Posted in Uncategorized

Fun-Fact Friday: “Ear Worms”

Ear worms… you know those catchy tunes that keep playing in your head long after the music stops? Why do some songs get stuck in our heads more than others? Studies show that songs labeled as Ear Worms (compared to songs that didn’t take off) have certain common traits, such as a fast tempo, a common melodic shape, and unexpected leaps in the song.

Just goes to show that our brains are rigged to prefer some sounds over others. In our practice, we try to figure out what your brain likes to hear and customize your hearing solution accordingly 🙂

earworm2

Posted in Medical

“Z” is for Zika (and other viruses that cause hearing loss)

Zika

The Zika outbreak last year brought awareness to the sad reality that certain viruses in the expectant mother can cause significant health problems to the unborn child. Many of those “Zika babies” are born with physical deformities or develop other deficits– which studies now show to include hearing loss. Even if not present immediately, the child should be monitored as the hearing loss can set in later on- just as we see for children who are prenatally exposed to CMV or herpes simplex.

Similarly, the Rubella (“German Measles”) epidemic in the US between 1962-1965 left many of those born to infected moms, with permanent hearing loss. Many children with hearing loss went undiscovered for years, due to the lack of early hearing detection/intervention programs at the time. Nowadays, we are fortunate to have many institutions in place to try to “catch” those children with hearing loss before they fall behind their hearing peers. And of course, those who have hearing loss owing to Rubella should recognize that there are many more options for treatment nowadays than perhaps were offered to them in the past. Speak to an audiologist who can recommend a custom plan based on your unique history and needs.

Here’s to the final letter of the BetterHearingABC’s, and to “Health/y/ears”!

Posted in Technology, Tips

“Y” is for Youth

Oh, to be young! Many people shy away from treating a hearing loss because it feels like they are resigning to old age. Ladies and gentlemen, this thinking could not be more wrong. When you pay attention to those people who take care of their hearing versus those who let it go unchecked– the former are often the ones who are living healthier, active, and more “youthful” lives. When I spot a person wearing a well-fit pair of hearing aids, I am IMPRESSED. The statement it makes is that this person (or who someone who cares about them) is proactive about their health and living life without limitations. And that is surely a symbol of youth.

fountain_of_youth-820x300

Posted in Uncategorized

“W” is for What Did You Say??

Frequent requests for repetition are a classic sign of hearing loss.

However, family members of a patient will often tell me, “She hears me just fine she when chooses to pay attention!”

While it may appear to be true at times, this assumption does a major disservice to your loved one.

This is what is actually happening: your family member’s hearing loss is muffling and filtering out many sounds in your conversation. If they really focus on your face and pay close attention to the fragments that they’re hearing as well as the subject matter, their mind can compensate for their hearing loss by using these clues to fill in the blanks. However, this extra effort is is tiring, so it becomes easier to just tune out. In addition, when so much of the mind’s resources is spent on listening, there is less energy left over for remembering and processing what was actually said. In some cases of older adults, cognitive skills are not even strong enough to be relied upon. And if there’s background noise, it becomes that much harder to compensate.

People with hearing loss cannot passively listen and enjoy a conversation the way people with normal hearing do, so you can not expect them to always be interested in expending the extra effort to listen and participate. This is why they seem to be uninterested, inattentive or ask you “What?”

The resulting isolation (whether by choice or even unknowingly) is one of the worst effects of a hearing loss, both psychologically and socially.

If any of this sounds familiar, realize that your loved one might be limited by a hearing loss. Call 917-791-1510 to get on the road to better listening and better quality of life. We can help.

hearing-looks-like-this-300x173

Posted in Medical

V is for Vestibular System

Imagine it’s completely dark… how can you tell you’re walking down the steps? What about when you sink into the backseat of an Uber at the end of the day and close your eyes… how can you tell that the car is moving? This is your vestibular system.

The hearing and vestibular (balance) systems are housed together in the inner ear, and they communicate with the brain via two branches of the same nerve. This explains why individuals with hearing loss may also experience loss of balance, and why people who experience imbalance should also have their hearing checked.

If you have vertigo, especially if there is any accompanying tinnitus, decrease in hearing, or a clogged feeling in the ears, don’t skip the visit to the ENT (otolaryngologist). Your physician should ensure that no underlying medical condition is present.

For vestibular weaknesses, therapy may be recommended to strengthen this important sense.

Have a wonderful week!

Posted in Tips

U is for Urgency

For some reason, when it comes to hearing loss, the overwhelming majority of people put off taking care of themselves. It just does not seem urgent, dangerous, or particularly exciting. This leads the average person to wait 6-7 years from when they receive their diagnosis of hearing loss to when they actually get a hearing aid! Seven years represents a significant amount of frustrations and limitations that could be avoided. Don’t be passive about your quality of life, and don’t underestimate your worth in looking after your health needs… if you find yourself struggling with any aspect of your hearing, why not get a routine hearing check, see what’s going on and listen to what the audiologist has to recommend. Whether it’s listening exercises, a (free) captioning telephone, a hearing aid, or other strategies: there is a treatment plan for you that can improve your life, today.

Posted in Tips

T is for Tinnitus

Do you have ringing, buzzing, roaring, whooshing or any other unwanted sounds in the ear? More teenagers than ever are experiencing persistent tinnitus, which is a common sign of damage to the ear and typically affects people over age 50. It can be an warning sign of oncoming hearing loss, or it may signal a hearing loss already present.

Loud music is notorious for causing this upsurge in tinnitus and headaches among younger folks, with musicians particularly at risk. Although it can be managed, there is no real cure for tinnitus.

This condition is largely preventable through safe listening habits. Just ask Chris Martin of Coldplay who battles with tinnitus, and is now meticulous about wearing hearing protection during concerts in which he performs or attends:

“Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem. I wish I’d thought about it earlier.”

If you are experiencing persistent tinnitus, please see your audiologist to assess the health of your ears and hearing, and to discuss possible options for prevention and management.

loud-music-image-drill