Ways to “Spring Clean” Your Hearing Aids

Spring cleaning is not just applicable to your house! With our theme being “Spring Cleaning” this newsletter, we will talk about the importance of keeping your hearing aids clean. Here are some ways that you can freshen up your hearing aids every day:

Tip #1: When you got your hearing aids you should have been given a little brush. The brush is likely black in colour, with bristles on one end. Use that brush once a day to break away any wax or debris that is on your hearing aids! Tip #2: Check your wax guard! This is the most important cleaning task. The little white piece on your hearing aid is there for a reason. Check this piece and see if it is filled with wax, if it is it will look plugged. If this piece is plugged, it will need to be changed. You simply use the “empty side”, which is the end with no white piece, to pull out the piece by poking in the middle. Then you flip it over and push the “full side”, which is the white end, into the existing opening. Voila! A changed wax guard.

Tip #3: Use your cleaning cloth. When you got your hearing aids, you should have been given a cloth. This cloth is important! Think of it like cleaning your glasses. Once a day, you should run the cloth over your hearing aids to wipe off any wax or debris! Tip #4: If you have a dri-aid kit, use it! What is a dri-aid kit? The small jar with the orange puck on the inside. If you place your hearing aids in the jar overnight (with the battery doors open) this will pull moisture from them and keep them working tip top! Tip #5: Come in for your scheduled clean and checks. If you are due soon for a clean and check, which are done every six months, come on in to see us! We complete a full cleaning and help keep your hearing aids at their best. Think of it like taking your car in for scheduled servicing. Things work best when we maintain them!

Celina Dijkhuizen
Hearing Instrument Dispenser

Communication Strategies for Valentines Day

How to effectively communicate with your loved one this Valentines Day
by Emily Ellard and Celina Dijkhuizen
  1. Always face your partner when you are talking to them. Humans use non-verbal communication strategies, like lip reading and facial expressions to communicate. It becomes increasingly difficult for your partner to understand you if you are facing away from them.
    Emily Ellard
    Comminication Disorders Assistant
  2. Don’t just repeat – rephrase! Sometimes, we find ourselves repeating the same phrase over and over again when our partner doesn’t understand us. Instead, try rephrasing. Certain words may be more difficult to understand, so rewording what you are saying can save time and frustration.
  3. Remember that volume is not the same as clarity. Speak clearly, rather than loudly. A lot of people with hearing loss struggle with understanding. They can hear you, but they may not understand you.
    Celina Dijkhuizen
    Hearing Instrument Dispenser
  4. Slow your tempo! It is difficult to understand people who speak very quickly. This is especially true for those who are hard of hearing. By speaking at a pace that works for both you and your loved one, your conversation will flow and there will be less confusion over what was said.
  5. Keep your mouth visible. While facing your partner, try to avoid putting your hand over your mouth or blocking it in another way. Speech-reading is an effective tool for those who are hard of hearing. This is only possible if they can see your lips moving and can watch your expressions.

Hearing Aid Rentals

A patient recently asked me if he could rent hearing aids from me for six months or a year. I’ve never really given that much thought. Yes, it is common for audiologists to rent out hearing aids to those in hospice, but to rent them out to the Average Joe is virtually unheard of. I talked to a few American audiologists about it, and some of them are actually doing this in their clinics. After time and research I believe that I’ve come up with something that may appeal to some patients.

Who would benefit from this type of program?

  • The person with a non-permanent hearing loss, whose hearing is expected to return within a few months.
  • The person with cancer who only has a few months left to live and wants to “hear every word” before they leave
  • The person who believes that they are too old for hearing aids, and does not want to commit to such a large purchase
  • The person who knows they need hearing aids, but are unsure if they will truly use them, so they want to give it a honest try before they fully commit

What are the cons?

