News & Resources
By Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
If you’ve been to our office, at some point you may have had the fortune to meet the most important member of our family and our family business: Lucky.
A Maltese-poodle, Lucky is the official greeter and security guard of Campbell River Hearing Clinic. (Okay, that last title is really just honorary; he only weighs 8 pounds,) A great little dog, Lucky has a wonderful personality and loves going for walks or sitting with Jana and me – especially when we’re eating chicken or steak. He’s also very smart, as is proven by the fact that he’s bilingual, understanding both Czech and English.
Like most dogs, Lucky knows plenty of important words – well, important to canines at least. Use the word “walk” by accident and you’ll have to deal with the consequences. Mention the word “cat,” and all hell could break loose. We even have to be careful not to say “coffee” in Czech because it’s very similar to the Czech word for “kitty.” Suffice it to say, mornings can be exciting around our house. Or at least they used to be.
What’s wrong with Lucky?
Our Lucky is now 13 years old, which, according to experts, makes him about 68 in human years. While the years haven’t changed his sweet personality or attitude toward cats, there has been a change in his hearing.
Like many forms of hearing loss, it started gradually. And even though we’re in the hearing business, it took us a while to catch on.
I’d let Lucky out early in the morning and try to call to him in a soft voice so as not to wake up the neighbours, but he wouldn’t respond. I’d get annoyed at him thinking he was ignoring me so he could carry on eating deer poop. His apparent disregard was becoming a common and frustrating habit, and at times I’d be forced to scold him.
But then I noticed that a cat would meow during one of our walks, and what would once provoke a frenzy would be completely ignored. Fireworks and thunder resulted in little to no reaction – no more running to his ‘refuge’ behind the toilet. And eventually we realized that we could say whatever we wanted in front of him and there’d be no response.
Finally, we clued in – Lucky was suffering from presbycusis, the most common type of age-induced hearing loss.
How hearing loss has changed our Lucky
Since we became aware of Lucky’s hearing, other changes we observed now made sense. Most conspicuously, he’s started to become anxious and frustrated, and, frankly, a bit of an annoyance to us at times.
Lucky is constantly underfoot and follows us everywhere because he doesn’t want to miss us leaving the house. He’ll be crying in another room and we’ll have to get up and go get him because he can’t hear us calling him to let him know where we are. And he’s more tired, as he sleeps less to ensure he doesn’t miss out on us leaving a room or the house.
When we talk to him he faces us and watches intently; you can tell he understands by the tempo of his tail wags. We, of course, must speak more loudly and clearly to ensure he catches those “special” words.
Even at the office, Lucky sometimes loses out on greeting his favourite clients (even those who bring him treats) because he doesn’t hear the door beeper from his spot under Jana’s desk. At home, he can't hear us coming so we often startle him inadvertently.
It’s sad because we know he’s missing out on things. And we feel bad about getting annoyed by him. After all, it’s not his fault.
But he’s a plucky little guy and is learning to adapt to his situation. For instance, he now knows to watch our new smart lock when he’s expecting one of us to come home. His normal routine had been to stay in bed until we went to have breakfast, at which point he’d move to the living room. Now he moves to a strategic spot in the house where he can see both Jana and me, and that’s where he plunks himself down.
We’re all making changes to account for his hearing loss because, really, what other options do we have?
What are you missing (and who are you annoying)?
Do you ever feel frustrated by others because of their mumbling? Or maybe others are getting annoyed at you? As with Lucky, maybe your hearing loss started gradually. Maybe you don’t even realize you have hearing loss. Lucky can no longer hear the siren call of a stray cat. What are you missing out on?
Do the springtime songbirds sound as distinct? Do rainstorms seem like they don’t patter quite as hard on your rooftop as they once did? What about the waves that lap our coastal shores – do they still send chills or melt your worries away?
Do you find that you’re turning up the television more often? Perhaps you avoid being in crowded rooms or going out to large gatherings where understanding people is difficult? Does your partner complain that you’re ignoring or missing out on parts of conversations?
Living with hearing loss takes effort. It’s tiring, it’s invisible and it effects your life every single day.
Take a moment and consider how your behaviours or relationships have changed in recent years. You see, even people with mild hearing loss need to exert a lot of extra effort to understand conversations. This often causes those same people to become exhausted and annoyed for no apparent reason.
Even worse is the way hearing loss can annoy the people around you, especially the ones who constantly have to repeat themselves for your benefit. Typically, you won't even realize you're doing it until someone points it out – then you realize everyone knew about your condition but you.
The fact is, reduced hearing sensitivity can sneak up on all of us – man and beast. But, unlike with our four-footed furry friends, the good news for most of the 3.5 million Canadians living with reduced hearing sensitivity is that we have the power to do something about it.
If you think changes in hearing may be causing you or a loved one to miss out on the great things that make life fuller and richer, I encourage you to find out more about recognizing and dealing with changes in your hearing sensitivity.
We’re always happy to give you a complimentary hearing assessment and answer any questions you might have at our office. Just call 250.914.3200 or visit us at 780-D 13th Avenue in Campbell River or at #21 – 1705 Campbell Way in Port McNeill.
And, of course, visit the Hearing Solutions, where you’ll find lots of useful resources about hearing loss.
I can’t promise that we can help your dog hear better, but we’d love to help you rediscover the full beauty and aural intricacies of this wonderful world around us.
By Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
I’m baaaaack. Did you miss me?
It’s been over two years since I’ve written an article and some of my faithful followers were worried I’d abandoned writing altogether. Don’t panic, dear reader – I haven’t hung up my keyboard or quit my day job at the hearing clinic. Rather, I took on a new project that has consumed much of my time – I built a new home!
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Why would he do that to himself?!” (You may also be thinking, “What does this have to do with hearing aids?” Patience . . . )
When Renata joined my wife Jana and me at Campbell River Hearing Clinic a couple of years ago, the time seemed right to follow my dream of building my own home. Since then I’ve been on an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience – and not just because I realized I’m not as irreplaceable at the clinic as I like to think I am!
Glutton for punishment or just naïve? You decide!
Jana and I have lived in many imperfect houses over the years. From moody heating systems to inconceivably awkward layouts, we’ve seen it all. (Seriously, it’s like the people who designed our last home had never cooked a meal or done laundry!) So we began making lists of everything we liked and disliked in houses and started the design process. It was all happening!
Slowly but surely, our house began to grow out of the ground. From foundation up to the trusses, we did much of the work ourselves. I managed to handle the electrical; my dad, a retired plumber, dealt with the waterworks. I even roped my sons into helping out! Painting and finishing, installing cabinets and flooring, we completed a seemingly endless (at the time) number of jobs.
Of course, there were challenges. And naturally, some of the work was more than I was prepared or able to deal with, so I had to turn to others for help. And this is where I started seeing the connection with hearing clinics . . .
Is good help really so hard to find?
Some of my greatest reservations arose when it came time to find good help. I’m the kind of guy who likes things done well, and I wanted to make sure the final product reflected our vision – this was our dream home after all! I can’t emphasize enough just how much anxiety I felt when faced with the daunting task of selecting contractors for the various jobs we couldn’t handle on our own.
When I read advertisements for various contractors I quickly learned that everyone was an “expert,” an “industry leader” or, according to them, simply “the best.” But how could I be sure I was working with the right person?
How could I be sure that the person I hired would really listen to me, and be easy to talk to if something needed to be fixed or done differently? What would I say if they wanted me to pay for something that I felt had been done poorly? Or, worse yet, what if they messed up and simply never came back? Choosing the wrong person would simply add to the already significant anxiety I already felt!
Around that time, one of our hearing clients came in for some follow-up service on his hearing aid. After he was all set he thanked me for what we’d done and said, “I really appreciate what you do for me, and I tell everyone about you guys – thank you.” That’s when the lights came on – I had to ask other people about the contractors I needed!
