What Is The Difference Between A Personal Sound Amplifier And A Hearing Aid?

Commercials peddling personal sound amplifiers (PSA) may spark your interest if you struggle while listening to the television, conversations and other noises happening at a distance. These small devices amplify noises, according to claims, so that you can watch television without disturbing others or hear conversations in even noisy environments. But you should be careful when you order a personal sound amplifier because it is not a hearing aid and it functions different than a hearing aid.

Both these PSAs and hearing devices can amplify noises, making it easier to hear. But to make up for hearing loss or impaired hearing, you need a hearing aid. If you choose a personal sound amplifying device instead, you could be ignoring the undering cause for your hearing loss. It is never a smart idea to self diagnose, so if you are experience any level of hearing loss, see a doctor and be evaluated.

In order to set people straight on the difference between the devices, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set forth definitions and guidelines in February 2009. These guidelines state that the purpose of a personal sound amplifier is for non-hearing impaired people to amplify noises for recreational use, including hunting, eavesdropping or watching television. The devices should not be used to compensate for any level of hearing loss and are not meant for constant, daily use. The FDA also does not regulate these amplifiers because they are not meant to treat hearing loss. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are regulated by the FDA through premarket reviews and requirements. Hearing devices manufacturers also must comply with strict guidelines regarding the labeling of products. Because PSA are not so strictly regulated, they can make claims, or omit information, on the packaging. Many personal amplifier packages do not distinguish themselves from a behind-the-ear hearing aid, so if a consumer is not careful, they could end up purchasing a personal sound amplifier believing it is a hearing aid.

These are not inherently good or bad. It is up to the consumer to understand what type of product he or she is purchasing and for what use. If you have hearing loss, get yourself to a doctor. That way you can find out if you need a hearing device. A personal sound amplifier may help in certain situations, but it is unwisely to rely on a device that is not designed for treatment or aid. But, there are situations in which each of us has probably wished we could hear a little better, whether it's hunting, listening in on another person's conversation or babysitting a child in the next room, which in all these cases, a PSA would work just fine.

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Popping in the Ears: Could It Be Serious?

Ear barotrauma is the result of damage to the ear resulting from a difference in pressure between the outside and the inside of the eardrum, which usually causes a great deal of discomfort. The pressure within the middle ear is normally the same as the pressure outside of your body. Your Eustachian tube connects your middle ear to the rear of your throat and nose. Yawning or swallowing helps to open the Eustachian tube up and allow a flow of air to enter into or out of the middle ear, which keeps the amount of pressure equalized. If there is a blockage within the tube, the pressure in your middle ear will be different than the pressure on your outer ear. It is because of this that barotrauma results.

A lot of people will experience barotrauma at some point in their lives. It is the common result of a change in altitude, such as when you go flying or taking a drive through the mountains. If you are dealing with congestion from allergies or an infection, you are at a higher risk of developing barotrauma. Blockage within the Eustachian tube may be there before you are even born, or it could also be contributed to a swapping within your throat.

Symptoms:

• Dizziness
• Discomfort or pain in both of your ears or just one
• Mild loss of hearing
• A feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears

If the condition extends beyond a reasonable amount of time, you may experience the following symptoms:

• Pain in your ears
• Pressure inside of your ears, similar to that of being underwater
• Nosebleeds
• Loss of hearing that is moderate to severe

During a routine inspection of your ear, the doctor may notice there is a mild bulging on your eardrum. If the condition is more intense, there may be a pool of blood behind your eardrum. It may be extremely difficult to differentiate between ear infection and signs of barotrauma when the condition is severe.

Treatment:

In an effort to alleviate the discomfort you are feeling, you first need to attempt to open the tubes to help relate the pressure. Some of the things that you can try include:

• Chewing gum
• Sucking on candy
• Yawning
• While holding your nostrils closed and your mouth shut, inhale and then gently exhale

Whenever you are flying, it is recommended that you avoid sleeping during the descent. Use all of these measures on a regular basis to help open up the Eustachian tubes. Children may benefit from drinking or taking a bottle on descent.

