You’ve bought the tickets, you have everything packed, all the plans are booked and you even have extra leg room on the plane! It feels like your whole vacation is in order and then it hits: ear discomfort on take off.
Discomfort can often last for a split second or maybe a minute or two, but what happens when it lasts for longer? Regardless of the discomfort’s length, it’s never fun to be thousands of feet in the air and not finding a quick solution to alleviate the temporary pain. So what’s really going on when you have ear pains in airplanes?
Most commonly felt during ascending and descending, ear pain is caused by an unequal balance of air pressure inside the inner ear and outside. Air pressure is higher closer to the ground. So when an airplane begins to land, the landing is quicker than the time your ears have to adjust to the pressure. A rapid change in altitude doesn’t allow enough time for the inner and outer pressure to equalize, causing a tightening feeling and a muffled hearing sensation.
If you begin to feel the tightening and muffled hearing sensation during take off or landing, you should try some of the following to alleviate discomfort:
- Yawning or swallowing to try and “pop” your ears
- Such on hard candies or chew on gum
- “Equalize” your ears by pinching your nose, inhaling through your mouth, and slightly exhale through your nose (which you won’t be able to do due to the plugged nose) until you feel a “pop”
If you are sick, sometimes these sensations can be prolonged and intensified. If your symptoms do not go back to normal a day or two after flying, you should contact your local audiologist for a consultation. Center for Hearing is here to help if this occurs as well as provide additional information regarding ear and hearing care.
4300 Rogers Ave. Suite #15
Fort Smith, AR 72903
When was the last time you’ve sat down and completed a comprehensive hearing evaluation? Was it in middle school when you, and the rest of your peers, were required to have it done? If so, it might be time to schedule an appointment to have your hearing checked.
The Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare
Professionals (AIHHP) recommends the following guidelines for evaluation
- 18 to 44 years old → Every five years
- 45 to 59 years old → Every three years
- 60 years plus → Every two years
There is a large misconception that hearing loss is only caused by old age, however, it can be caused by many different things. One of the leading causes is repeated exposure to damaging-level noise through headphones, inside concert venues, and/or sporting events. In order to accurately monitor your hearing health, it is best to have an exam in your early twenties so there is a baseline record for the years to come. Having this evaluation done between 18 and 29 years old will serve as your Baseline Audiogram** in which your audiologist can refer back to in the years to come.
Along with having routine evaluations, additional
hearing tests might be needed if you experience a shift in your hearing
ability. Below are some instances that might indicate the need to schedule an
- You have trouble understanding all
the words people say
- You often need people to repeat
- You don’t always hear the entirety
of the joke and wonder what people are laughing at
- You believe that people mumble too
If you answered “that’s me!” to any of the situations above or haven’t had a hearing evaluation in a while, it’s time to make an appointment. Contact Center for Hearing through our online form or give us a call today!
**A Baseline Audiogram is a hearing test that is used as a reference to track changes in a person’s hearing over time. Every year an audiogram is performed it will be compared to the baseline audiogram to identify any possible change in hearing.
Center For Hearing
4300 Rogers Ave. Suite #15
Fort Smith, AR 72903
Regular cleaning and proper care are important to ensure your hearing aids work properly and continue to work properly through the years. Healthy Hearing’sarticle on Cleaning your Hearing Aids and Starkey Hearing’s post on the Do’s and Don’ts of Hearing Aid Care provide great tips for proper hearing aid cleaning and care.
Hearing Aid Cleaning and Care Do’s
Starkey Hearing suggests DOING the following:
- “Wear your hearing aids every day, for at least 10 to 12 hours a day.”
- “Open the battery door of hearing aids every night to let the device air out and extend the life of the batteries.” In addition, Healthy Hearing suggests removing hearing aid batteries and brushing the battery compartment with a cleaning brush every night.
- “Clean your hearing aids every morning by wiping off the microphone and receiver (speaker) with a soft cloth.”Healthy Hearing suggests cleaning your hearing aids every night before bedtime as well.
- “Have spare batteries with you at all times.”
- “Contact your hearing health care professional with any questions or concerns.”
Another “do” that Healthy Hearing suggests, is get the proper tools for at-home cleaning. Ask your hearing healthcare professional which tools are best for cleaning your hearing aid. A few common hearing aid cleaning tools that come in handy include:
- Hearing aid cleaning brush: Great for cleaning “the body, faceplate or sound port of a hearing device.”
