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.
Why is a Hearing Aid Fitting is Essential?
Hearing aids can change your life. If you’ve struggled to follow conversations, keep up in meetings or interact with friends or family members, wearing hearing aids can have an incredibly positive impact on your confidence and your wellbeing. When you have hearing aids, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are myriad types of hearing aid, and seeing an audiologist can help to ensure that you achieve the best outcome from your new hearing aids.
Hearing aids come in a range of different models and designs, and they can be tailor-made to suit the individual. Hearing aids have far-ranging capabilities, but to obtain optimum results, they have to be fitted and programmed correctly. A hearing aid fitting is essential to ensure that every patient gets the best out of their hearing aids. Without a fitting, there’s a risk that the hearing aids won’t fit properly, they may not be programmed to best serve the individual client, and the patient may not be aware of how to adjust the settings to improve their hearing. A hearing aid fitting is critical for both comfort and levels of functionality. If you attend an appointment with your audiologist, they will take the time to make sure that you’re comfortable, and also to ensure that you have confidence when it comes to adjusting your hearing aids at home or when you’re out and about.
A hearing aid fitting can help to improve comfort, but it can also provide the patient with vital information. If you’ve never used hearing aids before, it’s natural to have questions about how they work, how to use them and how to protect and maintain them. At your hearing aid fitting, you can ask as many questions as you like, and your audiologist will do their best to give you all the answers.
Transitioning from not having hearing aids to wearing brand new hearing aids can take time. At first, you may find that it feels very odd to wear hearing aids, and it may be difficult to adjust to the fact that you can hear again. When your audiologist places your hearing aids in your ears for the first time, they will carry out some simple tests to adjust the settings to suit you and to help you get used to your new hearing capabilities. Once your audiologist has modified your hearing aids, and you’ve asked all the questions you have, you’ll be advised to book a follow-up appointment so that your audiologist can see how you’re getting on with your hearing aids.
We are all unique, and when it comes to hearing aids, one person’s hearing aids may be completely different to another’s. It’s imperative to book a hearing aid fitting to ensure that your hearing aids are as comfortable as possible and to maximize the chances of getting the best out of your hearing aids. Your audiologist will use their experience and training to modify your hearing aids to suit you.
3 Hearing Aid Care Tips
The reality is that caring for hearing aids is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require much work on your behalf. Below, we’ve listed a few care tips that are recommended bty audiologists from all over the world:
Keep them dry at all times
Along with this, you should try and avoid bringing your hearing aid to places with lots of condensation or steam present. This includes the bathroom and kitchen. If you ever do bring it in a room or place with a lot of condensation, then make sure you dry the hearing aid thoroughly with a cloth.
This is a hearing aid care tip that’s straight out of the office of an audiologist. They suggest you open the battery compartment when you’re not using the device. This is mainly because a lot of moisture and dirt can be trapped in there without you noticing. So, by opening it up, you give your batteries some room to breathe, and can also clean the compartment with a soft, dry, cloth as well.
If you take your hearing aid out during the day, then you should really open that battery door. However, if you forget to do this, then just make sure you leave it open when you take the device off to go to sleep.
It’s worth reminding you that hearing aids are small devices that can break easily. They’re not the most durable of things, particularly if they aren’t handled properly. Don’t throw the hearing aid around or treat it as though it’s a toy. These are expensive devices that need to be respected!
Ideally, handle your device with clean/dry hands at all times. Place it down delicately when you take it out, and pick it up carefully when you put it back in. Also, keep it away from children or pets, as they don’t know what it is and will most likely not handle it very carefully.
These three tips are all you need to keep your hearing aids in excellent condition. It’s so highly recommended that you treat these devices with as much care as possible. While your audiologist will undoubtedly welcome any future appointments, they don’t want to spend their days dealing with hearing aid faults that can easily be avoided with proper maintenance!
4 Signs You Need Hearing Aid Repairs
The devices switch off randomly
One of the clearest signs that your hearing aids need repairs is changing the batteries doesn’t help the problem. As such, they might turn off randomly at points through the day. They might even not switch on at all. Be aware, this could be a problem with the battery or the device itself. That’s why you should always check the battery first before you even think about getting a repair. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of money for nothing.
You might also find that there is physical damage to the device. While it may look minor, certain physical damage can cause massive issues with these devices. For instance, there might be an issue with the tube that connects the outer piece to the inner piece. If this is damaged, then the sound will not travel at all. So, the tube will either need to be replaced or repaired.
The hook for the device may have snapped or been thoroughly worn. In both cases, you will need to think about getting it repaired. After all, the hook is what allows the device to attach to your ear. It’s an essential piece of the hearing aid device
While the device may switch on, if it needs repairing, it probably will have an issue with a noise that you don’t want to hear. The noise could be anything from a ringing to white noise or static. It all depends on the issue with the hearing device. Once again, this can be a sign of a low battery, but it can also be a symptom of a more technical issue with the device itself. As such, it could be a more complex issue, and you will need to speak to your audiologist about a potential repair. If you don’t get the device repaired, the buzzing or alternate noise caused will certainly become irritating.
Covered in earwax
Finally, you might find that your hearing aid is covered in earwax. There might be earwax in the tubing and around the little pieces. Earwax is a natural occurrence. The ear pushes the wax out to clean the canal and make sure that any harmful dirt or oils are removed from the ear. Earwax can be cleaned off with a soft, damp cloth. However, if this doesn’t resolve the issue, visit your audiologist to have your hearing aids repaired.
How Ear Protection Preserves Hearing
Thankfully, there several ways to protect your hearing and your audiologist is likely to recommend ear protection as one of the most reliable methods available.
The danger of hearing loss
There are natural risk factors that contribute to hearing loss, such as age, as well as temporary causes, like earwax buildup and infection. However, noise is one of the leading causes of permanent hearing loss, especially in younger individuals. Loud noises kill the nerve endings in the inner ear. The longer the exposure and the louder the noise, the more nerve endings at risk. The fewer nerve endings you have in your ear, the less your ears are able to translate the sound waves and transmit them to the brain. As hinted, there is no way to regenerate dead nerve endings inside the ear.
They dampen loud noises
The primary function that ear protection (such as earmuffs and both temporary and customized earplugs) provides is the dampening of loud noise. Earplugs fit inside the canal snugly, while earmuffs are worn over the ears. Both products are designed to reduce your exposure to damaging noise. There are also tactical listening devices that allow you to still hear certain sound, while preventing any damaging noise from penetrating your ears. These are particularly helpful if, for instance, you are attending rock concerts or you work in an environment with power tools, but still want to be able to communicate effectively with your coworkers.
They protect your ears from the environment
While the elements aren’t typically as dangerous as noise is when it comes to your auditory system, they still bring some risks with them. The cold air, snow and wind can irritate the interior of the ears and expose them to more dirt and debris, causing more earwax production, which can lead to a buildup. This buildup can lead to painful and annoying impactions. Similarly, moisture and water in the ear can lead to infections. While these infections can be treated easily, they can lead to complications like temporary or permanent hearing loss. Earplugs are an effective solution for not only keeping noise out, but also for protecting your ears from potentially harmful elements.
If you regularly take part in activities that produce a lot of noise or work in an environment that is excessively loud, you need ear protection. The same goes if you regularly exposed to elements that can irritate and harm your ears. Talk to your audiologist about the best form of protection to prevent hearing loss.
How are Hearing Tests Performed?
Filling in forms
The first step of any hearing test is to fill in all the correct forms. Typically, you will be provided a full survey which will take you around twenty minutes. This will ask everything that an audiologist needs to know about you including past medical history, family medical history and any medication that you might be on. All could be relevant if you are having an issue with your hearing that you can not explain. It’s possible that the issue is relatively simple and could be caused by a side effect of virtually any medication.
Typically, you will complete the questionnaire in the waiting area before you see an audiologist. Once this has been filled in, you will be taken into an examination room. Here, they will complete a physical test where they can check for a common issue that can cause hearing trouble. For instance, it’s possible that you have a build up of hardened wax in your ear. If this is the case, warm water can rinse it out quickly. However, if there is no sign of a physical cause, further tests will be required.
