Welcome to our Blog! Here you can find a variety of information ranging from customer experiences to what's new in audiology. Feel free to comment and suggest other topics of interest to you.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on January 31, 2020 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
You’re going to start seeing a lot of advertisements about Other-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids. The federal government introduced a law in 2015, passed it in 2017, and put it in effect in 2020 that allows hearing aid to be sold directly to consumers without the “inconvenience” of having to see a professional for a hearing test. It “eliminates unnecessary visits” for individualized care, programming, and maintenance. It gives consumers “control of their own hearing care.”
In reality, it allows more internet companies to sell devices without ever meeting a client or patient. It allows the convenience of putting a purchase on a credit card from the comfort of your own home. It eliminates proper instruction on, and preventative care that extends the life of, your hearing aid investment. It gives control to the device being purchased.
Dr. Larry Humes and his team at Indiana University invited 60 self-identified mild to moderately hearing impaired individuals to participate in a study. The participants were provided with full written descriptions of five different hearing aids. The overwhelming majority of the people chose their device based on power output listed on the specification sheets. Over half chose a device that produced 125dB. Note of them knew the threshold of pain in the human ear is 120dB! This is just one example of why the hearing test is not an “inconvenience”.
As we head into this new decade, please remember that although the internet is a great tool and resource it is not a replacement for proven care and human connection. If you see an offer and wonder if it is genuine, don’t hesitate to call 812-303-4300 to ask. By the way, none of the study participants were fit with the 125dB output devices. All were counseled by professionals toward a more appropriate device.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on December 6, 2019 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
The holidays are upon us. It seems impossible that it’s time for all the hullabaloo again. Don’t get me wrong, I love hullabaloo! But, it’s not that much fun for everyone. All the noise… all the activity… all the TV’s on all day long… This can really be taxing on those with hearing impairment.
In all the movement, you will see at least one person sitting alone, out of the way, out of the action. When you see that relative sitting alone, not enjoying him/herself at all, please don’t immediately assume you have a hermit in your midst who would prefer to be alone. Rather, ask yourself if you might be looking at hearing impairment stealing the joy of the day from a loved one. Make the effort to go into the side room and talk in a quiet background that is not so demanding a listening environment.
Look at the person you are talking with, make eye contact. This shows respect and interest and will undoubtedly add layers to your understanding of this person who is part of your heritage. Also, many hearing-impaired individuals rely on lipreading even if they don’t know it. Visual distractions, like a dozen little ones darting around the tables, make lipreading much more difficult. While talking around the table can be lively and entertaining, one on one conversation builds relationships reminding the “loner” that he/she is a valued part of the family.
It is very disheartening to be left out of the festivities because of a handicap. Make no mistake, hearing loss is a handicap. It’s an invisible handicap. Hearing impaired people look like everybody else. They have always lived like everyone else, and they do NOT want that to change. Nobody asks to be hearing impaired. And, although our industrialized nation does offer unlimited opportunity to become hearing impaired, no single individual is to blame for their hearing loss. Too many times family gives up on trying to talk to gramma because it’s just SO much work. Take a moment and look at the situation through gramma’s eyes.
She used to be the one in the middle of the madness. She used to be the one chasing the little ones. She used to be the one comforting the injured. She used to be the one helping to solve life’s crises. She used to be the one rocking the babies to sleep. She used to be the one laughing and carrying on and have a jolly good time. She used to live. Please don’t leave her alone to think about the “used to be’s”. Help everyone to have “Happy Holidays”!
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on October 16, 2019 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
We were reminded quite abruptly this week that winter is just around the corner. I like winter well enough. I actually missed it when I lived in Southern California. This is the time of year we look around the house and start winterizing. The garden hose has to be hung up. Storm windows replace screens. And, flower beds need to be cleared out. What does any of this have to do with hearing aids? Nothing really. But winter does bring some considerations for hearing aids that other seasons don’t.
Condensation! It’s cold outside. When we wear our hearing aids outside, they get cold. When we comeback in, they warm up fast.
