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Protect your ears this summer

The summer season is fast upon us, and so are all the fun summer activities! We’d like to take a minute to remind you of how important it is to remember that some of the fun things you do could have an irreversible effect of your hearing.

  1. Yard Work: A well groomed yard shouldn’t lead to hearing loss as you age. Protect your hearing from lawn mowers, weed whippers, chain saws and leaf blowers!
  2. Fireworks: The beautiful displays of fireworks can damage your hearing. Ringing in at up to 125dB, that’s enough to permanently cause a threshold shift. Remember your children’s ears as well at fireworks time.
  3. Sporting Events & Concerts: The loud cheers at your favorite ballpark (Go Tigers!) and summer concerts can last up to 3 hours. On average, the sound levels can reach 95dB+. That duration and intensity of sound may result in tinnitus the next day – that’s your ears’ way of telling you they were overexposed to sound.
  4. Boats and Motorcycles: Its not just the engine noise that can harm your hearing – wind noise can be the culprit! Consult our audiologists for custom hearing protection that will still allow you to hear the important sounds around you while riding and boating safely.

Make sure you get outside and enjoy all of the super activities that are part of summer traditions, but please – PROTECT THOSE EARS! If you are experiencing ringing, buzzing or fullness in your ears this summer, consult our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists!

 

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Hearing Loss: No, it’s not just you.

You’re experiencing hearing loss, and you assume it’s just you. But it’s not just you. One out of every nine of us have hearing loss, that’s nearly 4 million Canadians.

That’s important for you to know if you are experiencing hearing issues. It can help to know that you are not alone. 

Hearing loss occurs naturally as people get older, but it’s not just seniors who are affected. Changes to your hearing can begin to occur for many when they reach their 20s, 30s and 40s, and while approximately 30 percent of people over the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, more than 65 percent of those who experience hearing loss do so before retirement age.

About 15 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 41-59) and 7 percent of Generation Xers (ages 29-34) already have significant issues with their hearing.

Because hearing loss occurs gradually, its effects are sometimes not immediately obvious, especially when it comes to recognizing a change in one’s own hearing. Often it’s a friend, family member or co-worker that points it out, and even then it can be hard to believe that it’s happening to you.

Taking care of your hearing is your responsibility. It’s up to you to be alert to the signs and have your hearing checked if you suspect that your hearing may be changing.

These signs may include: Turning the TV louder, requiring others to repeat themselves, thinking that others are mumbling, having ringing (tinnitus) in your ears, feeling tired or exhausted after strenuous listening activities or have a family history of hearing loss.

For a limited time, there is no cost to have your hearing assessed by our Doctors of Audiology if you are an adult aged 18+. We simply ask for a donation to the Essex Area Food Bank. A hearing assessment takes but an hour and will help alleviate your concerns. We are able to arrange an appointment for you Monday through Friday, from 9am until 5pm. Call today to arrange your appointment! (519) 961-9285.

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The Top 5 Excuses for Avoiding the Audiologist

This blog comes the day after Thanksgiving, and that is not coincidental. I visited my elderly grandparents for the holiday and for the most part just really loved getting caught up with their life happenings.

Grandma & Grandpa Cecile know where I work and what  I do. I’ve done the same for the past 15 years, and darn-it they have been avoiding coming to visit me to see the Audiologists for equally as long.

This year was no different. Except that Meme was complaining of an incessant ringing in her ears that started two months ago. Ringing that is high pitched and distracting. So distracting that she visited her family physician twice. Twice she was told that nothing could be done, and to leave a radio on when she tries to sleep. She was telling me this while I nodded my head and waited for her to finish telling me how her ringing in her ears keeps her from painting and doing her word search puzzles.

When I softly commented that if there was a simple fix to the ringing in her ears, would she do it? Yes? Well, then perhaps she should make an appointment to see the Audiologist at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. Then the excuses began.

I wish I had a tape recorder on me, because this list would be more than a “Top 5”.

