There comes a time in life when you have to ask yourself: “Do I need a hearing aid?”
Thing is, that time isn’t necessarily when you’re older. Hearing loss may be more frequent then, but it’s not an exclusive condition of aging. Many environmental and health factors can contribute to missing out on conversations, on music, on enjoying the sounds of your life.
Contact us at Injoy. Let’s talk about your possible hearing loss. You can even take a free hearing test online for absolute proof there’s an issue. If we don’t think hearing aids are right for your situation, we’ll tell you.
And if they are right for you, boy does Injoy Hearing Aids have your back! But first, let’s look at what can make you need a hearing aid in the first place.
Hearing Loss Happens
You may have already noticed that your hearing is going bad, and you didn’t really realize it.
Some of the signs include things like:
- Conversations have started to sound indistinct, jumbled, or kind of “mumbly”
- You’re having to more frequently ask people to repeat what they said.
- People are starting to comment on how many times you say “What?”
- Your hearing is ok where it’s quiet, but kind of sucks in a noisy restaurant/environment.
- Your family, your neighbors, even your dog can’t stand how loud you need the TV to be.
Does any of this sound familiar (pardon the pun)? If so, you should probably seek some help. Life is too short to miss out on sharing the sounds of joy.
That’s why the experts at Injoy provide quality help for people suffering hearing loss! Our first way to help you answer “Do I need a hearing aid?” is to share the knowledge on hearing, so you can make informed decisions.
Understanding How Hearing Works
The way we hear is actually an amazing and surprising process. It involves tissue, bone, and even hair, to convey Mozart, Metallica, or mom’s sweet voice.
To begin with, your ear consists of three major areas: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
Your outer ear structures include the visible part of the ear (pinna) and the ear canal.
The cup-shaped pinna (PIN-uh) gathers sound waves from the environment. It acts as a parabolic collector, like those microphones you see in spy movies that have big, round parabolic dishes attached.
The pinna works to gather and reflect the sound into the ear canal (external auditory meatus). This guides the soundwaves to the mechanisms in your middle ear.
The middle ear consists of an air-filled cavity with 3 bones residing in it: the hammer (malleus), the anvil (incus) and the stirrup (stapes). The eardrum (tympanic membrane) separates these bones from the outer ear.
Sound travels through the ear canal and hits the eardrum, which vibrates. Those vibrations cause the bones in the middle ear to also vibrate, which transfers the sound to the “oval window.”
Interestingly, the middle ear itself works to amplify the incoming sound. The sound wave pressure on the oval window can be up to 20 times higher than on the eardrum.
Eustachian Tubes: Your Middle Ear Exhaust System
The middle ear connects to the upper part of your throat by narrow channels called auditory tubes (eustachian tubes). These tubes open and close to equalize the pressure in the middle ear with that of your environment.
Have you felt pressure in your ears when going up or down in elevation? That’s the pressure in your eustachian tubes. When you yawn to make the pressure go away, that causes the eustachian tubes to open, equalizing the pressure.
Equal pressure on both sides of the eardrum is important for the normal vibration of the eardrum.
The auditory tubes also function as a fluid drainage system.
Behind the oval window, your inner ear contains a group of interconnected, fluid-filled chambers.
The first is a snail-shaped chamber, called the cochlea (KOK-lee-uh). Your cochlea plays a key role in hearing. The sound vibrations from middle ear bones transfer through the oval window to the fluids of the cochlea. This causes tiny sensors (hair cells) lining the cochlea to move. The sensation of this movement converts into electrical nerve impulses, and zip along the auditory nerve to your brain.
Those extremely important, fragile hairs incur the initial damage that results in hearing loss. It can be caused by age, noise exposure, or medication.
The other fluid-filled chambers of the inner ear include three tubes called the semicircular canals (vestibular labyrinth). More fragile hair cells in the semicircular canals detect the motion of the fluid when you move in any direction.
