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Noisy Toys and How to Protect your Children’s Ears

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):

Happy Holidays from JHBI!

Everyone at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute would like to wish you a happy holidays!


See below for a message from Dr. Green!


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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Hearing Aid

Do I need a hearing aid?

This is a question that the audiologists and physicians hear every day at The Hearing Center and JHBI. Let’s take a look at what matters (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to making that decision.

  • Hearing Loss:

    The first step to deciding whether or not it’s time to try hearing aids will depend on your hearing loss. Hearing aids can be programmed to fit all different degrees and configurations of hearing loss, from mild to profound. However, you have to keep in mind that what your hearing loss looks like will greatly affect your outcome with amplification. For example, patients that have very little usable hearing left may be better suited to a cochlear implant. Patients with middle ear problems may want to try a bone-anchored hearing device. So how do you know what’s right for you? That’s an easy one to answer- you just have to ask an audiologist. Come in for a hearing aid consult. If hearing aids aren’t the correct choice for you, we promise to guide you to whatever is.

  • Hearing Difficulties:

    Most people with hearing loss know that they have trouble hearing. In fact, that is usually what drove them to get a hearing test in the first place. However, even with severe hearing loss, some people will deny any hearing difficulties. Hearing aids are a process that involve both commitment and work on the part of the new user, so that person has to be invested in a positive outcome. In other words, it is important that you feel like you have something to gain from wearing a hearing aid. If you are convinced that you are not having any difficulty hearing, it will be hard to justify using hearing aids. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it is actually the people you are talking to that take the brunt of a hearing loss. Are they frequently repeating or speaking up so that you can be apart of the conversation? Look to those closest to you for honest opinions about how they are affected by your hearing difficulties. If they are expressing frustration, that might be a reason to consider trying hearing aids.

  • Age:

    Hearing aids are for people with hearing loss, no matter their age. It does not matter at all how old you are- If you have a hearing problem, it is time to consider a hearing aid. Please do not wait until you reach a certain age to start considering a hearing aid.

  • Cosmetics:

    It’s okay to be worried about what a hearing aid will look like. We are all human, and we want to present our most confident self to the world. For some people, it’s scary to think about what a hearing aid will look like. The good news is that we have come a long way from the large devices that used to be the industry standard. Most styles are nearly invisible these days. Depending on your ear canal size and hearing loss, your audiologist can guide you into the most discrete style possible.

  • Price:

    For many people, the price of hearing aids can be very intimidating. At JHBI, we offer different levels of hearing aids at varying prices to meet the needs of everyone that comes through our door. We also have some financing options that may help. We encourage you to come in and see what we have to offer and talk about what your budget allows. Even if a hearing aid isn’t an option for you currently, we may be able to find some ways to help you hear better that are within reach.

For more information on hearing aids, click on the following link: https://www.betterhearingjax.com/hearing-technology/our-hearing-aids/

 

Are Online Hearing Tests Reliable?

Internet Hearing Evaluations: Beware!

Although a hearing test performed in the comfort of your own home may seem like a viable alternative to making an appointment to see an audiologist, online hearing tests are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the federal agency that is responsible for ensuring medial devices and equipment are approved for use). Results obtained from an online hearing test are unlikely to be accurate or reliable. A face-to-face examination with an audiologist is the best practice for diagnosing and assessing your hearing healthcare needs. Listed below are components of an examination that require in-person assessment to ensure accurate diagnosis.

Medical history:

At your appointment, the audiologist will ask many questions about your past and recent medical history, with special attention given to your hearing difficulties. Physical conditions and medications can affect your hearing and should be documented in your chart. Documentation of any balance problems, noise exposure and tinnitus are also important in your overall care. Most online hearing tests will not assess any medical conditions that may be contributing to your hearing loss.

Otoscopic examination:

An otoscope is a lighted, magnifying device used to assess your ears to determine if obstruction, such as earwax, is present in the ear canal. Drainage or possible infections can also be inspected during otoscopy. This critical part of the evaluation is not possible during an online hearing test.

Equipment required for hearing tests:

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has published guidelines that outline the amount of acceptable level of ambient room noise that is allowed for an accurate hearing test. When having a hearing test performed by an audiologist, a sound booth is used to ensure ANSI standards are met. Hearing tests performed at home are subjected to background noise beyond control, such as noise from traffic, computer monitors and air conditioners. This background noise may skew results obtained during at home testing and elevate your hearing levels.

There are also standards for the headphones used for hearing tests. At home testing will show various results when different types of headphones are used. In office, headphones are calibrated specifically to the audiometer used for testing.

When testing is completed at home, only one part of your auditory system is checked. Further testing is required (through use of additional head pieces and tests) to determine the type of hearing loss you may have. A visit with an audiologist is necessary to accurately diagnosis the type and degree of your hearing loss.

If you are in need of an accurate hearing evaluation, please contact The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Audiologists!