Hearing Loss

posted By: Earlens Web | 07.03.18

Protect Your Hearing this July 4th

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With Independence Day coming up, many of us are looking forward to backyard barbecues, parades, concerts and fireworks. During the many activities that come with the holiday, it’s important to also take steps to protect our hearing while we enjoy ourselves.

 

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss and can impact people of any age. Hearing loss can result from a single exceptionally loud noise, or from repeated exposure to noise levels. In normal hearing, sound waves enter the outer ear and travel down the ear canal to vibrate the ear drum. Those vibrations activate tiny bones in the middle ear that trigger fluid vibrations in the cochlea, the sensory organ of hearing. Those vibrations move microscopic hair cells in the cochlea that create electrical signals that travel to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.

 

Noise exposure can damage the hair cells in the cochlea. When sound vibrations are too large, the fluid motion in the cochlea can bend hair cells to the point of breaking. Since those hair cells cannot grow back, noise-induced hearing loss cannot be reversed. Fortunately, noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented.

 

Earplugs or other protective devices like ear muffs can help when you are watching fireworks or attending a concert. If you find yourself in a dangerously loud environment without ear protection, try to move away from the source of the noise; for instance, by standing behind a speaker instead of in front of it. Be sure to protect children’s ears as well, since sound is further amplified within smaller ear canals.

 

The louder the sound, the more damage it can cause, and the faster that damage can occur. But how do you know how loud is too loud? Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Researchers have found that people who are exposed to noise levels at or above 85 dB have a much greater risk of hearing loss.* A whisper is about 30 dB, normal conversation occurs around 60 dB, and city traffic is about 90 dB. If you find yourself having to raise your voice to communicate with someone a few feet away, the noise level is probably above 85 dB. Some smartphone apps can also measure the surrounding decibel level.

 

Don’t sacrifice your hearing while you’re having fun. This July 4th, protect your ears while you’re enjoying the festivities!

 

About the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

 

*M Moselhi et al. “A six-year follow up study for evaluation of the 85 dBA safe criterion for noise exposure” American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 40:5, published online June 4, 2010.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 05.22.18

Hearing Loss and Relationships

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Last week, we talked about the link between hearing loss and heart health. But this week, we want to talk about hearing loss and a different kind of heart health – relationships!

 

Hearing is a critical aspect of our ability to communicate, and communication is an integral part of our ability to connect with the people around us. So, hearing loss can certainly have a negative impact on relationships that are important to us. In a 2009 British study by Specsavers Hearing Centres, 44% of 1,500 people with hearing loss who were surveyed reported that their hearing loss had caused relationships with their partner, friends or family to suffer.

 

Fortunately, hearing aids can improve day to day communication with friends and loved ones. For instance, in a study from the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), hearing aid users reported “significant improvements in many areas of their lives”, including their relationships at home and social life.

 

If you’ve tried hearing aids and are still having trouble getting the clarity or sound quality that you desire, you may wish to consider a new kind of hearing technology. The new Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid uses light to transmit sound and directly vibrate the eardrum. Earlens works very differently from conventional digital hearing aids, which rely on tiny speakers to amplify sound.

 

A broader frequency range has been associated with more natural sound quality and the ability to understand speech more easily.* But, since speakers are limited in the bandwidth that they can amplify without feedback or distortion, conventional hearing aids are limited in the sound quality that they can provide. By eliminating the need to use a speaker to transmit sound, the Earlens hearing device can deliver a broader frequency range for more complete sound than any other hearing aid on the market.

 

If you currently wear hearing aids but are still not fully satisfied with the sound quality or your ability to understand friends and loved ones, Earlens Hearing Aids may be able to help. Learn more about Earlens hearing devices and ask for a sound demonstration to compare Earlens to your existing hearing aid by making an appointment with an Earlens provider near you.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

 

*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408. Levy SC et al.  Extended High-Frequency Bandwidth Improves Speech Reception in the Presence of Spatially Separated Masking Speech.  Ear Hear. 2015 Sep-Oct;36(5):e214-24.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 05.17.18

Hearing Loss and Heart Health

Hearing Loss Heart Health

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month, but it’s also a great opportunity to talk about overall health because hearing loss has been associated with many other health conditions.

 

A growing body of research shows that a person’s hearing health and cardiovascular health are frequently connected. For instance a 2009 study by Dr. David Friedland and his colleagues in The Laryngoscope found that patients’ audiogram patterns were strongly correlated with certain heart diseases. Meanwhile, a 2010 study by researchers at Miami University found that study participants with higher cardiovascular fitness levels also had better hearing, particularly among participants who were age 50 and older.

