HOT weather is coming. HOT weather also brings heat, humidity and air conditioning all of which can wreak havoc on hearing aids. Moisture collects in tubing, corrosion forms on contact points, and ears may produce more wax.
Water is a serious enemy of hearing aids. Moisture can destroy the microphone and the receiver of hearing aids, clog the sound opening or ear mold tubing, and cause corrosion in the hearing aids. Moisture in the hearing aids can cause a static sound or can cause the hearing aids to operate intermittently or not at all. Moisture comes from a variety of sources including perspiration, high humidity, and direct submersion in water. To avoid the damaging effects of moisture, follow these tips:
Be particularly careful when wearing hearing aids outdoors in wet and rainy weather. Use an umbrella or hat when it is raining.
Ensure that your hair and ears are dry before you put on your hearing aids.
If perspiration is excessive, avoid wearing hearing aids during strenuous activity particularly in hot, humid weather.
If the hearing aids get wet, it is important to remove the battery promptly and let the hearing aids dry out for several hours. If you have a Dri-Aid kit, use it to facilitate drying of the hearing aids.
Do not use a hot air dryer, oven, clothes dryer, microwave, or other source of heat to dry hearing aids.
Excessive heat can damage your hearing aids. Avoid storing your hearing aids near summertime sources of heat such as a sunny window in your home or your car, or outdoors on a glass topped patio table.
Hearing aids tend to gather bacteria and other microbes more readily during the summer months. An anti-microbial product that can be applied to the hearing aids every few days helps kill off infection causing microbes.
IMPORTANT: Hearing aid batteries are toxic. Keep them away from children and pets, as they are harmful if swallowed. Here are some helpful tips for the care and use of your hearing aid batteries:
Always carry extra batteries for your hearing aids as batteries tend to die quickly, sometimes unexpectedly
Do not keep extra batteries loose in your pocket or purse with other coins or metal objects
Store batteries in a drawer, not in the refrigerator
For longer battery life especially during the hot and humid months of summer, open the battery compartment or remove the battery from your hearing aids every night
Do not remove the tab on the hearing aid battery until you plan to use the battery
Watch for corrosion on the battery. If you notice a white powdery substance on the battery, replace it immediately. Also, check the battery contacts within the hearing aid to assure they are free of corrosion
Battery contacts may be dried with a dry cotton swab in cases of humid weather or heavy perspiration
We hope these tips about caring for your hearing aids during HOT weather will help you to keep them clean and in proper working order this summer.
Back To School – Hearing Loss and Its Implications for Learning and Communication
Poor hearing is a serious problem for children. It affects their ability to learn to speak, read and be educated.
Hearing Loss and Children: The Facts and Why They Are Important!
About one in every 1000 children is born with a significant hearing problem. About another one in 500 will develop such problems in childhood.
There are differing degrees of hearing loss, referred to as mild, moderate, severe and profound.
Communication development and behavioural skills are influenced by a child’s ability to hear. When hearing loss goes undetected or is detected late (after 6 months of age), language and speech development can be delayed. This delay can affect a child’s social interactions, emotional development and academic performance. Recent research indicates that children whose hearing loss is identified and intervention is begun within the first six months of life have higher language levels than children identified after six months of age. Also children with normal cognitive status have normal language development when their hearing loss is identified by six months of age, and children with early-identified hearing loss have significantly higher personal-social development than children identified later. Research has also found that a child’s auditory skill performance is significantly related to age of intervention. Additionally, lower rates of stress, depression and conflict among parents and faster resolution of grief related to the identification of hearing loss have been linked to early detection of and intervention for children with hearing loss.
What Are the Types of Hearing Loss?
Conductive – hearing loss resulting from disorders of the outer and/or middle ear (e.g., resulting from ear infections, abnormal ear structures)
? Sensorineural – hearing loss resulting from disorders of the inner ear or the 8th cranial nerve that carries the auditory signals to the brain (e.g., resulting from meningitis, noise exposure, problems at birth)
? Mixed – a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss
? Central – results from disorders of the central auditory nervous system (e.g., central auditory processing disorders)
How Does Hearing Loss Affect Children?
