How Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Connected for the Holidays

How Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Connected for the Holidays

How Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Connected for the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and with it come office parties, dinner parties, family gatherings, and trips to the shops. It’s truly one of the busiest times of the year, with constant social activity and conversation. What’s more, the environment at these gatherings can get pretty loud!

For those with hearing issues, background noise is one of the most difficult things to navigate. As the ambient sound gets louder, it becomes more difficult to focus on the sound we want to hear. While this is true even for those with normal hearing, hearing loss makes the difficulty much worse.

Accommodating Hearing Loss

Something we should all keep in mind during this time is that our older friends and relatives are likely to have some hearing issues. Hearing loss is experienced by two-thirds of people aged 70 and over, and by about 100% of centenarians. If you have hearing loss yourself, be sure to let others know about it so they can accommodate you appropriately.

There are a few things we can do to help the situation and make sure our holiday festivities are enjoyable for everyone.

  • Minimize background noise as much as possible. Keep the television volume low, or turn it off. If you’re playing music on a stereo, keep the volume down so it doesn’t compete with the volume of conversation. If you are setting places at a dinner table, seat those with hearing issues further away from any sources of noise.
  • Speak a little more slowly and clearly, but don’t raise your voice. Shouting can cause distortion, which makes speech even less intelligible.
  • Instead of repeating something for a person with hearing loss, try saying it a different way. This provides more context to aid in understanding.
  • Face a person with hearing loss directly, and make sure they know what the topic of conversation is. Even if they don’t catch everything, this can help them follow along and continue to be part of the conversation.

Treating Hearing Loss

If you are starting to have issues with hearing, even just when background noise is present, the holiday season is a good time to make an appointment for a hearing test and find out whether you’re a good candidate for hearing aids.

Study after study confirms that hearing loss is best treated early, before changes in our lives—and in our brains—start to set in. Even mild hearing loss can be associated with memory issues and fatigue, so keep in mind that beginning treatment for hearing loss before the holidays are in full swing can make your experience that much more enjoyable.

Modern Hearing Aids

Hearing aids today are much more helpful and full-featured than ever before. Powerful DSP (digital signal processing) allows hearing aids to enhance speech while suppressing background noise. This makes it much easier to follow conversations with much less effort.


Beyond that, hearing aids now commonly feature Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect your hearing aids to your smartphone to stream the audio from phone calls, video conferences, and media directly to your hearing aids, and also control the volume, programming, and other aspects of your hearing aids directly from an app.

You can also connect via Bluetooth to computers, tablets, and other devices to stream content the same as you do with your smartphone. If you’re connecting with distant friends and relatives over the holidays, this can make your time with them much easier and more enjoyable.

Hearing Aid Add-Ons

While hearing aids alone may be enough for some, most manufacturers make wireless microphones that can connect directly to your hearing aids. You can place one of these at the other end of a dinner table, for example, to make sure you can hear the conversation clearly throughout the room.

All manufacturers also make a TV adapter that can connect to the audio outputs of a television or stereo system, allowing wireless streaming of content directly to your hearing aids. If you’re watching television or a movie at home with your family, you’ll be able to set the volume comfortably for yourself, directly in your hearing aids, so others can listen at the volume that’s comfortable for them.

If you or a loved one may require hearing amplification, make an appointment for a hearing test today and help make this a holiday season to remember! Contact us at Kenwood Hearing Centers today.

Posted in Hearing Health, Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids Are One of the “Secrets of Cognitive Super-Agers”

Hearing Aids are One of the Secrets of Cognitive Super Agers

More studies are focusing on a new group: super-agers. Super-agers refer to people who are in their 70s and older who have the mental and/or physical capacities of someone who is decades younger. Emerging research shows that people who reach the age of 100 with great brain health are likely to remain healthy for their remaining years. Fewer than 1% of Americans reach 100 years old so there is greater research interest in studying centenarians and identifying the characteristics that contribute to healthy cognitive and physical aging. 

One factor that this research has identified as a secret of cognitive super-agers is quality hearing health supported by hearing aids. 

