The Real Problem With Hearing Aids Being Portrayed In The Media

UP While it’s rare for hearing aids to make appearances in mainstream movies, when they do, they make big ones. And by big, I don’t mean prominent, or important to the plot or character development, I mean big, ugly, usually squealing hearing aids. Ones that immediately come to mind are Up, and The Wrestler. While I appreciate that ‘bad press is better than no press’, this is not doing hearing impaired people that are on the fence about hearing aids any justice. Most times hearing aids are portrayed in a movie, they are a negative connotation.

The problem is, this is completely unrealistic! While feedback (whistling, squealing) used to be a problem with older hearing aids, due to advances in digital technology, this hasn’t been an issue in years. Further, hearing aids today are so small, they are virtually invisible. I understand they need to be seen to have a presence in the movie, however there has to be a better way.

ant-man-stoll Take Ant Man for instance! He has this incredibly high tech ear piece that can literally control ants. However, it doesn’t even have a custom earpiece! If the movie industry invested just a little research into the hearing aid industry before their next production, I think it would be a win-win for everybody.

HAs and EARsIn addition to the accuracy of the portrayal of hearing aids, the frequency also needs to reflect a more accurate adult population. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20% of Americans report some degree of hearing loss. That’s 48 MILLION Americans! Further, hearing loss is not just for the ‘grumpy grandpa’ characters. The Better Hearing Institute reports that the majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than age 65. In fact there are more than SIX MILLION people in the U.S. between the ages of 18-44 with hearing loss.

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This means we need to see more average middle aged working adults with hearing loss being represented in the movies, wearing modern, digital technology. And it doesn’t have be be a completely deaf character; something as simple as needing a few things repeated occasionally, and maybe a scene where they wirelessly stream a phone call to their hearing aids using bluetooth would suffice. That is real technology, and not just for futuristic movies like Her. Today, in 2015, you can connect your hearing aids wirelessly to your iPhone, and stream phone calls, music, and more!

 

I would love to see a movie with a scene where a character takes his or her hearing aids out at night before going to bed, and maybe the audience didn’t even realize that character wore hearing aids until that scene. They don’t have to be directly addressed or talked about, they’re just there, like they are for millions of Americans.

Kyman_Headshot2Lena Kyman is a clinic audiologist at ENT & Audiology Associates in North Carolina. She is passionate about global audiology, and breaking down the stigma and stereotypes associated with hearing aids and hearing loss. She can be reached at Dr.Kyman@entandaudiology.com.

 

 

Audiology Abroad

audiology-abroad-raleigh-audiologistlena-kyman

This July, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Antigua, Guatemala, on a volunteer audiology trip.

I first went to Antigua as a graduate student in 2010, and was able to visit schools and clinics, perform hearing screenings, and make referrals to appropriate sources for further evaluation.  Five years later, I had the opportunity to return and continue this work.

This trip, I was able to visit a local elementary school and perform hearing screenings on the children that teachers had concerns about.  Further, I was able to provide batteries, and do cleanings/listening checks on two students’ hearing aids.  Later in the week, we were able to visit one of the Universities, and instruct speech and hearing students on audiology basics, and how to perform otoscopy and hearing screenings.

Visiting another country is such an opportunity to learn and experience a different culture.  While I was there to provide a service, I definitely feel like I received more from the people there. We are so fortunate to have sound proof booths here, sometimes in other countries hearing screenings are performed in classrooms without doors, noisy hallways, and even in showers!  One of the children with hearing aids who I worked with had a broken battery door.  I did not have a replacement door with me; however, I was able to make one out of packing tape at the school.  A temporary solution at best, however it made the difference between hearing and not hearing.

Amongst all that work, I was able to have some fun too!  Antigua is a beautiful city, and I really enjoyed walking the streets and visiting the central park.  I got to hike Pacaya, an active volcano, and take a jade workshop at the home of a long-time jade miner.  An amazing experience, to say the least.

I look forward to returning again next year, hopefully with more donated supplies, and a larger team of students.  I want to thank ENT & Audiology Associates for their generosity in donating batteries and ear plugs, and allowing me to travel during such a busy time of the year.  Global audiology is a passion of mine, and I hope to make a difference, one ear at a time.

 

DrKymanPic Lena Kyman is a clinical audiologist at ENT & Audiology Associates.  She is passionate about hearing health education, and global audiology.  She can be reached at Dr.Kyman@entandaudiology.com.

 

 

Audiology Abroad

This July, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Antigua, Guatemala, on a volunteer audiology trip.

I first went to Antigua as a graduate student in 2010, and was able to visit schools and clinics, perform hearing screenings, and make referrals to appropriate sources for further evaluation.  Five years later, I had the opportunity to return and continue this work.

This trip, I was able to visit a local elementary school and perform hearing screenings on the children that teachers had concerns about.  Further, I was able to provide batteries, and do cleanings/listening checks on two students’ hearing aids.  Later in the week, we were able to visit one of the Universities, and instruct speech and hearing students on audiology basics, and how to perform otoscopy and hearing screenings.

Visiting another country is such an opportunity to learn and experience a different culture.  While I was there to provide a service, I definitely feel like I received more from the people there. We are so fortunate to have sound proof booths here, sometimes in other countries hearing screenings are performed in classrooms without doors, noisy hallways, and even in showers!  One of the children with hearing aids who I worked with had a broken battery door.  I did not have a replacement door with me; however, I was able to make one out of packing tape at the school.  A temporary solution at best, however it made the difference between hearing and not hearing.

Amongst all that work, I was able to have some fun too!  Antigua is a beautiful city, and I really enjoyed walking the streets and visiting the central park.  I got to hike Pacaya, an active volcano, and take a jade workshop at the home of a long-time jade miner.  An amazing experience, to say the least.

I look forward to returning again next year, hopefully with more donated supplies, and a larger team of students.  I want to thank ENT & Audiology Associates for their generosity in donating batteries and ear plugs, and allowing me to travel during such a busy time of the year.  Global audiology is a passion of mine, and I hope to make a difference, one ear at a time.

Changing Perspectives

I recently had a unique experience in the ENT & Audiology Associates office, as I went from being a clinician, to being a patient.  While I can talk all day about how great it is to work here with Dr. Holmes and our amazing staff, I didn’t fully understand how amazing this practice is until last week.

I had just returned from a whitewater kayaking trip in northern California.  It took me three flights to get back home, flying overnight and coming straight to work Monday morning.  I had a sore ear at work on Monday, but attributed it to sleep deprivation, the black eye I had gotten from paddling, and all the pressure changes on the flight, so I didn’t think much of it.  The next day though, the pain had increased.  I did a tympanogram on myself, saw that my eardrum was still moving normally, so tried to still brush it off.  Later in the day however, it had gotten worse, and I asked Dr. Holmes to look in my ear.  He noted that my eardrum on that side was red and inflamed, and gave me some drops for what looked like the start of an outer ear infection (made sense, as I had just spent a week on a river).  Unfortunately, what looked like the beginning of an external ear infection was actually the onset of acute otitis media, and that night my middle ear filled with fluid, so that by the time I got to the office on Wednesday, my eardrum was bulging.  (I have never had an ear infection my whole, life, and now that I’m almost 30, I get my first one!)  Dr. Holmes came to my side of the office first thing in the morning, to see how I was doing, immediately diagnosed the problem, he and the nurses were able to call me in an antibiotic to start right away.

Later in the day, it had gotten to the point where it was so painful and there was so much pressure, it was determined that a myringotomy was the best option to relieve the pressure and remove the fluid.  While I was nervous (as I was about to have a incision cut into my eardrum), I tried my best to act tough, knowing that some of my colleagues wanted to watch.  The nurses were incredibly empathetic, and made me feel very comfortable. Dr. Holmes talked me through the whole procedure (all two minutes of it), and I was immediately feeling better.  That night I slept better than I had all week, and by the next day, I was feeling completely healthy again.  Every time I saw a nurse in the hallway, they would ask to make sure I’m feeling better.  I felt so supported and cared for by everyone in the office.

I definitely have new empathy for the patients I see, and can say without hesitation that Dr. Holmes and the staff at ENT & Audiology Associates provide excellent care, difficult to find elsewhere.  My eardrum is already healed, and I’ll be back on the water in no time thanks to Dr. Holmes.

Lena Kyman is a clinical audiologist at ENT & Audiology Associates, and patient of Dr. Holmes’.

Changing Perspectives

I recently had a unique experience in the ENT & Audiology Associates office, as I went from being a clinician, to being a patient.  While I can talk all day about how great it is to work here with Dr. Holmes and our amazing staff, I didn’t fully understand how amazing this practice is until last week.

I had just returned from a whitewater kayaking trip in northern California.  It took me three flights to get back home, flying overnight and coming straight to work Monday morning.  I had a sore ear at work on Monday, but attributed it to sleep deprivation, the black eye I had gotten from paddling, and all the pressure changes on the flight, so I didn’t think much of it.  The next day though, the pain had increased.  I did a tympanogram on myself, saw that my eardrum was still moving normally, so tried to still brush it off.  Later in the day however, it had gotten worse, and I asked Dr. Holmes to look in my ear.  He noted IMG_0374that my eardrum on that side was red and inflamed, and gave me some drops for what looked like the start of an outer ear infection (made sense, as I had just spent a week on a river).  Unfortunately, what looked like the beginning of an external ear infection was actually the onset of acute otitis media, and that night my middle ear filled with fluid, so that by the time I got to the office on Wednesday, my eardrum was bulging.  (I have never had an ear infection my whole, life, and now that I’m almost 30, I get my first one!)  Dr. Holmes came to my side of the office first thing in the morning, to see how I was doing, immediately diagnosed the problem, he and the nurses were able to call me in an antibiotic to start right away.

