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The Eye Opening Joy of Hearing

George can’t hear worth a flying fig, so I embarked upon a program to interest him in audio enhancement. 

The first step: ask him to get an audiologist referral from his doctor. Worked beautifully. He brought the page back to me.  

Step two was a YouTube audiologist. I don’t remember how he happened into our recommended list, but the first video was short and informative. The second was friendly and informative.  The third was interesting and informative. We were learning about hearing support together. Of course. . . I was doing this for George. 

When my mom came to visit I watched her start the day with lipstick and hearing aids. Her husband said the store where he buys everything from pancake mix to cars was the best deal  so on our next visit I steered the cart over to the hearing department and gazed into the case, like browsing the window at the jewelry store when I was hoping for an engagement ring. It was about as effective, since George was over in TVs.  

“Would you like to make an appointment?” a woman asked.  

I looked around, No one was waiting. It felt like being asked if I have a reservation when a restaurant is empty.  I said “Can I see someone now?” But the next available spot was in two weeks. I’d been hoping for instant gratification.   

When I found George in the TV section and told him I had tried to get a hearing appointment, but it would be 2 weeks, I don’t think he heard me. 

Back at my desk I called for an appointment at a different store. First available was two weeks. So I booked a Saturday morning, told George, and asked if he wanted one too. Sure. (Did you hear that? He heard me ask.) The woman said we’d start with a hearing test but first she had to look for wax. I went in the little room and learned she couldn’t do anything with me until I went somewhere to get my wax removed. Then she took George in and gave him a pair of hearing aids to wear around the store for 10 minutes. 

As we walked out to the car to bring in our shopping bags he said “I can hear everything.” Back in the store we practiced. I would speak in a soft voice from half an aisle away, he would grin and answer. In the freezer section we told jokes. By the bananas he said “I love this.” 

Because we’d been listening to the YouTube guy we knew the essential criteria was real ear measurement. Over the chicken case we agreed that if they didn’t do real ear measurement he would decline and we’d go to the audiologist the doctor had recommended.  Cart loaded we returned to the hearing department. The clinician said “How did it go?” George answered, “Fine,” (he may have been grinning) and I asked, “Do you do real ear measurement testing?”  

“No,” she replied brightly, “He doesn’t need it.” Wrong answer! Ding ding ding. Wrong answer. 

The other piece I didn’t like was the lack of options. I could see there were options, but she didn’t explain or offer any. Why not?  

Because we’d discussed over frozen chicken that he wouldn’t purchase if there weren’t real ear measurements I was surprised to see George accept the clipboard and sign the paperwork. He bought the hearing aids! He enjoyed hearing so much he was not willing to be hearless again. 

Still, he didn’t get to walk out with them, two weeks for delivery . . . so in my wisdom I persisted: real ear measurements are important, we know this from watching the YouTube, we must have real ear measures, you have two weeks to return these, do it, do it now. Meanwhile I made an appointment at the audiologist. 

And that’s how the lights came on for our ears.  Ten minutes experiencing hearing made it clear to George he wasn’t willing to live without that ability any more. 

 

Submitted by Wendy. Thank you to Wendy for contributing this writing!

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PSA from ACA

Apple fans line up in droves for the privilege to purchase the newest iPhone.  I can’t say I understand their drive, but to each their own, right?

However, in the case of our Made for iPhone (MFi) hearing aid wearers, the newest iPhone 11 should not be your newest toy (at this time).  At least that’s our ACA recommendation.  Turns out, the latest and greatest iPhone 11 has some Bluetooth compatibility issues.  This includes pairing with Made for iPhone hearing aids.  When I say Made for iPhone hearing aids, I mean hearing aids which connect directly with the iPhone.  It’s a wonderful feature.  Not only are you able to hear a phone conversation clearly through your hearing aids, but also, use a hearing aid app to control the hearing aids’ volume, settings and sometimes even more. Read Full Article

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Noise Levels and Your Hearing Health

“Why do I need to wear ear protection if I’m only mowing my lawn?” This is a question I am asked often. I tell folks that tractor or a sitting lawn mower can have a sound level of up to 110 dB – which is very loud and can be hazardous to hearing.  Also, some homes have large backyards and farmland which means cutting the grass could take several hours or, in some cases, all day. Research has shown that utilizing hearing aids can help stabilize speech clarity, but not if you don’t protect your hearing from further damage.  More specifically, prolonged exposure to hazardous noises can damage our ears and these noises include but are not limited to lawnmowers, tractors, power tools, and weed eaters.  Read Full Article

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Why do I need to hear those sounds anyway?

“I don’t wear my hearing aids when I’m just at home by myself.” 

As an audiology assistant, an important part of my job is calling to check on new hearing aid users after their initial hearing aid fitting. What I’m looking to hear during this conversation is that the hearing aids are comfortable and clear, that you’re successfully getting them into and out of your ears, and that you’re wearing your hearing aids as much as possible to adjust to all the new sounds around you. When I occasionally hear the statement “I haven’t really worn them because I’ve just been home by myself,” I put on my hearing aid educator hat and explain why that harmless act is, in fact, not harmless at all.  Read Full Article

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“Can You Hear Me Now?”

How ‘bout now? Do you have trouble hearing in certain situations? We always say even with the best hearing aid technology there are always exceptions and circumstances beyond our control. And, of course, there will be differences from one person to another.  Some thoughts to keep in mind: Read Full Article

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New ACA baby!

We are happy to announce that our Elsie Matthews and her husband Paul are the proud new parents of John Mason Matthews, born May 4, 2019!

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To Hear Is Social 

It’s Saturday night. We’re at a restaurant on Tybee Island. A party of nine is at the next table. Five children on one side, four adults on the other.

Three adults sitting in a row can have a conversation. Four not so much. Before long the guy on one end is looking at his phone. 

Same with the kids. The boys bookending the kids side are on their phones. They’re about the same age, could be joking with each other, but since they aren’t sitting together they can’t interact. The three kids in the middle are having a good time. Nine people: one-third on their screens.  Read Full Article

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Heat, Humidity and Your Hearing Aids 

Tis the season! Summer festivals, pool openings, and good old-fashioned southern humidity. Your hearing aids are tiny computers that are constantly exposed to the elements. Especially during the humid months, it’s important to take care of them to help them live their best life.  Here are some recommendations on how to keep your hearing aids happy and dry:  Read Full Article

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Tell Me About Tinnitus

Tinnitus is defined as any noise or sound heard in the head that is not externally produced. For many, it sounds like a whistle, buzz, hum or static. Most people, in a quiet enough environment will hear tinnitus; however, for around 50 million Americans, it is a constant or frequent companion. This can cause anxiety and depression, and for almost 2 million, tinnitus is significant enough to seek treatment.

Unfortunately, tinnitus is not understood very well, which leads to misconceptions. Even worse, many people who seek treatment are told by their medical professional that there is nothing they can do about it, and they should go home and learn to live with it.

THIS IS WRONG!

Read Full Article

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The Hearing Journey

Here at ACA, we know that what you, the patient, thinks and experiences is an important part of your hearing healthcare. For that reason, we are collecting stories from patients – like you! If you’d like to share your hearing journey with our readers, please click here to send us an email. Meanwhile, please enjoy this perspective from a long-time hearing aid user.  

 

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for more years than I can remember. This move was prompted by family and friends getting on my case, since I was always asking them to repeat themselves or saying, “Huh?” a lot! Although the technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is today, and my first aids were bulky and noticeable, I was immediately thankful that I’d gotten over my reluctance (vanity).  Read Full Article

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