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Degrees of Hearing Loss | What Causes Hearing Loss

Degrees of Hearing Loss | What Causes Hearing Loss?

Everyone perceives hearing loss differently. Both the cause and the degree can vary. While aging is a common explanation for experiencing a certain degree of hearing loss, there are other possible causes of losing your hearing. Medical complications and prolonged exposure to loud noise can all be potential root causes.



What is Hearing Loss?
It isn’t uncommon for people with hearing difficulties to turn away from friends and family and become isolated. Loss of hearing means that you are no longer able to carry conversations and interact with your loved ones the same way you did in the past. This can be extremely frustrating.
The most common causes are:
  1. Aging
  2. Prolonged exposure to loud noises
  3. Diseases such as meningitis
  4. Hereditary factors
  5. Certain medications
  6. Levels of Hearing Loss
The term, degrees of hearing loss, refers to the various levels of the damage. Your hearing loss may be completely different in severity than someone else’s and falls into one of four categories:
  1. Mild
  2. Moderate
  3. Severe
  4. Profound


Audiologists measure the intensity of a sound and the degree of hearing loss in decibels (dB). What that means is, if you have a hearing loss of 40 dB, you are unable to hear sounds below 40 dB.



When a certain measurement borders two distinct categories, it is referred to it as a combination of the two. Your hearing is considered normal if it can detect sounds between 20-25 decibels.

If you or someone you know are showing signs of hearing loss, be sure to see a hearing care professional and get a hearing test done. Only a trained professional can make an assessment, interpret your hearing test results and recommend the best solution.



Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-07-03

3 Reasons to Get a Professional Hearing Test

3 Reasons to Get a Professional Hearing Test

Hearing loss is very treatable, but many people don’t even realize they’ve experienced hearing loss until the condition becomes severe. The Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals recommends those 18-45 get a hearing test every five years, 45-60 every three years, and those 60+, every two years.

An audiologist testing the hearing of a patient.
There are many things that can cause hearing loss. Genetic conditions. An unhealthy lifestyle.  Prolonged exposure to traumatically loud sounds. Even stress.

Regardless of the cause, hearing loss isn't necessarily as debilitating as you might expect.   Except in a few rare cases, it's entirely treatable, sometimes even completely preventable. The problem is that many people don't even realize they're at risk of suffering from it until their condition becomes severe.

Here are a few very good reasons you shouldn't be like most people.


Reduce Medical Costs via Prevention

Getting your hearing screened regularly by a professional isn't just good for your auditory health. It's also good for your wallet. Through early detection and prevention of emerging issues, you can save a great deal in medical costs down the road.

According to research released by the World Health Organization, unaddressed hearing loss carries an annual global cost of approximately $750 million. Early identification, audiological rehabilitation, and the effective use of hearing aids are therefore incredibly cost-effective. Not only that, but it can also help with your mental health, as unaddressed or untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression and cognitive decline.

The best part is that initial hearing screenings are free from most providers, meaning there's literally no justification for not going to get one.



Uncover Other Possible Health Issues

Believe it or not, hearing loss can actually be a marker for a wide range of other health conditions, many of them life-threatening. Changes in your hearing health could be indicative of diabetes, high blood pressure, dangerous side effects of a medication you're taking, or even heart disease.

There is a growing body of research that shows the ears can actually be a window to your heart, and that hearing health is closely-connected with cardiovascular health.

Getting your hearing checked by a professional thus not only helps keep your ears in top shape but could also help you detect and treat other health problems you didn't even know you had!



Get Tailored Treatments and Recommendations More Quickly


Your hearing is unique to you, and no two people experience the audioscapes of the world in quite the same way. By extension, that means everyone's experience with hearing loss is a bit different.

Some people may have trouble hearing low-pitched noises. Others may find higher frequencies pass by them unnoticed. Regardless of how your hearing loss has manifested, you require a unique treatment tailored to your specific condition.

That's precisely what a hearing screening helps you get. By working with an audiologist, you can determine the exact frequencies you've lost and why, allowing you to take the proper next steps and get the medication and treatment you need. A professional audiogram can be used to further tailor these treatments.
While there are plenty of big-box stores and over-the-counter options, these don't offer quite the same comfort as a more professional setting. An audiologist such as those employed by Connect Health can walk you through everything you need to know, providing you with specific counseling on the latest digital hearing technology. More importantly, they'll help you fine-tune your devices to your exact specifications, and you'll have the added luxury of regular follow-ups, meaning you won't need to troubleshoot your technology on your own.

If you're interested in learning more, Give us a call at 1-888-426-6632 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our hearing care professionals today.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-07-03

Dont Let Hearing Loss Damage Your Relationship

Don't Let Hearing Loss Damage Your Relationship

Many hearing care professionals have expressed that part of their job involves mediating conflicts between couples for which hearing loss is present. Denial is a very common response when accusations of hearing loss are made, and many people will mistake their partner’s physical condition as neglect. In fact, it is often the hearing partner who reports feeling lonely and ignored in a relationship.

