Hello, my name is __________________ I want to thank _______ group for having me here today and thank all of you for coming. The purpose of my presentation today is EDUCATION. It is not a sales pitch for any particular product or technology or even my practice. The demographics of hearing loss, the psychology of it, and the technologies used to help those with loss are not well understood. I hope to teach you something about all of them today. My goal as a presenter is to have you walk away from this presentation being better prepared to help yourself, a friend, or loved on that has a hearing loss. You have at your tables (or chairs) a short 3 question quiz. I will be providing a free hearing test today to the person that most closely answers these questions. You have a couple of minutes to answer them before they come up in my presentation.
Hearing loss is different than the loss of any of our other senses. Human beings thrive on the connection with other people and especially the ability to communicate with them. The loss of hearing affects our ability to understand another person and to interact with the world. As I will show you later, it can easily lead to isolation and depression.
My agenda today is simple. I want to tell you a bit about the demographics of hearing (we will start with a short quiz for all of you). I will then tell you why I think that hearing loss matters. There are new technologies out every day to help those with a hearing loss. I want to tell you about some of them. One technology in particular, induction looping, is fascinating to me and for very little investment, provides improvement at home and in public buildings for those with hearing aids. Lastly, I want to tell you something about what I think will happen over the next 5 or so years. I should have time to answer any questions that you might have at the end of the presentation.
_______ has already introduced me today so I will just tell you what I think important about me. I am a board certified audiologist and I do it because everyday I go to work I get to help people improve their lives. I am passionate about my profession and even more passionate about getting the word out surrounding some very helpful technologies.
Alright, it is your turn to participate. I have three questions that you should have answered. The answers to the questions come out of a survey done by the Better Hearing Institute in 2005. (ENGAGE THE AUDIENCE) Ask them to shout out the answers to each question, one at a time. Question 1 Answer The answer is 31 Million people or about 11% of the population. Hearing loss is typically associated with older age and hearing loss occurs mostly in people aged 60 and over. The troubling thing to me is that only about 6 million people have hearing aids meaning that only about 20% of those with a hearing loss have done something proactive about it. Question 2 Answer The answer is 12.5%. This number has declined consistently for the past 20 years. What this means is that many people are going through live not really knowing for sure if they have a hearing problem. They have something that is easily addressed if they know that they have an issue. Question 3 Answer The answer is 40%. I think that this is an encouraging statistic. It says that each year more and more people are addressing their hearing loss. Need to determine how everyone did and award the prize
So here is just a little more data about the population and those with a hearing loss. By the year 2050, we will have about 50 million people in the United States alone with some form of hearing loss. I do not know about you, but I am in this business and am constantly surprised by the pervasiveness of hearing loss.
I am excited about this statistic and probably not for the reasons that you think. Remember that I shared with you my reasoning for being in this business, to help people. The percentage of people being helped has gone up significantly from just over 20% to over 23% in the past 7 years. Hearing aids have always had a stigma attached to them. People are wiling to wear glasses but not hearing aids. This tells me that some of these barriers are possibly being broken down. I will show you some of the newer hearing aids and the fact that they can hardly be noticed may have something to do with these increases. I think it is only going to get better for reasons I will share with you later in the presentation.
Here is one of the reasons. Some high profile rock-n-rollers are now being fitted with hearing aids and talking about it. Huey Lewis is now as well known for wearing aids as he is for rock and roll. The truth is that the baby boomer generation is less willing to accept hearing loss without demanding new solutions. The good news is that the manufacturers are reacting to this with many new things.
As I told you earlier in the presentation, the ramifications of hearing loss are not well understood by most people. I will explain what happens as one loses hearing. I would bet that most of you can relate and put yourself somewhere in the progression. I know that I can. The first thing that happens is that you strain to hear, especially in crowded rooms or noisy environments. (Tell personal story if you have one) The next thing that happens is that this causes stress. When you don’t hear every word, it takes a great deal more effort to understand what is being said. Your body tenses up as you lean forward to hear better. If you cannot hear as well as you used to , parties can become very difficult and you come home just worn out from conversing with others. The next one is one that my patients tell me about all the time. You can’t really understand what is being said so you nod or smile or laugh. But you can’t always fake it well. Sometimes you add to the conversation something that is out of context. You laugh when you shouldn’t. At this point, you start to become embarrassed. You chose not to go to that noise room for the party. You choose not to be out in public with groups of friends. In short, you begin to withdraw from society. The last two phases of this continuum are the result of the previous steps. When you can’t communicate with others and you don’t get out with your friends, you become isolated which can many times cause depression. I assume that many of you can relate to some portion of this chart. The good news is that most all of it is preventable with assistance from a hearing professional.
So let me tell you about some of the new technologies. The picture is to let you know that hearing aids come in all styles, shapes, and now colors. We have units that fit inside the ear, called ITE’s, and we fit them by making a special mold of your ear. These can be very comfortable since they are made especially for the user. We have behind the ear aids, called BTE’s, that fit behind the ear and then have a tube that goes into the ear. All hearing aids are getting smaller, they are all digital, and they now have directional microphones built into them. Most have multiple programs or modes so that the hearing professional can optimize your hearing for noisy gatherings, the stereo, or quite rooms with little background noise. The hearing aid is customized for the individual with multiple programs for those with active varied life styles.
