Hearing hazards at work

We’ve all heard that it’s dangerous to listen to extremely loud music, but lots of people are exposed to dangerous decibel levels every day at work. According to the Better Hearing Institute, the most risky professions for hearing loss include firefighting, farming, construction, military, entertainment, and factory work. All of these jobs require frequent exposure to loud noise or music, often in close proximity. For instance, many factory workers are positioned next to loud machinery for hours at a time.

This kind of exposure, over long periods of time, has been proven to cause hearing loss or even deafness. To prevent damage to your hearing, it is wise to always wear ear plugs when exposed to high noise levels. A good way to determine dangerous levels is to try to carry a conversation through the noise. If you cannot easily talk to someone without shouting, then the noise is too loud and can potentially cause hearing loss. If you work in a profession that could compromise your hearing, talk to your doctor about prevention techniques. Steps taken now could result in many more years of good hearing down the road.

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Think before ordering hearing aids online

Although it is possible to purchase hearing aids online or by mail order, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association advises people not to order their hearing aids through these methods. Instead, ASLHA recommends that people with hearing loss schedule an appointment with an audiologist. Audiologists, like the ones available to you through True Dental Discounts, offer professional care and a host of services that mail-order companies cannot provide. For instance, patients who talk to an audiologist can learn how to properly use their hearing aid in different circumstances.

They also have access to an audiologist’s repair and rehabilitation services and the follow-up care that is often required when facing issues of hearing loss. Finally, in some cases, patients with hearing loss require medical treatment, and an audiologist can give the proper referrals for those treatments. Hearing loss is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, as a True Dental Discounts member, you have access to quality audiologists at a significantly reduced rate. Take advantage of that opportunity!

Everyday signs of hearing loss

Losing your hearing can be scary. As a result, many people are hesitant to admit that they are beginning to notice signs of hearing loss and may point to external sources to explain any emerging differences. In reality, there are many indicators that you should seek the help of an audiologist, and most are apparent in everyday situations. Some of the indicators, as identified by the Better Hearing Institute, include:

  • Responding inappropriately to verbal questions;
  • Having trouble understanding a speaker in a large room, such as during a church service;
  • Having difficulty hearing someone in a crowded room or restaurant;
  • Frequently perceiving people to be mumbling or murmuring;
  • Increasing inquiries from family and friends about potential hearing loss;
  • Avoiding social gatherings because you fear you won’t be able to hold a conversation;
  • Frequently asking someone to repeat themselves;
  • Realizing you didn’t hear the telephone or the doorbell ring;
  • Having to increase the volume of your TV to properly hear the programs;
  • Reducing your use of the telephone because you can’t hear the other person as well as you used to;
  • Having an especially difficult time understanding conversations with women and children, who have higher voices.

If any of these signs seem familiar to you, you should immediately schedule an appointment with an audiologist on your hearing care plan. There are many solutions available to you that can help preserve your hearing and improve your quality of life. Remember – hearing loss is not always a consequence of old age; anyone can experience signs of reduced hearing, particularly those who are exposed to high levels of noise on a frequent basis. Do yourself a favor and talk to a professional who can help you identify the presence of hearing loss and direct you toward a long-term solution.

Questions to ask before choosing a hearing aid

Hearing aids can provide tremendous benefits for people suffering from any level of hearing loss. With the right device, most people experience a dramatic improvement in their quality of life, making the choice of a hearing aid a very important decision. To help you better judge the effectiveness of a hearing aid, the Better Hearing Institute has developed a series of questions people should ask themselves during a test run, including:

  • How is the sound clarity? Are sounds crisp and clean?
  • Do you like the sound of your voice? Is it what you are accustomed to?
  • Do you sound like you are in a barrel?
  • Are loud sounds uncomfortable?
  • Does music have a rich, full and pleasant texture?
  • Does the hearing aid ever squeak or whistle on its own?
  • Does your hearing aid actually muffle sound by plugging your ear?
  • Is the sound “tinny”?

All of these questions will help you make a well-informed choice about the hearing aid that is right for you. As you can see, it is important to try the hearing aid in a variety of situations – in the presence of loud and soft noises, while listening to music, and while talking to yourself – so you can properly judge the quality of sound. Although some measure of quality is determined by a person’s level and type of hearing loss, it can often be improved by simply adjusting the hearing aid itself. For more expert advice on choosing the best hearing aid, talk to a professional audiologist; you can find an excellent specialist at a discounted price by using your True Dental Discounts hearing plan. With his or her help, you will be on your way to a hearing-rich life.

How do cochlear implants work?

If you’ve been using a hearing aid but still have difficulty hearing or communicating, cochlear implants may be a great option. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants “bypass the damaged inner ear and deliver electrical stimulation directly to the hearing nerve” (American Academy of Audiology). For this reason, cochlear implants are able to benefit people whose ears no longer respond to the amplification offered by hearing aids. Cochlear implants consist of both an external and internal part. The internal part is surgically implanted during an outpatient procedure and cannot be seen from the outside; the external part is similar in appearance to a hearing aid that wraps behind the ear. This external part is fitted and programmed by your audiologist.

According to the Academy of Audiology, everyone responds differently to cochlear implants. Although it does take time to get used to listening with the implant, many people are able to use the phone and even listen to music after a few months. Most implant users also communicate with others and understand speech well. People who receive cochlear implants generally work with a variety of specialists throughout the procedure and trial period, including a speech-language pathologist, who can help restore a sense of normality in everyday conversation.

If you have any questions about cochlear implants or think you could be a good candidate for the procedure, talk to an audiologist on your True Dental Discounts hearing plan. He or she will evaluate your hearing and help you determine if implants are right for your lifestyle and individual needs.