Monthly Archives: March 2014

Joint Defense Veterans Audiology Conference

According to a presentation I just attended at JDVAC Joint Defense Veterans Audiology Conference in Las Vegas, approximately 60% of returning veterans have tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Source: Kathy E. Gates, Au.D., COL (Ret.) USA and  Col. Mark Packer, MD. Comprehensive Hearing Health Program (CHHP),  Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence.  Fortunately, all branches of the armed forces are committed to doing something to change this statistic through assessment, education, and support.  This was but one amazing seminar on today’s program!

Bay Pines Preso Screen Shot

Fun abounds, too, from ice cream socials in the exhibit hall to the Concha Bowl, a type of Trivial Pursuit for hearing health professionals.  I do not mean to brag but my team, Shift Happens in Las Vegas, won first place!  How did we do that?  I’ll never tell.  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Cochlear Americas Exhibit JDVAC

JDVAC began as a collaborative effort between the Military Audiology Association (MAA) and the Association of VA Audiologists (AVAA).  Now in its sixth year, the conference has grown in both size stature.  In addition to top drawer presentations I will find very useful in making the spoken word accessible to veterans and active duty persons with hearing loss, cutting-edge technology was on display from the following exhibitors:

  1. Siemens Hearing Instruments
  2. Interacoustics
  3. Natus Medical
  4. MAICO Diagnostics
  5. Honeywell Safety Products
  6. Silynx Communications, Inc.
  7. MED-EL Corporation
  8. Bernafon, LLC
  9. AudSoft, Inc.
  10. Phonak, LLC
  11. Grason-Stadler
  12. Ototronix
  13. Sonitus Medical, Inc.
  14. Oticon Medical
  15. Oticon, Inc.
  16. VARTA Microbattery, Inc.
  17. ReSound
  18. Iron Bow Technologies
  19. GN Otometrics/Audiology Systems, Inc.
  20. GN Otometrics/Audiology Systems, Inc.
  21. Heroes with Hearing Loss (Hamilton Captel)
  22. Ear Technology Corporation
  23. Starkey Hearing Technologies
  24. NCRAR
  25. CaptionCall
  26. Moldex-Metric, Inc.
  27. Neuromonics
  28. Unitron, Inc
  29. Vivonsonic, Inc.
  30. Cochlear Americas
  31. Oaktree Products, Inc.
  32. Benson Medical Instruments
  33. Sound Pillow
  34. 3M Peltor

Make your plans to attend this exciting conference next year in Orlando FL March 2-5, 2015.

Music Appreciation for Persons With Hearing Loss

Did you know March is Music in Our Schools Month? I would like to celebrate the music in our lives, even for those of us who have hearing loss.

Music is a wonderful adjuvant to the traditional three “Three R’s” and its benefits are often overlooked in these days of high-stakes testing and heavy emphasis being placed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  Here’s to finding a place for music in the curriculum and for keeping it there!

Persons who are deaf and hard of hearing have their relationship with music altered dramatically. They may experience everything from a mild muting of the sharps and flats they once enjoyed so much to only being able to perceive music by feeling the vibrations it produces in the air and on the musical instruments themselves.  And everything in between.

For those of you who are interested, I would like to share a couple of resources I have found to be helpful, in honor of March being Music in Our Schools Month.  I am a late-deafened adult who uses bi-lateral cochlear implants.  I have definitely had to change my musical expectations to fit what my cochlear implants are capable of giving me, and the change has not always been seamless. Smile.

I gained much very no-nonsense, tough-love information and encouragement from an article audiologist Brad Ingrao, Au.D. wrote that appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. The magazine is published by the Hearing Loss Association of America. The article is available now for free download. Please copy the following URL into your web browser and it should take you to the article

I have found listening and watching musical videos, with captions, of popular songs I remember enjoying before my hearing loss became profound to be very enjoyable.  The visual image coupled with my pitch memory sometimes fools my brain into believing my auditory nerve is recognizing pitch again.  I have been led to believe this is actually a pretty good way of training my brain to recognize the pitches my cochlear implants can reproduce.  The captions are an important part of the wakeup call for me, since I am used to reading sheet music.

The Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss is a diverse group made up of people with all degrees of hearing loss of such significance that it now impacts on how they perform (or no longer perform) music.  They offer educational webinars, meet-ups, and concerts.  I attended an AAMHL webinar this past fall and it was excellent. Please copy the following URL into your web browser and it should take you to the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss website

So, check out these resources and see if they bring you an enhanced listening experience.  And have fun as you celebrate March being Music in Our Schools Month!