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Can I be frank about something?

I’ve recently had the worst summer cold ever, which started as a sore throat (for which my doctor gave me antibiotics), which worsened and then proceeded to make me bed ridden the entire long weekend +1. In this midst of all the this fun and excitement (ugh I felt like a bag of sand) both of my eardrums perforated. Ruptured. Tore.

I’ve now been without a significant portion of my hearing for 3 days. This is what’s called a conductive hearing loss.

con·duc·tive
kənˈdəktiv/
adjective
adjective: conductive
  1. having the property of conducting something (especially heat or electricity or sound).
    “to induce currents in conductive coils”
    • of or relating to conduction.

My hearing will gradually find its way back to me with the help of my Doctor’s magic drops and time, as my eardrums heal I should get my hearing back. It can take 8+ weeks to heal on its own. If it doesn’t, I need a referral to see an Otolaryngologist if my ear drums don’t heal on their own and I still have a significant hearing loss.

Here are the things that I have noticed since I’ve been for all tense and purposes placed in a sound proof bubble:

  1. Everything makes noise. My pen on the desk, my dogs’ nails on the floor. The neighbor’s car door, my car, my phone. I never really noticed how noisy the world was before – now that its gone the silence is deafening. Poof. Gone. The most bizarre sensation in the world is standing in the shower (with my ears protected from water) and not hearing the water fall. Bizarre. Like, I laughed out loud about it. I can’t hear the keys right now as I type, but I know they are making noise. So if a tree falls in a forest, it does make a sound.
  2. People suck at communication skills. I like to think that because of where I work, I may be an exception… But in general, when you tell people that you can’t hear them, they continue talking at the same volume and pitch they were speaking before, they make no greater effort for you to hear them out. i.e. my Doctor yesterday kept turning away from me when she was talking. And I would have to ask her repeat herself. Over. And Over. And Over. Look at me, because the pieces of the puzzle that I can’t hear can be filled in by my looking at your beautiful face!
  3. There’s a lot of noise in my head. Every inhale, every exhale. Every bite I chew. Every hair I comb, every time I move my head or jaw. Clearing my throat is loud. My stomach growling woke me out of a cold and sinus drug addled sleep. This is all a symptom of conductive hearing loss, and it is obnoxious that I can’t hear much that goes on on the outside of my own head. Everything on the inside… LOUD. Part of it of course is because I don’t hear anything else, its not drowning out the sound of my swallowing.
  4. I’m exhausted. Now that the general malaise is gone from my illness and it took some hearing with it, everything I do is a struggle and I’m exhausted trying to read people, struggle on the phone with all the fantastic people who call me (that’s you!) and it makes me tired. My brain is working too hard to compensate.
  5. Tinnitus is real. My particular tinnitus is pulsatile tinnitus, I can hear my heartbeat. Its not a sound that anyone else can hear, every heartbeat I hear loud and clear in my head. Every last one. Over. And Over. And Over. I wake up and its there. I try to sleep and its there. I can’t mask this with another sound, because I can’t hear that either. This will go away when my hearing comes back and I hear other things than what is happening in my head. I hope.

So that’s that. The first thing I said to Bernice and Paige when my hearing hopped a train was ‘I can’t understand why hearing aids don’t sell themselves’. So if I might be frank, this not hearing all the sounds is no joke. My hearing loss happened suddenly and traumatically so of course, I noticed all the sounds gone at once, not gradually like everyone else. None the less, this has been a real eye opener. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to hear the sounds of life.

I’m frantic to get a piece of those sounds back. 8+ weeks seems so far away.

~melissa

 

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Protect your ears this summer

The summer season is fast upon us, and so are all the fun summer activities! We’d like to take a minute to remind you of how important it is to remember that some of the fun things you do could have an irreversible effect of your hearing.

  1. Yard Work: A well groomed yard shouldn’t lead to hearing loss as you age. Protect your hearing from lawn mowers, weed whippers, chain saws and leaf blowers!
  2. Fireworks: The beautiful displays of fireworks can damage your hearing. Ringing in at up to 125dB, that’s enough to permanently cause a threshold shift. Remember your children’s ears as well at fireworks time.
  3. Sporting Events & Concerts: The loud cheers at your favorite ballpark (Go Tigers!) and summer concerts can last up to 3 hours. On average, the sound levels can reach 95dB+. That duration and intensity of sound may result in tinnitus the next day – that’s your ears’ way of telling you they were overexposed to sound.
  4. Boats and Motorcycles: Its not just the engine noise that can harm your hearing – wind noise can be the culprit! Consult our audiologists for custom hearing protection that will still allow you to hear the important sounds around you while riding and boating safely.