Anyone who is out in the water diving should ascend and descend at slower speeds. Anytime you have a respiratory infection or allergies, you should avoid diving because it could result in severe barotrauma. If you have tried numerous methods for curing the problem on your own and nothing has worked, you might need to see a professional for a medical intervention. Severe barotrauma needs to be looked into by a doctor as well for treatment options.

Some of the recommended medications used for treatment include:

• Antihistamines
• Steroids
• Decongestants

All of these medications will help to relieve in nasal congestion and provide the opening in your tubes. If barotrauma is severe, an antibiotic may be able to prevent an ear infection. When you can not get the tubes to open up with any of the conventional treatments, you may need to undergo surgery. A small cut is made in your eardrum that allows your body to equalize the pressure and help the fluid to drain properly. It is a rare occasion that someone needs to undergo surgery for this. If you are somewhere that requires changing your altitude frequently or you are more prone to developing barotrauma, you may need to have tubes inserted into your eardrums.

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Hunter’s Take Care – Protect Your Ears

Up in the North woods, of the Midwest, every autumn right before Turkey Day, hunters of all ages start an age old migration. The hunt's on full force with camouflage and guns and trucks while they all search for the thirty-pointer that got away. But that's not all these hunters should be carrying with them; guns are loud enough to cause hearing loss, especially given the abundance of the butt end and trigger to the human ear.

Whether you hunt for deer, or you live in the Ozarks and hunt every day for dinner with a squirrel gun, hunter's ear plugs should be in your ears when you are ready to fire. There are many different types. There are the standard foam plugs that absorb some of the louder repercussions of a gun blast. Also available now are high tech ear plugs that fit and work just like a hearing aid. These digital plugs filter out the loud blasts of gun fire and even amplify your surrounding's noise. With this type you can hear your prey from up to fifty feet away. You will never need that hunting dog again with a pair of the high tech hunter's ear plugs in!

Most plugs slip easily into the ear canal and have short little grips on them for retrieving them once your daily hunt is done. The plugs that do more than just protect your hearing are molded to both the interior and exterior bowls of your ears; even with this custom fit they are also removed just as easily as standard plugs. The foam or rubber types of ear plugs are reusable, but they are also disposable, which makes them easy to care for. They come in a variety of bright and highly visible colors and styles to suit every hunter's ear, and even the ladies can buy ones in a little more feminine coloring (even the high tech ones offer these color choices).

When you pack up your licenses, and “hunter orange” to keep you safe from all the other people, pack your hunter's ear plugs to keep you safe from all the gun fire as well. Hunting is a safer sport when you protect your whole self. Standard run of the mill plugs are able to be purchased at almost any drugstore. For the high tech ear plugs you must speak with a hearing healthcare professional near you. They can advise you, and fit you on site. You will be hunting more safely and saving your ears in no time at all.

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How Exactly Does My Hearing Work?

A lot of people may not realize just how amazing their ears really are. They work to pick up all the sounds within your environment and then turn the sounds into a form of information that your brain is able to comprehend. One of the most astounding things about the transformation is that it is entirely mechanical. Your individual sense of smell, vision and taste all occurs with a chemical reaction, but your sense of hearing works entirely through physical movements.

In order to understand how your ears are able to hear sounds, you need to be able to understand what sound is beforehand. Whenever an object vibrates within matter it produces a sound. It could be a solid, a liquid or a gas. However, the majority of the time, we are able to hear the sounds that are traveling through the air. As something vibrates within the atmosphere, it moves the particles of air around it. It is those air particles that move all the surrounding air particles, which in turn results in the vibrations making their way through the air.

In an attempt to look at how this process works, first think about how a simple vibration works. If you were to hit a bell, the metal would vibrate by flexing in and out. Whenever it flexes on one of the sides it ends up pushing all the surrounding air particles on the one side. All of those particles will then collide with the particles that are already in front of them, which collide with all the particles that are in front of them, and the chain reaction continues creating compression.

