Effective Communication Strategies

Effective Communication Strategies…..
               ….. from Central Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat…..
                                   ….. to help you at home and in public.
  1. Conversations
conversation If possible, keep distractions to a minimum.  Background noises can be very distracting even for people with normal hearing.  Ask the speaker to address you by name before talking to you.  Once you are focused, you will be able to follow what they are saying much easier.   Ask the speaker to stay on topic or ask about the subject matter if you think the conversation has shifted.   Speak face-to-face.  Visual cues are important to help with speech understanding.  Avoid talking with someone who is not in the same room or while there are distracting sounds like the TV.  Remember, vaulted ceilings will carry sound away and accents like chairs, carpet and curtains will absorb sound.  The more distance between you and the speaker the more difficult it will be to hear and understand.   Follow this rule:  if you can’t see their face, don’t try to have a conversation.

  1. Restaurants
restaurant If you are in a restaurant, sit at a table that is well lit and not in the center of the room or too close to a wall.  Ask to be seated in an area that has the least amount of noise, or if possible, sit with your back toward the noise and face your table companion(s).  Corner tables are best.  If you are with a larger group, request a round table.  That way you can follow the conversation and maintain visual contact with those speaking.  And, don’t be afraid to speak up.  If you are not sure about what is being said or the topic of the conversation, ask!  Don’t give up or crawl into a shell.  Family and friends will be more sensitive to direct the conversation toward you if they know you’re having difficulty hearing them.  Take note:  try to avoid popular restaurants during peak dining hours.

  1. TV
tv Our friend and our nemesis!  You can’t hear people talking, mostly because of background sounds, so you keep turning the volume up and up and up.  Right?  If you want to hear speech better but reduce background sounds and at the same time maintain a consistent sound level – you need an electronic system that can do that.  Quality surround sound systems with a center speaker box, sound bars and headsets are your choices.  Also, most hearing instruments can now be directly linked to your TV allowing you to use your instrument’s volume control and not the one for the TV.  That’s good news for your neighbors!

  1. In the Car
cars Don’t let this ruin your marriage or any friendships.  Face it:  this is a tough place to hear.  Rule Number One:  it’s either the radio or conversation – not both!  Rule Number Two:  if anyone is going to talk, the windows must be rolled up.  Rule Number Three:  before engaging in conversation wait until the car is a comfortable temperature.  The first thing you are going to do in the Summer or Winter is get in the car and either turn on the A/C or the Defroster and kick up the fan to the maximum setting.  Wait until you can turn the fan back down before trying to have a conversation.  Rule Number Four:  if you are the driver, make sure your passengers are facing you when they talk.  Rule Number Five:  if you are a passenger, try to sit in the front passenger seat.  If you have to sit in the back, have a pleasant conversation with the person next to you and talk to the front-seaters when you get to where you are going.  The roads here in Oregon produce a high level of road noise.  Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid this distraction.  Rule Number Six:  if you have studded tires, spare yourself the frustration of trying to have a conversation.

  1. Church, Meetings, Theater, Concerts
meeting Sounds, particularly speech, don’t travel very well in large, open spaces.  And, unless you are in Carnegie Hall, the acoustics will differ from one area to another and one seat to another.  If you can, experiment.  Move around and find the spot where you hear the best.  That place is usually closest to the sound source.  However, avoid sitting close to speakers but do try to figure out where the speakers are aimed when choosing your seat.  If you are purchasing tickets, this is important information to know.

  1. Good News!!!!!
good-news The new technology in hearing instruments not only produces a natural sound quality but helps eliminate distracting background noises.  In addition, the instruments have multiple settings that can be programmed to better help you in any of the above situations with the simple push of a button.  Many larger meeting facilities and theaters are going to a “loop system” that is also accessible through wireless instruments.  This feature allows you to hear what is coming through the sound system and gives you the ability to control your own volume level (so you can sit wherever you like).  Musicians take note:  special settings are also available that will allow you to play or listen to live music without distortion and hear the notes you need to hear.  Today’s hearing instrument technology has taken hearing to a whole new level.  By communicating your specific needs to us, we can help you have a broader and more enjoyable hearing experience.
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Meals Your Ears Will Love

Meals Your Ears Will Love

Did you know that what you eat affects your hearing health? It’s true! Numerous studies have shown that a healthy diet helps maintain better hearing thresholds, so we here at Healthy Hearing have planned out a day’s worth of meals for you and your ears.


Let’s start your day off the right way with a powerhouse smoothie. Smoothies are not only extremely high in nutrients, but they’re also tasty treats that are easy to make and easy to take on-the-go when you’re running out the door.

