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Hearable Holiday Gift Guide

Tech tailored to you, your lifestyle, and your goals

Looking to get yourself or your favorite tech-savvy, fitness-focused loved one a pair of hearables this season? Check out our helpful hearable gift guide that covers what they are, some of the different features, various brands, and the ordering process.

What Hearables Are

The definition of a “hearable” is constantly evolving, like the technology. To attempt to encompass all the variations of this technology, a hearable is a wireless in-ear computational device. This mini-computer uses wireless/Bluetooth® technology to complement and enhance your sound experience. Fitness tracking is another key feature that sets these apart from wireless headphones.

These devices are transforming according to wearers’ ever-changing wants:

    • The ability to sync with wireless devices to stay connected to people, hobbies, and music
    • The technology to measure biometrics (like heart rate, calories burned, etc.)
    • Quality sound streaming

What to Look for in a Hearable

These little guys can do so much, so how do you know which one is for you? Check out some of these highlighted features:
hearable guide
Comparison graphic courtesy of Bragi. View more on their Facebook page.

Hearable Comparison: Bragi Dash Pro vs. Jabra Elite Sport vs. Samsung Gear Icon X

If you’re looking for all the functionality available in a hearable, any of these three are quality options. All can also be custom-fit to your ear, which allows for superior sound. Contact us to schedule an appointment for custom-fitting!

Resound-owned Jabra’s Elite Sport wireless earbuds feature nearly every benefit highlighted in the above table, from audio transparency (so you can be more aware of your surroundings while still enjoying your tech) to high-quality sound and clear calls. If app compatibility is a top concern, take a closer look at the Bragi Dash Pro and the Samsung Gear Icon X, as they have more options. Keep in mind that the Bragi Dash Pro and the Jabra Elite Sport are the only waterproof options available if you’ll primarily be wearing them when working out or near water. While all three come with portable charging cases, the Bragi and Jabra options feature much longer battery life than the Samsung option, which is definitely something to consider if you’ll be using these devices for extended periods.

Timeline for Fitting

Some hearables are customizable, such as the Bragi family of technology. In this case, the wearer would need an earmold impression created by a dispenser or audiologist (like us!). Any hearables that can be customized follow the same process. Contact our office about our policy.

The process for creating an earmold impression begins with the consumer getting an otoscopic evaluation from a professional to ensure an earmold impression can be taken. The actual earmold impression is created by inserting a block into the ear canal along with the earmold impression material. This cures for about 10 minutes, and then the earmold impression material — now a mold of the ear — is sent to the hearable manufacturer for customization.

Have questions? Would you like to get an earmold made? Give the gift of hearables this season with our help!

Posted in Hearing Accessories, Holidays, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

Noise Hazards on the Job: Protect Yourself!

Clang! Slam! Rizzz! Vroom!

From engines running and car doors closing to sanders whirring and air compressors humming, workplace noise comes with the territory at auto shops, and some of it can prove damaging to a mechanic’s ears and hearing health. An estimated 22 million American workers across various industries experience dangerous sound levels, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), yet excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.

Did you know?

  • Four million Americans work amid hazardous noise levels every day.
  • Occupational noise is a key culprit in hearing loss that occurs in adulthood.
  • Workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability amounts to about $242 million each year.
  • Some 34% of those exposed to workplace noise report that they skip hearing protection.
  • More than 31 million Americans ages 6 to 69 have permanent hearing damage due to noise.
  • Loud noise can destroy the inner ear’s hair cells, a crucial, irreplaceable part of healthy hearing.
  • Quality hearing protection reduces noise intensity while still allowing the sounds you want to hear.
  • Exposure to excess noise can lead to tinnitus, a common and potentially debilitating problem of buzzing, humming, or ringing in one or both ears.
  • Hearing loss due to noise exposure is cumulative and could go unnoticed until years later, but the damage may continue to occur and be irreversible.


In honor of National Protect Your Hearing Month in October, read on to learn more about the risks associated with working in an auto shop and ways to guard against noise hazards in any workplace.

How Loud Is Too Loud in an Auto Shop? Hint: Safer Levels Are Below 85 Decibels.

