Hearinc is your local source for hearing aids, audiology, tinnitus & nova looping in Canton, Akron, & Berlin, Ohio. Hearinc goal is to improve every patient's quality of life by applying the best possible hearing and tinnitus solutions using up-to-date technology. They offer solutions that take into consideration a patient's hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
Captain Mark Brogan lay on the ground of an Anbar province marketplace in Iraq in April, 2006. He had shrapnel in his spinal chord, was missing a third of his skull bone, and had severe arm injuries as well as hearing loss and tinnitus. And yet when he awakened from a nearly three-week coma after the suicide bomber’s attack, all he wanted to do was play the piano.
Mark Brogan started piano lessons at age five, after his mother observed him walk up to a piano at his aunt’s wedding and put all 10 fingers on the keys in proper form, rather than bang aimlessly like most small children. He began studying classical music and dabbling in pop music. At age 10 jazz became his primary focus, and he dreamt of a career in music.
Instead, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he majored in political science and joined the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). During Mark’s officer training, the war in Iraq began, and by 2005 he was stationed in Mosul in northern Iraq. He experienced three close calls while in Mosul: two detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and a sniper shot that just missed him.
It wasn’t until he had moved to Anbar province in western Iraq that he was caught in the explosion that would bring his combat days to an end. Something didn’t seem right in the marketplace where he was patrolling that day; it was unusually quiet. Minutes after his second-in-command nervously suggested it was time to go, a suicide bomber walked around the corner and detonated. Shrapnel penetrated Mark’s brain and spine, he was bleeding out of both ears, and his right arm was nearly severed.
When Mark came out of his coma back on U.S. soil, he had to wear a helmet for six months while waiting to get custom acrylic plates to replace part of his skull, he couldn’t lift his arm above the shoulder, and he had total hearing loss in one ear and needed a hearing aid in the other. He also developed epilepsy. But through a combination of his own grit and the generosity of others, Mark made good on his desire to play the piano.
Playing piano, to Mark, “just feels good, because I’ve lost so many things. . . . I had a bad day, I’m mad that I can’t drive because of my epilepsy, but I can go downstairs and play piano. I can do that.” Mark practices at home on a Steinway donated by a philanthropist. The piano bears a small plaque, “We thank you for your service”—Steinway & Sons.
The emotional, therapeutic aspects of playing music outweigh the challenges: Mark cannot hear anything with his right ear, and with his left he can only hear up to an octave above middle C; with his hearing aid on, he can hear a few more notes above that before they all turn into clack, clack, clack. (He sometimes practices pieces an octave lower to hear them better.) In addition, he still has weakness and loss of dexterity in his right arm and hand, while on his left side he experiences hot, cold, and pain sensations.
Besides learning pop covers, Mark has found refuge in composing his own songs, as well as sharing some of his performances on his YouTube channel, Arctic Recon. One particular video (see below), a cover of “Demons” by the band Imagine Dragons, has garnered over 20,000 views—partly because of the way Mark has connected the theme of the song to issues facing veterans. “Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide; 30 percent of veterans have considered suicide at some point,” the bold text in his video tells us. Mark dedicated his cover to all the men and women who have served in the military and are struggling with their own demons, and included information about a veteran suicide prevention hotline.
Beyond suicide and mental health issues, another common challenge facing veterans is hearing loss. Mark is part of the 60 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have suffered from hearing loss. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, tinnitus is the number one war wound for U.S. veterans, while hearing loss is number two. Mark’s goal is to inspire and empower other veterans with hearing loss, and he has already begun doing so by speaking about his experiences, as well as following his passion of playing the piano.
Unless they wear protection, these professionals don’t stand a chance when it comes to their hearing
Their jobs are among the loudest in the world. The risk of sustained hearing loss is correspondingly high in these professions. It is important to remember that the louder the noise, the shorter the exposure should be. People who are exposed to permanent sound levels of 85 dB or more at work, must wear ear protection. The pain threshold is around 125 dB.
In bars and clubs around the world, bartenders and other personnel are exposed to noise levels of up to 110 dB for hours every day. Nevertheless, hearing protection is usually not an issue in this industry.
