Protect with earmuffs. Earmuffs aren’t only for keeping your ears warm while you’re building snowmen in the front yard or out playing with your favorite nephew. Specialized earmuffs are available specifically for protecting your ears from damaging noise. Even if you already have hearing loss, further damage from noise is almost completely preventable by simply limiting your exposure. Noise reduction earmuffs are not just for winter. In fact, they will come in handy many times throughout the year. Whether you’re using your noisy lawnmower in the spring, enjoying a fireworks show in the summer and taking in a football game in a noisy arena, earmuffs will keep the noise level safe. Depending upon the style you choose, expect to pay anywhere from $10 on up for earmuffs that reduce noise by as much as 30 dB.
Have you ever walked in the room to find your children (or spouse!) glued to the blaring television, oblivious to how loud they have it turned up? The phenomenon is called sensory adaptation. The brain becomes accustomed to the sound level and becomes less sensitive to it. Thus begins a very dangerous cycle where the listeners will keep turning it up, becoming desensitized to it, and turning it up more.
Damage from loud noises and sounds are time based. Extremely loud sounds can do damage almost immediately while loud music or audio from the television can damage your hearing the longer you’re exposed.
Teaching your children to protect their hearing should begin early.
- Learn together about the ear, how it works
- Discuss the causes of hearing damage and the science behind hearing loss
- Explain that, given our current knowledge, we can’t heal our hearing. Once it’s damaged, it’s damaged for good
- Model good behaviors by taking long listening breaks, turning down the TV, monitoring music levels, and wearing hearing protection
If you and your children regularly participate in loud activities (powersports, use of powertools, attending concerts, etc), consider having custom hearing protection professionally made. At Blount Hearing and Speech <we do great things to get you personalized hearing protection, earbuds, in ear monitors, etc etc etc>
10 Ideas for Parenting a Child with Hearing Loss
No child is too young to test!! We are able to provide infant and child hearing evaluations at Blount Hearing and Speech in Maryville. We have specialized testing and procedures we use to test children in all stages of development. Sometimes testing of children can take multiple sessions to obtain all the information needed to rule out a hearing loss. We are dedicated to provide a calm testing environment and create a pleasant experience for you and your children.
1. Parenting is Inherently Conflictual
The parents’ job is to teach their child the rules of their culture, both the macro society and the micro culture of the family. These rules are learned; children have no inborn knowledge and they learn by testing limits imposed by their parents. Therefore, as the child tests boundaries, there is conflict. It is the parents’ responsibility to set limits for their child, but over the long haul they must give ground to accommodate the child’s growth, eventually ceding full control to the child/adult. I often tell parents, “if you are not fighting with your child, you are not doing it right.” I usually get the response, “not to worry, we are doing it right.”
2. Making Mistakes
There are many crucial decisions parents must make. Trying to raise a child with a hearing loss mistake-free is an exercise doomed to failure. For me, it is only a “mistake” if you do it a second time; the first time through it is data. Parents do not owe their child error-free decisions. What they owe their child is to make a decision on the best available data and change the course of action if it is not working out. The “mistake” parents of children with hearing loss often make is to stay with a program longer than they should for fear of admitting that they were wrong or alienating the professionals. Parents need to be monitors of their own decisions and advocates for their child.
3. Teaching Failure
Children need to learn how to cope with adversity and, therefore, need to experience failure while growing up. Parents of children who have special needs tend to over-protect and shield them from failure, but the child must experience failure in order to grow. Growing up without coping skills limits a child severely because the adult experience is that we don’t always succeed in what we do. It is the overcoming of frustration that enables us to grow, so mild frustration is an incentive to growth. One of the hardest things for any parent to do is to stand back and let his or her child experience failure. We need to be judicious about it because if we let the child experience too much failure, they become risk averse and not enough failure, they become frustration intolerant. Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have thin margins to work with, and recognizing when to let go and when to protect is the art of parenting.
