Posted on Leave a comment

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Increased Fall Risk

Do you remember the Life Alert commercials that made famous the phrase, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? While young people might find those ads rather humorous, falling is no joke. For older people, falling can be a significant fear—and a real risk. Balance naturally declines with age, which makes older people more likely to fall.Hearing also declines with age, and a growing body of research shows that hearing loss can increase the risk of falls. With both balance and hearing in decline as you age, the risk for falls can become high.
How is hearing connected to balance?
According to research, what you hear (and don’t hear) can directly affect your balance. A study of people aged 40 to 69 found that a 25-decibel hearing loss triples your chance of falling. That is the equivalent of going from normal hearing to mild hearing loss. Furthermore, the age range of the study participants (40-69 years of age) is the same range in which many people first experience hearing loss and are not accustomed to guarding against falls.
While the link between hearing loss and balance is still being researched, audiologists have pinned down a few ways they are connected:

  1. Sound helps you balance. Researchers believe that people with poor balance benefit from auditory cues to help them avoid falls. In addition, stable sounds can help people keep their balance—similar to looking at one spot on the wall in order to help balance. If you have hearing loss and cannot hear those stable sounds, however, you are more likely to lose your balance and fall.
  2. Hearing uses up brain power, and so does balance. Mental resources are finite. If your brain is using up extra cognitive power to try to interpret sound due to hearing loss, it has less mental resource to assign to balance. Balance is cognitively demanding, so the extra strain of trying to hear with hearing loss can result in a loss of balance.
  3. Aging causes a decline in your vestibular sense. The vestibular sense is a set of receptors in your inner ear that come into play whenever you move your head. Your vestibular sense is also activated by the downward pull of gravity and helps you feel grounded. However, research shows that the vestibular sense may begin to decline around age 40. Loud low-frequency sounds can damage the inner ear, which can also disrupt your vestibular sense and result in balance (and hearing) problems.
    Of course, not all people with age-related hearing loss have inner ear problems, and vice versa.
  4. Hearing loss is linked to depression and anxiety. Untreated hearing loss increases your risk for depression and anxiety. If you are caught up in these mental issues, you may be less alert and more likely to fall. Furthermore, depression is linked to a greater incidence of falling, and increased falls lead to increased depression, which creates a difficult cycle.

How can you reduce your risk of falling?
Reducing your risk of falls can be simple.

  • Stay active. Even activities as simple as walking can help to strengthen your muscles and reduce the risk of falls. Other good forms of exercise include balance exercises, resistance exercises, tai chi, water aerobics, and strength training.
  • Get your vision checked. Your sense of balance has many contributing factors, including both vision and hearing. Be sure to keep your eye prescription updated. Tint-changing lenses and bifocals are less appropriate for older people.
  • Wear your hearing aid. University of Michigan study found that a first-time hearing aid reduced the risk of fall-related injury by 13 percentage points in the next 3 years.
  • Make your home safe. Do a walk-through of your home to make it more fall-proof. Make sure that the tops and bottoms of the stairs are well-lit and ensure that the stair railing is secure. Remove or secure any loose rugs or carpeting. Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub.
  • Consider physical therapy. If you are unable to move as you would like, or if you have difficulty performing everyday movements like getting up from your chair, physical therapy may help.

For more information about how you can treat hearing loss and reduce your risk of falls, we invite you to contact our hearing practice today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Hearing Loss & Vision Loss Double the Risk for Dementia

