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6 Smartphone Apps to Help Boost Your Communication

Want to feel even more connected to the world around you through the power of sound? There’s an app for that!

Actually, we’ve compiled a list of six apps that can help support your communication wellness.

  • 1. Live Transcribe

    This Google app for Android-powered smartphones doesn’t translate but does transcribe in-person conversations in real time. The program — developed with Gallaudet University, the renowned U.S. school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students — can turn speech from more than 70 languages and dialects into text on your phone’s screen in a matter of seconds, facilitating communication with quick, helpful captions. It even supports bilingual chats, letting you toggle between languages, and allows you to type your responses rather than speak them if so desired. Bonus: The app can also notify you of important sounds — the beep of a smoke alarm, for example — in your home.

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  • 2. NIOSH Sound Level Meter

    Though it can’t replace professional instruments or expert opinion, this app uses your compatible mobile device’s built-in microphone to measure the sound level in your environment. On a global scale, some researchers estimate that 16 to 24 percent of hearing loss is associated with occupational noise. Excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss, making it important to know the sound levels where you potentially spend a lot of time — at work — so you can curb your risk. The app can also help approximate noise at stores, restaurants, or anywhere else you may need to protect your hearing.

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  • 3. SoundWatch

    How does artificial intelligence right at your wrist sound? This exciting smartwatch-based application can alert you to the sounds around you, making daily life even easier. The application, developed especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, uses machine learning to alert the user to certain types of sounds they can preselect — a car honk, a cat’s meow, a baby cry, or running water, for example. It’s not for emergencies or other high-risk situations but could help enhance general awareness of your environment.

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  • 4. Marlee Signs

    This app for children and adults teaches basic American Sign Language (ASL) with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf. ASL, common in the U.S. and Canada, offers a way to connect with others regardless of their hearing ability but can be especially useful for those who are or have friends or loved ones who are deaf or have a severe to profound hearing loss. Other ASL-instruction apps are also available, so consider using a few different ones to explore finger-spelling, conversational signing, building vocabulary, helping babies communicate, and more.

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  • 5. SoundPrint

    This app takes noise measurement to a whole other level with its decibel meter coupled with the ability to upload results to the user community via a searchable database. Users can look for restaurants, gyms, subways, and other spots by categories such as “quiet,” “moderate,” “loud,” or “very loud” sound-level ratings. Like the NIOSH Sound Level Meter, SoundPrint doesn’t replace a professional device, but it may help approximate noise levels in a given space.

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  • 6. AGX® Online Hearing Quiz

    OK, this one isn’t an app, but it’s just as convenient. The AGX Online Hearing Quiz — developed with audiology experts — takes only two minutes and provides a quick snapshot of your general hearing ability based on three broad aspects: the listening environment, the different tones you can hear, and your ability to hear speech amid noise. It doesn’t replace a true diagnostic hearing exam, but it will indicate if you can benefit from further testing.

As with any app, availability, functionality, and cost can change. The mobile apps listed above are free as of this writing, but compatibility with iOS- or Android- powered phones, tablets, or watches can vary per program, so be sure to read about them in the relevant online app store for more details.
 
Have questions about using apps with your hearing device? We’re here to help. Contact our caring team today!


Find Your Favorites

A whole world of apps awaits, so don’t hesitate to build your own list of healthy-hearing faves. Get started with these simple tips:

  • Search by keyword, developer name, app title, or product category to turn up results you may want to check out.
  • Carefully read the app description and system requirements. Some apps might also offer a demo you can preview before buying or downloading.
  • Learn what others think of the app by reading users’ comments and professional reviews that may be available online.
Lineup of new ReSound ONE and AGXrH Technology

New Technology – ReSound ONE: Hear Like No Other

We’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing ReSound ONE.

There’s nothing like the sounds that make your life unique. A favorite playlist. Your sweetheart’s laugh. The newscast you love listening to while whipping up your signature smoothie. In today’s world, however, hearing the sounds of your life can feel more challenging than ever.

It’s why we’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing ReSound ONE.

  • Get closer than ever to a natural hearing experience with the microphone and receiver-in-ear option, which positions a third microphone in your ear to collect sound the way nature intended.
  • Enjoy up to 30 hours of superior hearing on a single charge or up to 25 hours of battery life with unlimited streaming.
  • Stream phone calls, music, and other audio right to your ears — wirelessly. Even enjoy your TV favorites without having to change the volume for everyone else.
  • Experience tailor-made hearing with the ReSound Smart app, including one-tap sound adjustments, geotagged settings for optimal listening, and more.
  • Gain the convenience of face-to-face online hearing care and anytime remote fine-tuning — no office visit needed!
  • Communicate confidently with technology that gives you everything you need to process sound with greater depth and direction, including:

In today’s evolving world, hearing your best matters more than ever. So don’t wait. Contact us to schedule your hearing consultation and personalized ReSound ONE demo today. We’ve made a limited number of appointments available and can’t wait to see you!


ReSound ONE

The personalized hearing experience you’ve been waiting for:

  • More natural sound and improved sense of space
  • Easier-to-follow conversations in dynamic environments
  • Best 1:1 speech understanding
Illustration of a park bench on a snowy winter day

How Does a Pandemic Affect Noise Pollution? | The Apple Hearing Study

In this first-of-its-kind study, researchers set out to see how the sound levels we’re exposed to in our day-to-day lives can impact health.

We live in a noisy world. Dr. Richard Neitzel, of the University of Michigan, knows this only too well. In November 2019, his team at Michigan, along with a team at Apple Inc., set out on a two-year mission to measure some of the health effects of our noisy planet.

What they got was an unprecedented collection of information that answered an impossible-to-anticipate question — how does a pandemic affect noise pollution?


The Apple Hearing Study

 

The noise pollution problem

Around 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss simply because of their recreational habits. Occupational noise exposure affects up to 25% of American and 15% of Canadian workers. Plus, there’s traffic, daily construction in major cities, and a host of other sources of constant noise.

All this unwanted sound affects more than your hearing. It can disturb sleep, worsen patient outcomes in hospitals, even affect schoolchildren’s cognitive abilities. That’s on top of the already well-established effects hearing loss has on overall health.

In the face of this public health challenge, wouldn’t it be handy to measure just how much noise we’re all exposed to?

This is where Dr. Neitzel and his team come in.


The study

In this first-of-its-kind, two-year study, volunteers downloaded the Apple Research app to their iPhone. Headphone and sound-exposure data were regularly collected from their iPhone and Apple Watch (if applicable). The aim of the study was to measure how the sound levels we’re exposed to in our day-to-day lives impact hearing, cardiovascular health, and stress levels.

The COVID-19 Connection

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, they realized they had a unique, timely, privacy-centric opportunity: They could harvest data from their Apple Hearing Study to measure how social distancing affected sound-exposure levels.

They selected four states based on geographic and cultural diversity — California, Florida, New York, and Texas — and compared the data from two time periods. The first was January 8 to February 21, reflecting pre-COVID-19 conditions. The second period began for each state when that state first issued its social-distancing recommendations, and ended April 22, soon before the first states began loosening restrictions. They ended up with over half a million daily noise level measurements from almost 6,000 participants.

The Surprising Results

They published their findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Their analysis revealed that, compared to the pre-COVID-19 time period, daily average noise exposure was cut nearly in half during the social-distancing period, from just over 73 decibels to around 70.5 decibels.

One important piece of this decrease is the sound level at which it happened — 70 decibels. That’s well above the point at which noise can affect heart health, hypertension, and brainpower.

At those decibels, cutting sound exposure in half can have meaningful health benefits. In the words of the authors, “[T]he COVID-related reduction in sound exposures among study participants likely represents a meaningful reduction in overall risk of sound-related health effects.”

A Noisy World

The unforeseen — a pandemic — resulted in nearly halved noise levels, but you don’t have to wait for such extreme circumstances to take charge of your sound-exposure levels. From specialty earplugs to hearing devices, there are simple ways to take charge of how much noise you’re willing to put up with.

Contact us today to learn more about options for curbing noise pollution, regardless of the social-distancing situation you find yourself in!

Dining Out? Dish on the Noise With SoundPrint

Dining Out? Dish on the Noise With SoundPrint

RESOURCE ALERT: Enjoy Dinner Out and Hear the Convo

Do restaurants seem to be getting noisier? If you think so, you’re not alone. And, what’s more, researchers have reported a connection between hearing loud music and choosing more calorie-heavy menu options. No joke!

