WHAT ARE THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF HEARING LOSS?

Hearing loss is an annoyance and can hinder a person’s social life and even effect productivity at work, but did you know that there can be other health implications associated with hearing loss?

Young Children and Babies with Hearing Loss

Hearing damage in infants and young children can be the most influential in a person’s life because it can hinder development during crucial years of growth. Inability to hear (or hear well) during these formative years can also go undetected until much of the damage has already been done.

Infants now undergo routine hearing screening soon after birth and at certain milestones to ensure their language, learning and social development is not hindered unnecessarily.

If hearing loss is not detected as early as possible, a child may miss key learning and communication development milestones that can affect his or her self-esteem, language skills and lifelong communication abilities.

Adults with Hearing Loss

The more common hearing loss occurs well into adulthood, as we age. This hearing loss won’t affect our development, but could lead to further health complications, including mental and social health issues.

Immediate effects of hearing loss can include headaches, fatigue, mental strain, muscle tension, high blood pressure and increased stress.

The effort it takes to communicate well when hearing is harder than it used to be can lead to social isolation and depression. Eventually lower mental stimulation may result which can lead to cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Hearing Loss as a Symptom

Hearing loss can not only cause other medical and health issues, it can also be a result of other health problems that may or may not have been yet detected.

These health problems that can affect hearing loss include heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illness. Acute illnesses such as respiratory or ear infections can also affect hearing in the short term.

Medications can also cause short-term hearing loss as well, but will usually reverse when the medication is stopped. Medications that affect hearing are called ototoxic medications.

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

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

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

COMMON CAUSES OF HEARING PROBLEMS: HOW TO SPOT THEM

Often we think of hearing loss as an issue that starts in adulthood and only affects adults. While hearing loss affects the elderly the most, it is something that can affect every age and that can begin as early as birth or as an infant.

Ear infections are a common childhood ailment within the first months or years of life, because the immune system and ear canal are still developing and fluids can more easily become trapped in the ear canal causing infection. As long as ear infections are resolved quickly, there is usually no lasting damage, but if they go on for too long, or they are too frequent, sometimes hearing issues can result.

The overwhelming majority of hearing loss does occur in the elderly, however, and can get worse as we age unless we do something about it. This is why yearly hearing screenings at your doctor’s or audiologist’s office are so important. The earlier hearing loss is caught, the earlier your doctor can intervene and halt the progression.

Here are the most common types of hearing loss, how you can recognize them and what you can do about it.

Congenital Hearing Loss
As the name indicates, congenital hearing loss affects hearing from birth, and will affect the sufferer throughout his or her lifetime.

Congenital hearing loss is often passed down from other members of the family who are impacted by it, or it can happen due to complications during labor and delivery as an infant.

Other genetic syndromes can also affect hearing, including Down Syndrome, Treacher Collins, and Usher Syndromes. Sickness of the mother during pregnancy, such as herpes, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegolavirus or German measles can also result in a congenital hearing defect for the child she is carrying.

Otitis Media
Otitis Media is the most common type of hearing loss and it involves inflammation of the middle ear, which can result in a gradual build-up of fluid in the ear that sometimes leads to a viral infection we call an “ear infection.”

Most ear infections occur in children under 7 years old. The child will complain of ear pain or discomfort, and babies may pull at their ears. A mild fever, irritability and crying may be other indications an ear infection is present.

Hearing loss due to otitis media is almost always temporary, as it is due to the build-up of fluid in the ear, which will usually drain as the infection is resolved.

Damaged Ear Drum
The ear drum is a very thin membrane separating the middle ear from the inner ear, and it is surprisingly easy to damage it with a very loud noise or even with a cotton swab.

Fortunately, a damaged eardrum usually heals without any intervention. The rate of healing can depend on the cleanliness and health of the ear (more moisture in the ear can cause it to heal more slowly).

In the most ideal conditions, fully healing a damaged eardrum may take several weeks.

Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a build-up of water or moisture in the ear, which causes the inner ear to become irritated and swollen. Surprisingly, Swimmer’s Ear is not always caused by swimming: it can happen for any reason. Very rainy, foggy or humid weather can sometimes cause this buildup of moisture in the ear canal and lead to Swimmer’s Ear as well.

Swimmer’s Ear can also happen over time, so if you are feeling it get worse, see your doctor or audiologist to help you clear the excess moisture, because cotton swabs probably won’t work.

Glue Ear
Glue ear is a condition in which sticky, thick residue builds up in the middle section of the ear and blocks normal hearing. To the sufferer, it may feel like something has been pushed into the ear just out of reach.

Glue ear can go away on its own, but it does not always resolve itself. It can be challenging if a young child has it because babies and toddlers lack the words to express what is bothering them, so it may be difficult to diagnose.