  • Some insurance plans will not allow you to use your hearing aid benefit, as you are not purchasing a hearing aid
  • You are not eligible for the government grant, as you are not purchasing a hearing aid
  • You must come in once a month to make your payment, and for us to re-activate your devices. The devices “self destruct” after a set period of time. If you do not return, they will continually beep non-stop in your ear making them useless
  • You must purchase your own batteries and supplies
  • This is a pay per service relationship. You are allowed one follow-up appointment within 14 days of the setup appointment. All other appointments are $25 per 15 minutes. Should you require reprogramming due to a change in your hearing, you will be charged for the hearing test, reprogramming and verification (currently $320.00)
  • You can only rent behind the ear devices. In order to get a molded device, you would have to purchase your own hearing aids.
  • You only have a limited color selection.

What are the pros?

  • There is no long-term commitment. You can rent the devices for 2 months or 2 years. You are not locked in. If you no longer want to rent them, just bring them back to our office and you will not be charge for the following month.
  • If a newer model is released, you can upgrade to that version for no extra cost.

What are the setup costs?

This cost is based on us setting up the devices for you. It includes a diagnostic hearing test, programming and fine tuning with real ear measures. I need to ensure that the hearing aids are giving you the right amount of volume, and will not give you any additional hearing loss. When you do a demo at our office, we do not do any fine tuning, it’s just a first fit, and the hearing aids are not programmed to their full potential.

One Device Two Devices
Setup Fee $420.00 $520.00

How much will it cost to rent the hearing aids?

There are 5 technology levels, 5 different monthly rates. You can rent one or two devices, that is totally up to you. The monthly costs are as follows:

One Device Two Devices
500 Level $40.00 $50.00
600 Level $50.00 $60.00
700 Level $60.00 $70.00
800 Level $70.00 $80.00
PRO Level $80.00 $90.00

Are there any other costs involved?

If you require a custom earmold or Bluetooth accessory, you would need to purchase those items. These items are non-refundable.

As I said, this program is not suitable for everyone, but there are a few people out there who would love to use this program. If you have any questions or concerns, please email our office manager Melissa at Melissa@youhear.ca or you can call her at our Essex location (519) 961-9285

Speech & Language Pathologist in Essex and Amherstburg

Dragana Vuletic, Speech & Language Pathologist

She’s here!! No, we’re not announcing a baby. Our new Speech and Language Pathologist has been treating patient’s out of our Essex location since November. It took some time to transfer her license from Michigan to Ontario, but it was worth the wait.

Dragana will start taking on a caseload in Amherstburg at the beginning of January. If you, your child or your parent require the services of a speech and language pathologist, call us today to book an appointment with Dragana (we call her “Dee”).

Dragana graduated with her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has clinical experience in schools, hospitals and outpatient clinics. Dragana has treated clients in early language intervention, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, infants and children with cochlear implants, and adults with communication disorders. She has her initial registration with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) and is a Clinical Fellow with the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). She has recently received training for the PROMPT technique and is always looking forward to expanding her knowledge in the field of speech-language pathology.

 

Emily Ellard, Communicate Disorders Assistant

Dragana will be providing services with the help of our Communicative Disorders Assistant Emily. What is a communicative disorders assistant? “[A]ny individual employed in a role supporting the delivery of speech-language pathology and/or audiology services AND receiving supervision in those duties by a qualified speech-language pathologist or audiologist”.

Emily graduated from the Communicative Disorders Assistant program at Lambton College in 2016 and completed the Audiologist’s Assistant program at Nova Southeastern University shortly after. She will assist Dragana at our Essex and Amherstburg locations.

For an appointment in Essex, call Melissa at (519) 961-9285 or email Melissa@YouHear.ca

For an appointment in Amherstburg, call Marlene at (519) 730-1030 or email Marlene@YouHear.ca

 

Aural Rehabilitation Program

People are shocked when I tell them that their hearing aids are not going to solve all of their listening problems. Hearing aids give you back the sounds that you’ve been missing, but they do not train your brain to hear, especially in noisy situations. I recommend that my patient’s complete rehabilitation when they get hearing aids or a cochlear implant. When you break a leg, you often go to therapy with physiotherapy to regain function. Function will never be 100%, but if you want the best outcome therapy will increase your function. The same can be said for your hearing. You will never hear 100%, but the therapy will improve how you function in quiet and noisy situations.

