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.
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.
If you have realized that lately you're missing some words from conversations, you have to be in a quiet place to be able to clearly listen to the person talking to you, or while listening to music you feel like sound is muffled somehow, then you might be experiencing hearing loss to a certain degree. If you have decided is time to find out whether your hearing is compromised, then you may consider visiting a leading Tempe audiologist at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, where you can get some clarity on your hearing performance and start a treatment that will be effective for your lifestyle and budget.
If you're in doubt, consider that usually people that sense a certain degree of hearing loss tend to delay their visit to a qualified doctor for as long as 10 years to get testing done, which is completely counterproductive and puts at risk the overall health of the individual as hearing loss can cause other issues on a person’s everyday life.
Taking a Hearing Test
In order to start your path for a better living and to determine if you are suffering hearing loss you must take a hearing test at an audiologist clinic (like Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona). As your audiologist, we will perform hearing tests that will help determine what type of hearing loss you have and how much hearing ability has been lost .
If you have already visited an audiologist and want a second opinion, you may take an online test that The National hearing test has made available at a small cost, though not as accurate as a clinical hearing test.
Choose the right audiologist
At the Tinnitus and Hearing Center, we are very committed to helping our patients find the best way to treat their hearing problems as we offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands and other assistive pieces of technology that can help you with your current situation. You can rest assured that we have taken care of many patients that have been very satisfied with the service we have provided and how accurate and precise our approach has been.
We will have you try at least two different hearing aids (or as many you need to find the most comfortable one) in order to find the one that fits your needs perfectly. We'll also take time to fit it and find the right configuration for you as we need to make sure after you decide on one specific hearing aid to cover all your needs, that is why these have a testing period before you complete your purchase. We will set the different configurations and you will inform us which one is the best for you.
In order to find the best fitting hearing aid for you, know that the hearing aid can only do so much and realistic expectations have to be made.
For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at (480) 831-6159 or visit our website at https://www.tinnitusaz.com/.
Loss of hearing is not a life sentence. There are solutions to remedy the problem. One of them is the use of a hearing aid. These days, they are quite small but very effective, and help you to keep it discreet if you want.
On the other hand, use of a hearing aid is not something that needs to be hidden. We don't hide the fact that we wear glasses to improve our eyesight, do we? It's just a tool, just like a hearing aid.
Statistics show that in older people who are likely to experience hearing loss also, consequently, suffer from depression. Their quality of life diminishes because the person begins to lose confidence in all social situations.
To be able to hear clearly with the help of hearing aids will improve your life in the following ways:
Happiness and improved relationships
A lack of hearing means that your relationships suffer.
For instance, people may lose their patience with you, or get annoyed with you probably because the volume levels on TV or radio is too high.
Slowly you find yourself resigning into isolation and it affects your mental well being. With a hearing aid, you regain the sense of happiness along with your hearing. The communication is restored and you are able to avoid misunderstandings thereby improving your relationships.
Better social life
You will be motivated to participate in group activities when you start using a hearing aid. When hearing becomes too hard, you stop listening, stop engaging in conversations, and often refuse to leave home. Having a quality pair of hearing aids reverses that.
Improve your quality of life
With the loss of hearing, there is a loss of the quality of life as well. Hearing aids allow you to hear better in social settings and you can actively participate in a conversation. That, in turn, reduces depression. There will be an improvement in self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, independence, and communication.
If compared with someone who is not using a hearing aid, the overall health of the hearing aid user will be better than the non-user. Users are more likely than non-users, to engage in activities involving other people. Hearing aids improve most aspects of emotional life and will pull you out of that feeling of helplessness and burden.
Your optimism will return and people around you will not be anxious as well. Simple tasks will …. Well, be simple again.
Identify speech in noise
Since we are surrounded by nearly constant background noise almost everywhere, you may not be able to discern what people are saying. You might think they're not enunciating enough, or not speaking loudly enough, but chances are, it's your hearing that's not cooperating. This makes a huge impact on your life and you start avoiding public places. The hearing aid is an amazing technology that's designed in a way to filter the noise and capture spoken words.
