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HEARING AID SERVICES

More than 31 million Americans experience difficulty communicating on a daily basis due to hearing loss. If you find that everyone seems to mumble, you have to turn the television up, or family members tell you you're not hearing them, you may have hearing loss. If you do, our office can help you take the next step to selecting hearing aids. We will work with you from the beginning of the hearing aid selection process through your fitting, and also beyond that for any adjustments and maintenance, to provide you with the best hearing possible.



GETTING STARTED WITH HEARING AIDS

Hearing Aid Evaluation
We encourage you to come in for a detailed hearing aid evaluation appointment. Hearing aids come in a variety of styles and technology options. At the hearing aid evaluation the audiologist will make recommendations of which hearing aids will work best for you. We will explain each of the different styles of hearing aids and the technology options offered. We will also take into account your particular listening needs and other factors such as physical dexterity to determine what will benefit you most. There is no obligation to purchase hearing aids at this appointment and there is no charge for this appointment. Feel free to bring a friend or family member to any hearing aid appointment. We find that patients who have this support adjust better and are more successful with their hearing aids. The appointment usually lasts about 1 hour. Sometimes we can even fit you with demo hearing aids the same day!

Today's Hearing Aids
Hearing aids have changed a lot in recent years. New styles are more cosmetically appealing, more comfortable, and have made it possible for first time users with mild hearing loss to see more benefit. New technology provides hearing aid users with more features than ever before, even on lower priced aids. All of the hearing aids we fit today are digital, giving users the clearest sound possible and providing the audiologist with many adjustments to tailor the aids for the individual.

Sophisticated noise cancelling technology improves hearing in background noise and feedback cancellation eliminates annoying whistling. Aids function automatically so users don't have to make any adjustments for volume or background noise. For those who like to control the aids themselves, many aids even offer smart phone apps that act as a remote control. Streaming from your Bluetooth phone to your hearing aid is also available! Some hearing aids work with rechargeable batteries and some aids are even waterproof. Hearing aids can range in price from $1000 to $3000 each, depending which features and technology are selected.



SELECTING HEARING AIDS

There are 2 main decisions when choosing hearing aids:

  • What style, or size of hearing aids, will suit you best?
  • What level of technology will give you the options you need?

There are 5 different hearing aid styles. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages. Some of the styles will work better for certain types of losses. See below for a description and pictures of each of these styles.



HEARING AID STYLES

  1. Receiver-In-the-Canal (RIC)

    Hearing Aid RIC Receiver-In-the-Canal aids have a smaller, thinner behind-the-ear piece and a nearly invisible thin wire that fits down in the ear canal. A soft tip leaves your ear canal more open, which keeps you from feeling plugged up. These aids are ideal for high frequency hearing loss. They do not require a custom impression and are typically easy to keep clean. They are more susceptible to moisture just like a traditional BTE. The thin tubing can make insertion difficult for people with poor dexterity.

  2. Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

    Hearing Aid BTE Behind-the-Ear aids fit over your ear and are connected to a mold that fits in your ear. Some people find this soft mold more comfortable than the hard plastic of the in-the-ear styles. These aids have the fewest repairs due to wax, but are more susceptible to moisture damage. They offer the strongest amplification possible. These aids can be more difficult to insert because there are two parts to get in place.

  3. Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

    Hearing Aid CIC Completely-in-the-Canal hearing aids are the least visible aids. They fit deep in your ear canal and have a small wire used to remove them. Because they fit deeper in your ear they can give some people a stuffed-up, full feeling. They also tend to require the most maintenance and repairs because they are exposed to more wax with the deeper fit. Some features are not available on this style because of the limited space. These aids can also be more difficult to handle for people with poor dexterity due to the small size.

  4. In-the-Canal (ITC)

    Hearing Aid ITC In-the-Canal hearing aids are still small, but sit just outside the ear canal. All features and controls are available on this style.






  5. In-the-Ear (ITE)

    Hearing Aid ITE In-the-Ear hearing aids fill up most of the bowl-like area of your ear. They are usually the easiest aids to handle for people with poor dexterity.

Each of these hearing aid styles is available in different levels of technology. The following offers a brief explanation of the different technology options. At your hearing aid evaluation the audiologist will help you determine which technology is best for your hearing loss and your lifestyle.

Premium

  • Most sophisticated sound processing available
  • Fastest processing speed for best sound possible
  • Largest number of adjustments available to the audiologist for programming
  • Automatically adjusts for up to 6 different listening environments
  • Extra emphasis for high frequency sounds where most people have the greatest hearing loss
  • Most sophisticated background noise reduction
  • Best wind noise reduction
  • Best localization of sound
  • Best feedback control
  • Best sound quality for music
  • Best aids for people in a large variety of difficult listening situations, especially large noisy groups

Advanced

  • Large number of adjustments available to the audiologist for programming
  • Automatically adjusts for 3 different listening environments
  • Significant background noise reduction
  • Better wind noise reduction
  • Better localization of sound
  • Better feedback control
  • Good choice for people regularly in moderately noisy situations

Standard

  • Uses simpler sound processing strategies
  • Fewer adjustments available to the audiologist for programing
  • Automatically adjusts for quiet and noise
  • Users may need to make some manual adjustments
  • Appropriate for people who are mostly in quiet environments

Basic

  • Increases the volume based on the hearing loss
  • Limited adjustments available to the audiologist for programming
  • Limited noise reduction
  • Users typically need to manually adjust aids to control volume



A FEW OF OUR FAVORITES

Siemens RIC aids offer excellent sound quality, a rechargeable option, and a smart phone app with the new Spatial Configurator.