1. I can hear a pin drop. This is for all of those who use this excuse (or it’s close relative the ‘I don’t have a problem with my hearing, I hear everything’.) While it’s true that you may in fact hear pins drop, that is but ONE frequency of sound. Without a hearing test for the last 40 years, how do you know that you are hearing everything?

2. My mother lived to be 95 and never needed a hearing aid. Needing vs. wanting a hearing aid are two very different things. (I knew Granny Sweetie at 95. She needed a hearing aid. She may not have wanted one, but she certainly needed one.) Regardless of need vs. want, this excuse is made moot by the fact that you and your mother did not have the same experiences in life that may have damaged hearing. While yes, genetics can play a factor in hearing loss, generally inherited hearing loss is present in newborns.

3. It’s just the two of us and I don’t need to hear him. Well there you have it. Argument finished. There couldn’t possibly be anything else to listen to in your life other than Grandpa. The kettle boiling, the doorbell, the garage door malfunctioning (as it did last year, which they didn’t realize until I visited), an intruder breaking in, mice in the walls in the kitchen, the muffler going on the minivan, the banker you yelled at last week for not telling you something that he obviously had etc. Yup. Nothing more to hear in life, just throw in the towel.

4. My Doctor told me there was nothing that could be done (or another personal favorite the “I have the kind of hearing loss that can’t be helped.”) This one irks me because no well rounded physician would tell a patient this. Liken it to going to the doctor and telling them that you can’t see. I’m fairly 100% sure that almost every physician in the universe would suggest seeing an Optometrist for starters, among other things. Don’t use your Doctor as your excuse. He or she wants you to be well and to have your hearing tested regularly. Trust me.

5. I just can’t be bothered with all that hassle. Oh yes. The hassle. The hassle of having a hearing test and learning to use a hearing aid. Changing it’s battery every 7-10 days. Wait, you have an appointment with the eye doctor for a vision test? An appointment at the foot clinic? What about that hassle? Life is nothing but hassles. It’s only a hassle if it has no perceived value to you. Which apparently improved communication and safety does not.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever used these 5 excuses, just know – like my Grandma – I’m on to you! Your excuses are your way of rationalizing your refusal to take a simple hearing test. It’s a defense mechanism used to justify and explain in a seemingly logical manner (to you) your avoidance of the truth: You just don’t want hearing aids. For whatever reason. They’re pricey. They’re ugly. People will know you’re old.  Despite the fact that they may be able to help you rid yourself of that annoying ringing in your ears that has changed your life…it’s just a hassle.

I may never win over my grandmother – until she’s good and ready to come in (she’s just as stubborn as I am!) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

Give up the ghost. It’s just a hearing test. At least that way when you tell people that there’s nothing wrong with your hearing, you will at least know to cross your fingers!

~melissa

 

 

 

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The Hurdles to Getting Hearing Aids

A New York Times blog posted this morning struck a cord with us here at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. (Click here to read it.)

Jane Brody writes that

Hearing loss is usually gradual, and people often fail to recognize when it becomes severe enough to warrant hearing aids. Some deny that they have a problem, and instead accuse others of mumbling when they know people are talking but can’t understand what is being said. Still others regard hearing aids as unattractive devices that make them feel and look old in a society that prizes youthfulness.

We see this every day. Mostly those who could benefit from a hearing aid value their vanity over communication with family and friends.

What many people with hearing loss don’t realize is that the signs of the untreated hearing loss are more noticeable to others than hearing aids.

If you feel you are having trouble communicating or are isolating yourself socially because of your hearing trouble, give us a call. We would be happy to walk you over perceived hurdles. Our Doctors of Audiology are here to help. (519) 961-9285

 

 

 

 

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What do William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan have in common?

William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan seem likely to have nothing in common. An actor, a classical composer, a rapper and a former American President – they seemingly couldn’t be more different. But according to an article by stoptheringing.org they all (and many others) suffer from Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is commonly referred to as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, and it is the perception of sound when there is no external sound present.

