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Is It “TIN-uh-tis” or “tin-EYE-tis”?

Americans love to debate how to say certain words: Is “tomato” pronounced “tuh-MAY-toe” or “tuh-MAH-toe”? Does the “ee” in “creek” sound like “sneak” or “pick”? By the 1930s, this kind of debate had become so common that it was immortalized in the song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” Now we can safely add another word to the list of popular debates: tinnitus.

If you search the web for ways to say “tinnitus,” you’ll find that dictionaries disagree, language experts disagree, and medical experts disagree, with passionate, well-reasoned defenses on all sides. How is anyone supposed to know the right answer?

At our practice, you can pronounce “tinnitus” however you’d like. Our concern is helping you get relief from your tinnitus — that persistent ringing, buzzing, or pulsing in your ears.
 

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus affects more than 50 million Americans, but not everyone experiences it in the same way. Different people hear different sounds — ringing, pulsing, screeching, hissing, static, whooshing, roaring, even ocean waves. It often accompanies hearing loss, but there are many other things than can generate tinnitus. It’s not a disease; it’s a symptom of damage to the auditory system. It can be temporary or chronic, and it is often debilitating.
 

Temporary Tinnitus

With temporary tinnitus, your auditory system has experienced some irritation, and tinnitus has resulted. Removing the irritation allows your auditory system to recover within a couple of days.

Temporary tinnitus is usually caused by:

  • Exposure to loud noise, like you’d experience at a concert
  • Taking too much ototoxic medication (medication that is toxic to the inner ear at high doses), such as aspirin
  • Obstruction of the inner ear; for example, by earwax or a foreign object

 

Chronic Tinnitus

Chronic tinnitus is just what it sounds like: The ringing, buzzing, or pulsing is permanent, and it’s present 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In many cases, it’s simply a distraction, but in others it’s debilitating.
 
Impact of Chronic Tinnitus
Chronic tinnitus can greatly affect quality of life. Those with moderate or severe tinnitus often experience:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pain
  • Economic hardship

It also affects the friends and family of those with tinnitus. The constant ringing or pulsing can make hearing difficult, so conversations can lead to frustration and irritability. If the tinnitus is accompanied — as it so often is — by sound sensitivity, then socializing at restaurants and family dinners is all the more troublesome.
 
Causes of Chronic Tinnitus
Chronic tinnitus has more foundational causes:

  • Noise-induced or age-related hearing loss
  • Head or neck trauma
  • Vestibular disorders, such as Ménière’s disease
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
  • TBI (traumatic brain injury)

 

Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for chronic tinnitus, but our patients have had success in minimizing its effects through a variety of methods, which include:

  • Sound therapy. Traditional tinnitus therapy uses a tone or a pleasant sound, like ocean waves, to mask your tinnitus.
  • Habituation. Sounds matched to your unique tinnitus are played back to you — often at levels you can’t hear — to partially inhibit your tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids. Because most cases of tinnitus are connected in some way to hearing loss, hearing aids often provide relief.
  • Combination. Many hearing aids now have built-in masking or habituation functionality, so they can address both your hearing loss and your tinnitus.

If you’d like to learn more about tinnitus, head to the Tinnitus page on our website!


Sources:
American Tinnitus Association
American Hearing Research Foundation

Posted in Tinnitus, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

On the Menu: Deaf-Friendly Restaurants

Road-tripping? Keep these 7 spots in mind!

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act improved equity and access in employment, public accommodations, services, and so much more for people living with disabilities, including hearing impairment.

Some businesses, however, go above and beyond to ensure a better experience for patrons with hearing or speech challenges.

For your summer travels, we’ve put together a quick list of restaurants that go the extra mile to ensure your hearing and communication experience is just as good as your dining experience. Keep them in mind as you plan your next road trip!

  • Molly Moon’s — Seattle, WA

    This popular ice cream stop — rhubarb cardamom sorbet, anyone? — with several Seattle-area locations includes employees trained in American Sign Language, according to a recent KOMO News story, creating a more inclusive, welcoming experience.

  • Crêpe Crazy — Austin, TX

    The deaf owners of this growing business not only rock sweet and savory crepes — caprese, Mediterranean medley, lemon zest dust, and more — but also offer easy ordering with sign language or pointing, and they make it a point to hire hearing-impaired community members.

  • Pizzabar — Newport Beach, CA

    This casual eatery close to the Newport pier offers pizza, pasta, fried calamari, and other choices galore. It also sports a sign-language-interpretation kiosk for ease of ordering, making it the first restaurant certified as deaf-friendly by the kiosk installer, Language People.

  • Starbucks Drive-Thru — St. Augustine, FL

    Customers using the drive-thru at this particular Starbucks near the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind can use the ordering screen’s two-way video, letting them communicate with a barista in sign language.

  • Mozzeria — San Francisco, CA

    Whether you’re ASL-fluent or not, you’re welcome at this pizza-and-more spot owned by a deaf couple and staffed with deaf or hard-of-hearing employees. Options for easy ordering include pen and paper, pointing, and sign language.

  • &pizza — Washington, D.C.

    The H Street location of this bustling chain sits near Gallaudet University, the renowned school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Staff, who serve a diverse population of hearing and nonhearing patrons, typically know ASL or some basics of signing.

  • Culver’s — Buffalo Grove, IL

    This local outlet of a national burgers-and-frozen-custards franchise installed a bell system at its drive-thru, letting deaf or hard-of-hearing customers alert staff if they need to pull forward and order using a menu form instead.

We applaud these businesses for going over and above to accommodate their customers’ communication needs, and we hope to see others across North America follow suit. Interested companies should connect with local resources such as audiology clinics, chambers of commerce, schools for deaf students, or sign-language-interpreting agencies for helpful tips.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • A 2003 Inclusion Solutions survey of over 6,400 people regarding drive-thru dining access and assistance found that “access is a major concern to the deaf community and others.”
  • In the same survey, nearly 80 percent of respondents with a preference would welcome call buttons to alert for help and “pull ahead to place the order in an alternative way.”

Know a deaf-friendly restaurant or two that should be on this list? Send us your recommendations!




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Dos and Don’ts for Taking Little Ones to See Fireworks

If you have a newborn in the family, here’s what you need to know about Little One’s ears and fireworks.

Every detail of your family’s Fourth has been planned to a “T,” from the neighborhood barbecue to staking out the perfect spot to watch fireworks. But there’s one more thing to do: Grab Baby’s hearing protection.

While the iconic booms and pops of fireworks come with a thrill, they also put hearing at risk — especially for little ones. From what’s too loud to where to sit and what to do, here’s what you need to know to help keep your family’s hearing healthy this Independence Day and those to come.

Most adults think that because it doesn’t bother their hearing, it won’t bother Baby’s. This isn’t necessarily true — babies hear differently than adults. Loud sounds could potentially damage infants’ hearing and hinder auditory development.

“Babies have a different way of listening to the world,” says Lynne Werner, professor of speech and hearing science at the University of Washington, in the May edition of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. “In real life, we are confronted with a variety of sounds. Somehow the adult brain takes all sounds we hear and separates them into where they are coming from, then focuses on the one we want to hear. Adults usually hear in a narrow band of sound, while babies seem to use a different approach. They don’t have the selective attention of adults, and they don’t pay attention all of the time. Instead they always seem to be listening broadband or to all frequencies simultaneously.”

What You Can Do

  • Shelter Your Ears

    Hearing protection — such as earplugs, headphones, or earmuffs — helps soften loud sounds, reducing harmful noise exposure. A good pair of earmuffs will be lightweight, durable, and adjustable. You know Little One’s habits better than we do, but we’re guessing they’ll want to take them off at first until they hear the benefits themselves. We love these because not only can they be worn to other loud events, they can also be worn on planes, and they can help children conk out during festivities if needed.

  • Keep Your Distance

    When it comes to live events, most everyone wants to be right where the action is, but staying a good distance from the show’s speakers or fireworks can go a long way toward protecting your and your loved ones’ hearing.

