How to Test Kids for Hearing Loss

How to Test Kids for Hearing Loss

Nearly three of every one thousand babies are born with some form of hearing loss. In most cases, however, hearing issues aren’t discovered in children until they are at least two years old. The first two years of a child’s life are hugely important in physical development as well as in forming emotional, learning and communication skills. Because of this, babies with moderate to severe hearing loss often experience major developmental setbacks.

Newborn hearing loss is very difficult to detect, which is why many cases go undiagnosed until the child reaches talking age. Often, the only way to identify and treat a hearing loss problem when it truly counts is to take your baby to hearing center for an infant hearing screening.

Infant Hearing Tests in San Diego

Below are the three most common tests used to determine if your child is suffering from hearing loss.

ARB Testing

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is frequently used to screen newborns for hearing problems. It measures the response of a baby’s hearing nerve using electrodes.

An auditory brainstem response (ABR) provides the San Diego audiologist with information on your child’s inner ear and the neuronal pathway that connects the ear to the brain. Electrodes are placed on their head to record brain activity in response to sounds. This is a subjective test, which makes it good for measuring hearing loss in children.

OAE Testing

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing uses a microphone and earphone to calculate your infant’s hearing abilities by measuring the reflection of a sound’s echo as it passes through the ear canal. Otoacoustic emissions are the sounds given off by the inner ear when stimulated by sound. This test is used to determine if there is damage to the hair cells that line the cochlea. Since the emissions are nearly inaudible, a small plug is placed into the ear in order to detect the ear’s reaction to a series of clicks. This test is objective, making it is a useful addition to newborn hearing screenings.

Immittance Testing

When testing middle ear function in infants and young children, San Diego audiologists typically rely on either tympanometry or acoustic reflex testing. 

Tympanometry is a test of the middle ear used to detect fluid, wax buildup, eardrum perforations and tumors. It measures movement of the eardrum in response to air pressure; the results are recorded on a chart called a tympanogram. 

The acoustic reflex test measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear, and is used to determine the location of your hearing problem (the ossicles, cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.) as well as the type of hearing loss.

To learn more about hearing tests for children, contact your local hearing center today.

How Socialization is Good for Your Hearing

There are many mysteries left to discover about our auditory system. Key among these mysteries is its capacity to adapt over time, which generally occurs as a response to our environment. As sounds enter our outer ear, pass through the cochlear and are transmitted to our brain, they have the power to influence our auditory perception. New research in this arena suggests that this extends to social sounds. A recent study conducted by a research team at Georgia State University indicates that exposure to speech sounds can actually improve our hearing ability.

social sounds

Using green tree frogs, which have relatively simple forms of communication, the researchers examined the consequences of social isolation on sound perception. For 10 consecutive nights, two groups of frogs, a control group and test group, were subjected to varying sounds. While the control group heard a series of random sounds, the test group heard socially important sounds—their species’ calls—just as they would in the wild.

 

Just as human rely on speech, the species-specific calls have great significance to the green tree frog, as they facilitate social behavior. When the test group was exposed to these socially meaningful calls, they were shown to be more sensitive to these sounds than the control group.

 

The study suggests that more social interaction increases your capacity to understand social sounds. It also shows that these sounds can physically modify the ear to increase sensitivity, though the precise location of this change is unknown.

 

The research has substantial implications for socially isolated humans, such as individuals in nursing homes and prisoners, who are likely to communicate less frequently. It could also have importance for the hearing impaired community as well, who sometimes struggle to hear speech frequencies.

 

Our ability to hear keeps us connected to the world around, so the maintenance of our auditory system should be a priority. If you don’t have hearing loss, take precautions to protect your hearing ability through the use of hearing protection and annual hearing tests. If you are experiencing some degree of hearing loss, the use of hearing aids can help preserve your auditory function. To schedule a consultation with a professional audiologist in San Diego, CA, contact our team today. As experts in hearing health, our audiology doctors provide a full range of hearing services, including comprehensive evaluations, hearing aid fittings and hearing aid repair. Learn more about hearing loss treatments by calling (858) 279-3277

.

 

 

 

Exercise May Help Your Hearing

The benefits of exercise are widespread and well-documented. Regular physical fitness can positively impact your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Commonly referenced benefits of exercise include improved mood, reduced risk of chronic illness and a longer life. Recently, a new addition to the long list of exercise-related benefits has been discovered at the University of Florida, where a team of researchers have shown exercise to prevent the development of age-related hearing loss in mice

fitness and hearing in san diego

Of the most common hearing loss causes is the age-related deterioration of the auditory system. This form of hearing loss occurs gradually over many years as the result of damage to delicate hair cells and other parts in the auditory system. This condition affects approximately 70 percent of individuals over 69 years of age, making it one of the most common conditions impacting seniors.

 

In order to maintain a healthy auditory system, it needs to be well oxygenated. The effects of oxygen on our hearing is one of the aspects studied by the researchers at University of Florida. Using two groups of mice, one with access to an exercise wheel and one without, the research team examined the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle on the rodents.