We offer two different programs that can be completed in our office under the supervision of our audiologist or speech-language pathologist, or if you prefer, once we’ve set you up, you can complete the program from the comfort of your own home.

The basic program consists of 11 classes. The objective is to increase your hearing and speech understanding in difficult listening situations. The total cost of the program is $500.00 ($300.00 if you purchased your hearing aids from one of our clinics), but if you will be completing the program on your own at home the cost is $100.00.

Our advanced program consists of 24 sessions. The objective is to increase your hearing and speech understanding in difficult listening situations, but instead of using the pre-recorded voice for training, we can use the voice of a loved one, the person in your life that you have the most difficulty hearing. The total cost of the advance program is $1,070.00, but if you will be completing the program on your own at home the cost is $150.00.  If you want us to help you customize the program by adding the voice of a loved one, there is an extra cost. The cost for customized voice will vary based on the number of sessions it takes for us to complete the recordings.

These classes are perfect for:

  • individuals with normal hearing but suffer from auditory processing disorders,
  • individuals with normal hearing but have trouble hearing in noise,
  • first time hearing aid users,
  • long term hearing aid users who struggle in noise and
  • cochlear implant users

You can take these courses, even if you purchased your hearing aids elsewhere. We do not want to sell you hearing aids, we want to help you hear at your best.

If you have insurance that covers speech-language pathology or audiology, part or all of the above charges may be covered by your insurance plan. If you do not have insurance, you can claim the cost of the course as a medical expense when you do your taxes.

If you would like for us to check your coverage with your insurance plan on your behalf, please contact:

Essex: Melissa at (519) 961-9285 or email Melissa@YouHear.ca

Amherstburg: Marlene at (519) 730-1030 or email Marlene@YouHear.ca

Buying Hearing Aids from independent clinic versus a big box store

I will start off by saying that I will always recommend an independent private practice audiologist over a chain. Part of the reason being because I am in private practice. There are of course other reasons:

(1) Locally owned and operated: we support local charities, events, sports teams. Our small audiology clinics are the ones supporting events in Amherstburg, Essex,  LaSalle, Harrow and McGregor.

(2) Not directly, or indirectly, owned by a hearing aid manufacturer. You will always be prescribed that is best for you, not what is best for our shareholders in Europe.

(3) You are guaranteed to see a regulated health care provider. Many chins do not have audiologists on staff, therefore may not be seeing an audiologist and may not realize it. Many audiologists in our region are in private practice. If you live in Amherstburg, LaSalle, Harrow or McGregor and want to be seen by a regulated hearing healthcare professional, then you need to visit a private practice.

I do realize that there is a reason why you would want to buy from a chain. The only real reason I can think of is that you are planning on moving in the near future and want to deal with a company that has a location near your new home. You probably thought I was going to suggest that price would be a reason to buy from a chain. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Hearing aids are regulated medical devices, so there really isn’t a price difference between clinics. If you believe you will get a deal at a chain, book an appointment with an independent audiology clinic to see what they can offer.  You may be surprised that the independent private practice may offer a better deal than the faceless hearing aid chain.

Hearing Aid Batteries

You wouldn’t think I’d have much to say about something as simple as a hearing aid battery. Well, let me prove you wrong.

Battery Sizes

Patients always think that there is only one hearing aid battery size. I hate to burst your bubble, but there are four. Below are the different battery sizes, listed from the smallest to the largest:

  • Size 5 (red sticker): VERY small battery. I don’t think they make this battery anymore.
  • Size 10 (yellow sticker): the smallest battery on the market.
  • Size 312 (brown sticker): medium sized battery
  • Size 13 (orange sticker): larger battery
  • Size 675 (blue sticker): largest battery on the market

How long will my battery last?

The larger the battery, the longer it will last. There are other factors that will dictate how long a battery will last: (1) the number of hours a day you wear your hearing aids, (2) the volume that the hearing aid is set at – the louder the aid, the more current it will drain (3) devices connected to the hearing aids (bluetooth, FM system etc..) will drain more current.

