Tags
Blog

'hearing aids' posts

Protect your ears during summer fun and work

Summertime means that we residents of the beautiful Northwest will be outside as much as we possibly can.  There are two potential sources of damage to our ears which are of greater concern during the summer.

First, our ears are subject to sunburn.  Many of the hats we wear do not protect the ears from damaging exposure to sunlight.  Consider wearing a hat with a brim that extends completely around the head, rather than the baseball type hat which many of us wear.  Also, remember to apply sunscreen to the ears.  It is easy to forget them. 

Secondly, summertime means increased exposure to noise from yard maintenance tools or other power tools.  Injurious levels of noise are produced by almost every power saw, power sander, nail gun, weed eater, leaf blower, roto-tiller, power washer, and shop vac.  Ear plugs....

Hearing loss in the workplace

Hearing loss is a term that many associate with an aging population. For some it may trigger memories of large, obvious and obtrusive hearing aids or devices that squealed!  This is not the reality in 2013.  A look at the individuals I see every day as an audiologist reveals a large number of employed professionals who are encountering difficulty in work environments.  From telephone work to conference and lunch meetings, hearing loss is impacting our workforce.

The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that nearly 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 45-64 years of age experience hearing loss.  The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age and with an aging workforce that includes many working well into their 70s, it should be noted that the incidence of hearing loss increases to 1 in 3 for Americans between the ages of 65-74 years of age.  We now have a culture of employment that includes unique viewpoints from four generations working side by side.   Many of us are aware that intergenerational communication styles may vary.  It would behoove us to also consider hearing loss as we think about intergenerational communication in the workplace. 

Individuals who work in a quiet or solitary environment may “get by” with their hearing loss. However, most individuals will encounter much more complex listening environments at work. Imagine if you had hearing loss and were required to listen in the following environments:

  • Working in a cubicle environment where colleagues speak from behind or speak over/through walls.
  • Participating in conference calls and telephone calls in which there are no visual cues to supplement the speaker’s voice.
  • Participating in conference room meetings where distance can create a barrier in the ability to hear individuals around the table.
  • Listening to individuals with ...

Ten Ways To Recognize Hearing Loss

  • Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
  • Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
  • Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
  • Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
  • Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
  • Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
  • Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
  • Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you or a loved one answered yes to three or more of the above questions, you may want to make an appointment with an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist) and/or an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.

Hearing loss can be caused by ...

Hearing Aid Life Expectancy and Power

Our concept of age depends on the object of our attention. For example, the average ant lives to be about 45-60 days. The average fly lives about 15-30 days. The average albatross lives between 42-50 years.

Electronics must be viewed differently however. They cannot eat something and become more energetic. There is the total lifespan of the device coupled with the power required to maintain the function it was designed for. A television is expected to last about 10 years, but will not work if it is not plugged in. The average car battery will only be useful for 5-7 years. A watch battery can vary from 1 to 6 years.

With our daily electronics, we take advantage of all types of batteries. How long can you go before you need to recharge your cell phone? Now imagine you used the phone continuously. How about the electronic tablets? Technology is wonderful, but must be constantly powered. Batteries for these devices last only a matter of hours before we need to find an alternate power source. With the electronics we depend on, it is critical to know how long we can expect to use them. This is even more true when those electronics begin to age. Highly sensitive and detailed instruments are classic examples of those devices for which we need to know the total life of the device and its power consumption.

A hearing aid is an example of such a device.

Hearing aids can use both disposable and rechargeable batteries. The cost effectiveness and convenience will vary greatly. The predicted number of hours for each battery will be hearing aid, and person, specific.

Also: the ear is small. Therefore the hearing aid must be small. The battery must then be even smaller.

As with any battery driven electronic device, hearing aids last much longer than their power source. The average hearing aid lifespan will vary significantly due to the amount of care provided to it. Accidents can and do happen. When it comes to hearing aids, seven years may not appear to be a very long time, but the device is considered ANCIENT by that time. The average person is expected to replace a hearing aid every 3-5 years.

There are several reasons for this:

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? (Tips for better hearing at the holidays)

The holidays are a busy time! Some love the hustle and bustle of the holidays and others can be worn down with to-do lists, shopping, planning and parties. Individuals with hearing loss can be especially impacted by the holidays if they are attending parties and group gatherings. They may be listening to unfamiliar voices and meeting people for the first time. Here are a few tips to support your family member through this busy time of the year.

Friends and family members can support someone with hearing loss in the following ways:

  • When attending group settings or restaurants, try to find a quiet area.
  • If you notice someone is not tuning into the conversation, try to repeat, rephrase or state the topic.
  • At times your family member may just need a listening break. Excuse yourselves and find a quite space to visit alone for a few minutes. Or better yet, participate in “people watching” and really give those ears a break!
  • Help with introductions by saying “you remember Bob, we met him last year at the holiday party.”
  • A little understanding can go a long way. If you are curious what your family member might be experiencing, listen to the hearing loss simulator and choose “speech in a restaurant”. I can guarantee you will be shocked to experience the impact of hearing loss on speech understanding. Imagine working that hard to understand speech for a few hours at the end of the day in a loud setting.

For individuals with hearing loss:

What you should know about your risk of falling if you have hearing loss

According to studies in Archives of Internal Medicine, the risk of falling is increased by 40% with every 10dB loss of hearing. Although this information has been researched and speculated for some time, it becomes crucial for us to consider this trend when we know people with hearing loss. This is especially important for our seniors.

How does hearing impact our balance?

It is speculated that our nervous system (specifically, the brain’s pathways) interact in such a way that one may experience “incident falls.” There are pathways which are believed to be responsible for encoding auditory and spatial information for our environmental awareness. Also, it is believed that there are pathways which incorporate auditory input into cognition and attention. To put it another way; hearing loss reduces our ability to take advantage of the auditory cues needed for knowing critical information about our surroundings. Therefore, we may fall and/or stumble more often.

As a result of a ...

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a master’s or doctoral level trained professional who evaluates, treats and manages hearing and balance disorders in children and adults. Audiologist work in a variety of settings such as medical centers, private practice clinics, universities, schools, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) physician clinics, Veteran’s Administration and military settings.

At Swedish, you will find caring and talented audiologists with a wealth of clinical experiences. The audiologists at Swedish have experience with infant through geriatric diagnostic hearing evaluations, auditory evoked potentials, vestibular evaluations, tinnitus management and the selection and fitting of hearing aids. Additionally, audiologists work closely with surgeons to complete the fitting and programming of osseo-integrated devices, cochlear implants and brainstem implants following surgery.

Because most hearing issues are not medically treatable, most individuals with hearing loss work...

Results 8-14 of 28