Sometimes those who live or work with someone that's "hard of hearing" find it difficult to figure out the best way to communicate with someone who suffers from hearing loss.
Certainly hearing aids are the easiest remedy for those who suffer from loss of hearing, but sometimes cost can prohibit the purchase. Lipreading is an important skill for many people who have hearing loss. They are able to recognize the lip shapes, gestures and facial movements of someone when they speak. This helps them to communicate well. Next time you speak with someone with the loss of hearing, assist them to lipread the speaker in a variety of ways.
Here are some simple tips to help you to effectively communicate with them.
Speak slowly, clearly and loudly
It is important that the person understands the conversation. Speak slowly, naturally, and loudly - but NOT shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Use simple words and short sentences. Repeat yourself if necessary, or rephrase it. Make sure that one person talks at a time. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and the person will find it difficult to understand. Pause to check if the person has understood what you said before you continue the conversation.
Remember that the person with the hearing loss is certainly aware of their condition, but can be tremendously frustrated about their situation. Speak to them in a mature way - after all, it's only their hearing that's affected, not their mental capacity.
Include them in a group and address them by their name
It is important that the person understands the conversation. Speak slowly, naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Use simple words and short sentences. Repeat yourself if necessary, or rephrase it. Make sure that one person talks at a time. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and the person will find it difficult to understand. Pause to check if the person has understood what you said before you continue the conversation.
Reduce background noise
In a social gathering, find a quiet place to talk to help reduce background noise. It will be useful if you switch the TV or the music off when they come to visit. Some people with hearing loss may be very sensitive to loud sounds. You should be aware of this reduced tolerance and consequently avoid loud sounds.
Let the person see your expression
Make sure you are in a well-lighted area where the person can see your facial expression and gestures. This helps in better lipreading and understanding. Also, face the person and maintain eye contact. Remember, not to hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while speaking. Beards and mustaches may act as barriers as well. Additionally, avoid talking from another room for the same reasons.
Be patient, stay positive and relaxed
If you are talking to someone who has loss of hearing, it is vital to make an effort by being patient and tolerant. If you relax and make the person feel relaxed, then it would help the person communicate better.
Familiarize the listener with the general topic of the conversation
If you change a topic without warning, it might confuse the person with hearing difficulty. Avoid sudden changes of topic and warn about the change. When you are in a group, it may help if you repeat the important points and information before you continue with the discussion.
Pay attention to the listener
Expression speaks a thousand words. If the person has a puzzled look, it may indicate misunderstanding. Be tactful and make sure the person has understood you, You may ask leading questions so you know your message got across.
Help them readjust their hearing
After a performance or a conference, allow the hearing-impaired person a few moments after the event is over to readjust their hearing. By either mentally or manually (changing the program on a hearing aid, for instance). They likely cannot hear you if you whisper to them in the middle of a performance as well.
Provide information in writing
Consider providing specific information like directions, phone number, work assignments in writing. You could talk them through the details and then provide the same thing in writing or drawings. That way, you would be sure that the person has the information. Alternatively, you could ask them to repeat the specifics back to you.
If you suffer from hearing loss, we would like to hear from you. Do you have any tips that would help us communicate better with you?
At Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, we know how challenging it can be for those with hearing loss, and their friends and family. The good news is that there are options to improve your hearing condition and your lifestyle. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and free screening, and we can discuss hearing testing as well as options to make life easier for you and those around you. We conduct the type of hearing tests Scottsdale and Phoenix valley residents appreciate for our kind and genuine approach. Call us at (480) 831-6159 or use our Contact page to schedule an online appointment or email us a message.
In 2016, Oticon Medical introduced its Opn™ hearing aid, which offers Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT) in Oticon’s OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN).
Oticon OpenSound Navigator (OSN)
The Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is a technology that removes excessive background noise in a split second so you can focus on what’s important. It also assists you to locate the exact direction from where the sound is coming.
OSN is a noise reduction algorithm consisting of three modules - Analyze, Balance, and Noise Removal. These three together identifies the direction of the exact speech, sharpens it and then amplifies it.
Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT)
MSAT technology is a BrainHearing™ technology. BrainHearing™ technology is a feature that emulates the way your brain normally processes a sound.
To understand further, imagine a normal hearing person, trying to listen to Julie talking about her vacation, in a busy restaurant. The brain would quickly work in four stages. Firstly, it will orient itself to the noisy place; secondly, it would distinguish Julie's voice from the rest. Thirdly, the brain would focus on the exact words spoken, and finally, it will rebalance the sounds and help distinguish every word clearly.
Speech in Noise (SIN)
If you suffer from hearing loss and even though you use a hearing aid, you may find it frustrating to understand speech in noise (SIN). If you tried to listen to Julie in that busy restaurant, it would probably be difficult to be able to distinguish Julie's speech from others talking in the room. Most hearing aids cannot effectively filter the speech in noise.
