How You Can Prevent Hearing Loss
To protect their ears, anyone with a job that requires them to work in loud environments needs to wear ear protection.
People working in manufacturing, building, airport employees, or performers such as musicians may fall into this category.
Don’t Wait until It’s Too Late to Protect Your Ears!
You might, for example, work in an industrial setting, on construction sites, or you could enjoy going to music festivals and concerts.
Individual lifestyle preferences, such as listening to music or the use of protective devices, including earplugs, are targeted as specific prevention measures.
While not all forms of hearing loss can be avoided. You can take action to reduce the chances of experiencing age-related or noise-induced hearing loss.
How Do Hearing Aids Work
Although there are different types of hearing aids available, they all function in the same way and have the same basic components:
- Computer chips
The microphones in your hearing aid pick up all of the sounds around you. These sounds are then analyzed by the computer chip before being sent to the amplifier. In modern hearing aids, the computer chip can pick out certain sounds, like voices and prioritize these so it is easier for you to follow conversations.
The sound is then amplified and played through a loudspeaker, so you can hear it properly. From there, sound travels to your inner ear where it is picked up and processed by your brain.
This is the basic way that all hearing aids work, but they will be adjusted and programmed based on your specific needs, so the computer chip knows which sound to amplify the most. For example, some people have difficulty hearing low pitched sounds while others find it harder to hear high pitched sounds.
Your hearing aids will also adjust based on the environment that you are in. For example, they will work differently in a quiet room with a few people, and a busy restaurant with lots of background noise. A hearing instrument specialist will select the right hearing aids based on your specific needs.
Wearing Hearing Aid May Help Protect Brain In Later Life
- University of Exeter
- A new study has concluded that people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.
A new study has concluded that people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.
It builds on important research in recent years pulled together by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care, through which hearing loss emerged as an important risk factor for dementia. This research suggests that wearing a hearing aid may mitigate that risk.
The research was conducted by the University of Exeter and King’s College London and is presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in LA. In the PROTECT online study of 25,000 people aged 50 or over.
The findings provide early evidence that encouraging people to wear an effective hearing aid may help to protect their brains and reduce their risk of dementia.
The poster is entitled ‘Use of Hearing Aids in Older Adults with Hearing Loss Is Associated with Improved Cognitive Trajectory’.
Explore the latest scientific research on sleep and dreams in this free online course from New Scientist
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Support Needed For Reform And Research
Existing research is insufficient to establish a causal relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and more studies that address this question need to be undertaken. Larger longitudinal studies may hold the key to furthering our understanding of the correlation between these important topics. However, the extensive evidence to date, of which just a small sample has been shared here, suggests that a relationship between the two exists.
Given the proven human and economic impacts of hearing loss and cognitive decline, we advocate for an increase in ongoing research alongside national policy reforms for a holistic life-course approach focused on hearing loss identification, prevention and intervention for people of all ages.
We support the Hearing Health Forum EUshearing health policy frameworks for adults, and the recommendations of leading authorities, including the Lancet Commission and the World Health Organization, in transforming healthcare services for those living with dementia and hearing loss.
Degrees Of Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can make it hard to keepup with work meetings and other conversations. It can result in listening fatigue.
Hearing care professionals use the terms normal, mild, moderate, severe and profound to characterize the degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is measured in decibels , and these terms refer to the lowest threshold a person can hear.
- People with normal hearing can hear most speech sounds in quiet and comfortable listening situations. They can also hear leaves rustling and birds chirping.
- People with mild hearing loss may hear reasonably well in one-on-one conversation but may miss words and speech sounds when a person is talking softly or when there is background noise.
- People with moderate hearing loss will miss many speech sounds. They may mishear parts of conversations or ask others to repeat themselves.
- People with severe hearing loss will miss the majority of conversational speech and using standard telephones will be very difficult.
- People with profound hearing loss cannot hear speech sounds even when they are very loud.
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How Can You Decide Which Noises Are Too Loud
The following signs should be a red flag that the noise around you is too loud:
- If you have to shout to be heard above the noise.
- If you cant understand someone who is speaking to you from less than 2 feet away.
- If a person standing near you can hear sounds from your stereo headset while it is on your head.
