Hearing Protection

New Genes Identified in Hearing Loss Patients

A new study was recently published in The American Journal of Human Genetics which has identified 44 genes that are linked to age-related hearing loss. This is helping to give a clearer picture of how hearing loss develops and potential treatments for it.

In the study, researchers from King's College London and UCL looked at genes from over 250,000 participants aged 40-69 years to see which genes were associated with people who had reported having, or not having, hearing problems on the questionnaire. 44 genes were identified to be linked with hearing loss.

By the age of 65, one-third of people are affected by some degree of hearing loss. This can lead to social isolation and various disabling conditions and has been identified as a risk factor for dementia. The findings of this new study may allow researchers to determine how hearing loss develops as we age and may identify potential targets for new therapies and treatments.

Co-lead author of the study Professor Frances Williams said, "We now know that very many genes are involved in the loss of hearing as we age. This study has identified a few genes that we already know cause deafness in children, but it has also revealed lots of additional novel genes [that] point to new biological pathways in hearing."

The next steps in this research are to understand how each identified gene influences the auditory pathway in order to provide opportunities to develop new treatments.

Learn more about the study here and be sure to sign up for a complimentary consultation at Hearing Health Associates.

It's Audiology Awareness Month!

BL9A0273.jpg

October is Audiology Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to spreading awareness about the services audiologists provide as well as why you might consider hearing protection or treatment.

In celebration of Audiology Awareness Month, here is a list of facts you may not have known around the topic of audiology and hearing:

  • 1 billion people are at risk for hearing loss due to unsafe personal use of portable music devices. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, around 37 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss already.

  • Audiologists treat people of all ages, not just older individuals. Half of those individuals with hearing loss are younger than age 65 and should seek treatment for hearing loss.

  • Audiologists don’t just offer hearing aids as treatment. Audiologists can provide personalized treatment and services to people suffering from a variety of conditions like dizziness/balance issues or tinnitus and also can offer hearing screenings and protection to prevent hearing loss (if you haven’t begun experiencing any yet).

  • If your child isn’t performing well in school or having issues paying attention, it could be due to hearing loss. 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes and can be treated by an audiologist.

Celebrate National Audiology Awareness Month with us and sign up for a complimentary screening at Hearing Health Associates. Our audiologists can help with both preventative care and hearing loss treatment.

September is Healthy Aging Month

people-3818490_1920.jpg

The month of September is Healthy Aging Month. This is a great time to be thinking about some practices and habits you can implement in your life to help your health in the long run. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Pick up a new exercise or physical activity. Exercises like yoga and swimming are relaxing, low-impact, and fun. Plus you’ll relieve stress and release endorphins, both of which are great for your mental health.

  • Get regular checkups for your hearing and more. Wearing hearing aids, should you need them, can help reduce the risk of falls, reduce the risk of depression, ward off mental decline and conditions like dementia, and keep you socially active. Sign up for your complimentary hearing screening with Hearing Health here. Don’t forget about regular dental, physical, and eyesight checkups as well.

  • Meet more people, more often. An attributing factor to living a longer, happier life is your social life. Volunteer, join clubs, take a class on a subject you’re interested in, or take someone you already know out for lunch/dinner.

  • Be positive. This is the most important tip on this list! Always strive to think positive and take positive actions and steps in your life. In the long run, you will live happier, healthier, and longer because of it.

Have any other tips? Share them with us on Facebook.

Your Back-to-School Hearing Health Checklist

back-to-school-conceptual-cube-207658.jpg

With back-to-school season heading your direction, we’re sure you have gathered many lists of supplies, like notebooks, pencils, and crayons that your child needs for school. While those are important for your child to learn their best, it’s also important that you consider what your child may need to either prevent hearing loss or help if they are already experiencing it.

Here is a quick list of some hearing health supplies for your child’s return to school:

  1. Written instructions/notebook with important information. If your child is already experiencing some hearing loss, wears a cochlear implant, or has a hearing aid, it can be vital to provide teachers and faculty/administrators with instructions on how your child’s device works and what to do in case it stops working. You can also provide instructions for ways to communicate with your child in case of emergencies – especially if you aren’t able to reach the school in time – or request specific seating for your child in the classroom.

