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Can COVID-19 cause tinnitus or hearing loss?
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on September 16, 2020
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, brings with it a host of health concerns. Most of these symptoms are respiratory in nature as reported by the CDC; shortness of breath, coughing, sore throat . However, there is some concern that the coronavirus may cause some neurological symptoms as well. In a study of 214 patients with varying degrees...
Trying to disguise your identity? Hide your ears!
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on September 11, 2020
Just like fingerprints, no two ears are alike. There are many ridges and contours that set our ears apart. Technology has been around since the 1960s to identify ear characteristics, but now security groups and law enforcement have access to a system that can work with a variety of cameras (including cell phone cameras) to help differentiate individual ears. And...
Seven reasons to treat your hearing loss early
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on September 03, 2020
Hearing loss is typically gradual, and therefore, often something we adapt to over time. We might not notice it for months or years. However, age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, so experiencing hearing loss is not uncommon. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the...
Child development and speech understanding
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on August 20, 2020
Studies show that when children’s nervous systems are developing, and up to age 8, they understand best when words are spoken at about 124 – 128 words per minute. Unfortunately, many adults, including teachers and parents, speak much more quickly (typically 165 – 180 words per minute). In addition, rapid speech tends to be less enunciated, with...
Simple hearing aid troubleshooting tips you can do at home
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on August 18, 2020
Like any high-tech device, hearing aids may occasionally become fussy. Not to worry – most issues can be solved easily and at home. Below are some of the most common calls we get at our Support line, and the simple troubleshooting tips you can do to fix them from the safety of your home. If you experience one of the following problems: • Loss of...
Why you should wear your hearing aids every day, even if you are sheltered at home!
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on August 03, 2020
Many wearers of hearing aids view them as communication devices. They are! Really great ones! Communication is often the primary function that we ask hearing aids to fill in our lives. But it is also thoughtful to note that your hearing aids are also brain activators, emergency alert notification tools, and connectivity devices! That’s why hearing...
Sign Language Translation
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on July 30, 2020
If you don’t know sign language, trying to communicate with someone whose primary language is signing can be difficult. An engineer in Kenya has developed a pair of gloves that are showing promise in helping bridge the communication gap. The gloves can sense movement and position of the fingers and hands of the person signing, and using an app, will translate...
Hearing loss, talking loudly and COVID-19
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on July 15, 2020
By now we should all know that infectious pathogens — like COVID-19 — can be transmitted from person to person through coughing and sneezing. But did you know it may be transmitted simply by talking, too? In a study published in May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that normal human speech produces thousands...
Why hearing aid validation is important
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on July 09, 2020
There are many ways to configure a set of hearing aids for a person’s hearing loss: from pre-programming before the person even arrives at the clinic using computer software predictions, to asking the person about sounds and balance and making adjustments with the aids in the person’s ears. However, as helpful as those things are, they do not tell us how the aids...
Stress relief tips and tactics
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on July 01, 2020
During these uncertain times of COVID-19, many of us are feeling increased levels of stress — whether it’s stress about our health or the health of a loved one, stress about our finances or job, the future of the economy, or...(fill in your own stress here). Just know that these feelings are all completely valid. You’ve likely seen more media...
Sudden impact noise
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on June 22, 2020
Have you ever been startled by a very loud sound? What is normally a temporary reaction can, in some people, cause acoustic shock. Ear pain with no physical cause, sudden ringing in the ears, sensitivity to environmental sounds, mild dizziness, and ear muscle spasms are all symptoms. People suffering from acoustic shock often become more isolated as they fear...
Why we hear some frequencies better than others
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on May 28, 2020
If a canary and a crow are standing side by side, chirping and squawking at exactly the same volume, humans will hear the crow but not the canary. This is due to a phenomenon called the upward spread of masking. Low frequency sounds (such as thunder or diesel engines) will make it more difficult to hear high-pitched sounds (such as chimes). Many sounds we deem...