After all, at Campbell River Hearing Clinic, we strive to do the best job possible and let our customers spread the word for us. Surely there must be contractors who do the same, right? So I started asking around.
The strategy worked. Our office landlord spoke highly about Price-Rite Roofing. And, sure enough, Steve Price did a great job – he was there when he said he would be, kept things tidy and organized and made sure the plywood didn’t get wet before the roofing went on. Then a friend recommended Noel Pike for drywall. They, too, did an excellent job – painting was a breeze on those nice flat walls! Another friend suggested Ed Rosse for my heating, and my fancy in-floor heating works like a dream. To my relief, all our recommended tradespeople lived up to their billings.
Whether drywall or hearing aids, actions speak louder than words
Funny thing is, most of the tradespeople we hired don’t advertise. Some aren’t even in the Yellow Pages! They don't write about how fantastic they are – it’s all word of mouth. The true pros do a great job and then let their work and customers do the advertising for them.
I know that finding the right help can be a challenge. And when it’s a big investment – be it a heating system or a hearing aid – it can also be pretty darned stressful. You need to know you’re in good hands. So ask around.
Talk to others who have gone through the process. Ask them where they went, what they liked and why. Do their hearing aid providers always strive to make their hearing better, making continual adjustments until they’re just right? Are the people knowledgeable, friendly and a pleasure to deal with?
Like the pros who did such great work on our home, we at Campbell River Hearing Clinic put our efforts into making our clients happy – not into advertising. I still plan on writing the occasional article to share my rambling thoughts and educate people about their hearing health, but that’s about it.
The fact is, when you need good help, it’s easy to separate the true pros from the rest of the flock. All you have to do is ask around. In the meantime, we promise to keep doing our best, and we hope our customers will keep sharing our name with others.
If you think it’s time to speak with someone about your hearing, call 250.914.3200 or visit us at 780-D 13th Avenue for a free hearing assessment. (Warning: we may show you pictures of our new home!) Or better yet, ask your friends for a recommendation!
By Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
The familiar Czech greeting came at us from behind the counter of Dave’s Bakery, where Jana and I were chatting idly in our native language during our first visit to the Willow Point establishment.
The greeting – which made us immediately thankful we hadn’t been discussing something embarrassing like how hot I look in my new spandex bib biking shorts – came from David himself, a fellow countryman who’d opened the bakery after a long career as a pharmacist.
David’s passion for baking and Walter White-esque ability to spin his knowledge of chemistry into irresistibly delectable baked creations are a potent combination. His scones are divine, his soups are to die for and his light, cream-filled venecky instantly transport me to my Czech childhood begging my maminka for just one more.
And don’t even get me started on the freshly baked breads and treats concocted by David’s partner, who, just to keep things as confusing as possible, is also named Dave. Confession time: My name is Martin and I’m a treat-o-holic. I’ve battled a weakness for baked goods for years, and I was just starting to feel like I was overcoming my illness. But put David and Dave together in their bakery and the aromas alone are far too irresistible for a mere mortal such as myself.
Not surprisingly, Jana and I were instantly hooked. We’ve actually had to set a “Dave’s Bakery” budget and restrict our visits to predetermined time slots. I even had to add another weekly bike ride to ensure that I would indeed continue to look hot in those bib shorts (if only in my own mind).
All of which got Jana and me thinking (over a bowl of soup and a chocolate raspberry danish) . . . Why can’t hearing aids be as irresistible as David’s baked goods? Why aren’t people gossiping discretely in a foreign language while patiently lined up through our front door? After all, I can think of at least . . .
Seven ways hearing aids are better than baked goods
- The pleasure of a baked good lasts only a few moments. Hearing aids work all the time.
- When you put baked goods in your ears, it's hard to hear anything. But put hearing aids in your ears, and suddenly you can hear virtually everything.
- If you’re anything like me, baked goods attack your budget every single day. Purchase hearing aids once, though, and all of your follow-up services are free for the lifetime of the devices.
- Baked goods contain the evil gluten. Hearing aids are 100% gluten-free.
- In 1838, France and Mexico battled for more than three months over a dispute with a pastry chef during the aptly named “Pastry War.” Hearing aids, so far as I know, have never caused an international conflict.
- Eating too many baked goods can lead to nagging from your spouse. Hearing aids can actually improve strained relationships. (In fact, your spouse will encourage you to use them!)
- Baked goods go great with strawberry jam. Hearing aids . . . well OK, not so much. Score one for the baked goods.
The passion we share
Despite what we believe are seven (OK, six) compelling reasons to choose hearing aids over baked goods, Jana and I realize we may be on the losing end of this argument.
As we sip our coffee and nibble our koblihy, we watch David and Dave making people happy, day in and day out. Regulars and newbies alike dig into their favourite treats while the two hearing professionals in the corner dream of a day when people are just as excited to improve their hearing as they are to feel the satisfying tear of a flaky croissant between their teeth.
Like David and Dave, we’re passionate about making people’s lives better. No matter how passionate we are, though, or how great our recipes for better hearing, we’ll never get the line-ups of excited patrons that Dave’s Bakery sees every day. In fact, people tend to avoid seeing us for as long as possible. When they do finally decide to do something about their decreased hearing sensitivity, they’re rarely as excited about being fitted for hearing aids as they are about sinking their teeth into a jelly doughnut.
But here’s the thing: So many people we fit for hearing aids say to us, “I should have done this a long time ago – thank you for making my life better!” Just as David and Dave get a kick out of each new rave review on Trip Advisor, Jana and I get our reward from moments like these. Making lives better is exactly what we strive to do – we improve strained relationships, put the fun back into social gatherings and significantly improve quality of life for so many people.
Hey, wait a minute . . .
Maybe our hearing clinic isn’t so different from Dave’s Bakery after all. As soon as you finish one of their goodies, you want more. Once you get a “taste” for your new life with improved hearing, you also want more – you want to keep coming back to fine-tune your devices to their maximum potential and to fix any of the little problems that develop through normal use. When you rediscover all the sounds you’d forgotten were even there, it’s a sensation you never want to be without.
Ready for the best part? Your spouse won’t even try to stop you from coming back for more –when you do, though, leave the bib shorts at home.
If you’re interested to find out what you might be missing, call us at 250.914.3200 to book a free hearing assessment. After you visit us at 780-D 13th Avenue, reward yourself with a treat from Dave’s Bakery!
To read some of our past articles, or for more information, visit http://www.tohear.ca/news/
Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
We have some great news that we want to share! We were hoping the newspaper would share our enthusiasm and print an article about it, but hospital construction and big hydro developments are more newsworthy than big changes at a little hearing clinic. Thus, we’re paying to have this exciting news announced in the paper and we are finally posting it here.
Campbell River Hearing Clinic has taken the concept of “family business” to a whole new level.
Jana and I, are excited to welcome Jana’s sister and fellow Hearing Instrument Practitioner Renata Bartova to our practice. Despite the unpalatable reality of now facing a united voting block with every new decision, from where to go for lunch to how best to torment the odd man out, I am nonetheless convinced the move will benefit the people of Campbell River.
While it’s true she’s my wife’s sister and neither of them are shy when it comes to sharing their opinions with me, Renata’s arrival is really going to help us continue to meet the growing demand for professional hearing care in Campbell River. In all seriousness, Jana and I are extremely fortunate to have someone who enjoys working with people as much as Renata does; her friendliness and enthusiasm fit right in with our team.
Renata and her husband Pavel, an artist and graphic designer, moved with their youngest son to Campbell River from North Vancouver earlier this year. They’re excited to be on the Island, both to enjoy the wonderful area and to be closer to family once again.