- Wax pick and wire loop: Used for safely removing earwax and debris from inside hearing aid openings.
- MultiTool: A great all-in-one cleaning tool.
Hearing Aid Cleaning and Care Don’ts
Starkey Hearing suggests NOT DOING the following:
- “Don’t wear your hearing aids in the shower or while swimming.”
- “Don’t let others wear your hearing aids.”
- “Don’t apply hair spray, gel or dry shampoo while wearing your hearing aids.”
- “Don’t store your hearing aids in the bathroom.”
- “Don’t try to repair your hearing aids yourself.”
Healthy Hearing lists a couple other things you should avoid, including:
- Avoid cleaning hearing aids with wipes that have chemicals or alcohol in them, which could damage the hearing aids.
- Avoid leaving your hearing aids in extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures.
While you should have your hearing aids cleaned regularly by your hearing care professional, practicing proper cleaning and care on a daily basis will help keep your hearing aids working as well as they should, for as long as they should. If you have any questions about proper cleaning and care, or if yourhearing aid isn’t working properly, the audiologists at Center for Hearing canhelp. Contact us and make an appointment today!
While data varies, Healthy Hearing’s article, “Hearing Loss in Children” lays out some statistics based on various studies reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- “Roughly 1.4 babies per 1,000 newborns have a hearing loss.”
- “Five out of every 1,000 children are impacted by hearing loss, with cases being diagnosed between ages three and 17.”
- “At least 12.5 percent of children and adolescents ages six to 19 have suffered permanent damage to their hearing due to excessive noise exposure.”
The CDC list some of the signs to look out for in babies and in children that may indicate he or she has hearing loss:
Signs in Babies
- Does not startle at loud noises.
- Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
- Does not say single words, such as ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ by 1 year of age.
- Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
- Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
Signs in Children
- Speech is delayed.
- Speech is not clear.
- Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
- Often says, ‘Huh?’
- Turns the TV volume up too high.
A delay in any speech and hearing milestones could also be a sign of hearing loss. Visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) speech, language, and hearing development page to learn more.
According to Healthy Hearing’s article, there are several possible causes for both congenital hearing loss (present at birth) and acquired hearing loss (occurs after birth). About 25% of congenital hearing loss cases are caused by non-genetic factors, while “genetic factors cause more than 50 percent of all hearing loss in children, whether the loss is present at birth or manifests later in life.”
ASHA’s article, “Effects of Hearing Loss on Development” lists four major ways in which hearing loss affects children:
1. “It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).”
2. “The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.”
3. “Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-regard.”
4. “It may have an impact on vocational choices.”
According to ASHA, “The earlier the problem is identified and intervention begun, the less serious the ultimate impact.” If you think your child may have hearing loss, it is important to have your child’s hearing tested immediately. The audiologists at Center for Hearing specialize in hearing treatment for both adults and children. Contact us to make an appointment today so we can help find the right treatment for your child.
Vital Signs, a monthly report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides information about important health threats. One of the important health threats Vital Signs has covered is a noise-induced hearing loss. To give you an idea of just how common noise-induced hearing loss is, take a look at some of the statistics highlighted in the report:
- “Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the US.”
- “About 40 million US adults aged 20-69 years have a noise-induced hearing loss.”
- “Almost twice as many people report hearing loss as report diabetes or cancer.”
Exposure to Loud Noises, In and Out of the Workplace, can Cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
According to the CDC, “People may not know that activities away from work can damage hearing just as much as noise on the job.” Extended exposure to noises over 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing damage. Several common noises are over the 85-dB limit, including leaf blowers, sporting events, rock concerts, and sirens.
- “More than 1 in 2 US adults with hearing damage from noise do not have noisy jobs.”
- “About 53% of people ages 20-69 who have hearing damage from noise report no on-the-job exposure.”
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss can be Prevented
Some kinds of hearing loss can’t be prevented, but a noise-induced hearing loss can. Yet, “About 70% of people exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection.” So, what can you do to prevent noise-induced hearing loss? The CDC encourages everyone to protect their hearing by:
- Avoid noisy places whenever possible.
- Wear earplugs, protective earmuffs, or noise-canceling headphones when near loud noises.
- Keep the volume down when watching TV, listening to music, and using earbuds or headphones.
- Ask your doctor for a hearing checkup and how to protect your hearing from noise.
