Hearing Aids Gave Me My Youth Back – guest blog post by Anne Walker

my-story-2My name is Anne Walker and I have been employed at Oaktree Products as a customer service representative since January 2008. Getting hearing aids was one of the best things I ever did for myself and I wanted to share my story. About a year ago I had my hearing tested because I felt more and more like I wasn’t hearing exactly what someone was saying to me. When I was watching TV with other people it was hard for me to hear what seemed to be a sufficient volume level for everyone else and I was uncomfortable always asking for the TV to be turned up. When I finally had my hearing tested, I learned that I had a gradually sloping, moderate to severe high frequency hearing loss in both ears.  Although I was surprised at the degree of my hearing loss, I continued to put off doing anything about it for a while.

appointmentLast October while at a family wedding, my brother-in-law showed my husband and I his new and first pair of hearing aids. I was so intrigued; you couldn’t see them even with his short hair! They were nothing like I remembered my grandmother having years ago.  He was so excited about having them, mentioning that he wasn’t sure why he waited so long. Honestly, I was envious of how happy he was and, about two months after that weekend, I finally made an appointment with an Audiologist to talk about amplification options. My brother-in-law definitely served as my inspiration.

resound-linx2During my consultation, my Audiologist asked me about all the things that I like to do and places I frequent on a regular basis to get a better idea of my lifestyle.  Going into this appointment, one of the hearing aid features I really wanted was a t-coil. Several technology levels were discussed and the most appealing option to me was the made for iPhone hearing aids. I made the decision to invest in a pair of Resound LinX2 and so began my hearing aid journey.  My Audiologist counseled me that things would seem really loud at first but after a few days or so it would sound more normal.  She explained that I would be hearing things I have not heard for a while and that may brain needed some time to learn how to process this information again.

pennyOnce fitted with my new hearing aids, I was amazed at the little things I was able to hear like the sound of papers being moved around my desk, a penny dropped on the floor, or my cell phone ringing in my purse and no longer having to rely on someone to tell me my phone was ringing. While driving home from my initial fitting, I actually heard the blinker in my car! When I came home, I heard water running out of the gutters! Ever
csr-all-green-2-annesince that day, I hear something new and think to myself, “Oh my heavens! It’s been a long time since I have heard that sound!” When I am conversing with customers over the phone or socializing with friends outside of work, I am not longer afraid that I will have a hard time hearing what someone is saying. My hearing aids have taken away a crutch and have game me my youth back! When I get up every morning, I do not feel complete and ready-to-go until I have put my hearing aids on. Anyone considering hearing aids should do so and not wait. Your quality of life will change so much for the better.  You will be amazed!

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The Hassle-Free VDC Loupe System

qualityAny audiologist involved in cerumen management and/or other procedures necessitating high-depth of field resolution of the external ear canal needs a high-quality loupe system. One of the initial drawbacks of trying out a new loupe is the perceived amount of effort in making necessary adjustments to achieve a clear image. This is particularly evident when a practice with multiple clinicians is pursuing a loupe system that they intended to share between several colleagues. If this is or has been a frustration or concern, try the no-hassle, no-adjustment VDC Loupe System.

98-1805Designed for visualization of the ear canal, the VDC Loupe System attains an extremely high depth of field with excellent edge acuity, and retains focus even when the patient moves. What makes this system hassle-free is the fact that the loupes reside within the actual glasses and, therefore, do not come equipped with a knob to adjust for interocular distance.  The relative loupe location is based on average adult Pupillary Distance (PD). PD refers to the distance between the pupils of the eyes, center to center, measured in millimeters.  The VDC Loupe System (item# 98-1805) is specifically designed for PD measuring 30mm which will be suitable and appropriate in more than 90% of adults.

pdEven though the VDC Loupe System above will work for the majority of health care professionals, additional versions are available, each identical with the exception of how far apart the left and right loupes are positioned from one another.  If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, obtain your PD from your ophthalmologist, optometrist or optician to customize your VDC Loupe system. If you do not wear glasses or contact lenses and want to know your PD to ensure the most appropriate version is ordered, measure your own PD using How To Measure PD instructions. Learn more from the Oaktree Products VDC Loupe Resource page that addresses Which VDC Loupe System Is Right For You? For more information, contact customers service at Oaktree Products toll-free 800.347.1960 or via email at otp@oaktreeproducts.com

Posted in Audiology, Otoscopes, Headlamps & Earlights | 1 Comment

When Your Hearing Aid Patient Needs Help with Business Phone

solution-oneSo, you successfully fit your patient with a high-end hearing aid with a streamer and all is wonderful in the world until they go to work.  They would like to have their business phone conversations streamed directly to their hearing instruments just like their home landline phone. Unfortunately, the business phone is connected to a Private Branch Exchange (PBX)  that limits options to hearing instrument wearing employees. The good news is there are viable solutions that work.

cs-qh2For hearing instrument wearers using streamers,* the ClearSounds QH2 Hub and Phone Amplifier (CS-QH2) will convert and corded or cordless phone, including a (including a business phone running on a PBX system) into a Bluetooth phone.  Once connected to the business phone, the CS-QH2 may be paired to the hearing aid streamer, enabling the user to hear business phone calls via their hearing instruments in a hands-free fashion.  If your patient does not have a streamer but has t-coils, the still CS-QH2 remains an option. In lieu of a streamer, a Bluetooth amplified neckloop (CS-QT4 , CS-QT4LITE) may be paired to the CS-QH2.  Incoming calls will be routed wirelessly from the CS-QH2 to the Bluetooth neckloop and then directly to the user’s T-coil equipped hearing instruments.

For additional information and more options, be sure the read up on the three-part series addressing business phone solutions for hearing aid wearers linked below:

  1. Business Phone Solutions for Hearing Aid Wearers: Part 1
  2. Business Phone Solutions for Hearing Aid Wearers: Part 2
  3. Business Phone Solutions for Hearing Aid Wearers: Part 3

*NOTE: The CS-QH2 will NOT work with made for iPhone (MFi) hearing instruments (i.e. Starkey Halo, GN ReSound LiNX2).  The connection between MFi hearing instruments and the iPhone is a proprietary Bluetooth.  Furthermore, the iPhone can only handle one Bluetooth connection at a time.  If a MFi hearing instrument user wants to use the CS-QH2, it will require a streaming intermediary device (i.e. CS-QT4).

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Free Hamilton CapTel Noah Module Now Available!

noahHamilton CapTel unveiled the new Hamilton CapTel Noah Module at the 65th Annual IHS Convention & Expo in Chicago last week, making it very easy for audiologists to provide captioned telephones to their patients with hearing loss at no cost.   The new Noah module significantly streamlines the ordering process by automating necessary forms using a system that most audiologists use every day to manage patient information.  It takes as little as 30 seconds to complete the order forms in the Noah 4 Office Management Software.

How It Works:

Audiologists can download the free Hamilton CapTel Noah module from the company’s website (steps and links below). Patient record information within the Noah 4 system automatically populates Hamilton CapTel order forms. Secure, encrypted online ordering eliminates having to scan hand-written forms and submit them via fax or email.  It also ensures FCC compliance and the safety of patient record data.

How To Download Free Module: 

  1. Go to the Noah page of the Hamilton CapTel website
  2. Click the orange DOWNLOAD NOW button located toward the bottom left-hand side of the page
  3. Fill out the required information and click REGISTER NOW
  4. Click the DOWNLOAD NOW button

Once the software is downloaded, follow a few easy steps to install the software module and to submit a Certification of Hearing Loss/Order Form on behalf of your patient. For more information, check out the FAQ section of their website.

About Hamilton CapTel:

captelHamilton CapTel is a service of Hamilton Relay, a division of Hamilton Telecommunications based in Aurora, Nebraska.  Hamilton Relay has been providing telecommunications relay services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking since 1991. In the beginning, Hamilton Relay provided Traditional Relay Services (TRS) within its own home state.  Over the years, Hamilton expanded services not only to states providing TRS, but nationally as well through the provision of Captioned Telephone Services.  Hamilton Relay provides TRS in numerous contracted states, as well as Captioned Telephone (CapTel®) including Hamilton CapTel for PC/Mac, Smartphones and Tablets.

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Decibullz – guest blog post by Natalie Phillips

decibullzlogoI had the opportunity to check out a local company here in Fort Collins, Colorado, called Decibullz.  A friend introduced me to the company, as they wanted to reach into the Audiology community for feedback and input on their product line.  The name initially caught my attention, but as I began to investigate, the company WHY and the products themselves caused me to look at them more closely with an Audiologist’s eye.

Kyle Kirkpatrick, CEO and Founder of Decibullz, sat me down and told me the story of how he grew up a gymnast.  He explained how he was never able to keep any type of comfortable earbuds in his ears during activities, which frustrated him.  He came up with an idea to mold his own earbuds and adjust them to create a good fit, and voila! – a solution to a problem and a company was born!

innovationAs I examined their current products, my son’s moldable mouthpiece used for football was the best way I could relate to how this innovative product works. Using a thermoplastic patented material, Decibullz products include a moldable (and RE-moldable) piece that sits in the concha area of the ear, as well as insert eartips of varying sizes that fit most ears.  This type of system creates a safe solution for consumers, allowing them to have an immediate, somewhat custom fit. Initially offering a hard-wired earbud solution, Decibullz currently offers both earplug and Bluetooth wireless earbud products.

HOW IT WORKS:

The Decibullz molds have to be heated, and it is recommended to boil water up to 150-170 degrees. The mold is placed into the hot water for 5 minutes, removed and cooled off for 30 seconds, and then inserted in the ear for custom molding. Once molded, the earbud/plugs can be modified using a heating lamp, heating gun, or a hairdryer, OR placed back into boiling water for remolding.

Advantages and key points of discussion include:

  • The ability to have a quick and immediate solution for a custom fit earplug with an NRR 31 rating and custom wireless earbuds without having to wait 1-2 weeks for production
  • Re-moldable in case of growth of ears and any difficulty in initial molding process
  • Modular design to interchange one set of Decibullz molds to be used with multiple Decibullz products (i.e. earplugs AND earbuds)

HOW I SEE IT FIT INTO AUDIOLOGY:

Currently, these innovative earplugs and wireless earbuds are available at Decibullz.com and sold direct-to-consumer at the suggested retail price of $25.99 and $119.99 respectively. An Internet search will quickly reveal that these same products may be purchased at Amazon.com, Cabela’s, and other hunting and outdoor sporting goods stores. Since the material is re-moldable, audiologists have an immediate opportunity to offer consumers a service where the product may either be molded for them or, in the case of a poor do-it-yourself outcome, remolded to achieve an optimal fit and charge an office visit fee.

If this product were made available to audiologists at a discounted price for resale, an innovative product like Decibullz could positively impact a clinical practice in several ways as it will:

  1. help differentiate your practice from only selling hearing aids
  2. provide an immediate, custom hearing protection and listening solution for your patients and consumers
  3. Solve other clinical needs, including expanding the scope of same day services ranging from custom earplugs for  pressure-equalization tube placements to providing other earplug solutions for musicians, security, and dry ear precaution situations
  4. offer new opportunities for chargeable office visits to assist consumers who need help to create a better custom fit they could achieve on their own

Furthermore, if Audiology practices were able to be listed as preferred fitting centers and had the accessibility of providing multiple products for 1 set of earplugs (to purchase direct-to-consumer you would have to purchase the whole kit for each device), this could be a way to get consumers in the door to your office for very little time and very little cost to overhead and supplies. Another option would be to allow the Audiologist to have access to different materials to include multiple colors for swirling, glitter, and glow-in-the-dark materials that only an Audiologist would be able to provide.

top-5-bloggersAll in all, Decibullz earplugs have been ranked as one of the best (Top 5) earplugs for shooting and also have one of the highest noise reduction ratings of 31 NRR for custom earplugs.  As far as sound quality, Decibullz’ wired earbuds were voted the best earphones of 2015  and won a Consumer Electronics Show Innovation Award in 2014 and 2016.  Decibullz has a very promising list of products that I feel I can incorporate into my clinic immediately.  Their collaborative efforts with the Audiology industry also demonstrates that they are interested in providing more products that will work for both consumers and providers.  Stay tuned for their entrance into the industry and check them out at the upcoming Audiology Now in Indianapolis on April 5-8, 2017!

Version 6Dr. Natalie Phillips is the Senior Audiologist with Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology in Fort Collins, Colorado and Director of Audiology with EarQ.  Dr. Phillips has served on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Academy of Audiology and on various convention committees for the American Academy of Audiology as well as the Support Personnel Task Force.  She is a founding sister of Women Unite, a group of women who’s mission is to inspire, ignite, and assist other women achieve their potential in today’s professional setting.  Dr. Phillips is currently serving as a Global Ambassador and on the Legacy Project Steering Committee for Empowering A Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020), a global initiative and movement to provide the tools, technology, and resources to empower women as leaders and successful entrepreneurs.

Dr. Phillips has experience developing early hearing detection programs in various hospitals throughout the state of Texas. Her work then took her to Southern California, where she collaborated with a neurotologist, taking over the practice of Dr. William House.  She has participated in research within the field of audiology, including cochlear implants, tinnitus devices and a fully implantable hearing system. Dr. Phillips is particularly interested in tinnitus and has been providing tinnitus and sound sensitivity therapy options to patients for the past 18 years.  She continues to pursue opportunities to participate in humanitarian audiology as well as believes in connecting with people both inside and outside of the hearing industry to be able to make a bigger impact in the world.

 

Posted in Audiology, Guest Blog Posts, Hearing Assistance Technology, Hearing Conservation, Temporary Earmolds | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Resource Information At Your Fingertips

information touchIf you have information at your fingertips, it means the information is convenient, easy to find, and easily accessible. The Oaktree Products website offers information at your fingertips beyond product details and pictures that will help you make informed decisions about your clinical supply and/or patients’ communication solution needs.  Not sure which otoscope fits your current needs? Check out the Otoscopes Solutions resource page to learn all about otoscopes including some basics (types, light source technology, battery technology) or to review product comparison tables to help find the perfect pocket, full size or video otoscope for you. Need to identify amplified stethoscope options for your patients with hearing loss and to understand fitting challenges? Read up on all the great information listed in the Amplified Stethoscope resource page. Confused about what is the best alerting system for your patients? Explore the Alerting Systems resource page which will take you through the basics and help assemble the best alerting system for your patient. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!

 

 

Posted in Amplified Stethoscopes, Audiology, Hearing Assistance Technology, Otoscopes, Headlamps & Earlights | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

BANG! Free Webinar addressing damage from impulse noise & the effectiveness of hearing protection

Bang

Some of the most hazardous sounds we hear are brief sounds – noises from impacts and impulses. These arise from sources like household tools, construction, industrial noise, firecrackers, guns, and even automotive airbags. The progression of damage to the ear from such impulse sounds differs from damage to the ear that progressively occurs as a result of long-term exposure to high-level noise. Beyond understanding the various mechanisms and related damage-risk criteria specifically associated with impulse noise, it is important for audiologists to recognize appropriate hearing protection recommendations for such noises, including understanding how hearing protection device efficacy is measured, how these products perform, and suggestions for use.

elliott_berger_300x300-150x150To gain insight on the topic, 3M is offering a free webinar presented by Elliot Berger, M.S. on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm (CST). For nearly 40 years, Mr. Berger has studied hearing protection, hearing conservation, and related topics, and has presented his research in 14 textbook chapters and over 60 published articles. He chairs the ANSI working group on hearing protector attenuation and has served on a National Academy of Science committee evaluating hearing loss in the military. Log in, listen, and learn!

sept22To register for this free seminar, click HERE.  Be sure to first click the ADD TO CALENDAR button to sync with your Outlook or Google calendar. You will minimally be required to enter your email address and title to enter the event. Certificate of participation is available by checking the YES box. Access to the event will be made available 30 minutes prior to the event start time.  I have already registered and hope to see you all there!

 

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PerfectClean – guest blog post by C.J. Loeffler

PCleanThe PerfectClean®, the first and only system in the world of its kind, is a patented electronic device specially developed for the safe and effective removal of earwax from all types of standard or custom hearing aids.  Each device comes complete with a USB micro cable and wall adapter capable of 100-240vac 50/60hz operating range.  This is achieved by a 90 minute, three-cycle process consisting of washing, drying and disinfecting of the hearing aid receiver.  For optimal care and best results, the recommended use of the PerfectClean is on a daily basis.  What makes this device so unique is the ease of operation.  With just the simple press of a button, the device is able to perform on its own, and turns off at the end of the operation.  To use the PerfectClean all the patient needs to do is place the hearing aids inside, close the lid, and press the power button.

technology-mgMG Development has been in development and field testing of this revolutionary product for over 5 years.  PerfectClean uses our patented Electronic Safe Solution in a 25 minute agitation vortex motion for the ear wax removal.  A second cycle is then followed by forced air heat of 60 minutes, at 113° Fahrenheit to ensure the removal of moisture.  The final cycle is 5 minutes of strong UV-C light for proven 99% disinfection of the hearing aid.  The electronic Safe Solution comes in a plastic refill cartridge that offers your patient approximately 45 cycles of usage.  The PerfectClean also has built-in distinctive light indicators to alert the user when the device is running, requires a new solution refill cartridge, or the filter is in need of cleaning.  All PerfectClean also come with a 2 year warranty.  Get your patients a PerfectClean today so they can also “hear well every day”.

CJ picMy name is C.J. Loeffler, and I am the Director of Sales at MG Development.  Before taking on this role my previous career years were spent in the technology industry.  My background comes from being the National Field Manager of North America for Google, and District Manager for Microsoft.  At MG Development my bold promise is to grow our brand and product line, constantly improving and developing more efficient and quality products to evolve the hearing aid industries hygiene and maintenance care options.  Our goal is to offer a solution to your patients, so they can also stand by our slogan, “hear well every day”.

Posted in Audiology, Guest Blog Posts, Hearing Aid Dehumidifiers & Moisture Protection | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments