell us about any adjustments needed based on exposure in your various daily environments. This is an easy process, and ensures your satisfaction. This is not care that you can receive over a telephone. Just like eyeglasses, hearing aids often need adjusting through the years. Our providers are there to answer questions, make fine‐tuning adjustments and monitor your hearing over time.
  5. Trial periods, returns and guarantees ‐ Most hearing professionals offer a trial period on newly purchased hearing aids. Our providers and the hearing aid manufacturer are with you through the trial period to ensure your satisfaction. With an online/telephone retailer it is impossible to receive that kind of follow‐up service or guarantee.

Hearing aids are more than mere amplifiers. They are complex digital electronic devices that not only allow people with hearing loss to hear, they give you back your quality of life, self‐confidence and happiness. This type of investment is worth purchasing face‐to‐face from a trained and qualified hearing professional. Many patients with hearing loss have the same concerns you do, and an experienced provider can walk you through your journey to better hearing. At our offices, we pride ourselves on taking this journey with you. Remember, life IS worth hearing!

 

1 Apr 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 3497 Views | Comments Closed

10 Reasons Why You Should Get a Hearing Test

10 Reasons Why

Hearing loss is more common than you think. In fact, it is the third most common health problem in the United States, according to WebMD. Hearing loss is treatable, especially if it is detected early on. Starkey HearCare believes that every individual should be getting a hearing test annually and this is why:

  1. A hearing test is painless and takes an hour or less.
  2. Hearing loss may be correlated to several other health conditions within the body including: hypertension, heart health, osteoporosis, diabetes, smoking, eye health and much more.
  3. The Mayo Clinic recommends baseline hearing tests for all adults.
  4. Untreated hearing loss increases your chance of dementia, falling, depression, social isolation and more.
  5. Hearing loss treatment has been shown to improve learning power, in fact a Better Hearing Institute study showed that people who have untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in annual income.
  6. A majority of clinics serve free coffee and cookies.
  7.  Hearing tests are free of charge.
  8.  You get your eyes checked and teeth cleaned-keep up with your hearing health!
  9.  Those with untreated hearing loss experience a 30-40% greater decline in thinking abilities compared to those without hearing loss.
  10. Because you want to be proactive about your health and live a healthy lifestyle!

If you think you or a loved one have hearing loss, find out by scheduling a hearing test at one of our 250 locations by clicking, here. Hear better, live better!

18 Mar 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 2726 Views | Comments Closed

How to Clean Your Hearing Aids

With any big investment, it is important to take all necessary steps in order to keep the purchase well maintained. While the majority of your hearing aid maintenance should be done by your hearing care professional, there are several preventative measures you can take at home to keep them in quality condition.

Ear Wax Prevention: Ear wax is the most common cause for hearing aid repairs across the industry. There is both solid ear wax along with vapor that can travel deep into the hearing instrument. The vapor can become solid damaging critical components of your device. How can you prevent this from happening?

  • Clean your hearing aids every morning with a clean cloth, free of lotions, aloe, etc.
  • Do not wipe the microphone ports. These are fragile areas of the device that should be cleaned and repaired by a hearing professional.
  • Take care of your hearing aid tubing. When you purchase your hearing instruments you receive a tool to clean out the tubing. This should be done on a regular basis to prevent wax build up.

Water: Precipitation, condensation, and humidity can cause serious damage to your hearing instruments. Luckily, every Starkey HearCare hearing instrument is coated with a Surface Nanoshield and wax repellent to help repeal water, oil and debris. Remember to remove your hearing aid before showering, swimming, or entering any body of water. It is important to leave your hearing aid battery doors open at night to allow air to enter the device which preserves the battery life. If your hearing device is exposed to any degree of water, contact your hearing professional.

Avoid Physical Damage: Finally, remember that this is a life-changing device that should be well maintained. Always store them in a safe place away from pets, children or any form of danger. If damage is to occur, collect all parts and make an appointment with your hearing care provider.

Taking great care of your hearing instruments will prolong your device and give you the best results when worn!

15 Feb 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 2977 Views | Comments Closed

The Main Event: A Transaction vs. An Experience

By: Joy Glen
Audiologist

As an Audiologist with 20 years of experience in hearing healthcare, I am often asked about the pros and cons of big box hearing solutions.

