SHOULD YOU GET A HEARING AID?

When is the last time you had a hearing evaluation?

Hearing loss among American adults is a commonplace occurrence, but according to recent surveys, only about one fifth of those who experience hearing damage take any action to remedy it.

You may think that hearing loss is irreversible: and you are right. But there is something you can do to halt the progression of hearing loss and often restore normal hearing, but you can’t do that until you have a diagnosis.

How can I be sure I have hearing loss?

A quick trip to your physician or audiologist with a fast, painless hearing assessment will give you all the information you need to know your level of hearing loss and the best way to remedy it.

For most people with hearing loss, hearing aids are an effective way to restore hearing and all that accompanies it: social time with friends, enjoyment of entertainment, family gatherings and normal communication.

Don’t waste a moment.

American adults with hearing loss wait an average of 7-10 years before seeking medical intervention, and that’s a shame, because the earlier hearing loss is detected, the less damage that may be done.

The cost of hearing aids is often a deterrent: they are expensive and most often not covered by medical plans. When you think of them as an investment, however: not only in your life and your health now, but for your future, you may realize they are well-worth the expense.

Here are a few reasons you should consider investing in hearing aids.

General health can be improved with hearing aids.

A host of other physical ailments have been linked with hearing loss, from heart disease to cognitive decline and dementia. In this case, keeping abreast of your hearing health could quite literally save your life.

Hearing loss has been shown to cause other issues as well, including social isolation and anxiety in public settings. This can lead to anger, anxiety and depression, creating a cycle that keeps the affected person alone and in the dark.

Cognitive decline has also been strongly linked to hearing loss, which causes decreased brain stimulation. Balance problems can also result, as an imbalance in inner ear fluids may also be a cause of the hearing damage.  

Emotional well-being and social life improve with hearing aids.

Hearing loss can have a big impact on friendships and lead to more misunderstandings.  Easy, healthy communication is key to lasting friendships, so those suffering with hearing loss may become socially isolated as a result as well.

Get your relationships back by restoring communication with your friends and family.

Having hearing loss leads to trouble navigating the world on your own, making a hearing loss sufferer more dependent on others. This dependence can lead to feelings of depression because they feel out of control of their own lives.

Get your independence back and get your life back by getting your hearing back!

Increase professional success with restored hearing.

Improved professional success can also result from the restoration of normal hearing with hearing aids.

Difficulty communicating in a work environment can result in reduced job performance and even demotions or decreases in pay.

Any cognitive decline can make your job even more difficult because it becomes harder to learn new things. When you take this into consideration, not investing in hearing aids could in fact cost you money overall!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss is an incredibly common disability, but it is one that is invisible. That makes understanding it or accommodating to people who suffer with hearing loss a bit more difficult. There is also a stigma attached to hearing loss (and the need for hearing aids): so much so, that only about 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Additionally, people suffering from hearing loss wait an average of 10 years before addressing it with hearing aids or other intervention.

Hearing aids are expensive and usually not covered by medical plans, so that is one reason that hearing loss sufferers shy away from them. Another reason is that they are afraid they will be ugly or obvious to others, or they may be afraid to admit there is a problem.

There are a few misconceptions about hearing loss, however, that will be helpful to address so you can better understand the challenges and navigate to solutions.

Misconceptions About Hearing Loss

1.    Hearing loss only affects older people.

Though hearing loss is more common in the elderly, hearing loss affects people of all ages and can be caused by a variety of factors, including birth complications. Most commonly, hearing loss is a result of loud noise exposure, which can come from a loud work environment, or even listening to music too loudly.

2.    Hearing aids are an instant fix.

Hearing aids are a tool that help the brain recognize and interpret sound. If a person has vision problems, putting on a pair of glasses can often immediately restore sight. With hearing aids it’s a little bit more complicated. Once the right hearing aids are chosen, the audiologist may need to do a bit of adjustment before the best hearing experience is achieved.

3.    Talking louder can help deaf people to hear you.

Often people think that hearing loss is just like the volume is turned down on a person’s hearing, but that isn’t exactly the case. For someone suffering from hearing loss, it is as if you are speaking into a broken microphone: the sound is distorted no matter what the volume. Speaking louder will usually not help.

4.    Hearing loss can be reversed with surgery or medicine.

As of now, permanent hearing loss is unfortunately irreversible by any method. This makes it all the more crucial to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss in the first place. Annual hearing screenings can catch hearing loss long before you notice it yourself—so that is another important way to intervene before hearing loss begins to interfere with your life.

