5 Tips for Using Hearing Aids at Work

Meeting of shareholders

For people with hearing loss it is often difficult to understand speech in background noise and from a distance. Our audiologists as well as Dr. Emily L. Martison Au.D., Ph.D. have a few suggestions for optimizing your hearing ability at work.

1. Have backup batteries nearby.

Although a simple step, it can easily be missed in the daily hassle. It is important to keep a set of clean batteries on hand to avoid the scramble during a meeting or conference.

2. Sit close to the speakers and where you can see

Listening works not only with the ears, but also based on nonverbal cues such as body language and eye contact. During a meeting, choose a seat where you can not only hear everybody, but also see. Additionally, you can avoid sources of background noise and distractions by sitting far away from fans, music and windows.

3. Refer to printed materials

If available, it’s okay to print out visual materials beforehand and review them before an important presentation. This can not only help fill in the gaps, but also lessen the stress and anxiety brought on by hearing loss.

4. Inform your coworkers

A simple reminder to your coworkers can make a big difference in interpersonal and team communication in the workplace. Some simple things you can ask for are to speak up, slow down, and rephrase what they said instead of repeating it.

 5. Take advantage of hearing aid accessories.

Ask our audiologists about the accessories that go along with each set of hearing aids. Additional technology that comes with a hearing aid can include microphones and telephones with captions, which enables near perfect communication any time.

More tips: Hearing Health Magazine, Winter 2017


 

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Audiologist vs. ENT Physician

Audiologist Vs. ENT

If you are experiencing discomfort in your ear, nose and throat or feel that your hearing has worsened lately, it is important to know which doctor to turn to: Ear nose and throat (ENT) physicians or Audiologist.  The world of healthcare can be confusing, but getting the right treatment on time can make a great difference. So what is the difference between Audiologists and ENT physicians?


Audiologist

Short description: “The hearing and balance professional”
Goal: To improve quality of life by restoring the patient’s ability to hear and communicate.
Education: Doctoral degree in Audiology, Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)

Summary:  Audiologists focus on the science of hearing. They often look at how hearing loss affects our quality of life and seek to improve it in non-intrusive ways, such as hearing instruments, counselling, and communication coaching.  Audiologists also look at other issues like auditory processing disorders, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and balance.  In addition to that, our Audiologists collaborate with our Speech Language Pathologists to provide evidence-based practice and optimal patient care.  This is a benefit that makes Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic unique.

When to go to an audiologist:

  • If you are experiencing a loss in hearing ability and noticing a greater difficulty in distinguishing speech
  • If you have noticed long-term gradual loss of hearing
  • If you and your physician do not suspect any medical causes of hearing loss (e.g. ear infections, physical trauma to the ear, ear wax impaction etc.)

ENT Physician

Short description: “The ear nose and throat doctor”
Goal:  Diagnose and treat medical problems of the ear, nose and throat (e.g. ear infections, otosclerosis, sinus problems, etc)
Education: Medical Degree in Otolaryngology (M.D.)

Summary: ENT physicians are also called otolaryngologists.  They are medical doctors/surgeons who perform a variety of procedures that include ear tube surgeries, surgical removal of tonsils, treatment of swimmer’s ear, sinusitis and more.  ENT physicians also surgically treat more profound types of hearing loss that are induced by infections, trauma or benign tumors.

 When to go to an ENT physician:

  • If you experience a sudden decrease of hearing
  • If you need earwax removal
  • If you experience aural symptoms, such as ear pain, vertigo, tinnitus,  or fullness in the ear
  • If your physician believes your hearing loss requires a medical evaluation by an ENT
  • You have additional symptoms in the ear, nose, throat, and neck areas (e.g. dizziness, sinus problems, recent onset of tinnitus, or masses in the neck/head)

Where to start

If you are unsure of which doctor to pay a visit to, start with an audiogram (hearing test).  Often times, an audiogram or other diagnostic testing is required to help the ENT determine how you are hearing and in what way to guide your treatment.  ESHC offers a variety of tests which allows audiologists to identify specific problem areas.  These tests include comprehensive audiograms for patients of all ages, tinnitus evaluations, (central) auditory processing ((C) APD) evaluations, electrophysiologic testing, and balance assessments.   After you receive your audiogram, our audiologist will explain the result and offer a treatment unique to you or, if needed, a referral to another professional (e.g. ENT) should this be necessary.

