Your Unique "Hearing Print": 3 Considerations When Purchasing Hearing Aids and/or Assistive Listening Devices
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”.