Home » patient care

Tag: patient care

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Original post from The Hearing Care Blog

human-ear-listening-hearing-263654721Diabetics at Greater Risk for Hearing Loss

People with diabetes are usually aware of their increased risk of kidney, cardiovascular, and visual disorders. However, most diabetics don’t know they are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without the disease. And the risk is greater among younger diabetics than older.

Younger Diabetics at Greater Risk

A recent study in Japan was published in November 2012 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Led by Chika Horikawa, the team examined data from 13 previous studies published between 1977 and 2011. Their conclusion? Not only were diabetics 2.15 times as likely as others to have hearing loss, but those under age 60 had 2.61 times the risk while those over 60 had 1.58. In a related study by the National Institutes of Health, it was shown that more than 40% of people with diabetes had some degree of hearing loss.

Link Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

The link between diabetes and hearing loss is not yet fully understood. Some think that high blood sugar levels may damage the blood vessels in the ears. Others caution that certain medications commonly used by diabetic patients, such as diuretics, may be a contributing factor. Though more research is needed in order to understand the connection between diabetes and hearing loss, according to Horikawa, “these results propose that diabetic patients are screened for hearing impairment from an earlier age compared with nondiabetics,” particularly because untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia and depression. For more information regarding diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

Gloria Boms, AuD

About the Author

Gloria Boms, AuD has been a licensed audiologist since 1978. Dr. Boms began her professional career at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, NY where she specialized in pediatric audiology. She began working in private practice serving both children and adults in 1984, and her practice has been located in Great Neck since 1997. Dr. Boms is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a Fellow of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists, and a member of the American Auditory Society and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

New Year, New You! Better Hearing Event

FB_Timeline_Cover_IWill

Rediscover joy and put laughter back in your life!

The opportunities for better hearing have never been better, and there are more discreet and comfortable hearing aid options than ever before. The newest devices offer sleek and comfortable technology choices that conform to the shape of yoru ears do deliver sound as naturally as possible. Feedback cancellation, voice recognition, and a strong battery life are just a few of the features these devices offer in helping you experience better hearing conveniently, effectively, and discreetly.

As AudigyCertified professionals, we know that you are looking for the absolute best in hearing care. Our entire team works to provide you with solutions specific to your own personal lifestyle and hearing situation. If your solution is a hearing system, our AGX advanced digital hearing instruments provide superior performance, comfort, and, in many cases, a nearly invisible appearance. Plus, our affordable payment options make better hearing attainable.

Your hearing treatment plan is so much more than technology. It is our philosophy that when you hear well, you live well. Our team will give you the tools, advice, and personalized care to truly achieve better hearing.

Call today to schedule an appointment during our “New Year, New You!” Better Hearing Event, continuing through January 25th, and take advantage of our $500 First-Time User Credit* or our $500 Trade-Up Allowance*. Don’t wait to hear what you’ve been missing!

 


*Offers good toward the purchase of an AGX5, 7, or 9 two-device hearing system and cannot be combined with any other promotional discount.

When Hearing Aids Are Not Enough

Original content found on the Hearing Care Blog

For the most part, recent advancements in hearing aid technology have made it easier for more people who struggle with hearing loss to communicate.  Hearing aids themselves have become smaller and more adaptable to most types of hearing loss, but sometimes hearing aids are still not enough. As people continue to live longer, more vibrant lives, they may find that they have to be able to effectively listen and communicate in more diverse situations. Poor environmental acoustics, heavy background noise, listening at a distance, classrooms, boardrooms, and other difficult listening environments can sometimes overwhelm the capabilities of even the most sophisticated hearing aids and dramatically affect their efficiency.  Hearing Assistive Technologies (HATs) are a great solution in these difficult environments where hearing aids need a little help of their own.

What are HATs?

Hearing Assistive Technologies (HATs) are devices that can be used with or without hearing aids to help with daily communication. These devices make hearing and listening easier for people that may struggle with hearing and understanding speech, particularly in diverse listening environments. The various HATs can be used to help improve many situations, such as face-to-face communication and reception of electronic media, such as telephone, radio and television.