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The Hearing Aid’s Pursuit of Invisibility – The Atlantic


hearing-aids-2

A recent article published on The Atlantic discusses the changes in design of Hearing Aids in the last century as well as the goal of making it as invisible as possible.

With the first hearing aids coming out in 1898, the invention resembled a bulky and eye-catching device with a pair of earphones. The gadget was based on the principle of a telephone, and was a game-changer for those with hearing loss. Quite a few people expressed their concern about the uncomfortable size of the device, as well as how visible it was to others. So after the first invention, history of hearing aids followed the path of “miniaturization”. The goal was to make them as small and hidden as possible. The next solution for making the hearing aids invisible was masking it in accessories: head bands, hats, ear phones and even walking canes. Some companies even published pamphlets for ladies on how to style their devices fashionably.

hearinginstrument-lineup

Luckily after almost a century of progress and innovation, it became possible to find hearing aids that are practically invisible. They can be matched by size, location and even skin tone and hair color. Our selection of hearing aids comes in a variety of options suitable for everybody’s needs and wishes.  You can learn more about the technology and styles we offer, as well as learn more about our Connect program. Our Evergreen Hearing team would be happy to answer any questions you have regarding hearing loss and hearing aids. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at any of our offices.

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5 Non-Techy Gift Ideas to Promote Kids’ Language & Learning

Non tech Gifts for Kids
It seems that a lot of children these days prefer TV, tablets and phones to the old-school toys and board games. It is true that there are technological resources that promote development of language, but we must also not forget about the play-and-learn component from our own childhoods. This holiday season, we have some ideas for non-tech (and still fun!) gifts to encourage your children’s language and learning.

1. Traditional Toys

Depending on your kiddo’s age, getting him or her a fun, colorful toy is the perfect option. According to the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, toys that talk or make sounds discourage vocalization on the child’s part. So blocks, dolls, puzzles and trains/cars that get you and your child talking are the best bet!

2. Books

No gift list can exist without a good books. Whether it’s a book with texture for infants to touch, colorful pictures for toddlers to describe or fun poems to read, anything goes for language and development.

3. Board Games

While we all have competitive “Monopoly” players, board games are very good conversation setters. Games for every age encourage more family time, connections and fun.

4. Costumes and Props for Dress Up Play

Spark your child’s imagination with a wand, a dress or a top hat (there are other options, of course). Take photos, film videos and do what your child’s creative heart desires.

5. Art tools

Help your child build literacy skills by drawing and crafting.

Get more ideas here: Asha.org blog

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Winter Wonderland at ESHC!

ww-announcement

This winter we are happy to invite you to our Winter Wonderland Days at Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic. Our SLP’s are excited to play games, color and make crafts with patients during their speech therapy sessions. Just schedule your regular appointments and come prepared for a lot of fun!

– Evergreen Speech Team

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Evening Appointments – Kirkland Office

Clock counting down bokeh background

Unable to make appointments during the day? Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic in Kirkland is extending its operating hours to give you flexibility for your occupied schedule. Whether you are a full-time professional, busy parent or simply don’t have the time to come throughout the day, our doors are open for you.

Our evening appointments include:

  • Cleaning
  • Semi-Annuals
  • Modified Chart Reviews
  • Pick-Ups
  • Repair Drop-ins

Our Kirkland Office is now open for hearing appointments at these times:

  • Mondays and Tuesdays: until 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: until 5 p.m.

Please call our Kirkland office at (425) 899-5050 to make your evening appointment.

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Animal-Assisted Speech Therapy at ESHC

Animal Assisted Speech Therapy

Maybe you’ve gotten to see Ritter, a six-year-old chocolate lab, wagging his tail as he walks down the hallway or greets patients in the waiting area and wondered, “Why is there at dog at ESHC and what does he do?” Ritter is ESHC’s Resident Therapy Dog who works with his handler and speech-language pathologist, Jennifer Dierenfeld, to assist patients in Speech/Language Therapy. (more…)

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How Parents Can Make a Difference in Treatment of Toddlers with Developmental Disorders

SLP for children with Autism

As dedicated therapists and parents, we must pay close attention to our children’s speech development. While multiple therapy sessions definitely help, it is equally important for parents to contribute to them at home, too. We want to provide you with some ideas and models on exactly what you can do to help your child’s speech development at home.

