Browsing: Ears Hearing

Hearing Test: Periodic Screening For Auditory Loss

Health organizations are quickly to recommend the public brush their teeth regularly, see a dentist every six months, watch what they eat, exercise regularly, get regular mammograms past a certain age, and much more. While it does not make these recommendations any less important, the importance of protecting one's ears tends to go understated. In fact, not only is it important that you protect your ears (you only have the one pair, as the old saying goes), but also that you get a regular hearing test to make sure that damage has not already been done. Here is a look at some of the screenings that can tell you if something is wrong.

Physical Examination

If a patient comes in complaining of their inability to hear, most doctors will perform a simple physical evaluation before anything else. This is because earwax is one of the most common causes of sudden auditory loss. It may also close up the ear canal gradually, causing the patient to believe that they are suffering from progressive auditory loss. If the issue can be relieved by removing wax, it can be done up front instead of wasting time and effort on other problems. Other issues that can be seen upon examination include foreign objects in the ear canal and eardrum damage.

Speech Screening

Before bringing in more advanced forms of the hearing test, many doctors prefer to start simply, especially with patients who have not complained of injury. One such simple screening method includes speech audiometry. This consists of the health care provider having the patient repeat words back to them. This type of screening can sometimes be done online as well. Certain websites will improve the accuracy of their speech screening by playing white noise in the background at varying volumes. The inability to pick speech out of background noise is one of the signs of auditory impairment.

Audiometry

One of the clearest and most effective forms of the hearing test is the audiometer. This is what most health care professionals will turn to if the patient if complaining of problems. The patient puts on a set of headphones and the administrator will play tons of varying frequencies and volumes to see if the patient can respond. The results are printed on a graph called an audiogram, which can show whether or not the patient is suffering from injury. If impairment is indicated, the doctor can begin looking for possible causes, which can then lead to finding a treatment plan that works.

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Hearing Test – Helping Individual Hear the World and Enjoy Life

Around 20% of American adults claim to have some level of impairment, making this condition one of the most common health problems in the US A whooping 80% of adults with hearing loss have not been treated or even diagnosed. If you feel that you have an injury, you can schedule a thorough assessment and hearing test by a professional hearing specialist at a center. This test will be painless, quick, and usually free of charge. If you find out you have hearing loss, a hearing specialist can help you make a decision on a listening device that will help you get the most enjoyment out of the relationships from the people around you by having the ability to hear them more effectively.

Hearing loss could be a normal part of the aging process with changes in hearing starting as early as age 20. A person can experience a significant decline in their hearing ability around the age of 40 and at age 65 and beyond a 3rd of the individuals in the US report some level of hearing loss. Some common causes of hearing impairment include continuous exposure to loud noises (rock band music, construction, machinery) genetic, birth defects, infections, and aging, injury to the ear or head, and reactions to drug remedies.

During your visit at a hearing center, the trained specialist will start things out by typically conducting your free initial consultation. You will also have a free hearing test where you can discuss all the problems you have been experiencing with your hearing, when you first started to notice the problem and much more. During your test, the hearing specialist will ask questions and listen to your concerns so they can a thorough assessment of your health history. Before your test, you may be asked to bring a companion with you where you both will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate your listening ability.

At the conclusion of your tests, if it is determined that you will need a hearing aid in order to begin hearing more effectively, a trained technician will show you a variety of listening devices they have. You can choose the hearing aid that will fit your lifestyle and your budget.

Call and schedule a time to meet with a highly trained hearing specialist at a professional hearing center. You can start enjoying life more as you hear better, and can get a listening device with a 3 year limited warranty, free adjustments and cleaning, personalized programming and more.

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What Can You Do to Keep Your Hearing Aid Where It Should Be?

A hearing device can help give you the replacement hearing you need when dealing with partial or total hearing loss. There are many different styles and sizes to fit everyone from babies up to adults. Regardless of how old you are or what size and shape your ear canal is, your hearing instrument needs to be able to fit securely in your ear.

