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

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.