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How Your Thyroid is Connected to Hearing Developement

Our thyroid plays a very important role in our bodies, some you may not even be aware of, others you might know. Its proper function is crucial in regulating our heart rate and metabolism  The thyroid can have a great affect on weight, hair loss, anxiety, fatigue, and so forth. These are all side effects of thyroid issues when it is under or overactive. Research now shows that thyroid issues can lead to congenital deafness.

The study, which looked at the effect of the thyroid on hearing, was researched by Professor Karen B. Avraham and Dr. Amiel Dror. They are from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine. What they found was that when there was a lack of a thyroid hormone during development, congenital deafness can be caused. To figure this out, researchers used mice and studied their inner ears. Two groups of mice were used, one as a control and the other a mutant group that were congentially deaf. In the deaf mice, the inner ear hairs were looked at by labeling them with bright colors so the researchers could see the issues with the hair cells organization patterns. Using this strategy, researchers saw that structural issues were connected to hypothyroidism. They saw hair cells that either failed to grow or never fully finished development due to a lack of thyroid hormones. Thus, hearing loss was a direct result. The researchers hope to use this finding as a way to prevent hearing loss in the future. If they can treat issues like a lack of thyroid hormones, they may be able to attack one cause of hearing loss and eliminate it. Their research will continue until they find a way to help those affected by hypothyroidism and subsequent hearing loss.

Want to learn more about hearing loss in your New England area? Let the hearing professionals of mass Audiology help you. We have locations throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Pick the one closest to you and come in for a hearing evaluation.

Treating Single Sided Hearing Loss

When you think of hearing loss, do you picture it as something that affects both ears or just one? It can affect both at the same time, or just one, or gradually both over time. When severe hearing loss affects just one ear it is known as single sided deafness and is treated a little bit differently than other hearing loss cases.

Single Sided Hearing LossSingle sided deafness or SSD is typically permanent and can be brought on by trauma, sudden hearing loss, disease, or it can be hereditary. It also affects about 200 new people out of every one million people per year in the entire world, making it quite common. Treatment for SSD varies from other forms of hearing loss treatment. To successfully treat this specific type of hearing loss patients will receive a hearing aid(s) that help pick up noise from the damaged ear and bring it to the other ear. This hearing device system is known as contralateral routing of signal hearing aids. They are often referred to as CROS hearing aids which is easy to remember since the sound has to cross over to the better ear in order to be heard. These hearing aids come in wireless options and include a receiver and microphone system to help amplify sounds. The receiver sits behind the ear and the microphone is placed on the side with the deaf ear. The microphone then picks up sounds and sends it to the system and the better hearing ear. Another type of treatment is called bone-anchored hearing aids, or BAHA. This uses a small implant on the deaf ear side and connects to a sound processor which sends sounds to the good ear. Both of these systems are extremely useful when treating SSD. The decision on what type of treatment is best for you can be made by you and your hearing care professional when the time is right.

To learn more about hearing loss and treatment types schedule an appointment with Mass Audiology. As a leader in hearing aid solutions, we know how to help you get your hearing back! Contact us today to learn more!

Consuming Fish May Help Protect Against Hearing Loss

We all know the key to living many long happy years is a hearty diet that meets our nutritional needs. Every now and again we can spoil ourselves with treats when kept in moderation. One food that researchers have always encouraged in the diet is fish. Fish is a very good source of vitamins and minerals that can help keep your body right on track to many healthy years! Eating fish in your diet may also help prevent hearing loss in some people!

Seafood lovers this blog is for you! Great news about fish, researchers have made a connection to hearing loss prevention when fish was regularly consumed in a  persons diet. It is well known that fish oils can help protect the heart against heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help keep the arteries clear of fatty build ups. In study that was released in the American Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating two or more servings of fish a week may lead to a decreased risk of hearing loss. After looking at data that analyzed 65,215 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II researchers feel confident in their claims of health and fish. These women ate different kinds of fish, ranging from tuna, to salmon, to halibut, the type of fish did not seem to matter. The higher the consumption of fish, the less likely a person was to suffer from hearing loss. Nearly 20% less likely to have hearing loss to be exact. The reason behind this correlation is largely thought to be related to the effects of fish oils on blood flow. The better your blood flow to the inner ear, the less likely you are to suffer from hearing loss due to a damaged cochlea. The next time you go out to eat, splurge and get the fish, just tell everyone it is for your hearing!

