Living Behind the Ear – Hearing Aids

Living aids are a small device that spend their time in most cases inside and behind the ear of an individual who has a hearing impairment. The small device is used to amplify noises to increase the probability of an individual who is hard of hearing in distinguishing a sound. Technology over the past decade has greatly increased both the effectiveness of hearing aids as well as greatly reduced the obtrusiveness of a hearing aid. It used to be that an individual would have to wear an “ear trumpet” or “ear horn”, which was a larger and very noticeable way of aiding hearing. Now many times you won’t even notice that a hearing aid is being used until you look closely as they are very compact in size and will often times blend right in with the ear of an individual. With the increased technology in batteries and power conservation, there is no longer a need for cables and pocket battery packets, instead the battery is concealed in the device itself! It’s like James Bond, but this device is actually useful. 
 
There is several different types of hearing aids, which will vary in many ways among size, cost and power. Before making a choice on any different model or function, I would first recommend talking to your medical professional. Always put functionality ahead of all your other choices. A hearing aid that looks great, but doesn’t help your hearing, isn’t going to be much of an aid at all. Same with one that you are constantly changing the battery out of. Functionality and practicality go a long way in the purchase of a hearing aid.

Types of Hearing Aids  
 
There are several types of hearing aids. Each type offers different advantages, depending on its design, levels of amplification, and size. Before purchasing any hearing aid, ask whether it has a warranty that will allow you to try it out. Most manufacturers allow a 30- to 60-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund. There are four basic styles of hearing aids for people with sensorineural hearing loss:  

  • In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely in the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case, which holds the components, is made of hard plastic. ITE aids can accommodate added technical mechanisms such as a telecoil, a small magnetic coil contained in the hearing aid that improves sound transmission during telephone calls. ITE aids can be damaged by earwax and ear drainage, and their small size can cause adjustment problems and feedback. They are not usually worn by children because the casings need to be replaced as the ear grows.  
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn behind the ear and are connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The components are held in a case behind the ear. Sound travels through the earmold into the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. Poorly fitting BTE earmolds may cause feedback, a whistle sound caused by the fit of the hearing aid or by buildup of earwax or fluid. Canal Aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two sizes.  
  • The In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aid is customized to fit the size and shape of the ear canal and is used for mild or moderately severe hearing loss. 
  • A Completely-in-Canal (CIC) hearing aid is largely concealed in the ear canal and is used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Because of their small size, canal aids may be difficult for the user to adjust and remove, and may not be able to hold additional devices, such as a telecoil. Canal aids can also be damaged by earwax and ear drainage. They are not typically recommended for children.  
  • Body Aids are used by people with profound hearing loss. The aid is attached to a belt or a pocket and connected to the ear by a wire. Because of its large size, it is able to incorporate many signal processing options, but it is usually used only when other types of aids cannot be used. 

On the basis of the hearing test results, the audiologist can determine whether hearing aids will help. Hearing aids are particularly useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people with sensorineural hearing loss. When choosing a hearing aid, the audiologist will consider your hearing ability, work and home activities, physical limitations, medical conditions, and cosmetic preferences. For many people, cost is also an important factor. You and your audiologist must decide whether one or two hearing aids will be best for you. Wearing two hearing aids may help balance sounds, improve your understanding of words in noisy situations, and make it easier to locate the source of sounds. 

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How to Find the Best Cure For Snoring

Many sufferers would applaud knowing the best cure for snoring, but just what exactly works and what does not? Experts have varying opinions, but there is one thing that is for certain and that is that you cannot go wrong with a natural cure for snoring. 

Among the newest anti-snoring aids that offer a natural snoring remedy is the Sleep Genie, which is often recommended by doctors. During sleep, this new product has been proven to support the jaw while keeping the mouth closed. 

Open mouth sleeping is one of the leading causes for snoring, which is why this revolutionary new snoring device often works during the very first use. Could this be among the best cures for snoring? Perhaps the individuals who tried this product could chime in, but they are busy enjoying a restful night’s sleep at the moment. 

Other cures for snoring are found when people simply decide to sleep on their side instead of their back. Individuals who regularly sleep on their back seem to be more prone to snoring when the fatty tissue in their mouth rests in the back of their throat, which restricts air passage. If it seems impossible to sleep on their side, individuals can rest a large body pillow up against their back to prevent them from turning over through the night. 

Some anti-snoring devices, such as the Sleep Genie, allow you to sleep any way that you choose. If you choose to sleep on your back, but have nasal congestion caused by allergies, there are natural cures that may provide relief. 

