Hearing Loss in Today's Millennials

If you believe that loss of hearing is an issue for the wrinkly, grey, or balding generation, then you better think again. Age is not the primary factor for damaged hearing; it is noise exposure. With the current generation of millennials perpetually hooked onto their earbuds, is it any wonder why many of these young people are plagued with noise-induced hearing loss?

Hart Hearing - Hearing Loss in Today's Millennials.jpg

Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Younger Generations

The damage to the eardrums stemming from audio at unacceptable decibel levels is expanding in rapid proportions among younger Americans, especially in the teens and 20s category. Noise comes from many forms such as sounds from heavy traffic, rock concerts, sporting events, noisy restaurants, loud clubs or bars, and super loud music from headphones. 

Research indicates that in the 12 to 19 years old category, 17% already exhibit noise-induced hearing loss in one or both ears. To make matters even worse, many of them do not know that their sense of hearing has been affected. This group already had an inability to detect and hear high-pitched sounds.

That being said, there are government regulations in place to protect workers from a too noisy environment. This ensures hearing loss prevention is enforced while they are doing their job. Ironically, however, there are no rules and laws regarding the protection of society from elements that are too noisy. And it gets noisier with each passing year!

Protected parks and animal sanctuaries do not receive any reprieve from this noisy destruction. Noise pollution emanating from a loud volume of traffic and logging and drilling sounds has only multiplied and drowned out the calming sounds of nature like the meandering stream and chirping birds.

Sadly, many young people do not realize that hearing loss is permanent. Once you lose your hearing, you can no longer get it back. When the loud noise ravages the sensitive cells in your inner-ear, then they are gone for good and they do not regenerate again. You can only hope that the damage isn’t too severe, so you won’t get total hearing loss.

Harmful Hearing Practices

Teens ought to know that they have to be more careful and vigilant when it comes to using their headphones because the damage is cumulative. This means that the more the ears are exposed to loud noise, the more cells die leading to a hearing impairment.

The reason why millennials are the likely target of this hearing loss is that the newly invented earbuds sit closer and more deeply into the ear. This is in contrast to the low-tech “Walkman” earphones in the olden days. Add high quality digital sound that offers super pierce audio stylings, then you have indeed got a recipe for disaster.

Earbuds alone are not to blame, however. The younger generation has turned into using them to drown out an already noisy environment. It is used as a shield to tune out noise is a bus or subway. Some use it while mowing the lawn to fight the boredom. Many don’t realize that noisy environment plus noisy earbuds are both a recipe for disaster.

For these youngsters that are in the early years of their life, it is critical to practice hearing loss prevention. If you want the teenagers in your circle to reach the pinnacle of their life with the sense of hearing, then consider following these important tips. 

Tip #1: Turn Down the Volume

Make it a habit not to crank the volume up too much, especially in an outdoor setting. You also want to have an awareness of your environment, so if there are problems, you can address them right away. Be sure to keep the volume to max of 50. Any higher than that could be harmful to your hearing. 

Tip #2: Noise-Canceling Headphones

Often, people turn up the volume to block out the noise in the surroundings. This could be extremely harmful to your hearing. Instead, go for a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These block out external noise so you don’t have to crank up the volume on your headset.

That being said, it is not recommended to wear noise-canceling headphones when you’re out and about. Be cautious of your surroundings. When you’re outside, you have to be alert to the oncoming sounds, so ditch the headphones until you’re settled in a safe place.

Tip #3: Use Ear Plugs

When the noise becomes too unbearable, plug your ears. It is critical to protect them at all possible cost because once you lose your sense of hearing it is gone forever. For too loud concerts, these are a must. You still get to enjoy the music, but you are not putting your hearing at risk for a night of fun.

Tip #4: Limit Exposure

Fitness classes, clubs, concerts, and other places with loud music can become overwhelming. It is important to use hearing protection, and it’s also important to remember that you can take breaks from the noise. Move out of the line of the speakers and find a quiet place to “rest” your ears.

Hearing specialists recommend following the 60-60 rule: no more than 60% volume for 60 minutes at a time. 

Visit Us at Hart Hearing

Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. If you have noticed changes in your hearing, or if you want to establish healthy hearing practices early with a baseline test, it’s important to get your ears checked. It is useless to be in denial because the longer you wait, the bigger the damage will be! Don’t wait until it’s too late – schedule a hearing exam with us at Hart Hearing & Balance Centers today. 

