Keeping Hearing Aids Safe from Pets

Keeping Hearing Aids Safe from Pets

Keeping your hearing aids away from pets is very important for two reasons: 1. Hearing aids are a significant investment in money and time, and 2. Hearing aid batteries are toxic to pets. Below are some tips for keeping your hearing aids stored safely away from your furry friends.

Use a Hearing Aid Storage Case

dog face

Most hearing aids come with a protective case so you can keep them safe in your purse, pocket, bag or drawer until you need them next. Rechargeable devices in particular come with charging cases that are perfect for helping you keep track of your devices while also providing a charge so you can continue using them. If you for some reason never received or lost the storage case for your devices, it’s imperative to replace it as soon as possible.

Whether you have a pet or not, a storage case keeps your devices together in the same place and protected from the elements. Even if your pet does get ahold of the storage case, the chance of them getting it open or damaging what’s inside is much slimmer than if the devices are out in the open.

Consider Storage Location

People without pets can keep their hearing aids anywhere that is cool, dry and safe, such as on the nightstand readily available for when they wake up or near the front door as a reminder to put them on before leaving the house. However, people with pets need to take extra precaution of where to place their devices, even if they’re in a storage case.

It may seem like a bathroom counter or high windowsill would be a good place for a hearing aid wearing pet owner, but that is not the case. Bathrooms are warm and humid, and hearing aids can be easily knocked into the toilet or sink. Windows are also not a good option because direct sunlight can damage the devices.

Instead, you can opt to store your devices in a nightstand drawer, jewelry box, sock drawer or on a tall dresser/shelf to make sure your pets stay away from them.

In Case of Emergency

If your pet does get ahold of your devices, there are some important steps to take. First, identify the level of damage of your devices. If they are simply damp from slobber or from getting knocked into a sink, wipe them off and place them in a dehumidifier. If there is visible damage, take them to an audiologist.

If your pet has eaten a battery or other part of a hearing aid, call your veterinarian right away. Do not get angry or punish your dog, as this will only confuse and possibly traumatize them. Remember that hearing aids can be replaced, but your best friend cannot.

For more information about proper storage for your devices, call San Diego Hearing Center today.

Learn More About Hearing Aids

How to Make Shopping with Hearing Loss Less Stressful

With the big day less than two weeks away — and if you have to ask “what big day?” then the situation is especially dire for you — we hope you have finished your holiday shopping (or at least made a significant dent in it). If you are one of the thousands of people with hearing loss in San Diego, you may be dreading a trip to the mall. Don’t worry; we’ve got some tips to help make your shopping experience more jolly.

Plan Ahead to Make Your Trip Hassle-Free

woman holding shopping bags inside a mall

Let’s face it, even under the best of circumstances, a shopping trip this time of year can be stressful. You’ve got crowded parking lots, wall-to-wall shoppers, ornery cashiers and ever-present background noise to deal with. The only thing worse than hearing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” is hearing a muzak version of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” It’s no wonder you’ve been putting off that trip to the store!

But with a little advance planning, your shopping trip won’t be as bad as you fear. Your San Diego audiologist offers the following tips to shoppers with hearing loss.

Tips for Shoppers With Hearing Loss

  • Support small businesses. Bigger isn’t always better; when it comes to shopping, think small. Supporting mom-and-pop businesses won’t only provide a boost to the local economy, but it’s less stressful if you’re shopping with hearing loss. Big box retailers often have screaming deals, but they may be accompanied by screaming kids – whom you won’t be able to escape thanks to store layouts with open spaces that favor poor acoustics. Plus, larger stores attract more people, which only increases your stress and discomfort. Smaller, locally owned stores tend to be less crowded…and easier on your ears.
  • Utilize hearing loops. If you wear hearing aids, switch the telecoil setting on to take advantage of loop induction systems found in many large public places, including department stores and shopping malls. Hearing loops broadcast clear sound free of distraction directly to your hearing aids, eliminating background noise. Most stores with loop systems will display the international symbol of access for hearing loss (an ear bisected by a diagonal line), usually in the window or door. If you don’t see a sign, ask a clerk or store manager if there is a loop system available.
  • Use a streaming device. Portable streaming devices improve the efficiency of your hearing aids by increasing their battery life and eliminating the need for a receiver, making them more lightweight. When you’ve got a full day’s worth of shopping to do, every ounce counts! Streamers help prevent you from getting too tired and eliminate distracting background noise, allowing you to hear more clearly.
  • Plan your trip in advance. Before you leave home, come up with a game plan. Map out the stores on your list in advance so you can get in and out as quickly as possible. It also helps to study the store layout, so you’ll know exactly where to go once you get there. This eliminates any conversation difficulties with store clerks when asking for help. Bring along a friend or family member to assist with communication and keep you informed of store announcements. Bribing them with a treat from the food court often helps. Make sure your hearing aid batteries are fully charged before heading out and bring along extras just in case.
  • Shop online. If the idea of heading out to a busy store to shop is simply too overwhelming, save yourself the hassle by shopping from the comfort of your own home. Online retailers like Amazon carry virtually everything you could possibly want and prices are usually competitive. You won’t have to battle for that last parking spot or jostle your way through noisy crowds. And you can’t beat the convenience of having items delivered directly to your front door!

