Hearing aids are certainly on the market to improve your life, but how? You probably will hear better, sure, but does better hearing mean a better life? Does having hearing aids also mean more money in the bank? If you are one of the many people out there struggling daily to hear daily you might wonder if a hearing aid can save money and make your life better. Here are 15 ways having hearing aids will make you richer and happier.
1. What Have You Been Missing in the Grocery Line?
When you don’t hear well, your eyes do twice the work. That’s a big problem when you are trying to keep your local grocery store from over charging you, especially if the cashier is talking in the background. Hearing aids mean you can watch the scanner and know exactly how much each item costs without being rude.
2. Getting Your Money’s Worth in Class
You pay a fee to attend that class, don’t you want to hear what is being said. Even if the teacher has a microphone and you miss out on discussions with other students. Now, is that money well spent?
3. The Confidence Factor
Is a positive self-esteem the secret to happiness? At least one study conducted by the National Institute on Aging says it is a contributing factor. Self-esteem is really the basis for happiness because it means you like yourself. That’s not easy when you always feel like you are missing something important in the conversations with friends and family, verbal instructions and even the right lyrics for your favorite song. Feeling confident relies on your ability to hear in many ways.
4. That Lack of Confidence Will Cost You
Of course, without good self-esteem, you will let opportunities pass you by like the chance to get a better paying job with more responsibility.
5. What About Your Job
Is your poor hearing holding you back at work? Maybe you have trouble following oral instructions or are unable to listen to customers. Coworkers might even get annoyed with you because you ask them to repeat themselves. A 2011 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute discovered that not getting hearing aids can cost you as much as 30,000 dollars in income each year.
6. Hearing Aids Improve Relationships
Clinical research shows that almost 70 percent of people claim that having hearing aids improve their personal relationships. Another 81 percent stated they were pleased when a partner finally got a hearing aid.
7. Hearing Aids Enhance Friendships
Let’s face it; no one really likes to have to repeat themselves. It’s as frustrating for your friends and family as it is for you to be left out of the conversation all the time.
8. Music Means Happiness
The opposite is true, as well. When you can enjoy the music you love, you develop a feeling of loss. Listening to music isn’t just fun, either, it triggers a neurological response that makes you feel better.
9. The Joy of Live Theater
You won’t find closed captioning in a live theater show, but with hearing aids, you won’t need it. Whether you are headed out to a Broadway musically or just want to you see your grandchild star in the latest school production, you’ll a better audience member if you can hear the show.
10. The Beautiful Sounds of Nature
People tend to take things like the chirping of birds and the wind blowing for granted – that’s until you no longer hear them. Hearing aids bring those beautiful sounds back into your life.
11. That Sense of Unease
What about that icky sensation that comes with not being able to hear what is going on around you? It’s a combination of uneasiness and dread. Your senses give you a feeling of security when you are moving around a room, and without your hearing, you lose that clarity.
12. You Never Played Better
Whether you are on the company bowling league or just love to spend an afternoon at the local golf course, your game will improve with the right hearing aids on the team. Better gameplay means more enjoyment and confidence.
13. The Things You Don’t Even Realize Your Missing
One problem with hearing loss is you tend to get complacent. You forget the things you are missing out on, but hearing aids change all that for you. You’ll spend the first couple days in awe hearing all the things you’ve been missing.
14. A Sense of Wellbeing
Avoiding things you know you need creates anxiety. If you are putting off getting hearing aids, it is sitting there in the back of your mind causing stress. Giving in to that need means you are doing something good for yourself and that feels good.
15. Hearing Aids Improve Cognation
The struggle to hear take a toll on your brain and is a factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Getting hearing aids will lower your risk.
Sound is deeply incorporated into people’s lives, so it’s very hard not to take it for granted. Still, with each passing year 20 percent of Americans lose their ability to hear. In fact, for those over 65 years of age, one in three of them suffer from some level of hearing loss, explains the Hearing Loss Association of American.
You may think that losing your hearing is just a part of getting older, but there is more to it. The things you do now to protect your ears can slow the process and maybe prevent it entirely. The main factor is education. The more you understand about hearing loss, the better. Let’s discuss few facts about hearing loss that you need to understand before it’s too late.
