Hearing Loss
HEARING LOSS
Will wearing cheap hearing aids affect your health?

Will wearing cheap hearing aids affect your health?

Hearing aids will not have any impact on the health of the body. It is not cheap hearing aids that are not good. The only thing matter is whether hearing aids are suitable or not. Of course, cheap hearing aids are not comfortable to wear. If the matching is not good, it will have an impact on deafness.

If it is big, it will be ear shattering, but if small, it will not be heard. Therefore, hearing aids must be tested and matched in a professional agent, which is suitable for your own hearing aids. Only in this way can it be helpful to wear them, and they will not become more and more deaf.

2020-05-12
Santa’s little helper is hearing aids

Santa’s little helper is hearing aids

Do you remember sitting on Santa’s lap, whispering your Christmas wish in his ear when you were a child? You were probably confident he heard every word. You might have even expected to find your greatest wish wrapped in shiny paper under the tree on Christmas morning. But what if Santa only pretended to hear you? (Maybe that’s why you got a bat when you asked for a hat!)

With today’s technology, Santa is sure to hear every child’s wish. So receiving a gift probably depends more on whether a child is on the naughty or nice list, rather than if Santa heard properly.



Why Santa needs hearing aids
Just as Santa needs to remember to bring his glasses to read millions of letters every day, it's important that Santa has the best hearing aids for his lifestyle. In his line of work, hearing well is an integral part of his job.

What are the right hearing aids for Santa’s lifestyle?
Santa’s lifestyle is rather busy. To put it mildly, he travels a lot for work. Not only on Christmas Eve, but throughout the year, his responsibilities mean he must rely a keen sense of hearing. After decades of exposure to noisy toy-making machines, Santa likely has sensorineural hearing loss. Luckily there are great hearing aids to treat it. Santa’s lifestyle could really use the latest technology. So HearingLife offers the best hearing aid for his lifestyle.

Santa’s favorite hearing aid features
Today’s hearing aids are light and subtle with a variety of features, and high tech solutions for hearing loss including:

Outstanding sound quality. It’s important for Santa to hear little children. The smallest kids’ high pitched and softer volume voices can be hard to understand, even with excellent hearing, as they are just learning to talk. Top-tier quality receivers help Santa hear every child’s wish.

No feedback = better hugs. With his older hearing devices, Santa couldn’t fully enjoy a child’s hug because sometimes his hearing aids would have annoying feedback peeping. Now he doesn’t worry when a kid (or grateful adult) hugs him.

Rechargeable hearing aids. Santa is always on the go, and wants to wake up each morning without worrying about having to change batteries during the day.

Bluetooth™ hearing aids. Santa needs to be connected! With Bluetooth™ hearing aids, he can connect his hearing aids to the holiday carols on his cellphone, his tablet and even his smart home.

Telecoil. Some shops use telecoil for their intercoms. That way he hears important announcements or special sales.

IFTTT. By linking his hearing aids to the “If this, then that” web-based service, Santa can get a notification every time a child emails a wishlist.

Santa’s iPhone. Santa got an iPhone recently and his OPN S hearing aids pair seamlessly with it. Mrs. Clause especially likes that he can’t use the excuse, “Sorry, I didn’t hear your call” anymore. His GPS app can stream directions directly into his hearing aids.

Those are just a few of the features that Santa enjoys with his newest hearing aids.There are plenty of high tech accessories for hearing aids on the market today.

Santa’s 3 best hearing aid tips
Santa’s been wearing hearing aids for quite a long time. Here are his tips:

Keep your side burns short near your ears. This will make hearing aids more comfortable.

Don’t let your hearing aids get wet. Whether it’s rain or snow, hearing aids don’t like moisture. Here are tips from audiologists if your devices get wet.

Avoid covering your hearing aids with your hat. That way your devices can capture the sound and give you a letter listening experience.

Mrs. Clause’s favorite reasons for hearing aids.
If you ask Mrs. Clause, she would say that Santa’s hearing aids make him more confident, because he can hear the people around him and stay ahead at work. She also likes that the two of them argue less over silly misunderstandings because he couldn't hear her correctly. As a caregiver of someone with hearing loss, Mrs. Clause also knows how Santa's hearing aids work in the case that he ever needs help. 

After Christmas – Santa enjoys a peaceful movie
On December 26th, after a very long nap, you’ll find Santa resting in his easy chair, streaming sound from his favorite movies straight into his hearing aids.

Happy Holidays from HearingLife!

2020-12-25
2020 Lancet report finds hearing aids can protect against cognitive decline

2020 Lancet report finds hearing aids can protect against cognitive decline

You may have heard that studies have shown there is an important link between hearing loss and dementia. Now, new research highlights that wearing hearing aids can protect you from cognitive decline.

The Lancet Commission published a new study on hearing loss and dementia on July 30, 2020, which shows that hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor against dementia. 

According to the report, dementia risk varies based on level of hearing loss:1

Mild hearing loss doubles the dementia risk.

Moderate hearing loss triples the risk.

Severe hearing impairment increases dementia risk of up to 5 times that of those who do not have hearing impairment.


The recent Lancet study presents that “hearing loss might result in cognitive decline through reduced cognitive stimulation.” In addition, the Commission encourages the “use of hearing aids for hearing loss.” By being proactive and treating hearing loss as soon as possible, the risk for cognitive decline and dementia can be reduced.1,2,3,4

12 lifestyle factors for preventing dementia
In addition to hearing loss, there are 11 other lifestyle factors which can be adjusted in order to delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases.

The 12 lifestyle factors are:1

infographic_risk-factors_mobile2

Hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor
In the case of hearing loss, if all hearing loss was optimally treated, nearly one in 10 cases of dementia could be eliminated.

Another study notes that “hearing impairment is associated with a 30-40% rate of cognitive decline.”3 By treating hearing loss with hearing aids, your brain stays mentally stimulated, meaning that you protect your brain from the risk of cognitive decline. Hearing aids are a gateway to communication and can help facilitate a healthy and active lifestyle through all stages of life – and especially in the mid to later stages of life where the risk for dementia increases.1

Dementia and hearing loss are global issues
Globally, there are around 466 million people with hearing loss (in the US, 48 million people have hearing loss7) and about 50 million people with dementia. Given that the two conditions are linked, treating hearing loss worldwide could be one way to lower the risk of dementia for people worldwide.5,6

Signs of hearing loss in yourself and others
As hearing loss often develops gradually, you may not notice it right away. However, if you know the signs of hearing loss, you may be able to begin treatment earlier. If you notice that your loved one keeps insisting that you turn down the television, or you feel like people are mumbling around you, you may be at risk.

How can you treat your hearing loss?
Hearing loss is most commonly treated with hearing aids. Today, modern hearing aids provide a wide range of user benefits so that you can hear the sounds around you in the most natural way possible. 

Digital hearing aids can provide you with a 360-degree listening environment. They may allow you to focus on the most important sounds around you while balancing the whole soundscape so that you can filter out unnecessary background noise. Technology has advanced and people with hearing loss can now enjoy Bluetooth® hearing aids and rechargeable hearing aids. 

Taking action today could improve your long-term health
The groundbreaking research provided by the Lancet study shows that you can dramatically lower your dementia risk by making some lifestyle changes. If you think that you might have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked so that you can treat any level of hearing loss.

It can be difficult to make lifestyle changes, but remember that long-term health benefits are beneficial for both you and the people around you. The long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term adjustment period. In fact, HearingLife has compiled a list of 52 benefits of better hearing for you to consider. 





2020-12-23
Hearing aids and masks

Hearing aids and masks

Face masks have been a staple for many healthcare workers for a long time. With the onset of Covid-19, the CDC is recommending (and many states require) that everyone wears a mask in public to help prevent the spread of the virus. Wearing masks takes some getting used to, especially if you wear both hearing aids and a mask. HearingLife's audiologists Dr. Dannreuther and Dr. Soiles have suggestions to make it easier to wear both hearing aids and masks.

Audiologist Jacquie Dannreuther shares best practices on Facebook Live
Recently, Dr. Dannreuther advised hearing aid wearers how to prevent getting hearing aids and masks tangled. She also answered questions from viewers. Watch the complete video here:



Key takeaways
Dr. Dannreuther, who is an audiologist at HearingLife's office in Pensacola, Florida, has advice for hearing aid wearers when wearing a mask:

Instead of pulling a mask's elastic or string forward when removing a mask, pull it up so it is less likely to catch on the hearing aid.

When you take off a mask, always ensure that your hearing aid is still on or in the ear.

Don't panic if you lose a hearing aid. Contact your hearing care provider. Your hearing aid may have a warranty, which can be checked by serial number.


Chief Audiologist has ideas shares her tips
HearingLife’s Chief Audiologist, Dr. Leslie Soiles has some advice for people who wear both hearing aids and a mask, as well as what to do if you experience other issues with your hearing aids.

If you wear behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids and glasses, you may have experienced a similar issue. With more than one item on the ear, it’s easy for them to bump into each other. The same goes for masks. That’s why some hearing aid wearers have advised that instead of using your ears to secure a mask, you connect the mask to a headband, giving more space for your BTE hearing aids. Also, if you have longer hair, you may find it helpful to secure your hair in a ponytail so it doesn't get caught in a mask or on hearing aids.

Hearing aids and masks can be a challenge
If you wear hearing aids, wearing a mask can be more than a cosmetic challenge.

Have you lost a hearing aid? You are not alone. If you wear BTE hearing aids, when removing a mask, sometimes a mask's earloop can catch on a hearing aid and loosen or pull out the device. It can happen so quickly that it’s unnoticeable, and like an earring, can be easy to lose. Dr. Soiles explains, “We’ve seen an uptick in people contacting HearingLife regarding lost hearing aids. Many of the people who contacted HearingLife regarding this had a hearing aid fall off when removing masks. Fortunately, we have options to help. Depending on your hearing aid’s model, you may be able to locate it through an app or possibly replace it through your warranty.”

How to find a lost hearing aid
Oticon® hearing aids that are paired with the Oticon ON App for iPhone® or with an Android®, can use the “find my hearing aids” feature to locate lost devices. Follow these steps:

Turn on the Oticon ON App on your smartphone.

Tap “Find my hearing aids”. A map will show the last known location of the paired hearing aids, when the app was on. A proximity bar indicates how close you are to each connected hearing aid.

If your phone is out of range with the hearing aids or the connection is lost, you can see the date and time of the last connection.

Keep in mind that the green marker on the map indicates that there is a connection between your hearing aid and phone. The red marker indicates that the connection is lost.

For the best results, it is recommended to keep the app turned on (either actively used or running in the background) at all times.

2020-12-23
Streaming Zoom with hearing aids

Streaming Zoom with hearing aids

Are you connecting more and more to your family and friends using Zoom or other video conferencing apps or software? Perhaps you didn’t know that if you wear hearing aids, you can improve communication by streaming the sound to your hearing aids. We can explain how.

Connecting Oticon Opn® hearing aids with video conferencing using Apple® products


If you are using an iPhone® or iPad®, it is relatively straightforward. Once you have paired your Oticon hearing aids to your iPhone or iPad, the sound will stream automatically from Zoom or any other video conference software.

This video shows how to connect your hearing aids to use a Skype call (the concept is the same for Zoom):


Streaming sound from video conference software with Android™ cell phones


In order to connect your Oticon hearing aids with Zoom on an Android, you need to start with connecting to ConnectClip. Once connected, the sound will stream automatically. In fact, ConnectClip can connect people in many ways.