Make sure you get outside and enjoy all of the super activities that are part of summer traditions, but please – PROTECT THOSE EARS! If you are experiencing ringing, buzzing or fullness in your ears this summer, consult our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists!

 

Paige Pierozynski

If Kate Spade and Tom Ford made hearing aids…

Would you want them? Would you wear them?

I’m typing this blog post looking through my Coach glasses in my comfy Michael Kors sweater feeling a little… miffed. I think miffed is the right word. (Miffed: put into an irritable mood, especially by an offending incident.) I feel like what I get up and do every day, what I love to do – isn’t cool.  

Welcome to 2016. A profound era where everything and everyone is trying to make us feel inadequate at every turn. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s we had fads of course, i.e. Starter Jackets, Reebok Pump and HyperColor Shirts. But we didn’t have The Kardashian’s telling us what’s cool and what’s not.

This got me thinking. If Tom Ford had his own brand of hearing aid, would it be cool to have them? Would hearing aids becomes sexy then?

If Apple created an iHear hearing aid, would you sleep outside my office to be the first of your friends to have one?

I get this profound feeling that YES! People would actually want to do something about their hearing loss and wear a hearing aid. I wouldn’t have to try to convince you that your quality of life would be improved significantly by hearing your loved ones loud and clear. You would want to wear hearing aids because its cool. Its trendy. Your friend Jill already has them and wears them at the gym, and they sync with her iPhone and let her know her heart rate.

Those with hearing loss would seek them out and that those without hearing loss would want to wear them anyways (just like its fun, personal and stylish to wear designer eyeglass frames without a need for vision correction).

Many people are under the understanding that hearing aids are the big squealing ugly beige machines that their grandpa keeps in the kitchen junk drawer. Hearing aids may just be the last ‘un-cool’ piece of technology out there. And there’s no reason for that really. Hearing loss is something that happens to a great many people, many of whom are infants, children, teenagers, young adults. Yet when you think of how hearing aids are perceived in our society, you think of Alma in the Sister Act movies (a la ‘Hey Alma! Check your battery!’). Hearing aids are a pain in the butt. I mean, you actually have to put them in your ears and that’s such a hassle. Ugh, the tiny batteries need to be changed once a week – who has time to do that when you also have to plug in your phone every night?

A quick Google search on simply ‘Hearing Aids’ brings us the webpages of AARP and The Mayo Clinic. Do another Google Search for eyeglasses and this comes up:

See what I’m talking about there? Vision correction is stylish, fashionable. There is no perceived stigma associated with vision correction anymore like Steve Urkel on Family Matters. It’s personalized. Hearing correction? It’s certainly not perceived that way – YET! The numbers are kind of astounding: 60% of the population has a treatable vision loss, while 20% of the population admits freely to hearing difficulty.

However, there’s another stat in here that you can’t see: The average person who has a hearing loss waits 7 years to treat it, i.e. those with hearing loss who are in denial and pretending to hear perfectly well are not a part of the aforementioned 20%. Grandpa, that’s you. I don’t mumble at all!

Again, the question begs… what do eyeglasses have that hearing aids do not? Why do Oakley, Nike and Calvin Klein not have a piece of the hearing aid pie? (Other than because there’s a technology involved, and an adjustment period to hearing aids at the brain level)

Because (despite it being very untrue) hearing aids are for old people and no one wants to accept that they are aging. Hearing aids are a nuisance. Hearing aids are ugly. Hearing loss carries a ‘less than’ stigma. No one deemed ‘cool’ by society wears hearing aids and if they do, they are beige and blend in, because – for shame! other people should see them!

Well, hear this! A Denmark based company with a Canadian presence called GN Resound is going where no hearing aid manufacturer has gone before. They’re trying to cap into that ‘allure’ of technology with the Linx²… they work with your iPhone and have an app, they are nano-coated and water resistant. The product is cool and hip and stylish. Except it isn’t. Because its still taking people 7 years to admit to their hearing loss and come in to see for themselves how the technology has improved.

Now, all that Resound needs is a George Clooney walking the red carpet with an Ocean Blue (see what I did there?) piece of technology sitting snugly behind his ears for all the word to see. For an Anderson Cooper to declare the Linx² the greatest in all the land. For a Taylor Swift to state unequivocally that hers were the inspiration for writing a new hit song.

Until that happens: You don’t want hearing aids. Heck – you don’t need them. You’re perfectly fine with society telling you that hearing loss makes you look old, feel old, that you lack in something because your hearing isn’t perfect. You don’t need to see the audiologist because you already know what he or she will say and you don’t think hearing aids can help you.

May is Better Speech & Hearing Month. Don’t be the statistic who waits 7 years to look seek improved communication with your loved ones. Come visit our Doctors of Audiology and finally turn that TV down. Imagine all the experiences that you’ll miss out on in those 7 years. It’s a long time. You wouldn’t go 7 years without seeing your loved ones properly, would you?

