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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.

Hearing Dogs – Assistance for hearing loss and the deaf

Hearing dogs are the latest form of helpful pet companion that have come about in recent decades. While most people are familiar with seeing-eye dogs, these pooches are trained to help individuals with hearing loss and deafness. The most popular breeds so far are Labradors and Retrievers, but others are being trained to provide aid to people as well. In this article, we will examine the training that each dog goes through as well as the benefits that they can offer their owners.

A Tough Road

The training that the hearing dogs go through before they are sent to homes is not easy. It involves between four and six months of training to ensure that they have they behave properly. During their period of training, they are taught to recognize upwards of seven unique sounds, from door knocking to smoke alarms. After they have been placed in a caring home, they will be able to be trained to hear specific sounds for one’s home.

The Help They Offer

After the hearing dogs are put into a home with their partner, they must have weeks of personalized care that helps them get used to their new surroundings. Once they have been trained correctly, they will be very capable of helping people who are deaf or hearing impaired. However, their training does not limit them to only helping in side of the home.

One of the best examples that come to mind about additional services provided by these dogs is understanding their body language. They can let you know if an emergency vehicle is coming your way if you are walking outside or they can even detect the presence of another dog. Given enough time, you will be able to train them for life-specific alerts that are applicable to you.

How To Obtain A Hearing Dog

The process to get a hearing dog is not exactly easy. You have to be at least 18 years old in order to apply for one of the applications. You must also furnish proof that you are going to have a person that is able and willing to help you train the dog. The application process will need to examine that you are able to give the dog enough living space and also provide a loving environment for them. Once you have the dog, you will need to attend specialized canine training and then go through yearly follow-up training in order to keep your pet dog sharp.

5 Unhealthy Habits That Can Cause Hearing Loss

Most people do not understand that there is a powerful connection between hearing loss and the overall health of the body. This notion has been proven in many different studies which examined the correlation between hearing and health. This means that poor health habits can cause some forms of hearing loss. In this article we will explore these unhealthy habits with particular emphasis on their impacts on your hearing.

Loud Noises

One of the most common unhealthy habits that cause hearing loss is due to exposure to loud noises over long periods of time. Many people put themselves in a situation that can result in harm every day without realizing it. From going to concerts to frequenting bars and clubs, there are many ways that you can expose yourself to loud sounds that will damage your hearing.

Listening To MP3

Another one of the unhealthiest decisions that you can make in terms of your hearing is by listening to an MP3 or similar music player throughout the day. The headphones that are used by these devices often direct the sound into the ear canal, and since it has no place to go but deeper into your ear, it causes damage to your ear structures.

Not Going To The Doctor

While going to the doctor’s office is a chore for most people, the simple fact of the matter is that it is a necessary part of your health. A doctor will be able to check your living arrangements for certain signs of diminishing hearing and then offer you help in maintaining it. They can also keep track of your health so that you can notify them of any changes and then begin treatment.

Smoking

Another unhealthy habit that can cause hearing loss is smoking. While this may seem very surprising to some people, this is only due to the fact that it has been linked to so many other negative areas of health. However, the chemicals from smoking can build up in your body and then cause your ears to lose the ability to pick up on small vibration sounds in the inner ear.

Sedentary Lifestyle

One of the other unhealthy habits that people exhibit that can harm hearing is by having a sedentary lifestyle. Not exercising regularly can lead to obesity and diabetes, both of which disrupt healthy circulation. This means that the areas of the brain that interpret sound are starved of vital nutrients and begin to lead to irreparable damage to the hearing ability. These are all unhealthy habits that can lead to hearing loss over time.

Why Not to Buy a Hearing Aid Online

The online markets have provided a significant amount of benefits for people all over the world. You have the ability to seek information or have products delivered to your doorstep without ever stepping foot into a shop. Yet, some people are beginning to make the mistake of using the web to take their health into their own hands. From supplement purchases to the more serious hearing aid purchases, people are skipping the doctor and self-medicating. In this article we will take a look at this folly and see why you should never buy a hearing aid online.

Non-Specific Treatment

When you go to a professional consultant for your hearing loss, they will run a series of tests in order to determine the exact problem with your hearing. These can figure out whether your hearing loss is a result of failure to pick up certain frequencies, pitches, or volume. Once they have the results they will be able to make a hearing aid that is configured to your needs. Yet, when you purchase a hearing aid device online, you lose this form of specificity and most use a generic hearing aid device.

Removing The Doctor

Another one of the drawbacks to buying a hearing aid online is that you will not have your hearing loss diagnosed. There are a variety of causes for hearing loss which your doctor can look for, from something as simple as an object in the ear canal to a neurological disease. A doctor can check to see if you have a treatable cause of hearing loss and whether you actually need a hearing aid.

Custom Hearing Aids

A problem that many people run into when they buy a hearing aid online is that they are not made to fit everyone’s ears. A hearing aid that is made by a professional company and with consultations takes specific measurements to make sure that there is a snug fit that will not be uncomfortable. A loose fit or a painful fit can both have serious drawbacks to your hearing and will certainly not make you wish to wear your device.

Low Quality Products

Many people who go online to purchase their hearing aids are trying to avoid the moderate prices that are associated with professional medical devices. However, the products that you can find online have none of the high quality materials in them that make prescribed hearing aids superior. Not only can they fail to produce helpful levels of hearing, but the poor craftsmanship can fall apart within months are you begin using the product. For all of these reasons and more, you should never buy a hearing aid online.

Common Summer Sounds That Cause Hearing Loss

Summer is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. The kids are out of school, the weather is warm, and there are many venues to go to in order to have a good time. However, when you are out enjoying a concert or watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, you may not realize that you are doing permanent damage to your hearing. In this article we will examine the ways that common summer sounds can cause hearing loss and what you can do to prevent it.

Fireworks

One of the best things about summer is hanging out on a warm summer night and watching the sky light up to celebrate the nation or town. However, there are some very significant risks involved with watching fireworks because they can produce up to 150 decibels of sound when the hearing threshold for humans is about 85 decibels. This poses a significant risk to the ability to hear for all individuals who watch fireworks.

Concerts

Another one of the most enjoyable experiences during the summer months is going to a concert. These outdoor festivals offer the benefit of live music and being surrounded by people like you. However, the speakers at these events can often generate a constant flow of 115 decibels, more than enough to inflict acute hearing damage as well as chronic hearing loss. While enjoying the music, it is important to take steps to safeguard your hearing.

Sporting Events

Another one of the best common summer sounds that causes hearing loss can be found at sports venues. While a roaring baseball crowd is not likely to inflict too much hearing loss, motorsports pose a true threat to your hearing. With hours of 115 decibel engines ripping around the arena, you can lose hearing temporarily and suffer long term effects.

Outdoor Machinery

One of the other dangers that are posed by the summer sounds come from something as simple as mowing your lawn. Lawnmowers, edgers, and even weed whackers can produce a great deal of noise that, when taken in over time, causes significant damage to hearing. This hearing loss usually occurs when the lawn is cut over the period of an hour or more.

How To Protect Your Hearing

There are generally two different ways available to protect your hearing from the common summer sounds which cause hearing loss. The first way is to begin utilizing ear plugs in all different facets of your everyday life. When you go to a sporting event, concert, or even when you are mowing your lawn, you should wear these plugs. They can be found in many locations and are very inexpensive.

The other easiest way to save your hearing is to reduce the amount of time that you spend in a noisy environment. Cut your lawn in shorter bursts rather than all at once, and do not stay for the entire duration of a music festival. These basic steps can keep your hearing at a high level throughout your life.