Dr Rose Helps You Hear – Audiologist Stephani Rose, AuD – #08

Dr Stephani Rose is featured on Episode 8 of the Pure Tinnitus & Hearing Podcast. She is an audiologist in California. Dr Rose created a YouTube channel called Dr Rose Helps You Hear.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You might feel like you have a hearing problem, and you go in there and they say, “It’s a little problem. You don’t need any hearing aids yet.” Or you might be really struggling, go in, get a test, have a demonstration of some real hearing aids, and just see what you’ve been missing. Nobody’s forcing you to have them. That is a personal choice that you have to make, and nobody else can force you to.

Dr. Stephani Rose is interviewed by Dr. Ben Thompson about hearing loss and hearing aids.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Welcome to episode eight of the Pure Tinnitus & Hearing Podcast. This is your host, Ben Thompson. And we are here today with Stephani Rose. Stephani Rose, also known as Dr. Rose, helps you here has her own YouTube channel and has been creating incredible videos about hearing. So I wanted to bring Dr. Rose on Dr. Rose, I’ll just get right into it. Tell us your story about how you started to make videos and your whole journey as an audiologist.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. So yeah, basically, I had a little bit of previous YouTube experience in a totally different field. And when the pandemic hit, I missed educating patients about hearing loss and audiology. So I started spending some time thinking about what could help them from home. So, you know, we couldn’t necessarily change their wax filters or clean their hearing aids, when everything was shut down in California. So I started making more of alike how to type video string, and then that just sort of evolved into all aspects of Audiology. And I’m kind of all over the place at this point. But that’s what keeps things interesting. And that’s what keeps me wanting to keep going.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Thank you. I’m in Northern California. It’s nice to have this little podcast for a podcast here tinnitus and hearing podcast together. Now tell us how your personal experiences with hearing and hearing loss and how that all ties into your story and the sort of videos and content that you create for your audience.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Sure, so I have an older sister who developed a typical Meniere’s disease while I was in undergrad. And my bachelor’s is in Speech Language Hearing Sciences with emphasis on audiology. So she called me up that day and said, Hey, I think this might be interesting. I lost my hearing. What do you think of that? So that kind of sealed the deal for me because I was still deciding between speech path and audiology. So I chose audiology. And during my first semester of grad school, we were doing bio checks on the audiometry equipment. And I thought that the right headphone was out. And it turned out I had a sudden sensorineural hearing loss and I had the same condition as my sister. So it’s actually called cochlear hydrops. Because it’s sort of like manures disease, but it doesn’t have the vertigo. So I get fullness, buzzing tinnitus, and a fluctuating low-frequency hearing loss. So I had about nine hearing losses that first year, they had to put me on all sorts of regimens to try to help stabilize the hearing. And over time, those helped me, but then it started becoming very active during the pandemic. And it turns out that, and I’ve always known this that that stress can trigger hearing losses for me, and then that led on to a whole bunch of other things and other tests that I had. So cochlear hydrops is actually a secondary symptom that I get from a more primary symptom of autoimmune disease. And it’s an under undefined autoimmune disease. So it’s very interesting journey.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Yeah, one of the more rare causes of hearing loss, I’ve watched some of your videos, and your YouTube channel. The name is, Dr. Rose helps you here. One thing I love about your videos is your positivity and your energy. Tell me a bit about how you decide to create your videos. Who is your audience? Exactly? And what kind of messages are you hoping that individuals leave with once they watch your videos?

Stephani Rose, AuD

Sure, so my number one mission is to de-stigmatize hearing loss because we are all walking this really fine line of perfect hearing, right? So my one of my most favorite hashtags to use is hearing loss is not defective. That’s kind of the feeling I would get in the, in the beginning, stages of my hearing losses was that every time it would drop, it seemed like it was out of my control. And then I couldn’t tell where things were localization is like the number one thing to be impaired when you have a unilateral hearing loss. So that was kind of the term that I felt was defective. So over time, I, you know, I processed this and kind of got past the emotional grieving that you do when you have a sudden hearing loss. It’s much different than you know, slowly acquiring, like age-related hearing loss over time. So that was kind of my motivation, like why, why do we get so, you know, I understand that there’s a process and that’s a To go through your process, but eventually you should emerge with it as a stronger human. So that’s why I always say, you know, that it’s part of being human, and it’s okay to have hearing loss. And there’s so many great technologies out there that can help us overcome that. So there’s really no reason to dwell on it once you’ve kind of gone through that initial stage. And so that’s why I try to present it in a positive light to people so that we can know that hearing loss is not effective.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Well, you certainly have a positive bubbly personality and I know that will continue to attract a lot of people to watch your videos. Me being one of them. What do you think the person who has a hearing loss who comes to see an audiologist, what would you think they need to know? What are the biggest misconceptions in from your perspective about someone who has a hearing loss, seeking help and potentially treating with hearing aids?

