Communication Training: Hearing Aids & Brain Health

Welcome to another post providing an overview of our Communication Training Series! Today, we wanted to talk about hearing aids and brain health. As you already know, hearing devices are only a small part of the communication puzzle. So we’re going to learn more about that today. We also wanted to discuss the important connection between your hearing and brain health. New studies are uncovering some remarkable findings.

Hearing Aids: What to expect

Wearing hearing devices isn’t a matter of getting them fitted, and then you have 100% restored hearing. Like with most worthwhile things in life, it takes time to get used to, and practice. Hearing aids need to be accepted by your brain. So it’s important to be kind and compassionate with yourself as you go through this transition period. Here’s what we know to be true:

  • It will take time to adjust to hearing aids and to realize their full potential.
  • Some sounds may be strange initially, including footsteps, birds chirping, and paper rustling.
  • Hearing in quiet will always be easier than hearing in noise.
  • Soft speech should be audible, conversational speech comfortable, and loud speech not uncomfortable.
  • No whistling should occur if the hearing aids are seated properly.
  • Your own voice may sound different when you are wearing hearing aids.
  • Talking on the phone may feel awkward at first as you experiment with proper phone placement and different technology options.
  • It is absolutely necessary to return to your hearing care provider for follow up visits and fine-tuning adjustments to the hearing aids.
  • Treat yourself to easy listening situations (one-on-one conversations in quiet environments) during the first few days or weeks with the hearing aids as your brain adjusts to hearing again.
  • You will experience maximum benefit and success with your hearing aids if you wear them every day and follow the strategies taught in this program!

We hope that these simple tips will help on the road to success with getting comfortable with your hearing aids. Of course, should you have any questions, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call, and we’ll do all we can to help!

Hearing & Brain Health

Treating hearing loss is more about ensuring you are able to hear. New research is showing a strong link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Studies are showing that when we leave hearing loss untreated, a part of our brain stops receiving auditory input. With lack of activity in the brain region, it becomes weak, just like other muscles in our body, if we don’t use it, we lose it.

Other research shows that many people with untreated hearing loss tend to isolate themselves in order to avoid the frustration of not being able to hear. Unfortunately, social isolation is also linked to an increase in dementia.

The good news is, if you’re reading this right now, you’re already on the right path by actively treating your hearing loss with auditory rehabilitation. Whether you are wearing hearing aids, have a cochlear implant, or are getting your hearing tested for the first time, you’re on the right track! Pair that with our Communication Training program, and you’re setting yourself up for success while keeping your brain healthy and strong.

Somatic Tinnitus: An Overview

As we know, tinnitus (ringing in the years) is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Somatic (or somatosensory) tinnitus happens when somatosensory (pressure, pain, or warmth) messages from the cervical spine or jaw area causes or changes the way a patient experiences tinnitus. In fact, a study from 2009 found there could be a link between tinnitus and musculoskeletal disorders. It was shown that the presence of joint stiffness, or myofascial trigger points, can cause somatosensory changes to the area around the ear, which may create the perception of a ringing in the ears.

Our friends over at Mend compiled a list of common musculoskeletal impairments that can be associated with tinnitus, they are:

  • Stiffness or hyper-mobility of cervical spine joints
  • Myofascial trigger points to the sub-occipitals, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, or sternocleidomastoid muscles
  • TMJ disorders
  • Presence of forward head posture and forward rounded shoulders

What to do if you think you have tinnitus

If you think you may be experiencing somatic tinnitus, worry not, we’ve got you covered. The best treatment for tinnitus starts with a tinnitus evaluation and consultation with us. At Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether or not you are experiencing tinnitus. If we find that you do have tinnitus, we can help! First of all, it’s important to understand that tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom of a more serious disorder. That’s why it’s important to try to find the medical cause before deciding on treatment. But first, let’s determine whether you have tinnitus in the first place, and we can take it from there.

If you are diagnosed with tinnitus and you are also suffering from one of the musculoskeletal impairments above, physical therapy may help reduce or eliminate the perception of tinnitus. There is strong evidence to support the use of physical therapy to treat somatic tinnitus that is of musculoskeletal origin. The therapists over at Mend are trained in differential diagnosis, which means they can accurately screen you to give you the right referral for treating whatever ails you.

