Sudden Hearing Loss – A True Emergency

March 28, 2016

Sudden hearing loss can be a scary thing. It can happen all at once or over a period of several days. In either case, it should be considered a true emergency and requires a visit to a doctor or audiologist immediately. An audiologist may be able to see you more quickly than your regular physician and with sudden hearing loss time is of the essence. Your audiologist will perform several diagnostic tests and will be able to determine if you need to see a specialist immediately or if the cause of the hearing loss is something as simple as a wax impaction, which can be treated while in the office. If the hearing loss is due to an infection and you do not see your doctor or audiologist within the first 72-hours after the hearing loss begins, the hearing loss may become permanent.

When hearing loss happens suddenly, it affects only one ear in 9 out of 10 people. Many people notice it when they wake up in the morning. Others will first notice it when they try to use the phone or when they can’t hear their alarm when one ear (the better hearing ear) is face-down into their pillow. It’s also not uncommon for someone with sudden hearing loss to experience dizziness or a ringing in the affected ear, called tinnitus, at the same time that the hearing loss is recognized.

There are many different causes for a sudden hearing loss but often, the specific cause is never identified. It is possible that the hearing loss is something as simple as wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum. But, the more sinister causes require immediate treatment by a physician. In fact, the sooner treatment is begun, the more likely hearing will be restored. If you’ve experienced a sudden change in your hearing, don’t wait to call your physician or audiologist. The sooner you make an appointment, the better.

Starkey Xino: Offering Options to the Discreet Hearing Aid Wearer

March 21, 2016

Starkey is an American hearing aid company with a world-wide vision to change the face of hearing aids as we know it. The company has been working diligently to offer smaller and better technology to those with hearing loss. For the past several years, Starkey has done a great job in this endeavor, offering better sound quality, improved noise reduction, less feedback and better connectivity to those with hearing loss. The latest hearing aid from Starkey, called Xino, was released in August 2011 and promises “something small that will deliver big benefits.” Xino is a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid and is Starkey’s smallest RIC yet. It is the only RIC hearing aid using a 10A battery that offers a push-button control, which acts as either a volume control or memory selection. It also has a tcoil, which makes telephone conversations easier and connection to personal listening systems more attainable.

What Is a Reciever-In-the-Canal Hearing Aid?
Receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids are worn behind the ear. A small tube carrying speaker wiring runs down the side of the ear to the receiver (speaker) in the ear canal, which then delivers sound to the ear. This design sets it apart from other types of hearing aids because it is discreet and allows for more power, allowing people with severe hearing loss to wear a small hearing aid for the first time without the worry of feedback. Starkey’s Xino offers what people with hearing loss are looking for: options in a small package.

Xino includes Starkey’s new Spectral iQ feature, a smart solution for people who have steeply sloping, high-frequency hearing loss, which is commonly seen with noise exposure damage and exposure to ototoxic (ear damaging) medications. Spectral iQ is Starkey’s frequency lowering technology.

What is Frequency Lowering Technology?
Imagine playing a piano with keys missing for the high-pitched notes. Trying to play a piece of music around those missing keys will distort the music. But, if you played the same piece of music in a lower key, it may sound a little different but you will hear all the nuances of the music that the composer intended. Frequency lowering technology works in the same way. It is designed to improve the clarity of speech by identifying high-frequency speech cues and replicating them in lower frequencies. This makes the sound a little different but research says that many listeners don’t recognize the change and if they do, they become accustomed to the difference relatively quickly.

Xino also includes all of Starkey’s incredible performance features such as Voice iQ2, PureWave Feedback Eliminator and HydraShield®2, Starkey’s proprietary moisture protection technology designed to repel wax, oils and moisture. With its discreet style and many options, the Starkey Xino promises to be highly sought after and Starkey proves again that they are a leader in hearing aid technology advancement.

Starkey Goes Wireless

March 14, 2016

Starkey is one of very few American hearing aid manufacturers. In addition, they have a long history of technology advancement. For instance, Starkey was the first company to have the small, completely- in-the-canal hearing aid. Now, they’re joining the wireless race with their new Wi series (pronounced “wy” as in wireless). The Wi series uses a new technology platform that allows for ear-to-ear communication between hearing aids, easy programming without wires at the audiologist’s office and seamless streaming of stereo audio signals.

One of the more interesting features of the Wi technology is its ability to take a snapshot, if you will, of the listener’s environment. The hearing aids then modify the directional microphone and digital noise reduction systems to manage the noise in the environment while keeping the sound processing similar between the two hearing aids. This synchronization creates a more realistic auditory environment for the listener.

