Eyeglass Aids: Hearing Loss Technology for the Visually Impaired

There are two common maladies that have faced humans through history. These kinds of maladies are not traditional in the sense that they put someone's life at risk – like it was in the 1800's with wide spread epidemics – but are moreover are detrimental to a person's ability to function in day-to-day life.

The two are:

– Hearing loss

– Impaired Eyesight

At first glace, the two do not look very similar – they both serve different function for the human brain – however they are similar in how they have been handled by both science and by the public.

Combing the Two – Eyeglass Aids

Back in the 1950s, and all the way through to the early 1980s, eyeglass aids were very popular. Essentially, an eyeglass aid was a hearing aid device that was built into the glasses (often, the technology was added to the temple piece of spectacles). The problem with the technology back then was that was not very practical. Due to the engineering of the glasses, as well as the limitations of hearing aid technology, people either had to wear both devices at once or not wear them at all. Also, the design of the glasses was very limited, often resulting in bulky and ugly pieces. For these reasons the eyeglass aid was forced out of production early in 1980.

Spectacle Hearing Aids

Recently, hearing devices in glasses have had a resurgence. One of the reasons for this sudden growth is because of spectacle hearing device. These eyeglass aids are worn by people who suffer from hearing loss but choose to take a more aesthetic approach in how the public perceives them; furthermore, spectral hearing aids are perfect for people who can not receive sound waves the traditional way, such as having an ear canal blocked, and need to 'reroute' the sound in order for brain function to continue effectively. For example, a spectral hearing device may be perfect for someone who is vulnerable to infections in the ear.

Typically, there are two types of spectacle hearing aids:

– Bone Conduction: With boneduction the sound is passed from the arm of the glasses to the inner ear via the bones. Because the process to transmute sound energy through bones requires a large amount of power, bone construction spectacles are often very expensive.

– Air Conduction: The difference between bone conduction and air conduction is that the sound is transmitted through hearing devices connected to the glasses.

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Hearing Aids for Different Types of People

Technology is growing at such an exponential rate. Imagine for a moment what your life was like ten years ago – did you own an iPhone, or did you have a Facebook account? The medium of the Internet is one that allows such fast-paced and user-driven communication that it is no surprise that the world has grown because of it. The good thing with this growth is that it spills over into other fields of science. For example, the science of hearing aid technology has grown in spades over the last few decades. It has helped millions of people all over the world struggling with hearing loss.

There are numerous different kinds of hearing aids, or personal sound amplifiers, which exist in the market today. It is important to note that each of these aids is designed with a specific purpose in mind and that one should consult their doctor first before pursuing any of these instruments. In general, the different types of hearing devices range in their size, power and design.

Different Types of Hearing Aids:

Body Worn Aids: The first hearing device ever invented the body worn aid. Invented by Harvey Fletcher while working at Bell Laboratories, the body aid is a combination of a case and an earmold (a meld of your ear). In the case are electronic amplifiers, as well as various sensors that control the battery and amplification settings of the device. The case is carried in a belt wherein its user can control the different facets of the aid. Body worn aids are some of the most affordable hearing aids on the market.

Behind the Ear Aids (BTE): One of the more popular kinds of hearing lost devices is the BTE. Known as behind the ear aids, the BTE consistors of a case (like the body worn aid) and an earold that is the connection between them. The difference between the BTE and the body worn aid is that the case in the prior is found behind the ear and not on the belt of an individual. Generally, behind the ear aids are used for people who experience very mild hearing loss.

In the Ear Aids (ITE): Another popular hearing aid device is in the ear aids (ITE). The ITE fits in the outer bowl of the ear and are sometimes visible. The aids are custom fit to an individual's ear and are there before extremely comfortable. Also, the ITE can be used for both mild and severe hearing loss.

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Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing devices are hearing devices that fit over the top of the ear. Small, thin tubing connects to the over the ear partion, runs down the front of the ear, and connects to the custom fit ear piece. The ear piece, is custom-made and often called an ear mold. It fits deeply into the outer ear canal.