4. Developmental Issues versus Hearing Loss Issues
It is always hard for parents to distinguish between behavior that is due to the hearing loss and behavior that is developmental in nature. Parents usually err in the direction of giving too much credit for the deafness and not holding their child to the same standard of conduct as a child who has typically hearing. A child must learn to take responsibility for their own choices and they must experience the consequences of their own behavior – if the child spills the milk, he or she needs to help clean it up! This is why we have always kept an early childhood teacher as well as a child who has typical hearing in the Nursery. The teacher and the child are there to remind us of the developmental prerogatives. At the 2-year-old level, almost all behavior is developmental in nature; 2-year-old children with all levels of hearing are prone to ignore their parents.
5. Hearing Loss is a Family Affair
Family therapists tell us that the family is a system in which all the parts are intricately linked, meaning that when one part of the system is damaged, all parts of the system, even seemingly remote ones, are affected. Siblings and grandparents also deserve professional attention. One of the first topics that usually emerge in a parent group is the imbalance of attention paid to siblings who have typical hearing. Within the Nursery we always try to have siblings participate in the nursery and therapy if the activities are age appropriate. Grandparents also deserve attention. For them, it is a double wound as they are concerned for their child as well as for their grandchild. They seldom get a chance to talk about their feelings; within the Nursery, we try to have a grandparent-only support group. These are usually the most emotionally intense groups that I facilitate.
6. Tending to the Primary Relationship
Parenting any child, but especially one with a hearing loss, is a very demanding job. It is a 24/7 responsibility that requires vigilance and, at times, difficult decisions that demand a lot of thought and attention. This is a job that is best done within a supportive relationship where ownership and responsibility can be shared. Single parents can and do turn out well-rounded children. Those that do it best have found other places of support other than a marital partner. It is absolutely necessary that time and attention be paid to the primary relationship. It is easy to damage a relationship because too much energy is devoted to the parenting and not enough to marital maintenance. I often tell parents that the parenting, though very intense, is a relatively short-term proposition; the partnership is long term and therefore needs ongoing attention.
7. Good Parenting/Good Self Care
It is often hard for parents to see that they are the lynchpin of the family. The parent is the most important family member and therefore requires care. Leadership is what you have left over after you have taken care of one’s self. Often the best thing a parent can do for their child is to take time for themselves; running on empty won’t cut it. A long walk or a cup of tea can go a long way in the parenting process. Happy parents usually turn out happy children.
8. The Bottom Line
Some parents are motivated to try to overcome their child’s hearing loss. To have a child that speaks typically and integrated into mainstream setting can become the main goal. However, the child may see this as a denial of the hearing loss and a rejection of who the child is. This can lead to an unhappy child who rejects their parents’ goals. In my opinion, the bottom line should be to have a child who is comfortable in his or her skin and is interpersonally happy. The listening and spoken language skills, while important, are secondary and children need to be accepted for who they are, not for who they might become. Parents need to be able to distinguish between what the child’s needs are and what is in the best interests of their child.
9. Letting Go
The parents’ job is to create an independent adult who no longer needs them. To that end, parents must gradually cede control of their child’s life to the child. This must start early and be ongoing. There is nothing more important than teaching a child to take responsibility for the choices he or she makes. Parents must set the boundaries for their child at a very early age and within that universe, give the child real choices and allow the child suffer the consequences of their choices. Eventually, the parent should give up all control. If the parent becomes so embedded within the parenting, to the extent that the primary relationship is negatively impacted and the parent neglects other aspects of his or her life to do the parenting, then letting go becomes very hard. Many parents can hardly wait for their child to leave home so they can devote more energy to other aspects of their lives.
10. The Gift
There is a great deal of pain, anxiety and sheer hard work in the process of successfully raising a child who has a hearing loss. Yet within that travail, strange as it may seem, there is much opportunity for joy and growth. We give to life what life demands and hearing loss can become a powerful teacher, helping parents develop skills and capacity that otherwise might lie latent. I am always struck at the resiliency of parents and children. They stretch to do what needs to be done and in that stretching they grow. This is the gift the child brings. My wish for all parents is that in the course of raising their child, they find the gift. For me it has been a marvelous life work, and the families I’ve worked with have brought to me a great gift of giving direction and meaning to my life’s work.
Luterman, D., D.Ed.(2010). 10 Ideas for Parenting a Child with Hearing Loss. Volta Voices, 17(6), 18-21.
Why is it important to have your hearing aids professionally cleaned every 6 months?