Do’s and don’ts of living with tinnitus
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on May 19, 2020
Over 50 million Americans experience tinnitus — or ringing in the ears. When you first realize you have tinnitus, it can be difficult to know what to do. Here is a starter list of dos and don’ts for people dealing with tinnitus. Do’s 1. Do talk to a hearing health professional if tinnitus is affecting your ability to sleep, read, concentrate...
Noise is the antithesis of the best sounds ever
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on May 08, 2020
The best sounds ever relax us, entice us, evoke fond memories, and force smiles on our faces. They are the opposite of noise. Noise — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — can cause bad things, like stress or anxiety or depression or high blood pressure. Especially if you are regularly exposed to it without hearing...
Safe earwax removal
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on May 07, 2020
It seems like every week someone shows us an advertisement for an ear wax removal device and asks us what we think. Some devices have been around for a long time (like ear candles and water syringes) and some are new to the market (like vacuums and lighted picks that attach to smart phones). Although we applaud people trying to take care of the health, there are...
The future of streaming
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on April 16, 2020
Headphones and earbuds can be uncomfortable, but startup company Noveto has been working on a solution. The idea is that sound can be beamed from a device to the ear, by focusing a speaker directly at the ear. This allows people to hear sounds from the device without disturbing others around them, all without wearing something in their ears. With built-in 3-D...
Hearing loss increases the risk of accidental injuries
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on April 02, 2020
An analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey found that, over an eight year period (2007 – 2015), people who reported that they had “a lot of trouble” hearing ended up being twice as likely to have an accidental injury — both at work and leisure — as people who reported no trouble hearing. While the study...
The Link Between Hearing and Taste
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on March 27, 2020
Did you know that sound affects our appreciation of food? The crunch of a chip, the crack of a peanut shell, or the sizzle of a steak make the dining experience more enjoyable. Researchers have shown music can also stimulate our perception of sour and sweet, and is used for “sonic seasoning” to encourage us to like a particular food. People who have had...
The inability to distinguish sounds is a form of hearing loss
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on March 17, 2020
The National Safety Council’s Safety + Health magazine recently published an article about ototoxicants, chemicals that can cause hearing loss and balance issues. In the article, warnings were shared from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about which industries have higher exposure risks to these chemicals — and how the adverse...
Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on March 06, 2020
According to a Government of Canada publication, from 2013 to 2014 approximately 3 million Canadians (or roughly 8.1% of the population) were identified as having diabetes. There were also 200,000 new diagnoses during that time. Prevalence increases with age, and is more common in males than females. Although research has not yet found a causative link, people with...
Five reasons why you should not ignore hearing loss
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on March 02, 2020
Does this sound familiar? Either you or someone you know is just starting to deal with hearing loss. But instead of taking it seriously, you brush it aside. You can cope, you’ve decided. You’ll just turn the TV up a little louder. Ask people to speak up or repeat what they said. And really, the quiet can be kind of nice, right? “Why should I...
Five things you should know about tinnitus
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on February 03, 2020
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. That’s over 15 percent of the U.S. population, or nearly one in every six of us. So what is this condition that affects so many people — and what can tinnitus sufferers do about it? We cover the basics here. 1. What is tinnitus? Tinnitus is the...
"I can hear, but I can't understand"
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on February 03, 2020
One of the first things people with hearing loss observe is “I hear people fine, but I don’t understand what they are saying.” This is a consistent complaint of individuals who are experiencing the effects of a “sloping high frequency hearing loss." What’s happening and why do so many have this complaint? Hearing loss involves...
Wearing hearing aids can reduce the risk of cognitive decline
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on January 17, 2020
Research by Johns Hopkins and other institutions have linked cognitive decline and even dementia to hearing loss for reasons you can read about here. One study found that older adults with hearing loss experience a 30-40 percent faster decline in cognitive abilities than peers with normal hearing. But a 25-year-long study published in 2015 found that hearing aid...
Hearing loss impacts memory and comprehension
Posted by Jennifer Spiller on January 03, 2020
Readers of the publication Trends in Neurosciences will already know today’s fact. For the other 99.9 percent of us, though, it is definitely interesting. According to a story in the June 2016 edition, research has confirmed that “even relatively mild levels of hearing loss” can lead to cascading negative effects on the brain. Those effects can...
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