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Keeping Seniors Safe With a Hearing Aid

Keeping seniors safe with hearing aid

You probably know that a hearing aid can improve your ability to hear, but did you also know it can keep you safe? Although a hearing aid may take some getting used to, it can improve your overall quality of life. Now, current research is suggesting that hearing aids may keep seniors out of the hospital. According to the study, seniors who use their hearing aid are less likely to endure emergency room visits or spend time in the hospital. The research team also found that the seniors in the study who used their hearing aids were more inclined to see a doctor than those who are not using their hearing aids. Hearing aids improve your total health and can keep you out of trouble. If you are a senior, now is a great time to have your hearing checked. Your safety may depend on it.

Reasons Seniors Do Not Use A Hearing Aid

Although a hearing loss can have significant repercussions such as increased emergency room visits and hospital stays, only 20 percent of seniors with a hearing loss use a hearing aid. The reasons given are many and include:

  • Association with age
  • Difficulty adapting
  • Cosmetic reasons
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Cost

Although these reasons are sound, they do not outweigh the benefits associated with using a hearing aid. Furthermore, these reasons are not more important than a senior’s safety. Hearing aids not only improve a senior’s impaired hearing, but they also promote balance and alertness.

Lowering The Risk Of Falls By Improving Balance

When the brain is forced to expend extra energy to hear, it decreases one’s ability to focus on their balance and gait. Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that people with a mild hearing loss have a higher likelihood of having falls than those who do not have a hearing loss. Balance and gait place a significant demand on the brain as does the impaired hearing. A hearing aid lessens the need caused by inadequate hearing to allow the user to properly focus on balance and gait thereby reducing the danger of falls.

Increased Alertness

Without question, the most important way a hearing aid can help a senior or anyone for that matter is to increase their alertness to the sounds of danger. An oncoming car, an oven timer going off, an emergency alarm, the list is endless. Without one’s senses fully intact, these everyday occurrences can quickly become hazardous situations. A hearing aid has the potential to save a life just by making hearing the sounds possible.

Get Your Hearing Tested

If you are neglecting to get a hearing exam or wearing hearing aids, now is the time to change your thinking. There are many reasons for wearing a hearing aid, and your safety should rank right near the top of the list. Schedule a consultation with a hearing healthcare professional today for a hearing exam. It will be one of the most important decisions you can make for your hearing as well as your safety.

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Windy Weather And Hearing Aids

Hearing aids in windy weather

Sometimes wearing a hearing aid can be a challenge even despite all of the technological developments recently. While the sound quality and ease of use have significantly improved in hearing aids, there are still elements of the environment that have their way of making it harder to hear.
Hearing aids work excellently in optimal environments no matter if they are behind the ear, partially in the ear, or completely hidden within the ear canal. They do wonders in keying in on the sounds you want and need to hear, and minimizing all the background noise that just doesn’t matter. Living with a hearing aid does wonders to combat all of the negative feelings and struggles that come with sensorineural hearing loss.
But wind, rain, and warm weather will present a challenge to your hearing aid wearing experience at times. Rain, water, and sweat each can seep into your hearing aid and cause functional damage. Protecting your hearing aid when you’re exposed to rain, intending to take a plunge in the water or find yourself getting a little sweaty is the best way to make sure your hearing aid stays intact.
Wind And Hearing Aids
Although wind may not pose the same kind of threat to the integrity of your hearing aid like water, rain, or sweat can, it can significantly impact your ability to hear. To someone wearing a hearing aid, wind can sound just like someone blowing on a microphone to see if it’s working.
This noise can be extremely aggravating to a hearing aid wearer and it can make hearing anything else very difficult. Some hearing aids do a better job of blocking out the wind noise, but they may block out other sounds the wearer needs to hear as well, thus becoming significantly less effective.
Dealing With The Wind
You could remove your hearing aids in windy situations, but then you’re struggling with missing out on important conversations and sounds and signals in the auditory environment. Instead, the easiest thing you can do to protect your hearing aids in windy situations is to wear a cap that covers your ears. This will block out the wind and improve your sound quality greatly. It’s an inexpensive fix and it works most of the time.
You can also invest a small amount into hearing aid covers. They are little sock-like structures that cover your behind-the-ear hearing aid. These little covers have the same effect as wearing a hat. They protect the hearing aid from wind and block out all of that annoying wind noise without blocking out the essential sounds.
You can also look into upgrading your hearing aid. Older hearing aid models are less effective against wind compared to newer models. Of course, models that fit completely within the ear canal are even better.
With a little planning combating the wind can become quite simple. Check the weather forecast for wind conditions before you go out and always carry a cap around with you to have handy in windy situations.

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Unique Occupations with Hearing Risks

Man with hearing protection at work

When we think about the importance of protecting ourselves from noise induced hearing loss, the occupations that come to mind most often are ones such as concert venue employees, construction workers, factory workers, sports professionals, musicians, miners, etc.
What may be surprising, however, is to learn about all of the jobs that may be just as dangerous to your hearing health, or even more so since most people in these occupations don’t realize they need to protect their ears too.
Here’s a list of some unique occupations that may pose a risk to your hearing.
Preschool Teacher
According to a study conducted by the University of Gothenburg, seven out of ten female preschool teachers deal with auditory fatigue as a result of sound exposure, four out of ten become hypersensitive to noise, and half have difficulty understanding speech. This statistic is higher than what’s found in more expected noise-exposed occupational groups.
Hair Stylist
Although exposure to noises emanating from hair dryers, clippers, blow dryers, body massagers, nail filers, etc. may be intermittent, the repeated exposure to these devices have resulted in growing observations of hearing loss in this bustling industry.
Many of these machines emit noises above the recommended 85-decibel limit, inducing mild to moderate hearing loss that begins to present symptoms within five to ten years of exposure after enough of the cochlea’s hairlike cells responsible for auditory signal transmission become damaged.
Gardener
Yes, even gardeners may be exposed to hearing damage, but not in the way you might expect. Knowledge about the dangers of outdoor landscaping equipment such as lawn mowers and weed whackers is already abundant, and most landscapers take the proper precautions. But physical damage can also occur in atypical ways, such as injury caused by plants such as the Yucca plant.
These popular decorative landscaping plants with long spiky leaves have become more than just a nuisance, as hospital visits as a result of spiking the ear and piercing the eardrum have been reported, sometimes resulting in permanent hearing loss.
Chemist
Risk of hearing loss to chemists and others working in the chemical industry is real and often unexpected. It isn’t the noise that’s causing the damage. It’s the exposure to harmful chemicals that have caused damage to hearing. Compounds containing lead, toluene, n-butyl alcohol and carbon monoxide all have a propensity for inducing hearing loss.
Don’t take your hearing health for granted. The most important step you can take to protect your hearing is to look at your own occupation and the hearing risks that come with the job. You may notice sounds you’re consistently exposed to that you hadn’t noticed before.
Taking the proper precautions to mitigate unnecessary exposure to high decibel noise will go a long way in protecting your hearing health. There may be other risks besides noise exposure that can lead to hearing loss, too. If you have any questions about your profession and its exposure to noise, please don’t hesitate to call our office to talk to a hearing health professional today.