Can my hearing ever improve on it’s own?

 

When you discover that you have loss of hearing, the first thing that most people think is will I get it back? The reality is, it depends.

Some wounds the human body usually has no problem mending. Like cuts, scrapes, or broken bones. But you’re out of luck when it comes to fixing the tiny nerves in your ears/cochlea. Scientists are working on it, but humans don’t heal the cilia in their ears the same way animals can. For people, if you injure these little hairs or the auditory nerve, you might have permanent loss of hearing.

90 percent of hearing loss is accounted for by what is known as sensorineural hearing loss, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent. To explain: When hit by sound or sound waves, tiny little nerves in your cochlea vibrate. These vibrations are then changed, by your brain, into impulses that you hear as sound. Now, loud sounds can damage the hairs and, over time, permanently diminish your hearing, but so can a low constant sound as well. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be from injury or a virus to the nerve as well. In certain cases, specifically in instances of extreme loss of hearing, a cochlear implant could help improve hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss presently has no cure. But it might be possible to get treatment for your loss of hearing.

Whether hearing aids will help improve your hearing can only be determined by having a hearing specialist preform an exam.

Hearing at your best is more critical than ever today— If you think it might be time to get your hearing tested or just have questions and want real answers, please don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule time with one of our licensed specialists. It’s Absolutely Free!

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

TRAVELING WITH HEARING AIDS

As we are now well into June, summer vacations have started. When you have hearing aids, however, traveling can present more stress than the usual planning does. We have some helpful tips for you to keep in mind while traveling with hearing aids.

Whether you’re traveling by plane,train,car, or bus and whether you’re staying close or far, here are some simple measures you can take to help your vacation go smoothly.

If your traveling by Airplane with Hearing Aids

Audio announcements can be difficult to understand. Be sure to pay attention to monitors by the gates. They will display all of the arrival and departure times. Ask if telecommunication devices for the deaf, or hearing impaired, are available at the airport. If telecommunication devices are not available, consider requesting that a flight attendant communicate any in-flight announcements to you personally.

Don’t take off your hearing aids while on flights, as it increases the chances that you will miss critical information.
If you need more help, especially while traveling alone, ask a safety assistant. They can be a big help, particularly if you need special accommodations.If possible, avoid traveling alone. Bring a friend or family member with you to make communicating even easier, and to give you an extra set of ears.

If traveling by train or bus, pay close attention to stops listed on signs. This will help to prevent you from missing a stop as a result of not hearing an announcement.

Hotel Tips for Hearing Aid Users

Bring printed copies of your reservations to make communicating with front desk staff easier and help prevent miscommunication and confusion. Inform the front desk that you have a hearing loss so that they can contact you in person if it becomes necessary, such as in the case of an emergency.

Bring enough replacement batteries with you for the entire trip, and a little extra just in case. If you are traveling abroad with rechargeable batteries, make sure that the charger plug you bring has the correct adapter for the country that you’re heading to.

Always carry a cleaning kit, just in case. You never know the availability of cleaning supplies where you’re going.

Design your itinerary with hearing aid friendly attractions in mind. If you’re bringing a guide dog with you, make sure the location allows dogs inside as well.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW we would love to help you get your hearing back!  Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Are Your Hearing Aids Properly Configured?

When visiting your Hearing Specialist for a hearing aid fitting, they’ll generally walk  through how best to care for the new device, possibly educate you on your hearing loss type and program them to best fit your prescriptive hearing levels.  Although the process might seem a bit overwhelming at first, it’s also necessary. The alternative is trying to stumble through educating yourself — generally that is best left to the professionals.
Failure to effectively maintain your hearing aid through proper care and cleaning or trying to reconfigure the device yourself can not only void the warranty but may also result in personal injury.  It’s better to leave it to the professionals. Even so, after some time has elapsed you may start to run into issues ranging from discomfort to feedback.

The process of readjustments and reprogramming are very much a part of hearing aid maintenance as regular cleaning. Your ears do change over time. It’s important that you learn to recognize the signs that your hearing aid needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Feedback

Are you hearing an irritating whistling sound? Buzzing or Static?
These could signify one of several issues.
First, it may be wax build up. If that is not the cast then the hearing aid may not be properly fitted to your ear. In addition to irritating feedback, pressure spots can build up and  can cause chafing in the ear canal. Not only is this uncomfortable in the short-term, but it may also result in permanent damage if left unaddressed.
It might also signify that the hearing aid is in some way failing and needs to be replaced or repaired. Given that there’s really no way to be certain on your own, your best bet is to visit your hear specialist. They can better diagnose what’s gone wrong, and reconfigure your hearing assistance device as necessary.

