Auditory Technology 101: The Difference Between Analog and Digital Hearing Aids

Hearing aids have changed over the years. In the past, you could only receive analog systems. However, today's technology has made the analog device almost extinct. Patients now favor the newer, better digital models.

The two devices are very similar. Both use microphones and amplifiers to pick up and amplify sound. They both include receivers, which deliver the sound inside the ear. Of course, both units run on batteries. The difference is in the sound-magnifying technology.

Digital Hearing Aids

Instead of simply amplifying the sound, these models convert sound waves into digital signals. Each device includes computer chips. These circuit boards analyze speech and other sounds. The device then produces an exact duplication of the sound. This process is far more complex than traditional approaches.

There are some benefits to going digital. These devices can reduce background noise in certain environments. They also have better programming options and can be tailor to your specific auditory problem.

Before purchasing a digital model, you want to make sure it is from a reputable manufacturer. Yes, there are cheap options available. However, by choosing an off-brand manufacturer, you may not get the most out of your device. Some of these manufacturers leave out the important components and programming that makes digital the prime choice for most consumers.

Analog Hearing Aids

When you choose analog, you are selecting the simplest device on the market. These systems work by making sound waves louder. They continuously amplify speech and other noise with little discrimination between the two.

Some analog devices are programmable. They will allow you to change settings for specific environments. For example, you can program the settings to work optimally in a quieter environment or a louder one. Once set up, you only have to press a button to change the settings. If you have never used one of these devices, there is a learning curve. Your audiologist will be able to help you program your new device.

While they are less discriminating between different types of sounds, these devices are cheaper and more powerful. Users who have been using hearing aids for a long time typically prefer analog devices.

Both analog and digital hearing aids have their benefits and their drawbacks. If you are looking for the simplest, cheapest option, you probably should stick with analog. However, the clearest sound will come from the digital models.

If you are still unsure of which type is best for you, you can consult with your audiologist. He or she can help you determine which one will work best for your specific auditory loss. He or she can also help you find one that fits your budget.

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Deaf Issues (Part 1) – Hearing Impaired, Closed Caption Struggles

There are many annoying things about being a #DeafGirl. I miss my favorite music. I miss not being able to hear new music the way it actually sounds, but only how my hearing aids interpret it. I miss being able to jump into a swimming pool without concern of destroying $ 5Gs worth of hardware, or being in a swimming pool and being able to follow / carry on a conversation. I miss wearing a pair of earbuds (because, let's face it, the sound quality is so much better without you're wearing some big, bulky headphones specifically designed for sound quality). But there are major annoyances to being hearing impaired or deaf.

  1. Inaccurate closed captioning;
  2. People who insist on talking to you even once you've pointed out you're deaf and can not hear a word they're saying.

The second one I'll Random Rant on later. Today is all about inaccurate closed captioning .

Ugh. There is little that burns my ass more than close captioning (or subtitles) I clearly know are wrong, or missing huge chunks of information. How do I know they're missing information? I still have near perfect hearing when I wear my hearing aids, or “ears” as I call them. But I enjoy having the captions on because, well hey in a few years I'm going to relly on them exclusively, ears or no ears.

I understand the limitations of closed captioning. Especially in a real-time setting like live telly. There are going to be inaccuracies, “shorthand”, and missed information. People talk on average of 110-150 wpm (words per minute); professional typists type on average of 65-75 wpm (words per minute). That's half of the rate at which people speak. So it's understandable that there is going to be lag in a live performance: inaccuracies, short hand, or omissions. What I'm talking about are blatant inaccuracies or omissions in recorded programs.

There is nothing anything more annoying than hearing a character in a movie or on a show say, “Hey, we've got something over here” and reading, “Over here”. Not to mention seeing their lips moving away at what is clearly more syllables than just “Over here”. What's worse are when things are entirely left out and not captioned at all! Imagine watching a person's lips moving but not getting any sound at all? Frustrating as hell! Then you spend the next five minutes of the movie trying to puzzle out what the character said based on their lip movements and you miss other parts of the movie.

Some movies and television shows take the time and spend the money to ensure accurate closed captioning or subtitles. Others do not. All I can say to those who do not bother, from a #DeafGirl pointpoint, is:

You're asshats.

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A Hearing Test Is Music to Our Ears

When most people think about hearing loss, they imagine an older person with hearing aids or a rock star who plays loud music. In this technological era, the younger generation is falling victim to hearing loss, and it is getting worse with every song blasted. Some research estimates that one in five teens suffer from some degree of auditory loss. This rate has increased 30 percent since the 1980s and 1990s. The culprit is headphones.

