Tag: technology

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?

Online Hearing Tests: Can They Help?

Several online or app-based home hearing tests have been developed. Researchers have been studying how well work compared to a professional hearing test.

From blood-pressure kiosks in retail stores and vision exams online to home kits that test for HIV, blood-sugar levels, colon cancer, and more, the do-it-yourself approach to health screening continues to expand as the demand for greater convenience and consumer empowerment grows. Even online hearing tests are a part of the DIY mix, but do they work? What role can they play in ensuring your optimal hearing health?

Let’s take a closer look, including the pros, the cons, and the bottom line for keeping your hearing in top shape.

Some Pros

Imagine being able to accomplish anything and everything from the comfort of your own home. Sounds pretty convenient, right? We’re not quite there on a global scale, but quality online hearing tests could help you take a first step toward better hearing health without even leaving the house.

People take an average seven years to make a provider appointment after suspecting they may have a hearing loss, so imagine how much sooner they might seek professional help if they could make that first move — a hearing test — at home. It’s simple, free, discreet, relatively quick, and can potentially estimate your current hearing ability.

Several online or app-based home hearing tests have been developed, and researchers have been studying how well they compare to similar tests given in a hearing-care professional’s sound booth. Results have varied, depending on factors such as the specific DIY platform tested.

Some Cons

Even the most reliable online hearing test — one that potentially could determine your basic hearing threshold and indicate your degree of hearing loss — can be misinterpreted without the expertise to understand what the findings mean or how and why you have the potential impairment.

For example, a hearing loss could be caused by something as simple as a foreign object in your ear canal, or it could be a sign of issues in the areas of your brain that process sound. In either case, you may be unaware of the underlying problem, but heading to a big-box retailer to buy hearing aids won’t solve it.

Online testing also doesn’t provide the comprehensive evaluation you need for a more complete look at your hearing wellness:

  • Some online hearing screenings may use the pure-tone air-conduction threshold test, for instance, in which each ear is played a series of sounds through earphones, and you indicate whether you can hear each respective tone. The test measures the quietest sound you can reliably hear at least 50 percent of the time — the threshold. This important data, however, only scratches the surface. It doesn’t explain how well you hear speech, how well you understand it, or whether the hearing loss is due to an injury in your ear.
  • In addition to a battery of important tests that measure elements such as pure-tone air and bone conduction, speech and word recognition, tympanometry and acoustic reflexes, comfortable listening levels, the threshold of discomfort, and more, professional examinations include an inspection of your ears and an intake of your medical and hearing-health history.

The Bottom Line

A reliable home hearing test can serve as an important wake-up call in your hearing health. If you’re on the fence about hearing care, it’s an easy way to find out whether you potentially have hearing loss, which is best addressed by a trained, licensed professional.

Keep in mind, however, that a home hearing test shows you a symptom — it doesn’t pinpoint the underlying problem or provide solutions for your unique needs. An audiologic evaluation gathers nuanced data about not only your auditory system but ways to improve your specific hearing difficulties.


Your auditory system is complex, and so is the combination of people and environments that creates your unique listening lifestyle. If you’re noticing difficulty communicating in your everyday activities or took an online test that indicated potential hearing loss, don’t wait. Contact our caring team for a comprehensive evaluation today.

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!

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!
 

5 Tips to Keep Your Technology Going Strong

Does my hearing technology call for ongoing professional upkeep? Can I handle any needed maintenance at home? How can I tell whether my devices are damaged? Where can I take them for replacement or repair?

Much like today’s tablets and cell phones, hearing aids are powered by complex technology that may require professional attention in certain circumstances, but a little DIY maintenance can go a long way in keeping your devices in top shape. Read on for five simple tips to maximize your tech’s longevity.

Keep ‘Em Dry and Sanitized
Water is kryptonite to hearing aids, so remember to
remove them before showering or swimming, and use a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier not only to reduce moisture but to sanitize and store your technology at the same time.

Wipe Off the Wax
Earwax (also called cerumen) naturally accumulates
in the ear and on your hearing aid, but gently wiping your devices each night with a soft, dry cloth and clearing the part of the device that goes into your ear canal with the provided brush will make quick work of the buildup.

Check the Batteries
Batteries typically can last from a few days to a
couple weeks depending on the technology, usage, and other factors, but a constantly beeping hearing aid may mean the batteries need changing. Always keep spares on hand, and remember to remove and store batteries at room temperature apart from your hearing aids when not wearing them.

Replace the Wax Guard
Put your hearing aid’s wax guard — which helps
protect against the damaging accumulation of wax, skin particles, and debris — on a monthly change schedule. Also, if your technology isn’t functioning properly even with fresh batteries, it may be time to change the wax guard.

Skip the Pockets
Pockets seem naturally convenient for carrying
loose hearing aids and batteries while on the go, but not so fast! Keep your devices in their case to avoid losing or getting debris on them, and place batteries where they won’t come into contact with keys, coins, and other metals, which can cause battery discharge and other problems.

Self-care of your hearing aids is an important part of keeping them performing their best, and periodic clean and checks with our caring professionals will identify and address any damage or other problems that might otherwise be hard to spot. Contact us to schedule a complimentary clean and check today!

New Technologies

New hearing aid technology is allowing many patients to upgrade to better devices and hear significantly better than with their old devices. Microphone directionality has improved and so has the quality of the overall microphones. Music listening has changed dramatically and the hearing devices have a much more higher fidelity than they have had in previous years. Noise filters has improved to help patients hear more speech through noise than in past years.

Wireless Technology!

A patient asked me today that she had read about wireless technology and she wondered what that meant. It can mean a variety of things in regards to new technology hearing aids. For some hearing instruments, it can mean that a pair of hearing aids on a person’s ears can wirelessly communicate with each other. For example, microphones listen in the same direction, or noise filters engaging with both the right and left hearing aids together. Another example of wireless technology is pairing a Bluetooth phone to the hearing aids or using a streaming device to help pair a phone to the hearing aids. This allows phone calls to go into the hearing aids directly wirelessly. There is also the ability to stream television acoustics into hearing aids wirelessly. For more information, contact our office for an appointment.

Hearing aids and earwax. Patient’s ask everyday about how to clean hearing aids. Ears produce wax and unfortunately, it gets on and into hearing aids. Check your hearing aids nightly to see if they need cleaning. First wipe them off with a soft dry tissue or cloth. If wax seems to penetrate the sound openings of the hearing aids, then your hearing specialist should have provided you with small wax cleaning tools (loop) and possibly wax filters that keep the wax from penetrating the devices too deeply. Try not to get hearing aids wet with soap or water. For more information, please contact our office.

Do I have to have a smart phone for the new technology hearing aids? No absolutely not. There is lots of new amazing technology being introduced into the market that works great without a smart phone. The phones (certain makes and models only) allow patients to use their phones as remotes and some for streaming audio. Flip phones that have Bluetooth can also stream audio but require a streaming device to assist them. For more information, please contact our office.

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries……must we change them so frequently?

Hearing aids have turned into mini-computers. The current hearing technology on the market is processing so much information in the little computers and the amplifiers are driving louder decibels for patients to hear better that it is hard to imagine the hearing aids drain batteries so quickly. But, yes, the average battery typically lasts about a week if the aids are work about 14 hours per day.

Resound-alera-small-wireless-digital-hearing-aid

Also batteries in the United States have gone through some changes in the last few years. Many of the batteries are mercury free and are now green for the environment. Unfortunately that affect the voltage initially, but the battery manufacturers have recommended new batteries need air/oxygen prior to activation and use. So very important to know that prior to use of each battery, to remove the tab and allow at least one minute of air/oxygen to activate the battery prior to insertion into the hearing device. That has helped battery performance to be more consistent for the most part since the mercury changes.

If you have further battery questions, please feel free to contact our office. We are happy to help. So give us a call today!

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie R. Moore
Audiologist

Our Patients Tell Us…

…time and time again that the most life-altering and inspiring change that comes with achieving better hearing is rediscovering the personal connections that are missing from their lives.

It’s these familiar and essential sounds—the voices of our children, grandchildren, spouses, and loved ones—that ground and comfort us. Our passion is creating the better-hearing solutions that keep the people and things you love close to you.

That’s why we always recommend you bring a loved one with you for every hearing consultation or technology-upgrade appointment. They play a key role in helping you achieve better hearing. Their voice is a familiar sound that you can focus on, which helps us fine-tune your technology, and they offer a unique perspective on your hearing loss. After all, they’ve been experiencing it right along with you. Because hearing loss happens gradually, your companion will likely notice specific listening situations that appear to be a struggle for you that you may not even have been aware of.

If you find that you need additional help hearing among all the commotion of crowded holiday gatherings, ask about our streaming systems that incorporate
a personal, wireless microphone that can be worn by your companion. These systems allow you to receive a clear, wireless signal from individual voices in the room, letting you communicate more comfortably, and without missing a moment of the holiday fun.