Party with hearing loss

Party Ideas for Those with Hearing Loss

Fun for Everybody – Perfect Hearing not Required

Spending time with friends and family during the holiday season is one of the best things about the holidays. For some, however, the holidays can come with anxiety and fear. Sometimes, people with hearing loss are often afraid to attend workplace parties or even family gatherings because they cannot hear properly.  They are afraid of not engaging in conversation and don’t want to annoy people by asking to repeat themselves. With this information, you can now plan holiday gatherings, at the home or office, that will welcome everyone, including hearing impaired individuals.  the following is a list of things you can do to ensure everyone will feel comfortable.
  1. Different parts of the space can be used for various activities— dancing, eating or conversation. Be sure to set aside at least one zone for quiet conversation. Be sure to keep the music an a relaxing, enjoyable level, where people can still hear it, yet have the ability to converse without shouting.
  2. Turn the lights up and the music down. In order to replicate our favorite going-out-on-the-town locations, we will turn the lights down and turn up the music.  This is a great way to make people feel comfortable and keep them in the mood to party and maybe even dance.  Well, it can be daunting for those who are hearing impaired.  TO ensure they are comfortable, e sure to turn the lights up so they can see the people are talking to, and turn down the music so they can hear better!
  3. Watch for the loner in the corner.Any good host will be able to read their party attendees so if you see someone alone, by themselves for a long time, go over and make them feel comfortable.  Engage them in conversation to keep them happy and involved.
  4. Provide a microphone for speeches.Holiday parties often include toasts or other speeches. Use a microphone so that everyone can hear them. For larger or more extravagant parties, you can connect the microphone to a portable hearing loop so guests with hearing loss can listen in right from their t-coil enabled hearing aids.
  5. Allow your guests to take breaks. Don’t be upset if someone with hearing loss retreats to a quiet area for some period of time during the event. Taking that opportunity to rest his ears and brain can do a lot to ready him for another round of socializing.
  6. Have realistic expectations.Even though everything has been planned out, everything was set up properly and you accommodated for everyone involved, it might not turn out perfect.  Just enjoy the party, make some great holiday memories and make the most of time shared with friends and family!
How do I test my hearing?

How Do I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?

How Do I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?

Do you find yourself straining to hear normal, everyday sounds that you used to be able to hear easily? Perhaps you haven’t been able to hear your grandkids call your name or you can’t hear the microwave beep when it’s done. You might be saying to yourself, “I need to test my hearing, but how do I do it?” If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, then it’s time to take the next step in your hearing health. At Beltone, you have a couple options to get your hearing tested.
  • FREE Online Hearing Test – you’ll need just a few minutes to take this online version that will gauge your level of hearing loss, or if you even have a loss at all. Make sure you have headphones available or you’re in a quiet area to take the test.
  • Call (757-337-4591) or visit one of our over 1,500 Beltone locations for a FREE hearing screening. Our Beltone locations offer:
    • Personalized Hearing Health Assessments
    • Discussion about your personal health and hearing health history
    • A hearing evaluation including a visual examination of your ear using an otoscope, air and bone conduction testing, and word discrimination testing
    • Review your hearing test results
    • If hearing loss is detected, your Hearing Care Professional will review hearing aid options and eventually the fitting of your new hearing aids
If you have any questions about the hearing screening process or are still unsure, please call us at 757-337-4591, or watch the video below which outlines the entire process for you.
How to talk to people with hearing loss

How To Talk to a Loved One About Getting Their Hearing Tested

How to talk to people with hearing loss

Having the Tough Conversation

You’ve noticed for a while now that your mom, grandparent, uncle, or dear friend doesn’t seem to be hearing quite as clearly as they once did. You’ve had a nagging sensation that something is wrong, but you’ve put it off, hoping it will go away. It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it seems be getting worse. One day, your loved one cups their hand to their ear and says, “What was that?” – for the third time this week. Finally, you realize it’s time to have “the talk.” It’s not easy to talk to a loved one about getting their hearing tested. People are private, defensive, or too stubborn to ask for help. And other times they simply don’t think there’s a problem. So how do you talk to a loved one about getting their hearing tested?

