14. Shelby Basciano

Dr. Debi Lynes speaks with Shelby Basciano  about Occupational Therapy

(Duration: 35 minutes 31 seconds)


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Lynes on Design


Ask your doctor for a prescription for an occupational therapist to come and do a home visit and a walkthrough.


Debi Lynes (00:03): Hi and welcome to aging in place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at aging in place. Why me? Because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces in health and wellness. Also. I love designing with intent at any age. Why now? Because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully and we want our families around us as much as we can. And why you the audience? Because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing, and that you can live in at any age with any ability at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes (01:04): Hi and welcome to Aging in Place Podcast for any stage in life. I’m here today with my friend Shelby Basciano. I’ve actually known Shelby since she was my spinning teacher maybe 20 years ago. So I appreciate you joining us today.

Shelby Basciano (01:18): Hey Debi, how are you?

Debi Lynes (01:21): I’m excited about talking to you. Shelby is a physical fitness guru, but in her professional life, she’s an occupational therapist. And you might be thinking to yourself, an occupational therapist and aging in place for any stage in life, whether you’re a child or middle-aged or an older adult. What does occupational therapy have to do with aging or even aging in your home?

Shelby Basciano (01:46): I’m not sure what if people are familiar with what occupational therapy is.

Debi Lynes (01:50): No, I’d love to start it with you.

Shelby Basciano (01:50): So let me this is what I tell when I do the power hour at the high school this is kind of a definition I get. Occupation: how you occupy your time. That would be the definition. So how do you occupy your time if you’re a baby okay, you poop, you play and then you sleep. You move your fingers, etcetera. So if you have some types of injury or disease process at that age, occupational therapists’ goal is to maximize your independence and wellbeing for whatever stage you’re at with meaningful goals. So, you know, I’m not going to go get a job for a baby because that would make no sense at all. But what we do need is to make sure that the baby can eat properly, sucking properly so they can gain weight and they can get nutrition and thrive. Right? So an occupational therapist is really important for early intervention situations. Okay. And usually it’s really, nowadays they’re really good about identifying babies in the hospital to get that early intervention. But again, that’s why we need access to healthcare. Am I allowed to go political here? We need good access to healthcare so that we can identify things like this early on because the earlier you treat or you start looking at deficits in these performance components is what we call them then the sooner hopefully you can remedy them and the better chance you have of maximizing your potential as a human being and having a meaningful life and an independent life.

Debi Lynes (03:40): Less it would have positive impact if the earlier the intervention is. So we’re speaking to be about babies with occupational therapists, I think. No, I think it’s really, I think it’s really interesting with occupational therapy cause I think it is one of those special days that people really don’t know what it means. You’ve got three teenagers. What would occupational therapy look like for adolescents?

Shelby Basciano (04:02): It could be in a number of different components. I’m going to tell you, if you’re an occupational therapist, you can work in a psychosocial setting.

Debi Lynes (04:14): What does that mean?

Shelby Basciano (04:14): Uh, you know, say a kid is physically appropriate for their age. You’re 15 years old and you’re, you know, you can walk and talk and run and you can do all kinds of things. Your fine motor skills are great. Your handwriting is great. But you’re impulsive in school or you can’t sit still or you have a really hard time processing with the fluorescent lights and the teacher talking and all the things that are going on around you. And OT could come in in a school setting. It’s required by law that they have access to this in public schools.

Debi Lynes (04:53): I didn’t know that.

Shelby Basciano (04:53): Yeah. It doesn’t mean that we have great access all the time, but we do. And you would get an evaluation by an OT and they would, you know, maybe they would say, wow, we have some sensory processing disorders going on here. And a lot of times there’s some easy solutions that maybe seem really simple that the kids can use. I mean, you’ve seen the little cubes, the fidget cubes, you know, that that was really derived from an OT thing so that your, your focus is here and maybe you need pressure in your appropriate receptive, which is your touch. And maybe that’s going to help you to be able to focus and read a book.

Debi Lynes (05:38): That makes sense.

Shelby Basciano (05:39): Some kids, you know, they need a test read to them because visually they have a hard time tracking. I mean, a lot of this stuff, again, if we had addressed it earlier, you may have had a better result by high school, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not a candidate.

Debi Lynes (05:54): I thought the fluorescent were interesting too. I oftentimes see when I go to movies now that there is a warning that if you have seizure disorder or any kind of sensitivity to light, that the flashing light may trigger or cause something which I think is pretty interesting.

Shelby Basciano (06:15): Yeah. Right. It is really interesting and that people are more conscientious. The public is more aware of people that have, I don’t want to say a limitation, but you have something that people are being a little bit more accommodating I guess is what it is.

Debi Lynes (06:30): Exactly, Okay. So now let’s talk about the aging as we get a little bit older. It’s funny cause I’m 66 and I’m noticing now from activities of daily living areas that I’m not a sharp end. I mean I’m not.

Shelby Basciano (06:44): Toileting, I’m just kidding.

Debi Lynes (06:46): Toileting. No, I’m still pretty good at tinkling and toilet is good. But when it comes to things like night the dark, right. I’m much more prone now to put a nightlight and I’m at 66 and nightlight in. I never have had one before.

Shelby Basciano (07:03): Right. Totally a thing and occupational therapists would, if you did a home visit, you would look, and you know what I’m going to say it here in Hilton Head, one thing that I noticed, and again, let me reiterate, I am now a personal trainer and I use all of my skills and I coach, I use them, but I don’t work as an OT anymore. But the thing with a home of L people are very um.

Debi Lynes (07:29): Skeptical to have you here.

Shelby Basciano (07:31): Know, they’re very attached to their decor. So if I tell them, Hey, you got to move a throw rug because it’s a tripping hazard in the middle of the night or because you have a walker now and it’s catching and it’s a high-risk safety risk for fall, they don’t like to take it off. But you know, I will say, you know, you can get better and then, and then maybe we can put them back down. But those are things that I would look from just a, a home of value perspective. Somebody comes home with a walker, you know, they got a new replacement or maybe even a stroke and they’re, you know, move things out of the way. Sometimes with a stroke you are not as aware of your, for instance, your left side, you, you kind of, because of where it happened in the brain, you’re, you’re kind of disregarding that left side. So you tend to run into things so, you know, maybe making a clearer pathway in your household. Another thing that I think is very simple, which would have to do with the aging too, is think about what your priorities are. If you have something that happens to you, whether you’re well or not, you know, if doing your hair wears you out for the whole day because you’re deconditioned, for example, have somebody do your hair. I mean, if you have the access.

Debi Lynes (08:49): I hear what you’re saying.

Shelby Basciano (08:51): Again, if I take it a step in the direction of being a little more having a result from a stroke or something like that. Sure. You know, my father in law, for example, I want somebody to come in and help me. If I have three hours a week of assistance, I want them to do the bathing and the dressing with him because one, it gives him more dignity.