There are Various Types of Hearing Loss
Understanding what type hearing loss you have helps to find solutions. There are three to consider:
- Conductive –This is what you might link with aging. This form of hearing loss means there is a change in the mechanisms of hearing, so sound waves can’t reach the inner ear. What’s important to remember about conductive hearing loss is it might be reversible. Something is simple as a buildup of ear wax can cause it.
- Sensorineural –Trauma from an accident or a disease to the ear prevents the nerves from translating sound to the brain. The sensorineural hearing loss not fixable.
- Mixed –This means you have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Once you understand why hearing changed, you can figure out ways to enhance your quality of life with things like hearing aids.
Aging Isn’t the Only Cause
Advanced age does put a person at risk for conductive hearing loss, but it’s not the only factor. The ears are very delicate, so environmental stressors take their toll, as well. This may be part of the reason why elderly folks tend to lose some of their hearing. By paying focusing now to the things that will cost you later, you can keep your ears safe. Other dangerous scenarios to consider include:
Loud noise – Studies indicate that at least 48 percent of plumbing professionals suffer hearing loss. Why – because they are exposed frequently to loud noises on the job. Even small things like listening to music with the volume up, spending evenings watching your favorite local band perform or riding in the car with the windows down can be a problem. Loud sounds create potentially dangerous waves that will eventually damage the sensitive elements that allow you to hear.
Medication – Some forms of medication are ototoxic, meaning they cause damage to the inner ear. There are currently around 200 different medications capable of triggering hearing or balance problems including over the counter aspirin.
Trauma or Illness – An injury to the ears or certain illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic ear infections
Hearing Loss Often Starts Slow and Gets Worse
It’s best to be proactive because hearing loss begins slowly and increases over time. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Mumbling when people talk
- Complaints of people needing to repeat themselves
- You need the volume up high on the TV
- Certain sounds become difficult to understand, specifically words with the letter S or F and high pitched voices
- You have trouble following conversations
- You respond inappropriately to questions
If you feel like you are having difficulties in any of these areas, schedule a hearing test. The earlier your hearing loss is diagnosed, the better the prognosis in most cases. Prompt medical care for your hearing defect will increase your chance of recovery.
The good news is there is life after hearing loss if it does happen to you. There are personal listening devices like hearing aids that help your tune out background noise and enhance dialect, for example. The more you understand about your hearing loss, the better able you are to find ways to manage it.
Do you think a hearing test is only necessary if there is a problem with your ears? It’s possible a family complains when you turn the sound up too high on the television or you’ve noticed that conversations seem mumbled more lately. Those are both practical reasons to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states around 15 percent of the adult population in this country has a similar problem, more so as they age. In fact, it may be that you have some hearing loss and getting the test done will provide an answer. What you might not realize, though, is getting screened hearing loss is a lifesaver because that change in your hearing might indicate something much bigger is affecting your health. Consider four ways getting a hearing test could save your life.
Consider the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
This is a connection that scientists have made just recently and a real breakthrough for millions of individuals. The World Health Association (WHO) estimates that by 2050, there may be over 100 million individuals globally suffering from some form of dementia. At the root of this increase is the age-related hearing loss. Research offered by scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions discovered that people with mild hearing loss, around a 25 decimal decline, increase their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For every 10 decibels that your hearing drops, the risk increases by 20 percent. The reasoning is complex, but, essentially, the struggle to hear constantly takes a toll on the brain. A hearing test can predict your risk level and help create a solution like a hearing aid to reduce the stress and lower your risk.
What About the Link Between Heart Disease and Hearing Loss
Getting a routine hearing exam might save you from a heart attack or even death. Hearing loss is often a symptom of heart disease. The inner ear has a very sensitive network of blood vessels. Even the tiniest change in blood flow, like a poorly functioning major artery, can show up first as hearing loss. If the hearing test indicates a slight decrease, but there doesn’t appear to be any problem with the mechanisms of your ears, the next place to look at blood flow.
Skin Cancer Finds
A hearing test is an evaluation that goes beyond just the audiometer screening, too. A medical professional will do a physical exam of your ears, too. This location is a difficult to see and where a suspect mole can be easily missed. During the exam of your ears, the physician will look at the skin for signs of lesions or potential cancer growth.