The new Oticon hearing aids with BrainHearing™ technology help to mimic exactly what the brain normally does, which means it can extract the speech in noise.
MSAT technology is an extraordinary application used in hearing aids. It selectively reduces disturbing noises while maintaining access to all distinct speech sounds. It does not isolate one voice, instead maintains access to all distinct speakers. It frees the capacity of the brain to store and recall information.
Advantages of OSN and MSAT technology
Listening is where hearing meets the brain. Listening effort is higher in a noisy environment. More cognitive processes need to be engaged in a noisy environment in order to recognize speech. To be able to actually ignore the surrounding noise, and understand the meaning of the words spoken, is not that easy!
Comparison of the ‘giving –up’ recent study observed the listening effort of two groups of people, one with OSN and the other with a non-OSN hearing aid. These two groups were compared with the normal hearing group in the study.
They used a method called pupillometry that measured pupil dilation as a reaction to stress.
The idea was, to see at what point do people ‘give up’ trying to listen. Giving up happens if the task becomes too difficult and the benefit does not outweigh the listening effort required.
Using Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is as good as normal. Normal-hearing listeners were able to focus till -4 dB SNR (signal to noise ratio) after which they started giving up. The OSN group had a very similar experience but the non-OSN group gave up much sooner.
Further research like the SWIR Test (Sentence-Final Word Identification and Recall) and speech recognition showed that the OSN algorithm significantly improves memory for speech heard in noise and better speech understanding in noise.
The processing speed of the new BrainHearing™ technology is 50 times faster than the previous generation of essential hearing aids. It delivers high-resolution sound quality to improve speech understanding.
All these data support the fact that OSN technology is efficient.
2. Useful if you have tinnitus
A study by Jensen in 2018 reported that OSN significantly reduced listening effort for people with tinnitus. Usually, when the pupil dilation test is carried out in people with tinnitus, they display severe stress and fatigue. With OSN, their stress level reduced and they needed less effort to listen.
3. High user satisfaction
Based on feedback to questionnaires distributed to regular OSN users, user satisfaction is high. The ON app that comes with the hearing aid, make it very easy to use. It allows them to expend less effort, have better recall, and better speech understanding in noisy environments.
This technology empowers the user to actively participate in social situations in the same way as their normal-hearing peers.
As already mentioned, the ON App makes the Oticon hearing aids very user-friendly. Besides the OSN, MSAT and BrainHearing™ features, there is another additional feature called HearingFitness™ that optimizes the hearing health behavior. It monitors the duration of wearing the hearing aid and prompts you to reach your goals. It also tracks the noise levels of places you frequently visit.
There are many easy to use features that make it very attractive. It is small in size and comes in a variety of styles that you can choose from. It also has a long battery life and can be connected online, with Bluetooth. These features are useful if you are traveling or if you want to check your user behavior.
5. Recommended for first-time users
According to Oticon Medical, this range of hearing aids is the “smallest hearing aid style Oticon has ever produced,” making it very attractive to first-time users.
Clinicians can encourage people using the Opn™ hearing aids to explore listening and social situations they may have avoided or given up on in the past. HearingFitness is another feature that would attract the first time user.
The Oticon technologies and diligent research continue to impress us at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, and it's one of our leading hearing aid brands that we recommend, fit, and service. We currently offer a 30-day free trial of Oticon hearing aids and other brands, so if you think these could be a good fit for you or your loved one, we encourage you to contact our office at (480) 831-6159.
The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid promises significant relief from Tinnitus, in addition to outstanding hearing aid amplification.
For decades, sufferers have been traumatized by the constant ringing noise in the ears and the effect of any therapy can sometimes be short-lived. An effective respite from this condition is welcome news.
Tinnitus is when you hear noises that are not caused by an outside source. There may be a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, throbbing sound in one or both ears or in the head. Clearly, this is a very annoying condition. It can occur due to many reasons including exposure to loud noise or an ear infection.
Tinnitus can be broadly grouped into two categories – tonal and non-tonal tinnitus. The former is more common where you experience a constant sound of a well-defined frequency, similar to whistling, ringing or buzzing. The non-tonal has a different pattern, with varied frequencies similar to humming, clicking and rumbling.
Tinnitus takes away the basic joy of listening, to anything that is enjoyable and enriching. Your quality of life can deteriorate and it is therefore important to seek help from a qualified audiologist.
The Signia Notch Therapy aims to solve just that. To quote the company website:
"As a leading manufacturer and innovator of hearing aids, our philosophy revolves around improving the quality of life for people with hearing difficulties, including tinnitus."
Three tinnitus therapies
The use of a hearing aid is one of the best ways to get relief from hearing conditions. For the first time, a hearing aid contains a built-in system called the Notch Therapy that is able to not only reduce the effects of tinnitus, but claim to completely remove it. The technology enables to amplify sounds and improve hearing and provide a range of solutions to alleviate the effects of tinnitus.
This is fantastic news!
