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October 10, 2017 Blog0

An article in the Hearing Journal (September 2017) by Shari Eberts caught my attention. She has some great tips for traveling with Hearing Loss. I thought I would share them with you.

Tips for Traveling With Hearing Loss
by: Shari Eberts

Traveling when you have hearing loss can be challenging, but that’s no reason to miss out on discovering new locales. Follow these tips to have a safe and rewarding adventure.


Before booking a hotel, ask about available accommodations for people with hearing loss. Many hotels, especially in developed countries, have rooms with specific amenities for people with hearing loss (e.g., flashing lights for the phone and doorbell) if you request them in advance. If you are traveling with a tour company, alert them to your accommodation needs. They may be able to help.

Many museums in large cities provide hearing loops or other assistive technology if you request it. The same goes for theaters and other performance spaces. Send an email to the venues for up-to-date information.

Learn about your destination before you go. Familiarize yourself with the names of places, important historical figures and the like. That way when you hear these names, they will sound more familiar and be easier for you to understand.


Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile, download all relevant apps onto your smartphone before you go. Most airlines and train company apps include timetables and provide alerts for gate changes or delays. Practice using the apps before you go so you are prepared if you have trouble on your trip.


Inform your tour guides and fellow travelers about your hearing loss and provide specific suggestions on how they can help you hear your best. Tell your guides that you will stay close to them so you can better hear and see their face for lipreading. Kindly request them ahead of time to speak clearly and only while facing the group whenever possible.

Have an assistive listening device (e.g., pocket talker or FM system) handy in case you need to transmit the guide’s voice directly to your hearing aids, blocking out background noise.

When dining out, request for quiet corner tables at restaurants or sit outside when the weather is nice. Ask your hotel concierge to suggest quieter restaurants so you can reserve a table.


People often forget about hearing loss because it is invisible, so don’t be shy about reminding others of your needs. A gentle prompt like holding your hand behind your ear often works well and does not disrupt the flow of dialogue. Save non-critical clarification questions for a quiet moment or break, but be sure to ask them. When logistical information is provided, request it in written form. Carry a notebook and pen in your bag to make that an easy process.


Traveling can be loud! In cities, traffic and construction noise are everywhere. Attending a musical performance is a great way to experience a new place, but the volume can be unsafe. Don’t be afraid to turn down or remove your hearing aids and wear ear protection when needed. Bring extra earplugs to share with your traveling companions.


Your devices won’t work without power. Be sure to bring a sufficient supply of batteries and extras. Replacement batteries may be harder to find in unfamiliar locations. Pack a supply of batteries in different travel bags in case one gets misplaced. Check that all your chargers are working well and bring an extra if available.


Having your hearing aids on the fritz can be troubling at anytime, but when you are far away from home and your audiologist—in another country, for example—it can feel like a disaster. Set a back-up plan before you go and test it out so you can easily implement it if needed. Examples include using a pocket-talker, an FM system, or connecting a high-quality headset to an app like EarMachine on your smartphone. If you have spare hearing aids, bring those too.
Aren’t those great tips? Thank you Shari!


September 1, 2017 Blog0

Many people schedule an annual health check with their family doctor to check for possible problems and to monitor any on-going health issues. But what about your hearing? Most people do not think about having their hearing checked until they notice that they are having difficulty hearing friends, family or maybe their favourite TV show.

Even when someone notices that they are having difficulty hearing, they may still delay having a hearing test for several years. But ask yourself, “Why wait?” At London Audiology Consultants, we recommend that everyone at age 50 should have a baseline hearing assessment.

There are several reason why you may want to have a hearing test. For example, hearing loss is commonly associated with other health issues. Were you aware that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as compared to those without diabetes?  Hearing loss is also associated with the risk factors for cardiovascular disease including smoking, high body mass index and a larger waist circumference. These associations underscore the importance of having your hearing tested.

Hearing loss becomes more common  as we age and the prevalence of hearing loss increases with age. By age 65 approximately 40% of people will have some hearing loss. However, there are many causes of hearing loss and hearing loss can occur at any age.

Would you like to maintain your active lifestyle? Having a hearing test done will tell you if your hearing is declining. Age related hearing loss can result in social isolation as many people will give up some of the activities that they love if they are struggling to hear. But why give up the things that you enjoy when you can do something to improve your hearing.  It is also well documented that untreated hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline and this may occur due to the social isolation that many people with hearing loss experience.

Regardless of a person’s age, the inability to hear can limit an individual’s ability to communicate effectively. This can impact participation at school, at work or in social activities. If you think you are having hearing difficulty or you just want to have a baseline hearing test done, make an appointment to see an audiologist for a full hearing check. You will be glad you did!


August 22, 2017 Blog0

In my profession I am often asked why hearing aids cost so much and do they really work and “how can something so small cost so much?”

Lets put things in perspective. Computers, televisions and cell phones ar all of devices that
are “smart.” These electronic devices compute, transmit, track etc. These devices have
different levels of technology or features and the price varies accordingly depending on your wants and needs. We know that the prices on these devices can be quite high.

Well the same is true of hearing aids but there are several big differences. Hearing aids are medical devices, much smaller in size.  The minute it is turned on, it is working: analyzing, amplifying and producing high quality sound.

BUT it is also doing this in a damp oily environment. Imagine the work that goes into designing something so small that works so hard yet has to be moisture resistant.

From conception to completion it can take 7 to 10 years for a hearing aid to make it to the consumer. The prototypes undergo clinical testing to measure or gauge their effectiveness. This data is given to Health Canada as it must meet strict guidelines before being approved for the consumer. That is not the end of it though. THEN the manufacturer has to make it into a small, sleek, inconspicous wearable device. Finally it is ready for the consumer.

