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/

Shhhh! I’m hunting wabbits with SoundGear

Hunting and shooting are one of the most popular past-times in America. But, shooting any type of firearm without the proper protection can result in severe damage to your hearing, whether temporary or permanent.  A study by the University of Wisconsin found that men aged 48 to 92 who hunted regularly were more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss, a risk that increased seven percent for every five years a man had been hunting.   But what’s really alarming is that of the 3,753 study participants (83 percent of whom were eligible), “38 percent of the target shooters and 95 percent of the hunters reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past year.”

One shot from a gun can range from 140 to 190 decibels, and can cause immediate damage to one’s hearing. Avid hunter and writer for Outdoor News, Kristen Monroe, can attest to just how damaging a single shot can be; she’s ruptured her ear drum a couple of times!!

“I don’t think they all know that it really only takes one shot at the right angle to ruin your hearing and cause permanent ringing,” Monroe said of why hunters often overlook hearing protection.

Soundgear Banner (1)Monroe herself used to avoid using hearing protection because it got in the way while shooting, but said that since using SoundGear, she’s not only been able to protect her hearing but also not worry about the devices getting in the way while shooting.  So beyond the obvious use of hearing protection (a must if shooting any time of firearm), what are some tips to help protect your hearing while out hunting or shooting?

Silence That Shot!

Unless it’s illegal in your state, consider using a gun suppressor—or silencer—to help reduce the volume of a gunshot. Silencers offer some relief for your ears by helping to stabilize the loud propellant gases firearms produce when fired. It should be noted, however, that not all states allow silencers and that silencers don’t mean hearing protection can be avoided.

Take A Break

Even with the best hearing protection, long-term exposure to firearms can cause temporary or permanent damage. It may not be obvious at first, but any exposure to dangerous sounds can result in hearing damage. Over time, as the damage builds up, your hearing will decline. Consider taking breaks between rounds to help give  your ears a chance to decompress. SoundGear helps reduce sounds above 95dB while enhancing conversational and natural sounds, so even when you take a break from shooting, you don’t have to take your hearing protection out. This ensures that if someone else decides to keep shooting nearby your ears don’t get hurt in the process!

Keep Them On or In!

Just because you aren’t shooting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wearing hearing protection. If you are out hunting with a group or standing to wait  your turn at a shooting range, keep your hearing protection on or in your ears. You may not be shooting but your ears are still being exposed to harmful levels of sound.

But I’m Using a Bow…

If you’re out hunting with a bow hearing protection may still be necessary. Often times, you aren’t the only one out hunting, and if someone close by is using a firearm, your ears are still susceptible to damage. This is one of the reasons why SoundGear is so great. Unlike other hearing protection products that muffle all sound, SoundGear only reduces sound 95dB and over. And because it amplifies other natural sounds, not only are you protecting your ears from nearby shots, you’re also giving yourself a better chance at hearing approaching game.

To best protect your hearing while hunting or shooting, check out SoundGear, digital hearing protection that enhances environmental sounds and decreases the dangerous high-decibel sounds. Learn more about SoundGear here.

Hearing Loss Information is Beautiful

Hearing Loss Information is Beautiful

 

I recently came across a tidbit of information on Facebook, aptly named Common MythConceptions. As I was reading some the common myths and misconceptions. It made me think of the common mythconceptions of hearing loss and hearing aids that I address in the office and in CHAMP sessions.

 

As educated consumers, I hope that you do your research regarding hearing loss and hearing aids. Start by having your hearing evaluated by a licensed Audiologist.

 

  1. Hearing aids restore hearing to normal: Hearing aids will not give you normal hearing. They are an aid to help provide better hearing. Most people of nerve damage that cannot be corrected medically. Hearing aids will provide you with better hearing than without them!

  2. People with hearing loss are older adults: While hearing loss is more commonly noted in older adults, 65% of those with hearing loss in the U.S. are under the age of 65!

