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Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss: A Worker’s Nightmare

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Ten signs of hearing loss you can’t afford to miss

If you had hearing loss, would you know it? Not necessarily. Hearing loss often starts subtly and symptoms can take decades to manifest themselves as it progresses slowly over time. The most common type of hearing loss, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), can shift so gradually that you may not realize how much you are missing. In fact, as hearing worsens, you may subconsciously adjust everyday activities and social interactions to cope with hearing difficulties. In time, you might not notice how gradually hearing loss has diminished your ability to live your life to its fullest. Luckily, you can do things to improve this situation and re-engage with loved ones.

Knowing the signs of hearing loss is key to success

There are many signs of hearing loss. It starts with everyday annoyances. Some are blatant, others are subtle. If you or a loved one are showing these signs, we encourage you to make an appointment for a complimentary hearing assessment.*

  1. “People are mumbling” – This could indicate hearing loss.

    You may notice that certain words are difficult to understand. People, especially women and children, may seem to be talking too softly or not enunciating their words. Chances are you find yourself saying, “What did you say?” all the time. If this sounds like you, you may be experiencing hearing loss.

  2. Are restaurants too loud?

    Restaurants are among the hardest places to navigate for people with untreated hearing loss. Background noises, such as clinking dishes, people speaking loudly at other tables and loud music all make it exceptionally challenging to follow a conversation.

  3. Social gatherings aren’t fun anymore

    People talking passionately, music, laughter and other competing sounds can make it harder to take part in get-togethers with family and friends. Perhaps you find yourself “sitting out” of the fun or heading home early. There is good news. You don’t have to. The professionals at Waits Hearing Aid Center can help you with ways to cope with hearing loss so you can enjoy the holidays with this simple guide to enjoying social events with hearing loss.

  4. Conversations take too much effort

    Are you exhausted at the end of the day, or a end of the meeting at work? The stress of straining to hear what others are saying can take its toll on your wellness.

  5. Telephone conversations are a struggle

    Telephone, and especially cell phone, transmission is not perfect. Most people can fill in the gaps. Hearing loss compounds the problem and you may struggle to take in the information. This may lead you to avoid phone calls and resort to texting.

  6. Hearing loss affects you and your loved ones

    Hearing loss can take an emotional toll on you and your loved ones. If one or more of these descriptions ring true to you, hearing loss may be the culprit.

  7. High volume is a sign of hearing loss

    Even if you think the volume is fine, if your family and friends complain that you turn up the volume too loud when you watch television or listen to music, you may be experiencing a well-known sign of hearing loss. Are you tired of the constant battle to enjoy TV with family or friends at a sound level that makes everyone happy? It might be worth it to check your hearing, if only to make your family happy.

  8. Are your ears ringing?

    Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is often the first sign of hearing loss. Tinnitus impacts people of all ages, and may be attributed to trauma, exposure to loud noise or illness. It might be a slight annoyance or make it difficult for you to concentrate, sleep, work and even maintain relationships. According to the American Tinnitus Association, 56% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.[i]

  9. You are out of balance – loss of balance is a sign of hearing loss

    Hearing loss may be a sign of an underlying condition that is also impairing your balance. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Universityii found that even a mild degree of hearing loss tripled the risk of an accidental fall.

  10. You are opting out of engaging with people

Is hearing loss putting you in solitary confinement? Have you noticed that you are embarrassed to meet new people? Perhaps you are afraid to join in because you may not understand what is being said. Perhaps you withdraw if it is easier to live without straining to hear people.

Other signs of hearing loss – You are not yourself

Have you felt depressed, distracted or unengaged? Hearing loss has been linked to dementia, depression and other brain-related ailments, including stroke.

Take the first step to better hearing

Perhaps you’ve avoided getting treatment because you are afraid of the stigma that some people associate with hearing aids. That’s old-school thinking. Besides, today’s hearing aids are minicomputers that subtly fit your ears – and your lifestyle.

To get started, we encourage you to come in for a professional hearing assessment. Book an appointment to speak with a professional about addressing your hearing loss.*

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Veterans and Hearing Loss

Returning home from duty, veterans face many challenges, especially those who have served in combat zones. Among them, is hearing loss – ranking among the most prevalent health issues for recently returning and former solders. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 933,000 veterans have received compensation for hearing loss and 1.3 million veterans are receiving disability benefits for tinnitus. Beyond hearing loss and tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) affects a high number of veterans who were exposed to blasts. APD impacts the brain’s ability to understand speech despite the sufferer being able to register sounds normally. While injuries to the ear or brain may cause physical damage, a communication breakdown with loved ones may be the greatest casualty of hearing loss.

Special risks for soldiers’ hearing

No matter where they train or deploy, soldiers face environmental factors that can be harmful to hearing. BioMed Central’s Military Medical Researchers looked at which environments were the loudest and biggest threat to noise-induced hearing loss. They found that the impact of noise on hearing in the military varies among the branches of service.

Yet almost every soldier, sailor, airman or marine will be exposed to very high levels of noise from:

  • Weapons – shotguns, rifles, pistols, grenades and anti-tank weapons
  • Armored vehicles
  • Engine rooms and carrier decks of navy vessels
  • Helicopters, fighter planes, transport aircraft and various jets
  • Jet propulsion fuel

For some, a single explosion with sounds exceeding 140 dB can cause irreparable damage instantly. This sort of acoustic harm to the ears results in permanent hearing loss.