Secrets of Cognitive Super-Agers

As more research focuses on centenarians, studies highlight the patterns that contribute to healthy aging. This includes a recent study published in January in the JAMA Network, which studied cognitive aging among healthy centenarians. Conducted by a research team at Vrije University in Amsterdam, the study included 340 participants who were cognitively healthy centenarians. Nearly 60% lived independently and the majority had great vision as well as hearing capacities.

During annual visits participants had their cognitive capacities comprehensively tested. After analyzing 4 years of follow-up data, researchers found that: 

  • cognitive trajectories only revealed only a slight decline in memory but all other cognitive domains remained stable
  • participants maintained high levels of cognitive performance despite being exposed to risk factors like Alzheimer’s

These findings reveal that participants were cognitively resilient even when they experienced increased risk of developing cognitive decline. Extensive research shows that several lifestyle factors can contribute to this resilience and healthy aging. This includes: a healthy diet, exercise, active social life, engagement in hobbies, and great hearing health.

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Health

Hearing loss not only impacts hearing capacity but also cognitive health. Extensive research shows that hearing loss increases the risk of developing cognitive decline, which accelerates the onset of conditions like Alzheimer’s. One major study that reveals this correlation was published in 2019 in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Researchers conducted an 8-year study that included 10,107 participants who were cognitively healthy when the study began. Over the course of the study, researchers found that cognitive decline was:

  • 30% higher for people with mild hearing loss
  • 42% higher for people with moderate hearing loss
  • 54% higher for people with severe hearing loss

These research findings show that not only is there a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline but also that the more profound the hearing loss, the greater the risk of experiencing cognitive decline. An effective and important way to mitigate this risk is to prioritize hearing health.

Hearing Aids Improve Cognitive Abilities

Hearing aids transform hearing health which is integral to maintaining cognitive capacities. These devices are designed to absorb and process sound in order to provide the auditory system ample support. This strengthens communication, improves relationships, social life, and ability to navigate daily life independently. These benefits serve cognitive health by allowing people to engage in a range of activities that strengthen (and provide energy to) the brain. Research highlights the link between hearing aids and improved cognitive abilities. 

This includes a study recently published in Science Daily (February 2020) conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne who examined how hearing aids impact the brain. Researchers studied the use of hearing aids on nearly 100 participants and concluded that:

  • “97% of participants showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function (mental ability to plan, organize information and initiate tasks)”
  • speech perception, listening, and quality of life significantly improved for nearly all of the participants

These findings show that hearing aids enhance cognitive abilities and this lowers the risk of cognitive decline. Dr. Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at Boston University, wrote about the Dutch study and highlighted factors important for healthy aging. Emphasizing the importance of hearing health, Perls states: “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people to optimize their ability to hear. There’s a direct connection between hearing and preserving cognitive function. Being stubborn about wearing hearing aids is just silly. Hearing loss results in cognitive loss because you miss so much. You lose touch with your environment.”

Treating Hearing Loss with Kenwood Hearing Centers

If you believe you could benefit from hearing loss treatment, make an appointment for a hearing test with Kenwood Hearing Centers today. See for yourself what hearing aids can do to improve your cognitive abilities and your overall health and wellbeing!

Posted in Age-Related Hearing Loss, Communication, Hearing Loss

Building Connections | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Building Connections | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Building Connections | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month by The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Every year ASHA chooses an umbrella theme to help guide their efforts to enhance global awareness of the speech-language-hearing issues that affect all of us. This year’s theme is “Building Connections,” and there couldn’t be a better time to focus broadly on enhancing our ability to connect with the world around us.

ASHA has divided the month into four weekly sub-themes, including:

  • Week 1: Untreated Hearing Loss in Adults
  • Week 2: Early Intervention & COVID-19
  • Week 3: The Role of Health Care Speech-Language Pathologists) in COVID-19 Recovery
  • Week 4: Summer Skill Building, Hearing Protection for School-Aged Children

More information is available on ASHA’s website, including essays, press releases, and blog posts regarding the up-to-the-minute science on hearing loss and its effects on our daily lives.