We’ve found an app that can help you take your power back.

Meet SoundPrint, which lets the online community weigh in on noise levels at various venues, so you can better decide where you want to enjoy a night out — without sacrificing your hearing health.

SoundPrint, compatible with Android and iOS phones, takes noise measurement to another level with its decibel meter coupled with the ability to upload results to the user community via a searchable database. You can look for restaurants, gyms, subways, and other spots by categories such as “quiet,” “moderate,” “loud,” or “very loud” sound ratings.

The app lets you measure the noise level while at a restaurant, add comments like “quieter during lunch,” then upload that data to SoundPrint. Anyone with the app can view SoundPrint’s database of noise levels and user comments, then make an informed decision about which restaurants might pose a problem.

Though SoundPrint doesn’t replace a professional device, it may help approximate noise levels in a given space.

Oh, and about that research linking noise and food selections? The study, “Ambient Music and Food Choices: Can Music Volume Level Nudge Healthier Choices?” involved a series of field and lab investigations that turned up some interesting findings:

  • Lower-volume music, which can have a relaxing effect, leads to healthier food choices such as salad.
  • Higher-volume sounds, which can induce excitement and stress, inspire less wholesome picks like burgers and fries.

Who knew that curbing the volume could support not only your better-hearing goals but healthy eating too?

Fun sketch of a happy black and white dog with perked up ears on a teal background

When It Comes to Hearing Wellness, Don’t Fur-Get Your Pets!

Just like their people parents, these furry members of the family can experience hearing difficulties too. Read on to learn what you can do.


AVOID EXCESS NOISE

As one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss in humans, loud sounds can also be a problem for the beloved pets in your household. Excess noise can go hand in hand with hearing damage, anxiety, fear, and even trauma. Limiting noise exposure helps support their hearing health and overall wellness.
 

CONSIDER HEARING PROTECTION

If hightailing it to a quieter space isn’t an option for Rover and Pepper during fireworks or other super-loud situations, hearing protection is another approach that could help. Earplugs and earmuffs made especially for pets help deaden intrusive sounds.
 

KNOW THE SIGNS

If your pooch or kitty doesn’t react in the usual way to your voice, squeaky toys, the doorbell, or other sounds, hearing loss may be the culprit. Behaviors such as reduced activity, excess barking, loud meowing, and sound sleeping even through the loudest noises may also indicate a problem.
 

SCHEDULE REGULAR CHECKUPS

Comprehensive vet exams may include not only a check of your pet’s eyes, nose, mouth, legs, heart, skin, weight, and joints but also their ears. It’s a good time to discuss any changes you’ve noticed in their response to commands or other sounds and gain tips on proper nutrition for optimal hearing health.
 

ADDRESS PROBLEMS EARLY

Early intervention on a suspected hearing condition could make the difference in your fur baby’s quality of life. Not all hearing loss is preventable — for example, a congenital problem, irreversible damage from injury, or another challenge — but working with your veterinarian may help moderate the problem.

When It Comes to Hearing Wellness for the Whole Family, Don’t Fur-Get Your Pets!

We’re taking precautions to help minimize the spread of Coronavirus. You can find more information about what we’re doing on our website here.

We’re taking precautions to help minimize the spread of Coronavirus. You can find more information about what we’re doing on our website here.

There is no higher priority for Advanced Hearing Care than the health and well-being of our patients and employees. We are closely following guidance on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the https://www.ok.gov/health/ to stay on top of all developments. We fully recognize that many of the population we serve are among the most vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19 and the flu.

In accordance with interim guidance from the CDC, we are also taking the following additional measures to further strengthen our protocols and safeguard our patients’ health:

  • If you are feeling under the weather or are experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we would ask that you call and reschedule your appointment so as not to put other patients at risk. You could also see if a healthy loved one could bring your hearing aids to the office for a cleaning. We recommend reviewing guidelines from the CDC on preventing illness.
  • Dropping in can create a crowd in our waiting rooms. If an underlying condition or your age makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, we urge you to avoid dropping in and instead call to schedule a time to get your hearing aids cleaned and checked. We will do our absolute best to get you on the schedule as soon as possible. You could also see if a healthy loved one could bring your hearing aids to the office for a cleaning.
  • We have instructed providers and staff to stay home if they are sick. If your provider becomes ill, we will ask them to stay home, and we sincerely apologize if this means we need to reschedule your appointment!
  • If you need additional accommodations, please don’t hesitate to call our office to discuss.
  • We understand the importance of hearing at your best, especially in this time, when communication is so critical. If there are any updates, we will post on our website and social media.

