Hearing Loss & the White House

Hearing Loss & the White House

There’s quite a bit of talk in politics, but what about listening? Both sides of communication are incredibly important when getting your message across, whether you call the White House home or not. Here’s a history of hearing loss in our nation’s capitol.

Claudia Gordon:

Claudia Gordon currently works at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She is also the first deaf African-American female attorney in the United States. Inspired to become a lawyer because of the discrimination she experienced back home in Jamaica, Gordon had this to say to BBC News: “It did cause me to recognize injustice that exists in society toward people who happen to be different — deaf, blind, physically disabled or have a mental disability. I realized then that society does not treat people right, including myself. So from that experience, I realized I wanted to be able to make change, make things better for people like myself.”

Leah Katz-Hernandez:

Leah Katz-Hernandez —known as ROTUS, the receptionist of the United States — feels the same way, telling the news site, “I want to see the deaf community become more involved with the government, because it has a vital impact on the lives of deaf people. It’s important that they are included. I hope to see many more people like me in the future.”

First Lady Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge:

This First Lady and wife of Calvin Coolidge was voted one of our nation’s 12 greatest living women in 1931 for her “fine personal influence exerted as First Lady of the Land.” Her connection with hearing loss? She taught at a school for deaf children in Massachusetts, the Clarke Institute for the Deaf. According to the National First Ladies’ Library, “The mere presence of the former teacher of deaf children in the White House focused national attention on a specific constituency among the larger one of those considered handicapped or challenged by a physical disability of one type or another.”

President Theodore Roosevelt:

While his hearing was considered healthy while in office, Roosevelt lost his hearing in his left ear after he suffered from a ruptured eardrum.

President Ronald Reagan:

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most common kinds of hearing loss. It can happen instantly or over time with continuous exposure to loud noise. Reagan experienced NIHL in one ear when a .38-caliber blank was fired too close to him on a movie set. The president was fit with a Starkey INTRA hearing aid in September 1983.

According to AudiologyOnline.com, the icon helped to reduce stigmas around hearing devices. He became an advocate for those with hearing loss, igniting a movement focused on hearing aid innovation and increased accessibility. President Reagan’s historic fitting also helped him pave the way for today’s world leaders by bringing hearing aids into the public eye.

President Bill Clinton:

This former president wears two Starkey in-the-canal hearing aids since being diagnosed with a moderate loss of high-frequency hearing. It’s believed his hearing loss is the result of gunfire while hunting, political rallies, and listening to loud music. Like many with hearing loss, he ignored his hearing difficulties for years until doctors diagnosed him with high-frequency hearing deficiency, the most common form of hearing loss. Clinton’s hearing loss was caught during a routine physical, highlighting the importance of annual hearing checks, especially after the age of 40. Consult your local hearing care provider on the frequency of your hearing checks.

According to Starkey, in 2013 President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea joined Starkey Hearing Foundation (a foundation that conducts hearing missions in the United States and around the globe to bring better hearing to those in need) on a trip to Africa to donate customized hearing devices to people in Zambia and Rwanda. The foundation has pledged to fit and give more than 100,000 hearing aids annually to people in need as part of President Clinton’s Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

Think you may have a hearing impairment? Make sure you’re able to hear all the news this election season by visiting us!

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http://www.bbc.com/news/disability-35969866
http://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52386-Presidents-when-it-comes-to-hearing-health-they-re-just-like-us
https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/first-ladies/gracecoolidge
http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=31
http://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52386-Presidents-when-it-comes-to-hearing-health-they-re-just-like-us
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/08/us/reagan-begins-to-wear-a-hearing-aid-in-public.html
http://www.audiologyonline.com/releases/30-years-later-ronald-reagan-12199
http://www.starkey.com/blog/2015/05/Reversing-the-Hearing-Aid-Effect

5 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Hearing Aids For Halloween

5 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Hearing Aids For Halloween

These tricks will make your child’s hearing aids quite the treat!

Decorating hearing aids and cochlear implants is a great idea during this and any time of the year if you know what you’re doing. Here we answer some common questions we get about decorating hearing aids and cochlear implants.

