Month: February 2016

February 26, 2016

suddenhearinglossdontstopI woke up deaf in one ear and don’t know why – the day was August 31, 2014. I could hear just fine the night before when I went to bed, but woke that morning with what felt like cotton packed tightly in my right ear accompanied by an obnoxious ringing sound. Unfortunately, the doctor said everything looked fine. I was hoping to hear “ear infection” and thought that after a decongestant and a good antibiotic, all would be well. That was not the case.
After meeting with an ENT and Audiologist, getting x-rays, taking a strong regimen of oral steroids, and later steroid injections directly in the ear, there didn’t seem to be any improvement. I learned that sudden deafness in one ear is fairly common – approximately 1 in 5000 people every year develop sudden deafness – and that the cause is often unknown.
I still have hope for partial or complete recovery. My ENT said that he as seen people make improvements as much as 18 months after onset. It’s been about 16 months for me, and I feel like I’ve shown some signs of improvement in many ways:

  1. The tinnitus (ringing) has toned down a bit
  2. High pitches and loud noises are not as painful as they used to be
  3. I can listen to and enjoy music now – that was terribly difficult and frustrating at first
  4. There are some frequencies that I can hear now that I couldn’t at first, like snapping my fingers next to my ear

To say that this experience has been difficult is a huge understatement. It’s amazing how it has impacted my world. Starting with the obvious, communicating and connecting with people has become very difficult at home, church, the office, anywhere. I’ve had to be conscientious of where I sit in meetings or at the dinner table to keep people on the side of my good ear. Sadly, I can’t change which side of the steering wheel is on when driving. (It’s the right ear.) I fly a lot, and it’s very difficult when I get a ‘talker’ on my right side. I often work in a booth at trade shows, a very noisy environment, and I really have to work hard, even to the point of reading lips, to carry on a conversation with people. I hate asking people to repeat themselves, but I do it anyway and hope they are patient. It can be frustrating, but I refuse to let it impact my ability to function or my self-esteem.
A big challenge at first was dealing with background noise or white noise. I never realized how noisy the HVAC system was at the office, but it sure made hearing with my good ear difficult. I’ve learned to tune it out now, but it was tough at first. Recognizing the direction of sound, where sound is coming from, is also difficult. I’ll hear my name, but have no clue which direction it came from.
The whole dynamic of sleeping has changed. I sleep from side to side. When my good ear is down, it’s a little unnerving – I can’t hear what’s going on around me or in the house. It’s even difficult to hear my alarm. I used to be what I would call a very alert sleeper, and would wake up to any unusual sound. I felt safe. Not so much now. I guess that’s got its pros and cons. J
Another huge challenge for me has been the impact on my ability to enjoy music. I’ve studied piano since the age of 4, received a piano scholarship in college, a published composer and arranger, a wedding singer, a singer, song writer, recording artist, who has performed in bands my whole life. I love listening to and making music. Initially, I was not able to play the piano, sing, or listen to music – it just sounded distorted – even painful. Now I’m able to listen comfortably, even with headphones, and it sounds pretty good. Singing is still a challenge. It’s hard to hear myself. I find myself second guessing my pitch.
That’s my story in a nutshell. My message to anyone dealing with sudden hearing loss is this:

  1. Be patient and hang in there – it gets easier with time
  2. Adapt as needed but don’t change your activities
  3. Work closely with your hearing care professional

To borrow a line from the band Journey, ‘don’t stop believing’ – keep hope alive and watch for improvement.

Written by, Jeff Bradford

February 26, 2016

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When I was in my late-20’s, as part of a physical required by my employer, I had a hearing test.  I was told I had the hearing of a 37-year-old.  Given the fact that I had chronic ear infections as a child, and that I had been to dozens of rock concerts that left my ears ringing for days after, this news wasn’t too surprising.  So what did I do about it?  Nothing.   Not a thing, other than laugh with my family and friends, and wonder what it even meant.  I didn’t know how most 37-year-olds hear, and I didn’t know how 20-somethings were supposed to hear.  I heard how I heard, right!?

That was 15 years ago.  What have I done since?  Just this:  I meditate every day.  Meditation is a recommended treatment for this incurable condition and it helps.  Until about a year ago I never considered going in for another hearing test or that I might be a good candidate for treatment.  Sure, it happens every day that I have to ask someone to repeat themselves, but isn’t that normal?  I struggle to hear music and movies at low volumes, but doesn’t everyone?

I’ve asked myself on numerous occasions over the last year, “Am I in denial?”  Maybe.  If I am, why?  Perhaps I don’t want to admit there could be something wrong.  Maybe I hesitate because I think it’s a hassle to get tested.  Hearing aids definitely seem inconvenient.  I also know hearing aids are expensive, my insurance doesn’t pay for them, and I hear stories all the time about how hearing aids sit in the top dresser drawer and never see the inside of an ear.

Apparently,  I’m like tens-of-thousands of others who aren’t convinced that my condition is “bad enough” to justify the cost (time, energy, money) of treatment.  In spite of reading persuasive articles and meeting countless professionals touting the benefits of getting treatment, I hesitate.

Are you in the same boat?  Or perhaps you were, until one day you decided it was time to address your hearing loss and look for solutions.  If that’s you, why the change?   What first steps did you take?  Did you wish you did something about it sooner?  I honestly wonder if it’s still too early to do anything about this supposed hearing loss of mine, or if I am actually in denial.

Written by, Suzanne Robbins

February 26, 2016

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Hearing loss is natural as we age.  In fact, statistics show that many of us will experience some degree of hearing loss during our lifetime.   Hearing aids have long been an effective resource to help people with hearing loss stay socially connected and engaged with their world.  It’s amazing to see how far hearing aid technology has come in recent years.

According to ‘Better Hearing Institute, “New technologies are all about function, style, and effortless living. The latest hearing aids offer all three. The designs are incredibly attractive with smooth, modern contours. And they’re much smaller than even conventional Bluetooth earpieces. Many of the latest hearing aids are so tiny, they sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal, out of sight.”

The article goes on to give multiple compelling reasons for people with hearing loss to take action and get hearing aids. Read the complete article at: https://www.betterhearing.org/news/7-high-tech-reasons-you-should-finally-deal-your-hearing-loss#sthash.3CyFO9ZA.dpuf.  Nonstop innovations in hearing aid technology are making things easier than ever before.

“Hearing aid manufacturers are deep in the trenches working to create future break-through technologies that will make it as easy as possible for the brain to decode speech and other sounds. Reducing cognitive load — that is, drawing fewer resources from the brain just to “hear” — is a very good thing.”

For those of us dealing with hearing loss, technological advances are eliminating the old negative stigma associated with hearing aids.  Today hearing aids are cool!  Staying connected with friends and loved ones is cool.  Staying engaged in life is cool!  With today’s technology there is no better time to seek hearing care.  CaptionCall is a strong proponent of taking action to manage your hearing loss.

February 25, 2016

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Sometimes it can be difficult to admit we have hearing loss, but we don’t have to let hearing loss get us down.  And we definitely don’t want to delay getting treatment for hearing loss.  The following infographic from betterhearing.org identifies 5 illuminating things you say about yourself when you actively seek understanding and take action to treat your hearing loss.

Click here to see the image: https://www.betterhearing.org/news/5-illuminating-things-treating-hearing-loss-says-about-you

Most people will experience some degree of hearing loss in their lifetime.  By taking action to treat that hearing loss, you set yourself apart from others and improve your quality of life.   CaptionCall is a strong advocate for managing hearing loss.  Don’t forget to share this with anyone who is feeling down on getting treatment.

Written by John Apgar, Marketing Coordinator

February 24, 2016

Thinking about getting hearing aids?  Did you know they could help with more than just your hearing?  Hearing aids have been found to improve brain function in people with hearing loss according to a recent study conducted by Jamie Desjardins, PHD, at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). “After two weeks of hearing aid…

February 17, 2016

Have you ever felt like your hearing loss is just draining you? If so, you’re not alone. Hearing loss can take its toll physically and emotionally, leaving you feeling stressed and spent. Fact is, with hearing loss you have to work harder than the average person to stay engaged.  The writers at ‘People Hearing Better’…