Wireless Connectivity

The most recent additions to the broad range of HATs are devices that add wireless connectivity options to hearing aid systems. Nearly every hearing aid manufacturer has developed some sort of connectivity package, and most use one of three methods: Bluetooth, near field magnetic induction, or radio signals in either the very low or very high frequencies. These systems allow hearing aid users to connect their hearing aids directly to phones, TVs, music players, and microphones to improve the performance of the hearing aids. Most of these systems require an adaptor device for the hearing aids, such as a remote or streamer, and a microphone or transmitter adaptor to attach to an audio source.  The advantages of such systems are that the wearer can set his or her own volume for television and radio, listen to phone conversations in both ears, and eliminate most background noise in one-on-one communication. Connectivity packages can sometimes be intimidating for patients who are not technologically savvy, as they can include quite a few extra gadgets.

Induction loop systems are growing in popularity and have been installed in many high-traffic areas.  This symbol indicates that an induction loop is available for the hearing impaired.
Induction loop systems are growing in popularity and have been installed in many high-traffic areas. This symbol indicates that an induction loop is available for the hearing impaired.

Induction Loop Systems

Induction loop systems are most widely used in large-scale settings, such as airports and auditoriums. They have the ability to magnetically transmit a signal directly to a personal headset or a telecoil in a hearing aid. Venues that employ induction loops typically display a notification symbol to inform patrons of the loop’s availability. Induction systems and telecoils can also be used in the home on a smaller scale to improve hearing while using a telephone or watching television. For in-home applications, the induction loop can sometimes be a more cost-effective and user-friendly connectivity option than other systems.  In order to use an induction loop system, a hearing aid must be equipped with a telecoil and programmed for its use.

Personal Frequency Modulated Systems

Personal Frequency Modulated (FM) systems can be utilized in a variety of situations in which communication is critical, including boardrooms, classrooms, and one-on-one communication. FM systems are similar to induction loop systems but are typically used on a smaller scale. These devices reduce the effects that reverberation and background noise can have on the transmission of a speech signal. The FM system consists of a microphone and transmitter worn by the speaker and a receiver device used by a listener. This receiver can either be a personal headset or a boot on the bottom of an FM-compatible BTE or RIC hearing aid. FM systems are very reliable and often have better sound quality than other systems, but they also tend to be more cost-prohibitive.

An appropriately chosen and programmed HAT system can be a very helpful component of any hearing treatment solution, particularly when a person’s lifestyle needs include situations that can easily overwhelm the capabilities of hearing aids to reduce noise and enhance speech.  Just like hearing aids, HAT systems should be customized by a qualified hearing professional to meet a patient’s lifestyle needs.  To learn more about HAT systems, call our office and schedule an appointment.

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – Alzheimer’s and Hearing Loss

From the Better Hearing Institute

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or is showing signs of dementia, a thorough hearing check is in order.

Studies suggest that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults. If not managed, as for example with hearing aids, hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound.

When an individual has both Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer’s, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the loved one has been treated for hearing loss.

When left unaddressed, hearing loss can compound the difficulties that people with Alzheimer’s and their families already face. But in many cases, the appropriate use of hearing aids can benefit people with hearing loss, including those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.

A comprehensive hearing assessment should be part of any medical evaluation prior to the evaluation of dementia. By addressing the hearing loss, quality-of-life for those who have Alzheimer’s can be improved and they can live life as fully as possible.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Today, an estimated 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and they are supported by nearly 15 million caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)

There are 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs, please see a doctor. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for the future.

o Memory loss that disrupts daily life
o Challenges in planning or solving problems
o Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
o Confusion with time or place
o Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
o New problems with words in speaking or writing
o Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
o Decreased or poor judgment
o Withdrawal from work or social activities
o Changes in mood and personality

For more information about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease, early detection and diagnosis, contact the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free Helpline at (800)272-3900 or visit www.alz.org/10signs.