  2. Hearing aid/cochlear implant accessories. Provide your child’s teacher with extra batteries, a dry kit, and cord clips for your child’s device, as well as instructions on how these items work. This will ensure there is already a backup plan in case anything happens to your child’s device during the school day.

  3. Noise cancelling headphones. To prevent hearing loss, you should discuss noise and music level with your child before they use their music devices. However, you can also make sure they wear noise cancelling headphones, instead of earbuds, in order to protect their hearing from elevated conversations and road noise while riding the bus. Your child can also wear these in other scenarios, like recess or music class if the environment is too loud.

  4. Hearing protection for sports. If your child is at the age to participate in contact sports or recess outside, you may want to get them ear protection for those times. A strong blow to the ear from a ball, hand, or other object can cause permanent damage to their ear drum and, ultimately, hearing loss. Wearing the proper protection can help prevent this from happening. If your child also participates in swimming during school hours, consider swimming ear plugs.

Be sure to speak with your child’s teachers often to ensure their devices have been working properly in the classroom and to make sure they’re in the best learning environment with respect to their hearing health.

Click here for more information on protecting your child’s hearing and here for signs of childhood hearing loss. If you believe your child may be experiencing hearing loss, sign your child up for a free hearing screening.

Middle Schooler Shows Hand Dryers Can Cause Hearing Loss

Nora Keegan, picture from  CBC news  via David Keegan.

Nora Keegan, picture from CBC news via David Keegan.

We’re gearing up for back-to-school season at Hearing Health Associates and want to help you protect your child’s hearing and make sure they learn their best at school. While steps can easily be taken to prevent hearing loss at home, we enjoyed reading this article about a 13-year-old girl who took her hearing health at school into her own hands.

Middle schooler Nora Keegan was curious about the hand dryers in her school system and wondered if they were possibly damaging her hearing or her peers’ hearing. She wanted to study this topic when she saw her fellow classmates holding their ears while trying to dry their hands and said that hand dryers hurt her ears, as well. She eventually decided to do a scientific study, and her findings were published in a scientific journal called Pediatrics & Child Health.

Nora’s study questioned whether or not hand dryers pose a risk to ear health, particularly in children. The study ended up proving that hand dryers can cause hearing loss because they operate at levels that are far louder than recommended, especially at a child’s height.

You can find more information about Nora Keegan and read her full findings here. We hope that schools pay close attention to Nora’s study and take appropriate measures to protect students’ hearing.

Protecting Your Ears From the Sounds of Summer

beautiful-breathtaking-canada-day-2526105.jpg

Some of the best summer sounds, can also be the most harmful: sports games, fireworks, outdoor concerts. However, rather than avoiding these sounds, you can still have fun while protecting your ears! Keep reading to find out how and when you should protect your ears this summer.

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?

The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any noise louder than 85 dB, or by a one-time, intense exposure to a noise like an explosion. Health experts recommend protecting your hearing when exposed to:

  • Noises louder than 100 dB for more than 15 minutes

  • Brief, one-time noises of 120 dB (for children) and 140 dB for adults

To help you understand when it's appropriate to protect your ears, we've created the infographic below. 

Sound-Infographic-NoText-Lawnmower_2019.jpg

If you hear ringing, buzzing or experience temporary hearing loss when operating machinery, leaving work, or following a concert, hearing protection is crucial. Parents - if you can hear sounds from your child's headphones or earbuds while standing next to them, the volume is too loud.

If you're constantly exposed to noises over 85dB at work or home, please contact us. We provide many types of hearing protection and can work with you to find the best solution. If you think you're experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, you can set up a complimentary screening here.

We wish you all a happy, healthy summer. And, please remember to protect your ears!

