Dr. Mary L. Frintner, owner and audiologist at Burbank Audiology Center, has been selected as a finalist in the 2022 Oticon Focus on People Awards, a national competition recognizing individuals who are helping to change perceptions of what it means to live with hearing loss.

You can cast Your Vote Online at Oticon.com/FOP now through Nov. 4! If she wins, Dr. Frintner will donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

How the Contest Works

Leading hearing solutions manufacturer Oticon, Inc. created the national awards program to honor hearing impaired students, adults and advocacy volunteers who drive awareness and understanding that can change attitudes and open doors of opportunity for all people with hearing loss.

Dr. Frintner is one of three finalists in the Practitioner category, recognizing hearing care experts who share a passion for making the world a better place for people with hearing loss through their professional, volunteer, cultural and civic endeavors.

The total number of votes each finalist receives will help determine who will be the first, second and third place winners in each category.

About Dr. Frintner

In 30-plus years of practicing audiology, Dr. Frintner has strongly advocated for children who experience hearing loss. That passion extends to the care they receive in her practice, Burbank Audiology Center, and beyond – through a program she established called “Listen through Literacy.”

Many of her patients are children from low-income households. To encourage families to read to their children to develop a love of reading and build literacy, all children that come to her practice can choose a book to take home. Dr. Frintner recently fitted 10-year-old Lev and his nine-year-old sister Vlada, refugees from war-torn Ukraine, with hearing aids and provided them with books, backpacks, lunch bags and all the school supplies they need to be ready to learn.

Voting for Dr. Frintner is open now through Nov. 4 at Oticon.com/FOP.  Winners will be announced in early 2023.

Burbank Audiology Center’s Dr. Mary Frintner has been featured in a local online publication for her heartfelt gift to two Ukrainian siblings in need.

In July, Rick Assad from the local online news outlet MyBurbank.com reported on in the gift and Dr. Frintner’s commitment to quality, passionate care as the owner of Burbank Audiology Center. As the article states, “10-year-old Lev Nuzhnykh and his nine-year-old sister Vlada, refugees from war-torn Ukraine, were fitted with hearing aids that will enhance their lives.”

“We provide help to those with hearing and balance disorders. My job is to find solutions for difficulties patients are having. That comes in many forms and might include some kind of hearing device,” Dr. Frintner said in her interview.

You can read more on the Ukrainian siblings’ journey and Dr. Frintner’s gift here.

After serving the La Canada and Foothills community since 2004, Balance and Hearing Resource Center has recently learned the building we are located in has been sold, and we are closing this location. While we are working on finding a long-term solution to remain in La Canada Flintridge, we are asking our Balance and Hearing Center patients to access their hearing health care services at our Burbank Audiology Center office, located at 2211 W. Magnolia Blvd., Suite 100, Burbank, CA 91506.

Effective January 1st, we will be closing the doors to our office at 1407 Foothill Blvd. Ste. 2, La Canada, CA 91011. You are welcome to continue to schedule appointments at this office till we close, but please take a moment to update your records for future communication and payments to our Burbank office address.

To schedule an appointment at our Burbank Audiology Center or find out more information about this transition, please contact our office at (818) 859-7730.

You can expect the same services and care at the Burbank office that you have received over the years from our team at Balance and Hearing Resource Center. Hearing testing for all ages; hearing aid evaluation, fitting, repair, and follow-up; and pediatric services are available at our Burbank Audiology Center location. Your medical records will continue to be available through our Burbank office as well, so there will be no disruption in your care or service.

We appreciate your flexibility and understanding during this transition. We can’t wait to be back in the La Canada and Foothills community serving patients, but until then, we would be honored to care for you at our Burbank office.


Best regards,

Mary L. Frintner, Au.D.

Doctor of Audiology



Going out to dinner with friends and loved ones is an enjoyable social experience. But for those with hearing loss, a casual get-together can be stressful. Follow the steps outlined below to ensure your next dinner out will be free of frustration for you and your guests.

