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Empathy: Hear What I Hear  

By definition, empathy has two meanings. One is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to fully understand or “feel” what they are experiencing so that they can really feel understood. The other is to be able to relate to someone else’s situation because you’ve personally experienced the same thing.

It might not always be possible to use personal experience, but as caring humans we are capable of investing deep thought and feeling to imagining what it would feel like if we were to have the same experience as someone else. This takes more thought and effort than offering sympathy, which by definition is recognition of another’s suffering and is expressed by kind words meant to soothe the person who is suffering.

Sympathy is not out of place here; it is usually very honest and coming from the heart, but what our specialists find is what clients really need is empathy. Due to their initial and ongoing education and many years working with the hard of hearing population, our specialists know that living with hearing loss is difficult. Our Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists (BC-HIS) care about these difficulties. They want to get to know you and find out how hearing loss affects you so that they can better empathize with your specific wants and needs. This enables them to put “themselves into your shoes”, allows them to determine the best course of action, and gives them the tools they need to recommend the best quality hearing solutions to meet your needs and expectations.

We want you to hear your loved ones in the car, and we want you to be able to chat about the weather with the cashier at the grocery store with ease. We also definitely want you to hear your grandchildren describe what they did in school on a particular day. Human interaction is important to a healthy life!

We all suffer at some point in our lives, but if we can empathize with each other we are opening a door to more personal connection and better communication, which leads to more understanding and hopefully more happiness.

Kim Ryll, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

Taking Care of Business  

Are you a musician worried about what loud music is doing to the very thing you depend on to develop and fine tune your craft – your hearing?

There are products designed to help reduce the level of noise you are exposed to while still keeping the full integrity of sound. In-ear monitors are one of these products. Whether you are a seasoned professional, budding musician, an audiophile, or a sound engineer, you can benefit from in-ear monitors.

In-ear monitors are custom-made devices that offer both comfort and noise reduction. For musicians, in-ear monitors can reduce vocal strain, eliminate feedback, and protect your hearing while simultaneously allowing you to hear the thunderous cheering of the room (or your mom and dad clapping at the back of the room).

For professional engineers or home recording aficionados, in-ear monitors will give you a wider range of access to harmonic composition and overtones that will take your end product to the next level. You can use one monitor for quality improvement or two for a stereo-like effect, as well as the increased ability to balance sound or pan from left to right.

For audiophiles, with the comfort of a custom-made product, you will be able to hear the full range of sound, just like the musicians who recorded the music. Any genre of music will be enhanced with in-ear monitors.

Custom made musician ear molds are also fantastic, whether you are on stage or on the floor being mesmerized by your favorite band. Musician ear molds will reduce the decibel of sound you are exposed to, all the while maintaining sound quality.

Remember: protect your hearing while you are still young (or young at heart). A rock concert can reach 110 – 120dB and headsets can go as loud as 105dB – a level that can cause hearing damage faster than you can say “bravo”.

Click here to find a Board Certified professional near you.

Written by 
Alissa Horneland BC-HIS
Board Certified Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
 

 WHY DO MY EARS ITCH? 

Clients often mention that they have itchy ear canals. This is fairly common and there are a number of soothing ear drops you can use to remedy the itch, but different causes will require a specific treatment. Read on for helpful information you can use to assess what kind of itchy ears you have and what can be done to alleviate it.

Ear Wax
If your ear canal makes excessive wax this can cause itchiness or irritation. Ear wax can safely be removed by any of our Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists (BC-HIS) click on this link to find a certified professional near you.  Your doctor can also safely remove ear wax at their office.

Using Q-Tips
We do not advocate for the use of Q-Tips for cleaning ear canals. Many people have injured their own ear drums by accident, which can lead to infections or hearing loss. Q-Tips may also be removing your natural wax barrier that keeps the skin in the ear canal moisturized, causing itchiness. It is safe to use a drop of olive oil on a cotton ball at the entrance of your ear canal to help replenish moisture.

Skin Issues
Psoriasis and eczema are two conditions that cause skin to be itchy. Signs of either may be scaling, very dry skin in or around the ear, or cracking skin. These conditions need to be treated medically by your doctor.

