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Ask Ms. Heard It All Before: Frank Answers to your Questions About Hearing Loss and Assistive Devicesemail her a question. Submitting a question implies permission to include it in publications on our web site and marketing promotions. All questions will be published anonymously and may be edited for clarity and content. Ms. Heard it all before is an advice column and medical questions should be discussed with a licensed Audiologist, Otologist or other medical professional. Dear Ms. Heard It All Before:
I have a pair of very expensive hearing aids. They were custom adjusted for my hearing and do allow me to hear quite well, however there is a major problem. When I speak I sound as if my fingers are in my ears making me sound as if I am in a well. My Audiologist tells me there is no problem. I have since bought myself a "mail order" aid for $299.00, which works better for me then than my expensive aids. I would like to buy some new hearing aids but am afraid I will face the same problem. Is this a common problem with some aids?????Sincerely,
Down the well
Dear Down the well,
Seems to me, you are experiencing the "Occlusion Effect". So crawl out of that well, pull your fingers out of your ears and hopefully the below can ease your mind regarding your situation.
An occlusion effect occurs when some object (like an unvented earmold) completely fills the outer portion of the ear canal. There are basically only two ways to reduce or remove the occlusion effect. The most effective way is to not completely block the ear canal with an earmold. Another way of reducing the occlusion effect is to use a very long and tight earmold or to locate a completely-in-the canal (CIC) hearing aid far down in the ear canal close to the eardrum. Before you break the bank, you should seek further information from an Audiologist regarding this issue, because it is a real one. Click here for further information on the Occlusion Effect.
Thanks for writing.
Ms. Heard It All Before
Dear Ms. Heard It All Before:
Every Sunday afternoon, my friend Gladys and I go for afternoon tea and cake. Recently a bunch of youngsters have discovered our favorite place and it's become very difficult to carry on a conversation. We refuse to go to another spot but I can't hear a word she is saying!Signed,
Pass You The What?
Dear Pass You The What?:
Kids can be loud, that's true. But in noisy situations we can usually help ourselves with very little trouble at all.
You didn't mention if you wear hearing aids or not, but I will tell you about a product that is good for loud places that you can use with or without hearing aids. If you think that's fancy, well, you would be right!
A Personal Listening Device is a great, handy little gadget. They are about the size of a cassette tape, are battery powered and are very easy to use. They have a small microphone and amplifier and can be used with a variety of headsets if you don't wear hearing aids.If you do wear a hearing aid, and it has a t-switch (or telephone setting), you can use a neckloop to transmit amplified sound directly into your hearing aid. They are especially good for one on one conversations or small groups.
Some other ideas are to have your friend Gladys sit in the best-lit seat at the most out-of-the-way table, and watch for any visual clues she might give you. You should also be up front with Gladys! Ask her to be sure to face you when she speaks, and let her know if you don't understand something she says.Now you can have your cake and hear it too!
Ms. Heard It All Before
Dear Ms. Heard It All Before,
I have always enjoyed chatting on the phone, but in my golden years I am no longer hearing everything so crystal clear, as they say. Sometimes I miss important details like a street addresses or information from my Doctor, especially if people talk quickly or have an accent. My audiologist says that my hearing is not so bad, and I'm not ready for a hearing aid, but the phone is still a problem for me. What should I do?-Signed, I hear you almost loud and clear
Dear I Hear You Almost Loud and Clear,
Your problem, although troublesome, is not unusual. I have, in fact, heard this one before! So, shall I play it again, Sam? Many newer phones on the market have volume control, which can be helpful in understanding people with soft voices. However, for some of us we need a little more "umph". May I suggest an amplified phone or a phone amplifier?
There are many amplified telephones on the market, from corded phones to cordless phones, speakerphones and phones with answering machines. Most amplified telephones have features such as volume and tone control, flashing light and loud ring and different ring patterns. Many of them have features such as memory and emergency one-touch buttons.
An In-line Amplifier is a telephone amplifier that connects the phone's handset to the phone's base. These can only be used with phones that have a cord that can be removed between the handset and phone base.
I suggest that if you have a chance to test out a phone or amplifier, you should do so. If not, well, some good old fashioned homework on your end should do the trick! Also, keep in mind that your hearing can change over time, so keep your audiologist's number close by.Best of luck to you!
Ms. Heard It All Before
Ms. Heard It All