You’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and do something about your hearing loss. Perhaps you are tired of constantly straining during conversation or guessing at the punch line that you missed. Perhaps your family members or friends are frustrated at having to constantly repeat themselves for you. Perhaps you responded incorrectly (and embarrassingly) during an important business meeting. Whatever the impetus, you are ready to start your journey to better hearing. But where do you start?
Here are 3 important things to consider when seeking audiologic treatment that will help ensure a successful outcome:
1. Seek professional advice :
Only a professional can determine the cause of your hearing loss and the appropriate treatment. If your hearing loss is medically treatable as approximately 10% of hearing losses are, an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) physician can treat the underlying cause of the hearing loss via medication, surgery, or other medical treatment. These problems can range from anything as simple as wax buildup in the outer ear, to more serious conditions such as growths or tumors in the middle or inner ear.
An audiologist can treat sensorineural hearing loss that is permanent but not medically treatable. Based on a needs assessment of your hearing difficulties, as well as a thorough evaluation that includes functional assessment such as speech-in-noise performance, an audiologist can sift through hundreds of different models of hearing aids to prescribe the one that will match your needs most effectively. Based on your unique hearing needs, an audiologist can also train you in the use of assistive listening devices that can help beyond the use of hearing aids alone. These include hearing loops and telecoils, Bluetooth accessories for the phone and TV, remote microphones, etc. Lastly, an audiologist can teach you and your loved ones effective communication strategies for maximum success with hearing aids.
2. Hearing aid style selection:
A hearing aid that is uncomfortable or difficult to manage does not get worn. An audiologist can assist in determining the best style hearing aid for you and your needs, whether it is behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, completely-in-the-canal, or an extended-wear hearing aid. Hearing aids that are comfortable and effective do get worn, and help their users live a more engaged, active, productive, and happy life!3. Hearing aid verification and validation :
Do not purchase a hearing aid from a provider who does not verify that the hearing aid programming is set precisely for your hearing levels. A recent Consumer’s Report found that 2/3rds of all hearing aid users sampled were provided with too much or too little amplification based on the individual’s hearing loss. A tiny probe microphone placed in the ear canal during the verification process allows the audiologist to program the hearing aid to provide exactly the correct level of amplification for soft and moderate speech sounds, as well as ensure that the hearing aid maximum output is set to safe limits which will not cause further hearing loss.
In both our Houston, TX and Pearland, TX locations, our audiologists know that there is no one-size-fits-all hearing aid. We will work with you to determine the best hearing aid solution for your particular, unique, “hearing print”.
As more hearing aids are developed with direct-to-iPhone or iPad Bluetooth connectivity, more hearing aid users are realizing the wonderful benefits of hearing aids that also serve as wireless headsets for music and audio-book streaming, as well as Bluetooth headsets for phone conversations. Amy and Liz are two patients seen in our Houston office this week. Both could finally carry on a phone conversation with no difficulty for the first time in years, via Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. It was amazing to see the joy on both their faces as a new world opened up to them.
In addition, the iPhone can serve as the remote control for the hearing aid, and users can adjust various features from overall volume to frequency response to background noise suppression, all through handy apps on the iPhone.
This is all wonderful when everything works! Occasionally, the iPhone will drop the hearing aid connection, or something gets "hung" or "stuck" in the iPhone that prevents a good connection. Should that happen to you, follow the instructions below that walk you through re-pairing the hearing aids to your iPhone.
How to Pair you Hearing Aids with
1. Re-boot your iPhone
2. Take your hearing aids out of your ears and open the battery doors
3. Go to Settings on you iPhone
4. Go to General
5. Go to Accessibility
6. Go to Hearing Aids
7. Close your battery doors (your phone will start searching for the devices)
8. Your name and the hearing aids will pop up under devices
9. If you wear 2 hearing aids you will see L + R
10. If you only wear 1 you will see either L or R depending on which side you wear your aid
11. Click on the box with your aids labeled
12. You will then get a pop up box to PAIR your aids with your phone click PAIR
13. If you wear 2 aids this box will pop up 2 times and you have to hit PAIR twice
14. Your aids are now paired with your iPhone. Enjoy!
Hearing aids available with direct-to-iPhone Bluetooth capability include Oticon Opn, Resound Linx, Starkey Halo, and Widex Beyond. Coming soon-- Phonak Pulse which will have direct to iPhone and Android phone Bluetooth connectivity. All these and more available at The Center for Audiology-Houston, and The Center for Audiology-Pearland. Call today at 713-255-0035 to schedule a free demo and 2 week trial of made-for-iPhone hearing aids!
Fireworks, firecrackers and concerts may be Fourth of July traditions and are beautiful to watch, but they also make the holiday one of the noisiest and most likely to cause hearing loss. With sound levels from exploding fireworks reaching as high as 155 decibels, here are steps recommended by ASHA that you can take to minimize damage to your hearing:
It’s summer time in Houston! Humidity is up, and that means increased chance of moisture buildup in hearing aids. You may also notice that your ears are sweatier due to hearing aid use. What are best summertime do’s and don’ts when it comes to hearing aids?
DO : Store your hearing aids and hearing aid batteries in a cool, dry place.
Don’t : Leave your hearing aids in direct sunlight or in extreme heat, like inside your car.
DO: Use a hearing aid dehumidifier to dry out hearing aids.
Don’t : Get your hearing aids wet. Be careful to remove daily-wear hearing aids before showering or swimming.
