“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.
Earlier this morning, Dr. Douglas Backous and his team at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA, offered a rare inside look at a cochlear implant surgery, from start to finish. We followed this with great interest, as the surgery generated significant discussion on social media. Thanks to those involved for sharing this experience with us. See below for information on the series from the Swedish Medical center website. Who knows, maybe this will inspire us to do something similar in Jacksonville!
What is it like to have hearing loss? And is there anything that can be done for those with hearing loss?
These are some of the many questions you may have if you know or love someone with hearing loss or deafness. Or, you may have hearing loss and be wondering if there is anything you can do about it.
To help raise awareness around options for those with hearing loss, Dr. Douglas Backous, medical director of the Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, developed this video series to increase awareness of cochlear implant surgery as a treatment option for hearing loss. The series will culminate in a live-tweeted and Instagrammed cochlear implant surgery at 7:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, followed by a live chat on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m and 6 p.m. (Pacific Time) with leading hearing-loss experts.
This series was developed to increase awareness of cochlear implant surgery as a treatment option for hearing loss, to raise awareness of this life-changing surgery and to demonstrate that people who are deaf can have the ability to hear.
Two short videos discussing hearing loss and cochlear implant surgery will be released every week throughout September and early October on this page. (All videos have transcripts that can be viewed on the individual videos’ YouTube pages. Also, closed captioning is available for each video by pressing the CC button located on the video action bar after the video begins playing.)
That is over 4 times the amount of people who live in New York City!
The statistics are shocking and even more so knowing that over half of those 36 million Americans are under the age of 65. Hearing loss is an increasing health concern in this nation that is often preventable. Taking time to see an audiologist for regular hearing screenings and knowing the signs of hearing loss can protect your hearing. Make an appointment with an audiologist this October during National Audiology Awareness Month.
“Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises, ear infections, trauma, or ear disease; harm to the inner ear and ear drum, illness or certain medications, and deterioration due to the normal aging process,” explains Liz Pearson, Audiologist. The amount of noise Americans are exposed to today plays an important role in the recent increase of hearing loss across the nation. It is no longer just a health concern for seniors.
Have you stopped going to restaurants and social gatherings? Do you keep to yourself when in noisy environments? If you answered yes, you may have a hearing problem. Some tell signs of hearing loss are: trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as restaurants, difficulty or inability to hear people talking to you without looking at them, and/or a constant pain or ringing in your ears.
On average, most Americans don’t know how to recognize the first signs of hearing loss or which health professional is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition. If you think you may have a hearing loss, you need to see an audiologist.
An audiologist is a licensed and clinically experienced health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is to get your hearing evaluated by an audiologist. A hearing evaluation will determine the degree of hearing loss you have and what can be done. Although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.
In response to the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology in conjunction with Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute has launched National Audiology Awareness Month this October.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 904.399.0350.
Mary Jo Schuh, an Audiologist at JHBI with more than 15 years of experience in the field of cochlear implants, recently appeared on the local television show First Coast Living to discuss cochlear implants. Click below to watch her segment, and to see how cochlear implants have helped JHBI patient James Otis.
Katie Inman, a 15 year old student at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and patient at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI), recently experienced the ride of a lifetime when she was able to assist with flying a Piper PA-28 plane. This opportunity was arranged by the non-profit group Operation PROP (People Reaching Outrageous Potential). Since then, Katie has not stopped talking about her adventure. What makes this so special is that Katie has been legally blind since birth, and lost her hearing seven years ago. Her speech became unintelligible and she struggled to communicate. She needed to rely on sign language that she “read” by feeling the finger movements within the palm of her hand. She desired to hear again and wanted a cochlear implant.
Her role model has been her mother, Tracie Inman, who is also blind and who received bilateral cochlear implants at JHBI. Tracie wanted her daughter to have this advanced technology to give her back the gift of sound. Dr. Green successfully implanted her left ear in February of this year and she rapidly adapted to hearing again. She is now enjoying sound and is able to talk on the phone to her friends and family. Katie immediately requested a second cochlear implant and was implanted in June , two days after her flight in the clouds. As with her first implant, Katie has excelled and is now using her hearing skills to navigate, reducing her dependence on her walking cane. Katie reports that she “loves to hear” and has become a “chatterbox”. Her father summed up Katie’s future with the family motto, “Only the sky’s the limit”.
