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How To Fit a Hearing Aid

If a hearing professional has diagnosed you with hearing loss, selecting a hearing aid is just the first step in your journey. You’ll also need to schedule an appointment for a hearing aid fitting to make sure your devices work as needed and sit comfortably on your ears. Without a proper fitting, you’re more likely to give up on your devices before you have a chance to adjust to them. If you’re wondering what your hearing aid fitting appointment will entail, keep reading to learn all about how hearing aid fitting appointments work.

How hearing aid fitting appointments work

The hearing aid fitting process typically follows the below steps:

1. Reach out to an audiologist.

Experts generally recommend that you contact an audiologist if:

  • You’re experiencing challenges hearing in some or all environments. Although hearing loss is often seen as an inability to hear all but loud sounds, the signs of a hearing problem are far more everyday and mundane. For example, if you hear well most of the time but struggle to discern conversation in crowded spaces, you could have hearing loss.
  • You hear ringing in your ears. This phenomenon is known as tinnitus, and although it isn’t a cause of hearing loss, you can wear hearing aids to address this condition.

After you bring these concerns to an audiologist, they should conduct a hearing test. These tests determine whether permanent or temporary ear damage or blockages are behind your hearing loss. If permanent, irreversible hearing loss is detected, a more thorough hearing care plan involving a hearing aid fitting appointment will be necessary.

2. Choosing the appropriate hearing aid.

Before a hearing aid specialist adjusts your devices, you’ll need to know which types of hearing aid might be best for you. A hearing aid specialist at your audiologist’s office should counsel you on which type might be best for your needs. The key factors to consider include the type of help your hearing needs and the device’s visibility while wearing them.

The three primary hearing aid types include:

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE). BTE hearing aid receivers fit snugly out of sight behind your ears. They run a virtually invisible thin tube attached to a receiver that sits like an earbud into your ear canal, so they’re ideal for hearing aid users with small ear canals.
  • In-the-ear (ITE). ITE hearing aids are even more invisible than BTE devices since no part of this device sits outside your ears. The ITE hearing family comprises three types of ITE hearing aids that each have their own distinct properties.
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC). Like BTE hearing aids, RIC devices fit their housing snugly behind your ear. RIC hearing aids, though, have smaller housings and may thus be more comfortable. Additionally, their receivers float above your ear canal instead of lying directly inside it.

3. Physically fitting your hearing aid.

After you choose and obtain your devices, your hearing aid specialist will adjust your device’s positioning on your ears. This step may involve your specialist asking you many questions to determine whether your devices are comfortable and properly fitted.

Your hearing aid specialist may ask you a lot of questions during this adjustment, but they are important to answer as thoroughly and as honestly as you can. Answering these questions now can help you avoid pain and discomfort later.

4. Adjusting your hearing aid’s settings.

In the device choice stage, you and your hearing care team likely discussed factors such as the environments and situations in which you most frequently find yourself. These questions should emerge again during your hearing aid fitting. That’s because no hearing aid comes perfectly adjusted for these environments out of the box. Instead, your hearing aid specialist will need to adjust your device’s settings to best suit these situations.

5. Testing your newly fitted hearing aids.

You should never leave a hearing aid fitting appointment without having your new fit thoroughly tested. This step is especially important, as even the most theoretically perfect settings can falter somewhat in execution.

Testing your hearing aid should involve a procedure called real ear measures. Through this procedure, your hearing aid specialist can determine the exact extent to which sounds in your ear canal are amplified. With this testing, you can minimize the chances of an improper fit once you leave the office.

6. Learning how to clean your hearing aids.

You’ll presumably use your hearing aids every day, and with more use comes dirt, dust, and earwax buildup. The thing is, improperly cleaning your hearing aids can undo all the hard work your hearing care team has put into properly fitting your devices. That’s why learning how to clean your hearing aids is a standard part of every hearing aid fitting appointment. Learn more about hearing aid care via the I Love Hearing hearing aids FAQ page.

7. Learning all your hearing aid’s features.

Hearing aids are advanced devices with many features — they are not a “set and forget” thing. Accidentally activating or deactivating a feature can mess with the overall settings and make your devices harder to use. To combat this challenge, your hearing aid specialists will teach you about all your device’s features so you know what’s being utilized and how to fix it in the event of an accidental change.

8. Scheduling a follow-up appointment.

Adjusting to hearing aids is rarely a challenge-free process. That’s why your hearing care team will schedule a follow-up appointment for you even if they’re fully confident in your hearing aid’s fit. You can also move up your appointment if you experience pain, itching, or discomfort. And if you choose I Love Hearing for your hearing care, you can travel to any one of our four locations for your fit – and this convenience is paramount if you urgently need changes.

