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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!

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The Top 5 Excuses for Avoiding the Audiologist

This blog comes the day after Thanksgiving, and that is not coincidental. I visited my elderly grandparents for the holiday and for the most part just really loved getting caught up with their life happenings.

Grandma & Grandpa Cecile know where I work and what  I do. I’ve done the same for the past 15 years, and darn-it they have been avoiding coming to visit me to see the Audiologists for equally as long.

This year was no different. Except that Meme was complaining of an incessant ringing in her ears that started two months ago. Ringing that is high pitched and distracting. So distracting that she visited her family physician twice. Twice she was told that nothing could be done, and to leave a radio on when she tries to sleep. She was telling me this while I nodded my head and waited for her to finish telling me how her ringing in her ears keeps her from painting and doing her word search puzzles.

When I softly commented that if there was a simple fix to the ringing in her ears, would she do it? Yes? Well, then perhaps she should make an appointment to see the Audiologist at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. Then the excuses began.

I wish I had a tape recorder on me, because this list would be more than a “Top 5”.

1. I can hear a pin drop. This is for all of those who use this excuse (or it’s close relative the ‘I don’t have a problem with my hearing, I hear everything’.) While it’s true that you may in fact hear pins drop, that is but ONE frequency of sound. Without a hearing test for the last 40 years, how do you know that you are hearing everything?

2. My mother lived to be 95 and never needed a hearing aid. Needing vs. wanting a hearing aid are two very different things. (I knew Granny Sweetie at 95. She needed a hearing aid. She may not have wanted one, but she certainly needed one.) Regardless of need vs. want, this excuse is made moot by the fact that you and your mother did not have the same experiences in life that may have damaged hearing. While yes, genetics can play a factor in hearing loss, generally inherited hearing loss is present in newborns.

3. It’s just the two of us and I don’t need to hear him. Well there you have it. Argument finished. There couldn’t possibly be anything else to listen to in your life other than Grandpa. The kettle boiling, the doorbell, the garage door malfunctioning (as it did last year, which they didn’t realize until I visited), an intruder breaking in, mice in the walls in the kitchen, the muffler going on the minivan, the banker you yelled at last week for not telling you something that he obviously had etc. Yup. Nothing more to hear in life, just throw in the towel.

4. My Doctor told me there was nothing that could be done (or another personal favorite the “I have the kind of hearing loss that can’t be helped.”) This one irks me because no well rounded physician would tell a patient this. Liken it to going to the doctor and telling them that you can’t see. I’m fairly 100% sure that almost every physician in the universe would suggest seeing an Optometrist for starters, among other things. Don’t use your Doctor as your excuse. He or she wants you to be well and to have your hearing tested regularly. Trust me.

5. I just can’t be bothered with all that hassle. Oh yes. The hassle. The hassle of having a hearing test and learning to use a hearing aid. Changing it’s battery every 7-10 days. Wait, you have an appointment with the eye doctor for a vision test? An appointment at the foot clinic? What about that hassle? Life is nothing but hassles. It’s only a hassle if it has no perceived value to you. Which apparently improved communication and safety does not.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever used these 5 excuses, just know – like my Grandma – I’m on to you! Your excuses are your way of rationalizing your refusal to take a simple hearing test. It’s a defense mechanism used to justify and explain in a seemingly logical manner (to you) your avoidance of the truth: You just don’t want hearing aids. For whatever reason. They’re pricey. They’re ugly. People will know you’re old.  Despite the fact that they may be able to help you rid yourself of that annoying ringing in your ears that has changed your life…it’s just a hassle.

I may never win over my grandmother – until she’s good and ready to come in (she’s just as stubborn as I am!) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

Give up the ghost. It’s just a hearing test. At least that way when you tell people that there’s nothing wrong with your hearing, you will at least know to cross your fingers!

~melissa

 

 

 

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic

Can Hearing Aids Help People With Tinnitus?

As we are leading up to our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn on Monday March 23, we thought we would try to shed a little bit of light on how hearing aids can help those who suffer with tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing or chirping sound, perceived when there is no external sound present. Research shows that aging, exposure to loud sounds, earwax accumulation and ear bone changes (otosclerosis) contribute to the cause of tinnitus.

Many factors affect a person’s tinnitus such as: anxiety, stress and blood pressure.  There are many studies show that of the 20% of the world’s population suffers from tinnitus & many also have a hearing loss.

Which bring us to the question: Can Hearing Aids Help People With Tinnitus?

The short answer is: YES!

Studies* show that of those who complain of hearing loss (from the most mild loss to the most severe) together with tinnitus, hearing aids in both ears alleviated tinnitus perception in 69% of users!

Can tinnitus be alleviated by Hearing Aids?

Why do they help? Hearing aids provide a diversion for our brains. They tell our brain “hear this instead” and those sounds which would be lost by our hearing loss now act to stimulate the areas that were previously the source of our tinnitus. Hearing aids also make our sound range much larger, giving us more things outside of ourselves to listen to. Hearing aids reduce anxiety caused by troubled communications and help reduce stress while also having the added benefit of an improved social life. Hearing aids reduce the fatigue brought upon us by always listening closely. Hearing aids can also be programmed to mask the tinnitus with a sound that is more pleasant than the tinnitus itself.

Our Doctors of Audiology can help you with your tinnitus.  Just because there is not a cure for tinnitus, it does not mean there is no hope/help.  At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic we are able to perform tinnitus testing and provide treatment, counselling and management. Call (519) 961-9285 to book your appointment today!

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