Some Typical Noise Hazards Decibel Level or “dBA”
Running engine 190
Air hammer on metal 112
Compressed air through nozzle 95
Disk sander 90
Car horn 110
Electric drill 102
Loaded impact wrench 102
Angle grinders Over 85
Industrial vacuum 85

Recommended Standard
According to NIOSH, workplace noise exposure “should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.”
Length of Time Before Damage Occurs
Noise-related hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, immediate or gradual. It can occur from one-time exposure to a forceful sound, such as an explosion, or result from prolonged exposure to sounds at or louder than 85 decibels. The greater the sound, the faster the damage may occur.\

Both NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offer guidance for curbing workplace noise hazards. In fact, OSHA requires selected employers to implement a hearing-conservation program “whenever worker noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 dBA for an 8 hour exposure or in the construction industry when exposures exceed 90 dBA for an 8 hour exposure.”

Some ways to control or protect against occupational noise hazards include:

  • Engineering controls, which involve solutions such as modifying or replacing equipment, substituting less-noisy alternatives, separating the noise source from workers, or conducting noise-reducing maintenance or repairs.
  • Administrative controls, including limiting the duration of exposure to noisy equipment, providing quiet spaces for respite away from noise, and running noisy machines during less-populated shifts.
  • Effective and properly worn hearing protection such as quality earplugs, headphones, and earmuffs designed to suppress noise.

If you have a noise-related hearing loss, you can be helped. Schedule an appointment with your local audiologist, who can conduct a case history, provide a complete diagnostic hearing evaluation, and make the appropriate recommendations — which could include custom hearing protection, treatment with hearing technology, or both — based on your individual results.

Posted in Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Protection | Comments closed

The Hunt for Hearing Protection: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Ears Safe

The Hunt for Hearing Protection: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Ears Safe

You have a passion for hunting and/or shooting, and we have a passion for hearing. Our two interests come together during National Protect Your Hearing Month, celebrated in October. To keep being a sharp shooter, you have to protect your hearing. Here’s what you need to know about your hearing and protection options as a hunter or shooter, as well as countless options for protection while maintaining your A-game.

How Can Guns Cause Hearing Loss?

People who use guns are more likely to have hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing impairments than those who do not. Further increasing your risk — or that of bystanders — is the reverberation of a gunshot. Adding a recoil compensator or other modifications can make a firearm louder. The ear that is closest to the muzzle of the firearm can experience more hearing damage. The opposite ear is partially protected by head shadow.

Exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL. The loud noise permanently destroys the fine hairs in your ears that are responsible for stimulating auditory nerve fibers. Almost all firearms create noise greater than 85 dB. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce around 140 dB, and big-bore rifles and pistols can create noise greater than 175 dB.

What are the Effects of Hearing Loss?

Losing your hearing because of hunting doesn’t just affect the way you hunt; it affects the way you live. Usually, high-frequency sounds are the first to go when you begin to lose your hearing. This means you may be unable to hear s, f, sh, ch, h, or soft c sounds. Communicating and engaging with those around you will become more difficult and frustrating, especially communicating with women and children, whose voices tend to fall in higher-frequency ranges. Think about how important those dinners are after a day of hunting. You want to be able to relax and enjoy your company after a long day — not work hard to hear.

Another result of NIHL is tinnitus. This incurable ailment can sound like a whooshing, ringing, or buzzing that’s soft or loud, high or low pitched. You can experience it in either one or both of your ears. Sounds annoying, right?

If you opt out of using hearing protection while hunting, severe hearing loss can occur with as little as one shot — and often during hunting season, hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.

Hearing loss isn’t always sudden; it’s cumulative. Hearing protection is just as essential as protective eyewear. Every visit to the range and every hunting trip combine to slowly damage your hearing. But you probably won’t notice the loss until it’s so apparent that you have no choice but to treat it.

How Can I Protect My Ears When Hunting or Shooting?

Ear protection is absolutely essential, not just to prevent hearing loss but also to minimize flinching. Your ability to hear is an essential part of the sport, so it should be essential to protect it. Here’s what to look for in your hearing protection:

  • Knowing the difference between hearing enhancement and hearing protection is important. If you want to amplify hearing, get a hearing enhancer that reduces gunshot noise. If you only look to amplify, you’ll be amplifying the problem.
  • Earmuffs are designed to fit close against the head and reduce outside noise using acoustic foam. When worn with earplugs, they reduce harmful noise even further.
  • Shooting earplugs come in a variety of types, so it is best to talk to a professional when deciding what’s best for you. Types include:
    • Custom: ideal for the professional shooter/hunter who needs high-quality, secure, comfortable protection or daily use. These plugs are an actual mold of your ear canal taken by a hearing professional.
    • Electronic shooter earplugs: Digital sound technology works to compress noise above a harmful decibel level and enhance quieter levels. This hearing protection is smaller, making it more appealing than earmuffs for most firearm users. Some have advanced background noise reduction to reduce ambient white noise for enhanced clarity.
    • Reusable shooter earplugs: These plugs come in either the most commonly known foam material, moldable putty-like material, or a more structured silicone.
  • Look for the Noise-Reduction Rating (NRR). It is a rough guideline for how many decibels are being reduced.

If you feel you’re experiencing ringing in your ears or hearing loss, or if you are at risk for either, consult a hearing care provider. We know you take your hunting seriously, so take your hearing seriously. Learn more about custom hearing protection, or contact us today to find out more about hearing care and prevention.

Posted in Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Protection | Comments closed

Can Music Help You Hear Better?

When we as hearing care providers think about music, generally the detrimental effects come to mind. But Frank Russo, professor of psychology and director of the Science of Music, Auditory Research, and Technology Lab (SMART Lab) is bringing to light possible positive effects. Russo is conducting a study that explores a new way to cope with hearing loss in noisy environments: studying music.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Russo says understanding speech in noise is a top complaint among older adults with hearing loss.

“The complaint often is, ‘I hear just fine when I’m speaking to someone one-on-one, but when I’m in a crowded situation — if I’m at a party, if I’m at bus station, if I’m in a mall — speech in noise becomes very problematic,’” he relays.

Why Music

Another article cited by NPR tells us research has found that “aging musicians fare better than non-musicians when it comes to distinguishing speech from noise, even when their overall hearing is no better than that of non-musicians.”

There are three different groups of elderly adults with no musical experience in Russo’s study that either:

  • Join a choir and learn to sing;
  • Listen to music in an appreciation course;
  • Or have no musical intervention

Everyone in the study takes before and after lab evaluations that include speech-in-noise tests. You can read more about Russo’s work here.

A participant in the study equated the activities they do — over 10 weeks, with one two-hour rehearsal per week — to “brain boot camp.” We do something similar when you are fit with hearing technology.

Retraining Your Brain

Although hearing loss is most commonly considered an inner-ear problem, it’s actually the brain that performs several functions simultaneously to process sound. It uses your ears to help orient body position, focuses attention on sounds you want to hear, recognizes sounds, and separates relevant information from competing noise. Advances in hearing aid technology support your brain by supplementing these natural processes for clearer, more accurate, and overall better hearing.

Because we hear with our brains, something called aural rehabilitation is essential to your hearing success. Aural rehabilitation is the process of helping someone effectively adjust to and manage their hearing loss. Methods of rehabilitation are focused on helping overcome the challenges caused by hearing loss, therefore improving quality of day-to-day life.

Aural rehabilitation may be offered in individual or group settings, and it generally encompasses these main points:

  • Adjusting to and learning about your specific type of hearing loss
  • Improving communication skills
  • How to use, care for, and make the most of your hearing aids
  • Exploring accessories for your hearing aids

Finding the Right Fit

Research shows that two-thirds of hearing aids are improperly fit. Why? Because hearing technology by itself is not an effective solution. Some providers or hearing aid sellers only offer you value via cheaply priced technology, instead of focusing on your lifestyle, results, and satisfaction like we do. We will be there with you every step of the way to help retrain your brain to work effectively with your technology.

When we fit you with hearing aids, we take into account multiple factors:

  • Your specific lifestyle
  • Your specific hearing loss
  • Your hearing goals

We use these factors to create the treatment plan that is best for you.

Posted in Hearing, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss | Comments closed

Self-Treating for Hearing Loss: More Harm Than Good

Have you heard about the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, recently passed by Congress and signed by the president over the summer?

The new law, once fleshed out with Food and Drug Administration regulations, will allow the retail sale of hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss — without the critical involvement of an audiologist or medical doctor.

On its face, the legislation may sound like a good idea. An estimated 48 million Americans or one in five people has some form of hearing loss, according to a Johns Hopkins Study, making access to today’s advanced hearing technology an important part of tackling a growing public-health challenge.

Self-treating for hearing loss, however, can do more harm than good. And with so much at stake — untreated hearing impairment is linked to physical, mental, social, and even financial consequences — you can’t afford to take chances with one of your most crucial senses.

Nonprescriptive hearing devices are already available over the counter as personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), which the FDA defines as “wearable electronic products for use by non-hearing impaired individuals to amplify sounds in certain environments.” They typically comprise three main parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and a receiver.

Though potentially helpful in normal hearing to amplify sounds in situations such as watching TV, listening for animals during outdoor recreation, or hearing a presenter who’s speaking some distance away, PSAPs are neither FDA-approved nor recommended to treat actual hearing loss.

In addition, PSAPs:

  • Are often uncomfortable in the ear and — for many patients — difficult to manage
  • Could cause hearing damage or aggravate existing damage with misuse or overuse
  • Have contraindications — for example, ear pain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease that could lead to serious harm
  • Can amplify sounds but typically can’t adjust to the user’s specific hearing loss or help the brain process sound
  • Sidestep the vital process of professional testing, programming, fitting, and follow-up, which doesn’t allow a hearing care professional to rule out hearing problems and ensure the device is appropriate for a patient’s ears

The newly enacted law, part of a larger Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act, will allow selected devices classified as actual hearing aids to be sold over the counter so long as they meet certain regulatory standards of safety, labeling, and manufacturing.

Unfortunately, the legislation will also allow patients to bypass a certified audiologist when getting a hearing aid, creating a significant gap in their hearing care.

Just as professional dental care is more than selling toothpaste, proper hearing care is more than selling hearing aids. Licensed audiologists are specially trained to:

  • Evaluate and Diagnose Hearing Problems — Your local audiologist can perform diverse tests to determine the state of your hearing and identify the type, severity, and cause of any hearing difficulties.
  • Treat Hearing Loss — With professional expertise, advanced hearing technology, and knowledge of your lifestyle and listening needs, audiologists provide hearing aid solutions tailored for you.
  • Handle Fittings and Follow-Up — Audiologists custom program your hearing aids, ensure an appropriate physical fit, counsel you on adjusting to the devices, and follow up to make sure they’re working.
  • Maintain Your Technology — Hearing care professionals help you keep your devices working their best by cleaning, checking, and repairing them.
  • Provide Continuing Care — Audiologists care about your hearing for life, and they can adjust treatments as your lifestyle and listening needs change.

When it comes to hearing care, nothing replaces seeing an actual professional. As noted by a leading consumer-advocacy group, different hearing aids and PSAPs may vary in effectiveness, “so it’s best to have a professional hearing test first, and consider asking an audiologist or hearing aid specialist for guidance in determining which device is right for you.”

Do you have questions about over-the-counter hearing technology or the dangers of self-treating for hearing loss? Contact us today. We’re happy to answer your questions and address any concerns.
Posted in Hearing Aids, Hearing Health, News | Comments closed

Can Prescription Drugs Cause Ringing In the Ears?

Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears (this can also be a whooshing or pulsing), is generally the first symptom of ototoxicity and is generally short lived, but it can have more permanent symptoms.

About Tinnitus

Simply defined, tinnitus is a phantom ringing, whooshing, or buzzing noise in your ear that only you can hear. People experience tinnitus in a variety of ways: In some, a headshake will make the annoyance vanish; others, however, describe the condition as debilitating. Though research is ongoing, there is currently no cure. But relief can come from a variety of treatments.

About Ototoxicity

Ototoxicity is a poisoning of the inner ear due to exposure to or ingestion of medications or chemicals that can cause tinnitus, hearing loss, and/or balance disorders. High doses or long-term use of certain antibiotics, antidepressants, loop diuretics, pain relievers, and prescription or over-the-counter medications can cause ototoxicity.

Drugs that can cause tinnitus:
  • Antibiotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Antimalarials
  • Vapors, solvents
  • Cardiac medications
  • Glucocorticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Psychopharmacologic agents
  • Miscellaneous toxic substances
  • Anti-neoplastics
  • Diuretics
Drugs that can cause more permanent tinnitus symptoms:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Certain cancer medications
  • Water pills and diuretics
  • Quinine-based medications

The effects caused by ototoxic drugs can sometimes be reversed when the drug is stopped. Sometimes, however, the damage is permanent.