Once the bell has flexed away, it will create a pull on all the particles around it. These results in a drop in pressure, which creates a pull in more of the particles around the area, creating yet another drop in pressure, which results in the particles being rolled farther out. The whole process is known as rarefaction.

It is in this way that vibrating objects are able to send waves of fluctuating pressure through the atmosphere. We are able to hear multiple types of sounds from varying objects due to the variations of the frequencies for the sound waves. Higher frequency waves mean that there is a greater amount of fluctuation in the air pressure and it is able to switch back and forth at a faster rate. This sound is interpreted as a higher pitch. However, when there are not as many fluctuations over a specified period of time the pitch comes across as lower. The amplitude is what determines the amount of air pressure and the level of sound.

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Could Otosclerosis Be Affecting Your Hearing?

Otosclerosis is considered an abnormal growth of the bones within the middle ear. This bone denies the structures in the ear from functioning properly and in turn causes loss of hearing. For people dealing with otosclerosis, hearing loss can become proficient.

How Does the Hearing Process Work?

Hearing is actually a chain of events that work together with the ear to transfer the sound waves into an electrical signal, which in turn causes the impulses from the nerves to be transmitted directly to the brain to allow them to be interpreted into sound. There are three main components that make up the ear: the middle, inner and outer ear. Sound waves make their way into the outer ear and then head to the middle ear, which is where they trigger vibrations within the eardrum. The vibrations are then sent into the three miniscule bones known as the ossicles. Those bones are known as the malleus, stapes and incus.

It is the responsibility of the ossicles and the eardrum to transmit the vibrations through to the inner ear. The stirrup then sends the vibrations to the window and through to the fluid that consumes the inner ear. Those vibrations then move the fluid into the part of the inner ear that is shaped like a snail containing the hair cells. Cochlear fluid moves into the upper part of the hair cells, which then signals the changes that trigger the production of the impulses within the nerves. Those impulses are then transported into the brain to be interpreted as sound. Differences in sounds are able to stimulate the different parts of your inner ear, so allowing the brain to differentiate between all of the various sounds. Consider the differences between the ways a vowel sounds versus a consonant.

How Can Otosclerosis Trigger a Loss of Hearing?

There are multiple types of hearing loss that can be caused due to otosclerosis, depending upon what structure is affected within the ears. Generally, it affects the final bone within the chain, which sits at the entrance into the window. The abnormality within the bone forms a fixation of the situations within the window and causes an interference with any of the sound waves that are passing into the inner ear.

It is typically a conductive loss of hearing when it comes to otosclerosis, which is a loss of hearing within the outer ear or middle ear. On a less frequent basis, it can lead to a sensorineural loss of hearing, which is damage to the nerve fibers located within the inner ear and the sensory cells. Conductive hearing loss is also another problem that you may encounter.

What Are the Causes of Otosclerosis?

Research indicates that the condition occurs in families, or it can be passed down from a parent to their child. However, the actual cause of otosclerosis is not entirely understood. People with a family history of the condition are at an increased chance of developing the disorder than their counterparts who have no connection with the condition. Generally, when you have one of your parents with the condition there is a 25 percent chance that you may develop the condition yourself. If you have two parents who have the condition, your risk will double to half. Numerous studies have shown that women who are white and middle-aged are at the highest level of risk thus far.

There have also been studies that have connected otosclerosis with all of the hormonal changes that women go through while they are pregnant. Even though the exact cause of the condition has not been diagnosed as of yet, there is a lot of evidence that shows the risk increasing among those with a viral infection.

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What Contributions Does The External Ear Make To Hearing?

In order for a person to hear, it is essential that sound waves are able to make it from the surrounding environment to the brain. Anything that impedes this trip will create some kind of hearing loss. In the outer ear, the problem will unduly be a form of conducting disorder. In other words, in order for the ear to hear, the tympanic membrane needs to be able to vibrate. Conductive disorders inhibit or flat out prevent that construction.

