Hearing

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6 things you shouldn’t do when talking to a person with hearing loss

<p>Although hearing loss impacts many people, unfortunately many people do not know how to talk to someone with hearing loss.</p> <p>Senior audiologist Gemma Twitchen said, “Hearing loss affects people of all ages and can be caused by a number of factors, including exposure to loud noises, virus or disease, ageing and it can be inherited.”</p> <p>Next time you talk to someone with hearing loss, try to avoid doing any of these things.</p> <p><strong>1. Don’t cover your mouth</strong></p> <p>A lot of people who have a loss of hearing use lipreading to understand people. Lipreading is a great skill but it is pointless when a person is covering their mouth whilst talking.</p> <p><strong>2. Don’t exaggerate your facials expressions and gestures</strong></p> <p>You might think that you are being helpful by exaggerating your expressions and gestures but the chances are you will portray yourself as inauthentic and offensive.</p> <p><strong>3. Don’t shout</strong></p> <p>Shouting can come across as rude and can cause discomfort to those who use a hearing aid. Once you begin shouting it is easy to increase your volume without noticing, so be sure to assess your volume when talking.</p> <p><strong>4. Don’t assume hearing aids cure deafness</strong></p> <p>While hearing aids are helpful devices, they do not completely cure hearing loss. The environment you are in can affect a hearing aid so be attentive when talking to someone with a hearing device.</p> <p><strong>5. Get their attention before talking</strong></p> <p>Be sure to get their attention before you start talking to them. This will avoid frustration on your end and avoid embarrassing them.</p> <p><strong>6. Don’t ignore those with hearing loss in group settings</strong></p> <p>If you are in a group setting with people who have various levels of hearing, always be inclusive of those with hearing loss. The time you take to make sure they are a part of the conversation will go a long way.</p> <p>Do you have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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Is your dizziness caused by ear problems?

<p>There are many causes to dizziness such as low blood pressure or dehydration, but did you know ear problems are also one of them? This occurs because the balance organ is actually located in part of the inner ear, although our sense of balance actually comes from the coordination of the balance organ, the visual system and the muscles in the body. If you’ve experienced a spinning sensation coupled with decreased hearing or ringing in the ears, your dizziness might be caused by an ear disorder. You should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.</p> <p>The most common ear-related causes of dizziness include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo –</strong> This is a common inner-ear disorder among older people, where crystals normally located in the inner ear become dislodged. As your head moves, the crystals move causing dizziness.</li> <li><strong>Labyrinthitis –</strong> An ear disorder that involves inflammation of the middle ear. It generally occurs after a viral infection.</li> <li><strong>Meniere's disease –</strong> This is an inner ear disorder that causes severe hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.</li> <li><strong>Acoustic neuroma –</strong> It is a non-cancerous tumour of the ear that causes ringing in the ears, hearing loss and balance problems.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/09/antibiotics-linked-to-hearing-loss/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Certain antibiotics linked to hearing loss</span></a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/09/things-hearing-impaired-find-annoying/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10 commandments the hard of hearing wish you’d follow</span></a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/09/spotify-and-starkey-hearing-foundation-ad/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Emotional video of three deaf people hearing family for first time</span></a></strong></em></p>

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Why you should leave earwax alone

<p>Although it is widely popular and irresistible, inserting cotton-tipped swabs into your ears has been strongly discouraged by health experts. Here’s why you should reconsider before you reach for cotton swaps every day.</p> <p><strong>1. Earwax is not a sign of poor hygiene</strong></p> <p>The medical term for earwax is cerumen and it has natural benefits for your ears. Cerumen is a natural moisturiser and prevents the skin inside the ear from drying out. It also traps dirt from reaching deep inside the ear canal, absorbs dead skin cells and prevents bacteria from reaching the inner ear.</p> <p>Everyone produces a different amount of earwax depending on factors such as ethnicity, age, environment and diet. It is not a sign that you have bad hygiene.</p> <p><strong>2. It can be harmful</strong></p> <p>Inserting cotton swabs into your ear can damage the ear canal or eardrum. It can also push earwax further into the canal and this can cause a feeling of pressure on the ear and diminished hearing. Clumps of ear wax pushed down near the eardrum can also lead to painful ear infections.</p> <p><strong>3. It’s unnecessary</strong></p> <p>The ear self-cleans itself so not routine maintenance is required. Earwax is produced within the ear canal and naturally migrates from inside to outside. For those who make more earwax than the average person or if the earwax becomes hard and dry, seeing a doctor is your best option.</p> <p>Your doctor can recommend over-the-counter ear drops that can soften earwax and allow it to exit your ear with ease. They may also look inside your ear and use instruments specifically designed to remove earwax. </p>

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Why some TV dialogue is so hard to hear

<p><em><strong>Lauren Ward is a Doctoral researcher in Audio Engineering and General Sir John Monash Scholar the University of Salford.</strong></em></p> <p>Within 24 hours of the first episode of wartime drama SS-GB being broadcast <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-39038406" target="_blank">the BBC received 100 complaints</a></strong></span>. Viewers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations with the sound. Many highlighted their annoyance that SS-GB was just the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-02-23/why-does-yet-another-tv-drama-have-mumbling-dialogue--and-whats-the-solution" target="_blank">latest drama to be plagued with audibility problems</a></strong></span>. The debate has stretched to the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39489713" target="_blank">House of Lords</a></strong></span>, with peers asking whether consultation with broadcasters is needed to address the issue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Why do dramas on the BBC always mean mumbling. Couldn't watch Taboo or SS-GB without subtitles and the volume way up.</p> — Charlotte Gibbons (@C_Gibbons2005) <a href="https://twitter.com/C_Gibbons2005/status/833567761519493120">February 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <p>So is making television sound understandable as simple as asking actors to speak up? The short answer is: no. Clean recordings and well enunciated speech will always make dialogue easier to understand. However, the relationship between the audio from our television and what we understand as speech is much more complex.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/shortcuts/2017/feb/20/flatscreen-tvs-actors-or-realism-whats-to-blame-for-ss-gbs-mumbling-problem" target="_blank">Many news sources</a></strong></span> and <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2017-04-04/debates/F84C55A0-3D8B-41F7-A19C-CC216F8C7B0B/TelevisionBroadcastsAudibility" target="_blank">some of the Lords</a></strong></span> blamed <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/20/ss-gb-bbc-re-examine-sound-yet-mumbling-complaints/" target="_blank">“modern flat televisions which place more emphasis on picture quality”</a></strong></span> than sound quality.</p> <p>There is some evidence to support this idea. A recent study <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.aes.org/e-lib/inst/browse.cfm?elib=18436" target="_blank">investigating how television sets effect speech intelligibility</a></strong></span> showed the frequency responses (how loud different frequencies are, relative to each other) in different television sets differed by 10 to 20 decibels. This means the low pitched, rumbling background sounds might be made louder than intended, while the higher pitched voices stay the same volume. This issue is made worse by locating the speakers in the television sets so they point downwards or even backwards.</p> <p>Speaker quality is likely a contributing factor but not all television programmes have suffered the same complaints as SS-GB. Assuming that viewers did not exclusively watch SS-GB with poor quality television speakers, this means there are other factors at play.</p> <p><strong>Have I heard this before?</strong></p> <p>Humans are quite good at understanding speech in challenging or noisy situations. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982209016807" target="_blank">Research</a></strong></span> indicates personal and psychological factors play a role in how well we are able to do this. Similarly, these factors may affect how we hear dialogue on television.</p> <p>For example, you might find it easy to understand Bart and Homer’s banter in your 500th episode of The Simpsons while multitasking on Twitter and making a cuppa. But when the first episode of the newest crime drama comes on, you may find that you have to sit down and pay full attention to understand the speech. How well we understand speech is effected by whether we have heard a talker, a particular accent or what they are talking about before.</p> <p>The effect of a familiar speaker on how well we understand speech is termed the “Familiar Talker Advantage”. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24131605" target="_blank">Studies have shown</a></strong></span> that we are able to understand our spouse’s voice (a highly familiar voice) better than unfamiliar voices. Even voices we have <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3081685/" target="_blank">only recently heard</a></strong></span> are easier to understand than those we are completely unfamiliar with.</p> <p>How predictable the content of the speech is also effects how easily we understand it. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.381436" target="_blank">It has been well established</a></strong></span> that when we have language or content cues in the speech, we recognise speech twice as accurately, even in the most challenging of listening situations. If we hear Homer Simpson’s brazen American voice exclaiming “Who ate all the …”, our brains are likely to insert the missing word as “doughnut”, not “bell peppers”. And we probably wouldn’t even notice we were doing it.</p> <p>Happy Valley, another drama which had similar complaints to SS-GB, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/bbc-bosses-blame-accents-yet-7381498" target="_blank">had accents pointed to as the issue</a></strong></span>. On that occasion, the Lords criticised “indecipherable regional accents”. It has been shown, for American English, that <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2744323/" target="_blank">some accents are generally harder to understand than others</a></strong></span> regardless of your own accent. Though when hearing is greatly challenged by competing noise, speech in your own accent is easier to understand.</p> <p>Familiarity with an actor’s voice, their accent and what they may be speaking about changes our perception of the clarity of dialogue. This does not solve the issue of audibility more generally though.</p> <p><strong>I’m no expert, but I know what I like</strong></p> <p>Part of what makes the problem of audible speech on television difficult to solve is that there is no consensus on what “good sound” sounds like. Even among the barrage of complaints about SS-GB, some found no issue with the dialogue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Watched SS-GB. No one mumbled. There was some bigly breathy talking going on, but no mumbles. Subtitles, headphones or better TV.</p> — Chris Bennion (@PigLimbedViking) <a href="https://twitter.com/PigLimbedViking/status/833977710682763264">February 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Similar patterns have been seen in previous research by the BBC. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/whitepaper272" target="_blank">An experimental football broadcast by the BBC</a></strong></span> in 2013 allowed viewers to adjust the volume of the crowd compared with the commentary. While most users (77%) agreed that they liked the personalised broadcast, they differed in their preferences. Some balanced commentary and crowd noise while others preferred all crowd noise or all commentary.</p> <p>The technology which allowed the user to alter the sound mix in the 2013 experiment is called <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2013/05/object-based-approach-to-broadcasting" target="_blank">object based broadcasting</a></strong></span>. In the future, this may allow viewers to alter the levels of different segments of the broadcast based on their preference or their needs on their own televisions. Studies have shown that using the technology in this way can <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7270767/" target="_blank">improve speech intelligibility</a></strong></span>. It has also been <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/whitepaper324" target="_blank">proposed by the BBC</a></strong></span> as a way forward for improving television sound for the hard of hearing.</p> <p>The many factors effecting speech intelligibility mean that one particular sound mix will rarely make everyone happy. The provision of “personalisable” broadcast mixes, using object based broadcasting, may be the solution.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Ward. First appeared on <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation.</a></span></strong></em><img width="1" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.edu.au/content/75423/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation"/></p>

Hearing

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The trials and tribulations of getting mum used to her new hearing aids

<p><em><strong>Celena Ross’s plans to ramp up her celebrant businesses were compromised when she found herself part of the sandwich generation of caring for an elderly mother and grandchildren. Struggling with the unexpected hours of caring and faced with a loss of identity in her transition to semi-retirement, Celena established her website</strong> <a href="http://retireematters.com.au/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Retiree Matter</span><span style="text-decoration: underline;">s</span></strong></a> <strong>to assist other corporate women.</strong></em></p> <p>Depressed and increasingly social isolated, mum finally received some good news – my request for her new hearing aids had been approved. This was a shock to us as it was approved three years earlier than the standard pensioner replacement time of five years.</p> <p><strong>Day 1</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, on the day of the hearing aid appointment, I was still suffering from dizziness, brought about according to my doctor from an intense three months of caring for mum after she had had a fall. Instead, my 40-year-old son took his granny and returned her to my place all smiles.</p> <p>Wearing the small microphone shaped like a USB, clipped onto our tops, mum could hear us when she was in the kitchen and we went into the loungeroom. Again, with it clipped on my son who tends to mumble at times, she could hear him clearly. Placing the device in front of the TV, for the first time in years mum could hear the TV. She could even hear it without the USB microphone device, just with her new hearing aids.</p> <p>It was smiles, high-fives and happy times.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/health/hearing/2016/10/celena-ross-on-looking-after-her-hard-of-hearing-mother/" target="_blank">Gone will be the days of saying “Whatcha Say?”</a></strong></span>and then hanging up on the phone because she can’t hear.</p> <p><strong>Day 2</strong></p> <p>I went to Mum’s to drop off some shopping and check up on her but there was a problem, she couldn’t hear the TV. She was pushing volume buttons up and down on the remote device that ‘talks’ via Bluetooth to the USB microphone. “Stop,” I explained. It was the TV remote she needed to push as she had it on silent!  I explained with the new hearing aids and devices she could have it on at a level that I could sit and listen to the TV with her.</p> <p>I wrote out very simplified instructions regarding how the remote device she wore around her neck, ‘talked’ to the USB microphone.</p> <p><em>No light = OFF</em></p> <p><em>Green light = ON</em></p> <p><em>Blue Light – Bluetooth connected – the devices could ‘talk’ to each other</em></p> <p><em>Red Light – Turning Off (then would have no light).</em></p> <p>After a couple of practise runs she understood. Mum was planning on taking it to cards and was going to clip the USB to the side of her little water bottle cover.</p> <p><strong>Day 3</strong></p> <p>I rung mum to let her know what time my husband and I will pick her up to take her out for lunch as we normally do each Sunday.</p> <p>“How did you go yesterday at cards with your hearing aids and the USB microphone?” I asked.</p> <p>“I lost it,” she replied. “I lost the microphone. I think it might have been caught up at the end, in the tablecloths, or card packs when it was all been packed up.”</p> <p>I rang the card organiser and told her but they didn’t see it anywhere. My husband and I went to the retirement village to look for her hearing aid. My husband retraces the road, path, and into the centre where she played cards at the retirement village.  He looks in drains, curbs, driveway ramps but there was no sign of it. I look in her two handbags, purse, zip compartments, but again there was no sign of it. I even look all over her scooter.</p> <p>“Oh,” she said. “When I came back the scooter was extra noisy. I think something must have been misplaced when I went over the road bumps.” She added, “There is something wrong with the phone ringing volume. I could only hear it, because I was standing next to it.”</p> <p>My husband walks into her room and within seconds finds the USB microphone in front of the TV. </p> <p>“I thought that you said you left it in the centre yesterday afternoon?” I asked.</p> <p>“Oh,” says mum. “You found it – where was it?”</p> <p>“In front of the TV,” I reply.</p> <p>“Oh, well I can’t remember putting it there. I must have put it there when I came back and forgot.”</p> <p>“Anyway,” she added. “It doesn’t work. It’s useless, I can’t hear the TV.”</p> <p>I look at the device. “That is because it is turned off,” I say calmly. “You have to turn this on and the remote device, where are the sheet of instructions? I wrote out about the colours!”</p> <p>I set her hearing aid up again and we test it. Everything works fine so off we go to lunch. My son clips the USB onto his shirt and yes, granny can hear him.</p> <p>Then. “Oh, the background noise is so noisy, ” said mum.</p> <p>“Stand up and look behind you – there is nothing there!” I respond.</p> <p>Mum looks, “Well there is loud background noise.” </p> <p>“That is just the general noise of the RSL lunch area. Your brain has to readjust and get used to been able to hear again.”</p> <p>Mum goes to the loo, when she comes back she says, “Oh the toilet is so loud and noisy.”</p> <p>Great her new hearing aids are working – they might need the volume adjusted. Mind you mum has pushed volumes up and down so much since the audiologist had set them.</p> <p>Lunch over – mum heads into the pokies to play her $5 at 1 or 5 cents a push. She is very happy. She can hear and she wins $5!</p> <p><strong>Day 5</strong></p> <p>After two days of some busyness caring for hubby who had an eye operation, I finally get time to ring mum. Without enquiring how my hubby is – who does so much for her also – mum says, “I want you to take the hearing aids and everything back. They are too noisy. The microphone doesn’t work. The volume of everything is too loud – to much background noise.”</p> <p>I try and explain that the audiologist said it will take some time, to readjust to hearing and to preserve.</p> <p>Mum replies dogmatically and emphasising her words, “I SAID TAKE THEM BACK. I DON’T WANT THEM. THEY ARE TOO NOISY AND DON’T WORK.”</p> <p>Mum explained that she spoke to another woman who had something similar – and how she stopped using them and reverted to her old hearing aids.</p> <p>Mum says she has packed everything back into the box and that I am to come and pick them up and take them back. Mum has the Bluetooth remote and USB microphone on trial for just over a fortnight before paying $550 for those – the hearing aids are free replacements. Remember, because she was crying from depression with her social isolation from not been able to hear and people ignoring her.</p> <p>I try to explain it is like rehab after a hip operation. You have to keep working at the exercise for improvement. Same with the hearing aids, you just have to keep wearing them, persevere to get used to them and retrain the brain.</p> <p>Mum replies, that there are at least five deaf people at the RSL cards and none of them have a remote device or microphone. Well I reply aren’t you lucky you do have these to help you with your hearing.</p> <p>“I don’t want them. I am using my old hearing aids. I want you to TAKE IT ALL BACK,” she says.</p> <p>I respond, “I can’t hear you. Whatcha say?” I hang up.</p> <p>It is time for a Bailey’s on the rocks!  Time is 9.30am.</p> <p><em>Follow Celena Ross on <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Retireematters/" target="_blank">Facebook here.</a></span></strong></em></p>

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6 famous people with hearing loss

<p>Whether someone is born with hearing loss or encounters it later in life, it provides difficulties and challenges that many people will never understand. These inspirational people have gone down in history for their successes despite battling hearing loss.</p> <p><strong>1. Ludwig van Beethoven</strong></p> <p>At the age of 26, Beethoven began to lose his hearing and at the age of 44 he was almost completely deaf. Beethoven continued to compose music as his hearing declined and even when he was deaf. One of Beethoven’s greatest accomplishments during the time he had lost his hearing was the composition of the Ninth Symphony which was first performed in 1824.</p> <p><strong>2. Thomas Edison</strong></p> <p>Due to having scarlet fever as a young boy, Thomas Edison suffered from severe hearing problems. He referred to himself as deaf but he also believed his lack of hearing helped him to be a better scientist.</p> <p><strong>3. Marlee Matlin</strong></p> <p>When she was only 18 months old Marlee became deaf. In 1986, she won an Academy Award for her performance in <em>Children of a Lesser God</em>.</p> <p><strong>4. Helen Keller</strong></p> <p>Helen lost her sight and hearing at the tender age of 19 months old. An illness she contracted was the cause of her blindness and deafness. Helen Keller became a world-famous author, activist and lecturer.</p> <p><strong>5. Linda Bove</strong></p> <p>Linda Bove, who was an actress on <em>Sesame Street</em>, introduced children to sign language in her role as Linda the Librarian. She played her role from 1971 to 2003 and introduced children to issues surrounding the deaf community.</p> <p><strong>6. Gertrude Ederle</strong></p> <p>In 1926, Gertrude became deaf after she swam the English Channel. The American swimmer had poor hearing as a young girl due to contracting measles. </p>

