Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gift Ideas for People with Hearing Loss

This is an excerpt from our December E-newsletter.
To read the entire newsletter, click here. 
Gift Ideas for the Holidays!
Sometimes it's difficult to know what to buy for someone with hearing loss.  Those who wear hearing aids can also find it challenging to inform loved ones of gift ideas that would be beneficial and compatible with their hearing instruments. Here are some simple gift ideas we believe you'll find helpful:
Stocking Stuffers!
  • Premium Hearing Aid Batteries
    • Premium batteries last longer than drug store hearing aid batteries. A thoughtful stocking stuffer for around $5. 
  • Gift Certificate for Custom Ear Molds
    • Custom ear molds are used for sound protection, sleep improvement, swimming, motorcycle communication, and music listening. (Custom ear molds are exponentially more comfortable than ear buds!)
    • Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about custom ear molds. 
  • Amplified telephones for people who struggle to hear on the phone but aren't ready to wear hearing aids.
    • The CapTel Phone provides captioning for phone conversations.
  • Bluetooth accessories that stream the audio of a television, cell phone, and handheld music device directly to both hearing aids. (see below)
  • KidzSafe Ear Buds by Westone
    • An inexpensive way to protect your children or grandchildren from damaging their hearing as they're listening to their iPods. KidzSafe ear buds limit the decibel level to 85dB.
  • The Hearing Aid Pillow
    • Do you know anybody who needs to wear their hearing aids while they sleep?  The Hearing Aid Pillow features a "trench" that positions the ear so you can rest comfortably and still receive sound without feedback.
If you need help finding or asking for the right gift for your loved one with hearing loss, please don't hesitate to call our office and speak with one of our clinical audiologists.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guidelines for Attending Family Holiday Gatherings... When Hearing Affects Cheering!

Below is an excerpt from our December e-newsletter entitled: "Guidelines for Family Holiday Gatherings and Gift Ideas." To read the entire newsletter, click here.

Just ask anybody with hearing loss: the biggest challenge is hearing in noise, and by definition, family gatherings are noisy. Here are some "rules of engagement" for hosting or mediating a family gathering during the holidays:
  • Before the gathering begins, give each part of your hearing aids a thorough cleaning. Use wet wipes to remove external debris, change the tips or domes, replace the wax traps and/or filters, use your "wire" to clean the tubing. Also, change the batteries. Be sure to check your stash of batteries early, so you always have a supply. The more noise, the greater the battery drain.
  • When dining in, turn down the music during dinner. A tablecloth and linen napkins act to reduce reverberation or echo in the dining room. Echo always reduces clarity. Try to place a cloth cover on the buffet, on the coffee table, and add fabric pillows to a leather sofa to help absorb, rather than reflect sound.
  • Sit at the end of the table so you can SEE everyone. Visual cues always reduce the auditory effort.
  • When dining out, always pick a seat with your back to the room. A table near a wall is best, and sit facing your friend who is seated with her back to the wall. This positioning helps the hearing aids do their best: raise the speech in front of you and lower the noise behind you. All of you folks who like to sit facing the entrance, you will pick up too much noise, and not enough conversation. This worked for cowboys, but not anybody else.
  • Consider making a restaurant reservation for a booth. This captures the immediate conversation and helps to lower the conversations from the next table.
  • At your place of worship, arrive early enough to sit one third back. This place usually works best with a PA system. DO NOT sit in or under the balcony. If your place of worship has a new PA system, inquire about the accessibility for those with hearing challenges: it may be compatible with the telephone program in your hearing aids.
  • Most hearing aids now accept a remote mic to improve noisy conversations (the clarity not the content!). Check with your audiologist to try a trial with a remote mic over the holidays. The remote mic is great for Christmas Eve services, noisy restaurants, "Hail Mary" football games.

Image provided courtesy of Gualberto107 of

Monday, December 9, 2013

Research Findings Could Lead to Improved Hearing Aids

Research findings from Dr. Elizabeth Olson and Dr. Wei Dong of Columbia University could lead to advances in hearing aid technology.  This research sheds new light on how the ear processes and amplifies what it hears. Tiny hair cells within the ear "move" when they receive auditory stimuli. How and when the hair cells "move" ultimately transmits frequency-specific information to the brain. Today's hearing aids currently send auditory stimuli to the entire hearing organ of the ear (cochlea) and cannot replicate how a healthy ear works with the brain to amplify sound. However, researchers hope these new findings will eventually lead to advanced hearing instruments that more naturally amplify sound in line with the ear's hearing abilities.

For more information about this research, click here.

Image provided courtesy of panupong1982 of