  • Limit Your Exposure

    Permanent hearing loss can occur even from a single exposure to loud noise, one of the most preventable causes of impairment. Take a short break from the festivities, or consider leaving a little early to give ears a helpful rest.

  • Have a Happy Fourth

    Hearing plays a critical role in a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development; a child with a hearing loss can face serious delays in speech and language processing and understanding. Early detection and intervention can minimize the negative impacts that hearing loss can have on a child and prevent developmental difficulties that stretch into adulthood. To identify children with hearing loss, and to provide intervention before the age of 6 months, each state has established an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program.


Have more questions? Contact us. We’ll be happy to help. Happy Fourth of July to you and your family!
Posted in Hearing Protection, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

Tips to Help You Live Longer With Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is linked to health conditions that can affect not only your well-being but also your life span. If you have a hearing loss, here is what you should know so you can be the happiest, healthiest you.


Your Balance

In a study published in JAMA, individuals with at least a mild hearing loss (25 decibels) lost their balance and fell more often than those with healthy hearing. There was an additional increase in the odds of a fall as hearing loss worsened; falls were about 1.4 times as likely for each 10-decibel increase in hearing loss.

The effects of hearing loss may mean that more brainpower is devoted to hearing than to balance. Posture and body control require brain activity that may be impaired due to hearing loss, throwing off a person’s balance. These distractions may increase the risk of falling.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA):

  • Falling is the No. 1 cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans.
  • Falls threaten safety and independence, and they generate enormous economic and personal costs.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
What You Can Do
Talk to Your Audiologist About Hearing Aids

In The Laryngoscope journal, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., found that they had better balance when using hearing aids compared to when they didn’t.

Senior author Timothy E. Hullar, a professor of otolaryngology, explains, “The participants appeared to be using the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance.”

Ask Your Audiologist About Your Inner-Ear Health

Responsible for our body’s balance, the vestibular system in the inner ear could be causing hearing problems as well as stability issues.

Try These Easy Practices:
  1. Stand on one leg; hold for 30 seconds each side. If that becomes easy, try doing it on a less stable surface. As you improve, challenge yourself to do it with your eyes closed!
  2. Walk heel to toe. Take 20 steps forward, heel to toe. Then walk backward, with toe to heel, in a straight line.
  3. Do yoga. Yoga helps with balance, focus, movement, and coordination by helping you to master transitions and develop your strength.

Your Gender

A recent study done by Age and Ageing looked at hearing impairment alongside incident disability and all-cause mortality in older men. It found that when compared with unimpaired men, men who had both hearing and visual impairments had a greater risk of dying of any cause, whereas men who only had a hearing loss had a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular causes than others.

The study mentioned those with hearing impairments as having a greater difficulty being mobile (problems walking/taking stairs), difficulties with activities of daily living, and difficulties with instrumental activities of daily living.

Data from the 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that hearing loss is 5.5 times more prevalent in men than in women. Male subjects who are white, older, and less educated faced significantly higher rates of hearing loss. In particular, those with high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as smokers of more than 20 years, are more likely to have a hearing loss.

What You Can Do

Being proactive about hearing loss and overall health could help decrease risks listed above.

  • If you know someone with a hearing loss, try talking to them about hearing aids.
  • If you know someone with a hearing loss, learn communication tips to help keep them engaged socially.
    • Turn down distracting music.
    • Pick a place with less background noise.
    • Talk to them in the light so they can better read lips and gestures.
    • Don’t repeat what you’re saying louder; say it in a different way and more slowly.
  • Eat right. Foods rich in folate, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fats help hearing in different ways
Talk to Your Audiologist About Hearing Aids

A study done by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and were less likely to participate in organized social activities compared to those who wear hearing aids.1


Your Diet

As mentioned above, different foods can help your hearing health. But let’s take it a step further, both literally and figuratively — getting in touch with your roots can also help establish healthy hearing and hearing habits. Regularly engaging in outdoor activities is wonderful for your social and mental well-being, and it’s great for your physical health, too. Gardening, in particular, is a wonderfully rewarding activity that takes you outside, keeps you active, and provides you with fresh, delicious food.

