Stone's Hearing Aid Service - Stone’s, Where Your Hearing is Our Concern
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Spring Cleaning; It is not just for your home….It is for your Hearing Health

Spring Cleaning; It is not just for your home….It is for your Hearing Health
 
Window washing, dusting, yard work, car washes, organizing, cleaning out the cabinets; these are all activities that seem to emerge every spring.  The spring season is an important time of the year that allows us to clean up some of the dirt and grime, that has accumulated during the winter months, and start again, clean and fresh.  

As spring rolls around, we often take on the dirtier nooks and crannies of our homes and vehicles. However, you may not realize your hearing aids could use the same attention. Proper hearing aid care helps maintain optimum hearing, extends the life of your hearing aid and ensures healthy ear hygiene. 
Dirt, oil, moisture and earwax can build up on your hearing devices, clogging the tube that sends sound to your ears. This can affect the hearing aid’s performance which is why it is important to clean them daily and if it has been more than three months since you have had a professional cleaning, they probably are due for a good spring cleaning.

Whether you are a current patient of Stone’s Hearing Aid Service or you have never been to our office before, please come in to receive a FREE hearing aid cleaning and check and if you wish a FREE hearing evaluation as it is important to occasionally check your hearing to determine if your needs have changed since you last visited our office.
 
Start spring off fresh with a cleaning, new tubes, new battery or maybe even a new set of hearing aids! We offer many upgrade and trade-in deals for our hearing aids.
 
Bring your hearing aids in for a professional cleaning and don’t miss any of those spring sounds. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are always welcome as our doors are always open with Mark and Matt always “home” at Stone’s Hearing Aid Service, where your hearing is our concern. 

Stone’s Hearing Aids
51 High Street Pottstown, PA 19464
610-326-1250

Stone’s Hearing Aids Service to celebrate Veterans Day 2014 by honoring our service men and women

On November 11, 2014 Stone’s Hearing Aid Service will be celebrating Veterans Day by giving back to the men and women who have and are serving our country by offering veterans two options: Veterans who are new customers of Stone’s Hearing Aid Service may come in for a FREE hearing evaluation, at the time of the evaluation if it is discovered that a hearing device is needed they will be offered a 10% discount on their purchase. Current Stone’s Hearing Aid customers who are veterans will be offered a FREE hearing evaluation and FREE tube cleaning and inspection of current hearing devices. Stone’s Hearing Aid Service will have their doors open for walk-in’s on November 11, 2014 from 9:30-4:30. Walk-in’s are always welcome at Stone’s Hearing Aid Service, not just for Veteran’s Day, but every day as Stone’s values their patients and values their open door policy for all.

 Serving the Pottstown and local surrounding community since 1885, Stone’s Hearing Aid Service offers first hand one on one service to new and current patients. Partners Mark Shanta and Matthew Dailey ensure that they provide personalized care to individuals and nursing homes on a routine basis.

Shanta and Dailey both strongly believe in assisting military veterans and their hearing needs.  Dailey is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of ten years and Shanta’s uncle, Bill Stone (the third generation owner of Stone’s Hearing Aids) served in the U.S. Army during WWII in the South Pacific, being severely burned and wounded during the battle of the Philippines, and Shanta’s father, former Pottstown Police Chief, Mike Shanta, served in the U.S. Army during WWII fighting from Africa, D-day, through Europe.

Founded in 1885 Stone's Hearing Aid Service has been serving customers for over one century on High Street in Pottstown. Mark Shanta is the fourth generation in the Stone family to work in the business, with Matt Dailey joining the team in 2006. Matt and Mark pride themselves on commitment to their community, prompt customer service, reliability, and special attention to patient needs.

Stone’s Hearing Aids
51 High Street Pottstown, PA 19464
610-326-1250

Do NOT Let Winter Wipe Out Your Hearing

Do NOT Let Winter Wipe Out Your Hearing
 
With the impending storms arriving, Stone’s Hearing Aid Service wishes to reiterate the importance of ear protection and noise induced hearing loss. Because Your Hearing is Our Concern

Matt Dailey HIS of Stone's hearing Aid Service protecting his hearing while snow blowing

Winter is a time to pay attention to protecting our hearing during activities that are most common during the season. Whether your hearing is normal or you wear hearing aids to hear effectively, it is important to take precautionary measures while you're outside enjoying the season.
 


Though you can barely hear snow falling to the ground, the sound of snow blowers and snowmobiles can be dangerously loud. This winter, whether you are blowing snow off your sidewalks or sledding through it in the wilderness, please make sure your family’s hearing is protected. 

While fun to use, the noise levels of these machines can measure over 106 DB! Although you cannot lower the volume of a snow blower or snowmobile, you can move away from the noise or wear hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs.
 
Here are some instances where you could suffer noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), as well as some tips on how to protect against it:

•           Using a snow blower can cause hearing loss because they can emit sounds as loud as 106 decibels, which are only safe for exposure up to three and 3/4 minutes at a time. If you must use a snow blower rather than a shovel to clear your sidewalk and driveway, make sure to only use it in short bursts of time and to wear proper, high-quality hearing protection to prevent against NIHL.



•           Another snow-geared machine - a snowmobile - can also be the cause of NIHL. While snowmobiling is a fun winter sport, it is also very loud. Snowmobiles today can be as loud as 78 decibels  at a distance of 50 feet.

Please make sure to purchase the best hearing protection you can afford before trying snowmobiling.
 
Please make sure to step away a few times to take a "hearing break" and let your ears rest a bit while using ANY loud noise inducing device. 
 
Signs of hearing damage
How do you know if your ears have had enough? Here are some signs that the noises you are listening to are just too loud:
•           Ear pain
•           Buzzing feeling in the ears
•           Tinnitus, which can involve ringing, whooshing 
or other noises
•           Hypersensitivity to noise
•           Difficulty hearing in noise
•           Loss of sensitivity to loud noises
 

Types of hearing protection
•           Custom ear molds, which are made to personally fit your ear canals can be fitted and purchased directly at Stone's Hearing Aid Service.
•           Expanding foam ear plugs
•           Capsule ear protection, including headphones and earmuffs that go over the ears, rather than inside them
 
If you experience a hearing loss or notice any continuous buzzing or ringing in your ears, a check-up with with us at Stone's Hearing Aid Service for us to help ensure you are not suffering from NIHL or tinnitus.
 
Hearing health professionals believe one of the major causes of hearing loss among Americans is noise induced. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Diseases (NIDCD) says as many as 26 million Americans have noise induced hearing loss.
 
What is a safe noise level? The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets acceptable decibel levels in the work place at 85 Db or less. Employers (example: landscapers and the Department of Transportation, Borough/City/Township municipalities) are required to issue hearing protection in environments that register noise levels louder than that.
 
There are several ways you can protect your hearing while you are enjoying the great outdoors. Drug store earplugs are inexpensive and can reduce the level of noise by as much as 30 Db. They protect your ears against NIHL as well as from the ringing and aching often caused by loud and consistent noise. Noise reducing ear muffs and headphones may be more comfortable to wear, although they are typically more expensive.
 
If you wear hearing aids, consider wearing noise reducing headphones or ear muffs when you know you will be in a noisy environment. Your hearing aid amplifies sound, it is important to protect your ears from further damage. Be careful, though. While headphones can keep your ears warm during the cold winter months, they may cause you to perspire when wearing them before the weather turns cool – and moisture is damaging to the delicate electronics in your hearing aid.
 
Another way to protect your hearing during the winter months is to wear a warm hat that covers your ears. Although scientists no longer believe we lose more heat through our head than we do any other unprotected part of our body, they do believe keeping your ears warm can prevent earaches. Wearing a warm winter hat is also advisable for hearing aid users. According to Energizer, exposure to heat, cold or moisture can shorten battery life.
 
Duration
The duration (how long you are exposed to a noise) can affect the extent of noise induced hearing loss. The longer you are exposed to a loud noise, the more damaging it may be. Every loud sound produces a noise that could damage the ears of anyone in close hearing range. Excessive noise is present in many situations. Some of the more common ones include occupational noise (machinery, etc.), loud music, and non-occupational noise (lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.).
 
Finally, make sure you eat right and exercise regularly this season. Hearing health professionals believe that, much like the rest of our bodies, hearing health is dependent upon good blood flow and proper nutrition. Even though we’re more likely to develop hearing loss as we age, we can slow the process down by taking care of ourselves.

How is Noise Induced Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
Hearing loss usually develops over a period of several years. Since it is painless and gradual, you might not notice it. What you might notice is a ringing or other sound in your ear (tinnitus), which could be the result of long-term exposure to noise that has damaged hearing. Or, you may have trouble understanding what people say; they may seem to be mumbling, especially when you are in a noisy place such as in a crowd or at a party. This could be the beginning of high-frequency hearing loss; a hearing test will detect it. If you have any of these symptoms, you may have nothing more serious than impacted wax or an ear infection, which might be simply corrected. However, it might be hearing loss from noise. In any case, take no chances with noise – the hearing loss it causes is permanent.
 
If you suspect a hearing loss, please call or visit Stone’s Hearing Aid Service for a FREE hearing evaluation, assessing your hearing concern and recommending the best way to manage it.
 
How Might Noise Induced Hearing Loss Affect My Life?
Hearing loss can impact one’s life in many ways. You may be less able to understand conversation or appreciate music. A ringing in the ears, called tinnitus, commonly occurs after noise exposure, and it often becomes permanent. Some people react to loud noise with anxiety and irritability, an increase in pulse rate and blood pressure, or an increase in stomach acid. Very loud noise can reduce efficiency in performing difficult tasks by diverting attention from the job.
 
How can I tell if I am listening to dangerous noise levels?

         You must raise your voice to be heard.
         You can't hear someone 3 feet away from you.
         Speech around you sounds muffled or dull after you leave the noisy area.
         You have pain or ringing in your ears (this is called “tinnitus”) after exposure to noise.

