We should all listen to our centenarians – including our National Parks

What can you hear in a 100-year-old park?

Quite a lot, it turns out.

On August 16, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service. This new federal bureau would be part of the Department of the Interior and would take responsibility for protecting the 35 (at that time) national parks and monuments.Yosemite National Park

Today there are 58 national parks, covering 84 million acres and they have never been more popular.

National parks are already busy and getting busier, so finding a way to listen means breaking free from the crowds. Such a break may seem impossible, but it is not. Many parks are very large, and yet crowds gather in small areas. Escape crowds by varying the time of your visit to the popular spots and find your own the less popular spots.

Bugling elk, thundering waterfalls, and the crack of lightning are just the beginning of what you might hear at a national park. In fact, the National Park Services names these natural, cultural and historic sounds as “acoustic resources,” and recognizes their powerful effect on provoking the sense of awe that is so much a part of a national park visit.

But dig a bit deeper and collect your own natural sounds. Visit the U.S. National Park Service website for new suggestions on how to awaken your sense of hearing, like:

  • Closing your eyes. Stop and listen to what is around you.
  • Walk and listen.
  • Count sounds.
  • What does a landscape sound like?

Enjoy our 100 year old National Park System with your ears this year.

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Roller Coasters and Hearing Loss

Here’s a fun fact: National Roller Coaster Day is August 16!

People riding a rollercoaster in an amusement park

Sure the adrenaline-boost is exhilarating stuff, but have you ever wondered if those ridiculous rolls, tight twists, and dreadful descents affect your hearing? While there was one reported case of ear barotrouma (a 24-year old man turned his head while the roller coaster accelerated to 120 mph in four seconds, exposing his ear to excessive pressure), a general ear trauma like this is relatively rare. Do consider, however, as roller coaster technology improves:

“The faster the ride moves and the larger the change in altitude, the higher the force that is applied to the ear,” said Dr. Samar Al-khudari of the Henry Ford Hospital, where the original case was seen.

If you are a roller coaster enthusiast and wear a hearing aid, consider a few precautions when riding:

  • If dousing-by-water is part of the ride, remove and store your hearing aid so it does not get wet
  • It is possible your hearing aid may dislodge when careening along the roller coaster route. It may make sense to remove and store your hearing aid for the duration of the ride.
  • If removing your hearing aid is not an option, face forward through the ride. This keeps your hearing aids away from the full force of the wind.

Enjoy the ride!

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“It’s like my hearing is almost 3D”

Call this is a technology success story. That’s how Erin Carrigan might say it: technology that moves forward in small steps until that one really big leap.

Erin Carrigan

Erin Carrigan

Erin Carrigan of Buchanan, Michigan works in healthcare and is a student at Indiana University. She is studying psychology and plans to become a physician’s assistant.

Erin was born with moderate hearing loss. She has worn hearing aids since she was two years old and every two to three years she’s had a new pair of hearing aids to get used to. While each set of hearing aids improved, she still held to those habits many with hearing loss create—like facing the person she is talking with so she can also read his or her lips. In fact, Erin remembers working at a lab in Florida and people would say things when she was not looking and get no response. They misinterpreted it as rudeness and complained to her boss.

“People think you’re rude or annoying–it’s almost like you can’t multitask,” said Erin. “If you’re doing dishes and somebody’s standing behind you trying to have a conversation, with a hearing loss, it’s hard to do that because you want to be facing them.”

With every new hearing aid, she was able to hear marginally better. But nothing prepared her for the experience she was about to have – being fit with ReSound LiNX². As she stood in the hallway wearing her new hearing aids, her audiologist was behind her –walking away—and talking. But Erin heard everything. This had never happened before.

“I guess the best way you can describe it is when you see a movie regularly in theaters and then you go and see a movie in 3D,” said Erin. “It’s like my hearing is almost 3D.”
This was a first for Erin—the first of many firsts. After that initial fitting she sat in the car and heard birds from inside the car with the windows up (another first), she actually heard the sound of the engine (another first). At work she heard keystrokes from a few cubicles away (another first), and for the first time, she heard the video that runs in a loop just outside her office (something her coworkers have worked hard to stop hearing).

Erin takes advantage of the Made for iPhone functionality as well. The Live Listen function allows Erin to hear better in her classes at school. Her audiologist recommended giving her phone to her soft-spoken professor to stream her voice directly into her hearing aids.

Erin loves how adaptable the hearing aid is for all the activities she is involved in: volleyball, basketball, lifting, running. In fact, Erin just did her first triathlon.

“The ReSound hearing aids have proven very adaptable to real life situations,” said Erin.

