Welcome! We would like to discuss and answer your questions here about hearing loss, hearing loss device technology, hearing conservation, and any related matters. Please email your questions and comments to: info@vancouverhearingcentre.com

Audiologists at the Vancouver Hearing Centre specialize in hearing loss management, hearing conservation, and aural (re)habilitation. We serve children and adults of all ages in the Vancouver area and from around British Columbia, Canada.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adult/Teen's Zone: Communicating better at the Doctor's Office- Strategies

Strategies to help cope with the limitations placed on you by your hearing loss at the doctor's office....

SITUATION: Going to the doctor can be a stressful event, especially when you have medical concerns. The names of different conditions and medications are difficult to understand and usually have complicated spelling. Your health and wellness are important, therefore you want to be sure you are getting good care and all your questions answered. Doctors and other health care professionals may ask you questions while looking at your chart or when they have their back to you. This can make it difficult to answer the questions being asked.


1) Remind your doctor or other health care professional that you have a hearing loss. Explain that sometimes you have difficulty understanding.
2) Bring paper and pen with you. Write down questions that you have about your health and wellness.
3)If the doctor has a diagnosis and treatment plan for you, have the doctor write it down for you.
4)If you do not understand your doctor, ask questions until you understand.
5) If a follow-up appointment is needed, ask the scheduling department to write down the date and time for you.

Blogger: Sarah Helmel

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adult/Teen's Zone: Two Hearing Aids are Better Than One

What are the advantages of getting two hearing aids over one hearing aid?

1. Better understanding of speech:
By wearing two hearing aids rather than one, selective listening is more easily achieved. This means that your brain can focus on the conversation you want to hear. Research shows that people wearing two hearing aids routinely understand speech and conversation significantly better than people wearing one hearing aid do.

2. Better understanding in groups and noisy situations:
Speech intelligibility is improved when wearing two hearing aids. Some advanced binaural technology tends to perform better in noise than older technology.

3. Better ability to tell the direction of sound:
This is called localization. Localization allows you to hear from which direction a sound is coming from (i.e. someone speaking to you, traffic, etc.)

4. Better sound quality:
“Stereo” hearing allows you to get the most natural sound quality. By wearing two hearing aids, you increase your hearing range from 180 degrees to 360 degrees with two hearing aids. This greater range provides a better sense of balance and sound quality.

5. Smoother tone quality:
Wearing two hearing aids generally requires less volume than one. This can result in less distortion, better reproduction of amplified sounds, and less battery drain.

6. Wider hearing range:
A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two ears rather than just one. A voice that is barely audible at 10 feet with one ear, can be heard up to 40 feet away with two ears.

7. Better sound identification:
Often, with just one hearing aid, many noises and words sound alike. But with two hearing aids, as with two ears, sounds are more easily distinguishable.

8. Keep both ears active:
Research has shown that with only one hearing aid, the unaided ear loses its’ ability to hear and understand speech. This is clinically called the auditory deprivation effect. Those wearing two hearing aids keep both ears active.

9. Hearing is less tiring and listening is more pleasant:
More binaural hearing aid wearers report that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two hearing aids, instead of just one. This is because they do not have to strain to hear with the “better” ear. Thus, binaural hearing can help make listening more relaxing.

10. Feeling of balanced hearing:
Binaural hearing results in a feeling of balanced reception of sound, also known as the stereo effect. Monaural hearing creates the feeling that sound is only being heard in one ear, even when there is some hearing in the unaided ear.

11. Greater comfort with loud sounds:
A lower volume control setting is required with each of the two hearing aids, resulting in more tolerance of louder sounds.

12. Reduced feedback and whistling:
With lower volume control setting, the chance of hearing aid feedback is reduced.

13. Improvement in tinnitus:
Approximately 50% of people with ringing in their ears report improvement when wearing hearing aids. If they have a hearing aid in only one ear there will still be tinnitus in the unaided ear.

14. Client Satisfaction: Research with more than 4000 people with hearing loss in both ears, demonstrated that binaurally fit subjects are more satisfied than people fit with just one hearing aid.

Adapted from S. Kochkin HIS seminar, 1997

Blogger: Sarah Helmel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adult/Teen's Zone: Making Sure you Have your Say

Building Self Advocacy


To be a successful self-advocate for gaining communication access in various situations when limited by a hearing loss, an individual must first be open about their hearing loss and be willing to disclose it to others and then know when to ask for support.

Further, a strong self-advocate knows what they need to communicate and participate fully in a situation and has the confidence to request it from others.

The ways to help you become a successful self advocate for accessing resources for enhancing communication are as follows:

1) Educate yourself about the reasons for your hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss, and type of hearing loss you have,

2) Find out what is the impact of your hearing loss,

3) Determine the latest hearing device technologies that would benefit your situation,

4) Get familiar with community, provincial, and national resources available to you, and

5) Routinely practice and teach interactive strategies to enhance communication and reduce stress.

blogger: Sarah Helmel

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kid's Zone: Tips For Feeling Better About Your Child's Hearing Loss


a hearing loss is the first step in overcoming the problem. It is natural for you and your child to have mixed feelings about their hearing loss and the possibility of wearing a hearing aid.
The following are a few suggestions to help your child feel better about their hearing loss and their hearing aid:

Come to terms with your child having a hearing loss.

If you have negative feelings about the loss or are unable to accept it, it is likely your child will feel badly about it and will be unable to accept it. If you are positive and supportive, your child will be much more accepting of their hearing loss.

Let your child know that there is nothing wrong with having a hearing loss.

Let them know that you love them and it makes no difference to you that they have hearing loss.

Do not allow your child to use the hearing loss to get out of doing things.

Remember they are a normal child who has some difficulty hearing. Don’t allow the hearing loss or the hearing aid to become an excuse.

It takes time to get used to a hearing aid.

Wearing an aid takes practice. Be patient. Do not give up too quickly. Give your child and the hearing aid a fair trial.

Be matter of fact about the hearing aid.

Let them know they are expected to wear the hearing aid every day and putting it on is part of their daily routine.

Don’t try to hide the hearing loss or the hearing device.

Let your child know if people ask about their hearing device, it means they want to know more. Encourage family members and close friends to understand what the hearing loss means and how the hearing aid works.

Encourage your child to be as independent as possible with their hearing aid.

They should take responsibility for adjusting the loudness, changing the battery and cleaning the ear molds as soon as possible. Giving them ownership of their hearing aid will give them a sense of control and help their self esteem.

• Help your child have realistic expectations of their hearing aid.

It will not give them normal hearing. Remind them that the hearing aid will help them hear better.

Help your child see the hearing aid as a “tool”.

It can make things easier for them at school, talking with their friends, using the telephone, and watching TV.

blogger: Sarah Helmel

Possible Consequences of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss often has complex consequences.

Many facets of everyday life become increasingly more difficult. Conversations with loved ones, meetings, phone calls, and watching TV can be particularly challenging. In many cases, people with hearing loss will withdraw and become socially isolated. Their quality of life diminishes noticeably.

Common Social Consequences

Studies have shown that people with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids experience more sadness, fear, and anxiety than hearing aid users. They reduce their social activities, become emotionally unstable and have trouble concentrating.

On the other hand, studies also show that hearing aid users experience a dramatically increased quality of life as soon as they start using a hearing aid. They maintain better family relationships, have more self-confidence, and experience more independence and security.

Common Physical Consequences

If hearing loss is not corrected, it can result in physical issues such as tiredness or fatigue, headaches, vertigo, and stress.

blogger/author: Sarah Helmel

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

College of Speech and Hearing Professionals of BC

Protecting the Public:

Information and link to new regulatory body of Speech and Hearing Professionals of BC.

The College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC, established pursuant to the Health Professions Act of BC is a tripartite College, the first tripartite college in Canada. A major purpose of the College is to protect the public. The College will allow for the self regulation of three related groups of professionals: Audiologists, Hearing Instrument Practitioners and Speech-Language Pathologists. The members of each of these professions are involved with the assessment and intervention of communication disorders, delays and differences across the lifespan. Please visit the website noted below for more information:


blogger/author: Sarah Helmel