Tinnitus can be managed through strategies that make it less bothersome. No single approach works for everyone, and there is no FDA-approved drug treatment, supplement, or herbal remedy proven to be any more effective than a placebo. Behavioral strategies and sound-generating devices often offer the best treatment results — this is partially why distracting the individual’s attention from these sounds can prevent a chronic manifestation.

Some of the most effective methods are:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Tinnitus-retraining therapy
  • Masking
  • Biofeedback

Managing Tinnitus While Taking Ototoxic Medication

We can work with your prescribing physician to monitor your hearing and balance systems before and during your treatment. This will help you and your treatment team determine whether to stop or the change your prescription before your hearing is damaged.

Finding with Relief With Hearing Aids

If the drugs cannot be stopped or changed, we will work with your physician to help you manage the effects of the hearing loss that results. Relief from tinnitus is possible with our help. Due to the personal and unique nature of your tinnitus, proper evaluation and specialized treatment is necessary. Although there isn’t a single cure for tinnitus, we are experienced at providing individual solutions on a case-by-case basis.

According to a study featured in The Hearing Review, roughly 60% of tinnitus patients experienced at least some relief when wearing hearing aids; roughly 22% of patients found significant relief.

Hearing aids help by masking the sounds of tinnitus and increasing the volume of outside noise, stimulating soft background sounds and improving communication, so you feel more connected to friends, family, and your world.

Contact us today with any questions regarding your tinnitus, or to schedule a consultation with our professionals. We are here to help!
Posted in Disorders, Hearing Health, Tinnitus | Comments closed

Are You Wasting Cash on Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Learn why self-treating hearing problems with personal sound amplification products might not be a better value after all.

Big-box stores, warehouse clubs, and online retailers have made it easier than ever to buy over-the-counter hearing devices or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), but… not so fast! For hearing loss, the help of a trained hearing care professional stands head and shoulders above self-treatment, which can cause more harm than good.

What Are Personal Sound Amplification Products?

PSAPs, defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “wearable electronic products for use by non-hearing impaired individuals to amplify sounds in certain environments,” typically comprise a microphone, an amplifier, and a receiver.

Though potentially helpful in normal hearing to amplify sounds in situations such as watching TV, listening for animals during outdoor recreation, or hearing a presenter who’s speaking some distance away, PSAPs can’t take the place of properly fit hearing aids.


What Are the Pros and Cons of PSAPs?

Some benefits:
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Can amplify soft sounds that might otherwise be harder to hear
  • Made with recreational activities in mind, thus supporting active lifestyles
  • Designed to wear immediately after purchase, making them convenient
  • Might serve as a short-term alternative while considering more comprehensive solutions
Some limitations:
  • Neither FDA-approved or recommended to treat actual hearing loss
  • Can amplify sound but cannot help your brain process sound
  • Often uncomfortable in the ear, and for many patients they’re difficult to manage
  • Could cause hearing damage or aggravate existing damage with misuse or overuse
  • Bypasses the crucial step of professional testing, programming, fitting, and follow-up to rule out hearing problems and ensure the device is appropriate for your ears

What Should You Do?

In a report released by the National Academy of Sciences, panelists noted the need for “qualified providers and clinics with the knowledge, skill, and expertise to properly evaluate, prescribe, and train people in the use of hearing devices” and also concluded that “consumers who work with providers trained in the use of properly prescribed and fitted hearing devices can expect better results than those who use off-the-shelf products.”

Don’t leave your hearing health to chance. Work with a licensed hearing care professional trained to test your hearing, diagnose potential problems, and tailor a solution to your individual needs. Hearing loss not only involves one of your most important senses but can affect your physical, social, mental, and even financial health, making effective evaluation and treatment critical.

Do you have questions about over-the-counter hearing products, including whether they’re right for you? Our caring team can answer your questions and work with you to find the best solution for your listening needs. Contact us today for an appointment!
Posted in Hearing Aids, Hearing Health | Comments closed

Is It “TIN-uh-tis” or “tin-EYE-tis”?