Series of tests
In addition to a physical examination, your audiologist will perform a series of tests to measure your hearing ability. During these tests, your audiologist will ask you to raise your hand or push a button to indicate when you’ve heard a particular sound. They will chart your answers to determine if you struggle to hear certain pitches or frequencies. They may also conduct tests to monitor your middle ear function or speech recognition.
After the hearing test is complete, the audiologist will make a recommendation. If you do have a significant level of hearing loss, hearing aids are typically the best and most common solution. However, there are many different types and models to choose from. An audiologist can help you make the right decision for your need and requirements. Depending on the level of your hearing loss, all models may not be available or suitable for you.
How to Care for Your Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can have an unbelievable impact on your day-to-day life, but to get the most out of them, you need to ensure that you take good care of them. Hearing aids are durable, but they’re not immune to damage. If you’ve recently started wearing hearing aids and want to keep them in optimal condition for as long as possible, here are some tips to help you look after your hearing aids.
Storing your hearing aids safely
You don’t wear hearing aids 24-hours-a-day, so it’s essential to find a safe place to store them when they’re not in use. Hearing aids work better when they are dry, so avoid leaving them anywhere where they may be exposed to moisture, and keep them in the same places so you don’t lose them. If you’re out and about, carrying them in a secure box in your bag is a great idea, while keeping them in a box in a drawer at home will prevent your hearing aids from getting lost or broken. When you take your hearing aids out, place them straight into the box or container you’ve chosen. Don’t ever leave them lying around.
Keeping your hearing aids clean
When you have your hearing aids fitted by a hearing care professional, they will demonstrate how to keep the devices clean. Due to the location of the hearing aid, in a waxy, moist area, it’s common for wax and dirt to collect in some components of the hearing aid. Frequent cleaning helps to prevent a build-up of debris and increases the efficacy of the appliance. When you clean your hearing aids, use a soft cloth and wipe the earmolds with tepid, soapy water. Don’t attempt to dry out your hearing aids with a hairdryer, as the power could cause damage to the delicate parts.
Changing the batteries
Hearing aid batteries typically last for around two weeks. When you collect your new hearing aids, your hearing specialist will show you how to change the battery, but if you have any questions or you’re not sure what to do when you get home, don’t hesitate to give them a call and ask for advice. To change the battery, pull out the battery drawer, take the old battery out and replace it with the new battery. Make sure you dispose of the old canister according to safety guidelines.
Checking in with a hearing health professional
When you have hearing aids, it’s always a good idea to check in with a hearing health professional on a regular basis, just to make sure that everything is going well and your hearing aids are offering all the benefits they should be. It’s particularly important to contact your hearing care provider if you have any issues programming your hearing aids or you’re worried that you may have damaged the device.
If you have hearing aids, it’s hugely beneficial to look after them to lower the risk of damage and ensure they’re firing on all cylinders. If you have any questions or you need advice, a hearing care professional will be happy to help.
How Do Earmolds Help?
What is an earmold?
You can’t fully understand how something can help you if you aren’t sure what it is to begin with. An earmold is a small piece of plastic or another soft material, that is shaped to fit your ear. There are many reasons that your hearing care provider could suggest that you need an earmold. It could be to protect your ear. It could be to help prevent further hearing loss. Or, if you need or have hearing aids, the earmold is used to connect the ear canal to the device, to ensure optimum hearing.
How does this help?
Without the earmold, your hearing aid might not work in the way that it is supposed to. When your audiologist inserts your earmold, it will connect the ear canal to the device. This helps you because it focuses on hearing from behind the ears, meaning that the sound quality you receive is going to be better. That’s why it is important that the fitting is done correctly. If it isn’t, you might experience some issues with the sound that your hearing aid is providing.
If you have an earmold to protect your ears, it will stop things getting into your ears. Certain athletes such as swimmers use earmolds to stop the water from damaging their hearing. This way, they can prevent any issues with their hearing developing, particularly if they are constantly diving deep into a pool. Deep sea divers will also typically use this as a form of ear protection.
You might have an earmold to prevent any further hearing loss. In this case, the earmold acts as a barrier and doesn’t let the sound leak out, or indeed, loud noises in at their full volume. This preserves your hearing for as long as possible. This will be beneficial to you because the longer that your hearing stays in good shape, the better. Earmolds are especially helpful if you go to places like concerts frequently.
Any further questions?
If you have any further questions on how earmolds help you, you can contact your audiologist, and they will be able to fill in any blanks that you may still have. Don’t worry about asking questions, you need to fully understand what is happening with your hearing and why the treatment method that has been put forward, is going to help you.
Hearing Aid Troubleshooting
There are lots of things that can go wrong with your hearing aid, especially if you’ve been using it for a long time. It’s important to know what to do about these issues so you can troubleshoot them and get back to using your hearing aids as intended. No one wants to have problems with their hearing aids, especially as so many people rely on them each day of their lives.
We’re going to look at some of the most common problems associated with using hearing aids and we’ll then look at the various ways in which these problems can be put right and fixed. We’ll then look at what you should do if these fixes aren’t working. Sometimes, your hearing aids are telling you that a professional repair job is required.
Ways to troubleshoot your hearing aid
Hearing aids are incredibly advanced and delicate pieces of technology. Because of their small size, they can be prone to technical or physical issues. There are several different ways you can troubleshoot these issues at home, but it’s important to note that intricate or damage repairs should be handled by your audiologist.
* Sound feedback: Feedback is when your hearing aid produces sounds that it simply isn’t meant to. Sound feedback can be very frustrating and difficult to contend with and it can come in the form of a whistling sound most often. Positioning is the first thing to check because feedback is most common when the tip of the hearing aid is not securely positioned where it should be. You might also need to change the volume control to fix the problem.
* Failure to turn on: The first thing to try if your hearing aid won’t turn on is the battery. Change it and see if that fixes the problem; you’ll be surprised how often it’s a simple thing like that. If changing the battery does nothing, you should check the switch is set to on and clean it out to remove excess wax that might be causing problems for you. You should also check for any cracks or damage in the tubing and wires of the hearing aid.
* Weak sound: Sometimes, the sound coming out of the hearing aid can be weak and that’s obviously not right at all. It might be the case that your brain is simply getting used to the sound so you get the impression that it’s weaker when it’s actually not. If that’s the case, simply increasing the volume should work for you. Replacing the battery can also often fix problems relating to weak sound output. Again, looking at the tubing is advisable too.
Even with the best care and maintenance routine, hearing aids can experience issues as they age or due to physical damage. If you struggle with any of the hearing aid problems below, schedule a visit to have them assessed by your audiologist.
* It won’t work at all: If the hearing aid simply won’t work at all, it’s probably time to get it replaced. If you’ve tried everything and nothing is working and the device won’t even turn on no matter what you do, your only remaining option will be to send it for repair. But if the device is old, the repairs might not even be worth it and you might prefer to simply replace the hearing aid with a new one instead. That’s something that you’ll have to decide for yourself.
* Low volume problems: If the volume is too low and it won’t increase even when you turn it up, this is again a problem that needs to be repaired by a professional. If you’re sure that the battery is not the source of the problem, it must be something else inside the hearing aid that’s causing the issue. Unless you know how to repair hearing aids to a professional standard, that’s something that you shouldn’t try to fix by yourself because it won’t work out well.
* Variable sound quality: Variable sound quality can be frustrating and if you’ve tried the ideas above and nothing is changing it, you should let an expert look at it. They’ll be able to see where the problem lies and fix it. It’s probably a technical fault inside the device, so, again, you’ll need an expert to assess it.
Hearing Aid Satisfaction
If you experience any issues with your hearing aids, we at Hear For You Hearing and Balance Center understand the pressing need for a swift resolution to these problems. In an effort to help you achieve this, below, we have detailed the most common reasons for hearing aid dissatisfaction and the steps you can take to resolve the matter once and for all.
