You protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Why not protect your ears from the environment as well?
What you may not know about hearing loss, and a self-assessment test to determine if you might already have a hearing problem.
You may not even think about protecting your hearing until you notice that some damage has already been done. Studies now indicate that hearing loss among American adults is more common than previously thought. In fact, it is now estimated that as many as one out of 10 Americans are experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Experts are recommending that young adults get their hearing checked in addition to taking precautions to protect their hearing. Smoking, noise exposure and cardiovascular risks are just some reasons why people as young as 20 may be losin g their hearing.
For many people, hearing loss is so gradual that we often don’t realize how much it’s affecting our lives. You may think you’re getting along just fine but that may only be because others are helping you compensate for not being able to hear well.
Did you know the average person waits approximately seven years before doing anything regarding their hearing loss? Most probably haven’t heard sounds such as ‘s’ or ‘sh’ for years. You may have even had a few arguments or hurt feelings because you were unaware that you missed crucial pieces of conversations.
Just as hearing loss is unique for each individual, so are the laser-customized fit and programmable features of today’s discreet hearing aids. That’s why it’s important to consult a qualified audiologist. “My newer patients are amazed by the current breakthrough technology, such as Passion or the new Mind, that is comfortable, customizable and enables people to hear very realistically,” said Dr Susan Marshall, audiologist.
Even if you aren’t experiencing hearing loss now, there are steps you should take to protect your hearing every single day. First and foremost is to avoid or at least limit exposure to noise when you can. Hearing damage is often cumulative. Remember that, in general, if you must shout to be heard three feet away, the noise level is high enough to cause damage. Other tips include:
• Don’t stuff cotton or tissue in your ears. They aren’t very effective at reducing noise levels. Instead, wear well-fitting personal hearing protection such as ear plugs if exposure to loud noise is unavoidable. Remember that every day noise caused by lawn mowers, power tools, stereos, etc. may be loud enough to damage your hearing.
• Move as far away from the source of loud noise as possible. By doubling the distance between you and the source, you can reduce the sound level by about one fourth.
• Give your ears a 24-hour rest after exposure to dangerous levels of noise.
• Get ear infections treated right away.
• Wear protective equipment like bike helmets and seat belts to avoid head injuries.
• Do not insert foreign objects in your ears such as toothpicks, hairpins, etc. in attempts to clean the ears. This may damage the lining of the ear canal or worse rupture your eardrum which will certainly result in pain and some degree of hearing loss.
Here’s a quiz to determine if you have any of the nine classic signs of hearing loss:
• Do I hear sound but have trouble understanding words?
• Do I have difficulty hearing the soft-sounding voices of women or children?
• Is it difficult to hear and understand others in public places such as restaurants, stores, theatres or any place where there is background noise?
• Do others complain that the volume is too loud while I’m watching TV or listening to the radio?
• Do I find myself asking people to repeat themselves?
• Do people seem to mumble?
• Do family members or friends get annoyed by my hearing difficulties?
• Do I have a problem hearing while speaking on the telephone or cell phone?
• At the end of the day, do I feel tired from straining to hear?
If any of these apply to your hearing situation, you need to have your hearing evaluated. The quick test questions are among the most common signs of hearing difficulties that could have started earlier on in your life.
Only an experienced Hearing Healthcare Professional will know for sure if you should do something about your hearing loss. Here is how your hearing loss might be classified:
• Mild hearing loss: you can’t hear soft sounds, and you have trouble understanding speech in noisy environments.
• Moderate hearing loss: you can’t hear soft and moderately loud sounds, and have considerable trouble understanding speech especially in noisy environments.
• Severe hearing loss: you can hear louder sounds but it is extremely difficult for you to communicate without a hearing aid.
• Profound hearing loss (this loss involves the smallest percentage of patients): you can hear some extremely loud noises but it is essentially impossible for you to communicate without a hearing aid.
The bottom line is that hearing loss affects people of all ages. And today, the technology has now advanced so you can hear better, feel comfortable and be discreet about it. By far, the smartest hearing aid available – the automatic one that seems to have its own ‘brain’ — is the new Mind technology that brings the power of a computer to your hearing.
Mind hearing instruments offer High Definition Clarity and they can actually talk to you in your choice of 22 major languages to prompt you to do things like change your batteries or switch from the music program you’ve been using to enjoy a concert to the normal mode once you’ve walked back to the parking lot. For the ultimate in discretion, tiny Passion hearing instruments are so small that they are virtually invisible when worn. Passion is the hearing aid that offers no compromise between performance and size.
Old-fashioned hearing aids just can’t give you the crisp, clear sound available with today’s advanced hearing technology. You don’t just need to hear well in a quiet room. From listening to your favorite television or radio programs, to trying to have a conversation in a restaurant, to important business conversations to a grandchild speaking your name for the first time, to chimes of the microwave, to a telephone conversation, you need to hear in a variety of settings. Mind helps you to transition smoothly and quickly from one listening environment to another. Even more unique: its patented, one-of-a-kind Zen Program can help you relax. When you need a peaceful moment, simply activate Zen to unwind to soothing, harmonic tones and chimes. This feature has never been available before in any hearing instrument.
Audiologists all across the country are also excited about the arrival of the new CLEAR hearing aids. Using breakthrough digital wireless technology, these hearing aids communicate with one another to transmit sound to create the seamlessness of more natural hearing, with high definition clarity.
They believe their patients will be more willing to wear these hearing aids because they come in a range of models and colors, fit comfortably, and automatically adjust to help wearers hear and understand better when going from one sound environment to another.
CLEAR also comes with a range of unique features so wearers can match their hearing aids to their particular needs. The Phone Okys feature enables wearers to hold a phone up to one ear and hear the conversation clearly in both ears. This is an enormous help to anyone who has difficulty communicating on the phone.
The FreeFocus feature answers the challenge of someone hearing from different directions without having to turn their head. And, if a wearer is one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from the ringing in the ears known as tinnitus, CLEAR has a unique feature called the Zen Program that shows tremendous promise as a sound therapy tool for tinnitus relief. These breakthroughs couldn’t come at a better time.
When it comes to hearing better, you want an instrument that, like the human mind, is incredibly smart, works incredibly fast, manages many situations, and helps you go about your daily business. Know your options and choose one that has the most potential to let you start hearing clearly again.