Because it causes a temporary hearing loss, glue ear can also interfere with development during these formative years if it is not resolved or treated.

Excessive Ear Wax
While glue ear is more common among children, excessive ear wax build-up is more common among adults. Excessive ear wax will rarely lead to any other health issues, but it may require drops that help to thin out the ear wax so it can be expelled by the body.

If you frequently experience excessive ear wax, you may want to explore alternative options for cleaning your ears, such as a syringe that can remove ear wax build up.

Otitis Externa
Otitis externa is similar to otitis media as it is an infection in the outer part of the ear, instead of the middle part. Otitis externa is most often caused by exposure to a bacteria from polluted waters, like in a polluted lake or swimming hole.

Symptoms of otitis externa may include irritation, pain and itching of the outer section of the ear, and the tissue may become swollen.

Fortunately, otitis externa is easily treated: often it resolves on its own, or more severe cases can be treated with antibiotics.

Ototoxic Medications
Sometimes medications or exposure to certain chemicals can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. The type of medication that can affect hearing are called ototoxic medications.

Many types of medication can affect hearing loss short-term, most commonly NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin. These hearing issues usually resolve when the medication is stopped. Some antibiotics can also cause permanent hearing loss, and for that reason they are only used in life-threatening situations.

Acquired Hearing Loss
And finally, the type of hearing loss we most often think of is acquired hearing loss, which can result from severe or frequent exposure to loud noises. Continually listening to very loud music or other loud noise, or even a noisy work environment can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss over time.

Other causes of acquired hearing loss are chronic untreated ear infections, meningitis, whooping cough, damaged ear drum, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and even a bad case of the flu. The good news for these types of hearing loss is that they are most often temporary and will resolve themselves with the infection.

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

TROUBLESHOOTING HEARING AID ISSUES

Millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss in America, and hearing aids are a great option for not only helping all of those people to hear better, but to prevent further hearing loss. Since hearing loss is not reversible, hearing aids are an important treatment option that can contribute to better mental health and social life as well.

If you already own hearing aids, you know that good ones are an investment, and you probably do your best to take care of them and protect that investment.

There are many common hearing aid issues that are easily fixed at home, so before you take them in, try these steps to see if the issue you are experiencing can be resolved without an expensive professional repair.

These tips may also help prevent you from having to go without your hearing aids for any length of time while you take them to get repaired.

The most common hearing aid problems are:

  • A distorted or unusual sound—nothing sounds normal
  • They are producing feedback or “whistling”
  • They are not loud enough
  • No sound is being produced

Try these simple steps for each issue. If these steps don’t work, it may be time to take them in for repair.

Try these simple steps for each issue. If these steps don’t work, it may be time to take them in for repair.

  1. A distorted or unusual sound

Check your batteries for corrosion—they may need to be replaced. If there is corrosion on the battery contacts, you can try to clean them by opening and closing the battery compartment several times or bringing them into your hearing center to be cleaned.

It’s possible the memory or program got changed inadvertently. Re-set the program and see if that helps.

If you suspect your hearing aids are damaged, take them into your hearing center for inspection.

  1. They are producing feedback or “whistling”

If the hearing aids are making a whistling or distorted sound, they are most commonly not inserted correctly. Try removing them and re-inserting them snugly in your ear.

Try turning down the volume. If the whistling sound subsides, you may have an improper fit—this can be adjusted at your hearing care provider. This can sometimes happen if you have lost a lot of weight recently.

It’s possible your ear canals are blocked with earwax. If you think this is the case, you may need to come in to have your ears thoroughly cleaned.

  1. They are not loud enough

First adjust the volume and check the response.

Then visually examine your hearing aids to see if there is anything physically blocking the microphone input: it could be earwax, dust or something else.

If your hearing aid contains a tube, inspect that for any flaws, like cracks, moisture inside, or a blockage. Your hearing center should be able to help you replace tubing fairly quickly and easily.

It’s possible the program got switched, so change to a new program to see if that changes anything.

When is the last time you went in for a hearing evaluation? It’s possible your hearing has declined since your last check, so a hearing screening may be in order. While you are in the office, they can check your hearing aid for any issues and do diagnostics to make sure they are in full working order.

  1. No sound is being produced

Repeat the steps from above, ensuring there are no broken parts, blockages or breakage that you can see. Your hearing aids may need to be cleaned.

Is it possible your battery needs to be replaced? If it was replaced recently, ensure the battery door is closed securely. Also ensure the battery is not inserted backwards.

If none of these troubleshooting tips work, it’s possible your hearing aids are damaged. Come in so we can take a look.

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.

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.

NOISE POLLUTION AND HEARING HEALTH

There is noise pollution everywhere we go: there are even “noise-cancelling” features in our earbuds and headphones that filter out background noises for us. If we are exposed to unwanted noises for too long, it can be very irritating. No matter what the noise pollution: airplanes overhead or traffic from a nearby road, a dog barking or a lawnmower in a neighbor’s yard– noise pollution is ubiquitous.