Before going to bed, run hot water in the sink and inhale the steam. The warmth will open up the nasal passages and allow for easier breathing through the nose. In addition, ridding your home of allergens, such as dust, pet hair and cigarette smoke will also help allergy sufferers to get a better snore-free night’s sleep. 

The use of air filtration systems help to remove dust and other allergens from their air and should be placed in every room throughout the house, including the bedroom. 

If the sufferer has been diagnosed as being overweight or obese, this may also be a cause for snoring. A medically supervised diet and exercise program may be the answer to losing weight and the nighttime nuisance of snoring. Not only is weight loss one of the best cures for snoring, but also one of the best for overall health. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as, or in place of, professional medical advice. Before beginning any treatment for snoring, please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and remedy. 

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Determining the Cause of Snoring

Many things promise to cure it, but what exactly causes it? The cause of snoring varies from one individual to another, but there are several leading factors that are believed to behind this nighttime nuisance. 

Obesity is believed to be a leading cause of snoring. Many physicians, therefore, recommend a program of diet and exercise to not only prevent snoring, but also to promote better health. If you have recently been diagnosed as being either overweight or obese, it may be time to consider a quality program to help shed some pounds along with your snoring habit. 

Another main cause of snoring is when individuals sleep on their back. When this happens, the muscles and tissue tend to relax in the back of the throat and restrict air passages. By sleeping on your side, you may help to eliminate this problem and greatly reduce snoring. 

The aging process is believed to be another cause of snoring. Researchers believe that, as the skin in the throat ages, it begins to lose its elasticity. When this happens, it is more likely to relax and cause air passages to be restricted. 

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is also a serious cause of snoring. Symptoms include excessive snoring, pauses between breathing, awakening through the night with a feeling of choking or gasping for air, etc. 

The reason this occurs is because, with sleep apnea, the airways become completely blocked and the sufferer actually stops breathing on multiple occasions throughout the night. Sleep apnea, if left untreated, may often lead to more serious medical conditions. Among them, heart problems, a stroke or other serious illness. 

A sleep study, which is generally ordered by a physician, may help to diagnose the direct cause of snoring for everyone. The snoring sufferer spends one night at a sleep center, which monitors his/her breathing and snoring patterns throughout the night. The results are then studied by a physician who makes a final diagnosis. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used as, or in place of, professional medical advice. Before beginning any treatment for snoring, please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and remedy. 

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Effective Strategies to Lower Your Cholesterol Level

You can lower cholesterol without drugs by following some basic steps that will not only change your cholesterol readings, but also improve your health today and in the future. So often we use a prescription drug and hope it will magically cure whatever ails us. The truth is prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol do work. The problem is both the short term and long-term side effects. 

Even more dangerous than the side effects of prescription drugs to lower cholesterol is not getting cholesterol under control. Over time, high cholesterol can lead to numerous conditions of the heart and arteries, not the least of which are atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke or heart attack. 

Here are 5 steps you can take today to lower your cholesterol without prescription drugs. 

Eat right. May sound simple, but diet has such a significant impact on lowering cholesterol that it should be the number one factor you look at in determining if your high cholesterol is hereditary or a matter of dietary choices. A low fat and low cholesterol diet is the first step toward lowering cholesterol. 

Exercise. Improving cardiovascular health is a step toward reversing the effects of high cholesterol. Exercise itself doesn’t directly lower cholesterol but will strengthen the heart and entire circulatory system. 

Quit smoking. If you smoke, the plaque buildup in the arteries due to high cholesterol is accelerated. When plaque blocks the flow of blood to the heart, the muscle has to work harder to get oxygen. This can lead to a heart attack. If the arteries get completely blocked with plaque from high cholesterol, then a stroke can occur. 

Relax. Chronic stress can affect cholesterol levels. If you are constantly stressed and eating a low cholesterol diet, you may not see any improvement in cholesterol readings until you learn to relieve stress. 

Talk to your doctor. Not all doctors are quick to prescribe medications. In fact, the more enlightened doctors will help you form a diet and exercise plan that is suitable for your current overall health and abilities as a first step toward lowering cholesterol. It is always important to ask your doctor if your decision to follow a specific diet or exercise plan is right for you. In addition, do not stop taking medications before consulting with your doctor. You can lower your cholesterol with diet and exercise, and under the care of your doctor, see about removing drugs from the process. 

It does not take long to see significant improvements in your cholesterol. Lower cholesterol can be yours in just a matter of weeks. If you would like to understand more about cholesterol, the prescriptions most often used to treat it, and what you can do to lower cholesterol naturally and without prescription drugs. 

