As things start warming back up in Jacksonville, it is likely that you will be heading to the beach or pool (or may get caught in bad rainstorms!). Whether you are new to hearing aids or have worn them for years, one thing almost all hearing aid wearers should know is that these highly advanced technological devices can be damaged by too much moisture. Here is what to do if your hearing aids get wet.
1.Don’t panic! Most hearing aids have a special coating to protect them from moisture damage. While this coating isn’t waterproof, it is water-resistant so that small amounts of water such as from perspiration or rain will be repelled. 2. Try to determine how much water damage has occurred. Did you get caught in a rainstorm, or did they fall into the deep end of the pool? Regardless of the amount of water exposure, try your best to remove them from the moisture source right away.
3. Wipe away any visible moisture the best you can with a dry cloth or tissue. If you have a battery door you should open it, remove the battery, and wipe inside the battery compartment as well. If you have rechargeable hearing aids, wipe the outside down as best you can.
4. Use special hearing aid dryers and drying “jars” for hearing aids. Drying jars use moisture-absorbing beads to soak up any water that may have gotten into the hearing aids. Electric dryers plug into a wall outlet and are generally more effective than the jars (although the jars are more portable and don’t require electricity). Sometimes, even your charging case doubles as a de-humidifier.
5. See if they still work. If they are not working, or do not sound as good as they once did, contact your audiologist.
6. Check your warranty. If your hearing aid is relatively new, water damage may be covered under the warranty; ask your provider.This may also a good reason to get an extended warranty. If the damage is severe, the hearing aid may be replaceable using your insurance under loss and damage.
7. Try your best to not accidentally submerge your hearing aids again. Try leaving a note taped to the shower door or inside your beach bag that says, “Take out hearing aids!” is very helpful. Sometimes just a reminder is all that is needed to avoid a sticky situation!
If you wear hearing aids, you’re going to experience whistling, or feedback, at some point in the life of the device. Here we will discuss some common causes of feedback and what you can do about it.
How does hearing aid feedback occur?
Hearing aid feedback occurs when sound that was supposed to go into your ear canal leaves your ear and goes back into the hearing aid microphone for a second time. The sound then gets reamplified, and this causes your hearing aids to whistle. This feedback can happen in different contexts, like when you put your hearing aids on in the morning and take them off in the evening. This is perfectly normal because the hearing aids are reacting to the sound bouncing back from your surroundings.
However, hearing aid feedback could also be a sign that something could be wrong with your hearing aids, or they need to be cleaned. In that case it’s best to consult your hearing care professional.
What causes my hearing aids to whistle and what can I do about it?
Hearing aids come with feedback cancellation systems, but this doesn’t completely safeguard you from feedback. A number of things can cause your hearing aids to whistle. Here are the most common reasons for feedback and how to resolve them.
A poor fit: In general, if your hearing aids are not put properly in your ear, it gives the sound a chance to escape and re-enter the hearing aid microphone. Make sure they are sitting nice and tight in your ear when you put them on in the morning. The shape of your ears can change over time, and if they do, the earmolds can become loose and no longer seal properly. To fix it, you may need to get new earmolds fitted to your ear. Weight gain or weight loss can also affect your ears and the fit of the earmolds.
Too high volume: It can sometimes be tempting to turn up the volume on your hearing aids. But turning it up too loud can force the sound to re-enter your hearing aids, which causes whistling. Turn down your hearing aid volume and avoid the point at which sound gets so loud that it creates feedback.
Too much earwax: If your ear canal is blocked by too much earwax, the sound can’t get through. So instead, sound bounces back into your hearing aids and they start to whistle. It is recommended to get your ears cleaned out regularly by a professional (no Q-Tips!) to avoid this problem.
If you continue to experience problems with hearing aid feedback and can’t figure out the reason, make an appointment to see your hearing aid audiologist for further assistance to address the issue.
If you wear hearing aids and continue to struggle to understand your friends and family you may be wondering where to turn. There may be a few reasons why you find yourself asking others to repeat despite the use of your hearing aids
Hearing aids may be in need of cleaning or reprogramming.
Wax build-up in a hearing aid can cause the hearing aid to sound muffled leading to difficulty hearing. It is also possible the hearing itself has decreased and the hearing aids are no longer set to the level needed to hear your best.
A common belief is that when someone wears hearing aids they will be able to hear normally. Hearing aids amplify sound which allows easier hearing, but they do not replace normal hearing. This means that you may still miss out on words especially when in a noisy room or when the talker is standing far away or behind you.
