The Hidden Costs of Not Understanding - Part 2

Why won’t he just get his hearing checked?

A day in the life of “Polly”  

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series outlining a real-life example of a fictitious couple named “Phil and Polly” and their day-to-day struggle of living with hearing loss.

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series outlining a real-life example of a fictitious couple named “Phil and Polly” and their day-to-day struggle of living with hearing loss.

7 am Polly’s quiet time

It’s early on a crisp, Saturday morning in Charlotte, NC, and our friend Polly is seated in her favorite chair by the sunroom, sipping a fresh cup of hot coffee, enjoying the peaceful quiet of the summer morning.

It’s Polly’s favorite time of the day.  For years now, she’s made it a practice to enjoy this quiet time to herself, reading her devotions, preparing her ‘To Do’ list for the day, and mentally planning for what’s ahead.

Since Polly retired several years ago, most of her days are spent with her husband, Phil. This fall, they will have been married 43 years.  But, these days, their time together isn’t as fun and full of love as she envisioned this time of their lives would be.  Polly just doesn’t feel as connected to Phil as she once did.

 

8:30 am Breakfast with friends

Every Saturday morning, Phil and Polly meet a group of long-time friends at their favorite spot for a biscuit and enjoy catching up.  They both order the same thing every Saturday morning and look forward to this time, but lately, Polly has begun to dread going out in public settings with Phil.

Polly noticed about three years ago that in noisy places like restaurants, Phil started asking Polly to repeat what was being said by those in the room.  For example, this morning, while enjoying breakfast with their friends, a funny story about the grandkids was shared and eventually, loud, joyful laughter among the group erupted.  Such good times!  

 Phil finally heard someone say, “Those grandkids will say anything, won’t they?”

After the laughter ended, Phil leaned over to Polly and quietly asked, “What did they just say?”  And of course, Polly obliged like she normally does.  As Polly usually does when Phil asks, she repeated the entire story directly into his “good” ear so Phil could feel included in the conversation. 

Even though Polly knew Phil couldn’t help it – she was beginning to resent having to re-tell things to Phil.  

It was like she was his hearing aid!

Even though Polly knows Phil can’t help it – she’s beginning to resent having to re-tell things to Phil all the time.  

It’s almost like she is his hearing aid!

11:00 am Polly tidies up the house

After breakfast and now at home, Polly does her daily routine of putting away the dishes from last night’s dinner and sweeping the kitchen floor.   The news is at full volume on the TV, and Phil is in his recliner in their adjacent living room, catching up on the latest Carolina Panthers news and reading the newspaper.   

Polly asks Phil from the next room to bring her the dust pan.  Phil just seems to ignore her.  

Polly thinks to herself, “Surely, he can hear me calling him, right?  He’s just ignoring me because he doesn’t want to get up from that chair… I hate it when he does this.”  

“Phil, can you please bring me that dust pan?  Phil?!  Honey, I need that dust pan – can you bring it in here? My hands are full.”  Polly raises her voice and gets louder each time she repeats herself. 

Phil was simply in the next room and not answering!  Frustrated, she sets everything down and gets the dustpan herself. She thinks to herself, “It’s just easier to do this by myself,” and continues her day.

 

7:00 pm After dinner frustration 

Polly and Phil have invited the kids and grandkids over tomorrow after church for dinner.  It’s been a week or more since they’ve been over and Polly can’t wait to see her grandkids. She’s been preparing their favorite food and getting ready most of the afternoon.  

Polly’s family means the world to her and naturally, she wants everything to be just right. 

As Polly walks by the dining room table, she remembers how cramped they were last time, so she asks Phil, “Can you please put the leaf in the table for tomorrow?  You know we always need the extra room when the kids come.”  

No response from Phil who’s in the other room.  “Phil, did you hear me?  Can we put the leaf in the table?”  Still no response. 

Annoyed and frustrated, and after repeating herself 2-3 times, Polly storms into the living room where Phil is and starts yelling, “WHY are you ignoring me?!?”  

Phil is relaxing in his chair, watching his beloved Jeopardy (at full volume). When confronted by a very frustrated Polly, Phil jumps up out of his chair in total surprise. 

“I didn’t hear you, honey – What’s wrong?  What do you need?” he asks, almost dumbfounded. 

Polly throws her hands up in irritation and surrender. “Never mind. I’ll just get it myself.”  Polly is put out with the entire ordeal.

As she turns to leave the room, she stops and faces Phil and with an edgy, matter-of-fact tone states, “You NEED to get your hearing checked, Phil. I can’t take this much longer.”

Phil responds with a familiar answer, “I hear just fine!  If you all would just speak up and stop mumbling, we could avoid all this!  I mean, why would anybody go to another room and try to ask someone a question anyway? WHY do you always do that, and then get MAD because I didn’t hear you!?!”


Does this sound familiar?


Phil is confused and a little embarrassed. Polly is furious, frustrated and weary.

Phil and Polly don’t feel connected anymore; communication with each other is harder than it’s ever been.

Polly loves Phil with all her heart – after all, they had been sweethearts since they were teenagers, and been together 43 years.  

Although theirs is a love story that’s been through so much, being unable to communicate with Phil because he refuses to get his hearing checked is more than Polly can endure.  

Something has to change.  


What’s next?

In Part 3, we’ll learn how Phil is dealing with his own desperate feelings of isolation.

  • Everyone around him seems to mumble these days!  

  • We’ll look at what’s causing so many misunderstandings between he and Polly. 

In Part 4, we’ll see what a visit to Nanna and Papa’s look like from the kids and grandkids’ perspective.  

  • Although the kids and grandkids love their grandparents, find out what they really think about going to visit them.

  • We’ll learn the single, fastest way to improve relations with your spouse (and other loved ones).

 

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series outlining real-life examples of a fictitious couple named “Phil and Polly” and their day-to-day struggle of living with hearing loss.  

Click here if you missed Part 1


About the author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

The Hidden Costs of Not Understanding - Part 1

You’re hired!

You’re hired!

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. 

Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.  A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. 

The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. 

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. 

Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Thank you all very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.” 

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!” 

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ 

All of you heard it, but none of you understood it. This young man did. The job is his.” 

This is a great example of hearing a message, but not understanding a message.

Hearing the message, but not understanding the message, could be costing you dearly.
— Dr. Kurt Wright

The Cautionary Tale of Phil & Polly: Has this ever happened to you?

In these next few posts, we’ll outline real-world stories about a fictitious couple named Phil and Polly (we’ve changed the names to protect the innocent).  

We’ll be sharing situations and circumstances they experience every day.   

Can you relate?

In these next few posts, we’ll be addressing things like:

·     How to know if that feeling of isolation you’re experiencing is due to difficulty of hearing.

·     If you have difficulty hearing, here’s what your family members really think.  (If you continually ask them to repeat themselves, this is how they feel about that).

·     Everyone mumbles these days, right?  Wrong!  We’ll explain what causes so many misunderstandings. 

·     The truth about hearing loss – and how it’s affecting your closest relationships.

·     The single, fastest way to improve relations with your spouse (and other loved ones).

·     Here’s a secret: your family and loved ones may not want to talk to you, and the steps you can take to prevent this from happening.

·     What you need to know about hearing aids, hearing tests and hearing doctors (Doctors of Audiology).

·     Do you make this mistake when you can’t understand a question you were just asked? If you do, better be ready to fake it!

·     The #1 reason why your loved one doesn’t talk to you as much as they once did.

·     Do Doctors of Audiology have a secret that other hearing providers in box stores don’t want you to know?

·     What NEVER to do if you misunderstand or can’t hear an important conversation.


We’ll email you a link to the Phil & Polly article series, or it will appear here on the Manna Audiology blog. Be on the look-out for these stories and you can tell us:

Does this sound familiar?

