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Tuning Out Tinnitus

An estimated 16 million Americans deal with enough of the distracting “ringing in the ear” that they seek medical attention, the American Tinnitus Association reports. Of those, about 2 million struggle to manage with daily functions.

Read how others are dealing with this devastating problem:  Tuning out Tinnitus:  Millions work to overcome head noise.

Wireless for All!

I just came across this website that has everything you ever wanted to know (and were afraid to ask) about cell phones and cell phone services.  Check it out!  Accesswireless.org

From their website:  Welcome to the most complete website designed to help people with disabilities, seniors and their families to find a cell phone and service! CTIA-The Wireless Association® and the wireless industry created AccessWireless.org to be your “first stop” to learn about the ever-changing world of cell phones and wireless services, and discover those that meet your specific needs.

I did a search for a phone with the most features for hearing impairment and the iPhone 4 was the winner with “Two-way video communications – using wireless LAN networks.” But it doesn’t have “Two-way video communications – using mobile networks.”  That is surprising!  I thought “Face Time” was the same as “Two-way video communications – using mobile networks.”  Would love to hear from anyone who has used Face Time.

Chicken or the Egg?

I’m glad to see that the topic of hearing loss is getting more coverage by the media.  A recent article in the NY Times, “Personal Health: Lifelines for People With Hearing Loss” does a nice job of covering several aspects of hearing loss.  However, I disagree with the statement about hearing aids that, “…the devices themselves are not an adequate solution.”  I think they are a very important first step!!  Good hearing aids with t-coils can connect people with assisted listening devices and keep them socially active and intellectually stimulated.  The fact that only 15% of those with hearing loss wear hearing aids is alarming.  We need hearing aids to be more affordable and health insurance to cover them so more people will wear them!

The article mentions the study at Johns Hopkins conducted by Dr. Frank Lin on “Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia.” This study found a connection between hearing loss and dementia, however, we must ask, “Which came first…the hearing loss or the dementia?”  Were the people with hearing loss staying active and using devices to help them hear?  Or were they withdrawing from society?  The study concludes that further research needs to be done to determine whether hearing loss is a marker for early-stage dementia OR is actually a modifiable risk factor for dementia.

Meanwhile, rather than wait for the next study, I’m betting it is a “modifiable risk factor.”  I’d suggest treating your hearing loss as early as possible.  Don’t wait until you find that you have isolated yourself and withdrawn from activities. Get a good hearing aid with a t-coil, (see:  “Hearing Aid Features“), join HLAA, and use assisted listening devices as needed!

HLAA Webinars

HLAA hosts very interesting and informative webinars about once/month.  A webinar is a live, online lecture.  You can see and hear the speaker, read the captions and type your questions.  It’s fun to watch them live, but if you miss one, you can watch past webinars on the HLAA website under “online community”.  The webinars are free, but you need to register.

January 10, 2012, 4pm (PST) – Limitations of Ear-Level Technology (Brad Ingrao, Au.D.)  This webinar reviews what factors will decrease your hearing device effectiveness and how to overcome them.

February 16, 2012, 4pm (PST) – Technology in the Workplace (Esther Kelly)
Do you use walkie-talkies or two-way radios at work or answer multi-line telephones? Learn “outside of the box” solutions to these and many other workplace difficulties for people with hearing loss.