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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!

 

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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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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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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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Adventures in Dizziness – What does ‘Dizzy’ feel like to you?

Continuing with the theme of Balance Awareness Week, I sat and thought what would be interesting for our followers to read. As I think about the dizzy, vertigo and imbalance patients that we’ve been lucky enough to see at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, their stories came to mind.

The moment that they got dizzy, felt the world spin or that they were spinning.

I stumbled upon this blog post by blogger Mysocalleddizzylife and was amazed at the clarity with which she described her symptoms.

My Dizziness is sometimes more like a little ripple of vertigo, this weird uncomfortable sensation: like if I turn my head, it feels like my head hasn’t caught up to where I am.  My head feels unsteady.  I feel unsteady.  When I’m dizzy I can feel nauseous.  I feel it if I turn around too quickly or when I’m practicing some of my vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises.  And like butterflies in your stomach when you feel naseous, I also feel the butterflies in my head, spinning around, making me feel woozy.  When this happens, I want nothing more than to close my eyes and pray for the tranquility of stillness.  When I’m really dizzy, I have no balance.  I’m more than clumsy.  If I walk, I look like I’m drunk.  Unsteady and stumbling.

The other night I felt so dizzy; it was like there was a violent sea in my head, waves sloshing around so that I couldn’t find my balance.

Emily’s blog describes the beginning of her symptoms, tests, treatments, vestibular rehabilitation and her life after her dizzies. How many of our readers have shared their dizzy stories with family and friends and learned that they too have had some vestibular dysfunction?

Balance Awareness Week isn’t just learning about imbalance, but about knowing that you aren’t alone.

VEDA-BAW Save the Date-for website

DEFEAT DIZZINESS – It’s Balance Awareness Week

At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, we’re kicking off Balance Awareness Week! A whole week dedicated to defeating dizziness.

Top Ten Facts about Vestibular Disorders

1. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with balance.

2. Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.

3. Vestibular disorders can be caused by disease, injury, poisoning by drugs or chemicals, autoimmune causes, traumatic brain injury, or aging. Many vestibular disorders occur from unexplained causes.

4. Symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, jumping vision, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.

5. Vestibular disorders are difficult to diagnose. It is common for a patient to consult 4 or more physicians over a period several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.

6. There is no “cure” for most vestibular disorders. They may be treated with medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise), surgery, or positional maneuvers. In most cases, patients must adapt to a host of life-altering limitations.

7. Vestibular disorders impact patients and their families physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to physical symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo, vestibular patients can experience poor concentration, memory, and mental fatigue. Many vestibular patients suffer from anxiety and depression due to fear of falling and the loss of their independence.

8. Common vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraine.

9. In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.

10.The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is the largest patient organization providing information, support, and advocacy for vestibular patients worldwide. (For more information click HERE)

If you or a loved one suffers from dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, instability or vestibular dysfunction, please feel free to contact our office to find out how we can help! (519) 961-9285

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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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Meniere’s Disease – Do you have it?

Do you have other symptoms with your hearing loss?

How about dizziness? Vertigo, or imbalance? Tinnitus or ringing in your ears? Fullness in your ears?

When the three occur together – Hearing Loss, Tinnitus & Dizziness – as Audiologists, this triad of symptoms is a red flag for a disease called Meniere’s Disease.

There is no quick and easy test for Meniere’s Disease. Diagnosis is based on a detailed case history, hearing tests and balance assessment. Your Doctor may send you for a CT scan or an MRI to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.

The disease itself is no fun, but with ongoing research and new treatments, people with Meniere’s are finding success in managing their various symptoms. And one day there may even be cure as researchers continue to learn more.

If you are experiencing Meniere’s like symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have Meniere’s Disease. Contact The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic to have your  hearing and balance tested today!