How can loud noise damage hearing?
Understanding how we hear will help you to understand how loud noise can hurt your hearing.
One of the most common bad effects of loud noise on hearing is a permanent hearing loss. This happens in the following way:

         The loud sound is collected by the ear as sound waves. The sound waves travel down the ear canal toward the eardrum with enough force to disrupt the delicate hearing system. If the sound is loud enough, it can dislodge the tiny bones of the middle ear.
         The loud sound passes through the middle ear and travels to the inner ear, also known as the cochlea. The tiny hair cells lining this fluid-filled chamber can be damaged as the loud sound reaches the inner ear.
         Only healthy hair cells can send electrical impulses to the brain. It is in the brain that the sound is understood and interpreted. Hair cells damaged by loud sound cannot send the impulse to the brain for interpretation.
         Intense brief noises, like a firecracker or an explosion, can damage hair cells, as can continuous and/or repeated exposure to high levels of noise.
         Once the hair cells are damaged, there is no current treatment to repair them.
 
 How else can loud noise be harmful?
·         Loud noise can increase fatigue and cause irritability.
·         Noise can reduce the ability to pay attention to tasks. This is a concern at the workplace when it comes to workers' safety: The ability to detect faulty equipment operation or warning signals can be reduced. Noise can also reduce productivity.
·         Noisy classrooms can make it harder for children to learn.
·         Noisy backgrounds can make understanding conversation harder. The noise can mask or cover up some of the sounds of speech, making a word like “time” sound like “dime.” More concentration and energy are needed not only to listen and hear over the noise but also to speak louder. As a result, voices can be strained, and laryngitis can develop.
·         Another common effect of loud sound on hearing is tinnitus. Tinnitus is ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in the ear.
 
Loud noise can also cause other physical problems, such as:
         High blood pressure
         Increased or abnormal heart rate
         Upset stomach
         Insomnia or difficulty sleeping (even after the noise stops)
         Disruption of the development of a baby before birth
         Wear hearing protection. Cotton in the ears will not work. Hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs, can be purchased at drugstores, hardware stores, or sports stores. Custom earmolds can be made to fit your ears by an audiologist. Learn how to correctly insert the earplugs and earmolds for the best noise reduction.
         Earplugs are placed into the ear canal so that they totally block the canal. They come in different shapes and sizes, or they can be custom-made by taking an impression of the ear. Earplugs can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels (dB) depending on how they are made and fit.
         Earmuffs fit completely over both ears. They must fit tightly so that sound is blocked from entering the ears. Like earplugs, muffs can reduce noise 15 to 30 dB depending on how they are made and fit.
         Earplugs and earmuffs can be used together to achieve even greater sound reduction. Use of earplugs and earmuffs is recommended when noise exposure is particularly high.
         Do not listen to loud sounds for too long. If you don’t have hearing protection, move away from the loud sound. Give your ears a break from the sound. Plug your ears with your fingers as emergency vehicles pass on the road.
         Lower the loudness of the sound. Keep personal listening devices set to no more than half volume. Don’t be afraid to ask others to turn down the sounds from speakers. Speak to the movie theater projectionist if the movie sound track is too loud.
         Be a good consumer. Look for noise ratings on appliances, sporting equipment, power tools, and hair dryers. Purchase quieter products. This is especially important when purchasing toys for children.
         Be a local advocate. Some movie theaters, health clubs, dance clubs, bars, and amusement centers are very noisy. Speak to managers and those in charge about the loud noise and the potential damages to hearing. Ask to have the noise source lowered.
         Can my ears get used to noise?
         Don't be fooled by thinking your ears are “tough” or that you have the ability to “tune it out”! Noise-induced hearing loss is usually gradual and painless but, unfortunately, permanent. Once destroyed, the hearing nerve and its sensory nerve cells do not repair.
         If you think you have “gotten used to” the noise you routinely encounter, you may already have some hearing damage.
 
How loud is too loud?
The noise chart below lists average decibel levels for everyday sounds around you.


Decibel Loudness Comparison Chart

Painful
•           150 dB = fireworks at 
3 feet
•           140 dB = firearms,
 jet engine
•           130 dB = jackhammer
•           120 dB = jet plane takeoff, siren
Extremely Loud
•           110 dB = maximum output of some MP3 players, 
model airplane, chain saw
•           106 dB = gas lawn mower, snow blower
•           100 dB = hand drill, pneumatic drill
•           90 dB = subway, 
passing motorcycle


Very Loud
•           80–90 dB = blow-dryer, kitchen blender, food processor
•           70 dB = busy traffic, vacuum cleaner, alarm clock
Moderate
•           60 dB = typical conversation, dishwasher, clothes dryer
•           50 dB = moderate rainfall
•           40 dB = quiet room
Faint
•           30 dB = whisper, quiet library
 
Facts About Noise-induced Hearing Loss
•           Approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high-frequency hearing loss from overexposure to loud noises at work or during leisure activities. More than 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of noise on a regular basis.
•           Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable.
•           Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss will increase gradually. Over time, the sounds a person hears may become distorted or muffled, and it may be difficult for the person to understand speech.
 