Streaming video-conference sound from other products


Finally, if you wear Opn hearing aids and are connecting to Zoom or other video-conferencing programs and not using an iPhone, iPad or Android cell phone, you will need to use a BT800 Dongle and the ConnectClip.

Using self-help guides to get the most out of ConnectClip


Hearing aids can work with a variety of apps and accessories so you can link them to a broad array of devices. To learn more on how to connect your hearing aids to apps, accessories like ConnectClip, and even your smartphone, check out HearingLife's self-help guides and videos.

Can your hearing aids use a little extra help?


For more information on how accessories can make a difference to your hearing health, contact HearingLife today. We'll invite you for a no-obligation demonstration. You can also get help by phone. Call (888) 878-3334 to get started.






2020-12-22
How to Wear Hearing Aids with a Face Mask

How to Wear Hearing Aids with a Face Mask

Wearing a mask for protection against COVID-19 is an important step to prevent coronavirus. It can become a bit of a hassle, but it’s necessary to remain safe during the pandemic. For people with hearing aids, wearing a face mask can be more complicated, especially for larger behind-the-ear hearing aids.

The problem is the elastic bands on a face mask can catch on your hearing aids, causing the mask to pull hearing aids out when you remove it.

You may wind up having your hearing aids get lost, destroyed, or accidentally left behind in parking lots.

Here’s how to wear a face mask with less worry if you have hearing aids.

Use Care When Putting on and Taking off Your Face Mask


When you put on your mask, make sure it doesn’t catch on your hearing aids.

Check your hearing aids occasionally to ensure they are still in place with your mask.

When exiting an establishment, don’t immediately take your mask off. Wear it on the way to your car, and don’t remove it until you are inside.

Even if your hearing aids do get caught on the bands of the face mask and fall out, you are more likely to find them if they are still in your car.

Using Different Kinds of Face Masks
Consider getting a mask that is secured with something other than elastic bands. For instance, cloth ties shouldn't interfere with the ears since they attach behind your head.

Other options are available, according to the Association of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Try a special mask that relies on an alligator clip that attaches hearing aids to clothing and protects your devices from falling out.

Along with the issue of losing your hearing aids, consider that you may need to be able to read the lips of people you talk to in order to understand them better. Ask your friends and family if they would be willing to purchase a clear mask that would allow you to read their lips when they speak.

Embrace Alternative Shopping

If you are not comfortable wearing face masks with your hearing aids, look for modes of living during social distancing where you don’t have to wear a face mask.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore the importance of wearing masks.


Many people are continuing to stay at home even as counties and states reopen. If you use mobile shopping apps for delivery or are buying online from stores that let you pick up curbside, you shouldn’t have to worry about wearing masks as often as you would if you shopped inside brick-and-mortar stores.

Instead of grabbing takeout, order delivery. You can also use the drive-thru option at some pharmacies, banks, and restaurants to avoid the issue of having to wear a face mask.

In Closing


Use caution when putting on and taking off your face mask so it doesn’t catch on your hearing aids. Consider using different kinds of masks.

If nothing else works, seek out alternative options for shopping, dining, and socializing, so you don’t need to rely on a mask as much as you would if you were in public.




2020-12-17
How Do I Change My Hearing Aid Battery?

How Do I Change My Hearing Aid Battery?

Unless you have rechargeable hearing aid batteries, you’ll have to change even the best hearing aid batteries from time to time.

The average hearing aid user wears their device for 8.6 hours per day, and most batteries last between 80 to 220 hours, depending on the hearing aid brand, how often you use streaming services, and your maintenance routine. While 220 hours may seem like an extremely long time, you’ll probably be changing the batteries every week or every other week.

However, make sure you change your hearing aid batteries before they die. Dead batteries tend to swell, which can easily damage a hearing aid.

Activate The Battery

After taking the battery out of the packaging, you’ll see a sticker label with a “+” sign on one end of the battery. Pull it off so that the battery is exposed to oxygen. Most hearing aids use what is known as a zinc-air battery. Zinc-air batteries require oxygen to function, so let it sit outside of its packaging for a few minutes before placing it into the hearing aid. Note that once you take the seal off the battery and expose it to air, the battery’s lifespan is ticking.


Remove The Old Battery

Your hearing aid should have a very small tab in the back. Push it open so that the old battery is exposed. Turn the hearing aid upside down, and the old battery should fall out. If not, there is a small hole above the battery drawer. You can use a needle-thin object to push the old battery out.

Insert The New Battery
Once you’ve removed the old battery, insert the new battery with the “+” sign facing upwards.

The door should close with ease. If it’s stuck, double-check that the battery is facing the correct direction. Never force the door shut. It should make some noise to indicate that the new battery is ready to go.

How Can I Make My Hearing Aids Last Longer?
While you will have to change your hearing aid batteries eventually, there are some tricks you can use to make them last longer.
Before you go to sleep, open the battery door to reduce moisture build-up and turn the hearing aid off.
Never store hearing aid batteries in your pockets or wallet where they could be exposed to keys, coins, or other metals. The metals can cause the zinc-air batteries to short circuit and die.
Like any batteries, avoid storing them in extreme cold or heat.
Dropping the batteries can also damage them, so be sure to always change them on a soft surface like a towel or rug.

Conclusion
Hearing aid batteries are becoming increasingly advanced, and new research shows that even zinc-air batteries may become rechargeable soon. In addition, the zinc-air batteries are more environmentally friendly than traditional batteries as they do not use organic electrolytes. 

In the meantime, always keep a few extra batteries on hand. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be changing your batteries in a matter of seconds.

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2020-12-16
How to Protect Your Hearing Aids From The Cold

How to Protect Your Hearing Aids From The Cold

While hearing aid technology has improved significantly over the past few decades, they are still electronics and should be treated with the same caution as a cell phone. Therefore, it's important to take extra precautions during the winter months to ensure your hearing aids last their full lifespan. Here are some tips to prevent hearing aid damage and allow you to enjoy your favorite winter activities.

Use Protective Equipment
Hearing aids are often damaged during the winter months due to condensation caused by temperature changes. For example, if you were walking outside and the temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit, condensation will form on your hearing aids if you step into a room that is 55 degrees warmer. This is the same reason why your glasses fog up when you enter a warm room after spending time in the cold.

To prevent condensation and eliminate moisture damage, you can purchase an ear cover. Most ear covers are made of spandex material and slip on over your hearing aid.

You can also wear a headband to absorb any moisture as you may sweat when transitioning from a very cold to a warm location.

Wear Appropriate Protection
Another problem that most people worry about is losing their hearing aids or damaging them during winter sports. For example, if you're skiing, you lose your hearing aids if you fall on the slope. Unfortunately, not only will the snow damage the hearing aids, but you could lose them altogether.

Because skiing and other winter sports are dangerous without proper hearing, there are a few solutions to this issue.

First, you can purchase an ear cover with a cord. These ear covers have a long string with a clip that attaches to your coat to prevent it from both moisture and getting lost.

If you want to use a helmet, there are also special helmets available explicitly designed to protect your hearing aids (as well as your head).

Rechargeable Batteries
Zinc-air batteries are becoming increasingly popular among hearing aid users. While they are easy to use, they die quickly in the cold, and if you spend a lot of time outside during the winter, you'll purchase many of them. Therefore, consider purchasing lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable and don't need to be replaced.
Store Them Properly
Storage is another huge component of hearing aid care. To prevent moisture from damaging your hearing aids, consider purchasing a dry box to store them in at night.

Dry boxes clean and dry your hearing aids overnight to reduce prolonged condensation and increase the lifespan of your hearing aids. Many of them also contain UV rays to clean the debris from your hearing aids and further support your hearing aid's lifespan.

Final Thoughts

Wearing hearing aids should be freeing rather than restrictive. You should still go out and enjoy your favorite winter activities without worrying about the impact it could have on your hearing aid's lifespan. Therefore, follow these tips and don't be afraid to enjoy this winter.






2020-12-15
Whistling Hearing Aids: Causes and Solutions

Whistling Hearing Aids: Causes and Solutions

Does your hearing aid give off an annoying whistling sound? In this article, it is important to understand what causes this and how Connect Hearing can help you solve this common problem.

Overview

Is your hearing aid creating an annoying whistling sound? You aren't alone in that. Unnecessary feedback is one of the most common hearing aid problems you'll encounter, an issue that can very easily interfere with the hearing aid's performance.

We'll go over some of the most common causes, and walk you through potential solutions:
 * IIll-Fitting Earpieces
 * Blocked Sound Tubes
 * Improper Settings
 * Blocked/Dirty Ear Canal
 * Day-to-Day Interference
 * Faulty Hearing Aid

 * Man with whistling problems in his hearing aid

Ill-Fitting Earpieces
If a hearing aid is incorrectly shaped or not properly-adjusted to your ear canal, there's a small gap between the device and the walls of your ear. Air and sound waves can escape through this gap, causing amplified sound coming out of the earmold to be picked up and amplified repeatedly by the internal microphone. This causes the microphone to start whistling.

This feedback will generally increase in intensity until satiation. To solve this problem, first check and see if your earpiece fits properly. If it doesn't, contact your hearing care provider or bring your hearing aids to Connect Hearing and we'll check for faulty earmolds.


Blocked Sound Tubes
If a hearing aid's sound tube is blocked, it can no longer transmit sound correctly. A thorough cleaning may resolve this issue. If it doesn't, you'll need to contact an audiologist, as your hearing aid's sound tube may need to be replaced entirely.


Improper Settings

Occasionally, the problem isn't with your hearing aid's hardware at all. An improperly-configured hearing aid can create a level of feedback similar to a faulty or damaged one. Depending on what kind of hearing aid you use, you may be able to adjust its settings yourself, but we'd still recommend enlisting the help of an audiologist where the configuration is concerned. 


Blocked/Dirty Ear Canal


How clean are your ears?
Take out your hearing aid, and check for any signs of excessive earwax buildup. If you see signs of it, take some hydrogen peroxide in an eyedropper, and apply a few drops into each ear. Wait a few minutes, then rinse your ears out.

Do not use cotton swabs, as this can compact the earwax and make the issue significantly worse. 


Day-to-Day Interference

Whistling may not always be a sign there's something wrong with your hearing aid. Certain types of scarves and hats can cause feedback and interfere with your hearing aid's functionality. Certain actions like hugging someone else can also cause brief periods of feedback.

Faulty Hearing Aid
Last but certainly not least, there's a small chance your hearing aid might simply be in some way faulty. Your best bet is to contact a professional audiologist to have the problem looked at. Connect Hearing can help with that, regardless of where you purchased them.

Our professional staff can suggest potential solutions to get your hearing aids working properly again - book an appointment today.




2020-12-14
Experts Weigh in on the Future of Hearing Aids

Experts Weigh in on the Future of Hearing Aids

At Connect Hearing, we’re always looking to provide you with valuable information from highly-trained experts. We are excited to introduce our new expert series, Sound Advice. We’ll be talking with experts about a variety of hearing health topics, giving you access to important information straight from our qualified practitioners.


From advanced Bluetooth connectivity to speech enhancement and feedback suppression, the hearing aids of today look very different from several years ago.  And even now, they continue to evolve.

We spoke to several hearing experts for their thoughts on the matter.

Jody Pogue, Audiologist
A professional audiologist based out of Austin, Texas, Dr. Jody Pogue is a board-certified Doctor of Audiology. She has been with Connect Hearing since 2014. Dr. Pogue also teaches undergraduate and doctoral audiology courses at the University of North Texas.

