Why You Need An Annual Hearing Test

Why You Need An Annual Hearing Test

Why You Need An Annual Hearing Test

Have you ever asked, “how often should I get my hearing checked?” Read on to find the answers from our hearing aid experts! Or – click here to watch our video about the importance of an annual hearing test.

 

Hearing Group hearing professionals recommend annual hearing tests for all patients. If you wear hearing aids, an annual hearing test is even more important. Getting your hearing tested should be the same as going to the eye doctor or dentist – you should do it regularly! Just like you would get a new prescription for your glasses every year, we need to program any new hearing loss into your hearing aids every year.

demonstrating annual hearing test

An Annual Hearing Test Can Catch Changes In Hearing Loss

Unfortunately hearing loss does worsen over time, so it can change from year to year. Frequent exposure to loud noises, illness, injury or even medications can worsen your hearing loss, so it’s important to test it annually. Your hearing instrument’s efficiency can change over time, too.

 

When you come in for your annual hearing test, not only are we going to reprogram your hearing aids, but we also might need to change the gain in the receiver. The receiver can change the strength or power of the hearing aid. The tip/dome can make a difference with the acoustics of the hearing aid and might also need to be changed. And we can’t know about these things to fix them unless we see you and your hearing aids! But, when you come in for your test, we can see if your hearing loss has changed. We’ll also make sure that your hearing aids are working properly.

 

Signs That Your Hearing Is Worsening

There are signs that patients usually start to notice in their own environments that signal their hearing is getting worse. Turning the TV up louder and louder or frequently asking people to repeat themselves are good indicators. Patients might also be misunderstanding words now more than they were or feeling like their hearing aids aren’t working as well as they used to. We always let our patients know up front that we’re going to test their hearing every year just to keep track of any changes.

 

Word Recognition/Speech Discrimination

We’ll also keep an eye on word recognition/speech discrimination. Your word recognition score is one of the most important things we monitor. Word recognition is testing to determine how your brain understands speech. This score can fall over time, and it’s incredibly important to keep it as high as possible. If we start noticing a falling trend, it could be that the hearing aids aren’t programmed correctly or that your hearing loss has changed and we need to make adjustments. It could also be a medical issue that you’ll need to have checked out.

 

One of our main goals when you come in is to keep your speech understanding from declining. If we can’t, we will continuously feed the signal to the brain as much as possible to try and drastically slow it down. The more you can understand, the better you’ll be able to enjoy life.

 

Click here to find out everything you need to know about the hearing test process. From the different types of testing to understanding your results, our experts have you covered. And, watch the video below for more information about why an annual hearing test is important.

Sonic Captivate Hearing Aid Review

Sonic Captivate Hearing Aid Review

Sonic Captivate Hearing Aid Review

Patients will often ask what the best hearing aid is. While that’s difficult to say definitively because there are a lot of factors that determine whether a hearing aid is right for a person, a Hearing Group favorite is the Sonic Captivate

Technology Levels

The Sonic Captivate comes in five different levels of technology: starting at the Captivate 100, which is geared toward a really active listening lifestyle and tapering down from there with an 80, 60, 40, and 20. The 20 is made for a more sedentary, quiet lifestyle, for people who aren’t in very noisy environments often.  

The Captivate has a lithium-ion battery and is rechargeable. The battery will not only last for several years but also last for the entire day no matter how much the wearer is using the hearing aid for streaming and listening. There are no tiny batteries to change, you just place the hearing aid into its charging port every night and it’s good to go the next morning.

The Sonic Captivate also comes in a couple of different styles. The most popular style is the miniRITE, also known as a RIC (Receiver in Canal) hearing aid. With the RIC style, the hearing aid sits behind the ear and has a little wire (the receiver) that goes down into the ear. The other style the Captivate comes in is the BTE (Behind the Ear). This style also sits behind the ear. It’s slightly larger than the miniRITE because it’s made for people with a more profound hearing loss, but still small and comfortable. With the BTE, you’ll have a tube fitting and an earmold.

Features

The dual-microphone system is a great feature on the Sonic Captivate hearing aid line: one microphone points forward and the other points behind you. The hearing aid can actually turn down the background noise and enhance whoever’s in front of the user, making communication easy. This system is really helpful in situations with a lot of background noise and those kinds of tough listening environments.

Smart Compress is another one of our favorite features on the Sonic Captivate. Smart Compress compresses background noise to provide a more natural listening environment for the wearer. This feature is great for people who live more active lifestyles and are often in situations with background noise. Smart Compress is only available with 60, 80, or 100 technology levels, and the reason for that is that if you’re in a more quiet, less active lifestyle, you’re not in background noise a lot so you don’t need the Smart Compress feature as much.

A feature that’s available in all levels of technology is the Advanced Feedback Canceler. This is a two-in-one system that helps eliminate feedback (the whistling that can sometimes occur) from the hearing aids.

Made for iPhone Features

This hearing aid is made for up to 14 different listening environments, so it will automatically adjust when you go into another environment. So whether you’re sitting at home talking to your spouse or trying to listen in a noisy restaurant, the Captivate allows the user to hear as well as possible all the time. 

The Captivate is made for iPhone, so it allows you to connect your iPhone and hear through your hearing aids. If you’re driving down the road and your phone starts to ring, you can click the answer on your phone and then talk on your hearing aid! So you’ll be hands-free and able to hear the conversation through both ears.

The Captivate is a discreet hearing aid packed with features that will make your hearing aid experience amazing. These features and so much more are available with the Sonic Captivate, so visit a local provider today and ask if the Captivate might be right for you! And don’t forget to check out our video on the Sonic Captivate here.

Affordable Hearing Aids with Sonic Cheer

Affordable Hearing Aids with Sonic Cheer

So you have hearing loss and need something to help you hear better. You want affordable hearing aids that won’t break the bank but packed with as much technology as possible. You would like it to be small and discreet. Lastly, you would like to be fit by a hearing professional. The Sonic Cheer line of hearing aids may be the perfect solution. Get more information from Hearing Group about Sonic Cheer.

In this article, we will tell you all about the Sonic Cheer receiver in canal hearing aids. 

Receiver in canal (RIC) hearing aids can offer some advantages over behind the ear (BTE) and in the ear (ITE) hearing aids. RIC hearing aids consist of two sections: a small case that rests behind the ear and holds the microphone and amplifier, and the receiver that rests comfortably in your ear canal and carries the sound to your eardrum. Feedback and wax occlusion tend to be less of a problem with RIC devices. RIC devices also provide a more natural sound, and the small size allows them to fit comfortably in and on the ear.

Cheer Hearing Aid Technology Levels

The Cheer hearing aids are RIC devices. They come in three technology levels: the Cheer 20, 40, and 60. The Cheer 20s are great for entry-level hearing aid users and people who live a Quiet Lifestyle. They’re perfect for people whose listening environments include limited background noise, who spend the most time at home, and whose interactions are mostly one on one. The Cheer 20 devices offer good sound performance with speech variable processing. They help make everyday sounds better and keep the speech clear. 

The best part about the Cheer 20 hearing aids is the incredible affordability. These are our most affordable hearing aids and can really offer you great sound and better hearing at a fantastic price. These hearing aids are an amazing value and can fit almost any budget.

The Cheer 40 and 60 levels are great for people who live a more casual lifestyle and are going to need more help with background noise. These higher levels offer more automatic listening environments, better speech understanding in noise, and are able to filter out more background noise than the Cheer 20 hearing aids. The Cheer 60 is the top of the line of the Cheer products so it has the most environments available and will do the very best job of getting rid of background noise.

All of the Cheer products have wireless capabilities via a Soundgate 3 streamer. There is a full spectrum of products available to make your listening experience better in everything you do, including hands-free mobile phone use, binaural audio streaming, and basic control options. You can learn more about these products at the links below.

Cheer Accessory Options

TV Adaptor: https://www.hearinggroup.com/product/...

Soundgate 3: https://www.hearinggroup.com/product/…

The Sonic Cheer products are great options for clear, natural sound. They come in three different technology levels and six colors so they can fit anyone’s lifestyle and budget. The Cheer 20 is an especially great option for entry-level users and is SO affordable.

