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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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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Noise Is Bad for My Heart? How Noise Pollution Affects Your Health

Health Effects of Noise Pollution

Noise is just noise, right? You learn to tune it out and, unless it’s really loud, you don’t worry about it. You definitely wouldn’t worry about its effects on your heart — would you?

As far back as 1972, awareness of the adverse health effects of noise pollution was so strong that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency passed the Noise Control Act to establish “a national policy to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health and welfare.” This naturally leads to the question, “How bad can noise pollution really be?”  

What Is Noise Pollution?

Noise pollution isn’t just rush-hour traffic, living near an airport, or working near a long-standing construction site. To truly understand noise pollution, let’s try a little experiment, either in real life or in your imagination:

Go to your favorite spot in nature. Keep your headphones packed away …

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Celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month

5 Ways to Support Your HEARing Health

The whir of a hummingbird. The warning of an approaching ambulance. The round of laughter after your deviously funny — and deftly delivered — wedding toast. That sublime guitar riff or soulful crescendo in your favorite song.

As we celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month in May — and the theme, “Communication for All” — it’s a great time to remember the many ways hearing makes a difference in your life. And to help you maintain those connections that matter, we’re sharing five easy tips for hearing your best.

Know the Signs

More than 466 million children and adults have disabling hearing impairment, according to the World Health Organization, but nearly all hearing loss can be treated. One of the first steps is recognizing the potential signs. If you experience muffled speech sounds, difficulty hearing on the phone or in a crowd, trouble understanding women’s or children’s …

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Better Hearing Can Help Your Career

5 Ways Better Hearing Can Help Your Career

More than 10 percent of full-time employees have a diagnosed hearing problem, and another 30 percent suspect they have a problem, but have not sought treatment, according to EPIC’s Listen Hear! survey.

And of those with a suspected hearing loss, nearly all report that this hearing loss impacts them on the job, with complaints ranging from stress due to misunderstanding what was said to pretending to hear well to having trouble over the phone.

A 2011 study by the Better Hearing Institute revealed that hearing loss can pose a significant barrier to productivity, performance, overall career success, lifetime earnings, and household earnings — in fact, it can lead to almost $30,000 in lost income every year. Luckily, treating hearing loss can make a hearing-related income loss negligible, and it can help in other ways that you might not have expected. Take a look at …

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We hear with our brains, not our ears.

Can Music Help You Hear Better?

When we as hearing care providers think about music, generally the detrimental effects come to mind. But Frank Russo, professor of psychology and director of the Science of Music, Auditory Research, and Technology Lab (SMART Lab) is bringing to light possible positive effects. Russo is conducting a study that explores a new way to cope with hearing loss in noisy environments: studying music.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Russo says understanding speech in noise is a top complaint among older adults with hearing loss.

“The complaint often is, ‘I hear just fine when I’m speaking to someone one-on-one, but when I’m in a crowded situation — if I’m at a party, if I’m at bus station, if I’m in a mall — speech in noise becomes very problematic,’” he relays.

Why Music

Another article cited by NPR tells us research has …

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Restaurants & Hearing Loss

On the Menu: Deaf-Friendly Restaurants

Road-tripping? Keep these 7 spots in mind!

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act improved equity and access in employment, public accommodations, services, and so much more for people living with disabilities, including hearing impairment.

Some businesses, however, go above and beyond to ensure a better experience for patrons with hearing or speech challenges.

For your summer travels, we’ve put together a quick list of restaurants that go the extra mile to ensure your hearing and communication experience is just as good as your dining experience. Keep them in mind as you plan your next road trip!

Molly Moon’s — Seattle, WA

This popular ice cream stop — rhubarb cardamom sorbet, anyone? — with several Seattle-area locations includes employees trained in American Sign Language, according to a recent KOMO News story, creating a more inclusive, welcoming experience.

Crêpe Crazy — Austin, TX

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