1. Can I decorate my child’s (or my own) technology?

Sure! Anything that is motivational for children, tweens, and teens is great fun, as long as the “bling” doesn’t damage the aid — and there are a variety of options to choose from. Some of our technology partners have hearing aids in bright colors and/or with superhero or animal prints. Stick-on “jewels” designed for use on fingernails are great, as well as simple small stickers.

2. What parts should I be careful of? What materials do you approve of?

It is imperative that decorations do not compromise the microphone ports in any way. Do not risk any moisture penetrating the hearing aid joints from liquid glue, paint, etc. Stickers may leave residue that can be removed with alcohol.

3. What if I’m not that crafty?

Some of our technology partners have pediatric products. Plus there are great resources online. Try looking at Etsy or Pinterest for ideas; we’ve seen everything from twists to charms, headbands to clip-on pieces. Even if you don’t buy anything, these are great resources for inspiration.

4. Have you found that if a child’s hearing aids are decorated or “kid friendly,” they are more likely to wear them?

Yes! Especially for kids ages 3 to 10 years old. They love the fun colors and superhero accessories. Tweens and teens often enjoy “blinging out” their technology with charms and jewels.

5. Any other tips or tricks?

While this is a Halloween theme, decorating can happen all year — just look for removable options when decorating!

We hear a bump in the night is nothing to be scared of when you’ve got your hearing aid decorated right!

Before you start decorating, be sure to consult a hearing professional to ensure that your plan won’t compromise the performance of the tech or make it more susceptible to loss or damage. Contact us today to start getting crafty!

The Four Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Getting Hearing Aids

The Four Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Getting Hearing Aids

I have been helping patients find the best solutions for their hearing problems for more than 30 years. During this time, I have met with thousands of patients, some who love their hearing aids and get great results, and some who hate their hearing aids and feel like they have wasted their money. Here are the four biggest mistakes I have seen people make.

#1: Choosing a hearing aid based on what it looks like instead of what you need it to do.
The truth is no one wants a hearing aid. What you want is for your communication problems to go away or be significantly reduced. Smart consumers start with a list of three to five big issues they want resolved, and they ask the hearing aid provider which hearing aid will give them the best results.

#2: Focusing on price instead of results.
It’s not what the hearing aid looks like on the outside that dictates how much it will help you; it’s what’s inside that counts. With digital technology, some hearing aids are amazingly smart: They have multiple programs built into the hearing aids to keep you hearing well no matter where you go or what you do, and they will automatically switch from program to program, adjusting the volume for you. A different hearing aid that looks exactly the same on the outside can be amazingly stupid — a simple amplifier that makes everything louder.

In addition to the cost of the device itself, there are professional fees and expertise included in the price. This is the knowledge and expertise of the person fitting the hearing aid. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. The better the technology and the more knowledgeable and capable the fitter, the more it is going to cost — but the better your results should be. Not everyone needs the fanciest technology, but, to be honest, everyone can benefit by having a knowledgeable and experienced person doing the fitting.

#3: Thinking that the hearing aid will solve all your problems the minute you put it on.
Your hearing loss did not happen overnight. Most likely, it has gradually been making your world quieter and quieter for 10+ years. Plus, your ears need to work with your brain to let you hear and understand what is being said.

Think of the hearing aids like a prosthetic hand. You need to practice with that artificial hand to learn how to use it. The more you practice, the better you get. At first you may just be able to open and close the hand. With practice you learn how to pick things up and really use it to improve your life. The same is true with the hearing aids. At first it seems like you are just hearing everything and it seems really loud. Over time you learn to listen discriminatingly and easily. Those who use their hearing aids on a regular basis become successful users; those who put them on only occasionally never really get the help they need.

#4: Being fit with hearing aids and never having a postfitting evaluation done.
A fitter asking you how you are hearing is meaningless. You do not know what you should be hearing and, therefore, you don’t know if the hearing aids are working correctly for you or not.

