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Noise Related Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know

Noise Related Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know

Hearing loss can be complicated. There are many components in our hearing system that can cause hearing issues if they malfunction. Some diseases, conditions, and medications can target specific areas of the ear, causing different types of hearing loss.  The topic for this blog post is how noise-related hearing loss looks on a hearing test.

Usually, excess noise will affect the part of your inner ear known as the cochlea.  The cochlea is a spiral shaped boney shell, also known as the organ of hearing.  Inside the cochlea are tiny sensors, called outer hair cells, that move when they come in contact with sound waves. Regular cochleae have thousands of outer hair cells, which are responsible for sensing different pitches of sound. The hair cells closest to the entrance of the cochlea are responsible for sensing high pitch sounds, and the hair cells deep in the cochlea are responsible for sensing low pitch sounds. Want to learn more about how the hearing system works? Click here!

When noise levels are high, hair cells can actually get damaged.  Over time, excessive noise can permanently damage hair cells, affecting their ability to send sound information to the brain.

Usually, the first sign of noise-induced hearing loss is a drop in hearing at 4kHz (also called a noise notch). Why 4kHz? Well, the hair cells responsible for sensing 4kHz sounds are right in the 'pummel-zone' for all incoming sound waves. When sound waves enter the cochlea, sounds will need to hit the 4kHz section before it gets to where it needs to be. This constant action causes the hair cells to damage over time.

WSIB Noise Notch Hearing loss

After the 4kHz drop in hearing, higher pitches (6&8kHz) drop in hearing. This has to do with the amount of hair cells located in each region of hearing. There are fewer hair cells in the high pitch range of hearing relative to the amount of hair cells in the low pitch range of hearing. So, loosing hair cells in the low pitch range will not have as big of an effect on hearing as loosing hair cells in the high pitch range.

The focus for this blog post is on the hearing test results, but noise-related hearing loss goes far beyond this. People often experience difficulty in noise, tinnitus, and issues understanding sound too.

If you were exposed to a noisy workplace and are suffering from hearing loss, get your hearing tested!  There are several programs available to you that can provide you with hearing aids and hearing assistive devices.  We can help, book an appointment with our licensed audiologist today. 

Posted by hearingbeyond in Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, Noise Exposure, 0 comments
The Do’s and Don’ts of Hearing Aids: Take Care of Your Investment!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Hearing Aids: Take Care of Your Investment!

When you purchase hearing aids, you are investing in better hearing health.  It's important to care for your hearing aids, in order to ensure that your purchase was a "sound investment"!  Below is Hearing Beyond's top "Do's and Don'ts" list for caring for your hearing aids.

 

Do!

 

1. Keep your hearing aids in it's case when not in use.

In order to avoid loosing your hearing aids, keeping them in a safe, memorable place will prevent you from accidentally misplacing your devices!  The best place to keep your hearing aids when they're not in use is inside your case.  Most cases have a closing mechanism to keep them secure even if the case falls, and some cases even have dehumidifying materials to keep your hearing aids fresh. Win, win!

 

2. Wear your hearing aids all waking hours of the day.

You only get the amazing benefits from hearing aids when you wear them.  I recommend to wear your hearing aids from when you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night: all waking hours.   If you feel that you can't accomplish this because your hearing aids are too loud or they don't sound right, then it's time for an adjustment by your audiologist.  Have your audiologist adjust the hearing aids to be more appropriately fit for your listening comfort.

 

3. Keep your hearing aids on it's charging dock when you're not using them.

This one is similar to our #1 tip: If you aren't using your hearing aids, keep them in a safe place.  If you're not using your case, keep your hearing aids on it's charger.  That way, they will be charged up when you need to use them!

 

4. Clean and maintain your hearing aids on a regular basis.

Hearing aids require some maintenance and cleaning.  Different hearing aids require different types of maintenance.  If you have a Behind-the-Ear hearing aid, you will likely need to change the filter and dome.  If you have a custom hearing aid, you will likely have to change the filter.  Usually, people need to maintain their hearing aids once a month, but this can differ depending on your ear, wax, and the type of hearing aid you have.  Visit your audiologist to find out how to clean and maintain your hearing aids.

 

5. Back ups, Back ups, Back ups!

If your hearing aids run on disposable batteries, it is a good idea to keep a pair of new, spare batteries, in the event your hearing aid runs out of battery power.  Also, if you have a spare set of older hearing aids, keep the clean and ready to go, in the event anything happens to your new hearing aids.

 

 

Don't!

 

 

1. Never store your hearing aids inside a napkin.

I always remind my patients to never leave their hearing aids on a napkin.  Napkins are often thrown away, and if you wrap your hearing aids up in a napkin when not in use, they'll likely be thrown away too!  Remember to keep your hearing aids in the case, or on it's charger.

 

2. Don't sleep with your hearing aids on.

Give your ears a rest at night.  Sleeping with your hearing aids can also cause some discomfort for your ears and can make the hearing aids whistle.

 

3. Don't swim or shower with your hearing aids on.

Modern hearing aids usually come with an IP68 rating, which means that in testing trials, the devices have survived continuous immersion in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.  In practical terms, if a hearing aid comes in contact with moisture for a short amount of time, it's water resistant capabilities will likely protect it.  However, long-term moisture exposure will definitely damage a hearing aid.  Therefore, it's not safe to shower or swim with your hearing aids.