 

How can the heart and ears be linked to one another? Well, the answer is all about blood flow. Just as healthy blood flow may keep the hearing system healthy, poor blood flow can damage the blood vessels in the inner ear and contribute to hearing loss. The delicate hair cells in the cochlea, the sensory organ of hearing, rely on good circulation. Without it, the hair cells do not receive enough oxygen and can suffer damage or destruction. Unfortunately, these hair cells do not regenerate, so this type of hearing loss, known as sensorineural hearing loss, cannot be reversed once it occurs.

 

The good news is that sensorineural hearing loss can be treated, typically through hearing aids. If you’ve tried hearing aids and have not been happy with the sound quality, new hearing technology can also help. For instance, the Earlens Hearing Aid uses light to transmit sound in order to provide a broader frequency range than any other hearing aid on the market. A broader frequency range has been associated with more natural sound quality.* Not surprisingly, in a recent study, participants preferred Earlens 4:1 over their current premium acoustic hearing aids.**

 

Even though we don’t usually think of hearing loss and heart health together, the research suggests we should be paying attention to both of them. So, this Better Hearing & Speech Month, make sure you’re protecting your hearing, but don’t forget to protect your heart!

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

 

*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408.

 

**Data on file at Earlens.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 05.08.18

Fun Facts about Hearing

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In honor of Better Hearing & Speech Month, we thought we’d share seven fun facts about hearing! For instance, did you know that:

  • Fish do not have ears, but they can hear pressure changes through ridges on the body.
  • Your ears continue to hear sounds, even when you’re sleeping! However, your brain chooses to ignore those sounds.
  • Snakes hear through their jaw bone and male mosquitos hear through thousands of tiny hairs growing on their antennae.
  • The hardest bone in the body is the temporal bone, which encases most of the ear, including the inner ear which helps process sounds.
  • Earwax is good for you – it is designed to catch dirt and debris to prevent it from moving further into your ear.
  • Parrots were used on the Eiffel Tower during World War I to warn of approaching enemy aircraft because of their excellent hearing, which could detect approaching danger before human ears could hear it.
  • The eardrum moves less than a billionth of an inch in response to very faint sounds.

 

That last fact is one of the reasons that the new hearing technology behind the Earlens Hearing Aid is so revolutionary. Earlens is the only hearing aid that directly vibrates the eardrum to transmit sound. In order to determine how to do this, the Earlens research team spent years understanding how the eardrum moves in relation to different sound frequencies. Today, those learnings have paid off – Earlens can overcome the limitations of conventional hearing aids with regard to bandwidth and feedback by directly vibrating the eardrum instead of relying on tiny speakers to transmit sound.

 

See how Earlens works, or find an Earlens provider near you to hear the Earlens difference.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 05.02.18

Welcome to Better Hearing & Speech Month!

Better_Speech_Hearing_Month

Did you know that May is Better Hearing & Speech Month? Each May offers a chance to raise awareness about communication issues, like hearing loss, which can take many forms and impact people of all ages.

 

If you think you may have hearing loss, you should consider seeing an audiologist. Audiologists are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, identification, diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. To determine whether you should have your hearing checked, or should consider a new hearing technology, answer the questions below. If you answer “yes” to more than one, see an audiologist.

 

  • Do you have a problem hearing on the phone?

 

  • Do you hear better in one ear than the other when on the phone?

 

  • Do you have a hard time understanding the conversation when more than one person is talking at once?

 

  • Do your friends or family tell you that you watch TV with the volume turned up too high?

 

  • Do you have trouble hearing when it is noisy?

 

  • Do you have trouble hearing in restaurants?

 

  • Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?

 

Answering “yes” to any of the questions above could indicate that you have a hearing loss. Or, if you have already been diagnosed with hearing loss and are using hearing aids, answering “yes” could mean that you would benefit from a different hearing solution.

 

For instance, the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid can offer existing hearing aid wearers who are not satisfied with their current solutions a new kind of listening experience. Earlens offers a broader frequency range than any other hearing aid on the market for more complete sound. This is important because studies have shown that a broader frequency range is associated with perceptions of more natural sound quality, as well as the ability to understand speech more easily.* In fact, in a recent study of experienced hearing aid users, participants preferred Earlens 4:1 over their current premium acoustic hearing aids.**

 

To see an audiologist or learn whether Earlens Hearing Aids could help you hear better, make an appointment with an Earlens audiologist near you.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

 

*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408. Levy SC et al.  Extended High-Frequency Bandwidth Improves Speech Reception in the Presence of Spatially Separated Masking Speech.  Ear Hear. 2015 Sep-Oct;36(5):e214-24.