After you have had a few weeks to adjust to your hearing aids, you should have a postfitting evaluation. This could be a test in which you repeat words at a normal conversational level in a controlled environment (like a hearing test booth) or a test where a microphone is put in your ear and a computer checks to see if the prescription is correct. No matter how experienced your provider is, they cannot see how well you are hearing or truly know what is happening inside your ear without doing one of these postfitting tests.

What Hearing Loss Sounds Like

What Hearing Loss Sounds Like

What It’s Like To Have Hearing Loss

When you have a hearing loss, it can be hard to explain how your life has changed along with your hearing. What’s more, many people don’t realize how hearing loss has affected their lives, as it’s such a gradual process. We’re here to help you help others understand, in turn creating a support system for you in your better-hearing journey.

Research tells us that concealing your hearing loss can create tension in your social or professional life that could negatively affect your mental health. Talking about it eases the stress of hiding the condition.

How to Talk About Your Hearing Loss

The way your hearing loss sounds to you can be different than another person’s loss. How your hearing loss sounds depends on the type (sensorineural or conductive, or even a mix) and degree of the hearing loss. As Starkey Hearing Technologies points out on their hearing loss simulator page, “a person with normal hearing can hear quiet, medium, and loud sounds that vary from low pitch to high pitch with amazing clarity and definition. When you have hearing loss, you often lose higher-pitch sounds, like the sound of women’s and children’s voices or consonants like t, s, and f. Even though you may be able to hear strong vowel sounds such as a, e, and i, speech becomes harder to comprehend.”

  • Pick someone you trust to listen to what you have to say.
  • Be honest and open; while vulnerability is hard, it creates strong connections and support.
  • Give them examples of instances where you cannot hear very well and what that is like for you
  • Show them what your hearing loss is like with Starkey’s hearing loss simulator

What Tinnitus Sounds Like

Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss but sounds very different than hearing loss. Anyone afflicted with the annoying ringing and hissing of tinnitus is well aware of the stress, anxiety, and irritability that accompany these phantom howls — but how do you explain that to others?

  • Pick someone you trust to listen to what you have to say.
  • Be honest and open; while vulnerability is hard, it creates strong connections and support.
  • Give them examples of instances where you are distracted or debilitated by your tinnitus and what that is like for you. If you can, think of instances for which the person was present, so they can better understand your reactions to it.
  • Try to convey the consistency of your tinnitus (how often it occurs during the day, at what times, and anything that seems to set it off).

Do not use the hearing loss simulator to test your own hearing. A hearing test simulator is for informational purposes and is not intended as a diagnostic evaluation. For a complete test and evaluation of your hearing, you should visit a qualified and licensed hearing care professional. While testing your hearing on the internet can give you some insight, we strongly recommend you be tested by hearing professionals, like us. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to begin getting relief from your hearing loss.

To get the most out of your consultation with us, we recommend bringing a companion with you so you feel supported, and so we can ask them about their experience with your hearing.

Five Best Accessories For Hearing Loss When Watching TV

Five Best Accessories For Hearing Loss When Watching TV

When you have a hearing loss, it can be hard to watch TV with family and friends. Let’s talk about turning down the conflict and turning up the fun. Here are our top five best hearing accessories for TV.

1. Wireless Hearing Aid Streaming
Stream directly from the TV to your hearing device technology

Why we love them:

Newer hearing technology often comes equipped with the ability to stream wirelessly. These devices transmit the sound directly from your television to your hearing aids. Like other wireless devices, these offer range and portability that you can’t get with other devices (or even with healthy hearing!). In other words, you might be able to hear the game when you go into the kitchen to make a sandwich! And they don’t just stream to your TV — some have the ability to connect to your smartphone, tablet, and other devices.

How they work:

There are a variety of ways to connect your hearing aids to the television.

  • Ask your hearing care provider if your technology comes equipped with a special program to help you hear the television better or if they can create one.
  • Hearing aids can also connect to devices wirelessly through separate frequency-modulated (FM) systems or Bluetooth devices. Ask your hearing health care provider for recommendations.

