It's World Hearing Day today and the beginning of Hearing Awareness Week! Today aims to raise awareness into the high cost that unaddressed hearing loss can have on individuals (cognitive decline and depression, reduced productivity, barrier to education and social integration) as well as to the wider community (lost productivity, impact on health services, individual lost employment resulting in lost taxes).
If you feel you're not hearing as well as you used to, it may be time to review your hearing. Contact the clinic today to arrange an appointment with one of our audiologists.
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Today is the next chapter in our Quick Questions series!
Question: What do grommets look like?
Answer: Surgically inserted into the eardrum, grommets are small flanged plastic tubes which aim to ventilate the middle ear until the body's natural breathing tube (Eustachian Tube) starts to function normally again. This means that any fluid build up in the middle ear can be drained away. They come in a variety of different sizes, colours and shapes, typically falling out after around 6-12 months. Often you won't know if they have fallen out, however sometimes you can be lucky and find it on your pillow or just on the edge of your ear. I typically describe them as looking a bit like if you sliced a small tip off the ink reservoir from a BIC ballpoint pen.
Question: Why can't older people always hear those mosquito ringtones?
Answer: Several years ago, novel ringtones which emit very high frequency sounds similar to those made by mosquitoes were 'doing the rounds'. Often described as "secret ringtones" of around 17000 Hertz (17kHz), they were aimed at younger listeners who were able to hear it and took advantage of the natural loss of hearing sensitivity as people age.
The cochlea is our permanent hearing organ which is shaped like a tiny snail shell. How we hear is that sound travels down the ear canal, through the middle ear and into the basal end (base) of the cochlea first. The resulting movement within the cochlea results in electrical signals being sent up to the brain (and that's how we hear). Based on it's shape and tonotopic organization, lower frequencies stimulate the further end (apex) of the cochlea while higher frequency sounds effect the base of the cochlea. Through natural wear and tear as sounds regularly pass through the base of the cochlea, we can get some decreased sensitivity to higher frequencies as we age. This therefore impacts our high pitch hearing more so than the lower frequencies.
Question: What are exostoses?
Answer: Exostoses is often described as a benign growth of new bone on the surface of existing bone. It can range in size, shape and location on the body. Exostoses in the ear is sometimes known as "surfer's ear" and typically caused by irritation to the ear canal from ongoing exposure to water and wind. While exostoses typically doesn't cause pain, ongoing growth can result in hearing loss. It is recommended for those who swim, surf or dive regularly consider using a set of protective earplugs as this may reduce the speed of exostoses growth.
Think you may need a set of protective plugs? Contact our clinic today to have a set of custom plugs made by one of our friendly audiologists!
It's World Radio Day today! This year's theme is "Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace" so turn up the radio and enjoy listening! Whether you listen to the radio for the latest news and events, or for talk back and music, take time to celebrate the impact radio has in our lives today.
Having trouble listening to the radio? It may be time for a hearing check then. Contact the clinic today for a comprehensive assessment.
Today’s post will be a bit different then my usual write-ups. Rather than focusing on a main topic, I thought I’d answer a couple of questions recently asked by my clients.
Question: How often should I have my hearing tested?
Answer: It is typically recommended for adults to have their hearing tested every 3-5 years up until the age of 50 when it drops to every 2 years. After the age of 60, it’s advised that your hearing be checked as part of your annual overall health check-up.
For children born in Australia, their hearing will be screened shortly after birth (in NSW, it’s known as the Statewide Infant Screening of Hearing or SWISH program) and should be monitored throughout their school years. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended children have their hearing tested prior to starting kindergarten and Year 7, and before beginning tertiary education to establish their baselines of hearing. In the case of infants who have certain medical conditions, speech/language concerns or a family history of hearing loss, more frequent hearing tests may be required.
If you think yourself or a family member is due for a hearing assessment, feel free to contact the clinic to see one of our audiologists and have your hearing checked today.
Question: Is it bad for me to listen to music through my headphones?
Answer: While listening to music/podcasts/audio itself isn’t bad, the bigger concern is how loud and for how long are you listening. Generally speaking, the louder the volume you are listening to, the shorter the period of time you can spend listening to it before it starts causing damage. The overall amount of daily exposure to noise is also important to be aware of as these levels take into account our exposure from both occupational and recreational settings. For example, listening to a personal audio device at a volume of 85 decibels may allow you to be exposed to it for 8 hours before it starts causing damage. Should you then decide to use some equipment with a volume around 100 decibels, then you can be exposed for only around 15 minutes.
Consider headphones which are either active and/or passive noise cancelling to reduce the volume of background noise and thus the need to increase volumes. Click here to check out our previous blog post on headphones. Being more aware of how loud noise and music can get is important too (information can be found here ). At the end of the day, if you look after your ears now and you’ll be listening to those sweet tunes for many years to come.
NB - Be environmentally aware when you are wearing headphones! Watch out for your surroundings.
The team at Sydney Hearing Services would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas season and a joyous New Year! Remember to protect your ears when you are out celebrating from loud music and fireworks.
We will be having a rest from December 22nd 2018 and will reopen in the new year on January 7th 2019!
It's Loud Shirt Day!
Hope you're wearing your brightest shirt to show your support for deaf kids.
For more info, click here.