Filtering Noise Pollution

With all of the noise surrounding us, it’s no wonder we have different ways to filter it. Our “noise filters” help us block unwanted noise and hear the sounds we do want to hear. Noise pollution is all of the unwanted sound.

Noise pollution can be made up of every-day sounds, and even some of the sounds we want to hear can pose a risk to hearing health. Stereo systems at concerts, movie theaters, sporting events, or even home speakers or ear buds can expose your ears to sounds so loud they can damage your hearing. We like to attend social gatherings and places like bars, concerts, or fireworks shows, but they can increase risk of hearing damage the most.

Hearing Damage

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by exposure to noises over 80 decibels. This hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Loud, short bursts of noises, like a gunshot or an airplane overhead, can hurt our ears and can cause hearing damage right away.

Even everyday noises we don’t think much about can affect our hearing health. Examples of these noises are lawnmowers (about 90 decibels) and vacuum cleaners (about 70 decibels) By comparison, a normal conversation may be about 60 decibels.

Noise pollution can actually affect our entire bodies. A loud noise such as a bang can disturb digestion, alter your heartbeat and disrupt breathing patterns. Constant exposure to a loud noise can cause crankiness and make it difficult to sleep. Noise can even impact your blood pressure.

After attending a very noisy event like a fireworks show, you may experience a ringing sound in your ears. This ringing is tinnitus, and it can last just a few minutes or even a few days. Permanent hearing loss can result if there are several episodes of tinnitus. Age related hearing loss is due in part to this cumulative effect of hearing damage over a lifetime.

Be Proactive

Fortunately, we can be pro-active to prevent hearing damage by protecting ourselves from noise pollution. This will help to make sure we maintain good hearing even into our older years. Limiting exposure to loud noises is of course one of the best ways to prevent hearing loss. There are a lot of noises we control, like our own stereo systems when we watch movies or listen to music at home. When you are on the go, you can still listen to music but make a switch to over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds, which are more likely to damage hearing.

When we have plans to attend a very loud event, do your best to avoid the noisiest spots, or even bring ear plugs. If there are loud noises outside such as construction work or a lawnmower, close the windows until the noise subsides.

Noise-canceling headphones allow us to enjoy music at lower volumes, without having to compete with the noises outside of the headphones. That can help to protect hearing for the future as well.

By taking small, easy steps to protect your hearing on a daily basis, you can work to prevent hearing damage as you get older.

If you suspect hearing loss, whatever the cause, visit your audiologist 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.

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.

VERTIGO, BALANCE DISORDERS AND DIZZINESS

There is exciting new research into balance issues such as vertigo and chronic dizziness. If you suffer from any kind of balance disorder, you probably already know that these issues can stem from fluid levels in your inner ear. This new research is exploring the possibility that balance disorders could be spotted and maybe even alleviated with MRI magnets!

At Johns Hopkins in 2011, researchers discovered something: inner ear fluid is influenced by the magnetic field of an MRI. Since we have already known for a while that vertigo and other balance disorders can be caused by buildup of fluid in the inner ear, they looked at MRI magnets as a way to potentially treat those conditions.  

MRI magnets can exert a pulling force on the inner ear fluid, and researchers hope that they may be able to manipulate inner ear fluids to relieve the problems caused by inner ear issues.

As it stands, uncomfortable and invasive testing protocols are necessary to diagnose and treat imbalance and dizziness conditions such as vertigo. This makes the painless MRI procedure a welcome development for future diagnosis and care.

The Inner Ear and Balance

Approximately 40% of adults experience episodes of imbalance and dizziness at least once during a lifetime. Sufferers may complain of feelings of vertigo and spinning or dizziness. These episodes may also cause people to feel faint or lightheaded and they may become disoriented, confused, or have blurred vision.

  • If you become dizzy feel unbalanced on repeated occasions, first check with your doctor, who may then refer you to a specialist or audiologist for testing.
  • These symptoms can have different causes. Aside from inner ear fluid disturbance, some medications or even an injury to the head can result in feelings of vertigo or dizziness as well.

When you see an audiologist or specialist, testing may include:

  • An MRI or CT scan
  • Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP): a test of balance function and motor control in changing conditions.
  • Electronystagmography (ENT): this test monitors spontaneous eye movements, and includes eye evaluations.
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP) is a test that observes the inner ear’s sensory cells and vestibular nerve to evaluate if they are functioning correctly.

A hearing test may also be part of the visit to your audiologist, to make sure there is no hearing impairment that accompanies the dizziness.

If you have had several dizzy spells or have felt unbalanced, see your general practitioner or audiologist pinpoint the cause.

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