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The Hurdles to Getting Hearing Aids

A New York Times blog posted this morning struck a cord with us here at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. (Click here to read it.)

Jane Brody writes that

Hearing loss is usually gradual, and people often fail to recognize when it becomes severe enough to warrant hearing aids. Some deny that they have a problem, and instead accuse others of mumbling when they know people are talking but can’t understand what is being said. Still others regard hearing aids as unattractive devices that make them feel and look old in a society that prizes youthfulness.

We see this every day. Mostly those who could benefit from a hearing aid value their vanity over communication with family and friends.

What many people with hearing loss don’t realize is that the signs of the untreated hearing loss are more noticeable to others than hearing aids.

If you feel you are having trouble communicating or are isolating yourself socially because of your hearing trouble, give us a call. We would be happy to walk you over perceived hurdles. Our Doctors of Audiology are here to help. (519) 961-9285

 

 

 

 

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October is Audiology Awareness Month! What is an Audiologist?

October is right at the doorstep: the trees are starting to change, the weather has taken a turn and of course: We’re about to kick off Audiology Awareness Month!

What is an Audiologist?

Well according to Google, we are health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders in newborn, children, and adults. Audiology is a well-respected and highly recognized profession. However, we think we do much, much more!

We act as marriage counselors, miracle workers, a shoulder to cry on, community members, hearing aid mechanics, friends and trusted allies.

Why should you choose an Audiologist?

An Audiologist has extensive education, training and experience in your auditory system. We are not just here to sell and service hearing aids, our scope of practice is much larger. Audiologists are taught the foundations of how sound works, the underpinnings of hearing aid fitting algorithms, and the best ways to identify not only hearing loss, but also any underlying conditions that may need medical attention. Audiologists in Ontario are governed by CASLPO – College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario which sets the the gold standards of practice.

If you have questions about whether or not you should see an Audiologist, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time! We can be reached at (519) 961-9285, Monday through Friday.

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What do William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan have in common?

William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan seem likely to have nothing in common. An actor, a classical composer, a rapper and a former American President – they seemingly couldn’t be more different. But according to an article by stoptheringing.org they all (and many others) suffer from Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is commonly referred to as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, and it is the perception of sound when there is no external sound present.

The British Tinnitus Association recently released a Top Ten List about Tinnitus for Physicians.

 

Ten Top Tinnitus Tips 

1 At any point in time around 10% of the population experience tinnitus – both sexes are equally affected and although tinnitus is more common in the elderly it can occur at any age, including childhood. The perceived sound can have virtually any quality – ringing, whistling and buzzing are common – but more complex sounds can also be described.

2 Most tinnitus is mild in fact it is relatively rare for it to develop into a chronic problem of life-altering severity, but it does happen. The natural history of tinnitus in most patients is of an acute phase of distress when the problem begins, followed by improvement over time. But for a minority of patients the distress is ongoing and very significant, and they will require specialist support.

3 Tinnitus is more common in people with hearing loss tinnitus prevalence is greater among people with hearing impairment but the severity of the tinnitus correlates poorly with the degree of hearing loss. It is also quite possible to have tinnitus with a completely normal pure tone audiogram.

4 Tinnitus can be associated with a blocked sensation for reasons that are not clear tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss can give rise to a blocked feeling in the ears despite normal middle ear pressure and eardrum mobility. Otoscopy and, if available, tympanometry can exclude Eustachian tube dysfunction. Decongestants and antibiotics are rarely helpful.

5 Giving a negative prognosis is actively harmful it is all too common to hear that patients have been told nothing can be done about tinnitus. Such negative statements are not only unhelpful but also tend to focus the patient’s attention on their tinnitus and exacerbate the distress. A positive attitude is generally helpful and there are many constructive statements that can be made about tinnitus, such as: most tinnitus lessens or disappears with time; most tinnitus is mild; tinnitus is not a precursor of hearing loss.

6 Enriching the sound environment is helpful useful sources of sound to reduce the starkness of tinnitus include quiet uneventful music, a fan or a water feature. There are inexpensive devices that produce environmental sounds, and these are particularly useful at bedtime.

7 Hearing aids are helpful straining to listen causes increased central auditory gain and this increased sensitivity can allow tinnitus to emerge or, if already present, to worsen. Correcting any associated hearing loss reduces this central auditory gain and thereby reduces the level of the tinnitus. Hearing aids are useful even if the hearing loss is relatively mild and an aid would not normally be considered. Recent Department of Health guidelines have emphasised the value of audiometry in a tinnitus consultation, and this is the definitive basis for decisions about hearing aid candidacy. If in doubt, refer for an audiological opinion. In our view, all people who describe tinnitus deserve an audiological assessment. Decisions on when to start using a hearing aid and what sort to use are up to the individual patient and audiologist.

8 Underlying pathology is rare, but be vigilant in many cases tinnitus is due to heightened awareness of spontaneous electrical activity in the auditory system that is normally not perceived. It can however be a symptom of treatable and significant otological pathology, such as a vestibular schwannoma or otosclerosis. One should be especially vigilant if the tinnitus is unilateral, or if it has a pulsatile quality.

9 There is no direct role for drugs although they can be used to treat associated symptoms such as vertigo, insomnia, anxiety or depression. There is also no conventional or complementary medication that has been shown to have specific tinnitus ameliorating qualities and there is anecdotal suggestion that repeatedly trying unsuccessful therapies worsens tinnitus.

