Top Tips to Help Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not always preventable, but there are steps that you can take to help prevent it. Follow these tips to help reduce your risk of hearing loss.

1. Prevent noise induced hearing loss

Noise induced hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud environments, whether at work, in a social environment or while engaging in sports. The positive thing about noise induced hearing loss is that it can be completely preventable by taking some simple steps to protect your ears:

  • Wear hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs
  • Move away from the direct source of loud noises
  • Try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
  • Give your hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise

2. Be aware of how loud your surroundings are

Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB); the higher the number, the louder the noise. Sounds over 85dB can be harmful to your hearing, particularly if you are exposed to this level for a prolonged period of time. Common decibels that you may experience in your everyday life are:

  • Whispering – 30dB
  • Conversation – 60dB
  • Busy traffic – 70 to 85dB
  • Motorbike – 90dB
  • Listening to music on full volume through headphones – 100 to 110dB
  • Plane taking off – 120dB

There are smartphone apps that can help to measure noise levels. While these are a great method to monitor how loud your surroundings are, ensure that the app is configured correctly to provide a more accurate reading.

3. Know the warning signs

Hearing loss rarely strikes unannounced. Warning signs that you have been exposed to a dangerous level of noise include:

  • You experience ringing, buzzing or humming in your ears following exposure to noise.
  • You can hear people talking, but struggle to understand what they are saying after being in a noisy environment.
  • Your ears feel “full” after leaving a noisy area, such as a music gig or nightclub.

4. Get your hearing checked regularly

If you’re at higher risk of noise induced hearing loss, consider annual hearing check-ups. The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.

These tips can help you to prevent hearing loss. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to dangerous noise levels and may be suffering from hearing loss, click here to book a consultation with our audiologist today, or contact us on (212) 786-5741.

The Link Between Hearing Loss & Heart Disease

If the eyes are a window to the soul, then perhaps we should say that the ears can be a window to the heart. Recent studies have identified a link between cardiovascular health and hearing health.The implications for adults over the age of 40 mean that those who are at risk of heart disease also need to get their hearing tested regularly.

The Prevalence of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the US (it represents about one in four deaths). Every year, about 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, and for three-quarters of these people, they’re experiencing a heart attack for the first time. Preventing heart disease and heart attacks becomes increasingly vital as we age, which parallels the need to stay vigilant about changes to hearing health.

How Does Heart Health Relate to Hearing?

The inner ear’s delicate response to blood flow means that it can exhibit physiological changes quite quickly. Abnormal blood flow such as trauma to the blood vessels or reduced blood circulation could present through changes in hearing. Poor circulation to the inner ear causes a reduction of oxygenated blood to the area which can lead to damage (resulting in permanent hearing loss).

Therefore, maintaining good cardiovascular fitness contributes positively to hearing health by supporting strong, oxygenated blood flow through the body. And paying attention to changes in hearing can be an extra early line of defense against heart disease.

Dealing with Hearing Loss

While it may not be possible to hold off age-related changes to hearing altogether, catching early signs of hearing loss can improve your overall quality of life significantly. Consulting with a doctor to adjust your exercise regimen has the dual benefit of helping both heart and hearing. Testing your hearing and adopting the use of a hearing aid can help to minimize any strain or frustration you may experience from changes to your hearing. With so many advancements in hearing aid technology, it has never been easier to find a solution that meets your needs.

Unsure about where to start or concerned about changes in your hearing? Contact us to book a consultation and learn more about the relationship between cardiovascular health and hearing loss.

8 Tips for Communicating with People with Hearing Loss

It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Or in this case, it takes two parties to have successful communication–a talker and a listener. If one of the parties is experiencing hearing loss, the seemingly simple act of communication can feel frustrating or be confusing for both sides of the conversation. Instead of avoiding a conversation, follow these tips to better communicate with the hearing-impaired.

  1. Maximize visibility of faces. Face each other directly and take advantage of good lighting when possible. Give your brain the ability to read facial cues and lip reading. Hold off on having serious conversations at dimly lit restaurants or concerts.
  2. Ensure your mouth is unobstructed by keeping your hands away from your face and avoiding eating, smoking, or chewing gum while in conversation. Beards and mustaches also make lip reading a lot harder.
  3. Minimize extraneous noise or distance. Background noise can make it significantly harder for a hearing-impaired person to hear and understand you. Turn off the TV or music. Steer clear of big air conditioners and other sources of household noise. And yelling from another room can be challenging to understand for anyone, regardless of their hearing health.
  4. Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid speaking too fast or in an overly complicated manner. Don’t succumb to the impulse of shouting or exaggerating gestures and mouth movements which can quickly feel offensive. If your listener hasn’t understood your message, try to find another way to phrase what you’re saying instead. Exaggerate you mouth movements when speaking to make it easier for the person to read your lips.
  5. Be aware of better ears. If your friend or loved one hear better in one ear, try to be sensitive to this and position yourself accordingly.
  6. Rephrase key information. If someone is having a hard time understanding a particular word, try using a different word or change the sentence around so they can have different information to help them figure out what you are saying.
  7. Repeat key information. If you need to communicate essential details, such as times, address, or phone number, be sure to confirm the specifics to ensure that the listener hasn’t mistaken an “s” for an “f” and ends up on the wrong street. Better yet, write it down.
  8. Be aware of body language. If you’re noticing a confused look or hesitation, chances are your listener may not have understood what you’re saying. Pay attention to clues or behaviors that may indicate any confusion or difficulty understanding and follow-up with concise clarity.

Following these tips can make communicating / having a conversation much smoother for all parties involved. If you’re concerned about changes to your hearing or hearing loss, click here to book a consultation with our  audiologist today, or contact us at (212) 786-5741.