Hearing Loss and Stress
The old saying you don’t miss something until it’s gone if very true when it comes to hearing. Even minor hearing loss can bring with it stress and depression. You may not know why you’re struggling to keep up or perhaps you think bad hearing is just part of getting older. You may be afraid of what a hearing test will tell you, too. What if you are going deaf and there is nothing you can do about it? That fear is unwarranted for most. Hearing loss is usually treatable medically or by using a hearing assistance device. Either way, you have more to lose than gain by avoiding this simple test. You are making a choice when you decide to live with your hearing loss instead of getting tested and treated. Now you know it’s a decision that can really cost you.
The hearing loss problem in this country affects around 14 percent of the adult population – this includes 25 percent of people over the age of 55. Tack on another 14.9 percent of kids who have some degree of hearing loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the extent of this problem becomes clear. What do you think these individuals can’t hear, though?
Important Facts Regarding Hearing Loss
The sounds that each person hears vary depending on a number of factors such as why they have hearing loss. There are four defined classifications of hearing loss:
Conductive – The one you might associate aging, conductive hearing loss implies sounds cannot get through to the inner ear to be interpreted by the brain.
Sensorineural – Sensorineural means a damage or defect to the inner ear or hearing nerve. It might be due to a congenital disorder, disease or maybe trauma.
Mixed Hearing Loss – This refers to a combination of both conductive and sensorineural problems.
Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder – Hearing loss that happens when the brain cannot interpret the sound due to damage to the inner ear.
Each type brings with it different symptoms. There are some common complaints between them, though: including the affected person may or may not hear. Consider five sounds a person with hearing loss might be missing.
Frequencies in the High Range
For some people, this loss is limited to high frequencies – in other words, this person fails to interpret anything above 2,000 Hertz. This form of hearing loss makes it difficult to understand words. When this person watches TV or has a conversation, certain words will sound muttered or unclear for this person. The words affected contain the consonants S, H, and F, which usually fall between 1,500 to 6,000 Hertz.
Frequencies That are Low
Sometimes, hearing loss occurs at the opposite end of the scale. The low-frequency hearing loss implies sensorineural damage and impacts sound produced at less than 2,000 Hertz. Generally, this low-frequency hearing loss is a genetic or congenital defect such as cochlear malformation.
When a person has conductive hearing loss, they will hear most sounds if they are loud enough, but not at normal volumes. This explains why amplifying the sound with hearing aids is a solution for them and why they are always turning up the TV or need headphones to hear their music. The ears work if the sound is loud enough to get through. When someone speaks in a normal voice, they may hear something but it sounds garbled and unclear.
Conversation in a Noisy Room
Often times, it’s what you can hear that screws things up. People with a significant hearing challenge will experience something call recruitment noise. In other words, the background sounds overwhelm everything else. A sound like the air conditioner turning on masks all other noise.
This background noise is loud enough to cause physical distress, at times. The phenomenon occurs when an individual has both normal and damaged hair cells in the inner ear. The normal cells take over for damaged ones close by causing the sound to be excessively loud.
Speech of Any Kind
Profound hearing loss means a person hears no speech. Medical professionals use a classification system to measure hearing loss in decibels – a person with normal hearing measures anywhere from -10 to 15 dB HL (decibels of hearing loss) during a hearing test. To be diagnosed with profound hearing loss, the classification is 91 or more dB HL.
No two people hear or don’t hear the same thing regardless of their hearing challenges. It all depends on why your hearing is diminished and how severely.
* How hearing works
* hearing loss
* conductive hearing loss
Brain games promise to preserve our mental function and even our memories. Although these games have recently become popular, the growing popularity does not mean that they are as effective as once believed.
Although the debate of the effectiveness of brain games won’t be discussed here, the latest research isn’t promising for the brain training games. In fact, they failed a big scientific test.
With brain training games looking less promising, where should you look to better your memory and mind? Recently, studies have shown that memory and hearing are much more connected than initially thought, and this idea is extremely crucial in the discussion of memory. There is even research that frequently shows the importance of sharp hearing to a sharp memory.
In order to understand how important treating hearing loss is, we must review how human memory and hearing works.
How human memory works
The process of human memory is one of the most complex processes in the human body. Adding to its complexity, it is extremely widespread across the brain. There is not one location where memories are made and stored.
Memory storage occurs across the brain with electrical and chemical signals involving many neurons and even more connections between them. Because of this, memory is not nearly understood completely.
