Invigorating exercise + happy ears = win-win.

Making Moves — and Protecting Your Hearing, Too

Planning to bust some moves at the gym as part of your 2019 goals? You’re not alone. As a tried-and-true strategy for losing weight, feeling more fit, or simply stepping up physical activity for overall wellness, working out is a perennially popular New Year’s resolution, and exercise classes can be a fun way to fit the bill.

The catch? Whether it’s cycling, kickboxing, step aerobics, dance, or another high-energy track, these classes often crank up the music to harmful levels — well above the danger threshold of 85 decibels — giving your ears a workout you didn’t bargain for. It can lead to instant or gradual hearing loss that could be permanent.

To protect your hearing while getting into the exercise groove, here are four things you can do:  

Speak Up

Turning down the volume in the first place goes a long way toward reducing the risk of noise-induced …

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Looking Out for Your Hearing Health

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids: Key Reasons to Consult a Hearing Care Professional Instead

Have you heard of self-fitting hearing aids (SFHAs)? Can they help if you have a hearing loss? What exactly are they, and how do they differ from traditional hearing devices fitted by a hearing care expert? What’s the best action to take if you need hearing help?

With hearing loss posing a serious public-health challenge worldwide — it’s a chronic problem affecting millions of women, men, and children — technology continues evolving to improve sound clarity, expand compatibility with other smart devices, and increase accessibility to a wider reach of people.

So where do self-fitting hearing aids fit into the equation of better-hearing options? Let’s take a look.  

What Are Self-Fitting Hearing Aids?

Definitions of SFHAs can vary slightly across experts. In the simplest terms, they’re sound-amplifying devices designed to let the user measure their own hearing loss, appropriately install the devices in their ears, and …

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Can Osteoporosis Cause Hearing Loss?

No Bones About It: Osteoporosis May Nearly Double Risk of Sudden Hearing Loss

What does osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting some 10 million Americans and 2 million Canadians, have in common with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, dementia, and other selected conditions? It can go hand in hand with hearing loss.

More specifically, at least one study links osteoporosis to a nearly doubled risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, a disease that can touch people of all ages around the globe but primarily affects those in their 50s and 60s.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by weakened bones that are more vulnerable to breakage. It occurs when the normal process of old bone being replaced by new bone slows down, putting the person at greater risk of serious problems such as hip, wrist, and spine fractures.

Though some osteoporosis risk factors

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Are Portable Music Players Putting Your Ears at Risk?

Turn the Music Up, Dude — But Not Past 85 Decibels

You probably use your tablet or smartphone often to stream music, TV shows, or movies. In fact, many websites these days auto-play videos regardless of whether you want them to.

Smartphones, tablets, and other types of portable music players (PMPs) are now commonplace, as are earbuds and headphones. But if your PMP is turned up too loud while wearing earbuds or headphones, you can damage your hearing quickly. Let’s look at why.

NIHL

This isn’t some new sports league — NIHL stands for noise-induced hearing loss, and it’s the second-largest cause of hearing loss worldwide.

You’re able to hear because of hair cells in your inner ear. These cells convert sound signals to electrical signals and send them to your brain, where they’re interpreted as sounds. But loud sounds can actually damage or destroy your hair cells.

Every time a hair cell gets damaged, you lose a little bit …

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Is Weight Connected to Hearing Loss?

Is Weight Connected to Hearing Loss?

Studies about weight often concern its relation to overall health. Common connections include weight and the risk for or prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea, to name a few. One topic that doesn’t get as much attention is the connection between weight and risk for hearing loss. But is there a connection?

To understand how weight affects hearing, you need to know about something tiny but important in your inner ear: the hair cell.

The Hair Cell

Your brain doesn’t understand sound waves. Tiny, hair-like structures in your inner ear, called hair cells, translate sound waves into a language — electrical signals — your brain understands. It sends those signals to your brain through the auditory nerve, and your brain interprets the signals as sound information.

Care and Feeding of Your Hair Cells

Hair cells need plenty of oxygen, which they get from strong, rich blood flow. …

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Hearing Aid Use Might Equal Fewer ER Visits

Putting Off That Hearing Test? Here’s Another Reason to Hear Your Best!

It’s no surprise that getting hearing help can make communicating and connecting with the world around you so much easier, but did you know that using hearing aids might also have a hand in cutting down emergency-room visits and hospital stays?

In a study published earlier this year in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, University of Michigan researchers investigating connections among hearing technology, health care consumption, and spending linked seniors’ self-reported use of hearing aids to changes such as the following:

Reduced ER visits and hospitalizations — each by 2 percentage points Decreases in overnight hospital stays by about 0.46 nights A reduction in Medicare spending — by approximately $71

So … less hospital food? Add that to the ever-growing list of better-hearing benefits. (Just kidding; some hospitals bring their A-game to patient meals!)

An estimated 466 million children and adults around the globe …

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Hearing Loss: One More Reason Not to Smoke

How Are Smoking and Hearing Loss Related?

The connection between smoking and heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems gets all the attention, but the effects of smoking on hearing have long been known. If you’re one of the 40 million U.S. adults who smokes cigarettes — or someone who lives with a smoker — read on to find out how smoking is linked to hearing loss.

Some Facts

How does smoking affect hearing?

Compared to nonsmokers, smokers have a 70% greater chance of developing hearing loss. Nonsmokers are twice as likely to develop hearing loss if they live with a smoker. The greater your daily average of cigarettes, the greater your risk of developing hearing loss. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy increase their child’s risk for developing speech-language problems. If you work around high levels of occupational noise, smoking increases your risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Adolescents exposed to secondhand smoke are 2 to 3 times …

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4 Things to Know About Swimmers’ Earplugs

Hitting the Water? Don’t Forget These Little Gems for Ear Protection!

You’ve packed the swimsuits, floats, safety vests, caps, goggles, kids, and snacks for a summer afternoon at the lake or neighborhood pool, but what about the earplugs?

These small accessories can make a big difference in keeping the good times going during family fun in the water. Before you go, here are four things to know about swimmers’ earplugs:

They Help Protect Against Ear Infection

Ears and moisture don’t always mix. Otitis externa, an outer-ear infection also known as “swimmer’s ear,” is typically caused by bacterial or fungal growth when the skin in the ear canal potentially becomes irritated from activities such as swimming. Though treatable, the condition can lead to temporary hearing loss and other problems, so prevention matters. Using quality, properly inserted earplugs helps keep the water — and the threat of infection — out of your ears.

They Can Be Off the Shelf or Customized

It’s always …

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The Inner Ear: A Tale of Two Systems

Are Balance Problems Related to Hearing Loss?

It’s common for people with hearing loss to have balance issues, and vice versa.

This phenomenon might even affect you or a loved one. Do they occur together as a coincidence, or are hearing and balance actually related? It turns out the answer is, “It depends.” Let’s look at some basics first.  

The Inner Ear

The inner ear is also known as the bony labyrinth, and it consists of both the cochlea and the vestibular system.

The cochlea (hearing): The cochlea is where sound signals are captured, converted to electrical signals, and sent to the brain to be interpreted as sound. The vestibular system (balance): This comprises three bony canals and two pouches. These work together to tell your brain where your head is in space, as well as when and how it’s moving.

 

Hearing and Balance Problems

Both hearing and balance depend heavily on the status of …

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Humidity — Hearing Aid Kryptonite?

Does High Humidity Affect My Hearing Aids?

One of the great things about starting your better-hearing journey is that your world is more enjoyable when you can hear all those sounds you’ve been missing.

That might also mean you’re getting outside more, possibly exposing your hearing devices to humidity. Your hearing aids are tiny computers, and just like with laptops and tablets, moisture can present a challenge.

Humidity

Let’s discuss humidity first. Simply put, humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hot air can hold a lot of water vapor, but cold air cannot. When hot air meets cold air, the drop in temperature means a drop in how much water vapor the air can hold.

Let’s consider a can of soda pop: When humid air makes contact with a cold can of soda pop, the air temperature around the can drops quickly. Any water vapor from the humid air …

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