Two Great New Informational Resources

One of the biggest obstacles between people with hearing loss and their better hearing is finding accurate, relevant information about hearing technology, audiological services and other issues that fall under the umbrella of better hearing. Two new websites are available to help fill in those information gaps. They are hearingloss.com and agxhearing.com:

Hearingloss.com is a great tool for finding information on hearing loss, better hearing health, audiological services, and other hearing issues such as tinnitus and dizziness.  This site utilizes informational videos as well as text posts to enhance the user’s experience.

AGXHearing.com is a brand new website that offers a wealth of information on the AGX brand hearing technology.  You can look up the different styles and models of the hearing aids, as well as read patient testimonials and find a local AGX provider.

If you need even more accurate and relevant information about the journey to better hearing, call us today for an audiological evaluation.  Our 4-Step Process helps you identify and communicate when, where and how you want to hear and our experienced hearing professionals can test your hearing and make a recommendation of the most appropriate solution for your unique needs.  For most patients, we can fit you with a pair of demo instruments in the office during your hearing aid evaluation so that you can experience first-hand the difference that hearing technology can make.  With the holidays approaching, there is no better time to hear what you’ve been missing and our 75-day trial on all instruments means that you can hear with confidence at those important family gatherings.  Don’t miss this opportunity to reintroduce yourself to the world of sound!

Get the Facts Before Buying that Hearing Aid!

Watch out For Deceptive Hearing Aid Advertising

If you are over the age of 55, your mailbox has probably been flooded with ads for the latest “life changing” hearing technology or perhaps; “You have been hand selected to participate in a field trial of the latest hearing solution”.

Open the paper…”You are invited to a lunch presented by the nation’s top authority on hearing aids,” or “You triple the risk of dementia if you do not treat your hearing loss.” Another fraudulent type of advertising called the “loss leader”, or “bait and switch”, is when a company advertises extremely cheap products with little or no intention of actually selling them, e.g., the $495 to $895 hearing aid.

These are all examples of deceptive advertising currently being used by some businesses and manufacturers of hearing aids to generate hearing aid sales by preying on those with hearing loss.

The facts are that some hearing aids are extremely sophisticated medical devices which were created only after hundreds of millions of dollars of research, development and testing was invested into their creation; while others are simply older hearing technologies, repackaged as new. People interested in hearing aids become confused with the abundance of misleading advertising which ultimately creates an atmosphere of distrust and lack of confidence in all providers of hearing aids.

Do Your Research Before You Purchase

We want to take this opportunity to provide a reality check and provide information to help you make educated decisions about you or your loved one’s hearing difficulties in today’s confusing market. There are three things that are critically important to investigate before investing in hearing aids.

1. The lowest price is rarely the best value

Hearing aids are a significant investment for everyone, regardless of income level. When hearing aids are recommended, the primary focus must be to find the right technology that will enable patients to succeed in the environments they live, socialize and work in. This is a process that needs to include a dedicated professional to ensure a patient’s ultimate satisfaction with the investment that is made in hearing devices.

2. Service – Research has proven that first time hearing aid users top two desires are invisibility and price

However, the same study also shows that the next time people purchase hearing aids; the number one requirement is service. Research has also shown that professional services before, during and after the initial fitting are vital to the success of the patient. Unfortunately, many suppliers of hearing aids do not provide these services; it is simply treated as any other retail product. In addition, many people do not realize that countless professional services needed to maintain optimal hearing levels may not be included in the initial cost of the hearing aid. This is fairly common practice when purchasing hearing aids from online retailers, physician offices and in hospital based clinics. Paying for these services after the initial purchase and/or original warranty expiration can lead to significant future expenses vital to a patient’s success with the hearing aids. Additionally, some dispensers do not retain the software necessary to readjust the hearing aids after a period of time, forcing replacement of the devices in as little as two to three years. This scenario is most common in big box stores and other retailers of hearing aids. The facts are that regularly maintained hearing aids can last between four to five years, if not longer. This is a time frame that allows return from your investment.