How Can You Keep Your Hearing Device Where They Should Be?

You need to begin by choosing a hearing device that fits into your ear securely and provides you with the maximum amount of comfort. Hearing aids that go in the ear will rest nicely inside of your outer ear. They are best suited for adults because children's ears are constantly growing and changing shape as they go through adolescence. A behind the ear hearing aid sits right behind your ear, but they will need one of the plastic ear molds that sit inside of your outer ear to help them stay in place. Behind the ear hearing instruments are fine for anyone because the molds are inexpensive and very easy to replace.

Canal aids will fit inside of your ear canal, and they come in three different sizes. This particular type of hearing instrument is made to fit your specific ear based on your own size and shape of your ear canal. Since they are smaller in size, they may be a little bit more difficult to get them into place. Adjusting and removing them can prove to be just as challenging. Another downfall is that you may not be able to connect any additional hearing devices to them.

Make sure that you allow plenty of time for your body to adjust to the fit of your new hearing device. A lot of the newer hearing instruments on the market are extremely lightweight and very versatile design features, which can cause a lot of people to become worried about the hearing aid slipping out of their ear.

Discussing your concerns with your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser is the best way to start the road to wearing hearing aids. They may also recommend that you start off wearing your hearing device a couple of hours each day. As time progresses, you should slowly increase the length of time you keep your hearing aid in every day.

Having a consultation with your hearing aid specialist or audiologist about how your hearing aid fits is one of the first steps. Not all of the hearing instruments will fit into the ear canal the same way, but anytime you experience pain or discomfort you need to discuss this with your hearing aid specialist or audiologist. Your hearing healthcare professional will be able to make the necessary adjustments to help the hearing aid from falling out of your ear. Depending upon how your hearing device is fitting inside of your ear, your hearing aid specialist or audiologist may need to give you a different type of hearing device to be able to fit inside of your ear.

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Do I Have To Get Hearing Aids?

No, you do not have to get hearing aids, but you might really want to consider this information. You may think your hearing really is not that bad or that mechanical recording devices cost too much. So you're considering putting off getting them later. So what if you have to turn up the TV and ask people to repeat more often. What people do not realize is the longer you wait for treatment hearing loss, the more difficult it can be to correct.

The Costs

Auditory Deprivation
The brain actually explains what we hear. If you have a hearing loss, even a mild loss, the brain is not receiving all of the information it needs. Over the years, the brain actually loses its ability to process sound that it no longer hears. It promises how to make sense of those sounds. The saying, “if you do not use it, you lose it” applies here. This phenomenon is known as auditory deprivation. Even when those forgotten sounds are reintroduced through hearing aid amplification, the brain may not be able to effectively use this new information. Sounds are amplified but not give the needed clarity to understand speech easily.

At this point in time, there is no medication or surgery that can correct nerve loss. However, if you seek help in time, hearing aids can help. I like to think of these listening devices as exercise machines that stimulate the remaining nerve endings and auditory parts of the brain. These options not only enhance what is left of your hearing but they actually preserve or maintain your ability to process sounds and make sense of conversation. As long as you continue to stimulate what's left of your hearing, you can expect to understand quite well even if your changes changes over time. As long as you get help in time.

Quality of Life

Untreated hearing loss can affect you and your loved ones, emotionally and socially. Asking people to repeat frequently, only to have them shout at you, takes its toll on your relationships. People get frustrated with one another and blame each other for mumbling or for not listening. You may feel embarrassed and left out of conversation – even isolated. Over time, most people with hearing loss begin to withdraw socially as communication becomes more difficult. This social isolation can lead to feelings of depression and anger. So do not let this happen to you!

Make an informed choice today!

Consider the costs of untreated hearing loss. If you still feel the need to wait, remember that it is your decision. But do not wait too long! The sooner you seek help, the better! If finances are an issue, talk with your hearing healthcare provider about your options. They will be able to guide you to an informed choice about you and your hearing health, for now and in the years to come!

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Avoid Embarrassment With Invisible Hearing Aids

Hearing instruments were once unattractive and embarrassing to the wearer. They were large, clunky, uncomfortable, cumbersome, and often emitted high squeals. Most of the negative connotations lingering about hearing impairment and the need to wear hearing aids are based on the old school hearing aid models.

It's because of these visions that many people deny the possibility that they may be experiencing hearing loss for as long as possible. They are self-conscious of how they will look in hearing aids and worried that others will consider them old or disabled. They are afraid they will not be able to enjoy life in the same way.

Fortunately, those big, ugly hearing instruments are things of the past. The latest hearing instruments are small, sleek and discrete. Plus, they contain top of the line technology to bring the wearer sharp sound with ease.

There are dozens of hearing instrument manufacturers. Each brand has a long list of models available. The hearing instrument industry spreadss millions of dollars each year on research and the testing of new technology.

The invisible hearing device is one of the most advanced and exciting technological advances in hearing aid technology. This type of hearing aid, such as Phonak's Lyric model, consist of tiny devices that are worn completely inside the ear. This makes it invisible to the rest of the world. No one except the wearer and their medical team even need to know that they have suffering hearing loss or need to wear hearing devices if they do not want the information made public.

Invisible hearing aids are good options for many people and situations. Your audiologist can tell you if this type of hearing device is a good fit for your specific situation. Other hearing aid options include units that are digital, wireless or water-resistant. Your hearing instrument provider will explain the advantages and challenges of the different types of hearing aids on the market and help you make the best choice to meet your unique needs.

Do not be embarrassed to let the hearing specialist know that appearance is very important to you if that's the case. Their job is to help you find hearing devices that you will be comfortable using in order for them to have the greatest impact. Tell them what your concerns are so they can steer you in the right direction. Thousand of people of all ages suffer hearing loss each year for a variety of reasons.

You are not alone and your situation is not as unique as you think. Thanks to the advances in hearing device technology, you may have friends who wear hearing devices without you even knowing it.

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Find the Hearing Aid That Is Best For You!

While your hearing healthcare professional will give a lot of advice and information regarding choosing the hearing aid that is best for you, you are the primary decision-maker in this process. At first that might seem a daunting task. ESPecially considering that most are very unfamiliar with the ins and outs of hearing instruments when they buy their first one. Being prepared in advance will help to reduce any anxiety, and will aid in making great decisions for your hearing!

Finding your best aids insinuates that you are ready for amplification in the first place. What is your motivation? Self-motivated patients are more likely to be satisfied and to perceive benefit than those who are pushed into purchasing by friends and family members. Having no aids is better than cost aids sitting in a drawer unused. Self-assessment your level of readiness. How do you feel about wearing amplification daily? Are you seeking for more information related to your hearing loss and amplification choices? Are ready and willing to discuss your desires and needs with a professional? High motivation equivalents greater likelihood of success!

In order to find the aid that is best for you, it is crucial to maintain reasonable expectations. Your devices will not be a “cure all” for your hearing loss. Even the most advanced digital hearing instruments can not return hearing to “normal”. However, with proper programming and regular use, your aids should be able to improve audit and lessen the strain of daily communication. While most people want products to last as long as possible, hearing instruments roughly have a life span of 5-10 years.

Once you have been fit, be prepared to discuss sound quality at the initial and follow-up fittings. Prepare to hear questions regarding the clarity, volume, comfort, naturalness of sound, sound of your own voice, comfort of sound and of wear, and internal / external hearing aid noise. If issues arrive in any of these areas, your hearing healthcare professional will make programming adjustments as needed. Modern digital aids should be able to be customized to your desires for sound quality – within reason.