 

4. Don't wear your hearing aids around loud machinery or in very loud situations.

In a very loud environment, it's important to protect your ears! For loud levels of sound, it is recommended to wear hearing protection like ear plugs or hearing protective ear muffs.  You can even get custom fit ear protection to keep your ears safe and also feel comfortable.

 

5. Don't wear your hearing aids if you have significant ear pain.

If your ears hurt, or you think you may have an infection, don't wear your hearing aids.  You should consult your doctor or audiologist immediately if you experience ear pain!

 

 

That is our Top Do's and Don'ts list for taking care of your hearing aids. Remember to take care of your hearing aids!

Posted by hearingbeyond in Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, 0 comments
Tiny In-The-Ear Hearing Aids? Larger Behind-The-Ear Ones? What Gives?!

Tiny In-The-Ear Hearing Aids? Larger Behind-The-Ear Ones? What Gives?!

You’ve likely noticed that some hearing aids are a lot smaller than others.  Some hearing aids can fit deep in your ears and are a centimetre or two big, while other hearing aids are much bigger.  Why is there such a big difference in the size of hearing aids? Is the smallest option always the best?

Hearing aid size can depend on a variety of factors.

 

1) Your Degree of Hearing Loss

A big hearing loss will require a more powerful hearing aid.  Usually bigger hearing aids have more powerful speakers and can get louder than smaller hearing aids.

 

2) Listening Requirements and Technology Needs

If you’re frequently in noisy situations and difficult-to-hear places, you will benefit from a hearing aid with more advanced technology.  Some hearing aids have more advanced features than others, but in order to run these features, the hearing aids needs specific hardware requirements.  Usually this means a bigger aid.

 

3) Dexterity

Smaller is not always better!  You should keep in mind your ability to handle a hearing aid and its controls.  Smaller hearing aids often use the smallest size batteries, and control buttons are more difficult to press.

 

4) Ear Shape and Size

Sometimes, a small hearing aid is simply impossible, because there’s just not enough room in your ear!  Very narrow ear canals cannot provide enough room to accommodate all the different components of a hearing aid.

 

Remember to keep in mind these factors when choosing your hearing aids!  When you visit the Hearing Beyond Audiology and Hearing Clinic, our licensed audiologist will help you determine hearing devices that fit your listening needs, ear shape and size, and budget!

Posted by hearingbeyond in Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, 0 comments
The Best Hearing Aids of 2021

The Best Hearing Aids of 2021

Approximately 48 million Americans suffer from some kind of hearing loss.  A significant amount of research has shown a correlation between untreated hearing loss and other serious health problems, including depression, cognitive decline, memory issues, and even dementia.  As an informed consumer, it's your right to know what options are available to you to treat your hearing loss!  This article discusses the best hearing aids available on the exciting 2021 market.

The world of hearing aids is a constantly changing landscape.  Hearing aid companies are continuing to develop new and exciting features for their devices, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible.  The biggest 2021 hearing aid trends are Artificial Intelligence, Smart Hearing, and Brain Hearing.   To understand what hearing aids are the best, let's learn the basics.  At the most basic level, hearing aids are like tiny computers, and are made up of many small parts and components.  All hearing aids use the same basic parts in order to help you hear.  First, a hearing aid will pick up sounds with a microphone.  Then, a computer chip will convert this sound into digital code and adjust it according to your hearing loss.  Finally, the digital code is converted back into a sound wave and played into your ears through a speaker.

Now onto the best Hearing aids in 2021.

Phonak Paradise

Phonak's newest line of hearing aids, the Paradise, features a brand new chipset powering some awesome new features. Bluetooth connectivity allows for 2 devices to be paired at the same time, making switching between your favorite streaming device easier than ever.  The Paradise 70 and Paradise 90 aids features "Tap Control" which allows you to tap your ear to answer calls, adjust your audio stream, or activate Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.  Paradise comes loaded with motion sensors, and adjust their amplification based off of your movement.  The new Paradise chipset features better noise cancellation and clearer speech in noise as well.

Oticon More

The new Oticon More takes hearing technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the next level.  When Oticon developed the More line of hearing aids, they preprogrammed the chipset to be familiar with over 12 million sound samples, in order to maximize it's sound quality in various different environments.  The new Polaris chipset uses a Deep Neural Network (DNN) to provide users with a crisp, clear sound signal, even in noisy areas.  Oticon More comes in a rechargeable battery form factor, and is bluetooth ready with Apple and Android devices.

Bernafon Alpha

Bernafon's newest line of hearing aids, Alpha, features a brand new chipset, featuring the industry's first "Hybrid Processing".   On a level of it's own, Bernafon Alpha hearing aids are capable of providing excellent speech intelligibility while maintaining comfort and sound quality.  Bernafon Alpha hearing aids come in a rechargeable form factor and are Bluetooth ready for Apple and Android devices.  Alpha hearing aids also come with a telecoil, which is extremely useful for hearing in "looped" environments like movie theaters, churches, government offices, live theatre environments, lecture halls, and classrooms.

Starkey Livio AI Edge

A trail-blazer in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hearing technology, Starkey's new Livio AI Edge utilizes various features to improve speech understanding, especially in noisy places.  Featuring the new "Edge Mode", Starkey Livio AI Edge hearing aids can provide upwards of 4dB better noise reduction by simply tapping on the hearing aids.  Currently, the Livio AI Edge are the only hearing aids that come in a rechargeable custom form factor. Starkey Livio AI Edge comes in a rechargeable battery form factor, and is Bluetooth ready with Apple and Android devices.

Posted by hearingbeyond in Buyer's Guide, Hearing Aids, Top List, 0 comments