Most manufacturers  will only supply their product to licensed hearing healthcare professionals. The reason being, the success and benefit of hearing aids is dependent on a properly diagnosed hearing loss and the proper fitting and counseling of hearing aids by a licensed hearing healthcare professional.

Please join us at our Hearing Club on Thursday September 28 at 2 PM. Leah Vusich, Audiologist with Unitron Canada will present a seminar “From Conception to Hearing Aid.” She will show us how hearing aids are designed and made.  Every one is welcome!!


July 21, 2017 Blog0

Tinnitus is the sound of buzzing or ringing in the ears or head that other people cannot hear. Tinnitus is experienced by 15% of the population but only about 15% of them seek medical help. For this small section of the population, tinnitus can be debilitating.

Tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom. Rarely, it can be a symptom of something serious so it is important to have medical and audiological consults.

80% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss. Other risk factors include increasing age and male gender. Tinnitus is often associated with sudden hearing loss, noise trauma and ototoxic medications.

Patients with tinnitus and hearing loss often report psychological problems such as frustration, distress, irritability , anxiety, depression, insomnia and poor concentration.

Although tinnitus cannot be cured it can be managed through symptom reduction. Components of tinnitus management include amplification through hearing aids, masking, habituation, education, relaxation techniques, targeted cognitive behavior therapy, altering diet and medications such as antidepressants and sedatives are all tools which can be used.

Patients should not be told to “learn to live with it.” Help is available!

June 26, 2017 London Audiology News

shutterstock_229579480 copy

There’s an App for That!

Hearing Apps for Smart Phones and Tablets

Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 2 to 4 PM

Sean Brac

Audiologist, London Audiology Consultants

There are many applications available for smart phones and tablets that can help with your hearing and with using your hearing aids.

In this talk, Sean will walk you through a variety of different applications that you can download to a smart phone or tablet and how they can benefit you.

The talk will commence at 2:00 pm.

Light refreshments served following including tea, coffee, and snacks.

Please join us and bring a friend or family member. Everyone is Welcome


June 20, 2017 Blog0

Today I would like to continue talking about our health by addressing the very
important health issue of diabetes. One aspect of diabetes, often overlooked is
its silent partner, hearing loss.

Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes than those without.
The data suggests that diabetics may experience hearing loss at an
earlier age. Diabetics between the ages of of 40 and 69 years have a 67%
incidence of high frequency hearing loss.

The most likely cause of hearing loss is poor blood flow to the cochlea or
auditory pathways in the brain. Researchers believe that over time, high blood
glucose levels can damage the small blood vessels and nerves of the auditory
system causing hearing loss. Poor blood flow also causes eye and
kidney problems, often associated with diabetes.

It is strongly recommended that all diabetics have their hearing tested
annually, along with their vision. Earlier diagnosis of hearing loss can lead to
earlier intervention, improving patients’ communication, safety and overall
quality of life.

June 20, 2017 London Audiology Blog

I promise to stop blogging about hearing loss and health very soon. However,
it’s such an important topic and we audiologists want to get the message out
there that more people need to get their hearing tested!


Many people never think about the fact that certain medications can damage the
ear resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus and vestibular (balance) disorders.
These drugs are ototoxic.


Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) is often the first sign of damage to
the auditory system.


Medication induced hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and can be
temporary or permanent.


Up to 33% of adult patients have been reported to experience Ototoxicity while
taking amino glycoside antibiotics, with a 3% chance of the damage being


There is a strong link between cancer treatments and hearing loss. Certain
chemotherapy medications can cause hearing loss. The chemotherapy agent,
cisplatin, for example causes Ototoxicity in as a many as 50% of patients.

Approximately 60% of children receiving platinum based chemotherapy
experience hearing loss.


Obviously, life saving medications are necessary. However, the ototoxic effects
can be minimized. A baseline hearing test should be performed before starting
potential ototoxic medications. Monitoring during treatment can let physicians
know at the first sign of damage and if appropriate the medication or its dosage
can be modified before damage is permanent.


In cases where the damage is permanent, the audiologist can propose treatment
plans to manage the hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Audiologists should be an
integral member of the team helping to improve the quality of life during and
after treatment.

People with hearing loss are more prone to falls. This is a serious public
health concern especially for seniors. Even a mild hearing loss triples the
risk of falls. As amount of hearing loss increases so does the risk of falling.


There are 3 factors at play here.


1. The vestibular system, which helps us keep our balance is connected to the
cochlea, the inner ear.  Many factors that cause damage to the inner ear may cause damage to the
vestibular system as well.


2. Another idea is that our hearing helps us know where we are in space. As we walk
through a room, we hear our footsteps and that helps us know where the floor is! As
we walk through a doorway or near a wall the sounds we make change and tell us that
something is nearby. When we put our coffee cup down, that little clunk tells our
brain that the table is right in front of us. It all helps us orient ourselves in
our environment. Decreased hearing limits our access to these auditory cues.certain
warning signals may not be heard making tripping and falling more likely.


3. People with hearing loss may have a greater risk of falling due to an increase
in cognitive load needed for listening. This means that people with hearing loss are
using so much brain power just trying to figure out what someone is saying that they
have little energy left over to maintain balance. (See my blog “Help Me, I’m in a
Snowstorm! for more discussion on this topic.)


The good news! Studies show that people with normal hearing have better balance
and walk faster on a treadmill than people with hearing loss. However, after
fitting these hearing impaired subjects with hearing aids and after an acclimatization period
their walking speed and balance improved. Wow! Who knew that wearing hearing
aids helps our balance!

London Audiology
London Audiology Consultants is an independent Hearing Health Care clinic established in 1985.

London Audiology Consultants © 2017

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