Dr. Wright's Blog

Tinnitus Solution Given FDA Clearance

In the fall of last year Broadmead Hearing Clinic was asked to be a clinical trial test site for Otoharmonics to evaluate their new tinnitus treatment methods.  We had a number of participants from our locations contribute to the overall study, which has finally been approved by the FDA.  We are very excited about this news because many people who received the treatment in the trial were seeking to continue the treatment following the conclusion of the trial because they found their tinnitus to be reduced as a result of using their Levo device. 

Tinnitus is a growing concern and for years, people were told there was "nothing they could do about it".  This is happily no longer the case as more inventive products and technology are coming to market to serve the needs of this population.  We see many people with bothersome tinnitus that we can almost always help. 

We were lucky to have been able to work with local Starfish Medical to help to improve the interface that Audiologists and patients will use in the future. 

http://starfishmedical.com/news/fda-510k-clearance/

Patience - A Conversation

The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Brian who is a patient of mine and has been wearing hearing aids for 5 years. I want to share it as it helps to show the process it takes to find the right hearing aid for each individual person.

“Thank you for your patience”, he said. 

“You are welcome”. I responded. “I understand.  This is an important decision.  After all, what else do you use 12 to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week?”

“Exactly. Not even my car and I paid a lot more for that!  Plus my hearing aids have a much larger effect on my overall quality of life than my car does.  I love that quote you have hanging on your wall by Helen Keller.  You know, the one that says Blindness separates us from things, but Deafness separates us from people”.

“I love that quote”, I replied. 

“Don’t get me wrong, he said.  There are many people who I could care less if I don’t hear.  After all, half of what they say is babbling anyway."

I laugh and agree.  “OK, so let’s figure out what it is exactly that you need this hearing aid to do.  What I heard you say was that the previous hearing aid you tried made music sound tinny and you had trouble on the phone?”

“Yes”, he replied.  “I don’t talk on the phone often, but when I do, I need it to work”.

I think for a few minutes of all the options available in the hearing aid marketplace.  We identify the need for better music fidelity, phone use, easy to change batteries and discrete sizing.  “What about pricing?” I ask.  “Do you have a budget for this?” 

“Yes.  I am wondering if we can keep it lower than $3000 for both of them.”

“No problem" I reply.  "We can get a lot of amazing technology for that price point.  There are hearing aids at $1000 for both that we can try if you like first, but I am not sure it will meet all of the needs you mentioned above”. 

“You are the Audiologist”, he replied.  I consider carefully all of the hearing aids from each manufacturer as they all have their strengths and weaknesses.  Some companies have niche products that work very well for the phone, but I am not sure it will meet this gentleman’s needs for cosmetics.  Finally, after scrolling through the specs on different hearing aids I find one that will match all of his requirements. 

“Now we just have to pick the color, the fun part”, I smile.

We settle on a very small hearing aid made by Widex called the Passion.  It has a special mechanism that improves the sound quality of music above all other aids.  As well, it has a feature where when he answers the phone, it directs the call to both hearing aids.  I also include a free wireless phone that is made by Widex that directly connects to the aids,  it's much more effective than telecoil.  As well, the battery is easy to change and it gives him an audible alert where a woman’s voice says “Battery Low” when it is time to change the battery.  I tell him about the 3 year warrantee, the loss warrantee as well as the battery supply he gets.  He also decides to get an adaptor for his TV to allow the volume of the TV to stream directly into his hearing aids. 

“My wife will like this”, he says.  “I watch sports center at night while she reads next to me and I can’t tell you how many times she has asked me to turn down the volume.  Now I can turn the volume right off and have the audio go direct to my hearing aids”.

“Great”, I reply.  He his impressed by our free services for life when I explain that part.  He knows from being a previous user of hearing aids that there is a relationship that develops with your Audiologist.

“My Audiologist is as important to me as my doctor”, he mentions.  I smile to consider that compliment.  “When I can’t hear things, it wreaks havoc on my relationships”. 

We book an appointment for him to return so that I can do a proper fitting of his hearing aids and allow him to begin his 90 day trial.  “Do you have a later appointment?  I want to bring my wife and she works until 5pm”.

“Of course, I reply, I will book you to come in at 5:30 next Tuesday.  Does that work for you?”
“Perfect”, he responds.  “I will see you then, and Erin; Thanks”.

