Your Hearing Health Learning Center

Explore the world of hearing and why it matters for your health, your relationships, and your quality of life.

We’ll show you what can harm your hearing, how to protect it and how to enhance it.

You’ll find the key points below, and lots more detail on our blog.

Hearing Loss

Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is commonly associated with aging; in fact, one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has some degree of hearing loss. Above age 75, roughly half of people have hearing problems. However, hearing loss can affect people of all ages. And in most cases, the problem comes on so gradually that at first, it isn’t even noticeable. But there are signs of hearing impairment that you can recognize, like finding it hard to understand people in a noisy restaurant.

How Noise Hurts Hearing

Sound is simply a vibration in the air. This vibration enters your ear canal and hits your eardrum, which transmits the sound to your middle ear. The middle ear’s amplifies those vibrations and deliver them to the inner ear, or cochlea. The cochlea contains the stereocilia, or hair cells, which bend when they’re hit by the vibration (sound) and transmit the signal up the auditory nerve to the brain. Loud noise can permanently damage the stereocilia, causing hearing loss. Those tiny hairs can also lose sensitivity as you age.

Hearing and Your Balance

Many of those who have trouble with their balance find that the problem lies in their ears. Ear balance disorders can make you feel unsteady, wobbly, or like you are constantly moving. These sensations of vertigo can seriously impact your ability to walk, stand upright, and even sit up. Hearing loss doesn’t cause balance disorders on its own, but problems with the inner ear may also disrupt your vestibular system. Hearing loss may be a sign of an underlying condition which is also impairing your balance.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Your brain expects to receive a certain amount of sound, which it’s up to your ears to deliver. With hearing loss, your brain isn’t receiving the expected sound. It’s thought that when the brain begins to seek this missing input, some neurons in the auditory cortex go haywire, firing at random — and this misfiring is responsible for tinnitus. In other words “ringing in your ears” is actually in your brain! Today’s hearing aids can be programmed to provide the missing sound, and this can significantly reduce tinnitus.

Hearing Loss and Brain Loss

After scanning the brains of people who had not addressed their hearing loss, Johns Hopkins University research has shown that people with unaddressed hearing loss will lose more brain tissue on an annual basis vs. those who exercise their brains with hearing aids: “Overall, the scientists report those with impaired hearing lost more than an additional cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared with those with normal hearing.”

Hearing and Relationships

Being unable to understand someone can be extremely frustrating. Data shows that on average, people delay addressing their hearing loss for seven years after initial symptoms arise. Through the years, as many struggle to communicate one-on-one and in group settings, they frequently start to withdraw from key conversations or phone calls with their spouses, family and loved ones. This can create real psychological harm.

Hearing Protection

Protecting Your Hearing

If you don’t already have noise damage to your hearing, you’d probably agree that it’s worth preventing! And if you do have damage, it’s not too late to protect your remaining hearing. You’ll need to take into account the type of noise you’re anticipating being exposed to. Are you an avid concertgoer, a gun enthusiast, a construction worker, or a dentist? In many cases, you’ll also need to consider your communication needs while wearing the protective devices.

For Shooters and Hunters

Guns are the single largest cause of noise-induced hearing loss. Their sudden, sharp sounds can be so loud – 140 dB or more – that permanent hearing damage can result from a single unprotected gunshot. The most dangerous shooting environment, as far as your hearing is concerned, is the indoor firing range, where the sound is concentrated rather than dispersed. In this environment, you should be wearing both earplugs and earmuffs.

Loud Music

Music is a less complicated problem than gunshots because it is a relatively steady sound. The main concern with music is reducing the overall amplitude of the sound without adversely affecting the quality of it. Regular earplugs will protect your hearing but can muffle music to the point of ruining it! Today there are sophisticated products that help protect your hearing without muffling the music. They filter and balance the sound, reducing the volume while preserving the quality.

Children’s Hearing Safety

Children today are increasingly at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Most of this damage is preventable, if you take a few simple precautions. One simple step is to check the volume of their headphones. When they’re out at concerts, movie theaters, sporting events and other loud situations, get your kids in the habit of using hearing protection. Be a good role model and wear yours too! Teach your child that protecting their hearing can make a big difference to their long-term health and happiness.

Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids and Hearing Health

Hearing aids don’t cure hearing loss, but they mitigate many of the problems it causes. You’re able to participate in conversations more easily, even in noisy environments. And if you have tinnitus, you may experience a significant reduction in symptoms. You’re also helping protect your brain from the damaging effects of reduced hearing. Hearing aids don’t weaken your hearing through some kind of dependency. They may in fact strengthen the pathways in your brain that hearing depends on.

Talking to Your Spouse About Hearing

If your spouse has hearing loss, the communication problems can harm your happiness together over time, so it’s essential to address it. Talking to your spouse about hearing loss can be sensitive. Before you raise the subject, inform yourself about the many treatment options available by exploring the Earlux website. When you open the conversation, do your best to be caring and non-judgmental, and listen carefully to any concerns that come up. Long-term, you’ll be glad you tackled the issue of hearing loss: your marriage is sure to benefit.

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

In August 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids. They are different devices, appropriate for a certain subset of people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Highest-quality hearing aids are still available only by prescription by a licensed audiologist. The FDA rule creates a new category of hearing aids available without the traditional process. They are a supplement to the current way of getting hearing help, not a replacement!

Fitting Hearing Aids Correctly

Having top-quality hearing aids isn’t enough. To get the best result, you also need expert fitting. Every individual is different, and the devices need to be “tuned” to match your needs and comfort levels. For most people, the issue with hearing isn’t volume but clarity. Earlux’s proprietary Cortex-5 Fitting Method produces industry-leading clarity in the presence of background noise, by raising only the sounds you want to hear and minimizing those you don’t.

Have A Question? We Can Help.

If you have a question about your hearing health, it’s likely that we have the answer you’re looking for.

First, take a look at our FAQ page. If you don’t find your answer there, or you just prefer to speak with someone, schedule a call with one of our certified Hearing Health Pros.