For the past several years, Dr. Pogue has passionately provided hearing healthcare with a focus on hearing aids and tinnitus management. She has served on missions to Haiti and other underserved populations.

John Cummins, Hearing Instrument Specialist
Focused, compassionate, and with an excellent eye for detail, John Cummins left a career in information technology to transition into audiology. He has worked as a hearing instrument specialist at Connect Hearing for more than five years. He is also a registered member of the Maryland State Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, and Speech-Language Pathologists.

Rachel Allen, Hearing Instrument Specialist

Rachel has practiced as a Hearing Care Provider for more than 9 years. Since 2014 she has worked for Connect Hearing in the Austin, TX area. She's passionate about helping people with their hearing, and takes great pride in the many people she's been able to care for. 



What's changed the most about hearing aids in the past several years?


Judy Pogue
Rigorous research and development efforts have helped hearing aids evolve from large, unwieldy accessories to sleek, nearly invisible designs with a multitude of features. These transformations have made differences in the lives of millions. Thirty years ago, people wouldn't wear hearing aids because every time someone would come close, their hearing aids would start squealing.

It was embarrassing, and they couldn't hear anything anyway. Detailed engineering efforts have paved the way for instruments that fit the needs of the many while providing the flexibility to accommodate each user's unique patterns of hearing loss.

Digital hearing aids changed everything. All of a sudden, instead of making everything louder, we were able to fit those people who had those high-frequency hearing losses.

John Cummins
Competition has improved market offerings, and technology has vastly-improved in both receiver-in-canal (RIC) and custom hearing aids. Since the input of practitioners is essential in finding the right devices, consumers probably won't be in a rush to navigate the purchase and adjustment process without the help of licensed professionals. However, the increased awareness of hearing aids, thanks to attention from major retailers and the new hearing aid bill, will help relieve stigma around the devices.

This will both make them more accessible and also open the door to even better offerings.

Rachel Allen
Customization is becoming ubiquitous for hearing aids. Most companies allow the user to make changes based on their environment so they can fine-tune the sound to their preference. Most hearing aid companies allow the user to make changes based on their environment so they can fine-tune the sounds to their preference.

I believe this convenience will likely morph into even more connectivity in hearing aids through advanced cell phone apps that allow users to manually tweak their programs with a few taps on their screen. 



What exciting new developments are on the horizon for hearing aids?


John Cummins
Bluetooth connectivity and reduction in hearing aid size coupled with longer battery life will help connect those with hearing loss to more devices. 

Jody Pogue
Hearing aid users have a lot to look forward to, especially with continually-evolving Bluetooth features. With Bluetooth, we had the ability to connect hearing aids via a streamer to other Bluetooth devices like cell phones and televisions. Modern hearing aids are now direct-to-Bluetooth, and that's a big change.
 

I anticipate we'll also see more universality, such as hearing aids that connect directly to any device via plug-and-play. New hearing aids like the Phonak Audéo B Direct, they are truly hands-free. To answer the phone, all a user needs to do is press a button on the hearing aid and say ‘hello’.


Rachel Allen
Realistically, the sky's the limit. We know that whatever direction the research goes, it will inevitably make improvements that help those with hearing loss better connect to the people around them.



What will hearing technology look like in five years?


Rachel Allen
The future of more hearing aid-friendly technology integrations isn't far off. Big names like Bose®, Samsung®, and Apple® are going to begin to integrate into the market with smart hearables. These are easily connected to things like Alexa, Siri, or Google. This technology has an endless amount of uses from directions to reminders. 

Think Google’s smart glasses, but for your ears. They may even be able to monitor your health stats to alert patients or their doctors about things like falls or blood sugar.

John Cummins
Artificial intelligence will be integrated into hearing testing and fittings. This will improve the overall product offerings and reduce costs as more of the global population accepts and purchases them. Users will also be able to seamlessly connect with the most cutting-edge fitness products.

The integration of wearables—like Fitbit® and Dash by Bragi®—into hearing aids will happen in the next five years as consumer electronics giants and hearing aid manufacturers find a convergence of needs for readier adaption, voice recognition technology improvements, and faster response times to the varying listening environments of the industrial world.


Jody Pogue
I want hearing aids to be as plug-and-play as possible. I want my patients to be able to put them in their ear, forget about them, and live their lives. My hope is that hearing aid technology transforms in such a way that it becomes almost completely unnoticeable, even to the people using it. 

A bright road ahead
From on-demand everything to social media to self-driving cars, tectonic technological shifts are transforming the way we live our everyday lives—and hearing care is no different. With all these projected developments, there's certainly a lot to be excited about. Rigorous research and development efforts have helped hearing aids evolve from large, unwieldy accessories to sleek, nearly invisible designs with a multitude of features

And these changes are just the beginning.




2020-12-10
Pro Tips for Getting Used to Hearing Aids

Pro Tips for Getting Used to Hearing Aids

There are a lot of benefits to wearing hearing aids. Just like a new item of clothing, getting used to your new hearing aids takes time. The process of familiarizing oneself with their hearing aids is different for everyone. However, the rewards are more than worth it.

In this segment of Sound Advice, our panel of hearing care professionals have some helpful information about exactly what you can expect the first few weeks after purchasing hearing aids. Plus, learn about some useful features that you might not be aware of!

What’s one unexpected thing that new hearing aid users often don’t know?
Be patient, it takes time to adjust to the new sounds your brain is hearing.

“We don’t just fit hearing aids and miraculously you are hearing again like you were when you were a teenager. We start at a comfortable setting based on your hearing test, usually 70%-80% of your end target goal, then gradually increase that percentage as you get accustomed to all the different sounds.”
-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS

There is an acclimation period.

“Even though it is discussed at consultation and delivery, some folks have a tendency to “Give Up” thinking they will never understand how to use them or how the Hearing Aids could ever possibly help. It takes time to acclimate to them, that’s why we give patients 45 days and several visits to “Dial” them in.”
-George Chamberlin, HIS


Properly fitted hearing aids are good for your brain!

“I always tell new hearing aid users that hearing aids stimulate their auditory pathways.  Therefore, it is beneficial to wear them during all waking hours.”
-Eric Mayer, HIS

How can users make the most of their hearing aids?


Users should wear them everyday.

Wear them everyday to keep the brain active, clean them every morning, wear them as much as possible in all listening environments. Also, make sure you see your specialist for routine check-ups.”
 

-George Chamberlin, HIS


Make sure your hearing aids are routinely cleaned and checked.
“Since all hearing aids require a certain level of maintenance, hearing aid users can learn from their HCP how to keep them clean. I have found that wax can work itself into hearing aid earmolds or receivers, and even microphone covers. If the hearing user is aware that their ears produce a lot of wax, it is wise to have regularly scheduled visits to their doctor’s office for ear wax removal. Hearing aid users should always send their hearing aids out for repair just prior to the warranty expiration date as well.”  

-Eric Mayer, HIS


Getting full-time use of hearing aids is imperative.
“So many users feel that they only need to wear their hearing aids when they go out to social functions, meetings, church, etc.  When the user takes this approach, they never fully adjust to their hearing aids. People often struggle much more in noisy situations with part time use because their brain never fully recognizes what normal levels sound like.” 

-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS

What’s a feature about hearing aids many users commonly miss?


Hearing aids require regular maintenance to be in optimal working condition.

“Factors such as earwax, sweat, or dirt and dust can cause issues with how well the hearing aids are functioning.  Sometimes I don’t see people for 2-3 years after they purchase their hearing aids. At this point their hearing aids usually are not functioning to the best of their ability, and these same users are having difficulty hearing in multiple situations. Scheduling a clean and check appointment at 6 months is advised so the hearing aids can have a deeper cleaning other than the daily maintenance users should be doing.   It is also recommended to have yearly hearing evaluations to make sure that your hearing is not changing, and to make sure your current hearing aids are meeting your hearing needs.”
 -Kimberly G. Clark, HIS


Hearing aid accessories can bring added functions and benefits.

"There is an entire line of accessories to choose from such as a plug-and-play TV Connector.  Specific to newer Phonak hearing aid users, the more sophisticated Roger accessories bridge the gap in the most challenging noise environments.  Accessories can lead a client to a greater satisfaction with the hearing aids and improve his or her quality of life in sometimes unexpected ways."

-Eric Mayer, HIS


Hearing instruments are adding new functions everyday.

"Whether it be engaging the Public T-Coil, changing the Volume or changing programs for different listening environments. Blue-tooth interaction (cell phones, tablets, TV Connectors, Roger Devices.....). These convenient features can be easily missed."

-George Chamberlin, HIS


What are your favorite aspects about today’s hearing aids?

New functions are being developed for users day-to-day activities.
"With our Marvel technology, the patient has a more “Hands-On” approach, being able to talk on the phone hands free. MyPhonak App allows them to control everything within it including access to customizable programs, also Remote Sessions. The Clarity and Noise reduction stand out, and now direct connectivity to the Roger accessories is a win-win."
 -George Chamberlin, HIS


Today’s technology is the easiest that hearing aids have ever been to use.

“Being in the industry for 15 years, I have seen many changes over the years in hearing aids. There are rechargeable hearing aids, which means no more changing tiny batteries, or worry that your hearing aid will go out when you are in the middle of something important.  They can be completely automatic, adapting seamlessly to different environments to give the best possible hearing in that situation. They can even connect wirelessly to many devices, including cell phones and television, to stream that signal directly through the hearing aids. I am thrilled to be able to offer this technology to my clients, changing their quality of life for the better."

-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS


Today’s hearing aids are that there is something for everyone.

“The latest models offer rich, clear sound, and robust background noise reduction circuitry. Due to advances in the miniaturization of the internal components, many of the newest hearing aids fit today offer a direct Bluetooth connection to a user’s mobile phone without the need for an external streaming device. It’s all inside the hearing aid! I also fit small, durable hearing aids which offer a more discrete solution. I really like that fact that many models of hearing aids now offer the rechargeable option. It is not only convenient, but also offers a great choice for individuals who have dexterity issues and do not want the fuss of having to change the batteries on their hearing aids.”

-Eric Mayer, HIS


What’s one question you wish more clients would ask about their hearing aids?


How can I make sure I am hearing the best I can with my devices?

“Helping the client understand the role they play in their journey to better hearing is extremely important. I always let them know that the hearing aid is only as good as the information they give me. Sure, I have their hearing evaluation, but the more open and honest they are about the challenges they have with their hearing and the situations they are in most frequently, the better I can program and fine tune their instruments.  I can also make sure they are in the appropriate devices for their hearing needs and lifestyle.”
-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS

When do you think I should upgrade my hearing aids?

“While many providers in the hearing industry at large follow general guidelines, I have found that it is crucial to have an individualized approach.  Ideally, my clients should see me just prior to the expiration of their three-year hearing aid repair warranty.  I can then send their hearing aids to the manufacturer for in-warranty servicing.  At the same time, I can fit my clients with a set of new loaner hearing aids, which gives them a demonstration of the new products. Many of my clients like to upgrade their hearing aids every three or four years.  They also like to have a back-up set of hearing aids that are in good working condition. The upgrade question is a really good question for a client to ask his or her provider!"

-Eric Mayer, HIS





2020-12-08
How Hearing Aids Work

How Hearing Aids Work

Modern hearing aids use the latest digital technology. They can be customized according to the extent of hearing loss and personal needs. This is vital, since everyone perceives hearing loss in a different way. Modern hearing aids feature automatic programs for all environmental situations, speech amplification, disruptive background noise suppression and feedback suppression.



