Stay in the Hearing Loop
The ability to hear through background noise and other difficult listening situations has most certainly come a long way with the creation of digital technology and inclusion of features such as directional microphones. However, most hearing aid users complain that maintaining clarity, even when their hearing aids have been adjusted, is still lacking. Telecoil technology, when paired with hearing assistive technology, is specifically designed to combat this issue giving peace of mind to hearing aid users in more public places.
Some hearing aid users may not fully understand what exactly a telecoil is. A telecoil, or t-coil, is a special, copper circuit located within the hearing aid that picks up electromagnetic signals. When used in conjunction with hearing assistive technology, the t-coil is especially helpful because it bridges the distance between you and the sound source. When the t-coil is activated (usually by the flip of a switch), hearing aids act as a wireless antenna that links into a sound system, bringing the sound directly to your ears. T-coil technology can be particularly effective when it comes to improving speech understanding in classrooms, places of worship, theaters, meetings and tour buses. T-coil technology is also beneficial when trying to prevent feedback from phone use.
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, hearing assistive technology is now available in multitude of public places. There are 3 types of hearing assistive technology: the hearing loop, infrared system and FM system. The hearing loop is the easiest of these technologies because it requires no additional equipment or setup. A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to the sound system. The loop transmits sound electromagnetically directly to capable hearing aids with the flip of a T-switch!
Please keep in mind that not every hearing aid comes equipped with telecoil technology. Be sure to speak with your hearing aid provider specifically about this feature when considering which hearing aids are right for you. While the inclusion of t-coil technology may add a small cost to the overall price of your hearing aids, it will make a huge difference during your everyday use.
Featured Product: Starkey Tour
Previous “Featured Product” blogs have focused on some of the industry’s newest and most innovative products; however, it’s important to remember that not everyone is a good candidate for top-of-the-line hearing aid models. The Starkey Tour models are a great example of a hearing aid line that offers patients affordability without sacrificing technology and performance.
The Starkey Tour products include all of the great technological features Starkey consumers love. This includes Feedback Cancellation, reducing feedback noise from talking on the phone or being touched, Noise Management, automatically lowering the volume of the hearing aids in noisy environments, and Directional Settings, filtering out unwanted background noise during conversations. Starkey Tour hearing aids are available in both wireless and non-wireless versions. The Starkey Tour wireless hearing aid allows you to take advantage of Starkey’s patented SurfLink Media and SurfLink Mobile programs. Starkey Tour hearing aids are also available in a number of styles making it incredibly versatile.
As a major player in the hearing aid industry, Starkey has been creating never before seen technologies for their hearing aids for the past 50 years such as the industry’s best feedback canceller and a truly water resistant hearing aid. Constant research ensures that Starkey continues to generate breakthrough advances in the hearing aid industry. Starkey is also one of the only leading hearing aid manufacturers that is entirely American made. When you buy a Starkey product, you’ll easily notice the “Starkey Difference” that has been changing patients’ lives for years.
The Starkey Tour hearing aids are a great combination of performance, simplicity and value! Call Hearing Aids Direct today to find a Starkey provider near you!
People have been riding their ears of earwax for decades, under a false impression that earwax is unclean. While earwax can be unsightly (even downright gross) to look at, underneath its yucky façade lays a truly beneficial substance.
Earwax, also known as cerumen, has an underserved reputation of being bad or dirty. Truth be told, despite its icky appearance, earwax is something we actually need and want in our ears! Earwax is not simply a buildup of bacteria and dirt, but actually produced by the glands lining the skin in the ear canal. The ears manufacture earwax as a defense mechanism to protect the sensitive ear canal from invading dirt, dead skin, and other foreign objects. It also adds a protective layer to the skin to ward off infections.
Wax buildup is a common concern for hearing aid users as too much can interfere with how well they work. Most hearing aids come equipped with wax guards to combat this issue; you can even find hearing aid vacuums to prevent the buildup of anything in your hearing aid parts, including earwax.
Healthy ears will actually rid themselves of earwax buildup; however, if you feel like you still feel the need to clean your ears, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO remember that wax is a natural and necessary part of your ears! Only remove wax on the outer part of the ear.
DON’T ever stick foreign objects into your ear canal! This will not only compound wax further into your ear, but you also risk puncturing your ear drum.