BTEs fit a very wide range of hearing impairments, from mild to profound. BTEs are also a great option for persons of all ages. Children especially benefit from BTEs, in a cost-effective way. Young children who are still growing really gain from the ability to remake the custom mold alone without having to send in the aid when the ear changes size. Old ear molds or a temporary ear mold may be used until the new ear mold comes in and is fit. This makes this option more affordable and kid-friendly.

A variety of hearing instrument and mold designs may be available, based on your hearing health needs and personal style. The hearing device casing can even be purchased in more bold, vibrant colors! The custom molds come in a large variety of styles, materials, and colors. Colors range from invisible, to skin tone, to purple, and green with gold swirls. Recommendations may be made by your audiologist and / or hearing health care provider to make sure the hearing aid and ear mold best suit your hearing injury.

It is important to ensure that the tubing connecting the over ear ear to the mold of the ear must remain soft and damage free, in order to properly convey sound to the ear with good sound quality. This tube will harden naturally over time, may become brittle or discolored. Tubing should be replaced every 3-6 months. If you note any stiffness or damage prior to 3 months, do not hesitate to call your hearing healthcare provider.

Ear molds should be regularly cleaned and kept free of debris and wax buildup. Tools should have been provided with your hearing aid to pick and brush away any debris. The custom ear mold can be removed, if need be, to be washed in warm, soapy water, rinsed, and air dried. Some hearing aids may use a thin glue to connect this portion to the tube. Ask your hearing healthcare provider before removing the ear mold on your own.

Call a local hearing healthcare professional for an appointment to determine your BTE hearing aid candidacy today!

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What Products Are Available for Hearing Aid Care?

People who have experienced hearing loss quickly learn that there are many options to choose from when deciding on the right hearing device. There are dozens of brands and each one has a long list of models. The decisions do not stop once the right hearing device for the person's individual situation has been identified. There are still accessories and other supplies to think about!

Hearing devices are electronic devices and require special attention. Proper care and maintenance of hearing devices will go a long way in extending their life and improving the quality level they function at. One of the first accessories that should be purchased is a case to store the hearing devices in when they are not being worn. This will help them stay safe from accidental damage or being lost.

It is very important that hearing aids be kept clean and dry. Many people buy a dehumidifier to help keep their units dry. Complete cleaning kits are available that include all the tools and cleaning solutions needed to keep hearing aids sanitary and in top condition. The items are also sold individually. Cleaning wipes are very handy for busy people. Throw them in your car, purse or office desk for quick cleaning on the go.

Extra batteries are always important to have on hand to prevent an emergency run to the store when hearing aids run out of juice. Special lotions are available that work to prevent ears from becoming dry or irritated due to wearing hearing aids. Hats and sweat bands are sold with pockets sewn in to place hearing devices and can be active to those who are very physically active.

A variety of products are available to make life at home easier. Telephones with amplified sound bringing a higher level of sound when making and receiving telephone calls. Headsets are available that work with the television.

They allow the wearer to turn the volume up as loud as they need to hear their favorite shows through the headset without it affecting the comfort of their companions.

Most of these items are readily available in the offices of hearing instrument providers and audiologists. They can also be purchased at most drugstores and large retail chains. Search online for a large selection of other accessories that make life with hearing aids more convenient. Your hearing instrument brand reasonably has a whole line of products designed specifically for use with your hearing aid.

The gift of hearing is a valuable thing. Fortunately, many options are available to bring it back to people if it starts to decrease. Find the products that work best for you.

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What Testing Does an Audiologist Perform?

Audiologists are hearing healthcare providers who test, diagnose, and treat hearing and balance related disorders. Holding either a masters or doctorate level degree in the field of audiology or communication science disorders, these professionals are well-equipped to help you with your hearing and balance. If you suspect you have decreased hearing sensitivity, changing hearing sensitivity, ringing or sound in the ear, dizziness or imbalance, make an appointment as soon as possible.

Your provider will probably have you complete a written questionnaire about your hearing, balance, and overall health that they will discuss with you. Be as honest as possible when discussing this. Your medical history may help to diagnose the issues you are having with your hearing or balance and can aid your provider in determining what testing is necessary to complete this diagnosis. A wide variety of evaluations can and may be completed determined by your needs.

