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Tinnitus, Hearing Loss, and COVID: What We Know So Far

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Connected to Covid?

Recently, you may have seen some concerning headlines about tinnitus and COVID-19. These news stories may seem scary, but in reality, audiologists are still learning about the relationship between tinnitus and COVID-19. In this blog, we’ll explain audiologists’ findings to date about COVID-19 and tinnitus, and explore your treatment options if you recently developed tinnitus.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes the constant sensation of unpleasant buzzing, ringing, or clicking noises in the ears. It isn’t a cause of hearing loss and can’t worsen your hearing loss, but it does often make hearing significantly tougher. Approximately 25 million Americans have this condition. Learn more about tinnitus on I Love Hearing’s website.

What we know about COVID, hearing loss, and tinnitus so far

In early research into the link between tinnitus and COVID-19, stories emerged of some COVID-19 patients experiencing tinnitus and other forms of sudden hearing loss. More recent research has yet to conclusively link COVID-19 to causing or worsening tinnitus, even though COVID-19 affects other senses such as smell and taste.

That said, there are signs of a potential but weak correlation between COVID-19 and tinnitus. An October 2020 case study in the British scientific journal BMJreported the case of a 45-year-old COVID-19 patient who had no significant hearing loss prior to his infection. After surviving severe COVID-19 symptoms that required hospitalization, the patient reported tinnitus and sudden hearing loss.

Additionally, a February 2021 report in the International Journal of Audiologyfound that tinnitus comprised 14.8 percent of auditory complications among COVID-19 patients who reported symptoms that affected their hearing. Prior to this report’s publishing, a November 2020 survey of people with tinnitus in the scientific journal Frontiers in Public Health more broadly addressed potential COVID-19 and tinnitus correlations.

In this survey, researchers asked 3,100 respondents – among whom were both people who have been diagnosed with COVID and those who have not – how the pandemic affected their tinnitus. Out of 3,100 respondents, 237 said they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, and 40 percent of these 237 respondents (around 95 people) noticed worsened tinnitus alongside their symptoms. Notably, the survey’s lead author has said that the survey should not be misread as establishing concrete connections between COVID-19 and tinnitus. That said, some audiologists believe that, since viral inflammation cases can affect the inner ear, tinnitus could indeed follow some COVID-19 cases.

Another theory is that COVID-19 upper respiratory infections can lead to middle ear infections that may result in temporary tinnitus. In fact, one autopsy of a patient who died from COVID-19 found the virus in the patient’s middle ear bones.

Although more conclusive evidence is needed to link these findings to tinnitus, some patients are still reporting this troubling symptom to their doctors and to researchers. Treatments for tinnitus are available no matter the cause.

How is tinnitus treated?

Although tinnitus has no cure, there are therapies that audiologists and hearing aid specialists can deploy to help people with tinnitus go about their daily lives. The tinnitus therapy process typically begins with audiometric testing and a complete review of the patient’s medical history. Audiologists can combine the data from these two sources with their own knowledge to pinpoint likely tinnitus causes and develop a treatment plan.

Tinnitus treatment plans could involve the use of hearing aids. People with tinnitus may find that hearing aids restore part or all of their hearing lost to the unpleasant sounds of tinnitus. They do so by amplifying sounds that enter the ear, whereas maskers emit sounds that disguise the unpleasant sounds of tinnitus without further irritating their users. Maskers are also available to emit a low frequency noise that helps cover up the persistent noises caused by tinnitus.

Outside these two treatments, you can manage your tinnitus by smoking and drinking less. You should also avoid loud noises or use noise-canceling devices when around loud sounds. Sometimes, though, these solutions on their own aren’t enough – and if this sounds like you, then you might want to see an audiologist.

Contact I Love Hearing for tinnitus therapy

Whether your tinnitus is the result of COVID-19 or anything else, we here at I Love Hearing are eager to help. We have four offices in Manhattan and Long Island, and our audiologists and hearing aid experts have decades of experience assisting people with tinnitus.

If we determine that hearing aids will best help with your tinnitus, you can try options from the vast majority of hearing aid brands. With our “try it before you buy it” policy, you can test your hearing aids in real life before putting down even a single penny. And we’re happy to test anyone for hearing loss, including tinnitus, and develop a treatment plan – just contact I Love Hearing today to book an appointment and take the first steps toward restoring your hearing.

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Port Washington Welcomes Its Newest Audiologist: Dr. Sophia Behrmann

Dr. Sophia Behrmann, an experienced audiologist who has been helping Long Islanders with their hearing needs since 2014, recently joined the team at our Port Washington location and we could not be more thrilled to welcome her aboard! Dr. Behrmann comes to us with over 6 years of experience as the lead clinician in a well-established multi office private practice, after receiving her doctorate in Audiology from the Long Island Au.D. Consortium. She has extensive experience working with both diagnostics and expert hearing health care, including specializing in hearing aid fittings. She also specializes in conducting hearing aid workshops to help people get the most of out of their hearing aids. 

We are so thrilled to welcome Dr. Behrmann to our team and can’t wait for you to meet her as well!

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Here Are The Hearing Aid Questions You’re Afraid To Ask

Hearing aids may be an option for you if you’re experiencing hearing loss, but understandably, you may be hesitant to take the plunge. You’re far from alone — at I Love Hearing, we speak with patients every day who have concerns or need guidance. There are a lot of questions about adjusting to life with hearing aids, some of which may seem a little silly or downright ridiculous to ask.

Rest assured, that there are no bad questions when it comes to hearing aids! Here, we’re answering some of the most commonly asked questions about hearing aids that you might be afraid to ask.

