Be in the Moment
Welcome, my name is Tom Adams and I entitled this video “Better or Best” as it relates to your hearing.
You know people have a broad spectrum of options available help them hear better. Everything from the simplest, which is cupping your hand behind your ear, to going out to the drugstore or find something over the Internet. Some sort of listening device to help you hear better. So, there’s this broad spectrum of options available but the biggest problem that people face, that I encounter, and I think maybe this make sense to you, is wanting to hear better in conversations. Whether it’s talking one-on-one with somebody or in a larger group or in a restaurant. Where there’s background sound, these are the situations that are most troublesome for people when they’re seeking better hearing. You know buying a hearing system is not like buying glasses. When you went out and bought glasses perhaps you put them on, and the doc says, ‘you’re looking good, we’re back to 20/20 vision.’
Well in hearing it’s not quite like that, there’s no getting back to 20 or 20 hearing because of what has transpired but nevertheless, what we try to achieve is getting back as close as possible to that standard which is what we call ‘youthful, healthful, vibrant hearing. Something that most people experience when they were in their teens or in their early 20s. That’s the standard that we try to gear ourselves to try to approach with better hearing.
The question becomes, how close you want to come if this represents that youthful, healthful, hearing standard. You’re out here somewhere, the question is how close we can come, how close do you want to come, or how aggressive do you want to be trying to achieve that closing of the gap. You might be here you go out to the drugstore and buy something. You go out the internet and you buy something. You visit a hearing healthcare professional. There’s a whole range of possibilities out there, the question that you must keep in the back of your mind is how close we want to come to that ultimate standard., that youthful, healthful, hearing standard. That’s what you must keep in mind, think about that when you really approach this topic of trying to come to grips with better hearing or as we would like to say, ‘achieving best possible hearing.’
Well thanks for watching.
Hi, this is Tom Adams with DigiCare Hearing in Pueblo Colorado. I wanted to talk about something that we take pride in and that’s distinguishing between what used to be known as hearing aids and what we call today hearing systems.
I wanted to describe the differences; I think it’s important to note the distinction. I think what we do today it’s not fair to say that we’re fitting people with hearing aids any longer. One of the first things about this is that modern hearing system are what we call an open fit, meaning that the ear does not have to be closed off with an ear mold to deliver the sound that someone needs. The old-style hearing aids almost always had a mold, almost always blocked up the ear canal, and almost always caused secondary troubles. Old-style hearing aids were really designed for people with severe and profound hearing difficulties. Modern hearing systems really can address people with mild difficulties and specialized difficulties. The technologies we adopt today do not have to only work for people with profound difficulties. Today’s hearing systems are quite automatic, in other words, the processors of a hearing system are sampling the environment many hundreds of times per second and will alter the way it amplifies based on the present environment and it’s always seeking to deliver the best possible conversational awareness to the wearer. Old-style hearing aids were manual; so if you were going from one environment to another, from a car to an office, to a restaurant, to home, and you wanted to improve hearing you had to manually touch a button on the device to get it to alter the way it amplifies. Old-style hearing aids only amplified by the pitch of sound, so it could selectively choose how much amplification each pitch would get but that was the sole way in which it would amplify. Modern hearing systems by contrast amplify sounds based on not just what pitch it is but by the type of sound whether it’s voice or noise by the orientation of where the sounds coming from the intensity of the sound. There’s probably five, six, or seven factors depending on what device you might purchase that are computed and blended together to give the wearer the best possible hearing experience for whatever environment they might find themselves. The other thing is old-style hearing aids were independent you might have one in the left and one in the right ear, but they didn’t talk to each other and they were doing their amplification independently. Well not so with modern hearing systems they communicate with each other so that they might help assist the way in which amplification comes to both ears not just one ear independent from the other. This is a big, big advantage it’s a subtle thing to talk about it’s a big advantage. Old-style hearing aids did not have any communication capability with other outside devices third-party devices. Modern hearing aids have adopted the Bluetooth technology which is a radio signal frequency allowing the device to communicate with phones, with television sets, with other music playing devices, or any other device that generates or shoots out a Bluetooth signal. Modern hearing system can accept that signal and process it through the amplification design and deliver it right to the person’s ear. Big difference, especially for those who like audio streaming, and this has become more and more popular. Old-styling hearing aids had nothing to do with audio streaming. New modern hearing systems have a lot to do with audio streaming whether we’re talking about streaming a phone conversation or a streaming musical content or an online book. If you wanted to listen to a novel through a hearing system hands-free, the modern hearing system can process and deal with that unlike the times past. I think, finally, we might need to talk about music for just a second because for someone to hear voices and conversations the sounds have to be distorted in such a way to deliver clarity of human speech; whenever we did that we would have as a side consequence delivering to them a very distorted musical sound and so music enjoyment was really lost. New modern hearing systems have specialty music amplification programs where the musical tones are not distorted and delivered to the wearer on very nice, robust, and realistic musical experience. Therefore, we call what we do today hearing systems, not hearing aids any longer. I think this is important thing for people to know who are seeking and looking to do something in this realm. Again, this is Tom Adams with DigiCare Hearing. Thanks for listening.
In this video you’re going to learn the three things that must be determined in a hearing appointment before you ever buy a hearing aid. Hi, my name is Tom Adams, I’m the owner of DigiCare Hearing Solutions right here in Pueblo Colorado.
Yes, there are three things that must be determined in a hearing appointment before you ever buy a hearing aid.
Thanks for watching.
As I always like to say, ‘be in the moment’ with best possible hearing’.
Today’s video is about our signature 21-day pathway to best possible hearing. Watch this video.
Hi, my name is Tom Adams with DigiCare Hearing Solutions here in Pueblo, Colorado and in Trinidad Colorado. Yes, what we are talking about here today is the 21-day pathway to best possible hearing. This is our signature program that we have created to help people figure out all the possibilities that are on the market today of the types of devices that you might want to purchase to help you with your hearing. Enter the 21-day pathway the best possible hearing. The way this works is you come into our office and we fit you up with what we call a diagnostic device. It’s not there to give you better hearing rather it’s there to gather the data about the hearing environments that you’re going to be exposed to over the next seven days. After seven days you come back in, we take that device, we read it out on our computers, and we look at the environmental situations that you’ve been exposed to. From that we decide about what to fit you with for a demonstration. So, we do that, we fit you with a demonstration device then you go out for a second week wearing that and this is the first exposure you’ll have to the better hearing that these devices can offer. You come back after the seven days of wearing that if it’s been a good experience then we move on to the last piece. A second week after we make some minor adjustments and at the end of the21-day period you come back, and we verify that this is in fact operating the way it should. To us this is really the way it should be done. This gives you the comfort knowing that you’ve gone through a real evaluation not only of the range of your hearing but the lifestyle that you want to hear in.
Thanks for watching, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video.
Hi, my name is Tom Adams with DigiCare Hearing Solutions right here in Pueblo and Trinidad Colorado.
Today I wanted to talk about something we do here which is called speech mapping. Speech mapping is nothing more than a way for us to verify whether we’re hitting the target about the amplification necessary to achieve the best possible ability of someone’s hearing difficulty.
So, the question is what is speech mapping? Speech mapping is nothing more than a way for us to record what’s hitting the eardrum in terms of the sound waves. We do that by inserting a tiny little microphone into the ear canal in conjunction with the hearing aid. Then we turn on some recorded speech and can see the pattern of sound that’s hitting the eardrum in real time and be able to display it on a TV screen for all to see. We can see, based on what’s hitting the eardrum, whether we’re hitting the target that we intended to hit. If we’re not, we can make some real-time adjustments to the way the hearing aid is performing so it does conform with what we intended it to do in the first place. The variations can be quite significant between what were they what the computers tell us that we should be doing and what is hitting the eardrum. Because of widely varying sizes of people’s ear canals and the distance between the eardrum, the actual hearing aid can make an impact regarding what is going on at the eardrum.
Let’s look, what we see here is a graphical representation of speech hitting the eardrum. The red line is the minimum we want to have, the blue line is the target; as we introduce the actual speech; we can see the peaks dancing up towards the target. Then we’re going to put in this freeze-frame, we can see that the green line which is the actual and is not hitting the target there’s a gap between the green line and the blue line. Especially you can see it most prominently on the right-hand side which is the higher pitch speech sounds we really need. So, what we’ve got to do is, we’ve got to modify what the hearing aid is doing to deliver what we wanted it to do in the first place. Here we go a second time but now we’ve made modifications to the way the hearing aid is performing and we’re introducing the speech once again to see how it’s performing against the blue line target and once we’ve introduced the speech for a while we freeze frame it and now we can see that yes we’re much, much, better at hitting the target.
