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Congratulations Dr. Judy Nelson!

Judy Nelson, one of our physician assistants, has been a member of the Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute team since 2003. Her care and compassion is well-known by her patients. We are very proud to say that in addition to having more than 36 years of experience, she has recently completed her Doctor of Medical Science degree through the University of Lynchburg, with a specialty in Neurotology.  

Congratulations Judy Nelson, DMSc, PA-C!

Judy Nelson, MPAS, PA-C

Dr. Nelson works with patients with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance and hearing loss. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 904-399-0350.

Hearing Loss in the Time of Covid-19

Communication difficulties have increased since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March with the addition of masks to everyday life. A major part of the connection that we make with others depends on our facial expressions. They are universal – a smile is a smile in every culture and language. Even those who are not hard of hearing can find communicating, while wearing a cloth facemask, difficult.

Having a hearing loss makes even the easiest listening environments difficult to understand conversation. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing often rely on reading lips to communicate. Wearing a mask is one of the recommended strategies to mitigate the current global pandemic, and facemasks that cover the mouth can be a challenging and frustrating barrier. Covering the bottom part of one’s face and mouth makes communication more difficult, especially for persons who are hearing impaired or older adults.

Wearing a transparent mask that allows your mouth to be viewed is a beneficial option to allow those with a significant hearing loss to be better able to understand conversation. Clear face masks make it possible for us to communicate more effectively and maintain that human connection, while still practicing the protective measures necessary during this global pandemic.

Clear face masks can be found from many online websites such as www.Walmart.com, www.Etsy.com, and Safe’N’Clear, Inc. – The only FDA approved mask with clear window made in the USA

5 Tips for Wearing Your Hearing Aids with a Face Mask

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends wearing face masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus. For individuals who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids, the use of a face mask with elastic worn around the ears can cause irritation on the ear, as well as an increased risk of losing the hearing aid. Adults or children may forg​et they are wearing hearing aids. Then, when a face mask is removed, it can cause the hearing aids to come off or be lost.

Here are five solutions that may help prevent problems when wearing hearing aids and face masks:

  1. Pull back any long hair into a bun or with an elastic tie.
  2. Rather than looping the elastic of the mask on the ears, utilize a mask extender. This can be home made (with ribbon and buttons) which can be made or bought offline.
  3. Obtain a mask that has four strings and ties behind the head rather than worn with elastic on the ears.
  4. Check that the hearing aid is still in plac​e during and following removal of the mask.
  5. Remove your mask at home in an open area. This is so that if the hearing aids fall to the ground, they can be found more easily.

If your hearing aid is compatible with a smart phone, you may be able to use a phone app to help detect a lost hearing aid. In gener​al, the app indicates the last time the hearing aid and phone ​were connected. If you have lost or broken your hearing aid, contact the Hearing Center at 904-399-0350 to find out if you are eligible for a replacement device.

Advancements in Bone-Anchored Hearing Technology

A bone-anchored hearing device (BAHD), also known as a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA), is made up of a surgically placed implant and a removable external processor. These devices are unique in that they send signals to your inner ear via vibrations. These vibrations are interpreted by your inner ear the same as any other sound signal. Patients with middle ear issues (chronic ear infections, previous surgeries, etc.) are often successful users of a BAHD because it bypasses the middle ear and directly stimulates the inner ear. The device is also beneficial for those with single-sided deafness. The BAHD is placed on the side of the head with the severe-to-profound hearing loss and the signal is sent to the better hearing ear.

One of the manufacturers of these devices, Cochlear Americas, has recently released a new bone-anchored hearing solution. The Cochlear Osia System utilizes a lightweight external processor and an osseointegrated implanted. The external speech processor is worn on the head via a magnetic connection with the implant under the skin.

The external Osia speech processor and Osia implant from Cochlear Americas.

To learn more about the Osia system and if it may be a good option for you, visit https://www.cochlear.com/us/en/home/products-and-accessories/cochlear-osia-system/osia-2 or schedule an appointment at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute at 904-399-0350.

Advancements in Cochlear Implant Technology

An exciting new cochlear implant processor has been introduced by Cochlear Americas. A cochlear implant processor is the external component to a cochlear implant system. A cochlear implant is an implantable hearing device for individuals with significant hearing loss and reduced speech clarity. A cochlear implant can greatly improve your ability to communicate with friends and family and can lead to improved quality of life.

The new processor from Cochlear Americas, called the Kanso 2, is an off-the-ear unit that is:

  • Rechargeable
  • Able to directly connect to iPhone and Android smartphones for phone calls and music
  • Water resistant
  • Light-weight
Cochlear obtains FDA approval of Kanso 2 Sound Processor, first ...

This processor was recently FDA-approved and will be made available for newly implanted patients and current Cochlear patients eligible for upgrades starting this Fall. If you have hearing loss, poor speech clarity, and have been unsuccessful with hearing aids you may be a candidate for a cochlear implant. Call Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute at 904-399-0350 for more information!

Upcoming Virtual Event: Innovative Treatment For Hearing Loss

WHEN:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Learn what’s new in the world of hearing loss treatment.
Hearing aid REMOTE PROGRAMMING is here, too! Make an appointment for your summer discount now!

Dr. Green, accompanied by Kelly Eaton, Aud, CCC-A, Ryan Funderburk, Aud, CCC-A, & Mike Johnson, ReSound GN, will discuss where we’ve been, where we are now, & where the future is going regarding hearing, including gene splicing and DNA-driven clinical trials.

As we enter a brave new world in the treatment of hearing loss, JHBI pledges to remain on the cutting edge of new developments to improve or restore hearing.


A complimentary lunch gift card will be sent by WJCT to the first 100 online participants upon confirmation of your seminar attendance & completion of event survey. Don’t miss out! Reserve your virtual seat today by clicking the link below:

https://www.wjct.org/events/innovative-treatment-for-hearing-loss/

Congratulations Dr. Donna J. Smith!

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.

Tips for Virtual Meetings & Doctors Appointment When You Have Hearing Loss

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t cover your mouth. Keep your hair, hands, and clothes away from your mouth.
  4. Wait your turn to speak and project when doing so.
  5. Mute the microphone if you are not speaking. This helps avoid ambient background noise entering the virtual room.
  6. If you have Bluetooth devices that are paired to your phone or tablet, make sure they are connected.

Remote Programming During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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.  

Preparation Tips for Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Users

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.