One of the first things a hearing loss patient learns is that hearing loss is treatable but not reversible. But can you do things to help minimize your chance of hearing loss in the first place? Sure, you can protect your ears from loud environments, but age-related hearing loss has always been considered as an unavoidable fact of life.
We all know that our diets are the cornerstone of our health — the “you are what you eat”. As of late, some new studies are showing interesting results related to diet and the risks of hearing loss.
One 2019 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that women who ate healthier had lower rates of hearing loss than those who had a less-healthy diet.
In this study, the researchers measured the women’s hearing once and then again three years later. The results found that the women who reported eating some of the universally recognized healthy diets were 25 percent less likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss than those who had less healthy diets.
The team also found that “the odds of a decline in mid-frequency hearing sensitivities were almost 30 percent lower among those whose diets most closely resembled these healthful dietary patterns.”
These results echo a similar study from 2018, which also found a positive correlation between healthy diet and lower rates of hearing loss. This was the case even after researchers removed other variables like physical activity and cardiac health status.
The link between a healthy diet and hearing health also applies to supplementation. One study from 2007 found that older men who supplemented their diet with folic acid lowered their risk of hearing loss.
All this research may lead you to ask, when we say healthy eating, what exactly are we talking about? We’re talking not about the latest extreme diet, but rather healthy eating as it has been defined for a long period of time, with diets such as the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH diet.
Have you had an experience with changing your diet and improvement in your hearing health? We want to hear about it! Get in touch with us!
As healthcare professionals in the field of hearing health, our job is not only to treat our patients with the utmost standards of care; we are also on a mission to educate the public about the importance of hearing loss and hearing loss care.
With that in mind here are three great resources our patients and readers can use to understand more about hearing loss:
Written by Award-winning author and staff writer for The New Yorker, David Owen, this is a great book for understanding more about how hearing works, the origins of hearing loss, and possible solutions that can help us hear better. Also, here is a great podcast with the author that covers some of the main themes of the book.
This website is a great resource that has regularly covered issues in hearing health, including some very interesting articles covering up-to-date research.
As the official organization of hearing and speech health professionals, ASHA offers a wealth of resources, from educational resources, to tools for spreading awareness, to a directory of useful organizations, funding resources, and support services for those with hearing loss.
Have a question about hearing health? We’re here as a resource to you! Reach to us and we’ll be happy to help!
April 24, 2020 Update: This week Gov. Pritzker extended Illinois’ stay at home order until May 31st. We will continue to remain open, and are taking the necessary infection control precautions to see patients while keeping everyone safe. If you need anything or have any questions please contact our office.
The novel COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made 2020 a year none of us will soon forget. We hope all of you are staying safe and taking care of your health.
Thankfully, it does seem like our state’s efforts are working and the infection curve is flattening. For the latest information on what the State of Illinois is doing, including resources for Illinois residents, visit this site.
Despite everything that’s going on, we at Chicago Hearing Services are still working for your hearing health. We can still be reached via the usual channels, and our hours have not changed.
T: 773.685.9202 (please leave a message if we don’t answer).
E: [email protected]
Monday – Wednesday: 8:30am to 5:30pm
Friday: 8:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday – 9:00-12:00 by appointment
Sunday – Closed
For everyone’s safety, we are trying to limit patient contact, so we prefer if patients drop off their hearing aids through the mail slot on our door. We can have repairs sent directly to patients to limit appointments and exposure!
We can also ship any supplies to patients, so please contact us and let us know what you need!
Please contact Dr. Dudley or Dr. Vetter via email or your hearing aid app to do any remote fine tuning of your hearing aids.
We plan to be open May 1 when the shelter in place is lifted. Should the order be extended, our office will contact you to reschedule.
With warmest regards,
The Team at Chicago Hearing Services
On any average business day, we see a number of hearing patients. For us, it’s something we’re used to, but we try to recognize that for each of them, their hearing appointment can be a great cause for anxiety but also excitement for finally getting some help with their hearing issues.
Being able to deliver a quality customer experience day in and day out is one of the most important things to us, and we do this by adhering strictly to a list of hearing care best practices. The actual checklist of technical best practices we adhere to is too long for the purposes of this post (see here if you’re interested). However, here are three broad best practices that are particularly important to us, and we’ve found that they’re equally important to our patients.
Patient History and Unique Considerations
One of the most important aspects of hearing care is not just taking the auditory tests at face value, but considering how each patient’s hearing loss fits within their overall physical and mental health.
Hearing Aid Features & Fit
Getting the patient to wear his or her hearing aids is half the battle. That’s why we don’t just look for the hearing aid that will adequately treat the patient’s level of hearing loss, but also one that they will actually enjoy wearing. Sometimes, this might mean that we actually choose a less ideal option in terms of treatment, but one that fits better within the patient’s lifestyle.
For all hearing aid fittings, we use real-ear measurements. The technology involves playing a sound into the patient’s ear to note how the unique structure of that ear shapes the sound intensity (volume) and frequency response (pitch). The hearing aid can then be adjusted to have the optimal settings for that patient’s ear. This allows us as audiologists to have an objective test to verify that the hearing aid is set appropriately to detect sounds of speech. Verifying the hearing aid fitting can ensure the patient is getting the maximum benefit from the hearing aids.