Severe hearing loss
Hearing aids amplify sound and then the sound travels to the organ of hearing (the cochlea) which stimulates the hearing nerve. If the cochlea has a lot of damage sound will likely be distorted and unclear even when amplified.
In this case you may receive more benefit from a cochlear implant than a hearing aid. A cochlear implant directly stimulates the hearing nerve and bypasses the portion of the cochlea that has been damaged. With time and therapy this leads to clearer sound.
If you wear hearing aids and feel that you are still not hearing your best give our office a call at 904-399-0350 to further evaluate your hearing and treatment options. Perhaps it is as simple as cleaning and updating the hearing aid settings or perhaps your hearing has declined to a level where a hearing aid can no longer provide benefit.
With everything going on during the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that some people struggle during holiday get-togethers for various reasons. One recent online study shows that 50% of families will host at least one person with hearing loss at their holiday table. For these loved ones, the holidays can be isolating and frustrating, because they don’t feel included in the celebration.
Here are some suggestions to help you have a hearing-friendly holiday:
Minimize background noise. Skip the holiday music or television in the background. Background noise can make it difficult to hear. Consider having rowdy football fans enjoy the game in a different room.
Pay attention to seating. Seat the individual with hearing loss at the head of the dinner table or middle of the table, making it easier for them to see all the guests’ faces. Round tables enable easy viewing for everyone. When setting your table, try decorating with shorter centerpieces to avoid blocking sightlines.
Rephrase, don’t repeat. Instead of repeating the same words, try rephrasing. It’s very likely when someone with hearing loss mentions they can’t hear you; they may be having trouble understanding a specific word or phrase. This approach draws less attention to the individual with hearing loss by keeping the conversation more natural. For those uneasy or self-conscious about hearing loss, this will be appreciated.
Skip the mood lighting. A well-lit room helps those with hearing loss see the mouths and facial expressions of those speaking.
Capture attention. Look directly at the person with hearing loss when speaking to them, so they can see your mouth and facial expressions. To get their attention, gently touch them on the hand, arm or shoulder, or say their name before starting to speak.
Speak clearly. Be deliberate while speaking clearly. Be careful to project, but don’t shout. Keep your hands away from your face when speaking. Avoid disturbances which make following a conversation more difficult.
Ask how you can help. Be respectful and discrete by taking aside the individual with hearing loss and asking if there’s anything you can do to make their visit easier. Demonstrate understanding and compassion, and you’ll be an example of the true meaning of holiday spirit.
If you’re concerned about possible hearing loss for you or a loved one, consider scheduling a consultation with one of our audiologists.
At Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, we are pleased to offer the newest technology in regards to hearing healthcare. Hearing technology has vastly improved over the years with advancements including rechargeability and Bluetooth compatibility.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the audiologists at JHBI have started offering remote programming for our hearing aid patients to alleviate the need to come into the office for appointments. The newest hearing aids offer remote programming through the use of a smartphone application. An appointment time is then set for you to meet with your audiologist via a video call through the applications. During your virtual appointment, your audiologist can make real time changes to your hearing aid settings. You are able provide feedback on sound quality and volume, just as if you were in our office. Remote programming is a great option if you travel often, have transportation issues, or have difficulty leaving home.
Here’s what Gail D., one of our new hearing aid patients, has to say about remote programming:
“Being an older patient, I am not technologically savvy. My Audiologist thoroughly explained how to access the appointment. I was able to voice all my concerns and questions,which were answered, as well, as if I had been in the office. She was able to make an adjustment in my hearing aid and evaluate the change. I clearly was able to notice a difference right away…. It’s nice to know some things can be resolved this way.”
The first step is seeking treatment for your hearing loss is recognizing that you may not be able to hear your friends and family as well as you used to. You may find yourself missing out on fun social events or meaningful conversations. A hearing implant is a very successful hearing loss treatment that provides the ability to hear when hearing aids no longer work for you.
Whether your hearing loss is caused by noise exposure through work or recreation, or simply genetics, a hearing implant allows speech to be not only louder but clearer.
A hearing implant is a device that is surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear and works together with an external device to collect and transmit sound to the brain. Continue reading →
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 37 million people in the United States have a hearing loss. According to a recent article by CNN’s Jen Christensen, if hearing loss were officially considered a disability, it would rank as the largest disability class in the country.
Though hearing aids are the most widely used treatment for hearing loss, only about 20% of people who need a hearing aid actually get one. One of the biggest obstacles to treatment with hearing aids is cost. Unfortunately, most private insurance plans do not include hearing aid benefits, so most patients are forced to pay for hearing aids out of pocket.
Read below for more information on hearing loss, the “invisible disability”, and the current status of hearing aids as they relate to insurance coverage.