Americans love to debate how to say certain words: Is “tomato” pronounced “tuh-MAY-toe” or “tuh-MAH-toe”? Does the “ee” in “creek” sound like “sneak” or “pick”? By the 1930s, this kind of debate had become so common that it was immortalized in the song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” Now we can safely add another word to the list of popular debates: tinnitus.

If you search the web for ways to say “tinnitus,” you’ll find that dictionaries disagree, language experts disagree, and medical experts disagree, with passionate, well-reasoned defenses on all sides. How is anyone supposed to know the right answer?

At our practice, you can pronounce “tinnitus” however you’d like. Our concern is helping you get relief from your tinnitus — that persistent ringing, buzzing, or pulsing in your ears.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus affects more than 50 million Americans, but not everyone experiences it in the same way. Different people hear different sounds — ringing, pulsing, screeching, hissing, static, whooshing, roaring, even ocean waves. It often accompanies hearing loss, but there are many other things than can generate tinnitus. It’s not a disease; it’s a symptom of damage to the auditory system. It can be temporary or chronic, and it is often debilitating.

Temporary Tinnitus

With temporary tinnitus, your auditory system has experienced some irritation, and tinnitus has resulted. Removing the irritation allows your auditory system to recover within a couple of days.

Temporary tinnitus is usually caused by:

  • Exposure to loud noise, like you’d experience at a concert
  • Taking too much ototoxic medication (medication that is toxic to the inner ear at high doses), such as aspirin
  • Obstruction of the inner ear; for example, by earwax or a foreign object


Chronic Tinnitus

Chronic tinnitus is just what it sounds like: The ringing, buzzing, or pulsing is permanent, and it’s present 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In many cases, it’s simply a distraction, but in others it’s debilitating.
Impact of Chronic Tinnitus
Chronic tinnitus can greatly affect quality of life. Those with moderate or severe tinnitus often experience:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pain
  • Economic hardship

It also affects the friends and family of those with tinnitus. The constant ringing or pulsing can make hearing difficult, so conversations can lead to frustration and irritability. If the tinnitus is accompanied — as it so often is — by sound sensitivity, then socializing at restaurants and family dinners is all the more troublesome.
Causes of Chronic Tinnitus
Chronic tinnitus has more foundational causes:

  • Noise-induced or age-related hearing loss
  • Head or neck trauma
  • Vestibular disorders, such as Ménière’s disease
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
  • TBI (traumatic brain injury)


Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for chronic tinnitus, but our patients have had success in minimizing its effects through a variety of methods, which include:

  • Sound therapy. Traditional tinnitus therapy uses a tone or a pleasant sound, like ocean waves, to mask your tinnitus.
  • Habituation. Sounds matched to your unique tinnitus are played back to you — often at levels you can’t hear — to partially inhibit your tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids. Because most cases of tinnitus are connected in some way to hearing loss, hearing aids often provide relief.
  • Combination. Many hearing aids now have built-in masking or habituation functionality, so they can address both your hearing loss and your tinnitus.

If you’d like to learn more about tinnitus, head to the Tinnitus page on our website!

American Tinnitus Association
American Hearing Research Foundation

Posted in Tinnitus, Tips & Tricks | Comments closed

On the Menu: Deaf-Friendly Restaurants

Road-tripping? Keep these 7 spots in mind!

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act improved equity and access in employment, public accommodations, services, and so much more for people living with disabilities, including hearing impairment.

Some businesses, however, go above and beyond to ensure a better experience for patrons with hearing or speech challenges.

For your summer travels, we’ve put together a quick list of restaurants that go the extra mile to ensure your hearing and communication experience is just as good as your dining experience. Keep them in mind as you plan your next road trip!

  • Molly Moon’s — Seattle, WA

    This popular ice cream stop — rhubarb cardamom sorbet, anyone? — with several Seattle-area locations includes employees trained in American Sign Language, according to a recent KOMO News story, creating a more inclusive, welcoming experience.

  • Crêpe Crazy — Austin, TX

    The deaf owners of this growing business not only rock sweet and savory crepes — caprese, Mediterranean medley, lemon zest dust, and more — but also offer easy ordering with sign language or pointing, and they make it a point to hire hearing-impaired community members.

  • Pizzabar — Newport Beach, CA

    This casual eatery close to the Newport pier offers pizza, pasta, fried calamari, and other choices galore. It also sports a sign-language-interpretation kiosk for ease of ordering, making it the first restaurant certified as deaf-friendly by the kiosk installer, Language People.

