Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ways to Help Toddlers that Stutter

In the United States, over 3 million Americans who stutter.  Educators and peers may perceive toddlers who stutter as shy, nervous, anxious, withdrawn, self-conscious, tense, less competent, introverted and insecure.





Speech and language skills develop at a fast pace when children are toddlers. Toddlers learn new words almost every day. Toddlers are learning how to say the sounds in the words they know. They are also learning how to structure sentences in a way that a person understands and gets them what they want. 

Toddlers have a lot of information they want to communicate. However, they do not always have the skills to communicate all of the information they want to say to someone. Therefore, it is not uncommon for children between the ages of 2 and 5 to stutter. The stuttering may come and go or last for a couple of weeks. If stuttering disappears and then returns they may be going through another stage of learning language.  

Below are ways to help toddlers that stutter and when to refer to a speech language pathologist (SLP). If you have any questions please feel free to contact us directly at 972-608-0416. 

Ways to Help Toddlers that Stutter

  • Do not make a big deal about the stuttering. 
  • Remain calm when children stutter. Children become frustrated if you are frustrated. 
  • Create opportunities for talking that are relaxed, fun, and enjoyable.
  • Take the pressure off children.  Show them that you are interested in what they are saying and give them time to communicate information.
  • Model a slower rate of speech. When caregivers talk fast it puts pressure on children to talk at the same rate of speech. Toddlers do not have the ability to get their thoughts out as fast as an adult. 
  • Keep things simple. Ask one question at a time. This enables children to focus on one answer. Multiple questions can put pressure on a child to recall all of the questions and communicate the answers. 
  • Comment on what the child has said rather than asking questions. If a child says “Look at my car” a simple comment (e.g., “Wow, that’s a fast car”) will put less communicative pressure on the child than a question (e.g., “Is it fast?”)
  • Develop a successful communication environment without distractions or interruptions. Distractions and interruptions stop the thought process and will make it more difficult for the child to communicate information. 
  • Be positive about every communication attempt. Making comments like "Slow down,"  "Stop and take a deep breath," “Say it this way” should not be used.  They may be meant to help children, however, they can actually make children more self-conscious. If children become self conscious they typically limit the information they communicate. Children need to communicate to develop their expressive language skills
  • Set up successful talking situations. Don't put pressure on your child to entertain or interact verbally with other people when stuttering becomes a problem. Encourage activities that do not involve a lot of verbal interaction.


Refer to an SLP when a Child:
  • Repeats sounds of words such as c-c-c-c-carrot or ca-ca-ca-carrot.
  • Holds out sounds in words “mmmmy truck is red.”
  • Shows tension in the muscles of the face or body during stuttering moments.
  • Substitutes or deletes sounds and is difficult to understand.
  • Demonstrates language skills that are above or below their peers. Children with advanced language skills may have trouble communicating all of the information that they know. 
  • Exhibits hitting or biting. Children may hit or bite because they are frustrated due to not being able to communicate the words they want to say or are afraid of stuttering.
  • Has been stuttering longer than 6 months.
  • Began stuttering after age 3 ½. 
  • Has another member in the family that stutters.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation is a speech and hearing clinic with locations in Plano and Dallas, Texas. We offer speech language pathology and audiological services to children and adults of all ages, and resources to help you target your specific speech therapy needs.  If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs stuttering, please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve can help. 

Achieve a Balanced Life

Friday, March 4, 2016

Not that loud. Turn it down.

Don’t allow your hearing to go up in smoke.

You probably know someone dear to you who wears hearing aids, ear plugs, headphones or at least earbuds.  All three can be extremely beneficial when used properly.  Over the last 5 years people have been looking for the best earbuds and headphones.   You probably use earbuds yourself.  Perhaps you use earbuds to listen to your favorite book or your favorite music while jogging.  As a student, earbuds can help you escape a room filled with background chatter.  And for those who want to cross communication barriers, headphones are used as a way to learn a new language.

The truth about noise and hearing loss.
Earbuds and headphones help us keep our hands free to do other tasks, but they can also lead to noise-induced hearing loss if not used correctly.  Studies suggest that misuse or overuse of personal audio devices will lead to cognitive overload and result in impaired performance.  For those of you who dislike little buds in your ears or headphones, that’s fine, but you are not exempt from experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, especially if you attend loud recreational activities like rock concerts, NASCAR races or Monster Jam motorsport events.  Very loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Listening to loud noise for long periods of time can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. Noise-induced hearing loss usually develops gradually and painlessly. A single exposure to an extremely loud sound such as an explosion can cause a sudden loss of hearing. This is called acoustic trauma.

Gas Monkey Garage | Monster Jam 2016 | AT&T Stadium | Texas


Noise-induced hearing loss can affect many aspects of life. In young children, it impairs language acquisition. Learning disabilities, anxiety and attention-seeking behaviours are also common in children exposed to loud sounds.

