Video Conferencing while Hearing Impaired

Video Conferencing while Hearing Impaired

Change in social climate has also caused noticeable change in the workplace. For those who work with groups of people, like educators, the change is drastic. From standing before a group to talking into a camera, it is very different from the norm. This new normal of video calls and video conferencing has brought with it a long list of pros and cons. Those who are deaf or hearing impaired would be the first to notice problems that the hearing public may not notice.  Some people are not comfortable or familiar with technology and can make little mistakes that can really affect the quality of a call or conference.

One common problem involves the microphone.  Being too close to the microphone can cause distortion making words difficult to discern or produce unpleasant noises and feedback that can be bothersome.  Testing the microphone prior to an important video conference call will help ensure audio is of a desirable quality.

Reading lips can be arduous if the speaker is not in a proper camera position.  Camera users should be mindful of this during video calls.  Making sure the camera captures the entire face ensures that attendees can read lips if need be and also see facial expressions which are also a huge factor in effective communication.

Telecoils and hearing aids are still top priority in these situations.  Be sure to connect to bluetooth if the hearing aid and device used for the call are compatible.  If there is any doubt, try using the devices before the meeting to check compatibility and save time.

Please schedule your hearing assessment / checkup with Southern Nevada Audiology today!  Learn more about the advancements in modern hearing aids.

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Employment & Hearing Health

Employment & Hearing Health

Ears, both the inner ear and outer ear, are affected by the environment around them. The most common hazards are temperature, noise and particles in the air or water. Extreme temperatures both hot and cold have been known to affect the inner ear by causing conditions like ‘Swimmer’s Ear’. Construction sites and bodies of water are filled with all sorts of dust, dirt and other foreign bodies that can cause inflammation, tinnitus or infections if not properly treated.

Unlike the typical office job where someone can expect to be in an air conditioned room where elements like temperature, particles and pressure are controlled, there are many workers such as persons of trade who are exposed to environments that can be damaging to their ears.

Some jobs require a person to be put under pressure that can put their ears at risk. Both those who dive deep underwater and those who fly high above the clouds face differing altitudes that put pressure on their ears differently than most workers who stay on land. 

Jobs with loud noises tend to cause noise-induced hearing loss over time.  For the short term, loud and dusty environments can cause tinnitus and inflammation or infection.  Other jobs that cause pressure to the inner ear can cause long term effects to the inner ear over time and also may cause vertigo or dizziness.

Be mindful of the many dangers lurking and preying on the innocent ear.  Companies can help by keeping equipment and machinery well-maintained and up-to-date, soundproofing the workplace and providing employees quality hearing protection.

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Loneliness and Hearing Loss

Loneliness and Hearing Loss

Loneliness and hearing loss, is there a connection? Yes. Before birth, humans connect to the world around them through their five senses and hearing is the most influential at that time of life. Hearing connects us to the world in many ways but the most valuable influences are the ones we share with family, friends and partners.

People usually love to talk to one another – telling jokes, stories or exchanging advice or ideas. With hearing loss, it can be hard to do these simple yet meaningful things. Without a tether, loved ones will drift away and leave behind a feeling of loneliness.

Feeling alone is never a good feeling but it can also have effects on the body too. Some signs of depression, anxiety and high blood pressure can be linked to loneliness as the starting factor. Quarantine procedures are definitely not helping those who find themselves with hearing loss. With social distancing and mask mandates, even reading lips can be a challenge.

Taking charge during any signs of hearing loss can prevent both loved ones from drifting away and any unwanted side effects of loneliness. Hearing aids can help a person stay connected to the world. Do not allow precious moments to slip away! Get a good quality hearing aid and enjoy life.

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Hearing Aid Maintenance

Hearing Aid Maintenance

Hearing aids are a significant hearing health investment.  If maintained and cared for properly they can last for many years.  SNA recommends for hearing aids to be checked at least twice a year.  However, in between checkups, it is imperative to keep the outer and inner workings of hearing aids clean.  Here are a few tips for keeping hearing aids clean and at their optimal performance.

