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Amplified Phones
Why You Should Consider an Amplified Phone

Amplified phones have been on the market for years but aren't widely known by the public.  We have always made it a point to offer our clients a wide selection of amplified phones from corded, cordless, big-buttoned and answering machine models to help those with hearing loss still continue to communicate over the phone.  When someone with hearing loss is engaged in a phone conversation they lose visual cues about the conversion like a face to face conversation would allow (such as lip reading and body language) but also they are now forced to listen with only one ear instead of two.  Hearing every word clearly can be a challenge.

Amplified phones are perfect for anyone with some level of hearing loss.  They have advanced as technology has advanced and can include some great features and call quality improvements making talking on the phone a more pleasurable experience and removes the frustration of not hearing every word and always having to asking the other party to repeat themselves.

 

Advantages of an Amplified Phone

Amplification, Of Course

Depending on the hearing loss there are different models for specific decibel ranges of hearing loss.  Both the sound of the call is amplified but so is the ringer.

Hearing Aid Compatible

Some amplified phones are also hearing aid compatible and can allow the phone to connect to the hearing aid the call is actually transmitted through the hearing aid and not the phone.

Clarity

Some amplified phones improve the call quality while amplifying the sound.  Amplifying a staticy or distorted call will only make things worse.

Big Buttons & Displays

Some models offer large displays and large buttons for dialling for easier use and reading for the elderly who have hearing and vision issues.

Battery Backup

Some amplified phone models offer battery back up in the event of a power outage the phone will continue to amplify sound properly.

Outgoing Speech Amplification

Most models will also amplify your outgoing speech.  Perfect if you have difficulty speaking or speak softly then your sound will be amplified to the person you are speaking to.

Clarity alto plus amplified phonesCorded Amplified Phone Advantages

Corded phones can offer a few more advantages over a cordless amplified phone.  Because the whole phone doesn't have to fit in the palm of your hand it can offer bigger buttons and a bigger screen that can offer brighter backlighting.  They can also offer built-in voicemail and more 1 touch preset memory buttons for regular numbers you call.  Depending on the model they are also hearing aid compatible and can transmit the call through your hearing aid so you don't have to try and talk on the phone with a hearing aid in your hear and experience double the amplification.

They also usually have excellent speakerphone functions that will allow you to be mobile while talking on a corded phone.  The speakerphone is also amplified and if the phone offers amplified outgoing speech this feature is still typically enabled over a speakerphone. Some models also have voice assist which can read allowed caller identification information so you don't need to run over to the phone to see who is calling before you decide it's worth answering.

Cordless Amplified Phone Advantages

Vtech Hearing Aid Compatible Cordless PhoneCordless phones clearly offer the ability to be portable with you around the house so you can continue to work on household chores and tasks while on a call or to be in any room you wish to sit in while taking a call.  They also offer the ability to partner more than one phone, like standard cordless phones you can have one in every room and all with the amplification function.  A clear advantage over one fixed, corded phone in one room as all your phones can offer amplification.

Like corded phones, depending on the model, they can also offer built-in voicemail at the base unit, and hearing aid compatibility.  Where they will fall short is the backlighting, button size and the display size, which is going to be used more on a corded phone to see numbers stored in memory and caller id and more.

 

If you are interested in an amplified phone for yourself or for a family member or friend (they make a great gift!) we offer different corded and cordless amplified phones which you can buy online or through one of our locations in the Toronto area from Oakville to Pickering.

Clarity Alto Amplified Phone in Pearl for Hearing Impaired

The Alto™ amplified corded telephone is the ideal solution for those with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss. This 53dB phone is the first on the market to receive TIA-4953 certification, passing the new industry standards for amplified telephones.The ergonomic volume and tone control is also perfect for those with arthritis.

$199.00

Clarity BT914 Amplified Cordless Phone

The BT914HS allows you to enjoy amplified calls without a landline. Pairs up to two (2) Bluetooth phones, headsets or accessories.