Allergies
Some people report itchy ears occur alongside seasonal allergies. Ask your doctor if anti-histamines will help.

Fungal Ear Infections
These are commonly caused by hot, humid environments or swimming on a regular basis. Water carries fungal contaminants and if left to sit in the ear canal, it can allow the fungus to grow and irritate the ear. This type of condition needs to be treated by your doctor.

Hygiene Products
Shampoo, bubble bath, soap, hair dye and hairspray may have ingredients that are irritating the sensitive skin in your ears. Be sure to rinse out your ears with clean water and dry them very well afterwards with your pinky finger and a thin facecloth. The skin in your ears has it’s own natural pH level and it is important to keep the natural balance. 

Our certified professionals offer safe, effective ear drop products to help soothe general itchiness in the ears. Be sure to ask about these products it the next time you are in their office.

Source: http://www.med-health.net/Itchy-Inner-Ear.html
Kim Ryll, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

 The Future of Hearing Aid Technology

Continuous improvements and innovations are being made in the area of hearing aid technology. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on research and development so that patients can connect with the world around them through sound. With that, hearing aids have gone through amazing changes in the last couple of decades. Firstly, we have witnessed the move from analog to digital. Analog hearing aids would amplify all sounds in the surrounding environment. This was a great first step; however, hearing is a complicated process that not only involves the ear, but also requires that the brain act as a filtering system to prioritize auditory information.

Advanced digital hearing aid options began to possess the ability to make real time refinements to help with clarity and comfort in noise. Hearing aid manufacturers continue to research not only how hearing aids or other hearables can help one hear better, but also to help the hearing aid user to distinguish speech from noise for better speech intelligibility. There are incredible features like multiband compression, feedback cancellation, noise reduction, speech enhancement, environment classification and a host of other signal processing technologies that have significantly improved listening capability and clarity.

The future of hearing aids may be much more than just a hearable. The introduction to wireless and Bluetooth technology has provided a foundation for the next wave of advancement. Imagine a hearing aid that not only helps you hear, but also tracks and monitors your heart rate. There are many devices on the market currently that help track your health but they require regular charging, and some are obtrusive and obvious, since they are worn on the wrist. 

One hearing aid manufacturer has paired up with Bragi to hopefully make a much more advanced hearing aid that will not only help the patient hear well, but also track additional health data. For hearing aid wearers, there is a medical necessity to this device, unlike the wrist-worn technologies. Imagine a loved one, at home alone and their heart rate suddenly drops. The sensors in the hearing aid pick this up and call an emergency responder for help or automatically dials them in to a loved one. The possibilities are endless. 

This is just a small implication of what the future may hold. The technology will get more sophisticated year after year to help those with hearing loss improve their quality of life but also, perhaps, save their life!

Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner 

          ​HEARING AID CONSUMERS ARE DOING THEIR HOMEWORK 

Hearing aid consumers are doing their homework.  After selling my practice I had the opportunity to do Open House events all over the US.  I really found it fascinating to work in so many different practices and see how other professionals run their businesses.  It was also interesting working with so many different types of patients.  And YES there is a difference how people in different parts of the country act and react.

Two situations come to my mind.  In the initial part of the consultation, I found out the patient recently had a hearing test at a competitor’s office.  As I was questioning them regarding the cost of the recommended product, the patient asked if the local practitioner was Board Certified.  I was a little surprised, but said yes and there on the wall was their Board Certification Certificate.  Having volunteered with NBC-HIS since it’s very inception, I was curious what prompted the question.  I informed the patient that not only was the local practitioner Board Certified but that I had helped write the Board Certification exam.  As we talked, the patient said they had read something about a professional becoming Board Certified and they liked that idea.  

The practice that had previously tested them had hem-hawed around the question and talked about how great they were.  The patient said they were not comfortable with the answer and consequently “had to think about it”. The fact that the practice I was at did have Board Certified professionals was the deciding factor for the patient to go ahead and purchase hearing aids.   

Another incident that surprised me happened a few years ago, a patient who had an appointment for the Open House came in carrying the Consumer’s Report on hearing aids (this was a couple of years after the report was published).  The first question out of their mouth was, “Do these people use Real Ear Measurement (REM)?”  After reading in the report how effective REM is for fine tuning a hearing aid fitting and how few practices used it, this was the deciding factor on whether we could even proceed with the hearing test.  Fortunately, the practice I was at did have the Real Ear capability and we were able to make a successful fitting on that patient.   

