Types and Causes of Hearing Loss

August 2016 Blog Image

Hearing loss can feel like uncharted territory when you aren’t sure how or why it happened. Hearing loss can develop at any age and can be caused by many different factors. Did you know that only five percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically? The vast majority of American’s with hearing loss can be treated by hearing aids. Before looking into treatment options, however, it’s important to understand the different types and causes of hearing loss.

There are three categories that help define the type of hearing loss, identified by the part of the ear that been affected.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

Sensorineural – the most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is easily treated with hearing aids. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear nerves are damaged and don’t send the right messages to the brain. Consequently, sounds become muffled and unclear, even when someone is speaking directly into the ear.

What can cause SNHL? Here is a quick list:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Illness
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Head trauma
  • Malformation of the inner ear

 

Conductive: While SNHL cannot be medically or surgically treated, conductive hearing loss sometimes can. Conductive hearing loss is rarer and occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear.

Possible Causes:

  • Impacted earwax
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infection
  • Allergies
  • Infection in the ear canal
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Presence of a foreign object
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Malformation of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear

 

Mixed: A combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss can be caused by a number of different causes and can usually be treated surgically, medically or with hearing aids.

If you or a loved one feels like they have been experiencing hearing loss, contact us today to find the location nearest you. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about your hearing.

 

Ear Wax? Moisture? Don’t Sweat it – You’re Protected!

Don't sweat over water or wax

If you have ever worn hearing aids before, you know that exposure to moisture, wax, oil or perspiration can result in poor functionality in the hearing aids. We’re excited to say that those days of being worried about moisture and wax are over! Our new improved moisture repellent system now protects your hearing aids to ensure durability and dependability.

Surface™ NanoShield technology enables hearing aids to block out moisture and allows you to continue your everyday life without constantly worrying. But what can happen if your hearing aids are exposed to moisture, and how can you protect them?

 

If a hearing aid gets wet, the following can occur:

  • Performance malfunctions and physical corrosion
  • Sounds may be blocked from entering the microphones, thereby reducing the volume of the hearing aid
  • Obstruction of airflow, which compromises the function of the batteries

 

How to protect your hearing aids

Although your Surface™ NanoShield can help block moisture and oil, it’s not a waterproof guarantee. Here are a few simple ways to protect your hearing aids from water:

  • Use hearing aid storage cases
  • Remove hearing aids when showering, swimming or interacting with water
  • Invest in a hearing aid dryer

 

The Bottom Line:

Surface™ NanoShield helps protect your hearing aids, so you, literally, don’t have to sweat the small stuff.

 

Contact one of our offices today for a demonstration of this amazing technology!

Tips to Continue Hearing Your Best

June2016 Blog Image

Your hearing is very delicate; losing your hearing isn’t the same as breaking a bone. Bones can often be broken and repaired multiple times. Hearing loss occurs because of damaged hair cells in your ear, and once those are hairs are damaged, they cannot be repaired – it’s permanent.

In order to preserve your hearing, it is important to take preventative steps early on and to always protect your ears whenever they are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time. Below are some tips to be able to continue hearing your best:

  1. Wear earplugs at musical concerts, both indoors and out.
  2. Wear earplugs at sporting events such as football, baseball or hockey games.
  3. Don’t listen to music through MP3 devices and earbuds at high volumes or for long periods of time.
  4. Try to limit your exposure to loud noises without hearing protection, including power tools, fireworks and airplanes.
  5. Get a hearing test every year to keep an eye on your hearing. Hearing aids can help preserve hearing and limit continued loss, so the earlier you catch hearing loss the better. Find a location near you to schedule an appointment!
  6. Bars and clubs can be very loud, so consider wearing earplugs or limiting your exposure to loud music and crowds.
  7. Wear earplugs when flying, as noise levels inside an airplane can harm your hearing.
  8. Wear hearing protection if you are hunting or shooting a gun. Our offices offer digital hearing protection for every lifestyle, contact us today for more details.
  9. If you are exposed to noise for long periods of time, take breaks and step away for some quiet. This will help your ears relax and give them a break from trying to handle all the noise.
  10. Use noise-cancelling headphones if you are going to be exposed to loud noises.
  11. Check medications for the possible side effect of hearing loss. There are about 200 medications that are potentially ototoxic, damaging to your hearing.
  12. Do your best to keep your blood pressure under control, as changes can affect the delicate inner structures of your ears.
  13. Smoking can increase the risk of hearing loss. Try to stay away from those who are smoking, or if you smoke, do your best to quit or at least cut back as much as possible.
  14. Don’t use cotton swabs to remove earwax from your ears, as they can actually push wax or debris further in. If you think you have excessive build-up, contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Keeping your hearing in tact is just as important as your physical and mental well-being. Many people take their hearing for granted and wait to get help until it’s too late; don’t let that be you. Whether you think you have hearing loss or haven’t gotten your hearing checked in a while, it is very important to get an annual hearing screening. Find a location near you to schedule your appointment.

What to Expect at Your Hearing Care Appointment

May2016 Blog Image

The most difficult step to improving your hearing is the first one: recognizing you need to find out more about your hearing loss and improving your situation. The next step is to schedule a complete hearing consultation. It is very important to see someone who specializes in hearing issues. This is where we can help! We have the training and equipment needed to inspect your ear canal, accurately measure your hearing loss, assess your unique needs and prescribe solutions to best fit those needs. Simply contact us today to find a hearing professional near you and schedule an initial hearing consultation. To better understand what exactly happens at a hearing care appointment, we’ve listed out the four steps that most appointments consist of:

  1. Hearing Test

Your ears will be visually examined and you’ll be tested with the latest standard-of-care methods and technology to determine the type of hearing loss you have. Your results will be illustrated in an audiogram that the hearing professional will walk you through. An impression of your ear anatomy may also be made with putty to determine if certain styles (like invisible hearing aids) are appropriate.

  1. Lifestyle Discussion

You will be asked about the types of places and listening environments you frequent to determine the range of sound settings and technological features appropriate for your lifestyle.

  1. Hearing Aid Options

You will see the different hearing aids that are designed for your level of hearing loss as well as your preferences for size, color and invisibility.

  1. Budget Discussion

Your hearing professional will help you narrow down your choice of hearing instruments based on the investment you are comfortable making. You will also discuss insurance and/or financing options.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you are at your appointment. Here are some examples of questions to ask during your appointment:

  • How bad is my hearing loss?
  • Is it medically treatable?
  • Are there specific frequencies or types of sounds I have more trouble with than others?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Would hearing aids help me?
  • Can you tell me what’s new in hearing aid technology?
  • What’s the difference between non-wireless and wireless hearing aids?
  • Can I prevent further hearing loss?
  • Is there anything I can do on my own to hear better?

If you’re ready to get started, contact us today to find a professional in your area!

New NuEar Hearable and Wearable Solutions

April 2016 Blog Post

We are excited to announce the release of some of our most advanced hearing solutions to date. Powered by the all-new Synergy platform and Acuity™ OS operating system, our launch includes the next generation of Made of iPhone hearing aids, iNOW; a wireless Invisible-In-the-Canal hearing aid, Miniscopic Synergy and a new family of 900sync™ hearing aids – NOW.

NOW, iNOW and Miniscopic Synergy are packed with best-in-class performance features including next-generation feedback cancellation, adaptive noise management and directionality, Surface™ Nanoshield moisture and wax repellent, Multiflex Tinnitus Technology and more.

Synergy Platform and Acuity OS
The new Synergy platform features quad core twin compressor technology and works with Acuity OS to binaurally process, classify and adapt multiple sounds simultaneously, so that speech is crisp, ambient sound is natural and music is rich and immersive. Synergy features five times the processing power of previous platforms, an expanded dynamic range and channel processing with up to 24 channel adjustment.

Synergy also features a unique music prescription with input from both professional musicians and current hearing aid wearers. Designed to accommodate music’s dynamic acoustics and spectral characteristics, these new features ensure musical listening is clear, crisp and enjoyable.

iNOW Made for iPhone
Powered by TruLink™ 2.4 GHz wireless hearing technology, iNOW Made for iPhone hearing aids enable connectivity with iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Apple Watch®, and select Android™ devices, providing ultra high-definition audio experiences and allowing patients stay connected to the people and things they love most.

iNOW’s release is accompanied by the latest version of the TruLink Hearing Control app, TruLink 3.0. With TruLink and iNOW hearing aids, patients can wirelessly stream* phone calls, music, media and more, control hearing aid volume and memories, create personalized and geotagged hearing aid memories, adjust sound settings in any environment and locate lost or misplaced iNOW devices. Additionally, two features are new to TruLink Hearing Control 3.0:

  • NEW Tinnitus Treatment: Integrated controls allow users to control the volume and modulation rate of the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology.
  • NEW Real-Time Notifications: Lets users hear email, calendar, message and social notifications directly through their iNOW hearing aids.*

(*Only with Apple® devices)

NOW Hearing Aids
Using the 900sync technology, the Miniscopic Synergy Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC) hearing aids provide patients with wireless connectivity through their phone or any other Bluetooth™ device.

