Enjoying Thanksgiving With Hearing Loss

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration. It’s a time to gather with friends and family and reflect on what it is that we’re thankful for. Between the great food and warm atmosphere, it’s not surprising that Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many of us.

If you have hearing loss, you may worry that you won’t be able to participate in the celebrations as much as you used to. Perhaps you fear that you’ll no longer be able to follow the conversation at the table.

To help you enjoy this holiday to the fullest, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for Thanksgiving dinner with hearing loss.

5 Tips For Thanksgiving With Hearing Loss

  1. Choose Your Spot Wisely – Placement around the table matters. A seat with a wall behind you can help to reduce the distraction of background noise. Try to sit somewhere that offers you the best visibility of the guests’ faces. Seating yourself centrally in the table improves the likelihood you’ll be able to engage in the conversation.
  2. Wear Your Hearing Aids – This is one thing you absolutely should not forget this Thanksgiving. Make sure you wear your hearing aids, and bring along a spare set of batteries just in case.
  3. Minimize Background Noise – Try to keep background noise to a minimum. Keep music or other media at a lower volume. If you’re visiting friends or family who traditionally like their music a little louder, don’t be embarrassed to ask them to turn it down.
  4. Give Your Ears A Break – Focusing on conversation at social events can be mentally fatiguing. Give your brain and your ears a break by finding a quiet spot to rest for a few minutes. This will help re-energize you for the next round of social conversation.
  5. Tell Your Friends And Family – You may be tempted to avoid mentioning your hearing loss. However, a gentle reminder for friends and family that you have difficulty hearing can make a world of difference. Politely ask them to speak up a little louder, and don’t be ashamed to ask someone to repeat something.

If you have recently discovered that your hearing isn’t a good as it once was, Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology can help!  To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (270) 554-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  Our office is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway in Paducah, KY.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  You are family!

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virtual hearing loss Purchase Ear Technology

Celebrate The Holiday Virtually With Hearing Loss

Thanksgiving and Christmas may be your favorite holidays — yummy food and the warmth of family coming together — but they can also be a challenging for people with hearing loss. We worry if we will we be able to participate in the overlapping conversations. Or if people will speak with their mouths full making lipreading impossible. We wonder how we will combat the hearing loss exhaustion that comes from concentrating with all our might to hear amid the din of a large dinner. We want to partake in all the joy and togetherness the holiday offers, but we wonder if we will feel left out, isolated from the conversation because of our hearing loss.

This year, because of the pandemic, we you may be adding a new challenge — celebrating virtually. In some ways, a virtual holiday may be easier from a hearing loss perspective. Keep these rules in mind when planning yours.

Use the right technology

Virtual dinners, like virtual business meetings can be structured for improved communication. Be sure to choose the right technology. While Zoom is the most common virtual meeting platform, Google Meet may be a better choice since it provides free ASR captions on all calls. We are still urging Zoom to change their inaccessible ways. To support these efforts, sign my petition Provide Free Captions for People with Hearing Loss on Video Conferencing Platforms.

If others choose the platform and it does not provide captions, use a speech-to-text app Live Transcribe (Android only) or Otter.ai to make your own. Set up your phone close to the computer speakers to provide the best sound information to the captioning device. Caption accuracy can often be improved by using an external microphone — a separate device you plug into your phone — to boost the range at which your phone can pick up sound.

When on the video call, use speaker mode. While Gallery mode will let you see everyone at once, speaker mode will enlarge the image of the person who is speaking, making it easier to use speechreading cues. Consider attaching your hearing aids to the computer sound system via bluetooth to stream the conversation directly into your hearing aids. This will not work well if you are having a hybrid event, with some people in person and others remote. Wearing noise-cancelling headphones or other listening devices can work in a similar way when linked to your computer sound system, with the same drawbacks if you need to hear people in person as well as online.

Keep the group small

Organize the seating in the room for optimal hearing, and place the computer close to your seat for optimal viewing and hearing. For in-person events, you may like to sit in the middle of the table, putting yourself as close as possible to as many speakers as possible. You may ask those who are hardest for you to hear to sit opposite so you have the best chance of using your lipreading skills.

While it is tempting to invite the WHOLE family to a virtual event, large online meetings can become unwieldy without a full-time moderator as people aren’t sure when they should speak and when they should listen. If your group is very large, consider hosting multiple smaller calls instead — one for the appetizer, one for the main meal and one for dessert. This will provide a series of more intimate settings, but will still allow everyone to visit with one another, just not simultaneously.