And here at Longmont Hearing a Tinnitus Center, after diagnosis, we can also help you by providing you with tips for how to prevent or minimize tinnitus, like tinnitus retraining therapy, acoustic therapy, music therapy, amplification, and much more! We know that tinnitus can be cumbersome and hard to live with, so don’t delay! Reach out to us today so that we can help get your tinnitus under control!

5 Keys to Communication Success

All of us at Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center are thrilled to announce our “5 Keys to Communication Success” series. Though we have had incredible advances in hearing health technology over the years, hearing aids are only one piece of the communication puzzle.  As a patient of our clinic, we’re proud to provide you with an excellent new program designed to help you overcome frustrations associated with hearing loss. Through a series of weekly emails, you will learn the 5 Keys to Communication Success and how to apply them to your day-to-day. We will be covering:

  • How to overcome hearing difficulties in any situation
  • Tips to teach your friends and family members how to do their part to promote easy and successful communication
  • Ideas for how to keep your ears and your brain healthy and sharp

We’ll even connect you with others who have difficulty hearing, if you like!

Auditory Rehabilitation

The technical term for this program is “auditory rehabilitation.” Think of it as physical therapy for your ears and brain. You wouldn’t get a knee or hip replacement without going through lots of physical therapy and learning new ways to take care of your new and improved body part. Treating hearing loss is no different. You have invested in new and improved hearing, but the devices can only do so much. You must do your part, and teach your friends and family members to do theirs to achieve communication success. We created this program to make it easy and fun!

We’ve broken down the keys to communication success into 5 pillars:

Over the next year, we’ll be providing you with insight into how to achieve communication success within those 5 pillars, giving you the tools and know-how you need to apply to any given situation.

You will also receive helpful hearing aid tips to help you learn about your hearing aids:

  • What to expect from them
  • How to care for them
  • How to troubleshoot when something isn’t working right

The greatest part about these weekly eLessons is that you can share them with your family members and friends. They might also benefit from this information.  In fact, half of the lessons are written for the people in your life who need to do their part in communicating clearly so that you can better understand them.  We encourage you to share them with everyone who talks to you on a regular basis! 

As always, reach out to us if you have any questions, we’re always here to help. Whether you need to schedule a cerumen removal, check on your hearing aids, or think you may have tinnitus, we’ve got you covered.

What is Audiology?

At Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center, we’re dedicated to your hearing health, and pride ourselves on being caring, competent, and reliable audiologists. But what exactly is audiology?

Audiology is the study and science of hearing and balance. Being an audiologist involves providing a number of different services, which can have a significant impact on communication, mobility, and quality of life. When you come into Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center, our audiologists can help with:

  • Adult and pediatric diagnostic hearing screenings and assessments
  • Tinnitus/ hyperacusis/ misophonia evaluation and management
  • Hearing aids/ amplification and assistive technology evaluation, fitting, and management 
  • Implantable technology evaluation, programming and management, such as cochlear implants and auditory osseointegrated devices
  • Cerumen removal and management
  • Hearing and ear protection 
  • Industrial hearing assessment, prevention, and protection programs
  • Auditory processing evaluation and management
  • Auditory rehabilitation, training, and counseling
  • Balance/ vestibular assessment and rehabilitation
  • Hearing loss and falls prevention

So, what’s the difference between Audiologists, Otolaryngologists (ENTs), and Hearing Aid Dispensers?

With so many different types of hearing health specialists out there, it’s difficult to keep track of who does what. Not to worry, we’ve got the breakdown you need to ensure you contact the right professional whenever you have hearing health concerns.

Audiologists are state licensed healthcare providers who evaluate and manage hearing and balance symptoms and disorders, including hearing loss. An audiologist has a minimum of a four year undergraduate degree as well as a Master’s and/or a doctoral (AuD, PhD, EdD, or ScD) degree. 

Otolaryngologists (ENTs) are state licensed medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and pharmacological (drug) management of ear, noise, and throat conditions, including hearing and balance disorders. An otolaryngologist has the same educational degrees as an audiologist (undergraduate and master’s/doctoral), as well as a medical degree (MD), and a residency training program specific to ear, nose, and throat evaluation and management.  