What brand hearing aid battery should I buy?

Many people think that they can put just any battery in their hearing aid. When you invest thousands of dollars into a sophisticated medical device, do you think it’s wise to skimp on the batteries? My self-pay patient’s do not have to worry about purchasing hearing aid batteries, as they get batteries as part of their service plan. I do, however, encounter people who recently moved to town or obtained their hearing aids from another clinic. I cringe whenever I hear someone say that they purchase their hearing aid batteries from a store that “sells items for a dollar”. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bargain, but hearing aid batteries are not an area where you want to cut corners.

I have heard people tell me that the “cheaper” size 312 batteries last a day or two. If that is the case, you may be spending more in the long run if the same size “brand name” battery would last seven to ten days. Another concern with the cheaper batteries is that they have been known to destroy hearing aids. You may save a couple dollars on batteries, but it isn’t worth it if you have to spend thousands of dollars to replace a damaged hearing aid.

For the price conscious individual, we sell a four pack of hearing aid batteries for $2.50. Our private label batteries are a brand name, and we get out logo put on the packaging. I know the local “things for a dollar store” sells two batteries for $1.00. When you do the math, our batteries work out to be $1.25 per package and the brand name company that we get them from guarantees that they will not destroy your hearing aids.

Do I have to pay tax on hearing aid batteries?

Hearing aids are a medical expense. Hearing aid batteries are also a medical expense. You DO NOThave to pay taxes on hearing aid batteries. In fact, you can claim the cost of hearing aid batteries on your taxes.

What is an Audiologist

I have the pleasure to work with new patients everyday. When going over my patients case histories, I ask them the following two questions: “Have you ever had your hearing tested? If yes, by whom?”

I am amazed by the amount of people who tell me that they were tested by an audiologist, but in reality they were tested by the office secretary, the physicians wife, or even the janitor. You may think I’m joking, but unfortunately I’m not. The next time you see your audiologist, ask them about this and I guarantee you that they will tell you something along the same lines.

I’m not going to bash any other profession, but I do think that patients need to know who they are seeing. Obviously, I am biased: if you ask me EVERYONE should see an audiologist.

When getting a hearing test, you may encounter one of the following three different professionals:

Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor:

Also known as E.N.T. or an Otolaryngologist, this is a surgeon. E.N.T.s are medical doctors. Surgeons do surgery, and prescribe medications.  Often, family doctors will refer patient’s who complain of hearing loss to these surgeons. Personally, I believe that this is often a waste of a medical referral. Especially during the cold months when children with chronic ear infections have to wait months before getting an appointment. Just my two cents.

Audiologists:

What can I say, Audiologists are awesome. I just wish the general population knew who we were. When I tell people what I do, people think I work with stereo equipment. If you are one of those people, don’t be ashamed. I went to visit a local family doctor and he had NO CLUE what I did. I wish I was joking, but I am not.

Now you really want to know what an Audiologists do. Audiologist have a Masters or Doctorate level degree in Audiology. After completing undergrad, we complete three to five years of advanced education. Simply put, we diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders. DISCLAIMER: Ohh wait… in Ontario we don’t diagnose (I will save that for a later rant). When you see an Audiologist we will measure you hearing, similar to how an Optometrist (Eye Doctor) measures your visual acuity. An Audiologist will prescribe hearing aids, similar to how an Optometrist will prescribe glasses.  We also see patients with balance disorders, tinnitus (ringing/sounds in the ear), and central auditory processing disorders.

Hearing Aid Dispenser:

If you had a “free hearing test”, you most likely saw a hearing aid dispenser. I hate to use the eye example again but think of them in the same light as an optician. Opticians can dispense (or teach you) how to use your glasses (and possibly contact lenses, I’m not sure about that), hearing aid dispensers are supposed to dispense hearing aids BUT there is a loophole in our Ontario Healthcare system that allows them to “suggest” hearing aids (this will be a topic of a later rant).  Dispensers are non-regulated health care providers who have a college level diploma.