Why do I need two hearing aids if I only have hearing loss in one ear?

There’s a simple biological explanation for this: The reason that two hearing aids are always better than one is due to a process called binaural hearing. This process entails the brain processing audio input from both ears simultaneously, because the signals that both ears send to the brain are roughly equal in strength.

If you have hearing loss in your right ear, your binaural hearing balance is thrown off, but if you use a hearing aid in only your right ear to address this imbalance, you can actually make it more difficult for your left ear to hear. That’s because, due to binaural hearing and the amplified volume entering your right ear, the brain will process the sound going into your left ear as quieter than the room’s background noise. Additionally, this imbalance can make it difficult for your brain to pinpoint the exact location from which a sound that enters your left ear originates.

Does my insurance company cover hearing aids?

Although at I Love Hearing, we participate in and accept most insurance plans, it’s possible that your insurance – even Medicare – won’t cover your hearing aids. Some insurance companies view hearing aids as elective technologies rather than medically necessary devices, and others won’t cover hearing aids since too many Americans are at risk for hearing loss for insurance companies to have the incentive to pay for hearing aids.

I bought hearing aids OTC (over the counter). Will they work?

Although it’s possible that OTC hearing aids will work with mild hearing loss, they’re more risky to buy. Due to the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, the FDA is due to roll out proposed guidelines for OTC hearing aids, but even these guidelines will be proposed rather than final. For the time being, OTC hearing aids may not be a trustworthy option.

I bought a Personal Sound Amplification Product (PSAP). Do I really need a hearing aid?

PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) are similar to OTC hearing aids in that the FDA does not permit them to be labeled as devices that can improve hearing.

When you’re looking to decide which device is right for you, the best way to make a fully informed decision is to make an appointment with your licensed hearing aid specialist, who can thoroughly review the differences between PSAPs and hearing aids.

Does it hurt to be fitted for hearing aids?

No, it does not hurt to be fitted for hearing aids. Professionally trained hearing aid specialists such as those you’ll work with at I Love Hearing ensure that your hearing aids fit properly and will not cause itching, discomfort, or sweating around you ears. If you experience any of these issues after your initial fitting, you can always contact us to book a follow-up appointment.

Will my hearing get worse over time?

Since aging is a leading cause of hearing loss, many people assume that their hearing will get worse over time. This is sometimes, but not always, the case. With most cases of the sensorineural hearing loss that underlies most hearing loss, your hearing will degrade over long periods but eventually hit a threshold below which it cannot decrease. Even if your hearing loss stops progressing, chances are that it will have nevertheless gone far enough that hearing aids will prove helpful to you. Either way, consult an audiologist to determine your options.

Will my hearing improve over time?

In most cases, hearing loss is progressive degenerative disease. All sensorineural hearing loss, for example, is irreversible, so your hearing will not improve over time if you have this form of hearing loss. If you have congenital hearing loss or mixed hearing loss, you may sometimes be able to reverse your hearing loss. No matter your type of hearing loss, an audiologist can determine how to address your hearing loss, whether via ear wax removal or hearing aids.

How often do I need to visit a hearing aid specialist?

You should visit your hearing aid specialist regularly just as you would with your physician, dentist, or eye doctor. Often, when you book appointments with these other doctors, you’re not seeking to treat any active symptoms but to prevent future health problems, and you should be just as proactive in caring for your hearing. Since most hearing loss occurs gradually rather than suddenly or acutely, if you don’t regularly visit a hearing aid specialist, you might begin treating your hearing loss – a condition that one in every eight Americans above the age of 12 has – long after you should have started.

I’m scared I’ll feel “old” wearing my hearing aids.

Although it’s fair to feel worried that hearing aids will make you feel “old,” hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age. Chances are that other people might be more likely to call you “old” if you keep asking someone to repeat themselves or turn the volume way, way up on your television. Hearing aids don’t just lessen the frequency of these occurrences – many models are so discreet that other people won’t even notice you’re wearing them. No matter your age, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, then hearing aids may well be the best solution for you – and a hearing aid specialist can help you decide.

Book an appointment with I Love Hearing for all your other hearing aid questions

At I Love Hearing, our audiologists and hearing aid specialists can help you decide whether you’ll benefit from hearing aids. We work closely with you to determine the best hearing aid model for your needs, fit them properly, and educate you on proper care and maintenance.

Our team has decades of hands-on experience with many hearing aid manufacturers, and we make our knowledge base accessible to all our patients. We make reaching us easy with five offices located throughout the New York Metro areas, including four in Nassau County and one in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. At your appointment, we’ll discuss the levels of noise to which you’re regularly exposed, test your hearing, and go over your hearing aid options with you. Contact us to book an appointment, and bring your questions large and small — we’re here to answer them.

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How To Protect Your Hearing At Every Age

How to protect your ears from hearing loss

Although many people associate hearing loss with age, it’s not explicitly an “old person’s” problem. People of all ages can experience hearing loss. In the U.S., 48 million people experience hearing loss to some degree, but not all of those cases are in those aged 70 and older. Approximately 27 million adults experience hearing loss before they approach senior age. In fact, one in eight people over the age of 12 have hearing loss in both ears.

Even though people at any age can be susceptible to hearing loss, many young people don’t schedule annual checkups like they might at the optometrist for their eyes or at the dentist for their oral health. Not regularly checking in on your hearing can be detrimental in the long run: hearing loss is permanent and irreversible, and years or decades of bad hearing care habits can mean you won’t catch an issue early on. Read on to learn why investing in proper hearing care and protection is vital for people of every age.

Why is regular audiology care important for your hearing and health?