What You Can Do

We dug up four ways to help you get out and get growing:

  1. Visit your local gardening store to see what classes it offers.
  2. If it’s a rainy day and you still want to get outside, invite a friend along with you to explore your local nursery — and maybe even pick out a few plants!
  3. Join a community garden. This style of gardening is great if you don’t have much space in your own place. Each one is different, but many offer mentoring, specials on supplies, and other community-oriented events. If you don’t have a garden in your area, there are resources online to help get you started!
  4. Get involved at your local arboretum, or just go for a visit. Dedicated to preserving and protecting plants, it’s a great place to learn more about your local flora and, sometimes, fauna. Stay in touch online, or subscribe to its mailing list so you get all of the latest news

Not entirely sure what to grow? Try foods that are rich in folate. This B vitamin is proven to help prevent high-frequency hearing loss, which is the varying inability to perceive high-pitched sounds and consonants. Folate decreases the amount of the amino acid homocysteine in your blood by increasing the creation of red blood cells. Too much homocysteine causes hearing difficulty by reducing blood flow to the inner ear. Folate is also useful in preventing heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

Talk to Your Audiologist About Hearing Aids

If you have a hearing loss, you might miss out on hearing the neighborhood kids laughing across the fence, the buzzing of bees, or birds chirping. It’s these little moments that make the most of your experience outdoors. Hearing aids are so advanced now that they can adjust to your setting and help you hear sounds you didn’t even know you were missing.


Source:
1. Holmes, C. et al. Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation in Seniors. Seniors Research Group, The National Council on the Aging. Audiology Today. May 1999

Posted in Comorbidity, Hearing Health, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

4 Surprising Ways Better Hearing Can Help You Live Longer

In the office the other day, we were talking about segment “Today” did back in January on the benefits of working into retirement.

They cited advantages like living longer, keeping your brain fit, reducing isolation and depression, and reinforcing identity.

The more we talked about it, the more we saw parallels between working into retirement and better hearing. It’s probably no surprise to you, but healthy hearing goes hand in hand with being able to do your best at work, too!

Fun fact:

A 2007 study by the Better Hearing Institute found that workers are most affected by hearing loss during phone calls and conversations with co-workers. Conversely, nearly 7 in 10 participants reported improvements in their ability to communicate effectively when they used hearing aids. For jobs where communication is critical, treating hearing loss can pay dividends.

  1. Living Longer
  2. Researchers at Oregon State University found that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes, even when taking into account demographic, lifestyle, and health issues. The study also found that adults who described themselves as unhealthy were likely to live longer if they kept working, which indicates that factors beyond health may affect post-retirement mortality.

    • Falls: The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging confirmed that hearing loss is a significant factor in incident falls, as a mild hearing loss made patients nearly three times as likely to have reported a fall in the prior year.
      It went on to say that the effects of hearing loss require a substantial amount of your cognitive load and shared attention. Hearing loss may affect spatial awareness and where the body is in position to other objects around it. Maintaining posture and body control requires mental resources that may be impaired by hearing loss, throwing off an individual’s balance in real-world situations. Such perceptive impairment may increase the risk of falling.
    • Safety: Not being able to hear a cry for help, a warning, sirens, fire alarms, oncoming traffic, and the like puts you at a greater risk of accidents and injuries.
    • Hospitalization: Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Association of Hearing Loss with Hospitalization and Burden of Disease in Older Adults” is the first nationally representative study to demonstrate an independent association between hearing loss and increased hospitalization rates. The results were startling: Compared to individuals with normal hearing, those with at least a mild hearing loss (25 dB or more) were more likely to be hospitalized more often.

  3. Keeping Your Brain Fit
  4. Recent research has provided a wealth of new information about hearing loss and the brain, from where hearing actually happens — in the brain, not the ears — to how hearing loss can lead to issues such as dementia and depression.

