I have had an increase in patients who tried Jabra, had limited benefit, and came in to investigate other options. So I finally got a chance to test a Jabra! It’s inexpensive. Why? Frequency response might have something to do with it.

First, on the above audiogram, look at each frequency band and notice how important the high frequencies are for speech intelligibility. The band around 2kHz is the most important at 33%. The band above 3kHz is next in importance at 23%. Below 500 Hz is about 8%.

Now look at the above real ear measurement. This is ideal. Notice how the performance of the hearing aids (green and pink lines) match up with the targets (green and pink markers). (This happens to be an Oticon Intent 1, but any high end hearing aid can match a target all the way out to 8kHz, easily). If you’re not familiar with real ear measurements yet, take a look at the video on the Hearing Aids page.

Now for the Jabra. The left side graph shows that the hearing aid amplification fades above 3kHz. According to the audiogram in the first image, this is a problem because you’re missing 23% of the clarity you could have. (The right side graph shows that the Jabra aid on that side was dead. This can happen to higher end hearing aids too. All it takes is some debris in the microphone. In my experience though, some manufacturers are more reliable than others.)

Giving back

Santa Barbara Audiology is a big name for a tiny family owned business. A few years ago I was exhausted and demoralized. I really needed support, so I joined a group of audiologists called Entheos. They’ve been a huge help. They also have a program that brings help to the hearing impaired around the world. Here’s a video of a recent trip to South Africa.

The state of the world right now is pretty demoralizing, but there are some good guys out there using whatever “superpower” they have to give back. When you give back, you don’t feel so out of control. Have an inspiring week everyone!

Medicare advantage?

Here’s another impulsive post on something I think hearing aid wearers should know about. Read about insurers and Medicare in the New York Times. I’m not surprised.

Initially, I tried so hard to accept as many insurances as possible, because when someone pays an insurance premium they should be able to access the benefit. Eventually, the hours on the phone with these Medicare “advantage” plans and the emotional strain of talking to people who don’t care about my patients was too much. All of this recently made it an easy decision to drop these insurers.

I do still accept Department of Rehabilitation, the Veteran’s Administration, MediCal, and MediCare. There’s still paperwork, but at the end of the day I’m happy because they expect a high standard of care, it isn’t about profit, and the people I talk to really care about my patients.

So if you’re considering an Medicare Advantage plan, you now have a little more info to consider in your research. has resources too.

Directional Microphone Update

I know I haven’t posted anything in a long time. It is recommended by website builders that blog posts should be regular, long, pretty, and blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I don’t have time for that, so I’m going to make quick ones about new important developments and stuff I think people should know.

Both Widex and Oticon have come out with new hearing aid cases that help in noise.

A little background: Most hearing aids have two microphones on them in order to amplify sound directionally. In simple real world terms, that means when you’re in a restaurant you can hear the person you’re facing better than the people behind you. In order for this work, the microphones have to be on a horizontal plane. On the left hand image, the mics are oriented up toward the sky. Now if your loved one likes to hang out on a pedestal, this is great, but otherwise not. The image on the right shows how the hearing aid case design changed so that it’s easier for the audiologist to get the mics on a horizontal plane.

Here’s the article I just got from Widex in case you like to geek out on these kinds of things:

Do Something!

Steve Kerr’s statement took the words and the emotions right out of my mouth and heart.

Steve Kerr

14 (19) Children were killed

“14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher. And in the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. We’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California. And now we have children murdered at school.”

(At the time of the press conference, there were 14 children dead. It has risen to 22.)

50 GOP Senators

“There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R. 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power.

So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you — are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers?

90% of Americans want universal background checks

“You realize that 90% of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks. Ninety percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote. Despite what we the American people want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power.”

Gun control policy support:
1) Universal background checks: 90%
2) Red flag laws: 86%
3) High capacity magazine ban: 60%
4) Gun license requirement: 74%
5) Mandatory waiting period: 83%
6) Assault weapon ban: 67% (imagine that)
Pew Research, ABC, Quinnipiac, APM Research Lab, NPR

Condolences and moments of silence

“When are we going to do something? I’m tired. I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences, to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired of the excuse, but I’m sorry, I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.”

1) Both the supermarket in Buffalo and the school in Uvalde had armed guards.
2) People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the cause.
3) Research in 1993 showed that owning a gun makes you less safe at home.
4) Research on gun violence has been blocked since 1996.
5) Policy needs to be based on facts not opinions.

It’s Personal

“I want every person here every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild or mother or father, sister or brother — how would you feel if this happened to you today?”

(His father was a victim of gun violence. So was my brother in law.)

Do Something

“We can’t get numb to this. We can’t sit here and just read about it and go, ‘Well, let’s have a moment of silence. Yeah, go Dubs.’ You know? ‘Come on, Mavs, let’s go.'”

1) Speak out.   Research shows that more people express their support for gun control in public when they find out how much support there is.
2) If someone tells you to "Stop being so political", tell them they wouldn't be calling it 'political' if it was their child.
3) Read the paper, not social media.
4) Get educated and get involved:
5) Vote

Never Throw Out an Old Hearing Aid.

Old hearing aids should never be thrown out. Here are my suggestions on what to do with old aids:

  1. Use them as spare hearing aids
  2. Give them to family members or friends who can’t afford hearing aids. (Most hearing aids can be reprogrammed to almost anyone’s hearing loss. We reprogram hearing aids all the time.)
  3. Donate them to an organization that will reprogram them for people in the community or the world. (Contact us for details).
  4. Donate dead aids to organizations like Starkey. They can use the functioning parts to repair other hearing aids.