Select the Right Restaurant

noisy restaurant

Picking a quiet place to eat is key. Unfortunately, many have excessive background noise and tables that are too close together, creating an atmosphere where it is nearly impossible to have a conversation. Try asking friends for recommendations and reading online reviews. Many review platforms now include loudness ratings. Crowdsourcing apps with decibel measurements are available on your smartphone, such as SoundPrint and iHearU.

While researching, make sure to look at pictures of the decor. Places with classic designs featuring carpet, drapes, cushioned seats and table cloths are typically quieter, as the fabric helps absorb sound. Trendy restaurants often feature hardwood floors, mirrors and metal surfaces that reflect the noise, making sounds louder.

Select the Right Table

When making a reservation, let them know you wear hearing aids, and ask to be seated at a quiet table. One in a corner or beside a wall is best as the wall provides a barrier between you and the restaurant noise. You’ll also want your table to be far away from the kitchen.

A round table makes group conversations easier, as people are positioned to face you while they speak. Their voices are projected toward the center of the table and their faces are visible, which helps with lip reading.

Don’t be afraid to ask to be moved if you are seated at a table that does not meet your requirements.

Select the Right Time

Even the quietest restaurant can be loud during its busy times. Eating on the other side of the lunch and dinner rushes gives you the best chances of having a conversation you can actually hear.

If you are one of only a few guests, the staff may be more willing to turn down the house music upon request.

Select the Right Guests

Going out to eat with a large group is difficult. Try limiting your guest lists to less than six. If you do find yourself out with a large group, focus on having conversations with those seated around you, rather than someone on the other side of the table.

When choosing a seat, opt for one in the center of the group, with those you have the hardest time hearing, like women and children, directly across from you. If you cannot hear a conversation you need to be a part of, don’t be shy about asking to change seats.

There is a growing number of assistive listening devices that pair with your hearing aid to help amplify speech in difficult listening environments. Cellphone apps like speech-to-text are also beneficial in this situation.

Contact your Burbank Audiology hearing specialist to learn more about overcoming listening challenges and enjoying your time out with friends and family.

More Information on hearing loss here:

Individuals with osteoporosis in Burbank must contend with fragile bones that make the possibility of a fracture or other serious injury more likely. A little-known side effect of the bone disease is hearing loss.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

x-ray of a hand

Osteoporosis is a bone density disease that causes weakened, fragile bones that can break easily. It affects an estimated 54 million Americans and can strike at any age but is most common in those aged 50 and older. Around half of all women and 25 percent of men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis.

Low bone mass is the most serious complication from osteoporosis. This increases the risk of substantial bone loss and fractures; the hips, spine and wrist are most susceptible. The majority of these fractures are the result of falls, but in some cases, minor bumps – or even something as seemingly innocent as a sneeze – can lead to a broken bone. Other side effects of osteoporosis include a stooped or hunched posture as a result of height loss; limited mobility; isolation and depression. Sadly, 20 percent of elderly patients in Burbank who break a hip will end up dying of complications from their fracture within a year.

Another complication of osteoporosis, one that few ever think of, is hearing loss.

How Low Bone Density Affects the Ears

When sound waves enter your ear canal, they strike the eardrum, a thin membrane attached to a trio of tiny bones in the middle ear called the ossicles. Because the disease weakens bones, the ossicles can be affected, too; damage to these bones may result in hearing loss. One such bone of the ossicles — the stapes — is one of the smallest bones in the human body, making it particularly susceptible to fracture.

Other Risks of Osteoporosis

When hearing loss occurs as a result of osteoporosis, it can come on suddenly. One recent study examined 10,000 patients with osteoporosis and found they were 76 percent more likely to develop sudden sensorineural hearing loss compared to individuals without the bone disease. They are also more likely to experience tinnitus, a ringing or other phantom sound in the ears.

Due to the seriousness of bone fractures, anybody over the age of 50 who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis should receive annual hearing screenings, according to your Burbank audiologist. This is especially important in elderly patients, whose risk of experiencing a fall is already higher.