(This is part 1 of a 4-part series devoted to the feelings associated with experiencing hearing loss, as depicted through the relationship of “Phil & Polly”)


About the author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

How to Survive the Spring & Stuffy Ears

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Spring is one of our favorite seasons! The weather is warming up and moving us all outdoors to thaw from the long winter. However, these erratic seasonal changes during Spring can wreck havoc on our allergies, our sinuses and even our hearing.

Pollen means allergies, which means histamines. This means more mucus production which can impact our hearing since the sinuses and ears are connected. Increased sinus pressure can mean more middle ear fluid, which can impact our hearing.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, seasonal allergies affect between 10 and 30 percent of adults in the U.S. and as many as 40 percent of children, which means as many as 60 million people in the U.S. suffer from not only sneezing, itchy eyes and sinus pressure, but ear pressure as well.

The ear pressure we sometimes feel is due to middle ear fluid building up as a result of allergies, barometric pressure changes, or middle ear conditions. This can not only cause a feeling of fullness or pressure, but can also cause conductive hearing loss as a result of sound being prevented from traveling to the cochlea or inner ear. 

Another risk of excessive fluid build-up when the Eustachian tubes aren’t functioning properly is ear infections; this fluid build-up provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. 

The ear pressure we sometimes feel is due to middle ear fluid building up as a result of allergies, barometric pressure changes, or middle ear conditions.
— Dr. Kurt Wright

How to cope with stuffy ears

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants might help relieve the problem of middle ear fluid, if it is caused by allergies

  • Lack of exercise reduces fluid movement, so we recommend low to moderate exercise as a way to combat stuffy ears

  • A low-sodium diet, or eating fruits and vegetables that act as diuretics—grapes, watermelon, celery, bell peppers and asparagus all offer health benefits that include reducing fluid retention

If you are experiencing continuous pressure in the middle ear, this could eventually result in hearing loss. If you are experiencing any changes in your hearing, see a Doctor of Audiology or otolaryngologist (ENT) to make sure the problem isn’t something more serious.


Moisture could affect your hearing aids

Spring also brings challenges for those with hearing aids, as the rise in allergens and wet weather means paying closer attention to maintenance and upkeep of hearing devices. For example, increased allergens can clog microphone ports in hearing aids, so be sure to clean hearing aids regularly and replace covers of mic ports when necessary.

Along with allergens, Spring is accompanied by heat, humidity, rain and extreme temperature changes. Moisture is the enemy of some older hearing aid models, as it can build up in the tubing, damage the microphone and receiver and cause static. In addition, warm weather means more ear wax build-up, which can clog the sound openings.

4 tips to keep your hearing aids dry & working properly

Many of the hearing technologies we’re fitting today in our Charlotte, NC location are water resistant and aren’t affected by light rains or regular water conditions. However, if your current hearing device is older, make sure your hearing aids stay working properly during wet weather. Our tips:

If you suspect any hearing changes or loss, be sure to see a Doctor of Audiology - especially if your hearing problems persist after allergy season ends.

We want you to enjoy the beautiful sounds of Spring this year, and for years to come!

What are your favorite parts of Spring?


About the author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

How Noise Exposure Affects Our Hearing

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Excessive noise exposure can cause hearing loss and/or a condition called Tinnitus. 

 Studies have shown that during World War II, for example, we knew very little about the effects of soldiers’ prolonged exposure to loud blasts or pulse signals from guns firing repeatedly. In Vietnam and the Korean War, we saw some improvement, but today, we do a much better job and are more aware of hearing conservation education for our troops, and as a society in general.

 For example, we have ear foam, insertable ear plugs that do a wonderful job of keeping loud noises from doing permanent, irreversible damage to our ears, but this must consistently be explained, trained and reiterated.  Users can forget or get lazy – and without knowing it – don’t put the plugs in properly, or the plugs don’t go down into the ear canal as deeply as directed.  