“We moved to Canada in 1997 after having visited Martin and Jana when they lived in 100 Mile House,” says Renata, who grew up in the Czech Republic and became a Certified Hearing Instrument Practitioner in 2006. “I actually did my practicum with Martin and Jana back then so I knew joining their clinic would be a good fit. It’s great to be back working with, and living near, them.”
We are also thrilled to have Renata on our team.
She’ll only add to our reputation of friendly, caring service. The down side, of course, is that the sisters like to sometimes gang up on me. I might have to commission one of Pavel’s award-winning sculptures for the office just to even things out a bit!
We are located at Unit D - 780 13th Avenue in Campbell River. To make an appointment with Renata or Martin, call 250-914-3200.
Over the past 67 years, the Rotary Club of Campbell River has put millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours back into the community. Recently, however, the club was on the receiving end of some local goodwill.
Campbell River Hearing Clinic has donated both the equipment and manpower to help local Rotarians with reduced hearing sensitivity overcome the challenging acoustics of the club’s new meeting venue at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
“Rotarian Ian Baikie approached me a while back to share his concern that some of his fellow members were having difficulty understanding at the new venue,” explains Martin Jurek, who owns Campbell River Hearing Clinic with his wife Jana. “After some discussion, we concluded that installing a loop system would dramatically improve the listening environment for those members who wear hearing aids.”
A loop system is like a wireless loudspeaker that delivers a clear sound through an individual’s hearing aid. It activates any time the room’s sound system is in use, feeding the sound directly into the telecoil (“t-coil”) of the listener’s hearing aid.
“I’m a huge supporter of Rotary and all the great things they do both in Campbell River and around the world,” says Jurek. “Jana and I immediately volunteered to donate the system and help install it; we felt it was the least we could do for an organization that has done so much for others.”
The Maritime Heritage Centre itself is obviously another benefactor of the Jureks’ generosity, and will continue to be so. Though Jurek says several Rotarians have already commented that the loop system has significantly improved their comprehension at meetings, he plans to also help upgrade the acoustics of the room itself in the near future.
“The loop system is only going to help people whose hearing aids have T-coils, ” he explains, adding that the technology has been around “for ages” and is quite common. “Most behind-the-ear hearing aids have it, as do many custom in-the-ear styles, although sometimes the T-coil needs to be activated. If you’re not sure if your hearing aids will work with the new loop system, just ask your hearing care provider.”
Along with the donation of the system, Campbell River Hearing Clinic is offering anyone with hearing aids a free consultation in order to determine whether they have a T-coil, and to explain how to activate and/or use it.
Campbell River Hearing Clinic is located at 780-D 13th Avenue. To ask questions or book a consult, call 250-914-3200. For free hearing resources, visit http://www.tohear.ca.
Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
Two years ago I received a wake-up call. I was feeling lethargic, I was consumed by stress and the buckle of my favourite belt was stretching menacingly at the last hole. Though my doctor told me there was nothing wrong per se, it was obvious where I was heading if I didn’t start getting some regular exercise.
At around the same time, a fellow named Jeremy was helping us build our new website for Campbell River Hearing Clinic. As I got to know him, he told me all about his newfound passion for mountain biking, which got me thinking that, hey, I used to like biking too, didn’t I?
Sensing the perfect opportunity for some fun exercise, I procured an invite to Jeremy’s Monday night ride – he even offered to lend me a pair of his fancy mountain bike shoes. I was ready to shred some trails!
My enthusiasm quickly waned when I showed up at the Trask Road parking lot to discover a dozen fully geared riders with hydration packs, body armour and full-suspension bikes that were to my 15-year-old mountain bike what a Hummer is to Ford’s original Model T.
James and his wife Chenoa, the owners of Swicked Cycles and the leaders of this weekly ride, asked me (with a straight face) if I’d be joining the fast group or the “fun” (read: slow) group. Despite my unfounded confidence, I opted for the fun one so as not to appear arrogant.
Twenty minutes later I was grinding alone up a rooty, forested singletrack trail, the rest of the “fun” group having disappeared well ahead of me, apparently having considerably more fun than I. They were, however, considerate enough to wait for me at each trail intersection, much to the relief of my thundering heart.
If you’re reading this in eager anticipation of the tie-in with hearing aids, you’re not alone. Hearing aids are, after all, one of the most exciting topics one could imagine reading about. Don’t worry, I’ll get there soon . . .
Throughout the ride I was bounced by rocks, tossed by roots and I even took a dramatic somersault over the handlebars (thankfully I was so far behind the pack that no one noticed). And yet . . . I was hooked! I ached for days, but I couldn’t wait to do it again. It wasn’t just the riding, it was also the camaraderie with a group of kindred spirits who encouraged me to never stop trying and who didn’t mind waiting for me to catch up.
Not long after that first ride, James at Swicked Cycles hooked me up with a new bike and a bunch of fancy gear. I now ride every week. I no longer have to think about every rock or root, I simply scan the trail ahead and my brain automatically knows what to do. I’m fitter, stronger and have much quicker reflexes. I’ve gone down three belt holes, my blood pressure couldn’t be better and I feel more satisfied and relaxed in every area of my life. I’m proud to say that I can even keep up with the fast group. Well, almost.
And here it is . . .
What did it take for me to become a decent mountain biker? Motivation for one; I needed that wake-up call from my doctor to convince me to take action to improve my life. I needed to remember how much I used to enjoy biking, and how much better I used to feel in all kinds of ways. I also needed the motivation from fellow riders, who encouraged me to “suck it up” no matter how steep the hill or gnarly the trail.
I also needed the right equipment and someone to help me make the most of it. James at Swicked helped me pick the right bike for my size and riding style, and he’s been there for me whenever I need adjustments, repairs or expert advice. If something doesn't feel 100% right with my bike, I take it to James and know that it will be taken care of.
And that’s how mountain bikes are just like hearing aids. Just as I needed the motivation to take up biking, you need the proper motivation to do something about the fact that your hearing may not be as sharp as it once was. You need the encouragement of loved ones, and you need to remember how much more enjoyable social gatherings were, and how much happier and more relaxed you used to feel.
This part is key
Because hearing loss creeps up so slowly, sometimes it’s difficult to notice it on your own – you need to take cues from those around you and think about the way difficult listening situations – like noisy restaurants – make you feel. The extra energy needed to follow a conversation with reduced hearing sensitivity can quickly leave you tired, irritable and utterly averse to social outings. Don’t let hearing loss turn you into a grouch!
Finally, just as I need James to help me get the best of my bike, I will help you choose the right equipment, fine-tune it to your precise specifications and always be there to provide tweaks or adjustments.
Just as I gradually became a better mountain biker, so will you grow accustomed to your improved hearing, until one day you’ll realize that you no longer have to concentrate on listening; your brain will filter out distractions automatically and you will simply understand – clearly and effortlessly.
If this article is your wake-up call, Jana and I will be happy to provide you with a complimentary hearing assessment. If not, we’re here for you if and when you decide to take the step toward better hearing and a better life.
Researchers have found that hearing loss accelerates the loss of brain tissue in older adults. The study gives urgency to treating hearing loss rather than ignoring it.
by Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
“How do I choose the best hearing aid?” It’s a question I get asked frequently. Plenty of factors come into play when making this decision, and your hearing care practitioner will have to help you with all of them. A good starting point is looking at your degree and type of hearing loss, which will help determine the level of technology you need.
Next, you’ll need to determine the style of hearing instrument you need or want. Depending on your lifestyle and ear canal shape and size, there are numerous options available, such as in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-the-canal (CIC), in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE) and others.
Finally, you have to decide which manufacturer will best suit your needs. This is where you really have to trust your hearing care provider. As with virtually any product on the market today, there are some good companies and some that, shall we say, leave a bit to be desired. This could be due to things like lower quality materials, poor workmanship or design.
One of the benefits of being an independent hearing clinic is that there is nobody telling me which instruments to use. I choose the companies that give me the most free pens. Just kidding, I use the ones that I feel serve my clients best. They need to provide the best technology to benefit the wearer, offer great physical quality and reliability and show a willingness to go the extra mile when necessary.
Having said all this, no matter how fantastic the quality of the aids, these tiny electronic components sit in a moist and waxy environment and sometimes do get damaged. Your hearing care provider – providing you have a good one – will be there to keep things clean and in top shape, keeping downtime to an absolute minimum.
If you wold like to know more about the various hearing aid manufacturers, hearing aid styles and features, feel free to stop by our office or you can call me at 250-914-3200 or email me at email@example.com I am always happy to answer questions.
by Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
Last year around this time, a man walked into my clinic. With a chuckle and a shake of his head, he told me his hearing was fine but his son told him he had to get it checked or he wouldn’t come to visit anymore.
I proceeded to test the man’s hearing with a pretty good idea of what I was going to find. I’d seen it a hundred times before and I’ll see it a hundred times again: the first ones to notice your hearing loss are, nine times out of ten, the people around you.
Now fitted with a nearly invisible hearing aid, that same man returned to my office just the other day with his visiting son in tow. You know what he said this time? “I should have done this a long time ago.”
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that – well, I wouldn’t have had to beg Santa for those new mountain bike pedals. Living with reduced hearing sensitivity is like walking through life with tunnel vision; you rarely realize the significance of what you’re missing.
Once hearing is restored, however, it’s like the veil has been lifted on all the subtle pleasures that give life meaning and depth.
You don’t know what you’re missing
One of my favourite parts of my job is watching clients rediscover the things they never even knew they were missing. Here are just a few of the things they’ve told me:
“After I was fitted with hearing aids, one of my co-workers said to me, ‘My you’re chatty today!’ I didn’t realize how much I’d been unconsciously avoiding conversations because of my hearing loss.”
"Now I realize how much my family had to repeat themselves around me, and how annoying that must have been. I thought I'd be embarrassed by wearing hearing aids, but it was much more embarrassing trying to cover for my obvious hearing loss."
“I never realized the creek behind our house made such a nice relaxing sound – I forgot about that!”
“I left last year’s Christmas party early because I was annoyed not being able to understand anybody. This year, people couldn’t wait for me to leave because I was yakking so much!”
Why can’t it be me saying all those nice things?
Oh, but it can. All you need to do is make the decision to book a free hearing assessment, if only to ensure you truly are living life to its fullest. If it turns out you are missing out on some of life’s subtle aural pleasures (that’s AUral), there’s plenty we can do.
A successful hearing solution requires just three elements:
Hey, you’re already a third of the way there, right? Not so fast. You don’t merely have to exist, you must also be genuinely motivated to invest some time and energy into restoring your hearing and listening ability. Simply putting in hearing aids and expecting to understand everything perfectly is like going in for hip surgery and expecting to dance out of the operating room – it ain’t gonna happen. But with a little patience, you’ll soon be tap dancing like Fred Astaire. Figuratively speaking of course.
2. Your hearing care provider
Full disclosure: I’m a hearing care provider and I sincerely hope you choose me. That said, it’s important that you find a hearing care provider whom you like and trust, as you’ll be spending a fair deal of time with him or her. Perception and comfort are different for every individual – just as some people like red while others prefer blue, we each respond differently to different “aural tones." The person programming your instruments needs to understand how these variables apply to you. And for the record, I prefer orange – a fact that will become obvious the moment you step into our office.
3. A hearing instrument
With so many features, styles and price points, it’s nearly impossible to choose the right hearing aid on your own. But have no fear – you’ll have plenty of help from that trustworthy, likable hearing care practitioner you chose in element #2. (You picked me, right?) I will – er, I mean he or she will – look at your lifestyle needs, budget and type and degree of hearing loss and help you identify the options that will give you the best result.
Please don’t come see me
Let me explain . . . .
I’ll be thrilled if you choose me to be the one to help improve your hearing, and I do sincerely believe I can help you find an ideal solution. But words are cheap.
What I really want you to do is ask around. Find out what’s worked and what hasn’t for people you know with hearing aids. Ask them who they recommend, and why. Hopefully our name comes up, but the most important thing is that you find someone you trust and with whom you’re comfortable.
Did you take my Holiday Hearing Challenge?
Before the holidays, I gave you some homework. I challenged each of you to pay attention to how you felt during the paper-crumbling, toddler-shrieking, off-colour-joke-laughing din of the holidays. You see, people with even mild hearing loss need to exert a lot of extra effort to understand conversations under these conditions. This often causes those same people to become exhausted, annoyed and downright Grinch-like for no apparent reason.
Even worse is the way it can annoy the people around you, who constantly have to repeat themselves for your benefit. Typically you won't even realize you're doing it until someone points it out – then you realize everyone knew about your hearing loss but you.
So if you found that any of your holiday festivities left you or your loved ones feeling less than merry, you can draw one of two conclusions: 1) It’s time to stop spending so much time with your raucous family; or 2) It’s time to book a free hearing assessment, start enjoying the people around you and vastly improve the quality of your relationships.
When you’re ready – or if you’d just like to find out more – give us a call or stop in at our office at 780-D 13th Avenue. No pressure. No judgment. Just honest answers.
And what’s the big deal if it does?
Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
Two extraordinary things happened last month: First, I wrote an article for the Mirror (our local newspaper) about how our ears work, somehow thinking it would be titillating reading to . . . well, anyone.
But what happened next was truly amazing – you actually read it! Better yet, judging by all the comments I received, you (somewhat inexplicably) loved it. And so, bolstered by your kind words and an unnatural infatuation with all things aural, I’ve decided to write this, the next logical article.
How does hearing loss happen?
First, a quick recap of our aural anatomy: The outer ear funnels sound into the middle ear, where three tiny bones mechanically amplify and transmit it to the cochlea, or inner ear. The cochlea then transmits the sound signals to the brain via the cochlear nerve.
As with any complicated process, there are vulnerabilities every step of the way. Though hearing loss can stem from the outer ear (e.g. wax build-up or narrowing of the ear canal) or middle ear (e.g. burst eardrum or damage to those three bones), the most common type stems from the cochlea, which contains thousands of microscopic hair cells nestled within a warm bath of cochlear fluid. This sort of hearing loss can be caused by:
1. Aging – Over time, the cochlear hair cells that transmit sound signals to the brain can become damaged. Since these hair cells never regrow, this incremental damage slowly decreases our hearing sensitivity.
2. Noise – Exposure to loud noises, either acutely (such as an explosion) or chronically (such as working for years in a loud factory or continually listening to loud music) can also damage hair cells. Though the medical profession has brought us awesome names like Exploding Head Syndrome, Maple Syrup Urine Disease, Smoking Stool Syndrome and, my personal favourite, Jumping Frenchmen of Maine, hearing loss caused by noise exposure is unadventurously known as simply Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
3. Pretty much anything else – Including stroke, infection, side-effects of medication, head injury or the incessant gnawing of the cochlear nerve by microscopic ear gremlins. OK, that last one has never been documented – but that doesn't mean it can’t happen.
So what if I have hearing loss? I hate pop music anyway.
Sure, a decrease in hearing sensitivity helps you ignore the rapid degeneration of modern music as it plunges ever deeper into a cacophonous cesspool of electronic drums and synthesizers.
On the other hand, we depend on our hearing for many of life’s simple pleasures that we often take for granted. Things like the satisfying crackle of a campfire, or the gentle lapping of waves against a pebbled beach. Hearing loss can even start to subtly strip us of the things we hold most dear – like our relationships.
