Tagged: hearing loss

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 Importance of Hearing Healthcare

February 15, 2016

Most of us don’t think twice about an annual checkup with the doctor. Seeing your doctor regularly is important for understanding your body, maintaining good health and increasing the possibility for a long, productive and happy life. Understanding your hearing is just as important and seeing a Doctor of Audiology (hearing specialist/ hearing healthcare provider/Audiologist) can be an important first step in helping to improve your overall quality of life.

Hearing loss often goes undetected for many years. In fact, it may be a spouse or loved-one that first brings the hearing loss to your attention before you recognize a deterioration in your ability to hear what others are saying. How often does it happen that you have to ask others to repeat? Does your spouse have to tell you the punch-line to nearly every joke? Do you notice that you are removing yourself from social situations because it has become too difficult to communicate? It may be time to take the first important steps to getting back to your old self. It may be time to find out what you’ve been missing.

Once a hearing loss is recognized, the first step is to have a hearing evaluation to determine the type and severity of the hearing loss. Working with your Doctor of Audiology, you can then determine the next best step. In some instances, hearing loss is caused by a condition that is medically treatable. In this case, your Doctor of Audiology will refer you to a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear. In other instances, hearing aids are the best solution for the hearing loss. In some cases, the hearing loss may have gone undetected for so long that a secondary hearing loss occurs which affects the brain’s ability to make sense of words. Hearing aids, in this case, will only solve part of the problem. Auditory training will then be necessary in order to retrain the brain to listen effectively. Working with your Doctor of Audiology, you will be able to understand your hearing healthcare needs and find the appropriate solution for your hearing loss.

Call to make your appointment today!

New Invisible Hearing Aid For the Modest Budget

January 18, 2016

Starkey Laboratories is an industry leader, known for new and innovative hearing aid technology. EARStarkey was the first hearing aid manufacturer to make a custom canal hearing aid available to hearing aid wearers. It isn’t surprising, then, that Starkey’s new Amp Personal Audio Amplifier is making headlines. The Amp is a tiny new invisible hearing aid that was specifically designed “for people who aren’t ready for a hearing aid.” Whether you are a first-time wearer or have worn hearing aids before, you would probably prefer that the hearing aid be as discreet as possible. Well, you’re not alone. Research says that the number one reason people don’t wear hearing aids is because of what they look like (MarkeTrak VII, 2007). If I had a dime for every time I heard, “I’m not vain, but…” when discussing what hearing aids look like with patients, I’d be rich. No one wants to advertise that they are wearing hearing aids. Starkey’s new AMP is a cosmetically appealing option that can be fit the same day you are in the office.

There are several popular “invisible” hearing aids on the market today. Although this instrument isn’t for everyone, the Starkey AMP fits deep enough inside most ear canals to be virtually invisible. A one-size-fits-most design with a choice of different sized pliable casings allows your Audiologist to adjust the instrument to different sizes of ear canals. Being able to go home with a pair of hearing aids programmed to your specific needs after your very first visit to the office reduces the hassle and time usually involved with fitting a pair of hearing aids.

So what does it cost? That’s the question most people are really interested in. While not inexpensive, the AMP hearing aids are priced far more inexpensively than other hearing aids, even within the same class of instrumentation. This provides first-time users a more affordable way to start wearing hearing aids. Even if you’re not a first time user, this new, innovative product could be just what you’ve been waiting for. Why not give it a try today? Call our office for a demonstration at no cost to you. You’ll be amazed at how small, how invisible and how affordable the Starkey Amp is.

Don’t Let Moisture Damage Rain on Your Parade

January 11, 2016

Snoqualmie Falls Washington State USAOne of the most common reasons for hearing aid malfunctions is moisture damage. This sort of damage is frustrating because, in most cases, the wearer didn’t get in the shower while wearing the hearing aid or accidently jump in the pool or get caught outside in a sudden downpour. In general, hearing aid wearers try very hard to protect their investment and follow their hearing healthcare provider’s advice for care and maintenance.

