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Bone Anchored Hearing Devices

While hearing aids and cochlear implants are better known options for assisting those with hearing impairments, there is another device that may be more appropriate for your hearing loss. A BAHD, also known as a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA), is made up of a surgically implanted portion 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.

As you can see in the above below, the sound processor sits just behind the ear.

 

Who is a candidate for the bone-anchored hearing device?

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.

New options with the BAHD!

Previously, the BAHD could only be worn by attaching it to an abutment that projected out from under the skin or by wearing a headband. There is now an option for attaching the external processor to the internal implant via a magnet. The image on the left demonstrates the magnet attachment.

 

In addition to the new wearing options, BAHDs have Bluetooth capabilities!

 

If you and your family are interested in learning more about BAHDs and want to know if you are a possible candidate, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic at 904-399-0350.

Enjoying the Summer Weather with Your Cochlear Implant

If you or a loved one has a cochlear implant there is no need to miss out on the joys of enjoying time with friends or family in the pool or at the beach. Each cochlear implant company offers a solution to enjoy conversation around water.

 

• Cochlear:
o For their on-the-ear style processors (N6 and N7)Cochlear offers the Aqua Kit which includes a waterproof case and cable/coil. A clip is also available to attach the waterproof case to a ponytail, bathing suit or T-shirt for worry free swimming.
o The off-the-ear style offers the Kanso Activity Kit which includes a waterproof case that can be held in place with a sweat band or with goggles.

 

• Advanced Bionics:

o The Naida processor offers a waterproof case and cable/headpiece that can be clipped to a bathing suit, T-shirt or even your swim trunks thanks to a range of cable lengths.
o The Neptune processor is a fully waterproof processor that needs no extra case or cover. The Neptune can be clipped to a T-shirt, goggles or bathing suit.

 

• Med El:
o The on-the ear Sonnet processor kit includes a waterproof sleeve and adhesive system to allow the processor to become fully waterproof.
o The Rondo is an off-the-ear processor that is also available with a sleeve that can be held in place with a clip for added safety.

 

When using a waterproof solution be sure to use a rechargeable or alkaline battery rather than the 675 Zinc Air cochlear implant battery. It I also recommended that after you remove your processor from the waterproof case to place the equipment in the dry-kit. Waterproof devices can be included in your initial cochlear implant kit or are available for purchase out of pocket.
If you would like more information regarding whether a cochlear implant is an appropriate treatment option for your hearing loss contact Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute at 904-399-0350 to discuss your options.

The Process of Purchasing Hearing Aids at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute

Today we will be discussing the process of purchasing hearing aids through The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI).

 

STEP 1: Hearing Evaluation

The first step when purchasing hearing aids through JHBI is to schedule a hearing evaluation.  The comprehensive hearing evaluation will assess several levels of your auditory pathway.  Throughout the testing, we will assess your ability to hear different pitches and understand speech.  If you are found to be a hearing aid candidate, you will be scheduled to see an Audiologist at the Hearing Center for a hearing aid consultation.

 

STEP 2: Hearing Aid Consultation

The second step of purchasing hearing aids is the hearing aid consultation.  You are encouraged to bring a spouse or family member to this appointment to provide support with decision making and to be an active member of your hearing healthcare.  During this appointment, the Audiologist will explain the results of your hearing evaluation, discuss hearing expectations and needs, and review the latest hearing aid technology.  Based off of your individual needs, the Audiologist will recommend a specific hearing aid for you.  Once you select a hearing aid that meets your needs, a hearing aid fitting will be scheduled.

 

STEP 3: Hearing Aid Fitting

At the hearing aid fitting, the Audiologist will program and adjust the hearing aids to meet your specific hearing healthcare needs.  After the hearing aids are programmed, the Audiologist will instruct you on proper insertion and removal of the devices.  General care and maintenance will also be reviewed with you to promote the longevity of your hearing aids.

 

STEP 4:  Hearing Aid Adjustment Period

All hearing aids have a 30-day trial period to ensure that you are happy and would like to keep your devices. Since it often takes time to adapt to amplification, the Audiologist would like to see you for programming adjustments during this trial period.  A two week follow-up will be scheduled after your hearing aid fitting.  At this appointment you will discuss any difficulties you are having with the devices and work with your audiologist to overcome these obstacles.  It is our goal to have you realizing a maximum benefit once your trial period expires.

 

To schedule an appointment at JHBI you could contact our clinic at 904-339-0950

Troubleshooting Hearing Aids

If you are a full-time hearing aid user, you may have experienced a time when your devices have suddenly stopped working. While it is typical for hearing aids to require repairs periodically, there are some things you can try at home to get yourself back up and running.

Below, you will find some common hearing aid problems, possible causes and steps to remedy the situation.

Problem Possible cause Solution
The volume is reduced Wax or debris in the microphone or receiver Clean microphone port with a brush
Change wax filter
Tube or ear mold is blocked Clean the ear mold and blow the tube out with an air blower
Hearing may have changed Contact your audiologist
Hearing aid is whistling Hearing aid/earmold is not properly inserted Take hearing aid out and reposition correctly
Earmold is defective Contact your audiologist
Wax in ear canal Contact your ENT-specialist
Hearing aid does not properly function Battery is dead Replace battery
Battery compartment is not closed properly Close battery compartment completely
Wax or debris in the microphone or receiver Clean microphone port with a brush
Change wax filter
Hearing aid causes pain or discomfort Hearing aid/earmold is not properly inserted Reposition correctly. If problem persists, contact your audiologist.