Ask your hearing specialist about Sonic Cheer hearing aids. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave them in the comment section.

Signia Xperience Hearing Aids

Signia Xperience Hearing Aids

Within the Xperience platform, there are several models of hearing aids, the Pure Charge & Go and the Styletto rechargeable hearing aids.

Battery Life:

With the Charge & Go, the average wear time is 23 hours a day, so your rechargeable battery is going to last you up to 23 hours. If you’re using your hearing aids to do a lot of Bluetooth streaming, you will still get around 20 hours of battery life. As long as you charge your hearing aids up before you put them on for the day, you will be able to wear your hearing aids all day long without having to worry about them dying. The new Charge & Go on the Xperience platform is smaller in size than previous versions. It’s more sleek and narrow, and a very discreet option for people who don’t want their hearing aids to be noticeable and fits behind the ear nice and comfortably.

Adjusting the Hearing Aids

The Pure Charge & Go hearing aids do have onboard controls that allow you to turn the hearing aids up and down by clicking a button on either hearing aid. Turning the volume up or down on either aid will change the volume for both aids. These hearing aids are also compatible with the Signia App you can download for your phone. (Watch out for another video about the Signia App!) This particular hearing aid is made for iPhone, so it will stream directly to your iPhone. If you have an Android device, you will have to have an extra streaming device for the hearing aids to connect to your phone.

Moisture Protection

The charge that comes with your new Charge & Go hearing aids is also a dehumidifier! So every time you put your hearing aids in the charger, it’s working to protect your hearing aids from moisture (sweat, rain, humidity, etc.) dry them out. Keeping your hearing aids free from moisture will help keep them sounding better and lasting longer.

The Styletto hearing aids are unique because of their size and style. The Styletto is slimmer and longer than most hearing aids, which tends to make it easier for people to wear with a mask or glasses – or even nasal cannula. The slimmer device is more comfortable on the ear than a typical hearing aid. Another great thing about this rechargeable hearing aid is the case that it comes in. The Styletto case is small and portable, and it can hold a charge for up to three days without being connected to electricity. It’s great for people who travel a lot or have a busy lifestyle.

The Styletto is Bluetooth capable and therefore allows you to receive phone calls and connect to other media. It also requires the Signia App because there are no onboard controls with this hearing aid. You will use the app to change the volume and programs. This hearing aid also is made for the iPhone.

Motion Sensors

The Signia Xperience platform has a few awesome, innovative new features. One of these is the Acoustic-Motion Sensors. The motion sensors optimize hearing in every situation by recognizing changes in the wearer’s movement to adjust the acoustical settings and maximize audibility as the patient moves throughout their day. What that means is that instead of the typical one microphone in the front of the device, the hearing aids on this platform have two microphones: one in the front and one in the back so that it’s analyzing sounds all around the wearer.

Own Voice Processing

Another great feature is the Own Voice Processing. This enables the hearing aid to detect the owner of the hearing aid’s voice and soften that voice so that it’s a more natural sound for the wearer.

Tinnitus Masker

One other feature we love is the Tinnitus Masker. If you are an individual who has ringing in your ears, the tinnitus masker may allow that ringing to be less noticeable when you’re wearing those devices. This feature can bring some reduction in the stress and frustration that comes from hearing that ringing 24/7.

The hearing aids on the new Signia Xperience platform are amazing instruments with innovative and exciting features. Ask your hearing professional today about the Signia Xperience hearing aids. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for watching and happy hearing!  Learn more about Signia.

The Different Ways People Experience Tinnitus

The Different Ways People Experience Tinnitus

Tinnitus is different for everyone. While two people may experience ringing in their ears, they may perceive this sound differently. Tinnitus can also impact people in a number of ways. Some people may describe their tinnitus as a small annoyance, while others experience high-stress levels. Because tinnitus can vary from person to person, it is important to understand more about the different experiences of tinnitus.

 

Subjective vs. Objective Tinnitus

There are two main types of tinnitus: subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus.

Subjective tinnitus is the most common form and can only be heard by you. This type of tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud noises, aging, or other factors. Subjective tinnitus has various treatment options, but it is often a permanent condition.