From just a few feet away, jet engines are excruciatingly loud. Without reinforced hearing protection, hearing would be irreparably damaged within minutes.
Musicians need to be especially careful with their hearing. Yet for instrumentalists in a large orchestra, it is usually quite the opposite: Studies have shown that professional musicians are four times more likely to suffer hearing damage than the general public.
Who'd have thought? Dentists and dental assistants also risk hearing damage in their line of work. This is due to the screeching and whistling of drills and other devices, which can bring noise levels up to 90 dB.
Road construction workers
Everyone knows how noisy road construction sites are. Jackhammers and other heavy machinery easily reach noise levels of up to 120 dB – so work sites are off limits without ear protection.
My left ear has been acting up — increased pressure from seasonal allergies led to excess fluid, making my hearing aid unwearable for a few days until my ear dries out. It is a frustrating situation — I can’t hear on one side so I feel lopsided and out-of the-flow. It is hard to tell where sounds originate and the constant tinnitus in my hearing-aid-less-ear is a nuisance.
Thank goodness this situation is only temporary.
Among the many challenges, the worst part is feeling less self-assured. At my yoga studio this morning, I briefly greeted my fellow students, but quickly retreated into a pre-class savasana to avoid conversation. I thought about cancelling lunch with a friend, but decided to fess up about being down one ear today instead. I feel low-energy, shy, and less poised. My self-confidence has taken a dip.
This feeling brought me back to the days before I came out of my hearing loss closet, when I feared walking into an unknown situation, concerned that I might not be able to hear. These feelings of uncertainty still hit me every once in a while — particularly before what I know will be a difficult listening environment like a loud restaurant or a cocktail party — but since I began wearing my hearing aids regularly, I feel that way much less often. Most of the time, I feel confident and ready to take on whatever listening challenge comes my way through a combination of self-advocacy and technology.
Here we are in 2019. The Oticon Opn™ hearing aid continues to be one of the most popular hearing aids on the market (it was a blockbuster hearing aid release in April 2016). More than just another Made-For-iPhone hearing aid, Opn™ introduced the world to “Multiple Speaker Access Technology”, which many audiologists believe (and Oticon claims) improves hearing clarity in group conversations. This popularly-held belief seems to underlie Opn’s continued success in hearing clinics around the world.
In 2017, Oticon expanded the Oticon Opn™ product line by introducing new telecoil and powermodels. This allowed those with more severe forms of hearing loss, and those who rely on access to hearing loops, to benefit from Opn™ as well. Despite the expanded product line, two major limitations remained. First, unlike other Made For iPhone hearing aids on the market, Opn™ was not capable of streaming audio from Android devices via an intermediary device. Second, no remote microphone was available for the Opn™. This meant limited support for those with extreme difficulty hearing speech in background noise. With the new Oticon ConnectClip – released earlier this year – Opn™ users now have access to a remote microphone, and new audio streaming capabilities.
Here are the top 5 new things you can now with your Opn™ hearing aids with ConnectClip.
1. Hands Free Calls
The new ConnectClip can answer calls and act as your microphone so your phone can stay in your pocket or purse. This is a benefit for iPhone and Android users alike. This may not seem like a huge deal…that is, until you get pulled over by a police officer for holding the phone up to your mouth when you are driving.
2. Stream audio from an Android phone
Okay, if you are an iPhone user, just skip to #3. However, if you haven’t made the switch to iPhone to access all your Opn’s features, now you may not need to. You can now enjoy music, podcasts, YouTube videos, and call streaming from any Android phone using the ConnectClip as an intermediary streaming device.
3. Secretly change your settings
Why risk being perceived as rude when taking out your phone to change your program or volume settings? The program and volume buttons are strategically placed on the side of the ConnectClip to ensure you can change these settings without looking.
4. Perform even better in background noise
Even if “Multiple Speaker Access Technology” is as good as Oticon claims, you can always hear better in background noise with a remote microphone. Just place the ConnectClip onto the shirt of the person you want to hear and cut through the background noise like a hot knife through butter.
