Category Archives: Hearing Loss – Info

The hEARt of Hearing

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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.

 

Sudden Hearing Loss

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4 Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss can occur suddenly with no obvious reason or cause.  Here are four common causes:

Head Trauma:  Hearing loss can occur from a head injury.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden Hearing Loss

Dizziness and ringing in the ears may occur along with the sudden hearing loss.

Athletic injuries, car accidents, physical abuse and other forceful contact may cause sudden hearing loss.

Chronic disease and Infections:  Chronic diseases may trigger sudden hearing loss where the trigger is difficult to determine.

Viral infections may cause partial or total sudden hearing loss, especially if left untreated.  

Medications:  Some prescription medications may cause sudden hearing loss. They are called “ototoxic” and can include specific types of antibiotics and chemotherapy.  They are used to treat chronic conditions as well as heart disease and cancer.

Warning signs of an ototoxic drug are ringing / buzzing and decreased ability to understand speech.

Poor Circulation:  Poor blood flow can cause the arteries to function improperly which can affect blood supply to the cochlea (inner ear).   This may lead to both sudden or gradual hearing loss.

Monitor your hearing if you know you have poor circulation.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden Hearing Loss

    Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency!  It is important to have your hearing evaluated and see a medical doctor immediately.  The longer you wait, the less chance for reversal of symptoms.   

Hearing Solutions can monitor your hearing under any circumstance.  “Ototoxic” monitoring is particularly important if you are on chemotherapy or high-dose antibiotics.  

We have the specialized equipment required for monitoring at our clinic and communicate with your physician.

 

Accents and Hearing

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Why Can’t I Understand Accents?

Accents can affect hearing and understanding conversations.  Do you avoid conversations with someone who has an accent?  Do you struggle with understanding regional or foreign accents?  Many blame the accent but it may just be your hearing!!     

Accents and hearing

Accents and hearing

Miscommunication is easy within any region or language.  Especially with those who have a different manner of speaking.  Understanding accents is difficult for all but can be more problematic when you have even a mild hearing loss.  Your brain works harder to fill in the gaps because your ears are not sending complete information to the brain.

We all use our native, childhood language to help us “fill in the blank” for a missed word.  This includes intonation, cadence and grammar.  Typically, the conversation proceeds without a hitch!  But when you have even a slight hearing loss, accents send more gaps of unfamiliar information to your brain – and is unable to make sense of what you hear.

Someone who has an accent may be speaking your language but use different sentence structure.  The cadence and inflection may be different and unfamiliar.  As a result, your brain is unable to “decode” what is being said.  Add a slight hearing loss and this creates more gaps -making it more difficult to follow conversations.

Accents place additional stress on a weakened area of hearing.  You may have a reduced region of hearing that compounds the problem for your brain.

What to do?:

  1.  Verify and Clarify:  “Just to be clear, you said that I leave from gate #25?”
  2. Practice:  Listen to movies, podcasts, radio, TV that include accented speech.  This will help your brain acclimate to different intonation and grammar patterns.
  3. Don’t pretend to understand:  Say, “I am having trouble understanding you.  Please slow down a bit so I can get it correctly.”
  4. Don’t hurry the conversation so it will end quickly.  This is rude to the speaker.

Contact us for more suggestions or to schedule an appointment for your hearing check!

Selective Hearing or Hearing Loss?

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dog listening with big ear

Have you ever accused someone of having selective hearing? Those with hearing loss will often hear this unfair accusation . . . especially from significant others.  With normal hearing, listening is passive and doesn’t require much effort.  With hearing loss, listening requires much effort and close attention to what is being said.  No one can pay attention 100% of the time.

It appears to be selective hearing because of the extra effort required to listen.  It may seem like selective hearing to others because of the conditions under which their limited hearing range allows them to hear.

Bottom line – individuals with hearing loss will hear better in some conditions than others.  They will hear better when they are:  1. Interested and focused;  2. Sitting close to you;  3. Can see you; 4. In a quiet room.  

Examples of when someone with hearing loss may appear to have selective hearing:  1. They are tired;  2. In a noisy or challenging group; 3. Someone is hard to understand (soft voice / accent); 4.  They are doing something else (reading, cooking, working on computer); 5.  Not interested in the conversation.  The required listening energy is more than their perceived benefit.

Get into the “listening mode” by calling their name and waiting for a response.  Don’t assume that because they heard you earlier they will hear you now.  It depends on their focus and circumstances at the moment.  Without the individual’s attention – it may appear to be selective hearing rather than hearing loss.

 

 

 

Hearing Affects Your Career

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Stay at the top of your game.  We feel our best when we do our best.  This is as true in the workplace as it is on the basketball court.  But to stay at the top of your game at work – you need to be ready for the next big move.  That means staying alert; keeping your skills sharp – and hearing your best! Continue reading

Hearing Loss and Heart Disease

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Heart Disease Can Cause Hearing Loss

Heart disease can damage hearing.  In 2005  Harvard University established a staggering relationship between heart disease and hearing loss.  They found hearing loss occurred 54% more often in individuals with heart disease than in the general population.

This is because the inner ear is very sensitive to blood flow.  Inadequate blood flow to the inner ear can cause trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear – which can contribute to hearing loss. Continue reading

Hearing Loss and Medical Conditions

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There are some medical conditions which also cause hearing loss.  Some of these medical conditions that cause hearing loss are diabetes,  renal (kidney) disease, hypothyroidism, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Even some medications treating various diseases or conditions may cause or contribute to hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness.  These medications are called “ototoxic” because of the damaging side effects to the ear.  Ask your physician if there are any ototoxic side effects to your medical treatments and, if so, ask for an alternative!

Request a referral to an audiologist for a hearing evaluation if you have any of the above-named conditions.  Find out if your hearing is deteriorating, or why you have recently developed dizziness or tinnitus – and prevent progressive hearing loss associated with these medical conditions.  Insist on a hearing exam with your annual physical exam when monitoring your health.  Protect your hearing along with your health!