Debi Lynes (09:15): More the physical stuff.

Shelby Basciano (09:17): Yeah. And it wears him out if he tries to do it on his own. I mean, of course, everybody would love to be independent in all facets of activities of daily living. But let’s pick and choose in the beginning, especially what’s important to me and the caregiver or the caregiver has to be part of.

Debi Lynes (09:32): Well, it’s really interesting. I know when my mom was ill, it the, we had someone come in and talk with us exactly an OT talking exactly about what you’re talking about. And she was like, basically, Debi, you all are here for emotional support. You need to get people who know what they’re doing to come in for physical support. And that’s a lot of what you’re talking about and what we’re talking about now, what we’re going to do, shall we, it’s where do I take a quick break? Again, we’re talking about aging in place. But the fun part I think is talking about it for any stage in life. We’ve already talked about babies. I mean, what do you do with one-year-old? You know, what do you do with a teenager? I oftentimes wonder, I had a kid who broke his arm and it was amazing how limited when Brandon broke his arm, how limited he was with activities of daily living, he could barely wash his own hair and I never even thought about it. And then we’re talking about as we get older, so we’ll be right back again here with Shelby Basciano stay with us here on aging in place.

Debi Lynes (10:34): Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what Lynes on Design can do for you, for more information on certified aging in place, and facilitative and supportive design, look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L-Y-N-E-S on design dot com.

Debi Lynes (11:00): We are back here on the Aging in Place Podcast for any stage in life. My friend Shelby Basciano who is an occupational therapist. She says she doesn’t do occupational therapy now. She’s a coach and a personal trainer, but can I be really clear? You do occupational therapy with every single treatment intervention and exercise and coaching stuff that you do. And I think that’s part of why you’re here today because for me, you have a much more holistic approach to everything that you do. In other words, I just don’t feel like I’m working a bicep. I feel like I’m kind of contributing to my quality of life.

Shelby Basciano (11:36): Yes. I think that is, I mean, hopefully that’s what I bring to my clients and I really, I think it’s important to look at the whole person and I’m getting in shape another part of occupational therapy. And this would be relate more to the psychosocial aspect that we talked about. I mentioned impulsivity before, might be something you would work on, but also goal setting on goals. You know, what I think is important for you may not be what you think is important for you. So that wouldn’t be a good goal. Whatever I’m coming up with, I have to have it meaningful to you. It has to be measurable. We have to be able to break it down into smaller pieces. So all of this information we can take and apply it to anybody at any age. You know, somebody who’s got dementia. Let’s, what part do we need to work on, you know, let’s goal set. what’s your goal to keep them safe in the house, make sure that they don’t, when they’re in the wandering stage, for example, they’re not going out. And when you go in the water, you know.

Debi Lynes (12:42): When you take a client, what are some of the questions that you do? Ask them as it relates to all of these kinds of things. In other words, if someone comes to you and says, look I’m in a different stage of my life right now. I need to make some changes and adapt and let’s say I may, I am, I’m not an OT client right now. I’m sort of the holistic client. What are you asking that specifically?

Shelby Basciano (13:07): It’s funny you’re asking, cause this has been like an influx recently for me with a few women. I have a, I have I’ll I’m going to be 50 this year. So what I was training like at 20 and 30, it’s completely different. I have a different mindset about it. Not that I, I think that what I was doing was bad necessarily, but I don’t want to do the things that I did before. And I have a lot of women that come to me.

Debi Lynes (13:33): Priorities and goals.

Shelby Basciano (13:34): We talk about priorities and goals and they sometimes can’t. It’s hard for them to articulate it. But then when I sit and say, what’s your goal? And instead of being like, I’m going to lose the last three pounds that I gained there. Like I want to feel better. I want to wake up. I don’t want to feel bad in my body when I wear heels, you know, I don’t want to not be able to walk for three days or.

Debi Lynes (14:00): Well for me at 66, I want to feel strong.

Shelby Basciano (14:02): Right and feel strong and that is definitely a priority for a lot of, I mean, women and men both, but a lot of women and they just, they want to feel more at peace. And I think that the crazy aerobics, insane, bouncy, kill it, you know, kind of mentality, right. We kind of changed that as we get a little older and that I’m not for everybody and it doesn’t work for everybody, but a lot of the people you know, and they, and they maybe don’t think yoga is the right thing for them. So I’m mixing in a little bit of all the disciplines that I’m trained in. And of course, I’m always using OT. We’ll break it down and say, Hey, this week I want you to focus on drinking your water. And that’s it. That’s all you’re going to do. And then mentally, everybody can maybe add into the week. And then next week we’re going to, I’m going to give you four core exercises that you’re going to do every single day that are going to make you feel better after a week. I mean, I don’t think anybody’s ever done them and said, yeah, you’re, you know, you’re wrong. I don’t feel any better.

Debi Lynes (15:08): Do you look at people’s, not just fitness levels, but health I guess health and wellness, when you do begin to strategize or come up with a program for them, do you look at their health and wellness like you do.

Shelby Basciano (15:22): Of course and I look at their activities and what do you want to do? Where, where are you going? Are you still working? Okay. Do you need to have the energy for work? Are you do you travel a lot? Are you caring for an elderly parent? All of these things, you know, really have to have to have a part in whatever the workout plan is. What’s your realistic idea of how much time you can actually spend? And don’t, don’t tell me something that you think I want to hear, like six days a week. They look at me like, is that the right answer? I’m like, hell no. I mean, I go for, I try to get 40 hours a week and I teach three days a week. So you know, I understand and having kids and you’re got a lot of things on your plate. I think you have to really.

Debi Lynes (16:08): Focus. I know I’ve got that. I’ve got a question as my mind is going, my hands are moving too. Like Shelby, I have another question. At any age do you focus on cardio? Is it about strength? Is it now as I’ve gotten older, balance, balance, balance. I find that I’m, I really want to pay more attention to that. Is it, are those things that are important.

Shelby Basciano (16:33): Balance in, you mean, actual physical balance? Like not falling or balance in your life?

Debi Lynes (16:37): Oh, good question. She is good I was actually thinking physical balance.

Shelby Basciano (16:42): Yeah. And say balance. You know, it’s like a little bit, it’s like swimming. If you don’t swim, you don’t get better at swimming. If you don’t, you know, when people say, Oh, I’m not good at yoga, I’m not flexible. Well you haven’t really moved out of the chair in about 15 years or you sit at your desk and you’re always in one position. So I don’t really think I hate, I really don’t like it when people say, Oh, I’m not good at something cause I’m like, well have you tried it? Have you done it? You know, it’s like when the kids say, Oh I don’t like that. You’re like, well try, you did it one time but I do, you have to look at the whole picture and you know what, to relate back to, one of the questions you asked me before my biggest, the way that I can tell somebody who’s improving because I ask a lot of questions in the beginning about if they have a pain. And most people who come to me, I’m going to be honest, they either have a neck thing, they’re like, I just try everything and nothing’s worse. Everything hurts me. And it’s really, I’m getting really depressed because I used to do classes five days a week or whatever. So I, I asked him, okay, when does it hurt? When I get real, I try to get as detailed, Oh well you know what? I was thinking the other day and I say, text me anytime of night. You’re not going to wake me up. Text me when you realize like, Oh when I get up off the couch or when I go to put my arm in my coat, I tell them just text me cause those are the moments in your life. And I write those things down and we work for one to two weeks or whatever we decide and then I go back and I look at those notes and often what’ll happen when something remedies with your body, you’re like, Oh my gosh, I forgot that that was hurting me so badly that it was affecting my ability to put my coat on. So in that is the way that I tried to make it meaningful to them because often I just take, I often, I try to get a quote from them early on or I was only sleeping three hours a night and they’re like, well I don’t know, am I, I don’t know if I’m really improving that much cause you know, you do kind of plateaued. And then I’m like, well do you remember when you came in a month ago and you said you’re only sleeping three hours a month. So those are the things.

Debi Lynes (18:52): Like you said, that are measurable. You set a goal you try to measure it. Well, what’s really interesting about what you’re talking about to me right now is these are activities of daily living that you’re talking about being able to put on your coat without pain. You know, am I slouched over a computer all day? Is that probably the source of my stiffness, soreness, pain, ache.

Shelby Basciano (19:20): Poor posture.

Debi Lynes (19:20): Poor Posture. Yeah. There you go. With your poor posture. Yeah. Shake posture at any age.

Shelby Basciano (19:26): At any age. And as you age, I mean, gravity’s working on us all the time. So let’s fight it a little bit.

Debi Lynes (19:36): Can you give us a sneak? We’ve got 30 seconds or about one minute in our second segment. What looks a posture? Pick her up or for us.

Shelby Basciano (19:44): I use a lot of cuing. I’m going to say one thing. Okay. Imagine somebody put ice down your back. Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh. So you’re sitting at your desk. Somebody put on my back. I mean, hopefully everybody out there listening just sat up and it makes you realize, Oh wow, I was really slashed over even I was doing it.

Debi Lynes (20:06): Okay. I stand your back. Okay, that’s a good one.

Shelby Basciano (20:09): Now my next one I stole from the people from Carla the hairdresser uncross your legs. You really crossing your legs, throws your hips off. And if you’re sitting in a fixed position all the time, you, you really, I mean, I know that’s the polite thing to do ladies from 1950, but let’s, let’s put our feet just flat on the floor and try to sit maybe a little forward on your but bones. Those bones on your sit bones yet. Yup. Okay. So there’s a little.

Debi Lynes (20:41): Are you guys doing this cause I’m doing it cause I like being able to do these things right as we’re sitting. It’s really interesting alright Shelby we were going to take a quick break. Isn’t this fun? You guys are getting all the cool tips. I love this. All right, stay with us. We’ll be right back here on aging in place.

Henrik de Gyor (20:55): For more podcast episodes, links, information and media inquiries. Please visit our website at aginginplacepodcast.com as we transition through life with the comfort and ease you deserve, discover how you can create a home that will adapt to you as you journey through life and the changes it will bring. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as our host Debi Lynes and her expert guests discuss relevant topics to creating a home for all decades in life. Don’t miss our weekly episodes of Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes (21:33): We are back here on aging in place. Shelby Basciano has joined us. She’s an occupational therapist, a coach and also a personal trainer and she is superior. One of the reasons I love her is she trains people at different ages and different stages in their life. So you’re, you kind of run the gamut. I thought it might be fun since we’re actually sitting in my home office right now doing this podcast to actually walk you through my house. And what makes it interesting for me is I’ve got nine grandchildren’s, I’ve got a lot of little kids and I’ve got my father who’s 91 here also. So there’s a huge multigenerational spread in ages. So, and it’s funny, the reason we’re doing this quite frankly, is when she came in, she saw about four different things I needed to change right off the bat. So I figured we’ll just yeah, right. Well just call me out on it cause I think if I’ve got it, somebody else does too. So we walked in, it was raining, I had a towel at the front door.

Shelby Basciano (22:29): Right. Okay. Wait, let’s start. I’m going to get out of the car. Oh gosh. Okay. I’m getting out of the car. And it’s gravelly. It’s, you know, so again, some of these things I’m saying, I know that people don’t have tons of money to go repave their driveway. That is not what I’m suggesting at all. But pull in, make sure there’s a spot saved where your dad has enough space to open the door. There isn’t any blockade, for example, because he uses a walker. Correct. Right. So, and also, you have to have a caregiver coming in and help him get out. Walking walking, walking, making sure there’s a smooth path or a clear path that he can approach the house. Then you have steps. Again, a ramp is really nice when you can swing it, but a lot of times people, I mean, one, you can’t swing it. And I, I gotta tell you, you can talk to your husband if you look at the building codes is to build an appropriate ramp. I mean, it’s going to take up your whole front yard, probably Hilton Hilton will decline the permit or whatever cause it doesn’t look pretty enough. So you’re gonna just make sure you have a clear pathway. You’re not going to have a lot of potted plants in the way, for example. Or you know, make sure if you can possibly, whenever there’s stairs, have handrails.

Debi Lynes (23:46): Okay, brilliant. Yep.

Shelby Basciano (23:49):Yep. And also, like for example, I have a handrail on the left side of my steps going up into my house, but my father-in-law stroke has affected his left side and he doesn’t really have a use of it. So I’ll see him reaching over with his right hand, which is highly unsafe, right. So we’re like, okay, well we need to add a handrail on the other side. I mean, even item, sometimes the steps are dark in a stairwell. You might want to, if you have those little lights [for each step], relatively inexpensive.

Debi Lynes (24:20): They are like 12 dollars.

Shelby Basciano (24:20): Right. And some of them are motion-sensitive so they can just turn on when you need them.

Debi Lynes (24:26): That’s actually a really good idea.

Shelby Basciano (24:27): Right you come home from nighttime, even all of us can use it, trip up the service sometimes. And I haven’t even had a glass of wine. So you know, like you, it’s dark. You’re like tired from the day. So handrails. Now we’re walking in your house, you threw the towel down. I get it. I have a dog so I always have like a towel to wipe their feet after they run in the yard too. Right. That’s pretty dangerous. You can trip and fall again for somebody with, you know, without any kind of impairment or anything. We’re probably not, you know, changing everything.

