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Getting the Most Out of Your New Hearing Aids

Hearing Aid Fitting

Congratulations—you’re prepared to join the millions of Americans who have discovered how wearing hearing aids can make life more enjoyable and rewarding. Before long, you’ll be listening to sounds you’ve long forgotten, engaging in stimulating discussions, and listening to music with greater perceptiveness for each instrument.

But before you get to all that, you’ll have to deal with a brief phase of adjustment to get comfortable with your new hearing aids. Here are five tips to help you make it through this stage and to help you get the most out of your new technology.

1. Visit a Hearing Care Professional

If you wish to have the best hearing attainable, there’s no avoiding the initial step, which is visiting a hearing care professional. They can assist you in finding the proper hearing aid that corresponds with your hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial position. And, most of all, they can custom-fit and program your new hearing aid so that it’s fine tuned for your distinctive hearing loss.

Your hearing loss, like a fingerprint, is one-of-a-kind. As a result, every hearing aid should be programmed differently—and this calls for the expertise of a hearing care professional.

2. Be Patient with Your Hearing Aids

Your new hearing aids will take time to get used to. You’ll hear sounds you haven’t heard in some time, your voice may sound different, and sound may all around just seem “off.” This is completely normal: you simply need time to adapt.

Get started by making a commitment to wear your hearing aids for as much of the day as possible, for at least a couple of weeks. Put them in when you wake up and take them out before bed. Although it may be awkward initially, you’ll adjust to better hearing in no time—and it will be well worth the effort.

If you discover that you’re having a difficult time adjusting, schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional. Hearing aids can be fine-tuned, so you never have to give up on better hearing.

3. Start Small at Home

We suggest adapting to your hearing aids to start with in the comfort of your home. Try watching a movie or television show and paying specific attention to the dialogue; engage in one-on-one conversations in a quiet room; and listen to music while trying to pick out a variety of instruments and pitches.

Next, when you’re more comfortable, you can try your hearing aids out in more complex environments like at parties, restaurants, and movie theaters. Modern hearing aids have sophisticated features and environmental settings that can easily handle these increased listening demands—which segues nicely to the fourth tip.

4. Master the Advanced Features

After you’ve adjusted to your hearing aids, you should start to learn some of the more sophisticated features. With the assistance of your hearing specialist, you can learn how to maximize the functionality and convenience of your modern hearing aids.

Depending on your chosen model, you’ll be able to do things like wirelessly stream music and phone calls straight to your hearing aids, manipulate the volume from your smartphone or digital watch, and easily switch settings to maximize your hearing in different environments. Make sure to talk to your hearing specialist about all the features that may be helpful to you.

5. Take Care Of Your Hearing Aids

Last, you’ll want to ensure that you care for your hearing aids. This means daily cleaning, appropriate storage, and managing your battery supply. Your hearing professional will help you include hearing aid maintenance and care into your daily routine so that it becomes automatic and easy.

You’ll also want to get your hearing aids professionally cleaned and examined once or twice annually to ensure proper functioning for years to come.

We’d like to hear from you: if you currently wear hearing aids, tell us about your experience! Let us know how you adjusted to your hearing aids and any tips you’d give to those just starting out.

5 Reasons To Pick a Hearing Aid Over a PSAP

Hearing Aids

You’ve most likely watched the commercials. The ones promoting PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, assuring an improvement to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It appears to be a terrific bargain—especially in comparison to the substantial selling price of a hearing aid.

In reality, it’s not so much a good deal as it is shrewd marketing. The ads do their best to obscure some crucial information while concentrating on carefully chosen talking points.

But the question remains: why would you want to spend more money on a hearing aid when less expensive PSAPs are available? Here are five good reasons.

1. PSAPs are not medical devices regulated by the FDA

Listen carefully to the PSAP advertisements. You’ll hear all about “boosts” to hearing but never about treating hearing loss. The reason: PSAPs are not FDA-regulated medical devices and cannot be used to treat any medical ailment, including hearing loss. PSAPs are merely leisure products intended to produce advantages to those who can already hear normally.

Using a PSAP to treat hearing loss is like purchasing a pair of reading glasses to treat near and far-sighted vision impairment. Hearing aids, on the contrary, are FDA-regulated medical devices that can proficiently treat hearing loss.

