Hearing Health Blog

We Have The Best Patient Care Coordinator!

Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority at Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers!

Our Patient Care Coordinators are vital members of our team. Their tireless dedication is crucial to our patients’ successes. It’s always nice to be reminded of the difference they are making in our patients’ lives!  We love getting these little reminders in the mail from our patients and colleagues!  

 


Hearing Aids Help with Motivation!

Did you know that wearing hearing aids boosts optimism, is good for relationships, may improve balance, and can positively impact our quality of life in lots of different ways?! No? Now you do! Hearing aid benefits are endless!

One way is by increasing the odds we exercise and socialize — both unquestionably good and positive things for our well-being.

Want to learn more benefits of treating hearing loss with hearing aids? Contact us today to schedule your first hearing consultation.


What is Ear Infection Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of different factors including aging, injury, noise exposure, infection and heredity. Those factors affect the auditory nerve, causing a sensorineural hearing loss, the most common type of hearing loss. But did you know an ear infection can also cause hearing loss? Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is referred to as a conductive hearing loss. Infection in the middle ear can cause fluid to build up, obstructing the movement of the eardrum and the tiny bones attached to it.

Ear infection hearing loss is a type of conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss affects the outer or middle ear rather than the auditory nerve, the way sensorineural hearing loss does. Conductive hearing loss is commonly caused by an obstruction in the middle ear. The middle ear moves to send sounds to your auditory nerve. Any obstruction can prevent sounds from passing through the middle ear and cause hearing loss. A buildup of wax, fluid in the middle ear, or a hole in the ear drum can each cause conductive hearing loss.

“Otitis media” is the medical term for an ear infection affecting the middle ear. The infection can cause a buildup of fluid, making it difficult for the eardrum and the ossicular chain to work together to move sounds to the auditory nerve. The ossicular chain in the middle ear is made up of the three smallest bones in your body. Called the malleus, incus and stapes, each one is as small as a single grain of rice.

Ear infection hearing loss is often temporary

Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is usually temporary and subsides after treatment. Your physician may choose to treat your ear infection with antibiotics. If the antibiotics successfully treat the infection, your hearing should return to normal. If you have a history of recurrent ear infections, your physician may insert a tube in your ear drum to help the fluid drain.

Eliminating the buildup of fluid relieves the pain and pressure that often accompanies an ear infection and can prevent the eardrum from rupturing. If fluid builds up without resolution, the pressure can cause your eardrum to rupture.

A history of recurrent ear infections can also lead to tympanosclerosis, which is the thickening or scarring of the tympanic membrane. A perforated eardrum and tympanosclerosis adversely affect the mobility of the eardrum and reduce hearing acuity. If your hearing does not return to normal following treatment, your physician and hearing professional may recommend hearing aids to treat the unresolved hearing loss.

What to do if you think you have hearing loss

If you have trouble hearing, it is important to have your hearing tested by a hearing professional, so the degree and type of hearing loss can be identified. Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers will identify the type of hearing loss you have and discuss the best treatment option with you following your hearing evaluation. Click here to contact us today!


15 Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

Unlike vision, which people typically treat as soon as it starts failing them, treating hearing loss gets pushed off — some studies suggest up to a dozen years or so.

We get it. You can’t do basic things like drive and read when your vision is compromised. Whereas with hearing impairment, it’s more gradual, can feel less detrimental, and is definitely easier to compensate for, either by turning up the volume on things, asking people to repeat themselves, or just avoiding situations where hearing is a challenge.

But years of research studies and anecdotal data confirm that untreated hearing loss is linked to numerous physical, mental and other negative quality-of-life issues — but that treating hearing loss can help minimize or eliminate these potential consequences. It’s the question everyone with hearing loss eventually asks: is letting it go untreated worth it? We don’t think so! Contact us today to set up a hearing evaluation. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Some Medications Can Cause Hearing Loss!

Numerous prescription and over-the-counter medications are known to be ototoxic, which means “poisonous to the ears.” Ototoxic drugs can cause vestibular dysfunction or damage the inner ear, which can result in hearing loss or tinnitus.

Ototoxic effects can be temporary and go away once a medication is stopped. But some effects can be long-term or even permanent.

Which types of medications are ototoxic?

Thorough scientific studies are need to determine a medication’s ototoxic capabilities. This makes it difficult to compile a complete list, especially as new ones come to market. That said, the list of known ototoxic medications includes:

  • Aspirin
  • Quinine
  • Loop diuretics (or “water pills”)
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Some anti-cancer drugs
  • Some anesthetics


Hearing screenings are a good idea

Before receiving treatment for any condition that involves known or suspected ototoxic medications (ask your doctor when any new medication is prescribed) it’s recommended you get a hearing screening with a hearing professional. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

Our hearing care providers can use this pre-treatment hearing screening as a baseline to measure against over the course of your treatment. Then, regular hearing tests throughout treatment can help detect any changes to your hearing, which should be shared with the physician treating your condition.