The hearing aid is more visible than expected
Modern hearing aids are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, but some people are still surprised by how obvious their hearing aid looks in their ear. If this concerns you, it may be best to speak with your audiologist to explore other device options, as some types of hearing aids, such completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids, are less obvious to an onlooker.
However, these smaller hearing aids also have significant downsides – such as reduced battery life – and are only suitable for certain levels of hearing loss; your audiologist can guide you further when deciding whether a switch to such a device is the right choice for you.
Poor battery performance
If you find that you are using more batteries for your hearing aid than you are comfortable with, you might want to consider switching to a larger device. For example, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are much larger than other types of device and their batteries can last for up to 20 days.
If you’d prefer not to switch devices, then you could try:
Ensuring you switch your hearing aids off when they are not in use, in order to prevent battery drain.
Altering the settings so that your device requires less power; your audiologist will be able to advise you further on what may be suitable in this regard.
Whenever you wear a hearing aid for the first time, you will likely need to go through a period of adjustment. During this period, many people may be distracted by the feeling of the hearing aid in their ear. Follow the schedule provided by your audiologist to help you feel more comfortable when wearing your devices and to expedite the adjustment process.
If you are struggling with feedback on your hearing aid, check the external components for any signs of dust, debris or earwax. If you identify any issues, wipe the device clean with a damp, lint-free cloth.
If the above does not rectify the issue or you cannot see any signs of such problems, then try adjusting the settings and programs. If the feedback problem continues across all settings, then it is best to take the device to be inspected by a professional, as it may be the case that a mechanical fault has developed and a repair is required.
The wearer’s own voice sounds too loud to them
When wearing a hearing aid for the first time, some people feel that their voice sounds far too loud. For the most part, this issue should reduce over time as you adjust to using hearing aids. However, if the problem continues for more than a week, you may wish to adjust the settings or discuss the matter further with a professional.
Can these issues be prevented?
While there is no possible way to be 100 percent sure you will love your hearing aid, the best method of prevention is a thorough consultation with your audiologist prior to purchasing a device. Hearing aids are very delicate devices and there is no one-size-fits-all device that is suitable for everyone, so it’s helpful to opt for an individualized approach that focuses on your specific needs with the assistance of your audiologist.
However, even with a long and detailed consultation process, there is always a chance that you may be dissatisfied with your hearing aids even after the initial adjustment period. If you find that this is the case, then your audiologist should be able to guide you further, using your experience with your first device in order to influence future decision making effectively.
How Does An Audiologist Program Your Hearing Aids?
As one would expect, individual needs have to be met with customized solutions, particularly in terms of how hearing aids – the most common treatment for hearing loss – are programmed.
Why do hearing aids need to be programmed?
The core function of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds so that the wearer can hear them clearly every time. However, hearing aids are far more complex devices than simple amplifiers; they provide a range of digital features and functionality, all of which need to be fine-tuned and tailored to meet your personal requirements. Two different individuals may be experiencing the same level of hearing loss, but their devices may be customized and programmed entirely differently.
Audiologists understand the importance of customizing hearing aids to the individual user, and will thus seek to work with you to program your hearing aid precisely as you need.
How are hearing aids programmed by an audiologist?
Your audiologist can use a variety of advanced computer and algorithm-based techniques to program your hearing aids:
* Surround sound: Surround sound is used to mimic an outdoor environment within the comfort of your audiologist’s office; this tends to include traffic noises, crowd noises, and similar everyday sounds. By using a surround sound system while * programming a hearing aid, your audiologist can make adjustments to noise reduction settings based on real-time feedback.
* Real-ear probe microphones: These probes are designed to identify the sounds that are reaching your eardrum when your hearing aid is in place, which in turn allows for more effective programming.
* Visible speech mapping (VSM): VSM enables an audiologist to identify the amount of amplification that is reaching the ear, and make adjustments to improve this if necessary.
* In comparison to conventional techniques, the modern technology-based solutions for programming hearing aids are incredibly effective and help to ensure your hearing aids will perform exactly as expected.
What hearing aid factors can be adjusted with programming?
In addition to noise reduction, as mentioned above, programming also ensures your audiologists can make the necessary adjustments to the volume of your hearing aids, the intensity levels, maximum power output, and many more besides. All of the settings are tweaked and refined to ensure that the sounds you hear through your hearing aid are comfortable for you to use. Every individual has specific preferences about the sound they hear through their hearing aids, so your audiologist needs to refine the features available to suit your particular requirements.
Can hearing aids be reprogrammed?
Yes, and there are two reasons you may wish to request this. First and foremost, though your audiologist will do all they can – and use the best possible tools available – to program your hearing aids to suit you exactly at your appointment, further refinement may be beneficial. You may find that while your hearing aids work entirely at your audiologist’s office, after a few weeks of use in the real world, you notice that there are small changes or improvements that you feel may be necessary. If this happens, you can return to your audiologist, who will be able to fine-tune the programming to account for your observations.
In addition, hearing loss is not a static condition, and some people find that their hearing needs will change over a period of time. When this happens, the existing programming may no longer be suitable. In such a scenario, your audiologist can reprogram your hearing aids to suit your new requirements.
Can you program hearing aids yourself?
If you are relatively comfortable with technology, you may have wondered if it is possible to program your hearing aid yourself rather than visiting an audiologist. However, self-programming should be avoided at all costs. Programming a hearing aid requires dedicated hardware, suitable software, and the knowledge and expertise that only years of training can provide. The process is inherently complex and requires a huge amount of fine-tuning to get right; as a result, it is simply not possible to program hearing aids for yourself. Instead, it is essential to always entrust the entire programming process to your audiologist; DIY programming attempts are, at best, ineffective, and in the worst-case scenarios can your device to malfunction.
Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Facts
Music players, smart phones, laptops and gaming systems, as well as working around constant, loud noise is one of the main causes of hearing loss in the United States. Living a loud and hectic lifestyle can influence your ears from the early years, and children as young as three report hearing impairment.
All in all, it’s crucial to be able to identify hearing impairment issues, no matter your age. It’s been reported that children experiencing hearing issues can miss about 50% of classroom content at the least, potentially making their school years significantly harder to get through.
It’s why it’s important to get the facts and figures straight. According to audiologists, a lot of myths and legends exist surrounding ear health and how hearing loss can occur. So, let’s go through a few hearing loss and hearing aid facts. If you’re worried or curious about your own hearing health, you might want to do a bit more research once you’re done here.
At least 48 million Americans experience hearing loss
To a significant degree as well in most cases. And considering there’s an average waiting time of seven years before treatment is administered, it’s an ongoing issue for the current population. Hearing impairment can occur at any time in a person’s life – it’s important to go through a few more details surrounding that.
So, hearing loss can be experienced at any age?
Yes. No matter how old or young you are, there’s a potential for hearing loss in your life. Of course, depending on your age, you’re going to have a different experience with hearing impairment, often at a different level.
Statistically, one in three people aged 65 and over are living with a hearing impairment. Commonly this is due to general degradation as we age, and tinnitus is most often reported by patients. A ringing in the ears is reported by about 50 million people in the USA, after all.
At the same time, in America, about three million children are living a hearing-impaired experience. At least one million of these children are under the age of three. It’s one of the main reasons hearing tests are offered to children as young as just a few months; babies are commonly tested for hearing impairments, in order to keep an eye on their hearing and communication development as they grow into the crucial development period.
Hearing aids are the most accessible form of treatment
If you’re in need of a hearing aid, a wide range of styles and types exist on the market. But if you want specifics, there are three main types of hearing aids on the market at the moment: you can make use of behind the ear hearing aids, as well as in the canal hearing aids or even completely in the canal hearing aids.
Behind the ear is the most used type of hearing aid and is the one we see the most in media. It’s best for people with mild or moderate hearing impairments and is most notably made up of a tube running down behind the ear.
Each has their own level of visibility, from most to least visible in the order above. With the help of an audiologist, you’ll be able to find the style that fits your ear and suits your general lifestyle the most. You can work if you like on this together.