The Science Behind the Loss

Research collected from various hearing tests suggests that the severity of loss is dependent on noise duration and volume. In each of our ears, we have tiny hair cells that change sound into electric signals, which are then transported to the brain. These signals are then recognized as sound. These fragile hair cells are not made for intense signals and are easily damaged by loud sounds, leading to impaired hearing.

Signs and Symptoms to Keep in Mind

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact a doctor to schedule a hearing test: sounds seem louder than usual, it is easier to hear low-pitched tones than high pitched tones, you have trouble differentiating the sounds in high pitched tones from one another, other people's voices sound mumbled or slurred, or you experience a ringing or fullness in your ears.

Decibels are Determinants

When searching for ways to lower your risk, look no further than your own decibel (dB) usage. A decibel is a unit that measures sound. To put decibels in perspective, we can look at the average units in our daily life. The softest sounds are 20 dB or lower. Normal talking is between 40 to 60 dB. A rock concert is between 110 dB and 120 dB but can go as high as 140 dB. Headphones have a maximum of 105 dB, which is the equivalent sound to holding a chainsaw at arm's length.

Preventing the Pre-Term Loss

Prevention is key when dealing with a sensitive part of the body, such as the ear. You can maintain you auditory abilities by following a few guidelines. First, wear larger headphones. Earbuds that are stuck directly in the ear often do not block outside sounds very effectively, leading to a higher set volume. You can also decrease the amount of time listening to music with headsets. An effective way of cutting back is to play music from a speaker. Music lovers, turn it down! Studies show that just 15 minutes listening to music on a high volume every day can lead to long-term loss. Lastly, schedule a hearing test. This exam will give you a baseline and be an essential tool for learning how to adjust your habits.

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High Decibels In Third World Countries Where Life Is Cheap

I know what 140 Decibels of sound feel like. I used to be a hardened clubber in my first-world youth, knowing people in the music and clubbing industries. I was also educated by the police and first aid crews who visited clubbing events and raves, giving out free ear protection and telling us about the dangers of tinnitus and how to protect ourselves. As a result, I visited a music shop and got the best ear protection I could. And danced the night away, every two hours leaving the main venue and going outside to give my ears a break, even though I was wearing ear protection. Good memories.

In the gyms, over 70 Decibels was frowned upon very seriously. Nobody dared ignore the rule, and if they were silly enough to do so, I complained to the management, and the complaint was acted upon. In the third world country in which I am a visitor for the next six weeks (and have been for the last 7 years, over 90 is illegal. that we were being “too lazy” and needed to “wake up.” I just made makeshift ear protection and prayed that my ears would survive.

As a holistic practitioner in this country for the last 7 years, I have had tinnitus clients. Invariably, they worked in engineering firms or in a high noise environment. The bosses convoked them that they had enough ear protection. So where did the tinnitus come from? Purely emotional? I think not. What emotions do all those people working in an engineering firm have in common? Love for engineering? Hogwash, I say. But as a scientist by training, I am entitled to that opinion.

So what can you do if you live in a third-world country and you think you may be exposed to high noise levels? Well, if you are prepared to be made a pariah or (if a work situation), you are prepared to lose your job rather than get tinnitus for the rest of your life, here are a few pointers.

If a customer, complain to the management and ask what they are going to do to rectify the situation. Or in a gym, for example, you can go up to the nuisance idiot of an instructor and make a high-pitched horrible sound into one of his or her ears (I did that one successfully once). Then say “Hear that? This is what tinnitus feels like, and you will never be able to turn it off. body. Now turn it down at once! ” It takes take guts, and you may not be prepared for confrontation. So a complaint to the local authorities that have the job of noise pollution may be a good step.

If an employee, see if Human Resources are amenable to taking care of your health. If not, you may have to go legal and take legal action against the company. Not for everyone, as you may lose your job, and depending on how good your lawyer is, you may or may not get compensation. Best have another job lined up just in case. Or choose between the job and potential tinnitus.

If neither of the above options appeals to you, seek the help of a professional in getting the best ear protection you can afford and use it. Nobody can sack you or bully you for quietly protecting yourself from harm. Or at least, I hope they do not.

Most of all, educate yourself. Go on the internet, read about Decibel levels, noise health and safety, what is available, what you can do, and how to look after the health of your ears. A little bit of education on how to stay healthy now can pay huge dividends in the future for your ear health. Read about allowed noise levels and what the holistic health community says. Read what Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist publish about noise. Empower yourself with knowledge.

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Explain the Theory of Immittance Audiometry

The acoustic immitance is measured by putting a piece into the ear called a probe top. This is place in the ear enough to create a hermetcic seal. This tip includes several things. First, a receiver / tone generator, which is a speaker that will play a tone into the ear. The tone generator creates a certain frequency at a set intensity, and the speaker transduces the output of the tone generator to form a sound wave that then is sent to the ear canal. Second is a microphone and sound level meter that will monitor the sound within the ear canal. Thirdly, a pressure pump and manometer, the pressure pump routes changes in air pressure to the ear canal, and the manometer shows the amount of air pressure delivered to the ear canal.

