Monthly Archives

December 2018

How to overcome the ‘stigma’ of hearing aids

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Patients (especially males!) are often very self-conscious about the look of hearing aids and feeling old.
Dr. Jane Baxter, Au.D. walks us through how she tackles this social obstacle in her office:
I handle each patient differently.
Sometimes I take a hearing aid and put it on their ear without showing them what it looks like.
I then get two mirrors and hold them up in the front and the back for them to look. 
After I ask them what they think, they say “Where is it? I can’t see it.”  
I point out that you can’t see the tiny devices that rest in the shadow behind the ear.
Their response is an emotional one, so it doesn’t help to point out that a hearing loss is much more noticeable than a hearing aid! 
Holding your hand up to your ear, asking for repetitions, answering with the wrong answer are all much more noticeable than a small device behind the ear.
There are now many invisible hearing aids and I always ask my patients to be honest and tell me if this is important to them.
Some devices sit deep in the ear canal near the eardrum.
I tell them my job is to select the best technology and style of device for them.
There is no best hearing aid for everyone.
It takes your brain time to learn and hearing aids need to be calibrated as your brain changes.
NO two hearing losses are alike, and people’s brains react to sounds differently.
The relationship with each patient allows us to customize their hearing aids just for them.
You hear with your ears but interpret and process with your brain.
It is important to measure each patient’s ability to process sound in noisy environments, sounds that are uncomfortably loud, etc. 
Schedule an appointment with us today to see if hearing aids are right for you.
-Dr. Jane H. Baxter, Au.D.

Hearing loss can have an impact on your mental health

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An obvious consequence of hearing loss is not being able to connect with loved ones and friends. 

An underlying consequence that most don’t think about is how not being able to hear correctly can affect the psyche. 

For some, being in social situations can be mildly stressful. Factor in hearing loss? You’ve just maxed out that stress level. 

Besides run-of-the-mill stress, there are more serious psychological conditions that may develop or worsen when you suffer from hearing loss.

An April 2018 article in Maruitas, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering midlife and post-reproductive health, found there are common central neurological, anatomical and physiological processes affected by depression, anxiety and stress and hearing loss.

Several doctors conducted a study with about 150 adults who were divided into three groups: normal hearing, mild to moderate hearing, and severe hearing loss. 

What researchers found is that the severity of depression, anxiety and stress increased with the severity of hearing impairment.

Another June 2018 study found a link between depression and hearing loss, as well as an increased risk for those psychological symptoms in women. 

The study took a look at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011-2012 to take a look at the correlation between hearing loss and depression. 

Those suffering from moderate to worse hearing loss are associated with depression in women ages 52–69 years. 

Those researchers also noted that hearing screenings are likely to reduce delays in diagnosis and provide early opportunities for help. 

More folks are at risk of these psychological factors that you’d think. 

That’s because more than a third of the world’s population above the age of 65 suffers from some sort of age-related hearing loss. 

It’s the third most chronic condition in the United States, and hearing loss may be connected to depression. 

Schedule an appointment today to see how we can help improve your quality of life. 

See our list of services here. 

Exploring the future of hearing aid technology

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At Pacific Hearing Service we want to educate our patients and the community about the importance of hearing health.

That’s why we held a symposium with Dr. Achin Bhowmik about how the future of hearing aid technology is more than just a hearing aid.

Dr. Bhowmik (formerly General Manager of Perceptual Computing Group at Intel) compared the past 10 years of cell phone technology.

In 2007 cell phones were just telephones. Now? They are calendars, cameras, music players, computers with Internet access, games, Tesla keys, Books, calculators, weather reports, newspapers, wallets, credit cards, radios, and so much more. 

Smartphone sales have increased 10 fold in the past 10 years whereas hearing aid sales have been flat.

The good news is that’s about to change. 

The newest hearing devices will provide exceptional hearing and also provide many benefits for tracking your health.

For example, they have sensors to detect if you fall. 911 will be called or your relative notified.

You can track your steps, exercise, and monitor ‘brain health’ by how much you are engaging in conversations with others.

The hearing device will also translate 37 languages.

Many of our patients will benefit from having a hearing device that also monitors their health.

Artificial Intelligence is only beginning to strongly influence our lives. In hearing devices, it will learn a patient’s individual listening preferences and make adaptations to help them hear more clearly in challenging environments.

Patients of all ages were engaged and asked lots of questions about how the technology works and how it will improve their lives.

This is an exciting time for us and people with hearing loss.