Debi Lynes (25:04): Although I laugh when you say that because my dad’s less likely to slip on that cause he’s so aware of it. But the kids Clementine, my little two year old went sliding on it the other day. So I think it is funny how you don’t pay attention. You don’t know what you don’t know. and now all at once from doing the podcast. I feel like, can I way find this way is the lighting right? You know, I noticed not just what I’m doing but what the kids are doing and what my dad still gets really interesting. Okay. So we’re in, we take a left into my kitchen area.

Shelby Basciano (25:38): Yes okay. If you are having issues with strength, upper body strength or you have one arm that’s only working or for example, I have a lady who’s like, I know how bad I’ve gotten, not coming to you for the last month because of holidays, etcetera. She was traveling. I can’t pick up my Pyrex, you know, she has some nested, okay, so what we do is yeah, don’t nest them or only put the one that you use and a lower shelf. Those are just simple. I know it sounds like it’s ‘dumb simple’, but…

Debi Lynes (26:12): It’s not dumb simple.

Shelby Basciano (26:13): You know. If you use something and it’s like, well it goes on the top shelf. Well, it doesn’t have to go on the top. Let’s just reassess. Okay. Stuck on a date, accommodate. Make sure you have a clear working area. You also, you know, as a designer, you know like the triangle, right? Is that what it’s called? You know, make sure that you have.

Debi Lynes (26:38): Have an accessible workspace.

Shelby Basciano (26:39): Right, Accessible workspace. And if you need to, if your’e standing endurance is limited, bring a chair in. I as a trainer would say, Hey, let’s try to build that up. But if we’re being realistic and you’re going to get tired and you’re going to become a fall risk because your legs are fatigued, then let’s bring a chair in and you can sit and peel potatoes or.

Debi Lynes (27:00):

Do you ever do that with people go in and do a home visit and sort of walk and look at their limitations and, and make recommendations?

Shelby Basciano (27:09): Within the scope of my training. I mean, I just do it.

Debi Lynes (27:12): All now for your client.

Shelby Basciano (27:13):  And I’m there training and I say, you know what? If I was you, I would get the wheels off of the desk chair because when you sit down, that chair is going to fly out and you’re not very stable right now anyway. So things like that. I will, I do. I mean, I can’t not do it. I don’t, I can’t not see it. When we, my, my kids and my husband and I took a cruise for the holidays, sitting and watching people, everybody likes to, people watch, I love it. I’m like, Oh, what’s wrong? He’s got like he, he supinates on his right side. But you know, like I’m always kind of analyzing and looking and I wonder what happened or you know, I’m looking at their back. So it is kind of a natural thing for me to do. But as a yes, a thing I would say, you know, get your PT or your OT you can get a prescription for an evaluation from your doctor and a home evaluation is really important.

Debi Lynes (28:07): I think a home evaluation that’s the best takeaway. Get a prescription for that. And let me tell you again, we’re sitting here in my office and as a therapist I have an office that I try to make really comfortable. I noticed the other day I had a couple in here and they weren’t particularly old. They were, you know, my age, little bit younger and they’re rocking chairs and the man really struggled to get out perfectly healthy. But I go ahead. Yeah, look at you and I with our hands.

Shelby Basciano (28:42): And the height of the chair. Right? So like if you have low chairs, like some people have modern like really sharp looking houses but you know like you go to sit down and you know you have something right and you’re like Oh my gosh we’re going to get off. But so living room you’re looking at the chair, make sure the coffee table isn’t right in the middle of the pathway to walk. Little kids, I mean we know if you’ve had kids.

Debi Lynes (29:08): Sharp end.

Shelby Basciano (29:10): Sharp edges. At my house, my nephew got the glue. You know they used to do stitches but now he had to get his forehead glued cause he hit the edge of the table.

Debi Lynes (29:22): Yeah, the glass table. And again with Clementine, it’s funny with Clementine and dad I put the chairs around the corners cause they both inevitably go to that one glass edge corner and hit themselves. I never even thought, I mean in talking about I do it intuitively, but in thinking about it from a safety and an aging in place point of view. It’s actually makes a lot of sense now that we’re talking about height of things. I wonder if a bed is an issue getting in and out of.

Shelby Basciano (29:48): Of 1000%. There’s people who either had the really high beds, which is difficult to get up in, in, and then the really low, you know, the platform beds are kind of popular now. So that can be an issue as well because they, you know, a lot of them don’t need the box spring anymore. So it makes it even lower. It’s just a mattress on the bunky boards or whatever they call them.

Debi Lynes (30:10): Is there a right way to get out of bed? Correct way to get out of bed. I mean, is it more of a rule or, you know, again, I find my dad, I’m struggling to kind of sit up to get out as opposed to if he rolls to his side and.

Shelby Basciano (30:22): I used to have patients that would say, I just can’t, I just hook something to ceiling where I pull up, you know, and they would want to do, they used to have this thing called a trapeze in your hospital bed and you would lift yourself up. But we realized that really that’s not, I’m encouraging you to improve your strength or anything. So really, I mean for somebody who doesn’t have any issues, get out of bed anyway you want to. But otherwise, I want you to roll on your side. I want you to slide your bottom leg and then your left leg. Use your hand to push yourself up. You know, just slow everything down. It’s just taking the time. I mean we know watch kids like when they’re, you’re like just slow down slow down. You know what I mean?

Debi Lynes (31:04): I love it. You know what’s fun about this? I really want to have you back again cause I think it would be fun to even talk about if heaven forbid you fall, what would you do? I think it would be interesting to kind of do a, a podcast or a program on some actual treatments that we can do. So.

Shelby Basciano (31:20): Can I give you one little hint and I’m sorry I spoke over you. Um. I was not a fan of the Apple watch, but you know that if you fall, it has an in a capability where it senses if you fall. And I think it’s such a great tool because so many people don’t want to get the medical alert. They feel like it’s a, yeah, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. And you’re like, Oh, making fun. Like then you feel like you’re old. I think.

Debi Lynes (31:46): Right exactly.

Shelby Basciano (31:46): Look at it. If you can make that work.

Debi Lynes (31:50): Oh geez. I tell you what you are.

Shelby Basciano (31:52): And I’m not getting paid by Apple.

Debi Lynes (31:54): Well, I hope we are. So there you go. That would be a great thing.

Shelby Basciano (31:57): We would if they want some sponsor.

Debi Lynes (31:59): Exactly exactly, Shelby thank you so much. We’ve learned a lot. Thank you all for joining us here on aging in place for any stage in life.

Shelby Basciano (32:08): My professional name that my business cards have is Shelby Sharp that’s my maiden name. It’s just easier to remember than Basciano although legally I’m Basciano. I work at a beach city fitness and Hilton Head Island. And if you have any questions or you’re interested, you can contact me at ShelbyBasciano@gmail.com or hit me up on the website or Instagram and I’ll get back with you.

Debi Lynes (32:46): I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tracy. Tracy is naturally curious and always creative. And when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand. My response, who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip and to hint that is a practical application.