Think of a guitar string or a chime. When a person strikes or plucks at it, the object shakes and produces a sound that people can hear. However, if you place your fingers on the strings or the chimes, you inhibit them from vibrating and the sound stops. The eardrum works in exactly the same way. It vibrates based upon the sound waves in the air, as though the sound waves were plucking the eardrum. But it is only able to do this as long as something else is not preventing those sound waves from getting there.

Earplugs would be an example of something that would inhibit the sound waves. Large amounts of earwax operate the same way. Regular gentle cleaning is recommended to keep the pathways to the eardrum clear. But warm gentle flow of water is recommended alone. Foreign objects can either impede flow, or worse, rupture the eardrum itself. If holding the strings of a guitar down deadens the noise it is able to produce, imagine what snapped strings gives to you. Old reliable tricks such as using cotton swabs to rub out your ears are old for a reason. They caused far more harm than good. Risk of rupturing the eardrum is high as well as leaving behind a trail of old cotton to further clog the ear.

It is true that washing with trickling warm water may not get rid of all of the wax. That's alright. The body produces wax to trap debris that may find its way down the auditory canal. The goal is not to completely eliminate wax, but rather to ensure that the sound waves have a clear path to the eardrum.

The auricles themselves should also be cared for. While losing them will not eliminate your ability to hear, it is much more difficult to direct those sounds down to the eardrums. When fewer sound waves are able to make it to the eardrum, sounds will tend to be less amplified and, as a result, will be more difficult to understand.

These are the contributions that the external ear makes to hearing as well as to hearing loss. Yet there is far more. It is important to understand not only the external ear, but also the middle ear, and the inner ear. By seeing how these structures work together, you can get a clear picture as to how hearing works.

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Causes of Hearing Loss Unrelated to Aging

There are numerous things that can contribute to a decrease in hearing. As people age, it is not uncommon to experience some degree of graduated loss due to deterioration of the inner ear. However, the loss might be due to a different reason entirely.

An interruption in, or insufficient blood flow to the ear or the part of the brain that controls hearing can cause hearing loss. Conditions that can cause this include elevated blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also occur in people with hypercoagulability and polycythemia. People with arthritis commonly have loss. It is thought that this occurs due to the abnormalities in blood vessels that this disease causes.

Common childhood illnesses can cause a loss of hearing. Mumps is the most common cause of deafness in one ear. In these cases, people are often unaware of their hearing impairment until later in life. Scarlet fever can cause a loss of hearing by damaging or destroying the eardrum and damaging the middle ear bones. Chicken pox, if the mother contracts it while she is pregnant, can cause a loss of hearing in unborn infants.

Many different types of infection can result in loss. Syphilis, if undiscovered and left untreated, can result in severe hearing loss. This disease sometimes goes undiagnosed for many, many years before symptoms appear and it is diagnosed and treated. Lyme disease is another disease that can linger for years before it is accurately diagnosed. This is an increasingly common disease that is spread by tick bites. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are minor, such as rashes or joint pain that comes and goes. In addition, in the later stages, it mimics other diseases or disorders such as fibromyalgia and muscular dystrophy. This makes it even harder to diagnose and, by that time that it is, some degree of the resulting hearing loss may be permanent.

Approximately 40 percent of individuals with diabetes experience loss, often in both ears. It is thought that this is due to damage to blood vessels and the nerves of the inner ear from high blood sugar levels.

This can can be genetic. In some families, the parents may have no loss but carry the gene and pass it on to their children. In those cases, the loss tends to be present in one out of every four children.

There are drugs that are known to be ototoxic, meaning they have the potential to damage the auditory system and cause hearing loss. Examples include some types of antibiotics, chemotherapies, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Typically, those drugs must be administrated intravenously in high doses before an individual will experience the side effect of hearing loss. The hearing loss may be temporary and disappear when the drugs are stopped, or the loss may be permanent.

Because of the wide range of medical conditions that can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, older individuals should always obtain a medical exam from a physician to determine the cause. The physician will then be in a position to treat or prescribe devices, such as hearing aids, that can help restore some or all of an individual's hearing capabilities. Hearing aids can help restore hearing to approximately 80 percent of individuals diagnosed with hearing problems.

