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Hear for the Holidays

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!

How to Know Which Hearing Aids Are Best For You





There are many different hearing aids available in regards to style and level of technology. Which one is best for you? That answer depends on various factors such as the severity of your hearing loss and what kind of lifestyle you have. It is important to speak with an Audiologist, a licensed hearing healthcare professional, to discuss your particular needs. Four things to consider prior to your appointment with your audiologist are:

1. How technology savvy are you?
Hearing devices today are created with digital technology that allows the audiologist to make specific adjustments for your needs. This technology is also compatible with smartphones & allows hearing aid users to change the volume on their own as well as stream music and phone calls through their hearing devices for better sound quality. Hearing aid users who are not very tech-savvy do not need to worry! The devices can be programmed to function automatically so all you have to do is enjoy hearing better!

2. What kind of environments are you in where you struggle to hear?
Whether you work in a loud environment, have family gatherings with many people or you struggle to hear at the dinner table, your world has some degree of noise. Most hearing aids have noise-reduction technology in them to help alleviate the noise and make those noisy situations more comfortable and let you hear the conversation again. It’s important to speak with your audiologist to determine which degree of noise reduction technology is most suited for your needs.

3. Vanity
The stigma of wearing hearing aids is fading away every day. Just as wearing glasses is normal, so is wearing hearing aids! Yet for those individuals who choose to be more discreet with their hearing needs, they are now made virtually invisible! They are very slim and sit right inside the ear canal & come in a variety of colors to match hair, skin and glasses. They also are available in custom style that sit completely in the ear canal and can’t be seen. It’s important to speak with your audiologist about what you feel comfortable wearing and what is best for your physical needs and hearing loss.

4. Dexterity
Because hearing aids are now smaller than ever, they can be difficult to manipulate if you have certain health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, or other conditions that can cause numbness in the hands. One style may be better for your specific needs than others. Changing the small batteries can be a difficult task if you have dexterity or vision issues. Hearing aids are now rechargeable and do not require fine motor skills to get the hearing aid fully charged again.

The best hearing aids are the ones that work for you! Every persons hearing needs are different, so it is important to see and audiologist to help determine what will work for you.

Adjusting to Hearing Aids

Hearing aids require an adjustment period. This is why most hearing aids come with a trial period. This time allows you to grow accustomed to the hearing aids, as well as make programming adjustments to ease you into the process and maximize the benefit of the devices. There are a few factors that will play a role in the adaptation period including the degree of hearing loss, how long you’ve had the hearing loss, and the effort put into wearing them on a regular basis.

Most hearing loss is a gradual process. In fact, the average person goes about 5 to 7 years before pursuing hearing aids. There are many environmental sounds that haven’t been heard in a long time. For example: birds chirping, traffic and wind noise, paper rustling.

When you are first fit with hearing aids, all of these environmental sounds will be restored to the brain. It can seem overwhelming at first because the brain has forgotten how to handle these sounds. As the brain “re-learns” these sounds, it can better determine what sounds are important and what sounds can be “tuned out”. Your own voice may sound different, too. The longer the devices are worn, the quicker the brain adapts to the new sounds. The most important part of this process is patience.

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.

Hearing with Restaurant Noise

For people with hearing loss, restaurants can be a challenging listening environment when trying to converse with family and loved ones. In a recent article in the Washington Post, Joyce Cohen explains the frustrations often felt by many while eating out. Though it may seem like there is little you could do to improve your ability to hear in challenging listening environments, there are some changes you could make to help limit the effect of background noise.

1. Choose your restaurant carefully.  Modern restaurants often have high ceilings and hard cervices that often reflect noise instead of absorbing it. The more echo and reverberation present, the more difficult it is to understand speech. It is also important to choose a restaurant that has good lightening. Non-verbal cues such as lip reading, facial expressions and body language aid spoken language to help you understand others.

2. Booths are better than tables. The high backs of booths will block some of the environmental sounds that can drown out your conversation. In addition, booth seating is typically made of softer material that can absorb background noise.

3. Sit along the edges of the dining area. By sitting around the perimeter of the room you will avoid having outside noise bombard you from all directions and will allow you to focus on those you want to converse with most.

4. Sit Away from the Kitchen. Kitchens are often the noisiest places in the restaurant. Many open concept kitchens in modern restaurants give off noise pollution to the general sitting area. By choosing a place away from the kitchen, you are able to minimize it’s effect.

For more tips on how to deal with background noise and to learn more about your hearing loss contact Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute. Click on the link below to read Joyce Cohen’s article from the Washington Post.

Upcoming Hearing Aid Informational Session

Do you watch television with the volume louder than you used to? Do you have trouble understanding conversation when in a restaurant? Do you complain that people are always mumbling? These are common signs that indicate you may have a hearing loss.
• The first step is to undergo a hearing evaluation by an audiologist. If the test shows that you have a hearing loss, a hearing aid is often recommended to help make communication easier and enjoyable again.

A quick search on the internet can lead to many results regarding which hearing aid is the best. It is easy to become overwhelmed and confused by all the marketing, sales and misinformation regarding hearing aids.


Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute is hosting a ‘Lunch & Learn’ event to help guide you through the hearing aid selection process and to provide you with the tools you need to succeed with hearing aids.


Come join Dr. Green and Dr. Aquilina on Wednesday March 20th for an informational session regarding hearing loss and how to get the most out of your hearing aids. Register now to reserve your spot!

Phonak’s Newest Hearing Aid: the Audéo Marvel

Recently, Phonak unveiled of their new hearing aid called the Audéo Marvel — a device with advanced sound quality and universal Bluetooth® connectivity to both iPhone and Android devices. Available in late November, the Phonak Audéo Marvel focuses on what patients expect from a hearing aid: a clear, rich sound experience combined with modern technology. Here are some of the new features associated with this new device.

• Clear, rich sound in multiple environments, thanks to a newly developed computer chip with Artificial Intelligence.
• Connectivity to any Bluetooth® device for streaming audio content to both ears. This includes TV, music, eBooks and more.
• Hands-free calls to both ears from iPhone, Android or any other Bluetooth®-enabled devices.
• Lithium-Ion Rechargeable option available for a full day of hearing including streaming, now with the option to turn on automatically out of the charger.
• eSolutions with Smart apps enable live phone call transcriptions.

 

If you are interested in meeting with an Audiologist to learn more about this new device, and to discuss if it would be a viable option for you and your lifestyle, contact our Hearing Center at 904-900-0350 to make a consult appointment.

 

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.