Volume 14, Issue 3, Winter 2020. Now available as PDF. Download here (1.2MB PDF)
Our office is open!
Appointments are preferred as we are limited people in the office and our waiting area. Walk-ins are limited.
Curbside clean and checks are still available for those who do not want to come in. Call our receptionist from the parking lot and we will meet the patient at their car. Masks are required to enter our office. Hand sanitizer is readily provided to each patient at the reception desk.
We ask that family wait outside and that only one companion be allowed for hearing evaluations.
Hearing aid clean and checks and battery and supply purchases will be curbside. Please call 918-333-9992 when you arrive and our receptionist will come out to assist you.
Rooms, chairs, surfaces and equipment will be sanitized in between patients. We are allowing extra time between patient appointments to ensure that all aspects of our office are properly sanitized. Please be patient with us during this time.
5 Tips to Hear Better in Virtual Meetings + Gatherings
Working remotely with hearing loss can be a big challenge.
Whether you’re conducting business online or just want to virtually connect with family and friends, these listening strategies and tactics can go a long way toward helping you stay engaged.
- Explore the conferencing platform well before the online meeting or gathering — including reading a little about it or checking out a few quick instructional videos from other users — to build familiarity and confidence.
- Encourage everyone to use the video function — not just the audio option — to aid in lipreading and interpreting facial expressions. Also, try to keep your eye as much as possible on the person speaking rather than on your own camera image.
- Turn on the closed-captioning option, which can help take a big load off. In addition, consider using the real-time chat function, when available, to get clarification if you missed a point or have a follow-up question. Some video conferences may also be recorded for helpful playback later, so be sure to ask the host, who may need to initiate the recording option.
- Wear connected headphones if possible, which can make listening a whole lot easier. Quality headphones not only help block distracting background noise in your environment but can also improve reception of the audio’s full tonal range to make speech and other sounds more understandable.
- Stream directly to your hearing technology, if you wear hearing aids. Today’s sophisticated hearing instruments help make it a cinch to receive audio from various sources — phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, stereo, and more, depending on compatibility — directly to your ears, so be sure to take advantage of that functionality.
Want more virtual-communication tips? We can help with accessibility strategies and solutions that empower you in managing hearing loss and remote work. So don’t wait. Contact us today!
Hearing health and mental health have a clear connection.
In fact, untreated hearing loss increases your risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, and more. Winter is also a prime time for seasonal blahs. If you could use a little mental-health boost, here are some simple ways to get started.
Gratitude improves happiness, well-being, and mental health. The best-researched method is keeping a gratitude journal. Once or twice a week, choose one act or person you’re grateful for and write a few sentences detailing why. In daily life, you’ll begin to seek out the positive — rather than the negative — and writing it down allows you to really savor that positive emotion.
Exercise releases endorphins, which relieve stress and boost your mood. You can even use small things that add more activity to your day, like skipping the elevator in favor of the stairs or taking a short, brisk walk. If you work from home, tackle chores that require you to walk to another room or — better yet — another floor. Aim for 30 minutes a day.
Spoil Your Senses
Use your senses to quickly find calm. For some people, it’s an uplifting song or the smell of ground coffee. For others, it’s squeezing a stress ball. Each person’s relationship to their senses is a little different, so experiment to figure out what works best to bring you back to center.
Doing something you love, something you know you can lose yourself in, allows you to forget about life for a while. You don’t have to be a parent, a spouse, or an employee — you can just be.
Find a Furry Friend
Interacting with a pet lowers cortisol — the stress hormone — and raises oxytocin — the feel-good hormone. It also lowers blood pressure and eases loneliness and depression. Don’t have a pet? Walk a friend’s dog, volunteer to cat-sit for a vacationing neighbor, or volunteer at a shelter.
Contact us to learn more about the hearing health–mental health connection!
6 Tips to Keep Your Hearing Aids at Their Best
Whether youíre on the town or out of town, you depend on your hearing technology to keep you consistently connected. Donít miss a moment when youíre on the go with these tips for maximizing your hearing.
Protect Your Tech
Hearing aids are tiny computers ó keep them safe! If youíre in warmer climes, invest in hearing aid accessories such as a splashguard, a wind protector, or a sport clip. For those of you in less toasty towns, a hat, a scarf, or earmuffs can provide protection.