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month! Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), in partnership with Alzheimer’s associations around the world, uses this month to raise awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease among seniors and to fight the stigma that surrounds Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases. The ADI provides support to those with Alzheimer’s and their families, and advocates for policy changes to draw more attention to brain health. If you’ve been worried about your brain health, learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, and how treating your hearing loss could be the key to keeping your brain strong.

Advantages of Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Hart Hearing - Advantages of Rechargeable Hearing. A hand holding a set of rechargeable hearing aids.

Hearing aid technology has changed a lot in the last ten years. Most hearing aids these days are wireless devices that can connect to your smartphones. Hearing aid wearers can now stream phone calls and listen to music straight from their smartphones without wires to their hearing aids. Some are even leveraging the power of machine learning. 

In addition to these conveniences, hearing aids are also driven by very quick processing platforms which enables wearers the ability to understand speech in challenging environments more easily that ever before.

Like many mobile devices of ours, to perform these tasks, hearing aids use up a lot of energy. This results in increased battery consumption, opening up a fresh set of issues for users of hearing aids. Consumers have called for a more sustainable option, and manufacturers have responded with reliable, rechargeable hearing aids!

The limits of traditional disposable batteries

The small size and versatility of disposable zinc-air batteries have made them the battery of choice for the majority of hearing aids. In the past, these batteries did not need to be replaced as frequently because they did not boast the wireless and digital capacities now available. 

However, traditional zinc air batteries aren't as long-lasting as they once were with newer hearing aid models, as these tend to carry more sophisticated technology. Battery changes now need to happen a a few times a week rather than once a month. 

This creates a sense of unease every time the wearer leaves the house with their hearing aids. Rather than knowing that their hearing aids will keep working throughout the day, they need to remember to take an additional set of batteries, just in case

Benefits of Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Rechargeable hearing aid solutions in hearing aids have been around in some form for the past decade, but it’s only been with the recent introduction of lithium-ion batteries that the technology has finally come into their own. Rechargeable hearing aids are now as easy to use and charge as your smartphone or tablet.

Here are some of the benefits of lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids. 

  1. No Extra Costs

    Once you move to rechargeable batteries, you no longer have to contend with the trouble of purchasing hearing aid batteries. Last-minute online purchases or pharmacy trips are not required. Just pop your hearing aids into the charger every night. 

  2. They’re more durable

    Most rechargeable hearing aids don't have a battery door. Since many rechargeable alternatives have a unibody, there is less chance that humidity, dust and debris will corrupt the hearing aid. With rechargeable hearing aids, they are less likely to be sent out for repair. 

  3. An overnight charge for all-day listening

    Hearing aids are merely removed from your ears before bed and put overnight in the charging docket. In the morning, they are fully charged and ready for an entire day's use. On average, depending on your use of wireless streaming, a six to eight-hour charge gives 16 to 20 hours of hearing, so you will have enough energy to last the whole day.

  4. A better choice for the environment

    You throw out two batteries every few days or once a week if you wear two hearing aids powered by disposable batteries. Since these batteries are not recyclable, if incorrectly disposed of, they run the risk of depositing lead and acid into underground water supplies and becoming a threat to the environment. Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, will continue to work throughout the hearing aid's life. For the entire lifespan of your hearing aid, only one battery needs to be used.

  5. Easier to handle

    Some consumers of hearing aids do have restricted motor skills may find it difficult to open the casing to change a battery. These batteries are tiny which makes them easy to fall and lose sight of. This can be a real safety hazard if small children or pets are around. This tricky routine is entirely avoided with rechargeable hearing aids. They are very easy to charge and will likely require no battery changes for the life of the hearing aid.

Hart Hearing & Balance

For those who want to know more about rechargeable hearing aid options, contact us today. We offer many of the leading models of rechargeable hearing aids and will help you choose the right model for you. Contact us today at 585-266-4130 to schedule a consultation. 

Hearing Aids Keep You Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy

For people with hearing loss, the numbers show that not enough of us are wearing hearing aids. Of those aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, only one in three have ever used them. The number is even smaller for those who are younger – only a fifth of adults aged 20 to 69 whose condition requires hearing aids has ever used them. 

Hart Hearing - Hearing Aids Keep You Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy. An old couple sitting on the side of a pool splashing in the water.