Overview
* How do modern hearing aids work? 
Why hearing aids do more than simply "make things louder"
Other technological aids

The history of the hearing aid



How do modern hearing aids work?


Modern hearing aids are now powerful computers, which, thanks to the latest technology, can be perfectly adapted to individual needs. As well as being extremely comfortable to wear, they also come in attractive designs.

They are usually made up of three main components: A microphone, a processor, and a loudspeaker. The microphone picks up sounds, or acoustic signals, from the environment and transmits them to the processor. The processor amplifies the sounds and converts them into electrical signals. The loudspeaker, or receiver, transmits the signals to the wearer's ear. The sound is released there and can once again be clearly perceived by the wearer.

To allow hearing aid wearers to enjoy problem-free hearing, hearing aids specifically amplify sounds that are important for communication and reduce disruptive sounds. This process is fully automatic in modern hearing aids.

Why hearing aids can do more than simply “make things louder”
Impaired hearing means more than simply hearing less well. It also means difficulties in understanding. Noises differ with respect to tone, with some being more shrill or some more buzzing. Certain sounds are typically perceived as unpleasant, or even painful. In such cases, „making things louder“ is not the right way to help people hear better again.
 
Determining the right volume
Technology for amplifying sound signals is vital. People with impaired hearing can only hear sounds above a certain volume, meaning these sounds must be louder than for those with good hearing. However, if everything were to be made louder, a noise such as a police siren would be absolutely unbearable. This is why hearing aid adjustment is used to determine the hearing aid wearer's discomfort threshold. This threshold represents the sound level beyond which sounds are perceived as unpleasant. For most people with normal hearing, this value is around 100 decibels (dB), although the values vary according to the individual.
 
Background noise and exact frequency ranges

In addition to general volume, a hearing aid must amplify the specific frequencies that the wearer can no longer hear very well. Digital hearing aids, which are now state-of-the-art technology, are able to compensate hearing loss in various frequency ranges in a precise and targeted way.

The real challenge – for both technology and humans – is to filter out background noise. During conversations in busy restaurants, for example, even people with normal hearing rely on some very complex processing mechanisms to single out a friend's voice. Modern hearing aid technologies feature special functions that significantly improve speech comprehension in such difficult situations.

In order to cope with difficult situations, modern devices also feature various hearing programs for different hearing contexts, such as restaurants or listening to music. Hearing aids also have several frequency channels, making it possible to adapt sound amplification individually to the wearer's needs. Background noise and unpleasant feedback whistling can also be suppressed.



Other technological aids
Many behind-the-ear models have a T-loop (telecoil) or induction loop. This is useful during telephone calls as it transfers the speech signals from the telephone directly to the ear. This significantly improves sound quality and speech comprehension. With a telecoil, induction systems, such as those installed in meeting rooms, theaters, or churches, can be used without any additional devices. This allows speech to be received directly via the hearing aid, while disruptive background noise is filtered out.

Hearing aids with Bluetooth are able to receive speech and music wirelessly from other Bluetooth-enabled audio sources (mobile phones or TV sets) over short distances. In some cases, a small, additional device (streamer) is required, which is positioned between the devices to transfer the signals.

Today, there are also apps that can be used to control the hearing aid via a smartphone. This means the hearing aid can be controlled wirelessly.

Alternatively, our expert audiologists are happy to show you the latest models and advise you on which is best suited to you.

If you are unsure whether or not you need a hearing aid, you might be interested in our free hearing test. If the test confirms that your hearing is impaired, we recommend you visit one of our clinics and speak with our audiology team.
The history of the hearing aid

Once used exclusively by royal eavesdroppers, hearing aid use has only become popular in the last 200 years. Few people are aware that the first hearing aid for which a patent was registered was worn by Queen Alexandra of England in 1901.

Higher-level everyday technology

This was just one of the many important steps in the hearing aid success story. For many people they have become an everyday item, such as glasses or smartphone apps. Life without these technical devices would be almost inconceivable. And just like smartphones, the latest generations of hearing aids are becoming smaller and increasingly powerful. The latest BTE and ITE hearing aids are able to improve hearing and provide natural sound thanks to their state-of-the-art technology and small size. Hearing aid development may appear to have been rapid, but in fact it goes right back to the 17th century.


The first hearing aids were unwieldy, but effective.

In the 17th century, a rather cumbersome device was used. Funnel-shaped hearing trumpets amplified sounds by 20 to 30 dB, significantly improving hearing and quality of life.


The development of the telephone

It was the invention of the telephone in the 19th century that paved the way for the development of the electric hearing aid. At the time, telephone technology was still bulky and unwieldy.


The first portable hearing aid

In 1901, American engineer Miller R. Hutchinson registered a patent for the first portable hearing aid. The device, which was owned by Queen Alexandra of England, was significantly smaller, but still weighed a stately 12 kilograms.


The first BTE hearing aid

By the 1940s, hearing aids had already shrunk to the size of a cigarette packet. The introduction of the transistor in the 1950s marked a breakthrough. The foundations for behind-the-ear hearing aids had been laid.


The beginnings of digital hearing aids
By the 1980s, BTE and (later on) in-the-ear hearing aids were already of a very high technological standard. Then the digital revolution reached the field of hearing aid technology. Hearing aids have undergone constant development right up to the present day, achieving the most natural and clear sounds possible. Devices are becoming ever smaller and more discreet, and are now scarcely visible in the ear.

In modern hearing aids, digital technology is allowing even those with severe hearing loss to fully experience life through all their senses.
2020-12-07
What to do When Your Hearing Aids Get Wet

What to do When Your Hearing Aids Get Wet

Just like your cell phone or any other electronic device, hearing aids do not do well in water. While they are usually resistant to moisture like sweat and mist, being fully immersed in water can damage your hearing aid.


As the average price of just one hearing aid is roughly $2,300, you may be panicked that you’ve permanently ruined them when they get wet.  

The good news is that you might still be able to revive your hearing aids. Here are a few expert tips to dry them and how you can better store them to avoid further water damage.

How to Dry Your Hearing Aids
The first thing you need to do is turn the hearing aid off and remove the batteries. If you leave the batteries in, you risk them rusting and damaging the hearing aid further. If you jumped into the ocean, rinse the salt out before beginning to dry them as the salt can also corrode the hearing aid.

As you start the drying process, remove as much water as possible with a towel. Leave the battery door open and let them air dry.

Drying Them Manually
Many people try home remedies to speed up the air-drying process. Some of the most common remedies include putting them in a bag of uncooked rice or placing them inside a newspaper. You can also place them under a lamp as long as it’s roughly a foot away from the bulb.

Exposing your hearing aid to excessive heat can melt the interior, so never put it in an oven or microwave as it can melt them. Additionally, if you want to use a hairdryer, only do so in a cool setting.


Using a Hearing Aid Dryer
While home remedies may be somewhat effective, you ideally should have a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier. A hearing aid dryer is a small case you place your hearing aids in at night that absorbs moisture and prevents humidity damage.

Depending on the model and brand you choose, it usually takes between 45 minutes to eight hours to complete a drying and cleaning cycle and is extremely effective.

 
For the first few minutes of the cycle, the UV-C light cleanses the hearing aid to reduce residue build-up. After the cleaning phase, the next step is a gentle heating phase that dries the hearing aids for (usually) a few hours. This cycle is automatic and requires just the click of a button to start.

You can also insert a Dry-Brik, which will help whisk away additional moisture as the hearing aid dryer creates heat. This is ideal if you live in a particularly humid climate or have recently dunked your hearing aids in water.


Earwax Damage
If your hearing aids aren't working well and haven't been exposed to moisture, the problem may be earwax damage. Similar to moisture, earwax is another way your hearing aids can become damaged. 

To lengthen the lifespan of your hearing aids, invest in a UV container. The UV container will cause the wax to harden and flake off, reducing excess moisture exposure to the hearing aid.


Storage Best Practices
If none of these steps work, you can send your hearing aid out for repair rather than purchasing a new one altogether.

Even if you haven't damaged your hearing aids, using a hearing aid dryer every night will help increase your hearing aid's lifespan by automatically cleaning it and reducing moisture exposure.

Most hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars, so purchasing a quality case is a small investment that will pay off ten-fold.






2020-12-07
Modern Hearing Aids – Virtually Invisible and Rechargeable

Modern Hearing Aids – Virtually Invisible and Rechargeable

Modern technology and advances in the field of hearing aids make it possible for you to live a life without limitations. In addition, modern hearing aids offer many other functions that make everyday life with a hearing aid easier and more convenient. Find out more below about the advantages of modern devices, and what the future of hearing aids holds in store.

Overview:


What can modern hearing aids do?
Rechargeable hearing aids
Digital networking
Titanium hearing aids
Invisible hearing aids

Wearables and hearables


How will the hearing aids of the future work?
Thought control

Control by viewing direction

What can modern hearing aids do?


Rechargeable hearing aids

Hearing aids make life easier in many ways. However, many people find it a nuisance to always have to change batteries and require spares on longer journeys. The latest generation of hearing aids work with rechargeable batteries, making such concerns a thing of the past. Once charged, these batteries allow you to enjoy up to 24 hours of uninterrupted hearing. Thanks to their innovative technology, lithium-ion batteries also last 40% longer than conventional ones.

And with a charger, you can charge your hearing aid just as easily as your mobile phone. In some models, the charging cradle can also be used to dry the hearing aid and as a protective hard case.
 
Short charging times and mobile chargers mean it’s never a problem if you forget to charge your hearing aid.

Another advantage of rechargeable batteries is that in the future, there will be no batteries to dispose o Used batteries represent a considerable amount of waste. Someone wearing a hearing aid in both ears for five years would use around 500 zinc–air batteries. Hearing aids with rechargeable batteries are therefore not only easier to use, but also significantly more environmentally friendly.


Digital networking

Digitization is now playing an important role in modern hearing aids. Modern hearing aids can be paired wirelessly via Bluetooth with smartphones or smart watches, for example. If a hearing aid is paired with a mobile phone, it is possible to make phone calls easily and directly via the hearing aid using Android, iOS or other operating systems.

In addition, the hearing aid can often be controlled by associated smartphone apps. With a smart remote control, the respective hearing program can be adapted wirelessly to the background noise, and the hearing aid volume adjusted separately for each ear. This means that in a busy restaurant, for example, the babble of background voices can be suppressed, thus allowing you to focus on the conversation you are having with your companion.
 

Background noise from the street, for example, can be muffled, and natural sounds such as birdsong can be amplified. Some apps and hearing aids are able to detect the acoustic environment and adjust automatically.

There are also apps featuring tips and instructions on using and caring for your hearing aid, as well as apps for those with tinnitus that offer a customized sound library to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus.

Some models can also be connected wirelessly to TV or audio devices. This turns the hearing aid into wireless headphones that conduct sound directly into the ear, allowing you to enjoy the sound at full strength.

Titanium hearing aids

There are hearing aids made from medical-grade titanium. This makes the hearing aids sturdy, light, and resilient. Such hearing aids win points not only for their minimal size, but also, thanks to the customized production process, for the fact that they sit perfectly in the ear canal. They are discreet, as well as water and dust resistant. A titanium hearing aid can also adapt automatically to ambient noise without the need for manual adjustment, thanks to its state-of-the-art technology.
 
