North State Audiology Team

The Road to Better Hearing:
It Starts With People, And WHY They Care

“I want to be able to hear again.”

It’s the reason millions of Americans visit hearing care practices every year. Yet, sadly, most are disappointed with how things turn out. The hearing aids they purchased with their hard-earned money either flat-out don’t work, or the benefit they receive doesn’t live up to their expectations … or the promises of the dispenser’s glitzy advertisements and mailers.

How can this be, when a decade and a half into the 21st Century, four and a half decades after we landed on the moon, and over a 100 years since the Wright brothers first defied Earth’s gravity, we should have the technology to fix hearing difficulties, right?

You might expect the word “Wrong” here, but you’d be, er, wrong.

We DO have the technology to correct almost all hearing difficulties, both in the diagnostics (the “testing”), and in treatment (hearing aid technology).

The …

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New Years Hearing Test

It’s a New Year … Time to Show Support for That Family Member with Hearing Difficulties

Happy 2013! And here is wishing you, your families, and friends all the very best in the coming year.

Speaking of the New Year, with it comes an annual influx of common calls to my practice that go something like this:

“My father/mother/uncle/aunt/grandfather/grandmother, etc., seemed to be having difficulty taking part in the conversations at the holiday gatherings. Could it be their hearing and if so what can be done about it? We are concerned that if these communication difficulties are not hearing related, that it could be something more serious.”

First of all I want to say how wonderful it is when I hear from someone like this that they exhibit such concern about a family member that they would be willing to take the initiative and do research such as this. What I and my staff would assure this person – and what I want to convey to …

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Loud Toys For Children Can Cause Hearing Loss

Watch Out For “Noisy Toys”

Each holiday season, millions of American parents, grandparents, uncles, nieces, other relatives, and family friends shop for and purchase toys for youngsters.

Yet while the toys are supposed to bring happy times and smiles to the faces of the children, many are designed by the manufacturer to be loud… and that is not a good thing. In fact some are so loud that they can cause permanent hearing damage after only a few minutes of exposure to a child.

How Loud Can Toys Really Be?

Just how loud can some children’s toys be? According to the Sight & Hearing Association – a nonprofit organization founded in 1939 with the goal of preventing needless loss of vision and hearing – there are a number of toys on the market that emit sound in excess of 90 decibels (dB) with some approaching 120 dB. For comparison, a chainsaw operates at 110dB! …

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Earwax – It Deserves a Better Reputation!

Though its medical name is cerumen, most of us refer to it as “Earwax”.

While I agree that neither term sounds very attractive, I will argue that earwax has gotten an undeserved bad reputation as something equivalent to dirt that we need to remove from our bodies.

So before reaching for the cotton swabs, you should know that earwax performs several important functions for our ears and hearing system.

That’s right. Earwax – unless it is in excess and blocking our ear canal(s) or has plugged and disrupted the proper functioning of hearing technology – is a good thing.

Here are some positive functions of earwax:

● It provides a protective barrier to the skin of the ear canal

● Assists in lubricating and cleaning the outer portion of the ear canal.

● Provides protection against insects (it is a natural insecticide), fungi, and bacteria – all of which …

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Hearing Care, the Internet, and “Big Box” Retailers

A full decade into the 21st Century, it would be rare to find an American who has not been to a modern shopping mall or used the Internet. In fact many of us visit “Big Box” anchored shopping malls at least occasionally, and the number of Americans who regularly use the Internet far exceeds the number who do not. Even amongst senior citizens — the final demographic to embrace this technology — the gap between Internet users and non-users continues to narrow.

Without doubt, the Internet is a fabulous tool, providing us with a wealth of easily obtainable information in mere seconds. And the amount of relatively low-priced goods and services that “Big Box” and chain retailers supply can certainly help many families stretch their monthly budget.

But are these two venues the be-all-and-end-all for every consumer scenario?

The short answer is, “Absolutely not!” … especially when it comes …

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Man with Tinnitus

Just What is Tinnitus?

