WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) — Feel like you’re losing your hearing? It’s important to see a doctor before you start looking for a hearing aid or amplifier, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
“The problem might be as simple as a wax impaction blocking the ear canal, which is easily treated, or at the other end of the spectrum, it could be something as serious as a tumor pressing on the hearing nerve,” Dr. Eric Mann, clinical deputy director of the FDA’s division of ophthalmic, and ear, nose and throat devices, said in an agency news release.
Many cases of hearing loss are related to aging and exposure to loud noises, and a hearing aid might be the solution. While a prescription is not required for most kinds of hearing aids, it’s wise to see a health care professional to rule out other medical causes of hearing loss, and to ensure that hearing aids are properly fitted and come with follow-up care.
Your primary care doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist — an otolaryngologist — for evaluation and diagnosis of hearing loss, the FDA said. It also noted that two types of hearing health professionals are authorized to measure hearing loss and dispense hearing aids:
- Audiologists, who must have at least a master’s degree and specialized training in hearing loss.
- Hearing aid dispensers, who are licensed by states under varied requirements.
If you’re shopping for a hearing aid, the FDA says you should:
- Find a hearing aid professional who offers products from several manufacturers.
- Ask whether there is a trial period. Most states require 30-60 day trial periods. Find out what exactly is refundable if you return the hearing aid during the trial period.
- Examine the details of the warranty, including whether you’ll get a free loaner if your device needs serving and repair.
- Check whether the price quoted includes testing and follow-up services.
One of the things that has evolved rapidly over the past few years are hearing aids reviews. In the past, people tended to stay away from reviewing products like this, since no one really believed they could do it justice, but with a bevy of new techniques and equipment, critics are now confident that they can properly review a hearing aid device – a great boon for those looking for hearing aids reviews to help them with their purchasing decision.
Nevertheless, like all reviews, people need to be careful where the review is coming from – is it a biased review trying to sell the product almost directly? Is the reviewer using all the proper procedures to review hearing aids? These are of course concerns that are seemingly universal, but when you think about the investment here, it becomes even more important.
Sadly though, no review can completely encompass a hearing aid, and the best test is to use it yourself. Fitting and personal experience is still a completely subjective measure, and while reviews can do a much better job than they ever could in the past, nothing is a substitute for personal experience if you can manage to get it.
Finding the best hearing aids can be difficult because there are so many massively different types of hearing aids. If you want to buy hearing aids that are high quality it will take a little bit of research, however, it’s certainly worthwhile when you consider that good hearing is necessary if you want a high quality of life.
There are three main factors to consider when you buy hearing aids. These factors are fitting, price and sound quality. Depending on your needs you will need to decide upon which of these factors is most important to you. Most prescription digital hearing aids cost from $2000 to $6500, while this seems a little bit high, a good hearing aid is necessary. One of the biggest complaints received from customers of hearing aids is the fitting, this is why it’s always a good idea to try the hearing aid out before purchasing.
The sound quality of hearing aids is very variable, with most non prescription hearing aids you will find the sound quality to be quite low, even though the price is lower as well. Overall, prescription digital hearing aids are the best hearing aids in this regard. For hearing aids which don’t have adjustable amplification it is necessary to test them out because as some can be excessively quiet or loud.
Overall, the best thing you can do is to shop around before purchasing a hearing aid. Because they can drastically improve the quality of your life, major consideration should be put into the purchase.
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Adults and children are commonly exposed to loud music. Between ear buds connected to iPods or MP3 players and music concerts, loud music can cause hearing loss.
The inner part of the ear contains tiny hair cells (nerve endings).
- The hair cells change sound into electric signals.
- Then nerves carry these signals to the brain, which recognizes sound.
- These tiny hair cells are easily damaged by loud sounds.
The human ear is like any other body part — too much use and it may become damaged.
Over time, repeated exposure to loud noise and music can cause hearing loss.
Decibels of Sound and Hearing Loss
The decibel is a unit to measure the level of sound.
- The softest sound that you can hear is 0 dB.
- Normal talking is 40 dB to 60 dB.
- A rock concert is between 110 dB and 120 dB, and can be as high as 140 dB in front of the speakers.
