Hearing Loss & The Irony Of The Entertainment Business

“Goodbye yellow brick road,” Elton John belted out the title song of his final concert tour. My family rarely attends concerts — given my hearing loss I worry about damaging it further — but we are big Elton John fans and could not bear to miss our last chance to see him perform live. The sold out show in Madison Square Garden was outstanding with the crowd singing along to its favorite oldies but goodies. My family and I were able to enjoy the performance because we came prepared with hearing protection and the knowledge of how to use it. You can read my tips for attending a concert in my article, “How To Enjoy a Concert Safely When You Have Hearing Loss.”

As we made our way to our seats, the irony dawned on me. We were not allowed to smoke, to bring in outside food or drink, or even use caps on our plastic water bottles (I guess they think people will throw them?!?), but we could blast our ears with 110 decibel sound for 3 hours without any rules stating otherwise. There was not even a posted sign suggesting we protect our hearing with earplugs or ear muffs. Something seemed wrong with that.

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Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids — What Does the Potential Consumer Think?

I recently participated in an article for The Hearing Journal — the conclusion of its three part series on Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing devices. Part 1 included perspectives from hearing health professionals. Part 2 shared views from hearing industry leaders. The third part was from the consumer perspective — people with mild to moderate hearing loss. I am happy to share the article below.

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An Interesting App To Make TV Watching Easier For People With Hearing Loss

Watching TV can be a challenge for people with hearing loss. In my home, I have things set up just the way I want them. I use a sound bar that enhances speech over background noise and always watch with closed captions. But when I am elsewhere, it can be trickier. People are sometimes resistant to putting on the closed captioning or don’t know how to work that feature on their particular television set. The acoustics are often not ideal either, especially if the TV is far across the room like in a waiting room or hotel room. In the exhibit hall at HLAA’s 2018 Convention, I discovered a new tool that might help.

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What This Hearing Aid Wearer Learned At An Audiology Conference

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

A Unique Opportunity

I was lucky to present recently at the American Academy of Audiology’s annual convention in Nashville held April 18-21, 2018. You can read about my presentation here. It was a fascinating experience to attend an audiology conference, not as an audiologist, but as a patient. It was interesting to attend the various educational sessions for the audiologists, listen in on the latest product launches from the hearing aid manufacturers, and walk the expansive exhibition hall to explore new and innovative products for people with hearing loss. I am so glad I attended.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Positive take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Audiologists are genuinely concerned for our welfare. There were many sessions describing the details of patient-centered care in attempts to provide more personalized and effective hearing care for people with hearing loss. These talks were well attended and numerous questions were raised.

2. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices are slowly being accepted. While there seemed to be push-back from some audiologists when the OTC hearing aid concept was first floated, most sessions at AAA 2018 seemed to regard OTC as a done deal. Attention was focused on how to best integrate OTC hearing aid wearers into an audiology practice, rather than rejecting the initiative entirely.

Click here to read more positives on Hearing Tracker. 

Negative take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Limited hearing assistance was offered. Few sessions were captioned or had listening assistive technology available. This was not surprising since the audience did not likely include many people with hearing issues, but making the options available would have shown respect for the people who did need them.

2. Poor communication habits were on display. At many of the sessions, questions were asked without using microphones and presenters did not repeat these questions before answering them. This is fairly typical at large meetings, but I had hoped for better from professionals whose job is focused on improving communication.

Click here to read more negatives on Hearing Tracker. 

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How Do You Imagine The Hearing Aid Of The Future?

Hearing aid technology advances every day, but of course, those of us who wear hearing aids wish it would advance even faster. Today’s hearing aids range from simple analog devices to souped-up digital models with T-coils, multiple situational programs, rechargeable batteries and connectivity to smart phones. But the hearing aids of the future will likely offer even more features.

Here is my wish list. Please add your thoughts in the comments.

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