2. PSAPs are not customizable

Hearing aids may not look very impressive on the outside, but inside they include advanced digital technology that can slice up, save, manipulate, and control any kind of sound. Hearing aids can additionally create modifications for pitch and volume so that amplification matches the patient’s hearing loss exactly.

A PSAP, in comparison, is a one-size-fits-all electronic device that amplifies soft sounds. Since everyone’s hearing loss is a little different, PSAPs won’t amplify the correct frequencies. Rather, PSAPs will amplify all sound, producing distortion in noisy spaces.

3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech

Speech sounds are unique in that they are largely represented in the higher frequencies, especially in comparison to background noises. Given that digital hearing aids can detect variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while restraining background noise. PSAPs, by and large, lack this capability.

4. PSAPs might cost you more in the end

To start with, hearing loss is in some cases brought about by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for instance, earwax buildup is generating your hearing loss, an easy professional cleaning can correct your hearing within minutes—and without a dime spent on any amplification devices.

Second, sometimes more significant medical conditions can result in hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional evaluation to rule this out. Considering that you can purchase a PSAP without any interaction with any healthcare specialists, you could be placing yourself in real danger.

Third, if you do have noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, a PSAP will not function the way you would need it to. You’ll probably purchase a hearing aid at some point anyway, so you might as well bypass the additional expense of the PSAP.

And last, contrary to hearing aids, there is no mandatory trial period for PSAPs. If you purchase one and it doesn’t get the job done, there’s no legal guarantee that you’ll recuperate your money.

5. PSAPs lack the features of a hearing aid

PSAPs, like we stated, are simple amplification instruments stripped of any sophisticated functionality. Hearing aids, in contrast, can enhance speech, minimize background noise, and adjust to different surroundings. Some hearing aid models can even stream phone calls and music wirelessly, and some can be regulated with smartphones and watches.

The choice is yours

PSAPs do have their uses. If you have healthy hearing, PSAPs are perfect for things like bird watching and eavesdropping on conversations, if that’s your sort of thing.

But for hearing loss, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Your hearing, and the relationships that depend on it, are too valuable.

The Top Inspirational Hearing Loss Blogs

Blogging about hearing loss

In the US, hearing loss to some extent affects 20 percent of the entire populace, or 48 million people. On average, therefore, one out of every five people you meet will have hearing loss.

For those who truly want to understand the condition—or that deal with hearing loss themselves and would like some personal perspective—there’s no better resource than learning from people presently living with diminished hearing.

The following is our list of the leading personal blogs on living with hearing loss.

Speak Up Librarian

Sarah, the writer of the blog, is a librarian looking to create a more accessible, communication-friendly world. In her blog, she recounts her experience of coming to terms with hearing loss and adapting to life with hearing aids. Making use of humor and personal stories, her goal is that people can discover more about hearing loss while benefiting from some of the resources she’s found throughout the years.

Top Posts

My Last Day of Blissful Ignorance or How It All Began

Speak Up Librarian is Born

A Whole New World

Grand Piano Passion

Grand Piano Passion is “an online oasis of articles, essays, and original videos for studying the piano as an adult, making music despite hearing loss, and claiming your passion, whatever it may be.”

Top Posts

Veteran Plays Piano Despite Suicide Bomber Attack

Top 5 Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids and Making Music

Hearing Health Affirmations from a Singer

Hear 2 Work

This blog is dedicated to helping people to deal with hearing loss at work. Tracey, the creator of Hear 2 Work, has been working with rising hearing loss over the last 20 years. Along the way, she’s collected several tips that she’s passing on to her readers.

Top Posts

Disclosing your hearing loss at work

Tips on managing phones

Lorraine Gailey: Supporting adults with hearing loss

Living With Hearing Loss

Shari Eberts, the author of Living With Hearing Loss, is a hearing health advocate, frequently writing and speaking on the topic and seeking to put a stop to the stigma linked with hearing loss and wearing hearing aids.

She introduced the blog to function as an outlet for her own experiences with hearing loss as well as to develop a community for those dealing with similar issues.

Top Posts

Hearing Loss – Know The Facts

Shouldn’t There Be A Law Against Second-Hand Noise?

Breaking the Stigma of Hearing Loss – The Who, What, Why and How

The Invisible Disability and Me

The Invisible Disability and Me is a blog about the author’s individual experiences with significant hearing loss. The blog aims to increase awareness of hearing loss, describe how to spot the initial symptoms, and reveal the charities and organizations that can help.

Top Posts

Coping with Silence

My Hearing Loss Journey

The Effects of Hearing Loss

What did we miss? If you have any personal blogs or hearing-related websites you’d like to recommend, include them in a comment below.

10 Surprising Facts About Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Facts

Quick question: how many individuals in the United States suffer with some type of hearing loss?

What was your answer?

I’m willing to bet, if I had to guess, that it was short of the correct answer of 48 million people.

Let’s try one more. How many individuals in the US younger than 65 suffer from hearing loss?

Most people are apt to underestimate this one as well. The answer, together with 9 other alarming facts, may change the way you think about hearing loss.

1. 48 million individuals in the United States have some form of hearing loss

People are oftentimes surprised by this number, and they should be—this is 20 percent of the total US population! Expressed a different way, on average, one out of every five individuals you encounter will have some degree of difficulty hearing.

2. More than 30 million Americans younger than 65 have hearing loss

Out of the 48 million individuals that have hearing loss in the US, it’s common to presume that the majority are 65 and older.

But the truth is the reverse.

For those troubled with hearing loss in the US, approximately 62 percent are younger than 65.

In fact, 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), 1.4 million children (18 or younger), and 2-3 out of 1,000 infants have some form of hearing loss.

3. 1.1 billion teens and young adults are in danger of developing hearing loss worldwide

As reported by The World Health Organization:

“Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.”

Which takes us to the next fact…

4. Any sound in excess of 85 decibels can cause damage to hearing

1.1 billion people worldwide are in danger of developing hearing loss as a consequence of exposure to loud sounds. But what is regarded as loud?

Subjection to any noise above 85 decibels, for a prolonged amount of time, can potentially bring about permanent hearing loss.

To put that into perspective, a typical conversation is about 60 decibels and city traffic is around 85 decibels. These sounds probably won’t damage your hearing.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, can reach 100 decibels, power saws can reach 110 decibels, and a rowdy rock concert can achieve 115 decibels. Teenagers also tend to listen to their iPods or MP3 players at around 100 decibels or higher.

5. 26 million individuals between the ages of 20 and 69 are afflicted by noise-induced hearing loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss on account of subjection to loud sounds at work or during leisure activities.

So while growing old and genetics can cause hearing loss in older adults, noise-induced hearing loss is equally, if not more, dangerous.

6. Each person’s hearing loss is unique

No two people have exactly the same hearing loss: we all hear an assortment of sounds and frequencies in a somewhat different way.

That’s why it’s crucial to have your hearing examined by a highly trained hearing care professional. Without specialized testing, any hearing aids or amplification products you buy will most likely not amplify the proper frequencies.

7. On average, people wait 5 to 7 years before seeking help for their hearing loss

Five to seven years is a very long time to have to battle with your hearing loss.

Why do people wait so long? There are in fact several reasons, but the main reasons are:

  • Less than 16 percent of family doctors test for hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss is so gradual that it’s hard to notice.
  • Hearing loss is often partial, which means some sounds can be heard normally, creating the impression of healthy hearing.
  • People believe that hearing aids don’t work, which brings us to the next fact.

8. Only 1 out of 5 people who could reap the benefits of hearing aids wears them

For every five people who could live better with hearing aids, only one will actually wear them. The main explanation for the disparity is the incorrect presumption that hearing aids don’t work.

Perhaps this was true 10 to 15 years ago, but most certainly not today.

The evidence for hearing aid effectiveness has been thoroughly reported. One example is a study managed by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found three popular hearing aid models to “provide significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

People have also observed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after reviewing years of research, determined that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Similarly, a recent MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey discovered that, for patients with hearing aids four years old or less, 78.6% were happy with their hearing aid effectiveness.

9. More than 200 medications can trigger hearing loss

Here’s a little-known fact: certain medications can injure the ear, resulting in hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance disorders. These medications are considered ototoxic.

