2018 Summer Newsletter
Why Are You Losing Your Hearing?
Hearing loss happens for different reasons.

Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. This condition is known as presbycusis (prez-buh-KYOO-sis). Doctors do not know why presbycusis affects some people more than others, but it seems to run in families.

Another reason for hearing loss with aging may be years of exposure to loud noise. This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Many construction workers, farmers, musicians, airport workers, landscapers, and people in the military have hearing loss even in their younger and middle years because of exposure to loud noises. 

Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions, stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines. 

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Interesting Facts About Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages — varying from mild to profound. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
  • Degrees of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe, profound.
  • Congenital hearing loss means you are born without hearing.
  • Hearing loss is an invisible condition. Since hearing loss is often not visible, people might jump to the wrong conclusion that someone is aloof, confused, not smart, or has had a personality change.
  • Noise and aging are the most common causes of hearing loss in adults. There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss.
  • Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, causes changes in the inner ear as you get older resulting in a slow but steady hearing loss. In older people, a hearing loss is often confused with, or complicates, conditions such as dementia.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss may happen suddenly or gradually. Being exposed to everyday noises such as listening to loud music, being in a noisy work environment, or using a lawn mower can lead to hearing loss over many years.
  • Sudden, noise-induced hearing loss from gunfire and explosions is the number one disability caused by combat in current wars. 
  • More often than not, severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears) will accompany hearing loss and may be just as debilitating as hearing loss itself.
New Ear Grown on Soldier's Forearm In First-Of-It's Kind Army Surgery
By Aristos Georgiou On 5/10/18 at 6:48 AM

Cartilage in the shape of an ear grows in a patient's forearm as part of cutting-edge total ear reconstruction performed on a 21-year-old soldier at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The cartilage has been successfully transplanted onto the soldier, who suffered the total loss of her left ear after a single-vehicle accident in 2016. U.S. Army Courtesy photo

U.S. Army surgeons have grown a new ear on soldier's forearm to replace one that was lost in a car accident.

Doctors at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) in El Paso, Texas, took cartilage from the soldier’s ribs to craft a new ear. This was then inserted under the skin of the forearm so that it could grow.

The groundbreaking technique—the first procedure of its kind in the Army—allows the ear to form new arteries, veins and even nerves, meaning the private should eventually regain sensation in the ear.

"The whole goal is by the time she's done with all this, it looks good, it's sensate, and in five years if somebody doesn't know her they won't notice," Lieutenant Colonel Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at WBAMC,  said in a statement.

Source: Newsweek
Fight Fatigue Through Better Hearing

Hearing loss is more than difficultly understanding speech and hearing sound. It also makes you extremely tired; listening takes a lot of effort and energy.
People with normal hearing don’t really think about the fact that listening can be fatiguing and frustrating.

The Better Hearing Institute estimates that societal costs of untreated hearing loss result in $56 billion wasted per year in the United States and 92 billion euros in Europe. This high cost was said to mainly be due to lost productivity at work, much of which is due to fatigue caused by coping with hearing loss. 

A survey by the Danish Institute for Social Research found that as many as one in five people suffering from hearing loss give up on the job market, and for those who do work, almost 15 percent are so fatigued by the end of the day they have no energy left for leisurely pursuits.

Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research at the National Deaf Children’s Society in the United Kingdom, paints an accurate picture of what listening fatigue is like in his blog: concentration fatigue. "It’s about the energy involved in lip-reading and being attentive all day long. Processing and constructing meaning out of half-heard words and sentences. Making guesses and figuring out context. And then thinking of something intelligent to say in response to an invariably random question. It’s like doing jigsaws, Sudoku and Scrabble all at the same time."

A loss of energy due to hearing loss makes it difficult to perform at work or be active at home. A one or two hour meeting can make you feel tired, sleepy and physically exhausted. As your energy expenditure is used throughout the day for listening, your ability to perform other tasks or activities is impaired.

Even if you only have one or two meetings and can work at your computer for most of the day, you still may go home tired because your ears are still straining to interpret the sounds and voices going on around you. Your ears never stop working, they never stop listening, and as a result, when 5 o’clock rolls around, instead of being revved up to go walk your dog or hit the gym, you might want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and pass out. 

Why does listening make you tired?
Three areas of our brain connect with the auditory system to help interpret sound and produce speech:
  1. Broca’s Area: speech production
  2. Wernicke’s Area: speech comprehension
  3. Temporal Lobe: manages hearing

For the listener with normal hearing these areas of the brain function as the perfect team, allowing communication to seem effortless. But, with the addition of hearing loss, the brain has to work, think and concentrate harder than it would with normal hearing and this teamwork is disrupted, increasing the challenges of communication and leading to listening fatigue.

How hearing aids reduce listening fatigue
Hearing aids help us reduce the amount of energy we spend listening and communicating by making it easier to hear sounds and speech in a variety of environments. Because the hearing aid helps to restore the sounds that are missed with hearing loss, the brain uses less energy understanding it.

Modern day hearing aids now come with features that help reduce listening fatigue by isolating and amplifying the sounds you want to hear and significantly reducing or removing the noises you don’t.

What about on the phone?
Often our telephone conversations can be some of the most energetically taxing experiences. When we are talking or listening in person, lip reading can make understanding speech faster, but when talking on the phone if a voice is not clear or is mixed with background noise, the conversation can be difficult and tiring. 

There is now technology for hearing aids and smart phones, where it provides an exciting opportunity to effortlessly stream calls directly to the hearing aids for clear, crisp speech.

