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.

Making the Most of Your Appointments

Making the Most of Your Appointments

Just like your car, your hearing aids and hearing health can benefit from routine care and maintenance. After a hearing aid fitting, you are likely to be asked to come back for follow-up appointments. These routine visits offer great opportunities for you to ask your hearing professional questions, have maintenance performed on your hearing aids and keep your hearing top notch. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your appointments.

 

Keep a Journal

Adjusting to hearing aids can be challenging. It is likely for you to experience sounds that you have not heard in a long time. You may find that you’re paying closer attention to your surroundings as well. Before each follow-up appointment, set aside some time to reflect upon your experiences. Ask yourself if you’ve heard any new sounds since you began wearing your hearing aid devices. Ask friends and family how the hearing aids have affected their communication with you. Have there been any environments or situations where you wish your hearing aids would have worked better? Finally, write down any questions or concerns you may have. The more details you can provide, the better your hearing aid specialist will be able to help.

 

Bring a Friend or Family Member

It can be very beneficial to have a friend or family member with you at your appointments. Your loved ones likely have additional insight and may be able to provide other perspectives to your hearing aid specialist. They may also be able to help you remember anything important from your appointment. Research shows that we immediately forget about half of what we hear at our healthcare appointments.

 

Build a Relationship

Your hearing aid specialist can be one of your biggest advocates for better hearing. You will continue to have a relationship with your provider long after your hearing aids are purchased. They will help you clean and maintain your hearing aids. They will be there to answer any questions you have and provide counseling during your adjustment period. Your hearing aid specialist will also be able to give you suggestions on what hearing aids you will need and keep you updated on changing technology. So, it is important to build a relationship and work with someone you trust.

What to Ask Your Hearing Aid Specialist

What to Ask Your Hearing Aid Specialist

Coming to terms with your hearing loss isn’t easy. Chances are you’ve put off going to the hearing aid clinic for as long as you could. In that time, you probably got used to living with hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid can feel overwhelming at first. It’s a big change and you’re hearing new sounds or even old sounds – they’re just sharper now. If you’re feeling nervous about taking that step to better hearing, take a look at the questions below. Asking these questions to your hearing aid professional could help put your mind at ease.

 

What Can I Expect with My New Hearing Aid?

Depending on how severe your hearing loss is, normal sounds may seem loud. You might be sensitive to day-to-day sounds and noise levels. Your hearing professional can give you other expectations with your new hearing aid.

 

What Does Wearing a Hearing Aid Feel Like?

Just like wearing glasses or new shoes, a hearing aid will take a little getting used to. It may feel strange at first – putting something in or around your ear, hearing sounds at a different level, processing sounds in a different way. Your hearing aid specialist should be able to explain what it would feel like.

 

What should I expect after that?

With all change, it’s important to remember that this could take time. But getting an idea of what to expect when this becomes normal could be helpful and ease some fear.

 

What Advice Should I Give My Friends and Family?

Some of your loved ones will be anxious to help, but they may not necessarily know what to do. Asking for advice from your friends and family can be helpful.

 

Do You Have Any Other Advice?

Your hearing aid specialist might be able to give you a few tips and tricks they’ve learned. It could be something like an easy way to get your hearing aid in your ear, the best way to clean it, or just general care.

 

If you have any other questions that weren’t covered in this, don’t be afraid to ask. The professionals at the hearing center are there to help you.

Tips on Tinnitus Relief

Tips on Tinnitus Relief

How Do I Improve Tinnitus?

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition known to cause ringing, buzzing, and other noises in the ear. During the day, these sounds aren’t as noticeable. But when nighttime rolls around and you should be sleeping, these sounds seem to increase and keep you awake. Here are some tips on improving tinnitus and in turn, improving your sleep.

 

Avoid Rooms That Are Too Quiet

One of the reasons people don’t notice tinnitus as much throughout the day is because there are other noises to help reduce the ringing. When a room is quiet, the buzzing is much more noticeable. One way to avoid a quiet room is to have an app or a device that creates sleep-friendly sounds.

 

Try Meditation or Other Relaxation Techniques

Meditation can help reduce stress. Studies have shown that meditation can be a beneficial tool to better manage tinnitus. It makes you focus on your breathing rather than the ringing in your ears. Other relaxation techniques – deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy, or whatever technique you use to relax – can reduce the anxiety tinnitus is known to cause.

 

Limit Your Use of Earplugs

Earplugs can reduce the ability to hear external sounds and make tinnitus worse. On top of that, frequent earplug use can lead to earwax buildup and impacted earwax. Both of these can make tinnitus worse.

 

Don’t Ignore Ear Pain

The combination of ear pain and tinnitus could worsen your symptoms if left untreated. Always speak to your doctor about the symptoms you’re having.

 

Seek Treatment for Hearing Problems

If you begin to experience hearing difficulties, then speak to your doctor. There could be another medical condition that is triggering this. If your doctor cannot find any reason for your tinnitus, you may be referred to either an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) or an audiologist who can test your hearing.

Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged?

Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged?

Reasons for that Clogged Ear Feeling

Are you having issues with your ears? Do they feel stuffy and clogged? Are you suffering from sudden hearing loss or difficulty hearing? There could be a simple reason for this – impacted earwax, a sinus infection or something else. Most of the time there’s an easy fix. It is important to discuss your symptoms with a general physician or a hearing specialist to properly diagnose the reason for your ears feeling clogged. They will also help you properly fix it. Let’s explore why your ears feel clogged.

Impacted Earwax
People often see earwax as “gross,” but it’s a very useful way to protect your ears. Your body naturally produces it to trap dirt, dust, or anything else that can get into your ears and keeps your ears clean. Unfortunately, earwax can occasionally become impacted. If your ears feel clogged, you have an earache, and you have itching or discharge, you could have impacted earwax. Luckily, this can be easily removed. It is important to consult a general physician or audiologist for proper treatment. Do not try to remove impacted earwax yourself by using a cotton swab, Q-tip, or any other tool. You could push the earwax deeper into the ear canal or possibly puncture your eardrum.

Sinus Infection
We’re all familiar with the signs of a cold – stuffy nose, congestion, tenderness around your nose. But did you know that sinus inflammation could affect your ears? We have sinus cavities next to our ear canal. Any sinus inflammation or sinus infection can put unwanted pressure on your eardrum. This can be extremely uncomfortable. Typically, the stuffiness you feel in your ears fades when your cold symptoms do. In more severe cases, people experience pain, dizziness, and have difficulty hearing. Nasal decongestants or topical nasal steroids can help with this. If these symptoms persist, it is best to visit your doctor.

Swimmer’s Ear
Most of us have experienced the feeling of having fluid trapped in our ears. Earwax typically stops water from getting into our ear when we’re in the pool or the shower, but water can make its way into our ear canal. Sometimes it becomes trapped in our ear. Even if you’re not a swimmer! The best way to get water out of your ear is to tilt your head sideways and gently pull on your earlobe to release the water. Occasionally, fluid can develop in the ears when the person has a middle ear infection. These are typically minor, but you should contact your doctor if you experience severe pain or you have these symptoms for longer than a day.

Altitude Change
Flying on planes, driving up or down the mountains, or any other altitude changes can cause an uncomfortable, sometimes painful sensation in your ears. Altitude changes can unsettle the auditory tube and that can cause pressure between the middle and outer ear. Swallowing, chewing, or yawning can help allow more air into your auditory tube and help keep you comfortable.

Hearing Aid Specialists

Sometimes the clogging in your ears is more than one of these four problems. The sudden hearing loss or difficulty hearing may be something bigger. That’s where we come in. Here at the Hearing Group, we care about you and your hearing. We have local hearing professionals that can help you determine what the issue is with that clogged feeling in your ear. You can request a hearing evaluation at one of our hearing aid clinics. Our professionals will discuss if you need a hearing instrument and help you determine which one is the best fit for you. We will help you every step of the way.

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