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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These are not your Grandpa’s hearing aids

But don’t worry – you’re Grandpa can definitely wear them!

When you think of hearing aids, do you picture bulky, whistling contraptions that only work occasionally? Then your memory is due for an upgrade. Because ReSound Smart Hearing has changed the world of hearing aids, and it’s for the better.

1503_RS_FBImage_BinuralDirection_403x403In fact, Smart Hearing aids work well in almost any situation, from noisy restaurants to windy golf courses and everything in between. They’re discreet and won’t whistle when you go in for a hug. And, the addition of Bluetooth technology and connections to your smart phone have added another layer of cool technology.

A recent article from the Baylor College of Medicine notes how new technology, especially Bluetooth-equipped hearing aids, are helping people stay connected. Previous generations required wearing another bulky device around your neck.

Now, “you can stream music and phone calls directly to your hearing aids,” says Dr. Lauren Placke.

ReSound hearing aids using Bluetooth technology also  make adjusting hearing simpler and even less conspicuous: just open the ReSound Smart app and turn your volume up or down.

Those old whistling contraptions and bulky devices around your neck are long gone. And that’s a good thing.

Posted in Noise & Feedback, Sound Quality, Technology Innovation | Leave a comment

ReSound Employees Serve Meal to Families at Fisher House

Employees from ReSound and Audiologists from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center serving a meal at Fisher House.

Employees from ReSound and Audiologists from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center serving a meal at Fisher House.

Last month, employees from ReSound teamed up with Audiologists from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to serve a meal to families staying at the Fisher House in Bethesda, Maryland. Fisher House provides “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. We asked Jeff Dieltz, Government Services Inside Sales Representative for ReSound, to write about his experience.

Today, several colleagues and I had the opportunity to serve dinner to the families staying at the five Fisher Houses on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus. The approximately 70 active duty soldiers and their families stay at Fisher House while the soldiers are recovering from wounds or ailments associated with their service to our country. Before arriving, I was anxious about what it might be like meeting and speaking to the people I would meet. All of my fears were unfounded as what I encountered were brave and thankful men and women from all over the nation. I had the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with some of these great people and their families. They were actually thanking me for helping serve one meal when the sacrifices they have made to serve our country far outweigh any gesture I made that day.

What I witnessed were grateful families, happy to have their loved ones back in the U.S. The service men and women all approached whatever challenge they may be facing with the grace and dignity that make me proud to live in the United States and thankful for what lengths these people go to in the name of service to country. I was truly honored to meet them, hear some of their stories and have a chance to give a little something back to people that have made great sacrifices so my family can live in a nation that is free. I would do this again without hesitation and am excited to meet more great people and hear about their personal stories.

To learn more about Fisher House Foundation, please visit their website at www.fisherhouse.org.

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The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Independence Day

Did you know that George Washington, our first President and a Founding Father of the United States, lived with hearing lossGeorge Washington Statue and US Flag

Years of noise exposure while in battle and hunting likely contributed to his hearing loss. Washington would be the first of many who have protected U.S. liberty only to find themselves with less hearing ability over time. Military service often includes the prevalence of loud noises. And while there are protections in place today, it was not always so. Think of sailors, infantry and gunners in close proximity to cannons and guns.

We don’t usually think of independence as a hearing issue, but hearing and independence are most certainly intertwined. In fact, it is personal independence that is threatened when hearing is neglected for too long. That’s because hearing loss is too often accompanied by gradual withdrawal from personal connections—it is simply too difficult to catch all that is going on.

As you think back on your long weekend, remember a veteran and how their hearing was likely compromised in defense of liberty. And as you encounter fireworks and firecrackers and concerts, remember to take steps to preserve your hearing—and your independence.

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How’s Your Summer Soundtrack Treating You?

Yesterday marked the official beginning of summer! But we’ve already been hearing those warm-weather sounds. From lawn mowers to motorcycles to jet skis to outdoor concerts and fireworks, summer  always has its own soundtrack.

Family Riding  Jet Boat at Sunset

Unfortunately, your summer soundtrack may contribute to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Sound is measured in decibels, and we know that a normal conversation (around 60 decibels) may continue indefinitely with little to no risk of hearing damage. But exposure to noises louder than 85 decibels for a longer period of time may put you at risk for hearing loss. And most people’s summer soundtrack is filled with such at-risk noises:

Summer Soundtrack Typical Level (in decibels) Risk of hearing damage (in minutes)
Conversation 60 dB Little risk over extended time
Lawn Mower 90 dB 8 hours
Jet Ski 115 dB 15 minutes
Outdoor rock concert 120 dB 7 minutes
Fireworks (depending on distance from explosion) 125-150 dB Immediate

Make sure you protect your ears so you can enjoy many more summer soundtracks, including whispers, chirping crickets and wind in trees—those less noisy but meaningful sounds. Always use ear protection when around noises louder than 85 dB or find ways to be around loud noises for as little time as possible.

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Social Support Helps Lead to Hearing Success

Questions about hearing aid use often center on technical aspects: How do I change batteries? Are the settings adjusted well for clarity? How is the comfort of the device?

All these factors are important, but frequently missed is another line of questions that may help or hinder the success of the hearing aid.

Researcher Dr. Barbara Weinstein’s article, Hearing Aid Satisfaction Revisited, in the May 2016 The Hearing Journal suggests that our social interaction and support is also critical for success with hearing aids. Communication with partners, co-workers, friends, physicians and caregivers all play a role in helping a person with hearing loss adjust to hearing aids.Adults and kids sitting on the grass in a garden

For years researchers have known that social isolation adds to the stress and poor outcomes sometimes experienced by those with hearing loss. By way of contrast, supportive attitudes help those with hearing loss to express themselves and may result in in increased satisfaction with the hearing aid. In fact, Dr. Weinstein suggests four ways of looking at social interaction that can positively affect hearing aid success:

  • Social Isolation: Relative absence of social relationships
  • Social Integration: Overall level of involvement with informal social relations
  • Quality of Relationship: Positive and negative aspects of social relationships
  • Social Network: Web of social relationships in which one is involved

Talking about communication strategies may be a useful addition to the discussion about getting familiar with a new hearing aid. In particular, talking about how hearing may restoring social ties and channels of communication with co-workers, friends and family.

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