It’s time to wrap up well and protect your hearing – book a free hearing test today

rby-cold-weather-hair-jessica-simpson-mdnWinter is a time for many people, young and old to take varying degrees of action to safeguard and enhance health, and the same applies to hearing healthcare, so there’s no better time than now to book a free hearing test with Hidden Hearing.

We spoke to  Ben Owen Audiologist  in the Marlboro Street, Cork – Branch of Hidden Hearing. Ben Described how “the ear is an amazing but delicate piece of hardware that is in constant use”. He went on to describe how we rely on our hearing to carry out the most basic of human tasks but it also is responsible for one of our most primal needs – that of communication and connection with our community, thus its vital role in our physical and emotional health.

Winter months and plummeting temperatures can have repercussions for hearing as the ears can become chilled and rather painful. As great deal of heat is lost from the body via the head, it is advisable to wear a woolly hat or wrap a scarf around your ears to prevent earache.

The common cold is a frequent complaint in winter and in severe cases can cause or effect sinusitis. Acute and chronic sinusitis can lead to temporary hearing loss which is not only debilitating if not treated but chronic sinusitis in particular can lead to developing permanent hearing conditions.

Dolores Madden, Director of Marketing with Hidden Hearing has this advice ‘Certain ailments and cold weather can have the knock on effect of causing hearing problems, the best thing to do is to call your local Hidden Hearing branch for a free hearing screening to examine the issue. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as removing ear wax- which is a free service we offer to the over 60’s.”

For more information on how to protect your hearing this winter and for details of the free hearing screening and wax removal offers see www.hiddenhearing.ie or call 1800 370 000.

Is Hearing Loss Related to Teeth Grinding?

teeth-grinding-health-400x400Teeth grinding is a common oral condition classified as Bruxism. It doesn’t often cause serious harm however, chronic cases of teeth grinding can have some serious repercussions.  Not only can it end up damaging the teeth, but it can also cause a number of other health complaints.
One of the more worrying problems is tinnitus, which causes a ringing in the ears and is linked to hearing loss. If you suspect this, it is advisable to see an audiologist and get your hearing checked.  Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 65 branches nationwide.
Sometimes teeth grinding motions are known to be accompanied by a temporary hearing loss.  A recent study conducted by the University of Ioannina in Greece has found a link between bruxism, and hearing loss.  The study involved 464 healthy Greek university students (156 men and 308 women) and found that there is a high correlation between grinding your teeth and suffering from tinnitus.  The condition can be induced by the constant grinding noises that persist through the nights in several cases.  The intensity of constant noise can have a resultant effect of dysfunction in the hearing abilities.  On the other hand, the severity of the teeth grinding can also lead to extreme stress in the muscular as well as the bone mass in the region.  When the teeth grinding motions – involving forceful forward and backward movement of clenched teeth – is intense, the condition can cause inflammation in the areas around the ear and result in symptoms resembling hearing loss, ear aches, or abnormal sounds in the ear.
Luckily, there are all sorts of ways in which you can stop grinding your teeth. One of the easiest ones is to simply visit your dentist and ask for a mouth guard – this will fit over your teeth (usually the bottom set) and you’ll wear it while you sleep.
Because stress and anxiety are common factors in causing you to grind your teeth, reducing them can stop you doing it. Try starting a regular exercise programme or enquiring about muscle relaxants.
Other things you can do are to cut back on caffeinated products like cola and coffee, and cutting out alcohol. Unnecessary chewing should be avoided (biting pencils or chewing gum), and you can also try relaxing your jaw muscles with a warm cloth before bed.
In most cases, hearing loss caused by teeth grinding is of a temporary nature.  However, if you are worried about your hearing make an appointment with an audiologist at your local Hidden Hearing branch.
If you’re worried about hearing contact your local Hidden Hearing branch.  Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 60 branches nationwide. To book a test Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

We have a handy information booklet on how we hear if you are interested apply below and we will send you a FREE copy.howdowehear2

Hearing Loss Among Complications Linked To Obesity In Teenagers

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Researchers from Columbia University’s Medical Center say they have discovered a link between obesity and hearing loss in adolescents. Their findings suggest that inner ear troubles should be added to the list of health concerns attributed to obesity.