Hearing Loss and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us indoors for the past year. With the number of vaccinated people continuing to rise, we may soon be returning to some semblance of normal social life. Hearing loss continues to pose a significant barrier to many who may wish to embrace the return to a more physically and socially active lifestyle.

Masks and social distancing have posed a special challenge to those with hearing loss. Masks not only muffle the speech coming from a person’s mouth, but also prevent lipreading and other cues from facial expressions. Social distancing means that voices lose volume as they reach our ears. For those of us who may be on the edge of needing amplifying devices such as hearing aids, these important precautions related to the pandemic have likely made hearing loss an unavoidable issue.

While nearly everyone has felt lonely during this time, hearing loss can accentuate that experience even more. Even during normal times, those with untreated hearing loss are at an elevated risk for loneliness and depression. This is because even mild hearing loss can make communication so difficult that we can feel lonely even when we are surrounded by people. While a person with hearing loss may be able to communicate with us by using special strategies, asking for repetition, and increasing their focus on the speaker, they may miss out on the serendipity of casual conversation. That may not seem like much “on paper,” but the effects on our emotional well-being are deeper than we may imagine.

Regular Hearing Tests

ASHA and The Better Hearing Institute, both not-for-profit organizations, recommend getting a hearing test once every decade until age 50, and once every three years thereafter. Those in higher-risk professions or with medical histories indicating a higher risk should be tested even more frequently.

Some may think, “What’s the point of getting my hearing tested?” Well, we live in a very noisy world. There are many potential sources of hearing damage that we encounter on an almost daily basis. By getting a regular hearing test, you can catch noise-induced hearing loss well before it poses a problem. There may be times when you imagine the noise level is safe, when in fact it may be causing hearing loss. By catching hearing loss when it is not even noticeable, you can start to learn where you require hearing protection throughout your life.

Hearing Aids Can Help

For those who do have more significant hearing loss, hearing aids should be fitted sooner than later. As mentioned above, even mild hearing loss affects our lives in sneaky ways that may not be apparent at first. By treating your hearing loss early, you can avoid the potential negative outcomes of untreated hearing loss like increased social fatigue, brain atrophy, reduced physical & social activity, loneliness, and depression.

Hearing aids have become truly marvelous instruments. Those who get hearing aids report satisfaction at a rate of 95%, when asked after one year. Even the adjustment period, which many people have historically reported as being difficult, has become easier thanks to integration with smartphones and apps that keep you connected wherever you find yourself. Sound quality  can often be adjusted through the app, without an office visit  so you can go about your day with the optimal listening experience for you.

If you or a loved one is starting to deal with hearing loss, or if you’re simply due for a hearing test, make an appointment with us today and make sure you’re doing the most you can to maintain your hearing health!

Posted in Hearing Health

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Your Love Life

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Your Love Life

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Your Love Life

Hearing loss is on the rise in America. Life is getting louder, to the point that 48 million Americans report having some amount of hearing loss. Even as many as 20% of teenagers have measurable hearing loss in one or both ears.

Age-Related Hearing Loss Is Very Common

But by far the most common type of hearing loss is age-related hearing loss. About 1 in 3 people age 65–74 has hearing loss. About half of those over 75 do, and almost 100% of those who reach 100-years-old have it, suggesting that if we live long enough, we will all suffer hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Is Under-Treated

Even with all that hearing loss, it’s still the case that only about 1 out of 5 people who could use hearing aids is wearing them. On average, people wait about 7 years from the time they notice hearing loss to the time they start wearing hearing aids to treat it. There’s good reason to believe that wearing hearing aids sooner rather than later is important to maintaining overall health and well-being, largely because of the effect on our social relationships.

Untreated Hearing Loss Increases Risk of Negative Health Outcomes

Over the course of ten years, someone with untreated hearing loss is 50% more likely to develop dementia, 40% more likely to suffer from depression, and 30% more likely to sustain injuries due to falling than someone who wears hearing aids. It is likely that the increased risk of depression is due to loneliness and social isolation, which are extremely common outcomes of untreated hearing loss over time.