Hearing tests may include:

Visual inspection of the outer ear and ear canal (otoscopy)

Middle ear pressure evaluation (tympanometry)

Objective assessment of the cochlea (otoacoustic emissions)

Behavioral evaluation of hearing (pure-tone audiometry)

-Objective evaluations of the auditory pathways (evoked potential evaluations)

Balance tests may include:

-Objective evaluations of the auditory pathways (evoked potential evaluations)

Other vestibular (balance) evaluations

• Electronystagmography (ENG) or Video Nystagmography (VNG)

• Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP) evaluation

• Rotational chair evaluation

• Electrocochleography (ECochG)

• Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP)

Your hearing healthcare provider will also provide management for hearing loss and hearing related disorders. This may include prescription, orientation, and fitting of hearing aids and accessories, cochlear implant mapping and therapies, monitoring, conservation, and therapy. Therapy or recommendations for medical treatment of balance disorders will also be provided. Some issues may require further medical management outside the realm of audiology.

Audiologists are specifically trained to not only evaluate, diagnose, and help you manage your hearing and balance issues, but to also listen and help you understand your options. It is important for you to understand your injury. Do not be afraid to ask questions during and after your evaluations. You should never leave feeling as though you do not have a good satisfactory on the situation. Feel free to also share your feelings about the situation at hand. Your opinions and needs matter!

If you suspect that you or a family member are having hearing or balance difficulties, contact your provider today! You could be hearing and feeling better in no time. Why would you wait? Call now! Get the answers you are seeking today. Your audiologist will help you through this process of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment!

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Hearing Loss, a Fact of Life for People of All Ages

Hearing loss is a fact of life for people of all ages. As more and more people listen to ear buds, head phones, and very loud car stereos, they will certainly have hearing loss in their lives. Therefore, if you are looking for a career that will be highly in demand in the next few years, look into working in the industry that revolves around hearing. There are many skilled opportunities available to help people who suffer from hearing loss

Careers with the Hearing Aid Manufacturers

There are many different careers that you could do in the hearing industry. There are companies that manufacture hearing aids. They need people to work as sales representatives to get their latest technology out into the marketplace. They also need people to make the hearing aids. They also are constantly researching and developing new technologies to make hearing aids more powerful, smaller, and more discreet.

Audiology Careers

Another important factor in the hearing industry is the medical field. Every community needs to have medical field. Those who study and perform hearing tests are called audiologists. In order to be an audiologist you have to get an advanced degree, usually a doctorate in audiology, after you get a bachelor's degree first. You also need to get licensed to practice in your state. Most audiologist either work for themselves in their own clinic, or they work in hospitals, or other health clinics.

Educational Careers

Other important careers that help you work with people who have problems hearing are in the educational field. Schools are always in need of teachers who can work with students who have hearing problems and speech problems. Speech pathologists and teachers who know sign language are in high demand. Teachers who can interpret sign language are also needed all over the country.

Office Careers

You can also find practitioners in the hearing industry working in hearing clinics. Just like a typical doctor's office, a hearing clinician will need assistants, receptionists, and other staff members to be sure that the clinic runs smoothly.

Work in the Travel Industry

Another exciting career field for those who want to work with people with hearing problems is in the travel industry. There are many travel agencies that create travel programs for people with a variety of different disabilities and hearing is one of them.

There are so many opportunities to work in the exciting field of hearing loss.

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Hearing Loss Triples Risk of Falls

Recent research undertaken by Johns Hopkins University in the US found that people with hearing loss were three times more likely to fall than those with normal hearing.

Given that many people delay seeking help for hearing problems for as long as six to 10 years from the time when they first start noticing problems, this is even more reason to seek help early.

The study found that people with a 25-decibel hearing impairment (which is classified as mild) were nearly three times more likely to have fallen than those with no hearing loss. In addition, every extra 10 decibels of hearing loss also resolved in a further 1.4-fold risk of falling.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 2,000 people aged between 40 to 69 who took part in a US health survey from 2001 to 2004. The participants had their hearing tested and answered questions about whether they had fallen in the past year.

The findings held even after researchers accounted for other factors associated with falling, such as age, sex, race, heart disease and balance.

The researchers surmised that people with impaired hearing did not have good awareness of their overall environment, which potentially made them more likely to trip and fall.

