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December 9, 2016 London Audiology Blog

What a noisy world we live in. Did you know that sound levels above 120 dB (decibels) cause damage to hearing? How loud is that you ask?

 

Well, fireworks can be up to 162 dB, a jet plane is 140 dB and a power drill is 130 dB.

 

Rock concerts have been measured at 126 dB at the back of the hall and a staggering 150 dB in front of the speakers!

 

Do you like action movies in theaters? Some are set at 90 dB for most of the movie with occasional blasts up to 120 dB. Yes it is a noisy world we live in.

 

But, it is not just the level of the noise we have to be concerned about.  It is the length of time of exposure. Occupational health indicates that people should not be exposed to any more than 80 dB for an 8 hour shift.  Hearing protection is required for levels above that.

 

How do you know if you have been exposed to too much noise?  Some people will experience temporary hearing loss the day after a rock concert, for example. This is called temporary threshold shift and usually hearing will recover to almost preconcert levels. Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears or head) is another sign of excessive noise exposure. Sometimes the damage doesn’t show up for years.

 

Audiologists recommend using hearing protection whenever you are exposed to loud noises such as lawn mowers and power tools. If in doubt, grab those muffs or plugs!



November 28, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Ringing, buzzing, crickets, you name it, if other people do not hear it, it is called Tinnitus.

 

Estimates are that 12 to 14% of the adult population has tinnitus. About 1% have really debillitating tinnitus. For most people tinnitus comes and goes and is not overly bothersome. But, for some it can be relentless and extremely aggravating.

 

Almost all people with tinnitus also have hearing loss which is why the first step towards management is to have a hearing test.

 

Among people with age related hearing loss (presbycusis) 42% have tinnitus.
For those with hearing loss due to noise trauma, 22% experience tinnitus.

 

Combat soldiers have a 50% rate of tinnitus.
Among deaf people, 55% report tinnitus.

 

One theory for the cause of tinnitus is that the brain is overcompensating for the lack of sound caused by hearing loss. This is similar to phantom limb syndrome where the brain “feels” pain in a limb no longer there.

 

When tinnitus and hearing loss are both present, the use of hearing aids can be very helpful. The hearing aids turn up quiet environmental sounds which counteracts the overcompensation of the brain. This often reduces the volume and/or annoyance of tinnitus.

 

Some people experience relief from sound generators or tinnitus maskers. Deaf people wearing cochlear implants often report relief as well.

 

If you experience tinnitus and have been told you must “learn to live with it” please contact us for further information about tinnitus management. Help is available!



November 1, 2016 London Audiology Blog

As we approach Remembrance Day I want to take this opportunity to thank all veterans and to say “We remember.”

 

We have had the pleasure of providing services for many veterans and their families over the years. On behalf of all the staff at London Audiology Consultants, I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all veterans for your service to country and a solemn remembrance to all who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

 

Lest we forget.



October 13, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Myth:

 

My hearing loss does not impact the quality of my life.

 

Fact:

 

Wearing hearing aids has been shown to improve communication, intimacy and warmth in family relationships which greatly improves quality of life.

 

 

Myth:

 

Hearing loss is not very common.

 

Fact:

 

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have hearing loss that can benefit from a hearing aid.

 

 

Myth:

 

Hearing aids are for retired people.

 

Fact:

 

Research shows that 83% of hearing aid users who are in the workforce claim that their aids are vital for them to continue working.



September 19, 2016 London Audiology Blog

There are many reasons why it can be beneficial to have a close friend or family member accompany you to your appointments. It is helpful to have an extra set of ears for instructions or recommendations to ensure that everything is heard, and to help with remembering and understanding. Often the appointments, especially initial appointments, contain a lot of information that is hard to remember on your own.

 

In order to provide you with the best hearing health care possible, it is important for us to understand your everyday listening environments. A loved one can help to provide essential insights into difficult listening situations in your life.

 

We all know that communication is a two-way street. Bringing a significant other along with you can help them to understand your listening challenges and communication needs. Direct benefits to you – better understanding from the one who communicates with you the majority of the time!