As I said before, I am biased towards Audiologists. I hope I haven’t confused you. If you, or a loved one, have a hearing loss it would be in your best interest to be evaluated by an Audiologist.  Book an appointment to see an Audiologist today!

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the name given to the sensation of noises in the head and or ears. It is present when there is no external corresponding source. Patients report that it sounds like high pitched hissing, sizzling, ringing, buzzing, chirping, clicking, rushing, booming, roaring or even a pulsating or thumping sound.

Tinnitus can begin at any age. Although it does not mean that you have hearing loss, many people with hearing loss complain about tinnitus. According to the Tinnitus Association of Canada, there are more than 360,000 Canadians that suffer from this condition. Within that group, 150,000 report that these noises seriously impair their enjoyment of life.

The most common causes of tinnitus are a blow to the head, infection, noise exposure, whiplash injury; any kind of emotional or physical stress, or shock.

Who can help?

An Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeon may exam you to detect conditions such as an acoustic neuroma, or otosclerosis, that the presence of tinnitus may suggest.

An Audiologist can test your hearing to determine whether the tinnitus might be eased by a hearing aid, a masker, or a combination of the two. There are a handful of audiologists that are qualified as counselors in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Doctor of Audiology Bernice A. McKenzie is proud to be one of those audiologists.

CONTACT US TODAY TO ARRANGE A TINNITUS EVALUATION…TOLL FREE 855.730.1030

For more information on tinnitus, please visit the websites for the Canadian Tinnitus Foundation, The American Tinnitus Association or the British Tinnitus Association.

For information about tinnitus management, please visit the website for the Tinnitus Practitioners Association.

My family doctor would know if I had a hearing loss

If you suspect that a loved one has a hearing loss, do not assume that the family physician will let you know. Less than 12% of physicians refer their patients to audiology. Physicians do not notice hearing loss because they typically see their patients in an ideal listening situation (small quiet room with no background noise).

If you believe that your loved one has a hearing loss, do not wait for the family physician to recommend a hearing test. You do not need a referral to see an audiologist, we are like dentists, you just need to call and make an appointment. Our clinic has been serving the residents of Amherstburg, LaSalle, McGregor, Essex, Harrow and Windsor since 2010.

I Think I’ll Wait Until My Hearing Gets Really Bad

“I Think I’ll Wait Until My Hearing Gets Really Bad”
Laurie Bornstein, MS, CCC/A
Executive Hearing LLC

What is your reason to postpone an investment in better hearing? While cost may certainly be a concern, it has also been shown that even when hearing aids are free, many still balk at wearing them. What’s worse is when physicians tell their patients that they are “too young” to wear hearing aids, or “not bad enough yet,” or that “hearing aids only make things louder.”

Physicians who are not Ear, Nose and Throat specialists get very little education about hearing in medical school. Even ENTs who are quite knowledgeable about ears are seldom educated about hearing aids, but because they are medical doctors, patients listen to them and accept as fact statements that might only be opinions. Hearing aid technology changes so frequently that audiologists can barely keep up, but that’s precisely what makes audiology a specialty that requires several years of schooling and constant updating!

When your physician (or anyone!) tells you to skip getting hearing aids for now, ask if s/he knows of a medical or surgical intervention that will make you hear better or make your tinnitus subside. If the answer is no, then get out of there and head to an audiologist for another opinion.

If you have trouble hearing – even “sometimes” – please don’t postpone taking care of it. Today’s hearing solutions range from simple amplifiers that are useful for those who truly might not benefit much from “real” hearing aids, yet report some difficulties, to high-tech devices that will even interact with some electronic devices in the home.
Many people don’t realize how much they miss and how much added stress and fatigue results from straining to hear. Life is not only safer and experiences richer when one can hear, people report having energy that they thought was only available to the young.

Now that there has been shown to be a relationship between untreated hearing loss and early onset of dementia, it is more important than ever to retain your hearing as long as possible. If that means wearing hearing aids, wear them proudly in the realization that you are taking care of yourself so that you can interact fully for as long as you walk this earth. Friends and loved ones are counting on you!