Because hearing loss often strikes the high frequencies first, many people start missing soft consonant sounds, meaning words art to ound ike this. Deciphering speech that sounds like a Bob Dylan song takes a tremendous amount of energy, although it occurs so gradually that you likely won’t notice it as such. Instead, you’ll just feel tired and irritable, avoiding conversations as much as possible and, eventually, retreating into social isolation.
You’ll complain that your spouse is mumbling, your spouse will accuse you of not listening, and so goes the relationship.
OK fine, so it’s a big deal. How do I know if I have hearing loss?
Here are six possible warning signs that your hearing may not be as sharp as it once was:
- Your spouse, friends or co-workers accuse you of “selective hearing”
- You think people around you are mumbling
- Your family complains that the TV is too loud when you watch it
- You find the noise of the TV or radio irritating when it’s on in the background
- You have a hard time understanding children or people with accents
- You can’t hear anything
I challenge you . . .
The holidays are a joyous time filled with the laughter of children, the trumpeting of Christmas carols and the boisterous din of a warm, family-filled home. Add to that the exuberant shredding of wrapping paper and the screaming of grandchildren crashing hard from their Christmas morning chocolate buzz, and you get some of the most challenging listening conditions of the year.
This holiday season, I want you to pay attention to how you feel during the festivities. Are you fully engaged in the conversations around you and feeling merrier than an eggnog-swilling elf singing Deck the Halls while hurtling through the winter sky behind a crimson-nosed reindeer? Or does trying to follow a conversation amidst all the excitement leave you exhausted, annoyed and irritable?
Don’t get me wrong – the fact that you opt to sit quietly by yourself rather than play yet another game of Cranium doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing your hearing. Nor does feeling annoyed at your family gathering – who knows, your family could be genuinely annoying. It does mean, however, that you should at least consider booking a free hearing assessment.
Why do I write these articles?
Do I write these hoping you’ll be so entertained that you’ll feel compelled to purchase hearing aids from me just so I can go buy those fancy new pedals for my mountain bike? Partly, yes. But primarily, it’s because I love hearing people say “Thank you, Martin, for changing my life.”
Something I hear far too often, though, is “I should have done this a long time ago.” If I can help you improve your quality of life sooner rather than later, this article has served its purpose.
If you suspect your hearing, or that of someone you know, might be less than ideal, knowing where to turn for answers is more than half the battle. We’ve provided a few resources to get you started on this website, and we’d be happy to chat more about it if and when you’re ready.
Simply call 250-914-3200 or stop in at 780-D 13th Avenue. No pressure. No judgment. Just honest answers.
by Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
Our donation to last year’s Rotary TV Auction attracted the event’s highest bid. This year we are once again donating a complete hearing package valued at $6,400.
What we’re offering are the most advanced hearing instruments available. We’re also including a wireless package that connects to the wearer’s TV, phone, computer or iPad.
The nearly invisible hearing aids, come with a two-year warranty and a one-year supply of batteries. Just as important – if not more so – as the device itself, though, is the custom set-up, unlimited fine-tuning and Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) therapy that are also included with the package.
I will personally help the winner of this package to choose the appropriate style, color and accessories to match their hearing needs and lifestyle. The winner will, like every one of our clients, gets free lifetime follow-up appointments, including fittings, cleaning, maintenance and adjustments due to hearing change.
The hearing package is up for bid now with no reserve along with other items in the Campbell River Rotary Club’s annual auction. Funds raised will go toward connecting the existing hiking trails at Elk Falls with a new suspension bridge slated for completion next summer. Last year, our donation sold for $4,900, a significant savings for the winning bidder that nonetheless represented nearly five per cent of the auction’s fundraising total of $95,000.
Now, I admit, the donation is partly motivated by self-interest.
Jana and I live with our family in Campbell River, so we benefit every time Rotary embarks upon a community project. I have immense respect for Rotary, and this is our small way of thanking them for making Campbell River so great.
The 39th Annual Rotary TV Auction takes place November 29 and 30 on Shaw Cable, with online pre-bidding at http://www.rotarytvauction.com
I encourage anyone considering bidding on the hearing package to go to http://www.rotarytvauction.com and bid now. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me at 250-914-3200 or come and see me at our office at 780 - D 13th Avenue, kitty-corner from Ricky's Restaurant. I look forward to working with the winner.
To schedule a free hearing assessment, call 250-914-3200.
by Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
Really? You saw an article about ears and you’re actually reading it? Is it really such a slow news cycle?
Since you’re here, I promise to make it worth your while. You’ll learn some really cool things about hearing, and I’ll make sure there are enough surprises along the way to keep you entertained.
We could have plastered this page with a big ad about how fantastic our hearing aids are, but Jana and I would much rather provide you with some real information, and maybe even a chuckle or two.
Speaking of my lovely wife Jana, we have a great relationship. We live together, we work together and we somehow manage to not want to kill each other. But I know most relationships have their ups and downs . . .
So what happens when your spouse nags you?
You’ve done it again. You’ve done something completely ridiculous that you didn’t even realize was ridiculous until your spouse pointed it out, making you wonder how you managed through life all those years without her or his watchful eye (see how I covered myself there?).
Words are spoken. Loud, heated words. Those words travel menacingly toward your ear in the form of sound waves, which are scooped up by your treasonous outer ear (or “pinna”) and ruthlessly amplified as they’re funnelled about 2.5 centimeters down your ear canal toward your eardrum.
Your eardrum (or “tympanic membrane”) vibrates and transmits the sound waves to your ossicular chain, comprised of a hammer (“malleus”), anvil (“incus”) and stirrup (“stapes”). These, the three smallest bones in your body, further amplify the sound and transmit it to the cochlea – a pea-sized, fluid-filled, snail-shaped (shall I go on?) cavity in your inner ear.
As an aside, do you know what the smallest muscle in the human body is? It’s the stapedius, which is about a millimeter long and controls the movement of the stapes. See, I told you you’d learn something.
The cochlea is where the magic happens. Nestled within its fluid are about 15,000 microscopic hair cells, each tuned to a different frequency. (In Canadians, a full 78% are specifically tuned to conversations about hockey and the weather.) These hair cells are connected to the cochlea nerve, which sends your spouse’s colourful adjectives to be interpreted – and, in the case of most relationships, subsequently ignored – by your brain.
And that’s how you hear.
Why should you care if you’re losing your hearing?
Sure, a decrease in hearing sensitivity gives you a perfect excuse to ignore “honey-do” lists, workplace reprimands and conversations about Roberto Luongo. On the other hand, think of everything else you’d be missing. Here are a few of the ways sounds affect us every day:
Physiologically: Hearing an alarming sound instantly triggers a shot of adrenaline and cortisol that evokes your “fight or flight” response. So really, your evolutionary survival depends on good hearing.
Psychologically: The melodic chirping of birdsong and the gentle lapping of waves on the shore are two of nature’s most calming sounds. (Pop quiz: Why are these sounds so relaxing? The answer is at the bottom of this page.) These sounds mostly occur, however, in the high frequencies, which are usually the first to go with hearing loss.
Socially: Even with mild hearing loss, conversations take much more effort to understand. This can be extremely exhausting and eventually earn us nicknames like “Grumpy” or “Sourpuss.” And really, who wants to be the sourpuss? Undiagnosed hearing loss can quickly lead to social isolation, insecurity and, in some cases, avoidance of social situations.
Two hearing facts to impress and astound your friends
(Note: If your friends are actually impressed by “hearing facts” then you desperately need to expand your social circle – my mountain biking buddies notwithstanding.)
1. The smallest perceptible sound moves your eardrum only four atomic diameters; the loudest is a trillion times more powerful. If your eyesight had the same range, on a dark night you’d be able to see a candle flickering 48 trillion kilometres away!
