Posts

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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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

Vertigo and “Ear Crystals”

We have a large number of patients who call us to inform us that their Doctor has told them that they have “Ear Crystals” and that they should come to see us; that we may be able to help them. Everyone has ear crystals, but when they migrate or move away from where they are supposed to be, most often, YES, we can help them! But how?

Trouble with “Ear Crystals’ is another way of describing BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Benign: the condition almost always goes away with proper treatment Paroxysmal: the condition may return causing vertigo without warning Positional: it is brought on by specific type of head movement Vertigo: the sensation is that of spinning that may be mild or violent.

These crystals normally lie in a gel layer inside the utricle in our vestibular systems. A common symptom of migrated crystals is that there is dizziness or vertigo when you wake up, nausea and vomiting. The vertigo may stop when the position of your head is held still. The common reasons that these crystals migrate can be: head injury, aging, or idiopathic (the cause is not known). Some studies show there may be a correlation between allergies and respiratory infections and BPPV.

Whatever the reason that caused those crystals to migrate, the treatment is same: Particle or crystal re-positioning – getting those crystals back into the utricle. Our Doctors of Audiology are well versed in this. We often hear that people have tried these maneuvers at home, without success – we do not recommend this, as if completed improperly may cause more harm than good.

So what should you expect of your appointment with us? Well, we always ask you to fill out a case history and those documents will be reviewed with the audiologist. Then a few very precise head and body maneuvers will determine if you could be helped by the crystal re-positioning. The entire appointment takes but 1 hour and symptoms may disappear entirely with one treatment.

If you are tired of feeling dizzy or imbalanced when changing positions, simply call us to arrange an appointment with the audiologist at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic.

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The Holidays & Hearing Loss

For many people with hearing loss, the holidays can be especially challenging. While large family gatherings offer a great chance to catch up with friends and family, holiday parties can lead to challenging listening situations for people with hearing loss.

Here are some tips for people with hearing loss to better enjoy holiday gatherings from our friends at Widex.

Holidays and hearing loss: The tips

  1. Find a quiet corner – Stand away from loudspeakers and noisy kitchens and position yourself in the quietest area of the room. This way you can hear conversation rather than noise.
  2. Pick your seat – If you’re having a sit-down dinner, pick a seat at the center of the table nearest to a close friend or relative. This way you have a better chance of hearing conversation and enjoying your meal.
  3. Pick your drink – A glass of wine can make you more relaxed – or it can confuse you and make your level of understanding worse. Be aware of what you are drinking and your own level of tolerance.
  4. Buddy up – Find a friend or relative with whom you can hang out at the party. This person can help you to feel more included in conversation and can repeat things you may not understand.

Holidays and hearing aids

If you have hearing aids, it’s important that you wear them to holiday events. You may think that with so much noise at a party or family dinner, hearing aids would just make things louder, but modern digital hearing aids aren’t simple sound amplifiers. They are designed to filter out all the unwanted noise – like the clanging of dishes in the kitchen or the background music – and help you focus on speech.

Two hearing aid features in particular are put to work in crowds:

  • The Speech Enhancer – Widex hearing aids reduce noise by using a speech enhancer. This technology works to reduce background noise and helps you focus on what you need to hear.
  • Directional Microphones – Directional microphones work to reduce the amount of noise allowed to enter your hearing aids. In noisy environments, like at a holiday party, the system will work to pick up the least amount of noise.If the noise is located behind you, your directional microphones will adapt to pick up sound from in front of you and dampen noise from behind you. According to a 2004 study, directional microphones are proven to improve speech understanding in noise.

Have the “hearing loss” conversation

Holiday gatherings are a good time to have “the conversation” with friends and loved ones. We’re talking about the conversation about hearing loss and getting hearing aids. If you think your loved one is unable to hear correctly, take out your phone or tablet and encourage them to take an online hearing test. This is a great first step to help someone realize he has a hearing loss. And don’t forget, our complimentary hearing screening continues until January 15, 2016. 

Help guests with hearing loss

You might not have hearing loss – but one of your guests might. Here are some tips on helping your guests with hearing loss enjoy your party”

  • Background music – Everyone loves a good Christmas carol, but when those carols are in the background of the conversations of 20+ people, no one can hear them anyways. Consider turning down the background music – or turning it off completely when several guests are socializing at once. People tend to speak louder to be heard over the music, so your music may in fact make the party louder.
  • Dish Duty – Hold off on cleaning the dishes until after your guests have left. For people with hearing loss, the clatter of kitchen dishes can distract from dinnertime conversation. Take time to enjoy your guests rather than worrying about the clean-up!
  • Seating – If you know that one of your guests has a hearing loss, seat that person at the center of the table closest to those with the quietest voices. It may also help if you sit next to that person, so you can help him or her to better understand the conversation.

