Tag: hearing aids

Hearing Aids: 5 Fun Facts on What These Powerful Devices Can Do

Some individuals might not realize how far technology has come to make communication easier than ever. We’ll provide you with some facts about hearing aids.

Did you know? Fewer than one out of three adults 70 and older who could benefit from hearing aids actually uses them, per the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the rate plunges to just 16 percent among those 20 to 69.

The reasons for these stark statistics may vary, but what’s clear is that disabling hearing loss — a serious public health issue affecting approximately 466 million people worldwide — is undertreated on a global scale.

Some individuals who need hearing help might not realize how far technology has advanced to make communication easier and more empowering than ever, even in some of the most challenging listening situations.

Check out these five fun facts you may not have known about hearing devices:

  1. Like Elephants, They “Remember”

    Want the same great listening experience at your favorite — but noisy — food spot every time you get together with family and friends? Options vary across different product lines, but some AGX® Hearing devices offer a “restaurant” setting that cuts background noise, or you can create your own geotagged “memory” with sound settings tailored to specific locations for a consistent experience.

  2. Built-In Mics Put You in Control

    When a room or other venue contains competing sounds, you need a way to focus on the audio you actually want to hear. You can use your AGX hearing aid’s directionality function to focus the device’s microphones on the conversation in front of you, for example, versus the noise or other sounds behind you.

  3. They Play Well With Other Devices

    Hearing impairment can make it difficult to track who’s saying what in group discussions — for instance, a brainstorming session at work. A wireless Bluetooth® microphone, set in a central spot during the conversation, can send speech directly to your hearing aid! During more personal gatherings, your conversation companions can take turns placing the mic on their lapel while speaking.

  4. You Can Stream Like a Champ

    Speaking of playing well with other devices: Many hearing aids today let you transmit audio from your television, stereo, or smartphone to your hearing tech — whether streaming directly or with the help of a wireless accessory called a “streamer” that clips to your collar. Laugh along with your favorite TV comedy series, enjoy the latest tunes, or video chat on your smartphone with clarity and confidence.

  5. They Make Good Fitness Buddies

    Some cutting-edge hearing aids not only offer great sound, speech clarity in noise, and audio streaming from your smartphone but also track brain and body health using artificial intelligence. With the AGXs liv, for example, you control your programs, settings, and streaming while the Thrive™ Hearing app records your health data and provides three wellness scores, helping you track your fitness goals.

 


Want a closer look at what today’s modern technology can do for your hearing health and enjoyment? Contact us to schedule your FREE demonstration today! Our caring team can’t wait to show you how far hearing aids have come.
 

How Hearing Aids Work

If you or someone you know has hearing technology, you understand how life-changing it can be, leading to even stronger connections to loved ones and a renewed vigor for life. But have you ever stopped to wonder just how those amazing little life-changers work?

It might surprise you to know that the basics haven’t changed over the last several hundred years. Let’s start with the ear trumpet.

The Ear Trumpet

All things considered, the ear trumpet was a decent alternative to hearing loss. How did it work? It:

  • Collected sound waves
  • Amplified the sound waves by making them more orderly and concentrated
  • Funneled the amplified sound waves into your ear canal

After that, the amplified sound waves traveled to the eardrum and beyond, where hearing happened. How does that compare to today’s hearing aids?

The Modern Hearing Aid

Today’s hearing aids work on the same principles. Just like the ear trumpet, today’s hearing aid:

  • Collects sound waves
  • Amplifies the sound waves
  • Funnels the amplified sound into your ear canal

After that, the amplified sound waves travel to your eardrum and beyond, where hearing happens.
 

There are two major differences, however, between the ear trumpet and today’s hearing aids: digital technology and the expertise of an experienced provider. Let’s take a look.

  • Directional microphones

    Many modern hearing aids have directional microphones, which means they determine — in the moment — which sounds belong to your conversation partner and focus on those sounds, rather than all the other background noise.

  • Digital processor

    Many hearing devices come with a digital chip that optimizes the sound quality by, for example, reducing background noise, canceling feedback, and reducing the noise caused by wind blowing across your hearing device.

  • Multichannel amplifier

    Today’s amplifiers can analyze incoming sound based on your specific hearing needs and then amplify (or reduce) the volume accordingly. For example, it can boost the volume of your child’s voice while leaving the sound of your neighbor’s truck engine as is. In many ways, it’s like the equalizer channels on a stereo, only more sophisticated!