In fact, there are more than 200 known ototoxic medications. For more information on the specific medications, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

10. Professional musicians are 57 percent more liable to suffer from tinnitus

In one of the most extensive studies ever carried out on hearing disorders affiliated with musicians, researchers discovered that musicians are 57 percent more likely to be affected by tinnitus—persistent ringing in the ears—as a result of their work.

If you’re a musician, or if you attend live events, protecting your ears is vital. Talk to us about customized musicians earplugs that ensure both protected listening and preserved sound quality.

Which of the 10 facts was most surprising to you?

Let us know in a comment.

Give the Gift of Hearing This Holiday Season

Christmas Present

With one out of every five individuals in the US battling with some degree of hearing loss, there’s a high probability that you know at least one individual who has some difficulty hearing.

And considering the potent links among healthy hearing and physical, mental, and social health, the holiday season is the ideal chance to provide a highly meaningful gift.

If you do know somebody with hearing loss, here are a few fantastic gift ideas:

A Year’s Supply of Hearing Aid Batteries

Do you know anyone who actually enjoys shopping for batteries?

We don’t either.

Nonetheless, hearing aids will not achieve much without the batteries, which makes them a necessity. By giving a year’s supply of hearing aid batteries, you could remove the trouble and cost connected with the process of managing the supply.

Not certain which hearing aid batteries to purchase? Give us a call.

Custom Ear Protection

Are you shopping for any musicians? Any hunters in the household?

The gift of specialty ear protection can prevent hearing damage and long-term hearing loss. And in contrast to the cheaper foam earplugs sold at the convenience store, custom earplugs are specially designed to curb dangerous sounds while conserving the essential sounds. This helps prevent the “muffled” sound affiliated with foam earplugs.

Call us for more information about custom ear protection.

Hearing Aid Accessories

All hearing aids demand periodic upkeep and cleaning to assure ongoing, maximum performance. And although this can’t be averted, it can be made a great deal easier.

Here are a couple of gift ideas to make hearing aid maintenance and cleaning easier:

  • Hearing aid sanitizers use ultraviolet light to safely and comprehensively kill dangerous pathogens, such as harmful bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and molds.
  • Hearing aid dehumidifiers eliminate excessive moisture and increase the life of the parts of the hearing aids.
  • Hearing aid multi-tools consist of a magnet for battery removal in addition to other tools to clean the various parts of a hearing aid. This is the swiss army knife of hearing aid tools.
  • Hearing aid storage cases can protect the hearing aids when not being used and can make transport easier.

Uncertain of which accessories you’ll require for a particular hearing aid? Talk to us and we’ll help you find the most suitable products.


Here’s a favorite gift idea, as these devices turn a pair of hearing aids into a set of top-quality headphones.

Streamers are devices that will acquire an audio signal—from a TV, computer, or other device—and will deliver the signal straight to the hearing aids for crystal clear sound.

Wireless Management

Did you know that numerous hearing aid models can be operated with mobile electronic devices such as cell phones and digital watches?

A smartphone or digital watch is an outstanding gift in the first place, but for those with hearing loss, it’s better yet. With compatible hearing aids, you can discreetly control hearing aid volume and can adjust the settings straight from the portable device.

This is one function that, the moment you have it, you’ll never go without it again. Give us a call and we’ll let you know which hearing aids are compatible with which devices.

Hearing Aids

And finally, if you want to go all out this year, consider giving the ultimate gift of hearing—a set of digital hearing aids.

Admittedly, you can’t just venture out and buy a pair of hearing aids. Each individual’s hearing loss is unique and will require a hearing examination, not to mention that each individual will have special preferences with regard to hearing aid style and functionality.

But presenting a gift card to cover the cost could encourage someone to at long last buy the hearing aids they know will ultimately contribute to a greater overall quality of life.

And just how many gifts can really accomplish that?

Want more gift ideas?

Tell us about the person you’re buying for and we can help you find the ideal hearing-related gift.

Overcoming Hearing Loss – This Year’s Best Stories

Overcoming Obstacles

Through the course of the year, we’ve searched and shared phenomenal stories about people overcoming hearing loss to our Facebook page.

These inspirational stories remind us of what human determination and persistence can achieve—even in the face of intense challenges and barriers.

Of the myriad stories we’ve come across, here are our top selections for the year.