Conductive Hearing Loss
? Hearing loss may be bilateral (both ears) or unilateral (one ear)
? Hearing loss may be fluctuating, permanent, or temporary
? Children may have difficulty
• With auditory reception and consistently organizing auditory information
• Understanding speech
• Understanding in adverse listening conditions
• Localizing sounds and understanding speech in the presence of competing noise (unilateral hearing loss)
• Loss of binaural listening advantage (unilateral hearing loss)
? Medical consultation and/or monitoring may be indicated
? The use of personal and/or group amplification and/or hearing assistive technology should be considered if hearing loss cannot be resolved through medical treatment
? Children may have
• Difficulty forming linguistic categories (plurals, tenses)
• Difficulty differentiating words and sounds
• Receptive and/or expressive language delay
• Problems with articulation
? Children may have
• Lower scores on achievement and verbal IQ tests
• Poor reading and spelling performance
• Greater need for enrolment in special education or support classes
• Lower performance on measures of social maturity
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
? Hearing loss may be bilateral or unilateral
? Children can exhibit
• Difficulty understanding speech and with auditory discrimination
• Significant problems listening and understanding in noisy and reverberant environments
• Difficulty localizing sounds and understanding speech in the presence of competing noise (unilateral hearing loss)
• Loss of binaural listening advantage (unilateral hearing loss)
? Use of personal and/or group amplification and/or hearing assistive technology should be considered
? Children typically exhibit delays and/or difficulty with
• Tasks involving language concepts
• Auditory attention and memory, and comprehension
• Receptive and expressive language
• Syntax, semantics, and vocabulary development
• Speech perception and production
? Children typically exhibit
• Lags and deficits in academic achievement, including language arts, vocabulary development, reading, spelling, arithmetic, and problem-solving
• Verbally based learning difficulties
• Progressive educational delays
? In addition, children with sensorineural hearing loss may have
• High rates of grade repetition and academic failure
• Self-described feelings of isolation, exclusion, embarrassment, annoyance, confusion, and helplessness
• Less independence in the classroom
• Lags in psychosocial development
? Increased need for special education and/or classroom supports
Mixed Hearing Loss Implications
? Hearing loss may be bilateral or unilateral, with various components of both sensorineural and conductive hearing losses.
? As with conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, a variety of audiological interventions and referrals may be indicated.
? Children can exhibit some or all of the audiological, communication, and academic implications of sensorineural and conductive hearing losses.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder Implications
? Hearing sensitivity is typically normal but a hearing loss could be present.
? Children may
• Behave as if they have hearing loss
• Score lower on measures of verbal IQ than on measures of performance
• Require more help with organization in the classroom
• Have difficulty following multiple step directions
• Refuse to participate in class discussions or respond inappropriately
• Act withdrawn or sullen
• Have a history of chronic ear infections or other otologic and/or neurologic problems
• Have poor singing and music skills
• Have deficiencies in fine and/or gross motor skills
Is Your Child at Risk for Hearing Loss?
Behaviours of Children at Risk for Hearing Loss
? Do not startle to loud sounds during infancy
? Do not turn in the direction of sounds after 7 months of age
? Have a history of 3 or more ear infections in one year
? Often misunderstand what is said
? Constantly request that information be repeated
? Frequently say “huh” or “what”
? Have difficulty following verbal instructions
? Give inconsistent responses to auditory stimuli
? Turn up the volume of the television, radio or stereo
? Give slow or delayed response to spoken directions or requests
? Have poor auditory attention
? Have poor auditory memory (span and sequence)
? Are easily distracted
? Have difficulty listening or paying attention in the presence of background noise
? Have delayed receptive and expressive language
? Have difficulty with phonics and speech sound discrimination
? Learn slowly through the auditory channel
? Have reading, spelling and other academic problems
? Exhibit behaviour problems
Children with hearing loss may exhibit some, many, or none of these behaviours, and the behaviours may be different at each age level. It is often difficult to determine if a child has a hearing loss or is exhibiting certain behaviours based on age and/or temperament. Hearing loss in newborns and infants is not readily detectable by routine clinical procedures such as behavioural observation. Children of all ages, even newborns, can have their hearing tested.
If your child fails a hearing screening or if your child’s response to sound seems different or inconsistent, you should have your child’s hearing evaluated by a certified audiologist.
What Can an Audiologist Do for My Child?
