Tag: advice audigy

Constant Ringing in Your Ears? – From the Hearing Care Blog

By: Bettie Borton, Au.D., FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Doctors Hearing Clinic
7025 Halcyon Park, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36117
(334) 396-1635
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If it seems like your ears ring constantly, it’s probably not crickets, your imagination or the economy . . . and you’re not alone. You may have tinnitus, an inner ear ailment that affects between 25 million to 50 million Americans — with about 12 million people experiencing such severe symptoms it affects their daily lives. The good news is treatment, including hearing aids, can offer relief to some from the persistent ringing, buzzing or humming associated with tinnitus, according to the Better Hearing Institute.

Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant. Causes range from ear infections and exposure to extremely loud noises, to underlying health problems like allergies or heart and blood pressure problems. Often, sufferers are unable to pinpoint the cause of their tinnitus. “Tinnitus can have a direct impact on a person’s emotional well being,” says Dr. Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s executive director. “Not only can their hearing be affected but also their ability to sleep or concentrate.”

Tinnitus Treatment, Ringing in the Ears CausesKochkin and Dr. Richard Tyler, professor and editor of The Consumer Handbook on Tinnitus (Auricle Ink, 2008), published a survey of 230 hearing health professionals in the United States and Canada. Their survey found that six out of 10 patients reported some tinnitus relief when using hearing aids and two out of 10 reported major relief. The symptoms of tinnitus “influence basic life functions such as socialization and relaxation,” the duo wrote. “In severe cases it can interfere with the individual’s ability to perform adequately on the job, or contribute to psychological disorders such as depression, suicide ideation, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and anger.”

Although tinnitus is actually common and can cause major life disruptions, the number of sufferers who seek treatment for tinnitus is relatively small. One reason may be that they mistakenly believe their condition is untreatable. Unfortunately, many doctors are also unaware of the latest treatment options, and as a result patients may think they simply have to learn to live with the noise.

“No one should ever ignore persistent tinnitus,” Kochkin says. “Not only is every individual entitled to a chance to regain his or her quality of life, but in rare cases tinnitus also can be a symptom of a more serious health issue that could demand medical intervention. What’s more, nearly everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss as well.”

In a recent large-scale survey of the American hearing impaired population, 39 percent (more than 9 million adult Americans) indicated they had not sought help for their hearing loss specifically because they also had tinnitus. “Research shows that untreated hearing loss has its own negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects on the individual suffering from it,” Kochkin adds. “So those with both untreated tinnitus and untreated hearing loss suffers an even more diminished quality of life than individuals with just tinnitus or just hearing loss alone.”

While hearing aids are not a cure for tinnitus, they may be able to help tinnitus patients by:

  1. Improving communication and reducing stress, which makes it easier to cope with the condition.
  2. Amplifying background sounds, which can make tinnitus seem less prominent.

A new type of hearing aid, called the open fit hearing aid, may be particularly useful in alleviating tinnitus. The open fit hearing aid can reduce the effects of the tinnitus ringing sensation while still allowing sounds from the outside to pass into the ear. If you think you have tinnitus have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist and to explore the use of hearing aids to alleviate tinnitus. The American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO-HNS) and the American Tinnitus Association recommends these additional tips for minimizing the effects of tinnitus on your health:

  1. Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
  2. Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, get your doctor’s help to control it.
  3. Decrease your intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
  4. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, and tobacco.
  5. Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
  6. Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
  7. Eliminate or reduce some stress in different parts of your life; stress often makes tinnitus worse.
  8. Experiment by eliminating other possible sources of tinnitus aggravation, e.g. artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medications. (Do not stop taking medications without consulting with your health care professional about the possible ototoxic impact of your medications.)

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 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.

Why Can’t I Hear In Background Noise, Even With My Hearing Aids?

Amit Gosalia, Au.D. - Doctor of Audiology, Vancouver, WA

Originally posted on the Hearing Care Blog
By: Amit Gosalia, Au.D., FAAA

Board Certified Doctor of Audiology

Audiology Clinic, Inc.
505 NE 87th Ave., #150
Vancouver, WA 98664

(360) 892-9367
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Dr. Gosalia, I just bought a pair of $8500 hearing aids from XYZ in Portland. I was told that I would hear normally in all environments, including restaurants and ball-games. I am less than pleased because I still can’t hear or understand in noise. Did I waste my money?”