 

Their study suggests that age-related inflammation results in damage to the the cells of the auditory system, a factor the active group were able to reduce by about 50 percent. The active group also had a much lower rate of auditory damage and, while the sedentary mice experienced hearing loss at a rate of about 20 percent, only 5 percent of the active group had an impairment.

 

The scientific community is hopeful that this study may also be relevant for hearing impaired humans. The National Institutes of Health is undertaking a research initiative to explore which molecules released during exercise may help maintain auditory health.

 

Currently, the best known method for maintaining auditory health is to use hearing protection and receive regular hearing tests. Taking these precautions can help prevent the development of a more serious condition caused by hearing loss, which may include depression, anxiety and cognitive decline. To find out more about maintaining your hearing, speak with a doctor of audiology. To find a provider of audiology in San Diego, contact our team at (858) 279-3277.

 

 

Improved Test for Hearing Aid Fittings

Hearing loss is often referred to as a “silent disease.” Both the invisible nature and gradual progression of the condition can make it hard to identify, but one of the early indicators in difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds. Because individuals with high-frequency hearing loss are often able to hear low- to mid-frequency sounds normally, this impairment is sometimes labelled as a “partial deafness” and may still require the use hearing aids to treat the condition. However, the testing methods for a high-frequency hearing loss have been somewhat limited. Fortunately, a group of European researchers have developed a promising new testing process to make high-frequency hearing aid fittings more precise.

hearing aid fittings in san diego

The Phoneme Perception Test (PPT) is a new audiology testing method that was created to measure the perception of the specific phonemes “s” and “sh.” Phonemes are distinguishing units of sound that are used to differentiate words. This new test measures if there is a difference in recognizing specific phonemes for patients with specific hearing aid settings.

 

Two sets of stimulus materials are used during the test so that researchers can measure how the phoneme is perceived. The first set, (LF) preserves low-level sounds in the low- to mid-frequency range; the second set (nLF) limited the audibility to high-frequency sounds.

 

Researches successfully confirmed that there is a significant difference in the perception of the two sets of stimulus materials. This shows that recognizing and detecting thresholds are better measured in high frequencies using the nFL set. Both sets ought to be used in order to effectively fit hearing devices for those suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

Patients can have greater auditory rehabilitation through the use of PPT, especially in regard to hearing high-frequency sounds.

 

If you’re looking to treat your hearing loss, our team of audiology professionals can help. As experts in the industry of hearing health, our audiologists provide highly-specialized auditory services, including comprehensive hearing evaluations, personalized hearing loss treatments and hearing aid repair. To schedule a consultation with San Diego’s best hearing aid providers, contact our clinic at (858) 279-3277.

.

 

 

Listen Up, Seniors! Don’t Forget to Get Your Hearing Checked

Hearing loss is the third most common health condition in the United States. Hearing loss is often overlooked due to the invisible nature of the condition; however, it affects as many as 48 million Americans. The stigma of hearing loss often prevents individuals from seeking treatment for a hearing impairment, but early intervention is one of the best ways to maintain the health of your auditory system. This is especially important for those over 50, as there is a strong correlation between aging and hearing loss. By receiving regular hearing test, seniors can reduce their risk of developing permanent hearing loss.

 

Some conditions are easy to identify and are therefore more likely to be treated quickly. A toothache, for example, is not likely to be ignored for an extensive length of time. However, hearing loss can be difficult to discern. In many cases of noise-induced hearing loss, the impairment occurs over a lifetime, making it much easier to adapt to. On average, people wait up to seven years to seek treatment for hearing loss. During this time, untreated hearing loss can take its toll on many areas of your emotional, physical and mental well-being.

 
senior hearing test in san diego
 
For this reason, audiology professionals recommend annual hearing exams for all individuals over 50 years of age. A standard hearing exam takes approximately an hour to complete, and generally involves a physical examination of the ear, sound-based tests and a consultation with a hearing professional. The test will gauge your auditory capabilities and determine if the use of hearing aids is necessary.

 

If hearing loss is diagnosed, your hearing health professional will generally provide a personalized hearing treatment plan, which may involve auditory rehabilitation and assistance from listening devices. When hearing loss is identified, it is important to seek immediate treatment. Left untreated, hearing loss can worsen and even impair cognitive function.

 

If you or a loved one is over 50, makes sure to include annual hearing exams as a part of your preventative health routine. To find a quality doctor of audiology in San Diego, contact our team today! San Diego Hearing Center has decades of experience providing expert level care. Our clinic offers a range of hearing-related services, including diagnostics, hearing aid repair and hearing loss treatment. Additionally, we pride ourselves in dispensing only the best hearing aids in the industry. To learn more, contact our staff at (619) 298-8546.

 

 

Mapping Hearing Loss Solutions

mapping our hearing loss

Google.org, the charitable arm of the world’s largest search engine, is supporting  World Wide Hearing (WWH) to find a solution to what the World Health Organization (WHO) has described as one of the largest disabilities on the planet.

Hearing loss.

It affects one-third of people over the age of 65 and more than 1 billion young people are at risk for impaired hearing.