5.    Deaf people only listen when they want to.

If a person with hearing loss seems like they are ignoring you, it may just be because they really didn’t hear you! Also, people who struggle with hearing loss also struggle with listening fatigue because they have to concentrate to understand sounds that are effortless for other people. When listening fatigue sets in, they may need to take a break.

6.    Deaf people are good lip readers

Lip reading is hard! Depending on how long a person has been deaf, they may or may not be very good at lip reading. Even the best lip readers are playing a guessing game, so help them out by augmenting your speech with as much body language and gesturing as possible!

7.    Sign language is the same everywhere.

Many people don’t know it, but there are about 130 different sign languages, and different spoken languages and countries have their own versions of sign language!

8.    Deaf people can’t drive automobiles.

Deaf people can drive too! They do need to be much more cautious of their surroundings and pay very close attention visually to what is happening around them.

9.    Deafness is hereditary.

Hearing loss and deafness come from a wide variety of factors, including childhood illness, accidents, loud noise exposure, congenital defects or ototoxic medication/chemicals. Deafness is rarely genetic.

10. Hearing aids are big and ugly with unsightly wires.

Modern hearing aids are much smaller than ever before and can even be controlled by your smartphone. Many of them are so tiny they fit deep into the ear canal and are virtually invisible! They also come in all shapes, sizes and colors and can be wireless.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU BETTER

San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

DID YOU KNOW HEARING AIDS COULD HELP PROTECT YOUR MIND?

Do you suffer from hearing loss? Have you been putting off the decision to get hearing aids? Or maybe you think they are unnecessary.

Hearing aids have been shown to halt the progression of hearing loss. Since hearing loss is almost always irreversible, it’s best to stop it at the earliest stage possible.

And now, a new long-term study has shown that wearing hearing aids can also stop cognitive decline that is related to hearing loss. It makes sense: if hearing aids prevent the progression of hearing loss, and hearing loss leads to cognitive decline, then it follows that using hearing aids can help to prevent cognitive decline!

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, compared cognitive decline in adults with hearing loss that did not use hearing aids and compared it to the cognitive decline of adults with hearing loss that do use hearing aids. There was also a control group: adults without measurable hearing loss.

The results were remarkable: there was no difference found in the rates of cognitive decline between people without hearing loss and those with hearing loss that used hearing aids.

In contrast, the adults with hearing loss that did not use hearing aids and in which their hearing loss went otherwise untreated showed significantly lower scores on the Mimni-Mental State Examination (a well-known assessment of cognitive function). This study was conducted over a period of 25 years, and the results are independent of any other factors, including education, age, or gender.

Adults with hearing loss that use hearing aids report improved communication, which then result in improved mood, more social interactions and increased cognitive stimulating abilities.

The brain-helping technologies of today’s hearing aids assist the brain in remaining active and engaged in the elderly, which combats cognitive decline. The “brain-first” focus that researchers and doctors have adopted will work to further these technologies and help people remain active, healthy and happy well into retirement years.

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

TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU BETTER

San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

YOUR HEARING HEALTH: WORTH THE INVESTMENT

Hearing loss is a fairly common phenomenon among American adults, yet only about 20% of those suffering from hearing damage are using any type of hearing aid.

Hearing aids are not cheap: they are an investment in not only your life now, but your life in the future as well. Hearing aids are often not covered by insurance plans or government assistance and can cost several thousand dollars. But before you shrug off hearing aids and tell yourself you don’t really need them, consider a few things.

Hearing Devices Are Shown to Improve General Health

Hearing loss has been linked to other physical maladies such as heart disease. So paying attention to your hearing health could literally save your life.

Besides being linked to disease, hearing decline can cause other factors, like social isolation and anxiety when trying to communicate with others, which can lead to depression and anger.

Hearing loss is also strongly linked to cognitive decline, probably because of the decrease in stimuli to the brain. Hearing loss, which may be caused by an imbalance in inner ear fluids, can also be linked to issues with balance, causing falls and injury.

Hearing Devices Are Shown to Improve Emotional Well-Being

Hearing loss may affect interpersonal relationships. Communicating and understanding others can become a struggle, and those with hearing loss may become socially isolated as a result.

When you get your hearing back, you get your relationships back.

When a person has hearing loss, they can have more trouble navigating the world on their own, making them more dependent on others. This dependence can lead to feelings to depression because they feel out of control of their own lives.

When you get your hearing back, you get your independence back. You get your life back.

Hearing Devices Can Improve Quality of Life

You may think that hearing loss is a minor inconvenience that you can overcome on your own. But hearing loss can lead to more difficult communication, which can affect relationships.

When getting a hearing aid for the first time, those who had been struggling with hearing loss quickly find an increase in areas of their lives they didn’t expect, such as their sense of humor, sense of safety, self-confidence, physical health, work relationships and romantic relationships.

Still think hearing aids aren’t worth the investment?

Hearing Devices Can Increase Professional Success

If all these benefits aren’t enough, people struggling with hearing loss that invest in hearing aids also see improved professional success.

When communication is difficult overall, it is even more difficult in a work environment. This can result in reduced job performance and even a drop in pay.

And since hearing loss can also influence cognitive decline, making new things harder to learn, this can make your job even more difficult.

In fact, not investing in hearing aids may actually cost you money overall if it affects your job performance!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

HEARING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2019

With a new year comes a time to reflect on our old patterns and how to update our habits and improve ourselves. Do you typically make New Year’s Resolutions, and what is your track record at sticking to them?

Personally, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I educate myself throughout the year and when I see changes that need to be made, I don’t wait for a new year to make them. Even so, I have been reflective on my habits and patterns this new year, thinking about things that I might like to change.

We all value our hearing. From conversing with friends and family to watching TV or listening to music, we use hearing almost continuously. Hearing health is something we take for granted, but when we begin to experience hearing loss we realize what a gift our hearing health has always been.

Fortunately, there are ways we can protect our hearing. Here are a few easy things you can do right now to ensure your hearing health lasts as long as possible.

1.    Yearly hearing screenings are key. One of the easiest things you can do to protect your hearing is to get annual hearing evaluations at your audiologist. Since hearing damage is irreversible, it’s important to catch it early: even before you notice it. Hearing screenings are quick, easy, and often covered by insurance.

2.    Wear protective gear. Since the most common type of hearing damage is noise-induced hearing loss, it is important to protect your ears whenever you are in a noisy environment. Whether you are at work in a factory, at a firework show, or at a concert, be sure to protect your ears from loud noises. It’s a good idea to always carry earplugs. You never know when you will be in a noisy environment, so it’s good to be prepared.

3.    Keep the volume low. When we listen to music or watch TV on mobile devices using ear buds, it’s easy to have the volume at a level above 80 decibels, which is the threshold for hearing damage. It’s best to keep the volume at less than 60% of the maximum, and if you can use over-the-ear earphones with noise-canceling technology, that can prevent you from needing to turn the volume up as loud to hear your device.  

4.    Get custom-made. If you listen to a lot of music or if music is your business, it’s a good idea to get custom-made earplugs or earphone molds. They are relatively inexpensive and a great way to protect your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss. They are customized to fit your ear canal exactly. Not only do they deliver superior sound, they allow for better quality listening, so you can listen at a lower volume and prevent hearing damage.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

HOLIDAY PARTIES FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED

During the holidays, family gatherings and parties abound. For those with hearing loss these festivities may be a source of stress and insecurity. The constant concentration required to focus on conversation with a lot of background noise can be exhausting and overwhelming. Because of this, many people with hearing loss may avoid parties and holiday gatherings altogether.

If you have a loved one who suffers from hearing loss, making a few simple changes can help them to be more comfortable at your party and make them happy to attend your gathering.

Turn down the music; turn up the lights.

Parties can be dark and noisy with loud music. If your interior is bright and the music is not too loud, it can keep the noise levels down and help people to see and understand their conversation partners better.

Break it up.

Set aside areas for different activities and space them out: a space for mingling, a space for eating, another for dancing, and another to watch sporting events. This can break up background noise and make the party easier to navigate.

Watch out for wallflowers.

When people are exhausted from the efforts of communication and want to escape, they may retreat to a quiet room or corner. If you see someone doing this, engage them in a one-on-one conversation in a quiet area so they don’t feel left out. And don’t push them to return to the festivities until they are ready.

Be mindful of the needs of guests.

We often think to ask in advance about dietary restrictions, but we can also ask about other issues guests may have, and if they have a seating preference at the dinner table as a result. If you can seat someone with hearing issues in the middle of the table instead of the end, it could help them to hear what is going on better and feel more involved in the evening.

Breaks can be good.

If you see a loved one “taking a break” from the party, allow some time for them to regroup. They may just need five or ten minutes of peace and then be ready to get back to the party.

If you plan your party with your hearing-impaired loved ones in mind, it’s much more likely that they will be comfortable enough to attend and have a great time at your gathering.