An audiologist evaluating a child typically uses certain basic procedures to determine if the child has a hearing loss and, if so, the type and degree of the loss. These procedures may include a pure tone hearing test, speech audiometry, and tests of middle ear function. Depending on the age or level of cooperation of the child, specialized testing (e.g., auditory evoked potentials, otoacoustic emissions) may be required. Audiologists provide
? audiological, central auditory, and hearing aid evaluations
New Years is a noisy time of year with fireworks, noisemakers, bars, yelling and screaming crowds, and other loud sounds piercing the environment. Fireworks and firecrackers have been found to register noise levels of 162 dB and 150 dB, respectively. To avoid experiencing hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud noises this New Year’s Eve you should adhere to these tips:
1. Invest in a set of inexpensive foam earplugs, available at local Pharmacy’s. These can reduce noise by as much as 30 db.
2. Hearing aid users should adjust their program memory settings for noise reduction or a reduced level in the music setting. If their instrument doesn’t have this feature, a pair of noise-reducing earmuffs can be of benefit.
3. If children are joining you at New Year’s celebrations make hearing protection a family affair. Talk to your kids about the importance of wearing hearing protection.
These precautions should help prevent people from damaging their hearing or developing a temporary case of tinnitus. It’s not just the excessive noise of football stadiums, but also some of the most routine celebratory events that can be damaging to ears.
Have a Careful, Noise Reduced, New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year from Hearing And Audiology.
Tips for Christmas day – when you have a hearing loss
Hearing well at the family Christmas dinner
Christmas is a social time, a family time. It’s nice to sit back, relax and catch up with family and friends who we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes it’s noisy, sometimes it’s hard to hear over the kids playing, or other conversations.
Is hearing loss getting in the way of your relaxing family time?
7 tips for managing Christmas Day
1. Sit in a good spot
Often it is helpful to sit with a wall behind you and in the middle of the table. This gives a better chance of hearing more of the conversation and not being distracted by sounds from behind. Try not to be be shy about talking to family and friends about which might be a better seat for you.
2. Keep the volume down during Christmas dinner
Turn down the music and turn off the TV during dinner. Added noise causes something called the Lombard effect – when it is noisy people talk louder. This can significantly increase the overall noise level making it quite difficult to follow conversations. Others may not even notice if you turn it down before the meal. Hearing in noise is very challenging even for people with minimal hearing losses.
3. Talk to those sitting next to you
Try and avoid conversations across large distances. If you need to talk, move closer, or ask that you continue later, when you can sit closer together.
4. Wear your hearing aids – all day every day
Wearing your hearing aids keeps your brain and hearing system active. People who only wear their hearing aids “when they need them” tend to be the same people who are unsuccessful with hearing aids. This is because their brain never has time to adjust to hearing sound. If you only wear your hearing aids in noisy group situations your brain will probably find the sound over whelming – a bit like running a marathon without doing any training.
Wearing hearing aids all the time, creates a new normal – normal to hear sounds (rather than normal to miss sounds). Your brain works out which sounds are important and which sounds are not important.
When you first get hearing aids you become very aware of all the sounds around you. The more you wear the aids the more your brain adapts, it will decide “that” sound is not important and it will no longer jump into your attention and you will no longer notice it. This process happens very quickly with the current hearing aids as they work so well.
So if your hearing aids are “in the draw” start wearing them in the few weeks coming up to Christmas. If you are not happy with your current aids – go and see your Audiologist and get them set up correctly, so you can wear them.
5. Try other technologies
There are many technologies available now that connect up with your hearing aids. They connect to your phone (land line or mobile), TV, computer, MP3 player and stereo. You can also get remote microphone technology, where you can give the speaker a microphone or place it on the other end of the table, then hear the conversation directly into your hearing aids.
6. Have reasonable expectations
You may not hear everything that everyone says – and that’s ok. Enjoy talking to the people near you and seek out the others and talk to them later. Could you suggest you all rotate seats for desert?
7. Bring your sense of Humour
It can be hard to keep it all in perspective during Christmas festivities, especially if you feel like you are missing out on the fun. Try to laugh a little and be grateful for the wonderful friends and family around you. You may not hear every word they say but you can partake in all of the good feeling around the table. Enjoy the moment.
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!
We are close for the Holidays – Reopening Monday 4th January 2016.
For hearing aid emergencies call M: 0473 482 868