Stephani Rose, AuD

So I think that the biggest misperception and this is for people who are not, you know, teenagers or children, but even Yes, it a little bit with teenagers, is that other people will view you as defective. Right. So that’s, that’s simply becoming less and less of an issue these days, because everybody has something smart on them whether it’s a watch a hirable nowadays, and even you know, with the smart glasses, they’re around the corner from Facebook. So I think that being positive about it, and being excited about showing them what can help them. And then the fact that, you know, we can get pretty invisible type style the devices if needed. But even the hearables, like on purpose are in your face, like, hey, look, I’ve got something in my ear, this is great. So that’s kind of my approach with them to show them that they don’t have to feel stigmatized and that they can embrace it and, you know, connect it to their cell phone and their TV, and it’s very excited, exciting connected world.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Thank you so much. Quick question. Those who find either your channel or my channel on YouTube, or are going online looking for help with hearing or tinnitus? Do you feel like these individuals are maybe 70 years old and younger, because a lot of the stigma with hearing loss and a lot of individuals who need help with hearing loss are older? Now we’ve seen research shows us that individuals adults are starting to seek treatment earlier into their early 60s, for example. So how do you? How do you describe your role as someone who’s creating educational content online? And what kind of person is going online? And as content creators in the audiology space? How are we creating the message that’s best received for a wide range of ages? I’ll give you one bit of data from my own channel is that I focus mainly on tinnitus on my channel thus far, and the core age range are people between 25 and 35. That may be different for hearing loss. And I’m curious what you think about all that.

Stephani Rose, AuD

So yeah, one thing that I can take a look at right now on my Instagram is how many people are following me and what their age ranges are. And I’m not sure I’m quite there yet with the YouTube metrics, but I hope to be one day where I can see that. But mine are typically between 35 and 45. So I think that there are a lot of I don’t want to say that they’re ad students, I just wonder if they’re possibly just audiologists that are kind of in that age range, watching the content. And following along on Instagram, I know that I have a lot of peers on there. But on the YouTube channel, when I’m looking at who’s commenting, it is a wide variety of ages. And I think, you know, it’s definitely a younger group who’s who’s on there and commenting and knowing how to navigate that space. So that has something to do with it. But I made a video on musical ear syndrome. And that was just really surprising how many views that got and it has the most comments out of anything. So we don’t really talk about musical ear syndrome that much and it’s probably right up your alley with your tinnitus channel. So I found that to be really interesting. So I try to talk about things that we don’t talk about very much in school. So for example, I made a video about how to be a hospice audiologist. So you know what kind of different hats we have to wear when we have to say goodbye to our patients and practice audiology a little bit differently, so that you can help that patient here to the end. So there’s all these different aspects of Audiology that we may not touch on. So I think that my audience is kind of turning more into professionals and then also students are watching and then patients are watching on like the How to portions of the channel as well. So it’s just it’s kind of all over the place at this point. But, you know, I don’t really plan to have it nice. I really want to just stay in a variety.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Something that I learned is that it’s it’s scary at the beginning to decide what am I going to make? What kind of videos do people want to see there’s, there’s a lot of distractions, it’s hard to almost just make those first steps to actually make the videos. And then after doing it for a while, and I think you’re around that point, maybe past that, retrospectively taking a sort of audit and saying, Okay, what do people actually want to learn? Like you said, musical ear syndrome? Hmm, you wouldn’t have thought that would be one year, biggest videos that has popularity? What have you learned from looking back on your videos of what has worked? What do people want to learn about and what are they engaged in? Yeah,

Stephani Rose, AuD

I think it’s really interesting. I always thought, every time I go to make like a product-specific video, I’d be like, this is it, this is going to be the most views out of anything, and then I wouldn’t get that many. So I think that because the market is supersaturated with product-specific videos. There’s just too much of it out there. So I think that the more unique of a perspective you can bring to a more broad subject, the more views you could possibly get because there’s going to be less content out there. So it’s about being a unique content creator and trying to appeal to a more broad topic so that more people can relate.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Thank you. So what has been on your mind recently, in the past few months in the field of hearing or tinnitus, hearing aids, hearing loss audiology, you see, you mentioned students, you mentioned professionals. You mentioned consumers, what’s been on your mind recently with that?

Stephani Rose, AuD

With the pandemic in place, we have to think, to the future. So our people, even if there is, you know, a vaccine and everything. Thank goodness, I’m hearing good things on the news lately. Are people really going to want to come into clinic like they used to? I think that a big portion of our patient population is going to want to have more telecare or telehealth or tele audiology, however, you want to say that, and we kind of through our profession this year have been on you know, kind of like a steroids of tele audiology. So everybody’s you know, clamoring around trying to figure out their protocols and learn all the different software for each individual hearing haymaker you have to know how they connect remotely. So it’s it was overwhelming, and a lot of people would just kind of felt lost at first. So I had a colleague who actually sent me a wonderful cheat sheet for every single maker and what to do and what platforms they use, and that kind of help to consolidate everything.

Stephani Rose, AuD

I think that that was definitely been on my mind for the last few months, you know, with all that work that we did, how much of that is going to last into the future. And with that being said, I actually feel like mail order, hearing aid services are going to be a big thing as well. But getting people to kind of trust you with their 1000s of dollar hearing devices. That’s kind of hard. The other thing that we have to consider looking into the future around the corner is over-the-counter devices. So that was definitely a portion on my channel where I’m testing out, hirable to see what the real-ear measures look like, Is it going to hurt the hearing? So things like that. I’m a huge advocate of unbundling. And I plan to really advocate for that no matter what role I’m in no matter what employer I have, or business I have. I think that unbundling is going to be the answer to our future to stay alert.

Ben Thompson, AuD

And for someone who might want to get hearing aids in the next five years. They hear you say unbundling, and they might think what is that? Can you explain unbundling of hearing aids in a few sentences?

Stephani Rose, AuD

Typically, hearing aids have been a bundled service, meaning you pay x 1000s amount of dollars, and then you get unlimited services. It’s like an all-you-can-eat menu of hearing aid services for a length of time, the lifetime of the device for the lifetime of you. It just depends on the center and what they negotiate with you. So unbundling is more of a dentistry style model where you walk in you pay your copay, and then they start itemizing. What did they do to you they drilled your tooth, they cleaned your tooth. They looked at your tooth, they x rayed year two, and you get billed for each one of those things. So I think that by unbundling audiology, or hearing aids, or treatment services, I should say, and that can apply to tinnitus evaluations, whatever. It creates transparency and it builds more trust because as we have more and more saturation onto the scene with the electronics industry releasing OTCs, big boxes releasing hearing aids that really really reduced prices. We’re going to have to justify our field and what we do. And if we don’t, we’re going to be, you know, set to the side. So we got to do something.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Thank you. Yeah, totally agree on that totally agree on that time to innovate. The future is now in many respects, and certainly, COVID has given a door open for innovation, and it’s shifted the status quo. In times of change, people are more willing to actually change. I like to ask each guest on this podcast here. What are your favorite sounds? So you can pick one you can pick a few. Someone may choose some sound in nature, others may choose a more domestic sound something from a household, others may choose the sound of someone’s voice. When you think about it, really? What are your favorite sounds, Dr. Rose?

Stephani Rose, AuD

Oh, my goodness, I’ve never had anybody asked me that. That is so intriguing. The first thing that came to mind when you said that was a purring kitten, or like a purring cat. I haven’t had a kitty cat and like many years, but I really missed that sound. And there’s really not a lot of other animals that you can have around you that do that that won’t eat you. So I would say a cat purring. It’s just a soothing sound, right? So yeah, I think that’s great.

Ben Thompson, AuD

That’s really great. Thank you. Okay, and in your life in your creation of educational resources for audiology, students, professionals and individuals with hearing loss or tinnitus. What are your intentions? What do you have set out for the next few months as we enter 2021? What do you feel is most important for you to be spending your time with?