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Unitron Moda II

Unitron has always been known for its commitment to develop and introduce hearing aid devices with advanced features and outstanding performance. The Unitron Moda II illustrates this commitment through the many incredible features it has been able to provide.

The Unitron Moda II is an ultra small BTE (behind the ear) design which is compact, discreet and very comfortable. It is about 37% smaller than most traditional BTE designs. Yet the model still delivers outstanding performance in a feature rich product. Here is just a sampling of some of the advanced features it offers.

The Moda II either comes with an ear dome or a complete ear mold which fits your outer ear securely and discreetly. Either way the sound is positioned to send directly into your ear canal for the highest and fidelity and response.

One of the best features of the device is the ability to limit or eliminate feedback. A common problem with many hearing aids is that annoying whistling, screeching or buzzing. This can come when you least expect it and can be starting to you and others around you. Unitron incorporates advanced features to identify and suppress common feedback before it even happens. The results are really amazing.

The unit is very flexible in its ability to run one automatic program and two manual programs. This allows you to use the unit in a variety of situations and environments. Changing the programs and manually adjusting the settings is quick and easy. The instruction manual and users guide spells this out very clearly.

Regular maintenance, such as changing the battery is also very quick and easy. You can also find detailed instructions in the user guide. It has detailed pictures as well as step by step instructions to help you along. This product also quickly adjusts to changes in sound volume. So if a sudden noise is experienced, the volume on your Moda II changes very quickly. It's a convenient feature which is designed to avoid excessive sound when you least expect or want it.

When windy conditions prevail, the Moda II has the ability to handle that situation. When it senses windy conditions it adjusts for the wind noise so you can still hear what you need to hear. The Unitron website includes detailed description of the features and benefits from this product. It also has the user manual available for download so you can see firsthand how this unit works and is optimized.

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Things to Consider When Buying Hearing Aids

It is imperative that you find a hearing professional that you feel comfortable with and can turn to for advice on your hearing concerns. Since you will be spending a lot of time with this person, it is important to make sure that you choose someone you are able to turn to for guidance and advice. During the first 30 to 60 days of adjusting your hearing aids, you can plan on visiting your doctor's office about three or four times to get everything completed. The ear, nose and throat specialist or your family doctor does not have the training in hearing aids that an audiologist will be able to provide you. Most of the times people end up discussing their hearing concerns with the one who performed the preliminary hearing tests, which will typically end up being an audiologist.

Purchasing your hearing aid from a professional's office that focuses on being able to provide you the information you need as a health care provider, instead of just someone who is selling hearing aids. Look through your options and choose a professional who is willing to take the time to listen to your concerns and figure out how your hearing loss is affecting your everyday living choices. The person you choose needs to be competent about more than just one specific hearing aid brand and it needs to be able to match the type of technology you are looking for in your individual situation. They should be willing to work with you for as long as you need them to in order to help you have the best hearing possible with your new hearing aid.

Ensure that the hearing aid professional you choose is licensed with the state and it is up to date. Check through the BBB and the state office to see if there are any complaints on file. Sometimes having a recommendation from someone who used that particular business will help provide you with the peace of mind that you are looking for. Be diligent when it comes to selecting your provider, the same way that you would any other healthcare provider that you are working with. It is imperative that you have a level of trust with your specialist or else there will be a lot of issues when it comes to choosing your hearing devices. You will be working with this person for years to come, not to mention the first few months of repeated follow-up visits for your hearing aid.

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Not All Degrees Of Hearing Loss Are The Same

Missing a word or two during the course of a conversation is very different from not being able to hear words that are spoken when the speaker is turned away. There are varying degrees of hearing loss that correspond with a range in decibels (dB HL). After your degree of hearing loss, it is important to understand the cause and what kind of hearing aid will help you the most. Each model of hearing aid, coupled with the technology included, can serve each degree of hearing loss differently. Some models are better for certain levels. If you are unsure which type of hearing aid can help you, check with your doctor or audiologist.