Immitance in measured in compliance, compliance is the movement of the tympanic membrane. This is done by stimulating the ear by a pure tone and a consistent intensity. Then the sound pressure level is measured. This measurement is then used to determine the impedance (how well the energy flows despite the system) of the middle ear and the tympanic membrane and everything that is attached to it. The immittance of the ear is derived from a few sources of mechanical and acoustic stiffness, mass and resistance. The stiffness component comes from the volumes of air in the outer ear and middle ear spaces, the tympanic membrane, the tendons and ligaments of the ossicles. The mass come from the ossicles, the ear drum and the perilymph. The resistance is introduced by the perilymph. The impedance of an object is dependent of frequency. The formula for determining impedance is the square root of R2 + (2p f M – S / 2p f) 2 where R = Resistance, M = Mass, S = Stiffness, f = frequency.

A few things to keep in mind are that mass is an important factor for high frequencies and stiffness in the important factor in low frequencies for the response of the system. Resistance is mainly determined by the ligaments that attach to the ossicles and the mass is determined by the weight of the ossicles and the tympanic membrane. Stiffness is determined primarily by the pressure the fluid from the cochlea on the footplate of the stapes.

Tympanometry and Acostic Reflex fall under the category of immittance audiometry. Tympanometry is the term for evaluating the movement of the tympanic membrane. Typically this is a graphical display of the change in compliance of the tympanic membrane as the ear canal pressure is varied from negative to positive. As pressure adjust from zero to its maximum negative or its most positive position impedance increases. The point in the graph where the pressure in the ear canal is equal to the pressure in the middle ear cavity impedance is at its minimum value, in other words, compliance is at its highest value. The graphical display is called a Tympanogram can have several types. In clinical use these graphs are divided into different Jerger types in order to diagnose. A Type A tympanogram is characterized by pressure that is + 50mm H20. This is classified as normal. The Type B tympanogram is typified by no peak and seams flat. This is frequently in serous or chronic otitis media. The Type C tympanogram is distinguished by a peak indicating negative pressure in the middle ear. This is usually due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. An abnormal typanogram can be determined if it has too many peaks or if it is too wide.

An acoustic reflex is what happens when a sufficient intense sound (70 dB HL) is presented to either ear and it results in the contraction of the stapedius muscle in both ears. This reflexive muscle contractions stiffens the conductive mechanism via the stapedius tendon, and changes the ear's immitance. The acoustic reflux is easily measure because the immitance change is picked up by the probe top and displayed on the immitance device meter. How this works is that the afferent nerve from an ear goes to the ipsilateral ventral cochlear nucleus. Neurons then go to the superior olivary complexes on both sides of the brainstem. Both superior olivary complexes on send signals to the facial nerve nuclei on their own sides. And then finally the efferent motor legs of the acoustic reflex involve the right and left facial nerves, which direct the stapedius muscles to contract in both ears.

The results of the acoustic reflux are complicated but once understood become simple. A pathological ear is defined as the ear with a problem in it. This could be a dead cochlea or a conductive or sensory-neural hearing loss. If an ear is normal the stapedius muscle will contract in both ears. It the stimulus is presented to the pathological ear and the ear just had a conductive hearing loss the reflux will show up after the conductive hearing loss has been overtaken and the ear has received 70 dB HL. Then the reflux will show in both ears. In a dead cochlea, the stimulus will never cause the reflux to occur. In a sensory hearing loss that is substantial the reflex will not be found in the pathological ear. Likewise in residual hearing, the reflux will be absent in the pathological ear. These results are better seen in the slides. It is very difficult to explain them in words.

It is also good to not that in reporting the results of Acoustic Reflux testing, the term ipsilateral and contralateral should only be used with direct reference to the probe and stimulus ear.

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When Is It Time to See an Audiologist?

Hearing loss is the most common work-related injury, the number one birth defect in the US, and the third most common health problem. However, it can be difficult to tell when you need to visit an audiologist. This guide will help you understand when you should see a hearing health professional.