I was amazed as I worked in different practices how few actually did Real Ear or Speech Mapping and how many had no real means of measuring the output of hearing aids.  A test box and drain meter are still valuable tools to supplement Real Ear and/or sound field testing.  More and more patients want to “see” what the improvement is.  Just asking, “How do I sound now?” is not going to suffice in the future.  Tools like REM, Speech Mapping and Quick Sin don’t take much time and can reduce follow up visits and produce happier patients.  Board Certification can also add to a patient’s comfort level.  Use the tools and equipment available today and Be the Best. Be Board Certified 

Wayne Jacobson, BC-HIS

The Certification Process: It's Streamlined and Efficient

“NBC–HIS is the only certified agency that is nationally accredited, and the process is relatively easy,” says Bruce Campagna, BC-HIS, “and they help you through it.”

As leaders in the industry, we have made the certification process streamlined and efficient so that you can apply for your certification and build your career and business supported by this highly respected certification.

The National Competency Exam (NCE) is based on research data that determines the daily skills needed to be a successful Hearing Health Professional. The exam is based on practical knowledge and decision-making capabilities. A Hearing Health Professional who has received the required amount of experience should have little difficulty becoming certified.

The scheduling of the exam is flexible, and we can work to your timing to set up your exam. As well, the exam has been made more user-friendly. And we’ve streamlined it so you get results fast! You can find your nearest exam location hereThe last word goes to Bruce Campagna who enthusiastically states:


“I’m encouraging you to be the best. Be board certified."

Had Your Hearing Checked Recently

12.14.16 blog by Hansen

Had your hearing checked recently?

I’ve had many patients in the past that tell me they have not had their hearing checked since grade school.  Yet they annually get a physical exam, eye exam and their teeth cleaned.  This just doesn’t make sense to me.  Hearing health is every bit as important as the other three, so why isn’t it being done? Could it be that insurance companies list hearing evaluations as preventative in their summary of benefits and offer an annual visit for a co-pay? Or maybe there is a stigma with hearing screenings being associated with getting old.

I believe that everyone over the age of 40 should be proactive and get a baseline hearing screening done annually.  If you do have hearing loss, this will facilitate early detection and treatment to slow down the progression.  Treating hearing loss makes it so your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to understand words and speech.  Annual exams will also provide training and motivation to protect your ears around loud noises to reduce the chances of hearing loss in the future.

Hearing evaluations are easily accessible in most areas and are often offered at no cost.

There are five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.  Sight and hearing are the only two you can aid.  The other three, once lost, would require some significant medical procedures to repair. It is interesting to me that when someone’s vision starts to blur, they’ll quickly have their eyes checked, and even get glasses, if prescribed.  Yet, when it comes to hearing loss, people often ignore or procrastinate seeking evaluation or treatment.

Helen Keller once said that deafness is “a worse misfortune than being blind. When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things; when you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

NBC-HIS is an active advocate for people with hearing loss.  We encourage people with hearing loss to seek treatment early and to actively manage their hearing health.  Our mission is to help people with hearing loss stay socially connected for a longer, happier, healthier life!

Click on the link below to find a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BC-HIS) near you.
 Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional

 Written by Hansen Phangia, BC-HIS


Don't Leave Hearing Loss Untreated

It can be easy to fall into the trap of hearing loss denial for several reasons.

First, there has long been a stigma attached to hearing loss, but fortunately we are slowly but surely helping to remove it. The idea of hearing aids signifying old age or weakness is becoming less of an issue as our society ages. Still, for many, the idea of hearing aids can be a negative symbol of aging.

Another reason for denial is that hearing loss often takes place over time, at first seemingly unnoticed, but gradually deteriorating, causing frustration for the person with hearing loss and for the people around them. Sometimes this can lead to feelings of isolation.

People who are suffering hearing loss who do not seek out help have been proven to be more likely to suffer depression as compared to those who used hearing aids. As well, they may tend to avoid participation in social activities. So the positive side of getting your hearing tested and, if needed, being professionally  fitted with hearing aids far outweighs the negatives.