Please note that it’s important you don’t stop any prescribed medications without first consulting your physician.


No wires, no boundaries.

Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers is thrilled to be able to offer the world’s first custom-made wireless hearable, The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey Hearing Technologies, to its customers.

On Tuesday, Chicagoland Hearing partnered with Starkey Hearing Technologies and the Bragi team to unveil The Dash Pro. Powered by Starkey Hearing Technologies, the product release brought together technology pioneers from around the world, all eager to see the newest innovation in wearable technology.

The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey isn’t just a set of headphones, but a truly wireless ear computer!

The Dash Pro allows you to listen to music, podcasts and more via seamless streaming Bluetooth audio. You can leave your phone at home and store up to 1,000 songs or podcasts on 4GB of internal storage. The Dash Pro enables you to make or receive phone calls, and has up to five hours of battery life and 30 hours on-the-go.

Another key feature is that you can go hands-free with the 4-D menu and access core features with just head gestures and audio commands. You can even enjoy a swim, run or bike ride with auto activity tracking. The device will recognize the activity and adjust measurements like heart rate, RPM’s and distance accordingly.

Additionally, it allows you to hear what you want to hear with audio transparency that lets you block out sound, or let it all in. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is now compatible with iTranslate, allowing you to carry on conversations in multiple languages.

Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers is excited to be at the forefront of this innovation.

We look forward to fitting you for this state-of-the-art custom-made wireless hearable. Please contact our offices at (847) 213-9424 to set up your custom fitting today or to learn more about The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey.

We are very excited about this new technology and we know you will be too! Can’t wait to hear from you!

 


Hearing Aids May Improve Balance

A study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that enhancing hearing improved the balance of older adults with hearing loss. In the study, subjects who wore hearing aids performed better on balance tests when their hearing aids were turned on vs. when they were off.

The study’s author attributed the results to more than just improved alertness. Professor of otolaryngology, Timothy Hullar, MD, posited that, just as we use our sight to tell where we are in space (and sway more when it’s dark or our eyes are closed), we use sound as “auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance.” When that is compromised, balance can suffer.

Coming shortly after a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study linking hearing loss to a three-fold risk of falling, the results suggest that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can help reduce the risk of falls in older people.

Help prevent one of the leading causes of injuries for older Americans by treating your hearing loss. Contact us today to schedule your free hearing exam!


11 Reasons You Should Go Get a Hearing Test

Hearing loss happens. It’s the third most common health problem in the U.S., according to WebMD. Hearing loss is also very treatable – even more so when detected early. If you suspect you have hearing loss, why not find out for sure?

  1. It’s free, painless and takes less than an hour.
  2. Hearing loss has been known to foreshadow cardiovascular events.
  3. When it comes back negative for hearing loss, you can tell your friends to get off your back.
  4. The Mayo Clinic recommends every adult get a baseline hearing test.
  5. Untreated hearing loss is known to contribute to dementia.
  6. People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to fall.
  7. Most hearing clinics serve free cookies and coffee.
  8. Treating hearing loss by wearing hearing aids is proven to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  9. Untreated hearing loss is known to contribute to depression and social isolation.
  10. Hearing loss treatment has been shown to improve earning power.
  11. Because you’re proactive about your health and care about your quality of life.

Think you may have hearing loss? Find out for sure by scheduling a hearing test with us today. You’ve got nothing to lose and your quality of life to gain.


Wireless Hearing Aids and SurfLink Accessories Let You Live Life the Way You Want

Our newest wireless hearing aids — A4 and Invisibel [Synergy] — are our most advanced hearing aids ever. Thanks to an all-new operating system and updated technology, they’re designed to make music sound more natural than ever, and speech sound crisp and clear no matter how crowded or how loud the environment that you’re in is.

But to really enjoy all the benefits of our wireless hearing aids, be sure to pair them to one, or all, of our SurfLink accessories.

SurfLink accessories are small and compact. Designed to fit in your pocket or plug into your TV, they provide everything you need to enjoy TV, music, media, and more when paired to your A4 or Invisibel [Synergy] hearing aids.

Here are some of the cool things you can do with our SurfLink accessories:

1. Enjoy ear-to-ear phone streaming: Your hearing aids become the phone microphone and receiver when used with SurfLink Mobile 2. So once you answer the call, go ahead and talk to your spouse while lifting weights — you don’t need your hands after all.

