My name is Isabella Hillerby and I am the JHBI Audiology Extern for the 2021-2022 year. I completed my undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Nevada, Reno in my hometown. I attended the University of Oklahoma for my Doctorate of Audiology Program and will be graduating in May 2022.
JHBI has been an incredible placement for me in my first few months here–I have learned so much more than I thought possible and love coming to work each day. The team here at JHBI is full of wonderful mentors, patient advocates, and kind individuals. I am grateful for the opportunity to be working with our patients over the next year through their hearing and balance healthcare journey.
Though I miss the mountains and snowy weather from back home, Jacksonville and northeast Florida has quickly become my favorite place to live. My free time is spent exploring Jacksonville–paddle boarding along the coastline, hiking through Hanna Park, finding new favorite local brunch places–and spending time with my new kitten! I love all activities ocean related and am looking forward to becoming scuba certified by the end of the summer. I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for me.
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 Difficulty communicating with others can lead individuals to be withdrawn, negatively impacting them both socially and emotionally.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.
Do you feel frustrated when talking to members of your family because you have difficulty hearing them?
Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding co-workers, clients, or customers?
Do you feel restricted or limited by a hearing problem?
Do you have difficulty hearing when visiting friends, relatives, or neighbors?
Do you have trouble hearing in the movies or in the theater?
Does a hearing problem cause you to argue with family members?
Do you have trouble hearing the TV or radio at levels that are loud enough for others?
Do you feel that any difficulty with your hearing limits your personal or social life?
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.
One of the biggest changes that has occurred due to COVID -19 has been the need to wear a mask when in public. The positive side to wearing a mask is the proven decrease in transmission of COVID-19. The downside? The inability to read lips and watch the facial expressions of those around us. Many people have reported that their hearing has worsened since the beginning of the pandemic. While it’s certainly possible that a person’s hearing can decrease over time, what may also be happening is the sudden inability to lip read.
Most people use facial cues to understand spoken language but those with even mild hearing loss rely on watching peoples’ mouths to help “fill in the blanks” in conversation. This skill is even more helpful when in a noisy environment and the background noise drowns out speech. You may not have realized how helpful lip reading can be or how often you use it until it is no longer available.
The brain utilizes several pieces of information to understand speech. A large portion is from the hearing system but it also gathers information from the context of the conversation and from visual cues, or lip reading. The masks effectively remove one of these pieces of information which forces you to rely more heavily on your hearing and the context. For those with hearing loss the brain is left with even fewer pieces of information to understand speech.
Hearing aids can help amplify speech to make it easier to understand what others are saying but it will not alleviate the difficulty associated with the inability to watch people’s mouths. Just keep in mind that the use of masks is temporary and once you have access to lip reading again, in combination with hearing aids, you will be able to more easily talk with friends and family.
For more information call our office at 904-399-0350 to schedule a hearing evaluation.
At Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute we work with all three of the FDA approved cochlear implant manufacturers. One of those manufacturers, Advanced Bionics, has recently released their newest sound processor. Below you will find a video introducing the new device!
If you are interested in discussing this new technology, you can sit down and chat with an Advanced Bionics representative in our office! Reach out to Karalee Kowar at Karalee.Kowar@advancedbionics.com to reserve a spot!
Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert announced recently that he has been diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). He reported that when he would stand up from a seated position, everything began to spin and subsequently he would fall or sit down. This particular type of vertigo is characterized by the sensation of either yourself or the world around you spinning, and lasting for a few seconds to a few minutes. It is typically brought on by head movements such as rising from a seated position, moving you head in a certain direction, or rolling over in bed.
Symptoms associated with BPPV are imbalance, nausea/vomiting, and visual changes such as objects seeming to jump or moving side to side. Possible causes can include head injury, ear surgery, migraine headaches, transient ischemic attacks or stroke, a growth inside the ear, or a virus within the ear.
BPPV can usually be corrected with special positioning treatments done in the office and exercises at home. However, it is important not to assume that all vertigo is BPPV and to make sure any causes aside from the inner ear are ruled out first. Contact your primary care physician if you begin to experience dizziness. Once cleared, they will then refer you to a hearing and balance specialist to help determine the cause of vertigo and develop the next steps to help correct it.
It’s finally the holiday season and everyone is excited for good food, (socially distant) gatherings, and presents, unless that is, you have young children with noisy toys constantly playing throughout your house. Although most parents can attest to how loud their children’s toys are, you may not know just EXACTLY how loud.
The Arizona Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) and the Sight and Hearing Association are two of many organizations that put out an annual list of noisy toys for the holiday season. There are toys on their list that have been tested and shown to have an output of 103 dB! Measurements were taken as if a child had their ear next to the speaker, which is very realistic as anyone with young children would know. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology, 85 dB is the loudest that a child should be exposure to. For reference, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that exposure to 90 dB for 8 hours a day is considered a “permissible noise exposure”. The permissible time of exposure for a 100 dB sound is only 2 hours. Many of theses toys are actually labeled as educational toys.
Here are some tips for testing to see if toys are too loud:
Test the toys prior to buying. Many toys have a “TRY ME” button
Hold the toy relatively close to your own ear and see if you think it is too loud
Ways to Reduce Volume
If there is a volume control, make sure it is set at the lowest volume
Put waterproof tape or glue over the speaker to dampen the sound
Put tape over the volume control to prevent your child from changing the volume.
The below list was organized by The Arizona Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH):
With everything going on during the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that some people struggle during holiday get-togethers for various reasons. One recent online study shows that 50% of families will host at least one person with hearing loss at their holiday table. For these loved ones, the holidays can be isolating and frustrating, because they don’t feel included in the celebration.
Here are some suggestions to help you have a hearing-friendly holiday:
Minimize background noise. Skip the holiday music or television in the background. Background noise can make it difficult to hear. Consider having rowdy football fans enjoy the game in a different room.
Pay attention to seating. Seat the individual with hearing loss at the head of the dinner table or middle of the table, making it easier for them to see all the guests’ faces. Round tables enable easy viewing for everyone. When setting your table, try decorating with shorter centerpieces to avoid blocking sightlines.
Rephrase, don’t repeat. Instead of repeating the same words, try rephrasing. It’s very likely when someone with hearing loss mentions they can’t hear you; they may be having trouble understanding a specific word or phrase. This approach draws less attention to the individual with hearing loss by keeping the conversation more natural. For those uneasy or self-conscious about hearing loss, this will be appreciated.
Skip the mood lighting. A well-lit room helps those with hearing loss see the mouths and facial expressions of those speaking.
Capture attention. Look directly at the person with hearing loss when speaking to them, so they can see your mouth and facial expressions. To get their attention, gently touch them on the hand, arm or shoulder, or say their name before starting to speak.
Speak clearly. Be deliberate while speaking clearly. Be careful to project, but don’t shout. Keep your hands away from your face when speaking. Avoid disturbances which make following a conversation more difficult.
Ask how you can help. Be respectful and discrete by taking aside the individual with hearing loss and asking if there’s anything you can do to make their visit easier. Demonstrate understanding and compassion, and you’ll be an example of the true meaning of holiday spirit.
If you’re concerned about possible hearing loss for you or a loved one, consider scheduling a consultation with one of our audiologists.
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!
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.
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.