The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids

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1 S p e c i a l R e p o r t The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids Dr. Mary Anne Larkin, Au. D. Board Certified Doctor of Audiology Advanced Hearing Care

2 The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids by Dr. Mary Anne Larkin, Au. D. In today s world, buying hearing aids is a major investment and should not be done so without being educated and informed. It does not need to be a confusing experience. In this special report, you will learn everything you need to know about buying hearing aids. Making this important choice should be a team effort involving you and your hearing health care professional. The Doctors of Audiology at provide a comprehensive approach that will help you make the best decision. 1. Choosing your Hearing Health Care Professional First, whatever you do don t be taken in by the FREE hearing test. Sure it sounds like a good deal but offices that promote free hearing tests do so, because they are not licensed to charge for the hearing test. The professional that conducts the test is a hearing aid dispenser (salesman) and can only provide a basic hearing test for the purposes of selecting and fitting hearing aids. You will definitely want to seek the professional advice of a board certified Doctor of Audiology. Audiologists are university trained and provide a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation that will let you know how you are hearing, the possible cause for your hearing loss and how to treat your hearing loss condition. 2. Understanding your Hearing Loss and its Effect on Your Quality of Life You are one of more than 30 million people in the United States that have a significant loss of hearing. Almost half of these individuals are under the age of sixty five, and 54% of the population over 65 years of age have hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition in those over fifty, following arthritis and high blood pressure. The impact of hearing loss can be far reaching and involve many aspects of your life. You may have difficulty understanding speech in groups or noisy situations, trouble localizing sounds and participating in conversations. This can lead to frustration, social isolation, stress, confusion and depression. There is mounting evidence that untreated hearing loss has an enormous impact on the overall health of individuals. People with untreated hearing loss may have many problems that affect their lives. In 1999, the National Council on Aging carried out a survey among people over the age of 50 who were suffering from hearing loss. The survey revealed that in comparison to people using hearing devices, those who left their hearing loss untreated were more likely to report the following symptoms: Sadness, depression, worry, and anxiety. Insecurity and less social activity. Those individuals who had their hearing loss treated reported: Better relationships with family

3 and friends, higher self-esteem, and improved mental health. Greater independence and security. Improved sexual relations. Researchers have also linked hearing loss to other major health issues such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and elevated cholesterol and lipid profiles. One study correlated improved physical conditioning with better hearing, another suggested a relationship between overall cardiovascular health and hearing health. It seems apparent that individuals with significant untreated hearing loss seem to age less well, and that individuals without significant hearing loss or with treated hearing loss tend to be healthier and lead more vigorous lives. 3. Realistic Expectations for Hearing Aid Use So you have been told that you have a hearing loss and the treatment recommended is the fitting of hearing devices. For this treatment to be as successful as possible, it is very important to have realistic expectations for what hearing aids can and cannot do for you. Although very effective in improving hearing, hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal, except in some very mild hearing loss cases. Hearing aids work very well once they have been professionally fitted and adjusted to your specific needs. Adjusting the hearing system to achieve maximum performance usually takes a few weeks of collaboration and cooperation between you and your Audiologist. Hearing aids will allow you to: Hear many sounds that you may not be able to hear without amplification such as soft speech, children s voices and other quiet sounds. Understand speech more clearly, with less effort, in a variety of listening situations. Prevent normally loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud. Sounds that are uncomfortably loud for normal hearing individuals may also be uncomfortable when using hearing aids Understand speech more clearly in some types of noisy situations. Hearing aids will not do the following: Restore your hearing capabilities to normal Filter out all background noise completely. Some hearing aids can reduce amplification of some types of background noise or make you more comfortable in the presence of noise. The most effective solution for improving speech intelligibility in noisy situations is hearing aids with directional microphones. When directional hearing aids are coupled with digital signal processing, you can rest assured that your hearing aids are optimized for improving the quality of your life in noisy environments. At first, you will likely be aware of the hearing aids in your ears from a physical perspective. Ideally, they should be comfortable with no soreness, bleeding or rashes associated with wearing your devices. Your voice may sound funny when you

4 first begin to wear amplification. This is normal. Open Fit technology was introduced to help reduce the hollowness of your voice and give you what is called a transparent fit. Many patients who wear Open Fit style devices don t even know they are wearing their hearing aids. They are that comfortable. People learn at different rates. Some people need just a few days to learn about and adjust to their new hearing aids while most need a few weeks and some may even need a few months. The Doctors of Audiology at will work with you to design a wear schedule that s best for you. 4. Choosing the Right Hearing Aids for You There is no best hearing aid that is appropriate for every type of hearing loss, only the right one for you. Remember that just because your neighbor purchased the tiny, nearly invisible hearing device and loves it, does not mean that this is the best type of hearing instrument for you. Every hearing loss is different and everyone s listening needs are unique. The Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hearing Care will consider many factors when selecting a hearing aid system for you: hearing loss configuration, lifestyle and listening needs, manual dexterity, concern for cosmetics and your financial situation. There will be numerous styles of hearing aids (Behind the Ear, Open fit, In-the-Ear, Canal and Completely-in-the-Canal) to choose from along with different technologies and features to meet your hearing needs and budget. Keep an open mind and maintain realistic expectations throughout the process of defining your hearing loss, selecting and adjusting to your hearing devices. You can have confidence and trust in Advanced Hearing Care. We will spend time to find you the right hearing aids and schedule several visits to work with you for follow-up adjustments and teach you how to use and maintain your hearing system. We have over a 98% satisfaction rating with our patients regarding our professional services and our ability to improve their hearing and quality of life. As you can see, there are many choices to make when determining the right hearing system for you. Since everyone is so uniquely different, it s very difficult to know what works for you until you evaluate in your own surroundings. That is why at, we insist our patients meet with our Doctors of Audiology to help them through the decision mak-

5 ing process. We also have a 30 day evaluation (trial) period to allow for ample time to be sure your hearing aids are right for you. 5. We Hear with Ears, but Listen with our Brain. Hearing aids provide better access to acoustic sounds. But, what happens after that? The amplified sound travels up to the brain where speech and sound processing take place. Hearing aids can help a person detect softer sounds such as speech, but don t necessarily provide good listening skills. Even people with normal hearing can be poor listeners. Good listening skills are one of the components for effective communication and must be taught to many hard of hearing people. That is why the Doctors of Audiology at Advanced Hearing Care believe that obtaining a hearing system is just the first step in a responsible solution for your hearing loss problems. We go that extra mile in making sure that you have access to programs that will enhance your listening skills and communication strategies. We have a monthly Hearing Health care class where the Audiologists share tips to help you hear your best for life. We also offer an interactive selfpaced computerized training program that actually trains your brain to get more information from your listening environment. Just as physical therapy can help rebuild muscles and adjust movements to compensate for physical weakness or injury, this computer program can help strengthen the neural pathways to your brain and help compensate for those situations when hearing is inadequate. If you or a loved one has a hearing loss, make the choice today to take that first step and improve it. It will enhance your life in so many ways. Take Action to Improve Your Hearing We want to encourage you to act now. Take the step to improve your current hearing situation by calling our office and scheduling an appointment for a comprehensive, diagnostic hearing evaluation by one of our Doctors of Audiology at. If you have a hearing loss that can be treated through the use of amplification, please mention that you have read this report and you will receive a special certificate good for $400 off the purchase of two digital hearing devices at our practice.

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