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Ask the Audiologist: Hearing Aid Basics, Part One

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Hearing Aids: Prescriptions

Q:  I had a hearing test and was told I need hearing aids. Can they write me a prescription to take wherever I want to go like I do with my eyeglasses?   – Michael from Abilene, TX

A:  You can always request a copy of your hearing test. It is part of your medical record and you have a right to the have the information.  In essence, your hearing test acts as your prescription.

We always request a hearing test to be under one year old. The hearing test is used to program your hearing aids so the more current the information the more accurate the settings will be.

Hearing aid fitting is very different than an eyeglass prescription. Eyeglasses are more objectively fit.  Measurements of your eye and your vision are recorded and then those numbers can be fit into the frames of your preference no matter where you go. With hearing aids, every person hears slightly differently at various frequencies and different hearing aids will respond to those subtle differences using their own formulas for best fit. Differences in speech understanding, dexterity and shape of hearing loss can impact what is recommended as well.

How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

Q: How long do hearing aids last?  – Richard

A: Hearing aids generally last 4 to 5 years.

The time frame will vary based on a variety of factors. First, hearing aids need to be maintained. They should be inspected daily for dirt/debris and cleaned as needed. Hearing aids should always be put on AFTER using hairspray or body spray as well. Second, if your hearing aids are exposed to moisture (either from your person or from the environment) then it is wise to invest in a dehumidifier specially made for hearing aids. These can run anywhere from $15 to $200 depending on how fancy you want to get.

Hearing Aids:  One Versus Two

Q:  I know I need hearing assistance. Is there any point to having only one hearing aid? The cost is prohibitive for me to have two.   – William

A:  I always say that two is better than one but one is better than none. I would rather someone have two hearing aids of lower technology than one hearing aid of the best technology. But, one is better than nothing for sure.

We have extensive research that shows us that people fare much better with two hearing aids instead of one.  You will hear better in background noise and will find it significantly easier to localize sounds. The brain has to expend less energy/effort to hear with two ears and there is no fatigue with two (meaning, one ear that essentially gets lazy.)

However, for some people having two is not an option for whatever reason; financial, medical or simply preference. Again, one is absolutely better than none.

by Tammy Flodmand

6 responses to “Ask the Audiologist: Hearing Aid Basics, Part One

  1. I HAVE HAD YOUR AUDICUS HEARING AIDS FOR A YEAR NOW, AND I AM STILL PLEASED WITH THEM. I AM 80 YEARS OLD, AND HAVE USED A NUMBER OF HEARING AIDS, MOST OF THEM IN THE 3 TO 4 THOUSAND DOLLAR RANGE PER SET. I RECOMMEND YOUR HEARING AIDS AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, BUT IT`S HARD TO OVERCOME “THE MORE THEY COST, THE BETTER THEY ARE”. REGARDS, HENRY NEWMAN

  2. I have been diagnosed with severe hearing loss in the high sound range which I have been told is that of women and children. I abhor the thought of a clunky “behind the ear” device on one or both ears. I have difficulty in noisy environments. I know that your lower end “in the ear” devices would not solve all my problems but I would willing trade off less than perfect hearing for slight improvement with a discreet device(s). What do you think?

  3. ):
    I have had my Audicus h.a”s for less than a week. I tried one at the advice of a local audiologist . I then went for the other one as well, and I am much happier. I still think more volume would be helpful, but don,t know if that would improve the situation in a noisy restaurant. What do you think? Please refer to my tests to see if I could benefit from an adjustment. Otherwise, I am very happy with Audicus. Robert Balfoort

  4. I have a Microtech one ear only. Filter is a pain as some times it has to be changed in 24 hrs.
    sometimes two or 3 days. have my ears cleaned every 3 months. Not in a position to
    afford the two to five thousand hearing aids.

  5. Tammy ():
    @Henry: We are so pleased to hear that! We appreciate your attempt for referrals. You are absolutely right. . . many people think more money means better quality but that’s not always the case!

    @Phil: A lot of people feel the same. A smaller hearing aid would help more than wearing nothing for sure. Although I tend to find that once people get a little bit of benefit they want a LOT of benefit. Keep in mind too that the behind-the-ear hearing aids are significantly smaller and more discreet now than they were even 3 or 4 years ago. That being said, you could always start with the smaller in-the-ear and if it doesn’t provide enough benefit you could return and try a behind-the-ear.

    @Bob: We could absolutely help with that. Sounds like an easy reprogramming issue. You can print out our reprogramming form and send them back so we can make adjustments!

    @Bob Try using a dry toothbrush in the morning on your hearing aids. In the morning, the wax has dried up and will flake off much easier but at night it is still sticky. The toothbrush will get in all the crevices and will do wonders to help keep the wax basket clean!

  6. You mentioned that with hearing aids, every person hears slightly differently at various frequencies and different hearing aids will respond to those subtle differences using their own formulas for best fit. My mother turned 75 years old last week and at her birthday party she had a really hard time hearing people. Are there certain types of hearing aids that are better than others?

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