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How to limit the volume on children’s devices

<p>As more children spend their free time on their technological devices, there is an increase in children who are engaging in unsafe listening practices. It is important to make sure children’s hearing is protected as the impact of blasting sound in their ears can stay with them for the rest of their lives. These tips will show you how you can use different features on devices to limit the volume your grandchild will have. Generally, it is recommended to set the maximum value at 60 per cent as this is the highest volume that is typically safe.</p> <p><strong>1.  Set restrictions on an iPhone or iPad</strong></p> <p>If you grandchild uses an Apple device, then you can use the ‘restrictions’ feature to limit the volume. To set the volume restriction go to ‘Settings’ on the device and you will be able to secure your change with a password. To learn how to set up the volume restriction in detail, <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">click here</span></strong></a>.</p> <p>You can also set a maximum volume restriction in Music settings which does not require a parental lock password to do so.</p> <p><strong>2. Use an app to limit Android volumes</strong></p> <p>Android devices do not have a built-in volume control but there are apps that you can download in the Google Play Store that will limit maximum volume. Try searching ‘volume limiter for kids’ and various options will appear. Some apps have the parental lock option and others don’t so pick the app based on your preference.</p> <p><strong>3. Set a maximum volume in Google chrome</strong></p> <p>If your grandchildren are on the internet on a Chrome browser, then you can limit the volume for the videos and music they listen to. To set this feature up, you create a ‘supervised user’. The instructions to set this feature up can be found in <a href="https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/3463947?hl=en" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Chrome help</span></strong></a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Check your television for parental volume controls</strong></p> <p>If you have a fairly modern television then you might have a maximum volume feature in the parental control settings. If you can’t find the settings on your TV menu then you can search the manual for directions. A quick way to search through the manual is to see if the manual is available online and then use Control+F within the manual to search for ‘volume’ or ‘sound control’.</p> <p><strong>5. Get the right headphones</strong></p> <p>Although earbud headphones are a popular headphone option, over-the-ear headphones are safer. Over-the-ear headphones sit further from the eardrum and are even more comfortable for little ears. There are also headphones that don’t play sounds that are louder than what is considered safe.</p> <p><strong>6. Limit your PC’s application volume</strong></p> <p>If your grandchild is using a PC, go to the ‘Volume mixer’ settings. You can access the settings by going to ‘control panel’ and clicking on ‘adjust system volume’. Set the device volume to 100% buy adjust the applications setting to the maximum volume you want. Once you have done this, the speakers volume range will be limited.</p> <p>How do you monitor the safety of children’s hearing? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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Hope for tinnitus sufferers

<p>You may be familiar with the experience of a ringing sensation in your ears after a night out enjoying some good music. Perhaps you’ve never given it a second thought as the sound normally disappears on its own. But what if you were to wake up in the morning and still have the ringing in your ears? And what if the ringing never stopped?</p> <p>This is <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tinnitus/Pages/Introduction.aspx" target="_blank">tinnitus</a></strong></span> – better described as the phantom perception of sound. Tinnitus affects 10 to 15 per cent of the adult population worldwide and there are currently no drug therapies available on the market. The reason for this is a limited understanding of how tinnitus sets in and what prevents it from going away.</p> <p>My work at the University of Leicester is focused on filling in the current knowledge gaps – and Dr Thomas Tagoe, one of my former PhD students, funded by Action on Hearing Loss, made some <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014488617300456" target="_blank">exciting discoveries</a></strong></span> which were recently published in The Journal of Experimental Neurology. The discovery is not a magic pill against tinnitus, but reveals some of the mechanisms underlying its development and provides avenues for possible treatment.</p> <p><strong>Phantom sounds</strong></p> <p>The generation and transmission of signals in the brain are subject to constant changes. In particular, signals can be boosted or tuned down in a process known as “plasticity”. When signals are boosted, it is referred to as “long-term potentiation”, a process which is critical in our ability to learn and store memories.</p> <p>Knowing that tinnitus is a phantom sound which does not exist in the outside world but is perceived, suggests that somewhere in the brain there are cells generating a false signal in response to a sound which does not exist. Studies show that auditory signals are transmitted from the cochlea, in the inner ear, to a brain structure called the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.cochlea.eu/en/auditory-brain" target="_blank">dorsal cochlear nucleus</a></strong></span>. So in our quest to find out how tinnitus sets in and what prevents it from going away, this is where we started: in the dorsal cochlear nucleus.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="499" height="280" src="/media/35880/1_499x280.jpg" alt="1 (174)"/></p> <p>Cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus are capable of boosting their signals. Based on previous results Thomas had obtained in the lab, we had good reason to believe that this ability could be compromised after multiple exposures to loud sound. If true, this would be strong evidence implicating the dorsal cochlear nucleus as the false signal generator, making it a target for therapeutic intervention.</p> <p>To test this out, we designed a research programme which would induce tinnitus in an animal model. This involved creating an experience of multiple exposures to loud sound, testing for limitations in the signal boosting capacity and finally assessing whether this is pivotal in the generation of the false auditory signal called tinnitus.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Our suspicions were right: exposure to loud sound prevented the dorsal cochlear nucleus from boosting its incoming signals. What was even more interesting was that loud sound exposure turned up the dials, saturated the signal transmission and left no more room to boost the signal any further. Exposure to loud sound therefore altered brain plasticity, leaving the dorsal cochlear nucleus in a compromised state.</p> <p><strong>What triggers tinnitus?</strong></p> <p>First, there is an exposure to loud sound – either instantly from an explosion or multiples experiences over a long period of time. This induces a temporary period of hearing loss or a “hard-of-hearing” experience, where the whole world appears to have turned down its volume. During this period, cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus try to compensate for this low surrounding volume by boosting their signal.</p> <p>This intervention is successful, but by the time the temporary hearing loss disappears, the signal boost has been stored as a “memory” in the dorsal cochlear nucleus, a memory which is not easily forgotten. The consequences of this scenario is tinnitus, a false signal generation which is perceived in the absence of an external stimulus. In brief, we have shown that tinnitus is a state of continuous painful learning.</p> <p>We showed that tinnitus sets in at a specific sound frequency, after the experience of loud sound exposure. Better yet, we showed that a high magnesium diet can prevent the dorsal cochlear nucleus from turning the dials all the way up and locking this in place as a memory. With that intervention, we were able to prevent the subsequent perception of tinnitus.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="265" src="/media/35882/2_500x265.jpg" alt="2 (172)"/></p> <p>The next step is to identify drugs which can prevent the development of tinnitus and also reverse it. We now have a good starting point and are looking for drugs which can elevate magnesium concentration in the brain or mimic its action. Until this work is complete, however, we’ll have to rely on the tried and tested safeguards – limiting noise exposure or wearing ear protection.</p> <p><em>Written by Martine Hamann. First appeared on <a href="http://theconversation.com/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Conversation</span></strong></a>. </em></p>

