ADA BLOG: ALMOST LIKE BEING THERE
I run the Dallas practice for Dr Deborah Price, who attended the convention. It has been so much fun being able to see what is going on. It is like being there without having to pack and fly. Thank you so much for sharing.
Sandra Terrell Michaels, Chief Operations Officer
Hearing Professional Center
Thanks, Sandra! And for those of you who missed it live, the ADA Convention Blog will remain online until mid-November.—WC
ALDS: THERE’S MUCH MORE TO THE STORY
Articles on assistive listening devices and systems (“Noises Off,” October 2007) are always welcomed, especially as the technology continues to rapidly evolve. Unfortunately, the article contains several errors and/or omissions:
- The article correctly states that there is a resurgence of interest in loop systems, which are universally compatible with all telecoil-equipped hearing aids. The topic of loop systems is then quickly summed up with a cautionary note about how the technology is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference and that loop systems “… can go a long way toward improving communications in such places as a post office or bank.” No other loop applications are mentioned or suggested.
The fact is that TV viewing and many types of public venues, in particular, houses of worship and meeting places, account for much of the “resurgence” of interest in this technology. I know of numerous hearing aid dispensers who now set their patients up with telecoils and small home loop systems. These forward-thinking hearing health care professionals are, in effect, expanding the usefulness of their patients’ hearing aids. The end results: enhanced customer satisfaction and growing awareness about the value of assistive listening technology. Looped banks and post offices are, unfortunately, rare in the USA compared to the number of looped public venues, notably including the US Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Exciting applications of loops include the development of a model looped city in Holland, Mich, and the planned field testing of looped taxi cabs in New York City!
In regard to electromagnetic interference, the truth is that all wireless technologies can potentially be interfered with. In regard to loop systems, the source of interference can usually be identified and remedied.
- The article then comments on telecoils: “… far fewer hearing aids incorporate telecoils in North America than in European countries. ….” This is true, but no mention is made of the fact that the latest hearing aid industry statistics report that more than 50% of new hearing aids being dispensed in America have telecoils, the largest percentage in decades! It is important to note that the resurgence of interest in loop systems ties directly to the rebirth of the venerable telecoil.
- Further comments are made concerning the appearance (size) of hearing aids as a function of telecoil inclusion, ie, the smaller the hearing aid, the less effective the telecoil can be, if it can in fact be included at all. This may have been true a decade ago, but not today. In all but the smallest hearing aids, effective telecoils can be included. No mention is made of the fact that for the first time in many years, larger (behind the ear) hearing aids are rising in popularity. High tech looking and performing hearing aids are being widely promoted to, and purchased by, a new generation of consumer … the Baby Boomers. Looking through the latest issue of Hearing Products Report, one finds numerous high tech devices (including Bluetooth technologies) designed to transmit to … yes … the good old telecoil!!
A wonderful, noncommercial source of information on the renaissance of induction loop assistive listening systems and telecoils can be found at: www.hearingloop.org.
Norman Lederman, MS, Director of Research and Development
Oval Window Audio
Norman, thank you for sharing your expert perspective.—WC
A DRIVING QUESTION ABOUT ALDS
Your article in Hearing Products Report (“Noises Off,” October 2007) was very timely; last week I had a patient who inquired about ALDs for the car. What recommendations do you have for this type of use—the front cover showed a Pocketalker, and it looks as if there is only one bud in use. I believe states have laws about wearing headphones while driving—are these exempt? Do you know of any other strategies that have been successful? My patient is quite interested in using the Pocketalker, but I want to make sure that it is his current best option.
Susan Sigman, Audiologist
Susan, here in California it’s definitely illegal to operate a vehicle while wearing stereo headphones, but since it will become law here next year that cell phones can’t be operated while driving without the use of a hands-free system or an in-ear headset, my assumption would be ALDs with single-ear earphones would be legal. My advice would be to check with your local law enforcement agencies and motor vehicle departments for specific information in your state.—WC
Williams Sound Corp. responds:
The laws as it regards to using earbuds or headphones while driving in a car vary from state to state (as it relates to using ALDs or hearing devices specifically, this is more of a gray area). These regulations are mandated by the state, and therefore, the user should contact the [motor vehicle authority] in the state which they reside for any applicable restrictions. With that said, there are “best practices” to follow to ensure safer operation of a car while using an ALD. If the driver with hearing difficulties is using a Pocketalker equipped with an earphone or headphone (as shown in the photo), they should avoid trying to handhold the Pocketalker while communicating with a passenger or listening to the radio (this could be just as distracting as holding a cell phone in that respect). If the driver with hearing difficulties has a passenger, the passenger should hold on to the Pocketalker and use it to communicate with the driver (or position the Pocketalker near the desired sound source for the driver). If the driver with hearing difficulties is alone, they should clip the Pocketalker on the dash board or set it on the seat (and ideally, the volume/tone should be adjusted prior to leaving for their destination).
Chad Engel, Communications Manager
Williams Sound Corp.
Eden Prairie, Minn
A CALL TO GET SMALL
As a longtime reader of Hearing Products Report—welcome! One thing that has bothered me for years is the cumbersome size of the publication, and this was brought home to me today as I read. The article on cerumen management (“Beyond Q-tips: Managing Cerumen,” October 2007) I cut out to show my patients and the physicians with whom I have contact. It says very well the importance of clean ears when wearing hearing instruments.
However, the size of the page makes it difficult to slip into one of the plastic sleeves for protection and inclusion in my waiting room info folders, and it is difficult to reproduce to give to physicians so they can see the significance of a clean ear.
Hearing Products Report used to be a standard size, and at the time of the change I made some noise, but got nowhere. Now that there is a change in administration and because of your background not in hearing but in “publications,” perhaps my arguments will not fall on deaf (no pun intended) ears!
Again congratulations on your new position and welcome!
Ellin Loveless, Owner
Advanced Hearing Solutions
Yucca Valley, Calif
Thanks for your welcoming e-mail, Ellin, and for your thoughts on the present dimension of Hearing Products Report. It’s been about a year since the magazine was downsized from an even larger layout to its present measurements. And while I certainly hear you loud and clear in regard to the difficulties you’re having in sharing the articles with patients and physicians, I get the sense that we’ll be sticking with the present size for the time being. In the meantime, as a possible solution, I’d like to suggest using this website as a resource – all past and present print articles can be found online here, and you can print them out for your convenience.—WC
All of us at Vivosonic are very happy with the way the article we wrote for the International Edition of Hearing Products Report turned out (“ABR Testing in Children Made Easy,” International 2007). We received very positive feedback recently from the attendees at EUHA (European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians) Congress in Nuremberg, Germany, who had seen the article and stopped by our booth.
Tanya Tomasino, Marketing Coordinator
Vivosonic Inc, Toronto
LET’S HEAR IT
Got something on your mind? Tell us all about it. Send your compliments, complaints, suggestions, and schemes via e-mail to Editor Will Campbell at [email protected] or by regular mail to: Hearing Products Report, Attention Will Campbell, 6100 Center Drive, Suite 1020, Los Angeles, CA 90045.