Think about all your annual checkups. You go to the doctor once a year for a routine physical, you visit your dentist twice a year to keep your teeth free of cavities and remove buildup that even the best floss can’t dislodge, and even if you don’t need glasses, you probably see your eye doctor occasionally to make sure your vision is fine. It’s just as important to see an audiologist regularly to make sure you’re not experiencing hearing loss – and even if you have no reason to think you have hearing loss, you might be wrong.

Hearing loss is often thought of as a less dramatic change than a toothache or changing vision – many of us simply turn up the volume and move on without thinking twice. That’s all the more reason to check up on your hearing annually: Most hearing loss is far too subtle to notice and instead manifests in long-term, gradual declines that only become obvious over long periods of time. You likely won’t know that your hearing is declining without regular audiology care.

When you visit an audiologist, your healthcare provider will do more than test your hearing levels. You’ll also learn important tips for protecting your hearing, and you’ll learn more about your hearing protection options. Regularly visiting a hearing professional is the best way to maintain your hearing levels within a healthy range.

How does hearing loss happen?

In people of all ages, hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ears. To understand the science behind hearing loss, it’s important to first understand the structure of your ears. The hole we see in the outer ear leads to the ear canal, which leads to the middle ear. There, three small bones called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup work with the eardrum to propel sound toward your inner ear, which transmits these sounds to your brain for processing.

Hearing loss tends to take place in the ear canal and middle ear. The ear canal is lined with hair cells called cilia that are extremely sensitive to loud, high-volume sounds. When high-decibel sound waves pass over cilia, the cells can be destroyed. Unlike most other cells in your body, cilia cannot be replaced naturally. With each hair cell that gets damaged or dies off, your hearing levels decrease.

Many cases of hearing loss proceed gradually as cilia die, but sometimes, this damage comes on suddenly. Exposure to unexpected loud, high-decibel noise, such as fireworks or a clap of thunder, can result in immediate hearing loss. Disease and traumatic brain injury can also cause non-gradual cilia damage. Despite these hard-to-avoid situations and natural factors such as aging causing hearing loss, most hearing loss is mild enough that a hearing professional can help to address it.

Loud sound exposure: What are decibels and how do they impact my hearing?

Decibels, often represented using the abbreviation dB, are the scientific units used to measure sound. Loud sounds will have much higher decibel levels than quiet sounds. Below are some everyday sounds and their decibel levels:

  • Your breathing: 10 dB
  • Whispers: 30 dB
  • Refrigerator hum: 40 dB
  • Normal conversation: 50 to 65 dB
  • Vacuums and hair dryers: 70 dB
  • City traffic and noise: 80 dB

Noise levels of 85 dB or higher are generally considered high-volume enough to cause hearing loss after prolonged or repeated exposure. Some examples include:

  • Lawnmowers: 85-90 dB
  • Trains and subways: 100 dB
  • Live rock music: 110 to 140 dB
  • Thunder: 120 dB
  • Gunfire: 130 dB
  • Fireworks: 145 dB

Are there different types of hearing loss?

There are two types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Some cases that include features of both types are called mixed hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is the more common type of hearing loss, affecting nine out of every 10 people with hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss: causes and symptoms

Sensorineural hearing loss describes the hearing loss that accompanies the death of cilia. It also describes damage to the auditory nerve that transmits the inner ear’s signals to the brain. Its most common causes are aging – sensorineural hearing loss tends to most strongly affect those aged 70 and older – and loud noise. Less commonly, it can be caused by certain diseases, medications, injuries, or cancerous growths in your ears.

People with sensorineural hearing loss may struggle to understand people in conversation. It’s especially prevalent when the conversation involves more than two people. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of sensorineural hearing loss, as can dizziness and challenges hearing high-pitched audio. Many people with sensorineural hearing liken their symptoms to “blurred,” rather than muted, hearing.

Conductive hearing loss: causes and symptoms

Conductive hearing loss involves damage to the outer or middle ear instead of to the cilia or auditory nerve. It tends to involve blockage of the ear rather than damage to bodily tissue, so sometimes, conductive hearing loss is reversible – only a hearing professional will be able to determine this for you. Causes of conductive hearing loss include fluid buildup in the middle ear, ear infections, perforated eardrums, earwax buildup, swimmer’s ear, and many other physical obstacles.

People with conductive hearing loss will often hear significantly better in one ear than the other. Pain and pressure in the ears may also accompany conductive hearing loss, whereas sensorineural hearing loss tends to lack physical symptoms. A bad smell coming from the ears or a different perception of your own voice can also indicate conductive hearing loss.

Who is at risk for hearing loss?

Everyone is at risk for hearing loss, no matter their age or profession. Whether you’re younger or older, living in an urban environment with lots of noise or a quieter suburb or rural area, your ears receive audio input regularly, and even the quietest sounds have minor impacts on your ear that can result in hearing loss over extended periods of time.

Everyday activities such as listening to music in your headphones or on a stereo can expose you to volume of enough decibels to cause hearing loss. Your professional life can also expose you to dangerous sound levels. You may need to consider hearing protection if you work in the following fields or enjoy doing the below activities:

  • Landscaping or farming. Running a lawnmower or tractor for more than just a few seconds is enough to cause hearing loss.
  • Garbage retrieval and disposal. Professional garbage workers are regularly exposed to loud sounds from the in-truck compacted.
  • Airport tarmac work. Jet flyovers and takeoffs are among the loudest sounds.
  • Loud tool usage. Jackhammers and power saws can be even louder than jet flyovers.
  • Concertgoing or casual music listening. Stereos can easily emit sound as loud as 110 to 125 dB of volume, and a loud rock show can easily reach 140 dB.
  • Lighting fireworks, setting off explosions, or firing guns. Fireworks, guns, and explosions may be brief, but their impact on your hearing can be lifelong.