As we lose our hearing, conversation becomes more difficult. We become tired in social situations much faster than those who wear hearing aids or have normal hearing, so we will often leave the party earlier than others. It all starts to feel like too much bother, and soon we naturally start to shrink from social engagements, preferring to stay at home where we don’t have to ask people to repeat themselves over and over, apologize for our hearing loss, or pretend to hear.

Hearing Loss Is Frustrating For Loved Ones

For those who spend most of their time around us hearing loss is incredibly frustrating. Both those with hearing loss and their partners report decreased satisfaction in their relationships. The partner of a person with hearing loss needs to repeat themselves frequently, while the partner with hearing loss can end up feeling misunderstood or uncared for when the normal-hearing partner becomes frustrated. Conversation becomes limited to only the most important communications, and intimacy is harder to maintain. Couples who used to joke and chatter with each other all day can fall into silence.

Australian Survey Finds Hearing Aids Improve Relationships

An Australian survey of 300 older people with hearing aids found that people considered hearing aids to have numerous positive effects on their social relationships and intimate partnerships, alike.

Over half said that hearing aids improved their social lives, and two thirds said hearing aids helped them to better connect with family and friends. One in ten credited hearing aids with improving their love life, and nobody claimed that hearing aids had hurt their love life. 

Hearing aids allow us to maintain our level of activity and behave more like younger people. Many respondents pointed out that hearing aids helped them to more easily engage in intimate conversations. This makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s hard to speak intimately and freely when you have to shout to be understood!

Eighty four percent of hearing aid wearers said that it was easier for other people to talk to them, while 75% said that others no longer had to increase the volume of their voices for them to understand speech.

Get Your Hearing Tested

If you’re noticing hearing loss, make an appointment for a hearing test with Kenwood Hearing Centers today and see for yourself what hearing aids can do to improve your life. Your loved ones will thank you, and if you’re like 95% of people, you’ll be very glad you started wearing hearing aids.

Posted in Uncategorized

Healthy Hearing Tips for the New Year

Healthy Hearing Tips for the New Year

Healthy Hearing Tips for the New Year

We’re sure glad to welcome the new year, but what can we do to make 2021 better? You might have several New Year’s resolutions related to your health and well-being, and this is an excellent time for your hearing health to take center stage!

Hearing loss, which affects almost 1 in 5 individuals, is an invisible condition that is frequently underdiagnosed. Here are a few ways you can take charge of your hearing health in 2021.

Recognize the early signs of hearing loss

On average, Americans wait about seven years from the moment they experience hearing difficulty to the moment they seek care. Hearing loss often happens slowly, over years or even decades, making it hard to detect. It is helpful to understand these early signs to ensure you seek the treatment you need: 

  • You can hear what other people say, but you can’t understand them.
  • Friends and family members complain that you are not listening to them.
  • Telephone conversations are tricky as you can’t understand the other person very well.
  • Members of the household often ask you to turn the TV volume down.
  • You experience a ringing in your ear.

Teach yourself how to recognize dangerously loud sounds

We encounter loud noises on a daily basis. But at which point do these noises become damaging?

Most people know that hearing damage can occur from exposure to loud sounds, but there is another important factor: how long you’re exposed to those sounds. While it takes eight hours for a sound that registers at 85 decibels (dB) to cause damage, a sound that is 105dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing in less than ten minutes. For context, heavy traffic can be as loud as 85dB, and motorcycle engines often register at 100dB. 

Learn to understand loud sounds and restrict your exposure to them. Usea decibel meter app on your smartphone like Decibel X to monitor the volume of the loud sounds in your life. 

You should also practice responsible earphone use. Always play songs at a moderate volume setting while you listen to music on headphones or earbuds. This is especially important to remember when you’re in an environment with lots of background noise, such as an airplane.

Fight the stigma of hearing loss

Do you or your loved one have a hearing loss? Over 50 million Americans experience hearing loss, but it’s still a misunderstood topic. 

In the new year, another way to encourage healthy hearing is to increase awareness of hearing loss. Although millions of Americans have hearing loss, only 1 in 3 of those are using hearing aids! This means many people are coping with untreated hearing loss.