Next-Gen Hearing Protection: Because Your Hearing Is Worth It

Concert Hearing Protection.jpg

Approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-69 have hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises. We understand many people avoid wearing hearing protection because it blocks out the wanted noise along with the unwanted noise. What most people don't realize is that today's generation of hearing protection actually enhances low-level sounds (like conversations), while minimizing the loud sounds that create noise-induced hearing loss. This means if you're working in a noisy environment or attending a concert, you can carry on conversations with colleagues and friends comfortably at the same time you're protecting your hearing from the unwanted noises. 

Who Should Wear Hearing Protection?

There are varying recommendations based on the noise level (decibel) and the time exposed. The chart below by Westone explains when ear protection is needed. Certain professions, including factory workers, construction workers, musicians, and mechanics, require hearing protection more than others. For noisy experiences and hobbies, such as concerts, hunting, and riding motorcycles, you should wear hearing protection, as well. If you're ever in a situation where your hearing is muffled or you hear ringing or buzzing following the experience, that's also a tell tale sign that you're damaging your hearing.

 
Screenshot 2018-08-15 14.16.16.png
 

Types of Hearing Protection Available

We offer many types of hearing protection at various price points depending on your needs and situation. We offer high-end, in-ear musician monitors with multiple drivers for the professional musicians. We offer custom hearing protection devices that offer the ability to adjust the volume for those who need protection on the job. And, we offer recreational ear plugs for situations like loud movies, concerts, and sporting events. 

Please don't hesitate to call us if you feel you are a good candidate for hearing protection. We do not charge for this initial consultation. 

The (Loud) Sounds of Summer: How and When to Protect Your Ears

Crozet, VA, Fireworks. Photo credit: M.C. Andrews Photography

Crickets chirping, waves crashing, and campfires crackling are sounds typically associated with fond Summer memories. But, some of the most harmful sounds to your ears are also associated with this season: fireworks, lawnmowers, power tools, and outdoor concerts are among the loudest. 

More than 26 million Americans ages 20-69 have noise-induced hearing loss. This is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss. 

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?

The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any noise louder than 85 dB, or by a one-time, intense exposure to a noise like an explosion. ƒHealth experts recommend protecting your hearing when exposed to:

  • Noises louder than 100 dB for more than 15 minutes

  • Brief, one-time noises of 120 dB (for children) and 140 dB for adults

To help you understand when it's appropriate to protect your ears, we've created the infographic below. 

If you hear ringing, buzzing or experience temporary hearing loss when operating machinery, leaving work, or following a concert, hearing protection is crucial. Parents - if you can hear sounds from your child's headphones or earbuds while standing next to them, the volume is too loud.

If you're constantly exposed to noises over 85dB at work or home, please contact us. We provide many types of hearing protection and can work with you to find the best solution. If you think you're experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, call us for an appointment. We provide hearing evaluations and carry the latest in hearing technologies.

We wish you all a happy, healthy Summer. And, please remember to protect your ears!

Rock Stars and Hearing Loss: Why Hearing Protection is Important

We thought this would be a good follow up to our post last week about the increased rates of hearing loss among teens (now 1 in 5 teens reporting hearing loss), which most health experts attribute to wearing earbuds and headphones while listening to digital entertainment at loud volumes.

The hearing of many rock stars has been affected by years of live performances and time spent in recording studios. (In the teen blog post, we referenced how noise-induced hearing loss is very similar to sun damage; that is, you may not notice the results until it's too late.) These stars are now living with hearing loss, Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, and more. We're sharing their stories in the hopes that parents and kids will pay close attention and realize the importance of hearing protection. 

Photo Credit: The Sun

Photo Credit: The Sun

1. Chris Martin

The Coldplay lead singer suffers from Tinnitus, which he says, gives him excruciating headaches. He now wears ear plugs to help prevent it from worsening. 

2. Brian johnson

The lead singer of the rock group AC/DC was told in 2016 by his doctors that he risked total hearing loss if he continued to tour and perform with the band.

Brian Johnson.jpg
neil-young.jpg

3. Neil Young

The legendary songwriter and musician claims that his album, "Weld," really damaged his hearing in the early 90s. He also states that he recorded "Harvest Moon" because he wanted to avoid loud music at the time. He suffers from Tinnitus.