Approximately 10% of hearing and balance disorders have medical, pharmacological, or surgical treatment options or solutions. This is where audiology comes into the equation and where an audiologist can be valuable to consumers in addressing their communication and balance issues and improving their quality of life. 

Hearing aid dispensers (hearing instrument specialists) are state licensed to perform the basic hearing testing required to select and fit hearing aids, and to provide said hearing aids . Hearing aid dispenser training and licensure requirements vary greatly state by state. In most states, a hearing aid dispenser must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and pass a written examination to obtain a license. In most states, a hearing aid dispenser cannot evaluate or treat tinnitus, provide cerumen management, or provide aural rehabilitation. 

Now that you know what all these roles entail, you can confidently seek help for any hearing health issues you may be facing. Of course, if you’re still unsure about what hearing health professional you need, give us a call! We’re here to help, whether you need an hearing health assessment, new hearing aids, or are curious about hearing implants.

Hearing The Call—Arvada—Another Success!

Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center has been a part of Hearing the Call Colorado from the beginning. In fact, Dr. Rudden played a pivotal role in bringing Hearing the Call to Colorado, enabling us to work with this amazing group of hearing health professionals to provide hearing aids to those in need. Our latest event took place in Arvada, CO, on January 23rd, 2021, and we’re thrilled with how it went! We couldn’t have done it without the generous donation of 434 hearing aids from Widex, a provision of custom earmolds from Unitron, and of course, New Leaf Hearing Clinic for hosting the event. We were able to serve 13 people at the Arvada event, about 5 of whom will be receiving their follow up care at our very office in Longmont.  

A few pictures from our day of helping patients with their hearing loss. Thanks, Hearing the Call!

Hearing the Call – Background

For many in the United States, untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression, and lower earning potential. And in many other countries, it’s even worse. Over the years, we’ve learned that hearing loss frequently leads to ostracization, little or no education, and at times even physical abuse. It’s devastating. Which is why we’re dedicated to doing everything within our power to diagnose and treat hearing loss. With Hearing the Call, we’re able to do a little bit more to help out those people with the most need in our local communities. How does it work? 

Hearing the Call employs a Hand Up — Not a Handout approach. This means every beneficiary of the program must donate 10 hours of volunteer time to organizations within their community. That’s the beauty of the program: those with hearing loss get the help they need and in turn, provide help and support to others, too.

The events are simple, helpful, and impactful. We invite people who have noticed hearing loss to attend our event. By doing so, they have their hearing tested, and if necessary, they are fitted for hearing aids at little to low cost (cost is determined based on income). And the benefits don’t end there! All the patients we help continue to receive a year of complementary aftercare. And after that year-long period, patients are only charged $15 per office visit—a lifetime of affordable hearing care.  

Upcoming Events

If you missed January’s event, don’t worry! We’re going to be hosting more throughout the year! Some of this information is subject to change, so be sure to check back with us here, or directly with Hearing the Call Colorado to make sure you have the most up to date information. For now, our next date coming up will be on April 10, 2021 in Littleton, CO. Be sure to visit the Hearing the Call website to fill out an application to attend the event!

Could your hip implant be causing your hearing loss?

Over the years, researchers have discovered that metal hip implants can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance issues. Though the presence of any hearing loss may not be immediately apparent, after some wear or corrosion of the chrome or cobalt hip implants, individuals may experience damage in the auditory system.[i]

Let’s break it down

Now, even though the metal is localized in the hip, as time passes, small metal ions can travel into the blood stream from the hip implant and cause problems in other parts of the body, such as, the cardiovascular system, visual system, motor-sensory system, and the auditory system.[ii] As if that’s not enough, some patients have also reported issues with their psychological function and immune system.

At Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center, we take your overall health into consideration when you come in for a hearing evaluation. We take the time necessary to get a thorough health history before we even start your hearing evaluation. We believe it’s important to take all aspects of an individual’s lifestyle into consideration so we can get a more complete picture of what is truly going on. Did you know that hearing loss isn’t only caused by aging? It’s also been associated with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and ototoxic medications.

If you have a metal hip replacement, be proactive! It’s a great idea to get a baseline hearing evaluation. That way, if changes occur over time, they can be accurately tracked. Also, if you are experiencing any signs of hearing loss, like trouble hearing in noisy environments, asking for repetition often, or having trouble with the clarity of speech, don’t delay—get a hearing evaluation now! Early detection and intervention for hearing loss is key.