Some people experience unilateral hearing loss, or hearing loss in just one of their ears. Dr. Jacqueline Olson and her patient Brian Register talk about the solutions with a CROS hearing aid on another segment of First Coast Living.
Balance Awareness Week is September 16th – 22nd, 2012. The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is launching a campaign to “Defeat Dizziness” through public education and advocacy. Read below for the official press release from VEDA about its 16th annual Balance Awareness Week. Since 1997, JHBI has been helping patients with balance disorders through advanced testing techniques and proper diagnosis.
VESTIBULAR DISORDERS ASSOCIATION SEEKS TO “DEFEAT DIZZINESS” DURING BALANCE AWARENESS WEEK
PORTLAND, OR — The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) celebrates its 16th annual Balance Awareness Week September 16th – 22nd, 2012 by launching a campaign to “Defeat Dizziness” through public education and advocacy.
The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements.
Illness, injury, and even aging can damage the fragile vestibular organs, and with them, the ability to balance. As many as 35% of adults aged 40 years or older in the United States — approximately 69 million Americans — have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction.
Receiving effective treatment is frequently complicated by the length of time it takes to diagnose a vestibular disorder, which can be a year or more in many cases. Most vestibular patients visit a doctor 4-5 times before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
In addition to affecting balance, vestibular disorders often provide disabling symptoms that include vertigo, dizziness, hearing and vision problems, and difficulty concentrating. These life-altering symptoms can deeply inhibit a person’s ability to perform basic day-to-day tasks, and are compounded by their invisibility to others, making it difficult to understand that a person with vestibular dysfunction is profoundly struggling to remain oriented and functional.
The goal of Balance Awareness Week is to “defeat dizziness” by helping people recognize the symptoms of a vestibular disorder, and urging them to seek help from a professional vestibular specialist. In addition, VEDA encourages the friends, family and coworkers of those suffering from a vestibular disorder to learn more about how balance dysfunction can impact their loved one’s ability to perform common day-to-day activities.
Fitter International, Inc. (“Fitterfirst”) — a company that designs and distributes fitness products focused on improving the functional elements of balance — is sponsoring Balance Awareness Week.
“Balance is the essence of movement and movement is the essence of life,” says Louis Stack, Founder and President of Fitterfirst, who is sponsoring Balance Awareness Week. “As a competitive athlete I recognize how important core balance is, not only during physical activity but even for everyday functions of life. At Fitterfirst we produce easy to use balance tools that help people maintain or regain better balance for active daily living.”
VEDA invites everyone to participate in Balance Awareness Week — go to www.vestibular.org/BAW to learn more about how you can help.
About VEDA: For over 25 years, the Vestibular Disorders Association has provided objective information, advocacy, and a caring support network to people with vestibular disorders and the health professionals who treat them. For more information, visit www.vestibular.org or call (800) 837-8428.
The Jacksonville Acoustic Neuroma Association (ANA) support group will meet Saturday, October 13th at 1 PM at Mandarin United Methodist Church. For information, please contact Joan Vanderbilt, the Jacksonville chapter leader, at 904-287-8132 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the ANA:
The mission of ANA is to inform, educate and provide national and local support networks for those affected by acoustic neuromas, and to be an essential resource for health care professionals who treat acoustic neuroma patients. The Acoustic Neuroma Association provides information and support to patients who have been diagnosed with or experienced an acoustic neuroma or other benign problem affectine the cranial nerves. Patient founded in 1981, ANA is an incorporated, non-profit organization, recognized as such by the IRS, and is supported by contributions from its members. The association also furnishes information on patient rehabilitation to physicians and health care personnel, promotes research on acoustic neuroma, and educates the public regarding symptoms suggestive of acoustic neuroma, thus promoting early diagnosis and successful treatment.
Ericia Espenschied, a current patient and former medical assistant at JHBI, has published a book about her acoustic neuroma experience. An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor of the vestibular nerve, and is a condition that is commonly treated by JHBI staff.
The book is available on amazon.com (link below). Ericia offers the following description:
A young woman believes she is going in for a routine eye exam but finds herself launched on a hard journey of being diagnosed with a brain tumor. With fear eventually overwhelming her, she finds strength with faith and hope and within her family and friends.