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Vertigo and Hearing Health

Vertigo can be a debilitating disorder that has the ability to control your life. This disease affects the inner ear, which plays a large role in our ability to balance. When was the last time you had to really focus before getting up out of a chair or even just trying to walk around your home? Those with vertigo know that these simple tasks can become daunting. Vertigo can be even more frightening to the elderly who could be at a higher risk of injury if they were to fall. We have put together some more facts about vertigo and hearing health so you can be aware of symptoms and seek early treatment.

Vertigo can be caused by the following:

  • Menieres disease
  • Head injury
  • Ear Surgery
  • Extended bed rest
  • Inflammation of the vestibular nerve or of the inner ear
  • Reduced blood flow to parts of the brain

Symptoms of Vertigo are:

  • Most commonly people will experience dizziness when they have vertigo. The dizziness can range from mild to so severe that a person may not be able to stand due to fear of falling.
  • Nausea is another common complaint, this is largely due to the dizziness that people experience.
  • Ringing in the ears and even hearing loss in one ear.
  • Difficulty seeing straight or clearly.

Vertigo is a treatable condition in most cases. With the proper medicine most people who suffer from vertigo can resume a normal life without any of these symptoms. However, in few severe cases of vertigo treatment does not always work, but it can make small improvements. If you think you may have vertigo you should reach out to your doctor immediately.

At Mass Audiology we do our best to treat your hearing as our own and to treat you as our family. We offer hearing care services throughout the New England area and with so many locations we have a reputation for excellence. Visit a Mass Audiology hearing center near you today!

Using High-Res to get a Better Look at Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be sneaky and a little bit tricky to treat sometimes. The inner ear is so small that it can be hard to really get a good look. Another problem is that the cause of hearing loss can be so wide-ranged that there are many different angles to look at when treating hearing loss. However, now with the technology available today we are starting to be able to really get a good look at what makes up the inner ear and we can use this to help better treat our patients.

High Resolution Imaging for Hearing Exam

Say hello to high resolution. Yes, the same term you would recognize from a camera description. That is because we can now use high-res imaging to get a better look at what makes up a persons ear thanks to an associate professor at Texas A&M. Brian Applegate who works in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and fellow colleagues from Stanford University are now using high resolution and 3D imaging to get complex pictures to map out the inner ear. They believe that this new way of looking at the ear will bring many different opportunities to get a deeper look into the cochlea. The cochlea, which is responsible for the ability to hear, has long been extremely difficult to look at due to its location and size. The cochlea is small and blocked by tissues and other parts of the ear, making it very tricky to understand. This process will allow researchers to understand how the cochlea processes vibrations and turns them into recognizable sounds. They will be looking into how the cochlea amplifies sound, narrows down frequencies, and how a person can focus on one specific sound out of many others. This imaging process will open doors for research to be completed that will eventually lead to better treatment and even better prevention!

Want to learn more about how your ears work? Give Mass Audiology a call! We have plenty of convenient locations throughout Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut so you can easily make your way in for a hearing exam or simple no risk consultation. We look forward to seeing you!

Why Early Hearing Loss Detection Matters

Why Early Hearing Loss Detection MattersDid you know that it can make a huge difference in your life if you have your hearing tested early on in life? That might sound like a bold statement to you, but it is true. Early detection of hearing loss often means that your natural level of hearing can be preserved so it doesn’t become worse and that you won’t suffer any cognitive side effects of hearing loss. Hearing loss has a very sneaky way of slowly taking away a person’s freedom and confidence when it does untreated, so don’t fall victim to it. Stand up and spread the word about early hearing loss detection.

