Donna Smith, one of our physician assistants, has been a member of the Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute team since 2015. In addition to having 37 years of experience, she has recently completed her Doctor of Medical Science degree through the University of Lynchburg, with a specialty in Neurotology. Congratulations Donna J. Smith, DMSc, PA-C!
Dr. Smith works with patients with hearing loss, ear infections, dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 904-399-0350.
A very common complaint for people with hearing loss is hearing within background noise and distinguishing speech. Many patients rely on lip reading to help them understand the conversation and this has become a big obstacle to overcome due to the Covid-19 pandemic and masks being worn.
Virtual communications and tele-health appointments are the newest advancement in “face to face” encounters to help alleviate exposure. This is a great alternative for many to still be able to work and gain access to health care while keeping a safe distance.
People with hearing loss can experience some difficulty with this type of communication and below are some tips to help achieve a smooth appointment.
Make time for introductions at the beginning of the appointment. This allows you to make sure other users can hear you, and you can hear them.
Have good lighting. Sitting against a wall is preferred to achieve good lighting to highlight your face for cues. When you sit in front of a window, the back lighting hides your facial features.
Don’t cover your mouth. Keep your hair, hands, and clothes away from your mouth.
Wait your turn to speak and project when doing so.
Mute the microphone if you are not speaking. This helps avoid ambient background noise entering the virtual room.
If you have Bluetooth devices that are paired to your phone or tablet, make sure they are connected.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the audiologists at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute would like our patients to know that we are taking all necessary precautions and are following CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus and to keep patients and staff as safe as possible. This includes offering remote programming services for select hearing aids and cochlear implants. During a remote programming session, the audiologist can program the hearing aid or cochlear implant without having the patient come into the office, thereby keeping high-risk individuals safe at home while still having access to hearing healthcare. Programming is done in real time, which allows patients to provide immediate feedback to the audiologist during the session.
To find out if your hearing aid or cochlear implant is eligible for remote programming, or if you are interested in learning more about this technology, call the clinic at 904-399-0350 to find out more.
We can’t always know when a natural disaster or other
unexpected event will come our way but we can take steps to ensure that when
something does happen, we are prepared.
It is normal to experience anxiety or apprehension during a
natural disaster or crisis and this can be compounded by a hearing loss and the
concern you may not hear announcements or alerts coming from community leaders.
It is important to prepare ahead of time to ensure your
hearing aids and/or cochlear implants are in optimal condition. The following
are tips to help you prepare for when the unexpected happens.
Check your battery supply.
Disposable batteries: it is important to have
extra disposable batteries on hand in the event you cannot get to a store to
purchase more. Be sure to regularly check the expiration dates especially if
you purchase in bulk. Batteries have a shelf life of 2-3 years.
Rechargeable batteries: purchase a portable
battery pack (and be sure to charge it) to be able to charge your batteries on
the go or in the event the power goes out. Be sure you have more than one
battery so you can always have fully charged battery on hand.
Review your equipment
Check the status of your equipment and ensure
you have extra parts and pieces in the event your hearing aid or cochlear
implant stops working and you can’t immediately get to your audiologist.
Hearing aids users should take care to a supply of wax filters and domes at
home to easily replace if needed. Utilize a de-humidifier to lower the risk of
moisture damage. Cochlear implant users should ensure they have an extra coil
and cable to swap out if necessary.
Enhance your communication
Utilize a captioned telephone to assist with
understanding important information over the phone. Captioned applications are
also available for smartphones.
Sign up for text or e-mail alerts when possible
to ensure you receive and understand any announcements or alerts.
See your Audiologist
If you have enough notice, try to make an appointment with your audiologist for a clean and check of your equipment as well as re-programming to ensure you are able to hear your best.
On March 3rd every year, the World Health Organization celebrates World Hearing Day to help promote ear and hearing care around the world.
Hearing loss affects individuals of all ages and it is important in all life stages to have the ease of communication to keep you connected to loved ones and the world around you. Early diagnosis and treat hearing loss in a timely manner can help facilitate access to education, employment opportunities and daily communication.
In the United States, 7 out of 10 individuals who say they have trouble hearing don’t use hearing aids, according to a Better Hearing Institute (BHI) survey. Many people think that hearing aids are big, bulky, poor quality and will squeal continuously which is not the case. Today’s hearing aids are smaller and smarter than ever, incorporating automatic programming, noise adaptation, Bluetooth technology, rechargeability and wireless programming. A more recent BHI study revealed that over 90% of individuals who have purchased hearing aids are glad they did.
As hearing healthcare providers, all of us at JHBI want you to know that there are options to treat your hearing loss. At your consultation appointment, we will discuss all of your hearing health concerns and the options available to help you hear better in the environments that matter most to you.
On March 26th, Dr. Green and his
team at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be taking their yearly medical
mission trip to Jos, Nigeria.
