Our only speaker this week was Jayme Rinn, owner of Arvada Hearing Center in Arvada, Colorado. Jayme wanted to take her time today speaking about her practice and who she treats. The general patient profile is the Silent Generation and Boomers, basically people born from 1928-1964 and her practice actually works with another cliental such as swimmers and musicians. Jayme went over several types of hearing loss, such as medical or congenital hearing loss which can be caused by viruses, imbalance in the fluid in the ear, blood flow or chemotherapy. Many people don’t know that very often one of the side effects of chemotherapy can be permanent hearing loss. With hearing loss due to a virus or ear infection the patient is referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor for treatment or surgery. However, Jayme was quick to say that only about 10% or hearing loss patients can be treated with medical treatment or surgery, the other 90% have to be treated with hearing aids or hearing protection. This is where Jayme comes with her first suggestion to “turn it down” – listening to loud music in small spaces, loud machinery in your work environment and constant background noise throughout your life can damage your hearing significantly. Another tip is to not use Q-tips these can be very dangerous and can perforate your ear drum, which causes permanent hearing loss. Jayme then talked about the new technology offered in hearing aids, they are now designed to reduce the background noise and make speech more clear and distinct. The hearing aids of today are developed to reduce background noise and the feedback that in the past deterred people from getting hearing aids. They are also not all in the ear models now and you can get a behind the ear model that has tubes running into the ear canal allowing for better transmission of sound and it is almost invisible. You can also get a model that will pair with your cell phone to more easily allow you to talk on the phone. Many people who have severe hearing loss find it very difficult to talk on the phone because they cannot hear the entire conversation and become frustrated. Therefore they stop communicating with friends and loved ones becoming cut off from the world. The new technology in hearing aids allows those experiencing hearing loss to remain active and involved with their family and friends. There are studies now that patients that are showing signs of dementia may actually be suffering from hearing loss. These people are generally cut off from their family and friends because they do not enjoy socializing with people because they cannot hear or understand what others are saying. There have been studies that some older people that have been diagnosed with dementia actually are suffering from hearing loss instead, once they are fitted with hearing aids they become more social and the symptoms of dementia can diminish.
When working with musicians, Jayme provides them with ear plugs that have a special filter in them that doesn’t destroy the sound and will maintain the quality of music. Most musicians these days use these ear monitoring plugs to prevent permanent hearing loss. There are also several other types of ear plugs that Jayme’s office provides to swimmers, industrial workers, race car drivers and a new program with firefighters. Most of these plugs are simply designed to protect your hearing; however they are fitted to your ears. The plugs for swimmers are designed to keep water out of the ear and ear drum.
Jayme wanted to touch on tinnitus, which is a constant ringing or buzzing in the patient’s head. It can be very disruptive to a person’s life, not allowing sleep and distracting during conversations. Some things do seem to aggravate it such as stress, caffeine and sodium. It is not known what causes it and there are very few options for those that suffer from this hearing issue. Most patients who have tinnitus work through it with tinnitus masking – presenting another sound that distracts them from the ringing or buzzing. An audiologist can help with this and work to make it livable.
Lastly Jayme wanted to talk about health insurance for covering an audiologist. It used to be that hearing loss and hearing aids were considered cosmetic and were not covered at all under any insurance. Now many insurance companies have policies that will cover some aspects of hearing loss. When working with your insurance company, make sure that you read what it covers the items you need, such as visits to the audiologist and hearing aid maintenance.
If you think that hearing loss is affecting your life give Jayme Rinn at Arvada Hearing Center a call and she can work with you to improve your life!
Jayme Rinn, MA, CCC-A * Arvada Hearing Center, Inc. * 303-422-3299 * www.arvadahearingcenter.com