News

Want an Invisible Hearing Aid? Try the Phonak Nano

April 27, 2015

After years of asking for a smaller, more discreet hearing aid, hearing aid manufacturers are finally listening to their customers. What those with hearing loss have been wanting is a hearing aid that fits deep enough into the ear canal so that it can’t be seen from the outside, but still offers the best that technology has to offer in the realms of sound quality and noise reduction. In recent years, the Lyric by Phonak has been the best choice for those who are concerned by the aesthetics of a hearing aid. The Lyric is an extended-wear hearing aid. This little technology marvel stays in the ear canal for up to 4 months. It’s gotten rave reviews from audiologists and from hearing aid wearer’s alike and has been featured on TV shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors. But Lyric isn’t for everyone. In fact, research says that about 43% of those who could wear the Lyric (they’re hearing loss is appropriate, they’ve never had chemotherapy or radiation treatment to their head or neck, they aren’t diabetic, the ear canal is large enough) end up not being compatible with Lyric for some reason. Often, the reason is just the fact that the ear canal won’t accept it. So, what do you do if your ear isn’t right for Lyric or your budget won’t allow for it (subscriptions range from $3200 to $3600 a year)? There is a new alternative called the Micro Canal hearing aid. If you’re looking for small and discreet but Lyric isn’t an option, the micro canal hearing aid may be your answer.

Couple

Phonak’s Nano micro completely- in-the-canal hearing aid is a daily wear instrument. This means the wearer places it in the ear canal each day and removes it each night. Batteries must be changed roughly every 4 to 7 days, which can be annoying, but it’s a small price to pay for those who are looking for a discreet option. While the size and invisibility may be the most appealing of the benefits the Nano has to offer, it also offers exceptional sound quality, noise reduction and feedback suppression. It is also available in two different levels of technology, giving those with hearing loss a bit of choice in a time when cost is a concern.

The Phonak Nano is the ideal instrument for the active individual who requires a discreet hearing aid. Its sound quality and technology features offer better hearing in the situations that are found to be most difficult. The size of the Nano makes it an ideal choice for those looking for a discreet alternative to the typical hearing aid. If you are curious if the Phonak Nano is right for you, call our office for a free consultation. We’d love to give you more information and discuss your specific hearing needs.

Hearing On the Phone Just Got Easier

April 20, 2015

When you have trouble hearing, being able to see someone while they’re talking can immensely improve how well you understand what they are saying. Most people who have hearing loss don’t think they can read lips, when in actuality, this coping mechanism can develop without purposely practicing it. So what happens if you can’t see the person you’re talking to? Say, when you’re talking on the phone?

Talking on the phone can be very frustrating for someone with hearing loss. The two main reasons are that the phone doesn’t relay the full frequency range of the human voice. In fact, some of the most important speech frequencies are completely missing. The second reason is because there are no visual cues. Up until recently, there was really no way to get around these issues other than to use a speaker phone or hope that someone else was home to hand the phone to. But now, those with hearing loss have the opportunity to use a visual cue of a different sort in order to help them understand on the phone.

With the development of Captioned Telephones (CapTel), a person with hearing loss can now read, word-for- word, what the caller on the other end of the line has to say. The idea is similar to that of closed captioning for the television. Closed captioning is the written version of the spoken conversation. The person with hearing loss can read the captions while listening to the TV program. In the same way, the captioned telephone lets the listener read what the other person on the phone is saying in real time while working, in every other way, like a typical phone.

If you’re having trouble hearing on the phone, check with Captel.com for details about this new telephone technology. The captioning itself is provided free of charge and in many states, those with hearing loss can receive the CapTel phone at no charge as well. Or, ask your hearing healthcare provider for more information on this amazing technology.

New Mini Microphone by ReSound Improves Speech Understanding in Noise

April 13, 2015

People are continually amazed at what hearing aids can do these days. They are no longer “your father’s hearing aid.” You know – the large shrimp-like casing that squeals all the time and has to be fussed with in order to get the sound just right. Manufacturers of hearing aids have made huge strides in the last few years, improving the technology of sound enhancement, noise reduction and feedback (whistling) suppression. This constant pushing of the envelope to develop innovative technology has led to improvements in the perceived sound quality and speech understanding in hearing aids, especially in the most difficult listening situations which generally include background noise. One company in particular, called ReSound offers increased freedom, smaller sized instruments and ease of use to its customers. It is no wonder that ReSound is one of the most successful hearing aid manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.

In 2010, ReSound introduced the Alera, a premium digital hearing aid that set new standards for wireless connectivity with external audio devices such as cell phones and televisions. With Alera, ReSound has melded the science of hearing clearly with the science of hands-free technology, allowing greater freedom to its wearers. In November of 2011, ReSound announced the release of a new wireless accessory that can be used with the Alera hearing aids in order to improve hearing in noise, which is one of the more difficult situations that those with hearing loss encounter.

The ReSound Unite™ Mini Microphone is a small hands-free device that transmits speech directly to the Alera hearing aids. It is a discreet clip-on microphone that can be used by loved ones, friends or coworkers in any listening situation. Or, the Mini Microphone can be placed on the dash of the car, clipped to the visor or set in front of someone at a restaurant. To hear more clearly in a meeting, simply place the Mini Microphone on the podium or near the person you would like to hear the most. You can be up to 20 feet away from the speaker and still hear them clearly!

ReSound Unite Mini Microphone also functions as a personal, portable audio streamer to help you listen to your iPod, laptop or any other sound source that has an audio jack. The Mini Microphone can even be used to improve the clarity of a TV program by simply placing it front of the speakers of the TV to stream directly to the ears through the hearing aids.