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Why choose Audiology?

May is “Better Speech & Hearing Month”. Throughout the month of May, audiologists put in extra effort to highlight the importance of hearing health within our communities. Every year, thousands of professionals involved with the treatment of speech, language and hearing disorders come together to participate in a public awareness campaign that encourages early detection and prevention of communication disorders, and seeks to increase the public’s sensitivity to the challenges faced by individuals experiencing them.

Have questions about your hearing or speech? We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have about your hearing. Contact us today to arrange a consultation or your annual hearing test with our Doctor of Audiology! (519) 961-9285.

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Hearing Loss: No, it’s not just you.

You’re experiencing hearing loss, and you assume it’s just you. But it’s not just you. One out of every nine of us have hearing loss, that’s nearly 4 million Canadians.

That’s important for you to know if you are experiencing hearing issues. It can help to know that you are not alone. 

Hearing loss occurs naturally as people get older, but it’s not just seniors who are affected. Changes to your hearing can begin to occur for many when they reach their 20s, 30s and 40s, and while approximately 30 percent of people over the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, more than 65 percent of those who experience hearing loss do so before retirement age.

About 15 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 41-59) and 7 percent of Generation Xers (ages 29-34) already have significant issues with their hearing.

Because hearing loss occurs gradually, its effects are sometimes not immediately obvious, especially when it comes to recognizing a change in one’s own hearing. Often it’s a friend, family member or co-worker that points it out, and even then it can be hard to believe that it’s happening to you.

Taking care of your hearing is your responsibility. It’s up to you to be alert to the signs and have your hearing checked if you suspect that your hearing may be changing.

These signs may include: Turning the TV louder, requiring others to repeat themselves, thinking that others are mumbling, having ringing (tinnitus) in your ears, feeling tired or exhausted after strenuous listening activities or have a family history of hearing loss.

For a limited time, there is no cost to have your hearing assessed by our Doctors of Audiology if you are an adult aged 18+. We simply ask for a donation to the Essex Area Food Bank. A hearing assessment takes but an hour and will help alleviate your concerns. We are able to arrange an appointment for you Monday through Friday, from 9am until 5pm. Call today to arrange your appointment! (519) 961-9285.

BPPV Testing and Management

Startling Statistics About BPPV

At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, we understand how debilitating BPPV or  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can be.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the most common form of positional vertigo and is probably the most common disorder involving vertigo. It’s an affliction of the inner ear. In the most common clinical scenario, when the patient changes the position of the head, he or she feels that the room is spinning. The person may experience significant nausea as well.┘

According to The University of California, BPPV will affect nearly 40 percent of people over 40 at least once in their lifetime.

The good news about BPPV is that in most cases, it is entirely treatable.

The bad news about BPPV is that studies show, it can take an absurdly very long time from presentation of symptoms to treatment.

 

Two recent studies explored the time period from initial presentation of symptoms of BPPV to correct diagnosis. Fife and Fitzgerald report that in the United Kingdom, the mean wait time from initial presentation to correct diagnosis was 92 weeks. A more recent study out of China found the delay to be longer than 70 months.

We have witnessed this very same phenomenon in our practice, when people have seen multiple specialties and undergone several tests over the course of months and even years. Patients have altered their lives to accommodate their BPPV, changed their habits, disturbed their activities, family lives and working responsibilities. BPPV is easily diagnosed and easily treated.

In both studies mentioned above, the subjects were treated with Canalith repositioning (CRP) once the diagnosis of BPPV was made. In the Chinese study over 80% were successfully treated with one CRP, while the Fife and Fitzgerald study reports 85% were successfully treated.

Perhaps this is the most disturbing reality of these studies. 8/10 people who had suffered for years from Vertigo were cured of their BPPV in one treatment. Just one. 

At least 85% of cases had classical symptoms of BPPV and could have been easily identified by Primary Care Physicians at first referral, had they been trained to recognize and diagnose the condition.┌

It’s amazing to me that once someone is affected by BPPV and they tell their family and friends about it, they are shocked to realize how many people they know have experienced the very same thing! Further, they are shocked at just how easy it is to treat.

We are happy to test and manage your BPPV for you and your loved ones right in the heart of Essex County. If you have questions or concerns in regards to who we are and how we can help, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

Don’t be a statistic! 

Read more

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Thank you Essex for your Support!

It’s Food Bank day at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic!

THANK YOU Essex County for your support of our non-perishable food donations to The Essex Area Food Bank.

We had set a goal of 500lbs to collect for those in our community who are in need of our help, doing hearing tests in exchange for non-perishable food items. We are happy to report that we have SMASHED that goal with at least twice what we had hoped! You brought everything from noodles to beans, rice to corn meal and cereal and baby food.