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This romantic short film is actually a hearing test in disguise

<p>A short film called <em>Does Love Last Forever?</em> was shown to cinemagoers who were waiting to watch movie Lion.</p> <p>The short film, which is created CHE Proximity and Cochlear Limited, is a love story that follows a couple over four decades.</p> <p>This innovative film also doubles as a hearing test and those with hearing difficulties will finish the film believing the ending is different to those who do not have hearing issues.</p> <p>For those whose hearing is fine, the couple’s relationship appears to be resilient throughout the decades but for those who have hearing difficulties, the couple’s ending is much different.</p> <p>The film is able to create these strikingly different endings by using ambiguous body language, hiding the ability to lip read characters and using ambient sounds to drown out the voice frequencies. </p> <p>On average, people can delay seeking help from their hearing loss to up six years once they realise they are having hearing difficulties.</p> <p>The film was created as a unique way to show people the necessity of getting their hearing tested if they do suffer from hearing loss.</p> <p>General Manager Australia and New Zealand Cochlear, Shaun Han said, “We know how many precious things are lost for those people living with hearing loss.”</p> <p>“People lose their connection to loved ones, friendships, their career, hobbies and self-esteem. By creating something unique like the hearing test in disguise, we’re hoping to get Australians talking and taking action on hearing loss, and to share the film with people they love.”</p> <p>To watch the short film <em>Does Love Last Forever</em> <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://doeslovelastforever.com/" target="_blank">click here.</a></span></strong></p> <p>What ending did you hear in the short film? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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What everyone needs to read about tinnitus

<p>There are some strange things that most people remember enjoying when they were young. Like the buzzing ringing noise after staggering home from a nightclub that meant they’d had a great time. But what happens when the buzzing noise never stops and there’s no night of music and dancing to make the effects worthwhile?</p> <p>That’s the frustrating effect of tinnitus – a condition that has no cure and tends to affect people as they age and their hearing starts to deteriorate. The result can be anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration and sleep problems.</p> <p>The good news is that while there’s no cure, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms. But it all starts with understanding the cause of the problem. There are many possible triggers of tinnitus. Among the most common are:</p> <ul> <li>Exposure to excessively loud noise</li> <li>Extreme stress or trauma</li> <li>Age-related hearing loss</li> <li>Some prescription and non-prescription drugs</li> </ul> <p>It is important to consult your doctor and an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist to establish whether there is any underlying treatable medical reason for your tinnitus.</p> <p><strong>Why the noise?</strong></p> <p>According to the Tinnitus Association of Victoria, when the brain first hears tinnitus, it tries to classify it from the data bank of sounds it’s familiar with. When it can’t find a “match”, the brain concentrates on the sound much more than it should as it tries to figure it out, causing it to be magnified.</p> <p>Think of it this way: When you hear a blind knocking on the window sill or floorboards creaking during the day, you don’t think twice about it and the sound is barely perceptible because the brain understands what they are and doesn’t rate them as important. But when you hear the same sounds at night your brain interprets them as a possible sign of danger and magnifies them to warn you.</p> <p>So when you focus on the sound of tinnitus, the brain interprets it as a danger signal and magnifies it. If it continues, the brain becomes “obsessed” with the sound, and continually focuses on it, keeping the body and mind in a state of high alert. The longer it goes on, the more the negative response to the noise is reinforced – the ultimate downward spiral.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.entwest.com.au/" target="_blank">Leading ENT surgeon, Associate Professor Melville da Cruz</a></strong></span>, says the key to living with tinnitus is to address the underlying issues causing it or at least manage the condition. “If you suspect you may be suffering from tinnitus, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure that it is not a symptom of another condition,” he says. “If there is no connection to any other problem found, an important part of managing your tinnitus is understanding that the problem is common and isn’t anything to be seriously worried about.</p> <p>“This in itself can ease anxiety and sometimes make the condition seem less apparent. Other simple actions to ease tinnitus include stress management, reducing exposure to loud noises, quitting smoking and easing off on stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.”</p> <p>Associate Professor da Cruz says if the tinnitus is found to be associated with hearing loss, dealing with the hearing loss usually results in easing the tinnitus symptoms. This can include air conduction hearing aids, night time masking and tinnitus retraining therapy.</p> <p>“Air conduction hearing aids are an effective solution if the tinnitus is associated with a wider hearing problem,” he says. “When the sufferer can hear every day sounds, this can help distract from the ringing noise, and can also help reduce the perceived volume of the problem. In the case of severe to profound hearing loss, an implantable hearing solution, such as a Cochlear implant, can be more effective.”</p> <p>Associate Professor da Cruz says intrusive tinnitus can be treated by using other sounds to “mask” the ringing noise, such as recordings of whale noises or the ocean. He says tinnitus retraining therapy can also help by changing the way the sufferer thinks about their condition, which retrains the brain to place less importance on the sound.</p> <p><em>To learn more about improving your hearing visit, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.cochlear.com/au" target="_blank">www.cochlear.com/au</a>/</strong></span>. You can also contact our Cochlear Concierge Team for information, guidance and support at <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="mailto:concierge_ausnz@cochlear.com" target="_blank">concierge_ausnz@cochlear.com</a></strong></span> or call 1800 875 212 (Australia) or 0800 445 367 (NZ).</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/12/lesley-hodgson-embraces-new-lease-of-life-thanks-to-cochlear-implant/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Finally able to hear, grandmother of 10 embraces new lease on life</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/10/celena-ross-on-looking-after-her-hard-of-hearing-mother/"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Highs and lows of looking after my hard-of-hearing mother</em></span></strong></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/09/why-you-need-to-cherish-your-hearing/"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>I was deaf for most of my life</em></span></strong></a></p>

