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Earguru - We hear you

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  • Amrik Singh
  • April 17, 2018 09:31:25 AM

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Is hearing loss getting you down? A few simple steps will help protect your Hearing Health and put the fun back in your life. Know more about hearing aid and how hearing can be taken care of.

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Teletherapy – 18 Advantages of Speech Therapy at Home

The spread of the internet and advancement in technology has opened a new avenue in medical treatment known as Telemedicine or Teletherapy. Speech Therapy in the comforts of the Child's home has many advantages over regular visits to the Clinic and special schools. The post Teletherapy – 18 Advantages of Speech Therapy at Home appeared first on Ear Health...

The spread of the internet has greatly improved communication. Distance is no more a deciding factor in keeping relations alive.  People prefer video calls over voice calls for better interaction. The advancement in technology has opened a new avenue in medical treatment known as Telemedicine. Telemedicine and Teletherapy is basically medical consultation or therapy using the internet. You can connect with your Doctor or Therapist over a video call and discuss your case and undergo therapy as you would have done in person. Let us find out if Teletherapy or online Speech Therapy is beneficial at home.

Teletherapy 18 advantages feature image of article

What is Teletherapy?

Teletherapy is the use of telecommunication technology to connect the therapist with the patient. In the case of Speech Therapy, the therapist can conduct a proper therapy session. Both the therapist and the patient need a computer with a webcam and a good internet signal. With Teletherapy the distance between the patient and the therapist is immaterial. It could be a few kilometres or a few thousand kilometres.

What Are The Advantages Of Teletherapy or Online Speech Therapy?

The volume of searches on Google for Speech Therapy near me or Speech Therapy Centre near me and Speech Therapy at home indicate that people are interested in a Speech Therapist close by. Teletherapy or Online Speech Therapy has many other advantages as given below.

1. Can We Take Appointments Online for Teletherapy?

Yes, we can certainly connect to the Speech Therapist or their office online. No sitting for hours in the clinic waiting room. It is difficult if the child becomes impatient and refuses to cooperate. Small children are generally scared of new places as well as Doctors and Therapists in white coats. Online consultation also eliminates the chances of forgetting old case papers or reports at home. This needs another appointment and visit.

2. Does Online Speech Therapy Reduce Travel Expenses?

Regular physical visits to the clinic of the therapist can be expensive. In most cases the child cannot use public transport, one has to drive down or use a taxi. Depending on the case and severity of the problem, the Speech Therapist may need to conduct more than one session a week. Over a period of time, petrol and taxi bills can be substantial. Teletherapy or Online Speech Therapy can cut these costs totally.

3. Can Online Speech Therapy Prevent Social Stigma?

Many parents do not want others to know that their child is undergoing Speech Therapy. Parents prefer not to be open about it due to the social stigma and the fear of their child getting bullied by their friends. Regular travelling to the clinic and back will not keep this fact hidden.

4. How Does Anonymity Help Online Speech Therapy?

People find the internet less threatening. Parents open up about their children’s issues and share more details compared to a face to face meeting. Communicating over the internet gives a feeling of anonymity, protection and comfort. This is one reason why people end up giving their personal details to strangers on Social Apps.

5. How Does Online Speech Therapy Increase Consistency And Regularity?

Dropping children to the Speech Therapist and picking them up is a time-consuming task. Working parents divide the responsibilities among themselves. At times office meetings and commitments do not allow them time to drop and pick up the child. In these circumstances, the child misses the therapy session.

Reasons like extreme weather conditions, small ailments like cold and cough, vehicle breakdown can result in cancellation of Speech Therapy sessions. Online Speech Therapy eliminates absenteeism in all the above cases.

6. How Can Online Speech Therapy Keep The Child from Falling Sick?

Children with a delayed speech disorder may have other health issues. Children with low immunity are prone to infections. These children are best kept isolated from others so they do not fall sick repeatedly. Online Speech Therapy eliminates the chance of catching infections. A weak child may get tired travelling to and fro to the clinic or special school every day. Tiredness will reduce the attention of the child.

7. How Does Online Therapy Maintain Good Health?

Mothers provide food and snacks to the child travelling to the Speech Therapy clinic or special school. It is not possible to carry a full hot meal. The child has to eat cold food which is not good for their health. With Teletherapy the child can have freshly cooked hot food within the comforts of the house.

8. Can Online Speech Therapy Result in More Sessions?

Online Speech Therapy totally eliminates travel time and transport worries. The child and the parent do not suffer from travel fatigue and exhaustion. This additional time can be best used to schedule more sessions. The advantage of flexible timings helps in accommodating a higher number of sessions. Speech Therapy Sessions can be conveniently scheduled on weekends, holidays and late evenings as per the availability of the Speech Therapist. More Speech Therapy sessions will result in improved results.

9. Will Teletherapy Gives Us A Wider Choice Of Speech Therapists?

In the case of Teletherapy, one does not have to depend on the locally available Speech Therapist. You have heard of a Speech Therapist who is magical with children, but have not approached as her clinic is far away. With Teletherapy, you can approach the therapist of your choice. Distance is not important for Online Speech Therapy. Give your child the best possible therapy.

10. Is Remote Location A Disadvantage for Speech Therapy?

Teletherapy or Speech Therapy diagram
How Teletherapy works

You are staying away from the city in a small town. There are no Speech Therapists close by or the only one has no free time slots to offer. The neglect and delay in starting therapy are unfair to your child. With Online Speech Therapy, your remote location is as good as the location of the person in the City. You can connect to the Therapist in the City, all you need to ensure is a good internet signal. Signal strength should not be a worry as telecom companies have penetrated the remotest of areas.

11. Can Online Speech Therapy Show Better Results?

In selected cases, Teletherapy can show better results. Some children are very shy and introverts. These timid children do not interact well with the Speech Therapist or other students in person. In these cases, the psychological comfort of the house and the presence of the parents will result in better performance.