Many people don’t even realize they have hearing loss. The CDC says, “About 1 in 4 US adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage.” So, even if you think your hearing is fine, it is good to get your hearing checked. Take five minutes and take Starkey Hearing’s free online hearing test.
Take it from the CDC- noise-induced hearing loss is an important health threat, and “continual exposure to noise can cause stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other health problems”. Make an appointment at Center for Hearing to get your hearing checked, learn about hearing protection, and get the treatment you need.
According to Healthy Hearing’s article What Surgeries can Correct Hearing Loss?, “Currently, surgeries for hearing loss can only correct very specific losses while people with the most common types still benefit the most from simply wearing hearing aids.”
The article looks at a few surgeries that are available for different types of hearing loss, and explains how they work and who they may benefit:
Type of hearing loss: Sensorineural hearing loss
Ideal candidates: Adults and children with severe sensorineural hearing loss who have tried hearing aids without success. It is a highly invasive and costly surgery and therefore reserved for the few with the most severe hearing loss.
How it works: “A cochlear implant bypasses the damaged part of the auditory system to directly stimulate the auditory nerve.”
Pressure Equalization (PE) Tubes
Type of hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss
Ideal candidates: Toddlers, children, and adults who suffer from chronic ear infections. It “may also be recommended to correct hearing problems associated with malformed eardrums or Eustachian tube, Down Syndrome or cleft palate”. This is an outpatient procedure and frequently performed.
How it works: “Tiny cylinders are placed through the eardrum by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon in order to allow air into the middle ear.”
Type of hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss
Ideal candidates: People with Stapedial otosclerosis, which causes conductive hearing loss. Note that this surgery is not for those with Cochlear otosclerosis, as it causes sensorineural hearing loss.
How it works: “A surgical procedure which implants a prosthetic device designed to bypass abnormal hardening of the bone tissue in the middle ear.”
So yes, there are surgeries for hearing loss. However, the surgeries available only help a small percentage of people. If you aren’t among that small percentage, don’t worry- there are all kinds of hearing aids available that can help you hear better and live better.
We can help find the best treatment option for you at Center for Hearing. Contact us to make an appointment today!
New research from the Ohio State University gives further evidence as to why it is important for young people to protect their hearing now.
As explained in the OSU news article, lead researcher Yune Lee and his team recruited a group of men and women ages 18 to 41. The research team monitored the participants’ brain function while they listened to sentences that varied in difficulty, so some sentences would be harder to comprehend.
Researchers were surprised to find that participants who had subtle hearing loss showed activity in the right frontal cortex of the brain, which “shouldn’t be happening until people are at least older than 50,” Lee said.
“Lee said he is concerned that tapping into the right brain so early in life could mean worse hearing comprehension with age,” and “he’s especially worried about the link between hearing loss and dementia.”
Subtle Hearing Loss in Young People
Listening to loud noises for long periods of time is a common risk factor for hearing loss in young people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events.”
What You Can Do
The WHO encourages young people to protect their hearing by:
- Turning down the volume
- Wearing earplugs at noisy venues
- Use carefully fitted, noise-cancelling earphones/headphones
- “Limit the time spent engaged in noisy activities by taking short listening breaks and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour.”
- Use smartphone apps to monitor safe listening levels
- Get regular hearing check-ups
Most young people with subtle hearing loss probably aren’t even aware of it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real threat to both their hearing and brain function, so start protecting your hearing now. If you have any questions about how you can better protect your hearing, or if it’s time for a hearing check-up, contact Center for Hearing.
Three Basic Parts of a Hearing Aid
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) explains how the basic parts of a hearing aid work: “A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.”
Visit NIDCD’s page on hearing aids for more information.
Types and Styles of Hearing Aids
An article by Healthy Hearing goes over the different Hearing Aid Types and Styles that are available. There are two main styles of hearing aids: In-the-Ear (ITE) and Behind-the-Ear (BTE) and there are multiple sizes available in each style.
In-the-ear (ITE) Styles: “Worn in the ear and are usually custom-fit, based on an impression that is taken by the hearing care professional at the time of the hearing aid consultation.”
- Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) or completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
- Low profile hearing aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) Styles: “Sit behind or on top of the outer ear with tubing that routes the sound down into the ear canal via a custom-fit earmold or an ear tip that doesn’t block the entire ear canal opening.”
