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Hearing Loss

Common Everyday Hearing Hazards

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Hearing Loss & Safety: What You Need to Know

The World Health Organization estimates that over 5% of the global population live with some form of severe hearing loss. It’s estimated that over 40% of people over 65 experience moderate to severe hearing problems.

If you’re one of the millions of people affected by a hearing impairment, you already know the challenges you’re faced with in day to day life. One thing you may not have considered, however, is how hearing loss can impact your safety.

Hearing Loss & Safety – What You Need to Know

Hearing loss can impact many parts of your life. Aside from struggling to hear, hearing loss can affect you in many other ways.

It’s easy to forget how much we rely on auditory cues in our environment. Our ability to hear can keep us safe. But what happens if you have a hearing loss? When left untreated, hearing loss can pose a safety risk. Below are a few ways.

Hearing Loss & Increased Risk of Accidents

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston carried out a study that researched the link between hearing loss and accidental injuries. The research indicated “a strong relationship between poorer hearing and accidental injury, especially since the rate of injury increased steadily as the reported hearing worsened.”

Many of the reported accidental injuries happened during leisure activities. Many leisure activities involve a fair amount of background noise and distractions. Hearing loss can make it more difficult to focus on what’s going on. This in turn can increase the risk of an accident.

Hearing Loss & Driving

Driving requires focus. It involves a number of our key senses, including vision and hearing. Concentrating on the road, other drivers, and potential hazards requires tremendous concentration.

Drivers with a hearing loss face a unique set of challenges that can affect their safety. We use our hearing when driving to help keep us safe. From hearing an emergency siren, to listening to updated road traffic reports. For tips on keeping safe while driving with a hearing loss, please click here.

Hearing Loss & Risks of Falling

Research from Johns Hopkins has shown that hearing loss is linked to problems walking and falls. Over the course of 12 years, a study led by Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D tracked 639 adults.

The study showed that hearing loss can lead to issues with balance. Specialists believe that there are three main reasons that hearing loss can affect balance:

  • Hearing loss can make it more difficult to be aware of your surroundings. This can make it harder to be aware of people, animals and / or activities going on around you.
  • Hearing loss can decrease spatial awareness. This makes it more difficult to judge where your body is relative to objects around you.
  • Your brain is more focused on hearing. Hearing loss makes our brains work harder to process sound. This additional processing power pulls resources from other areas your brain would work on, such as balance.

Hearing Loss Safety Tips

Untreated hearing loss can pose a risk to your safety. But there are steps that you can take to keep you safe. These include: 

  • Get a customized alarm. Whether it’s a bedside alarm clock, or a smoke detector, you want to make sure you are alerted to any alarm. There are features that can help, ranging from flashing lights to vibrating alarm clocks.
  • Be alerted to unplanned visitors. Will you always hear your doorbell? You may want to consider a smart doorbell, that can send alerts to your smartphone if someone is approaching your front door.
  • Keep your friends and family in the loop. Make sure that your friends and family are aware of your hearing loss. Likewise, have a plan of action in case anything should happen.
  • Keep spare hearing aids and batteries. If you wear hearing aid devices, make sure you have a back-up. Extra batteries are also recommended, to ensure that you don’t worry about your devices running out of power.
  • Wear your hearing aids. Wearing your hearing aids as prescribed by your hearing healthcare specialists is one of the best ways to help keep you safe.

Better Hearing Starts With Come Hear Hearing Center

In these uncertain times, it’s important that you do what you can to protect your hearing health. Protecting your hearing is a great way to help your communication abilities. A few simple, common-sense practices can help you protect your hearing. Click here to learn more.

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Effective Communication in the Workplace

It’s May, which means it’s officially Better Hearing and Speech Month. Each year in May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) aims to raise awareness about communication disorders. For 2020 the theme is “Communication at Work.”

Hearing loss can present some unique challenges in the workplace. Effective communication requires some effort from both conversation participants. However, many of us are working remotely, and may be doing so for the foreseeable future.

To celebrate this year’s BHSM theme, we’re taking a look at communication in a remote workplace.

Effective Communication in the Workplace

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is changing many things. The workplace is not immune to these changes.

A recent survey by YouGov highlighted that close to 30% of the workforce in the U.S. workforce are currently working remotely. This shift in working patterns requires certain adaptations to ensure effective workplace communication.