Please call if you are in need of your annual hearing screening. For a limited time, our Doctors of Audiology will provide complimentary adult hearing screenings for a canned food donation. Call today to arrange your appointment at (519) 961-9285

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Testimonials – Why we don’t have any

You may have been searching through a number of hearing aid provider websites, and noticed one thing missing from our website. We don’t have any testimonials or reviewsclients’ stories of success, thanks and proclamation of our fantastic services are missing from our site.

Why don’t we use this method of advertising? 

The simple answer is that we have no testimonials or reviews because our Doctors of Audiology are regulated health professionals in the province of Ontario. Audiologists are regulated by the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO).   The Ministry of Health does not permit regulated health professionals to use testimonials.

So why can other hearing aid providers use testimonials to promote their products and services?

Again, the answer is rather simple. They are not or do not employ regulated health professionals. Read that again.

Why can’t Audiologists use testimonials?

Some of the reasons include:
• The ministry doesn’t allow their use. All regulated health colleges have to comply. For reasons that we don’t quite understand, this does not apply to hearing instrument specialists, nor to Audiologists who work at the big box chain stores.
• They are unreliable.
• Claims cannot be verified.
• Inadvertent coercion to write a testimonial may have taken place.
• Negative testimonials are often deleted or are not included, so it is not a balanced platform.

What does this mean for the consumer (You!)?

Understanding that only non-regulated health providers can use testimonials is also important. If they have testimonials, the services that they provide to you are not regulated by the Ministry of Health. We would hope that you choose to visit a regulated health care provider.

Understand that rule this means that even though you had a fabulous appointment with our regulated health providers Paige or Bernice, we have no forum to use your experiences except word of mouth. You can tell your friends, family, mechanic, banker, priest and grocer. (Of course, we cannot solicit you to do so, you must do so without any perceived benefit to yourself.)

Understand also that despite not being able to find any positive or negative stories of our services, good or bad on the internet (we would never delete the bad ones, as that is someone’s experience and opinion – and heck, though we aspire to be, we’re not perfect) rest assured that we do in fact have several very happy and satisfied customers who have appreciated having our experience and education help them with their hearing or vestibular health.

We are extremely grateful for each and every one of our clients and we would love to have the thank you cards and notes that you take the time and care to write to us available for others to see. Alas, we cannot post them or share them with others.

Now that you understand why we cannot have testimonials in our clinic or online, I hope that you can rest assured that you saw a regulated hearing healthcare provider! 

‘Tis the season to BOGO!

We are quickly getting into the Christmas spirit with our biggest sale of the year! BOGO! Buy one hearing aid of any technology level, style or price and get a second hearing aid of the same value for 50% off!!! All sizes of hearing aid batteries are buy one, get one free (a $30 value!)! All hearing aid cleanings (even for those purchased elsewhere) are buy one get one free as well, that’s a ($25 value)! 

Christmas at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic is time to give back to our community, and so, we’re providing Complimentary Hearing Screenings (completed by a CASLPO registered Doctor of Audiology, Audiologist) with a donation of canned foods for The Essex Area Food Bank. (An $80 value!)

To schedule your appointment, simply call Melissa at (519) 961-9285. Hurry! These offers expire January 15, 2016!

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic is always proud to give back to our community. We are happy to bill 3rd party insurances when applicable – including but not limited to: Green Shield, Manulife, Sun Life, Great West Life etc., and are registered providers with ADP, ODSP, Ontario Works, Veterans Affairs and WSIB. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions!

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Our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists, Paige Pierozynski & Bernice McKenzie

How hearing loss differs from vision loss

Debbie Clason, the staff writer for healthyhearing.com recently published a remarkable article on the differences between hearing loss and vision loss.

Debbie describes how correcting vision loss with prescription lenses restores your vision to 20/20 as soon as the lenses are put to use. However because most of those with hearing loss wait several years before pursuing hearing aids – the brain needs to readjust to, and learn to process the sounds that the hearing aid is amplifying.

Research indicates the average person diagnosed with hearing loss waits an average of seven to 10 years before seeking treatment. During that time, other medical and social problems such as an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as anxiety, depression and social isolation can result.

Of course, the sooner hearing aids are prescribed and worn regularly, the less risk of losing the word understanding in those auditory pathways in the brain.

The bottom line: Both your vision and your hearing are important senses which should be evaluated on a regular basis. When you are diagnosed with vision loss, you wear corrective lenses but the same people are more unlikely to treat a hearing loss.

Don’t be a statistic! Have your hearing tested by our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists! Call today to arrange your appointment with our doctors of Audiology at (519) 961-9285!