When the fluid sways them, they convert the motion into electrical signals transmitted along the vestibular nerve to the brain. You keep your balance because of this sensory information.
That’s why spinning can make you dizzy; the motion agitates the hairs in the semicircular canal, and make you off-balance, often to the hilarity of your friends. #thanksfornothing
Connecting the Dots
Let’s put all that science together:
- The outer ear collects & transports sound waves to your eardrum, causing vibrations.
- The eardrum & 3 small bones of the middle ear amplify the vibrations as they travel to the inner ear.
- There, the vibrations pass through fluid in a snail-shaped structure in the inner ear (cochlea).
- Thousands of tiny hairs translate sound vibrations into electrical nerve signals that are transmitted to your brain.
- Your brain turns these signals into the sounds of your life.
When You Might Need to See a Doctor
Do I need a hearing aid? That depends. Injoy offers help in many ways—by phone, online, and through our free online hearing test. However, it’s important to see your primary care physician if you have a sudden loss of hearing, particularly in one ear.
If you experience anything like this, please seek immediate medical attention first, and immediately. Don’t wait! The sooner you react to sudden hearing loss, the better chance you have at regaining your hearing.
And we always recommend regular health checkups, including testing your hearing. You might be able to improve your ability to hear much earlier in life, or address health issues that could cause detrimental effects later if left untreated.
Hearing Loss Classifications
There are different types of hearing loss. When you know their meaning, you can talk one-to-one with your hearing specialist or primary care provider.
Hearing loss is defined as one of three types:
- Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)
- Sensorineural (involves inner ear)
- Mixed (combination of the two)
Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, it’s common for hearing loss to gradually occur to greater or lesser degrees as we age (presbycusis). Almost half the population of the United States older than age 65 have some degree of hearing loss. They’re asking the same question in conversations, at restaurants, at home: Do I need a hearing aid?
You can’t reverse most types of hearing loss, unfortunately. Here’s the good news, though: you and your Injoy specialist can work together to improve what you hear!
Possible Causes of Hearing Loss
There are several causes for hearing loss. Here are the most common.
Drugs can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
For example, the antibiotic gentamicin, the wellness supplement sildenafil (Viagra), and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear. Temporary effects on your hearing can include singing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss.
These issues can also occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs, or loop diuretics. Always ask your doctor about prescriptions, and read the “side effects” of your medications, whether prescription or over the counter.
Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Ever been to a concert or a stadium sports event, and afterwards sound seems muffled? That’s because the sound has traumatized your inner ear mechanisms.
That damage can occur with long-term exposure, or from a short blast of noise. Cannon fire, guns firing, even sudden and loud feedback from speakers can cause hearing loss.
Just Your Genes
Your hearing loss could be a family trait passed down, or just a genetic fluke. Whichever way, you could be more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.
Where You Work
A loud jobsite can cause hearing loss. Farming, construction, factories, airports, if it’s constantly loud, you need to wear ear protection to bring those decibels down. Otherwise the noise environment can lead to damage inside your ear.
Exposure to explosive or loud noises, such as from firearms or while listening to recorded/live music, can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include snowmobiling, motorcycling, carpentry, or wearing headphones to blast the sound from video games.
You may know someone who had “mumps,” and ended up losing hearing in an ear. Sickness can not only clog your ears for a bit, it can cause hearing loss that’s permanent. Some diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea.
Loss/Degradation of Inner Hair Cells
As you age, hair often recedes from your head and seems to migrate wherever you don’t want it to. In the same vein, your inner ear hair cells, the ones that actually generate the nerve impulses that become your hearing, can recede—and they don’t come back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, degrading your ability to hear well.
Safe & Unsafe Noise Levels
Curious about what constitutes a safe (or unsafe) level of noise in your environment?
The chart below lists common sounds you’ll encounter at home, work, wherever you go—and their corresponding decibel levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines safe noise as having a level limit at 70 decibels or under.