10 Self-help is often effective – Audiologists provide excellent information on tinnitus and common sense advice on managing symptoms. Written by: Dr David Baguley PhD, Head of Audiology

Of course, as Doctors of Audiology, our Audiologists have extensive education and experience with tinnitus. If you or a loved one experience tinnitus, please feel free to call our office for more information about how we can help.

Can tinnitus be alleviated by Hearing Aids?

Make a hearing test part of your health routine!

Many Canadians have their eyesight tested every 2-3 years, and yet Statistics Canada reveals that about 70% of adults with measured hearing loss did not report any diagnosis by a health care professional. That is, they noticed they had a hearing loss, but didn’t see an Audiologist or Physician about their problem.

Our Doctors of Audiology recommend a hearing test before the age of 40 for a “baseline“, and a hearing test every 2-3 years after to monitor changes.

Other factors that may affect your hearing: obesity, exposure to loud noise (industrial or leisure), diabetes, kidney disease. Are you a smoker? The chemicals in cigarettes are ototoxic (that is, they can impair your hearing, cause tinnitus or affect your balance).

It only takes one hour to have your hearing tested with our Doctors of Audiology. What better time to have your hearing tested than Better Hearing Month? Call to arrange an appointment at (519) 961-9285.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/more/wellness/1283596-hearing-tests-part-of-%E2%80%98overall-health-routine%E2%80%99

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7 Signs That Your Spouse Has A Hearing Loss

Do you think your loved one has a hearing loss? This can be a sensitive issue for some couples.

Here are a few clues to look for as to whether or not your relationship might benefit from improved hearing!

The 7 Signs include:

1. Complaints about mumbling. Hearing loss isn’t just a lack of volume, its about lack of word understanding. If everyone around you sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown, chances are you’re suffering from hearing loss. If it sounds like you’ve got cotton in your ears, you aren’t picking up the full range of sound – from high notes to low – making noise sound like mumbling to you.

2. Mixing up words. “You want me to eat a frog?” “No, Fred, I said, ‘See the fog’.”   When hearing starts to go, the brain may compensate for words not heard. Misunderstanding people can be embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

3. TV is too loud. Are others complaining that the TV is shaking the windows? If this isn’t a sign of hearing loss, nothing is. This is a common complaint of those living with someone who has a hearing loss.

4. Trouble with background noise or conversation. Being a little lost in conversation isn’t always a sign of hearing loss. However, let’s say you’re at a work meeting or eating dinner with the family; when two or more people talk at the same time, do you have a hard time keeping up? People with hearing loss have a hard time masking out background noise.

5. Constantly asking for repetition, saying “What?” or “Pardon?” more than a couple of times a day. Just because you didn’t hear a mumbling co-worker from 10 feet away doesn’t mean you have a hearing loss. However, if “what?” or “huh” is the most commonly used word in your vocabulary, you aren’t getting the sound signals you need to process sound correctly.

6. Trouble communicating on the phone, or from a different room – when not face to face. When you have a hearing loss, the brain tries to fill in the information that is missing with your eyes: reading facial cues and gestures is not something that can be done on the telephone.

7. Withdrawing or avoiding social situations. If social events used to be fun but now they’re exhausting or frustrating, this is a sign of hearing loss – straining to hear conversations or focus on hearing and listening is hard on all our senses.

If you answered YES to any of these clues, your loved one will benefit from a hearing evaluation done by our Doctors of Audiology. A hearing evaluation is quick and painless and results are given immediately. Read more here.

Studies show that once a hearing loss is diagnosed it sometimes takes 7 years to do something about it! Imagine waiting 7 years to treat diagnosed high blood pressure or vision loss!

Call The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic today to arrange a hearing evaluation at (519) 961-9285, you’ll be glad you did!

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Essex Free Press Article about our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn

Happy Thursday!  Hope everyone is staying dry and warm on this “spring” day.

Please see Sylene Argent’s article titled Clinic Shares Information about Tinnitus in the Essex Free Press this week. Sylene reported on our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn that we hosted on March 23, 2015.

If you or a loved one is suffering from tinnitus, or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic at 519.961.9285

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How your hearing loss affects your whole family

Many times when asked,  we hear that men are in our clinic at the prodding of their wife, and wives visit because their husbands or children asked them to come in.

Often, our patients don’t fully appreciate the affects their hearing loss has on the people that love them most, the frustration, the fatigue, the patience that is needed for better communication with their loved one.

This Family Day, do your family a favor and come on in for a Hearing Test. If your loved one is having trouble hearing, give them our number.

We’d love to have the opportunity to help.

Don’t waste another minute NOT hearing your loved ones!

We love how this video talks about the different ways a hearing loss can affect the way you communicate with your close family:  http://www.today.com/video/today/38932880#38932880

 

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Hear for the Holidays-The Healthy Hearing Holiday Table

Less than one month until Christmas!

The holidays can be particularly challenging for you or your loved ones with hearing aids or hearing loss.  If you are the host of a holiday party, please check out the infographic below for some easy tips to fine-tune the listening environment so that everyone involved can enjoy the holiday conversations and cheer!

Happy Hearing!

Paige

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