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

DISCREET HEARING AID TECHNOLOGY COULD GIVE YOU YOUR LIFE BACK!

Anyone with substantial hearing loss knows that it can lead to a considerable decrease in quality of life, especially while in the presence of others. Hearing is a critical part of participating in public activities. Luckily, hearing aids can help people to live a normal life even with hearing loss.

Technology You Don’t Notice

The hearing aid technology of today offers the most seamless hearing experience ever. Even if your hearing loss is severe, hearing aids can help you to communicate and understand the world around you normally. The newest wireless technology allows users to control all of the settings via smart phone or other device, acting as a kind of remote control. Hearing devices are now smaller than ever–so discreet that people you encounter may not know you are wearing them!

The functional technology of modern hearing aids like feedback cancellation, background noise reduction and speech recognition can make the use of hearing devices easier than ever. Hearing aids are now “smart” and can learn your needs and automatically adjust to your preferences.

In addition to their basic functions of restoring your hearing, today’s hearing aids can also allow you to stream sound from telephones, TVs and other devices—like having earbuds available whenever you wear them.  Without any additional devices you can listen to TV, movies or music wirelessly.

New Capability for New Technology

In the past, hearing aids were merely amplifiers of sound, doing nothing to assist the brain in processing sound. We now realize that hearing loss is much more than not hearing sounds—it can involve the inability of the brain to interpret the sound coming in. it therefore becomes necessary to find a way to assist that communication between the brain and the ears.

Hearing aids today are truly smart devices, complete with computer chips that can predict your hearing needs and provide a solution. They have learning capabilities, for example, that can help you control background noise and volume—almost as well as your natural ears!

The Tech is Available. Why Not Use it?

With the technology available and the wide variety of devices for every need, there is no reason not to use hearing aids. Check with your audiologist for a recommendation of hearing aids that can best fit your style and comfort preferences, as well as your budget.  Schedule an appointment today and find out the options that are available to you. Don’t let hearing loss steal your quality of life!

If you think you could have hearing loss, no matter what the cause, be sure to visit your audiologist immediately to take action. You may find a resolution that can inhibit or stop the development of hearing damage.

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

THE STIGMA OF HEARING LOSS

As we age, we may begin to feel left behind and even devalued, especially after retirement. We may get the idea that we are no longer contributing to society. Negative stigma may be perceived from other sources as well: our health may begin to fail, and we may feel that we are on a downward path. Hearing is one ability that commonly begins to fail as we age.

There is a stigma against hearing loss, which is both internal and external. With hearing loss comes more difficulty communicating with people around us, and it may be tempting to try to deny there is a problem. This can result in a person with hearing loss in the early stages not seeking treatment.

There is a Problem

Hearing aids are expensive and are usually not covered by insurance. On top of this significant cost, the negative stigma towards the need for hearing devices can be a deterrent. People generally don’t want to admit that they are getting older and that their bodies are failing. The first step to fixing the situation and possibly even halting the progression of healing loss is to admit that it is present.

Even well-meaning friends and family can create a negative stigma against hearing loss, because they may not understand the issue. Seeing advertising of hearing aids boasting of their invisibility can sometimes exacerbate this further, creating the notion that hearing aids should be hidden because they are something to be ashamed of.

The negative stigmas surrounding hearing loss can result in people postponing a visit to the audiologist to deal with the issue. And the longer the issue is delayed, the more hearing can deteriorate. Education about how hearing loss works is crucial to helping people overcome this stigma and seek help while the hearing loss is still in its early stages. This may help them to stop the progression of hearing loss, which is irreversible.

Getting Rid of the Stigma

If hearing and communicating effectively has become a problem for you, your first step is to visit an audiologist to assess the situation and evaluate your options. Technology is available to help us with this, so why not use it? Hearing aid technology allows us to seamlessly and discreetly hear and understand our environment. Which is more embarrassing: the need for help, or constantly having to deal with miscommunication?

Start Now

Regular hearing screenings are an easy and effective way to ensure that hearing loss is spotted and treated early on, which could prevent further decline. Since hearing loss is gradual, we may not notice it until the damage is already done, so hearing evaluations can detect it before any noticeable hearing damage occurs.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

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

IS TWO ALWAYS BETTER THAN ONE?

When you were diagnosed with hearing loss, was one ear affected more than the other? This can often be the case, and because hearing aids can be expensive, it can be tempting to use just one hearing aid instead of two. But is that a good idea?