2. Hearing is always on. Presuming one has “normal” hearing, it takes no effort to hear; you’re doing it every second of the day and night, even while you sleep. Listening, on the other hand, is a skill that requires active attention. In men, this skill is often lost with marriage.
Hopefully you’ve learned something you didn’t know about hearing. If nothing else, I’ve thrown in some fancy words that may come in handy on trivia night. More importantly, I hope I’ve given you a better understanding of the importance of good hearing.
Effective communication, which is the basis for healthy relationships and pretty much everything else in our lives, depends on effective listening. And while perfect hearing doesn't guarantee you’ll be a good listener, I can guarantee you won’t be a good listener if your hearing is compromised.
If you suspect your hearing, or that of someone you know, might be less than ideal, knowing where to turn for answers is more than half the battle. We’ve provided a few resources to get you started on this website, and we'd be happy to chat more about it if and when you’re ready.
Simply call 250-914-3200 or stop in at 780-D 13th Avenue. No pressure. No judgment. Just honest answers.
And don't forget . . .
If you liked what you just read, or you found it beneficial in some way, please let us know. Pop into the clinic, give us a call or send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jana and I love what we do, and we love sharing our knowledge with you in these pages. It would really make us happy to know you’re enjoying it too!
Pop Quiz answer: Birds will cease chirping when danger is near; thus, when our prehistoric ancestors poked their heads out of their cave and heard birdsong, they knew there were no predators lurking nearby. Waves are relaxing for another reason: they lap the shore at approximately 12 cycles per minute, roughly the breathing frequency of a sleeping adult.
by Martin Jurek
Have you ever left a concert with a buzzing sensation ringing in your head?
Many of us experience some form of ringing in the ears occasionally, particularly after exposure to loud noises. Usually, the effect wears off quickly and painlessly. For some people, however, this ringing occurs often, without noticeable provocation and for prolonged periods – and it can be incredibly irritating.
Tinnitus, from the Latin word for ringing, is the term used for the sound a person hears when no external sound is in fact present. This phantom noise can be constant or fluctuating, mild or severe and may vary from a low roar to a high-pitched whistle. Depending on the person, it can also take the form of buzzing, gurgling, chirping or even music or other strange sounds.
Tinnitus is a condition rather than a disease, and its causes are numerous and varied. Excessive noise exposure, hearing loss, stress, lack of sleep, heavy smoking, use of certain medications, too much caffeine, too much salt and head injuries are some of the more common sources. Tinnitus itself can cause a number of secondary symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, anxiety, stress, inability to concentrate and insomnia. Unfortunately, these symptoms can often stimulate the tinnitus even more, leading to a vicious cycle.
An estimated 90 per cent of people with diminished hearing experience tinnitus, and I’ve seen many clients about this issue. Even mild hearing loss, from which many people don’t know they suffer, can cause tinnitus. If you’re experiencing ringing or other “internal” noises, a hearing test with a trained professional is a good place to start. He or she will have the experience and knowledge to help assess your particular condition and will offer advice on how to gain partial or complete relief from this frustrating condition.
by Martin Jurek
A friend of mine has severe arthritis in his left ankle, which makes him walk with a noticeable limp. Last weekend we hiked the Ripple Rock trail, and I had to constantly nag him to keep up. I found it really inconsiderate – and rude – of him to keep us from enjoying the trail at a reasonable pace. What a useless, lazy oaf.
Before you dismiss me as a heartless creep, let me assure you that this didn’t really happen. Like you, I realize how insensitive it sounds. I made up this scenario to make a point: that this is exactly how people with reduced hearing sensitivity are treated every day.
The burden of invisibility
Reduced hearing sensitivity is a very real condition that affects about one in 10 Canadians. But it’s an invisible condition. Without a limp, cane or other visual reminder to draw attention, it’s easy for others to forget – or never even realize – the condition exists.
In many cases, the person with reduced hearing sensitivity doesn’t even realize their hearing is affected. They don’t understand why everyone seems to be mumbling, why they’re mentally exhausted and grumpy at the end of the day or why they increasingly retreat from social interaction.
Its complexity and slow, progressive nature can also create confusion. A loss in the high frequencies, for example, often means someone can hear well in a small, carpeted computer room but not in a kitchen with tile flooring and a running dishwasher. Needless to say, this sort of “selective hearing” can create serious tension between partners and quickly lead to the kind of scorn and contempt described above.
We expect people with reduced hearing sensitivity to engage in conversation in noisy restaurants. We get annoyed (or ignore them entirely) when they ask us to repeat ourselves. We lose patience and accuse them of not listening when they miss important details.
It’s not fair, and it makes me sad to see it beat down so many good people and spoil so many otherwise loving relationships. By the same token, just as other people might be inconsiderate of someone with reduced hearing sensitivity, it’s just as inconsiderate of that person to do nothing and simply expect everyone around them to be patient.
A cure for annoying husbands?
In my practice, I’ve seen again and again how reduced hearing sensitivity can create serious tension between partners.
One couple I saw recently was having a particularly difficult time. The wife was upset with her husband because she thought he was ignoring her and because he continually disappeared whenever company came over. While she suspected his hearing sensitivity had changed somewhat, she thought he was taking advantage of the situation and was simply being rude. As you can imagine, their relationship suffered accordingly.
After completing her husband’s hearing test, I plugged the results into a hearing simulator and had the wife listen to a recorded story. When she heard for herself how her husband heard all the time – and realized how difficult it must be for him – she began to cry. She apologized profusely and promised to be more understanding.
These are the moments I live for; the moment someone suddenly understands just how profound an effect reduced hearing can have on one’s life and realizes how unfair society is to people whose hearing is less than perfect.
As a society, we demand wheelchair ramps for public buildings and audio signals for the visually impaired. But nobody cares that the acoustics of the local church, or the constant hum of a furnace at the local community centre, are torturous to 10% of the population.
Get to know your hearing
I truly love what I do. It’s not the tinkering with electronics that I love (although I do enjoy that), or the bookkeeping and other paperwork (I sincerely dislike that). It’s watching how dramatically lives and relationships can be improved with better hearing – and even with the mere understanding of what the world sounds like through the ears of someone with reduced hearing sensitivity.
Most people with reduced hearing sensitivity don’t even know it. So if you recognize any of the scenarios above, or you have any reason to suspect your hearing isn’t as sharp as it once was, you owe it to yourself and the people around you to get it checked out.
We’d be happy to provide you with a complimentary hearing assessment, and we’ll even let you experience the hearing simulator I mentioned earlier.
Every decision about your health and your hearing, of course, is yours and yours alone. We’re not going to pressure you or try to “sell” you anything – I don’t like it when people do that to me and I’m certainly not going to do it to you. If I can help you better understand the complexities of hearing sensitivity, though, I’ve done my job. If I can provide you with a solution that will improve your relationships and quality of life, then I’ve really done my job.
You can call me, if and when you’re ready, at 250-914-3200.
by Martin Jurek
Thank-you for referring your friends, family and co-workers to Campbell River Hearing Clinic. You know who you are: a client who’s rediscovered the simple joy of hearing; a physician who’s trusted us to provide the best care for your patients; or perhaps just a casual stranger with whom I once struck up a conversation.
Whatever the reason you referred us, we sincerely appreciate it. We look forward to helping many more of your friends and neighbours improve their quality of life through better hearing, and we’re truly grateful that you’ve become a part of that mission. So thank-you.
Let’s face it . . .
Advertising is expensive. When we first came to Campbell River four years ago, it was tough building our business. We didn’t have nearly the advertising budget of the big hearing care chains (and we still don’t). But we worked hard, gave what we felt was great service and treated our clients with respect. Today, more than 70% of our new clients are referred to us by a doctor, friend or colleague.