    In a University of Utah longitudinal cohort study of more than 4,400 older adults, otolaryngologist and professor Dr. Richard Gurgel and his team found that subjects with hearing loss developed dementia at a higher rate than their normal-hearing counterparts. The study, published in 2014, also suggested the following:

    • People with hearing loss can experience earlier onset of cognitive decline.
    • People with hearing loss can experience greater severity of cognitive decline.
    • Hearing loss may be a marker for cognitive decline among people 65 and older.

  5. Reducing Isolation and Depression
  6. Individuals who cannot understand or hear what others are saying sometimes choose to avoid social situations entirely rather than ask others to repeat themselves — especially in situations where background noise is significant. Avoiding social outings with friends and family begins the process of social isolation that contributes to loneliness and depression — two factors that have become more common in those with hearing loss.

    Hearing aids are now able to adapt to those noisy environments, helping those who choose better hearing to have a better time.

  7. Reinforcing Identity
  8. Loss of independence is another significant reason for dissatisfaction with some aspects of life. The unwillingness to engage in social activities is one factor. People of all ages with hearing loss are also more likely to require assistance to perform regular daily activities such as preparing meals, shopping, and handling money. Individuals over the age of 70 with hearing loss are about one-third more likely to need help with shopping compared to those without hearing loss.

Posted in Comorbidity, Hearing Aids, Hearing Health | Comments closed

5 Tips to Improve Your Hearing Now

Did you know? About 360 million children and adults — more than 5 percent of the global population — have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization.

During Better Hearing Month, celebrated in May, we have the exciting opportunity to raise awareness of not only the prevalence of hearing loss, but what you can do about it. While most hearing loss can be treated with state-of-the-art hearing technology, there are simple steps you and your loved ones can take to help prevent some types of hearing impairment altogether. To celebrate 90 years of Better Hearing Month, here are five tips to help you and your loved ones take charge for better hearing every day.

1. Know the Signs

Frequently asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV, having difficulty understanding phone conversations, complaining about noise or earaches — these and other signs point to potential hearing loss. Detecting it early can reduce the risk of academic, social, physical, and other problems.

2. Curb Noise Exposure

More than 31 million Americans ages 6 to 69 have permanent hearing damage because of noise, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reducing exposure to sounds above 85 decibels, curbing use of MP3 players, and wearing earplugs even when mowing or using leaf blowers, snowblowers, and weedwackers can go a long way.

3. Partner With Your School

Teachers and administrators are critical to helping kids hear their best during the school day, with classroom seating arrangements, loop and FM systems, closed captioning, and other supportive options. They can also identify possible signs of hearing loss, such as decreased engagement and changes in grades or behaviors.

4. Keep Hearing Aids in Top Shape

If you or your loved ones are already hearing better through today’s advanced hearing technology, help keep the devices in their best shape with a professional clean and check. Also, keep extra batteries on hand at home and on the go.

5. Get a Hearing Checkup

Take the whole family for a professional hearing evaluation at least once a year, just as you would for their eyes or teeth. Timing the visits before summer camp or the new school year, for example, can help you catch any hearing difficulties before they affect your child’s learning and development.


Our experts are here to help you and your loved ones hear your best. For more tips on taking charge of your hearing health or to schedule a hearing evaluation, contact our office today.

 

Posted in Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss | Comments closed

How to Listen to Music With Hearing Aids

Traditional hearing aids are designed to help those with hearing loss better hear and understand the acoustic characteristics of speech — but not so much music. In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, celebrated during April, here are some hearing tips, tricks, and accessories for enjoying music the way the musician intended.

Speech Versus Song

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Hearing Enhancement of Gallaudet University explains the difference between speech and music: “The acoustic characteristics of music are quite different from speech, and a hearing aid that works well for speech perception may not be appropriate when listening to music. For example, the range between the softest sounds of speech (the voiceless th) and the
loudest (the vowel aw) is about 30 to 35 decibels, while even the loudest speech signal rarely exceeds 85 to 90.

“In music, the range between the softest and loudest sounds is in the order of 100 decibels, with the most intense elements, such as brass instruments, measuring as high as 120 decibels. The implication of these acoustic differences is that while typical hearing aid users may be able to comprehend speech quite well if they can hear 30 to 35 decibels of the signal across a wide range of frequencies, much more of a range isrequired when listening to music.”

