Saturday, August 17, 2019

Hearing Better in Noise Lately?

Since most people had still struggled to understand speech in noise, we went to Florida (and soon to Las Vegas) to learn more about new technology to hear better in noise:

Las Vegas
While we're not "Vegas people" per say, or normally gravitate to the heat in Florida, one of the perks of owning a professional medical office is having our Hearing Aid manufacturers regularly send us all over the country (all expenses paid) to learn about the latest and greatest in Hearing Aid Technologies.

We recently enjoyed a 5-Star resort in Florida and a great side-trip-tour to the Everglades. Our next destination is Las Vegas for Sept/2019. (Of course we can't resist a show to see The Blue Man Group since were already there).

On this next trip (after a nice swim at the resort pool) we will be focusing on the advances of rechargeable Hearing Aids and new exciting developments on Hearing better in noise, which has been an ongoing struggle with many hearing loss patients.

Recently, hearing aids have finally become better at separating noise from speech in busy restaurants etc. Previous hearing aids have had some level of noise reduction, but not enough intelligent noise reduction without impairing the sound of the person talking with you, while in those environments. Thus, they did take down a little noise, but they also made the person speaking with you sound a bit muddy; like they were under water.

The key to noise reduction (and this takes incredible processing) is to reduce noise without reducing the person's voice who's speaking with you.

Hearing Aid Technology

As mentioned earlier, most hearing aids have not been doing a good job at this demanding task; the top manufacturers like ReSound have been getting our past concerns, and thus spending millions on figuring out just how to make a hearing aid so smart, that is "knows" the difference between noise and the human voice. And not just a any human voice, but the voice that is speaking with you.

It's very difficult for a Hearing Aid processor to actually take out the distant human voices of those who are not speaking with you, while retaining the voice of those who are talking with you. After all, those distant voices are a large part of the noise that's hindering your understanding of speech.

One of the many things that impressed me as a professional audio engineer of 35 years, was this new ability of the ReSound Linx Quattro series to record the actual noise environment that you enter, analyze it, and then reduce it so you can understand the companions who are speaking to you.

Better Hearing in Noise

So this new advancement is not just analyzing any noise, but the actual noise you are presently in. This is huge since environmental noise can vary from one place to another. So thanks to this modern technique, you can now have the actual noise you would had been struggling with be reduced as you enter into it; and at the same time, have your companion's voice enhanced for ease of understanding their words.

So when you hear of someone complaining that their hearing aids amplify all the noise and voices together (making it very hard to understand words) now you can tell them there is new technology that has transformed the way people comprehend speech in noisy areas.

This new "wow" factor has taken our hearing aids to a whole new level of listening enjoyment and speech understanding...

We look forward to the next learning experience as part of our commitment to help people hear better in noise!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My Head Aches and I'm Stressed out!

Two Ways to Potentially Rid Headaches & Stress

Stress

Of course having your vision checked to reduce headaches is something most people already know. But what about your ears? Can hearing loss and/or ringing in your ears cause fatigue and headaches? The short answer is yes, according professional medical experts.

One patient of a local hearing health clinic owned and operated a recording studio for over thirty years; mixing loud music on a day-to-day basis took it’s toll and caused a mild hearing loss and significant tinnitus.

Loud sounds can cause hearing loss and tinnitus: So can certain medications, accidents (especially head trauma) and of course aging can cause hearing problems. If you’re curious as to which medications that can cause hearing loss, you can Google “medications that can cause hearing loss”.

So if you get a little blurry vision, you make an appointment for an optometrist; If your not hearing well, you should also have your ears checked since your hearing health is just as important to wellness as your eyes. And according to a John Hopkins study, hearing loss can actually cause more significant health issues than vision loss.

Most doctors do not address three important aspects of you daily health: Eyes, teeth and hearing. That’s because most medical offices do not have adequate eye, dental and hearing test equipment nor the licensed staff to conduct those tests. This is why you should regularly see an optometrist, a dentist and a hearing health professional. Each of these offices specialize in improving your overall health in those respective areas.

Most persons don’t know that hearing loss (even a mild ones) can cause significant “straining” to hear people talk. They are also likely to exert some effort just to hear the T.V. and speech in noisy environments like restaurants, churches and social gatherings. Any strain on the body can cause unnecessary fatigue and in some persons that fatigue and strain can cause headaches and stress: most medical experts agree how these factors usually cause more illnesses.

Hearing Health

There’s a deeper issue with Hearing Loss that affects your brain too. Since your brain does the actual hearing and understanding, when you have hearing loss, you’re starving your memory because your hearing and your memory are directly tied together.



