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4th of July Tips For Ears

June 24th, 2018 by

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4th of July:  Prepare Your Ears 4th of July fireworks

The 4th of July means backyard parties, concerts and fireworks.  And, it’s going to be a loud celebration.  After all, fireworks are designed to make as much noise as possible!

Did you know that if you stand within just three feet of your neighbors fireworks, you are exposing yourself to 150 decibels of sound? That’s equivalent to a jet engine!   Keep the following tips in mind when you celebrate:

  1. Keep a safe distance from fireworks and loud speakers at any picnic or backyard party you attend. You’ll still enjoy the fun with less damage to your ears.
  2. Bring and wear ear plugs. Ear plugs are an inexpensive way to protect your hearing and a good idea to have on hand for the 4th of July!  We like these by Etymotic.  We have plenty on hand at our office so give us a quick call.
  3. Protect you children’s ears! Children and babies’ ears are vulnerable to loud sounds.  Hearing damage is cumulative and adds up over time. We recommend BANZ earmuffs for kids in cool colors and graphics. Kid love them! This will save them hearing loss down the line.
  4. Use an app.  If you’re unsure how loud it is, keep track on a cell phone app. This will protect you from hearing loss in the future.
  5. Cover your ears and move away. If for any reason you are near loud sounds and don’t have earplugs, cover your ears and move away.  It is better than doing nothing.

FYI:  Please see a hearing professional if you have these symptoms.  Exposure to noises such as loud fireworks can result in:

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist who enjoys assisting others with all types of custom ear products to keep your ears healthy and hearing well.  Book an appointment for recreational activities such as hunting, concerts, swimming or musicians.    

 

 

Swim Plugs for Summer

June 17th, 2018 by

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swim plugsSwim plugs will keep your summer activities fun and your ears water-free! Hate water in your ears?  Keep that water out of your ears and enjoy water-free ears this summer!

Waterproof swim plugs are custom made to offer protection for those who suffer from water sensitivity and ear infections. Some will float and all are designed for maximum comfort.

Custom fitted swim plugs help to avoid swimmer’s ear infections.  The most common cause of swimmer’s ear is bacteria inside your ear canal from water that remains in your ear. The less moisture in your ear, the better your ears will feel and fewer visits to the doctor!

Summertime FunWe are excited to offer custom fitted swim plugs in an array of colors here at Hearing Solutions in the Triangle.   We recommend our patients thoroughly dry their ears after swimming or showering.  The less moisture in your ear, the better your ears will feel!

Invest in a good pair of swim plugs and enjoy summer fun with water-free ears!  Schedule an appointment today and get them for your summer fun!

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist who enjoys assisting others with custom recreational ear products to keep your ears healthy and hearing well. If you’re looking to improve the health of your ears, contact her for advice on custom swim plugs.

 

Why A Hearing Exam Matters

May 20th, 2018 by

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Hearing Exams Matter

Hearing exam

Most people don’t realize how even a little hearing loss impacts their overall health.  Usually the decline in hearing is slow and gradual.  It’s hard to realize there is a problem because the brain adapts.  Everything from medications, head injuries, noise, heredity and infections can play a role in hearing loss.

A hearing exam will assess your current hearing and ear health and monitor any decline.  Some issues can be simple fixes such as a buildup of wax.  But no matter what the cause, the garbled hearing puts stress on the brain.  Quickly addressing any hearing issue reduces the deprivation to the brain and hidden health issues.

Bottom line:  The faster you deal with hearing decline, the better the brain will function over time.

Not hearing well brings surprising health risks:

  • Memory / cognitive decline
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Depression
  • Decreased overall health
  • Social isolation
  • Increased risk of dementia

Hearing exams are important for your health!  We recommend a baseline hearing exam at age 30 and monitoring every 3 – 5 years until age 50.  Bi-annual exams are recommended for those over 50.   Take our Online Hearing Test or talk with our Audiologist and find out if you have hidden hearing loss!

 

Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

March 25th, 2018 by

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Sleep plugs help you get the good night’s sleep you’ve been missing!

Sleep is important to disconnect, recharge and heal.  It helps us to function properly each day and is vital to maintain your health.

Effects of Poor Sleep

Poor sleep is linked to memory problems, increased stress, decreased attention along with thousands of traffic accidents.  Chronic sleep loss increases your risk for heart attack, obesity, stroke and diabetes.