Choose I Love Hearing for an ideal hearing aid fit

Here at I Love Hearing, our audiologists and hearing aid specialists bring decades of experience to hearing aid users throughout New York and Long Island. Not only do we have four offices in the area, but we always let you try your hearing aids in the real world before you spend any money on them. And during our fitting process, we map your speech live so you can see your devices’ effect on your hearing in real-time. We also make booking your testing, fitting, and follow-up appointments super easy. Just contact us now to get started!

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Are Hearing Loss and Vision Loss Related?

Take a second to imagine your grandparents or some of your oldest relatives. You’re probably filled with love at the thought of seeing them and interacting with them, but the challenges of speaking with them may also come to mind. Namely, our oldest family members often can’t hear or see as well as we can.

In fact, many older people experience both hearing and vision loss. This concurrence has led some scientists to investigate whether these two types of sensory loss are related. Certain syndromes can indeed cause this simultaneous sensory loss, and both hearing and vision loss can have similar consequences. Learn more with the below guide to how hearing and vision loss do and don’t overlap.

How are vision loss and hearing loss similar?

Hearing loss and vision loss are similar in that roughly one in every five adults age 75 or older experiences both. Hearing loss and vision loss may also lead to two similar types of life changes if you’re experiencing them:

  1. Decreased ability to socialize. Seeing and hearing difficulties are known to make those experiencing them less social, as conversations are challenging if you can’t hear what’s being said or perceive body language. Additionally, vision loss can be especially devastating if you have hearing loss and rely on lip-reading. Without full vision, you may struggle to accurately read lips and understand conversations.
  2. Increased risk of dementia. The lack of brain stimulation that accompanies withdrawal from social life is also a risk factor for dementia. This correlation makes both hearing loss and vision loss potential dementia causes. It could also mean that hearing and vision loss can lead to other types of cognitive decline. However, research points more strongly to hearing than vision as related to cognitive decline.

Hearing loss and vision loss have similar consequences. But are they related?

Although hearing loss and vision loss can have a similar impact on your life or the life of your loved one, there’s no scientific evidence suggesting that one can cause the other. However, certain genetic conditions can cause deaf-blindness. The vision loss associated with these conditions does not cause the hearing loss associated with them or vice versa.

Which genetic conditions cause combined hearing and vision loss?

The genetic condition that most commonly causes simultaneous hearing and vision loss is Usher syndrome. This condition causes roughly half of all genetic deaf-blindless cases. It usually manifests as moderate to profound hearing loss at birth (it does not typically develop in adulthood). Its initial visual symptoms include night blindness and, over time, the loss of peripheral vision. Eventually, only central vision will remain, resulting in a narrow field of sight.

Fortunately, Usher syndrome isn’t common. Experts estimate its prevalence as at most 17 in every 100,000 people, or 0.017 percent of the population. Other deaf-blindness genetic disorders, all of which are less prevalent than Usher syndrome, include congenital rubella syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, retinopathy of prematurity, and Norrie disease.

How to address hearing loss and vision loss

Ophthalmologists are best qualified to address vision loss, whereas audiologists like us at I Love Hearing are your go-to for hearing loss. We always recommend that, if you’re concerned about hearing loss, you contact one of our audiologists for a hearing test. You won’t experience any pain, as hearing tests are non-invasive, fast, and straightforward. You’ll simply listen to sounds and speech, then respond accordingly.

If we detect hearing loss, we’ll recommend that you get professionally-fitted hearing aids, as they’re the best way to bridge the gap that hearing loss leaves behind. Plus, at I Love Hearing, we’re not just a team of audiologists happy to test your hearing no matter your age. We’re home to hearing aid specialists who have decades of experience finding exactly the right hearing aids for anyone’s needs.

Here at I Love Hearing, we’re experts in building and sticking to a thorough treatment plan no matter the extent of your hearing loss. We’ll also test and fit your hearing aids so your hearing is restored from the get-go. Plus, if you bring someone with you to your appointment, we’ll offer a free hearing test for that person too!

Contact the New York audiologists at I Love Hearing to schedule a hearing exam and keep your ears sharp no matter your age. In our hands, your hearing loss will have minimal impact on your life – and with your hearing restored, you can move onto addressing your vision loss too.

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How Are Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline Related?

