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Better Hearing and Speech Month

May was designated as the Better Hearing and Speech Month by the American Speech-Language-Hearing  Association (ASHA)  in 1927.  The goals of Better Hearing and Speech month is to bring awareness to hearing and speech deficits, educate the population on how these issues effect the community, and empower individuals to take action if they suspect they have a speech or hearing deficit.

Hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the United States, effecting one in every eight people over the age of 12.  Difficulty communicating with others can lead individuals to be withdrawn, negatively impacting them both socially and emotionally.  The primary goal of an audiologist, when working with these patients, is to provide the tools they need to maintain an active lifestyle and minimize the effect of their hearing loss.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) developed a short questionnaire* to see if you could benefit from having your hearing evaluated by an audiologist.

 

NIH QUESTIONNAIRE:

  1. Do you feel frustrated when talking to members of your family because you have difficulty hearing them?
  2. Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding co-workers, clients, or customers?
  3. Do you feel restricted or limited by a hearing problem?
  4. Do you have difficulty hearing when visiting friends, relatives, or neighbors?
  5. Do you have trouble hearing in the movies or in the theater?
  6. Does a hearing problem cause you to argue with family members?
  7. Do you have trouble hearing the TV or radio at levels that are loud enough for others?
  8. Do you feel that any difficulty with your hearing limits your personal or social life?
  9. Do you have trouble hearing family or friends when you are together in a restaurant?

 

If you answered “YES” to three or more of above questions, feel free to contact our clinic at (904) 339-0350 to schedule an appointment with a provider.  Together you will develop an individualized plan to improve your hearing healthcare.

*Adapted from: Newman, C.W., Weinstein, B.E., Jacobson, G.P., & Hug, G.A. (1990). The Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults [HHIA]: Psychometric adequacy and audiometric correlates. Ear Hear, 11, 430-433.

WJCT Tinnitus Speaker Series

Identifying and Treating Tinnitus

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI) is excited to partner with WJCT to host a speaker series on Friday, March 23rd, on the diagnosis and management of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

The event will take place at WJCT studios at 100 Festival Park Ave, Jacksonville FL, 32202. While registration opens at 11:30 am, the main speaking event, which includes a presentation and a question and answer session, will run from 12:00 until 1:00 pm. Complimentary lunch will be provided.

Dr. Douglas Green Jr., the founder of JHBI and the practice’s neurotologist, will be speaking on the medical causes and subsequent diagnosis of tinnitus. Dr. Janelle Kelley, a clinical audiologist at JHBI, will be discussing the audiological evaluation of tinnitus and several management strategies ranging from at-home smart phone app usage to hearing aids.

Space is limited! If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by March 21st at 5pm by calling 904-358-6322 or visiting wjct.org/jhbi.

Does Food Taste Different Paired with Different Sounds?

Sound and Taste: Where Is the Connection?

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which two or more senses interact; stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. One of the most common forms of synesthesia is grapheme-color synesthesia, in which people perceive individual letters of the alphabet and numbers to be “shaded” with a color. Other forms of synesthesia include correlating sounds with scents, sounds with shapes, or sounds with taste. This brings us back to: sound and taste, where is the connection?

Sound and Taste

Although not directly described as synesthesia, Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford has devoted much of his career specializing in research about the integration of information across the different senses.  His work helps to explain why food can be more or less enjoyable depending on environmental features/atmosphere, colors, or in this case, sounds.  Some of his most noteworthy work relates to how our perception of taste is effected by other sensory modalities, say sound, for example. As Spence writes, “Many of the food properties that we all find highly desirable – think crispy, crackly, crunchy, carbonated, creamy, and of course, squeaky (like halloumi cheese) – depend, at least in part, on what we hear”. Perhaps his most notable experiment in the field of cross-modal research was “The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips,” published in the Journal of Sensory Studies in 2004. From this research, Spence concluded that food can taste different depending on changes in sound. In general, higher pitched crisps with more crunch were reported to be more fresh and more desirable in taste. More recently, he found that higher-pitched music enhances sweetness. The evidence shows that when people are asked to match tastes with a specific pitch or musical instrument, the majority of people will match sweet-tasting foods with sounds having a higher pitch and the sound of the piano while matching bitter-tasting foods with lower pitched sounds and the sound of a brass instrument. Another thought: Ever think about why tomato juice or a Bloody Mary is more appealing on an airplane? Spence explains that the 5th flavor of taste, umami—a meaty, protein-like flavor described by the Japanese is actually enhanced in flight. According to research done by Spence, the loud engine noise of the plane at upwards of 85 decibels can influence how you taste food and beverage. It tends to suppress sweet and salty whilst enhancing umami, thus, you choose to drink tomato juice. Many drink options on planes tend to be sweet, hence juice and soda. Tomato juice is one of the only savory options. In fact, the German airline Lufthansa estimates people consume about as much tomato juice as beer aboard its flights! Spence’s suggestion to make more things taste appealing in air is to simply use noise-cancelling headphones. There is also work being done looking at different music people listen to on flights and how that can possibly contribute to how things taste. More work is being done in this area related to how restaurants can use sound to enhance the dining experience and food and beverage companies can utilize sound to better market their products.

