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New Year, New You! Better Hearing Event

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Rediscover joy and put laughter back in your life!

The opportunities for better hearing have never been better, and there are more discreet and comfortable hearing aid options than ever before. The newest devices offer sleek and comfortable technology choices that conform to the shape of yoru ears do deliver sound as naturally as possible. Feedback cancellation, voice recognition, and a strong battery life are just a few of the features these devices offer in helping you experience better hearing conveniently, effectively, and discreetly.

As AudigyCertified professionals, we know that you are looking for the absolute best in hearing care. Our entire team works to provide you with solutions specific to your own personal lifestyle and hearing situation. If your solution is a hearing system, our AGX advanced digital hearing instruments provide superior performance, comfort, and, in many cases, a nearly invisible appearance. Plus, our affordable payment options make better hearing attainable.

Your hearing treatment plan is so much more than technology. It is our philosophy that when you hear well, you live well. Our team will give you the tools, advice, and personalized care to truly achieve better hearing.

Call today to schedule an appointment during our “New Year, New You!” Better Hearing Event, continuing through January 25th, and take advantage of our $500 First-Time User Credit* or our $500 Trade-Up Allowance*. Don’t wait to hear what you’ve been missing!

 


*Offers good toward the purchase of an AGX5, 7, or 9 two-device hearing system and cannot be combined with any other promotional discount.

Overcoming the Social Stigma of Hearing Loss

From the Hearing Care Blog:

The social stigma of hearing loss

Its been with us since the beginning of time

The stigma associated with hearing loss can be a big obstacle for individuals who need help to hear better. Some individuals are afraid to take the next step because of how they think their friends, family, or acquaintances may view them. Negative stereotypes and prejudices have followed hearing loss for years, and it surprises me how many people still associate those misperceptions to hearing loss. In the past, perceptions of hearing loss were associated with “old age”, poor communicators, social awkwardness, low cognition, etc. The truth is hearing loss has been around since the beginning of time and as education and research has become more abundant, the negative stigma associated with hearing loss is starting to change.

Hearing loss does not only affect those individuals who are “older” in age; it affects infants, children, teens and adults in all age ranges. Technological advancements have helped to identify newborns with hearing loss within hours of being born. In the past, you would never see a toddler walking around with hearing aids, now they are.

Allowing the old stigma of hearing loss to influence the acceptance of help can be very detrimental to a person who needs it. Hearing loss is an invisible impairment that individuals try to conceal from others. When hearing loss is concealed, individuals can become increasingly withdrawn from social interaction with friends and family. It can also lead them on a path to depression. Most individuals who have a hearing loss will feel alone and isolated unless they confront it by getting help. Truth is, once someone has a hearing loss and uses hearing aids, they not only realize how much they were missing, but they start to notice how many other people wear them.

Overcoming the stigma associated with hearing loss can be very difficult, especially for someone who has been diagnosed with a hearing loss. If you are affected by the stigma associated with hearing loss, try to observe how the hearing loss is affecting you at home, work or in leisure time. Weigh the pros and cons of hearing better vs. missing out on conversation. Identify the main emotion that holds you back from getting help and address it. Hearing aids are continuing to shrink in size because of desire for invisibility.  Get involved with organization such as the Hearing Loss Association of AmericaHearing Like Me and local support groups. Nobody should feel alone with his or her hearing loss.

If you feel that you are having trouble hearing or accepting a hearing loss diagnosis, ask your audiologist for information on support groups, organizations or websites that can help. We are here to help and support you with all of your hearing needs.

This article re-distributed with permission from The Hearing Rehab Center blog. Visit their site to learn more about hearing care services in the Denver, CO area.

Two Great New Informational Resources

One of the biggest obstacles between people with hearing loss and their better hearing is finding accurate, relevant information about hearing technology, audiological services and other issues that fall under the umbrella of better hearing. Two new websites are available to help fill in those information gaps. They are hearingloss.com and agxhearing.com:

Hearingloss.com is a great tool for finding information on hearing loss, better hearing health, audiological services, and other hearing issues such as tinnitus and dizziness.  This site utilizes informational videos as well as text posts to enhance the user’s experience.