For more tips on shopping with hearing loss, contact an audiologist in San Diego.

 

Hearing Aids: More than Just a Hearing Solution


Many people with age-related hearing loss in San Diego benefit from wearing hearing aids. Not only do they help users follow conversations more easily and ease the burden involved in taking part in social activities, they can also help stave off some of the negative health effects linked to hearing loss, and help ward off declines in mental and physical health.


Hppy man standing in front of a wall


The Positive Effects of Hearing Aids

A study published in last month’s Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people 66 and older who were prescribed hearing aids after being diagnosed with hearing loss experienced reduced risks of dementia, depression, anxiety and fall-related injuries over the subsequent three years versus patients who did not start wearing hearing aids right away.

The differences were significant:

Do hearing aids lower patient disease risk?

  • There was an 18 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • There was an 11 percent lower risk of a depression or anxiety diagnosis
  • The risk of receiving treatment for an injury related to a fall was 13 percent lower

Older individuals who treat their impairment with hearing aids have an overall better quality of life and lower health care costs because they have fewer instances of chronic health conditions related to hearing loss.

The leader of the study, Elham Mahmoudi—a University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine health economist—summed up the results by stating, “Hearing loss is a potentially modifiable risk factor. A simpler system of hearing care, insurance coverage and more educational outreach on potential benefits of using hearing aids is needed.”

Do patients stick with hearing aids?

The downside? Only about 12 percent of seniors diagnosed with hearing loss commit to wearing hearing aids, even when their health insurance helps cover the costs.

Age-Related Hearing Loss is Common

Presbycusis, usually just referred to as age-related hearing loss, is widespread.

Along with noise exposure, it’s a top cause of hearing loss for people in San Diego and throughout California.

What contributes to hearing loss?

Many factors can cause a decline in hearing as we age; these include the cumulative effects of a lifetime of noise exposure, disease, trauma, heredity and certain drugs used to treat conditions ranging from cancer to malaria.

One-third of people over the age of 65 have hearing loss; by the age of 75, the figure is closer to 50 percent.

How does hearing loss develop?

Hearing loss usually develops gradually, leaving many unaware of their condition; studies show it takes an average of seven years from the onset of hearing loss for the typical patient to seek medical help.

Even when they know there’s a problem, many choose not to seek treatment.

What keeps patients from wearing hearing aids?

Barriers to wearing hearing aids include cost, the stigma associated with wearing them, an uncomfortable fit and the overall inconvenience associated with daily use.

Men are more likely to wear hearing aids than women (13.3 percent of males vs. 11.3 percent of females) and there are differences based on race, ethnicity and geography.

For example, Latinos have the lowest rates of hearing aid use, while people in the North Central United States are most likely to wear them.

The study isn’t without a few flaws despite the large sample size and lengthy follow-up period.

There isn’t a way to tell how severe each patients’ hearing loss was or how often they actually wear hearing aids. Additionally, it’s unclear whether hearing aids were responsible for the drop in negative health effects or merely associated with them.

The National Institute on Aging is in the midst of a multi-year study to help answer these and other questions associated with hearing aid use.

There is no doubt that hearing aids are an effective solution for the majority of people who have hearing loss. Better technology and cheaper costs should eliminate many of the excuses people give for not wearing them. If you would like to learn more about how hearing aids can improve your quality of life, speak with an audiologist in San Diego.

Related Hearing Loss Posts:

Our San Diego Area Hearing Center Locations

Clairemont Neighborhood
4282 Genesee Ave., Ste 301
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 279-3277

Hillcrest Neighborhood
4060 Fourth Ave., Ste 410A
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 298-8546

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family This Year: Your Hearing

Still unsure what to get your spouse for Christmas? Hint: a vacuum cleaner is a very bad idea! When it comes to finding that perfect gift for your loved ones, think outside the (wrapped) box this year. If you have hearing loss in San Diego, the best gift you can give your family this year – not to mention yourself – is hearing!