This is what’s called speech mapping, it’s a verification tool, that we implement so that we can be sure we’re delivering what we call ‘best possible hearing.’ Once again, my name is Tom Adams, DigiCare Hearing Solutions.
I hope you enjoy this video, thanks for watching.
Welcome back to DigiCare Hearing Solutions here in Pueblo Colorado and Trinidad Colorado where our motto is ‘be in the moment with best possible hearing.’ I want to describe to you what the expectations should be for somebody coming into our office or any hearing office for that matter. What would you expect to have happen to you if you’ve never been in a hearing office and never been subjected to a hearing test? A hearing test is comprised of several parts; we test your threshold of hearing at different frequencies of sound or pitches of sound, we test your ability to understand speech, how well you do with speech and noise. We test to see if you have a difficulty relative to your eardrum or your ear canal or the middle ear. Or, is it something that’s originating as far as a problem in the inner ear, which is also called the cochlea? So, we put together all this information and then we try to make a good recommendation for what could be done to restore hearing to the degree that is possible.
So, I’d like to tell the story this way:
So, a fella comes in sits down. I test him and I write down all his scores and he gives me good information and I’ve got a good picture of what his hearing looks like and then I go into computer and I program some hearing devices to match up what I think is best for him based on his range of hearing. I fit him up with those devices and then send him out the door. The next moment another fellow comes in and I test him. He tests identically, the exact same parameters of hearing his scores, about his ability to hear speech and noise, and his threshold of hearing at different pitches of sound identical. I go into my computer and I program some hearing devices for him same identical programming and I put them on him and send him out the door.
The first fella comes back in a few days and reports to me ‘Tom you’re a stinking genius, I’m doing so well thank you, thank you, thank you. The next fella comes back after a few days sits down at my desk and says, ‘Tom you’re an idiot, I can’t hear a thing, this is not working out for me at all.’
What am I supposed to make of something like that? What I’m pointing out and this is a bit of an exaggeration, because truthfully no one has ever called me a genius and yes a few may have called me an idiot, but nevertheless let’s discard that for the moment. The reality is that there’s a way that we look at hearing over a large population. So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret on how hearing technology gets developed. The engineers determined how much sound or how people like to hear sound, they get a thousand people with similar hearing difficulties to give responses about how they like to hear sound; do you like it this sharp, do you like it this loud, do you like this soft, you like it this way, that way, and they get this all put together. They draw a bell curve of what the most people like their sounds to be amplified. Then that’s what we put into the algorithms and that’s what we send out. Presuming that everybody’s alike at the top of the bell curve and a perfectly average person.
Well people aren’t average there’s no average person, everybody is somewhere along this continuum of how they like to hear sound. There’s a psychological component and a subjective component to hearing that needs to be taken into account and that’s why we have to revisit this topic with people after they’ve experienced it and that’s when their true work begins with regard to how we’re going to fix somebody’s hearing to the degree that it’s possible. Again, our motto being best possible that’s what we’re trying to achieve. I think that the difference between giving people better hearing, which I believe to be easy, there’s a lot of very easy and inexpensive ways to get better hearing. There’s a far cry and a big chasm between that and best possible hearing and that’s where there has to be a lot of interaction and a lot of feedback with regard to how people are perceiving sound and how they’re really able to conduct their lives in a variety of situations. Modern hearing devices really do two things you’ve got to think about it this way two things get amplified sound, yeah, everybody knows that people need more amplification and you can get amplified sound in a host of ways you don’t need to buy expensive hearing medical devices to get amplification; you can cup your hand behind your ear and get amplification that’s easy, but all devices are going to give you amplification that’s probably a given and that’s a relatively easy thing to achieve. The thing that gets to be very, very sophisticated is what I call shaping sound, sorting through the sound determining what sounds ought to be amplified and what sounds out not to be. How are you going to shape the sounds that you’re going to bring in and how are you going to filter sounds out to give people a better experience? What about the origin of the sounds, what of the sounds coming from behind or above or directly in front or directly behind all these things have to be taken into account as to how you want to shape that sound and deliver something that’s meaningful to for people that’s replicating natural youthful hearing. That’s where sophistication comes into play with the device and that’s where our job as the professional gets put into play with how we’re going to shape sounds based on the feedback people are giving. There’s a bit of a process and I believe this to be true and I claim that helping people overcome hearing difficulty is much, much, more difficult than helping people overcome their deficiencies in eyesight because that’s relatively simple to do compared to helping people with the psychological component of hearing. That’s what we try to achieve and that’s why you have to have a hearing test and that’s why you have to have follow-up and that’s why you have to have a relationship with somebody to work through these issues with you so that at the end of the day we come to an agreement that we have found the place for best possible hearing.
