New Year, New Hearing Aids?

Many people ask questions about the lifespan of hearing aids. The lifespan of a hearing aid is determined by a few factors: The individual’s hearing loss needs, technology available and durability of hearing aid components. As an individual’s hearing loss changes over time, the hearing aid may not have enough power and amplification available to account for the amount of hearing loss correctly. If the hearing aid is at it’s maximum output available for all parts, then it is time to look at upgrading to a new device to accommodate the hearing loss. Hearing aid technology is progressing and getting more advanced each year. Usually, by the time 5 years has elapsed, there is a large gap between the older technology and the new hearing aid releases. Newer technology aims to produce clearer and cleaner sound quality in more and more difficult environments with each release. Hearing aids can process faster and faster with each release and that leads to a better ability to hear and understand conversations in background noise. Taking proper care of hearing devices can lengthen the lifespan of hearing aids. Avoiding too much moisture throughout the years by using hearing aid dryers will keep the circuit inside of the hearing aids in good working order. Also, replacing wax traps and domes as instructed can also help keep the hearing devices working properly for a long time. If the devices are neglected, it could mean that the devices will need to be replaced sooner. As the New ...Continue Reading

Can The Weather Hurt My Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are essentially mini computers with a lot of technology packed onto a chip housed inside the casing. Any extreme swing of temperate and/or humidity can have an effect on the components of a hearing aid. Hearing aids are comprised of a chip, microphone, speakers, a receiver, a battery and sometimes rubber tubing. Changes in humidity can cause rubber tubing to become hard, brittle and even crack. If the integrity of the tubing changes, the individual is not hearing the sound quality that they were intended to hear because the tube in which the sound passes through is compromised. Electronics are also subject to negative effects when temperatures change. Electronics tend to run slower when the temperature is too high or too low. Too much humidity in the environment can cause moisture to build up on the hearing aid and the components causing the electronics to malfunction and corrode. The best way to combat those environmental changes is to store the hearing aids in a hearing aid dry box when not in use and to keep the batteries out of extreme cold or hot temperatures. By maintaining proper conditions of the hearing aid and the components, the lifespan of the electronics will be much longer than devices that have been subjected to more harsh conditions.

Hearing Loss Increases Fall Risk

Our ears play a very important role in our daily lives by helping us with hearing and vestibular (balance) function. There are two organs in the ear. One is called the Cochlea and it collects vibrations and pressure waves to determine which sounds we are hearing and then the information is sent to the brain for processing. Three semicircular canals and two otolith organs make up the vestibular system that provides input to the brain about our equilibrium, motion and spatial orientation. The brain uses different sounds that it hears to help process where we are in relation to other objects. The ears detect sounds and the brain can compare the volume and speed at which those sounds reach each ear. If our ears have hearing loss and do not hear well, the sounds will not be detected correctly and therefore, the brain will think we are in a different place than we actually are in relation to those other objects. Studies have shown that individuals with even just a mild hearing loss have an increased accidental fall risk by one-third over those with no hearing loss. Furthermore, the studies have also shown that for every 10 decibel increase in hearing loss, the fall risk increased by 140%. Greater amounts of hearing loss are very taxing on the brain and it’s ability to process information. Spatial awareness and balance control is also very demanding on the brain. With hearing loss that is not addressed, the brain has a difficult time ...Continue Reading

Is All That Technology Worth It?

There is a common misconception amongst individuals with hearing loss that if you are not very active, you do not need all of the great technology available in a premium hearing aid. Hearing aids are tools to help the ears hear sound and the brain process the information. Hearing aids are available in several different levels of technology. Each level up will have more technology available to the user to help with speech and noise processing. The goal is for the hearing aid to do most of the work before the user’s brain tries to process the information. Individuals, especially those with hearing loss, tend to not realize how much information the brain is processing even in what they consider to be a quiet environment. It is rare that someone is truly sitting in silence and not involved in any type of task. Even in a quiet environment it is likely that an individual with be listening to environment sounds around their home, the TV or their telephone. The brain is constantly processing the sounds it is picking up in the environment, therefore it is important for the hearing aid to be able to properly process all of those sounds. Premium hearing aid technology will give the user the best opportunity to hear speech sounds clearly and easily in a variety of dynamic environments. If the hearing aid cannot keep up with level of processing needed, then the user will become frustrated because they cannot understand information clearly or because ...Continue Reading