Hearing Loss Signs & Statistics

a present wrapped in gold under holiday lights

Hearing loss affects an estimated 20 percent of all Californians. That translates to some 48 million Americans. While nine out of ten people with hearing loss in San Diego won’t be able to reverse their condition, the vast majority can benefit from hearing aids.

Hearing aids will help if you are exhibiting any of the following signs:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  • Complaining that other people mumble when they speak.
  • Having trouble holding a conversation over background noise.
  • Watching TV or listening to music with the volume turned to levels that make others uncomfortable.

How Will Hearing Aids Help Me?

If you have been on the fence about wearing hearing aids, there are plenty of reasons to take the plunge. First and foremost, you’ll enjoy a better quality of life. Hearing aids will lessen the stress and fatigue associated with trying to hear better and will improve your memory and concentration. People with hearing loss tend to isolate themselves from social activities; wearing hearing aids will make you more apt to get out and have fun. And you’ll enjoy better long-term health; untreated hearing loss is linked to a wide variety of physical, psychological and social ailments including depression, dementia, diabetes, kidney disease and an increased risk of falling.

Additionally, statistics show that hearing aids improve your overall quality of life in many areas, including:

  • Emotional health
  • Mental ability
  • Physical health
  • Relationships at home
  • Relationships at work
  • Social life
  • Feelings about yourself
  • Sense of independence
  • Sense of safety
  • Self-confidence
  • Sense of humor
  • Romance
  • Overall ability to communicate more effectively in most situations

Satisfaction levels with hearing aids have been on the rise for decades. As technology improves and more features become available, a majority of hearing-impaired individuals are very happy with their solution.

In a nutshell, hearing aids are likely to make you – and by extension, your loved ones – much happier. Talk to your San Diego audiologist today about scheduling a hearing aid fitting. It’ll make the holidays memorable for both you and your loved ones!

What Type of Hearing Aids are Best for You?


If you’re in need of hearing aids in San Diego and wondering which type is best for you, the short answer is: the ones you wear.

While that answer may seem like a cop out, there’s a certain truth to the statement. Your audiologist in San Diego knows that in order to ensure you get the most benefit from your aids, you’ll need to wear them every day. Choosing a pair that you’ll stick with is key. Don’t worry – we’ll help you narrow down your choices.

Choosing a Hearing Aid

Types of hearing aids in San Diego

With so many different styles available on the market, choosing a hearing aid will probably feel a little overwhelming. But the process is a lot simpler when you break it down into steps. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a hearing aid in San Diego; the basic criteria includes the following:

  • Type and degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aid will have to be powerful enough to compensate for the severity of your hearing loss, targeting those frequencies you are having the most trouble understanding.
  • Lifestyle needs. The type of lifestyle you lead is an important factor when selecting a hearing aid. Do you prefer quiet, intimate gatherings or do you frequently attend parties and other social events? Hearing aids are designed for people who fall into either group, with features to improve the listening experience specific to each.
  • Cosmetic preference. A key to using hearing aids consistently is to like what you’re wearing! You wouldn’t be caught dead outside in a polyester shirt with a butterfly collar (unless it were 1975) so choose a style that appeals to your fashion sensibilities and makes you feel self-confident. Whether that means a pair that is worn in the ear canals so others won’t notice or ones that hook over your ear and are easily visible to others is a decision that’s all yours.
  • Last but not least is dollars and cents. Hearing aid pricing can vary widely, ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars apiece. While we’d all like to spend wisely, cost alone shouldn’t be your primary factor when deciding upon a pair of hearing aids. The most important thing is to make sure they will work for your specific type and degree of hearing loss.

Now that you know where to start, you can begin to narrow down your choices and select a hearing aid in San Diego that is perfect for your unique needs!

The History of Hearing Aids

Think hearing aids are a new invention, created in San Diego just to treat baby boomers and those of the greatest generation? Think again. Hearing loss has been a problem since the beginning, and when there is a problem there are often people actively trying to solve it.

For many years, individuals with hearing loss were heavily discriminated against as they were thought to be disabled. It was not until the 16th century when a Spanish monk disproved this theory. Pedro Ponce was able to teach the deaf sons of a nobleman how to read, write, speak and do math.

When Was the First Hearing Device Invented?

ear trumpets

The very first device designed to help the hearing impaired was created in the 17th century. They were called ear trumpets and came in a number of shapes and sizes. Back in the day, they were able to get creative with materials; ear trumpets were made from everything from sheet iron to animal horns.

Next came the collapsible ear trumpet, created in the late 18th century. In the early 1800s Frederick C. Rein was able to commercially produce the ear trumpets. In order to make them less noticeable, Rein popularized “acoustic headbands,” which allowed the user to hide the hearing device in their hair.