At Mass Audiology, we keep you up to date on the latest in hearing loss news, prevention, and treatment. With so many different New England locations you know you can always count on Mass Audiology to be there for you when you need us. Contact us today to learn more about hearing loss.

I’ve Purchased a Hearing Aid, Now What?

First, congratulations on your new hearing aid! You can finally take the steps you need to a better quality of life just by using your new hearing device. Now that you have made your first hearing aid purchase you may have a few questions about the next steps. Let us help you answer a few common questions.

  • Ask your hearing care professional to show you the differences with the program settings so you know which to use if your settings need to change given your location.
  • Ask about the volume levels and what level your hearing aid should be set to.
  • Keep a schedule of when your battery is due to be changed. They do not all last the same amount of time, given the power level of your hearing aid a battery can last from a week to two weeks on average.
  • Clean the tip of your hearing aid daily to reduce buildup. To clean the tip of your hearing aid you should use a brush and or slightly damp cloth to wipe away any excess residue.When the tips feel as if they are losing their elasticity it may be time to talk to your audiologist about having replacement parts ordered so you can stay comfortable.
  • You should alway take your hearing aid out when you are going to sleep. This will not only help prevent battery drainage but also keep your ears from getting sore due to long periods of wear. Once you have taken out your hearing aids you should be sure to store them in a cool and dry place so they do not get mixed up with moisture or too much heat.
  • Ask your audiologist about their hearing aid care programs to see if any of these steps are covered by your current audiologist. Many times basic cleaning care will be included in the hearing aid purchase.

Knowing about what your hearing aid dispenser offers is important to you as a hearing aid purchaser. Don’t be afraid to ask what is included with your hearing aid. If you are looking for hearing aids in the Massachusetts and surrounding New England from a well known and trust hearing aid care center, Mass Audiology is the place for you! Contact us today to learn more about our line of Reveal hearing aids!

Get Your Hearing Checked Regularly

Never had your hearing checked? Finding the right time to have your hearing checked or to tell a loved one to have their hearing checked can be tricky. Maybe you are convinced your hearing is fine and perhaps you don’t want to hurt a loved ones feelings. However, if you follow one simple rule you can avoid the awkward conversation altogether. Simply have your hearing examined regularly.

If you are wondering why we have not chosen a specific age to start having regular hearing examinations, it is because hearing loss is no longer considered an age-related disorder. For those who do not have hearing loss, it is also good for the hearing professional you see to have a baseline report of your hearing.  As we grow older, the chances of having hearing loss only increase. Early detection of hearing loss is key to a good treatment plan and also making sure that your hearing loss doesn’t leave you disconnected from the world around you. Those who put off treating their hearing loss often experience reduced cognitive abilities. This can lead to dementia and other types of diseases. However with the help of a friendly hearing care professional, support from loved ones, and the perfect hearing device you can easily stay healthy, fit, and active with your social life. Don’t let the frustration of hearing loss get in your way! Make sure you have a hearing exam regularly to ensure that your hearing is healthy and on track!

Hearing exams are normally very simple and never scary. First we will ask you to answer a few hearing loss and general health questions to get a sense of your hearing concerns. Next we will take a look into the ear to see if there are any blockages. This part you will also be able to see, which most find very interesting. Then we will move on to test your hearing abilities at certain pitches and frequencies. If we find that you need to pursue having a hearing device, we  will help you pick the best one for your lifestyle.

Contact us at Mass Audiology today to have your hearing exam appointment set up.  We will help answer your hearing loss concerns with years of knowledge and state of the art equipment.

Caffeine May Be Good For Your Hearing

Caffeine and Hearing LossPicture yourself going to work on Monday morning. Do you reach for coffee or tea as your go to day starter? Most of us do, the caffeine helps us wake up and feel ready for the day ahead of us. If you ever needed an added reason to drink more coffee or tea, we found one for you, it may just be good for your hearing! That is right, caffeine from coffee is now being connected to lower risks of hearing loss and even tinnitus in women!

