Dr. Wright's Blog

The Wait Is Over - The Starkey Evolv AI

Starkey EvolvAI is here

The much-anticipated Starkey EvolvAI series of hearing aids is now available in Canada - and we could not be more excited!  For a limited time, Broadmead and Oak Bay Hearing Clinics are proud to be the exclusive distributors of this powerful technology in BC.

6 styles to choose from

Starkey Evolv AI hearing aid family

Of the six available style choices, the Starkey EvolvAI CIC (Completely-in-Canal) is perhaps the most exciting. This is the first ever Starkey model to fit completely within the ear canal and connect wirelessly to a range of smart phones and tablets.

The CIC may be small, but this device packs a mighty punch.

Integrated wireless connectivity

Starkey Evolv hearing aids pair with the iPhone

EvolvAI CIC  pairs with a wide range of Android devices - and now Apple iPhones and iPads too. 

With the convenience of hands-free streaming directly to your hearing aid, you’ll now be free to enjoy your favourite music, podcasts and phone calls on the go - all without the fuss of wires.

Of course, the EvolvAI CIC is also compatible with the full range of Starkey accessories, including the table microphone, TV streamer and remote microphone options.

Plus, the Thrive Hearing Control app makes it easier than ever to control your new hearing aid right from your phone. From the app you can access:

  • Edge mode (automatically improves speech audibility issues from background noise & masks)
  • Fall alert
  • Reminders
  • Telehear

Two-way wireless streaming

Woman speaking on an iPhone using two-way wireless streaming

The EvolvAI even allows for two-way wireless streaming.  This means that the tiny microphone on the hearing aid becomes the microphone that picks up your voice, sends it back to the phone and to the person you are speaking to. This way, you don’t have to hold your phone near your mouth in order to be heard. The cellphone could be in your pocket while you are on a call.

A new world of possibilities

As Audiologists, we believe wholeheartedly that the Starkey EvolvAI CIC will improve quality of life for our clients, and may change the hearing aid market forever.

Such a small device with direct-to-ear streaming capabilities is completely groundbreaking - it offers the full package to individuals who prioritize the aesthetics and ease of use of a small custom device, but do not wish to give up high-quality direct-to-ear streamed audio. 

For those looking to enjoy exceptional sound quality combined with a comfortable custom fit and discreet design, this device checks all the boxes.  With 55 million automatic personalized adjustments per hour, and offering a 40% reduction in noise, this is hearing as it should be: natural, seamless and effortless.

Yes, you read that right: 55 million automatic adjustments per hour!

Innovation you can trust

Starkey has been a leader in the hearing care industry for more than 50 years.

They are as well-known for providing reliable custom molded hearing solutions, as they are for adding functionality to their smallest, most inconspicuous designs - from the use of rechargeable batteries to direct streaming capabilities.

While the EvolvAI CIC has certainly turned heads, their entire lineup is worth exploring to find the one that best suits your needs.

With their use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to fine-tune the sound and provide key accessibility features on their hearing aids, expect to be wowed by whichever Starkey model you choose.

If you’re interested in learning which of these revolutionary devices might be right for you, call us or request an appointment online: Broadmead Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2969 or Oak Bay Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2921.

The ABC's of Successful Conversations

Broadmead Hearing two men on a bench having a conversation

Have better conversations with (or without) hearing loss

While we often talk about how hearing loss impacts the ability to speak with other people, the fact is that everyone's conversation will be improved by following the ABC's and 2 V's of Successful Conversation that Audiologist Martine Schlagintweit has created. Active communication is just that - both participants are actively taking part and being aware of their role in the conversation.

Broadmead Hearing's infographic of The ABC's of Successful Conversation

Communicating with people with hearing loss

Have you ever found yourself yelling back-and-forth with someone in another room?

The experience can range from funny to frustrating - and this scenario rarely results a successful conversation! It's also a perfect example of a situation when we can be aware of being a good conversation partner by stopping and moving into the same room to talk.

Active communication is just that - both participants are actively taking part and being aware of their role in the conversation.

 Here are 5 other tips for good communication:

  • Speak slowly, clearly and naturally
  • Resist the urge to speak louder 
  • Don't shout or exaggerate your mouth movements - doing so can distort speech sounds
  • Say the person's name before talking to get their attention
  • Keeping your mouth uncovered will allow your conversation partner to see visual cues

Ways that people cope with poor conversation

Broadmead Hearing woman with a mask in conversation with a friend

When a person constantly feels like they can’t hear the conversation often they give up. This is understandable!

Here are some of the common responses that we see:

Withdrawal: “I don’t go out to noisy restaurants anymore because I know I won’t be able to hear the conversation.”

Blaming others: “You mumble. You speak too fast. You don’t speak clearly.”

Pretending: “I nod like I’m hearing as I’m trying to figure out what the person just said.”

Over time, hearing loss can unintentionally alter a person’s life as they avoid situations where unsuccessful conversation will likely occur.

How can hearing aids help improve conversation?

