At least 1 in every 10 people in the US suffers from a type of hearing loss. At least half of these people have never had their hearing checked. Keep in mind that hearing problems are likely going to get worse if ignored so you need to get your hearing tested, early and often. In some cases, the damage might be permanent.
Inside your ear, there are tiny hairs that send sound waves to your brain. If there is any damage to these hairs, they will never grow back. You might be doing something to your ear that damages it so you need to find out immediately. Did you know that normal drugs such as antibiotics or aspirin can actually cause hearing problems?
It's important to have your ears checked to take care of any hearing problems immediately. Nerve damage is one of the most common hearing problems. We're an audiologist in Phoenix, and we've seen plenty of patients that come in early enough that they can avoid hearing aids or surgery. But most people wait until their hearing damage is past the point of no return, and need hearing aids to keep their lifestyle intact.
Hearing Aids And Their Benefits
There are so many misconceptions about hearing aids that keep a lot of people from getting the help they need. In the last few years, these devices have actually come a long way. If you have mild hearing problems, you can definitely benefit from wearing them. Of course, you need to get a hearing test to determine the extent of your hearing loss and whether or not you need hearing aids.
You might assume that there is nothing you can do to cure your hearing loss. Previously, doctors were limited when it came to helping people who had hearing troubles in one ear, experienced nerve damage, or who couldn’t hear high-pitched sounds. However, technology has changed a lot of that. All these individuals can make a lot of strides with hearing aids.
"I Don't Want to Look Old" And Other Myths
As much as hearing aids might make you "look old," if you can’t hear, that's actually more of an "old person" stereotype. You need to remain sharp and hearing aids will help you get there. Note that with diminished hearing, you could develop a host of other issues such as dementia. Yes, hearing aids might be slightly noticeable to someone, but so what? Most patients we know would rather hear sounds than worry what people think about some tiny device on their ear. Hearing aids are so small these days that they're barely noticeable at all.
Note that the age of hearing aids making everything sound too loud is in the past. Now, you can enjoy a sane amount of volume to whatever you are listening to, with split-second compression that mutes loud sounds.
Keep in mind that having hearing loss can change the quality of life. Most people eventually develop anger, stress, loneliness, depression, and memory loss, and even dementia. It could hurt your chances of being promoted at work, and prevent you from hearing words from your loved ones, friends, and family. By using hearing aids, you can improve your self-esteem, physical health and much more.
For children, hearing loss needs to be treated very early. Note that if they can’t hear, it can seriously impact their development if they can’t talk, make friends, communicate or develop normally. When babies are born, their hearing should be checked in the hospital or at least when they are one month old. If there are any issues, they should receive professional help immediately. Check on your toddler who has frequent ear infections. Note that the hearing loss caused by ear infections may be temporary but it might lead to bigger problems in the future if not checked early enough.
At Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona, we're a Phoenix Audiologist clinic that consults with patients about hearing loss and hearing aids, conduct hearing testing in Phoenix and the entire Phoenix Valley, including Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Fountain Hills, and more. We also work with tinnitus treatment, misophonia, and hyperacusis. For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at (480) 831-6159 or visit our website at https://www.tinnitusaz.com/contact.
Know What Hearing Tests Are Before You Take Them
If you live in the metro area of Phoenix, hearing testing might come up when speaking to your doctor, and he/she may ask you to get your ears tested. This does not in any way mean that something is wrong. It is just that the doctor needs you to have a hearing test to make sure that your ears are working as they should.
Hearing loss becomes a possibility as you grow older. Between the ages of 45 and 64, 14% of people have some loss in hearing, and this percentage rises to 30% among people who are 65 years old or older. That is the reason doctors want to have your hearing tested every few years, instead of just once after you have become an adult.
It is recommended by experts in the audiology field to get your hearing tested once every ten years till you cross the age of 50, and once every three years after you have crossed this age. Of course, if you have any concerns about your hearing, you should get a hearing test immediately.
Thankfully, hearing tests are painless, quick, and inexpensive.
The Need for a Hearing Test
At times you may suspect that you have a hearing loss. You may have trouble hearing what is being said to you when you are in a crowded room or find that you have to turn on the volume high on your TV.
Not everybody realizes that they have a hearing problem. Hearing loss is a gradual process, and this prevents it from being realized. So, even if you think you might be fine, and the doctor suggests a hearing test, just do what they say!