Chain stores are a convenient place to solve many of our problems. You can purchase whatever you need, from a gallon of milk to a new tire all within a few aisles of one another.

So it’s not hard to see why some people are turning to chain stores for their hearing aids. But while it may be convenient, there are many reasons you shouldn’t buy your hearing aids at the same place you buy your undershirts.

Before you throw a pair in your cart, consider everything you’re not getting when you buy hearing aids at a big box store.

When I first discovered that a hearing impaired person could buy hearing aids at their local big box store (Costco, Sam’s bigboxClub, CVS) I was instantly concerned. How could the hearing impaired get personalized attention to their hearing journey if they were stopping in for a hearing test under the bright fluorescent lights, next to the flat screen TV section? I wondered about the licensed professionals who would work in a big box setting, challenged with the task of fitting hearing aids. I could only imagine that the experience would be, well…less than an experience.

I know first-hand how personal and unique each hearing loss is to that person and their family. No one’s hearing loss is identical to another person’s. Each person faces his or her own unique challenges. Some people struggle to hear children’s voices; others can’t hear women easily. Some people find that they experience debilitating ringing in their ears and they start to get desperate for solutions. Others can hear well in small groups, while some can’t hear at all.

Hearing losses come in all shapes and sizes. On top of all of that, they change over time. Untreated hearing loss can illicit so many different emotions: sadness, embarrassment, anger, frustration, and feelings of worthlessness…. I wondered how all of this would be taken into consideration for the person that winds up in the sound booth at the local big box hearing aid store.

I knew I had to get to the bottom of all my questions and concerns and that there would only be one way to get honest answers. I would have to find a hearing impaired friend to go on a “secret shopper” journey for me at several different Sam’s Clubs and Costco hearing aid places.

The Secret Shopper Adventure Beginssecretshopper

I asked a married couple who were friends of mine to go to several different locations and to share their hearing experience with me. “Jill” was very experienced with hearing loss and had been her husbands, Dave, advocate for better hearing for a few decades. “Dave” has a moderate high frequency hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids for years. I asked them to get Dave’s hearing tested and to go through the process of buying hearing aids and getting fit.

What I learned is that not all big box hearing places are bad. I also learned that not all big box hearing aid places are good. There were so many different levels of professionalism and service and the experience was more grey than black and white. This is a summary of their secret hopper hearing aid journey:

couple

  • Big Box Hearing Aid stores aren’t really focused on the third party. This means that they don’t really care if you bring your husband or wife with you. They don’t do speech testing using your loved ones voice to see how much of your wife’s or husband’s voice you are missing. They don’t treat the hearing loss as a family problem and don’t encourage the family to attend the fitting and follow up counseling sessions. This is something that we routinely do at our Starkey HearCare locations.
  • Some of the audiology testing was top notch; some of it barely met state licensure requirements. Some licensed professionals did complete and thorough testing, others just did basic air conduction testing, and might have missed potential areas for conductive hearing loss or middle ear issues. Bottom line regarding testing: it all depends on whom you get during their “shift”.
  • athensinteriorThe experience that you get when talking to your hearing care professional is not exactly an experience, but more of a transaction. You are sitting under florescent lights, and typically next to the toilet paper or electronic isle. There is not a lot of privacy, nor is there a lot of time to get to the root of your problems and how it has impacted your quality of life. There is just enough time to get your ears inspected and tested, and then you are given a sales pitch for the cheapest technology that would be appropriate for your hearing loss. All of this is happening in a very loud office with soaring high ceilings and bright lights. This is certainly not the experience that we provide at our Starkey HearCare locations, where our hearing testing rooms are sound proof, private, and conducive to family counseling.
  • Once you are fit with hearing aids, you might not be offered the open door for follow up visits. Some big box hearing places are booked for months and getting a follow up appointment is not an easy option. Walk-in appointments for trouble shooting service are hit and miss depending on how busy the office is. Long-term care is not proactive.
  • Price is typically lower than you might get in a local hearing aid practice, sometimes up to a couple hundred dollars. However, you don’t always get offered some of the “bells and whistles” that the local hearing aid practice will offer. Some of the “bells and whistles that Starkey HearCare might include are: free batteries, complimentary monthly follow up fittings, family counseling for hearing loss, ringing in the ears counseling, wax management, quarterly clean & checks for “tune ups”, and annual hearing tests.

