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Things to Communicate to Your Friends About Hearing Loss

Explaining hearing loss to your friends can be difficult. You want them to understand what you’re going through, but sometimes they just don’t realize how hard it is for you to keep up with conversations or overcome the challenges of listening in places with a lot of background noise.


Better Speech and Hearing Month

Every year, the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) dedicates the entire month of May to raising awareness about communication disorders, so this is a perfect time to talk to your friends about your hearing loss. The ASHA works tirelessly to reduce the stigma surrounding communication disorders like hearing loss and encourages those with hearing loss to seek treatment and get back to communicating. Helen Keller once said that the sense she missed the most was hearing. Not being able to see put a barrier between her and the world, but not being able to hear separated her from people. The theme for this year is Communication for All, and the ASHA is increasing awareness of disorders that affect hearing, speech, and language in people of all ages.


I’m not Being Rude

Don’t let your hearing loss come between you and your loved ones but take the time to talk to your friends about your hearing loss. One of the worst assumptions is that you’re being rude when you don’t answer a question, when in reality you just didn’t hear your friend. You’re not ignoring them, and you need to ask them to be patient with you and realize you didn’t mean to upset them. Sometimes you might even answer inappropriately, but that just means you need to hear the question again because you didn’t catch it the first time.


I Get Tired Easily 

Most people don’t realize that hearing loss can be exhausting, and it’s hard to explain to your friends how hearing loss makes you tired so easily. You use a lot of energy straining to hear, and unlike your friends, your brain is always on high power mode. Loud noises make your ears ring, fuzzy sounds grate on your nerves, and after a long conversation you feel drained. Hearing loss leaves you playing an endless game of fill in the blanks and trying to guess at the missing words. Even if you look normal on the outside, on the inside you’re a bundle of straining nerves, and you wish your friends would understand how tired you can get.


I’m Just as Smart as I Once Was

Just because you’ve lost some of your hearing doesn’t mean you’ve lost your intelligence. You want your friends to realize that even though you don’t hear everything clearly, you still have good ideas and opinions, and don’t want to be overlooked. For example, are your friends in the habit of helping your order at restaurants? You sometimes struggle to understand the server, but you still want to make your own decisions. Instead of taking over, or answering questions for you, your friends should repeat the question, and give you the chance to answer for yourself.


How to Help Me Hear

Good communication is all about listening, so this month take the opportunity to tell your friends how they can help you hear. Hearing loss is frustrating for everyone, and a few tips will make life easier for both you and your friends. Ask your friends to always face you when they’re speaking and keep their hands away from their face. You’ll be able to pick up on facial cues or lip reading to understand them easier. Yelling doesn’t help, but makes you feel like your friends are angry with you. Ask them to speak clearly instead of loudly and add pauses between sentences to allow your brain the time to catch up. These simple tricks could be the difference between a frustrating encounter or easy communication.


We’re Here to Help

This month isn’t just a time to raise awareness about hearing loss and talk to your friends, it’s also a time to seek treatment. Visit us at Pacific Northwest Audiology where our team of audiologists are waiting to help you hear. Communication should be easy for everyone, so join us for Better Speech and Hearing Month and invest in your hearing health. From the hearing assessment through to fittings and consultations, we’ll find you the perfect device that will get you back to hearing clearly.


Tinnitus is the perception of sounds that have no external source. The severity of tinnitus varies from an occasional awareness of ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, or other rough sounds in one or both ears, to an unbearable and incessant noise that drives some people to consider suicide.

Tinnitus isn’t a “phantom sound” or “condition” — it’s a symptom of an underlying medical problem, such as noise trauma, age-related hearing loss, ear injury, or disease of the circulatory system.

Tinnitus is relatively common, but in rare cases it can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition, such as a vascular tumor or a slow growing acoustic neuroma (a generally benign tumor that forms on the vestibular nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain).

Tinnitus facts: If you have tinnitus you aren’t alone. More than 50 million Americans have tinnitus symptoms. 9 in 10 patients with tinnitus also have hearing loss, and 1 in 5 patients find the symptoms hard to endure. 10-15% of Americans experience chronic troublesome tinnitus, lasting more than 6 months.