This was a case I dealt with a few months ago. This patient went to a business to purchase hearing aids, and this franchise/chain location set some lofty expectations for the patient. As hearing instrument technology improves, so do patient expectations. Terms such as noise reduction, noise management & directional hearing (along with many other proprietary terms) give the perception that the end-user will not hear background noise, and only hear the person in front of them. Unfortunately and fortunately, this is not true. Below I’ve touched the surface of noise, noise reduction and directivity.

Let’s start with noise. Noise is any disrupting event (in this case, sound) that impedes one’s ability to sense (in this case, hear) a signal (in this case, speech). For the purpose of this post, we’ll concentrate on hearing speech within a noisy environment. A general term and formula that is used in hearing healthcare is Speech-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) which tells us how loud speech is in relation to noise. For example, average speech is 45-55 decibels (dB) hearing speech in a basketball stadium where the crowd is cheering over 90 dB is difficult because the speech is 35-45 dB lower than the noise. This is considered a very low SNR; now compare this to speaking at a normal volume in a quiet library, the SNR will be high making speech much easier to understand. When someone has a hearing loss things change. Without amplification important parts of speech are not heard well, making understanding the person next to you difficult, if not impossible. The natural ability of any person to hear through noise decreases as hearing loss increases. This is a fact that has been well established in research on the human auditory system. Thus, a hearing aid can help make missing pieces of speech more easily heard but it cannot repair one’s ability to hear through noise and find valuable pieces of speech. For this reason, modern hearing aids focus on managing noise and amplifying clean speech.

Hearing instruments can come with or without venting. Vents are holes that are drilled through either the hearing instrument or the earmold for the purpose of letting air and sound travel in and out of the ear canal. The larger the vent, the closer you get to a more natural, open ear. Newer technology has allowed us to keep the ear open with small hearing instruments that rest behind the ear and even some custom molded devices (please see other postings for detailed descriptions of hearing technology). As cute as they may be, if your hearing is not within or near normal limits in the lower frequencies, an open ear device may not be for you.

One advantage of an open ear hearing aid is to allow low frequency sound to escape the ear canal, keeping the user’s voice more natural. When the user complains of hearing their own voice in their head or sounding as if they are speaking in a barrel, it’s usually a phenomenon called occlusion (or ampclusion). Keeping an ear canal open minimizes this effect but also introduces two detrimental issues. First, low frequency environmental sounds will bypass the hearing aid and travel into the ear naturally through the vent. These sounds that bypass the hearing aid are often heard naturally because most hearing losses are minimal in the low-frequencies and greater in the high-frequencies. This also means that the hearing aid is not able to process the sound before it’s heard, so technologies such as noise reduction do not affect low-frequency sounds in the open ear hearing aid.

Secondly, directional microphones will prove less beneficial in the open-ear fitting.2 What this means is that the more open the ear canal, the harder it becomes to hear what’s in front of you. So, theoretically, if our goal is to have the instruments focus more front-facing, the ear canal should not be very open. Note that normal low frequency hearing will be affected by closing the ear canal, and opening the canal with moderate to profound low frequency hearing will result in less hearing in those frequencies.1,2

So, what does this tell us about hearing in noise with amplification? You will hear background noise in noisy environments. You will most likely hear the kids screaming four tables away. You may still have difficulties hearing the person across the table from you. The good news is that with proper hearing aid selection and the correct technology that meets your lifestyle and budget, you’ll hear much better. Only a well trained hearing care professional can make these choices and help you to establish reasonable expectations for better hearing.

“Ms. XX, although the level of technology you purchased is consistent with an Active Lifestyle (in our clinic approx $7500 – $1000 less than the chain!!), you should know that hearing aids only supplement your hearing in those difficult environments. In fact, with normal hearing, I have difficulty hearing at basketball games and certain restaurants as well. Although we can not restore normal hearing, we can help you hear much better in more environments. You will still have some difficulty hearing and understanding in certain environments, but, with some realistic expectations, expert advice, and some auditory retraining, you will find greater success.”