“This is the first paper to show that obesity is associated with hearing loss in adolescents,” said the study’s lead author Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., professor and vice chair for research at the University’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

“Furthermore, hearing loss should be added to the growing list of the negative health consequences of obesity that affect both children and adults-adding to the impetus to reduce obesity among people of all ages.”

Lalwani and his colleagues drew data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 and 2006.

A total of 1,500 adolescents from age 12 to 19 answered questions regarding personal and family medical history, any medications they were taking, if they or anyone they knew smoked, socioeconomic factors, and history of noise exposure.

The results of their analysis showed that 15.16 percent of obese adolescents, marked as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 95 percentile, experienced sensorineural hearing loss compared to 7.89 percent of nonobese teens. Sensorineural hearing is defined as the level of frequency heard by humans.

Ultimately, the research team identified a 1.85-fold increase in the odds of developing low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. The research team did note that this level of hearing loss would not hinder upon human speech but rather hearing noises in a group or crowded area.

“These results have several important public health implications,” said Lalwani, who is also an otolaryngologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

“Because previous research found that 80 percent of adolescents with hearing loss were unaware of having hearing difficulty, adolescents with obesity should receive regular hearing screening so they can be treated appropriately to avoid cognitive and behavioral issues.”

Until further research is carried out Lalwani’s team can only speculate as to what causes this apparent loss of ear function as a teenager gains weight. Research from the past has also linked hearing loss to various conditions caused by obesity including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

How to talk to loved ones about hearing loss

20090914-mother-daughter-290x218Hearing problems can make it challenging to live your daily life. It may be hard to have conversations with friends, family and coworkers, and can even cause embarrassment and frustration. For some, hearing loss can even be dangerous if it becomes difficult to hear alarms or other warning signals. While it may seem obvious to seek medical attention for hearing loss, many people wait years before getting hearing aids. Here are a few ways to take charge if a loved one is suffering from hearing loss:

Small steps

The first time you have a conversation with a loved one about hearing loss, chances are they will not immediately respond by seeing a hearing practitioner. They may be experiencing denial or believe that their issue does not require attention.

Begin by creating awareness about the ailment and having conversations about symptoms and solutions, they can become more comfortable with what is going on and what needs to happen.

Ask them about what instances cause them the most trouble: Talking on the telephone, watching television, how their hearing fairs when there is background noise. Allowing them to realize on their own that hearing loss is affecting various aspects of their life can be very motivating.

Don’t chastise them

Use the word ‘I.’ If you are referring to ‘their’ problem, it can come off as distressing and it increases the chance that someone will shut down and refuse help. Have a conversation with your loved one about how the issue is affecting you and other family members, but do this in a way that won’t cause them to become defensive. For example, show your concern about them enjoying a child or grandchild’s company before they get too old.

Create positivity

Many people have negative feelings toward hearing aids, but you can create awareness and bring positivity to the situation. For example, you can tell a story about a close friend, relative or coworker who has had a great experience with hearing aids. Better yet, ask that individual to have a conversation with your loved one that is suffering.

Being able to hear well has been shown to decrease dementia and brain atrophy and relieve symptoms of depression and isolation. Talk to your loved ones about the things they will gain with help from a hearing device.

Encourage them to be proactive

During your conversation with a loved one about hearing loss, talk about all the things he or she can enjoy to the fullest with the help of hearing aids. Discuss hearing nutrition, new technologies and community-oriented engagement with your loved one as well. The more they learn about hearing aids, the more comfortable they may be with seeing a hearing aid professional.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Sound Advice For Fans Of Ear-Bashing Music

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Summer music festivals great and small are about to be unleashed, but revellers should remember how important it is to protect their ears. In a survey of 2,711 festival-goers in 2008, 84pc said they experienced dullness of hearing or ringing in the ears after listening to loud music.

These are the first signs of hearing damage. The next morning or a couple of days later, your hearing may gradually return to normal, but over time, with continued exposure, there can be permanent damage. The risk of damage to hearing is based on how loud the music is and how long you listen to it for.

