The Living Sounds Blog

Signs of Hearing Loss

The Better Hearing Institute is an educational website with the goal of informing the public about hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can have serious effects on social, emotional, and physical health. According to the Better Hearing Institute, some of the effects of untreated hearing loss are as follows:

• Irritability, negativity, and anger
• Fatigue, tension, stress, and depression
• Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
• Social rejection and loneliness
• Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
• Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
• Reduced job performance and earning power
• Diminished psychological and overall health

Hearing loss impacts people of all ages, so it is important to get tested if there are any symptoms of hearing difficulties. As detailed by the Better Hearing Institute, these are some signs and symptoms to watch out for:

Socially:
• Require frequent repetition
• Have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people
• Think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling
• Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms
• Have trouble hearing children and women
• Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume
• Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations
• Have ringing in your ears
• Read lips or watch people’s faces more intently when they speak with you

Emotionally:
• Feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying
• Feel annoyed at other people because you can’t hear or understand them
• Feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying
• Feel nervous about trying to hear and understand
• Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing

Medically:
• Have a family history of hearing loss
• Take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs)
• Have diabetes, heart, circulation, or thyroid problems
• Have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period of time or single exposure to explosive noise

If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, please contact us to book a hearing test at 1-800-232-7289

Alissa Horneland BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

References:

Better Hearing Institute (n.d.). Signs of hearing loss. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/signs-hearing-loss

Better Hearing Institute (n.d.). Consequences of hearing loss. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/consequences-hearing-loss

Technology Is Here To Help

Here at Living Sounds Hearing Centre, we are able to provide different products and services for people suffering from a variety of hearing issues. Some people experience hearing loss while others experience ringing in the ears (Tinnitus), or both. In addition to hearing aids, we also provide ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices) in order to cater to each person’s specific hearing needs.

  • Amplified Telephones: Turn on extra amplification to better hear conversations and adjust the tone and volume.
  • Alerting Systems: These devices (for doorbells or smoke detectors) send a signal to a receiver that alerts you by a flashing light or a vibrator pad. Different signalers are available depending on your personal needs and preferences.
  • Alarm Clocks: You can purchase an alarm clock that alerts you by a flashing light or vibrator pad placed under your pillow.
  • TV Ears: This headset adjusts the tone and volume of the television allowing everyone in the room to enjoy the television a volume they are comfortable with.
  • Pocket Talker Ultra: This amplified headset has an attached microphone that is able to transmit sounds for anybody attending a group activity to a headset. You can wear this to turn up and amplify the surrounding conversations and sounds.

These are just some of the examples of items Living Sounds Hearing Centre is able to provide in order to assist those that might not be ready for hearing aids or that have other needs. There is comfort in knowing that nobody has to feel separated from the world with the technology that is available.

Aaron A. Wannamaker
Customer Care Representative

The Forefront of Hearing Technology

The technology of amplification is always changing and improving. Manufacturers are constantly striving to improve hearing aids with technology that produces audible, clear speech in the presence of noise. At the same time, clinical staff are continually looking to improve patient satisfaction levels by understanding their specific case of hearing loss.

I was fortunate enough to have been part of a team that attended a conference and trade show outlining the latest in hearing aid technologies. Some of the very recent and innovative examples include products that we have been excitedly waiting for. Others are on the cusp of release and until now we’ve heard just whispers of their development. One of the products we learned about was the new Starkey MUSE IQ rechargeable Hearing device that will be 30% smaller, the charge will last 20% longer, making this new technology an incredibly convenient option with less interruptions to your everyday life.

As we look forward into the future, hearing aid technology will embrace artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the patient experience, turning hearing aids into the gateway to human wellness. Using sensors and AI, hearing aids will include physical activity trackers that can track steps taken, body temperature, heart rate, and more. These sensors will even be able to detect falls; a built-in management system will be able to contact 911 if required.

There is also the incredible possibility that future hearing aids will be able to offer real-time language translation, directly in the ear with virtually no delay. These cutting-edge concepts are becoming a reality, and it’s a reality to be excited about. The future is looking very bright!

Adele Collingwood, BC-HIS
Hearing Aid Practitioner

Hearing Protection

I am one of the newer employees with Living Sounds Hearing Centre and before I started this job, I never really thought about my ability to hear. It is one of the senses that I was born with and I take it for granted as most people do. Working in this industry has completely changed the way I think about my perception of the sounds in the world around me.

When people think about a hearing centre, they often associate it with hearing aids, but there are other great services and products that Living Sounds offers. My favourite product would be the custom molds. With custom-molded ear defenders, you can protect your hearing with the ultimate level of comfort. These molds are a longer-term solution than regular and cheap earplugs. The custom molded ear defenders only need to be replaced every couple of years. Because each set is made specifically for you, there are multiple colour and material options to fit your needs and preferences.

Being aware of the noise you are exposed to and taking actions early on to protect your hearing can help mitigate potential hearing loss later on in life. Even with the best in hearing protection, continued exposure to loud or sudden noises can negatively affect your hearing. We at Living Sounds Hearing Centre recommend that you have your hearing tested annually to catch any loss as soon as possible.

Aarin Christian
Client Care Representative
Living Sounds Hearing Centre

Hearing the Holidays

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It’s that time of year when families come together to catch up, share some laughs, and ultimately talk about how the year has gone by too fast. For some, this is a great experience and could even be the highlight of the year. For others, it is a time when those “minor” hearing difficulties can lead to serious anxiety and embarrassment. While it may be true that your nephew is always mumbling, the reality of hearing loss is almost undeniable during the holidays. With plenty of dishes clattering, people talking, and music playing, it can really be difficult to make out what is being said.

Here are some basic communication strategies to get you through the holidays in one piece.

1. Be open about your hearing difficulties

By telling a person at the beginning of a conversation that you have some hearing difficulties, it will make them more likely to speak clearly, look at you while talking, and repeat sentences without any attitude.

2. Be specific when you need clarification

Instead of using words like “what?” or “huh?” when you miss part of a conversation, be more specific. For example, you could say something like “I didn’t hear the name of your new reindeer. Could you please repeat it?” That way, the speaker doesn’t have to repeat the whole sentence and is less likely to act like a Grinch.

3. Use your eyes along with your ears

While you may not be able to lip-read a conversation across the room, being able to see a speaker’s mouth can go a long way towards better speech understanding. A person’s facial expressions can put a sentence into context and save you from some confusion.

4. Control your listening environment

Make sure to put yourself close to the people you are communicating with. Instead of trying to talk across the table, close the distance with the speaker until you are a few feet away and face-to-face. It may mean more walking around for you, but it will keep you from missing out on important details of a conversation. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for the music to be turned down. While Christmas music can help put everyone in a festive mood, it can also make it very difficult for those with hearing loss to make out what is being said.

5. Be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself

Try to avoid blaming yourself or others for your hearing difficulty. A good attitude (and some Christmas cheer) can go a long way, and if others see that you are calm and open about your hearing loss, they will most likely be calmer and more understanding.

6. Use hearing assistive technology

Hearing aids can go a long way towards improving your communication difficulties. From turning down background noise to enhancing speech clarity, hearing aids can minimize the stress of hearing loss through the holidays. If you or a loved one are experiencing some of the difficulties on this list and have not yet had your hearing tested, now is a great time to come into Living Sounds for a hearing evaluation and consultation. You can be hearing those Christmas bells in no time! If you already have hearing aids but aren’t wearing them, bring them in and have them serviced to ensure they are working right for you throughout the holidays.

To book your appointment, give us a call at 1800-232-7289 and talk to one of our wonderful customer care representatives.

Remember, the holidays aren’t the time to stress about your hearing loss. Follow these simple tips and focus on the things that matter most – like turkey dinner.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Living Sounds!

Tom Gartshore BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

Can You Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling?

With Christmas right around the corner, now is the perfect time to come in to get either your hearing checked or your hearing aids cleaned and tuned up. That way, you do not have to miss any of the wonderful sounds of this time of year.

Living Sounds offers all of the following services:

  • Full Hearing Tests
  • Hearing Aid Fittings
  • Clean and Check on a variety of makes and models of Hearing Aids
  • Cerumen (wax) Removal

Take advantage of the services listed above, and our wide range of assisted listening devices for your household, such as amplified phones. Did you know we also make custom ear molds to best protect your ears? These include:

  • Custom Noise Defenders
  • Swim Plugs
  • Sleeper Molds
  • Custom ear molds for in ear head phones
  • Communication Molds

We also offer Gift Certificates in any denomination you may like.

Please give us a call at 1-800-232-7289. We are always here to assist you and your loved ones with all of your hearing needs.

Leslie Stewart-Dyment
Client Care Representative

FAQS on Ear Wax

We get many requests every week on wax removal procedures. Here are some FAQS if this is something you are looking to have done. We have a great team of hearing aid practitioners and audiologists that are trained to remove wax with several different methods.

Q. What are the different ways we can remove cerumen (ear wax)?

Ear Irrigation: This method involves using a hand held syringe or bottle (as seen below) to flush the impacted wax out of the ear canal using warm water. At Living Sounds, we use the wash system you see below as it uses less pressure than a syringe, making the procedure more comfortable.

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Image taken from: http://www.elephantearwashsystem.com/

Manual Extraction: This method involves using a curette or forceps to remove the wax that can be either plastic or metal and some are even illuminated for better visibility inside the ear canal.

pcitures
Image taken from: http://www.medline.com

Suction: Ear wax can also be removed using a suction method. This method is less common in the clinic as many suction systems are very loud so using the irrigation method or manual extraction may be preferred.

Suction
Image taken from: www.earwaxclinic.co.uk

Q. Which method will be used on me if I book at Living Sounds Hearing Centre?

At Living Sounds, we commonly use manual extraction and irrigation but there are many factors involved when we determine the right option for that individual before removing the wax. Firstly, we will do a quick case history to determine there are no present ear infections, no history or current perforations (hole) in the ear drums, ear surgery, etc. Futhermore, some medical conditions and medications may warrant one method over the other.

Q. Can’t I just use Q-tips or buy a wax removal system over the internet?

Q-tips are not recommended because you can risk puncturing your ear drum or pushing the wax down deeper towards the ear drum, making it more difficult to remove and potentially create more of a blockage.

It is recommended if you think you have wax build up to see your doctor or hearing health care provider to determine the right method to remove the wax and to confirm that your ears are indeed occluded. There are many products for removing wax on the internet but may not be safe to use.

Q. What about ear candling?

Ear candling is not recommended. It is not supported by the medical field and has not been proven to be effective. You can read more at https://www.audiology.org/news/ear-candles-and-candling-ineffective-and-dangerous

Q. Is it normal to have some ear wax?

Absolutely! Ear wax acts as a natural anti-bacterial substance and helps to keep bugs out and can trap dust and debris. So, a little bit of wax is a good thing.

Q. Can wax occlusion cause hearing loss?

Yes, if the canal is completely blocked with cerumen, then it can impair your hearing until the wax is removed.

Q. Why do some people produce more wax than others?

There can be both hereditary and environmental factors. For example working in hot, dusty environments can exacerbate rates of accumulation. Sometimes as we age, we can produce more wax.

Q. Are there risks involved with wax removal?

Yes, there are risks involved so it is important we go through your medical history with you before we proceed with the removal to ensure your safety. Some risks included a perforated eardrum, dizziness (vertigo), tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and failure to remove the wax. In the case we can’t remove the wax, we may forward you to your doctor or have you put in some wax softening drops and try again in a couple of days.

Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

The Daily Victories

As a customer care representative, I am the first line of contact for most of our clients. Although I enjoy assisting clients with their hearing concerns, my favourite part of the position is meeting and getting to know the clients. I have been with Living Sounds for over 6 years and I am very lucky to have been able to sit and have conversations with many clients or just listen to their stories of their time in the war, their growing families, or their travels. What we don’t always get to hear about is our clients’ experiences with hearing aids. I have had the opportunity of hearing and seeing the transformation one goes through from beginning to end.

I have a close family friend, that for privacy reasons, I will call Judy. Due to some unfortunate health issues, Judy lost her hearing completely in one ear and had hearing loss in the other. For many years she suffered with that loss and missed out on many conversations and avoided functions due to the difficulty and embarrassment. Her husband already wore hearing aids that he had purchased through Living Sounds, so he referred her and suggested she try hearing aids herself.

About 6 years ago Judy got a hearing aid in the ear that had some loss. It did the job it was supposed to, but she still missed hearing some words and sounds due to the complete loss in the other ear. It was recently recommended by one of our practitioners that she try a BiCROS aid. For those of you unfamiliar with BiCROS, it is an aid for users with little or no hearing on one side and with some hearing loss in the other ear. Judy decided to be fitted with the BiCROS aids and has shared with me that she not only hears better in the ear that had hearing loss, but she can perceive sound in the ear that has no hearing.

Judy is always amazed at the sounds she hears in both ears and continues to see positive changes daily. She is truly grateful for the continual work and care that is done by the practitioners and the rest of the staff that have assisted her in regaining a meaningful life.

There are many more positive experiences like Judy’s. Let the wonderful team at Living Sounds Hearing Center be part of your hearing story.

Nicole Badorek
Customer Care Representative

Better Hearing is a Process!

At Living Sounds Hearing Centre, we often talk about hearing aids and how they work, how to manage new hearing devices when they are purchased, or hearing loss and how to protect hearing in the first place. We talk about the emotions involved and the significant impact hearing loss has on a person or the person’s family and friends. We even talk about medical implications and certain diseases that are correlated with hearing loss. However, I fear we don’t talk enough about hearing rehabilitation and what this process actually looks like for most first-time hearing aid users!

First, I’d like to start by saying, “Congratulations!” if you are reading this right now. You’ve started down the path towards better hearing and communication by showing interest in improving a problem that may be affecting you or someone you love. This is one of the earliest stages in the process of hearing rehabilitation. Even if you haven’t purchased hearing aids or even identified a hearing loss yet, you are thinking about the prospect that action is needed. You’re on your way.

The next few steps in the process are straightforward. First, a hearing test is needed to identify hearing levels. If hearing loss is diagnosed, we will often talk about the options for treating this hearing deficit. When your Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Practitioner makes a recommendation, they are often considering numerous factors that may affect which device is the most suitable for you. They will talk to you about size and styles, technology levels, aesthetics and manageability. These are significant factors to consider; the smallest hearing aid is not always the best hearing aid for your specific hearing loss!

Initially your new hearing device may seem unusual. Suddenly you’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a while and in some cases, may have forgotten were there in the first place! Your clinician will spend time fitting the hearing aid, a process that includes validating and verifying the hearing aid’s volume or “gain” and noise control features to ensure your hearing needs are being met. In many cases patients’ will need some fine-tuning to help make the sound more enjoyable or more functional in their daily lives. Overtime, your brain will become reacquainted with the environmental sounds around you.

There are auditory training techniques that help the brain adjust to new sounds. These include listening games and exercises available for download on your phone, computers or tablets that are designed to help challenge your auditory system and help improve the process of acclimatizing to the hearing aid’s sound. These types of games are often designed using visual and auditory cues to help improve your overall comprehension of speech sounds by having you listen to and identify speech sounds as phonemes, words or brief sentences, often with competing noise. Starkey Laboratories developed one such game called “Hear Coach” and it is available for download through iTunes or Google Play for Android.

Your clinician is a great asset during this process. He or she will be able to guide you by making suggestions that are more specific to you and your needs, such as fine-tuning your hearing aid settings to improve your listening experience. At Living Sounds Hearing Centre, our trained professional are always willing to act as a sounding board to discuss the nuances of hearing with hearing aids. We always encourage our patients to contact us regularly during the hearing rehab process to ensure that everything is going smoothly.

Tania Gora, MSc, R.Aud, Aud (C)
Registered Audiologist

Staff Is Where It Starts

I, Aaron Wannamaker, have been employed by Living Sounds Hearing Centre for over five years. In this time, I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the most genuine, caring people I have ever met. Most of my coworkers have been providing dedicated support and customer service for Living Sounds’ new and existing clients for many years in various locations throughout Edmonton, St. Albert, and Sherwood Park. Our office has a lively atmosphere that is created every day by our fantastic employees. Each individual has a passion for service and treats the entire team as though we are a family. Through my experience with this company, I have come to learn that excellent staff is where it starts.

Living Sounds Hearing Centre has excellent administrative staff, a Registered Audiologist, and many Registered Practitioners that all work closely with new and existing personnel. The Audiologist and practitioners are not only educated but also very professional, presenting accurate hearing test results and recommendations that are designed specifically for the client. There are always multiple options that are best suited to the client’s needs. Our staff is devoted to maintaining unrelenting support and comfort while reassuring clients that they will find the best solution to match their lifestyle. One can always depend on a Living Sounds staff member to care, understand, and be available to help.

Because I am part of the administrative staff at the Synergy Wellness Centre location in Sherwood Park, I know that Living Sounds’ personnel actively participate in having the necessary communication skills to provide honest and knowledgeable recommendations. The administrative staff will book appointments based around personal needs and information provided at the location that is most convenient. We will be more than happy to provide any additional information or answer any questions. Each member of the staff strives for anybody coming in the door to feel comfortable and confident in the service that is given here at Living Sounds Hearing Centre.

Aaron Wannamaker
Customer Care Representative


About

As a full service hearing health care provider, Living Sounds Hearing Centre Ltd. offers a variety of hearing aid products, assistive listening devices and hearing services from clinic locations in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Barrhead, Drayton Valley, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, St. Paul, Stony Plain, Vegreville, Westlock, and Westaskiwin.
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12310 - 105 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5N 0Y4

Ph: 780-488-8100
Toll Free: 1-800-232-7289

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