Tips for communicating with the hard of hearing person

Even the smallest change in a listening environment of a person with hearing loss can have a huge impact. People are generally not good communicators. We have bad habits that we do not even realize that we exhibit when communicating with our loved ones. Some of the things we should NOT do when communicating with people who have difficulty hearing are:
*Do not walk away when speaking to them. Many people with hearing loss rely heavily on facial content. They likely read lips more than they realize and can get a lot of information from facial expressions as well.
*Do not yell when speaking to them. Speaking loudly can often actually distort the sound quality and even cause discomfort. Speak in a regular volume and average speed just clearly enunciate your words.
*Do not chew gum, eat or otherwise do things that may cause your words to become unclear.
*Do not assume they know you are talking to them. Get their attention before beginning the conversation. Let them know what the conversation is about so they can look for content that makes sense for the conversation.
*Do not say the same thing over and over again. If it seems like you are not being heard or understood change the words you use. Some words are easier to lip read or are made up of sounds that the listener can understand better.
*Do not try to communicate in poor listening environments. When choosing a table in a restaurant make sure those with hearing loss have their back to the wall so there is no competing noise coming from behind them. Request a booth if possible. If there are only tables request a table away from the bar or kitchen, where it is generally more noisy.
*Do not get frustrated and I know this is hard but please be patient with the hearing impaired they are working very hard to be a part of the conversation.

3 Reasons to Upgrade

“Immediate difference in clarity.”

“The quality and performance is really beyond anything I’ve seen.”

“Patients have experienced a significant improvement in sound quality when comparing hearing aids, even to recent technology.”

“Patients have noticed improvement when listening to music and improvement for clarity of softer voices.”

The above are just a few things current hearing aid wearers and hearing professionals have said after trying the latest hearing advancements in the newly released “Made for Life” hearing aids built with Synergy technology.

The latest release of new products (Muse, Halo 2, the Muse CROS System and SoundLens Synergy) represent years of research and clinical trials all aimed at providing better audibility and speech understanding as well as comfort.

Built with Starkey’s brand-new Synergy platform, all our new products are designed so that you can hear all the subtleties of life. Understand the subtle tone or accent in a loved one’s voice and enjoy nuances in the notes of your favorite song.

With new and exciting technological advancements current hearing aid wearers often ask when they should consider upgrading to new technology.

Each person’s need for an upgrade is different, but here are three reasons you may want to consider an upgrade:

  • To accommodate a change in hearing: Updating to new technology may be necessary to accommodate a significant change in hearing. If you begin to notice more difficulty understanding speech, TV, or hearing in noise, your hearing may have changed. Keep in mind that age-related hearing loss does change over time. Changes in hearing are expected and hearing acuity often diminishes over time. Upgrading to more sophisticated technology can help compensate for these changes.
  • To accommodate a change in lifestyle: Changes in occupational requirements, living situations, and outside interests often require better or different performance from your hearing aids. Conference calls, meetings, or an increase in social activities may require more advanced technology. An active lifestyle can take you from one difficult listening situation to another. Recent advancements in mechanical algorithms help tackle one of the biggest challenges hearing aid wearers face: hearing and understanding speech well in noise. Treating your hearing loss with the most sophisticated technology available will allow you to hear well in a number of challenging environments.
  • To improve overall listening performance: Experienced hearing aid wearers often develop specific listening preferences. New advancements give listeners more control over hearing aid settings and functionality. For example, with Halo 2 and the TruLink Hearing Control App, unique listening preferences for specific environments such as a favorite restaurant or coffee shop can be saved and easily accessed as geotagged memories. Changes in wireless technology allows you to seamlessly stream audio from your phone or other media devices directly to your hearing aids. The newest technologies even feature a specific prescription designed uniquely for music for a high-definition audio experience. Ear-to-ear technology also allows your hearing aids to make environmental decisions by communicating with each other, making listening in difficult environments more comfortable. Starkey’s industry-leading feedback technology provides stable gain without whistling, while their Surface Nano Shield technology protects hearing aids from water and oil, reducing the need for repairs.

Having your hearing checked annually and discussing any changes with your hearing professional can help you determine when an update might be necessary. Professionals understand the available hearing aid options and can work with you to find the right technology for your hearing and your lifestyle.

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Hearing Loss Isn’t So Invisible

Hearing loss is commonly referred to as an invisible health condition, and early warning signs are often overlooked. Unlike other medical conditions, you can’t physically see the signs of hearing loss. Often the most difficult step in improving your hearing is recognizing you need help.

Hearing loss can develop at any age and can be caused by a number of different factors. Individuals with hearing loss often have difficulty following conversations and understanding the voices of women and children. Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast and many also experience tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing in the ears.