Follow communication best practices

Best practice communication standards should be a part of every gathering, but they are often overlooked when everyone is in the same room. Virtually more structure is required. Set ground rules up front so people know to speak one at a time or use the chat box to clarify points and ask questions. Set an agenda where each person is given time to share their updates and answer questions from the group. While this may seem formal or stilted at first, it can work if everyone has the right attitude of fun. If mistakes happen, don’t sweat it. Just jump back into the routine when it makes sense.

Practice self-care

The pandemic is already exhausting and the holidays may add to the stress, especially if you are celebrating them far from loved ones. Be kind to yourself and others by caring for your health and wellness. This may mean finding time each day for yoga or meditation. For others it might be taking a warm bath, or enjoying a cup of coffee in much needed silence.

Don’t be afraid to take breaks from the action as needed. Stepping away from the table (or the screen) for a quiet break in another room will let you reset your batteries and boost your energy for another round of socializing.

Set realistic expectations

Set realistic expectations for the event. Having a group conversation at a large table is almost impossible for many people with hearing loss. Adding in the complexity of technology flubs and internet issues can make things even tougher. Focus on what you can achieve by connecting with those near you in the room or one at a time online. Try to approach the event with optimism and joy. Reflect on all that you have to be thankful for at this crazy time for the world. Try to enjoy the special time with family and friends, even if you don’t catch every word they are saying.

For more information, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah.  Our offices are conveniently located at 2008 Broadway, Paducah, KY 42001.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us today!

Best Hearing Aids In Paducah KY

Hearing Aids – What Style Is Right For Me

Hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes. Behind the ear or in the ear, large or small… beige, black, or blue. What does an audiologist consider when recommending a hearing aid style for your ear?

Your specific type and degree of hearing loss, individual anatomy, and personal needs have everything to do with it.

HEARING LOSS

Does the loss originate from the inner ear (the cochlea)? Is it fluid buildup in the middle ear? A hole in the eardrum? From a structural anomaly of the ear? Is it a combination of some or all of these factors? Is your hearing loss mild? Severe? Low frequency? High frequency? All of the above? The way sound is delivered to your ear affects how much you benefit from the device. Depending on the frequency and volume of sound wave we hope to send into your ear, we may be at risk of squealing feedback or sound waves escaping from the ear that cause you to lose some benefit. If it’s being sent out into the world, it’s not being sent into your auditory system! We treat low frequency loss differently than high frequency loss due to the different acoustic factors at play. The amount of volume of amplified sound also changes what hardware we need in order to address you hearing needs. Bigger hearing aids can typically deliver more power than tiny devices.

ANATOMY

The size and shape of your ear can also affect how the sound is received. Some people have particularly tiny ear canals and some have unusually large canals following surgeries. This can dramatically change how a hearing aid works. From eliminating feedback to delivering the desired volume at each frequency, adjustments are made to ensure optimal hearing help. Think about this: If you yell or sing in a tiny closet vs. a very large auditorium, the effect is very different. We can program a hearing aid based on your hearing test, but if we don’t take into account they type of “room” your ear canal provides, we are missing an important element.

PATIENT NEEDS AND WANTS

After your audiologist determines the ideal style and type of hearing aid for your particular hearing loss and anatomy, there are personal preferences to consider. Are there two styles of hearing aid that are appropriate for you, and do you have a preference for how one looks? Is connecting via Bluetooth important to you? What demands are placed on your hearing throughout the week, and where do you struggle the most? Do you want rechargeable hearing aids or disposable batteries? These considerations may affect what manufacturer or type of hearing aid your audiologist recommends.

At Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, Tim Harmon will work with you to evaluate your hearing loss and anatomy and explore your personal needs and preferences. Tim will use his expertise to guide you toward the hearing aid that will maximize your benefit and comfort as you integrate hearing healthcare into your life full of sound.

To begin the discussion, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology by calling (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE.  Purchase Ear Technology is located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Hearing Loss Paducah KY Purchase Ear Technology

4 Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Hearing Aids Aren’t Working

Why aren’t my hearing aids working?

Often times, the answer to that question is not a complicated one.  Here are the 4 simple questions to ask yourself before calling your hearing care provider.

  1. When is the last time I changed the batteries?

As ridiculous as it may sound, a majority of “dead” hearing aids are just out of battery.  Simply changing the battery can bring the device back to life.

  1. Is there earwax blocking the sound?

If changing the battery doesn’t fix the issue, the problem may be earwax.  The sound produced by hearing aids can become blocked by earwax either in the ear or on the device itself.  Changing the wax trap on the hearing aid or removing the wax from the sound opening with your cleaning tool often fixes the problem.

  1. Have I been using my dryer kit?

Moisture is the enemy of electronics.  Even if you live in a dry climate, your body still produces enough moisture to damage the devices.  If you haven’t been using a dryer kit for your hearing aids, start using one ASAP.

  1. When is the last time I had my hearing checked?

Have you heard a “pop” or “rushing” sound recently?  Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your hearing is gradually getting worse?  If so, your hearing may have changed.  If you find yourself in this situation, give us a call at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, KY.

Purchase Ear Technology is located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Cleaning Hearing Aids Paducah

You Might Need A Hearing Aid If…

Hearing loss can occur at any point in a person’s life.  Whether gradually or suddenly, depending on the probable cause to a hearing issue, this is not something that should be ignored.  The longer you wait to address a hearing concern, the deeper the severity.  To determine if you might need a hearing aid, we have listed some common social and emotional signs below.

See if you can relate to any of the following:

Emotional Toll

  • You find yourself avoiding social settings, for fear of not being able to carry on a conversation, because of your hearing loss.
  • You avoid places where there are larger crowds, like events, malls or busy restaurants.
  • You have trouble understanding and following a conversation of more than 2 people.
  • You feel annoyed that people say they can’t understand you, and likewise annoyed because you can’t understand them.
  • You start to lose interest in things you once enjoyed, due to trouble with hearing.

Social Queue’s

  • You find yourself having to concentrate more on hearing than you did before. You watch facial expressions and the movement of lips to fully understand what someone is saying.
  • There is ringing in your ears.
  • You listen to your radio or TV too high
  • You have trouble hearing higher pitched tones, like the voice of women or children.
  • You often hear mumbling when someone is talking to you.
  • You tend to avoid talking on the phone as much as possible because you can’t hear what the person on the opposite end is saying, and there are no visual cues to help you.

While these signs are most common, every individual is different, but if anything seems “off” to you in your hearing, get it checked out.  Whether you notice hearing loss in one ear or both, Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah can easily schedule you for a consultation and hearing test.  Upon completion of your hearing evaluation, we will educate you on different treatment options so that you can decide what the best option for YOU is, going forward.

Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY. To schedule your consultation with Tim Harmon, give us a call at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a customer.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Tips To Hear Better In Virtual Meetings - Purchase Ear Technology

Five Tips To Hear Better In Virtual Meetings

Working remotely with hearing loss can be a big challenge.

Virtual meetings can be a daunting task for some anyhow but when you add the challenge of hearing to the mix, it can be an even greater test.  Whether you’re conducting business online or just want to virtually connect with family and friends, these listening strategies and tactics can go a long way toward helping you stay engaged.

  1. Explore the conferencing platform well before the online meeting or gathering — including reading a little about it or checking out a few quick instructional videos from other users — to build familiarity and confidence.
  2. Encourage everyone to use the video function — not just the audio option — to aid in lipreading and interpreting facial expressions. Also, try to keep your eye as much as possible on the person speaking rather than on your own camera image.
  3. Turn on the closed-captioning option, which can help take a big load off. In addition, consider using the real-time chat function, when available, to get clarification if you missed a point or have a follow-up question. Some video conferences may also be recorded for helpful playback later, so be sure to ask the host, who may need to initiate the recording option.
  4. Wear connected headphones if possible, which can make listening a whole lot easier. Quality headphones not only help block distracting background noise in your environment but can also improve reception of the audio’s full tonal range to make speech and other sounds more understandable.
  5. Stream directly to your hearing technology, if you wear hearing aids. Today’s sophisticated hearing instruments help make it a cinch to receive audio from various sources — phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, stereo, and more, depending on compatibility — directly to your ears, so be sure to take advantage of that functionality.

If you have questions or find that your hearing just isn’t quite all you wish for, CONTACT US at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, Ky.  We can provide a hearing test and give you some options to improve your hearing.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  Give us a call at (270) 558-3996.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  YOU ARE FAMILY!