DO use a warm washcloth to wipe away any excess wax. Hot and cold water may irritate the sensitive skin of the ear.
If you still feel like you have an unusually high amount of earwax, contact a medical doctor for additional options available. There are a wide range of techniques they can use to remove earwax without damaging the ear itself.
Top 5 Signs You Might Need Hearing Aids
- Your family complains about how loud you keep the television
Watching television at a volume level that is much too loud for other people is a classic telltale sign that you are suffering from hearing loss. Because hearing loss is such a gradual process, most people don’t immediately notice it affecting them. Chances are if your friends and loved ones notice that you are struggling with hearing, you most likely suffer from some degree of hearing loss.
- You have constant ringing in your ears
If you are constantly annoyed by a ringing/whoosing/buzzing sound in your ears, you are most likely suffering from tinnitus.New research has indicated that the misfiring in the brain that contributes to tinnitus can be diminished with the use of hearing aids.Many hearing aids available today are specifically designed with tinnitus masking features.
- You hear but don’t always understand
It’s common for individuals who suffer from untreated hearing loss, to be able to hear sounds, but not understand exactly which words are being said. Misinterpreted conversations and constant requests for others to repeat themselves are often chalked up to people mumbling and loud background noise. If you find that you frequently have issues with speech clarity, especially in noise environments, you are definitely a candidate for hearing aids!
- You have worked in noisy environments
Working in noisy environments, such as assembly lines, construction sites, or near jet engines means your ears have daily exposure to sound that is above what is deemed a safe level. Currently, about 30 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise. Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases. Proper hearing protection should always be used, however, if you’ve already been exposed to extremely loud noise for an extended period of time, it’s worth investigating how hearing aids can help you.
- You failed a hearing screening
This is an obvious sign, but ignoring negative test results can be easy when you don’t want to believe you have hearing loss. Ignoring the situation not only hurts yourself, but your family and loved ones as well. If you have failed a hearing screening, consider getting a full hearing evaluation to see if hearing aids are right for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
How Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus
Tinnitus – the ever annoying ringing in the ears. While you could easily sub the words buzzing, humming or whooshing for ringing, one thing is certain: the discomfort and anxiety experienced by those who suffer from tinnitus unquestionably results in a lower quality of life. New evidence is indicating that hearing aids are becoming a more effective solution for tinnitus relief.
There has always been a noticeable connection between hearing loss and tinnitus. Past studies have indicated that certain types of hearing loss result in certain types of tinnitus. The specific cause of tinnitus is unknown but more recent research suggests that tinnitus is caused by misfiring in the brain. Hearing loss is a major cause of such misfiring and thus hearing aids have started to play a larger role in alleviating tinnitus.
It seems counterproductive to utilize a device most commonly used to amplify sound to help combat ringing in the ears. The use of hearing aids does seem to work as a source of relief for phantom noise in the ears and brain. The extra auditory stimulation masks tinnitus to make it less noticeable. Hearing aids will also help correct the hearing loss that most likely serves as a catalyst to the tinnitus to begin with.
Some manufacturers are designing hearing aids specifically for those individuals who suffer from tinnitus. For example, certain models in the Widex CLEAR line include the ZEN program. The ZEN feature generates soothing, harmonic tones and chimes meant to relax your ears from tinnitus. Starkey’s Xino Tinnitus line hearing aids are built specifically with a tinnitus manager. This feature allows you to choose and customize the best masking sound for your personal situation, giving you the most relief possible!
There is no cure for tinnitus, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with ringing in the ears! Hearing aids have evolved into sophisticated devices, so take advantage of what technology has to offer by taking care of your tinnitus and hearing loss in one step!
Hearing Aid Batteries
Once you’ve selected a hearing aid, the next step is to find the perfectly paired hearing aid battery. Patients often ask for advice on which types and brands of hearing aid batteries are the best. With all the advertisements for cheap hearing aid batteries choosing the right battery can be tough.
Most professionals will agree on the fact that mercury free batteries are the way to go. They are more environmentally friendly, and easier to dispose of. While it’s easy to find cheap hearing aid batteries, there are some differences between battery brands. Several factors play a role in general battery performance. Various humidity and climate temperature are great examples of how your surroundings can alter how a battery works for you. Differing drain usage rates and sound environments between users will also lead to a range of performance results. Individual battery brands will respond differently to a combination of these factors.
