Blog

No big deal: Ending the stigma of hearing loss

It’s no big deal! Really. After all, it’s 2018. So isn’t it time that we end the stigma related to wearing hearing aids and hearing loss? Since inclusion has become pervasive in today’s society, why not let go of any negative images of hearing loss? Here at Treasure Valley Hearing & Balance we know that people of any age can have hearing loss and that wearing hearing aids is a smart solution to a challenge. Let’s all let go of any negative associations to hearing loss.

Not just “old people” have hearing loss

Some people equate wearing hearing aids with old age, but it simply isn’t true. Plenty of young people have hearing loss and use hearing aids or implants. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with some hearing loss.1 Schools across the country, from pre-school through high school, make accommodations to “mainstream” students with hearing loss, and several colleges offer programs specifically for students with hearing loss.

Why is there a stigma? Self-perception, ageism and vanity

Even though many younger people have it, hearing loss continues to be thought of as something only old people experience. It isn’t. Nor is it anything to be embarrassed about. Yet, recent research shows that stigma remains an issue. In 2010, The Gerontologist conducted research focused on stigma and hearing loss, and how these may impact an individual’s decision to wear hearing aids. The researchers found that perceived stigma did make a difference in whether people with hearing loss accepted hearing aids and how well they adapted to them.2 People in the study expressed concerns about being seen as old, or worried that people may stare at them if they were wearing hearing aids. But this isn’t new. The study noted that the concept of stigma dates back to the ancient Greeks, and that people labeled stigma to alterations in self-perception, ageism and vanity.

Society has changed rapidly over the last decade

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans have improved their view of people with disabilities,3 especially since 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. People’s viewpoints have changed. But assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, play an integral role in helping people with challenges integrate fully into society. Getting to know people with hearing loss, seeing how well they manage with hearing aids at home, work and in the community, helps break down any residual stigma.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability

You can’t see if someone has hearing loss, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if they struggle to hear you. A hearing aid may be the only clue. Hearing aid manufactures understand that aesthetics count. Sometimes hearing aids are so well-hidden that they’re even invisible. Others have a sleek design, available in many colors, including a variety of skin-tones. Some people choose to flaunt the latest in hearing aids designs and pick bolder colors, like blues or pinks. And why not? We think that hearing aids are nothing to hide!

Why break the stigma?

Hearing loss advocate, Shari Eberts, recently wrote in Psychology Today that the time has come to end the stigma of hearing loss. She lists multiple avenues you can follow to break the stigma of hearing loss. She encourages the public to do the following:

      “Get your hearing tested as part of your annual medical screening and encourage your friends and family to do the same.”
      “If you have hearing loss, treat it.”
      “If you have hearing aids, wear them.”
      “Speak up about your hearing loss”4

We agree that all of these things can help the public understand hearing loss and improve their own well-being.

Want more information on ending stigmas, accepting hearing loss and finding the best options for you?

Whether you are a “newbie” to hearing loss or have been facing hearing loss for decades, we can help you choose the best solution for your individual needs. We understand that first-time wearers may go through a process to get used to hearing aids, and our experienced team know how to help acclimate you to wearing your new devices. Want to learn more? Make a no-obligation appointment. Should you need hearing aids, we will help you find the right design for your ears. Call (208) 519-4552 to book time with us.

Posted by Admin

The Connection Between Migraines and Hearing Loss

According to Migraine.com more than 37 million Americans suffer from migraine, a neurological disease characterized by episodes known as migraine attacks.

If you suffer with them, you know what we mean…sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, nausea, throbbing pain, vertigo and vomiting are all typical symptoms..

But how does that correlate to hearing loss?

Specifically, in a portion of people with migraines, tiny hair cells in the cochlea that move in response to incoming sound vibrations and send sound signals to the brain behave too sluggishly. Further, testing shows some migraine sufferers have problems processing sound on the way to the brain.

The problem here is that those tiny hairs require good circulation to function properly, and the hypothesis is that circulation is compromised during a migraine attack.

Those tiny hairs functioning abnormally can lead to them dying completely and lead to permanent hearing loss.

As it turns out, migraines are associated with both tinnitus AND sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing in the ears. It is both annoying and often maddening condition where you hear sounds in one or both ears that aren’t actual external sounds. “The sounds might be ringing, chirping, machine-like, buzzing, hissing or roaring that aren’t coming from the environment, but originate from within the ear.” (https://www.listen-2-life.com/blog/do-migraine-headaches-increase-the-risk-for-hearing-loss/)

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing—usually in one ear—either all at once or over several days. About half of people with SSHL will recover some or all of their hearing spontaneously, usually within one to two weeks from onset (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/sudden-deafness). Immediate medical attention by an ENT is important if this should happen to you.

That same study out of Taiwan shows that people who suffer from migraines are twice as likely to develop SSHL.

So, is any of this preventable? The migraines and/or the hearing loss?

Maybe. As far as the migraines go, the best answer for that lies in the hands of your health care professional. When it comes to your hearing, a visit to your audiologist or hearing care professional is in order.

If you experience sudden hearing loss, you should seek treatment immediately. It may be migraine related – but it could be something else.

We’d love to help you improve your hearing and by extension, your quality of life. Give us a call and schedule an assessment today!

We can’t wait to help you gain a better hearing lifestyle. Here at Treasure Valley Hearing & Balance, we are committed to better hearing and committed to you!

Contact us today and schedule an appointment.

Posted by Admin

What Your Hearing Care Provider Can Do For You

What prevents individuals from achieving better hearing? There are several answers. For many people, hearing loss seems to just sneak up slowly over time. Many do not even realize they have an issue until it becomes significant. And because it isn’t noticed, it isn’t mentioned at an annual physical, and even more time goes by without seeking help. In fact, on average, it takes a person 7-10 years1 to seek help for hearing loss. By the time a person realizes the full impact of hearing loss, they may just want a quick fix to a complicated problem.

Regrettably, many people with hearing loss are lured into the supposedly “cheaper and easier” methods of correcting it, either through the purchase of hearing aids online, choosing a personal sound amplifier, or by visiting big box stores that are much more concerned with profits than patient care. In spite of the allure of these seemingly simple fixes, the fact is that a professional hearing care provider is your best resource to address your hearing healthcare.

What the big boxes and online hearing aid retailers aren’t telling you

Maybe you’ve heard that you can buy hearing aids similar to those from hearing care professionals from the big box stores for little money. These stores are only successful because they can sell a large volume of low-priced goods, often very cheaply, to gain larger revenue. They focus on efficiency, which is a polite way of saying “get as many people in and out the door as rapidly as possible.” Admittedly, this profit-centric model works well for many purchases, because you probably don’t need professional, personalized care to help choose your t-shirts or soap. Customer service simply doesn’t factor in to these types of purchases. But purchasing hearing aids is more complicated; you need a professional to guide you. Your ears deserve individual attention from trained professionals.

Looks can be deceiving

Beware of hearing aids from online retailers. They are probably not the same quality of product, even if they come from the same manufacturer. Models may differ slightly, making them eligible for discounted pricing, without the features that hearing care professionals can offer.

Hearing care experts use a customer-centric business model

Our hearing care providers are completely different. We are not obsessed with short-term profits because we focus on customer care. Have we identified your individual needs and found a solution that suits you? Are you willing to return to us for your future care? Would you refer us to your friends and neighbors? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have been successful in our approach to care.

We thrive on providing quality care, which benefits both the person with hearing loss as well as our team.

In contrast, what will happen if the big box stores can’t deliver quality care and happy customers? They will push more advertising to increase their flow of new customers, offering the same “quick and cheap fix” that lured the original customers.

Because individuals experience hearing differently, it’s important to choose your hearing care provider wisely

Hearing is complex; like our fingerprints, everyone’s hearing is unique. So the frequencies your friend may hear well could be the same ones that you can’t hear. In other words, you can’t just take the surrounding sound, make it all louder, pump it into your ears and expect good results. But this is in essence what personal sound amplifiers and over-the-counter hearing aid models do.

The truth is, the sounds your hearing aids amplify — AND the sounds they don’t — must complement the way you, and only you, hear. Hearing care professionals accomplish this through:

  • Assessing* your hearing to learn the EXACT nature of your hearing loss
  • Understanding the variety of hearing aids and their individual capabilities (as well as what they cannot do)
  • Identifying what works for your needs
  • Fitting and programming your hearing aids to boost the sounds you have difficulty hearing, while identifying and repressing the sounds you don’t want to hear (such as low-frequency background noise)
  • Providing follow-up care, especially in the first few weeks when the device is new and may need further adjustments

For the hearing care provider, acquiring this knowledge requires a lot of instruction and patient care experience. This is how we can conduct the appropriate assessment* to help patients pick the right hearing aid, professionally program the hearing aids and provide the coaching and aftercare necessary for optimal hearing. We don’t cut corners in providing comprehensive hearing care. That is why the results are well worth your time and effort.