Think of this as more than just regaining your hearing. With properly fitted hearing aids, you are gaining back control of your life. Waiting years, even decades, can rob people of a rewarding, happy existence that can be easily and painlessly be remedied.

If you feel you are becoming closed off from your friends and family because you’re not able to keep up with the conversation. Keep in mind that your friends and family miss your participation in their lives too, schedule a hearing test and discover the freedom that hearing aids can provide.

Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional  click here
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TOP 5 WAYS CERTIFICATION HELPS YOUR BUSINESS

At NBC-HIS we are dedicated to providing the standard of excellence among hearing health professionals. At its very core, your business provides a vital service to the millions of people who suffer from hearing loss. You make their lives better by helping them stay connected with the people around them.

YOU’RE IN BUSINESS TO HELP, AND WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU.

Here are our top 5 ways NBC-HIS certification is a business builder:

  1. CREDIBILITY AND COMPETENCY. An NBC-HIS board certification shows that you work within the industry’s highest standards of skills and knowledge. Customers can rest assured that they are getting the best possible service and advice.
  2. PEDIGREE. We’ve been in business for over 3 decades and that’s experience people trust.
  3. ETHICS. When you are NBC-HIS certified, you are aligning yourself with the highest standard of ethics and code of conduct in the industry. The NBC-HIS Code of Ethics is unrivaled.
  4. STATUS. Because NBC-HIS is a national and internationally recognized certification, your business is aligned with thousands of others around the globe. 
  5. VISIBILITY. Once certified, your professional visibility and customer recognition can increase dramatically.

THE PROCESS COULDN’T BE EASIER!

Remember, certification exam scheduling is always flexible, and it’s now more user-friendly with instant online results. Find out more. We also have the flexibility of offering the exam in paper form at conferences, conventions and possibly your place of business.


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How to Keep Hearing Aids Dry

If we consider where a high fidelity, technical wonder of an amplification system like a hearing aid lives, it always amazes me that it is as resistant as it is to repair needs.

The ear is not the most hospitable environment for a hearing aid to live. It’s hot and moist and can often be very waxy. There is also the added day-to-day debris that can build up, and it becomes quite clear that regular maintenance and cleaning is a must. but there is more that can be done by way of dehumidifiers. They can be electronic and heavy duty with the ability to really effectively draw moisture from hearing aids and sanitize at the same time, or they can be simple drying kits, which are containers with an internal pod containing silica gel crystals. The latter are not as effective, but still helpful.

Dry & Store is one of several brands carried, which is an electrical appliance for nightly use at home to store and care for all types of hearing instruments, including hearing aids, cochlear implant hardware, noise/tinnitus maskers, and in-ear monitors. It combines the three essential elements needed for effective drying: heat, moving air, and a desiccant that drives the relative humidity really low, and captures the moisture that is released.

During the first ninety seconds of the Dry & Store Global II cycle, a germicidal lamp sanitizes the hearing instruments, after which conditioning continues for 8 hours. The unit then automatically shuts off, continuing to store the instruments safely until they are needed.

Other models are available and range in price from $95 to $190. The drying kits, as mentioned, range from $15 to $25.

If you would like more information, or to purchase one of these items, contact your local Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BC-HIS).  One can be located by clicking this link 

Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional and inputting your zip or postal code.   

Adele Collingwood, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

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Denial of Hearing Loss

How do you interact to people with an untreated hearing loss? The majority of us become frustrated with the constant repeating of conversations. We are less likely to interact with people who constantly ask us to repeat ourselves. Yet, if we are the person with an untreated hearing loss, we overwhelmingly deny the possibility that others could react to us with that same frustration.

Why do so many seniors deny their hearing loss? The answer is complicated. To effectively treat hearing loss we must first overcome a mix of psychological, physical, and financial issues. Studies have found that a significant factor in the denial of hearing loss and treatment is a perception that hearing aids will somehow make the user look old or weak. Although most seniors say they do not judge others who use hearing aids, they still hold on to the idea that hearing aids are a sign that they are aging and starting to look frail. The thought of getting hearing aids that fit and function properly, not to mention paying for them, are other factors that can cause seniors to give up before they even start.