AGXHearing.com is a brand new website that offers a wealth of information on the AGX brand hearing technology.  You can look up the different styles and models of the hearing aids, as well as read patient testimonials and find a local AGX provider.

If you need even more accurate and relevant information about the journey to better hearing, call us today for an audiological evaluation.  Our 4-Step Process helps you identify and communicate when, where and how you want to hear and our experienced hearing professionals can test your hearing and make a recommendation of the most appropriate solution for your unique needs.  For most patients, we can fit you with a pair of demo instruments in the office during your hearing aid evaluation so that you can experience first-hand the difference that hearing technology can make.  With the holidays approaching, there is no better time to hear what you’ve been missing and our 75-day trial on all instruments means that you can hear with confidence at those important family gatherings.  Don’t miss this opportunity to reintroduce yourself to the world of sound!

Get the Facts Before Buying that Hearing Aid!

Watch out For Deceptive Hearing Aid Advertising

If you are over the age of 55, your mailbox has probably been flooded with ads for the latest “life changing” hearing technology or perhaps; “You have been hand selected to participate in a field trial of the latest hearing solution”.

Open the paper…”You are invited to a lunch presented by the nation’s top authority on hearing aids,” or “You triple the risk of dementia if you do not treat your hearing loss.” Another fraudulent type of advertising called the “loss leader”, or “bait and switch”, is when a company advertises extremely cheap products with little or no intention of actually selling them, e.g., the $495 to $895 hearing aid.

These are all examples of deceptive advertising currently being used by some businesses and manufacturers of hearing aids to generate hearing aid sales by preying on those with hearing loss.

The facts are that some hearing aids are extremely sophisticated medical devices which were created only after hundreds of millions of dollars of research, development and testing was invested into their creation; while others are simply older hearing technologies, repackaged as new. People interested in hearing aids become confused with the abundance of misleading advertising which ultimately creates an atmosphere of distrust and lack of confidence in all providers of hearing aids.

Do Your Research Before You Purchase

We want to take this opportunity to provide a reality check and provide information to help you make educated decisions about you or your loved one’s hearing difficulties in today’s confusing market. There are three things that are critically important to investigate before investing in hearing aids.

1. The lowest price is rarely the best value

Hearing aids are a significant investment for everyone, regardless of income level. When hearing aids are recommended, the primary focus must be to find the right technology that will enable patients to succeed in the environments they live, socialize and work in. This is a process that needs to include a dedicated professional to ensure a patient’s ultimate satisfaction with the investment that is made in hearing devices.

2. Service – Research has proven that first time hearing aid users top two desires are invisibility and price

However, the same study also shows that the next time people purchase hearing aids; the number one requirement is service. Research has also shown that professional services before, during and after the initial fitting are vital to the success of the patient. Unfortunately, many suppliers of hearing aids do not provide these services; it is simply treated as any other retail product. In addition, many people do not realize that countless professional services needed to maintain optimal hearing levels may not be included in the initial cost of the hearing aid. This is fairly common practice when purchasing hearing aids from online retailers, physician offices and in hospital based clinics. Paying for these services after the initial purchase and/or original warranty expiration can lead to significant future expenses vital to a patient’s success with the hearing aids. Additionally, some dispensers do not retain the software necessary to readjust the hearing aids after a period of time, forcing replacement of the devices in as little as two to three years. This scenario is most common in big box stores and other retailers of hearing aids. The facts are that regularly maintained hearing aids can last between four to five years, if not longer. This is a time frame that allows return from your investment.

3. Get the Doctor’s opinion

In nearly all states in America, the only necessary degree for dispensing hearing aids is a high school diploma or GED. Some require a technical two year degree which focuses primarily on dispensing hearing aids. Doctors of Audiology (Au.D.) are the most qualified, educated and uniquely trained professionals in hearing diagnosis, rehabilitation, counseling and treatment; especially in the science of fitting digital hearing instruments and managing the psychosocial aspects of hearing loss. Each person is unique, requiring personalized solutions for their specific hearing needs. We understand that all people cannot be fitted with one type, style or brand of hearing aid. What’s best for your friend or relative may not be what works best for you.

About the Authors

Neil and Shannon AielloDr. Neil & Shannon Aiello, Au.D., CCC-A, F.A.A.A

The Columbia Basin Hearing Center Doctors of Audiology advocate a patient-centered, research based rehabilitation model; which is significantly more successful than a retail sales or medical model, for appropriate diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of hearing loss.

Earwax – It Deserves a Better Reputation!

By: Crystal L. Chalmers, Au.D.
North State Audiological Services
Chico, CA 95928

www.nsaudiology.com

Audiologist & Ear Doctor, Dr. Crystal Chalmers, Chico, California
Crystal Chalmers, Au.D., is an AudigyCertified™ Doctor of Audiology, the owner of North State Audiological Services in Chico, and a member of AudigyGroup, the nation’s largest member-owned association of independent hearing care professionals.

Though its medical name is cerumen, most of us refer to it as “Earwax”.

While I agree that neither term sounds very attractive, I will argue that earwax has gotten an undeserved bad reputation as something equivalent to dirt that we need to remove from our bodies.

So before reaching for the cotton swabs, you should know that earwax performs several important functions for our ears and hearing system.

That’s right.   Earwax – unless it is in excess and blocking our ear canal(s) or has plugged and disrupted the proper functioning of hearing technology – is a good thing.

Here are some positive functions of earwax:

●  It provides a protective barrier to the skin of the ear canal

●  Assists in lubricating and cleaning the outer portion of the ear canal.

●  Provides protection against insects (it is a natural insecticide), fungi, and bacteria – all of which like to dwell in dark, moist places … just like the ear canal!

So don’t be so quick to want to remove all of your earwax.  Oftentimes, excess earwax will work its way to the outer portion of the ear canal and simply fall out on its own.  To clean your ears, NEVER use cotton swabs as these can push the wax down further into the ear canal.  Simply rinse your ears with warm water while showering and/or use a damp cloth with mild soap to gently wash the exterior of the ear.  In cases where earwax is excessive, it should only be removed by a medical doctor as this is a delicate procedure.  In fact the ear canal is the only place on the body where skin is in direct contact with bone, so improper cleaning of this area could result in infection with serious consequences.

 

Why Can’t My Loved One Hear Me? They’re Wearing Aids!

SoundVoids™ can cause unnecessary frustration in visiting with your loved ones.

Here at Advanced Hearing Care, I spend a lot of time counseling patients and their families and friends on realistic expectations for hearing treatment and rehabilitation.  Some of the conversations can be quite passionate, especially when the family can’t understand why their loved one cannot seem to hear them, even though they’re wearing their hearing aids.  After all, hearing aids are supposed to fix the problem, right?

Well, no, not really.  Hearing aids are wonderful devices that supplement bad hearing.  They help a person make the most of the hearing that they may have left.  But they are not a substitute for good hearing.  Nothing, no magic pill or surgery, can restore a person’s hearing to the way it was before the hearing loss occurred.

How Hearing Works

One of the biggest reasons why people have this misconception of hearing aids and hearing treatment is that they don’t really understand how hearing works or what is happening when someone has a hearing loss.  After all, your ears just work, right? And you don’t have to think about it to make them work.  So, most people just don’t have reason to think about it.

Like most of your senses, hearing requires a means of collecting stimuli and a method of delivering the data from those stimuli to the brain for processing.  Your ears act as a funnel to collect sound waves in your environment and then both amplify and transform those sound waves into an electrical signal that can be processed by your brain.  This process involves the outer ear, called the pinna; the ear canal; the middle ear, which is made of the ear drum and the ossicular bones; the inner ear, or cochlea; and the auditory nerve and brain.  Along the way, the ear drum converts sound waves into mechanical energy, the stapes and cochlea convert the mechanical energy into hydraulic energy, and the cilia in the cochlea converts the hydraulic energy into electrical energy, which is finally processed by the auditory cortex in the brain.