T.V. Too Loud

To prove this point, most people with hearing loss are struggling to fully understand their favorite movies and T.V. shows. They get half way into the show and don’t understand why a certain character is acting up or why a certain event just took place - it’s because in the beginning of every show there are clues and things that set up the plot and if you’re not hearing well, you are not going to understand that plot. Thus, the hearing loss person is asking their loved ones to explain things in the movie they are watching.

Any constant strain on the body or especially missed information is not good for one’s health.

Treating hearing loss will also alleviate frustration in communicating with others; Especially loved ones. One way to detect hearing loss is when people are constantly having to repeat themselves or when a person has to turn the T.V. up to loud levels. Another common miscommunication is a loved one may state “I’m going shopping at the store” and the hearing loss person will reply: “Why are you mopping the floor?”
Hearing loss causing social and physical problems have been a major subject of study by doctors and researchers for decades. As mentioned in a previous article, some forms of Dementia have been clinically proven to be linked to hearing loss, according to a John Hopkins University study; readers can Google the search words “Hearing loss and dementia” to learn more about the extensive study; the study claims that untreated hearing loss can bring a five times greater chance of developing dementia compared to those with no hearing loss.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA)

“One out of every four older Americans has undetected or untreated hearing loss. Older adults with hearing loss don’t realize how much the quality of their lives has been affected,” said Jim Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “As someone with significant hearing loss, I can personally attest to how the right hearing aids have dramatically improved my ability to work and play, my relationships with family and friends, and my self-esteem.  We encourage all adults and their families to take a hearing test and find out what they’ve been missing.”

A 1999 NCOA survey on hearing loss and older adults found that when people began to treat their hearing loss, many saw improvements in their lives, including their family relationships (66%), mental health (36%), sense of independence (34%), social life (34%), and even sex life (8%).

Read more at: http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/community-education/hearing-loss-its-a-family.html

Friday, March 15, 2019

Can a Hearing Aid be too small?

Best Hearing Aids

Many individuals insist on wearing the smallest hearing aid they can get, but will that really benefit their entire hearing experience?

If a person has a mild to moderate hearing loss than the answer is probably yes; probably is used here because only a licensed/qualified hearing care professional can answer that question properly after a hearing test and evaluation has been completed.

If someone's hearing loss is more significant than mild to moderate, then the answer is more than likely no, but again, this answer can only be addressed after a hearing test. There is still a possibility (but lessor of one) that the new small and discrete hearing aids may address all of a person's needs even if they have a more significant hearing loss.

Today, small and discrete means CIC, which stands for Completely in the Canal, so the hearing aid is totally invisible, unless someone was to get close and peak inside your ear canal.

Fortunately, at Crystal Clear Hearing Aids, our hearing tests and evaluations are free of charge and we can give expert advice if these tiny marvels of technology are right for you or not.

Discrete Hearing Aids

Even if they are not right for you, there are new generations of Hearing Aids that are almost completely invisible, that will suit any hearing loss as long as there is some hearing left in your test results. The above photo is called a RIC (Receiver in the Canal) which has a lot more power and capability than it's mini counterpart.

I wear this style of hearing aid and even when I see an old friend that I haven't seen in awhile, they don't see my hearing aids; I have to tell them I'm wearing them...I always get the same reaction: "Wow! I didn't even see them. I had no idea you were wearing hearing aids."

If you're considering small discrete hearing aids like the one's in the first photo above, it's important to know the basic rule of hearing loss and hearing aids. A significant loss requires more power and though tiny hearing aids have a lot more power these days, they may lack some of the volume boost for your loss and lifestyle, and they also may not have some of the very cool features that are found in the RIC style: such as blue tooth streaming of your phone calls into both of your hearing aids. The tiny one's are also not rechargeable since there is not enough room to squeeze a rechargeable battery system into the little space. Only the RIC style comes standard in the rechargeable feature (at our office) which makes it nice to say, bye, bye batteries.

The best way to know what's best for you is to call and schedule a free appointment to get a professional opinion and an in-office demonstration to actually see just how small and discrete the new hearing aids are; regardless of the size and style.



David Longeuay is a hearing aid wearer and was a full time audio engineer from 1980 until he opened up Crystal Clear Hearing Aids in 2016. He and his wife Sheri (also a hearing aid wearer) now have two offices: one in Anaheim and one in Lake Arrowhead, Ca.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Only one Hearing Aid?