- Mini BTE hearing aids with slim tubes and tips
- Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids
- BTE hearing aids with earmolds
Read Healthy Hearing’s article for more information about each style and the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as a flowchart to help you decide which style might fit you best.
Selecting a Hearing Aid: Things to Consider
Your hearing care professional will help you find the perfect fit by assessing your hearing needs as well as talking with you about a variety of things.
Healthy Hearing’s article on Hearing Aids lists some things to consider when you and your doctor are selecting and fitting a device, including:
- Cosmetic preferences
- Social preferences
- Career demands
- Other physical challenges and dexterity issues
- Attitudes about technology
- Any needed accessories
If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, or perhaps you need to update your current device, contact us at Center for Hearing. We will work with you to help you find a hearing aid that fits your unique needs.
Research shows that there is a link between hearing loss and many other health issues and diseases.
Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension
Healthy Hearing’s article Reasons for Hearing Loss names some of the medical conditions that have a strong link with hearing loss. One of these is cardiovascular disease (CVD).
“Wisconsin researchers found that people with a history of heart disease were on average 54 percent more likely to have impaired cochlear function than adults without CVD.” Studies show that the link between the two is “all about blood flow” which is explained further in Healthy Hearing’s article Hearing Loss and Heart Disease.
Research also shows that there is a link between hearing loss and some of the factors that cause CVD including high cholesterol, obesity, and high blood pressure. As explained in a post by Starkey Hearing, hypertension (high blood pressure) can accelerate hearing loss. This is based on a study which “confirmed that hypertension does effect hearing by accelerating the degeneration of the ‘hearing apparatus’ due to aging.”
Healthy Hearing’s article Hearing Care is Health Care talks about the strong link between diabetes and hearing loss: “According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as those who do not have the disease.”
Why? “Researchers suspect the high glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the blood vessels in the inner ear.”
Chronic Kidney Disease
The same article explains the findings of a study done on the link between chronic kidney disease and hearing loss: “An Australian research team discovered older adults with moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a higher prevalence of hearing loss than those without CKD. Of the 2,900 participants in the study age 50 and older, more than 54 percent of the participants with CKD reported some level of hearing loss, compared to 28 percent of participants without the disease.”
Why? “Researchers believe this is because of structural similarities between tissue of the inner ear and that of the kidney.”
Other Medical Conditions and Diseases
There are several other medical conditions that are related to hearing loss as well, such as osteoporosis. Common chemotherapy medications and other ototoxic drugs have also been linked with hearing loss, and smokers are nearly two times as likely as nonsmokers to have hearing loss.
What Can You Do?
Healthy Hearing’s answer to that question is “Get Pro-active!”
First, be aware. Be aware of the link that exists between hearing loss and other health conditions. If you suffer from any of the issues mentioned, have your hearing checked regularly, and get treated if necessary.
Second, maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can prevent or reduce the risk of developing some of these medical conditions by: eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and cutting out bad habits such as smoking.
Having your hearing checked is always a good idea, but even more so if you suffer from other medical conditions. Contact Center for Hearing today!
We live in a noisy world. But did you know that many noises you hear on a regular basis could potentially damage your hearing?
Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and according to the CDC, “Noise above 85 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears.”
Common Noises Over 85 dB
The CDC lists some of the common noises with decibel levels that exceed 85 dB. Familiarize yourself with these noises and pay attention to the amount of time you would need to be exposed to that sound before it could potentially cause hearing damage. (For a more complete list, visit the CDC’s website.)
Safety depends on both the noise level and exposure time. To learn more about the relationship between noise level and exposure time, and how to determine what’s safe, visit NIOSH’s website.
What can you do?
There are easy ways to protect your hearing whenever you are exposed to dangerously loud noises for an extended period of time:
- Wear earmuffs or earplugs: Disposable earplugs are effective and cheap. Another option is custom fit musician plugs, which “provide protection while preserving music fidelity”.
- Keep the volume at a safe level
- Be aware of how long you are being exposed to loud noises and adjust accordingly to protect your hearing. Consider downloading a smartphone app that measures noise levels and schedule regular appointments with a hearing professional.
Loud noises are a part of everyday life, so it may not seem like a harmful thing. But the reality is, being around loud noises for too long can cause damage.
The audiologists at Center for Hearing can help you protect your hearing and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about noise-induced hearing loss, earplugs and protective devices. Contact us today!