There are many differences in technology. Primarily, the difference is in the sound clarity. Digital sound is much clearer, often described as that of a CD as compared to a 331/3 LP record. Another difference: digital hearing aids are completely automatic. For instance, a person wearing digital may not have to make any adjustments while sitting in a noisy restaurant, whereas programmables would have to be adjusted for that particular environment. Digitals also come with directional microphones to capture incoming sounds more accurately, and in most cases, provide better feedback cancellation and noise reduction than programmable hearing aids.
Whether you wear hearing aids or not, it is a good policy to have your hearing checked at least once a year. Everyone loses their hearing as they age, especially those of us who work in high-risk areas. We also live in noisy environments, including traffic or other background noises that affect our hearing. If you wear hearing aids and you experience a change in your usual hearing ability, then see your audiologist for a screening. You could very well need an upgrade to your current hearing aids or simply need an adjustment.
Many health insurance companies do cover all types of hearing aids, however, some have certain restrictions on the type and amount of cost covered. Generally, the type of hearing aid that is most suitable to your hearing loss is a decision made between you and your audiologist. We are proud to serve many insurance plans’ membership. We also conduct educational luncheon seminars, for FREE, where insurance plan members can ask questions about the many choices in hearing aid technology. Even if your plan doesn’t cover digital, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a suitable technology that your plan may cover. Call us to find out what is available!
Today, we have more choices in selecting the best hearing aid for the most appropriate hearing benefit. Since the introduction of digital technology, many hearing aid manufacturers have come out with a 100% digital instrument. The technology is expected to last longer because microchips are more durable and resilient than before.
Manufacturers have listened and responded to the needs of audiologists and their patients by developing hearing aids that have a number of improved features. Those features include smaller microchips, increased power, optional volume controls or completely automatic hearing aids, cosmetically appealing hearing aids for certain lifestyle needs, and a wide price range from top-of-the-line to those instruments with moderate features.
If your wife is experiencing these problems, chances are she requires two hearing aids. Although not everyone requires two hearing aids, we find that most people receive greater improvement to their hearing. This is referred to as binaural (two) versus monaural (one) hearing. There are several reasons why you should perhaps buy another hearing aid for your wife:
- The ability to locate the source of the sound is greatly improved with two hearing aids
- Receiving sound in both ears reduces the need to turn the “good” ear towards the source
- In order for the central nervous system to “sort out” speech from noise effectively, input from both sides of the head is needed
- Better reception means better understanding of quiet or soft spoken sounds
- Better quality of sound means better quality of life
A licensed and certified audiologist will work with you in finding the most appropriate hearing aids. Today, there are several generations of digital technology, all of which offer many choices at many different prices. Hearing aid companies have developed this technology so it is available to almost everyone. You’ll hear the difference with digital!
I once saw a nightly news story, which cited a report by the National Council on Aging on the health concerns facing the middle-aged and senior populations. One of those was hearing loss. My husband just turned fifty. The past few years I've noticed him asking people to repeat themselves. He says "What?" or "Excuse me, what did you say?" He denies having a hearing problem and, as he puts it, refuses to wear "that thing behind the ear." What are our options?
It is not unusual for people with hearing loss to deny a hearing problem exists. In fact, just the other day a man in his forties came into our office complaining that he had trouble hearing in certain situations and wanted his ears cleaned. “Nothing more than a cleaning,” he said. “It’s probably just ear wax. We performed a video otoscopy exam looking inside the ear canal and found no obstructive wax. A subsequent hearing exam revealed that this gentleman had a mild hearing loss. In about an hour, we fit him with a hearing device designed specifically for mild, high frequency hearing loss.
We want people to recognize that if they or a loved one suspects a hearing problem, there are numerous choices in hearing aid technology to improve their ability to hear better. There is no question that technology has changed the way we live. Technology also has changed the way we think about hearing loss.
There is no question that selling products over the Internet, known as “e-commerce,” is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s not surprising that hearing aids have been added to those “cyber-shelves.” They may be advertised as discount hearing aids, but many web sites require you to go to a hearing aid office anyway to have an ear mold made of your ear. This surely is not covered in the cost of the Internet hearing aid, and you will also incur costs for fitting and programming. You should be asking just how important is service and follow-up care.
When we recommend and provide you with a hearing aid in our office, we are committed to managing your hearing needs for life. Internet hearing aids are often limited to one style or one technology. We offer a complete line of hearing aid technology from the traditional analog to fully digital in a wide price range to fit both your lifestyle as well as your budgetary needs. The Internet is a tremendous resource for learning about new hearing aid technology. Many sites have wonderful web stores where you can buy batteries, TV amplifiers, telephones, and other accessories at rock-bottom prices. We believe this is how the Internet operates in the best interest and best service to you, the consumer.