So why should you trust your hearing care to one of our offices in the Starkey HearCare network?

At a chain store, you give the cashier money, and she gives you hearing aids. End of transaction. If your aids break or need adjustments or cleaning, where do you take them? The store where you bought them may send them far away to be repaired, leaving you without hearing aids for weeks, or they may provide no aftercare services at all.

When you purchase your hearing aids at an Starkey HearCare location, you know exactly where to take them, and who will be working on them. The same licensed hearing care providers you see every time you come in will repair your devices for you while you enjoy some freshly made coffee and warm cookies.

aftercareAt our Starkey HearCare offices, your aftercare services are included with the purchase of your hearing aid. Our audiologists and licensed providers provide a complete Hearing Healthcare program, which comes with regular cleaning and adjustments, repair and damage warranties, yearly screenings, and batteries. We encourage families to join you for your appointments, where we incorporate their voice into your hearing testing and help them become part of your hearing solutions. We also help people with tinnitus issues, or “ringing in the ears”.

That ten-items or less lane might be great for your groceries, but it’s not a great place to take care of your hearing loss.

The biggest difference between hearing solutions from a big box versus hearing solutions from Starkey HearCare is that big box hearing aid services are a transaction. All American hearing looks at you as a unique person with individual needs. We customize hearing solutions and work with you along your hearing journey. We are with you for the long haul and will be your partner for better hearing. Coming to our office is an experience that you will enjoy and look forward to.

Life is Worth Hearing!

 

12 Feb 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 4703 Views | Comments Closed

Dealing With a Loved One’s Hearing Loss

By: Dr. Frank Shepel, Au.D.
Board Certified Doctor of Audiology
SoundPoint Audiology and Hearing Center of Casa Grande, AZ

Individuals over age 50 can expect to begin slowly losing some hearing. They suffer from a phenomenon known as presbycusis or age related hearing loss from normal wear and tear. People who have worked around noise and/or those with noisy hobbies such as shooting, riding motorcycles or listening to loud music will also have additional hearing loss. However many people do not like to talk about or admit to having a problem hearing.

In most cases a hearing loss occurs very slowly over many years.  People who have a hearing problem are not fooling anyone.  Family, friends and acquaintances realize that there is a problem because the person with the loss needs conversations repeated, they say “what” or “huh” a lot.  They misunderstand, they avoid situations where hearing is difficult, they talk too loud, and increase the volume on the TV and radio.  Because of these factors, the hearing loss is much more noticeable than a tiny hearing aid would ever be. However, they will not admit that they have a problem.Starkey-Soundlens-IIC

Many people do not like to admit they have a hearing loss because of the stigmas that come along with hearing aids.  Hearing aids have the stigma of old age attached to them and no one wants to admit that they are getting old. Another stigma is cost. Everyone thinks that hearing aids are out of reach because of their cost, but there are many levels of technology that exist, and with payment plans the cost can be as low as $50-60 per month. Size is also a concern for some individuals. Today some hearing aids are so small they are virtually invisible in the ear and others are difficult to detect when worn. Because of these factors, the hearing loss is much more noticeable than a tiny hearing aid would ever be.  Bottom line is no one likes to talk about the elephant in the room!

elephant

Usually it takes a loved one or close friend to initiate the discussion which will prompt an individual to consider moving forward to getting a hearing test if for no other reason than to prove that they do not have a hearing problem. Denial of a hearing problem is very common.  Denial is a part of the process of coming to terms with a hearing loss and accepting that you do have a problem and need to do something about it.

Common Excuses

Maybe you’ve shared your concerns with your loved one about his or her hearing loss or have brought the topic up a few times in certain situations, but your loved one has brushed you off with the wave of a hand. If so, then you have probably heard one of the following excuses before, and if not, here are some popular excuses people use to deny hearing loss or deflect concerns about them:

“I didn’t hear because you were/everyone was mumbling.”

For people who have hearing loss, another person’s speech often does sound like mumbling because they are missing some of the sounds due to their hearing loss.  The speech may sound soft because of the hearing loss and may sound muffled and unclear.  It is not realistic for them to tell others to speak up as we all have our own normal speech volume, and it is unnatural for a speaker to speak at a level louder than their normal level for more than a sentence or two. However, blaming others for mumbling is also an example of projection and is something that people who are in denial or grieving about their hearing loss might say.

“People/kids talk too fast.  If they slowed down I could hear them.”Child-talking

Sometimes people do talk fast but again it is not realistic to get someone to talk slower as it is an unnatural act especially for a child.  The problem arises from the fact that as we age our processing ability for sounds slows down within the brain.  This is compounded when a hearing loss causes some sounds to be missed or misinterpreted.  In this case more pieces of the conversation are missed, their ability to process the rest is slowed and they are unable to get enough information to be able to understand what was said.  It is a complicated situation!

“Of course I can’t hear – it’s very loud in here!”

It is fact that people with hearing loss have difficulty hearing even with the slightest of background noise.  Even people with normal hearing loss have more difficulty hearing in noisy situations!!!! As noted above, in noisy situations more speech sounds are missed so less information is left to process by the brain to attempt to make sense of (and understand) the conversation.

You can help out by moving to a quieter space for conversation and making sure to face the person you are conversing with.  Be sure to keep your mouth visible to them for lip reading.

“I can hear everything I want to, so that’s good enough.”

Here the person is “putting up their dukes” in defense of their hearing loss.  Again, this is part of the denial process which they need to work through with the help of family, friends and loved ones.  Support them by pointing out in a kind and gently manner some of the wonderful sounds they are missing.  Discuss how frustrating it may be to no longer hear the birds singing, the creek running, or how the grandkids tend to avoid talking to them by going to someone else who can understand them.

Nudge them gently towards accepting not that they have a problem but that they should see a hearing professional for a hearing checkup just in case they may have a hearing problem. Click here to schedule you free hearing consultation.

Signs and Symptoms of a Hearing Loss

Below is a list of signs that a person is having difficulty hearing and that they should be seen for a hearing test.  Use this as a checklist.  Find a quiet time to sit down and go over the list with them and check the ones that pertain to them.

Does your loved one:tv-dex-illustration_1600x1067

  • Turn the TV volume up to a uncomfortable level for others or complains that he or she can’t hear the TV when set to others comfort level?
  • Seem to have the most trouble hearing women’s or children’s voices?
  • Complain that his or her ears are ringing?
  • Sometimes answer inappropriately to questions, as if he or she is answering a completely different question?
  • Frequently asks you or others to repeat what was said?
  • Complains that people are mumbling or their voices sound muffled?
  • Have an especially difficult time following a conversation when there is more than one communication partner?
  • Misses the doorbell or phone ringing?
  • Has a difficult time conversing with others on the phone?
  • Completely misses what you say or not even realize you are talking when one of your backs is turned toward the other?
  • Becomes annoyed because he or she can’t understand what other people are saying?
  • Feels more drained or stressed out than normal after attending social situations?
  • Asks you what was said at church, meeting or social event when you get home?
  • Withdraws from social situations because he or she is having trouble hearing?
  • Feel nervous about meeting other people, when before this wasn’t an issue?
  • Remains quiet in social situations – presumably out of fear of misunderstanding what others are saying and responding inappropriately – when this is not his or her normal disposition?
  • Have difficulty hearing in public spaces like restaurants?

Your loved one might also have some medical explanations that could make him or her more likely to have hearing loss. These include:

  • Having a family history of hearing loss.
  • Taking medications that are known to be ototoxic – that is, damaging to his or her hearing. These include everything from aspirin to chemotherapy.
  • Being exposed to very loud sounds or loud noise over a prolonged period, including in a work situation, which may indicate noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Having diabetes or heart disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, is obese, is a smoker, has thyroid or circulation problems.

Having a hearing examination with a qualified hearing expert will allow you and your significant other to ask questions about the situation regarding any hearing loss that is present. Are hearing aids appropriate? Is something medically wrong and needs to be referred to a physician who specializes in ear diseases?  For the peace of mind of you and your loved one discuss the issue calmly and then schedule an appointment for that hearing exam.

They will thank you for improving their quality of life.

26 Jan 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 2293 Views | Comments Closed

Starkey Hearing Technologies Joins Forces with Bragi, Transforming Hearable and Wearable Technology to New Heights

It was recently announced at the 2016 Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Hearing Innovation Expo that theBragi company has recently joined forces with Bragi, to revolutionize the hearing aid industry by transforming hearable and wearable technology.