Sudden Hearing Loss

There are lots of ways sudden hearing loss can occur. Sometimes it's as simple as sneezing, while other times there has been some sort of trauma to the ear. Even if there is no pain when the event occurs, that does not mean it is not an emergency. On the contrary, no matter what is going on, when you suddenly lose your hearing it is an emergency. Do not wait for the problem miraculously to heal itself. Instead, you need to seek the help of a professional immediately.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a medical condition in which you hear a buzzing, ringing, or whistling in the ear. Sometimes it can sound more like a whine or a screeching sound. No matter what the actual sound, there is no corresponding action present to make the offensive noise. Over 20 million Americans suffer from some form of this medical condition. While it is not always sudden, it often is a persistent annoying sound, which is treatable with the help of a professional. Often it is a symptom of a larger problem and treatment can help alleviate that problem. An audiologist may suggest you wear a hearing aid to combat the ringing, which may sound like the opposite of what you need. However, it does work.

Earwax

A hearing healthcare professional is the only person who should remove excess earwax builup. The items on the market today can actually imbed the earwax further into your ear. Cotton swabs can also cause damage to the inner ear if you are not careful. It is important to understand, however, that earwax is a good thing. It keeps germs out, moistens the ear canal, and protects the very sensitive inner ear.

Checkup

Just like your eyes, your ears need routine checksups. A yearly evaluation allows you to ensure you are listening at your best. It also gives you an opportunity to catch problems before they become worse. While some hearing loss can not be reversed, keeping the problem from getting worse is important. Your hearing healthcare provider can help you stop the degradation of your hearing and even give you tools to make it better.

Over time, you will probably notice that you do not hear as well. If you have any signs of loss, including the inability to hear female or child voices clearly, having problems hearing high-pitched sounds, or have a hard time understanding what someone says when you are in a crowd, it is time to see an audiologist . In addition, if you find that these things are keeping you from going places or you begin to feel isolated or depressed due to your inability to hear, you really should seek help.

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Renew Ears With Hearing Aid Supplies and Services

Auditory loss can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life and happiness. With age, it is normal to experience some hearing problems. These issues, however, can be exacerbated when you do not properly take care of your ears. Stores that carry hearing aid supplies should be your first stop if you have auditory questions. The staff knows all the common signs of loss, will provide a free evaluation, can recommend the right protective items, and guide you toward analogue or digital devices.

Signs of Loss

One of the most common signs of hearing loss is the discrepancy ability to pick up low voices on TV. If this applies to you, you may hear noise but not be able to distinguish words or dialogue. This symptom is associated with serious disorders, including Meniere and Otosclerosis. An evaluation by a professional will be needed to determine the seriousness of your condition and the treatment possibilities.

Free Evaluations

Testing is a must. To start with, the clinic should record your case history to determine how the problem affects your life. They should also ask about your health history, potential ringing in your ears, and if you are experiencing any dizziness. The last two could be signs of a more serious condition, and you may be referred to a doctor. After a series of simple listening tests, your level of permanent hearing loss will be determined.

Protective Items

A shop that carries hearing aid supplies should be able to offer protective products. One such item is the high-fidelity earplug. These plugs are designed to protect people who are subjected to high levels of noise, such as musicians, hunters, or loud machinery operators. Wearing high-fidelity earplugs prevents potential auditory loss. Some plugs can even enhance hearing while providing protection.

Analogue or Digital

Most consumers must choose between analog or digital devices. Analog options increase the volume of sounds entering your auditory portfolio. Some include a microchip that can be programmed to meet your needs, but this device is known for its simplicity. Digital options are considered superior because they provide better quality sound and customizable settings. The Digital Signal Processor (DSP) microchip changes sound waves into a digital format, which is then processed, filtered, converted, amplified, and delivered into your ear canal. These devices cut down on feedback, improve noise and speech filtration, and have a sleeker design. The superior performance of digital hearing aids makes them a top choice. The drawback, however, is the high price. For consumers with a limited budget, digital option aids may be out of reach.

Hearing aid supplies, a proper diagnosis, and appropriate treatment options can help you renew your ears. With a little attention, you can eliminate the frustration associated with auditory difficulties and regain communication with the world. Stay healthy by protecting your ears!

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How To Determine If Your Child Has An Ear Infection

Children are prone to ear infections, because their Eustachian tubes are still growing. It has been reported that 5 out of 6 children will be diagnosed with otitis media, by the time they turn three years old.

Onset on Otitis Media

The sunset of otitis media will typically follow a bout of rhinitis (common cold), sinusitis, and other upper respiratory illnesses. Fluid will become trapped in the middle ear, behind the eardrum and over time the fluid will build up causing inflammation.

An earache will go away on its own, without any type of treatment, but you can use a warm compress or water bottle to soothe the pain and reduce the inflammation. Of course, otitis media will require a pediatric visit, in order to get a genuine diagnosis.

If your child becomes restless and tugging at his ears, he may very well be suffering from otitis media. While a small infant can not verbally tell you what ails him, you as a parent will need to learn the warning signs of an ear infection.

