Another day, another dollar, another way to be susceptible to hearing loss. Who would have thought that your everyday job could potentially be putting you at risk for hearing problems? Yes, you heard that right. Aside from a loud concert on the weekends, your JOB could also be putting you in jeopardy!
Have you ever experienced an annoying ringing sound in your ear? People will often experience this sensation after a concert, which is just short term, but others experience it all the time. This annoying ringing sound is known as Tinnitus, more commonly called ringing in the ear, can also occur in the form of buzzing, clicking or hissing. It can be caused by an exposure to loud noises such as heavy equipment, loud iPod volumes, firearms, or concerts. It can also be caused due to a head injury, ear wax blockage, excessive smoking, age, or inner ear cell damage. Inner ear cell damage is caused when the delicate hairs in the cochlea are disrupted whether from head trauma or exposure to loud sounds.
Common Types of Tinnitus:
This type of Tinnitus is the most common among those who suffer. Only the person experiencing can hear the ringing.
This type of Tinnitus is rare, but is still heard. It is caused by involuntary muscle contractions in which the ringing can be heard by an outside observer, such as a doctor.
How to Cope:
Unfortunately there is no cure for Tinnitus; however, there are some ways to minimize the effects of it!
Yes, we know this is difficult, but instead of paying attention to the ringing sound, focus your attention on other things to take your mind off it. After a while, you will get used to it and it will not be as bothersome to you.
Some people may choose to take advantage of sound therapy. This essentially is a session in which the patient will mask the ringing sound caused by Tinnitus with low levels of background or white noise. It directs the attention off of the ringing onto something else.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a key factor that you can control to help ease the discomfort of Tinnitus. Eating right and exercising regularly can go a long way!
If you or someone you know may be experiencing Tinnitus, stop by one of our offices today for a consultation and guidance on how to ease the discomfort.
Do you recall those glares you would get on those days driving around with your friends, windows down, music blasting and not having a care in the world? Those were the days. However, you may now be having some “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” thoughts when thinking about how you probably should have turned down the volume to a safer level in regards to your hearing. Although you cannot go back in time, it is better late than never to be aware of and protecting your hearing. Not only will you do yourself good, you’ll also set a good example for younger generations. Here are some easy ways to protect one of the most important of the five senses, your hearing.
1. Protect Yourself!
Noise Induced hearing loss is 100% preventable if you take the correct precautions.
This includes taking measures such as:
- Wearing hearing protection at loud events (ex. Earplugs)
- Limit your time spent near loud noises
- Turn down the volume
- Walk away and leave a significant gap between you and the source of sound
2. Get Screened
Being proactive in your own health is an important step to preventing hearing loss.
Getting a baseline test is a great way to be able to track your hearing and treat any
impaired hearing you may potentially have. Taking steps to prevention is critical so that symptoms do not worsen.
3. Eat Right!
Foods rich in the vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic Acid,
Magnesium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids all significantly aid in protecting the inner ear.
Some examples of foods that contain these small health gems are: broccoli, salmon,
potatoes, apricots, bananas, oranges and tuna.
4. Avoid Head Trauma
Believe it or not, injuries to the head can cause hearing loss if the inner or middle part
of the ear are impacted. Although the cochlea is housed in the skull and is typically fairly well protected, any trauma to the head does put it at risk.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Wear a seatbelt in the car
- Wear a helmet while riding a bicycle
- Wear a helmet while engaging in contact sports
Investigators suggest that those who engage in aerobic exercise on a regular basis are
less likely to suffer from hearing loss. Exercise allows the nerves in the body to be more productive and stimulated, including in the cochlea. So get up off your sofa and
exercise; remember, some is better than none!
It’s your annual holiday party, the room is crowded, a band is in the far corner blasting
a song and the din of conversation rises to a steady roar. You can barely hear your own thoughts when who comes over, but your boss’ husband. He has a mouthful of food and big smile on his face. He asks a question and eagerly waits for your response. You think it has something to do with Donald Trump. Hmmm. Do you take a chance and offer your political opinion on Donald Trump, do you simply nod, or do you ask him “What?” only to be faced with this same dilemma again.
There may be no easy fix, however, with a little foresight, the stress of this type of
situation can be lessened. Many social settings include music, many people and
conversations, and a whole lot of noise. Communicating in restaurants, parties etc. can be a challenge even if you don’t have hearing loss. Communication is a two way street, and by addressing both sides, perhaps these difficult situations can be made easier.
Here’s what you can do to minimize these problems:
Move away from noise origins - Look for a side room at an event, one away from the band or DJ, if that is a problem. Hearing in noise is very difficult, even with adequate hearing. Situating yourself in the corner of the room, not in the middle, may cut down on some of the extraneous noise. As a listener, cut yourself some slack, and realize you will not hear 100% of the conversation in an extremely noisy environment. Also, don’t be shy about asking someone to repeat something or speak a bit louder, especially in a party setting.
Don’t talk with your mouthful - Your mother was right! This is not only rude, but can affect speaking style and make it hard for a listener to understand. Chew, swallow, and then speak!
One conversation at a time - This may be hard for all the multi-taskers out there, but you can only really listen to one person at a time. Give your full attention to the one speaker, wait your turn before you speak, and definitely put away your phone when conversing! That not only diverts attention, but tells the speaker they are not that important.
Speak face-to -face - Shouting from across the room or speaking to the back of a head is a sure way not to be heard. Looking directly at the listener, face-to- face at eye level, is key. The sound is then directed towards the listener who can also read facial expressions in order to gather more information from the message.
Did you know that hearing loss can be linked to a mental decline in patients if it goes
untreated? The hairs in the cochlea and the brain are going into overtime in order to
hear and translate sounds. Going into overtime may be great for a football team down
by six points, but not for someone with a hearing problem. The brain gets extremely
overwhelmed by this overdrive and can become more vulnerable to cognitive decline.
Hearing loss has also been known to worsen the symptoms of dementia.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Impaired Memory
- Decreased Alertness
- Inability to Learn New Skills
- Increased Fatigue
People who suffer from impaired hearing may also experience social isolation. Every day social interactions such as meeting new people can cause anxiety. People with hearing loss may opt to avoid these situations and simply stay home where they are most comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, many solo activities such as gardening and reading books are quite enjoyable, but not when it is holding you back from social interaction. Our brains need “exercise” and the mental stimulation that comes along with social interaction. Not enough “exercise” can lead to a decline in cognitive thinking and an increased risk of dementia. One more reason why as we age, it is critical to protect your hearing and get regular screenings. Hearing aids not only help you hear, but can also improve your overall quality of life.
Since the innovation of portable music devices, the use of earbuds has been on the rise. With these tiny speakers jammed into our ears, hearing loss has become more prevalent. Despite the risks, we all continue to use them whether we are out for a jog, or passing the time on a long road trip. Here are some ways to protect your hearing while listening to music:
Do not exceed over 60-75% maximum volume
A way to gage this is, if you are unable to hear what’s going on around you, chances are you’re exceeding a safe volume!
Go by the 60/10 Rule
For every 60 minutes of listening time, give your ears a 10 minute rest, at minimum.
Instead of using earbuds that are shoved in close to your ear canal, try switching to headphones that simply rest over your ears like earmuffs. Headphones will keep your ears protected and less susceptible to hearing loss.
Turn it down
Simple as that! As hard as it may be to resist turning up the volume when your favorite song comes on, try your best to keep it at a safe level. It will only benefit you in the long run!
Remember, be smart and keep the volume at a minimum. If someone close by can hear your music, then it’s probably too loud. Your ears will thank you later!
If you know that your child is having a difficult time in the classroom due to hearing loss, early intervention is key. They may be struggling to learn grammar, word order or vocabulary, and the last thing you want is your child falling behind. By law, your child is entitled to assistive tools to aid them in the classroom. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IEP (Individualized Education Plan) allows access to the best possible education for children with any type of disability, even silent ones. They can be provided with speech language therapy, or simply more assistance in the classroom from their teacher.
Know Your Child's Needs
Reinforcing communication strategies in the classroom is critical in order to ensure success and correct learning development. Talk with your child’s teachers to create a game plan on how to better the learning outcomes for your child. After the plan is created and carried out, observe and see if your child is benefitting and making good progress.
- Have your child sit in the front of the room – This way they are as close as possible to the source of sound and knowledge, their teacher.
- Ensure that when the teacher is talking to the student, they are facing them and making direct eye contact.
- Implement a FM System or Hearing Amplification System in the classroom – These are microphones worn by the teacher which then can be wirelesslyconnected to the child’s hearing aid or cochlear implant, allowing them direct signal from the teacher.
- When watching a movie/film in class, request closed captioning for your child so if they are unable to hear, they can read the words.