Hearing loss in adults can be due to several reasons:
Older people who have hearing loss, and do not do anything about it, will feel they are being left out of social events which they have always enjoyed, just because they are unable to hear what is happening. This inability to hear well can be embarrassing and can lead to their avoiding both friends and family. This isolation can lead to depression unless they get themselves some help with their hearing.
What Can You Expect During Testing
The entire process of testing can take about half an hour, and there is no pain. Adults who undergo these tests will be asked to wear headphones while they listen to tones played at different pitches and volumes in both the ears, but one at a time. Your ability to listen to each short burst of sound will show whether you can hear low or high pitched sounds, loud or quiet sounds, and if any of the ears has hearing loss.
Some of the hearing tests involve listening to speeches at varying volumes and will require to hear them one ear at a time. The voices will come to you quietly in the earphones, and you are required to repeat the words that you have heard. This test can be carried out in rooms that are quiet or noisy, as your hearing of voices can be troubled when there is any background noise.
The Results and What They Mean
A test for hearing does not mean that you have passed or failed. The results will indicate your loss of hearing in each ear and the degree to which it is affected.
Sound intensities are measured in decibels. A whisper is 30 decibels. Normal speech measures 60 decibels, while anyone shouting in your ear will do so at 80 decibels or higher.
Adults who have normal hearing will have a loss of 25 decibels. The degrees of hearing loss are:
At times hearing test results can surprise you when they say you have mild, moderate or severe hearing loss, and this is because the loss of hearing is gradual.
Hearing loss can rarely be restored, but you can make up the loss and also protect whatever hearing you have left.
If you need to wear hearing aids than you can choose aids that come in many styles. They are nowadays much smaller than what the elders in your generation used to wear. Models can go into the ear or sit behind it. Some may be completely hidden in the ear canal.
Some hearing aids are devices that amplify the sound you want to hear. They will be able to make phone calls louder. Others can help you hear better when you are in a theatre or a place of worship. Some specialize in loud, crowded environments like restaurants, and others combine hearing amplification with tinnitus treatment.
Lip reading can help you understand what people are saying. You can learn how to do this with a little training.
Your audiologist can suggest the wearing of earplugs when you go to places where there is too much noise, concerts, restaurants, or even while using loud yard equipment. This can help to prevent any increase in hearing loss.
Sometimes those who live or work with someone that's "hard of hearing" find it difficult to figure out the best way to communicate with someone who suffers from hearing loss.
Certainly hearing aids are the easiest remedy for those who suffer from loss of hearing, but sometimes cost can prohibit the purchase. Lipreading is an important skill for many people who have hearing loss. They are able to recognize the lip shapes, gestures and facial movements of someone when they speak. This helps them to communicate well. Next time you speak with someone with the loss of hearing, assist them to lipread the speaker in a variety of ways.
Here are some simple tips to help you to effectively communicate with them.
Speak slowly, clearly and loudly
It is important that the person understands the conversation. Speak slowly, naturally, and loudly - but NOT shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Use simple words and short sentences. Repeat yourself if necessary, or rephrase it. Make sure that one person talks at a time. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and the person will find it difficult to understand. Pause to check if the person has understood what you said before you continue the conversation.
Remember that the person with the hearing loss is certainly aware of their condition, but can be tremendously frustrated about their situation. Speak to them in a mature way - after all, it's only their hearing that's affected, not their mental capacity.
Include them in a group and address them by their name
It is important that the person understands the conversation. Speak slowly, naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Use simple words and short sentences. Repeat yourself if necessary, or rephrase it. Make sure that one person talks at a time. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and the person will find it difficult to understand. Pause to check if the person has understood what you said before you continue the conversation.
Reduce background noise
In a social gathering, find a quiet place to talk to help reduce background noise. It will be useful if you switch the TV or the music off when they come to visit. Some people with hearing loss may be very sensitive to loud sounds. You should be aware of this reduced tolerance and consequently avoid loud sounds.
Let the person see your expression
Make sure you are in a well-lighted area where the person can see your facial expression and gestures. This helps in better lipreading and understanding. Also, face the person and maintain eye contact. Remember, not to hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while speaking. Beards and mustaches may act as barriers as well. Additionally, avoid talking from another room for the same reasons.