Signs of Otitis Media

Most children exhibit the same symptoms, when it involves many of the childhood illness, especially otitis media. Symptoms may include:

· Pulling the ears

· Irritability with / without crying

· Insomnia

· Fluid or pus drainage noted from the affected ear

· Poor balance (this can be very difficult to notice in toddlers, because they are just beginning to learn how to walk)

· Difficulty hearing

A troublesome Fever is as follows: younger than 3 months (100.4 F), 3-6 months (102 F), 6-24 months (higher than 102 F) will require emergency treatment to determine the source of infection.

Lower Immunity

Young infants and children will not have yet developed strong immunity, which means their immune system may not be able to combat the antigen (bacteria). The adenoids (nasopharyngeal tonsil), which are located in the nasal cavity are part of the immune system.

The adenoids will work diligently to trap bacteria and prevent it from entering the body. The adenoid tonsils can become enlarged due to upper respiratory tract infections, which means they will not be able to function properly.

Otitis Media Diagnosis

When you take your infant to the emergency room or pediatrician, they will immediately begin to do a head to toe examination. This exam will involve using an otoscope to look inside the ears, oral and nasal cavities. The nurse will also check your child's temperature and blood pressure.

Otitis Media Treatment

Once the pediatrician has determined that your child has acute otitis media, an antibiotic will be prescribed. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle to a tee, because you definitely want to completely eradicate the bacteria. Fluid may potentially remain in the ear canal for several weeks, but this is nothing to be concerned about, because it will disappear gradually.

Preventions

Avoid smoking around your child, because tobacco smoke can potentially increase your child's risks of upper respiratory and ear infections. The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is also available for all children under the age of 2.

Teach your child hand washing techniques, because the skin is your biggest defense against infections.

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How Will Recent Changes in Technology Affect the Development of Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids have been around for decades, and they've been improving over that time. With exciting new breakthroughs in conducting metals, wireless communications, and smartphone connectivity, the potential for sound-assistance technology skyrockets. Here are a few examples of how might be getting even better in the near future.

Battery Improvements

While hearings aids can be extremely functional, they unfortunately still need to be recharged regularly. And while some have a working duration of several hours to several days at a time, we can all relate to the maintenance stress. Having to take them out and plug them in, sometimes overnight, but at least for several hours, might sometimes interrupt social functions. Most of the cause of shorter battery life is that even a lithium ion rechargeable battery has limited space to fit in the ear canal, and can produce a lot of heat. This is why some hearing aids are external, taking advantage of the extra space to create a more efficient design.

Enter graphene – an element which physical and electromagnetic properties make it a plausible room-temperature superconductor. This breach development would not only allow extremely precise hearing aid sensors but would also permit the device to operate for a much longer period of time. Not only that, the battery would be smaller, and the recharge would take only a few seconds. As improvements continue to be made with graphene, look forward to a smart innovation that improves the tech in this way.

Bluetooth Wireless

Along the same lines, as we are able to expand the battery power and usage time of our hearing aids, the more features we can add. One such feature, Bluetooth wireless, would allow it communicate and transmit information from other devices. In fact, it could act as an external relay between you and a number of devices.

For example, if one were partially or completely blind, it could communicate with a camera being worn by an individual. Using image recognition technology, this could tell the person what was before them without the need for additional help. Even more, with the prevalence of digital media like movies, the device could sync up for entertainment purposes. Imagine going to the movies where your aid would communicate with the theater's speakers, ensuring you got a customized, comfortable sound input.

Smartphone Connection

And speaking of connection, the possibilities really open up when hearing aids are paired with smartphones. The quickest and most practical application of this technology would allow the user to make adjustments to their calibration on the fly. Even more, they could act as a reminder, with notification sounds being routed through them. If your elderly loved one needed a simple reminder to ensure they did not miss a batch of life-saving pills, this would be a great solution. And of course, no longer would they have to worry about mishearing you on the phone. The possibilities are endless for this developing technology, and we should all look forward to a bright future for corrective hearing technologies.

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Five Common Myths About Hearing Aids Debunked

There are many misconceptions about hearing aids. Many of these opinions are based on our own fears and what we remember from our older relatives that lived in a different era. Things have changed and hearing aids are now worn by youngger patients and are designed to be nearly invisible. Additionally, they have been redesigned to minimize static and feedback. However, rumors persist about these devices that tend to mislead those that may benefit from using them. Here we will address five of the most common myths regarding hearing aids:

1. They can correct your aural loss in a similar fashion to eyeglasses restoring vision to 20/20 eyesight.

The truth is that hearing aids, unlike eyeglasses, are not meant to restore permanent aural loss. They are simply used to improve your listening and communication abilities to levels that could not be achieved without their use. Although this may seem like disappointing news to some candidates, many often accept that regaining these skills can still substantively improve the quality of their lives.

