Tagged: audiologist

Which Technology Is Best For You?

July 4, 2016

I hate it when I purchase something and it has so many buttons, bells and whistles that half of them go unused. I just want the thing to work. It can be sparkly. It can be pretty to look at. But really, I want to know that my money was well spent and that the thing does what it’s supposed to. I think that people with hearing loss want the same thing from their hearing aids. Manufacturers can talk all day about the new sound processing or the latest microchip or the “best in class” this or that, but when it comes down to it, people really just want to know one thing: Does it work?

IMG_0644Don’t get me wrong, there are many great features available in hearing aids today. The technology advancements in the past several years have been truly amazing. Manufacturers truly have listened to their customers and have worked hard to give people what they want in a hearing aid. The main goal of any technology, though, is to improve hearing and make it as easy to do so in as many environments as possible.

So, how do you know what features (i.e., “bells and whistles”) you should be looking for in a hearing aid? Are there some features that are more important than others? You might be surprised to hear that it is actually more important to work with well-informed audiologist than to worry about the features in the hearing aid you purchase. It really doesn’t matter if your hearing aid has all the latest and greatest features if you don’t need them or want them. What your audiologist will do when you first meet with her or him is discuss what difficulties you are experiencing and in what situations you’d like to hear better. You will need to place your trust in your audiologist to be able to openly discuss the difficulties you have been experiencing with your hearing loss and the communication difficulties it has created for you. Being open and frank about the impact your hearing loss has on your spouse, your family and friends, as well as your performance at work is critical to your success. Then, using the information obtained from diagnostic testing, the audiologist will determine what hearing aid and what features will best suit both your hearing loss and your needs and wants.

Placing your trust in someone you’ve just met is a difficult thing to do. You may have a bad experience in the past that makes you want to be cautious. You should be cautious. By all means, do your homework before you choose your audiologist. Talk to your doctor about who they recommend. Ask your friends or family members who they see. Look at the audiologist’s website to see what their educational background is. Are they professional? Does what they say about themselves and their clinic fit with what you are looking for? Do they give you a clear reason why you should select them? What sets them apart from the other professionals in the area? Is their website an information resource?

In the end, the hearing aid technology itself will be successful for you when you work alongside an audiologist who is interested in working together as a team and who is dedicated to your success. Don’t get bogged down in the many choices hearing aids offer today. Make an appointment with your audiologist and trust that he or she is going to find the very best choice for you. You’ll be glad you did.

Finding the Best Hearing Aid For You

June 20, 2016

 
You want the best hearing aid available, and for good reason. The investment in hearing aids in both time and hard-earned money is significant. When you make your final decision on which hearing aid to purchase, you want it to be the best decision and one that is a solid investment for years to come. The truth is, there really is no single product that is best for everyone. Finding the best product for your hearing loss, your lifestyle and your needs requires that you to take some time to consider several key factors before moving forward. Once you have done so, you will find it much easier to make a well-informed decision; one that benefits both your hearing loss and your pocket book.

The first key factor to consider has nothing at all to do with the hearing aids themselves but with the choice of provider. The person you choose to work with to select and program the hearing aids is almost more important than the choice of which hearing aid to purchase. You are going to be spending time with this person for years to come! It is important that it is someone you feel comfortable around and someone you can communicate with. You will need to trust this professional to be able to discuss the difficulties you have been experiencing with your hearing loss and the communication difficulties it has created for you. Being open and frank about the impact your hearing loss has on your spouse, your family and friends, as well as your performance at work is critical to your success.

The second key factor is weighing price versus performance. The goal is to find a high-quality hearing aid that offers affordable pricing for the most effective solution. So, how do you find such a hearing aid? The answer again lies with the professional you choose to work with. You can easily find information about manufacturers and the different models of hearing aids they offer by searching online. There are also many different consumer forums online offering personal opinions and experiences. But that’s actually one of the problems. There is almost too MUCH information to be found online. Who do you trust? Which manufacturer is best? What technology is right for you? When you want to find the best hearing aid for you, your lifestyle and hearing needs, the best place to start is with an audiologist you trust. Your audiologist’s job is to take what he or she knows about you from your hearing evaluation and from interviewing you about your needs and wants and then use that information to narrow down your choices from the thousands available to a much more manageable and understandable choice of several instruments to consider. The audiologist will then explain to you the pluses and minuses of each choice to help you reach your final decision.

