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More good reasons to enjoy a glass of red wine!

“Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body’s inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss,” study researcher Michael D. Seidman, the director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a statement.
See the full article here:  Resveratrol May Protect Against Harmful Effects Of Hearing Loss, Animal Study Shows

Communication Tips from Katherine Bouton

I’m reading Katherine Bouton’s new book,  Shouting Won’t Help—Why I  – and 50 million Other Americans – Can’t Hear You.  It is very well-written and informative.  Here are some of her tips for communicating with a person with hearing loss from an article in USA Today, March 10, 2013.

• Look at the person when you speak. Your instinct may be to lean into an ear. But if you do that, they can’t see your lips move. Most deaf or hearing-impaired people read lips or “speech read,” Bouton says: “They don’t have to be trained in it. They just pick it up as their hearing starts to go.”

• Make sure you have their full attention. A hearing-impaired person who is cooking dinner is not likely to pick up much kitchen chatter, she says.

• Don’t shout. “It doesn’t usually help to talk louder unless you’ve been talking in a whisper or have a very quiet voice,” she says. “What helps is to talk as clearly and distinctly as possible — facing the speaker.”

• Don’t keep repeating yourself. “Try it once. But if the person still doesn’t get it, rephrase what you’re saying, try to put it in some context,” she says. (The hearing-impaired person can help, she says, by repeating back whatever they did hear.)

• In a small group, speak one at a time. A hearing-impaired person will struggle to pick up anything from overlapping conversations, so dinner parties, meetings and book clubs can be difficult, Bouton says.

• Don’t compete. For the best chance at being heard, turn off the TV or music; get away from loud fans and whirring fish tanks.

• Don’t give up. “Once you’ve tried to hear the phrase or sentence three or four times, it’s incredibly frustrating for the speaker then just to shrug and say it isn’t important,” Bouton says. “It probably wasn’t important the first time he said it, but by now your curiosity is piqued and it matters a lot.”

Hearing Aids with Wireless Connectivity

My last two posts were about neckloops and hearing aids with wireless connectivity.  Below is a list of some hearing aid manufacturers that make their own accessories to help you connect with your cell phone, TV, and other sound sources.  They are not all neckloops, as some can go in your pocket or clip onto your shirt.

I can’t think of any accessory more useful than a wireless microphone; however, the one I tried was terrible!  I wear Oticon hearing aids so I tried the Oticon ConnectLine Microphone that works with the Streamer. There was an echo, a delay, and the sound was unclear.  Resound and Phonak have similar devices – the ReSound Mini Microphone and the Phonak RemoteMic.  I have not tried them, but would love to hear from anyone who has.  The Resound Mini Microphone transmits sound directly into the hearing aids without an intermediary device!!  The Phonak RemoteMic works with the ComPilot.   These wireless microphones seem like the ideal solution to talking one-on-one in a noisy restaurant.  I’m anxiously waiting for one to be developed that will work with ANY type hearing aid.

If you have had any experience with these wireless microphones, please share your experiences – good or bad!  Thanks!

Manufacturers with Wireless Accessories
Click on the links below to read more about each one.

Oticon Streamer and ConnectLine

Phonak ComPilot

Siemens mini Tek & Tek

 Starkey Surflink

 ReSound Unite

Widex Dex

Unitron uDirect

Rexton Mini Blu RCU

Kirkland Signature Premium Mini Blu RCU or Blu RCU

Get Looped – Part II

silhouette, silhouette, silhouette…..


In my last post, I discussed neckloops and posted a picture of the device above.  It is called a “silhouette” or “ear hook” or “silhouette ear hook”.  It works just like an inductive neckloop, but instead of going around your neck, the hooks tuck behind your ears – behind your hearing aid or cochlear implant processor.  Because they are so close to your hearing aids, they produce a louder sound than most neckloops.  They come in single or dual models and some have a built-in microphone and can be used with a telephone.  Others are purely for listening.

In addition to the neckloops I described previously, there are also some hearing aid manufacturers that make their own proprietary neckloops.  These are purchased from and programmed by an audiologist or hearing aid specialist and will only work with your hearing aids.  The advantage of these types of neckloops is that they work seamlessly with your hearing aids.  You do not have to first turn your t-coils on to use them.  Most are Bluetooth but also have an audio input jack to connect with MP3 players, personal amplifiers, FM receivers, computers, etc.  Some have their own Bluetooth transmitters for the TV or land-line telephones.  Some neckloops come with a wireless microphone that can be clipped onto the shirt of the person you are talking to.  (Unfortunately, the one I tried didn’t work well at all………but maybe someday!)

Below are two Bluetooth neckloops.  When a phone call comes in you simply push a button to answer it and the sound is sent into your hearing aids.

Phonak ComPilot


Oticon Streamer


There are many hearing aid manufacturers that now have similar accessories.  The advantage of this “wireless connectivity” is that the devices are easy to use and they improve listening in many situations.  Unfortunately, many audiologists and hearing instrument specialists are telling their clients that they don’t need t-coils because the hearing aids have wireless connectivity.  It doesn’t matter how many gadgets are available with your hearing aids, NONE of them will work in a room with a hearing loop!  You must have manual t-coils to take advantage of hearing loops.

Get Looped!

I am amazed how many people I meet who wear hearing aids with t-coils but have no idea what a neckloop is and how it could can help them hear better.  I was planning on writing about this topic until I read this excellent article in the Hearing Loss Magazine:
“The Often Neglected Neck Loop”  by Stephen O. Frazier and Sally Schwartz.

The article explains all the ins and outs of neckloops, both inductive and Bluetooth neckloops, and how they can be used with assisted listening devices.  To give you the short version:  If you have hearing aids with t-coils and you know how to turn your t-coils on, you can use a neckloop instead of a headphone.  So you can plug a neckloop into a headphone jack and the sound will travel wirelessly from your neckloop into your hearing aids.  Ta-da!  Like magic!

What’s the big deal?  People who wear hearing aids cannot comfortably wear a headphone or earbuds.  They either get terrible feedback, or have to take their hearing aids out to put on a headphone, or they try to squish an earbud into the ear on top of open fit BTE hearing aids (my favorite tactic when I forget my neckloop!).  Click on each picture for more information.

Quattro  WS-NKL001v2_2CL-CE30_front_closeup_1 HC-NZF-D_2

What is this weird looking thing with the hooks?  Stay tuned for my next blog post which will cover these and neckloops by hearing aid manufacturers.
You may be able to get a neckloop for free.  In California, they are provided by CTAP – California Telephone Access Program.  In other states, check this website to see if you have a similar program:  www.tedpa.org