We do understand, however, that the creation of memories occurs in three different stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval. These stages explain how memories are processed and ultimately kept in our brain.
Encoding is the stage that starts off the memory storage process. This initial stage occurs in response to stimuli around you in the environment. This stage allows you to filter out unimportant information and focus on what’s important. If this filtering did not occur, your brain would try to store every stimulus you were exposed to, which would lead to your memory would filling to capacity very quickly.
The next stage is the memory storage. This stage involves your short term memory’s ability to hold information that you are processing. Your short-term or working memory can hold up to seven pieces of information for about 20-30 seconds. Although this doesn’t seem like nearly enough mental storage capacity, there are several techniques to expand the amount your memory can hold. Two of these techniques are chunking (breaking long strings of numbers into groups, for example) and the use of mnemonic devices.
After the information is stored temporarily in short-term memory, it either fades away and is lost or becomes stored as long-term memory. Attention, repetition, and association are the three keys to moving information from short-term to long-term memory. In order to better your memory of any piece of information, you must:
- Become more focused and less distracted on the information.
- Expose yourself to the processed information more often and for longer amounts of time.
- Associate the information with memories you already have stored.
Memory is the final stage. This stage is the process of recalling, at will, information stored in long-term memory. In order to easily recall information, it must first be properly encoded and stored.
How growing older affects memory
We must not forget that the brain is plastic. This plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change its structure in response to new stimuli. This characteristic can have both good and bad effects.
As we age, our brain changes in more than one way. It loses connections between cells, loses cells, and it actually shrinks in size. These changes both structurally and chemically can impair not only our memory, but also worsen our general cognitive function as we age.
On the positive side of plasticity, our brain has the ability to create new connections as we age, learning new things and strengthening our memories simultaneously without much deliberate effort. In fact, studies have recently shown that simply mental stimulation and exercise can keep our brains sharp well into our 80s.
The main cause of memory decline as we age is lack of use. This is why keeping our minds active in addition to learning new things is extremely important to healthy aging. If we leave our mind without any stimulation, it will essentially disintegrate and lose its ability to function well.
How hearing loss affects memory
When it comes to hearing loss, can it actually worsen our memory?
Studies have shown that hearing loss can impact your memory greatly, and it’s easy to see why. We’ve already shown above that your ability to successfully store information in long-term memory is dependent on your ability to pay attention and properly process the informaiton you are receiving.
In order to understand, let’s take a look at how this works on a daily basis. For example, say you’re having a conversation with someone. With hearing loss, two things are happening at the same time when you are simply talking to someone. One, you’re physically unable to hear part of what is being said, so your brain cannot properly encode the information in the first place. Later on, when you try to recall the information that you attempted to store, you simply can’t.
Second, because only a part of the information is being encoded, you now are forced to devote mental resources in order to figure out meaning through context. In the struggle to understand meaning, most of the information is either lost or encoded incorrectly.
People who have hearing loss also experience the brain’s ability to reorganize itself. With reduced sound stimulation, the part of the brain responsible for sound processing becomes weaker and the brain then recruits this area for other tasks, changing the natural way the brain works.
Improve your memory, schedule a hearing test
The solution to improving our memories as we age is clear from the discussion so far. Firstly, we must keep our minds active and sharp. By challenging ourselves and learning new things, we are able to better our mental ability.
Secondly, taking proper steps to improve hearing loss can help preserve your memory. Hearing aids help us properly encode information, avoiding the distortion and loss of information, which can then help us remember information during conversations. In addition, the enhanced sound stimulation that hearing aids produce ensures that the areas of the brain that deal with memory stay strong.
So disregard the craze of brain games—learn something new and interesting and schedule your hearing test to ensure that your hearing is the best it can be.
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” I have been a satisfied customer of Atlanta Hearing for almost 5 years and Dr. Cohen and Dr.Chalken have solved my many hearing issues in a most professional and caring way. During that time, I even tried the Lyric aids for almost ten months before deciding the wax build up problem was hindering my hearing. At that time, I sprung for a Widex Clear 400 fusion model and have loved them for almost a year. On a recent visit to have excess wax removed by Dr. Chalken, I had the opportunity to meet the new clinical audiologist, Susie Fages and obtain her advice and wisdom on my ongoing problems. I found her personable and pleasant to do business with. I plan to continue using them as my audiologists.”