Be patient, stay positive and relaxed
If you are talking to someone who has loss of hearing, it is vital to make an effort by being patient and tolerant. If you relax and make the person feel relaxed, then it would help the person communicate better.
Familiarize the listener with the general topic of the conversation
If you change a topic without warning, it might confuse the person with hearing difficulty. Avoid sudden changes of topic and warn about the change. When you are in a group, it may help if you repeat the important points and information before you continue with the discussion.
Pay attention to the listener
Expression speaks a thousand words. If the person has a puzzled look, it may indicate misunderstanding. Be tactful and make sure the person has understood you, You may ask leading questions so you know your message got across.
Help them readjust their hearing
After a performance or a conference, allow the hearing-impaired person a few moments after the event is over to readjust their hearing. By either mentally or manually (changing the program on a hearing aid, for instance). They likely cannot hear you if you whisper to them in the middle of a performance as well.
Provide information in writing
Consider providing specific information like directions, phone number, work assignments in writing. You could talk them through the details and then provide the same thing in writing or drawings. That way, you would be sure that the person has the information. Alternatively, you could ask them to repeat the specifics back to you.
If you suffer from hearing loss, we would like to hear from you. Do you have any tips that would help us communicate better with you?
At Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, we know how challenging it can be for those with hearing loss, and their friends and family. The good news is that there are options to improve your hearing condition and your lifestyle. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and free screening, and we can discuss hearing testing as well as options to make life easier for you and those around you. We conduct the type of hearing tests Scottsdale and Phoenix valley residents appreciate for our kind and genuine approach. Call us at (480) 831-6159 or use our Contact page to schedule an online appointment or email us a message.
Throughout life, music plays an important role in individuals’ everyday experiences.
Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss is common in elderly people that occur because of natural neurodegenerative processes. It affects the cochlear receptor cells and brain circuits that are involved in auditory perception. Clinically, older people may have high-frequency hearing loss on both sides and reduced ability to understand speech. Using a hearing aid is the best way to deal with hearing loss at old age. However, you may wonder, if the ability to differentiate different notation of music changes too.
Can you enjoy music at old age?
Even though aging is associated with a decline in both cognitive and auditory abilities, whether aging damages music perception remains controversial. The question is, do you enjoy the harmony of different musical notes?
Harmony is the process when two or more notes are played at the same time. It is composed of simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitches (tones, notes), or chords and this is analyzed by hearing. When two musical notes are compatible, the musical chord is pleasing and evokes a sense of resolution or “consonance." A mix of different frequencies, on the other hand, might evoke a feeling of tension or “dissonance”. Harmony is a combination of this consonance and dissonance.
Even though anecdotal evidence suggests that harmony is enjoyed by the older population, interestingly, a study revealed that older listeners found consonant chords less pleasant compared to younger listeners and had less distinct neural representations of consonant and dissonant chords. Which means that there may be age-related differences in perception which is likely to be related to differences in neural temporal coding.
Despite aging, music perception is relatively spared. How does that happen?
Other studies, however, strongly suggest that the decline in music perception is relatively spared. Despite relying on auditory and cognitive abilities that tend to decline with age, it is likely that older adults engage in some form of a compensatory mechanism in the way the neurons in the brain processes music. Scientists have shown that the underlying mechanism to process music is very different between young and old but the ability to perceive it is similar.
Both could equally detect inconsistencies in music. Compared to the younger, the older person had reduced perception of amplitude but increased perception to detect out-of-key notes. This means that the perception of the tonal structure is preserved in older adults, despite aging.
Music training and education are important factors
Evidence shows that if older individuals were musically trained, their perception of music was better than the untrained older individuals. Also, the level of education seemed to make a difference. Performance of temporal tasks, which includes enjoying musical notes, was better in highly educated older individuals.
This means that music training and education are important factors as they can slow the deterioration of music perception produced by age-related hearing loss.
Aging does not alter specificity to music
Further evidence on the age differences in music perception reveals that even though the young and old have differences in the perception of valence and arousal in music, there is no difference in perceiving musical notes. Valence means whether the music has a positive or negative effect, and arousal measures how calming or exciting the music is.
The study also found that there was no difference in perception of the quality of the music. This reiterates that with aging, music perception does not change.
If you are above 65, you may need a hearing aid due to aging, but you will still distinctly recognize and enjoy all the musical notes.
