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Hearing and the World Around Us
Why the World Gets Smaller When You Can’t Hear
Apply the same thinking to any hobby or pursuit that involves hearing and you’ll experience a similarly limiting effect. People who suffer from hearing loss play fewer sports, travel to fewer places, and participate in fewer activities. And of course, there’s music. “The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain,” Oliver Sacks writes in his book “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.” “Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.” The fact that so many people miss out on these depths of beauty, especially when we possess the power to prevent that absence, is nothing short of a shame. A world without music isn’t even the most unfathomable part of hearing loss. No, that honor goes to interpersonal communication. If a patient has to use the subtitles to understand a show in the language they speak or if they can no longer
people sitting around an apartment and chatting isn’t much action to go on. Background music and laugh tracks only compound the trouble in understanding. As a person’s hearing worsens, watching these types of shows becomes progressively more difficult until eventually they stop watching them altogether. News, on the other hand, usually features one person talking (or even better for the viewer, yelling) at a time. Surrounding them on the screen is a wealth of information providing context. Reality TV may include arguments where even those with healthy hearing can’t parse what the on-screen personalities are saying, but it also has interstitial interviews where those characters explicate exactly what’s going on. Programs like “Antiques Roadshow” and “American Pickers” aren’t just associated with an older demographic because they are nostalgic, but also because they visually present the basic relevant information on screen. You might not be able to glean everything an appraiser says about an item, but you can see its name and value right before your eyes. I bring up this example not because watching TV is one of life’s great joys — though the success of various streaming services demonstrates it probably is for many — but because it shows the subtle ways in which hearing loss begins to sap us of our quality of life.
How do people become socially isolated as a result of hearing loss? One conversation at a time. A patient doesn’t wake up one day and suddenly feel like everyone around them is speaking gibberish. The process is gradual, one that is subtle at first but eventually all-consuming. The symptoms of hearing loss manifest in a variety of places, from the more obvious examples to areas where you’d least expect them. If you’re not trained to detect them, they’re easy to miss entirely. Hearing loss is a negative symptom, which makes detection challenging. Most people are aware of positive symptoms, meaning the patient experiences a new sensation. Chest pain, shortness of breath, joint stiffness, and tinnitus are all examples of positive symptoms — in each instance, the patient experiences a new and unfamiliar ailment. Because a person with hearing loss does not know they did not hear something, however, they are often unaware of their symptoms. which types of TV shows they enjoy watching and you’re likely to hear news, sports, and reality television far more frequently than sitcoms or dramas. Because the latter genres rely far more on fast-paced dialogue and speech to convey their meaning, they leave little to aid a viewer who’s hard of hearing. Think about how many context clues tell you what’s going on in a scene of “Seinfeld.” Four Ask somebody who suffers from the early stages of hearing loss
enjoy music the way they once did, imagine the difficulty and frustration they’ll experience out in the world.
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The line between technologies that are beneficial for large businesses and those beneficial for small businesses continues to blur. While the latest software programs were once only available to large companies that could afford them, some of these programs have also become available and profitable for small businesses to use. In an age of increasing connectivity, these are a few tech trends that small businesses should watch out for. interaction, using AI software programs for small tasks — like email marketing, data entry, accounting, and some low-stress forms of customer service — is invaluable to small businesses. Delegating menial tasks to AI can free up time for you to focus on those more important face-to-face interactions with your customers. Increased Use of Data Analytics “Big data” is intimidating. For years, sifting through customer data and extracting valuable information that can be used to grow businesses was something that only the largest companies had the time, funds, and expertise to do. However, more programs that reduce the upfront investment and expertise necessary to contextualize customer data are popping up. If you can make use of your customers’ data, you can give them an experience with your business that they won’t find many other places. Continued Reliance on Social Media Social media marketing remains an effective tool for attracting customers to your small business, even if the tools continue to change. While marketing on Facebook and Instagram might seem like old news, marketing on trendier apps, like TikTok, Pinterest, or Snapchat, can still work to your business’s benefit. A recent study showed that 45% of consumers head to social media when they have a question about something — are you going to be there to answer it? 3 Tech Trends to Accelerate Your Company KEEP UP WITH THE BIG BUSINESSES Collaboration With Artificial Intelligence While it certainly shouldn’t replace every customer
TWITTER ME THIS The Storied History of Evan Williams’ Journey to Success
The journey of entrepreneurship is akin to finding your way through a jungle with a poorly drawn map. Navigating all the obstacles can be terrifying, but thankfully, the many entrepreneurial odysseys that came before us offer great opportunities to learn. Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter, went on a wild journey himself while finding his way out of the metaphorical jungle and into success. Williams began his career running irrigation for his family farm in Nebraska. After only a year and a half of working for tech startups in Florida and Texas, he found his way back to the farm but didn’t give up. He persevered, moving to California and eventually working with Meg Hourihan, pioneer of online blogging and fellow internet entrepreneur, to co-found Pyra Labs in 1999. Together at Pyra, they developed Blogger, a journaling platform that became the launch pad for Williams’ entrepreneurial prosperity. Unfortunately, after venture capital and company resources were depleted, Pyra Labs’ employees, including Hourihan, quit en masse, and Williams forged on alone to keep Blogger afloat. In 2003, Google acquired Blogger, which is successful to this day and credited as one of the first blogging sites. Fun fact: Williams also coined the term “blogger”! After Blogger’s acquisition, Williams' new startup, Odeo, was poised to be a premiere platform for podcasts and podcasting software. However, due to a laundry list of problems, including a lack of vision and the rise of Apple, Odeo experienced a less-than-stellar launch and simply could not compete with iTunes, a platform already holding a major foothold in the podcasting community. At that point, Williams turned his attention to another side project under Odeo’s umbrella: Twitter. Learning from their abysmal launch, the team focused on making a social networking service. With this singular focus, Twitter’s popularity exploded and garnered attention from entrepreneurs and consumers everywhere. Today, Twitter is the sixth most visited website in the world and boasts 330 million active users. In the third quarter of 2019, Twitter’s revenue amounted to $823.7 million. Evan Williams’ journey to success is one for the ages, and it’s a lesson every entrepreneur can learn from while trying to find the one opportunity that will launch them into the big leagues. If you’re interested in learning more about Williams’ path to entrepreneurial glory, check out the bestselling biography “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” by Nick Bilton.
Keeping up with the latest and greatest tech trends in small-business management can be exhausting, but in an age where
technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever, it’s necessary for the survival of businesses of all
shapes and sizes.
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Connecting Mind and Body How Somatics Can Offer Healing for Longtime Pain Sufferers
Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans lives with chronic pain for more than one year. When you’re in pain, you seek a way to cope. Some might attend regular physical therapy appointments to find the source of the pain and resolve it. Others might ignore the pain and adapt their lifestyle to avoid making it worse. Either way, the body continues to sustain real damage with these adaptations, which compounds pain and can make things worse. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean healing is a lost cause. Somatic exercises can offer a solution to long-term pain sufferers. Dr. Thomas Hanna taught the first class on somatics in 1990. He had discovered a disconnect between the industrialized world and healthy, pain-free living. Many people in industrialized countries have accepted pain as a natural part of aging and don’t understand that the body can heal from everyday pain and ailments. Somatics involve short, hands-on movements to correct the body’s posture and mobility, which can then stimulate proper healing through further movement and therapy. The technique retrains the brain on proper movement, function, and positioning to align your body and your mind so you can heal instead of just living with pain.
instances, a massage therapist — who pinpoints the areas of tension and guides you through hands-on exercises that relieve the pain and align the body. The second method involves exercises patients can do at home according to their physical therapist’s guidance. You don’t have to live with pain. Healing is possible, and somatics may help you get on the road to recovery. To learn more about this therapeutic technique, visit Somatics.org or talk to your physical therapist.
Somatic exercises come in two forms. The first method is done with the help of a physical therapist — or in some
HAVE A Laugh
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602-277-4327 | www.azhear.com 2627 N. Third Street, Ste. 100 Phoenix, AZ 85004
2627 N. Third St., Ste 100 Phoenix, AZ 85004
14418 W. Meeker Blvd., Bldg B, Ste 102 Sun City West, AZ 85375
Inside This Edition
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Important Tech Trends for Small Businesses to Keep Up With
Evan Williams’ Entrepreneurial Journey
Don’t Live in Pain Any Longer With Somatics
Have a Laugh
Should You Be Worried About Digital Dementia?
Should You Be Worried About Digital Dementia? What It Is, Where It Came From, and What It Could Mean for Our Screen Time
problem isn’t just time spent with screens but how much we rely on our smartphones to feed us once-memorized information.
Everyone forgets things. It’s not unusual to have trouble remembering the name of someone you’ve just met or recalling the face of a classmate you haven’t seen in 20 years. But it’s less normal — and a lot more inconvenient — to become chronically absent-minded. If you find yourself struggling to remember the minutiae of daily life, which page of a book you left off on, or when it’s time to pick your kids up from soccer practice, digital dementia could be to blame. The term “digital dementia” was coined in 2012 by German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer, who studies how our addiction to technology is impacting our brains. According to Alzheimers. net, Spitzer found that “overuse of digital technology is resulting in the breakdown of
“In theory, having a device to store phone numbers, dates, maps and directions, and other information like that frees you up to focus on bigger and theoretically more important things,” Tony Bradley wrote in Forbes. “If you just use your device as a memory crutch, though, and you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to put your brain to work on other things, you aren’t exercising your brain, and it will atrophy.” Psychology Today blamed digital dementia in part on the mental strategies encouraged by video games. According to one study, gaming encourages the “response” strategy of following the same rote movements, while nongamers tend to use the “spatial” strategy of relying on landmarks when they navigate, which is better for mental sharpness. Whatever the root cause, we can take steps to fight digital dementia. As Dr. Carolyn Brockington told Alzheimers.net, the best strategies involve stepping away from screens and relying on brainpower. The next time you’re considering picking up your smartphone, try reading a book, playing a musical instrument, hitting the gym, or learning a new language instead.
cognitive abilities in a way that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.” Because of the shared symptoms, Spitzer called the affliction digital dementia.
In the years since, speculation has abounded about the causes of digital dementia and how people can fight it. A 2017 Forbes article theorized that the
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