Our Offices Are Open- Click Here for COVID-19 Precautions
SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT ONLINE HEARING TEST

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.

 

Captioning

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest studies on human happiness to ever be conducted. The study spanned eight decades and utilized multiple teams of researchers throughout the years. The study aimed to determine the key factors for human happiness and longevity. According to Robert Waldinger, director of the study, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

According to the study, it was not the number of friends or whether or not people were in committed romantic partnerships that made the difference. The most important factor was the quality of one’s close relationships – be that friendships, partnerships, or relationships with family members.

 

Ok, so relationships are foundational to our lifelong happiness and longevity, what does this have to do with hearing aids?

According to multiple studies from across the globe, hearing aids have the capability to vastly improve the quality of one’s relationships, and better relationships mean a happier, healthier, and longer life.

 

Hearing aids and romantic relationships.

Hearing aids can greatly improve our romantic relationships. Oftentimes, it is our spouse or partner that first recognizes the signs of our hearing loss. They may feel that we are not listening to them or are not interested in what they are saying. Some spouses feel ignored and frustrated when communicating with their partner and choose to stay quiet and quit communicating instead.

When hearing loss is treated with hearing aids, however, all of this begins to change. Hearing aids help us to connect in the quieter moments. The whispered “I love you” during your granddaughter’s dance recital or hearing your wife’s soft humming while she completes her crossword puzzle. Study after study finds that couples report feeling happier and more connected in their relationship after choosing to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. When we can hear, we can better communicate, and better communication leads to happier and more content marriages.

 

Hearing aids and relationships with friends and family.

Untreated hearing loss can also have a very negative impact on our relationships with our friends and family. Many people with untreated hearing loss begin to withdraw socially, and choose not to participate in social events they used to love. Many times, this is due to the fact that having conversations with groups of people in noisy environments is extremely frustrating when hearing loss is untreated. When you are at a social gathering and cannot hear the conversation, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.

Hearing aids of today are power-packed with technology that is specifically focused on making conversations with groups of people easier and more enjoyable – even in busy and noisy environments. When people choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids, they are more likely to participate in the social activities that are critical to keeping friendships and familial relationships alive and healthy.

 

Hearing aids and relationships at work.

Untreated hearing loss even has the potential to negatively impact our relationships with our coworkers. Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss are often seen as less competent, and less intelligent than their peers without hearing loss or those who choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can make work events such as happy hour feel unbearable – thus causing us to choose to opt out of social gatherings that are key to building strong relationships with our colleagues.

Hearing aids can help in the workplace as well! Studies have found that choosing to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids can mitigate these negative effects. When we have the confidence that we can hear and understand the conversations happening around us, we are more likely to chime in and contribute in more meaningful ways at work and at work social events.

 

Hearing aids and relationships with self.

Hearing aids have also been found to improve one’s relationship with him or herself! Choosing to treat hearing loss with hearing aids has been linked to a reduced risk for anxiety, depression and social isolation. People who treat hearing loss also report higher levels of self-esteem on average than those with untreated hearing loss.

Posted in Uncategorized

Communication at Work – May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Communication At Work | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Communication At Work | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Working with hearing loss can be challenging. Impaired hearing reduces one’s ability to absorb and process sound which can significantly strain communication. This makes engaging in conversation difficult and impacts how you interact with coworkers, supervisors, and others throughout your workday. Addressing your hearing loss and learning about effective communication strategies can drastically improve your success at the office! 

 

Disclosing Hearing Loss 

Thinking about notifying your employer of your hearing loss can be overwhelming. You may be anxious about discussing having impaired hearing and the impact it can have on how you manage your job responsibilities. But disclosing your hearing loss can be extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons including: 

  • Guarantees protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from discrimination based on any disability. The ADA also requires employers to provide workplace accommodations. 
  • Lets the people you work with know that you may experience some difficulty during conversations, and may need extra time and assistance.
  • Creates an open environment where you can share with coworkers and supervisors specific ways to engage in conversation that helps you hear and process information more effectively.

Disclosing your hearing loss is a major way to advocate for yourself and your hearing needs.

 

Tips for Effective Communication  

There are many ways you can strengthen your communication in the workplace. Along with disclosing your hearing loss, there are numerous communication strategies and tips you can practice including: 

Hearing Loss Treatment

Treating your hearing loss is the most important way that you can enhance communication and protect your health. The first step is to have your hearing assessed by a hearing healthcare specialist. This involves a noninvasive process that examines the sounds and frequencies that you are (and are not) able to hear. This determines the degree and type of hearing impairment you are experiencing. 

Some hearing loss can be treated by a medical doctor, but the most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These small electronic devices have a wide range of features and are customized to meet your unique hearing needs. Hearing aids increase one’s ability to hear and understand in various environments. 

Share Communication Strategies 

Treating your hearing loss and working with hearing healthcare experts allows you to learn more about your hearing impairment and the types of sounds you may have difficulty hearing. Educating yourself on your specific hearing loss and how you can maximize your hearing ability is incredibly important. This allows you to share this useful information with others who can engage in conversations with you in ways that are more effective. 

Helpful communication strategies that others in your life can implement include: making eye contact, facing you, calling your name to get your attention prior to starting a conversation, rephrasing rather than repeating certain words or phrases you may have a difficult time distinguishing, and speaking from a comfortable distance. Sharing this information also makes effective communication everyone’s responsibility and not just yours, which can alleviate some stress! 