1. Ask but Don’t Push

To begin with, you will want to approach the subject matter-of-factly. Start by asking in a calm voice: “Mom / Uncle Fred / Gramps / Sarah, have you noticed any difficulties recently hearing things? I’m only asking because I’ve noticed that you seem to be asking me to repeat things more often. I just wanted to check if you’ve noticed the same thing.” There’s a good chance your loved one will say, “No, everything’s fine!”  That’s okay, leave it there for now. You’ve already planted the idea that there could be a problem.

2. Ask About a Situation

The next time your loved one asks you to repeat something, make a mental note of it so you can bring it up in your next attempt to talk about the subject. “Dad, remember yesterday when we were talking about Sally’s homework? We were both in the living room, but you seemed to have difficulty hearing what I was saying and you asked me to repeat a couple of sentences.” At this point your loved one may have already begun to move away from pure denial and into a slightly more receptive mood. They might nod their head in a puzzled way; half accepting that there might be a problem while still clinging to the hope that there isn’t. Again, that’s okay. The last thing we want to do is make them feel somehow diminished.
Experiencing hearing loss is natural and nothing to be ashamed of, but we all find major changes to either our physical condition or self image distressing.

3. Start with a Simple Online Test to See if You Need More Help

If your loved one appears receptive to your concerns, remind them that they have nothing to lose and possibly very much to gain by taking our quick online hearing test. The test is not designed to treat or diagnose any condition, it’s simply a guide to help you decide whether or not professional assistance is required.

4. Consult an Expert

Following the test, should they determine that they’d like to seek additional assistance, offer to schedule the appointment for them. Offer to join them at the hearing consultation (assuming they are comfortable sharing their medical history with you), and encourage them to talk to you about what the hearing professional recommended. While older individuals are at greater risk of developing hearing loss, remind them that plenty of young people are in the same boat – many under 40-year-old celebrities  have publicly discussed their hearing loss. Talking to a loved one about hearing loss can be very intimidating for you while the fear of hearing loss can be terrifying for them. But there is very little to fear. There are more treatment options  available than one might imagine, as well as incredible advances in both medical science and hearing related technology. There’s a tendency in our society to mock denial (“Isn’t it a river in Egypt?” people joke). But in reality, denial is a valuable coping mechanism – it helps us to slowly accept something that in one dose would be unbearable. You could very well get some push back the first time you broach the subject. Your loved one might find your initial attempt distressing, while you might feel frustration and disappointment. But don’t despair and don’t give up. Fear can be paralyzing, but with a little time, a little patience and a little coaxing, you can guide your loved one towards getting their hearing tested. You can do this. It’s going to be okay. You and your loved one are not alone. Stay positive, allay fears and believe that everything is going to work out — because it will.
Tinnitus hearing loss

How Do I Know If I Have Tinnitus?

Tinnitus hearing loss

How Do I Know If I Have Tinnitus?

Symptoms of Tinnitus

You’ve just settled into bed after a long day at work and you find yourself trying to tune out the buzzing noise you hear in your ears. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may have subjective tinnitus. This kind of tinnitus, which accounts for 95% of tinnitus cases, is the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. People with tinnitus often describe hearing the following sounds:

Chicago Bears Owner Discusses His Hearing Problem

Bears coach hearing aid

Chicago Bears Owner Discusses His Hearing Problem

Missing the Big Game

Brian McCaskey couldn’t watch a single play when the Bears lost to the Giants in an NFC divisional playoff game in 1991.  Not because the loss kept him from caring, but because he suffered from debilitating vertigo in his hotel that same morning. Doctors eventually diagnosed McCaskey, the second youngest son of Ed and Virginia McCaskey with Meniere’s disease.  Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that is accompanied by ringing sounds and hearing loss.  These hearing difficulties continued for a while, limiting the function of his right ear.  McCaskey visited emergency rooms numerous times while trying a variety of different medications to help.  “With each attack I’d lose more hearing” McCaskey said.

