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How Do I Know When It’s Time For New Hearing Aids?

Do you remember when you first got your hearing aids? How nice it was not to concentrate so hard to understand a conversation? How pleasant it was for everybody else that you didn’t have to turn the TV up to such a high volume? All of the wonderful sounds you could hear again? If you’ve had your hearing aids for a few years, are you sure you’re still hearing that well?

Here are six things to consider to consider when deciding if it’s time for new hearing aids. If one or more sound familiar, it might be time to talk to one of us about your options.

  1. How old are your current aids? Hearing devices last an average of five years. Manufacturers typically stop making parts for devices after about five years and will not even service devices that are more than seven years old.cochlearimplant6
  1. Have you experienced a change in health, vision or dexterity? If you are not as easily able to clean your devices or replace batteries, it might be a good idea to change to a different model that is more easily operated and maintained.
  1. Has your hearing worsened? It is not uncommon to have patients complaining that their hearing aids don’t work as well as they used to, but after testing it’s found that the devices are fine and the hearing has dropped. Often times this can be resolved by updating the hearing aid’s prescriptive levels. But if your hearing has significantly worsened, it might be time for a stronger or higher fidelity devices.
  1. Do you want to hear your “best” or “just better”? Most people replace their hearing aids every four to five years. The hearing aids themselves will last longer, but technology significantly improves about every four years. Like other electronics, hearing aids are rapidly advancing while becoming less expensive. You can often purchase lower-priced new hearing devices with a wider frequency response and better sound quality than a premium technology pair bought just a few years ago.460143
  1. Do you have special hobbies or a unique lifestyle? Woodworking, snorkeling and horseback riding are all examples of activities that can cause trouble with hearing aids. Thankfully, today’s devices can be water, dust or shockproof. Even better, these are available at all price and all levels of technology.
  1. Do you have a new attitude about hearing aids? Most people are hesitant about getting their first pair of hearing aids. Along with considering sound quality and hearing aid dependability, new users typically consider size, style and “invisibility” of their first hearing aids. By the time the second set of hearing aids is being debated, most people have changed their thoughts and prioritize fidelity, clarity and features before invisibility.

If you are wondering if your current hearing aids are still giving you their best, we invite you to come in for a free, no-obligation test drive of new devices. We like to test and compare your existing hearing aids with new instruments. That way, we’ll all know if you’re still hearing the way you ought to with your current devices, or, if new, more modern instruments will offer a significant improvement.


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Anything Can Be Bought On The Internet … Including Hearing Aids

For years there have been websites selling inexpensive hearing aids, but today there are far more including those being sold by insurance companies. For those who may not otherwise be able to purchase hearing aids due to financial concerns, this may sound like a great opportunity. However, in order to protect yourself I strongly recommend that you consider this: Can a thorough hearing evaluation and ear exam to rule out medical concerns be done online? And, how can you get custom fit hearing instruments without accurate ear impressions for one’s hearing loss and lifestyle when no verification testing can be done in the office? There are other considerations that include providing the right size receiver wire and dome fit, for example, on open-ear style, a popular hearing aid often requested by patients in my practice.

These are just a few issues that raise a red flag when it comes to purchasing hearing aids online. What if your hearing aid needs repair? How easy is that going to be to send it in and have no back up loaner provided when needed? Wearing your hearing aids continuously is part of the rehabilitation process, so why disrupt that waiting on a repair when indeed most repairs can be done in our lab?

When working with The Hearing Professionals, we are trained to assess potential medical concerns of your ears, make appropriate medical referrals when necessary and properly fit hearing devices optimal online-shopping-experiencesperformance is vitally important. Since my first office in 1996 and fitting literally thousands of patients, I can honestly say there is no substitute for personalized attention and care when it comes to fitting and maintaining your hearing aids.

Before you make a decision to purchase hearing aids over the internet, consult with one of us at The Hearing Professionals. Today there are leading hearing aid manufacturers who will work with us to provide high quality digital hearing technology at very economical prices when needed. We’ve always strived to provide what’s best for our patients without compromising professional services. Purchasing hearing aids online compromises that service and may very well cost you more in the long run.

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Getting a Free Second Opinion

Throughout the week I see patients who are confused about all they hear and read about the different hearing instrument being promoted. Do I need Bluetooth? Do I need a remote control? Should the hearing aids that are rechargeable rather than having to change the batteries? What about all the new open-ear technology and which is best?

When I first started in the hearing healthcare industry, all hearing aids were analog and thus the choices were limited. In the late 90s, digital technology became available. Today, with all the digital advances, there are many excellent possibilities to improve hearing.Confused-man-wearing-glasses1

Recently, a new patient came to see me who was very frustrated with her hearing aids. She first went to an office and they gave her way too many brochures of different hearing aids that she became overwhelmed and did not go back. Next, she chose someone who gave her only one choice, and the choice was not even appropriate for her lifestyle or hearing. When she came to me, we discussed her needs, where she wanted to hear better and compared and tested hearing systems that met her needs. We fit her with a new pair of hearing aids and today she’s hearing better than she has in years.

Hearing instruments are a big investment in cost, your time and the end result of better hearing. Choose the professional who is the most qualified to provide you with the solutions to your unique hearing needs. Don’t hesitate to obtain a second or even a third opinion. Anyone who is looking for a first, second or even third opinion, we will be happy to schedule that appointment at no charge. Your hearing is a precious gift to you and those with whom you communicate. Always obtain the best professional care for your hearing.

If you feel you need a second (or third) opinion, please take the time to come in for a complimentary screening and let us evaluate your situation. Please give us a call and we will schedule an appointment right away.

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Hearing Healthcare: Service vs. Cost

“We help our patients choose the device that is best suited for their lifestyle, budget, and hearing needs. The purchase price of any hearing aid should include exemplary service, precise fittings, detailed cleanings, in-house repairs, and above all, choices in your overall hearing health.” – Adam Bernstein, Owner

Poor hearing healthcare and the amplification that are currently available to improved hearing healthcare add up to one thing: an important “sound” investment! For many, high-quality hearing devices have proven to enhance listening and enable better communication, making life easier and more enjoyable. However, the question is: how does one find high quality hearing that won’t break that bank? The process of finding the right hearing professional is an important first step when considering the cost of a pair of hearing aids.

If you have hearing loss and need to improve your hearing, keep the following in mind while you explore your options: service, fit, repair, price, choice and overall hearing health. Setting the right expectations in these areas will you when finding the right mix of services and cost.

Excellent customer service is the backbone of any great customer experience, and we at The Hearing Professionals strive to exceed every patient’s expectations. We are available throughout the work week with convenient, various appointment hours to accommodate pour patients, their family members and friends.

Although there are similar types of hearing aids, each individual’s hearing loss is different. That’s why hearing aids require professional adjustments before they are precisely aligned for each patient’s specific loss and needs. Not only is it necessary to have years of experience in performing these tasks, but years of specialized training and education to match each patient for comfort and optimal hearing aid performance is paramount to a successful fitting. This fitting process, the necessary adjustments, and the all-important follow-up care are absolutely critical when it comes to factoring cost into a hearing aid.

Over the lifespan of hearing aids, they will require routine maintenance, annual check-ups and periodically they will need a repair. This service is paramount at The Hearing Professionals and it’s available throughout the work week. This is important in holding down the potential long term costs of repairs. We also inform our patients that hearing aids can be serviced and repaired worldwide, as the sophisticated software developed by leading manufacturers is available universally. This is especially important for those individuals who frequently travel, work or live seasonally in different parts of the country.

It is important how you choose and who you choose to purchase hearing aids from. Keep in mind that any frustration with ill-fitting hearing aids, inadequate testing, returns, outdated equipment, and problems with service also ends up costing you more in the long run. These days, there are wide differences in hearing aid prices and professional service. That is a good thing, because one patient may require the advanced features of high-end, higher-priced devices, but has the option to purchase a similar advanced aid in a mid-range price, depending on their budget. It is to your advantage to have your fitting performed by someone with years of experience, so you avoid any frustration that may come from having another professional sell you something you may not necessarily need, bot price and service-wise.

