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Are Hearing Aids Useful in Tinnitus Relief?

The use of hearing aids for tinnitus relief seems counterintuitive. Hearing aids, after all, increase the clarity and volume of the environmental sounds possibly resulting in worsening tinnitus. But this isn’t the case, surprisingly so, and here’s why.


Tinnitus as a Symptom

Before you think that you have tinnitus, you should first know what it is and what it isn’t. According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus is a condition wherein the affected person hears sounds inside his ears or head without an external source.


These are phantom sounds that seem real, as well as annoying and frustrating as these adversely impact daily life.  These can take the form of hissing, buzzing, ringing and clicking with varying duration and intensity.


If it’s any consolation, tinnitus affects an estimated 50 million Americans albeit in varying degrees and duration. Also, it isn’t a disease or a disorder in itself – instead, it’s a symptom of an underlying health issue. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, extreme stress, and head colds, as well as sinus or ear infections and hearing loss.


In fact, people who have hearing loss are more likely to experience tinnitus more frequently. This is because their world, in a manner of speaking, is quieter with little environmental sounds penetrating it.


Hearing Aids for Relief

How then does hearing aids provide relief against tinnitus? Hearing aids amplify and clarify external sounds that, in turn, makes it easier for the wearer to make distinctions between several sounds. When a person with tinnitus wears hearing aids, the amplification of the external sounds will mask the buzzing, clicking or ringing sounds.


The hearing aids allows for better hearing ability of the desired external sounds, such as voices of other people, music and birds chirping. This means the phantom sounds brought by tinnitus are relegated to the background and, thus, become less annoying.


There’s also the matter of brain training. By wearing hearing aids, you’re basically retraining your brain so that it can ignore the phantom sounds in your ear. The longer you wear hearing aids, the better you can manage your tinnitus symptoms.


Of course, the assumption here is that the hearing aids are properly fitted and customized according to your specific hearing issues. You are well-advised to buy customized hearing aids despite their more expensive price because these can be customized. You will be able to hear well while also minimizing the side effects of wearing these devices.


Even if you don’t have hearing loss, hearing aids can be used in the management of tinnitus symptoms. Ask your audiologist about hearing aids that produce white noise and other sounds that provide relief, such as ocean waves. You won’t have to suffer from hearing phantom noises after a while of using them.


If you think your family or you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Tips on Social Distancing as a Person with Hearing Loss

The restrictions on movement brought by the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more challenging for people with hearing loss to communicate and connect with others. Just imagine wanting to enjoy conversations with family and friends yet not being able to because of quarantine restrictions. Your frustrations may be greater because before you started wearing hearing aids, you couldn’t communicate well with others.


But don’t get carried away by your emotions about being cooped up at home when you want to be socializing. You can still socialize with family and friends while still adopting social distancing measures, as well as enjoy your time in quarantine. Here are a few tips that we think are effective.


Use Technology to Stay Connected

We live at a time when technology makes it so fast and easy to communicate with people halfway around the world. You then have no excuse to be disconnected from your family even when you’re not in the same room! You have Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype and Facetime as well as the social media websites that can be your bridge between you and your family and friends.


Call and video chat your family and friends every day, if possible, so you don’t feel alone. Besides, your calls may also be a lifeline for them since they are also cooped up at home.


If you’re having difficulties hearing others on the phone or on video chats, you can use the captioned feature – the texts of your conversation will be reflected on the screen. You will also naturally revert to reading facial expressions, perhaps even lip reading, when you’re on video chat.


Create a Daily Routine

You may want to set a routine so that there’s something familiar you can look forward to every day. You may find it comforting amidst the uncertainty of the times. You may even find it less stressful since a daily routine means being in control.


Start by listing down the activities that you should do on a daily basis, from waking up to sleeping, getting work done and relaxing, and from resting to exercising. But you don’t have to be gung-ho about following your daily routine! You are, after all, the master of your time now that you’re at home for most, if not all, of the day.


Learn Something New

Perhaps you’ve been putting off learning to bake, cook or knit. Perhaps you didn’t have the time before. So many perhaps but your time in quarantine is a great time to remove these perhaps in your life! You can learn something new, read new books and even starting a new business.


None of us wants to have physical distance from our family and friends in keeping with the social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. But we have to do our part in minimizing the spread of the coronavirus while still being connected to the outside world.


If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure that you get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Are Your Hearing Aids Worsening Your Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids are supposed to make their users hear better and, thus, communicate better. But many people, usually newbies, report that they can’t hear as well as they did before they used hearing aids. They seemed to hear less environmental sounds even with their hearing aids turned on at nearly full volume.


So, do hearing aids actually cause a worsening of hearing loss?  The short answer: No. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why it seems to be so and why it isn’t so actually.


It’s a Matter of Perception

The human brain can play tricks and it’s something that psychologists, magicians and con men know all too well. This is the reason why some users of hearing aids express concern that their hearing ability decreased after wearing these devices for a few weeks. They further assert that they were better off without hearing aids.


In reality, their brains are tricking them into thinking so! On average, persons with progressive hearing loss will live with their condition for 7-10 years before seeking professional intervention. Their hearing ability gradually worsened through the years, perhaps aggravated by improper ear care like poking the ear canal with cotton buds.


As the years pass without proper medical intervention, their brains become more and more accustomed to their decreased hearing ability. They then start thinking that their current hearing ability is normal – well, at least, normal according to their own perception.


What happens when they start wearing hearing aids? Well, if you’re new to these devices, you will be unaccustomed to the sound clarity and volume of the environmental sounds. Your brain starts to readjust to the better sound quality and consider it as the new normal.


When that happens, the severity of your hearing loss becomes significantly noticeable without your hearing aids on. You will then think that the hearing aids worsened your hearing loss!


But wear your hearing aids again and your ability to hear environmental sounds increases.


It’s a Matter of Customization

But improperly fitted hearing aids can make it seem like, indeed, your hearing loss is worsening. You may experience feedback from these devices, perhaps even suffer from headaches and tinnitus caused by the feedback. You won’t want to wear your hearing aids anymore because their side effects seem to be outweighed by their benefits.


You should then consult with your audiologist about making adjustments to address the issues of poor physical fit and poor customization to your specific hearing issues.  Hearing aids are effective because these amplify and process sounds in a way that makes them sound better in your ears.


But their efficacy only works when they are customized to your specific hearing loss. So if you think that your new hearing aids are aggravating your hearing loss, you have to consult with your audiologist.


Hearing aids may be expensive, partly because of the customization costs, but they are well worth their cost.  If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Hearing Aids Aren’t Just About the Benefits

While people with hearing loss will benefit from the use of hearing aids, these devices have their side effects, too. These side effects have significant adverse impact on the quality of life of their users, from headaches and tinnitus to feedback. Fortunately, there are certain measures that can be done to minimize these side effects.


The Side Effects in Brief

Keep in mind that every individual will experience these side effects in a unique manner. You may, for example, suffer from intermittent headaches and tinnitus but not from itchiness in your ears. Your headaches, furthermore, may be mild in contrast with other hearing aid users with moderate severity.


  • Headaches and tinnitus

Newbies are more likely to experience headaches and tinnitus because the volume of their hearing aids aren’t properly set yet. There’s also the matter of getting accustomed to the hearing aids so much so that ordinary sounds seem abnormally loud or annoying.


  • Discomfort, soreness and irritation

Since hearing aids are placed inside the ear canal, these can cause discomfort for a week or so. Your ears are still adjusting to the foreign object, and it can be worsened when the hearing aids are too tight or too loose. Too tight and the hearing aids rub on the skin; too loose and these can slip and slide.


  • Itchiness in the ear canal

The itching in your ear canal can be caused by dry skin and you will be tempted to take out your hearing aids to scratch the itch. But we strongly advise otherwise because sticking a finger or a cotton but into your ear canal can worsen the damage in your ears.


  • Feedback

Hearing aids are highly sensitive instruments that can be affected by environmental noise and mishandling. This can result in feedback, such as crackling and whistling sounds, even heightened sounds from ordinary activities. This can also be caused by the improper sound quality and level.


If you experience these side effects even when it’s your second set of hearing aids, you shouldn’t worry about it. Every pair of hearing aids is unique so adjustments will likely be necessary.


The Countermeasures Against These Side Effects

Your first step is to discuss your concerns and complaints about your hearing aids with your audiologist. Every side effect has a countermeasure to minimize or prevent it so there’s hope.


A few of these countermeasures are discussed below.  

  • Work with your audiologist to ensure that your hearing aids are properly fitted
  • Take good care of your hearing aids
  • Moisturize your ear canal with drops or spray to lessen the itching
  • Learn and understand the features on your hearing aids so that you can adjust the volume quality and level
  • Consult with your doctor about persistent headaches, tinnitus and discomfort


Hearing aids are tools and just like any other tool, it’s your responsibility to know its proper use and maintenance.


If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure that you get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


The 401 On Speech Therapy For Stroke Patients

Aphasia, or the difficulty in communicating with others particularly in expressing yourself through words, is among the possible complications of a stroke. But it isn’t a disease per se – instead, it’s a symptom of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. Aside from difficulty in speaking, a stroke can also result in the difficulty in reading and writing, both of which are also crucial in communication.


Treatment Based on Type


Fortunately, aphasia can be treated or managed with speech therapy. Since no two people experience aphasia in exactly the same way, the treatment will be customized. Generally speaking, nonetheless, the treatment will be based on the type of aphasia exhibited by the concerned person.


There are four categories of aphasia:


  • Anomic aphasia, or amnesia aphasia, is the least severe form. The affected person has difficulty in using the right names for people, places and objects, even events, but still has the ability to communicate through spoken language.
  • Expressive aphasia involves knowing what you want to say but being unable to find the right words.
  • Receptive aphasia refers to the inability to make sense of the words, both spoken and printed.
  • Global aphasia is the most severe form since the affected person can neither speak nor understand language, much less even read and write. In this case, the damage to the brain’s language area was widespread and, in some cases, irreversible.


The speech language pathologist will likely consult with your primary care physician of the stroke victim in determining your type of aphasia. You may be unable to make the decision yourself, however, but you have to work at it so as to regain full control over your speech skills.


Types of Techniques


Speech therapists use a wide range of tools and techniques in the treatment of aphasia in stroke patients. If you are still able to make a decision, you should ideally discuss your treatment plan and suggest modifications. Just keep in mind that the speech therapist will likely have the knowledge and skills to determine which tools and techniques are best in your case.


Speech therapy is the most effective treatment for aphasia since it focuses on regaining speech and language skills. Your speech therapist will use a wide range of specific exercises and methods, too.


But your chances for a full recovery from aphasia will increase when speech therapy is combined with other techniques. These include the following:


  • Melodic intonation therapy wherein you will sing the words that you can’t speak
  • Art therapy as a way to express yourself
  • Speech perception therapy wherein pictures are associated with words
  • Group therapy and support group therapy
  • Constraint-induced language therapy


Your doctor may also prescribe medications to facilitate your recovery from aphasia.  But even the best medicines will be of little use if you aren’t active in your speech therapy program. For more information of the speech therapy for stroke patients, please contact us for free consulation.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

Hearing Aid Prescription, and Speech Therapy


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HK Hearing & Speech Centre
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