Cognitive decline, which includes memory loss, dementia, and other types of impaired brain functioning, impacts millions of adults in the U.S. each year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 9 adults in the U.S. self-report subjective cognitive decline. That’s when someone notices confusion or memory loss in themselves. That doesn’t include the caregivers and loved ones who notice cognitive decline among their friends and family members.

Hearing loss, which one in every eight people experiences, can accelerate or worsen cognitive decline. To be clear, hearing loss doesn’t trigger cognitive decline – it’s only accurate to say that a correlation exists between the two. This correlation may be strong enough that protecting your hearing now can also help maintain your brain functioning later in life. Here’s everything you should know about hearing loss, cognitive decline, and preventing both.

How can hearing loss accelerate cognitive decline?

A wide body of scientific research has shown that those with hearing loss are more likely to experience cognitive decline than those with unaltered hearing. Additionally, people who either don’t know they have hearing loss or neglect to treat it complain of memory loss more frequently than do people with full hearing.

The below four scientific studies shine an especially strong light on the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline:

  • A 2013 study reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine examined the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline in a sample of 2,000 seniors. The study concluded that seniors with hearing loss experienced faster rates of cognitive decline than those with full hearing.
  • A 2019 study reported in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, which is the official scientific journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, surveyed 10,000 men aged 62 and older over eight years. Among these men, the likelihood of complaints about memory function increased as hearing loss accelerated.
  • A similar six-year study that Johns Hopkins University reported in 2013 reported similar findings. Among 1,984 men and women between the ages of 75 and 84, cognition in those with hearing loss declined 30 to 40 percent more than those with no hearing loss. Participants with hearing loss experienced substantial cognitive decline 3.2 years sooner than other participants.
  • A 2014 Otology & Neurotology study found that, among a group of 4,500 seniors without dementia, 16.3 percent of participants with hearing loss developed dementia within a decade. On the other hand, 12.1 percent of participants with full hearing developed hearing loss within 12 years.

How to protect your hearing and delay cognitive decline

Some amount of cognitive decline is inevitable as we age. However, protecting your hearing can forestall your cognitive decline or lessen its pace. Some easy ways to protect your hearing now and prevent hearing loss tomorrow include:

  • Using protective devices. In more common loud sound situations such as concerts or parties, earplugs should do the trick. If you regularly work with power tools or other loud objects, earmuffs designed for hearing protection may be necessary. You can also replace your current tools with those from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Buy Quiet list.
  • Keep the volume down. When you expose yourself to quieter but still audible sounds, you minimize damage to the hair cells in your ears. Over the long term, the result is less hearing loss. To achieve this goal, keep your TV’s volume as low as possible while watching shows or movies. Same goes for listening to music, especially if you’re using headphones or earbuds in place of speakers.
  • Take breaks from loud noise exposure. Even if you’re only rarely exposed to loud noise, your infrequent exposure can still affect your hearing. That’s why you should step outside occasionally during loud events or work tasks. If your ears are ringing or your hearing is muffled after loud noise exposure, you should avoid sounds louder than conversation for 12 to 16 hours.

How to address hearing loss and cognitive decline

If the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline concerns you, then contact an audiologist for a hearing test. These pain-free, non-invasive exams are easy and quick. During your test, you’ll listen to sounds or speech, then respond as instructed. An audiogram will display your results, which will show the extent of any hearing loss you might have.

If hearing loss is detected, hearing aids will be your best solution for bridging the gap. They can also lead to a later onset of cognitive decline. A 2019 Journal of the American Geriatrics Societystudy made this observation based on data from hundreds of thousands of participants. Hearing aids may thus be your best solution for both conditions, which aren’t curable but can absolutely be lived with. And here at I Love Hearing, we have decades of experience providing exactly the right hearing aids to those who need them.

Contact I Love Hearing about cognitive decline and hearing loss

Whether you’re being proactive about a family history of cognitive decline or already feel your memory becoming weaker, it’s never too soon (or late) to take action. Hearing exams and hearing aids should be part of your solution, and at I Love Hearing, we offer both services in our four Long Island offices.

Our audiologists will perform hearing tests for anyone of any age. If we identify hearing loss, we’ll help you create and follow a robust treatment plan. Plus, if you make an appointment for yourself, we’ll perform a free additional hearing test for whoever accompanies you!

Book an appointment with I Love Hearing now to start protecting your hearing and cognition. The idea of losing your memory with time can seem scary, but in our hands, you’ll be better prepared to keep your mind sharp forever.

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Can Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Really Permanently Damage Your Hearing?

