Dr. Wright's Blog

Communication Strategies Class

Since June we have been hosting a “Communication Strategies Class” once a month. Erin, Aisling and I have been taking turns hosting each session. We organized this after receiving such positive feedback from our communication strategies talk at our Healthy Hearing Expo in April.

What is the communication strategies class all about? We recognize that hearing aids are only part of the solution when it comes to treating hearing loss. It’s important for individuals with hearing loss to understand how other variables can influence their ability to hear in certain situations (e.g. distance, background noise, lighting, reverberation, attention, and more). During the class we discuss these variables and how to work through them. We invite significant others to come to the class because it’s not just the person with hearing loss that will benefit from knowing these strategies. It’s a great way to learn how to get the most out of your hearing aids and there is also a benefit in sharing information with others who are experiencing a similar situation.    

The class usually consists of 10-12 people and we meet at our Broadmead location on the second Tuesday of every month at 5pm. We have designed the class in such a way that you only need to attend one session to get all of the information. The class is free and open to all of our clients, even those who have worn hearing aids for a while. We just ask that you call us to let us know if you will be attending and we can make sure we have enough snacks and chairs.

If you are interested in learning more about our Communication Strategies Class, please give our office a call. If you can’t make it to a class but would like some information on communication strategies, we have a link to a communications strategies video here.

We look forward to seeing you!


Lia Best, Audiologist

Sound of Change Initiative

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre (IDHHC) is a local non profit organization committed to helping people who live with hearing loss

Last week, they announced the formation of a new program, The Sound of Change, that is in place to help low income and at risk adults and seniors in our community with refurbished hearing aids for free. 

The hearing aid fittings will be done by a registered Audiologist at Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing's office. Financial and annual income will be required to be eligible for this program. 

This is a wonderful addition to the services locally in our community to make accessing hearing aids easier for all. 

Annual membership ($25) to IDHHC will also be required to access the Sound of Change program. 

If you have any used hearing aids please send them along to this program either by dropping them off at their main office on Broughton Street or to either our Oak Bay or Broadmead Hearing Clinics.

For more information on this program contact IDHHC here.

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Interesting research has just been published about the risk of untreated hearing loss and social isolation in the aging population. This research was conducted at UBC Okanagan by Dr. Paul Mick, a physician and clinical assistant professor. It was recently published in the journal Ear and Hearing. A link to the published article can be found here.

Dr. Mick studied the impacts of undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss in a patient population aged 60-69 and found that for every 10 decibel drop in hearing sensitivity, the odds of social isolation increased by 52%. Among the same group of seniors, a 10 decibel drop in hearing was also associated with cognitive declines equivalent to almost 4 years of chronological aging.

This research was collected by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States. They concluded that people in this age range would benefit from a hearing evaluation to detect those individuals that might be more susceptible to social isolation and cognitive decline as a result of declining hearing sensitivity.

Future research will examine whether interventions such as hearing aids, will help to reduce the effects of hearing loss on social isolation and cognitive decline.

Dr. Mick explains that social isolation has been shown to have similar impacts on mortality rates compared to smoking and alcohol consumption and it is something that should be investigated further.

As audiologists we have seen the effect of hearing loss on social isolation and we are strong advocates for baseline audiograms for anyone over the age of 60 years old.

For more information on obtaining a baseline audiogram please contact us.


UBC Article Link: http://journals.lww.com/ear-hearing/Abstract/2016/05000/Is_Hearing_Loss_Associated_with_Poorer_Health_in.20.aspx


July 4, 2006 was the day the doors to Broadmead Hearing Clinic were first opened.  I remember like it was yesterday when my first client Nora came in for her hearing test and trusted in me enough to let me help her with her hearing loss.  In ten years we have had much to celebrate. 

We have seen hearing aid technology go from the first iteration of a digital hearing aid, to seamless connections of hearing aids to the internet.  The hearing aids from 2006 remind me of my very first cell phone which I also got in about 2006.  Hearing aids today are integrating technological developments from a multitude of industries with the result of better hearing and happier hearing aid users. 

Thank you to all the clients we have had over the past ten years who have told their friends about our services and who have encouraged others to seek assistance. 

Thank you to those who have been persistent and determined to have the best hearing possible.  We can only help when we understand the problems so thank you to all those good communicators.

Thank you to all of the people who have worked at Broadmead Hearing Clinic over the past ten years and created a warm and inviting atmosphere.  Especially to Doran, Devon, Cassie, Tracy, Lia and Aisling who dedicate their days to helping others.

And thank you to my mom because without her direction and guidance in encouraging me to pursue the field of Audiology, there would be no such thing as Broadmead Hearing Clinic!



What is a Diagnostic Audiological Evaluation?

A diagnostic audiological evaluation is a series of audiological tests performed by an audiologist to determine the health of your auditory system.

What is audiology? This is an excellent description by the Canadian Academy of Audiology https://canadianaudiology.ca/for-the-public/about-audiology/

In order for us to hear, there are several processes that take place before your brain registers that you have heard a sound. A sound wave will enter the ear canal and reach the eardrum which will vibrate. This vibration will send the ossicles (3 tiny bones in your middle ear) into mechanical motion. The last bone in this chain, called the stapes, will pump on the membrane of the cochlea. The cochlea is filled with fluid and this pumping action will send a transverse wave through the cochlea at a specific frequency. This will stimulate the outer hair cells in the cochlea and translate into a nerve impulse that travels up the auditory nerve to the brainstem and then on to the auditory cortex. It is in the auditory cortex where we “process” and “understand” sound. A complete diagnostic hearing evaluation measures the function of the outer, middle, and inner ear. It also assesses the brain’s ability to process complex sounds, such as speech. In order for audiologists to make recommendations on improving your hearing, we must first know where the problem is and whether there is any requirement for further medical investigation.

A complete diagnostic audiological evaluation involves the following tests. Otoscopy is an examination of the ear canal with an otoscope. It allows us to check for wax or debris in your ear canal and to determine the health of your eardrum. Tympanometry usually comes next and is a measure of the middle ear function. We send air pressure into your ear canal to measure the movement of your eardrum to rule out fluid in the middle ear or a perforation in the eardrum. Air conduction testing involves listening to pure tones at specific frequencies. These are the “beeps” that you are likely familiar with if you have had a hearing screening in the past. These beeps translate into specific speech sounds and helps us determine how clearly you are hearing speech. We will also do some speech testing to determine your brain’s ability to process complex sounds. We also do bone-conduction testing which involves listening to the same pure tone beeps but you will be wearing a headband that directly sends the sound to your cochlea. This will help us determine if your hearing loss is coming from the outer/middle ear or the inner ear. We will sometimes measure acoustic reflexes, which are measurable reflexes to loud sounds to determine the integrity of your auditory nerve function.

An initial diagnostic hearing evaluation should include these tests. However, a particular test may be excluded if it is not necessary or contra-indicated.

When you see one of us for a diagnostic hearing evaluation, we will explain each of these tests as we conduct them. We will also provide a thorough explanation of your results after the test is complete. If there is an audiological red flag in your audiogram we will refer you for further medical investigation and send a complete report to your family physician.

It is recommended that anyone over the age of 60 years old have a baseline audiological evaluation.

If you have any questions about having a diagnostic audiological evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.