  • Binaural processing

    This is a fancy way to say your hearing aids communicate with each other. This keeps them working in sync, and it means you can stream audio from one hearing aid to the other (for example, you can hear a phone call from your smartphone in both ears at the same time).

  • Remote, discreet adjustments

    Many hearing devices today can pair with an app on your smartphone. Depending on the make and model of hearing tech, you can use the app to control volume and settings, set program preferences for favorite locations, and even stream audio from your smartphone directly to your hearing devices.

  • Experienced provider

    At every step in your better-hearing journey, your provider takes into account your hearing lifestyle. Do you go to concerts? Or do you spend a lot of time in the library? Each lifestyle requires a specific technology with deft, nuanced programming considerations. Your provider ensures everything is in order and meets your ever-evolving hearing needs.


Same Ol’ Story

As you can see, the more hearing care stays the same, the more it changes. No matter the method we use at each step, tech will only get more sophisticated as the years go by. What might hearing technology look like in the year 2060?

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids: Reasons to Consult a Hearing Care Professional

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids: Key Reasons to Consult a Hearing Care Professional Instead

Self-Fitting Hearing Aids are new to the market, but they still have a ways to go in matching the effectiveness of clinician-fitted hearing devices.

Have you heard of self-fitting hearing aids (SFHAs)? Can they help if you have a hearing loss? What exactly are they, and how do they differ from traditional hearing devices fitted by a hearing care expert? What’s the best action to take if you need hearing help?

With hearing loss posing a serious public-health challenge worldwide — it’s a chronic problem affecting millions of women, men, and children — technology continues evolving to improve sound clarity, expand compatibility with other smart devices, and increase accessibility to a wider reach of people.

So where do self-fitting hearing aids fit into the equation of better-hearing options? Let’s take a look.

What Are Self-Fitting Hearing Aids?

Definitions of SFHAs can vary slightly across experts. In the simplest terms, they’re sound-amplifying devices designed to let the user measure their own hearing loss, appropriately install the devices in their ears, and program them for optimal hearing in various listening environments without the prescription or assistance of an audiologist, medical doctor, or other specially trained hearing expert.

Can These Self-Fitting Devices Help Me?

As a relatively newer product category, self-fitting hearing aids may ultimately prove a welcome addition to the range of treatment options. They still have a ways to go, however, in matching the effectiveness and satisfaction of clinician-fitted hearing devices.

One recent study, “Outcomes With a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid,” compared user-driven and provider-driven fittings of a single self-fitting product. Researchers uncovered no significant hearing-aid-performance differences between the two groups but saw that cognition plays a big role. Those “with poorer cognitive function consistently exhibited more difficulty in handling the” self-fitting devices, wrote the study’s authors.

It’s important to note that self-fitting hearing aids require access to, familiarity with, and the ability to understand how to operate and adjust the devices, which could prove challenging for some patients struggling with manual dexterity, visual acuity, cognitive issues, or inability to navigate or access computers or apps. Seeking professional assistance could make all the difference in user satisfaction.

Passage of the federal Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 will eventually bring even more self-treating options to the market, but when it comes to addressing the full spectrum of hearing loss and integrating environmental variables such as background noise, FDA-approved, provider-fit hearing aids are the recommended approach.

What Should I Do if I’m Having Hearing Difficulty?

Did you know? An estimated 466 million children and adults around the globe live with disabling hearing loss, per the World Health Organization, but the good news is that nearly all hearing impairment can be effectively managed to keep you communicating your best.

An important first step is recognizing some of the potential signs and symptoms of hearing loss:

  • The perception that everyone seems to be mumbling
  • Trouble understanding speech in noisy environments
  • Frequent need to turn up the TV or have words repeated
  • Tinnitus — a buzzing, ringing, clicking, or humming in the ears
  • Difficulty conversing on the phone or understanding women’s and children’s voices

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous other health complications such as cognitive decline, diabetes, depression, hypertension, social withdrawal, and more, making early treatment important to improving quality of life.


If you are experiencing listening problems or it’s been a while since your last hearing test, don’t wait. Schedule an evaluation with our expert team today. We’re here to help!

New Study Says Hearing Aid Use May Reduce ER Visits & Medical Costs

A new study conducted by the University of Michigan indicates that seniors who use hearing aids may see a reduction in Medicare spending and ER visits.