When the ear plugs are not properly inserted, our noise exposure is at a higher risk, and we can damage our hearing or develop a condition called Tinnitus, or what some often describe as a “ringing” in the ear.   

Tinnitus is actually our brain detecting an internal sound with no external sound source.
— Dr. Kurt Wright

Common causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus doesn’t always develop from noise exposure; some patients develop a ringing in their ears as a result of:

  • Ear wax build-up, putting pressure on the ear drum

  • High blood pressure

  • A change or switch in medication


Any number of causes or conditions could be contributing to the ringing in our ears.  

A thorough exam from a Doctor of Audiology should be scheduled to determine the cause, and appropriate treatment of the ringing.

In our office at Manna Audiology in the Charlotte, NC area, we generally see two types of patients:

  • Patient A:  hears the ringing and yet has learned to cope.  These patients have trained their brains to put the sounds “in the background” of their auditory system, and live healthy, functional lives.

  • Patient B: hears the ringing and yet are utterly distressed to the point where they can’t hear, focus or function due to the intensity of the ringing in their ears.

Since there’s no cure for Tinnitus, our goal with treatment is to for Patient B to achieve the same state as Patient A.   And, we do this through a variety of re-training methods, and sometimes through fitting the patient with special hearing aids.

Around 80% of the patients I fit with hearing aids report that the device masks the ringing, and find some level of benefit.  Through a calibration process from a Doctor of Audiology, some hearing aids today are able to attain the frequency of the ringing, and withdraw it while masking the ringing with ‘other’ sounds like white noise, or simulated environmental sounds like the very faint sounds of falling rain or ocean waves.

While there’s currently no cure, if you have Tinnitus, there is hope!

3 Steps to maintain healthy hearing 

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.  

  2. Avoid excessive exposure to loud noises and over-exposure to unsafe decibel levels; either avoid these noises or be equipped with ear foam inserts that are properly and deeply inserted into the ear canal

  3. See a Doctor of Audiology for an evaluation upon the first sign of ringing, discomfort or any type of hearing loss. 

Have you ever experienced an unexplained ringing in your ears?  

If so, schedule an evaluation with a Doctor of Audiology today to determine a course of treatment that fits your condition and your lifestyle.


About the author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

Is Hearing Loss Affecting Your Relationships?

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If communication is key to healthy relationships – could hearing loss be impacting how you interact with those you love the most?

Many of our patients have shared that hearing loss has left them with feelings like frustration, and even resentment among couples and family members, mostly because day-to-day communication is so difficult.


Do any of these sound familiar?

·     Frustration

·     Resentment

·     Personal isolation

·     Loneliness, as in one or both partners feel like you’re missing out on companionship

·     Withdrawal from social interactions 

·     Declining invitations to social activities

·     Decrease in intimate discussions or joking with your family members

·     Less shared activities like watching television

·     Minimal communication, or even miscommunication


A visit to an audiologist can be the very first step on the road to renewed relationships and a refreshed vigor for life.  A Doctor of Audiology can help you explore a multitude of treatment options like hearing aids, which can:

·     Restore relational communication

·     Increase relationship satisfaction

·     Allow you to feel included in social interactions

·     Improve your overall quality of life


Our patients’ relationships with the people they care about are at stake – what could be more important?

At Manna Audiology, relationships matter.  

Questions:  

·     How are your relationships with the people you care about?  

·     Could they be better?  

·     What steps can you take today to make them the very best possible?

Our patients’ relationships with the people they care about are at stake – what could be more important?

About the author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

17 Questions to ask at your next hearing appointment

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Wow! It’s 2019 – Happy New Year! 

Hopefully you enjoyed the holidays with loved ones, and connected with family and friends - after all, these are the things that matter.

While you were indulging in that third cup of eggnog at the holiday party, did you happen to notice any difficulty hearing those around you? Could you clearly hear the music at the holiday band concert?

Should improving your hearing be on your list of resolutions for 2019?  

