Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Hearing Loss

According to the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), approximately 77,000 students between ages 3 and 21 have hearing loss severe enough to qualify them for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Consequently, public schoolchildren with disabilities have the right to special accommodations in elementary through secondary school. Sometimes this results in creating an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. But what happens after high school?

Hearing loss shouldn’t stand in the way of higher education

Picking among colleges may feel like a daunting task. So if you have aspirations for a degree, you have options. To start, most colleges have departments that help students with needs design solutions. This may be similar to the IEP services you received in high school. If you are returning to college as a non-traditional aged student, it may surprise you how much easier it is to access help today. Remember, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public colleges and universities to offer equal access to all students. While support mechanisms may differ from one school to another, hearing loss should not impede getting an education.

Finding the right fit for students with hearing loss

Colleges and universities must provide appropriate academic adjustments to make sure students are not discriminated against based on disability. However, many programs go beyond that help students to get the most out of their learning experiences. And this includes hearing loss.

Prospective students have to face many choices. Is a large university or a small liberal arts college what you want? Or maybe an urban environment seems like a better fit. Perhaps an enclosed campus feels more at home. In addition, if you have hearing loss, maybe you prefer schools with exceptional accommodations for your needs.

While it may be hard to know where to start, here are a few programs. Most of these schools are especially relevant for students with severe or profound hearing loss:

Pursuing hearing-related research and education

Is audiology your passion? Maybe you want to consider a path researching audiology and hearing loss. Across the country, schools offer programs to train tomorrow’s audiologist. One resource is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s online directory of higher educational programs in audiology. Most noteworthy, prospective students may apply for scholarships to study audiology.

A few colleges also offer future educators tailored programs for working in deaf education, including a collaboration between Smith College and the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. In addition, there is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Center on Deafness. They published a guide for service providers with information that potential students and families might find useful.

Fall is peak season for applying

Most of all, if you are considering programs that start next year, now’s the time to get your ducks in a row. Our staff can discuss the latest in communication-focused technology. Even more, we can advise how to integrate hearing aids in certain learning environments. Finally, contact Audiology Associates of Georgia at (770) 769-1805 today to set up an appointment.

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Preparing for holiday gatherings with hearing loss

Whether you are preparing to host an event this coming holiday season or are attending an impromptu gathering of friends, this is an important time to catch up with loved ones. But what if hearing loss poses a challenge for communicating?

When people gather it can be noisy. Especially if many people are speaking at the same time. Add in holiday music, restaurant chatter or a football game on in the background, and even people with excellent hearing may have trouble understanding a conversation with someone standing next to them.

If you follow these tips, it may be easier to catch up with loved ones and enjoy their company.

Pick a good place to hear at holiday events

Whether you are in a home or a restaurant, try to position yourself in a space with less background noise. Follow these tips:

  • Flooring and walls – Carpeting, tablecloths and drapery help to absorb noise.
  • Pick the right room – In a home, try to avoid the kitchen or areas near the TV. If you are in a restaurant, ask for a seat away from the kitchen or bar.
  • Avoid the amplifiers – Although you can’t always get away from blaring music, try to be as far from speakers as possible. Corners or booths can provide some relief.
  • Try for 1:1 conversations – If you really want to catch every word, there is nothing wrong with finding a quieter spot in the hallway, or even outside for one-on-one conversations.

Arrive early to choose the best seat in the house

When choosing your seat, try to be where you can see people’s faces – that way you can pick up on facial cues. Try to sit where there is good lighting. If one ear is stronger than the other, offer the person you wish to speak to the seat on your strong side. You can also ask a relative or friend to help you fill in the gaps if you miss part of the conversation.

Don’t be shy about your hearing loss this holiday season

In noisy situations there is no reason to hide your hearing loss. While it may be easier to pretend that you can hear, nodding along with the others, this is not fair to you (or to the person speaking). If you feel you missed out, there is nothing wrong with asking for a recap afterward.

You can also let people know you are missing some of the conversation with simple visual cues like placing your hand to your ear. This won’t disrupt the flow of conversations but will signal to the speaker to speak up or slow down.

Sometimes a simple reminder for relatives to speak slower works wonders.

Noticed changes in your hearing? There’s still time to get help

Although planning may be underway, the holiday season is still a few weeks away. If you are worried about hearing at Thanksgiving, holiday parties or other gatherings, there’s time to have a no-obligation hearing assessment* to see if hearing aids are an option for you. A hearing specialist can also give you tips on communicating with loved ones. If you are concerned about a loved one’s hearing, offer to bring them for an appointment. We encourage caregivers, friends and family to join our patients for the first appointment.

