If you suffer from hearing loss, you are likely to wonder what hearing research is being done by medical science. And how is hearing research being conducted?The hearing organ and complex nerves that allow one to hear are located deep inside the brain. While imaging techniques such Read more
Hearing Aid Batteries
Hearing devices can be life-changing, but they can’t help you if the hearing aid batteries are dead. Hearing device users know when they hear that little beeping noise, they’d better have a spare pack of batteries handy. Hearing aid batteries typically last between 3-7 days, depending on factors like:The type Read more
Can Hearing Be Restored
With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored? It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired. The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements Read more
Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds
A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds. Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also Read more
Otoacoustic Emissions are tiny unique sounds emitted by nerve receptors in the inner ear organ known as the cochlea, typically in response to specific sounds generated by specialized hearing testing equipment. The image below shows a test probe delivering tones to the cochlea. If the cochlea nerve receptors are healthy, they send a unique sound back to the probe, that measures the response. If the nerve receptors are absent or unhealthy, a limited or absent response will be recorded.
Otoacoustic emissions were discovered over 4 decades ago and are most well known today as a standard of measure for hearing screening in newborns (see image below).
Although otoacoustic emissions are not a comprehensive hearing test, the presence or absence does provide a good measure of whether the tiny nerve receptors in the cochlea are healthy or not.
Uses of Otoacoustic Emissions
Newborn hearing screening
Those undergoing medical treatments that have the potential to damage hearing (eg. Some types of chemotherapy, certain life-saving medications like gentomyicin)
Those who are unable to respond to a comprehensive hearing evaluation (individuals who are developmentally disabled, cognitively impaired or toddlers)
Those who have been exposed to loud noise but do not show hearing loss
It’s a new year so why not explore healthy habits to fight hearing loss. No matter your hearing status – whether you currently use hearing aids, suspect you may have hearing loss or have perfectly healthy ears – you can start your new year right by vowing to fight hearing loss and protect your hearing.
According to 2016 statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15 percent of all American adults report having some trouble hearing – that’s almost 38 million people over the age of 18. Of Americans over the age of 12, 13 percent have hearing loss in both ears. And, a whopping 28 million people in the United States could benefit from wearing hearing aids, but the vast majority of those never try them.
Though age is a factor, noise-induced hearing loss among people of all ages has become a concerning issue. More than five million children in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 19, are affected by hearing loss caused by loud noises. This could be due to extremely loud toys, exposure to loud music through ear buds or recreation activities like hunting or riding snowmobiles, for example.
One of several healthy habits to fight hearing loss is prevention. If you don’t have a hearing loss, it might be difficult to imagine the impact it can have on quality of life. But even a minor hearing loss, left uncorrected, can lead to lack of confidence, damaged relationships, limited career opportunities, difficulty hearing conversations and feeling left out – all of which can lead to social withdrawal and depression.
Also, having hearing loss has a possible impact on safety. If you have hearing loss, you might not hear smoke alarms or approaching traffic, for example.
We often unintentionally expose ourselves to noisy situations without protection. Here are some everyday activities and times when you could be putting your hearing health at risk:
Mowing the lawn
Attending a rock concert
Walking near heavy traffic
Setting off or watching fireworks
Attending sporting events
Using a power saw
Shooting a gun
Listening to music that is too loud, either via car radio or through headphones or ear buds
Being near a construction site
Riding a motorcycle or going snowmobiling
Sound is measured by decibels, and being exposed to sounds above 85 decibels is potentially damaging to hearing. All of the above sounds are much higher than 85 decibels. If you’re unsure how loud is too loud, do the “lawnmower test.” If you think the sounds you are exposed to are as loud – or louder than – a lawnmower, it’s important to protect your ears and limit how long you are exposed to the noises. You can also use the technology of your smartphone to help you measure the loudness of your environment with several easy-to-use apps.
Never turn your music up to drown out other sounds. Instead, use sound-isolating or noise-canceling headphones, which block out sounds from the outside so you can listen to your music at a comfortable and safe level.