1) Condensation in the tubing will form a bead of water where the tube bends at the mold. This bead of water will block any sound from getting into the ear canal. If your BTE hearing aids stops working when you come in from the cold, look for that bead of water and tap the mold on a tissue till the bead falls out.
2) If the condensation is on the battery, the moisture will lead to corrosion in the battery compartment. It will then work back into the circuitry. Corrosion in the hearing aid will destroy it. If your glasses fog up when you come in, just assume the battery has condensation as well. Open the battery doors and dry off the batteries.
3) Sweat is still a factor. Shoveling the walk is hard work! Your hearing aid will get wet from perspiration in the winter just like in the summer. Unlike in the summer, when you take your hat off to wipe your brow the cold air against the wet hearing aids may chill down so quickly that the sweat turns into a skim of frost on the hearing aids. When you come in you need to dry the hearing aids.
4) Spending a great deal of time outside in the winter tends to make the ends of our fingers and toes and ears and nose lose a little bit of feeling. Use extra caution when taking off a hat or scarf. You don’t want to knock the hearing aids off and not know it. Yes, we have L&D coverage, but I’d rather not use it if we don’t have to.
5) And, don’t forget to build a snowman. Make snow angels with your kiddos. Drink hot cocoa from a thermos. Live each day to the fullest.
Send us a picture of your Winter Wonderland creations. We’d love to share them on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/hearbetterevansville.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on September 11, 2019 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
National Suicide Awareness Week is in September. So, let me tell you a story. It’s not a happy story but it could very well have a happy ending.
Over the past several months I have heard too many elderly people say something like, “I might as well be dead. I’m not much good anymore. I can’t hear. I’m a bother to my family. I remember how annoyed I got at my mom/dad/grampa when I had to repeat for them. I don’t want to be annoying like that.” How sad does a person have to be to make that comment? And, where does that attitude come from? Does it come from how they are treated? Or, how they perceive they are being treated? Or, from guilt they haven’t quite gotten over (or forgiven themselves)? How do we even talk to our loved ones about this?
Let’s start by asking them to repeat something for us. Tell us a story. Tell us about their favorite Labor Day celebration. Then, listen. Really listen to the story. Ask for details. Make the story alive. Laugh with them. If appropriate, cry with them. Remember with them back to the days when they were not old and “a bother” to the family. Keep in mind that you too will one day get older. How do you want to be seen, treated, remembered?
I think about my Grampa Graves. He served in WWII. He was a strong man who had left his young family at home to serve his country. He was tough. He defied (with actions that made his wishes crystal clear) the surgeons who wanted to take his feet from him after they cut his rotten boots off. He kept his feet. We were going to write a book. He had stories to tell. But I didn’t have the time to listen and ask for details and write them down. I lost my Grampa over 25 years ago. How I wish I had taken the time!
During this month of awareness, be aware of how your loved ones feel. Especially, spend some time with grandparents, parents, friends from school who might not have a lot of interaction otherwise. Help each family member feel worthwhile. Everyone needs a purpose.
If you need specific tools to help you communicate, don’t hesitate to call us at (812) 303-4300. I’d be happy to talk to you about listening.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on August 19, 2019 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
A lot has changed since the “big beige bananas” of the 60’s and 70’s. Technology is obviously the biggest driver behind this change in our modern world. The first patent was issued in 1792. In 1915 the number of patents issued reached 1 million. The electric motor ushered in patent number 2 million in 1940. By 1965 the semiconductor helped boost the number to 3 million. We passed 4 million in 1982, and 5 million in 1992. Today we have crossed the 10 million mark. This technology race shows no signs of slowing.
We have opportunities for better, richer, fuller lives than ever before. On the topic of hearing, we don’t have to wait till we are dangerously hearing impaired before we seek help for a loss. Now, we can correct mild loss (and major frustration) without sacrificing comfort, clarity, or vanity. In our industrialized society noise is the number one cause of hearing loss. OSHA has plenty of safeguards in the workplace to protect hearing. Apple has warnings on their products to remind users to “turn it to the left”. However, people don’t always follow rules or suggestions. Many young people today (and always, really) believe it can’t happen to them. That sense of immortality has a way of catching up with us later. So, by age 35 many people have some diagnostically significant hearing loss in the high frequencies. This interferes with speech understanding, not volume. It makes other people “mumble”. It makes dinner meetings frustrating and tiring. It makes the demands on our busy life more aggravating than they need to be.
Introducing the Styletto Connect… It is a fully functional, digitally programmable, lithium-ion rechargeable, iPhone compatible, eminently wearable hearing aid of today! This device has 141 years of technological development behind it. Signia (formerly Siemens) dipped their toes in the water of improving hearing in 1878. (That’s over 9 million patents ago.) They thought then and we know now that better hearing reduces stress and anxiety, which improves productivity and growth. We also know that most people wait an average of 7 years after they know they have a hearing loss to do anything about it. Why?! We are working longer. We are staying active well into retirement. Many people in their 50’s and 60’s are taking care of parents and/or grandchildren which leads to an incredibly demanding lifestyle. Why let hearing loss add to the list of demands? Why not stay at the top of your game! Come in a take a closer look at the Styletto Connect.
Call and reserve your demo appointment today. (812) 303-4300.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on July 15, 2019 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
How many settings are on your dryer? Go look. I’ll wait. My dryer is not a fancy machine and it has 21 different drying options. 21! There is even a setting for jeans. My dryer ought to be able to handle drying most anything. There are eight choices on my blender. From food processing to chipping ice, my blender can get the job done! My phone can do things I don’t even know enough to ask it to do. Suffice it to say, tools and appliances today are not simply “one trick ponies”.
Enter the modern hearing aid.
Top end model hearing aids have six or seven automatic programs and room for an additional four to six manual programs. Why on earth would we need so many programs?! We live in a very noisy, active, connected world and that world has very specific demands. Some examples of listening environments an automatic program might not be able to handle well: the bowling alley, live music, a reception hall, working at a childcare center, or media streaming from a mobile device. Our mid-level products have five automatics and three or four manual program slots. Even our entry level devices have four manual programs available.
So, what’s the point to this blog?! The tools are good if we know how to use them. I’ll never get my jeans dry if I put them in the dryer on the delicate cycle, but I can’t blame the dryer for that. There are many good hearing aids out there with lots of potential that just isn’t being utilized. If people don’t know what they have, or how to use it, the device will never function as intended or do the job needed. Then the hearing aid gets a bad rep and thrown in the drawer.
Rescue that hearing aid. Learn what it can do. Have it programmed, if possible, and get it back in the ear where it so wants to be! Give us a call at 1-812-303-4300 and we’ll help you do that.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on June 19, 2019 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
There are two warranties for most hearing aids: Repair and L&D (Loss and Damage).
The repair warranty covers any repairs that might need to be performed for the device. Repairs include things like broken speaker wires, moisture damage, cracks in the housing, broken battery doors, and corrosion.
L&D covers things like pet damage, going surfing while wearing a hearing aid, flushing an aid down the toilet, or accidentally putting it in the microwave.
In essence, the warranty covers the hearing aid. Services or accessories associated with the device are not covered by a warranty that comes from a manufacturer or repair company. They are truly only warranting the work they have done or the product they have built.
Some clinics may offer “free service while the device is under warranty”, or “for the life of the hearing aid”. Those clinics use a “bundled” service approach. That is, they have charged for an anticipated amount of service in the cost of the hearing aids at the initial fitting appointment. This can lead to some hefty price tags.
Other clinics have a pay-as-you-go philosophy for service and follow up care. Like any other professional service provider’s office, each visit is charged separately.
A third option might be a service package that includes a set number of visits or amount of time, plus a few extras like batteries or hearing tests. These packages may be purchased at any time, or even as a gift for someone else.
While regular maintenance is designed to ward off the need for repairs, bad things sometimes happen to good devices. The next time you suspect your device might need a repair, it's important to ask upfront what your charges will cover.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on May 20, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
It seems like there is a month for everything! Why do we need a whole month to think about better hearing? Considering that people wait an average of seven years to do something to improve their hearing after they know they have a problem, maybe having a month to pay some attention to this vital sense… makes sense.
