If you wear hearing aids and continue to struggle to understand your friends and family you may be wondering where to turn. There may be a few reasons why you find yourself asking others to repeat despite the use of your hearing aids
Hearing aids may be in need of cleaning or reprogramming.
Wax build-up in a hearing aid can cause the hearing aid to sound muffled leading to difficulty hearing. It is also possible the hearing itself has decreased and the hearing aids are no longer set to the level needed to hear your best.
A common belief is that when someone wears hearing aids they will be able to hear normally. Hearing aids amplify sound which allows easier hearing, but they do not replace normal hearing. This means that you may still miss out on words especially when in a noisy room or when the talker is standing far away or behind you.
Severe hearing loss
Hearing aids amplify sound and then the sound travels to the organ of hearing (the cochlea) which stimulates the hearing nerve. If the cochlea has a lot of damage sound will likely be distorted and unclear even when amplified.
In this case you may receive more benefit from a cochlear implant than a hearing aid. A cochlear implant directly stimulates the hearing nerve and bypasses the portion of the cochlea that has been damaged. With time and therapy this leads to clearer sound.
If you wear hearing aids and feel that you are still not hearing your best give our office a call at 904-399-0350 to further evaluate your hearing and treatment options. Perhaps it is as simple as cleaning and updating the hearing aid settings or perhaps your hearing has declined to a level where a hearing aid can no longer provide benefit.
Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert announced recently that he has been diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). He reported that when he would stand up from a seated position, everything began to spin and subsequently he would fall or sit down. This particular type of vertigo is characterized by the sensation of either yourself or the world around you spinning, and lasting for a few seconds to a few minutes. It is typically brought on by head movements such as rising from a seated position, moving you head in a certain direction, or rolling over in bed.
Symptoms associated with BPPV are imbalance, nausea/vomiting, and visual changes such as objects seeming to jump or moving side to side. Possible causes can include head injury, ear surgery, migraine headaches, transient ischemic attacks or stroke, a growth inside the ear, or a virus within the ear.
BPPV can usually be corrected with special positioning treatments done in the office and exercises at home. However, it is important not to assume that all vertigo is BPPV and to make sure any causes aside from the inner ear are ruled out first. Contact your primary care physician if you begin to experience dizziness. Once cleared, they will then refer you to a hearing and balance specialist to help determine the cause of vertigo and develop the next steps to help correct it.
It’s finally the holiday season and everyone is excited for good food, (socially distant) gatherings, and presents, unless that is, you have young children with noisy toys constantly playing throughout your house. Although most parents can attest to how loud their children’s toys are, you may not know just EXACTLY how loud.
The Arizona Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) and the Sight and Hearing Association are two of many organizations that put out an annual list of noisy toys for the holiday season. There are toys on their list that have been tested and shown to have an output of 103 dB! Measurements were taken as if a child had their ear next to the speaker, which is very realistic as anyone with young children would know. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology, 85 dB is the loudest that a child should be exposure to. For reference, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that exposure to 90 dB for 8 hours a day is considered a “permissible noise exposure”. The permissible time of exposure for a 100 dB sound is only 2 hours. Many of theses toys are actually labeled as educational toys.
Here are some tips for testing to see if toys are too loud:
Test the toys prior to buying. Many toys have a “TRY ME” button
Hold the toy relatively close to your own ear and see if you think it is too loud
Ways to Reduce Volume
If there is a volume control, make sure it is set at the lowest volume
Put waterproof tape or glue over the speaker to dampen the sound
Put tape over the volume control to prevent your child from changing the volume.
The below list was organized by The Arizona Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH):
With everything going on during the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that some people struggle during holiday get-togethers for various reasons. One recent online study shows that 50% of families will host at least one person with hearing loss at their holiday table. For these loved ones, the holidays can be isolating and frustrating, because they don’t feel included in the celebration.
Here are some suggestions to help you have a hearing-friendly holiday:
Minimize background noise. Skip the holiday music or television in the background. Background noise can make it difficult to hear. Consider having rowdy football fans enjoy the game in a different room.
Pay attention to seating. Seat the individual with hearing loss at the head of the dinner table or middle of the table, making it easier for them to see all the guests’ faces. Round tables enable easy viewing for everyone. When setting your table, try decorating with shorter centerpieces to avoid blocking sightlines.
Rephrase, don’t repeat. Instead of repeating the same words, try rephrasing. It’s very likely when someone with hearing loss mentions they can’t hear you; they may be having trouble understanding a specific word or phrase. This approach draws less attention to the individual with hearing loss by keeping the conversation more natural. For those uneasy or self-conscious about hearing loss, this will be appreciated.
Skip the mood lighting. A well-lit room helps those with hearing loss see the mouths and facial expressions of those speaking.
Capture attention. Look directly at the person with hearing loss when speaking to them, so they can see your mouth and facial expressions. To get their attention, gently touch them on the hand, arm or shoulder, or say their name before starting to speak.
Speak clearly. Be deliberate while speaking clearly. Be careful to project, but don’t shout. Keep your hands away from your face when speaking. Avoid disturbances which make following a conversation more difficult.