If you or a coworker have a hearing impairment, there are some additional considerations needed.

Working Remotely with a Hearing Impairment

In recent weeks, video calls have become an essential means of communication for many of us. Video calls can give us the feeling of actually speaking face to face. It’s not really a surprise that many of us are opting for video calls!

If you have a hearing impairment, you know the advantages of video calls. Equally, you’re likely aware of the limitations.

Many workplaces opt for video calls as the preferred way to hold calls / meetings. If your workplace is one, make sure your coworkers understand potential challenges. These include:

Multiple people speaking at once –  Multiple speakers can make it difficult to follow the conversation. This goes for people with or without a hearing impairment. Ensure effective communication by avoiding multiple speakers.

Video freezing – We’ve all probably experienced a video freezing at one point in time. For people without a hearing impairment, this isn’t necessarily a problem. As long as the audio feed is uninterrupted, they can continue to listen to the meeting. With a hearing impairment, many rely on the ability to read lips to facilitate communication. Video freezing can make this very challenging.

Not facing the camera – This makes lip reading difficult. It can also make it harder to distinguish what’s being said.

Mute when not speaking – If you’re not speaking, make sure you use the ‘mute’ option on your microphone. You’d be surprised how much background noise can be picked up! It will make it easier for everyone to listen to the speaker.

Effective communication in the workplace is a two way street. It’s important that your coworkers know how to maximize your ability to hear. Equally, there are things you can do too. These include:

Wearing your hearing aids – If you have hearing aid devices, make sure you use them. They can really help improve your communication ability.

Familiarize yourself with the video platforms – Your workplace likely has a preferred video conferencing platform. Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts are just a few. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the features. Make sure you know where the audio controls are. Do you know how to mute yourself? How about turning the video option on?

Check for communication features – Many video platforms will include automatic video captions. This can help you read along with the conversation.

Have a backup plan – Make sure you have a back-up video platform to fall back on. With more of us online, connectivity issues are more frequent. If you’re having problem with your first video platform, you can use your backup.

Hearing device connectivity features – Does your hearing device have bluetooth capabilities? You may be able to connect your Bluetooth devices to your smartphone or other smart devices.

These tips can help ensure effective communication in the workplace. If remote working is going to be more widespread, effective communication is key.

Better Hearing Starts With Come Hear Hearing Center

In these uncertain times, it’s important that you do what you can to protect your hearing health. Protecting your hearing is a great way to help your communication abilities. A few simple, common-sense practices can help you protect your hearing. Click here to learn more.

Posted by Admin

Common Everyday Hearing Hazards

On April 29th, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of International Noise Awareness Day (INAD). This day aims to raise awareness of how noise can affect the health and welfare of populations and individuals around the world.

Exposure to loud noise can pose a threat to your hearing. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the second most common cause of hearing loss. (The most common cause is presbycusis – also known as age related hearing loss).

This International Noise Awareness day, we’re taking a look at common everyday hearing hazards.

Understanding Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss is a hearing loss caused by exposure to damaging noise. NIHL can happen at any age. It can be caused by a one-time exposure to hazardous noise, such as an explosion. It can also be caused by exposure to sounds over a prolonged period of time.

NIHL is not always immediately noticeable. You may not be able to tell that you’re damaging your hearing; exposure to damaging sound can affect you in the future. One thing to understand: noise induced hearing loss is entirely preventable.

How To Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Preventing NIHL requires an understanding of noise levels. We live in a noisy world. The roar of traffic during rush hour, the pounding of speakers at a local music venue, the rumbling of a jet engine.

Most of us know how loud these are! What many of us don’t stop to consider, however, is how loud our everyday items can be.

Measuring Sound

Sounds are measured in decibels. 85 decibels (dB) is the recommended daily limit for noise exposure. To put that into context, heavy traffic is about 85 dB.

While understanding sound levels is important, it’s also important to note that it’s not just how loud a sound is. Take into consideration how long you’re being exposed to these noise levels. You should not exceed four hours of exposure to noise above 88 dB.

How long you can safely expose your hearing without using protection decreases the louder the sounds get. Noises above 91dB can damage your hearing after 2 hours.

Common Everyday Hearing Hazards

Now that you’ve got some understanding of sound levels, let’s translate that into everyday items.

In Your Home:

  • Refrigerator – 40 dB
  • Air conditioner – 60 dB
  • Washing Machine/Dishwasher – 50 – 75 dB (depending on the model and age)
  • Vacuum cleaner – 60 – 85 dB
  • Hairdryers vary from 50 – 90 dB depending on age and power rating
  • Garbage disposal – 80 – 95 dB

While Outdoors:

  • Heavy traffic – 80 – 85 dB
  • Gas powered lawn mower or leaf blower – 80 – 85 dB

While at Work or in Public Venues

  • Large office – 50 dB
  • Hand dryers – 50 – 90 dB
  • Ringing telephone – 80 dB
  • Manual machine tools – 80 dB

The following are noises you may be exposed to on a near-daily basis. These hearing hazards have the potential to damage your hearing in a short period of time:

Potential To Damage Hearing After 15 Minutes:

  • Motorcycle – 95 dB +
  • Approaching subway train – 100dB

Potential To Damage Hearing After 5 Minutes:

  • Music played at full volume from a personal device – 105 – 110 dB

Potential To Damage Hearing After 2 Minutes:

  • Shouting, barking dog or car horn – 110 dB
  • Emergency sirens – 120 dB
  • Pneumatic drill – 120 dB

Understanding dangerous noise levels can help you protect your hearing. Remember to use hearing protection when you’re putting your hearing at risk.

To help you determine how loud your environment is, try downloading a decibel app on your smartphone. This will be able to measure noise levels, so you know when you need to use hearing protection.

Better Hearing Starts With Come Hear Hearing Center

Using the appropriate hearing protection is a great way to protect your hearing health. Staying on top of your hearing assessments will allow your hearing specialist to identify any changes in your hearing. If you’d like to book in an appointment, call Come Hear Hearing Center today on (864) 546-5708. Alternatively, click here to book an appointment online.

Posted by Admin

COVID-19 Hearing Loss Medical Cards

Millions of Americans are currently under lockdown. South Carolina joined the growing list of states to issue a stay-at-home order which came into effect on April 7, 2020.

As efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus continue, many of us are facing unique challenges. Most routine appointments have been postponed, while non-essential services have either stopped or been scaled back.

For the deaf and hard of hearing community, the implications from some of the lockdown restrictions can make communication challenging. To make it easier to communicate with medical professionals at this time, the South Carolina Association of the Deaf (SCAD) has made a new resource to help.

SCAD Temporary Medical Communication Cards

During this period of lockdown, in-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters may be unavailable. This may be down to hospital policies to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. Family members may also be unable to visit you.

To ensure that the hard of hearing community are able to communicate effectively with medical professionals, SCAD is providing temporary medical communication cards.

The card includes useful information for medical professionals, including:

  • Symptoms you are experiencing
  • If you have traveled recently (and by which mode of transport)
  • How long you have been ill
  • If you have been in contact with a person with COVID-19

In addition, the medical card provides communication tips, including: 

  • Your preferred method of communication (lip reading, interpreter, listening device, etc.)
  • How to communicate with you effectively
  • How to maximize your ability to understand / communicate

The medical cards are available for free to South Carolina’s deaf and hard of hearing community. You can either print it at home, or save it to your smart device.

If you do not have access to a printer or smart device, SCAD will print the card and mail it to your home address. Simply contact them to request the medical card at:

South Carolina Association of the Deaf

VP 803-403-9255 or VP 803-602-6100

Website: sc-deaf.org

SCAD is also encouraging people to have an emergency bag ready in case you need to go to the hospital. Make sure your bag includes: 

  • Paper and pen (or a white board and markers)
  • Chargers and plugs for your phone
  • Your tablet and / or laptop and their chargers
  • A cellular Hotspot in case the hospital WiFi is not working
  • Extension cord (in case your bed is far away from an electrical outlet)
  • Extra eye-wear you may require (such as a spare pair of reading glasses)
  • Spare batteries for your hearing aid device or cochlear implant
  • Emergency contact information for friends and / or family members
  • Braille device and charger if needed

You can download the COVID-19 Medical Communication Card here.

Better Hearing Starts With Come Hear Hearing Center

If you have additional questions or would like tips on how you can protect your hearing at this time, our hearing specialists would be happy to help. Call Come Hear Hearing Center today on (864) 546-5708, or click here to book an appointment online.

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