12. Is Online Speech Therapy Advisable For Restless & Attention Deficit Children?

Another advantage of Teletherapy is that there are fewer distractions. The child will not concentrate if easily distracted by other students. The child is generally attracted to the screen and the headphones. In the absence of distractions, the child’s progress is better.

13. Does Teletherapy Offer More Resources?

The Speech Therapist has access to the best teaching resources from all over the world. The internet offers more resource material compared to what a Therapist can provide at the clinic. Selection of teaching resources can be on the basis of likes and preference of the student. This enables increased interest and participation from the student. All the therapist has to do is to use or buy the resource material offered by others in the field. More resource material helps the child to progress.

14. Does Teletherapy Make Children Tech Savvy?

Children are good learners. Their ability to grasp new technology is faster than grownups. Small kids become good video gamers and can operate new gadgets effortlessly. Exposing children to gadgets like a PC, iPad or a tablet will help in their overall development. Exposing them to online games increases their mental and physical agility as well as logical reasoning.

15. Can Online Speech Therapy Help In Language Preferences?

There are a number of languages and dialects spoken all over the world. People migrate from one Country to another to work or for a better life. Children of migrants requiring Speech Therapy may not be comfortable with the foreign language. As the spoken language at home is the native tongue. Teletherapy can help in connecting to Speech Therapists in their native Country for better results.

This is very much relevant in Countries where the immigrant population is high. Or in Countries like India where language and dialects change from one State to another.

16. Does Family Participation Help In Faster Improvement In The Child?

Family Participating in Child's Teletherapy Session image
Family Participating in Child’s Teletherapy Session

The Speech Therapist devotes a few hours to the child at the clinic or at the School. The child spends the majority of the time in the company of the parents. Most Speech Therapists involve the parents in the therapy. Parents should continue Speech Therapy exercises at home. This brings about faster improvement in the child.

During the Online Speech Therapy session, all the family members can take part in the session. The learnings from therapy will empower the family as they will be well informed and can help the child overcome the abnormalities.

17. Does Online Speech Therapy Define Goals Better?

With the participation of the parents, the goals become more defined. The parents and the family members can see the improvement for themselves. Speech Therapists regularly hear parents say that the child talks in the clinic or special school but does not talk at home. At home, the parents can feel the joy of seeing their children talk and converse with the family members.

18. Can Teletherapy Help Also The Elderly?

Speech Therapy is not only for children. Many elderly people also undergo Speech Therapy. The Speech Therapists is also an expert in handling issues related to swallowing of food or swallowing disorders. Swallowing disorder is also known as Dysphagia. A paralytic stroke or an accident which affects the muscles of the face prevents the person from chewing and swallowing food. We do come across paralytic patients who need help to feed.

Online Speech Therapy is ideal for patients recovering from paralysis. These patients are unable to travel and need a nurse or an assistant to move around. Such patients can greatly benefit from Teletherapy as it reduces travel inconvenience.

Do I Need To Buy Expensive Software For Teletherapy?

One does not need to buy any software, the Teletherapy software runs through the browser. All you need is the right browser, your Speech Therapist will advise which one you should use depending on the therapy platform.  Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox are some of the common ones.

Which Equipment Do I Need To Start Teletherapy For My Child?

Equipment needed for Teletherapy image of PC monitor with headphones and webcam
Equipment needed for Teletherapy

One does not need any sophisticated or high tech equipment to start Teletherapy lessons. These days most homes have all the equipment needed. You will need the following equipment.

  • A Personal Computer

You will need a PC. It can be a Desktop Computer, a laptop or a tablet. Ideally one should prefer a Desktop or a laptop as the larger screen size is advisable. The PC should have a new version of the browser. Please check the minimum operating system requirements with your Speech Therapist.

  • A Webcam

A webcam or a web camera is necessary. The web camera enables the Therapist to see the person who is undergoing Speech Therapy. This is as good as the Speech Therapist seeing you in person.

Normally a laptop has a built-in webcam, you can go to the settings and activate it. In case you have a desktop, you should buy an external webcam. A webcam sits on top of the monitor, it is flexible and you should rotate it to focus on the person.

  • Headphones

You need a good pair of comfortable over the ears headphones. Though most PC’s come with a pair of speakers, it is preferable to have headphones. Do not select the “in the ear” types or earbuds, buy an “over the ears” type. Over the ear, types are comfortable for long sessions.

Headphones to be used for Teletherapy image
Headphones for Teletherapy, always use Over the Ears Headphones
  • Internet Connection

A good internet connection is necessary. Good internet speed and signal strength offer live streaming without lag or interruption. Please consult the Speech Therapist on the data speed requirements. The speed requirement will depend on the Teletherapy platform used. Approach your internet provider for a higher data speed package if the current speed is low.

What Other Factors Should I Keep In Mind For Teletherapy?

With the basic technical requirements taken care of, we should look into the following factors as well.

  • Comfortable Seating Arrangement

A comfortable chair is very important as the session normally lasts about an hour. If the child is not comfortable, he or she will be fidgety and will not concentrate on the session.

  • Table Height

The table with the laptop or the monitor should be of the right height. The person undergoing Speech Therapy should have a straight view of the screen. Having to look at the screen from an uncomfortable angle for a long period can result in neck pain.

  • Location of the Computer

Please ensure that the room window if any should be behind the Computer. If the window is behind the person, the daylight glare will not allow the webcam to capture the persons face. The Speech Therapist at the other end will not get a clear view of the facial features. The same rule applies for bright lights in the room. The lights should light up the persons face and not point at the webcam.

Teletherapy is a win-win situation for the therapist and the patient. Over a period of time more Online Speech Therapy sessions will be preferred. The advantages of Speech Therapy at home are more than regular visits to the clinic.

However, there will be some cases which require a visit to the clinic and are not conducted online.

Want to know more about Teletherapy? Talk to a senior Speech Therapist.

Mention your contact details in the comments section below or visit the Helpline. You will receive a call from the Speech Therapist.

Note: Your contact details will not be made public.

The post Teletherapy – 18 Advantages of Speech Therapy at Home appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

When Should We Replace Our Hearing Aids?