They also thought that hearing loss could potentially “overwhelm the brain”, which was busy trying to process other functions at the same time. While most people took gait and balance for granted, these tasks were quite cognitively demanding.

They concluded that if hearing loss imposed a cognitive load on the brain, this could potentially leave fewer cognitive resources to help with balance and gait, placing an individual at greater risk of falls.

In Australia, falls are the single biggest reason for admission to hospital or visits to an emergency department in people over the age of 65. Every year, about 30 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 years fall, with 10 per cent of these falls leading to injury. Along with cognitive impairment and incontinence, falls are one of the major factors causing admission to a residential aged care facility.

In addition to the risk of falls, untreated hearing loss can also result in communication difficulties that can have significant personal, social and economic consequences.

Do not delay seeking help for hearing loss, as early intervention can reduce the impact of hearing injury on your physical health, relationships and quality of life.

If you are concerned about your hearing or concerned about issues related to balance and falls, do not delay taking action. The first step in this process should be a discussion with your local doctor.

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Your Baby Has Abnormal Ears – Possible Causes

Your newborn baby is lovely and you could not be happier to be a new parent – but there is something wrong with one of their ears, and this distresses both you and your spouse. Abnormal ears are not something that you could have been prepared for at all! Is this something to be really concerned about? Does the distorted appearance of the child's ear mean that he or she will not be able to hear properly?

Abnormal ears in children are more common than you might think. They are also in most cases not a serious medical problem. Sit down with the doctor and discuss the medical condition that your infant has. Once the condition has been diagnosed then you can ease your nerves about it and look for the best method of treating it.

Possible Causes of Abnormal Ears

Abnormal ears can be a result of a birth deformity known as microtia. This health condition occurs in rough one in 5,000 to 7,000 infants. It happens to babies born in different countries throughout the world and in those of different ethnicities. The word microtia in Latin stands for small ear. Grade three microtia is the typical form of the disease and yields an ear that resembles a wrinkle of skin that is shaped like a sausage. Grade two is not as severe and gives way to an ear that looks like a smaller version of a normal ear.

In roughly 90 percent of those born with microtia only one ear is affected by the condition. Right-sided microtia is more common than left-sided. If your baby boy was born with this ear deformity than he is in the 65 percent group of males that come into the world with it. Females are less likely to be born with it. Only 35 percent of girls suffer from this condition.

Abnormal ears may also be caused by a condition known as atresia. This is the absence or in other cases, the underdevelopment of the ear canal and the structures of the middle ear. A great deal of the time microtia and atresia go together in the babies born with them. The reason is because both the middle and outer ears develop from the same portion of tissue at the same period of time when developing in the womb.

The etiology of microtia is not well known nor well understood. You do not need to feel guilty however because the genes of the parents have nothing to do with whether or not an infant will come into the world with this condition. Unfortunately whatever or not a child develops microtia or not is often simply a roll of the dice of genes.

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Personal Sound Amplifiers For Your Hearing Needs

If you suffer from hearing loss, odds are there are places that you avoid because you can not hear anything. Many people with hearing loss avoid going to the movies, sporting events, and many other places because it is inconvenient and sometimes painful to try to remove the extraaneous sounds from the sound you are supposedly to hearing. In order to make your experiences better, it is a good idea to check out the variety of different personal sound amplifiers and hearing devices.

Devices for Lectures

If you have gone back to school since the time that started to lose your hearing, there is a device that makes listening to lectures much easier. There are voice trackers that can be put in a lecture hall, near the speaker, and then those who have difficulty hearing can distinguish the lecturer's voice from the secondary sounds in the room.

No One Knows It's a Sound Amplifier

Another great product for people who have difficulty hearing is the simple personal sound amplifier. Many of them look like little MP3 players that have attached ear buds. No one will know that you are carrying a personal sound amplifier because they will think you are listening to music. The device that looks like the MP3 players picks of the sound and directs it to the ears while filtering out irritating side noises.

Filter Noise at the Big Game

If you are not ready for a permanent hearing device, there are ones that you can use just when you need them. Some hearing devices are designed to wear to sporting events and movie theaters to filter background noise, so you can hear everything that you need to hear in a crystal clear and appropriate volume. The temporary hearing devices and sound amplifiers look like the behind the ear models, but they are specially designed for events in big spaces.