Objective tinnitus is much rarer. This usually comes as a result of a vascular disorder or muscle contractions. Objective tinnitus can often be treated by correcting abnormalities. Sometimes, these treatments can result in a permanent fix.

 

Perception of Tinnitus

In addition to the different types of tinnitus, there are different ways people can perceive tinnitus. There are three main ways that people experience tinnitus:

  • Pulsatile Tinnitus: This is the tinnitus that is perceived as a pulsing sound. It is commonly described as a whooshing sound and is often in sync with your heartbeat.
  • Tonal Tinnitus: This is a common perception of tinnitus. It is often continuous and typically associated with buzzing, whistling or ringing noises.
  • Musical Tinnitus: Musical tinnitus can also be referred to as auditory hallucinations. People with this form of tinnitus often hear music playing. While this may not sound as bad as the other two forms of tinnitus, a constant song in your ears can result in stress, anxiety, and a lack of focus.

 

The Impact of Tinnitus

Just as people perceive tinnitus differently, they also experience the impact of tinnitus differently. For some, tinnitus rarely bothers them. However, for others, tinnitus can have a significant impact on their lives. Many people report difficulty focusing, inability to connect with others, or isolation. Tinnitus can also lead to stress and anxiety.

 

Seeking Treatment

If you believe you have tinnitus, you should schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Unexpected Benefits of Hearing Aids

Unexpected Benefits of Hearing Aids

Roughly 38 million Americans have reported some degree of hearing loss. Of those 38 million people, roughly 29 million Americans could benefit from wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids will not only help you hear sounds around you a little more clearly, but they provide other health advantages.

Your mental and physical health can be improved by wearing hearing aids. In many ways, wearing hearing aids can help you stay on your feet.

 

Mental Health Advantages

Mental illnesses such as depression, cognitive decline, anxiety and dementia can be triggered by hearing loss. So, how can wearing hearing aids help with your mental health?

  • Decreases Your Chances of Dementia: One study reported that wearing hearing aids can decrease your chances of dementia by nearly 20%. In other studies, dementia was slowed by as much as two years when wearing hearing aids.
  • Depression and Anxiety: Depression and anxiety are not symptoms that are specific to hearing loss. However, people who suffer from hearing loss have shown to have a higher risk of depression and anxiety over time. Wearing your hearing aids can help you stay socially involved. They can be particularly effective if social and mental connectivity are reasons that contribute to depression and anxiety.
  • Lowers Social Solitude: Untreated hearing loss can often lead to social isolation. Social isolation can cause considerable changes your mood. Being able to continue to be social by wearing hearing aids is extremely beneficial.

 

Physical Health Advantages

Wearing hearing aids not only helps with your mental health, but your physical health as well. The main physical advantage to hearing aids is that you will fall less often. This happens for two reasons.

  • Situational Awareness: Wearing your hearing aids means you are more capable of avoiding obstacles that could cause a fall.
  • Fall Detection: In certain cases, it’s not the fall that is the problem. It is the inability to get back up afterwards. Many new hearing aid models have fall detection as a standard feature. You can save emergency phone numbers in your phone that will be automatically called if you take a tumble.

 

Wear Your Hearing Aids

It’s worth noting that if you have healthy hearing, these advantages will not apply to you. The advantages of wearing hearing aids applies to those who suffer from hearing loss or have hearing conditions. However, if you do suffer from hearing loss, the best thing you can do for your ears and your overall health is to go see a hearing specialist and wear your hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Friendly Face Masks

Hearing Aid Friendly Face Masks

Face masks are a standard requirement for almost everywhere. However, wearing a traditional face mask that goes around your ear can comes with its fair share of issues for hearing aid users. Many patients have been on the hunt for a hearing aid friendly mask.

Amidst the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, hearing aid wearers all over the world have been losing their hearing aids. This happens because the aids get tangled up in the strap of a typical face mask that wraps around the ear. When the patient attempts to remove their mask sometimes it becomes entangled around the hearing aid that sits behind the ear and then gets flung out of the ear to the ground. It can happen so fast that sometimes hearing aid users might not even notice they are gone until it is too late. With hearing aids costing an average of $4,000 for a pair and upwards to $7,000 or more; it can really put a hurt on the pocketbook to replace
them.

