For those of you who enjoy using rechargeable batteries for your hearing aids, such as the Siemens system, I recently learned something very useful about how the battery manages recharges. The batteries are expected to take about 400 charges, so we can be confident it will last about 12 months (360 days). But sometimes my patients will come back in 6 months and complain the battery doesn’t hold a charge ot the charger is turning red…..
Every time you place the aids in the charger and close the lid the battery charger executes a full recharge, even if you just took the aids out a few hours ago and they are fully charged – the charger does not know that. So, if you use the aids only part-time and you store them in the charger during the day don’t close the top, wait and charge them once overnight.
Of course if you have read any of my other posts you know you should be using the aids ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!
Research shows that people who practice their new listening skills do much better with their hearing aids than those who do not. I have recently added LACE auditory training programs to my services because I can see the positive impact it has on my patients listening skills and confidence in social situations.
Just as physical therapy can help rebuild muscles and adjust movements to compensate for physical weakness or injury, LACE will help you develop skills and strategies to deal with situations when hearing is inadequate. LACE® Auditory Training programs retrain the brain to comprehend speech up to 30% better in difficult listening situations such as:
- Noisy Restaurants
- Rapid speakers
- Competing speakers
Visit www.neurotone.com or my website www.atlantichearingcare.com to learn more about this valuable resource.
Summer in New England is a big deal, especially for those of us who are fortunate enough to live near the ocean. Summer can be very hard on hearing aids, moisture, salt water, dust and debris and create havoc with hearing aid performance. Here are my top four tips to keep your aids in peak condition for the summer.
1. Avoid getting them wet, especially with salt water. Have a routine when you go to the beach or pool so that you have a safe place (not wrapped in a towel where they can be flung out) to put them.
2. If you do get them wet remove the battery, leave the battery door open to dry out, sometimes a cool (not hot) hair dryer will help. Immersion in salt water usually results in a repair. If they sound at all muffled bring them to your audiologist for repair.
3. Use a dehumidifier, like a dri-aid jar, to store them at night to remove excess moisture. If you perspire heavily and frequently have a rusty battery or your aid is often intermittent you should consider purchasing an electric dryer – the best accessory you can get for your aids. It really works!
4. Use them!! I know, I am a broken record, but the best advice for better hearing is to use your aids all of your waking hours.
To avoid potential confusion with another company I have changed this blog to Better Hearing Advice.com. It may take a few days to have all the pages reflect this change. Please update your favorites so you can find it in the future!
Most people hear better with their glasses on, we all rely on visual clues whether we realize it or not. There is a wealth of non-verbal clues available while watching people that will help you to figure out what the person is saying.
Speech reading is the term used for the combined approach of using lipreading, facial gestures and and body language to enhance understanding. When I first started my career 30 years ago I taught “lipreading” classes at local senior centers. What I quickly learned is that some people have an almost natural ability to read lips while others find it frustrating and beyond their grasp. Lipreading is not related to intelligence. But everyone benefits from being able to see the person who is talking.
The most important strategies to help you speech read are to be close to the speaker with the light on their face (not in your eyes) and to know the topic of conversation. This way you can take good guesses. Don’t be afraid to ask what they are talking about, or to ask for clarification if you don’t understand.
Over 30% of sounds in English are indistinguishable by sight alone – think of P,B, and M, and K/G, T/D, F/V and S/Z. There are several good websites and video programs to practice lipreading. Many of my patients have found it helpful to become more aware of speech reading by watching TV with the volume turned down. I suggest you try a newscast or a show where only one person is talking directly to the camera.
Here are some my top six tips for Best Listening:
1. Watch the speaker
2. Sit up front
3. Move away from noise
4. Take a guess!
5. Ask for repetition
6. Keep your sense of humor!
Recently a patient told me she was reluctant to wear her new hearing aids all of her waking hours because she worried that they would make her natural hearing worse. Unlike glasses, which do weaken the muscles of our eyes, using hearing aids will not weaken your ears. In fact, using hearing aids strengthens your listening skills and stimulates the hearing part of your brain so that you adjust fully to the amplified sounds.
Her concern made me give this some thought, I wondered if she was being more honest with me than others who simply have this worry and don’t share it. I came up with several reasons why people might mistakenly wonder if they are becoming “overly dependant” on their aids or if their hearing is getting worse.
1. The first is the normal contrast between how much better you hear with your hearing aids on and then realizing how much less you hear without them. People have told me that when they first get hearing aids and take them off at bedtime their natural hearing feels “muffled”. This is because the brain has been adjusting to the amplified sound and developing new connections. The more you wear the aids the more benefit you will get. Although you may perceive a difference after using hearing aids, if we put you in the booth and did a hearing test, your hearing levels would remain the same.
2. The second reason is that you might have a progressive hearing loss which would change on its own over time regardless of hearing aid use. This is the case for my patient who was reluctant to wear her aids full time, saving them for when she really needed them. In the 20 years I have known her her hearing has decreased steadily. She has been to otologists to rule out any underlying medical problem and relys on hearing aids to communicate. I think I have finally convinced her to wear the aids full time to reap the benefits of a well tuned brain that has gotten strong on a consistent signal.
3. The third reason is the effects of aging on our hearing and most importantly on our brain. We really hear with our brain, the ears simply give the brain the signal to decode and make meaningful. As we age the brain processes sound more slowly, which can make it more difficult to hear. So it makes sense that your hearing is worse at 75 than when you first got your hearing aids at age 50.
For the most people hearing gradually diminishes over time, regardless of hearing aid use. I work with a 55 year old woman who has worn hearing aids for over 50 years. She reports that her audiogram today is very similar to the results when she was a child. Clearly using powerful hearing aids has not damaged her hearing.
It is important to check your hearing every year or two to monitor any changes and to be sure your hearing aids are adjusted appropriately. When you have regular hearing evaluations ask your Audiologist to compare your hearing levels over time.
Do you feel like everyone is mumbling? Even with well fit hearing aids there is a way of speaking that makes it easier for the person with hearing loss. It is helpful when the speaker slows down and expresses every word and sentence in a precise, accurate and fully formed manner. Clear speech is automatically slower because of the attempt to be clearer, and is naturally louder without shouting which distorts the speech. Clear speech is lively, with a full range of voice intonation (tone) and stress on key words and characterized by pauses between all phrases and sentences.
Clear Speech is not a substitute for other well-known communication habits, the most important being face to face with the light on the speakers face. You still need to reduce background noise and avoid trying to communicate from a different room or with your back turned.