Noise Effects Sleep Quality

A good night’s sleep can be interrupted by noisy neighbors, barking dogs or a snoring partner.  City noises and construction may also interrupt our sleep. Sleep plugs help prevent the health consequences of poor sleep and allows you to get an undisturbed night’s rest!

Comfortable Fit

Sleep plugs are custom molded for your ears.  They are easy to insert and fit perfectly in your ears.  Custom sleep plugs are made of a soft silicone material and comfortable to wear all night.  They are easy to clean and don’t buildup bacteria that can occur with foam earplugs.

Get a restful night’s sleep!  Schedule an appointment today to get your custom molded silicone sleep plugs.

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist who enjoys assisting others with all types of custom ear products to keep your ears healthy and hearing well. If you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep, contact her for advice on custom sleep plugs.

Hearing – Use it Or Lose It!

February 25th, 2018 by

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Hearing – Use It or Lose It!

Use it or lose itCatching a hearing problem early will help keep you hearing your best!  Even a slight difficulty understanding in social groups can impact how your brain receives sounds.

For example, consider that you’re starting to miss some of the speech sounds that may be “out of your range”.  This makes it harder to understand others, especially in background noise.

The brain becomes used to these “gaps” of sound and eventually “forgets” that these sounds exist.  Over time, the nerves weaken from lack of stimulation.  Eventually the nerves atrophy from disuse and the brain is unable to recognize these sounds or give them meaning.

It is important to keep your ears and brain stimulated with the entire range of sounds. You may not know if you have a reduction in a particular hearing range, but a baseline hearing check will tell you exactly how you hear. Catch it early and preserve what you have!  “Hear Well for Life”™.

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist and owner of Hearing Solutions in the Triangle, PLLC with over 25 years of experience. Have a few questions – she can be contacted here.   If you’re looking to check your hearing range or improve listening skills visit our online scheduling here.

 

The hEARt of Hearing

February 3rd, 2018 by

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Your heart and hearing are connected!  A healthy heart can have a positive effect on hearing.

The inner ear is sensitive to blood flow.  It needs a rich blood supply for proper function.  One tiny artery provides the blood to the inner ear.  Consistent blood flow is critical to keep hearing healthy.  Any blockage or blood flow issues can cause permanent damage to the ear.  It reduces oxygen and nutrients to the inner ear.

Good cardiovascular health is important for hearing ability.  High blood pressure can accelerate hearing loss.  As blood pressure increases, hearing decreases from the damaged artery walls.  High cholesterol also affects your hearing.  As your diet increases in cholesterol, so does your chance of having hearing loss.  Smoking restricts blood vessels and can also impact hearing.

February is American Heart Month! Your heart, your health and your hearing are all connected. Keep your hearing and your overall health in top shape with diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.  Get a baseline hearing check to be sure it is in good condition and stays that way! hearing heart

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist who will review your health history and explain how it relates to your hearing health!  If you’re looking to maintain current hearing, contact her for nutrition that supports hearing health.

 

Ear-Responsible Workouts

January 14th, 2018 by

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Be ear-responsible with your workouts and goals for 2018.  Everyone hits the gym or trail to reach their new goals for a healthy body.  But this can be costly to our ears . . .

Are we ignoring our ears for a “healthy” body?   Whether in a fitness class or working out alone – we are saturated with loud music.  Be mindful about the risks we take with our ears in our attempt to be healthy.

Keeping Workouts Ear Healthy:

Ear responsible workouts

1.  Monitor your music during workouts:  Rule of thumb is to set volume at 60% for no more than 60 minutes/day.  Invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling earphones so you aren’t tempted to raise the volume because of surrounding distractions.
2.  Fitness classes: Distance yourself from the speaker(s) during workouts.  Attach a pair of earplugs to your gym bag and use them in class.  Ask the instructor to turn the music down.
3.  Don’t strain too hard or hold your breath during intense workouts to prevent tiny membrane tears or restricted blood flow. Breath properly during exercise and weight lifting. Don’t use excessive weights during workouts.
4.  Check any changes:  If you notice ANY changes in your hearing after your workout, such as ringing in your ears or decreased ability to hear – get it checked!  It may cost you your future hearing!

If you’re looking to maintain current hearing contact our Audiologist for any questions or strategies to keep workouts healthy for your ears!

