EAR BUDS MAY LEAD TO HEARING LOSS But it Can Be Avoided!

Ear buds and headphones are a great way to have your own personalized entertainment experience wherever you go. Whether you like to listen to music or watch your favorite video content on your phone, ear buds are necessary to listen to audio in a public setting.

Since ear buds are speakers inside of your ear canal, however, they can cause hearing damage, even without us realizing it. Irreversible hearing loss can result from loud noises, and if the volume goes too high for too long, you could be at risk for hearing damage. Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 5 young people may already suffer from hearing damage, because of the ubiquitous and constant use of ear buds.

Noise-induced hearing loss can occur in one of two ways: from a sudden, loud noise such as an explosion, or from ongoing exposure, such as working in a factory setting or constantly listening to loud music.

When ear buds rest in your ear canal, the sound effect can be boosted by up to 9 decibels. Since 85 decibels is the threshold for hearing damage, this extra 9 decibels may just push the sound over that limit and begin to damage your hearing.

None of this is to say that you should never wear ear buds or head phones. Here are a few suggestions to minimize damage and prevent noise-induced hearing loss from your ear buds:

  • Custom ear buds can be made that fit your ear canal perfectly. This serves to effectively block out outside noise, so you don’t feel the need to increase the volume in noisy environments.
  • Earbuds that fit tightly into your ear canal can serve the same purpose as custom earbuds by sealing into your ear and blocking background noise.
  • Use the 60/60 rule: always keep the volume under 60% and try not to use them for more than 60 minutes per day.
  • Wear “ear-muff” style headphones instead of ear buds.
  • Alert young people in your life of this information; since hearing damage is irreversible, education is important.

With just a little bit of effort, you can preserve your hearing and still enjoy personal entertainment wherever you go.

Since hearing loss can progress slowly, annual hearing screenings are crucial. We may not notice these gradual changes in hearing ability on our own until damage is done.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

EXERCISE MAY BE GOOD FOR YOUR EARS, TOO!

How much exercise do you get in a typical week? Whether it’s a run around the block, a long walk around the mall or a trip to the gym, we all know that movement is good for our bodies, but did you know it may be good for your hearing as well?

Studies now show that as many as 20% of Americans, and 33% of Americans over the age of 65, suffer from hearing loss. We have also learned that hearing loss can affect much more than just hearing: studies have shown increased risk of depression, dementia and social isolation when hearing loss is a factor. Hearing loss can also make it more difficult to work, which results in income loss for hearing loss sufferers. And since hearing loss is not reversible, anything we can do to prevent or slow hearing loss will be a positive.

The various structures of the ear breaking down as we age contribute to different types of hearing loss. It was found, however, that mice who exercised experienced an average of 5% hearing loss as they aged, while sedentary mice experienced 20% hearing loss.

Exercise increases circulation, which preserves necessary capillaries that deliver blood and oxygen to the ear to preserve the cochlea and other surrounding structures. Elevating your heart rate at least a few times a week is ideal, though taking a daily walk around the neighborhood is also beneficial.

The CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control), 20% of Americans do not get adequate amounts of exercise. Exercise has so many proven health benefits that hearing loss prevention is just one more added onto a long list of positive things resulting from a less sedentary lifestyle.

Aerobic activity slows the aging process by increasing energy and oxygen to every cell of your body, contributes to faster recovery from chronic illness, improves your skin by increasing circulation, improves your mood by inducing a natural calm state, boosts brain health by reducing age-related loss of brain tissue, and gives you more energy throughout the day to do other activities and chores.

Exercising for only 16 minutes three times per week has been shown to improve health and contribute to all of these benefits. And of course, exercising also contributes to a healthy body weight and positive overall body image. In fact, many have found better results by short bursts of exercise rather than long, drawn out cardiovascular sessions. Staying in motion as much as possible during the day is an easy way to get the most benefit possible. Many people set 10,000 steps per day as a goal to motivate them to stay moving, utilizing tools such as fitness trackers and even health apps on smartphones.

Other ways to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss are a healthy diet (avoid processed foods whenever possible and eat whole foods to maximize nutrient absorption), avoid loud noises and practice listening skills to train your brain to distinguish sound more effectively.

Because hearing loss can progress slowly, annual hearing screenings are crucial. We may not notice these gradual changes in hearing ability on our own until damage is done.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

Could There be a Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia?