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds can make you prone to hearing loss — even exposure to some of the most common sounds many of us hear daily. The grating train or subway noises that define your commute can reach 90 decibels (dB) — significantly loud, considering that noises greater than 85 dB are harmful. Leafblowers and snowmobiles often reach 115 dB, and live music can reach 130 dB. Gunshots and sirens are typically 140 dB or greater.

You’ll know a sound is too loud if hearing it causes ear pain or, while it blares, you can’t hear those around you. Post-exposure symptoms include ringing ears or muffled hearing. If this difficult hearing persists, you are regularly exposed to some of the loud noises described above, and you find yourself asking people to speak more loudly, slowly, or clearly, you might have noise-induced hearing loss.

The good news is that you can proactively avoid noise-induced hearing loss and address any hearing loss you already have. Although there’s no cure for hearing loss, there are easy ways to bridge the gap – learn all about noise-induced hearing loss below.

How can loud sounds cause or worsen hearing loss?

Higher-decibel (louder) sound waves carry more energy. These vibrations (all waves, whether light or sound, vibrate) carry more force when they’re more energetic. The result is that, when high-decibel sounds enter your ear, they have the potential to cause more damage. This can result in what’s called noise induced hearing loss.

This damage occurs in the hair cells lining your ear canal. These cells receive the vibrations that accompany sound waves. They also transmit these vibrations to your brain, which interprets them as sounds. The problem is that, unlike most other cells in our bodies, hair cells don’t grow back once they die. And since high-energy (loud) sound waves can damage and even destroy hair cells. These hair cells cannot grow back, so damaging them can result in permanent hearing loss.

How to protect your hearing

The notion of hearing-induced hearing loss sounds worrisome, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing your job or enjoying your hobbies. The steps you can take to reduce your chances of noise-induced hearing loss are all easy, and they change little about your daily life. They include:

  • Wearing earplugs at loud music shows or events. This step is especially easy to take if you keep earplugs on you at all times. You should also avoid standing right next to any speakers in the venue. You can buy earplugs over the counter at any pharmacy or get fitted for custom earplugs.
  • Wearing earmuffs if you work with loud devices such as power tools. You want large, bulky earmuffs that look like professional headphones. These devices are engineered to mask loud sounds. You can find them at hardware stores, and custom models are available through an audiologist.
  • Using quieter tools if possible. You can find many options on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Buy Quiet list.
  • Turn down the volume. Whether you’re listening to music in headphones or enjoying your favorite TV on speakers, you should adjust the volume so it’s just enough to hear — not that it’s blaring in your direction. Going even a tad louder can be enough to cause hearing loss.
  • Take breaks. When you pause your listening session or step back from noisy work, you reduce your exposure to loud sounds. If you find yourself consistently exposed to loud noises with no protection, you should avoid sounds louder than conversation for 12 to 16 hours afterward.

How to address noise-induced hearing loss

The journey toward restoring your hearing is hassle-free. You can start by scheduling a hearing test with an audiologist. Hearing tests are pain-free and non-invasive, and they’re also easy – you’ll just listen to sounds or spoken words, then react to them as instructed. You’ll see your results on an audiogram that shows the extent of your hearing loss.

Your hearing test can determine the extent of your hearing loss, but it can’t restore your hearing. That’s where hearing aids come in. Hearing aids amplify all sounds that enter the ear, and this volume boost bridges the gaps that hearing loss causes. Many models now offer app-controlled tools that help you adjust hearing in certain situations as needed, and they can be tuned remotely by your audiologist, avoiding making additional appointments. Plus, many hearing aid models are discreet, as these models fit entirely inside the ear or out of view behind it.

Hearing aids are available at many audiology practices, including here at I Love Hearing. Our hearing aid specialists make choosing your hearing aid and properly fitting it easy as could be.

Contact I Love Hearing about noise-induced hearing loss

Whether you spend all day working around loud noises or just love listening to live music, it’s never too soon to prevent or address hearing loss. On the latter front, we at I Love Hearing are eager to help. Visit our offices in Long Island for expert help from audiologists and hearing aid specialists who have spent decades working with all kinds of hearing loss. We’ll test anyone of any age for noise-induced hearing loss and work with you to create a treatment plan. In fact, if you book an appointment for yourself, we will test the hearing of the person who accompanies you to your appointment, free of charge!

Contact I Love Hearing now to book an appointment for your noise-induced hearing loss. Living with hearing loss can feel tough, but in our hands, you’ll once again hear the world around you in all its glory.