Be patient. Take time to get to know your aids and your hearing again. In order to determine whether you are benefiting, it is necessary to spend a great deal of time wearing the aids. Be realistic. You will be able to hear better, but it is not a bionic ear. It is natural to hear background sounds and noise.

Normal hearing persons hear the same sounds you are hearing, but you will have to relearn to ignore unimportant sounds. In the beginning, background noises may be a thorn in your side. With time, these sounds will become less noticeable.

Call your hearing healthcare provider for further information and assistance today! What are you waiting for? Go get your aids aids and start improving your hearing now!

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Getting a Hearing Test Is Well Worth Your Time

If you are the type of person that feels that going to the doctor for checkups is pointless, chances are you think that getting a hearing test is not worth your time. There may be many reasons why you have those sentiments about the doctor's office, but part of the reason why you do not like to make these types of appointments is because you do not see the value in them. Once you are able to see the value in such services, you will be able to understand how they can help you stay healthy and in charge of your life.

A regular hearing test is just as important as dental and medical appointments. It is necessary to make sure that everything in your ears is working properly. If you ever start to have any problems that interfere with your ability to communicate, one of the first things you need to do is schedule a hearing test.

Unlike some of the trips to the doctor you may have had in the past, a hearing exam is not all that bad. There are no annoying and painful pokes or uncomfortable physicals. In fact, the most alarming thing you may notice about your experience is you have to answer honestly about your lifestyle.

If you are still in doubt about whether or not you should go and see an audiologist, the answer is do not delay. If there is something wrong with your hearing, you need to find out as soon as possible. The longer you wait to have it checked and treated, the worse off you will be. As with any ailments, getting educated and treated for your conditions is the only way you will be able to be able to move on with your life. Once you have gotten your problem resolved, you can start enjoying life again.

Hearing loss is something you should never take lightly. You may think it is only temporary when it may actually be permanent. Temporary loss can become permanent if it is not detected and treated properly. If you are not sure what your particular condition is, an audiologist can help you determine that.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is keep yourself healthy. Doing this invites that you stay on top of all your appointments. The better you take care of yourself, the more your body will thank you by not falling apart.

Your family and friends will be glad that you took the time to get your ears checked. Now that they know you will be able to communicate with them, they will not try to avoid you any longer. You will notice a big improvement in your behavior and a more positive outlook on life since you are aware instead of worrying yourself about what may be wrong. Now that you know what is going on, you can breathe much easier.

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What Was That Hearing Test in School All About?

Of all the reasons we elementary school kids got to escape the monotony of class for a while, the annual hearing test may have been the most confusing. You typically would sit down in a chair, put on a huge set of headphones and follow a variety of instructions.

Sometimes you would have to report when you heard a noise and sometimes you would have to decipher in which ear you heard the noise. I do not know that I would be any better at the test today, but it was always a challenge for my little ears. The confusion is not unlike that of a visit to the optometrist when the doctor asks you which of two identical lenses looks to provide a clear view. I could barely tell which ear the sound was coming through; I just knew that it was there.

Sometimes the sound would get so false that I was not sure if it was real or just my nerves and imagination playing tricks on me. After this common confusion, I was always sent back to class with the rest of the kids, so I suppose I did OK.

But what are these tests all about?

Most states have some law requiring children to get tested for hearing and / or vision problems before and / or during their time at school. A list of every states 'law relating to these screenings can be found at the National Association of State Boards' website. The hearing related laws are encouraged by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, which recommends children's hearing get tested before they enter school, then every year until third grade and then again if they are held back a grade.

The most common type of hearing test used in elementary schools is called an audiogram. As many of us may remember, the audiogram requires the child to put on a pair of headphones. The person administering the hearing test plays a beep or tone at varying pitches and volumes. The child is usually instructed to raise his or her hand or to push a clicker whenever he or she believes a sound is played. Then, the tester will play the tone only in one ear of the headphones at a time and instruct the child to indicate which ear he or she hears the tone in and when.