Learn more about Hearing Loss

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays—especially when that home is filled with the mouth-watering aroma of turkey roasting in the oven. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when families gather to celebrate, and often marks the rare occasion when people from near and far find themselves together in the same room. Over the river and through the woods, right? If you’re expecting a family member with hearing loss in Burbank this year, you might want to consider using the holidays as an opportunity to discuss their hearing.

Untreated Hearing Loss is Dangerous

Felt turkey Thanksgiving decoration

Hearing loss is a widespread problem, not only in California but across the country. About 20 percent of Burbank residents experience hearing impairment to some degree, but many are either unaware of the problem or unwilling to acknowledge it. Hearing loss develops gradually, making symptoms difficult to recognize, but the progressive nature of the disease means it will only get worse. Ignoring it solves nothing, and puts your long-term health at risk. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to physical, social and psychological side effects that include isolation, anxiety, depression, dementia, kidney disease and falls. The sooner it’s diagnosed, the better your odds of treating it successfully.

Often, a family member is the first to recognize a hearing problem in their loved one. Talking with them about this is important, but it’s a touchy subject for many. Finding the right time and place to have a serious discussion about their health is tricky. Choosing to do so when there are a lot of people willing to offer their support may help the person with hearing loss feel more comfortable. Your Burbank audiologist believes Thanksgiving or Christmas are ideal times to bring up the issue, as long as it is done with tact and diplomacy.

Be Prepared for a Serious Discussion

You really don’t know how your loved one with hearing loss will react when you mention their problem. They might not think there is an issue, or they could become defensive or angry about it. We all want to avoid confrontation, but remember, talking to somebody about hearing loss is a sign that you love them and care about their health. Prepare for your talk ahead of time and you’ll help ensure the encounter is positive. Try the following:

  • Do your homework. Learning as much as you can about hearing loss before sitting down with a loved one will show them you have studied up on the topic and will allow you to answer any questions they have. Familiarize yourself with statistics, symptoms, causes and treatments.
  • Choose the right time and place. It’s not a good idea to ask your loved one to pass the mashed potatoes and follow that up with, “By the way, I’ve noticed your hearing isn’t great.” Your initial conversation should take place in private, before other guests have arrived. This prevents your loved one from being put on the spot and gives them time to digest what you have said. If they are receptive and willing to open up, they’ll have the support of family and friends later on.
  • Be ready for defensiveness. It can be hard to accept the fact that your health isn’t optimal. Taking a defensive stance is natural; your loved one might feel that you are critical over the fact that they haven’t addressed the issue themselves or sought out treatment. The best thing you can do is assure them that hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by and certainly not their fault; let them know that you are speaking with them out of love and concern.
  • Focus on the positive aspects of treatment. With so many negative impacts of hearing loss, let your loved one know that treatment will make communication easier and lower their risks of developing health-related complications, potentially adding years to their life! If they are concerned about wearing hearing aids, let them know that today’s digital devices are discreet, comfortable and offer excellent sound quality.
  • Be supportive. Whether your loved one responds positively or negatively, let them know that you are there to support them throughout their hearing journey. Remind them that their friends and family will have their back, as well.
  • Listen. Above all else, don’t dominate the conversation; your loved one is sure to have lots of feedback. Let them talk through all their thoughts and concerns without interrupting, and ask questions to encourage them to keep talking.

If you would like more information about hearing loss prior to opening a dialogue with a loved one, reach out to your Burbank audiologist. They are happy to help prepare you for a difficult talk.

Burbank residents with hearing loss are more likely to experience a variety of physical, social and psychological health problems, especially if they don’t seek treatment for their impairment. The risks are well-documented, though some are more surprising than others. The link between hearing loss and loneliness is one such example.

The Health Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

man holding up a sad face

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical health condition in the U.S.; only arthritis and heart disease affect more people.

