Over 33 million Americans suffer with some degree of hearing loss. Choosing a hearing aid that is appropriate for your hearing loss and for your lifestyle can seem like an overwhelming process. The Doctors of Audiology at Comprehensive ENT are highly trained in selection, programming, fitting, and the ongoing servicing of your hearing aids. The hearing aids we offer at our clinic are the newest digital technology and include all major international amplification manufacturers. Making the decision to wear a hearing aid should help to improve the quality of your life.
What is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn in or behind the ear and amplifies external sounds. Hearing aids collect sounds from the environment through microphones, process the sounds to help separate what you want to hear from the background noise, and then direct this processed signal into your ear, using a speaker.
Who is a Candidate for Hearing Aids?
Everyone occasionally misunderstands what others may be saying and may ask for clarification. However, people with hearing loss often do this more than they are aware. The request to repeat a statement or question is often more noticeable to those close to the person with hearing loss, such as friends, coworkers, or a spouse.
You may be a good candidate for a hearing aid if:
- The voices of others sound as if they are mumbling
- It is difficult to understand what someone is saying if their back is to you
- You find yourself staring at people’s mouths to help you understand what they say
- You need to turn the volume up on the television to understand what is said
It is quite normal for people who could benefit from hearing aids to believe their hearing is normal. This is because only certain pitches may be affected. A person with hearing loss may feel like they can hear but misunderstand certain tones and voices.
What are the Benefits of Hearing Aids?
Studies indicate that hearing aids offer psychological, social, and physical benefits that then correlate to a better quality of life. Specific ways in which this can happen include:
- Being more capable of engaging in conversation with loved ones and colleagues.
- Enjoying higher-quality relationships as a result of improved engagement.
- Feeling more confident in professional and social situations.
- Having a generally better sense of self-esteem.
- Increasing productivity at work and a better ability to concentrate on all types of tasks.
- Feeling more energetic, independent, and secure.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Almost all hearing aids function similarly, regardless of their fit or general style. This device works by taking in sound from one’s immediate environment and sending what comes in through a miniature microphone. This microphone amplifies the sound as it is converted into a digital or electronic signal in a way that meets the wearer’s individual needs. When you come for your consultation at Comprehensive ENT our audiologist will consider many factors and help guide you toward the best hearing aid style for you. For those with mild to severe hearing loss, hearing aids are usually the most common treatment option.
What to Look for When Choosing a Hearing Aid
After a thorough audiology screening, our audiologists discuss what type of hearing aids would be suitable to meet your needs. In addition to the information obtained from a hearing test, hearing aid selection takes into account your preferences and lifestyle. Most people need a hearing aid for both ears. Wearing two hearing aids allows more information to reach your brain and makes it easier to hear speech against background noise. With two hearing aids, you will enjoy more balanced hearing, and you will be more able to tell where a sound is coming from. In much the same way you would wear two corrective eyeglass lenses to treat a vision problem, it makes sense to fully address hearing loss in both ears, with two hearing aids.
What is a Hearing Aid Fitting?
- On your first visit, called the “hearing aid consultation”, our audiologists will take the time to discuss at length your hearing loss, lifestyle, and your expectations in order to make the most appropriate hearing aid recommendation(s). Different models of hearing aids may be tried to help you experience what each feels and sounds like. Options across various price points can be discussed at this time. Once you have decided on the hearing aid that meets your needs, one will be ordered for you. If necessary, our audiologists will make impressions of your ear in order to provide a custom-fit hearing aid.
- Approximately one to two weeks later, you will return to our clinic for your hearing aid fitting. During this visit, our audiologist will check the physical fit to make sure they are comfortable. Your hearing aids will then be programmed and adjusted for your specific hearing loss and listening needs. You will practice inserting and removing the hearing aids from your ears, learn how to change the batteries, and adjust the controls (if your hearing aid has manual controls). In addition, you will learn how to clean and care for them properly. Payment in full is expected upon receiving the hearing aids.
- Approximately two weeks after you receive your hearing aids, we recommend that you return to the clinic to fine-tune and adjust your hearing aids. During this visit we will discuss how your hearing aids are working. We suggest that patients keep a journal of how the hearing aids are working in different environments. Based upon these reports, we can address any concerns and make adjustments.
- You will be given the opportunity to use the hearing aids for 30 days after the initial fitting. If you find that you are unable to benefit from the use of the aids, or are not satisfied for any reason, the hearing aids may be returned but must be returned in good condition.
Call Comprehensive ENT at 303-798-1309 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
What Hearing Aid Brands do you Carry?
- GN Resound
- Sonic Innovations
What is the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser?
While both hearing aid dispensers and audiologists can evaluate your hearing and fit hearing aids, their required training varies significantly. Audiologists must have a doctoral or master's degree, pass national and state exams, and have more than 1800 hours of clinical training before they graduate. Hearing Instrument Specialists generally have from six months to two years of supervised training and in some states must pass a licensing test. All of our providers that specialize in hearing aids are Doctors of Audiology.
How Often do Hearing Aids Need to be Replaced?
Hearing aids can last anywhere from 3 to 7 years. The lifespan of a hearing aid will depend somewhat on the type of device, how well the device is maintained over time, and the progression of your hearing loss.