There are several reasons why people might be reluctant to treat their hearing loss immediately. Some have misguided ideas about the way they look, and hearing loss still unfortunately carries with it an air of stigma, though that is changing. But by being aware of the benefits that hearing aids can provide, those who could benefit from them might be persuaded to finally take control of their hearing health. 

A new and extensive scientific report has discovered a multitude of benefits to wearing hearing aids across many areas of life. The study was head-authored by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield who works at Brunel University in London. 

How they make you happier

This research found that untreated hearing loss can make the sufferer become less socially engaged which put that person in danger of loneliness, social isolation and even depression. 

This all changes with the use of hearing aids. They aren't as exhausted, sleep better, and enjoy improved family ties. By helping reduce the danger of social isolation, hearing aids help the wearer stay connected and stay happier as a result. 

How they make you healthier

They are also more inclined than those with ordinary hearing to have other long-term diseases and there has also been a recent connection between hearing loss and dementia. 

An explanation for this link might be found in the tendency of untreated hearing loss to discourage physical activity. Those who suffer from hearing loss may make a deliberate decision to refrain from physical activity as a consequence because they are worried about injury or their hearing loss being found out. They might refrain from playing their favorite sport because it depends on them being able to understand their teammates calls from across the field. 

It’s not just a loss of physical activity though sports that might suffer, even gentle physical activity such as walking is discouraged. Untreated hearing loss reduces spatial awareness, making it appear more dangerous even to leave the house and walk around the neighbourhood or city streets. Hearing loss has been documented to increase the risk of falls and accidents when out, so it’s no surprise that hearing impaired people may feel more uneasy outside their home.

The combination of these two factors helps reduce overall physical activity of those with untreated hearing loss. But with hearing aids, they have the opportunity to improve their spatial awareness and confidence when playing sports, making it them more likely to be physically active.

How they make you wealthier

The study shows that on average, individuals with untreated hearing loss earn considerably less than individuals with regular hearing. People with untreated hearing loss are also more likely to be unemployed. Individuals suffering from hearing loss tend to retire earlier and the less competitive jobs also indicates that individuals with hearing loss have a lower average salary than those with ordinary hearing. 

By treating hearing loss then, you could help insulate yourself from the higher rates of unemployment and a lower average income associated with untreated hearing loss.

Hearing aids are an investment. They are not always covered by insurance, though more and more offer a discount or plan. Most importantly, consider the long-term financial benefits of using hearing aids. 

The treatment of your hearing loss in the long run is cheaper when compared with the long-term costs for both the individual and society of untreated hearing loss. As far as income, job, quality of life and decreased healthcare expenses are concerned, the original expenditure of hearing aids could be shrewdest investment you'll ever make.

Professor Shield agrees. In the conclusion to her paper, she notes that it is “important, for the sake of both the hearing-impaired individual, and society as a whole, that hearing loss is identified early, and appropriate treatment and support provided.”

Hart Hearing & Balance

Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of hearing aids? We have styles to fit every lifestyle and every budget. Call us today to schedule your hearing evaluation. You’ll be glad you did!

Treating Hearing Loss Keeps You Active

It is common for people to avoid treating their hearing loss, and to even cringe at the thought of wearing a hearing aid. This is due to the false notion that hearing aids somehow symbolize being “old” or will slow you down. Many of us remember the oversized, bulky hearing aids our fathers used to wear. The ones that constantly fed annoying feedback sounds and were a total eyesore. Luckily, the hearing aid industry has made leaps and bounds in both style and efficacy of hearing devices.

Hart Hearing - How Treating Hearing Loss Keeps You Active. An older couple stretching together in track suits.

In fact, treating hearing loss with today’s modern hearing aids has been found to have profoundly positive effects on many areas of life. Hearing aids can improve relationships, increase earning potential, decrease risk of cognitive decline and can even help to keep you more active for longer. If you have been putting off getting hearing aids for fear that they will slow you down or keep you from the active lifestyle you love, it’s time to call your nearest audiologist - because hearing aids can actually improve the experience of exercise and activity!

The Importance of Exercise

We all know it. Exercise is extremely important for overall health and wellbeing. It is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity or 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week. The department recommends spreading this out over the course of the week. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise includes: brisk walking, swimming, mowing the lawn, or yoga. Examples of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise are: dancing, running, or indoor cycling. It is important to remember that these numbers reflect only the minimum recommendation and the more aerobic activity you engage in the greater your overall health benefit (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916).

It is also important to include strength training exercises into your weekly routine as well. Strength training includes weight lifting, resistance training or the use of weight machines.

