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Hearing Loss

Recognizing The Symptoms of Tinnitus

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Hearing Loss

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech?

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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

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Recognizing The Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can affect anyone. It can be a temporary (acute) condition, or a long term (chronic) one. It’s unpleasant, but rarely a sign of anything serious. Most tinnitus symptoms are subjective, meaning that only the sufferer can hear them.

Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus symptoms can be frustrating; they can interfere with sleep, your ability to hear and concentrate. Tonal sounds are almost constant and the volume can vary. Pulsatile sounds are often in-time with the heartbeat. On infrequent occasions, sounds can involve music or singing.

Here are just some sounds that sufferers of tinnitus describe:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Hissing/static
  • Whooshing
  • Ocean waves
  • Crickets
  • Music

The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) put together a list of the most commonly heard tinnitus sounds, which you can listen to here. This can help you to identify those sounds that most closely matches the symptoms you’re experiencing. Understanding this can help you more accurately explain your tinnitus to your hearing care professional, doctor, or loved ones.

Understanding Your Symptoms

If you’ve decided to speak to a hearing care professional about your tinnitus to explore how to relieve the symptoms, you’ll be asked questions such as:

  • How long have you had the symptoms?
  • Are they worse at any time of the day?
  • How often do you hear them?
  • Does the sound ever change?
  • Which ear is causing the issue? Both?
  • How loud is the noise?
  • Is the pitch high or low?
  • Does the issue cause you significant problems or just a little irritating?
  • Does anything make it worse, such as exposure to noise or caffeine intake?

These will be followed by a physical ear exam and hearing assessment. Pitch and loudness matching tests will assess the frequency and level of your symptoms. You may be asked to move your jaw, eyes, head or limbs too.

Underlying Conditions

Treatments are available to relieve the symptoms. However the tinnitus itself may be caused by an underlying condition that requires treatment. This is why seeking professional advice is important.

Potential underlying causes include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Otosclerosis (abnormal middle ear bone growth)
  • Acoustic neuroma (benign tumor)
  • Atherosclerosis of the carotid artery (plaque build up)
  • High blood pressure
  • Impacted ear wax
  • Poor diet
  • Head or neck trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Arthritis of the neck

Risk Factors

The following can increase your risk of developing tinnitus:

  • Loud noise exposure, i.e. music or machinery which damages inner ear hair cells.
  • Age-related hearing loss.
  • Men are more prone to tinnitus.
  • Smoking.
  • Cardiovascular problems, i.e high blood pressure or narrowed arteries increase the chances of tinnitus.
  • Taking certain medications in high doses, i.e some antibiotics, aspirin, antidepressants, cancer drugs, water pills, quinine medication for malaria etc and ototoxic drugs.

Left untreated, tinnitus can lead to depression and anxiety. This is avoidable; our hearing care professionals can advice on how to relieve your symptoms. Book in your appointment by clicking here, or call us on (864) 546-5708.

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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech?

Initial concerns about hearing loss tend to focus on how much or little we can hear i.e what is being said to us and what’s happening around us. If this becomes difficult it’s common for someone suffering with untreated hearing loss to isolate themselves socially. Unfortunately for some individuals with hearing loss, their speech can also become less clear. In this blog we explore how this happens, and some tips on how to manage it.

The Connection Between Speech & Sound

Affected speech is usually seen in those who have had a hearing loss since childhood, or in adults with a long term or severe hearing loss. But it can also potentially happen to someone with untreated hearing loss after a period of time.

This is because as your hearing capability reduces, so do the frequencies at which you can hear sounds. In speech, each verbal sound and letter is associated with a unique frequency range. If you lose the ability to hear that range, the following may happen:

  • Initially, the letters, words and sounds that use these frequencies become difficult to hear and more difficult to understand.
  • Then, if the hearing loss stays untreated, your brain will start to adjust to not being able to hear those sounds and frequencies. This can affect how the brain interprets, and uses, speech.

The connection between the sounds you can hear and how your brain interprets them is important. Letters and sounds you struggle to hear within words are those you may begin to struggle to say.

Treatment

Having both a hearing loss and a speech impairment can lead to withdrawal, depression, anxiety and problems concentrating. Here are some tips to help manage this:

  • Have regular hearing assessments and professionally fitted hearing aids.
  • Avoid unnecessary and loud background noise that can be distracting and damaging.
  • Use gestures, visual cues and speak clearly and deliberately. Communicate in the easiest way for you, i.e. pointing, writing, sign language etc.
  • Seek out support groups.
  • Utilize assistive technology.

It can be difficult to accept that the impact a hearing loss has is greater than just how much you can hear. If you have any concerns about your speech after reading this blog, please do get touch. Early treatment and detection is the best way to reduce the impact of hearing loss on your life, so take the first step today. Call us on (864) 546-5708 or click here to Request An Appointment.

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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

Encouraging all Americans to get their free hearing assessment* and help others address their hearing health and wellness.

We are pleased to sponsor the National Campaign for Better Hearing—an initiative with the simple but lofty goal of providing a FREE hearing assessment* to EVERY American aged 60 and over. The reason is clear: Research shows significant connections between hearing loss and other serious health problems like depression, mental fatigue, even increased risk of developing dementia.1 Plus, hearing loss is associated with social withdrawal and isolation.2

We are committed to improving community wellness through addressing hearing healthcare needs. The Campaign for Better Hearing gives us an excellent opportunity to join partners across the country in providing access to free hearing healthcare.

How can you take part in the Campaign?

Focus on your hearing: Early detection means improved outcomes

Early detection might not prevent hearing loss, but it may reduce some of its lasting impacts. Together, we can make a difference for the 48 million Americans1 who suffer from hearing loss.

Bring a friend to a hearing appointment

Most hearing assessments* include “familiar voice testing.” A family member or friend reads certain words to the individual, so they can see how well he or she understands a loved one’s speech.

Share your story

As hearing professionals, we have already helped so many, but don’t take our word for it. If you or a loved one has experienced the difference hearing well can make in your life, we’d like to share your story. Tell us about your successful journey to better hearing.

Share now

Do you know the facts?

Studies show2 that untreated hearing loss can negatively affect relationships with friends and family, causing feelings of isolation and making communication difficult.

  • Older adults who use hearing aids show reduced depression symptoms and improved quality of life.1
  • Only 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening.3
  • Nearly 50% of adults ages 60-69 have hearing loss.4

Are you one of the nearly 50 million Americans1 with some degree of hearing loss? (If you aren’t sure, then it might be time for a hearing assessment.*)

Get started today by calling: 888-208-5148

1Hearing Health Foundation

2HEARing Cooperative Research Centre

3betterhearing.org

4National Institutes of Health

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Make Your Hearing A Priority in 2019

It’s that time of year when many of us are committing to New Year’s resolutions. Improved fitness and a better diet are common resolutions. In line with this, we want to encourage you to make your hearing a priority in 2019. We’ve put together a simple guide on how you can make your hearing health a priority this year.

Book A Hearing Assessment

  • The first step towards improved hearing health is determining if your hearing has changed and evaluating your baseline hearing. A hearing assessment is quick and painless. We can talk you through every step including the results and treatment options.
  • Next, commit to regular hearing assessments so that any subtle changes don’t go unnoticed for long periods.
  • If you already have a Hearing Aid, why not help preserve it by letting us clean and maintain it throughout the year.

Protect your Hearing

  • Keep a set of earplugs with you. Don’t be afraid to use them in loud environments such as sporting events or when commuting. Use them at home when using noisy appliances, such as hairdryers.
  • To help prevent ear infections during the cold winter months, invest in a pair of ear-warmers or a hat that covers your ears.

Music and Well-being

  • Music helps your brain process sound, whether you listen or sing along. Just be mindful of the volume!
  • The relaxing and / or stimulating effects of music can also help to improve your general health and well-being.
  • Find something active you enjoy, perhaps Yoga? Exercise can encourage blood flow to the ears and calming exercises have fantastic physical and mental benefits.
  • A healthy diet can help improve your general health, but also has benefits for your hearing health too. Read more about the Types of Food that May Help Improve & Protect Your Hearing Health

Speak about Hearing Loss

Be open about your hearing loss. Seek out support groups and explain to friends and loved ones how they can communicate with you better. You may learn about assistive technology in public places that you previously didn’t know about, or learn valuable tips for helping to deal with your hearing loss.

Benefits Of Treating Hearing Loss

Staying on top of your hearing health is important. Not only does it allow you to detect hearing loss early on, but the science is increasingly showing that not treating hearing loss has far reaching repercussions. From mental health, to physical health, to social well-being, there are many benefits of treating hearing loss.

If you’re ready to make the first step to make your hearing a priority in 2019, book in your hearing assessment today. Call our experienced team on (864) 546-5708 or click here to Request An Appointment. “Hear’s” to better hearing in the new year!

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