The Top 5 Things You Should Know
Before Buying Hearing Aids
Dr. Mary Anne Larkin, Au. D.
Board Certified doCtorof audiology
S p e c i a l R e p o R t
The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids
by Dr. Mary Anne Larkin, Au. D.
In today’s world, buying hearing aids is a major investment and should not be done so without being educated and informed.
It does not need to be a confus- ing experience. In this special report, you will learn everything you need to know about buying hearing aids. Making this im- portant choice should be a team effort involving you and your hearing health care professional.
The Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hearing Care pro- vide a comprehensive approach that will help you make the best decision.
1. choosing your Hearing Health care professional First, whatever you do – don’t be taken in by the “FREE” hear- ing test. Sure it sounds like a good deal but offices that pro- mote free hearing tests do so, because they are not licensed to charge for the hearing test. The professional that conducts the test is a hearing aid dispenser (salesman) and can only pro- vide a basic hearing test for the purposes of selecting and fitting hearing aids. You will definite- ly want to seek the professional
advice of a board certified Doc- tor of Audiology. Audiologists are university trained and pro- vide a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation that will let you know how you are hearing, the possible cause for your hear- ing loss and how to treat your hearing loss condition.
2. Understanding your
Hearing loss and its effect on Your Quality of life
You are one of more than 30 million people in the United States that have a significant loss of hearing. Almost half of these individuals are under the age of sixty five, and 54% of the population over 65 years of age have hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition in those over fifty, following arthritis and high blood pressure.
The impact of hearing loss can be far reaching and involve many aspects of your life. You may have difficulty understand- ing speech in groups or noisy situations, trouble localizing sounds and participating in conversations. This can lead to frustration, social isolation, stress, confusion and depression.
There is mounting evidence that
untreated hearing loss has an enormous impact on the overall health of individuals.
People with untreated hearing loss may have many problems that affect their lives. In 1999, the National Council on Ag- ing carried out a survey among people over the age of 50 who were suffering from hearing loss. The survey revealed that in comparison to people using hearing devices, those who left their hearing loss untreated were more likely to report the follow- ing symptoms:
Sadness, depression, worry, and anxiety. Insecurity and less so- cial activity.
Those individuals who had their hearing loss treated reported:
Better relationships with family
and friends, higher self-esteem, and improved mental health.
Greater independence and secu- rity.
Improved sexual relations.
Researchers have also linked hearing loss to other major health issues such as high blood pressure, coronary artery dis- ease, and elevated cholesterol and lipid profiles. One study correlated improved physical conditioning with better hearing, another suggested a relationship between overall cardiovascu- lar health and hearing health.
It seems apparent that in- dividuals with significant untreated hearing loss seem to age less well, and that individuals without significant hearing loss or with treated hearing loss tend to be healthier and lead more vigorous lives.
3. Realistic expectations for Hearing aid Use
So… you have been told that you have a hearing loss and the treatment recommended is the fitting of hearing devices. For this treatment to be as successful as possible, it is very important to have realistic expectations for what hearing aids can and can- not do for you. Although very effective in improving hear- ing, hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal, except
in some very mild hearing loss cases.
Hearing aids work very well once they have been profession- ally fitted and adjusted to your specific needs. Adjusting the hearing system to achieve maxi- mum performance usually takes a few weeks of collaboration and cooperation between you and your Audiologist.
Hearing aids will allow you to:
Hear many sounds that you
• may not be able to hear with- out amplification such as soft speech, children’s voices and other quiet sounds.
Understand speech more
• clearly, with less effort, in a variety of listening situations.
Prevent normally loud sounds
• from becoming uncomfortably loud. Sounds that are un-
comfortably loud for normal hearing individuals may also be uncomfortable when using hearing aids
Understand speech more
• clearly in some types of noisy situations.
Hearing aids will not do the following:
Restore your hearing capabili-
• ties to normal
Filter out all background noise
Some hearing aids can reduce amplification of some types of background noise or make
you more comfortable in the presence of noise. The most
effective solution for im- proving speech intelligibility in noisy situations is hearing aids with directional micro- phones. When directional hearing aids are coupled with digital signal processing, you can rest assured that your hear- ing aids are optimized for im- proving the quality of your life in noisy environments.