There is no fixed time, life span or thumb rule on the working life of a Hearing aid. Even if they are working perfectly, there are other reasons which require us to replace our hearing aids. The post When Should We Replace Our Hearing Aids? appeared first on Ear Health...

Once we start using Hearing aids and get used to them, they become an integral part of our Hearing system. Hearing aids become the first and important part of the Hearing mechanism chain. Our hearing chain starts at our external ear, the visible part of the ear. The external ear collects the sound and directs it towards the ear canal. Hearing aids become an extended part of our ears. We do as much research as possible and read blogs on tips to select the best Hearing aids. But do they remain the best over a period of time? The answer is no. There are various reasons which require us to replace our Hearing aids or upgrade them after a period of time.

When Should we replace our Hearing aids. Blog feature image

How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

There is no fixed time, life span or thumb rule on the working life of a Hearing aid. Even if they are working perfectly, there are other reasons which require us to replace our hearing aids. Technical failure remains the biggest reason for us to replace our hearing aids. With damage or physical breakage being the second reason. General estimates are that the average life of the Hearing aids is anywhere from 4 years to 6 years.

Let us read about the common reasons for replacing our Hearing aids.

  • We Should Replace Our Hearing Aids If They Repeatedly Need Repairs

Too many Hearing Aid Complaints? An unhappy customer. Image
Too many Hearing Aid Complaints? An unhappy customer

Do your Hearing aids break down regularly? Repeated trips to the workshop can be a frustrating experience. A hearing aid is an electronic device. The external shell or body contains a circuit which gets its power from the small battery. Like any other electronic or electrical device, the components in the circuit do show a reduction in performance. Small problems show up over a period of time. The smaller the Hearing aid, the more delicate and prone to handling, sweat and moisture. We should take care of our Hearing aids. Read about the simple home maintenance tips which can extend the life our Hearing aids.

Get the Hearing Aids Checked By an Audiologist

It is important that the Audiologist or a Hearing aid technician checks the Hearing aids. The Hearing aids need checking at regular intervals. The performance of the Hearing aid may deteriorate gradually. The Human body is very good at adapting to the changing conditions. The user of the hearing aid will get used to the sound even if the hearing aid is not performing well. Just because we cannot detect a problem does not mean that the Hearing aid is working well. A Hearing aid professional can judge the performance of the Hearing device better. There is no thumb rule as to how often the Hearing aids need a performance check. Twice a year is a good enough period or as often as you get your medical check-up done.

  • We Should Replace Our Hearing Aids If They Do Not Suit Our Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. Besides other reasons, 90% of the cases are age-related. The hearing loss will keep on increasing as the age advances. The sound output or power of the hearing aid depends on the model selected. The Audiologist generally keeps some headroom or spare power while programming. This practice helps to increase output when required and keep the distortion low. Depending on the reserve power, it is possible that the output is not enough to match the increasing hearing loss.

At this stage, it is advisable to replace our hearing aids to match the current hearing loss.

  • We Should Replace Our Hearing Aids If They are difficult to Handle

Selection of hearing aids depends on a combination of multiple factors. The users Hearing loss Audiogram and the ability to handle the device. It is possible that someone using an IIC (Invisible In Ear) or a CIC (Completely In Canal) earlier is unable to operate it anymore. These small In The Ear type of hearing aids are very delicate and have either no controls or very small buttons. Inserting the small battery is a challenge even for the young users.

Hearing Aid Handling Problems Faced By the Elderly

Difficulty in inserting battery in the Hearing Aid
Difficulty in inserting battery in the Hearing Aid

A person who has advanced in age may develop unsteady hands or reduced agility.  Or a person suffering from Arthritis may not be able to insert the small hearing aid properly into the ear. If the hearing aid is not inserted properly in the ear, it will give rise to feedback. Besides feedback, there are chances of the hearing aid falling off. The acrylic shell of the Hearing aid is brittle and can easily crack or break into pieces. Breakage and physical damage is generally not covered by the warranty.

Under these circumstances, the person should replace the hearing aid with a BTE (Behind the Ear) type of hearing aid. BTE hearing aids are easy to handle and the controls are reasonable large to operate. Handling their hearing aids themselves gives a feeling of independence to the elders.

  • We Should Replace Our Hearing Aids as Per Our Lifestyle

Lifestyle is an important factor to consider while selecting the type or style of hearing aid. A promotion in the office can change the lifestyle of a young or middle age upcoming professional.

A change in job profile could involve meeting with customers. The professional may not like his hearing aids to be visible. Under these circumstances, the person can replace the existing BTE hearing aids with IIC or a CIC.

Another feature one can consider is Bluetooth connectivity.  A person who is on the cell phone most of the time can replace his hearing aids with the one with the Bluetooth feature. This will enable the user to stream the phone audio straight to his ears. The user will have to struggle to hear with a conventional hearing aid. The humming sound and the shrill feedback will make conversation difficult.

The selection or upgrading to a new hearing aid should be only as per the recommendations of the Audiologist.

  • We Should Replace Your Hearing Aids If The New Features Are Beneficial

Bluetooth Hearing Aid Connectivity image
Bluetooth Hearing Aid Connectivity

We are happy with the sound quality of our hearing aids and have no complaints what so ever. But we may find the new available features attractive. The new generation of Digital hearing aids are not limited to delivering distortion free sound. The new features make the user’s life simple by offering a lot of features which were unimaginable a few years back.

If you like watching television and are not happy as the audio is not clear. You need not to worry any more. The new hearing aids can be connected to a streamer. A streamer is a device which connects to your television and transmits sound directly to your hearing aids. No more increasing the Television volume and irritating others in the room.

If you are a music lover and your current hearing aids make music unbearable. Replace your hearing aids with the one which has a music mode. This feature is especially for listening to music.

Do read about the many features in advanced digital hearing aids to get familiar with the latest developments.

Did You Know That Digital Hearing Aids Can Monitor Your Health?