Emma Rudkin

At age 3, Emma Rudkin acquired an ear infection that would cause her to lose the majority of her hearing. At the time, doctors advised her parents that she was unlikely to ever speak clearly or enroll in a “normal” school.

After several years of speech therapy and with the help of hearing aids, Emma not only learned how to speak clearly—she also learned how to sing and play three instruments. She would proceed to to become the first hearing impaired woman to secure the Miss San Antonio crown as a sophomore at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Emma reports that she wears her hearing aids “as a badge of honor” and is making use of her crown to encourage other people with hearing loss. She even developed the #ShowYourAids social media campaign to entice other people to flaunt their hearing aids with pride, and to help eliminate the stigma associated with hearing impairment.

Justin Osmond

Justin Osmond, son of Merrill Osmond, lead singer of The Osmonds, is 90 percent deaf. But that didn’t stop him from accomplishing a 250-mile run—in some cases through rain and hail—to raise funds for hearing aids for deaf children.

In spite of being hard of hearing, Justin has also become an award-winning musician, motivational speaker, and author of the book titled “Hearing with my Heart.”

You can visit Justin’s website at

Derrick Coleman

Becoming a professional athlete is itself an instance of defying the odds. According to NCAA statistics, only 1.7 percent of college football players and 0.08 percent of high school athletes attain the professional level.

Incorporate hearing loss into the mix, and you really have an uphill battle.

But Derrick Coleman not only plays for a professional football team—he’s also the first hard-of-hearing NFL offensive player and the third hard-of-hearing player drafted in league history. Derrick didn’t let hearing loss get in the way of his passion for football, which he found at an early age.

With the encouragement of his parents, coaches, healthcare professionals, and hearing aid technology, Derrick Coleman would excel at football on his way to eventually playing in the Super Bowl as a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Hannah Neild

In spite of her hearing loss, and with the help of hearing aids in both ears, Hannah Neild, a high school senior, is a three-sport athlete, team captain, member of the National Honor Society, and coach/advisor for children with moderate disabilities.

Together with all of her obligations, she also has found the time to help others overcome the obstacles she had to overcome herself. “I’m working towards moderately disability kids, to help them get through the things they need to get through, just like I had to do,” Hannah said.

Carley Parker

West Davidson High School graduate Carley Parker is in the modest percentage of students who graduated with not one, but two, high school diplomas.

In conjunction with her West Davidson High School diploma, she also received a diploma from the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.

“I feel like I got a really good education from both, ” Carley, 18, said. “It’s definitely rewarding. Some people laughed and told me it was going to be challenging. This shows just because I had a lot of challenges in my life, it didn’t stop me. You can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Carley developed a hearing disability a couple of months after she was born, which has introduced obstacles for her throughout her life. But despite the hearing difficulty, she says, “There’s been challenges, but nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Concerning her new challenge? She plans on studying pre-medicine at Wake Forest University.

Ryan Flood

“I proved them wrong,” said Ryan Flood. “Through hard work, I proved them wrong.”

At eight months old, Ryan developed bacterial meningitis, a dangerous neurological infection that can create serious complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. In some instances, it can be fatal.

For Ryan, the infection produced hearing loss in both ears, which necessitated hearing aids, and with mild cerebral palsy, which forced him to wear leg braces into his intermediate school years.

Despite the challenges, Ryan stood out as a Poquoson High School student, completing Advanced Placement Calculus and U.S. History together with other challenging courses.

Ryan will be studying kinesiology at James Madison University as part of his plan to become a physical therapist.

“I remember the therapists helping me, and I knew that was something that I wanted to do,” Ryan said. “I want to graduate and open a physical therapy practice with my brother.”

Sarah Ivermee

With a four-year-old named Freddie, who is profoundly deaf in one ear and moderately deaf in the other, mom Sarah Ivermee recognizes from experience the challenges in getting kids to use their hearing aids.

And as Sarah met more families with children who had hearing aids, she found that many kids were ashamed to wear them and resented being different.

So this got her thinking, and, with her husband’s assistance, she launched her own business, named Lugs, that renders hearing aids fashionable for kids.

Present styles include Batman, Toy Story, Minions, Hello Kitty, butterflies, Star Wars, Spiderman, and more.

