Hearing Care for our friends with Vision Impairment

We all know someone with age-related vision impairment– whether it’s glaucomamacular degenerationdiabetic retinopathy or cataracts.

Did you know that our eyes also assist in “hearing” a complete message by supplementing with lipreading/facial expressions?

Leading ophthalmologists have told me that many of their patients also suffer from hearing difficulty, since they lack this extra support from the eyes.

Please look out for your loved ones who already feel limited by their eyesight– and suggest that they may benefit from sharpening their hearing

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Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, an 87-year old woman visited our practice for a hearing consultation. She expected to be shuffled from room to room and treated like another number, just like every other medical appointment she’s ever been to.
 
Here’s what she got instead:
1) She was warmly escorted straight into the consultation room. She skipped the waiting room entirely.
2) A lovely conversation where Mrs. A was encouraged to share about her rich South American heritage and some of her life experiences.
3) A quick and efficient hearing exam.
4) A thorough, unrushed explanation of why her particular hearing issue causes her struggles and how we can change this.
5) An optimistic plan for treatment. She chose hearing devices which will powerfully restore her hearing clarity, while remaining nearly invisible in her ears.
 
And the beautiful woman left my office for the day feeling invigorated and grateful that she chose our practice. To be continued! 🙂
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Musical Training for Brain Health!

Cue the music! Did you know that the brain benefits of playing a musical instrument last even into old age?

Older adult musicians with hearing loss pick up sound more quickly and accurately than younger non-musicians.

Since music activates several areas of the brain and also involves coordination between sensory and motor systems, it has also been linked to improved cognition and balance.

Music keeps the hearing brain young, and our practice always emphasizes ways to age healthfully!

Check out the research by Dr. Nina Kraus for more information on this fascinating topic.

Music keeps the hearing brain young, and our practice always emphasizes ways to age healthfully!

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Still not sure what your brain has to do with your hearing?

Here’s the fact: Even the latest smartphone out there will mess up on your dictated text messages sometimes. It just cannot process sound the way us humans can.
Think of your phone’s analysis of your voice as the EARS = strict capturing of audio and very basic interpretation of words.
The difference when we as humans hear is the BRAIN component, taking the audio that was captured (which may or may not be complete sound, depending on what arrived at the microphone) and filling it the blanks by matching it up with real-world context and each person’s unique vocabulary of familiar words.
Of course your latest phone software has a “brain” lexicon of word templates (how words usually sound), but it is no match for the human sense of hearing and the brain-ear partnership. (Artificial intelligence, anyone?)
Now think about when you try dictating and your phone doesn’t catch anything at all. You need to repeat it entirely, slower and more clearly. Sometimes you need to use a different word. When hearing loss sets in, the brain works harder and harder to make sense of a distorted sound. Sometimes it’s impossible to figure it out. Either way, the extra straining puts a drain on your brain’s reserve of energy… energy that is usually needed for memory, attention and enjoyment.
The role of the audiologist is to detect which sounds may be an issue in capturing, and then restore those sounds via hearing devices. We also re-train the brain to classify and decipher incoming sounds when they are not clear due to background noise or group conversation. The best hearing devices available are the ones that feed the brain with the most support for processing speech in tough listening environments. Add in some auditory rehabilitation (physical therapy for the ears!) for the very best listening outcome.
To quote Dr. Israel Abramov, my legendary Professor of Neuroscience at Brooklyn College: “The brain is the interface between you and the world.”
Take care of your ears, and feed your brain with the sound it craves.
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Reveal your hearing!

What does your hearing say about you? A lot, actually.

My patients are often fascinated when I review their hearing results and can tell whether they’ve been in the military, play a musical instrument, swim in the ocean, have had a head injury, are fast-tracked to social isolation… and many other clues about their lifestyle!

I’m not psychic, but I am highly trained to assess the state of your ears and their effect on the rest of your health. Don’t leave your hearing care up to chance- thanks to modern medicine, we can help! #magic#millbasinaudiologist #healthyears #crystalball #hearingspecialist#mindandbody

 

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Keeping our community vibrant and healthy!

nail polish color selection

Love bumping into my patients around town, at Lucy Lu’s Salon, Brooklyn Public Library- Mill Basin, Lucille Roberts- Ralph Avenue and more!

As the preferred Audiologist & Hearing Aid Specialist in Mill Basin and Marine Park, I am proud to live in this vibrant community and provide yet another service to our neighbors that allows us to take care of our bodies and minds.

Enjoy your weekend!

-Dr. Kupfer

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Light up that brain!

image of two minds facing each other

Listening: Where hearing meets the brain.

