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  • When investigating options to improve hearing, individuals can be overwhelmed by newspaper advertisements, mail promotions and internet programs that make promises that seem to good to be true. As the old adage says, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Finding the right provider and the right hearing aid solution can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. To make things easier, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions about hearing loss and hearing aids to help guide patients.Naída B SPBTE

    Question: What is the difference between Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers (Hearing Instrument Specialists)?

    The major difference between audiologists and hearing aid dispensers is level of training and education. Audiologists are currently required to obtain a doctoral level degree consisting of 8 years of coursework to learn how to treat hearing and balance disorders, while hearing aid dispensers in Nebraska must have a high school diploma and pass a licensing exam.  

    Scope of practice is another distinction. Audiologists can test and treat hearing loss, balance disorders, tinnitus and remove ear wax build up. Hearing aid dispensers are only allowed to do testing for the purpose of fitting a hearing aid.

    Question: If I am diagnosed with hearing loss, will my hearing get worse over time?

    The progression of hearing loss depends on many factors, including the specific cause. The most common type of hearing loss is called sensorineural or inner ear hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by the natural aging process, noise exposure or certain medications (like chemotherapy agents).

    Our hearing will progress gradually over time, however, there are ways to protect hearing from changing faster than expected.  If hearing aids are recommended, consistent use will not only improve hearing ability but will also stimulate the auditory nerve, which has been shown to preserve word understanding ability.

    After being diagnosed with hearing loss, the inner ear is more susceptible to damage due to excessive noise. Consistent use of hearing protection around noise exposure (hunting, lawn care equipment, concerts, etc.) can help prevent further damage.

    Question: How much do hearing aids cost?

    Hearing aids come in a wide range of prices, from approximately $600 to $3,000 per ear. The price of a hearing aid depends on the level of technology, sound quality, noise reduction capability, size and the service plan and warranty associated with it.

    Hearing aids have become very advanced in the last five years, as we now have re-chargeable options, Bluetooth phone connection and advanced processing capabilities. While these are great advancements, not everyone needs premium technology. It is important to work with a professional that offers more than one hearing aid brand, as well as different levels of technology, because there is not one option that is right for everyone.

    Question: What happens if my hearing aid is damaged or lost?

    Major hearing aid manufacturers offer repair and loss/damage warranties that are included with the initial purchase. These warranties generally range from one to three years, depending on the level of technology. If something happens to your hearing aid, your audiologist can often repair it in the office or send it in at no cost while under repair warranty. If a device is lost or damaged beyond repair, the patient can receive a one-time replacement, (for each ear) after paying a deductible.

    Question: How can I make my hearing aid(s) last longer?

    Patients can perform routine maintenance of their hearing aids at home including: cleaning nightly, monitoring wax and debris buildup, using a dehumidifier and storing the devices in a dry place to reduce moisture buildup. A general recommendation for hearing aid patients is to see their audiologist every six months for more extensive cleaning and maintenance, replacement of parts and removing earwax buildup from the ear canals to make sure the hearing aid is performing optimally. These appointments are normally included in the service warranty.

    Do you have other questions that we didn’t answer? Feel free to use the link below to send us a message or contact our office to schedule a consult!

    Contact us to schedule your hearing evaluation today!

  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Hearing Checked

    May is Better Hearing and Speech month, so that means it is also the perfect time to schedule an appointment to have your hearing checked by an audiologist. If that isn’t enough motivation, read on to learn our five reasons below.

    1. Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Earning Power

    A study from 2014 revealed that individuals with severe hearing loss received annual household incomes of $14,000 less than those with normal hearing. By delaying treatment, many who have not yet reached retirement age, struggle with managing their hearing loss on the job. The good news is that successful treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids is associated with greater earning power and increased household income.

    1. Start with a Baseline

    A diagnostic hearing exam will show how well you hear but also reveals the overall health of your ears. Things like ear wax buildup, abnormal growths and infections can increase your risk for hearing loss. If these issues are found early and treated, you will be less likely to develop any permanent hearing loss as a result. A baseline hearing exam is very helpful in monitoring any changes in hearing or ear health over time.

    1. Avoid Isolation

    Studies have shown that those with hearing difficulty tend to avoid situations where they know it can be difficult to hear. Restaurants, parties and places with background noise are the most difficult environments for those with hearing loss. By avoiding these situations, you can increase your risk of depression. When hearing loss is properly diagnosed and treated, your ability to hear and understand in these environments increases significantly, which will also improve quality of life.

    1. Improve Relationships

    We say that when one person in the family has a hearing loss, the entire family has a “hearing problem”. Hearing loss can be frustrating for family members and loved ones who need to repeat themselves often, deal with the TV and radio volume at an uncomfortable level and see the impact hearing loss has on you. Once your audiologist diagnoses the problem, they can discuss good communication strategies that can minimize the hindrances that hearing loss can cause.

    1. Hearing Aids are Cool

    Hearing aids have received an un-fair stigma over the years but it is time to change that. When most people think of hearing aids, they think of bulky, clunky devices that squeal and get left at home in a drawer. The truth is hearing aids have come a long way in the past five years, both in design and overall performance. Hearing aids have gotten smaller, fit more hearing loss levels and have advanced features that are significantly improving how well patients hear. Hearing aids now have Bluetooth built in and can be synced with smart phones to hear phone calls, music or podcasts. Smart phone apps also allow users to control volume, programs and even locate hearing aids if they are ever lost.

    If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing difficulty, the first step is to work with a doctoral level audiologist who can diagnose and recommend the best treatment options.

    Feel free to use the link below to send us a message or contact our office to schedule a consult!

    Contact us to schedule your hearing evaluation today!