Many hearing aids now come with a smartphone app that can assign a geographical “bookmark” ó or geotag ó to your favorite locations. Simply optimize your hearing aid settings for a location (for example, a coffee shop) and apply a geotag. Every time you return to that spot, the app automatically switches to your preferred settings.
Always have extra packages of batteries on hand ó donít wait for the low-battery warning beeps from your devices. If you have rechargeables and you know youíll be gone overnight, donít forget the charger!
Keep a Kit on Hand
Whether hitting the road or just heading to the park, you never know when moisture or debris might strike. A pocket-size case filled with essential hearing aid cleaning and maintenance basics is a must. A cleaning cloth, a soft-bristle brush (like the one included with your devices), wax guards, and domes (if applicable) take up almost no space but will be lifesavers in a pinch.
More and more public spaces are installing hearing loops. Enable the T-coil setting on your hearing aids and the loop allows you to wirelessly receive audio directly in the devices. Look for the loop logo at participating venues.
Headed out of town? Check with us to find an AGXchange practice near your destination. With an AGXchange practice, you can depend on the same level of quality hearing care youíve come to expect from us.
Contact us to find out more about DIY tips for caring for your hearing devices!
You Need Hearing Aids. Now What?
Q: It turns out I need hearing aids. Whatís my next step?
A: Hearing aids arenít one-size-fits-all devices, so your question is a good sign youíre approaching this with the right mindset. Your first step is to confirm youíve had a complete audiological evaluation.
An online “hearing test” canít determine whether you need hearing aids ó it simply reports whether youíre hearing certain sounds. Only an audiological evaluation can determine if you have hearing loss that requires hearing aids. If you havenít had one, this is your next step. If you have, itís time to schedule your hearing aid consultation.
Choose Your Provider
Any hearing aid is simply a tool. It has to be selected, customized, and fit to your ear by an experienced professional in order treat your specific hearing loss. Then itís your key to a better quality of life.
A clinical audiologist or doctor of audiology has had postgraduate education and training in all aspects of the human auditory system. Theyíre experienced in diagnostics, hearing aid fitting and programming, providing strategies for adapting to your new technology, and supporting you in your adjustment period. In short, with an audiologist, you get a partner and guide, not a transaction.
Use the Buddy System
Itís ideal to bring a friend or family member to the appointment to have a second perspective on your hearing loss journey.
Review Your Results
You and the audiologist will review the results of your evaluation as well as all the things youíd like to improve through better hearing, such as hobbies, conversations with loved ones, and activities. Knowing what your goals are will help determine the ideal type of hearing aid for you.
Select a Hearing Aid
Weigh the variables
Many factors determine what hearing aid you need, such as which sounds you canít hear, how loud those sounds need to be amplified, and the size of your ear canal. And thatís just the beginning.
Do you want to be able to control the volume and nudge the settings with a smartphone app? How about “hearable” tech that monitors your heart rate and other body and brain wellness factors? Do you hope to stream music, video, and other audio from a mobile device direct to your hearing aids? You and your provider will discuss these factors and more. Youíll be surprised at everything hearing technology can do now!
Consider the recommendation
This is where the audiologistís expertise really shines. When they make their recommendation, they will have synthesized all the hearing lifestyle information you provided, all the data from your hearing evaluation, and their wealth of knowledge about the hundreds of available hearing aid styles. They will have truly custom-tailored your solution.
Order the hearing aids
After you test-drive and decide on your hearing technology, thereís a strong chance it will have to be ordered and shipped to the provider. There are hundreds of styles ó too many for your average provider to keep in inventory. Plus, many styles need to be custom fit to your ear canal. When they arrive at your providerís office, your provider will call to schedule a fitting appointment.
As you can see, itís not as simple as pulling a box of hearing aids off a shelf. But all these steps lead to you experiencing a world alive with sound!
You won’t “mind” this news about better hearing and improved cognition!
Does hearing aid use help your brain? A growing amount of research associates hearing technology with improved cognition and slowed or decreased risk of cognitive decline. Get the latest on research that supports your better-hearing health ó and your mind.
