Category Archives: In the News

Deaf Baseball Player Aims for the Major Leagues

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.

May is Better Hearing Month

May is Better Hearing Month

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.


Hearing Loop Makes Headlines

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.

In Jacksonville, Fla., the only places currently looped (of which we are aware) are our waiting rooms at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute and one check-out lane at Whole Foods Market in Mandarin.

The Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging performance venues to install temporary loop systems to let people try them out.

Diabetes and Hearing Health

To raise awareness about the link between hearing loss and diabetes, the Better Hearing Institute in conjunction with Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute is urging people with diabetes to get their hearing checked.

Take the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  The Better Hearing Institute’s Across America Hearing Check Challenge can help determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test.   Hearing loss is almost twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, but hearing screenings are often not part of the regular regimen of care for people with diabetes.

If you think you might be at risk for developing diabetes and want to get your hearing checked, call our office at 904-399-0350 to schedule a hearing test.

CenterOne Featured in Florida DOCTOR

Florida DOCTOR has featured Dr. Doug Green and CenterOne Surgery Center and its mission of providing high quality, cost effective outpatient surgery to the community.  “CenterOne Surgery Center started with a group of doctors who really cared about providing the best quality of care and service,” says Dr. Green, one of its founding physicians and founder of Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute.  “We all had the same vision.”

Surgical specialties available at CenterOne include orthopedics, pain management, pediatric/adult ENT, neurosurgery, podiatry, otology/neurotology, urology, plastic surgery, hand surgery, general surgery and more.  CenterOne has been awarded the certificate of accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).  It is contracted with all major insurance carriers and is fully licensed by the state of Florida and certified by Medicare. Read the entire Florida DOCTOR article.

Restoring Hearing & Lives in Nigeria

Dr. Green returned to Nigeria in October 2011 to train surgeons, perform ear surgeries and follow up with some of his former patients. He and former missionary Dr. Joel Anthis, of Katy, TX, performed ear surgeries (primarily stapendectomies and tympanoplasties with or without mastoidectomies) in Jos, Nigeria. Dr. Anthis also performed a few non-ear surgeries including endoscopic sinus surgery, laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy and the removal of a foreign body in the lung. Dr. Green and Dr. Anthis performed approximately 13 procedures.

Dr. Green trains Nigerian physicians during surgery

Dr. Green also followed-up with Stephen Kutchin, a Nigerian math professor who lost his hearing in 2002 and had cochlear implant surgery in 2007, performed by Dr. Green in Jacksonville, Fla.

“Stephen is doing well with his cochlear implant and had a celebration for the four years that he’s had his implant,” Dr. Green said. “He invited 30 of his friends and family and described how the implant had changed his life.”

The most common problem the physicians saw was chronic ear infections. There were also several patients who were profoundly deaf from medication toxicities, genetics or meningitis. Both Dr. Green and Dr. Anthis gave lectures to the family practice residents at Bingham University Teaching Hospital and demonstrated various ear surgeries for the ear, nose and throat surgeons.

Inside a Nigerian operating room

“The experience of delivering care in a third world country is always a humbling one,” Dr. Green said. “I am always grateful to be living in the U.S.A. I could have been born in a hut in Nigeria, but by the grace of God I was born in the U.S.A. I really enjoy the people of Nigeria. They are incredibly hard-working, devoted and loving people who are grateful for what we do.”



Watch a slideshow from Dr. Green’s 2011 trip to Nigeria:

Nigeria 2011 from Grace Courter on Vimeo.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimer’s Association, causing problems with behavior, memory and thinking for those afflicted with this condition. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Studies have shown that hearing impairment in older adults is correlated with the progression of dementia. During the month of November, the Better Hearing Institute along with hearing health professionals around the country is raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

If you have questions about your own hearing or the hearing of a loved one, call our office today at 904-399-0350 or read about our hearing consultations. If you are a caregiver for someone living with the disease, read the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Caregiving Advice for some helpful advice.


Acoustic Neuroma Support Group

Family members, caregivers, friends and anyone else who is interested are invited to attend the Acoustic Neuroma Association’s local support group meeting to learn about the latest treatment options, meet other acoustic neuroma patients and find encouragement and support. The topic will be “Caring & Sharing.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1 p.m.

Mandarin United Methodist Church, Room 304
11270 San Jose Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32223
(Located 3/4 mile south of I-295 on San Jose Blvd.)

For More Information:
Joan Vanderbilt 904-287-8132 or
Johnny Diaz 904-738-5063 or

Association Between Alzheimer’s Disease & Hearing Health

According to the Better Hearing Institute, older adults with hearing loss also appear more likely to develop dementia. As hearing loss becomes more severe, their risk increases. Researchers who conducted a study published in the Archives of Neurology found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s particularly increased with hearing loss.

“There is strong evidence that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Better Hearing Institute’s Executive Director. “Unmanaged hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound, exhaust cognitive reserve, and lead to social isolation—regardless of other coexisting conditions. But when an individual has both Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer’s, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the hearing loss had been addressed.”

Research has also shown that using hearing aids in addition to other appropriate rehabilitation treatments can help reduce symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“A comprehensive hearing assessment should be part of any Alzheimer’s diagnosis and any hearing loss should be addressed,” says Kochkin. “Most hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids. By addressing hearing loss, we can help improve quality-of-life for people with Alzheimer’s so they can live as fully as possible. These individual’s—and their families and caregivers—face many challenges. Untreated hearing loss shouldn’t have to be one of them.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to discuss your hearing health, please call 904-399-0350.

And the Winner of Our Hearing Aids Contest Is…

…Sara Clark! Congratulations on winning a set of premium hearing aids!

Scarlett fever damaged her hearing at two years of age. Even though Sara Clark, 46, has been wearing hearing aids for over 30 years, the brand quality has never been strong enough to compensate for her hearing loss. So when Clark heard about JHBI’s hearing aid contest on WOKV radio in June, she called in right away. And as winner of the contest, Clark received a set of premium hearing aids.

“I am very excited about the wireless technology with these,” she said. “I am a project manager in an environment that is varied in noise levels. Being able to hear important details about my projects is critical.”

Clark also received a free hearing aid consultation, which was offered to all contest participants.

“People need to hear to work and function in life,” she said. “It’s the little things one doesn’t hear that can become very big things.”