The average senior waits about 7 years to seek treatment for their hearing loss. This delay comes at a tremendous cost. A recent study by the National Council on Aging of 2,304 people with hearing loss found that those who didn’t use hearing aids were 50% more likely to experience depression than people who did wear hearing aids. The study also found that people with hearing loss often avoided participating in social activities.

Seeking treatment for hearing loss is more than just hearing conversations. When people with hearing loss wear the latest in hearing technology, they regain control of their lives. They are more emotionally stable, and they are more likely to participate in social activities. Often cognitive function is increased with the use of hearing aids. Ask yourself if you’ve ever had the following thoughts:

  • My hearing is not bad enough to need hearing aids
  • If others would speak clearly and not mumble I would hear fine
  • Hearing loss is ok; it is part of the aging process and no big deal
  • Hearing loss is not life-threatening, therefore it isn’t important
  • Hearing loss is a weakness
  • I have become dependent on coping strategies like turning up the TV, having others speak directly to you or lip read
  • I do not understand the benefits of hearing aids
  • Hearing aids cost too much

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, I would challenge you to book an appointment as soon as possible with a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BC-HIS) so they can do a hearing evaluation and expand your confidence in using hearing aids. Help them help you take control of your life so that you can continue to age gracefully. You can find a certified professional near you by clicking this link Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional and inputting you zip or postal code.

Cathy Robinson BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

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Will Wearing Hearing Aids Help with Your Balance?

We use our vision to help us balance. If we walk outside and the path is uneven, we adjust our steps and our balance based on this visual information. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense that our hearing also may affect our balance?

According to a study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, people who have hearing loss and who wear hearing aids appeared to have better balance than those with a hearing loss and no hearing aids. Participants seemed to be using the sound information from their hearing aids as auditory reference points or markers to help maintain their balance.

Another study that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, conducted with clients aged 40 to 69 by Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, confirmed that hearing does contribute to balance. Even with a mild loss (25 decibels), people are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falls than people without a hearing loss. They were also able to determine that as the hearing decreased, the risk of falls increased.

Therefore, hearing aids may help you if you are experiencing some issues with balance, so click on this link Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional and contact one of our Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists (BC-HIS). Find out if your hearing may be affecting your balance.

Valerie Stroeder, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

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Empathy: Hear What I Hear

By definition, empathy has two meanings. One is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to fully understand or “feel” what they are experiencing so that they can really feel understood. The other is to be able to relate to someone else’s situation because you’ve personally experienced the same thing.

It might not always be possible to use personal experience, but as caring humans we are capable of investing deep thought and feeling to imagining what it would feel like if we were to have the same experience as someone else. This takes more thought and effort than offering sympathy, which by definition is recognition of another’s suffering and is expressed by kind words meant to soothe the person who is suffering.

Sympathy is not out of place here; it is usually very honest and coming from the heart, but what we find our clients really need is empathy. Due to our initial and ongoing education and many years working with people who have hearing loss, we know that living with this is difficult. Our Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists (BC-HIS) care about these difficulties. We want to get to know you and find out how hearing loss affects you so that we can better empathize with your specific wants and wishes. This enables us to put “ourselves into your shoes”, allows us to determine the best course of action, and gives us the tools we need to recommend the best quality hearing solutions to meet your needs and expectations. We want you to hear your loved ones in the car, and we want you to be able to chat about the weather with the cashier at the grocery store with ease. We also definitely want you to hear your grandchildren describe what they did in school on a particular day. Human interaction is important to a healthy life!

We all suffer at some point in our lives, but if we can empathize with each other we are opening a door to more personal connection and better communication, which leads to more understanding and hopefully more happiness. Click on this link Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional and contact one of our highly trained professionals.

Kim Ryll, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

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Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss or Damage Your Hearing?

While it is possible that a hearing aid may cause hearing damage if it is not fit according to the client’s prescription. Properly fitted hearing aids do not cause hearing loss or damage. Think about it this way: if you were to blast someone with loud music over a set of headphones, it could result in some hearing damage, but it wouldn’t mean that headphones in general are harmful.

