Pocket Talker

I have something called a William’s Sound Pocket Talker. I need it to talk to people who have severe to profound hearing loss, but don’t have hearing aids. I recommend it to families with a loved one in urgent care or hospice. I don’t sell it, but you can get it online and it runs about $130. If you can’t afford one and need to borrow it, let me know. In terms of human needs, I think right under food and shelter is connection with people. When people are sick or at the end of life, it’s even more important.

Hearing and Speech Developmental Milestones

For birth to 5 years is the most critical period for children to learn language. Unidentified hearing loss during this time has long term effects on language and academic progress, so it’s critical that hearing loss is identified early. Diagnosis rates used to be abysmal and the universal hearing screening program in hospitals has helped.

Even a mild hearing loss has an effect on language and learning. Here are the hearing and speech milestones from birth to 5 years that parents should know.

Hearing and Speech Milestones

Hearing Loss Friendly Restaurants

The number one biggest complaint I hear from people with hearing loss is that they can’t hear in noise. For the past six months I’ve been asking patients what restaurants they recommend. Here’s the list so far. I’ll update it as I get more. Email me if you have another for me to add:

Paradise Café (Veranda)
La Playa Azul (Veranda)
Scarlet Begonia (Patio)
Lure (in the back of the restaurant)
Rose Café
Stella Mare’s
Tree House
Max’s (after 1pm)

Advertising by Mail

Some businesses buy addresses for a certain demographic and send out mass mailings. Carol is in the hearing aid demographic, so she gets all the ads. This one really got our attention because it needs some clarification.

It says:

“As our way of saying thanks for stopping by and allowing us to test your hearing, you will receive a FREE* CaptionCall Phone. Call today, quantities are limited to stock in the office! Promotional offer available during special event dates only. May not be combined with other offers and does not apply to prior sales.”

The amplified phones it’s talking about are always free and there is no limited supply. The cost of these phones is covered by a tax on everyone’s phone bill. We have the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) to thank. The Act was intended to make public things accessible by all. So if you have a hearing loss, you should be able to hear on the phone just like anyone else.

There are three programs I know of and they provide phones, free of charge, if you have a hearing loss. You just need a signature from a hearing aid dispenser, audiologist, or doctor. They even come to your home, for free, to help set it up. I have the application forms in my office, but they’re also available on line. Here are the links to the three companies:



Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP)


I went to a conference last weekend. Douglas Beck spoke about tinnitus. Here’s a little of what I learned:

1) If you’ve met one person with tinnitus, you’ve met one person with tinnitus.

2) Cause is not well understood, but 80% of people with tinnitus have a hearing loss.

3) 325 million people in the US have tinnitus and 15 million have it severe enough to seek treatment.

4) 100% of people of those bothered by tinnitus say it affects their emotions and 50% struggle with mental health.

5) Stress is a major contributor to the severity of tinnitus.

6) The main two treatments include hearing aids and cognitive behavioral therapy.

7) Hearing aids provide complete relief from tinnitus for 20% of people, major relief for 20%, and only some relief for 60% of people.

Pairing Phone App to Hearing Aids

Oticon, ReSound, Siemens, Sonic, and Widex hearing aids all connect directly to an app on your phone via bluetooth. You can control things like volume, programs, tone, and directional microphone. You can stream phone calls and music straight from the phone to the hearing aids. Oticon, Sonic, and ReSound apps can find your hearing aids by GPS if you lose them. Oticon just streamed the world’s first live rock concert to its hearing aid wearers. These apps work directly with iPhones, but need a streamer that clips on your shirt in order to work with an Android phone.

Bluetooth technology isn’t perfect though, so sometimes it disconnects. For anyone who wears bluetooth connected aids, here’s a cheat sheet on how to reconnect them:

1) open hearing aid battery doors
2) go to “Settings” on the phone
3) go to “general”
4) go to “accessibility”
5) go to “hearing devices”
6) choose “forget device”
7) go back to “general” screen
8) close hearing aid battery doors
9) go to “accessibility”
10) go to “hearing devices”
11) tap on your name displayed
12) once it displays you name and “L” and “R”, choose it.

ReSound also has a customer connectivity help phone number: 888-735-4327 #1

Hearing Aid Accidental Loss and Damage

I sent a hearing aid in to the manufacturer for accidental damage today. It was under warranty and so the patient had to include an explanation of what happened on the claim form. Here’s what happened:

Hazards to hearing aids, other than cute kids with buckets of water, include the following:

The washer: Don’t put hearing aids in your pocket.

The salon: Don’t put a hearing aid in a tissue in your purse. Old tissues get thrown out.

Hospitals: Hearing aids can get lost in emergency situations where your life is the priority.

Dogs: If your hearing aid is on the night stand, your dog can hear the feedback. Upon canine investigation it is discovered that a hearing aid smells like you and that is apparently tasty.)

Hearing aids have a 2-3 year warranty and it can be extended up to 5 years. They usually last longer, but they’re like an old car at that point. They become unreliable because of exposure to heat, moisture, and wax. Hearing aids can often be repaired beyond 5 years, but not always because the parts may be discontinued.

There are a few manufacturers that make phone apps that can help you find a lost aid (currently Oticon and ReSound). It’s like GPS. It shows a map of the location of your hearing aid. When you go to the location you have a bar graph that goes up the closer you get.