Contact us for all hearing related services in Southern Colorado including hearing aids, implants and tinnitus related solutions at (719) 633-1494.
The main causes of hearing impairment are aging, noise exposure, and hereditary predispositions. Though not common, chronic, untreated ear infections, known as otitis media, may also cause hearing damage. An infection in the middle ear can cause fluid to build up, obstructing the movement of the eardrum. Hearing loss resulting from damage to the eardrum is referred to as “conductive hearing loss.”
Who Is Prone to Ear Infections?
Ear infections can happen to anyone, but younger children are more prone due to weaker immune systems and smaller, more horizontal eustachian tubes, which connect the ears to the nose and throat. These anatomical differences make it harder for fluid to drain. Five out of six children experience at least one ear infection by the age of three years, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Symptoms and Treatments of Ear Infections
Ear infections can temporarily affect hearing. This can be unsettling, but it most often doesn’t result in any permanent hearing loss. In addition to changes in hearing, the most common symptoms include ear pain, irritability, ear discharge, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. A doctor may recommend ear tube surgery for recurrent ear infections and lingering middle ear fluid. This is a minor surgery that entails making an incision in the eardrum to drain fluid and often attaching a tube to help drain the middle ear, which may be in place for months or years. Addressing chronic infections is important, especially in children, because experiencing stretches of mild hearing loss may affect their speech and language learning.
Getting a Hearing Diagnosis
Hearing tests are painless and non-invasive procedures that take place in a quiet, sound-treated room that keeps out any other noises. The room also has specially placed speakers used for testing babies and toddlers. The patient wears headphones connected to an audiometer while an audiogram determines the softest sounds the patient can hear at different pitches. The hearing consultants use the audiogram results to assess the patient’s hearing and recommend appropriate treatments. If you or your child has had changes in hearing or symptoms of ear infections, see a professional to help determine the cause and clear up the infection. The audiologists at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs pride ourselves on our personalized and professional services, and we can help if you or your child has difficulty hearing. Call us at (719) 633-1494 to schedule an appointment with our team.
Occasionally listening to live music probably won’t have much of an effect on hearing. But people who frequently go to concerts should make an effort to protect their ears because persistent exposure to loud music can cause hearing loss. Here are some helpful tips for enjoying concerts while protecting the ears.
Proximity to Speakers
Though people show up at concerts hours before they start to get spots right in front of the stage, that’s also where the most intense volume impact occurs. The speakers have to be loud enough for everyone in the venue to easily hear the music, and the noise levels by the stage can reach up to 120 decibels. At a volume of 100 decibels, just 15 minutes of exposure can cause permanent hearing loss, which is why many professional musicians wear some form of ear protection whenever they perform.
Noise-canceling headphones and earplugs provide excellent protection for people who want to be as close to the stage as possible. The music at most concerts is so loud that wearing these devices won’t completely block out the music. Some earplugs are better than others. High-quality hearing protection lets users control the volume of the sound that enters their ears rather than simply muffling the music.
Alcohol increases blood flow to the inner ear and can raise blood pressure. Both of these factors are linked to ringing in the ears and tinnitus. It’s not uncommon to briefly experience ringing in the ears after a concert, but if the symptoms persist, that may indicate a more severe problem.
If you’re concerned about potential hearing loss, our staff at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs offers extensive audiology services, including hearing tests. Since 1981, we’ve provided personalized care to patients in the Colorado Springs area. To schedule an appointment at our office, call (719) 633-1494 or contact us online.
Since hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes and offer different features, choosing the correct model depends on the type of hearing loss and the wearer’s preferences when it comes to comfort, appearance, and performance. Here’s a look at some of the most common styles of hearing aids and how they operate.
Completely-in-the-Canal and in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
As their names imply, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are custom-molded to fit comfortably inside the wearer’s ear canal. Both CIC and ITC hearing aids help with mild to moderate hearing loss, and both are designed with low visibility in mind. CIC models are very small and discreet, but they also have limits when it comes to battery life and extra features. Since ITCs are larger and only partially inside the wearer’s ear canal, they are more visible than CICs, but they can also handle extra features like volume control that CICs can’t.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Custom-molded, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit into the wearer’s ear in two different ways: either by filling most of the hollow region of the outer ear (known as full shell) or by filling just the lower half of that region (known as half shell). ITE hearing aids are larger and more visible than CIC and ITC models, but this allows them to have even more added features, including volume control and much better battery life. These models are also often easier to remove, put back in, and maintain due to their location in the ear and larger size.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have a segment that reaches over and around the top of the ear and a small tube that connects to the earpiece, which fits inside the ear. As with CICs, ITCs, and ITEs, the earpieces in BTE hearing aids are custom-fitted to sit comfortably and snugly in the wearer’s ear, but they’re able to help with virtually all levels of hearing loss. Additionally, since BTE hearing aids are larger than other models and can be removed easily, they are easier to clean, maintain, and may help wearers resolve common hearing aid issues.