To elaborate further, the Signia hearing aid provides three options for you to help with tinnitus. The first two options are based on the principle that a continuous pleasant and relaxing sound would override the rings and the buzz that you experience. Gradually, the brain ‘un-learns’ the tinnitus noise and the replaced gentle sound help you to relax and concentrate. The third option is the new technology where you can use a mobile app to teach your brain to ignore the repetitive ring.
Static noise tinnitus therapy signals – A continuous soft sound in the ear distracts you effectively from the tinnitus buzz, providing the much-needed relief. You are able to relax and enjoy life using this therapy. The hearing aid has a range of five preset signals to form a static noise, and the healthcare professional customizes the signal to your specific needs. This signal produces a sound that merges with the frequency of the tinnitus noise and quickly, you are able to hear, only the softer tune.
Ocean wave tinnitus therapy signals – A slight modification of the previous therapy, the aim of this version is to replicate the tranquil effect of the ocean sound waves to alleviate tinnitus. The experts will help you identify which one of four frequencies is the most soothing and favorable for you. Again, you will be happily distracted away from the annoying buzz in your ears and only hear the soothing ocean waves instead.
Signia Notch Therapy – If you suffer from tonal tinnitus, then the Notch Therapy is for you. This built-in therapy does not use another sound wave like the previous two. Using your hearing aid for a few weeks will potentially treat your tinnitus noticeably, without any external noise and obstruction.
This therapy is very unique. There is no external stimulation involved in this process. The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid is all that you need, and for your audiologist to spend some time with you on a consultation to determine the exact frequency of your tonal tinnitus. Amplification of the hearing aids is done as normal to your specific hearing test, with the exception of your tinnitus frequency, which is then reduced so that it is integrated harmoniously into the overall background sound.
According to Signia, Notch therapy within their hearing aid models can reduce the effects of tinnitus and may even make it disappear completely. According to a recent study, 65 percent of patients experienced an improvement.
Continuous use of the aid for a few months will lead to relegating the tinnitus sounds into the background. The constant ring and buzz will gradually fade and the brain ‘learns’ to take no notice of tinnitus.
The Signia hearing aids are widely available in a range of small, discreet styles for every form of hearing loss. There is a model to meet your needs and it is very convenient to use. The technology can be utilized through an app on your mobile phone.
For more details on this amazing technology, see the Signia website here.
If you suffer from tinnitus, please contact us at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona and ask for your treatment options including the Signia Notch Therapy Hearing Aid. (480) 831-6159.
If you have realized that lately you're missing some words from conversations, you have to be in a quiet place to be able to clearly listen to the person talking to you, or while listening to music you feel like sound is muffled somehow, then you might be experiencing hearing loss to a certain degree. If you have decided is time to find out whether your hearing is compromised, then you may consider visiting a leading Tempe audiologist at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, where you can get some clarity on your hearing performance and start a treatment that will be effective for your lifestyle and budget.
If you're in doubt, consider that usually people that sense a certain degree of hearing loss tend to delay their visit to a qualified doctor for as long as 10 years to get testing done, which is completely counterproductive and puts at risk the overall health of the individual as hearing loss can cause other issues on a person’s everyday life.
Taking a Hearing Test
In order to start your path for a better living and to determine if you are suffering hearing loss you must take a hearing test at an audiologist clinic (like Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona). As your audiologist, we will perform hearing tests that will help determine what type of hearing loss you have and how much hearing ability has been lost .
If you have already visited an audiologist and want a second opinion, you may take an online test that The National hearing test has made available at a small cost, though not as accurate as a clinical hearing test.
Choose the right audiologist
At the Tinnitus and Hearing Center, we are very committed to helping our patients find the best way to treat their hearing problems as we offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands and other assistive pieces of technology that can help you with your current situation. You can rest assured that we have taken care of many patients that have been very satisfied with the service we have provided and how accurate and precise our approach has been.
We will have you try at least two different hearing aids (or as many you need to find the most comfortable one) in order to find the one that fits your needs perfectly. We'll also take time to fit it and find the right configuration for you as we need to make sure after you decide on one specific hearing aid to cover all your needs, that is why these have a testing period before you complete your purchase. We will set the different configurations and you will inform us which one is the best for you.
In order to find the best fitting hearing aid for you, know that the hearing aid can only do so much and realistic expectations have to be made.
For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at (480) 831-6159 or visit our website at https://www.tinnitusaz.com/.
Loss of hearing is not a life sentence. There are solutions to remedy the problem. One of them is the use of a hearing aid. These days, they are quite small but very effective, and help you to keep it discreet if you want.
On the other hand, use of a hearing aid is not something that needs to be hidden. We don't hide the fact that we wear glasses to improve our eyesight, do we? It's just a tool, just like a hearing aid.
Statistics show that in older people who are likely to experience hearing loss also, consequently, suffer from depression. Their quality of life diminishes because the person begins to lose confidence in all social situations.