When Was the First Hearing Aid Introduced?

Believe it or not, Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876 was the catalyst needed for the invention of the first hearing aid. Within the telephone was the technology needed to control the loudness, frequency and distortion of sounds.

In 1898, Miller Reese Hutchison created the first electric hearing aid. His design used an electric current to amplify weak signals.

1913 brought about the first commercially manufactured hearing aid. These devices were cumbersome and not very portable.

In 1920, vacuum-tube hearing aids were produced. These tubes were able to turn speech into electric signals and then the signals themselves were amplified.

World War II ushered in a number of technological advances, including military helicopters, the first jet-powered fighter planes and the use of radar to detect enemy aircraft. In addition came the idea of miniaturization. In 1948 the transistor was invented. Transistors were able to replace the vacuum tubes in hearing aids and were smaller, needed less battery power and had less distortion.

In the 1970s, the microprocessor and the multi-channel amplitude compression were created. The microprocessor brought miniaturization to a new level and the compression ushered in the use of digital technology.

From there, hearing aids evolved at pretty quick pace. High-speed processors and microcomputers were created in the 1980s. The first all-digital hearing aid was created in the 1990s. And the 2010s brought the idea of Bluetooth® enabled devices and rechargeable batteries into the mix.

Want to be part of your own hearing aid journey? Contact your San Diego audiologist today to learn more.

What is Real Ear Verification?

If you are in the process of getting a hearing aid, no doubt you have had your fair share of fittings. One of the most important ones is called a real ear verification test, as it is used to program your hearing aid to your specific type of hearing loss.

Why is Fitting Your Hearing Aid Important?

Real Ear Verification in San Diego

Fitting your hearing aid to exactly match your degree of hearing loss is key to maximizing the device’s performance.

Real-ear verification doesn’t just focus on the type and degree of hearing loss; it takes into account your ear’s unique anatomy, as well.

Structural factors such as your ear canal volume can have a significant impact on device performance, but the programming software many other audiologists rely on cannot accurately measure this information. The result? Improper amplification levels and substandard performance.

Real-ear verification offers superior accuracy and provides a true measurement of the hearing aids’ effectiveness in relation to your specific hearing loss.

How is Real Ear Verification Performed?

The process of this test is very simple.

First your San Diego hearing specialist will examine your ear with an otoscope in order to ensure there is no wax or other debris that will interfere with the test.

Next a tube is placed into the ear canal until it is ¼ inch away from the eardrum. The hearing aid is then put in place.

Sounds are then played a foot or so away from your head. These sounds are filtered through the hearing aid where they are measured with the previously placed probe. This lets your San Diego audiologist confirm how much amplification your hearing aid is actually providing.

While this test is considered the gold standard in hearing aid fittings, a survey found that less than 40 percent of audiologists confirmed they regularly use this test. Fortunately, your San Diego audiologist is one of those 40 percent.

Get the most from your hearing aid. Contact your San Diego audiologist today.

High-Frequency Hearing Loss

High frequency hearing loss
One of the most common types of hearing loss is high-frequency hearing loss.

People in San Diego and around the country with this condition have trouble hearing sounds in the 2,000 to 8,000 Hz range.

This typically prevents individuals from hearing s, h or f sounds as well as women and children.

Other sounds these individuals typically miss out on are the chirps of birds and the beeping of the microwave.

High-frequency hearing loss is caused by:

  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Ototoxicity
  • Disease

As we age, it becomes harder for us to hear high frequencies.

This is called presbycusis, age-related hearing loss. It is the natural aging of the cells in our ears.

While this is a normal part of getting older, exposure to loud noises can affect your hearing at any age. Y

our San Diego audiologist recommends wearing hearing protection whenever you come into contact with dangerously loud sounds to help prevent this.

How is sound measured?

Sound travels in waves and is measured in frequency and amplitude.

Amplitude is the measurement of how forceful a wave is. Measured in decibels (dB), the louder the sound is, the higher the decibel number will be. A normal conversation measures around 65 dB.

  • Exposure to sound over 85 dB (busy San Diego traffic) can cause damage within 8 hours
  • Exposure to sound over 100 dB (a motorcycle) can cause damage within 15 minutes
  • Exposure to sound over 120 dB (a chain saw) can cause damage instantly

Frequency is the measurement of the number of sound vibrations in one second. Measured in hertz (Hz), a healthy ear can hear a wide range of frequencies, from very low (20 Hz) to very high (20,000 Hz).


What sounds should you be able to hear?

(click the links below)

8,000 Hz should be easily heard by everyone with normal hearing

12,000 Hz is hard for anyone over 50 years of age to hear

15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to hear

17,400 Hz is a frequency that only teenagers can hear. Most people over the age of 18 cannot hear this tone


Could you hear all the links?

Probably not.

These measurements should be taken with a grain of salt, as a number of different variables can influence how sounds come out of your computer.

We do recommend contacting your San Diego audiologist if you have any concerns.

While at the appointment, your audiologist will complete a scientifically accurate hearing evaluation to confirm what frequencies you can and cannot hear.

Hearing Loss’ Connection to Mental Health

Have you ever sat by yourself in a quiet room for days or weeks on end? Hopefully not. Unfortunately, this is how many individuals with untreated hearing loss in San Diego live their everyday lives. There are 48 million Americans suffering from hearing loss but only one in five of them actually seeks treatment. These individuals who seek treatment typically wait an average of seven years before they meet with their audiologist.  So, what’s the connection to mental health?

Hearing Loss Can Cause Depression

hearing loss and depression connection to mental healthWhile it may seem obvious, being cut off from the rest of the world can lead to a number of mental health disorders, ranging from depression and anxiety to loneliness and frustration. This is what happens when people try to live with untreated hearing loss.

 

A study by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found that moderate to severe depression occurred in 11.4 percent of adults with hearing loss, compared to only 5.9 percent in those without hearing loss. They also found that these feelings of depression are much stronger in women.

Connection to Mental Health

Two of the largest problems facing seniors with hearing loss are loneliness and social isolation. Many seniors choose to avoid social situations since it is extremely frustrating to not understand the world around you. The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) conducted a study that determined that those who used their hearing instruments were “more socially active and avoided periods of depression, worry, paranoia and insecurity compared to non-users with hearing loss.”

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Cognitive decline is another serious problem for those with untreated hearing loss. While conclusive research has not yet been completed proving hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline or dementia, many studies have shown that there may be a correlation. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that the individuals with severe hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia, compared to those with moderate hearing loss.

 

If you or a loved one is beginning to show signs of hearing loss, there is no time like the present. Contact your local San Diego audiologist to schedule an appointment, today.

 

 

Hearing Aid Attachments

The Right Attachments for Your Hearing Aids

You bought the best hearing aids in San Diego, your hearing is as good as it can get now, right? Wrong! There are many additional features, called hearing aid accessories that can be added to your device to elevate your hearing even more.

hearing-aids

Think of them like attachments for a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum works just fine on its own but when it comes to specific tasks, like cleaning under the fridge, an attachment allows you to clean without the extra work of moving the fridge.

The most popular hearing aid accessories are assistive listening devices (ALDs). These enable you to hear and understand voices better than you could with just your hearing aids, especially in crowded or loud environments. Within all modern hearing aids is a small copper coil that acts as a wireless receiver, called a telecoil (also known as t-coil). This telecoil is essential for any assistive listening device.

Common Listening Devices

There are three common listening devices: hearing loop, FM system and infrared.

  • A hearing loop uses electromagnetic energy to transmit sound. The hearing loop consists of four parts: a sound source, an amplifier, a thin wire loop and a receiver. Sound is amplified, converted into an electromagnetic signal and sent through the loop where it is picked up by the telecoil-enabled hearing aid. Since the sound is picked up directly by the hearing aid, it is clearer and contains less distracting background noise. Hearing loops can be found in places such as popular San Diego theaters and conference centers.
  • An FM system uses radio signals to transmit sound. This system is typically used in a classroom setting. The speaker will wear a small microphone connected to a transmitter. The hearing impaired individual wears the receiver tuned to a specific channel.
  • An infrared system uses infrared light to transmit sound. A transmitter converts sound into light and sends that light to the receiver worn by the hearing impaired individual. Unlike the FM and hearing loop systems, infrared cannot pass through walls, making this method of transmission ideal for locations where confidential information is being discussed, such as a San Diego courtroom.

Other Assistive Listening Devices

In addition to assistive listening devices, there are a number of other hearing aid accessories.

  • Personal microphones can help hearing impaired individuals with one-on-one conversations. The microphone is worn around the neck of your conversation partner. It directly broadcast their voice into your hearing aid without distracting background noise getting in the way. If you are dining with a larger group, the microphone can be placed in the middle of the table to pick up multiple voices.
  • Remote controls are able to wirelessly connect to your hearing aid, letting you change the program or volume without having to fiddle with small buttons.

This is just the start of the list when it comes to available accessories. Your San Diego hearing aid provider can help you figure out which ones can help you, based on your lifestyle.