Guest Blog Post- The Frontal Lobe: Front and Center

The Frontal Lobe: Front and Center by Jennifer Hatfield, MHS, CCC-SLP

frontal_lobe

How often have you touched your forehead and told yourself to “pay attention” or “think, think, think?”

Also known as the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe consists of a right and left lobe, located directly behind the forehead, that have the ability to solve problems by allowing us to think flexibly and express language. It also is responsible for our memory, monitoring our impulses and allowing us to get started by initiating activity. These skills, referred to as executive function skills, are what we know to be the process of “thinking.” We can see then, that the practice of touching one’s forehead, while not a sound technique for improving thinking skills, is based in some truth. Continue reading

Guest Post: 4 Types of Hearing Tests You Should Consider

Our guest post this week comes from HEARING Life Australia and explains the benefits and uses of different types of hearing tests. The intention is to share this with your patients to help simplify the complexities in such a way that anyone can understand.

-Plural Team

 4 Types of Hearing Tests You Should Consider

conversationIf you often find yourself asking your loved ones to repeat themselves, find it difficult to follow conversations, or receive frequent complaints that you talk too loudly, it may be time to book a hearing test at your local hearing clinic.

Hearing tests employ a range of technologies that can determine your level of hearing impairment and whether you need to invest in a hearing aid. But with so many hearing tests available, it’s important to know which one is right for you.

Consider the following types of hearing tests:   

         1. Pure-Tone Testing

This hearing test will reveal the faintest tones a person can hear at various frequencies, from low to high. This test involves an audiometer machine emitting a range of beeps and whistles, called pure tones, with the participant responding to each sound.

When taking the pure-tone test, the participant may be asked to respond to the sounds through raising a finger or hand, pressing a button, or vocally affirming to indicate that a sound was heard.

The results of the test are plotted on an audiogram, a graph that charts the degree and type of hearing loss.

Pure-tone testing is a behavioral measurement that relies on patient reaction, and therefore is best performed on adults and children mature enough to cooperate with the test procedure.

         2. Speech Discrimination Tests

These tests involve an audiologist assessing the participants’ ability to hear speech, with the results also recorded on an audiogram. These tests may involve the participant having to repeat words that are said to them.

Hearing loss that comes with aging generally begins with individuals losing the ability to hear higher frequencies, so that certain speech sounds begin to sound confusingly similar. A speech test can measure the amount of experienced speech distortion.

In order to assess the participants ability to understand speech with background noise, speech testing may be conducted in a quiet or noisy environment. This test is typically used on older children and adults, and may be used to confirm the results of the pure-tone test.

         3. Auditory Brain Stem Response (ABR)

The ABR test provides information about the inner ear (cochlea) and the brain pathways required for hearing. For this test, electrodes are connected to the head in order to monitor the brain’s response to sounds. The participant lays still or even sleeps during the test.

This test can be performed on children, or those that might have difficulty with more typical behavioural methods of hearing loss tests.

         4. Online Hearing Tests

For an initial assessment at home, taking an online hearing test is a great way find out whether someone should seek further professional assistance. While an online hearing test is not intended to replace a hearing assessment with an experienced hearing care professional, it may assist in identifying whether hearing loss is an issue.

In order to undertake an online hearing test at home, it is necessary to have Internet access with the ability to stream sounds, as well as a pair of headphones. Before starting, it is important to check that the computer volume is on and that the surrounding environment is quiet.

Online hearing tests may consist of different components, such as an audio screening which will test the respondents’ ability to hear sounds. An online test may also include questions that require honest answers regarding the person’s hearing ability. These tests will typically generate a score or recommendation that can be used as the starting point to assessing hearing health.


About the Author:

hearinglifeThis post was written by HEARINGLife Australia, one of the world’s leading networks of hearing care professionals. HEARINGLife has provided hearing services to Australians for over 70 years.

HEARINGLife aims to provide sufficient information about hearing loss, hearing aids and hearing tests by providing independent advice and to provide customers with options in a way that is easily understandable. More information can be obtained from HEARINGLife’s website and social media profiles: Google Plus | Facebook  | Twitter

 

Guest Post by Melanie Lewis: Hearing Loss

Foreword:

Our guest post this week, by Melaine Lewis with Hearing Direct, explains the details of hearing loss and recommended courses of action.

-Plural Team

HEARING LOSS

EarHearing loss can occur due to a number of reasons, these can be due to changes that the body undergoes (age-related) or more man-made reasons such as exposure to harmful noise. According to Kochkin’s 2008 survey (*MarkeTrak VIII) 35 million Americans are thought to present  the symptoms of impaired hearing and the number is projected to increase to 40 million by 2025.

The biggest group and the subject of this post are the age-related (Presbycusis) hearing loss suffers whose condition is often misunderstood. Many sufferers chose to ‘accept’ diminished hearing as a given fact, though modern healthcare offers means to mange the condition so its influence on daily lives is minimized.