To be able to hear clearly with the help of hearing aids will improve your life in the following ways:
Happiness and improved relationships
A lack of hearing means that your relationships suffer.
For instance, people may lose their patience with you, or get annoyed with you probably because the volume levels on TV or radio is too high.
Slowly you find yourself resigning into isolation and it affects your mental well being. With a hearing aid, you regain the sense of happiness along with your hearing. The communication is restored and you are able to avoid misunderstandings thereby improving your relationships.
Better social life
You will be motivated to participate in group activities when you start using a hearing aid. When hearing becomes too hard, you stop listening, stop engaging in conversations, and often refuse to leave home. Having a quality pair of hearing aids reverses that.
Improve your quality of life
With the loss of hearing, there is a loss of the quality of life as well. Hearing aids allow you to hear better in social settings and you can actively participate in a conversation. That, in turn, reduces depression. There will be an improvement in self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, independence, and communication.
If compared with someone who is not using a hearing aid, the overall health of the hearing aid user will be better than the non-user. Users are more likely than non-users, to engage in activities involving other people. Hearing aids improve most aspects of emotional life and will pull you out of that feeling of helplessness and burden.
Your optimism will return and people around you will not be anxious as well. Simple tasks will …. Well, be simple again.
Identify speech in noise
Since we are surrounded by nearly constant background noise almost everywhere, you may not be able to discern what people are saying. You might think they're not enunciating enough, or not speaking loudly enough, but chances are, it's your hearing that's not cooperating. This makes a huge impact on your life and you start avoiding public places. The hearing aid is an amazing technology that's designed in a way to filter the noise and capture spoken words.
Stay sharp and alert
Did you know if hearing loss is untreated, you are more likely to experience dementia or Alzheimer’s than someone without hearing loss? Our brains are used to hearing the everyday sounds and this helps us stay alert and keeps our mind sharp. So regaining this with the help of a hearing aid is a positive step.
It will not only help keeping our brains active, it will keep us safe as well. Alertness improves, as you would be able to hear the alarms, doorbells or sirens. It will also improve the reflexes and response to any kind of sound.
Do better at work
Hearing loss is an occupational hazard in many professions. A hearing aid will help you improve your productivity and conduct. You will be happier, safer, and be able to communicate better with clients and co-workers alike.
It's important to note that if you have concerns about your hearing, it can be worse the longer you wait.
At Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, our experienced audiology team would guide you to choose the right hearing aid that will add tremendous value to the quality of your life. You'd get expert care from the hearing test, to consultation conversations, to exploring options for hearing aids for Scottsdale and other Phoenix metro clients. Then, if you do move forward with hearing aids, you can try a set for a few weeks to see how you like it. We carry four major brands (considered the best hearing aids on the market), so you can experiment with others if you like.
We've seen so many patients that were either hesitant, or skeptical, and nearly all of them thanked us later for not only our friendly guidance in the appointment, but for helping them hear better in all situations, which led to better interactions and communications with friends and family.
We can't tell you how many times we've been thanked for "getting my life back." Is it time to improve your life with better hearing? Contact us today by phone at (480) 831-6159 or use our online scheduler.
There are several potential drawbacks or risks that come with buying hearing aids online or in a "megamart" store. We get asked if "Costco hearing aids" are any good, and our answer is the same: there are many factors to consider, and your hearing and quality of life are at stake. While we at Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona don't have "cheap hearing aids," we do offer affordable hearing aids from the best brands on the market (in our experience) that have impressive and significant investments in research and leading technologies.
Cheap doesn't always get you what you need
In our opinion, it is best to buy hearing aids from a local provider who will be able to provide ongoing adjustments and service for the lifetime of the hearing aid (normally the purchase price includes this). Free unlimited office visits on the life of the hearing aid are offered by Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona if you purchase the hearing aid from us.
A hearing aid is a type of medical device. There are many reasons why you should not buy one online. You should get tested before you buy hearing aid so that you know what your hearing loss is. Hearing aids are also custom and must be adjusted. If you buy hearing aids online, a majority of medical professionals will not be able to program your hearing aids. It is recommended that you consult with a professional before you make a decision on any of your medical needs, including hearing aids.
The greatest risk, which is something you should be concerned about, is your overall hearing health. Without proper evaluation and testing, you will not know why you have suffered a hearing loss. Without that knowledge, you easily could mask serious problems that could potentially put your health at risk. It could potentially be an undiagnosed medical problem that is causing your hearing loss that could even result in death. Even if you don't have a medical issue that has to be addressed, a hearing aid that is improperly adjusted could damage your auditory system, and lead to even more hearing loss. You should take your hearing aid device purchase very seriously and realize that hearing sciences training is necessary for treating hearing loss properly. I recommend that you find a reputable local audiologist (us, preferably :) ) who can treat your loss properly and who is available for future adjustments and follow-up. When it comes to your hearing health, you definitely get what you pay for.