If you have hearing loss, hearing aids can fill in the gaps of sounds that you are missing now. Hearing aids are conversation helpers! Hearing aids will help you:

  • Hear in quiet situations
  • Hear with competing background noise
  • Improve listening ability
  • Make speech easier to understand

People with untreated hearing loss are often very tired at the end of a day with social interaction. Hearing aids make conversation less tiring because the brain does not require as much effort to hear and process what’s being said.

How’s your hearing?

Take our Online Hearing Check and find out how well you’re hearing.

The check only takes a couple of minutes. You'll need a pair of headphones and your laptop or tablet. 

If conversation is becoming challenging, it's time to speak with an Audiologist. Call us or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment: Broadmead Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2969 or Oak Bay Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2921.


Living Successfully With Hearing Loss Course

Woman taking an online communication strategies class

Managing hearing loss 

The last two years have been especially tough on people living with hearing loss. Masks have robbed us of visual speech cues and left us dealing with the frustration of our hearing aids getting tangled up in the bands around our ears. It has been quite the ride.

Many people have resorted to a myriad of makeshift solutions such as:

  • Taping hearing aids on
  • Tying them to necklaces and jewelry
  • Not wearing their hearing aids (worst-case scenario)

Some have found moderate success with speech-to-text apps to help augment speech recognition by electronically generated captions of live conversations.

Hearing loss & personal communication 

Altogether, the pandemic has made participating in conversation for those with hearing loss even harder than it ever has been before. But there’s hope! If you are struggling to manage your hearing loss in our ever-changing and demanding communicative landscape, the Vancouver Community College Living Successfully with Hearing Loss course can provide you with practical and effective tools to help you get back on track!

The 12-week online course is taught by a brilliant audiologist and educator, Dr. Lisa Dillon Edget. Dr. Dillon Edget will guide participants along a journey to better communication, covering topics such as speechreading, communication strategy development, and assertiveness skills. Participants can expect to complete the course with a higher level of self-confidence in their communication ability and improved ability to self-advocate for accommodations of their hearing status.

Enroll in the course

Start the New Year strong and successfully by enrolling in the Living Successfully with Hearing Loss online course.

The next course dates start in January 2022.

Course syllabus:

How Heart Disease Affects Your Hearing

Heart disease and hearing man holding a heart

Why does heart disease affect your hearing?

When the heart isn’t pumping blood well, less blood flows to the auditory system. 

Do you remember the show Happy Days and the Pump Your Blood song? Character Potsie Weber sings about the heart and all the places in the body that it pumps blood. Heart disease affects the heart’s ability to do just that – pump your blood. If your body isn't pumping blood well enough, the reduced blood flow can contribute to hearing loss.

Researchers compared studies done over the past 60 years and confirmed that heart health can negatively impact the peripheral and central auditory systems. The good news is that improving cardiovascular health will have a positive impact on hearing.

What is heart disease?

Broadmead Hearing Man With Blood Pressure Cuff

Heart disease is a group of conditions (also called cardiovascular disease (CVD), ischemic heart disease, or coronary heart disease) that affect structure and heart function. Approximately 1 in 12 (2.4 million) Canadian adults over the age of 20 live with heart disease.

Types of heart disease include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias)
  • Structural heart disease
  • Heart failure – most often caused by heart attack and high blood pressure
  • Heart infection

Why is heart disease linked to hearing loss?

Five small arteries in the ear rely on rich, oxygenated blood flow.

When heart disease reduces blood flow to the ear it damages the auditory system. The inner ear is particularly vulnerable. It has a spiral-shaped structure called the cochlea that contains the hair cells that send messages to the auditory nerve. Reduced blood flow to the cochlea starves it of oxygen which can result in sensorineural hearing loss.

Broadmead Hearing arteries in the inner ear

Schematic of circulation of the inner ear, from Schuknecht's Pathology of the Ear. (Merchant and Nadol, 2010)

What kind of hearing loss is associated with heart disease?

A history of heart disease is significantly associated with low-frequency and high-frequency hearing loss.

Low-frequency hearing loss makes it hard to hear vowels (which have a lower pitch than consonants) and low-pitched sounds such as the hum of a refrigerator or the rumble of a truck.

High-frequency hearing loss makes it harder to hear:

  • Consonants
  • Women’s and children’s voices
  • When there is competing background noise

How can you lower cardiovascular disease risk factors?

Broadmead Hearing heart healthy choices

While almost no one has the perfect diet or lifestyle, being aware of these factors will help lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Healthy diet
  • Physical activity
  • No smoking
  • No or low alcohol consumption
  • Reduce stress

Choices we make that are behavioural risk factors (because the risk stems from lifestyle choices we make as individuals) may appear down the road as high blood pressure, elevated sugars and fats in the blood, and being overweight.

Warning signs and symptoms of heart disease

A buildup of plaque in the arteries will create symptoms in your body that you can feel. According to the Mayo Clinic, a narrow or blocked artery may present as:  

  • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
  • Feeling cold, pain, or numbness in your arms or legs
  • Neck, jaw, throat, back or upper abdomen pain
  • For women, symptoms are more likely to present as shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, chest discomfort

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to consult a physician. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms are acute.

How can an Audiologist help?

An Audiologist will identify lifestyle factors that may be affecting hearing health (such as occupation, hobbies or a family history of hearing loss), diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss, and prescribe & fit hearing aids as a solution for hearing loss. If heart disease has been diagnosed, an Audiologist can work with a primary physician to monitor hearing health and treat hearing loss.

Call us or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment: Broadmead Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2969 or Oak Bay Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2921.


Can Other Health Conditions Affect Your Hearing?

Audiologist speaking to a client with a comorbid health condition


Hearing loss can occur alongside other health conditions in the body. Chronic health conditions that are often present together include hearing loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A health condition may be putting you at risk for hearing loss. Or hearing loss may play a role in another medical condition such as depression.

Why is hearing loss linked to other conditions?

You may have heard the word comorbid, meaning two health conditions exist at the same time. In this article, we focus on hearing loss and diseases or conditions that are commonly present at the same time. A secondary health concern, such as diabetes, will be referred to as a comorbidity.

Our hearing has been called “the window to the body.” That’s because hearing is connected to many other systems including the brain, nerves, blood flow and balance.

Comorbid conditions can impact hearing by:

  • Disrupting the connection to blood flow and circulation to the inner ear.
  • Requiring medications that are ototoxic (harmful to the ear).
  • Damaging nerves.

The six main hearing comorbid health conditions are:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Cardiovascular disease
  3. Balance problems
  4. Dementia
  5. Depression
  6. Diabetes

The effects of comorbidity can be both physical and mental. If you have questions about how your hearing and a comorbid condition, speak with an Audiologist.


Man with arthritis rubbing his sore hands

If you’re living with arthritis, you are at risk of developing hearing loss. And while the disease may affect the systems needed for hearing, often it’s the drugs used for arthritis treatment that are the culprit behind hearing loss.

People with arthritis may experience hearing loss from the disease or from the drugs used for treatment. Causes may include:

  • Arthritis can harm the cochlea and small bones, joints and cartilage of the inner ear.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can increase the chance of autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED).
  • High doses of aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.
  • Long-term use of arthritis medications.

Balance problems

People with hearing loss do not always have problems with balance. However, two health conditions - Menière's disease and Labyrinthitis - can affect balance and cause hearing loss.

Meniere's disease is a long-term, progressive illness that damages the organs of the inner ear responsible for hearing and balance.

Symptoms of Meniere’s disease:

  • Long episodes of vertigo
  • Hearing loss
  • Pressure
  • Loud tinnitus in the affected ear

In the early stages, hearing sensitivity may recover after each episode.  As the disease progresses, hearing loss almost always reaches profound levels rendering the ear functionally deaf.

Labyrinthitis occurs when the inner ear becomes infected, potentially when a cold, flu or middle ear infection spreads. The labyrinth is composed of tissue and bone in the inner ear that allows us to balance.

Labyrinthitis can cause nausea, tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss if the infection is severe and left untreated. See your physician if you are experiencing symptoms.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (also known as heart disease) occurs when blood vessels are blocked or narrow. The inner ear is sensitive to changes in blood flow.

If circulation is poor or blood flow is restricted, the inner ear will become damaged over time.

Cardiovascular disease most often results in sensorineural hearing loss. While this type of hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids can improve help.


Woman hearing words that don't make sense

There have been instances where what was assumed to be symptoms of the early stages of dementia in a loved one turned out to be hearing loss.

Hearing loss can make it difficult to:

  • Understand speech
  • Follow conversations
  • Find the right words
  • Process how words fit together

Hearing loss is tiring. The brain and body must expend a lot of energy dealing with hearing loss. By the end of the day, this fatigue can result in lower cognitive function. This behaviour can appear like sundowning, further reinforcing a suspicion of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

A study on hearing loss and cognitive function found that hearing aids had clinically significant effects on working memory, visual attention, and visual learning. Treating hearing loss as early as possible improves memory, communication, and other skills that help us in daily life.


Studies have shown a link between hearing loss and moderate to severe depression. Hearing loss may worsen depression by creating:

  • Difficulty communicating with friends, family, or at work.
  • Gradual withdrawal from activities.
  • Isolation from others.
  • Anxiety in loud or social situations.
  • A feeling of lost connection with the world of sound.

For this reason, manage hearing loss as early as possible before social isolation or social withdrawal occur.


Insulin bottle and needles

Diabetes and hearing loss often go hand-in-hand. Diabetes and hearing loss are often called silent partners. Unfortunately, hearing testing is overlooked frequently in routine diabetes care.

Hearing depends on small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage these vessels and nerves, diminishing hearing.

Research shows that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss, potentially at a younger age. Anyone with pre-diabetes symptoms or a diabetes diagnosis has their hearing screened regularly.

For some, there can be a tendency to treat a primary condition and not treat the hearing loss because it feels like “too much to deal with.” We strongly encourage treatment of hearing loss because it improves communication and physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Call us or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment: Broadmead Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2969 or Oak Bay Hearing Clinic: 250-479-2921.