NOW is a full line of hearing aids that offers an ultra high-definition audio experience and Surflink connectivity. Providing patients with the most natural and coordinated hearing experience yet, NOW also offers custom and standard styles.

Offering our patients the best possible hearing technology is our goal, and we are hopeful that with the variety of new products, that anyone with hearing loss will find something right for their lifestyle and hearing needs. Contact us today for a FREE demonstration of these exciting new products.

How We Hear

March2016 Blog ImageAs one of the five senses, hearing is one of the human body’s most extraordinary processes. It is a complex system made up of delicate and synchronous parts. Read this blog to learn more about our ears and how they help us to hear.

Sound begins with a vibration in the atmosphere. When a sound is made (whether from wind, a bell or a voice), it moves the air particles around it. Those air particles, in turn, move the air particles around them, carrying the energy of the vibration through the air as a sound wave. That’s where your ear comes in.

10724-16 NuEar March 2016 Blog Image

Sound waves are collected by the outer ear and directed along the ear canal to the eardrum. Did you know, the shape of your outer ear is just as unique as you are? It plays an important role in how you hear. Called the pinna, its funnel-like shape and curvy design enable you to determine the direction the sound is coming from.

When the sound waves hit the eardrum, the impact creates more vibrations, which, cause the three bones of the middle ear to move. The smallest of these bones, the stirrup, fits into the oval window between the middle and inner ear.

When the oval window moves, fluid in the inner ear moves, carrying the energy through a delicate, snail-shaped structure called the cochlea.

In the inner ear, thousands of microscopic hair cells are bent by the wave-like action of the fluid inside the cochlea. The bending of these hairs sets off nerve impulses, which are then passed through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain. This center translates the impulses into sounds the brain can recognize, like words, music or laughter, for instance.

If any part of this delicate system breaks down, hearing loss can be the result. If you have any questions about your hearing or a loved one’s hearing, give us a call today.

Feb2016 Blog Image

Charge Up Your Knowledge on Batteries

Batteries play a very important role in the life of a hearing aid. Batteries must provide a constant power supply for the hearing aids to operate efficiently and effectively. Read this blog to learn more about hearing aid batteries and how they work.Feb2016 Blog Image

Zinc air batteries are the most common type of battery for hearing aids on the market today. These batteries need air to activate and provide power.

Once you remove the tab on the battery, you should let it sit for one minute before installing it in your hearing aid. This “rest” time allows air to reach the materials inside the battery and activate them. Batteries may appear dead or under-powered if they are inserted immediately in the hearing aid and not given time to activate. If this happens, remove the battery and allow it to sit for one minute before reinstalling in your hearing aid.

One of the most common questions asked about batteries is, “how long will each battery last?” There are a number of factors that affect how long a hearing aid battery will last:

  • Individual’s hearing loss – As the severity of the hearing loss increases, increased amplification is required. This increase generally results in shorter battery life.
  • Hearing aid usage – The length and frequency you wear your hearing aid affects the life of your batteries.
  • Hearing aid technology – More advanced hearing aids and those with more features require more power.
  • Environment – Humid environments can cause swelling or leakage, while low humidity may dry out batteries. Both extremes can result in reduced battery life. In addition, high altitude may cause the battery to reach its endpoint sooner due to reduced oxygen in the environment.
  • Temperature – Exposure to low temperatures may reduce battery voltage and life expectancy.

It is important for each wearer to know their hearing aid’s battery life. How do you do so? Track it – it’s simple. Here’s how! On the battery package, record the date you install the battery and the date you remove it. Once all the batteries in the pack are used, you should see a pattern and get a reasonable estimate on how long your batteries will last.

It is recommended to purchase hearing aid batteries from your hearing professional to ensure optimal performance and battery life.