With hearing aids, it is important to allow your brain to adjust to being able to hear sounds again. If it is the first time you have used hearing aids, be aware that often they will need to be set lower and adjusted several times until you are accustomed to hearing sounds accurately and comfortably according to your preferences (and everyone is different).
You can't just take your hearing aids and be done
It is important to have a good service program with an actual audiologist so that they can be programmed properly for your specific hearing loss, and help you make the adjustments to them. To ensure they are working properly, you need to visit your audiologist regularly for checkups and cleaning. When you purchase hearing aids online or from a supermarket bulk store, chances are you won't be getting service from experts that are necessary when you buy hearing aids.
The following are a couple of "regrets" we hear from customers that bought hearing aids online:
1. Sound is really personal. If you had visited an audiologist instead and gone through the process with them, you might have picked out a different hearing aid than the one you bought online.
2. When you purchase through an internet provider, you can only buy instant fit CRT aids. You might need custom aids or custom tips.
3. Although they might suggest having an audiogram with the hearing aid, what about Real Ear Measurements, over-all levels, feedback, and more? Just sending a hearing aid and audiogram to a patient is not an actual fitting.
It is essential for hearing aids specifically be programmed for the person's individual ear that is based on an audiometric test. Therefore, the first issue is to ensure that the hearing aids are programmed using a current hearing test.
While there are numerous places online that sell hearing aids, some do this without the manufacturer's permission. One manufacturer sent a letter out that stated it wouldn't honor the warranty for any of the hearing aids that were sold through a specific company (second risk).
Although mild hearing losses may be accommodated through an initial fitting, a majority of hearing losses need to be fit by programming the hearing aid below the loss followed by the hearing aid amplification being increased over time (and over several different office visits) as the person's brain continues to accommodate the increased hearing level.
This is not done by online companies themselves. Some contract with a local provider to do the initial fittings and a certain number of follow-up visits. There are other online companies that don't provide any local service.
That leads to the third risk, and it is a major one. Hearing aids all need periodic maintenance and readjustment in order for the patient to get the best results. Even if some initial support is provided by an online company, usually it is not for longer than the first year. You are completely on your own after that and will need to find someone who is willing to work on your hearing aids that they didn't sell to you. That means you will have to pay for each office visit from that point forward. That can cost up to $150 per visit as a single fee and as much as $1,500 to $2,000 for lifetime services. Even warranty-covered repairs require that a licensed dealer send the hearing aid to the manufacturer so it can be refitted. After the hearing aid has been repaired it is then returned, but you will then have another office visit to pay for.
Here are more reasons to avoid cheap hearing aids.
Guest post by Scott Novak - patient of Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona
In Part 1 of this article (found here), I mentioned an elderly couple that I approached on my bike that didn't hear me. As you might have noticed, I theorized several reasons why that man might be resisting getting hearing "assistance." Since then, I started thinking more about the possible association with hearing loss and simply being elderly.
When I turned 42, I noticed my eyesight getting blurry when I would read printed material or the computer. Okay, I thought, I'm probably going to need glasses. There's a certain "resistance versus resignation" to getting older that I think we all struggle with. We can't fight Father Time though, as much as we try. Perhaps admitting to a hearing loss is also admitting to getting older, and even to one's own mortality.
So why not take every opportunity to maximize the enjoyment of every day? Every minute? Why do some people resist going to a hearing doctor (an audiologist) and explore options for hearing aids, but are perfectly fine going to an eye doctor and paying for glasses? We talked about that in the last article, but I wanted to explore the idea of the hearing loss stigma a little more, and found some interesting research.
The Impacts Caused By The Hearing Loss Stigma
Despite how prevalent hearing loss is (around 20 percent of Americans report that they have hearing loss to some degree), the stigma still persists. Whenever people are ashamed of having a hearing loss, they might refuse to acknowledge their problem. There was another study that Southall, Gagne, and Jennings conducted where participants experience a high level of stress when attempting to conceal or deny their hearing loss. Both professionally and personally they were afraid of being labeled and put off going to see an audiologist.
Even after they visit a doctor, an individual may reject hearing aids since they are afraid of looking old, and feeling inferior or ashamed, or view hearing devices as being signs of weakness and being handicapped. Unfortunately, failing to seek treatment may cause long-term effects.
Untreated hearing loss can result in lower signal quality inside of the brain (which can be held to higher cognitive load), behavior changes, social disengagement, changes in the brain's structure, and health problems like anxiety, fatigue, depression, and dementia.
Fighting the Stigma
How can we effectively fight the hearing loss stigma? Education is the key. By educating the public (including individuals with hearing loss) about the various challenges involved with hearing loss as well as the benefits that treatment can provide, empathy can be fostered which can lead to a more positive outlook for hearing health.
