Hearing Test

How To Start A Conversation About Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss is frustrating on all accounts. It can be annoying to have to consistently repeat yourself; and, it’s also frustrating to be the one asking for the repeat. As a friend or family member of someone suffering from hearing loss, you probably find yourself wanting to blurt out, “you need hearing aids!” But, because this is such a sensitive topic, it’s better to take the sensitive approach.

Here are a few ways to start that conversation.

  1. Approach the person in a private setting. A group setting will most likely lead to embarrassment, which could have adverse effects on the conversation.

  2. Start by asking if they’ve noticed signs of hearing loss. Feel free to review our questionnaire with them. They may be relieved to have someone to talk to. If they deny there is an issue, (gently) provide examples of situations you’ve noticed that caused you concern.

  3. Explain that hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, balance disorders, and even dementia. Also, explain that hearing loss is often irreversible, and the longer you wait, the more damage that is done.

  4. Do your research beforehand, and present one or two options for audiologists in their area. Explain that the first step is just a hearing test.

  5. Help them understand what to expect during the first visit with the audiologist.

  6. End on a positive and encouraging note! Discuss how improved hearing will impact their life.

Complimentary Hearing Screening at Waynesboro Library

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Join Us!

Monday, September 24

2 PM - 5:30 PM

Waynesboro Public Library
600 South Wayne Ave
Waynesboro, VA 22980

Dr. Tammy Garber will be offering complimentary hearing screenings this month at the Waynesboro Public Library. No appointment is necessary; stop by anytime to have your hearing checked, or to discuss questions or concerns with her.

Hearing Loss May…

  • Make it difficult to converse on the telephone

  • Make you feel tired or taxed after a gathering or meeting

  • Limit or hamper your personal or social life

  • Cause you to ask people to repeat themselves

  • Result in stress or anxiety

  • Make you feel isolated from friends, family or co-workers

  • Cause you to have difficulty understanding women's and children's voices

  • Cause others to complain that you turn up the TV too loud

Hearing loss has been linked with many health issues, including depression, social isolation, dementia, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Please don’t delay if you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss. Once it occurs, the majority of hearing loss is irreversible.

If you can’t make it to this event but are interested in getting your hearing checked, call us at 434-326-4535 to schedule an in-office complimentary screening.

Chemotherapy and Hearing Loss

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Among the many negative side effects of chemotherapy, there is one that does not receive as much attention: hearing loss. Many cancer treatments are ototoxic, which means they have a toxic effect on the ears. Damage can be in the form of destroying the tiny hairs in the cochlea, attacking the cochlea and other structures of the ear, and damaging the auditory nerve. Chemotherapy treatments can also cause Tinnitus ("ringing in the ears"), dizziness and/or balance disorders, all of which are related to the inner ear. 

Chemotherapy treatments from the "platinum" group, such as Cisplatin and Carboplatin, are known to be particularly harmful. These are commonly used to treat breast, ovarian, testicular, cervical, and lung cancers. The effects of these chemotherapies are irreversible and are seen in approximately 20% of patients (1 in 5) who take them.

During treatment, patients are typically focused on the more prominent and visible side effects (such as hair loss and nausea). Hearing loss and Tinnitus are generally slow to progress and build over time. It is important for patients undergoing cancer treatment to be aware of the side effects affecting hearing since they may not be noticed right away.

It is our recommendation (and the recommendation of most doctors and health experts) to see an audiologist for a baseline hearing test before treatment begins. This way, your hearing can be monitored throughout treatment. If hearing loss, Tinnitus, dizziness or balance disorders are present, adjustments in dosages or other medications designed to decrease the symptoms may be considered. 

New Research Uses Brainwaves To Test Understanding of Speech

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Researchers are aiming to change the way we measure a person's ability to understand speech. Yes, hearing aids help you hear better. But, often speech gets lost in translation. Hearing someone talk (from another room, for example) and understanding what they're saying are two different things. That's because hearing requires more than just your ears. Your brain actually plays a large part, as well. Our blog post on one manufacturer's BrainHearing™ technology discusses this more in depth.

A new technique developed by researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, involves using an EEG brain cap with 64 electrodes to measure a person's brainwaves while they listen to speech. It shows not only whether a person has heard a particular sound, but whether they've understood it.

EEG caps are already used to measure hearing, especially in newborns. But, the current test just measures whether the sound was heard. Instead of just tonal sounds or individual words (such as the ones you repeat during a hearing test), the new test measures brain waves of someone listening to a sentence and how well they actually understood what they heard.

Although it's currently in a demo state, this new test has some beneficial implications as to how well we will be able to measure the hearing and understanding of speech in the future. It could lead to better diagnoses in patients with speech comprehension issues, and more accurate hearing aid fittings. Imagine not only hearing better, but being able to understand everything that is said! Because the patient does not need to be awake or alert for the test, it also could mean better understanding for people in comas or for those who cannot communicate verbally. 

Exciting things are on the horizon in the field of audiology. We'll do our best to keep you up to date with the most recent research, trends and news.