tel: 0345 222 0579      email: mail@helpinhearing.co.uk

  • How to improve your hearing health

    4 tips to help you improve your hearing health

    We all know the importance of having regular health checks as we grow older, including those trips to the GP and dentist. But many of us forget the importance of looking after and maintaining our hearing health. Early detection, in the form of hearing tests and assessments, can help to prolong and enhance your hearing. Now is the time to take action and below we share four tips on how to improve your hearing health.

    1. Turn down that volume

    One useful piece of hearing advice is to turn down the volume. One of the biggest causes of hearing loss is down to prolonged exposure to loud noises, especially via headphones. We’re not saying that you can’t listen to music in this way, but just be mindful of the volume, and if you can, switch to over-the-head earphones, as opposed to ear buds. Turn it down a little, and ensure you take regular breaks. Your ears will thank you for it.

    2. The importance of hearing protection

    If your work environment consists of loud noises, then it’s important to follow all basic safety rules and wear ear protection at all times. You may be a gardener and use chainsaws and lawnmowers, or you may work on a construction site with loud and heavy machinery. No matter what environment you work in, wear those ear defenders or sound-reducing headphones to protect your ears.

    3. Don’t use cotton buds

    Many people use cotton buds to clean our ears and to get rid of unwanted ear wax. Although cotton buds look like they’re fine for cleaning our ears, you should avoid using them, as they can damage the delicate ear drum, and especially so in children. Ear wax acts as a natural part of ear health, as it helps to stop dirt and foreign objects from entering the ear canal. If wax does become a problem, then it is always best to see a health professional.

    4. The importance of the hearing checkup

    Finally, hearing testing is vital for maintaining ear health. Many people believe that they should only have a hearing test when over the age of 60, or when they begin to have some difficulty, but this is simply not true. Hearing loss can be a gradual occurrence, and regular hearing tests can pick up on any early problems. Early intervention is key in helping you to maintain hearing health.

    How to improve your hearing health – where to find out more

    Please do get in touch with us here at Help in Hearing for further advice on how to improve your hearing health and to arrange a hearing assessment.

    Please click to find out what to expect of a hearing assessment with us.

  • How to look after your hearing

    How to look after your hearing

    As with our sight, hearing is one of the things that we take for granted until it begins to deteriorate. For many, hearing loss is an inevitable development in life, but it is never too late to start looking after your hearing. Whether you already use hearing aids or simply want to protect your hearing, the following steps will tell you how to look after your hearing and keep it in the best possible shape throughout your life.

    Regular hearing testing

    Regular hearing tests are important for every individual. Identifying a problem early will make it easier to treat and will give you the best chance of protecting your hearing from damage. Like eyesight tests, hearing tests should be performed regularly and by a trusted professional. Use an independent audiologist who will be able to assess your hearing development over a number of years and keep your ears in tip-top condition.

    Music volume

    Listening to loud music and films is one of the most common causes of hearing damage. If you are a regular user of headphones, you should ensure that you keep them turned down to a reasonable level. Install a volume control app on your phone and this will prevent you from doing damage to the eardrums.

    Noise at work

    If you are exposed to noise at work, it’s very important that you wear the correct protective equipment. Workplace noise will very frequently exceed recommended levels. If you think that this is the case, talk to your employer about protective equipment. Employers are legally obliged to provide this if noise levels are too high.

    Hearing aids

    If your hearing does start to deteriorate, you should consider your long-term hearing health and seek advice on whether to use a hearing aid. Struggling on with poor hearing will mean that you are constantly increasing the volume of things around you and the result of this will be increased damage. A hearing aid, however, can help to regulate the volume and expose you to the correct level of sound for a comfortable life.

    How to look after your hearing – where to find out more

    At Help in Hearing we At Help in Hearing we will be able to educate and advise you on how to best take care of this most precious of senses – your hearing. We are a local independent, family run hearing healthcare practice. Our commitment to provide outstanding service related to hearing health is unfaltering. We love what we do and with a combined 50 years’ experience, we are proud to offer our clients unrivalled standards of professional hearing health care. Please get in touch to talk to us about how to look after your hearing.

    We explain noise and hearing protection on our Hearing Health web section, please visit to find out more about how to protect your hearing.

     

  • Hearing Protection

    10 Changes Which Could Save Your Hearing

    Over 1.1 billion people around the world are affected by hearing loss, yet with some simple hearing protection steps, you can prevent some hearing loss. Here are some small changes you could make in your life to save your own hearing.

    1. What are your ears telling you?

    What are your ears telling you?

    Are you hearing rushing or whistling sounds in your head? If so this could be a sign you should allow your ears to have a day of peace and quiet, turn the volume down on radio and TV and your devices.

    2. In the ear headphones – use at 60% of maximum volume

    The 60-60 Rule

    The music coming through your in the ear headphones can be at levels of 100 to 115 decibels. To give you an idea of what this means, it’s the equivalent level to using a chainsaw or attending a rock concert and can cause major damage to your ears. Employ the 60:60 rule and continue to enjoy your music but listen at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

    3. Wear head protection

    Wear Head Protection

    If your’re skiing, riding a bicycle, motorbike or playing sports where concussions are common, wear the proper protective head gear. Similarly if you work on a construction site and other dangerous environments, using protective headgear can help save your ears and more. This is because head injuries and skull fractures are common causes for inner ear hearing loss.

    4. Keep your ears warm

    Keep your ears warm

    In cold conditions less blood is circulated in the ears, and this can increase the risk of ear infections. A cold head may cause cramped muscles in the neck and a continuous tension of muscles in this area can lead to ear problems, such as tinnitus. Cold and wind can irritate the ear canal, which often causes pain in the outer part of the ear. Water in the ears can easily cause inflammation in cold conditions. Frostbite can quickly occur in the ears in sub-zero temperatures.

    5. Carry ear protection with you

    Carry ear protection

    There are many ways you can protect your ears, such as ear plugs, ear moulds, ear muffs, wadding, swimming ear plugs and so on. Make sure you carry ear protection with you if you know you’re going to a loud environment. Find out more about hearing protection at the Hear the World Foundation website.

    6. Keep a healthy lifestyle

    Keep a healthy lifestyle

    Smoking, medication, anxiety and an unhealthy lifestyle can be hard on your hearing. More than 450 drugs can damage hearing, while stress or anxiety can cause tinnitus problems. Smoking has also been linked to hearing problems. Make healthy lifestyle choice for healthy ears.

    7. Wear headphones

    Wear headphones

    The EU standard stipulates a limit of 100 decibels for MP3 players, however many devices are louder than this and further increase the danger of hearing damage. Instead of these, choose noise-cancelling headphones, or muff-type headphones, which block out background noise and allow you to still hear your music at lower volume levels.

    8. Is your workout damaging your hearing?

    Is your workout damaging your hearing?

    Cardio exercise is beneficial to your overall health and ears but be wary of the noise levels during your workout. Music and booming bass designed to pump you up, may be breaking down your ears. Ask your trainer to turn the music down to a safe level (there are apps which can be used to measure the volume) or pack a pair of earplugs in your gym bag.

    9. How loud is your daily life?

    How loud is your daily life?

    Assess your noise lifestyle – do you work in an office (40 decibels)? Do you have a baby (110 decibels)? Or do you enjoy going to football games (117 decibels)? If you know the common noises in your life and their decibel levels, you can assess when your ears need a break. Sounds which are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. The maximum exposure time at 85 decibels is 8 hours, but at 110 decibels, the maximum exposure time is 1 minute 29 seconds, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Visit this NHS page to find out more about exposure to noise and hearing protection.

    10. Don’t put up with noise at work

    Don't put up with noise at work

    If you’re experiencing noise at work, talk to your human resources (HR) department or your manager and ask for advice on reducing the noise and getting hearing protection.

    Help with Hearing Protection

    At Help in Hearing, we can advise you on the most appropriate hearing protection, from custom made solutions, in the ear monitors, electronic noise suppressors for those that shoot or a non-customised product such as ER20’s, should you need something urgent for a one off event. We also supply customised swim moulds. Please email us or call us on 0345 222 0579 to discuss your hearing protection.

  • Highs and Lows – Understanding Frequency and Pitch

    For many people with hearing loss, hearing protection is a big deal. It’s important to protect whatever level of hearing ability you still have. In this article we discuss the effects of frequency and pitch.

    What are Frequency and Pitch?

    “Frequency” and “pitch” are common terms in any discussion about hearing, but what exactly are they?

    You probably already understand the basics. For example, “I eat biscuits frequently” means that your biscuit-eating occurrences come close together. With sound, “frequency” refers to how close together the sound waves are.

    Sound is created by vibration. Tap a tuning fork against the table and its tines vibrate, causing a sound wave to move away from it. Sound waves can come close together (high frequency) or further apart (low frequency). Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), where 1 Hz = 1 vibration / second. (Learn more about the science here.)

    High Pitch and Low Pitch

    The sensation of a sound wave’s frequency is called pitch. A high-frequency sound, such as a dog whistle, is called “high-pitched,” and a low-frequency sound, like a bass drum, is “low-pitched.” Some pitches, or frequencies, are easier for humans to hear than others. Human hearing in the normal range can detect sounds of frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz; dogs, between 50 and 45,000 Hz. Dolphins can detect frequencies as high as 200,000 Hz!

    Speech includes a mix of low- and high-pitched sounds:

    • Vowel sounds like a short O, as in the word “hot,” have low frequencies (250 to 1,000 Hz)
    • Consonants like S, H, and F have higher frequencies (1,500 to 6,000 Hz)

    Looking at an audiogram, you can see how a person’s ability to hear these sounds will affect the ability to understand language. We will look at this topic in a later blog so you can see how human perception of frequency matters in rating hearing protective devices.

  • Hearing protection for musicians

    How can musicians protect their hearing?

    According to a 2002 research study survey on musicians and hearing loss conducted by H.E.A.R. with Smith-Kettlewell Institute researchers, it was estimated that 86% of musicians and concert goers surveyed over a 10-year period reported ringing in the ears after going to hear loud music. Read this blog article to find out about hearing protection for musicians.

    Findings of a European study of over seven million health records from 2004 to 2008 showed that working musicians topped the charts for hearing loss.

    The good news is that hearing loss is preventable. The risk of damaging your hearing depends on a number of factors including:

    1. the intensity of the sounds and/or the loudness of the music or noise
    2. how close you are to the loud sound source
    3. how long you are exposed to loud music or noise
    4. other noisy activity exposure that day, including how loudly you listen to your music
    5. previous hearing damage
    6. your health condition at the time (alcohol and dehydration make things worse)
    7. family history of hearing loss
    8. drugs that may be ototoxic (toxic to the ears)

    Are you at risk?

    hearing-loss-musicians

    The incidence of hearing loss in classical musicians has been estimated at 4-43%. In rock musicians, this figure is 13-30%. High frequency sounds of 2-4,000 Hz are the most damaging. For reference, the highest octave of the piccolo registers 2,048-4,096 Hz.

    Regular sustained exposure may cause permanent damage at 90-95 dB. Physical pain can begin at 125 dB. Everyday environmental noise, including conversation, telephone dial tones, city traffic, tube trains, and power tools ranges from 60-125 dB. Musical noise, including the volume of individual instruments, ranges from 60-150 dB. Jet engines at 100 feet register 140-150 dB.

    Hearing protection – what can you do to minimise the potential for hearing loss and prevent further damage?

    how-we-hear

    It is important to not overexpose your ears. This can be done by:

    1) turning down the volume of your stereo, TV and MP3 music device
    2) monitoring sound levels at your rehearsals and performances
    3) limiting your exposure time to loud noises
    4) taking a 5 to 15 minute break from the sound source
    5) wearing earplugs!

    As sunglasses are for protection of the eyes, hearing protection in loud, noisy environments is just as important for the ears. Every working musician, music industry professional, and music listener should consider using hearing protection.

    Today, sales of custom-fitted in-ear monitors (CIEM) have grown exponentially, benefiting touring musicians; club and dance bands; DJs; sound, monitor and FOH engineers; musical theatre orchestras; symphony and opera orchestras; church bands; audiophiles; and the general public. The pro sound market for CIEMs is reported to be 30 percent of audiology clientele and growing fast.

    There are many excellent pro companies supplying in-ear systems with drivers that appeal to nearly anyone’s taste or budget. “Universal-fit” IEMs supplied with a variety of ear tip styles and sizes are often a good  way for musicians to “test the waters” using in-ear devices, but to best achieve isolation and eliminate sound leakage, custom fitted systems are the way to go.

    Hearing protection – the customised approach

    Once you’ve found a driver to your liking, the next step is having a custom-fitted ear mould made. The process requires going to a hearing specialist who is experienced in making custom in-ear music products. The importance of making an accurate ear impression is an essential factor in the formula for making the best possible CIEM earpiece.

    Crafting ear impressions is like making a three-dimensional sculpture of the inside of your ears. Precise measurements and the knowledge of the interior dimensions of your ear is key. Hearing professionals such as audiologists have the tools and know-how to take accurate impressions.

    Creating the ear moulds

    acs-pro-250

    Once your impressions are made, these are sent to the laboratory to be scanned and created on a computer. The acrylic solution is poured and begins to harden in an investment cast made from your impressions. The ear mould canal insides are hollowed out by hand, which tunes it to about a 3 dB resonance of the natural ear canal. The CIEM driver and monitor cable socket are also set up and inserted, and other fine adjustments and cosmetic designs are made during the lab process.