The louder the noise, the less time it takes to cause permanent hearing damage, and the faster you’ll be wondering “Do I need a hearing aid?”
Common Noise Sound Levels
Decibels Noise Source
60 Normal Conversation
Dangerous Noise Sound Levels
Decibels Noise Source
85 Heavy City Traffic, School Cafeteria
110 Chain Saw, Jackhammer, Rock Concert, Symphony
120 Ambulance Siren, Thunder
140-165 Firecracker, Firearms
Maximum Sound Exposure/Durations
Here are the maximum legal noise levels and durations for jobs without hearing protection. Numbers are based on occupational safety & health administration reports from 2008
Decibels Duration Daily
90 8 Hours
92 6 Hours
95 4 Hours
97 3 Hours
100 2 Hours
102 1.5 Hours
105 1 Hour
110 30 Minutes
115 15 Minutes or Less
Hearing loss can lead to other serious issues
The psychological impact of hearing loss on older adults can cause or contribute greatly to issues such as:
- Cognitive impairment
- Social isolation
- Memory loss
Hearing loss can make conversations difficult. It can cause the people around you to become annoyed because you ask them to repeat themselves, or you have to listen to media (TV, radio, computer) at levels they find uncomfortable.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define you. Check with your doctor for help to see if the issue is caused by a medical condition. And Injoy is here for you to help fight the results of hearing loss with our awesome, easy-to-use hearing aids.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
What are some examples of hearing loss? You might ask yourself “do I need a hearing aid?” if any of these scenarios seem familiar to you:
- I go to a restaurant, and I can’t hear the person across the table or the waiter. Was that a “T” or a “B”? Did they say dad or bad? It can be the difference between “peach and teach.”You’re neither deaf nor hard-of-hearing.You just can’t understand speech as well as you used to.
Hearing aids can be specifically tuned to help you define and understand what you’re hearing.
- In a boardroom meeting, I catch about every 3rd word. I must be able to hear in that environment clearly, so that I can do my job to the best of my abilities. Otherwise, my position, and my livelihood, could be in jeopardy.
Hearing aids can cut the echo and amplify useful audio to help you stay on top of communication.
- My spouse wants me to get my hearing tested, because I run the TV louder than they like.
Hearing aids can not only help you hear at “regular” volume levels, you could even feed bluetooth signals directly into them and not trouble others at all!
- I have trouble hearing in church, which also makes it hard to sing hymns like I used to.
Hearing aids can assist in specific environments, with settings that help isolate audio & amplify it.
- I can’t hear my grandkids clearly on the phone. It makes them, and me, sad.
We hear you. And that’s why Injoy works day and night to help you hear them! With bluetooth compatible Injoy hearing aids, you can listen to a phone conversation through the hearing aids in both ears! Now that makes it much easier to enjoy your facetime call or a conversation with your loved ones.
Can I try out hearing aids first?
Of course you can, with Injoy!
Our process for identifying hearing loss, and addressing it, is super-easy. We even offer a zero-money-down, we-don’t-charge-you-a-single-dime free trial that allows you to test out our hearing aids with—and we can’t stress this hard enough—nothing out of your pocket!
If you love them, keep them and only then do you pay for them. Otherwise, if you feel they’re not 100% right for you, return them no-questions-asked within the trial period. No worries about getting money refunded, no hassles with your credit cards. You can answer “do I need a hearing aid?” by trying them, and comparing the results to when you’re without them.
You’re trusting Injoy to help you address your hearing loss. We trust you to make the right decision on your hearing aid performance. We’re not here to make a sale, we’re here to provide excellent products with exceptional service. Compare us to others. We don’t mind.
Our results sell themselves. #simpleandtrue
Hearing Health Tips from Your Hearing Professionals
Now that you understand fully how hearing works, and you’re exploring how Injoy can help you hear better, there are some things you can do on your own to improve and protect your hearing.
