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Couple Talking Over Coffee May MonthYou may have already heard that May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month. Increasing public awareness about the challenges faced by people with hearing loss is important to us. We will be focusing on hearing health and communication with an emphasis on how to help a friend or loved one cope with their hearing loss.

Hearing loss is common – 1 in 4 adult Canadians has some form of hearing loss

Understanding the Impact of Hearing Loss

While most people would be devasted to have the quality of their vision drop by 50%, it is not uncommon to think dealing with a significant hearing loss is easier. Numerous studies have shown the impact hearing loss has on a person’s emotional wellbeing can be enormous. Not being able to easily communicate with friends and family in social settings often leads to confusion, frustration, feelings of isolation and even depression. This is why we want to offer some strategies to reduce the strain on our relationships when dealing with someone suffering from untreated hearing loss.

Most people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging problems hearing and seeking help

6 Easy Tips For Overcoming Hearing Loss

While empathy and patience go a long way to improving communication, here are six tips anyone can use:

  • A great way to communication with people with hearing loss is to say their name when you begin speaking. This will ensure you have their attention and reduce missed conversation.
  • Alternatively, you can get someone’s attention by touching them lightly on the hand or shoulder.
  • In a group situation, waiting until everyone else has finished talking makes understanding speech easier than trying to decipher multiple voices at the same time.
  • If possible keep facing the person you are speaking with so that a person with poor hearing can read your facial expressions and body language clearly.
  • In addition to number four, keeping your hands clear of your mouth and not resting your chin on your hands is helpful.
  • When someone has better hearing in one ear over the other, take advantage of that fact and ask if sitting on their better hearing side will help them hear.

Although it can be a bit like work when being asked to repeat parts of a conversation, accepting the situation and knowing you are helping someone you care about stay connected will help ease any frustration.

When It’s time

Some people have a hard time accepting their hearing loss and can take years before they seek treatment. When they decide it’s time, the first step is a hearing evaluation and test. To book and appointment call us at (204) 788-1083.

pete townsend tinnitus - polo park hearing centre winnipeg

Pete Townshend [Image credit: flickr user Kubacheck | CC BY 2.0]

Over the past several years the news has revealed an increasing number of musicians struggling with hearing loss. Rock icons and classical musicians alike are revealing the toll excessively loud music has had on their hearing and subsequently their career. The saddest part is:

Noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.

According to an article published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine professional musicians are also 57% more likely to have tinnitus than general public. Tinnitus is most often characterized by incessant “ringing in the ears” that may be temporary or persistent.

Musician’s Paradox: Music Increases Hearing Sensitivity?

Normally repeated long term exposure to loud noise levels causes hearing damage that reduces hearing sensitivity and the ability to hear a full range of sound (high frequency hearing loss). Published articles suggest that long term exposure to music has the opposite effect and actually increases hearing sensitivity. It’s hard to believe but the musician’s underlying biology is actually working against protecting them more so than a non musician.

From the article: “… musicians have been shown to develop enhanced sensitivity to meaning in non-musical sound, which might, to a certain extent, mask fundamental hearing deficits. Moreover, Zendel and Alain found that musicians might receive benefit from their training such that age-related hearing loss is attenuated. However, these observations may not apply to specific subgroups. In light of our results, it might be that many musicians prone to hearing loss do contract noise induced hearing loss before age-related hearing loss emerges.”

Preventing Damage

All musicians should have protective in-ear monitors or ear plugs regardless of the type of music they are playing. Even more care should be used whenever sound amplifiers are used in order to reduce the risk or noise induced hearing loss.

Should I Get A Hearing Test?

The easiest answer is yes, if your are having any of the common signs of hearing loss:

  • Difficulty following a conversation in a noisy room such as a restaurant (background noise makes hearing more diffucult)
  • Constantly asking others to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the TV or radio to volume levels others find loud
  • Having trouble understanding conversation in noisy places
  • Being told by others that you have hearing loss

Because our hearing naturally declines as we age, medical professionals may suggest a hearing evaluation as we reach our late forties and early fifties.

Are you not hearing the conversation as easily as you once did? To hear what you have been missing, give us a call at(204) 788-1083.

Invisible (IIC) hearing aids are called invisible because they are only visible when someone is looking down your ear canal! Barely bigger than a jelly bean, invisible hearing aids are the smallest hearing aid style available. Being small has it’s advantages:

  • Sound quality is very natural with no tinniness.
  • Because the aid relies on the outer ear you can easily tell the direction sounds come from.
  • Zero feedback when using a phone.

Below you can see how these tiny high tech hearing aids tuck all the way inside your ear.

Invisible Hearing Aids

To remove the hearing aid you pull on the tiny tether (left) attached to the hearing aid.

Hearing aids are a significant purchase and we understand that. That’s why we are offering invisible hearing aids for a 30 day free trial that includes a complete hearing test & evaluation. To hear what you have been missing, call us at (204) 788-1083.

Hearing Aid Financing

iphone accessibility options for hearing lossFor people with hearing loss, the iPhone offers several useful features to make listening and using the device easier. Here are three accessibility options we think would be the most useful.

Mono Audio and Balance

The benefit of this feature is that it makes listening to music and movies much easier.

Music and movies often use different sounds levels in the right and left channel. This makes hearing clearly hard for people with different levels of hearing in their left and right ear.

As the name suggests, the operating system combines the sound from the left and right channels into a mono signal that is then played on both channels of the connected headphones or speakers. This means the user can hear everything with either ear. The balance part the feature gives you the ability to raise the volume levels for the left or right channel independently to compensate for different levels of hearing loss in either ear.

You can turn Mono Audio on so that both ear jacks receive the same sounds by tapping: Settings > General > Accessibility > Hearing

LED Flash for Alerts

If you are having trouble hearing your ring tone for incoming calls or other notification sounds, the iPhone can alert you by firing the LED flash. This is the LED flash located on the back of the phone so leaving it face down goes without saying. There are two other caveats. The LED will only flash when the iPhone is locked and by default the LED flash is turned on when the phone is in silent mode.

You can activate the LED Flash for Alerts. By tapping: Settings > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts.

What if the LED Flash for Alerts is not working?

There are many settings that can interfere with the LED flash Alerts feature. Here are the top 3 items to check if the LED Flash Alerts do not to work:

1) Double check the phone is indeed locked with a black screen showing.

2) Next you can test the LED flash from your lock screen by tapping the flashlight icon off and then on.

3) Check your Do-Not-Disturb and Airplane mode settings. If either the Do-Not-Disturb or Airplane mode is set on, the LED Flash Alerts feature will not work. To check just swipe up from the bottom of the screen and make sure that the Do-Not-Disturb and the Airplane mode is set correctly.

For more information on troubleshooting the alert feature see this article on the troubleshooting site

Live Listen: For Hearing Aids Users

If an iPhone user is having difficulty clearly hearing someone talking in a noisy room, Live Listen can help by turning their iPhone into a remote microphone.  They simply activate Live Listen and place their iPhone near the person speaking. The sound the microphone picks up is then transmitted to their “Made for iPhone” hearing aids using Bluetooth technology. The following video shows how simple it is to use.

Note: You can use Live Listen with iPads and iPod touch as well. For a complete list of iOS devices that works with Made for iPhone hearing aids. Complete list of hear accessibility functions on the iPhone, click Apple’s information page.

If you would like to learn more about how Bluetooth enabled Made for iPhone hearing aids can help you improve your ability to hear, call the friendly staff at Polo Park Hearing Centre (204) 788-1083 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. or Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


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