Hearing loss has the possibility of affecting us all. It’s possible that about 15 million people experiencing a loss in their hearing don’t bother to seek help – they might not even be aware that they’re living with a hearing impairment. But if you are aware, you don’t need to live with the worry when there’s a specialized center right here for you. If you’re even just a little bit worried about a potential hearing impairment you may be living with, contact us. You can call Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center at 401-475-6116 or use the website to get in touch instantly.
Tips for Communicating with the Hard of Hearing
While many people who are hard of hearing have the ability to lip-read it’s not always easy, it takes a lot of energy and can be frustrating. We should follow these simple practices to help improve communication between ourselves and our loved ones with hearing loss.
Get their attention
The very first thing to do before initiating any type of conversation with someone who is hard of hearing is to ensure you have their full attention. If you start to talk without them being aware you are aiming the words at them then you will find yourself repeating yourself all over again. Try starting every conversation with their name or gently tapping them on the arm.
Approach from the front or side
Try not to approach them from behind as to avoid startling them. Never tap them from behind and instead always make sure you are face to face or at their side before initiating a conversation. When you are in either position you can gently tap them on the arm to let them know you’re about to speak.
Pick a quiet moment
People who have hearing loss will struggle to follow any conversation no matter what approach you take if there is a lot of noise or distraction in your proximity. Try to always communicate with them in a quiet spot where they will have the best chance of hearing what you have to say. This goes for cafes and restaurants too.
Speak face to face
When communicating with a person with hearing loss its always best to speak face to face. This allows them to see your lips and get a better idea of what’s being said. Lipreading is difficult at the best of times, ensuring you are still and directly in front of them makes it that bit easier. It’s also just good manners.
Don’t mumble or speak too softly or too loudly. It’s best to speak at clear and loud enough volume so that they can hear you as best as possible. Don’t speak too softly or too fast either. It’s easy to fall back into your normal speaking voice so try to maintain a clear voice as much as possible.
Check they understand
If you continue to talk for hours on end without checking first that the person understands you then you may have just wasted a lot of time. When first initiating a conversation make sure they can understand you and if you feel at any point, they may be struggling to hear you check again. Simply ask them can you still hear me ok.
Keep it down
One thing that frustrates those with hearing loss is when people speak extremely loud at them. There is no need to shout plus if they are wearing a hearing aid it can be extremely uncomfortable for them.
Never say it doesn’t matter
If the person who is hard of hearing says they didn’t understand something you said this is the last thing you should reply with. It’s disheartening for anyone with hearing loss to hear these three words. Be patient and always repeat yourself more clearly no matter how important your words were.
Don’t turn away
It’s easy to turn away while speaking to a person hard of hearing but if you do this, they will struggle to follow the conversation and you may find yourself repeating yourself again. As hard as it may be, try to stay in one position and speak clearly towards the person so they can see you. Try not to cover your mouth with your hands or eat while talking.
Speak to the person, not the support
If the person your speaking to has communication support such as a sign language interpreter, it’s respectful to always look at the person you are speaking to. Otherwise, you will your conversation will be with the language interpreter and the person with hearing loss might feel disheartened.
Learn some sign language
If you have someone in your family or a friend who has hearing loss one of the best things you can do is to learn some sign language to help better communicate with each other. They will be extremely grateful if you did and your relationship will be that much stronger.
What else can help?
Come learn more about Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center and how we can help you and your loved ones that have hearing loss. We offer a number of services including hearing tests and hearing aid advice. Speak to one of our audiologists at 401-475-6116 for help and guidance for any hearing needs.
Can Hearing Aids Damage Hearing?
It actually makes sense that after a couple of weeks of wearing hearing aids, you get used to how well you can hear with them. Then you take them out, and first of all, the difference the hearing aids have made makes it seem like your own natural hearing has got worse, but also, it's easy to forget how bad your hearing was before. It is simply a misconception and your brain is tricking you.
There's also the point that hearing loss happens gradually over time, and on average, people wait seven to ten years before they seek help from a hearing healthcare professional. During this time their hearing will have gradually worsened and the brain will have become more accustomed to hearing loss. It then begins to perceive your level of hearing ability as normal – so you don't realize that it's not.
When you start to wear hearing aids, your brain has to readjust to the new levels of sound and recognize this as normal. At first, the volume and clarity of sounds can seem jarring, but once your brain has adjusted, and then you take your hearing aids out, your hearing loss becomes much more noticeable.
Do you know what it's like when you have been in a dark room for a while, and your eyes adjust to the light, and you can see things, even if it's just shapes and colors? Then when you come out of the dark room or turn the light on, it seems too bright because your eyes need time to adjust. But once they do, everything becomes much clearer. However, when you turn the lights back off again, you can no longer see those shapes and colors anymore. Your vision hasn't suddenly become worse, but your brain and your eyes have just taken time to adjust, and this is the same process as your ears and your hearing aids.
A good fitting can really help
Many people also worry that hearing aids are dangerous for your eardrums. This is not the case, but you do need to make sure that the devices are fitted and programmed correctly. While you may be tempted to order devices online or try to purchase a pair used, this is typically ineffective and can be damaging to your hearing. Improperly fitted hearing aids can irritate your ear canal and cause sores, dry skin or even excessive earwax. Poor settings can amplify sounds too much and can cause additional hearing loss, or, if set too low, can cause your hearing to worsen. To benefit from hearing aids, it’s essential you find the right professional to assess your needs, recommend the right styles, features and program them correctly. Finding the right pair of hearing aids is your ticket to not only better hearing, but to preventing further loss.
Also, once you have hearing aids, it doesn't mean that you can stop caring for your ears. You still need to be careful and protect your ears from loud noises, which can damage your eardrum.
An experienced audiologist will fit your hearing aids for you and should program them so that they fit your personal level of hearing loss. Once you have been wearing your hearing aids for a few weeks and you're still not comfortable or find they're too loud or not loud enough, then you should go back to your audiologist to have them adjusted. If your hearing aids are set to be louder than they need to be in order to compensate for your specific hearing loss, then theses sound levels can cause noise damage. This often happens when people have bought their hearing aids online, so it really is important to go and see a hearing health professional.
How to Prepare for Your Hearing Test
Note down your medical history
Before you have a hearing test, your audiologist will ask you a series of questions about your hearing, as well as your general health and your medical history. To make life easier, it’s a great idea to note down any procedures you’ve had, any medicines you’re currently taking or have taken in the past, and any allergies you have. It’s important that your audiologist is aware of this information before they start your test and suggest potential treatment options.
Clean your ears out
Your ears have highly sophisticated self-cleaning mechanisms, but they are prone to attracting debris, and there is a risk of overproduction of earwax. Before you have a hearing test, it’s a good idea to clean your ears. To do this, avoid the temptation of using cotton buds, which can be very dangerous for your ears, and gently wipe your ears with a damp cloth instead. If you have got a lot of wax in your ears, this will become apparent when your audiologist examines your ears with an instrument called an otoscope. If excessive wax is an issue, your audiologist will suggest ways of addressing the problem.
Make a list of questions
For some people, hearing tests can be a rather daunting prospect, and for others, going into an appointment is a step into the unknown. In the heat of the moment, it’s very easy to forget all the questions that were whizzing around in your head beforehand, and this is why it’s useful to take a list of questions into the appointment with you.
Try and avoid loud noises
If you’ve got a hearing test booked, it’s wise to try and avoid noisy environments. Exposure to loud noises, for example, music at a gig, can damage your hearing. It’s best to try and stick to quiet environments for at least 12 hours before your hearing test. If you work in a noisy setting, for example, a construction site, you should use ear protection.
Reschedule if you’re under the weather
If you have a cold or the flu, or you’re struggling with sinusitis, this can impact your hearing, and it may affect the results of your hearing test. If you do come down with an illness within 48 hours of your hearing test, call your audiologist and rearrange for when you’re feeling better.
If you have a hearing test coming up, you don’t need to feel anxious, but there are a few things you can do to prepare. Note down information about your medical history, jot down some questions you want to ask, and clean your ears. It’s best to avoid having a hearing test if you’re ill and to steer clear of noisy environments for at least 12 hours before your hearing test.
What Hearing Aids are Right for You?
Which hearing aids are right for you depends on many factors, including your hearing issues, your income, your desired level of comfort, and the type of environments you encounter most frequently.
What types of hearing aids are on the market?
Hearing aids can be divided into five distinct categories:
Completely in canal (CIC): Progress in technology means that it’s now possible to fit hearing aids entirely inside the ear canal, free from any external component. Although not as feature-rich as larger devices, CIC hearing aids are great for people who fear damage to their devices. They are, therefore, most suited to people who love sports and outdoor activities. CIC hearing aids usually cannot be removed by hand and require a special tool.
In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids are slightly larger cousins of CIC devices. A piece of the ITC protrudes out of the ear (although not around the ear) allowing it to be removed without the use of special tools.
In the ear (ITE): Not to be confused with ITC, ITE devices protrude to cover the ear bowl - the external part of the ear surrounded by the earlobe. Again, larger and often more feature-rich than smaller devices, ITE devices avoid bulky external components.
Receiver in the ear (RITE): RITE hearing aids fit around the ear, but are small and therefore difficult to see.
Behind the ear (BTE): BTE devices comprise two main components: a speaker that inserts into the ear, and a receiver, processor, and battery that fit around the back of the external ear. Children or people who want maximum functionality benefit most from BTE devices.
What features are ideal?
You’ll want to select a hearing aid depending on your needs. For instance, if you’re a busy professional who wants to be able to transition seamlessly through different environments, then you may want to choose a hearing aid with inbuilt settings that can be easily switched between, based on your listening situation. If you need a hearing aid to provide basic amplification at home, then you may want to opt for an entry-level device.
You may also want a hearing aid which connects to technology that you use. Many hearing aids come with Bluetooth technology, allowing sounds to be transmitted to the device digitally (rather than via sound waves to the microphone), providing crystal clear sound without the risk of feedback. Hearing aids can come with FM radio and connectivity to telephones too.
Speak to your audiologist about which features they would recommend if you get confused.
4 Steps to a Successful Hearing Aid Evaluation
Here are the four major steps that you can expect when taking part in a hearing aid evaluation and what you can do to make your evaluation a success.
1: Testing your hearing
Before you can be prescribed the right hearing aid, you will first need to take a hearing test.
An audiologist will begin by asking you a few questions to get an idea of your lifestyle and the nature of your hearing problem. You can expect a few questions about your health history and may be asked to provide a background on when you first started noticing problems. They may also ask about your balance and whether you’ve been experiencing tinnitus.
Your ears will then be examined to check for any visible problems. After this the hearing test will begin. The nature of the test will vary depending on the hearing problem. For hearing loss, it will generally involve playing sounds at an ever-decreasing volume – you will be asked to press a button every time you hear a sound. You may be asked to wear headphones and possibly a headband with a vibrating pad.
The results of this test will determine the extent of your hearing problem. From here, an audiologist will be able to recommend the right hearing loss treatment option, which may include wearing a hearing aid.
2: Choosing a hearing aid
If a hearing aid is recommended, you will then have the option to look at different device styles in order to choose the best one for you.
The three main styles are in the ear (ITE), behind the ear (BTE) and in the canal (ITC). Certain styles may be better suited to specific hearing conditions, in which case your audiologist will recommend a style. When choosing a style, you may also want to consider the cost, the comfort and your lifestyle.
Feel free to ask your audiologist for advice if you are unsure of any features or have any concerns with specific styles. You may be able to touch and even test out the sound of certain hearing aids.
3: Fitting the hearing aid
Once you have chosen your hearing aid, extra steps may be necessary for fitting and adjusting it. Certain hearing aids may require a custom fitted earmold, in which case an impression will need to be taken. The hearing aid will also need to be programmed to meet your specific hearing needs.
The hearing aid may need to be sent off to a manufacturer – the manufacturing process may take several weeks depending on the hearing aid. You will be notified when your hearing aid is ready to pick up.
4: Learning how to use your hearing aid
Once your hearing aid is ready to pick up, an audiologist will be able to talk you through how to use it. This may include how to adjust your hearing aid, when to wear it, how to clean it, which batteries to use and where to store your hearing aid. Some of this information may be given to you while initially choosing your hearing aid, but an audiologist will be able to offer a recap.
If you have any questions about how to use your hearing aid, you should use this opportunity to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask your audiologist to repeat information if necessary – there’s more to hearing aids than many people realize. It’s important that you know how to look after your hearing aid, as it could extend its life and save you money.
Why choose us?
At Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center, you can expect friendly and professional support. Our team of audiologists have carried out countless hearing aid evaluations and are incredibly knowledgeable. We’ll guide you through the entire process and answer any questions that you may have.
Why Should You Visit an Audiologist for Hearing Aids
There are all sorts of reasons why you should visit an audiologist for hearing aids. Here are some of them.
To resolve tinnitus
Tinnitus, or a persistent ringing, buzzing, scraping, or whirring sound with no apparent external cause, is a common condition that affects millions of people in the US. Although scientists are still working out what exactly causes it, it’s far more prevalent in those with hearing loss than those without.
Some experts think that tinnitus is the result of the brain’s attempt to compensate for the lack of real sounds entering through the auditory nerve. This compensation might explain why many people experience a reduction in tinnitus symptoms when using a hearing aid. Hearing aids boost the volume of sounds reaching the inner ear, re-establishing the connection between the auditory cortex and the outside world. High-quality audiologists can recommend specific kinds of hearing aids with special features to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
To prevent the buildup of excess earwax
Although patients can remove excess ear wax using home remedies, such as flushing the ear out with over-the-counter solutions, some blockages require the expert attention of a professional audiologist. You must go and see your audiologist if you suspect that you have a perforated eardrum or damage to the ear canal. Audiologists have special tools that can remove blockages without causing any additional damage to the ear. Audiologists can also recommend types of hearing aids that are less likely to result in the buildup of earwax.
To discover the nature of hearing loss
Each person’s hearing loss is unique. One person might struggle to hear high-frequency sounds while another may struggle to focus on a single voice in a loud room. Audiologists have tools that can accurately characterize the nature of your hearing loss, allowing them to select the correct hearing aid and settings. Modern hearing aids come with a variety of features, like directionality, noise cancellation, and channel amplification, that allow audiologists to customize the patient experience.
To find an underlying issue
Hearing loss isn’t always the results of old age or genetics; environmental factors can cause it too. High-quality audiologists do not just perform a series of tests, they also ask in-depth questions about your lifestyle, looking for possible causes of hearing loss that may exacerbate your symptoms. They will ask you about your work (to find out whether you’re regularly exposed to loud noises), you music habits (including whether you listen to your music at full volume), and whether you have experienced any recent head trauma.
For your job
Finally, you may need to visit an audiologist for a job. Some workers rely on their hearing to perform a role. Audiologists can provide advice on which hearing aids to choose, based on your particular circumstances. They can also offer advice on how to correctly calibrate your device for various workplace environments.
Hearing Aid Troubleshooting You Can Do at Home
1. Remove and re-insert the hearing aid.
Hearing aids need to be put in precisely. Many times, a poor fit can cause feedback or poor sound quality. One of the simplest things you can try is to take the hearing aid out of your ear (make sure everything’s hooked up and turned on while you’re at it) and replace it so it sits properly. If there are still air gaps or the hearing aid doesn’t feel like it’s fitting right, it might be time to have it re-fitted by an audiologist – something that can be done right in the office.
2. Check the batteries and compartment.
If your hearing aid fits right, check the battery. Hearing aid batteries have short lifespans, especially if they’re used several hours a day. You might just need to replace the batteries, but be sure to check them for corrosion and moisture. Make sure your battery compartment is dry and fits precisely so you’re getting a good connection.
3. Check your input settings.
Another thing you can easily troubleshoot if you’re hearing aid doesn’t seem to be working right is your settings. Check to make sure your settings are properly adjusted for the environment you’re in, the number of people you’re interacting with or the activity you’re doing. If these settings are already programmed and you prefer not to adjust them manually, visit your audiologist for help (this service is usually free).
4. Clean your hearing aid.
Wax, dirt and water are all harmful to your hearing aid and can cause it to work poorly or stop working altogether. Cleaning your hearing aids daily with the right tools from a cleaning kit and placing them in a hearing aid dryer at night will solve and prevent common problems.
Most hearing aids have a wax filter as an extra barrier between damaging earwax and electronic parts. If you’re hearing aid isn’t working well, replacing this filter could be the simple fix to improve sound quality. Experts recommend replacing this filter anywhere from two weeks to every few months, depending on how much earwax you tend to have.
You may not fully how your device works, but you can do these four things to troubleshoot before taking your hearing aid in for repairs. In the event your hearing aid needs repairs, contact your audiologist; many can perform small tasks onsite!
Why Is a Hearing Aid Fitting Important?
Fitting your lifestyle
First and foremost, the reason why a hearing aid fitting appointment is important is to make sure that the device fits you, your ears and your lifestyle properly; to ensure that what was ordered is appropriate for your daily needs. Your audiologist needs and wants to ensure they ordered the correct hearing aid, as well as making sure the manufacturer made the right hearing aid for you and your ears.
Fitting your ears
Second, your hearing health professional wants to ensure the fit and comfort of the hearing aid is optimal for you. They want to ensure that you enjoy wearing your hearing aid(s) every day and do not stick them in a drawer because they hurt you every time you put them in. Additionally, they want to ensure there are no pressure points that can cause you pain or sores in your ears, while also making sure there is a tight enough fit to keep whistling and feedback at a minimum.
Fitting your needs
Third, your audiologist would like to check the programming and sound quality of the hearing aid with you. They like to confirm that your hearing aid has been programmed properly for your hearing loss, as well as your hearing needs. This process will enable the audiologist to fit your hearing aids specifically to the sound environments you’re a part of most frequently; making it easy for you to switch between settings seamlessly.
Adjustments can easily be made to your hearing aid, whether to the sound or programs or to the fit of the hearing aid, in the office during your hearing aid fitting appointment. These adjustments will help to ensure optimal use for you, the hearing aid wearer, and will help your audiologist provide you the best product necessary for your hearing loss.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the hearing testing process, selecting the right device or a hearing aid fitting, contact an audiologist in your area today and schedule an appointment.
Convincing others to get the hearing aids they need
At least some of these people delay their purchases because they have heard many of the widespread myths surrounding hearing loss. If you or a loved one is considering a hearing aid purchase, take a moment to look over some of the common misconceptions below. They show that the benefits of hearing aids far outweigh the (often overstated) costs.
People won’t notice my hearing loss, but they will notice my hearing aids.
“What many people with hearing loss don’t realize is that the signs of the untreated hearing loss are more noticeable to others than hearing aids,” audiologist Deborah Touchette told the New York Times. Hearing loss sufferers can experience a range of related issues, from difficulties at work (including, in some cases, a pay reduction) to trouble holding conversations in noisy places to even having difficulty hearing the voices of young children—all issues that can be improved with proper hearing aids, many of which are small and easily overlooked.
Hearing aids are uncomfortable and don’t work well.
Hearing aids today have become smaller, more discreet and more powerful, just like other forms of popular technology like cellphones and computers. In fact, the digital revolution that has transformed phone technology has also impacted hearing aids, with newer models featuring powerful components that allow for advanced filtering of background noise and multiple microphones.
Hearing aids are too expensive.
Though hearing aids are not inexpensive, their cost is reasonable relative to their compact technology. For example, a typical digital hearing aid contains advanced microphones, computer chips, and a power source in a package able to fit behind (or within) the ear—all for under $1000 for a basic device.
New business models are trying to lower the cost for premium devices as well. While small, independent local hearing shops charge an average of well over $5000 for a hearing aid, you can save 60%-70% of that cost by purchasing a comparable aid online and still have full audiology support.
Hearing aids won’t improve my quality of life.
Hearing aids can’t restore your hearing back to its normal level, but they can make major improvements in your ability to function in daily life. Researchers found that most hearing aid users reported improvements in their social lives, confidence, and ability to communicate.
I won’t be able to get a hearing aid to work properly for me.
With advances in technology, hearing aids have become much easier for the wearer to operate. Now, computer chips and digital technology inside many hearing aids allows the device to automatically adjust to changes in the sound environment without the user having to take any action at all.
The Year Hearing Aid Prices Peaked
As awareness of the true dynamics of hearing aid prices grows in the mainstream community, and as online hearing aid sales gain increasing, if grudging, acceptance among professionals, Embrace Hearing has three predictions about 2021.
The shift to online hearing aid sales will accelerate. Consumer awareness is growing, quality is high and prices are low… and for many professionals, “online” is no longer a dirty word – just an inconvenient fact of life. Hearing aids, in short, are going to be sold more like glasses, with several distribution options.
For the first time in recent memory, hearing aid prices will fall. Prices charged by audiologists may actually increase as professionals sell to an affluent but shrinking group of customers who are wary of buying online, and can afford the luxury of premium audiologist pricing. But overall average hearing aid costs will decline as more customers shift to online hearing aid sales, which remain far more affordable.
The shift toward “unbundling” will continue. As more consumers buy hearing aids online, audiologist perceptions of these consumers will shift. No longer will they be a “lost hearing aid sale” – increasingly, they will represent a “servicing revenue opportunity.” Ultimately, we’ll see more transparent & fair audiologist pricing, with the result that hearing aid prices will fall, while the price of great in-person service increases to a level commensurate with its true value.
Why do we think this?
First, 2020marked the year hearing aid pricing began to get mainstream press. Features were run in both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times – which chronicled the frustration of searching for an affordable hearing aid in an opaque pricing environment (and which featured Embrace Hearing!). Our view is that greater awareness of alternative options will lead to customers seeking greater value for their money through online hearing aid sales.
Second, HiHealthInnovations, the online hearing aid venture backed by United Health, attempted to fully cut independent audiologists out of the hearing aid purchase cycle by putting a hearing test online. This represented the healthcare industry turning on itself, as current inefficiencies had simply become too great an opportunity too great to ignore for insurers -- which traditionally have little involvement in hearing aids.
This move drew immediate protests from the American Association of Audiology (AAA), as well as the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. But notably, the consumer group Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) disagreed:
“Our stance is to give innovative [online hearing aid] programs such as this one a chance… Hearing loss is a leading public health concern with 17 percent of American adults (36 million) reporting being affected…. Yet, fewer than 20 percent of people with hearing loss seek treatment and obtain hearing aids. While there are a number of reasons for lack of attention to this condition, the primary barrier is the cost of hearing health care services and especially hearing aids.
The HLAA agrees that face-to-face interaction with a health care professional to obtain personalized fitting of hearing aids as well as follow up services is the ideal situation. However, this approach operates as burden for a vast majority of adults with hearing loss who simply do not seek treatment….
The HLAA Board of Trustees met and… concluded that alternative delivery models and options are needed for some people who would otherwise not seek the services of a hearing professional.”
While the FDA ultimately weighed in and shut down the online hearing test, hiHealthInnovations and other innovative new companies such as Embrace Hearing continue to successfully sell online, now with the support of the HLAA.
(We are proud to say we believe that Embrace Hearing offers a better combination of quality and price than hiHealthInnovations, owned by United Health, the largest health insurance company in the country. Our customer satisfaction is demonstrated by our low ~10% return rate – we challenge hiHealthInnvations to release a comparable statistic)
Finally, something even more surprising happened. In August, the AAA, the ADA, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) issued a joint statement to hearing care professionals focusing on consumer needs in the delivery models of hearing health care.
The unusual joint statement was a call for reflection and action regarding the current business of hearing care and how the insurance industry, technology, and hearing aid price concerns now require hearing practices to adapt to new ways of delivering hearing health care. Among other questions, it invited audiologists to ask themselves:
“What role does the sale of hearing aids play in your practice model? Do you have options in place to accommodate consumers who arrive at your practice with a hearing aid purchased elsewhere?"
“Are the costs associated with the care you provide transparent to the patient? If appropriate, do you itemize the cost of your services? When discussing amplification and other treatment, do you offer patients options? Do you engage family and others to support the patient with hearing loss?"
The statement’s message was clear – the world is changing, and patient needs – not audiologist needs –will determine how hearing aids are distributed in the future. Hearing healthcare professionals are encouraged to adapt, or be left by the wayside by online hearing aid sales.
Given all the industry turmoil and innovation in 2020, and all the exciting ideas we have in store for next year, we’ll offer one last parting thought – we’re looking forward to an even more disruptive 2021!
Hearing Aid Prices and the True Cost of Audiologist Visits
This is the second of a two-part post focusing specifically on the last reason proposed by Neil J DiSarno in his Q&A piece in The New York Times.
Mr. DiSarno states that: “Audiologists are professionals who can provide adjustment and programming of the devices, counseling, hearing training and support when you obtain hearing aids from them. Hearing aids bought online do not include these services.”
First of all, this is not correct. At least it's not correct with Embrace Hearing. We provide all of these services to our customers precisely when they need it. No appointments are needed. No waiting rooms. Call us 7 days a week for exceptional support from our Audiologists. There is never a charge for this support.
But we also believe that the local clinic model of “bundling” hearing aids and follow-on services as an 'included benefit' serves to hide the true costs of hearing aids and hearing aid services, to permit audiologists to charge more for the services than they would be able to charge on an easier-to-understand visit-by-visit basis.
To demonstrate this point, we’ve calculated the effective price of hearing aid follow-on services.
Above and here is our analysis of the effective cost per visit of the “training and support” referenced by Mr. DiSarno, when purchased as part of a bundled package. This analysis assumes that an audiologist pays $1,500 for a set of hearing aids from a manufacturer, sells it to a consumer for $5,000, and that the “fair price” for that sale is really much lower. It then asks the question – how much is the customer really paying per follow-up visit, depending on 1) how often he returns for follow-up visits, and 2) what hearing aid price he considers “fair” in the first place?
At the risk of stating the obvious, we submit to you that these are very high numbers!
In our view it is unlikely that hearing aid wearers would be willing to pay per-visit prices at these levels, if given a transparent choice. Hearing aid “bundling” is so common because it allows audiologists to include these exorbitant hidden costs in the up-front $5,000+ hearing aid price. First-time hearing aid buyers may not know whether $5,000 is too much to pay for a medical device – but they would suspect that $1,000 is too much to pay for a follow-on visit.
While it is impossible to know Mr DiSarno’s true motivations, we note that he has “spent the last 35 years as a practicing audiologist” and therefore has likely benefited financially from profits created by the practice of hiding high per-visit costs in an opaque “bundle.” We leave it for our readers to decide whether this conflict of interest might influence the thinking of audiologists who advise consumers not to buy hearing aids online because doing so deprives consumers of the ability to obtain “adjustment and programming of the devices, counseling, hearing training and support” from audiologists.
To this argument, we say – if you really want to ensure that all consumers have access to these services, then why not charge for them on a per-visit basis, no matter where consumers originally purchased their devices?
In a more transparent system, the free-market price for these services would decline to the level that consumers feel is fair. In an environment with lower prices, it is highly likely that many of the 27 million Americans with untreated hearing loss would purchase hearing aids and achieve an improved quality of life. And shouldn't that be the goal of everyone involved in the hearing care industry?
How to choose the most suitable hearing aid?
Hearing aids are designed for deaf people and deaf patients. Therefore, before choosing hearing aids, first determine the condition of deafness.
Because people have bilateral ears to experience hearing, in living, some people who are relatively slow to respond often fail to find hearing problems during physical examination, until there is a problem in one of ears, which causes inconvenience in life and work. The other ear has been deaf for years.
When some children reach at certain age, they are concerned by their parents because they cannot speak or their voice is unclear, but they often miss the best time to intervene and cause irreversible consequences. In fact, as long as you pay attention to some small details, you may find that your relatives or friends around you have hearing impairments, especially for children who cannot speak. For the elderly, the symptoms of hearing problems are a louder voice, repeating "what did you say", "loudly", "say it again", etc. Although some elderly people have no problems with language communication, they have ear occlusion, tinnitus; some elderly people react slowly, sluggish, inferior, self-closing, and afraid to cross the road. This may be due to hearing problems. For children under the age of speaking, they will have a normal response to sound stimulation. They will turn their heads and look for the sound source with their eyes when there are sound-producing toys around or when their parents slap their hands. The sound of shutting off the door will also appear systemic tension reaction. If the child always actively turns up the sound while watching TV, or always uses one ear to answer the phone, there may be hearing problems.
After discovering hearing problems, you should go to the hospital for examination as soon as possible to avoid delays in treatment.
What should I do if the hearing aid gets water? The answer is here...
It is wise to take out the battery first, clean the accumulated water inside, then wipe the hearing aid dry with a clean cotton cloth, and then recheck the hearing aid after a simple drying treatment
So, how to do a simple drying process?
If it is during the day, it is recommended that you can go to the shop where you buy hearing aids, and let a specialist help dehumidify and dry your hearing aids, or find a hearing aid fitting center nearby; if it is at night or the distance is not convenient , Then it is recommended that you use a hair dryer at a distance of about 10 cm away from the low temperature gear for drying (remember not to use the hair dryer for high temperature baking), and the time is about 10-20 minutes. If there is no effect, please get to the hearing aid fitting center as soon as possible or contact us for professional after-sales treatment
If your hearing aid gets water inadvertently, do not disassemble the hearing aid for inspection without authorization, so as to avoid improper operation causing short circuit inside the hearing aid, please contact us in time for professional after-sales treatment
Why are Hearing Aids "bundled" with follow-up services?
Hearing Review’s point of view is that, “The bundling of audiologic professional services serves as a form of ‘insurance’ for [audiologic treatments/aural rehabilitation] service. This is because, when a hearing device is purchased, neither the patient nor audiologist knows just how much audiologic intervention will be required or utilized by a given patient.”
However, we suspect that most patients actually have a pretty good sense of their tendency to schedule unusually frequent checkups.
Since you're a good judge of your own likely behavior, you’re in a good position to decide whether you'll be among the only 20% of the population that makes 5 or more follow-up visits in the year after purchasing hearing aids from an audiologist.
If you believe you're likely to be part of this 20%, you may benefit from the "insurance" provided by bundled services. But if this doesn't sound like you, you're likely to be overpaying for hearing aid services you'll never use.
We believe there these are the real reasons for hearing aid bundling:
1) It makes apples-to-apples hearing aid price comparisons difficult. For most people, buying hearing aids online is going to be cheaper in the long run, even if they pay full price for audiologist care. Audiologists have an incentive to obscure this information.
2) It makes hearing aid customers sticky. Let’s imagine you’ve already paid up-front for all of your follow-up care. Even if a friend tells you there is a great new audiologist nearby, you’re not likely to make the switch! Audiologists love this, because a customer who pays in advance, is a customer who's going to stick around.
Buying hearing aids online is a way for customers to "unbundle" the sale and servicing of hearing aids, and reduce overall hearing aid cost.
Hearing Aids: Misguided Reasons We Avoid Them
Part of the reason is financial cost -- but the other major reason is stigma. Especially among Baby Boomers, there is a fear of looking older. But hearing loss can occur at any age, and half of all Americans with hearing loss users are between 45 and 74 years old.
In fact, hearing aid users are viewed as more adaptable and optimistic then those who decline hearing aids. And untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression, memory deterioration and even career setbacks.
If you think you may notice any of the signs of hearing loss, take a hearing test today. You may find hearing aids are a life-changing experience, whether you choose to buy hearing aids online or from an audiologist.
Hearing Aids and Quality of Life
Hesitating before you buy hearing aids online, or from an audiologist?
You're not alone. We've noted before that only 25% of Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids. Since 75% of those who would benefit do not use hearing aids, it's tempting whether to wonder whether hearing aids work.
We'll address specific reasons for non-adoption in a future post, but this week we thought we'd spend some time addressing the question of "do they work?"
Not only do hearing aids not only dramatically improve hearing, they can also have a profound positive impact on quality of life. Again, we have Hearing Review to thank for their excellent analysis of MarkeTrak VIII hearing aid data.
Do Hearing Aids Improve Hearing?
This one may seem obvious. But with 75% of the population declining to wear hearing aids, it's worth putting this question to bed. The answer is a resounding yes.
Hearing aids improve hearing dramatically, and across all listening situations. In quiet conversations, hearing aids reduce hearing handicap by an average of 70%. Even in louder situations like restaurant meals, hearing handicap reduction averages 50%.
More than 90% of hearing aid users experience a reduction in hearing handicap. This helps explain high satisfaction with hearing aids, especially with mini BTE hearing aids.
Do Hearing Aids Improve Quality of Life?
The good news is that two thirds of hearing aid users report "better" or "a lot better" quality of life for "effectiveness of communications."
The even better news is that large numbers of hearing aid users report improved quality of life for reasons that might not even seem to be related to hearing in the first place.
For example, nearly 50% of respondents reported an improved sense of safety in their day-to-day life. And more than a quarter reported "improved mental/cognitive skills." That's a pretty impressive number for a device that simply improves hearing.
In fact, hearing aids improve quality of life on a wide range of dimensions, across large sections of the population:
If you are thinking you may buy hearing aids online, or from an audiologist, you will almost certainly experience reduced hearing handicap. As a bonus, you may also experience improved quality of life in ways you might never have expected.
Hearing aids and sports - a How To Guide
We all know we should be getting more exercise, regardless of our age; but more often than not, we find myriad reasons not to put our health first. Don’t let your hearing aid become yet another excuse not to stay in shape. With proper care and maintenance, your hearing aids should remain in tiptop shape whether you like to jog around town, bike through the park, or spend a day on the golf course.
Keeping your hearing aids dry during exercise.
The biggest challenge facing hearing aids during exercise is the buildup of moisture that can harm delicate internal circuitry. While you clearly can’t take your hearing aids for a dip in the pool, with some basic steps they can accompany you on a run or onto the court.
The biggest source of moisture while exercising isn’t surprising: it’s sweat—and it can harm your hearing aids if you don’t take some simple precautions.
Researchers, including Ronald Schow at the University of Idaho, have found that Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are vulnerable when “beads of perspiration form in the hair along the top of the hearing aid” and gradually seep inside.
Therefore, keeping sweat from reaching the circuitry of the BTE hearing aid is the most important step in keeping your devices working problem-free even as you exercise.
Luckily, there are some cost-effective solutions to prevent sweat from penetrating the aid. Among the most popular are special sweat-resistant pouches made just for your hearing aids. One such option is Ear Gear, which slips over your hearing aid and prevents moisture from entering into the electronics.
An even easier solution is to wear a headband or sweatband while exercising, which can help keep sweat from reaching your hearing aids in the first place.
Protecting your hearing aids during exercise.
Though moisture is the biggest threat to hearing aids, it’s worth remembering that even the best-fitted aids can come loose during a rough-and-tumble session on the basketball court or the football field and can risk being damaged.
To help avoid accidentally knocking your hearing aids loose, you can use a product such as the Oto Clip, which attaches to your hearing aids and then clips onto your clothes.
Clothes, too, make a difference in the protection of your hearing aids. Sara Batinovich, who wrote a book on managing hearing loss, recommends investing in zip-front sweatshirts rather than hooded varieties, which can disturb your hearing aid placement. She also reminds that bike helmets and even baseball hats need to be carefully sized to avoid interfering with a comfortable hearing aid fit.
Once your workout is complete, it’s a good idea to take a few rudimentary steps to ensure that your hearing aid is properly clean and dry and ready for your next adventure.
One piece of equipment is especially useful in helping maintain your hearing aids after they’ve been exposed to moisture is a "Dry Box". By storing your hearing aids in one of these self-contained drying units overnight, you’re ensuring that any remaining moisture in the aid is safely removed. Many units also sanitize the aids as well, ensuring that no bacteria grows inside the aid or the tubing while it is damp.
In addition to the dry box, a simple cleaning is always good practice after wearing your hearing aids during exercise. You can help remove moisture from the tubing by using a compressed air canister and can brush dirt and debris free of the hearing aid with a small cleaning kit.
As with any piece of technology, if you invest time in maintaining your hearing aids after you use them, you’ll extend their lifetime and help identify potential issues much faster.
While exercise with your hearing aids requires some planning, hearing aids can be safely worn during your favorite (non-aquatic) sport. In fact, being able to properly hear can be a huge asset for your own safety—and it might even improve your performance on the golf course, too.
How do first time users adapt to hearing aids
This is a misunderstanding, this kind of awareness will not only affect the hearing-impaired people's adaptation to hearing aids, but also affect the normal use of daily wear. Hearing aid is a kind of hearing aid device. Although it has many good functions, it cannot replace the human ear. After all, it’s just a machine.
Many hearing-impaired people spend a lot of money on hearing aids, but in the end they fail to achieve their expected results. Over time, they will feel deceived. What is a good way to help hearing-impaired people adapt as soon as possible when using hearing aids? Today, Austar hearing aid experts prepared the "treatment enhancement method" for hearing-impaired people.
Week 1 auditory attention period
Wear hearing aids for 1-2 hours a day
Try to stay home as much as possible to re-familiarize and distinguish various sounds, such as the sound of cooking in the kitchen, the sound of using a vacuum cleaner, the sound of talking with family, etc.
Week 2 auditory Identification period
Wear hearing aids for 2-3 hours a day
Try to concentrate as much as possible to listen to the sound you want to hear, while separating the sound you want to hear from the background sound. You can choose to wear a hearing aid and go out to a quiet place, such as morning exercises
Week 3 hearing and speaking adaptation period
Wear hearing aids for 3-4 hours a day
You can choose to walk into more public places, such as markets and shopping malls. A noisy environment can exercise the ability to hear your own voice. In addition, you can talk to many people outdoors, learn to look at other people’s facial expressions and lip movements to distinguish words, so that you can improve your vision and hearing ability.
Week 4 Return to instinct
Wear hearing aids for more than 6 hours a day
It is recommended to wear a hearing aid all day, whether watching TV, listening to music, or going into public places in various complex environments, except for vigorous exercise, sleeping, washing hair, bathing, do not remove the hearing aid.
Hearing impaired people will feel uncomfortable when wearing hearing aids in the early stage. For example, the sound of hearing aids is too noisy, slight ear swelling, and it is not easy to understand other people's speech. These phenomena are all normal. Don't be panic. This is a gradual process. Be patient and take your time.
Austar hearing aid expert, a national chain dedicated to serving the hearing impaired and tailor-made hearing rehabilitation solutions for them, you deserve it.
Ten traps in hearing aid consumption [online shopping]
Everyone knows that there are many hearing aid fitting institutions in each city, but which one is reliable and which one is trustworthy? As insiders, as practitioners, we must be conscientious. In order to be responsible for and to protect the rights of hearing impaired consumers, Austar hearing aid experts have something to say today.
Hearing aids belong to the second category of medical devices, which are fitted by a dedicated person according to the degree of hearing loss of the person, after professional hearing test and evaluation. Fitting a suitable hearing aid can change the difficulties in the work, life and study of the hearing impaired person, and vice versa, it will aggravate the hearing loss. After the hearing aid is fitted successfully, it needs to be adjusted, maintained and repaired regularly, but these are unavailable by the after-sales of online shopping.
Reminder: In order to ensure your legal rights and interests in consumption, be sure to keep your eyes open when you choose hearing aids. Please try to choose a famous brand, experienced in fitting, professional services, and secure after-sales service, so as to reduce the risk of online purchases of hearing aids.