Call us at (480) 831-6159 to schedule a consultation with Sun Lakes audiologist Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona. We're a friendly and knowledgeable Audiologist clinic near Sun Lakes AZ that knows musicians' needs so much that we're known as "The Musician's Clinic!" Even if you simply love to listen to music and have concerns about your hearing, we'd love to show you some great options to improve your everyday life.
Aging is inevitable and every individual has to face its natural consequences, which includes hearing loss. The good news is, besides being lucky to have lived for more than 65 years or more, there is help available to address your concerns about hearing.
Role of your ears
Your ears help you with hearing and maintaining balance. When sound waves reach your eardrum, the vibrations are changed into nerve signals in the inner ear and are carried to the brain by the auditory nerve.
Your inner ears also control your balance, which is also often called as the equilibrium. Fluid and small hair-like cells in the inner ear stimulate the auditory nerve, which in turn help your body to stay in equilibrium.
As you age, structures inside the ear begin to change, and their functions decline. Your ability to pick up sounds decreases. You may also have problems maintaining your balance as you sit, stand, and walk.
Aging affects your five main senses
You receive information from your environment through your senses. This information can be in the form of sound, light, smells, tastes, and touch. Sensory information is converted into nerve signals that are carried to the brain. There, the signals are turned into meaningful sensations.
As you age, the way your senses (hearing, vision, taste, smell, touch) give you information about the world changes. Your senses become less sharp, and this can make it harder for you to notice details. Sensory changes lead to isolation because with age you may have problems communicating, enjoying activities, and staying involved with people.
A certain amount of stimulation is required before you become aware of a sensation. This minimum level of sensation is called the threshold. Aging raises this threshold; you need more stimulation to be aware of the sensation.
Hearing and vision are the two senses most affected with age. Using glasses and hearing aids, or lifestyle changes can improve your ability to hear and see.
Aging affects adaptation to different sound levels
Recent studies show that the ability of your brain to adapt to sound declines as we age. This may help explain why older people can have problems hearing in certain situations.
Neuroscientists at Western University in Canada* found that aging affects adaptation to sound-level in the human auditory cortex. They found that our brains become more sensitive to sounds as we age. This may lead to hearing challenges over a lifetime.
Interestingly, when the scientists examined the response of the auditory cortex to different sounds of groups of young and old people they responded differently to soft and loud sounds. The main conclusion was that older individuals do not adapt as well to their sound environment.
Older people are more "over-sensitive" to sounds
Imagine a young and an old individual attending the same rock concert.
Based on the finding of the above study, the young person’s brain would become less sensitive to relatively quiet sounds. This allows the listener to hear the relevant sounds (like a guitar riff) better without being distracted by those irrelevant sounds.
However, the older listener is over-sensitive to each sound, hearing both quiet and loud sounds all at once. The person cannot ignore or tune out irrelevant auditory information. Without the ability to reduce sensitivity to irrelevant sounds, the individual experiences hearing challenges.
One of the fundamental properties of the auditory system is to be able to adjust very quickly to any environment a person goes into. If you cannot do that anymore, it becomes overwhelming. So the experience is unpleasant and the older person is surrounded by annoying sounds.
This is the reason why older people would prefer quieter places and avoid a loud restaurant, or a busy festival, simply because it is very distracting.
Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss)
Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. If you are having trouble hearing, discuss your symptoms with your audiologist. One way to manage hearing loss is by getting fitted with hearing aids. Even though presbycusis is a natural progression, it is not identical to everyone. Factors like genetics, environmental exposures, and general health may affect the extent of it. At present there are no preventative measures known other than hearing protection (which we offer at our clinic).
Tinnitus is another common problem in older adults and as your audiologist, we at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona are here to help you. We're a Phoenix audiologist that has a wealth of experience with hearing loss, hearing testing, and tinnitus treatment. In fact, Dr. Rohe is one of the leading tinnitus experts in the US, and has developed his own method of tinnitus treatment, aptly named "The Rohe Method ®."
Questions? Feel free to give us a call at (480) 831-6159.
*Aging Affects Adaptation to Sound-Level Statistics in Human Auditory Cortex
Björn Herrmann, Burkhard Maess and Ingrid S. Johnsrude
Journal of Neuroscience 21 February 2018, 38 (8) 1989-1999; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1489-17.2018
As a musician, to create music, you fight noise!