Unexplained Hearing Loss

If your hearing aid no longer seems to work as well as it used to, or worse, if you’re experiencing unexplained fluctuations in your hearing impairment, contact your hearing professional immediately. This may go beyond a simple configuration issue. Perhaps whatever condition caused your initial hearing impairment grew more severe over time.
You may have also developed a new condition that worsened your hearing impairment. Certain antibiotics and medications are also ototoxic, meaning they can cause temporary or even permanent hearing damage. A healthcare professional can help you determine the root cause, whether it’s degenerative, the result of medication, or the manifestation of a new condition.

Pain or Discomfort

If your hearing aid has grown uncomfortable to use, there’s a high chance that the earmold or piece has deteriorated over time, and needs to be replaced. As mentioned earlier, an improperly configured earmold may cause a wide range of issues. If your hearing aid is loose or causing pain it’s time to call your hearing care provider.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW we would love to help you get your hearing back!  Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Are Behind The Ear Hearing Aids Best?

When choosing a hearing aid with the help of your specialist, there are two categories you will find that devices fall into. One is (ITE) In The Ear hearing aid and the other is, (BTE) Behind The Ear hearing aid. As the name suggests, the majority of the device rests behind the ear, with the microphone and receiver positioned alone inside it. But what are the benefits?

Pros

BTE devices are highly popular. They have a range of advantages to consider:

  • Comfortable to wear. BTE hearing aids are very comfortable to wear, and you don’t have to worry about direct contact with the ear canal (which some users find uncomfortable or odd to experience).
  • Easy maintenance. As BTE devices do not come in direct contact with the ear canal, most users find they are far easier to maintain than in-the-ear (ITE) or in-the-canal (ITC) options. If you want a hearing aid that’s going to be easy to live with, then a BTE device might be the best choice for you.
  • Minimal feedback. The internal components of BTE hearing aids are more distanced from one another, which makes feedback less of a problem for users.
  • Bluetooth with smart phone compatibility are great features to have that BTE style hearing aids offer.  You can use an app on your smart phone to control the hearing aids volume and settings.
  • BTE can give more Head Room or “Room to Grow” by giving the option to add a more powerful speaker to them in the future if the need arises.

Cons

Of course, where there are advantages, there are disadvantages. No hearing aid choice is without some drawbacks so here are a few factors worth considering:

  • Less discreet. If you’re concerned about onlookers being able to see your hearing aid, then BTE options are less discreet than other options. As they sit directly outside the ear, they are more liable to be noticed by other people. If discretion is important then you would want to consider an IIC Or ITC option.
  • Wind noise. Users of BTE devices are more liable to experience issues with wind noise when using their hearing aid in open spaces
  • Masks have become something to pay attention to as well.  Having to remove a mask may cause the wearer to lose the hearing aid if they are not careful.

Choosing your hearing aid is not a decision that should be made lightly. You will be relying on it a lot, after all. No device is 100% perfect for every user, there are some that may fit your needs better than others. The pros and cons above might help you decide but choosing with the help of an audiologist who knows your circumstances is always wise.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Hearing loss often happens slowly over long periods of time, so it can be difficult to track in the moment. It is possible to look back for signs, however: when you began turning up the volume on the television and radio, when you began asking friends and family to repeat themselves, et cetera. Most people wait an average of 7 years before getting a hearing aid and forget what it is like to have normal hearing.

Adjusting to new hearing aids is less like wearing glasses to correct your vision and more like learning how to hear again. A hearing aid will help you hear differently and your hearing health care professional will help along the way.

Fitting

After having your hearing tested by an audiologist, or other hearing health specialist, they will thoroughly diagnose your results and discuss them with you. They will explain each ear’s hearing ability and recommended next steps, and being fitted for a hearing aid is a common recommendation.

When you have a fitting appointment with your hearing health care professional, they will fit you with a hearing aid based on your specific needs. Before selecting a hearing aid that might best suit you, your doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle and you should answer with as much detail as possible.

Do you live in a quiet environment or in a home with a big family? Some people have trouble hearing high pitched sounds of women and children, so this information would be essential to ensuring your hearing aid is tuned to recognize those tones and pitches. If you are employed, do you work in a cubicle or in a busy restaurant? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 25 percent of hearing loss in America is job related, so this information is helpful for your doctor.