Help reduce listening fatigue by relaxing
Hearing aids aren’t perfect and can only lessen listening fatigue. Nothing will completely remove it, so here are some helpful tips to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
  • Give yourself a break during the day when you can turn off your hearing aids and take a 5-10 minute.
  • When you feel yourself becoming stressed or tired, take two minutes to close your eyes, take deep breaths and sit quietly.
  • Limit or eliminate interruptions and background noises that can make hearing hard even with your hearing aids (ex. put your phone on silent, ask others to turn down their music or remove yourself from an area where there is a lot of conversation).
  • Eat lunch outside and away from the busy cafeteria or lunchroom areas. It’s ok to take time for yourself.
  • Try reading instead of watching TV and give your ears a break from having to work to listen at all. 
  • Take a power nap.

Source: Starkey Hearing Technologies, By Sarah Bricker on Jul 27, 2015
6 Easy Hacks to Safeguard Your Hearing This Summer

Summer is here! And so are the fireworks, concerts, music festivals, motorized sports, and more.

It’s a great time for fun. But it’s also extremely important to be smart about protecting your hearing.

Remember, the single bang of a firecracker at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant. And any sounds at or above 85 dBA for a prolonged period of time can be unsafe.

“Temporary” hearing loss after loud events and activities quickly adds up, with repeat noise exposure leading to permanent hearing loss—and there’s no cure for that.
Millennials and teens especially should think twice. Data analyzed by the World Health Organization ( WHO) indicate that among these age groups (12 to 35 years), nearly 50 percent are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices, and around 40 percent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. And teens are increasingly experiencing tinnitus—which tends to be a symptom of hearing loss—according to a study published in Scientific Reports.
But you can have fun and be “hearing smart” at the same time.

Here is BHI’s (Better Hearing Institute) shortlist of six easy hacks for protecting your hearing:
  1. Use earplugs. When you know you’ll be around loud sounds, use earplugs. Disposable earplugs, made of foam or silicone, are carried by many local pharmacies. They’re practical because you can still hear music and conversation when they’re in your ears. But when they fit snugly, they help block out dangerously loud sounds. In fact, one study, carried out in conjunction with an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam, found that festival-goers who wore earplugs were about five times less likely to have some temporary hearing loss than those who didn’t wear them. The earplug-users also were less likely to experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus) afterwards.
  2. Be smart celebrating the 4th of July. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. And when watching the show, stay a safe distance away—where you can enjoy the colors and lights but not expose yourself and your family to the loud sounds. Wear earplugs, and make sure they’re securely in place before the show begins. Also, keep them in for the entire show.
  3. Walk away and plug your ears. If a loud noise takes you by surprise, quickly plug your ears with your fingers and walk away. Increasing the distance between you and the source of the sound helps reduce the intensity (or decibels) at which the sound reaches your ears.
  4. Limit your time in noisy environments. Do all you can to limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. When you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet, to give your ears a rest. And remember to use ear protection.
  5. Turn it down. When listening to smartphones and audio electronics, keep them at a low volume. And be sure to limit your use of headphones and ear buds. Remember, it’s not just the volume that matters. It’s also the amount of time spent listening.
  6. Visit us for custom-fit ear protection and a hearing test. We can provide a hearing test to determine your baseline hearing level and determine if you have any hearing loss that should be addressed. We can also can provide custom ear protection to ensure a proper fit.

Summer Hacks
23 Easy Life Hacks That'll Make Your Summer Breezier

By Reader's Digest Editors from the book Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Save time and money this summer with these homemade hacks for cleaning, organizing, and keeping bugs at bay.

Bleach sanitizes pool toys
Dip a sponge into a mixture of two cups of bleach and one gallon of water, then wipe down pool noodles and beach balls. Scrub off grime with a brush, and rinse with water.

Vinegar brightens patio furniture
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and spritz over chairs and tables to remove mildew stains and prevent mold from forming.

Coffee grounds banish ants
Sprinkle some grounds near doorways. Coffee’s high nitrogen content burns bugs, so they won’t walk across it and into your home.

Flip-flops become doorstops
Cut a wedge of rubber from an old thong and use it to prop open a door and let the summer breeze in. By the way, this is why you should never drive in flip-flops.

Continued Hacks

Dryer sheets repel bugs
Keep sheets of this laundry staple in a cup outdoors—they mask the human scent that attracts mosquitoes.

Foil cleans the grill
While the coals are still red-hot, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the grates and close the grill’s lid. The next time you grill, crumple up the foil and use it to scrub off the burned residue before you start cooking.

Foil also catches ice cream cone drips
Keep little kiddos from making a mess of their clothes or your house by wrapping the bottom of an ice-cream cone (or a wedge of watermelon) with a piece of aluminum foil before handing it to them.

Baby powder gives beach sand the brush-off
How many times have you had a family member return from a day at the beach only to discover that a good portion of the beach is now dusting your dining room floor? Minimize the mess by sprinkling some baby powder over sweaty, sand-covered kids (and adults) before they enter the house. In addition to soaking up excess moisture, the powder makes sand incredibly easy to brush off.

Bathtub appliqués make a kiddie pool less slippery
A few bathtub appliqués applied to the floor of a kiddie pool will make it a lot less slippery for little feet and help prevent falls, especially if water play turns rowdy. You can also put a couple along the edges of the pool to give kids easy places to grip onto.

To read all 23 hacks, visit the Reader's Digest Article.
Favorite Recipes
Strawberry-Melon Summer Salad
Recipe by: Drizzler
"This salad is perfect for summer BBQs. The fruit makes it tasty."

  • 1 cup lemon yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups watermelon balls
  • 2 cups cantaloupe balls
  • 2 cups halved fresh strawberries

In a salad bowl, whisk together the lemon yogurt, honey, and lemon juice until smooth, and gently fold in the watermelon balls, cantaloupe balls, and strawberries. Toss to coat, and serve.

Source: Allrecipes.com