2. They are not necessary if your hearing loss is minimal.

Every person has different listening needs. Also, there are different ranges and degrees of aural loss. If you ignore your difficulties, you are not only going to feel less in control, but you may frustrate loved ones that will be unable to help you. Treating your condition will not only improve your overall relationships with people, but it will increase your odds of living your life to its fullest. There is no need to deprive yourself of the peace of mind you will have from being able to listen to all the sounds around you.

3. There is no reason to use two of them.

Because we use both of our ears to localize sounds, drown out background noise, and increase the sound quality of what we naturally hear, it is critical that those who have suffered hearing loss in both ears use two devices instead of one. After all, the combination of what is heard in both letters provides a dual ear-brain connection that rehabilitates the pathways that are used for learning and language.

4. Only the elderly should worry about this.

There are approximately 48 million people over the age of 12 with aural issues great enough to hinder their communication abilities. That is approximately one in five people. Also, it is important to note that 65% of those in any age range with difficulties are under the age of 65. Six million of those are between the ages of 18 and 44. These types of limitations need to be deal with, regardless of age, or they may adversely affect social interactions, personal safety, and occupational and educational performance.

5. They make horrible sounds and give feedback that can be deafening.

This used to true, but there have been several advances in the technology that is currently being used. They no longer squawk or hiss, and are up to 99% free of feedback. As a matter of fact, many models now come with feedback cancellation as a common feature.

If you feel that you may need hearing aids, it is always best to make an immediate appointment with your audiologist. He or she can conduct an in-depth screening and determine which course of treatment will best suit your needs. The doctor can also address any questions that you may concern about any audiology myths that may be confusing to you.

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Top 4 Invisible Hearing Aids That Go Sheer Unnoticed In Your Ears

It's no secret that hearing technology is advancing at a significant pace, and the introduction of immensely popular “invisible in canal” (IIC) style hearing aids is a remarkable testament to this development. Appeared in the market several years ago, invisible aids have managed to be the most preferred choice among people who are concerned about their appearance while wearing a hearing aid.

While a number of manufacturers are offering IIC, here are 4 brands that offer invisible aids that are as good as advertised and get strong recommendations from audiologists and users.

>> Starkey – Having had discovered the first ever in-canal and the first custom digital invisible hearing aid, Starkey has seen much popularity in the industry. The brand offers some of the best IIC's that sit deep within the canal and are barely visible to casual observers. Added to that, the SoundLens is the smallest and most advanced of the custom-made invisible range offered by the brand. What's more, the aid is loaded with all of the leading advance technology and is custom fit to one's specific needs and unique ear canal shape.

>> Phonak – The manufacturer of the world's first 100% invisible hearing device – Lyric. Phonak is leading the industry with its quality and exceptional hearing solutions that provide the people with hearing loss or injury with a seamless listening experience, even in the most challenging listening situations or environments. Only a few years old, Lyric is a popular offering by the brand that is extremely tiny and fits deep and comfortably in the ear canal. However all models are exceptionally efficient and equipped with features like Sound Recover and Whistle Block, the Nano models including Virto Q30 Nano, Virto Q50 Nano, Virto Q70 Nano and Virto Q90 Nano are highly recommended by audiologists.

>> Oticon IIC – The brand is making quite a buzz with its new IIC devices that combine all the benefits of invisible hearing aids to help users deliver an outstanding listening performance. Oticon offers wireless technology across the entire range, enabling users to stream audio from a number of devices including TV, mobile phone, landline and computers.

>> Widex – Known for offering high-performing hearing solutions, Widex has recently come up with essentially invisible yet comfortable IIC aids that are custom-tailor to suit the individual hearing needs. The Dream range from Widex has proved to be the optimum solution for mild to severe hearing loss. Not only does the range use state-of-the-art technology, but it also enables users to choose features according to their needs and keep them from spending extra prices for unwanted features.

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When to Seek Hearing Aid Repair Service

It can be a scary experience when a person has an issue with their hearing aids. Waking up and putting in an earpiece only to find that one side is not working, or that there's a static or whistling sound, can cause trouble during the day. Fortunately, oftentimes a person can fix it quickly. Although a professional hearing aid repair technician may be necessary, it's best to do a few quick checks and see if the problem can be resolved without leaving the house. Below is a set of common problems and some potential solutions.

No Sound

The first, and most obvious, thing to check is whether or not the batteries are alive. It's always best to have a spare set just in case. The other obvious solution would be to ensure that the device is set to “Microphone” mode. If these two steps do not solve the problem, the next places to check are the sound outlet and microphone opening. Thoroughly clean the device of earwax, and check the wax filter, replacing it if necessary. Try to clean both the sound outlet and microphone with a brush. If the hearing aid is not clogged, the next thing to check is the tubing. If that's bent or broken, a hearing aid repair technician will be able to fix it. Either way, if this is not the problem, you'll want to go see a technician as there may be a more serious issue.