If so, we know what you want:  the best care possible, no surprises, and the highest value for your money. 

At Manna Audiology, we believe our patients’ success comes from dialogue and thorough communication between you and your hearing care staff.  Part of having the right conversation involves asking the right questions.


Part of having the right conversation involves asking the right questions.
— Dr. Kurt Wright, Au.D.

If you’re considering getting help with your hearing, we recommend it be from a licensed, Doctor of Audiology. Don’t waste your time or money with anything less.

In addition, while you’re at the appointment, there will come a moment where the doctor pushes his chair back, looks you in the eye and asks, “OK - what questions do you have for me?”

This is where the fun begins.   

At your visit, here are 17 questions we recommend asking:

  1. Given my type of hearing, how successful should I expect my results to be?

  2. How do I know that these hearing instruments are helping me hear my very best? 

  3. What’s the verification that I’m hearing at an optimal level?

  4. How will this treatment fit with my lifestyle?

  5. Will I be able to enjoy music again?

  6. Will I be able to use a telephone?

  7. How much will my speech understanding improve?

  8. Can I upgrade if the technology improves in future years?

  9. What happens when I need maintenance or repairs?

  10. Where can I find more information on what to expect?

  11. What will happen if my hearing changes?

  12. How will I know if my hearing changes?

  13. How do I care for my device?

  14. What assistive listening devices can help me?

  15. How long will my device last?  

  16. How should I contact you with questions, and what would the response time be?

  17. How much does this hearing treatment cost, and is it covered by insurance?

Important if you DO NOT purchase a hearing aid from a Doctor of Audiology, or professional hearing center, there’s a very good chance the staff will not be able to answer many of these questions, which could cost you time, money and overall satisfaction.  

Some closing thoughts

·     If you have an upcoming visit with an audiologist and are curious about what to expect, visit our blog post here that explains everything you need to know about what to expect at your audiologist appointment.

·     If you have visited one of the big box stores in Charlotte and were not pleased with the answers you received, you could really benefit from speaking with a Doctor of Audiologist.  

Call our office at 704-321-4629, located conveniently just outside Charlotte in Matthews, NC, and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

Question:  what other questions would you add to our list?


About the Author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

Gratitude, Giving Thanks, and of course, Pumpkin Bread

This Thanksgiving, we are especially grateful for you.

To our wonderful patients, our families, our online community, our supporters in Matthews, NC, and the Greater Charlotte, NC area, and beyond - it’s such an honor to be a part of your life.

To celebrate your allowing Manna Audiology to serve your hearing needs, and since many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving, we are sharing a delicious recipe that Dr. Wright’s wife, Deb, makes for our family to enjoy over the holidays.

If you try this recipe for Pumpkin Bread, please let us know how it turned out.

Enjoy!


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Deb’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups - sifted flour

  • 2 TBS - baking powder

  • 1 TSP - baking soda

  • 1 TBS - salt

  • 1 TBS - cinnamon

  • 1/2 TSP - nutmeg

  • 2 Cups - solid pack pumpkin

  • 2 Cups - sugar

  • 1 Cup - milk

  • 4 Eggs

  • 1/2 Cup - softened butter

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

  • Mix first 6 ingredients together

  • Mix next 5 ingredients in a separate bowl

  • Combine together

  • Grease 2 loaf pans and fill

Bake for 45 minutes or when toothpick comes clean. Serve and enjoy - YUM!


About the Author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

Is Technology REALLY our Friend?

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Have you ever had that moment of panic or anxiety when using your smart phone?  You know the feeling - all of a sudden, something on the screen doesn’t look right and you don’t know what’s going on?  I know I have.

If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s (or older) you’re considered a member of the baby boomer generation.  Our kids and grandkids roll their eyes at how tech-savvy some of us aren’t, and make good-humored but snarky comments when we ask questions about iPhones and iPads and computers.  

Trying to keep up with all this technology is hard work!  But believe it or not, research and development with hearing aids and hearing technology is aggressive, and the benefits have never been easier to take advantage of.

Believe it or not, research and development with hearing aids and hearing technology is aggressive, and the benefits have never been easier to take advantage of.
— Dr. Kurt Wright

It may not be of vital importance to have the latest version of the iPhone, but as an audiologist in the Charlotte area, I strongly recommend you pursue the very latest technology when it comes to hearing aids.

If you already have hearing aids, here are some things to consider:

·     How old are your hearing aids?  

·     How long has it been since you had your hearing aids programmed?  

·     Have they ever been programmed?

·     Have you had a significant change in hearing?  

·     Are your hearing aids working as well as they did when they were new?

·     Do your hearing aids fit as comfortably as they used to?

·     Has your lifestyle changed since your last purchase?

·     Do the hearing aids make odd sounds, distort, or just don’t give you the sound clarity that they used to?

Fun Fact:  the average lifespan of hearing aids is about 4.5 to 5 years. 

If your hearing aids are 7 years old and you feel they still work “good enough” – the facts are, the processing power is not as strong as it once was, which can create sound distortion you may not even be noticing.  

Or maybe you are…

When hearing aids don’t work as well as they’re designed to, our brain has to strain and work harder to hear, which can leave us feeling fatigued and tired.   

Does that sound familiar?

If you’re considering hearing aids, but have concerns, here are some things to know:

·     Connective technology that syncs with our phones allows us to talk on our phone or stream our favorite music in high definition, right through our hearing aids – all at the touch of a button

·     Devices that pair hearing aids with our televisions are common-place now, so no more asking the family to “turn up the volume”

·     Ear-to-ear technology allows your hearing aids to make environmental decisions by communicating with each other, making listening in difficult environments much more comfortable

·     Our patients have noticed significant improvements in listening performance – whether it’s having more clarity when talking to friends or family with softer voices, or the ability to discern voices in a restaurant or noisy environment.

 Today’s hearing technology is smarter, better, faster and easier than ever before – and most people will never even know you’re wearing them.

If you’re interviewing audiologists, make certain your audiologist can:

·     Speak intelligently about the very latest hearing technology

·     Explain the benefits of hearing technology to you and your lifestyle 

·     Demonstrate how hearing better can help you focus on the things that matter

Things to think about:

  • Are you already benefiting from the latest hearing technology?

  • What would life look like if you could hear better?

  • What’s holding you back from finding out?


About the Author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each Charlotte area patient achieve the best hearing possible.

Could hearing loss be secretly affecting your health? A 7-Step Self Evaluation

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Most Americans consider themselves health conscious, or at minimum, health aware - even if we don’t always eat healthy or exercise, we know we should.  

Question:  if hearing loss was having a negative impact on our overall health, how would we know? Our general practitioner or family doctor would tell us, right?

Not necessarily.  

When we don’t hear well, we’re constantly straining and concentrating, which creates stress, fatigue and muscle tension.  This can cause irritation, anger, and resentment which does as much physical damage to our cardiovascular system as physical exertion.  

High blood pressure?  Difficulty sleeping?  Anxiety? Loss of appetite?  Could hearing loss be contributing to these symptoms?

If hearing loss was having a negative impact on our overall health, how would we know? Our general practitioner or family doctor would tell us, right?

Not necessarily.  

So, how do we protect our health?

As we age, physical changes and challenges are inevitable.  

However, we believe that appropriately diagnosing and treating hearing loss is as much a part of our overall health as maintaining a sensible diet and keeping an exercise regimen.  

Your Health Self-Evaluation

  • How would your doctor rate your diet (On a scale of 1-10)?
  • Would you define your lifestyle as ‘physically active’?
  • When was the last time you visited your primary doctor for a check-up?
  • When was the last time you took the time to invest in your health?  
  • What are three goals for your overall health?  (Ex: live to be 100, walk a mile three times a week, replace soft drinks with water, cut back on sugar, etc.)
  • Would you say that your hearing is impacting your health or quality of life?   
  • Have you ever had a hearing evaluation?

ACTION:  Right now, take out a pen and sheet of paper, think about these questions for a moment.  Now, write down your answers.

 

What’s holding you back from taking the next step?  


About the Author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each patient achieve the best hearing possible.

Note: We recommend any health-related actives be planned in partnership with your physician.

How Huey Lewis and a Free Hearing Screening Can Give You Peace of Mind

I’ve seen Huey Lewis live in concert at least twice, and like many others, Huey Lewis and The News has always been one of my favorite bands.  

Last week, I joined disappointed music lovers and Huey Lewis admirers across the world when we heard the announcement that Lewis has cancelled all remaining performances for 2018, and his future as a performer is ‘on hold’ due to a hearing disorder known as Meniere’s Disease.

Source:  Facebook.com

Source:  Facebook.com

Since numerous patients and friends have discussed this with me, and May is Better Hearing Month, I knew this would be a timely opportunity to share some observations on Meniere’s Disease, as well as some general thoughts on how we can all have better hearing.

Meniere’s Disease

Although I haven’t examined Mr. Lewis personally or spoken with his doctors, I can share that Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear disorder most commonly characterized with the following:

1.    Roaring tinnitus or ringing in the ear

2.    Vertigo-like symptoms

3.    Fluctuating hearing loss

4.    An uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the ears

“Although I can still hear a little one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing. The lower frequencies distort violently making it impossible to find pitch.”
— Huey Lewis

While Lewis will partner with his medical team to focus on his health, it’s been my experience that people with Meniere’s Disease typically don’t regain their hearing.  However, although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation – especially once fluctuations like ear pressure and vertigo are present.


Better Hearing Month

For the month of May, Manna Audiology joins the American Academy of Audiology to celebrate Better Hearing Month.  

Musicians like Huey Lewis aren’t the only ones that face hearing disorders.  Everyday hobbies like mowing the lawn, attending sporting events, or listening to music too loudly can impact each of us.  

Our goal for Better Hearing Month is to give the Charlotte community peace of mind by increasing their awareness of better hearing health.  If you have trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as a restaurant, are unable to hear people speak without looking at them, or have a constant ringing or pain in your ears, the first step to better hearing is a screening by an audiologist.

Manna Audiology offers free hearing screenings, and since hearing loss will affect over 36 million Americans this year, the peace of mind obtained by a free screening will be worth the small investment of time. 

Although we can’t go “Back in Time” to take better care of our hearing, there’s still hope.  One of the best ways we can show “The Power of Love” to our families, and ourselves, is to be “Some Kind of Wonderful” by getting a free hearing screening with an audiologist.

About the Author:

Dr. Kurt D. Wright has been helping people hear better for over 20 years. He is the founding audiologist at Manna Audiology Hearing Center, a hearing clinic which services Charlotte, North Carolina and metro area. He earned his Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Augiology from Kent State University. He has a bachelor’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois.  Dr. Wright is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The Audiological Resource Association (ARA) honored him as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Audiologist Award. 

Dr. Wright has a passion for helping each patient achieve the best hearing possible. 

Dr. Wright - Manna Staff Picture.jpg
 

Hearing Aid Batteries!!

If you wear hearing aids, you know how important it is to have good batteries. You could make a strong case that the most important part of your hearing aid is the battery: without it, nothing else works. In this short article, I’ll show you everything you need to know about hearing aid batteries so that you can get the most out of your hearing aids.

How Hearing Aid Batteries Work

Hearing aids take a particular kind of battery called zinc-air batteries. Each battery has a sticker that covers tiny holes on the top of the battery. When the sticker is removed, air enters the battery through the holes, creating a chemical reaction between the oxygen in the air and the zinc that activates the battery. After the battery is active it doesn’t help to reapply the sticker when you’re not using the hearing aid.  

Hearing Aid Battery Types

Zinc-air hearing aid batteries come in four standard sizes, labeled with a standard number and color codes. The four sizes, from smallest to largest, are:

  •  10 - Yellow
  •  312 – Brown
  •  13 – Orange
  •  675 - Blue

The numbers and colors above are used by all hearing aid battery manufacturers, but sometimes they add additional letters to their packaging. For example, if your hearing aid uses a size 312 battery, you can use a 312AZ, A312, or a P312. As long as the number on the package is correct, it will work in your hearing aid. 

How to Prolong the Life of Your Hearing Aid Batteries

You can effortlessly lengthen the life of your hearing aid batteries with one simple trick. As soon as you remove the sticker to activate the battery, wait 1-2 minutes before inserting the battery into your hearing aids and closing the door. By removing the sticker and waiting for a few minutes, air is able to completely activate the battery before you start drawing power from it.  This can extend the battery life. A few other tips:

  • Keep the batteries away from coins, keys, or other metal items that could drain the battery.
  • When the hearing aid isn’t being used, turn it off and store it with the battery door open. 
  • Store your batteries at room temperature. This advice is so crucial that the next section is devoted to the topic.
  • When you buy batteries, always look on the back of the battery package for the “good through” date. It should be at least 3 years beyond the date of purchase. Assuming you are reading this in 2015, If the batteries you just bought say they are good through 2016 - they are probably more than half discharged because they may have been sitting on the shelf more than 2 years. 

How to Store Your Hearing Aid Batteries

There’s an old misconception that storing your batteries in the refrigerator extends their life. This is not only mistaken; it produces the opposite result! The thinking behind storing your batteries in the refrigerator is that the cold temperature will reduce the discharge of power. The problem is that storing them in the refrigerator adds moisture resulting in corrosion and a high risk of premature failure. Therefore, for best performance, simply keep your batteries away from extreme hot or cold temperatures and store at room temperature.These are just a few tips to help you get the most out of your hearing aid batteries.

Dealing With Hearing Loss

As a young boy, I watched how my mother dealt with her hearing loss. It began as a mild inconvenience and gradually increased, creating a constant struggle to stay engaged and connected to everything she held dear. I was the third youngest of seven children. Growing up on a small farm in northeast Indiana, we didn’t have much by today’s standards, but we loved each other deeply and always had our needs met. My dad worked hard to provide for the family. He worked hard through the week, but he also knew how to play with his kids. He would say, “Weekends were made for family.”  He could make a game out of anything! 

It was evident he loved his family and he loved his wife. My Dad was a man who didn’t invest much in this world’s goods, but he invested greatly in his family. 

 My Mom and Dad were a great team together. Mom was loving, tender, always thinking of others and a great cook! Her focus in life was on her husband, her children, and church. 

When I was in my mid teens, we started noticing that Mom began to struggle with her hearing. We heard a lot of, “What?” “What was that?” “Say that again please.” As time went on, her hearing declined even more. There were times she would misunderstand what one of us had said and when she repeated what she thought was said, it was truly funny. Everyone, including Mom, would be rolling with laughter. But there were many times when the hearing loss created a misunderstanding that wasn’t funny – it was actually frustrating and sometimes hurtful. 

Mom was fit with hearing aids, which helped significantly. However, they were only part of the solution. My Dad helped us kids understand that “better hearing” (or better communication) isn’t just Mom’s responsibility, it’s up to all of us to help Mom hear better. 

I want to share four “helpful hints” that Dad would tell us. These helped to greatly reduce the frustration of her hearing loss. 

  1. “Get Mom’s attention before you begin talking”……..
  2. “You must look at her…face to face.”…………
  3. “Slow down your speech….slow is better than loud………..
  4. “Turn down the TV/Radio when you want to have a meaningful conversation.”………

They sound basic and simple but they had a big impact on our family. If someone you love is having trouble with their hearing, incorporate these strategies to help lessen the frustration of hearing loss.