When you think of getting older, you might think of physical changes like hair turning gray or white, skin becoming more wrinkled, or increased difficulty in getting around. Hearing loss or vision loss may also come to mind—after all, it’s almost a stereotype for older people to wear reading glasses and hearing aids.
In reality, many people do experience loss of hearing or eyesight as they age. In the United States, approximately one in three people from the age of 65 to 74 have age-related hearing loss, and about half of people older than 75 have difficulty hearing. In addition, approximately one in three people have some form of vision-reducing disease by the age of 65. It is clear that losing some hearing or eyesight as we age is far from rare.
However, age-related hearing loss or vision loss can also affect your mind and memory. This was demonstrated in a new study that was published in the April 2021 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people with both hearing and vision loss were twice as likely to have dementia than those who had normal seeing and hearing or only one impairment.
The study followed 6,520 people between the ages of 58-101. The study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that included questions about their hearing and vision. At the start of the study, 932 participants had normal hearing and vision, 2,957 had either visual or hearing impairment, and 2,631 reported that they had both. The researchers found that dementia was more than twice as common among those with both hearing and vision impairment at the beginning of the study.
The study followed the participants during a six-year period. During those six years, 245 people developed dementia. After adjusting for factors like sex, income, and education, the researchers found that those with both hearing and vision impairment were twice as likely to develop dementia as those without impairment. They also found that participants with only one impairment were no more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing and seeing. Furthermore, when thinking tests were administered to the study participants, those with both hearing and vision impairment showed a steeper decline in scores.
JinHyeong Jhoo, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study authors, noted that additional research is needed to better understand why having both hearing and vision loss increases the risk of dementia while having only one impairment does not. Researchers have hypothesized that the increased risk of dementia among this group may be related to greater social isolation and depression. People with only one impairment can often maintain their social lives to an extent, while those with both hearing and vision loss are more likely to experience social isolation and depression. In turn, social isolation and depression have been linked to a greater risk for dementia and cognitive decline.
It is important to have your hearing and vision tested regularly so you can take steps to treat any conditions (like wearing hearing aids or glasses). To learn more about how you can protect yourself from dementia or to schedule an appointment with our hearing specialist, we welcome you to contact our office today.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Unexpected Connection Between Hearing Loss, Menopause, and Tinnitus

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! To any of you who are battling breast cancer, have in the past, or have loved ones who have, we love and support you! We support ongoing medical research and remain optimistic that a cure is on the horizon.
If we take a look at women’s health holistically, did you know that hearing loss, menopause, and hormone therapy have a connection? This is another field with ongoing research that is constantly revealing new connections and exploring how various factors are linked.
Menopause and Hearing Loss
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process when a woman’s ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and menstruation stops. This is accompanied by a drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, emotional changes, hair loss, changes in libido, sore breasts, and more.
However, some women also experience changes in their hearing or develop tinnitus as menopause approaches. Current research indicates that this is related to the drop in estrogen, although scientists do not exactly understand how estrogen is linked to hearing. We have estrogen receptors in our ears and auditory pathways, but the exact connection between the hormone and hearing health is still unknown.
A recent analysis, led by Dr. Sharon Curhan, MD, who is a physician and epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reported that both animal and human studies have shown that low estrogen levels can impair hearing. This may be due to alterations in blood flow to the cochlea, which is a hollow tube in the inner ear. A separate study measured hearing and levels of estradiol, which is a form of estrogen. The study assessed 1,830 postmenopausal women and found that those with less estradiol were more likely to have hearing loss.
Hormone Therapy, Hearing Loss, and Tinnitus
Since these studies have found that women with lower levels of estrogen are more likely to have hearing loss, it may seem logical to conclude that hormone therapy, which boosts hormone levels, could help to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
However, Curhan’s team found the opposite to be true. In assessing data collected from more than 47,000 female nurses over a span of 22 years, they found that those who received a course of hormone therapy (HT) for five to ten years had a 15 percent higher risk of hearing loss than those who did not have HT. The team also concluded that the risk of hearing loss increased the longer the woman stayed on HT.
Interestingly, research has found that hormone therapy can lower the rate of tinnitus in perimenopausal women, yet some women who start HT in perimenopause develop tinnitus. The connection between menopause, hormone therapy, and tinnitus is currently not fully understood.
How to Protect Your Hearing
Because some women develop sudden hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo when starting hormone therapy, be sure to monitor your hearing if you decide to begin hormone therapy. Dr. Curhan recommends that you stay on HT for only as long as needed. If you do notice changes in your hearing or if you develop sudden hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo, contact your medical provider immediately.
Furthermore, you can protect your hearing and your overall health by living a healthy lifestyle. Studies have found that those who follow a diet close to the Mediterranean diet or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) have a lower risk of hearing loss. Be aware of medications that can affect your hearing health as well. Using the over-the-counter pain relievers acetaminophen and ibuprofen two or more times per week may be linked to hearing loss. Finally, avoid loud noises or constant background noise, get your hearing checked, and wear prescribed hearing aids regularly.
To learn more about the connection between menopause, hearing loss, and tinnitus, we invite you to contact our hearing professional today. We look forward to providing you with the information you need.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Advocate for Your Hearing Health