Speak openly about hearing loss to your family and friends to raise awareness about this chronic condition. Experiencing hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of, and hearing treatment can be life-changing.

 Make sure your hearing aids are working well

Do you already have hearing aids? See us for a check up so that we can ensure your hearing aids are working well for you.

Schedule a hearing test

New Year’s resolutions are more likely to be successful if you start small, so if you do only one thing on your list, make sure it’s this one. A hearing test takes only a few minutes and can give you a lot of insight into your hearing condition. 

Even if you do not think you have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to have your hearing tested — starting with a baseline allows for you to compare how your hearing is changing over time.

Contact us at Kenwood Hearing Centers today to set up a test for yourself or someone you love!

Posted in Uncategorized

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunion

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunion

Tips for a Successful Virtual Family Reunion

Virtual communication has become one of the fundamental ways we spend time with others in recent months. Although this technology has been much needed during the pandemic, this kind of communication can present unique challenges for people with hearing loss.

Ensuring that everybody can participate in virtual discussions is extremely important. To provide more open and efficient communication this holiday season, here are some ideas on how to best prepare for your virtual family reunion. 

Establish expectations

Like all meetings, it is necessary to define and communicate the event’s details: time, type of platform, who will participate, and any activities for which your family members should be prepared. 

Sharing this information will avoid uncertainty and let people know what they can expect, which can help to reduce any anxiety that your family members may experience. 

Have a rehearsal

Not all of your family members will be in tune with the finer details of video chatting, so it would be best if you took an opportunity to have a tutorial with them before meeting for your family reunion.

You can help them set up adequate lighting, consistent audio delivery, and check their microphone.

Run through the platform, describing the various features and settings and how they are best used. Practice connecting to the platform via links, downloading the app, and maybe even helping them set up a fun background!

Make the reunion accessible to all

It is essential to ensure that the virtual space is open and inviting if you have family members experiencing hearing loss, speech or language disabilities, or other conditions that affect communication. 

To establish an open environment, there are a few modifications you can make:

  • Use Video: Reminding everyone to use the video feature is crucial. They should appear on the screen, especially when they are talking. Seeing them will help those with hearing loss better follow what they are saying. It allows them to lipread and read nonverbal signs such as body language more easily.
  • Lighting: Good lighting helps visibility and makes images on the screen look clearer. An efficient way to do this is to provide lighting in front of you instead of behind you, allowing you to be visible on the screen.
  • Mute Button: Background noise is a common issue during group video chats. Even the most innocuous sounds can be overwhelming if multiplied by the number of people in the call. You want to stop people from speaking at the same time during your virtual reunion. This can be very distracting and make the conversation more difficult to understand and follow. Instructing everyone to use the mute button while they are not speaking is a smart way to cut down on noise.

Communicating these tips to others is crucial so that everyone can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. These tips can be exercised beforehand in a test run and included in your plan!

Don’t forget your family traditions

With all the uncertainty and stress we have experienced this year, anything that reminds us of old times is no doubt welcome. That’s why you should continue your family traditions, if only virtually. 

For starters, if you do a White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange each year, there are ways to continue this tradition online. If your family loves board games, check online to see if there is a virtual edition. Several game developers have produced virtual versions of their most popular games to help us through this period.

Virtual gatherings: a necessary solution

It may not be ideal to meet virtually this holiday season, but it is practical, considering the risks associated with an in-person visit. If you or someone else you know has hearing loss, visit us at Kenwood Hearing Centers to learn how hearing aids can help during online video conversations

Posted in Uncategorized

Tips for Communicating with Face Masks

Tips for Communicating with Face Masks

Tips for Communicating with Face Masks

It is difficult enough to have hearing loss during normal times, but the current COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more difficult for a person with hearing issues to interact with others.

Although we all should wear a mask to help stop the spread, masks pose a particular challenge for those with hearing loss, and many people have had a difficult time adapting to this new way of communicating.