    If you are having problems with your hearing aids and feel you cannot come in right away, please call and we’ll see whether we can help you over the phone. Please feel free to call with any questions — we are always happy to hear from our patients.

    Four Fun Facts About Animals: Hearing Edition

    Do Cats Enjoy Cat Music?

    The answer is yes, cats do enjoy cat music! Read on for details and to learn more quirky facts about hearing in the animal kingdom.


    Katydids Have Ears on Their Knees

    But not so fast: If you were knee high to a long-horn grasshopper, the type known as a katydid, you would not see human ears perched on tiny katydid kneecaps. But the “ears” used by one type of katydid (Copiphora gorgonensis) are remarkably similar to ours.

    In our case, an internal eardrum captures sound waves, causing faint vibrations. This makes three tiny bones in the inner ear vibrate strongly. The result is waves in the fluid of the cochlea, and these waves are turned into neural impulses for the brain to interpret.

    Similarly, the katydid’s external eardrum captures sound waves, causing faint vibrations. This makes a tiny plate vibrate strongly. The result is waves in the fluid of something much like our cochlea, and these waves are turned into neural impulses and interpreted as sound.
     

    Dolphins Use Their Jawbones to Hear Underwater

    Dolphins are well known for using echolocation to hear underwater. Using the cavity just below their blowhole, dolphins create whistles, clicks, and other noises. These sounds echo back, and dolphins use the information they get from the echo to learn about the seafloor, water depth, obstacles, prey, predators, and other dolphins.

    What isn’t so well known is this: The returning sound waves produce pulses in the dolphin’s teeth and jawbone, and then surrounding fats conduct these pulses to the middle ear. In other words, a dolphin’s teeth, jawbone, and surrounding fatty tissue serve the same purpose as our visible outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum!
     

    Elephants Can Talk to Each Other 6 Miles Apart — And You Can’t Hear It

    One of the first things you think of when pondering pachyderms is their loud, trombone-like call. But did you know most of their communication among themselves happens using notes at such a low pitch, we can’t hear them?

    Known as infrasound, these low-frequency noises can be heard by other elephants more than 6 miles away. What do they use infrasound for? Everything from guiding a herd’s movement to warning away competing males during mating season to keeping tabs on a separated calf.

    Researchers in 2012 finally determined how they accomplish this. Rather than tensing and releasing the muscles in their large voice box, similar to purring, they force air through their voice box, just like we do when we talk or sing.
     

    Cats Enjoy Cat Music

    Can music be used to influence the behavior of cats? Three researchers thought so and developed a theory: Cats naturally communicate using a specific range of frequencies (that is, notes or pitches) and certain tempos. If you played cats some music composed using these frequencies and tempos, they should enjoy it.

    The researchers composed two cat songs, then sought out cats to play them for. In total, they went to 47 households with cats and played them the two cat songs as well as two classical songs. The cats showed a strong preference for the cat songs, even moving toward or rubbing against the speaker when a cat song was playing.

    How would your cat react? It probably depends on its age: The young and old cats reacted with the most enthusiasm. The middle-aged cats were more likely to be indifferent.


    Contact us today if you need to schedule a hearing evaluation!

    ———————————————————————————————-

    title: Four Fun Facts About Animals: Hearing Edition

    meta: It may be surprising to learn the different ways that animals hear. Discover four quirky facts about hearing in the animal kingdom.

    slug: four-animal-facts-hearing-edition

    alt: Illustration of a black cat with perked ears on a background of other kitties frolicking

    cat: News

    tag: animal ears, do animals have ears, cat facts, animal facts, echolocation, low-frequency noises, infrasound, fun facts,

    Illustrated raccoon eating an apple next to a sweater-wearing polar bear drinking coffee

    Support the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act

    Together, let’s make hearing and balance care more available to all.

