Hearing Issues
Sleigh Bells Ringing?
Nov 30, 2012 - 5:59:27 PM

( - The holiday season is meant to be a time of thanks, celebration and joy. But for many people, it is a time of year when unaddressed hearing loss can cause them to feel particularly isolated and depressed. Even when surrounded by loved ones, a family member's impaired ability to hear and actively participate in conversation cuts them off. Often, they are left with a sense of sadness, inadequacy and emotional isolation. This is especially true when the family member is ‘hiding' a hearing loss or if it is unrecognized.

Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and affects more than 31.5 million Americans. When left untreated, hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression: a health issue that is already prevalent during the holiday season and may likely be more widespread this year, given the added financial worries that many Americans are currently facing.

So this year, be especially vigilant if you see that Uncle Fred is quiet at Christmas dinner or other holiday dinners. Maybe he can't hear you and needs your help with bringing him close to the family again.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss include not being able to hear well in a crowded room or restaurant, having trouble hearing children and women, keeping the television or radio turned up to a high volume, needing to ask family and friends to repeat what they're saying, or experiencing ringing in the ears.

When a family member experiences unaddressed hearing loss, it silently erodes the loved one's quality of life: undermining family relationships, interfering with short-term memory, and creeping into virtually every aspect of daily living. The good news is there are solutions to help loved ones with hearing loss regain the gift of sound so they don't need to draw back in silence.

Hearing loss can be easily diagnosed, and there are modern-day solutions that can help people hear better. Wearers of these comfortable, state-of-the-art instruments report that sound - from speech to TV to music - is more detailed, natural and clear. Today's wireless CLEAR hearing instruments have technology designed to function much like our natural ears are designed to function.

For instance, our outer ear (the pinna) helps us locate sounds from any direction. The groundbreaking digital pinna functions much the same way, so that wearers no longer have to turn their heads to locate a sound's source. This can be very helpful, for example, if a wearer is driving and trying to have a conversation with someone sitting in the back seat.

These instruments can also be configured with accessories to handle some of the more difficult listening situations. The M-Dex accessory is popular because it lets the wearer temporarily turn off the hearing aids' microphones so that he or she can hear the cell phone with both ears without being disturbed by surrounding sounds. There are breakthroughs in technology happening every day. Check out for some of the latest examples. People are pleasantly surprised to find everything from hearing instruments that are nearly invisible to some that are so smart they can talk to you in 22 different languages. 

In the meantime, if someone you love is experiencing hearing loss, try these tips to help them feel included in your upcoming holiday celebrations:

Most important, if someone you love appears to have a hearing loss, encourage them to get a hearing screening. Many people decide to get their hearing checked because someone they love suggested it and provided support.


Ellen Finkelstein, Au.D. FAA, CCC-A

Chief Audiologist at East Side Audiology

My mission is to improve the quality of life of my patients. I do so by providing comprehensive, individualized care, treatment and solutions.

Dr. Finkelstein has over 30 years of experience providing hearing improvement solutions for patients on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and throughout New York City.

She has a particular expertise in the identification of hearing issues that are difficult to diagnose and providing the most appropriate course of treatment.

Doctorate in Audiology

Board Certified by the American Board of Audiology ( ABA)

Fellow and Academic Scholar American Academy of Audiology (AAA)

Certificate of Clinical Competence, American Speech
Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)

Former Adjunct lecturer, Lehman College




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