The WHO highlighted the risk of hearing loss in a release in early 2015 stating that half of young people, between the ages of 12-35 “are exposed to unsafe levels of sound.”
Through Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, World Wide Hearing in Montreal, was awarded a grant to do something never done before. Develop and map out data points on hearing health from across the world in the hopes of better understanding hearing loss.

 

10,000 people will have their hearing tested as researchers try to better understand the dynamics of hearing loss.

 

This global database will be the first step in understanding and addressing the dynamics of this potentially debilitating disability.

WWH Executive Director Audra Renyi grew up experiencing the first hand impacts of hearing loss.  Her father suffered hearing loss as a child when he contracted an ear infection in his native Romania.

“So many people live with this disability that often goes under the radar,”

says Renyi.

Compounding the fact is that new research has shown a direct link between hearing health and mental health. How well you hear is directly linked to your risk for dementia, depression and anxiety.

Researchers have found that cognitive decline increases by up to 40% as hearing slides. With young people, hearing loss can have serious impacts on development.

hearing loss mapping

Children and young people who suffer from hearing loss are at a greater risk for depression and anxiety; they also face challenges in school, lower self-esteem and social isolation. How well you hear is connected to how you feel and for young people, how well they develop; making early diagnosis and treatment vital.

The first step for the team is to test thousands of ears all over the world and map out the world’s hearing health.

To make this possible, WWH needed a technology partner who could help make this a reality. They partnered with Clearwater Clinical, a Canadian company and creators of the first clinically validated iPad audiometer. “No other hearing testing equipment is as compact, easy-to-use, and fun,” says Dr. Matthew Bromwich, Otolaryngologist and Co-founder of the company

It’s called SHOEBOX Audiometry and it’s comprised of software that is loaded onto an iPad and shipped with calibrated headphones. The solution is an audiometer that can administer diagnostic hearing tests.   The test is designed to feel more like a computer game, and the data it produces is transmitted and stored safely and securely onto the cloud.

Mobile medicine, like the kind delivered through SHOEBOX is an important step in being able to reach communities. The simplicity of the technology allows for quick and easy deployment to parts of the world where people may have never had their hearing tested.

 

But not all apps are created equal. A quick Google search will pull up lots of tablet and phone applications on hearing testing, many of which can provide good, general screening results. However, only a handful of apps like SHOEBOX, Frye Colt, Piccolo and iAudiometer provide a full medical diagnostic and essentially remotely replicate a traditional audiology booth.

 

For Renyi the new approach made sense.
“We wanted to find mobile solutions and solutions that we had confidence in. There is solid research behind it and we have a lot of confidence in the data,”says Renyi.

Another important factor is that while the data must be interpreted by an audiologist, the hearing tests can be performed by individuals that aren’t hearing health professionals.

This novel approach is already being well received. In Guatemala, technicians have been trained and have administered tests in several communities.

The simplicity of the technology means that with some hands-on training, individuals – including many women – are being empowered with the opportunity to help perform vital health services, and in turn, support their families.

The global hearing project is performing hearing screenings in the Mohawk community south of Montreal this month with plans for testing in South America and Southeast Asia later this year.

 
Reprinted with permission from hearinghealthmatters.org.
Please visit http://hearinghealthmatters.org/ for the original article: Mapping Out Solutions to Hearing Loss

Insects May Shape the Future of Hearing Aids

insects and hearing loss in san diego

The scientific community has dedicated years to researching the human ear in order to understand how sound is transmitted to the brain. New advances in technology have allowed us to explore the auditory system more comprehensively than ever before. As a result, hearing technology conglomerates are creating the most innovative and effective treatments for the hearing impaired. In order to take hearing aids to another level, new research efforts are taking the focus off the human ear and are instead concentrating on the biomechanics of various insects.

In order to bring new, inventive ideas to hearing aid technology, researchers have started looking at different insects with efficient sound delivery and processing methods. One of the notable insects they are studying is the cricket. Crickets are able to transmit loud chirping sounds by rubbing their wings together, due to the stiff and jagged nature of their wings. Scientists are attempting to replicate these bioacoustics in order to create a more powerful hearing aid speaker. Laser vibration and computer simulations are being used to test this concept.

Experts are also interested in the way insects are able to process sound. Hearing aids use a digital signal processor (DSP) to convert sounds into digital information. The sounds are then amplified or filtered to create the desired hearing environment. The locust is known to have an advanced ability to amplify incoming sounds, and scientists are interested in using similar mechanics in the microphone of the hearing devices.

Locusts also have a natural capacity to filter out certain frequencies. Their membranes are equipped with automatic frequency separation abilities. If we were able to replicate this phenomenon in the hearing aid microphone, devices could be more efficient, smaller in size and have a greater battery life.

There is still a wealth of information available in the biology of insects. As researchers become more familiar with these critters, the industry of hearing health may reap the benefits. In the meantime, the best thing you can do for your hearing is to protect it. Options such as musicians earplugs and custom earplugs are available to provide the highest level of hearing protection. If you’d like to learn more about these options, or find out where to buy the best hearing aids in San Diego, our staff can help! Speak with us today at (858) 279-3277.