Hearing Blog

What You Need to Know About Wireless Technology and Digital Hearing Aids

  • By Pacific Hearing Care
  • 15 Nov, 2017
Wireless Technology and DigitalHearingAids | Pacific HearingCare

Wireless technology is changing the way that people use hearing aids. Gone are the days when you had to struggle to hear the TV or talk on the phone. Digital hearing aids have revolutionized how people hear. Not only do these aids have feedback cancellation (meaning that you can eliminate odd buzzing or intrusive whistling sounds), but they also let you cut out the extra ambient noises around you and focus on what you want to hear - especially if what you want to hear is on a television, computer or smartphone.

While you might not find listening to the TV or watching a video on your computer a challenge under regular use, when other people come into the room you may suddenly have issues. Wireless technology can put this problem in its place and help you to hear better. How does this work and what can it do for you? Take a look at what you need to know about digital hearing aids and wireless technology.

Straight to Your Ear

Instead of having to travel through the air, the sounds from your TV, computer, smartphone or other Bluetooth-equipped device go straight to your ear. Not only can the sounds from your devices go right to you, but they do so without wires or cords getting in the way.

How can this benefit you? Obviously, it cuts out any ambient noises. If other people come into the room, your spouse turns on the radio or the dog starts barking, what you're trying to listen to doesn't have to compete with everything else in the room. When it comes down to it, your ears get direct access to the sounds that you want to hear. The extra noises, feedback and everything else will fade away as you get a clear, crisp sound coming through your hearing aids.

Hands-Free

Talking on the phone isn't always easy. Between holding it up to your ear and getting past your hearing aids, it's awkward and uncomfortable. But what would happen if you could sit, stand or walk as you talked - without having to hold onto anything?

Wireless digital hearing aids can connect to a smartphone, making it possible for you to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And the best part is, you don't have to hold the phone to your ear. Keep in mind, you can only use these hearing aids with devices that connect wirelessly.

You also won't need to waste time adjusting your hearing aids or making changes before switching from device to device. Answering a call is typically as simple as turning the hearing aid on. That's it. There's little fuss and little for you to do.

Even though the wireless feature of your digital hearing aid lets you easily talk on the phone hands-free, it doesn't work in every instance. You can't use a digital hearing aid's wireless technology with your regular cordless (or corded) home phone or cell phone's that aren't Bluetooth-enabled.

If you have a telecoil in your hearing aid, you can use it with hearing aid-compatible phones. This is the case even when the phone isn't a smartphone.

Sound Synchronization

In general, the sound quality of a digital hearing aid is better than older models that you may have tried years ago. With the ability to wirelessly transmit sound in nanoseconds, you won't notice a major lag between when the sound is made and when you perceive it. You'll also notice better sound synchronization between both ears. You'll hear at a rate that seems similar to what you would have before wearing hearing aids.

Do you need new digital hearing aids? Pacific Hearing Care  can help.

Holiday Tips for Hearing Aid Wearers

By Pacific Hearing Care 27 Nov, 2017

The holidays are coming up. You may already be looking forward to spending extra time with friends and family and enjoying the traditions you celebrate. However, the holidays bring unique challenges for people who wear hearing aids.

From damage to the device to an uncomfortable experience, many things can happen. Don't let your hearing aid get in the way of the excitement. Learn what you can do to enjoy yourself as much as possible during the holidays.

Store the Device with Care

If you're planning to host family and friends for a holiday, it's vital that you keep proper storage in mind. This tip is especially important if you'll be entertaining your grandchildren or other little ones. Young children are a joy and a ton of fun, but they're also curious, and your hearing device is an awesome discovery for them.

Even if any damage caused is innocent, this doesn't negate the fact that it can be costly. If you typically keep your spare batteries and other aid components on your nightstand, in the kitchen or another easily accessible area, it might be a good idea to switch up where you store the device, even if just temporarily.

A tall shelf in the closet or a locked box, such as a jewelry box, are great options. Just make sure you avoid putting your hearing aid in the medicine cabinet. The increased humidity levels in the bathroom can lead to moisture damage within the device.