5. Stream audio from any Bluetooth device
Someday, Apple may take over the entire electronics industry, but until then, Bluetooth is still the universal standard, and the main way to access audio streams from non-Apple devices. Through the ConnectClip you may now stream audio to your your Opn™ hearing aids from any Bluetooth device.
As hearing aid manufacturers continue to advance hearing technology, hearing aid users will no doubt become some of the most tech-integrated people on the planet.
If you have hearing loss but still haven’t done anything to treat it, do you know why?
If it’s because you don’t think hearing loss is that big a deal, then maybe you just haven’t seen the research linking hearing loss to increased risk of falls, social isolation, dementia, higher medical costsand more.
If it’s because you think wearing hearing aids will draw unwanted attention to you, we’d like to remind you of all the people now sporting tattoos, or wearing earbuds or headphones everywhere they go. (Psst, no one will notice.)
And if it’s because you think that hearing aids haven’t changed since your Uncle Walter wore his big beige pair, then we hope you’ll watch this short video and see just how far today’s hearing aids have come.
Hey moms! Are you looking for another reason to eat well? We’re guessing you already know a million reasons why. But if you want just one more, this one is pretty compelling.
According to a study of 71,000 female nurses over a period of 22 years, women who ate a healthy diet reduced their risk of hearing loss by 30 percent.
What constitutes a healthy diet? According to the study’s author, it wasn’t a specific diet so much as a pattern of healthy eating: meaning a good balance of more vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains — and less processed meat, refined sugar, alcohol and fruit juices.
You don’t need us to tell you why eating healthy is important. But we feel it’s our job to tell you why hearing loss is something you should avoid or put off — and why you should treat it ASAP if and when it does happen.
Do you have someone with hearing loss in your life? With 360 million people worldwide (nearly 50 million Americans) experiencing debilitating hearing loss, chances are that you do. You probably notice how they sometimes struggle to keep up with the conversation, or that they avoid social exchanges that might be challenging or exhausting. Perhaps you wonder what you can do to help. This post provides my suggestions. Please add yours in the comments.
1. Use communication best practices.
When conversing with someone who has hearing loss, please use communication best practices. Get our attention first — in most cases we need to see your face and lips in order to hear you. Don’t speak to us from another room and be sure to keep your mouth in view when you are talking. Please do not cover your mouth with your hands or talk while eating.
Speak clearly and at a moderate pace, but don’t shout — this makes it hard for us to lipread. When in a group, please talk one at a time so we have a better chance of understanding, and if the topic changes, give us a heads up.
2. Manage the environment for optimal hearing.
The environment is a critical ingredient in our ability to hear. Keep background noise to a minimum and the area well-lit so we can see your mouth for lipreading. Let the person with hearing loss pick where you will meet them so they can choose a location that is conducive to communication. At a table, ask them where they want to sit. I prefer to sit with my back towards a wall to minimize distracting noise behind me, but others may have different priorities. I also like to sit across from the person who is hardest for me to hear so I have a good view for lipreading. If possible, have the person with hearing loss organize the seating for everyone.
3. Provide support, not pity.
If someone tells you they have hearing loss, don’t apologize. There is nothing for you to be sorry about. Simply ask them what you can do to help them hear their best and then follow the instructions. Your effort is greatly appreciated.
Understand that hearing aids do not work like glasses and will not restore hearing to normal. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we are trying our best to hear in each situation. We know it can be frustrating to have to repeat yourself, but try to maintain a positive attitude. Communication takes work on both sides.
When you have hearing loss, conversation takes a lot of effort. We may only catch snippets of certain words so our brain is constantly working to figure out what was said based on the context of the discussion. After a long day of listening, we may be overcome with hearing loss exhaustion. Be patient when that happens or suggest that we take a listening break to recharge.
4. Practice good communication without reminders.
It is not fun to constantly explain to your regular communication partners how to help you hear your best. Not only do we feel like we are nagging, it can be hurtful when the people closest to you cannot seem to remember what they need to do to include you in conversation. We understand that it requires an extra effort to talk with us, but it is worth it. When you remember to face us, keep your mouth uncovered and follow other communication best practices without being prompted, you show us that you care.
