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Roughly one in five people in Lake Charles experiences hearing loss. The majority of patients develop their condition as a result of natural aging. A study released last month offers a glimmer of hope that early detection and new treatment solutions can help offset the negative impacts of hearing loss in the aging population. Presbycusis...

The post Study Identifies Genes Associated with Age-Related Hearing Loss appeared first on Hearing Center of Lake Charles.

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The Hearing Center of Lake Charles by Hearing Center Of Lake Charles - 3w ago

Lake Charles residents with hearing loss experience a wide range of side effects, including exhaustion. This often leaves them with no energy for social activities; because withdrawal and isolation can lead to anxiety, depression and dementia, getting a handle on the physical and mental exhaustion caused by a hearing impairment is important for your long-term...

The post Hearing Loss is Exhausting appeared first on Hearing Center of Lake Charles.

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An estimated 20 percent of people in Lake Charles suffer from hearing loss. Depending on the severity of their condition, help might be close at hand. Literally: there are quite a few free and inexpensive mobile apps designed for IOS and Android users with hearing impairments. Your Lake Charles audiologist has put together a list of their favorites from both platforms.

iOS Hearing Apps

iPhone users with hearing loss have some great choices available from the App Store. Check out the following:

  • Test Your Hearing. Using this app is simple and straightforward: just push a red button every time you hear a sound. After the test is complete, you’ll be given a “hearing age” assessment based on your score. If your approximate hearing age is significantly older than your actual age, you might be experiencing signs of hearing loss.
  • Bose® Hear. This companion app for Bose® Headphones enhances conversations, allowing you to better understand conversations in noisy environments. You can also stream music and phone calls directly from your phone.
  • TapTap. Deaf and hard of hearing users can pick up on audio cues they might otherwise miss with this handy app. TapTap causes your phone to flash and vibrate, alerting you to nearby sounds that might be too soft for hearing aids to detect.
  • Braci. Braci lets you record the sounds in your home environment and converts them into visual and sensory notifications that alert you in similar fashion to TapTap. Program a variety of devices such as doorbells, smoke alarms, phone calls, and more.
  • Pedius. This app utilizes synthesis and speech-recognition technology to enable deaf and hearing-impaired users to make phone calls. Its built-in voice recognition software translates speech, converting it to text and eliminating the need for third-party translation services.
Android Hearing Apps

Android users can download the following recommended apps from the GooglePlay store:

  • Hearing Test. Using a combination of pure tone audiometry – the most common hearing exam in Lake Charles audiology offices – and predefined calibrations, this app measures the quietest sounds you are able to hear, providing a solid indicator of your hearing threshold.
  • AllDeaf. This social networking site was designed for deaf and hard of hearing users and those who rely on ASL. It allows you to post directly to the All Deaf forum, upload photos and access private messages.
  • Sound Alert. The designers of Braci have created a similar app records for Android users. It records sounds in your environment and turns them into visual and sensory notification alerts, transforming your smartphone into an alerting device that improves safety and comfort.
  • Ava. This app uses your phone’s microphone to capture and provide instant word-for-word captioning and subtitles. Ava relies on sophisticated AI technology to “learn” from mistakes; typing on an incorrect word will teach Ava to get it right the next time.
  • Easy Talk. Easy Talk is a transcribing app that uses voice recognition software to transcribe conversations. It is available for downloading offline, providing the deaf and hard of hearing with communication options in places with unreliable cell service. It is available in free and pro versions.
  • Sprint Relay. If you’re seeking a more traditional relay service, Sprint Relay fits the bill nicely. Type whatever you want to say to an operator, who relays the message to the person you are calling and provides a typed response.

More and more smartphone apps are available every day. For additional recommendations or to learn about new ones, reach out to your Lake Charles audiologist.

Can Your Smartphone Help You Hear Better? Apps-olutely! appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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Hearing loss is a widespread concern throughout the U.S. It affects about one in five people in Lake Charles; only arthritis and heart disease are more common. Some people believe hearing loss is an inevitable consequence of aging, but there are steps you can take to prevent it – or at least delay its onset.