You may be wondering, why is detecting hearing loss to crucial to cognitive abilities? Well, let us talk about this concern. Out of all aging people, those with hearing loss tend to lose cognitive abilities 40% faster than those without hearing loss. This is because hearing loss takes away a sense of confidence from a person and can replace it with stress and frustration. Ultimately the more a person suffers from hearing loss, the less they want to go out to loud places or invite friends over for a holiday party because it can be hard to always have to ask others to repeat themselves. This can lead to depression and even dementia, especially in the elderly. Something as small as a hearing exam can improve your chances of not suffering from a decrease in cognitive ability as you age. The earlier your hearing loss is detected and treated the better. Hearing aids are small, comfortable, and unbelievable smart compared to the hearing aids of yesterday. Hearing aids also no longer carry the stigma with them for those who wear them, as so many people are always attached to their electronics, like headsets.  Keep yourself ahead of the game and have your hearing checked by a hearing care professional!

At Mass Audiology, we offer complete hearing evaluations with multiple hearing centers located throughout the New England area. Our hearing exam uses the latest technology to take a deeper look into your hearing and how to best treat you for your type of hearing loss. For more information on hearing loss, contact us today!

Keeping Ears Protected from Fireworks

Keeping Ears Protected from FireworksIt is almost the fourth of July, and you all know what that means! Time for BBQ’s, family parties, poolside fun, and going out to see the local fireworks show. The fireworks make the 4th of July something truly special. At Mass Audiology, we want you to enjoy your holiday and fireworks entertainment safely. Fireworks can be quite loud, especially for young children or families that are in close proximity to where the fireworks are being set off. Here is some information on how to make sure you and your ears both enjoy this 4th of July safely.

Have you ever wondered just how loud fireworks can be when you are watching them? They can reach levels of up to 140 decibels which is the level that hearing damage can occur at if exposed for too long. Wearing ear protectors will keep your ears safe from harmful sounds. These can be purchased from your hearing care professional or from the local drug store.  We have established that hearing works are very dangerously loud but at what point are they no longer dangerous to your hearing? We recommend sitting more than 500 feet away from the firework launch site, though even at 800 feet sound levels can reach up to 126dB. If you are in a park or at a carnival another way to know if you should be wearing hearing protectors is if you have to shout to be heard by the people right next to you. This means the background noise level is above what is considered safe. Overall, your ears should stay healthy if you remember to wear your hearing protectors and sit far away from the firework launch area.

Learn more about hearing loss and how to prevent hearing loss with Mass Audiology. Our hearing care professionals have offices throughout the New England area and can help answer any and all of your hearing related questions. Want to come in and speak with us in person? No problem! Just simply contact us and set up an appointment to have a hearing exam to learn more about your hearing.

I’m Going On Vacation, How Many Batteries Will I Need For My Hearing Aid?

Why hello there summer, it is nice to see you! The warm weather and summer friday work days have made their way back to us again this year. We won’t let your hearing loss hold you back from enjoying plenty of fun in the sun. Are you taking a summer vacation this year? If this leaves you stressed out because of your hearing loss, remember Mass Audiology is here to help! One of the biggest concerns aside from what do I do If my hearing aids get wet we hear about is how many hearing aid batteries should you bring on your vacation. Today we will talk about the lifespan of your hearing aid battery and how to stay prepared when on vacation!

Your hearing aid battery lifespan will vary depending on type of hearing aid, performance of hearing aid, and also the type of hearing aid battery you use. The one thing you will want to make sure you never do to a hearing aid battery is to never take off the tab from the bottom unless you intend on using the battery immediately. It is also suggested to keep your hearing aids at room temperature prior to use. This will help ensure that your hearing aid batteries keep their full charge until you are ready to use them.

Remember that amount of hours you have for your hearing aid battery vary on the use of the hearing aid. A blue hearing aid battery should last roughly 12 days, a orange hearing aid battery roughly 10 days, a brown hearing aid battery roughly 7 days, and a yellow hearing aid battery roughly 3 days. Remember these times when you plan your next vacation! It also never hurts to bring an extra battery or two just in case of an emergency!

Have fun this summer and let Mass Audiology help you keep your hearing aids in their best condition! Come in for a hearing exam and to learn more about summer hearing aid tips. Contact us today!