Putting Off That Hearing Test? Here’s Another Reason to Hear Your Best!

It’s no surprise that getting hearing help can make communicating and connecting with the world around you so much easier, but did you know that using hearing aids might also have a hand in cutting down emergency-room visits and hospital stays?

In a study published earlier this year in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, University of Michigan researchers investigating connections among hearing technology, health care consumption, and spending linked seniors’ self-reported use of hearing aids to changes such as the following:

  • Reduced ER visits and hospitalizations — each by 2 percentage points
  • Decreases in overnight hospital stays by about 0.46 nights
  • A reduction in Medicare spending — by approximately $71

So … less hospital food? Add that to the ever-growing list of better-hearing benefits. (Just kidding; some hospitals bring their A-game to patient meals!)

An estimated 466 million children and adults around the globe live with disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, with about a third of older adults affected. It’s one of the top chronic public-health challenges — potentially curbing the ability to thrive physically, socially, mentally, and financially.

Most hearing problems can be effectively treated with today’s advanced hearing technology. Even so, only a fraction of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them, making awareness, access, and encouragement an important part of boosting treatment rates.

With past research already connecting hearing loss to a greater chance of hospitalizations, extended illnesses, or injuries among hearing-impaired adults, the above-mentioned study, “Association Between Hearing Aid Use and Health Care Use and Cost Among Older Adults With Hearing Loss,” points to another crucial difference life-changing hearing devices can make.

Hearing better keeps you in touch with the people, places, and experiences that matter most in your life. It might also help keep you out of the ER. If you’ve noticed a change in your listening ability, or it’s been a while since your last hearing checkup, contact our caring team to schedule a consultation today!

How High Humidity Can Affect Hearing Aids and What You Can Do About It

Humidity means moisture, which can effect your hearing aids. Find out the signs of moisture damage and steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

One of the great things about starting your better-hearing journey is that your world is more enjoyable when you can hear all those sounds you’ve been missing.

That might also mean you’re getting outside more, possibly exposing your hearing devices to humidity. Your hearing aids are tiny computers, and just like with laptops and tablets, moisture can present a challenge.

Humidity

Let’s discuss humidity first. Simply put, humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hot air can hold a lot of water vapor, but cold air cannot. When hot air meets cold air, the drop in temperature means a drop in how much water vapor the air can hold.

Let’s consider a can of soda pop: When humid air makes contact with a cold can of soda pop, the air temperature around the can drops quickly. Any water vapor from the humid air that can’t fit in the cold air around the pop can has to go somewhere. That’s when condensation happens, creating the water droplets on the side of the can.

Humidity and Hearing Devices

The why

Humidity affects hearing aids in a couple of ways.

First, just like with condensation on that can of soda pop, moisture results when warm, humid air meets the cooler metal components of your hearing devices. This includes the components inside your devices.

Second, humidity makes you sweat — but humidity also makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. Plenty of that ends up in or on your devices.

The how

How does all this condensation and perspiration cause trouble?

Moisture clogs ports and openings. It also builds up in tubing, which can affect the frequency response of your hearing technology. It can also corrode components and battery contact points or short-circuit the microphones and receivers.

In short, moisture is like kryptonite to your hearing aids. A little exposure won’t matter all that much, but prolonged exposure will do a lot of damage and affect the performance of your devices.

The what

Common signs of moisture damage include:

  • Sound is full of static or crackling
  • Sound is distorted
  • Sound cuts out during loud noises
  • Sound fades in and out
  • Device works intermittently
The fix

If you suspect you have moisture damage, do a general check first to make sure it’s not something easily solvable. Is the device turned on? Are the batteries in correctly or near the end of their life? Do the battery contacts need to be cleaned or dried? Is the tubing intact? How are the filters and ports?

If all else checks out, it could be a moisture problem. If you have in-the-ear technology, get them in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

If you have behind-the-ear technology, check the earmold tubing for moisture. If at all possible, use an earmold puffer to remove the moisture. Then put your technology in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

In either case, leave the devices in the dryer for a few hours, even if they look dry.

Prevention

Common, effective preventive measures include:

  • Choosing devices with nanocoating or a high IP (water resistance) rating
  • Hearing aid sweatbands that allow sound through but keep moisture out
  • Exercising during the cooler parts of the day
  • Removing your technology when exercising
  • Keeping your technology in a drying device when not in use

Contact us via email or call us now at (918) 532-6539 for a complimentary clean and check of your hearing technology.