Wondering why you can hear sounds in the restaurant, but can’t make out what anyone is saying? As we get older, our processing abilities weaken and it becomes more difficult to collect and organize sound. You’re not “just getting old,” and don’t allow your loved ones to pass it off as such. Make sure you have your hearing evaluated periodically so that you can treat any issues promptly! Studies show that even a mild hearing loss, when left untreated, causes permanent changes to the brain. Hearing health is directly tied to brain health, and we can help you work towards that goal. #neurotechnology #disruptagaing#healthyears #lifelonghearing #millbasinaudiologist

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Connect2Affect: How to truly be a good neighbor

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We are just about 1 week away from National Good Neighbor Day! The AARP is framing this year’s holiday as an opportunity to combat isolation among seniors, which is a growing health epidemic.

Great! What does that have to do with audiology?

Although my practice is based in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, my patients are really receiving a pathway to healthy aging. On any given day I see adults from all different stages of life and levels of functioning. Regardless of their age, I like to believe that I am keeping my patients from joining the 1 in 5 older adults suffering from isolation. Avoidance of isolation and pursuing healthy aging are two main themes that we stress to all of our patients, and these are directly achieved through hearing care.

It is never too early to start thinking about brain health and maximizing a person’s engagement with surroundings. In a time when people are physically living longer than ever, we find a greater need to prolong ones healthy years and subsequently fill the later years with quality, meaning and purpose. This means keeping the mind stimulated, as opposed to limited. As a person ages, sensory limitations often arise which may not be handicapping on their own, but pose a greater risk to ones overall sense of self and participation with others.

What is isolation? It can present itself as: general loneliness, dwelling on the fact that most friends have passed away, acting withdrawn in social settings, feeling like a burden, repeated excuses that it’s too hard to go anywhere. No one is immune to these feelings, but very often there are ways to help.

Isolation is a widespread issue which relies on all of us “Good Neighbors” to have the awareness, insight and compassion to jump in and take action. Hence the AARP’s slogan for National Good Neighbor Day, #Connect2Affect. If you notice a relative, friend or neighbor who is starting to fade away, or just isn’t who they used to be, and you are wondering how to help them, please consider the fact that most human beings crave connection with others. There are so many ways to impact someone’s life in this manner, by simply including them and showing that you care. And of course, by seeking rehabilitation for the senses that may have become limited due to age or other health conditions. The sense of hearing is vital for maximizing connections with others.

Having received my undergraduate degree in the field of Psychology, I always frame my treatment plans in this perspective. Hearing is the interface between me and you. Keeping the ears turned on is just one method of keeping a person’s mind stimulated. It allows us to connect socially, instead of withdrawing when conversations are unclear. Social interaction is good for your spirits as well as brain health, as it keeps the language and memory areas of the brain active.

We see many people who feel empowered by their new hearing capabilities, so they start getting together with friends again or attending lectures at the local senior center- which in turn boosts their sense of purpose and well-being.

Seniors who take care of their health, and specifically their brain health through social activity, make my heart soar! I have the privilege of knowing many mature adults who keep themselves connected, as well as those who mostly stay at home and watch television alone. There is often a qualitative difference in their presenting mood or interactions with me (of course there are exceptions to this, as well as unfortunate reasons why someone may be truly homebound– in that case, we always try to make the most of that reality and offer home visits). It is now well understood that untreated hearing loss and social isolation is associated with accelerated cognitive decline, and hearing status is one potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia.

There are so many people out there who live daily struggling with age-related hearing loss, not realizing that they have a hearing loss and thinking that their mind is just getting “old.” As a Good Neighbor, we must urge our friends not to give up on themselves! Gently ask them if they’ve checked their hearing recently. Having access to hearing healthcare helps sustain meaningful interactions for longer, thus keeping the mind active and healthy. In our practice, we have a much greater goal than just hearing aids: we help our patients be more active and engaged, living their years to their fullest.

Awareness and action are key. Connecting with your elderly neighbor can truly affect their well-being.

I am a Good Neighbor… are you?

 

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Best In Class Innovation!

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Most of the myths that you’ve heard about hearing aids are just myths.
Modern medicine is seamlessly re-connecting our patients to the sounds they love, without the squealing or bulkiness of the past. To quote one of our patients, “Boy, am I lucky to be getting my hearing aids nowadays when this incredible technology is available! What would I have done if I needed this 20 years ago?”
 
Our patients are fit with the finest technology available, and we continuously update our offerings with the newest devices on the market.
 
#latest #hearingresearch #invisible #sharp #clear #neurotechnology #skysthelimit
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Mind your meals, ladies!

Blueberries In A Pitcher, Coffee Cup, & Flower Filled Vase

Mind your meals, ladies! 

A recent study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that healthy eating habits may help protect against age-related hearing loss.

The healthy-eating women in the study (with over 22 years of analysis) were 30% less likely to have a moderate or worse hearing loss!

Table from Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH, courtesy of Beetnik.

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