Do you or someone you know hear ringing, whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing sounds?

If so, you may be suffering from tinnitus, a medical condition characterized by persistent ringing in one or both ears which can only be heard by the affected person. While the sounds may come and go, many sufferers experience symptoms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the effect ranging from slight annoyance to severe disruption of everyday life.

According to the American Tinnitus Association ( this fairly common ailment affects over 50 million Americans; that’s 1 out of every 6 of us!

Before we look at the causes and treatment of this disease, let’s set the record straight on its pronunciation: both “tin-NIGHT-us” and “TIN-it-us” are correct.


Tinnitus can be caused by any number of things, including:

● Noise induced hearing loss and nerve damage ● A build-up of earwax …

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Untreated Hearing Loss

The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss: Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Seek Help For A Hearing Difficulty

After over 30 years as an audiologist, I have heard a lot of reasons from a lot of patients as to why they had not addressed their hearing difficulties sooner.

And of course, I always explain to them that ignoring a hearing difficulty won’t make it go away, and that there are consequences for not treating a hearing loss.

Now there is even more evidence – gleaned from scientific studies by some of the top researchers in the world – to support what audiologists like myself and many of my colleagues with AudigyGroup have been saying all along: don’t wait to get tested and – if the tests do indeed show a hearing loss – discuss treatment options with your hearing care professional.

These studies clearly show that hearing loss doesn’t just affect one’s ability to hear the TV or communicate with a spouse, friends, or co-workers. There can be …

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North State Audiological Services Staff

Why Choose an AudigyCertified™ Hearing Care Professional?

Did you know that the most exciting news in the field of hearing health care during the past three years isn’t a hearing technology breakthrough, nor is it a software programming revelation.

No, the most exciting thing to happen in the last three years – perhaps even during my nearly 30 years in audiology — is the formation of Audigy Group™, the largest member-owned association of independent hearing care professionals in the United States.


AudigyGroup’s purpose is to strategically select and certify the most elite practitioners in each market who exemplify the core values of the group’s mission and vision in delivery of hearing and diagnostic services. Our shared mission is to deliver:

● Unsurpassed patient satisfaction

● Excellence through continued education

● Effective analysis and diagnosis of our patient’s hearing difficulties or balance condition

● Customized technology solutions that effectively integrate speech comprehension back into our patient’s …

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Lifestyle based hearing aids

Why Your Lifestyle — Regardless of Age — Needs to be Considered When Selecting Hearing Technology

Ah, high-technology consumer-oriented electronic devices. They’re everywhere we look in our daily lives. From the L.E.D. read-out timer-controlled automatic coffee maker to the hands-free cellular phone to digitally enhanced music and television systems, high-tech products are all the rage, enhancing our lives in ways that couldn’t have been imagined less than a generation ago.

And judging from some of the advertisements that are out there one might get the impression that high-tech hearing devices are the end-all answer to communication difficulties for someone with hearing difficulty. People are bombarded with ads on hearing devices telling them that by purchasing the “latest and greatest” from Brand ABC that they’ll immediately hear like they did when they were a teenager. Being good consumers, they research for hours on end, and then decide on a product with high expectations.

But for someone with hearing difficulties, taking that path is like trying to follow …

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Young Ag Workers Chico CA

Youngsters in Agriculture Need to Protect Their Hearing, Too!

With agriculture being such a huge economic base here in the North State, it’s no wonder that a number of farmers and ranchers are patients of mine. Hearing loss due to exposure to loud machines and vehicles is pretty commonplace amongst those in ag. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of all farmers in the United States have some hearing loss.

What is troubling is that many – too many — of those farmers and ranchers are not the fifty-something or sixty-something year olds that one might expect. They are young people; some as young as grade school age!

How can that be? Simply that these young people get exposed to loud farm machinery at an early age. Couple that with the louder and louder environment that our society has become through use of devices like personal music systems and these youngsters in ag are getting the proverbial double …

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