September 6, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Many of us know someone, family, friend, ourselves, who have hearing loss but are reluctant to do anything about it. It may be justified with “it’s not that bad”, ” I can get by”, “people mumble”, etc. Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge the problem because we are embarrassed, see it as a weakness or a sign of aging or don’t want to wear that “big, bulky hearing aid”. So unfortunately, we wait years, even decades, before we do anything about it.
Many of us don’t realize how much untreated hearing loss affects every aspect of our daily life and our relationships at work, home and socially. We must also mention the negative impact it has on the brain.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:

 

 irritability, agitation and anger
 fatigue, tension, stress and depression
 withdrawal from social situations
 social rejection and loneliness
 strained relationships
 reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
 impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
 reduced job performance and earning power
 diminished overall health
 cognitive decline
 risk of falls
If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t wait to seek help. The sooner you treat your hearing loss, the better off you will be mentally and physically. Healthy Hearing is Healthy Living!



August 25, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Hearing is extremely important for speech and language development. In Ontario all babies have their hearing screened at birth. This has led to hearing impaired babies being fitted with hearing aids at a few months of age. Most of these babies develop speech and language at a normal rate. 20 years ago too many deaf babies were not diagnosed until after the age of 2 years when they showed signs of language delay.

 

Many hearing parents today are teaching their hearing babies sign language to help them communicate earlier. Babies find it easier to learn a few signs to communicate their needs.

 

Some children (and adults!) have normal hearing but have difficulty understanding speech especially in noisy or distracting places. This is a sign of auditory processing disorder. Children with auditory processing disorder often have difficulty hearing in noisy classrooms and their academic progress can suffer. Audiologists have a battery of tests to determine if auditory processing disorders are present. If so, we can make recommendations to help the child cope in the classroom. Some clinics, like ours, have treatment programs which can help some children target basic auditory skill development. Our program is called “Becoming Better Listeners.”

 



August 8, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Imagine driving down the highway on a beautiful sunny day. Now think about driving down that same highway at night in a snowstorm. Suddenly you are alert, gripping the steering wheel and staring intently at the road. What a difference!

People with hearing loss have to spend similar energy everyday all day long in order to hear and understand what is said to them. Even with properly fitted hearing aids, people do not hear all speech sounds and some of the speech gets distorted in their damaged ears.

How can you help a hearing impaired person to hear? Actually it is quite easy. Just follow my two golden rules!

1. Always get the person’s attention before speaking.

How many times do you realize someone is speaking to you only at the end of the sentence? You have only heard a few words, have no idea what they said and have to ask them to repeat. This happens all the time when you have a hearing loss. The best way to get someone’s attention is to say their name. When we hear our name, we can’t help it, we start to listen.

2. Always speak face to face.

Get close! When facing someone the voice is much clearer. Plus, the hearing impaired person can lipread.



July 22, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Brain Hearing

We actually hear in our brains, not in our ears. Wow. Who knew? I often remind my patients about the well known phenomenon of moving next to a railway track. At first the noise of the train drives most people “around the bend!” But after a few weeks most people do not even notice it. The ears are still picking up the sound but the ever-so-smart brain says “eh, not important…don’t notice it anymore.”

People with normal hearing process sound in the auditory cortex, at the sides of the brain. However, brain scans show that people with hearing loss process most sound in the frontal lobes. I think it’s very cool that other parts of the brain can take over. Unfortunately, the frontal lobe is where working memory is performed. This means that during a conversation, a hearing impaired person cannot just sit back and listen to the conversation. They are actively using their working memory to figure out what is being said. This takes a lot of focus and energy.

Margaret Brac

 



July 12, 2016 London Audiology Blog

Many of my patients tell me that when they are experiencing difficulty
hearing, they are often told to “turn up their hearing aids.” Let me try
to explain why this is not helpful.

 
First, a bit of anatomy. Some people have a conductive loss which means
sound is blocked from entering their ears properly. The blockage is in
their ear canal, at the eardrum or in the middle ear space where the tiny
little bones vibrate. For them, turning up their hearing aids is often a
good option.

 
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with hearing loss have a
sensorineural hearing loss which means they have damage in the inner ear
or auditory nerve. Inside the inner ear (cochlea) there are tiny little
haircells which are actually nerve cells. Once the haircells are damaged
there is no way to repair or restore them. Those nerve impulses are lost
forever. This damage in the cochlea distorts sound. So for many hearing
impaired people it sounds like everyone else is mumbling. Even worse,
people can sound like “Daffy Duck.” If you sound like Daffy Duck to your
significant other, a louder Daffy Duck is not going to help!


London Audiology
London Audiology Consultants is an independent Hearing Health Care clinic established in 1985 by co-owners and audiologists Margaret Brac and Catherine Moore.

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