This type of hearing test, though simple, answers many questions about a person's hearing ability. A person who is not completely blind may still suffer from color blindness, nearsightedness or farsightedness. Likewise, a person who is not completely deaf may still have some level of hearing deficiency. The audiogram can tell if the student can detect all normal levels of volume and all normal levels of pitch in each ear.

The tests are encouraged to provide the necessary intervention where possible to protect students and to ensure they all have a fair shot in school. Unlike vision, it is more difficult for a non-expert to pick up on a young child's hearing disability if it is not a major one.

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Hearing Test – Improving Your Hearing With the Latest Hearing Technologies

Individuals who experience hearing loss have a chronic condition that affects almost 35 million individual in the US To get an assessment of your level of hearing impairment you can visit a reputable hearing center that may result in you getting fit with a leading hearing aid technology. Some of the hearing technology available today can provide you with great features to include free personal programming, free cleanings and adjustment, free 3-year warranty, and free annual office visit and screenings. The hearing center can help you reconnect with the sounds of your surroundings that you have always enjoyed.

During you free consultation and hearing test, the hearing specialist will do an evaluation of your ability to hear. The results of your test will provide you and your hearing specialist with detailed information of your hearing injury so the best solution can be found for you. You may be offered a full range of the highest quality hearing aids available. You can choose from a wide range of styles, such as those that are invisible to the ones that fit behind the ear. There are also hearing devices that are designed to fit a multitude of lifestyles such as those that are dustproof, water proof and shockproof. Additional options in hearing devices are ones that will increase your listening comfort by reducing the amount of sudden loud noise, those that have the ability of wireless connectivity to cell phones, reduces feedback noises, decrees wind noises, and much more.

The following are some common symptoms and signs of hearing impairment:

• You believe others are mumbling when they are actually talking

• You can not keep up with a fast moving conversation

• You avoid social gathering to avoid the embarrassment of not hearing well

• You constantly ask others to repeat themselves

• You find it hard understanding what children and women say

• You make other uncomfortable with how loud you turn up the radio or TV

• You have a hard time hearing conversation over the phone

• Noisy places make hearing difficult

• There are certain words you have a hard time understanding

If you are experiencing any of the above or more problems with your hearing ability, your best option might be to contact a reputable hearing center to schedule a consultation. You can follow through with a thorough hearing test where if you have hearing loss, you can be custom fit with a hearing device that will be the best solution to address your needs.

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Is Your Loved One in Denial of Their Hearing Loss?

Does your family member or close friend deny the existence of their hearing loss, and that does not seek any treatment? If you answered yes, you are among the thousands, if not millions of others experiencing the same issue across the world! Acknowledging a hearing impairment can be a blow to a person's self confidence and feeling of control. But do not fret! There are ways you can help!

As a close loved one, you must also understand your own feelings about the situation prior to speaking with your family member or close friend. Consider your feelings. Do you get angry with your loved one for not seeking treatment? Does your attitude only upset your loved one over the situation? Have you become the hearing “aid” in your loved one's life (filling in gaps, repeating yourself and others)? Are you resentful of becoming the hearing “aid”? Do you avoid social gatherings for the sake of your loved one because of their hearing injury? Do you resent that you miss out socially due to this? Do you believe your loved one is disillusioned by their perception of “normal” hearing? Do you ask about his / her hearing impairment? Do you feel that he / she is acting vainly by not pursuing amplification? Yes? If you said yes to any of these questions, it is definitely time to get moving.

Resentment is an issue, a stumbling block for you and for your loved one to move forward. If you have found yourself resenting him / her over the hearing impairment, that is an emotion that must first be deal with before moving on. Once you have this problem, your mission of hearing help can begin!

