Category Archives: Hearing Aids
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.
Taking care of your hearing healthcare investment
One of the most valuable purchases that you may make this year is a pair of new hearing aids. Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with loved ones and participate in daily activities that you once enjoyed but may be shying away from.
Digital hearing aids are precision instruments, and are sensitive to dust, dirt, moisture, cerumen, hairspray, and other daily influences. Fortunately, there are a few simple care and maintenance steps that when followed regularly can keep your hearing aid sounding and performing optimally. Here are a number of helpful suggestions that you can do at home.
Handle with care
- When removing your hearing aid from its packaging, stand over soft ground so that if it falls, it falls onto a soft surface and not a hard floor.
- Try to never expose your hearing aid to high heat such as leaving it in your car.
- When cleaning your hearing aid, don’t use alcohol or chemical solvents. We suggest the use of baby wipes or Audiowipes instead.
- Apply hair care and styling products before you insert your hearing aid. Hair gels and hairspray can clog the components and can sometimes affect the exterior plastic, too.
Protect it from moisture
- The digital circuitry in your hearing aid is particularly sensitive to moisture.
- Take your hearing aid out before swimming or showering (unless it is a waterproof hearing aid).
- Remove the hearing aid before going to sleep, and store it in a clean, dry place.
- Before you insert your hearing aid, clean and dry your ears as best as possible.
- One of the most common causes of hearing aids having to be returned for service is the buildup of moisture; an inexpensive hearing aid dehumidifier can prevent this, and thus prolong its life.
- To use a hearing aid dehumidifier, which removes any accumulation of moisture, remove the batteries from the unit before storing the hearing aid in the dehumidifier overnight.
Remove excessive ear wax from your hearing aid
- Becoming clogged with ear wax is the second most common reason that hearing aids require service.
- Upon removing your hearing aid, wipe away ear wax using a soft cloth.
- Clean any ear wax from the receiver and microphone areas of the device, using a cleaning brush.
- Change the wax filters frequently (if equipped).
A small study by the House Research Institute revealed that 72% of teens reported reduced hearing after attending a three-hour show. This type of hearing loss typically disappears within 48 hours, but if it occurs repeatedly, permanent hearing loss can develop, the study authors noted.
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Watch this video as Mary Jo Schuh, Clinical Audiologist, explains the BAHA procedure and her patient, Karen Hott, gives her testimonial.
Does someone you love have a hearing loss? Are you frustrated with having to repeat things to him/her? Click here for helpful information on how to better cope with your loved one’s hearing loss.
Are you or a family member suffering from hearing loss? Click here to take the Hearing Health Quick Test, courtesy of the American Academy of Audiology.
A score of 3 or more may indicate that you have a hearing problem, and with a score of 6 or more, a hearing evaluation is strongly recommended.
October is National Audiology Awareness Month, and there is no better time than now to have your hearing checked!