man using sound therapy

What is Sound Therapy and How It Can Help with Hearing Loss

Losing your hearing may be affecting you far more than you think. Hearing can empower us and helps us live without limitation. It allows us to communicate, socialize and work. It also ensures that we remain connected to the outside world and keeps us safe from danger. Healthy hearing also allows a person to relax by relying on external noises that comfort the ears.

Most people tend to take their hearing for granted. It is something that has always been there for them, so they do not consider the issues of potentially losing their hearing. It is something that everyone needs to take into serious consideration. The loss of hearing can have a severe impact on one’s quality of life and overall health.

The Issue with Hearing Loss

According to the Hearing Health Foundation, nearly half of people older than age 75 and approximately one-third of those aged between 64 and 75 are diagnosed with hearing loss. Hearing loss has become known as the third most prevalent chronic health condition that adults have to deal with.

Hearing loss isn’t something that only impacts elderly adults. It is also a severe issue among young children. Approximately two to three of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. An estimated 12.5% of children in theU.S. ages 6 to 19 show evidence of noise-induced hearing loss. Additionally, more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents.

Age is known to be the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20 to 69, with a significant amount of hearing loss appearing in the range of 60 to 69 age groups. Statistics state that among adults aged between 20 to 69, the overall annual prevalence of hearing loss dropped slightly from 16% in the 1999-2004 period to 14% in the 2011-2012 period. However, men are twice as likely as women to experience hearing loss among adults aged between 20 to 69.

Furthermore, non-Hispanic white adults are more likely than any other adult in other ethnic groups to have hearing loss, with non-Hispanic black adults having the lowest prevalence of hearing loss among adults aged between 20 to 69. Around 18% of adults aged between 20 and 69 experience speech frequency hearing loss in both ears among those who report five or more years of exposure to loud noises at work. Compared to the 5% of adults with speech frequency hearing loss in both ears who report that their occupation does not expose them to loud noises.

As you can see, hearing loss is a severe issue that we face every day. Plenty of people are losing their hearing each day, leading to more health complications along the way. According to the World Health Organization, by the year 2050, over 2.5 billion people are projected to have some form of hearing loss. Plus, one billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss because of unsafe listening practices.

However, there are ways to treat hearing loss. Some people rely on using hearing aids, with around 80% of hearing loss cases being treatable with hearing aids. However, only one in four people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one. Another possible treatment would be sound therapy.

Sound therapy is one of the many solutions that are offered to patients looking for a hearing loss solution. This method is valued due to its non-invasive approach to a wide assortment of conditions. The loss of a person’s hearing can be traumatic for most people, and it has the potential to impact all aspects of our lives. It can severely affect our capabilities to interact with society and secure employment.

For this article, we are going to go over what sound therapy is and how it can help you with hearing loss.

What is Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy is a broad term that can be applied in many ways, depending on the particular product, clinical setting, or individual clinician. Generally speaking, sound therapy means the use of external noise to alter a patient’s perception or reaction to their ear problems. Like any other treatment for hearing loss and other ear-related issues, sound therapies do not cure the condition. However, they can significantly lower the burden and intensity of these ear-related issues.

Since any program relies on sound to improve an individual hearing experience, it can be loosely categorized under sound therapy. There are four general mechanisms of action for sound-based therapy. Different products may emphasize a particular aspect or include a combination of approaches.

However, most sound therapy treatments can be placed under four categories: distraction, habituation, masking, neuromodulation.

Distraction: This describes a treatment that is designed to direct the patient’s attention away from their ear problem and towards some other noise. Usually, these are pleasant, such as nature sounds or fractal tones.

Habituation: A treatment that describes the practice of seeking to train the brain to eventually ignore the issue and block out the noises altogether. After living in the same place for several years, your brain may entirely tune out the noise from a refrigerator. Habituation treatment is performed to do similar things, but with the sounds, you are hearing.

Masking: A treatment option that utilizes devices (known as sound maskers) that plays a noise loud enough to cover up and mask the ear-related issue. Generally, the noises being generated by these devices are labeled as white noise. However, these are not considered serviceable enough for providing long-term benefits.

Neuromodulation: A method that attempts to rewire the connections in the brain that are causing the ear-related problem to start with, neuromodulation treatments are limited to things like subjective tinnitus.

While each of these treatment options has similar underlying goals, recognizing the differences between all of them will be crucial to your health. Depending on the specifics behind your hearing problems, such as the causes, duration, intensity, sound type, and so forth, your audiologist may recommend a combination of treatment options that suit your particular needs.

Treatment Methods

There are plenty of devices that offer varying levels of sound therapy. Here’s a list of general types of sound therapy products and the specific mechanism of actions and efficacy behind them.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are known to be a type of sound therapy due to their capability to augment external noise as a way to increase auditory stimuli and divert attention from the perception of tinnitus.

Modified-Sound and Notched Devices

While commercial-grade sound devices can deliver a generic sound selection, several medical-grade devices offer more customized sound tailor-made around the patient and their hearing issue. These devices have specially modified music or algorithmically altered sounds in which particular frequencies and tones are accentuated. Usually, they are done on a level that is not consciously perceived by the listener. However, the functionality of these modified sounds varies according to the specific product.

Unlike ordinary white noise devices, notched- music devices are usually worn intermittently and provide a more far-reaching benefit after the device has been turned off. By paving the way for habituation, these products can assist the patient in naturally tuning out the perceptions of their hearing problem.

