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Hearing Loss and the Holidays

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Skip the mood lighting. A well-lit room helps those with hearing loss see the mouths and facial expressions of those speaking.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Hear for the Holidays

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with the people you care about. This couldn’t be more important during the 2020 holiday season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But when you suffer from hearing loss, the holidays can be extra stressful or even isolating. 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 from the end of November through the end 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!

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.

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/

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.

Hearing For Life: Don’t Let Hearing Loss Limit You!

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.

Types of Hearing Loss

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.