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Health & Hearing

Lisa Tseng, MD, is the Chief Executive Officer of hi HealthInnovations, a national company focused on improving the access and affordability of hearing aids for the 48 million Americans with hearing loss. With hearing loss ranking as the third most common chronic condition among older Americans, Dr. Tseng and her national staff of audiologists and hearing health professionals provide hearing tests, fittings, seminars and counseling online, by phone and in person, helping to improve the availability of custom-programmed hearing aids.
Q:

I’ve already been diagnosed with hearing loss. What should I do now?


A:

When people cannot hear well, activities they used to enjoy, such as meals with friends or family, become challenges. They can become frustrated, skip social activities and start to feel isolated. By contrast, people who seek treatment for hearing loss report significant improvements in relationships, self‐esteem, overall quality of life, mental health and safety. That is why it is so important for people with hearing loss to seek treatment, such as using digital, custom-programed hearing aids.

For family members or caregivers, there are several steps to keep in mind. When speaking with someone with hearing loss, make sure to face him or her, avoid covering your mouth while speaking and speak slowly. Also, select hearing-friendly settings, such as a quiet room without background noise. Finally, people with hearing loss can benefit from effective communication strategies, such as watching lip movements, facial expressions and body language during conversations.

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Q:

How long is it safe to be exposed to loud sounds without the risk of damaging my hearing?


A:

People should limit their exposure to loud sounds, such as loud music, power tools or lawn mowers, to no more than 20 minutes at a time. Studies have shown that consistent exposure to loud sounds above 100 decibels, as compared to a normal conversation of 60 decibels, can permanently affect hearing. If you anticipate being in a loud environment, such as a music concert or sporting event, it is best to consider wearing hearing protection. Also, when using ear bud headphones, follow the “60/60 rule,” which means limiting the use of ear buds to 60 minutes at a time and at 60 percent of the player’s maximum volume.

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