The impact of chronic noise exposure in children is reflected in lowered academic performance and outcomes as well as reduced motivation and concentration.

If you must listen, make sure you listen safely.
The healthy hearing threshold is generally taken as 0 dB (11); a whisper is around 30 dB and normal conversation approximately 60 dB (124). Some common sounds and their intensities (dB) are indicated below.  Ears are designed to process the moderate levels of sound that exist in our normal environment (e.g. quiet conversation). Common recreational activities (e.g. rock concerts, listening to personal music players), however, often involve exposure to much higher sound levels for extended periods, and scientific evidence is accumulating to demonstrate that these recreational noise activities are potentially harmful to hearing. The factors that determine the level of risk are the intensity and duration of noise exposure.  Hearing protection devices can be broadly classified as either earplugs, which are inserted at the entrance of the ear canal, or earmuffs, which cover the outside of ear

Wearing ear plugs.
Ticketmaster, the ticket sales and distribution company for Monster Jam says, “We highly recommend ear protection, particularly for children that are sensitive to loud noises. At any live sporting event, children or adults may be sensitive to the noise level. Ear plugs and headphones are sold at Monster Jam merchandise stands. You can also bring your own ear protection.”  The Monster Jam website says, “Our concessions staff does sell Monster Jam Tire novelty ear protection and disposable ear plugs while supplies last at each event.”

When visiting discotheques, bars, sporting events and other noisy places or participating in rifle shooting, use of hearing protection helps to avoid damage to hearing. Many countries have legislated, to a varying degree, on the use of personal hearing protection in the occupational setting. However, there is little in the way of legislation, guidelines or recommendations for use of hearing protection for recreational noise exposure.

How can noise-induced hearing loss be treated?
There is no medical or surgical cure for noise-induced hearing loss: damaged hair cells cannot regenerate . Once hearing loss begins, however, its progression can be halted by avoiding further exposure to loud sounds.  At present, there are only limited management options – such as hearing aids and counselling – for individuals with even a low degree of noise-induced hearing loss.  Current treatment methods for noise-induced hearing loss focus on people in severely noisy environments such as the military.

Google Search | Hearing Loss Data





At Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation we believe that education leads to a person's success. That's why we spend extra time with our patients to make sure they understand the results of their evaluations and personalized care plans. Achieve Hearing specializes in advanced digital hearing technologies, diagnostic audiological testing, transitioning individuals from hearing loss to successful hearing aid use, and central auditory processing.  Most adults acquire hearing loss gradually over time. Thus, many people with a significant hearing loss avoid getting help because they do not realize they have a problem.  If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of hearing loss please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve Hearing can help.


Achieve a Balanced Life










References: 
WHO World Health Organization | Hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds
Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults | Acoustic Trauma
Ticketmaster | Monster Jam
Monster Jam | Do you supply ear protection?
Gas Monkey Garage



Friday, February 5, 2016

Prescription Drug Use Resulting In Hearing Loss



Being a parent means having talks that are not necessarily fun, but definitely necessary. Now that I have two teenagers, I seem to be having more and more of these talks, although I started them when the girls were really little… especially when it comes to substance abuse.

As soon as the girls could talk, we started talking about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I wanted them to know that they can always talk about these things to me and Pete, and what was acceptable and not in our family. We set expectations from the very beginning and we continue to add to our talks as they get older.

Source: Tips To Talk To Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol

Did you know?
Certain medications can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance disorders. These drugs are considered ototoxic.

There are more than 200 known ototoxic medications (prescription and over-the-counter) on the market today. These include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease.

Hearing and balance problems caused by these drugs can sometimes be reversed when the drug therapy is discontinued. Sometimes, however, the damage is permanent.

For cases in which the drugs cannot be stopped or changed, the patient and the audiologist can take steps to manage the effects of the hearing loss that results.  Most adults acquire hearing loss gradually over time. Thus, many people with a significant hearing loss avoid getting help because they do not realize they have a problem.

Hearing loss can affect relationships, education, productivity, and most importantly, emotional well being. For the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. who have a hearing loss, selecting the most suitable hearing solution can be a critical factor in achieving a balanced life.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation is a speech and hearing clinic with locations in Plano and Dallas, Texas. Achieve Hearing offers speech-language pathology and audiological services, as well as hearing aids for children and adults of all ages. The Achieve Hearing staff includes an Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologists that are licensed in the state of Texas and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Loud Super Bowl and Crowd Noise

NFL Conference Championships | New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos (18 - 20 Broncos)


For diehard football fans, nothing beats screaming your lungs out in the stadium alongside tens of thousands of other fans.

There is, however, a downside: hearing loss.

With the battle among fans to be the loudest crowd getting almost as competitive as the NFL itself, hearing experts say it's time for a serious conversation about the damage caused by crowd noise.