$149.95

Clarity D704 Cordless Amplified Phone for Hearing Impaired

The next generation of the #1 selling line of big button amplified cordless phones.  The Clarity® D704™ combines hearing, vision and mobility solutions into one great value.

$99.95

Clarity P300 Amplified Phone for Hearing Impaired

The P300™ amplified corded phone, by Clarity®, features Clarity Power™ technology to make sounds not only louder, but also clearer and easier to understand. Now with up to 26 decibels of amplification and programmable photo memory buttons, the P300™ is an ideal solution for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss or low vision.

$69.95

Cordless D714 Amplified Phone for Hearing Impaired

The next generation of the #1 selling line of big button amplified cordless phones. The Clarity® D714™ combines hearing, vision and mobility solutions into one great value.

$129.00
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What Are You or Your Loved One Not Hearing?
You might notice the 1 or 2 times you or perhaps a parent or loved one doesn’t hear something, but there is probably much more that you or the loved one is not hearing and don’t really realize it. Hearing loss is rarely brought on suddenly.  It’s typically a gradual process and over time it’s hard to realize the change from one year to the next or several years to the next.  You might start having trouble hearing whispers but perhaps you haven’t realized that you don’t hear a lot of birds while you are outside or maybe you don’t hear that hum of the refrigerator anymore or the dishwasher running.  Perhaps you also mishear words or miss hearing some words altogether. That may just seem like small details or maybe the hum of the refrigerator annoyed you, but it does have larger implications.  Perhaps you are also having trouble hearing traffic, or maybe you can’t hear a call for help from a distance or maybe you won’t hear that important phone call while it’s ringing from the other room. That hearing loss you are brushing off as “not that bad” actually could be enough to cause risks, dangers or larger inconveniences. So, if you notice you aren’t hearing something, then what other things are you not be hearing?  The infographic below can give you some indication of the hearing loss you might have.

Click to Enlarge

You Know the Potential Hearing Loss Level, Now What?

If you believe you or a loved one falls somewhere in the moderate to severe category we highly recommend a hearing test to confirm the level of hearing loss.  Our audiologists and clinicians might find medical reasons for your hearing loss or might recommend a hearing aid to improve your quality of life and minimize potential dangers and risks. If you believe you or a loved one fall in the mild level then we also recommend a hearing test, but only to document a baseline of where your hearing is now to track your hearing and potential hearing loss through the years. As well, there are a number of products that aren’t hearing aids but can amplify sound or have noise cancelling technology to help improve your hearing in certain situations amongst other features such as streaming music, listening to TV or taking phone calls.  We may also want to discuss ear protection to minimize hearing loss over time, especially if you or the loved one is exposed to moderate to loud noise for long periods of time.

If you want to examine this further we also offer our:

I Might Have Hearing Loss section – Click here https://hearingexcellence.ca/may-hearing-loss/ I Know Someone Who Might Have Hearing Loss – Click Here https://hearingexcellence.ca/know-someone-might-hearing-loss/
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What Are In-the-Canal Hearing Aids?

There are several in the ear types of hearing aids all with their own names, terms and abbreviations. It’s hard to understand what it means, how much can be seen and what are the pros and cons of In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aids. Below we attempt to answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision if these are the best hearing aids for you.

In-the-Canal hearing aids sit in the ear canal but don’t fully sit all the way in the ear canal like Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) hearing aids would and aren’t as obvious as In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids which sit mostly outside the canal.  There are still portions that would show, but are still obscure enough that only someone really looking at your ear would notice.  They typically come coloured to match your skin tone to make them even less obvious for those that are conscious about how visible their hearing aid is to the public.

An example from Signia on how to install an In-the-Canal hearing aid.

 

Advantages of In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids

There are a few great advantages to consider with this style of hearing aid:

Custom Tailored

Every ear canal is different so any hearing aid that sits inside your canal must be custom built around a mould made of each of your ear canals.

impeccable Fit

Because it’s tailor-made for you they fit incredibly well which improves sound and increases comfort because there is no wiggling, gaps or scratching from the hearing aid moving around in your ear canal.