The varying levels of hearing loss are categorized as such:

Level Of Hearing Loss ———— Range In Decibels (dB HL)

Profound —————————– +91

Severe —————————– 71-90

Moderately Severe ——————- 56-70

Moderate —————————– 41-55

Mild ——————————— 26-40

Slight —————————– 16-25

Normal —————————– 10-15

Profound hearing loss means a person can not hear most sounds, and they rarely communicate through sign language or by reading lips. A mild loss of hearing occurs when it is difficult to hear a person while in a noisy environment or someone who is far away. If you can not understand what a person is saying when they turn away from you, you probably have a moderate or moderately severe hearing impairment. People with moderate loss of hearing may be able to understand vowels but not consonants. Conductive hearing loss, where there is damage to the outer or middle ear, results in difficulty hearing low-frequency sounds (vowels). Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the inner ear is damaged, results in high-frequency hearing loss (consonants).

When you choose a hearing aid, you want to make sure that it will serve a few purposes. First, it must be comfortable or you'll find that you simply will not wear it. Next, it should accommodate both the decibel degree of impaired hearing and the frequency level. Otherwise, you still will not be able to hear. Most hearing aids, even ones available over-the-counter, include features that increase the ability to hear. Of course, these features are up to each manufacturer and company's research and development team. The most common features are:

A directional microphone, which amplifies noise coming from the direction the wearer is facing. This can be especially helpful in crowded, noisy environments.

Feedback cancellation. No one likes that high-pitched sound that hearing aids emit, and if you are unable to hear the noise, it can be embarrassing if you do not know it's happening. Most hearing aid devices have some sort of feedback cancellation technology to reduce or eliminate feedback. Completely-in-the-canal devices tend to have less feedback than behind-the-ear models.

Zoom. An audio zoom control allows the wearer to manually adjust the direction from which sound will be amplified.

Finding the perfect fit can take several models and fittings until you find a device that works for you and your degree of hearing loss. Find a place that has a grace period in which you can return the device if you are unsatisfied.

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Are Digital Hearing Aid Right for You?

Most people panic when their audiologist tells them that their hearing test points to hearing loss and hearing aids are recommended. Old school hearing aids were big, bulky and ugly. They were uncomfortable and embarrassing to wear. They are frequently malfunctioned, emitting loud screeches at the most appropriate times. Most of the negative connotations people have about hearing loss and the need to wear hearing aids is based on these units.

Fortunately, modern hearing instruments are quite different. The hearing devices of today are small, sleek and discrete. Most people will not even know you're wearing them. There are even styles available that are worn completely inside of the ear, making them invisible to the outside world.

There are dozens of hearing instrument manufacturers and each brand has a long list of models. With so many choices available, a hearing specialist can work with the patient to find just the right model to meet their specific needs and concerns. The hearing aid industry invests millions of dollars each year into researching hearing loss and testing out new technology to combat it.

The invisible hearing device is a result of this research and testing. Other technological advances include hearing aids that are wireless, digital and water resistant. Each type offers unique advantages that make them appealing to different groups of people.

Water resistant hearing devices are great for people who love to swim or spend lots of time outdoors and do not want to worry about getting caught in the rain. Wireless hearing aids give the wearer a great deal of freedom. The ReSound Alera was the first wireless device that did not need a receiver to be worn on the body to function.

Many people believe digital hearing devices provide a higher quality of sound than the traditional analog models. This is because they operate in a very complicated and precise way due to a tiny computer system installed in each device. They bring clear sounds at a higher volume. Digital hearing devices are also exceptional at tuning out background noises.

It may seem like their higher quality sound delivers makes them ideal choice for most people. They can be complicated devices to learn to operate which is overwhelming for some people. They also cost quite a bit more than analog hearing aids. Price scores some. Also, some types of hearing devices work better for certain types and extents of hearing loss than others. An audiologist will recommend the best types for your specific condition.

Regardless which hearing device style you pick, you'll be amazed at how quickly and clearly your hearing is returned. Finding the right device is worth the effort.