Even without hearing loss, communication can be one of the most difficult elements of a relationship. When the ability to comprehend and listen carefully are inhibited, it can cause frustration for both partners. One study found that nearly 44 percent of those over the age of 55 reported their romantic relationships had suffered because of hearing loss. This is probably not that surprising, as anyone is likely to feel unappreciated or unloved if they feel that their voice is, quite literally, not heard. Fortunately, the same survey also revealed that for more than half of those surveyed, being fitted with hearing aids helped improve their relationship.

Hearing aids are a solution to relationship struggles
For those with hearing loss, activities that once seemed simple can become challenging. After a while, the inability to concentrate on what people are saying in crowded areas, understand speech through the phone, or enjoy intimate moments with a loved one can cause some people to become isolated, anxious, and depressed. Instead of seeking a solution to their hearing loss, many people will stop going out and doing the things they enjoy over time, hurting themselves and their partner in the process.

Today’s hearing aids are designed to make going out a breeze no matter the listening environment or situation. Directional microphones, wind and feedback suppressors, wireless streaming capabilities, and other features make it so that nobody has to avoid going out to a party, restaurant, or movie because they’re embarrassed by their hearing loss. Instead of minimizing the reality of a hearing loss or distancing yourself from a partner because of this condition, consider purchasing a hearing aid and developing skills to mediate communication issues.

In a relationship where only one person has hearing loss, the partner with normal hearing can also work to improve communication. Be sure to have an open discussion about any hearing-related concerns and try to establish a plan for resolving them. Some of the most common and effective strategies for enhancing comprehension are direct eye contact, slower and clearer speech delivery, and speaking with a louder volume.

Building healthy hearing environments
There are plenty of accessories available to increase the functionality of hearing aids, including Bluetooth® streaming and smartphone apps to help you hear better in any situation. You may also want to rearrange some furniture or appliances in the house to create quieter spaces for listening and conversation. Consider dividing household chores by ability, such as leaving telephone and communication work to the hearing partner. Letting others know that your partner has difficulty hearing at events such as a cocktail or dinner party will keep your partner from having to frequently explain their condition and prevent potential misunderstandings. If you have been fitted with a hearing aid, be sure to wear it as prescribed and try not to take it out if it isn’t necessary.

Hearing loss doesn’t have to mean the end of a romantic relationship. The tools and articles available on this website are here to help you in your journey towards restored hearing. If your relationship is suffering because of lapses in communication, a hearing aid may be the answer. Use our online locator today to find a hearing care professional in your area and schedule an appointment.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-07-02

Fighting Back Against Hearing Loss Bullying

Fighting Back Against Hearing Loss Bullying

Even if you weren’t bullied for having hearing loss as a child, odds are you know somebody who was. Hearing aids of the past tended to be clunky and highly visible, making students who wore them easy targets for cruel jokes and name-calling. While today’s hearing instruments offer a discreet and technologically advanced solution to hearing loss for all ages, many young people still face mistreatment for their condition. In fact, some studies suggest that of the 30 percent of students in grades 6-10 who have been bullied, those with disabilities such as a hearing loss are nearly twice as likely to experience bullying.

Over time, such bullying can lead to self-esteem issues and other insecurities about their hearing that can harm a child’s development. If your child has indicated that they are being teased at school or elsewhere, read on to learn how to build their confidence and give them tools to stand up to their bullies.

Most common signs of bullying
The signs of bullying for someone with hearing loss are not that different from those exhibited by those who are bullied for other reasons. If you notice any of the following behaviors or changes, it may be time to talk with your child about their hearing loss:

Sudden drop in grades or overall lack of interest in school
Displays of sadness or aggression after a conversation or phone call
Remarks that feel inconsistent with their personality
Decreased drive to participate in family or school activities
Have an open dialogue
If your child is being made fun of at school, there is a high likelihood that they are ashamed and may not want to talk about it. Paying attention to your child’s behavior will reveal changes in mood and sociability that may be linked to bullying. It is important to discuss the realities of their condition and determine whether they are being treated fairly.

Once your child opens up about certain comments or insults that have been made, you can try and explain what the bully’s perspective may be. Perhaps they don’t understand what makes your child different or have not learned what is appropriate behavior in the classroom. Be sure to stress that the issue lies with the bully, not the child, and that they should not feel embarrassed.

Discussing bullying at home won’t solve the problem, but it always helps to be honest with your child about their concerns and to show that they can feel safe discussing their hearing loss with you. In order to give your child a chance to defend themselves, try to come up with a system of coping methods that will help them deal with possible bullying situations in advance. This can include teaching them new phrases and vocabulary words about hearing loss so that they can explain their condition to others without feeling flustered or confused.

