Month: December 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Happy New Year!!

It’s that time of year again…all the food, friends, family, and fun are reaching their culmination in just a couple of days. If you haven’t already, you will probably start giving some thought to your resolutions for the new year. This ‘resolution’ thing keeps coming up every year so it got me to thinking about the history behind the New Year’s Resolution.

According to Wikipedia, “a New Year’s Resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the eastern hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s day.”

I suppose you could also choose to do something really nice (versus just slightly nice).

New Year Resolution List 1A little more research reveals that the top 12 resolutions for 2015 according to the US Government are:

  • Lose weight

  • Volunteer more

  • Quit smoking

  • Get an education

  • Get a better job

  • Save money

  • Get fit

  • Eat healthy food

  • Manage stress

  • Take a trip

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle

  • Drink less alcohol

Wonder who they polled to get this information? And, who paid for this?

This is really cool though…six of those resolutions, when adopted, may lead to better hearing and ear health. Really?? Really, really……read on, my friend.

Lose Weight: “Researchers tracked more than 68,000 women participating in the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study. Every two years from 1989 to 2009, the women answered detailed questions about their health and daily habits. In 2009, they were asked if they’d experienced hearing loss, and, if so, at what age.” Read the full article here.

Quit Smoking: “Smokers are nearly 70% more likely than non-smokers to suffer hearing loss, according to a study including more than 3,000 people. Another study found otherwise, absolving cigarettes from blame in hearing loss.” Read the full article here.

Get Fit: “If we are to be proponents of the idea that better hearing leads to better health, then we should also recognize that a more fit body can positively impact hearing.” Read the full article here.

Eat Healthy Food: “Current thinking has us believe that age-related hearing loss is an inevitable consequence of getting older, but is it really? Hundreds of studies from around the world show severe vitamin deficiencies in those with hearing loss. Even more importantly replacing the missing vitamins improved the hearing loss in vast numbers of people, making hearing loss simply another one of many age-related problems preventable with good nutrition.” Read the full article here.

Manage Stress: “Sudden hearing loss (SHL) and tinnitus (TIN) are closely related. They occur together in 60-90% of cases [1-4]. Their pathophysiological features, the assumptions concerning their pathogenesis, and their medical treatment are rather similar [5-8]. Quite a number of experts and laymen believe that the onset of SHL and TIN is mediated by stress. Popular as this notion is, it has not been subjected to very much empirical investigation.” Read the full article here.

Drink Less Alcohol: Studies have shown that high alcohol consumption over a long period of time can result in damage to the central auditory cortex of the brain and may lead to brain shrinkage. Because the damage to the auditory nerves adds up, even moderate drinkers may risk nerve damage and hearing loss.” Read the full article here.

There you have it. Fifty percent of the top New Year’s Resolutions are loosely related to hearing loss (or the prevention of such).

So whether you already have your list written or you’ll get to it soon, here’s to a fabulous 2015 full of prosperity, positive human interactions, and a healthy mind and body! Cheers from the crew at ihearingaids.co. And if you or anyone you know needs more information on better hearing or hearing instruments give us a call at 855-444-3272 (a real person answers the phone) or use our contact page (a real person answers emails, too).

Feel free to share this article…we’re actually trying to reach a lot of people!

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Protect Your Ears This Winter

Cold, wet. windy winter weather

Cold, windy winter weather

I love a cold, wet winter. There is something peaceful and satisfying about curling up with a good book in a comfy chair with a hot beverage on a cold wintery day watching all the variations of weather that winter has to offer…right outside the protective, double-paned windows, of course. Watching the weather unfold from inside is one thing. Watching it from outside on the covered porch is another. But having (or choosing) to spend a lot of time in the wet, cold, windy, bone-chilling winter weather can be dreadful for your health and for the health of your ears.

When ears are exposed to cold, wet, windy weather they can, over time, develop what is known as exostosis. According to wikipedia.org, an exostosis (plural: exostoses) is the formation of new bone on the surface of a bone, because of excess calcium forming. Exostoses can cause chronic pain ranging from mild to devastatingly severe, depending on the shape, size, and location of the lesion. Where your ears are concerned, it’s new bone growth in your already small ear canal. Left untreated, the extra bone can continue to form and can completely close off your ear canal. Exostosis can lead to permanent hearing loss.

In this case (like so many others) prevention is so much easier than treatment. The surgery to remove the extra bone requires the surgeon to make an incision behind the hear to carefully remove the layered bone structure. This is the part where I was going to insert a picture of an ear during surgery. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (lucky you) but I’ll bet you google it yourself.

Wet, windy surf wave

Wet, windy surf wave

This condition isn’t limited to people living in extreme winter climates. Today, as I write this, it is December 22nd and it must be 75 degrees outside. The beach is about a half mile away and I would bet money that this morning there were surfers in the water.

Exostosis is also known as surfer’s ear (not be be confused with swimmer’s ear). After about 3000 hours in the cold sea water with the wind off the waves buffeting your ears, you may get exostoses. Your ears will give you warning signals; maybe they’ll hurt, maybe they’ll drain, maybe they won’t hear as well. Heed their warnings. They are trying to tell you something and if you wait too long you won’t be able to hear them….or hear anything. Three thousand hours sounds like a lot (and it is) but if you start surfing with unprotected ears at 10 years old, by the time you are 20 years old, your ears could already be damaged. A little pair of ear plugs can help preserve your hearing. 

Fuzzy pink earmuffs

Fuzzy pink earmuffs

Surfing earplugs

Surfing earplugs

I’ll admit, surfing earplugs just aren’t as cute as fuzzy earmuffs. But, go ahead…get your style on and protect your ears. In the meantime, if you think you are experiencing hearing loss, give ihearingaids a call. We can do a thorough check of you ears and hearing and, if needed, we can fit you with completely custom hearing instruments. ihearingaids is here for you and your ears!

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Ear Squinting

Ear squinting. Ever heard of it? It’s a technical term (well, not super technical) that is used in the audiology industry (well, not industry wide) to describe the face one makes when they are trying to hear better. It’s kinda like eye squinting when you are trying to see something small or when the sun is in your eyes. You know the face. You may have even made it yourself, in which case you wouldn’t know what it looks like, per se, but you’d know what it feels like…trying to hear what someone is saying to you but not quite picking up all the sounds…struggling to make sense of the noises but trying to be discreet about it…holding your hand near your ear and hoping your hair covers your hand…you know the feeling.

Not a discreet ear squinter.

This man is not a discreet ear squinter.

We laugh about this now because it just sounds funny. But if you’ve been ear squinting perhaps it’s time to get your hearing tested. It doesn’t hurt (that’s a plus). And if you do have hearing loss in one or both ears, you can be be fitted with very discreet hearing instruments. And that’s better than trying to be discreet while you are ear squinting.

By the way, ‘ear squinting’ is a term coined by the good folks here at ihearingaids (well…we think it was because we’ve never heard it anywhere else). With proper hearing instruments, not only can you put an end to your ear squinting, you can say “hello” to everything your ears have been missing (you can say a lot more, too…because you’ll be an actual participant in the conversation rather than just a squinter).

If you or someone you know could benefit from a good hearing test and/or hearing aids, ihearingaids is here to help. Just click here to contact us. Or, if you are a talker, give us a call at 855-444-3272….we’d love to hear from you!

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