 

If you are unable to solve the problem, contact your audiologist at (904) 399-0350 ext 246 for more assistance or stop by Walk-In Clinic: Tuesday, 10:00 am – 11:30 am or Thursday, 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm.

We strive to provide prompt service to our patients; therefore we recommend that you call ahead to verify availability of walk-in clinic.

 

 

Frequency Asked Questions about Lithium-Ion Batteries in Hearing Aids

Frequency Asked Questions about Lithium-Ion Batteries in Hearing Aids

  • Is a lithium-ion battery safe in hearing aids?

Lithium-ion is the popular rechargeable battery choice used in many everyday consumer electronics such as cellular phones and tablets. It is also the rechargeable solution for cochlear implants. Currently, it is the fastest growing and most promising battery technology and has been thoroughly tested. Note that the hearing aid must be stored within the operating temperature of 33 degs to 104 degs Fahrenheit (0 degs to +40 degs Celsius) to ensure safe conditions.

  • How many hours per day can lithium-ion hearing aids last on a single charge?

This depends on the hearing loss, the power of the receiver, and the amount of streaming. However, this usually ranges from 20 hours to 24 hours.

  • Will the performance of the lithium-ion battery deteriorate after 1 year and require replacing?

No. With the Phonak system, the electronics surrounding the lithium-ion battery have been specially designed so that the battery will last up to 4 years. After 4 years, the performance of the battery may deteriorate slightly, but this should not have a large impact on use.

  • Are lithium-ion hearing aids safe to use during air travel?

Yes. Airline rules state that lithium-ion batteries less than 25 grams may be brought on to the plane in carry-on luggage. Phonak rechargeable hearing aid batteries are less than 1 gram and therefore fall far below the dangerous goods level. Commercial airline regulations do not permit lithium-ion batteries to be placed in checked luggage.

  • How do I dispose of a lithium-ion hearing aid?

Lithium-ion batteries are 100% recyclable and can be used to create new products. If you wish to dispose of the hearing aid, please return it to your audiologist or contact Phonak for more information.

 

 

 

7 Tips for Better Communication

Hearing loss can be a problem for the whole family, not just the individual. Below are a few strategies that can help with effective communication at home:

  1. Maintain eye contact : Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. Facial expressions and body language add vital information to communication
  2. Gain attention: Gain the listener’s attention before you begin talking. If the person with hearing loss hears better from one ear, move to that side of the person.
  3. Keep hands away from face: When talking, try to keep your hands a way from your face. You will produce clearer speech and allow the listener to make use of those visual cues.
  4. Speak naturally: Speak distinctly, but without exaggeration. You do not need to shout. Shouting may actually distort the words. Try not to mumble. Speak at a normal rate, not too fast or too slow. Use pauses rather than slow speech to give the person time to process what you are saying.
  5. Rephrase rather than repeat: If the listener has difficulty understanding something you said, find a different way of saying it. If he or she did not understand the words the first time, it’s likely he or she will not understand the words the second time.
  6. Converse away from background noise: Try to reduce background noise if possible. Turn off radio or television. Move to a quiet space away from the noise source. When going to a restaurant, ask for a table away from the kitchen, server stations, or large parties.
  7. Move to an area with good lighting: Sit where there is good lighting so that your face can be more easily seen. Avoid strong lighting coming from behind you, such as through a window.

What to Expect From a Cochlear Implant

A cochlear implant can be a life changing treatment for people with severe hearing loss who receive little benefit from hearing aids. An important component of the cochlear implant process is to approach the first several weeks after activation with realistic expectations, commitment and patience. A cochlear implant is designed to bypass the damaged hair cells of the hearing organ, the cochlea, and deliver sounds to the brain by directly stimulating the auditory nerve. The brain then interprets the sound as a meaningful message. This mechanism is very different than the way our natural hearing system is designed so right away the brain is unable to recognize the sounds delivered by the cochlear implant. The good news is that the brain is an amazing organ and capable of learning new things all the time. The brain will learn to recognize speech and environmental sounds with exposure, experience and practice.

 

Exposure: Once the cochlear implant is activated the brain needs to hear sound in order to begin to learn to adapt. Although conversation will likely sound strange and unclear at first the only way to make progress is to expose yourself to all kinds of sound; conversation, music, environmental sounds…anything!

 

Experience: A key part of cochlear implant process is experience; wearing the cochlear implant all day every day, allows speech and other sounds to become more pleasant and clear. Think of the adjustment to a cochlear implant as being a marathon rather than a sprint.

 

Practice: Finally practice, practice, practice! Similar to completing physical therapy exercises at home following a hip replacement surgery, listening therapy must be completed to teach the brain to listen with a cochlear implant. There are many types of listening exercises that can make practice enjoyable. These can be done on your own or with a partner.

 

Keep in mind everyone progresses at their own pace, have patience with the process and know that the benefits will be worth the journey.

 

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