During a live performance, you are surrounded by a myriad of sounds in various frequencies like the PA system, the amplifiers, sound from different instruments and of course the crowd singing along with you. The challenge is to be able to listen to your own instrument or voice in the midst of the cacophony.
Wedge speakers vs IEMs
For a long time, the traditional wedge-shaped speakers on stage, have been used. These speakers substantially increase the volume of one sound, so that you can hear it above all the competing noises. This just makes things worse and the musicians are exposed to unsafe sound levels.
During the 1980s, IEM's were introduced to address this issue.
IEM removes the need for floor monitors from the stage and significantly reduce onstage volume levels. With an in-ear personal monitor system, you can choose which sound you would like to hear, and the quality of the sound will be good. This would essentially mean that you get a studio-quality sound during a live performance.
In-ear monitors would help you preserve your voice if you are a singer because if you cannot hear your own voice, you strain the vocal cords and distorting the voice. In ear monitors for singers can "save your voice" if your singing voice tends to fatigue.
With wedges, you get intense feedback on stage as the amplified sound from a loudspeaker is picked up by a microphone and re-amplified. There is no feedback when you use IEMs and so enhances the experience.
One of the major advantages of IEMs is its small size compared to the wedges. They are portable and very easy to use. You can easily move on stage without having to worry about not hearing the sound properly. IEMs also empower you to have personal control of which sound you would like to hear. You can even choose to listen to one instrument in one ear and another in the other.
IEMs, therefore, help a musician to get a precise and controlled sound when performing. It dramatically buffers unwanted external noise such as drums and electric guitars. Also, it allows stereo sound similar to our natural listening environment. As a result, the sound you will hear will be clear, clean and of high performance. In ear monitors for drummers improve your technique, since you're able to hear everyone while you play at the volume level that's most appropriate for the song - not quietly enough so you can hear the band.
IEM systems include a transmitter, which transmits the monitor mix to a receiver. This receiver is connected to your earpiece.
IEMs prevent hearing loss
Besides improving the quality of the sound consistently, IEMs help with improved pitch perception and improved timing. It reduces feedback, vocal fatigue, portability, and sound levels. The audience, in turn, gets a good sound quality.
Most importantly, it prevents hearing loss as there is reduced exposure to loud noise.
The earpiece is vital. Often, they are custom molded to make it comfortable to wear and allow the sound to be sent directly into the inner ear. The customization provides a better seal and reduces noise almost by 25 to 34 dB. This means that loud onstage instruments, such as drum kits or guitar stacks, are less likely to cause hearing damage for onstage musicians.
Custom fit in ear monitors are tailor made - not only to your individual ear canal, but also depending on your requirements. The dynamic ones are used if you are a bassist or a drummer for example, for improved bass response. The other type, the balanced armature speakers delivers a more detailed sound that improves the treble performance, have a faster response and provide a flatter frequency response. Isolating the ear with silicone helps but this makes the performer feel detached from others. However, it protects the ears.
To prevent the sense of isolation, certain IEM systems embed a microphone in it, so that you can hear the music and crowd reaction in low volume.
We are experts in IEMs
If you are a musician, visit our audiology clinic, Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, for a hearing check and to learn about IEMs. As experts, we help you at every "stage."
Curious about how In-Ear Monitors could help your performance? We've fit hundreds of musicians for IEM's, including The Phoenix Symphony, members of Pink, Jimmy Eat World, Gin Blossoms, Night Ranger, and many more - from worship groups to rock bands to DJ's to Recording Engineers.
Call us at (480) 831-6159 to schedule a consultation and viewing of the IEM's we represent, fit, and service of the best brands on the market. Don't trust your ears to retail stores - get proper ear canal fitting by an Audiologist clinic in Scottsdale that knows musicians' needs so much that we're known as "The Musician's Clinic!"
At the onset of writing this blog post, I came across this interesting article in the Washington Post, mentioning that loss of hearing is an inevitable cost of war. Soldiers think that it is a small price to pay when compared with the loss of appendages, PTSD or death.
Well, this is not true!
Military hearing loss is debilitating and severely affects the quality of life of both the sufferer and the people around them. Furthermore, veterans may also suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Hearing loss due to military service can induce a lifetime of suffering, whether tinnitus or hearing damage. Hearing loss as a military disability is even considered in lawsuits brought by several veterans.