In a study by Florida State University, Dr. Amy Wetherby found “the model of teaching parents at home during individual sessions WITH their children focusing on play, daily routines like meals, snacks, chores and caregiving, along with teaching a parent how to teach a child to participate in community outings, resulted in the best outcomes for improving language, understanding, and social interaction.” – Teachmetotalk.com

These findings help to shape a few rules to guide parents in their efforts to contribute to their children’s therapy:

  1. Work with strategies provided by your SLP for 20-25 hours/week at home. 
  2. Parents should challenge their children during their interaction, especially during toddlerhood. 2-3 year olds are on the peak of their development, and can get the biggest benefits from therapy.
  3. Early intervention is key. If parents know or suspect their child has a developmental disorder, they must act quickly to ensure successful development.

Sources:

The original copy of this article was published on teachmetotalk.com, and is based on the Florida State study by Dr. Amy Wetherby.

A. M. Wetherby, W. Guthrie, J. Woods, C. Schatschneider, R. D. Holland, L. Morgan, C. Lord. Parent-Implemented Social Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: An RCT. PEDIATRICS, 2014; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-0757

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Speech Disorders in Multilingual Children

 Speech Disorders in Bilingual Children

Author: Bridget Griffin

The multi-cultural society we live in today brings our children many benefits, including first-hand experience in diversity, exposure to human differences and more rounded education. It is no question that speaking multiple languages is helpful in this modern world, but doing so at an early stage of development can bring about some challenges. Let’s see some of the common misconceptions about bilingualism in childhood, as told by our very own Bridget Griffin, Speech Language Pathologist.

1. Myth or Fact: Multilingual children develop speech and language later than their monolinguals peers.

Myth! Similar to monolingual children, most multilingual children speak their first words by 12 months. By age two, a majority of both monolingual and multilingual children are combining words into two-word phrases. As speech and language develops, multilingual children may sometimes mix up grammatical rules or use words from both languages within the same phrase or sentence. Additionally, when a second language is first introduced, some multilingual children experience a “silent period” or “non-verbal” period where they do not speak much. This may last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. This is a normal stage of multilingual language development where children are absorbing and making sense of the rules of their new language, including speech sounds, vocabulary, and grammatical structures. Just as with monolingual children, multilingual children are most successful developing language with exposure, practice, and positive communication with their families and peers.

2. Myth or Fact: Children with language disorders cannot learn multiple languages.

(more…)

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Hearing & Listening Event October 10th, 2016

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We are thrilled to announce that ESHC has been able to book renowned speaker, author, and researcher Dr. Dennis Van Vliet to talk about the effects of wearing hearing instruments on cognitive effort, listening, and processing. Dr. Van Vliet has more than 40 years of clinical history and research experience and is considered to be one of the premier experts on the effects of hearing loss on cognitive performance.

The Seminar will be held on October 10, 2016. In addition, we will be reserving the following 3 days in our clinic for additional one on one Q&A sessions with Dr. VanVliet, to answer specific questions about cognitive effort and the impact that new hearing technology can have on cognitive performance.

Who should attend?

If you or your loved ones struggle with processing speech in noisy environments like meetings, outings out with family, restaurants, or in any public places, you should join us for this fascinating event. If you would like to take advantage to chat with Dr. Van Vliet personally about the impact of new hearing technology, please call our office for an appointment. You will want to call soon, as appointments are naturally limited, and we cannot extend Dr. Van Vliet’s schedule. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

When?

Seminar: October 10, 2016 @ 2 p.m.
Consultations: October 11, 1

Where?

Evergreen Hospital, room Red 551.
12040 NE 128th Street, Room Red 551
Kirkland, WA  98034

Follow the signs towards the West Entrance of the hospital.

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New Online Payment Information: PatientPay

PatientPay LogoEvergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic has teamed up with PatientPay to provide you with online statements and bill payment so you can easily manage your medical expenses. Now you can access all your bills and payments online, no paperwork required!

PatientPay is an innovative, web-based service offered by our practice to ease the burden of paying your outstanding balance.

Benefits of using PatientPay:

  • It is absolutely free
  • You receive paperless statements
  • You can pay bills with one easy click
  • It maintains records for you to keep track of your payments
  • It helps you see exactly what you are being charged, your insurance benefits and any outstanding payments

How does it work?

  • Once you provide our clinic with your preferred email address (that’s all it takes!), you will begin receiving reminders that a bill is due. By simply clicking the link in the email you will get access to PatientPay’s secure site
  • You’ll need to register for the service which will only require your name, email and date of birth
  • Once you are registered, your statements will come directly to your email inbox.
  • You’ll be able to see all the charges from the practice and always have access to your statements as well.

 

Please feel free to ask any questions regarding PatientPay services and learn how to sign up in any of our offices or by watching PatientPay’s introduction video.

 

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Hearing Loss in Musicians

Hearing Loss in Musicians

Author: Sara H. Elshafei, Au.D., CCC-A

No matter what instrument you play, ears are a musician’s primary tool, and it is no secret that professional musicians run a higher risk of hearing loss. It can be an acoustic trauma from one instantaneous, loud sound or blast, or a gradual process that may take years to be noticed. When hearing difficulties are perceived, the effects can be devastating, especially to a professional musician. (more…)

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The Role of Collaboration in our Practice

speech-team

Whether you are a returning or new patient, you have probably heard about our belief in a collaborative approach to treatments. In order to provide you with the best service possible and get to the heart of the problem, we use this unique approach. Here is how it works:

You get two language-speech pathologists

This approach allows for multiple communication partners, increased accountability, sharing of ideas, and development of more creative and effective treatment plans.

Generalization

One of the most difficult parts of the treatment is taking the skills learned during therapy and applying them in the patients’ day-to-day activities. Practicing with two different therapists can help them learn how to communicate with multiple communication partners and apply newly acquired skills in a different setting.

Therapists’ Weekly Meetings

As part of the behind-the-scenes work, our therapists meet once a week to brainstorm ideas, ask for input and agree on a treatment plan for each of their patients. By creating this interactive dialogue, all our therapists play an active role in the patients’ wellness plan.

SOAP Notes

Besides having a memorable name, our SOAP notes system is a way to to record each patient’s documentation, progress, concerns and session notes in a reliable, systematic way. After each visit, patients get a detailed performance report with narrative text about the session, its specific successes and challenges, and a plan for the next visit. All documentation is checked and updated by our therapists to ensure that each patient’s treatment is on track and working.

Overall, we hold our collaboration approach to treatments at the highest value and often see positive results thanks to it. Feel free to ask us any questions regarding our technique in the comments below or on Facebook our speech team would be happy to answer.

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Child Development Tips from Thirty Million Words Initiative

30 million words
We at Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic are big fans of the Thirty Million Words® Initiative. It is “an innovative parent-directed program designed to harness the power of parent language to build a child’s brain and impact his or her future”.

What is Thirty Million Words®?

The program is based on a world-famous 1995 study by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley, who found that some children heard much less words by 4th grade than others. This negatively impacted their vocabularies, reading skills and overall preparedness for school. Children who were exposed to more communication in their younger age, however, were found to be more successful. The bottom line is that children who started out ahead, stayed ahead even throughout their high school years. TMW call this disparity an achievement gap. The initiative’s main goal is to promote better communication between parents and kids, and help close this gap.

Since we discovered Thirty Million Words, we’ve been dying to share some of their tips with you. There are no age restrictions, complicated strategies or doctor sessions involved, which is why the initiative’s 3 T’s are simple and doable steps to help your child grow.

3Ts Thirty Million Words

1. Tune In

… by paying attention to what your child is communicating to you.

2. Talk More

… with your child using descriptive words to build his vocabulary.

3. Take Turns

… by encouraging your child to respond to your words and actions.


Big thanks to the TMW for providing this great printable version of the 3T’s and the information above. Feel free to ask us or our therapists any questions regarding this initiative.

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School Checklist: Why Check Your Child’s Hearing?

Check your child's hearing

New teachers, new classrooms, new curriculum – it can be overwhelming for anyone. That’s why our audiologists at Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic recommend getting your child’s hearing checked to ensure the easiest adjustment in the new school year. (more…)

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Story Camp Begins Next Week!

story camp blog picture

It is with oodles of excitement that ESHC introduces its first ever summer Story Camp (Aug. 1-5). Next week, the kiddos will be introduced to an African folk tale filled with fun and funny themes. With the help of the speech team, they will be guided through fun and engaging activities that tie back to the folk tale to promote sequencing skills, oral narrative skills, story grammar skills, and just-being-a-kid skills (there will be water balloons!). Camp was always the highlight of my summer when I [Mandee Parker, SLP] was younger, and I’m inspired to be able to provide that for these incredible kids!