1 What is the Effect of Venting on Directivity? Audiology Online 10/2009; Todd A. Ricketts, Ph.D., CCC-A, FAAA
2 Efficacy of an Open-Fitting Hearing Aid; Hearing Review February 2005; Francis Kuk, Phd, et al

4 Reasons to Hear Better in 2012

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

It’s coming.  2011 is almost over and 2012 is on its way.  As the new year approaches, it’s a great time to begin the journey toward better hearing.  Here are four great reasons to start today:

  1. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. A common phenomenon, especially among those who let their hearing loss go untreated, is called phonemic regression. Simply put, phonemic regression is when we find a loss of speech discrimination that isn’t proportional to the person’s pure tone thresholds. The most common symptom of this is being able to hear that someone is speaking but simply not being able to understand what is being said, something we call a Sound Void. This is a very frustrating situation, as the problem is not a simple matter of volume. In some cases, phonemic regression could have been prevented simply by wearing hearing aids earlier.
  2. Keep your brain sharp! In February, John’s Hopkins University released a startling study that linked untreated hearing loss to the development of dementia in elderly populations. While the exact nature of this link remains a bit of a mystery, it is well known that social isolation contributes to dementia.  One of the biggest contributing factors to this kind of isolation is the inability to hear well enough to enjoy getting out and being active.
  3. New technology provides superior sound quality and satisfaction.  The king of hearing aids is no longer that big ear plug that your father or grandfather wore (or refused to wear, as the case may have been).  There are many styles available for nearly every budget that are designed to treat nearly every type of hearing loss.  The possibilities are all but endless, and so is our ability to help people with many different kinds of hearing loss.
  4. Better hearing has never been easier!  Our ultimate goal as hearing professionals is to reintroduce you to a world of sounds that you haven’t been hearing.  Our Service Excellence Guarantee provides you with peace of mind knowing that we’ll have your back and make sure that you get the full value of your investment in better hearing.  We offer a 75-day trial period, well beyond the 30 days required by state law, with a 100% refund if you’re not completely satisfied.  We also offer extended warranties, in-office repairs and service, manufacturer repair if needed, and a wealth of knowledge to customize hearing solutions for every patient, all as part of our Service Excellence Guarantee.  We will support you every step along your journey to better hearing.

To start your journey toward better hearing, call us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.  Through our 4-step process, we’ll learn about you and your better hearing goals, examine your ears for any defects or blockages, diagnose your hearing loss, and show you what we can do to help you hear better.  Don’t wait to hear what you’ve been missing!  Early treatment can make all the difference!

In observance of New Year’s Day, Advanced Hearing Care will be closed on Friday, December 31. We will return for normal office hours on Monday, January 2. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Five Tips for Better Hearing Aid Performance

Regular hearing aid checks can extend the life of your technology.

One of the most-asked questions we encounter here at Advanced Hearing is, “What can I do to keep my hearing aids working well?”  Given the investment involved in purchasing hearing aids, it’s perfectly reasonable to want to extend the value of that investment by extending the life of the technology.  Today, we’d like to share with you five suggestions that we normally give in answer to this question.