Those with impaired hearing often depend on seeing the lips and facial signals of an individual who is speaking. Wearing a mask covers the mouth and a portion of a person’s face, and it can muffle the sound as well. Plus, with social distancing protocols in effect, a person’s muffled voice can be much harder to make out when you are six feet apart.

Fortunately, options are available that can help you communicate better with those around you, whether you have hearing loss or not. Here are a few tips to consider.


Use The Right Body Language 

To better deliver meaning and communicate effectively, body language is critical. Most importantly, body language, hand movements, and posture are essential. 

  • Try not to cross your arms.
  • Try to keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • When required to acknowledge that you are listening, nod along.
  • Use your eyebrows and eyes. The most important thing is good eye contact.
  • Let the story be told through your eyebrows. You can communicate happiness through raised eyebrows, raised cheeks, and crow’s feet.
  • Pinched eyebrows together and drooping eyes may indicate sadness.
  • You might look angry if your eyebrows are in a ‘V’ shape.


Be Mindful Of How You Speak

Call people by name if you can. Saying their name is the best way to get someone’s attention. It develops a bond and illustrates courtesy and professionalism. It also helps him or her to know that you’re interested in the discussion.

Speak slowly, enunciate, and repeat yourself to ensure that the other person understands clearly. We tend to talk in a hurry, particularly when we’re busy. Taking the time to speak slowly and purposefully will help solve the difficulties of communication.

Use descriptive vocabulary. Masks make it impossible for a person’s face to convey emotions. Instead of depending on facial gestures, we need to express our feelings with language more.

Ask for confirmation of understanding. Ask the people you talk to the following question: “Does that make sense?” This will avoid a lot of errors and missed opportunities when engaged in tricky conversations.


Choose An Appropriate Mask

While wearing a face mask with a fun slogan, cartoon, or a massive smile printed on it might be lighthearted and make you look more open, it might not be the most appropriate choice if you are in a business meeting or other setting where accurate communication is key. Instead, for those occasions, find a neutral-colored and breathable alternative that will be comfortable to wear while speaking for extended periods.


Be Patient With Yourself And With Others

If you get it wrong, give yourself a break, and equally, forgive others for their missteps. Everyone is trying their best to get by during these troubling times, and it helps to extend humility to others. It is important to remember that we all can flub an interaction, as you might in a regular face-to-face communication without a mask. Cut people some slack and they’ll return the favor.


Kenwood Hearing Centers

If during this pandemic you find it harder than the average person to understand others, you may have a hearing loss. To help you reconnect with the ones you love, we provide comprehensive health services and run extensive hearing tests. If a hearing loss is detected, we offer professional hearing aid fitting and counseling. Contact us today for a consultation.

Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids

We all know a version of summer fun: whether it’s water skiing, taking a walk, or playing chess in the park, summer/fall is the best time of year to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and the sights, sounds, and smells of life.

It’s important to remember, however, that our hearing aids are delicate instruments that are sensitive to moisture. While all hearing devices are water-resistant to a degree, they can still be damaged by prolonged exposure to sweat.

Follow the few tips below and you’ll be in good shape to enjoy the summertime without damaging your hearing aids in the process.


Keep Your Ears Dry

In addition to keeping your hearing aids dry, you’ll want to take extra precautions to keep water out of your ear canals, as well. Getting your ears wet from swimming and then popping your hearing aids back in when you get out of the water can trap moisture inside your ear canal, increasing your risk for developing swimmer’s ear (a bacterial infection of the ear canal).

If you’re going swimming, always make sure to:

  • Remove your hearing aids.
  • Keep your ears dry with a bathing cap or swimmer’s earplugs.
  • Towel-dry your ears afterwards.
  • Avoid inserting fingers or cotton swabs into your ears.
  • Leave earwax alone! It helps water to evacuate your ear canal.
  • Leave a little extra time for your ears to air-dry before reinserting your hearing aids.


Keep Your Hearing Aids Clean

Sandy beaches and salt water are bad news for hearing aids. Never touch your hearing aids with salt water or sand on your fingers. The salt water will leave salt deposits on your hearing aids, and sand will be very difficult to remove from the tiny openings in your hearing aids.

The best practice is to put your hearing aids into a waterproof container during your time at a beach or swimming pool, and don’t remove them until you’ve made sure that you and your hands are clean enough to safely handle them again.


Keep Your Hearing Aids Away from Heat

Extreme heat is bad for the batteries in your hearing aids, and can even melt their plastic casing. If you’re going to the beach or pool, never leave them in the car, where the temperature will get even hotter than the air outside. Keep them in a waterproof container in a shaded spot and they’ll be okay.


Check the IP Number on Your Hearing Aids

The IP number is a rating assigned by the International Electrotechnical Commission. An example of an IP number is “IP67.” The first numerical digit, 6, represents the device’s resistance to dust and debris, and the second numerical digit, 7, represents the device’s resistance to water. The dust scale goes from 1-7 and the moisture scale goes from 1-9.

The moisture rating “7” means that the hearing aids can withstand 30 minutes submerged in water that is less than 3 feet deep. A rating lower than 7 means the device is not submersible. Discuss the IP ratings of various hearing aid models with your hearing care provider to determine what your hearing aids can practically be expected to withstand.


Invest in a Hearing Aid Dehumidifier

These devices are relatively inexpensive and can significantly prolong the life of your hearing aids if moisture is a concern. Whenever you take them out at night, remove the batteries from your hearing aids and place them in the dehumidifier so they get to spend some time each night totally dry. You can purchase a dehumidifier from your hearing care provider or most drug stores.


Talk with Kenwood Hearing Centers About Your Needs

If you have questions about what to do with your hearing aids during these summer and fall  months, talk to us. We have plenty of recommendations and a good knowledge of your specific hearing aids, so we can help you keep them safe, clean and working for their expected lifespan.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tips for Watching TV with Hearing Aids

Tips for Watching TV with Hearing Aids

Tips for Watching TV with Hearing Aids

Hearing loss can affect almost every part of your life and it can be especially discouraging when it makes your favorite leisure activities less enjoyable. When we can’t hear properly it becomes increasingly difficult to appreciate a wide range of activities, from parties and family meals to concerts and television shows. 

Missing out on your favorite television shows due to hearing loss might turn a comfortable evening on the couch into a challenge. While it is true you can turn up the volume on your TV set, that’s not necessarily the best option for an optimal viewing and listening experience. 


Keep Your Volume Down

Constantly increasing the volume on your television to a level that is louder than your family or friends would prefer is a good sign you have unaddressed hearing issues. While turning up your television volume can help temporarily, it isn’t always as effective as it seems. For starters, increased volume often goes hand in hand with increased audio distortion coming from your speakers, making the sound louder but not necessarily any clearer. 

Loud television volumes can help you hear but they can be a problem for those you are living with — it can interfere with the lives of others in your household and even disrupt neighbors. Turning up the volume makes it hard for those with normal hearing to enjoy watching programs alongside you.


Other Options

Fortunately, there are options for people with hearing loss that allow you to have a much more enjoyable experience. Here are just a few ways to improve how you watch television with hearing loss. 


Hearing Aids Are Key

The use of hearing aids is a key component to successfully managing hearing loss. Hearing aids are an investment in your quality of life – tiny and powerful devices that make it easier to keep up with conversations, navigate the world around you, and enjoy activities like watching TV. 

If you have hearing loss, treating it with hearing aids can greatly improve your communication and comprehension, and television is no exception. Simply wearing your hearing aids can help make viewing easier and more pleasurable. Many hearing aids can also be programmed by your hearing specialist with a setting balanced for television viewing.


Streaming Audio

One of the most exciting features common on today’s devices is the ability to stream audio from your phone, computer, television or other digital device directly to your hearing aid. 

Sound delivered straight to your ear canal is clearer and easier to understand. It allows you to have enhanced access to the television’s soundtrack while those around you can watch at the volume that they prefer.



Even with enhanced listening, using your television’s captioning feature can make it easier to access your favorite shows and keep up with dialogue and action. When sound environments become complex, it can be hard to untangle and prioritize different aspects of a soundtrack, especially if you live with hearing loss. 