Speakers To Keep Your Home Quiet

If you know that you have difficulty hearing but you would rather have people speak into a device when they are visiting your home, there are personal amplifiers that people speak into that will amplify the sound in your ears. Rather than having people shout when they visit you, they can use the speakers which will send their voices right to your hearing aid so you can hear them without having the whole neighborhood have to hear them, too.

Personal sound amplifiers can make hearing loss much easier to manage.

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Treatment for Children With Microtia

Children with microtia can be affected in a number of ways. The condition involves a deformity of the ear. The ear fails to fully develop, leaving the child with a small, underdeveloped, or non-existential external ear. In the past, there was little that could have done to treat this condition, but nowdays, there are a number of treatment options available.

A simple solution to the aesthetic problem that children with microtia face is prosthesis. With the advances in technology in recent years, prostheses can look very natural. If they were unaware of the child's condition, most people would not even be able to tell that it was not the child's natural ear. Most of these are made with silicone and colored to match the exact skin tone of the patient. As children can be cruel at times and poke fun at people who are different from themselves, prostheses can provide parents with peace of mind and a young patient with the self-esteem that that they need to feel good about themselves during their school years.

Another treatment option for children with microtia is to rebuild the ear with a permanent plastic implant. While this option can provide a long-lasting solution to the problem, it does require surgery, which can expose the patient to the general risks that are associated with any surgery. Parents who are nervous about this scenario may want to consider a prosthesis for their child.

The most common alternative to the above-mentioned treatments is a rib graft reconstruction, which uses cartilage from the patient's own ribs to build a new outer ear. Children with microtia must wait until they are slightly older, typically around 8 years old, to undergo a reconstruction procedure.

With this option, there is no chance of the body rejecting the tissue since it comes from the actual patient. In addition, the risk of infection or other complications are significantly reduced. While the previously referred treatment options do provide quality results, this type of reconstruction is known for offering the most realistic results available. Since the tissue is the own patients, the new ear will match the child's skin tone exactly. There is no chance of a mismatch.

As you now know, there are several treatment options available to children with microtia. It is important for the parents of these patients to fully consider each one before making a decision based on the unique needs of their child. A skilled medical professional can provide you with the information you need to come to a conclusion that you can be confident about.

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What Is Conductive Hearing Loss?

There are several different types of hearing problems, categorized by what is specifically abnormal about the how sound is or is not being heard. This article will give an overview of conductive hearing loss discussing the causes and treatments for the condition.

Definition

The conductive type of loss is when sound is not conducted (guided through) the outer ear canal to the eardrum and ossicles of the middle ear efficiently. The ossicles are the tiniest bones in the human body and are responsible for transmitting the sound from the air to the cochlea, the “seashell” shaped part of the inner ear. When the ossicles do not function, the loss of hearing can be moderate to severe.

Causes

Conductive loss generally is caused by an obstruction preventing the transferring of sound waves. Often the ear canal is blocked due to swelling or fluid from ear infections, allergies, or colds. In some cases, the blockage is more severe such as with benign tumors, swimmer's ear (infection or damage due to trapped moisture), or impacted earwax. Likewise, presence of a foreign object can cause the conductive type of loss. A physical problem with the ear itself such as an absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear, a malfunctioning eustachian tube (part of the middle ear), or damaged eardrum may also cause conductive loss.

Treatments

In most cases, conductive loss is considered a curable form of hearing loss because there is no damage to the nerves. If the cause is related to illness, often antibiotics or eardrops will reduce swelling and encourage drainage so that the blockage to the ear will be gone. Earwax can be cleaned and foreign objects can be removed by a doctor. In more severe cases, as with tumors or fluid deep inside the middle ear, surgery may be implemented. For those with malformations of the ear, hearing aids have been used successfully.

Mixed Loss

There are times when conductive hearing loss is coupled with sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways. It is the most common type of permanent loss of hearing. Mixed hearing loss combines a blockage or damage of the outer and middle ear with damage to the nerves and inner ear. In such cases, any blockage can be drained or removed, but the sensorineural type of loss (when the nerves die) can not be reversed. However, hearing aids can often help sufferers.

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How Do Digital and Conventional Hearing Aids Work?