During a visit to one of our professionals, the first thing they will do is a hearing test to make sure the hearing aid is correct and suitable for the client’s hearing loss and lifestyle. During a separate visit, the hearing aids are programmed to match the hearing loss. There are also some protocols that professionals have to follow. For example, we can verify if the hearing aids are “too loud” and make sure loud sounds are not uncomfortable by checking the hearing aids in real time while they are in the client’s ear. This is completed with a verification system during the hearing aid fitting. There is also a limit set on the hearing aids so they do not amplify past a certain point in order to ensure that a loud sound in the environment will not harm the hearing aid user. During the hearing aid fitting, we spend time with clients to make sure their new hearing aids are sounding comfortable before they even leave our office.

Further, it is important to keep in mind that hearing aids are not used for hearing protection. If a client works in an environment where there is very loud equipment such as a jackhammer, they should use proper hearing protection.

Clients CAN expect the world around them to be sharper and sound louder after being fitted with hearing aids, but this is completely normal. It takes time for the brain to adjust to a new “normal”. Usually, over the next couple of weeks, things start to sound more natural. To compare, think about how your eyes adjust to light after being in a dark room for a while. If you suddenly turn on the lights, it might seem too bright because your eyes need to adjust. Once they do adjust, however, the world around you is clear and full of life. Now, think about how this also applies to hearing aids. Once you adjust to your new normal with wearing hearing aids, you may actually find the world around you sounds muffled and very quiet when you take them off!

On average, it can take some people over 10 years to come in and do something about their hearing loss. Sometimes you don’t realize what you are truly missing. The first step is going to a professional for a hearing test. Let us help you to hear the world around you and fill in the blanks.

 Find a Board Certified Hearing Professional

Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

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The Golden Rules for Hearing Aids (and I’ve broken them all)

I have been wearing hearing aids for a long time—27 years in fact. I’ve also been fitting people with hearing aids for about 11 years or so. There are things that I say over and over to each new client and each new fitting of hearing aids, even if my client has been wearing hearing aids longer than I have. The rules really haven’t changed much over the years, but the hearing aids themselves sure have.

I remember when I was 6 years old, driving into the city, to be fitted with my first set of hearing aids. I can remember the dim office building, the smell of my new hearing aids and the sound of hearing with them for the first time. I was not a fan, to put it lightly. I did listen carefully to the instructions and I can still remember hearing them, and I myself, now echo those words to my clients.

1) Wear them every day

2) Take them out when you go to bed

3) Open up the battery door when you take them out

4) Clean them every day

5) Never get them wet

I tell my clients these things all the time, and yet I have to admit, I don’t follow my own rules and I certainly did not follow these rules when I was six.

I would often slip them out of my ears on the way to school and put them in my pocket. I would tell my teacher that I had forgotten them at home. Inevitably, I would forget about them and leave them in my pockets only to have my mom find them in the washing machine or dryer the next day. So I guess I had been breaking the rules early on. I would strongly suggest not washing your hearing aids in the washing machine. That is not how we want you to clean them.

Wearing your hearing aids every day helps you get used to them. The odd sounds that you hear the first few days quickly become normal. The background sounds that seems to be a cross for hearing aid wearers to bear, become part of the everyday sounds that we automatically block out. If you only wear your hearing aids every once in a while, it’s very difficult to get used to them.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of putting your hearing aids in the same, safe place every time you take them out. I know one of my dad’s hearing aids was eaten by his sister’s dog while visiting her in Toronto and another one of his hearing aids is currently rusting on the bottom of the Okanagan Lake— courtesy of my sister grabbing his towel and not knowing the hearing aid was wrapped in it.

While on vacation in Aruba a few years ago, I left my Receiver in the Canal (RIC) hearing aids in my ears while in the pool and in the ocean. I wanted to be able to hear my friends while enjoying the water. I was very careful and I had a set of my old hearing aids with me as a backup. It’s not something I would recommend advising my clients to do, because there is always going to be that person who cannon balls into the pool or that rouge wave that catches you unaware.

