What Is Spatial Hearing Loss and How is it Treated?

The inability to distinguish spatial cues is known as spatial hearing loss. For example, if a person suffers from spatial loss of hearing, they would likely be unable to tell where a sound came from. They would also have a difficult time picking one person’s voice out of a crowd. People with this condition find it hard to cut out background sounds in noisy areas, such as bars, restaurants, or movie theaters. Perhaps surprisingly, the ear is not the source of spatial hearing loss. Instead, it is thought to occur within the brain pathways that interpret noise.

Spatial loss of hearing is especially common in children as well as adults over the age of 60. However, it can occur in anyone, regardless of age. This can be especially frustrating for children in school – they find it hard to differentiate the teacher’s voice from other noises in class.

Audiologists are able to diagnose spatial hearing disorder with a test called the Listen in Spatialized Noise-Sentences, or LiSN-S, test. This test measures how well a person can use pitch and spatial cues to distinguish speech among background noise. This allows the audiologist to know just how severe the hearing loss is.

Spatial hearing loss does not always occur on its own. These conditions include loss of high-frequency and/or low-frequency hearing. These issues can be treated with hearing aids, which helps with the spatial loss of hearing as well. Hearing aids aren’t a magic bullet for everyone. In fact, for some sufferers of spatial hearing loss, hearing aids can actually make the problem worse.

As to when spatial hearing loss happens, it often happens later in life, as audio nerve damage occurs for a variety of reasons including the normal aging process. Age-related spatial hearing deficits may occur because of medications, injury, vascular insufficiencies, or underlying medical conditions and diseases. If you notice sudden hearing loss within a twenty-four to seventy-two hour window, seek medical attention right away. Illness, infection, or blockages can cause sudden hearing loss – and they respond positively to immediate treatment. If an infection or other underlying illness is causing the sudden loss of hearing and is not treated immediately, it could progress to the inner ear, seriously damaging auditory nerve pathways and resulting in permanent deafness or loss of spatial hearing.

A person experiencing sudden changes in hearing involving unilateral hearing loss also has an increased risk of spatial deficit. If you’re not sure if your hearing is changing, you should go get it tested right away.

The Connection Between Music and Mood

Music therapy has been used for centuries as a way to restore energy, improve mood, and even help the body heal more rapidly. New research supports this–research illustrates that music can absolutely improve your mood, which leads to a general boost in your quality of life.

University of Missouri researchers found that upbeat music is sometimes all it takes to boost a person’s mood. Their study showed that participants, who were told to improve their mood, felt happier after listening to the upbeat music of Copeland, as opposed to the more morose songs of Stravinsky. Other participants, who simply listened to the music without attempting to change their mood, didn’t report an increase in happiness. Summed up by one researcher, People could focus more on enjoying their experience of the journey towards happiness and not get hung up on the destination. This concept is seen during a study wherein participants looked at neutral faces while listening to happy or sad music.

Of course, it’s usually pretty simple to tell if the music is happy or sad, but there is more to it. In fact, our brains actually respond differently to happy and sad music. It doesn’t matter how short or long the piece of music is. A study found that participants matched the neutral expression to the mood of the short piece of music that was playing. This also occurred with other facial expressions, but it happened most often with those that were more neutral.

It’s not just happy or sad pieces of music that affect us. Ambient noise can improve creativity as well. Many people prefer to listen to loud music while they run through errands or enjoy their hobbies. However, loud music may not be the best music to listen to while you’re attempting to think. In fact, it turns out that a moderate noise level is perfect for creativity. And ambient music is better for the creative process than even low music with lyrics. Moderate noise levels actually make processing more difficult, which in turn promotes abstact processing, resulting in higher creativity. In other words, when we struggle (but not too much) to process things as we normally would, we resort to more creative approaches. This is because loud noise overwhelms us and makes it too difficult to approach anything creatively–or at all.

So stick to moderate levels when you’re looking for heightened creativity, and choose more upbeat music to improve your mood–it truly works.

What You Should Know About Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

Among smartphones, the iPhone stands out as an innovation leader. The latest innovation is a result of collaborations with several hearing aid manufacturers to create hearing aids and apps that are intended to work together. These are known as made for iPhone hearing aids. With made for iPhone hearing aids, users are able to adjust the device from an app on their iPhones. In addition, the iPhone delivers incoming audio such as phone calls and music or Siri’s responses right to the user’s hearing aid. Set up is easy as well – just treat the device like any other Bluetooth device. Apple instructs the user to, In Settings, go to General, then Accessibility, then Hearing Aids, and iOS will automatically search for and recognize your device. Once your hearing aid is paired, it’s available to you as an audio source whenever you need it. Made for iPhone hearing aids also allow the user to utilize the Live Listen feature for face-to-face conversations in noisy places. This feature allows you to use the microphone to hear what the other person is saying, clear as a bell.

The selection of made for iPhone hearing aids available for purchase include Audibel A3i, Audigy‚ AGXsp, Beltone‚ Beltone First, MicroTech’s Kinnect, NuEar iSDS, ReSound, ReSound LiNX, and Starkey  Halo. Of course, the right hearing aid for you will take a little time and research. A hearing specialist will be able to guide you in the process. Each device has its own unique abilities and features. For one, Audibel‚ A3i‚ claims advanced noise reduction technology and a precise directional microphone.” If you’re the forgetful type, Audigy‚ AGXsp boasts a GPS feature to help you find your hearing aids. The MicroTech’s Kinnect will work with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and it easily streams music, Facetime phone calls, and more, right to your ears. NuEar iSDS’s patented technology replicates high-frequency sounds (like women’s and children’s voices) in lower frequencies where they’re easier to hear and understand. Finally, Starkey’s Halo ‚industry-leading feedback canceller provides feedback-free and comfortable listening all day long.

Talk to your hearing care specialist. They will help you narrow down the choices to what suits your hearing needs and budget.

Echoes – Where Do They Come From?

If you’ve ever been inside a large canyon, you’ve probably observed the wonder of echoes firsthand-but how do they work? This phenomenon is called an echo, which has its origins in the Greek ekho, meaning “sound.” An echo happens when a sound wave reflects off a surface, such as the water at the bottom of [...]

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August 27, 2014 : Atlanta Hearing Associates Needs New Audiologists to Its Professional Staff

Excerpt: “Atlanta Hearing Associates, the top provider for hearing loss services and hearing aids in Atlanta, has been serving Georgia residents for many years. The company prides itself on making sure its clients have the most up-to-date information and technology.” Read full press release at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/hearing-care/atlanta/prweb12111742.htm Download PDF: Click Here

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Swimmer’s Ear Treatment and Symptoms

Acute external otitis or otitis externa – more commonly known as swimmer’s ear – is an infection that strikes the outer ear canal, the area outside the eardrum. It is termed swimmer’s ear because it routinely develops because of liquid staying in the ears after swimming which provides a wet environment which encourages the growth [...]

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Irreversible Hearing Loss May One Day Not Be So Permanent: Promising Research Into Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration

As hearing professionals, one of the sometimes frustrating things we encounter in our practice is that the conditions that have caused hearing loss in our patients can’t be reversed. For example, one of the most common causes of hearing loss is damage to the miniature, sensitive hair cells that line the inner ear and vibrate [...]

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