Have you heard? Yet another study links hearing aid use to reduced risk of cognitive decline!
We’ve long talked about connections between hearing and the brain. They work together to help keep you empowered and engaged, so it’s no wonder that hearing difficulties could go hand in hand with cognitive problems.
The good news? An increasing volume of research links hearing loss treatment to improved brain function or reduced risk of cognitive impairment.
A University of Melbourne study published in early 2020, for example, suggests that “more frequent use of hearing aids was associated with greater improvements in cognitive function,” per a university news release.
Investigators, whose study assessed nearly 100 hearing-impaired adults aged 62 to 82 before and after an 18-month period of hearing aid use, also discovered substantial improvement in “speech perception, self-reported listening disability and quality of life.”
“Most notably,” according to the release, “97.3 percent of participants in this study showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function ó their mental ability to plan, organise information and initiate tasks.”
The conclusions dovetail with other various studies over the years whose data suggest, respectively, that with hearing aid use:
- Age-related cognitive decline may slow as much as 75%
- Odds of depression may be lower
- Risk of a dementia diagnosis ó within three years of being diagnosed with hearing loss ó may drop 18%
- Adults perceive improvements in mental health and quality of life
As you can see, hearing health is connected to more than just the power of communication, and hearing aids can play a big role in your overall wellness. If you have questions about hearing and brain health or if it’s been a while since your last hearing exam, don’t wait. Contact our experienced team today. Together, let’s keep you hearing ó and living ó your best.
Fireworks and concerts might come to mind when pondering ear-busting sounds, but power tools and even some livestock can reach dangerous decibels, too. Letís talk hearing protection, which can go a long way toward keeping harmful noise at bay.
Types of Hearing Protection
At home, work, or play, the world can be an exciting but noisy place, putting your hearing health at risk. How? Loud sounds ó especially those in the danger zone of 85 decibels or higher ó can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, or both.
Itís helpful to avoid loud environments in the first place. Thatís not always practical, however, especially if the job you love, favorite hobbies, and other important activities bring joy ó and add some noise ó to your everyday life.
Letís talk about different types of hearing protection that can help keep you and your loved ones listening ó and living ó your best. Added bonus: Many of these options can be customized for a secure fit and maximum comfort.
Rock out to your favorite artists without the dangerous decibels that can do a number on your hearing. These plugs are also ideal for machinists, airport and airline staff, dentists, music instructors, and others working in high-noise environments.
Give it your all on stage without hurting your ears. Musician plugs can offer a high-quality audio experience that helps deaden external noise, provides clear sound, and helps achieve consistent performances.
When it comes to hunting, you want the shot ó not the hearing loss. Hunting plugs help keep out intense, harmful sound while allowing you to easily hear conversations, warnings, and other critical conversation.
Nothing beats a good sleep. Uninterrupted rest is even easier with plugs that help block out unwanted sounds and stay in place as you sleep. Especially recommended for light sleepers and those who work alternative shifts.
Not quite noise-related but still an important issue. Excess moisture in the ear from sweat or swimming can lead to otitis externa or ìswimmerís ear,î an outer-ear infection typically caused by bacterial or fungal growth when the skin in the ear canal potentially becomes irritated from water activities. Appropriate-fitting swimming plugs can help reduce this risk.
Itís true: Fur babies need help, too. During fireworks, noisy home repairs, or other super-loud situations, a quieter space may not be an option for the doggo or kitty. Earplugs and earmuffs made especially for pets can help soften intrusive sounds. Whether your pet will wear them, however, might be another matter!
Hearing protection is important and available for just about every member of the family. For solutions tailored to your or your loved oneís specific hearing-protection needs, contact our knowledgeable team today.
Checking into a hospital can seem a little stressful, making it all the more important to feel empowered, alert, and engaged with the help of your hearing aids. Help protect them during your inpatient visit with these handy tips.
It can be easy to lose track of your hearing aids when getting inpatient care at a busy medical facility, so weíre sharing eight tips to help you protect your tech and continue hearing your best.
- Use a Container
Keep a personally labeled container on the nightstand for your hearing aids when not in use. And remember: Hearing-aid dryers and dehumidifiers can double as storage, too!