 

** Data on file at Earlens.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 03.01.18

Can You Restore Lost Hearing?

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Hearing loss is a very common condition. In fact, the most common type of hearing loss, presbycusis, occurs due to aging. Once hearing is lost, it is currently not possible to restore it. The good news is that even though hearing cannot be restored, it can be treated – most typically with hearing aids.

 

Now, if you already wear hearing aids, this may not be particularly exciting news. And we understand why. While hearing aid user satisfaction has increased over the years, wearers continue to highlight hearing aid sound quality in particular as an area that could use improvement. Some hearing aid wearers, despite major advances in sound processing technology, continue to feel that things sound “processed” instead of natural.

 

Have you ever wondered why things sound so different through a hearing aid? Much of the limitation in sound quality can be attributed to the bandwidth of sound that conventional hearing aids are limited to. Perfect hearing ranges from 20 Hz in the low frequencies all the way up to 20,000 Hz in the high frequencies. However, hearing aids can usually only amplify sound from ~750 Hz – 5500 Hz because they rely on tiny speakers to amplify sound.

 

Fortunately, there’s a new option for hearing aid wearers who have been hoping for something better. A new type of hearing aid called the Earlens Hearing Aid has eliminated the reliance on speaker technology. Instead, Earlens directly vibrates the eardrum using a small custom Lens placed non-surgically in the ear. The Lens is activated using non-visible light that is produced from a Processor worn behind the ear. See how Earlens works.

 

With Earlens, users can enjoy a fuller bandwidth for more complete sound. A broader frequency range has been associated with sound quality benefits, like perceived naturalness of speech and music. It has also been associated with better speech understanding.*

 

If you’re looking for a way to hear better, learn more about the new Earlens hearing technology. Find an Earlens provider near you.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408. Levy SC et al.  Extended High-Frequency Bandwidth Improves Speech Reception in the Presence of Spatially Separated Masking Speech.  Ear Hear. 2015 Sep-Oct;36(5):e214-24

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posted By: Earlens Web | 02.23.18

Will Earlens Help Profound Hearing Loss?

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Earlens is intended to treat a wide range of hearing losses. Since Earlens is intended for people with mild to severe hearing loss, if you have profound hearing loss, you may not be a candidate for Earlens. However, only an Earlens audiologist can tell you whether Earlens could be right for you.

 

At an Earlens appointment, an audiologist will test your hearing if you have not had a recent hearing test done. The results of the hearing test are shown on a chart called an audiogram. Most people’s hearing varies across the different frequencies, which are displayed left to right from low to high, like the keys on a piano. Typically, people have better hearing in the low frequencies and more hearing loss in the higher frequencies. It is possible to have only a few frequencies where your hearing loss falls within the profound range.

 

Some of the greatest benefits of Earlens include natural sound quality from a broader frequency range, and a minimal risk of feedback, the whistling that can plague conventional hearing aids, particularly for people with more severe hearing loss. Feedback is typically caused when sound that is amplified through the hearing aid speaker is picked back up by the hearing aid microphone and re-amplified over and over. However, Earlens uses light instead of a speaker to transmit sound, thereby reducing the risk of feedback.

 

The only way to learn whether Earlens is right for you is to speak with an Earlens provider. He or she will be able to assess your level and type of hearing loss and work with you to determine if Earlens could help you hear better.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 01.31.18

Hearing Aids for Severe Hearing Loss

Hearing Aid In Ear

Different types of hearing aids are intended to treat different amounts of hearing loss. A trained hearing doctor, or audiologist, will be able to look at your hearing test results to determine whether your type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, and which hearing aids are most appropriate for your hearing needs. Oftentimes, someone with severe hearing loss will not know that someone has spoken to them unless they are facing the speaker directly. Sounds that are just audible to someone with severe hearing loss will usually be quite loud to someone with normal hearing.

 

If you have severe hearing loss, you may not be a good candidate for certain hearing devices, since some are only intended to treat mild to moderate levels of hearing loss. However, some hearing aids can treat a wide range of hearing losses. For example, the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is intended to treat mild to severe hearing loss.

 

People with severe hearing loss may particularly benefit from the Earlens Hearing Aid because Earlens can provide higher levels of amplification across a broader range of frequencies before encountering feedback or whistling that traditional hearing aids often suffer from. This means that users with severe hearing loss who may have been missing sounds in the higher frequencies, like some high-frequency consonant sounds in speech, may find themselves able to hear them again.