The Hazards of Noise Exposure

There is a common misperception that hearing loss only affects older people. This isn’t true; only about one-third of individuals with hearing loss in Lake Charles are over the age of 65. It’s true that impaired hearing is more common the older we get but taking precautions when you are young can help preserve your hearing well into your senior years.

Noise is the biggest cause of hearing loss in younger patients. Exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (roughly the sound of traffic on a busy street) for long periods of time can cause irreparable damage to the hair cells in your inner ear that are responsible for hearing. In order to protect your hearing, you should wear earplugs any time you are engaging in noisy activities. While foam earplugs you can pick up from any drugstore will help, your best bet is to invest in a pair made from custom molds of your ears.

The Benefits of Custom Earmolds

As with fingerprints, no two person’s ears are identical. Custom earmolds made from the unique impressions of your ear canals offer the best protection against excessive noise for several reasons: they provide a comfortable, snug fit; perfectly fit the contours of your ears; and protect against noise far better than any off-the-shelf pair.

Your Lake Charles audiologist can help you order custom earmolds for a variety of uses – not just earplugs, but headphones, stethoscopes and earpieces, as well. Health care workers, pilots, news reporters, musicians, swimmers, construction workers and others all rely on custom earmolds to help them in their professional careers. Impressions of your ears will be sent to an outside company and turned into custom molds made with a material of your choice – usually acrylic, vinyl or silicone. There are pros and cons to each:

  • Acrylic earmolds are hard and durable, making them resistant to shrinking and breakage. They are easy to clean and repair, but their rigidity makes them difficult to insert into small or narrow ear canals. They are prone to sound leakage and feedback.
  • Vinyl earmolds made from PVC are softer and more pliable than acrylic molds, making them easier to insert and remove. Over time, PVC tends to shrink and harden and may discolor, so they are likely to need replacing more often. People with allergies may not be able to tolerate PVC.
  • Silicone earmolds are the softest of the three types, making them flexible and comfortable. They provide a tight seal for superior sound quality and protection and are durable, maintaining their size and shape over time. They can be difficult to insert due to their softness.

There are many factors that go into deciding which type of custom earmolds are right for you, including the size and shape of your ears; your manual dexterity; and your activity level and lifestyle needs. Your Lake Charles audiologist will help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have when choosing custom earmolds.

How Custom Earmolds Can Protect Your Hearing appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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There are many potential causes of hearing loss in Lake Charles. You’re probably familiar with some of the more common ones, such as aging, noise exposure and side effects of certain medications, mainly antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. What you might not know is that some childhood diseases – including measles – can lead to hearing damage, too.

What is Measles and How Does it Impact Hearing?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection easily transmitted from person to person through coughing and sneezing. There are two forms of the disease – rubella (or German measles), a mild infection that typically lasts just a few days, and rubeola, which is more serious and can persist for a week or longer. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of people close to that person can expect to develop it, as well.

Measles used to be extremely common but following the development of a vaccine in 1963 and a widespread effort to eliminate the disease in the late 1970s, the number of cases has dropped dramatically over the years. Between 2000 and 2010 there were about 60 reported cases a year in the U.S., but in recent years that number has increased to about 205 a year, thanks in part to a misinformed backlash against childhood immunizations.

Symptoms of measles include rash, blotchy in nature and most commonly found on the face and upper neck; fever; dry cough; runny nose; sore throat; swelling of the eyes; and tiny white spots. About one in 10 people will develop an ear infection resulting from measles, and these individuals are at risk for permanent hearing loss. This is most common in young children under the age of 5 and people older than 20.

Preventing Hearing Loss

The best way to prevent hearing loss associated with measles is to prevent measles itself through immunization. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a routine measles vaccination for children; in the U.S., the MMR vaccine is highly effective in protecting against measles, mumps and rubella – all of which can lead to hearing loss. Children typically receive their first dose between 12-15 months, with a follow-up between ages 4-6 and a final booster in the teen years.

For more information on the connection between measles and hearing loss and additional tips for preventing complications, speak to your Lake Charles audiologist.

