FRONTENAC HEARING CLINIC BLOG


Here is our recent article printed in Neighbours of Kingston Southwest magazine

How Loud is Too Loud?

We live in a loud world.  Traffic, vacuums, barking dogs and crowds, even the most mundane sounds can cause damage to our hearing if we’re exposed for long enough.  ‘Long enough’ might not be as long as you might expect.  The good news is, we can help prevent noise induced hearing loss by wearing hearing protection or moving ourselves away from the source of the noise.

Noise induced hearing loss occurs in our inner ear, where the tiny hair-like structures process the sound.  These structures can only handle so much intensity before they to breakdown. Around 85 dB is the level at which damage can start to occur with exposure. The level of sounds we hear every day range from whispers at 20-30 dB to sirens at around 120 dB.  Lawn mowers, live sporting events and even wearing earbuds are activities that most of us don’t think twice about; these activities are loud enough to cause permanent damage to our hearing with enough exposure. In 2015 the World Health Organization reported nearly 50 percent of teens and young adults ages 12-35 are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from their personal music players. Most earbuds have a top volume range of about 85 dB – 110 dB.  There are so many sounds in our noisy world that can cause damage, knowing a few of them will help get you started on the path to protecting your hearing.

We’ve put together a graphic to give you an idea of how loud some common sounds are and how much exposure you would need before potential damage occurs.  Keep in mind, there are some factors that will influence our exposure, like loud jobs and hobbies.  Since we are aware of these factors it makes it easier to prepare and protect ourselves.

Along with damage to our hearing, noise exposure can also cause tinnitus (ringing) in the ears.  Often presenting as a high-pitched sound heard in one or both ears, tinnitus can be temporary or permanent and can be very annoying.

Preparation and protection are key. Just as you would wear a hard hat on a construction site, we should be training ourselves to wear hearing protection when we are in loud environments. Damage due to certain noises can happen in as little as a few minutes. While there will always be noise at unexpected times that we can‘t prepare for, we can and should be preparing for the times we can.



We are taking Frontenac Fun Fact Friday to a more personal level this week.  Peggy has been in the industry a long time.  She started here in Kingston, she moved on to the GTA area before moving back east to Belleville and then back here to Kingston. She has been an integral part of Frontenac Hearing Clinic since 2000. In 2014 she purchased the business from her mother Jeannine.

From clients, to employees, to members of the community, Peggy is well known for being kind and generous. Her big heart is what makes her special.

 

Peggy,

Congratulations on 30 years in the business!

Much love, Diana, Holly, Rachael & Laura

Frontenac Hearing Clinic Fun fact Friday fact 10



For Frontenac Fun Fact Friday we wanted to share some information on loudness.

How loud is too loud? Take a look at this graphic to get a little bit of insight on how loud some everyday sounds actually are, and how they damage our hearing.

For some frame of reference, here are some other common sounds:

Breathing 10 dB

Clock ticking 20 dB

Whisper 30 dB

Refrigerator 40 dB

Normal conversation 60 dB



Happy Friday!  For our Frontenac Fun Fact Friday we bring you an interesting fact about men and women.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), men are twice as likely than women to have hearing loss.

This increased likelihood is attributed to environmental factors since both men and women’s ears are anatomically the same.



A letter from the owner:

My name is Peggy Plunkett, I am the owner and Hearing Instrument Specialist at Frontenac Hearing Clinic.

As we move back into what will be our new normal, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude.  First, I’d like to thank healthcare and front line workers around the world and specifically in our area, who are working tirelessly to care for people in need. Your selflessness does not go un-noticed.

I am genuinely grateful for our extremely understanding clientele during this time.  The people of Kingston never cease to amaze me with their kindness and compassion.  I am proud to be a part of this community.

Frontenac Hearing Clinic has been fortunate; in that we have been able to re-open and provide our services to those who are in need.  The clinic is currently open regular hours from 8-4 Monday to Friday.  We are now scheduling hearing tests and fittings.  We have also added a curbside care service to clients needing basic servicing and cleaning of their hearing aids.

Although things seem to be getting back to normal, things have certainly changed. We are ready to help you with any of your hearing health needs.  We have increased our sanitation procedures and wear personal protective equipment to protect our clients, and staff. Our appointments are a little more spread out to make room for sanitization of our rooms and equipment.  Even our waiting room has changed a little, with sneeze guards in place and physical barriers in place to make sure physical distancing is followed.

All the new changes and procedures make the days busy, but myself and my team are happy and thankful to be back.  We all look forward to seeing you back in the clinic.



We are open!

Frontenac Hearing is open for business, but it’s not quite business as usual.   Cleaning and sanitizing the clinic and equipment has always been important, now more than ever.  All surfaces are sanitized regularly throughout the day and after each use, including doors, debit machine and telephones and all equipment.  We have installed sneeze guards and our staff is wearing protective equipment, we ask that clients use the hand sanitizer provided and wear a mask upon entering the clinic.

Our clinic hours are currently 9:00-3:00 Monday to Friday.  Appointments are scheduled to minimize the amount of people in the clinic at a time and to provide time to sanitize between clients and respect physical distancing.  We ask that you call ahead, to schedule a convenient time to stop by to pick up supplies or to have your hearing aid repaired.  Curbside pick-up is available.   We are working to arrange appointments as quickly as possible.

We thank you for your patience and understanding while we get back up and running.


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With apps like Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp entering the picture, much of our communication is being handled over the phone. However, if you’re a hearing aid wearer, you might feel left in the dust by these developments. This is where Bluetooth connectivity and hearing aid compatible phones will save your day!

No matter how old you are, it can be difficult to keep up with every technological advancement. Some entered the mainstream years ago and became standard, while other tech trends came and went. Flip-phones have faded into history, while things like Bluetooth are still used today.

However, sometimes keeping up with technology is necessary. Many of us have started learning how to use apps like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Spotify, and Netflix to watch television, stream music, and stay in touch with loved ones. If you are a hearing aid wearer you might feel like it’s impossible to utilize these features without hassle, but that’s not the truth. Many hearing aids have become more connective to keep up with rising trends.

The Need For Connectivity

If hearing aids stayed the same forever, they would become dated and hard to use. For this reason, we as a hearing aid manufacturer are constantly upping our game to make sure our wearers are comfortable and satisfied. Existing concepts like better audio quality and noise filters are improved, while newer features like Bluetooth connectivity and Own Voice Processing are built upon.

Connectivity has been a focus in recent years, and for good reason. As mentioned above, many people have begun using technology in unique ways. Much of our communication is handled digitally, and things like video calls are easier than ever. We can speak face-to-face without being there in person and enjoy conversations with faraway friends and family members.

However, many people with hearing aids have problems taking phone calls, and dislike using headphones and other clunky headsets. Phone reception and audio quality suffer from time to time, and the added hassle of hearing aids can worsen the issue. Smartphone compatibility comes into play here, improving the way you make calls and stream audio.

With the proper hearing aids, you can alleviate many of the downsides to using cellphones while wearing hearing aids. The ability to connect your hearing aids with your smartphones and televisions has become a selling point for many people. Many of us use our cellphones every day, why not make it easier?

How Hearing Aids Are Keeping Up

Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

While many hearing aid compatible phones already do feature some level of integration, we have been working to improve this, tailoring the experience to the phone’s operating system to create a more seamless experience. For example, Apple has enabled the “Made For iPhone” standard in certain hearing aids, which allows you to connect them directly with your smartphone. Find out more in our helpful tutorials on our Signia YouTube channel:

myControl app video by Signia. Available from Frontenac Hearing Clinic, Kingston Ontario.

StreamLine Mic

Android users have similar options with our StreamLine Mic accessory. This accessory connects to your hearing aids and allows you to stream audio with no trouble. Applications also help with this, allowing users to toggle volume, sound quality, and other features from their phone. These days, Bluetooth has become the preferred method of connection, especially when working with wireless devices like hearing aids. The latest Signia hearing aids in particular feature Bluetooth-connectivity and direct streaming for phone calls.

How to Pair StreamLIne with Hearing Aids Video

easyTek

For hearing aids not equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, there’s another option. Many people who buy hearing aids don’t consider the need for Bluetooth until they realize they don’t have it. The solution is easyTek technology, which connects with both devices and acts as a conduit. Your phone and hearing aids both connect to the easyTek cord, which can be worn around the neck like a headset.

 

Non-Bluetooth Phones or Landlines

Those with non-Bluetooth phones or landlines can benefit from hearing aid integration as well. TwinPhone, a program based upon the AutoPhone feature of previous hearing aids, circumvents the need for a streaming device. A magnet is attached to the landline or cellphone receiver, and your hearing aids will detect the signature. As long as you’re in range, the TwinPhone program will activate, transferring the phone signal over a wireless link.

Making the Most of Connective Technology

With connective technology, you can make phone calls, stream audio, and use your phone how you want. Whether this involves FaceTiming, making business calls, or chatting with friends and family, having the freedom to use your phone freely is something many hearing aid wearers long for. However, connectivity doesn’t stop at your phone.

StreamLine TV

Many televisions can also use connective technology, allowing you to watch TV without hassle. No cords, no interference, and no rewinding. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids can use Signia streamLineTV, which connects to your television and allows you to stream the audio straight to your hearing aids. You control your personal volume, and you can move freely to gather snacks and visit the restroom.

 

EasyTek technology also allows for this concept with earlier hearing aid models. This TV transmitter technology functions in the same way, directing the audio straight to your hearing aids. Between StreamLine TV and TV transmitters, everyone can enjoy their favorite shows without the frustration of background noise.

Whether you have age-related hearing loss or have been hard-of-hearing your whole life, it’s always worth your time to check out new developments. New technologies might allow you to use your phone, watch TV, and hear the world around you in brand-new ways. Signia offers connectivity no matter what platform you buy, and accessories like StreamLine TV can round out your hearing experience. Technology might be evolving quickly, but we’re matching their pace.

Article Source: https://www.signia-hearing.com/blog/entering-the-age-of-connectivity-with-hearing-aids/


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As your hearing loss progresses, you may experience difficulties hearing all conversations, whether it’s a family meal, a night out with friends, or a trip to the cinema.

Get back into the conversation

If you find it hard to follow what other people are talking about, it is also harder to be an active participant in interesting conversations. This is because hearing loss often causes you to miss out on many subtle cues. In contrast, people with normal hearing subconsciously realise when another person wants to speak because they hear things like when that person takes a breath before speaking. So in order to stay active, you need to be able to get back into the conversation. This requires that you can hear well.

If you have a hearing aid, your hearing care professional often can tune it more accurately to you. If you don’t already have a hearing aid, your hearing care professional can advise you about your options.

Your guide to staying sociable with hearing loss – www.oticon.globalCafes and restaurants add complexity. When you are talking to someone and there’s not much other sound, your conversation stands out clearly. But in noisier places like restaurants and other public places, the sound you want to hear is more mixed in with other sounds.

Crowds of people make a sound soup!

Perhaps you find one-on-one conversations are okay. There are less disturbing sounds, it is clear who should speak when, and you are generally close to each other.

But every new person who is added to a group adds much more complexity. If you think of a family meal or a dinner party, there are fast-paced changes of topic. Different people join into conversations and leave them. People talk at the same time, and across the room. And they get passionate and talk faster.

Often people with hearing loss find such situations harder to navigate. Here are a few simple, practical ways to make it easier for you.

So I just need more volume?

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Making sounds louder is only part of the answer – it’s also about dealing with noise and focusing your hearing. Noise takes over your world If you have hearing problems, it can be harder to separate sounds from each other, so it’s harder to focus on what you want to hear.

All sounds seem to come at once in a general ‘wall of sound’ where background noise and speech are mixed together. You may hear people speaking, but it’s harder to pick it out; it’s harder to tell where the speech starts and stops. This is because with a ‘wall of sound’, you can hear, but it’s harder to focus on a specific sound.

You can’t tell where a sound is coming from so well, so it is difficult to switch attention quickly. You become less able to choose what you want to listen to.

To hear well, you need to be able to ignore some sound so you can focus on what you want to hear.

Watch video: The hearing aid that deals with noise in a new way

Staying social with a hearing loss video by Oticon.

Cafes and restaurants add complexity

When you are talking to someone and there’s not much other sound, your conversation stands out clearly. But in noisier places like restaurants and other public places, the sound you want to hear is more mixed in with other sounds. You face clattering from the kitchen, mixed chatter from surrounding tables, and music competing for your attention.

It becomes harder to tune out the noise and focus on individual sounds. But it’s not impossible, as long as you’re aware of the noise challenges.

A good tip is to ask for a quiet table. And if you have Bluetooth® hearing aids, a personal microphone can help you by transmitting another person’s voice directly into your ears.

Plug into performances, cinemas, churches and more

Part of being social can be going with friends and family to the cinema or theatre. Or perhaps you prefer lectures or presentations. In places like these, your hearing loss can cause some challenges. Fortunately, many public places have a built-in ‘teleloop’. These systems send the sound directly to a receiver in certain types of hearing aids. This is called a telecoil.

With treatment, socialising becomes easier

If you have hearing loss, your brain has to work harder to make sense of sound at social events like lively dinner parties and weddings. It becomes more tiring because you are tackling multiple conversations that evolve quickly and unpredictably. And there’s a lot of background noise from the kitchen, and maybe other parties.

Your brain is an amazing tool, and can draw on your memory to automatically fill in missing words and sounds so that you can understand the bigger picture. But it takes you much more mental effort.

So what to do?

You hear with your brain, not your ears

Your ears gather sound. They gather all the sound all around you all the time – even when you are asleep. But it is your brain that makes sense of the sound. Your brain decides what to focus on, and what is noise to filter out.

Our brain has the extraordinary ability to focus on the sound of interest and ignore everything else. This ability is called ‘selective attention’. It is the brain’s own noise reduction system and it is very effective. However, as your hearing becomes poorer, your brain has less information on which to apply this selective attention function. Keeping up becomes difficult.

If you have hearing loss, conversations take up more mental energy. Maybe you’ve experienced that you get extra tired in the evening. The more noise and complexity the brain has to work in, the more effort it takes your brain.


Frontenac Hearing Clinic – Kingston Ontario

Not only do we provide individuals the opportunity to hear, we also provide many customized molds to protect your hearing and/or ears in a working or recreational environment.

Frontenac Hearing Clinic is Wheelchair Accessible

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