Someone with noise-induced hearing loss may not even be aware of the loss, 
but it can be detected with a hearing evaluation.
•           Noise-induced hearing loss is related both to the decibel level of a sound and to the amount of time you are exposed to it. Your distance from the sound also matters.
•           Noise-induced hearing loss is related to a person's genes. Some people are more likely than others to develop noise-induced hearing loss when they listen to certain sounds. Scientists are working to determine which people are more at risk for noise-induced hearing loss and which are less at risk.
•           Researchers who study hearing loss have found that a person who is exposed to noise levels at 85 decibels or higher for a prolonged period of time is at risk for hearing loss.
•           Many devices that children use today have noise levels much higher than 85 decibels. For example, an MP3 player at maximum level is roughly 105 decibels. That's 100 times more intense than 85 decibels!
•           Children frequently participate in activities involving potentially damaging noise levels: playing with noisy toys, band instruments, and video games; listening to personal music players and stereos at high volumes; attending concerts and movies; operating lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and power tools; and riding off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.
•           When we are exposed to harmful noise—sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time—sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss. These structures, called hair cells, are small sensory cells in the inner ear that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain.
•           Scientists believe that, depending upon the type of noise, the pure force of vibrations from loud sounds can cause hearing loss. Recent studies also show that exposure to harmful noise levels triggers the formation of molecules inside the ear that contribute to hair cell damage and noise-induced hearing loss. These destructive molecules play an important role in hearing loss in children and adults who listen to loud noise for too long.
•           Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative, invisible, and permanent. It is cumulative because the damage can start when we are young and get worse over time. It is invisible because it can happen without our even noticing it, until it is too late. And it is permanent because, unlike a broken arm that gets better over time, we can't "heal" our hearing. Once it's damaged, it's damaged for good.

Please call or visit Stone's Hearing Aid Service for your 
FREE hearing evaluation TODAY
Your Hearing is Our Concern
 
 
Sources
noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov; asha.org; american-hearing.org; healthyhearing.com

Genetics of Hearing Loss

Genetics of Hearing Loss 


Though inherited genetic defects are just one factor that can lead to hearing loss and deafness, which may occur at any stage of a person’s lifespan, this is often overlooked as one does not consider probability in this. 

50%-60% or 3 in every 1,000 infants born who suffer from hearing loss have obtained this through DNA. Although exact data is not available for the aging it is likely that genetics play an important role in hearing loss for the elderly as well. Other factors may include: medical problems, environmental exposure, trauma, and medications. 

Inherited genetic defects play an important role in congenital hearing loss. The majority of hearing loss is caused by mutations ("misspellings") in the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequence of genes. There are a number of other factors in the environment that can cause hearing loss too. 

25% or more of hearing loss in babies is due to "environmental” causes such as maternal infections during pregnancy and complications after birth.  Sometimes, both genes and environment work together as a team to cause hearing loss. For example, there are some medicines that can cause hearing loss, but only in people who have certain mutations in their genes. 

There are four compounds known as "bases" in a strand of DNA: adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T), and cytosine (C). Each DNA molecule consists of two strands that form the shape of a double helix, through the pairing of A with T, and C with G. Thus, knowing the sequence of bases on one DNA strand automatically gives the sequence on the other strand of the double helix. 

Genes contain the instructions that tell the cells of people’s bodies how to grow and work. For example, the instructions in genes control what color a person’s eyes will be. There are many genes that are involved in hearing. Sometimes, a gene does not form in the expected manner. This is called a mutation. Some mutations run in families and others do not.  If more than one person in a family has hearing loss, it is said to be "familial". That is, it runs in the family. If only one person in the family has hearing loss, it is called "sporadic". Meaning, it does not run in the family. About 70% of all mutations causing hearing loss are non-syndromic. This means that the person does not have any other symptoms. 

About 30% of the mutations causing hearing loss are syndromic. This means that the person has other symptoms besides hearing loss.  For example, some people with hearing loss are also vision impaired or blind. 

The cochlea (the part of the ear that changes sounds in the air into nerve signals to the brain) is a very complex and specialized part of the body that needs many instructions to guide its development and function. These instructions come from genes. Changes in any one of these genes can result in hearing loss. The GJB2 gene is one of the genes that contains the instructions for a protein called connexin 26; this protein plays an important role in the functioning of the cochlea. In some populations about 40% of newborns with a genetic hearing loss who do not have a syndrome, have a mutation in the GJB2 gene. 

Diagnosis/testing:
Genetic forms of hearing loss must be distinguished from acquired (non-genetic) causes of hearing loss. The genetic forms of hearing loss are diagnosed by otologic, audiologic, and physical examination, family history, ancillary testing (e.g., CT examination of the temporal bone), and molecular genetic testing. Molecular genetic testing, available in clinical laboratories for many types of syndromic and nonsyndromic deafness, plays a prominent role in diagnosis and genetic counseling. 