At BHSS, we emphasize the importance of getting your hearing aids cleaned and checked every six months. Without the patient noticing, there could be possible debris in the microphones, tubing or wax guard causing a dampening of sound.
During a clean-and-check, your hearing care professional will conduct several different procedures, depending on the particular hearing aid. The appointment also gives the patient and provider a perfect opportunity to touch base and discuss how things are going with the hearing aid and the patient’s ear health in general.
What should I expect having my Hearing Aids Cleaned?
1. Sanitization-Before any type of maintenance is performed on the device, the earmold or dome will be sanitized with an alcohol prep pad.
2. Listening Check-A listening check will then be conducted to establish the current quality and volume of sound.
3. Cleaning-Depending on the device, the microphones will then be vacuumed. Sometimes the hearing aid will be disassembled for a more thorough cleaning of the microphones. If a patient has a hearing aid with a wax guard, this will be replaced, and the receiver will be vacuumed out. Domes will also be replaced at each clean-and-check appointment. If the hearing aid has an earmold and tube, the tube will be replaced and the vent (when applicable) will be cleaned of any debris. Finally, the hearing aid will be placed in our vacuum chamber to help pull moisture from all of its parts.
4. Further Testing-During a clean and check appointment, a diagnostic test box measure can be conducted to troubleshoot any problems with the hearing aid. Once the device has been fully cleaned, a final listening check will be conducted to make sure things are sounding as good as before — if not better.
After all of that, the hearing-care professional will return the hearing aids and explain to the patient what they performed and replaced.
To get more information or schedule your next hearing aid cleaning, contact BHSS.
Hunting Season is here and Blount Hearing and Speech cares about your health and safety! A single gunshot can result in permanent hearing damage. Firearms can easily reach 140dB or louder, depending on the style of the gun. Wearing hearing protection when shooting is essential. Here at Blount Hearing and Speech Services, INC, we sell ESP hearing protection to keep you safe and protected.
The possibilities of hearing loss while shooting are endless. A single gunshot can render you without your hearing permanently, but can be easily avoided with proper gun hearing protection. BHSS specialize in custom ear protection for shooting to prevent damage or complete hearing loss. No matter what you’re trying to hear while hunting, ear protection is essential. Without it you can permanently damage or lose your hearing and not be able to continue big game hunting. Shooter ear protection will keep you in the game much longer while allowing you to hear even the gentle footfalls of a bear coming close. If you make your living as a hunter and hearing the gobble of a turkey means continuous employment, don’t sacrifice your future by not having the correct shooter hearing protection. Having top quality ear protection for shooting can be the difference in whether or not you can provide for your family. With Electronic Shooters Protection (ESP), your gun and hunting ear protection will last for years to come.
To learn more about ESP, and how it can benefit you, give us a call at 865-982-8557! We look forward to hearing from you!
Ready to live life large? Whether you are out sailing, biking or are on the ice, it is important to hear all the sounds of the nature. With the new WIDEX UNIQUE™ digital hearing aids you will be capable of hearing and enjoying all the sounds you will need to live life large. With the new WIDEX HEARING AID models, you will not only get one of the smallest hearing aids on the market – but also some of the best. Our new Wind Noise Attenuation feature removes unwanted sounds of wind and leaves you with the sound that matters – whether it is the sounds of the ocean waves or the birds in the trees. With the WIDEX HEARING AID behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids you can live life to the fullest.
Diabetes and hearing loss are two of America’s most widespread health concerns. Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and an estimated 34.5 million have some type of hearing loss. Those are large groups of people, and it appears there is a lot of overlap between the two.
A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Also, of the 86 million adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose.
Right now we don’t know how diabetes is related to hearing loss. It’s possible that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys. But more research needs to be done to discover why people with diabetes have a higher rate of hearing loss.
Since it can happen slowly, the symptoms of hearing loss can often be hard to notice. In fact, family members and friends sometimes notice the hearing loss before the person experiencing it.
Effects of Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people.
Thinking that others are mumbling.
Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants.
Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children.
Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby.
What should I do if I suspect a hearing loss?
Seek help from hearing specialist like one of our audiologist who specializes in hearing problems. From a full hearing exam, you’ll learn more about your hearing loss. You will also be told what can be done to treat it.