Research and Identify Workplace Accommodations 

The ADA requires employers to provide workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities. Disclosing your hearing loss enables you to have this conversation with a supervisor or your human resources department. Examples of workplace accommodations to assist those with hearing difficulties include: 

  • Work Area Adjustments: this could mean relocating to quieter work areas, or placing a physical barrier between your work area and sources of loud noise. 
  • Electronic Device Connectivity: if you use electronic devices at work such as a phone or laptop, they can be connected to your hearing aids

By disclosing your hearing loss and practicing a few strategies for effective communication, you can navigate your work environment with greater ease and support!

Posted in Uncategorized

Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips While Sheltering at Home

Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips While Sheltering at Home

Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips While Sheltering at Home

Modern hearing aids are discreet but house some of the most advanced technology. As such, they need to be appropriately looked after to protect against dust, dirt, and earwax. As you shelter in place during this time, ensuring that your hearing aid is working properly in preparation to going out into the world again is an effective use of your time. 

The following tips will help you extend your hearing aid’s lifespan.

Store the hearing aids in a dry place.

Keep your hearing aids in a dry place when you take them out each night. When your environment or home is humid, consider purchasing a dryer or dehumidifier for your hearing aids. If this is not an option, place your hearing aid overnight in the open air and leave the doors open for the battery to prevent moisture from building up.

Handle your hearing aids with care

  •       When cleaning the hearing aid, replacing the battery, or installing and removing the hearing aid, you should place a cloth underneath. This prevents harm if you drop the hearing aid accidentally. A plain-colored material will also make it easier to find small parts.
  •       Hearing aids should not be used when bathing or showering.
  •       Make sure your ears are clean and dry before inserting your hearing aid.
  •       When you undergo an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, you should remove your hearing aids.
  •       Avoid getting products like make-up or hair spray onto your hearing aids.

Remove earwax from your device

Wax can clog the hearing aid’s microphone or receiver, blocking the sound from getting into the ear. Cleaning your hearing aids every day is important, and here’s how to do so:

  • Use a smooth, dry cloth or tissue to wipe the outside of the hearing aid
  • A small brush or even a toothbrush can be used to remove any debris that has accumulated on the hearing aid
  • Replace the wax filter if your device has one – it will look like a small circle at the end of the hearing aid that goes deepest into your ear

Professional Repairs with Kenwood Hearing Centers

Hearing aids should also be regularly professionally cleaned. If you think your hearing aid has stopped working, it is important to contact us at Kenwood Hearing Centers. We can provide curb-side service to diagnose, clean, and fix your hearing aid, as well as deliver batteries and other supplies to your car or directly to your home via mail.  

Posted in Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

Happy New Year from our family to yours! We hope 2020 is off to a great start for you and we want to bring you an idea that can make it even better. It’s not too late to set a resolution, so why not resolve to get your hearing tested? Hearing tests are non-invasive and painless and they can help prevent negative health issues related to hearing loss. Even if you don’t think you have hearing issues, an annual hearing test is still an important part of tracking your health and noticing changes early.

Hearing Loss: More Common Than You Think

Today, more than 48 million Americans live with significant hearing loss – that’s around 15% of the population. Hearing loss is incredibly common, but knowing how to manage hearing health isn’t widespread. Studies have found that when people notice an issue with their hearing, they wait an average of seven years before scheduling a hearing exam! In that time, existing hearing issues worsen and can drag down other aspects of our health, like coordination, cognitive skills, emotional and social wellbeing, and heart health.

Finding and treating hearing loss early is by far the best way to address a hearing impairment. Early treatment is usually easier to adjust to – for example, when hearing loss is left untreated it actually changes the way the brain processes sound, making it harder to adapt when treatment is introduced.

As we age, annual hearing exams go from being just a good idea to being a key part of our comprehensive health care. Most hearing loss is permanent, caused by damage to the sensitive parts of our inner ear. Incidents of damage accrue over our lifetime, and our auditory system also becomes more delicate as we age. At age 65, 1 in 3 people has some form of significant hearing loss. From age 60 onward, hearing loss becomes more and more likely to occur: 50% of the population at age 75 have hearing loss and 90% of people age 90 or older will have hearing impairment. Making a habit of getting an annual hearing exam means that when hearing issues arise, you can take action.

The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

While most hearing loss cannot be reversed, it can be treated with highly effective assistive devices like hearing aids. Hearing aids are tuned specifically to your hearing loss  making it easier to follow conversations. They also assist in helping you to be aware of sounds in your environment that could be important for your safety.

When hearing loss is left untreated, it impairs your ability to communicate. This can create distance between yourself and close family and friends, or create confusion in your professional or academic life. Subtly, hearing loss can even change your behavior patterns. Hearing issues can make once enjoyable activities like dining out or going to a party seem frustrating or difficult. While these emotional and social costs of untreated hearing loss often start out as feeling like “no big deal”, they are part of an elevated risk of depression, anxiety, and social isolation that hearing loss can provoke.

The good news is that there is amazing new technology available to help you maintain your quality of life with better hearing. If your hearing exam indicates hearing loss, it will be mapped to show the precise tone and frequency ranges you struggle with. Hearing aids are then programmed specifically to your needs. Better still, hearing aids come in a range of styles to match every lifestyle with discreet design and adaptive features. Using hearing aids to treat hearing loss not only improves your hearing, it boosts your quality of life and can improve aspects of your overall health, like cognitive performance.

Kenwood Hearing Centers

Want to get moving on that New Year’s resolution? Why not schedule your next hearing test with Kenwood Hearing Centers today? We’ve got 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 Hearing Health, Hearing Testing