Hearing Technology Now Versus Then

Basically, hearing aids are focused on accommodating higher frequencies (for speech), while music tends toward lower frequencies. While conventional or older hearing aid processing capability is not always ideal for music, technological advancements in hearing aids bridge this gap. Some of today’s high-end hearing technologies have the capability of processing speech and music very differently, affording distortion-free, high-quality sound of music for the listener.

Different Options for Listening to Music with Hearing Aids

What to Look for in Your Hearing Aids

Most of the new technology on the market today can be adjusted for music. The adjustments include:

  • Feedback-reduction systems
  • Noise-reduction systems
  • Low frequency ranges
  • Omnidirectional microphones

Be sure to describe to your hearing care professional what kind of music you enjoy, how prevalent music is in your life, and where you’re enjoying it. That will help your provider determine which technologies offer you the best listening options.

Streaming Products (Bluetooth®)

Although your hearing aids are ready to operate right out of the box once you put batteries in, there are a number of assistive technology devices that you can use in conjunction with your hearing aids. Because many of these assistive technology devices operate using Bluetooth technology, you’ll get the most out of these when you have Bluetooth hearing aids.

How the Products Work

These devices work to make your life easier. They are designed with communication and entertainment applications in mind, helping to transform your hearing aids into a personal wireless headset.

What Can I Connect to Through Streaming Devices?

The purpose of streaming products is to enhance communication in all aspects:

  • Face-to-face conversation
  • Watching TV
  • Listening to music
  • Chatting online or over the phone

 

There’s an App for That

There are countless apps that connect to your hearing aids, helping you do the things you want to do with ease.

Android or iPhone® Apps

Some apps connect your Made for iPhone® or Android hearing aids, turning them into customizable units with features that improve your listening experiences. These apps allow you to stream phone calls, FaceTime® audio, music, and sound from your television or computer using Bluetooth technology.

Your cell phone can also act as a remote control and microphone for your devices. The remote feature allows you to change the volume of your Bluetooth hearing aids quickly and easily, while the live microphone offers extra amplification to ensure that you don’t miss a moment of conversation. The microphone feature can also record, play back, and email audio as it happens.

Music Apps

Other applications allow you to remotely adjust bass and treble to make hearing in certain environments easier. They can also save those adjustments so that when you return to a specific location, your devices readjust automatically.

Wireless TV Headphones

These headphones give you a direct wireless stream from the television to your ears, therefore eliminating distracting outside noise. There is usually a volume control on the headphones that allows you to adjust the volume without affecting TV volume for other listeners. They come in two silhouettes: over-the-ear headphones and earbuds. Wireless capabilities allow you to listen from a space of your choosing without messing with cords. You may have to fend off others in your household for them because of their portability. You can hear the TV in other rooms — for example, while getting up for a drink during a commercial. Your headphones connect or pair to the TV through a radio, Bluetooth, or infrared signal. They do not work with a hearing device.

Tips for Buying:
  • Device performance may differ depending on the auditory input.
  • Check to see how long they hold a charge.
  • See if reviewers rate/describe the headphones as “comfortable” and/or “lightweight.”
  • Make sure you can listen to both the TV speakers and your headphones at the same time.
  • Check to see how far your reception reaches.
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understandother operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could cause interferencewith other devices.

 

Loop Systems

Connecting you to television, “looped” concert halls, churches, museums, and more, looping allows you to greatly reduce ambient noise and provides a better signal-to-noise ratio for auditory input via hearing aids, which act as tiny, personal audio streamers. Bypassing the need to hear the sounds in a wide-open hall removes possible technical difficulties like reverb (echoed speech) and feedback. Looping offers a hearing “shortcut,” making it easier for you to hear specific inputs in larger rooms.

Looping systems serve as wireless loudspeakers that deliver sound from a source, such as a microphone, directly to your hearing aids. The looping system works similarly to Bluetooth technology, which can be used to stream phone calls, music, and other audio from sources that are Bluetooth compatible.