Please note that we are OPEN every day except Christmas Eve, Closed Christmas Day and on Monday December 28 for Boxing Day. Should you need our services this holiday, please do not hesitate to come on in or call us! 

We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. ~Paige, Bernice & Melissa

What's Your Favorite Sound?

Comment to Win! What’s your favorite sound?

Kittens Purring.  Waves Crashing.  Thunderstorms!  Cards Shuffling.  Bonfires.  Laughing Babies.  Engines Humming.  Skates on Ice.  Snow Falling.  Favorite Song.  Dogs Barking.

Visit us on Facebook  and simply tell us about your favorite sound to be entered to win 4 tickets to an upcoming Windsor Spitfires home game with VIP Parking and Crown Royal Lounge access!

One winner will be selected randomly Wednesday September 30, 2015, no purchase necessary, simply comment with your favorite sound on our Facebook post.

So do tell us: What’s your favorite sound?

GN Resound LiNX², made for iPhone

Who needs Beats when you have these?

It’s estimated that half of baby boomers have some degree of hearing loss, caused by everything from rock music to lawn mowers or just aging. (It happens.) Yet only a quarter of those who need hearing aids actually get them. As one study notes, “For many people a hearing aid is an unwelcome reminder of the aging process, one that they simply cannot accept.”

Screw that. When I explain what my hearables can do, the kids are envious.

We love this article on the Mother Nature Network, and the vigor with which Lloyd Alter writes about his ‘hearables‘. We wish that everyone had the appreciation for the raw power of these tiny little devices that sit in our ears. So much more than a hearing aid, hearables help control the life around us and connect us to family, friends and the rest of the world in a way that leaves “kids envious”. Who needs Beats when you have these?

Forget wearables; let’s talk hearables, the devices formerly known as hearing aids. The hearing aid/hearables market is $5.4 billion worldwide, compared to the $2 billion headphone market. Apple buying Beats may have made headlines, but Apple building Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and an accessibility app into the iPhone 5 and 6 is much more newsworthy. Why? Because this opens up the hearables market so wide that the $3 billion Beats purchase will look like small change — and make Google Glass look like a toy.

We think it’s pretty cool too! If you’d like to try a set of ‘hearables‘, please give us a call and we’d be happy to demonstrate this new realm of hearing technology on you! Call to arrange an appointment with our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists. (519) 961-9285

 

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Osteoporosis linked to hearing loss

What do Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Smoking, Obesity, Noise Exposure and now Osteoporosis have in common?

An increased risk for sensorineural hearing loss. *

Researchers at the Hormone Health Network / Endocrine Society have recently discovered that those with osteoporosis, a progressive disorder that weakens the bones putting those with the disorder at risk for breaks and fractures – also increases the risk of developing a sudden sensorineural hearing loss nearly twofold.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), also called sudden deafness, is an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing that typically happens in one ear, It can happen all at once or over the course of several days. About half of the people who develop SSHL will spontaneously regain their hearing, but it is important to seek treatment immediately. About 85 percent of those who are treated for the condition recover some hearing.

 

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is important to have a baseline hearing test and also to be aware that you are at risk. If you or someone you know has suffered a sudden hearing loss, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately.

* http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416132017.htm

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Canada Day

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic will be closed on Wednesday July 1, 2015 to celebrate Canada Day with our families.

We will reopen promptly at 9:00am on Thursday July 2, 2015.

Happy Canada Day!

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Why do we have earwax?

We stumbled across this video today:

Earwax is another of our body’s mundane, under-appreciated, yet totally amazing protective devices. Like eyelashes and nose hair, earwax shields our body from outside invaders, including dust, bacteria, and other micro-organisms that can get in and irritate, inflame, or infect. Earwax lubricates our ears, in much the same way as tears lubricate our eyes. Without adequate amounts of earwax, our ears would feel dry and itchy.

Since our ears are self-cleaning, we should never, ever stick anything in them! Hence the old adage that you shouldn’t put anything in your ears smaller than your elbow and YES! that includes Q-Tips, even though they seem perfectly designed to fit inside the narrow ear canal. Keep these swabs and any other objects – including your fingers – out of your ears. When you put something in your ear – to scratch an itch or to attempt to remove wax – you risk pushing wax further into the ear, where it can block sound from meeting your eardrum.

If you feel your earwax may be affecting your hearing, contact your doctor for an appointment, it may be useful to instill a few drops of oil daily into your ears for a couple of days before your appointment. And of course, afterward come to see us at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic to have your hearing tested.