Poor Sound Quality or Distortion

Poor sound may indicate that the batteries are low; a quick switch will determine if this is the issue. The battery and its contacts may also be dirty, so make sure to check for this and clean if necessary. Check the volume on the device and make sure that the setting is to “Microphone” mode. As above, you can check the hearing tubes for damage. Finally, you'll want to check the wax guard and clean it, and take a closer look at the earmolds. They could be blocked up with wax, or may have been warped over time from use.

Whistling Sound

If you hear a high-pitched whistle or screech when the earpiece is inserted, you may have inserted the piece incorrectly. After re-inserting, you'll want to check for the same problems as above. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to go to a doctor and check for excess wax buildup in the ear canal.

All of these are simple and common problems that may be causing your hearing aids to malfunction. More often than not, any problems are easily resolved within a few minutes. If all else fails, look around your area for a nearby hearing aid repair service.

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Natural Tinnitus Treatment – 4 Ways To Treat Tinnitus Naturally

Ringing in your ears can not only be distracting, but can be a symptom rather than the problem. Believe it or not, ringing in the ears affects a sizable part of population. About one out of five people deal with this issue regularly. It is not usually a serious problem, but it sure can be annoying. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) afflicts millions of people. Those over 40 tend to suffer from tinnitus moreso than those under 40. And, men suffer from it more often than women do. If you are tired of living with this condition, and want to reduce it, here are four natural tinnitus treatment remedies you can try.

Find External Causes

The first natural treatment for tinnitus is to look for external causes. Find out if there is something in your environment that is contributing to the problem. If you work around excessively loud noises, you should wear hearing protection. If you listen to music or podcasts at a high volume with earphones or earbuds, turn it down a bit. If you have a buildup of wax in your ears, clean them out. Many times, finding and eliminating an external cause can reduce or eliminate tinnitus symptoms. Often, finding and eliminating these simple causes can provide tinnitus relief.

Avoid Total Silence

Another way to reduce tinnitus symptoms naturally is to keep some level of pleasant background noise. If you are in total silence, the ear ring can seem much louder. Playing soft background music (not through earphones or a headset) can help make the ear ring less noticeable. A white noise machine operating in the background can also help. While not eliminating it, these other sources of sound can reduce the impact of the buzzing or ringing inside your ears by making it less noticeable.

Monitor Your Diet And Your Exercise

Like many other aspects of your health, what you eat and how much you exercise plays an important role in the way your body reacts. Food and drink that negatively impact your levels of blood sugar and your overall blood circulation can lead to tinnitus problems If you eat a lot of sugar and a lot of saturated fat, these can contribute to tinnitus symptoms. Eating a lot of salt can have the same effect. Drinking too much alcohol, coffee, or tea can also help cause ear ringing.

It goes without saying that you should not smoke. If you do, get help and quit. If you do not smoke, do not start smoking. If you are trying to quit using one of the methods that puts a low level of nicotine into your system, such as gum or a patch, be aware that the nicotine in these products causes similar problems as the nicotine in cigarettes, with respect to tinnitus . The nicotine in your system affects your blood circulation, which affects the sound in your ears.

If you have put on some weight, try to lose it. Getting down to a healthy weight can improve circulation and reduce tinnitus symptoms. Walking, biking, jogging, swimming, or yoga are all good forms of exercise. Try different ones until you get to one that you can do regularly with a good level of enjoyment. Enjoying your exercise routine makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off. In addition to lower body weight improving your blood circulation, the exercise itself provides benefits in this regard, as well. Exercise also helps you sleep better, and getting better sleep can reduce your overall stress level. Improvement in sleep patterns and stress levels can help reduce the cause of tinnitus.

Natural Supplements For Tinnitus Treatment

Taking natural supplements is not a silver bullet for treatment of tinnitus. But, they can help reduce symptoms. Ginkgo-leaf extract is reported to help with nerve cell signaling, which can reduce the effects of tinnitus. Magnesium is also reported to help.

The natural methods above can all help in quest for natural tinnitus treatment. Finding out and eliminating any external causes and using light background noise can help right away. Establishing a better diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight take a little longer, but will produce longer term results. Finally, in addition to these methods, consider taking natural supplements. The supplements alone will not likely be effective, but when taken along with the other changes, the overall effects can be quite positive.

Check Out Tinnitus Miracle Product.

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Surprising Things Hearing Doctors Do

For most of us, our sense of hearing is something we take for granted. Our ears drink it all in: conversations with friends and family, music concerts, traffic noise, dogs barking, and babies crying. It is not until sounds start to fade that most people consult hearing doctors. These specialists do see plenty of patients suffering from hearing loss, but they also offer other services, too.