Protect Your Ears
Consider limiting the duration and intensity of your exposure to noise. This simple action offers the best protection for your hearing.
In the workplace, ask management about wearing plastic earplugs or glycerin-filled earmuffs, as they can help protect your ears from damaging noise.
Get a Hearing Test
As part of your personal healthcare, get regular hearing tests from your physician—especially if you work in a noisy environment. If you think you may have lost some hearing, these tests can help you take steps to prevent further loss. And they can definitively answer the question “do I need a hearing aid?”
Limit or Avoid Recreational Risks
Love riding a snowmobile, hunting, using power tools, or listening to rock concerts? A lot of people do—and a lot of people damage their hearing over time. Wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise can help protect your hearing. And sorry rock and rollers, but turning the volume down from 11 helps, too.
Quit Smoking (or Don’t Start)
Here’s something you might not have known about the hazards of smoking: research indicates that smoking can increase your hearing loss risk by double or more.
Blood flow and oxygen are crucial for the health of your inner ear cells. Both of these are hampered by nicotine and carbon monoxide. Add to that the irritation smoking can cause to your middle ear lining and eustachian tubes. It’s just plain not good for you.
Smoking also irritates the lining of your middle ear and disturbs the normal function of your cochlea.
Watch the EarWax
Excessive ear wax buildup can affect your hearing and make sounds seem muffled. Here’s the deal: please don’t attempt to remove it yourself. Scraping the delicate lining of the ear canal can damage it. Your primary care provider can help you remove the excess build up.
Also, if you try to dig it out yourself, you could end up jamming it deeper, and you could damage your eardrum. That damage could be irreversible, so check with your doctor first.
Get regular hearing screenings
As part of your doctor checkups, have them run tests on your hearing, too. These can expose the early signs of hearing loss, and improve your chances of fixing the issues causing it. It also gives you a baseline for comparing your hearing as you age.
The idea is to keep your hearing as good as it can be, for a life full of sounds you love to hear.
Take our Free Online Hearing Test
Have you clicked through to take our hearing test online? It’s free and it’s easy. Just have some headphones/earbuds handy, because our audiologist-designed online hearing test will see how well each ear works.
The test costs nothing, and can provide immediate proof where improvements can be made if they’re needed. It can also give you a big “thumbs up” on your current hearing, and let you know you don’t need Injoy hearing aids. That’s free peace of mind. Come get some today!
Do I need two hearing aids?
Technically, no—you can get by with one hearing aid. But you can also get by wearing one glove, or having a corrective lens in only one side of your glasses, right? If you need hearing aids to hear better, you’ll be 100% improved when you hear better in both ears. It’s the old saying “two is better than one, one is better than none.”
What if I already have hearing aids?
If you already have hearing aids, you probably know that in time they either wear out, or lose their functional appeal. Technology advances constantly, and new hearing aids may give you what your 3, 4, 5, or more year-old hearing aids don’t. The fact is, 50% of all hearing aids sold go to existing users.
What decibel level defines hearing loss?
If your hearing has lost 15 to 20 decibels worth of ability, meaning you have to increase everything you hear by 15 to 20 decibels to understand it, you’ve got hearing loss.
But the biggest defining quality is your perception. Do you feel that hearing better will improve your quality of life? Is it worth the effort to improve your hearing? You can hear—but can you hear well? Only you can answer these questions. At Injoy, we bet the answer is “yes,” because improved hearing has helped thousands of our customers live more joyously.
Injoy Hearing Aids for the Joy of Hearing Well
The struggle from hearing loss is the same no matter what your age is. Don’t ask if you’re old enough for a hearing aid. Ask if you’re the right age to choose to hear better.
Do I need a hearing aid? If the answer is yes, Injoy has options for functionality, and service that will let you run with it, or walk every step of the way with you. With Injoy, you get in control of your hearing loss, for happier hearing every day.
Injoy. Listen. Hear. Live!