Stephani Rose, AuD

I think that as the mask protocols have taken place, more and more people have realized how much trouble they’re having hearing. And it is reaching a younger age audience. Baby Boomers are probably who I see more often, as of recent, plus, they’re a little less high risk to actually come out to clinic. And they’re on the zoom calls and the dean’s meeting, then they’re having a hard time even though they can see people’s faces, it’s you know, broken connect or not a perfect connection over the internet or whatever. So they’re starting to realize that they have a lot of hearing trouble. So my focus is to because I have been very involved with more of the silent generation. My goal for the next few months is how can I better bond and also address the needs of the younger hearing loss patients. So you know, the baby boomers, the younger baby boomers. So that’s something that I’m trying to get in touch with. And I’m actually between Generation X and millennials. So I grew up without the internet, I grew up on a dirt road with horses, chickens, and bunnies and my mom rang a bell for me to come home at night on my BMX bike. So I feel like I have a little bit of that element to help bridge that gap.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Where did you grow up?

Stephani Rose, AuD

In Thousand Oaks, California.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Nice. Up in the forest?

Stephani Rose, AuD

It’s not a forest, but it was more of it’s like an extension between the valley and Ventura.

Ben Thompson, AuD

It sounds like you had a fun childhood where you’re able to play with your friends or just be out in nature.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Yes, it was a very humbling childhood.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Yeah. Thank you. All right. Now let’s get back to your YouTube channel. Because I want to encourage anyone listening to check it out. That’s one of my main intentions for bringing you on here is to showcase the good work that you’re doing serving others. And, of course, I have a YouTube channel myself and we are going to lift each other up just by sharing ideas by becoming close friends by encouraging listeners from each other’s networks and audiences to learn other aspects of hearing loss or tinnitus, or whatever else we decided to put on the YouTube channel. Tell us a bit about what has been the most rewarding part of this YouTube project for you. And then drop the name one more time so that someone listening right now can search it.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Sure it’s Youtube.com/drrosehelpsyouhear and it’s rose like the flower no dots or anything. So just Dr. Rose helps you here. And that’s also my handle for Instagram and Facebook.

Stephani Rose, AuD

I think that the comments are the most rewarding part. I share a part of my hearing journey on kind of what I described in the beginning of this video. And then also, you know, part two, and then kind of ongoing and I also do a simulation of hearing losses, and the one that gets the most comments is the cookie bite hearing loss. Congenital hearing loss, what does that sound like? Using one of our verification machines, you can plug in an audiogram, and then play conversation at normal hearing. And then through that filter of the hearing test.

Ben Thompson, AuD

What videos did you have the most fun producing, whether they were successful or not in terms of views? What were the most rewarding for you to make and showcase?

Stephani Rose, AuD

I love the video of me showing people repairs in house. So repairing hearing aids in the hearing aid lab. I am kind of coined as the MacGyver of hearing aids. I love doing really small, like intricate things that people would normally just send them off to get repaired by the manufacturer. One of my most favorite things is the UV material and the UV light. I’m also really good at the buffer wheel. I was in jewelry before I ever went to college. I would say that that was my favorite video of me in the lab, just kind of messing around with stuff.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Nice. Thanks for sharing that. Dr. Rose. I’m so happy to have you on and to showcase the awesome work that you’re doing. And I see that each of us over time will keep producing content, keep creating value for the different audiences we have. And I hope to grow in parallel with you over the years to come.

Stephani Rose, AuD

Oh, thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me. And it was really great to meet you, Ben.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Yeah. And do you have any last words for someone watching who may have hearing loss or tinnitus, and might be looking for some help or on the verge of considering getting a hearing test?

Stephani Rose, AuD

Yes, um, don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You might feel like you have a hearing problem go in there. And they say it’s a little problem. You don’t need any hearing aids yet. Or you might be really struggling, go in, get a test, have a demonstration of some real hearing aids, and just see what you’ve been missing. Nobody’s forcing you to have them that is a personal choice that you have to make, and nobody else can force you to do it. So they are there for a reason. They exist for a reason because they help. So just try helping yourself. And once you do, you won’t regret it. Watch my video about realistic expectations and a climatization to hearing aids. Once you understand the process, study it a little bit first, you won’t be as apprehensive and it will help you out.

Ben Thompson, AuD

Thank you so much, guys. This is Dr. Stephani rose in California. Please check her out. So happy to feature your work. This has been episode eight of the pure tinnitus and hearing podcast make sure to check out the other episodes where I interview some professionals, whether they are tinnitus experts, hearing loss experts, researchers, different perspectives to help educate those who are looking for help with hearing loss or tinnitus. Thanks so much, guys. Bye bye.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist in California and founder of Pure Tinnitus. Dr. Thompson has a comprehensive knowledge of tinnitus management. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology. Via telehealth, Dr. Thompson provides services to patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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