Better at High Frequency

They are better at picking up and delivering high frequency sounds so if your particular hearing loss is around high frequency, they will yield better results than other hearing aids like Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) or Behind-the-Ear (BTE) styles.

Small & Discrete

They are small enough that they aren’t obvious and are coloured to match your skin colour as closely as possible to make them even less obvious. But aren’t small enough that they are hard to handle.

Disadvantages of In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids

All hearing aids have a downside and here are the few to consider with this style:

They Are Small

This is also a disadvantage because it makes them easier to misplace and lose and also harder to put in place if you have larger hands and fingers or dexterity issues.

Not As Many Features

Although as technology increases they are getting a lot of the same great features as Receiver-in-Canal and Behind-the-Ear models they don’t have as many or as advanced.

Battery Life

Because of their size, the batteries must also be small and therefore don’t last as long.  It will mean they will need to be replaced more often or recharged more often if rechargeable is an available feature.

Summary

What also might impact whether this is a good hearing aid for you is your level of hearing loss as they are not typically good for severe or profound hearing loss levels.  The rest comes down to your personal preference and if this style is one you feel you can work with and live with. During your appointment, our clinicians will do a full life and hearing assessment and make sure you get the best hearing aid for you and your needs.

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Hearing Aid Alternatives
Not Ready For A Hearing Aid?

Maybe you just aren't ready to commit to a hearing aid just yet.  There could be many reasons to feel this way, perhaps you don't feel your hearing loss is severe enough to qualify for a hearing aid, perhaps you can't afford it, perhaps you aren't ready to accept it.  But you might still have trouble hearing in loud environments like a restaurant or office workspace, or perhaps you have trouble hearing softer voices or female voices or you realize you aren't fully hearing your music and tv shows the way you used to.

No matter the reason there are 3 products that can help you out and improve your day to day hearing while being incredibly handy!

Audeara Headphones

The bulkiest and not 100% practical for all day wearing they are the best for improved sound quality for music lovers.  They offer an app which does a hearing assessment and then adjusts all hearing to specifically your needs.  This backed by noise cancelling and a built in mike can make hearing phone conversations and music a fantastic experience.

BeHear Now

Perfect for all day needs Alango's BeHear Now headset also starts with a hearing assessment and adjusts the headset to meet your needs from improved music and phone calls to amplified conversations with noise cancelling technology.  It can even blend with outside noises to ensure you don't miss important calls or noises from your surrounding environment.  In addition to this, it offers several advanced features like speech latency to slow down speech and can pair with a TV transmitter to give you amazing TV sound as well.

IQBuds Boost

The smallest of the group it too starts with a hearing assessment and then adjusts music, phone calls and sound amplification for conversations.  It also offers noise cancellation with the speech amplification to ensure large crowded and noisy spaces don't diminish the quality of the conversation.   Like the BeHear Now they are able to blend outside noise and are water / sweatproof which makes them ideal for those who love to exercise but need to hear some level out outside noise for safety.

Pros & Cons

Each of these 3 items have their own pros and cons when it comes to hearing aid like qualities.

No matter which you choose all three will assess your hearing and customize your hearing experience for exactly what you need.  They will assist with phone call quality and noise cancelling for music and calls.  BeHear Now and IQBuds Boost will also amplify in-person conversations with the same noise cancelling to improve conversations in crowded and noisy environments.

The main con is that no matter which option you chose they are highly visible and depending on that arent' necessarily convenient in addition:

  • Audeara is not ideal for all day wearing but offers the most superior music quality and are best for music lovers or musicians.
  • BeHear Now has longer battery life and is better for those who will need their headset all day and will even work with your TV with a special transmitter.
  • IQBuds Boost is great for those who also exercise or want light-weight earbuds that offer 1 touch control to Siri or Google Assistant and to answering calls.

If you aren't quite ready for hearing aids these are solutions that offer a more affordable solution for improving your hearing, but in the end would never fully replace a real hearing aid.

Sale

Audeara A-01 Customizable Headphones

Audeara headphones measure your hearing to tailor the sound perfectly for you.