Contact us today if you are in need of a pack of batteries or if you have any questions!

The Best New Year’s Resolution: Helping your loved one hear again

Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person who has it. It also affects spouses, family members and friends. From frustration with having to repeat things over and over to heartbreak at seeing someone you care about isolate themselves from the people and activities they love, the negative effects of hearing loss cast a wide net. Convincing a loved one to seek help is the right thing to do, but it’s not always easy.shutterstock_159924050

Left untreated, hearing loss can affect a person’s quality of life in many ways. Yet without even realizing it, you may be making it easier for someone not to seek help.

Well-intentioned efforts such as repeating yourself or “translating” what others are saying may be preventing your loved one from realizing how much communication they fail to understand or miss completely. So what you can do? Here are some tips:

  • Talk to your loved one about their hearing concerns
  • Gently remind them of their loss every time you “translate” or repeat something for them
  • Recommend they visit a hearing professional or websites like ours to do more research and get their questions answered
  • Offer to schedule and attend a hearing consultation with them
  • Remind them they have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by seeing a hearing professional

Unlike eyesight, when hearing goes, people are in less of a hurry to do something about it — with many waiting five to seven years before finally seeking treatment. Be prepared for pushback with these responses.

  • My family doctor would have told me if I have hearing loss. Not true — less than 20 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during physicals.
  • Wearing a hearing aid will make my hearing loss obvious. Today’s hearing aids are sleek and stylish or even invisible and certainly less noticeable than if you constantly ask people to repeat themselves, inappropriately respond, or don’t respond at all.
  • A little hearing loss is no big deal. The fact is, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to stress, depression, social rejection, increased risk to personal safety, reduced earning power and more.

Remember, you truly can make a difference in helping your loved one reconnect with the world around them. Hearing again can make 2016 the best year yet! For more ideas on how to help, call us today to speak with our hearing professionals.

 

Hidden Risk Factors Associated With Hearing Loss

Did you know that your hearing health has a direct effect on your overall health?NuEar December 2015 Blog Post

Hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons. Some causes can be natural and others would surprise you. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. Another reason is as people age, they may begin to lose their hearing as a result of the natural aging process.

There are also medical reasons for hearing loss like viruses, bacteria, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines. New studies have revealed some surprising causes as well, like diabetes or hypertension.

It is important to educate yourself on what these causes may be and also ways you can prevent hearing loss. Read some facts and risk factors below or contact our office today and our staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

HEARING FACTS

  • Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older Americans, after hypertension and arthritis.
  • 1 in 5 people have hearing loss. 80% do nothing about it.
  • 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 have hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 1 in 5 people.
  • 90% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.

RISK FACTORS

  • Smoking – current smokers have a 70% higher risk of having hearing loss than nonsmokers.
  • Heart Health – studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system has a positive effect on hearing. Inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.
  • Hypertension – hypertension can be an accelerating factor of hearing loss in older adults.
  • Obesity – higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference are associated with increased risk of hearing loss in women.
  • Diabetes – hearing loss is TWICE as common in people with diabetes compared to those without

These are just a few facts and risk factors associated with hearing loss. If you have any questions, please call our office and we would be happy to discuss those with you.

Remember to include getting your hearing tested as part of your routine health check-ups. Call our office today for an appointment!

Sources: National Institute of Health and Better Business Bureau

Patients Give Thanks, As Do We

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for all of us as we get to take a break from our Untitled design (4)busy schedules to share gratitude with those we are close to. Yet, at NuEar we thrive off of thankfulness all year long. Very often do we hear about the notes of praise from happy patients using our hearing aid technology and their appreciation for gaining better hearing. In turn, this inspires all of us to work harder and create better hearing outcomes for more in need.

As you can see in the photos included, numerous patients and new hearing aid technology users are eager to share their unique hearing success stories. There is nothing that our engineers and support staff are more thankful for than receiving these patient stories. It not only helps make the work more meaningful to know how much of an impact is being made with real individuals everyday but also helps drive our passion to improve the technology for better performance in the future.

With holidays and family gatherings coming up make sure you or a loved one are not missing out on the many precious moments due to hearing loss. We know our hearing aid technology and dedicated hearing professional specialists can make a huge difference for you or a loved one as well. To get started with a free consultation simply find the nearest provider to you on our website locator.