For others, longstanding exposure to dangerous levels of noise can contribute to ear damage over time. Chronic exposure to high sound levels may lead to changes that soldiers don’t notice immediately.

Why veterans should address hearing loss

Many people associate hearing loss with the elderly. However people of all ages can lose their hearing – especially if they have had extraordinary exposure to noise. This is one instance when silence isn’t golden. Hearing well means communicating well. Think about it, if you can’t listen:

  • How can you engage with your loved ones completely?
  • Can you understand your colleagues or customers or participate fully in the workplace?
  • How can you really enjoy your favorite music, movies or television? Sure, closed captioning or subtitles may help but it’s not the same as hearing the intonation in voices.

Unlike the loss of sight, hearing impairment is usually more gradual. You may miss bits and pieces of sentences, but you think that your brain can fill in the missing information. Yet sometimes, the brain guesses wrong. You may believe you comprehended the information when you actually misunderstood it! This can lead to needless conflict and unpleasant rounds of “he said – she said.”

Stylish options for veterans

For hearing aids, design matters! If you have a hearing deficit, these devices may provide a vital service to your well-being just like eyeglasses aid your vision. As with glasses, you want hearing aids to fit well while looking great. Today’s models come in many colors and styles so we can be sure to match you with the right device for your individual needs.

Hearing loss is nothing be ashamed of and hide. But if you choose to, we offer many discrete hearing aids that are hardly recognizable to the naked eye. Whether you wish to wear a stylish mini-computer that sits subtly behind your ear or you hide your hearing aids in the ear canal, there are plenty of options.

Thank you for your service! Now, take time to focus on your needs now!

At Waits Hearing Aid Center we offer free hearing assessments* for veterans and non-vets alike. If you have concerns about your hearing or that of a loved one, we are happy to discuss your options with you. Make an appointment today to get started.

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Hearing Loss: A Worker’s Nightmare

Hearing loss in the workplace is not only frustrating for the employee who suffers from the debilitating condition, but also for all that person’s unassuming co-workers. Let’s face it: being in a fast paced workplace is stressful on its own! Add in hearing loss (whether your own or an office mate’s) and that stress can lead to large amounts of anxiety and strained times on the job.

“No one in my office has hearing loss! They just don’t want to do work!”

In an EPIC Hearing Healthcare study…

• 40% of employees said they have had to pretend that they heard something a co-worker has stated.
• 42% of employees said they often experience miscommunication between others at work.
• 57% of employees said they frequently have to strain to hear a conversation due to background noise.
• 61% of employees have had to ask a co-worker to repeat themselves while in conversation.
• Out of 2000 workers surveyed by EPIC Hearing Healthcare, 95% said that untreated hearing loss has a negative impact on their job.

2,000 workers were surveyed in this study and their overall finding was staggering! 95% of those workers said that untreated hearing loss has had a negative impact on their job. Whether it was their own loss or that of a co-worker, the result was detrimental to their experience on the job.

“95%! What can I do?”

Treating hearing loss means a world of a difference in all aspects of your life. But the benefits can be very rewarding while on the job. All too often, people speak over each other or mumble in office discussions which makes it hard to always hear and comprehend. For those who may even have mild hearing loss, this can be a burden that could be avoided.

Treating your hearing loss (even in the slightest) can mean better job performance, leading to an overall improvement in happiness. The results may also improve production in the work place. Who knew that getting your ears checked could make your boss smile? But new research suggests that miscommunication is one of the largest factors in profit-and-loss in the workplace. So, that smile is just one result of you taking care of you auditory health. Increase your chances of being a top performer at work by improving your communication skills!

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Do I have mixed hearing loss?

Mixed hearing loss means having both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss in the same ear or ears. Mixed hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle ear can’t transmit sound properly to the inner ear. Additionally, the individual’s cochlea, auditory nerve or other inner ear structures that are responsible for interpreting sound and relaying it to the brain exhibit some degree of dysfunction. Mixed hearing loss results from numerous and diverse causes from both sensorineural and conductive loss.

Examples of how this occurs

Patient One frequently attends loud concerts and subsequently develops noise-induced hearing loss. She subsequently develops an ear infection. Patient Two experiences natural, age-related hearing loss. He then experiences a trauma that perforates his eardrum. Both people exemplify this condition.

How a combination of sensorineural and conductive losses impact hearing

Impairment ranges from slight to profound. Conductive hearing loss makes it difficult to understand speech. Sufferers have trouble picking up softer sounds, especially with competing background noises. If the individual has mostly sensorineural hearing loss, speech and other sounds may seem distorted. So even if the volume is loud enough, the individual may struggle deciphering words.

Treatment options

Some types of conductive hearing loss need an ENT specialist to treat the conductive component first. Afterwards a hearing care specialist will address the sensorineural hearing loss. This may include fitting with hearing aids.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Mixed Hearing Loss?

If you or someone you love is experiencing hearing loss or other hearing-related symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a licensed specialist who can properly assess your needs. We welcome you to make an appointmentt today.

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