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A New Doctor of Audiology - Dr. Schott-Miller

Macy Schott-Miller first became interested in studying audiology when she was in college. She was studying speech language pathology and found the audiology classes she was taking as part of that study fascinating. She decided to switch her focus and never looked back. 

After receiving her degree in audiology and speech pathology, she was accepted to the audiology doctoral program at UNL. The four-year program included classes for three years while working in clinic settings at the same time. She found the program challenging but invigorating. 

Her research focus drew her to the hearing protection needs of youth working in agricultural settings. Dr. Schott-Miller's work with youth in agriculture stems from her own personal experiences with 4-H, one of the charities that she is very passionate about. She credits the organization for teaching her about leadership, teamwork and determination. These same qualities are what make her such an asset to Complete Hearing.

Whether continuing to help children, teens or seniors, Dr. Schott-Miller enjoys helping as many different patients as she can. She likes to know that although everyone may have different needs, she is able to address each issue to the best of her ability.

Dr. Schott-Miller looks forward to getting to know even more patients in the future and helping them with their hearing health. She will be seeing patients at both the Lincoln location and our outreach clinic in York.

Eleanor's Hearing Party

The Eleanor Creative team helps Complete Hearing with their marketing and advertising messages. One of our objectives is to eliminate the stigma of having your hearing checked and wearing hearing aids. Healthy hearing is for everyone!

So we did what we do best and we threw a party. We all decided to have our hearing checked together at the same time. Dr. Meghanne Wetta tested Christine and Kristie and Dr. Sandra Miller tested Deanna.

Kristie was impressed with how easy and fun her exam was. Not that she was expecting it to be scary, but Dr. Wetta did such a great job of explaining everything. 

"She has such a fun personality and makes you feel at ease," says Kristie about her experience with Dr. Wetta. 

First the audiologist examines your ears to do a preliminary assessment of health and detect any blockages or abnormalities. Dr. Wetta discovered that Kristie has smaller than average ears, which would explain why earbuds always fall out of her ears so easily. 

Because of her previous career as a disc jockey, Deanna was sure that her hearing would test below average. She had been experiencing uneven hearing and would hear muffled sounds in her left ear. 

After the physical examination, Dr. Miller discovered the answer to Deanna's muffling. There was almost total wax blockage in Deanna's left ear and Dr. Miller was able to remove it safely. She reminds everyone never to use candling or q-tips to remove wax as they can cause damage, but to go to your physician or your audiologist for safe wax removal if it is bothering you. Ear wax is normal with every one producing different amounts.

The next phase of the exam tested whether or not you can understand words clearly at different volumes and if you can hear different tones at different frequencies. This was where Christine was worried about her hearing because she always feels as if she struggles to understand her children in the car. Sometimes hearing issues aren't just that you can't hear, but that you have problems differentiating sounds and understanding specific sounds with clarity. 

This portion of the exam only took between 5 to 10 minutes and almost felt like a game. The exam showed that Christine had hearing in the normal ranges and what she was probably experiencing in the car was all of her children speaking at once. The life of a busy mom.

After the exam, the Eleanor team all had hearing testing in the normal ranges. We all felt as if the process was quick and easy. We now have baseline tests, so that in a few years when it is recommended that we receive another test, we can see if our hearing has changed. More than anything we've realized how important it is to stay on top of our hearing, protect what we have and not be ashamed to have it tested. 

The ability to hear the world around us is one of our greatest gifts. Taking care of that gift is important for ourselves and those we love.
 

Why You Shouldn't Buy Your Hearing Aid Online

A rising trend in hearing aid sales is through the purchase of hearing aids online through unauthorized distributors. There is a belief that people are able to save money on the exact products that they would be able to receive from their audiologist, but they are mistaken.

Hearing aids are a medical device regulated by the FDA and are an investment in your overall health. That is why it is vital that you purchase your hearing devices through an audiologist or qualified professional. They are trained to make sure your device is fitted correctly, that the settings are specific to your individual needs and that the right device is chosen for your hearing loss. That face-to-face interaction is extremely important for your safety and will ensure you are receiving the best experience with your device.