Any reported clinical efficiency of notched-music or modified-sound devices differs by product, but in general, these devices potentially provide some level of relief to plenty of patients. Optimal outcomes usually need at least some quantity of patient counseling and guidance in addition to the use of sound devices.

Combined Devices

Plenty of hearing aids now come with implemented sound generation technology that delivers either white noise or customized sounds to the patient on an ongoing basis. These products combine the benefits of a hearing aid with those other sound therapies and are specifically suited enough for tinnitus patients with measurable hearing loss.

Due to its capability of portability, these devices can provide the user with a continuous and consistent benefit throughout the day. The effectiveness of these combined devices varies depending on the device, the sound features implemented into it, and the specific patient. While the research data behind these therapies are not definitive, the professional consensus seems to be that hearing aids with integrated sound generators benefit a massive number of patients.

Sound Apps

With the endless amount of sound therapy apps and barely any direction for them, it can be challenging to figure out which of these apps is suited for your hearing loss problems. The purpose of these sound therapy apps is to provide a person with an alternative source that does not require them to go to a specialist and receive help with their hearing problems. Users can attempt to help solve their problems by using these apps to grasp the issue at hand.

Our app AudioCardio offers data and science-backed sound therapies tailor-made to maintain and enhance your hearing by stimulating the cells inside your ears. The clinically proven Threshold Sound Conditioning (TSC) technology generates a personalized sound therapy that assists with spurring and enhancing the user’s cellular activity. The app can swiftly assess a person’s hearing and delivers a once-a-day, one-hour sound therapy for their ears.

A person’s hearing works by processing sound waves that travel through the air. These sound waves are then sent as a signal to the brain. The brain proceeds to interpret these signals as sounds. AudioCardio’s Threshold Sounding Conditioning Therapy technology can detect the primary frequencies that have lost sensitivity and exercise them with personalized sound signals.

How Does Sound Therapy Help with Hearing Loss?

The benefits provided by using sound therapy can vary depending on the severity of your hearing loss. Numerous studies and reports reveal that the usage of sound therapy can positively impact your hearing health. Sound therapy can help manage and cope with tinnitus, listening skills, communication skills, auditory processing, and maintain sound sensitivity.

While research on therapies is still expanding, there is enough evidence that supports the usage of sound therapy and training for a variety of outcomes related to cognition, auditory processing, and hearing.

AudioCardio allows you to experience personalized sound therapy sessions that stimulate the damaged cells inside your ears to assist in promoting and supporting the transmission of signals to the brain. Having these cells frequently and repeatedly targeted should help generate a consistent stimulation that activates them. That permits the brain to rewire itself for better transmission of the electrical signals. Furthermore, the transmission of electrical signals means there is a chance to change the brain’s capability to recognize familiar sounds once again.

Here are some benefits you should expect from undergoing sound therapy:

  • Ease in communication
  • Improved communication in relationships
  • Emotional Stability
  • Group socialization
  • Better control over your own life
  • Perception of mental functionality
  • Physical health
  • Improved relationship with family

Here are several things that can be reduced when going through hearing loss treatment:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger and frustration over relationships
  • Depression and depressive symptoms
  • Discrimination against people with hearing loss
  • Compensation behavior (pretending to hear clearly)
  • Paranoia
  • Social Phobia

If you are one of the many people with either a mild, moderate, or severe case of hearing loss, who is sitting on the fence, consider the benefits we have provided above. Sound therapy is capable of improving your overall health and changing your life entirely. Keep in mind that our hearing is one of the most precious senses of all. It offers you the ability to communicate, work and socialize with colleagues, friends, and family. If you manage to lose your hearing, you could lose your capability to connect with the world around you.

How is Hearing Loss Measured?

Most otolaryngologists and audiologists define optimal hearing as someone being able to hear any sounds below 25 decibels. The values are somewhat liberally designated and are based on the average range below which most people in the population experience hearing issues. However, most clinicians who manage patients with hearing loss have stated that conventional hearing tests are imperfect, despite the crucial information they provide.

Those imperfections with conventional hearing tests are because it is a simple measurement that is trying to quantify the complexity behind hearing. For instance, most hearing tests present the same tone and word, but hearing in real-life situations involves such things as language, speech, and sentences, which are far more complicated to hear and would need far more complex testing evaluation.

Addressing hearing Loss

The symptoms of hearing loss should not be ignored. Doing so could prevent you from addressing these hearing issues. Additionally, do not hesitate to ask your provider for specific information about your hearing results. Patients are sometimes afraid to ask for details about their results because they do not want to admit that they do not understand the results, and it is crucial to raise concerns related to your hearing, even if your hearing test results show standard hearing thresholds.

By taking the appropriate steps to take care of your hearing, you are addressing any potential issues from occurring. Unfortunately, things like hearing aid use are considerably low despite the number of hearing loss cases each year. Fortunately, sound therapy can be an excellent alternative or complementary solution and offers a potential way for you to prevent any further hearing loss and treat any other hearing issue that may occur.

Conclusion

The loss of hearing can be a severe issue that impacts our everyday lives. Sound therapy offers people the chance to ensure their ears can recover and improve in ways other treatments are incapable of achieving. These sound therapies intend to prevent further loss of hearing in the human population, so consider trying it out yourself.

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