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:

  • Hearing Aid Maintenance and Cleaning
  • 6-month Check ups
  • Chart Review
  • Hearing Aid Pick Ups
  • Drop in appointments for repairs

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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Fact Friday: Almost 25% of Americans Have Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Facts

According to a study conducted by Adele M. Goman and Frank R. Lin of John Hopkins University, a shocking 38.3 (23% of population) million of Americans aged 12 years and older are struggling with hearing loss.

According to this study, nearly 25 million people have mild hearing loss, 10.7 – moderate and almost 2 million – severe to profound hearing loss. “Older individuals displayed a higher prevalence of hearing loss and more severe levels of loss. Across most ages, the prevalence was higher among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites than among non-Hispanic Blacks and was higher among men than women.” – Goman and Lin

Read More: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303299

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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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Music Helps Babies’ Brain Development

As parents, we often wonder how much influence music has on our babies’ lives. If your family is not particularly musical, that question may not even come to mind. But according to this University of Washington study, music plays a tremendous role in babies’ speech and brain development.

In this study, 39 babies attended a dozen of 15-minute play sessions, where half of them listened to music and had exposure to musical instruments, while the other half were a control group. Both groups played with the same toys and had the same surroundings, the key difference was in whether the researcher taught the baby to tap out musical beats or not.  After the sessions were complete, researchers used MEG technology (magnetocephalography) to measure the precise location and timing of brain activity. They found that children who listened to music had stronger brain responses. This suggests that listening to music during play sessions has improved the babies’ abilities to control attention and detect patterns in sounds. .

This study is an reminder that music is an important factor in our children’s cognitive development and that learning is not only done through school assignments and tests. As stated in the study, “this research reminds us that the effects of engaging in music go beyond music itself. Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children’s abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today’s complex world.”

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