“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.
Did you know that some of the latest Bluetooth technology can be used with hearing aids? Learn how from one of our audiologists, Dr. Jacqueline Olson, who was featured recently in a live segment on First Coast Living in Jacksonville, Fla.
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.
It’s so gradual that you may not even realize you have hearing loss. You begin to strain to hear loved ones and avoid noisy restaurants. Not only does your hearing deteriorate, but also your lifestyle, relationships, and general psychological well-being. The sooner you begin treatment for hearing loss, the easier it will be to adjust to hearing aids and to retain some hearing ability.
1. See an audiologist
If you have noticed any symptoms of hearing loss (or your friends or family have noticed) you may be among the one in five Americans 1 suffering with this problem. Seeing an audiologist is the first step in evaluating your hearing loss and how it may be treated.
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute audiologists have doctoral degrees and are board certified by the American Board of Audiology. They specialize in fitting hearing aids and work with patients and physicians to create effective hearing solutions. Our Hearing Center is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated exclusively to serving our hearing aid and cochlear implant patients.
2. Get educated
Being informed about your hearing health and the many treatment options available is essential. Web searches, books, and consulting friends and family are an important part of the learning process. Besides the professional and personal one-on-one assistance of our team members, we also provide a number of resources that can help you determine the best hearing solution for you and your lifestyle.
3. Take charge of your hearing
Hearing aids come in many styles and have various features. Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute team members listen to individual needs and lifestyle when determining the right hearing aid for you. Things to consider include:
Type of hearing loss
Severity of hearing loss
Size and shape of the ear and ear canal
Don’t miss out another minute! Contact us to set up a hearing consultation or come into our new Hearing Center on Thursdays in May for a free hearing screening!
1 According to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, published in Nov. 14, 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine
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!*
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:
Providing hearing rehabilitation training such as:
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.
In a world filled with new technology, hearing loops bring old technology back to life. The Washington Post reported that this “old technology could have the most profound impact in the decade to come on millions of people with hearing loss.” (The Washington Post) Telecoils were first put in hearing aids in the 1940s, and hearing loops were used in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, two challenges arise from the returning use of this old technology. First, a user’s hearing device must be equipped with a telecoil in order for the person to benefit from the hearing loop. Telecoils are common but not universal. Second, public areas have to be “looped,” but in the United States, very few are.
Many patients have been pleased to learn about the addition of a hearing loop to our waiting rooms. We have received positive feedback from patients who are delighted to find that they can take advantage of this technology.
Hearing loops are devices that transmit sound from microphones, loudspeakers or even TVs directly to portable receivers (such as hearing aids, cochlear implants or headsets). The loops rely on tiny technology in the portable receiver called a telecoil, which acts like an antenna relaying sounds directly into the ear. The advantage of this system is due to an improved signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. Because the signal of interest (e.g., TV, microphone) is delivered directly to the hearing aid, interference from background noise is significantly reduced. Improving hearing in the presence of background noise is one of the biggest challenges in the rehabilitation of hearing impaired patients. Telecoil systems are one way to effectively improve hearing in this environment in a cost-effective, easy to use manner.
At this time, we are only aware of one other hearing loop installed in Jacksonville- at a check-out register at Whole Foods in Mandarin.
Here are some FAQs from the Hearing Loss Association of America:
1. Why are hearing loops needed? Don’t hearing aids enable hearing?
Today’s digital hearing aids effectively enhance hearing in conversational settings. Yet for many people with hearing loss the sound becomes unclear when auditorium or TV loudspeakers are at a distance, when the context is noisy, or when room acoustics reverberate sound. A hearing loop magnetically transfers the microphone or TV sound signal to hearing aids and cochlear implants with a tiny, inexpensive “telecoil” receiver. This transforms the instruments into in-the-ear loudspeakers that deliver sound customized for one’s own hearing loss. View a demonstration here.
2. How many hearing aids have a telecoil for receiving hearing loop input?
Hearing Review (April, 2008) reported almost two-thirds of hearing aids sold now include a telecoil, up from 37 percent in 2001. In its 2009 reviews of hearing aid models, the Hearing Review Products showed that most hearing aids—including all 35 in-the-ear models—now come with telecoils, as do newer cochlear implants.
3. Can hearing loops serve those without telecoils or without hearing aids?
Yes, all forms of assistive listening, including hearing loops, come with portable receivers and headsets (though most of these type units go unused).
4. What does a hearing loop cost?
Costs range from $100 to $300 for self-installed home TV room loops up to several thousand dollars for professional installation in an average-sized auditorium or worship space. Most churches can install a hearing loop for little or no more than the cost of one pair of high end hearing aids, though a large facility with embedded metal will be more expensive.
This is the emblem displayed at locations which have a hearing loop installed: