Marshall County Senior Expo ’19

Come see us at the Marshall County Senior Expo this Thursday, October 17th from 8:00am until 3:00pm. The expo will be at the Plymouth High School, 1 Big Red Drive. See the flyer below.

We will be doing hearing screenings on a first come, first serve basis. This is your opportunity to meet our staff and find out about the latest technology from Dr. Rebecca Berger, Licensed Audiologist.

Clogged Eustachian Tubes

Article from the August 13, 2019 edition of the Pilot News

Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. have been on a hearing health roll here lately with their The YOU Docs column. (See Right) I mentioned one of their articles in my last post and here they are again, with a column titled, “Can allergies affect your hearing?” that appeared in the The Pilot News last Tuesday, August 13th. As the article states, clogged Eustachian tubes can have several causes… all of which are better addressed sooner than later as they can lead to more serious problems. The YOU Docs article ended with a suggestion to see your Audiologist for a hearing test when you feel something is off and then, “Remember, hearing is important to long-term cognitive functioning.”; something I’ve been preaching a lot about lately!

As suggested here, as an Audiologist, I do much more than just provide and service hearing aids. My advanced degree (Doctor of Audiology) is a testament to the rigorous training I have pursued in the field of Audiology. My primary focus is your hearing health, with hearing aids being just one aspect of that care. While I am not a Medical Doctor, I am trained to recognize health issues which warrant a referral to a qualified M.D. I maintain relationships with many qualified Doctors to which I can refer you.

Many of my clients have migrated to my practice from hearing aid dispensers. They are often surprised by the additional depths of analysis I regularly provide. There are important differences, which I am happy to discuss.

Hearing Loss & Dementia

I wrote about this topic last October in a post called Hearing Aid use can Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults. An article in The Pilot News yesterday by Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D., titled “Now hear this — and keep dementia at bay“, reiterates the point and prompted me to discuss the issue again. Per the article, when you address your hearing loss and wear your hearing aids, “You strengthen your connection to the outside world and protect your brainpower.” The article cites a study that shows that, “Getting a hearing aid as soon as you start to lose acuity is an important way to reduce your risk of Dementia.

I found another good article on this topic here:  Dementia and Cognitive Decline – the hidden risks of hearing loss

While I haven’t done clinical studies, I can speak to the the huge change I see in some patients once they regain hearing through new hearing aids. I’ve had nursing home clients brought in with their attendant telling me they are non-responsive. Some of these clients light up when they are able to hear again and participate with the world around them. More than one “grumpy old man” has become my friend after we are able to communicate… When these things happen, I’m reminded why I love my job!

Don’t accept cognitive decline as inevitable or just part of growing old. If hearing loss is a contributing factor, see your Doctor of Audiology (Me!) and find out if there is something that can be done to help!

 

Hearing Aid use can Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

It should be common sense that untreated hearing loss and the associated isolation would exacerbate cognitive decline, but a study was completed on behalf of the SENSE‐Cog WP1 group and reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 66, Issue 6, June 2018 provides backup data. The conclusion: “Hearing aids may have a mitigating effect on trajectories of cognitive decline in later life. Providing hearing aids or other rehabilitative services for hearing impairment much earlier in the course of hearing impairment may stem the worldwide rise of dementia.”

Note that it also says that addressing this earlier provides the best effect. Just another reason proper hearing health care is important to your quality of life. Don’t forget that changes in your hearing can also be indicators of other issues. As your Audiologist, I can help with these issues, and if necessary, direct you to other health care professionals with advanced skills in these areas.

Hearing Aid Finder

One of the cool things things about today’s hearing aids is all the new connected technology. I’ve talked about the benefits of connecting your hearing aids to your phone here before, but did you know that you can find your lost hearing aids with a phone app? Here’s a story from a hearing aid user that lost his hearing aids at a football game and ended up finding them after sorting through a dumpster. That’s dedication! He used the hearing aid finder app to pinpoint the bag each hearing aid was in! (Find the story here.) Pretty cool stuff!

Check out the Resound site here to see some of the other interesting things you can do with the new technology.

Can Hearing Loss Ruin Your Marriage?

I ran across an interesting article on helpingmehear.com. I thought it was worth sharing. Here’s an excerpt:

“Statistics show that there is a fourfold increase in the divorce rate of couples where one partner has severe hearing loss, as compared to couples where there is no loss or only mild hearing loss. But even mild hearing loss can make you miss or confuse sounds so that you end up not fully hearing what your partner just said. This missed conversation can eventually lead you to withdraw from interactions rather than deal with the frustration. That leads to an overall decline in your quality of life, and it can destroy your marriage.”