Prepare for Noisy Environments

Many holiday traditions may bring you joy, but they might also bring extra noise along with them. Whether you're dealing with 15 extra family members all talking at once in your home or a Christmas carol singalong, you may suddenly have to deal with noise levels far above what you're used to hearing.

If noisy environments often bother you, and you struggle to adjust your hearing aids properly to compensate, you may need to visit with a hearing aid specialist to make sure your hearing aids are doing their job properly for you. In the meantime, remember that it's perfectly fine to step away from your loud grandkids every once in a while to get a break.

If you're hosting the holiday events, you can set up the house to work best for your hearing. Make sure that any holiday music is at a low level, and turn the speakers so they don't directly face the furniture you'll be sitting on. If possible, you can also use a round dinner table instead of a square one, which will give you the best vantage point to read people's lips and see their body language as they speak.

Travel With Care

If you're traveling for the holidays, like so many people do, you'll need to plan ahead to make sure your hearing aids are met. For a start, remember to pack extra batteries so that you're never caught without a functioning hearing aid, and remember to bring your cleaning tools just in case.

If you're planning on flying to your destination, you don't have to worry. You should know that all domestic airlines allow passengers to use hearing aids during flights, even if the hearing aids use wireless technology. You also won't need to take your hearing aids out to go through airport security - just let the TSA agents who scan you know that you're wearing hearing aids, and you should be fine.

Whether you need to upgrade to a new device or you damaged your hearing aid during the fun of the holidays, Pacific Hearing Care can help. With an extensive selection of new devices and a team of certified instrument specialists  on hand, we're here to meet all your hearing aid needs and help you get back to enjoying your life.

By Pacific Hearing Care 15 Nov, 2017

Wireless technology is changing the way that people use hearing aids. Gone are the days when you had to struggle to hear the TV or talk on the phone. Digital hearing aids have revolutionized how people hear. Not only do these aids have feedback cancellation (meaning that you can eliminate odd buzzing or intrusive whistling sounds), but they also let you cut out the extra ambient noises around you and focus on what you want to hear - especially if what you want to hear is on a television, computer or smartphone.

While you might not find listening to the TV or watching a video on your computer a challenge under regular use, when other people come into the room you may suddenly have issues. Wireless technology can put this problem in its place and help you to hear better. How does this work and what can it do for you? Take a look at what you need to know about digital hearing aids and wireless technology.

Straight to Your Ear

Instead of having to travel through the air, the sounds from your TV, computer, smartphone or other Bluetooth-equipped device go straight to your ear. Not only can the sounds from your devices go right to you, but they do so without wires or cords getting in the way.

How can this benefit you? Obviously, it cuts out any ambient noises. If other people come into the room, your spouse turns on the radio or the dog starts barking, what you're trying to listen to doesn't have to compete with everything else in the room. When it comes down to it, your ears get direct access to the sounds that you want to hear. The extra noises, feedback and everything else will fade away as you get a clear, crisp sound coming through your hearing aids.

Hands-Free

Talking on the phone isn't always easy. Between holding it up to your ear and getting past your hearing aids, it's awkward and uncomfortable. But what would happen if you could sit, stand or walk as you talked - without having to hold onto anything?

Wireless digital hearing aids can connect to a smartphone, making it possible for you to hear what the person on the other end is saying. And the best part is, you don't have to hold the phone to your ear. Keep in mind, you can only use these hearing aids with devices that connect wirelessly.

You also won't need to waste time adjusting your hearing aids or making changes before switching from device to device. Answering a call is typically as simple as turning the hearing aid on. That's it. There's little fuss and little for you to do.

Even though the wireless feature of your digital hearing aid lets you easily talk on the phone hands-free, it doesn't work in every instance. You can't use a digital hearing aid's wireless technology with your regular cordless (or corded) home phone or cell phone's that aren't Bluetooth-enabled.

If you have a telecoil in your hearing aid, you can use it with hearing aid-compatible phones. This is the case even when the phone isn't a smartphone.

