Hearing Aids

What Makes Someone Successful With Their Hearing Aids?

What Makes Someone Successful With Their Hearing Aids?

A hearing aid is a life changing device that can significantly improve the way someone interacts with the world and the people around them. It is important to strengthen a few key skills to make your investment in better hearing work for the long run.  What makes someone with hearing aids a successful user?  Here are a few of our top picks!

  1. Feeling confident in getting the hearing aid in (and out) of your ear: I often tell my patient’s that this skill is the most important skill to practice and learn.  Properly inserted hearing aids will provide the most appropriate sound levels into the ear, and will ensure the hearing aid stays snug in the ear. Practice makes perfect with this skill. Using a mirror can help ensure your hearing aid is in your ear properly.
  2. Proper Fitting and follow up care: Getting hearing aids is not a onetime event such as buying a kitchen appliance or choosing a new toilet paper. Regular hearing aid follow-up appointments are essential for a successful hearing aid user. These appointments can consist of hearing aid adjustments, maintenance, learning new skills, and hearing aid cleaning.  Being fit with hearing aids should be seen as a gradual and rewarding process, where the hearing aids are tweaked and adjusted over time, depending on how your brain adapts to the new sound it is hearing.
  3. Consistent Use: Wearing your hearing aid consistently is important for your brain to adjust to the new sounds you are hearing.  Consistency of use can continue to keep your ears “working”, which can in turn help prevent your hearing from deteriorating further.
  4. Communication Strategies: Hearing Aids can improve your ability to hear, but they will not restore your hearing to normal. It’s important to learn communication strategies that can help you better understand speech, such as learning effective listening strategies, practicing speech reading skills, and asking people to speak more clearly.

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Posted by hearingbeyond in Better Hearing Tips, Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, Top List, 0 comments
How do Hearing Aid Batteries work?

How do Hearing Aid Batteries work?

Hearing aids are tiny, amazing devices that can provide a world of sound to individuals with hearing loss.  Hearing aids use power from a battery to make it's various parts function. From the microphone, to the amplifier, to the receiver, these parts rely on a battery to function.

Even though rechargeable hearing aid batteries are becoming more and more popular, some hearing aids, especially custom hearing aids, still use disposable batteries. How do these disposable batteries work?  The science is very interesting, but let's start with the basics!

Disposable hearing aid batteries come in 4 sizes, ranging in size and battery life.  From small to large, they are named size 10, 312, 13, and 675. Size 10 are marked with a yellow tab, size 312 are marked with a brown tab, 13 with an orange tab, and 675 with a blue tab. Usually, very small hearing aids (Invisible in the canal, IIC, or completely in the canal, CIC) will use the size 10 battery, whereas larger hearing aids (Traditional Behind the Ear) use the larger 13 or 675 battery.  The size 312 is the most popular size, and is often used in most Receiver in the Ear hearing aids and custom fitting hearing aids.

Disposable hearing aid batteries are considered Zinc-Air batteries.  That's because there is Zinc inside the battery to make power.  Batteries provide power to a hearing aid by using this Zinc inside the battery and oxygen from the surrounding environment.  Zinc is ‘oxidized’ by the oxygen around you, and this chemical reaction produces zincate.  When this chemical reaction happens, power is made, which is then provided to your hearing aids!  When you pull off the tab from your batteries, air rushes into the battery and starts the reaction.

It is important to remember that whether you use the battery or not, once you pull off the tab, the battery starts working, so make sure you only pull off the tab when you’re ready to put the battery into the hearing aid.  I recommend leaving the battery out for one minute after pulling off the tab to get chemical reaction process started.

Posted by hearingbeyond in Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, 0 comments
Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

Got caught in the rain? Sweating from your workout? Dropped your hearing aids in the toilet? How do hearing aids fare when they are exposed to water damage? Are they waterproof?

Most modern hearing aids come equipped with a water-resistance rating of IP68. An IP68 rating means that, in testing trials, the device has survived continuous immersion in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. How do companies make their hearing aids water-resistant? Well, the hearing aid is usually made with some sort of protective coating or sealant that protects them against moisture.

In practical terms, if a hearing aid comes in casual contact with moisture for a short amount of time, its 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.

If your hearing aids are exposed to moisture, it’s recommended to put them in a hearing aid dehumidifier, regardless of their IP rating.  Dehumidifiers can come in different styles, including plug-in electric dehumidifiers or passive desiccant bead dehumidifiers.

Are there any hearing aids that are truly waterproof (not just water-resistant)?  Currently, no.  However, in 2011, a hearing aid company called Siemens created a truly waterproof hearing aid, but this model has since been discontinued.

Let us help you find the hearing aids for YOU! Personalized hearing health care, only at The Hearing Beyond Audiology Clinic.

Posted by hearingbeyond in Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, 0 comments
Helpful Hearing Tips for the Holidays

Helpful Hearing Tips for the Holidays

Hear well for the holidays!

This blog post discusses several tips and strategies for hearing well during the holidays.  The holiday season can be an excellent time for relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and great conversation.  Promoting a better hearing environment can allow you to have a more enjoyable holiday season.  Not hearing well during family and friend gatherings can cause anxiety, undue stress, and a reluctance to attend future gatherings and events.

Let’s discuss my top holiday hearing tips!

To start, seating arrangements play a vital role in better hearing. Circular seating arrangements allow guests to see one another better, increasing their ease of communication. Reading facial expressions and mouth movements can provide up to a 30% increase in understanding; why not take advantage of that boost!  If it's available, use a circular seating arrangement.

If you wear hearing aids, make sure to have them cleaned and tuned-up by your audiologist before the holiday season.  Always carry spare batteries with you, and make sure your hearing aids are charged! Having spare hearing aid filters and domes readily available is also an excellent idea.  Hearing aids only work well when they maintained and taken care of.

Are you planning on entertaining guests with board games? Play board games and party games that encourage turn taking. A poor communication setting is made when everyone is yelling answers and directions for a game all at the same time. Turn taking games are much more listening friendly.  Also, games that rely on whispering and music are not good choices for individuals that have a hearing loss, even a mild loss. Put the musical chairs away, and take out Apples-to-Apples!

Some parties (especially for young children) can have festive masks, face-painting, and other fund stations. Try a face-painting station for your holiday party instead of using festive masks. Masks can make voices sound muffled and distorted, and also hide very useful facial expressions and lip moments. Further, masks can bother children who use hearing aids, causing unnecessary discomfort. Face paint, temporary tattoo stickers, or face stickers are a better solution to communication, and the festive spirit can still be embraced!

Also, appropriate festive head wear can be important for better hearing. Imagine wearing a woolen Santa hat all day: Your head would be hot and sweaty!  Cloth hats are not optimal party headwear for people with hearing aids. Sweat can affect the hearing aid, and the sound quality can be diminished. Also, some cloth hats can knock off hearing devices from an ear when taken off. Paper hats (crowns) and festive headbands are a much better alternative.

If you feel like your hearing isn’t as great as it used to be, get your hearing tested.  Give yourself the gift of better hearing this holiday season!

Contact us for a hearing assessment today!

Posted by hearingbeyond in Better Hearing Tips, Hearing Aid Tip, Hearing Aids, Top List, 0 comments
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