How to protect your hearing

Although hearing loss is often considered a normal part of getting older, you can — and should — protect your hearing while you’re young. You can easily protect your hearing with the following measures:

  • Use earplugs. Wear these devices when exposing yourself to sounds of 85 dB volume or more. A 2016 Dutch study showed that earplugs with noise reduction rates of 18 dB can drastically reduce the occurrence of hearing loss among people attending loud rock shows. Earplugs can be purchased from a drugstore or online, or custom earplugs can be made for you.
  • Use earmuffs. Specialized hearing protection in the form of earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones may be a necessity if you work around or are regularly exposed to loud noises. In fields that require this hearing protection, your supervisor may sometimes provide it from the get-go, sometimes called personal protection equipment (PPE).
  • Don’t blast music in your headphones. When using headphones to listen to music, never increase the volume to more than 60 percent of your device’s maximum volume. If you find yourself in environments so loud that 60 percent just isn’t cutting it, opt for noise-canceling headphones.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your hearing professional. Regularly seeing your audiologist or a hearing professional is the most reliable way to keep track of your hearing and discuss options for protecting your hearing.

Contact I Love Hearing to find the right hearing protection for you

Depending on your work and hobbies, one hearing protection method might work better for you than others. The decision can be tough to navigate without consulting a professional audiologist for help. At I Love Hearing, our audiologists and hearing professionals have decades of experience offering hearing protection solutions to people of all ages and lifestyles.

We operate four locations in Manhattan, Nassau County on Long Island, and the New York metro so that you can get to us from wherever you are. Once you arrive, we’ll consult you about your noise exposure, test your hearing, offer you hearing protection solutions, and even discuss hearing aids to counter hearing loss or tinnitus. Contact us to book an appointment and discuss your options for long-term hearing preservation with our specialists.

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The Widex Moment Offers Unparalleled Audio Quality, Many Styles

Widex Moment

At I Love Hearing, we’re excited to announce that the newest Widex hearing aid model, the Widex Moment, is now available for our patients! The Widex Moment utilizes state of the art technology to deliver audio without lag, so those with mild to severe hearing loss can keep up with conversations, TV shows, and any other sound around them. Read on to learn more about the Widex Moment and determine if this exciting new model is right for you.

What’s new about the Widex Moment?

The brand new Widex Moment delivers a clear, natural, and pure sound that cannot be reproduced on many other hearing aid devices. Since they have dual processors, these hearing aids process sound twice as fast, eliminating the lag that some hearing aid wearers experience. This technology, called PureSound, has been tested and proven to deliver sound at realistic signal to noise ratios (SNRs).

“Some older hearing aids have a delay in speech because they can’t quickly process and deliver sound to the auditory cortex, and this delay greatly impacts those with severe hearing loss,” said Jessica Gibson, clinical specialist at I Love Hearing. “Typically, a hearing aid creates an artificial sound, but because of the dual processing in the new hearing aid, you can now hear every moment like you used to.”

Along with dual processing, the Widex Moment uses artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize your hearing experience, thus making your hearing perfect for each and every moment. With this AI-powered personalization, your hearing aids can also automatically adjust your hearing levels in real-time so you don’t have to worry about fixing them. Widex Moment hearing aids seamlessly match themselves to all aspects of your daily life.

You might think that AI in hearing aids sounds futuristic, but it’s not even the only one-of-a-kind thing about these hearing aids! Thanks to remote hearing aid adjustments, these hearing aids can get whatever alterations needed without ever needing to go into a repair center or store. Whether you’re staying inside more due to COVID-19, can’t make it out due to bad weather, or simply have a hectic schedule that makes keeping appointments difficult, you can skip out on the in-person adjustments without missing a beat — or note.

Other features of the new Widex Moment include:

  • Various models: Regardless of the design that best fits your needs and lifestyle, there’s a Widex Moment model for you – in fact, you can choose from six different models to best satisfy your needs. Use whichever hearing aid type supports your preferences, whether that’s a completely-in-canal (CIC) aid, a receiver-in-canal (RIC) model, or an in-the-ear (ITE) style. “The Widex Moment is fully adaptable to the hearing aid wearer’s lifestyle,” said Gibson. “You may want a specific color, style, or fit, and the Widex Moment has lots of options to choose from.”

  • Water-resistant: The Widex Moment’s smart engineering and durable microphones make it long-lasting. Its advanced, water-resistant nano-coating protects it from moisture and gives you peace of mind whether you’re wearing your hearing aids rain or shine.

  • Rechargeable: The convenience of the Widex Moment’s slim wireless charger is a great feature as well. You won’t have to struggle with changing batteries or plugging in any cables – just place them on the portable charger when it’s time to recharge.

Widex Moment specifications

Below is some additional information about the Widex Moment to help you decide which model is best for you:

  • Available models: Multiple, including CIC, RIC, and ITE
  • Processor types: Dual core
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Rechargeable: Yes, with non-rechargeable options available
  • Battery length: 35-165 hours depending on model
  • Water-resistant: Yes
  • Remote adjustments: Yes
  • Hearing loss type: Mild to severe, except the mRIC 312 D and the REC 213 D, which are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss

Is the Widex Moment right for you?

No two individuals are the same when it comes to hearing loss. The best way to find out if the Widex Moment (or any other hearing aid) is right for you is to try them out. That’s why I Love Hearing offers free trials: spend two weeks with the Widex Moment and determine for sure if its functionality, look, and fit are right for your lifestyle. If you love the Widex Moment — great! We’ll send you home with them in hand. If they aren’t the best option for you, your hearing aid specialist will help you find a different model. Contact I Love Hearing now to speak with a specialist, make an appointment, and start your journey to better hearing!

