If you voted for us this year, thank you! We are honored by your support and look forward to helping others in our community. Where do you need help with your hearing? Our caring team can help guide you no matter where you are on your path. As we move forward into 2024, we have enriched our offerings at EAR with new providers, services, and products to help you optimize your goals.

First, we are pleased to announce Dr. Chelsea Twyman-Douglas AuD has accepted a position with us and will partner with the EAR team to expand our services. Chelsea has 7 years of strong, clinical experience with a specialty in cochlear implants. She will be part-time with us and share her expertise with Give Hear in Goshen. Give Hear is a non-profit program based out of Fort Wayne working to provide hearing services to those with income challenges in our area. Their funding comes from a variety of grants and donations. It was a blessing to have Chelsea coordinate our Michiana Hearing The Call project in November when we fit 4 underserved local patients with hearing devices. Look for some additional Hearing Smiles a little later in this newsletter.

Could You Be A Cochlear Implant Candidate?

Trust and information are two big requirements when considering moving from a hearing aid to an implantable device. Sharon and Chelsea are ready to guide you with the assessments considered best practice for determining candidacy for a cochlear implant. We have chosen a surgeon with a proven track record in obtaining great results while providing an excellent patient experience.

Two key factors in candidacy for a cochlear implant are if your word recognition scores are less than 60% with hearing aids and if your hearing thresholds are worse than 60dB in the high frequencies.

Curious whether a cochlear implant might be next on your path to better hearing? We are happy to get you started by scheduling you for a cochlear implant assessment.

Already implanted? Follow-up cleaning and re-mapping services are now available for Advanced Bionics patients. Medicare will contribute to implantation but not cover all portions. Other insurance coverage options and out of pocket expectations will be verified by the cochlear company and surgical group as part of the process.

Wax Removal – Options To Keep You Comfortable

Wax removal is not needed by everyone but when it becomes an issue, we can help resolve it quickly and with minimal discomfort.

Many of you have experienced Sharon using a lighted headlamp and a curette or forceps to pull wax (cerumen technically) from your ear canal. When wax has a harder consistency or is located closer to the ear drum, a softening agent followed by suction has also been an option for removal. Until recently we have not routinely used water in an ear canal due to concerns about potential side effects of dizziness and perforations. However, the specially designed Earigator minimizes these concerns. The Earigator regulates water to body temperature and has a pressure control which gently removes impacted cerumen without endangering the ear drum. The Earigator has become a “Tik-Tok” phenomenon, and we get calls now just to use this equipment to provide a Spa Experience for ears leaving them meticulously cleaned.



Hearing Loss and Dementia Studies Continue

In early November, Sharon traveled to Florida for a conference to continue her education on current research in the field of audiology. There is NOT a causal link between hearing loss and dementia, but evidence supports the benefit and necessity of intervention.

The ACHIEVE study indicates the use of hearing devices reduces cognitive load; reduces brain atrophy (less grey matter reduction in the cortical thickness); and increases socialization which reduces depression. The goal is to treat hearing loss early and not to wait till it becomes moderate as it takes longer to re-map synapses when there has been auditory deprivation. The Lancet Study went on to state “based on evidence from the ACHIEVE study, hearing loss might be a particularly important global public health target for dementia prevention efforts.” Who do you know that might in denial that their hearing is “not bad enough” to take action? Keep encouraging them, challenge them to a hearing test, enroll the support of their doctor or a grandchild…it’s important to find a way to connect them to better hearing!

Hearing Smiles in Mexico and in Elkhart

Oh, what a humbling and rewarding experience to give a hand up to those meeting financial guidelines for free or significantly reduced cost for hearing care. The smiles, hugs, changed lives… Those who struggled to communicate can now engage and provide volunteer services or acts of kindness to others to complete the circle of giving for their hearing care. These events can’t be accomplished without the entire team at EAR and support from hearing device manufacturers, the non-profit Hearing The Call and your donations!

There is so much joy in the gift of hearing! Helping others connect is part of our “WHY” we do this every day. Best wishes to you from – Sharon, Deb, Jill, and Chelsea

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