You already know that hearing aids can improve hearing and communication. But did you know they can also enhance safety? Several studies have confirmed what many hearing healthcare experts and their patients already knew — that using hearing aids improves quality of life, and can provide the wearer with an increased sense of safety and independence. Here are a few reasons why:
Improved balance. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found that adults performed better on balance tests when wearing hearing aids. This study supports the idea that treating hearing loss (with properly fit amplification) might help reduce the risk of falling.
Increased awareness. Hearing is an important sense for environmental awareness and preventing accidents. Hearing aids can help an individual detect hazards in their surroundings, such as automobiles, sirens, and pets. Hearing well can also help you recognize where a potential danger may be coming from. Addressing changes in hearing will help you be alert and hopefully stay safe during your daily activities.
Enhanced safety. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of safety issues including accidental injuries, injuries at work and more frequent and longer hospitalizations. Using hearing aids can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones by decreasing safety risks and delivering an enhanced sense of security.
We are all concerned about our health and well-being! Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Whether it is diabetes, cancer, heart disease or hearing loss, we have become increasingly more focused on stopping illness through preventative healthcare. It’s one reason why we’re living longer and why, if Mr. Franklin were alive today, he’d agree that “60 is the new 40.”
We get yearly physicals to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and evaluate risks for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. We should approach our hearing the same way.
EARLY TREATMENT CAN HELP PREVENT FUTURE ISSUES
In recent years, research has shown that hearing is not just about our ears! Our hearing impacts many aspects of our health and life. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased likelihood of dementia, decreases in cognitive function, increased isolation and higher incidences of depression. Discovering and treating hearing loss sooner rather than later can ultimately improve our overall health and well-being.
Many people will wait until they are having difficulty before getting their hearing tested. The reality is that they have most likely been living with hearing loss anywhere from 5 to 15 years before they take action. Could you imagine living with high cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes for a dozen years before taking action?
START WITH A BASELINE HEARING TEST
For many of us, the last time we had our hearing checked was when we were in grade school. According to healthcare professionals, we should get a “baseline” hearing test early in our adulthood. The recommendation is around 18 or 21. If you are past 21 and have not had a baseline test, the sooner the better.
A “baseline” hearing test will provide a frame of reference for tests later in life. It is important to remember that hearing is more than just detecting beeps! A baseline hearing test will measure your sensitivity to sounds (the beeps), but it will also measure your ability to understand speech, both at soft levels and when the volume is comfortable. In addition, the overall health of the ear will be evaluated via a visual exam.
FOLLOW-UP HEARING TESTS MAY BE RECOMMENDED
How often you have your hearing checked after the baseline depends on a few different variables: the results of your baseline test, your risk for hearing loss, and your age are just a few. If hearing loss exists at the baseline, yearly testing is recommended.
If your risk for hearing loss is high, yearly hearing tests are also recommended. Things that increase your risk of hearing loss include noise exposure, both at work and recreational (motorcycles, guns, loud music), as well as your age. As hearing loss is found more often with increasing age, individuals 60 years of age and older are recommended to have their hearing tested every two years, if no hearing loss was apparent in their most recent test.
Kaw Valley Hearing will be closed November 21, 2018 - November 23, 2018 due to the Thanksgiving Holiday to allow our staff to spend time with their families.
If you need assistance, please call 785-856-4200 and you will be transferred to our answering service.
Confused About Hearing Aids?
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to reserve a seat for a FREE Lunch & Learn seminar. We will tell you the truth about hearing aids. We will also discuss hearing aid benefits and how it can affect your overall health. Please RSVP tonight or tomorrow morning due to the event taking place on November 15th. Please call 785-856-4200 to RSVP.
Thursday, November 15th
Arrive Promptly at 11:00 am
Six Mile Chop House
4931 W 6th St.
Lawrence, KS 66049
There are many symptoms which one may present that are assocated with hearing loss. Individuals close to the person who is suffering from hearing loss may notice changes in their social behavior as well as psychological changes. Some common symptoms of hearing loss may include: irritability, frustration, and safety concerns. For additional information regarding hearing loss refer to the link below.
Do I Have Tinnitus?
Do you have constant ringing, buzzing, or whistling in your ears? If so, you may have tinnitus.
Tinnitus intensity and sound quality can vary from person to person. Some study's have indicated 90% of individuals suffering from tinnitus may also have an associated hearing loss. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, many individuals find relief from lifestyle changes, tinnitus therapy programs, as well as hearing aids. If you feel that you or a loved one may be suffering from tinnitus, don't hesitate to reach out to our office and discuss what treatment protocol may be best for you.
Reduced Cognitive decline
Study's have shown elderly adults may experience a cognitive or mental decline with an untreated hearing loss. This study also found individuals who utilized hearing aids can almost eliminate this cognitive decline. The use of hearing aids can reduce the negative mental effects of hearing loss and may increase an individuals ability to participate in cognitively stimulating activities.
Recognizing Hearing Loss
Often times, hearing loss is such a slow process, the individual may not even recognize the communication difficulty before loved ones. Improving ones hearing can often times lead to better health, inclusion in social activities, and improvement in overall quality of life.
Hearing vs. Understanding
One of the most difficult problems people with hearing loss face is understanding speech. Yes, understanding. Notice, I did not use the word “hearing,” because with hearing loss it’s not really about hearing the speech but being able to discriminate “D” from “G” or “ringing” from “singing.”
Each vowel, consonant, word ending and sound corresponds to a specific frequency, and as hearing loss occurs and certain frequencies are lost, the brain simultaneously loses the ability to interpret those sounds correctly anymore. For example, I have hearing loss between 500 Hx and 4000 Hz of hearing, with an especially noticeable loss of about 70 percent between 500-4000Hz. As a result of this I have difficulty with the following letters and sounds: d, b, i, n, o, I, a, r, p, h, g, ch, sh, t, f, th, s and h.
Now consider how many words in the English language use any of the above letters.
Hearing loss isn’t simply a loss of auditory capability, it also significantly impacts the relationship between the neurological and auditory pathways by causing the brain to forget, overtime, how to interpret certain sounds. In 2012, researchers Arthur Wingfield and Jonathan Peelle found that the loss of hair cells located on the basilar membrane in the cochlea of the inner ear in aging patients with hearing loss impacted the perception of speech. There are 12,000-15,000 outer hair cells that work to amplify sounds to cochlea and another 3,000 inner hair cells that transduce the mechanical vibrations of sound waves into neural impulses that the brain can read through the eighth cranial nerve and identify as specific elements of speech. When hearing loss occurs and these hair cells are lost, it becomes incredibly difficult to understand speech, especially in noise.
In addition to determining that hearing loss and hair cell loss harms the communication pathways between the ears and the brain, the study also recognized that hearing loss can result in poor cognitive performance, slow speech perception and listening fatigue. Below is a summary of what Wingfield and Peelle stated in the abstract results of their study:
“This is the finding that successful perception of speech that is degraded by hearing loss can draw cognitive resources that might otherwise be available for encoding what has been heard in memory, or for the comprehension of rapid, informationally complex speech as often occurs in everyday life. Our emphasis here is not on failures of perception, but rather, the effect on cognitive performance even when it can be shown that the speech itself has been successfully recognized. This type of 'effortful listening' is associated with increased stress responses, changes in pupil dilation, and poorer behavioral performance (e.g., on memory tests for degraded speech). It is thus possible that even a mild-to-moderate hearing loss can inflate the appearance of cognitive decline in the older adult – a cautionary note for the geriatric clinician/diagnostician and family members alike. This sensory-cognitive interaction is a reminder that the auditory system may be the conduit to the brain, but it is the brain that 'hears'.”
So what can you do about it? Hearing aids and games.
The best help for better speech understanding is to combine hearing aids with auditory rehabilitation activities. Hearing aids can help improve the ability to hear various frequencies, but your brain still needs to re-learn how to interpret those frequencies. Auditory rehabilitation activities such as Hear Coach can help you to improve your speech perception and achieve better understanding.
Start your journey to better understanding today by learning more about what hearing aids can do for your lifestyle.