    We’d love to have your support for the proposed Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA)! This groundbreaking bipartisan legislation in Congress could make it easier for community members to access the quality hearing care they need, and you can help.


    Did you know?

    An estimated one-third of adults over age 65 live with disabling hearing loss, per the World Health Organization, yet only a fraction of those who could benefit from solutions such as hearing aids actually use them.

    Does lack of access play a role in some cases?

    Possibly. The good news is that MAASA — which builds on a prior proposal, the Audiology Patient Choice Act, considered in 2018 — may open needed hearing and balance evaluation and treatment to more people nationwide, helping folks improve not only their communication and vestibular health but overall wellness and quality of life.

    The proposal involves two identical bills in the House and Senate — H.R. 4056 and S. 2446, respectively. In a joint statement from Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office, Republican Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) noted, “Seniors who suffer from hearing conditions shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to see their preferred audiologist. [MAASA] cuts through the red tape to help Medicare patients access quality, affordable care.”

    Specifically, the proposed law:

    • Facilitates direct access for audiology services, eliminating the requirement for a physician order
    • Allows audiologists to be paid for all services — including treatment — rather than just diagnostics
    • Changes the status of audiologists within Medicare from “supplier” to “practitioner”

    Why does it matter?

    Typically anyone can seek an audiologist’s care without a physician order, but such an order is required for Medicare Part B participants. This creates a potential barrier for people 65 and older who need professional hearing and balance help.

    If enacted, the legislation would remove this hurdle, empowering patients with more choice in finding and selecting qualified, licensed professionals for Medicare-covered audiology services. Medicare Part B participants would be able to walk through our doors just as their privately insured peers — and those with Medicare Advantage or VA benefits — can.


    You can help widen access to hearing care for yourself and your loved ones by supporting this important legislation.

    The Academy of Doctors of Audiology’s letter campaign makes it quick and easy to make your voice heard with just a few clicks on your keyboard. So don’t wait. Please join us in this critical effort today!

    5 Tips to Keep Your Better – Hearing Resolution Going Strong

    From spending more time with family and friends to taking classes at the local gym, almost everyone makes at least one New Year’s resolution. The catch? Just 8% of resolvers stick to their goals, per a Forbes story referencing University of Scranton research.

    No worries: If you’re aiming to hear your best in 2020, we’re sharing five tips to help boost your stick‑to‑itiveness for the new year and beyond!


    1. BE REALISTIC

    2. Though hearing loss can be permanent — some cases caused by noise exposure, for example, can be irreversible, hence the importance of hearing protection — nearly all types can be effectively managed with solutions such as today’s sophisticated hearing aids. Understanding the power of hearing technology, including what it can and cannot do, can go a long way toward shaping attainable goals.
       

    3. WRITE IT DOWN

    4. With the potential ability of hearing loss to take a heavy toll on relationships, self-esteem, social engagement, brain health, and so much more, it may seem surprising that a written reminder is in order. When it comes to self-care, however, it’s not uncommon for people to put themselves last. Put your better-hearing goal in writing — even setting a weekly electronic reminder — to help stay on track.
       

    5. VISUALIZE SUCCESS

    6. Did you know? Improved hearing is associated with lower odds of depression, a reduced chance of dementia, a greater sense of independence, and other important facets of quality living. What counts even more, however, are the reasons better hearing matters to you. Visualize a world — at home, work, and play — in which you hear the sounds that mean the most, and keep that motivation top of mind.
       

    7. TELL A FRIEND

    8. Sometimes it’s a little easier to feel accountable to someone else, so consider sharing your better-hearing goal with a friend, relative, or other confidant who’s willing to back you with reminders, encouragement, and check-ins. Knowing that someone else wants you to succeed may be just the push you need. You could even take them to your appointments for support and additional perspective.
       

    9. SET BENCHMARKS

    10. You’ve heard the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” (Full disclosure: We don’t eat elephants here!) Your better-hearing goal can work the same way. Break your resolution into small bites set to reasonable deadlines — for example, writing it down, listing the benefits, telling a friend, making a hearing‑check appointment — and reward yourself with each milestone accomplished.

     

    No matter your new-year goals, we’re committed to helping you reach them with the power of better hearing. So don’t delay. Contact our caring team for help that’s tailored to your communication needs today!