Hearing aid manufacturers are just as motivated to find a solution to moisture-related hearing aid failures as hearing aid wearers are. GNReSound, a hearing aid manufacturer that isn’t wet behind the ears in terms of hearing aid technology advancements has recently partnered with the company P2i, a world leader in liquid-repellent nano-coatings to develop iSolate nanotech. This thin protective covering, now found in all GNReSound hearing aids, promises to greatly decrease the number of hearing aid repairs due to moisture damage.

“Nano” is a Greek word meaning, “dwarf.” iSolate nanotech works by establishing a thin, protective shield on all internal and external components of the hearing aid. This protective barrier bonds to the hearing aid components at the molecular level, ensuring a thorough and complete covering of all components while continuing to allow sound to enter the system. GNReSound recently conducted a review of 50,000 hearing aids sold in the six months following the introduction of the protective coating. It found that the iSolate technology decreased moisture and debris related repairs by 50 percent.

The introduction of iSolate nanotech means that hearing aid wearers don’t have to worry about moisture raining on their parade. With GNReSound hearing aids, wearers can be assured that their instruments will remain in optimal working condition for much longer than hearing aids of the past, reducing the cost of long-term hearing aid use and improving overall satisfaction.

Be informed of the effects of medication on hearing and balance

January 4, 2016

Before altering or discontinuing the use of any prescribed medication, consult your physician.

Heartburn, nausea, confusion, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, loss of coordination; mood or mental changes: these are some of the possible side effects of…Aspirin. That’s right; not a toxic cancer drug or a drug used for some obscure disease but one of the most commonly prescribed and over-the-counter medications used to treat pain. It shouldn’t be surprising that many commonly prescribed medications are potentially hazardous to the ears. As we learn how to improve and prolong life with amazing scientific breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals, we must also be aware that the medications being offered may cause other health issues. As an audiologist, my concern is with the possible increase in hearing and/or balance disturbances that these medications can cause and making my patients aware of these potential side effects.

Every physician uses the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) as part of their arsenal in deciding which medication to best prescribe for their patients. The PDR contains a description of many of the medications available today including their uses, dosages and of course, side effects. Here’s the interesting thing: more than 300 (of nearly700) of the side effects listed in the PDR can influence hearing and/or balance function. Some of those side effects include:

• Hearing loss
• Hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound)
• Blood pressure increase
• Water retention
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears in the absence of sound)
• Roaring in the ears
• Vertigo (a sensation that the world is moving)
• Capillary fragility

Some of these side effects relate directly to hearing and balance. Others might be less obvious to the casual observer. For example, “capillary fragility” can prevent the tiny structures in the inner ear that are vital to hearing from receiving the nutrients and blood supply they need. A lack of oxygen and nutrition leads to lack of function and possibly to cell death. This in turn, can cause hearing loss and/or dizziness that can sometimes be a permanent change. Medications that affect the amount of fluid in your body can also wreak havoc. The fluid-filled hearing and balance structures of the inner ear normally function independently of the body’s overall fluid/blood system. The fluid (called endolymph) that bathes the sensory cells of the inner ear, however, must maintain a constant volume to function correctly. If a medication changes the volume or composition of the body’s fluid or blood supply, the amount of endolymph in the inner ear system, may fluctuate as well. This fluctuation is thought to cause the symptoms of endolymphatic hydrops or Meniere’s disease, which causes pressure or fullness in the ears, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, dizziness and imbalance.

The point of this story is not to worry you about the possibility of side effects your medications might cause. It’s likely that your doctor understands what you might experience when taking your prescription but the benefit to your health is greater than the side effects the medication may cause. You should never stop a medication without talking to your doctor first. But if you have concerns about your hearing or balance or are noticing something different with your hearing or balance system when taking a medication, talk to your doctor about it. Being informed is truly the best way to sustain optimal health.