Better Communication at Work – May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month

In the month of May, the American Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) fosters awareness about the loss of hearing and other communication disorders with Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Hearing loss impedes our ability to recognize speech, and if left untreated, may cause a breakdown in our most important relationships, whether with a partner or a colleague.

If you’ve been struggling to understand the speech of a loved one, or you’ve found issues with your hearing and haven’t sought help, this is the month you should do something about it.  Tim Harmon and our team at Purchase ear Technology in Paducah, KY are here to help you on your way to better hearing.

How Hearing Loss Can Lead To Lowered Earning

The figures on the harmful effects of hearing loss are immense. Untreated hearing loss causes annual income losses of up to $30,000 and generates a loss of $26 billion in unpaid federal taxes, which could help the US economy.

World Health Organization studies have found that loss of productivity worldwide is estimated to be at $750 -790 billion annually due to unemployment among people with hearing loss. In the US, $176 billion annually is lost due to underemployment.

According to a Better Hearing Institute report, hearing loss has an annual negative effect on household income of up to $12,000 per year. However, using hearing aids mitigates the damage by up to 50%.

How To Work With A Hearing Loss

The implications of hearing loss for your long-term career are potentially dangerous, and it is vital that you act. Here are some things you can do to improve your workplace performance with hearing loss.

1. Disclose your hearing loss 
It’s a difficult thing to do, but if you want to support those around you, you should let them know of your hearing loss. People are incredibly considerate when they know you have needs that have to be met.

2. Advocate for your needs
No one in the workplace is better at judging your needs than you. So ask for anything you need to do your job the best you can. Your employer has a legal responsibility to make ‘reasonable changes’ that will help you work better, so talk to your boss to see if they can meet your needs.

3. Choose your seat wisely
Your seat choice plays a big part in deciding how well you’ll be able to understand your coworkers.

This is particularly true if you’re working in an open-plan office. Such places make understanding conversations between other people tough and typically involve reverberating noises from all directions, so it is a good idea to reduce the background noise around you.

  • Ask your boss for a seat with your back to the wall, if possible. This prevents noise coming from behind you and will make it easier for you to understand others.
  • Consider sitting in the middle of the table during meetings so that you can see everybody’s lips. This will give you the best chance to lip-read.
  • If you’re watching someone give a presentation, sit next to the speaker to hear them better.

4. Encourage the use of email for important communications
Almost nobody in an office role is crying out for more emails, but summarizing important meetings in text-form can help you catch any important information you have missed.

5. Use a hearing aid at work
Communication is so critical in the workplace, and hearing aids help workers engage better when surrounded by noise. They will help you hear better when you’re on the phone. Modern hearing aids are smaller and more technologically advanced than you realize.

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disabilities, about 28.8 million people in the United States could benefit from hearing aids but are currently not wearing them. Among those 28.8 million, less than 16 percent between the ages of 20 and 69 are using hearing aids. To put it another way, only 16% of those with hearing loss and are of working age are currently using hearing aids.

If you are ready to find out if hearing aids are right for you, CONTACT US at Purchase Ear Technology.  We can run some simple tests and help you determine which hearing aid may be right for your situation.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or stop by our office at 2008 Broadway, Paducah, KY.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  You are FAMILY!

Pay Attention To That Ringing In Your Ears

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 15% of the general public — over 50 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus. Roughly 20 million people struggle with burdensome chronic tinnitus, while 2 million have extreme and debilitating cases.

What does tinnitus sound like and what can you do about it? Usually, tinnitus is a sound that only the individual can hear. People often describe tinnitus as buzzing, ringing, white noise, crickets chirping and/or a roaring sound.

Although these descriptions are typical, each individual’s experience can be different, and is an important clue that you need to pay attention to your hearing. According to research published in the American Journal of Medicine, 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus also have hearing loss.

Many times, the tinnitus and hearing loss are caused by damage to the nerve cells within the inner ear. This damage can occur from a number of sources, including exposure to excessively loud sounds, health conditions like diabetes, and medications that damage the ear. Tinnitus also can be caused by impacted ear wax. In very rare cases, underlying medical conditions may cause tinnitus.

For those whose tinnitus is milder and is connected to some level of hearing loss, hearing aids may be an effective way to manage the condition, improving the patient’s hearing and reducing the tinnitus for several reasons.