You are a Doctor but I can’t call you Doctor?

Our audiologist is a Doctor of Audiology. She was part of the first graduating class of Doctors of Audiology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Prior to her official graduation the was practicing in Livonia and was referred to as “Dr. McKenzie”, then after she graduated she returned to Ontario where she could no longer use her title.

In the United States, audiologists who hold a doctorate degree are able to address themselves as Doctor to their patients. In Mexico, audiologists who hold a doctorate degree are able to address themselves as Doctor to their patients.In the U.K., audiologists who hold a doctorate degree are able to address themselves as Doctor to their patients. In other provinces of Canada, audiologists who hold a doctorate degree are able to address themselves as Doctor to their patients. Unfortunately, audiologists who hold a doctorate degree in audiology are unable to address themselves as doctor in in Ontario.

There is a list of several health care professions that are allowed to use the title doctor while treating patients in Ontario. This list includes physicians, chiropractors, optometrists, dentists and psychologists. Patient’s who go to a dentist, are not confused when they see “Dr. Smith”. Patient’s who go to an optometrist, are not confused when they see “Dr. Brown”. Patient’s who bring their dog to a vet are not confused when they see “Dr. White”. Yet, for some reason it is believed that patients who make an appointment to see an audiologist will be confused when they see “Dr. Green”.

Our audiologist is Dr.McKenzie when she goes to the bank. She is Dr. McKenzie when she renews her drivers license or passport. She is Dr. McKenzie in every situation but one: when she treats her patients. She has to actually correct her patients when they refer to her as Dr. McKenzie.

In June 2016, audiologist Dr. Brenda Berge launched a constitutional challenge to use the title doctorwhen treating patients. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen next. We will update this post once a decision has been made.

Sudden Hearing Loss

A few times a year I will get a phone call from a patients wanting to be seen right away because they woke up and could not hear out of one ear. Sometimes these people will complain about tinnitus, dizziness or a plugged up feeling. Sometimes the only symptom is hearing loss.

Sudden hearing loss is something you want to get checked right away. Here are some steps for you to follow:

(1) You will want to have your ears checked for wax by either your local independent audiologist, your family physician or nurse practitioner.

(2) If wax is not the culprit, you will want a full audiometric evaluation performed by an audiologist.

(3) Your audiologist will determine the degree and type of hearing loss that you have and then recommend the appropriate next steps. You may have to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon (Otolaryngologist), and having a hearing test will help the audiologist come up with recommendations.

 If you woke up with decreased vision you would book an eye exam right away. Do not ignore sudden hearing loss, book a test with our local independent audiologist. Residents of Amherstburg, Harrow, LaSalle, McGregor, Essex and Windsor can call our office to be tested by our Doctor of Audiology.

Understanding Hearing Loss

A hearing loss, or hearing impairment, is when your hearing is not within the normal predisposed range. In order to understand this, it might be helpful to understand a hearing test and what it measures.

An audiogram is a graphical representation of what you hear. There will be two axes: one represents the different frequencies tested in Hertz (Hz) and the other represents the level/volume in decibel (dB). Based on the test results, we will plot the softest sound that you hear at each specific frequency, which is called the threshold. Responses obtained from the right ear are plotted by using an “O” while responses obtained from the left ear are plotted with an “X”. To make sure you understand this concept, let us look at the audiogram below. The threshold for the right ear at 250Hz is 25dB, at 2000Hz it is 40dB and at 8000Hz it is 65dB.

Normal hearing is 0dB for all the frequencies, but we take the range between -10dB to 25dB as an acceptable one. That means that any threshold where the number is 25dB or greater is considered to be a hearing loss.

