src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"> Seniors Hearing | Boomers & Beyond
Jul 102017
 

(BPT) – When was the last time you and your doctor talked about your hearing?

The fact is, only about 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening, according to research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That’s a shame, because research shows that hearing health is more closely tied to whole health and quality of life than previously understood — which means that diagnosing and treating hearing loss early may be beneficial on many fronts.

To help people take charge of their hearing health, BHI has created a free digital flipbook, “How to Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Loss,” which anyone can view and download at www.betterhearing.org/news/how-talk-your-doctor-about-hearing-loss.

The flipbook provides pertinent information to help consumers start the discussion, which is especially important because research shows that patients are more likely to initiate the conversation about hearing than their doctors are.

To go along with the free flipbook, BHI has put together this short list of reasons to speak up and start the conversation on your hearing:

1. Hearing loss has been linked to other significant health issues. In recent years, a flurry of studies has come out showing a link between hearing loss and other health issues, including depression, dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, moderate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, obesity, an increased risk of falls, hospitalization and mortality, and cognitive decline. With so much new and emerging research, it makes sense for people to talk with their doctors about their hearing as a routine part of their medical care.

2. Addressing hearing loss often has a positive impact on quality of life. Most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their general ability to communicate, participate in group activities and their overall quality of life, according to BHI research. The research also shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, feel engaged in life, get more pleasure in doing things, have a strong social network and are more likely to tackle problems actively. Many even say they feel more confident and better about themselves as a result of using hearing aids.

3. Leaving hearing loss untreated may come at a financial cost. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. In fact, BHI research found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, the BHI research found. Health care spending may also be affected. For instance, middle-aged adults (55-64) with diagnosed hearing loss had substantially higher health care costs, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, indicating that hearing loss may place patients at risk for increased health care use and costs. The study authors suggested that early, successful intervention may prevent future hearing-related disabilities and decreased quality of life.

For more information on hearing loss, visit BetterHearing.org.

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Nov 042016
 

(BPT) – Intrigued by all the brain-training products out there to keep your mind sharp and spirits young? You may want to consider something else: A hearing test.hep

That’s right. Mounting evidence links untreated hearing loss to impaired memory and diminished cognitive function. What that means is, if you keep brushing off that suspected hearing loss of yours, your cognition may pay.

Researchers have found that when people with unaddressed hearing loss strain to hear, they tend to do more poorly on memory tests. They may figure out what is being said, but because so much effort goes into just hearing it, their ability to remember what they heard often suffers.

Experts believe this has to do with what they call “cognitive load.” That is, in order to compensate for the hearing loss and make out the words, people with untreated hearing loss may draw on cognitive resources they’d normally use to remember what they’ve heard. Experts say that untreated hearing loss may even interfere with the person’s ability to accurately process and make sense of what was said or heard.

In fact, research shows that people with poorer hearing have less gray matter in the auditory cortex, a region of the brain needed to support speech comprehension.

Other research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia. One Johns Hopkins study found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Another found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. And a third revealed a link between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss.

Some experts believe that interventions, like professionally fitted hearing aids, could potentially help.

The bottom line is we actually “hear” with our brain, not with our ears.

So if you think you may have hearing loss, do something about it. Make an appointment with a hearing health care professional, and get a hearing test.

After all, research suggests that treating hearing loss may be one of the best things you can actually do to help protect your memory and cognitive function.

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) offers a free, confidential online hearing check where people can determine if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health care professional. Access the BHI Hearing Check at www.BetterHearing.org.

Follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing. Like BHI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute

Jul 112016
 

(BPT) – Of all the life hacks for better living, taking care of your hearing is among the smartest – and it yields an incredible ROI. In short, getting a hearing test is worth it.

hearNo matter what your age, untreated hearing loss can take its toll. The catch is, hearing loss is stealthy. It’s usually hard to notice at first. In fact, it tends to come on so gradually that it tricks you into oblivion. Then it robs you of more than you realize, sooner than you realize.