Choice is what sets us apart from others. We have years of experience in selecting hearing aid technology that best matches each individual’s needs. Big box stores (CostCo) and chain stores (Avada, Miracle Ear, Beltone, Audibel, etc.) only offer one or two manufacturer product lines. Conversely, at The Hearing Professionals we have the benefit of working with a number of leading worldwide manufacturers (Phonak, Unitron, Oticon, Starkey, Siemens, Widex).

We make hearing health a top priority and strive tirelessly to provide patients a better definition of what “service” versus “cost” really means when it comes to the purchase of a pair of hearing aids.

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ReSound LiNX: First “Made For iPhone” Hearing Aid

Have you heard about LiNX? Although it’s made for people with hearing loss, it’s been causing a big stir with those who aren’t.

LiNX is a hearing aid that is manufactured by the Danish company GN ReSound and it can sync directly with the iPhone, iPad, and the iTouch with the iPhone app “ReSound Smart”.

Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth from your iPhone to your hearing aids isn’t anything new. In the past, however, users had to wear a device around their neck that would “stream” the sound from the smart phone to your hearing aids. With LiNX you no longer have to wear that “streamer”. With LiNX the hearing aids can now connect directly with your phone and you can now enjoy true wireless connectivity as your iPhone delivers phone calls, music, streaming radio, even turn-by-turn navigation, right to your LiNX hearing aids!

This past week we had a hands-on demonstration of LiNX and the ReSound Smart app. Is LiNX all that it’s cracked up to be? For anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500 you’re going to a top-of-the-line hearing aid. But it’s the iPhone app “Smart” that sets this hearing aid apart from the rest.

With geotagging, the LiNX can remember audio settings particular to location. If you go to your favorite restaurant and normally have to put your hearing aids into the “noise” setting and then turn it down one notch, LiNX can remember that for you. The next time you walk into that restaurant, LiNX will recognize the location and automatically adjust your hearing aids for you.

Another feature lets you use your iPhone as an external microphone. Let’s say you’re at a loud restaurant and you’re having a difficult time hearing your companion. Simply press a button to activate the microphone on your Apple device, and then hand the device to your companion and it streams directly into your hearing aids. Or, let’s say you’re at a work meeting and having a difficult time hearing your co-workers across the table. Simply take your Apple device and put it on the table, and the microphone will pick up the voices in the immediate area and stream them directly into the hearing aids.

When’s the last time you misplaced your hearing aid and had a difficult time finding it? With the “Find My Hearing Aid” feature on the app, you can now find your missing hearing aid! Simply launch the app, turn on the “Find My Hearing Aid” feature and you will automatically see via GPS the last place your hearing aid gave a signal. For example, you may be at home and see that your hearing aid is back at the office or at the restaurant you visited the night before. When you get there, the app works sort of like the kids game “Hot or Cold” and you will be able to see when you get closer to the hearing aid. The app won’t tell you the hearing aid is in your desk drawer, but it will get you within about 5 feet of the device.

When the ReSound rep was at our office demonstrating the LiNX, I excused myself from the room and placed the hearing aid on the counter in another room. I told the rep that if he wants his hearing aid back, he needs to find it! It took the rep about 10 minutes to find the hearing aid – but he did find it.

The new age of consumer technology is coming to hearing aids and with LiNX, GN ReSound is differentiating themselves from the other brands out there. Although ReSound was first to market with a made-for-iPhone hearing aid, stay tuned as the other manufactures are not far behind.

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What An Audiogram Says About Your Hearing Loss

An audiogram provides a visual picture of how your individual hearing loss impacts access to sound, and can serve as an important tool in developing your hearing loss strategy. Here’s how they are created.

A hearing care professional (an audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser) will determine your degree of hearing loss by asking you to listen to a hearing-chartseries of sounds during an audiometric hearing test. The results of that test will then be charted on a graph – called an audiogram — that shows which sounds you can hear well, and which ones you can’t. The horizontal axis on the audiogram indicates sound frequency or the pitch, and the vertical axis indicates loudness.

The different loudness and frequencies of where the sounds of speech fall on the audiogram can be seen in a banana-shaped pattern, which is often called the “speech banana.” Typically, if your hearing is in the normal range, you will easily have access to all of those speech sounds. People with good hearing usually have results well above the banana portion of the graph. Conversely, if results fall within or underneath the banana, the person may have trouble hearing and understanding speech.

Generally, people with normal hearing are able to hear all of the ranges shown on the chart. This is usually classified in the range of -10 to 25 db HL.

Those with mild hearing loss (26 to 40 db HL) usually cannot hear soft noises, making it difficult for them to understand speech in loud places (e.g. restaurants) or feel that people may be mumbling at times

People living with moderate and moderately severe hearing loss (41 to 70 db HL) find soft or moderately loud sounds or speech difficult to impossible to hear. This means that they usually have trouble communicating with someone if the person they are talking to is slightly further away from them, or if there is any background noise in the area (like air conditioning units or televisions)

People with severe hearing loss (71 to 90 db HL) generally cannot make out anything that’s softer than 70 decibels, which means that in order to communicate in any way, you need to increase your volume to a shouting level. This makes any type of conversation nearly impossible without the use of some form of amplification.

Profound hearing loss (+91 db HL) means that only very loud sounds can be heard. This makes communication extremely difficult and may require a variety of communication methods, including speech reading or sign language in addition to amplification devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants.

hearing-chart2Understanding Your Audiogram

Here are some quick tidbits that may help you decipher your personalized audiogram results:

  • Results for each ear will be included, usually an “X” for your left ear, and an “O” for your right. A line representing each will then be plotted across the audiogram as a series of connected X or O’s.
  • Sounds located above the plotted line on the chart are not heard at all, while sounds that occur below are heard.
  • Results plotted on the audiogram will give you an idea of the sounds and frequencies that you are not hearing. The example below indicates a bi-lateral, high-frequency hearing loss. The person with this kind of loss would not be able to hear birds chirping or leaves rustling.

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12% Of Children Between Ages 6-19 Have Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Does your child or teen spend house “plugged in” to an iPod? Tuning our may be doing more than irritating parents. It is estimated that almost 12 percent of all children between the ages of 6-19 have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), according to the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association. NIHL has become a widespread and serious public health issue, which can occur at any age.

Although construction workers and military personnel are routinely exposed to excessive noise levels that cause hearing loss, recent research suggests that listening to music through an iPod or other device at certain sound levels may also be hazardous to hearing. Given that many children and adolescents spend many hours “plugged in” to their devices, some precaution should be used to prevent hearing loss.

The outer ear receives sound waves and funnels them down the ear canal to the eardrum and then to the inner ear. In the inner ear is a snail-shell-like organ, called the cochlea. Inside of the cochlea, there are thousands of hair cells which are actually responsible for our hearing because they transmit sounds up to the brain. Scientists believe that NIHL damages hair cells in the inner ear, causing loss of the ability to transmit sound. NIHL is gradual and painless, but eventually is permanent. Once damaged, the tiny hair cells in the inner ear cannot grow back.

Sound is measured in decibels. For example, normal conversation speech is typically measured at 60 decibels; hair dryers and lawnmowers are 90 decibels; rock concerts and car races can reach 110 decibels; and firearms and firecrackers often exceed 140 decibels. Any sound over 85 decibels is loud enough to damage your hearing. However, much like sun damage, the more intense the sound is, the shorter the amount of time you can be exposed to it before damage occurs.IQT_06-01-2012_NEWS_03_IPOD05B_t460

What can you do to prevent hearing loss?

  • Wear hearing protection: To eliminate unwanted noise, several options are available, such as ear muffs and ear plugs. Hearing protection can be custom-made or individually molded and are available through offices such as The Hearing Professionals. Putting cotton in your ears does not work.
  • Limit listening time: Take listening breaks from your iPod or other device to give your ears some recovery time.
  • Walk Away: The further you are from the noise, the less damage it will cause.
  • Turn down the volume: A simple rule of thumb is, if a person wearing earphones cannot hear what you’re saying, the volume is up too loud.

In general, the standard ear-bud-style headphones that come with your iPod are slightly louder than the over-the-counter-style headphones. For additional information about the prevention of hearing loss, visit or call The Hearing Professionals today!

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