5. Partner in our self-advocacy efforts.
It can be tiring to request that the waiter repeat the specials at each restaurant or to retrieve the closed captioning device at every movie. When you assist in these tasks, it makes you a partner in our work, shows us that you understand our struggle and helps us conserve energy for the many self-advocacy moments that are likely ahead.
6. Avoid the dreaded “never mind.”
Repeating what you said can get tedious, but please do not answer our requests with “never mind.” To someone with hearing loss this feels like a dismissal, a rebuke and a slap in the face all in one. This applies to similar phrases like “it’s not important,” or “forget it.” Heard enough times, this type of brush-off can cause the person with hearing loss to disengage, preferring isolation to insult.
If someone with hearing loss asks you to repeat what you said, please do so, or try rephrasing it. Another trick is to ask the person to repeat what they thought they heard so you can provide the missing pieces. With a collaborative attitude, the mis-hearings can often be pretty funny too.
7. Experiment with new technologies.
Hearing aids alone are often not enough in difficult listening situations like a crowded restaurant, a cocktail party or even at the movies. New products are constantly being developed to make things easier for people with hearing loss. Stay abreast of new technologies through a google alert and encourage experimentation with new devices. If you do the work together, both you and the person with hearing loss will benefit, and it might even be fun. Technology is challenging, but with practice it can be life changing.
Everyone knows rock concerts are loud. That is part of the experience. I don’t go to too many concerts anymore, because of my hearing loss. But when I do, I use strong protections against the noise — I mute my hearing aids and use noise-cancelling headphones. Believe it or not, I can usually still hear the music just fine! As I look around the concert, I see some people wearing earplugs or earmuffs too. I wish there were more. Perhaps they don’t understand the risks.
Prolonged exposure to any sound at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss, and once your hearing is damaged, it is permanently impaired. Loud noise exposure kills the delicate cells inside the cochlea of the inner ear, and once they are gone, they do not grow back. Loud noises can also cause tinnitus, the sensation of buzzing or ringing in your ears when no sound is present. You may have experienced this after a particularly loud night out. Sometimes it goes away, but with increased exposure, it can become permanent. Mine is.
While people know about concerts, there are other venues and activities that can be damaging to your hearing that are not obvious. Restaurants are getting louder every day, as are sporting events and even children’s parties. Check out my list so you can protect yourself and your family from noise-induced hearing loss.
1. Restaurants/Bars: Booming music and loud conversation is the typical background at many restaurants and bars. Research shows that the louder the music, the faster people eat and drink, generating more revenue, but risking their clients’ hearing in the process. And those poor employees!
2. Sporting Events: In recent years, numerous football stadiums have tried to break the record for noisiest crowd. While this may be good for team spirit, it can be extremely damaging to the sports fans and their hearing. I worry most about the children in the crowd who have no control over the situation.
3. Movies: The new Star Wars movie boasted that it was the loudest movie on record. When I watched, I wore my noise-cancelling headphones with the noise-cancelling feature activated and didn’t miss any of the dialogue! I saw many in the audience holding their hands over their ears during certain scenes.
4. Children’s Parties/School Events: A few years ago, I clocked the talent show at my children’s elementary school at 90 decibels, an unsafe level. At 105 decibels, the maximum level of an iPod, some hearing damage can occur within 15 minutes.
5. Weddings: Events like weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet Sixteens can be heartwarming and fun, but also incredibly loud. Most bands and DJs set the volume at unsafe levels, which combined with the din of conversation can be deafening.
The good news is that noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable! You can protect yourself from unexpected noise by being aware of the risks, and arriving prepared. Here are my tips for protecting your hearing when out and about.
1. Turn down the volume. If you have control of the volume, turn it down to a safe level, or set the volume at different levels in different parts of the venue.
2. Speak up. If you think the environment is too loud, say something. Ask for the volume to be lowered or to move to a quieter seat. If you ask nicely but persistently, sometimes things can be arranged.
3. Move away from the sound. If you have a choice of seats, sit far away from the speakers. With distance comes safety.
4. Travel with earplugs. Carry earplugs with you in your backpack or purse. Be sure to bring extras to share with friends and family. Acoustic earplugs will provide the best sound for music, but cheaper pairs from the drugstore will also do the trick when used properly.