It takes 7 years to seek help
Incredibly, the average time between someone noticing hearing damage and getting help for it is 7 years. Soldiers do not seek help for various reasons and choose to live with the problem, rather than getting help.
Exposure to blasts affects central auditory processing
Studies (Theodoroff et al 2015) show that the nature of auditory complaints by blast-exposed military personnel appears to be different from those not affected by blasts. This is because blasts damage neural structures (including the auditory cortex, corpus callosum, and other neuronal pathways) causing CAPD (central auditory processing deficits) without necessarily damaging the eardrum.
Doctors know that an individual with traumatic brain injuries would have very complex issues. More often, a comprehensive audiological evaluation is delayed or not carried out because the life-threatening concerns are addressed first. This leads to treatment delay.
Assessment is difficult because, in case of a traumatic brain injury, there are other issues such as motivation, attention, cooperation, cognition, neuronal loss, noise toxicity, metabolic and circulatory changes.
Treatment options for military personnel are multidisciplinary and any solution mentioned here in this article would sound very simplistic and straightforward. Military personnel, are not only affected physically but also mentally. They undergo various tests and therapies depending on the trauma they were exposed to.
In situations where hearing loss and tinnitus both exist, amplification using hearing aids are beneficial. It would help with improved communication as well as reduce tinnitus-related problems.
Personalized tinnitus management programs are very useful and should be considered. Scientists believe there is a correlation between depression, anxiety, and insomnia and the severity of tinnitus. Tinnitus therapies combined with antidepressants have helped some veterans who are chronic sufferers of tinnitus.
Hearing damage for military veterans is more common than you might think. If you've served in the military, know that we appreciate your service, and would be honored to serve you in treating your hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
Please contact us at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona and set up an appointment either online via Skype or in our Tempe, Arizona clinic to discuss your treatment options. (480) 831-6159.
In 2016, Oticon Medical introduced its Opn™ hearing aid, which offers Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT) in Oticon’s OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN).
Oticon OpenSound Navigator (OSN)
The Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is a technology that removes excessive background noise in a split second so you can focus on what’s important. It also assists you to locate the exact direction from where the sound is coming.
OSN is a noise reduction algorithm consisting of three modules - Analyze, Balance, and Noise Removal. These three together identifies the direction of the exact speech, sharpens it and then amplifies it.
Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT)
MSAT technology is a BrainHearing™ technology. BrainHearing™ technology is a feature that emulates the way your brain normally processes a sound.
To understand further, imagine a normal hearing person, trying to listen to Julie talking about her vacation, in a busy restaurant. The brain would quickly work in four stages. Firstly, it will orient itself to the noisy place; secondly, it would distinguish Julie's voice from the rest. Thirdly, the brain would focus on the exact words spoken, and finally, it will rebalance the sounds and help distinguish every word clearly.
Speech in Noise (SIN)
If you suffer from hearing loss and even though you use a hearing aid, you may find it frustrating to understand speech in noise (SIN). If you tried to listen to Julie in that busy restaurant, it would probably be difficult to be able to distinguish Julie's speech from others talking in the room. Most hearing aids cannot effectively filter the speech in noise.
The new Oticon hearing aids with BrainHearing™ technology help to mimic exactly what the brain normally does, which means it can extract the speech in noise.
MSAT technology is an extraordinary application used in hearing aids. It selectively reduces disturbing noises while maintaining access to all distinct speech sounds. It does not isolate one voice, instead maintains access to all distinct speakers. It frees the capacity of the brain to store and recall information.
Advantages of OSN and MSAT technology
Listening is where hearing meets the brain. Listening effort is higher in a noisy environment. More cognitive processes need to be engaged in a noisy environment in order to recognize speech. To be able to actually ignore the surrounding noise, and understand the meaning of the words spoken, is not that easy!
Comparison of the ‘giving –up’ recent study observed the listening effort of two groups of people, one with OSN and the other with a non-OSN hearing aid. These two groups were compared with the normal hearing group in the study.
They used a method called pupillometry that measured pupil dilation as a reaction to stress.
The idea was, to see at what point do people ‘give up’ trying to listen. Giving up happens if the task becomes too difficult and the benefit does not outweigh the listening effort required.
Using Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is as good as normal. Normal-hearing listeners were able to focus till -4 dB SNR (signal to noise ratio) after which they started giving up. The OSN group had a very similar experience but the non-OSN group gave up much sooner.