First, hearing aids can supplement the volume of external noise to the point that it covers, or masks, the sound of tinnitus. This makes it more difficult to consciously perceive tinnitus and helps the brain focus on outside, ambient noises. The masking impact of hearing aids is particularly strong for patients who have hearing loss in the same frequency range as their tinnitus.

Second, increasing the volume of external noise also increases the amount of auditory stimulation received by the brain. There may be benefits to stimulating the brain’s auditory pathways with soft background sounds that might not otherwise be heard.

Third, loud tinnitus can make it difficult — or even impossible — for people to take part in regular communication and social activities: follow a conversation, talk on the phone, watch television, listen to the radio, etc.

Hearing aids help by augmenting the external volume of these activities above the perceived volume of tinnitus. As a result, these individuals may feel less personal frustration and social isolation.

The latest digital hearing aids, with open-fit designs and patient-customized hearing loss profiles, may be particularly useful in managing tinnitus. Moreover, many newer hearing aids include supplemental sound masking functionality (white noise or other artificial ambient sound, such as chimes, played directly into the ear) that further covers the perception of tinnitus.

If you are experiencing a ringing in your ears, give Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology a call at (270) 558-3996.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway in Paducah, KY.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

1-in-5 With Hearing Loss Feel Lonely

Loneliness has typically been thought of like most other human emotions — fleeting and virtually harmless. While short periods of loneliness may not have negative effects, prolonged loneliness is toxic and increases the risk of dying by 26%. In fact, loneliness is as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

You may be wondering, how can loneliness lead to all of that?

How Loneliness Affects Our Health

Like food and water, humans need social connection to thrive and survive. These connections create a sense of belonging and safety. When we’re deprived of these crucial relationships, because of social distancing, hearing loss or a number of other reasons, our sympathetic nervous system perceives a safety threat and starts to fire. It’s a completely reflexive reaction.

In response, the body begins making hormones like cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenalin), preparing to fight or flee. Over time, the persistent exposure to excess cortisol can wreak havoc on our health. A heightened heart rate and blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease; increased blood clotting factors increase the risk of stroke; higher levels of glucose increase the risk of diabetes; and not having an immune system that’s functioning properly increases our risk for cancer.

You get the point. Prolonged loneliness is not good for your health.

Unfortunately, many risk factors for loneliness are difficult or impossible to change or reverse including being older, being female, living in a rural area, having a low education level, or having poor health status.

Hearing Loss Is a Treatable Cause of Loneliness

The good news is that a treatable cause of loneliness is hearing loss. And it makes sense. When hearing is a challenge, so is communicating and maintaining relationships with friends, family and caregivers. To avoid the social strain and discomfort of being unable to hear, many people withdraw from conversations and eventually retreat into a shell. In fact, one in five people with hearing loss report feeling lonely.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to technology, hearing aids are better than ever.  They are designed to be inconspicuous, fitting in or behind the ear and reconnecting you to the world around you.

The science is becoming clearer every day: it is time to put hearing health at the forefront of overall wellness because it matters, and its effects are far-reaching.

If you are experiencing hearing loss, Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah is here to help.  Give us a call at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  Our office is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway, Paducah, KY  42001.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Better Hearing Paducah

How Often Should I Replace My Hearing Aids

Today’s hearing aids are more sophisticated than ever before. They utilize the most advanced microelectronics, wireless radios, and computer processors, and they are built to exacting specifications to offer the best hearing possible. This includes being as resistant to moisture, dust and dirt as a high-tech instrument that sits in your ear all day can be. However, this does not mean hearing aids never break down or never need to be replaced.

If hearing aids are worn in the manner they are designed to be worn — meaning every day all day long — then they are guaranteed to be exposed to some pretty rough environments. This can include perspiration, body oils, ear wax, hair spray, lotion, makeup, rain, humidity, dust, pollen, etc. Add to that, hearing aids get dropped, rattled around in purses and back packs, twisted and turned while putting them in and taking them out, and much more. Overall, they take quite a beating but keeping performing.

A five-year lifespan is typical

That said, the average life of a hearing aid is around five years. This is assuming the wearer cleans and maintains the hearing aids regularly and has their hearing healthcare professional check and clean the aids at least every six months.