5. Use a decibel reader app. I like Decibel 10th, but there are many good options. Most are not 100% accurate, but they will let you know if you are near or in the danger zone.
6. Vote with your feet. If a place is consistently too loud and will not adjust the volume level, don’t go there anymore. If enough people do this, change will eventually occur.
It’s allergy season. That stuffy-nosed, watery-eyed, and always itchy part of the year. When the sniffles begin, I know my hearing is about to take a temporary dip. On my worst allergy days, I feel like I am walking in a fog. Sounds are muffled and my ears are popping more than usual as they work to clear the increased pressure.
Each time I move my head I can almost feel the fluid shifting position, bringing on dizziness or even vertigo. Sometimes it can even cause my tinnitus to spike. Allergies are miserable for everyone, but when you have a hearing loss, they can take a significant toll on your ability to communicate.
Why do seasonal allergies impact your hearing?
Seasonal allergies can cause fluid to build up in your middle ear, bringing a feeling of pressure and blocking sound waves from reaching your eardrum, making it harder for you to hear. This type of hearing loss is called conductive hearing loss, because it is caused by problems “conducting” the sound from its source to where it is heard. This is similar to what people with hearing loss experience when they have a head cold. You can read my post about that here.
The good news is that hearing loss from seasonal allergies is usually temporary and with proper medication and treatment, the impact can be minimized. Still, if you have seasonal allergies and hearing loss, try to enjoy the spring flowers from a distance.
What can you do about allergies and hearing loss?
1. Be medicated: Ask you doctor or pharmacist what over-the-counter products will work best for your symptoms and specific allergies. Decongestants are often helpful in shrinking inflammation in the nasal passages and help dry up excess fluid. Nasal saline sprays can also help with this. A combination of medicines taken by mouth and directly into the nose often work best.
2. Be prepared: If you experience the same allergies each year, you probably know when on the calendar symptoms will begin. Start your allergy medication routine a week or two in advance to help prevent symptom onset. You could start with a smaller than typical dose and when you feel symptoms begin, step up to full power.
3. Be consistent: Take your medicine every day during allergy season. Pollen levels may ebb and flow, but a consistent regimen will keep your body feeling its best during the inevitable spikes.
4. Be diligent: Wash your hands and face as often as you can, particularly when you have spent any time outside. This will remove the allergens from your skin, where they can travel into your nasal passages or mouth. In the height of the season, some allergists recommend you change your shirt after spending a lot of time outside to clear away the pollen that has likely collected there.
5. Be wise: If possible, stay inside on high pollen count days. You can check the pollen forecast online at The Weather Channel. Type in your zip code and you can see the upcoming severity in pollen levels for your area.
6. Be forthcoming: Let people know that your allergies have taken a temporary toll on your hearing and ask them to speak a little bit louder so you can hear. Most people can relate to this experience so I often get more consistent help when I have a cold or allergy moment than I do when my hearing is just its normal sub par self.
This hearing fact is interesting, as it is definitely counterintuitive. Classical music is not usually played at the volume or intensity of rock music, nor amplified on stage with jumbo speakers.
But in a National Public Radio story titled, “For Musicians, Hearing Loss is More Common Than One Would Think,” audiologist Marshall Chasin — who works with musicians who have hearing loss issues — makes the case.
As Dr. Chasin notes, “It turns out that classical music is actually more damaging than rock ‘n’ roll. A rock ‘n’ roller might pick up their guitar on a Friday night gig, and may not even practice or touch their music for another week or two until the next gig. In contrast, a classical musician plays four, five hours a day practicing, they may teach one or two hours a day, and then they have four or five, or maybe seven or eight, different performances every week. So even though the spot intensity might be greater for a rock ‘n’ roll set, if you take the dose that they get — the number of hours per week you’re playing — for a classical musician, it’s much, much greater.”
If you are a musician — or one of the other 40+ million Americans with noise-induced hearing loss — do what the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends and get a hearing evaluation right away.