The Ears Work Together

Because they are all we can see, we may think that our hearing is done mainly by our two ears, but that isn’t true. Our brains are even more important to hearing and understanding the world around us, and our brains are connected to our ears through auditory nerves. Our brains are the heavyweights, translating noises we hear into sound that means something. Who knew our hearing was so complex? Or that a problem with any one component in the auditory system can cause hearing as a whole to break down.

Even if they are not equally damaged, hearing loss in one ear is quite often accompanied by damage in the other ear as well. Wearing a hearing device on only one side can backfire, because it will support one ear and not the other. The ear that is being helped will probably not decline any further, but the unassisted one might.

Hearing Exercises

Our bodies need regular exercise—without it, our muscles will atrophy and wither away. Regular exercise is important—and this is also true for our brains and our ears. With the progression of hearing loss, sounds can sometimes be heard but not understood. This can be very frustrating and may be the result of a “bad connection” along the auditory nerve between the ears and the brain. Doing “hearing exercises” can slow this progression and help your brain to “re-learn” how to interpret sounds meaningfully.

Your audiologist can give you exercises and other options that could help.

Hearing Well

One way to support good listening comprehension is to make sure your ears are hearing equally. Auditory stimulation is increased, and your brain can work less to understand the noises your ears bring in. Therefore, for any hearing damage and you want the most seamless, effortless listening experience possible, you should wear two hearing aids instead of just one.

Wearing two hearing aids can also save on battery life over wearing just one, on top of being more effective overall. It may also give you the opportunity to wear more discreet (smaller) hearing devices because of the lower power requirements of each hearing aid.

Triangulation

Our ears are fine-tuned to help us not only hear and understand the world around us, but to determine from which direction sound is coming. This can come in handy when we are in danger: we don’t want to run towards something that will hurt us, so we need to know where it is coming from! When both ears hear equally, you can better pinpoint the source of the noise around you. This ability, called “localization” is practical in everyday life, and also necessary for protection. Lopsided hearing makes localization much more difficult.

Wearing hearing aids instead of one are generally happier and more content with their hearing experience, because two hearing aids can reestablish hearing much more efficiently than one. Hearing, listening and understanding depend on more than just our ears, so the more help they have the better.

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

LOOP SYSTEMS: AVAILABILITY AND BENEFITS

Almost any place you go, whether it’s a ballpark, an airport or a busy restaurant, may cause problems for you if you have hearing aids. Surrounding noise can restrict hearing and trying to communicate can become exasperating in public surroundings.

There is a Solution Coming to You!

Have you heard of loop systems? This technology is popping up in more and more public spaces, and it is helping wearers of hearing aids with these issues. First installation of an insulated copper wire loop around a space generates a magnetic field. Sound is then transmitted wirelessly to hearing aids or cochlear implants. This eliminates a need for earpieces or headphones.

Who can take advantage of this technology? Anyone who wears hearing aids with T-coils or cochlear implants. The location’s audio system can be wirelessly connected by the user with the push of a button.  

For those of us who use hearing aids in public spaces, this is truly life-changing technology. Hearing aids can now be seamlessly integrated into a venue’s speaker system, which will make listening much more convenient.

Advantages of Loop Systems:

  • Location freedom: users can move freely within the loop space
  • No more need for ear pieces or large headsets
  • Interference from surrounding noise is reduced and signal sound is enhanced
  • Convenience: users interact with their own hearing devices instead of an unfamiliar system
  • Ability to adjust the settings to the user’s unique needs
  • Pure, direct sound is possible with no need for other devices
  • Tablets, smartphones, radio signals, PA systems, and TVs can be accessed wirelessly
  • Users can interact in group settings discreetly and without embarassment
  • Free to users (and just the cost of set-up for the venues)

In Europe, loop technology was made available over 70 years ago, and no disadvantages have been found besides the initial cost of set-up. The reason most venues had not taken the initiative to install loop systems until this point was because hearing aid technology in the U.S. had not yet caught up to the technology of loop systems.

Now almost 70% of hearing aids and cochlear implants are compatible with loop system technology, the availability in public settings is becoming more common.

Installation of more loop systems in public places in American can also be the result of advocacy. The installation of loop systems is making a difference in both private and public locations. Movie theaters, churches, sporting arenas, and concert halls across the country are being outfitted with loop system technology, with New York and Michigan leading the way.

Keep an eye out for loop systems in the venues you visit and research how this technology operates so you can utilize it when it is available. Suggest the implementation of loop systems in the public venues you frequent to speed up the process. Older hearing devices might not be well-suited to the technology, so you may need to upgrade to hearing aids that let you use this remarkable service.

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