Quiet Restaurants in Santa Barbara

It’s hard to find quiet restaurants in Santa Barbara.  If you wear a hearing aid, this is pretty important.  I posted this a while back, but a patient of mine just recommended a new one for the list, Louie’s. Email me if you have another for me to add:


Louie’s (table # 8)
Paradise Café (Veranda)
La Playa Azul (Veranda)
Scarlet Begonia (Patio)
Lure (in the back of the restaurant at 5 pm)
Rose Café
Stella Mare’s
The Patio Cafe
Meun Fan thai cafe
Tree House
Max’s (after 1pm)
D’Angelo Bread

Maslow 2.0

Carol and her husband, Hal, started Interpersonal Communications in 1985. Hal, a psychologist, and Carol, a nurse, saw hearing aids as more than just a device that aids hearing. It’s about communicating and being close to friends and loved ones. Hearing loss isolates people. It affects cognitive health. Even more importantly, it affects emotional health.

Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs” was re-examined by Dr Ed Diener and I think the results support what Carol and I think: that connection with other people is a bit more important for happiness that Maslow’s theory says it is.

The Atlantic wrote an article about the study in 2011:

“As it turns out, the needs that are most linked with everyday satisfaction are interpersonal ones, such as love and respect.” The study author writes, “It shows clearly the importance in all societies of human connections and social supports, something that’s been ignored in recent years.”

Central Processing Disorder

Hearing starts with sound vibration, which becomes neural signals, which are brought up to the brain, where the sounds become all kinds of things we recognize, including words. Kids with hearing loss can be misdiagnosed. Without a hearing test, hearing loss can be confused with developmental delay, ADD, or defiance. And if there is a Central Processing Disorder, hearing can be difficult even when the standard pure tone hearing test is normal. That’s because the problem is higher up in the brain where speech sounds are decoded into words.

About Central Processing Disorder

Here is an online screening test:

Central Processing Disorder screening questionnaire

If there is any question about hearing loss, get it checked out by an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Donating Old Hearing Aids

Don’t throw out old hearing aids. A few options for old aids:

I called Starkey and left a message with their Hearing Foundation director asking what international hearing missions use their donations. We have a box in our office that you can put old dead aids. When we get a bunch we send them in to Starkey.

Friends and Family
You can also give an old hearing aid to a family member or friend if it’s a hearing aid that goes behind the ear. It can be reprogrammed to fit their hearing loss. Call me if you have questions about this.

Santa Barbara Audiology
You can donate them to us too. I program them and give them to people who don’t qualify for Medical (CenCal).

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

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)