Further research like the SWIR Test (Sentence-Final Word Identification and Recall) and speech recognition showed that the OSN algorithm significantly improves memory for speech heard in noise and better speech understanding in noise.
The processing speed of the new BrainHearing™ technology is 50 times faster than the previous generation of essential hearing aids. It delivers high-resolution sound quality to improve speech understanding.
All these data support the fact that OSN technology is efficient.
2. Useful if you have tinnitus
A study by Jensen in 2018 reported that OSN significantly reduced listening effort for people with tinnitus. Usually, when the pupil dilation test is carried out in people with tinnitus, they display severe stress and fatigue. With OSN, their stress level reduced and they needed less effort to listen.
3. High user satisfaction
Based on feedback to questionnaires distributed to regular OSN users, user satisfaction is high. The ON app that comes with the hearing aid, make it very easy to use. It allows them to expend less effort, have better recall, and better speech understanding in noisy environments.
This technology empowers the user to actively participate in social situations in the same way as their normal-hearing peers.
As already mentioned, the ON App makes the Oticon hearing aids very user-friendly. Besides the OSN, MSAT and BrainHearing™ features, there is another additional feature called HearingFitness™ that optimizes the hearing health behavior. It monitors the duration of wearing the hearing aid and prompts you to reach your goals. It also tracks the noise levels of places you frequently visit.
There are many easy to use features that make it very attractive. It is small in size and comes in a variety of styles that you can choose from. It also has a long battery life and can be connected online, with Bluetooth. These features are useful if you are traveling or if you want to check your user behavior.
5. Recommended for first-time users
According to Oticon Medical, this range of hearing aids is the “smallest hearing aid style Oticon has ever produced,” making it very attractive to first-time users.
Clinicians can encourage people using the Opn™ hearing aids to explore listening and social situations they may have avoided or given up on in the past. HearingFitness is another feature that would attract the first time user.
The Oticon technologies and diligent research continue to impress us at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, and it's one of our leading hearing aid brands that we recommend, fit, and service. We currently offer a 30-day free trial of Oticon hearing aids and other brands, so if you think these could be a good fit for you or your loved one, we encourage you to contact our office at (480) 831-6159.
The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid promises significant relief from Tinnitus, in addition to outstanding hearing aid amplification.
For decades, sufferers have been traumatized by the constant ringing noise in the ears and the effect of any therapy can sometimes be short-lived. An effective respite from this condition is welcome news.
Tinnitus is when you hear noises that are not caused by an outside source. There may be a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, throbbing sound in one or both ears or in the head. Clearly, this is a very annoying condition. It can occur due to many reasons including exposure to loud noise or an ear infection.
Tinnitus can be broadly grouped into two categories – tonal and non-tonal tinnitus. The former is more common where you experience a constant sound of a well-defined frequency, similar to whistling, ringing or buzzing. The non-tonal has a different pattern, with varied frequencies similar to humming, clicking and rumbling.
Tinnitus takes away the basic joy of listening, to anything that is enjoyable and enriching. Your quality of life can deteriorate and it is therefore important to seek help from a qualified audiologist.
The Signia Notch Therapy aims to solve just that. To quote the company website:
"As a leading manufacturer and innovator of hearing aids, our philosophy revolves around improving the quality of life for people with hearing difficulties, including tinnitus."
Three tinnitus therapies
The use of a hearing aid is one of the best ways to get relief from hearing conditions. For the first time, a hearing aid contains a built-in system called the Notch Therapy that is able to not only reduce the effects of tinnitus, but claim to completely remove it. The technology enables to amplify sounds and improve hearing and provide a range of solutions to alleviate the effects of tinnitus.
This is fantastic news!
To elaborate further, the Signia hearing aid provides three options for you to help with tinnitus. The first two options are based on the principle that a continuous pleasant and relaxing sound would override the rings and the buzz that you experience. Gradually, the brain ‘un-learns’ the tinnitus noise and the replaced gentle sound help you to relax and concentrate. The third option is the new technology where you can use a mobile app to teach your brain to ignore the repetitive ring.
Static noise tinnitus therapy signals – A continuous soft sound in the ear distracts you effectively from the tinnitus buzz, providing the much-needed relief. You are able to relax and enjoy life using this therapy. The hearing aid has a range of five preset signals to form a static noise, and the healthcare professional customizes the signal to your specific needs. This signal produces a sound that merges with the frequency of the tinnitus noise and quickly, you are able to hear, only the softer tune.
