Title: Ten Common Hearing Loss Symptoms
Hearing loss is a widespread condition, affecting nearly 50 million people in the United States. Changes in our hearing don’t typically occur all at once. Rather, hearing loss symptoms appear over time. Hearing loss is a gradual process that often impacts certain listening frequencies more than it affects others.
Do you or a loved one sometimes have a difficult time hearing? Consider these questions:
- Are you embarrassed to talk openly about not being able to hear?
- Are you cutting out activities that you used to love because you cannot join in fully anymore?
- Is your inability to hear co-workers affecting your job performance?
- Do you have difficult hearing friends and family in noisy places like a restaurant?
- Are you feeling cut off from your young children or grandchildren because you cannot hear their high-pitched voices?
- Are family holidays a strain because so many people are talking at once?
- Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
- Is there a ringing or buzzing in your ear?
- Do you often complain that people talking to you are mumbling?
- Are you having difficulties understanding people on the phone?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider getting your hearing checked as soon as possible. Advanced Hearing Centers offers a free hearing consultation. Schedule your appointment by calling Kim, Alan or Lyn at (404) 943-0900.
Better Hearing Month – It’s time for your annual hearing test
Just as eye exams are a part of your routine health checks, it’s a good idea to get annual hearing tests, too — for these reasons:
Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process and is sometimes so gradual you don’t notice it until it’s too late. An annual test will give you a good head start towards getting the care you need.
- Your hearing changes as you age. By testing your hearing annually, your hearing professional can detect and measure those changes, and counsel you on the prevention methods or hearing solutions that are specific for your loss.
- The majority of general practitioners don’t screen for hearing loss — so even if you have routine physical exams, chances are your hearing wasn’t given the attention it deserves.
- Dedicated hearing professionals have the experience and state-of-the-art equipment needed to inspect your ear canal, accurately measure your hearing loss, assess your unique needs, and prescribe a solution that takes all this important and personalized information into account.
Free hearing tests all May
May is Better Hearing Month, making it the ideal time to schedule your annual hearing test with the hearing professionals at Advanced Hearing Centers Atlanta. To arrange for your free hearing test and consultation, contact us by filling out our Contact Us page and we will be in touch to schedule your free appointment.
Hearing Health and Prevention of Cognitive Decline
Hearing isn’t quite like riding a bike
Studies have shown that, on average, people will wait eight to ten years between first experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and finally seeking help. Unfortunately, during this timeframe, people fall into coping mechanisms. They ask people to repeat themselves, turn the TV up louder, or avoid places where hearing is more challenging. These behaviors are actually exacerbating the negative effects. That’s why early intervention is always recommended.
Early intervention prevents your brain from forgetting what to do
The ability to make instant association depends on repeatedly hearing a word. If you do not hear a word for a long period of time, difficulty connecting the sound to its meaning occurs. Over time, reduced stimulation to the brain can impair its ability to process sound and recognize speech. Once speech recognition deteriorates, it is only partially recoverable with hearing aids.
Early intervention slows cognitive decline and communication problems
Not being able to hear what’s going on around you contributes to reduced mental sharpness and communication abilities.
Early intervention improves the use of hearing aids
The earlier people begin to use hearing aids, the sooner they get comfortable wearing them, and the easier it is to maximize their advantage.
Take action this Better Hearing Month
Next month is Better Hearing Month — meaning now is a great time to be proactive about your hearing loss and seek treatment before its negative effects get worse. To arrange for a free hearing consultation, contact us by filling out our Contact Us page and we will be in touch to schedule your free appointment.
Teens Suffering Hearing Loss at an Alarming Trend
Research indicates that young people today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers have some hearing loss.
Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data collected from more than 4,600 12-to-19-year-olds in two ongoing federal surveys. The first covered 1988 to 1994, and the other 2005 to 2006.
The prevalence of hearing loss increased from 14.9 percent from 1988-94 to 19.5 during 2005-06, a rise of about 31 percent, the researchers reported to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some other interesting results from the survey:
- High-frequency hearing loss was more common than that in low frequencies
- Most of the time the loss was in one ear
- Girls were much less likely than boys to have lost some hearing
While the study did not examine specific reasons for the increase in teens, most experts agree that it is due to listening to loud music for long stretches of time on MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices.
The issue received national attention in March 2013, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the cause as his latest public health crusade, announcing a $250,000 social media campaign to caution young people about the dangers of too loud music on personal listening devices.
