Hearing Health Blog

How Common is Hearing Loss?

Do you have hearing loss? Then welcome to the growing-larger-by-the-day club. According to the latest figures, there are enough Americans with hearing loss to replace the entire population of California and still overflow into parts of Texas.

In other words, if you have hearing loss you are definitely not alone. To illustrate just how common hearing loss is, we’ve compiled many of these latest figures into our “Hearing loss by the numbers” infographic below.

If you are one of the many struggling with hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers with your concerns. We are available Monday through Friday from 9:00am-4:30pm! We can’t wait to hear from you 🙂


What is Causing the Ringing in my Ears?

If you have ringing or hissing or buzzing in your ears, you have what medical experts refer to as “tinnitus.

Experts have tried to pinpoint an exact physiological cause of tinnitus, but the mystery remains unsolved. Exposure to loud noise, head injuries, medication, and even earwax are thought to trigger the onset or worsen existing tinnitus. The sad fact is, science and medical professionals have yet to figure out what causes ringing in the ears.

Some people, like Terry, experience tinnitus after a single exposure to loud noise. Others, like Ron, attribute their tinnitus to a lifetime of not wearing hearing protection. Still others, like, Kevin, say their tinnitus started while battling a cold and flying.

50 million Americans deal with tinnitus

What we do know is that tinnitus is too common, affecting 1 in 6 Americans. Tinnitus usually accompanies hearing loss, although hearing loss is not believed to be caused by tinnitus. The reverse is also true: Tinnitus is not caused by hearing loss, even when the two are present together.

We also know that however it started, whatever it sounds like, and regardless of whether the tinnitus is mild or severe, each and every tinnitus sufferer wants the same thing — relief.

Is there a way to stop the ringing in your ears?

Unfortunately, a tinnitus cure is something else science and medical professionals have yet to figure out. But while there is no cure for tinnitus, there are effective treatment options available at Chicagoland Hearing Aid Centers!

Specially designed hearing aids with tinnitus technology are becoming more popular, as they are proven to help. They deliver a customizable sound stimulus that can soothe the annoying sounds associated with tinnitus and provide relief.

You don’t have to continue to suffer from tinnitus. Call us today to discuss coping and treatment methods that can work best for you. We want to help you feel relief!


Aren’t All Hearing Aids the Same? A Closer Look at Our Starkey Hearing Aids!

This is actually a multi-faceted question! At its most basic, the answer could be “yes,” because — from a manufacturing standpoint — hearing aids all require the same parts: a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver (or speaker) and a battery source. And, from a functional standpoint, all hearing aids should amplify sounds, just as all cars should get you from Point A to Point B.

However, if we take a closer look at the hearing aid technology that is available to us today, the answer isn’t quite so simple.

Hearing aids have different features and technologies

First, there are many different technologies and features that are available within today’s hearing instruments. There are memories, channels, bands, wireless, wired, remotes, accessories, and more. Because these options are intricate and confusing to many, it is strongly recommended that one seeks out a reputable hearing healthcare professional to guide them through the process.

Hearing aids come in different styles

Second, there are several styles of hearing instruments available. They range from behind-the-ear hearing instruments to the very smallest invisible-in-the-canal hearing instruments. Again, a hearing healthcare professional will make a recommendation of which style of hearing instrument is the best option for one’s type and severity of hearing loss.

 

 

The company that makes the hearing aid also makes a difference

Finally, there are several manufacturers of hearing instruments. Each of these manufacturers make reliable, quality products. And they all offer (mostly) the same styles. But each manufacturer also specializes in, excels at or is known for certain things.

To go back to the automobile analogy: sure, companies like Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen all make sedans, minivans and SUVs that get you from A to B — but think why you ultimately choose one over the other?

Starkey Hearing Technologies is known for quality, simplicity and reliability

Starkey Hearing Technologies has differentiated our hearing aids from the others with features like exceptional sound quality, industry-best feedback cancellation, easy and robust wireless connectivity, a proprietary music setting, custom hearing aid expertise, and the industry’s best network of hearing healthcare professionals, just to name a few.

So, as you can see, there is not one single answer to the question of “Aren’t all hearing instruments the same?” The best hearing aids will be the hearing aids that are appropriate for the user’s hearing loss and have the features and technology that will best benefit the user’s lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about the Starkey products or you have any questions at all please contact us!


Can Treating Hearing Loss Help Prevent Dementia?

Just last week, a study published in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, called dementia “the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century.” The study, conducted by The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, noted that 50 million people have dementia worldwide — and that the number is expected to triple by 2050.

The commission’s purpose was to provide recommendations for prevention and management of dementia. The need is urgent, it determined, as dementia not only affects the person with dementia, it also impacts their family and friends.

Be proactive earlier in life to help prevent dementia later

The commission’s 24 international experts concluded that one in three cases of dementia could be prevented if people managed just nine lifestyle factors — one of which is managing hearing loss during midlife (between age 40-65).

The other eight include increasing childhood education and exercise, maintaining social engagements, reducing or stopping smoking, and management of depression, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Dementia typically doesn’t manifest itself with symptoms until we’re 65+, but the study’s authors note that it likely begins between ages 40-65. They determined that managing these nine modifiable risk factors at various stages of life could “contribute to prevention or delay of dementia.”

The link between dementia and hearing loss

The commission admits science isn’t yet unanimous on why unmanaged hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia. But research has confirmed that hearing loss adds to the cognitive load of the brain, leads to social isolation and depression, and accelerates brain atrophy — all of which are likely contributing factors.

Now, at least, there’s research that points to ways we can “reduce the incidence of dementia or substantially delay its onset” — and nearly all are within our control. This is terrific news for anyone worried about being affected by this awful condition.

We can help you manage your hearing loss

Hearing loss is definitely something you can manage with the help of a trained hearing professional. If you have or think you have hearing loss, this new research gives you a great reason to do something about it as soon as you can.

Call us to schedule a hearing test today! Don’t wait until it’s too late.


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!