Now, Freddie not only enjoys wearing his hearing aids, but his brother wants a pair too—and he’s not even hard of hearing!

Win Whittaker

“When I was teaching climbing school, I sometimes would have to ask a client to repeat a question,” Win Whittaker said. “It started to become very noticeable.”

Win is fortunate to have turned three of his passions—mountaineering, music, and movies—into a lucrative career. But by following three trades that all necessitate healthy hearing, hearing loss could have been career-ending.

Instead of throwing in the towel, Win worked with a local hearing care professional to obtain a pair of hearing aids that would suit the significant requirements of a mountain guide. The solution: a sophisticated pair of digital hearing aids with several key features.

Win discovered that he could manipulate his hearing aids with his phone or watch, accept phone calls, listen to music, and minimize wind noise, all while hearing the sounds he had been missing for several years.

As for the stigma associated with a 49-year-old wearing hearing aids? Rather than deciding to be discreet, Win’s hearing aids are “Monza Red,” the flashiest of the 14 available colors.

“I’m flaunting them,” he said with a laugh.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids

To help keep your hearing aids working effectively for years to come, you need to learn proper care and maintenance. And though it may seem like an extra burden, with the right plan your hearing aid care will come to be easy and automatic.

The key is establishing productive habits.

If you include your hearing aid care into your day-to-day and nightly routines, after a while it won’t feel like any extra work at all.

The following are a few tips for the day-to-day care of your hearing aids (which your hearing specialist will also discuss with you):

Clean your hearing aids on a daily basis – Try to incorporate your hearing aid cleaning into your evening routine, so it will become as automatic as brushing your teeth. This is essential because daily hearing aid cleansing can minimize the build-up of earwax, dirt, and dust into the various components of the hearing aid, which can result in distorted sound with time.

You’ll want to clean your hearing aid with a soft, dry cloth, while averting any liquids that can destroy the hearing aid electronics. Talk to your hearing professional for specialized guidance on cleaning each model of hearing aid.

You may also consider purchasing a hearing aid sanitizer, which utilizes ultraviolet light to safely and thoroughly kill harmful pathogens. Hearing aid cleaning kits are also available with all of the instruments you’ll require to safely clean the device without damaging the electronics.

Always check the batteries – Hearing aid batteries should be checked and replaced regularly to ensure top hearing aid functionality. Consider using a battery tester early in the day to ensure you have a sufficient amount of power for the rest of the day, and keep an extra set of batteries on hand.

At night, when your hearing aids are not being used, turn them off and store them in a cool, dry spot with the battery door open.

Store your hearing aids in a safe place – In regard to storage, you’ll want to keep in mind three things:

  1. Keep the hearing aids away from moisture. In other words, storing your hearing aids in the bathroom is probably a bad idea.
  2. Try to avoid exposing the hearing aids—and hearing aid batteries—to temperature extremes. You’ll want to store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place.
  3. Avoid storing your hearing aids out in the open, where they can become damaged.

We highly recommend storing your hearing aids in a case or drying kit inside the drawer of a bedroom side table. This will safeguard the hearing aids from dampness, temperature extremes, and damage from being knocked off the table.

In addition, remember to take out your hearing aids before showering, swimming, or using a hair dryer or hair spray.

Maintain ear hygiene – While earwax has several helpful properties, like protection and lubrication of the ear canal, it can cause severe damage to your hearing aids. As it gets wedged within the hearing aid components, sound can become distorted.

Ensure that you’re keeping up proper ear hygiene, and if you have excess earwax, think about booking a consultation with a professional.

Properly insert your hearing aids – When putting in your hearing aids, lean over a table or soft surface in the event the hearing aids fall. Hearing aids come with sensitive electronics, so a fall on a hard surface can cause significant damage.

Even with meticulous cleaning and maintenance, over time the hearing aid will require more thorough cleaning or repair.

To assure that you continue to yield the best sound possible, we encourage getting your hearing aids professionally cleaned by a hearing specialist a minimum of two times a year.

Hearing care professionals will provide a deep cleaning, a tune-up, and will on occasion replace parts. Staying on top of this periodic maintenance will prolong the life of your hearing aids and will assure that you achieve the best sound.