Two years ago, I had my twin boys. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and I kept my hearing aids in the whole time. With being a new mom, anxious to hear every sound and cry of her newborns and having doctors and nurses come into the room at all hours, I didn’t want to miss or hear anything incorrectly. I also know that a number of hearing aids go missing while in the hospital, so I wasn’t going to take any chances. Once we got home, I still slept with one hearing aid in, just to make sure I could hear a cry at night.

The fact that I wore my hearing aids with no problems or discomfort, speaks loudly to how far hearing aids have come since I was 6 years old. The cry (or screaming) of two newborns did not make me cringe at all because they were so comfortable and I even forgot they were there. To be able to hear the soft words of a nurse not wanting to wake the babies was not an issue for me.

So I guess I am a rule breaker when it comes to my hearing aids. But I depend on my hearing aids daily— they are my lifelines. Without them, I would be so isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, that I do push the limits with them. The fact that I can do that though, that I can be hard on my hearing aids, that my two year olds can yank my hearing aids out of my ears and have them fall on the floor, and to go a week without cleaning them, and expose them to moisture, dust, sticky fingers, and they still work is a wonderful testament on how hardy these things really are and how far they have come since the 1980s and even since 2000.

 Hearing aids are constantly evolving, trying to become part of our lives and not a hindrance. While I do not recommend doing what I do to my hearing aids, I do suggest that you take a second look at what hearing aids can do now days. These are not your grandparents’ hearing aids; these are your future lifeline to better hearing and a better quality of life.

Jackie Brosius BC-HIS, RHAP
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

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Missing Sounds That Signal That It’s Time To Get Your Hearing Checked

When fitting hearing aids, I often come across a person who is surprised that certain sounds exist. Everyday noises can be exciting and sometimes irritating and reactions to these sounds differ from person to person. Some clients find comfort when they hear their fridge running for the first time while others get frustrated by the constant noise of their running fridge. Sound impacts clients differently but giving clients the option of hearing these sounds is what is important.

Now consider the signal light in your car. We have all driven behind people that appear to be turning and never do and for the most part this sound could be meaningless; however, this is a sound that we are so used to hearing that it can easily be lost over time. Many first-time hearing aid users claim they are amazed that they can hear their signal light again. They pick up their new hearing aids and the first sound they hear when they drive away is their signal light. This demonstrates the importance this sound has to first-time hearing aid users. We rely on our signal light sound so we can be sure to let drivers around us know our intentions on the road. For the most part, other drivers and pedestrians are just annoyed by the continuous signaler. However, there are times when this little unintentional mistake can cause frustration, or worse, a full-blown accident.

The next time you go for a drive, have a listen and see if you can hear your signal light. If you can no longer hear the tick tick tick, it may be time to check your hearing.

Amanda McLeod, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

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Could a Hearing Screening Really Save Lives?

Recently an interesting article crossed my path. The article in question was about children, ear health and hearing, and links to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Since many of my friends and family are parents to young children, or are becoming new parents any day now, this article was in such high circulation on social media it was hard to miss.

As it turns out, a Seattle-based Anesthesiologist, Dr. Reubens from Seattle Children’s Hospital recently uncovered an interesting link; evidence suggested that in young infants, there was a statistically significant correlation between having damage to the cochlea or the inner ear and suffering death from SIDS. The original research looked at hearing screening results that were obtained during 13 years of previous audiology-based research and records conducted on infants. Of the subjects, 31 infants had died from SIDS and each of these infants’ hearing records indicated they had hearing loss. It appears as though there is a strong link between inner ear damage and risk factors for SIDS.

Dr. Reubens is still working on the hypothesis that could help us better understand the mechanism underlying this effect. His theory suggests the inner ear holds specialized nerve tissues that are somehow responsible for detecting high CO2 volumes in the brain to help regulate breathing and Oxygen intake levels. If this is true, this CO2 monitoring fails when the inner ear is damaged, essentially preventing infants from regulating their own breathing while asleep. Of course, much research is needed before researchers and scientists will know exactly why the link between hearing loss and SIDS is so prominent in these cases.

Until then, these preliminary findings give us yet another reason to continue to practice and advocate for Universal Early Infant Hearing Screening programs across Canada and the United States.