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“It’s All About the Music”

Stephen Straus begins each day with a commute by train. It’s about an hour from his home in Hyde Park to his job in downtown Chicago—and all those train rides mean hours of music. But Mr. Straus lives with hearing loss, so he’s had to struggle with various music players and headphones.Chicago loop, Illinois

“The [headphone] wires —they drove me crazy,” said Mr. Straus

Mr. Straus’s hearing loss, roughly 50% in each ear, crept up on him over the last ten years or so. When his audiologist told him he should check out ReSound Smart Hearing aids with Made for iPhone capabilities, he knew that would give him the freedom to listen to music much more easily.

“I wanted a Bluetooth feature without anything between my phone and my ear,” said Mr. Straus. “A lot of them had things you had to hang around your neck, which I didn’t want. That is why I bought ReSound.”

Stephen Straus

Mr. Straus likes that he can turn off his hearing aid in loud environments and that it works for the phone, but music is the key.

“Music is why I bought [the ReSound hearing aids],” said Mr. Straus. “I’m very pleased with the quality.”

Mr. Straus is a fan of music of all kinds, from classical (“Vivaldi”) to jazz (“Bix Beiderbecke”/”Jack Teagarden”) but also country—“thousands of songs,” said Mr. Straus. “I download songs constantly.” He regularly tunes into Sirius radio and National Public Radio—and he loves hearing the Chicago orchestra.

Listening to music is once again a joyful part of his daily commute.

 

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August 1 is Respect for Parent’s Day. What does Respect Sound Like?

August 1 is Respect for Parents day. What’s not to like about that? What a safe, inoffensive holiday, right?

Three generations of an African American family outdoors

And yet for aging parents with hearing loss, respect can be a difficult balance – especially as their relationships with their children change. Our best relationships always involve the give and take of conversation at normal conversation levels. If we constantly raise our voice to be heard, the simple exchanges that mark our interactions can seem to require extra effort. And sometimes extra effort can look like exasperation–or even disrespect.

We know that every 10dB drop in hearing sensitivity ups the odds of social isolation.  So even if communication takes more work, it is still worth it. Extra effort may mean slowing slow your speech or facing your parent and speaking as distinctly as possible. There may be extra effort involved with locating a hearing solution. As a hearing aid manufacturer, that’s where we can help. We are eager for everyone to rediscover the joys of hearing because we know hearing is a vital link we all depend on to connect with each other.

From our perspective, respect sounds like clear conversation—the kind that keeps people connected for years.

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Don’t let Hearing Loss Crash your Summer Vacation Plans

Planning a getaway before the end of summer? If you have hearing loss, chances are your vacation plans—even your vacation expectations—may revolve around that. Vacations are typically dedicated to relaxing and maybe exploring a new place. But if your plans include a noisy city, or a tour around town, you may need to take steps now to get the most of the experience then.

Camping

Schedule that hearing exam you’ve been putting off. Do it now so hearing loss does not compromise your time away. Or perhaps you’ve noticed a change in what you need your hearing aids to do. Now is the time for a tune-up or fitting adjustment.

At ReSound, we’re all for people rediscovering the joy of hearing. We’ve talked about a number of our smart solutions on these pages, but we’re also quick to say that rediscovering hearing starts with those necessary first steps of a thorough, professional exam. And then following through on the advice offered – whether it be hearing aids or continuing to wear hearing protection when necessary.

That’s because hearing keeps us connected to each other and to what is going on around us. Our best connections are both relaxing and help us form new connections—even when we are on vacation.

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Cheering up the Lonely

July 11 was National Cheer up the Lonely Day. Even though it has passed—it’s still a good reminder to pay attention to those around you with hearing loss.

Mature Male Friends Enjoying Outdoor Summer Barbeque

Hearing loss can be isolating. When someone is experiencing hearing loss, they often pull away from important relationships—simply because it’s difficult to follow conversations and stay connected. And sometimes that isolation can look like depression.

Research studies by the Academy of Finland found that hearing loss impacts on older people’s ability to communicate. But it also affects the older person’s ability to move about and participate in different hobbies and activities.

“In our recent studies, we’ve observed that older people with hearing problems have a more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life,” says Doctoral Student Hannele Polku.

At ReSound, we believe in helping people rediscover hearing, which we think of as another way of saying we want people to rediscover the richness of their relationships.

If you have someone in your life who is beginning to be affected by hearing loss, help them schedule and attend an appointment for a hearing exam. And you can also try out these suggestions from Robin Madell, (via Healthline) for helping someone stay connected despite hearing loss:

  • Invite them along to whatever you are doing
  • Plan a walking date
  • Do something special together
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