When booking your appointment, it is a good idea to clear your day so that you are not feeling rushed to leave the office. There is a lot of information to go over and you want to ensure that you have time to ask any questions you may have.

Your hearing aid will be physically fitted to sit comfortably around or in your ear and your doctor will also test that the device’s settings are programmed correctly. You will receive instructions on how to operate and care for your new hearing aid. The information may be a bit overwhelming, but your doctor is there to address any questions you have and take the time to help you understand, during and beyond the appointment.

Some Best Practices

Be patient as you are getting used to your new hearing aid. You will be experiencing the physical feel of wearing one or two devices on your ears and also beginning to hear differently. It may take some time to get to a place where you are hearing comfortably, but it is important to be consistent in wearing your hearing aids.

It is important to keep wearing your hearing aids, even when they might be irritating or functionally frustrating. Remember, you are also re-training your brain to listen again and consistency is key. You will also be in regular communication with your audiologist during the fitting process and you have to inform them about how the device is working. This will allow them to fit the hearing aids more accurately, in turn making them work better for you.

You should also be keenly aware of your hearing in different environments and circumstances as you retrain your ears and brain to hear. When some sounds appear closer than they are or if you have trouble hearing certain frequencies, these are all things can your audiologist or hearing specialist can likely tune during a follow-up fitting appointment.

Conclusion

As you become comfortable with your new hearing aids, know that you are not alone in your journey. Your hearing health care professional is available to answer any questions you may have. They can also give you information about aural rehabilitation, a support system in place to help you in your transition to better hearing. The rehabilitation can be done on a home computer in person in a group setting. It can be a great way to meet and talk to other people living with hearing loss and share experiences.

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

It can be hard to accept that your hearing abilities have changed, and it can be even more difficult still to figure out next steps. It is a lifestyle shift that you have to make, but you do not have to do so alone. There are a wide range of options for hearing aids and hearing assisted devices as well as hearing health care professionals to help you sort through it all.

The Internet is a great resource, too. Try not to be overwhelmed, there is a lot of information out there. This article aims to help you navigate to some landmarks in your journey to better hearing health!

Bring a Friend or Loved One

Ask a friend or family member to join you, if you have not done so already, as you take steps to better your hearing health. Their support can be comforting as you take steps into this new chapter of your life and they can help ask questions during a visit to an audiologist or hearing specialist’s office. Retired audiologist Juliette Sterkens from Wisconsin wisely offers, “Two people hear and remember more.”

A companion can offer support beyond simply visiting the hearing health professional’s office. You can plan to take a hearing test together online and in the comfort of your home if you are feeling anxious. Having a friend or relative with you is also a reminder that hearing loss extends beyond yourself. The positive effects benefit you and also your loved ones.

Take a Hearing Test

If you want to get an idea of where your hearing is before you visit your hearing health care professional, you can find simple hearing tests online. They play a series of tones and different pitches to measure your hearing and can determine if you need to visit a professional. An audiologist can administer an examination and provide thorough details about your results. They will also discuss treatment afterward to best suits your needs. Hearing aids are often a recommendation.

Your hearing health professional will ask you about your lifestyle and hobbies during the exam and use this information to get you the hearing aid that is right for you. Do you live with a large family or live alone in a quieter setting? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Do you primarily want to be able to hear the television or radio better? All of these details help to ensure you get a proper hearing aid fitting.

Ask to Try Out Your Hearing Aids

It is possible that several hearing aids fit your needs and a sure-fire way to know which is best for you is to ask your hearing health professional for a demonstration or a “test drive.” It could be possible for them to fit a disposable attachment to the hearing aid and program it to your hearing loss to give you an accurate idea of how it works.

You can also ask to have an automated “real ear” test to see how the aid works in your ear. You should not leave the office without checking that your hearing aid fits. It should fit physically, of course, but it should also fit your lifestyle according to the guidelines you discussed with your hearing health professional.

Take your time to make an informed decision. Hearing aids are a significant investment and can be a costly one. It’s not a decision you want to make hastily. In the market today, a single aid can range from $1,600 up to $3,000 and are often not covered by Medicare or private insurance. A survey from Consumer Reports in 2014 states that there is an average retail markup of about 117 percent, so there can be room for bargaining.