- Bypass the Food Tray
It might seem convenient to set your hearing devices on your food tray, but they can get damaged or lost that way. Better to keep them in their designated container.
- Take Them Out
If staff comes to change the bedsheets and youíre unable to get out of bed, remove your hearing devices so they donít fall off in the linens and get discarded.
- Skip the Pockets
Pockets seem naturally convenient for storing hearing aids, but not so fast! Your devices could become forgotten there and end up being tossed into the washing machine and damaged.
- Give the Batteries a Break
Remember at night to remove the batteries from your hearing devices and leave the battery door open, helping reduce moisture and maximize battery life.
- Enlist Family Support
Consider not keeping your hearing aids with you and instead having friends or family bring them when coming to visit, if thatís feasible.
- Share Your Concerns
Make sure your medical team is aware if you have a significant hearing loss, and tell your doctor if youíre concerned about being able to hear just before surgery or in recovery.
- Think Ahead
Inpatient facilities typically donít assume responsibility for lost hearing aids, glasses, or dentures, so provide a checklist to loved ones who can help you keep these critical items safe and sound.
Communicating on your terms means keeping your hearing technology safe, sound, and ready when you need it. For more tips on protecting or maintaining your devices, please donít wait. Contact our caring team today. Weíre here to help!
You might be surprised how many small ways you can complement the better hearing you already get from your hearing aids. Read on to learn about technology that can improve communication ó and connection ó even more.
If you’re adjusting to hearing technology, you’ve no doubt noticed how many situations around the home could be improved through better hearing, especially if you’re retired, work from home, or have relatives who live far away.
Today’s hearing aids are tiny computers, which means they can take advantage of the latest in computer technology ó and you can take charge of your hearing.
For those with hearing loss ó with or without hearing devices ó closed captions improve speech understanding. But if you’re on a video call with loved ones in a different state, or you work from home, is that even possible? Turns out, it is.
Video calling platforms
For personal use, such as video calls with loved ones, Skype and Google Hangouts offer closed captions. For businesses, Microsoft Teams now offers captions only in meetings, and Zoom doesn’t have a built-in capability, but captions can be generated by a third-party service.
You can also download mobile apps to create closed-captioning for phone and video calls. Google Live Transcribe (Android), Rogervoice (iOS and Android), and Otter (iOS and Android) transcribe your calls in real time. Google Duo, which works on both iOS and Android, is a video-calling app that will soon offer captioning.
Did you know there are devices that allow your TV, stereo, or other sound source to “talk” to your hearing aids wirelessly? In other words, with these devices, your hearing aids become wireless headphones. The process is called streaming, and the devices are called streamers.
There are streamers to handle any kind of input. Some use a microphone to capture soundwaves in the air, others are plugged directly into the sound source, still others can receive a traditional Bluetooth wireless signal. But all of them use an FM signal or electromagnetic field to “talk” to your hearing aids.
What does this look like in action?
- Are you watching TV with one or more people? With a TV or media streamer, you can control the volume in your hearing aids, while the others in the room listen at a different volume.
- It’s the big game, but you need to head to the kitchen. No problem ó with a TV or media streamer, the sound travels with you in your hearing aids, allowing you to hear the sportscasters’ play-by-play.
- Need to take the trash out but your favorite song just came on the radio? With a media streamer, you can still groove to the music in your hearing aids as you quickly pop into the backyard.
- Hard to hear the other end of the table during weeknight family dinner? Use your tabletop or clip-on microphone to stream the conversation right to your hearing devices.
There are also mini-remote controls available that allow you to discreetly adjust your hearing aid settings or volume from your pocket or purse!
Hearing aid batteries are not strong or long-lasting enough to support traditional Bluetooth technology. That’s why most streamers use an FM signal or electromagnetic field to talk to your hearing devices.
But some newer hearing aid models are equipped with a newer, low-energy version of Bluetooth. These hearing aids can stream the sound directly from your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile devices ó no streamer needed! You can even use your smartphone to discreetly adjust your volume or settings.
This same streaming technology lets you use your phone as a microphone. Simply place your phone where you want to pick up conversations, music, or other audio and activate Live Listen (built into iOS) or Headset Remote (an Android app). Whatever sounds your phone picks up will be streamed to your hearing devices.