$589.00 $399.00

BeHear NOW Personalizable Headset

BeHear® is a personalizable Bluetooth stereo headset that provides enhancement for all-around hearing (for phone calls, audio play, and ambient hearing), as well as assistive listening functionality.

$359.00

IQbuds Boost by Nuhera Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds

IQbuds BOOST are built with all the same great features as our award-winning IQbuds, with the addition of  Ear ID™.  Ear ID is a self-fit system with a clinically validated audiometric hearing assessment that calibrates the IQbuds to give you a better hearing experience.

$659.00
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Earbud Generation & Hearing Loss
A very good article was featured on CBC News and the effects that the generation that has grownup with earbuds is facing with hearing loss. Part of the article states " Unprecedented reports among young adults Naturally, the percentage is higher in older age groups. However, Mills said hearing loss can no longer be looked at as mainly a seniors' issue, as reports are already showing an unprecedented number of adults in their 20s and early 30s with hearing troubles. Tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ear, is an indicator of ear damage and tends to be diagnosed in patients over 50." We suspect we will see an increase in younger visitors to our clinics for tinnitus and hearing loss related issues in the near future. Click here to read their great article 
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When is it Time to Pursue Hearing Treatment?
I encounter many people who walk in the clinic not knowing that they have a hearing loss. Afterwards, when I’ve completed the full assessment and explain the results, that there is, in fact, a hearing loss that may have contributed to their reported symptoms, many are surprised. The responses usually are “I never really noticed any problems with my hearing before!” Or “I thought it was just all that wax that was causing the trouble!” and, of course, the unexpressed question following those statements “So now that I know, what am I supposed to do about it now?” Common thoughts or feelings that run through one’s mind after finding they have a hearing loss may go something like this… “Unbelievable. One more problem added to the list of things that I need to get fixed! Something that will complicate my life.” Or there may be a faint memory of what hearing devices used to look like. I’ve had clients tell me their parent’s hearing devices were heavy, body worn or “big honkers”. Either way, it’s a lot to take in. You may or may not know a couple of people with hearing devices and the reviews may have been pretty mixed. It’s hard to imagine taking the leap and making a lifestyle change that seems to be more than just a quick fix. I often counsel my clients that I’m here to give them whatever information will help them in figuring out their next steps: “In discussing the results of your assessment with you, I want to make sure that everything is clear, transparent, and that all the options are laid out on the table for you. Sometimes finding out all the information you need may not happen all in one day. Everyone is different. But the important thing is to remember that a loss of hearing isn’t something that you have to live with, there are many different ways to help you hear better.” The general purpose behind hearing treatment isn’t always about not having to ask “pardon” all the time. It’s more about keeping or preserving what you have, being able to hear and identify the sounds you haven’t heard in a long time. Or even being able to listen to and enjoy the music in the way that you heard it before the hearing loss became noticeable. It’s pretty amazing how many times I’ve been told “I can finally hear the birds again” or “I never knew that my turn signal in my car sounded like that” The general sentiment behind all of that feedback being I had no idea what I was missing until I decided it was time to do something about my hearing loss. So when is it a good time to start pursuing hearing treatment? The answer is much clearer when you have a baseline beforehand (recommended after the age of 55 years) to compare results. That way, you can discuss it with your hearing healthcare professional and they can let you know about the red flags beforehand. It’s much easier to pursue hearing treatment at the right time and increasing the success of treatment when you monitor your hearing on a regular (annual or biennial) basis. If you feel that you aren’t sure whether your hearing is normal, don’t hesitate to contact a certified hearing healthcare professional and book an appointment for a hearing check-up. Mitra Mehra Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)
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Hearing clinic: Perception vs reality (Part Two)

Dear Reader, this blog is the conclusion to the first impressions series about what goes on in a hearing clinic. In this second blog, we look at the last two questions I have asked the members of the Hearing Excellence Team. We hope you come away with a more informative sense of what hearing diagnosis and treatment can do for all individuals.