Less than 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be treated medically or surgically, which means 95 percent of adults with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids are high-tech devices that help compensate for a loss of frequency by amplifying sounds and helping replace inaudible high-frequency sounds by replicating them with audible low-frequency sounds. Hearing aids today are small and incredibly powerful, available in a variety of options from invisible solutions that fit deep inside your ear to wireless Behind-The-Ear options that stream audio directly from your television, radio or telephone.

If you’ve noticed a change in your own hearing or the hearing of a loved one, the next step is to schedule a complete hearing evaluation with our Doctors of Audiology.

You may be wondering why it’s important to see a Doctor of Audiology when there are other options to purchase hearing aids online or at a big box store. You may also consult with friends, read online reviews, sort through detailed product descriptions, or ask for input on social media sites. Consumer data is just a click away on your smartphone or tablet. Who you see for your hearing healthcare is an important decision.

Audiologists are experts with the training and equipment necessary to inspect your ear, determine the degree and type of hearing loss, assess your unique listening needs, and prescribe hearing solutions to fit your lifestyle and budget. No person’s hearing loss is identical to another, and each person’s physical ear configuration is unique.

Only a Doctor of Audiology can help you accomplish the following accurately:

  • Give accurate hearing examinations and safe ear cleanings
  • Determine your degree and type of hearing loss along with possible causes
  • Help identify the most appropriate hearing solution for your hearing loss and lifestyle needs
  • Work with you to ensure your hearing aid settings are working for your lifestyle, help with repair and maintenance, and help track your hearing loss for any signs of decline throughout the year

 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the appointment.

At your appointment, the results of your hearing test will be explained to you by your doctor. Your Audiologist will ask about your lifestyle and the types of listening environments you frequent to determine the technology and product features that would be most beneficial. You will be able to see the different types of hearing aids and discuss your preference for size, color and invisibility. Your Audiologist will help you narrow down your choice of hearing instruments based on the degree and type of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, the investment you are comfortable making. Insurance coverage and payment plan options will also be discussed.

Good Sound Audiology also provides ongoing support and care for your hearing and your hearing aids. The biggest reason to see a Doctor of Audiology is to ensure that your hearing aids are personally customized for your unique lifestyle and hearing needs. Our doctors are invested in your success and your hearing journey, so you should always be open and honest about what you do and don’t like during fitting and adjustment appointments.

Finally, once you have your hearing aids, your Audiologist will walk you through proper care and maintenance. Hearing aids are advanced technological devices akin to a computer but in a very compact package. After your initial fitting, you will probably see your Audiologist for updated programming, repairs and cleanings as you adjust to and use your hearing aids more several times per year. This type of personalized care is not available if your hearing aids are purchased online.

Recognizing, diagnosing and treating hearing loss can profoundly improve quality of life. Acknowledging the presence of hearing loss is the first step toward improving communication with your family and friends. Take the next step to restore your hearing by contacting us  at Good Sound Audiology today!

 

Strategies For Telling Others You Have A Hearing Loss

“It’s noisy in here.”
“The wind is really strong.”
“Your phone keeps breaking up and dropping your voice.”
“Can you stop mumbling please?”

We’ve all used these excuses before, and we’ve all learned that down the line, they really don’t do us any good. Admitting you have a hearing loss shouldn’t be embarrassing, but for many it is, and telling others that you can’t hear well can be difficult. And just like you would speak differently to your boss than you would to your significant other, telling a person you have a hearing loss can vary based on what that the person means to you.
Here are some tips for telling the people in your life that you have hearing loss and how you can work together to make the most out of your relationships.

Family and friends

The people that you are closest to can be the most difficult to admit a problem to, but they are also going to be the ones who will notice it before anyone else. In fact, your friends and family will probably be the ones who identify your hearing loss before you do. The problem with this group is that they may be acting as advocates, pushing you to the doctor’s office or to try hearing aids before you are ready. Maybe you need hearing aids, maybe you don’t. The point is that you are the one who has to wear them and you have to live with them. So in the end, all that matters is that you have to be the one who is ready.
Calmly explain to them that yes, you have difficulty hearing but that you need to be the one to ask for help. If you are not ready for hearing aids, suggest ways they can help make it easier for you to hear and understand them. If you are ready to consider hearing aids, then ask someone to accompany you when you go to your hearing care professional’s office. That person will be a great pillar of support and will actually help you and your provider get the best overall picture of how your hearing loss affects your lifestyle.

