December, 2015 - In This Issue:
Audiological Consultants Of Atlanta


As we begin to close the year, we think of all the wonderful things we experienced in the year 2015.  For those of you that began to wear hearing aids as well as those that upgraded in technology, we hope you have appreciated and enjoyed the gift of hearing. Newer and better technology in hearing aids and assistive devices continue to improve and we continue to inform you about these wonderful products as they are introduced into the market.





 As family and friends gather this holiday season, people with hearing loss are faced with the inevitable situation of conversations, songs and children that may be difficult to understand. Regardless of age, life is too short not to enjoy the sounds of the holidays. It appears that the impact of hearing loss is increased this time of year. It's not too late to give the gift of hearing

to yourself or a loved one.

During this festive time of year, whether having a family celebration at home or meeting friends at a favorite restaurant, the background noise can make it difficult to easily hear what is being said.  Below are some helpful communication strategies that can ease the stress in those difficult and challenging environments.


The listener:

  1. Do your best to utilize facial expressions, body language and context clues.  Listening with our eyes and ears helps us to follow and hear conversation in challenging environments.
  2. Be an assertive listener.  If you are having difficulty hearing someone tell them what they can do to improve comprehension.  Let them know they need to face you when speaking or not speak so quickly.
  3. If there is background noise, try to position yourself to have the background noise behind you and the person talking in front of you.
  4. This seems obvious but pay attention.  When there are so many conversations going on, it is easy to get distracted by someone else's conversation.  Do your best to focus on the person talking to you and mentally block out other conversations.
  5. If you wear hearing aids make sure you visit your audiologist on a regular basis.  Do not wait until an important event to realize your hearing aids need a cleaning or adjustment.

The speaker:

  1. Get the person's attention first.  Whether you call their name or tap them on the shoulder, it is easier for someone to hear you when they are ready to listen and paying attention.
  2. Face to face communication makes listening easier.  When you speak directly to someone they are not only receiving verbal information but also visual information.
  3. If someone is having difficulty understanding you, it may be beneficial to speak slower instead of louder.
  4. When possible reduce background noise. Lower the volume or turn off the TV before speaking.
  5. Use clear speech, pronunciate properly. As our parents taught us, do not speak with your mouth full.  When we speak while chewing food or gum, our words can appear muffled making it more difficult to understand.   Also do not cover your mouth while speaking.

Remember: Communication is an interactive process: there is a speaker and a listener.  Both individuals can do certain things to improve communication.






If you have a hearing loss, sounds may seem loud enough, but not clear. People may seem to be mumbling or talking too quickly. Quiet sounds, such as a clock ticking, birds singing, or voices from another room, just cannot be heard as well as before. You may hear some people's voices better than others. You may find that facing the speaker helps you to hear better. It is difficult to understand what is being said in a group when there is any background noise. Group conversations are more and more difficult to follow. You might find that meetings, groups, parties, and movies are not as rewarding as before. It is harder to keep up with small talk. You may favor one ear over the other. You need to ask for things to be repeated.

Sometimes, you misunderstand what has been said. Others may tell you that you have the radio or television turned up "too loud" or that you speak too loudly or too softly. You may be startled when someone enters the room. You may have difficulty locating the source or direction of sounds. Loud sounds may seem more sharp and annoying than before. You may hear ringing or buzzing in your ears. Read through the following checklist. If you answer yes to more than five of the signs and symptoms listed, then get a thorough hearing evaluation by an audiologist.


Common Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss


Do you...

* frequently have to ask for repetition?

* have trouble hearing when you are spoken to from another room?

* feel that you hear sound but do not understand speech clearly?

* feel that people are mumbling?

* have trouble hearing when there is noise around you?

* need to turn the radio or TV volume up loud to hear well?

* have difficulty hearing women's or children's voices?

* have to turn one ear toward the person speaking?

* have trouble hearing when you can't see the speaker's face?

* need to be close to the person speaking?

* become anxious or tired in social situations because you cannot    

  understand what is said? 






 People with hearing loss delay a decision to get hearing help because they are unaware of the fact that receiving early treatment for hearing loss has the potential to literally transform their lives. Research by the National Council on the Aging on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss as well as their significant others demonstrated that hearing aids  are associated with impressive improvements in all areas of life.   


Hearing loss treatment was shown to improve:

  • Earning power
  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships                                 
  • Ease in communication
  • Emotional stability
  • Sense of control over life events
  • Perception of mental functioning
  • Physical health
  • Group social participation

And just as importantly hearing loss treatment was shown to reduce:

  • Discrimination toward the person with the hearing loss
  • Hearing loss compensation behaviors (i.e. pretending you hear)
  • Anger and frustration in relationships
  • Depression and depressive symptoms
  • Feelings of paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Social phobias
  • Self-criticism

If you are one of those people with a mild, moderate or severe hearing loss, who is sitting on the fence, consider all the benefits of hearing aids described above. Hearing aids hold such great potential to positively change so many lives.


Credit for this article is given to:

Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D. - Better Hearing Institute, Washington, DC  



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