First Impressions of the Hearing Clinic (Part Two)

Throughout my clinical years of experience I have noticed that many clients, and sometimes their loved ones, are surprised at how much one can benefit from hearing treatment. I found that people are not aware of how common hearing issues are until they encounter it either themselves, or through the experience of someone close to them. This idea lead me to asking two more questions regarding hearing loss and treatment towards some of the members of the Hearing Excellence Team:

  1. Did your encounters or observations with hearing loss change your perspective about how

    important hearing treatment can be?

  1. How aware do you believe the general public actually is about hearing related issues?

In answer to my third question, Cathy, another member of our Hearing Excellence Team, shared with me her first hearing related experience:

“When my niece got hearing aids, my perception changed, she had really cool molds, swirls of pinks and purples with a small back piece. I was surprised how sophisticated devices were, how much technology could fit into such a tiny device. It’s mind boggling! With the proper treatment, you can’t tell how bad the hearing actually is because of how well the devices actually work!”

Another member of our team, Heather, had shared a similar perspective change:

“[I] previously thought hearing loss wasn’t a big deal. Then I completed a placement observing patients being treated within the hearing clinic. I saw those who had hearing loss and were fit with hearing devices. That’s when I also saw that it really changes people’s lives, and, that it is actually more important than you first would believe!”

These statements fall in line with what I have experienced as a clinician when I receive feedback from clients and their loved ones. However, my last question, which was how aware was the general public about hearing related issues, really got me thinking. I mean, was it just me, or was hearing loss not as publicized as other medical maladies? I was not alone in this thinking. Many of my colleagues in the team agreed with me:

[Daniele] “A lot of people don’t have any idea of it (hearing treatment) really. I always find myself taking pictures of aids on instagram to show people how far technology has come, what variety they have and the better quality of life it provide if they had their hearing loss treated!”

[Sharad] “The general public is not very aware. Even medical professionals are under aware of this issue. For example, the family doctor is a hub connecting patients to specialists, if they themselves are not aware of how important hearing treatment is for their patients’ quality of life, patients will be under diagnosed. ”

Before I started interviewing my team members about their first impressions and thoughts about the field, I wasn’t sure what I would find. From their shared experiences I realized that, even though there are many different types of hearing issues and client populations within the field, there were quite a few commonly shared experiences. These shared experiences were truly unique to the field of Audiology as to the lack of awareness of how common hearing loss is and the benefits of hearing treatment to one’s quality of life. What’s more, these interviews reminded me why I entered into this profession as a clinician.

I hope you, the reader, have benefited from the conclusion to our first impressions series as much as our Hearing Excellence team has in sharing our experiences with each other.

Mitra Mehra

Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)

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Hearing clinic: Perception vs reality (Part One)
Dear Reader, this blog is part one of a two part series featuring an in-depth look at one’s first impressions of what goes on in a hearing clinic. It sheds light on what others perceive hearing loss or treatment to be about based on a couple of questions. Due to the length, variety, and nature of responses I’ve covered, I have decided to write on this topic in two parts. This blog post looks at the first two questions that I have gathered responses from within the Hearing Excellence Team. First Impressions of the Hearing Clinic (Part One) When explaining the field of Audiology and what it is applied to, I’m often asked “So what’s it like when someone has to go to a hearing clinic? How is it different from other clinics? What services do they offer? Are there really that many people that walk in with a hearing problem?!” My standard reply is that there is actually a lot more to a hearing clinic than what others realize! However, these questions also got me thinking; what do people think of when mentioning a hearing clinic? What do they know about it and what are they expecting? As a clinician I was really curious to hear what others thought about the subject. So I asked various members of our Hearing Excellence Team what were their first impressions of the hearing clinic were previously. I chose a couple of probing questions and collected responses:
  1. What did you imagine a hearing clinic to be before you stepped inside one?
  2. Were you surprised about how prevalent hearing loss is and what populations needed treatment for hearing loss?
When I asked my first question, most members interviewed stated that hearing clinics were different from what they imagined. For example, one member of our team, Nioka, stated: “I had no idea what a hearing clinic would actually look like... I thought it was something similar to a dentist clinic or any other clinic. I was so surprised that so many people had hearing issues, I really had no idea...I saw young people walking in and that was the biggest surprise of all. I didn’t know that it was such a big issue! I just thought that hearing loss was a part of getting old and that it’s a part of life that you just have to live with. Now I’m thinking about getting my mom
  1. I had no idea there was a solution to her problems before!”
Another member of our Hearing Excellence team, Sharad, stated the following: “ I thought hearing clinics were supposed to be very medical. I expected clinicians to wear lab coats with big and scary machines or gloves.” I find that Nioka’s and Sharad’s  responses are very common for anyone entering the clinic for the first time. Often, they are surprised at how the hearing clinic seems to take care of so many different people for some many different ear related issues. When I asked my second question as to whether they were surprised about how common hearing loss actually is, most responded that it was very unexpected. One of our members, Martha, had the following to say about the matter: “Before, I had no idea about how many people were actually in need of hearing treatment. I was indifferent about the whole thing because I had never gone through anything like that myself. I really wasn’t aware about how common hearing issues were!” Another member of our Hearing Excellence team, Michelle, stated the following: “I was surprised about how much technology has changed, and how much is available for treatment today as opposed to twenty years ago.” When clients first come through the door, many share what they have heard about hearing treatment from others they know who have had hearing issues. It’s a mixed bag of positive as well as not so positive past experiences from years or even decades ago. But one commonality I’ve observed when comparing what they have heard before with the information I give them is that they are pleasantly surprised. They are in awe of how far treatment has changed in recent years. I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed part one of our first impressions series and look forward to our part two conclusion.