Take Charge

If you have a cobalt-chromium hip implant, educate yourself on the potential long term issues, and be sure to speak to your primary care doctor if you have any concerns. And of course, we’re audiologists who are here to help! If you have any questions about hearing loss or suspect that you may be suffering from hearing loss, do not hesitate to give us a call at 303-651-1178 to schedule an appointment.

Now that you know that hip implants can cause hearing loss, what can you do? While the not all patients with hip implants experience hearing loss, it is a possibility. The important takeaway is that you can be proactive and take steps to keep your hearing health in check. Reach out to us for anything, whether to make an appointment, to set up a hearing evaluation, or for help with your hearing aids.

[i] J. B. Leikin, H. C. Karydes, P. M. Whiteley, B. K. Wills, K. L. Cumpston & J. J. Jacobs (2013) Outpatient toxicology clinic experience of patients with hip implants, Clinical Toxicology, 51:4, 230-236.

[ii] Gessner, Bradford D. MD, MPH*; Steck, Thomas BS†; Woelber, Erik MSc†; Tower, Stephen S. MD‡ A Systematic Review of Systemic Cobaltism After Wear or Corrosion of Chrome-Cobalt Hip Implants, Journal of Patient Safety: June 2019 – Volume 15 – Issue 2 – p 97-104.

COVID-19: No Impact on Hearing Loss

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen countless headlines about how COVID-19 impacts individuals differently. From asymptomatic patients, to those who may suffer from long-term effects like the permanent loss of the sense of smell. Early on, one of those speculations had been about whether the COVID-19 virus has any effect on hearing loss, and it was largely debated. Good news: Studies show that COVID-19 has no permanent impact on hearing loss.

Researchers in Israel decided to investigate this question back during the first wave of the pandemic, when the number of patients infected with the virus was relatively small. They were trying to determine if hearing loss while infected with COVID-19 was caused by actual damage to the auditory system, or if it was more like the temporary symptoms of a common cold, with fluid clogging the middle ear. 

In this small study, investigators tested 8 asymptomatic individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and 8 healthy volunteers who served as a control group. All participants reported no prior hearing loss. The study provided for the first time quantitative measures for hearing quality following exposure to the virus. “Our study explored whether COVID-19 can cause permanent neural or sensory damage to the hearing system. We found no evidence for such damage,” said co-author Dr Amiel Dror of the Galilee Medical Center and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University. 

At this stage, according to Dror, their study showed COVID-19 has no impact on hearing loss. This was determined by measuring electrical data from the brainstem to test the route of the soundwaves through the ear until these electric waves were finally received in the brain. They also examined the activity of the inner ear hair cells. Based on their findings, they concluded there was no difference between COVID-19-positive subjects and the control group.

Co-author Dr Eyal Sela of the Galilee Medical Center and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University concludes, “This study proposes that the COVID virus does not cause extensive neurological damage but is rather spotty, mostly affecting the sense of smell. Moreover, the hearing impairment among some patients is mostly transient and secondary to fluid buildup in the middle ear, as for the common cold, and therefore likely passes once the acute disease is over.”

It’s important to remember that science and research is ongoing, ever-changing, and always being updated. The researchers are currently conducting a much more comprehensive study with hundreds of patients, including persons who had been severely ill and even ventilated. Let’s hope their results continue to show no permanent hearing loss due to COVID-19—we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more!

For now, know that all of us here at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center are here to provide you with the hearing support you need. Whether you need to be fitted with new hearing aids, an earwax cleaning, or have questions, reach out! Give us a call to make an appointment or to ask us any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Link Between Hearing Impairment and Diabetes

As you may know, many health conditions—like hearing impairment—are linked to each other in some way, and knowledge of these connections is vital in helping diagnose, treat, and manage certain conditions, like diabetes. Until recently, hearing loss had not been linked to diabetes in any way. But that has finally changed. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recognized hearing loss as being more common in people with diabetes. With this recognition, the ADA has now added audiology to its table on referrals for initial diabetes care management in its recent updated Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2021 published in the January 2021 edition of Diabetes Care, the organization’s magazine.