  3. Increasing the sound volume will enable a person with hearing loss to understand what is said: Yes, hearing loss is a loss of audibility. However, hearing is a very complex sense and the ability to discriminate speech sounds is processed by the BRAIN. Yelling or increasing the volume can distort the signal for the person with hearing loss. There are other communication strategies to help with the clarity of speech (e.g. getting the person’s attention, looking at them while talking to them, decrease the background noise, etc.)

  4. Hearing loss isn’t a big deal when compared to other conditions: Actually untreated hearing loss is a big deal. Several studies have shown that untreated hearing loss negatively affects a person’s overall health! More importantly, the benefits of hearing aid use on a person’s quality of life are remarkable from improved relationships at home to increased social activities.

  5. My friend’s hearing devices don’t work for him/her so they’re not going to work for me: Every person is an individual and so is their hearing loss. Due to the fact that we process speech and other sounds at the level of the brain, you can have a similar hearing loss as your friend but your processing ability could be better/worse. Having realistic expectations of the hearing aids based on your own individual hearing evaluation will help YOU to achieve better hearing.

 

If you crave more information about hearing loss and hearing aids, you can participate in Dr. Karg’s Summer Book Club, Attend CHAMP in August, or schedule your individual consult today!

 

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

A new arrival to Good Sound Audiology!

Congratulations to Dr. & Mr. Karg! Baby Karg was born on June 16th at 12:00pm. Both mom and baby are doing great!

Baby Karg had her hearing screened within hours of being born. You will be happy to know that she passed and is ready to protect her hearing from loud sounds. (Insert adorable pictures of her!)

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. If you think that your child might have hearing loss, call for a hearing evaluation today 480-497-0780. Don’t wait!

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program sets the protocol for screening every newborn for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. Infants who do not pass the screening receive an evaluation before three months of age and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) laws or voluntary compliance programs that screen hearing.

Facts from Arizona department of Health Services:

84,811 babies, born in 2013 passed the newborn hearing screen

738 did not pass the newborn hearing screen

  • 246 passed a subsequent hearing test
  • 121 were diagnosed with hearing loss
  • 371 did not have follow up!

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. If you think that your child might have hearing loss, call for a hearing evaluation today 480-497-0780. Don’t wait!

Even if your child has passed a hearing screening before, it is important to look out for the following signs.

Signs in Babies

  • Does not startle at loud noises.
  • Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
  • Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
  • Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Seems to hear some sounds but not others.

Signs in Children

  • Speech is delayed.
  • Speech is not clear.
  • Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Often says, “Huh?”
  • Turns the TV volume up too high.

Babies and children should reach milestones in how they play, learn, communicate and act. A delay in any of these milestones could be a sign of hearing loss or other developmental problem. Visit the CDC web page to see milestones that children should reach from 2 months to 5 years of age.

Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/facts.html on 5/29/15.

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. If you think that your child might have hearing loss, call for a hearing evaluation today 480-497-0780. Don’t wait!

 

 

 

Dr. Karg’s Book Club

Dr. Karg’s 2015 Summer Book Club

 

Hearing loss is a devastating, invisible disease.

 

I cannot say this enough. Hearing loss is a disease that negatively affects most of us at some point in our lives. Whether is a family member, friend or yourself that has hearing loss, this disease will impact how you interact with other people.

However, as with any disease, the more you are aware of how hearing loss can impact you; the better you are able to handle the consequences of hearing loss. I have listed my summer collection of books for reading and discussion. In order to take care of you, I would like to empower each one of you to educate yourself on hearing loss and how to start the road to better hearing.

As I finish each book, I will write my own review. I encourage any feedback from you, as well.

Click on the title to the right to view/print the list  Dr. Karg’s Summer Book Club List 2015

 

  1. 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
  2. The hearing loss guide: Useful information and advice for patients and families; John M. Burkey
  3. Frustrated by hearing loss? 5 Keys to communication success; Dusty Ann Jessen
  4. Shouting won’t help; Katherine Bouton
  5. Living better with hearing loss: A guide to health, happiness, love, sex, work, friends….hearing aids; Katherine Bouton
  6. Hearing loss tips: For those who have it and those who don’t; Linneae Mallette