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How to connect Your iPhone To Your Hearing Aids

Talking on the phone or video chatting is a core part of everyday life, from conference calls to Zoom reunions. However, for those with hearing loss a phone call can bring undue stress and anxiety.

To help make the seamless transition from hearing devices to mobile device, Apple products, including the popular iPhone, have built in features that make this an easy process. If you are hoping to face fewer challenges while talking on the phone with your hearing aid in place, you can easily connect your hearing devices to iPhone devices using Bluetooth connectivity. By doing so, calls and video chats will transform from struggles into hassle-free experiences – and that is not all.  Direct connectivity can also help you better hear music, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks by streaming them directly into your hearing devices.

At I Love Hearing, we are happy to assist you with this process – simply give us a call or click on over to make an appointment and we will take it from there.

If you prefer to try it yourself, here are some tips to help you navigate the process.

1.    Confirm that your hearing aids are compatible with iPhone

Before you pair your hearing aids with your iPhone, first check to make sure if the two devices are compatible. For successful pairing, you must have an iPhone 5 or later and check to see if Apple supports your hearing aids. If you’re still unsure after checking this list, contact I Love Hearing and ask about your specific hearing aid and iPhone models.

2.    Make sure Bluetooth is turned on

To connect your hearing aids to your iPhone Bluetooth needs to be on. You can check whether your Bluetooth is on in your iPhone settings, where you can toggle the Bluetooth switch to the “on” position if it is not already set.

3.    Put your hearing aids into Pairing Mode

Your hearing aids can only connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth when you put them into pairing mode.

For battery operated hearing devices, simply open the battery doors and place your hearing devices next to your iphone.

For rechargeable hearing devices- put them in the off position or place them in their charging dock until you are ready to start the pairing process.

4.    Begin the pairing process

Now that you’ve prepared your hearing aid and your iPhone to connect to each other, it’s time to start the pairing process. Complete the below steps to begin using your hearing aids as an extension of your iPhone:

  • On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  • Next, click on Accessibility.
  • Scroll down until you see Hearing Devices and click on that option.
  • On the next screen you will see MFI Hearing Devices on the top and a searching wheel will be spinning while your phone looks for your hearing devices.
  • Now it is time to turn your hearing devices on by either closing the battery doors (which turns them on) or removing the devices from the charging dock.
  • Wait for you devices to appear with both R & L symbols-although at this point it will say not connected.
  • Click on your named devices and another screen will appear which will have two windows pop up on the screen, tap “Pair.” Note that two hearing devices will require you to tap the word “Pair” twice.
  • Allow up to 1 minute for the pairing process to finish. When done, a checkmark will appear next to the device name.

5.    Adjust the settings as needed

Congratulations – you have successfully paired your hearing devices to your iPhone! Now you can personalize some settings based on your preferences in your Accessibility window.  Below is a list of settings you can adjust:

  • Volume adjustments independent or simultaneous.
  • Ringtones played through your hearing device.
  • Audio routing (your choice of default audio playback device).
  • Audio handoff between Apple devices (seamless switching from iPhone to iPad).
  • Customize preset volume levels (also possible via lock screen or Control Center).

If you need more help with your hearing device settings or just prefer to come in for assistance with pairing your hearing devices, I Love Hearing is just a call or a click away.

You’ll always feel connected to others with I Love Hearing   

Whether you are unsure about the compatibility of your hearing devices and your iPhone or need more help successfully pairing your devices, I Love Hearing is here to assist you. Our leadership team has in-depth experience working hands-on with almost all hearing devices, so we can address all your questions and concerns. We want you to feel comfortable and confident when using your hearing devices – and we have the knowledge to make it happen.

At I Love Hearing, we will also practice a phone call with you before you walk out the door with your hearing devices.  We can teach you some of the best at-home maintenance and cleaning practices.

Properly caring for, using, and Bluetooth-connecting your hearing devices can be challenging, you can visit our Hearing Aids FAQ page if you still have questions. Better yet, contact I Love Hearing to speak with a specialist, book an appointment, and start your jour journey to better hearing!

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Hearing aids for tinnitus: Do they help or hurt?

Tinnitus is a common complaint among people who visit audiologists: nearly 50 million Americans — or up to 20 percent of the population — have some form of the condition. For some tinnitus cases, an audiologist may recommend hearing aids, but some people might balk at this potential solution. Hearing aids are often associated with someone who lost their hearing due to old age, and those with tinnitus may be reluctant to give them a shot. How do these devices so strongly associated with hearing loss help tinnitus?

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom, rather than a cause, of an underlying condition that impacts the ears. These symptoms include incessant ringing, clicking, buzzing, or other harsh perceived sounds in your ear. These sounds may come and go, or they may be a permanent part of your everyday hearing. No matter how frequent or infrequent they are, these distracting sounds make hearing considerably more challenging.

What causes tinnitus?

Although tinnitus doesn’t cause or exaggerate hearing loss, it can certainly be a symptom of hearing loss. Instead, exposure to loud or harsh noise, whether as an occupational hazard or via frequent attendance of high-volume concerts and events, is one of the leading causes of tinnitus.

Other conditions not related to hearing loss may cause tinnitus. These conditions include:

  • An ear blockage due to infection, wax, or tumor
  • Cochlear degeneration due to aging
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Jaw and neck issues
  • Circulatory issues
  • A head or neck injury

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

There is no currently known cure for tinnitus. Instead, hearing professionals recommend tinnitus therapy which can help manage the condition. These therapies are focused on managing the perceived sounds in your ears, helping you minimize the effects of tinnitus on your hearing and overall well-being.