Mitra Mehra

Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)

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Common Hearing Complaints (Part Two)
Dear Reader, this blog is the second segment of a two-part series examining universal hearing complaints made by those experiencing hearing related issues. It has been written in the hopes of voicing common experiences of those who struggle with communication on a daily because of their hearing. Due to the fact that there are three very common general complaints most commonly associated with hearing loss and two other complaints related to a very specific hearing issue, I have decided to write on this topic in two parts. This blog post looks at the last two complaints related to a specific type of hearing issue that is very commonly heard from my patients when they come in to see me. The Maladies of Hearing; Common Hearing Complaints (Part Two): When I talk to my patients about the specific hearing issues they have, they may mention the common complaints of not being able to hear in certain situations or hearing certain people. But every so often, I get a completely different set of complaints that, although they are also very common, are very different from the issues I described in part one of this series. What makes these problems different in nature is the fact that it is not perceived as a lack of hearing. These voiced symptoms don’t appear to be a by-product of the hearing loss. To them, it seems to be hearing related, but almost as if the patient’s hearing is overstimulated. These two issues are as follows in no particular order: “I can’t stand loud sounds” Once in a while. I will have a patient come in and report that the main hearing issue is the loudness of sounds. “Every time I hear construction outside I just can’t stand the noise” or “There are times when I have to turn the television or music down because the sounds are a nuisance.” Within the hearing clinic, there is a loudness test that may be conducted to uncover whether the patient is overly sensitive to loud sounds when compared to the normal hearing listener. Solutions for what we refer to as abnormal loudness sensitivity can vary from using hearing protectors when sounds reach a dangerous hearing level, or the use of acoustically filtered devices that only reduce certain bothersome sounds while still being able to hear. In order to find the solution that is right for you, it is advisable to consult a trusted hearing healthcare professional. “There’s a ringing or buzzing in my ear” Very often I find patients reporting a ringing or buzzing sensation in one or both ears “I hear a noise in my ear, a constant hum, especially when it’s quiet.” or “There’s a buzzing sound that seems to be coming from my ear and it gets in the way when I’m trying to listen to others”. This sensation, otherwise known as tinnitus, is a type of internal noise perceived by the individual and is a very common issue directly associated with hearing loss. The root cause for the majority of tinnitus cases (roughly 80%) are identified as hearing loss or hearing damage related. In fact, for 60-90% of those cases, shortly after treating the hearing loss itself, the tinnitus symptoms are reported to have been reduced if not completely eliminated. So, although, the sensation of tinnitus may not be identified as a hearing difficulty, the key to the solution lies in treating the hearing loss and re-stimulating the auditory nerve. Again, in order to identify which solution is right for you, we advise you to consult with a hearing healthcare professional that offers specialized services for tinnitus-related symptoms. Maybe your specific hearing complaint or the hearing malady of someone you know wasn’t mentioned in this blog. But there just might be a solution to the problem that you weren’t aware of before. One way of finding out is by visiting a hearing clinic dedicated to providing client-centered care. Mitra Mehra Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)
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Common Hearing Complaints (Part One)