Tracy Snelling (33:16): Thanks Debi. Unless you’re being arrested, don’t raise your arms when it comes to aging in place. Remember your home is about functionality and safety everyday use or things you use frequently, especially in the kitchen. Need to be within easy reach. You have countertops for a reason. You may have just had a shoulder surgery or you have a six-year-old who wants a treat after school. You may even have your aging senior just wanting a cup of coffee. Putting things in easy reach will make things easier on all for the aging senior I watch over and for the most part is my research assistant to see if my who knew tips work every week. I placed these coffee cups in a drawer instead of a cabinet. The cups are the right height where they’re easily pulled out from the drawer. And another hint exactly how many coffee cups does a senior really need? Three. the answer is three. The less you store above your head, the less chance of having an accident. Who knew that raising your arms should just be for exercise and not reaching for your cereal bowl.

Debi Lynes (34:25): Probably one of the most fun things I do during this podcast is listening for the takeaways. This is no exception. Talking to Shelby today was a blast for me and I got a lot of practical tips, but the takeaway I want to share with you, the one that resonated with me the most is this: Ask your doctor for a prescription for an occupational therapist to come and do a home visit and a walkthrough. Wow. What a great way to learn some tips for health, wellness, and safety. Thank you all for joining us this week on aging in place for any stage in life.

Henrik de Gyor (35:03): Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to debi@aginginplacepodcast.com. we would love to hear from you if you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us that pr@aginginplacepodcast.com. Thank you for listening to Aging in Place Podcast.


12. Natalie Lucas

Dr. Debi Lynes speaks with Natalie Lucas of Optimal Hearing about your sense of hearing at any stage in life

(duration: 31 minutes 18 seconds)

Natalie Lucas


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Optimal Hearing

how technology has changed what it’s like to be deaf


Lynes on Design


Do not neglect your hearing. It is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness.


Debi Lynes (00:03): Hi and welcome to aging in place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at aging in place. Why me? Because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces in health and wellness. Also, I love designing with intent at any age. Why now? Because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully and we want our families around us as much as we can and why you the audience? Because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing and that you can live in at any age with any ability at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes (01:04): Hi and welcome to Aging in Place Podcast for any stage in life. I am here with my friend Natalie Lucas and we’re talking about optimal hearing. Yes, I am thrilled to talk to her. She and I have actually done TV together. Right. So this is going to be fun. We’re going to have to use our….

Natalie Lucas (01:20): New senses.

Debi Lynes (01:21): Our senses of listening today.

Debi Lynes (01:24): Challenging me today.

Debi Lynes (01:25): Exact, this is your area of expertise. You know, what I’d really like to start is a little bit about your background cause it’s pretty fun and exciting and how you got into this area from television production.

Natalie Lucas (01:38): Right. I was a TV producer for almost 20 years with a major news organization and was part of a mass layoff. So for me it was a midlife crisis, right on cue. I was 40 years old and I was going, what am I going to do with the rest of my life? I went to see a life coach just completely blindly this kind of seek out some information. The one thing I knew I didn’t want to do was stay in television news.

Debi Lynes (02:15): Okay. Wise woman.

Natalie Lucas (02:18): Correct. And I’m thankful every day. And so I was, went to a life coach and was learning that I wanted to do something that was more fulfilling, more satisfying to my heart and soul. I wanted to grow up people.

Debi Lynes (02:33): To grow up with your values.

Natalie Lucas (02:33): Right, right and wanted to, I wanted to help people and have a little bit more connection to people and it made sense to do that with seniors just because when you look at what the millennials and the younger generations are doing, they’re maybe not quite as plugged in or active.

Debi Lynes (02:51): Did you initially have a lot of testing done? Did you have kind of inventories done to kind of gear where you were interested?

Natalie Lucas (02:59): I did some kind of personality testing along the way. If you’ve been out there long enough, somebody is going to get you with a personality test. Right. But um I did not do that in kind of an official capacity when I was searching. I just was kind of doing some soul searching, meeting with this life coach and talking it out and doing research along the way. It made sense to look into health-related fields.

Debi Lynes (03:23): Smart. That makes a lot of sense. Why hearing why, what do you think it was that interested you about that?

Natalie Lucas (03:29): I know exactly what it was. The way that I ended up with this company was that I was at an oyster roast and I got talking with the president of the company who was engaged to a friend of mine. So at just as, so many things happen, but being a producer, I went home and started researching it. The reason that I fell in love with hearing was because so much is unknown still about how we hear, how we process language, how important hearing is to the brain. And so that kind of peaked my intellectual curiosities as I started digging. And how important hearing is, but how disregarded it’s been doctors, the medical community, people just kind of let their hearing go and don’t treat it.

Debi Lynes (04:15): Well think about it when, when I think about hearing, I think the biggest shock I had, and you don’t know what you don’t know, you don’t think about it. When I went in for my own hearing test, hearing analysis, and then was told, you know, you’re not, you’re 60 and you really don’t need them. But if you kind of get into it, you, it’s probably a good thing. You’re pretty close. You’re right on the cusp. And I was like, Oh great. You know will insurance pay for those? No. No. And I was like, what? No, no. And to me that signified that they’re a luxury item. And it was shocking to me because once I had hearing aids, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t and hadn’t heard until I had them. And, and now I can’t even imagine life without them.

Natalie Lucas (05:07): It’s funny to me just because I tend to believe we have known so little about how the brain works for so long that people kind of just disregarded hearing you dealt with hearing loss, it was expected to happen. It came with aging. But guess what? So does eyesight, your eyesight diminishes as you age. For the vast majority of people were taking eye tests. As kids, we’re having our eyes checked throughout our lives. When our eyesight starts diminishing. We go and get glasses.

Debi Lynes (05:38): So interesting.

Natalie Lucas (05:38): And ears, for some reason people would just say, huh, that’s expected. I don’t hear anymore. That’s baloney. I don’t, you know, that’s, that’s not cool to me.

Debi Lynes (05:49): So optimal hearing, tell me about the company itself.

Natalie Lucas (05:52): The company itself is a family-owned and operated company. They’ve in business since 1961. The patriarch of the family wore hearing aids and so he started going door to door in 1958 selling hearing aids, which if you can imagine what a 1958 hearing aid was. And his son took over the company I believe in the 80s. Okay. Three of his four children are our vice presidents and hearing loss runs through their family. So, so many of them wear hearing aids which makes them very service-oriented because as hearing aid wearers, they really know the other side of the coin too.

Debi Lynes (06:31): We’ll serve folks who haven’t worn hearing aids. These are not your great-grandmother’s hearing aids. And number one, these are, we were just laughing about this. These are in my words, soon to be fashion accessories because I mean mine does, has Bluetooth. It pretty much can do most anything. Talk to us about some of the newer styles or not so much styles but what, what hearing aids can and can’t do.