If you can’t talk to someone two metres away without shouting, the noise level could be damaging. The dangers to hearing are just as serious at an open-air music festival as they are in an indoor nightclub. Volumes of 137 decibels have been recorded near the stages at some music festivals.

At 140 decibels, which is the same as a jet plane taking off at close range, your ears start hurting. The advice is to wear earplugs for music, stand away from the speakers and take regular breaks from the loudest areas. DJs and musicians have been wearing earplugs for years, and many recommend them to fans. These earplugs are designed specifically for clubs and gigs and don’t muffle sound. There are different types of earplugs available, from the affordable and re-usable one-size-fits-all to custom moulds used by musicians and DJs. Most of them work by reducing the noise level that reaches your ear. This means you can still hear the music the way it is, but at a lower volume.

If you hear tingling or buzzing after listening to a set, give your ears a break. You risk more damage if you don’t.

Wear re-usable earplugs, stand well away from the enormous speakers and spend some downtime at the festival’s chill-out area.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie

Whitesnake singer talks about his hearing loss

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Following a recent series of shows in Japan, Whitesnake return to live action this week as they kick off their 2013 UK tour in Belfast.

Making the rounds to promote the trek, singer David Coverdale spoke with the BBC Breakfast team about several things, including his level of hearing loss after more than four decades in rock.

“They’re not bad,” he explains, “they could be a lot worse but I look upon it as a trade-off. I’ve had an incredibly successful journey since joining Deep Purple 40 years ago.”

“There is hearing loss, of course, but we use an in-ear monitor where I can balance the level of the sound,” Coverdale continued. “It’s got to be all-embracing to me, and I work with great musicians, too; they’re not loud to disguise anything..it’s just very powerful stuff.”

In addition to an extensive world tour, Whitesnake will release two live albums this year.

Last month, the band issued “Made In Japan,” a Deluxe 2CD/DVD edition that captures the band in concert at the Loud Park festival on October 15th, 2011 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan during their Forevermore World Tour.

On June 19, Whitesnake will deliver the 2CD set, “Made In Britain/The World Record.” The project includes “Made In Britain,” featuring the best takes of the band’s concerts in Britain in June 2011, and “The World Record,” which contains rare tracks from Whitesnake’s shows in Europe and America on the “Forevermore” tour.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

How to clean your hearing aid

Oticon-hearing-aids2A hearing aid consists of several parts, most of which should be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure they perform at their optimum levels. With a minimal amount of daily care, they should provide you with quality services for years to come. 

Your Hidden Hearing audiologist will give you detailed instructions on how to care specifically for the make and model you’ve purchased, but there are a few general care tips to keep in mind.

  • Before cleaning a hearing aid, a towel should be put down to create a soft surface to clean over, this ensures that if you drop anything the impact will be small.
  • When handling your hearing aid, be sure your hands are clean.
  • For a Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid, the mould should be removed from the hearing aid and placed in lukewarm soapy water to clean, before being dried thoroughly afterwards – ensuring it is clear of water.
  • For In-the-Ear (ITE) models, they should only be cleaned with a gentle wiping of soft tissue and careful brushing with the supplied brush. Wax build up can be removed from the hearing system using a cleaning loop and wax spray remover. For an ITE hearing aid, water and solvent should never be used to clean the device.
  • For both ITE and BTE models, it is important to never use pins or needles to remove wax from the device.
  • Keep your ears clean and free from earwax. This yellow substance can clog the microphone and receiver, blocking the sound to your ear.  Hidden Hearing offers a free ear wax removal service for over 60s so talk to your local branch about making an appointment.
  • Apply any hair products – such as sprays or gels — and face creams before you put your hearing aids in for the day. If you wash your face with a cleanser at night, take your hearing aids out before you do. These materials can clog the microphone and may also be damaging to the plastic material.
  • When your hearing aids are not in use, store in a safe place that’s dry and cool.  Always carry the hearing aids in their case to protect them from damage and dirt. 

At Hidden Hearing, we pride ourselves on providing a level of service which is second to none.  If you have any queries on how to clean your hearing aids talk to a Hidden Hearing audiologist.  Hidden Hearing has 65 branches and clinics nationwide.  Freephone 1800 370 000 or check out www.hiddenhearing.ie.