  1. Clean your instruments daily — At the end of every day, use a dry soft cloth to wipe off any visible debris and ear wax. Check the wax guards and domes (if applicable) to see if they need to be changed. Make sure that there aren’t any cracks or holes in the shell or case. Gently brush the microphone covers with your cleaning tool.
  2. Keep your instruments in a safe place when you’re not wearing them — Treat your hearing aids like you would your watch, glasses, or fine jewelry. In fact, it’s a good idea to put your case in the same spot where you store these other things. Keeping it in the same spot and closing them up tight in their case when you’re not wearing them ensures that you always know where they are and that they’re safe from any indoor pets that might decide they want an extra crunchy snack.
  3. Always carry a travel case in your pocket or purse — When you’re out and about, you may want to take your instruments off for some reason or another. We see a lot of people who put their instruments in a wad of tissue or just leave them loose in a pocket or purse. Before you do that next time, stop and think about what you do with that wad of tissue when you get home. Most people just throw the tissues out, and some chuck their hearing aids in the bin along with the tissue! Leaving them loose in a pocket exposes them vulnerable to being crushed. Travel cases are the best way to protect the instruments from damage and from an accidental trip to the dump.
  4. Schedule regular cleanings with your hearing professional — At Advanced Hearing, we ask most of our patients to come in every six months so that we can do a thorough cleaning and can make any adjustments that may be required at that time. Some patients come in more regularly because they have more ear wax and body oil issues and their instruments need the TLC a little more frequently.
  5. Have your hearing tested yearly — Hearing instruments don’t do a whole lot of good if they aren’t programmed appropriately for your hearing loss. And, sometimes despite our best efforts, hearing loss has a nasty tendency to progress. Yearly exams keep you aware of what is happening with your hearing as well as allow your hearing professionals to set your technology appropriately. It will also help you be better prepared to upgrade when you’ve reached the end of your technology’s capabilities.

How to Choose the RIGHT Hearing Aids for You

AGXOd Series is designed to deliver immediate benefit.

If you’ve found this page, it’s likely that you’re one of the thousands of people in the United States who is living with untreated hearing loss.  Or you may have a loved one who you know is struggling with the inability to hear and understand important conversations.  You may even be someone who’s already sought help for a hearing loss and you aren’t happy with your current technology.  Whatever the reasons, you’re looking for information, for support, and for answers.  The good news is that you’ve found the right place.

The hardest part of hearing loss is knowing what to do about it.  In most cases, the discovery and diagnosis of hearing loss is fairly straightforward.  An hour spent answering questions, repeating common words and phrases, and pressing a button is all that it takes to get a good picture of what’s happening with your hearing.  If hearing loss is discovered and hearing technology recommended, the next step can be quite daunting: picking out hearing aids.

There are literally thousands of hearing technology options available.  There are a few dozen manufacturers and some of the biggest of them each may have hundreds of different models and styles.  Each instrument is designed with specialized features, targeting different kinds of hearing loss and different needs of selected demographics of hearing patients.  Each one has areas where it excels over others of its competitors.  It can be very hard for a patient or consumer to know exactly what he or she may be getting “under the hood,” so to speak.

That’s where a trained and licensed hearing professional can make all the difference.  Hearing loss is a highly individualized problem, and each person’s experience with hearing loss is different.  It stands to reason that treatment of hearing loss should be an individualized process.  The truth of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, for any type and severity of hearing loss. Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists are experts in customizing hearing technology to each patient’s individual needs.

Dr. Moore and Ms. Clapper work with our patients to maximize each solution we recommend.

From feature selection to fine tuning, the hearing professional is an important piece to the hearing treatment puzzle.  They counsel each person on which solution is the most appropriate for their hearing loss, based on audiometric data acquired through hearing testing and lifestyle information gleaned from the patient.  Hearing professionals are responsible for helping the patient keep their technology in tip-top shape, providing preventive follow-up maintenance and emergency support if something goes wrong.  These professionals are also a critical part of hearing preservation, providing testing to monitor possible changes in hearing and advice for maintaining the good hearing a patient may have.

In reality, the question you should be asking is not, “What is the right hearing aid for me?” but rather, “Who is the best professional to help me with my hearing needs?” The technology itself is not what helps you to hear better. The partnership that you build with your Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist is the critical piece to puzzle.

At Advanced Hearing Care, we understand the importance of the personal touch in hearing care. We work with our patients and the technology to customize a solution for each person’s individual needs. We provide on-going support and maintenance for patients who choose to treat their hearing loss with technology. Most importantly, we counsel our patients to understand the nature of their hearing difficulties to establish realistic expectations for treatment.

To experience the difference that compassionate hearing care can make, call us today for an appointment. We are experienced professionals who give expert advice and work with our patients and today’s most extraordinary technology to provide excellent service at an exceptional value. Don’t wait until old age to hear what you’ve been missing. Call today and reintroduce yourself to a world of sound.

