Monday, April 29, 2013

How to Buy a Hearing Aid Compatible Cell Phone

Buying a cell phone that works well with hearing aids is a valid concern for many hearing instrument users. The Better Hearing Institute has published some great information on how to buy a cell phone that is compatible with hearing aids. Here's some tips they offer:

  • Buy a cell phone that has M3 or M4 and T3 or T4 ratings
    • The "M" rating represent microphone interference potential 
    • The "T" rating represents the telecoil coupling capability of the cell phone
  • Purchase a hearing instrument and cell phone combination with an "M" score that adds up to "5."
    • This will help ensure that the cell phone will not interfere with the programming of the hearing aids.
  • Purchase a cell phone with CDMA transmission technology. 
    • Cell phones with this type of transmission technology will have a M3 or M4 rating.
    • Cell phones equipped with GSM transmission technology are limited to a M3 rating.
For a list of BHI's hearing aid compatible cell phones, click here.

For BHI's publication entitled "How to Buy a Cell Phone When You Have a Hearing Loss" (the article from which this information is taken), click here.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Oticon's New Alta Hearing Aid

Oticon has released a new hearing aid empowered by advanced technology. The Alta hearing aid features unique programming features that enable the devices to focus on and amplify the source of speech, promote speech clarity in difficult listening environments, eliminate feedback before it begins, automatically adjust to multiple acoustic environments, and wirelessly connect to cell phones, televisions, and land line phones. Oticon has also created a YouFit fitting approach that positions an audiologist to program the devices to more accurately and naturally adapt to the user's listening lifestyle and preferences. 

Click here to watch a video describing Oticon's new Alta hearing aid.   

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When do you need to seek help for tinnitus?

Tinnitus impacts the lives of over 42 million Americans. The noises generated by tinnitus can be constant and include buzzing, ringing, whooshing, chirping, white noise, pink noise, and tonal sounds. Nearly 10 million individuals report a level of tinnitus severity that prohibits them from living "normal" lives. While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are effective ways to manage its symptoms. How do you know it's time to seek professional help for the relief of tinnitus? Drs. Newman, Sandridge, and Bolek, of the Head and Neck Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, created the screening version of The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory to help people know when it's time to seek professional help to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus:

The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory-Screening Version (THI-S)
  • Because of your tinnitus, is it difficult for you to concentrate?
  • Do you complain a great deal regarding your tinnitus?
  • Do you feel as though you cannot escape your tinnitus?
  • Does your tinnitus make you feel confused?
  • Because of your tinnitus, do you feel frustrated?
  • Do you feel that you can no longer cope with your tinnitus?
  • Does your tinnitus make it difficult for you to enjoy life?
  • Does your tinnitus make you upset?
  • Because of your tinnitus, do you have trouble falling asleep at night?
  • Because of your tinnitus, do you feel depressed?

For each question that you answered “yes,” calculate 4 points, “sometimes,” calculate 2
points, and “no,” calculate 0 points. A total score of more than 6 points indicates a need
for a more in-depth evaluation with an audiologist.

To obtain more information on tinnitus and for the source of the material in this article, click here.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

How the Ear Protects Itself from Loud Noises

Short term hearing loss after sustained exposure to loud noise does not reflect damage to our hearing. Research conducted by Professor Gary Housley of the University of New South Wales has found that the ear automatically protects itself when it's subjected to sudden loud noise exposure. As sound levels rise, the cells in the cochlea release a hormone that reduces its' hearing sensitivity. Professor Housley notes, "This is why we lose our hearing for hours or days after we have been exposed to a rock concert, for example. The [ear's] adaptation mechanism has been switched on." The ear has a "coping mechanism" that enables it to protect itself from sudden or acute loud noise exposure.
Researchers hope that these findings will lead to breakthroughs in understanding why some people are more susceptible to hearing loss with loud noise exposure. Another hope for this research is that it will help clarify why some people develop age-related hearing loss while others do not.
For more information on this research and the source of this article, click here.
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Siemens miniTek Remote App

smartphone app
Siemens Hearing Instruments has released an App for Android smartphones and tablets. The miniTek Remote App transforms the screen of the smartphone or tablet into a remote control that can be used to adjust hearing aid settings. The App pairs with the miniTek remote to control the volume level and programming mode of the hearing aids.
To use the App, you must:
  • Own Siemens hearing aids and a miniTek remote
  • Own an Android device (smartphone and/or tablet)
  • Upgrade the firmware of your current miniTek by linking it to the audiologist's computer (we do this at no-charge for hearing aids purchased at Appalachian Audiology)
For more information on the App and to download it, click here.

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    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Where does tinnitus come from?

    There are multiple theories on how tinnitus begins and why people experience it differently. Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound in the head when no external noise is present. Tinnitus manifests itself in a variety of different sounds ranging from white noise and high pitched tones to cricket, clicking, whooshing, or chirping sounds. 

    Currently, the most popular theory on the origin of tinnitus is the disruption of auditory input. In other words, the brain is no longer hearing all of the sounds it use to hear. To "fill in the space", the brain begins generating the noises we experience as tinnitus. It's no surprise then that 80-90% of people who experience tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.

    For more information on the origin of tinnitus, read this presentation given by Dr. Robert Sweetow. 

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    Monday, April 15, 2013

    The Phonak Bolero Q Hearing Aid

    Phonak Bolero  

    The Bolero Q is the newest hearing instrument released by Phonak Hearing Instruments. It is water, sweat, dust, and shock resistant. The Bolero Q is available in three technology levels that contain a variety of features including:
    • Binaural VoiceStream Technology
      • A trademark Phonak feature that empowers the hearing aids to focus on the source of speech and promote voice clarity
    • Auto StereoZoom
      • The hearing aids automatically focus on a single voice in a noisy crowd
    • Auto ZoomControl
      • The hearing aids automatically focus on the loudest voice within a crowd
    • FlexVolume
      • Empowers the hearing aid user to personally adjust the volume level of the instruments
    • DuoPhone
      • Streams the volume of the telephone directly into both hearing aids
    • WhistleBlock
      • Automatically detects and cancels feedback (whistling) before it begins
    Phonak's Bolero Q can also wirelessly connect to smart phones, televisions, and handheld music devices.


    Friday, April 12, 2013

    An App for Oticon Hearing Aids


    Oticon has released an App for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices. The Alta Diary App enables the user to rate various listening situations and send the audiologist feedback. It's a "diary" of how you hear in various acoustic environments. The Alta Diary also allows you to track your progress and keep your audiologist informed with how you are benefiting from your instruments' settings. This information can be used to more accurately adjust the settings to your particular hearing preferences.
    For more information or to download the Alta Diary App for Android devices, click here.

    To download the App for an iPhone or iPad, follow the steps below:
    • Open the App store
    • Search for Oticon
    • Access the Alta Diary and download it to your device

    Image provided courtesy of scottchan of

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    How often should I have my hearing checked?

    It's a question we're asked on a daily basis. Here's some general guidelines:
    • Adults previously undiagnosed with hearing loss should have their hearing screened every five years.
    • Adults who have been diagnosed with hearing loss should have their hearing tested every two years (biennially).
    • Adults with diagnosed hearing loss who wear hearing aids should have their hearing tested every two years and their hearing aids adjusted to reflect any changes in their hearing. 
      • If you wear hearing aids, you should have your hearing aids checked on a yearly basis.
    • Adults who wake up with sudden hearing loss should be seen by an audiologist or an ENT that day.
    • Children and adults who report tinnitus (perception of sound not audible to others) should have their hearing tested promptly.

    • If you suspect you may be suffering hearing loss, call our offices to schedule a 
      no-charge consult with one of our clinical audiologists.