Still, in that five-year period, it is not unusual for hearing aids to require few repairs. Once hearing aids reach the five-year mark, investing in new hearing aids vs. repairing old ones is something to seriously think about. As durable as today’s hearing aids are, over time the components will break down from daily exposure to the elements. At this point, new hearing aids are a much better investment than continuing to repair the old ones.

Hearing aid technology gets better every year

Purchasing new devices won’t just provide you with a more reliable set of hearing aids. In the time you wore those older devices, hearing aid technology will have advanced. Significantly. This means better sound quality, better hearing in noise, advancements in wireless technology, more accessory options, and more life-enhancing features.

As with all technology, hearing aids are constantly getting better and better. Investing in new hearing aids regularly provides wearers with reliable hearing aids that provide the best hearing possible, which is always the most important thing. And with hearing aids, the return on investment is often priceless.

Is it time for you to consider new hearing aids?  Contact Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.

Trouble hearing in crowds

Trouble Hearing In Crowded Places?

As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there is hope that we might return to “normal” at some point where we will see crowds gathering together again.

A frequent question from patients pertains to being able to hear in crowded spaces. When they are talking to people one-on-one, or in small groups of people there is no problem, and they seem to hear just fine. But when they find themselves in a large crowd they often find it very difficult to understand what the people speaking to them directly are saying, or even to hear their voices over the background noise. People who complain of this condition often report that they have difficulty distinguishing between consonants such as the letters “F,” “S,” and “H.”

If this situation sounds familiar to you, it may be an indication that you have suffered some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. When describing human speech, audiologists define the 3000 to 8000 Hertz range as high-frequency. This is the range that the F, S, and H sounds typically fall into. In a crowded situation there are many sounds across the frequency spectrum competing with one another. Much of the background noise – such as people dancing or walking – occurs at lower frequencies. Speech is layered on top of this in the higher frequency ranges. Those suffering from high-frequency hearing loss tend to perceive the low-frequency sounds (which in this case qualify as noise) as sounding louder than the high-frequency sounds they are trying to focus on – the voices of people speaking to them.

High-frequency hearing loss is quite common. Some studies have found that as much as 18% of the population is affected. The most common cause of this is aging, but in recent years audiologists have found increasing numbers of teenagers and young adults suffering from it, possibly as a result of listening to overly loud music. High-frequency hearing loss can also be the result of diabetes, a side affect of certain prescription drugs or genetic factors.

If you are having trouble hearing in crowds and the reason turns out to be high-frequency hearing loss you’ll be glad to know that this can be treated. At Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, we have hearing aids that have been adjusted to reduce the volume of low-frequency sounds and boost the volume of the higher frequencies, so that you can hear better in crowds.

To find out if high-frequency hearing loss is the root cause behind your difficulty hearing in crowds, call at Purchase Ear Technology at (270) 558-3996 to schedule an appointment.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Sounds of spring - hearing aids Paducah

Five Sounds of Spring

When was the last time you heard the sounds of Spring? Since we are now “Spring” official, we want to celebrate this by naming our favorite 5 Sounds of Spring. If you haven’t heard the beautiful sounds of nature due to a hearing loss then we encourage you to contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, KY where we can help you Hear Spring again.

1. Birds Singing – An early morning ‘chorus’ of birds singing, their songs are often louder and livelier this time of year. This is mostly made up of male birds attempting to attract mates and warn other males away from their territories.

2. A Trickling Stream – The calming sound of water trickling through the streams surely is a peaceful sound you do not want to miss.

3. Wind Rustling in the Trees – The winds of Spring can be strong but the sound of it flowing through the leaves and branches of trees make a peaceful cadence that epitomizes the sound of nature in Springtime.

4. April Showers – Although April is known for the beginning of Spring it is also famous for April Showers. The weather might not be so pleasant but the sounds of rain ‘pitter patter’ on the leaves, in puddles and on roofs is a calming sound that if you can’t hear, you truly are missing out.

5. Bees Buzzing – With the arrival of Spring comes the sound of buzzing bees, going from flower to flower collecting their much-needed pollen and nectar. The sounds of a busy bee at work surely is one that you wouldn’t want to forget.

If you haven’t heard these sounds recently due to hearing loss, Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah can help. Give us a call today at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us. Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah. At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient. You are family!