Sound Synchronization

In general, the sound quality of a digital hearing aid is better than older models that you may have tried years ago. With the ability to wirelessly transmit sound in nanoseconds, you won't notice a major lag between when the sound is made and when you perceive it. You'll also notice better sound synchronization between both ears. You'll hear at a rate that seems similar to what you would have before wearing hearing aids.

Do you need new digital hearing aids? Pacific Hearing Care  can help.

By Pacific Hearing Care 21 Sep, 2017
Hearing aids have come a long way over the years, and technology is always advancing. Learn more about some noteworthy hearing aid advances for 2017.
By Pacific Hearing Care 11 Sep, 2017

Are you at risk for hearing loss? Most people don't know whether they're at risk or not. If you've begun to notice signs of hearing loss already, you may not know why, but understanding the causes of hearing loss can help you take action to prevent further deterioration.

Sometimes, hearing loss can be caused or exacerbated by other, seemingly unrelated medical conditions. Take a look at some of the conditions that you likely didn't previously know could cause hearing loss.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that can have a profound effect on your whole body, so it shouldn't be surprising that diabetes can affect your ears. You probably already know that diabetes damages your blood vessels, causing them to harden and narrow-that's why patients with diabetes often suffer from circulation problems.

Diabetes also damages the blood vessels in your ears. And unlike other parts of your body, your ears don't have a backup supply of blood. Once those blood vessels are damaged, you will get less blood flow to the ear, and the lack of blood will damage your hearing.

Studies of the connection between diabetes and hearing loss have found that there are links at all sound registers. That means that there is the potential for profound hearing loss when you have diabetes. If you have diabetes, take steps to protect your hearing.

Maintaining control over your blood sugar can help prevent hearing loss; uncontrolled diabetes is more likely to lead to blood vessel damage in your ears. You should also avoid smoking, which can increase the risk of hearing loss. Steering clear of loud noises or using noise-canceling headphones and other devices to protect your ears when loud noises are unavoidable can also help you save your hearing.

Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when there aren't enough red blood cells in your blood to adequately carry oxygen to your body. A lack of iron, which the body uses to create red blood cells, is the cause of this type of anemia.

Iron-deficiency anemia is a fairly common condition that can usually be managed with dietary changes or iron supplements, but what you may not know is that the condition could put you at risk for hearing loss.

A study that was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery found that patients with iron-deficiency anemia were at increased risk for both sensorineural hearing loss and combined sensorineural and conductive hearing loss than patients who did not suffer from anemia.

Anemia damages the ears because the condition prevents oxygen from getting to the sensory hair cells that translate sound into electrical impulses. The red blood cells that are missing in anemic individuals are used to carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough red blood cells, not enough oxygen makes it to these sensory hair cells, and they are damaged or die.

It's not yet known whether iron supplementation can be used as a treatment plan for hearing loss caused by iron-deficiency anemia. However, you should follow your doctor's recommendations about including iron in your diet and using any supplements that are called for.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure causes hearing loss in much the same way that diabetes does: it damages the blood vessels in your ears. When you have high blood pressure, your blood is pushed through the body too quickly, which damages artery walls and causes a buildup of fatty plaque. As you likely know, this process leads to heart disease, but the same process also affects your ears, causing blood vessel damage.

Studies have found that the higher one's blood pressure is, the more pronounced the resulting hearing loss is. However, bringing the high blood pressure under control could restore some or all of the patient's hearing. Patients who suffer from high blood pressure should visit an audiologist to find out whether their hearing is at risk.

These conditions are common and can affect anyone at any age. If you suffer from one of these conditions, or if you have reason to think that your hearing has changed, you should get a hearing screening  done as soon as you can.

By Pacific Hearing Care 05 Sep, 2017

Before hearing aids are fitted or any other treatment for hearing loss is implemented, it is necessary to determine the patient's degree of hearing loss. A hearing assessment is critical for making a precise determination of the needs of persons with hearing difficulties.