Let your hearing aids help you

Sometimes the most obvious strategy is the best solution. If you have hearing aids, wear them. Plus, if you forget them and have trouble following along, it may frustrate your family. The newest hearing aids have technical advancements designed for complex hearing environments, where noise is coming from multiple sources. Newer devices make it easier to hear what you want to hear, even in the situations with multiple people speaking.

For best results, try various settings in advance to see which works best for you in noisy environments. If this isn’t enough, you may also want to consider the extra help of a discreet clip-on microphone. If you would like help with your hearing aids’ settings or perhaps reprogramming them, stop in.

It’s your holiday too, so enjoy it!

If you have new hearing aids, go easy on yourself. Take short breaks to give your brain a rest and re-energize when you feel fatigue setting in. If conversation at the table is challenging, focus on the people nearest you. If a group is too noisy or fast-paced, try a smaller and quieter group to join. Social events are for your enjoyment – not a test of your stamina.

Don’t let hearing loss keep you from enjoying the people and things you love. Locate your closest hearing professional and make an appointment with Audiology Associates of Georgia.

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Exercise Your Way To Health and Good Hearing!

Every doctor has one prescription ready patients: keep your body healthy through diet and exercise!

This suggestion may include a diet full of plenty leafy greens or getting extra steps by parking the car a little further away from the office. Regardless of your method of staying fit, it has been proven time and time again that your quality of life benefits from an active, healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t stop with toned muscles and a heightened stamina. Studies have shown that exercise (especially in women) is related to a decreased risk of hearing loss.

Here is our version of a Wellness Prescription for Health:

  • Exercise! Yes, adding even just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise can help do the trick. Keeping up with exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight. This helps lower the odds of hearing loss in the future!
  • Just say no to smoking! Smoking can lead to hearing loss… and yes, this even includes second hand smoke. Yellow skin and black lungs are not the only thing that await, so think before you light up.
  • Be careful of NSAID pain relievers. Taking over the counter pain relievers that include ibuprofen or acetaminophen too frequently can lead to damage in the ear.
    This can result in unneeded hearing loss. Try to take these medications only when absolutely necessary.
  • Turn the volume down on your headphones and earbuds. Setting your volume settings to 60% limits how loud a phone or MP3 player can play music automatically. Your ears will thank you… as well as your companions.
  • Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. You especially want to try and eat ones that have magnesium and antioxidants (berries, leafy greens, bananas, avocados, etc..).
  • Always remember to wear hearing protectors when attending loud events or recreational activities. This can include concerts, yardwork, sporting events… any gathering that makes your heart flutter, not out of affection, but reverb! Hearing protectors are comfortable and easy to use for all types of ears.

When caring for your well-being, don’t forget that your ears are important! Like your knees and your teeth, they need protection. And like the rest of your body, your ears benefit from eating well, getting enough rest and aerobic activities.

Start with a free assessment*

Find out more about your hearing health. What you learn may surprise you. Our hearing care professionals are always willing to give tips on healthy hearing and how this impacts healthy hearing. Make an appointment today.

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Hearing Loss Has No Age Requirement

How can I know if what I am hearing is real or phantom?

If you or someone you love has been experiencing ringing in the ears of other sounds that no one else can hear, it might be tinnitus. The first step for answers is to make an appointment for a hearing assessment*. After discussing your medical history with a hearing care professional, your provider will check for obstructions in the ear canal and clear out any built-up earwax.

If the tinnitus is reported as being unilateral (only in one ear) you may need to speak with a physician. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist may order an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan to rule out larger issues. If no obstructions are present in the ear canal and no other potential causes are discovered, an audiologist or other hearing care provider will consider other causes, including hearing loss.

Professional hearing assessments

Your hearing care provider may conduct a pure tone audiogram, especially if your tinnitus is unilateral or accompanied by loss of hearing. A pure tone audiogram plays different frequencies at varying volumes. Even if you haven’t noticed reduced hearing, an audiogram may show areas of weakness that you may not have noticed before. In addition to an audiogram, your audiologist may consider performing speech audiometry, which looks at how well a patient can hear and repeat certain words.

Sound matching and other methods

Since generally tinnitus’ perceived sound cannot be heard by another person, audiologists use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. Sound matching consists of playing a series of audio clips to identify which sound is closest to the internally perceived sound.

A hearing care provider may use minimum masking levels to determine if a patient is experiencing tinnitus. This also determines how loud a sounds seem. The audiologist or hearing care professional plays audio clips at increasing volume levels until the patient registers that the external noise entirely conceals the phantom sounds.

How is tinnitus impacting you?

You may be asked to fill out a self-assessment form or questionnaire. This will establish how your symptoms are impacting your life and emotional well-being.

Tinnitus is not an illness. If you are experiencing buzzing, ringing or other sounds you cannot identify, and want to discuss options for relief, contact our professionals so we can discuss your challenges – and provide solutions. Make an appointment for a free hearing assessment* today.

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