Tinnitus is frequently caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds from industrial, recreational, or military noise, or from a sudden impulsive sound from an explosion, gunshot, etc. Tinnitus can also be caused by ear injuries, cardiovascular disease, age-related hearing loss, wax build-up in the ear canal, medications (aspirin, certain antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy), ear or sinus infections, misaligned jaw joints (TMJ), head and neck trauma, and Meniere’s disease.

Auditory Pathways and tinnitus. Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, where sensory hair cells in the cochlea help transform the sound waves into electrical signals. (See the figure) The electrical signals then travel through the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex of the brain, where they are processed. When hair cells are damaged (figure inset)  by loud noise or drugs known to cause hearing loss, the brain doesn’t receive the signals it expects. This stimulates abnormal neuron activity, which causes the illusion of sound, or tinnitus.

What are the consequences? Tinnitus causes fatigue, stress, sleep difficulties, trouble concentrating, memory problems, anxiety and irritability, and trouble with both work and family life. The degree to which tinnitus invades a person’s life depends on the volume, frequency, and duration of the perceived noise, and on the emotional reaction provoked by that irritation. Tinnitus is no laughing matter; the fear and depression associated with tinnitus can destroy a person’s well-being.

Tinnitus can’t be cured…but it can be managed! Our Doctors of Audiology have the knowledge and training to help you manage your tinnitus. They will assess the personal impact of your symptoms, and then present options for alleviating those impacts. The initial assessment takes 2 hours, and guides us in determining the best therapy for you.

The goal of tinnitus management is to “train your brain” to ignore tinnitus sounds as unimportant. This process is called habituation, and empowers tinnitus patients to overlook the disturbing emotional trauma of tinnitus, in the same manner that many of us have learned to overlook the disturbing effects of a train whistle at night. Other tinnitus remediation therapies include sound therapy, which can be supplied by smart phone apps through hearing aids.

Tinnitus therapy is highly tailored to account for your perception of symptoms and their disturbing impacts. There is no “one size fits all” therapy! Effective treatment strategies generally focus on counseling, sound therapy, relaxation, and stress-reduction methods. If you have tinnitus AND hearing loss, hearing aids can improve your hearing while relieving the negative impact of your symptoms, and this can help restore your quiet moments!

Dr. Li-Korotky, AuD PhD is a Gold member of the American Tinnitus Association

Connect and Thrive – Bend Oregon

Connect and Thrive on Thursday May 11 at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes.

We will explore the importance of social connections from the context of psychological research and hearing science. You will learn how hearing empowers social health and connections empower life!” Details below!


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The Bend Oregon Hearing Tech Expo

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a full house in attendance at our Hearing Tech Expo on Wednesday, Feb 8, at the Mount Bachelor Village Conference Center.

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Dr. Li began the day with a very well received talk on age-related hearing loss (her PhD thesis at the world renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden). The Doctor also reviewed new scientific studies which strongly linked untreated hearing loss and dementia. 

Dr. Odgear, also from Pacific Northwest Audiology, was the second batter, and he knocked it out of the ball park with his talk on hearing trends and the future of hearing tech. 

We convened for a hot lunch buffet, which consisted of Brisket of Beef Au Jus, baked beans, potato salad and a creamy coleslaw.  According to my polling, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the buffet!

We shook things up after lunch and reconvened in an adjacent room, which we had set up for interactive tech activities, led by Dr. Muto-Coleman from Resound. By the end of the session, everyone was able to put the pieces together…the past, present, and future of hearing tech.

Our next event will be the third week of May. Call Kat for early details at 541-678-5698

Pacific Northwest Audiology Sponsors Another Hearing Aid Luncheon in Bend Oregon

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a another successful “Dine and Demo” luncheon at Gregg’s Grill in Bend Oregon on October 26, co-hosted by Unitron. 

So, what is a Dine and Demo Luncheon? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for guests to sample the latest hearing enhancement technology in a real world environment over lunch. 

Greggs GrilThis event was NOT designed to meet a sales quota. Guests learned important facts about hearing loss while sampling the advantages of new hearing technology…hearing aids that push the limits of hearing!

Dine and Demo luncheons are limited to only 14 invited guests. The event was designed to be relatively small, informative, and friendly, a learning environment that allowed each guest to evaluate new hearing solutions with no outside stresses or obligations. 

For those selected to participate in the event we tested their hearing (or used their latest hearing test of record) and then fitted them with personally customized Flex:Trial hearing aids, diagnostic instruments that can be programed to different technology levels to suit the needs of individual patients. Flex:Trial hearing aids are particularly well suited for increased sound clarity in otherwise noisy environments like a busy restaurant, so our guests were able to verify the technology claims…which they did!

The picture (below) shows Dr. Li (Pacific Northwest Audiology, bottom panels) and Felipe Ovando (Unitron, top panel) discussing new technology to alleviate hearing loss while enhancing hearing and communication. The middle two panels show Dr. Odgear and Grace Gardner (both from Pacific Northwest Audiology) answering general questions from our guests. Grace is completing her externship with Pacific Northwest Audiology prior to becoming a full-fledged Doctor of Audiology.

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We were very pleased with the outcome of this event…the food was high quality, everyone had their questions answered, and all of us had a great time!

There will be one more Dine and Demo event this year: November 30. Call now if you want a seat… 541-678-5698-5698.


Pacific Northwest Audiology Celebrated Their Open House in Bend Oregon

The Open House was held on October 20, from 10 am – 2 pm at our new custom hearing center at the Shevlin Health and Wellness Center, located at 2205 NW Shevlin Park Rd. in Bend OR.

Collage FinalAround 70 people came to celebrate with us and to see what has already been heralded as one of the most forward thinking audiology clinics in the United States! 

Pacific Northwest Audiology designed this clinic from the ground up. In addition to diagnostic, clinical, and hearing aid services, we established The Hearing Innovations Center to demonstrate the leading edge of hearing enhancement technologies.

Energized by our new Hearing Innovations Center and staffed with Doctors of Audiology, Pacific Northwest Audiology is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the most remarkable hearing technologies of today …and tomorrow!

The Open House gave us a chance to demonstrate amazing new technology. We offered guided tours of the facility, explained our vision for tomorrow, and shared a tasty lunch.

This was a very satisfying event for everyone. In addition to our good friends, we made many new friends!

Pacific Northwest Audiology Hearing Aid Luncheon in Bend OR

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a very successful “Dine and Demo” luncheon at Gregg’s Grill in Bend Oregon on October 11, co-hosted by Widex High Definition Hearing. 

So, what is a Dine and Demo Luncheon? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for guests to sample the latest hearing enhancement technology in a real world environment over lunch. 

Greggs GrilBut we’re not talking about yesterday’s hearing tech. Guests sampled hearing aids that push the limits of hearing!

Dine and Demo luncheons are limited to only 14 guests. The event was designed to be relatively small, informative, and friendly, a learning environment that allows each guest to evaluate new hearing solutions with no outside stresses or obligations. 

For those selected for the event we tested their hearing (or used their latest hearing test of record) and then fitted them with state-of-art hearing aids so they could experience ground-breaking sound clarity in the real world.

The picture (below) shows Dr. Li (Pacific Northwest Audiology) and Dr. Antonio (Widex) discussing new technology approaches to hearing loss. The food was high quality, everyone learned what they came for, and all of us had a great time!




We will have two more Dine and Demo events this year: October 26 and November 30. Call to confirm your place.  541-678-5698.


A New Vision for Hearing Care in Bend Oregon

We discarded old thinking and imagined new possibilities. Then we created a vision for tomorrow!

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On September 14, Pacific Northwest shared that vision with a an enthusiastic group of more than 50 individuals at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Bend Oregon.

Agenda items included information on how to:

  • Stream audio from iOS, Android, other Devices
  • Connect directly to an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Control hearing aid settings from a Smartphone
  • Communicate clearly in any environment
  • Manage Tinnitus
  • Use hearing apps to enrich hearing

Of course, we also had a lunch buffet, great product offers, and quite a few door prizes!

The event concluded with a Q & A for the presenters…Dr. Li and Dr. Odgear from Pacific Northwest Audiology, and Dr. Hecker from Widex.

This was heralded as a very informative and inclusive event by the attendees and we are now planning our Christmas Party. If you are interested in attending a festive party, call and register now at 541-678-5698. We will have great food, Christmas classics from Pandora, Bingo, and lots of prizes. But most important…we will have fun and fellowship!