Ocean wave tinnitus therapy signals – A slight modification of the previous therapy, the aim of this version is to replicate the tranquil effect of the ocean sound waves to alleviate tinnitus. The experts will help you identify which one of four frequencies is the most soothing and favorable for you. Again, you will be happily distracted away from the annoying buzz in your ears and only hear the soothing ocean waves instead.
Signia Notch Therapy – If you suffer from tonal tinnitus, then the Notch Therapy is for you. This built-in therapy does not use another sound wave like the previous two. Using your hearing aid for a few weeks will potentially treat your tinnitus noticeably, without any external noise and obstruction.
This therapy is very unique. There is no external stimulation involved in this process. The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid is all that you need, and for your audiologist to spend some time with you on a consultation to determine the exact frequency of your tonal tinnitus. Amplification of the hearing aids is done as normal to your specific hearing test, with the exception of your tinnitus frequency, which is then reduced so that it is integrated harmoniously into the overall background sound.
According to Signia, Notch therapy within their hearing aid models can reduce the effects of tinnitus and may even make it disappear completely. According to a recent study, 65 percent of patients experienced an improvement.
Continuous use of the aid for a few months will lead to relegating the tinnitus sounds into the background. The constant ring and buzz will gradually fade and the brain ‘learns’ to take no notice of tinnitus.
The Signia hearing aids are widely available in a range of small, discreet styles for every form of hearing loss. There is a model to meet your needs and it is very convenient to use. The technology can be utilized through an app on your mobile phone.
For more details on this amazing technology, see the Signia website here.
If you suffer from tinnitus, please contact us at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona and ask for your treatment options including the Signia Notch Therapy Hearing Aid. (480) 831-6159.
Some of us experience discomfort or pain in our ears during flying. It happens mainly during ascent and descent, or if the altitude changes suddenly. It almost feels like the ear is blocked and we cannot hear properly. This phenomenon is commonly called ‘Airplane Ear’.
‘Airplane Ear’ is very common. It is usually quite moderate and fixes itself in many cases. However, it may turn severe and the pain may get worse. The pressure in the ears may resemble that of an underwater diver. Furthermore, you may experience moderate to severe hearing loss, ringing in your ear (tinnitus) or spinning sensation (vertigo). The ears may also bleed in extreme cases.
Why does it happen?
This happens because a rapid change in air pressure stretches the eardrum, suddenly.
We need to understand two aspects here. First, the structure of the ear and second, what happens to the air pressure during ascent and descent.
If we look at the structure of the ear, below, we can see a narrow passage in the inner ear called the Eustachian tube that regulates the air pressure. What we cannot see in the illustration is that this tube is connected to the nasopharynx which is a small opening where the throat and the nasal passage meet. The ear, nose, and throat are therefore connected exactly there. When the surrounding air pressure is normal, mostly on land, the tympanic membrane or the eardrum behaves normally and responds to sound and airwaves accordingly.
Air pressure and how it affects the ear
A rapid change in altitude creates an instant difference in air pressure between inside and outside the ear. When your flight takes off and the plane begins to ascend, the air pressure inside the inner ear quickly becomes greater than the outside air pressure. The eardrum then swells outward. Imagine a cake rising inside the oven while baking. This causes discomfort and you feel that your ear is ‘blocked’.
The opposite happens while landing. The pressure inside the inner ear rapidly becomes less than outside and the eardrum goes inward. Imagine a vacuum pulling in all the air that causes stretching of the eardrum and flattening of the Eustachian tube. This results in extreme discomfort and also pain.
Often, a quick swallowing or yawning action alleviates the symptoms because it allows the Eustachian tube to open up and restore the air pressure to normal levels. We feel that the ear has just ‘popped’.
Sometimes it is not that easy. It becomes more painful during descent if you have any other condition like congestion of the nose or swelling due to infection. The air gets trapped in the area behind the eardrum putting pressure on it giving rise to excruciating pain.
What can you do?
If you have any questions, you're welcome to contact us for more details at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona at (480) 831-6159.
Dr. Rohe is a nationally-recognized audiologist specializing in Tinnitus Therapy and other hearing conditions.