For most of us, the cost of the hearing aids is a major concern. No one wants to spend more than they have to. You simply want the best possible solution for a reasonable price. Price itself can vary widely and depends on the features available in the hearing aid and the “package” the hearing aids come with. If you are “shopping around,” make sure that you are comparing apples to apples when considering pricing. You may find that one clinic charges significantly more for the same product as a clinic you’ve recently visited. The cost difference could simply be the “package” the hearing aids come with. Questions you should be asking are:

• What’s included with my hearing aids?
• Are batteries provided?
• What is the warranty coverage?
• Is there a deductible if I lose a hearing aid?
• What services are included?

You can buy cheap, generic hearing aids, of course, but you won’t get the quality that you deserve and you might possibly receive less-than-effective care. You don’t have to pay a lot for quality, but you should never settle for a cheap model just because of the price. To make sure you get the best hearing aid for your hearing loss for the best price, work with someone you trust. A well-educated and reputable audiologist may cost a little more, but in the end, you’ll find that you are satisfied with your purchase because ultimately, the most expensive hearing aids are the ones that sit in the side-table drawer, untouched.

The Benefits of Hearing Aids

April 18, 2016

 
When you’ve discovered that you have permanent hearing loss and the only solution is amplification, the next step is finding the best solution that will provide you with the greatest benefit. But getting the best benefit from hearing aids isn’t just about the sound quality or the “bells and whistles” the technology provides. The greatest benefit truly is in the changes you’ll see in what really matters: connecting to life and connecting to people.

Enhance Your Quality of Life
Untreated hearing loss can cause you to pull away from the things you love the most. You may not want to be involved in group situations anymore because it’s too difficult to hear and understand. Or, you might not do some of the things you love to do because you know you’ll have trouble hearing. Removing yourself from the daily activities you enjoy can cause depression, anxiety, isolation, and a host of other unpleasant emotions. The truth of the matter is, hearing aids improve the lives of those with hearing loss. Once you’ve decided to move forward with trying hearing aids, you can look forward to increased confidence, a greater sense of independence and easier communication.

Improved Hearing
Although hearing aids do not “fix” hearing loss, they can significantly improve your ability to hear and understand voices and other sounds in both quiet and noisy situations. This is helpful in personal, professional and social settings where the ability to hear clearly is important. How well you hear in different situations will depend on the type and severity of your hearing loss. We know that you hear with your ears, but you understand with your brain. Working with an experienced audiologist will make sure that you find the right choice for the type of hearing loss you have.

Greater Independence
I can’t tell you how many times a patient has said, “if my wife isn’t with me to interpret, I miss the punch line every time!” There’s nothing worse than sitting with friends, enjoying a great glass of wine and you have to “fake” a hardy laugh at a joke you didn’t hear. While everyone laughs and enjoys themselves around you, you have to smile and nod, like you haven’t missed a thing. How frustrating! But, hearing aids will lessen your dependence on others. They will also give you a better sense of control over the events in your life.

Better Relationships
Hearing loss can be a barrier to communicating effectively. Hearing aids can improve the relationships you share with family and friends. Your spouse can attest to the frustration it causes when you don’t hear clearly. You can decrease the effect your hearing loss has on others simply by wearing hearing aids.

Increased Self-Confidence
You’ll feel more confident in professional and social situations when you can detect sounds at normal volume levels. When you don’t have to strain to hear and when you know you are hearing what others do, you can relax and enjoy yourself. Hearing aids can decrease the amount of energy it takes to listen and understand effectively.
Let’s face it: no one wants to wear hearing aids. But when you have taken the time to find the best solution for your hearing loss, social situations and listening environments, you’ll find that not only does the investment improve your hearing, it improves your quality of life. And that’s the best benefit of all.

Sudden Hearing Loss – A True Emergency

March 28, 2016

 
Sudden hearing loss can be a scary thing. It can happen all at once or over a period of several days. In either case, it should be considered a true emergency and requires a visit to a doctor or audiologist immediately. An audiologist may be able to see you more quickly than your regular physician and with sudden hearing loss time is of the essence. Your audiologist will perform several diagnostic tests and will be able to determine if you need to see a specialist immediately or if the cause of the hearing loss is something as simple as a wax impaction, which can be treated while in the office. If the hearing loss is due to an infection and you do not see your doctor or audiologist within the first 72-hours after the hearing loss begins, the hearing loss may become permanent.

