According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss.
Since the industrial revolution which spanned from about 1760 until about 1840, people have been exposed to more and more industrial noise than ever before in the history of mankind. In many instances, the exposure to excess noise was unavoidable. And, even if it was avoidable, no one paid much mind to the fact that it could negatively impact one’s ability to hear. In the early 1980’s with the instant popularity of the Sony Walkman, the first portable personal music device with headphones, people began to expose themselves to very loud noise for the express purpose of entertainment. Between iPods, MP3 players, smart phones, and tablets there are literally billions of devices of (potential) hearing destruction out in the world! Not only that, these devices are being given to toddlers for entertainment.
Girl with earbud earring
WHO estimates that nearly 50% of young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are exposed regularly to unsafe sound levels. Forty percent of them are also exposed to unsafe sound levels at venues (concerts, conventions, night clubs, sporting events, etc). Sound levels are considered unsafe if exposure is in excess of 85 dB for eight hours or just 15 minutes of 100 dB. See Decibel Comparison Chart
People can help themselves by protecting their hearing with a few simple steps:
1) Limit exposure times or wear well-fitted ear plugs when in high decibel situations
2) Wear noise-canceling earplugs
3) Be mindful of the volume on personal sound devices and limit listening to an hour per day
There are easily accessible smart phone apps to monitor safe listening levels or reduce sound through the headphones. Try these or other by searching ‘Sound Level Meter’ in the Google Play Store or the App Store (for Apple products):
Music Volume EQ
Listen MUSIC Safely
Sound Meter PRO
Do yourself a favor that your future self with thank you for…turn down the volume!!
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, take our online quiz. It’s painless and free! Remember ihearingaids is here to help you hear!
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5 Tips For Success with Hearing Aids
So you got new hearing aids…maybe you are a first time user or maybe you have upgraded to a new model to better match your current hearing loss. Either way, those hearing aids will take some getting used to. I remember the first time I got prescription “progressive” trifocal eyeglasses. My eye doctor said I should wear them constantly for a minimum of two weeks to “get used to them”. As soon as I left his office, dutifully wearing the new glasses, I wanted to take them off! I was feeling nauseated and sick to my stomach as my eyes tried to adjust to the different zones on the lenses. Those first few days were horrible and I was ready to give up. But the idea of not being able to see anything clearly (and the cost of those expensive frames and lenses) kept me wearing them all day, every day. My doctor was right…after about two weeks, my eyes (and my brain) had adjusted to the new view and I was having a lot of success with my new glasses.
It’s the same with anything new…there is a breaking in period…a ‘getting to know you’ period…an “I know these are good for me so I’ll keep trying” period. To make the most of your new hearing aids, try these tips for better success.
- Communicate your needs clearly to your audiologist so they can program your new hearing aid to meet the needs of your specific hearing loss. If you don’t tell them what you hear and what you don’t, they cannot program the hearing instrument to help you. Use descriptive words when telling him the sounds that you are hearing; are the sounds whiny, whirring, buzzing, ringing, jangly, tinny…break out your thesaurus and channel your inner poet.
- Have realistic expectations. Hearing loss is usually permanent with no known cure. Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss. They are an ‘aid’ to assist your ears in transmitting sounds to your brain. If you have been experiencing severe hearing loss, implementing the use of a hearing aid will NOT return your hearing to normal. But it WILL give you 50% to 95% better hearing.
- Take it slow. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of noise you can hear after wearing your hearing aids, it’s OK to turn them down a little, or wear them a little at a time, adding more time each day, until you are used to the sound. This is especially true if you are a new user or you have had severe long-term untreated hearing loss. While you were losing your hearing, you gradually got used to the quieter world in which you were living. Popping new hearing aids in after living so long in the quiet can be jarring. Your hearing aids might sound fine in the audiologists office but as you leave the office and step in to the chaos of the world suddenly everything seems to be assaulting your ears…traffic, people, wind, music, crying babies (well, crying babies never sound good). Make a deal with yourself to wear the hearing aids for a certain amount of time each day and increase that amount every day or two. In no time, you’ll find yourself getting to the end of the day without having wanted to remove your hearing aids.
- Get to know the features of your new hearing aids. Many late model hearing aids come with features that just weren’t available as little as five years ago. Find out how your smart phone can help with your hearing aids. How about a T-coil for direct sound from many household devices? Read the manufacturers information and talk to your audiologist. Get in touch with your inner technology geek and make the most of what those hearing aids can offer.
- Be motivated. Without motivation, you might be tempted to toss your new hearing aids into the desk drawer and never use them because you weren’t patient or you didn’t communicate clearly with your audiologist or you had unrealistic expectation. Then your hearing aids will be kinda like when people buy an expensive computer and all they use it for is to play Solitaire…that’s a mighty expensive game of Solitaire. You don’t want your hearing aids to be a mighty expensive experiment in hearing. You can keep motivated just knowing that your increased ability to communicate with your family is priceless to them and to you.
As with anything substantial that you purchase, there will be be people who just want to sell you as much as they can and have no interest in 1) retaining you as a client, or 2) making sure that you get the most from your purchase. It’s the same with hearing aids. There are audiologists who will just try to sell you the most expensive hearing aid with all the added bells and whistles. And there are the audiologists are really are passionate about helping people hear better and, in turn, live better lives. You will know them because they will be interested in your hearing success. They will help you with fitting, wearing, settings, maintenance, etc. They will call you to check your progress. They will take special care in programming your hearing aid to meet your hearing loss. They will always be learning about new technology to better meet your needs. They might even have cookies in their waiting room. Seek this kind of hearing professional…it’s worth it.
At ihearingaids, we screen all the audiologists in our program so we know that when we refer you to them you will get the same warm fuzzy homey feeling you would get from your closest friend….yeah…your success is that important to us!
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