The British Tinnitus Association recently released a Top Ten List about Tinnitus for Physicians.

 

Ten Top Tinnitus Tips 

1 At any point in time around 10% of the population experience tinnitus – both sexes are equally affected and although tinnitus is more common in the elderly it can occur at any age, including childhood. The perceived sound can have virtually any quality – ringing, whistling and buzzing are common – but more complex sounds can also be described.

2 Most tinnitus is mild in fact it is relatively rare for it to develop into a chronic problem of life-altering severity, but it does happen. The natural history of tinnitus in most patients is of an acute phase of distress when the problem begins, followed by improvement over time. But for a minority of patients the distress is ongoing and very significant, and they will require specialist support.

3 Tinnitus is more common in people with hearing loss tinnitus prevalence is greater among people with hearing impairment but the severity of the tinnitus correlates poorly with the degree of hearing loss. It is also quite possible to have tinnitus with a completely normal pure tone audiogram.

4 Tinnitus can be associated with a blocked sensation for reasons that are not clear tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss can give rise to a blocked feeling in the ears despite normal middle ear pressure and eardrum mobility. Otoscopy and, if available, tympanometry can exclude Eustachian tube dysfunction. Decongestants and antibiotics are rarely helpful.

5 Giving a negative prognosis is actively harmful it is all too common to hear that patients have been told nothing can be done about tinnitus. Such negative statements are not only unhelpful but also tend to focus the patient’s attention on their tinnitus and exacerbate the distress. A positive attitude is generally helpful and there are many constructive statements that can be made about tinnitus, such as: most tinnitus lessens or disappears with time; most tinnitus is mild; tinnitus is not a precursor of hearing loss.

6 Enriching the sound environment is helpful useful sources of sound to reduce the starkness of tinnitus include quiet uneventful music, a fan or a water feature. There are inexpensive devices that produce environmental sounds, and these are particularly useful at bedtime.

7 Hearing aids are helpful straining to listen causes increased central auditory gain and this increased sensitivity can allow tinnitus to emerge or, if already present, to worsen. Correcting any associated hearing loss reduces this central auditory gain and thereby reduces the level of the tinnitus. Hearing aids are useful even if the hearing loss is relatively mild and an aid would not normally be considered. Recent Department of Health guidelines have emphasised the value of audiometry in a tinnitus consultation, and this is the definitive basis for decisions about hearing aid candidacy. If in doubt, refer for an audiological opinion. In our view, all people who describe tinnitus deserve an audiological assessment. Decisions on when to start using a hearing aid and what sort to use are up to the individual patient and audiologist.

8 Underlying pathology is rare, but be vigilant in many cases tinnitus is due to heightened awareness of spontaneous electrical activity in the auditory system that is normally not perceived. It can however be a symptom of treatable and significant otological pathology, such as a vestibular schwannoma or otosclerosis. One should be especially vigilant if the tinnitus is unilateral, or if it has a pulsatile quality.

9 There is no direct role for drugs although they can be used to treat associated symptoms such as vertigo, insomnia, anxiety or depression. There is also no conventional or complementary medication that has been shown to have specific tinnitus ameliorating qualities and there is anecdotal suggestion that repeatedly trying unsuccessful therapies worsens tinnitus.

10 Self-help is often effective – Audiologists provide excellent information on tinnitus and common sense advice on managing symptoms. Written by: Dr David Baguley PhD, Head of Audiology

Of course, as Doctors of Audiology, our Audiologists have extensive education and experience with tinnitus. If you or a loved one experience tinnitus, please feel free to call our office for more information about how we can help.

Can tinnitus be alleviated by Hearing Aids?
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DEFEAT DIZZINESS – It’s Balance Awareness Week

At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, we’re kicking off Balance Awareness Week! A whole week dedicated to defeating dizziness.

Top Ten Facts about Vestibular Disorders

1. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with balance.

2. Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.