Source: Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: Fans Risk Hearing Loss

Family and friends will gather at tailgate parties during the Super Bowl while others search high and low for one more chair to somehow squeeze into an already crowded living room.  There will be man caves bulging with testosterone around the world.  Some lucky football fans will have the opportunity to experience this mega event in epic proportions – cheering for their favorite Super Bowl team at Levi's Stadium.  This all sounds great until you lean how the loud Super Bowl screaming and continuous exposure to crowd noise can be really bad for your ears.


Did you know?
Decibel levels exceeded 118 dB during this seasons NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time.

So when we look specifically at the degree of hearing loss we are talking about the severity of the loss. Example: Mild hearing loss range is 26 to 40 dB HL (decibel hearing loss).

Hearing loss can affect relationships, education, productivity, and most importantly, emotional well being. For the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. who have a hearing loss, selecting the most suitable hearing solution can be a critical factor in achieving a balanced life.  Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation helps patients overcome different types of hearing loss. If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of hearing loss please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve Hearing can help.

Achieve a Balanced Life

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Managing Hearing Loss In Children and Adults of All Ages



It's that time of the year when we open our doors for holiday visitors and talking about old stories that everyone can smile and laugh about.  Some families will spend time opening gifts while others hit the highways and the friendly skies to visit friends, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas across the United States and beyond.  So what does this have to do with hearing loss or the hearing impaired you ask?  There are three very important points the host family or friend should consider priorities:
  1.  Fire alarm decibel (dB) levels as they relate to family or friends in the age range of 61-71
  2.  Fire alarms types for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
  3.  Loud toys for children
One of the potential hazards during this holiday season is burning Christmas trees.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that a dry tree can catch fire and burn faster than a newspaper.  From 2009 to 2013 there was an estimated annual average of 210 fires where home fires that started with Christmas, resulting in deaths, injuries, and over $17 million in property loss.

Experiencing a home fire can mean major trouble for grandma, grandpa if they cannot hear the alarm.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), residential smoke alarms operate at sound frequencies that may produce alarm sound characteristics poorly suited for the older population because of age-related hearing loss.

A study by Davis (1995, UK) indicated that for study participants in the age range of 61-71 years, 51% had a hearing loss greater than 20 dB and 11% had a hearing loss greater than 40 dB.  As the age range increased, the percentage with hearing loss also increased. For example, for study participants in the age range of 71-80 years, 74% had a hearing loss greater than 20 dB and 30% had a hearing loss greater than 40 dB.

The fact that older adults do not seek a remedy for their hearing loss may prevent them from effectively hearing a sounding smoke alarm, which likely places them at a higher risk of injury or death from fire.

Smoke alarms can help you escape a fire in your home and save lives. But for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, they cannot depend on the sound of the regular alarm to alert them to a fire.  The good news is there are smoke alarms for people who are deaf or have profound hearing loss. These alarms use strobe (flashing) lights to wake or alert the person and vibration notification appliances, such as pillow or bed shakers that are activated by the sound of a smoke alarm.  Most major smoke alarm companies offer alarms with strobe lights.

So, lets keep the Christmas tree watered to avoid a holiday fire so we can continue playing with the children and the new toys.  There is however a measure of safety we should also consider when it comes to selecting toys for the next generation.

The CPSC reminds parents to avoid toys that produce extremely loud noises that could damage a child's hearing.  For example, caps used for cap guns may also pose a noise hazard.  Toy caps and some noise-making guns and other toys can produce sounds at noise levels that can damage hearing. Do not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not use indoors.

The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing states some of the top toys on the market are extremely harmful for children and can lead to permanent hearing damage.  Officials say if you already own a “noisy” toy put heavy thick tape over the speaker or use the volume control. They also say parents should limit the number of hours using the toy or music player.  85 decibels (dB) is the maximum volume a child should be exposed to for no more than eight hours.

Decibels (dB) are a unit of measurement to gauge volume and decibel volume is measured in several industries including construction and engineering to ensure hearing safety. Sounds over 100 dB can damage hearing in less than 15 minutes of exposure.  You may think loud toys are mostly designed for older kids, however, the majority of noisy toys are for children 6-years-old and younger.  Lullaby type toys are often placed in cribs with infants, exposing the baby to excessive noise for extended periods of time.

"Be extremely vigilant when it comes to the toys you purchase for the holiday season and beyond."

Hearing problems can drastically affect children in their learning and social environments. The most significant impact is on: vocabulary, sentence structure, speaking, academic achievement, and social functioning.