Help, My Hearing Aid Got Wet! How Do I Fix it?

The actual date of summer season is just around the corner and the weather is starting to get nice and toasty. New Englanders are no strangers to the beach, lake, or even local piece of riverside in the summertime to stay cool. When you have a hearing aid. you have to make sure you are careful when you are around water. It is important to know if your hearing aid is water resistant, and if so, what level it is approved up to in water. To know more about if you hearing aid is water resistant be sure to ask your audiologist. If your hearing aid does happen to take on a little extra water than planned, there are some things you can do to minimize damage.

Due to their small size, hearing aids nowadays can easily become an after-thought. And you don’t want to remember you are wearing them when you hop in the pool. However, accidents happen and if you follow these steps you may just be able to save your hearing aid.

  1. Turn off your hearing aid immediately.
  2. Take out the hearing aid battery and shake the hearing aid to try to get all of the water out from the battery component.
  3. Find a clean and dry cloth to thoroughly dry your hearing aid battery.
  4. Make sure you keep the battery component open and place your hearing aid on a dry piece of newspaper for it to dry. If you can place the hearing aid in a warm area that is best, so it has the ability to dry out completely.  Just be sure you don’t leave it in a place that gets too hot, you do not want to melt anything!

After following these steps your hearing aid has a much better chance of making it through the summer activities. If something still is not right, take your hearing aid to your audiologist and have them take a look at it to see if they can’t help fix any of the water issues. Luckily, Mass Audiology has many different locations throughout the New England area so we will always be able to help you with your hearing aid needs! Interested in knowing more about hearing aid care? Contact us today!

How Can I Find the Perfect Hearing Aid?

The time has come for you to get a hearing aid and you aren’t sure where to start. Don’t worry this is normal. There are so many options for great hearing aids! Between digital, bluetooth, wireless, speech enhancement, etc it can be overwhelming at first. How do you know which hearing aid will be best for your hearing loss? Don’t worry, you will be able to find the best hearing aid for your type of hearing loss by following a few simple guidelines.  Here are some great ways that you and your audiologist can find the hearing aid right for you!

  • The first step in being paired with the best hearing aid for you is to always be open and honest about your hearing loss to your doctor. Do not be embarrassed to admit that your hearing loss is profound or that you can’t hear your wife/child all of the time. These factors may seem small, but they are important for your doctor to know about. The more open you are, the better match with a hearing aid you will find!
  • You’ve been open about your hearing loss, now what? Do some research on hearing aid features and make a list of what is important to you. Perhaps you want a hearing aid that uses bluetooth technology or offers more in the way of background noise cancelation. Once you know what is important to you, you can start eliminating models that do not have your top features.
  • Look at reviews of the hearing aid, the features, and the distributor. All of these things can play an important role in decision making!
  • Bring your questions, concerns, and research to your audiologist. All of these things can help you be organized in knowing exactly what you want from your hearing aid and can help your audiologist quickly deliver your hearing aid to you.

At Mass Audiology, we look forward to helping you find the perfect hearing aid for your needs. Still not sure what one is right for you after using the guidelines? Don’t worry! Come in and speak with a hearing professional; they can help guide you in the right direction – to better hearing that is! Contact us today to learn more about our very own line of Reveal hearing aids.

Smoke and CO Detectors Finally Use Low Frequency Tone

Smoke and CO Detectors Finally Use Low Frequency ToneWe are willing to bet that most people know the terribly annoying sound of the smoke detector. Whether you have heard it at school for a fire drill, at home because Moms casserole should have come out 5 minutes earlier, or due to an actual emergency, you know it is a high pitched alarm. These alarms are lifesavers for both fire and CO, so shouldn’t they take in mind people who cannot always hear high frequencies? That is exactly what is being done!