Advances in technology provides us with an abundance of choice, and there are as many add-ons from which to choose, too. Think about your specific hearing loss and the needs you want your hearing aid to meet. Many hearing aids are equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing you to connect your hearing aid to a smartphone or smart tv. Some filter out noise in a crowded room, or help with phone conversations with a tele-coil. However, if you don’t need those advanced features you could save yourself a lot of money.

Let Your Brain Help You Hear

Many people may not think of the brain’s involvement in the hearing process, but it plays a large part in processing sound and also speech production and recognition. “You don’t hear with your ear, you hear with your brain, and your brain doesn’t know what to do with the sound after you get your hearing aids,” says audiologist Barry Freeman of Zpower, based in Camarillo, CA. Check with your provider about aural rehabilitation and how it can help. There are auditory trainings that can be done in group sessions or at home on a personal computer.

Absolute Hearing Care Centers

If you’re looking for comprehensive hearing health care, look no further than Absolute Hearing Care Centers. We provide a full slate of hearing health services and we look forward to helping you hear at your best. Contact us today to learn more!

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

It is common for some degree of hearing loss to occur as you age. In fact, presbycusis is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Therefore, you must tend to your hearing health just as you tend to your overall health in your senior years.

Millions of Americans are living with some degree of hearing loss, approximately 48 million according to an estimate from the Hearing Loss Association of America. It is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S., more prevalent than diabetes or cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Taking care of your hearing health is a process that you do not have to go through alone. Loved ones and your hearing health care professional can help you along the way when you are in need. Reaching out for support as you re-learn the functions of hearing, and the accompanying equipment, is a great way to set yourself up for success.

After taking a hearing test, your hearing health professional will discuss your results with you and schedule a hearing aid fitting. Many people may not realize that these are separate appointments that need their own time because lots of information is covered in each. The hearing aid fitting appointment may happen over multiple visits to ensure that the hearing aid is comfortable and suited to your needs.

The Fitting Appointment

During your fitting appointment with your hearing health professional, they will fit you with a hearing aid based on your specific needs. Your hearing health professional will ask you questions about your lifestyle before selecting a hearing aid that might best suit you and you should answer with as much detail as possible.

Some questions may include: Do you live a relatively quiet lifestyle or in a home with a big family? Some people have trouble hearing high pitched sounds of women and children, so this information would be essential to ensuring your hearing aid hears those tones and pitches. If you are employed, do you work in a cubicle or on a construction site? The CDC estimates that about 25 percent of hearing loss in America is job related, so your hearing health professional needs this information.

Your hearing health professional will ensure that the physical fit of the hearing aid is comfortable around or in your ear and that the device is programmed correctly. They will provide information on how to use and care for your new hearing aid, too. This is an opportunity where having a friend or family member with you could benefit you; they could be a second pair of ears to receive information and sort through it later with you.

Take the following steps to ensure a successful hearing aid fitting:

  • Clear your calendar

Your appointment is much more than picking up your new hearing aids. It is a course in operation and care that takes time. It is best not to rush out of your hearing health professional’s office and miss out on any vital information so it is best to clear your schedule for the day of your fitting.

  • Bring a friend

Ask a friend, relative, or someone in your support system to join you at your fitting appointment. The journey to better hearing health has been a long one and it will be nice to hear a familiar voice as you begin to hear more normally again. Your companion can also help to remember some of the instruction and information your hearing health professional gives you.

  • Take Notes

Taking notes should certainly happen during the appointment, but this step can also begin beforehand. When questions come up about the hearing aid, the impact on your lifestyle, or care and maintenance, write them down so you can have the hearing health professional address them. You should also take notes during conversation and encourage your companion to do the same. Afterward, the two of you can share and compare notes for anything that may have been missed.

Absolute Hearing Care Centers

It can be difficult admitting that you need help treating disabling hearing loss. The stigma associated with hearing loss and hearing aids—ageism, self-perception, vanity, to name a few—can be a huge barrier to seeking treatment. Once you are able to meet or overcome those barriers, however, you will notice an abundance of help and resources available to you.

A first, important step is scheduling a hearing exam with a hearing health professional at Absolute Hearing Care Centers for a thorough diagnosis. Our team will discuss your results with you and then schedule a hearing aid fitting. Being prepared before and knowing what to expect during the fitting appointment will serve you well in familiarizing yourself with a new hearing aid.

Your path to better hearing health is a continuous journey that you need not navigate alone. Take advantage of the wealth of information your hearing health care professional can provide and stay informed. The groundwork may be laid during the fitting, but just as your lifestyle may change over time, the function and fit of you hearing aid can also change to serve your hearing health needs.