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Hearing Loss Solutions With LACE

If you've been on YouTube lately, maybe you've seen some videos of people suffering from hearing disabilities hearing their own voices for the first time. These touching videos help to show just how far the technology has come. Living with partial or full hearing disability is not easy, and the technology is finally here to help many people recover some of their hearing.

Of course, the technology only covers one aspect of hearing recovery. There's more to hearing than the physical act of hearing alone. Hearing, listening, it has to do with how your brain absorbs and interpret sound, it's not just about having the right equipment, biological or mechanical, to pick up the vibrations in the air.

When you think about all that your senses have to do for you, it's really incredible. Those of us with no problems in the listening department can take it for granted, but at any given moment, your ears are picking up any number of sounds. They could be picking up your air conditioner, your refrigerator, traffic outside, music from across the street, a conversation in the next room and your roommate telling you that we're out of milk.

So, when you come back home with a gallon of milk an hour later, how is it that we heard that so clearly over the noise and static? To someone who is listening for the first time, all sounds might sound completely alike, blending together in a flat, static hum.

Well, it's not magic that allows us to pick the important sounds out of the air and block out or muffle the rest. It has to do with training our brains to pick up what we need to hear. Believe it or not, it's not just people with disabilities who have a problem with this.

People who grow up in a quiet, rural area may get stressed out in large crowds, or they might have trouble focusing when living in the city. People who grow up with a lot of brothers and sisters might never have to say “What was that?” when someone says something to them. Some of us can not even make out what a person is saying if they have the slightest accent.

The LACE system helps us to train our brains to better pick up on speech regardless of what's going on in the background, with results showing improvements of up to forty percent in hearing ability. It's not just about training us to develop the right habits, but getting rid of the bad ones.

LACE has been proven in field tests to help people with partial and full hearing disability recover not just their hearing, but their ability to listen and listen well.

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Hearing Aid Prices – What’s the Deal?

Digital Hearing aids today all have several standard technologies. In their most basic sense, all have a microphone, amplifier, sound processor, and a speaker which sends the sound down the ear canal to the ear drum. They all run via battery and have a plastic or ceramic cover which holds all the components in place. So if all hearing aids share these features, why is there such a variation in price, with some selling for a thousand dollars or so, and others fetching ten times this amount and beyond?

The differences in these technologies all comes down to a single element, the sound processor. This is the microchip which runs the device and which the hearing specialist programs when they are fitting the devices to suit your particular needs. It is the driver which delivers particular sound frequencies at particular intensities to match your hearing levels, it looks after feedback management so you do not have a whistling device, it determines when to increase and decrease volume levels, and it constantly monitors the environment to determine which set of features it will enable to suit the sound environment you are in. These sound processors monitor sound inputs coming into the microphones millions of times per second, looking for speech, noise, wind, music and any combination of these. When it decides you in a noisy environment for example, it will start to decrease the volume in the vacancies where this noise is. If it then picks up a dominant speech sound, it will increase the volume in the frequencies where this is, and can even decide to zoom in a particular direction to maximize the speech benefit. Digital hearing aid sound processors are among some of the highest technology microchips in the world, and much research time and dollars have been invested to get them to the level they are at today.

So why the huge price differentials? Most hearing aids in a manufacturers range will have exactly the same components in their devices bar the sound processor. That is, the microphones, amplifiers, speakers etc. are exactly the same in their bottom, mid and top of the range devices. The only difference is the microchip. A more advanced microchip will enable the devices to perform more effectively in noise, and will usually offer more advanced automation of the hearing aids. So a fully automatic device with the best noise reduction will cost more than a manually adjusted device which is poor in noise, and there are different levels with which hearing aids do this. Hearing aid retailers will then add there margins, and quite often these muscles are larger for more advanced hearing aids than basic ones.

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Eustachian Tube Dysfunction: Why and How It Happens

The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the back of the nose. In adult humans, the tube is about 3-4 cm long. To be able to hear properly, the air pressure on each of our eardrums should be equal and free of mucus, so that the eardrums can vibrate and work well. The Eustachian tube works by allowing air to flow into the middle ear and expel any mucus present. The tube opens and closes as we swallow, chew, or yawn.