An estimated 48 million Americans experience hearing loss to some degree—that’s about 20 percent of the population. Hearing aids provide benefit to most patients, but surprisingly few use them. Only about one out of every five older adults with hearing loss in Burbank who would be helped by hearing aids actually wears them.

According to JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, this puts 23 million people with untreated hearing loss at risk.

What does untreated hearing loss increase the risk of over 10 years?

  • 50 percent more likely to experience dementia
  • 40 percent more likely to suffer from depression
  • 30 percent more likely to sustain a fall

How long does it take people to seek treatment?

The reasons for skipping treatment vary. Because hearing loss tends to develop gradually and the brain does a remarkable job of filling in the gaps, many people don’t even realize they are suffering from a hearing impairment. It takes the average patient seven years from the onset of their hearing loss to seek treatment.

Why doesn’t everyone get treated for hearing loss?

Knowledge is power, but even those who are aware of their hearing problem often choose to ignore it. Some fear the stigma associated with hearing aids, believing that wearing them will make them look older.

Hint: constantly saying “what?” or asking others to repeat themselves won’t exactly make you appear young! There may be doubt about the effectiveness of hearing aids, and the cost proves to be a barrier for some.

Unfortunately, few health plans offer coverage for hearing treatment, Medicare included. While some of these are valid concerns, not taking the steps to treat your hearing loss is like playing Russian roulette with your health.

The strain associated with following conversations in social settings makes many people withdraw from their favorite activities. Isolation is common in those with hearing loss, and this leads to loneliness; a recent Dutch study found that every decibel drop in hearing perception for people younger than 70 corresponded with a seven percent increase in severe loneliness.

The effects of untreated hearing loss get worse over time

The more severe your hearing loss, the more debilitating loneliness becomes. It often leads to additional health problems such as stress, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

Individuals suffering from loneliness related to hearing loss have a 40 percent higher likelihood of developing dementia and their risks of dying prematurely for any reason go up by 26 percent. This has led some health experts to compare the effects of social isolation to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

How are hearing loss and dementia connected?

Nobody is quite sure how hearing loss, loneliness and dementia are all interconnected, but there are theories. Loneliness causes an increase in stress hormones and inflammation, two factors that are associated with dementia.

Also, the lack of brain stimulation caused by a withdrawal from social activities can hasten cognitive decline. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University are currently in the midst of a study (slated for completion in 2022) that is looking into whether treating hearing loss can delay or prevent cognitive impairment and cut down on loneliness.

If you suspect you have hearing loss, don’t wait any longer to have your hearing tested.

One thing is certain: the earlier hearing loss is diagnosed, the greater your odds of preventing a variety of health complications. If you haven’t had a hearing evaluation in a while, schedule an appointment with a Burbank audiologist as soon as possible.

Learn More About Hearing Loss

Essential oils have been popular in Burbank for years. People use them to help reduce stress and anxiety, aid in digestion or just to make their homes smell good. Their purported health benefits are numerous; some swear essential oils can even help reverse hearing and balance disorders. Is there any truth to these claims?

The Long History of Essential Oils

essential oil on a table with plants

Essential oils are liquid concentrates derived from a wide variety of plants—usually herbs and fruit. Hundreds of fragrances can be extracted; popular ones include peppermint, lavender, tea tree oil, cedarwood, lemon and eucalyptus. Oils are distilled from many different parts of the plant including the leaves, flowers, roots, bark, seeds, berries and needles.

People have been using essential oils as a type of folk medicine for hundreds of years—as far back as the 12th century. Their use is on the rise again with modern-day Burbank residents who are looking for alternative medicine and natural remedies. Many believe essential oils promote positive well-being and can help with a range of health ailments. The oils are usually diffused, burned or rubbed into the skin. Believers swear they help do everything except make the bed! Specifically, they are alleged to:

  • Boost energy
  • Reduce stress
  • Aid digestion
  • Lower anxiety
  • Improve mood
  • Protect against infection
  • Relieve headaches, nausea and some skin conditions

Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA. This has led to some pretty far-out claims about their health benefits, but none has ever been proven. They won’t cause harm when used as directed, but there are dangers associated with improper use. Essential oils can cause skin irritation and other allergic reactions in some individuals. Ingesting them can cause a burning sensation and inflammation. Children and pregnant or nursing women should avoid using them.