Stay sharp and alert
Did you know if hearing loss is untreated, you are more likely to experience dementia or Alzheimer’s than someone without hearing loss? Our brains are used to hearing the everyday sounds and this helps us stay alert and keeps our mind sharp. So regaining this with the help of a hearing aid is a positive step.
It will not only help keeping our brains active, it will keep us safe as well. Alertness improves, as you would be able to hear the alarms, doorbells or sirens. It will also improve the reflexes and response to any kind of sound.
Do better at work
Hearing loss is an occupational hazard in many professions. A hearing aid will help you improve your productivity and conduct. You will be happier, safer, and be able to communicate better with clients and co-workers alike.
It's important to note that if you have concerns about your hearing, it can be worse the longer you wait.
At Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, our experienced audiology team would guide you to choose the right hearing aid that will add tremendous value to the quality of your life. You'd get expert care from the hearing test, to consultation conversations, to exploring options for hearing aids for Scottsdale and other Phoenix metro clients. Then, if you do move forward with hearing aids, you can try a set for a few weeks to see how you like it. We carry four major brands (considered the best hearing aids on the market), so you can experiment with others if you like.
We've seen so many patients that were either hesitant, or skeptical, and nearly all of them thanked us later for not only our friendly guidance in the appointment, but for helping them hear better in all situations, which led to better interactions and communications with friends and family.
We can't tell you how many times we've been thanked for "getting my life back." Is it time to improve your life with better hearing? Contact us today by phone at (480) 831-6159 or use our online scheduler.
Did you know – musicians have occupational hazards? Yep, the two biggest dangers to musicians are hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). (The occasional food truck burrito gets honorable mention). The quality of life of a musician is diminished over time due to hearing loss, unless proper precautions of hearing protection are taken.
Did you know — that loud music at concerts and festivals can reach decibel levels higher than 110 dB, which is like hearing the ambulance siren on loop?
Would you voluntarily stand right by an ambulance for a 90-minute set? I sure hope not. But concert-goers and musicians do about the same at loud concerts.
While music is very beneficial for our mental wellbeing and happiness, continuous loud music is not. The good news is that there’s an ingenious way to prevent it, which we’ll get to in a bit.
There's a strong link between hearing problems and professional musicians. Musicians have a 60% greater chance of experiencing tinnitus or ringing in the ears. A large study looked at more than two thousand musicians and found that more than 10% of them suffered from significant hearing loss.
Given that musicians are able to hear a broad range of sounds, their sensitivity to different sound level is high as well. That increase in risk however, overshadows much of the enjoyment of being surrounded by loud music.
Music lovers are affected too. There are growing concerns regarding ever-increasing noise levels in entertainment settings like concerts, cinemas, and festivals. Personal music devices and digital games emit sounds whose levels are dangerous. Loss of hearing can be temporary or permanent. It might take just one concert to cause major damage.
What happens in the ear, exactly?
There are very sensitive hair-like cells in our inner ears called cilia. These hairs become overactive when the noise levels are high. On repeated stimulation, the hairs become weakened and they stop responding to sound. In turn, the nerve that is attached also gets stressed because of not getting any signal. As a result, the brain generates a typical ringing sound. This ringing sensation is called tinnitus. The whole impact of loud noise can be temporary. If the ear gets a break from loud noise — it gets a lifeline.
If you stop the loud music, chances are that the tired hair cells may return to their active state. However, years of prolonged exposure to loud noise may ultimately permanently kill these hair cells and then, unfortunately, the loss of hearing becomes permanent, and the tinnitus becomes challenging to treat.
Awareness and prevention
There should be a raised awareness of the cumulative effect of loud music and lack of protection. The sound levels in parties, restaurants, movie theaters, music festivals and even gyms should be clearly mentioned and advise the visitors to take the necessary protection.
Young musicians should take precautions to reduce the long term impact of loud noise. Generally, moderated use of headphones and earbuds would be a good start. The volume of the personal sound system should be turned down and switched off at regular intervals. All concert halls and music studios should incorporate acoustic designs with sound absorbing panels to reduce the effect of loud noise on people who are inside the room, rather than just soundproofing them.
What can you do?
As a start, being aware of loud environments and ear pressure is important, and removing or distancing yourself from the source is helpful.
Bringing earplugs to events you think might be loud is the next step. We have our recommendations for earplugs beyond the cheap foams, which we list below.
If you feel concerned about your hearing and are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus or hearing loss, it’s not too late. Tinnitus is treatable and loss of hearing can be managed.
Audiologists at the Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona offer a specialized hearing service for the needs of musicians, sound engineers, and members of the entertainment industry.
As trained audiologists, we would diagnose and treat a musician effectively. An initial consultation may include a pressure test, testing your eardrum and a few other standard hearing tests. They are all very quick and painless. The next steps will be taken based on the test results.
We would discuss hearing protection, conservation and preservation. You may be offered custom-fit or musicians earplugs or in-ear monitors (IEM). These would help empower you to improve your quality of life while keeping your condition discreet and you can continue to enjoy the music.
There’s no easy way to say this, but…
Loud music damages the ears. Before you realize it, loud music has altered the inner ear, causing a ringing or buzzing sensation called tinnitus, or causing hearing loss – or both.
Plenty Of Excuses To Go ‘Round
Even with all the evidence that loud music causes hearing issues, surveys have found a few common threads, so let’s discuss them here:
1) “By the time I need hearing aids or have tinnitus, technology will have developed replacement ears.”
A patient told me that he thought that very thing 20 years ago, but of course we still don’t have replacement ears. Research is still being done with replacing the cilia (the tiny hair cells that are the receptors of sound in your ear), but even that has its complications. Will we have better technology 20 years from now? Sure, but don’t risk your hearing on the hope of technology saving you. Keep and preserve what you’ve got now, which is certainly better than robot ears.
2) “I just can’t hear the same with earplugs on stage, and it affects my performance.”
If you’re using the cheap foam earplugs you find at the pharmacy, then that would explain why you can’t hear naturally. They’re simply not designed for sounding good. They sound plugged up, mid-range heavy, and congested. By contrast, there are speciality earplugs made specifically for musicians, called, you guessed it – “Musicians Earplugs.” These custom molded earplugs have two great features:
a) They are "flat frequency" designs, so you’ll hear the same spectrum of frequencies – from the deep bass to the shimmer of cymbals – but the sound pressure level is lowered, so it’s like you turned down the volume on everything. Again, remember the ambulance scenario referenced above – if you can reduce the decibels you can reduce your risk of hearing damage.
b) Musician ear plugs have removable filters that you can customize to your environment. These little discs pop in and out of the earplugs, and come in three dB (decibel) levels – 9dB, 15dB, and 25dB. Loud concert? Use the 25’s. Restaurant or nightclub conversation? Use the 9’s. We feel this is the customizeable and best hearing protection you can buy.
3) “Earplugs are uncomfortable and hard to get in and out.”
This is common with people that use the cheap foam earplugs, and they’re right – they feel unnatural and are hard to insert properly. By contrast, the Musician Earplugs are customized to your individual ear canal, so they’re a perfect fit every time you use them. You’d schedule a visit with your audiologist (like us, hello!), and they would take an impression of your right and left ear canals. The impressions get sent in to the manufacturer, and in a week or so you’d get the reusable ear plugs back.
These custom ear plugs usually cost about $150 or so. One patient reported that "it's the best $150 I ever spent." Certainly more than the $5 at the pharmacy for the cheap foamies, but, how much is your hearing worth? How valuable is it to not have ringing in your ears, night and day, or struggling to hear everyday conversations due to hearing loss? Your future self will thank you profusely for taking care of your ears now.
What are the best earplugs for musicians?
We're proud distributors of the Sensaphonics brand, which are made of premium silicone unlike other manufacturers. Vinyl used by other companies shrinks over time, and will progressively get looser in your ear canal, allowing sound to enter in - the very thing you're trying to prevent! We carefully chose Sensaphonics and we've been extremely happy with their products and service. They even make sleeves for those generic fitting Shure monitors, giving them a more customized fit, feel, and look.
Sensaphonics also happens to be our choice for the best earplugs for concerts. You can read more about our Musician's Clinic products and services here.
The most valuable instrument you own
At Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona, we’ve fit countless musicians with custom ear plugs – from members of the Phoenix Symphony to the Gin Blossoms and members of Pink’s band. We just had a member of Night Ranger in here, as well as jam band Spafford to get fit for musician ear plugs and in-ear monitors.
We understand musician’s needs – so much so that we’re known as “The Musician’s Clinic.” We know the concerns musicians have about their ears and hearing, and have designed effective strategies to combat hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing conditions.
Curious about the status of your hearing? Schedule a hearing test today. Just like we get our vision tested every so often, when is the last time you had your ears checked? Musicians value their hearing, so treat your hearing like the most valuable instrument you own.
Call us today at (480) 831-6159, or use our convenient online scheduler.
It's not uncommon in today's noisy world to experience a gradual loss of hearing. However, left undetected or unaddressed, it can become problematic to one's everyday lifestyle.
If you are unable to hear as well as a person with normal hearing, which is about 50 decibels (dB), then you may be affected by hearing loss. It can affect one or both your ears.
To give you an understanding of the decibel levels, city traffic noises are usually 85 dB and sirens are 120 dB. Regular exposure to sound levels above 75 dB might cause hearing loss.
How would you recognize hearing loss?
Newborns are usually tested after birth and the audiologists take appropriate steps. If a child is slow to learn talking or if their speech is not very clear, then their hearing should be checked.
If you, whether young or old, talk very loudly, find it hard to hear a conversation or even hear the alarm, doorbell or watch television very loudly, then you should see an audiologist.
Hearing loss has a stigma and it should not be. According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million people experience from severe loss of hearing, worldwide. Estimates suggest that the numbers will double in the next thirty years.
This means, you are not alone.
Causes of hearing loss
Besides hereditary cause, newborns may be affected with loss of hearing if they have a difficult birth or have jaundice. If the mother had complications during her pregnancy with illnesses like rubella or syphilis, or had certain strong medications, the newborn may have a loss of hearing.
Aging is one of the most common causes of progressive hearing loss. Hearing loss affects their daily life. They may find it difficult to have a conversation or even respond to the doorbell. There is a risk of older people falling into depression and memory loss because of their problems with hearing.
The other common cause of hearing loss is long term exposure to loud noise. Modern life tends to be noisy, including traffic noises, various modern gadgets and loud music. When surrounded by such loud noise, people may experience a gradual loss of hearing.
How does hearing actually work?
In the center of the hearing mechanism is the eardrum, present in the inner ear. The ear is a very sensitive and complex organ. It converts the sound wave to an electrical wave in the brain through a series of steps. The middle ear is a bony structure that vaguely looks like a snail. This structure called cochlea and the fluid inside it helps the sound wave to reach the eardrum which sits deep inside the inner ear. The vibration of the eardrum, in turn, triggers the tiny hairs on it converting it into an electric wave. This wave travels to the brain via the auditory nerve.
What causes hearing loss?
Loud noise, ear infection or putting objects in the ear like a cotton swab can injure the hair cells in the eardrum. A very loud burst of noise like an explosion may cause sudden loss of hearing. Fluid or earwax in the ear acts as a sound barrier and cause a temporary loss of hearing. Otosclerosis or growth of excess bone and Cholesteatoma, which is an abnormal collection of skin in the ear are two conditions where hearing is affected.
Illnesses like Meningitis, Meniere’s disease and certain conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart conditions, and viral infection can cause loss of hearing. The chances are higher in older people.
Use of certain medicines used for treating severe infections, heart conditions and cancer may affect hearing. These medicines known as ototoxic drugs may damage the eardrum. Otosclerosis is thought to be a heredity condition that affects hearing.
If you feel that you or a loved one might be experiencing gradual hearing loss that is becoming noticeable or problematic, we recommend contacting us at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona to schedule a simple, quick, and non-invasive hearing test is a great idea. Our friendly audiologists will welcome you into our clinic, discuss your situation, and conduct a painless (and even fun) hearing exam.
Just as you might have an annual eye exam to measure your vision, you should have a hearing test to measure your other important sense - your hearing.
We provide hearing tests for Scottsdale AZ and Phoenix residents, and any patient in the Valley. Call us directly at (480) 831-6159 or use our convenient online scheduler to book an appointment on your computer or phone.
Dr. Rohe is a nationally-recognized audiologist specializing in Tinnitus Therapy and other hearing conditions.