Tips for Managing Tinnitus at Home

Tinnitus is a multi-faceted system. People with tinnitus experience a perception of ringing, roaring, hissing, or clicking sounds. Over 50 million Americans (1 in 5 people) are affected by tinnitus.

Tinnitus can’t be cured, but there are treatments that make it less of a distraction. The approach taken depends on the underlying condition responsible for the ringing in your ears. Here are some tips for managing your tinnitus: 

Determine what worsens your tinnitus. For some people, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, eating salty or spicy foods, or taking various drugs like Aspirin may contribute to tinnitus symptoms. One way to figure out what causes your tinnitus is to keep a log of your activities, tracking when you experience symptoms and how severe they are. 

Stop smoking. Smoking affects blood flow to the sensitive nerve cells in your inner ear and acts as a stimulant in your body, which leads to tinnitus for many. 

Play relaxing or distracting sounds. While white noise machines can help distract from tinnitus, you don’t need to purchase an electronic device created solely for this purpose. Many people are able to find relief by playing music or using a fan, air conditioner or humidifier. If you do choose to use a noise generator, we suggest the selected sound is relaxing and played at a soft volume.

Get a good night’s sleep. Fatigue worsens tinnitus for many people. This problem can become cyclical if your tinnitus worsens to the point where it prevents you from falling asleep at night. Establish a regular nighttime routine and try to go to bed at the same time; this helps “train” your body into relaxing. 

Find relaxation or stress reduction techniques that work for you. Stress and anxiety can cause tinnitus as well as worsen existing tinnitus. Even 15 minutes a day of relaxation can help. 

We encourage you to seek help if you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus. Our audiologists can perform a diagnostic evaluation of both physiologic and behavioral assessments to help determine the cause of your tinnitus and provide helpful solutions that are catered to your specific needs.

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Hearing Beyond the Technology

If you’ve taken the first step toward better hearing by investing in hearing devices, you deserve to be congratulated. You now have an opportunity to develop good communication habits designed to maximize the benefits you receive from wearing hearing devices.

To understand and communicate effectively, you must learn to be a good listener and to control your environment to help compensate for your hearing loss…even while wearing your devices. To maximize the benefit you receive from your hearing devices:

Commit to wearing them. You have to become accustomed to hearing sounds you may not have heard for a long time. Certain sounds may initially be irritating but in time your brain will adjust and they’ll become normal. Do not stop wearing your hearing devices during this adjustment period. Be patient and focus on the commitment you have made to your hearing health. 

Show them off! Inform others you are wearing hearing devices and give them guidance to allow you to communicate effectively. Face the listener when you talk, tell him or her to speak louder or move the conversation to another room if the environment is too noisy.

Control your environment. If you know you are going to be in a situation where background noise will interfere with your ability to communicate effectively, formulate a plan. For example, if you plan on dining with friends, look at a restaurant’s menu online beforehand and decide what you want, eliminating your need to ask the server to repeat menu choices. Arrive early to find seating away from sources of background noise.

Make eye contact. You will discover communication improves when you can evaluate and interpret body language and facial expressions.

Practice your listening skills. Listen to the radio or audiobooks. There is even auditory rehabilitative software you can buy for your computer to practice listening with background noise. 

Be patient. Over time, listening with hearing devices will become second nature and you will be rewarded with the joy of hearing all the sounds of life. 

Jessica Lasser CCC-SLP, one of our Speech-Language Pathologists, leads in-person and virtual communication workshops to help you manage your hearing loss. 

Our Winter schedule for communication workshops in our clinic is below. Ask your audiologist or the front desk staff if you are interested in participating in either in-person or group sessions and they would be happy to sign you up.

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High Tech and Hearing Aids

One of the most exciting parts of being in the hearing health profession over the past few decades is watching the wealth of high-technology products reach the market. The transition to digital-based tech has enabled features and individual adaptability that were unheard of prior to the turn of the century, when hearing aids were really just amplifiers. Today’s hearing aids are to those what the first cell phones were to today’s smartphones.

Rather than just turning up the volume, contemporary hearing aids can integrate their functions with a whole host of other devices via wireless networks, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.

With Bluetooth connectivity, hearing aids can communicate directly with smartphones. This not only makes hearing phone calls much easier — as the audio from the phone is piped directly into your hearing aid — but most systems include a separate clip-on microphone (some even disguised to look like a writing pen) that will pick up your speaking voice and allow for a hands-free system.

In addition, most hearing aids have smartphone apps that can control its functions. The phone’s screen and the app’s easy functionality make for a high level of controllability. A generation ago adjusting a hearing aid meant fumbling with a volume wheel or buttons behind the ear — or actually removing the unit from the ear and making “trial and error” adjustments. Those days are gone. With an app, a wide range of modifications can be made without even having to touch the hearing aid.

Likewise, digital hearing aids can also be linked to televisions, radios, and computers in order to stream sounds directly into them. And data from your hearing aid can be uploaded to your hearing health provider to allow for finely tuned adjustment, including artificial intelligence (AI) analysis. It really is a whole new world for hearing aids – and it’s only just beginning.

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A New Year and a New Focus On Your Hearing

It’s a new year and once again time for some resolutions. Maybe one of them should be a focus on taking back your hearing health — and thus an important aspect of your life.

