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Surfers Ear - man surfingWhen you think about all the different factors that could cause a person to lose their hearing, cold weather wouldn’t necessarily be in the top 10. However, there are risks related to cold weather that can cause damage and potentially cause a complete loss of hearing. Maintaining good hearing health by keeping your ears protected from the elements in our harsh winter is a given.

Surfer’s Ear?

Okay it sounds funny as all heck, but surfer’s ear – also known as exostosis – is a real “thing” that affects more than just surfers. The condition can occur when anyone is exposed to windy, cold, wet conditions for prolonged periods of time.  In fact, sufficiently long exposure to damp winter conditions alone can also lead can also lead to exostosis.

What Physically is Exostosis?

The medical term exostosis describes an abnormal bone outgrowth that forms inside of the ear canal. The bone growth is stimulated due to the cooling of cold moisture in the ear. It’s the physical blocking of the ear canal that blocks the eardrum and reduces the ability to hear. Symptoms include trapped water inside the ear and frequent ear infections.

Ear Infections More Likely in Winter

Living in the Prairies we deftly know the cover our ears up in winter. It doesn’t take much for cold temperatures, or lately the extreme cold temperatures to reduce the circulation in your ear an invite infection. Spending long periods of time outside without proper protection significantly increases the likelihood of developing an ear infection so limit your exposure to the cold.

While an ear infection might not seem like a big deal as we all get one or more throughout her lifetime, recurring ear infections are a serious health problem. It’s serious enough that the World Health Organization attributes chronic ear infections as a major cause of permanent hearing loss.

What about people with hearing aids?

Electronic devices work best when dry and traveling from hot to cold and then back again opens them up to the effects of condensation. Premium quality hearing aids are sealed against such issues that could be damaging the delicate components inside. Also, you should note though that just like any other electronic device, battery life is always decreased when the hearing aid is operated in colder temperatures so it pays to bring spare hearing aid batteries.

Safe Temperatures?

Like all electronic devices hearing aids have a range of temperatures where they will operate best and then range of temperatures where they just shouldn’t be operated. It’s best to check with the manufacturer specifications or simply give us a call at (204) 788-1083.

Hearing-Aids-vs-Hearing-Amplifiers-02

 

From time to time we are asked if there is a difference between hearing amplifiers and hearing aids. It’s a good question to ask before a person considers buying a hearing amplifier.

Amplification Versus Better Hearing

While a hearing amplifier may seem like a solution for someone with hearing loss, it often causes the user more problems than it solves. Amplifying all the sounds around you doesn’t necessarily make understanding someone’s voice easier. What you need to consider is that all the background noise, including other people’s voices, wind, and even the electronic noise generated by the device itself all get amplified. Essentially you still have the same problem except that now instead of picking out the voice from a set of barely audible sounds, you now must pick the voice out from a louder set of sounds.

Modern hearing aids emulate how our ears naturally work instead of across the board amplification

Hearing Aids Do Much More Than Amplify

Modern hearing aids selectively amplify sounds around us so that nothing is too quiet or unpleasantly loud. Because they’re fully programmable the range of amplification is tailored not only to your overall hearing needs, but is also able to switch profiles based on the environment you are in. You can have a TV mode for home, a restaurant mode, an outdoor mode that cuts wind noise and many more to meet your active lifestyle.

Understanding Speech Becomes Easier

Today’s hearing aids utilize directional microphones and digital signal processing to help the wearer “localize” where sound is coming from. High end hearing aids will sense that a person in front of them is speaking and reduce the sounds coming from the rear and sides while boosting the voice of speaker. Additionally, electronic filtering of noise and feedback greatly improve clarity when listening to a person’s voice.

Conclusion: It’s an Unfair Comparison

Comparing a hearing amplifier with today’s hearing aid is not a fair comparison. Hearing aids, while expensive, are high-tech professionally fitted and programmed devices that give wearer has the best possible hearing experience. Hearing amplifiers are generally being inexpensive, mass produced, one size fits all devices with a volume button.

To hear the difference for yourself, book a hearing evaluation by calling us at (204) 788-1083.

 

Do you like the sound of your own voice when it’s recorded and played back? Most people don’t and wonder “Do I really sound like that?”. Here is a short video that explains why a recording of our voice sounds so different to us.


One of the early signs of hearing loss is having difficulty understanding voices when in a noisy room like a restaurant. If you have noticed this happening to you, you might want to consider booking an appointment for a hearing test and evaluation. Call us at (204) 788-1083 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Have a great weekend!

Ever wonder why someone looking at smart phone appears to be ignoring you? You know they can hear you, but it takes them 2 minutes to respond to a question. Even when they do respond it’s “Huh?”, “What was that?” and it is sooo annoyingly rude.

They aren’t ignoring you, they are momentarily “deaf”

Attention and Hearing

It sounds like an excuse, but the smart phone user you are trying to chat with has a temporary condition called “inattentional deafness”. The term was coined during a 2015 research study conducted at University College London.

Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the research showed how the brain shares its limited resources between visual and auditory processing. Both the visual and auditory cortex take up a lot of processing power. To ensure we focus on the important task the brain divides its attention (task processing) based on what we think should have priority. So, if we are performing a highly visual task such as playing a game on our phones, we shift most of our attention to the visual task leaving only a little processing power left to decipher the sounds we are hearing.

Brain function, not ear function, is responsible for “inattentional deafness”.

We Have All Experienced This

Do you ever remember driving to a location you have never been to before and while you are looking for the address on the building, you turn down the radio? It’s funny now that you think about it, but we all do it! Lowering the radio’s volume to improve your ability to see the address you are looking makes no sense. But, it works. Lowering the volume reduces the amount of attention your brain devotes to understanding the music and shifts that attention to the more important task of visual processing needed to find your destination.

 

Is Multi-Tasking a Myth?

Co-author of the study, Dr. Maria Chait, from the UCL Ear Institute says the results of the study suggests humans are unable to multi-task in many circumstances. This is just the opposite of the current thought that by attempting to process multiple streams of information at once, we can work more efficiently. In Dr. Chait’s research she had 13 volunteers complete visual tasks of increasing difficulty while listening to sounds. The brain scans from the volunteers showed that their responses to sound were reduced as they worked on increasingly difficult tasks.

Inattentional Deafness & Hearing Testing

While many people will falling into the inattentional deafness category, answering with “What was that?” a bit too often can be an early sign of hearing loss. There are a lot of benefits to getting your hearing tested on a regular basis. Below are two links to articles about the benefits associated with the early detection of hearing loss. To to book an appointment for a hearing test and evaluation, call us at (204) 788-1083 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Reducing the risk of dementia

Hearing loss is expensive

 

Give the gift of hearing this Christmas! Try a pair of hearing aids free for 45 days with absolutely no obligation to purchase. We will complete a full hearing evaluation free of charge and then adjust the hearing aids to your requirements. Bluetooth hearing aids are available and can be adjusted right from your smartphone! Call (204) 788-1083 or use the contact form below.

Hearing Aids Free Trial Offer for 45 Days

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