Yes, if you provide certain preventative maintenance. The newer 100% digital hearing aids are less likely to breakdown; however, much of that also depends on the type of breakdown you are talking about. In my thirty-plus years that we’ve been practicing audiology, our patients have brought us hearing aids that have been chewed-on, stepped on, and even accidentally blended in a blender. The most common repair is for corrosion caused by perspiration, wax or dust build-up. We recommend and sell Dri-Aid or Dry & Store kits which remove moisture and sanitize your hearing aids. It’s a small investment compared to what you’ll pay for unexpected breakdowns. There are minor repairs that we take care of in our office. Generally those repairs cost much less and are done while you wait or within 24 hours.
It is also to your advantage to have an extended warranty. The newer digital technology is much more resilient than technology of old and less likely to breakdown, but it still needs maintenance and may require repair at some point. We recommend having your hearing aids checked at least twice a year whether they be digital, programmable, or analog technology.
Yes. The first thing has already been done and that is someone, himself, a family member or loved one, has recognized that a hearing problem exists. A study, released by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), cited hearing loss as “one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the Untied States.” It stated that hearing loss affects more than nine million Americans over age 65 and 10 million between the ages of 45 to 64, many of whom do not use hearing aids but should. The consequences of hearing loss include emotional withdrawal, social isolation, distressed relationships, limitation of activity, reduced productivity or even job loss, and a general lack of interest and participation in everyday life. This is exactly what you are describing about your dad. He is fortunate to have those around who love him enough to recognize that a problem exists. The second is to get him in to see an audiologist for a hearing assessment. It costs very little and may be covered by insurance. The hearing evaluation usually takes less than 45 minutes. More importantly, if he needs amplification for his hearing loss, you can assure him that there are many different styles and levels of technology to choose from. That leads us to the third thing; going over all of the choices he has in improving his hearing. The beauty of today’s more advanced technology is that there are now hearing aids for every level of hearing loss priced from less than $1000. And should his hearing change in years to come, we can make adjustments right here in our office. That is our commitment to helping him maintain the highest level of hearing throughout his life.
A hearing loss is a communication loss and you communicate with two or more people. During your appointment, you are given quite a bit of information and sometimes family members also have questions they would like answered. There are also tests that can be done to show your family members what your particular hearing loss sounds like. We can also offer your family member a free screening of their hearing. Just let us know when you schedule your appointment.
The average new patient appointment is scheduled for an hour. We will be sending you out a packet of information to fill out at home and bring with you to your appointment. Included in this packet of information is a Hearing Health Questionnaire. The audiologist will go over all of the information in that questionnaire with you. You will then be given the appropriate hearing tests in our sound proof booth. After all testing, you will be taken back to the audiologist’s office and given all of the test results along with their recommendations. Time is also allowed for making sure that all of your questions are answered.
If you choose a custom, in-the-ear style hearing aid, it may take up to 2 weeks before you get your hearing aid. However, we now carry open-fit style hearing aids that you may wear out of the office that day.
Hearing aid prices vary greatly depending on your needs and preferences. We look at factors including hearing loss, typical daily listening situation, cosmetics, and physical limitations and then we offer you a range of options to fit every budget.
An audiologist has earned either a master’s degree or a doctorate from a university. That means they have had 6-8 years of college-level education in the study of hearing, hearing aids, and balance disorders. A hearing aid dispenser, on the other hand, is required only to have a high school diploma and pass a state examination to sell hearing aids. An audiologist will generally have the letters CCC-A or FAAA following their name. That indicates that they have national certification as an audiologist. They will also have earned a Master’s degree – and many today have earned their Doctoral degree – so they will display “AUD” after their name. A hearing aid dispenser may have the credentials BC-HIS after their name. This designator generally indicates that the individual is NOT an audiologist.
That whistling or ringing is acoustic feedback. It happens when amplified sound leaks out of the receiver (speaker) of the hearing aid, gets back into the microphone, and then gets re-amplified. Some things that can cause a hearing aid to whistle include wax in the ears, poor fit of the hearing aid, malfunction of the hearing aid, volume that is turned too high, or a hearing aid that is not properly placed into the ear. Hearing aids should not whistle continuously. If this is happening on a regular basis, the patient needs to make an appointment to see the audiologist.
Today’s hearing aids are very high tech and can do a lot of the “thinking” for you. They can monitor your environment, adjust their own volume, and decrease feedback. They can even control reverberation and some background sounds. However, you can also choose a hearing aid that you can adjust yourself, if you prefer. Controls can be placed right on the hearing aid or on a remote control…even a wristwatch!
The average hearing aid user replaces their hearing aid about once every five years. This is due to three main factors. In that time, hearing losses usually change, technology improves, and older hearing aids begin to break down too often (like an old car). If you hearing aids are 4 or more years old and you are disappointed with them, it may be time to come in for an evaluation.