Hearing Test Paducah KY

Understanding Hearing Loss



For most people hearing loss occurs gradually, so you may not notice the signs right away. Some of the most common signs of hearing loss include:

  1. You have to turn the TV volume louder than what others find comfortable.
  2. You can hear people talking but cannot understand them.
  3. Hearing conversation in background noise, like restaurants, is very difficult.
  4. Family and friends notice your hearing loss and make mention of it.
  5. People sound as though they are mumbling.

Numerous recent studies have shown that untreated hearing loss affects our emotional and social well-being, our relationships with friends and family, and overall quality of life. For individuals still in the workplace, hearing loss can have a negative impact on income potential as well.

Have Your Hearing Tested

If you are experiencing any of the above, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah, KY and let us schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested.  It is an easy, painless process that will give you a true evaluation of your hearing.  Once you have your hearing tested, Tim Harmon can discuss what can be done to help improve your hearing.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more that a customer.  You are FAMILY!

When Should I Get New Hearing Aids

While hearing specialists typically recommend new hearing aids every three to five years, the appropriate time for a patient to consider new aids varies widely. Below we will outline some steps to take when making that decision.

Are your current hearing aids addressing all your hearing needs?

This is the first question to ask yourself.  Think about the variety of different listening situations that you typically experience, and how well you feel your hearing aids help you in each of these situations. To help you get started, the following is a list of common situations that may be applicable. As you rate your listening satisfaction in each of these situations, also think about how often they occur and how important they are to you.  If you find multiple and/or important situations where your current hearing aids are performing less than satisfactorily, it could be time to explore newer technology.

  • Talking on the phone
  • Dining out at restaurants with friends and family
  • Participating in family gatherings
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Watching TV
  • Listening to music
  • Attending lectures or religious services
  • Do you often have to send your hearing aids in for repairs?

Hearing aids consist of sensitive electronic components that can be damaged by exposure to humidity, earwax, debris, and sweat. Depending on environmental conditions, individual ear characteristics, and wearing habits, some people will experience more hearing aid break-downs than others. These problems could be exacerbated when these hearing aids are not cleaned and dried thoroughly on a daily basis. Wax that gets stuck in receivers can be cleaned out, and certain components can be exchanged, but over time hearing aid performance might decline faster. If you live in hot and humid regions, tend to produce excessive earwax, and/or lead a physically active lifestyle, you may have to replace your hearing aids more often.

Visit your hearing care professional

As with all things related to your hearing and hearing aids, your hearing care professional will be your best source of information and advice. If you are in the Paducah, KY area, Tim Harmon at Purchase Ear Technology would be glad to assist you.  When considering the need for new hearing aids, make an appointment to accomplish these three things:

Have your current hearing aids professionally checked and cleaned. Besides a thorough a cleaning, make sure your hearing care professional performs an electroacoustic check of the hearing aids, which will provide more objective insight into the performance of the hearing aids.

Have your hearing evaluated if you have not had it done in the last year. Hearing loss often worsens over time, and it is important to make sure that your impression of the hearing aids’ inadequacy isn’t actually due to a change in your hearing. Oftentimes, your current hearing aids can be reprogrammed to accommodate minor changes in hearing ability. Nevertheless, it is possible that your hearing loss has progressed beyond the amplification capability of your hearing aids in which case they should be replaced.

Discuss the latest hearing technology available. Like all things digital, hearing aid technology has advanced by leaps and bounds just within the past few years. There are now hearing aids that can be controlled by your smartphone, allow your hearing care professional to adjust your fittings remotely without you having to step into the office, directly stream phone calls, music, and TV, and offer less fatigue due to reduced listening effort throughout the day. Depending on your hearing loss, certain hearing aids may even allow you to understand speech better in challenging listening situations like restaurants, busy malls, and even outdoors, than people with normal hearing.

For more information or it you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us at Purchase Ear Technology in Paducah.  Purchase Ear Technology serves patients from across the region including Western Kentucky, West Tennessee, Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri.  We are conveniently located at 2008 Broadway in Paducah.  You can reach us by calling (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us.  At Purchase Ear Technology, you are more than a patient.  You are FAMILY!

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Tips For Taking Care Of Hearing Aids At Home

With the current “stay at home” and “shelter in place” orders around the country, it can be difficult to see your hearing aid professional as often as usual. Even as states begin to ease restrictions and businesses cautiously start to reopen, it is best to avoid unneeded visits to places like stores and offices. Even with the best safeguards in place–like social distancing and a face covering–it is safest to avoid contact with anyone who could have COVID-19.

