Improve Your Hearing

Learn Two Key Ways you can enhance your hearing so you are able to live well with hearing loss

1. Technology – hearing aids, other devices

Older man and woman or pensioners with a hearing problem make aThere are many ways you can use technology to help you and those around you live with hearing loss. Of course, hearing loss is a complex condition, yet most people assume that the simple purchase of a hearing aid will provide an instant fix, just like buying a pair of glasses across the counter. The reality is that hearing aids are just a small part of the process of achieving better hearing. Knowledge is power, so understanding what the different technology and what it means for you means you can make informed decisions and ensure you get the right answers to the right questions.

2. Optimisation of your hearing and listening skills

Financial PlannerHearing loss is not just a problem with your organ of hearing, it also involves how sound is processed as it travels to the part of the brain known as the auditory cortex. This is where we interpret and create meaning from the sounds we hear as hearing, listening and comprehending are all reliant on brain function. Your hearing aids assist you to hear the sounds again. However, there are many ways you can learn to improve your ability to listen and comprehend especially in background noise. You will enjoy learning these new skills as part of your hearing training program at Hearing Care Professionals.

Other Ways to Enhance Your Hearing

What Other Technology Is Available To Enhance My Hearing?

Maybe you do not want hearing aids yet you are having difficulty hearing in selected situations, especially when noise is present. Sometime you would benefit from special listening devices rather than using hearing aids. For example: You sleep in because you do not hear the alarm or you are having difficulty hearing the phone ring. Times such as on the phone, watching TV or in a noisy place mean that following a conversation can sometimes be frustrating. There are different system available from wireless communication systems, to audio loops and FM systems.

Or maybe you have hearing aids and would like to know about upgrading them to more modern hearing aid technology such as advanced performance technology capable of making hearing and understanding in most situations more enjoyable.

There are many different manufacturers and at Hearing Care Professionals we want you to make better and more informed choices. Appropriate selection of the right device for your particular needs and circumstances requires an in-depth assessment similar to a hearing aid assessment. Nolene Nielson has extensive experience in choosing the right assistive hearing devices for your situation, so make an appointment for a consultation to have Nolene help you make the right decision about what would work best for you?

What Can I Do To Improve My Hearing In Noise?

iStock_family meal gatheringYou can train your hearing! Yes the evidence is mounting that using these programs makes a difference to your ability to hear with and without your hearing aids as your brain is where you interpret and create meaning of the sound you hear. Hearing loss has complex and gradual but unnoticeable consequences on how your brain hears.

Hearing Care Professionals use two different programs to help you to train your auditory system resulting in improved listening skills and ability to hear when in complex or difficult listening situations.  Contact us for help.

What Else Will Help Me Stay Connected With Those Around Me?

At Hearing Care Professionals we know of many ways we can help you improve your communication and listening skills so that you will be able to communicate more easily with and without hearing aids. The strategies most suitable for you will depend on your hearing and lifestyle needs.

Strategies to help you communicate

There are things you can do, and things others can do, to help you communicate more easily – with or without hearing aids.

Strategies that help you communicate more effectively

  • Tell others that you have a hearing loss and let them know how they can help (e.g. make sure you have my attention before speaking to me, speak slower, look directly at me).
  • Keep background noise to a minimum – turn down the radio and television when you’re talking, and avoid fans or running water during conversations.
  • Move closer to the person speaking and position yourself so you can always see them.
  • In large groups, position yourself in the center. At large gatherings, such as church services or lectures, sit at the front of the room. Use an assistive listening device.

How family and friends can help

Reduce background noise

  • Turn down any noisy appliances such as televisions, radios, fans and dishwashers.
  • Move closer to the listener.
  • Try to have only one person speaking at a time in large groups.

Make it easy for a person to read your lips

  • Do not cover your mouth or chew gum or food when speaking.
  • Reduce the distance between yourself and the listener and look directly at the person when speaking.
  • Ensure conversation areas are well lit so the listener can watch facial expressions.
  • Avoid conversations in the car where it is difficult to hear between the front and back seats or to read lips.
  • Get the listener’s attention before you begin speaking.