The first thing to focus on is that word health. Your hearing isn’t an isolated part of your body’s work; it’s intertwined with other aspects of your physical well-being. Research has made it clear that a healthier cardiovascular system is part of maintaining better hearing. The hearing system is very dependent on good circulation — the kind that reaches the very small capillaries that nourish the inner ear — so, in a classic “killing two birds with one stone” scenario, getting in better shape will probably improve or protect your hearing.

Diet also plays a role in hearing health — in part because dietary patterns play a role in cardiovascular health, which we’ve just covered. But certain nutrients are important to your hearing, such as potassium (which helps regulate inner-ear fluids), folic acid (aids cell growth and circulation), magnesium (healthy blood vessels), zinc (aids cell growth and boosts the immune system), and Omega 3 fats (anti-inflammatory properties and aids brain function).

Finally, protecting your ears is a good way to promote hearing health. Modern life can be loud — whether it’s workplace noise, the bombardment of the daily commute, or turning up the volume a little too much on the earbuds. If you work in a high-decibel environment, wear ear protection. And think about whether you need the volume turned up that high when listening to music. Long-term exposure to high-decibel sound is a sure fire way to find hearing loss become part of your life.

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Communication Workshops in 2019!

Interested in learning ways to better manage hearing loss? We finalized our Winter 2019 schedule for communication workshops! These workshops are free of charge to patients and offer tips and tricks to communicate better in noisy situations either at home or out and about. Both recent and experienced hearing aid users alike can learn and discuss ways to enhance communication skills apart from their hearing loss in a collaborative setting. If you aren’t interested in group classes, we offer one-on-one opportunities upon request. Call our Redmond or Kirkland clinic to reserve your spot or to learn more about the workshops. 

Redmond clinic 425-882-4347 

Kirkland clinic 425-899-5050

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Happy Holidays 2018

From all of us at Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic we wish you a happy holiday season!

happy-holidays-2018

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It Could Be Nothing, But Then Again …

Changes in one’s ability to hear can be disorientating and more than a little frightening. Sometimes these changes are a byproduct of other health issues that, when addressed, will solve the hearing problem. In some cases, something simple is going on, like earwax buildup or an untreated perforated eardrum, that treatment of the direct cause will fix things.

On the other hand, sometimes you need to get a hearing aid.

Don’t assume that, if you or someone you know is under the age of 50, that a hearing aid is out of the realm of the possible. Though most people don’t deal with hearing loss until later in life, the loudness of modern life does seem to be driving an increase in hearing loss for younger people.

Some things to be on the outlook for that may require a hearing examination by a certified audiologist include:

  • Room-to-room conversations with others are increasingly difficult.
  • Conversing with more than two or three people at a time is frustrating.
  • The ability to talk on the phone is degrading.
  • You need the TV or radio turned up louder than other people.
  • People seem to be mumbling all the time.
  • You need them to repeat themselves.
  • Hearing at public events is more challenging.

Do you recognize one or more things on that list? If so, it might be time to schedule an appointment with an audiologist who can get to the root of the issue and, if needed, help you choose the right hearing aid. There are a myriad of hearing aids on the market that will help bring your hearing back into focus.

 Don’t wait any longer – schedule an appointment today!

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coaching parents leads to language skills infants


 

A new study from the University of Washington found that coaching parents leads to better language skills among infants. “Language learning can be ignited during daily routines, such as diaper changes, grocery shopping or sharing a meal. Everyday moments and daily interactions really matter, and parents can create more such moments and be more intentional about them.” Read the full article. This research supports our Early Language Intervention Program. 

WHAT IS THE EARLY LANGUAGE INTERVENTION PROGRAM? 

The Early Language Intervention Program (ELIP) works with the child and parents to teach language facilitating strategies that can be applied not only at the clinic but at home. The program is based on the theory that children learn the language in their day to day interactions with people in their environments.

The ELIP program is offered two times per week for a six week period. The program provides practical training for parents to assume the primary role in their child’s language intervention. 

WHAT IS A LANGUAGE DELAY?

A child’s communication is considered delayed when speech and/or language skills are noticeably behind his or her peers. There can be many reasons for a delay in speech and language, however, signs may include:

  • Delayed development of nonverbal communication – pointing and other gestures
  • Delayed use of words
  • Difficulty understanding what is said
  • Difficulty following directions
  • The immature/inappropriate grammatical form
  • Difficulty expressing ideas
  • Limited vocabulary
  • Incorrect use of words
  • Inappropriate social interaction

WHO IS THE PROGRAM DESIGNED FOR?

The Program is designed for toddlers and preschoolers who have demonstrated a language delay and is also effective for parents who are looking for ways to interact with their child every day to help encourage their language development. 

WHY USE ELIP?

Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic recognizes the importance of parents and caregivers in their child’s language development. Children who have delayed language development need to receive intervention as early as possible to prevent possible long-lasting negative consequences (social, emotional, and educational). Therefore, it is important to train parents to use language facilitative strategies during daily play and routine activities to foster spontaneous interactions. 

Through training, parents learn skills they can use in their home environment to improve their child’s communication abilities.

Call our speech coordinator at 425.882.4347 or email slp@everhear.com. 

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Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

We’d like to take this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to thank all of our ESHC patients and staff. A friendly reminder that our office will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 22nd & 23rd. Enjoy the holiday!

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Halloween in The Halls

Happy Halloween from ESHC! Trick or Treat with us all day Oct. 31.

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