From pilfering away at your relationships and quality of life, to putting you at risk for other health conditions, untreated hearing loss is a silent thief. And don’t think for a minute that you’re too young to think about hearing loss – you’re not.

It’s a noisy world. You’re part of it. And the numbers show that hearing loss is becoming more common among younger adults – in their 20s and 30s. So make sure you value your hearing. It’s a treasure worth keeping.

To give you an extra push, here are eight reasons why you should get a hearing test today.

1. It may help your pocketbook. Research shows that middle-aged people with hearing loss have about a third more in health care payments than those without hearing loss. A study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) shows that using hearing aids reduces the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss lost as much as $30,000 in income annually, the study found.

2. Your mind may benefit. Research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia, leading experts to believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Certainly, notable researchers believe that addressing hearing loss may at least help protect cognitive function.

3. It could boost your job performance. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. That’s right. Getting a hearing test could benefit all those employees (a whopping 30 percent) who suspect they have hearing loss but haven’t sought treatment.

4. Life’s challenges may not seem so intimidating. Research shows people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems actively. Apparently, hearing your best brings greater confidence.

5. Your zest for life might get zestier. Most people who use hearing aids say it has a positive effect on their relationships. They’re more likely to have a strong social network, be optimistic, feel engaged in life, and even get more pleasure in doing things.

6. It could protect you against the blues. Hearing loss is linked to a greater risk of depression in adults, especially 18 to 69-year-olds. But studies also show that treating hearing loss can boost quality of life. BHI research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are less likely to feel down, depressed or hopeless.

7. You’ll probably be more likely to get the drift. Most people who use hearing aids say it helps their overall ability to communicate effectively in most situations. The majority who bought their hearing aids within the past five years say they’re pleased with their ability to hear in the workplace, at home with family members, in conversations in small and large groups, when watching TV with others, in lecture halls, theaters or concert halls, when riding in a car, and even when trying to follow conversations in the presence of noise.

8. Your heart and health may benefit. Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body. But it isn’t just about your heart. Hearing loss may signal or exacerbate other health conditions as well, including depression, sleep apnea, cognitive decline, and the risk of falling and hospitalization.

So do it for your health. Do it for your happiness. Get a hearing test.

To take a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check to help determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health care professional, visit www.BetterHearing.org.

May 282016
 

(BPT) – Approximately 20 percent of Americans live with hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. If you’re among them, you may think all you need to do in order to hear better is to turn up the volume. But many factors make up hearing, including sound quality, clarity, the ability to identify where sounds are coming from 23651143and how your brain processes these sounds. To get the best hearing experience, you need to address all of them.

A recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll illustrates the challenges people with hearing loss experience listening to conversations and processing information. The poll of more than 2,000 adults found 67 percent struggle to hear in noisy places like a restaurant, and 73 percent have trouble hearing sounds coming from different directions. Eighty-five percent have to listen harder to understand what’s being said around them, and more than half actually have to strain to understand, follow and participate in conversations.

Hearing aids can help many of the 48 million Americans who experience hearing loss, but it’s important your hearing aids address more than just volume. Depending on the type of hearing loss, you may have trouble hearing clearly in a crowded room, identifying the direction a sound is coming from, or hearing high-pitched sounds like a doorbell or the voice of a grandchild. The ability to hear low-volume sounds is only one component of good hearing; quality, clarity and directionality are also important. Your hearing aid needs to address all of those factors, and not just increase the volume of noises around you.

Attorney Chris Mammel of Florida found distinguishing sounds coming from different directions to be one of the most significant challenges of his hearing loss.

“Courtrooms are naturally noisy places,” Mammel says. “If I was sitting in the audience, waiting for my turn before a judge, I couldn’t differentiate conversations or where sounds were coming from. It made it difficult to determine what kind of mood a judge was in before I had to stand in front of her.”

Like many people with hearing loss, Mammel found the effort of listening to be tiring. While your ears handle the mechanics of hearing, it’s your brain’s job to interpret the sound messages the ears send it. People with hearing loss often have to put more effort into listening and interpreting what they hear.

If your hearing aid fails to address sound clarity and quality, your brain will have to work harder to interpret the information coming from the device. That extra work can actually lead you to feel fatigued, and even forget what you heard. In fact, 43 percent of respondents in the survey said they have trouble remembering what was said.

For Mammel, the solution was a new advance in hearing aid technology. The Oticon Opn hearing aid with BrainHearing technology allows users to hear well from all directions. BrainHearing technology makes listening easier on the brain. Super-fast processors within the device filter out distracting noises, allowing you to more easily follow conversations, even in loud environments like a busy restaurant. You enjoy a more balanced, natural sound experience.

In a comparison study against currently available premium hearing aids, Opn demonstrated a 30 percent improvement in speech understanding and a 20 percent reduction in listening effort, as well as up to a 20 percent better recall of conversations.

The device improved Mammel’s ability to discern directionality and follow conversations in the courtroom and the board room, shifting focus easily to the speakers he wanted to hear.

“Before, I would have to pick someone right next to me in the room and that would basically be the only person I could speak with,” he says. “Now I can participate around the table in conversation. I can look down the line three or four people and still follow or actually participate in a conversation with them. It’s really been a remarkable change.”

Many people also want aids that can interact with other important devices in their lives, such as mobile phones or home sound systems. Opn connects directly to mobile phones and other external devices with the tap of your fingers, allowing you to stream audio signals directly to the hearing aids. Wireless communications technology allows two hearing aids to communicate with each other for improved spatial and directional awareness.

As you grow older, your likelihood of experiencing hearing loss increases, and nearly half of all people older than 75 will have trouble hearing, the Hearing Loss Association reports. In fact, hearing loss is the third most-common physical condition, after arthritis and heart disease, and it can affect every aspect of your life, including your physical and mental health, relationships and self-esteem. To learn more about hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org or www.hearingloss.org. For more information about Opn, visit www.oticon.com.

IMAGE CAPTIONS: ——————————————- Caption 1: Like most people with hearing loss, Christopher Mammel says noisy places like restaurants are the most difficult situations for listening.

Apr 042016
 

(BPT) – Lifting your mood, boosting your energy, protecting your earnings, super-charging your social life — and even keeping your mind sharp: These are just some of the many spoils that come with facing and dealing with a noise-induced hearing loss that has been slowly but persistently creeping up on you.19408553

The quality-of-life and feel-good benefits of treating even just mild hearing loss brought on by years of loud music, power tools, high-volume headphones, motor-sport engines, crowded night clubs and bars, noisy restaurants, and raucous sporting events are plenty. But in this digital age of smart phones and wearable technologies, the draw for many solution-minded consumers may be in the technology itself. Super-smart, super-sleek, super-convenient, and super-sophisticated — today’s hearing aids give you a multitude of reasons to address that hearing loss you’ve been trying so hard to ignore.

Consider these inspiring facts about today’s highly functional, high-powered hearing aids. They just may get you to finally do something about your hearing loss and make your life easier.

1. They’re cool, sleek, discreet and virtually invisible. New technologies are all about function, style, and effortless living. The latest hearing aids offer all three. The designs are incredibly attractive with smooth, modern contours. And they’re much smaller than even conventional Bluetooth earpieces. Many of the latest hearing aids are so tiny, they sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal, out of sight. You might say that aesthetically, hearing aids have had a complete makeover.

2. They cut out background noise so you hear what you want to hear. Even with the best of hearing, it’s tough to hear people when it’s noisy. But many state-of-the-art hearing aids not only reduce unwanted noise, they also scan the listening environment and automatically adapt to it — even in wind. There are hearing aids that can actually “geo-tag” a location. So if it’s convenient for you to network at a certain coffee shop, your hearing aids will know when you’re there and adjust themselves accordingly. For the record, it’s not by chance that the latest state-of-the-art hearing aids are so adaptable to changing noise scenarios. Recordings of virtually every imaginable listening situation have been used to create algorithms and “train” these amazing mini-computers for your ears.