Custom Earmolds

Everyone's ears are shaped differently, yet ear buds, swimming earplugs, and hearing aids all come in cookie-cutter shapes. These can be uncomfortable or just plain ineffective. Hearing doctors use advanced technology to take the most nuanced impression of each ear and mold earpieces to fit. Musicians, swimmers, and gun owners can all take advantage of this service to get ear pieces made. They come in many materials, like vinyl, acrylic, and silicone, and in any color.

Tinnitus

Often called “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus can manifest as buzzing, roaring, tapping, whistling, or even phantom music. Approximately 15% of Americans have tinnitus. It is not actually a disease, but usually a symptom of damage to the ear. Hearing doctors can determine the underlying cause of this condition, which may be age-related, noise-induced, or triggered by blockages in the ear canal or sinuses. Some of the less common causes include temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, head and neck injury, and some medications that list tinnitus as a possible side effect. Because it is both a common complaint and one with many possible sources, it is important for a person experiencing tinnitus to talk with hearing doctors in order to find the root issue.

Dizziness

While the cochlea half of the inner ear is used for hearing, the other half of the inner ear, called the labyrinth, regulates our sense of balance. Balance is a complex function that involves input from the brain, the eyes, and all the joints and muscles of the body, but a malfunction of the inner ear is often the unexpected culprit in cases of vertigo. Diagnosing problems of the inner ear can be tricky and generally requires multiple tests. Finding hearing doctors who are willing to work with a patient for the long run is key to dealing with this condition effectively.

Pediatric Audiology

Children can be affected by hearing loss as well as adults. Diagnosing children can be difficult since audiology tests depend upon patient responses, but catching a hearing-related condition early is vital to a child's language ability. How do audiologists do it? They have a range of age-specific exams that can assess how well a child can hear. For older children, tests are played like games to make them fun and engaging. Visual Reinforcement Audiometry is another kind of test in which children are asked to turn toward a toy when they hear a sound. It is recommended that newborns be tested to ensure that if there is a problem, it's diagnosed early for the best chance at treatment.

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Ear Muff to Protect Hearing: Do You Need It?

Whoa! Amplified music! Hosting a party? No? Oh, you're just merely listening to your favorite songs, and you actually find it relaxing to listen to very loud music. Many people are like you, and that's okay. There are different ways to de-stress, and we have all the right to do whatever it is that suits our needs. As for your favorite de-stressing activity, just make sure you're not disturbing anyone particularly your housemates. Or better yet, give each of them a cool ear muff! Yes, ear muff to protect hearing. You think it's not needed? You must be kidding! But seriously, do not you know the importance of protecting your ears from harmful noise?

Why Ear Protection are Important

Each day, there is a high chance for us to be exposed to different types of noise. We may pass by a construction site or any place where we can hear the sounds of drilling machines, grinders, etc. It may not happen everyday but that does not mean we do not need to take it seriously. The need for ear protection is not limited to workers operating noise-producing machines. We need it as well. And hey, the exposure to noise may even begin at home. The sounds of vacuum cleaner and dishwasher – oh, they can contribute a lot in harming our ears, too! So, yes, we all need some protection.

Not convinced yet? Well, reading the facts below should change your mind.

• Only a maximum of 75 decibels of noise can be accepted by the human ear.

You love to listen to amplified music, right? Do not you know that it produces sounds of 110 decibels? So, yes, you and your housemates really need to protect your ears. But it would be better if you just lower the volume, right?

• Even a 10-minute exposure to extreme noise can contribute to hearing loss.

How long do you listen to amplified music? More than 10 minutes, I presume. How long do you get exposed to industrial noise? You would not know, because it depends on the places you go. You may control the volume of your music, but you can not do that to industrial noise. Here, bringing and using an ear muff is really beneficial to you.

• Hearing loss is irreversible.

Yes, it is. You would not want to suffer from it, would you? Of course, you may wear some hearing aids, but, would you be happy about the fact that you'll need to wear them for good? Probably not.

Taking care of the body is very crucial in maintaining our overall health and well-being. In doing this, we should include each of our body parts. Yes, each of them, including our ears. We should invest a reasonable amount of time for our ear protection, in the same way that we consume a lot of time for skin care, eye care, etc. Come on, take this seriously. It's for your own good. As mentioned earlier, hearing loss is irreversible. So, you better start caring for your ears now. Of course, you may still listen to loud music. But you should know the difference between “loud” and “too loud”. Okay? Why spend money for hearing aids in the future when you can just buy ear muffs now? Why regret later if you can do some prevention earlier?

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