Specific Hearing and Balance Claims

Proponents claim that cajeput oil, geranium oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil can help those with sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness) and helichrysum oil will ease symptoms associated with both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. There is no scientific evidence to back this up.

Cypress oil, ginseng oil, helichrysum oil, juniper oil, lavender oil, lilies oil, olive oil, onion oil, petitgrain oil, rehmannia oil and spotted orchis oil are said to reverse tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears. The reality is, tinnitus has no cure.

Individuals suffering from vertigo are told that basil oil, bergamot oil, bitter orange oil (neroli), CBD oil, clary sage oil, cypress oil, geranium oil, ginger oil, lavender oil, lemon balm oil, peppermint oil, rose oil, rosemary oil, tangerine oil or thyme oil will all help eliminate dizziness. Again, there is no truth to this.

People with ear infections are urged to try lavender oil, olive oil, tea tree oil, oregano oil, basil oil, thyme oil, bishop’s weed oil, peppermint oil, mustard oil and a mixture of sesame and castor oil to help fight off infection. Time (and in some cases, antibiotics) is the only proven cure.

It’s understandable to look for natural ways to treat your health, but the reality is, only a qualified hearing specialist can provide a solution that will work. If you are experiencing a hearing or balance problem, make an appointment with an audiologist in Burbank.

Children who visit the Burbank Audiology Center office will find a “book tree” full of engaging, exciting and educational reading opportunities. Dr. Frintner and her staff encourage young patients to choose a book from the shelves that sparks their interest and curiosity and take it home, free of charge. Not only does this give children something to look forward to during their visits to the office, but it also aids in relaxing the patients while an earmold impression is taken. We believe that through our book donation program, we are discouraging screen time at a young age, promoting literacy and increasing the positive effects of the literate thinking process.

According to the recent study, today’s clinicians and researchers are faced with a new generation of children with mild to severe hearing impairment. The study found these children typically have access to early identification, enhanced hearing technologies and early intervention. Researchers concluded that focus should broaden, to include multidimensional definitions of language and literacy. In addition, consideration should to be given to the ways in which language foundations are established to support children’s literacy and literate thinking processes. (Moeller 2007)

Hearing loss impacts language development, which impacts the development of reading skills. Research has found that competency in reading is based on competency in language and that children who have language delays as a result of hearing loss are at risk for serious reading deficiencies. (Carney and Moeller 1998)

With this in mind, Dr. Mary L. Frintner and the team at Burbank Audiology Center have been supporting the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles communities by partnering with teachers and professionals through a book donation program. Dr. Frintner works with teachers who are retiring and would like to donate books to support hearing impaired children’s literacy and literate thinking processes. Additionally, Burbank Audiology Center partners with a local realtor that receives books from homes that have sold.

10 Ways Families can Improve Their Child’s Reading Skills

  • Set aside a regular time to read to your children every day.

    Studies show that regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary and the decoding of words. Whether your children are preschoolers or preteens, it will increase their desire to read independently.

  • Surround your children with reading material.

    Children with a large array of reading materials in their homes score higher on standardized tests. Tempt your kids to read by having a large supply of appealing books and magazines at their reading level. Put the reading materials in cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms and even by the TV.

  • Have a family reading time.

    Establish a daily 15- to 30-minute time when everyone in the family reads together silently. Seeing you read will inspire your children to read. Just 15 minutes of daily practice is sufficient to increase their reading fluency.

  • Encourage a wide variety of reading activities.

    Make reading an integral part of your children’s lives. Have them read menus, roadside signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings, and other practical everyday information. Also, make sure they always have something to read in their spare time when they could be waiting for appointments or riding in a car.

  • Develop the library habit.

    Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.