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Finally able to hear, grandmother of 10 embraces new lease of life

<p>When Lesley Hodgson left her home in the UK more than half a century ago, she unknowingly brought an unwelcome memento of her time working in England’s woollen mills with her. The 74-year-old South Australian didn’t realise it at the time, but the “constant clattering” of 70-odd woollen mill machines had started the process of hearing loss that would eventually leave her totally deaf.</p> <p>“I was on piecework, so the harder I worked the more I was paid,” she says. “Because of the extreme noise it was difficult to communicate with fellow workers. I was in my first mill for two years, from the age of 15, then my family moved to a nearby town where I worked in another noisy mill until I was 22."</p> <p>Lesley moved to Australia with her husband Barrie in 1967, where the then mother-of-two started part-time work in a florist shop. “I arranged flowers but was also expected to answer the phone,” she says. “As I experienced difficulty picking up what people were saying – not everybody speaks clearly on the phone – and feared writing down the wrong address for a floral delivery, I was excused. I guess this was the start of slight hearing loss but thought nothing of it. I worked in the florist shop for 12 years.”</p> <p>It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Lesley, by then a mother-of-three, really took her hearing loss seriously. Due to her progressive sensorineural hearing loss, she had long struggled with everyday communication and sound awareness. “I found it uncomfortable being in a group of people more than four,” she says. “At family gatherings, where there was constant chatter, it was almost unbearable. It was also very frustrating not to be able to converse with members of our church in the hall after the service.”</p> <p>In 2002, she underwent a free hearing test and discovered that she had lost the hearing in both ears. Even though she started wearing hearing aids soon after – “they were difficult to wear and helpful for a while” – she persevered with them. “If I haven’t put my hearing aids in I would not hear the waterfall at the pond or the birds,” she says.</p> <p><img width="499" height="373" src="/media/30895/image__499x373.jpg" alt="Image_ (14)" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p>But it was a visit to her Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist that changed Lesley’s life dramatically for the better. “After a hearing test, my ENT, Dr Varley thought my hearing aids were not effective enough for me,” she recalls. “He recommended I attend the South Australian Cochlear Implant Centre (SACIC) for further tests.”</p> <p>SACIC Clinical Manager Nina Swiderski said when Lesley visited the clinic she could only communicate one-to-one and needed to use visual cues to supplement her limited hearing with lip-reading. “Lesley struggled in small group conversations in the presence of background noise and she suffered from “recruitment*”, which caused discomfort to loud sound,” Nina explains. (Lesley was even affected by the sound of removing hard plastic wrappers or crumpling butcher’s paper.)</p> <p>“Lesley used assistive devices for the TV and was reluctant to use the telephone,” Nina says. “She found it difficult to hear and participate in Bible Study; and could no longer hear the sound of birds singing or the water fountain in her garden.”</p> <p>Nina found Lesley was suitable as a Cochlear Implant recipient, and on August 2 she underwent the surgery that gave her back her hearing. On August 22, 2016 she was “switched on” and headed home looking forward to re-joining the hearing world.</p> <p>“I enjoy having conversations with family and friends with little distracting background noise,” she says. “It might seem odd, but I also enjoy not cringing when opening hard plastic wrappers or screwing up butcher’s paper or putting pots and pans away in the drawers!”</p> <p>Today Lesley, a grandmum of 10, is enjoying her new lease on life.</p> <p><em>*Recruitment is the rapid growth of perceived loudness for those sounds located in the pitch region of a hearing loss.</em></p> <p><em> For more information about Cochlear hearing solutions, please visit <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.cochlear.com/au" target="_blank">www.cochlear.com/au</a></span></strong> and request a free guide or contact our Cochlear Concierge at <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="mailto:concierge_ausnz@cochlear.com" target="_blank">concierge_ausnz@cochlear.com</a></strong></span> to get your hearing loss questions answered.</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/10/lynne-haynes-on-cochlear-implants-letting-her-hear-again/"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Thanks to cochlear implants I can now hear my grandchildren</span></strong></em></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/10/celena-ross-on-looking-after-her-hard-of-hearing-mother/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Highs and lows of looking after my hard-of-hearing mother</span></em></strong></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/09/why-you-need-to-cherish-your-hearing/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">I was deaf for most of my life</span></em></strong></a></p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p>

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Highs and lows of looking after my hard-of-hearing mother