Tips for Buying:
  • Your technology needs to be compatible with the telecoil in your hearing devices.
  • Check with your hearing health care provider for installation of a loop in your home, church, oroffice.

Contact us today to talk about what option is best for you. Happy listening!

iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Posted in Hearing Accessories, Hearing Aids, Hearing Loop, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

Gardening for Bird-Watchers: What to Plant

Our Favorite Plants for Bringing Sounds to the Yard!

From chirping, tweeting, and trilling to whistling, hooting, and cooing, birds can turn the quietest garden into a symphony of sounds that brighten any morning and enliven the day. We’ve put together a list of our eight favorite plants for beckoning birds or, in some cases, butterflies, which together not only bring beauty and pollinating power to the garden, but provide a wondrous treat for the ears.
 

1. Purple Coneflower

This reliable, full-sun, purple or pink perennial not only blooms long in summertime but also offers up seeds that birds love. The plant reaches up to about 3 feet high and comes back year after year with minimal care.
 

2. Fuchsia

A hummingbird favorite, this flowering plant comes in shrubs and small trees and sports intricately artful blooms. As if the gorgeous petals ranging from pink, blue, or white to orange, red, or violet weren’t enough, the plant produces edible fruit.
 

3. Crocosmia

It’s hard to go wrong with a thicket of crocosmia, a sun-loving, late-summer-blooming perennial with tubular red, orange, or yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It easily multiplies, is drought tolerant, and can rise 2 to 4 feet.
 

4. Pigeonberry

This ground-cover plant not only produces beautiful red berries that birds savor, but it easily spreads, can take moist or dry soil, offers white or pink flowers, and thrives in the shade. Winning!
 

5. Black-Eyed Susan

Count on this easy-grow perennial not only to serve up vibrant pops of orange or gold from summer to fall but also to draw birds, butterflies, and even beneficial insects. Plus, it’s hardy, low maintenance, and a sweet addition to any bouquet.
 

6. Lyreleaf Sage

A ground cover that offers up white to purple-blue flowers, lyreleaf sage gets the attention of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, a trifecta of pollinators. It can grow up to 2 feet tall with a spread of 1 to 2 feet.
 

7. Lavender

With its enchanting scent, prized purple blooms, and uses in everything from soaps, lotions, and remedies to art and food, lavender is legendary. Pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bumblebees love it, too.
 

8. Trees

Birds and trees go together like honey and tea, so it’s no wonder that trees in general would earn a spot on our list of faves. They make for great perching and offer habitat for raising chicks, hunting prey, and hiding from predators.
 

Remember, some plants may not work for every climate or region, so be sure to check with your local agricultural extension agency or other farming and gardening resource for the right plants to bring the sounds of birds and butterflies to your yard.


Got a few favorites of your own for attracting birds and other musical wildlife to the garden? Let us know! Share your suggestions on our Facebook page.

 

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3 Nutritious Recipes That Support Healthy Hearing

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to try out these nutritious, hearing-healthy recipes.

March is National Nutrition Month — ready to decorate your plate with something festive and fresh? We’ve brought together some nutrient-rich recipes packed with foods that provide a solid foundation for hearing health.
 
Sweet Potatoes (2)

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Research shows those with diabetes are more likely to have a hearing loss. This recipe with sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and beans is perfect for those with diabetes or those concerned about hearing health.
 
Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (four-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and drained white beans
  • 6 cups spinach, trimmed and cut into ribbons
  • Juice of 1/4 orange
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Start the beans and greens 15 minutes before potatoes are done. In a wide, deep saucepan with a cover, heat olive oil over low to moderate heat. Add shallot and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to moderate. Add garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Add beans and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add spinach, cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until the spinach is soft.
  6. Remove rosemary, stir in orange juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, slice each sweet potato lengthwise, and push on ends to open up middle. Spoon beans and greens into center.

 
Eggplant (2)

Eggplant Avocado Burger

You might have heard about the many benefits of antioxidants, but did you know they benefit your hearing health? A recent study suggests that exposure to loud noise creates free radicals — molecules known to cause cell death — and this is what damages your inner ear’s sensory cells. Antioxidants bind to these free radicals, making them harmless. The below recipe is packed with antioxidant-rich foods like alfalfa sprouts, avocado, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes.
 
