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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.
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.
There are 2 main decisions when choosing hearing aids:
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.
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.
Siemens RIC aids offer excellent sound quality, a rechargeable option, and a smart phone app with the new Spatial Configurator.
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.
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.
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.
Our office can also provide you with custom-fit ear plugs to protect your hearing. Styles include plugs fit especially for hunters and musicians.
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.
Helpful Hints For The Listener
Helpful Hints For The Speaker