It makes sense to save a bundle by just getting one hearing aid instead of two...Right?

two Hearing Aids
"No, you need two hearing aids to balance yourself out"
 Actually, if you have hearing loss in both ears, than treating just one side will do you a huge disservice. It's a bit like walking with one shoe on and the other barefoot - we all know what will happen: you will soon experience hip and back problems and you could even fall over when taking stairs or uneven ground.

Treating just one ear does similar potential damage to your brain; after all, we hear with our brains. Our ears are only the conduit to deliver sound to the auditory cortex, which is the part of the brain that processes sound.

Our amazing bodies were designed symmetrically. The body likes two equal eyes, two equal sized legs etc. Our brain is so accustomed to even-sided organs, that even the slightest disruption can cause not only fatigue, but also an onset of potential health problems. Especially balance problems! That's why the elderly fall often - many of them have untreated hearing loss or treated it too late in life.

Another perfect example would be having just one eye glass - of course no optometrist would ever suggest it since they too know how the body needs equality on both sides. And if you had only one, imaging the headaches you'd get!

Hearing
We Hear with our Brain
 I've even noticed this with Tinnitus. (Ringing in your ears). A few patients have come to my office with ringing in only one ear; or at least it seemed that way. However, in many cases, one hearing aid in that affected ear was not completely effective. That's because up to 80% of sound travels from one ear to the opposite side of their brain - so sound coming from your left ear routes most of the information to the right side of the auditory cortex. There is a massive and complex cross-network in your brain's hearing and that helps localize sound from all directions.

Speaking of that annoying ringing or buzzing in your brain:

Tinnitus
Millions suffer from Ringing in the ears, known as Tinnitus
So far, we have found only one way to treat that annoying Ringing in Your Ears, otherwise known as Tinnitus.

Since Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss (even mild loss like what I have) the top Hearing Aid manufacturers like ReSound have developed a highly sophisticated masking technique found only in hearing aids. So while treating your hearing loss (of any degree) we also have an 80% effective success rate to get rid of (or at least reduce) Tinnitus.

For me, this removed more than half of my daily fatigue and I have far less headaches than ever before.

It all starts with your hearing test, known as an audiogram; our intelligent Hearing Aid software takes your hearing loss information and uses a special pleasant white noise (like a nice ocean noise) to feed just the right information, which basically tells your brain to stop ringing. You should see the faces of our patients who have responded favorably to this amazing treatment! What a relief is an understatement!

Visit our website for more information: www.crystalclearhearingaids.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Four Major Health Benefits

Hearing Aids

When it comes to treating hearing loss, many people opt out because they are not aware of the major health risks associated with untreated hearing loss.

Of course they are expensive; but when you compare the cost of hearing aids (which can run from a few thousand up to six thousand) to that of your cell phone cost over the next seven to ten years, then a cell phone is actually more expensive and they certainly don't offer the same health benefits.

And if treating your hearing loss with hearing aids prevented (or a least delayed) or reduced the health risks listed above, then the costs is more than justified.

Many of the patients who come to our office were driven by loved ones who seem to see (or hear) more clearly than the hearing loss recipient on how hearing aids can help the person they interact with on a regular basis.

It's nice how the medical community and insurance companies are so much more proactive on screening for diabetes, heart disease, mammograms... So now it's time to also become more aware of the potential dangers of untreated hearing loss and do something about it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hearing loss & the brain


Ever notice how some adults get distracted or tired easily? It may have to do with changes in their brains that are related to hearing loss. Here's a peek inside the brain of someone with hearing loss.

How does hearing affect the brain in the first place?

Crystal Clear Hearing


First we should look at how the brain processes sound in adults. Researchers have studied and continue to study how and where sounds are processed and perceived by the brain. They've found that there's a link between hearing and cognition-the brain's process of perceiving and understanding.

Thanks to magnetic imaging, scientists are able to watch the brain and see how it activates in response to certain sounds. They've discovered that we don't hear with just one part of our brain. The process of hearing also stimulates other brain areas.

For example, when a researcher said a simple word, it activated the auditory cortex. The auditory cortex was where that word was technically heard. But a few other areas of the brain also lit up in the cerebral cortex. Those areas were where that word was understood, perceived  or cognitively connected.


Crystal Clear Brain Hearing



Scientists believe there's a dual-track association between hearing and cognition. Sound activates the auditory cortex, the cerebral cortex and cognitive processes influence how we hear.

We rely on cognitive elements of the brain, like working memory and life experiences, to understand a conversation in a noisy place. Surprisingly, only 10% of understanding speech in a noisy environment is by the actual hearing capacity.

