Category Archives: Hearing Instruments
New hybrid hearing device helps those who find hearing aids to be ineffective
By Charlie Patton Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 4:51 pm
Traditionally there have been two approaches to hearing loss: hearing aids to amplify sound for those who retained some hearing; and cochlear implants to restore some hearing to those who are totally deaf.
A new device, a Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System, has been approved by the FDA for use in people who have some hearing but have found hearing aids ineffective.
J. Douglas Green Jr., a neurotologist and founder of the Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute/The Hearing Center, calls the device “an extraordinary melding of technologies.”
The hybrid includes three elements: an implant that Green puts in place during a 90-minute outpatient procedure; a sound processor that converts high-frequency sounds to electric signals and sends them to the implant; and an acoustic component that functions like a hearing aid, amplifying low-frequency sounds.
The cochlear implant component restores the ability of people to hear high-pitched sound.
The hybrid “gives patients a more natural sound quality,” Green said. “People really like that. There is more clarity to the sounds.”
Green will offer free seminars about the implants: a dinner presentation from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday and a lunch presentation from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hotel Indigo, 9840 Tapestry Park Circle.
While seminars are free, seating is limited and a reservation is required. Go to HearingHealthSeminar.com or call (877) 432-7844.
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413
Tinnitus, or ringing (also commonly described as buzzing/chirping sounds) in the ears, can be a very debilitating problem. Unfortunately, tinnitus treatments are often complex and costly. One of the best, most cost-effective tinnitus treatments involves the use of hearing aids. In many cases, hearing aids are a “kill two birds with one stone” approach, and are helpful in both the correction of hearing loss and the reduction of tinnitus.
Below is a summary of a retrospective review of 70 patients with hearing loss and chronic tinnitus, courtesy of the American Academy of Audiology. The authors found that hearing aids can be a very effective treatment for tinnitus, and we agree. In fact, some of our most successful hearing aid patients initially began using hearing aids as a tool to help their tinnitus, only to later discover the added advantage of better hearing.
Hearing Aids as Tinnitus Therapy
McNeill et al (2012) report that “hearing aids have become common therapeutic tools in the audiological management of tinnitus.” They note that hearing aids are used in tandem with counseling and hearing aids serve as an important part of treatments, such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (Jastreboff and Jastreboff, 2000).
McNeill and colleagues performed a retrospective study of 70 patients (48 males, 22 female, mean age 55 years). Each patient had hearing loss and a primary or secondary complaint of “bothersome chronic tinnitus.” Of note, while wearing hearing aids (Oticon, Phonak or Widex) 26 patients reported their tinnitus was totally masked, 28 reported partial masking (i.e., 77 percent, or 54 of 70 reported partial or total masking) and 16 reported no masking. Tinnitus pitch masking revealed (on average) a perceived pitch of 6900 Hz. Of note, for the group that did not achieve masking (n=16, see above)they reported a mean tinnitus pitch perceived at 8000 Hz (the average perceived tinnitus pitch for the partial masking group was 7,600 Hz and for the total masking group was 5,400 Hz). The authors note the patients who had the most tinnitus relief via their hearing aid fittings had tinnitus matching results within the frequency range of the hearing aids.
McNeill et al report that their results indicate hearing aid fittings may be useful in the management of tinnitus because hearing aids reduce the audibility of tinnitus and hearing aids improve the patient’s reaction to tinnitus. The authors recommend hearing aid fittings to treat tinnitus in patients with hearing loss. Further, they note the best results are obtained when the patient has good low-frequency hearing, a strong reaction to their tinnitus and when the tinnitus pitch is perceived to be (i.e., matched) within the fitting range of the hearing aid.
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Living in Florida can get pretty humid, especially in the summer months. Hearing aid users are frequently worried about sweat, rain, and moisture accumulation in their new hearing aid. Well, now there is a solution! Siemens has introduced its first waterproof and dustproof hearing aid: The Aquaris. The device is capable of working as deep as three feet under water and can be connected to their Minitek Bluetooth system. This allows the user to listen to bluetooth-streamed music while swimming, showering, or exercising. JHBI is a provider of Siemens instruments. Give us a call to learn more about this new and exciting product.
“I want the most discrete hearing aid possible so that I don’t look old.” This is heard almost daily during our hearing aid consultations. Despite the significant advancements in hearing aid size and technology, there is one thing that hasn’t changed: their stigma. Although a hearing aid is much less noticeable than the hearing loss itself, people continue to shy away from being properly amplified due to the perceived negative impact that it may have on their daily lives. Well, a young girl named Samantha wants to change your perspective on hearing aid use.