<p><strong><em>Celena Ross’s plans to ramp up her celebrant businesses were compromised when she found herself part of the sandwich generation of caring for her elderly mother and grandchildren. Faced with a loss of identity in her transition to semi-retirement, Celena established her website <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.retireematters.com.au/" target="_blank">Retiree Matters</a></span> to assist others.</em></strong></p> <p>Mum has hearing aids. She is very happy with them. Her last test before paying for them provided results of 50 per cent hearing when she was turned away from the specialist and 75 per cent hearing when facing him and able to watch his lips. So she says.</p> <p>He must have been YELLING for mum to have achieved those results. No way, absolutely no way does she have that level of hearing. Even though she only wears one hearing aid. Yes, just the one. She can hear better she said with just one hearing aid! Whatcha say? Oh dear, is it wine o’clock yet?</p> <p>Her hearing has been noticeably worse over the past few months and I have encouraged, reasoned, pleaded, asked her to wear both because she can’t hear. She answers with “if people would just look at me when they talk to me I can hear them” to “I can hear fine – it’s when people start mumbling I can’t hear.”</p> <p>Her hearing got worse very quickly and although it seems to have stabilised now, holding a conversation is very difficult. I say something. Mum replies, “Whatcha say? I didn’t hear you”. I repeat myself. This goes on all the time. I feel sorry for the people that she plays cards with each week, but then again, many of them are hard of hearing. If mum doesn’t hear everything someone says she will simply fill in her own blanks or she has a way of pretending that she has heard.</p> <p>So let’s give some examples you may identify with or one day you too might face a similar situation.  Here are some examples of daily chats with mum. Where are the tips for coping with caring for an elderly mother? Or read as, virtually deaf elderly mother! Especially when she only wears one ruddy hearing aid. Is it wine o’clock yet?</p> <p><strong>Driving</strong></p> <p>We’re taking mum for a drive out for lunch. Mum is in the back seat and hubby and I chat in front. Mum will often just start a long conversation on top of our chat. Or, she hears some chatting noise, and then makes statements on a completely different topic to what we are talking about. Mum asks me questions, I turn my body and head towards the back and yell the answers back to her. Mum repeats my answers. Except what she repeats is nothing like what I have said. Hubby wonders if it is wine o’clock yet. Other times, I just giggle – oh dear! I do hope I don’t go deaf.</p> <p>“Where are we going?” Mum asks. “We are going to the Marina Market’s first, then for lunch,” I reply. “Oh, where did you have brunch? Mum asks, adding, “Why did you have brunch first, you won’t be hungry for your lunch.” I just smile!</p> <p>“Why are we going this way?” mum asks, noticing we are going a different direction. “I have to drop something off to Dave,” I reply. “Who? Who let off?” says mum, “I can’t smell anything? Did you let off?”</p> <p><strong>Items lost</strong></p> <p>Mum rings and says, “You have my disabled sticker.”</p> <p>“No I don’t,” I reply.</p> <p>“Yes, you have it. The last time I saw it, was in your car. Go and have a look it must have fallen down the side of the car door.”</p> <p>So I go look. “No mum I don’t have your disabled sticker.”</p> <p>“Yes, you do,” she replies, “I used it last when I was with you on Sunday (it is now Friday).”</p> <p>“No, you have been out with my brother since then.”</p> <p>“No we couldn’t find it. You have it.”</p> <p>“I will look for it tomorrow when I come around,” I reply.</p> <p>“Hey? Whatcha say?”</p> <p>“I WILL LOOK FOR IT TOMORROW WHEN I COME AROUND.”</p> <p>“You found it in a round thing?”</p> <p>“NO MUM! I WILL SEE YOU TOMORROW. BYE FOR NOW.”</p> <p>Is it wine o’clock yet? And the next day, I find the disabled sticker, just like I do, every time mum says that I definitely have it. Usually caught up between her calendar or between loose paper on her breakfast bench.</p> <p><strong>Stolen</strong></p> <p>I walk into mum’s unit and she’s crying. The cleaners (or somebody!) have stolen her disabled sticker – yep, that disabled sticker again. Or it’s money, her pastel art work she was going to have framed, a top, etc. </p> <p>“No mum, they wouldn’t steal anything,” I say.</p> <p>“Oh yes they would.”</p> <p>“They get in her and talk and don’t clean very well,” she says between tears.</p> <p>“Mum, calm down, remember every time you think something is stolen, I find it.”</p> <p>“Whatcha say?” she asks.</p> <p>“IT’S OK MUM. SIT DOWN AND I WILL HAVE A LOOK!”</p> <p>“But I didn’t lose a book… I told you the cleaners have taken (insert item here)!”</p> <p>Hmm, is it wine o’clock yet?</p> <p><strong>Money</strong></p> <p>Mum tells me, “I’m going out with a friend and I have no money.”</p> <p>“Why mum?” I ask.</p> <p>“We took $400 out yesterday.”</p> <p>“Well you must have kept it.”</p> <p>“You have it. I can’t find the money. Why did you keep it?”</p> <p>“I didn’t keep it mum. I put in in the drawer with your cheque book.”</p> <p>“Whatcha say? You coming here to look for it? Why do you have it? Bring it back.”</p> <p>“No mum, I don’t have it. Move your cheque book, it will be under that.”</p> <p>“Sick? Are you sick? Why are you sick?”</p> <p>“NO MUM I’M NOT SICK.”</p> <p>“What? Oh, can you bring the money back? Lorna is coming to get me to take me out in a few hours.”</p> <p>Is it wine o’clock yet?</p> <p>So mum talks over us and on top of our conversation. Interrupts and starts her own conversation. Takes a conversation on a completely different area to the topic that we are discussing. Sometimes, it is very funny. Other times completely frustrating.</p> <p>I feel so sorry for mum. She misses out on so much of what is been talked about and happening. I hope that I never go deaf, or have such hard of hearing issues.</p> <p>I love mum, but is it wine o’clock yet?</p> <p><em>Follow Celena Ross on <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Retireematters/" target="_blank">Facebook here.</a></strong></span></em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/09/why-you-need-to-cherish-your-hearing/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">I was deaf for most of my life</span></em></strong></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/07/bionic-ears-allow-little-girl-hear/"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">“Bionic” ears allow little girl hear</span></strong></em></a></p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2016/06/safety-tips-for-the-hearing-impaired/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Safety tips for the hearing impaired</span></em></strong></a></p>

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Thanks to cochlear implants I can now hear my grandchildren

<p>The birth of a grandchild is one of the sweetest experiences of growing older. But for Lynne Haynes, the arrival of her latest grandson was especially poignant – because she could hear him cry.</p> <p>The 64-year-old Mackay, Queensland resident doesn't know when or how she lost her hearing – it could have been the scarlet fever and glandular fever she suffered as a child, a car accident she had as a teenager or the loud music she enjoyed. What she does know is that by the time her second child Jessica was born in 1979, there were concerning signs. "If Jess woke during the night I didn't always hear her," she says. </p> <p>"It was about two years after Jess' birth that I decided to do something about my hearing loss," Lynne says. "It was then that I received my first set of hearing aids and boy was I amazed at the difference. I went back to work, life seemed to be great, communication became a lot easier," she recalls. "But over the years, as the children grew up, the hearing started to slip again. Conversations became tumbled, I would miss key words. I was frustrated and confused." </p> <p>The greatest heartbreak was losing the communication with her children. "I lost so much conversation with them," the now 64-year-old Lynne recalls. "Eventually, probably through frustration, they would say 'It doesn't matter' and go off and play, but for me and for them that moment was lost. Or to see the embarrassment on their faces when in front of their friends I would make a silly comment because I misunderstood what had been said." </p> <p>Everything changed in 2015 when Lynne and her husband Ted moved from Melbourne to Mackay. "I needed a hearing test to see if my hearing aids needed to be adjusted. It was the audiologist at Clarity Hearing Solutions, Michael Polkinghorne, a brilliant young man, who asked the question 'Have you ever considered a Cochlear Implant?'." </p> <p>Thanks to that checkup and conversation Lynne's world changed in 2015 when she received her Nucleus 6 Cochlear Implant. “I've had my challenges,” she says. “Like any journey the road isn't always smooth. The love and support of family on the journey has been incredible.” </p> <p>Since then she has gone from strength to strength. She says her Cochlear Implant gave her back her life. "I've gone back to work, working in a remote community as an aged care coordinator," Lynne says. "My confidence is back up where it used to be. Conversations around the family dining table are something I now actively join in. Also, we have a new grandson and I don't intend to miss any of his conversations like I did with the others.</p> <p>"The first step in any journey into the unknown is the hardest. Look at it as an adventure into a world of hearing. Move out from the shadows and into the sunshine. Hold on tight for a wonderful road to hearing. The road may be a little bumpy, but the destination is so worth it."</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/hearing/2016/07/common-causes-for-earaches/"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">5 of the most common causes or earaches</span></strong></em></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/hearing/2016/06/the-dangers-of-single-sided-deafness/"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The dangers of single sided deafness</span></strong></em></a></p> <p> </p> <p><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/hearing/2016/06/funny-jokes-about-hearing/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>In pictures: 11 funny jokes about hearing</strong></em></span></a></p> <p> </p>