Diagnosing the Problem

Defined medically, McCaskey suffers from a sensorineural loss — damage to the hair cells in the sensory hearing organ called the cochlea. Addressing the issue seven years ago after he lost hearing in his good ear required surgery called endolymphatic sac decompression and shunt insertion, a procedure deemed necessary when conservative treatment fails. It involved going into the part of the skull just under the brain to create a drainage portal. While McCaskey has enjoyed some recovery, his hearing is still quite limited.  “My hearing was gone, and what’s gone is gone — it’s not coming back,’’ McCaskey said. “Birds can restructure their hearing. Fish can restructure their hearing. Humans cannot. Once there is hearing damage to the cochlea and the hair cells inside the cochlea — a structure the size of the tip of your pinkie — there is no going back.’’

Living with Hearing Loss

With all the hearing issues he has faced, McCaskey continues to live the life he wants.  He is still a music buff and continues to attend shows and concerts.  He’s extremely grateful for the tech progress that allows him to enjoy his favorite tunes.  His message to everyone else?  McCaskey said, “I have 48 million brothers and sisters who have experienced hearing loss. It touches everybody, so just encourage people to get help and break that stigma that it’s for older people. It’s not. Reach out, get help and take care of your hearing.’’
How to talk to someone with hearing loss

10 Tips For Talking To People With Hearing Loss

How to Talk to People with Hearing Loss

How to talk to someone with hearing loss

Talking Through Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not only a challenge for those who suffer from it, but it can also be frustrating for those trying to communicate with them. Even for those using hearing aids, it is not always easy to communicate successfully in all situations. We recommend following these simple tips to improve communication with your hearing impaired friends, family and co-workers: 

5 Reasons Why to NOT Put Off Hearing Health

5 Reasons Why to NOT Put Off Hearing Health

5 Reasons Why to NOT Put Off Hearing Health

When it comes to your health, it’s best to never procrastinate when you think there are issues. A growth on your skin shouldn’t be ignored, a pain in your joints or backs can’t be ignored, and even your own hearing, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are 5 reasons why you should definitely not be putting off checking on your hearing health.

Winter & Hearing Loss

Relationship Between Winter & Hearing Loss

Relationship Between Winter & Hearing Loss

When it comes to hearing loss, it can come from a variety of sources.  Some hearing losses stem from some genetic disorder, others come from improper hearing or ear care such as enduring loud noises or improperly cleanig.  Hearing loss can even come from something as simple as the aging process.  One particular source however, many do not think about; cold weather.

Winter & Hearing Loss

According to new research, hearing loss can stem from extensive exposure to cold weather.  When the temperature drops, the risk of ringing in the ears and hearing loss increases. This is because there is a higher risk of rogue bones growing in the ear canal along with hardening of ear wax.

Bone growth in the ear canal is known as surfer’s ear because this condition is fairly common among those who surf, as they spend a lot of time in colder water. This condition forms on the top of existing bone in the ears and travels down the canal to the ear drum. The condition can potentially lead to hearing loss and also results in constant pain and ringing in the ears.

Dr. Roger Henderson explained, “In severe cases, cold weather can cause abnormal bone growths within the ear canal, known as ‘exostosis.’ This is the body’s way of attempting to protect the ears by creating a barrier against the cold. Exostosis can constrict the ear canal, contributing to increased ear wax build-up as the ear can no longer expel earwax effectively. This can be heightened in cold weather as wax can harden when ears are exposed to low temperatures, making ears more likely to become blocked.”

Along with contributing to surfer’s ear, cold weather has the unfotunate abolity to harden earwax inside your ear.  This creates a blockage in your ear canal, preventing you to perceive noises properly.

Unfortunately, individuals who use hearing aids are at a much higher risk for hardening earwax because having a “foreign object” in the ear causes it to produce more wax. When wax builds up in the ear, it can lead to infections, earaches, headaches, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

During the winter time, it’s important to take good care of your ears.  Be sure to keep them warm as you would your hands and feet.  Wear earmuffs or a hat to keep them warm and cozy.

Schedule your FREE hearing test today 757-337-4591.

Travel Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

Travel Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

Travel Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

Spring is here and summer is fast approaching! Many of us use the summer months to take vacation time and take advantage of the weather to do some traveling. Traveling is typically a fun experience, however traveling with hearing loss and hearing aids can present challenges. For example, if you’re hard of hearing, you may miss boarding calls for flights or trains. Or if you don’t speak the language at your destination, locals’ accents can make it even more difficult to communicate. With this in mind we have come up with a list of tips to help make your travel experience a stress-free one.

Travel Booking Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

  • Book your air travel, shuttles and accommodations ahead of time with an agent. Always inform the ticketing agent that you are hard of hearing.
  • Ask for written confirmation of all travel arrangements to avoid any potential confusion at your destination.
  • If you choose to book your travel online, print off all confirmation information including confirmation numbers and take them with you.
  • Consider booking an aisle seat in order to make it easier to communicate with in-flight staff.

Packing Tips:

Best practice is to assume that your destination will likely not have everything you’ll need to maintain your hearing aids. So before you leave on your trip make sure you go through this checklist while packing:
  • Make a list of everything you’ll need to ensure you don’t forget anything.
  • Charge all hearing aid devices and accessories before you leave.
  • Extra replacement batteries or charger.
  • Pack spare attachable accessories – for example wireless accessories to connect to other devices.
  • All necessary cleaning items.
  • cell phone that is compatible with your hearing aids.
  • A convenient carry-on approved case if you will be traveling by plane.
  • Pack an alarm clock with vibration or flashing light functionality.
  • Pack a simple hearing aid repair kit.

Travel Tips for the Hard of Hearing

  • Arrive early at the airport, bus or train terminal and let the boarding agent know that you are hard of hearing and that you will need to be notified in person when it’s time to board.
  • Check the display boards often while you’re waiting in case of flight information changes.
  • Confirm your flight numbers and boarding gates.
  • Inform the flight attendants that you have hearing loss and request that you be informed personally of any in-flight announcements.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most fellow travelers are usually happy and willing to help.

Airport Security Information when Traveling with Hearing Aids:

A few things to keep in mind to help keep your travels stress free are:
  • Notify the security officer at airport security that you use hearing aids. You shouldn’t have to remove them, however your hearing aids may set off the walk-through detectors and you may be subject to an additional pat down by security.
  • You don’t need to worry about the metal detectors, x-ray machines or hand-held detectors damaging your hearing aids. They are perfectly safe.
  • You are not required to carry any sort of doctor’s note or documentation of your hearing loss. However, if you prefer to be more discreet, the TSA has a downloadable health notification card available to help you communicate your situation to the security officer. Download, fill it in and print it off prior to travel and keep it with your other travel documents for safe keeping.
  • Devices like hearing aids or pacemakers are exempt from the portable electronic devices policy while flying because they do not emit a signal that may interfere with aircraft systems. The FAA does not require you to turn them off for takeoff and landing.

Tips for Hotel or Resort Vacations with Hearing Loss

  • Learn the phrase, “I am hard of hearing,” in the local language at your destination.
  • Inform the check-in agent of your hearing loss and let them know about your specific needs. This will make for a much more enjoyable experience.
  • Ask the agent whether your hotel is outfitted with emergency notification system for the hard of hearing. (For example: Flashing lights on the smoke and fire alarms.)
  • Ask for an ADA Kit (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Put your hearing aids in the same spot every night to make sure you can find them easily.
  • Pick up a local map. When you’re hard of hearing, it is easier to get directions when you can be shown on a map.
Traveling with hearing loss doesn’t have to be stressful. With simple planning, communication and the above tips you can ensure that you have an enjoyable travel experience. Download and take advantage of the HearPlus™ App for the Beltone Legend™Beltone First™ and Beltone Boost™ hearing aids to make your travels even easier!

Schedule your FREE hearing test today 757-337-4591.

Why pretending to hear is bad and how to break the habit

Why pretending to hear is bad and how to break the habit

Why pretending to hear is bad and how to break the habit

Why pretending to hear is bad and how to break the habitWhy pretending to hear is bad and how to break the habit

This may be a familiar scene to you;  you are out with a group of friends, and you start chatting with someone you haven’t met before. The conversations going on next to you are quite loud and there may be music on louder than it needs to be.  Once your conversation starts, you are comfortable as you hear the basics such as their name and where they are from, but when the speaker goes to lengthier, more detailed information, you begin to lose context.  The music and surrounding conversations creep into your ears and take over the voice of the person right across from you.

Unfortunately, you don’t do anything about it.  You let the person go along speaking, missing some key details because we don’t let the other person know, we just can’t hear them.

Why do we pretend to hear?

The easy answer is, we are just too polite.  After having had no problem in the very beginning of the conversation, we see the other person talking as offering up information they are comfortable sharing.  When we can’t hear every detail, we feel bad to interrupt and we just don’t want to be rude.  Maybe we don’t want to draw attention to whether or not we have a hearing problem.

Surprisingly, this isn’t entirely uncommon.  Everyone at some point has pretended they have heard the other person saying something. Think about it, when someone tells you a joke, and you hear a word that you’ve never heard before, an unfamiliar location or celebrity name, you’re not likely to interrupt. You wait for the joke to be over and maybe you fake a laugh. Or if someone is talking about politics and you have no idea what they are referencing, chances are, you nod and say “interesting” without fully comprehending it.

Since we know it’s common and there’s a good explanation for why we do it, here’s some good ways to break the habit.

Breaking the habit

People love to share information about themselves.  If you want to know more about them, but can’t hear, there is no shame in letting the speaker know you are having an issue understanding what they are saying. A great example on how to do this is if you are sitting in the back of a meeting or gathering.  As soon as you start to lose the details spoken, say something like, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I can’t hear well from down here, and I don’t want to miss this. Do you mind, if I switch places with someone or sit closer.”

The speaker will be glad you are truly interested in what they have to say.

The best thing to do to break this habit is know that the earlier you let the speaker know you don’t understand what they are saying, the better.  This shows, early on, you are invested in the conversation and it also prevents the speakers from repeating themselves.

Every time you miss something because of your hearing loss, think of it as an opportunity to improve your current situation and to educate others for future occasions. When you do this enough, people start remembering what you need and might even make suggestions to make your life easier.

Schedule your FREE hearing test today 757-337-4591.

Hearing Tests

Everything You Need To Know About Hearing Tests

Everything You Need To Know About Hearing Tests

Hearing Tests Hearing Tests

In life, there are many tests that you must take: pop quizzes, driving tests and college entrance exams. There are also tests that you don’t need to study for, such as eyesight exams or a hearing evaluation.

A hearing “test” or evaluation is recommended to those around the age of 50, unless of course you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss sooner. A hearing screening includes several tests that measure how well you hear a variety of sounds. However, there are several important steps to complete before your hearing is evaluated. Let’s go through everything you need to know about hearing tests.

Damaging Your Hearing

5 Ways You’re Damaging Your Hearing

5 Ways You’re Damaging Your Hearing

Damaging Your Hearing

Your ears are more sensitive than you think.  When you are young and carefree, playing your music loudly, going to concerts, or heading out to loud bars, doesn’t seem like much of an issue.  The real fact however, is that once ears are damaged, hearing loss cannot be reversed.  Below is a list of things you need to be concerned when thinking about preserving the health of your ears.

Hearing Tests

Are Hearing Tests Free?

Are Hearing Tests Free?

Hearing Tests Hearing Tests

Are hearing tests free? The short answer? At Beltone, hearing tests are free! If you’re perhaps just noticing that you may have a hearing loss or if it’s been noticeable to you for a while, Beltone offers not only a FREE online hearing test, but all of our Beltone locations offer FREE hearing screenings.

The Beltone online hearing test is a quick way to gauge if you should schedule an appointment with your local Beltone office to get a more in-depth screening done. Just make sure you’re in a quiet area or have headphones available to drown out the background noise. Once you start the online hearing test, it will ask you to identify certain sounds and if you can hear those sounds. You will get your results at the conclusion of the test.

Or even more precise than the online hearing test, you can schedule an appointment for your FREE hearing screening at your local Beltone office. During the screening, your Hearing Care Practitioner will assess:

  1. Your personal health history
  2. Check the inside of your ears with a video otoscope, for a completely painless examination
  3. Conduct a word discrimination to test your hearing

…all for FREE!

To schedule an appointment, please call us at 757-337-4591.

Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss: Why Does Hearing Deteriorate As We Get Older?

Hearing Loss: Why Does Hearing Deteriorate As We Get Older?

Hearing LossHearing Loss

Aging certainly has some positive side effects – wisdom gained from life experience, rich relationships with family and often financial security. But unfortunately, growing older can also lead to the deterioration of certain physical systems like hearing. No one likes to experience hearing loss, but part of grasping the change and seeking effective help comes from understanding the causes of progressive hearing loss.

Primary Causes of Most Hearing Loss

The auditory system is delicate and intricate, with tiny hair cells inside the inner ear that amplify sound waves. “The amplification, without which the auditory system is effectively deaf, can be traced to the correct functioning of a group of motile sensory hair cells, the outer hair cells of the cochlea,” says Jonathan Ashmore in an article published by the journal Physiological Reviews. These hair cells break down and die over time. And unfortunately, once the cells are gone they don’t regenerate, so the hearing loss that results is permanent. Other changes to the ear that can occur over time, especially when secondary factors are introduced, are decreased blood flow to the ear, changes to the structure of the inner ear and deterioration of the nerves in the ear. No two cases of hearing loss are identical, but it generally occurs slowly and progressively over time.

Some Secondary Contributors to Hearing Loss

A number of environmental and lifestyle factors are related to the decline of hearing function as one ages. These include damage from noisy environments like factory work or loud rock concerts, genetic factors, smoking, poor circulation, medical conditions like diabetes or medication taken over time. The behavioral risk factors, such as smoking and repeated exposure to loud noises, can be ceased or reduced to help lessen the severity of your hearing loss and improve your general health and quality of life.

What To Do When You Recognize Hearing Loss

No one likes to face the reality of hearing loss, but when you notice that you are asking people to repeat themselves frequently, turning up the volume often, struggling to hear voices over the telephone or hearing a ringing in your ears, you should act quickly to get effective help that will tune you back in to the world around you. In fact, most people don’t even realize they’ve been training their brain to deal with the hearing loss until they get fitted with hearing aids and get to hear the difference. For an initial assessment, you can take the online hearing test at If you confirm a hearing deficiency, visit your local Beltone Hearing Care Center for a comprehensive evaluation and an introduction to the array of Beltone hearing aid products. We treat each patient as the unique individual they are, and we have a solution that can turn the volume back up on the sounds you want to hear.

Beltone Stands Ready To Help You Navigate

At Beltone, we stand ready with experienced professionals who love helping customers craft the best plan for their hearing needs. Our hearing aid systems are comfortable, convenient, effective and economical, and we pride ourselves on our knowledge of hearing health and our attention to customer service. Call for an appointment today, 757-337-4591.

Improved Hearing

How Improved Hearing Bettered My Life

How Improved Hearing Bettered My Life

Improved HearingImproved Hearing

Dr. Jonathan Brein was living the dream — he had a beautiful family, a 42-foot yacht, a successful private practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. But then, the anesthesiologist started having problems hearing. At first, it was a small inconvenience. He thought his nurses were mumbling. No one knew exactly what caused Dr. Brein’s hearing loss. “Some thought it might have been caused by a viral infection. It was never confirmed.” Whatever the cause of the problem, Brein’s hearing got worse. In fact, his hearing got so bad that the anesthesiologist started having challenges in the operating room. He used hearing aids, but they didn’t solve the problem. One day, a respected fellow physician, the chair of the Department of Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgery at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, told Brein that he had a real problem understanding people in the operating room. Eventually, Brein’s attorney told him, “You have to stop practicing.”