Begun in 2010, Hearing Help for Africa is the
brainchild of Dr. Douglas Green, his wife Kelley and Dr. Joel Anthis. The Greens and
their family made several mission trips to Lusaka, Zambia with Family Legacy Missions in the early
2000s. They were struck by the incredible joy exhibited by the
African people in the midst of extreme poverty, profound loss of the family
structure due to AIDS, and the hardships imposed by governmental
corruption. Dr. Green was subsequently invited to visit Nigeria by Dr.
Anthis, an American ear, nose and throat physician who was working full-time in
a Christian missionary hospital in Jos, Nigeria. While there Dr. Green witnessed firsthand
the scope of the need as he performed surgery and helped provide medical care
for patients with ear-related problems.
***If you would like to donate old hearing
aids to Hearing Help for Africa, please contact our office at 904-399-0350
What Is Conductive Hearing Loss? Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems with the outer or middle ear that prevent sound waves from reaching the inner ear. Problems of this area might be in the ear canal, eardrum, or in the small bones of the middle ear, as a result of infections, fluid, a perforation in the eardrum, or earwax buildup. A medical provider can treat conductive hearing loss with certain medications if it caused by an infection or a buildup of fluid. They can also help by cleaning earwax and making recommendations to help prevent further wax buildup. In some cases surgical intervention is required. A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is often helpful for patients with this type of hearing loss.
What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss? When the inner ear or nerves that send the hearing signal are damaged over time, it can lead to sensorineural hearing loss. This is the most common type of hearing problem and it is most often due to damage to the hair cells that send sound signals to the brain. Aging, loud noise, trauma to the head, genetics, and certain diseases are the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss. These hair cells cannot be repaired, so sensorineural hearing loss is usually not medically treatable. However, people with this type of hearing problem can turn to hearing aids as a means to hear better and improve their quality of life. Some types of sensorineural hearing loss are treatable, mainly if the injury is short-term. If you have a sudden hearing loss, contact your doctor immediately.
What Is Mixed Hearing Loss? Some people have a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. For example, if someone has age-related hearing loss, then suffers trauma to the eardrum. If you have mixed hearing loss, your doctor can recommend which type is to be treated first in order to maximize your chances of success.
Hear your best this holiday season with some helpful tips
from Cochlear Americas.
Prepare yourself. Make sure you’re hearing your best
before you gather with family and friends. Schedule an appointment with a
hearing specialist to explore what hearing treatment options will work best for
you or to fine-tune your current hearing device.
Plan ahead! Identify the best listening areas in a
room, such as a quiet corner. If attending an event, take advantage of
accessibility equipment offered. When sitting down for dinner, choose a seat
that works best for your hearing, possibly away from background noise and against
Travel smart. If you currently use a hearing device,
remember to bring extra batteries, chargers, remotes and accessories. You
should not need to remove hearing devices for security checkpoints. Take
advantage of visual alerts and hearing accessible accommodations. Pack any
equipment you bring for your hearing device in carry-on luggage.
Educate your loved ones. It is important that your
family and friends understand your hearing loss. They want you to take part in
the conversation and have fun too! Share tips with your loved ones on how to
best include those with hearing loss in the conversation including:
at a slower rate and at a normal volume
your attention before they begin speaking
eye contact throughout a conversation to take advantage of visual cues
Whether you’re holding a family
gathering at your house, or attending a get-together with friends and family,
the holidays are a great time to reconnect and spend time with people you care
about. But when you suffer from hearing loss, the holidays can extra stressful.
Don’t let your hearing loss prevent you from
enjoying the holidays this year.
Here at JHBI, we are getting ready to celebrate the holidays with better hearing! The Hearing Center is offering a special promotion on hearing aids this holiday season. Enjoy a discount off the cost of hearing aids during the month of December. To take advantage of this offer, call 904-399-0350 to schedule a consolation with an audiologist and learn about the newest technology in hearing aids!
During this holiday season all of us at JHBI and our Hearing Center pause to give thanks to our patients and their families, especially Veterans for their service to protect our freedoms. We’re grateful to all patients for putting their trust in us to help them hear better, especially those with severe hearing loss.
Also, we thank Clay Today* newspaper for an informative story on our patient, retired Navy Captain Mark Adrick, who had a Cochlear® implant surgically inserted to improve severe hearing loss. After decades of flying helicopters and airplanes, his hearing was completely lost. Most severe hearing loss patients have no idea about the lifelong effects of extended loud noises and how it damages the inner ear’s cochlear nerve and surrounding tissues, sometimes beyond repair.
As we count our blessings this holiday season, we wish to thank our patients and their families for trusting us to give the best hearing care possible to improve the quality of life. We wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season.
The Hearing Center At JHBI Proudly Serves Patients In Jacksonville (Jax), Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Mandarin, Ortega, Ponte Vedra Beach, Flagler Beach, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Orange Park, Macclenny, Middleburg, St. Johns, St. Marys, Waycross, Nocatee, Vilano Beach, Green Cove Springs, Middleburg, Jacksonville Beach.