Invisible hearing aids

Phonak Lyric is the first 100% invisible hearing aid. As the Lyric sits deep in the ear canal, it is entirely invisible from the outside. It can be worn for several months at a time and utilizes the anatomy of the ear to allow natural hearing. Thanks to the modern technology employed, you can wear the Lyric for all daily activities, including sport, and enjoy natural sound through an invisible hearing aid.


Hearables and wearables

Wearables – small, intelligent devices worn on the body – have been available on the market for some time now. They include smart watches and fitness arm bands. These wearables are now available for the ear too: Hearables. Hearables are smart headphones that provide a wireless connection to a smartphone, for example, or to sensors for medical monitoring and activity tracking. These wearables and hearables are primarily geared towards people with intact hearing, which is why hearables are not the same as hearing aids.

 
Hearables are chiefly designed to allow people who can hear well to filter out noise they don’t want to hear, while hearing aids are designed to provide a comprehensively better hearing experience for people with impaired hearing. Hearables are therefore interesting primarily as a lifestyle product that makes it possible to transfer music, phone calls, or other digital signals directly to the ear.
 

How will the hearing aids of the future work?


Despite great technical advances so far, hearing aids are still unable to completely replace human hearing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 466 million people worldwide are dependent on some form of technical assistance for hearing. Work is constantly being carried out in the field of research and development to provide these people with better hearing. There are various ideas about how hearing aids might work and be controlled in the future.


Thought control

In the not-too-distant future, it may be possible to control a hearing aid using your thoughts. Scientists are hoping to develop hearing aids that adapt dynamically to their wearer's intentions. If you’re standing between two groups of people in conversation, for example, and you only want to listen to one group, the hearing aid will recognize what you want to listen to and transmit only the conversation you want to follow.*


Control by viewing direction

It may be possible for the models of the future to follow the hearing aid wearer's conversational intentions by means of head or eye movements. You may one day be able to determine who you want to listen to simply by the direction you are looking in.**


Regenerating cells in the inner ear


Researchers at Harvard University and the University of South California have found a way to regenerate cells deep inside the inner ear, at least in animal trials. In a crucial breakthrough compared to earlier attempts, they have found a way to transfer medication that can restore destroyed the nerves and cells to the place it is required.
*Saarland University of Technology and Economics
** Hearing4All Research Center at the University of Oldenburg

The future sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It may be some time before the technologies we’ve described here make their way onto the market, but in the meantime we’ll keep you updated with all the latest news from the world of hearing aid technology. Meanwhile, you can find information here about the best hearing aids from leading manufacturers and get help in choosing a  suitable hearing aid. If you need a new hearing aid, simply come in for a one-to-one consultation with one of our experienced audiologists.





2020-12-04
Do I Need a Hearing Aid?

Do I Need a Hearing Aid?

Have you recently experienced difficulties in hearing or understanding? Or have you always had hearing problems? Next, find out here how to recognize the signs of hearing impairment, and when it makes sense to have a hearing aid. You can also find out whether you need a hearing aid for both ears.


Overview:
* Do I need a hearing aid?

Do I really need two hearing aids?



 Do I need a hearing aid?

Millions of people experience difficulties hearing or have hearing problems. It’s not just older people who have hearing difficulties. Young people, and even children, are increasingly affected. Hearing loss can take many different forms. The most common hearing problems include congenital deafness, age-related hearing loss, sudden / acute hearing loss, tinnitus, hearing problems caused by colds, sensorineural hearing loss, or acoustic trauma. 

Unless you are affected by congenital hearing loss or deafness, hearing loss typically comes on gradually and almost imperceptibly. Friends and family will often be aware of your hearing loss before you are, and will alert you to the problem. But how can you tell if you really do have hearing problems and would benefit from a hearing aid?



Below are a few pointers that might help you decide whether your hearing is impaired:

Do your friends or family tell you that you have your TV on very loud?
Do you have the impression that the people you’re talking to are speaking very quietly or mumbling?
Do you find it hard to follow conversations because words containing high-frequency consonants such as s, t, f, p, and k, or consonant combinations such as ch and sch are unclear? 
Do you struggle to focus on the person you’re talking to and find it hard to follow a conversation?
Do you feel you can no longer hear as well as you used to? 
Is it increasingly hard to hear important sounds such as alarms, phones, and doorbells?
Are high-pitched sounds, such as birdsong, harder to hear than before?

Are conversations and meetings at work becoming a challenge?



Any of these might indicate hearing loss. If you are unsure about whether or not you are affected by hearing loss, the best thing to do is to take a free online hearing test. If the test confirms that you have hearing problems or difficulties in hearing, we recommend undergoing a more detailed examination with one of our audiologists, or with an ear nose and throat doctor (ENT). The specialist will be able to determine the cause of your hearing difficulties, suggest appropriate treatment, and help you decide whether a hearing aid would improve your hearing.

If you do need a hearing aid, find out here about the various types of hearing aids available. One of our expert audiologists will be happy to help you choose the right model.

Do I really need two hearing aids?


What is binaural hearing?

Binaural hearing means hearing with both ears. It refers to the ability to determine the direction of a sound source. It is also known as directional or spatial hearing. An acoustic signal or sound reaches the left and right ears at different times. Depending on the direction it’s coming from, it reaches one ear a fraction of a second sooner and more loudly than the other.
This delay is sufficient for the brain:
It uses the timespan between the arrival of the sound wave in the two ears to calculate the direction of the sound. The direction a sound is coming from can only be reliably determined with two healthy ears. If you’re finding it difficult to work out where the sound of a ringing phone or crying child is coming from, it may be the first indication of hearing loss.

Two ears – two hearing aids

If hearing loss is confirmed in both ears, you will need two hearing aids. If hearing difficulties are related to age or caused by acoustic trauma, both ears tend to be affected in the same way. In this case, your ENT doctor will prescribe two hearing aids.
Since human hearing is binaural and relies on two independent sources – our ears – to function correctly, both ears must be fitted with hearing aids. If you wear only one hearing aid, the unaided ear may even unlearn how to hear, similar to an untrained muscle. Subsequent treatment with a hearing aid is certainly possible, although a considerable amount of training will be required.
Binaural hearing can literally save our lives on the roads, as it helps us determine which direction a car, tram, or bicycle bell is coming from. Bilateral hearing aids are also important when it comes to filtering conversations from disruptive background noise. This is why having two devices makes sense, even if one of your ears is less severely affected by hearing loss. In order to hear as well as possible, people need both their ears.

As a general principle, full hearing capacity should therefore be restored as soon as possible, so that the auditory response area in the brain continues to receive sufficient stimuli and remains active. If you are unsure whether or not you are affected by hearing loss, don’t wait too long before visiting your ENT doctor or audiologist. Start to enjoy life again with its full richness of sounds.




2020-12-04
Comparing Hearing Aids

Comparing Hearing Aids

Just as every individual is different, no two types of hearing loss are the same. This is why there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to hearing aids. Fortunately, with the assistance of an audiologist, you will be able to find a hearing aid that perfectly fits your needs and your particular type of hearing loss. Below, we explain the journey toward purchasing a hearing aid, and what you should bear in mind.



Overview
 * How is the diagnosis made?
 * Which hearing aid should I buy?
 * What is the best way of adjusting a hearing aid? 

 * Steps to good hearing


How is the diagnosis made?
Do you have the feeling that it’s becoming harder and harder to hear conversations or the TV at home? Or has anyone ever suggested you should get your hearing checked? These might be signs of a potential hearing difficulty.

To find out whether or not you might be affected by hearing loss, you can take a free online hearing test to obtain an initial assessment of your hearing. We recommend you then have a no-obligation hearing test with your audiologist. In general, you don’t even need to book an appointment, and you’ll soon have an accurate assessment of how well you are hearing.
If you are affected by hearing loss, our audiologists will advise you to visit a reliable ear nose and throat doctor (ENT), if necessary.

You will need a prescription from them in order to initiate the process of having your hearing aid paid for by your health insurance or social insurance company. The specialist will also do a hearing test and identify the medical reason for your hearing loss. The specialist will evaluate whether your hearing difficulty is of organic origin, and perform various tests such as a sound level test or an audiogram. If you do not have an ENT doctor, you can also contact our audiologists.

With a prescription from your ENT doctor, you can return to the audiologist to jointly decide on the best solution for your hearing needs. They will be happy to offer you personalized advice and can help you find the right model for your requirements.

Which hearing aid should I buy?
Which hearing aid will suit you best depends on a number of factors. Firstly, the nature and severity of your hearing loss, and secondly your personal lifestyle and the type of work you do: If you interact regularly with other people or need to make a lot of phone calls, you will need one kind of hearing aid, whereas if you are in the car a lot, have a very active social life, or spend most of your time at home, you will need different devices. These factors can be used to narrow down the number of possible models.

The individual’s level of ease with technology, the contribution being made by the health insurance company, and of course individual wearing comfort, all play a major role in the purchase of a hearing aid.
There are also major differences between behind-the-ear hearing aids and in-the-ear hearing aids. Of course, the price of the hearing aid depends on its design and functions. Most BTE hearing aids are cheaper than ITE devices. 

Lower-cost hearing aids and premium models differ primarily in terms of the additional functions they offer. Modern hearing aids can be paired directly with smartphones, TVs, and audio equipment, for example. The choice of power supply should also be taken into consideration. Some models are fitted with hearing aid batteries that need to be replaced, while others have rechargeable batteries.
It’s always a good idea to compare hearing aids. This will allow you to explore the models supplied by different manufacturers and the advantages they offer. With the help of one of our audiologists you can of course test and practice wearing the hearing aids.
The difference between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers

Are you thinking about choosing a hearing amplifier to correct your hearing loss?

Remember: A hearing amplifier cannot be compared directly with a hearing aid. Hearing amplifiers also feature a microphone and an amplifier, and in terms of structure and shape they are very similar to conventional hearing aids.

However, they only increase the volume of sound, thus they cannot be adapted to your individual hearing loss or personal preferences. Hearing amplifiers are not prescribed by doctors and are usually purchased without specialist advice. We therefore recommend a hearing aid for those affected by hearing loss.
 
What is the best way of adjusting a hearing aid?
To ensure speech comprehension in everyday situations, the perfect settings for the hearing aid must first be identified. Our experienced audiologists can help you with this. They will work with you to identify the ideal hearing aid for your needs, and adjust it to your hearing curve. The device will be adjusted to your individual needs in just a few appointments using a hearing aid test. The settings will be optimized until you are completely happy with them, and, most importantly, until you have become used to having your hearing back.

The brain literally has to get used to „hearing again“, and the process is not as quick as putting on glasses, for example. The fitting of your hearing aid and training to use the technology require a little patience. But it's certainly worth it. A functioning and perfectly adjusted hearing aid can bring back quality of life through good hearing. Our experienced audiologists will be happy to help you choose and adjust your hearing aid.

Steps to good hearing: 
Step 1: A solution that meets your needs
We carefully analyze the situations your hearing has to cope with on a daily basis and so create a precise, personal hearing profile. We then choose the right hearing aid for your needs and draw up a no-obligation quote. You will be informed in detail about all the costs you might incur.
Step 2: New hearing
Your new hearing aid will now be adjusted to your hearing needs. A test phase will follow, during which you should experience a variety of listening situations.
Step 3: Quality check
The quality of your hearing will now be checked once again. The audiologist will fine-tune your hearing aid to ensure the most enjoyable hearing experience possible. We are also happy to provide practical advice on dealing with your health insurance or social insurance company.

2020-12-03
What are Open-Fit Hearing Aids?

What are Open-Fit Hearing Aids?