At first, you will likely be aware of the hearing aids in your ears from a physical perspective.
Ideally, they should be comfort- able with no soreness, bleeding or rashes associated with wear- ing your devices. Your voice may sound “funny” when you
first begin to wear amplifica- tion. This is normal. “Open Fit” technology was introduced to help reduce the hollowness of your voice and give you what is called a “transparent” fit. Many Advanced Hearing Care pa- tients who wear “Open Fit” style devices don’t even know they are wearing their hearing aids.
They are that comfortable.
People learn at different rates.
Some people need just a few days to learn about and ad- just to their new hearing aids while most need a few weeks and some may even need a few months. The Doctors of Audiol- ogy at Advanced Hearing Care will work with you to design a
“wear schedule” that’s best for you.
4. choosing the “Right”
Hearing aids for You
There is no “best” hearing aid that is appropriate for every type of hearing loss, only the
“right” one for you. Remember that just because your neighbor purchased the tiny, nearly invis- ible hearing device and loves it, does not mean that this is the best type of hearing instrument for you.
Every hearing loss is different and everyone’s listening needs are unique. The Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hear- ing Care will consider many factors when selecting a hearing aid system for you: hearing loss configuration, lifestyle and lis- tening needs, manual dexterity, concern for cosmetics and your financial situation.
There will be numerous styles of hearing aids (Behind the Ear, Open fit, In-the-Ear, Canal and Completely-in-the-Canal) to choose from along with differ- ent technologies and features to meet your hearing needs and budget.
Keep an open mind and main- tain realistic expectations throughout the process of defin- ing your hearing loss, selecting and adjusting to your hearing devices. You can have confi- dence and trust in Advanced Hearing Care. We will spend time to find you the right hear- ing aids and schedule sev- eral visits to work with you for follow-up adjustments and teach you how to use and maintain your hearing system. We have over a 98% satisfaction rating with our patients regarding our professional services and our ability to improve their hearing and quality of life.
As you can see, there are many choices to make when determin- ing the right hearing system for you. Since everyone is so uniquely different, it’s very dif- ficult to know what works for you until you evaluate in your own surroundings. That is why at Advanced Hearing Care, we insist our patients meet with our Doctors of Audiology to help them through the decision mak-
ing process. We also have a 30 day evaluation (trial) period to allow for ample time to be sure your hearing aids are right for you.
5. We Hear with ears, but
“listen” with our Brain.
Hearing aids provide better ac- cess to acoustic sounds. But, what happens after that? The amplified sound travels up to the brain where speech and sound processing take place. Hearing aids can help a person detect softer sounds such as speech, but don’t necessarily provide good listening skills. Even people with normal hearing can be poor listeners.
Good listening skills are one
of the components for effective communication and must be taught to many hard of hearing people. That is why the Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hear- ing Care believe that obtaining a hearing system is just the first step in a responsible solution for your hearing loss problems.
We go that extra mile in mak- ing sure that you have access to programs that will enhance your listening skills and com- munication strategies. We have a monthly Hearing Health care class where the Audiologists share tips to help you hear your best for life.
We also offer an interactive self- paced computerized training program that actually trains your
brain to get more information from your listening environ- ment. Just as physical therapy can help rebuild muscles and ad- just movements to compensate for physical weakness or injury, this computer program can help strengthen the neural pathways to your brain and help compen- sate for those situations when hearing is inadequate.
If you or a loved one has a hearing loss, make the choice today to take that first step and improve it. It will enhance your life in so many ways.
Take Action to Improve Your Hearing
We want to encourage you to act now. Take the step to improve your current hearing situation by calling our office (843) 628-4844 and scheduling an appointment for a comprehensive, diagnostic hearing evaluation by one of our Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hearing Care.
If you have a hearing loss that can be treated through the use of amplification, please mention that you have read this report and you will receive a special certificate good for $400 off the purchase of two digital hearing devices at our practice.