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Untreated hearing loss could cost you dearly

<p>From testing to hearing aids to other assistive devices, anyone with hearing loss knows just how costly ear healthcare can be. But as significant as these expenses are, the hidden costs of untreated hearing loss is greater. There’s much more at stake than a few missed conversations, but a physical and emotional toll that affects all facets of your life.</p> <p><strong>There’s an increased risk of depression</strong></p> <p>A 2014 study by the US National Institutes of Health found that there was a strong link between hearing impairment and depression, finding that hearing loss tends to isolate people from friends and family due to the decreased ability communication. As communicating is vital to mental health, this decreased ability can lead to anger, frustration and loneliness, all feelings of disconnection that can impact one’s psychological wellbeing and overall health.</p> <p><strong>It can affect relationships</strong></p> <p>Hearing loss can cause stress and friction at home, especially when hearing loss is left untreated. Family relationships and activities are often affected when someone finds it too difficult to communicate, which may lead to them withdrawing from daily activities all together.</p> <p><strong>Link to dementia</strong></p> <p>Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found that hearing loss could be a risk factor for the development of dementia. The study compared two groups of adults – one group with normal hearing and another with impaired hearing, finding that there was a correlation between hearing loss and brain shrinkage.</p> <p><strong>Suffering with stigma</strong></p> <p>Many people suffering from hearing loss often don’t get treated because of the enduring social stigma attached to hearing loss. A survey by Cochlear of more than 1,200 Australian adults found that 52 per cent of those suffering hearing loss have not doing anything about their impairments due to a perceived stigma. Thus, people are often suffer needlessly for years before finding help.</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/08/free-hearing-services-eligible/">Find out if you’re eligible for free hearing services</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/08/digital-hearing-aids-information/">Everything you need to know about digital hearing aids</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/08/adjust-to-new-hearing-device/">How to adjust to a new hearing device</a></strong></em></span></p>

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Can red wine help prevent hearing problems?

<p>Your nightly glass of red could actually be even better for your health than previously thought. Besides the health benefits for your heart and cholesterol levels there is now reason to believe that red wine can help to prevent hearing loss.</p> <p>Resveratrol, which is found in both red grapes and red wine, could potentially protect you from hearing loss as well as cognitive decline.</p> <p>A recent study using rats exposed them to loud noises. One group was given resveratrol before the exposure, and the other group experienced hearing loss from the loud noise. The results were significant, with the rats that had the resveratrol having almost 90 per cent less hearing loss.</p> <p>“Our latest study focuses on resveratrol and it’s effect on bioinflammation, the body’s response to injury and something that is believe to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss,” says Michael D. Seidman of the study.</p> <p>“Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body’s inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss.”</p> <p>The good news is that the research on mice and rats has implications for humans too.</p> <p>Dr. Seidman gives some advice on other ways to protect your hearing, for instance:</p> <ul> <li>Enjoy fish twice per week to reduce your chance of age-related hearing loss. Fatty acids that are found in fish can improve blood flow to your ears, which can protect them from hearing loss.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A healthy snack such as an apple contains antioxidants that can fight the free radical damage that can damage your hearing.                 </li> <li>Fortified cereals can help to reduce inflammation as they contain the mineral zinc.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/03/what-do-if-you-have-hearing-problem/">What to do if you think you have a hearing problem</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/health/hearing/2015/03/what-do-if-you-have-hearing-problem/">4 things you’re likely doing that are damaging your hearing</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Why hearing loss could be bad for your relationship</strong></em></span></p>

Hearing

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How you can help someone with hearing loss

<p>If your partner, a family member or a friend has hearing loss, it’s important that youknow how to communicate with them. Although hearing aids improve hearing, they don’t fix hearing problems altogether so don’t presume they can hear like you do. For the hard of hearing, there are still certain sounds, pitches and words that can be difficult to hear.</p> <p>Remember communication is a two-way street – it involves both the talker who sends the message and a listener who receives the message. A little consideration goes a long way so here are some ways that you as the talker can improve your communication to those who have hearing loss.</p> <p><strong>Get their attention</strong></p> <p>Before you begin speaking, gain their attention first so they have a chance to focus their attention and not miss the start of the conversation. Say their name or gently tap them on their shoulder to prepare the listener.</p> <p><strong>Face-to-face conversations</strong></p> <p>Make eye contact and ensure your face is visible when speaking. Yourfacial expression and hand gesture are all vital visual cues in contextualising the conversation. Non-verbal communication can be as important as verbal communication.</p> <p><strong>Don’t hide your mouth</strong></p> <p>Many people who are hard of hearing will sometimes lip-read which can help in recognising some sounds in speech.</p> <p><strong>Speak naturally</strong></p> <p>Speak distinctly and clearly, but naturally and without exaggeration. You don’t need to shout or speak very slowly. Shouting actually distorts the sound of speech and use pauses rather than slow speech. Don’t mumble or talk too rapidly either.</p> <p><strong>Rephrase, not repeat</strong></p> <p>Rather than repeating sentences if someone hasn’t heard what you’ve said, try and find a different way of saying it.</p> <p><strong>Minimise background noise</strong></p> <p>Background noise can make it difficult for people with hearing loss to hear human voices clearly. Noises we might not notice like the radio or TV can make it hard for listeners to focus on conversations. Try to move to quiet places to chat and be mindful that it may be more difficult in noisy places such as restaurants and parties. </p> <p><a href="/health/hearing/2015/01/sounds-that-damage-hearing/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>These everyday sounds could be doing damage to your hearing.</strong></span></a></p>

Hearing