Our ears are the gateway to speech, music and the sounds of nature but they also bring damaging noise into our lives and can cause us pain and problems. Hearing loss increases with age and is caused by everyday things like lawn mowers, road construction, and even loud TV or radio broadcasts — all as the various parts of the ear become less responsive. Further, ear infections that inflame the middle ear because of bacteria from fluid build-up behind the eardrum can not only be painful but also present other complications. Our clinic is dedicated to helping you find the exact problem you have and then crafting a solution.
The research at the government-funded National Institutes of Health and other public-private and university programs is constantly yielding new insight into these age-old problems. New technology and tools are also always in development. Our commitment to you is to keep you in-the-know about the latest developments in all of the ear-related health areas. Once you feel you’ve learned what you can here, our specialists would love to meet with you and listen to your unique symptoms.
FREQUENT BACKGROUND NOISE
Activities of a dynamic lifestyle include:
- Outdoor activities
- Entertainment venus (casinos, exhibit halls, etc.)
- Busy restaurants
- Frequent social gatherings
- Smart phones
- Multimedia connectivity
- Travel and airports
- Concerts and arts
- Group presentations
Dynamic Lifestyle Needs PREMIUM TECHNOLOGY
Designed for dynamic lifestyles, providing optimum flexibility and performance in a board range of demanding listening environments. From attending meetings and social events to relaxing and reading a book, premium technology is designed for use in a much wider variety of listening environments, including those with higher levels of background noise.
MODERATE BACKGROUND NOISE
Activities of a dynamic lifestyle include:
- Bluetooth® cell phones
- Movie theaters
- Health Clubs
- Small group meetings
- Conversations with children
- Open/reverberant home
- iPod®/Personal music device
Active Lifestyle Needs ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
Designed for active lifestyles to provide excellent flexibility and performance in a variety of listening environments. Advanced technology is perfectly suited for those who enjoy many activities in less crowded environments with only moderate levels of background noise.
OCCASIONAL BACKGROUND NOISE
Activities of a quiet lifestyle include:
- Home telephone
- Religious services
- Adult conversations
- Small family gatherings
- Quiet restaurants
Quiet Lifestyle Needs BASIC TECHNOLOGY
Designed for someone who is social and around environments with minimal to moderate background noise. Ideal for those who prefer to mostly relax at home with occasional social outings where less annoying background noise is present. Basic technology can adequately handle a quieter hearing lifestyle.
MINIMAL BACKGROUND NOISE
Activities of a private lifestyle include:
- Phone ringing
- Alarms (clock, security, timers, etc.)
Private Lifestyle Needs ECONOMY TECHNOLOGY
Designed for very calm lifestyle, economy technology providers appropriate performance for communication in mostly quiet, less demanding listening situations where background noise is minimal. Ideal for those with a private, tranquil hearing lifestyle.
Hearing Aid Styles to Fit Your Needs
Hearing technology has experienced rapid and considerable change in recent years. That change has made hearing aids:
- More cosmetically appealing than ever before
- Provide a higher quality of sound due to the use of digital rather than analog processing
- More automated and easy to use
- Provide more comfort and many options
Hearing Aid Styles
Many of today’s hearing aids are smaller than a dime. Some are virtually invisible! Even the more powerful hearing devices that traditionally sit behind one’s ear are available in “miniature” styles. Your audiologist will help you choose the size that is correct for you based on your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your manual dexterity.
Hearing aid styles get their names from where they sit on your ear.
This style of hearing device is the most popular today due to their inconspicuous nature and excellent sound quality. The receiver is built into a soft open dome and placed inside the ear canal with thin electrical wires replacing the acoustic tube of conventional BTEs.
Completely-in-the-canal Hearing Aids
CIC hearing instruments are custom-made to fit deep within the ear canal and are nearly invisible. However, they are not suitable for those who have severe hearing loss or who would have difficulty handling a tiny battery.
In-the-canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
Slightly larger than the CIC, ITC instruments are also custom-made and fill the bottom half of the external ear. Only barely noticeable to those in face-to-face conversation, the ITC uses a slightly larger battery than the CIC style.
In-the-ear Hearing Aids (ITE)
ITE hearing instruments fit in the bowl of the outer ear (concha) and are custom-fit for the individual. Usually visible when facing another person, ITEs can accommodate larger sound amplifiers and offer more features. Their size makes them easier to handle and allows the use of a longer lasting battery.
Behind-the-ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
In general, BTEs are more powerful than smaller hearing devices due to the stronger amplifier and larger battery. In BTE instruments the electronics sit behind the ear and the sound is directed through a tube into the ear canal. BTEs are also offered in a miniature size.
Research by the National Council on the Aging on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss has demonstrated that hearing aids clearly are associated with dramatic improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people in all hearing loss categories from mild to severe. Specifically, hearing aid usage was shown to improve the following for people with measured hearing loss.
- Earning power
- Communication in relationships
- Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
- Ease in communication
- Emotional stability
- Sense of control over life events
- Perception of mental functioning
- Physical health
For most people suffering from hearing loss, you’ve seen your hearing decline very gradually over a period of years. And you probably just got used to it as one side effect of getting older and wiser.
Ready to get back to being a full part of the conversation and enjoying the sounds of life, from the birds outside your house, to your grandchildren, friends and your family? Take the first step by calling our office for a baseline hearing evaluation.
If I have hearing loss in both ears, do I need 1 or 2 hearing aids?
If you have hearing loss in both ears, you will benefit from having a hearing aid for each ear. Wear a hearing aid in each ear will help you localize or determine where sounds are coming from in the environment and will increase your ability to understand speech in noisy environments.
Why can I hear people talking but not understand what they’re saying?
If you find yourself hearing people talk, but experiencing difficulty understanding the words clearly, it is likely that you have hearing loss. It is common to lose the ability to hear high pitch sounds (consonants), yet still hear the low pitch sounds (vowels). This type of hearing loss results in the inability to understand speech clearly and can be even worse when in noisy environments such as a restaurant or party.
Do hearing aid’s help with tinnitus?
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be caused by a number of factors, one of which is hearing loss. Although there is not one solution in particular that will help with tinnitus, in some cases hearing aids have been known to help mask the unwanted ringing. Hearing aids do not stop the tinnitus or ringing.
Will hearing aids help me hear better in noise?
Most hearing aids dispensed today have multiple microphones, which allows the hearing aid to constantly analyze background noise levels. The hearing aid will then adjust speech accordingly and provide the best signal to noise ratio possible. Older model hearing aids simply made all sounds louder which was difficult for the wearer to tolerate. With advanced digital technology, hearing aids are able to do a better job and not amplify the background noise while enhancing speech signals. This allows the wearer to understand speech better in the presence of noise.
Do hearing aids help on the phone?
Hearing aids do help you hear better on the telephone. Our latest technology utilizes BlueTooth® connectivity for use with cell phones. Additionally, hearing aids can be equipped with a telecoil to allow amplification of ONLY the signal coming from the phone without amplifying the noise in the room. This would allow the listener to hear over the telephone, even when in a noisy area.
Will hearing aids help me hear the TV better?
Hearing aids will help you hear the television better. While wearing your hearing aids you should be able to set the television volume at a comfortable listening level for others and still hear it comfortably.
What is the life of a hearing aid? How long will they last?
Typically, with proper cleaning and maintenance, the life of a hearing aid is about 3 to 5 years. Annual hearing tests are recommended to determine if your current hearing aids remain within the appropriate prescription range. Lifestyle changes may also lead to recommendations to obtain new hearing aids.
Which is better, earbuds or headphones?
In terms of comfort, earbuds can offer a more custom fit than standard earphones since most earbuds come with inter-changeable tip sizes. This snug fit can also help keep out background noise which, in turn, allows you to enjoy the music at a safer volume level. It should be mentioned that both products can be damaging to your hearing should you turn the listening device up to very loud levels.
Do iPods® really cause hearing loss?
When used properly, iPods® do not cause hearing loss. However, hearing loss can and does occur when listening at high volume levels for extended periods of time. iPods® are capable of putting out volume in excess of 100dB when set at maximum volume settings. Listening at this level for as little as 10-15 minutes can cause irreversible damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear. When listening to your iPod® at or less than 50% of the maximum volume, you can listen as long as you like without causing damage to your hearing. However, if you listen at 70-80% of maximum volume, it is best to limit your exposure to about 60-90 minutes a day.
As with any type of MP3 player, it is important to remember that hearing loss
caused from too much noise exposure damages the inner ear or the part of the ear that has specialized hair cells that lose their function if they have repeated overexposure to high levels of sound for too long. There are many factors that should be taken into account, like the length of time, the level of sound, and even genetics.
Hearing devices have changed significantly over the years, however users still encounter challenging listening situations that prevent them from hearing at their full potential. The development of wireless Bluetooth technology is changing the landscape of hearing devices and giving patients better access to hearing in difficult settings. Wireless accessories that connect with Bluetooth compatible hearing aids are now available to improve access to better hearing with the television, land line telephones, individual conversations in background noise and cell phone technology. Almost all hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible and many connect directly to an iPhone 5, 6 or 7. Bluetooth is paving the way for hearing devices to give patients significantly improved communication via cell phones. Call us today to find out more about Bluetooth technology and hearing aids!