Don’t Miss The Sounds Of Spring

The spring season is a time of excitement as the air warms around us, grass becomes green again and tree leaves begin to bud. Who hasn’t come across an early blooming crocus, daffodil or tulip and stopped and stared in surprise. It is amazing that whether this is your first spring or eightieth, the excitement the spring season brings is definitely contagious.

While the feel of warmer air and the visual sight of grass are a big part of the season, so are the sounds we hear. Our ears experience spring through sounds such as spring peepers, wind chimes, birds tweeting and pattering rain. If these sounds are no longer part of your spring season, then it is time to get your hearing checked. If you already have hearing aids, spring is a great time for a check up at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah. Here are some ideas to make sure your hearing health is on track to enjoy the season.

If you have hearing aids, start by reviewing your daily cleaning and care routine. Are you following a regular care plan? What is working with your routine and what is not? Next, take inventory of your hearing. What are your most successful listening scenarios and hearing aid settings? What listening scenarios are still difficult? Write this information down and make an appointment with up at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, KY. Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology, can examine your hearing aids for fit and function, listen to your concerns and make suggestions, so you can leave the appointment with ideas to help you hear your best.

If you don’t have hearing aids, spring is a great time to commit yourself to better hearing health. Take a close inspection of the sounds you are missing and write them down. Then give us a call at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah.  At Purchase Ear Technology you are more than a patient.  You are FAMILY!

Social Distancing Can Be Hard On Those With Hearing Loss

Social distancing is impacting everyone, but it can be particularly hard on people who have hearing loss. These tips and resources from Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah will help you get the most out of your hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Tips for Hearing Loss and Staying Home

  • Use video calls to communicate with your family and practice listening skills.
  • Put on closed captioning for TV and use TV listening devices.
  • If your tinnitus seems worse during this time, use sound therapy or practice relaxation techniques. The American Tinnitus Association has many useful coping tips.
  • If you are working from home or participating in remote classes, be sure all accommodations you may need are provided. Reach out to your employer’s human resources department or your school’s disability office for further help.

Listening Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

  • Tell speakers that you have hearing loss. Do not pretend to understand. Give suggestions about how they can help you hear better.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat, rephrase, or speak louder.
  • Remind people to look at and speak directly to you.
  • Take advantage of visual cues. Watch the speaker and pay attention to their lips, facial expressions, gestures, and body language.
  • Wear your glasses, if you have them.
  • Take advantage of good lighting (light should come from behind you).

At Purchase Ear Technology, we are here to help you.  If you would like additional information on hearing loss, hearing aids or just looking for some additional tips, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology located at 2008 Kentucky Ave, Paducah, KY  42001.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.

Spring Cleaning And Hearing Aids

As we roll into March, perhaps you are starting to think about spring!  Maybe some of you have even started thinking about the annual ritual some call “Spring Cleaning”!

Spring cleaning is more than an activity — it’s a mindset. Beyond the dusting, de-cobwebbing, and cleaning behind furniture, what else could benefit from a deep dive? Your hearing technology.

The holidays and long winter months can throw even the best of us off our routines. Use that spring-cleaning urge to your advantage and include your hearing technology in your yearly cleaning binge. Here are five ways to get started.

Replace the Wax Filter

Your wax filter can only work well for so long. Eventually it develops a buildup of wax and debris. Once that happens, sound quality starts to suffer, and it’s time to replace the filter. Every style of hearing device is a little different; check out the instructions for yours (and the tools that came with it), check for buildup, and, if needed, replace the filter.

Replace the Dome and Tubing on RIC Devices

Receiver-in-Canal devices not only have wax filters, they also have a dome and tube that can develop wax or debris buildup. As with the wax filter, once buildup develops in the dome or tube, sound quality suffers. Get the tools that came with your devices, check your instructions for how to clean the dome and tubing, and, if necessary, replace them.

Check Your Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a cleaning system for your hearing devices. The most basic models remove moisture and dry out wax; other models also disinfect and deodorize your devices.

If you have a dehumidifier that uses a desiccant — a liner, pebble, disc, or brick that absorbs moisture — it also has an expiration or best-by date, beyond which it no longer has sufficient drying power. Check the date, replace the desiccant if needed, and jot down the nearest expiration date somewhere you’re sure to see it.