Can Measles Cause Hearing Loss? appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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Practically everybody in Lake Charles experiences moments of forgetfulness from time to time. Usually there is nothing to worry about; how many times have you had to retrace your steps to find your smartphone after inadvertently putting it down somewhere? Memory loss can worsen with age, however – and one of the primary contributors might just be impaired hearing.

The Relationship Between Hearing and Cognition

Approximately 20 percent of people will be diagnosed with hearing loss in Lake Charles. While hearing aids can help the majority of these folks, not everybody chooses to seek treatment. It’s possible that some of them don’t even realize they are suffering from a hearing impairment; symptoms tend to develop gradually over time, making it difficult to realize there is a problem until quite some time has passed. Unfortunately, when hearing loss goes untreated, your risk of memory loss increases.

Numerous studies have found a correlation between hearing loss and memory impairment. One commonly-referenced study conducted by a team of researchers from Johns-Hopkins University followed 2,000 older adults over a six-year period. When the study began, none of these individuals showed signs of cognitive impairment, but that changed during the course of the study.

JAMA Internal Medicine published the results in 2013, and they were pretty clear: those people who began the study with hearing loss that was deemed severe enough to interfere with their conversational ability on a daily basis were 24 percent more likely to experience diminished cognitive ability compared to participants whose hearing was normal. Often, the first symptom was trouble remembering things.

This makes sense when you recognize the important role the brain plays in the hearing process. Your ears pick up sounds from the environment, but the brain is actually responsible for assigning them meaning. When hearing loss hampers your comprehension, your brain is forced to work harder to understand. To do so, it diverts resources away from other areas, such as memory and cognition, to focus on hearing instead. And the worse your hearing, the harder your brain must work to compensate, which translates to higher incidences of memory impairment and cognitive decline. This explains why participants with the worst hearing scored the lowest on memory and cognition tests given by researchers.

Another contributing factor is the withdrawal and isolation many individuals with hearing loss in Lake Charles experience. Social activities are stressful for people with poor hearing, especially when they must contend with background noise. Instead of putting themselves through the hassle, many avoid social situations entirely. Isolation results in less mental stimulation, something that can actually cause the brain to shrink – changes that affect memory and cognition.

Your Lake Charles audiologist urges you to seek treatment for hearing loss as soon as possible in order to reduce the likelihood of suffering from negative health consequences such as memory impairment. If you are having difficulty hearing, schedule an appointment as soon as possible – especially if your memory isn’t as great as it used to be!

Memory Impairment & Hearing Loss: A Common Connection appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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It’s estimated that 20 percent of adults have hearing loss in Lake Charles. Impaired hearing presents many challenges to daily life, but hearing aids prove beneficial to nine out of ten people with hearing loss. Not only do they improve your ability to communicate, reduce stress and fatigue and enable you to enjoy a happier, more productive social life – evidence shows they can actually help you live longer, too.

How Do Hearing Aids Help?

Hearing aids are sophisticated devices that boost audio signals, helping those with poor hearing communicate more effectively. Yet there are people who are hesitant to treat their impairment with hearing aids. Reasons vary – doubt, fear and self-confidence are all factors – but the benefits to wearing them are simply too great to ignore.

Hearing aids can help you enjoy a longer life by:

  • Improving your balance. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older individuals. Wearing hearing aids relieves your brain of some of the burden involved in processing sounds. Studies show that even mild forms of hearing loss increase your risk of falling by three times, as the brain is unable to devote its full attention to the balance system.
  • Helping in emergency situations. Hearing loss usually affects the higher frequencies, so when you are in dangerous situations, you might not be able to avoid injury (or worse) if you suffer from impaired hearing. Emergency vehicle sirens, car horns and smoke detectors all emit high-pitched sounds to alert you to danger. Compromised hearing means you might not receive adequate warning
  • Preventing depression. Numerous studies show a positive link between untreated hearing loss and feelings of anxiety, sadness and depression. This is particularly true in older adults. A study by the National Council on Aging shows that wearing hearing aids reduces your risk of depression by at least 8 percent.
  • Reducing social isolation. Withdrawal and social isolation are common in people with hearing loss; many find participating in activities too exhausting, both mentally and physically. Studies show a strong correlation between loneliness, isolation and higher mortality rates.
  • Lowering your risk of dementia. In people with hearing loss, the brain must work harder to process sounds. Doing so is costly, as cognitive resources must be diverted from important areas such as memory and cognition. This increases your odds of developing memory impairment and dementia.