To give you an idea of how loud things are, below is a list of various sounds and their corresponding decibel levels.

audiogram0 dB – Threshold of hearing
20dB – Rustling Leaves
30 dB – Quiet Whisper 3 feet away
40dB – A Quiet Home
50dB – A Quiet Street
60dB – Normal Conversation
70dB – Inside a Car
75dB – Loud Singing 3 feet away
80dB – A Car 25 feet away
88dB – Motorcycle 30 feet away
90dB – Foodblender 3 feet away
94dB – A Subway (inside)
100dB – A Diesel Truck 30 feet away
107dB – A Power Mower 3 feet away
115dB – Pneumatic Riveter 3 feet away
117dB – A Cain Saw 3 feet away
130dB – A Jet Plane 100 feet away

“Throughout the years, I have had many patients tell me that their hearing is normal for their age. There are no age specific values for normal hearing. You either have hearing loss or you don’t.”
Bernice A. McKenzie, Au.D.

Why are there no testimonials on your website

We get asked that question at least once a day.

Our clinic is owned and operated by an audiologist and registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). As such, we are governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act of 1991. Regulated health care professionals in Ontario are not permitted to publish testimonials.

You will not see testimonials for dentists, optometrists, physicians, pharmacists, psychologists or any other regulated health care provider in Ontario. The Ministry of Health does not allow their use.

If you visit a website for hearing health care and notice that there are testimonials, it is highly likely that you are not dealing with a regulated health care provider.

Regulation is important. The colleges are there to protect the public. Health regulatory colleges are responsible for ensuring that regulated health professionals provide health services in a safe, professional and ethical manner. This includes, among other things, setting standards of practice for the profession and investigating complaints about members of the profession and, where appropriate, disciplining them.

As a patient, if you have a complaint about services provided by a regulated health care provider, you can complain to their respective college. If you were treated by an unregulated provider, then you have no recourse whatsoever.

To learn more about regulated health care providers visit the Ministry of Health website here.

To learn more about the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) visit their website here.

Why are some hearing aids so cheap?

We’ve all seen them, those adverts advertising a hearing aid for a very cheap price. Ever wonder why certain chains offer such low prices? There are many reasons at play:

  • It could be really old technology
  • It could be that they have already discounted the government grant from the price listed
  • It could be that the chain or clinic is owned by a hearing aid manufacturer company and they are trying to get rid of stock
  • It could be a device that other audiologists will not prescribe due to quality issues
  • It may not even be a hearing aid, you may be looking at a simple amplifier

Regardless of the price, if you are considering getting one of these hearing aids for an unbelievable price you should ask the audiologist (if you are even dealing with an audiologist) to tell you why you are getting such a “great deal”. As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. If you are looking at a hearing aid as a commodity instead of a medical device then you may do well with something that is sub-par. My suggestion to you: get a second opinion from an independent audiologist in private practice. You can always call and make an appointment with our Doctor of Audiology. She’s been giving second opinions to local residents in Amherstburg, Harrow, LaSalle, McGregor, Essex and Windsor for years.

A blood test for your hearing loss or vertigo?

I recently came across this article: Detecting Hearing Loss, Vertigo Via Blood Tests

University of Connecticut Health physician-scientist Dr. Kourosh Parham has discovered two ear proteins that circulate in the blood whose presence and quantities correlate with ear disorders. As a result he has developed the first blood test to identify ear disorders. 

Does that mean the end of hearing tests? NOPE! This means that one day your Doctor may be able to accurately run a blood test that shows you have an ear disorder to expedite a referral to an audiologist or otolaryngologist!

So while this isn’t the end of sitting in a sound proof booth, this is scientific progress!

 

 

Can I be frank about something?

I’ve recently had the worst summer cold ever, which started as a sore throat (for which my doctor gave me antibiotics), which worsened and then proceeded to make me bed ridden the entire long weekend +1. In this midst of all the this fun and excitement (ugh I felt like a bag of sand) both of my eardrums perforated. Ruptured. Tore.

I’ve now been without a significant portion of my hearing for 3 days. This is what’s called a conductive hearing loss.

con·duc·tive
kənˈdəktiv/
adjective
adjective: conductive
  1. having the property of conducting something (especially heat or electricity or sound).
    “to induce currents in conductive coils”
    • of or relating to conduction.

My hearing will gradually find its way back to me with the help of my Doctor’s magic drops and time, as my eardrums heal I should get my hearing back. It can take 8+ weeks to heal on its own. If it doesn’t, I need a referral to see an Otolaryngologist if my ear drums don’t heal on their own and I still have a significant hearing loss.

