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May Is Better Hearing Month: Spring Into It With Less Noise, More Joy

Ahhh, spring! As power tools whir, ball games bloom, and concerts sprout, are your ears protected from the louder sounds of the season? Some noises pack a bigger punch than your ears should take, so for Better Hearing Month this May, we’re sharing three quick tips to keep harmful volumes at bay. TURN DOWN THE SOUND Planning a hearty run in the fresh air with favorite tunes in your ears? It’s tempting to crank up the beats, but MP3 players can reach ... Read more

What happens during a hearing test? I am nervous about having my first test next week.

Question: What happens during a hearing test? I am nervous about having my first test next week. Answer: There is really no reason to be nervous. From the moment you enter our office, our focus is on you, your comfort, and your well-being. Respectful of your time, our doctors call you back as quickly as possible and begin by discussing your history, your overall health, and any concerns you may have. Next, the doctor will do a painless inspection of ... Read more

I have kidney disease and hearing loss. Are they connected?

Question: I have kidney disease and hearing loss. Are they connected? Answer: It has been found that older adults with moderate, chronic kidney disease do have an increased chance of developing hearing loss. It is thought that toxins building up in the kidneys may impair the hearing nerves of the inner ear, and there may be tissue similarities between the ear and kidney. Routine hearing examinations by a doctor of audiology are recommended to monitor hearing and communication needs. Detecting ... Read more

What is the best way to communicate my concerns to my doctor? I often feel she doesn’t understand me.

Question: What is the best way to communicate my concerns to my doctor? I often feel she doesn’t understand me. Answer: Communication during doctor appointments is a critical component of quality health care. Daily notes and diaries can help clarify what is needed. Patient satisfaction and quality of care is also supported by office staff that influence your future interactions. Staff should communicate respect for your time and concerns in a compassionate and quiet way. There are many other factors that may ... Read more

Should I get the wax in my ears checked?

Question: Should I get the wax in my ears checked? Answer: Not necessarily. Most people do not have a problem with earwax in their ears. In fact, earwax is normal and provides a necessary tool to protect the delicate eardrum from harm and pollens. Occasionally earwax may accumulate excessively in the canal, which impairs hearing or causes ear pain. Earwax can build up if a cotton swab is used to remove wax; it pushes the wax in deeper. Wax may also ... Read more

Do you think younger people will develop hearing loss due to loud music and earbud use?

Quesion: Do you think younger people will develop hearing loss due to loud music and earbud use? Answer: Recent studies have shown disturbing trends in increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss in young adults. Their exposure to noise is most likely during leisure activities. In the past, hearing protection programs have been used in schools and work environments to promote behavior change and reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Despite these efforts, there is still a lack of awareness and a ... Read more

Will there eventually be a surgery to repair sensory hearing loss?

Question: Will there eventually be a surgery to repair sensory hearing loss? Answer: Experiments have been done on the inner ear tissue of mice that had damaged hair cells, and with treatment, they were able to be repaired. But hair cells play only one part in the process that converts sound to the brain. The hairs are part of the cell needed for hearing and not the whole cell. The complexity of these tissues makes hair cell regeneration a challenge, but researchers ... Read more

Why not buy one of those hearing devices from the drugstore rather than a more costly hearing aid?

Question: Why not buy one of those hearing devices from the drugstore rather than a more costly hearing aid? Answer: The devices in the drug stores are not hearing aids. They are not set for the frequencies or pitches needed for your hearing loss in order to bring in only the sounds that are needed. These devices are amplifiers that turn up most all sound. They are very basic with non-linear circuits containing minimal electronics. There is no guidance for severity of ... Read more

Is there a connection between the ringing in my ears and exercise?

Question: Is there a connection between the ringing in my ears and exercise? Answer: Tinnitus, or noises in the ears or head, is common and affects 12% to 30% of the general population. In the U.S., about 50 million people report tinnitus and only about 20 million seek medical treatment. There is a marked difference in responses to tinnitus as some may find it debilitating, while others are able to ignore it completely. Reaction to tinnitus sound is connected to a person's ... Read more

My hearing aids are really helping, but sometimes I still struggle in noisy places. Is there anything I can do to help?

Question: My hearing aids are really helping, but sometimes I still struggle in noisy places. Is there anything I can do to help? Answer: It is the ear that hears, but it is the brain that understands. The brain can be compared to a muscle that needs to be trained and exercised in complex situations to strengthen it for understanding. This is called aural rehabilitation. AR can have many benefits, including more effective hearing aid use, better communication skills, better perception of ... Read more
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