For audiologists everywhere, this is big news. In fact, the inclusion of the link between hearing impairment and diabetes is a significant victory not only for hearing healthcare as a whole, but specifically for the executive director of The Audiology Project, Kathy Dowd AuD. The Audiology Project promotes audiology-based medical management for chronic diseases, and in recent years, they focused much of their effort on educating stakeholders in diabetes about the links between the disease and hearing loss.

The ADA document addresses the link between hearing impairment and diabetes twice in their document, below is an excerpt:

Hearing impairment, both in high-frequency and low- to midfrequency ranges, is more common in people with diabetes than in those without, with stronger associations found in studies of younger people. Proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms include the combined contributions of hyperglycemia and oxidative stress to cochlear microangiopathy and auditory neuropathy. In a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) analysis, hearing impairment was about twice as prevalent in people with diabetes compared with those without, after adjusting for age and other risk factors for hearing impairment. Low HDL cholesterol, coronary heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, and general poor health have been reported as risk factors for hearing impairment for people with diabetes, but an association of hearing loss with blood glucose levels has not been consistently observed. In the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) cohort, time-weighted mean A1C was associated with increased risk of hearing impairment when tested after long-term (.20 years) follow-up. Impairment in smell, but not taste, has also been reported in individuals with diabetes.

This sort of knowledge is crucial in helping all of us in the health care industry to provide the best in care. If you believe you are suffering from hearing impairment, whether you are diabetic or not, we can help! Reach out to us to ask any questions, book and appointment, or to schedule a time for hearing aid maintenance. As always, our goal is to help you in any way we can.

New Technology Could Measure Tinnitus in Patients

It is estimated that 32% of the U.S. population suffers from tinnitus— the perception of a sound that has no external source. Most patients report they hear a ringing, humming, buzzing, or cricket-like sound that can be constant, intermittent, heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head. Needless to say, it’s uncomfortable, widespread, and difficult to care for because tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. This means most attempts to address the issue do not cure the actual disease, but rather, alleviates the symptom. However, there may be hope on the horizon.

According to a new study published in November 2020, a technology called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) can be used to objectively measure tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. This is a huge achievement, as to this day there has been no clinically used, objective way to determine the presence or severity of the condition.

How it works

Researchers turned to fNIRS, a non-invasive and non-radioactive imaging method which measures changes in blood oxygen levels within brain tissue.

– By using fNIRS, the study team was able to track different areas of the brain’s cortex known to be linked to the condition.
– Researchers collected data from 25 patients with chronic tinnitus, and 21 people were used as controls (who do not have tinnitus) that matched the 25 patients in terms of age and level of hearing loss.
– Patients were asked to rate the severity of their tinnitus using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory.

The fNIRS revealed some very interesting findings! Results showed a statistically significant difference in the connectivity between the areas of the brain in people with and without tinnitus. In addition, it was found that the brain’s response to both visual and auditory stimuli was lower among those with tinnitus. Researchers applied machine learning to the data they collected, and the program they used was able to differentiate between patients with mild tinnitus from those with moderate to severe tinnitus with an 87.32% level of accuracy. For a condition that until recently wasn’t even accepted by all audiologists, this is a huge accomplishment!

What this means

We’re so thrilled about these findings, and cannot wait until this technology becomes widespread. But we have to emphasize that that day has yet to come. For now, these are the early stages, and this technology is not available at doctor’s offices. This is but the first step of many, and it is a crucial one! Once this technology is further tested, improved, and approved, we can then hope to see them distributed to hearing care centers, like Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center.

Until then, all of us at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center are dedicated to giving you the treatment you need. We are skilled at the screening and treatment of tinnitus, and are here to help. If you or a loved one is suffering from tinnitus, don’t wait, let us help! Make an appointment with us, and let’s see what we can do to provide you with relief.

Toys May lead to Hearing Loss in Children

Wow! It’s almost impossible to believe the holidays are upon, and yet, here we are, it’s December! Many of us celebrate the holidays with gift-giving, and this year shopping may be a little different. With COVID-19 still keeping us primarily at home, many will have to stick to online shopping to get gifts for their loved ones.