What are the common forms of tinnitus therapy?

The two most common forms of tinnitus therapy are hearing aids and maskers. According to a survey of audiologists and other hearing loss specialists, 60 percent of tinnitus patients said that their hearing aids help them experience at least some relief, and another 22 percent of respondents said that their hearing aids help them experience significant relief. Other people with tinnitus prefer maskers since they emit sounds that disguise ringing, clicking, and buzzing instead of amplifying sound like hearing aids do.

Masking is one of four common sound therapies that can help address tinnitus. Masking introduces the ear to white noise of a louder volume than tinnitus ringing, and in doing so, masking distracts the ear from processing tinnitus sounds while not altering the rest of what the ear hears. Distraction, unlike masking, depends on directing the ear toward an external sound such as white noise that can help the brain to reorient its focus away from tinnitus sounds.

Another sound therapy known as habituation trains the brain to reclassify tinnitus sounds as too unimportant to register and can sometimes be achieved with notched-music and modified sound devices. The fourth common sound therapy, called neuromodulation, targets neural hyperactivity that might be the anatomical cause of tinnitus by emitting specialized sounds that minimize this phenomenon. Many combination devices are available that use more than one of these sound therapy methods to address tinnitus.

Hearing aids vs. maskers

Although hearing aids and maskers are the two most common forms of tinnitus therapy, they use completely different approaches to address tinnitus. To understand the difference between these devices, it may be helpful to know that maskers cannot address the hearing loss that often underlies tinnitus, whereas hearing aids can.

A masker works by emitting sounds that cover up annoying tinnitus sounds such as ringing, clicking, and buzzing. These sounds, which are often white noise, can at once provide a background into which tinnitus sounds blend and cover tinnitus sounds without muffling the rest of your hearing. In no way do maskers amplify noise that enters the ear.

Hearing aids, on the other hand, are primarily designed to amplify noise that enters the ear. In doing so, hearing aids may make up for the sounds that you can’t hear over your tinnitus. An audiologist is best qualified to determine whether hearing aids or maskers are the better devices for combating your tinnitus.

How can hearing aids help tinnitus?

Hearing aids can help tinnitus patients find relief by amplifying the volume of sound that enters the ear so strongly that the brain struggles to perceive the ringing, clicking, and buzzing sounds caused by tinnitus. To explain this concept more clearly, many hearing aid specialists compare tinnitus to a cricket chirping and a tinnitus patient wearing hearing aids to a waterfall, because against the sounds of the latter, you won’t hear the former. For some newer hearing aid models, the waterfall analogy is literal: some smartphone-compatible hearing aids will mask tinnitus with white noise and other sounds played from the connected device.

Hearing aid wearers additionally tend to experience lessened tinnitus symptoms due to hearing aids amplifying sounds aimed directly at them, such as conversational remarks. With hearing aids, your brain will prioritize processing the sounds aimed directly at you instead of your tinnitus sounds, helping to mitigate your symptoms.

Pros and cons of hearing aids for tinnitus

As with any health-based decision, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining whether you should buy hearing aids to address your tinnitus. Consider the following pros and cons of hearing aids for tinnitus as you make your choice, in addition to following the advice provided by a hearing professional.

Pros of hearing aids for tinnitus

  • Minimize annoying sounds. When you use hearing aids to address your tinnitus, you may experience fewer – or, sometimes, none – of the annoying ringing, clicking, and buzzing sounds you associate with tinnitus.
  • Non-invasive. You don’t need invasive procedures or bulky, unwieldy items to combat your tinnitus. Hearing aids are compact and often lie out of sight in or behind your ear. Fitting a hearing aid to your ear is a hassle-free experience that any qualified hearing aid specialist can offer you.

Cons of hearing aids for tinnitus

  • Price. Hearing aids, like any piece of cutting edge technology can have a significant price spread and are not always covered by insurance. Although you can find some hearing aids that run under $1,000 for a pair, some hearing aids can cost over $3,000 each. This is why it is crucial to consult with a trained audiology professional before making your choice.

  • Relief isn’t guaranteed. Out of the approximately 50 million cases of tinnitus in the U.S., 20 million of them are chronic, and about 2 million of them are debilitating. Sometimes, these difficult cases cannot be addressed with hearing aids. This is another reason why working with a professional is critical, and self-care can be costly.

Can I keep my tinnitus from getting worse?

Tinnitus therapy is only one part of managing your tinnitus. You also need to take extra care to not worsen your tinnitus. You can avoid exacerbating your tinnitus by steering clear of loud settings and forgoing alcohol and smoking. If your work requires you to be around loud noise, use earplugs, earmuffs, noise-canceling headphones, or other hearing protection devices to shield your ears.

You can also address your tinnitus by being upfront about it with people. If you’re struggling to hear someone over your tinnitus because the person isn’t facing you directly, kindly ask them to do so. You can also ask people to speak more loudly and clearly.

Hearing aids for tinnitus: Am I a candidate?

You might be a candidate for hearing aids for tinnitus if the volume of the clicking, ringing, and buzzing decisions in your ear is preventing you from focusing during conversations with others or completing your usual everyday tasks. That said, merely having tinnitus doesn’t mean that your case requires hearing aids to address – only audiologists have the level of knowledge about all things hearing that will allow you to decide. You may benefit from a different type of sound therapy or from a masker, depending on your specific case of tinnitus.