Hear Better for the Holidays

Better hearing can make a huge difference in your holiday experiences this year.

Halloween has passed and the leaves are falling from the trees.  The holiday season will soon be upon us.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are family-centered holidays, and the season is meant to be shared with friends and loved ones.  Yet many people with untreated hearing loss struggle during this time of year to hear those closest to them, and many will do nothing to help themselves hear better.

One of the many reasons given for allowing hearing loss to go untreated is that hearing aids are too difficult to use and don’t really work that well.  The public perception of how hearing aids work hasn’t progressed with the advancements in technology that have made hearing aids smaller and better than ever.  The same technological advancements that have given us the microchip, which helped transform computers from the clunky boxes that sat on our desks to the sleek tablets we can almost carry in our pockets, have improved the aesthetic appeal and performance of hearing aids.

CiC versus IiC
AGXssl fits completely within the bony portion of the ear canal, deeply enough that it is invisible.

Gone are the days of Grandpa’s ugly pink ear piece.  Miniature behind-the-ear and open-fit hearing aids comprise about 75% of all hearing aids sold in the United States on a yearly basis.  The cases that sit behind the ear are so small that they cannot be seen over the top edge of the ear.  The wire or slim tube that runs from the case to the ear canal is very slim and most people can’t see them unless they’re looking for it.  The tip that goes into the ear canal usually does not require an ear mold and sits deeply enough in the canal that it cannot be seen at all.  There are even hearing aids that fit completely within the ear canal, deep enough that they truly cannot be seen, with no case or shell to sit behind the ear.  The microchips in the technology filter out unwanted noise and clarify speech, providing superior sound quality and truly life-changing benefit.

The Better Hearing Institute recently studiedthe difference better hearing and amplification can make in a person’s life.  The study focused on 2000 hearing aid users and evaluated 14 specific quality-of-life issues, and found dramatic evidence of benefit from hearing technology:

  • Nearly 70% reported improvements in their ability to communicate effectively in most situations.
  • More than 50% reported improved relationships at home and with friends in group situations.
  • Around 40% felt safer, more confident, more independent, and more productive in work situations.
  • Between 25-33% saw improvements in their romance, sense of humor, cognitive skills, and mental, emotional, and physical health.
Our Audigy Certified professionals are passionate about helping you on your road to better hearing.

Patient satisfaction has also increased as hearing technology has developed:

  • 91% of hearing aid users are satisfied with their improved ability to communicate in one-on-one conversations.
  • 85% of hearing aid users are satisfied with their improved ability to communicate in small groups.
  • 80% of hearing aid users are satisfied with their improved ability to hear and understand the television.
  • 78% of hearing aid users are satisfied with their improved ability to hear while doing a number of leisure activities.

A key finding in the Better Hearing Instituted study showed that the quality of care provided by hearing professionals also played a large part in the perceived success of the hearing instrument fitting.  These hearing professionals, audiologists or hearing instrument specialists, are responsible for tailoring each and every solution to the individual needs of their patients and clients.  It is not merely the technology itself that makes for a successful treatment of hearing loss; it is the individual attention given to customize the performance of the technology to the needs of the patients wearing the aids.

With the holidays approaching, there has never been a better time to experience the difference that better hearing can make in your lifestyle.  At Advanced Hearing Care, our Audigy Certified professionals don’t want you to miss a single moment of those important family events.   It is our mission to help you capture those memories and those conversations through hearing solutions that are customized to your individual needs.  Call today and reintroduce yourself to a world of sound.

Why DIY Hearing Aids are NOT a Good Value

DIY Hearing Aids are a one-size-fits-all approach to a problem that is highly personalized.

The Better Hearing Institute recently released an article through their eNewsletter warning of the risks of using over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all hearing aids without the consultation of a hearing health professional.  This article hits on some of the most important reasons that Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists are so very critical to the proper treatment of hearing loss.