Here are the things that I have noticed since I’ve been for all tense and purposes placed in a sound proof bubble:

  1. Everything makes noise. My pen on the desk, my dogs’ nails on the floor. The neighbor’s car door, my car, my phone. I never really noticed how noisy the world was before – now that its gone the silence is deafening. Poof. Gone. The most bizarre sensation in the world is standing in the shower (with my ears protected from water) and not hearing the water fall. Bizarre. Like, I laughed out loud about it. I can’t hear the keys right now as I type, but I know they are making noise. So if a tree falls in a forest, it does make a sound.
  2. People suck at communication skills. I like to think that because of where I work, I may be an exception… But in general, when you tell people that you can’t hear them, they continue talking at the same volume and pitch they were speaking before, they make no greater effort for you to hear them out. i.e. my Doctor yesterday kept turning away from me when she was talking. And I would have to ask her repeat herself. Over. And Over. And Over. Look at me, because the pieces of the puzzle that I can’t hear can be filled in by my looking at your beautiful face!
  3. There’s a lot of noise in my head. Every inhale, every exhale. Every bite I chew. Every hair I comb, every time I move my head or jaw. Clearing my throat is loud. My stomach growling woke me out of a cold and sinus drug addled sleep. This is all a symptom of conductive hearing loss, and it is obnoxious that I can’t hear much that goes on on the outside of my own head. Everything on the inside… LOUD. Part of it of course is because I don’t hear anything else, its not drowning out the sound of my swallowing.
  4. I’m exhausted. Now that the general malaise is gone from my illness and it took some hearing with it, everything I do is a struggle and I’m exhausted trying to read people, struggle on the phone with all the fantastic people who call me (that’s you!) and it makes me tired. My brain is working too hard to compensate.
  5. Tinnitus is real. My particular tinnitus is pulsatile tinnitus, I can hear my heartbeat. Its not a sound that anyone else can hear, every heartbeat I hear loud and clear in my head. Every last one. Over. And Over. And Over. I wake up and its there. I try to sleep and its there. I can’t mask this with another sound, because I can’t hear that either. This will go away when my hearing comes back and I hear other things than what is happening in my head. I hope.

So that’s that. The first thing I said to Bernice and Paige when my hearing hopped a train was ‘I can’t understand why hearing aids don’t sell themselves’. So if I might be frank, this not hearing all the sounds is no joke. My hearing loss happened suddenly and traumatically so of course, I noticed all the sounds gone at once, not gradually like everyone else. None the less, this has been a real eye opener. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to hear the sounds of life.

I’m frantic to get a piece of those sounds back. 8+ weeks seems so far away.

~melissa

 

Protect your ears this summer

The summer season is fast upon us, and so are all the fun summer activities! We’d like to take a minute to remind you of how important it is to remember that some of the fun things you do could have an irreversible effect of your hearing.

  1. Yard Work: A well groomed yard shouldn’t lead to hearing loss as you age. Protect your hearing from lawn mowers, weed whippers, chain saws and leaf blowers!
  2. Fireworks: The beautiful displays of fireworks can damage your hearing. Ringing in at up to 125dB, that’s enough to permanently cause a threshold shift. Remember your children’s ears as well at fireworks time.
  3. Sporting Events & Concerts: The loud cheers at your favorite ballpark (Go Tigers!) and summer concerts can last up to 3 hours. On average, the sound levels can reach 95dB+. That duration and intensity of sound may result in tinnitus the next day – that’s your ears’ way of telling you they were overexposed to sound.
  4. Boats and Motorcycles: Its not just the engine noise that can harm your hearing – wind noise can be the culprit! Consult our audiologists for custom hearing protection that will still allow you to hear the important sounds around you while riding and boating safely.

Make sure you get outside and enjoy all of the super activities that are part of summer traditions, but please – PROTECT THOSE EARS! If you are experiencing ringing, buzzing or fullness in your ears this summer, consult our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists!