Is it Time for Hearing Aids?
There have been signs that it might be time to get hearing aids. But you’re still not sure that you’re the one with the problem. After all, sometimes other people ask you to repeat what you said and you don’t seem to be the only one having a problem hearing in a restaurant or at church. How do you know when it’s time to see if you might have a real problem?
Do others complain the TV is too loud?
Hearing Aid Brands We Carry
Helping millions of patients with never-before-seen hearing aid technologies. Starkey believes every person’s hearing loss is unique that’s why every solution they design is, too.
People First is a promise: That everything we Oticon does always begins with the people we are doing it for. We are not simply trying to help you hear more, but to live more.
Signia hearing aids deliver the sound that nature intended by combining uncompromised audibility with a natural sounding own voice hear everything in harmony.
ReSound is among the world’s largest manufacturers of hearing aids. Known for great sound quality, design excellence and meaningful solutions that help hearing impaired people rediscover sounds.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Aids
What is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.
A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.
A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person’s hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.
Are There Different Styles of Hearing Aids?
There are three basic styles of hearing aids. The styles differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear, and the degree to which they amplify sound (see figure on page 2).
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids consist of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to
a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear. Sound travels from the hearing aid through the earmold and into the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss.
A new kind of BTE aid is an open-fit hearing aid. Small, open-fit aids fit behind the ear completely, with only a narrow tube inserted into the ear canal, enabling the canal to remain open. For this reason, open-fit hearing aids may be a good choice for people who experience a buildup of earwax, since this type of aid is less likely to be damaged by such substances. In addition, some people may prefer the open-fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound “plugged up.”
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic. Some ITE aids may have certain added features installed, such as a telecoil. A telecoil is a small magnetic coil that allows users to receive sound through the circuitry of the hearing aid, rather than through its microphone. This makes it easier to hear conversations over the telephone.
A telecoil also helps people hear in public facilities that have installed special sound systems, called induction loop systems. Induction loop systems can be found in many churches, schools, airports, and auditoriums. ITE aids usually are not worn by young children because the casings need to be replaced often as the ear grows.
Canal hearing aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two styles. The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is made to fit the size and shape of a person’s ear canal. A completely-in canal (CIC) hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Because they are small, canal aids can be slightly more difficult for a person to adjust and remove. In addition, canal aids have less space available for batteries and additional devices, such as a telecoil. They usually are not recommended for young children or for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume.
How Do Digital Hearing Aids Work?
Digital aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, similar to the binary code of a computer, before amplifying them. Because the code also includes information about a sound’s pitch or loudness, the aid can be specially programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others.
Digital circuitry gives an audiologist more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user’s needs and to certain listening environments. These aids also can be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction. Digital circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids.
Which Hearing Aids Will Work Best for Me?
The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate from where the sound is coming.
You and your audiologist should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs. You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use.
How Do I Care for My Hearing Aids?
Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid. Make it a habit to:
- Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
- Clean hearing aids as instructed. Earwax and ear
drainage can damage a hearing aid.
- Avoid using hairspray or other hair care products while wearing hearing aids.
- Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
- Replace dead batteries immediately.
- Keep replacement batteries and small aids away from children and pets.
What Research is Being Done on Hearing Aids?
Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD- funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.
In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Hearing Aids?
Typically, insurance companies do not cover the cost of hearing aids.
For eligible children and young adults ages 21 and under, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids, under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment service. Also, children may be covered by their state’s early intervention program or State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults; however, diagnostic evaluations are covered if they are ordered by a physician for the purpose of assisting the physician in developing a treatment plan. Since Medicare has declared the BAHA a prosthetic device and not a hearing aid, Medicare will cover the BAHA if other coverage policies are met.
Some nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance for hearing aids, while others may help provide used or refurbished aids. Contact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Information Clearinghouse with questions about organizations that offer financial assistance for hearing aids.
Hearing Aids Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Many of the devices we use every day can be powered by one or two types of batteries, rechargeable batteries or disposable batteries. Hearing aids are no different. Rechargeable hearing aids are becoming more popular every year. And as their popularity has increased the number of models has increased. But why have hearing aids with rechargeable batteries become an increasingly popular choice for many people?
The Advantages of Hearing Aids with Rechargeable Batteries
- A full day’s power every day.
- Ease of use for individuals with decreased dexterity, visual disorders or disorders, decreased fingertip sensitivity. Just place the hearing aid on or in a special docking system (similar to a hearing aid case) and the battery in the hearing aids will charge overnight. It’s a very similar process to charging a smartphone.
- Better for the environment, rechargeable hearing aid batteries require replacement annually. Non-rechargeable hearing aids will require replacement of the battery every week to two weeks
- Less worry about harm to pets and small children. Hearing aid batteries are small and easy for little hands and curious pets to pick up and swallow. Rechargeable batteries can be left in the hearing aid to recharge, which means you are less likely to accidentally leave a battery in an easily accessible location.
There are numerous advantages to rechargeable hearing aids, too many to list in one short article. Please reach out to us today. We work with the top hearing aid manufacturers and will work with you to find the solution that is the best fit for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
Bluetooth technology is a wireless communications system intended to replace the cables connecting many different types of devices, from mobile phones and headsets to heart monitors and medical equipment.
As a global standard, Bluetooth technology is in billions of products worldwide, including virtually every mobile phone, laptop, tablet, new car, and more than 40 million medical devices.
In 2005 the first hearing aids capable of utilizing Bluetooth technology in hearing aids were introduced. Not long after manufacturers added Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids that were able to connect to televisions, MP 3 players, cell phones, and computers.
Bluetooth technology is the most recent advance in hearing aids. It is a way to send digital information wirelessly over short distances. Bluetooth technology works to allow two hearing aids to wirelessly communicate with each other and also allows user to connect to devices in their home and car, like a DVD player, computer, GPS, and cell phone. There are pros and cons to having this type of technology in a hearing aid.
Advantages of Bluetooth Technology
Signal Stability – Bluetooth device uses multiple channels to convey the sound and is, therefore, less likely to lose that signal due to interference with one of the channels.
Higher Sound Quality – Feedback and whistling and other problems associated with some hearing aids is diminished with the use of Bluetooth and the sound quality, in general, is improved as well.
Binaural Hearing – Bluetooth technology allows hearing aids to speak with each other. This allows the hearing aids to maintain the quality of speech and discern and localize sounds relevant to the listener’s position. A conventional phone can only be held to one ear at a time. Bluetooth technology allows the user to hear their cell phone in both ears.
Hands-Free – With a switch of a button you can talk hands-free without the need to hold the phone to your ear.
Simultaneous Connection– Bluetooth technology can accommodate multiple devices so that a person can be directly connected to their computer or cell or MP3 or DVD depending on which device they wish to hear.
Wireless – Bluetooth eliminates the need for wires and lines of other connectivity devices and has applications for people with unilateral hearing loss who wear BiCROS hearing aids.
What is an Open Fit Hearing Aid?
“Open-fit” or “over-the-ear” (OTE) hearing aids are small behind-the-ear type devices. There are two different types of open ear mini-BTEs: those with the speaker (receiver) in the ear and those with the receiver in the aid.
How Does an Open Fit Hearing Aid Work?
Sound travels from the instrument through a small tube or wire to a tiny dome or speaker in the ear canal. Since the ear canal is not completely sealed by the tiny dome sound can enter the ear canal naturally while still amplifying only the sounds you have difficulty hearing.
Who Can Benefit From An Open Fit Hearing Aid?
When initially introduced, the open ear fitting was primarily successful for individuals with mild high-frequency hearing loss due to feedback (whistle) issues. However, improvements in digital feedback suppression technology, now afford individuals with mild to severe hearing loss the opportunity to benefit from open ear hearing aids.
Advantages of Open Fit Hearing Aids
- Is less visible than a traditional BTE hearing aid
- Doesn’t “plug” the ear canal
- Eliminates the sensation of the wearer’s voice sounding like they are speaking into a barrel.
- Eliminates feedback when using telephones.
Contact our office today. We can assess your hearing and determine if you are a candidate for an open fit hearing aid.
If you are able to benefit from this technology, we will guide you when selecting the appropriate open fit hearing aid to meet your communication and listening needs.
Hearing Aid Repairs
When To Repair Your Hearing Aid
Are you having issues with your hearing aids? If you’re experiencing feedback or interference, a less-tight fit, or if there are visible signs of damage or malfunction, your hearing aids need professional attention.
If you suspect your hearing aids need repair or cleaning beyond what you do at home, call or text us. We’ll test your hearing while you’re wearing the aids to be sure that you have the best hearing we can give you. Periodically adjusting your hearing aids, regular cleanings and ongoing counseling are vital to your continued satisfaction with your investment in better hearing.
How Our Hearing Aid Repair Service Works
When your hearing aid isn’t working, you want it fixed with as little delay as possible. We can make simple repairs in our office. We can also send more severely damaged hearing aids to the manufacturers for repair. We take care of most major brands. We send the instruments by FedEx or UPS to ensure that they get back as quickly as possible.
We’re here to help you hear better and enjoy life more! Call us today.
Do you need a loaner during repair?
While your hearing aid is being repaired, our loaner service can provide you with a temporary hearing aid. We have a wide range of powerful behind-the-ear-devices. These instruments won’t fit or sound exactly like your own aids. But in a pinch, it’s good to have something that will get you through the days until your aid comes back in.
Hearing Protection & Custom Earmolds
The world is a noisy place, which is a good thing. Your ears need sound as much as your body needs food. But there are limits. Benjamin Franklin could have been talking about hearing loss when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Unfortunately, one size fits all earmold don’t always fit. A custom-fit provides increased comfort and improved protection. We provide custom-fit earmolds for the following: Musicians, Industrial Workers, Recreational Shooters, and more!
Talk to us about hearing protection devices for any noisy environments where you work or play.
“Can’t say enough about the personal service I have received over the last 9 years from the Mooresville location, and also at the Statesville location when I needed to be seen more quickly. From hearing evaluations to choosing the best fit hearing aids for my stage of life, I have had very professional assistance. Don’t give up on your hearing aids. I believe that getting the right settings and fit is as important as which devices you choose. As a younger hearing aid wearer, this is very important to me.”