4. Sting

Music legend Sting suffers from hearing loss and openly discusses living with it. In an interview with SiriusXM, he stated, "I'm fairly deaf. 'What?' is my favorite word." He has also previously advocated for conscious hearing and safe listening practices as an ambassador for the Hear the World Foundation.

Sting.jpg
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

5. Ryan Adams

Rocker Ryan Adams (and ex-husband of "This Is Us" star Mandy Moore) has suffered for years from Tinnitus and Meniere's Disease. He often shares his experiences online and acts as an advocate for those with Meniere's. He took time off from playing music around 2009 to deal with the disorders. 

6. Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis accounted on April 19 that he is canceling his upcoming 2018 tour due to hearing loss, saying hearing himself sing during performances is difficult. 

Huey Lewis.jpg

7. Eric Clapton

The legendary guitar player announced this year that he's losing his hearing and struggles with Tinnitus, but promises to keep playing as long as he can.

8. Pete Townshend

The Who has been called one of the world's loudest bands. Its guitarist, Pete Townshend, has a severe case of hearing loss. He stated, “I have severe hearing damage. It’s manifested itself as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It hurts, it’s painful, and it’s frustrating. My right ear, which encounters my own edgy guitar and the machine gun strokes of the drums, has suffered badly. Luckily for me, I still have my left ear, which seems to be less messed up. When I’ve worked solo in the past five years, I’ve not used drums. This has meant I could play more quietly I think. With The Who, there is, of course, no way to play the old songs without drums. I’ve no idea what I can do about this. I am unable to perform with in-ear monitors. In fact, they increase the often unbearable tinnitus I suffer after shows.”

9. Ozzy Osbourne

The Black Sabbath front man and reality show star has suffered significant hearing loss due to his heavy metal and 'alternative' lifestyles. 

10. Grimes

The 30-year-old indie pop rocker canceled her entire European tour in 2012 due to a case of Tinnitus. Regarding this cancellation, she tweeted, “It’s depressing to cancel more shows, but we have to cancel all Grimes dates in Europe due to health issues  im having hearing problems and im supposed to limit my exposure to loud noise for as long as possible.”


We encourage the younger generation to take preventative measures to preserve hearing, as hearing damage is irreversible. Here are some tips to help reduce noise-induced hearing loss

Please contact us for hearing evaluations or to find out more about hearing protection devices. 

For musicians, we offer offer custom-molded in-ear monitors fitted into medical-grade silicone ear molds, as well as universal fit monitors. You can find out more about these here

Protect Your Ears From Loud Summer Sounds

Crozet, VA, Fireworks. Photo credit: M.C. Andrews Photography

Crozet, VA, Fireworks. Photo credit: M.C. Andrews Photography

For many of us, Summer sounds are pleasant and nostalgic. Crickets chirping, children splashing in the pool, the ocean, and campfires crackling are some common sounds associated with fond Summer memories. But, some of the most harmful sounds to your ears are also associated with this season: fireworks, lawnmowers, power tools, and outdoor concerts are among the loudest. 

More than 26 million Americans ages 20-69 have noise-induced hearing loss. This is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss. 

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?

The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any noise louder than 85 dB, or by a one-time, intense exposure to a noise like an explosion. ƒHealth experts recommend protecting your hearing when exposed to:

  • Noises louder than 100 dB for more than 15 minutes
  • Brief, one-time noises of 120 dB (for children) and 140 dB for adults

To help you understand when it's appropriate to protect your ears, we've created the infographic below. 

If you hear ringing, buzzing or experience temporary hearing loss when operating machinery, leaving work, or following a concert, hearing protection is crucial. Parents - if you can hear sounds from your child's headphones or earbuds while standing next to them, the volume is too loud.

If you're constantly exposed to noises over 85dB at work or home, please contact us. We provide many types of hearing protection and can work with you to find the best solution. If you think you're experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, call us for an appointment. We provide hearing evaluations and carry the latest in hearing technologies.

We wish you all a happy, healthy Summer. And, please remember to protect your ears!