If you've been worried about losing your hearing, you're probably worried about getting a hearing aid. In this article, we'll give an overview of how hearing devices work and hopefully encourage you not to lose out on the sounds of life.

First there needs to be a basic understanding of how hearing works. When sound enters the ear canal, it is turned into vibrations by the eardrum. These vibrations are sent through the ear to delicate hair cells that turn the vibrations into an electric signal. The signal is sent to the brain that then interpret the sound. The most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural, often occurs with aging and involves the damage and bleeding off of the tiny hair cells. Once damaged, they never grow back. So a hearing device steps in to help.

A microphone that picks up sound waves from the air, converting the sound into an electric signal that is then sent to an amplifier. The amplifier raises the volume of the signal and passes it to a receiver. The receiver then transfers the electric signal back into sound impulses, sending them into the ear where they are naturally sent to the brain. The amplifier has raised the sound level to help the hair cells pick up sound that they are no longer able to do by themselves due to damage or loss.

Described above is a conventional device. Conventional aids traditionally are selected by a doctor based upon the type of hearing the patient has lost. For example, most people experience high frequency hearing loss as they age (affecting the ability to hear conversation). So a conventional aid designed for high frequency loss would be chosen and then manually calibrated with the patient to try to make as much of a personalized fit as possible.

Today, the unsung hero of the digital age is the digital hearing aid. Where conventional hearing devices' primary job was to simply amplify sounds, digital aids can do so much more. With powerful processors equal to that of many desktop computers, digital aids have the ability to complexly manipulate sound. The individual needs of the patient can be fitted like a glass slipper, and adjusted as hearing changes over time. Speech can be filtered from background noise. Softer sounds can be isolated and amplified without having to amplify loud noises at the same time. The digital processing gives a more accurate revision of the original signal with minimal distortion, resulting in better, clearer sound quality. The digital devices also are more compatible with cell phones, cutting down on feedback.

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Deaf Is Visual

Oralism is the greed and selfishness of parents and educators to communicate on their own terms, without regard to the child's language. It preys on the fear of disconnect. It capitalizes on a lie that you can make your deaf child speak. It promotes a false hope, for financial gain. Capitalism will sell a solution to parents who are brainwashed to see deafness as a deficiency in audio-based information exchange. Rather than the seeing deaf as a visual-way, marketers of assistive harp on the lack of sound issue. Let me pronounce here before that Deaf is visual. Period. Forget the can't-hear factoid. But as long as capitalists lie about deaf being a problem by pointing to the deficiency / pathological model, parents will buy the product / service to 'solve the problem'. The Deaf do not deserve to be exploited up by non-deaf trying to 'fix' us.

Even socialized medicine countries like Canada actually actually have higher incidence of crime towards deaf babies by raping their heads with cochlear implant machines. So I understand the economic model is secondary to the root which is education. People need to know that, just like blacks, women, and gays, the Deaf are equal humans and deserve the right to BE! Diversity in alternative / bilingual communication systems / models must be allowed. Multiculturalism must be promoted. Colonialism and religion try to homogenize, yet the center can not exist without the periphery.

Handicap is defined by the majority. If major was was deaf and used sign language, then the minority, who could only stand there with limp arms and unexpressive faces, depending on mere spoken words, would be disabled! Deaf can do anything. Blacks have their pride and rights. Women have equality now. Gays are almost equal under law with marriage. Now it is time to accept Deaf for being Deaf. Cops need to stop shooting people for 'not listening'. Government needs Deaf representatives. Every school needs at least one Deaf teacher. Laws about deaf should not be made without Deaf consent, or furthermore, without Deaf participation and initiative, for that matter.

Stop this mask of benevolence and step off your superior notions that we need your help. What you need is to learn sign language! And you need to stop making Deaf people try to be Hearing. Do you make men try to be more womanly? Blacks whiter? Gays straighter? Deaf is not about can I hear or not – it is about I choose to communicate visually . Everyone has the right to be Deaf. White people can act black, women can act like men, gay people can act straight, and vica versa and all that- likewise everyone has the right to NOT listen, thank you! Just like you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. I'm placing you under arrest Alexander Graham Bell and Dr. Karl White. Let the Deaf be Deaf and mind your own business. Either learn sign language or leave us alone.

