|How we hear, and more…|
| How do we hear? Hearing depends on a series of events that change soundwaves in the air into electrical signals. Your auditory nerve then carries these signals to your brain through a complex series of steps.|
1. Sound waves enter the outer ear and travel through a narrow passageway called the ear canal, which leads to the eardrum.
2. The eardrum vibrates from the incoming sound waves and sends these vibrations to three tiny bones in the middle ear. These bones are called the malleus, incus, and stapes.
3. The bones in the middle ear couple the sound vibrations from the air to fluid vibrations in the cochlea of the inner ear, which is shaped like a snail and filled with fluid. An elastic partition runs from the beginning to the end of the cochlea, splitting it into an upper and lower part. This partition is called the basilar membrane because it serves as the base, or ground floor, on which key hearing structures sit.
4. Once the vibrations cause the fluid inside the cochlea to ripple, a traveling wave forms along the basilar membrane. Hair cells-sensory cells sitting on top of the basilar membrane-ride the wave.
5. As the hair cells move up and down, microscopic hair-like projections (known as stereocilia) that perch on top of the hair cells bump against an overlying structure and bend. Bending causes pore-like channels, which are at the tips of the stereocilia, to open up. When that happens, chemicals rush into the cells, creating n electrical signal.
6. The auditory nerve carries this electrical signal to the brain, which turns it into a sound that we recognize and understand. Why are you losing your hearing? Hearing loss happens for different reasons. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. This condition is known as presbycusis (prezbuh-KYOO-sis). Doctors do not know why presbycusis affects some people more than others, but it seems to run in families. Another reason for hearing loss with aging may be years of exposure to loud noise.
This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Many construction workers, farmers, musicians, airport workers, landscapers, and people in the military have hearing loss even in their younger and middle years because of exposure to loud noises. Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions, stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines. If you believe you are losing your hearing, it is best to have a diagnostic hearing test to see what loss you may have, and how best to treat it. Give us a call for an appointment. We have a newly designed website, simplifying it and making it more mobile friendly. Please provide us your feedback! Thank you. Like our Facebook Page! Please share it with others!
| Fight Fatigue Through Better Hearing|
Hearing loss is more than difficultly understanding speech and hearing sound.
It also makes you extremely tired; listening takes a lot of effort and energy. People with normal hearing don’t really think about the fact that listening can be fatiguing and frustrating.
The Better Hearing Institute estimates that societal costs of untreated hearing loss result in $56 billion wasted per year in the United States and 92 billion euros in Europe. This high cost was said to mainly be due to lost productivity at work, much of which is due to fatigue caused by coping with hearing loss.
A survey by the Danish Institute for Social Research found that as many as one in five people suffering from hearing loss give up on the job market, and for those who do work, almost 15 percent are so fatigued by the end of the day they have no energy left for leisurely pursuits.
Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research at the National Deaf Children’s Society in the United Kingdom, paints an accurate picture of what listening fatigue is like in his blog: concentration fatigue. “It’s about the energy involved in lip-reading and being attentive all day long. Processing and constructing meaning out of half-heard words and sentences.
Making guesses and figuring out context. And then thinking of something intelligent to say in response to an invariably random question. It’s like doing jigsaws, Sudoku and Scrabble all at the same time.”
A loss of energy due to hearing loss makes it difficult to perform at work or be active at home. A one or two hour meeting can make you feel tired, sleepy and physically exhausted. As your energy expenditure is used throughout the day for listening, your ability to perform other tasks or activities is impaired.Even if you only have one or two meetings and can work at your computer for most of the day, you still may go home tired because your ears are still straining to interpret the
sounds and voices going on around you. Your ears never stop working, they never stop listening, and as a result, when 5 o’clock rolls around, instead of being revved up to go walk your dog or hit the gym, you might want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and pass out
Why does listening make you tired?
Three areas of our brain connect with the auditory system to help interpret sound and produce speech:
1. Broca’s Area: speech production
2. Wernicke’s Area: speech comprehension
3. Temporal Lobe: manages hearing For the listener with normal hearing these areas of the brain function as the perfect
team, allowing communication to seem effortless. But, with the addition of hearing loss, the brain has to work, think and concentrate harder than it would with normal hearing and this teamwork is disrupted, increasing the challenges of communication and leading to listening fatigue.
How hearing aids reduce listening fatigue
Hearing aids help us reduce the amount of energy we spend listening and
communicating by making it easier to hear sounds and speech in a variety of environments. Because the hearing aid helps to restore the sounds that are missed with hearing loss, the brain uses less energy understanding it. Modern day hearing aids now come with features that help reduce listening fatigue by isolating and amplifying the sounds you want to hear and significantly reducing or removing the noises you don’t.
What about on the phone?
Often our telephone conversations can be some of the most energetically taxing experiences. When we are talking or listening in person, lip reading can make understanding speech faster, but when talking on the phone if a voice is not clear or is mixed with background noise, the conversation can be difficult and tiring. There is now technology for hearing aids and smart phones, where it provides an exciting opportunity to effortlessly stream calls directly to the hearing aids for clear, crisp speech.
Help reduce listening fatigue by relaxing
Hearing aids aren’t perfect and can only lessen listening fatigue. Nothing will completely remove it, so here are some helpful tips to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Give yourself a break during the day when you can turn off your hearing aids and take a 5-10 minute.When you feel yourself becoming stressed or tired, take two minutes to close your eyes, take deep breaths and sit quietly.Limit or eliminate interruptions and background noises that can make hearing hard even with your hearing aids (ex. put your phone on silent, ask others to turn down their music or remove yourself from an area where there is a lot of conversation).Eat lunch outside and away from the busy cafeteria or lunchroom areas. It’s ok to take time for yourself. Try reading instead of watching TV and give your ears a break from having to work to listen at all. Take a power nap.
Source: Starkey Hearing Technologies, By Sarah Bricker on Jul 27, 2015