Well, this is the latest technology. The Starkey Livio AI has a built-in heart rate monitor and activity tracker. It also sends alerts to the selected contacts if the user falls down. Very useful for senior citizens who stay alone.

The Oticon OPN gives mail and social media alerts, besides a fire alarm alert.

Why Can’t We Replace Our Hearing Aids to Feel Good

If you are using a bulky BTE style of hearing aid and like the new In the ear type. Go ahead and discuss with your Audiologist. As long as the digital hearing aid specifications match the Audiogram. Feel good factor is very important. It’s like buying the latest car or a cell phone. People replace their cell phones every 2 years even if the old one is functioning well. So why can’t we buy a new hearing aid?

Socialising and Communication Keeps You Healthy

It is a confirmed fact that self-isolation can lead to depression in elders. Extreme cases of depression can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease. Using hearing aids which are not suitable can lead to a break in communication. The reason could be performance, change in hearing loss or lifestyle.  Do not hesitate to replace your hearing aids with the latest to live life to the fullest.

The post When Should We Replace Our Hearing Aids? appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

Can Hearing Aids Stop My Ears From Ringing?

At this time, there is no cure for tinnitus. Anyone offering a cure is very likely taking advantage of the fact that many people are seeking help to manage their tinnitus. However, you may be able to manage your tinnitus by using hearing aids. The post Can Hearing Aids Stop My Ears From Ringing? appeared first on Ear Health...

Tinnitus is often considered a joke problem for those who only have experienced temporary tinnitus. But for those who have to live with tinnitus’ constant phantom sounds, whether their tinnitus presents as a ringing noise, static, roaring, whistling, or other repetitive sounds, tinnitus is anything but funny.

At this time, there is no cure for tinnitus. Anyone offering a cure is very likely taking advantage of the fact that many people are seeking help to manage their tinnitus. However, you may be able to manage your tinnitus by using hearing aids.

Can Hearing Aids Stop My Ears From Ringing

Connection Between Tinnitus And Hearing Loss

Some people may be hesitant to use hearing aids to treat their hearing loss, believing that their hearing is in good order. However, it is not unusual for hearing loss to gradually develop, leaving time for your body to adjust to your lower hearing capacity. There is also research which confirms the strong connection between hearing loss and tinnitus.

This research mentions that it is possible that tinnitus occurs as part of specific inner ear damage, which is why some people have hearing loss without tinnitus, and others have tinnitus with no hearing loss present.

Whether you have hearing loss along with your tinnitus or not, you can still utilize hearing aids to help manage your tinnitus.

How Hearing Aids Can Help Manage Tinnitus

As tinnitus can cause a significant amount of emotional and physical distress in those experiencing tinnitus, researchers have made a point at studying the various modalities which could help. And even without hearing loss present, researchers have found that hearing aids are an exceptional tool in helping those with tinnitus.

Some of the specific ways hearing aids can help manage tinnitus are:

  • Auditory stimulation – Tinnitus can become more noticeable when hearing loss is present since your ears receive less input from the world around you. With hearing aids, you can hear more sounds like the hum of a computer, footsteps, and other sounds that will help make your tinnitus much less noticeable.
  • Reduces strain – It can be very straining to live with tinnitus, especially as moderate-to-severe tinnitus can drown out sounds you want to hear. By using hearing aids regularly, you can reduce the strain of listening around your tinnitus.
  • Act as a masker – Some hearing aids also have the ability to act as a sound generator, masking the sound your tinnitus makes. With a more pleasant sound in the background, like water flowing in a river, you can more easily ignore and forget your tinnitus.
  • Improves communication – Tinnitus can make speech, whether your ability to hear or your capacity to speak, difficult. With hearing aids, you can cut through the noise of your tinnitus to hear what others are saying and reply appropriately in return.

Hearing Aids That Have Tinnitus Support Built-In

Not all hearing aids come with tinnitus support. With the help of an audiologist, you will be able to find hearing aids which can help you manage your tinnitus. Some hearing devices you may want to consider are:

  • ReSound LiNX 3D – With ReSound LiNX 3D hearing aids, you can stream your tinnitus relief directly from your phone. Use the ReSound Relief app on your phone to help control what sounds are being streamed to your hearing aids. You can also utilize the relaxation exercises as well as guided meditation programs.
  • Starkey – A number of Starkey hearing aids can come with tinnitus support built in, from Invisible-In-Canal hearing aids to the larger Behind-The-Ear hearing aids. With Starkey’s Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, you can have greater control over your tinnitus-soothing sounds.
  • Widex Zen Therapy – A four-part tinnitus relief program, Widex hearing aids which have Widex Zen Therapy enabled can allow you to choose from soothing fractal tones which lessen the impact of your tinnitus. There is also an app you can use to control not only the sound but receive tinnitus counseling and relaxation help. Also, Widex hearing aids come with helpful amplification to help you overcome hearing loss.
  • Oticon Opn – You can opt for Oticon Opn hearing aids with enabled Tinnitus SoundSupport. This sound support can be controlled from your phone, allowing you to create personalized tinnitus sound relief profiles that will allow you to ignore your tinnitus.

By working with a qualified audiologist, you can find the right type of hearing aids for you that will help you manage your tinnitus.

The post Can Hearing Aids Stop My Ears From Ringing? appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

7 Diseases That Can Cause Hearing Loss

We are familiar with the common causes of Hearing Loss. Old age and exposure to loud sound. Surprisingly, some diseases which are not related to the ear can also cause Hearing loss. Read to know more. The post 7 Diseases That Can Cause Hearing Loss appeared first on Ear Health...

Hearing loss is very common. We are familiar with the common causes of Hearing Loss. Old age and exposure to loud sound are the 2 most common causes of Sensorineural Hearing loss. Our blog Common Hearing Loss Cause and Symptoms explains some of the other causes. To most of us, it may come as a big surprise but there are many other causes. Some diseases which are not related to the ear can also cause Hearing loss.

Diseases that can cause Hearing loss

Let us read about the diseases which can cause Hearing loss. We have shortlisted 7 diseases which are not rare.

  1. Diabetes
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Thyroid Disease
  4. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
  5. Influenza
  6. Hypertension
  7. Obesity

1. Can Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

It is scientifically proven that Diabetes does play a role in Hearing Loss. The chances of Hearing loss are 50% higher in people suffering from Diabetes. People with diabetes normally suffer from Sensorineural Hearing loss. Pre Diabetics have a 30% higher chance of suffering from Sensorineural Hearing loss. Pre Diabetics are people who do not suffer from diabetes but are on the borderline.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Research has established a connection between Diabetes and Sensorineural Hearing loss. Chronic Hyperglycaemia or continuous high levels of blood glucose is the primary reason. High levels of blood glucose cause Microangiopathy. Microangiopathy causes the very tiny blood vessels to break. It also results in thickening of the wall in some blood vessels. This restricts the blood flow to the parts connected by these tiny blood vessels or arteries. Our ear is one such organ which is fed by small blood vessels. The restricted blood supply damages the delicate Hair cells causing Sensorineural Hearing loss. This is similar to how Diabetes affects the kidneys and the eyes.

2. Can Heart Disease Cause Hearing Loss?

a healthy heart is healthy hearing image of heart and ear
Heart Diseases can cause Hearing loss

There is a very strong link between Heart disease and Hearing loss. There are 54% higher cases of Sensorineural Hearing loss in people suffering from Heart diseases.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Heart Disease

The Cochlea in the Inner ear contains the delicate hair cells which enable us to hear. The Cochlea gets oxygen rich blood through tiny blood vessels to keep it healthy. People suffering from Heart disease have reduced pumping action. The heart does not have the strength or needs to work harder to pump blood. If the pumping action is not enough, the Cochlea connected by tiny blood vessels does not get enough blood. This results in damage to the Hair cells which causes Sensorineural Hearing loss.

3. Can Thyroid Disease Cause Hearing Loss?

The Thyroid gland in our body produces hormones. These hormones are responsible for metabolism and other body functions. In case of a Thyroid disease, there is a reduction in the production of hormones. The reduced production of Hormones is medically known Hypothyroidism. The thyroid secretes a hormone known as Thyroxine. Thyroxine is responsible for the development of the Cochlea.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Thyroid Disease

Thyroxine helps in maintaining the Cochlea during the development stage and much after. In an experiment, 30 subjects suffering from Hypothyroidism underwent Thyroxine treatment. At the end of 6 months, there was a 48% improvement in hearing confirmed by the pre and post treatment Audiograms. Thyroxine also helps in protecting against Noise Induced Hearing loss. Hypothyroidism (reduced production of hormones), as well as Hyperthyroidism (excessive production of hormones) cause Sensorineural Hearing loss

A healthy diet is important for people suffering from thyroid disease. Iodine, Vitamin A and D and minerals like Selenium and Iron help to maintain a healthy Thyroid. Read about the wonder foods which contain these and include them in your diet.

4. Can Chronic Kidney Disease Cause Hearing Loss?

It is well established that Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. A study found a 54% higher chance of Hearing loss in people suffering from CKD. The reason is that the Kidneys are very similar to our Inner ear in terms of structure and functions.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Chronic Kidney Disease

The Kidneys clean up the toxins in the body. Toxins collect in the body if the Kidneys are not functioning normally. These toxins damage the sensitive nerves in the Inner ear. The tissue structure in the Kidneys is similar to the inner ear. The elements damaging to the Kidney tissue also cause damage to the ear tissue. Electrolyte disturbance is also a cause of Sensorineural Hearing loss. Certain medicines used for the treatment of CKD are harmful or Ototoxic to the ear.

5. Can Influenza Cause Hearing Loss?

A person suffering from flu which can cause hearing loss image
Hearing loss can be caused by flu

Seeing people sniffling and sneezing during winters is a common sight. Neglecting the early signs can see some come down with severe influenza. Influenza, commonly known as flu can also cause hearing loss. Flu, after all, is a virus which affects the sinuses and the ears. In a majority of the cases, flu causes Conductive Hearing loss which is reversible. Hearing loss can become permanent if proper and timely treatment is not taken.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Influenza

The early signs of flu are running nose, headaches, sore throat, coughing and fever. Flu causes congestion and build-up of fluids in the Middle ear and the Eustachian tube. There is a drop in the hearing ability and a feeling of blocked ear. The congestion in the middle ear does not allow the sound waves to reach the inner ear. Proper treatment can clear the infection and restore hearing. This temporary hearing loss is also known as Conductive Hearing loss.

There are cases where the infection is very severe and affects the inner parts of the ear. The delicate nerves can get affected by the infection. The damage to the nerves causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. This type of loss is permanent in nature. You need to see your doctor if the hearing ability is not normal within a day or two of the flu being cured. You can follow the precautions mentioned in the blog on How to prevent ear Infections.

6. Can Hypertension Cause Hearing Loss?

Hypertension or high Blood pressure does cause Hearing loss. As the blood pressure rises, the hearing ability goes down. Hearing loss speeds up or increases in cases of chronic high blood pressure. Experiments have shown that bringing down blood pressure improves hearing ability.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Hypertension

The connection is very easy to understand. The high blood pressure puts additional pressure on the walls of the vessels carrying blood. This additional pressure damages the blood carrying vessels or the arteries. Small arteries supply fresh oxygenated blood to the delicate part of our ears. Damage to these arteries can cause a reduction of blood supply which causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. It is important to de-stress to keep the blood pressure under control. Read about the ways to destress to avoid stress related hearing loss.

7. Can Obesity Cause Hearing Loss?

an obese or over weight person can get hearing loss image
An Obese or over weight Person

Though awareness about a healthy lifestyle is spreading, Obesity still remains a major problem. The current lifestyle is the main cause of Obesity. Though remote control, Apps, automation and fast foods has made life easy, it has also reduced our physical activity. Obesity is a sign of poor health and can cause Hearing loss.