There is a multitude of information available on essentially every battery brand you can think of. However, the best way to determine which battery is best for you is to try them out! With that being said, when deciding on which battery brand to use, or when debating on trying a new one, our advice is simple – start small. It’s easy to get cheap hearing aid batteries in bulk, but limiting yourself to one or 2 packs of a new brand will allow you to test the battery’s performance without testing your wallet.
If you’re looking for cheap hearing aid batteries that are also good quality products, HearingAidsDirect.com recommends PowerOne hearing aid batteries. PowerOne specifically specializes in hearing aid batteries, and is backed by the National Health Service. You can purchase hearing aid batteries directly through our website if needed.
Silencing Social Stigmas Associated with Hearing Aids
Despite the fact that hearing loss is one of the most chronic conditions diagnosed today, many hearing impaired individuals refuse to use hearing aids. Several excuses are offered as to why, but one of the most common ones has to do with overcoming the social stigmas associated with hearing aids.
Association with age is one of the most common reasons why a stigma against hearing aids exists. When we age, both our mental and physical capabilities start to deteriorate. Hearing loss is no different and often serves as an unwelcome reminder of the aging process. In a culture obsessed with youth and beauty, many people view hearing aids as a blatant advertisement announcing “I’m old!” to the world. This is especially true for the Baby Boomer generation which visualizes hearing aids as the old, clunky pieces of hard plastic their grandparents wore. In addition to old age, hearing aids carry a negative image because they suggest a degree of disability for the wearer. Lack of prevalent hearing loss and hearing aid information reinforces these stereotypes. Because of this, thousands of people choose to suffer from impairment rather than wearing hearing aids.
What a majority of people fail to realize, is that untreated hearing loss is far more obvious than any hearing aid on the market today. In fact, allowing the stigma of hearing aids to influence the acceptance of help can be very detrimental to a person who needs it. Multiple studies indicate that untreated hearing loss can not only lead to further hearing damage, but can also result in social anxiety, isolation, depression, and even Alzeimers.
So how can we overcome the social stigmas associated with hearing aids? Increasing the amount of available hearing aid information is essential. While hearing aids are designed for a specific group of people, it’s important for the general public as a whole to have a basic understanding of hearing loss, how hearing aids work, and how they are beneficial to everyone involved. Technology also plays a major role in battling the social stigmas associated with hearing aids. As hearing aid technology progresses, hearing aids themselves become more and more discreet. A few of the hearing aid models currently available are completely invisible!
If you are still unsure about how you will appear to others when wearing hearing aids, consider how your hearing loss affects you at home, at work, and during your leisure time. Is it difficult to communicate with your friends and loved ones? Are strained interactions with coworkers and clients taking a toll on your job? Do you find yourself missing out on conversations and jokes? If so, schedule an appointment with a local hearing aid provider today and allow yourself to be proven wrong about the impression you give while wearing hearing aids. The only shame is missing out on the sounds in life!
What to Expect from your Hearing Aids
When it comes to how hearing aids will perform, the expectations are varied. Some people are of the opinion that hearing aids will make no difference on their hearing abilities. Conversely, others assume that hearing aids will completely restore their hearing to normal. The truth is neither of these is realistic. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids, it’s important to have the right expectations.
Hearing loss is a complex problem, different for every individual. So it should come as no surprise that the overall process of choosing and wearing a hearing aid is equally as complex. When embarking on the journey towards better hearing, it’s essential to find a quality hearing aid provider. Expect to create a long term relationship with your hearing aid provider. The Audiologist/Hearing Instrument Specialist you choose will play a major role in helping you choose and use your hearing aids.
When it comes to performance, you can expect to hear a difference the instant you first put on your new hearing aids. You will most certainly hear sounds that you haven’t heard in a long time – birds chirping, small children’s voices, and your car’s turn signal to name a few. In fact, you may even feel bombarded with sound. This is where the adjustment period comes in. During this time, you can expect to deal with a few minor annoyances. Your own voice may sound louder than normal, or similar to an echo. Other background sounds such as papers ruffling, water running, and groups of people talking may also sound abnormally loud in the beginning. This is completely normal. It will take a few weeks for your brain to catch up to your ears’ new hearing ability.