Because it is more challenging to see your hearing aid specialist, it is essential that you know how to take care of your hearing aids at home. While certain problems and emergency situations will need to be brought to a professional, some issues can be resolved on your own. One important way to prevent problems with your hearing aids is to properly maintain them.

While all hearing aids are subject to environmental factors, such as earwax, humidity, moisture, and debris, different types of hearing aids are particularly susceptible to certain types of problems.

No matter which type of hearing aid you have, you can take steps to keep your hearing aids working well. Here are a few simple tips for maintaining your hearing aids at home:

  1. Always handle your hearing aids with care. Although they are not necessarily fragile, they could break or become lost due to an ill-timed drop.
  2. Wash your hands before handling your hearing aids.
  3. Store your hearing aids in a safe, dry place when you are not wearing them. A small, plastic container, like the one your hearing aids likely came in, is perfect. Be sure to keep your hearing aids in a safe place, away from any pets or children.
  4. Turn off your hearing aids when you are not using them. This can help to extend the battery life.
  5. Consider using a cord-and-clip system. This attaches to your hearing aids on one end and clips to your clothing on the other end. If your hearing aids fall out, this system prevents them from falling and becoming lost or broken.
  6. Periodically clean the battery contacts in your hearing aids. Be sure to also remove any visible earwax or other debris with a clean cloth.
  7. Regularly change the filters or wax guards. This helps to remove wax and dirt that could interfere with sound quality.
  8. Do not wear your hearing aids while you shower, swim, use a blow dryer, or use hair spray.

With these easy tips, your hearing aids are likely to stay in good working order. To learn more about how you can take care of your hearing aids at home, we encourage you to contact Purchase Ear Technology of Paducah today.  Our office is conveniently located at 2008 Broadway St in Paducah, KY.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us!

Hearing Health Paducah

Can Covid-19 Cause Hearing Loss?

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, brings with it a host of health concerns. Most of these symptoms are respiratory in nature as reported by the CDC; shortness of breath, coughing, sore throat. However, there is some concern that the coronavirus may cause some neurological symptoms as well.

In a study of 214 patients with varying degrees of respiratory involvement from novel coronavirus, 36.4% of patients had symptoms of neurologic manifestations that involved central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and skeletal muscles. Further, there is some initial evidence that the virus may cause damage to the hearing organs of the inner ear.

Currently, there is little evidence published connecting novel coronavirus and tinnitus directly. But according to the American Tinnitus Association, pre-existing behavioral conditions may make it more likely patients will experience tinnitus due to the stress and depression associated with social isolation and infection avoidance.

For example, one large population study posits that people with generalized anxiety disorder are nearly seven times more likely to experience chronic, burdensome tinnitus. In an age of vigilance with risk of infection and the social isolation to avoid spread, stress and depression are common emotions we all may experience.

Ototoxicity is a potential risk

While it is too early to know whether a potential vaccine will have any risk of ototoxicity (a well-known cause of hearing loss), some currently discussed treatments do pose a potential risk to the auditory system.

The quinine family of drugs, historically used for prophylactic prevention and treatment of malaria, have some history of ototoxicity. However, the most recent trial of this family in treatment of COVID-19 has focused around hydroxychloroquine, which has a lower risk of ototoxicity.

A promising therapeutic antiviral being developed and in clinical trials for COVID-19, Remdesivir, does not currently list ototoxicity as a potential side effect, per its maker, Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Hearing professionals are enacting new safety protocols

Today, the greatest concern regarding COVID-19 is in transmission. Hearing loss treatment — like most essential health services — include procedures that make social distancing a challenge but are not impossible to execute safely. The proper use of PPE, curbside service, and appropriate in-office protocols are being put in place that significantly limit exposure potential for both the patient and clinician.

During a time when hearing feels more critical than ever, hearing healthcare becomes an essential health service in which clinicians can and are able to mitigate risk while delivering best hearing practices.

If you need to visit a Paducah hearing aid professional but are concerned about the risks of contracting COVID-19, give us a call at Purchase Ear Technology.  We will go out of our way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable when you visit our office.  Purchase Ear Technology is conveniently located in Paducah, Ky at 2008 Broadway St.  You can reach us by phone at (270) 558-3996 or CLICK HERE to contact us today!