Contact BHSS for a full hearing exam.
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, swishing, clicking, or other type of noise that seems to originate in the ear or head rather than from an external source.
Tinnitus is not an illness itself but a symptom of other conditions, such as:
ear wax buildup
loud noise exposure
brain tumors or other tumors near the ear
blood flow problems
increase in pressure of the fluid surrounding the brain
temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
Symptoms of Tinnitus
The main symptom of tinnitus is hearing sound in your ears that is not due to an external source that no one around you can hear. The noise is often described as ringing, buzzing, clicking, or rushing. Hearing loss and dizziness may occur if the tinnitus is due to Meniere’s disease. Because tinnitus is due to other conditions that may require medical treatment, it should be evaluated by a doctor, especially if the tinnitus is only on one side, is sudden, or is associated with hearing loss.
Treatment of Ringing in the Ears
Treatment of ringing on the ears (tinnitus) depends upon the cause and may include medications, stress reduction techniques, biofeedback, lifestyle changes, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), masking devices, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Home remedies are generally not recommended for tinnitus because they may not address the underlyng cause. The best way to prevent some cases of tinnitus is to avoid damage to your hearing, such as loud noise exposure. For many other causes there may be no way to prevent the accompanying tinnitus symptoms. There is currently no cure for most cases of tinnitus. Symptoms of tinnitus may come and go over time, and if you have had tinnitus it’s likely it will recur. While it may be annoying, most people can learn to cope with it. Stress, diet, and noise exposure may worsen symptoms.
After it has been determined that you are suffering from hearing loss in both ears (bilateral hearing loss) from a licensed hearing care practitioner or an audiologist, it’s important to remember why you should invest in two hearing aids instead of settling on just one.
If you relate your hearing loss to that of vision loss, while you may have a stronger loss in one eye than the other, you’re fitted with a
pair of glasses, not one lens.
Here are a few additional reasons to keep in mind before you talk yourself out of two hearing aids:
Better understanding of speech
Your brain can focus on the conversation you want to hear because selective listening can be achieved by wearing two hearing aids.
Studies show that 50% of people with ringing/buzzing in their ears, also known as tinnitus, report improvement when wearing two hearing aids.
Ability to tell direction of sound
While this is the last bullet listed, it is quite possibly the most important reason to consider two hearing aids for bilateral hearing loss. Our brain can determine the direction of sound by what is called “localization” WITH bilateral hearing.
Simply put, it allows you to hear from which direction someone is speaking to you. However, while we think localization is only important for just social gatherings, this ability helps you determine which direction traffic is coming from or where your kids/grandchildren are playing, potentially saving you from a traffic accident or keeping your kids/grandchildren out of a busy street.
Are you ready for the sounds of summer? Here are some Summer Hearing Tips You Should Know. Make sure they are not too loud! Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss – and it is mostly preventable. Here are some tip to keep your ears healthy and protected this season.
- Concerts: Outdoor concerts are a great way to celebrate summer, but they can be a great way to ruin your hearing as well. Pack a few earplugs the next time you head to a summer music festival or concert. This is especially important for children, who are extra vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss.
- Lawn equipment: It’s important to keep your lawn in shape, but it’s also important to keep your ears in shape too. Sound from lawnmowers can reach 107 dB, which is well above the 90 dB limit at which prolonged exposure can lead to hearing loss. Those are some Dangerous Decibels! Wear ear protection while mowing the lawn. Headset-worn ear protection can be found at your local hardware store.
- Swimming and water sports: Widex hearing aids are designed to be water resistant, but they aren’t entirely waterproof. You can have them on in the rain or on a sailing trip – but take them off when you swim. If you take them off at the beach or pool, make sure to keep them in a case where they are protected and cannot get lost.
- Sweat: Summer is a time for sun – and sweat. Luckily, your hearing aids are designed to handle sweat and daily moisture. To keep them in top shape, consider the DRY-GO UV drying station.
- Sunscreen: It is important to protect yourself from the sun this summer. Be careful with your hearing aids when applying sunscreen to your ears, though. While hearing aids are designed to be protected from most elements, it can still be a sticky situation if you get too much sunscreen on them.