At I Love Hearing, our hearing professionals and audiologists have decades of experience working in tinnitus therapy using both hearing aids and maskers. We make visiting us easy – we operate multiple offices in Manhattan, Nassau County, and the greater New York metro so that you don’t have to travel far out of your way to get vital help addressing your tinnitus.

If you do want to try hearing aids to help combat tinnitus, I Love Hearing uniquely offers nearly every major hearing aid brand offered on the market in the U.S. This means you can choose from a massive array of models, designs, and features.

We know that any decisions you make toward combating your hearing loss can be deeply personal and challenging. At I Love Hearing, we believe in educating our patients so they fully understand their options, so they feel empowered to choose the best solution for them. Contact us today to book an appointment to discuss managing tinnitus symptoms with one of our specialists.

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Six Tips for Using Hearing Aids For Family Zoom Gatherings

This year, Thanksgiving and the winter holidays will be like none before. With the COVID-19 pandemic still a prominent part of everyday American life, many holiday celebrations will take place not in person as usual, but over videoconference. While this can be sad for the average person, it can be actively challenging for people with hearing loss.

For starters, device speakers usually distort sound and speech, making videoconferencing conversations harder to follow for people with hearing loss. Then there are the inevitable audio and video transmission lags – needless to say, a safe family gathering can come at the cost of accessibility. However, if you have hearing loss, you can more easily enjoy your holiday videoconference celebrations by following the below six tips.

1. Ask videoconference participants to speak differently

Since videoconference sessions can make it difficult to properly hear and follow conversations, ask your friends and family to speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and introduce the topic to be discussed before the conversation begins. For example, if your cousin is telling you about their new baby, have them slowly and clearly say, “I’m telling everyone about my baby now” before actually doing so. With this background information and slow, clear speech, you’ll have an easier time deciphering words and filling in blanks.

2. Sit near your WiFi router

Audiovisual disruptions that make it harder to understand videoconferencing conversations, such as lagging video or audio, may occur less frequently if you sit near your WiFi router. The closer you are to your router, the more stable your device’s connection to your video call. This stability means fewer instances of slowed, distorted speech, plus clearer visuals for easier lip reading.

3. Louder isn’t always better

If you’re struggling to hear the people speaking on your videoconference, you might be tempted to raise your device’s volume. This is often a mistake. Increasing the volume can further distort speech, so instead of loud, clear audio, you might get loud, distorted audio – and that will only prove worse for your hearing.

4. Use your hearing aid’s Bluetooth connectivity

If your hearing aid has Bluetooth® capabilities, you can connect it directly to smartphones, laptops, and other devices. With this connection, you’ll have your videoconference’s audio transmitted directly into your ear, increasing the chances that you’ll hear everything clearly. And it’s not just about your hearing aid: Your video device likely includes accessibility features that can help improve your comprehension as well.

5. If you don’t have Bluetooth, optimize your location

Not all hearing aids are equipped with Bluetooth. If that’s the case for your hearing aids, choosing an appropriate room for your call – and a proper location within that room – can make hearing easier. Choose a quiet room lacking background noise like a TV or a fan, and make space for yourself in a corner to improve your acoustics. Since walls and ceilings guide sound waves to corners, you may hear better seated in your room’s corner than in its center or along an edge.

6. Prepare your hearing aids and software

Both your videoconferencing device and, if Bluetooth-equipped, your hearing aid may need software updates. Check whether this is the case a few days before your call, and update your devices as needed. You can seek assistance from a professional if you have questions.

You can also get professional assistance with another two important pre-videoconferencing tasks for your hearing aids: cleaning and adjusting. Check whether your hearing aids are in warranty, and then contact your audiologist or hearing aid specialist – such as us here at I Love Hearing – to book an appointment.

Prepare for your holiday videoconferences with I Love Hearing

Even if your hearing aids are NOT in warranty, you can make an appointment with I Love Hearing to update your device software and clean and adjust your hearing aids – and that’s not all. We can also set your hearing aids to better equip you to understand speech impeded by a mask, and we’re offering risk-free take home trials on new hearing aids as well.

If you’re interested in starting your trial before your holiday videoconferences, visit I Love Hearing for an initial appointment, fitting, and tuning. Try your new hearing aids in different situations, and then, after your trial run, return to our offices to tell us how your trial went and make additional adjustments. Book your appointment now at the I Love Hearing location most convenient for you – whether East Meadow, New Hyde Park, Port Washington, or Manhattan’s Upper East Side – to ensure a crystal-clear, memorable holiday season.

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Things you should never do when cleaning your hearing aids

Cleaning hearing aids

A brush and a wax pick can help to clean your hearing aids, but these items aren’t household staples that you’ll readily have on hand. It might be tempting to forgo your specialized hearing aid cleaning tools in favor of cotton swabs, pen caps, and other similarly-slender objects, but doing so is ill-advised.

Since moisture can damage many hearing aids, be sure to never use rubbing alcohol or any other cleaning solutions unless instructed to do so by your hearing aid specialist. Even liquids that specify hearing aid compatibility are not necessary and should be avoided, as you can easily clear your hearing aid with the help of solid objects such as your wax pick and brush. Some hearing aids, CAN tolerate water, but it’s always best to confirm with a professional before doing so.

When gently wiping your hearing aids free of any blockage, only use a cleaning cloth designated for hearing aids, or a tissue with no additives such as lotions or aloe. You should also take care to avoid wiping debris and blockage into your hearing aids’ microphone parts from another region of the hearing aids.

How to care for your hearing aids after you clean them

Cleaning your hearing aids is vital for making sure that you hear well, but it’s only effective if you care for your hearing aids after you clean them (and before, too). Your primary concern should be avoiding moisture contact, so remember to remove your hearing aids before you shower or wash your face. You should also remove them when using hair and skin sprays and gels that could potentially come in contact with your ears.