A relatively new addition to the hearing aid market, open-fit hearing aids fit behind the ear, providing amplification via a small tube inserted into the ear canal. They come in two primary variants based on speaker location. The first is inside the ear, and the second is located inside the physical hearing aid itself.

Believe it or not, the concept on which open fit hearing aids are based isn't exactly a new one. One could actually consider them a refinement of behind-the-ear hearing aids. Per the Mayo Clinic, BTE hearing aids are typically the largest of their kind, hooking over the top of the ear and connected to an earmold inside the ear via a tube. 

Although capable of considerable sound amplification, they also tend to be susceptible to wind and background noise. Open-fit hearing aids improve on the design of BTE hearing aids by being considerably smaller and less visible. They also leave the ear canal almost completely open, as they require only a small receiver connected to the main unit via a thin wire.



This has a few primary benefits.
 
Because the ear canal is left open, low-frequency sounds come through with much greater clarity. 
Hearing aids that block the ear canal can cause the user to feel their own voice is somewhat distorted or muffled due to the blockage. Open-fit hearing aids do not have this drawback.
Given their small size, they tend to be less susceptible to blockages due to earwax. 
There is little to no telephone feedback when using an open-fit hearing aid.

They can potentially be a good fit for individuals who are somewhat sensitive about their hearing impairment, as they are less immediately noticeable. 

How Do Open Fit Hearing Aids Work?


An open-fit hearing aid functions in essentially the same way as any other assisted hearing device. The hearing aid picks up sounds through a receiver, located either on the main body of the hearing aid or within the ear. This sound is then fed through an amplifier, and then finally sent through a speaker. 

Coupled with recent advancements in digital feedback suppression, this allows open-fit hearing aids to function with a remarkable level of clarity. 

Is an Open Fit Hearing Aid Right for Me?


Typically, open-fit hearing aids work best for individuals with only mild to moderate hearing impairment. In cases of severe hearing loss, an open-fit hearing aid may be subject to feedback due to the high level of amplification required. Open-fit hearing aids are also an excellent choice for anyone suffering from excessive earwax buildup.

Older individuals may also find open-fit hearing aids to be problematic, even without severe hearing loss. Their small size means they require a fair amount of dexterity to manipulate and operate. This means that for anyone with any sort of mobility impairment, using an open-fit hearing aid can be an exercise in frustration.

Ultimately, the best advice we can offer is to talk to a professional audiologist. Work with them to determine your level of hearing impairment, and which device is best suited to your needs. Connect Hearing can help. 

Find a Connect Hearing Center near you, and we'll give you a hearing test and consultation free of charge. 




2020-12-03
6 ways to get used to hearing aids

6 ways to get used to hearing aids

Wearing hearing aids requires both a physical and mental adjustment. Support from family and friends is critical to becoming comfortable with them and we’ll give you some tips to help your loved one ease into them.

Wearing hearing aids requires both a physical and mental adjustment. Hearing loss in one or both ears can be difficult to accept, so patients may see hearing aids as a threat to their autonomy.

However, hearing aids are incredible tools that patients should embrace to live a fuller life. Support from family and friends is critical to becoming comfortable with them and we’ll give you some tips to help your loved one ease into them. 

While hearing aids shouldn’t be painful, they may create some physical discomfort at first. Your doctor should be able to adjust them, but even so, it’s certainly a new experience. In addition to how the hearing aid sits on their ear, it might also cause a slight headache. 

Louder sounds will be uncomfortable at first, just as someone unaccustomed to loud noises might be uncomfortable at a rock concert. However, follow-up conversations with a doctor and using this advice will help decrease the discomfort and make the transition smooth and anxiety-free. 
 
Be realistic about expectations.

The average time it takes for a person to adjust to hearing aids can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months . They should also not expect the tuning of sounds to be the same. Not only will people’s voices sound different but background noises like cars and the radio will also sound different.

Practice using them.
When you first start using hearing aids, you will likely become frustrated with the variety of new sounds. Rather than forcing yourself to both talk and interpret the new sounds, practice using them by listening to audiobooks or movies. Once you feel comfortable listening with them, you can practice reading books aloud and become acclimated with your own voice. Only after that should you try engaging in conversation with family members. 
2020-12-01
Increase the Life of your Hearing Aid

Increase the Life of your Hearing Aid

Modern hearing aids are robust, durable and designed to give many years of reliable service. Many also make use of digital technology and the wonders of miniaturization to deliver powerful amplification in a discrete package. But just like any device with intricate pieces, it requires the correct care in order to ensure trouble-free operation and maximize its longevity.
But caring for your hearing aid doesn’t have to be difficult; it’s merely a matter of treating the device right, some basic maintenance and knowing when to seek your audiologist’s help.

First off, wear your hearing aid! Leaving it in a drawer and wearing it only on special occasions can mean your ears struggle to make sense of the amplified sounds. This is because the brain can forget how to interpret noise and switch the hearing part of brain function off.

You wear your hearing aid daily, which is great news. But in the same way that it’s not great for your health to get soaking wet or to stand in the full sun for hours, your hearing device deserves a little consideration.

Rain
Remember those intricate electrical circuits and treat them with respect. Avoid getting your hearing aid wet, be that in a rainstorm or in a humid environment such as the shower. Take sensible precautions such as using an umbrella outdoors or pop a special “sleeve” over the body of the hearing aid, in the same way you wear a waterproof jacket to keep the rain out. (Your audiologist can show you style suitable for your device.)

Condensation
But moisture comes in other forms, such as perspiration. Especially if you wear your device whilst exercising, at the end of the day open the battery compartment, remove the batteries, dry them on a soft cloth and if possible put the device in a dehumidifier overnight. These are inexpensive, usually costing just a few dollars, and are a great way to get rid of condensation.

Chemicals
You might not think twice about spritzing yourself with scent, but you should. Products such as hairspray, deodorants, perfume, insect repellent and aftershave all contains chemicals or alcohols that have the potential to damage your hearing device. This doesn’t mean you have to stop using them, simply ensure that fitting your hearing aid is the last thing on the list and wash your hands before handling it.

Heat
Hearing devices can suffer when exposed to extremes of heat. Whilst it may seem obvious not to put your device in the oven or a microwave, not leaving it in a hot car may not be uppermost in your thoughts when you’re in a rush. Also, avoid putting your device near a heat source such as a radiator or heater, and keep it out of direct sunlight.

Knocks and Bumps

Last but not least, when cleaning your device it’s best to do so over a soft surface, such as a table top spread with a towel. That way it won’t come to harm if accidentally dropped.




2020-11-30
Hearing Aid Troubleshooting Tips

Hearing Aid Troubleshooting Tips

Has your hearing device developed an annoying whistle? Before making a special trip to the audiologist’s officer to get it fixed, it’s worth knowing that some problems have simple fixes. Take a look to see if you can sort these simple issues at home with minimal fuss and inconvenience. If the following tips don’t help, schedule an appointment with your audiologist to assist with your hearing aid repairs.



Q: My hearing aid no longer works. What can I do to fix it?

A: Common things are common, of which a dead battery heads the list. Remove the battery and wipe the contact with a clean dry cloth. Replace the battery with a new one that is within date, taking special care to insert it the correct way up, matching the symbols.

At the same time check the receiver tube for blockages. This is the length of tubing along which the amplified sound passes from the body of the hearing aid into your ear. It is prone to blockages, either from a buildup of earwax or condensation. Visually check the tubing and make sure it is clear. If it isn’t then insert a slim tool (inexpensive hearing aid maintenance kits are usually equipped with an appropriate tool) into the tubing and earmold to clean it. With the obstruction cleared there should be no further blockage to sound transmission into your ear.

If this fix and the new battery still doesn’t sort the problem then fair enough, you ruled out a simple fix and a trip to the audiologist is a good idea after all.

Q: My hearing device doesn’t make the sound as loud as it used to. What can I do?

A: If the amplified sound seems too quiet the two most likely causes are a blockage in the receiver tubing or your hearing has changed. As mentioned above, the receiver tube is the conduit along which the amplified sound travels. Any blockages in that tubing will act to deaden the sound, in the same way as putting your fingers in your ears would.

If you’ve carefully checked the tubing and it all seems in order, then consider the possibility that there’s been a change in your ability to hear and it is time to have a hearing checkup. Audiologists advise an annual hearing test.

Q: My hearing aid whistles and it’s driving me mad. How can I stop it?

A: This time it might not be the problem is with the hearing device but with wax in your ear canal or the way the device is inserted. Check to see you inserting the hearing device correctly and it sits where it should. Sometimes just removing the aid and the reinserting it correctly is all it takes to get whistle free sound. If you have no such luck then have your physician or hearing healthcare professional check your ear canal for wax build up and if necessary have the ears syringed.
2020-11-26
Handling Hearing Aid Repairs

Handling Hearing Aid Repairs

Hearing aids may be small but they are also complex, highly technical devices. Even if you are consistent caring for your hearing aid, sometimes things go wrong or simply wear out. Do you know what to do when your hearing aid starts malfunctioning? Find out more about what solutions you can handle yourself and when to contact your hearing care provider.

Troubleshooting

Here are some common problems encountered by hearing aid users that are often easily solvable, if you don’t have any luck with these solutions be sure to contact your audiologist.

Feedback: This can happen when the sound being amplified by the hearing aid is picked up by microphone, it can result in an irritating ‘whistling’ sound. One possible cause is the earmolds not sitting correctly in your ear; try gently adjusting them or pushing them in. Another common problem that can create feedback is excessive earwax; make sure you keep your ears and hearing aid as clean as possible.

Buzzing sounds: If your hearing aid has a loop setting, check that you haven’t accidentally activated it; this is a common cause of ‘buzzing’ sounds.

Distortion or unclear sound: Make sure the volume is set at an appropriate level and is not too high or too low. Check that the batteries are in correctly; if that isn’t the problem try new batteries. Exposure to moisture can cause corrosion in the battery compartment, if your hearing aid is producing no sound at all, check for this. Always keep your aid as dry as possible.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) users: If you have a BTE hearing aid, carefully remove the tubing and check for blockages or condensation build up by blowing gently through the tube. Be sure to check that the tubing is not squashed or twisted as this can also cause problems.

When to contact your audiologist

If none of these solutions have fixed your problem, it’s time to contact your audiologist. Many hearing aid warranties cover necessary repairs; it could even be something as simple as a programming issue. In cases of physical damage, many hearing care providers are able to conduct simple repairs themselves, so if you catch the problem early enough there may be no need to send your device back to the manufacturer. Contact your audiologist immediately if any of the following points apply to you:

You have been comfortably using your hearing aid for a while and it suddenly starts to produce static; excessive feedback or volume disturbances

You notice any cracks or holes in the faceplate of your hearing aid

You have a BTE hearing aid and your tubing has become dislodged




2020-11-25
Taking an Earmold Impression

Taking an Earmold Impression

Depending on the type of hearing aid you decide to purchase, an earmold impression may need to be taken. Do not be afraid. There is nothing scary about having an impression taken. It may feel a little bit weird or slightly awkward, but it will only last for a few minutes and then you are done. What does the process consist of? Let’s take a closer look.

1.Looking inside: Your hearing health professional is first going to look in your ears to ensure they are clear of any debris or excessive wax buildup. If there is anything present your hearing health professional will generally remove the wax to avoid the impression pushing the wax or object closer to the eardrum.

