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    Thank you for visiting my website. It's a combination of professional information for you regarding my personalized audiology practice, as well as an informal journal.  I find things in my day-to-day practice that I would like to share with patients and visitors that time doesn't permit. So this is my effort to sit down at my desk and talk about what's new, technology, problems, solutions, and perhaps a good story i've picked up from over 25 years in practice. If you have a comment or a question I would appreciate hearing from you.


    Troubleshooting a hearing aid that goes dead and then works again.

    This is a common problem that occurs when debris (wax, oils, skin flakes) gets inside the battery case and accumulates around the battery contacts.

    Below is a photo of one of two battery contacts inside a common hearing aid. Each contact must lightly "scratch" the battery when the door is closed to make a good connection. If your hearing aid goes dead intermittantly the contacts may be dirty from wax, skin cells, and oils. Carefully use a pipe cleaner, an old typewriter  eraser, or a thinned and narrowed Q-Tip (very lightly moistened with rubbing alchohol or amonia) to clean the contacts. Make sure the contact is dry before replacing the battery.



    Wanting longer battery life?

    Hearing Aid batteries are made of zinc. There are tiny holes on the positive side of the battery that allow oxygen in when the colored tab is removed. Manufacturer's are now saying that it is best to remove the tab and let the battery sit on the counter for a full two minutes before inserting it into your hearing aid. This time allows the battery to absorb enough oxygen to reach its full potential. The battery will last longer too. Make sure that the battery does not touch metal during the two minute wait time.


    Once in a while it's nice to receive validation.

    Yesterday I received a very nice email from a new patient, as a response to a routine audiologic report I sent to him:

    "...The pleasure was all mine.  What a refreshingly pleasant experience dealing with someone who took a sincere interest in the important aspects of my health.  You should patent how you treat patients.  It was clear that I was your single focus, and that you were going to do whatever you needed to do in order to understand and help me with my issues. I assure you that if I ever learn of anyone who has a hearing related concern, I will recommend you, and only you to be the first person they work with. I just wish I could do more.  I'm not sure I will end up going the hearing aid route at this time.  But, if I ever do, you are my man."


    Lesson: Keep following the "Golden Rule"


    Hearing aids don't get showers.


    Most of the time human hearing is more stable than hearing aid performance. That's because humans take showers to get clean but hearing aids never do. So imagine a hearing aid, day in and day out, that never gets cleaned. It sits in 98.6 degrees (the ear), with heat, body oils, cerumen (wax), and humidity. It builds up over time and the end result is that utimately debris will find a way to get into the hearing aid, the earmold, the microphone, etc. In my experience, 90% of the time when a patient says "my hearing aid just quit working" it's due to blockage some kind. Once a microphone or speaker is blocked the sound quality and speech intelligibility with a hearing aid can be significantly reduced or stop, altogether.

    Lesson: Hearing aids need maintenance on a regular basis. They never get showers.


    Basic principles to consider when fitting a hearing aid.

    Today there is more science and research into the fitting of digital hearing aid technology than ever before. In order for a successful fitting, several steps and variables must take into account in order to optimize the benefits of wearing a hearing aid:
    1.  The proper diagnosis of the hearing loss, including assessment for auditory neuropathy.
    2.  The appropriate selection of the model. technology, and features of the hearing aids.
    3.  The proper measurement and adjustment (programming) of the hearing instruments to the            loss.
    4.  The fit of the ear mold/s (often times this can be the weakest link of the fitting).
    Other factors to be considered are: patient's expectations regarding the use of hearing aids, their committment to use them full-time, age, degree and type of loss, cognition, short-term memory, auditory neuropathy, type of environments the patient lives and works.
    I often say to my new patients that "the fitting of a hearing aid is not like buying a television or a toaster". It involves adaptation to a digital electronic instrument pumping sound through a damaged ear in order to make certain speech sounds more audible. What the brain does with this sound takes time to adapt.