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What Not To Do With Your Hearing Aids

Modern hearing aids are highly advanced, sophisticated electronic equipment. In order to prevent damage and repair costs, regular care and precautions should be taken. Purchasing hearing instruments is a big step toward improving your daily listening life, but it also has a financial cost to protect. Protect your hearing health and financial investments! Follow this list of what not to do, and keep your investment safe! Please keep these suggestions in mind!

• Do not allow your hearing instrument to get wet.

o If possible, keep your aid moisture free at all times. In the majority of cases, it is not advisable to swim, bathe, or shower with your aids on. Technological advances are being made to make aids more waterproof. While water protection is available for some units, it is not recommended that your aid will be submerged in any unapproved liquids. Never wash the aid in water.

• Do not allow contact with chemicals.

o Chemicals (eg, hair spray, perfumes, etc.) can potentially cause damage to your hearing instrument. Before spraying any chemicals near your aid, place your hearing instrument in a safe, dry place away from chemical contact. If you are using chemicals on your hair, do not insert your aids again until the product has had time to fully dry.

• Do not allow your aid to get excessively hot.

o High temperatures can damage your hearing instrument very quickly. You should never leave your aids in places known to get warm. Never leave your aid in a car, particularly in hotter months. Keep your aids out of prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. If something does happen to get your aids wet, do not dry the aids with heat (eg, microwaves, stove tops, hair dryers). If you are concerned about liquid contact or heavy moisture, remove the battery and put your aid in a dehumidifier. If a dehumidifier is unavailable, place the aid with the battery door open and battery removed into a bag of uncooked dry rice. Leave overnight. Rice will act as a natural desiccant to draw moisture out. Discard rice after use.

• Do not force the battery.

o You should never have to force a battery into your hearing instrument. The battery door should close easily without any force needed. Ask your hearing healthcare provider for your battery size and positioning.

• Do not drop your aids.

o Avoid dropping your aids on any hard surfaces. A sharp fall onto a hard surface could potentially damage your aids. Try to provide soft surfaces such as carpeting when you are inserting and removing your aids.

If you have questions about proper care of your hearing instruments, contact your hearing healthcare provider as soon as possible. They will guide you through the care, maintenance required to prolong the life of your devices. Protect your hearing aids, and follow these “not to do's!”

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Your Hearing Aid Fitting

If you have been evaluated for hearing loss by your hearing healthcare provider, you may already have determined your candidacy for hearing aids. If you have made your ear impressions and ordered your aids, you now just have to wait for them to return from the manufacturer. Usually the wait time is 1.5 to 3 weeks for a custom aid or custom ear piece to return. Non-custom aids may be ready to be fit the same week as your evaluation. Once the aids have returned to your provider's clinic, they will thoroughly check the devices to ensure that the hearing instruments are performing as expected. An appointment for fitting and orientation will be scheduled.

Expect your fitting and orientation to last between 1 and 1.5 hours. Your provider will place your hearing instruments in your ears and ensure a good fit. While the feeling may not be very natural for you at the beginning, there should never be any major discomfort or pain, even initially. If you note any of these symptoms, tell your hearing healthcare provider immediately.

Your aids will be connected by wires or wirelessly (typically through Bluetooth capabilities) to a computer programming software. Your provider will probably have pre-programmed basic settings prior to your coming in. The sounds seem very new and very loud to you at first. These occurrences are natural, but if the sound is uncomfortable or distorted tell your provider. Your patient feedback is just as valuable as the computer programming used. Some programming adjustments may be made to get the best sound quality for your hearing needs.

Some providers ask their patients to stick to a schedule of wear time for your hearing instruments. An adjustment period may necessary for some (but not all) patients to acclimate to this “new” sound. If you want to deviate from the schedule, wear more often – never less often.

Your hearing healthcare provider will guide you through the process of understanding the components of your aid, inserting and removing your aids, and hearing instrument care and maintenance. You should be given time to demonstrate these skills and ask any questions. You should be provided with a supply of batteries to carry you through at least a 30-day trial period. A follow-up appointment is usually set for one to two weeks. If you have problems with your hearing or hearing aids before then, contact your provider.

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