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Hearing Loss Types, Causes, and Solutions

Any trustworthy audiologist both understands how to treat hearing loss and knows that the biological mechanisms underlying it might confuse the average person. After all, nobody can look inside their own ear to determine what exactly is causing their hearing loss. That said, all prominent hearing loss types and causes have solutions (though not cures), so below, we’ll demystify the most common hearing loss types, causes, and solutions.

Types of hearing loss

The three primary types of hearing loss are:

1. Conductive hearing loss

  • What it is:Conductive hearing loss is hearing loss that occurs when the outer or middle ear is damaged or blocked, thus stopping the conduction of sound to the inner ear.
  • How it’s caused: Many conditions can result in blockages that cause conductive hearing loss, including excessive ear wax, a narrowed ear canal, ear infections, and fluid buildup.
  • How it’s treated:Temporary conductive hearing loss is typically treated medically or surgically. Permanent conductive hearing loss may require hearing aids.

2. Sensorineural hearing loss

  • What it is: Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the wake of damage to the ear’s hair cells or auditory nerve. The result is less information about audio volume or clarity for your brain to process.
  • How it’s caused:Sensorineural hearing loss is commonly just age-related hearing loss, though exposure to loud noise can cause it as well. In fact, just one instance of exposure to extremely loud sounds can be enough to cause sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Less commonly, diseases, genetic syndromes, injuries, infections, and cancerous growths can cause sensorineural hearing loss. Ototoxic medications can also cause sensorineural hearing loss, though ototoxic hearing loss is sometimes reversible.
  • How it’s treated: Sensorineural hearing loss is often permanent, so hearing aids are the best paths of treatment. If this hearing loss is tied to a disease or infection, corticosteroids can also help to keep the hearing loss from worsening.

3. Mixed hearing loss

  • What it is: As its name suggests, mixed hearing loss contains aspects of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • How it’s caused: Injury or trauma most often leads to mixed hearing loss, as few other circumstances can lead to the obstruction or damaging of all parts of the ear.
  • How it’s treated: Treatment for mixed hearing loss depends on the exact amount of conductive versus sensorineural hearing loss. Surgical or medical treatments may have better outcomes for mixed hearing loss that’s more conductive. For mixed hearing loss that’s more sensorineural, hearing aids may prove more effective.

Degrees of hearing loss

Any type of hearing loss may occur to only a slight or an extreme degree. Audiologists generally acknowledge four such degrees:

  • Mild hearing loss describes difficulty hearing some soft sounds even if it’s mostly easy to understand speech.
  • Moderate hearing loss describes hearing next to nothing if someone is speaking at a typical, everyday volume level.
  • Severe hearing loss describes hearing nothing during a standard-volume conversation and only hearing some loud sounds.
  • Profound hearing loss is mostly the same as severe hearing loss, but it describes an inability to hear anything other than extremely loud sounds.

Other hearing loss descriptions

Audiologists often need just a type and degree to classify hearing loss, but sometimes, the below descriptors help too:

  • Unilateral or bilateral. Unilateral hearing loss occurs only in one ear, whereas bilateral hearing loss occurs in both.
  • Pre-lingual or post-lingual. In children, pre-lingual hearing loss occurs before the child learns to speak. All other hearing loss is post-lingual.
  • Symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical hearing loss is the same in both ears, whereas asymmetrical hearing loss is different in each ear.
  • Progressive or sudden. Progressive hearing loss worsens gradually over time, whereas sudden hearing loss occurs quickly and unexpectedly.
  • Fluctuating or stable. Fluctuating hearing loss changes in degree over time, whereas stable hearing loss remains of the same degree at all times.
  • Congenital or acquired/delayed-onset. Any hearing loss with which someone is born is congenital. All other hearing loss is described as acquired or delayed-onset hearing loss. In general, more people experience acquired hearing loss, so audiologists and hearing aid specialists are especially well-versed in treating this type of hearing loss.

What to do if you think you have hearing loss

If you think you have hearing loss of any sort, contact an audiologist for a hearing test. Audiologists such as those at I Love Hearing bring not just decades of experience to the table, but also specialty testing tools suited for all types of hearing loss and patients.

Here at I Love Hearing, we also specialize in offering and fitting hearing aids to address hearing loss (and tinnitus, which isn’t a cause of hearing loss but is surely unpleasant). We offer virtually every reputable hearing aid brand on the market, and we’ll always let you try your hearing aids out before you spend even a penny on them. We’ll work with you throughout the hearing aid choosing and fitting process to meet your individual needs. To address your hearing loss before it potentially worsens, contact us now to book an appointment in one of our four New York metro offices: Port Washington, New Hyde Park, and East Meadow on Long Island, and on the Upper East Side of New York City.

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How Are Hearing Loss and Dementia Related?

Connection between hearing loss and dementia

At some point in our lives, most of us have interacted with an elderly family member who, heartbreakingly, seems unable to understand that we’re speaking to them. You may worry that this phenomenon, which is sometimes a sign of dementia, is inevitable as you or someone you love ages.

Dementia is not itself a disease or disorder but instead a prominent symptom of several conditions. It is perhaps most widely associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and the fatal genetic disorder Huntington’s disease can cause it too. Poor or entirely blocked blood flow to the brain can also result in dementia.

Hearing loss, though incapable of causing dementia, can accelerate or exacerbate dementia caused by the aforementioned conditions. While it’s true that there’s no cure for dementia, you can potentially reduce the severity of dementia by protecting you or your loved one’s hearing now. Here’s what you need to know.

How can hearing loss accelerate dementia?

In people aged 60 and above, the severity of hearing loss is strongly correlated with an increased risk for dementia. This connection may stem from the brain sharing several physiological pathways with the ear – for example, high blood pressure affects both organs. That said, neurologists and audiologists have not definitively determined the anatomical cause of this correlation.

Even without an exact cause determined, the correlation remains clear. A 12-year, 639-participant study from Johns Hopkins University revealed that the more serious one’s hearing loss, the higher their risk of dementia. According to this study, those with mild hearing loss are at twice as high a risk for dementia. Those with moderate or severe hearing loss are at, respectively, three and five times as high a risk.

Otolaryngologist Dr. Frank Lin, who led the study, has said that brain scans show a correlation between hearing loss and faster rates of brain atrophy. This factor could at least partially account for how hearing loss might accelerate dementia. Lin has also theorized that the social isolation common with hearing loss, perhaps due to struggling to hear in conversations, can prove inadequately stimulating for the brain. This lack of stimulation could exaggerate dementia.

How to control hearing loss now

Given all the above about how hearing loss could accelerate dementia, you might feel compelled to schedule a hearing test for yourself or a loved one. After all, people of all ages can experience hearing loss, whether gradual (which is common) or sudden.

No matter you or your loved one’s age, a hearing test is a great first step for mitigating dementia, especially if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. Getting your hearing tested is easy – just contact an audiologist’s office for a checkup.

When you or your loved one sees an audiologist, don’t be shy about discussing dementia, especially if there’s a family history of any condition listed above. The audiologist can then recommend how often you or your loved one should schedule hearing tests. Your doctor should also explain the common signs of hearing loss and what to do if they’re observed. In most cases, you’ll be advised to schedule another hearing test and consider getting hearing aids.

Most modern hearing aids are nearly invisible, so you or your loved one can enjoy a thriving social life worry-free while hearing the world in full clarity.

All these hearing-related steps can help to slow the development of dementia. That said, they aren’t a cure for dementia, nor do they guarantee prevention.

How to help those with hearing loss and dementia

Not everyone will be lucky enough to catch their hearing loss in time to forestall the onset of dementia. To make matters worse, hearing loss and dementia can have similar impacts on a person’s everyday interactions. If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia and they don’t respond to your speech, you can’t quite know if hearing loss or dementia is the culprit.

In this case, you can help your loved one by conducting regular hearing checks. If their hearing is intact, you can assume they’re experiencing dementia. You should also remove any sounds or sights that could make it harder for your loved one to hear what you’re saying or read your lips. Make sure your loved one can actually see your face – a familiar sight can sometimes temporarily break through the challenging haze of dementia.

There’s another especially strong solution for you or your loved one for either dementia or hearing loss (or both). Hearing aids amplify sounds entering the ear to make up for hearing loss, and this extra brain stimulation can occasionally break through the neurological barriers of dementia. Many audiologist’s offices, such as I Love Hearing, also employ hearing aid specialists who make choosing and fitting hearing aids hassle-free.

Contact I Love Hearing about hearing loss and dementia

Whether you’re preventing dementia decades in advance or have concerns about a loved one living with dementia now, we at I Love Hearing would be happy to help. Visit any of our Long Island offices to speak with audiologists and hearing aid specialists who have decades of experience with all types of hearing loss. We’re happy to test anyone of any age for hearing loss, including as it relates to dementia, and help you create a treatment plan. Contact I Love Hearing today to book an appointment – living with or preventing dementia can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

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Ototoxicity And Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

Most medications come with the potential for side effects, hearing loss among them. Unfortunately, some medications that treat conditions ranging from chronic kidney failure to cancer and even malaria can damage your hearing temporarily or permanently. This damage occurs via a phenomenon called ototoxicity.

