How Allergies Affect Hearing

Image of woman sneezing around flowers.Allergies don’t only make your eyes itchy and nose run – they can also hamper your hearing.

When your body is confronted with allergens such as pollen, drugs, some foods, grass or fur, the immune system produces antibodies that release histamine, which can cause allergic reactions. Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Arizona reminds you that these reactions can affect the outer, middle and inner ear.

The outer ear may itch or become red, while a fluid build-up in the middle ear can create earaches, and the inner ear reactions may include dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even deafness, particularly for individuals with Meniere’s disease.

Eustachian Tube

The Eustachian tube is part of the middle ear that releases pressure, but allergies can hurt its ability to drain properly by causing swelling or mucus buildup. This can cause sounds to be dampened or a feeling of fullness in your ears, a condition known as conductive hearing loss. Because the tube also has a part in maintaining balance, an allergic reaction can cause the individual to feel dizzy.

Further, children are more susceptible to a middle ear infection known as otitis media, caused when fluid in the ear becomes infected. When this occurs, your audiologist may suggest getting an allergy test.

Autoimmune inner ear disease

The immune system’s reaction to an allergen can be an allergic reaction to itself – when the immune system attacks the inner ear, it’s known as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). Although the cause of AIED is unknown, about a third of cases are in individuals who also display Meniere’s disease symptoms.

Hearing aids and allergies

Because allergens can clog up your hearing aids, it’s important to clean them regularly or replace the microphone port covers as needed. If you feel like you’re having an allergic reaction to your hearing aid, it could be due to moisture, a poor fit, or wax accumulation. Talk to your audiologist if you notice this.

Allergy treatments

Most allergy sufferers can use over-the-counter medicines including decongestants and antihistamines to help with symptoms in the ears, nose or eyes. Fortunately, the hearing problems and discomfort are typically temporary and subside when the allergy season is over.

For more information on services at Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Arizona, contact us at one of our three locations in Scottsdale.

Get to Know the Oticon Opn

Image of Oticon Opn Hearing Aid in audiologist's hand.Oticon is the oldest hearing aid manufacturer in the world, but don’t let that fool you – its Opn models continue to be at the forefront of improving listening experiences in the 21st century.

More than one million Opn hearing aids have been sold across the globe, in large part due to the brand’s innovative technology that has reshaped what is possible in living with hearing loss. The reviews are staggering: 96% of Opn users say they hear better with the hearing aids, while 81% say they also hear with less effort than they did previously.

The Opn is available in three styles and performance levels, all made for iPhone®:

  • miniRITE: This hearing aid – Oticon’s smallest behind-the-ear model – for mild to severe hearing loss combines telecoil functionality with a double-push button, able to control volume and listening programs. Telecoil capability can be used in loop systems, delivering sound directly into your devices.
  • miniRITE-T: A discreet device that sits behind the ear, the miniRITE-T has a tiny speaker in the ear that’s attached to a nearly invisible wire. Its double-push button controls volume and programs and features a telecoil for improved listening experiences in room with looping systems. This style is also for mild to severe hearing loss.
  • BTE13 Plus Power: This robust unit – for severe-to-profound hearing loss – features a speaker in the small casing located behind the ear. Like the others, features a telecoil for improved hearing in churches, theaters or public places with looping systems. An LED indicator provides a status for caregivers and parents.

Helping the Brain Hear Better

Studies show there is a higher risk of cognitive decline and brain atrophy in people with hearing loss who do not seek treatment for the issue. Oticon has aggressively and carefully researched this topic and developed a number of technologies that can slow down this decline in brain activity.

Oticon’s BrainHearing™ technology is based on the evidence showing that understanding speech is a cognitive process that works best when the brain is open to sense and organize all sounds around it. Traditional hearing aids can center in on certain sounds, a function that does not provide the brain with the stimuli it needs. Opn’s use BrainHearing provides access to a 360-degree soundscape that allows the brain to pay attention to multiple speakers.

Wearers report experiencing a 20% reduction in listening effort, a 20% better recall of speech, and 30% better speech understanding.

Hearing care professionals are also supporters of Oticon, giving it number-one rankings in a Hearing Tracker/UBS Survey in three of the four areas audiologists use when recommending hearing aids: sound quality; value for the money; and ease of use.

Contact us for more information on how Audiology and Hearing Aid Center Arizona can help you discover Opn hearing aids.