So, thanks for listening, keep us in mind DigiCare Hearing Solutions in Trinidad and Pueblo Colorado
Thanks for listening.
Welcome back to DigiCare Hearing, `where our motto is as I always like to say’ be in the moment with best possible hearing.’ We’re here in Pueblo Colorado but we also have an office in Trinidad Colorado.
Today I wanted to make a video talking about the most common reason why people have difficulty in hearing. It has to do with something that may have occurred to them over some time passed in their life. I just need to describe how sound is registered in our brain, because it’s quite a miraculous thing. It’s very interesting so what happens is airwaves are set up with a series of vibrations and those vibrations and those compressions of air come to us in waves. They come in the ear canal and hit what we call the eardrum. Now when you think about the word drum, everybody knows what a drum is. The drum is a piece of fabric or a skin that has stretched over a barrel or some other structure. When you pound it with a mallet or some other instrument, or if you just tap it with your hand, that fabric or that skin sets up a vibration and the barrel below it emits a large or a very prominent sound. It’s a transmitter, if you think of it that way, so sound comes in our ear, it hits the eardrum which starts to vibrate like it’s stretched over the edges of the ear canal. This eardrum is and as it vibrates behind, it is connected a bone that’s connected to a second bone that’s connected to a third bone these are the three smallest bones in the human body. These three bones are articulating with one another and so as this eardrum is vibrating it causes these bones to articulate. So, a little motion over here ends up with a lot of motion at the end of the chain of these bones. This is all taking place in what we call the middle ear, it’s air filled and so it’s free to move about as it chooses now at the end of that chain of bones the last piece of that last bone is connected to what we call a window into the cochlea or the inner ear. So that last bone is pushing on that window and inside that window is filled this cavity is what we call the cochlea is about the size of a pea. It’s a cavity in your skull and that cavity is filled with fluid. Inside that fluid is suspended tens of thousands of these microscopic sized hair follicles. As that bone is pushing on that window it sets this fluid into motion and that motion causes these hair follicles to move with the motion. As they move, they’re connected to a nerve that sends up an electrical signal to the brain that says, ‘I heard that’ and so this is the interesting thing. The energy that starts out as acoustic energy airwaves, turns into mechanical energy. The vibration of the eardrum and the motion of the bones turns into a hydraulic energy. The compression of this fluid and the movement that takes place inside that cavity, that in turn is converted into electrical or chemical electrical energy that sends the signal to the brain. That’s why we often say that hearing is a function of the brain. I described all that just to say what’s wrong with the system. If I can’t hear well, the most common problem is that inside this cavity that we call the cochlea, the hundreds of thousands and not hundreds but tens of thousands of hair follicles that are sending the signal up to the brain, some of those hair follicles have either been damaged or they have been killed and they are no longer transmitting the information forward to the brain. So, you have voids of information arriving in the brain that’s really what most hearing difficulty boils down to. It’s just not getting complete information. We know that these tens of thousands of hair follicles have these up by design certain functions, certain unique purposes, some of these hair follicles are responsible for transmitting high-pitched sounds some of the hair follicles are responsible for sending up mid-range sounds and some responsible for the low frequency or the low-pitched sounds. They’re not all doing the exact same job that’s why when people have difficulty, they may not have difficulty across the whole sound spectrum, they may have just a difficulty in the highs and not in the lows or some other combination thereof. These hair follicles have the responsibilities of sending information up to the brain and because some have died or some are damaged, they’re not sending the information. We get voids in what we understand we get a void of sounds that are present to the ear canal present to the eardrum present to the bones that are articulating present to the fluid that’s being pushed on the inner ear but absent because the electrical signals are not getting to the brain. For humans the problem is the hair follicles cannot and will not regenerate themselves once they’re gone, they’re gone.
What we try to achieve with hearing systems is trying to have the still existing follicles compensate to some degree for what has been lost, been damaged or are no longer available for their information. That’s why we can never really say to people we can get you back to normal hearing; what we try to achieve is closing the gap. We have closed the gap between what we can do artificially and what was available to us naturally. but it’s never going to get completely close, because there is just a lack of information getting to the brain. I think it’s very important that people understand why they’re having difficulty. This is the most common, not the only reason, but the most common reason why people have difficulty in hearing.
Perhaps in another video I’ll talk about why some of those hair follicles have been damaged, but suffice it to say, for today that’s the most common reason.
Thanks for listening, remember DigiCare Hearing where our motto is ‘be in the moment with best possible hearing.’
Hello again and welcome back to DigiCare Hearing Solutions. Again, our motto is ‘be in the moment with best possible hearing’
Today I wanted to make a video about restaurants. The restaurant business is booming across America. Everybody seems to be going out for dinner, lunch, breakfast; who knows but restaurants have done something very, very, unhealthy and very challenging for anybody with any sort of hearing difficulties. Nobody’s quite sure where it all started. I recently read an article that laid the blame at the foot of a famous chef in New York by the name of Mario Batali. Perhaps you know Mario from Iron Chef. He was one of the iron chefs that the other chefs would challenge to see if they could outdo each other with their food preparation and the meals that they would be judged on. Well, Mario has or had, I don’t know if he still does, a restaurant in New York City. He began piping very, very, loud music into his restaurant. That’s what the kitchen workers wanted to hear, and he thought that would be a great motivation. Well he was so well received as a chef, other restaurants followed suit and they started increasing the amount of volume of sound and music in their restaurants as well. I think though, that the start of the restaurant craze of making them loud, goes maybe all the way back to the late 1980s. That’s when it was determined that in order to make it seem as though you have good food and it’s a very exciting place to be the designers of restaurant facilities decided to make them loud on purpose. So, they went away from soft surfaces, they went away from carpet, they went away from acoustic tile, they went away from anything curtains, anything that might absorb sound. So, they created a reverberating environment, so that even if there was just a hand full of people eating it would be seemingly busy. They thought that this would be helpful for business. Everybody wants to be where the crowd is, everybody wants to go where everybody else thinks the food is good. This was all playing into the strategy to make restaurants louder. Today, we have across America very, very, challenging environments to eat out in. Few restaurants have an environment where you can casually, calmly, and comfortably carry on a conversation. Oftentimes when people come to us talking about wanting to hear better in restaurants, we do what we can but I have to advise people that restaurants have got so loud that nobody has a comfortable and very capable experience of carrying on conversations in a restaurant environment. I would say perhaps you know the worst offender is probably Texas Roadhouse which is really over the top with a commotion loudness and people seem to like that. I don’t think that restaurant loudness is a unique and isolated situation in our culture.
Everything about our culture is very loud when you go to a sporting event, they take great pleasure in how loud the crowd could get as though this is a virtue to expose people to damaging levels of reverberating sound. It’s endemic in our culture anymore that, every place you go it’s supposed to be loud and so all of this may be pleasing to some but for anyone who has a challenge of hearing difficulty trying to get them to a comfortable place in restaurants is very, very, challenging. I advise people to really select their restaurant, not only based on the quality of their food and service but on the quality of the acoustics. Seek out restaurants that really have a sensitivity towards sound mitigation so that you can have a pleasant conversation while you’re there.
Anyway, thanks for listening again come visit us in Pueblo Colorado DigiCare Hearing.
Our motto ’be in the moment.’ Thank you.
Welcome back to DigiCare Hearing Solutions where our motto is’ be in the moment with best possible hearing.’ That’s what we try to achieve every day with our clientele. Today I wanted to create a video with the topic of The Strange Phenomenon of Speech in Noise. Something that I’ve observed over the years with people who I’ve tested with their ability to carry on a conversation in a noisy environment. The way this works is that we present to our clientele when we’re testing them a recorded speech with no background sound and as see if they can repeat what they hear, and then we move on to the next sentence with a little bit more background sound, and then test them to see if they can pick out the voice out of that and if they do, we’ll then we go on to a next sentence add a little more background sound and then present the voice and see if they can hear what was said then we move on to another and another each time just slightly adding an increment of background sound and you would think that as we progress through this process that there would be a diminishing, a slow diminishing of their ability to hear the voice that’s being presented but that’s not the case that’s not what happens. What happens is in the first instance, they can hear the voice they can repeat it all is good. We did a little background sound they repeat it all is good, add a little more background sound they repeat it all is good add a little more background sound they can’t hear a thing it’s like falling off a cliff there’s a tipping point beyond which when you add just a little bit more background sound it obliterates all speech and there’s no ability for them to carry on a conversation and when I tell people that that’s how they test they go ‘oh yeah you’re exactly right.’ That’s how it is there’s a point where the sound becomes just enough louder that it eliminates them from having any conversation with the group at all. Now what do we do about that so with people with any kind of hearing difficulty and by the way this whole phenomenon I’m talking about doesn’t matter if you have a mild difficulty moderate difficulty or severe difficulty it’s all the same it’s just the point at which the tipping point occurs. What do we do about that, well, we want to get a separation of the speech signal from the noise signal in other words we want the speech obviously louder by some degree than the noise so I tell the story this way if you are 21 years old and I’m 21 years old thinking back many years and we’re both sitting in a restaurant and we’re across the table from one another and I’m speaking to you in this type of voice that I am right now about 65 decibels and the noise in the restaurant behind us is also coming through at about 65 decibels the same loudness of my voice you and I can carry on a very robust and comfortable conversation because we have normal healthful youthful hearing but as time goes on if you have a little bit more difficulty in hearing then we have to get a separation between the voice my voice they in this example and the noise and that separation might be 5 decibels more 6 decibels more 10, 15, 20, decibels louder potentially then the noise in the background for someone to carry on a conversation. We seek to develop technologies and hearing systems that can achieve that separation between the noise and the speech, because we know something anecdotally that if you are able to get one decibel advantage over the noise it results in a 10% improvement in your comprehension of that voice which is dramatic. What we can do is move that tipping point back significantly so that there’s a larger range of possibilities for people to carry on in a noisy environment such as a noisy restaurant, so these are the things that we work with every day. I wanted you to be aware of this phenomenon of the tipping point of background sound not sure what to make of it but I do know that it’s very common for people to report that kind of phenomenon and so take that for what it’s worth. Come see us at DigiCare Hearing Solutions here in Pueblo Colorado and Trinidad Colorado.
As I always like to say, “be in the moment with best possible hearing.” Today I want to show you a video about my semi-scientific hearing aid battery test, watch this.
Hi, I’m Tom Adams with DigiCare Hearing Solutions here in Pueblo Colorado and in Trinidad Colorado. Some time ago Rayovac approached me about carrying their line of batteries to sell within our offices. I asked the question why should I want to do that? They said ‘we have developed a line of batteries that we’re going to market exclusively through offices such as yours. This particular line of batteries will last two days longer on average over what our standard batteries will do.’ So, I said okay send me some and I’ll do a little experiment.
That’s what I did:
I got out a couple of hearing aids, identical hearing aids same model same manufacturer with size 13 batteries. I programmed both hearing aids to the exact same programming pattern of a person’s hearing difficulty, then I used the same size speaker I made everything the same that I possibly could. I put in the Rayovac battery in one and I put in the one that I purchased from a retail outlet in the other, turned them on and let them run. So, days went by and finally I’m here now to report the results. The results are this, yes, Rayovac is right the battery that they’re marketing through and only through hearing offices did last in my little test two days longer than the battery that I purchased at a retail store. Here’s the question that you must ask yourself, in my mind, when you go into a retail store to buy a hearing aid battery what they always disclose to you is what the price per battery is. That’s not really what you need to know; you need to know what the price per day is, not price per battery because there’s such a wide variation in the number of days a battery will last. So, here’s my bottom line, I think you’re going to be better off buying a slightly more expensive battery that lasts two days longer than buying a less expensive battery that isn’t going to last you as long because it’s the price per day that’s important not the price per battery anyway.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this video.