Audiologists, physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other medical professionals have a number of hearing tests at their disposal. Each type of test possesses its own unique characteristics and attributes, and the professional in charge of the patient's care determines which tests should be conducted. Below are some of the most common hearing assessments in use today.

Pure-Tone Test

One of the most common hearing tests used with individuals of all ages is the pure-tone test. In this test, the participant wears a pair of soundproof headphones, and the examiner administers a series of tones. The tones are emitted with varying frequencies and volume and are played in only one ear at a time.

The individual being tested is instructed to listen for the tones and signal when they hear the sound by raising a hand or making another visual cue. The raised hand, whether left or right, corresponds to the ear in which the tone is heard.

Auditory Evoked Potential Test

With the auditory evoked potential test, also known as the auditory brainstem response test, the assessment is conducted using an electroencephalogram (EEG) and audio tone generator. The test participant is instructed to rest or may even be asleep as the test is conducted, depending on the testing environment.

The test session begins by a test administrator fitting the individual's head with EEG leads and then playing specific tones. No conscious response is requested from the patient, as the audiologist or technician will evaluate the EEG output to determine whether the brain is "hearing" the sound.

Otoacoustic Emissions Test

The otoacoustic emissions test measures hearing capability by monitoring sound feedback produced by the cochlea, a structure in the inner ear. As outside sounds enter the ear, they cause the tiny cilia on the exterior of the cochlea to vibrate; this vibration is measurable with the use of a specialized monitoring probe inserted into the ear.

For individuals with compromised hearing, there will be a decidedly decreased response in the otoacoustic emissions test. As with the auditory evoked potential test, the participant does not need to consciously respond. This feature makes the otoacoustic emissions test particularly useful for infants and other patients who can't show what they can and can't hear.

Speech Reception Threshold Test

Often given as a follow-up test to pure-tone testing, a speech reception threshold test measures the ability of a participant to understand spoken words. One of the main objectives of the speech threshold test is to verify the results of the pure-tone test.

In the speech reception threshold test, the participant is often fitted with headphones and asked to repeat a series of words read to them by an examiner or recorded on a medium. Words are read at a variety of volumes, and testing may be conducted in a quiet or noisy environment, depending on the specific diagnostic information needed by the audiologist.

Rinne Test

The Rinne test is useful for determining whether conductive hearing loss is present. The test begins by the test administrator striking a tuning fork tuned to a frequency of 256 hertz or 512 hertz. Next, the examiner holds the end of the fork to the mastoid process, the bony protrusion located beneath the ear and asks the participant to indicate when they are still able to hear the sound.

When the participant indicates the sound fades away, the examiner then moves the fork from the bone to immediately in front of the ear and asks whether the participant can hear the sound. If the sound is still audible, normal conductive hearing is usually confirmed. However, if there is no sound heard once the fork is removed from the mastoid process, then a deficiency exists with conductive hearing.

If you are struggling with hearing, then you should immediately contact a hearing professional  for an assessment. They will likely use one of the above assessments or other tests to help determine whether you need treatment, such as hearing aids or other therapeutic interventions.

By Pacific Hearing Care 25 Jul, 2017

In addition to symptoms that include tremors, muscle rigidity, slowed movement, and changes in speech, hearing loss often occurs in elderly individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD)-a progressive brain disorder that leads to decreased production of dopamine.

Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter the brain releases in the body to regulate movement. The neurotransmitter also plays a role in sleep, memory cognition, and the ability to process sounds.

Cause of PD Hearing Loss

The reason isn't known for certain, but some people with PD don't only have trouble producing speech; they have difficulty understanding it. Although aging is a factor that frequently causes hearing loss, low levels of dopamine may be a contributing factor in older adults with PD.

Age-related hearing loss is due to damage to sensory nerve cells in the inner ear, making it more difficult to hear. However, research suggests  that the neurotransmitter dopamine helps to regulate the auditory pathways and may have an effect on auditory neurons that are responsible for processing auditory information.

The loss of dopamine can lead to damage to the cochlea. The cochlea is the spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear that converts sound waves into auditory nerve impulses that the brain translates into sounds.