Create a Cleaning Routine

Creating and following a routine while using proper tools like a hearing aid wax pick, wire loop, bulb blower and a cleaning brush are key.  Ears and skin naturally build up their own debris like oil and earwax while also being exposed to outside elements like dirt and dust.  Hearing aid openings, such as microphone ports, are most vulnerable to these potentially clogging elements. 

Starting off with clean, washed hands will help ensure no transfer of germs & bacteria are passed on to the device.  Follow manufacturer’s directions for each cleaning tool for best results.

Don’t Forget The Batteries

Remove batteries from hearing aids and leave them open overnight, this will help the battery compartment to air dry and extend the life of the battery.

Get Them Serviced

Keeping hearing aids clean and dry is not the end of all worries.  Sometimes, hearing aids will have problems too deep inside for the average user.  Make sure to have them serviced to ensure a well maintained device and crystal clear audio.

Keep Clear From Health and Beauty Products

Health and beauty products like topical ointments, lotions, makeup or hairspray can damage hearing aids or clog vital outputs on the device.  Be sure to remove hearing aids if using these products and to clean the area before putting them back in.

Hearing Aid Checkups

Hearing aids should be periodically checked to make sure they are performing correctly and meeting your hearing needs.  Southern Nevada Audiology recommends that hearing aids are checked twice a year.  At this appointment our audiologist will perform a listening check to make sure your hearing aid is functioning correctly.  At this appointment any ear domes and wax filters will be changed.  Our audiologist can also make any adjustments at this time to make sure you are hearing clearly and comfortably.

Please schedule your hearing assessment / checkup today!  Learn more about the advancements in modern hearing aids.

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Phones for Hearing Impaired

Phones for Hearing Impaired

Hearing loss can make conversations over the phone nearly impossible without a specialty phone. Home phones with enlarged buttons and special speakers that are louder than the average home phone are an invaluable tool to those with hearing loss. These specialty phones help keep users in touch with work, family and friends easily with features like TTY and Relay services.

Cell phones, on the other hand, can sometimes be an entirely different story. While cell phones designed for users with hearing impairment are available, they often lack the many advantages of other types of phones. Likewise, most cell phones are not designed with hearing impaired users in mind.

As technology advances, improvements to cell phone programming are being made.  Most cell phones allow users to zoom in and make text, keyboards and numbers larger and easier to see.  TTY services are an option that can be automated instead of requiring a lengthy set up.

Bluetooth hearing aids are also an option. Choosing a bluetooth hearing aid with a telecoil is advised as telecoils, or t-coils, do not pick up feed back or make any unwanted whistling sounds. Cell phones also come with an M-rating which measures a phone’s resistance to interference. Cell phones with M-ratings of at least 5 are resistant to most interference and are a good choice for hearing aid users who prefer a microphone setting.

Call us today to learn more about the advancements in modern hearing aids.

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Ears Are AMAZING

Ears Are AMAZING

Ears are amazing at adapting to the environment around them. In loud environments, the first reaction most people have is to cover their ears in an attempt to block the sound. Overwhelming volumes can initially cause a ringing sound or painful sensation but the ear will adapt until the sounds become more bearable and the volume becomes less noticeable. 

Something similar happens in quiet environments as well. At night, when it is very quiet and calm, sounds that hardly register during the bustle of the day are suddenly loud and clear. Things like the rustle of leaves outside or the tick of a clock are now more noticeable in this environment.

At times like these, the ears try to adjust to a lot of different stimuli all at once. Unfortunately, this over stimulation can help contribute to hearing loss. One should use a sound blocking headphone to help control the external noises.

Please schedule your hearing assessment / checkup today!  Learn more about the advancements in modern hearing aids.

Phone: 702.990.1568 • www.snaudiology.com

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Listening Environments

Listening Environments

Days can begin quiet and quickly change as they progress.  A combination of usual background noises, conversations, outside noises, television and music can offer challenges for those with hearing loss.  Listening environments vary from person to person.  Some people have very high demanding environments and others have low demanding environments.  Click here to learn more about listening environments.

Hearing Aids are now customizable to fit anyone’s lifestyle.  Today’s hearing aids are packed with more features to help hear in difficult listening environments.   Plus, they are rechargeable, nearly invisible and provide a more coherent natural listening experience.

Give Southern Nevada Audiology a call to learn more about the advancements in hearing aids.

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Ear Health

Ear Health

A healthy ear is a clean ear.  Properly caring for them can help prevent hearing loss and ear infections.

Ears are meant to have some wax within them. Earwax is like a trap that helps prevent harmful things that could get into the body such as foreign objects and bacteria.  Usually, earwax or cerumen will leave through natural daily tasks like speaking or chewing but other times there may be an excess amount of it.

There are a couple of signs that there might be a build up of earwax. The first thing most people might think are symptoms are earaches, itchiness, a bit of hearing loss and maybe even ear infections but other symptoms can include Vertigo and Tinnitus. Vertigo is described as dizziness or a spinning sensation similar to standing up too fast or spinning around in a circle. Tinnitus is when a ‘ringing’ sound is heard with no external source. Most of the time, these can be taken care of  by having the ears seen by a audiologist who will then decide which treatment is best.

Sometimes the build up of earwax happens because of outside circumstances like water finding its way into the ear or a change in temperature. Other conditions of the ear, from bony growths to narrow or hairy ear canals, can also play a factor in causing a build up.

Interestingly, the most common reason for a wax build up is due to people cleaning their ears with a Q-Tip.  Q-Tips should not be used inside the ear canal as this can actually push the earwax deeper into the ear and cause build up. The best way to clean ears at home is by using ear drops.

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Lip Readers, Hearing Impaired & Masks

Lip Readers, Hearing Impaired & Masks

Masks, while integral to the protection of the user and the slowing of the spread of viruses, can make it challenging to hear people. It muffles the speaker’s voice, covers their mouth and makes it impossible to lip read. For people who rely on lip reading to communicate, this usually spells the death of the conversation and the birth of frustration between the parties. 

Despite this obstacle, there are still many ways to communicate. A common method is using pen and paper, a dry erase board or even a notepad application on a phone or tablet.

Other high tech options include speech to text applications that will ‘listen’ to what is being said and convert it to text. This can be used for both parties in the conversation as these applications usually also convert text to speech. It would be best to practice using the applications at home so the process is familiar and easy when needed. For use, simply activate the application then hold the microphone as close to the person talking as possible while keeping appropriate social distance.

Hearing aids are still a contender in the fight against failed communication but these devices often have a short distance where they are most effective. Make sure to be cautious when removing a mask to avoid losing a hearing aid. Tying the mask around the back of the head versus looping behind the ear will help prevent any losses or damages to a hearing device. 

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Face Masks & Hearing Aids

Face Masks & Hearing Aids

Care for our own safety and the safety of our community and loved ones encourages us to wear masks whenever we step out of our homes. It has been scientifically proven that masks greatly help control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, keeping it contained while also halting its advance.

The desire to connect with loved ones and our environment encourages the use of hearing aids. Sadly, wearing both masks and hearing aids can overlap in hazardous ways. Sometimes, removing masks can dislodge a hearing aid which can be hard to find if too much time passes between its loss and the realization that the device is missing.  The fallen hearing aid may even fall victim to pets who think they have found a new chew toy or curious young children who may not understand the importance the device holds.

It would be beneficial to double check that the hearing aids are still in place after the removal of a mask. It is also helpful to use a mask that ties around the head versus looping behind the ears to reduce any chances of interference with the hearing aids.

Whether the device is lost, damaged or not working right, we here at Southern Nevada Audiology will be more than happy to solve the problem and get life back on track!

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