Unfortunately, some of the hearing devices you may see for purchase online might not even be the actual product listed. Most manufacturers of hearing devices will not sell online and only sell through authorized distributors so that you know you are getting a quality product and not a knock off.  In addition, many manufacturers of hearing aids will not honor the warranty associated with a hearing aid purchased online. Oticon, ReSound and Phonak are just some of the manufacturers working hard to eliminate the sale of its products online for consumer safety.

Keep in mind, while you might spend less shopping online, you won't get the full benefits of the product. Unless you know how to to fit it or adjust it or fine-tune it, you have just bought an expensive piece of technology that won't work the way it should. At Complete Hearing, the final cost of a hearing device includes not only the price of the device itself, but also includes your time with your doctor and their expertise to ensure you are fit accurately and you are receiving the maximum benefit from your purchase. You can also count on us for additional maintenance and troubleshooting so that you can enjoy your new device long term.

A hearing device is an investment in your hearing health and would be something you would wear every day for years. If cost is a concern, please talk to your audiologist for ideas on how to make your decision more affordable.

Grand Opening Winner!

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Marie Johnston was the big winner of a free pair of hearing devices at our Grand Opening Celebration in April. 

Her reaction upon finding out that she was the winner was pretty remarkable.

Here is what Marie has to say about her new devices:

Dr. Miller,
So this has been an amazing day!!
First of all, when I walked out of your office yesterday, I heard sounds I didn't think I could hear...like the wind!
Randy and I stopped in Trader Joe's and I could hear the conversation of people standing at the next register! Before, I could barely hear the person standing next to me or even in front of me. Randy was testing me by standing behind me and asking questions, and I was able to answer him!
We called our daughters on the drive home last night to test the phone and that was super cool! 
We have train tracks a couple of blocks away from our house and last night when we were sitting on the back porch...the trains were so loud! I always heard them before, but they never seemed to be that loud to me. My goodness, even the birds were noisy!
I was able to turn the tv's volume down from half of what it was. Poor Randy...it was so loud!
Today has been fantastic at work. I can use the office phone on my left ear and still hear without feedback from the hearing aid, and I can actually hear people talking to me the first time without saying, "what"!
My coworkers are saying that I am even speaking quieter, almost too quiet. That's because I can hear my own voice. 
Notice all the exclamation points in this letter, that's how excited I have been the last two days!
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for changing my life! This is truly one of those life changing events. 
I am looking forward to seeing you next week!

How Your Life Changes When You Get a Hearing Device

A person waits, on average, seven years from the first signs of hearing difficulties to the time when they seek treatment. 

Hearing issues can result in stress and mental fatigue as well as increased anxiety and poor job performance. Studies show that untreated hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline and dementia in some patients. 

Let's find out why hearing well is so important.

1. You can get more of the conversation. Sometimes, people experiencing hearing loss only catch parts of conversations, especially in crowded, loud environments or when not directly looking at the speaker. Imagine how nice it would be to hear a loved one say encouraging words at a distance from you or how much more successful you will be when you can understand what your client may be saying at the crowded restaurant.

2. You'll have more energy. When you struggle to hear, your brain is working overtime to fill in the gaps of conversation or sometimes just making sense of the world around you. You use your sense of hearing to help you figure out the locations of objects in your environment as well as to more effectively follow conversations.

3. You can enjoy the music. There are beautiful things to hear around us every day. A hearing device can allow you to experience the nuances and pitch changes in music that we may have been missing. And with today's new technology, many devices can be incorporated with our smart phones and computers so that the audio can be directly streamed in our ears. 

4. Your relationships will improve. A universal truth in life is that everyone just wants to be understood. When you are able to hear, you will be able to communicate more effectively. This improved communication means fewer arguments and less frustration allowing for more pleasant experiences with those around us.

These are just a few things that people notice when they make the decision to take charge of their hearing. If you've been struggling or know someone who has, give us a call or make an appointment to have a hearing exam. A lot can happen in seven years. You don't want to miss it.