A Matter of Physics

Sounds are formed anytime an object creates a vibration.  These vibrations are called sound waves and they happen at a molecular level in every substance that has matter and mass.  A good way to visualize this is to drop a pebble in a pond and watch the waves it creates.  As mentioned above, the ear collects these sound waves in order to amplify and transform them into signals in the brain.

Generally speaking, the less complicated the sound environment, the easier it will be for the brain to sort through the sound waves available.  In a small quiet room, there is very little interference from other sources of sound waves, there are fewer barriers to sound wave transmission, and the sound waves don’t have to travel very far to the ear.   This is an ideal situation for hearing.  The larger the space, the more sources of interfering background noise, the farther away you are from a reflective surface, the harder it will be to hear, even with normal hearing.  Imagine again the pond and the pebble.  The sound waves are a lot easier to “see” in a small pond with just a few pebbles than they are in an ocean during a rain storm.

Hearing aids cannot change the physics of environmental sound.  There are certain properties to background noise, such as frequency ranges and harmonic patterns, that a hearing aid processor can be programmed to reduce, but it doesn’t work like a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.  Those headphones have a distinct signal input from an audio device and a distinct sound pattern for the noise collected through a microphone.  The headphones produce an inverse sound wave that cancels the noise.  With hearing aids, the signal is mixed in with the noise and there’s no way to produce that inverse sound wave.

Mucking Up the Works

When hearing loss occurs, something happens to the anatomy of the ears and brain that causes the sound wave conversion and amplification process to not work the way it’s supposed to work.  One of the most common problems is that the cilia in the cochlea, the part of the hearing that sends those electrical signals to your brain, begin to die.  This is called sensorineural hearing loss.  It is nerve damage and it is permanent.

This kind of hearing loss also often involves an issue with sound clarity in addition to the inability to detect certain sounds.  In the case of someone who has those sound clarity issues, something is happening in the brain that causes the electrical signals that the brain receives to become garbled and distorted.  When a person is experiencing this distortion, simple amplification of sound doesn’t help as much as you might think.  After all, making a garbled sound louder does not improve its clarity.  Since the distortion is actually happening in the brain, it is different for each person who experiences it and it cannot be easily measured or quantified, making compensation practically impossible.

So What Can I Do?

There are small things that you can do while you are speaking to make it easier for your loved one to understand you.  Slow down and speak clearly; don’t shout!  Shouting only distorts your speech.  Rather than repeating a misunderstood word or phrase to the point of frustration, use different phrasing to avoid that misunderstanding.  Make sure that you’re not speaking with your mouth full or obstructing your mouth with your hand or another object.

The best thing that can be done to help someone who has sound clarity and processing issues is to make the listening environment as simple as possible.  First, turn off all potential sources of interfering noise.  If it can’t be turned off, then turn it down or adjust its position to minimize the interference.  Get on the same level as the person with the hearing loss and face them so you can speak directly to them.  Move closer to them and stay within 4 to 6 feet.  Never walk away from them while you’re talking or try to talk to them from another room in the house.  Small environmental changes can do a lot to assist someone who is having trouble understanding speech.

In Closing

It’s very important to remember that hearing loss is a permanent impairment and the goal of any hearing loss treatment process is to make the most of an individual’s remaining hearing.  In even a best-case scenario, there are limitations to what hearing technology can do as far as speech enhancement and background noise reduction in very complex listening situations.  No matter how much the technology advances, no matter how far it develops or how sophisticated it gets, it will never be a replacement for the hearing that you or your loved one enjoyed had before the hearing loss.  For more tips and tricks, feel free to visit our Communication Tips page, or Contact Us with any questions you may have.

NOISE… An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!

