It was a busy year for Healthy Hearing! We had a lot of interesting, informative, helpful and inspiring content in The Healthy Hearing Report. Here are our top 10 articles from 2013:
1. HH salutes featured bloggers and authors
During the month of September, we focused on and highlighted 25 bloggers and 4 authors who candidly share their experiences with hearing loss and its impact on their professional, personal and emotional lives. These bloggers and authors are doing important work. Here are a few examples of just some of the great bloggers and authors we highlighted:
- Deafinitely Girly: This blogger lives in London and writes with humor and honesty about her everyday life with hearing loss.
- Our Journey: The blog is written by the parent of Aiden, a boy born with profound hearing loss who uses a cochlear implant.
- Life with a Hearing Dog: Cathy blogs about life with hearing loss and selecting and training a new service dog after the passing of her dog Bosley.
2. Top five reasons to get your hearing examined
More than 35 million Americans are living with some degree of hearing loss, but it takes most people an average of seven to 10 years to get their hearing checked out and seek treatment. Think of all the sounds they missed!
In May, we highlighted the top five very important reasons to get your hearing checked:
- Hearing loss can cause you to struggle at work and potential make less money than an individual with adequate hearing.
- Untreated hearing loss can put stress on your relationships.
- People with untreated hearing loss will miss out on sounds - like fire alarms or car horns - that could protect them from harm.
- Untreated hearing loss affects your overall wellbeing: Research has shown it is associated with dementia, greater risk of Alzheimer's disease and isolation and depression.
- Hearing loss can cause you to miss the little things you enjoy, like the crashing of waves, children's laughter or the singsong of birds.
3. Have a heart: Accompany a loved one to their hearing appointment
As previously mentioned, it is often difficult for people to notice and then admit to themselves that they are having trouble hearing. Hearing loss and wearing hearing aids is still stigmatized today. But you can help a loved one by offering comfort and support at his or her first appointment with an audiologist. Additionally, you can help your loved ones understand the results of his or her audiogram and make informed decisions about the best path to treatment and better hearing.
4. DIY gifts for individuals with hearing loss
Do-it-yourself gifts are all the rage lately. In November, we highlighted a great and easy-to-pull-together gift for your family and friends who have hearing loss. All you need is a jar or basket to hold everything, as well as items like:
- Hand sanitizer for sanitizing hands before and after touching hearing aids.
- Lighted magnifying glass for battery changes and reading the serial number.
- Soft foam ear plugs to protect residual hearing.
- Batteries, if you know what size and type your loved one uses.
- Small glass travel jar for cosmetics, which can be used for storing hearing aids overnight, while showering or at the pool.
- Soft toothbrush for scrubbing wax and debris off of the hearing aids.
- Handkerchief for gently wiping away debris.
- Homemade coupons offering your help, such as: "One hearing aid battery change," "Driving you to the hearing clinic" or "One deep-cleaning for hearing aids."
5. Five habits that are harming your hearing health
In January, we highlighted habits and conditions that people don't realize can harm your hearing. These include:
- Skipping your yearly physical.
- Avoiding the dentist. did you know oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause poor circulation, which is detrimental to hearing health?
- Smoking. The chemicals emitted affect your inner ear's ability to transmit vibrations. Second-hand smoking is also dangerous to hearing health.
- Obesity. Being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, which is known to be a potential factor in hearing loss.
- Drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption interferes with the brain's ability to interpret sound and can also possibly shrink the central auditory cortex permanently.
6. How to talk to loved ones about hearing loss
It can be difficult to talk to your family members about their hearing loss. However, it's something important you can do for the ones you love because, in fact, many people don't recognize how bad their hearing loss is or even that they have hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression, and it is associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. When talking to a family member about hearing loss, take small steps, choose an appropriate time, be positive, don't attack him or her and be encouraging and proactive in showing that you care about his or her health.
7. Be your own advocate: Talk to others about your hearing loss
Though hearing loss is a common condition, not everyone knows how to talk to others with hearing loss. As someone who is hard of hearing, you can educate your family members and friends on what it's like for you and ways that they can protect themselves from developing hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss. You can also educate family members and friends on what they can do when talking with you for more effective communication. Tell them to get your attention before talking to you, to eliminate background noise, speak naturally and avoid covering their mouths or eating while talking.
8. Don't let winter wipe out your hearing
In November, we at Healthy Hearing geared up for cold weather with some tips for avoiding noise-induced hearing loss during the winter season. Some potential sources of damaging noise during the winter include:
- Using a snow blower, which can emit sounds as loud as 106 decibels.
- Riding a snowmobile, which can be very loud.
- Attending holiday concerts and musical events.
- Attending office parties.
- Watching New Year's Eve fireworks.
We highlighted the signs of hearing damage and the ways you could protect your hearing, including by using foam earplugs or headphones and taking breaks from noisy situations.
9. How to curb stress and help your hearing
Did you know that chronic stress can lead to many health problems including hearing loss? In April, we highlighted some ways to reduce your stress, including eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, building strong relationships with family and friends, visiting your doctor regularly and creating time to relax.
10. Your hearing loss and safety
Hearing loss can pose threats to both your and other's safety, especially on the road and in emergency situations. In May, we outlined ways to stay safe in various situations, including precautions to take if you drive and have hearing loss and how to make sure you are protected during emergency situations. We also talked about staying safe in the workplace and being aware of your surroundings weather you're biking, driving or walking.