Finally, if you are suffering from hearing loss, don't allow the stigma to hold you back. You might feel as if a hearing aid makes you look old, but it actually will help you in many ways in maintaining your youth. After all, young people who have excellent hearing do not continuously ask other individuals to repeat themselves constantly. They don't respond in conversations inappropriately because they are unable to hear the other part of the conversation. They don't disconnect socially because they are struggling to hear the conversation.
These days, hearing aids are very effective and can help you maintain your mental faculties, your social life, and maybe even your career. Modern hearing aids are also very inconspicuous and small, so you won't have to worry that you will stand out in a crowd. If you really want to hide the fact that you are suffering from hearing loss, then check out the discreet styles such as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids. Also, search for a hearing aid that comes with an inconspicuous remote, to allow you to not draw attention to yourself whenever you are wanting to press the program button or change the volume. There are some devices that connect to a smartphone, which makes them technologically savvy and very convenient. Whenever you need to use your hearing aid's control center, it will just look like you are using your cell phone.
Get a dang hearing test already!
If you have been procrastinating having a hearing test, you are not alone. Most people wait, on average, almost seven years from the time when they first notice there is a change in their hearing before they actually seek out help. Seven years worth of strained relationships at work and at home, missing out on so many of the sounds all around you, and risking health problems that are associated with hearing loss.
Keep in mind that it is critically important to treat hearing loss for your future and current health. Rather than hiding your struggles, help to reverse the hearing loss stigma by using hearing devices and helping to encourage other people that you know to go see an audiologist.
I'm so glad that I listened to my wife and scheduled a hearing test with Dr. Allen and Amy Rohe. Not only were they knowledgeable about their craft, but hey were just genuinely kind people, so the hearing test and conversation about options was very casual and friendly. I was able to try a pair of hearing aids for a week or so, and Dr. Rohe actually let me try a few other pairs until I got the set that I loved. Who does that? Having those options and such an enjoyable interaction is plenty to highly recommend Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona.
If it's any consolation, my wife is happier that she doesn't have to repeat herself all the time, and I'm happier knowing that I can hear most any conversation now. And that, to me, is priceless.
If you're interested in hearing aids in Tempe or the surrounding Phoenix metro, it's worth a call to Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona: (480) 831-6159 or use their convenient online scheduler so you can book online and see what times are available.
Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona, LLC
2034 E. Southern Avenue, Suite I
Tempe, AZ 85282
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Guest post by Scott Novak - patient of Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona
While riding my bike the other day, I rode up behind an elderly couple on the sidewalk. I rang my bicycle bell, and while most people hear it and move aside, there was no response. I rang again as I got closer - still nothing. After one more try without movement, I shouted "on your left please," and the woman grabbed the man's arm and said "move over honey," to which he grumbled and seemed oblivious to anyone behind him or that he heard a thing.
Now there's someone who obviously has hearing loss.
I started wondering if he knew that he was "hard of hearing," and if he did, why didn't he do anything about it?
Is it because he didn't want to seem "old" by getting hearing aids? If anything, his befuddled reaction made him seem like an old person way more than a little hearing aid on his ears.
Maybe they're costly? I get that - not everyone has a few thousand dollars to spend. And some people - my Mom, for instance - just simply won't pay any medical expense "unless insurance pays for it." Hey, I understand being frugal, but we're talking about suffering through every day not being able to hear well. You want to talk about "quality of life?" A few dollars a day toward hearing everything is worth it. To me, at least.
Then I started thinking about how it's perfectly fine for people to wear glasses on their face, but somehow it's "weird" to have a tiny, near-invisible device tucked behind your ear. So it's fine if your eyes start failing due to aging, but unacceptable if your ears start failing? How is that fair? They're sensory organs on your head - they should get equal respect, right?
And think about it - can you imagine the world we'd live in if people resisted getting their vision corrected? Lots of bumping into things, I'd reckon...
Is it stubborn pride? Resisting that your body is aging? Maybe not admitting that you could use a little help? Maybe distrust of technology?
So why the stigma? Why the resistance to hearing aids, hearing loss, and hearing testing? I decided to look into it further.
Full disclosure: I am a 50-year old male that is a patient of Dr. Rohe's at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona. I have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and it became so noticeable that I decided to check for hearing loss. I'm grateful that I found Dr. Rohe; he has guided me through a journey of hearing improvement and self-awareness that I thought would be helpful to others in my similar predicament. This 2-part article is some of the information I uncovered.
How To Combat The Stigma Of Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, there is a stigma that comes with hearing loss, or a sign of disgrace that is associated with a specific person, quality, or circumstance. Sadly, this is perpetuated by the general public, by advertisers, and even some individuals who have hearing loss. This hearing loss stigma results in individuals struggling with the condition sometimes failing to seek out treatment, thinking that wearing hearing aids will make them appear feebler, weaker, or older. However, when hearing loss is not addressed, it will continue to persist, and it might result in various serious health issues, social disengagement, or cognitive decline. By waiting to seek out treatment, or maybe completely refusing to acknowledge that you have a hearing loss, you are putting both your mental and physical health at risk.
Have you been held back by the stigma that comes with hearing loss?
Although there are numerous factors involved in the hearing loss stigma, most of them revolve around three major ideas:
- Changes in self-perception
These ideas were explored by Dr. Margaret I. Wallhagen in a study that was published in 2009.
The study reported that individuals who suffer from hearing loss will sometimes view themselves in a way that is somewhat different. They may focus on the difference between their current self and former self - being disabled versus being whole, being disabled versus able, and being cognitively impaired versus smart. For example, some people didn't want to be called "handicapped" so they procrastinated going to see an audiologist. They may present they don't have the issue and attempt to hide the fact they are having a hard time hearing.
Many people also associate hearing with ageism and aging, which is discrimination or prejudice based on an individual's age. They may find it hard to relate to younger relatives or friends or feel ostracized. Also, maybe because hearing loss has a strong association with aging, many individuals will discover that hearing aids remind them they are getting old, and that is uncomfortable for all of us.
Finally, there are some people who are afraid that if they wear a hearing aid it will make them look unattractive. They are concerned that the technology will emphasize their hearing loss and draw attention to their ears.
Not all of the participants in the study by Wallhagen were influenced by the hearing loss stigma. Even those who brushed it off, still acknowledged that the stigma exists.
Many people put a lot of value on what other people think of them, and that social concern is what produces the hearing loss stigma. Stigma is a concept that isn't unique; it is just relevant within the context of relationships and how society treats and reacts to individuals who are stigmatized, since it is only within that context that we are able to experience discrimination, judgment, isolation, or rejection.
Hearing Aid Marketing Is Part Of The Problem
Hearing aids advertisements are partly to blame. They have a tendency to highlight the discreet positioning and small size of hearing aids and focus on the device's appearance. Although these acknowledgments and advertisements address perceived realities and might enhance the chance that people will decide to seek out treatment, they also have a tendency reinforce the concept that hearing loss and using hearing aids are a stigma and need to be hidden. Advertisers showcase how valuable communication is and depict individuals of various age groups in their ads. That emphasizes the benefits that are offered by hearing aids and that people of every age are affected by hearing loss.
If you are suffering from hearing loss, then the opinions of other people who are close to you (like your coworkers, friends, children, parents, partner, or spouse) can influence your decisions and thoughts concerning your hearing health. There are so many people who just don't understand the challenges that are faced by individuals who have hearing loss and how beneficial effective treatment can be, and they continue to perpetuate the stigma of hearing loss. For example, if your spouse has a negative attitude about your hearing aids, you might not want to visit an audiologist and having your hearing loss issue addressed. On the other hand, a supportive environment can help an individual with hearing loss, help them to move forward, and explore various options as well as wear their hearing aids without them feeling they are being stigmatized or judged.
There's more to this article that I'll continue later this week. In the meantime, I highly encourage you to contact Dr. Allen and Amy Rohe at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona. They're a Scottsdale audiologist that has done wonders for my hearing loss issues, tinnitus treatment, and more. They have a convenient online scheduler so you can book online and see what times are available.
Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona, LLC
2034 E. Southern Avenue, Suite I
Tempe, AZ 85282
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World Hearing Day Puts A Spotlight On The Toll Of Untreated And Unidentified Hearing Loss
Following in the footsteps of the international call from the WHO (World Health Organization) this World Hearing Day, the ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) encourages all Americans to have their hearing tested.
With the WHO's observance on March the 3rd every year, World Hearing Day draws attention to how important it is for early identification along with intervention to combat hearing loss as their focus for 2019.
Failing to get the necessary treatments often results in millions of individuals living a poorer “quality of life”. The WHO has projected that close to 630 million people around the world will experience hearing loss that is disabling by the year 2030 unless these people start taking action when it comes to the health of their hearing. By the year 2050, this number might elevate to over 900 million. In addition to this, hearing loss that goes unaddressed is linked with significant costs. At this stage the WHO has said, that hearing loss that has gone untreated imposes a global annual cost of around $750 billion.
Factors linked to hearing loss that goes unaddressed varies. The majority of people that suffer from severe hearing loss come from the low and the middle-income countries, where they typically lack the access to the required interventions and services.
However, in the US, hearing loss is still a very common type of chronic health condition.
The thing that stands out the most in the United States, is a dire need for treatment and identification of hearing loss that occurs in adults, states Shari Robertson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, 2019 ASHA President. She goes on to say that many of the adults in the US fail to seek the necessary treatments for loss of hearing, which is often caused from a perception that loss of hearing is just an annoyance opposed to an actual medical condition that is serious. Many are not aware that this condition usually affects the overall health of the person, their career success, job, mental health, social life, personal relationships, and their overall quality-of-life.