  • The Connection between Hearing Loss and Obesity

Obesity does not directly affect Hearing loss, but it can certainly increase the chances of Hearing loss. The heart pumps blood to each and every organ in the body. Blood reaches our inner ear through small arteries and capillaries. In an obese person, the heart has to pump harder to deliver blood to the smallest of the organ. Over a period of time, the heart finds it difficult to pump blood. There is a gradual reduction of blood supply to the smaller organs. In this case, the reduced blood supply to the inner ear causes the hair cells to die. This reduces the total number of active hair cells and causes Sensorineural Hearing loss.

Obesity is responsible for Heart disease and diabetes which further damage the hearing.

A healthy lifestyle is very important. Do find time to take care of your body.

7 Diseases that can cause Hearing Loss

The post 7 Diseases That Can Cause Hearing Loss appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

Bluetooth Digital Hearing Aids & 9 Latest Features You Should Know

Some of the Digital Hearing Aid features are straight out of Science fiction stories. You can have a conversation with your Bluetooth Hearing aids. Stay connected to communication devices and also get your health monitored The post Bluetooth Digital Hearing Aids & 9 Latest Features You Should Know appeared first on Ear Health...

Digital Hearing Aid technology has been progressing at a very fast pace. Companies are introducing advanced features offering users an amazing experience. Some of the Digital Hearing Aid features are straight out of Science fiction stories. You can have a conversation with your Bluetooth Hearing aids. Stay connected to communication devices and also get your health monitored. We have covered some of the must have basic features in Digital Hearing Aids in our earlier article. Let us read about the features in the latest Bluetooth Digital Hearing aids offered by the leading Companies.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids blog feature image

1. Bluetooth Hearing Aids

This wireless connectivity feature in digital hearing aids is very useful for users who cannot manage without their Cell phones. Cell phones are part of the working professional’s office routine. Calling up clients or having a conference call with teammates is routine. In a standard Hearing aid, one is unable to hear phone speech very clearly. As the Hearing aid microphone also picks up the surrounding noise. This makes it very difficult to hear the person at the other end. It is almost impossible if one is at a public place with noise all around.

  • Bluetooth Hearing Aids Connectivity

Bluetooth Hearing Aid Connectivity image
Bluetooth Hearing Aid Connectivity

The introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy technology or BLE changed the connectivity equation. With the new Bluetooth consuming less power, the phone can connect to the Digital Hearing aid. Apple was the first to introduce the Made for iPhone Bluetooth Hearing aid. All the major Hearing Aid Companies manufacture Bluetooth Hearing aids compatible with the iPhone. The Halo from Starkey, Linx 3D from ReSound and Beyond from Widex are some of the Made for iPhone Bluetooth Hearing aids.

So far, the Android Phone users could not benefit from this Bluetooth Hearing aid streaming feature. Google’s Android phone operating system has finally caught up. GN ReSound in collaboration with Google has launched the first Bluetooth Hearing aid which connects to Android phones. The Resound Linx Quattro will be the first model with a streaming option from Android phones.

  • Streaming Devices

Streamers were available before the launch of Bluetooth Hearing Aids. Streamers are interfacing devices which make a Non Bluetooth hearing aid similar to a Bluetooth hearing aid. Connect the Television sets, Music systems or iPods to the Streaming device with a connecting wire. The streamers relay to a receiving device which in turn connects to the Digital Hearing aid. Streamline from Signia (Originally Siemens Hearing Aids). Surflink Media from Starkey and TV Streamer 2 from Resound are some of the streamers.

2. Artificial Intelligence in Digital Hearing Aids

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play an important role in the new scheme of things. AI and ML are playing a role in all spheres of our life. Can Digital hearing aids be far behind? Starkey has launched the Model with Artificial Intelligence. The Starkey Livio AI is a Bluetooth Hearing aid. As per the details released by Starkey. The Livio AI is the first Digital Hearing aid to integrate biosensors and Artificial Intelligence.

New Features in Starkey Livio AI

The Biomedical sensors in the Livio AI are capable of measuring physical activity, calorie burning, heart rate and blood pressure. Some of the latest features in the Bluetooth Hearing aids are very useful.

  • Body Tracking

The Bluetooth Hearing aid connects to the proprietary Thrive App. The App measures the daily activity and converts it into an easy to read Body Score. The App recommends achieving Body Score of 100 to stay fit. The App also provides an overall wellness score to indicate the state of Body and Mind wellness.

  • Brain Tracking

The App also calculates the benefits of using a hearing aid. The app calculates the total usage and the benefits to the Brain.

Starkey Thrive App Screen image
Starkey Thrive App Screen
  • Fall Detection and Alerts

The Livio AI has built-in sensors to detect if the Hearing aid wearer has fallen. The App’s program sends alerts to the selected contacts. A very important and useful feature for senior citizens staying alone.

  • Heart Rate Monitor

The Livio AI will shortly have a Heart Rate Monitor and alert system.

  • Translate Feature

The Livio AI has a translate feature which currently translates into 27 languages. Set your language and the other person’s language. When you speak into the Thrive App, the App will convert your speech into text for the other person. Similarly, the App will translate their speech into your language and display the text. The displayed text is also converted to speech and streamed to your ears.

  • Tap Control

Stop or start the audio streaming to your ears through the Bluetooth hearing aids. You can pause the audio by double tapping the hearing aid to listen to someone talking to you. Double tap again and resume your music listening.

Other features like self-check or self-diagnostics, remote programming, transcription (saving speech to text) and find my hearing aids are very helpful.

3. Internet Hearing Aids

Digital Hearing Aids have joined the IOT (Internet of Things) Devices list. Your Digital Hearing Aids can stay connected to the Internet through an App on your smartphone. The Oticon OPN is the first Internet Hearing Aid. The Bluetooth Hearing aid connects to the App on the phone. The App, in turn, connects to the Internet.

