American Hering & Balance

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Hearing Loss Diabetes

Because various conditions tend to play off each another, it’s really no surprise that diabetes and hearing loss – the top two health problems in America today according to the American Diabetes Association – have been linked. Take a look at the statistics are incredible: 30 million people suffer from diabetes, while 34.5 million people have some degree of hearing loss. Recent studies have shown that you are twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes than other people without the disease. The recent studies in question concentrated on 20,000 people from various places around the globe, including the U.S., Asia, Brazil and Australia.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Certainly these many studies have drawn a link between diabetes and hearing loss, but the fact remains that researchers still aren’t sure exactly why diabetes causes hearing loss or vice versa. One theory as to curbing this correlation? Diabetics should better control their blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of hearing impairment, but this is not proven yet. Even though loud noises contribute hearing loss in many people, a noisy workplace has also been ruled out as a factor in the above studies. The medications and diuretics diabetics take to keep their blood pressure could actually bring on the hearing loss, so that’s something to look into. Could it involve high blood glucose levels that come with the territory with diabetes? These levels can damage the small blood vessels in the inner ear, known to cause hearing impairment. Researchers don’t assume age plays a role in these links, even though it’s been known for awhile now that hearing loss occurs as we age.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Be on alert when looking for signature signs and symptoms of hearing loss so you can get diagnosed and begin treatment immediately. You could suffer from some degree of hearing impairment if you have trouble keeping track of conversations with two or more people, constantly only hear mumbling from others, put the volume on the TV or radio way up, or can’t easily pick out the voices of small children or women. Other signs to look out for include if you can’t distinguish words within a large noisy crowd, if words are muffled rather than clear, and if you have others repeat themselves over and over. You don’t want this to lead to the avoiding of certain social situations just so you don’t get embarrassed, so take action and see an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. Usually, your spouse, partner, friend or family member will alert you to these displays of hearing impairment.

Testing for Diabetes

Hopefully, the results of the studies outlined above will spur more doctors to test for hearing loss in their diabetic patients. This is why you should get your hearing tested at the doctor’s office during your annual diabetic checkup and alert him to the correlation you’ve heard between diabetes and hearing loss. If the results come back showing you need further evaluation, your doctor can send you to an audiologist. Hearing tests are often overlooked at doctor’s visits for adults, but they shouldn’t be any longer in light of these findings.

 

Hearing Loops

There is a new technological wonder that is helping people with hearing loss throughout the world. They are called hearing loops, and they may be coming to a place near you in the future. These two part systems take advantage of preexisting tools and tech to make an amalgam that is perfect for providing several individuals with hearing benefits at the same time. This article will take a closer look at what a hearing loop is, where they are being used already, and, most importantly, how they function.

What Is A Hearing Loop?

A hearing loop is a two part system that allows people who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants to hear more clearly in certain situations. The first part of the design involves having a modern hearing device that is fitted with a t-switch, or a telecoil receptor. The other part of this design is based on having a specific cable looped around a room so that it can act as a receiver and transmitter of certain signals. Together, these components make it easy to transmit sound data from the room to the user.

Where Can I Find Them?

At the current time there are several of these hearing loops in use in places that you probably frequent every day. Meeting rooms, convention centers, and even many office buildings have these hearing loops installed in them so that you can hear certain information, like a speech, in complete clarity. Many politicians and advocate groups want to expand the program seeing as they are rather inexpensive and take advantage of pre-existing technology. Some hearing loops are even being used in mass transit vehicles such as taxis and buses right now, and it appears as though there will be more to come in the future.

How Does A Hearing Loop Work?

A hearing loop requires the two basic parts of a cable and a hearing aid. Essentially, there is a sound receiver at some point in the room that picks up sound and transmits the sound in the form of an electromagnetic signal to the wire. Many of the receivers can be placed at important areas of the room such as where speeches are given, or even patched into a microphone. The hearing loop then broadcasts the information throughout the room so that it can be picked up by a telecoil.

Most hearing aids that have been made in the last decade come equipped with a telecoil receiver piece that can be activated by turning on the t-switch in the hearing aid. Once activated, it will interpret the sound from the cable, allowing the individual to hear sounds clearly and with few obstructions. That is why it is so important to spread this technological wonder throughout the world, so that hearing impaired individuals can get better, clearer information in public places.

Evolution of Hearing Aids

From Clumsy to Comfortable: The Evolution of Hearing Aids
While hearing aids are now extremely comfortable with efficiency at the forefront, technology has come very far in the last two centuries thanks to lots of forward thinking and advancements. Those devices you’re wearing weren’t always so versatile and efficient: you’ll have to thank all the inventors over the last 200 years for their part to advances in technology spanning the last two centuries. Consider that millions of people each day (about 17 percent of the population) wear hearing aids, realizing that hearing aids started out so rudimentary.
Ear Trumpets Make the Scene
The first hearing aids, known as ear trumpets, actually looked quite a bit like trumpets that you would play in a band. The the first of their kind, these earliest hearing devices didn’t do the best job of amplifying sound. Instead, they were quite cumbersome and only provided only the most basic level of amplification, so people with true hearing impairments didn’t really benefit from them. Boasting virtually no size uniformity, the incremental acoustic improvement was great for those with limited hearing loss by capturing and amplifying sound. Filtered to the inner ear where it would be interpreted, sound came out of the large end.
Carbon Hearing Aids Make Their Move
Those with limited hearing loss were the only ones to reap the rewards from this new technology, which offered only the bare minimum of sound quality due to the carbon moving through the hearing aid, carbon hearing aids could only detect a few frequencies. As such,. With the advent of the late 19th century hit, this device took a lot from Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone invention to inspire the establishment of the carbon hearing aid. It worked through the use of a carbon microphone along with a magnetic receiver and battery to send sound to the outside of the microphone, where the carbon pieces were redirected. They then crowded against the diaphragm in accordance with how much sound came out in a similar way to sound waves.
Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids
These first came about in the 1920s, but they were later adjusted by Bell Labs thanks to the invention of the first transistor that could be used to operate hearing aids. Amplified sound would generate as it motioned through the receiver end. First, the telephone transmitter changed sounds and gathered them into electrical signals. This truly unique discovery spurred electronic hearing aid design – despite the fact that it weighed seven pounds. This didn’t stop people from becoming excited about the possibility of helping the hearing impaired. Before the advent of the hearing aids we know today, vacuum tube hearing aids were the popular choice.

Why A Professional Audiologist Can Help More Than Big Box Stores

Millions of people around the world are making some of the most detrimental choices for their hearing health. Rather than going to a professional audiologist, they are determined to go to the fast-food equivalent of hearing health markets for a quick solution to their impairment. There are many reasons that this is fallacious, which is why we will examine the different reasons that you should only go to an audiologist for your hearing loss solutions.

Lower Costs

One of the most important aspects of healthcare is that you are paying a price that balances affordability with the overall service that is provided. When you go to an audiologist, you will be able to use your insurance to lower the costs that are associated with getting your hearing loss examined. This will result in an affordable device and quality examinations from your hearing professional.

While it may be tempting, it is important not to be drawn in by the offers that are given by the individuals at big box stores. They may present you with a low initial cost, but it will be inflated through many different means such as device fitting and shipping costs.

Professional Hearing Care

The most important reason that you should go to an audiologist rather than a big box store is that an audiologist is a trained and certified doctor. They can look into your inner ear and find the cause for your hearing loss before giving you a certified diagnosis. You can take this diagnosis and find out whether the cause of your hearing loss is something that is curable. If it is, then you will not need to have a hearing aid at all.

If you go to a big box store, not only will you not get a diagnosis, but they will not try to persuade you to do what is right for your health, only what is right for their sales. After all, that is their ultimate goal: to make sales and money off of you.

Quality Products

The last reason that you should consider avoiding a big box store is the fact that they do not have access to the latest hearing aids and other hearing devices. While they will be able to give you a device that will improve your hearing, they will not have the deep knowledge that is required to adjust the settings to optimize your hearing.

