Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What are the five most noise toxic occupations today?

Studies show us that almost 30-million people a year are exposed to toxic noise levels that can lead to a Noise-Induced-Hearing-Loss (NIHL).  This makes NIHL the second most common, self-reported, workplace injury.  We have known this is problem for the  last 25+ years and have national standards set to exposure levels in the workplace yet we are still seeing NIHL continue to be on the  rise.  Follow the  link below to gain more information on the most toxic occupations and then check out www.earlink.com to explore your options for both passive and active hearing protection.

Top 5 Nosiest Occupations

LiNX, the new Made For iPhone hearing aid

I am so excited about the new ReSound LiNX hearing aids that just came onto the American market the 1st of March.  I've been in this business for 36-years now and as I look back over this time frame it seems that every 7 to 8 years there comes along a change in technology that, simply put, changes the whole field of hearing assistance.  When I first came into this business I helped introduce the first canal aids in 1980.  Next came some of the early analog/digital hybrid hearing aids in the late 1980's, 87-90, from 3-M, Fox and Ensoniq.  Next came fully digital hearing aids first introduced by Widex around 1998/9.  This was followed in 2006/7 by the first Receiver-in Canal (RIC) aids.   Now we have the first “Made For iPhone, iPad & iTouch” hearing aids introduced by ReSound at the European Hearing Conference in Germany in the fall of 2013 and at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2014.  Each of these major technology/product introductions has forever how we look at hearing aids and how we address hearing problems.  This last change has now changed our view of how we look at hearing aids, they are no longer just a medical necessity for people with hearing loss but now they are a consumer product that couples an individual to some of our most important communication and entertainment devices on the market today.  The MFi hearing aid can now couple a person to their family and friends through the iPhone, Facetime, their music, movies, driving directions from there GPS unit, and a multiple of other events we can only guess at.

There used to be an old joke in the industry in the early 80’s, when hearing aids sold for around $400 a piece, about a man that went into a hearing aid dispenser’s office and asked what the price of hearing aid were.  The dispenser told him they had hearing aids for $4,000 per aid at the high end and at the low end they had one for $1.50.  The man asked what he got for $4000 and the dispenser told him they put this computer in his ear and programmed it just for his hearing loss to give him the best speech clarity.  It also would change how it amplified when he walked into a noisy listening environment.  In addition if he was going to a foreign country he could come in and they could program the hearing aid to translate from that country’s language in English for him.  He responded great but if he bought the low end what did he get?   The dispenser told him they would give him a button with a string tied to it that he could place in his ear.   The man asked him how that helps him hear.  The dispenser told it doesn’t but when people see the string and button in the ear they all talk louder. 

Back when this joke came out we only had analog technology in hearing aids, I was shown a digital hearing aid by Wayne Staab, developed by Dahlberg Electronics, in 1984 but it filled a large suitcase and weighed about 45 pounds, and the first personal computers were just coming onto the market.  They were big and bulky pieces of iron.   So everyone thought this was truly science fiction.   Today we can do all of the things talked  about in the joke including language translation, there are apps out that will  translate from one language to  another language, and the phone will  send the translation  directly to the hearing aid and into  the ear.   Really does seem like what was talked about as joke, way back when, is now today’s fact. 

Think of it a total connection to the world around them.  Many of my patients need to speech read as well as hear what is being said to fully, or partially, understand what is being said.  For several years now I have been suggesting to these patients that they use Facetime or Skype to carry on conversations with family members and friends.   Now the voices can be delivered directly into both ears while they watch the faces to get all of the visual clues.   This is truly a game changer for the hearing aid industry.  


Friday, January 10, 2014

Show Season Has Started

The first show of the season and we are already doing good.  Talking to lots of people about hearing protection and some are buying our hearing protectors.   Truly beleive that they are the best on the market.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The "Hearing Bone's" connected to the WHAT?

Repost from the "Better Hearing Institute" November 12, 2013
Thought this was very good and want more people to see and read this.   Helping people hear is so  much more than just getting people to voices and background noise louder.  It's all about the improvement of a person's life with friends, family and activities they are interested in and living the lifestyle they have dreamed about.

The “hearing bone’s” connected to the what?

BHI - November 12, 2013

Hearing loss isn’t a “stand alone” condition. Not only does it affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life when left unaddressed, but hearing loss has been linked to other health conditions.

* * *

The “Hearing Bone's” Connected to the What?
Studies Show that Hearing Loss is Connected to Other Health Conditions

Once upon a time, before people knew any better, they thought that hearing loss was simply a part of growing older—something not worth doing much about.