We have seen the effects on our patients and decided to do something about it! First, we started by looking for a solution online that someone can purchase with no success. So we put our thinking caps on and created what we believe to be the best hearing aid friendly face mask for hearing aid users. Our hearing aid friendly mask only uses one strap that fits around the crown of the head instead of wrapping around the ears. This design keeps the mask away from hearing aids that are worn over the ears. It is form fitting to snug around the chine. In addition, the strap is adjustable from both sides for comfort. It is made with three layers of fabric: one
outer, polyester layer, and two cotton layers. For patients that wear glasses, the mask also features a metal forming nose piece that is durable and comfortable. It can be washed on a delicate cycle for cleaning and easily worn again and again.

The hearing aid friendly mask comes in adult and child sizes. An additional option is our custom hearing aid friendly face mask that can be custom made with your name or your child’s name on the mask. This is great in the event your child needs several masks for school. It makes it easy for each child to keep track of their own and not mixing it with other students. Custom masks must be purchased in lots of 2 or more. Take a look at our masks.

If you wear hearing aids that fit over the ear – this hearing aid friendly face mask is a must. Don’t take the chance of losing your precious investment, do yourself a favor, and give it a try.

Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable

Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable

Have you just been fit for your first set of hearing aids? You may be experiencing some anxiety or nervousness about using something new, or you may be worried about the comfortability. We have good news for you – you are not alone. Several first-time hearing aid users have fears about the overall fit and comfort of their hearing aids.

 

How to Adjust to Hearing Aids

It is common for your hearing aids to be uncomfortable at first. Early comfort levels will vary, and there will be an adjustment period, but you will become more comfortable as time goes on and you continue to use your hearing aids. It’s simply nice to know what to expect during your adjustment period.

There are two phases to adjusting to your hearing aids:

  • Adjusting to the feeling: There may be some slight physical discomfort when you first start wearing your hearing aids. Your hearing aid specialist may suggest starting out wearing your hearing aids for only part of the day, slightly increasing as you get comfortable. There shouldn’t be any pain. If you are feeling pain from the hearing aid, you should speak with your hearing aid specialist as soon as possible.
  • Getting comfortable with an increased quality of sound: It may take some time for you to get used to the new quality of sound you are experiencing. For most people who have been coping with hearing loss for a while, it may take some time to get used to the full range of sound. You may feel that everything is a little too loud, or you may hear sounds that you are not used to. We suggest giving it some time. After a few weeks, your brain will block out the noises you don’t want to pay attention to.

 

How to Increase the Comfort of Hearing Aids

We have found a few strategies that can help you increase the comfort of your hearing aids:

  • Start off slowly: When you first get your hearing aids, you don’t need to jump right in and wear your hearing aids all day, every day. You can build up to it. Begin wearing your hearing aids from one to four hours per day. Continue to build up and wear them longer as you get more comfortable until you can wear them all day.
  • Practice: The world isn’t going to sound the same with hearing aids. Adjusting to sounds, and even speech, may take a while. There are a few things that you can do to help you adjust more quickly, like reading along with an audiobook or watching a movie with the captions turned on.
  • Make sure it’s the right fit: Your hearing aids are designed to fit your ears properly. You will want to talk about the fit with your hearing aid specialist. They will be able to make sure that everything is fitting and working the way it is supposed to. If needed, you may consider a custom fit hearing aid.

 

Comfortability

For the first few days or weeks, it is common for there to be some discomfort with your hearing aids. Soon, you will adjust, and they will be very comfortable. It is important to wear them on a daily basis to make sure you will adjust to them.

Preventing Age-Related Hearing Loss

Preventing Age-Related Hearing Loss

We lose about 0.5 percent of our hearing capacity every year. This means that we lose about five percent of our hearing every ten years. Age-related hearing loss can be very frustrating. As our hearing begins to fade, we may find that it is more difficult to complete work, listen to media or have conversations with our friends and family.