Dopamine helps protect the cochlea against noise exposure, which can cause permanent hearing loss over time. Sounds that are too loud or continuous exposure to noise over a prolonged period can damage structures in the inner ear. Like age-related hearing loss that usually occurs in both ears, noise-induced hearing loss can occur in both ears.

Effects on Communication

A key side effect of hearing loss is how it interferes with communication. For a person with Parkinson's disease who may already have speech problems, hearing loss can make the ability to communicate with others even harder.

Since PD is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system, weakened muscle control of muscles in the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat can occur, causing slurred speech and hoarseness. When hearing loss occurs in combination with speech problems, communication becomes extremely difficult.

The loss of hearing doesn't simply involve a reduction in the loudness of sound. It also affects the clarity of the sounds a person hears. Words seem to blend together, making them sound jumbled. The bad news is hearing impairments that distort sounds make it hard to understand what other people are saying during normal conversation.

Frequency of Occurrence

Although the loss of hearing isn't always due to aging alone, reports show that some level of hearing loss occurs in about one-third of older adults between the ages of 61 and 70. The frequency of hearing loss rises to more than 80 percent among adults after the age of 85. Since the average age for the onset of Parkinson's disease is 60, it isn't surprising that the two conditions may be related.

A study published in the European Journal of Neurology  examined a potential link between hearing loss and an increased risk of Parkinson's disease in Taiwanese individuals age 65 and older. Results of the study showed that Parkinson's disease occurred more often in individuals with hearing loss than in subjects without hearing loss. Although additional research is needed, researchers speculate that hearing loss may be a non-motor symptom of Parkinson's disease.

Hearing Aids as Treatment

Treatment of hearing loss related to PD involves being fitted for a hearing aid to amplify and improve the quality of sound. A hearing aid helps you hear sounds more clearly, which makes speech more understandable.

It's also important to schedule regular hearing evaluations with an audiologist to ensure that your hearing isn't deteriorating more. Early detection that your hearing is getting worse allows the audiologist to make any necessary hearing aid adjustments to provide for your changing needs.

Don't let hearing problems diminish your enjoyment of life. Contact the hearing specialists at Pacific Hearing Care  for a full hearing evaluation and more information about the treatment options available to you.

By Pacific Hearing Care 28 Jun, 2017

When many people start to lose their hearing, they try to ignore the hearing loss and pretend everything is normal. They might not want to admit that something is wrong and might feel embarrassed asking for help.

If this is the case for you, you should understand how much hearing aids can improve your life. While asking for help may seem daunting, consider all the benefits you'll get from wearing hearing aids.

1. You Can Improve Your Relationship With Your Grandchildren

Do you ask your grandchildren to repeat themselves over and over until they get frustrated and walk away? You likely feel just as frustrated because you want to connect with your grandchildren but just can't understand what they're telling you.

As most people get older, they have trouble hearing higher pitches, and the high-pitched voices of young children are notoriously difficult for grandparents to hear. With a hearing aid, though, you'll be able to hear your grandchildren's voices once again.

A hearing aid works by converting sound into electrical signals. The hearing aid sends these signals to an amplifier, which amplifies the sound in your ears.

2. You Can Improve Your Safety While Driving

Since you first noticed your hearing loss, you may have begun to feel nervous behind the wheel. You can't hear people honking at you, and you can't hear ambulance and police sirens.

Fortunately, hearing aids can help you hear these sounds and feel safer as a result.

3.  You Can Watch Television Without Captions

You likely love relaxing in front of your favorite movie or television show. But your hobby may no longer be pleasurable if you can't hear what's going on.

You can turn up the volume, but the loud volume may bother your family members and neighbors. You can watch with closed captioning, but closed captioning isn't available for every program. Plus, captions don't always capture exactly what the characters are saying, and they just don't provide the same experience as listening to the characters talking does.

With hearing aids, you will likely be able to hear the television at a normal volume once again. You can also invest in an assistive listening device that streams the TV's sound directly through your hearing aids.