As we age, most of us expect to experience some hearing loss. It is considered a normal part of aging, and other than hindered communication and minor annoyance, is not seen as a major health issue. More and more studies, however, are linking hearing loss with mental decline and dementia, which is increasing concern over this “minor” consequence of aging.

One study that involved more than 2000 people found that people with hearing loss had a decline in cognitive abilities 30-40% faster than those who didn’t. Another study involving 600 people showed that people with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than those without it. Further, people who had severe hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than those with only mild or moderate hearing loss.  Testing and further studies have also found increased and quicker rates of brain atrophy in people with impaired hearing in comparison with people without impairment. In participants over 60 years of age, the risk of dementia was increased by 36% when hearing loss was a factor.

Hearing loss is not only a risk factor for dementia, but also seems to worsen the symptoms, including diminished memory, failure to learn new tasks, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, reduced awareness and depression, in addition to diminished overall health. In light of these findings, studies are currently underway to determine the effectiveness of hearing aids and other devices to halt or slow this mental decline.

Because hearing loss can progress slowly, annual hearing screenings are crucial. We may not notice these gradual changes in hearing ability on our own until damage is done.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

Undiagnosed Hearing Loss Associated with Social Isolation in Seniors

Are you a socialite? If so, there may be another good reason to have your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) tested.

A recent study at the University of British Columbia found that seniors who experience hearing loss are more likely to suffer from both social isolation and cognitive impairment. The study at UBC Okanagan looked at seniors between the ages of 60 and 69, and found that for each 10 decibel decrease in hearing ability, social isolation could increase by as much as 52%! This same decrease in hearing ability was also associated with an equivalent of 4 years of aging.

Because social isolation has already been shown to affect mortality rates similarly to consuming alcohol and smoking, hearing impairment can now be seen as a public health issue, and can be taken much more serious than before.

Fortunately, for the entire month of May, California Hearing Center is hosting a FREE Hearing Screening event for May is Better Hearing Month!

In support of May is Better Hearing Month, California Hearing Center invites you to come in for your Free Hearing Screening. When it comes to your hearing health, prevention is still the best medicine! No-obligation.

Every Friday during the month of May
May 5, 12, 19 & 26
9:00 am – 2:30 pm

All ages welcome – No appointment necessary.

Drop by at 88 N San Mateo Dr. San Mateo, CA 94401  (650) 342-9449

Welcome to May: Better Hearing Month!

With aging comes normal changes in hearing, as well as language and speech.

There are ways to maintain good hearing and speech, however. Here are a few ways to keep your hearing in tip-top shape:

Protection Can Prevent Hearing Loss. When participating in loud activities, such as going to a concert, mowing the lawn or spending time building in the shop, those loud noises can damage hearing. Exposing your ears unprotected to 105 decibels for one hour can damage hearing. Always use noise protection, such as earplugs.

How do you know if you are experiencing hearing loss? Do you keep your TV or radio at a level that others say is too loud? Do you often need to turn toward a sound to hear it better? Do you often ask others to repeat what they are saying? Do you have pain or ringing in your ears, or an ear infection?

If any of these is “Yes,” it is a very good idea to have a hearing test with an audiologist to prevent further damage. It is possible to treat hearing loss and stop it in its tracks, so don’t let it impact your daily life.

Speak normally. When in a loud environment, try not to strain your voice by yelling over the noise, because it can cause vocal damage or hearing impairment. Whispering and throat-clearing can also be hard on your vocal cords. If your throat feels dry, drink plenty of fluids.

Over-use of vocal cords can result in trauma and damage, affecting your voice. Polyps, cysts and vocal nodules are all issues related to over-use of the vocal cords in adults. Allergies and acid reflux can also contribute to throat and voice problems. Resting and treating these issues can help to preserve your voice.

Most hearing, speech and language problems can be avoided, especially if issues are identified and treated early.

Fortunately, it is May, and May is Better Hearing Month!

FREE Hearing Screening throughout May at California Hearing Center!

In support May is Better Hearing Month, California Hearing Center invites you to come in for your Free Hearing Screening. When it comes to your hearing health, prevention is still the best medicine! No-obligation.

Every Friday during the month of May
May 5, 12, 19 & 26
9:00 am – 2:30 pm
All ages welcome – No appointment necessary.

Drop by at 88 N San Mateo Dr. San Mateo, CA 94401  (650) 342-9449