If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss in Scottsdale, schedule a consultation with an audiologist to learn more about the positive benefits of hearing aids.

 

Have You Heard? Here’s a Great Way to Add Years to Your Life! appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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They say that variety is the spice of life. While it’s nice to have options, in some cases the fewer your choices, the better. If there were only one type of hearing loss, for instance, treatment would be fairly standard, and everybody’s prognosis would be similar. But the ear is a complex organ consisting of three separate structures; damage to any of these sections will result in a different type of hearing loss.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss by a Lake Charles audiologist, you are part of a not-so-exclusive club. About 48 million Americans suffer from impaired hearing, a group that includes people of all ages – not just the elderly, as is commonly assumed. The most common causes of hearing loss in Louisiana include:

  • Aging. Presbycusis (hearing loss resulting from natural aging) affects one-third of adults by the age of 65. By age 75, half of all adults will experience some degree of hearing loss. It develops gradually and is the culmination of a lifetime of noise exposure. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In addition to noise, other factors such as heredity, disease and ototoxic medications can cause hearing loss. Because presbycusis develops slowly, many people are unaware of their problem for months (or years).
  • Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Noise exposure is a common cause of hearing loss, especially in younger individuals. Unlike presbycusis, NIHL is preventable. It is the result of prolonged exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels; the louder the sound and the longer you are in contact with its source, the quicker NIHL can occur. About 15 percent of adults in Lake Charles aged 20 to 69 experience NIHL, and 12.5 percent of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 suffer from it. Activities that increase your risk include concerts, sporting events, hunting, and riding motorcycles, boats or snowmobiles. Earplugs are the best way to prevent NIHL and preserve your hearing.
Other Hearing Loss Factors

There are three main types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss. Conductive hearing loss is the result of damage to the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear. It can be caused by structural deformities, fluid or wax accumulation in the middle ear, ear infection, allergies, eardrum perforations, foreign objects in the ear, otosclerosis and benign tumors. Conductive hearing loss may be reversed with surgery or medications.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, also referred to as “nerve deafness,” occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. In addition to aging and noise exposure, it may be caused by trauma, viruses, autoimmune disorders, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, malformations of the inner ear and tumors. Hearing aids are the usual prescribed treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss. This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and, as its name applies, affects both the inner ear and middle and/or outer ears. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and might include a combination of medications, surgery and hearing aids.

But wait…we’re not done quite yet. Hearing loss is further categorized as being either monaural or binaural. Unilateral hearing loss (sometimes referred to as single-sided deafness) affects one ear only, while bilateral hearing loss affects both ears.

And you thought hearing loss was straightforward!

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, your Lake Charles audiologist can help answer any questions you might have and provide you with additional information.

Why Are There Different Types of Hearing Loss? appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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15 percent of residents will experience dizziness in Lake Charles in 2019. This sounds like a big number, but in most cases, dizziness is temporary and not a cause for concern. It’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with an audiologist or ear, nose and throat doctor if you experience multiple episodes of dizziness, or your balance issues are accompanied by other symptoms.

Reasons You Might Feel Dizzy

Dizziness is a generic term describing any sensation of unsteadiness or imbalance. It occurs when your brain senses movement that isn’t actually happening. It can be triggered by something as simple as standing up too quickly from a seated position. Symptoms associated with dizziness include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Vertigo
  • Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Blurry vision

Sometimes, more serious symptoms will occur. If your dizziness is accompanied by vomiting, double vision, shortness of breath, chest or back pain, stiffness in the neck, fever, difficulty walking or trouble using your arms or legs, contact your Lake Charles doctor immediately or get yourself to the ER. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment from a health care profession.