How you speak

  • Speak at a normal conversational level and avoid loud exaggerated speech.
  • Do not speak too quickly.
  • Pronounce your words clearly and allow the listener time to fully comprehend the conversation.
  • Rephrase a sentence rather than simply repeating it, as some phrases are easier to lip read than others.

 

Test Your Hearing

Why have Regular tests of your hearing?

Hearing is your 24/7 connection to the world as it never takes a break. It connects your brain to the outside world, keeping it sharp and stimulated. It connects you to others: your loved ones, your friends, colleagues and strangers. It connects you to opportunity, so that it’s you who responds and not some shadow of yourselves.

The better you understand what your hearing actually does for you the more respect for your hearing you will have. And the greater your respect for your hearing, the more likely you will keep your hearing working at its best.

Even if you think you have good hearing you still need it checked. This way a baseline can be established so that any future changes can be identified. Many people think they hear well but the people around them are compensating for the gradual changes that are occurring. It is very hard to know how well we are actually hearing. It is also important to find out if your hearing is at risk. Prevention is better than cure (link to prevention page)

“I don’t like the idea of other people knowing something about me that I don’t, especially if it puts me at a disadvantage; I’d rather be the first to know.”

“I’ve known people in the past where everyone but them knew they were mishearing. I don’t want to find myself in that position. It weakens me socially.”

After the consultation, you will most likely feel better because you will know where you stand and what your options are.

What is involved in a Regular Review of your hearing?

Hearing Care is to ears, what Eye Care is to eyes and Dental Care is to teeth. It should be a holistic approach that covers a number of aspects, even if you already wear hearing aids.

Young people covering their mouths eyes and ears

  • Detailed history to discover your medical and audiological history, your lifestyle needs and how, if at all, hearing is impacting on your life
  • An in-depth evaluation of hearing and hearing health which aims to discover how good your hearing is, how your middle ear works, and how well you hear and understand speech not just when it is quiet but also when it is noisy.
  • Discussion of the options available and guidance on the best choice for your needs.
  • A review of any hearing equipment you may be already using, such as hearing aid, to ensure that they are working optimally for you and still suit your needs.
  • A report detailing the findings of the consultation and the recommendations made.

The Outcome of any in depth consultation process usually results in one of the following three outcomes:

  1. You may require periodic monitoring of your hearing
  2. You may require further assessment either by the audiologist or your medical practitioner
  3. You may require special hearing care options that will be discussed with you (these may or may not include a hearing system)

Your hearing profile is developed during your initial consultation.

_MG_6634Your initial appointment includes a diagnostic evaluation of your hearing ability for both sounds and speech and your middle ear. This information forms your hearing profile.

_MG_6699You will be asked a lot of questions about your hearing history and about how you feel your hearing is or is not impacting on your everyday life. We use special tools to ensure we learn together just what living well with hearing loss means to you. This detailed analysis takes from 45 to 90 minutes depending on your individual situation and your results are discussed with you during the appointment.

Make sure whoever you see uses an approach that is individualised, it is important that you have an understanding of your personal hearing situation. Involve your families at the appointment.

The future

The aim of seeing an Audiologist is to educate you about your diagnosis, potential treatment, or healthy behaviour. It’s not about giving you whatever you want either, our ethical approach requires us to guide you with full and unbiased information about your options, benefits and any risks. We take into account your cultural traditions, personal preferences and values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyle.

At Hearing Care Professionals we want to partner with you for all of your life stages so that you can be provided with the best possible hearing outcomes and be able to live well with hearing loss.

What are the possible effects of a hearing loss?

  • impaired communication with family, friends, at work
  • fatigue and cognitive load from the effort of listening
  • social isolation
  • an increased awareness of tinnitus
  • the emotional impact of all the above

 

Look After Your Hearing

Is it possible to prevent Hearing Loss?

Yes, Many of the different types of hearing loss are preventable?

