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.
There are many different hearing aids available in regards to style and level of technology. Which one is best for you? That answer depends on various factors such as the severity of your hearing loss and what kind of lifestyle you have. It is important to speak with an Audiologist, a licensed hearing healthcare professional, to discuss your particular needs. Four things to consider prior to your appointment with your audiologist are:
1. How technology savvy are you?
Hearing devices today are created with digital technology that allows the audiologist to make specific adjustments for your needs. This technology is also compatible with smartphones & allows hearing aid users to change the volume on their own as well as stream music and phone calls through their hearing devices for better sound quality. Hearing aid users who are not very tech-savvy do not need to worry! The devices can be programmed to function automatically so all you have to do is enjoy hearing better!
2. What kind of environments are you in where you struggle to hear?
Whether you work in a loud environment, have family gatherings with many people or you struggle to hear at the dinner table, your world has some degree of noise. Most hearing aids have noise-reduction technology in them to help alleviate the noise and make those noisy situations more comfortable and let you hear the conversation again. It’s important to speak with your audiologist to determine which degree of noise reduction technology is most suited for your needs.
The stigma of wearing hearing aids is fading away every day. Just as wearing glasses is normal, so is wearing hearing aids! Yet for those individuals who choose to be more discreet with their hearing needs, they are now made virtually invisible! They are very slim and sit right inside the ear canal & come in a variety of colors to match hair, skin and glasses. They also are available in custom style that sit completely in the ear canal and can’t be seen. It’s important to speak with your audiologist about what you feel comfortable wearing and what is best for your physical needs and hearing loss.
Because hearing aids are now smaller than ever, they can be difficult to manipulate if you have certain health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, or other conditions that can cause numbness in the hands. One style may be better for your specific needs than others. Changing the small batteries can be a difficult task if you have dexterity or vision issues. Hearing aids are now rechargeable and do not require fine motor skills to get the hearing aid fully charged again.
The best hearing aids are the ones that work for you! Every persons hearing needs are different, so it is important to see and audiologist to help determine what will work for you.
Hearing aids require an adjustment period. This is why most hearing aids come with a trial period. This time allows you to grow accustomed to the hearing aids, as well as make programming adjustments to ease you into the process and maximize the benefit of the devices. There are a few factors that will play a role in the adaptation period including the degree of hearing loss, how long you’ve had the hearing loss, and the effort put into wearing them on a regular basis.
Most hearing loss is a gradual process. In fact, the average person goes about 5 to 7 years before pursuing hearing aids. There are many environmental sounds that haven’t been heard in a long time. For example: birds chirping, traffic and wind noise, paper rustling.
When you are first fit with hearing aids, all of these environmental sounds will be restored to the brain. It can seem overwhelming at first because the brain has forgotten how to handle these sounds. As the brain “re-learns” these sounds, it can better determine what sounds are important and what sounds can be “tuned out”. Your own voice may sound different, too. The longer the devices are worn, the quicker the brain adapts to the new sounds. The most important part of this process is patience.
A cochlear implant is a hearing device that is implanted in the inner ear to help restore volume and clarity of speech. They lead to better communication with friends and family when hearing aids no longer help. Recent advances in technology have even made it possible to listen on a cell phone through a cochlear implant with ease.
The N7 cochlear implant allows users to
- Connect to iPhone and Android phones to
wirelessly stream phone calls and music or videos.
- Use an app to adjust volume and manipulate
settings for better hearing in noisy environments.
- Connect to the Apple Watch for seamless volume
and program adjustments!
The ‘Connect’ is a small receiver coupled to the battery of a Naida Q90 cochlear implant.
- Connects to any Bluetooth enabled device
(iPhone, Android, tablet etc) for easy, hands-free calling.
- A button on the receiver allows the user to
answer and hang up phone calls as well as start and stop music and videos.
The ‘AudioLink’ connects to the Sonnet and Rondo 2 cochlear implants.
- Streams phone calls and music or videos from any
Bluetooth enabled item.
- Allows the user to make changes to their volume
and programs for enhanced listening in various environments.
Cochlear implants can lead to better speech understanding for people who don’t benefit from hearing aids. Evolving technology allows cochlear implant users to further communicate with friends and family.
For more information regarding whether you are a cochlear implant candidate call JHBI at 904-399-0350.