3. They capture the natural richness and variation of speech, so it’s easier to follow the conversation wherever you are. Let’s face it, one of the most pesky aspects of not hearing as well as you once did is not catching everything people are saying. New technologies not only help you decipher speech details in music and noise, but they better preserve and clarify the more subtle sounds of language — like the consonants B, S, F, T, and Z — so you can really follow what someone is saying. No faking.

4. You can hear from all directions — even when scoping out what’s in the fridge. Advanced directional microphone technology lets you hear from the back and side — something really important when driving a car. But it also makes it easier to hear voices more clearly in other everyday settings — like when your head is in the fridge and your significant other is talking at your back. Yes, that’s one great feature.

5. Digital, Bluetooth, and wireless capabilities keep you connected when it counts. Digital, wireless hearing aids are the now the norm. That means many new technologies let you stream sound directly into your hearing aids — at the perfect volume — from your smartphone, laptop, conference-room speakerphone, home entertainment system, and other Bluetooth devices. Music, phone calls, podcasts, videos, whatever you listen to through your iPhone (or iPad and iPod for that matter), you can listen to through many hearing aids. Some even let you control the volume and other personalized sound settings with an app on your smartphone. Several types of wireless accessories give you a listening boost by bridging the gap between you and the speaker, making it easier to hear in loud or large places. Using a wireless mini-microphone — with cool, contoured designs, some even looking like a pen— placed on the restaurant or conference-room table, or near anyone you want to hear, makes it feel like they’re speaking directly and clearly into your ears, no matter how noisy the setting. You adjust the volume.

6. State-of-the-art comfort and convenience mean you’ll always want to use them. Super-small, super-light, customized, functional, and ergonomically designed, hearing aids today are more comfy than ever — yet tough enough to withstand real life. For most of the newest hearing aids, there’s virtually no feedback or whistling thanks to advances in digital technologies. And most are hypoallergenic with nanotechnology coating to keep them clean and dry. Some are even fully waterproof, so you can swim and shower in them, no problem. Plus, today’s greater-than-ever audio-processing goes hand-in-hand with less battery usage. Some hearing aids are even rechargeable, eliminating the need to change batteries altogether. But the convenience and comfort don’t end there. Some brands let you set up reminders for things like appointments or taking medicine. Perhaps the most “peace-of-mind-preserving” life hack, though, is leading-edge technology that helps sooth the ringing in your ears (tinnitus) in a way that suits you.

7. There are even more disruptive hearing technologies on the horizon. Totally out-of-sight, semi-permanent hearing aids that stay in for two to three months let you shower and sleep in them, no fuss. Perhaps the most futuristic glimpse of hearing aids is tied to recent ground-breaking studies revealing a significant link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Hearing aid manufacturers are deep in the trenches working to create future break-through technologies that will make it as easy as possible for the brain to decode speech and other sounds. Reducing cognitive load — that is, drawing fewer resources from the brain just to “hear” — is a very good thing. After all, we really do hear with our brains and not with our ears. Some hearing aids with these technologies are already available. Yes, leading-edge hearing aids are here to help you keep your mind sharp and your life easier by hearing your best at every age — starting today.

For more information on hearing loss and to take a free, quick, confidential, online hearing check to determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, visitwww.BetterHearing.org. Follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing. Like BHI on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute.

 

Mar 162016
 

(BPT) – Life’s “To Do” list can be pretty daunting. And often, getting started on something is the hardest part. This can be especially true for addressing hearing loss.

In fact, most people wait roughly seven years to do anything about it once they realize they have hearing loss. And that’s too bad – research shows that when people treat even just mild hearing loss, their quality of life goes up. Plus, when people with hearing loss use hearing aids, they get more pleasure from doing things and feel more engaged in life.20885694_wide

Conversely, non-hearing aid users are more prone to feel down, depressed or hopeless, a Better Hearing Institute (BHI) survey found. They’re also more likely than hearing aid users to say they find themselves getting more forgetful. Groundbreaking studies, in fact, discovered that hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline and dementia. Add to that, BHI research showing that untreated hearing loss can take a significant toll on earnings – up to $30,000 annually.