The study which has been published in The American Journal of Medicine pooled data that tracked both reports of tinnitus and the caffeine intake of over 65,0000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II. The participants ranged in age from 30-34 and nearly 5,289 of them reported experiencing tinnitus during the 18 years they were part of the study. The women track every item that they ingested which contained caffeine, including drinks like coffee and foods such as chocolate. Researchers found that the women who ingested 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams of caffeine daily were 15% less likely to experience hearing loss, those who consumed more than 600 milligrams were 21% likely to develop tinnitus. To put it into perspective, to meet the 450-599mg category, a person would have to consume about four 8ox. cups of coffee. This is great news for our morning, snack, and dinner coffee drinkers! They continue to research this and most doctors will agree in saying that caffeine is not a treatment for tinnitus, however they would love for it to be one. They will however, suggest that you continue to enjoy your coffee whenever you would like knowing that it may just help keep your ears a bit more healthy in the long run.

Mass Audiology is always staying up-to-date on the latest in hearing loss news in New England and around the world. We are a leading hearing aid provider with hearing centers located throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and  New Hampshire. Feel free to contact us today to learn more about our hearing aids and how they can change your life for the better.

How Loud Noises Affect the Brain

How Loud Noises Affect the Brain

Photo by USAToday.com

It is no secret that loud noises can harm your ears and hearing. Exposure to loud noises can be harmful whether for a short period of time or a over a long period of time. This is one reason why most if not all audiologists will recommend using hearing protectors when you are in a situation that may produce loud noises, like concerts. Researchers are now looking at how loud noises actually affect the brains ability to process sound which leads to hearing loss.

With over 15% of Americans suffering from noise induced hearing loss researchers have been taking a deeper look at how noise takes a toll on brain function. To recreate a situation that posed a threat to ears by loud noise exposure researchers at UT Dallas looked at how rats reacted to high level noise exposure for one hour. There were two groups tested, both had loud noise exposure only one group was exposed to a louder noise. The first group heard a noise at 115 db and the second heard a noise at 124db. The two sounds were both louder than the noise produced by a chainsaw. The study then looked at how these noises affected the brains ability to process sound, specifically by looking at the auditory cortex. This part of the brain is related to speech and gives the closest comparison. One month after exposure researchers saw that the group exposed to the higher decibel noise experience a drastic decrease in ability to react to  sound stimulations. Nearly two thirds of the rats were unable to react to sounds. In the remaining small group that was able to react to sound stimulations, the researchers saw an abnormal pattern in the auditory cortex. This means that the rats were not able to process speech sounds in a normal way after being exposed to loud noises. In the group that was exposed to a lower decibel sound, the rats were able to react to low frequency noises but unable to react to high frequency sounds. Thus again, showing how loud noises are extremely dangerous to hearing and how the brain is able to perceive sounds, particularly speech sounds.

Want to learn more about hearing loss in Massachusetts or New England area? Contact the hearing professionals at Mass Audiology and schedule an appointment today! We are the hearing professionals with 47 years of experience in hearing loss treatment.

3 Easy Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss PreventionHearing loss cannot often be restored when someone is suffering from it. This makes hearing loss prevention extremely important. However, before you start to panic about adding a long routine to your day to prevent hearing loss know that hearing loss prevention can be easy! Just be preparing yourself for loud noises or changing a setting here and there you can make a huge difference in your odds of having hearing loss in the future. Here are 3 ways that you can easily prevent hearing loss.

  • Turn the volume setting on your electronics down to no more than 50%. This is one very easy way to make sure that you do not unintentionally do harm to your ears without even knowing it. Cell Phones and MP3 players all have a speaker/music volume setting that can be changed in the actual hard settings of the phone itself. Once this is changed, if you can enjoy your music safely!
  • Say no to cotton swabs that fit in the ear, these can push earwax further into the ear or puncture the eardrum. Earwax itself can cause hearing loss, but when taken care of safely you won’t have to worry about damaging your ears. Cleaning ear wax can be done with specific products dedicated to safely cleaning ear wax. An at home way to clean the outer part of the ear is to simply wipe them down with a damp cloth.
  • Put a pack of foam ear protectors in your backpack, briefcase, purse, or wallet. You never know when they may come in handy. These foam ear protectors can be purchased at your local grocery store or pharmacy and do not cost much. Some places like nightclubs and concerts are even starting to give them out for free!