In Eustachian tube dysfunction, the tube is blocked or can not open properly so that the air fails to flow into or out of the middle ear. This makes air pressure on the outer side of the eardrums different from the air pressure in the middle ear. The imbalance makes the eardrums tense and their ability to vibrate is reduced. This condition affects sound waves so that they can not be completely perfect by the ears, hence dulling our hearing.

Commonly, disorder in the Eustachian tube is noted by muffled or dull hearing. Other additional symptoms, however, may be present. A patient with the problem may also suffer from ear pain, the feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing sensation in the ear (tinnitus), and dizziness. The dysfunction may affect only one ear or both ears at the same time.

Eustachian tube dysfunction is a condition triggered by several diseases. This ear problem may last only a few hours or for weeks or even longer. The duration of the problem depends a lot on the cause. Here are some of the triggers of Eustachian tube dysfunction:

– Allergies
Perennial rhinitis, hay fever, sinusitis and other nose-affecting allergies cause mucus buildup and inflammation within and around the Eustachian tube.

– Glue ear
When the middle ear is filled with a glue-like fluid, the tube is congested and unable to allow air to flow freely. This creates difference in air pressure between the outer and inner sides of the eardrums as described above.

– Blockage
Any conditions that cause blockage to the Eustachian tube (eg enlarged adenoids) may lead to the hearing dysfunction. Although very rare, a blockage may indicate the occurrence of a tumor in the ear.

– Colds and other infections to throat, ears, sinus and nose
These are the most common triggers that may dull our hearing temporarily. Thick mucus developed from the infections may block the Eustachian tube as well as enflame and swell it. This kind of symptom usually does not need any special treatment. As the cold or the infection recovers, the hearing will gradually return to its normal state. However, after the infection symptoms are gone, it may take about a week for your hearing to be normal again. This is due to trapped mucus and the swapping that needs some time to entirely clear.

If this problem grows annoyingly painful, there are several treatments recommended to relive the symptoms. Some treatments that you can try include the Valsalva maneuver, decongestant nasal sprays or drops, antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays, or steroid nasal spray. If the symptoms do not improve even after you take the treatment, you may consider paying a visit to a specialist.

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Hearing Aids: Keeps Getting Better and Better

Just like with all modern technology, hearing aids keep getting better and better as they get smaller. Many of the newer hearing devices are so small that most people do not even notice if you are wearing one. They can also be totally customized to fit your exact hearing needs and to fit your skin tone and style.

Hearing Aid Technology Has Improved

So many people suffer from hearing problems, especially now that so many people using ear buds to listen to loud music. Hearing is an important sense and if you were hesitant to buy these hearing device because you think they are big, bulky, and unattractive, you need to reconsiderer.

Discreet Micro Machines

These are made by so many manufacturers and they are made to be so discreet for people who do not want to look like they are wearing hearing aids. Some European companies make them in very mod styles that look like high tech micro machines. Some manufacturers make products that fit inside of the ear canal so no one can even see that you have one.

Turn Your Device into a Fabulous Accessory

However, if you love to have fabulous accessories, you can treat your hearing aids like one more fun accessory. Women who choose the over-the-ear model can choose from any stylish patterns and fun colors. Since hearing loss is a fact of life for many people, why not have fun with it rather than hiding it from the world. It is important to embrace your reality to live a healthy and happy life!

Do not Wait Too Long

When you think you need to get fitted for hearing aids, it is important that you do not wait too long. Once you think you have hearing loss or hearing damage, it is a good idea to get your ears checked. It you wait too long, your hearing loss could get worse. Hearing loss is irreparable; when you lose your hearing it is gone forever.

Price Points

You should also be aware that these comes in a variety of different price points from under $ 100 to well over $ 3000. Many insurance companies have limits on how much they will pay for hearing devices, if they pay at all. Be sure that you pick a hearing aid that fits into your budget, as well as looks right for you. Once you invest in the perfect pair for you, you will enjoy the sounds that you have been missing.

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