So what happens to the brain when hearing is impaired?

Because there is a decline in sound stimuli and sensory deprivation, hearing loss can lead to  structural and functional changes in the brain. There can be reduced connectivity, brain signal decline, deterioration of the auditory cortex (which is the part of the brain that hears) and a reduction in overall brain volume. These structural and functional changes can affect the brain's capacity to process and perceive sounds and may contribute to cognitive decline.

The brain is forced to compensate for these losses by activating alternative circuits. It enlists accessory neuron networks and that means increased cognitive effort is needed to weed out irrelevant sounds, like background noise, and more concentration is needed for hearing.



Distracted hearing and fatigue


A high cognitive effort reduces the amount of brain resources available to process everything else. So things like concentration, memory and planning may be affected. It's easier to get distracted. And constantly decoding and processing sounds can take up a lot of mental resources and can be tiring.

How can this type of cognitive decline be prevented?

Treatment of hearing loss can help keep the brain functioning at an ideal level and can contribute to a good quality of life. There are many hearing solutions and are they are highly effective. In fact, 95% of people with hearing loss can be helped by hearing aids.


It's important to identify and treat hearing loss early. The longer treatment is neglected, the more challenging it can be for the brain to relearn and repair itself. Like physical therapy after a surgery, consistent use of hearing aids is essential in a successful treatment plan.



Certain portions of this article were taken from a blog at Amplifon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Preventing Painful Accidents—I Didn’t hear it coming!

“I was walking in a parking lot, didn’t hear a car backing up and it missed me by inches.”
hearing problems

Many people would argue the fact that hearing aids are not that important for mild to moderate hearing loss until they realize hearing loss can put a person at high risk of nearly being hit by a car, not heeding the warning from a person behind them, not hearing their window at home being opened by a burglar and many other life-threats that good hearing warns us about.

I have also had several patient’s who had balance issues and have taken terrible falls until they began wearing hearing aids. After all, our balance which is located in the ‘semicircular canals’ is connected right next to our cochlea, which is our main organ that distinguishes sounds and distributes them to the brain. (We really hear with our brain…the ears just “transmit” sound to the brain).

Brain hearing
I have mentioned to many people the fact that if correcting their hearing deficiencies could prevent even one fall and prevent a hospital visit, the price of a hearing aid would seem much smaller; especially if it would save a broken bone or hip replacement in the future.

Seniors falling down
It’s not that treating hearing loss with hearing aids will guarantee normal balance and always prevent falls, but they have been added to the long list of health benefits like better balance; and  the very common onset of dementia…persons who don’t treat their hearing loss have a five times greater chance of developing dementia and cognitive decline along with other health issues; like the annoying ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) that has proven to diminish healthy and enjoyable living.

Personally, wearing hearing aids have reduced my overall tension and fatigue by more than seventy percent. Since wearing hearing aids allows us to hear details and sentences without straining, there’s much less stress from people being upset with us for having to repeat themselves…and your brain will be under a lot less strain throughout the day since you won't have to lean in and squint your eyes to read people's lips.

Now that I enjoy stress-free hearing, I have been able to get up earlier in the morning and stay up later at night; and I rarely get tension-headaches anymore. I can also engage in conversations at family gatherings and restaurants without nodding my head in agreement, when I really didn’t hear what they were saying.

We don’t think of the dangers that can rise from hearing loss until we or someone we know has a bad experience related to it.  From Dementia to almost being hit by a car, to frustrated loved ones that are tired of us blasting the T.V., hearing loss can cause havoc in our lives; especially with loved ones who have to constantly share the burden.

hearing betterAnd the old stigma of bulky/ugly hearing aids are over! So are the batteries! The new hearing aids are not only smaller, smarter, deliver more natural sound like a human ear, but they are now rechargeable. Just plug them in like a cell phone at bedtime and the charge lasts all day and into the night.

Today’s modern hearing aids are so beyond the old negative reputation they had, they now live up to the expectations that modern digital devices feature. So much so that we’re certain you’ve seen dozens of people in public and on T.V. shows who wear hearing aids without noticing them, and without realizing they have significant hearing losses. No one knows I’m wearing them until I point them out.

BLUETOOTH has also entered into the modern hearing aid, so you can stream just about anything to them: Your T.V., Smartphone, Music and more! No more cranking up the television that was annoying your loved ones. Your family and friends can listen to the T.V. at their preferred volume and you have your own separate volume streaming right into your hearing aids. Phone calls are streamed into your hearing aids for hands-free conversations and music has never sounded so good!