 

How can Earlens provide these benefits? Unlike traditional hearing aids, Earlens does not rely on a speaker to transmit sound. This is important because speakers are constrained in their bandwidth as well as the amount of amplification they can provide before sound distortion occurs. Earlens uses a new proprietary technology to use light to transmit sound information.
In Earlens, a microphone in the behind-the-Ear Processor captures sound, which is converted into pulses of non-visible light that directly vibrate a custom Lens placed on the wearer’s eardrum. Because it directly vibrates the eardrum, Earlens can provide more gain (or amplification) before feedback than traditional hearing aids, and can also amplify sound across a broader bandwidth, which has been associated with the perception of more natural sound quality*.

 

If you have severe hearing loss, speak to an Earlens provider to see if Earlens could be right for you.

 

The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408.

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posted By: Earlens Web | 11.02.17

Do I Need Two Hearing Aids?

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If you have hearing loss in both ears (“bilateral hearing loss”), it is important to wear hearing aids in both ears. Wearing two hearing aids helps with better understanding of speech, the ability to tell what direction sounds are coming from, a wider hearing range, and even hearing preservation.

 

Better speech understanding: Wearing two hearing aids helps your brain focus on the conversation you want to hear. This is especially true in difficult listening situations like groups or noisy environments.*

 

Better sound localization: Our ability to tell the direction that sounds are coming from is known as “localization”. This skill is important because it can help you recognize which direction a car may be approaching from, or where your grandchildren are calling you from. People who have hearing loss in both ears and wear two hearing aids are better at identifying the direction of sound than those who only wear one hearing aid.*

 

Wider hearing range: Wearing two hearing aids more than doubles your range of hearing.

In fact, wearing two hearing aids increases the range of hearing by around 4 times! While someone who can hear out of one ear may hear a voice from 10 feet away, someone with two hearing devices would be able to hear that voice from 40 feet away.**

 

Hearing preservation: Hearing is like a muscle. If you’re right handed, you’ll strongly favor your right hand. Well, studies have shown that when people with hearing loss in both ears only wear one hearing aid, they favor their dominant ear. Over time, the unaided ear loses the ability to hear and understand. This effect is known as “auditory deprivation”. So, if you have hearing loss on both sides, it is important to keep both ears active by wearing two hearing aids. ***

 

Some people with bilateral hearing loss ask about wearing one hearing aid to save money or adjust to wearing new hearing aids. However, as research has shown, two hearing aids are better than one. And now, the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid offers hearing aid wearers a broader frequency range, including audibility of higher frequencies. The ability to hear higher frequencies has been associated with better sound localization and speech intelligibility (understanding)****. To learn more about the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid, visit an Earlens provider near you.

 

*Avan P et al. “Importance of Binaural Hearing”. Audiol Neurotol 2015; 20(suppl):3-6. Kalluri P. Starkey Research Series: Binaural Hearing and the Importance of Bilateral Hearing Aid Fitting”. Audiology Online, November 10, 2014.

** Kochin S. “The Binaural Advantage”. Better Hearing Institute.

***Silverman and Silman. “Apparent Auditory Deprivation from Monaural Amplification and Recovery with Binaural Amplification: Two case studies: J Am Acad Audiol 1:175-180 (1990). Hurley R. “Onset of Auditory Deprivation” J Am Acad Audiol 10: 529-534 (1999).

****LeGendre S. J., Liss J. M., Lotto A. J. (2009). Discriminating dysarthria type and predicting intelligibility from amplitude modulation spectra. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125 253010.1121/1.4783544. Moore B. C. J., Füllgrabe C., Stone M. A. (2010). Effect of spatial separation, extended bandwidth, and compression speed on intelligibility in a competing-speech task. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 128 360–371 10.1121/1.3436533. Best V., Carlile S., Jin C, van Schaik A. (2005). The role of high frequencies in speech localization. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 118 353–363 10.1121/1.1926107. Langendijk E. H., Bronkhorst A. W. (2002). Contribution of spectral cues to human sound localization. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112 1583–1596 10.1121/1.1501901

 

About the Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid
The Earlens Light-Driven Hearing Aid is one of the best hearing aids for providing audible amplification across a broad frequency range. Earlens is a digital hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound for the most complete hearing available from a hearing aid. Earlens automatically adjusts to noisy environments and uses a rechargeable battery with wireless charging for enhanced ease of use. Learn more about Earlens’ new hearing aid technology and full product details.

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