  • Be knowledgeable about your children’s progress.

    Find out what reading skills they are expected to have at each grade level. The school’s curriculum will give you this information. Track their progress in acquiring basic reading skills on report cards and standardized tests.

  • Look for reading problems.

    Teachers do not always detect children’s reading problems until they’ve become serious. Find out if your children can sound out words, know sight words, use context to identify unknown words and clearly understand what they read.

  • Get help promptly for reading problems.

    Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. The earlier children receive help, the more likely they will become good readers. Make sure your children receive necessary help from teachers, tutors or learning centers as soon as you discover a problem.

  • Use a variety of aids to help your children.

    To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.

  • Show enthusiasm for your children’s reading.

    Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Be sure to give them genuine praise for their efforts.

  • If you have a child who is hearing impaired, we are here to help. In addition to our services, there are many resources for education and support that we can connect you with. Please contact our office at (818) 859-7730 to schedule an appointment.


    Carney, A. & Moeller, M. (1998). Treatment efficacy, hearing loss in children. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 41(1)
    Moeller, M. (2007). Current state of knowledge: language and literacy of children with hearing impairment.

    People with hearing loss in Burbank aren’t always aware of their condition, and this can lead to problems. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a variety of physical, psychological and social side effects. The sooner you recognize the signs, the more likely you are to avoid these potentially debilitating side effects.

    Hearing Loss Develops Gradually

    Red flag with help spelled out with matches

    Most cases of hearing loss in Burbank develop so gradually, it can be difficult to notice. The human brain is a remarkable organ; when hearing declines, it helps “fill in the blanks” by diverting cognitive resources from other areas such as memory and concentration. No wonder it takes an average of seven years from the onset of hearing loss for Burbank residents to seek medical treatment.

    Learning to spot the red flags will help protect you from many possible complications of untreated hearing loss—a list that includes anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression, isolation, social withdrawal, dementia, diabetes, kidney disease and an increased risk of falling.

    Look out for the following signs of hearing loss:

    • You frequently ask others to repeat themselves or say “huh?” a lot. It’s normal to miss a word of conversation here and there, but when it happens repeatedly, there’s probably more going on here. Unless everybody else has taken to mumbling—not a likely scenario—you may be experiencing early signs of hearing loss. If you think you can fool everybody by nodding your head and saying “yes” to something you haven’t  understood, you’re setting yourself up for embarrassment.
    • Family members are always asking you to turn down the volume on the TV. Look, we all agree that “The Golden Girls” is a great sitcom, but when Dorothy and Blanche are waxing over cheesecake so loudly it causes others in your household pain, your hearing is likely in decline.
    • You have trouble hearing women’s and children’s voices. We’re not talking about the type of “selective hearing” that occurs when your wife asks you to clean out the garage for the tenth time, but you’d rather watch football. High-pitched frequencies are usually the first to be affected, so if you find women and children harder to understand, you may be experiencing the beginning stages of hearing impairment.
    • You find it hard to communicate over noisy backgrounds. Bars and restaurants tend to be noisy, but if you find yourself struggling to hear throughout the entire meal, it’s possible your hearing may be going. If you find yourself struggling to hear throughout the entire meal and Barry Manilow is playing in the background, the odds that you’re experiencing hearing loss are even higher. Plus, you might want to rethink your dining choices.
    • You experience a ringing in your ears. Unless you’re standing next to a telephone, you shouldn’t notice a ringing in your ears. If you do, it’s likely tinnitus—an early sign of hearing loss. You might experience a roaring, whooshing, hissing, clicking, whistling or chirping sound instead. These are also signs that your hearing may be fading.
    • You find yourself avoiding social situations. We all have that one friend we dread getting an invite from, but if you find yourself declining to RSVP people you enjoy hanging out with, you might be avoiding the strain and fatigue caused by a constant struggle to hear.

    If any of these signs apply to you, schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation with a Burbank audiologist ASAP. The sooner hearing loss is treated, the less likely you are to experience long-term complications.