Make hearing appointments a family affair

Image of man having his hearing evaluated with his wife by his side.

Hearing loss affects not only the person having trouble with sounds – it can have a significant impact on family members as well.

Consider these ways having relatives at your appointment could prove beneficial to all parties.

Better insight into the problem

A relative can point out that you have increasingly been turning up the volume on the television, for example. You may not be conscious of this tendency, but knowing this information can help your audiologist assess what environments cause the most problems and adjust your treatment accordingly.

Maybe you’re missing more communication with your family than you realize. Your loved one can explain these difficulties to the audiologist, making it easier for them to do their job.

This dialogue can help you better hear the TV and conversations, your family being more comfortable while watching and communicating with you and your audiologist providing better service to you as a result of more fully understanding your hearing loss.

Support system

Medical appointments can seem overwhelming due to the amount of information provided. Having a family member there can help not only soothe your nerves, but help you retain the suggestions made for you by the audiologist.

A team approach to decisions

If you’re a candidate for hearing aids, a loved one can help you process the information provided by the hearing healthcare professional and help you decide which devices are right for you.

Contact Audiology & Hearing Aid Center Arizona to schedule an appointment at one of our three Scottsdale locations or learn more about our services.

Eat Healthy, Hear Healthy

Your diet can affect your hearing, and your hearing can affect your diet.  Really!  Foods that are high I folic acid, magnesium, and zinc can help promote healthy hearing and prevent hearing loss.  Great foods include any dark leafy green – spinach, kale and brussel sprouts.

Magnesium

Magnesium improves the oxygen flow throughout blood vessels, and assists in inner ear functions.  Patients with a high magnesium diet expressed decreased tinnitus symptoms than those who consumed less in a recent study.

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is essential for cell regeneration and improving circulation, both of which are necessary for hearing functions.  Studies have shown connections between poor vitamin B-12 and folate intake and age-related with auditory issues.

Zinc

Did you know: Zinc has been known to strengthen the immune system and increase healthy cell production.  The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of zinc have been found to lessen tinnitus symptoms.

How does it all circle back? There is a nerve in your ear that actually connects to the taste buds in your tongue.  If you have some damage to your ear, it can, in fact, affect the way you perceive certain tastes!  So even if you’re not a huge fan of greens, eat them now so you can taste the foods you really enjoy longer!

Schedule an appointment with the understanding professionals at Audiology & Hearing Aid Center to learn more about your personal hearing health needs

Causes of Tinnitus

Do you spend your weekends going to sporting events or listening to live music?   The loudspeakers at these events can exceed 120 decibels. At that level, you can increase the risk of hearing loss and Tinnitus in less than a minute.  Tinnitus is the frequent ringing in the ears, and if you do experience it, you’re not alone – 50 million people in the United States are affected by it.

How To Prevent Tinnitus

A great way to deter the damages from the loud venues is to wear earplugs.  However, not all earplugs are created equal.  If your weekend hobbies include live music or sporting events, let us know.   Audiology & Hearing Aid Center can help you find the right ear protection to meet your needs to enjoy these events more safely.

We encourage everyone to get a baseline hearing assessment, whether you think you have hearing loss or not.  If you do find that you start to develop any hearing issues, you’ll have received information to help you identify it. With that information, you can be proactive with issues if/when they develop.

Schedule an appointment with the professionals at Audiology & Hearing Aid Center to learn more about your personal hearing health needs.

Living In A Noisy World

The world we live in is a noisy place.  It’s hard to get away from the sounds of car horns, emergency sirens, loud conversations at restaurants and activity in your own home.  When we struggle to hear, it affects how we communicate.  When communication is compromised, we miscommunicate.  With difficulty understanding, people tend to isolate themselves, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.

How do you adapt to the sounds around you?

Hearing loss is the third most common health issue in America, with over one million people experiencing it in Arizona alone.  It is common, and many treatment options are available.  Statistics show many people wait seven years before finally talking to someone about their hearing challenges.

There is no quick fix for hearing loss. At Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, we provide you with information and technology to help you communicate and enjoy those around you.

We encourage everyone to get a baseline hearing exam, at least by the age of 50.  If you have a family history or are experiencing any issues now, getting the baseline done before any issues come up will provide a clearer to how your hearing changes over time.

Schedule an appointment with the understanding professionals at Audiology & Hearing Aid Center to learn more about your personal hearing health needs.