Make the right choice for you

Who do you trust with your hearing? Someone who views you only as a transaction, consumer or a means to reaching sales targets? Or do you trust an experienced hearing professional who cares about the same thing you do — attaining the best hearing possible? We think the decision is easy: relationships are the lifeblood of successful hearing care.

Still have questions?

We welcome you to call (208) 519-4552 to make an appointment today. Hearing starts with a conversation. Our friendly team is there for you throughout the process of identifying your needs, finding the right hearing aid (if that’s right for you), fitting, adjusting and following up with you. Your hearing satisfaction is our goal – and we measure our success through your wellness.

Posted by Admin

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Hearing Aids

When you first start wearing hearing aids, it takes a little while to get used to them.

What you may not realize at first is, these little devices are game-changers, and once you are acclimated, you won’t want to live without them.

We’ve compiled a few tips to make the transition a little easier for you.

Get your hearing aids from a licensed Audiologist/Hearing Care Professional

A licensed professional will help you get the right device for you and your lifestyle from the start. They will make sure it’s the proper fit. They will make sure it covers all of your needs. And they will be there to help any time you need it. You won’t get that at a big box store.  Titles to look for are Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist.

>Wear them every day

The first few days, you certainly don’t want to wear them ALL day, but you should wear them a little more each day.

Jumping right in with both feet and trying all day stretches from the get-go is guaranteed to overwhelm you. To go from hearing very little to hearing everything all at once is a little bit too much to handle for most people.

Additionally, having a device in your ears might cause soreness at first.

So, we recommend taking it slow. The first few days, only wear them a few hours, adding a more time as the days go by. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing them all day with ease.

We will give you an exact wear-in schedule when we fit you with your aids, so you won’t be confused about when and how to wear your devices.

Learn how to care for your hearing aids.

Daily cleaning, proper storage, charging regularly – these are all things you will need to add to your daily routine to keep your hearing aids in tip top shape.

Store your hearing aid batteries in a cool, dry place – not in a refrigerator. Keep them away from children, persons with cognitive impairment, and pets.

  • Clean daily. Before you put them away for the day, wipe them down with a dry cloth or tissue to wipe away the oil and moisture that’s accumulated during the day.
  • Invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier. Moisture can damage the delicate electronic parts of your hearing aid and keep it from working its best. These inexpensive devices gently absorb moisture and increase sound quality.
  • Avoid contact with harsh chemicals, such as face creams, body washes and hair sprays. These household products can damage the components of your hearing aid.

Dig in to your devices advanced features.

Once you get used to your hearing aids, it’s time to find out what they can really do.

Depending on your specific model, you’ll be able to do things like wirelessly stream music and phone calls straight to your hearing aids, manipulate the volume from your mobile device or digital watch, and effortlessly switch settings to maximize your hearing in different environments. Make sure to consult with your hearing specialist about all the features that may be beneficial to you.

Learn how to troubleshoot

If you have an issue you can’t solve alone,, of course, you should schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist or audiologist. But for small things, adjustments, you can learn to make them on your own.

  • If you can’t hear anything, change the battery. If that doesn’t help, gently clean the sound outlet and microphone.
  • If you hear a howling or whistling sound, remove and reinsert your hearing aid. If that doesn’t work, get your ear canal checked by a medical professional to see if you have ear wax accumulation.
  • If the sound is distorted, check to see if your hearing aid is in telecoil mode. If so, switch it back to microphone mode. If that doesn’t help, check to see if the battery or battery contacts are dirty or corroded.

If you already use hearing aids, schedule a checkup to make sure they are working as well as they can for you.

If you haven’t made the leap yet, stop in for an assessment and let us help you determine what type of device would be best for you.

Technology makes all the difference for those who suffer with difficulty hearing clearly, take advantage of it as much as you can!

We’d love to help you improve your hearing and by extension, your quality of life. Give us a call and schedule an assessment today!

We can’t wait to help you gain a better hearing lifestyle.  Here at Treasure Valley Hearing & Balance,  we are committed to better hearing and committed to you! Contact us today and schedule an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Recharge Your Hearing!

Extraordinary sound quality meets ZPower™ rechargeable convenience

Read more
+See terms for details

Schedule an appointment

Free hearing assessment

Request Appointment

Convenient, low monthly payments

Do you have concerns about your hearing? We have options for financing.

Learn more

Live life without limits

You deserve solutions tailored to your lifestyle. Whether you are an athlete or a bookworm – you can achieve optimal hearing.

Get started