I told you that a digital hearing aid works in wonderful ways to customize the sound for your ears and adapt that sound to your hearing loss. Let me use the analogy of a digital photograph to explain how a digital hearing aid works. Explain.
As good as then new digital hearing aids are, they still do not solve all hearing problems. Hearing professionals refer to this list as the “three enemies of good hearing. Distance – We all know that signals weaken as they have to travel farther. You just have to sit in the back of the classroom or auditorium to see how this works. This is even harder for someone with hearing loss. Echo – It is hard enough to process a sound you hear once. Have you ever been in a large building with cement floors and walls like an old church. The sound bounces all over and it seems like you have to listen to it multiple times. The real problem is that echo is time delayed so it makes it more difficult to distinguish the true signal from the echo. Background noise – The greater the noise in the background, the harder it is to hear the original signal. We call this signal to noise ratio. Those with a hearing loss need a greater signal to noise ratio to hear well. In other words, the signal must be stronger for them as compared to background noise than for a person with normal hearing.
So here is what this looks like in a large room like a church. The person here in blue is a distance away from the speaker so the sound is already somewhat softer or degraded. All the red lines show echo around the room. Each is heard at a different time. Lastly, there would be others talking in the room feet shuffling, papers rustling, etc that create background noise. These environments can be difficult for those with a hearing loss. The truth is they can be difficult for those of us with normal hearing.
But there is an answer for these problems. It is another technology called an induction loop that transmits the sound directly into the hearing aid wearer. An induction loop works by taking a signal (voice, television, music, etc) and amplifying it over an inductive wire loop placed around the room of the sound source. The hearing aid (not the normal ear) can pick up this sound as if the person were wearing a head set. All that is needed is a hearing aid equipped with a telecoil. About 50% of all hearing aids in the United States have such a device in them already and the percentage of those equipped with a telecoil continues to grow. This technology can also be used for home television, the telephone, or other public venues such as banks and pharmacies. You can recognize that a building has it installed when you see the blue sign on the right hand side of this slide.
So now, if we were in the same room with a loop installed, this is what the sound would look like. There is no distance problem, no echo and no background noise since the sound is sent directly to the hearing aid. Have you seen the people with blue tooth technology where they wear the phone receiver on their ear and hear directly from the phone via wireless technology. This is very similar. Isn’t it wonderful! I get excited every time I have a chance to talk about this.
The UK and Denmark, along with other European countries, have adopted this technology in their countries. It is a requirement that all public buildings have it installed. Socialized medicine pays for it to be installed in people’s homes to better hear the television. Over 90% of all hearing aids are equipped with telecoils to make this technology work for all those with hearing aids. David Meyers, a US Psychology professor and hearing aid wearer, was able to use this technology for the first time in 1999 and was moved to tears when he was able to hear the sermon in church for the first time in many years. He came back to the United States with the mission to Loop America. Unfortunately, it just has not caught on in the United States like it has in Europe. I am trying to change that by getting the word out and by using this technology. I have now looped _____ homes, churches, banks, and pharmacies. I am also working with other hearing professionals to move this initiative forward in the US.
Here are just a couple more examples of where this technology can be used. It is a requirement that all subway ticket windows use this technology. If anyone has been down in a crowded subway station trying to talk to the ticket agent, they know just how difficult this can be. Imagine being hearing impaired and trying to understand what is being said. But what if that sound was sent directly to your hearing aid via this wireless loop. Not a problem! Taxis are also being looped. The possibilities are endless.
Finally, the presentation would not be complete if I did not offer some forecast for the future. First, we can all see what is happening with the cell phone. It now can hold all your music, serves as a communications device, can download shows and movies. Soon, everyone will be carrying around one device, probably a cell phone type device, that has their entire entertainment portfolio on it. My thinking is that this will them be sent to your ear via a wireless connection like blue tooth. You may have an ear bud, you may have a head set, or you may have a hearing aid. It won’t matter, all will work with your transmitting device. In my way of thinking, the hearing aid is just another personal communications device, just one of the many ways to get the sound into your ear.
Hearing aids have had the reputation or stigma of being “the beginning of the end” for people. They have been a sign of old age. This is changing. Huey Lewis and a generation of baby boomers is having a lot to do with this. So my thinking is that hearing aids are not the end, but just the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities for the hearing impaired. I thank you for your attention and how that I was able to teach you something about hearing loss and the technologies being uses to help those with it.
Hearing Help | Orlando FL
Knowledge The more you know the better you’ll hear
"Blindness cuts you off from things; deafness cuts you off from people.“ -- Helen Keller
Agenda <ul><li>Demographics </li></ul><ul><li>Why does it matter? </li></ul><ul><li>New technologies </li></ul><ul><li>The “loop” story </li></ul><ul><li>What’s next? </li></ul>
A little about Dr.Turri <ul><li>Board Certified Audiologist </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in educating people about hearing loss and in helping enhance their experience with hearing instruments. </li></ul>
Quiz <ul><li>How many Americans have some form of hearing loss? </li></ul><ul><li>What percent of the population is screened for hearing loss during their physical exams? </li></ul><ul><li>What percent of hearing aids are sold to first-time users? </li></ul>31.5 Million ONLY 12.5% 40%
The population is growing! Source: July 2005 The Hearing Review Over 50 Million Americans!
Westminster Abbey "The whole of the church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T." ~ The first sentence of Westminster Abbey's program for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Queen's coronation, 2003.