The most important reason to consult with a hearing health professional before pursuing hearing aids is that hearing loss can be the symptom of a more serious medical condition.  This is also the reason that all 50 states utilize a strict licensing process for hearing professionals.  These licensing procedures ensure that the professionals are able to recognize certain warning signs during the testing process which might indicate that a referral to more specialized medical services is needed.  Basic hearing testing, which is the first step toward the treatment of all kinds of hearing loss, can indicate the presence of cholesteatoma, otosclerosis, otitis, and acoustic neuroma.  These are just a few of the conditions that require medical attention, and sometimes immediate medical attention, before amplification can be prescribed.

Additionally, in all 50 states, the only people who can adjust and customize hearing aids and hearing technology to the needs of the individual patient are the individuals who have obtained state licensure.   Hearing losses may look similar on paper, but each person perceives their hearing loss differently and has different needs for successful treatment.  Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists are highly trained to adapt today’s extraordinary technology to meet those needs.

Dr. Stephanie Moore and Ms. Rachel Clapper are passionate about helping their patients overcome their hearing loss.

“Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,” says Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s Executive Director. “The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”

Your perception of your hearing loss is a unique problem that deserves the best care available to you.  Don’t leave your most important social sense to a cookie-cutter, pre-packaged widget that is neither prescribed for your hearing loss nor customized to your individual needs.  Don’t trust one of the most integral parts of your personal warning system to a process that is not capable of distinguishing the warning signs of a more serious medical condition.

At Advanced Hearing Care, we know that the actual hearing technology is only a small portion of the hearing treatment process.  Our caring professionals will take the time to diagnose your hearing loss properly and to understand your goals for your better hearing.  We provide that elite level of care that is lacking in a DIY hearing solution, because we work with you and the technology to give you the best hearing possible.  Call us today and reintroduce yourself to a world of sound!

The Truth About Hearing Aid Prices

Hearing Treatment is much more than just wearing hearing aids.

In a consumer market where supermarkets and the internet are the kings of the one-stop bargain shopping trend, it might be easy for the hearing impaired person to think that purchasing their technology from those “Big Box” stores and saving a few bucks along the way is a good idea. After all, a hearing aid is a hearing aid, right? But what the cost-conscious consumer may not realize is that the bargain they think they’re getting isn’t that much of a bargain after all.

One of the ways that the Big Box and internet retailers like Costco can offer their products at often very low prices is that the solutions they offer are close-out sales of older technology. There are dozens of manufacturers who each make dozens of different models of hearing aids in multiple tiers of investment and these manufacturers produce new technology almost every year. Because of this, Big Box stores can sell based on brand recognition rather than technological advancement and count on the fact that their customers can’t recognize a truly new premium instrument from one based on an older platform. They can sell premium technology at a low price with a low profit margin because that premium technology is several years behind the times and generally has a lower cost-of-goods. In order to make the small profit margin work better for themselves, they also cut corners by scrimping on service and care for their customers, particularly when prearranged agreements with manufacturers expire and they no longer sell the technology most of their customers have purchased.

This kind of buying power works extremely well at supermarkets and big box retailers. In today’s world of disposable products, you just don’t have to take as much time to research and consider options when you’re buying a vacuum cleaner or a microwave. If something goes wrong, the average toaster oven can be replaced fairly easily. But hearing is our most important social sense and is an integral part of our overall well-being, and hearing aids themselves are so costly that they cannot truly be considered disposable, so hearing solutions should be treated with more care than picking out a toaster or buying batteries.

The truth is that price is only an issue in the absence of value. It’s hard for some to see the value in investing thousands of dollars in something they think they can find down the street for less. In the case of hearing technology solutions, the old adage “you get what you pay for” applies. There are literally thousands of different hearing technology options and what’s good for the goose might not even fit the gander at all.

Hearing Professionals take the time to get to know you and your unique hearing needs.

The perception and treatment of hearing loss is a highly individualized problem, and no two cases are the same. A qualified and licensed hearing professional is in the business of learning about all of the options available and working with the many different types of technology to tailor a solution to the needs of the individual patients they see. Each successful solution takes time and patience, from both the patient and the hearing professional, to properly fine-tune and adjust appropriately to the patient’s needs and desires. It is this attention to detail with each individual person to give them what they specifically need to address their unique problems that determines the success of the recommended solution.

