Hearing Aid Services
Hearing aid services include the selection, fitting, verification, and validation of technology based on individual needs. Services are guided using audiometric fitting prescriptions modified by personal preference and specific environmental needs.
Understanding Hearing Aid Technology
Understanding Hearing Aid Technology
Only about 1 in 4 people who could benefit from hearing aids have them. Some reasons for this include: attitude, appearance, misinformation, fit and comfort, maintenance, and cost. Partnering with a licensed Audiologist who is knowledgeable about how the brain interacts with sound, speech perception, and current hearing aid technology is important for success. An Audiologist can help guide you along your better hearing journey to get the most from your hearing aids and improve your quality of life.
How a hearing aid works
Modern hearing aids are tiny computers that are constantly processing the sound around you. Microphones on the hearing aids pick up the sound in your environment. The circuitry, or “chip”, inside the hearing aids then converts the sound into a digital signal. This signal is shaped and amplified based on your individual hearing loss. The hearing aid speaker then delivers the shaped and amplified sound into your ear.
Hearing Aid Styles
There are two basic styles of hearing aids. The first one is In-the-Ear, which means the hearing aid technology is encased in a piece that fits into your ear canal. This is usually custom-made for your ears alone. The second is Behind-the-Ear, which means the hearing aid technology is encased in a piece that sits behind your ear. This usually has no custom-made piece for your ears, although it can if needed.
Hearing Aid Technology
As with most technology, there are levels of sophistication that also impact cost. Hearing aid technology that is more aggressive at getting rid of background noise, has more sophisticated sound processing, and has more programming channels is usually more expensive. Virtually all modern hearing aid technology eliminates feedback (“whistling”) at any price point. There are also now many rechargeable options that eliminate the need for batteries. Talk with your Audiologist about your lifestyle and listening needs, including work and social situations, as well as your budget. Your Audiologist will then be able to recommend the technology level that may best address your particular needs and budget.
Almost all current hearing aids allow for connectivity with your phone (iPhone or Android) and potentially with other devices. Bluetooth is the most common way hearing aids connect wirelessly to stream audio signals directly to your hearing aids. There are also “apps” (applications) you can download to your phone. You can then open the app to have a remote control for your hearing aids. You can even use the app to connect with your Audiologist for remote fine-tuning when needed.
Importance of Verification
When you are first fit with your hearing aids, it is important that the settings are verified. This verification is called “real ear measures” or “speech mapping”. Using real ear measures helps your Audiologist adjust your hearing aids based on a prescription for your individual hearing loss. Setting your hearing aids this way helps to make sure your hearing aids give you the best benefit possible. Real ear measures are done at every hearing aid fitting at the Marion Downs Center.
How to Get the Best Hearing Aids for You
Have your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist.
Have someone go with you to the visit – communication is two-way!
Expect to see the greatest success when you build a close partnership with your audiologist.
Ask about technology add-ons and improvements.
Expect an on-going partnership with your audiologist and technology adjustments over time.