Starkey’s partnership with Bragi will transform the way that customers will be able to manage their health, enjoy music and entertainment, and allow people to communicate and enhance their abilities with one another. Click here to watch a video of Bragi’s new product, The Dash.

Starkey also recently announced that Satjiv S. Chahil, a Silicon Valley based Marketing Pioneer, is set to work with the company to develop market strategies in order to expand Starkey’s position as the global leader in both hearable and wearable technology.

Starkey and Bragi plan to take hearables and wearables to new heights. “As hearing pioneers and tech design innovators, Starkey is thrilled to be working with Bragi to revolutionize the hearing aid industry and bring new technology and consumers to our hearing professionals” said Chris McCormick, Starkey’s Chief Marketing Officer.

While Bragi has the power of innovative yet discrete technology, Starkey has the knowledge of audio processing and sound perception. Together both companies will transform the world of hearable and wearable technology in 2016 and beyond.

 

 

20 Jan 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 2476 Views | Comments Closed

Quarterly check-up with Dr. Shannon Gibbons

Just like your car, hearing aids need maintenance in order to function properly. This should be done by your hearing professional every 3-4 months.

Several things will happen during your visit:

  1. Your provider will assess the overall sound quality of your hearing devices. That includes checking andcleaning your microphones, receivers and batterycontacts. They do this under magnification and can find things that you are unable to see at home.
  2. Your provider will check your ears for wax build up. Even a small amount of wax prevents the hearing aids from functioning and affects your ability to hearproperly. Wax in hearing aids is the #1 reason whyhearing aids need to be sent to the manufacturer for repair.
  3. Your provider will talk to you about how you are hearing. If necessary, they may make adjustments on the computer to ensure optimal speech understanding. Although no hearing aid can restore hearing to normal, there may be adjustments that can be made to help improve speech clarity.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 2.53.38 PM

Regular maintenance on your hearing aids can prolong their life and ensure you are hearing the best that you can. If you haven’t been in to your local hearing center within the past 3 months, call today to schedule an appointment.

Happy Hearing!

shannon

20 Jan 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 3100 Views | Comments Closed

Telehear with Dr. Kent Collins

The future is available now in your local hearing clinic. Your local office is now offering TeleHear, the world’s largest TeleAudiology program where you can consult with some of the leading experts in the field of hearing.

What are some reasons patients choose to consult on TeleHear?

  • If you know you have a hearing loss, but have some questions on treatment.
  • If you can hear, but still have issue with clarity and understanding.
  • If you have older hearing aids, and need to trade-in your devices for new technology.
  • If you struggle to understand in groups or social situation.
  • If you have issues with TV clarity.
  • If you have tinnitus or other medical conditions associated to your ears.

What benefits can you receive from Telehear?

Similar to how the Mayo Clinic uses teams of physicians to diagnose and treat patients, TeleHearing allows our Doctors of Audiology and hearing experts to consult with local providers to best manage patient care. Patients and their family members who have the opportunity to participate in this delivery model get the benefit of years of combined experience between our providers who specialize in hearing loss and tinnitus treatment. They also receive consultations on the most up-to-date cutting edge technology and benefit from live demonstrations of state-of-the-art hearing aids. If you have ever wanted a second opinion or just want to experience TeleHear, call your local office to set up an appointment.

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How does it work?

Very simple. You show up to your nearest hearing clinic that participates in TeleHear. If you are new to the office, or are in need of an updated hearing test, your local provider will complete a case history and hearing examination. They will send the results to our TeleHear providers who analyze the report and connect with you to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options.

To see what TeleHear can do for you, please contact your local participating provider and schedule a consult.

20 Jan 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 2330 Views | Comments Closed

Thank you from Paul Riding

Dear Valued Patients:

As we begin 2016, I want to wish all of you a happy and productive year. Our Starkey HearCare Network’s most important goal is your complete satisfaction. You are the single most important person in our business. Let’s face it — without you, we would not be here. For that reason, we have carefully designed a plan to help you along your journey to better hearing.