How can adults encourage young people to listen more carefully to stop this alarming trend? One good tip is to use the 60/60 rule. Listen to music at 60 percent of the max volume and for only 60 minutes.
Hearing professionals also encourage people to wear hearing protection when they go to concerts. Inexpensive ear buds are available for as little as a $1 that can significantly reduce the amount of potentially damaging noise at a concert without affecting the musical experience.
Why You Should Only Buy Hearing Aids From a Hearing Professional
Today’s hearing aids are precision instruments, utilizing advance digital technology that can and should be customized to fit your specific hearing loss and your unique lifestyle needs.
This is why the Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit center for hearing advocacy, published a consumer warning against “do-it-yourself hearing care,” writing,
“The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”
While the Internet is an increasingly convenient place to purchase many items, consumers should be cautious about purchasing their hearing aids online. Any upfront cost savings will likely be used towards after purchase costs like maintenance, cleaning or reprogramming an aid, services that are included in the purchase at a hearing care professional.
An audiologist and ear doctor will ensure that you receive a proper evaluation and help prescribe the proper treatment for your loss. Your ears will be visually examined and you’ll be tested with state-of-the-art equipment to determine the type of hearing loss you have.
If it’s determined that hearing aids can help, your hearing professional will show you the best solutions to fit your unique needs and lifestyle.
If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact Advanced Hearing Centers, 404-924-4510, today for a free hearing consultation.
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, about 28 million Americans between ages 20 and 69 have some hearing loss due to loud noises at work or play. “Potentially, noises that are 85 decibels (dB) and louder can cause permanent hearing loss, especially as exposure times increase,” says Rachel A. Raphael, MA, CCC-A, an audiologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Here are some suprising ways we damage our hearing.
- Hairdryers. “The noise from hairdryers can exceed 100 dBs,” says Raphael. If you have to use one, hold it as far away from your ear as possible and operate it at its lowest—the quietest—speed. Pick a low dB model: Some manufacturers list the dB number on the packaging. Clean the filter often as well: dirt forces the motor to run less efficiently and more noisily.
- Lawn mowers. Lawn mowers can make a nasty racket, up to 106 db. When you’re mowing, wear protective ear devices such as earplugs or earmuffs, or both, says Raphael: “Protective hearing devices range from over-the-counter types of roll up or flanged [ridged] plugs to custom-fit earplugs.” You can also buy a quiet lawnmower: Reel mowers are the quietest (and good exercise), and electric mowers are less noisy than gas ones.
- Viagra—and other medications. “A possible side effect of taking Viagra [sildenafil] is hearing loss,” says Raphael. Drugs with names that end in mycin such a Gentamycin, sometimes used in cancer treatment, can also harm hair cells. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil,) and aspirin are all associated with hearing loss. Using ibuprofen daily, increased the risk of hearing loss in women under age 50 by 48 percent. Ask your doctor to give you a baseline hearing test before taking these drugs and have your ears retested every six month to a year. If your hearing is stable, test every two years or immediately if you notice a hearing change.
- Earwax. Packed wax can hinder hearing. An ear, nose, and throat doctor can clear your ears of wax, or you can use a syringe kit available at drugstores or online. “Never use Q-tips, except to clean outer ear curves,” says Raphael: “You may push the wax in deeper or puncture an eardrum.” You can also clean by pouring a capful of hydrogen peroxidein each ear, as long as your eardrums are not perforated. Let sit for 30 seconds, then rinse out with water.
- Smoking. According to a 2011 study at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, exposure to tobacco smoke almost doubles the risk of hearing loss in adolescents. An earlier study of almost 4000 people published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that smokers were nearly 70 percent more likely to suffer hearing loss than non-smokers
- Loud music.Hardly surprising, but key to realize, say Raphael: “Music played loudly through ear buds can cause permanent hearing loss over time. The painless damage is often not noticed until it is too late. If others can hear the music playing out of your ear buds, it’s too loud.” An MP3 player is 105 dB at its maximum sound: The Hearing Health Foundation suggests that people listen at that level for no more than 15 minutes at a stretch.
- Diabetes. According to a 2013 review of 13 studies involving more than 20,000 adults at the Niigata University Faculty of Medicine in Niigata, Japan, researchers found that people with diabetes were twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. Although researchers can’t explain the correlation, some medications diabetics take such as diuretics, drugs that increase urine ou put, could affect hearing. Their recommendation: If you have diabetes, get your hearing tested.
This week Starkey is officially releasing the Halo aid and TruLink technology that allows you to wirelessly link and control your hearing aid with your iOS device (Android coming soon). The device represents the latest generation of integrated devices and effectively eliminates the need for other costly intermediary technology (if you already have a smartphone of course).
With the Halo you can map your frequent locations to preferred programming modes, stream your iPhone’s audio output to your aid, use your iPhone as a wireless microphone, and improve feedback and background noise reduction.
Being a Medical Practice Partner of Starkey’s we have had early access to the devices and can’t wait to begin delivery of these devices to our patients.
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Drs. Rogers, Golde, Mickelson and Bomeli welcome our Stacy Pickleman, Doctor of Audiology, to our team. We are excited about the enthusiasm, compassion and experience that she brings our group. Dr. Pickelman’s special interests include hearing impairment of aging and sensorineural hearing loss. She has extensive experience in balance assessment, tinnitus, and congenital hearing loss but her passion lies with adult-onset hearing loss and communication impairment.
Dr. Pickelman has training and experience beginning near her home at Central Michigan University, obtaining her bachelor’s degree as well as doctoral degree, then furthering her clinical experience and training with her fellowship and post-doc work in San Francisco. Dr. Pickelman moved to Atlanta in 2012 and we are pleased that she is looking forward to growing our presbyacusis practice at the Advanced Hearing Centers office in Atlanta.
Dr. Pickleman is a Fellow with the American Academy of Audiology and serves as board member for the Georgia Academy of Audiology. She has doctoral-level expertise in fitting modern digital customized hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.
Dr. Pickelman’s personal interests include personal fitness and spending time with friends and family.
Please peek around our website for information about hearing loss and the modern treatments available, then give Dr. Pickleman a call to schedule a consultation or simply swing by and say hello at our Johnson Ferry / Northside office, (404) 924-4510.
Q&A: My three year-old son gets ear infections every fall and spring. Does he need to get ear tubes? -T. in Georgia
Thanks, T. Constantly battling with ear infections can take a toll on you as well as your child. We place tubes usually for two separate reasons: #1 fluid behind the eardrum that does not clear up in 2-3 months after an infection. While fluid is there, hearing may be reduced significantly enough to cause speech delay or impediment, or poor school benhavior. And #2: recurrent ear infections, 3 in 6 months or 4 in 12 months. Basically it may be safer to have a minor procedure than suffer through all the misery of painful ear infections and expose your child to so much antibiotics. Kids generally do grow out of infections by 6-8 years old. Tubes last about 1 year then fall out. Ideally a child grows out of the tendency for ear infections about the time the tube falls out. Some kids wind up needing new tubes over and over again, but this is not super common. Surgery takes only about 3 minutes per side done under anesthetic gas in an operating room. No IV’s usually. After tubes are in, you do have to think about keeping the ears dry. My recommendation for most kids is to dry the ear with hair-dryer after swimming and place a few prophylactic drops of antibiotic. No special precautions for baths (for most kids). Custom ear plugs may also be used. After tubes are placed, if infection does happen again usually no pain because the infected pus just drains out the tube and can often be treated with just ear drops.
Basically if your child is spending a large amount of time in pain, on antibiotics, or with fluid behind the ear waiting for infection to clear then I usually just recommend placing tubes.
Adult-onset hearing loss affects millions of Americans and accounts
for a huge economic burden in our country. There are two major forms
of hearing loss – “sensory / neural” and “conductive”. Sensorineural
hearing loss is caused by injury to the acoustic nerve or the cochlea.
These injuries can be from noise damage, viruses, meningitis, and of
course the slow degeneration of aging. Conductive hearing loss is
most commonly from an earwax impaction, fluid behind the ear drum,
infections, or a type of ear scarring called otosclerosis.
A hearing test is a brief painless test battery performed by an
audiologist to determine what your hearing level is, how it compares
to normals, and what type of hearing loss you may have. This, as well
as a microscopic examination of the ear and eardrum will allow the
physician to make recommendations about improving your hearing.
Wax removal, antibiotics, steroids, minor procedures, and sometimes
MRI scans can be useful in sorting out the hearing loss. An
electrical hearing test, called an ABR, is often helpful as well,
especially in young children.
Sometimes the only option for improving hearing are hearing aids.
These have gotten much smaller and much more advanced over the past
decade. The smallest of which are now the size of a large pencil
eraser and are completely hidden in the ear canal. Your physician and
audiologist can make recommendations about which type and size of
hearing aid may be best for you.