Adults in the US that are aged 70 or older that suffer from some degree of hearing loss that may benefit from a hearing aid, less than 1 in 3 (30%) have ever used these aids, states the NIDOCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders). And the adults between the ages of 20 to 69, only 16% of these people that can benefit from using hearing aids have used them.
The ASHA states that the public should be asking questions about the current state of their hearing, and individuals should Self-Test for Hearing Loss with these questions:
Do I Need To Have My Hearing Tested?
You should definitely see an audiologist when you answer “yes” to 2 or more of these questions:
Any person who answered yes, and/or is concerned should go for a test with an audiologist that is certified. Thankfully, we here at The Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona are licensed Audiologists who specialize in all hearing conditions for all ages. We're a Phoenix audiologist clinic that sees patients for hearing loss, hearing issues like tinnitus, misophonia, hyperacusis.
And we also consult, fit, and fine tune several major brands of affordable hearing aids, so if hearing loss is a concern, know that we're in your corner. Give us a call at (480) 831-6159 or use our online scheduler.
Over the last few years, various studies have now found an association between people with hearing loss and a risk that is increased for dementia. It makes sense if you consider the result of hearing loss - isolation. If someone can't hear conversations, they tend to disengage from contact with other people. And isolation simply is NOT good for your mental health. Friends matter! Plus, communication triggers certain neurons in the brain, and when those neuronal connections aren't exercised, they stop firing.
Whether this link is a correlational or causational relationship is still under investigation, yet there is definitely a relationship that is present. Across all these studies, individuals that experienced hearing loss all showed an increase in the signs associated with cognitive decline.
There are three primary reasons as to why hearing loss might be associated with dementia. These include social isolation, a change that occurs in the natural function of the brain, and a strain that is uneven on the cognitive resources in the brain.
It is well-known that maintaining relationships with friends and family, combined with communication that is face-to-face is a significant weapon when it comes to warding off cognitive decline.
Bryan James from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center based in Chicago, states that the human brain is able to evolve in order to manage up to 150 social relationships, yet when we no longer manage a fair amount of these relationships, this portion of our brains can start to atrophy. In addition, social relationships that are healthy can lower stress that is chronic which is also linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and cognitive decline.
Yet you may be wondering, how is hearing loss linked to all of this? The fact is that hearing loss happens to be naturally isolating. Even when surrounded by many people in one room, an individual that has hearing loss that has gone untreated can become disconnected quickly. When a person is unable to hear what people are saying in conversations, then the conversation will quickly fade.
As time goes by, the strain linked to trying to recognize and hear every word will eventually take over the previous desire to socialize and participate in any social interactions. Hearing loss that is left untreated not only disengages a listener but will also place uneven pressure on the cognitive resources inside their brain.
The strain might not appear to be of importance, yet it lowers the capability of the brain to perform related or simultaneous tasks. Spending such a large amount of mental energy to try and hear what people are saying, regardless of whether it is unconsciously or consciously, also prevents this individual from storing these events in their short-term memory. Hearing loss interferes with not only their listening abilities but also their capabilities of processing information.
Even hearing loss that is mild has been proven to interfere with the method of storing and processing speech that is quickly communicated.
Since hearing happens to be a brain response to the auditory signals, hearing actually occurs inside the brain as opposed to the actual ears. When these signals start to weaken and become disrupted, other parts of the person’s brain try to compensate. In response, the brain starts rerouting other parts of the brain where it tries to compensate for information that is lost due to hearing loss.
Even in the instances when what has been said is comprehended successfully, as the person's hearing continues to decline further, and inabilities to hear starts to become a new normal, the brain modifies how it used to organize activities, which results in changes in the natural functions of the brain. In many of the Johns Hopkins studies, losses in hearing are linked with accelerated rates of tissue loss in the brain which could also be linked to a change in brain function as time goes by. Age is known for shrinking the brain naturally, yet hearing loss might accelerate these processes.
Why It Is Important To Treat Hearing Loss
It is very important to understand that a loss of hearing does not automatically translate into dementia. Yet dementia is just one of the reasons why hearing loss should be treated. The correct treatment will improve the individual’s quality-of-life. When loss of hearing has been treated, the cognitive improvement of the person can be highly significant, even if the cognitive decline is not associated directly with dementia.
According to Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy from Duke University, and as was quoted by the AARP, benefits associated with treating a condition such as hearing loss is double when compared to any of the cognitive-enhancing medications currently available. It should also become an important priority when treating any of the cognitive problems linked to age. Treating loss of hearing also helps to strengthen social bonds, can restore relationships, and even make the person feel many years younger than they actually are.
Since hearing takes place in the brain, it's important that these connections stay active. If you think that someone you love is drifting into isolation due to hearing loss, please make a point to encourage them to contact us for a hearing test and possible hearing loss solutions such as hearing aids.
Contact us today for your hearing test in Tempe AZ at (480) 831-6159 or use our online scheduler.
Dr. Rohe is a nationally-recognized audiologist specializing in Tinnitus Therapy and other hearing conditions.