    An overall fit that is too loose results in a compromised seal, and sound bleeds through the gaps and may reduce the sound quality of the monitor. In order to have more of a full bass response, you need to have a tight seal. Fit and comfort directly correlate to how good your monitors will sound. The better the fit, the better the feel and sound. In-ear monitors need to block -26 dB of ambient noise and fit snugly.

    It’s crucial that you feel confident and comfortable with your choice of an ear impressionist. Call around. Find an audiologist who is music savvy and has made impressions for in-ear monitors before.

    Five steps toward making a great impression

    custom-in-ear-moulds2

    1. Set up an appointment with your local audiologist/ ear impressionist.
    2. A small ear dam made of cotton or soft foam is placed just past the second bend of your ear canal to protect your eardrum and serve as a backstop for the impression material.
    3. A bite-block will be provided to allow an open mouth impression to be taken. It helps to keep your jaw open in a relaxed position, producing a more comfortable, natural-fitting custom in-ear monitor.
    4. A two-part epoxy designed for medical use is mixed and put into a specially designed syringe. Some ear impressionists use an ear gun syringe that holds a two-part mixture. The impression mixture is semi-viscous and it looks like Silly Putty. It’s then injected into your ear, a feeling much like putting your toes in mud. The impression material goes right up to the ear dam and fills up the in-ear canal completely.
    5. Silicon impression material usually hardens in about one minute, but sometimes impression material can take up to five minutes to harden. After the ear moulds harden and set up, they are taken out of the ear.

    This is where uniformity and balance is checked. A good ear impressionist will know if it is not the proper fit and will make a new impression over in order to check and compare if need be. If it’s not right, it should be made again.

    In Ear Monitor (IEM) and Custom In Ear Monitors (CIEM) tips:

    1. Use your IEMs for everything – with your MP3 player, computer, in the studio, etc. – and get used to taking them in/out until it becomes second nature. If there is any discomfort at all, contact your hearing health professional or IEM provider.
    2. You want to be sure what you are hearing is accurate and reflects what you will be doing on stage. The idea is not to hear so well that you sing off the mic. You must be able to work the mic properly and dynamically and be able to be close without an issue and a bit off the mic when you push. The house mixer (and fans) will not be happy if you hear too well and sing too far off the mic.
    3. It is not proper to have the sound seem like it is directly in your ears or head. It is very important to add a little reverb so it sounds like you are singing in the room naturally and out to the audience. This will also allow you to keep the volume in your ears at a lower level and in balance with the rest of the band. It will also help you to perform for longer periods of time without vocal and hearing fatigue.
    4. Always start with vocal sound first when sound checking on the stage. The mix should be built around a comfortable vocal level.
    5. Never just pull or tug your In Ear Monitors out by the cord. Twist your IEMs out properly to avoid damaging them.

    Hearing protection – where to find out more

    Find out about our solutions for hearing protection.

  • Hearing protection tips

    Tips to protect your hearing

    Our hearing is extremely sensitive and if it is mistreated, many people find themselves suffering from impaired hearing loss. Loud noises, dirt and infection as well as a number of coinciding elements can all become factors. Read this article to learn how you can improve your hearing protection.

    Here at Help in Hearing, we offer only the most sophisticated and thorough hearing tests and hearing aid devices to our customers in Slough, Maidenhead, Marlow and the surrounding areas.

    We understand that many people have busy lives and that regular hearing tests may not be one of their main priorities. But, by having regular check-ups you can address any problems or potential problems with your hearing.

    Hearing protection – what can you do to protect your hearing from damage?

    1. Turn it Down

    Music, mp3s and portable devices are often the main cause as to why many people suffer from hearing loss. The louder the noise and the longer your ears are exposed to it, the greater the risk of causing damage and even permanent damage to your hearing.

    By turning your music down – if you can’t hear external sounds then it is too loud – and having a break, you can enjoy your music without risk to your hearing.

    2. Protect Your Ears In The Workplace

    Ear protectors, ear plugs and ear muffs should be worn if you work in a loud and noisy environment. Noisy equipment such as power tools, heavy machinery, vehicles and noisy operative machinery can be dangerous to your hearing if exposed for long periods of time, such as shifts or long working hours.

    3. Have A Hearing Test

    If you suspect your hearing may be impaired or are simply inquisitive as to the condition of your ears and your hearing, then organise a hearing test or regular check up with one of our qualified and experienced consultants. Even if you are given the all-clear, they will be able to offer advice and answer any questions you may have.

    Hearing protection – how to find out more

    For more information, be sure to give your nearest branch a call or contact us here.