Advantages of Internet Hearing Aids

  • Connect your Bluetooth Hearing Aid to the Doorbell. You will require an Internet doorbell for this purpose
  • Control light switches using your Hearing Aids
  • Serves as a warning system by connecting the Digital Hearing aid to the Fire alarm
  • Stay connected to Social Media by connecting to Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media Apps.
  • Connect to your Mail account and get mail alerts.

Oticon uses IFTTT (If This Then That) to enable the above features. IFTTT is a 3rd party App which triggers the function.

4. Tele-Audiology – A Helpful Digital Hearing Aid Feature

Tele-Audiology image
Tele-Audiology for patient support

Internet use is spreading rapidly. Every device or apparatus from a washing machine to home security is now connected through the internet. Audiological consultation has evolved from a face to face meeting to online consultation and Hearing aid fitting.

The basic Tele-Audiology method is in existence for some years. The Bluetooth Digital hearing aid connects to the smartphone. The Audiologist remotely tunes the hearing aid through the App in the smartphone.  Small adjustments and reprogramming is possible without the user visiting the Audiologist.

Tele-Audiology has gone a step further. Now almost everything is possible without stepping outside the house. Lively Hearing Aids based in New York is one of the Companies offering end to end Audiology solutions.

  • An online App on the Company’s website conducts the Hearing loss test.
  • Select a suitable Hearing Aid
  • Receive the pre-programmed Hearing aid
  • Contact Support for adjustments

5. Rechargeable Hearing Aid Feature

Changing Batteries is a cumbersome routine. The senior citizens with unsteady hands are dependent on others for this. Inserting the small batteries in CIC and IIC Hearing aid is difficult for a person of any age. The latest offering from the Companies has the Rechargeable Hearing Aid feature. Do read this article on Hearing Aid Batteries.

The Dutch company Widex has gone a step further and has announced a Fuel Cell technology feature. Fuel cell technology is the first in class Digital Hearing aid feature. As per the information released by Widex, this digital hearing aid does not require electricity.  So no searching for sockets to recharge if on the move.

The smallest commercially available fuel cell fits into the Digital hearing aid. A refill unit contains Methanol. The Methanol reacts with the air inside the fuel cell to produce electric power. This 20 seconds process will supply power to the Hearing aid for 24 hours. The Widex EVOKE rechargeable hearing aid will be available before the end of 2019.

6. Water Proof and Dust Proof

Water and Electronics do not get along. All electronic devices need protection from water and dust. The humidity and dust damage the delicate miniature circuits inside the Digital Hearing aids. Exposure to water, humidity and dust can lead to malfunctioning of the Hearing aid.

Earlier, the manufacturers had a Nano coating on the Hearing aid body. The coating made the Hearing aid shell smooth and slippery. The water falling on the Hearing aid rolls off and does not enter the gaps in the Hearing aid body.

The manufacturers have now gone a step ahead of Nano Coating. Selected manufacturers are selling Digital Hearing aids which are safe under water.

Digital Hearing aids are now available with IP rating. IP rating or Ingress Protection rating is an international quality standard. The number indicates the IP rating.

  • IP67
  • IP68

Digital hearing aids marked as IP67 can resist water up to the depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes. IP67 also indicates 100% dust protection.

Similarly, IP68 can resist water up to the depth of 1 metre for 60 minutes. Please read this article on Protecting Hearing Aids from rain and water to know more.

7. External Accessories for Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Thanks to Bluetooth Hearing aids, connecting to external devices has become easy.

  • Digital Hearing aids can now connect to Amazon Echo and other AI assistants through the smartphone App.
  • Bluetooth Hearing aids streaming makes watching television or listening to music an enjoyable experience.
  • Remote Mic is a useful accessory if you are attending a lecture, place the remote mic near the speaker. The remote mic pairs to the Bluetooth hearing aid for clear listening. The ReSound Multi Mic has a range of 80 feet.
  • The remote control helps to change the program or the volume settings. The Hearing aid user does not have to struggle with the tiny buttons.

8. Automatic Program Change

The programs of the Digital Hearing aids are for different situations or surroundings. Normal settings are Speech in Noise, for use when one is outdoors. Speech in Quiet, when one is at home or in a silent environment. A Telephone Mode, when one wants to talk on the phone. Digital Hearing aids have a push button to enable the user to change the program. At times this is inconvenient as one has to struggle with tiny push buttons. Very small In the Ear Digital Hearing aids do not have any buttons or control. One has to buy a remote control to make changes.

The latest Digital Hearing aids automatically change the setting without the user having to do so. The built-in software detects the situation and does the needful. The hearing aid also change to telephone mode as soon as the phone is close to the ear.

9. Invisible Digital Hearing Aids

There are vanity issues and stigma attached to the use of Hearing aids. A Hearing aid user thinks that he or she will be considered as deaf or old if seen using hearing aids. Strangely, it’s not the same with spectacles. Our hearing ability and eyesight weakens with age. Users can now choose small Invisible Hearing aids which are practically invisible. Please note that the digital Hearing aids style or the type has to be carefully selected. The style of the Hearing aid should be as per the user’s lifestyle. Select the size and the shape of the Hearing aid according to the lifestyle and budget.

Use of Hearing aids has a lot of advantages. Untreated Hearing loss leads to depression and other health issues. Do recommend the use of Hearing aids for a better lifestyle.

The post Bluetooth Digital Hearing Aids & 9 Latest Features You Should Know appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

Home Speech Therapy Exercises For Children

Children born with Speech disorders need regular Speech Therapy exercises. Parents can also contribute to the Speech Therapy exercises. This speeds up the improvement in the child’s speech and language skills. The post Home Speech Therapy Exercises For Children appeared first on Ear Health...

Children born with Speech disorders need regular Speech Therapy exercises. The earlier we start with the Speech Therapy exercises the better it is for the child. Speech Therapy is highly recommended for speech and language disorders. The speech Therapy exercises also help with other Communication and swallowing disorders. The speech therapist helps the child and trains the parents to help overcome the delays. The children spend a few hours with the speech therapist in the week. But they spend a major part of their time at home with parents. Parents can also contribute to the Speech Therapy exercises. This speeds up the improvement in the child’s speech and language skills.