Introducing the new Lyric 3

The Lyric is growing in popularity and this summer the next generation of this invisible hearing is being launched in Canada. The development focus for the new Lyric3 has been on improving the following:

  • Device Reliability - Moisture protection is improved thereby improving the device life.
  • Sound Quality - New parameters in the device software have led to more customization of the product.

I personally think the Lyric is a great option for many people and we are proud to be a certified Lyric provider because it allows us to offer every option to people who are seeking treatment for their hearing loss. This is unique in a hearing clinic because it means we truly have access to every hearing aid manufactured and are able to offer them to each client.

The benefit of the Lyric for many people is the ease of use. The most common populations to use this device are:

  • The person who truly wants to use hearing aids but doesn't want anyone else to see them. Because they are 100% invisible, this need is met for these individuals.
  • The patient who has extreme difficulty inserting devises on their own and needs to rely on care workers. With this device there is no daily maintenance.
  • The person who has Parkinson's or other essential tremors making battery insertion and fine motor tasks challenging.
  • The person who has hearing loss but wants to forget about it. The depth of the device allows it to feel as though it is not there after a few hours of use. The absence of insertion, removal and changing batteries allows a person to go about their day as though they had no hearing aids at all.

As with most things, advances in software development as well as better materials are helping to make big strides in the hearing industry.

If you are interested in trying the Lyric, there is a 30 day free trial available from both of our clinics. This means the device is inserted and you keep it for 30 days to see if this is the right product for your needs at no cost.

Call one of our clinics to book your appointment to try the new Lyric3.

What I Love

Do you know what I love?  What actually makes me smile when I am in my office?  Watching someone operate and control their hearing aids using their iPhone.  There is something miraculous about this technology leap that pleases me.  I am not sure if it’s because it is so cool or so easy, or so inconspicuous, or so tech savvy but I feel like this leap to wearable tech is huge for hearing aids.   Seeing the amazement on people’s faces as they listen to podcasts or music directly into their hearing aids is fun.  Truly. 

Something I have been hearing a lot of with this technology is “well, look at me, aren’t I fancy”.  People are excited, happy, amazed at what their hearing aids can do and can’t wait to tell their friends.  If this isn’t a shift in the positive direction for the reputation of hearing aids, I don’t know what is. 

I love technology and what it can do for us.  If you do too, let me know…

Hearing Aid Diary

This week we had a new user of hearing aids come into the office with her observations about her first week being aided.  Because of her detail, we thought we would share it with you because she does a great job of explaining how her first few days go with the addition of hearing aids.  This is real life stuff. 

Great to read for anyone who wonders what it will be like to use hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Diary

June 9/14

Hearing aids put in approx. 12 noon by audiologist

Wore them for the rest of the day until bedtime. Very comfortable.

 

Observations:

Tinnitus not as noticeable.

Can turn TV much lower.

Crackling of paper.

My footsteps on floor louder.

Keyboard louder.

More traffic noises.

Signal light indicator louder.

June 10

Put hearing aids in approx. 9am.

 

Observations:

Ears felt a wee bit ticklish at first. After 10 min. or so, feeling of ticklishness went away.

Wore them to gym class. Until music started, sounds of gym were noisy, i.e., sounded like a needle on a record with song finished. Once music started, it was loud, but better in terms of background noise. Also, sweated with moisture in hair (was concerned about hearing aids, but kept them in).

Went for coffee at Pure Vanilla – conversation with friend & background noise well tolerated.

Once home, took them out to shower. Reinserted at 3:30.

Wore till bedtime.

 

June 11

Put hearing aids in approx. 8:30am.

 

Observations:

Newspaper crackles. Quite aware of this.

Fields Test for eyes 11:30am – removed  hearing aids for test.

(don’t want sounds via hearing aids to interfere with my concentration of flashing lights).

Put hearing aids back in upon returning home. Wore the rest of the day.

June 12

Put hearing aids in approx. 8:00am.

 

Observations:

Took out hearing aids for gym class (12-1pm) as just too much background noise. Also concerned about sweating. Will insert upon returning home.

I notice now a desire to put them in. I am much better with my hearing aids in as I go about my day.

 

June 13

Put hearing aids in approx. 7:30am

 

Observations:

Getting used to more sounds now. Sounds don’t seem to be so loud. I feel I am adjusting to hearing aids well.

 

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Hearing Fact

More than 8 million Canadians have some type of hearing problem. Hearing difficulties are often unrecognized by the person involved. Children and teenagers seldom complain about the symptoms of hearing loss, and adults may lose their hearing so gradually they do not realize it is happening.

The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by an audiologist.