Captioning allows you to have a shortcut or backup plan for viewing. Even if you don’t rely on the captions all the time, keeping it turned on while watching give you a backup method of staying abreast of the plot if your ears miss something. 


Induction Loop

Induction loops provide the technology that many airports and churches rely upon to create an audio channel specifically for hearing aid users. Often called “telecoil loops”, induction loops send out an audio signal that can be picked up by hearing devices that are equipped with a telecoil. The effect is similar to streaming, with sound delivered directly to your ears. 

Small induction loop amplifiers can be installed in your home and plugged into your television to make the TV audio available to the telecoil in your hearing aid.


Kenwood Hearing Centers

Kenwood Hearing Centers offers six convenient locations in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, and Fairfield so there’s always an option nearby. Our customer-focused care and state-of-the-art testing means that you get hearing healthcare tailored to your needs. Kenwood’s knowledgeable staff of hearing specialists provides you with insight into improving your hearing – reach out to us today!

Posted in Uncategorized

Common Misconceptions About Hearing Aids

Common Misconceptions About Hearing Aids

Common Misconceptions About Hearing Aids

It is common that hard-of-hearing people of all ages do not address their hearing loss and avoid treatment in the form of a hearing aid. At first, it is difficult to understand why – studies indicate that hearing aids greatly enhance hearing and quality of life in 90 percent of people with hearing loss. Looking at these numbers, why do many ignore the obvious choice?

Approximately 30 percent of people with hearing loss use a hearing aid. This means that 70 percent of the hard-of-hearing population live with their disability, without support. Imagine if 70% of those with visual problems ignored their condition too. Several studies have reported that the average person who gets fit for a hearing aid has been waiting seven years after the first signs of hearing loss – a long time to put up with the anxiety and loneliness that comes with compromised hearing.

As hearing professionals, we understand the reasons for not getting a hearing aid are varied and complex, but we would like to dispel several of them here:


“They make me look old.”

Think about a time you were having a conversation with a person who had trouble hearing you. You might have had to repeat yourself several times, raised your voice louder, or spoken much slower than normal. If you knew these challenges might arise, you might even decided not to start the discussion at all.

But think about how many times you’ve seen someone wearing a hearing aid. Maybe you can count the number of times on one hand, but amazingly, 1 out of every 32 Americans wear hearing aids and we barely notice them.

The truth is that no one looks at the back of your head, but everyone will notice if they can’t easily carry on a conversation with you. If you don’t want people to think you’re “old,” you need to be able to understand and respond appropriately to other people’s words.


“Hearing aids are difficult to use”

Substantial changes have been made to hearing aids, and the products currently available work like mini-computers. They can automatically adapt to your hearing habits, as well as provide substantial noise reduction in challenging listening environments.


“My hearing is fine.”

We often hear people say things like “I can hear the things I want to hear”, or “I’m doing fine for now so I’ll wait until my hearing gets worse.”

It can be difficult to notice a gradual decrease in your hearing, challenging to accept that you have a problem, and challenging to take the first step towards addressing it, even when there is an easy solution.

Over time, you get used to missing words here and there, or asking people to repeat themselves rather than effortlessly engaging in the conversation. It is not until you put on a pair of properly fitted hearing aids that you begin to understand how much of your life you’ve missed out on.


“Hearing aids are expensive.”

People with hearing problems sometimes find the device’s cost can be very high. While hearing aids are an investment, people overwhelmingly find that the price tag is well worth it because of the improvement in nearly all areas of their life. The use of hearing aids has been shown to preserve earning potential in the workplace, as well as reduce medical costs, as even a mild hearing loss that goes untreated has been shown to increase the likelihood of falling by nearly 3 times.

At Kenwood Hearing Centers, we recommend hearing aids that best suit your needs. We offer personalized hearing tests and hearing aid fitting and counseling to help you find the best devices for your unique hearing needs.

If you are ready to have your hearing checked to see which hearing aids are right for you, please contact us today for an appointment.

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