Hearing Aid Hygiene
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A hearing aid can be a very useful device for a person who is hard of hearing. Unfortunately, if users and audiologists do not practice good hygiene, it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. A recent study at the St. Louis University School of Medicine found that opportunistic diseases can easily enter the body through the ear canal when a hearing aid is not correctly cleaned and handled.
Protecting Your Health with Clean Hearing Aids
While anyone can suffer from illness spread by a poorly cleaned hearing aid, senior citizens and small children are especially vulnerable to potentially dangerous infections. To keep you or your loved one safe, follow these hygiene tips:
- Keep your hearing aid clean. Every night, you should wipe down the device using a soft piece of cloth. In addition, you should occasionally wash the ear mold with soap and water. Leaving the battery case open when you are not using the device can prevent moisture from accumulating, which can damage the device and can even allow mold to develop.
- Make sure your audiologist washes his or her hands before touching your hearing aid or examining your ears. Unfortunately, recent studies have found that few audiologists take this important step for their patients’ health.
- Do not allow friends or family to handle your hearing aid unless they have washed their hands. If you help your child or older loved one with his or her hearing aid, you may even want to wear gloves while handling it.
Caring for your hearing aid will not only help it function better; it is important for your health. For more information about hearing aid maintenance, call one of our experienced hearing aid consultants.
HearingPlanet provides accessible and reliable support to hearing aid users. Contact our experienced hearing aid specialists today at 1-800-432-7669.
Hearing Loss Among Musicians
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Who would value hearing more than a person who earns his or her living creating music? Even if music is only a passion, and not a source of income, losing the ability to hear it can be devastating. Sadly, people who play instruments or attend concerts frequently may be at an increased risk for hearing loss. A 1999 study suggested that up to 30% of pop artists and 52% of classical musicians may develop some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. On the plus side, suffering from hearing impairment does not have to severely interrupt your life.
Hearing Health Dangers for Musicians
Exposure to high decibel (loud) noises for extended periods of time can cause damage to the hair cells of the cochlea, which play a very important role in processing sound. As this damage becomes more extensive over time, people may begin experiencing symptoms like:
- An inability to hear high frequency (high pitched) noises
- Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears
- Decreased ability to tell the difference between different pitches
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Uncomfortable sensitivity to certain pitches
Unfortunately, damage to the ear’s hair cells is permanent. People with this condition may need to cope with the problem by using speech reading, hearing aids, and other technology.
Protecting Your Ears as a Musician
Every musician and music fan needs to understand the risk to their ears. A large orchestra can reach 112 decibels or more, while a rock concert can reach 120 – 130 decibels. In contrast, factory machinery is usually around 100 decibels.
If you enjoy performing or hearing live music, please take steps to protect your ears. Wear earplugs to any loud event (specially developed earplugs are available for musicians). Of course, you should also be careful to keep headphones, stereos, and other entertainment at a reasonable volume.
Contact a Hearing Aid Consultant
If you have been diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss, assistive technology can help you manage this change in your life. To discuss your options with an experienced hearing aid specialist, contact HearingPlanet at 1-800-432-7669.
How Loud is Too Loud
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
It is important to know that exposure to very loud noises can damage your hearing; however, that is not the entire story. If you are interested in protecting your ears from noise-induced harm, you may be wondering exactly what volumes you need to be worried about. After all, exposure to loud noises is an unavoidable part of most people’s lives, so how can we know when to be concerned?
Hearing health researchers have established the range which an average person can hear, from the barely audible to the uncomfortably loud. This article will look at this range in more detail, with advice on protecting yourself from dangerous noise levels.