 

Charles Spence recently published a book called Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating. It is about the quirks of human perception and how they play out at mealtimes. https://www.amazon.com/Gastrophysics-Science-Eating-Charles-Spence/dp/0735223467

Also, click these links to view some interesting videos about the topics discussed above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj7vukZT9sI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6TtbBMSRUI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw6X7g_Kxc0

 

 

Kilwins Ice Cream Run

The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Join Kilwins Ice Cream Run (5K and One Mile)

The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute is proud to join Kilwins to be a sponsor of this year’s Kilwins Ice Cream Run (5K and One Mile) to benefit Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Jacksonville. The Clarke mission is to provide children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the listening, learning and spoken language skills they need to succeed. Clarke impacts the lives of children and adults through education and early childhood programs, hearing services, mainstream services, research, curriculum development, and the teachers and professionals trained by Clarke who take their special skills to all parts of the world. They teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing how to listen and talk using the latest technology – all so each person who receives the caring and compassionate services delivered by Clarke is able to reach his or her full potential. The Hearing Center’s audiologists, along with Douglas A. Green Jr., MD and the staff at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute, know Clarke is more than a school, it is a place that allows new horizons for those they serve. Register now and come along with us – run and walk to help this extraordinary organization! Sign up today – and bring your friends: //www.clarkeschools.org/icecreamrun

 

An event to Benefit
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech

Saturday, March 3, 2018
St. Johns Town Center, Jacksonville, FL

Cochlear Americas Open House Event

Learning About Cochlear Implants

If you or a loved one has a severe hearing loss and have tried hearing aids without success you may be a candidate for a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is an implantable device that works together with an externally worn processor to bypass the damaged portion of the inner ear to deliver sound to the brain. Due to damage to the organ of hearing, many people find that hearing aids simply amplify sound and do not provide clarity or understanding.

To learn more about cochlear implants and other implantable devices please join Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute as we partner with Cochlear Americas to host an Open House event on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018. Representatives from Cochlear Americas will be available from 8am-3pm to answer questions, discuss candidacy and show models of cochlear implants and other implantable devices. A cochlear implant audiologist from Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be available from 10-12pm and from 1-3pm to discuss the evaluation and follow up process.

Mark your calendars for this wonderful and informational event. Feel free to drop by at your convenience any time between 8am and 3pm.

Wednesday March, 7th 2018

Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel
10605 Deerwood Park Blvd
Jacksonville, Florida 32256

8am-3pm

To register, or for more information, contact Ralyn Jelus at rjelus@cochlear.com or by telephone/text at (404)695-8612. We hope to see you there!

Tinnitus Seminar

Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Tinnitus

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be hosting an informational seminar about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of tinnitus. Dr. J. Douglas Green and Janelle Kelley Au.D., CCC-A will be speaking. You will also get the chance to hear from individuals who live with tinnitus on a daily basis and the steps they have taken to manage their tinnitus.

Where: Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Room A

When: Saturday, February 3, 2018

Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm

Seating is limited! Please RSVP by contacting Judy Martin by telephone at  (904) 778-2265 or email at hlaa.jax@gmail.com. We look forward to meeting all those in attendance.

The Lifespan of a Hearing Aid

How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

One of the most common questions we hear during a hearing aid consultation is “how long will these devices last?” It’s a smart question to ask given the investment that is required for a new pair of hearing aids. Many long-term hearing aid users will also start to worry that their devices will fail suddenly, leaving them without sound.

The average hearing aid user will upgrade their technology after 5 to 6 years. Some people will continue to use a hearing aid for 8-10 years, while others will choose to buy new technology after just two years. Let’s take a look at what might affect how long someone uses a hearing aid:

  1. Repairs: Like all electronics, hearing aids are more prone to requiring repairs the older they are. After the initial manufacturer’s warranty expires on the hearing aid (typically at 2 to 3 years), all repairs are out-of-pocket costs. Depending on what has gone wrong, repairs can range from $50 to $300+. In most cases, frequent repairs also mean time spent without the hearing aid, which can be very difficult for people who have grown dependent on their amplification. If repairs become too frequent, a person may opt to put their money towards updated technology. Also keep in mind that eventually, a manufacturer will run out of replacement parts for older models of hearing aids, so it become more difficult to get an 8-10 year old hearing aid repaired.
  2. Updates to technology: Hearing aid technology turns over very quickly. Most manufacturer’s release at least one new product every year, if not more often. It usually takes about five years for someone to notice a significant increase in sound quality and functionality of the hearing aid in order to justify upgrading technology.
  3. Loss/Damage: New hearing aids usually have a loss and damage warranty for 1-3 years. During that time, if you lose a device, the manufacturer will replace it with a new one for a small fee. Outside of the warranty, if you lose the hearing aid, you have to purchase a new one to replace it.
  4. Hearing changes: Most hearing aids can be reprogrammed to fit a large range of hearing levels. In rare instances of severe and sudden hearing deterioration, it is possible that someone would need to purchase a power device, which would be a new hearing aid designed to fit worsening hearing.