Significant other
When you are in a relationship with someone, whether the relationship is brand new or going on thirty years, hearing loss can significantly impact how you communicate, express feelings, deal with difficult situations and even affect romance. Being open and honest with your significant other is key to keeping the peace in your relationship. If your partner also suffers from a hearing loss, it may be easier to explain your own loss and you may even bond over your shared difficulties. If your partner has normal hearing, it is best to tell him or her as soon as possible.
Go to a quiet restaurant, have a movie night at home or just take a walk in a quiet park and explain to your partner what sounds are hard to hear, what environments are difficult to hear in, what sounds or noises make understanding speech difficult and what he or she can do to help make it easier. While you may be initially embarrassed to tell your partner of your hearing loss, doing so will make him or her more conscious of your hearing and feelings, and you will be less likely to encounter conflict resulting from you missing a word or phrase.

Coworkers/boss
You probably spend more time at work than you do at home, so making sure your coworkers and boss are aware of your hearing loss is key to your job performance and at-work interactions. Pull your boss aside for 10-20 minutes or schedule a coffee together one morning. Make sure you have his or her full attention and explain how your hearing loss affects your job and what you do and others can do to help.
• Suggest that you are always facing the main speaker during a meeting or that someone is always in charge of sending post-meeting summary notes.
• Ask if your office number could be your cell if you have hearing aids that stream calls directly to your phone.
Taking the time to sit down and tell your boss the difficulties you could face and making suggestions to overcome them will make your job easier and will prevent you from accidentally getting in trouble because you may have missed an important point in a meeting.
Your coworkers quickly become your friends, so it is often best to tell them once you begin to work with them. You will interact on a daily basis and will need to rely on and trust in each other to accomplish key tasks and assignments. Explain to them what sounds and words are hard for you to understand and what environments are difficult to hear in.
• Ask them to email or speak with you in person before calling.
• If they forget you have a hearing loss, politely remind them that you have an easier time understanding them when they are facing you directly.

Strangers

This group can be the easiest or hardest to explain your hearing loss to.
If the individual is a “work” stranger, it’s best to tell them of your hearing loss immediately, especially if this is the only time you will be speaking face to face. If you are not comfortable doing so, consider asking your boss before meeting this person to explain to him or her that you have trouble hearing and to suggest ways to accommodate you best. Work-related strangers could be clients or executives, and while they are typically people you don’t see often, their words are often the most important to hear. It is better to be upfront about your hearing loss so that you can have the best chance at understanding what they say and not feel like you’re on a different page or struggling to keep up with everyone else.
If the stranger is someone you meet at a bar, party, at school or in an otherwise non-office situation, it is really up to you whether or not you tell him or her of your hearing loss. You may not feel comfortable around the stranger and not want to share, and that’s OK. If a friend or family member you trust is with you, ask them to help mediate the conversation between you and the stranger. This way you don’t miss anything and you don’t have to explain your hearing loss yet. If you feel comfortable telling the stranger, simply explain to them that you have hearing loss and may have to ask them to repeat things every so often. They will be understanding of your situation and respect you for your honesty.

Ultimately, hearing aids can help you interact better with each of the above groups. They are not perfect, and it is still a good idea to be openly honest about your hearing loss, but hearing aids can help you hear better in both quiet and noisy environments, pick up on sounds you might otherwise miss and give you a much more enjoyable social experience where you aren’t struggling to understand important speech or sound.

Schedule your appointment with our office today to discuss other strategies that may be helpful for communicating with hearing loss.

Good Sound Audiology Welcomes Audiology Assistant Wendi Black

Wendi Black

Good Sound Audiology  welcomes Wendi Black as Audiology Assistant to the practice. Wendi has been working with Good Sound Audiology  since June and looks forward to helping patients achieve a better quality of life in her expanded role. Wendi commented, “In the short time I’ve worked with Good Sound Audiology, I’ve come to realize that providing the gift of better hearing is the greatest thing we can possibly give someone.”

Since completing her certification training in November, Wendi will be available for routine appointments.  Working as a cooperative team with Dr. Tina Jessee, Wendi will also manage Surflink and TruLink installations (bluetooth and wireless TV streaming applications) in all three locations; Gilbert, Mesa, and Sun Lakes.

Good Sound Audiology is pleased to add Wendi to our team of providers and patient care coordinators who help Bring People Together Through Better Hearing.

 

Summer Book Club Review #3

The hearing loss guide: Useful information and advice for patients and families written by John M. Burkey

The goal of this book is to provide the reader with a first-hand account from others with hearing loss and their family/friends. Hearing loss is not a private disease; it involves anyone and everyone in the person’s communication circle. The advice and comments from each person reflect their personal experiences to many different aspects of hearing loss. I have heard very similar comments from my patients and their communication partner (spouse, child, friend).