Receiver-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids also have a segment that is on top of the ear which leads to a receiver and is placed in the ear canal which is attached to the piece on top of the ear by a thin wire. They are designed to be a very comfortable and very cosmetically appealing option for many patients and can help with most types of hearing loss. These devices also have the ability to wirelessly connect to a variety of Bluetooth devices. Our team at Hearing Consultants can help you to find the perfect style of hearing aids for your needs and preferences. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call (719) 633-1494 today. Image attribution: Image licensed through Adobe Stock Images by the client
What’s the connection between balance and hearing? Although hearing loss doesn’t specifically cause balance problems, some inner ear issues that lead to hearing loss can impact balance. Proper treatment of these issues can restore equilibrium and improve mobility.
What Systems Are Involved in Balance?
Balance is controlled by a combination of the vestibular system, one’s sense of eyesight, and the proprioceptive information to the musculoskeletal system. The vestibular system is found in the labyrinth of the inner ear, which contains several small, delicate organs that help regulate balance, including the otolithic organs and three semicircular canals. One of these sends the body signals about tilting motions, one sends signals about sideways motions, and one sends signals about up and down motion. These signals are regulated by environmental feedback gathered by the fluid and hair cells within the inner ear. Inner ear problems that affect balance include inner ear infection or blood circulation problems as well as tiny crystals floating in the semicircular canals.
What Are the Symptoms of Balance Issues?
Those who are affected by an issue with one of the factors influencing balance may experience the following symptoms:
- A floating feeling
- Confusion or disorientation
- Unsteady gait
- Blurry vision
- Panic or fear
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
When hearing loss is associated with a balance disorder, the person may also experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or heart rate and blood pressure issues.
How Are Balance Disorders Treated?
Balance testing by an experienced audiologist can help determine the existence of a balance disorder. In most cases, the underlying medical problem affecting balance must be treated for these symptoms to be resolved. Some people benefit from a type of physical therapy called vestibular rehabilitation, which can help to restore balance.
At Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs, we will test your hearing and treat any problems that can affect balance. Book an appointment online or call (719) 633-1494 today to learn more about our services.
For those with hearing loss, hearing aids can be tremendously helpful. However, it may take some time for wearers to get used to how they function and learn how to address common issues. Basic troubleshooting tips can help resolve problems with minimal frustration.
Hearing Aids Aren’t Producing Sound
The first step is to make sure the hearing aid is turned on. They’re typically powered on when the battery door is closed, or when they have been removed from their charging case. If it’s powered on and still not making any sound, the hearing aid may require a new battery or ensure that they were placed into the charging case correctly. Commonly, wearers may also find it helpful to inspect the piece that goes into the ear for compacted ear wax or other debris.
Hearing Aids Are Making a Whistling Sound
While most newer hearing aids are efficient in canceling feedback, it can still present a problem from time to time. It most commonly occurs when the aid is not placed in the ear properly, the volume is up too high, or sound is trapped near the ear by a hat, scarf, or pillow pressing too closely against it. Additionally, extremely hard tubing that may have cracked could also be causing this issue. Lastly, the patient may have occluding wax in their ears which causes the sound being placed in the ear by the hearing aid to be reflected out of the ear canal and back into the hearing aid.
Hearing Aid Sound Quality Is Poor
When a patient is first fitted with a hearing aid, it takes several days for the brain to become accustomed to the boost in sound clarity and volume. After a few days, though, the volume may seem quieter or duller, as the brain gradually adjusts. In this case, an audiologist can help with readjusting volume as the patient acclimated to the new sound quality If a longtime wearer experiences this issue, it’s likely time for a new battery or to thoroughly clean the hearing aid paying special attention to the microphones and piece going into the ear
Hearing Aid Is Causing Ear Pain or Itchiness
Initial itching or tickling is normal, but hearing aids should not be painful. If two hearing aids are causing pain, it’s important to ensure they’re in the correct ears. Additionally, using hearing aid lubricant such as otoease or muricell when inserting the devices can prevent dry skin and irritation in the ear. If pain persists, an audiologist can modify the size, shape, and/or tubing of the hearing aid or earmold for increased comfort.
If you’re in need of new hearing aids or hearing aid maintenance in the Southern Colorado area, Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs can help! We’ve been providing personalized care in our community for over 35 years and assist our patients based on their preferences, lifestyles, and budgets. Contact us today at 719-633-1494 to book an appointment.