Wear hearing protection while at concerts and other loud events, while mowing the lawn, setting off fireworks or participating in recreational activities like shooting, motorcycling and snowmobiling and when using power tools.
Walk away. If you’re at a loud concert or some other event without hearing protection, take a break. Always maintain a safe distance from speakers and give yourself hearing breaks.
Simply turn down the volume. If you know you’re prone to listening to music that is much too loud, just turn the volume down a few notches.
Give up smoking
Good healthy habits to fight hearing loss include not smoking.. Mounting research suggests that smoking leads to an increased risk of hearing loss. Smoking causes constrictions in your blood vessels, disrupting circulation and cutting off oxygen to certain parts of the body. This can prevent the body from being able to repair damaged hair cells in the ear, leading to permanent hearing damage.
Additionally, a 2011 study by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine found that exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to hearing loss in children and teenagers. So if you quit smoking, you’ll be protecting not only yourself, but also those you care about. Even if you have smoked for decades, it is never too late to benefit from quitting this unhealthy habit.
Know the signs
If you know the signs of hearing loss, healthy habits to fight hearing loss include getting your hearing checked and to encourage others who are showing the symptoms to get their hearing checked.
Having trouble following a conversation, especially when there are two or more people speaking at once
Straining to hear when there is background noise
Difficulty talking on the telephone
Misunderstanding what others say and responding inappropriately
Difficulty hearing and understanding women’s and children’s voices
Often asking people to repeat themselves
Struggling to hear the TV even when turning the volume up higher than is comfortable for others
A new year brings a fresh start and an opportunity to leave bad habits and regrets behind. Addressing health concerns such as that pesky hearing loss can be a springboard for many other positive changes in your life. Don’t delay; see a hearing healthcare professional such as one in our extensive directory of consumer-reviewed clinics now so you can enjoy your best year yet.
If you are seeking a hearing exam near Belmont, consider Peninsula Hearing Services in Burlingame. A comprehensive hearing exam is an important part of managing good health. Most hearing loss occurs so gradually an individual is not aware of it until it has progressed to a more advanced stage. If hearing loss is ignored and untreated, it can get worse.
If hearing loss is suspected, the only way to know for sure is to have a hearing exam performed. Hearing evaluations, often referred to as a hearing exam, are performed by audiologists or other licensed hearing healthcare providers.
How is a Hearing Exam Performed ?
A hearing exam is very similar in nature to what a vision exam is to the eyes. Like a vision test that measures how well one can see various sized letters on a chart, a hearing exam measures how well one can “hear” different tones/pitches as how well one can understand speech. The exam is quick, painless and non-invasive and the results will be available immediately.
The hearing professional will perform the following:
Case History: to understand your ear and hearing history.
Otoscopy: examination of the ear canals with a type of magnifier named an This is done to determine if there is any blockage of the ear canal and the health of the eardrum and ear canal itself.
Hearing Exam: different pitched tones are presented to one ear at a time using headphones. The purpose of the test is to measure how softly one can detect each of the different tones measured against a baseline of normal hearing. The ability to understand speech is then measured for each ear. The responses are recorded on a graph called an audiogram.
Other Exams: Other exams include how well you can understand speech and how well your middle ear, the space between the ear drum and hearing nerve, is functioning. Middle ear testing is performed using a special headphone named a bone oscillator. If middle ear dysfunction is suspected, a second test named tympanometry may be administered.
Similar to routine vision/eyesight exams, hearing should be evaluated every 3-5 years; sooner if a change in hearing is noticed. If you suspect hearing loss, it is important you seek a thorough hearing evaluation as soon as possible. Conveniently located off Peninsula Ave and Hwy 101, Peninsula Hearing Services provides professional services for a hearing exam near Belmont.
Insurance Accepted: Medicare, Care Advantage, Medi-Cal, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and United Healthcare.
We serve the San Francisco Peninsula including the cities of: Foster City, San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Bruno, South San Francisco, Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, Belmont, San Carlos, and Redwood City.