“For many, life had become a ‘What’ fest”.

The first part is the basics of hearing & hearing loss, using easy-to-understand terminology. The second part provides the reader with excellent information regarding realistic expectations of hearing loss and hearing aids with comments and advice from real people with hearing aids.

I would recommend the book to anyone that has hearing loss & values customer reviews. The author provides unedited accounts of hearing aid users and their significant communication partners. Most people that post reviews online have something negative to say about their experience. Mr. Burkey fills the pages with a good balance of negative and positive reviews of each person’s experience with hearing loss and hearing aids.

Burkey

 

To purchase this book, visit Amazon http://amzn.to/1hgh7tD

Travel Season??

Your Ears and Traveling Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Ear Plugs..? With the holidays quickly approaching, many are traveling to be with family. There is a lot to remember when traveling, but something commonly forgotten is protecting their ears.

When flying in an airplane, the change in pressure can cause travelers to develop “airplane ears”, also known as barotitis media. Airplane ears can cause partial hearing loss and can be extremely painful for people to experience if not properly taken care of. Even though no serious affects usually result from airplane ears, such as hearing loss, it is still important to take care of your ears so that this discomfort and potential damage does not occur.

How to Avoid Airplane Ears:

  • To help keep the Eustachian tube open, it is important to do simple techniques such as swallowing several times or blowing your nose before your plane begins to prepare for descent.
  • Chewing gum is very helpful when attempting to open the Eustachian tube, so make sure to keep gum with you at all times while flying.
  • Flying can be very exhausting, so it may be a natural reaction to yawn. Yawning also activates the muscles by the Eustachian tube to decrease air pressure. Even if you aren’t tired, sit by someone who is – yawns are contagious!
  • Earplugs are a great way to equalize the air pressure in your ears, so make sure to purchase a pair before getting on your flight.

Our ears are very sensitive and the pressure from the airplane can greatly impact them.

If you are having trouble hearing and want to enjoy your trip by clearly hearing those around you, don’t hesitate – contact us today! Perhaps custom earplugs will be the perfect accessory for your next vacation.

Summer Book Club Review #2

The Consumer Handbook on Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids: A bridge to healing; Edited by Clinical Audiologist Richard E. Carmen, Au.D., Fourth Edition 2014

 

The Consumer Handbook will educate you to all things regarding hearing loss. Every chapter is written by an expert in the field. From the emotions involved with hearing loss to improving your listening skills, this handbook has it all. I especially enjoyed reading the chapter titled, “What do the experts say, Ten Questions and Answers”. Dr. James Hall states when asked about poor speech intelligibility, “…if the brain is not processing sound well, then even a person with normal hearing sensitivity for faint sounds may experience serious problems with speech perception and understanding.” We hear with our brains, not our ears. If you are having difficulty hearing or know someone who is having difficulty hearing, read this book.

I recommend this handbook to anyone thinking about hearing aids, hearing loss, and other hearing related issues. The more information you know prior to purchasing hearing aids, the better consumer you will be in the end.

To learn more about the classes, call 480-883-2842 or email Dr. Karg at info@goodsoundaudiology.com

 

Dr. Carmen's Handbook

Dr. Carmen’s Handbook

To purchase the handbook, visit http://amzn.to/1P2s1Rz

Summer Book Club Review #1

A review of Frustrated by Hearing Loss? 5 Keys to Communication Success by Dusty Ann Jessen, Au.D.

 

This is a must read for our patients! I love this handbook for those with hearing loss!

 

And it is just that, a handbook. A tool for better hearing. You will be able to read it from front to back with great ease. Later, you may go back and review specific sections, as needed. This handbook was designed for you and anyone that communicates with you on a regular basis. Dr. Jessen dissects typical communication breakdowns (i.e. on the telephone) into easy-to-understand sections. She effectively communicates to the reader the reasons for the breakdown and offers the best strategies to help overcome these issues.  Most importantly, there is an added emphasis on the responsibility of the readers to practice, practice, practice the strategies offered in the handbook.

 

Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss, they are aids! They are only one part of the road on the way to better hearing. This handbook is another piece of that road and is a great addition to the classes that I teach in the Sun Lakes office, CHAMP. To become a CHAMP, each person learns how to effectively communicate in different environments, with different speakers, and with the necessary technology. This handbook will reinforce these strategies once you are home!

 

To learn more about the classes, call 480-883-2842 or email Dr. Karg at info@goodsoundaudiology.com

Dr. Jessen's Handbook

Dr. Jessen’s Handbook

 

 

To purchase the handbook, visit http://cuttothechasecommunication.com/5keys/communication-handbook/