Category Archives: Hearing Aid

The Challenges of Non-Hearing People

December 2nd, 2016


Whether you are an office worker, student, or cashier – your chances of interacting with a person who has hearing loss are pretty good. An estimated 15 percent of Americans (37.5 million) have it to some degree. As with many types of disabilities, you may feel nervous about how to approach a person that doesn’t have normal hearing. But by learning some basic tips and being willing to give it a go, you can communicate with a friend or colleague who has hearing loss.

There are good reasons to try – one of the hardest things for many people with a disability is the sense of isolation. A study published in 2014 found that hearing loss was associated with a greater chance of feeling socially isolated. By understanding the challenges non-hearing people face, and learning a few skills, you’ll help someone feel included, and open up your own world as well.

Line of Site
It seems obvious, but when approaching someone with hearing loss, don’t begin the conversation before you have their attention. You are used to having the sound of your voice signal the start of an interaction. But if someone needs to read lips or use facial cues to understand what you are saying, make sure they can see your face. It puts a person at a disadvantage if you are already mid sentence when they realize you are addressing them. For the same reasons, don’t turn away while you are speaking.

Visually distracting environments can make it difficult to focus. Don’t play with your hair, car keys, or phone while you are speaking. Make sure you are in a place with enough light. Lip reading takes a lot of mental energy. Make sure this isn’t wasted while trying to ignore extra visual information.

Your Voice
Speak at a normal pace. People who can lip read have learned it by watching speech at a standard pace. If you speak too fast or slow it may be harder for them to understand. Don’t exaggerate lip movements or mumble for the same reason. Keep eye contact during your conversation, and don’t cover your mouth. Shouting is usually not helpful. If a person has profound deafness, raising the volume doesn’t help, and can actually hurt people who wear hearing aids.

Someone who is deaf can’t rely on intonation or verbal cues like “uh-huh” to be assured that you are listening. Use facial expressions to show emotions. There isn’t any need to exaggerate, but you can nod in response to what they are saying, or smile, or grimace, as may be appropriate.

Your Message
Don’t use introductory words like, “If you feel like it, perhaps, would you like to go hiking today, or maybe tomorrow.” Just get to the point – “Would you like to go hiking?” The meaning of the sentence often only becomes clear at the end, so keep things concise.

Don’t talk over people. When hearing people have a conversation in a group, it is common to speak at the same time, or overlap each other in the conversation. For someone relying on the visual aspect of the conversation, this can be a problem. If the topic suddenly changes, make sure the hearing impaired person is caught up before you move on.

Most importantly, don’t give up. If you think you aren’t being understood, don’t just drop the effort. Keep trying by rephrasing and using visual cues. If you feel stuck, use a pen and paper, or type a word or phrase into your phone. But if you say, “It doesn’t matter,” you risk communicating to your friend or colleague that they don’t matter.

Testing for Hearing Loss

December 30th, 2015

Audiologist Carrying Out Hearing Test On Female Patient

Do you find the T.V. volume needs turned higher than normal to hear what is being said? Are you asking people to repeat themselves, or are you catching yourself asking ‘what’ more often?  These are small clues that may indicate your hearing should be tested by an audiologist at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat.

An audiologist will begin by asking questions about your hearing and will then perform an exam by looking into your ears with an otoscope looking for possible small objects that may be blocking sound.

Pure Tone Audiometry is a test commonly used at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat. A person is taken into a sound-proof testing room and earphones are placed on their ears. The door is closed so the only sounds the patient hears are coming from the headphones. The person is instructed to raise their hand or push a button when they hear a sound. Each ear is tested separately.  The audiologist is visible through a window in the sound-proof room and they record the results of the hearing exam. Once finished, the audiologist then compiles the data and reviews the results with the patient or parent.

Tympanometry is a common test used used to detect fluid in the middle ear.  The audiologist gently inserts a soft plug into the ear canal.  Air is very gently pushed in and out of the ear the eardrum to vibrate.  Eardrum vibrations are measured and a graph, called a tympanogram, is created. These graphs shows reasons for hearings loss such as a hole in the eardrum, a stiff eardrum or an eardrum that moves more than it should.


After the hearing evaluation, you will review the results of each test with an audiologist, and a physician will recommend a treatment plan for your type of hearing loss.

Dr. Brian Peterson: Cochlear Implant Specialist

February 6th, 2015

Dr. Brian Peterson specializes in cochlear implantation, a hearing option available to both children and adults who are unable to benefit from traditional hearing aids. It is approved by the FDA for use in patients even as young as 12 months old with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.

Recent technologic innovations have dramatically improved the function and appearance of cochlear implants. It can be used by patients who have been recently impaired or those who have had a hearing loss since birth. Because of his specialty with the ear, Dr. Peterson has extensive experience with this procedure. For questions about the program, call 801-566-8304. Read more about Dr. Peterson here.

What Causes Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in adults can either be inherited or acquired from a variety of conditions including illness, ototoxic type drugs, loud noise exposure, tumors, head injury, or the aging process. This loss may occur by itself or with tinnitus.

Significant hearing loss can be caused by many conditions, including:

  • Ototoxic medications – a condition caused by certain medications including aminoglycoside antibiotics, salicylates in large quantities (aspirin), loop diuretics, and drugs used in chemotherapy regimens.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss – a gradual and painless hearing loss that damages the hair cells in the inner ear. It is caused from listening to loud noise for long periods of time.
  • Otosclerosis – a middle ear disease affecting movement of the bones, which is often surgically treatable.
  • Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease – a sudden hearing loss is fast, dramatic, and should be medically treated as soon as possible.
  • Ménière’s disease – an inner ear condition most common between the ages of 30 and 50.
  • Acoustic trauma – or a single exposure to an extremely loud sound such as an explosion can cause a sudden loss of hearing.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – a skull fracture, a hole in the eardrum, and damage to the middle ear structures.
  • Acoustic neuroma – a tumor that causes hearing loss.
  • Presbycusis – a sensorineural hearing loss that occurs gradually later in life.

What is a Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device with two portions. The external portion sits behind the ear and is surgically planted under the skin. The implant generates signals that are then circulated to the brain by way of the auditory nerve, which then is able to recognize signals and sounds. Unlike a hearing aid, it does not make sound louder or clearer. Instead, the device bypasses damaged parts of the auditory system and directly stimulates the nerve of hearing, allowing individuals who are profoundly hearing impaired to receive sound.


Referrals to Dr. Brian Peterson are accepted from any medical or healthcare provider.  South Valley Ear Nose & Throat requests that all referrals be accompanied by the following:

  • Medical history including any medications you are currently taking
  • Other than hearing loss, information about any other current diagnosis or assessment.
  • Information regarding hearing aids and usage history
  • Contact information for any other medical or healthcare professionals involved in the care of the referred case

For more information about this program or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Peterson, call 801-566-8304.

Hearing Through Your Bones

January 20th, 2015

Did you know you can ‘hear’ through your bones?  Of course bones don’t translate sound waves like the inner ear.  However, bones are porous and make great sound conductors. In fact, bones conduct sound so well, audiologists are using the skull to help people hear when they can’t use traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid (usually because of chronic ear infections or their ear structure prevents the components from fitting well)

The device is called a BAHA.  This special technology takes every-day sound through a processor that sits directly on the side of the head.  The sound is vibrated directly on to the the skull, moves through the inner ear, and then is passed to the brain.

Through a short surgery, patients receive a small titanium plate that attaches to the skull. The plate is later fitted with a small, metal post which helps the sound processor fit firmly on the head. Once everything is in place, the processor is turned on and the sound can instantly be sent via the skull and inner-ear directly to the brain.

So next time someone is snoring in your room and you can’t quite stop the noise with ear plugs or a pillow over you head, thank your bones for conducting the sound directly to your brain!

To determine if you are a candidate for a bone-anchored implant, please call to schedule an appointment with our team of specialists by calling (801) 566-8304.

The physicians and audiologists at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat are specially trained in the surgery to place the device and to customize the programming of the electronics.

When Do You Need a Hearing Aid?

October 28th, 2014

Many first-time hearing aid wearers have wondered for many months if their hearing was bad enough to qualify for a hearing aid.  Hearing loss can be difficult to detect because it occurs gradually.  Some people don’t realize how often they ask others to repeat themselves or notice how high the television volume needs to be for them to hear comfortably.

The first step to knowing if a hearing aid is needed is by having a hearing test performed by an audiologist under the supervision of a board-certified physician like at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat.  The test is painless and relatively brief.  The test results help our physicians understand the level of hearing loss and determine the treatment and types of hearing devices to use.

Making the first appointment is often the most difficult step.  It may be hard to admit that a person needs help.  We understand.  If you or a loved one feel that hearing needs to be checked, we encourage you to make an appointment for a hearing test at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat.

Please call us today to speak with a South Valley Ear Nose & Throat audiologist to understand more about hearing tests and hearing aids.