Ask how you can help. Be respectful and discrete by taking aside the individual with hearing loss and asking if there’s anything you can do to make their visit easier. Demonstrate understanding and compassion, and you’ll be an example of the true meaning of holiday spirit.
If you’re concerned about possible hearing loss for you or a loved one, consider scheduling a consultation with one of our audiologists.
Here at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance, we focus on all aspects of the ears and their functions, everything from ear wax removal to complex balance disorders. Your ears not only control your ability to hear, but also play an integral role in your balance. This system is called your vestibular system.
Balance awareness week, September 13 – 19, was established by the Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA) in an effort to raise awareness of these types of disorders. There is a broad spectrum of vestibular disorders that can are short in duration but some that can also affect patients throughout their life. Our goal is to help diagnose and lead you to the correct path of treatment.
According to VeDA, there are more than 69 million Americans who are affected by balance disorders. Patients typically describe themselves as “dizzy” or “off balance”. For some patients, they report difficulty while in the dark. Although these disorders can present in different ways, all can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
Here are a few links talking about Balance Awareness Week and Vestibular Disorders:
With the introduction of COVID-19, the world has changed in many ways. Masks are the new normal and staying six feet apart is common courtesy. Businesses are shut down or have major restrictions in place. There are many new and different ways each one of us has had to change our own lives. This includes what it is currently like to get a hearing test at JHBI. Here is an example of what to expect at your next hearing test appointment at JHBI:
Wearing a mask is mandatory throughout your entire appointment. Also, every staff member is wearing a mask at all times. This includes clear masks that many staff members have available for our patients who rely on lip-reading.
Your temperature will be taken at check-in using a no-contact thermometer.
Every patient and any person accompanying them must fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire.
Seats in the waiting room are limited in order to maintain social distancing.
Higher risk patients are taken to a different waiting room- for their safety.
Our staff is cleaning constantly to ensure your safety!
As you can see, at JHBI we take the safety and well-being of our patients very seriously. We hope that you feel comfortable coming to our office and we hope to see you and your mask soon!
At Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, we are pleased to offer the newest technology in regards to hearing healthcare. Hearing technology has vastly improved over the years with advancements including rechargeability and Bluetooth compatibility.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the audiologists at JHBI have started offering remote programming for our hearing aid patients to alleviate the need to come into the office for appointments. The newest hearing aids offer remote programming through the use of a smartphone application. An appointment time is then set for you to meet with your audiologist via a video call through the applications. During your virtual appointment, your audiologist can make real time changes to your hearing aid settings. You are able provide feedback on sound quality and volume, just as if you were in our office. Remote programming is a great option if you travel often, have transportation issues, or have difficulty leaving home.
Here’s what Gail D., one of our new hearing aid patients, has to say about remote programming:
“Being an older patient, I am not technologically savvy. My Audiologist thoroughly explained how to access the appointment. I was able to voice all my concerns and questions,which were answered, as well, as if I had been in the office. She was able to make an adjustment in my hearing aid and evaluate the change. I clearly was able to notice a difference right away…. It’s nice to know some things can be resolved this way.”
Do you watch television with the volume louder than you used to? Do you have trouble understanding conversation when in a restaurant? Do you complain that people are always mumbling? These are common signs that indicate you may have a hearing loss.
The first step is to undergo a hearing evaluation by an audiologist. If the test shows that you have a hearing loss, a hearing aid is often recommended to help make communication easier and enjoyable again.
A quick search on the internet can lead to many results regarding which hearing aid is the best. It is easy to become overwhelmed and confused by all the marketing, sales and misinformation regarding hearing aids.
Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute helps guide you through the hearing aid selection process and to provide you with the tools you need to succeed with hearing aids.
Austin leads a busy life. A professional travel agent by day and a well-respected server at one of Jacksonville’s most distinguished restaurants by night, he came down with the flu. A few days later he woke up and realized he couldn’t hear in his left ear – imagine if that happened to you. He was referred to Dr. Green to see if the hearing could be saved. As a result of diagnostic hearing, it was determined it could not. Since he was in his mid-twenties, Austin wanted to find out if there was a treatment to restore as much hearing as possible to enhance what he hopes will be a long life. There was – it was a cochlear implant.
Dr. Green answers common questions about cochlear implants:
1. What is Single-sided Deafness (SSD)
Complete hearing loss in one ear with normal hearing in the opposite ear in most patients
2. Why/how did a bout with the flu take his hearing?
Austin had what’s called a Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. It will frequently occur after the flu or an upper respiratory infection, but the cause is unknown.
3. Why just one side?
Since the cause is unknown, we don’t understand why only one ear is affected.
4. How many young or old people loose hearing annually in the U.S. due to the flu? Young or old, does it matter?
The incidence of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss is between 2 and 20 cases per 100,000 people per year. There is an increasing incidence with increasing age.
5. How does his cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant works by taking sound and converting that sound to electrical energy. The electrical stimulation is then delivered to a discreet point within the cochlea to allow hearing.
6. Is it waterproof?
A waterproof cover can be placed on the processor if the patient so desires.
7. Will he have to have his implant replaced?
The internal portion of the cochlear implant is designed to last for his lifetime. The external portion, called the processor, is usually replaced every five years.