Happy October! October means many things—it’s finally starting to feel like autumn in many places, and Halloween is coming up. But did you know that October is also National Audiology Awareness Month? This is the perfect time to assess your own hearing health. Of course, you don’t need to evaluate your hearing health on your own. Seeing a hearing health specialist can be an important step in assessing your current hearing health and receiving any treatment you need.
Before we talk about seeing a hearing health professional, however, let’s talk a little bit about your regular annual check-ups with your general practitioner. Do you go to your annual visits? If you do, does your doctor ask questions about your hearing health? They should! However, a recent national poll revealed that 80 percent of older adults said their doctors didn’t ask about their hearing health.
Now, you might be thinking that a doctor neglecting to ask about hearing health isn’t really a big issue. If hearing loss were apparent, the patient would have brought it up, right? Well, not always. Doctors can often be in a rush due to packed schedules and limited time for appointments. In fact, I recall an annual appointment where my doctor cut me off from telling him about my health concerns and said he didn’t have time to listen to all of them! (Don’t worry—I found a new doctor after that experience.)
Because of the constant push to move on to the next appointment, some patients might not bring up their hearing health, even if they have concerns about it. The rush from appointment to appointment is also a likely reason that many doctors don’t inquire about hearing health on their own, without prodding from the patient.
Whatever the reason, it is concerning that such a large portion of older adults are not being asked about their hearing health at their annual check-ups. Approximately one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 has age-related hearing loss, and nearly half of adults over the age of 75 have difficulty hearing. This makes it likely that a good portion of older adults whose doctors do not ask about their hearing health do have hearing loss.
Untreated hearing loss can cause challenges in communication, which can lead to strained relationships with family and friends, difficulties at work, and a new aversion to social situations. In addition, untreated hearing loss is linked to several other health problems, including a greater risk for depression, anxiety, social isolation, cognitive decline and dementia, and falls.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from these health problems? Learn to advocate for yourself and your hearing health! When you go to annual check-ups, talk with your doctor about your hearing health. Take an online hearing assessment to see if you might have hearing loss. (Several free hearing tests are available, like this one, if you do a quick online search.) If you believe you might have hearing loss or if you simply want to get your hearing checked by a professional, contact a hearing specialist. They will be able to conduct a hearing test, evaluate your results, and recommend the treatment you need. If you have a hearing aid, wear it! Don’t be afraid to talk about hearing loss with others, whether it’s your doctor or your friends.
To learn more about how you can advocate for your hearing health (especially during Audiology Awareness Month!) or to set up an appointment with our hearing professional, we welcome you to contact us today. We look forward to assisting you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Do You Have Trouble Hearing Clearly—But Are Not Sure If You Have Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss may seem like a black and white issue—either you have hearing loss or you have normal hearing. You would think hearing loss would be fairly easy to self-diagnose, too, since you would notice when you cannot hear properly. However, there are some gray, in-between areas when it comes to hearing loss. You might feel that you do not have hearing loss because you can hear, yet you cannot hear clearly. That’s exactly what this article will discuss.
You Can Hear, But Not Clearly
So, what does it mean if you can hear, but not clearly? Another common way this is described is that you can hear a conversation, but you have difficulty understanding what is said. In many cases, this is a sign of high-frequency hearing loss. This means that you can hear and understand low-pitched sounds, but you have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds.
High-frequency hearing loss can make it challenging to understand speech because consonant sounds (like Th, Sh, F, S, P, K, and V) are high-pitched. Since vowel sounds (A, E, I, O, and U) are low-pitched, you can probably hear the vowels but not the consonants. This combination means you will know that someone is speaking and you might be able to make out part of it, but because you cannot hear all of the consonant sounds, you may have difficulty understanding what is being said.
High-frequency hearing loss also makes it more difficult to hear high-pitched voices, especially those of women and children. In addition, excessive background noise can make it even more challenging to understand speech if you have high-frequency hearing loss. Here are a few more common signs of high-frequency hearing loss:

  • You struggle to follow conversations
  • You often feel like people are mumbling
  • You have difficulty understanding speech on television, even if you turn up the volume
  • You do not enjoy music because it sounds distorted, especially at higher volumes
  • You often mishear women’s and children’s voices
  • You struggle to understand speech on the phone
  • You find yourself giving inappropriate answers to questions or missing the punchline of jokes
  • Your family members and friends feel like you aren’t listening to them
  • Your spouse or family members accuse you of having “selective hearing”

If you recognize these symptoms, it’s time to have your hearing checked by a hearing professional. They will be able to diagnose any hearing loss, including high-frequency hearing loss, and provide you with the solutions you need.
You Pass a Hearing Test But Still Can’t Hear Properly
In most cases, a professional hearing test will help detect and diagnose any hearing loss. Believe it or not, however, there are times when you can pass a hearing test and be told that you have normal hearing, yet you still feel that you cannot hear properly. There are a few reasons this might happen:

  • Hidden Hearing Loss
    Hidden hearing loss is hearing loss that is not detectable with standard hearing tests. This is because standard hearing loss focuses on the ears, while hidden hearing loss is due to an issue in the brain.
  • Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)
    If you can hear sounds but have difficulty understanding, you may have an auditory processing disorder. This is caused by the nervous system struggling to interpret sound coming in from the ears.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD) can make it difficult to understand sound as well. This is because the brain struggles to keep up with all of the sensory input it experiences, especially noise. It is also possible to have both ADD or autism and an auditory processing disorder.

If you feel like you have difficulty hearing or understanding sounds, do not hesitate to contact your hearing care professional. We are here to assist you and provide the personalized care you need.

Posted on Leave a comment

Hearing Loss Can Change You, But Did You Know It Can Change Your Brain?

Hearing loss can bring a lot of change to your life. Of course, there’s the major change of not being able to hear all of the sounds that you once did. Untreated hearing loss can also alter your relationships with your spouse, family, friends, and coworkers, as you can no longer hear and understand conversations clearly. You may often ask people to repeat themselves or talk louder, which can lead to frustration on both sides. You might even find yourself avoiding social situations, especially in loud settings, to avoid problems with hearing and understanding conversation. You may not be able to enjoy sounds you once did, like music, TV, and nature sounds. If you decide to treat your hearing loss and wear hearing aids, that is a change too.
All of these changes are real and can create shifts in your life. However, did you know that hearing loss can also change your brain? Recent research, conducted over several years by Johns Hopkins University, The Ohio State University, and other institutions, has revealed that hearing loss causes changes to your brain that have been linked to cognitive decline and even dementia.
The greatest takeaway message from this research is that if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss, treat your hearing loss! Getting a hearing test is painless and usually takes half an hour or less. From this hearing test, your hearing professional will be able to diagnose any hearing loss and present you with options to treat your hearing loss. Hearing aids are a common and effective way to treat hearing loss. In fact, studies have shown that treating hearing loss by wearing hearing aids reduces memory loss and is associated with a delayed diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is not clear yet whether using hearing aids can completely prevent the brain changes that are linked to memory loss and cognitive decline, but it can slow this process.
Stanford University’s clinical instructor of otolaryngology, Yona Vaisbuch, MD, explained in the 2018 Stanford Medicine publication Listening that, “With time, those brain changes will not be reversible. That’s why we need to treat hearing loss as soon as possible.” Likewise, Dr. Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins recommends treating hearing loss “sooner rather than later…before these brain structural changes take place.” As noted by Dr. Vaisbuch, the brain changes that occur due to untreated hearing loss can become permanent. At that point, just beginning to wear hearing aids may be too little, too late when it comes to brain structure and cognitive decline.
Of course, simply having your hearing tested and getting hearing aids is not enough if you do not actually use your hearing aids! Wearing your hearing aids all day, every day is the best way to get used to them and enjoy their benefits. If you feel something is wrong with your hearing aids—for example, if they are uncomfortable or if the settings need to be adjusted—be sure to reach out to your hearing aid professional.
If you believe that you might have hearing loss, or if you want to learn more about how treating hearing loss can prevent changes to your brain, we invite you to contact our hearing practice today. We are eager to speak with you!

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Is It Important to Have a Professional Hearing Aid Fitting?

If you broke your arm, would you go to the store, buy some plaster, and put a cast on your broken arm yourself? Of course not! You would go to a doctor who would be sure to set the broken bone correctly and apply the cast in a way that will be of most benefit to your arm’s healing.
In the same way, you cannot expect your hearing aids to function optimally without the help of a professional. There are many different types of hearing aids available now—some better than others—and to ensure that you get the right type of hearing aids for you and that they fit correctly, you will need to attend a hearing aid fitting with a trained hearing professional. Here are 4 reasons why it is essential to have a professional hearing aid fitting:

  1. Not all hearing aids are created equal.
    Just as with all other products, hearing aids are available in a wide variety. Some are simple, while others are very technologically advanced. The type of hearing aid you will need depends on the type and severity of hearing loss you suffer from. Personal preferences can also help determine which hearing aid is right for you.
    Your hearing professional will take all of these factors into account when helping you find the hearing aid that is best for you. Cost also plays a role, so be sure to discuss your cost expectations with your hearing aid professional. (Just remember that you often get what you pay for, so it might not be worth it to choose the least expensive option.)
    Remember, there will be an adjustment period with your new hearing aids, even if you choose top-of-the-line devices and have them fitted by a professional. If your hearing aids are uncomfortable, however, or if you still experience trouble hearing, you may need an adjustment. Do not hesitate to contact your hearing aid professional for assistance.
  2. There are various types and degrees of hearing loss.
    As mentioned, the type of hearing loss you experience will play a part in determining which type of hearing aid you need and how your device is adjusted by your hearing professional. It is important that you are aware of the type and severity of hearing loss you experience so you can make an educated decision on what kind of hearing aids you will use. Your hearing aid professional will help you understand your hearing loss and will assist you in deciding on the type of hearing aid that is best for your specific needs.
  3. You will need to decide to wear your hearing aids.
    You could choose the best of the best when it comes to hearing aids, but they will do you no good if you do not wear them. It is a personal decision and commitment to wear hearing aids every day and enjoy the sounds you would miss without them. While it may seem strange at first to wear hearing aids every day, remember that untreated hearing loss can lead to a variety of other medical problems, including depression, anxiety, social isolation, falls, and cognitive decline.
    Again, if your hearing aids are uncomfortable or the settings seem off after your professional fitting, contact your hearing aid specialist. They can help you with adjustments.
  4. A trained professional is an irreplaceable resource.
    Your hearing aid fitting will be with a hearing professional. Be sure to take advantage of your time with them. Ask any questions that you have and listen to all of their instruction and advice. They will be able to help you make informed decisions about your hearing aids. They can also answer your questions and ease any concerns you might have. Remember that your hearing professional has your best interests at heart.

If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, it may be time for hearing aids. To learn more about professional hearing aid fittings and to schedule your appointment, we invite you to contact our hearing professional today.