Why We Love Loud Music

January 7th, 2018 by

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Most of us LOVE loud music. Loud music can mean high energy, fun and excitement.  Cranking up the volume stimulates the brain in the pleasure center.   It raises the intensity of the experience – whether it is on the dance floor, working out or at a concert.  Here’s why:

loud music

Loud music

Loud music is a stimulant.  Loud music increases the heart rate and body temperature just like caffeine, exercise and alcohol.  Studies show that loud music improves exercise performance by increasing endurance, power and strength.   Look at everyone in the gym with earbuds!

Loud music relieves stress.  Listening to music is a form of “de-stressor”.   A small organ in the inner ear links directly to the pleasure centers in the brain.  Loud music stimulates the release of endorphins from this connection.  This tiny ear organ (called the sacculus) is responsible for our enjoyment of music!

Emotions

Emotions

  Music evokes emotions.  There are strong connections in the brain between our emotions and the interpretation of sound.  Our brains release dopamine at peak moments in songs.  When we listen to a song we already know, the anticipation of favorite passages also releases dopamine.  This is why we get emotional with the songs you love!

Loud music “drowns out” the world.  Blocking out the world can feel necessary sometimes.  Loud music masks other sounds in the immediate surroundings. Loud music overwhelms the other senses similar to alcohol or drugs and changes our state of mind.  Our focus changes.  We focus less on other things when listening to loud music.  This allows us to enjoy “the moment” and the emotions of the music!

We like loud music because it changes our mood and behavior.  Excess produces hearing damage.  Moderation is best to prevent hearing disability.

For thoughts on social consequences of hearing disability, contact our Audiologist , Dr. Anita Carroll.

EARS NEED REST

December 3rd, 2017 by

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Ears need rest and quiet time this holiday season!

Make the most of your time together this season by hearing your absolute best!  Noisy malls, busy restaurants and even the holiday music can be too much to handle in the coming weeks. Even our ears need to rest!   Take a quiet break to prevent ear fatigue.  Limit phone time, TV time and music time.

Rest is important to be able to focus and understand others.  As you prepare for the holidays,  get plenty of sleep and allow for “quiet time”.  It takes extra energy and concentration to follow conversations in holiday settings.  This can make us extremely tired.

Rest your ears

Rest your ears

When our brain is fatigued – we are unable to focus and make good conversation.   This causes brain overload and ear fatigue. We are thinking, ‘I’m exhausted and I just want to get out of here.’  That will not result in good conversation. You’re better off taking a break and resting your ears.

3 Tips to Remember:

  •  Minimize the total sound you are exposed   to before a visit or activity.  (Remove earphones, limit tool use and loud exercise classes).
  •  Plan for daily quiet breaks such as a walk, reading or nap.
  •  Limit yourself to one “activity” per day. Try not to go to several occasions on the same day.   Allow your ears to be rested and sharp!

Communicating is exhausting – so take time out for your ears to do their job!

If you’re looking to maintain current hearing or improve communication with better hearing contact our Audiologist for more thoughts on preventing ear fatigue.

Smoke Alarms and Hearing: Will You Wake Up?

November 19th, 2017 by

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Smoke alarms can usually be heard while we are awake.  But will it wake you up when you are sleeping?

Sleeping family

Sleeping family

When we are sleeping, sounds need to be louder to startle us awake and respond.  In fact – it needs to be as much as 40 dB louder for a person to wake up! Eventually, it may awaken you – but will it be in time to respond and exit safely in an emergency?

As we age, the ability to hear high-pitched sounds decreases.  While this may not impair your daily communication, it slows down your arousal and response for you to safely exit.   Smoke alarm signals are in this high-pitched range of hearing that decreases with age.

While  you may hear the smoke alarm – you will not be STARTLED to awaken from a sound sleep.   Combined with the TWO minute timeline for a fire to overtake a home, this illustrates the danger for those with hearing loss, sound sleepers and sleep apnea machines.  By the time you awaken from a “far away” sound, the fire may have progressed too far for a safe exit.

Here are the facts:

  • It’s about fast AWAKENING and having enough time to escape!
  • Majority of residential fire fatalities occur between 11 pm and 7 am when mosts people are sleeping.
  • 50% of adults with even Mild hearing loss DO NOT wake up to a smoke alarm.
  • Children, handicapped individuals, and heavy sleepers are slower to awaken and also impacted.
  • A lower frequency 520 Hz smoke alarm signal is the most effective signal for waking adults with hearing loss, heavy sleepers and handicapped individuals – waking 92%.  

This is about SAFETY and important for everyone to consider!  Contact our Audiologist for recommendations on smoke alarm options for those with apnea, decreased hearing, and sound sleepers.

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