Genetic  counseling: 
Hereditary hearing loss can be inherited in an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked recessive manner, as well as by mitochondrial inheritance. Genetic counseling and risk assessment depend on accurate determination of the specific genetic diagnosis. In the absence of a specific diagnosis, empiric recurrence risk figures, coupled with GJB2 and GJB6 molecular genetic testing results, can be used for genetic counseling

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process – Part 4 of 4

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process – Part 4 of 4

Optimizing Your Hearing Aid Experience by 
Training Your Brain to Listen

Our brains have specific regions devoted to speech, hearing, and language functions. We do not really hear in our ears; we hear in our brain. The brain recognizes and interprets sound in our environment through a sequence of events called auditory processing.

“I only need to wear my hearing aids when I go out” is one of the worst things you can think or do for yourself once you have made the decision to wear hearing aids. The majority of our hearing is done in the brain and not with our ears; this is why it is so important to consistently expose the brain to sound through the use of hearing aids. The ears pick up sound and deliver it to the brain. When hearing loss is present the brain is deprived of sound at a normal level (auditory deprivation). This becomes “normal hearing” to the person with hearing loss but it is not normal hearing. The brain needs to be consistently exposed to sounds at normal levels to put them into different categories as it once did. We are retraining the brain to hear again at a normal level. 

Unfortunately, you will never hear as well as you did when you were a teenager and the hearing loss cannot be “cured” but the hearing will be significantly improved.

Some people with hearing loss feel that their hearing is fine while they are at home or that they do not need to hear while reading the paper or watching television. They feel it is not important to hear the furnace or air conditioning running, footsteps on the floor, people moving around in the house, etc. Actually, it is very important to hear these subtle sounds. As you hear more amplified sounds you build a tolerance to the louder volume levels of sound which helps the amplified sounds seem more natural. More exposure leads to optimal performance with hearing aids. This is all done by the brain automatically without people being aware that it is happening.

Hearing loss is not only present when you go out into the noisy world. It may be more noticeable when you are in more demanding listening environments but the loss is always there. If a hearing aid wearer only wears the hearing aids occasionally, the brain has no idea what to do with all of this newly introduced noise and stimuli. This can be overwhelming and cause people to reject their hearing aids saying, “All I hear is noise”. 
If sound is introduced on a regular basis by wearing the hearing aids consistently, it will be more acceptable when background noise is introduced. When the hearing aids are not worn consistently the brain reverts back to the hearing loss mode which puts hearing aid wearers back to where they began—having trouble hearing. Consistent hearing aid use will help to eliminate this over-stimulation effect and sounds become very normal again. We are immersing the brain with the new sound, desensitizing it to the extraneous sounds, and allowing it to focus on listening to more important things like speech.

This whole process does not happen overnight. The more consistently hearing aids are worn, the faster all sounds, both background and foreground, will become more natural. The amount of time this process can take will vary for everyone. For this reason, wearing the hearing aids regularly throughout the day is critical to “hear” the best you can in multiple situations. There is no magic number of hours that are given to suggest that the hearing aids be worn throughout the day but they should be worn as much as possible. It is recommended to wear hearing aids all of the time; except when you are sleeping, showering, having your hair done, swimming or when in a dangerously loud environment. Be patient and give your brain a chance to adapt to all of the wonderful new sounds of life!

Tips for Hearing Aid Success

·         Start by wearing the hearing aids in your home environment.

·         Wear the hearing aids only as long as you are comfortable wearing them the first day, then push yourself to wearing them longer every day after that.


·         Accustom yourself to using your hearing aids while conversing with just one other person.

·         Do not be discouraged by background noise.

·         Practice locating the source of the sound by listening only.

·         Practice listening with audio books or talk radio.

·         Gradually increase the number of situations in which you use your hearing aids.

 

Buy Local By Local

Top Ten reasons to
Think Local - Buy Local – By Local – Be Pottstown
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why Buy Local? 
 
Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned, chain, “big box” businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community and lower the tax base.
 
Support community groups: Non-profit and local organizations receive an average 250% more support from local independent business owners than they do from large “big box“, franchised and chain businesses.
 
Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun, all of it makes our community home.
Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of the Pottstown area. Our tourisum businesses benefit as well, when people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of place, not just anyplace, a sense of belonging.
 
Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in our town or within the surrounding area, as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
 
Create more jobs and sustainability: Small local businesses are the largest employer in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
 
Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers. Respecting the customer and creating a community family.
 
Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in our community, whom are less likely to leave, and are more invested in Pottstown’s future.
 
Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in our Downtown Community require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned, “big box” or chain stores entering our community.
 
Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, well informing them of their purchase options, and not misleading,  guarantees a much broader range of product choices and satisfaction. Without an individual being bullied or intimidated into a purchase.
 
Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
 
Stone's Hearing Aid Service has been family owned and operated, serving the Pottstown Community since 1885

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process – Part 3 of 4


Choosing the Right Hearing Aid
After you have discussed your needs with your hearing care professional at Stone's Hearing Aid Service, you will generally be presented with a few recommended options at different price points. In most cases, you will have the opportunity to wear a demonstration hearing aid for a few days to try out.
 
Once you have made your decision, we will order your selection and schedule you to come back at a later date for you initial hearing aid programming. If you have decided on a custom-fit ITE style or a BTE with ear-mold style, we will take an 
impression of your ear canal to send in with the order.

Initial hearing aid programming
When your hearing aid arrives at Stone's Hearing Aid Service, we will hook it up to the computer and program it according to your hearing loss and preferences. Some professionals choose to do the programming before you arrive, we prefer to do it while you are there to ensure your hearing is to 
                        your accurate need.

Once the hearing aids are out of the box and on your ears, you will begin to hearing various sounds you have not heard for years. You may even feel like everything is too loud at first. It will take time for your brain to relearn (reprogram) which sounds to adapt to or ignore, like the sound of your own footsteps or the rustle of your clothing. Do not worry—we at Stone's will run tests to make sure that the hearing aid is set appropriately for your hearing loss. You will also be counseled on how to change the battery, use any features, clean and take care of your hearing aid.

Adjusting to your hearing aids
Adjusting to hearing aids takes time. Some people only need a day or two but most people need a few weeks or a few months to adjust to using hearing aids. The important thing to remember is to wear them, even if just for a few hours the first day, an hour longer the following day, and so on until you are wearing hearing aids all day. Start in a favorable listening environment (such as one-on-one conversations in quiet) and work towards more difficult listening situations. Let your friends and family know that you are using your new hearing aids.

During this time of adjustment, you will want to see us at Stone's for as many follow-up visits as you need to fine-tune the sounds you are hearing, adjust the fit in your ear and talk about the situations that are most challenging for you. 

Though many hearing aid professionals charge fees for this process, we at Stone's Hearing Aid Service provide all of these services at no cost as Your Hearing is Our Concern and quality is behind our name.
 

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process – Part 2 of 4


Addressing the Concern of Hearing Loss

 
If hearing aids are recommended after your hearing is tested, we at Stone's Hearing Aid Service will work with you to find the right hearing aids for you. That selection process, called hearing aid fitting. Hearing aid fitting starts with an assessment of your needs and ends with follow-up visits after the customized programming of your device.



Assessment of needs

Our process will begin the selection process by conducting an in-depth consultation with you to learn more about your lifestyle, your expectations, your personal preferences and your thoughts on any previous experiences with hearing aids. Your hearing evaluation results, along with this information, will help the us pull together some options for you to review.

Hearing evaluation results

The degree of your hearing loss will determine which styles may work best for you, with smaller models generally suited for milder losses. Larger models of hearing aids will work for any degree of hearing loss, including severe or profound. 

The shape of your hearing loss may also determine the best model for you. For example, a mini-BTE with an open fit works very well for gently sloping losses that mainly affect the higher frequencies, while a BTE with an ear-mold is a good option for a steeply sloping loss. The level of technology that you need can also be dictated by the degree and shape of your hearing loss. If your hearing loss is worse in the mid-frequencies than it is in the lower and higher frequencies, then you may need some advanced hearing aid features to best accommodate your hearing loss.

Lifestyle

When considering your lifestyle, it is important for us to get a picture of the lifestyle you desire. You may have gradually avoided certain environments and social situations as your hearing loss worsened. Now is the time to think about what you’d like to be able to do with the help of your new hearing aids! For example, if you spend your evenings talking on to family and friends on the phone, you will want a hearing aid that works well with your phone.


Lifestyle and preferences are considered when selecting hearing aids.

Generally, more advanced digital hearing aids are designed for people who encounter many different listening situations with varying degrees of background noise. For sedentary people who are mostly at home with little background noise, basic models                                  may be recommended.

 
Preferences

There are many different types of preferences that can affect hearing aid selection. Do you want hearing aids that are nearly invisible, or would you rather have something large enough that allows you to pick a bright color and show off your style? Do you prefer to have control over the volume of your aids or would you prefer to have automated technology that changes it for you? Do you want gadgets, like remote controls and wireless accessories for your hearing aids? Your preferences may be affected by your level of manual dexterity. Will you be willing and able to change a small battery more often or would it be better for you to have a larger style that requires less frequent battery changes? These are just a few of the preferences that we at Stone's Hearing Aid Service will explore with you.

Previous experience

Finally, it is important to consider any prior hearing aid experience when selecting a new hearing aid. Did you love your last set of hearing aids? Why? Did you like the style, the sound quality or something else? What did you have difficulty hearing with your old hearing aids? What new features would you like to try? This type of insight will help us determine what you will need in your new hearing instruments to maintain—or improve—your level of satisfaction. '

At Stone's Hearing Aid Service; Your Hearing is OUR Concern 

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process

Understanding the Hearing Evaluation and Hearing Aid Process – Part 1 of 4

How often should I get a hearing evaluation?
 
Hearing evaluations should be conducted once every ten years through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter. If you have any risk factors, particularly occupational or recreational noise exposure, they should be screened as needed, required by law in the workplace (OSHA, 1983), or if you suspect that you might have a hearing loss. In addition to noise exposure, other risk factors for hearing loss in adults can include heredity; viral or bacterial infections; medications, such as aspirin and chemotherapy drugs; and head injuries.


 
A hearing evaluation is no doubt very useful for those who have even a trivial uncertainty about the accuracy of their hearing. If you have a distressing feeling that one or both of your ears may have a problem, please contact us at Stone’s Hearing Aid Service for your free hearing evaluation.
 


What is an audiologic screening program?
 
An audiologic screening program consists of 3 simple, fast procedures to determine if a person may have or is at risk for hearing loss:
 
1. Screening for hearing loss (impairment)
2. Screening for ear disorder
3. Screening for hearing-related disability
 
The entire audiologic screening process does not usually take more than 10 minutes. When these three components of an audiologic screening program are completed, you are identified as either having normal hearing or being at risk for or suspected of having a hearing loss, and referred for comprehensive audiologic evaluation. Ten minutes is a small investment of time and energy to help protect your ears and possibly your future communication ability.
 
A medical evaluation may be recommended if the screening indicates a medical condition requiring evaluation, monitoring, and/or treatment. A medical referral will be made, for example, if the visual inspection of the ear reveals that the ear canal is blocked by cerumen (ear wax), or if pain or drainage is present.
 
Your ears are one of your most important “natural resources” to protect and conserve. Have of your hearing screened today.
 
At Stone’s Hearing Aid Service, “Your Hearing is Our Concern”. That is why we offer free hearing evaluations both in office with our state of the art stationary audiometer and sound proof room or, for those whom are unable to come to our office, we offer free in home evaluations with our portable audiometer system.
 
Stone’s Hearing Aid Service has been Family Owned and Operated since 1885 serving the Pottstown and surrounding communities.

 

Occupational and Routine Life Hearing Loss (Pt 4 of 4)


Occupational and Routine Life Hearing Loss (Pt 4 of 4)
PREVENTING NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS
 
Humans, Noise, Deafness

Different types of noise and sounds 
can equally damage one's hearing. For example, your ears may sustain the same amount of damage after you have enjoyed a concert and after you have spent an hour close to a construction worker handling a jackhammer. Basically, every sound, regardless of where it comes from, if it contains the sufficient amount of intensity, appearing repeatedly and continuously, can easily lead to hearing damage, ringing in the ears, partial or complete hearing loss, dizziness and numerous other health problems.



Today, more than 10 million Americans suffer from hearing loss or damaged hearing triggered by excessive exposure to noise. Therefore, noise is considered to be the main culprit behind both temporary and permanent hearing loss .

Acoustic Trauma and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Acoustic trauma is a condition which manifests once a great amount of sound energy strikes the inner ear of a human being, such as when one goes to a loud music concert. After the concert, he/she may hear ringing in the ears for several hours or may be bothered by a temporary decrease of his/her hearing function. If the symptoms linger for a couple of days, the sufferer may have oral steroids prescribed in order to stimulate the regeneration of the inner ear. Unfortunately, if the medications fail to help, hearing loss may be permanent and the noise threshold of the ear shifted beyond repair.

Moreover, if the sound is excessively loud and sudden, it may lead to hearing loss or even a ruptured eardrum. Hearing loss in this case may take place hand-in-hand with dizziness. Then, a surgical intervention may be a must.
 
Risk Factors regarding Hearing Loss

Certain factors such as duration of exposure and closeness of the sound source may amplify the amount of damage done. Namely, since portable music devices such as MP3 players have taken the world by storm, there has been a significant increase in hearing impairment due to the proximity of the earphones to the eardrum.

Also, shooting guns without protecting your ears may have the same effect. Finally, people with blue eyes, light skin, history of hearing loss in the family, diabetes mellitus, Meniere's disease, iron and vitamin A deficiency, old age, atherosclerosis and a tobacco smoking addiction are all in danger of losing this sense more easily than other people.
 
How to deal with noise emergency

We live in a modern world which is constantly advancing. However, we rarely think about the fact that all our means of advancement are quite noisy. Namely, all the construction machines, means of transportation, many devices we use in our household and many others out there, all generate quite high levels of noise. All this has an influence on our well-being as well as the well-being of our planet as a whole. Recent studies have realized that birds in large cities sing in a higher-pitched tone nowadays, since they are unable to conduct their message due to all the background noise cities have. If birds are having problems, imagine what we, people are going through. Silence, for us, has become obscurity, since; we are so rarely exposed to it. When two people are together and are saying nothing, it is awkward to us. Moreover, when a person who lives in a city visits the quiet countryside, he or she feels strange and uncoordinated due to the lack of wild noise. All in all, our noise has changed us drastically, even more than we are capable of perceiving.
 
Is Noise a Problem?