Our work is not done when the patient goes home happy with his or her new hearing aids. Proper hearing aid fitting can be a multiple visit process as we fine-tune the performance of each apparatus. Having the patient in for a follow-up visit also allows us to hear about their concerns with the new hearing aids and try to address these. Follow-up appointments are necessary to ensure the hearing aid is working optimally. Follow-up visits also cut down on the number of hearing aid repairs.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting treatment for your hearing loss, or if you have been less than happy with your current level of hearing loss treatment, we want to assure you that we will do everything within our power to help you hear better. Seeing audiologists that follow best practices can help you as a patient ensure you are getting the proper care you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
For a long time, hearing aids have not been covered by the vast majority of insurance policies. This has presented a challenge for most people with hearing loss, as hearing aids are expensive and very much necessary for improved quality of life, but up until now needed to be paid for out of pocket. Now, finally, it looks like things might be changing.
Illinois House Bill 3503, signed into law a few months ago, requires insurance companies to offer optional coverage for hearing instruments and any related services for all individuals 65 years of age and older when these are prescribed by a hearing care professional.
The question this presents is how the existing system will adapt to the new law. Medicare does not cover hearing aids, and the supplemental plans that go along with Medicare may not need to abide by state laws as they are covered by Medicare rules (which is a federal program). So, it appears that the main patient demographic for hearing aids, senior citizens on Medicare, may still not be covered.
As a part of the new law, Insurance companies are required to cover up to $2,500 per hearing aid every 24 months under the legislation. A senior has the option to select more expensive equipment, but will be required to pay the uncovered cost out of pocket.
The new law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, so it shouldn’t be too long until we see how the industry responds to the new legislation.
We always verify insurance when someone comes in for an appointment and we are happy to guide patients to try to save them as much money as we can on their hearing aids. Stay tuned to our blog as we wait to see if the new law might lead to more savings for our patients.
We’ve often said that hearing loss can be a taboo subject for some people, because for some reason it carries a stigma. If that’s the case, then get ready for the true taboo subject, which is just another part of life that those suffering from hearing loss have to deal with—having sex with hearing loss.
The first challenge is what to do with the hearing aids themselves. On one hand, it’s important that you know what’s going on during sex, and hearing can really help in that department. It also helps with general spacial awareness. On the other hand, hearing aids can be cumbersome when you’re fumbling around in the dark. They’re also expensive pieces of medical equipment that you probably don’t want to risk breaking if they fall out.
In general, with all but the most discreet of hearing aids, sex will be a little more complicated than it usually is. In the heat of the moment, your partner may inadvertently brush against the aids and cause them to fall out. You might also hear some feedback from your hearing aids if you find yourself in an odd position.
However, there’s also a good reason to wear your hearing aids during sex — you yourself will be more comfortable with your surroundings, and you’ll get to see that for your partner, it doesn’t matter that you wear hearing aids.
Check out this recent article from Vice about one woman’s experience with having sex with hearing loss.
If you think you or a loved one might be experiencing hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids, please get in touch with us to set up an appointment.
This year, like every year, we look to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) for the latest in hearing aid technology. Over the past few years, hearing technology has grown into a distinct segment of CES, which usually focuses more on consumer-facing electronics than medical devices. This has been great to see, because it helps to spread awareness of hearing health.
LE Audio Bluetooth
We all use Bluetooth on a daily basis. Bluetooth is a great technology for quickly linking up nearby electronic devices, but also presents some unique challenges when used with hearing aids. For example, switching the hearing aid to connect it to a phone or other device is currently not quite as seamless as most users would prefer.
At this year’s CES, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced LE Audio, a new version of bluetooth that, among many other things, is designed to work better with hearing aids. Supposedly, this technology will be able to do stereo connections to mobile devices. There is also some talk about eventually being able to seamlessly connect to PA systems at events or movie theaters. The new tech, called Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3), will supposedly lower the power consumption needed for Bluetooth, while simultaneously improving sound quality, which is definitely a win-win scenario. Consumers can expect to see devices with this new technology begin to come out in early 2021.
Hearing aids as CES Honorees
We were happy to see a number of hearing aids getting noticed as honorees in the competitive CES innovation awards.
The Oticon Xceed was an honoree in the Health and Wellness Category. Dubbed as the “the world’s most powerful hearing aid”, the Xceed is the “first super- and ultra-power hearing aid with OpenSound Navigator and OpenSound Optimizer, BrainHearing technologies that support more access to speech.” It’s meant to help those with moderate to profound hearing loss and “empowers hearing care professionals to deliver industry-leading optimal output and gain—146dB SPL and 87 dB full on gain—without the high risk of feedback.”.
Meanwhile, Oticon’s RemoteCare technology was nominated in the Tech for a Better World Category. RemoteCare allows patients and hearing professionals to hold virtual appointments at which the professional can remotely adjust their hearing aids as if they were in the same room with the patient.
Another notable release was Phonak’s Marvel Virto Black. It’s billed as “the world’s first custom-made hearing aid that directly streams from both iOS®, Android™, or virtually any other Bluetooth®-enabled audio device”. The Marto Virto Black is also not too shabby in the looks department—it’s a full-featured hearing aid, but is designed to look like a high-tech hearable, giving it a more modern and stylish look than the average hearing aid. It’s a push to make hearing aids more wearable and accepted, and we think they’re moving in the right direction.