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.
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.
Patients are often confused by the series of acronyms and abbreviations listed after their audiologist’s name. Listed below are common abbreviations used and a description of what they mean.
Au.D.: Au.D. is the abbreviation for Doctor of Audiology. Beginning in 2007, many states adopted the Au.D. as the entry level degree required to practice Audiology. Prior to the Au.D., a master’s degree was required for clinical practice. There are no longer any professional training programs offering a master’s degree in Audiology. To obtain an Au.D., you must obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete four years of graduate school.
CCC-A: CCC-A stands for Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology. This is a voluntary certificate issued by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). Professionals who have been awarded the CCC-A have completed a rigorous academic program and a supervised clinical experience and have passed a national examination.
F-AAA: F-AAA is the abbreviation used to delineate those audiologists who are Fellows of the American Academy of Audiology. The American Academy of Audiology is the world’s largest professional organization of, by, and for audiologists. The active membership of more than 11,000 is dedicated to providing quality hearing care services through professional development, education, research, and increased public awareness of hearing and balance disorders.
ABA: If an audiologist uses the abbreviation “ABA” after their name, they have been awarded board certification in Audiology by the American Board of Audiology. To become board certified in audiology, one must maintain continuing education credits above and beyond what is simply required for clinical practice. ABA certification demonstrates a commitment to excellence through lifelong learning.
At JHBI, all of our audiologists have their CCC-A, are Fellows of the American Academy of Audiology, and are board certified in Audiology by the American Board of Audiology. When you visit our office Audiology care, rest assured that you will be seen by a professional with extensive training who has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining the highest levels of professional competency.
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.
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.
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:
Disclaimer: 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.