Technology continues to astound and today there are phone apps for measuring noise levels.  We (Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation) do not endorse these apps, however they may help you identify situations where noise levels could damage your hearing:



Noise Meters on Google Play for Android phones rated 4 out of 5 stars


Sound Meter Pro
Sound Meter PRO uses your Android's microphone to measure levels of noise or sound pressure levels and displays measured data in dB (decibels) with reference to generally known noise (provided by American Academy of Audiology) or displays the noise data on easy to read graph for the last 30 seconds of app use.

Sound Meter
This decibel meter uses your built-in microphone to measure sound volume in decibels (dB) and also displays sound level charts in the form of graph.

Sound Meter HQ
"Sound Meter HQ" calculates sound level (noise level) of surroundings with the help of built-in microphone. Result of the measurements are displayed in decibels on the screen of you phone.



Noise Meter on iTunes for iPhones rated 4 out of 5 stars

Decibel Meter Pro
Decibel Meter Pro is a bargain. It's a great tool for anyone who is concerned about noise levels

Decibel Meter
Decibel Meter (Pro) also tells you decibel exposure time guidelines. It tells you how loud is too loud. It tells you what's Noise induced hearing loss and how to avoid it

SPLnFFT Noise Meter
For daily use, a very simple interface displays the level of exposure: if orange or red, protect your ears

Most adults acquire hearing loss gradually over time. Thus, many people with a significant hearing loss avoid getting help because they do not realize they have a problem. People who seek early treatment often report that their lives are dramatically improved.

Hearing loss can affect relationships, education, productivity, and most importantly, emotional well being. For the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. who have a hearing loss, selecting the most suitable hearing solution can be a critical factor in achieving a balanced life.  Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation helps patients overcome different types of hearing loss. If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of hearing loss please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve Hearing can help.

Achieve a Balanced Life


References

The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ringing In The Holidays with Tinnitus


It’s almost impossible to hide hearing loss when you’re surrounded by loved ones during the holidays. Common signs of hearing loss include not being able to hear well in a crowded room, having trouble hearing children and women, and asking family and friends to repeat what they’re saying. These symptoms became more pronounced in my grandpa during the holidays: smiling and nodding during the holiday dinner was a telltale sign that he was not able to follow the conversations.

Source: Hearing Loss and the Holidays

Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you? If you answer is yes, you might have tinnitus and should contact our licensed Audiologist, Michael Gehan, M.S., CCC-A.  Michael is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.  Tinnitus is the number one disability among Veterans returning from war and it affects a minimum of 1 in every 10 American adults.

The NIH (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders):

  • Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.
  • Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus treatment depends on the cause. Treatments may include hearing aids, sound-masking devices, medicines and ways to learn how to cope with the noise.

Google Trends Tinnitus Interest for Dallas - Ft. Worth, Texas

Studies show up to 50% of all veterans returning from war suffer from tinnitus.  It’s an invisible injury often linked to repetitive loud noises.  “Sometimes it’s so overwhelming you can’t focus or you can’t communicate, you can’t sleep,” Vaught said after enduring the explosive sounds of war in Iraq, Allen Vaught may have been looking forward to silence.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation helps patients who suffer from tinnitus. If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of tinnitus please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve can help.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation is a speech and hearing clinic in Plano, Texas. We offer speech-language pathology and audiological services for children and adults of all ages. Achieve is in-network with Aetna, Cigna, BlueCross BlueShield, Medicare, and United Healthcare. We can help obtain information about your policy to determine if services are covered under. Please call us at 972-608-0416.

Achieve a Balanced Life

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Communication Skills Begins In Infancy


"Researchers should actually be looking at babies' oral-motor movements as well." Even before they're talking, in other words, they're turning snippets of language around in their mouths like Cheerios, trying to figure them out.  A new study found that when infants can't move their mouths to mimic sounds, they have a harder time processing them.

Source: Babies Use Their Tongues to Understand Speech

Did you know?
When your child shows deficits in strength and movement of the jaw, lips, tongue, and cheeks, these are signs/symptoms of Oral Motor Deficits

Screening is conducted by an SLP whenever a speech sound disorder is suspected or as part of a comprehensive speech and language evaluation for a child with communication concerns. The purpose of the screening is to identify those who require further speech-language/communication assessment or referral to other professional services.

During treatment, the SLP has the opportunity to document the rate and amount of progress a child has made before making definitive conclusions regarding the diagnosis.  —  Amy McKay Gehan, M.A., CCC-SLP Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation

I could see a difference in his ability to focus and follow directions after just a couple of sessions. I appreciate the time you spent educating me about ways I could help him at home.        —  Susan, Preston's (6 years old) mother


The development of communication skills begins in infancy, before the emergence of the first word. Any speech or language problem is likely to have a significant effect on the child's social and academic skills and behavior. The earlier a child's speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse. Early speech and language intervention can help children be more successful with reading, writing, schoolwork, and interpersonal relationships.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation helps patients overcome their oral motor deficits. If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of an oral motor deficit please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve can help. 

Achieve a Balanced Life