Home Speech Therapy Exercises For Children image

Tips For Speech Therapy Exercises

The day starts with the mother or father waking up the child. The simple speech therapy exercises can start right from the moment the child opens his or her eyes.

The parent waking up the child in the morning has to be gentle and not rush the child to get up and start his routine. A grumpy child is not going to learn much during the day.

The Waking Up Speech Exercises

The mother or the father can start the child’s day with a simple talk. The talk should involve the child, ensure that the child replies. The more the child talks and communicates the faster they will become fluent. The parent can start with “Good Morning”, ensure that the child replies or wishes back. If the child does not reply, talk him into replying. The conversation can go on with “Did you sleep well” and “Were you comfortable during the night”. Gently request the child to repeat if they make a mistake in the pronunciation. This is a part of the speech therapy exercises that can be easily done at home.

The Bathroom Speech Exercises

The conversation can continue with small sentences. “Raj, please use the bathroom”. Depending on whether the child has been potty trained or no. If the child is not potty trained then give instructions like “pull your pyjamas down”. The parents with the help of the Speech therapist can use pictures of the actions. A picture of a child pulling his pants down. Or a child sitting on the potty. Point towards the picture of a child pulling his pyjamas or pants up. The parent should use speech and pictures together for better effect. The child speaking and having a conversation is part of voice exercises.

Keep the child continuously engaged in the conversation. “Raj put on the toothpaste”. Or Raj, start brushing your teeth”

Continue the Conversation

It is important that the parents continue to talk to the child. Make sure that the child replies and takes part in the conversation. Simple sentences like

Let’s dress up

Which shirt would you like to wear today?

You cannot wear this, you wore it yesterday

Which shoes would you like to wear?

The conversation at the Breakfast table can start with

Do you like eggs?

Do you want chocolate chips or plain chips?

Mother and Child having Breakfast
Mother and Child having Breakfast

Make the Child Think and Form Sentences

Do not provide everything to the child. Leave out something intentionally. Do not provide milk along with the flakes or leave out the spoon at times. Make the child ask for it.

Speech Therapy exercises also involve the development of cognitive skills or cognitive functioning.  Cognitive functioning is brain-based skill involving simple to complex tasks.

Also, discuss what he or she is going to do today in school. Children do get excited talking about the school activities and games. Ask them about their friends. Make the child talk as much as possible. This contributes to the speech therapy exercises. Make as much conversation as possible. Ask the child to name the foods he or she is eating. Does he like the food?

The School Talk

Talk to them about the activities for the day. Keep talking whenever you are with the child. The conversation should make the child think and answer. The child should be talking more than you. The parents have to draw the child into a conversation. The continuous conversation with the parents supports the speech therapy exercises.  It complements the lessons received from the Speech Therapist.

Child travelling in a Car image
Child travelling in a Car

If you drive your child to school, it can be a wonderful opportunity to talk about the surroundings. Talk about the landmarks you are passing by. Ask the child which will be the next landmark. A landmark could be a shopping mall, a restaurant, an ice cream parlour or a toy shop. Make the child name the landmarks. Ask the child for directions, this will help the child to remember the landmarks.

You can play games if the drive is a little long. Games like the spelling of things they see. Rhyming with the objects you pass by on the way to school if the child is old enough to rhyme.

The Evening Program

The evening program is the same as the morning routine. Discuss the food items. Make the child name the food items.

Ask the child about the school activities. Which games did he or she play? What did they learn at school?

As far as possible ask open-ended questions, let the child finish the sentence.

Mother Reading out to the Child image
Mother Reading out to the Child

Evening games can be a very important part of the daily routine. Play games which will involve thinking and talking.

  • Read them a story from a storybook with pictures. Ask the child to repeat the story by pointing at the pictures.
  • Play acting is a good exercise. Ask the child to enact the story you have read out. Let them act out the characters by using their imagination.
  • Spread out his toys and hide one toy behind your back. Ask him or her to guess the missing toy. Give them clues like animal or person, the colour of the toy etc. Keep giving them clues till they guess right.
  • Draw a picture and ask the child to identify. You can draw a picture of one of the toys for easy identification.
  • Let them play with their favourite toy. If the boy likes to play with a toy train or a car, ask him to make the right sounds. The sound of the train engine or the sound of the moving car.
  • The girls can play with their dolls. They should keep talking to their doll. They can dress up the doll, put the doll to sleep.

Tips for the Parents

Parents should consult a Speech Therapist to identify the type of speech disorder. Do not consult non-professionals and believe in unscientific myths.

Parents play a very important role in the speech therapy exercise program. They should keep the following tips in mind.

  • Give full concentration to the child. Do not multitask or get distracted by other issues.
  • Do not unnecessarily and repeatedly correct them. Add to their conversation positively.
  • Teach them conversation skills. Gently instruct them to look at the person they are talking to. Tell them not to interrupt and wait to speak.
  • Teach them to request if they want something. They should not grab.
  • Always praise and encourage the child to speak. Compliment him or her when they complete a task or a game.
  • Avoid overexposing the child to mobile phones and television. Do not hand over the phone or make them sit in front of the television for long. Regulate the screen time. Check with the Speech Therapist about the screen time exposure.
  • Allow your child to talk about their likes and dislikes. Encourage them to tell you if they do not like something.
  • If the child has a sibling, they can make excellent playmates. The child will be comfortable playing and talking to the sibling. They tend to bond better with their siblings.
  • Children learn through imitation. Make the child sit in front of the mirror and speak. Ask the child to notice the shape and movements of the lips. This will improve the child’s speech and language delivery.

The above mentioned Speech Therapy exercises are general in nature. Your child’s Speech Therapist will advise you on specific exercises. Parents play a very important role in helping the child to overcome speech disorders. Some special schools prefer the parents also attend classes along with the child. We can help you locate a Speech therapist in your neighbourhood. Please fill in your requirements on the Helpline page.

The post Home Speech Therapy Exercises For Children appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.

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