“Sean (her brother) and I were born with hearing loss. We both wear hearing aids. It’s not that hard to get used to wearing hearing aids. All you need to do is think of good things and then you put it in your ear and you hear better. That’s all there is to it!”
Samantha, age 8, has written a book about her experience with wearing hearing aids and an FM system at school. The book, called “Samantha’s Fun FM Unit and Hearing Aid Book” was written to explain why she wore her hearing aids at school and to help other hearing aid users (adults and children alike) feel the positive impact of hearing aids. The book not only examines Samantha’s perspective of hearing aids, but also teaches about daily use of the aids and FM system.
Read the full synopsis here, courtesy of CNN.com.
A high-school senior from New Jersey has grabbed the attention of baseball scouts across the nation. As one of the top pitchers in his region, Austin Solecitto is headed to the state playoffs with his team.
But it’s not only his skill on the field that has caught everyone’s attention. The 18-year-old pitcher was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at the age of two. He wears a cochlear implant throughout the day, but when he’s pitching on the mound, he often disables the device. Ironically, Austin explains that the ability to disable his cochlear implant while pitching has proven to be an advantage, since he is able to focus on his pitching and not the other team or parents.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Cochlear implants have been an area of major advancement in the arena of hearing rehabilitation over the last several decades. Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute (JHBI) is proud to offer patients an experienced, comprehensive cochlear implant team, consisting of neurotologists, audiologists with special board certification in cochlear implant assessment and rehabilitation, physician’s assistants, and allied health professionals within the Jacksonville community. Through their expertise and dedication, they are helping to restore the gift of hearing to patients both locally and internationally. And some of these patients, like Solecitto, might even set their sights on the major leagues.
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute has just announced the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art Hearing Center. The 1,180 square foot Hearing Center is located right across the hall from our existing offices in the Center One building on Centurion Parkway North just off Gate Parkway.
The Hearing Center will be dedicated exclusively to serving our hearing aid and cochlear implant patients. The center features three new exam rooms, a new testing room and a waiting area with the loop system.
Join us for “Better Hearing Thursdays!” in May (May 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st) between 9am-noon for a free hearing screening, video-otoscope session, gift bag and tour of the new Hearing Center with an audiologist! Let us know you are coming; reserve your Thursday!*
*Offer only valid through the month of May.
In an effort to raise public awareness for the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, May has been designated Better Hearing Month.
On average, most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is simply associated with aging, and don’t know how to recognize the condition or who is qualified to diagnose and treat it. “Hearing loss can be caused by all kinds of things: loud noises, ear infections or disease, certain medications, and just normal aging,” explains Dr. J. Douglas Green, Jr.. founder of Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute. “It can affect patients of all ages—children, teens, adults, and the elderly.”
The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by an audiologist. An audiologist is a highly educated and clinically experienced health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. JHBI’s audiologists have areas of expertise that include, but are not limited to:
- Performing hearing evaluations
- Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
- Conducting cochlear implant programming and counseling
- Providing hearing rehabilitation training such as:
- Auditory training
- Speech reading
- Listening skills improvement
- Assistive listening device fitting and dispensing
You may need to see an audiologist if you have trouble hearing conversation in noisy environments, are unable to hear people talk without looking at them, or have constant ringing or pain in your ears. Although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.
Take advantage of our Free Hearing Screenings on Thursdays in May! For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us.
The best way to achieve maximum benefit with hearing aids is to wear them whenever you’re awake, not just when you think you ‘need to hear’. Those who wear them inconsistently don’t hear as well in different listening situations as those who wear them all the time.
Using your hearing aid only occasionally just sets you up for unnecessary frustration. Adjusting to the different quality of sound you will hear takes time and practice. Think of it like your golf or tennis swing—if you only play every now and then, you’ll be out of practice and won’t enjoy the experience. Your clubs, your racket or your hearing aids will get tossed in the closet. The more you practice, whether on the course, the court or in listening with your hearing aid, the better you’ll perform and the more satisfied you’ll be.
The information and reference materials included on this website are intended solely for the general information and education purposes of the reader. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or to diagnose health problems. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to discuss the information presented here.
This holiday season, as we gather with family and friends, the crowded rooms and loud, happy environments may emphasize our hearing loss or that of our loved ones even more. If you are looking for some help, yourself, or a useful gift for someone struggling with impaired hearing, get “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hearing Loss.”
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hearing Loss” was written by members of the House Clinic, an international referral center for the treatment of ear and skull base disorders, with chapter contributions from our very own Dr. John Goddard.