When hearing loss happens suddenly, it affects only one ear in 9 out of 10 people. Many people notice it when they wake up in the morning. Others will first notice it when they try to use the phone or when they can’t hear their alarm when one ear (the better hearing ear) is face-down into their pillow. It’s also not uncommon for someone with sudden hearing loss to experience dizziness or a ringing in the affected ear, called tinnitus, at the same time that the hearing loss is recognized.

There are many different causes for a sudden hearing loss but often, the specific cause is never identified. It is possible that the hearing loss is something as simple as wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum. But, the more sinister causes require immediate treatment by a physician. In fact, the sooner treatment is begun, the more likely hearing will be restored. If you’ve experienced a sudden change in your hearing, don’t wait to call your physician or audiologist. The sooner you make an appointment, the better.

Finding the Best Hearing Aid for You

November 16, 2015

Happy coupleWhen you are trying to find the best hearing aid, there are many things to consider. It’s not uncommon to feel unsure about which manufacturer or which features will be best for your hearing loss and your everyday listening situations. The many choices that manufacturers now offer in their hearing aids can make it even more confusing. If you are questioning what to purchase, you aren’t alone. Take the time to look at hearing aid reviews, ask someone you trust what their experience has been and most importantly, find a provider you trust.

There are a lot of features that are important, but any top-quality hearing aid should include:

• 100% digital sound processing for excellent sound quality
• Feedback suppression to decrease the annoying whistling sound hearing aids sometimes make when too close to another object.
• Adjustable channels – the more channels, the more adjustable
• Dual microphones plus active noise reduction – the best improvement in hearing in noise occurs when the hearing aid offers both of these features.
• Connectivity – Bluetooth compatibility and wireless connectivity are becoming more common and allow for connecting to external listening devices such as TV and MP3 players.
• Moisture protection – the number one cause of hearing aid repair is wax and moisture on the microphone or receiver (speaker). Moisture protection systems ensure longevity of the hearing aid.

Manufacturer Websites – a good source of information
When you are considering hearing aids, reviews can help you decide which is right for you. However, be cautious and find reputable reviews that will give you objective information. Look for hearing aid reviews that provide comprehensive information from a reliable source. Manufacturer websites are generally consumer-friendly and can be a good source for information gathering. You’ll also find blogs and consumer reviews online. Be careful with this information as it can often be colored by a hearing aid wearer’s bad experience with the hearing healthcare provider, not with the hearing aid itself.

Ask Those You Trust
What do you do when you want to find a good mechanic, dentist or financial advisor? You begin by asking those you trust who they prefer. Ask for a referral from friends you know who have been successful with hearing aids. Do they like their hearing aids? What do they like about them? What features do the hearing aids have? A more important question might be, did they respect and trust the person they worked with?

Find the Provider That Is Best For You
When you compare hearing aids, the first question really shouldn’t be about features. You also don’t need to begin by focusing on what brand or style of hearing aid you are going to buy. Hearing aids are essentially all the same. So, the key is in finding a highly trained, experienced hearing professional that holds the same high standards you do and is someone you can trust to be well informed about hearing loss and its solutions. Ask your friends and family who they trust and then begin by checking the credentials of the person you are considering. Are they an audiologist? They should be.

Second, it’s important that it is someone you feel very comfortable around and someone you can effectively communicate with. You will need to trust this professional to be able to openly discuss the difficulties you have been experiencing with your hearing loss and the communication difficulties it has created for you. The audiologist you select should have the educational background and the practical experience you need. But, he or she also needs to be a good communicator and a great listener, capable of translating your experiences into a technical solution to resolve important communication issues. Once you’ve had your consultation with a provider, ask yourself these questions: Was the exam thorough? Did the provider answer your questions? Did he or she listen? Do you feel you can trust him or her? Would you feel comfortable referring your friends to this person? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on the right track!

Finding the right hearing aid for your listening needs can seem daunting. Take the time to do your homework – check blogs, reviews and manufacturer websites, talk to those you trust and chose a provider you can communicate with effectively. If you invest a little bit of time to investigate your choices before you purchase hearing aids, you’ll find that you feel your hearing aid purchase was money well spent.