The tricky thing is, we live in a noisy world. It’s hard not to be affected. Many of us undoubtedly feel the impact of blaring music, earbuds, noisy restaurants, clubs and coffee shops, high-decibel ball games and motor sports, ear-piercingly shrill power tools, loud workplaces, and more.

It all boils down to this: You’re not alone in the changes and struggles you’re experiencing with your hearing. You have lots of company. Almost 40 million others in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Research even suggests that hearing loss is now common among people in their 40’s, and is increasing among 20-to-39-year-olds.

Luckily, the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids – which are now cooler, sleeker, smaller, more powerful, and work better than ever before. They’ve transformed dramatically, even in just the last couple of years.

So if you’re tired of turning up the TV volume, missing what people are saying at work, asking family and friends to repeat things, can barely remember the sound of morning birds, or are simply worn out from coping with a neglected hearing loss, do something about it. This may be your monumental moment. You can make the most of it.

To help, we’ve put together five easy, achievable steps to get you started. The road to better hearing – and a better quality of life – is a single step away.

1. Take a convenient online hearing check at www.BetterHearing.org. BHI offers a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check you can take in the privacy and comfort of your home. A series of questions helps you determine if you need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing care professional. It’s a great way to get started – because you can ease into the possibility that it’s time to do something about your hearing difficulty. Useful information on hearing loss and hearing aid technologies awaits you on the site as well.

2. Visit a local hearing care professional. Hearing care professionals – audiologists, hearing aid specialists, and ENT’s (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors or doctors of otology and otolaryngology) – are best-suited to help you. Audiologists and hearing aid specialists are expressly trained in all aspects of hearing aids and amplification, and are licensed by your state. Many work in practices with ENT doctors. They have the most appropriate and accurate equipment to give you a precise read on your current hearing level. And they can reliably counsel you on treatment options. Most important, going to a hearing care professional helps ensure that any underlying medical issue behind your hearing loss is identified and addressed. Simply, seeing a hearing care professional is your best safety net for proper diagnosis and treatment. The smartest thing you can do is to get it right the first time. And be assured, research shows that the great majority of people who visit hearing care professionals say they’re happy with the quality of service and counseling they receive. Most hearing care professionals even provide free trials so you can see what using hearing aids is like, with a minimal service fee if you decide not to keep them.

3. Information gather. Educating yourself helps you reach acceptance and peace of mind. Go to www.BetterHearing.org and learn what you need to know. Among other things, you’ll find:

* You can do this.

* You’re not alone.

* New, sleek and stylish, state-of-the-art hearing aids make it much easier to manage hearing difficulty without a lot of fuss.

* Many new hearing aids are virtually invisible; they sit inside the ear canal, out of site.

* Treating hearing loss means better quality of life and more effortless living for you.

4. Window shop. It’s OK to “just look.” You set the pace. Visit the “Hearing Aids Can Help” tab at www.BetterHearing.org. Opportunities to online window shop for hearing aids are right there for you. But most important, be up-front with your hearing care professional. Tell them you’re not ready to buy. But do let them know you’re ready to learn about the best hearing aid technologies for you if hearing aids are what they recommend, to get demonstrations on how they work, and to try them out at no cost or obligation. And remember, hearing aids are only sold by licensed hearing care professionals. True hearing aids that are designed to treat hearing loss and are cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) need to be fitted, adjusted, and tuned to your ears and specific needs, with appropriate follow-up. This is what makes leading-edge hearing aids so beneficial. So when you do seek out information, make sure you go to a hearing care professional.

5. Let it all sink in and make a plan. Consider everything you’ve learned and take time to think about it. But do give yourself a timeline for making a decision. If – after you’ve educated yourself about hearing loss and hearing aids – you decide to wait, set a hard date for re-evaluating your decision. Research shows that the sooner you treat hearing loss, the better it is for you and your quality of life.

For more information on hearing loss and to take a free, quick, confidential, online hearing check to determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing care professional, visit www.BetterHearing.org. Follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing. Like BHI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute.

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