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Everyday Sounds Can Be Dangerous For Your Ears
Not only are we subjected to unpleasant or unexpected sounds, but we are often subjected to potentially dangerous noises. If its something you hear every day, it doesnt even have to be that loud.
Power mowers, music festivals, emergency vehicle sirens, airline jets taking off, fireworks, and lawnmowers are examples of sounds exceeding 85dB.
As the Cilia Are Damaged, This Is Forever
Sounds can become distorted or muffled over time, making it difficult to hear others when they speak or requiring you to turn up the television or radio volume.
Every day, we are exposed to sound in our surroundings, such as television and radio broadcasts, traffic, and household appliances.
Loud sounds originate from a source, such as an explosion, gun, or music from loudspeakers that are turned up to loud and continue until arriving in the ear, where they cause havoc.
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Hearing Loss And Risk Of Depression Over Time
Relative to those with No Hearing Loss, individuals with Treated Hearing Loss had higher odds of depression across follow-up after controlling for baseline depression and demographics . Those with Untreated Hearing Loss did not show significantly higher odds of depression. Both older and female individuals showed higher odds of depression, while non-Hispanic African Americans and number of years of schooling demonstrated lower odds. There were no differential effects of hearing loss on depression by baseline depression, age, and gender groups.
Everyday Sounds Will Become An Issue
There is going to be a time when everyday sounds start to become a harmful threat to your hearing. With the way technology has evolved in the last couple of years, appliances and other home devices have noise ratings attached to them to warn you of their noise levels so that you can determine the potential risk to your hearing health. You need to be proactive and purchase appliances and devices that have a low noise rating.
If a noise gets far too loud when you are out at a party or restaurant, dont hesitate to let them know about the issue. If you are in a restaurant, a manager would likely be willing to turn the background music down for you or possibly move you to another table away from the noisy speakers and smacking dishes.
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How Can I Prevent Noise
The best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to protect your ears from loud noises:
- Move away from loud sounds or speakers.
- Turn down the volume when listening to music or watching TV. When wearing earphones or earbuds, you should be able to hear conversations around you.
- Take breaks after listening to music with headphones or earbuds for more than 1 hour at a time.
- Wear ear plugs at concerts or if you play in a band.
- Wear ear plugs or ear muffs when mowing the lawn, using power tools, or anytime you are around loud machinery.
- Talk to your doctor about getting a hearing test if you have tinnitus that doesnt go away or you are concerned about your hearing.
Check Medications For Hearing Risks
About 200 drugs can damage hearing, including some antibiotics and cancer-fighting drugs. Even high doses of aspirin can harm your ears. If you take a prescription medication, check with your doctor to make sure it wonât make an impact. If you must take a medication that may harm your ears, make sure your doctor checks your hearing and balance before and during your treatment.
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Hearing Loss: A Common Problem For Older Adults
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Hearing loss is a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. People with hearing loss may find it hard to have conversations with friends and family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctors advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms.
Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 has difficulty hearing. But, some people may not want to admit they have trouble hearing.
Older people who cant hear well may become depressed, or they may withdraw from others because they feel frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. Sometimes, older people are mistakenly thought to be confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative because they dont hear well.
Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. If you have a hearing problem, see your doctor. Hearing aids, special training, certain medicines, and surgery are some of the treatments that can help.
Devices To Help With Hearing Loss
Your doctor or specialist may suggest you get a hearing aid. Hearing aids are electronic, battery-run devices that make sounds louder. There are many types of hearing aids. Before buying a hearing aid, find out if your health insurance will cover the cost. Also, ask if you can have a trial period so you can make sure the device is right for you. An audiologist or hearing aid specialist will show you how to use your hearing aid.
Assistive-listening devices, mobile apps, alerting devices, and cochlear implants can help some people with hearing loss. Cochlear implants are electronic devices for people with severe hearing loss. They dont work for all types of hearing loss. Alert systems can work with doorbells, smoke detectors, and alarm clocks to send you visual signals or vibrations. For example, a flashing light can let you know someone is at the door or the phone is ringing. Some people rely on the vibration setting on their cell phones to alert them to calls.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are a new category of regulated hearing devices that adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss will be able to buy without a prescription. OTC hearing aids will make certain sounds louder to help people with hearing loss listen, communicate, and take part more fully in daily activities. OTC hearing aids are expected to become available in stores and online in the next few years.