Hearing has an impact on every aspect of our lives. Seriously, from basic safety (back up beepers on trucks), to daily communication (What’s for dinner?), to relaxation (sounds of nature), to higher learning (lectures, conferences, Bible study), most of us rely on hearing to get the job done. Untreated hearing loss can unleash any number of atrocities. We could get hit by a truck or, have to eat Brussel sprouts!
In the face of such looming disaster, why do people wait so long to correct hearing loss? There are a hundred reasons ranging from vanity to denial to economics. But I believe the ONE reason people put off seeking care is lack of education.
Vanity: Today’s hearing devices are smaller than they have ever been. Nine times out of ten, they are totally inconspicuous. Come take a look.
Denial: You don’t know what you don’t know. A hearing test is absolutely pain free and will prove someone right!
Economics: How much is it worth? Is better hearing worth $2.34 a day? Message us here and we’ll share with you our direct cost comparison sheet between owning a car and owning hearing aids.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on April 18, 2019 at 12:05 PM||comments (0)|
National Mental Health Awareness month isn’t until October, but this was on my mind now. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Communication and Communication Strategies training lately. This quote by George Bernard Shaw made me stop and think. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” It truly is sad when people think they are communicating, and they aren’t. Communication, for the most part, is facilitated through the sense of hearing. When one suffers a hearing loss, he or she consequently suffers a loss of communication. A loss of communication leads to damaged relationships. Damaged relationships lead to feelings of isolation. And, now we’ve come full circle back to mental health.
Clinical studies have shown that untreated hearing loss compounds the effects of depression on individuals affected. It also induces behaviors that could be attributed to depression or lead to depression in others. Here’s an example: Jo finds it extremely difficult to hear in a group situation. So, she finds excuses to stay away from those events. Since most of her friends take part in those group events, Jo doesn’t see her friends. She is forced to choose between enjoying her friends or enduring the fatigue brought on by the constant concentration needed just to follow a simple conversation. Over time, she chooses to stay home more often. She convinces herself that if her friends want to see her, they will make the effort to come visit. If they don’t, the friendship must not have been as good as she thought it was. These thoughts very often lead to thoughts directed inward. Jo may start to believe she is no longer worthy of friendship. She withdraws further and her friends wonder where she has gone. This reminds me of another quote. Helen Keller said, “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”
There is light at the end of this bleak tunnel of untreated hearing loss. With treatment (testing, counseling, hearing aids, communication training) Jo can get back into the lifestyle she left behind. And, we’re here to help.
If you have a Jo in your life, don’t let her just fade off into the sunset. Reach out to her. Make sure hearing loss doesn’t steal a friend. If you don’t know how to start the “hearing loss” conversation, give us a call. We have resources to share.
|Posted by Angela Graves, AuD on March 20, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
I’ve been hearing a lot about a certain YouTube audiologist lately. I’ve been hearing a lot of questions I haven’t heard before and, some answers that just lead to more questions. Since I fully support learning and being completely informed, I thought I’d check him out.
He’s very entertaining. He appears to be well-informed. Some of what he says is right on target. And, some of it just misses the mark entirely. For example, he claims to know “the single most important thing that will determine your success with hearing aids”. Really? Has he met you? Does he know your specific listening needs? Does he know your preferences for (or tolerance to) sounds? I dare say he does not. As such, how can he claim to know what’s best for you?
The issues each hearing impaired person deals with are unique and should be treated as such. Treatment plans are created one at a time. Some include an entire battery of objective measures. Some require baby stepping into the use of amplification. Others need communication strategies and training with a friend or family member. Whatever the needs are, I highly recommend meeting them on an individual basis.
While claiming to hold the key to hearing aid success might make for exciting TV, be careful about believing everything you see on the internet. So here’s your assignment: when you see something that looks too good to be true, ask me about it. I will find the answer (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and let you know what’s real and what’s fluff. Leave your comment/questions right here on this blog. I’m already looking forward to hearing from you.