Hearing Loops

  • By proadAccountId-358356
  • 14 Jun, 2016

By: Sara Nagel, Au.D.

Get more from your hearing aids with HEARING LOOPS!  A hearing loop sends clear, pure sound to your hearing aid without background noise.  Even with the most up-to-date technology, hearing aids cannot completely separate important sounds from background noise; nor do they pick up all sounds from a distance such as those in a performance hall, a place of worship, an airport terminal, or even a home tv viewed from across the room.  In such settings, hearing (induction) loops can offer a solution.  A hearing loop wirelessly transmits sound to an antenna, called a telecoil, in a hearing aid.  Much like Wi-Fi, a hearing loop connects the hearing aid user wirelessly to the public sound system, a home tv, or other sound source.  A facility can be identified as having a hearing loop by the universal symbol above showing an ear on a blue background.  

To use a hearing loop, you need a hearing aid that has a manual telecoil.  The telecoil, also called a t-coil, links in to the electromagnetic signal from the hearing loop and converts it to acoustic sound in the hearing aid.  This process eliminates the background noise because the sound source transmits the signal directly to the hearing aid.  The listener hears only pure sound from the source-whether that's from a pulpit, a podium, a theater stage, an airport terminal, or a tv at home.  In a looped environment, hearing aids with a t-coil become wireless receivers for the sound source which makes them twice as useful!

The Center for Audiology is proud to be at the forefront of advocacy for hearing loop installations in Houston.  Through our Houston-Get in the Hearing Loop Campaign, hearing loops can now be found at the following Houston venues: 

  1. Alley Theatre- Hubbard Theatre, Downtown Houston
  2. Main Street Theater- Rice Village
  3. Wortham Theater- Coming Soon!
  4. St. Luke's United Methodist Church
  5. St. Philip Presbyterian Church
  6. Congregation Emanuel
  7. Congregation Emanuel 
To check for hearing loop installation updates in Houston-area venues, or to check for hearing loops in other cities across the U.S., visit www.aldlocato r.com.   To see if your hearing aid is equipped with a telecoil, or to activate the telecoil in your hearing aid, please call for an appointment at 713-255-0035.  The Center for Audiology- Helping make Houston hearing accessible for all Houstonians!

Hear It Here! - The Center for Audiology Blog

By proadAccountId-358356 23 Oct, 2017

Most of the patients with hearing loss that present to our clinic are helped quite successfully with hearing aids.  Sometimes, however, a patient may present with such severe or profound hearing loss that even the most powerful hearing aids on the market today may not provide sufficient benefit.  

Although hearing aids (HAs) and cochlear implants (CIs) both provide better hearing, there is a significant difference between them.  HAs are programmed to provide amplification of sound at different frequencies based on the hearing loss at each frequency.  Sound is still delivered to the damaged hair cells of the inner ear and/or the damaged auditory nerve.  In the case of severe or profound hearing loss, the damage to the inner ear is so significant that even with powerful amplification, sound is distorted and of limited benefit.  Consequently, the person with severe-to-profound hearing loss may not hear very much even with hearing aids, and becomes tired easily due to the great effort required to make sense of sound. 

A cochlear implant bypasses the damaged hair cells of the inner ear by delivering electrical current directly to the cochlear, or auditory, nerve. A cochlear implant presents a wide range of frequencies, regardless of the pre-implantation hearing loss.  For individuals with better low-frequency hearing but profound mid-or high-frequency hearing loss, a hybrid CI combining acoustic amplification for the low-frequencies with electric stimulation for the high-frequencies may provide the best result. 

Adults must meet the following criteria to be considered for CI surgery: 

  • Age 18 or older
  • Moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
  • Limited benefit from amplification defined by preoperative test scores of ≤ 50% sentence recognition in the ear to be implanted and ≤60% in the opposite ear or binaurally

Baylor College of Medicine, located in the Texas Medical Center, will be hosting an informational seminar for CI recipients and candidates on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  Location: McNair Campus, Bobby R. Alford Educational Center, 1st Floor, 7200 Cambridge St., Houston, TX 77030.  Interested parties should RSVP to ears@bcm.edu
By proadAccountId-358356 08 Sep, 2017
It is heartbreaking to see the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey as it swept through Houston during the last week of August, 2017.  Many of our patients were unfortunately affected personally and lost homes, possessions, and precious memories.  Many hearing aids were lost during the flooding, leaving evacuees with hearing loss more stressed during an already stressful time. 

We are working hard at The Center for Audiology to help all our patients who lost or damaged hearing aids due to the flooding.  Hearing aid manufacturers including Oticon, Widex, Phonak, Unitron, and Resound are working with us to help anyone who has lost their hearing aids due to the flood.  For hearing aids still under warranty, manufacturers are waiving loss/damage deductibles.  For hearing aids out-of-warranty, the manufacturers are providing refurbished/like new, or new hearing aids at no charge to those patients.  

Please know that our entire staff is ready to help in whatever way we can to expedite these hearing aid replacements for you, and hopefully make your lives somewhat easier as you go through the re-building process.   Please call The Center for Audiology at 713-255-0035 to report lost hearing aids, and we will take care of the rest for you and get you new hearing aids as quickly as we can!   
By proadAccountId-358356 21 Aug, 2017
The Fall semester is around the corner, and whether you are a new or returning college student with hearing loss, here are six tips to help you navigate the college territory more easily: 

1. College students who are Texas residents and who meet certain hearing loss criteria, can apply to have their tuition waived at state-supported post-secondary schools.  This is through a Texas state program called the Certification of Deafness Tuition Waiver (CODTW) program.  For more information, see  https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/deaf-hard-hearing/tuition-waiver .   I am thrilled to have helped 2 of our patients at The Center for Audiology qualify for this program this year!  

2. Understand How Your Hearing Loss Affects You

Discuss the impact of your hearing loss with your audiologist.  Different hearing loss profiles require different plans of care.  Hearing aids alone may not always be sufficient if you struggle with background noise or distances.  Use of remote microphones or FM systems, communication strategies, or alternative presentation of material may be required to enhance aided benefit.  

3. Learn About and Use Your University's Resources

Register with the Disability Support Services at your university.  You will be assigned an advisor who will ensure that you receive the accommodations you need in order to have equal access in the classroom. 

Available accommodations may include priority registration, note taking services, the use of an FM system, CART (which stands for Communication Access Real-Time Translation), closed captioning on all videos that are shown during class and priority seating in the classroom. 

4. Get to Know Your Professors

You may want to schedule an appointment with each professor during their office hours, or e-mail each professor in writing to let them know about your hearing loss and what accommodations you will be using.   If you will be using an FM system, take the time to teach the professor about how to use the microphone transmitter that he/she will be using Individual professors may be more or less educated about hearing loss, and you can help make them more familiar with how to maximize your ability to hear them in the classroom. 

5. Choose Your Seat Wisely

Plan to arrive early to class in order to choose a seat that will optimize your ability to hear.  Most individuals with hearing loss rely on speechreading to help fill in the gaps of what they can't hear, and a seat toward the front will allow you to do that more easily.  Avoid seats near the classroom door, windows, or near noisy fans or heating/cooling vents, as background noise can be distracting and/or can drown out the professor's voice.  

6. Help Your Classmates Help You

Many people have no experience communicating with someone who has a hearing loss, and they may feel nervous about how to interact with you.  Taking the time to explain to your close classmates a little bit about your hearing loss, and communication strategies that they can use to help you, will put them at ease, and open the door to good communication.  For example, you can say, "I understand what you say much better if you face me when you speak, and when you don't cover your mouth when you speak," or, "It helps me a lot if you articulate your words and don't drop your voice at the end of a sentence."  

Advocating for yourself throughout your college years will help you gain the most you can out of these formative years, and will help you set yourself up for greater success in your future career.   We are also here to help advocate for you anytime you need us throughout your college years and beyond.   The entire Center for Audiology staff wishes you the best of luck in your studies!

By proadAccountId-358356 07 Aug, 2017
The best hearing aids only work if powered by batteries.  For some hearing aid users, however, handling those small, round batteries can be quite challenging.  Poor manual dexterity, neuropathy in fingers, hand tremors, or poor vision can turn a simple task like changing a battery into a frustrating and sometimes, time-consuming process.  And trying to find a runaway battery that has rolled onto the floor is not an easy task!

For users who sweat heavily, or who are exposed to humid or high-moisture environments, the traditional battery door allows for moisture to seep into the hearing aid, leading to intermittent function and frequent repair issues.  For patients who rely on their hearing aids, frequent repairs are frustrating and inconvenient.  

Enter the rechargeable hearing aid option!  Phonak released their recharegable hearing aids last spring, and Oticon released a rechargeable option this year for their Opn model hearing aids.  On an overnight charge, both manufacturer options provide reliable, full-day performance.  At the Center for Audiology, we are finding the following patients benefit greatly from rechargeable hearing aids: 

  • Patients with manual  dexterity issues (such as numbness in the fingers from diabetes, or hand tremors from Parkinson's disease) 
  • Patients with vision loss that makes it hard to place batteries properly .
  • Patients who are environmentally conscious and want to reduce the number of disposable batteries that end up in landfills.
  • Patients who find it inconvenient to repeatedly purchase batteries online, at drugstores or at their hearing care professional's office.
  • Patients who require reliable, full-day hearing aid performance (no hearing aid battery going dead in middle of an important business meeting!)
  • Patients who sweat heavily or who are exposed to high-humidity environments.  The sealed rechargeable hearing aid case provides a better barrier against moisture seeping into the hearing aid.  
When our audiologists at The Center for Audiology recommend a customized hearing care plan for each of our patients, factors such as manual dexterity, vision. convenience, and moisture resistance needs are taken into account.  We want hearing aids to be a pleasant, easy-to-use, and low-hassle experience!  If any of the above issues might impact your ability to use hearing aids successfully, make sure to discuss it with your audiologist.  Wonderful rechargeable hearing aid options exist to make your hearing journey a successful one!  

By proadAccountId-358356 25 Jul, 2017

As more hearing aids are developed with direct-to-iPhone or iPad Bluetooth connectivity, more hearing aid users are realizing the wonderful benefits of hearing aids that also serve as wireless headsets for music and audio-book streaming, as well as Bluetooth headsets for phone conversations.  Amy and Liz are two patients seen in our Houston office this week.  Both could finally carry on a phone conversation with no difficulty for the first time in years, via Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.  It was amazing to see the joy on both their faces as a new world opened up to them. 

 In addition, the iPhone can serve as the remote control for the hearing aid, and users can adjust various features from overall volume to frequency response to background noise suppression, all through handy apps on the iPhone. 

This is all wonderful when everything works!  Occasionally, the iPhone will drop the hearing aid connection, or something gets "hung" or "stuck" in the iPhone that prevents a good connection.  Should that happen to you, follow the instructions below that walk you through re-pairing the hearing aids to your iPhone. 

How to Pair your Hearing Aids with your iPhone: 

1.       Re-boot your iPhone

2.       Take your hearing aids out of your ears and open the battery doors

3.      Go to Settings on your iPhone

4.      Go to General

5.      Go to Accessibility

6.      Go to Hearing Aids

7.      Close your battery doors (your phone will start searching for the devices)

8.      Your name and the hearing aids will pop up under devices

9.      If you wear 2 hearing aids you will see L + R

10.      If you only wear 1 you will see either L or R depending on which side you wear your aid

11.      Click on the box with your aids labeled

12.      You will then get a pop up box to PAIR your aids with your phone click PAIR

13.      If you wear 2 aids this box will pop up 2 times and you have to hit PAIR  a second time. 

14.       Your aids are now paired with your iPhone.  Enjoy!

Hearing aids available with direct-to-iPhone Bluetooth capability include Oticon Opn, Resound Linx, Starkey Halo, and Widex Beyond.  Coming soon-- Phonak Direct which will have direct to iPhone and Android phone Bluetooth connectivity.  All these and more available at The Center for Audiology-Houston, and The Center for Audiology-Pearland.  Call today at 713-255-0035 to schedule a free demo and 2 week trial of made-for-iPhone hearing aids!

By proadAccountId-358356 30 Jun, 2017

Fireworks, firecrackers  and concerts  may be Fourth of July traditions and are beautiful to watch, but they also make the holiday one of the noisiest and most likely to cause hearing loss. With sound levels from exploding fireworks reaching as high as 155 decibels, here are steps recommended by ASHA that you can take to minimize damage to your hearing:

  • Keep a safe distance.  The closer you are to the source of the noise, the greater the risk for immediate, sudden and permanent hearing loss. Stay at least 500 feet from fireworks, firecrackers, speaker systems and other sources of loud noise.
  • Wear earplugs.  Ear plugs are an inexpensive and easy way to protect your hearing during loud events. Make sure your ear plugs fit snugly. For children below 8 years old, use ear muffs.
  • Know your limits.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are "too loud" and "too close" or that last "too long." If you notice ringing or buzzing in your ears, move farther away from the noise source.
  • Seek professional help.  If you feel that your hearing may have been affected, seek the help of a certified audiologist.
Wishing you all a Happy and Safe Independence Day 2017!
    By proadAccountId-358356 28 Jun, 2017

    It’s summer time in Houston! Humidity is up, and that means increased chance of moisture buildup in hearing aids.   You may also notice that your ears are sweatier due to hearing aid use. What are best summertime do’s and don’ts when it comes to hearing aids?

     DO : Store your hearing aids and hearing aid batteries in a cool, dry place.

    Don’t :  Leave your hearing aids in direct sunlight or in extreme heat, like inside your car.


    DO: Use a hearing aid dehumidifier to dry out hearing aids.

    Don’t : Get your hearing aids wet. Be careful to remove daily-wear hearing aids before showering or swimming.


    Do: Pack back-up supplies, like batteries, vent cleaners, wax filters. Clean your hearing aids regularly, including the air vent if applicable, which will allow your ear to “breathe” while wearing the hearing aids.

    Don’t : Ruin vacation by forgetting one of these important accessories. If you do, call us! We can mail you supplies if needed.

    Do: Keep them on for important announcements from airport officials

    Don’t : Take your hearing aid out while going through airport security or while in flight. The airport is not the best place to lose a hearing aid. Hearing aids do not have to be removed for security.

    The summer season doesn't have to be hard on your hearing technology! If you do your due diligence to protect your hearing aid from the sun and heat, and make sure to plan ahead and pack a hearing aid travel kit before leaving home, you can ensure a non-working hearing aid won’t get in the way of your summer fun.   If your hearing aid does break down due to moisture buildup, The Center for Audiology is here to help with fast, efficient, and friendly service in both our Houston, TX and Pearland, TX locations.  


    By proadAccountId-358356 05 Jun, 2017

    Life happens.  Every year, as summertime water activities ramp up, we experience an increase in calls from panicked patients who accidentally jumped into a pool or the ocean while wearing their hearing aids.  As much as electronics and water typically don't go well together, all is not lost if your hearing aids do get a soaking!  

    5 tips that can get your waterlogged hearing aid(s) working again: 

    1. Remove the aid from the water as quickly as possible – the less water exposure to the hearing aid, the better.
    2. Open the battery door, remove the battery, and throw away or recycle the battery.  A wet battery can become corroded and cause rusting inside the hearing aid. 
    3. Dry the hearing aid gently with a towel. Shake it gently to get as much water out as possible.
    4. Leave the aid to dry out with the battery door completely open, preferably in a hearing aid dehumidifier.  You may need to leave the hearing aid in the dehumidifier for a day or 2, depending on the amount of water exposure. 
    5. If the aid still does not work, call your audiologist and have the hearing aid sent to the manufacturer for repair.  Hearing aid warranties cover the cost of this repair.  If your hearing aid is out-of-warranty, a hearing aid repair charge will apply, which is significantly more cost effective than purchasing a new hearing aid.  

    What not to do:

    1. Never put your hearing aid into a microwave or conventional oven. You may overheat the hearing aid and cause some of the circuitry to melt. 
    2. Don’t just assume it’s broken. Give it time to dry and then get it sent away for repair if you need to.

    Note: Many hearing aid models now carry IP67 or IP68 ratings (IP is the Ingress Protection or International Protection rating system, which is a classification system showing the degrees of protection from solid objects and liquids.)  The first number 6 is the level of dust protection which is dust proof. The second number, 7 or 8, is the level of water or moisture protection. This means it is water resistant to a level that it could withstand up to 30 min in 3 feet of water before it must go into the company for repair due to water damage.  

    If you are in the market for new hearing aids and tend to perspire heavily or are frequently around water, ask your audiologist for a hearing aid that carries a high IP rating for maximum water resistance.  

    By proadAccountId-358356 10 May, 2017

    • Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.  
    • More than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than age 65.  
    • Untreated hearing loss can affect your ability to understand speech and can negatively impact your social and emotional well-being—hearing impairment can decrease your quality of life! 
    • Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States. 

    •  You have difficulty hearing people talk in noisy environments such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in a car, or at the movie theater. 
    •  People seem to “mumble” all the time. 
    • Family, friends, or colleagues often have to repeat themselves when speaking with you. 
    • You have trouble hearing people when they are not facing you or are in another room. 
    •  You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears. 
    Hearing loss is often more conspicuous than hearing aids!  May is Better Hearing Month.  If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above signs of hearing loss, see an audiologist for evaluation and treatment.  Early diagnosis and treatment typically results in the most successful outcomes.

    Call The Center for Audiology at 713-255-0035, and take the first step to reconnect with friends and family, and enjoy life again!  We have offices in Houston, TX and Pearland, TX with dedicated audiologists on staff to help customize the most appropriate hearing solution for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.  
    By proadAccountId-358356 20 Apr, 2017
    Teenage hearing loss in the U.S, is on the rise, with recent studies indicating 1 in 5 teenagers exhibiting at least a slight hearing loss.  This 30% increase in teenage hearing loss since the early 1990's is due in large part to the ever-present earbuds attached to smartphones and portable music players.

    Teens are more likely to  engage in risky hearing behaviors, including listening to loud music and using lawn and power tools with no hearing protection. The findings also revealed that teens are aware of the risks, yet still choose not to protect their hearing. 

    Slight hearing damage in teenage years puts teenagers at risk for accelerated hearing loss later in life.  Educating children from an early age about the risks of unsafe listening practices can save them from significant, permanent hearing loss later in life.  The good news is that with these few simple steps, teenagers (and everyone else) can modify their listening behavior and protect their hearing: 

    • Prevention:   Stop it before it starts!  Prevention is the best way to deal with noise-induced hearing loss.  Using headphones instead of earbuds keeps some of the direct sound out of teens’ ears.  Ear protection should be used consistently in loud environments like concerts, sporting events and when operating power equipment.
    • Stop future damage : If teens do experience symptoms like ringing or buzzing in their ears, they should immediately turn down the volume, wear ear protection, or see a hearing care professional.
    • Help a friend:  Teens should warn one another if they’re putting their hearing at risk. If you can hear your neighbor’s music over the headphones, it’s too loud.
    • Custom ear protection:   For teens who play in bands or shoot firearms, custom hearing protection is ideal.  Contact a hearing professional for guidance on the best custom hearing protection device for your particular needs.  

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