The limitations experienced by first time hearing aid users can easily be overcome with a little patience and practice. Start by wearing your hearing aids for a few hours a day, and then gradually build up to the point where you are consistently wearing them for at least 8 hours a day. During the trial period for your hearing aids, it’s important to wear them as often as possible. Also, start by wearing your hearing aids in quiet environments such as your home. Once you are comfortable in those settings, start wearing your hearing aids in more loud environments such as your favorite restaurant. This ensures that when you go in for a checkup with your hearing aid provider, you can give them specific information about how your instrument is working for you, and what needs to be adjusted. You can expect to have multiple visits with your hearing aid provider before you find the optimal settings for your hearing aids.
Although hearing aids can be used to treat a wide range of hearing losses, they are highly sophisticated devices that require an adjustment period before their full potential can be reached. With the right expectations and motivation, you’ll be on your way to better hearing in no time! Contact your local hearing aid provider today to schedule a free consultation and hear what you’ve been missing!
In the April 2013 edition of Discover Magazine we found an interesting article about the inner ear and the potential it has to create energy for small devices through its normal operation. The reason this is significant is because devices that help treat hearing loss require a power source, now they use some variation of a battery, and this research suggests the possibility of having your ear be a power source for your hearing devices might be in the near future. We've listed the article below along with a link to the original source.
Powered by the Inner Ear
By Adam Hadhazy
In your inner ear, a bony, snail-shaped structure called the cochlea acts essentially like a battery. An electrochemical interaction between two of the cochlea’s chambers helps translate sound vibrations into neural signals sent to the brain. Now, for the first time, scientists have tapped into this natural battery to charge a small wireless transmitter.
“No one’s ever extracted this power to do actual electronic functions,” says MIT electrical engineer Anantha Chandrakasan, who led the research along with Konstantina Stankovic of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The scientists implanted tiny glass electrodes in a guinea pig’s cochlea, which is similar to a human’s. The electrodes caused only a slight degradation in the hearing, a problem that might be avoidable in the future with thinner materials.
The experiment successfully reaped about a nanowatt of power for five hours. Although that’s nowhere near enough to power, say, a hearing aid, the technique could fuel small devices that therapeutically monitor the inner ear or deliver drugs.
Read the full article here at Discover Magazines website.
Early Detection for Child Hearing Loss
When it comes to hearing loss, most of the focus falls on older generations of adults who are trying to cope with a new hearing situation. Seldom do most think of what it would be like to be born with a hearing impairment. In some circumstances, detecting hearing loss in an infant is more crucial because it can have a dramatic impact on their development. According to an article printed in The New York Times, early detection and action are absolutely vital when it comes to hearing success.
Approximately 1 in 1,000 babies are born deaf; most to parents that do not have hearing impairments. Surprisingly enough hearing tests for newborns, while routine in general, are only mandatory in 40 states. Many hearing specialists worry that a majority of newborns who fail the initial hearing screening, are never brought back for further tests, which includes directly testing the brain’s response to sound. While only 25% of babies who fail the initial hearing screening are diagnosed with a hearing loss that requires intervention, it is essential to catch the disability early. Dr. John Greinwald, a pediatric otologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center says: “We need to identify children early and provide them with hearing tools and training by the time they are 6 months.”
Studies indicate a direct parallel between diagnosing a hearing loss early, and increasing the chances of the infant developing adequate listening and language skills. Anne Oyler, an audiologist for the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association explains “More than 90 percent of what babies learn is from incidental listening. If a child isn’t fitted with hearing aids until 2, that is when he or she will have to start learning what sounds are.” Not only are communication skills impacted when a child has hearing loss, but many other notable milestones, such as crawling, standing and speaking, are also not met. This can easily lead to future learning and behavioral problems if remained untreated.
The message of the article is simple, it is imperative to screen newborns for hearing loss, and take the results seriously. If caught early enough, the treatment options are better, and can really make the difference in your child’s life. Contact your pediatrician, or hearing healthcare professional today if you think your child might be affected by a hearing impairment.
For the full article visit http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/04/health/04deaf.html?ref=hearingaids&_r=0