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Now Hear This: Your Web Guide to Hearing Health Information

HealthyHearing.com is all about the latest in hearing science and technology what's hot and what's not. Our goal is to keep you up-to-speed on what's happening in this fast-paced industry that continues to make great strides in hearing comfort and quality. New product advances, newly-released studies and the latest on the hearing health community. Each month in healthyhearing.com's Now Hear This.

How Much Do You Know About Hearing Loss?

Think it's something that can't affect you because you're only 28 years old? Think it's something that only grandma and pa fret over? And, hey, think listening to your iPod, pushing 90dBs of noise down your ear canal, blocks out the world around you? Maybe, but you wouldn't believe what it's doing to your cochlea, a fluid filled hearing mechanism, courtesy of mother nature. That iPod may be turning your snail-shaped cochlea into escargot. And you may not feel the effects for 20 years. Or you may feel them tomorrow.

What you don't know about hearing loss would fill a book. Actually, lots of books, so put down those downloads and get caught up on how the ear hears, hearing loss and what you can do today to stay sound for a lifetime.

Getting Proactive With Hearing Health

We could all do better. Betcha don't wear ear cups when you mow the lawn. Or, you let your kids band practice in the garage without earplugs for you or the band. Everyday, we get blasted with sound waves whether we live in the Big City or countryside. Sudden noise damaging noise can be found everywhere, any time.

So, are we helpless? Are we all going to be hard-of-hearing in our rockers at the home? It doesn't have to be that way, especially if you're aware of the dangers all around you and aware of just how easily the human ear (with all its tiny bits and pieces) can be damaged.

A report published by the Deafness Research Foundation tells you how to create a lifestyle that'll help protect your hearing today and for a lifetime. Your hearing health is up to you so take charge. Take action. 

Headbanger Alert! #1

You can't imagine the damage done to natures hearing devices, the ears, standing in front of a wall of speakers and amps playing that rock n roll music. Pete Townsend, the genius behind rock legends, The Who, has gone public about his hearing loss. Understandable after four decades of playing We Won't Be Fooled Again (a very cool song for those who think The Who are antediluvian, as in ancient).

Huey Lewis, of The News, isn't Looking for a New Drug anymore. He wears two hearing aids from manufacturer Oticon's Delta, one in pearlescent green, one in ultra-violet. This old rocker wears his hearing devices after years of touring and weeks in the recording studio blowin that sound.

But it's not just the musicians on-stage who have to worry. You may think front row seats on the aisle are way cool but rock concerts are creating hearing loss in their audiences. Rolling Stone recently published an article on the dangers facing audiences at rock concerts a must read for head bangers and head bobbers alike.

Headbanger Alert! #2

According to a report published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, an iPod wearing jogger in Vancouver, British Columbia, was suddenly caught in a thunderstorm and, as he ran by a tree, the tree was hit by a bolt of lightning. Witnesses said the 37-year-old man was thrown eight feet. Even worse, he suffered burns, his jaw was broken in several places and both his eardrums were ruptured, as in blown out.

The authors of the report, two doctors from Vancouver General Hospital, didn't conclude that the iPod caused that electric jolt, but given that the charge followed the iPod wiring to the ear buds, the report suggests that wearing an iPod in a thunderstorm apparently makes a dangerous situation even more so.

Computer-Based Physical Therapy Improves Hearing in 80% of Users

A report from WFTV in Florida shows that physical therapy using a computer-based program called Listening and Auditory Communication Enhancement, LACE, helps people with hearing loss (many first-time users of a hearing device) adjust faster. Reports show hearing improvements recorded in 80% of patients who complete the program. The only requirements are a computer and the desire for a better quality of life.

Is That Ringing in Your Ears Making You Ding-Dong?

Join the club. According to the American Tinnitus Association, 50 million other Americans have ringing in the ears. Doctors call in tinnitus and it's caused by all sorts of things. Earwax, trauma from loud noise (see above), head injuries, bacterial infections and even problems with blood circulation so if you've got tinnitus you aren't alone. You may not even know how you got it. You just noticed it one day. Ugh.

Its not a sign of the natural aging process. Many children, tweens and teens experience the problem, as well. And the long-term effects, aside from hearing difficulties, which are bad enough, are depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. It's a serious problem, no doubt about that.

While there's no definitive cure for the condition, there are treatment options. One of special interest is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy that trains the brain to ignore the ringing sound. Some hearing aid manufacturers have also developed tinnitus blockers or maskers to alleviate this pain-in-the-ear medical condition.

Looking Good

The days of the clunky, funky old hearing aids with wires, transformers and heavy-duty extension cords are long gone. With baby boomers becoming hearing aid consumers, the look, feel and attitude of hearing device wearers have changed. Todays hearing aid wearer doesnt have to hide that gear for the ear. Show it off.

Todays modern hearing aids are sleek, they come in a bunch of cool colors and some even provide a dab of status with logos of well-known companies stamped on the casing. The hearing aid industry is highly competitive and each manufacturer is finding new and better ways to make hearing aids newer and better. Hipper, too.

Teach Your Children Well and Early!

The importance of healthy hearing is a subject you can bring up any time with your kids. And should. But you can only say so much about the importance of ear care and turning down the volume. And most kids are going to doze off as you explain the parts of the ear using a medical art cross section. Sure, you know the importance of hearing care but how do you increase the awareness of hearing in a toddler and what can you do to demonstrate the importance of healthy habits when it comes to protecting the delicate mechanisms of ears.

Let your child log on to hearing health fun.

Along comes Dr. Eric Chudler, Ph.D. out of the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Chudler has created a series of activities to help you help your child understand the mechanics and importance of healthy hearing (and the other senses, as well). Dr. Chudler, who works in the field of engineered biomaterials, has developed a fun web site with lots of hearing and listening activities for kids from pre-k to 8th grade. He even provides a users guide for parents and teachers.

Hearing education doesn't have to be boring. And its never to early to start.

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