While age-related hearing loss is generally unavoidable, there are a few different things that you can do to promote healthy hearing. By following these tips below, you can reduce the effect of age-related hearing loss.

 

Visit a Hearing Specialist

A hearing specialist will give you a hearing test to assess the physical and functional health of your ears. Even if you don’t realize it, your ability to hear is constantly changing. Everyone should get their hearing tested at least once after they turn 21. After that, people without hearing loss should have a hearing test about every ten years until they turn 50, then every three years after that. Those who do have hearing loss should visit an audiologist at least once per year, though your audiologist will be able to recommend a better schedule.

 

Use Earplugs When Needed

Typically, sounds that are more than 85 decibels loud can potentially cause hearing loss. Just for reference, 85 decibels is the approximate volume of a noisy restaurant, traffic, or even a lawnmower. A concert generally has the decibel value of 120. Using earplugs can help soften the harm of excessive noise. In most cases, noise-related hearing loss is permanent. This means you will want to do what you can to avoid possible damage.

 

Avoid Common Hearing Health Hazards

Our ears can become “fatigued” when they are exposed to loud noises for long periods of time. When using headphones, audiologists recommend a 60/60 rule. This means you should limit your headphone listening to 60 minutes per day at 60 percent volume. You can listen for longer if you lower the volume level. It is also recommended to use over-the-ear headphones rather than earbuds because earbuds are hazardously close to the eardrum.

 

Control Your Stress

Did you know that stress is one of the most common causes of tinnitus and other hearing issues? There has been a strong correlation between the presence of stress and tinnitus. Unfortunately, stress and tinnitus have a circle effect that can worsen the other. Take time to relax, try meditation or exercise. These will help you reduce your general levels of stress. It is also beneficial to eat healthy and get enough sleep.

 

Be Careful with Your Ears

There are many parts to your ears, especially your eardrum. It is easy to damage, but difficult to repair. Q-Tips – or cotton swabs – are popular for cleaning your eardrum. Although cotton swabs are fairly soft, your ears are delicate, and they are easy to scratch. Water is another common hazard for your ears. After swimming or taking a bath, be sure to gently dry your ears.

Noise Can Damage More Than Hearing

Noise Can Damage More Than Hearing

Loud noise is not only bad for your ears but can play a negative role in your overall health. Exposure to loud and annoying sounds can affect our blood pressure, cause headaches, cause irritability, and even cause fatigue. When we hear a sound that is annoying to us, our blood pressure can elevate, and the rhythm of our heartbeat can change. Both affect our overall health and well-being.

 

It’s Not Just the Noise Level

It’s not much of a surprise that loud sounds are more bothersome than quiet ones. However, new research takes it a step further showing that it’s not just the loudness, but the sound itself. Researchers believe that the amygdala, the part of our brain that regulates emotions, takes over the auditory part of our brains when we hear noise. This can explain why we have negative reactions to unpleasant sounds.

 

Annoying Sounds Aren’t the Same for Everyone

The phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” certainly applies to noise. Most of us can agree that nails on a chalkboard, squealing brakes, and a baby crying are unpleasant sounds. However, we don’t agree on all sounds. What may be music to one’s ears may be awful to another. For example, some of us may find that listening to white noise or a fan is a soothing way to fall asleep, while others may find it annoying and need complete silence.

 

How Noise Affects Our Bodies

Our brains can perceive sounds as noise and that can increase irritability and anxiety. Increased levels of agitation from this can increase the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. In turn, cortisol increases blood pressure and blood sugar, while decreasing our body’s immune system. Increased stress can also increase our cardiovascular risk. Overall, loud sounds not only affect our moods, but can impair our immune systems.

 

How to Handle Noise

Unfortunately, there is no escaping noise. It is everywhere. So, while you can’t avoid noise entirely, you can start paying closer attention to how sounds make you feel. Once you find noises that are bothersome, you can start making small changes to fix that. For example, try using a white noise machine to fall asleep if you have a neighbor’s dog that barks and makes you irritated.

Simply noticing how the sounds make you feel gives you a chance to make changes accordingly. Making those small changes can go a long way towards improving your mood and overall health.

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