Natalie Lucas (06:53): You know these days and when you talk about fashion accessories. I fully believe one day they will be once upon a time and once upon a time you know, eyeglasses were big old round Coke bottle glasses and now snazzy and really cool glasses on. Now they’re just two-tone with the fade and people wear designer glasses. That’s going to happen with hearing aids I think. Because the younger generations are all growing up with pink and neon cords hanging from their ears, iPods, iPods and Bluetooth devices and AirPods AirPods stuff, stuff hanging from our ears all the time now. Um I’m constantly trying to talk my patients into getting red hearing aids or blue hearing aids. Why not? Exactly. I only have one, one woman who is hysterical, she got a red one and a blue one cause she’s a Patriots fan.

Debi Lynes (07:46): When I was getting on it, what’s the big choice? Do you go neutral or do you go to a Rose gold or whatever? And I’m thinking at that time I’m thinking to myself, really, I can’t see it. So I don’t really care.

Natalie Lucas (07:58): Everybody goes neutral, but I say go bold. You know? And I think as I think as the baby boomers start moving in and getting a little funky and the aging hippies I think, we’ll start seeing more bedazzled and designer hearing aids and colored hearing aids. Why not?

Natalie Lucas (08:14): All right. What age do you think people should, well, you’re going to tell me from the time you’re a little on out, right? How often and when should I begin to get hearing tests?

Natalie Lucas (08:22): I’m thrilled to see now that sometimes there are hearing screenings for kids in school. And that’s important. I mean, starting from a young age, it used to be people who had hearing loss sometimes would get up into their four or five, six, seven and not be diagnosed. And that doesn’t help anyone. But certainly I think as you get into your middle age peers, all those fun years, which I’m right in the middle of right now, when you get there, you know, you need to start just go find out, you know, get a baseline.

Debi Lynes (08:52): Do people know if, It you know how I F I think I was 58 and because I was a therapist I would be talking to my patients and a lot of them were teenagers and I found myself as the years went by, you know, that 18 inches of space I would get closer and closer and closer. You’re kind of bugging me, step back. And it was weak because I could not understand them. I felt like I could hear, I couldn’t understand and I didn’t realize there wasn’t much of a difference in that. We’re going to take a quick break. Yeah. We’re going to come back and can we talk a little bit about that again, hearing isn’t always the sound. Sometimes it’s the understanding.

Natalie Lucas (09:41): Very good reason why you felt that way.

Debi Lynes (09:43): Stay with us. We’ll be right back here on aging in place, the podcast.

Debi Lynes (09:48): Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what Lynes on Design can do for you, for more information on certified aging in place and facilitative and supportive design, look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L-Y-N-E-S on design dot com.

Debi Lynes (10:13): We are back here on Aging in Place Podcast for any stage in life. I am here with my friend Natalie Lucas, optimal hearing and we’re talking about hearing loss and it’s, it’s funny in the F in the previous segment I said when I first noticed anything, it wasn’t that I felt like I couldn’t hear. I felt like I couldn’t understand.

Natalie Lucas (10:31): If I had a dollar for every time somebody came into my office and said, I cheer just fine. It’s just that everybody mumbles.

Debi Lynes (10:39): That damn TV.

Natalie Lucas (10:40): A very wealthy woman. For the most part, when people start losing their hearing I say for the vast majority of cases, when people start losing their hearing, they start losing high frequencies first. And that’s because high frequencies are most exposed on the cochlea to sounds coming through the ear.

Debi Lynes (10:58): Okay, stop. Here’s now I love this. My favorite part, what I do A what is a cochlea? B What is high frequency?

Natalie Lucas (11:05): Okay, so cochlea is the inner ear. Okay. You have the external ear canal, your middle ear and your inner ear and the cochlea. And the inner ear is kind of the hearing organ, if you will. And High frequency. A dog whistle high pitch. Got it. High pitch. Okay. Okay. So in our language we have low-frequency sounds that are vows and hard consonants such as A – D – B. The volume of our words comes from all of those letters. And then we have high-frequency, non-voiced consonants. We don’t use vocal chords to make any of these sounds, so we can’t make them louder or softer. [k – t – p – h – sh – a] Oh yeah. So what happens is people start losing their high frequencies first for the middle of the ear. And when that happens, you’re hearing the root volume base of the word, but you’re missing those subtle nuances. And our language, those high-frequency non-voice continents help determine and distinguish and differentiate one word from another. So you’re losing the subtle nuances [k – t – p – h – sh – a]. It makes a word a word.

Debi Lynes (12:21): So typically would we, and I think I found myself looking at for work arounds, I would listen much more for context and content rather than individual words. But I again, I was so surprised at the difference when I actually had the opportunity to have a hearing device.

Natalie Lucas (12:44): People start, well, you know, we use a lot of tools to communicate. So when you’re experiencing hearing loss and it’s untreated, you’re relying on your brain to fill in information from context. You’re more focused at looking at faces, seeing lips, reading, kind of the full picture. And when hearing loss will most often highlight itself is in complex listening environments. If you’re in a noisy restaurant with a group of friends, if you’re watching TV with a lot of sound effects and background noise and flat screen speakers.

Debi Lynes (13:14): I also found that anytime I watched a foreign film or a film accent are so bad.

Natalie Lucas (13:20): They’re so difficult for people because you’re already experiencing some hearing loss and trying to lean on filling in the blanks and then with an accent that kind of handicaps you.

Debi Lynes (13:31): So talk to me about what hearing tests looked like in today’s world.

Natalie Lucas (13:34): A hearing test. If you go and get a good hearing test, they’re gonna want to find out about you, a case history, if you will. What’s going on, what situations are you having trouble, where do you think it came from? Do you have any ringing in your ears? Should be a good discussion up front about what’s going on. The hearing test itself is a combination of what we call pure tones that’s hearing tones or beats of different frequencies or pitches from low to medium to high and then their speech testing. And that’s testing how your brain is processing speech. So here is two fold your ears ability to get speech up to the brain and the brain’s ability to process it. So then you’ll do some speech testing and then you’ll end with some bone conduction and that’s actually presenting tones or pitches to your mastoid bone. And what we’re doing there is looking for what we would call a conductive element, some type of blockage in the middle ear or earwax or something that is helping us diagnose what type of hearing loss you have.

Debi Lynes (14:40): One of the most interesting things you said when you first came in was that hearing loss was linked to a lot of medical conditions. Is it more of a is hearing loss a, is there a correlation between that and let’s say heart disease or, or how does all this work?