Ingredients (serves 4–6)

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Salt
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • Avocado, thinly sliced
  • 15-oz jar sweet red peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Burger buns of your choosing

Directions

  1. Lay rounds of eggplant on a paper-towel-lined tray. Salt both sides. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare alfalfa sprouts, onion, tomato, avocado, and sweet peppers for topping burger.
  3. Prepare your grill for high, direct heat.
  4. Pat eggplant slices dry, then brush with olive oil.
  5. Grill eggplant for 3 to 4 minutes per side with grill lid closed, until nicely browned.
  6. Remove from grill.
  7. Place on burger bun, top with deliciousness, and enjoy!

 
Raspberry- Grapefruit

Raspberry-Grapefruit Salad

The B vitamin folate helps maintain blood flow to the inner ear, which is essential to hearing health. It’s also useful in preventing heart disease, stroke, and dementia. The beets, grapefruit, avocado, and dark, leafy greens in this recipe are a treasure trove of folate.
 
Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 1 pound baby arugula (or baby kale)
  • 4 large beets (roasted 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 375°F, or canned or packaged)
  • 2 large grapefruit (peel, seed, and pith removed), diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 6 scallions, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup raspberries

Directions

  1. Place baby arugula in a large bowl, followed by beets, grapefruit, avocado, and scallions.
  2. Toss with desired dressing (we suggest something raspberry or blueberry).
  3. Add the raspberries as carefully as you can, trying not to break them.
  4. Serve chilled.

Contact us to find out more about the link between overall health and hearing health!

 

Posted in Comorbidity, Hearing Health, Nutrition | Comments closed

The Link Between the Zika Virus and Hearing Loss

The more research that is done on the Zika virus, the more researchers learn of its long-lasting effects. One of the newest findings? The link between the virus and hearing loss. One of the most impactful ways to protect you and your family from Zika is maintaining awareness when you’re traveling and after. Read on to find out a little bit more about Zika and what you can do to protect you and your family from the virus while traveling.

About Zika

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Zika is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and is transmitted a number of ways: from mother to child, through sex, through blood transfusion, or through laboratory or healthcare setting exposure.
  • There is no cure for Zika; however, in most cases the immune system eventually gets rid of it.
  • While everyone can be affected by the virus, Zika is found to be most harmful to an unborn child whose mother was infected during pregnancy. This can cause birth defects like microcephaly, which results in abnormal smallness of the circumference of the child’s head. Often babies with this condition have smaller brains that may not have developed properly. This can lead to hearing loss.
  • For Zika’s adult victims, most are asymptomatic. If there are symptoms, they include fever, rash, headaches, muscle/joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and sensitivity to light. These symptoms last about a week.
  • Some countries that have experienced Zika outbreaks have reported increases in the numbers of people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
  • Zika can be tested for with a blood or urine sample.

Does Zika Cause Hearing Loss or Tinnitus?

National Public Radio (NPR) spoke with Dr. Viviane Boaventura, an ENT specialist who works with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a Brazilian medical research giant.

“After Zika, they started with some symptoms like vertigo or dizziness and hearing loss and tinnitus [ringing in the ears],”

says Boaventura, who in 2016 was studying 10 patients suspected of having had Zika.
 
Up to two months after contracting the virus, Boaventura reports, the 10 patients experienced measurable and significant hearing loss and lightheadedness. Because microcephaly is a proven effect of the Zika virus in infants, it puts children at risk for hearing loss, a possible side effect of the condition.

Prevention

Where you live, your travel history, and the travel history of your sex partner(s) can affect your odds of contracting Zika.

Other ways to protect yourself, your friends, and your loved ones from getting Zika:

  • Protect against mosquito bites
  • Use condoms when having intercourse
  • Check out CDC’s travel information site when planning travel
  • Research!

If you have questions about hearing loss or want tips for travel, get a hold of us here.

 

Posted in Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Travel | Comments closed
 
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