Favorite

Resound aids also offer excellent sound quality, along with Made for iPhone technology and easy to use accessories like the TV Streamer and Multi Mic.

Favorite



ADDITIONAL HEARING AID INFORMATION

Hearing Aid Fitting and Follow-Up
After we have determined which style of hearing aids and which level of technology will suit you best, we will order the hearing aids. If necessary, impressions of your ears will be taken. A fitting appointment will be set up, usually for around 2 weeks later. RIC style aids may be able to be fit sooner, sometimes even at the Hearing Aid Evaluation appointment. The hearing aids will be programmed through the computer to fit your hearing loss. We will also explain how to use and care for the aids, as well as practice with them. You will always see the audiologist for at least one follow-up visit, and more if needed. Sometimes adjustments have to be made to the initial settings. It can also take some time for the ears and the brain to get used to the new sound.

Payment Policies
No deposit is due when we order the hearing aids. Payment in full is required at the time you take the hearing aids home. Major credit cards are accepted and financing is available through Care Credit. A 30-day trial period begins at this time, which will allow you to wear your hearing aids in your everyday environment. If you are unable to adapt to wearing your hearing aids within the trial period and after any necessary adjustments have been made, you may return the undamaged hearing aids for a refund. The cost of the hearing aids will be refunded within 30 days of the return, minus a $100 charge for our time and services. RIC style aids that do not require a custom impression may be eligible for a 2 week, no money down trial.

Maintenance and Warranty Information
Hearing aids require periodic maintenance. Unlimited office visits with the audiologist are provided at no charge for the life of the hearing aids. This includes cleaning, programming adjustments and minor repairs made in the office. All hearing aids also come with a standard warranty, which covers any repairs that require the hearing aids to be sent back to the manufacturer. This initial warranty also covers a one-time loss and damage replacement per aid, with a nominal deductible. Extended warranties can also be purchased. All hearing aids require batteries, which can be purchased from our office, or at any store with a pharmacy. Batteries can also be ordered from our website’s audiology store and will be mailed to your home.

Important Note
It is important to note that hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, nor do they provide the same benefits to all users. Keep in mind that one person's hearing loss may differ greatly from another. This makes it hard to compare how you will do with hearing aids based on a friend or relative's experience. Also, the same hearing aids that work great for your neighbor, may not work well at all for you, or may not even be appropriate for your particular hearing loss. Hearing aids are assistive devices which work to provide increased volume in different listening situations. Unfortunately, they cannot restore clarity. Also, no hearing aid can completely eliminate background noise. Even with the best technology, noisy situations will always be harder than quiet situations. In addition, keep in mind that hearing aids are only one part of the solution. Even with hearing aids, most people will do better if the speaker speaks slower, more clearly, and directly to the listener. Despite all of this, with the proper adjustments, hearing aids can make communication easier for most users.



OTHER SERVICES

Hearing Protection
Our office can also provide you with custom-fit ear plugs to protect your hearing. Styles include plugs fit especially for hunters and musicians.

Assistive Devices
There is a wide variety of assistive technology available for people with hearing loss. Some of these include amplified telephones and alarm clocks, as well as specialized devices for smoke alarms and the television.



COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES

Helpful Hints For The Listener

  • Watch the person speaking. We all lip read more than we realize. Also pay close attention to facial expressions, gestures and body language.
  • Try to arrive early to large group functions so you can sit at the front of the room, closer to the person speaking. Position yourself in the best place to hear AND see the speaker.
  • When you have a choice, sit away from noisy areas, such as the kitchen or main traffic area in a restaurant.
  • Try to limit conversations to smaller groups whenever possible.
  • Double-check key details such as addresses or phone numbers to verify that you heard them correctly.
  • Tell the speaker which part you missed rather than only saying „what„.
  • Position yourself to take advantage of good lighting. Have the light come from behind you to avoid glare on the speaker's face.
  • Remember that hearing in noisy places is a problem for ALL listeners, regardless of their hearing.
  • Don't hesitate to inform the speaker that you have hearing loss and suggest what he or she can do to help you hear better.
  • Don't be afraid to ask people to repeat or speak louder.

Helpful Hints For The Speaker

  • Get the person's attention before speaking.
  • Don't talk to someone from another room, wait until you are in the same room.
  • Don't try to talk to the person with the water running or TV turned up loud, eliminate extra noise in the room before speaking.
  • Speaking slower and more clearly sometimes helps more than speaking louder.
  • Rephrase rather than repeat when something is not understood.
  • Don't put objects in front of your face or chew gum while speaking.



Providers
Jacques Herzog, M.D.
Craig Buchman, M.D.
Carolyn Bequette, MS, CCC-A
Susan Rathgeb, MS, CCC/A
Lydia Beyer, Au.D., CCC-A

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