3. Get the Doctor’s opinion

In nearly all states in America, the only necessary degree for dispensing hearing aids is a high school diploma or GED. Some require a technical two year degree which focuses primarily on dispensing hearing aids. Doctors of Audiology (Au.D.) are the most qualified, educated and uniquely trained professionals in hearing diagnosis, rehabilitation, counseling and treatment; especially in the science of fitting digital hearing instruments and managing the psychosocial aspects of hearing loss. Each person is unique, requiring personalized solutions for their specific hearing needs. We understand that all people cannot be fitted with one type, style or brand of hearing aid. What’s best for your friend or relative may not be what works best for you.

About the Authors

Neil and Shannon AielloDr. Neil & Shannon Aiello, Au.D., CCC-A, F.A.A.A

The Columbia Basin Hearing Center Doctors of Audiology advocate a patient-centered, research based rehabilitation model; which is significantly more successful than a retail sales or medical model, for appropriate diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of hearing loss.

Hear What You’ve Been Missing!

Some of the newest technology is so small that it is practically invisible. Whether behind the ear or deeply within the ear canal, these options fit discreetly and allow for confidence in diverse listening situations.

Now is the Time to Try!

At Advanced Hearing Care, we are very excited about some of the latest technology options available to treat hearing loss.  Some of these truly innovative developments have already made measurable impacts in the quality of some of our patients’ lives.  And we’re inviting anyone who wants to experience these truly extraordinary developments to call us for an opportunity to hear what they’ve been missing.

Save the Date:
August 20-24 and August 21-31, 2012

For two weeks, we are highlighting some of these developments in new technology.  We are reserving our available appointments for anyone who is interested in experiencing the difference that better hearing can make in his or her lifestyle.  For those who would like to take advantage of this opportunity, we will conduct a full Four-Step Process consultation appointment as well as an in-office demonstration of an appropriate hearing device system.

What’s New In Hearing Technology

There are a few trends that are currently developing in the hearing technology industry.  One trend is to expand on available wireless accessories and technology, using small wireless antennae to transmit ear-to-ear binaural sound processing signals and enable media streaming capabilities.  Another is to make the hearing aids as small and discreet as possible, whether they are fit behind the ear or deep within the ear canal.  And, of course, hearing aid manufacturers are always trying to improve how well technology performs in very diverse listening environments by refining how the hearing aids reduce background noise and manipulate various features of the technology to improve listening and understanding.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity!

If you are struggling with hearing loss, or if you’ve just started to notice that you aren’t hearing like you should, don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself about your hearing.  As hearing health care providers, our professionals specialize in keeping you informed about how your hearing works and what can be done to help you compensate for any hearing loss you may have.  Call us for your comprehensive hearing evaluation today and let us reintroduce you to a world of sound!

Men, take charge of your hearing health!

Originally posted at the Hearing Care Blog:

By: Dr. Kevin M. Liebe, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Columbia Basin Hearing & Balance Center

Dr. Kevin M. Liebe, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA

This Father’s Day, and throughout the week leading up to it—National Men’s Health Week— men are encouraged to be proactive with their health, including their hearing health.

When left untreated, hearing loss can disrupt family life, strain relationships and increase the likelihood of depression and other psychological problems. Yet, millions of men with hearing loss have never even had a hearing test, either due to denial or lack of awareness that the symptoms they are experiencing are the result of hearing impairment. It’s no wonder that a hearing examination was recently labeled as the “most neglected health test for men” by MSN Health.

Sixty percent of the 36 million people with hearing loss in the United States are male, with a majority not seeking treatment for their hearing problems.

Despite the strong associations with many chronic conditions and diseases, most primary care doctors (over 75% in surveys) do not typically ask their patients if they have hearing problems and often do not include a hearing exam as part of a routine physical.

Conditions that afflict millions of American men, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, are all associated with increased risk of hearing loss. Research also ties hearing loss to a three-fold risk of falling among working-aged people (40 to 69), depression/anxiety, cognitive decline, and reduced earnings.