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Speech Summer Newsletter

SUMMER 2016 Newsletter_MMPSpeech Summer Newsletter2 for blog

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The Importance of Hearing Aid Maintenance

Hi everyone! My name is Allie Williams, and I am the summer Business and Marketing intern at Evergreen. I’ll be writing a few blog posts this summer about day-to-day life here at Evergreen as well as about many of the great events and projects we have going on here. I look forward to hearing from you and to hopefully having the chance to meet some of you in the Redmond Office! 

On my second day here at Evergreen Speech and Hearing, I was able to shadow one of our Audiologists, Dr. Cheryl Lokanis. I was immediately struck by Dr. Lokanis’ familiarity and closeness with all of her patients. She manages to listen to her patients’ feedback on their hearing aids, clean their devices, check their hearing and ears, and touch base with each patient about their lives. After a busy day of seeing patients, I was able to ask Dr. Lokanis my long list of questions.

In a world of new technologies being released every minute, I was curious as to why hearing aids require as much maintenance as they do. Because of the nature of our ears and bodies, wax buildup is the number one cause for hearing aid failure. Some people tend to be waxier than others, which causes even more of a need to have your hearing aids cleaned every six months.

Another fact of life is the increase of hearing loss over time. Every year, our Audiologists readjust the settings of your hearing aids to make sure that your hearing aids are working for you as best as they possibly can. If you notice a change in your hearing, you should plan a visit to see us to make sure that everything is working properly. It is better to see us sooner rather than later!

At the three-year mark, it is time to start thinking about new technology. Just as you upgrade your iPhone every 2 years, you should be staying up to date on the latest hearing aids. At our recent Oticon Opn event, I was able to experience a before and after virtual reality using the newest Opn hearing aids from Oticon. With older hearing aids, sound has been purely directional; meaning that you can only heard sound from the direction your head was tilted towards. With Oticon’s Opn Hearing Aids, it is possible to hear sound from 360o, as you would before hearing loss. It was incredible to experience the difference!

If you are behind on your Audiology appointments, I encourage you to call us to schedule your next cleaning appointment or to schedule an appointment to discuss new technology! We would love to hear from you.

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Don’t forget your earplugs!

Dr. Seth Schwartz, an otolaryngologist and director of the Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle said greater hearing loss in younger people could be because of exposure to loud noises for extended periods” CNN.Com

Something so small can help protect lifelong damage.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/07/health/music-concert-ear-protection-study

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Social Sessions

Our super stars of the adolescent social sessions had their last session of training on Wednesday night. The teens and pre-teens learned about expected vs. unexpected social behaviors, ways we help people have good thoughts about us, how to keep conversations going by asking questions and adding comments, and how to include people in group conversations. We look forward to more ESHC social groups to come!!!FullSizeRender

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Hearing Aid Patients Benefit from Social Support

hearingMore and more, studies are finding that a strong system of social support for patients with hearing aids promotes significantly better overall satisfaction.

An important factor in these findings is the participation of a loved one in the treatment of their partner’s hearing Loss. Significant others often play a role in patients seeking audiology testing to begin with, and they can also assist clinicians in understanding the specific communication challenges their partner faces. In addition, the involvement of a loved one can impact the continuity and effectiveness of treatment by encouraging their partner to adhere to best practices as directed.

In a groundbreaking way, audiologists like the ones at ESHC are now incorporating another important feature of social support into the hearing aid user’s experience. Aural rehabilitation (or AR) is a practice that brings trained speech therapists and audiologists together in co-treatment of hearing aid patients. Once a patient has begun using their technology, they will find that environmental noises are more noticeable. These enhanced sounds cannot be completely eliminated and they pose a challenging period of adjustment. While the brain can and will adapt, the use of aural rehabilitative exercises for the ears helps patients to perform at peak and stay in line with their peers. In fact, the use of social support programs like these is associated with a 30-40% improvement in quality of hearing.

Overall, a strong, well-trained support system that considers all aspects of a patient’s core social network will improve both the hearing function experience of a patient’s devices, as well as their self-confidence, sense of wellbeing and social comfort.

For more information, see February 2016 issue of The Hearing Journal, article title: The Benefits of Social Support for Listeners with Impaired Hearing.

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