At Hearing Care Professionals we know it is possible to prevent many types of hearing loss and to also slow down developing a hearing loss as you age.

There are many things you can do to preserve your hearing and reduce your chances of developing hearing loss over time. For those with hearing loss there are many things you can do to slow any additional hearing loss.

What factors affect your hearing?

Knowledge of the many factors that may affect your hearing is important. These factors are able to be modified and give you the opportunity to adjust aspects of your lifestyle to improve your quality of life and life expectancy.

Crowd on rock concert1. Loud Noise

Excessively loud noise in the workplace, at home or while engaging in hobbies will damage your hearing. When we repeatedly expose ourselves to noise over time we increase our risk of hearing loss. 37% of hearing loss in Australia is caused by preventable noise exposure.

The take home message is, it’s how long you listen to sound as well as, how loud the sound is, that is important in determining how much sound is too much? Sound is important as it enriches our lives with the many sounds of life!

 

2. Stressbigstock-Hand-Of-Woman-Meditating-In-A-57918866

In general, it has been found that individuals who are more prone to stress are more likely to develop temporary hearing loss than
those who are less stress-prone when presented with the same amount of noise exposure.

 

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3. Age:

Over half the Australian population between the ages of 60 and 70 have a hearing loss. This increases to more than 70% of those over age 70 and 80% of those over the age of 80%. Hearing loss happens for different reasons. Not least all the effects of the factors discussed here.

 

 

 

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4. Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes

Poor cardiovascular health and diabetes are strongly associated with poor hearing. Cardiovascular health is associated with the peripheral and central auditory systems, including cognitive ability into advanced age. A restriction of blood supply can compound other damaging influences including noise exposure.The effect of cardiovascular disease on hearing occurs in even young adults with early onset cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes is a microvascular disease which leads to hearing loss due to the decreased blood flow and supply to the inner ear.

What can you do about preserving your hearing?

Exercise is the medicine for health and hearing. If you want to preserve your hearing you need to exercise!

Not just any exercise, only exercise that results in improvement in CV health and caloric energy expenditure which is walking and moderate aerobic exercise.

The good Senior woman and her friends riding bikes through the countrysidnews is that the cardiovascular system is plastic just like the hearing system. Both your cardiovascular and hearing systems change for the better as a result of a positive lifestyle intervention, regardless of age.

Warning: If you want to exercise or walk to the sound of music, keep the volume at a level where you can hear someone within arms reach speaking to you. You don’t want to get hearing loss from noise exposure while you are improving your cardiovascular fitness.

Pay attention to your body weight

Find ways to reduce stress in your life and increase your ability to stay calm regardless of your personality

 

Work-life balance road sign concept for healthy lifestyle and we

I have a hearing loss, is there anything else I can do to hear better?

It starts with technology. It is normal to hear and with today’s technology, it is possible to hear well and live your life well.

Effective hearing goes hand in hand with high social engagement which in turn leads to maintained cognitive functioning as we age. If you do not maintain high social engagement then sound deprivation may occur which in turn can lead to cognitive decline. To keep the brain active it is important to stay connected with the outside world and maintain your independence.

What has my hearing got to do with my brain?

We hear with our brain. It is in our brain that if we don’t use it, we lose it!

Speech understanding in a noisy environment declines over time unless you play a musical instrument or practice your listening skills. It has been found that those who play musical instruments early in life have a good understanding of speech in later life.

The good news is with practice we can improve our ability to understand speech when there is background noise. If we practice this skill before we believe we have a hearing loss we can slow down if not stop hearing impairment. Learn more about our listening programs.

How can Hearing Care Professionals Help? At Hearing Care Professionals offers a second opinion service online.  Our services include

  • Understanding where you are now so you know just how good your hearing is.
  • Help to find solutions for your individual situation so you know what you are doing is working.
  • Recommendation about Speciality Ear plugs. There are advantages and disadvantages to the different earplugs for many people.
  • Keep the Brain active through our listening programs.

Please click here to make an appointment

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