By: Bettie Borton, Au.D., FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Doctors Hearing Clinic
7025 Halcyon Park, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36117
(334) 396-1635
“Like” Doctors Hearing Clinic | Facebook
www.doctorshearingclinic.com

Have you ever wondered if your children or grandchildren are damaging their hearing by using personal listening devices, cell phones, or by listening to loud music that’s too loud? Most of us look at the noisy environment that envelopes young people today, and can’t help but worry about this as potentially hazardous to their hearing.

Hearing Loss in ChildrenWe often think of hearing loss as a problem affecting only older Americans. However, a stunning one in five teens has lost a little bit of hearing, and the problem has increased substantially in recent years, a new national study has found. Audiologists and hearing healthcare researchers are urging teenagers to turn down the volume on their digital music players, suggesting loud music delivered through earbuds may be to blame. Although definitive evidence is lacking about the cause, experts warn that slight hearing loss can cause problems in school and set the stage for increased hearing loss in later life.

Our hope is we can encourage people to be careful,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Gary Curhan of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Researchers here analyzed data on 12 to 19 year-olds from a nationwide health survey. They compared hearing loss in nearly 3,000 kids tested from 1988-94 to nearly 1,800 kids tested over 2005-06.

The prevalence of hearing loss increased from about 15 percent to 19.5 percent. Most of the hearing loss was “slight,” defined as inability to hear at 16 to 24 decibels – or sounds such as a whisper or rustling leaves. A teenager with slight hearing loss might not be able to hear water dripping or his mother whispering “good night.”

Extrapolating this data to the nation’s teen population, that would mean about 6.5 million young people with at least slight hearing loss. Those with slight hearing loss “will hear all of the vowel sounds clearly, but might miss some of the consonant sounds” such as t, k and s, Curhan said. “Although speech will be detectable, it might not be fully intelligible,” he said. While the researchers didn’t single out iPods or any other device for blame, they found a significant increase in high-frequency hearing loss, which they said may indicate that noise caused the problems. And they cited a 2010 Australian study that linked use of personal listening devices with a 70 percent increased risk of hearing loss in children. Theses findings recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Loud music isn’t new, of course. Each new generation of teenagers has found a new technology to blast music – from the bulky headphones of the 1960s to the handheld Sony Walkmans of the 1980s. But according to Dr. Brian Fligor, an audiologist at Harvard Medical School, today’s young people are listening longer, more than twice as long as previous generations; older technologies had limited battery life and limited music storage, he points out.  And with the Apple iPod, users can set their own volume limits, but parents can use the feature to set a maximum volume on their child’s iPod and lock it with a code.

Bettie Borton, Au.D. Doctor of Audiology AudiologistOne of Fligor’s patients, 17-year-old Matthew Brady of Foxborough, Mass., recently was diagnosed with mild hearing loss. He has trouble hearing his friends in the school cafeteria. He ends up faking comprehension. “I laugh when they laugh,” he said.

Fligor believes Brady’s muffled hearing was caused by listening to an iPod turned up too loud and for too long. After his mother had a heart attack, Brady’s pediatrician had advised him to exercise for his own health. So he cranked up the volume on his music  while walking on a treadmill at least four days a week for 30-minute stretches. One day last summer, he got off the treadmill and found he couldn’t hear anything with his left ear. His hearing gradually returned, but was never the same.

Often, young people turn their digital players up to levels that would exceed federal workplace exposure limits.  In Fligor’s own study of about 200 New York college students, more than half listened to music at 85 decibels or louder. That’s about as loud as a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner. Habitual listening at those levels can turn microscopic hair cells in the inner ear into scar tissue, and for reasons that we don’t fully understand, some people may be more predisposed to damage than others; Fligor believes Brady is one of them. And remember, once damage is inflicted, it cannot be undone.

These days, Brady still listens to his digital player, but at lower volumes. His sage advice…”Do not blare your iPod,” he said. “It’s only going to hurt your hearing. I learned this the hard way.”

If you or a loved ones are concerned with a teen’s hearing or listening habits, contact Advanced Hearing Care for ideas or a complete audiological evaluation.

4 Reasons to Make a Hearing Test Part of Your Yearly Check-up Routine

There are many reasons why having a regular hearing test is a good idea, even if you have normal hearing.  Hearing is our most important social sense; it is what allows us to communicate with one another and connect with our friends, families, and loved ones.  A yearly test is particularly important if you have other disorders which have been identified as possible causes of hearing loss, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a history of certain infections, particularly in childhood.

As more research is conducted into the impact of hearing loss, we learn about exactly how insidious the disorder can be.

Hearing loss has also been identified as a risk factor for other disorders, particularly disorders that affect cognitive health.  Four of these disorders are particularly important as a person continues to age:

  1. Dementia – Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently found that individuals who have untreated hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia time than those people who seek early treatment for their hearing loss.  This relationship could be due to a number of factors, such as social isolation, increased cognitive strain or a similar underlying pathology.
  2. Brain Atrophy – This study was released by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers found that brain volume decreased among patients with untreated hearing loss, a condition that made it more difficult for those particular subjects to understand complex sentences.
  3. Depression – In 1999, a National Counsel on Aging survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.
  4. Risk of Falling – Though some people have issues with their hearing that involve their vestibular (balance) function, this study looks more at the direct nature between even a so-called mild hearing loss and fall risk.   All other risk factors aside, a person with hearing loss is three times more likely to fall, and that risk increases dramatically as the hearing loss progresses.

These are just a few of the ways in which even a so-called mild hearing loss can affect a person’s lifestyle on a larger scale.  A yearly hearing test, particularly for those patients with risk factors for hearing loss, can help insure that treatment is sought for the hearing loss when it is needed.  Also, yearly tests can serve as valuable tools to monitor the progression of hearing loss over time, allowing any hearing aid prescribed to be appropriately fit to an individual’s hearing needs.

To schedule your yearly or baseline hearing test, call us today for an appointment.  Our Four-Step Process is centered around discovering your individual hearing and listening needs, even if you just need a baseline examination.  We have appointment times available Monday thru Friday, so we’re sure to have one that’s perfect for your busy schedule.  Let us help you keep on top of your hearing health needs!

Why Do Hearing Aids Cost So Much?

The following article was originally posted on the Hearing Care Blog.  We’re reposting it today because it is a great explanation of the costs associated with getting new hearing technology.

Bettie Borton, Au.D. Doctor of Audiology AudiologistBy: Bettie Borton, Au.D., FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Doctors Hearing Clinic
7025 Halcyon Park, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36117
(334) 396-1635
“Like” Doctors Hearing Clinic | Facebook
www.doctorshearingclinic.com

When I talk with patients or family members who have hearing loss, I hear a lot of grousing about the cost of the hearing aids purchased. I mean, those hearing aids are so TINY, they look so fragile… and you’re telling me they will cost HOW much?? Sound familiar?

Consumers seeking hearing healthcare help are often surprised at the cost of today’s sophisticated hearing technology. And that’s understandable. A high quality digital hearing aid usually costs between $1000 and $3000, sometimes more when paired with sophisticated bluetooth technology or other assistive listening devices. And in Alabama, hearing devices are also subject to sales tax.

So, is this investment “worth it” ? When assessing the value of hearing aids, it’s important to consider the many market variables inherent to pricing, including the following:

  • Hearing aids are medically regulated devices. As such, the manufacturers who produce these devices are subject to regulation by many organizations, including the FDA, FTC, and FCC. Like many other products in the U. S. marketplace, having to meet regulation specifications by governmental agencies seldom lowers costs, and almost assuredly raises them. As regulated devices, the cost of the research and development (AKA “R & D”) required to bring these products to market is significant, and results in products being more pricey.
  • What does R & D cost, and why is it so important? Consider that the “Big Six” (or the top 6 hearing aid manufacturers in the United States today) spend roughly $500,000,000 annually on R & D, which is quite a lot. To be precise, that figure is 14% of their combined budgets. To put this into perspective, let’s do a percentage comparison.  All of us would concede that Apple is certainly cranking out state of the art technology, and undoubtedly this costs the company in terms of product research and development  – but by comparison,  Apple expends only 2% of its total budget for R & D.
  • Remember that to date, hearing aids are the only medical devices that involve coupling an electronic device to a sensory organ. This is not an easy task. Today’s instrumentation is incredibly sophisticated, with increased chip speed and capability. Today’s hearing devices are certainly not your grandmother’s hearing aid! Nevertheless, this type of electronic capability comes with a price… it’s expensive to bring these products to market, and market share remains limited.
  • Hearing aids still have a fairly low market penetration. Of the 37 million Americans who might benefit from amplification, only about 1 in 5 actually utilize the available hearing technology.  We have not seen the same price reductions that are inherent to widely used electronic devices like TV’s, computers, cell phones, etc., found in virtually every household. So, what’s the result? Without sufficient market penetration, the product pricing remains higher for everyone.
  • The price you are quoted for hearing aids is seldom “unbundled” – this means that the cost for services of the audiologist or hearing healthcare provider, warranties, repair coverage, etc. is usually “bundled” into the price. Consumers often forget that there are dispensing fees inherent to well fit hearing devices. Are these fees “worth it”? To answer that question, we need only consider success rates (or lack thereof) for some of the “unbundled” personal sound amplification products or hearing aids such often sold on the internet, whose return for credit rate is upwards of 60%!
Oticon Intiga Hearing Aid
Today's extraordinary technology can come with a hefty price tag. The essential question is: what is my hearing worth to me?

Is the price tag for quality hearing devices worth it? Let’s consider the alternative…

Untreated hearing loss results in billions (that’s right… I said BILLIONS) of dollars in lost productivity in the U.S. workforce today. To be exact, unaddressed hearing loss results in 23 billion dollars of lost efficiency/productivity, which costs all of us in the long run. And of course, without today’s sophisticated hearing device capability, the loss in communications ability, life style preservation, and a myriad of other quality of life issues, even for those not employed, costs our society a great deal indeed.  There is also a significant body of research that suggests that if you have hearing loss,  waiting to get hearing aids can actually compromise word recognition ability.  As this data indicates,  delaying amplification is not without its own inherent cost.

So, despite the fact that the price for hearing aids may be steep at first glance, there are some very good reasons why costs may be higher than we’d like to see. If cost of recommended hearing technology is a concern for you or your family member, talk to your audiologist and explore possibilities for financial assistance or alternative technologies.

About the Author: Dr. Bettie B. Borton is a licensed audiologist in Alabama, and was the first audiologist in Montgomery to hold certification by the American Board of Audiology, and is the only audiologist with such certification in private practice in this area. Dr. Borton holds a BS degree with CED Certification in Education of the Deaf from the University of Texas, a Masters degree in audiology from the Louisiana State University Medical Center, and a Doctor of Audiology degree from the the University of Florida. She was a clinical audiologist in the Department of Surgery at UAB between 1990 and 1995, and provided patient care services in The Kirklin Clinic.

She has served as a Visiting Professor, teaching associate and Supervising Clinical Audiologist at Auburn University, as well as a Supervising Clinical Audiologist at Auburn Montgomery. Dr. Borton was a charter member of the Alabama Academy of Audiology (ALAA), and served as President of this organization. She has also served on the Board of Governors for the American Board of Audiology (ABA), and is the former National Chair of the ABA. Dr. Borton is currently the CEO and Director of Doctors Hearing Clinic, a full service private practice in Audiology. In April of 2010 Dr. Borton was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Audiology, and will serve a three year term in that capacity. She is the first (and to date, only) audiologist from Alabama to have been elected to the Academy Board. Dr. Borton was honored as a 2010 recipient of the prestigious Oticon “Focus on People”€ award, which annually recognizes 12 individuals across the nation for their dedication to helping those with hearing impairment.