What is ototoxicity?

Ototoxicity occurs when medication or an environmental contaminant causes damage to the inner ear. Ototoxic drugs can lead to hearing and balance disorders such as vertigo, tinnitus (ringing sounds in your ears), total loss of balance, or mild to severe hearing loss.

The symptoms of ototoxicity can be temporary or permanent. If your symptoms disappear after you stop taking ototoxic medications (as is often the case), you can safely assume your symptoms were temporary. If not, your symptoms may be permanent. If that’s the case, there are treatment options available to help you manage these symptoms.

Which medications cause ototoxicity?

Several medications are known to cause temporary or permanent ototoxicity, but many ototoxic drugs are not known to doctors or patients just yet. That’s because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not analyze substances’ effects on inner ear function or structure as part of its approval process. As a result, some medications may reach the market and seem entirely safe until audiologists observe correlations between certain drugs and hearing loss.

Given this distinction, the below list of medications that cause ototoxicity may not be comprehensive, though the drugs listed are confirmed to be ototoxic. This list is separated by whether they cause temporary or permanent ototoxicity:

Temporary ototoxicity

  • Aspirin. This common pain medication (which can also treat heart conditions) can temporarily induce tinnitus and hearing loss, particularly at high doses.
  • Loop diuretics. These medications used to treat high blood pressure and edema due to kidney disease or congestive heart failure can cause temporary high-pitched ringing or hearing loss. Common loop diuretics include Bumex, Edecrin, Lasix, and Demadex.
  • Quinine. Unlike many other ototoxic drugs, quinine affects balance, which is connected to inner ear function, and not hearing. These substances, which are used to treat malaria or idiopathic muscle cramps, include chloroquine, quinidine, and tonic water.

Permanent ototoxicity

  • Anti-cancer drugs. Some anticancer drugs can destroy the ear’s hair cells as they kill cancer cells. Cisplatin-based chemotherapy drugs are especially notorious for leading to severe permanent hearing loss, and carboplatin-based chemotherapy drugs can lead to ear damage as well.
  • Aminoglycoside antibiotics. This class of antibiotics is used to treat conditions including cystic fibrosis. It includes amikacin, dihydrostreptomycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, netilmicin, ribostamycin, streptomycin, and tobramycin. These antibiotics are more ototoxic if administered intravenously than by pill.

If you see a drug you’re taking on the above list, you shouldn’t immediately stop treatment. Instead, there are other actions you should take first.

What to do if you’re taking ototoxic medications

If you see any of your medications on the list above, speak with your doctor to see if you can replace your ototoxic medication with a similar prescription that has fewer or no hearing-related side effects. You should also inquire as to whether you have any risk factors that make you more susceptible to hearing loss, which can be exacerbated by ototoxic medication. These risk factors include:

  • Impaired kidney function
  • Taking several ototoxic medications simultaneously
  • Age
  • Preexisting hearing loss
  • Pregnancy
  • For anti-cancer drugs, prior exposure to head and neck radiation

Even if you lack these risk factors, you could still experience hearing or balance problems if you’re taking ototoxic drugs. Physical therapy can potentially help you with any balance problems you experience, and audiologists and hearing aid specialists can address your hearing loss.

For example, here at I Love Hearing, we’re happy to provide you with regular hearing screenings as you move through your regimen of ototoxic drugs. This way, we can catch the early signs of ototoxic hearing loss so you can work with your doctor to develop new treatment plans that lessen or avoid ototoxicity.

Ototoxicity and environmental chemicals

Though not drugs, environmental chemicals are important to know when discussing ototoxicity. Exposure to these ototoxic substances can cause permanent hearing loss. They include butyl nitrite, carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide, hexane, lead, manganese, mercury, styrene, tin, toluene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. If you suspect that you are being exposed to these chemicals at work or at home, speak with your doctor to determine next steps and decide the best way to mitigate this risk.

Treat your ototoxicity at I Love Hearing

In the case of temporary ototoxicity, you might just need to switch medications, as your symptoms should gradually subside after you stop taking ototoxic drugs. On the other hand, if you have experienced permanent hearing loss or inner ear damage, then hearing aids may be necessary. Here at I Love Hearing, we specialize in using hearing aids to address all kinds of hearing loss, including ototoxicity, and we’re eager to help all ototoxicity patients.