How to Pick the Right Hearing Aid Model

Hearing Aids

Modern-day breakthroughs in technology assure that your hearing loss can be successfully remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.

The difficulty is choosing the right one.

With all of the hearing aid models to select from, it can be just a little overwhelming. But by taking into consideration four factors—together with help from a qualified hearing care professional—you can readily find the optimal hearing aid model for you.

How All Hearing Aids Work

Before we examine the differences, it will help to remember how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same components.

Today’s digital hearing aids are small electronic gadgets that consist of four standard parts:

  1. The microphone picks up environmental sound and transmits it to the digital processor.
  2. The digital processor adjusts the sound signal based on the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The customized sound signal is then sent to the amplifier.
  3. The amplifier increases the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has problems hearing. This signal is then transferred to the speaker.
  4. The speaker delivers the magnified sound to the ear, leading to louder, clearer sound.

Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and additional features and functions that we’ll discuss next.

How Hearing Aids Are Different

Although all hearing aids have the same fundamental parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When choosing a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will assist you to narrow down your choices according to the four variables, which are:

  1. Style – There are several different styles of hearing aids. The style most appropriate for you is dependent on many things such as the extent of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening objectives.
  2. Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too challenging for you to physically manipulate? Would you prefer to use your mobile phone as your hearing aid remote control?
  3. Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can utilize your hearing aids with your mobile phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on conversation?
  4. Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at finding a hearing aid that will meet your needs and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based on where they think you will achieve the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available.

Let’s consider the four variables in more depth.

Hearing Aid Style

Hearing aids come in a range of styles, and your selection might rely plainly on aesthetic preference.

The following are some of the most popular styles:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have most of the hearing aid components contained in a small plastic case that sits behind the ear; the case is then attached to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids are also available that are scaled-down. These hearing aids are easy to handle and simple to maintain.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts contained in a shell that fills in the external portion of the ear. The ITE aids are smaller than the behind-the-ear aids but bigger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to manipulate than the smaller in-the-canal aids and less noticeable than the behind-the-ear aids.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids – these hearing aids are contained in tiny cases that fit partially or totally in the ear canal, making them virtually imperceptible.

In terms of deciding on a style, keep in mind the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and make sure you go over these items with your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use

An aspect that is often neglected is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the benefit of being small, they may also be tricky to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.

You might also want to look into digital hearing aids that can be operated with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it convenient to monitor battery life, adjust the volume, and transition among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Functionality

Performance is normally a concern, and you should communicate with your hearing specialist regarding any special situations or activities you frequently perform. As an example, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll most likely want hearing aids equipped with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.

Also inquire about directional microphones and background noise suppression that can enhance your capacity to hear speech and engage in conversation.

Hearing Aid Price and Financing

Last, after evaluating the above factors, you need to decide the price you’re willing to invest for the benefits you’ll enjoy from improved hearing.

Although it’s true that no one can make this decision for you, nearly all of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without constantly straining is worthy of the price.

In fact, the per month expense of a hearing aid is quite often less than the per month cost of cable television—and hearing aids will have a larger influence on your overall quality of life than watching reruns of Law and Order.

Final Considerations

Once you have a notion of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can make it easier to narrow down the options. Then, you can choose the model that accommodates all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.

After you’ve picked your ideal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your distinct hearing loss, which was measured during the hearing exam (audiogram). And keep in mind that, irrespective of what model you go with, it won’t function properly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.

Lastly, you’ll get to try your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a bit of time to become accustomed to them, but after a short while you’ll be amazed at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.

If you’re ready to find your perfect pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!

How to Communicate Effectively Despite Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids

Communication is regularly cited as one of the most—if not the most—important factors to strengthening and sustaining healthy relationships. As reported by the PBS program The Emotional Life:

“How couples behave when solving problems together or arguing can predict the character and success of their relationship. A raised eyebrow, a hand on the arm, or a greeting all may seem like small things, but research shows that the quality of everyday interactions can make or break a relationship.”

Similarly, communication skills are just as important at work: one 2014 survey of about 600 employers discovered that communication skills are the most in-demand set of skills among recruiters. In fact, of five major skill sets employers consider most valuable when rendering a hiring decision, communications skills top the list.

From preserving healthy relationships to getting hired to getting promoted, communication impacts practically every aspect of our lives. Seeking to develop our communication skills, then, isn’t a bad place to begin if we desire to make some positive changes.

How to become an effective communicator

Growing to be an effective communicator is not terribly complicated, but it does require some elementary skills and the disposition to practice.

Step one is to realize that the goal of any communication situation is a genuine, open-ended exchange of ideas where all parties can be heard and understood. This necessitates assertive and articulate speaking skills, but, just as significantly, requires robust listening skills.

In truth, listening skills may be the most important component of communication. The reason is simple: if you are not able to understand what is being said, you won’t be able to formulate a relevant and significant reply. This failure to understand is the underlying cause of countless misunderstandings, arguments, and bad feelings.

Improving listening skills, then, is the single most important thing you can do to become a better communicator. And while active listening can be challenging in its own right, hearing loss will make things even harder.

Hearing loss and the obstacles to active listening

Active listening calls for investing all attention to the speaker. Only by thoroughly understanding the communication can you develop a relevant and significant response, and that’s why ineffective speakers are almost always distracted listeners.

But what causes the distraction?

Here are four common sources of distraction and how hearing loss has a tendency to make things even worse:

Distraction # 1: Stress

If you’ve ever been overly stressed or anxious, you know how difficult it can be to focus your attention. You’re more likely to be focusing on on your personal thoughts and feelings rather than on the speaker’s, and you’re likely to lose out on essential non-verbal signals and to misread what other people are saying.

With respect to stress, hearing loss itself is a major source. You may feel anxious about missing out on important information or coming up with awkward replies. And, the battle to hear speech in the presence of hearing loss is a source of anxiety and strain itself.

Distraction # 2: Lack of focus

Active listening is challenging because our minds have the normal inclination to wander. You can’t simultaneously listen to the speaker and daydream, check your email, text message, and plan what you’re going to say next. Staying within the present moment and concentrating on the speaker is the only way to pick up on the subtle points of the speaker’s communication.

Hearing loss brings about a lack of focus because it removes you from the present moment. If you’re working to determine what the speaker just said, you’re also losing out on what they’re saying right now. The continuous catching-up virtually guarantees that you’ll never properly understand the message.

Distraction # 3: Misunderstanding

Stress and lack of focus can both force you to misunderstand the message. This introduces the chance of you becoming upset or agitated with a message that the other person never actually meant to send.

This at the very least wastes time and in the worst case manufactures bad feelings. Not to mention the irritation of the individual who is persistently misunderstood.

Distraction # 4: Lack of confidence

If you lack confidence, you’ll find it difficult to assert yourself while communicating. You’ll probably also be preoccupied with what the other person thinks rather than on the content of what they’re saying.

Hearing loss makes things worse, as you can imagine, because your misinterpretations could be thought of as a sign that you just don’t comprehend the message. If you’re frequently requesting clarification on simple points, it makes it difficult to feel confident enough to be assertive.

How hearing aids can help

Becoming a better communicator necessitates becoming a better listener, but how can you become a better listener if you have hearing loss? You have a few choices, but because hearing aids have come so far in terms of identifying and amplifying speech, they actually are the perfect solution.

Contemporary digital hearing aids have a number of wonderful features made exclusively for speech recognition. Many hearing aid models come with background noise suppression, directional microphones, and innovative digital processing so that speech comes through loud and clear.

Without having to struggle to hear speech, you can focus all of your efforts on comprehending the message. Then, as you become a more effective active-listener, your confidence, assertiveness, and speaking skills will all take care of themselves.

If you have hearing loss and you’re ready to begin building distraction-free listening skills, arrange your hearing test today.

How Modern Hearing Aids Can Save Your Holiday Season

Holiday Hearing

Coping with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.

While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.

In order to engage in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible situation that can make you feel isolated and excluded.

Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?

Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the person you were talking to.

But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern-day hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.

Background noise suppression

Earlier analog hearing aid models were actually very simple gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.

The trouble was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a hard time hearing voices.

Because holiday events are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.

Digital hearing aids, combined with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between different types of sounds.

By distinguishing and marking different types of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with special qualities, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.

Speech focus

Along with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.

Speech has a distinct trait in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is principally low frequency.

On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking with.

Reserve Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again

Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?

Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.

As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.