Later in the day, it had gotten to the point where it was so painful and there was so much pressure, it was determined that a myringotomy was the best option to relieve the pressure and remove the fluid.  While I was nervous (as I was about to have a incision cut into my eardrum), I tried my best to act tough, knowing that some of my colleagues wanted to watch.  The nurses were incredibly empathetic, and made me feel very comfortable.  Dr. Holmes talked me through the whole procedure (all two minutes of it), and I was immediately feeling better.  That night I slept better than I had all week, and by the next day, I was feeling completely healthy again.  Every time I saw a nurse in the hallway, they would ask to make sure I’m feeling better.  I felt so supported and cared for by everyone in the office. DrKymanPic  I definitely have new empathy for the patients I see, and can say without hesitation that Dr. Holmes and the staff at ENT & Audiology Associates provide excellent care, difficult to find elsewhere.  My eardrum is already healed, and I’ll be back on the water in no time thanks to Dr. Holmes.
Lena Kyman is a clinical audiologist at ENT & Audiology Associates, and patient of Dr. Holmes’.

 

 

#KnowTheFacts

EarQ has a great #KnowTheFacts campaign with the goal of informing the public about major health conditions that have been connected to untreated hearing loss.  Their website with further information on each of these topics and the sources can be seen here.cms_obesity cms_brain_loss

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Tackling Resistance To Hearing Aids- One Misconception At A Time Vol. 3

We are continuing our mini-series on this blog: Tackling Resistance to Hearing Aids- One Misconception At A Time.  According to the Better Hearing Institute, people delay a solution for multiple reasons, including but not limited to inadequate information, stigma, and undervaluing the ability to hear.  We are tackling these issues one at a time.

Volume 3: You hearing loss cannot be helped

In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, with a high frequency hearing loss, or with nerve damage were all told that they could not be helped, often by their family practice physician.  This might have been true many years ago, however with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. While it’s okay to refer to your primary care physician, only 13% of physicians regularly screen for hearing loss, and it is more helpful to refer to an audiologist who specializes specifically in this field and will know how to help.  Hearing loss solutions are not one-size-fits-all, so find an audiologist who will work with you to customize a solution based on your lifestyle and listening needs.  A better quality of life is just one trip to the audiologist’s office away…

better-life

Add Some Color

 

No need to stick with a beige hearing aid and a clear earmold.  Hearing aids come in a variety of colors, that enable your child to own their hearing loss, and incorporate it into their style!Baby with colorful HA

Lost And Sound

This looks incredible!

Tackling Resistance To Hearing Aids- One Misconception At A Time Vol. 2

We are starting a new mini-series on this blog: Tackling Resistance to Hearing Aids- One Misconception At A Time.  According to the Better Hearing Institute, people delay a solution for multiple reasons, including but not limited to inadequate information, stigma, and undervaluing the ability to hear.  We are going to start tackling these issues one at a time.

Volume 2: Hearing loss only affects old people, and is merely a sign of aging.

This is blatantly untrue.  According to the Better Hearing Institute, only 35% of people with hearing loss are older than age 64.  That means that 65% of people with hearing loss are younger than 64! In fact, there are close to SIX MILLION people in the U.S. with hearing loss between the ages of 18-44.  Even if your hearing loss is due to aging, that doesn’t mean you have to just accept it.  You can take action, and regain control of your life.  Don’t let hearing loss make you avoid your favorite restaurant, or social gatherings.  Don’t miss out on hearing your loved ones!  Untreated hearing loss is #NotWorthIt.  Hearing aids today are different than the big, beige, whistling devices from 20 years ago.  Hearing aids today are like little wearable computers.  They are digital, wireless, and have capabilities that used to seem ‘futuristic’ in James Bond movies.  Hearing aids can stream music, tv, phone calls, voices from external microphones, and even work with the Apple Watch.  Now if that’s just for ‘old people’, sign me up!

Hearing is so important, and this video nails it!

Don’t give up hearing the sounds you love.  Limit your exposure to loud sounds to preserve the hearing you do have, and take action to treat any hearing loss you may have.

Untreated hearing loss is #NotWorthIt.