You’re bombarded with advertising messages every minute of the day, with each advertiser saying they’re better than the last. So rather than use this space to add to the clutter, I wanted to simply write something from the heart: Thank-you.
Your positive outcomes and glowing words have made our business what it is, and we truly appreciate every one of your referrals.
Thank-you for trusting us with your hearing care
Thank-you for sharing your success story with others
Thank-you for referring us to your friends, co-workers, family or patients
Thank-you for being a part of this community we love so much.
A special thanks to two special ladies
I get a real rush whenever clients tell me how I’ve helped improve their life by helping them hear better. It’s why I love what I do. But I’d like to acknowledge the two truly unsung heroes of Campbell River Hearing Clinic: Jana Jurek and Janeen Matheson.
Janeen, you’re generally the first friendly voice our clients hear when they call the clinic and the first smiling face they see when they walk through our door. You’re extremely personable, our clients love you and you deserve to be acknowledged for the great work you do. Thank-you.
Jana, you know as well as I do that you’re the heart, soul and brains of this operation. You work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure we can give our clients the kind of service that makes them want to refer us, but rarely do you get the appreciation you deserve. So thank-you. You’re my wife, my business partner and my soul mate, I couldn’t do any of this without you.
Thank-you For helping us help Campbell River hear better
Have you purchased hearing aids from us and are not completely satisfied? I know how it feels to pay for something but not get exactly what you’d hoped for. Let me assure you: if you’re not completely satisfied with the performance of your hearing devices, there’s ALWAYS something more we can do. Please bring them in, and we’ll adjust them for you until your hearing is the best it can possibly be. And remember: there’s NEVER a cost for this additional service.
by Martin Jurek
There’s a place down by Salmon Point, just a short drive from Campbell River, where Jana and I like to go for walks. There, removed from even the ubiquitous din of highway traffic, we’re able to fully immerse ourselves in the therapeutic solitude of nature.
As we walk, sparrows, flickers and other songbirds twitter a melodic harmony that melts even the most deeply lodged remnants of weekday stress. A warm spring breeze rustles gently as it glides through the cedars, while the calm waters of the Salish Sea lap unfalteringly against the pebbled beach.
These sounds are like therapy. Mother Nature’s soothing soundtrack is a perfect little pill that we can pop whenever life’s hustle becomes too much or we simply need a spiritual reset.
But here’s the thing . . .
I know not everyone can hear these soothing sounds that give Jana and me so much cathartic pleasure.
As our hearing sensitivity begins to change, it’s these soft sounds that are generally the first to go. Most of the 3.5 million Canadians living with reduced hearing sensitivity, in fact, don't even realize it. So think carefully . . . how many of these soul-soothing sounds are missing from your life?
The satisfying crackle of a campfire . . .
The soothing burble of a forest brook . . .
The gentle tapping of the morning rain on your rooftop . . .
The sizzle of bacon in a Sunday morning skillet . . .
The tender “I love you” whispered in a warm embrace . . .
It’s more serious than you think
I’ve seen too many relationships taxed to the brink because of an undiagnosed or otherwise unnoticed change in hearing. A husband will complain that his wife is constantly mumbling, for example, or a wife will accuse her husband of constantly ignoring her. These are just two of the most obvious ways a change in hearing can slowly erode the quality of your life.
Studies have shown that our hearing can also have a significant affect on other areas of our health. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, for example, recently found that individuals with an untreated change in hearing sensitivity also face an elevated risk of dementia. Another survey showed significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and other psychosocial disorders.
Make no mistake about it: this is serious stuff.
Yet I can’t help but be drawn back to the simple, subtle pleasures we derive from sound, like the ones Jana and I enjoy at Salmon Point. What does it mean to miss out on the background sounds of life? Like Schindler’s List without John Williams’ heart-wrenching soundtrack, life’s simplest pleasures can easily become void of emotional meaning or complexity.
Living with reduced hearing sensitivity is like walking through life with tunnel vision; the true crime is that you rarely realize the significance of what you’re missing.
If you suspect that you or someone you love may be missing some of life’s finer details, I encourage you to find out more about how to recognize and deal with changes in hearing sensitivity. We’ve provided a few resources to get you started on our Hearing Solutions page.
Every decision about your health and your hearing, of course, is yours and yours alone – and that includes whether or not to book a complimentary hearing assessment. If we can provide you with information when you want it, and be here to answer any questions you might have, then we’ve done our job.
But if we can also help you rediscover the full beauty and aural complexity of this wonderful thing we call existence – well, that would be music to my ears.
Last week we had Lee Simmons from Island Life Photographics come out to our office and take a few pictures of us. I enjoyed the session with Lee, really nice to work with and he even shared some pro photo tips with me.
He just sent me this picture.
Thank you Lee for the nice picture, I can’t wait to see the rest.
No wonder people like to come to Campbell River Hearing Clinic, look at the nice people that work there, especially the two good looking ladies.
While many of us are aware of the frustration felt by those suffering from hearing loss, few really appreciate the seriousness of the problem. Recent studies have shown a link between hearing deterioration, stress and disease. And with one in 10 Canadians living with some degree of hearing loss, it’s an issue that can’t be ignored.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, for example, recently found that individuals with untreated hearing loss have a higher risk of dementia. For every 10 decibels of hearing loss, that risk increases 20 per cent. Another study published in the International Journal of Audiology noted that employees with hearing loss are five times more likely than their co-workers to experience stress so severe that they require more sick days.
Still another survey, this one of nearly 4,000 adults with hearing loss, showed significantly elevated rates of depression, anxiety and other psychosocial disorders in those whose hearing loss is left untreated.
This is serious stuff. In the case of dementia, though the exact cause remains undetermined, researchers surmise that the extra effort needed to decipher information via the ears draws upon energy that may be needed for things like working memory.
Even mild hearing loss takes energy, be it compensating with the other senses or constantly having to be focused and alert. Add to that the stress and depression that often accompany hearing loss due to feelings of isolation, confusion and anxiety, and it’s no wonder hearing loss can make us so vulnerable.
If you suspect your hearing may be in decline, get tested. And if you already wear hearing aids, get them checked regularly to make sure you’re not elevating your risk of other conditions. In fact, even if no hearing loss is suspected, having your hearing checked regularly will establish a baseline for future reference. Most hearing clinics offer free screenings, so take advantage of them.
Because hearing loss affects so much more than your ears.
Jana and I have been fortunate to spend three weeks with our boys on a wonderful trip. We got back week ago Friday and spent the last week catching up at the office. This week we are going to spend two days in Port McNeill and we will be all caught up.
On April 13 we flew to New Zealand for a family holiday. We rented a small motor home and toured New Zealand for 22 days. It was a great holiday. We started out in Christchurch, made a loop around the South Island and then headed north. We ended up in Auckland. We did a lot of driving and exploring; some of us enjoyed the driving more then others. At the end of our trip we spent a few days enjoying the beautiful beaches of New Zealand. It was the beginning of their fall and the weather was great. If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can check out my blog. I recorded our experiences and posted a few pictures there.
One in 10 Canadians is living with hearing loss.
80% don’t even realize it.
Do you ever wonder if everyone else finds it as difficult as you do to follow a conversation in a noisy environment? Do you get frustrated that your spouse speaks so quietly, or mumbles incoherently? Do long meetings or conversations leave you feeling drained?
Even mild hearing loss will cause increased listening effort, which can make life decidedly less enjoyable – not just for you, but for everyone around you. Conversations get shorter, less spontaneous and more to the point. Eventually, they’re avoided almost entirely.
Consciously or not, hearing loss you might not even know you have can cause you to retreat ever further from the ones you love. And as you do, your relationships crumble.