In a 2010 study, researchers at the Better Hearing Institute found that people with untreated hearing loss may lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. The use of hearing aids, however, was shown to dramatically reduce the risk of unemployment and income loss.

Prevention is key.

Because men are more likely to have noisy jobs and hobbies, preserving hearing is critical to preventing problems in the future. Consistent use of hearing protection when in the presence of loud noise is an important part of maintaining a health auditory system.

Despite reluctance to do so, it’s important that men pay attention to their health. Diagnosis and treatment of a hearing loss may not only result in better hearing, but has the potential to significantly improve the overall quality of a person’s life.

The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist.

Have more questions about hearing loss? Check our Hearing FAQ page.

###

Eye-Opening Facts about Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States
  • Approximately one in 10 Americans, or 36 million people have some degree of hearing loss.
  • More than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than age 65. Many of these people are still in the workforce
  • Fewer than 15 percent of physicians today ask patients if they have any hearing problems.
  • People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and less likely to participate in organized activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.
  • The vast majority of people who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids report significant improvements in their quality of life at home, work and in social settings.
National Men's Health Week is June 11-17.

Facts on Men’s Health:

  • A higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage compared to women.
  • Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
  • Men make 1/2 as many physician visits for preventative care, compared to women.
  • Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
  • Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
  • Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely than women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.

Source: Department of Health & Human Services; Men’s Health Network

About National Men’s Health Week
National Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year the week leading up to and including Father’s Day, which is June 11-17 in 2012. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

New FDA-Approved Tinnitus Treatment Available

The Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System is now available at Advanced Hearing Care!

New customized sound therapy approach with novel treatment sounds

SAN JOSE, California, March 26, 2012. SoundCure Inc., a new tinnitus solution provider, today announced the launch of the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at the upcoming American Academy of Audiology Meeting in Boston, March 28 – April 1, 2012. This marks the formal commercial release of a novel advancement in sound therapy based on the development of S-Tones®, customized treatment sounds developed independently by leading hearing researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears”, affects approximately 10% of U.S. adults and an estimated 260 million people globally. It can be extremely debilitating, leading to depression, irritability, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. It is most often related to hearing loss, especially that caused by noise damage.

Serenade is a handheld device that is programmed in the audiologist’s office for each individual patient according to his specific condition. Through the device’s earphones, the patient listens to therapeutic sounds which are designed to address the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus. Four different treatment sounds are available, anchored by advanced, proprietary S-Tones. Long-term relief can be achieved when used in an on-going sound therapy program.

The American Tinnitus Association provided a grant to UCI to develop the technology. Sound therapy as a tinnitus treatment is well-established and effective. S-Tones are low frequency, amplitude modulated tones that are frequency pitch-matched to a patient’s unique tinnitus, representing a significant clinical breakthrough compared to previous approaches. According to Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng, one of the technology inventors, these modulated tones “keep the brain’s interest” thus “inhibiting and reducing the perceived tinnitus sound and bringing relief”. In addition, S-Tones are intended to be “listened to at a volume that is lower than the patient’s tinnitus, reducing the sound burden”, according to Dr. Zeng.

SoundCure CEO Bill Perry states, “This approach was developed by a team with a deep scientific understanding of the neurophysiology of tinnitus and how the brain processes sound. It is an important solution to provide relief to patients and represents a real advance in tinnitus care.”

About SoundCure, Inc.

Established in 2009 to commercialize the technology developed for years at the University of California, Irvine, SoundCure, Inc. is a privately held medical device company whose mission is to revolutionize the treatment of tinnitus and provide relief to the millions of people suffering its effects. SoundCure is an Allied Minds company.

Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at Advanced Hearing Care!

Advanced Hearing Care is proud to be the first provider in Oklahoma to offer the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System! This groundbreaking technology has recently received FDA approval for the treatment of ringing in the ears.  Studies are beginning to show that Serenade can offer immediate relief from the annoyance of tinnitus symptoms.  For more information on the Serenade system, contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment!