Let's go to the movies and enjoy the sound! I recently sat down with Jeff Logan of Logan Luxury Theatres in Mitchell, Huron, and Dell Rapids to discuss individuals who would enjoy going to the movies but due to the acoustics, both for hearing and hearing impaired, don't benefit from this entertainment experience. Logan and I reviewed not only the assistance one may take advantage of at the movies but also church, restaurants and schools. We are fortunate in the cities of Mitchell, Huron, and Dell Rapids because Logan cares about his patrons having the best experience at the movies. He has purchased closed caption devices that set in the cup holders for individuals who prefer to read due to speech understanding or comprehension difficulties.
He also has new amplification headphones. The devices have a sound reduction effect, that limits the background noise thus amplifying speech. It also has a fabulous aspect for the visually impaired as it can be programmed to tell what is happening (i.e. Joan enter the room and looks at the letter.) The movies are just one area that assistive listening devices are and can be utilized. One of the areas whit the greatest difficulty hearing is while attending worship services. Many churches have installed amplification systems to assist hearing impaired parishioners in hearing the sermons, teachings, or homilies. And some restaurants have remodeled their space to improve acoustics and make a more enjoyable dining experience.
The hearing aid manufactures have also created new hearing aids that are connected to your phone. most are available for the iPhone or iPad, but few are streamable with Android. Manufacturers have also developed devices beyond the hearing aids to assist with various aspects of a better listening environments. The schools provide a FM system - or loop system - for students with hearing impairments. These work with the wearer's hearing aids or cochlear implant as the signal is transmitted directly from the educator to the hearing device. They may be a neck loop, body worn or at ear level.
The most important part is the student is receiving the best learning environment in spite of their hearing impairment. People with hearing loss struggle with understanding speech, even though the hearing aids are working overtime to pick up signals. Give your hearing aids a reprieve and reduce your listening fatigue by considering utilizing the facility's system, such as those used at Logan Luxury Theatres, churches, or schools. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance and let's enjoy going to the movies, places of worship, and school.
Don't dismiss the ringing in your ears. "The ringing in my ears is driving me crazy." "What is it and how do I get rid of it?" "I have heard many claims but I want the truth." These are the questions and phrases I hear often. The claims are real and it is called tinnitus. Tinnitus is, for most people, phantom perception or sound occurring in the brain's pathway due to a loud sound or background activity under stress related situations. The individual with the tinnitus is the only one who can hear it, which is called subjective tinnitus. On occasion, a rare condition occurs in which the tinnitus may be heard and measured by a train professional. Such tinnitus is related to blood flow or contractions of small muscles in the head and it may be caused by the inner hair cells being damaged. This is the objective of tinnitus.
In the general population, tinnitus may be caused from repeated exposure to loud sound, an episode of explosive sound, head or neck injury, stress, certain medications, ear disease, or dysfunction. The truth is millions of people suffer from tinnitus and there are many conflicting reports and causes as there are individuals. No two people listen the same way, share the same medical and environmental backgrounds, or go to the same places at the exact same time. No treatment - whether it is a medication or hearing aid - is going to be the right answer for everyone. If you are utilizing a hearing aid to mask out the ringing, one way or the other, you will need to have a good tinnitus matching procedure provided by a trained audiologist.
As an audiologist, I need to know the exact frequency and intensity as well as if it is maskable and by what type of noise, tone, or response pattern. I need to know if it is intermittent or continuous noise, if it is pulsed or sounds similar to a bee buzz, locust, ocean waves, hissing, highline wire hum, tea kettle whistle, or a telephone ring. There are a numerous amount of variables to just say it is related or probably related to a certain cause, and to treat everyone the same is not answering the questions or providing all the correct avenues of treatment.
So, for now, most will use the Band-Aid approach, but if you would like more information, call an audiologist
We as humans are so blessed to have bodies which perform so many functions without us having to think about them. An example would be breathing. Most of us don't have to tell our body inhale and exhale -it is an automatic function. Hearing and speaking are an important part of the whole-body health. This is a truth that has been proven by years of studies demonstrating the connections of the heart, mind and lifestyles.
Recent studies suggest mediation is not only good for your overall well-being, but it can improve your hearing abilities. It is true there are genetic and environmental factors (such as excessive loud noises) associated with the cause of hearing loss, however most of us have far more ability to prevent hearing loss, or improve it, than we realize. The use of hearing protection when exposed to loud sounds is the first thought. Turning down the volume is the second. Have you thought or inquired from you physician or pharmacist which medication maybe ototoxic and if it changes to those for others may be used? How about getting plenty of exercise?
Exercise improves blood flow. Research has shown at least two hours per week of waling decreased the risk of hearing loss. Exercise also helps the balance system and the cognitive functioning, such as memory, executive functioning skills and motor planning skills. Avoid smoking. Yes, you have heard this related to your lungs about a thousand times. But, your ears? Absolutely. It decreases oxygen to the blood thus increasing the likelihood of a hearing loss.
Meditation and positive thinking also are associated with better hearing. The 2016 Hearing Review found that, "those who meditated have an increased thickness of gray matter in the parts of the brain responsible for attention compared to those who do not meditate." The review suggests that by taking time to calm your mind and focus, your overall health, including your hearing skills, improves. That is pretty impressive. Mediation also improves the blood flow to the ears and increases the oxygen level in the body. The chattering voice that does not seem to quiet can be difficult to not focus on at first but with time, it fades into the background.
Thanks for paying attention. Happy health, hearing and mediating!
Then communicating with someone with a hearing loss, with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants, we need to be cognizant of both the listener and the speaker. The individual who has the untreated hearing loss will often be aware at some level that their hearing is not "what it used to be." They will tend to blame or question all around until they are ready to take ownership of their hearing loss. they will say others "mumble or don't speak clear" or "if they would only speak up and use clear English."
Although these things may be true, they are not true with all speakers. If you are the one hearing yourself say these things, it may be time to get your hearing checked. Checking will determine if it is your hearing, memory, auditory processing or if it is everybody else. When speaking with others who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants, remember as a speaker you have a duty to perform the following:
These are just a few suggestions to help reduce miscommunication. We all want to be heard and understood so remember your manners.
Statistics indicate by Jan 15th, 71 percent of the population have already broken their New Year’s Resolution. By Feb 1st, this stat jumps to 80 percent, and only 8 percent achieve the desired goal before the next year. Those statistics are startling.
So what did you decide to change this year? Anything? A lot of people indicate their resolutions are related to diet, exercise or both. Does what you eat matter to your hearing health? Yes it does. “You are what you eat” is the saying we have heard several times. But it is true. Exercise matters a great deal also, especially with regard to our cognitive abilities and, in turn, how the brain processes sound.
I am not going to tell you what to eat or how much exercise you need. Instead, I will divide food into two general categories. Those of “fast or restaurant food” and “store bought.” Category one contains the most processed foods, which are higher in fats, cholesterol, sugars and generally unhealthy foods. Category two includes healthy choices, such as fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and items containing a nutritional label.
Research has demonstrated the negative relationship between HEI (healthy eating index) and a high frequency hearing loss. The higher the HEI’s, the better the high frequency hearing. The people who consumed a healthy diet and better quality of foods did not have the associated hearing loss. This relates back to the oxygenated blood flow and amounts of fats, which are clogging up the arteries.
Exercise programs also increase the oxygenated blood flow to the inner ears. What about noise, hypertension and hearing loss? Yes, there is a correlation between these areas also. I would advise not putting your earplugs in and turning up the volume while working out. You are not helping your ears with this strategy. The longer the noise exposure, the more significant are the changes in both the auditory and cardiovascular systems.
To help you keep your hearing and your New Year’s resolution of diet and exercise programs, let me offer this piece of advice: Turn down the volume and increase your intake of vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. Talk to a nutritionist, dietitian or health care professional whose profession it is to advise or guide you on nutrients. Stay away from items or labels of which you can’t program that works for you and your age level. Get a baseline hearing test by an Audiologist to determine where your hearing healthcare is at this time.
Schedule my Appointment
Or - Call us at
(605) 996-0281 or
Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.