4. You Can Feel Comfortable at Parties

A common complaint from many patients with hearing loss is that they can't hear well in a party or group setting. There are so many noises and sounds in these situations that following a conversation can be difficult. Some people with hearing loss stop going to parties and group activities because they feel embarrassed that they can't keep up with the conversation.

Fortunately, hearing aids can help you hear even in noisy environments. You can once again converse with family and friends and follow the trail of the conversation.

5. You Can Talk on the Phone

Some people with hearing loss give up talking on the phone entirely. When they can't watch a speaker's facial expressions or read their lips, they find it very difficult to understand what they're saying.

Fortunately, hearing aids can improve your hearing over the phone as well as in person. Some types of hearing aids come with a device called a telecoil. The telecoil picks up signals from the phone and converts it into sound. Telecoils allows you to hear what the other person is saying on the phone without background noise getting in the way.

You may at first be embarrassed about getting hearing aids, but you should think of all the benefits you'll get from high-quality devices. With the right hearing aids, you can navigate through your day without problems and continue to cultivate relationships with your family members.

For top-quality, affordable hearing aids, turn to Pacific Hearing Care.

 

 

By Pacific Hearing Care 28 Jun, 2017
By Pacific Hearing Care 28 Mar, 2017
By Pacific Hearing Care 13 Mar, 2017

Many people watch their grandparents and parents experience hearing loss as they age. When they start to notice symptoms of hearing loss in themselves, they begin to wonder about what the future holds.

Experiencing hearing loss can be unsettling and even frightening. Learning more about age-related hearing loss can help patients understand this health condition and how to manage it. Let's examine the answers to three of patients' most common questions.

1. What Causes Age-Related Hearing Loss?

We can hear thanks to hair cells in our ears that capture sound waves. Unfortunately, these hair cells are among the many parts of the body that can decline as we age. As they get older, many people's hair cells become damaged or even die, causing permanent hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can become increasingly worse over time.

Some people are more likely to lose their hearing than others. Genetics are one of the most common reasons to lose hearing, so if your parents lost their hearing, you likely will, too.

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is very common. It's the second most common medical condition in older adults. In fact, about one in three Americans between ages 65 and 74 experience hearing loss.

2. Can It Be Prevented?

Genetic-related hearing loss can't be prevented. However, there are other factors that may contribute to hearing loss. These factors include frequent exposure to loud noise, smoking, and certain diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Certain medications, including some chemotherapy drugs and excessive amounts of aspirin, can also cause hearing loss.

If you work in a loud environment around noisy machinery, take precautions to protect your hearing. You can wear ear plugs or other devices that dampen sound. You should also avoid loud rock concerts if possible.

Quitting smoking and living a healthy lifestyle may also help you prevent age-related hearing loss. If you take medications that cause hearing loss, talk to your doctor about a possible adjustment to your treatment plan.

Be aware that some types of hearing loss aren't necessarily related to age. Otosclerosis is a disease that affects the middle ear. Meniere's disease and autoimmune inner ear disease also affect the inner ear. If you notice symptoms like sudden hearing loss, dizziness, or ringing in the ear, see an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment.

3. Can It Be Cured?

Unfortunately, age-related hearing loss cannot be reversed. But it can be treated.

The most common solution is a hearing aid, an amplifying device that fits in or behind your ear. Some people feel embarrassed to wear hearing aids because they believe it calls attention to their hearing loss. However, modern hearing aids are much less noticeable than hearing aids in the past. Some hearing aids fit directly in your ear canal, so other people won't even know it's there.

If you would like to try hearing aids, see a hearing care specialist. He or she can test your hearing and fit you with your preferred hearing aids.

A variety of assistive listening devices can also improve your quality of life. For example, there are devices that amplify the sound of your phone or your television.

More aggressive medical solutions include cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing systems. These devices improve your ability to register sound, but they are only prescribed for people with severe hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss can occur gradually, so you might not notice it's happening at first. If you struggle to hear during conversations or find yourself turning up the TV or radio volume more than usual, see a hearing specialist.  He or she can help you find the right hearing solutions for you.

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