Dear Reader, this blog is the first segment of a two-part series examining universal complaints made by those experiencing hearing-related issues. It has been written in the hopes of voicing common experiences of those who struggle with communication on a daily basis because of their hearing. Due to the fact that there are three very general complaints most commonly associated with hearing loss and two other complaints related to a very specific hearing issue, I have decided to write on this topic in two parts. This blog post looks at the first three common complaints that I have heard from my patients when they come in to see me. The Maladies of Hearing; Common Hearing Complaints (Part One): Every time someone new enters our Hearing Excellence clinic, I always ask them what their main hearing issue is or if the problem is actually ear related. I get many different answers to my question. However, there are always some answers that are mentioned the most often. I’ll be going into detail with these answers, but not in any particular order, as it varies from person to person. “I can’t hear in certain situations” The details of this answer may vary, but the underlying message is clear. “I seem to be able to hear okay in most places or situations, but I do have more trouble with…” Although the type of listening situations may differ, the commonality is that it’s not like there is a hearing problem in every listening environment or daily interaction. In fact, because of this infrequency, the hearing issue becomes something that is uncertain, or unknown to that individual. After all, how can you be sure there is an actual hearing problem when it’s only happening some of the time or only in certain instances? That is actually to be expected, as research shows that we stimulate more of our acoustic or hearing memory in some situations than others. It would make sense that some listening environments are easier because individuals rely more heavily on their acoustic memories rather than acoustic cues. These acoustic cues may be needed and missed in certain hearing situations when there is some hearing loss involved. It is often the case that not hearing in certain listening environments are symptoms manifesting from a very common hearing loss related to noise exposure coupled with aging. The two factors are very hard to tease out, although, when inquiring with your local Audiologist they may be able to go into detail based on the specific characteristics of your hearing loss. “I can’t hear soft or high pitched voices” Many patients report having trouble hearing soft spoken people. They may describe this in different ways; “I have trouble hearing people who mumble…” “I have trouble hearing female voices”. Often times I find that the hearing loss is perceived as more of an issue with the particular speaker rather than the hearing itself. This misconception is common because other sounds, such as background noises of fans, music, or outside environmental noises are heard just as clearly as ever. For this reason, the hearing loss itself can be more significant than what is expected by the patient. It is also because the hearing loss severity is different for different speech sounds, that it is subtle and often not noticed until the hearing loss has occurred for a longer period of time (years). Usually the best hearing treatment strategy requires a device that functions under all listening situations, is portable, and regularly provides the hearing nerve with sound stimulation so that the hearing nerve remains active. “I can’t hear over the telephone” There are times when a patient reports no trouble hearing except in demanding phone situations. Sometimes this complaint may be accompanied by trouble hearing the television as well or hearing certain background sounds. It is hard for the patient to pinpoint a perceived hearing loss because he or she is able to hear others in conversation with relative ease. Under these circumstances, the type of hearing solution may be tailored more towards hearing in those situations rather than a solution to hearing speech sounds. For example, an amplifier on the telephone, or a television enhancement device may be helpful. If the lifestyle demands require hearing accurately over the phone, being able to hear without closed captioning in other electronic devices, or even being able to hear outside sounds that may alert one to danger, a more comprehensive hearing treatment solution may be required. The complaints that I have discussed above are very common and shared experiences for those suffering from a variety of different types of hearing loss. However, there are a specific category of complaints for those suffering from a particularly common hearing issue. These special type of hearing complaints will be discussed in part two of the maladies of hearing series. Mitra Mehra Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)
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