  • Starbucks Drive-Thru — St. Augustine, FL

    Customers using the drive-thru at this particular Starbucks near the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind can use the ordering screen’s two-way video, letting them communicate with a barista in sign language.

  • Mozzeria — San Francisco, CA

    Whether you’re ASL-fluent or not, you’re welcome at this pizza-and-more spot owned by a deaf couple and staffed with deaf or hard-of-hearing employees. Options for easy ordering include pen and paper, pointing, and sign language.

  • &pizza — Washington, D.C.

    The H Street location of this bustling chain sits near Gallaudet University, the renowned school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Staff, who serve a diverse population of hearing and nonhearing patrons, typically know ASL or some basics of signing.

  • Culver’s — Buffalo Grove, IL

    This local outlet of a national burgers-and-frozen-custards franchise installed a bell system at its drive-thru, letting deaf or hard-of-hearing customers alert staff if they need to pull forward and order using a menu form instead.

We applaud these businesses for going over and above to accommodate their customers’ communication needs, and we hope to see others across North America follow suit. Interested companies should connect with local resources such as audiology clinics, chambers of commerce, schools for deaf students, or sign-language-interpreting agencies for helpful tips.


  • A 2003 Inclusion Solutions survey of over 6,400 people regarding drive-thru dining access and assistance found that “access is a major concern to the deaf community and others.”
  • In the same survey, nearly 80 percent of respondents with a preference would welcome call buttons to alert for help and “pull ahead to place the order in an alternative way.”

Know a deaf-friendly restaurant or two that should be on this list? Send us your recommendations!

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Dos and Don’ts for Taking Little Ones to See Fireworks

If you have a newborn in the family, here’s what you need to know about Little One’s ears and fireworks.

Every detail of your family’s Fourth has been planned to a “T,” from the neighborhood barbecue to staking out the perfect spot to watch fireworks. But there’s one more thing to do: Grab Baby’s hearing protection.

While the iconic booms and pops of fireworks come with a thrill, they also put hearing at risk — especially for little ones. From what’s too loud to where to sit and what to do, here’s what you need to know to help keep your family’s hearing healthy this Independence Day and those to come.

Most adults think that because it doesn’t bother their hearing, it won’t bother Baby’s. This isn’t necessarily true — babies hear differently than adults. Loud sounds could potentially damage infants’ hearing and hinder auditory development.

“Babies have a different way of listening to the world,” says Lynne Werner, professor of speech and hearing science at the University of Washington, in the May edition of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. “In real life, we are confronted with a variety of sounds. Somehow the adult brain takes all sounds we hear and separates them into where they are coming from, then focuses on the one we want to hear. Adults usually hear in a narrow band of sound, while babies seem to use a different approach. They don’t have the selective attention of adults, and they don’t pay attention all of the time. Instead they always seem to be listening broadband or to all frequencies simultaneously.”

What You Can Do

  • Shelter Your Ears

    Hearing protection — such as earplugs, headphones, or earmuffs — helps soften loud sounds, reducing harmful noise exposure. A good pair of earmuffs will be lightweight, durable, and adjustable. You know Little One’s habits better than we do, but we’re guessing they’ll want to take them off at first until they hear the benefits themselves. We love these because not only can they be worn to other loud events, they can also be worn on planes, and they can help children conk out during festivities if needed.

  • Keep Your Distance

    When it comes to live events, most everyone wants to be right where the action is, but staying a good distance from the show’s speakers or fireworks can go a long way toward protecting your and your loved ones’ hearing.

  • Limit Your Exposure

    Permanent hearing loss can occur even from a single exposure to loud noise, one of the most preventable causes of impairment. Take a short break from the festivities, or consider leaving a little early to give ears a helpful rest.

  • Have a Happy Fourth

    Hearing plays a critical role in a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development; a child with a hearing loss can face serious delays in speech and language processing and understanding. Early detection and intervention can minimize the negative impacts that hearing loss can have on a child and prevent developmental difficulties that stretch into adulthood. To identify children with hearing loss, and to provide intervention before the age of 6 months, each state has established an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program.

Have more questions? Contact us. We’ll be happy to help. Happy Fourth of July to you and your family!
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