Could you be living with hearing loss and not even know it? Call 250-914.3200 for a free hearing assessment. Because it’s better to know than to not know.
Hearing aids alone won’t solve the problem.
Expecting to hear perfectly by simply purchasing a hearing aid is like getting hip surgery and expecting to dance out of the operating room. A hearing aid is just the beginning – it’s going to take time, and a trusted relationship with a hearing care professional, to restore your hearing.
3 crucial ingredients for restored hearing and communication:
1. Your readiness and motivation
The greater the degree of hearing loss, and the longer you’ve lived with it, the longer it will take to make new sounds sound “normal.” So you have to be ready to be patient. Don’t worry though – your investment will pay off in the improved quality of your relationships.
2. Your hearing care provider
Ultimately, a successful solution to hearing loss hinges on the relationship you establish with your hearing care professional, and the trust inherent in that relationship. He or she will be your guide as you re-learn the listening and communication skills that may have atrophied due to hearing loss.
Perception and comfort level is different for every individual – so even though many precise measurements are taken to prescribe and program appropriate device settings, there is still an “art” component to a successful hearing solution. The person programming your hearing instruments needs to be highly discerning and sensitive to how these variables apply to you.
3. Your hearing instrument
Yes, hearing aids are important too. The most important considerations are that they give you excellent sound quality and are comfortable, reliable and easy to use with minimal effort on your part. In fact, you should forget you’re wearing them at all.
With so many features, styles and price points, choosing a hearing device can be daunting. Your hearing care provider can help determine the most appropriate solution based on your degree and type of hearing loss, your listening needs and several other factors.
It’s all about YOU
At Campbell River Hearing Clinic, we can help you hear better, but our main objective is to help you listen and communicate better. What we won’t do is try to “sell” you anything. We don't like it when people do it to us, and we’d feel bad ourselves if we did it to you.
We will, however, help you find the information you need to make informed decisions about your hearing. If we can help you beyond that, it will be when you’re ready.
After reading the newspaper today, I found this pleasant surprise. It warms my heart and makes my day when I receive a compliment from a grateful client, it encourages me to try even harder.
Can you relate to some of these challenges?
Here is a link to a video that describes the challenges of living with someone who has hearing loss. Even a mild hearing loss can cause the difficulties described in this video.
Click this link to watch video: Gill and John
Campbell River Rotary TV Auction Donation
When the 38th Annual Rotary TV Auction takes place later this month, successful bidders will walk away with good deals while helping a great cause. For one lucky person, though, a winning bid will also mean a whole new quality of life.
In support of the auction, we are donating a complete hearing aid package valued at more than $7,700 that will be up for bid with no reserve. Because of its expense, we want anyone who’s considering bidding on the item to understand the value of the package so they can feel comfortable placing a bid.
What we’re offering are the most advanced hearing instruments available. We’re also including a wireless package that connects to the wearer’s TV, home phone, cell phone, computer or iPad. I’ll personally make a house call to install these devices should the successful bidder need help with set-up.
Just as important – if not more so – as the device itself, is the custom set-up, unlimited precision fine-tuning and Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) therapy that are also included with the package. Using a combination of counselling and interactive software, LACE therapy effectively “retrains the brain” to decipher speech.
Here's what else is included...
It’s not like getting a pair of glasses. You can’t just throw in some hearing aids and expect to hear perfectly, yet 97 per cent of hearing practitioners overlook this crucial therapy. The winner of this package, like every one of our clients, gets free lifetime follow-up appointments, including fittings, cleaning, maintenance and adjustments due to hearing change.
The donation is simply a way to show our commitment to, and appreciation of, this community.
The Campbell River Rotary TV Auction
First off, Rotary International is a great organization. Three years ago, when Jana and I were looking for a place to live and start our hearing clinic, it was the Sea Walk, Rotary Beach Park and Ken Ford Park that impressed us as we drove along the highway. Contributing to the Rotary Auction is a way of thanking the community and all the people who make it so great.
The Rotary TV Auction takes place November 23 and 24 on Shaw Cable, with online pre-bidding opening November 14 at http://www.rotarytvauction.com. All funds raised will be reinvested in local community projects.
I would strongly encourage anyone considering this item to visit Campbell River Hearing Clinic at 780-D 13th Avenue, or online at http://www.tohear.ca, to learn more about hearing aids and hearing rehabilitation. To schedule a free hearing assessment, call us at 250-914-3200.
Come and see our booth at the Fifty Plus Changing Lifestyles Showcase at the Campbell River Community Centre. Some fun things you can do:
• Listen to a simulation of hearing loss.
• Do you know how loud it is?
• Find some (deliberate☺) spelling mistakes on our big banner to enter a draw for a gift card.
See you there!
Here is a link to the event: http://www.welcomewagon.ca/en/fiftyplus/search.php?event_id=1242
One important part of successful hearing loss treatment is having the right expectations. This is a good article discussing just that.
If you’re one of the estimated 26 million Americans who suffers from hearing loss and have decided to purchase hearing aids, congratulations. Gradually losing your hearing is a normal part of the aging process and, in most cases, these devices can greatly improve your ability to communicate. But nothing is perfect. Here are some things you might experience when wearing hearing aids.
Read more about it here.
A colleague of mine recently wrote this article and I strongly agree with his oppinion.
As an Audiologist, I can’t tell you how many clients come into my office and say the following: “I had a hearing test once and it showed my hearing was down but the doctor told me that it was normal for my age.” One recent client expressed how insulted she was that the doctor assumed, because she was a senior, good hearing wasn’t important to her (she was 89 by the way!). I would have to strongly agree with her feelings and my blood boils every time I hear another account of how a health professional, however well-meaning, mis-informs their patient.”
Read more about it here.
Hear this married couple talk about daily challenges related to hearing loss and how they cope. Gill and John video.
Self-monitoring may help you realize that your family and friends are not just picking on you, but rather, that you do have hearing difficulties. These difficulties can cause problems not only for you, but also for family members, coworkers, and friends.
“What? You think I have a hearing loss?” If you are like many people, you may be surprised when friends and family suggest that you have a hearing problem. You may think to yourself “I hear what people say. I don’t know why they think I have a hearing loss.”
Read more about here.
To be a successful user of hearing aids the following process needs to happen. If one or more of the steps are skipped, it is very likely the hearing aids will end up in the drawer.
- Acceptance of the hearing loss
- Motivation to hear and listen better
- Realistic expectations
- Thorough hearing and lifestyle evaluation
- Selection of an appropriate hearing instrument
- Aural rehabilitation (a process of teaching the brain to listen with the new sounds)
- Careful fine-tuning of the hearing instruments to fit the clients preferences
- Ongoing care and maintenance
Many people do not realize that hearing aids are only one part of the solution. If you or someone you know has hearing aids in the drawer maybe it is time to get some help. We are up to the challenge – are you? Call or stop by for some free advice.
On the Healthy Hearing website there's a great article about advances in treating Tinnitus.
Advances in Treating Tinnitus and Understanding this Increasingly Common Hearing Disorder to be Presented at UB Conference
Read more about here.
Less than 3% of patients are receiving auditory retraining software programs to help with their aural rehabilitation. An article at betterhearing.org discusses the importance of optimizing the hearing aid experience. From Better Hearing's article:
This article stresses to the consumer the following:
- The mere use of hearing aids will not produce optimal improvement in hearing unless accompanied by training.
- The process of better hearing requires the patient to become an active participant.
- Modern computer technology now allows people with hearing loss to train their brain to listen and focus thus optimizing the use of hearing aids.
- Using the listening skills acquired through self-pace computer training, along with the employment of communication strategies for people with hearing loss, and the advanced features of hearing aids such as directional microphones, telecoils or wireless technology consumers will be well on their way to improving their ability to communicate more effectively in the world of sound.