Regular exercise can improve your mood, control your weight, decrease anxiety, improve your sex life, improve sleep, increase energy, and can decrease the risk of diseases and health disorders such as: stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, depression, many types of cancer, arthritis, and falls.

How Hearing Aids Help

Hearing aids can help improve the experience of exercise in many ways.

Enjoy the social aspect of exercise.

For those of us who love exercising with others, hearing aids can make this experience much more enjoyable. Whether it is a Saturday morning hike with your daughter or participating in a yoga class, part of the fun is being able to hear and interact with those around you. Hearing aids are specifically designed to help you enjoy conversations and understand speech, in many different listening conditions!

Hear your music clearer.

Some of us prefer to workout solo, and many enjoy the boost of their favorite jams to keep them motivated. Some hearing aids of today are specifically designed with music lovers in mind. Many hearing aids can actually stream your music directly to your ears, and the technology within the aid will help you hear the sounds and the notes like they were intended to be heard.

Don’t worry about moisture or sweat.

Hopefully, the exercise you do will have you work up a sweat. This can be scary for many hearing aid wearers. Luckily, there are numerous hearing aids on the market with very high IP ratings, meaning they are quite resistant to damage from moisture or debris. Feel liberated to work up that sweat worry free!

Say goodbye to feedback from wind noise.

Some enjoy outdoor exercise such as cycling, running, or kayaking. Oftentimes noise from wind during these activities can cause feedback and annoyance with hearing aids. Luckily, there are now hearing aids that are specifically targeted for those who live an active lifestyle. Many of these aids now employ wind resistance technology, that helps to block wind noise and greatly reduces feedback.

If you think you may be experiencing some of the early signs of hearing loss, reach out to our friendly team at Hart Hearing & Balance today. We look forward to working with you.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Did you know that every May the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) hosts Better Hearing and Speech Month? This annual celebration of the overwhelmingly positive benefits of seeking treatment for speech and hearing related issues has been happening since 1927.

Hart Hearing Henrietta, NY. Communication Across the Lifespan - Better Hearing & Speech Month. Colorful cartoon people celebrate with speech bubbles above their heads.

On top of raising awareness about general issues surrounding speech and hearing as well as the benefits of treatment, each year ASHA also assigns a theme to Better Hearing and Speech Month. This year, the theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan”. Although we all know it, we don’t always take the time to recognize how incredibly important healthy communication is. This is true whether we are 4, 19, 40, or 90.

This year, join us in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month, and “Communication Across the Lifespan” by celebrating success stories of people of all ages who decided to treat their hearing loss and enjoy the benefits of improved hearing.

Meet Maggie: Treatment Started at 20 Months

Maggie’s mom began noticing issues in her child’s communication skills when she was about 20 months old. Compared to a friend’s baby who was born the same day as Maggie, her communication was greatly stunted. Where she was supposed to know about 50 words, Maggie knew only 4. While she was verbal, her speech was mostly sounds and gibberish. Because of this, Maggie’s parents decided to reach out to their local children’s hospital where they were connected with a team of audiologists. At this time, Maggie was diagnosed with moderate bilateral hearing loss. Maggie’s parents immediately jumped into action and began treatment for Maggie. Maggie’s individual treatment plan included hearing aids as well as enrollment in a preschool that specialized in assisting children with speech and hearing related issues.

Today, Maggie is a happy and healthy 4-year-old with average verbal skills. She is consistently meeting her developmental milestones in all areas of life. She attends a local preschool and only attends the specialized school for one speech session a week. To learn more about Maggie’s story visit: https://www.chop.edu/stories/hearing-loss-maggies-story

Meet Alanna: Treatment Started at 21 Years

Although Alanna knew about her hearing loss since she was a child, she was not fitted for hearing aids until she was 21 years old. She did not let this hold her back. Alanna was diagnosed as a child with severe bilateral hearing loss and used other interventions (such as sitting in the front of the class, after-school tutoring, and recording devices) to excel in school. Alanna says of her first-time experiencing hearing aids, “Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for how powerful or awesome the (Starkey) Halo devices would be. There’s no way someone could have told me about the quality of sound or the ease with which they pair — not just with the iPhone, but with my life. Now I feel like the bionic woman!”

Alanna is now a Renowned New York yoga instructor, one of Yoga Journal's top 21 teachers under 40, founder of The Kaivalya Yoga Method, a published author and a Ph.D. student. She attributes much of her success to her amazing support from her mother, her love of music, and her deciding to treat her hearing loss with hearing aids. To read more about Alanna’s story visit: https://www.starkey.com/blog/2014/06/The-Halo-Effect-Alannas-Story

Meet Gary: Treatment Started in Mid-60s

Gary is a New York native who began experiencing hearing loss about 15 years prior to receiving proper treatment. He attributes his bilateral high-frequency hearing loss to the time he served in the military, where he was exposed to loud noises such as close-range jet engines. He was fitted with multiple hearing aids before finding the right solution for him. He recognized that there would be an adjustment period for hearing aids, and says it took him a little while to fully adjust to hearing all the sounds of life again.

He says his most memorable moment since getting treatment for his hearing loss was realizing he could hear the birds chirping outside again. He now loves his hearing aids and wears them from morning until night. “These hearing aids made life much more enjoyable, especially now that I can hear what my grandchildren are saying to me” he said. To read more about Gary’s story, visit: https://www.starkey.com/blog/2016/09/Starkey-Hearing-Aid-Success-Story

Visit Us at Hart Hearing & Balance

These are just three of hundreds of thousands of hearing aid success stories. At Hart Hearing & Balance, we would love to help you create your own success story. What a better time than Better Hearing and Speech Month to reach out to us to schedule your hearing consultation and take your first step towards better hearing and an improved quality of life?

Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

As an invisible disability, hearing loss can sometimes go ignored. Oftentimes, hearing impairments go ignored for years or even decades - even by the person experiencing it. Once hearing loss is accepted and addressed, it can still be downplayed or disregarded, even by the people that are closest to us. Hearing can be exhausting and daunting with hearing loss. If someone you love may have hearing loss, it is important to understand these things that people with hearing loss wish everyone knew.

Hart Hearing - Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew.jpg
  1. Hearing loss is tiring.

    When you have a hearing loss, hearing, listening, understanding and communicating can be extremely difficult. Even with advanced technology to help ease the task of holding conversations with multiple people in noisy environments, it still takes more brain energy for people with hearing loss to complete these tasks than those without it. Please understand that those of us with hearing loss are doing our very best, and may just need to retreat to a quieter area from time to time to regroup.

  2. We’re not rude, we’re not ignoring you, and we are certainly not stupid.

    With hearing loss, it is possible to miss the topic of conversation from time-to-time or misunderstand and therefore inappropriately reply. This is not because we are stupid or unable to communicate; it simply means we misheard a key part of the conversation. Also, if we do not respond to your quiet greeting or “excuse me”, we are not being rude or ignoring you, we just did not hear what you said.

  3. We do not need anyone to speak for us.

    We understand that most of the time this comes from a place of sincerity, however, we are not children or incapable. If someone asks a person with hearing loss a question that they did not hear, do not simply answer the question for us. Instead, repeat the question to us or let us ask the person to repeat their question so we can properly answer in our own words.

  4. Hearing aids aren’t the same as glasses.

    Unfortunately, the auditory system is extremely complex and hearing aids have not reached the same level of intervention for those with hearing loss and glasses have reached for those with vision impairments. With glasses, once they are on one’s face he or she can most often see as well and as effortlessly as those without vision loss. With hearing aids, the story is not quite the same. Hearing aids make listening and communicating with hearing loss significantly easier; however, that does not mean that it is as effortless as those without hearing loss. We often still require some modifications and a few more reputations than those without hearing loss.

  5. Very small actions on your part can make a big difference for us.

    Everyone with hearing loss will have their own tips and tricks that work best to help them better understand conversations. For most people with hearing loss, it is important not to try to communicate from a different room or from a very far distance. Most people do better when they can see your lips and facial expressions when you are communicating with us. Some people with hearing loss have one ear that is “better” and prefer to be spoken to on their stronger side. If someone you know or love has a hearing loss, take the time to ask them what accommodations you can make to help better communicate with them.

  6. We’re doing our best, and are truly interested in what you have to say.

    We understand that sometimes it can feel as if we are not listening. Please know that we are doing our best to hear and understand you and if we ask you to repeat yourself, it is because we care about what you are saying and want to fully understand you - not because we were haphazardly listening!

If you think you may be experiencing some changes in your hearing, please reach out to our friendly team at Hart Hearing & Balance today. Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids has been proven to be an extremely effective method to help ease frustration during conversations and help bring you closer to those you love.