2.Placing of the otoblock: With a small pen light your hearing health professional will place a small otoblock, either a cotton ball on a string or foam ball on a string, into your ear and gently and slowly push it down your ear canal. This may feel a bit scratchy and may cause some people to cough, sneeze or gag because of the nerve endings it passes over in the canal.

3.Impression material in: Next, your hearing health professional will put the impression material in your ear. This is done through a large syringe with the mixed material or through an impression gun that mixes the material as it goes. The material will fill into your canal up to the otoblock and into the bowl and outer part of your ear.

4.Waiting game: You will now have to sit back and relax for a couple minutes. The material only takes a couple of minutes to set up and become solid, though still pliable, so close your eyes and be patient.

5.Removal: Your hearing health professional will now slowly and gently remove your earmold. To release the build up of pressure that has been created your hearing health professional will more than likely pull back on the upper part of your ear and at the same time start to pull up and out the mold from your ear.

Once the earmold is taken it is sent to the manufacturer to be made into your new hearing aids or the mold for your BTE. They can even be used to make hearing protection, earbuds and sleeping molds.
2020-11-24
How Hearing Aids Work

How Hearing Aids Work

Hearing aids are small very sophisticated technological devices that do exactly what they say. They aid in hearing. Hearing aids cannot restore lost hearing but they can help you make the most of the hearing you have.
There are many types and models of hearing aids made by many companies. But they all basically have the same parts and work in the same way.

Parts of a Hearing Aid
Hearing aids have three parts: the microphone, the amplifier and the speaker.

The microphone works like any other microphone. It picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals. It is like a converter, it converts sounds into a signal that can be understood by the amplifier.

Just like in music equipment, the amplifier takes the converted signal from the microphone and increases it or makes it louder.

The speaker is like a mini-transmitter. Its job is to take the amplified signal and send it to the cochlea. The cochlea has hair cells (which aren’t hair at all) that convert the signal into neural signals for transmission to the brain. When the brain gets the neural signal it processes it and you “hear” the sound

Hearing Aid Technology
Gone are the days of the ear trumpet. Modern hearing aids are electronic and not mechanical devices. They all handle electrical signals. But, there are major differences in the way those electrical signals are processed. Older hearing aids use analog technology. Newer hearing aids utilize digital technology.

Analog: Analog technology is the original electronic hearing aid technology. Analog devices transmit signals without changing the signal. In other words, analog devices don’t enhance or clarify sounds. They just pick up the signal, amplify it, and send it to the hair cells. The audiologist gives programming directions to the manufacturer when the hearing aids are ordered. These hearing aids come with different settings for different environments. This is because they cannot modify signals. Hearing aids using analog technology usually cost much less than hearing aids.

Digital: Digital technology is a major improvement over analog technology. Digital hearing aids have a highly specialized microphone. This microphone not only picks up a signal but it breaks it down into a series of 1s and 0s that computers use to communicate. The signal that is sent to the amplifier includes the sound as well as information about the sound. The amplifier can detect problems in transmission and filter them out before sending them on to the cochlea. Because it is using computer language, your audiologist will program it. They can be programmed for special handling of specified tones or pitches. This means your audiologist can program them to your exact needs. If your hearing loss is not consistent across all frequencies, this represents a major improvement over analog technology. Newer technology generally comes with a higher price tag. However, most hearing aids sold today utilize digital technology.
2020-11-23
What to Expect When You Purchase a Hearing Aid

What to Expect When You Purchase a Hearing Aid

If you’re suffering from hearing loss, it may be time to see an audiologist and possibly purchase a hearing aid. Having to wear a hearing aid can be the cause of some anxiety for many people. It brings on a lot of emotions such as anticipation and stress. If you are considering purchasing a hearing aid or need to update your current one, you need to understand what to expect. This will be a new piece of technology for you and you need to understand what it does and how to take care of it. Thus, it is important to have a realistic idea of what to expect when you receive a new hearing aid.

What should you expect?
So, what should you expect when you’re purchasing a hearing aid for the first time? Well, first, you won’t be expected to go at it alone. Your audiologist will be there to help guide you through the process. Your audiologist will go over the basics and check the way the hearing aid fits. They will also help you determine what settings are best and will program the hearing aid to work for you. Your audiologist can also show you how to make adjustments on your own too (so you can change settings at your leisure).

You’ll learn how to maintain the hearing aid as well. This includes basic maintenance like cleaning, as well as taking care of the batteries.

Hearing aid basics

Once you’ve purchased your hearing aid, you may be wondering how long it will take to get used to your new device. Be prepared, it may take up to a month before you are used to your new hearing. Of course, it all depends on you and your personality too. Every patient is different and experiences improve hearing in different ways. Sounds will be strange to you, the way you hear things will be completely different. While all these changes take some time to get used to, the human brain is very adaptable.

In general, your new hearing aid will improve your hearing to an extent where you are more aware of the noises in your normal life. It will seem to be noisier than usual and that can be distracting. You may even feel that some of these sounds are intrusive but you’ll learn how to filter out the background noise with time. It also means that you have to learn how to focus your hearing again. You want to hear some things and not everything. Thus, getting used to the new settings on your hearing aids will take some time and practice.

You may also be wondering if this will completely fix your hearing. There isn’t a simple answer to this question. While the amount of hearing a hearing aid restores varies from person to person, what you should know is that your new hearing aid will make you hear sounds you could not hear before. Does that mean you’ll hear perfectly? It is entirely possible.
2020-11-20
Is Wearing a Hearing Aid Classified as a Disability?

Is Wearing a Hearing Aid Classified as a Disability?

In general, hearing impairment is classified as a disability, depending on the hearing loss severity. This is very important as it has a lot to do with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Social Security Regulations. Under the act and regulations, a person can be granted some protection depending on their hearing impairment or disabilities. Under the Social Security Regulations, such a person can be given certain disability benefits. 

Yet, the laws that govern the classification of disabilities seem to be very inadequate. Often, this has led to so many questions about the conditions that can fall under disabilities. One such problem is whether wearing a hearing aid can be classed as a disability. This article will answer this question and other commonly asked questions about hearing disability or impairment.

Hearing impairment as a disability
Different organizations have different classifications for disability. For example, according to the World Health Organization, any disability definition can be broken down into three categories:

Impairment: This looks at the physical appearance of the body.
Activity limitation: This deals with limited physical movements or hindered due to the impairment. Hearing difficulties fall under this category.

Restriction in participation: This involves the notion that society has reduced your involvement in certain situations because of your impairment. 


However, hearing impairment falls into all the three categories mentioned to some degree. Some organizations define disability by breaking down the severity of the loss. Thus, the exact disability classification that a person’s hearing impairment will fall under depends on the impairment’s precise diagnosis. Therefore, hearing impairment may fall under four categories – profound, severe, moderate and mild.

How much of hearing loss is a disability?
The issue is no longer whether hearing loss qualifies for disability, but when we can identify it as a disability. Without the right treatment, most hearing loss or impairment issues are degenerative. This means that they continue to deteriorate with time, and treatment only helps slow the process. 

When can your loss of hearing be regarded as a disability? Again, this depends on who you’re asking and why. For example, to gain any form of benefits, there are certain levels that people wearing hearing aids need to reach. These are:

* Failure to repeat 40% of the words in a test for word recognition
A hearing threshold that falls below 60 dB according to bone conduction.
A hearing threshold of 90 dB or more according to an air conduction
Once a person reaches any of the three thresholds or levels above, they may be eligible to receive disability grants for their hearing impairment.

Would wearing a hearing aid be deemed a disability?
So, we are back to our main question – is wearing a hearing aid classed as a disability? We have already mentioned the different levels or thresholds that a person with a hearing impairment must meet for disability grants. The test to prove a person’s disability level is performed without the person wearing a hearing aid. According to the Social Security Regulations and Americans with Disabilities Act, wearing a hearing aid would not put you in the category of being disabled. 

In most cases, hearing aids are worn to improve low-level hearing impairments that fall well below the thresholds set by the Act and Regulations for hearing disabilities. The logic here is that wearing a hearing aid helps to provide some assistance for hearing loss or impairment, and this eliminates, to some degree, the state of disability. Therefore, to answer the proposed question, you cannot be classified as having a disability just because you wear a hearing aid. 

The disability and its protection
A lot of people have different ways of defining disability or what it constitutes. For most people, any form of disability that is not immediately visible is not taken seriously, ignored or sometimes even considered invisible. This has affected the kind of protection we make available to people with hearing impairment.

Therefore, considering everything we now know about hearing loss and hearing aids, it is essential to take enough time to think about your hearing condition. Regardless of hearing loss level, it should be immediately treated, as the situation may only worsen without the right care. If you already have a hearing impairment, it is best to get your ears and hearing regularly tested to ensure that you do not require more effective treatments.





2020-11-19
What to Expect at an Audiology Appointment

What to Expect at an Audiology Appointment

If you are experiencing hearing loss, then booking an appointment with an audiologist is a must. They can help you to find out if there are any issues causing the hearing loss, and to assess the type and level of hearing loss. However, it is something that you are not likely to have been to before, unlike an eye test or a medical with your doctor, so you may not know what to expect. Here is a breakdown of what will happen during your appointment so you will know what to expect.

What do audiologists do?
Audiologists are trained professionals who specialize in assessing, diagnosing and managing any issues related to hearing. All audiologists will have a master’s degree as a minimum, and some will have a Doctor of Audiology qualification, which is equivalent to having a Ph.D. Audiologists will use a range of tests to evaluate your hearing ability, as well as fitting hearing aids, where necessary.

First appointment
In your first appointment, the focus will be on finding out the impact that the hearing loss you are experiencing is having on your life, as well as assessing your current hearing levels. The audiologist will go through some medical questions around your hearing and your ears, then look at your hearing loss, the expectations of the appointment and how your hearing loss makes you feel. 

A part of this appointment is to assess your hearing with a hearing test. This will involve your audiologist finding quiet sounds and then assess whether you can hear those sounds when put alongside some tones that vary in pitch. 

An appointment with an audiologist is your chance to discuss what your hearing is like and how it is impacting you. You will also be presented with a range of options so that you can manage your hearing loss going forward. So, think about your hearing, where you have noticed the biggest changes and what you would like done about it, before you go. If you need to have hearing aids fitted, then there will be a follow-up appointment with tests, to make sure that your hearing aids give you the right amount of sound. During the appointment the audiologist will also talk you through the different options, such as having your hearing aid being fully automatic or not.

How long will the appointment take?
An appointment with an audiologist can take around forty-five minutes to one hour. If you will need to be fitted for a hearing aid then that would involve an additional appointment which is likely to take up to an hour too. Follow up appointments after being fitted with a hearing aid are quicker, taking no more than thirty minutes for a face-to-face appointment. 

Do I need to bring anything with me?
If the hearing loss that you are experiencing means that you might not be able to understand very much, it could be helpful to have someone else come with you. A close friend or family member is a good idea, as they will understand the level of hearing loss that you’re currently experiencing and help you to communicate. If you need reading glasses, then bringing them with you is a good idea as there will be some forms to sign and you might want to check on the detail of some hearing aids, should they need to be fitted. For a first appointment, taking a list with you of any medications that you are on is important. 

What will the audiologist ask you?
It is a good idea to think about your appointment as being a two-way conversation. It is a conversation about the hearing loss you have been experiencing. As a result, the audiologist will want to understand what has happened, and understand if there are any underlying medical issues generally, as well as with your ears, such as infections or dizzy spells. Really, though, what you will be asked will be about them being able to understand your hearing loss, know what impact it is having on you and what you would like to be done about it. 

If you would like to find out more about hearing loss or you are interested in booking in for an audiology appointment, then please get in contact with us at Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center. We have a great team of experienced and trained audiologists that can help with any hearing loss you have been experiencing. Give us a call today at 401-475-6116. We look forward to hearing from you.
2020-11-19
What to do if Your Hearing Aid Gets Wet

What to do if Your Hearing Aid Gets Wet

Unless you have a fully waterproof hearing aid, submerging it in water is a very bad idea – but a very easy mistake to make. Maybe you rationalized that just wading in knee-deep water wouldn’t be a problem or maybe you completely forgot to take it out in your excitement to jump into the coolness of a crystal-clear pool. However the scenario played out, the end result is the same: a wet hearing aid. Before throwing in your beach towel and preparing for a walk of shame to your hearing health professional’s clinic, these crucial steps could save you (and it) from hearing aid repair.


1. Immediately remove the hearing aid and turn it off
Removal is a logical step if the hearing aid stopped working after the water exposure. The tricky thing is that it might not stop working right away, so you might be tempted to assume the it will be okay. The faster you react to an accidental dunking, the greater the chance you’ll be able to save the hearing aid from the damaging effects of moisture, so don’t rationalize – just act.

2. Remove the battery
As soon you take the hearing aid out, remove the battery and leave the compartment door open to air out the terminals. In most cases, the current battery will be no good, so as a precaution, throw it out and retrieve a new one.

3. Remove dirt, sand and surface water
Removing visible moisture and dirt will stop further damage from occurring. If the water it was dunked in is dirty or sandy, you will want to wipe it carefully before drying to avoid rubbing debris further inside it.

4. Dry It: makeshift solutions
If you don’t have immediate access to a hearing aid dryer (one reason you should always carry a portable version with you), here are a few other options:

 * lay it on newspaper in a well-ventilated area
 * place it near a lamp or other (VERY mild) heat source to speed the drying process
 * place it in a sealed container with uncooked rice or silica gel
 * Use a very cool fan or dryer
 * Letting the hearing aid dry out for up to 48 hours is best, if you can wait that long. When the moment of truth arrives, don’t feel discouraged if it’s not working. Visit your hearing healthcare professional as soon as possible to see if anything can be done. If not, your warranty will most likely cover replacement and you’ll have a new one within a few weeks.

As frustrating as the loss and inconvenience is, a wet hearing aid does not have to be the end of your hearing health. Many hearing professionals are able to repair a hearing device in their office. In the event the malfunction is severe, your hearing provider may have to send your hearing aid to the manufacturer for repair.

2020-11-18
Types of Hearing Aids Available

Types of Hearing Aids Available

With the advancement in the medical world, the treatments available for any particular condition have increased. When it comes to hearing loss, individuals have several types of hearing aids available to treat their condition!
While all hearing aids serve the same function and help those with a hearing deficiency hear better, different hearing aids come with different functions. Apart from differences in shapes and sizes, hearing aids also differ in aspects such as strength, clarity, and so on. In the end, choosing the right device depends on what the patient desires. If the hearing is seriously deficient, the hearing aid will generally be larger and more powerful. If the hearing is not that weak, the aid will be smaller in size. Another major factor to consider when selecting a hearing aid is the level of comfort you desire and this is where variance in shapes and sizes help. Thus, there are certainly a lot of different options to choose from when it comes to picking out the right pair of hearing aids.


Here’s a look at some of the different types of hearing aids available:


1. Digital or Analog Hearing Aids

As mentioned earlier, due to the advancement in technology, there has been a shift from traditional hearing aids to more advanced ones (aids that are completely digital). Moreover, there is a huge difference between both of these types of hearing aids. While they look quite similar in their design, analogs aids simply amplify or enhance the sound while digital aids use a tiny built-in computer to process sound.

With digital aids, the inbuilt computer gives you the option of choosing between different sound levels based on different environments. For instance, if you are going out somewhere you feel there will be a lot of noise, you can simply program your aid accordingly. Additionally, some digital hearing aids also change this setting automatically, making the process all the easier. However, the downside of digital hearing aids is that they are likely to be more expensive. For those who cannot afford to spend a lot of money, going for analog aids seems like the best solution.



2. Behind the Ear (BTE) or Inside the Ear (ITE)

BTE hearing aids come with an earmold that fits inside the ear while the rest of the aid rests smoothly behind the ear. These days, the majority of BTE models have two microphones, which make for easy switching between an all-round sound and a more particular setting focusing on precisely the sound you want to hear. Moreover, there are some BTE hearing aids that come with an open ear fitting as well (a soft earpiece at the edge of the tubing instead of an earmold). The advantage of such an aid is that it is less noticeable than a traditional earmold. On the downside, though, this type of aid is only suitable if your hearing loss is mild or moderate.



Additionally, there are also several varieties of ITE hearing aids that fit right inside the ear so people around you do not know cannot tell whether or not you're wearing a hearing aid. While there are a number of styles of ITE hearing aids, these are generally designed for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

Still not sure what hearing aid type is the right fit for you? Check with your hearing care provider to find out what device is most suitable for your hearing loss.




2020-11-18
What Can an Audiologist Do for You?

What Can an Audiologist Do for You?

If you have hearing loss, who should you turn to for help?
The good news is there are a variety of hearing care professionals ready to help you start your journey to better hearing. Audiologists are one of these professionals.

Let’s start at the beginning. If you become aware your hearing isn’t what it once was and you are in good health then an audiologist is perfectly qualified to check out the problem. If you experience other symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or faintness, then it is best to see your physician, who can investigate issues that might affect your hearing. They will then suggest you see a hearing care professional, like an audiologist.

What an audiologist does
Audiologists like to paint a complete picture of your hearing health. By looking deeper for the root cause of your hearing problem, sometimes a solution other than a hearing device presents itself. Indeed, the audiologist can spot patterns in the audiogram which serve as an early warning of heart disease! (Furred up blood vessels can cause changes in the microcirculation to the ear which alter hearing.)

In addition, the audiologist takes the time and care to get to know your hearing needs and therefore which hearing device is best suited to meet them. For instance, the active sportsperson who perspires heavily has a different requirement to a person taking part in a choir. The audiologist also has knowledge of the latest devices at their disposal, and can suggest devices that suit those who are less dexterous or alternatively who require a highly discrete hearing aid.

Level of service
Audiologists also pride themselves on offering an outstanding level of service to their patients. They help you become familiar with your device, and fine tune it so you get the most from it. And if you are struggling to adapt to life with a hearing device, they are happy to help with rehabilitation to help you become a confident user.

Servicing hearing aids
And finally, don’t forget, your audiologist also undertakes servicing and minor repairs, and often offer a loaner device should yours be away for any length of time. On every count, an audiologist is best placed to serve all your hearing needs.
2020-11-17
Top 10 Questions to Ask your Audiologist

Top 10 Questions to Ask your Audiologist

Everyone has done it. You have thousand-and-one questions to ask and then they fly out of your head. When having a hearing test plan ahead by reading our top 10 questions that cover all the options.

#1: Can I bring a friend along?
During the consultation, you might not remember everything that’s said to you. Having an extra pair of ears in the shape of a friend or family member is an invaluable aid to getting the most out of your visit.
Most audiologists are more than happy to accommodate this request, so don’t be bashful and plan to take someone along for moral support.

#2: What is the main problem with my hearing?
It may be obvious to the audiologist what the problem is, but are you clear? If you aren’t then ask a direct question; it is your hearing after all.

#3: What will happen if we do nothing?
For clarities sake it’s a good idea to have a grasp of the worst case scenario. Before you invest in a hearing device, cut the chase and check you actually need hearing help at this stage. Sometimes a problem can safely be monitored, or it might even be wise to follow up with a medical physician depending on the cause of the hearing loss is.

#4: How do we correct my hearing problem?
The audiologist confirms your suspicions that it is time to use a hearing device. But the latter vary widely in style (such as behind the ear or in the canal), design and capability. Your audiologist will welcome the chance to talk through the options and may include speech therapy or learning to read facial expressions.

#5: Is my new hearing aid covered by a warranty?
A highly capable hearing aid is not cheap, so for peace of mind find out how long it is warranted for and what that guarantee covers. It might be possible to purchase an extended warranty.

#6: What happens if my hearing device needs repairs?
Many clinics undertake minor adjustments on site. For more serious issues the device might be sent away for repair. If this is the case, ask if the clinic has ‘loaner’ devices to assist your hearing while yours is away.

#7: How do I maintain my hearing aid?
Simple maintenance measures such as airing the battery compartment at night can extend the working life of your device. Check with your audiologist how to do this.

#8: When is my next hearing test due?
A crucial question for the best ongoing hearing health, your audiologist will recommend when it’s time to have your first hearing test. It’s also possible you’ll need another one done even after you get hearing aids to ensure your hearing isn’t changing.

#9: What is the best way to contact you if I have questions?
More than likely questions pop into your mind once you leave the clinic. Having a contact phone number or an email address means you can get those queries answered.

#10: Is there anything else I should know?

While this is an open-ended question, it can help jog your audiologist’s memory to make sure they covered all the bases when it comes to your hearing health!




2020-11-16
Common Hearing Aid Repairs

Common Hearing Aid Repairs

Having trouble with your hearing aid?
If you hearing device is playing up, it may need professional attention. However, whether it’s static feedback or loss of volume, avoid an unnecessary trip to the audiologist’s office by first checking out these basic steps.

Check for trapped wax
The small size of modern hearing devices means they are tiny tubes and small ports which can easily become clogged with that most natural of all substances, earwax. If an ear mold becomes plugged this leads to reduced volume or static feedback, which can make it seem the hearing device is faulty when all it needs is a clean.

As with so many things, prevention is better than cure. Wipe your hearing aid off with a soft cloth every night, and check the ports for the presence of wax. If you find yourself regularly dislodging lumps of wax from the ear mold, then using an ear cleaner a couple of times a month may help.

Inexpensive cleaning kits are available, designed to keep the ports of your device clean. For a minimal financial outlay these enable you to remove wax plugs without damaging to the delicate working parts of the device.

Battery health
If your hearing aid isn’t performing as it should, then replace the battery. A rundown or faulty battery, or indeed one inserted incorrectly, leads to a poorly performing hearing device.

Dry the device
Rain, high humidity, and perspiration are all the enemy of hearing devices. From moisture than can build up in the fine tubes to condensation in the battery compartment, the end result is an underperforming device.

Take care to open the battery compartment at the end of each day, to allow it to air. Also, wipe the device over with a clean dry soft cloth, and ideally store the hearing aid overnight in a dehumidifier. Again, these can be purchased inexpensively and can constructively extend the working life of your hearing device.

Check the tuning
If the hearing device sounds muffled or ceases to amplify sound, check the dials and settings. It’s the easiest thing for the volume dial to get knocked whilst putting the aid in your ear, and sometimes a lack of amplification can be down to something as simple as the volume switch getting tweaked to minimum.

Similarly, if the hearing device appears ‘dead’, try the on/off switch a couple of times. It’s easy for the button to inadvertently be pressed to the wrong setting.

Check the tubing
If yours is a behind-the-ear (BTE) device, regularly check the tubing for condensation, wax or breakage. Just as a puncture hosepipe won’t water the garden, so faulty tubing won’t transmit sound and simply replacing it could be the answer.

And finally, if you’ve covered all the basics then contact your audiologist. Interference, persistent static or sound fading in and out, are all problems they are familiar with and should be able to remedy.
2020-11-16