These are 3 very easy ways to prevent hearing loss on a daily basis. Just imagine how much these 3 tips could positively affect your life or the lives of your loved ones! Want to learn more about hearing loss? Contact us at Mass Audiology to get the best answers to your hearing loss questions. We offer locations throughout Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

Why Hearing Loss Sometimes Goes Unnoticed

Hearing Loss Sometimes UnnoticedAs we age or even in our younger years we have plenty of doctors visits. These visits would lead most people to believe that if they had a hearing problem, it would have probably been addressed at some point during a physical or routine visit. However, many times hearing loss goes undetected during these visits because the appointment is not dedicated to just your hearing. Unless you specifically bring up a hearing concern, it probably won’t be mentioned. So then  why don’t more people talk about their hearing concerns in regular yearly check-ups? Well, sometimes you may not even realize you have a hearing problem!

Hearing loss can go undetected for many different reasons. Mild to moderate hearing loss can often be written off by friends and family and even yourself as a non issue very easily. Maybe the dinner party was just really noisey, the traffic sounds were terrible, or your husband was just ignoring you (again). These little everyday things get written off as normal and soon thats the way life is and you don’t know any different. When you don’t realize your hearing has been compromised it is hard to seek treatment because you are just simply unaware. It is easy to take for granted the sounds around you that just slipped away into the background slowly without you noticing. It is not until someone brings it up to your attention that your hearing may not be what is used to be that you might realize it is a health concern. Maybe the birds don’t chirp as much, laughter from children isn’t quite as loud, and again, you can’t always hearing your wife well when she talks to you. These are all signs of hearing loss that can go unnoticed but can eventually start to cause bigger issues in your quality of life. It is recommended that you see an hearing care professional if any of the things mentioned in this blog sound familiar to you. They can help show you the sounds you have been missing out on and how a hearing aid can help open the world of wonderful noises up again!

Hearing care is no joke to the specialist at Mass Audiology. We are dedicated to providing you with top quality hearing loss treatment and guidance with hearing aid selections. Schedule an appointment at a Mass Audiology location today and get onto the path of better hearing again!

How Flies Are Influencing Hearing Aid Technology

Flies and Hearing LossWhen trying to make the next leading hearing aid or hearing aid technology researchers are not afraid to look in unexpected places. They look at what people need in hearing aids and look to find the best solution. Sometimes the solution happens to be found in very strange places you would least expect. Most recently, researchers started looking to a fly known as ormia ochracea.

This little fly, that we, and most every other creature on the planet would find quite annoying has some pretty impressive ears. This particular fly looks to feed off of crickets, but first must located the crickets. To do this, they must listen to the chirping noise that a cricket makes. This is where they have an advantage in hearing that we do not have, the proximity of their ears to one another. The fly has such little space between its ears that sound arrives at both ears at exactly the same time. Once the sound reaches the ears, it almost teeter-totters to whatever side the noise came from, making it easy for the fly to locate a cricket. Researchers hope to mimic this type of sound processing into hearing devices. They are looking into ways to create a microphone that teeter-totters with the way sounds come in, meaning if a noise comes from the right side of you, the hearing aid would know this, and therefore amplify sound to the right of you. Could you imagine having a hearing aid able to do this for you almost instantaneously?  That could be a very real possibility in the near future and you can thank the fly for inspiring such a great new technological advancement.

Want to stay up to date on the latest in hearing loss or hearing aid news? You have come to the right place by visiting the Mass Audiology hearing loss blog. On top of providing up to date news on hearing loss, we are a leading hearing aid provider in the New England area. We offer many different locations for your convenience. Simply pick a location and set up your hearing exam to learn more about your ears and hearing!