Hearing Loss in Children

Though it’s difficult to believe, there are certain toys out there that are too loud, and they run the risk of damaging your child’s hearing. That’s why the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) recently tested and released a list of 2020’s hottest toys to avoid. These are toys that reach a sound level of 85 decibels (dB) or higher. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 85 dB is the maximum volume a child should be exposed to for no more than eight hours a day. Sounds louder than 100 dB can lead to hearing loss in children in less than 15 minutes. With online shopping on the rise, it’ll be harder and harder for parents to test toys out before their purchase, but the ACDHH is here to help. Read on for a list of toys they recommend as well as those to avoid.

Did you know?

Noise is the number one cause of hearing loss in children. Nearly 15 percent of children between the ages of 6-19 have some degree of hearing loss. Loud noises can increase fatigue, decrease a child’s ability to pay attention, and reduce short term memory. It’s not a great combination. That’s why the ACDHH spent time this year examining this season’s most popular toys, chosen at random, to provide parents with guidance this holiday season. Each dB measurement was taken as if the child placed their ear next to the speaker. If your shopping list includes toys for the children in your life, you may want to consider turning down the volume on these toys:

Toys to Avoid listed in highest dB order:
  1. Leap Frog Scrub and Play Smart Sink: 103 dB
  2. Vtech Turn & Learn Driver: 101 dB
  3. Fisher Price Sing & Learn Music Player: 98 dB
  4. Leap Frog 100 Animals Books: 98 dB
  5. Nickelodeon Baby Shark Musical PlayPad: 98 dB
  6. Jada Police Hero Patrol Lights & Sound 95 dB
  7. Leap Frog Fridge Phonics: 94 dB
  8. Vtech Helping Heroes Fire Station: 93 dB
  9. Adventure Force Mighty Dragon: 92 dB
  10. Leap Frog 100 Words Book: 92 dB
  11. Vtech Peppa Pig Learn & Discover Book: 91 dB
  12. Vtech Brilliant Baby Laptop: 90 dB
  13. Vtech Magic Star Learning Table: 89 dB
  14. Fisher Price Leave a Message Smart Phone: 89 dB

The ACDHH also created a list of toys they encourage parents to purchase (the list is not all-inclusive).

List of Safe Toys under 85dB listed by age:
  1. Leap Frog Learn & Groove Caterpillar Drums: 80 dB
  2. Leap Frog Pick Up & Count Vacuum: 78 dB
  3. Vtech Care for Me Learning Carrie: 75 dB
  4. Vtech Drop & Go Dump Truck: 75 dB
  5. Vtech Bright Lights Soccer Ball: 70 dB
  6. B. Toy Critter Clinic: No sound
  7. Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Counter: No sound
  8. Melissa & Doug Dust Sweep Mop: No sound

When buying toys for your children, it’s important to think about how the child will use the toy. More often than not, children may choose to hold the toy close, versus at arm’s length, which can be risky. Another consideration is what other sounds may be present at the time of play. Perhaps there’s a television on, other children they’re playing with who are yelling, or other loud toys they may not be interacting with. All of these sounds can add up, and ultimately lead to hearing loss in children.

If you’d like to conduct your own decibel test, there are a few applications you can download on your smartphone to test sound levels of toys you’re considering purchasing or already bought:

A few suggested dB testing apps from a report:
  • Apps for both Android and iOS
    • Decibel X
    • SPL Meter
    • Too Noisy Pro
  • Apps for iOS only
    • NIOSH Sound Level Meter
    • SPLnFFT Noise Meter
  • Apps for Android only
    • Sound Meter Pro
    • Sound Meter and Noise Detector

Simple test methods to ensure toys won’t hurt young ears: 

  • Use ‘try-me’ buttons on the toys when available
  • Hold the toy as close to your ear as your child would and ask yourself if the toy is too loud
  • Hold the toy eight inches away from your ear (approximately the length of your child’s arm), and if you must speak at a higher volume above the sound effects, it’s too loud

How to keep the volume down on loud toys:

  • If the toy has volume control, ensure it’s always set to the lowest level
  • Put waterproof tape or super glue over speaker to mute it
  • Put tape over volume control to prevent your child from increasing the volume to unsafe volume level

As always, our priority is your well-being. If you think your child may be suffering from hearing loss, or perhaps you, be sure to make an appointment with us. We’re practicing all social distancing safety measures, and are here to help with all your auditory needs. Give us a call to set up an appointment, or to ask any questions. We’re here for you!