Many conditions cause dizziness. Low blood pressure, anemia, dehydration, hypertension, endocrine system disorders, cardiovascular conditions, viral and bacterial infections, head trauma, neurological disorders, hyperventilation, heat-related disorders and medication side effects are all common causes of dizziness.

Treating Dizziness in Scottsdale

An occasional spell of dizziness is common and nothing to worry about, but repeated episodes require medical attention – especially if you’re older. 40 percent of elderly people in Scottsdale experience chronic dizziness, putting them at risk of falling – one of the top causes of death in individuals aged 80 and older.

How your dizziness is treated depends on what is causing it. Your Scottsdale audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist will administer a thorough medical evaluation in order to determine the reason for your unsteadiness. Popular treatment options include:

  • Medications (antihistamines, sedatives, antibiotics, steroids)
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Surgery
  • Repositioning exercises
  • Vestibular retraining programs
  • Lifestyle modifications (e.g., reducing sodium intake, quitting smoking)

To ensure a happy and healthy new year, if you’re experiencing repeat episodes of dizziness, contact a Scottsdale ENT doctor or audiologist without delay. It’s likely nothing serious, but always best to err on the side of caution.

Feeling Off-Balance: What Makes You Dizzy? appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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Lake Charles is a great place to live, but everybody needs to get away occasionally in order to recharge their batteries. Vacations are a great way to unwind, but for people with hearing loss, a little advance planning is necessary before hitting the road.

Making the Most of Hearing Aids when Traveling

Whether you’re vacationing on a lush tropical island or traveling to a trade show in Scranton for business, your hearing aids will help make your travel experience more enjoyable. If you wear hearing aids in Lake Charles and are traveling, be sure to do the following:

  • Pack extra batteries. You can expect most hearing aid batteries to last between 5-14 days. In case they die on you at an inopportune moment, pack enough to last you the entire trip. To err on the side of caution, bring more than you think you’ll need. Cold weather this time of year can sap battery life. This won’t be such a problem in Tahiti but if you do find yourself in Scranton, you’ll be thankful you brought extras!
  • Arrive to your departure point early. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, bus or cruise ship, it’s best to arrive at your departure point early. This will allow you to make special arrangements with the boarding agent, gate host, flight attendant or Captain Stubing if necessary and will ensure you don’t miss boarding calls and other announcements.
  • Take advantage of your smartphone. Texting lets you keep in touch with traveling companions and can be a lifesaver if you accidentally get separated. In addition, apps can help provide access to public resources and assist you with reservations, maps and travel alerts.
  • Leave your hearing aids in place. Some people worry about exposing their hearing aids to x-rays, but the equipment used in security checkpoints won’t cause any harm to your devices. It’s a good idea to let the TSA agent or security personnel know you are wearing them in case they trigger the metal detector; doing so may prevent an embarrassing pat-down.
  • Don’t put hearing aids in checked bags. Packing hearing aids in checked luggage is a risky proposition. If you’re headed to Montego Bay and your baggage ends up in Modesto, you’ll find yourself without your hearing aids for much (if not all) of your trip. Keep them with you in your carry-on luggage instead. Even if there’s an upcharge, that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
  • Protect your hearing aids from moisture. They say it never rains in Southern California, but why risk it? Moisture can damage your hearing aids, so consider buying a waterproof case and dehumidifier, even if you are traveling to a supposedly dry climate. Mother Nature has a way of springing surprises on you!
  • Book hearing aid-friendly lodging. Many lodging facilities offer amenities for the hearing-impaired. When booking a room, features such as closed-caption televisions, looping systems and visual alerting devices can help make your stay more pleasant.
  • Print all important documents in advance. Bringing along printed copies of reservation acknowledgments, travel itineraries and maps will help ensure communication difficulties don’t prevent you from getting from Point A to Point B safely and soundly. This is especially important if you’re traveling to a foreign country where the native language differs from yours.

Contact your Lake Charles audiologist for more information on how to travel with hearing aids.

Traveling with Hearing Loss appeared first on the website of The Hearing Center of Lake Charles, Inc. - providers of the best hearing aids and audiologist services in Lake Charles LA. Additional location in DeRidder LA.

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