Tips for buying

  • To get the best sound possible, ask about having your technology memory programmed to optimize the sound quality of a direct-audio input (hardwired connection directly to your device).
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could cause interference with other devices

2. Wireless TV Headphones

Why we love them:

These headphones give you a direct wireless stream from the television to your ears, therefore eliminating distracting outside noise. There is usually a volume control on the headphones that allows you to adjust the volume without affecting TV volume for other listeners. They come in two silhouettes: over-the-ear headphones and earbuds. Wireless capabilities allow you to listen from a space of your choosing without messing with cords. You may have to fend off others in your household for them because of their portability. You can hear the TV in other rooms — for example, while getting up for a drink during a commercial.

How they work:

Your headphones connect or pair to the TV through a radio, Bluetooth, or infrared signal. They do not work with a hearing device.

Tips for buying

  • Consider the primary purpose for use — i.e., whether you’re buying for TV and music or just TV. Device performance may differ depending on the auditory input.
  • Look for wireless headphones.
  • Check to see how long they hold a charge.
  • See if reviewers rate/describe the headphones as “comfortable” and/or “lightweight.”
  • Make sure you can listen to both the TV speakers and your headphones at the same time.
  • Check to see how far your reception reaches.
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could
    cause interference with other devices.

3. Loop Systems

Connecting you to television, “looped” concert halls, churches, museums, and more

Why we love them:

Looping allows you to greatly reduce ambient noise and provides a better signal-to-noise ratio for auditory input via hearing aids, which act as tiny, personal audio streamers. Bypassing the need to hear the sounds in a wide-open hall removes possible technical difficulties like reverb (echoed speech) and feedback. Looping offers a hearing “shortcut,” making it easier for you to hear specific inputs in larger rooms.

How they work:

Looping systems serve as wireless loudspeakers that deliver sound from a source, such as a microphone, directly to your hearing aids. The looping system works similarly to Bluetooth technology, which can be used to stream phone calls, music, and other audio from sources that are Bluetooth compatible.

Tips for buying:

Your technology needs to be compatible with the telecoil in your hearing devices.
Check with your hearing health care provider for installation of a loop in your home, church, or office.

4. Wireless Streaming Devices

Helping you stream sound from the TV to your technology

Why we love them:

These media streamers transmit the sound directly from your television to your hearing aids. Again, like the wireless headphones, these offer you portability you can’t get with other devices. You will need to choose the system that works best with your specific brand of hearing aid. Be sure to talk to your hearing health care professional to get the correct device for you!

How they work:

There are a variety of ways to connect your hearing aids to the television.

  • Ask your hearing care provider if your technology comes equipped with a special program to help you hear the television better or if they can program one.
  • Hearing aids can also connect to devices wirelessly through frequency-modulated (FM) systems or Bluetooth connections.

Tips for buying:

  • To get the best sound possible, ask about having your technology memory programmed to optimize the sound quality of a direct-audio input (hardwired connection directly to your device).
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could cause interference with other devices.

5. Home Theater Sound System

Why we love it:

These can give you the coveted theater sound from a single source, plus there are no external speakers or speaker wires. We like them because some units use hearing aid technology for strong dialogue reproduction. It allows you and your fellow viewers to enjoy the same sounds at the same comfortable volume without any extra help. Plus those who join you for a TV marathon or movie night will love that they can hear everything more clearly too (even in those high-intensity, whispering-voices scenes).

How it works:

These systems use an all-channel speaker (or speakers) in the middle of the device. The sound system puts all the audio focus on the dialogue, therefore lessening the effect of distracting sounds. ZVOX single-cabinet home theater explains on their website: “This monaural speaker tends to ‘anchor’ the sound, creating clear, robust audio that is easy to hear. This design is particularly effective in reproducing human voices — announcers, actors, interview subjects.”
With higher-quality speakers and amplifiers comes a higher-quality sound; there is less distortion, offering a more natural sound.

Tips for buying:

  • Always opt for a warranty.
  • Ask us for our opinion!
  • Read the reviews online.
  • See if there’s a trial period.

Not sure what option is best for you? Contact our practice today and we’ll help you figure it out.