Natalie Lucas (15:03): Well, you know, I laugh with my patients all the time. That old song when you were a kid, leg bones connected to this. Yes, we’re all interconnected. And so a lot of conditions are interconnected. When we speak of things like heart disease or diabetes, people with heart disease and diabetes have higher rates of hearing loss. And a lot of that has to do with circulation and blood supply to the inner ear. If you start constricting and limiting the blood flow to the inner ear is going to kill off the little hairs I for up to the brain. So a lot about that. So we see, particularly with diabetes, it’s a big indicator of possible hearing loss because people are, have reduced circulation and blood flow to the inner ear.

Debi Lynes (15:52): And talk to me about hearing loss and dementia because I know that as my mom’s hearing deteriorated, it seemed as though cognitively there was a, it got, she got worse and worse cognitive.

Natalie Lucas (16:08): Without a doubt. And major studies are now proving that that.

Debi Lynes (16:12): So dad, where are your hearing aids please. Please dad, where you’re hearing it’s please.

Natalie Lucas (16:19): So what we’re learning is that when people go with untreated hearing loss, what you’re doing is you’re disengaging, you’re withdrawing from society, from conversation, from people. You’re disengaging and you’re retreating within your own head. People get tired of asking people to repeat or they’re embarrassed by it. And so we all have been in tough times in your life, you’ve all kind of learned, I think most of us have learned somewhere along the way that the best place for you to be is not always inside your head.

Debi Lynes (16:53): No, isn’t that so true?

Natalie Lucas (16:53): And so, you know what hearing aids do is keep you engaged and keep you plugged in. But hearing is also stimulation fitness, if you will, for the brain. So it keeps your brain stimulated and healthy and fit and active. And they’re proving right now that early adoption of hearing aids and consistent wear of hearing aids will, in fact, ward off dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, risk of falls. These are major studies coming out that are showing that no, just going along as is and saying, okay, I’m old. I don’t hear anymore. Well that’s not the way to go.

Debi Lynes (17:28): I found that and you and I have talked about this when we’ve just had our conversations. I found that exactly like my monovision or my contacts. If I, I just decided I needed them. It wasn’t like, Ooh, should I shouldn’t. I would have pain this, that or the other. And I remember the month I hear and tell me, is this true? Is there sort of a adaptation period where your, your body sort of recaptured?

Natalie Lucas (17:56): Absolutely. You’ve got to, you’ve takes people a really long time for the most part to lose their hearing unless there’s a traumatic event or a virus or something that takes their hearing. So you’ve spent all these years slowly diminishing your hearing and then we bring it back to you at all, all at once. That can be overwhelming for the brain saying, yeah, dishwasher big time.

Debi Lynes (18:17): My two year old [grandchild] wooh..

Natalie Lucas (18:20): It takes time to adapt. You’ve got to give it time to adapt and it’s no different than if you were to get glasses or contact lenses. Your brain needs time to adjust to a new reality.

Debi Lynes (18:28): Can we take a quick break again and come back and talk about sort of what is trending or what is on trend for hearing devices and where we are going with the future. And I’d also like to talk about how long hearing aids last. So stay with us. We’ll be right back here on aging in place.

Henrik de Gyor (18:48): For more podcast episodes, links, information and media inquiries, please visit our website at aginginplacepodcast.com as we transition through life with the comfort and ease you deserve, discover how you can create a home that will adapt to you as you journey through life and the changes it will bring. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as our host Debi Lynes and her expert guests discuss relevant topics to creating a home for all decades in life. Don’t miss our weekly episodes of Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes (19:25): We are back here on aging in place for any stage in life. Natalie and I are laughing and talking about hearing devices and glasses and I guess these are medical conditions. I’d like to know a little bit about what is on-trend. What you are seeing is new and improved in hearing devices and kind of where we’re going.

Natalie Lucas (19:42): Yes, you want them red and blue bold colors. Yo, I want put dazzled and styled. I want them to be accessorized fabulousness. Um.

Debi Lynes (19:55): I don’t know it, it’s an awful lot of competition with what the area needs.

Natalie Lucas (19:58): Maybe we can kind of coordinate them.

Debi Lynes (20:00): I’d be in for that. I’d be down for that.

Natalie Lucas (20:02): For the most part, the industry is all moving towards rechargeable using a lithium-ion battery and getting rid of the old hearing aid batteries. That’s problematic for a lot of people because fine motor skills and plus it’s the same old battery and lots of new technologies. So there’s hearing aids drain the batteries really fast, especially.

Debi Lynes (20:22): My dad has those with rechargeable. It drives me absolutely cuckoo because I feel like they spend more time on the recharge or then they do.

Debi Lynes (20:31): The original ones did and they’re improving on that. There are some rechargeable hearing aids out there now that have a 30-hour battery life, so you never have to worry about the first rechargeables would start dying on you every day at about dinnertime, right when you really need them. Right. So they’re improving on rechargeability moving. I think the whole industry will hopefully be there in five or so years. They’re everything is to pairing and connecting with a cell phone and Bluetooth capability, streaming, taking phone calls through your hearing aid.

Debi Lynes (21:01): You love that.

Natalie Lucas (21:02): Streaming music and books, books on tape. I have a patient who walks five miles every day and listens to her books on tape.

Debi Lynes (21:08): And I listened to my, whenever I’m out walking, I love the music through my hearing aid. It sounds great on the treadmill.

Natalie Lucas (21:14): They’re really fancy earbuds. And we’re, we’re getting more and more capable of doing more things with them beyond just hearing. There are some hearing aid manufacturers that are turning the hearing aids kind of into a Fitbit or an activity tracker or a fitness or health tracker, tracking your heartbeat, your heart rate, your steps can do all sorts of things there. I’m not sure how far that will go if that’s more of like a short term kind of testing the waters out. We’ve got so many devices that can do that. Our phones, our watches.

Debi Lynes (21:48): Are most hearing devices now. Mine go over the back of my ear and I think the microphone is back there, right? Correct. Are there different, I don’t want to say styles cause I’m not really interested in this style, but different kinds. I’ve seen some that are just go into the ear.

Natalie Lucas (22:04): Every hearing aid manufacturer is going to make a hearing aid that goes behind the ear and maybe a big one that goes behind the ear. We would call that a BTE. That’s for people who are severely or profoundly deaf, a lot of power. Then the general behind the ear one like what you have, what many many people have. Those tend to be the most comfortable to wear they can fit a variety of types of losses and because there’s more real estate, because the unit is behind your ear, you can put more features into them, but it’s also not suitable for everybody who maybe don’t have the fine motor skills to work the little wire into your ear.

Debi Lynes (22:43): Yeah I think that’s, that’s been a hard, now that it’s when she, it’s kind of like contacts like we talked about. Once you get used to putting them in and taking them out.

Natalie Lucas (22:52): You have to learn the shape of your ears. We’re all different and most people have never thought about the inside of their ears until they end up in a set of hearing aids.

Debi Lynes (22:59): And again, I always use my dad to talk about, but it has absolutely driven him nuts. Not to hearing aids per se, but getting him in and out.