One aspect of this journey is our “team approach” where our staff functions together as a cohesive group of hearing professionals. We coordinate the individual expertise of all staff members to provide the best possible care for you. You may even find yourself on a Skype call or video conference with Doctors of Audiology from the factory. We work together to help you achieve the best hearing possible.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 1.53.30 PM

A close friend of mine was recently fitted with her first set of hearing aids. Her hearing had gotten to a point where it affected her quality of life and was noticed by all of us. How delighted she and her family were to have her back to her “normal” self. She even said she felt better. Her increased social interaction without the fatigue, frustration, and worry of not hearing everything had been draining her, even though her health actually remained unchanged.

“Life is Worth Hearing,” May we enjoy it to the fullest!

Paul

20 Jan 2016
Written by in Hearing Aids | 3347 Views | Comments Closed

Tinnitus 101

Tinnitus: Causes, Effects, and Relief

According to the Mayo Clinic, Tinnitus (Tin-ih-tus) is a noise or ringing in the ears that affects over 50 million Americans, roughly 1 out of 5 people.

 Common symptoms of Tinnitus include:

  • Ringing.
  • Roaring.
  • Buzzing.
  • Humming.
  • Clicking.
  • Hissing.

Tinnitus is typically caused by: 

  • Loud noise exposure: loud music, construction sites, explosions, hunting weapons such as rifles and pistols, etc.
  • Smoking.
  • Gender: Men are more likely to experience Tinnitus than women, although all ages can be affected.
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Everyday household appliances: Hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc.
  • Ear wax blockage: When too much ear wax accumulates, it becomes hard for your ear to wash it away naturally, causing irritation to the ear drum and possibly even hearing loss-both which can lead to Tinnitus.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Hearing loss is a common cause of Tinnitus and age-related hearing loss typically begins around the age of 60.
  • Changes to your ear bone structure.

There are also several more complex causes of Tinnitus which include but are not limited to: head and neck injuries or tumors, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, turbulent blood flow, malformation of capillaries, acoustic neuroma, TMJ disorders, Meniere’s disease, and several medications.

There are two main types of Tinnitus:

  • Subjective Tinnitus: This is the most common type of Tinnitus where only you can hear the noises occurring. It is typically caused by exposure to excessive loud noise, which damages the hair cell nerves. The severity of this form ranges from patient to patient.
  • Objective Tinnitus: This form is more rare than Subjective Tinnitus. Your hearing professional is typically able to hear these noises by using a stethoscope or listening very closely next to your ear canal. This form is usually caused by a blood vessel problem, muscular contraction, or an inner ear bone condition.

Why should I get tested?

Because Tinnitus can affect your quality of life, and can lead to many internal issues such as,

  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Depression.
  • Memory problems.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Employment challenges.

How do I get tested?

  • Schedule a free appointment with one of our licensed hearing professionals by clicking, here!
  • Be prepared to tell your licensed hearing professional about:
    • Your signs and symptoms.
    • Your medical history and the medications that you are currently taking.
    • Anything else that you believe may be linked to this disease-from there your specialist will likely ask you a series of questions to get a better understanding of your symptoms. They will then proceed to conduct tests that they believe are necessary in diagnosing the degree of your Tinnitus.

What are the next steps if I am diagnosed?

  • Sound Therapy: This counter balances Tinnitus with comforting sound stimulus, available in Starkey HearCare locations.
  • Hearing aids: Hearing aids are a very common relief for those suffering from Tinnitus. They compensate for hearing loss which enables you to focus more on external noises instead of the internal ringing.
  • Earwax removal: This can decrease symptoms and allow less irritation to the ear drum while opening up the ear canal.
  • Counseling and Medication: If the medication you are taking may be causing symptoms of Tinnitus, your professional may suggest you switch medications or provide you with alternative options.
  • White noise machines: These devices can often be an effective treatment for more mild forms of Tinnitus. They cover up the ringing noises in your ears, especially when you are trying to sleep by distracting your mind.

How do I prevent getting diagnosed with Tinnitus or having it worsen? 

  • Use hearing protection: Especially if you have exposure to constant loud noise.
  • Take care of your heart and overall well-being: Cardiovascular health affects the entire body-Regular exercise and eating right is recommended!
  • Confirm that your medication is not causing damage to your ear-consult with you local hearing provider about this.

If you have tried other Tinnitus relief options without success, or are finally ready to stop letting the ringing in your ears take over your life, you owe it to yourself to give us a call today!