What Is Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Let’s start by explaining what it isn’t. It isn’t a condition that an individual can control like noise induced hearing loss nor does it normally lead to complete hearing loss.

It is a gradual demise in hearing ability known as sensorineural hearing loss. As the body matures, two processes lead to reduced hearing of certain frequencies. The first is degeneration of a part of the inner ear that contains micropscopic blood vessels, while the second process is the decline in sensitive hair cells inside the cochlea (a snail-shell like structure in the inner ear) that gradually become damaged or die due to increases in free radicals that damage certain cells in the body. The body is unable to regrow these hair cells (these are really nerve endings that detect sound) which leads to the categorization of agerelated hearing loss as a permanent one.

ear mechanisms

What Are The Typical Symptoms Of Age-Related Hearing Loss?

The level of hearing loss will vary between individuals. Some will be able to make simple adjustments in their lifestyle to counteract its affects, while in the case of other individuals the deterioration in hearing ability will require the intervention of modern healthcare.

Symptoms and signs can include:

  • Certain sounds seem too loud
  • Difficulty following a group conversation
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
  • Hard to tell high-pitched sounds (such as “s” or “th”) from one another
  • Increased difficulty in understanding women and children
  • Problems hearing when there is background noise
  • Voices that sound mumbled or slurred

What Is The Recommended Course of Action?

If you suspect that you or someone you care for might be experiencing the telltale signs of hearing loss, it should be investigated by your family doctor, local ENT unit or hearing center. Although the most common causes are linked to aging, other causes should also be investigated to be  ruled out.

These may include:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Certain infections such as meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever and measles
  • Use of certain medicines
  • Genetic conditions
  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic noisy events

To eliminate and diagnose the precise cause(s), a hearing test will need to be performed. A basic test can be conducted at your family doctor’s practice, though it is likely that you may also need to book a physical audiometry test at your local ENT or hearing center.

Equipped with the result, your healthcare advisor will be able to recommend the most suitable solution from using ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices such as Hearing Aids) or adapting certain communication techniques. In the case of severe hearing loss, learning sign language and even cochlear implants may form part of the recommended options.

Hearing loss does not have to undermine your quality of life. It can and should be managed.

 

About the Author:

HearingDirectMelanie Lewis is a trained hearing aid audiologist. She works for Hearing Direct, the UK’s biggest supplier of deaf and hard of hearing aids from hearing aid accessories such as batteries to ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices).

 

* The MarkeTrak VIII survey included 80,000 members of the National Family Opinion (NFO) panel. Of these, 14,623 hearing impaired individuals were identified.

Guest Post by Matt Honaker: Career Advice for New SLP Grads

Career

 

Foreword:

With graduation fast approaching in the coming weeks for many SLP students, we have invited guest blogger Matt Honaker from Advanced Medical, a therapy staffing company that provides travel physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy jobs in specialties and locations nationwide. We hope this will give new graduates some practical advice on job-seeking in today’s market. Enjoy.

–Plural Team

Career Advice for New SLP Grads 

 

For most novices to Speech-Language Pathology, the stress of grad school doesn’t disappear on graduation day. While classes are over, your brand new career is just starting, and now, applying for jobs is on the agenda. But before diving into the application process, there are several things to consider. For instance, in many cases, the job you get now will set the standard and act as a basis for all other work to come. So, it pays to do just a little bit more homework and pave out a pathway to future success in your field. Choosing your job setting, position style, and career focus can help you better design a plan for your future that both suits your professional interests and supports your personal needs.

Job settings for Speech-Language Pathologists often come in the form of a school or a hospital. Understanding the expectations of each can help you gauge your interest in one or the other. SLPs in hospitals tend to work with adult patients with acquired disorders, while therapists who work SLP school jobs work with children with developmental disorders. Of the two, hospitals also necessitate a faster pace, heavier caseload, and less flexible schedule. However, hospitals also offer higher salaries.

In the way of position style, traveling speech pathologists often gain more freedom than those in permanent positions. However, travel positions do only last 3-months at a time. Still, there are far more benefits to starting out in a travel position than diving right into a permanent job. In addition to the substantial pay and all-inclusive benefits, traveling speech therapy jobs allow therapists to try various job settings before choosing one. It also provides an opportunity for newly graduated SLPs to do some traveling while they continue to enhance their role as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Finally, if your career focus has not already been determined, keep an open mind. Set a five-year plan, but don’t force yourself to actualize everything on your agenda. Ultimately, your career focus should be based on what interests you most and what will make you the SLP you’ve dreamed of being. For example, if you grew up bilingual, feel comfortable teaching and counseling others, and are happy doing so, then focus your career around language disorders. Even if you are working in all facets of SLP in your day job, your interests and outside study should still be actively pursued. Be true to yourself and focus in on a career track that best suits you.

–Matt Honaker

About:

Advanced Medical, is a therapy staffing company that provides travel physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy jobs in specialties and locations nationwide. By focusing on quality and integrity, Advanced Medical has emerged at the forefront of the travel therapy staffing industry.