Natalie Lucas (23:06): It can be hard. People who have really twisty, windy or narrow ears or prolapsed ears that can be very hard in those cases. And in cases where maybe people don’t have good motor skills or other needs, maybe they have dementia and Alzheimer’s and caregivers, we can look to a custom hearing aid and those are the kind that just fit in the ear. They can go from very, very tiny to filling up the whole ear. Um and with a custom, what we’re doing is it’s a closed fit. We’re blocking out everything, all of the natural sounds. So they tend to be better for people who have more severe or flat low loss, meaning they don’t have any good hearing to lean on.

Debi Lynes (23:47): Once you get a hearing device, do you tend to not lose any more hearing? How does or how does all that work there?

Natalie Lucas (23:54): Sensory neural hearing loss. It can be age-related presbycusis is what you call that. It can be genetic noise induced ototoxic medicines can cause it.

Debi Lynes (24:07): Like grateful dead end days.

Natalie Lucas (24:09): Exactly the Rolling Stones somebody the other day said as she thought her hearing loss stem from Bon Jovi, it can be ototoxic medicines and said sort of certain medicines that doctors prescribed to fix one thing and damage your hearing. Things like chemotherapy and radiation. So there’s so many internal and external variables. There’s no way to predict.

Debi Lynes (24:32): Is there an ear device hearing device hygiene that we need to know about or even eat ear hygiene that would be preventative or helpful?

Natalie Lucas (24:45): Not really, I’m sometimes amazed, you know, you should check on the cleanliness of your ears every once in awhile. That’s not a bad thing to do. You don’t.

Debi Lynes (24:58): There some people produce more wax than others.

Natalie Lucas (25:00): Some people produce gobs and gobs a wax. Some people produce next to no wax earwax or cerumen as a glandular production. So it varies from person to person, but you do want to kind of check-in on, you know, are your ears clean? Every once in awhile I’ll come across people who are completely impacted from the outer of their ear all the way back to their eardrum with ear wax. And that is an ear wax induced hearing loss. They may have other hearing loss, but it will block your hearing. Earwax is nature’s perfect sunblock.

Debi Lynes (25:31): So you have a pair of hearing devices now, what is the recommended way to clean them? Is it easy? Is it hard? Do you need to? And then how often do we come back and visit and see you in optimal hearing?

Natalie Lucas (25:43): I see all of my patients every four months. Some don’t want to see me that much and they’ll push it out to six.

Debi Lynes (25:48): Right and other people will come every two years because they can.

Natalie Lucas (25:51): Right and then some come every couple of weeks just to say, Hey but it is important to keep people moving forward and to have somebody else hearing. Sometimes people don’t realize new hearing aids aren’t working well because the brain hears the hearing aid turn on. It tells them they’re working. So checking on vacuuming the microphones in fact.

Debi Lynes (26:13): Vacuuming the microphones.

Natalie Lucas (26:14): I have the world’s tiniest vacuum in my office.

Debi Lynes (26:16): Yeah, I am going there tomorrow.

Natalie Lucas (26:19): But in terms of keeping them clean, you want to brush them off. Okay. Things like pollen, skin cells, dandruff, all of these things can settle in the microphones and affect the performance. I always say we’re humans, so we’ve got a lot room alone.

Debi Lynes (26:34): Walking in the rain.

Natalie Lucas (26:35): Not bad. Most hearing aids are very, very water-resistant. I jump in the pool with them. I had a gentleman just recently swim about 10 laps before he realized you can get your hearing aids and Oh, take them out. If they get them wet and put them in a bowl of dried rice, just like you would your cell phone and it’s going to pull the moisture out of them. You can a lot of times save your hearing aids even if you’ve submerged them.

Debi Lynes (27:00): What do you see age span of a hearing device?

Natalie Lucas (27:04): Manufacturers, one is to say five years and that’s because we’re in a technology boom and keeping all of those old, outdated parts. I tend to tell people five to seven years. I have patients who come see me. I saw a woman today who was in hearing aids from 2012. They’re still working for her. We needed, she needs to stay in them. So we kept her in them and we take care of him for her.

Debi Lynes (27:28): Once you have your hearing devices, do you, is it like a car? Can you like turn them in and upgrade?

Natalie Lucas (27:33): No, for the most part they’re, they’re regulated as medical devices. So they and they are, they’re living in a 98-degree body. They’re kind of as no exchange program. I have helped people put them on a cell behind the ear style cause that’ll fit everyone. I have helped people sell those before in neighborhood flyers, eBay, you’ll see sometimes you’ll see them for sale.

Debi Lynes (28:03): Slightly used.

Natalie Lucas (28:03): Slightly used. Buyer beware. Of course, you want to make sure that they are good working hearing aids. But you can.

Debi Lynes (28:12): You have been amazing and super fun to talk to before we go. It’s shameless self-promotion time. Oh I need to call this that. So if you name after want hearing website where we can track you down. Miss Natalie.

Natalie Lucas (28:29): So my name is Natalie Lucas. www.optimalhearing.com. I have offices in Hilton Head and on Bluffton and you know, my favorite part of my job is taking care of people. I’m really big on education. A lot of times people are scared before they come and go find out what’s going on. Don’t be. Come see me and um you’ll learn a lot no matter what.

Debi Lynes (28:56): Thank you so much for joining us here on aging in place. Bye-bye.

Debi Lynes (29:01): I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tracy. Tracy is naturally curious and always creative. And when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand. My response, who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip and to hint that is a practical application.

Tracy Snelling (29:29): Thanks Debbie. This next tip came from one of my friends who has a hearing disability. She’s in her twenties and she wears hearing aids. I thought this was such a great idea that I needed to share, even though I don’t have any hearing problems, I’m still doing this today. When Sarah is home, she remains barefooted or she wears socks. She removes her shoes at the door. Why? It’s not because of the dirt or the mud. It’s because of vibrations. She says she can feel the floor move. She feels the vibration of the door opening or closing. She feels the vibration of her dogs. Paul’s coming down the hall. She even feels the vibration when something is dropped, not even the room where she’s standing. Who knew? Well, Sarah did. I was raised in a barefoot at home shoes, first thing off and last thing on only because I’m a little bit country. I am now more aware of the vibrations of my own home and I’m also talented enough to pick up my ink pen with my toes when I drop it. I felt the vibration. Who knew?

Debi Lynes (30:36): Natalie Lucas, It was a lot of fun today to talk with you. At the end of every podcast, we have a takeaway and the takeaway today is this, do not neglect your hearing. It is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness. Thank you all for joining us this week on aging in place. Have a great one.

Henrik de Gyor (30:59): Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to debi@aginginplacepodcast.com we would love to hear from you. If you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us at pr@aginginplacepodcast.com. Thank you for listening to Aging in Place Podcast.