Do: Pack back-up supplies, like batteries, vent cleaners, wax filters. Clean your hearing aids regularly, including the air vent if applicable, which will allow your ear to “breathe” while wearing the hearing aids.
Don’t : Ruin vacation by forgetting one of these important accessories. If you do, call us! We can mail you supplies if needed.
Do: Keep them on for important announcements from airport officials
Don’t : Take your hearing aid out while going through airport security or while in flight. The airport is not the best place to lose a hearing aid. Hearing aids do not have to be removed for security.
The summer season doesn't have to be hard on your hearing technology! If you do your due diligence to protect your hearing aid from the sun and heat, and make sure to plan ahead and pack a hearing aid travel kit before leaving home, you can ensure a non-working hearing aid won’t get in the way of your summer fun. If your hearing aid does break down due to moisture buildup, The Center for Audiology is here to help with fast, efficient, and friendly service in both our Houston, TX and Pearland, TX locations.
Life happens. Every year, as summertime water activities ramp up, we experience an increase in calls from panicked patients who accidentally jumped into a pool or the ocean while wearing their hearing aids. As much as electronics and water typically don't go well together, all is not lost if your hearing aids do get a soaking!
5 tips that can get your waterlogged hearing aid(s) working again:
What not to do:
Note: Many hearing aid models now carry IP67 or IP68 ratings (IP is the Ingress Protection or International Protection rating system, which is a classification system showing the degrees of protection from solid objects and liquids.) The first number 6 is the level of dust protection which is dust proof. The second number, 7 or 8, is the level of water or moisture protection. This means it is water resistant to a level that it could withstand up to 30 min in 3 feet of water before it must go into the company for repair due to water damage.
If you are in the market for new hearing aids and tend to perspire heavily or are frequently around water, ask your audiologist for a hearing aid that carries a high IP rating for maximum water resistance.
Teens are more likely to engage in risky hearing behaviors, including listening to loud music and using lawn and power tools with no hearing protection. The findings also revealed that teens are aware of the risks, yet still choose not to protect their hearing.
Slight hearing damage in teenage years puts teenagers at risk for accelerated hearing loss later in life. Educating children from an early age about the risks of unsafe listening practices can save them from significant, permanent hearing loss later in life. The good news is that with these few simple steps, teenagers (and everyone else) can modify their listening behavior and protect their hearing:
One of the first cultural shifts I experienced when I moved to Houston 18 years ago from NYC was the ubiquitous smile and nod when passing strangers in the street, often followed by a cheerful greeting, and sometimes even by an entire conversation. What a refreshing positive social connection the smile and nod can engender!
However, when the smile and nod occurs repeatedly in conversation because someone had no idea what was just said, the result can be anything but positive, and can sometimes even get you into trouble.
Seinfeld Discovers the Dangers of the Smile and Nod
In this “Puffy
, Jerry unwittingly agrees to wear a flouncy ruffled pirate
shirt on the Today Show when he nods and says “uh huh” to a question posed by
Kramer’s low-talking girlfriend.
It may seem less embarrassing to smile and nod than call attention to yourself by asking for repetition, admit you did not hear, or seek treatment for your hearing loss. However, The Smile and Nod often leads to embarrassing moments when it becomes obvious to all those around you that you did not hear what was said. Consider the following scenarios:
“What time is the meeting scheduled?” *Smile and Nod*
“So what do you do for work?” *Smile and Nod*
“Where is your favorite vacation spot?” *Smile and Nod*
“Did you hear what I just said?” *Smile and Nod*
Avoid the Puffy Shirt
Here are three suggestions for avoiding an embarrassing “puffy shirt” episode:
1) If everyone you encounter seems to be a mumbler, or a “low talker”, consider the possibility that you may have hearing loss, and seek diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Hearing loss is usually more conspicuous than hearing aids. Properly fitted hearing devices enable you to engage in conversation with less effort, and will greatly improve the quality of your life. If you know someone who performs the Smile and Nod often, gently suggest that he or she check their hearing. You might just be the one to start their journey to a better quality of life.
2) Be assertive and upfront about your hearing loss. This can alert people that you are not ignoring them, or mad at them, or mentally challenged; but rather, you do not hear them. Educate people to face you when speaking, speak more slowly but not more loudly, and re-phrase rather than repeat when you do not catch what was said.
3) If you do wear hearing aids, commit to regular maintenance and hearing re-checks. Even a slight change in your hearing can contribute to listening fatigue if your hearing aids are not tuned precisely for your current hearing levels. Re-calibration of your hearing aids on a regular basis helps ensure that you are part of the conversation again.
Tired of the Smile and Nod? Call The Center for Audiology’s Houston, TX or Pearland, TX locations to start your journey to better hearing today!
Do you have difficulty making out all the dialogue at the movies? What happens when the music swells in the background, and the movie characters drop their voices? Sometimes, even the best hearing aids cannot overcome poor signal-to-noise ratios, leaving you guessing at the punch line, or wondering what twist the plot just took.
6,000 Regal Cinema screens across the United States (including Edwards Theater at Weslayan and Hwy 59) now boast availability of Sony closed captioning glasses for patrons. These lightweight glasses project captions which appear to float about 10 feet in front of the user. The captions are synchronized with the dialogue on the screen. They also come with audio tracks that describe the action on the screen for blind people, or they can boost the audio levels of the movie for those who are hard of hearing. Simply ask for them at special services, and sit back and enjoy the show.
- Special thanks to our special patient M.A. for this special tip!