When you choose I Love Hearing, you get the convenience of choosing from among four different locations in New York City and Long Island. You also get access to every leading hearing aid brand and an unparalleled selection of additional hearing aid companies.

With this flexibility, you can address your ototoxic hearing loss on your own terms. Contact us today to book your appointment and return to hearing the city that never sleeps in all its round-the-clock glory!

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Five Reasons Why People Don’t Use Their Hearing Aids – And How To Address Them

Getting used to a new technology or routine is always a challenge. Today’s hearing aids are remarkable pieces of technology and so are not exempt from this issue. However, almost all hearing aid-related issues have very simple solutions. If you’re using hearing aids and experiencing any of the following challenges, we at I Love Hearing are here to help. That’s why, below, we’ve listed five common hearing aid problems and the common solutions for them.

1. You don’t like the way your hearing aids sound.

The problem: It’s not uncommon for people to feel a bit “off” when they first start wearing hearing aids. Some people may initially find that their voice sounds different through hearing aids, and this discovery can be unsettling. Others may feel that their hearing aids as effective as they thought they would be – or worse – the sounds they hear may be TOO loud!

The solution: Hearing aid specialists such as those at I Love Hearing can adjust your hearing aids to make your voice sound more natural and amplify sounds to a volume level that meets your needs. Auditory therapy, auditory processing evaluations, auditory rehabilitation, and other techniques for improving speech comprehension can help too.

2. You don’t like the way your hearing aids feel.

The problem: The physical sensation of hearing aids in and on your ears may not feel familiar or comfortable at first. You might initially find that your ears are itchy or sweating under the hearing aids. You may also experience some discomfort or pain. These feelings typically subside within two months of consistent hearing aid use.

The solution: Hearing aids typically include several standard and custom ear tips with which a hearing aid specialist can adjust your to your needs. Licensed audiologists can further adjust your hearing aids to address any pain or discomfort. Additionally, since hearing aids come in a variety of styles, you can try a different hearing aid style if your current devices are uncomfortable.

3. You worry about losing your hearing aids.

The problem: Hearing aids are small, so it’s natural to feel like you might lose them. You might also worry that your hearing aids are so small that they may fall right out of your ears, perhaps never to be seen again. After all, it’s one thing to lose an inexpensive device, but it’s another when a pricey, important investment disappears.

The solution: Your hearing aid expert or audiologist will take ample time to securely fit your hearing aids to your ears. This way, your hearing aids aren’t likely to go missing. Here at I Love Hearing, we take both this measure and another important anti-loss step: If your hearing aids have Bluetooth® and GPS, we pair your devices with your smartphone. This way, if your hearing aids go missing, you can locate them with your phone.

4. You worry about how your hearing aids look.

The problem: It is true that even today, stigma around hearing aid use remains prevalent. In fact, some experts believe that worries about embarrassment, shame, or other negative emotions are more of an obstacle to hearing aid use than the cost of the devices themselves.

The solution: Gone are the days of clunky, obvious hearing aids. If anything, hearing aids are now so discreet that they veer on invisible. Some studies have even found that people are more likely to notice that you’re struggling to hear than that you’re wearing a hearing aid. And, of course, the latter solves the former.

5. You worry that hearing aids will make obvious noises.

The problem: Hearing aids may emit feedback if the amplified sound waves that your hearing aids generate escape your ear canal and strike your devices’ microphones. You might worry that others can hear these noises, and even if it’s only you hearing this feedback, it can still be unpleasant.

The solution: Often, a simple hearing aid cleaning can solve feedback issues. More often, you’ll need to see your audiologist or hearing aid specialist for minor adjustments. If you’re still experiencing feedback after cleaning your devices, I Love Hearing can help.

I Love Hearing can solve your hearing aid problems

No matter why you’re hesitating to use your hearing aids, we here at I Love Hearing are eager to reassure you. Our team’s experience troubleshooting all kinds of hearing aid woes spans decades, and we have four offices in Long Island and Manhattan for your convenience. If you decide to switch hearing aid styles or try new devices, we’ll provide you options from nearly every reputable hearing aid brand. With our “try it before you buy it” policy, you’ll get to use your hearing aids in real life first before committing to them, so you can dodge these problems altogether if it’s a question of fit, style, or features. Contact I Love Hearing today to start loving your hearing aids and move further along your journey toward restoring your hearing.

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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!