Better Hearing & Speech Month: 7 Accessories to Turn Up Your Tech

Better Hearing & Speech Month: 7 Accessories to Turn Up Your Tech

Have you heard? Weíre celebrating Better Hearing & Speech Month in May!

In honor of the theme, ìCommunication for All,î here are seven hearing aid accessories to make sure youíre communicating and connecting your best with the people, places, and moments that matter in your life.

  1. Wireless Mic

    Conversations rock when everybody around the table can join in, but background noise at restaurants and other spaces can make that a tall order. Whether youíre having a one-on-one chat or hanging with a crowd, an extra microphone can help. A wireless BluetoothÆ microphone worn on your companionís lapel can send speech directly to your hearing aid, or place the mic in a central spot for group conversations.

  2. Phone Clip

    Does talking on the telephone seem harder than it used to be? Try using a phone clip. The ReSound Phone Clip+, for example, lets you stream phone calls, music, and other audio straight to your hearing device from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. Itís hands-free ó simply clip it to your clothing ó and easily mutes background noise for clearer communication.

  3. Captioned Calls

    Speaking of easier phone chats: You may qualify for a caption telephone that shows the spoken words of the person youíre talking to. This landline device is free if a qualified hearing care professional certifies your hearing loss and need for the phone ó and it works with hearing aids. All you need is a standard phone line, a broadband internet connection, and electrical power.

  4. Audio Loop

    Audio loops or audio induction loops ó installed in homes, museums, theaters, churches, classrooms, medical offices, and other venues ó allow sound to be broadcast directly to individuals within the loop who have telecoils or T-coils, which can be embedded in hearing aids and cochlear implants. You could even install an audio loop in a vehicle, switch on your hearing aidís T-coil setting, and voila!

  5. Remote Control

    Who says remote controllers are just for TVs, DVRs, car alarms, and drones? With remotes designed for hearing aids, you can change your deviceís volume and program settings, switch the source of the audio youíre streaming, set ambient and streamed audio at different sound levels, and keep an eye on battery levels. Boom!

  6. TV Streamer

    When it comes to family time with a favorite TV show, setting the volume to everyoneís taste is no small feat. And with hearing loss, it can be even more challenging. Innovations such as the ReSound TV Streamer 2 ó a small tabletop device ó let you stream audio from your TV, stereo, or PC straight to your hearing aid at a level thatís customized to your needs without changing the volume for everyone else.

  7. Batteries

    It may seem pretty basic, but we had to throw this in: Getting the most out of hearing aids takes power, so be sure to keep extra batteries on hand. Batteries can last from a few days to a couple weeks ó depending on variables such as size, care, usage, and environmental conditions ó but our hearing experts can help you find the right match.

Interested in the latest hearing tech and accessories? Contact our caring team to learn more tips or to schedule a complimentary technology demonstration today!
 

‘Hearable’ Holiday Gift Guide

Tech tailored to you, your lifestyle, and your goals

Looking to get yourself or your favorite tech-savvy, fitness-focused loved one a pair of hearables this season? Check out our helpful hearable gift guide that covers what they are, some of the different features, various brands, and the ordering process.

What ‘Hearables’ Are

The definition of a “hearable” is constantly evolving, like the technology. To attempt to encompass all the variations of this technology, a hearable is a wireless in-ear computational device. This mini-computer uses wireless/Bluetooth® technology to complement and enhance your sound experience. Fitness tracking is another key feature that sets these apart from wireless headphones.

These devices are transforming according to wearers’ ever-changing wants:

    • The ability to sync with wireless devices to stay connected to people, hobbies, and music
    • The technology to measure biometrics (like heart rate, calories burned, etc.)
    • Quality sound streaming

What to Look for in a Hearable

These little guys can do so much, so how do you know which one is for you? Check out some of these highlighted features:
HEARABLEIMAGE
Resound-owned Jabra’s Elite Sport wireless earbuds (like Bragi’s The Dash Pro) feature nearly every benefit we’ve highlighted in our table, from audio transparency (so you can be more aware of your surroundings while still enjoying your tech) to high-quality sound and calls.

wireless arbud guide
Wireless earbud guide (click to enlarge)

Timeline for Fitting

Some hearables are customizable, such as the Bragi family of technology. In this case, the wearer would need an earmold impression created by a dispenser or audiologist (like us!). Any hearables that can be customized follow the same process. Contact our office about our policy.

The process for creating an earmold impression begins with the consumer getting an otoscopic evaluation from a professional to ensure an earmold impression can be taken. The actual earmold impression is created by inserting a block into the ear canal along with the earmold impression material. This cures for about 10 minutes, and then the earmold impression material — now a mold of the ear — is sent to the hearable manufacturer for customization.

Have questions? Would you like to get an earmold made? Give the gift of hearables this season with our help!

Sources:
everydayhearing.com

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Title: Holiday Gift Ideas for Better Hearing Technology 2017

Meta: Get the latest information on hearable technologies for your tech-savvy and fitness focused loved ones this holiday season.

Slug: hearable-holiday-gift-guide

Categories: Hearing Accessories, Holidays, Tips & Tricks

Alt Text: Latest hearing technology for the holidays

Better Hearing and Speech Month: 5 Tips to Step Up Your Hearing Game

Did you know? About 360 million children and adults — more than ve percent of the global population — have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization.

The good news? Not only can most hearing loss be helped with state-of-the-art hearing technology or other options, but simple steps can help you prevent some types of hearing impairment altogether. With the 90th celebration of Better Hearing Month just around the corner in May, here are ve tips to help you and your loved ones take charge for better hearing every day.

Know the Signs
Frequently asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV, having di culty understanding phone conversations, complaining about noise or earaches — these
and other signs point to potential hearing loss. Detecting it early can reduce the risk of academic, social, physical, and other problems.

Curb Noise Exposure
More than 31 million Americans ages 6 to 69 have permanent hearing damage due to noise, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reducing exposure to sounds above 85 decibels, curbing use of MP3 players, and wearing earplugs even when mowing or using leaf blowers, snowblowers, and weed wackers can go a long way.

Partner With Your School
Teachers and administrators are critical to helping kids hear their best during the school day, with classroom seating arrangements, loop and FM systems, closed captioning, and other supportive options. They can also identify possible signs of hearing loss, such as decreased engagement and changes in grades or behaviors.

Keep Hearing Aids in Top Shape
If you or your loved ones are already hearing better through today’s advanced hearing technology, help keep the devices in their best shape with a professional clean and check. Also, keep extra batteries on hand at home and on the go.

Get a Hearing Checkup
Take the whole family for professional hearing evaluations at least once a year, just as you would for their eyes or teeth. Timing the visits before summer camp or the new school year, for example, can help you catch any hearing di culties before they a ect your child’s learning and development.

Our audiology experts are here to help you and your loved ones hear your best. For more tips on taking charge of your hearing health or to schedule a hearing evaluation, call our o ce today.

World Health Organization Reports on Hearing Loss

Flag_of_WHO.svg

This spring the World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest figures on hearing loss around the globe, revealing that hearing impairment is more widespread than ever.

More than 360 million people are afflicted with disabling hearing loss.

Key facts:

  • 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss may be inherited, caused by maternal rubella or complications at birth, certain infectious diseases such as meningitis, chronic ear infections, use of ototoxic drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing.
  • Half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention.
  • People with hearing loss can benefit from devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants, and from captioning, sign language training, educational and social support.
  • Current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need.
  • WHO is assisting countries in developing programmes for primary ear and hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system of the country.
  • One in three people over the age of 65 is hard of hearing, as are 32 million children under age 15. Still, the situation seems hopeful for many, so long as treatment is available.

Hearing Aids Can Help

Hearing aids would make a fundamental difference for so many lives, yet of the millions of people in the world who suffer from hearing loss, only a fraction wear hearing aids. Access to care, of course, remains a central problem, but as Dr. Shelly Chadha of WHO’s Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness observes, “The stigma attached to hearing loss and the use of hearing aids is one of the biggest challenges, one of the biggest barriers, to providing services for hearing loss and improving access to hearing aids.”

Hearing loss and deafness

A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing – hearing thresholds of 25dB or better in both ears – is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.

‘Hard of hearing’ refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, captioning and assistive listening devices. People with more significant hearing losses may benefit from cochlear implants.

‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. They often use sign language for communication.

Help Spread the Word

Let others know what’s possible with quality hearing care! If you currently enjoy better hearing through hearing aids, be sure to share your experience with your friends and neighbors. Together we can help create positive attitudes about how much better life can be with clear hearing.

Read more about this: WHO Factsheet February 2013