Researchers conducted in Europe claim that one quarter of the whole population of this continent lives in such noisy surroundings, that their health is impaired by the noise. Loud and high-pitched sounds are constantly in our ears, whether we are at home or at work. 

What is more, in all our free time in between, we listen to loud music from our player's earphones, go to clubs where the music is so loud that we cannot possibly hear each other or indulge into some other, unavoidably noisy activities. This results in numerous diseases and conditions like depression, anxiety, insomnia, memory problems, and others. All these, in the long run, evolve into something more serious. Thus, we need to protect our precious ears from noise so as not to expose our lives to greater threats. City noise is also one of the main causes of high blood pressure in people.
 

Possible Solutions
Simply, no noise is better than noise. Thus, we need adequate sound isolation in our households and offices. This way, at least while we are working and resting, we will not be exposed to this damaging factor. As for noisy factories and similar object, noise isolation would take them out of the whole lot of annoying buzzing, screaming, roaring, screeching and other noises we are exposed to daily. Just as pollution filters are important and obligatory, so should sound filters be. This way, we will ensure better health of our ears, as well as our whole selves.
 
What to expect from a complete hearing evaluation

A hearing evaluation performed by a specialist, such as us at Stone’s Hearing Aid Service, is needed in order to asses one's hearing abilities and to confirm or rule out hearing loss. 








The evaluation can also provide with information whether hearing loss is conductive, sensorineural or a combination of the two. Hearing evaluations are performed by an audiologist or a licensed hearing aid fitter, such as Mark and Matt at Stone's Hearing Aid Service.
 
What Happens First?

Once the person has come to the audiologist or fitter's office, a professional first asks specific questions regarding the condition and patient's medical history. 

The history of hearing loss is also investigated. For example, a person may be asked if he/she has been exposed to noise, what medications he/she was or is taking and whether he/she has had any ear infections or been operated.
 
Complete Hearing Evaluation

The person is placed in a soundproof room and given headphones. The first of several further tests includes a series of sounds administered via headphones. The sounds are of different pitch and quality. The person is asked to indicate each time he/she hears a tone. Conformation is achieved either by raising a hand or pressing a specific button. This is a pure-tone hearing test. After pure-tone hearing test a person undergoes SRT test. This test determines the lowest level a person can repeat half of the words he/she was asked to repeat by the examiner.
 
MCL test determines the level at which a tested individual feels comfortable to hear sounds. And finally, UCL test gives insight in the loudest level one could tolerate when it comes to listening sounds. Any sound beyond the level determined with UCL test leads to painful sensations.
 
Final part of hearing exam includes a test with a small oscillator. The oscillator is placed on the bone behind the ear and stimulated. By doing so the examiner evaluates the bone conduction of the sound. This type of sound conduction can be increased or decreased and the results can help the examiner determine the actual cause of such changes.
 
Hearing aids are devices designed to help people dealing with loss of hearing. These devices are able to help patients suffering from temporary or permanent damage to the hearing, to percept the speech and hear many other sounds around them.
 
People with mild to moderate hearing loss, especially in both ears are those who should use hearing aids. Also, if there is some communication problems caused by the loss of hearing, patients are advised to use hearing aids. These are not devices recommended for people who suffer from minor hearing problems, and they won’t be of much help to someone with a severe loss of hearing, too. Therefore, wearing hearing aid makes some sense if you have mild hearing loss. For more difficult cases, seeing a doctor who specializes in hearing loss is suggested. Doctors usually suggest BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) or cochlear implants, depending if the problem persists on one or both ears.
 
Hearing Aid Types


Every hearing aid should enable the patient, who is wearing it to hear the speech correctly. Also, it should not catch too much of the background noise or be too loud. At the same time, the device should provide both audible and physical comfort and be cosmetically acceptable. It should be of reasonable price and its size should be adjusted to the ability of the patient to manipulate small objects with his or her hands.
 
There are many types of hearing aids. Some of the most common include: hearing aids worn on the body, behind the ear (BTE) or in the ear (ITE). There are also hearing aids with receiver in the canal/ear or mini canal, and those which remain invisible in the canal. Additional types of hearing aids can be: extended wear hearing aids, open-fit, programmable, disposable and BAHA devices, as well as some eyeglass hearing aids.
 
How to Choose Hearing Aid

Hearing aid is selected after an evaluation, which can diagnose the type, degree and frequency slope of the hearing problem. This evaluation is also very helpful to estimate the benefits the patient should have from some hearing device. There is also some otologic evaluation, used to establish the possibility of some medical or surgical therapy, because about 5 to 10% of all hearing problems can be sort out either medically or surgically.
 



 Stone's Hearing Aid Service offers FREE hearing evaluations by appointment or walk-in as Your Hearing in Our Concern as we have been Family Owned and Operated since 1885 serving the Pottstown and surrounding communities. 

 

 






Our patients are Our first concern and priority. That is why we at Stone's offer FREE on-site visits with our portable Audiometer for thorough evaluations (Homes, Retirement Communities, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes) 

Please always feel free to call us or visit