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Exciting Connectivity Options for Cochlear Implants

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.

Cochlear
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!


Advanced Bionics
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.


Med El
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.

The Link Between Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids & Cognitive Decline

Annual physicals are a part of all individual’s health routine however, audiological examinations should become part of this routine, particularly as we age. Hearing loss can have a gradual onset and as a result, may go unnoticed for many years. The average timeframe in which someone treats their diagnosed hearing loss is 7 years. The duration of untreated hearing loss is longer for many because it may take years for them to decide to get evaluated. Untreated hearing loss may begin to affect interpersonal relationships and those individuals may withdraw from social interactions and become depressed.

Some warning signs that may indicate an individual may need to have their hearing evaluated are:

* Ringing or buzzing in the ears
* Can hear but not understand others speaking
* Group conversations are difficult
* The TV or radio is louder than normal and others report it is too loud
* They ask others to repeat themselves
* Everyday sounds such as footsteps, humming of the refrigerator or the doorbell are no longer audible

A long term study, “Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Edlerly Adults: A 25-year Study,” compared the rate of cognitive decline among older adults who were using hearing aids to those who were not. The outcome found no difference in the rate of cognitive decline between those with no reported hearing loss (the control group) and those who had a hearing loss and were using amplification. However, it was found that those with untreated hearing loss had significantly lower baseline scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination, a well-established test of cognitive function, during the 25-year follow-up period, independent of age, gender and education.

By treating the diagnosed hearing loss with amplification, hearing aid users can experience improved communication with those around them. As a result their moods are improved, they expose themselves to more social interactions and cognitively stimulating activities. This is most likely the underlying reason for the decreased cognitive decline reported in the study.

Untreated hearing loss results in decreased ability to understand speech and increased rate of cognitive decline due to lack of neural stimulation. It is time for a new way of thinking about the importance of hearing care and hearing solutions. Annual audiological evaluations should be conducted to determine the status of individuals hearing and help prevent untreated hearing loss due to lack of diagnosis.

FDA Approves Cochlear Implantation for Single-Sided Deafness

Single-sided deafness (SSD) can create difficulties for people localizing sound and listening in the noisy situations. This can lead to negative impacts on communication and socialization. SSD can be caused by viral infections, head trauma, Meniere’s Disease, or have an unknown cause. Treatment options have been limited, with cochlear implants typically reserved for people with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.

On July 22, 2019, Med-El USA, a manufacturer of cochlear implants, announced that the Food & Drug administration approved their cochlear implant for people 5 years and older with profound hearing loss in one ear and normal to mild hearing loss in the other. Research supporting the approval shows that SSD participants had improvements in speech understanding in quiet and noise, and improvements in sound localization when they obtained the cochlear implant.

Cochlear implantation still requires certain testing and considerations, but is a step forward for the treatment of single-sided hearing loss.

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.

Cochlear & Cookies!

You are invited to come by Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to discuss cochlear implant and bone-anchored hearing aid solutions for hearing loss. Cookies and coffee will be served!


Dates: February 20th and March 6th
Time: 10:30am – 1:30pm
Talk with experts about:
– Advanced implantable hearing technology
– The Cochlear™ Nucleus® and Cochlear BAHA® Systems
– Candidacy and coverage
– Assistive listening devices and more!


RSVP to Ralyn Jelus at rjelus@cochlear.com or 404-695-8612

North Florida Acoustic Neuroma Group Meeting

Please plan to join us at the next meeting of your Acoustic Neuroma Support Group.
We welcome you to learn about the latest treatment options, to network with other acoustic neuroma patients and find encouragement and support.

DATE/TIME:
Saturday, December 8th, 2018
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

MEETING LOCATION:
UF Health North – Tower A, First Floor Lobby
15255 Max Leggett Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32218
Phone: 904-383-1000

DIRECTIONS:
Take I95 to the Jacksonville International Airport Exit. Follow signs to Max Leggett Parkway.
Park in the parking lot closest to Tower A and enter through the main doors.

TOPICS:
● Caring, Sharing, Networking and Support

Non-Surgical Hearing Solution

One type of hearing of hearing loss is known as a conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage or blockage in the outer or middle ear which prevents sounds from being sent to the inner ear. Causes of conductive hearing loss can include:

– Complete wax build up
– Absence of the ear canal or a extremely narrow ear canal
– Hole in the eardrum
– Fluid behind the eardrum
– Displacement of the three tiny bones (ossicles) behind the eardrum

A bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is a treatment option to improve the hearing of people with conductive hearing loss . The BAHA is a surgically implanted post that works together with an external processor to bypass the outer and middle ear and deliver sound directly to the inner ear.

Recently a new processor was introduced by Med El that does not require surgery and is available at a much lower cost than the traditional BAHA. The ADHEAR processor uses an adhesive piece that sits behind the ear to send sound to the organ of hearing.


To learn if you are a candidate for the ADHEAR please contact Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute at 904-399-0350.

How to Get the Most out of Your Disposable Hearing Aid Battery

Hearing aids are getting more and more advanced. With all the extra processing power and new features in today’s hearing aids, you can typically get 3-10 days off a single battery. Why is the life of a hearing aid battery so unpredictable, where one battery may last a week, and another just two or three days? Much depends on your amount of hearing aid use, streaming, and how you care for your hearing aids.

Still, there are steps you can take to maximize the life of your batteries and optimize the performance of your hearing aids.

1. Let the battery “breathe” for 3-5 minutes. After removing the tab from the battery, let the battery sit for 3-5 minutes before installing it in your hearing aid. This “activation” time allows air to reach the materials inside the battery and activate them.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly before changing batteries. Grease and dirt on the batteries may damage the hearing aid. Also, grease and dirt can clog up the air pores in the battery.

3. Open the battery door at night. When you’re not wearing your hearing aid, turn it off or open the battery door to minimize battery drain. Leave the battery compartment of your hearing device open at night so moisture can escape. Doing so will keep the battery from corroding and damaging the hearing aid.

4. Use a hearing aid dehumidifier. A hearing aid dehumidifier will help absorb moisture out of your hearing aid and battery. This will allow the battery power to be used more efficiently. The dehumidifier is also a great place to store your hearing aids.

5. Remove the batteries entirely if you won’t be using the device for an extended period of time. This also helps avoid corrosion and damage from trapped moisture.

6. Check the expiration date on the batteries. The further out the batteries are, the fresher they are. Over time, batteries will drain slightly while sitting on the shelf. Ideally, you should buy batteries that have an expiration date a year or further from your purchase date.

7. Use the oldest pack of batteries first. The newest packs will have the furthest expiration date than your older packs of batteries. You want to ensure that you use the oldest batteries first, so that you are getting the most life out of them.

8. Keep the stickers on the battery. The sticker tab on the battery keeps the battery “fresh.” As soon as the sticker is removed, the battery is activated and starts draining. You want to make sure you don’t peel the sticker tab off until you need to use that battery.

9. Keep the batteries in a cool dry place. Storing new, unused batteries in extreme temperatures can cause the battery to drain/have a shorter life.

10. Invest in a rechargeable battery hearing device. Rechargeable hearing aids and batteries are starting to come out into the market. Rechargeable batteries allow you to charge the battery at night and get a full day’s worth of use the next day. If you’re interested in the new technology, make an appointment to discuss the various rechargeable options currently available on the market.

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.

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.