2. Watch your favorite show in surround sound: Missed out on the epic season six of Game of Thrones? No worries. Watch new episodes and old with SurfLink Media 2. It plugs into your TV or stereo and streams the audio directly to both your hearing aids so you can hear every sword fight, sound effect and line of dialogue as if you are wearing headphones.

3. Listen to the football game while your wife naps on the couch next to you: Because SurfLink Media 2 streams TV audio directly to your hearing aids, you can decide the volume you want to listen to whatever you’re watching — while actually muting the sound for the rest of the room, or at least playing it at a volume they find comfortable.

4. Let everyone choose their own settings: Have more than one person with wireless hearing aids? No problem! Multiple people can connect to a single SurfLink Media 2 device at the same time and choose the volume they each prefer!

5. Quickly, easily change volume and hearing aid memories without touching your ears: The SurfLink Remote fits in the palm of your hand and lets you change memories, adjust volume and more without lifting a finger to your devices.

6. Nail that dream job interview: You can use SurfLink Mobile 2 as a lightweight, discreet microphone that can be worn by your conversation partner to help one-on- one conversations be the best they can be.

Call us today to learn more about the Surflink and to schedule a FREE hearing evaluation today!

This blog originally appeared on www.starkey.com.


How to Properly Clean Your Ears

Q: What do your ears and your oven have in common?

A: They are both self cleaning

It’s true! Your ears can clean themselves with the help of cerumen. Cerumen, the medical term for earwax, forms in the outer one-third of your ear canal, naturally migrating out of your ear with jaw movements, such as talking or chewing, to naturally clean your ears. Earwax is also thought to have protective, antibacterial and lubricant properties. Wax protects the ear by keeping debris away from the eardrum. Inserting ear cleaning or wax-removal tools can potentially push the wax further down the canal, thereby causing harm to the wall of your ear canal or eardrum. Removing ear wax can also make your ear canal feel dry and itchy because of the natural lubrication it provides.

Is it ever okay to clean your ears?

Despite the wide array of removal tools sold over the counter, the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) believes that under ideal circumstances your ears will never need to be cleaned: “Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that earwax should be routinely removed for personal hygiene. This is not so. In fact, attempting to remove ear wax with cotton-tipped swabs, bobby pins, or other probing devices can result in damage to the ear including trauma, impaction of the earwax, and changes in hearing. These objects only push wax in deeper, and can block the ear canal entirely.”

How to help avoid earwax build up:

If your ears tend to produce a great deal of earwax, you can help prevent build up and impaction by using a softening agent once a week. Drops like Debrox and Murine are sold over the counter and can soften wax by allowing it to come out on its own more easily. If you feel most comfortable leaving removal to the professionals, you can schedule wax removal every 6 to 12 months with your doctor or hearing professional.

NOTE: If you have tubes in your ears, a hole in your ear, diabetes, or a weakened immune system you should contact your physician before attempting to remove wax on your own.

Signs of an impaction (earwax buildup):

An excess build-up of earwax can lead to impaction and other unpleasant symptoms including pain, infection, decrease in hearing, itching and more.

– If you notice pain, fullness, or a plugged sensation in your ear you should see a professional to rule out wax impaction.

– If wax blocks your ear canal you may notice a decrease in hearing, ringing, itching, odor, or an increase in coughing.

A professional trained in earwax extraction can use suction, a curette, microscope or irrigation for removal. Manual removal may be used if the ear canal is narrow, the eardrum has a hole in it, or there is a tube in the ear drum. Individuals with diabetes or weakened immune systems should be especially careful about wax removal.

Hearing aids and earwax

Earwax can wreak havoc on hearing aids. Some hearing aid wearers report an increase in earwax production when they begin wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids can stimulate the glands in the ear canal to produce more wax and block the normal migration of wax from the ear canal. More importantly, earwax can clog a hearing aid’s microphones and receivers, impairing quality and performance. This is why cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids is so important. Your hearing care professional will demonstrate how to properly clean and maintain your hearing aids.

Call us today to set up an appointment!

Sources:

This Will Make You Never, Ever Want to Clean Your Ears Again: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/dont-clean- ear-qtip_n_5600401.html

Ear Wax and Care: http://www.entnet.org/content/earwax-and- care

The truth about cleaning your ears with cotton swabs: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/01/29/truth-about- cleaning-your- ears-with- cotton-swabs.html

You’ll Never Clean the Inside of Your Ears Again After Reading This: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/27/ear-cleaning.aspx#!

This blog originally appeared on www.starkey.com by Dr. Beth McCormick.


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