The Sound Spectrum
In the measuring system used by most audiologists, the point labeled “zero decibels” does not actually represent a lack of sound. It represents the lowest volume that the average healthy ear can perceive. As the number of decibels increases, sounds become exponentially louder. An example of this spectrum, with examples of each decibel level, is below:
- 0 dB: Lowest audible sound (Safe)
- 20 dB: A whispering voice (Safe)
- 60 dB: Normal conversation (Safe)
- 85 dB: Heavy traffic (Can become dangerous with continuous exposure)
- 95 dB: Lawn mowers (Can become dangerous with more than 2 hours of exposure)
- 110 dB: Loud concert (Can become dangerous with 1/2 hour of exposure)
- 120 dB: Ambulance siren (Can become dangerous with 15 minutes of exposure)
- Above 120 dB: Shotgun fire, jet engine (Can be dangerous at any amount of exposure)
Whenever you will be exposed to sounds above 90 decibels for more than a few moments, doctors recommend using ear plugs or taking other protective measures for your ears.
Contact a Hearing Aid Professional
Sadly, noise-induced hearing loss is usually permanent. However, it does not need to interfere with your relationships or career. To discuss affordable hearing aids that may benefit you, contact HearingPlanet today at 1-800-432-7669.
Treating Ear Infections
Thursday, July 07, 2011
The medical term for a middle ear infection (the most common kind) is otitis media. Many people with otitis media experience a temporary reduction in hearing while they are sick, often accompanied by a “full” feeling in the ear. Unfortunately, if left untreated, this hearing loss can become permanent. This is more common with severe infections such as meningitis.
Recognizing Ear Infections
Ear infections are a very common health problem, particularly among children. Doctors estimate that about 75% of children have experienced ear infections by the age of three; about 50% of them have experienced three or more. Of course, adults can also develop ear infections, although they are less likely to because of their more advanced immune systems.
Common symptoms of ear infection in both adults and children include:
- Ear ache
- An itching sensation in the ear (This may case a child to tug or rub at his or her ear.)
- A sensation of fullness in the ear
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of otitis media, you need to make an appointment with your doctor soon. An untreated infection can spread to the inner ear and even the brain. There is no need to panic, as lasting harm caused by an ear infection is rare, but there are many reasons to consult your doctor.
Contact a Hearing Health Consultant
If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing impairment, HearingPlanet can help you find an affordable solution. Contact our hearing aid experts today at 1-800-432-7669.
Disposable Hearing Aids
Friday, July 01, 2011
While hearing aids can reduce the complications of hearing loss, such as struggling to hear conversations with friends, they can also come with some complications of their own. Some people find it difficult to replace the small batteries these devices require, particularly if they have limited vision or manual dexterity. For some, the solution may be the use of disposable hearing aids.
Potential Advantages of Disposable Hearing Aids
Fans of disposable hearing aids claim they have several advantages over conventional designs, including:
- No need to replace batteries. A disposable hearing aid’s batteries are a permanent part of the casing; when they die, you simply replace the device.
- Low maintenance. Because they are only worn for a short time (usually around two months), disposable models do not need to be adjusted over time.
- Easy replacement. If you lose or damage a conventional hearing aid, it can be expensive to replace. In contrast, disposable hearing aids usually cost under $100.
However, this kind of hearing aid is not for everyone. They also have their downside.
Potential Disadvantages of Disposable Hearing Aids
Some people who have experimented with disposable hearing aids ultimately decided that conventional models are worth it, citing problems such as:
- Poor fit. Disposable models are not custom fitted; instead they have a flexible design to help them fit the majority of adult ears. For some users, however, the fit is simply uncomfortable.
- Standardized settings. While disposable hearing aids can usually be adjusted to some extent, their settings are mostly one-size-fits all. For people with severe hearing loss or other complications, these models may not provide adequate help.
- Frequent replacement. Disposable hearing aid batteries are designed to be long-lasting, but they do die eventually. Some people simply do not want to buy several hearing aids per year.
Before you spend money on a disposable hearing aid, discuss the matter with a qualified audiologist. He or she can help you decide if it is right for you.
Need to learn more about hearing aids? HearingPlanet provides efficient, courteous, and knowledgeable assistance to each of our clients. Contact our hearing aid professionals at 1-800-432-7669.
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