Know your child’s friends
Because of a desire to fit in with a group, many children may have experienced bullying and not even be aware of it. You can monitor your child’s friendships by asking them what they do or talk about when they are together and listen for any potential warning signs. If possible, try and invite your children’s friends over and watch how they interact. When a hearing loss is severe enough, a child may not recognize social or facial cues among their friends.

If you notice that the friendship feels unfair or one-sided, speak with your child about how a healthy friendship works and what an unhealthy one looks like so they can recognize the situation for themselves. You can also role-play with them to help them differentiate facial expressions, tones of voice, and body language.

Help your child discover their passion
Every child has a unique talent waiting to be discovered. By working with your child to develop a skill or passion early, you can boost their confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment. By finding success in a hobby, sport, or other activity, children will recognize that there is nothing that they can’t do because of their hearing loss, an attitude that will carry any child far in life.

Learn about hearing loss together
The internet and local libraries are great sources for materials related to hearing loss. By showing your child that there is an entire community dedicated to hearing loss, they will see that they are not alone and learn about all the amazing things people have done despite their condition. You can also go online and watch video blogs created by people with hearing loss to learn their stories and how they cope with bullying. The more your child understands hearing loss, the less they will see it as a hindrance.

Fight bullying in your community
If you support ending bullying and challenging the stigma against hearing loss, you can spread the word by sharing this campaign started by a mother with hearing loss with other parents in your area. You may also want to speak with your child’s teachers at the beginning of the school year to let them know about their needs. By starting a dialogue, you can help make your community safe and accessible for everyone regardless of ability.

Speak with a professional
We hope this list will be helpful as you prepare your child to face the world. If you have additional concerns about what your child’s hearing loss might mean for their future, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to discuss available treatment options and better understand your child’s condition. Our online locator will help you find a professional in your area at no cost.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-07-02

Survey Analysis Finds 20 of People with Hearing Aids Do Not Use Them

Survey Analysis Finds 20% of People with Hearing Aids Do Not Use Them

A study led by University of Manchester researchers has revealed that around 20% of people who have been issued with hearing aids do not use them, according to a summary published on the University’s website.

The analysis was carried out on annual National Survey for Wales data, said to be the largest sample on hearing aid use in the UK, and is published in the International Journal of Audiology.

The study showed that approximately 20% of adults currently do not use their hearing aids at all, 30% use them some of the time, and the remaining 50%, most of the time.

However, the proportion of people who never use their hearing aids has been gradually reducing during the 15 years that the survey has been taking place.

There has also been a commensurate increase in the proportion who report using their hearing aids most of the time.

It was carried out jointly with audiologists from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in North Wales.

Professor Kevin Munro from The University of Manchester, a co-author of the study, is NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), Hearing Health Theme Lead.

He argues the results highlight an urgent need to tackle nonuse and underuse.

“Hearing loss is the most common sensory problem in the world, experienced by one in six people in the UK,” he said. “It has a well-known association with cognitive decline and dementia, and as hearing aids are the primary treatment, can have huge benefit to wearers.

“The NHS is the largest purchaser of hearing aids in the world so knowing that they are valued by many is great, but there is substantial room for improvement. This study was carried out in Wales, but as it’s such a comprehensive and reliable data set there’s no reason to believe the situation is much different in the rest of the UK.”“

Previous data on hearing aid use, obtained from different countries, has been of varying quality with estimates of hearing aid non-use varying between 1% and 57% of those fitted.

The annually recurring hearing aid data from 10,000 to 16,000 people—who completed the National Survey of Wales—is carried out face-to-face by independent researchers, providing an “unrivaled data set.”

Since 2004, it has contained questions on self-perceived hearing difficulty, adoption, and use of hearing aids, and the occurrence of difficulty with hearing while wearing hearing aids.

Reasons for nonuse, said Munro, vary from lack of perceived benefit to handling difficulties. But, getting used to a hearing aid when you are relatively young, he said, will make it easier to use when you are frailer and older as it becomes second nature.

Professor Harvey Dillon, from The University of Manchester, is lead author on the paper and is also funded by NIHR Manchester BRC.

He said: “Although underuse or nonuse of treatments by some patients is by no means unique to hearing aids, achieving uniformly high use of hearing aids by those who need them would provide a major benefit to society. We already know that the largest predictor of hearing aid benefit is the quality of interaction with the health professional, rather than the degree of hearing loss.

“But it’s imperative that more research is done to understand why nonuse can set in so quickly for some, and devise efficient procedures to prevent this from happening. We think there is a need for more prompt and proactive follow-up and monitoring once a hearing aid been prescribed and fitted by the NHS.”

Hearing Aid Knowledge2020-07-01

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