Moisture avoidance doesn’t necessarily end with preventing direct water contact. If you live in a humid environment, sweat often, or walk through a rainstorm without an umbrella or a hat, your hearing aids can easily be exposed to excess moisture. Hearing aid dehumidifiers such as desiccant jars and dry & store units can help you continue to care for your hearing aids after you clean them.

You should also store your hearing aids properly when not in use. Keep them out of reach of children or pets when airing them out overnight after cleaning, as the batteries can be poisonous if swallowed.

When leaving hearing aids unused overnight, remove the batteries and keep the battery compartment open overnight to dry. If your hearing aid uses rechargeable batteries, follow your manufacturer’s instructions for docking and recharging.

We hope you enjoyed reading this series on properly cleaning your hearing aids. If you missed any of the previous posts, you can find them here:

How Do You Clean Hearing Aids?

Step By Step Instructions For Cleaning Hearing Aids

How To Clean Popular Hearing Aid Brands

Learn more about hearing aid care with I Love Hearing

Cleaning your hearing aids is only a small part of ensuring that your devices are working properly and will last for years. At I Love Hearing, our leadership team has in-depth experience working hands-on with all major hearing aid brands, so we can advise you on cleaning and maintenance best practices.

Unlike many hearing aid providers that only sell and repair one brand, we carry and repair nearly every hearing aid brand available in the U.S., and particularly in New York City and Long Island. We offer hearing aid fitting, hearing aid repair, ear wax management, and other services that can help you to keep your hearing aids working like they’re brand new year after year. Our team of licensed audiologists and hearing aid specialists operates from offices located throughout the greater New York metro area: in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and throughout Long Island, including Port Washington, New Hyde Park, East Meadow, and Great Neck.

If you have more questions about hearing aid fitting or hearing aid repair, visit the I Love Hearing FAQ page about hearing aids. And if you still have questions, we’d love to help you:  Contact us to book an appointment and start your hearing aid journey.

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How to clean popular hearing aid brands

Chart of popular hearing aid brands

Each hearing aid model and brand differs. Instructions for cleaning may change from brand to brand. Always consult the owner’s manual of your particular style, brand, and model before cleaning. Below are the recommended hearing aid cleaning instructions from several popular hearing aid brands.

Oticon

Oticon advises that you clean its hearing aids daily using a soft, dry cloth. Be sure your hands are dry before cleaning. Oticon advises against using water or other substances to clean its hearing aids. Additionally, Oticon suggests clearing its hearing aids above a soft surface such as a towel so damage is avoided if you accidentally drop your hearing aids while cleaning. Oticon recommends that its customers clean their hearing aids using a multi-tool.

Starkey

Whereas many hearing loss professionals recommend nighttime cleaning and overnight airing, Starkey suggests cleaning your hearing aids every morning. Starkey advises morning cleanings using a cleaning cloth because earwax dries overnight and can thus be easier to remove in the morning. Starkey also stresses that hearing aid users should take care not to wipe microphone port debris into other openings and vice versa.

Many Starkey hearing aids include a thin tube or earmold. In this case, Starkey says that users should use the cleaning tool provided for these parts regularly so that wax buildup is minimized.

Widex

Widex hearing aids come with a tool that assists with cleaning the sound outlet, vent, and microphone opening. This tool should be used in combination with a soft, dry cloth to clean your hearing aids. Like Starkey, Widex suggests leaving earwax to dry overnight so that you can remove it more easily with your brush.

For ITE hearing aids (Widex uses the abbreviation CIC or “Completely In Canal”) that have a vent tube, Widex offers detailed cleaning instructions. Widex hearing aid users should remove the battery and insert a specialized ball-tip tool into the vent to remove wax buildup from the opening.

Phonak

Phonak emphasizes washing and drying your hands before you clean your hearing aids so that you don’t introduce any moisture or debris. If your hearing aids do come into contact with moisture, Phonak recommends drying them immediately with a soft, dry cloth.

Phonak recommends checking your hearing aids daily for earwax deposits and clear them using the appropriate brush. If you notice a consistent decrease in volume, your earwax filter may be blocked, and though you can replace this filter yourself, it is recommended that you visit a hearing aid specialist such as I Love Hearing for professional assistance and repair.

For its BTE hearing aids, Phonak recommends that users separate the earpiece from the hearing aid prior to cleaning. Only the earpiece can come in contact with water, and this tube should be dried using only an air puffer that your hearing loss professional gives you.

In the last post in this series, we’ll talk about what you should NEVER do when cleaning your hearing aids.

Learn more about hearing aid care with I Love Hearing

Cleaning your hearing aids is only a small part of ensuring that your devices are working properly and will last for years. At I Love Hearing, our leadership team has in-depth experience working hands-on with all major hearing aid brands, so we can advise you on cleaning and maintenance best practices.

Unlike many hearing aid providers that only sell and repair one brand, we carry and repair nearly every hearing aid brand available in the U.S., and particularly in New York City and Long Island. We offer hearing aid fitting, hearing aid repair, ear wax management, and other services that can help you to keep your hearing aids working like they’re brand new year after year. Our team of licensed audiologists and hearing aid specialists operates from offices located throughout the greater New York metro area: in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and throughout Long Island, including Port Washington, New Hyde Park, East Meadow, and Great Neck.

If you have more questions about hearing aid fitting or hearing aid repair, visit the I Love Hearing FAQ page about hearing aids. And if you still have questions, we’d love to help you:  Contact us to book an appointment and start your hearing aid journey.