A true professional will work with their patients to deliver an elite level of care and make sure that their patients are not just satisfied, but that they are delighted. Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists take the time to understand their patients’ individual needs and lifestyle requirements. These professionals are highly skilled at correctly fitting and adapting technology and apply these skills to meet those demands. Hearing loss is very personal and each patient has his or her own individual needs for successful treatment. Because each patient is unique, it’s vital that a qualified hearing health professional be involved in the process.

At Advanced Hearing Care, we specialized in providing that elite level of patient care to each person who comes to us seeking solutions to their hearing health care needs. We’d like to invite you to experience the difference. With each patient, both new patients and existing patients, we take the time during our Four-Step Process to get to know those unique concerns. We work with our patients to assure them that they are getting the best treatment possible for their hearing care. Come experience the difference. Reintroduce yourself to a world of sound!

Press Release: Patient Satisfaction and Hearing Technology

Hearing Aids Improve Quality of Life, Empower People with Hearing Loss to Stay Socially Active, New Study by Better Hearing Institute Finds

Patient Satisfaction is an important factor in a successful fitting.

September 2, 2011 — According to a comprehensive research study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), today’s technically advanced, sleekly designed hearing aids are helping people with hearing loss regain their quality of life and remain socially involved. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users say they are satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids. And 82 percent of hearing aid users would recommend hearing aids to their friends.

The findings of this nationally representative survey are both timely and encouraging—particularly given that an increasing number of Americans are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss at increasingly younger ages, oftentimes many years before retirement and even as early as their teens.

“This survey clearly reveals how dramatically people’s lives can improve with the use of hearing aids,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director. “In this comprehensive study of more than 2,000 hearing aid users, we looked at 14 specific quality-of-life issues and found that today’s hearing aids are a tremendous asset to people with even mild hearing loss who want to remain active and socially engaged throughout their lives.”

The improvements that people saw in their quality of life as a result of their use of hearings aids were broad and varied. Nearly 70 percent of hearing aid users said their ability to communicate effectively in most situations improved because of their hearing aid. A little more than half said their hearing aids improved their relationships at home, their social life, and their ability to join in groups. And roughly forty percent noted improvements in their sense of safety, self-confidence, feelings about self, sense of independence, and work relationships. Between 25 and 33 percent of hearing aid users said they even saw improvements in their romance, sense of humor, cognitive skills, and mental, emotional, and physical health.

According to Kochkin, outdated notions about hearing aids pose a significant barrier that inhibits people from addressing their hearing loss. All told, public perception of hearing aids hasn’t kept pace with the new technologies and discreet designs of today’s modern devices. And unfortunately, these misperceptions are holding people back from improving their quality of life by addressing their hearing loss.

The BHI study bears out that 79 percent of people who do seek help and use hearing aids are satisfied with them, and 86 percent are satisfied with the benefit they derive from hearing aid usage.

What’s more, as hearing aid technologies advance, individuals are becoming even more satisfied. Consumers, for example, are more satisfied with mini-BTEs than ever before and report superior sound quality, cosmetics, and functionality in more listening situations. In fact, in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids because they have become miniaturized and nearly invisible due to the fact that an ear-mold is no longer necessary.

Ninety-one percent of all hearing aid users surveyed are satisfied with the ability of their hearing aids to improve communication in one-on-one situations. And more than three in four are satisfied in small groups (85%), while watching television (80%), outdoors (78%), during leisure activities (78%), while shopping (77%), and while riding in a car (77%).
“Today’s hearing aids are about staying young, not growing old,” Kochkin explains. “People want to hold onto their vitality as they enter and move through middle-age. But when someone ignores a hearing loss—which oftentimes has progressed gradually over time as a result of repeated noise exposure—that individual unwittingly begins losing the very vitality they treasure. What this research shows, however, is that those who do face their hearing loss and use hearing aids are experiencing significant and satisfying improvements in their quality of life.”

