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O.W.L.S. present all about hearing loss

April 30, 2014
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Charles Cameron, a board certified hearing listening specialist from Hearing Health of SW Florida, returned to Pine Island to present information on the latest hearing technology.

"Charles presentation was so well received last time we asked him and his team to return for another O.W.L.S presentation about hearing," Julie Talmage said. "I am currently reading a book titled 'I Am Malala.' You may remember from the news that this young woman was shot in the face in Pakistan by the Taliban. A quote from her book really jumped out at me."

"We human beings don't realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose that smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love." - From the book, "I am Malala" by Malala Yousufzai.

"When she was shot she had severe damage to her hearing and Malala needed hearing implants so she could hear again," Talmage said. "Malala said this in her book: 'As I found my ears no one knows how much power they have in each and every organ until they lose one.' I thought that was a lovely way to begin how we can regain something that we have started to lose and how technology helps us to regain some of that control."

She then introduced Cameron.

"My wife and I started Hearing Health in Southwest Florida about three years ago and I've been in the business for almost 20 years in upstate New York," Cameron said. "I started right out of high school, through college, and worked for the family business until we started the business down here.

"One of the things we look at when a patient comes in is what is their environment?" he continued. "This is important so that the hearing aid is the correct one for your environment. We do an evaluation, take into consideration your environment, the budget and offer all of the available options. We try to educate our patients so they can make the correct decision the first time.

"What people often say is, 'I can hear everything but I don't understand anything,'" he continued. "You tend to say people are mumbling. Low frequencies are male voices and sounds in general."

Cameron gave the audience a tour of the ear. There are three parts of the ear: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear consists of the ear canal and ear drum. Sounds travel into the ear canal, striking the eardrum causing it to vibrate. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum containing three small bones called the ossicles. These small bones are connected to the eardrum at one end and to an opening at the other. Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate which in turn creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear. Movement of the fluid in the inner ear (cochlea) causes changes in tiny structures called hair cells. The movement of these hair cells sends electric signals to the auditory nerve and then to the brain where everything is interpreted.

"The average amount of time people wait to see me is seven years," Cameron said. "The problem with this is that over time those hair cells I mentioned earlier have deteriorated. When a patient comes in early and gets tested and then fitted with a hearing aid they can recover 100 percent. But if they wait, say five years, and come back for the hearing aids they might be at 60 percent. So, the earlier the better. It's called auditory deprivation. If you don't stimulate those tiny little hairs they die off.

"One thing I wanted to talk about today is technology. One of the newest types of hearing aids is the ReSound Linx," Cameron said. "The Linx allows the user to connect with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to allow music and phone calls to be heard directly through the device. The user can also control bass, treble and volume. Another interesting feature is the ability to locate the device if you've lost it at a restaurant or any place by using your iPhone."

Hearing Health of SW Florida offices are in Cape Coral, at 2816 Del Prado Blvd., S., 239-471-7148, and in North Fort Myers, at 8190 Littleton Road, 239-599-2174.



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