The original article was posted through the Seattle Children’s Hospital website

Tania Gora MSc, R.Au.D, Au.D(C)
Registered Audiologist

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TRANSFORMERS

Sharing our skills and our knowledge with the hearing impaired
     We are the transformers

Whether by fate or by choice -  we are assigned the task of
     Delivering the gift of hearing

We are making an incalculable difference

In the angry old man – hostile – defiant – defensive
In the self-conscious woman – riddled with self-doubt
In the overbearing –
         The loud
         The angry
         The cynical
         The depressed

We know that locked behind those faces are possibilities for
         change and for growth
         We hold the key -
         We have the knowledge, the training, the technology.
         To break down the barriers -.

We employ the skill sets of:  psychologists, intermediaries,  teachers, technical advisors,  guidance counselors, human resource specialists, producers, directors, actors, stage managers - and combine them all … into the fine art of professional salesmanship –

Bringing all of those talents to everyone we encounter – in a short span of time — we spark decision and facilitate Improved quality of life.

….and we are blessed
To witness the fruits of our labor every day

..We are making a profound difference…

What more could one ask for
    In a profession….
        Or in life…
  Than to be a Transformer?                              

 —Wanda F. Riley, M.Ed,  BC-HIS (9/05/2011)


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SO WHO HAS THE HEARING LOSS?



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HOW TO GET SOMEONE TO BUY A HEARING AID?

Why can’t I get my parent, friend or other loved one to buy a hearing aid?

You can’t get them to buy a hearing, because you keep telling them to buy a hearing aid. 

What do you mean? 

Don’t tell them to buy a hearing aid.  Make a list of all the things you both really liked doing together, and you know they don’t do them anymore because they can’t hear well. 

Tell them how much you miss doing these things with them and how much you would love to do them again.  If there are several things on your list, don’t address them all in one conversation; address a couple of item at a time. Don’t press the issue; just do this in casual conversation.  If they respond in a manner that leaves an opening for you to address their hearing problem, go for it. 

What if they don’t give me an opening?

Don’t get discouraged, you may have to do this several times  over a period of weeks or even months before they get the message. Let them know how much your relationship means to you, and how much you miss long conversations, going to the movies, church etc.

Don’t they already know this?

No they don’t.  People with hearing loss have no idea how much it affects the people around them.  They miss being included in conversations and activities, but they don’t realize their friends and family miss them just as much. Making them aware that their hearing loss doesn’t just affect them, but also the people who care about them can help move them to the action of getting hearing aids

Submitted by

Linda K. Jackson
Executive Director,
National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Science

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Why Would an Audiologist Want to be Board Cerified?

I have been board certified for many years.  On occasion colleagues
have asked me why I would bother.  I bother because it is one
more thing that sets me apart from competition.  To me board
certification is a symbol of the passion I have for helping
people hear better.  That passion is not exclusive to either
audiologists or hearing aid specialists.  The field of audiology
is a broad one.  Board certification is the way to show that my
professional focus is on hearing aids and how they improve
people's lives.

So if you are an audiologist looking for another way to separate
yourself from the pack and you have a passion for helping
people hear better I encourage you to get your BC-HIS.  It's
affordable, attainable and accessible.

Submitted by:
Laura Dennison, Au.D., BC-HIS

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Patient Brochure

I always like to keep my NBC-HIS patient handout brochures easily
visible and accessible for my patients.  I like to also make sure that
every new patient that comes in receives one.   These little things have
been a tremendous help to not only myself, but for my patients to know
they are working with a credential professional.   Over the years I have
experienced hearing from new clients different things "competition"
has said about me to try and play down the education and
professionalism of the dispenser, so I have been proud to display
my certifications and education.  Taking the opportunity to educate
our patients on our credentials is an important step that a lot of
hearing professionals miss.

Order Patient Brochures from the NBC-HIS website, info@nbc-his.com
or call 734-522-2900.

Submitted by:
Joli Robinson, BC-HIS, ACA


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I visited the NBC exhibit at a recent convention and purchased a button down shirt with the NBC-HIS logo on it.  I wear an NBC-HIS pin on my lab jacket, but sometimes we have "casual dress" day at work and I loosen my tie and don my NBC shirt.  I notice my patients glancing at the logo and connecting me as a Certificant.  It's just another way to show my dedication to my profession.