Another important take-away from the study is that benefit received from the hearing aid, and quality of life improvements, were highly related to the quality of care provided by the hearing healthcare professional. Ideally, hearing health professionals will include testing in a sound booth; use probe microphones to verify the hearing aid fit; use an array of counseling tools to help people hear better and adapt to their hearing aids; and validate improvement in hearing associated with hearing aid use. To help consumers in purchasing hearing aids, and to guide them in what to look for in quality hearing healthcare, BHI has published a comprehensive publication entitled, “Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids,” which is available at www.betterhearing.org, within the “Hearing Loss Treatments” section under hearing aids.

The four-part BHI survey used the National Family Opinion Panel to assess consumer perceptions of the functionality of modern hearing aids; compared the new invisible mini-BTE hearing aids to traditional style hearing aids; asked respondents to share how their lives changed as a result of their hearing aids; and evaluated the role the hearing healthcare professional had on consumer success with hearing aids.

“If you want to keep your mind sharp and life complete, don’t leave hearing loss unaddressed,” Kochkin advises. “Protect your vitality and quality of life before they silently slip away and you find yourself isolated from the human experience.  The first step to preserving your future enjoyment in life is to make an appointment with a hearing health professional and get your hearing checked. Our research shows that millions are glad they did.”

About BHI

Founded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit at www.hearingcheck.org.

Advanced Hearing Care’s Continuing Commitment to Patient Satisfaction

At Advanced Hearing, we believe that this study is important and encouraging news. We firmly believe that it is our job to make sure that our patients are not just satisfied but absolutely delighted in their choice to invest in their better hearing. Don’t wait to hear what you’ve been missing! Call us today for an appointment and reintroduce yourself to a world of sound!

Sharpen Your Listening Skills – From hearingcareblog.com

By: Suzanne Yoder, Au.D.
HearWell Center
2400 Ardmore Blvd., Suite 401
Pittsburgh, PA 15221


Originally posted at hearingcareblog.com.
Used with permission.

Suzanne Yoder, Au.D. | Owner of HearWell Center in Pittsburg, PA.
Dr. Suzanne Yoder

Auditory training is a term you will probably only hear in an audiology office or perhaps a school. But it is important for people with hearing loss to know that they can train their brain to hear and listen. Our brain is always searching for sounds whether or not we focus on the sounds and this is called “hearing”. Attending to and focusing on a sound, causing more parts of the brain to react is called “listening.” People who have hearing loss often stop working at listening because it is too difficult and causes fatigue or frustration. Unfortunately this leads to more communication problems due to the combined effect of hearing loss and diminished listening skills. Though anyone can benefit from the practice of using and strengthening listening skills it is more important for those who are hard of hearing.

When it comes to hearing loss and hearing aids, most hearing aid users look to the device to make communication better and though hearing aids can improve hearing, they cannot improve listening. Instead, hearing aid users should strive to be “patients of hearing health care” and look for solutions to improve hearing and listening. This can be accomplished by using any and all devices needed to support hearing as well as therapy and exercises for listening. The highest level of satisfaction with hearing aids comes from following the audiological recommendations in full and accepting that learning to hear and listen again is a process that requires motivation and time. Research in audiology reveals over and over again that hearing care is not a simple thing. The audiology degree is a testament to this fact. For example, an audiology student will spend 8 years in college, earn two or more higher education degrees and perform thousands of clinical hours with patients. Still many people price check for hearing aids believing they are making a technology purchase instead of looking at the professional behind the technology and the service that comes with learning to hear and listen.

Author’s Note

I’ve been on both “sides of the fence” so to speak. I am a hard of hearing consumer and user of hearing aids. I grew up with hearing loss in both ears and have used hearing aids in both ears as long as I can remember. I am also a doctor of audiology and the owner of HearWell Center in Forest Hills (independently owned private practice). Educating patients is very important to me and I invite you to visit our website for more information.

Our thanks to Dr. Yoder for the excellent advice found in this blog post. To learn more about what you can do to help train your auditory system, please feel free to call Advanced Hearing Care to speak with our Experienced Professionals.