What Goes into the Cost of a Hearing Aid

Hearing aids typically range in cost anywhere from $500-$5000. The range depends on what kind of processing and technology are involved and the quality of materials used. The more advanced technology options obtained from an audiologist are small computers that have the ability to filter sound and distinctively enhance the sounds you need. A device that simply amplifies sound in a more general sense can be less expensive but is not uniquely tuned to each frequency of your hearing loss. If you have a basic device bought over-the-counter or on the internet, you may not have the safeguards in place for sounds that could potentially damage your hearing or allow you to hear as accurately as you hoped for. 

The benefits of more advanced hearing aids are not only that they are more sophisticated and able to provide you a more realistic soundscape, but they are also developed to work with other wireless technology. The new devices can be integrated through apps and other programs on your smart phone and your TV to provide you with improved sound and minimal interference.

As stated before, it is possible to order a hearing device online or over the phone. However, a quality hearing device isn't something that you just stick in your ear. Your ears are just as unique as your thumbprint. To maximize your benefit, your audiologist will take several measurements and make sure that the fit is correct so that you are getting the most out of your device.  

When you purchase your device, you are not just getting the equipment itself; the price includes a personalized fitting, measurements taken to ensure your prescription is accurate, follow-up care, and maintenance. You are getting the knowledge and service of your audiologist and clinic staff as well. Their expertise in monitoring both the device and your hearing will ensure that you are experiencing the best hearing possible.

Most quality hearing aids will last approximately five years. As technology changes, upgrading to new instruments is often done to maximize quality hearing. 

The decision on what kind or what brand of hearing aid to choose should be made with your audiologist based on your unique hearing needs and your lifestyle. If you find yourself with limited resources, please let the audiologists at Complete Hearing know. They want to make sure that financial hurdles will not keep you from living the life you deserve. 

The ability to hear well has a direct impact on your physical and emotional health, as well as your relationships with everyone around you. Remember your hearing devices are an investment in your overall health.

Jason's Story

He started noticing a difference about 10 years ago, but because he was then only 31 years old, he didn't give it another thought. "Hearing loss only happens to old people." he thought.

Over the next decade, Jason started to notice that he was becoming more and more introverted. He would find himself sitting quietly and not being a part of the conversation. During a recent Thanksgiving, he noticed feeling a strong sense of anxiety. When he would step outside away from the crowd and the noise, that sense of anxiety would go away. When he stepped back in, it returned. And he started to get the feeling he might need to do something.

That something could be facilitated by the woman he loves. Jason is married to Melisa one of the Patient Care Coordinators at Complete Hearing. She had been encouraging him to come in and have his hearing tested just to establish a baseline for hearing health. He had been wanting to get some hearing protection for trap shooting so he decided to come in to Complete Hearing and see what they could discover.

Jason talks about what a positive experience the exam was. Dr. Sandra Miller tested tones and word recognition, and Jason realized that he indeed struggled in some areas. Jason was surprised by the results of how little he was able to hear out of his left ear.

When Dr. Miller suggested a hearing device, Jason was nervous. He was only 41 and he was worried that it would make him look old. She was able to fit him with an Oticon device on the spot and right away he noticed a difference. He knew he made the right decision when, to test the device, Melisa whispered his name from across the room and he could hear it.

Jason credits his new hearing aid to saving his home and work communication. He says that now being able to actually hear what his wife and daughters are saying is helping improve his mood and his relationships with them. He is actually able to understand what they are trying to communicate instead of just misinterpreting what he thought was being said. In fact, he even says the moment he realizes he needs to get his batteries replaced is when he notices the feelings of frustration return when trying to communicate.

At work, Jason was wearing his new devices for three weeks before anyone noticed. So much for worrying about hearing aids making him look old. And as a matter of fact, Jason was amazed at how much sharper he was able to be during meetings and on the phone, simply because he didn't have to work so hard to focus on what was being said. He could now focus on getting things done.

Jason recommends everyone get their hearing checked. Especially before things get worse. "It's like getting your eyes checked. Your hearing is the same way. You hear with your brain. Go do it."
 

Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids

Your hearing aids are an investment not only in your hearing ability, but an important tool in communication and in your relationships with friends and family.

It's important to take care of them properly to ensure that they work to the best of their ability.

1. Batteries.
It's a good idea to know approximately how long your batteries will last and plan ahead. Using a reminder feature on your phone or marking it on a wall calendar will help remind you to reorder batteries before they expire.

Battery life can be extended by ensuring you open the battery door fully at night. Also, be sure that they are not left within reach of a pet or children, as swallowed batteries can cause significant problems.

A great thing to consider is switching to rechargeable hearing devices. Then you don't have to worry at all. Their convenient recharging stations only take 4 hours and hold a charge for 24 hours.

2. Wax.
Wax serves a purpose: to protect your ears from dirt, bugs and anything else that might enter your ear canal. Different people produce different kinds and amounts of wax. It is a natural part of the way your ears protect themselves. Doctors agree that it is not advisable to try and clean wax out of your ears with a cotton swab or other tool, as the potential for damage is great. There is a high probability that you could push the wax further into your ear canal making it even worse. See your doctor if you feel as if your wax build-up is excessive.

However, cleaning the wax build-up on your devices is highly recommended. If you didn't receive a cleaning tool when you purchased your device, ask your doctor about ways to keep the wax from compromising your hearing. It is best to do a quick clean every night to make sure that the vents and sound ports are free from wax.

3. Moisture.
Along with wax, your ears can produce moisture which can get into your devices. The amount can depend on the time of year and your activity level.

Consider a dehumidifier and be sure to open your battery doors nightly. Use a soft, dry cloth to go over your devices to do a quick clean and attempt to remove any moisture on the surface.

4. Schedule an in-office cleaning regularly.
We recommend a professional cleaning once every three months with a more comprehensive maintenance session yearly. This will help your doctor make sure that everything is working properly. 

Terry's Story

When you really love someone, you want to make them happy. This Christmas, Terry decided to prove his love for his wife by having his hearing checked as a gift to her after months of growing frustration. She was noticing how loud the TV volume was in the evening and would often ask him questions which he would answer incorrectly. At work, Terry also noticed that sometimes he'd bring up topics to discuss at meetings which his co-workers had just finished addressing. While Terry never noticed anything horrible about what he wasn't hearing, he did start to notice the tension of those around him. So he decided to make a change.

When Terry walked in the door at Complete Hearing for the first time, he knew he made the right decision. Joking around with the receptionist and meeting Dr. Sandra Miller, he immediately felt at home. "It's like we were old friends," Terry says.

When Dr. Miller noticed some deficiencies in Terry's hearing, she recommended a few different options. Together, they chose to demo the Oticon Opn™ hearing aid for several reasons. The Opn™ offers the latest technology for the widest range of sounds. It also integrates well with Terry's phone and, if he decided to purchase, his company was able to contribute.

Terry was originally concerned about the appearance of a hearing aid and was worried that people would stare at him. However, since this was a free demo experience, he decided to test them out and wore them to work. For a few days, no one even noticed his devices. When people eventually did notice, they mostly wanted more information for themselves about his experience at Complete Hearing. It seems as if other people have also been realizing hearing issues and appreciated Terry's bravery to make a healthy decision.

Terry was so pleased with demo-ing the Opn™, he decided to go ahead with the purchase.  It's only been a few weeks, but Terry has been very satisfied with his decision. He's even gotten so used to his Opns™ that when he takes them out, he notices how much he misses. His wife will ask him a question and he has to say, "What?"

Terry recommends getting tested for anyone who thinks they may have a hearing issue or has loved ones concerned about communication issues. His mother waited for so long to address her hearing concerns and would suffer years of embarrassment at not being able to adequately understand those around her. 

Terry also recommends investing in a quality device. He points to his mother again who decided upon a bargain option, but has had to replace her devices often. "Quality makes a difference," he says. 

For more information about setting up your hearing test or for more questions about the devices offered at Complete Hearing, click here.

 

Hear Together, Give Together

In celebration of the holidays and our new location, Complete Hearing introduces Hear Together, Give Together from now through the end of January. When you stop by and try out a new hearing aid at no cost, we will donate $10 to the Food Bank of Lincoln. Simply demo a device for free, and we will make the donation on your behalf. In the spirit of giving, each person who tries out a hearing aid will be entered to win one of four $100 gift cards from The Venue.

Complete Hearing is grateful for the opportunity to give back and be a part of our new community. Thank you for your support! We look forward to seeing you.