Suggestions for your morning smoothie:

  • Bananas: rich in magnesium and also potassium, which is essential for maintaining your body fluids, particularly the fluid in your inner ear.
  • Mango: a very flavorful way to get a dose of over 20 vitamins and minerals.
  • Kale: this trendy new superfood is unnoticeable in a smoothie, and adds a boatload of antioxidants to the mix.
  • Yogurt: contains potassium and magnesium, which has been shown to prevent noise-induced hearing loss by eliminating free radicals caused by loud noises. Free radicals are unstable atoms that are highly reactive and do damage to the body.
  • Reinforce the nutrients in your smoothie with a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal or a slice of toast to retrieve the necessary folic acid your hearing needs. Folic acids are essential to your body’s new cell growth and have been linked to sudden sensorineural hearing loss in adults.


Keep your vitamins and minerals in mind when packing your lunch. It’s easy to fall into the fast food habit during the work week, but taking a little extra time each day to plan out your midday meal has wide-ranging benefits, including helping preserve your hearing.

Consider a spinach salad with a tangy vinaigrette. Spinach packs a lot of the aforementioned folic acid necessary for cell regeneration, as well as magnesium and vitamins A, C and K. If you need a little extra energy, toss in dark meat chicken, which is rich in zinc. Zinc boosts the body’s immune system and can help ward off ear infections. Nuts like cashews, almonds and peanuts do this as well, so take a handful to snack on throughout the day.


Pork and beef are also rich in zinc, so end your day with a meal centered around a nice, thick steak or tenderloin. Zinc is also found in oysters, so if you have dinner plans with friends, keep that in mind!

Most vegetables have a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals, so you’re pretty safe to pick the side of your choosing, as long as it came from Momma Nature. Broccoli and potatoes, for instance, are rich in magnesium, folic acid and potassium.


It’s time to celebrate all the hard work you’ve done today to maintain a healthy hearing diet! We’ve whipped up a delicious chocolate treat for you to indulge in. Don’t worry, your ears will still be getting the royal treatment. Did you know one cup of dark baking chocolate can provide up to 85% of your daily recommended zinc? And if that’s not enough, our delicious cupcake recipe also includes flaxseed. Each tablespoon contains close to 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.

Divine dark chocolate cupcakes and frosting

cupcakes Chocolate cupcakes can be delicious and good for your ears!

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 24 cupcakes and frosting

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • – 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • – 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • – 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • – 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • – 1 teaspoon salt
  • – 2 tablespoons flaxseed, mixed with 6 tablespoons water
  • – 1 cup vanilla coconut milk
  • – 1/2 cup applesauce
  • – 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • – 1/2 cup hot water

Frosting ingredients:

  • – 4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • – 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • – 1/2 cup boiling water
  • – 3 sticks butter, softened
  • – 1 cup powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, combines flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Next, add flaxseed and water mixture, vanilla coconut milk, applesauce and vanilla extract. Mix well with a hand or stand mixer. Stir in hot water. Fill muffin pan with cupcake wrappers and spoon chocolate mixture into each cup, filling halfway. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cake is spongy and fluffy.

For the frosting, melt chocolate chips using a double boiler or in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl). Stir in cocoa, softened butter and powdered sugar. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip in boiling water until icing is thick and billowy.

Reprinted with permission from www.healthyhearing.com.
Please visit HealthyHearing.com for the original article: Meals Your Ears Will Love Copyright 2014.

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Hearing aids and your active lifestyle

Hearing aids and your active lifestyle

The negative stigma associated with hearing aids makes a lot of people believe the devices are only for those who have limited outdoor activities.  However, new technologies make it possible for even the most active individuals to enjoy their outdoor activities while wearing hearing aids.  If you wear hearing aids and don’t want to give up your passion for being active, you have several options for comfort and protection no matter the activity. hearing-aid-lifestyle  

Wind issues 

Outdoor enthusiasts may find themselves struggling with wind noise in their hearing aids. Some hearing aids now have wind-noise management that reduces the effect of the breeze on the device’s microphone. This wind-noise feature works very well with a natural breeze for most general outdoor activities such as walking, running, golf, hunting, etc.  At the same time, some aids have a feature that enables the devices to make sound adjustments based on your environment and store that memory. These features are ideal for someone who spends a lot of time outdoors where conditions are not controlled.  

Problems with moisture

Another worry for active individuals who wear hearing aids is that the devices will get damaged by sweat or an unexpected submersion into water.  Today, a special coating on hearing aids protects against the elements as well as skin oils, earwax and salt. This microscopic layer applied to hearing aids is 1/1000 the thickness of human hair and covers the entire device. This polymer layer forms itself around all nooks and crannies so that you have full moisture protection of the exterior and interior of your hearing aids. Although technology continues to improve, hearing aids are not completely waterproof.  If you are going to be exposed to water, take your hearing aids out and store them in a safe, dry place.  


The style of hearing aids you choose will depend on your lifestyle and hearing loss.  External aids will be more prone to moisture and wind.  If you are a candidate, the latest deep canal aids will eliminate these concerns.   

Helpful accessories

There are many kinds of accessories for hearing aids that can make your active life easier. For strong winds or extremely dirty/dusty conditions, consider a hearing aid sock.  If you are going in the water, waterproof armbands and small pelican containers will allow you to carry your aids and have them close at hand. Electronic dri-aid kits will dehumidify, clean and disinfect your aids on a daily basis to keep them in top shape. hearing-aid-accessories

Reprinted with permission from www.healthyhearing.com.
Please visit HealthyHearing.com for the original article: Hearing Aids and Your Active Lifestyle Copyright 2013.

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Choosing the right hearing aid

choosing-hearing-aidChoosing the right hearing aid for your lifestyle…

Congratulations – you’ve just decided to get hearing aids!  This is the most important step on your road to healthy hearing. Now that you have made your decision, where do you go to be fitted and where do you find the best hearing aids for you?  Here are some helpful tips to guide you on your journey.

Before choosing a hearing aid…..

Before choosing your hearing aids, choose the right hearing care professional.  Only an audiologist is specifically trained to properly evaluate and diagnose a hearing loss.  Not all hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids.  Some forms of hearing loss are treated with surgery or medications. With an audiological hearing evaluation, an audiologist can help diagnose the cause of your hearing loss and recommend the right treatment plan for you.  Also, the Food and Drug Administration advises that anyone considering hearing aids should first be seen by a doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear (otolaryngologist) for medical clearance.

What are your needs…..

The style of hearing aid that works for you will depend on several factors:

  • Ear Anatomy: Your hearing care professional will be able to assess your ear anatomy and help you decide on the style that is best for you.  In-the-Ear aids do not work well with people who have small ear canals.  Behind-the-ear styles can be worn by most anybody.
  • Features: Hearing aids come in a wide range of technologies and capabilities.  It’s important to consider which features may be best for you and your needs, now and in the future.  Yes, technology does matter and can vary widely from one manufacturer to another.  Also, many of today’s hearing aids are wireless and Bluetooth compatible and can be self-programmed with an iPhone.
  • Appearance: If you are self-conscious about hearing aids, you may be surprised by the colors and styles that make today’s hearing aids more discreet.
  • Activity Level: Your activity level is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right technology, features and style.
  • Degree and Shape of Hearing Loss: Depending on your hearing loss, some styles are better than others.  Smaller styles that use tiny batteries have limited power.  The shape of your hearing loss, as indicated by your audiogram, will help identify the technology and style that are right for you.
  • Physical Limitations: If you have physical limitations that may hinder you from the basic handling of your hearing aids such as arthritis or limited dexterity, talk with your hearing care professional for a recommendation on a style that will work best for you.

Your lifestyle and your hearing aids…..

Other than your hearing loss, the next most important factor when choosing the right hearing aid for you…..is your lifestyle.  Your lifestyle will dictate the technology, features and style that are most appropriate for you and your needs.  Don’t make the wrong choice.  Paying for technological features you will never use is the same as not getting the technological features you need.  Do not approach this decision lightly or blindly.  Hearing aids cost money. The more demanding your lifestyle, the more technology you will need, and the more the hearing aids will cost.  But you will benefit from every penny you spend.

Here’s a guide to help you make the right decision:

Active Lifestyle/Demanding Listening Environments

Examples of an Active Lifestyle include: hearing-aids-musician
  • Frequent social gatherings
  • Dining in busy restaurants
  • Going to concerts or live shows
  • Giving presentations at meetings
  • Attending meetings
  • Outdoor activities such as golf, hiking, tennis, biking, hunting and stadium crowds
  • You are a musician
  • Travel frequently
  • Use multi-media connectivity

This type of lifestyle needs more advanced technology that will provide optimum performance in a broad range of demanding sound and listening environments.  The advanced technology will clarify speech and other important sounds to the fullest extent while suppressing higher levels of background noise including wind noise.  The ability to finely tune sound makes this technology a great choice for musicians and live music lovers.

Casual Lifestyle/Moderate Listening Environments

Examples of a Casual Lifestyle include:

  • Shopping
  • Small group meetings
  • Attending religious services
  • Social time with family and friends
  • Dining out occasionally in quieter restaurants
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, golf
  • Attending meetings

People in this level spend the majority of their time in moderate listening environments and would benefit from certain advanced features such as speech enhancement, background noise suppression and wind noise reduction, but don’t often find use for many of the cutting-edge technologies.  This individual is no longer in demanding listening situations on a day-to-day basis, but still enjoys dining out and social activities.

Quiet Lifestyle/Quiet Listening Environments

Examples of a Quiet Lifestyle include:

  • Family gatherings
  • Religious services
  • Adult conversations
  • Quiet restaurants
  • Fewer outings
  • Minimal distractions

This individual has a quiet lifestyle and spends the majority of social time with family and small groups of friends.  One-on-one conversations, walks in the park and quiet restaurants are preferred.  This technology does very well with speech in less noisy environments, and can handle more demanding sound situations when necessary.

Reprinted with permission from www.healthyhearing.com.
Please visit HealthyHearing.com for the original article: Finding the Right hearing Aid Copyright 2014.

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Recipe for Optimal Hearing Health

We want to encourage people to not only eat healthier for overall health and well-being, but to make an extra effort to pay attention to and include foods in your diet that are important for hearing health.

Here are some important vitamins and minerals to include in your diet for hearing and overall health:


Research has shown that magnesium may have protective effects on hearing health, and might even reduce the effects of noise-induced hearing loss. A 1994 study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology looked at 300 young, healthy people, and found those who took 167 milligrams of magnesium daily for two months were less affected by noise-induced hearing loss than others during exposure to loud impulse noises during basic military training.


A more recent study, published in 2013 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that antioxidant intake in combination with magnesium supplements had a protective effect on hearing thresholds.

Magnesium is important for transporting calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, which contributes to proper muscle contraction, normal hearing rhythm and nerve impulse function. Some excellent sources of magnesium include boiled spinach, dry roasted almonds, cashews, peanuts, soy milk, black beans, edamame, shredded wheat cereal and avocado.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are found in abundance in many types of fish, including tuna, trout, sardines, salmon and anchovies. Research has shown that people who eat fish twice per week significantly reduce their risk of developing age-related hearing loss. For example, a 2010 study published in the American Society for Nutrition found an inverse relationship between fish intake and prevalence of hearing loss. Experts aren’t exactly sure how omega-3s work on hearing health, but they believe it is related to strengthening and protecting the delicate blood vessels in the ears.

Researchers and nutritionists have long known that omega-3s are important for many of the body’s functions. For example, they can reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood triglyceride levels. This vital fatty acid has also been known to improve cognition and memory and reduce joint pain in people with arthritis.

Aside from fish, you can get omega-3s from beans, walnuts, avocados, flax seed and other nuts and seeds.

Vitamins C, E and others

Vitamins C, E and others are important for the body as a whole because they keep free radicals in check, preventing them from damaging the body and strengthening the overall immune system. One protective effect they have on hearing is reducing one’s risk of ear infections, which can cause permanent hearing loss.

According to a 2007 study on guinea pigs by researchers at the University of Michigan, high doses of vitamins A, E and C combined with magnesium and given to people one hour before excessive noise exposure were effective in preventing noise-induced hearing loss of a permanent nature. The researchers in this case believe that in response to – and even after – loud noise exposure, cell mitochondria in the ear send out damaging free radicals. Researchers say that pre-treatment with vitamins and minerals reduces the free radicals’ ability to react, which decreases the constriction of blood flow to the inner ear that usually happens after such an exposure.

Good sources of vitamins C and E include bell peppers, oranges and other fruits and vegetables. You can also find vitamin E in dark leafy greens, nuts, broccoli, wheat, oils and tropical fruits. Good sources of vitamin A include sweet potatoes (baked in the skin), spinach, beef liver, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe and bell peppers.


Most people are aware that different vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy living. But did you know many individuals in the United States are deficient in zinc? In addition to being an important mineral for the immune and central nervous systems, studies have shown zinc deficiency can greatly increase your risk of suffering from sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Research indicates zinc has immune-boosting properties, which can help reduce stress on the cochlea in SSNHL.

Zinc isn’t a hard mineral to find. Seafood, beef, chocolate or cocoa powder, spinach and wheat germ all contain zinc.

Recipe for healthy hearing

Getting the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals to ensure your hearing remains healthy doesn’t have to be difficult – or boring! Consider having a bowl of shredded wheat with some oranges for breakfast. And when you find yourself hungry for lunch, a light bean salad, full of black beans, chick peas, avocado, tomatoes and onions can help meet your magnesium and omega-3 needs. When you’re contemplating dinner, a simple dish of lemon butter salmon with carrots or sweet potatoes can tackle zinc, vitamins C and E.

And for an extra boost of zinc, we’ve included a tasty and easy recipe for blackberry brownie bites. With cocoa powder, black beans and blackberries, this dessert includes vitamins and minerals from each of the healthy hearing categories!

Remember, getting the right vitamins and minerals is important for your health and your hearing, but it doesn’t have to be boring!


Blackberry Brownie Bites

(makes 12)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vanilla coconut yogurt
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend together black beans, yogurt, maple syrup and blackberries until pureed. In a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat and all purpose flour. Stir in sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Next, stir in black bean, yogurt, maple syrup and blackberry mixture from your food processor. Add almond milk and stir the batter until all the ingredients are combined. The mixture should be thick and slightly lumpy. Stir in your chocolate chips; Use cooking spray to grease a regular-sized muffin tin. Spoon the brownie mixture into each cup, approximately 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges have pulled slightly from the muffin cups.

Reprinted with permission from www.healthyhearing.com.
Please visit HealthyHearing.com for the original article: A Recipe for Optimal Hearing HealthCopyright 2014.

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Central Oregon’s Best Kept Hearing Aid Secret

Did you know that Central Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat is the only physician-based hearing aid dispenser in Central Oregon? Why is that important? Because the Food and Drug Administration recommends consulting with a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear (i.e., an ENT physician) before purchasing hearing aids for the first time. A hearing loss is a medical condition and needs to be treated as such; not every type of hearing loss is treated with hearing instrumentation. Some forms may be corrected with surgery or medications. Before you consider hearing aids, you need to know the reason for your impairment. Is your hearing loss caused by an undetected medical condition that requires the attention of an ENT physician? This is an important first step and will determine which treatment path is best for you – even if you wear aids now and have never been medically evaluated.

An audiological evaluation performed by one of our licensed and trained audiologists is a great place to start. Only an audiologist has the ability to properly evaluate and diagnose the cause of your hearing loss. Following your evaluation, our audiologists will consult with our ENT physicians to determine the treatment plan that is best for you. If hearing instrumentation is recommended, we offer the very latest in hearing aid technology geared toward your particular needs and lifestyle. No matter what your hearing needs may be, our dedicated team of physicians, audiologists and hearing instrument specialists is committed to giving you the highest level of compassionate and professional care.

At Central Oregon ENT, our Physicians work closely with our Audiology Department for a team approach to your hearing healthcare. We have four ENT physicians and an otologist whose specialty includes auditory surgery and BAHA procedures. Each of our physicians is Fellowship Trained with advanced training in their respective areas of specialty. Our Audiology Department consists of a Doctor of Audiology, a Clinical Audiologist and a Hearing Instrument Specialist. They offer a variety of services including adult hearing care, pediatrics, tinnitus management, treatment for balance disorders, bone-anchored hearing devices and auditory rehabilitation. With our team working together under one roof, you are assured of receiving the highest level and continuity of care, along with cost savings. Your ENT physician will oversee and coordinate your care with the other team members. Our system promotes accountability and efficiency and that benefits you in two ways: through better care and lower costs.

One reason why ‘We may be the best-kept secret in Central Oregon’ is because we don’t do a lot of advertising. Yes, we receive referrals from the local medical community. But you don’t need a referral to see us. We feel advertising would unnecessarily add to the cost of our services; we would rather pass those savings on to you. We even offer FREE hearing screenings. Our goal is simple: your complete satisfaction! We partner exclusively with the leading manufacturers of hearing devices because they have the best available technology and the highest satisfaction ratings. We want to improve your hearing and speech comprehension. Our commitment to your satisfaction involves taking into account your needs, lifestyle and budget and recommending instrumentation with a proven track record of success. We will back up that commitment with FREE follow-up care that involves various testing procedures to help us meet your desired outcomes and goals, eliminating the guesswork inherent with blind programming adjustments. These measures explain why our patients have benefited from their instrumentation and have had a more enjoyable experience.

We encourage you to come in and meet our staff, and see for yourself how we can make a difference in your life. If you suspect a hearing loss, early detection and treatment increases your odds of a successful transition. If you currently wear instruments, we invite you to come and learn about different options. Starting down the right path is the most important initial step in your hearing health.

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