The same technology that allows the hearing aids to exchange information one to the other also allows the audiologist to program the hearing aids without the use of cords or other programming devices. Having the freedom to move around during the fitting process simply allows for a more realistic experience while at the audiologist’s office. This can help to alleviate some of the frustration that stems from the fact that the sound is different at home than while sitting in a small office in front of an unfamiliar speaker. Being able to try the hearing aids in several environments during the programming process can help improve the sound when you leave the clinic.

The most exciting of the Wi features is its compatibility with the SurfLink Media device. The Surflink device is the first ever “set it and forget it” audio streaming accessory. Almost any form of audio device piggy-backs onto the Surflink. This includes TV, radio, MP3, stereo, iPod, iPad or computer CPU. The sound streams directly to the hearing aids when in range of the SurfLink. No other device is necessary for streaming. It is truly wireless and hassle-free.

The new Starkey Wi offers better sound quality, better noise reduction and easy wireless connectivity to its users. The Surflink accessory offers freedom to hear an audio signal without using other ear level accessories. Put them together and it means Starkey is able to offer better quality of life to those with hearing loss. Call today for your free demonstration.

The Hearing Evaluation: The First Step Toward Better Hearing

March 7, 2016

When a hearing loss is first noticed, it can be a bit disconcerting: Why can’t I hear like I used to? Am I going deaf? Do I have a tumor? Will I have to wear hearing aids? What do I do next? Everyone feels some sort of disappointment and possibly even a feeling of loss when they realize that a hearing loss is affecting their ability to communicate the way they’d like to. You’re not alone! Research says that nearly 28 million Americans have hearing loss. New technology advancements are making great strides in the realm of hearing amplification. Hearing aids are smaller, more adjustable and better in background noise than ever before. And, hearing aids are improving the lives of people just like you every day.

So, what’s my first step?
Once you realize that you’re not hearing like you used to, a diagnostic hearing evaluation by an Audiologist is the best first step toward better hearing. With this evaluation, your Audiologist can determine what type of hearing loss you have, the severity of the hearing loss and the possible solutions. Several tests are necessary to determine the extent of the hearing loss and its effects on communication. All of the necessary tests will be conducted during a one hour appointment and you will leave the office with a greater understanding of how the hearing system works, how your hearing compares to someone with normal hearing and how and why your hearing loss affects your ability to communicate. If the hearing loss is medically fixable, you will then be referred to a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear. If hearing aids are the best possible solution, your Audiologist will discuss the different options and the improvements you can expect with the advanced technology that is now available. It’s a good idea to bring your spouse or a friend or family member with you to this appointment.

If you suspect you have a hearing loss, call to make an appointment for a hearing evaluation today!

The Future Of Digital Hearing: GNReSound Alera

February 29, 2016

Hearing aids have come a long way in just a short period of time. The improvements the hearing industry is seeing in hearing aids are primarily because of the advances in digital technology. Digital signal processing (DSP) became available in 1996. With this advancement, those with hearing loss received greater benefit in their everyday listening environments. Feedback was less of a problem. Hearing in noisy situations was much improved. The sound quality of hearing aids was suddenly much more clear and natural.

So what is the next technology advancement going to be?

Digital signal processing changed the way people hear. The future of digital hearing is digital wireless technology, which promises to revolutionize hearing aids as much if not more than DSP. Digital wireless technology will change how people connect to the world. Wireless technology is seemingly everywhere now days. From Bluetooth headsets for hands-free cell phone use to Bluetooth listening systems in our cars and even the wireless capabilities of our computer mouse, Bluetooth capable systems are becoming more readily available. Hearing aid manufacturers recognize that the tech-savvy consumer who happens to have hearing loss is looking to improve their quality of life by having access to wireless audio systems. Hearing aids with Bluetooth accessibility are already available. One hearing aid in particular has seen great success with consumers, The GNReSound Alera.

The GNReSound Alera uses a 2.4 GHz transmission technology to provide truly wireless connections to everyday audio devices such as TVs and phones. The combination of Resound Alera’s broad transmission range and the freedom it provides from body-worn steamers makes Resound Alera both convenient and easy-to-use. ReSound Alera offers a wealth of sophisticated features at three different price points and a choice of colors that can easily be changed for a discreet look. It is available in a range of models that are appropriate for almost any hearing loss. Call our office today for your free demonstration of the new digital wireless technology.