So, Dr. Brein had to leave medicine. Fortunately, he had disability insurance and his children were young. He and his wife spent six years cruising the east coast in their yacht. But eventually, he had to come back to “real life.” Brein’s kids had to go back to school. He returned to Virginia to figure out what to do next. His hearing was a constant problem — he knew he couldn’t return to medicine. One day, he spotted a newspaper advertisement for Beltone.

Brein had tried many hearing aids, but his Beltone experience was different. Hearing aid technology had evolved tremendously. The sound quality had improved, and the hearing aids were so much smaller, making them almost invisible. The Beltone audiologist also made the technology affordable. After getting his Beltone True™ hearing aids, Brein was thrilled. “My wife said ‘you’re scaring me.’ I was talking in a normal tone, and wasn’t telling her to stop mumbling.”

Brein’s improved hearing allowed him to build a second career in real estate. He now owns Home Choice Properties, a company that renovates homes and manages rental properties. Brein says that his business success is not the best part of gaining improved hearing. “It’s about the people in my life — my wife and daughters. If you take a look at people in your lives, those who love you, now they don’t have to suffer with my hearing loss anymore.”

If you, like Dr. Brein are struggling to hear and need help, please call us at 757-337-4591.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Signs of Hearing Loss

Signs of Hearing LossSigns of Hearing Loss

Signs of Hearing Loss

An untreated hearing loss it can be isolating, frustrating, and has almost the same warning signs as Alzheimer’s disease. If you or a family member is living with these symptoms, please schedule them a free hearing test to help determine the cause of the symptoms.

Know the 10 Signs of Hearing Loss… Early Detection Matters!

  1. People seem to mumble more frequently.
  2. You experience ringing in your ears.
  3. You often ask people to repeat themselves.
  4. Your family complains that you play the radio or TV too loudly.
  5. You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell.
  6. You have difficulty understanding conversations when in a group or crowd.
  7. You have trouble understanding all the words in conversations.
  8. You find a telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
  9. You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
  10. You have been told you speak too loudly.

Symptomatic similarities between Untreated Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

Untreated Hearing Loss Alzheimer’s Disease
Depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation Depression, anxiety, disorientation
Reduced communication ability Reduced language comprehension
Reduced cognitive input Impaired memory (esp. short-term memory)
Inappropriate psychosocial responses Inappropriate psychosocial responses
Reduced mental scores Loss of ability to recognize (agnosia
Denial, heightened defensiveness, negativity Denial, defensiveness, negativity
Distrust and paranoia (e.g., belief that others may be talking about them) Distrust and suspicion regarding other’s motives

Chartand MS: Alzheimer’s & Hearing Loss. Professional Education Course, International Institute for Hearing Instrument Studies, Livonia, MI, 2000.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing ANY of the 10 warning signs, give us a call at (757)497-3900 for your free hearing evaluation.

The Doctor Is “OUT”

By Peter Cousin
Director of Marketing
Beltone Southside Hampton Roads

John Brein with Beltone Owner Bari Grohler

Dr. John Brein of Chesapeake had it all. A beautiful wife, two wonderful children, nice home, a sailboat and a successful medical practice united by some of the finest physicians in Virginia. And – just like that – his medical profession ended. Achieving his medical degree as a general surgeon in 1982, from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Brein specialized in Anesthesiology, based on the medical communities’ forecast of a shortage in this field by the year 2000. They were correct.

Completing his Anesthesiology Residency at Yale’s School of Medicine, he moved to Virginia Beach for its appealing appearance and professional opportunities. As a contributing member of a medical practice, their group became the anesthesia group for DePaul Medical Center where Dr. Brein became Chairman of the Anesthesiology Department. Life was good.

“By the age of 38,” Dr. Brein explains, “I began to notice a loss in my hearing. It became more difficult to hear the surgeons in the operating room, mouths covered by masks and voices sometimes soft or hushed.” He told one of his friends, an Otolaryngologist, about his hearing problem and they suggested getting an audiogram done. At the conclusion of the test, he was told he needed hearing aids in both ears. In disbelief, he told his friend he had to be wrong. They both reviewed the test and the conclusion was he had a loss in both ears.

Dr. Brein purchased one hearing aid and sought the medical advice from a well-known ENT surgeon in our area. With the hearing loss moderate to moderately severe, he underwent a surgical procedure to improve his left ear. While it improved the hearing capabilities to a degree, it was clear his hearing would not return to a level needed for his profession.

At the age of 40, Dr. Brein went to a convention called Self-help for Hearing Loss. “It was part of my discovery,” says the Doctor. “I found people of all ages there. I thought I would be surrounded by those much older than me. That’s how I envisioned people would be with hearing loss. To my surprise, there were many younger people in attendance. What I realized was younger people have a self-image problem. I, on the other hand, wanted more information – as much as I could gain. I wanted to know anything and everything about this hearing loss I had. There were not a lot of answers. What I did find out is you don’t really know how much communication you’re missing and the people you’re hurting (especially those closest to you) when you don’t address the problem.”

By the age of 43, his hearing had worsened. Even with the use of very powerful hearing aids in both ears, he found himself at a disadvantage and at issue was the very safety of his patients. After advice from his attorney and discussions with his partners and family, he ended his career.

Says Dr. Brein, “The perception is that hearing aids are too expensive and not “cool” for younger people. How untrue. I got hearing aids because I couldn’t hear what people around me were saying. Not only was it frustrating for me but it was frustrating for those around me I care about. I continued to have the TV too loud, spoke at a much louder tone of voice so people could hear me (actually so I could hear me) and never realized that the sore throat I continued to experience was from my own yelling.”

As the saying goes, “When One Door Closes, Another Opens.” This was true of Dr. Brein. He was Bari & Jon discuss his change of career closing out one successful profession and entering into a new exciting one as a Property Manager and owner of Home Choice Properties (Real Estate investment had been something he had been interested in for some time). “I buy homes, fix them up and rent them to wonderful people to enjoy. After wearing full-shell inside the ear hearing aids for more than 5 years, he was swayed by a Beltone newspaper ad he had seen and came into the office to see about the new technologically advanced hearing aid called True™. Being a “techy” of sorts, he wanted the very best hearing aid on the market with all the bells and whistles. When I asked him why he chose the True™ over less technological

Beltone” he says, “just sounds better. It’s clearer. With this new equipment, I can listen to MP3 formats and when the phone rings, the MP3 cuts off for my use of the phone. When I’m done with the call, the MP3 cuts back on automatically. That’s pretty nice. I can also listen to music or other media while still receiving the ambient sounds around me. That’s very close to normal hearing. Beltone’s new technology is on the cutting-edge and that excites me.”

I asked how it affected his hearing. He told me “before the True™ hearing aid, my right ear was so bad my old hearing aid provided next to nothing for me. With the new True™ hearing aid, it seems as though I’ve actually gained more than 50% hearing (and comprehension) in that ear. That is amazing.” I now wear the new True™ in both ears and it’s had a profound effect on my family life. My wife keeps saying I’m different. I’m no longer yelling when I talk and, at times, she has to listen to hear me. It’s great.

Jon holding the True™ in his palm sophisticated equipment he said “because I deserve it! If this is the best then this is what I want!

In closing, I asked Dr. (goes by Jon now) what he would say to someone in their 40’s and 50’s about hearing loss that might change the way they perceive the use of hearing aids. He said quite proudly, “The way it impacted me, was the people I love were suffering. I was blaming them for my problems of not hearing. You have no idea what you’re not hearing(and of course, understanding) and how much impact it has on people around you.

People with hearing problems, no matter their age, become bluffers. If you don’t hear what someone says or only catch part of it, rather than causing frustration or embarrassment, you make up in your mind what they are saying and hope you’re right. You’re not reading lips as much as you’re reading faces and expressions. After awhile you get to be pretty good at it but that’s not the answer for future happiness. The new hearing aids at Beltone fit over your ear and are not noticeable unless someone looks for them. And with the small clear tube that fits into your ear, you hear clearly not loudly, and are hardly noticeable. In short, hearing trumps everything else. It’s worth hearing what you’re missing. Call the folks at Beltone. They will take very good care of you… just like they’ve taken care of me.”