The Mini Microphone is the ultimate portable voice and sound streamer. And it’s inexpensive. Similar systems on the market are either not truly “hands free” or are upward of $800 or more. The Mini Microphone requires no outside attachment to the hearing aid and sells for around $350. What a great way to improve your ability to hear in noise or at a distance! With ReSound’s Alera hearing aid and Unite Mini Microphone, you can regain some of the freedom you may have lost by having untreated hearing loss or by wearing older technology that simply increases sound. If you are interested in taking the Alera and Mini Microphone for a “test drive,” call our office today. We’d love to give you a demonstration of how fantastic this new system can be for you.

Musicians Earplugs

April 6, 2015

 
If you are a musician, more likely than not you believe that protecting your hearing is of utmost importance. With any amount of hearing loss, the fidelity of the sound of any instrument may change. But, there’s just something to be said about experiencing the music in its full form, unhindered by a volume dial or a set of earplugs. In a way, it’s a “catch 22.” Many audiophiles (music lovers) like to have the volume at a high level in order to experience the music to its fullest. But by having the volume turned up, you may be placing your hearing in jeopardy.

An easy solution, besides turning the volume down, is to wear earplugs. There are many different brands of earplugs that can be purchased over-the-counter and there are several different types of custom-made earplugs, as well. But ordinary earplugs change the sound quality of the music. The goal of wearing earplugs is to shut out as much sound as possible. By doing so, earplugs significantly decrease the high frequency sounds, which means that you hear mostly the mid and low frequency sounds. The high frequency sounds are the most important for the clarity of speech. As a result, decreasing the high frequencies can cause voices to be difficult to understand and music can sound distorted, as if you were listening under water.

The type of sound you can experience with Musicians earplugs can solve this issue. Musicians earplugs reduce the volume of the music without distorting the sound. It’s as if you have a built-in volume control. The nuances of the music are left intact. And so is your hearing. When the sound is turned down, you can still experience the music to its fullest without causing damage to the very delicate hair cells of the cochlea in the inner ear. Such damage can be permanent.

Here’s the great part about Musicians earplugs…

Musician playing violin isolated on blackMusicians earplugs are not just for musicians! Suppose you like to enjoy music at concerts but you don’t play an instrument or you live or work in a very noisy environment. Musicians earplugs decrease sound without interfering with your ability to understand conversational speech or distorting the music you love to listen to. Instead, the full range of the sound is unhindered; it’s just at a softer volume level. The softer volume level is the key to protecting your hearing for years to come.

Musicians earplugs have filters with varying levels of decibel (volume) decrease. Whether you need a lot of protection from noise or just want sounds to be decreased slightly, there is a choice of filters to fit your listening needs. Musicians plugs can be custom molded to your ears, as well, allowing for comfortable long-term wear.

Whether you are a music lover who is concerned about protecting your hearing or just want your world to be slightly less noisy, Musicians earplugs offer an inexpensive way to enjoy your world on your terms. Call our office to make an appointment for a free consultation today.

Tips for Helping Loved Ones Hear Better During The Holidays

April 6, 2015

 
Do you have a family member that you love dearly who you know has trouble hearing? Does it make you sad when he or she can’t be involved with family conversations around the dinner table or at family get-togethers? Do you have to become his or her ears once everyone leaves, retelling the punch line to a joke or filling in the missing details of a story that was told? You aren’t alone. Untreated hearing loss is a common problem for many Americans. Untreated hearing loss affects not only the person with hearing loss but also the friends and loved ones who want to include that person in conversations. It can be frustrating and it can be isolating. During the holiday season, when those we hold most dear are struggling to participate in the family gatherings and dinners with friends, hearing loss can be that much more apparent.

So what can you do?
There are some simple things that you can do to help your loved one enjoy the holiday season. First and foremost, it requires you to have patience and understanding of the problem. The most common of hearing losses makes hearing women’s and children’s voices more difficult, especially in the presence of background noise. One of the most common mistakes you can make is to raise your voice if you aren’t being heard. Often, it’s not the volume of the voice that is lacking, it is the clarity. By raising your voice, you only make your frustration known while the message is no more clear. Here are some tips for improving your loved one’s ability to hear clearly at gatherings with family and friends this season:

• Be sure you have your loved one’s attention before you speak.
• Once you have his or her attention, look in their direction. Visual information from the mouth and face will make the message more clear.
• Dimly lit rooms make it difficult to see facial expressions. The better the lighting, the more likely your loved one will see and understand what you are saying.
• Keep your hands away from your face and lips. Try not to speak when “looking into your soup bowl.” The easier it is to see your face, the more readily your conversation will be understood.
• Try to reduce background noise. Even people who wear hearing aids may have difficulty hearing in noisy situations. Ask others to speak one at a time. Ask children to play in another room while adults are talking.

thumbnailBy employing a few of these tips, you are likely to improve your ability to communicate with your loved one. You’ll find conversation to be less stressful for everyone and the time with family more enjoyable.

Another solution is to seek the advice of a hearing healthcare provider. Before the family gatherings come to an end, make an appointment to discuss ways to make this year’s holiday season less frustrating and less work for both of you. With the support of family, a person with hearing loss may be willing to look into ways to improve hearing in the difficult situations this busy season is likely to bring. The first steps toward hearing better are a hearing evaluation and, if necessary, hearing aids. With the guidance of your hearing healthcare provider, a choice for better hearing this holiday season can be the best gift you both receive.