First things first, if you are creating a safety net for your loved ones hearing difficulties – it is time to stop. Slowly remove yourself from the role of hearing “aid”. Manage your own communication difficulties, not his / hers. Know that communication will be more difficult during this time, but that this is certainly a stepping stone to treatment. Know that conflicts may arise, but remember that this is for their and your betterment. Start telling the truth. Let your loved one know how their hearing difficulty is impacting you, but do so gently and with love. Suggest options, and provide the information readily. Understand that this is difficult for them, be loving, and generous about the time it will take for them to accept treatment as a needed option. They have to accept their loss before they can manage it.

After a short period of time, your loved one will probably start to realize that without all of the help you had been providing, they are having great difficulty. Once they realize this, then they can begin to take positive steps toward intervention and management. Stand firm in your stance of not being a hearing “aid”. You have to reveal the need for hearing management. The most important thing you can do for them is to help your loved one recognize their problem. Beyond that, it is up to them whether they will take steps to manage their hearing loss or not.

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What to Do When a Loved One Refuses to Get a Hearing Test or Hearing Aid

Sometimes it's hard to help people help themselves. For many of us with elderly parents, grandparents or friends, this is especially true at some point or another.

Whether its poor health, senility or loss of hearing, the first and most difficult step is getting them to admit they have a problem. There are many reasons an elderly person would not want to admit that he has developed an impairment, even if it needs fixing.

Coming to the realization that your hearing has begun to deteriorate is also coming to the realization that you are getting older and less able. Getting older is something that most people struggle with most of their lives. Admitting to having an age-related problem feels to many like admitting weaknesses and can be embarrassing. We also have to remember that many of our parents and grandsparents came from a generation that valued self-reliance and was not raised to ask others for help.

But how do you get from the part where you're repeatedly yelling the same thing into his ear to the part where he's getting fitted for a new hearing aid?

First, the person must be persuaded to partake in a hearing test.

He may be afraid he will end up wearing hearing aid that is bulky and embarrassing to wear in public. Explain to him that new technology has allowed for smaller hearing aids, some of which are even small enough to fit almost invisibly inside the ear.

Explain to him that a hearing impairment can be a safety concern, especially if he lives alone. There are a dozen ways our hearing helps us survive day-to-day life. A person with limited hearing behind the wheel of a car may miss someone honking to avoid a wreck, an ambulance trying to speed down the street or his own car signaling some kind of damage. Let him know that you love him enough to worry about him and plead with him to at least submit to a hearing test to calm your own nerves.

If you have the opportunity, see if you can convince other friends or relatives who wear hearing devices to have a chat with your loved one about their experiences. Once people finally put their reservations aside and go in for a hearing test, most are overwhelmed pleasantly with the results. Hearing is a sense that wears away very gradually. Oftentimes, when people say they can hear fine, it's because they actually do not realize they have a problem – not because they will not admit it. Once they begin to live life with restored hearing, they can see the world open up again. Hearing advice from someone who has been the same situation will be more comfortable and effective.

Try to keep in mind that one day you, too, will find yourself in his position (if you're lucky), and it will be difficult for you to come to terms with as well. Be compassionate, patient and respectful in all your efforts.

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Why Baby Ear Muffs for Your Little Ones Are a Great Idea

Miners, construction workers, and explosion specialists certainly need ear muffs to protect their hearing. But why would anyone need ear muffs for their toddler?

The fact is, for many couples going to NHL or football games, aviation shows, and music festivals is a family affair. They love their kids, but they do not want to turn their lives inside out and sacrifice all the fun. Also, yard work and home improvement are not going to stop and wait for your baby to grow up.

More and more families are finding themselves in a dilemma. They do not want to sacrifice the life they enjoy, but they also do not want to put their baby's hearing in danger.

Indeed, protecting your toddlers from excessive noise is critical for their development. Small children at 4 months of age are already starting to discriminate sounds and putting the pieces of language together. They also tend to hear a much wider frequency range (20 to 20000 Hz) than adults. For comparison, middle-aged adults only hear high sounds up to 14000 Hz on average, so they might already miss the chirping of some birds.

You want to do your best to protect your children from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)?

Here are three ear muff suggestions to keep your toddler safe whenyou are taking him / her to loud events or outside while you are mowing the lawn or blowing leaves:

Peltor Kids: Peltor is a very well-known name in hearing protection for professionals. Peltor Kids have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 22, and are fully adjustable for babies (starting at about 6 months), young children, and teenagers.

Pro-Ears REVO: The REVOs have the highest noise reduction rating (NRR) of 26 of any ear muffs designed specifically for children. They can be adjusted to fit well for most toddlers starting from 6 months, children, and smaller adults.

Em's 4 Bubs: Em's 4 Bubs earmuffs are specifically designed for babies (newborn up to 18 months). They come with a patented headband design, which reduces the pressure put on a baby's head. Their noise reduction rating (NRR) is 22.

Can you rely on your baby's crying to know when something is too loud? Unfortunately, some sounds, including gun shots, fire crackers, and dragsters can cause immediate damage to your baby's hearing (and to your hearing as well). But even music concerts and motor boats can endanger a person's hearing in less than 2 minutes.

It is important to know that both, the intensity and the duration of a sound are important when assessing its potential danger. The louder a noise, the sooner it will cause damage.

Loudness is commonly measured in decibel (dB), with 0 dB being the softest sound a person can hear. A modern dish washer typically produces about 50 decibels, a person speaking with a normal voice about 60 dB and a vacuum cleaner around 70 dB. Note that an increase by 10 decibels actually means a 10 fold increase in energy. Sound below 80 decibels is commonly considered safe. Power tools at about 100 dB can however become dangerous after less than 15 minutes, and a rock concert at 110 dB in less than two minutes if your baby does not wear good hearing protection.

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The Hearing Test and Some Frequent Concerns

If you are over the age of 50 or have reason to suspect you're suffering from auditory impairment, getting a hearing test from a qualified source (ie, an audiologist) is a good first step in determining your situation. If it turns out that you have lost some of your sensory ability, there could be treatments available. Even if there are no medical solutions (such as the case with sensorineural loss), there are listening aids that can help tremendously. The worst thing to do is to go on without knowing. You owe it to yourself, your friends, and your family to get screened. Here are some frequent concerns and their answers.

Can earwax be the cause of my poor hearing test results?

This can certainly be the case. Earwax is actually one of the most common treatable causes of auditory loss. The good news is that it can almost always be removed, which should restore your ability to hear completely. There are even methods of getting the wax out yourself. By using special eardrops to soften the wax, you can sometimes remove a plug by flushing it out with water. However, if this is unsuccessful, see a doctor and have it taken care of professionally. Do not attempt to put anything in your ear, grab it out, or use shady methods like candling. This can lead to permanent injury.

How can I even afford a listening aid?

It can come as a bit of a shock to the uninitiated when they realize how expensive a listening aid can be. When you need two of them, the price is naturally going to be double that cost. This can be a lot for anyone on anything resembling a budget. While a good insurance plan will usually cover some of the costs, very few – if any – will cover even half the price. It pays to shop around to find the best price, although it is not necessarily the best idea to purchase a cheaper model if you really need the help a more expensive model can give you. If you want to upgrade in another year, it will be an entirely new out-of-pocket expense and there is not much of a market for used aids. It's better to buy what you need the first time.

How do I know if I need a hearing test?

There are a number of common symptoms of auditory loss. If you begin experiencing any of them, you should get your ears professionally checked. Are your friends and family complaining of your television volume? Some people just like the TV loud, but if you need it that high to hear it, there could be a problem. If you notice you're having difficulty following conversations or understanding movie dialogue, these could also be signs that you should get screened.

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Getting Ready for Your Hearing Test

When you are having a hearing test performed it can be disheartening and scary at times, so there are several ways to prepare for your test so that you can feel more comfortable. If you feel comfortable, your test will give you more accurate results.

There are some things that your doctor will need to get from you before he performs a hearing test. First, you need to let him know if you have been around loud noises that have left you with ringing ears because you should not be near them for at least 16 hours before having a test done. Then, you should make him aware of any antibiotics that you may be making because those can sometimes harm your hearing. You should also let him know if you have recently had an ear infection. After you have discussed these things with your audiologist, he will check to make sure that the ear canals are free from anything that would impair your hearing.

If your test requires you to wear headphones, you will need to take off your glasses and jewelry that could make it difficult for you to get the headphones in the right place to get the best reading. The person doing the test will press against the headphones to make sure that they are at the proper pressure against your ear. Some tests will require you to remove your hearing aid if you are wearing one.

Hearing tests can be performed almost anywhere, with the most common being schools and doctor offices.

There are different ways to perform these tests, depending on the suggested hearing loss.

• The whisked test, where you will be asked a series of questions by the health professional that you will be asked to repeat what you heard. You will be asked the questions louder until you can hear them. Each ear will be tested one at a time.

• Pure tone Audiometry, where you will listen for several different tones through headphones. The audiologist will control the volume, speed, and pitch of the sounds. The sounds will be regulated by how well you can hear it. The ears will be tested one at a time.

• Tuning Fork Tests produce tones through vibrations and test how sounds are moving through the ear.

• Auditory Brain Stem Response Testing tests your sensorineural hearing loss. In this method, electrodes are put on the head and ears to measure how the brain responds to the different sounds that are being produced.

Because there is either discomfort nor risk involved with a hearing test, it is a great way to help determine the amount of your hearing loss.

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Audiologists: Beyond the Hearing Test

Of the many schools of medicine, audiology is one of the most unique and fascinating. If you've ever wondered about how the ear works and how the brain processes the sounds around us, audiology may be the field that you are looking for. While most people think that audiologists are limited to fitting devices into people's ears after a hearing test, there is a broad spectrum of services that the field offers.

Audiology generally covers all bodily processes related to the ear. While a hearing test gives an audiologist clues about a person's responsiveness to sound, there are many underlying factors that can cause problems with a person's interpretation of sound and speech. The ear itself can be infected or damaged, which can be treated medically or sometimes not be valued at all. Other problems may be psychological; there are many mental disorders that keep the brain from properly interpreting words and recognizing speech patterns.

For these reasons, an audiologist usually must have a good background in speech pathology or communication disorders. Most students who wish to eventually practice in audiology seek out undergraduate degrees in these fields as they offer a solid base for further studies. For an audiologist to practice on his own, the next step is to acquire the professional degree of Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.). These programs are pursued instead of a Masters degree. Most require a bachelor's degree related to the field, but some schools offer combined study programs that last for about 5 years.

With this degree intact, a Doctor of Audiology has a few routes to take. For those who do not wish to practice as a doctor, there is much research being done on the complex study of hearing. Test scenarios are constantly being developed to help understand the way that the brain processes sound. Much research is being done with stem cells in hopes of finding a way to restore damage to the ear that as of now is permanent. Speech disorders are still very much a mystery in many cases and remain a constant subject of study to researchers across the globe.

If an audiologist seeks to work at a clinic, he will first need certification. Some certifications are required to practice, while others can improve a doctor's craft and make him more reliable. Most clinical doctors deal with older patients, giving them a hearing test and fitting them with assistive technology systems. Some specialize in rare cases, working with cochlear implants to help the deaf or children with speech disorders. Some audiologists focus on creating new solutions for the working world; employees that must work in loud conditions often need protective gear to keep their ears safe.

Whatever an audiologist does in his daily life, he fills an important role in society. As sound plays such an important part in human life, it is important for people to have resources to keep their ears functioning and healthy. If you are interested in this field of study, know that you have many options that are all very desired by the world at large.

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