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How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Age
You may ask your family or other loved ones to help you make it easier to live with hearing loss. Sharing about your hearing loss with others can help you find support to cope with the condition.
You can better manage your hearing loss by:
- Informing friends, family and communication partners of your hearing loss.
- Asking family and friends to face you when they speak.
- Being specific when youre telling someone how they can help you better understand. For example, let them know that they need to get your attention before they start talking or that you use facial cues to help you understand, so you need them to look at you when speaking.
- Avoiding places with lots of ambient noise, such as restaurants or venues with live music.
- Turning off the television or radio when you arent listening to them.
- Wearing hearing aids or using other devices as directed by your provider.
- Showing appreciation for when someone goes out of their way to help you.
What Hearing Remains Needs To Be Protected
While hearing loss that is caused by noise cannot be repaired , you are able to take specific measures to avoid hearing loss or save the remaining hearing that you have. Some steps you can take include:
- When youre at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
- Take routine hearing exams
- Use the proper hearing protection devices, like earplugs or earmuffs if you work in places with consistently loud noises
- Whatever your hearing loss may be, hearing aids could be the answer
- If there are areas that always have loud noise avoid them
Actually, its best to avoid exposure to loud noise by wearing hearing protection and keeping the volume down on all your devices. But if you are exposed, schedule a hearing test.
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Beware Of The Earbuds
Earbuds are prevalent in todays culture of smart phones and laptops. If used at high volume, it causes more damage than previous generations boom boxes or Walkmans, Edwards notes.
The closer you get that sound to the ear drum, the louder it is because its trapped in and its tighter and that increases the level of the sound, which increases their risk for damaging their hearing.
Hearing Aid Myths That Hold You Back
Can hearing aids reduce these risks? Lin hopes to find out in a new study, still in the planning stages. These studies have never been done before, he notes. What we do know is that theres no downside to using hearing aids. They help most people who try them. And in those people, they can make all the difference in the worldallowing people to reengage with friends and family and to be more involved again.
Although nearly 27 million Americans age 50 and older have hearing loss, only one in seven uses a hearing aid. If you think your hearing has diminished, its worth making an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing check, Lin says. If you have hearing loss, dont let the following myths keep you from getting help.
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Hearing And Cognitive Health
Studies have shown that older adults with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia than older adults with normal hearing. Cognitive abilities decline faster in older adults with hearing loss than in older adults with normal hearing. Treating hearing problems may be important for cognitive health. See Whats the Connection Between Hearing and Cognitive Health?
Can Getting A Hearing Aid Help Prevent Memory Loss
by Katherine Griffin, Katherine Bouton, AARP
Hear Better: Quick tips to care for your hearing aid
En español | It really doesn’t seem fair: Hearing loss, a troublesome fact of life for more than 48 million Americans, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, may increase the risk of cognitive problems and even dementia. By the time Americans reach their 70s, two-thirds have hearing loss.
“The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging,” says Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But recent findings, he says, suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than we’ve previously thought.
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How Is A Person Likely To Change When That Person Reaches Midlife
How is a person likely to change when that person reaches midlife? The person will have generative priorities. In a study examining self-criticism in a large sample of Canadian adults, researchers found what relationship between self-criticism and age? Both men and women became less self-critical as they aged.
Social Isolation Loneliness And Stigma
Impact on society and economy
Years Lived with Disability and Disability Adjusted Life Years
WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 980 billion. This includes health sector costs , costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs. 57% of these costs are attributed to low- and middle-income countries.
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The Impact Of Hearing Loss At A Restaurant
Restaurants are places with a lot of ambient noise .
Normally, this background chatter is what gives eateries a bit of character, and its no great problem. However, when you cant hear properly, ambient noise can make it very difficult to converse with your fellow diners or hear the waiting staff.
All-too-often, people with hearing loss will inquire about the house specials, only to nod their heads as if they understood everything, before returning to the printed menu to settle for something they might not want.
And its a problem that may be getting worse. One UK-based charity, Action On Hearing Loss, reports that 81 percent of those surveyed had experienced difficulties sustaining conversations in places to eat.
Most restaurants arent designed with acoustics in mind, which only makes the problem worse, although some have thought about the issue, adding things like cork wood ceilings to absorb sound waves so help is at hand.