Noised induced hearing loss

Noise induced hearing loss  (NIHL) is caused by exposure to loud sounds.  We typically relate this type of loss to those who work in an environment where there are loud noises.  A career in aviation or in a restaurant where loud music is played every evening is seen as a precursor to NIHL.  However, this loss may occur from one exposure to an extremely loud noise. Research suggests the NIHL is occurring at younger ages and with more frequency.  Given that we’ve just celebrated our country’s independence on the 4th of July it’s a good time to remember some basic preventative tips.

  • Avoid and limit periods of exposure to noise.
  • Wear hearing protectors: earplugs and/or earmuffs.
  • Buy quiet! Don't buy noisy appliances, equipment, or toys.

An estimated thirty million people nationwide are exposed to dangerous levels of noise each day. Protect yourself every day, not just when watching a fireworks display.  To learn more read this article.


Baby Boomers

Hearing loss is easy to deny or ignore but eventually it will catch up with you. Baby Boomers are facing this life changing decision in record numbers.  Will they take the necessary step to improve their hearing?  In order to continue to enjoy an active lifestyle they will need to pay attention to all aspects of their health including their hearing health.  A study by Johns Hopkins showed that, of the estimated 26.7 million Americans age 50 and older with hearing loss, only about 1 in 7 use a hearing aid. Former President Bill Clinton, Barbara Streisand, and David Letterman are all baby boomers who suffer from hearing loss.  You are not alone in your desire to wear cutting edge technology that also has style.  There are more and more choices on the market to meet every need.

To read more about how baby boomers across the nation are turning to hearing aids to ensure they can continue a quality life experience click here.


Safety First!

Safety first! We’ve all heard it said many times. For a hearing impaired individual it has even more significance.  According to a new John Hopkins study, hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of falling.  As you age, preventing falling becomes an important element of your overall health. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to the emergency room in the United States.  More than 90 percent of hip fractures occur as a result of a fall.  A hearing impaired individual is more likely to trip or fall due to lack of awareness of their environment.  This is one more reason why it’s important to acknowledge a hearing loss and get the help that is readily available.  To read more about risk of falling and hearing loss click here.  For more stats on why patients end up in an emergency room click here.

If your loved one has a hearing loss, be sure they seek help, not only so they can hear better but for their own safety.  An unknown author said it best “Safety isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life.”  Here at Smart Step Hearing we want to wish you a safe and happy day!

Hearing Loops at concerts and theaters

Has your hearing loss prevented you from enjoying a concert?  What about attending a play at the local theater?  Many who suffer from hearing loss eliminate activities they have enjoyed in the past.  These outings are no longer part of their lives and they are missed.  If you cannot hear the music or the dialog on stage what started as a lovely evening turns into a frustrating experience. More and more venues are installing “hearing loops.”  This technology installed on the floor around the periphery of a room and allows sound to be picked up by a tiny receiver already built into most hearing aids.  Once the loop is turned on only sound coming directly from the microphone system is heard.  The NY Times recently published an article titled “A Hearing Aid That Cuts Out All the Clatter” which follows one man’s introduction to hearing loops. To read more, check out the article by clicking here.

When you visit a venue here in Portland that has not yet installed this important technology be sure to send them a letter or email suggesting they consider the option.  Ensuring that all Portlanders can enjoy a night out, without hearing frustration, is important for the entire community.

Health problems and hearing loss

I have never had my hearing tested at my doctors office.  Maybe I did when I was a kid, but I don't remember it.  There were hearing screenings at school but once I had hit my twenties...that was it.  My hearing was not tested again until I requested it at age 40.  I went to a hearing health professional to have the test completed. I had other health issues but was surprised to find that I had significant hearing loss in one ear!  Suddenly, my struggle hearing on my cell phone made more sense. More and more information has been coming out that shows those with serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease and depression could be at increased risk for hearing loss. If you have any of these conditions, it's worth seeking out that hearing test - whatever your age.  You can read more on the link of disease to hearing loss by clicking here. 

New York Times reports on hearing loss!

In the New York Times on-line today there is an article about hearing loss. The article reports that hearing loss may be the nations "most damaging and costly sensory handicap."  It goes on to report:  

"Most of those affected can still hear sounds and think the real problem is that people aren’t speaking clearly. They often ask others to speak up, repeat what was said or speak more slowly. Or they pretend they can hear,but their conversations may be filled with non sequiturs."


Does this sound like you? We find that many of our patients at Smart Step Hearing report exactly as the article described- for years before they sought help for their hearing loss they struggled with following conversations. You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Hearing Loops coming to US

From Voice of America this morning:

Hearing loops are common throughout Western Europe, especially Britain and Scandinavia, where they provide clearer sound in theaters, churches and at ticket windows. Loops have also been installed at the Brisbane Australia airport, and in Hong Kong’s Disneyland.

Since returning from Scotland in 1999, Myers has been on a mission to introduce loops across the United States. The area where he lives in Michigan now has hundreds - from senior centers to the Grand Rapids airport. Other states, including Arizona, Wisconsin and Florida, have also installed hearing loops at public spaces in their communities.

This is fascinating technology—if you follow the link, you'll find a series of audio files that demonstrate the technology. Hearing assistive technology in public spaces typically require infrared communication technology. With hearing loops, simply ensuring that your device is equipped with the technology can, at the flip of a switch, significantly reduce background noise with ease.

Look for more news on Hearing Loop enabled assistive devices coming soon! You can learn more about Hearing Loops here.