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Why Won’t My Primary Care Physician Prescribe Acupuncture?

In short? Because it’s not something most physicians are familiar with. Plus, most insurance plans won’t cover the cost.

But let’s step back for a minute and talk about acupuncture itself. In the world of alternative medicine, acupuncture reigns supreme in terms of legitimacy. That means it has a lot of practitioners, people like it, and science actually backs it up – most of the time. Here’s a brief overview and what you should know about your physician and acupuncture.

What is it?

According to the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture involves the “insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body.” It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, and it is used commonly to treat pain. However, acupuncture is increasingly used for overall wellness, which includes stress management.

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is known as a technique used for balancing qi, the flow of energy or life force. By inserting needles into specific points along the body’s key meridians, practitioners believe that the energy flow will rebalance. By contrast, in Western medicine, practitioners see key acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. Some think that this stimulation boosts the body’s natural painkillers.

Does it work?

According to several studies, yes, it does. A meta-analysis of 29 peer-reviewed studies, which involved nearly 18,000 patients, found that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain. It is therefore a reasonable referral option. Though the differences between acupuncture and the placebo were modest, they were enough to inform the findings of this massive study.

Why won’t my doctor prescribe it?

Most doctors unfamiliar with alternative medicine are not convinced that acupuncture can treat anything.

If you really think acupuncture is the answer for your chronic pain or other ailment, there are steps you can take to get the treatment. You can pursue an acupuncturist on your own and ask for a consultation. However, most health insurance plans do not cover the common practice, and so finding an in-network practitioner may be difficult.

If seeking a practitioner on your own isn’t ideal, there are strategies for talking with your doctor. Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice, which means it should be done alongside other treatment methods. When approaching the conversation, begin with this idea – that acupuncture is best practiced alongside other treatments is ideal. This is a great way to strike a compromise between yourself and your primary care physician.

That said, I don’t recommend pointing your doctor to individual studies; if they’re a good doctor, they’ll do the research on their own. No physician likes to be lectured by a patient, especially if it seems as though the patient’s research is cherry-picked. However, if your doctor is extremely stubborn, this study, published in Primary Care (a well-respected journal), is informative, comprehensive, and polite.

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Does Meditation Really Change the Brain?

In alternative medicine circles, meditation is sort of a catch-all treatment for a variety of ailments, mostly related to mental health. In modern medicine circles, meditation is rarely, if ever, a treatment recommendation; instead, doctors tend to think of it as a way to relax after a difficult day. I know plenty of doctors who meditate, but none of them ever prescribe it to patients. But should they?

The effect of meditation on the brain is an interesting one, and research regarding the connection has been rolling in steadily for several years. As it turns our meditation can have a variety of neurological benefits. There have been some very exciting studies in the past few years, and I’ve combed through them with a believer’s enthusiasm and a skeptic’s precision. Here are some of the ways meditation can change the brain and be used for treatment.

It Helps Aging Brains

In 2015, a study from UCLA found that long-term meditators, or people who had been meditating regularly for an average of 20 years, had better-preserved brains than those who did not meditate. The study discovered the meditators had more grey matter volume in the brain. This grey matter contains much of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies and is essential to muscle control and sensory perception. The older you get, the less grey matter your brain has – unless, according to this study, you’ve been meditating for 20 years.

In this application, meditation is not a great treatment option. You can’t very well tell someone to go meditate for 20 years and come back younger. That said, if you’re worried about losing functionality as you age, it’s never a bad time to start up a practice.

It Reduces Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Pain

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins university found that meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety, depression, and pain. However, there was low evidence of improved stress/distress and mental health-related quality of life. “We found low evidence of no effect or insufficient evidence of any effect of meditation programs on positive mood, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, and weight,” the study states. However, it continues, stating, “clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress.”

What does that mean? Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, but it’s a tool that patients and physicians can use to manage symptoms.

It Can Aid Addiction Recovery

Several studies have shown that meditation can be effective in helping people recover from various addictions. For example, one study compared the effects of meditation to the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program. Researchers found that those who “learned mindfulness” through meditation were more likely to have quit smoking than those in conventional treatment after 17 weeks. The researchers conclude that this is likely due to the fact that meditation has measurable effects on the regions of the brain that moderate self-control.

While meditation can help with addiction, remember that weaning off more dangerous substances, like alcohol and opioids, is best handled in a professional medical setting. This is the best way to control possible withdrawal symptoms. However, once through the withdrawal period, meditation can help with maintaining a substance-free life.

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