December 2022

Happy holidays! Some of my favorite holiday memories include my late Grammy Katharine.  She had a profound hearing loss and bilateral cochlear implants, and she was a very special person to me. We would road-trip to Iowa to spend Christmas with Grandpa Charlie, Grammy Katharine, and the rest of our extended family.  Looking back, I can now see how difficult those noisy gatherings must have been for my grandma and how hard she worked to be a gracious hostess.  I hope these “hear for the holidays” tips help you to enjoy and fully participate in this special holiday season!

In this issue:

  • Communication Tips: Hear for the Holidays
  • Sound Bites with Brenda: Hearing Protection

Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy and happy holiday!


Dr. Dusty

Communication Tips

Hear for the Holidays

Holiday Gatherings

Family gatherings are often a part of our holiday traditions. And while it is wonderful to connect with our loved ones, these events can also be very stressful for those with hearing loss. Luckily, there are some simple things that you and your loved ones can do to make your holiday gatherings more fun for everyone.

The Hearing Loss Association of America is the leading consumer organization for people with hearing loss. Their Hear for the Holidays plan is designed to empower guests and hosts to have more enjoyable, communication-friendly gatherings.  Click the button below to check it out!

Sound Bites

by Brenda A. Garcia, BC-HIS

December’s Holly, Jolly Sound Bite is a fun one!

This month I wanted to spotlight something that is very important for our ears and is pertinent to EVERYONE, not just those with hearing loss:


Brenda A Garcia, hearing instrument specialist at Columbine Hearing Care in Littleton Colorado

Did you know the only way to conserve your hearing is to protect it from loud and excessive noise that can be damaging to ears at any age? Well, it’s true! One of the simplest things any of us can do to take care of our hearing is to wear hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) when it’s needed. Of course, we all know that loud machinery like lawn mowers, snow blowers, jackhammers and chainsaws are loud enough to damage the delicate cilia of the inner ear system (cochlea), BUT we rarely put the recreational, “fun” activities in that same category. Going to a concert and enjoying some live music can be just as noisy and harmful as a jackhammer! The more cognizant we are of recreational noise (concerts, movie theaters, firework displays, etc.), the better chance we have of staying ahead of any unnecessary hearing loss. So when does sound become unsafe or harmful? According to ASHA, (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), “sounds above 85 dBa can cause hearing loss faster.” *

Last weekend, I had the good fortune to see Adele, one of my favorite singers, live in concert in Las Vegas. Not only is Adele literally pitch-perfect, she is also surprisingly loud. During her concert, I used my iPhone to take a measurement of the sound level inside of the venue when Adele was belting out the chorus from her hit song, “Hello.” What I found may surprise you. Adele’s beautiful voice, when amplified through her sound system, reached 110 dB at one point!!! Any guesses as to what that loudness is equivalent to? You got it…. A JACKHAMMER!!

I hear over and over again from members of my own family, “I don’t want to wear hearing protection when I go to a concert, movie or social outing because it makes everything too muffled.” While that may have been true in the past, there is hearing protection today that is designed with a special noise filter to help dampen the harmful sounds in the environment, yet still allow speech and music to retain their vibrant and clear sound quality. So yes, you can have the best of both worlds! When attending a concert, I always come prepared with hearing protection and so should you.

Below is a picture of the custom, filtered hearing protection up close and a picture of them “in action.”

Westone musician's plugs
Brenda wearing the musician's plugs

Given the wide range of hearing protection available in our current marketplace, you may want to experiment with different brands, materials, and styles to find what works best for you.  We’re here as your local resource to provide direction or advice.  If you’re considering giving a loved one the gift of hearing protection, reach out to us for a consultation or email us with your questions.

Happy Holidays to you all as we finish out one of the busiest, but most wonderful times of the year.  😁


*ASHA website from the public article on “Loud Noise Dangers”