An audiologist will not only have access to the very best items on the market today, but they will be able to program them to work in an optimized setting. For all of these reasons and more, you should always go to an audiologist.

Ways in Which 3D Printers are Changing the Hearing Aid Industry

With 35 million people in the U.S. suffering from hearing loss, many are touting the relatively new technology of 3D printing for hearing aids to be a savior of the industry. While it’s not a brand new approach, it allows for a more efficient process of making and fitting hearing aids to each person. It’s also referred to as additive manufacturing and it’s called 3D printing. This process is pretty cool and more and more people are standing up to take notice due to the customization factor. It’s called additive manufacturing because it involves adding to the finished product rather than taking away, as in the case of specialized tools like lathes. 3D printing, used in many industries such as manufacturing and art, has been utilized in the manufacture of hearing aids for several years now. It’s’ gaining momentum as a revolutionary way to construct custom hearing devices.

Operation

Did you know that 10 million 3D printed hearing devices are being used by deaf or hearing impaired individuals right now? It’s true. While you may think that science has taken over what was once considered to be an art form, you simply can’t dismiss the accuracy, speed and efficiency that this technology has afforded the hearing device industry lately. Thanks to the highly customized nature of these devices to each person’s ear, 3D printing represents a big step forward in the industry. That’s because they’re made using a process called additive manufacturing, ensuring a snugger overall fit and a higher comfort level for users. When used with 3D laser scanning, the process can incredibly take only one day – something that used to take weeks. First, an audiologist creates a digital image of the ear canal using a special laser scanner to develop what’s known as a pointcloud, then he quality checks everything. When the model is ready to be made, the printer spits out a shell or mold of the hearing aid in a resin form. Then, it’s possible to add the right acoustic vents, electronics and other components, with 150,000 points of reference created through digital cameras to apply the template to the mold. Amazingly, countless geometric patterns and combinations are put through testing prior to printing the final product. This product, which boasts efficiency and quality, features  complicated circuitry that acts as the hearing aid’s road map to project the sound.

Why 3D Printed Hearing Aids?

Thanks to the many benefits of 3D printed hearing aids, customization is at the forefront of the many benefits, which is imperative because no two ear canals are the same. As such, each and every hearing aid made in this manner is truly a custom fit. If you were to go with traditional manufacturing processes to create hearing devices, it would be extremely difficult to achieve that perfect fit across the board. The high-impact effect of this technology on the hearing impaired and medical communities has turned a formerly labor-intensive process into a more efficient, automated one.

Foods That Can Prevent Hearing Loss

One of the most overlooked parts of your health is your hearing. What many people do not know is that hearing health is connected to many other parts of your overall health. As a result, it is very important to protect your hearing from sustaining losses over time. Fortunately, there are many different foods that you can use to help combat hearing losses over time. Here we will take a look at some of these delicious foods and see the positive effects they have on your health.

Citrus Fruits

Some of the tastiest and most healthy fruits for your body are citrus. Whether you are eating an orange or a lemon, there are many benefits that are offered to people who eat them. The first benefits is that they are chock-full of vitamins C and E. These help to keep the consumer’s healthy and safe from infection. As a result, the fewer infections that affect someone’s ears, the less damage they are likely to sustain.

Vegetables

As it turns out, our parents were right. Vegetables are an essential part of your body’s health. They have many different vitamins and nutrients that you cannot find anywhere else. More importantly, they are able to bind free radicals within your system, and prevent them from causing major illnesses such as cancer. These are a great way of keeping your hearing health intact throughout your life.

Bananas

Another one of the fruits that can keep your hearing healthy throughout your life is bananas. They have many different nutrients in them such as magnesium that can help your body build up an immunity to the damage that is caused by chronic exposure to loud sounds. Another one of the best parts about these fruits is that they are tasty and can be added to a variety of different meals.

Chocolate

Many people are worried that they will need to eat bland foods to save their health. However, with the zinc and antioxidants that are found in dark chocolate, you can have a tasty treat that will help you keep your hearing at the best levels. The zinc will allow your ears to recover from short term damage more easily, and the delicious taste will remind you to keep watching what you eat.

Eating Fish

Another wise choice for your overall body health is to eat fish. Salmon, tuna, and a variety of other fish have the valuable Omega-3 fatty acids. This acid helps to keep your heart healthy well into your senior years. With the additional bloodflow to the ears, you will not have to worry about your ears suffering from losses from lack of oxygenation or nutrients.

New Studies linking Hearing Loss and Depression.

It turns out that there are even more considerations than ever before for people who suffer from hearing loss. While everyone knows that hearing loss can damage other areas of your health, it has now been linked to an uptick in cases of depression in more people. For this reason, there has been an increased interest in this topic by researchers and medical professionals. They have recently come up with new results that establish this correlation. In this article we will examine this study as well as the ways that people can prevent themselves from suffering from hearing loss induced depression.

Preventing Depression

Since more people have had their hearing loss linked to other problems in their lives than ever before, it is highly recommended that they take additional steps to ensure that their hearing remains safe. For people who already suffer from hearing loss, though, their options are rather limited. You can go to therapy and discuss the causes of your depression with a professional, but more often than not the best way to treat this form of depression is by purchasing a hearing aid. While the hearing aid may not give you the full hearing that people once had, it has been effective at treating some of the depression symptoms.

The Test Program

The test that was run for this new study utilized the services of 18,000 different individuals who were told to self report any hearing loss that they may suffer. They were then asked to use a questionnaire as a means of finding out whether or not the people were suffering from depression, which was very successful in its detective abilities.

The test was performed by individuals from the US National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders. The sample size and results were consistent enough for the final results to be approved throughout the scientific community with very few exceptions.

The Results

The results of the test program were very simple to understand: there is a positive correlation between individuals who had hearing loss and those who had depression in this study. While the people over 70 were predicted to have the greatest amount of hearing loss, the study did show an increasing amount of people below that age who suffered from hearing loss. Thus, while there was a much greater percentage of people over the age of 70 who suffered from hearing loss, there were far more people under this age that exhibited depression and hearing impairment systems. The study ended by reinforcing ideas behind hearing protection such as protecting your hearing while you are young and continuing to limit your exposure to loud sounds whenever possible.

Earwax Removal – How you’re doing it wrong

Cleaning your ears is one of the things that people love to do, but can cause tremendous harm to themselves while doing it. While it may be satisfying, there are many different ways that you can go about cleaning your ears improperly. Here we will take a look at the three major ways that people try to clean their ears the wrong way, and then show you why you should to an audiologist for ear cleaning.

Ear Drops

One of the ways that you can go about cleaning your ears that is moderately effective is by using ear drops. You simply put the required amount in your ears and then wait for them to take effect before tilting you head and allowing them to drain out. The problem is that most people will not be satisfied with a little drainage and will use a cotton swab to finish the job.

Cotton Swabs

Another common way that people go about cleaning their ears the wrong way is by using cotton swabs. People wet them or apply peroxide and then dig around in their ear until they have removed enough wax. The problem is that people do not know when to stop using cotton swabs and can often push the wax deeper into the ear and cause further impactions. Also, stabbing yourself in the ear drum is a very common problem with these swabs.

Stay Away From Ear Candles

Perhaps the most useless and dangerous way of cleaning your ears of wax is using ear candles. The hollow candles rely on melting the wax and forming a vacuum in your ear that can then be pulled free to allow the earwax to drip out. However, this rarely works, and comes with the added risk of possibly lighting your hair on fire when you are lighting the candle and tilting your head.

Going To An Audiologist Is The Right Choice

The only method that you should use for cleaning out your ears from wax is going to an audiologist. They have all of the tools to diagnose your earwax issue with accuracy. Then they can go about cleaning your ears without any risk to your eardrum, or a negligible risk. Afterwards, they will establish a schedule that you can come back and seek additional cleanings as they are required or to suit your needs. Overall, the best way to clean your ears is to have a professional do it for you.

How Noisy Workplaces are Causing Hearing Loss

Perhaps the greatest aspiration of many people is to find a job that is both fulfilling and safe. However, some people decide to take jobs that are not necessarily safe. While they may not involve putting their lives on the line, they can still cause serious damage to their body. For example, there are many noisy jobs that can cause hearing loss in workers. Here we will take a look at the noisiest jobs that a person can have as well as the potential harm it can cause.

Construction Work

One of the noisiest jobs that a person can hold is construction work. These crews work outside to maintain the roads or work on houses. From jack hammers to the sound of compressed air being pushed out, there are many different ways to harm your hearing. Without the proper forms of protection, a person can cause chronic hearing loss symptoms and impairment that lasts a lifetime.

Bowling Alley

While many people do not think about a bowling alley as being a dangerous work environment, the constant chatter and music puts workers at a risk for hearing loss. Also, the crash of the pins hundreds of times a day can also cause hearing loss. While it will not be as severe as listening to a jack hammer, the loss of increments of hearing can make it easier to lose other hearing sensations.

Concert Security

Anyone who has ever been to a concert can attest to the fact that the music in those areas is deafening. It is so loud that even the musicians must wear hearing protection to prevent from going deaf over time. For security workers who guard the barricade, the bursts of sound can harm people who are wearing ear plugs due to the sheer force of the sound waves.

Mining Workers

Another way that many people can go about losing their hearing on a jobsite is by mining. This necessary task involves using heavy machines and explosives to pull fuel and valuable materials from the earth. Unfortunately, this means that thousands of people put their hearing at risk every single time that they put on a hard hat. It is advised that they wear hearing protection, but some people opt out of it so that they have a greater awareness of their surroundings.

Airport Workers

Every time an airplane takes off, it can generate enough sound to cause permanent hearing damage. For people who see hundreds of take-offs each day, there is a significant risk involved with working in this area. The ground crew is responsible for guiding planes and loading luggage, and puts their hearing at tremendous risk even when they wear ear protection. These are just some of the noisiest jobs that people can have and the risks that they run by going to them each day.

People that often go to see the newest and best movies often forget how difficult it is for some people to interpret what is going on in the film. In fact, hearing impaired or deaf people are unable to enjoy the movies when they are released in theaters since they do not have captions in them until they are released to the public. However, there is a new promising new technology that will allow the hearing impaired to wear a special pair of glasses to show closed captions on the screen in the theater. Let us take a look at what these revolutionary glasses are all about.

Behind The Glasses

This new technology gives the hearing impaired user many benefits. This includes customizable brightness settings that are set for personal use. This will allow the wearer to see the captions on the screen in lighting that is beneficial to their vision needs. The glasses also have a technology that helps you see the captions better no matter where your seat is located.

When the movie has started and your glasses are setup for use, the device will use special sensors from either side of your head to start transmitting data from a transmitter on the device and display the captions in front of you. Basically, the captioned text will appear in front of your face allowing you to watch the movie in theaters instead of having to wait for it to be released. This is a major advancement for people who are hearing impaired, and with enough support, hopefully this technology will be more readily available in the future.

The Design

The product name for the glasses is officially known as Sony Entertainment Access Glasses, and for years this has been the tireless work of the chief administrative officer of Regal Cinemas, Randy Smith. It has been announced recently that the glasses have finally been released and have plans to have the readily available at over 6,000 theaters by the end of the summer.

Comfort Counts

Sony has a completed revolutionary design for the Access Glasses. They are very user friendly, and are made to fit everyone. The frames look like a normal pair of glasses, just larger, and have a sensor on each side. Best of all, they are designed to fit over the glasses you may be wearing, and are made to fit comfortably throughout the entire movie.

Where Can I Buy One?

At this current time, they are being put through a trial at Regal Cinemas across the United States. It is not known how long the trial phase will last, or if they will expand it further. The general opinion on the future of these glasses is whether or not it brings enough attention and viewers to the theaters.