- Headphones are 110 dB.
The risk of damage to your hearing when listening to music depends on:
- How loud the music is
- How close you may be to speakers
- How long and how often you are exposed to loud music
- Headphone use
- Familyhistory of hearing loss
Jobs or activities that increase your chance of hearing loss music are:
- Being a musician, sound crew member, or recording engineer
- Working at a night club
- Attending concerts
- Using portable music devices with headphones
Children who play in school bands can be exposed to high decibel sounds, depending on which instruments they sit around.
When at a Concert
Rolled-up napkins or tissues do almost nothing to protect your ears at concerts.
Two types of earplugs are available to wear:
- Foam earplugs, offered at stores, help reduce noise. They will muffle sound and voices but can fit poorly.
- Custom-fit musician earplugs improve fit and do not change the sound quality.
Other tips while in music venues are:
- Sit at least 10 feet away from speakers, and it is best to sit even farther away
- Takebreaks in quieter areas. Limit your time around noise.
- Move around venues to find a quieter spot.
- Avoid having others shout in your ear to be heard. This can cause further harm to your ears.
- Avoid too much alcohol, which can make you unaware of the pain louder sounds can cause.
Rest your ears for 24 hours after noise exposure to give them a chance to recover.
How to Listen to Music on Your iPod or MP3 Player
The small ear bud style headphones (inserted into the ears) do not block outside sounds. Users tend to turn up the volume over other noise.
If you wear headphones, the volume is too loud if a person standing near you can hear the music coming through the headphones.
Other tips about headphones are:
- Decrease the amount of time you use headphones.
- Turn down the volume. Listening to music at level 5 or above for just 15 minutes per day may cause long-term hearing damage.
When to Call the Doctor
If you have ringing or “muffling” in your ears for more than 24 hours after exposure to loud music, get a hearing check-up.Have your hearing checked by an audiologist.
See your health care provider for signs of hearing loss if:
- Some sounds seem too loud
- It is easier to hear men’s voices than women’s voices
- You have trouble telling high-pitched sounds (such as “s” or “th”) from one another
- Other people’s voices sound mumbled or slurred
- You need to turn the television or radio up or down
- You have ringing or a full feeling in your ears
Noise induced hearing loss – music; Sensory hearing loss – music
Arts HA. Sensorineural hearing loss in adults. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 149.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. NIH Pub. No. 97-4233. Updated: October 2008.
Update Date: 5/13/2012
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
From: NIH.GOV Med line
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Not being able to hear to your full capacity can be a crippling and irritating thing that can hold you back from living life to the fullest. It is important to look into being fitted for aids for hearing so that you can hear again and get back to life.
Once you being looking into the cost of hearing aids, you will be surprised at how they are affordable. An audiologist will give you a hearing test and fit you for the best hearing aid device to meet your needs. They will ensure that you will begin hearing sounds more easily. The hearing test that you will take will give the audiologist an idea of what percentage you are able to hear. This will allow them to create a hearing aid device that will greatly increase your hearing.
These aids for hearing are now designed so that they are small and unnoticeable. This will allow you to hear to your fullest without being self-conscious of your hearing aid device. It is important to being looking into aids for hearing if you suspect that you have hearing loss. The cost of hearing aids are affordable, and they will be worth every penny spent so that you can hear again.
Loss of hearing is usually a gradual process as one or both ears become unable to hear sounds clearly. This is commonly due to the degeneration of hair cells or a malfunction to the tiny bones of the inner ear.
When you find yourself needing to buy hearing aids for the very first time, the experience can be overwhelming. The best hearing aids are not always the recommended choice of an audiologist that could be representing a particular firm that wants you to buy hearing aids from them.
Ask for a copy of your test results and get a second opinion before shopping for the best hearing aids. Digital hearing aids have come a long way since first introduced and you may find the improved technology just what you need in finding the right adjustment.
Most companies that have state of the art digital hearing aids can recommend a hearing center for a second opinion. The choice to buy hearing aids is one that should not be taken lightly. Only the best hearing aids by reputable companies should be considered.
When fitted with an incompatible hearing device, you will not appreciate sound at its finest. Take your time so you are completely satisfied with your choice.