Posted on Leave a comment

4 Easy Tips for Getting Used to New Hearing Aids

Are you considering committing to new hearing aids soon? Perhaps you have recently realized that you are experiencing hearing loss and you are considering your first set of hearing aids. Maybe you have worn hearing aids for years now and are contemplating getting a new set (especially with all of the new hearing aids coming out recently). No matter what your situation is, it can be a big change to get used to wearing new hearing aids.
Here are some simple, effective tips for getting used to new hearing aids:

  1. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
    During your hearing aid fitting, don’t be afraid to speak up if you have any concerns or questions about your new hearing aids. Your hearing aid professional is there to answer all of your questions and make sure that your hearing aids are as effective as possible. If you are worried about the quality of sound or need any adjustments, be sure to speak up.
    Don’t forget that adjustments can be made later as well, so it isn’t a “one and done” situation. As you get used to your new hearing aids over the coming days and weeks, make note of any specific adjustments that need to be made or any questions you have. This will make it easy to give your hearing aid professional good feedback at your follow-up appointment.
  2. Wear your new hearing aids every day.
    If you never wear your new hearing aids, you’ll never get used to them! Wearing your hearing aids every day—from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed—is the best way to get used to them. In addition, wearing your hearing aids every day will help you notice any settings that need to be adjusted at your follow-up appointment with your hearing aid specialist.
  3. Have realistic expectations.
    Yes, hearing aids can indeed be life changing. They can enable you to hear sounds that you haven’t heard in some time. However, wearing hearing aids isn’t the same as having your hearing perfectly restored in an instant. You may still need to use strategies like seeking out visual cues and choosing preferred seating in noisy environments to ensure the best understanding of speech in different environments.
  4. Be patient.
    As noted above, wearing new hearing aids isn’t a “one and done” situation. It may take a few adjustments and appointments with your hearing aid specialist before you get all of the settings just right. The adjustment for you may take some time as well. You may not be used to wearing something on or in your ears every day, and your brain will have to get used to hearing more sounds again, too.

Your hearing loss probably happened gradually, and it will also be a gradual process to get used to your new hearing aids. With a little time, however, you will wonder how you ever lived without your new hearing aids! To learn more about how you can get used to new hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with our hearing aid professional, we welcome you to contact our office today.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Hearing Aid Manufacturers Offer Devices Online—Here’s What You Need to Know

If you had been diagnosed with hearing loss 20 years ago, you would have had only one choice: purchase hearing aids through your audiologist or hearing aid professional. That has simply been the way things are done for many, many years—but change is on the horizon. In fact, in many ways, change is already here when it comes to purchasing hearing aids and other hearing devices.
Beginning this year, several companies are now offering hearing aids available for online purchase. These include Bose, who created their own self-fitted hearing aid, and Walgreens, who partnered with hearing aid maker Lexie Hearing. In addition, highly recognizable companies like Apple, Samsung, and Panasonic will soon join them in becoming hearing aid manufacturers. According to online rumors, even Google has considered getting in the hearing aid game!
So, what does this mean for you as a consumer? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider this news:

  • You have options for purchasing hearing aids.
    As mentioned above, options for getting hearing aids in the past were pretty limited. Now, you have the choice to purchase a hearing aid through your audiology professional, purchase your devices online, or (in the near future) purchase your hearing aids over-the-counter (OTC).
    This variety of purchasing options also brings more variety in pricing. Top-of-the-line, custom hearing aids fitted by your audiology professional can cost thousands of dollars. (It should be kept in mind that hearing aid professionals offer lower-cost options as well.) The current online offerings from Bose and Walgreens fall in the $800-850 range. Over-the-counter hearing aids are likely to bring additional lower-cost devices. This allows you to find the hearing aid that is right for your budget as well as your hearing needs.
  • Not all hearing devices are hearing aids.
    When you think of managing hearing loss, hearing aids are probably the first solution to come to mind. However, several types of devices are now available, with more coming thanks to continuing audiology research and technological innovation.
    For example, there are now headphones and earbuds that correct audio for hearing loss, soundbars that do the same, apps that help you hear better in noise, apps that allow you to personalize your sound experience, and much more. If you have mild hearing loss, these types of devices and apps may be able to help you hear better without the need for hearing aids.
  • Audiological research is advancing quickly.
    From the advancements in hearing aids and other hearing devices in the last few years, it is apparent that audiological research is moving forward quickly now—and it’s being taken seriously. Companies that never previously ventured into the audiological field are now doing so confidently. In addition, developing technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence are poised to further advance audiology in the coming years.
  • Your hearing professional can still guide you through the process.
    Whether you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the new choices or simply want to make sure you get the option that’s best for you and your needs, an audiology professional is there to guide you through. Your audiology professional will test your hearing and explain the various options you have, as well as the pros and cons of each. This can help make it easier to see which option is the best fit for you.

To learn more about new hearing aid availability and other hearing devices, we invite you to contact our hearing professional today. We are eager to assist you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Here’s Why You Need an In-Person Hearing Test (Even Though You May Be Able to Buy Hearing Aids Online)

Odds are good that you’re familiar with online shopping. Nowadays, even hearing aids are available for purchase online! That’s right—companies like Bose and Walgreens began offering online purchase for hearing aids (in certain states) this year. So, if you can purchase your hearing aids online, then you no longer need to go to your hearing professional’s office for an in-person hearing test, right? Wrong!
The truth is that even with advancing technology and increased online offerings, there is nothing that can compare to an in-person hearing test. In-person hearing tests are essential for getting an accurate assessment of your hearing ability and evaluating whether you would benefit from treatment like hearing aids.
If you aren’t convinced, here are just a few reasons why it’s important to have a formal, in-personal hearing evaluation:

  1. There are different types of hearing loss. The online hearing tests used to purchase and fit hearing aids online may not be able to detect all types of hearing loss and may not accurately fit your devices based on the specific type of hearing loss.
  2. There are varying degrees of hearing loss—and hearing loss can vary between your ears. Again, online hearing tests may not be able to detect all degrees of hearing loss. If you have mild hearing loss, it may not be apparent in an online test, yet it would be noticed by an audiology professional in a formal hearing evaluation. Furthermore, sometimes your ears have different degrees of hearing loss. This is important to take into account when fitting hearing aids.
  3. You should establish a baseline for your hearing. The Mayo Clinic recommends regular hearing evaluations for adults to establish a baseline. This will make it easier in the future to determine whether you are experiencing hearing loss and whether it’s time for hearing aids.
  4. Hearing loss can signal other health problems. In some cases, hearing loss is an early warning sign of a serious health condition, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. An online hearing test will not consider your overall health.
  5. Untreated hearing loss can lead to additional health problems. If your hearing loss goes untreated, you are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness and social isolation, falls, cognitive decline, and dementia. By having regular hearing evaluations and treating any diagnosed hearing loss, you can avoid these serious consequences.
  6. Hearing evaluations are painless. “No pain, no gain,” doesn’t apply to hearing tests. An in-personal hearing test simply checks your hearing ability. You will wear headphones and listen for tones to evaluate how well you hear sound volume and sound pitch. Your hearing professional may also conduct a painless physical examination of your ears to check for ear wax impaction or infection. Hearing tests usually take less than an hour, and they might be free, too (depending on your insurance).

And maybe the best reason of all? If your hearing test shows that you do not have hearing loss, you can say, “I told you so!” to anyone who told you that you might not be hearing very well. Joking aside, regular in-person hearing evaluations are essential to ensuring that any hearing loss is treated in a timely manner and in a way that best fits your specific needs.
To learn more about the importance of in-person hearing evaluations and to schedule your next hearing test, we invite you to contact our hearing professional today. We are eager to hear from you!