3. Vestibular disorders can be caused by disease, injury, poisoning by drugs or chemicals, autoimmune causes, traumatic brain injury, or aging. Many vestibular disorders occur from unexplained causes.

4. Symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, jumping vision, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.

5. Vestibular disorders are difficult to diagnose. It is common for a patient to consult 4 or more physicians over a period several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.

6. There is no “cure” for most vestibular disorders. They may be treated with medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise), surgery, or positional maneuvers. In most cases, patients must adapt to a host of life-altering limitations.

7. Vestibular disorders impact patients and their families physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to physical symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo, vestibular patients can experience poor concentration, memory, and mental fatigue. Many vestibular patients suffer from anxiety and depression due to fear of falling and the loss of their independence.

8. Common vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraine.

9. In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.

10.The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is the largest patient organization providing information, support, and advocacy for vestibular patients worldwide. (For more information click HERE)

If you or a loved one suffers from dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, instability or vestibular dysfunction, please feel free to contact our office to find out how we can help! (519) 961-9285

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Join us for a Wellness Block Party!

Plan to join us September 12, from 10am-2pm at the Victoria Place Plaza for a Wellness Block Party!

Come and meet & greet your local wellness & healthcare professionals and see what we have to offer you & your family!

Along with wellness talks, join us for fitness participation demos, hearing screenings, medications reviews and talks with a dietitian about meal planning and eating healthy. We’re offering great deals on local services and products.

Make Victoria Place your one stop health destination and be entered in our draw to win a Custom Meal Plan, Windsor Spitfires Tickets, a Fragrance Lamp Kit, Prescription Sunglasses & More!

For more information, see the attached image, visit the event page on facebook or give us a call! (519) 961-9285

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Do your ears make you a dangerous driver?

Think for a minute about all the things that we hear as drivers that make us better prepared for the road… we hear a vehicle rounding a corner before we see it, we hear sirens before we see an accident site, we hear the sounds of children playing and tires squealing. We hear the sounds of our car asking for servicing.

Are you in denial about a hearing loss? (Yes we’re talking to you!) Studies show your hearing loss does in fact affect your driving skill, particularly, adults with hearing loss had greater difficulty driving safely in the presence of distractions than older adults with normal hearing.  Because distractions such as conversation, reading street signs, listening to the radio, using a mobile phone or navigation system are a present day reality for all drivers..  This study, which references similar studies of adults with hearing loss suggests that the additional effort of listening to a degraded auditory signal detracts one’s resources from other cognitive tasks, making it more difficult to attend safely to the road.

As you get older, the Ministry of Transportation makes it essential that a hearing test is performed before renewing a drivers licence, and amplifying if there is need. This is never a bad idea for the safety of all drivers on the road. 

If you or a loved one are struggling to hear road noises and you believe its affecting safety, come in for a hearing test. One hour of your time could mean safer roadways for everyone. Call us to arrange an appointment. Remember, May is Better Hearing Month, your hearing test only costs a canned food donation for The Essex Area Food Bank! (519) 961-9285.

 

 

 

 

Make a hearing test part of your health routine!

Many Canadians have their eyesight tested every 2-3 years, and yet Statistics Canada reveals that about 70% of adults with measured hearing loss did not report any diagnosis by a health care professional. That is, they noticed they had a hearing loss, but didn’t see an Audiologist or Physician about their problem.

Our Doctors of Audiology recommend a hearing test before the age of 40 for a “baseline“, and a hearing test every 2-3 years after to monitor changes.

Other factors that may affect your hearing: obesity, exposure to loud noise (industrial or leisure), diabetes, kidney disease. Are you a smoker? The chemicals in cigarettes are ototoxic (that is, they can impair your hearing, cause tinnitus or affect your balance).

It only takes one hour to have your hearing tested with our Doctors of Audiology. What better time to have your hearing tested than Better Hearing Month? Call to arrange an appointment at (519) 961-9285.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/more/wellness/1283596-hearing-tests-part-of-%E2%80%98overall-health-routine%E2%80%99