If you aren’t using a dehumidifier, you should be, especially if you live in a particularly humid environment. Your hearing devices — which are basically small computers — sit in or on your ear all day collecting oils, moisture, and wax. Like all electronic devices, moisture can corrode or degrade the components in your hearing devices. Dehumidifiers remove all that harmful moisture while you sleep!

Update Your Routine

The best way to make hearing aid spring cleaning quick and easy is by keeping up a daily cleaning routine year-round.

When you take your devices out for the night, wipe them free of moisture, oils, and earwax with a soft, dry cloth — don’t use water or cleaning agents such as alcohol. Be sure not to deposit debris into, for example, the microphone ports. Then use the brush that came with your devices to remove debris from the ports and openings, taking care not to insert the bristles into the sound outlet — you could damage the microphone.

Once a month, clean the battery contacts with a dry cotton swab, taking care not to bend the battery contacts. Also check the wax filter to make sure it’s still in good shape.

Clean & Check

No matter how diligent you are about cleaning your devices, the small ports and tubing will eventually trap wax and debris, leading to poor sound quality. You should have your hearing aids professionally cleaned and checked every few months — we want your devices working as well as possible for as long as possible. It’s also a great opportunity to get pointers, tips, and tricks if you’re running into problems in your daily cleaning routine!

Contact Us

If you have questions or need new hearing aids or service, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah.  We are conveniently located at 2008 Broadway in Paducah, KY.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  At Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, you are more than a patient.  You are FAMILY!

 

 

Understanding Your Hearing Aid Batteries

One of the most annoying things that can happen with hearing aids is when you hear the tinny voice say “Low Battery.” But a lot of factors play into how quickly your hearing aid batteries are used. The quality of your hearing aid batteries can affect a lot of things: how long the batteries last before needing to be changed, the overall performance of the hearing aid, the sound quality of speech and even the quality of streamed audio.

To help you get the most out of your batteries, we’ve gathered together some things that can influence hearing aid battery life:

1. Your hearing loss. The greater your hearing loss, the stronger the amplification the hearing aids need to provide. The harder your hearing aids work to provide amplification, the faster the battery drains.

2. How often you use your hearing aids. Just like your cell phone battery drains the more you text or use social media apps, the quicker your hearing aid batteries will drain the more you use your hearing aids. More specifically, the number of hours and days you use your hearing aids play into how long you can go before changing batteries.

3. What you do with your hearing aids. Hearing aids at their simplest provide you with the ability to hear lost frequencies better. When you add on cool capabilities such as wireless streaming of phone calls, music and movies, you also increase the battery drain. Wireless streaming can increase the drain rate by up to 300 percent. Furthermore, if you use FM or looping technology, you could see a 100 percent increase in drain rates.

4. If your hearing aids include tinnitus technology. Tinnitus can be an ongoing bother for many. Today’s hearing aids often include tinnitus technology designed to help provide relief from tinnitus symptoms. This is typically done by using sound to mask the symptoms. When your hearing aids work to battle tinnitus, they are adding to their overall workload, thereby increasing the use of the hearing aid batteries.

5. The weather. As the seasons change and bring hot and cold temperatures, humidity or snow, your hearing aid batteries may function differently. Two big weather factors that can impact battery life include humidity and temperature.

  • Low humidity can cause higher battery drain due to batteries drying out faster.
  • High humidity can result in moisture issues that lead to swelling, leakage and reduced battery life.
  • Low temperatures can shorten battery life as voltage can dip and deplete earlier, especially for users who work outside in the winter months. [A side note: Our hearing aids can function in -40 degrees Fahrenheit]
  • High temperatures can affect battery performance when temperatures start to hit between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit and/or when humidity is greater than 50 percent.

6. How far above sea level you are. Your elevation can impact hearing aid battery life. Higher altitudes may cause batteries to reach their endpoints sooner due to reduced oxygen in the environment. Users living in higher altitudes will most likely experience faster battery drains, and if you are flying with a battery that is already low, you may see it drain faster.

7. Did you remember to take the battery out at night? Leaving batteries in your hearing aids when not wearing them drains their life faster. Remember to remove before drying overnight or when not in use.

If you have more questions about hearing aids batteries, please contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, KY.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St, Paducah, KY.  You can give us a call at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us today.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  You are FAMILY!