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Assistive Listening Systems and Your Hearing Prerogative

With over 48 million Americans across the country and an astounding 466 million worldwide suffering from disabling hearing loss, staying up to date with advancing technology and new laws and regulations may be the difference between accessing your right to hear in public and private settings or struggling to receive the help you’re entitled to. Thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), everyone has the right to hear in public places, making sure that if public address systems are used, an assistive listening system (ALS) is available for those with hearing loss as well. With numerous types of ALS systems available, technology has made it much easier to increase your quality of life while in public settings, whether they help eliminate background noise, or are discretely hidden to aid you without needing to use and return noticeable devices.

What Type of ALS’ Are There?

Fortunately, finding venues with an ALS should be simple thanks to ADA guidelines. To abide by the ADA’s Standards for Accessible Design, venues must have signs that properly show that they utilize assistive listening systems by displaying the blue international symbol, and numerous types of systems must be made available upon request with strict standards, right down to the size of audio jacks.

1. Hearing Loops

The most widely used and preferred ALS, hearing loops are a discretely hidden wire that surrounds a seating area that plugs into an amplifier and PA system. The loop then converts sound from the PA system into an electromagnetic signal that is received and translated into sound by telecoils found in most hearing aids.

 2. WiFi Systems

Though these do not follow ADA guidelines and are not an acceptable ALS system in the eyes of the law, WiFi systems are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of smartphones and tablets. While audio is streaming, sound is delivered through a WiFi connection to an appropriate app on your smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, this requires attendants to use their own device as a receiver, failing to reach the ADA’s requirement of equal access.

3. RF Systems

Requiring a receiver that you must borrow from the venue, RF systems are becoming less popular for more convenient and user-friendly listening systems. Utilizing radio frequencies, RF systems transmit sound to receivers and earbuds like a personal radio. Though the ADA Compatibility Mandate required RF systems to be upgraded in 2012, they are still drastically lacking in technology compared to other systems.

You Have A Right To Hear

Assistive listening systems are increasing the quality of life for the millions of users with hearing loss by fulfilling their right to hear. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, whether it be concert halls, transportation hubs, or places of worship, systems such as the Hearing Loop or WiFi are ensuring that hearing loss will not stop you from participating in the joyful activities of your daily life. Whether you wear hearing aids or are struggling with untreated hearing loss, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to hearing in public places.

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How to Enjoy Swimming Without the Clogged Ears

We all experience water in our ears from time to time. It happens during baths and showers and is very common for swimmers. However, it can lead to inflammation and infection of the ear canal. The most common cause of the infection is bacteria such as streptococcus, pseudomonas, and staphylococcus. Water in the ear is aggravating and can also be harmful to your hearing health. Here is what you can do about water in your ears.

Symptoms

The symptoms of water in the ear begin mild with itching and a slight redness within the infected ear. The problem gradually gets worse with an increase in pain and itching as well as discharge from the ear. Ultimately the pain becomes intense, the canal is completely blocked, and the face and possibly the lymph nodes begin to swell.

Removing Water From Your Ear

If you have water in your ear, here are ways for safely removing the irritating liquid:

  • Jiggle your earlobe. You might be able to shake the water from your ear by gently pulling on the earlobe and shaking.
  • Use gravity. Lie on your side and let the water slowly drain from your ear onto a towel.
  • Create a vacuum. Tilt head sideways and rest ear into cupped palm. Push hand back and forth in rapid motion while covering the ear cupping your palm as you pull away.
  • Hot compress. Applying a compress can release the water trapped in the eustachian tubes.
  • Blow dryer. Set the dryer on the lowermost setting and hold about a foot away from the ear. The heat from the dryer can help to evaporate the water inside the ear canal.
  • Apply a few drops per ear. Alcohol helps to evaporate water. It also helps to eradicate the growth of bacteria, which in turn helps to prevent infections.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. This solution can clear debris and earwax which may be trapping water inside the ear.
  • Olive oil. Warm olive oil and place a few drops in the ear. It can help to prevent infection in the ear as well as repel water out.
  • The movement of the mouth can open the eustachian tubes and let the stuck water come out.
  • Valsalva maneuver. Close mouth and gently squeeze your nostrils shut with fingers while listening for a popping sound which means the Eustachian tubes are open.
  • Warm steam helps to release water from the middle ear through Eustachian tubes.
  • OTC medication. OTC eardrops are alcohol-based and can help to reduce moisture in the outer ear canal. They also kill bacteria and remove debris.

Prevention

Of course, the best way to handle ears clogged with water is through prevention. Here are a few measures to take in the prevention of water and the bacteria it contains, from entering your ears:

  • Avoid swimming in contaminated pools
  • Wear a swim cap
  • Wear earplugs
  • Dry ears thoroughly once out of water

Remember that water in the ear is usually not dangerous, but if left unaddressed, the following problems may occur:

  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Long-term infections
  • Deep tissue infection
  • Bone and cartilage damage
  • Other widespread diseases.

If you have any additional questions about hearing loss or your hearing health, please feel free to contact our office!