 

If you are wondering if newer hearing aids are appropriate for you, or you are noticing increased difficulties hearing, it’s a good idea to visit your audiologist. He or she can make recommendations for improving your current devices or moving forward with purchasing new technology. Remember that this is your journey, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and state your preferences. We look forward to helping you along the way.

Types of Hearing Loss: Conductive, Sensorineural, and Mixed

What Kind of Hearing Loss Do You Have?

As described in our last blog post, the human ear can be divided into three general parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Hearing loss can occur in any, or multiple, parts of the pathway from the ear to the brain. Depending on where the hearing loss is occurring, hearing loss can be classified into three different types: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

Note that in order to determine the type and degree of hearing loss, an audiologist would perform a hearing test and graph the results on an audiogram. In addition, different types of hearing loss require different types of intervention. Make sure to discuss all of your options with a medical provider.

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot be transmitted from the outer ear, to the ear drum, and into the middle ear space (where the smallest bones in the human body, the ossicles, are located). This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. Common causes of a conductive hearing loss may include:
    • Middle ear infection (otitis media)
    • Earwax (cerumen) impaction
    • Fluid or pressure in the middle ear from colds or allergies
    • Poor Eustachian tube function
    • Perforation in the eardrum
    • Head trauma
    • Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa)
  • Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to the inner ear (the cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. And even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled. Common causes of a sensorineural hearing loss can include:
    • Aging
    • Exposure to loud noise
    • Genetics (hearing loss that runs in the family)
    • Drugs that are toxic to hearing
  • Mixed hearing loss occurs when a conductive hearing loss happens in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear as well as damage in the inner ear or auditory nerve. Common causes of a mixed hearing loss can include any combination of the other issues listed above.

 

All About Ear Anatomy

Anatomy and Physiology of the Auditory System

The auditory system consists of several main parts that help carry sounds/signals to the brain. Although hearing seems like a simple feat, the transduction of a signal through the auditory system up to the brain is quite complex.

The Outer Ear

Beginning with the outer portion of the ear, the pinna helps pick up sounds and funnel them into the ear canal, anatomically known as the external auditory canal. The pinna helps individuals localize where sounds are coming from. Sound then travels down the ear canal where it eventually reaches the eardrum, or the tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane is a thin membrane of skin that vibrates with sound stimulation.

The Middle Ear

Once sound vibrates the tympanic membrane, sound is transferred across three bones (ossicles) in the air filled middle ear space. These ossicles are the tiniest bones in the body known as the malleus, the incus, and the stapes. The stapes bone is shaped like a stirrup and has a round footplate. These three bones work together as a lever system to mechanically transduce sound through the middle ear to the inner ear. As sound reaches the stapes, the footplate pushes on what is referred to as the oval window. This window is the beginning of the inner ear system.

The Inner Ear

After sound reaches the oval window, the stimulation causes fluid in the inner ear system to move. The inner ear is a fluid filled space and therefore sound is hydromechanically transduced. Within the inner ear is an important hearing organ called the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail-shaped organ which has many tiny receptor hair cells embedded in a basilar membrane which respond to certain frequencies of sound. This is known as tonotopic organization in which the base of the membrane in the cochlea responds to higher pitches and the apex responds to lower pitches. As the hair cells are stimulated by the fluid moving in the cochlea, neurons attached to the hair cells receive the signal then send the auditory signal along the auditory nerve and up to the auditory cortex in the temporal lobe of the brain. Although we perceive and interpret sound within milliseconds, the pathway that sound travels to get to the brain is very complex, as detailed above.

There is much more detail related to the process of hearing and understanding, but the above is a basic overview of how individuals hear and interpret a signal. For a more in depth explanation, watch the links below.

The Connection between Hearing and Balance

Why Test My Hearing If I Have Vertigo?

As our name suggests, Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute helps patients with hearing and balance/dizziness issues. But how are hearing loss and dizziness related? If you have scheduled an appointment because of your dizziness, why would you need to have your hearing evaluated?

The answer to the above questions lies within the anatomy of our inner ear. The hearing and balance organs are both housed in the inner ear. The cochlea is necessary for hearing and the semicircular canals are part of our balance system.

There are multiple disorders that can cause disruptions in our hearing and balance. The type and configuration of hearing loss can help our providers better diagnose your dizziness. Meniere’s disease is one example of a disorder that is defined by the dizziness you are experiencing and the type of hearing loss that you may have. A patient with Meniere’s disease can experience dizziness for 30 minutes to multiple hours and have fluctuations in their hearing accompanied by a roaring tinnitus. Semi-circular Canal Dehiscence is another disorder that can be accompanied with hearing loss. A patient with SCCD may have a slight conductive component present on the audiogram even though they may not perceive a hearing deficit.

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance provides a comprehensive evaluation to help diagnose and treat your hearing loss and/or dizziness. For questions or to schedule an evaluation, you can reach us at (904)351-1904.