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.
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.
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!
Exposure to loud noises is a common cause of hearing loss among the population. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is characterized by a “gradual, progressive loss of high frequency hearing sensitivity that usually presents as a “notch” that occurs at or around 4000 Hz.” For more information on noise induced hearing loss, visit http://american-hearing.org/disorders/noise-induced-hearing-loss/ .
How can you protect your hearing? There are many ways to prevent NIHL, such as:
- Avoid or limit exposure to dangerously loud sounds
- Decrease the volume of music systems
- Move away from loud sound sources when possible
- If you must be around loud sounds, use appropriate hearing protection
- What kind of hearing protection devices are available?
At The Hearing Center, we offer a variety of hearing protection devices. Common devices include:
1. Swim plugs are designed to prevent moisture from entering the ear canal during swimming, showering and water sports
2. Shooter’s protection is designed to protect hunters/shooters from impulse noises up to 160 dB peak SPL. These devices can be made with special acoustic filters that allow for awareness of conversation and the ability to track animals. Industrial noise protection- Some work places require workers to wear custom hearing protection due to exposure to dangerous sound levels. Employees who work in industrial factories, construction sites and around aircraft equipment are likely to be required to wear hearing protection. Specialized devices can be made that can connect to radios for those who work in jobs that require radio use.
3. Musician earpieces provide hearing protection for musicians who practice and perform in a variety of settings. Depending on the source and location of the sound, different levels of attenuators can be used in the earpieces to allow for optimal hearing protection.
4. Custom sleep plugs can be used to promote interrupted sleep.
5. Custom fit ear tips for mp3 players or other headphones are designed to have standard earphones fit into a custom fit ear tip. These earplugs help block excessive environmental noise and allow the listener to turn down the music volume.
If you believe you have a noise induced hearing loss, or are at risk of one, make an appointment with your JHBI audiologist to discuss a custom hearing protection option that is suitable for your needs!
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
|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
|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.