You can find the entire article here.

So many times, it’s the spouse that prompts a visit for a hearing test. While I joke about “spousal hearing loss” being the first thing to happen, it’s true that your spouse may often be the first one to notice the problem and is often the one most affected by it. If you find yourself asking your spouse to repeat themselves or just flat don’t hear what they are saying, come see me! Odds are I can help with that.

 

How do I explain this differently???

I had a deer hunter in the office the other day. We did a hearing test. I showed him his audiogram with its peaks and valleys.There’s a strong likelihood that his hearing loss is due to his hunting hobby. Shotgun blasts next to unprotected ears are not recommended. We discussed this. We discussed hearing protection.

He purchased new hearing aids. He was thrilled with the results and then commented, “I bet I’ll be able to hear the deer rustling through the leaves again with these! Can’t wait until deer season to try them out!”

Ugh! How do I explain it differently? Having a hearing loss doesn’t make you immune to additional loss! That is unless you have pushed it to where you’re completely deaf…

Like the guy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wearing his hearing aids, there are times I’ll counsel you against wearing hearing aids too.

IMS Observations

My husband, Kevin, was at an Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) event the other day and I’ve trained (educated) him to look for hearing aids and hearing protection. Ha! He said there were multiple places where you could get ear plugs and most of them included some kind of marketing connection.  Hmmmm… something for me to think about.

Hearing Aids at IMS? Not during a race!!!

He snapped a picture of the gentleman to the right, watching a race with his hearing aids on.Yeah, this is an example of one of those few times I recommend NOT wearing your hearing aid!!! Even with an existing hearing loss, you should be wearing ear protection. You could be damaging ranges of hearing where you were previously adequate.

But then he also saw this cute “Pit Crew”. He spoke to their mother before taking the picture. They got recommendations from their audiologist for the proper headphones for this application. The set the baby on the left is wearing is a hand-me-down from her older sister, so they’re old hands at this. Getting used to them at a young age not only helps make them acceptable, but also starts a life-time habit of hearing protection. Will this prevent them from ever wearing hearing aids? That’s hard to say since there are so many potential causes including just advanced age, but it definitely gives them a leg up on others.

Kevin is becoming my #1 salesperson. He actually ran into someone else from Plymouth there and in the conversation on hearing conservation, he found out that he was a hunter and had been stymied trying to find fitted hearing protection for gun use. I can do that! Kevin gave him my card, so I’m looking forward to meeting this gentleman. I’m sure I can make his situation better.

Economical Hearing Options

Steve Martin is working on a new hearing aid prototype. They’re not as unobtrusive as the new behind the ear aids I sell, but it does target that low cost market of people who don’t think looks matter and aren’t concerned with the latest technology.

Celebrity endorsements can make all the difference. Just look at the success of the George Foreman Grille. You don’t necessarily need to have a background in the tech you decide to create to be successful.

I tend to agree with Josh to the left here though. Steve’s old friend Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase had this handled years ago with “News for the Hard of Hearing”. There’s no reason to be concerned about others in the room…

If by chance you aren’t interested in going old school and want to consider some of the latest technology. Give me a call. I’m not as funny as these guys, but I bet I can help you hear better.

Hearing Loss Affects Friends and Family

Resound.com has an excellent page on how hearing loss affects your friends and family. You can find it here.

A quote from the website that I witness almost daily is, “The older we get, the more likely we are to experience a hearing loss. In fact, more than 5% of the world’s population experience some degree of hearing loss. Oddly enough, the person with hearing loss is often the last one to realize. This why I try and ask new patients to bring friends or family along to their visits. This provides positive reinforcement and outside validation that the hearing aids are making a difference… (Some people don’t trust their own ears!)

There is a link within the Friends and Family page to another page discussing smart hearing. More and more people are telling me how impressed they are with the new technologies that link their hearing aids to their electronics, such as smart phones and smart watches. As I previously discussed here, smart apps, Multi Mics and TV streamers can further enhances the advantages of adding hearing aids to your life.

Hearing aids are much smarter than they used to be. Smart technology can allow the aids to change between pre-programmed settings on their own, adapting to the situation at hand. Some clients choose upgrades just because they want their hearing aid experience to be completely hands free.

Check out the page at Resound.com. Please give me a call with questions. I currently use some of the smart technology in my personal life so I can give you the scoop on how it works!

Smart phone image borrowed from Resound.com