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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

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Making Better Choices During Better Hearing and Speech Month

It’s no secret, but your hearing health matters! Especially in May, which is Better Hearing and Speech Month. It means the difference between hearing the most important parts of the conversation, such as medical information, dates, prices or can’t-miss work-related details and missing vital information. At other times it may mean not hearing every story your grandkids want to tell you about their busy days. Maybe it’s something someone wants to whisper for your ears only. Whatever your circumstances, you deserve to hear well!

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Every May the hearing care community gets the word out that it’s important to focus on hearing wellness. This year professionals such as the team at Sutton Hearing & Balance advocate for individuals to get their annual hearing assessment – if only to check against future testing – and to learn about hearing wellness.

Five things you can do to improve your hearing wellness

As part of your overall wellness, it’s important to focus on your hearing. That means much more than just getting your ears checked. It means investing in yourself in other ways. Here are some general dos and don’ts to consider this May:

  1. Use hearing protection – it’s key to preventing hearing loss. Avoid loud noise and if you will be around places with excessive volume, wear earplugs or other protective gear. Especially if your plans include concerts or explosives, such as fireworks. If you are not sure how loud something is, you can download a decibel app on your cellphone.
  2. Eat well and go bananas! Just as carrots are famous for helping vision, did you know that potassium is linked to auditory wellness? Other good things to eat include foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus – and organ-meats, like liver.
  3. Don’t use Q-tips in your ears. If you grew up hearing “don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears,” continue to heed that advice. The inner ear canal is sensitive.
  4. Be active. Exercise helps hearing. There’s a positive link between cardiovascular health and hearing acuity in recent studies.
  5. Know how well you hear! Make sure you have an annual hearing assessment. If you discover you have hearing loss, you aren’t alone. Some 48 million Americans1 have hearing loss. Even more have tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Don’t be afraid to address hearing loss

Untreated hearing loss is linked with higher instances of dementia and depression, and it is linked to lower household income, if untreated.1 That’s why it’s important to use hearing aids, if warranted. Hearing well makes communication easier and allows individuals to communicate with confidence.

Can’t make it in May? Hearing wellness matters all year long

While Better Hearing and Speech Month is celebrated in May, we believe your hearing wellness matters all year long. Whether you need your hearing aids cleaned or want to help with handling a loved one’s hearing loss, we’re there to help address your hearing needs. Call (212) 786-5741 to make an appointment to make a no-obligation appointment.

1 Hearing Loss Association of America.

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The Effects of Hearing Loss Can Make You Accident Prone

A recent study by a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has found a link between hearing loss and accidental injuries. While the study can’t prove that hearing loss caused accident risk itself to rise, the findings help illustrate how hearing loss can change a person’s daily life.

After analyzing data from the US National Health Interview Survey, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital team found 6.6 million respondents had experienced an accident in the previous three months. Of these, people with poor hearing were twice as likely to have suffered an injury over people who reported having excellent hearing.

Walking around with untreated hearing loss is almost like wearing blinders for your eyes. You are not getting the full picture of what is happening at any given time. You might miss hearing something like “Look out!” or “Watch your step!”. This could lead to a lifestyle changing injury or a loss of your independence.

Tips to Avoid Accidental Injury

In particular, injuries during leisure activities were most common. This is likely due to a degree of distraction as people focus on their hobbies and immediate surroundings instead of their hearing loss. Defenses are often down during fun and social activities which makes it easy to lose track of challenges in hearing conversations and ambient noise.

Try these simple tips to help minimize the effects of hearing loss during your leisure activities:

  1. Check and wear your hearing aid. Ensuring your device is operating correctly can help you to enjoy your leisure activities as much as possible.
  2. Observe changes around you. If you’re missing calls from the referee or your teammates rib you for never hearing the plays being called, it may be a sign of a change to your hearing.
  3. Have fun, in moderation! Crowds, loudspeakers, busy restaurants, engines, many of the fun environments can also be quite noisy. Show your ears some love by taking rest breaks when in these environments. Even five minutes in a less noisy environment can help.

Don’t wait to get hit in the head by a foul ball you didn’t hear–get your hearing checked to help you avoid accidental injuries. Changes in daily living can be profound for a person experiencing hearing loss, regardless of whether it’s a gradual or temporary loss. You may notice difficulty hearing at home, at work, or while at play. If you do notice any changes in your hearing, be proactive and book a consultation with us today.

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4 Tips to Help When You Can’t Hear the TV

If your family has complained that you’ve got the TV or radio on too loud, it might be an early indicator of hearing loss. Perhaps it’s difficult to clearly hear or understand what’s being said, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to enjoy your leisure time. Follow these helpful tips if you’re starting to experience difficulty hearing the TV.

Tip 1: Monitor Your Hearing

Keep track of your usual “levels” and observe if they are different than the preferred listening levels of other people who use the TV or stereo. If everyone seems to prefer a level that is not loud enough for you, you may need to look into having your hearing tested.

Tip 2: Use Closed Captioning

Similar to subtitles you’d see in foreign films, closed captioning is text that appears on the TV screen. It not only provides the dialogue, but it also outlines the actions of what’s happening on-screen making it easy to follow along with the action. This extra information really helps your brain understand what is happening on screen.

Tip 3: Purchase Better Speakers for you TV

If you are listening to the sound of the TV from the speakers that are built into the TV itself, you are probably not ever going to hear it well. Most flat screen TVs have very small loudspeakers inside which are located in the back of the TV. These speakers are usually pretty low quality and are often pointing at a wall, or worse, they might be pointing at nothing at all. These internal speakers will never produce enough clarity to help you hear the TV easily. Investing at least $100 in a set of speakers or sound bar that will replace the TV speakers will help a lot to make it easier for you to hear.

Tip 4: Get Hearing Assistance

If you have disagreements over the volume level of the TV with your loved ones,  consider booking a hearing test with the intent of obtaining some hearing help. Your hearing care professional can help to guide you on what your options are for improving your hearing, including how to re-adjust the settings on your TV or radio. If TV is the only area where you have difficulty, you may only need an assistive listening device that can be purchased over the counter to help you better hear the sound.

Tip 5: Upgrade Your Hearing Aid Technology

If you’re a big TV fan, upgrading your hearing aid to a model compatible with connectivity to your home entertainment system might be a dream come true for both you and those living with you. Thanks to the latest wireless technology, your favorite programs or albums might instantly go from fuzzy to crystal clear by sending the TV signal into your hearing aids using BlueTooth technology.

If you’re not sure whether you need a hearing aid or want to learn more about maximizing your hearing health, book a consultation with us today.

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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.

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