People with hearing loss know the added risk of fire emergencies. Things like “will I be able to hear the alarm” have probably run through their heads. Perhaps there was a purchase made for something that would shake the bed or a bright light that would go off when the fire alarm sounded. These are still a great purchase for anyone with profound hearing loss. This new invention in technology is also helpful for those who do not have hearing loss. A study conducted at Victoria University in Australia tested different alarm signals to see which was the best at waking people up, including those with partial hearing loss. The tone that was most successful was 520 Hz, which is much lower compared to the popular 3,100Hz commonly used in fire and CO alarms. 92% of participants were woken up by the 520 Hz alarm. The researchers then set the tone to be a “square wave tone” which peaks oddly and is not one consistent sound like a pure tone. Using the square wave tone, all of the participants were awoken from their sleep when it was tested. This new alarm frequency will know help everyone wake up when there is an emergency.

Fire safety is no laughing matter. This extremely dangerous event requires fast action to get out of the building safely. At Mass Audiology we would love to take the time to sit with you and talk about fire safety for people with hearing loss. Simply schedule an appointment and meet with one of our hearing professionals in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, or New Hampshire. Contact us today!

Can Sleep Apnea Affect My Hearing?

Sleep Apnea and Hearing LossOn May 20th, 2014 at the American Thoracic Society International Conference, a study was presented on how sleep apnea can affect a person’s hearing. The results of the study were considered to be fairly conclusive that sleep apnea can indeed have an impact on a person’s hearing.  The research showed that sleep apnea can cause both high and low frequency hearing loss.

Sleep apnea is when a person has 15 or more episodes of shallow breathing or pauses completely in breathing while asleep in the time period of 1 hour. It has long been linked to issues with blood flow throughout the body. As many of us well know, blood flow is extremely important when looking at the function of the ear. A lack of blood flow can easily cause damage to the ear, which can lead to hearing loss. The study focused on over 13,000 participants from the Hispanic Community Health Study. The participants were made up of 52% women and had an average age of 41 years old. Amit Chopra, MD, the author of the study made sure all of the participants had sleep apnea testing completed in their homes and hearing tests to gauge their level of ability at the start of the study. 10% of the total participants have sleep apnea and 29% of the total participants had hearing loss.  The study showed that participants with sleep apnea were at an increased risk of high frequency hearing loss by 31% and by 90% for low frequency hearing loss.  Researchers hope to look deeper into this connection and looking to see how sleep apnea medication can possibly help avoid hearing loss concerns.

At Mass Audiology, we focus on giving you the best hearing care in the New England area. We have locations in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. At each location, we are dedicated to delivering hearing loss treatment that is personal and comprehensive. Visit us at one of our many locations or schedule your first appointment today.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is a lovely month that slowly reminds us New Englanders that warm weather exists and is right around the corner.Bring on the may showers and flowers! May also marks another important milestone of the 2014 year. It is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Better Hearing and Speech month was started by the American Speech Language Hearing Association as a way to spread awareness of communication disorders. It can also act as a reminder to everyone both young and old that is is time to have your hearing checked for the new year. More than 37 million Americans suffer from hearing loss and yet most will go untreated. Untreated hearing loss is often the cause of stress and depression in the elderly and learning difficulties and stress in youths. These struggles can be coped with by having your hearing tested by a hearing care professional. If it is right for you, you will then look into hearing aid options. Many hearing aids are now digital, bluetooth capable, and connect to many of our daily accessories. This May, why not get your family and friends together in celebration of better hearing and speech month. You could  host your own hearing loss awareness event at home, in the community, or maybe through a local charity. If you currently live with hearing loss you can even host a support group for people  who have questions about hearing loss and for family members of those with hearing loss. All of these great ways to spread awareness will help untreated hearing loss turn into treated hearing loss.

At Mass Audiology, we care about giving you the best quality of life possible with better hearing. We believe early detection is key, however we work with all types of hearing loss from moderate to profound. We have convinient locations throughout Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut; so you can easily find a Mass Audiology hearing center close to your home! In honor of Better Hearing and Speech month, schedule your next appointment!