They were wrong.

Turns out, hearing loss isn’t fussy about age. More than half of us with hearing loss are still in the workforce. And hearing loss is a much bigger deal than we ever imagined. We need to take it seriously.

As one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States today, hearing loss affects baby boomers, Gen Xers and every other age group. And, when left unaddressed, hearing loss affects just about every aspect of a person’s life.

The big surprise is that hearing loss has been linked to other health conditions.

Hearing loss can have unwelcome companions—like heart disease; diabetes; chronic kidney disease; depression; cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; increased risk of falling; increased hospitalizations.

In fact, as studies on the link between hearing loss and other health conditions mount, we’ve begun to see how our ears—and specifically how our hearing—connect to our whole body and health.

Here’s what we know:

The very best thing to do for hearing loss is to find out if you have it as soon as possible. Then take it seriously. If deemed appropriate by a qualified hearing health care professional, treat it. Hearing aids can benefit the vast majority of people with hearing loss.

Cardiovascular and hearing health are connected. Studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system positively affects hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss. Some experts even believe that because the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow, it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body—making the ear a kind of “window to the heart.”

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without it.

Recent studies show a link between hearing loss and dementia, leading many experts to stress the importance of addressing hearing loss. One study found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Another found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, and that those with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal.

People who don’t address hearing loss are more prone to depression. Fortunately, studies show that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids often have fewer depressive symptoms, greater social engagement, and improved quality of life.

Hearing loss is tied to a three-fold risk of falling. One study found that even people with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling.

A study of older adults showed that those with moderate chronic kidney disease had a higher prevalence of hearing loss than those of the same age without the disease.

Hospitalization is more likely for older adults with hearing loss than for their peers with normal hearing, according to a study by experts at Johns Hopkins.

A 2013-published study found that older men with hearing loss had a greater risk of dying, particularly from cardiovascular causes. But men and women who used hearing aids—even though they were older and had more severe hearing loss—had a significantly lower mortality risk than those with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids.

Most doctors don’t include hearing health as a routine part of annual exams. So ask to have your hearing tested. Once you reach middle-age, it makes sense to include hearing tests as part of your routine annual care.

It seems that the “hearing bone” may be connected to more than we originally thought.

So the next time you think you might be having trouble hearing something, listen to your ears. They may be telling you something.
For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Impairments in Hearing and Vision Impact on Mortality in Older People"

This study was just published in the Oxford Journals (you can read the study from this link Oxford Journals - Hearing Impairment ).  What the study boiled down to was that "older men with Hearing Impairment were at a greater risk of dying from any cause and particularly cardiovascular causes by a factor of 25.4% over the average normal hearing male adult when followed up over a five-year period.  The question I have about this is how many if any had been treated with hearing aids and if the hearing aid wearers had shown any reduction from the non-wearer.  As we learn more and more about the "side" effects of hearing loss on individuals, mortality, earlier unset of Alzheimer, loss of grey matter density in the Auditory Cortex, and Brain Plasticity we have to wonder, those of in the hearing profession, if we are waiting too long to get amplification on individuals or are keeping the amplification current to meet their needs.   It seems the studies are show that the risks of waiting or not thinking how important our hearing is too our overall wellbeing.  In the past we have always thought of just the loss of word recognition was effected by holding off getting amplification and now the studies are starting to show a whole new realm of side effects we had no idea of that seem to have big side effects, not just to our lifestyle, but to our overall wellbeing and longevity.  Something to think about during the decision process as we move towards accepting amplification as a good and viable option.  Yes, good hearing aids are expensive but if they can help slow down or offset the side effects of a hearing impairment then that really lowers the cost of ownership I would think.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Noise and Noise Pollution

When does noise in our listening environment become Noise Pollution?  Every day we live in a sea of noise.  Traffic, HVAC fans, children playing, background music and more.  Our ears hear all of this and much more.  So the question becomes how do we protect ourselves from this on slot of toxic noise?  Part of the answer is good hearing protection and some of the answer can be found in the following article at Noise Pollution in your neighborhood.  To learn more see our website at www.earlink.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Duck Calling

Setting up the Sportsman Show schedule for the coming year.  Really looking forward to helping people protect their hearing.  Just worked with a Duck caller.  He tried some of the his calls in our office and outside in the parking lot.  Thought the GSP15 were very good for protection but the calls sounded so much better using the Musician's digital hearing protection.  He felt like he could perceive the small nuances of the call better with them then the GSP15.  Will not give quite as much hearing protection from blasts but will let him call better.