2017 is finally upon us. Actually is has been here for a few weeks now, but I bet you are still writing 16 on any important documents. The new year is a time for reflection, looking at your life and determining where you can make improvements. If you are one of the nearly 48 million Americans in American Fork and throughout America with hearing loss, this is the time to finally do something about it.
Most individuals with hearing loss will wait an average of seven years before seeking help. This is usually due to the fact that they don’t want to admit they actually have a problem and they think using a hearing aid will make them feel (and look) old.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step on your road to recovery, and the hearing aids you think make you look old are not being produced anymore. The hearing aids of your parents or grandparents’ generation are nothing like the sleek models of today. Modern devices contain features like Bluetooth® compatibility for added versatility and ease of use. Your American Fork audiologist will help you determine the correct device for your type and degree of hearing loss.
Before your audiologist can make a determination, you will need to complete a screening visit. This involves a series of tests in order to confirm your degree of hearing loss. The two most important tests are pure-tone and speech testing.
Pure-tone testing is able to determine the faintest tones you can hear at a variety of pitches. The test requires you to sit in a specially designed sound booth while you wear a pair of headphones. A variety of tones will be played through the headphones. Every time you hear a sound you will be asked to raise your hand or press a button. The results of this test will be recorded on an audiogram, which is a visual representation of how well you can hear.
Speech testing is used to determine how well you understand speech. The tester will read a list of words aloud. You will then be asked to either indicate if you heard each word or recite the list of words back to the tester. Your speech reception threshold (SRT) and speech detection threshold (SDT) will be measured. These results are also recorded on an audiogram.
Once your type and degree of hearing loss is determined, your American Folk audiologist will be able to help you decide on the right treatment. For most patients, this will be the use of a hearing aid.
With the addition of hearing aids to chain stores, there are more places than ever to purchase listening devices. To make matters more complicated, there are also different types of hearing aid providers to consider. In the world of hearing health, there are different tiers of hearing care professionals. Understanding these key differences will allow you to make educated decisions regarding your hearing health.
Hearing Instrument Specialists (HIS)
Also known as hearing aid specialists or simply “dispensers,” these professionals are trained in hearing evaluations and fittings. Their knowledge is often gained on-the-job and does not require formalized training, though a few two-year hearing instrument science programs do exist. In order to receive a license to dispense, an individual must have either a diploma or GED and pass a qualifying exam. A hearing instrument specialist can test for hearing loss, select and sell hearing aids and take ear impressions for custom earmolds.
An audiologist is considered an expert in the field of audiology. In order to become an audiologist, one must complete 6-8 years of higher education at either the doctorate or master level. In addition to the selection and fitting of hearing aids, audiologists are able to provide thorough diagnostics, evaluation and treatment for hearing and balance disorders.
The greatest difference between these two types of providers is their level of expertise. Both will strive to fit you with the best hearing aids possible, but the decision on which provider to select will ultimately be formed by your needs. Once it has been determined that your hearing loss does not require medical treatment, a hearing instrument specialist will be able to dispense a hearing device. If thorough diagnostics or medical treatment are required, you’ll want to visit an audiologist.
Regardless of which professional you choose, the important thing is that you are proactive about your hearing health. If you’re looking for a trusted audiologist in American Fork, we can help. Our staff specializes in providing patient-focused treatments for a range of hearing and balance disorders. For more information, we welcome you to contact our team at 801-763-0724!
As veterans in the hearing health industry, we’ve helped people from all walks of life address their hearing loss. For many of those individuals, the beginning of their journey is plagued by the unknown and can feel isolating, but you don’t need to face this alone. In order to help those new to hearing loss, we’ve create a list of best practices.
- 1. Listen to your loved ones. Often, individuals with hearing loss are slow to seek treatment. Our brains tend to adjust to the loss of hearing, which can mask the severity of the condition. If those around you express concern regarding a hearing loss, listen to them; their judgment is often more accurate than your own.
- 2. Find an audiologist you trust. When looking for a hearing health professional, you want to be sure your provider is able to provide holistic care. In addition to dispensing hearing aids, an audiologist is also an expert at diagnosing and treating a range of hearing and balance disorders.
- 3. Schedule a consultation & hearing test. Once you’ve found your trusted audiologist, schedule a private consultation and hearing test. Audiology practices may book these appointments in succession or break them into parts. This process will include a hearing test, which will provide diagnostics on your specific type of hearing loss, and a consultation with your doctor to discuss treatment options or other relevant information.
- 4. Prepare for your appointment. Prior to your appointment, do some basic research so you can prepare questions for your doctor. For example, you might want to ask specific questions about hearing aid styles or inquire about consumer protection laws. The more you know going into the appointment, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Also be sure to bring insurance, prior hearing test results and a close companion. Doing so will allow your doctor to understand your hearing loss on a deeper level.
- 5. Try out multiple hearing aids. During your appointment, your audiologist will ask you questions regarding your hearing loss and lifestyle. Based on the answers provided by you and your companion, your provider will present a recommendation on which devices will best treat your loss. It can take your ears time to acclimate to hearing aids, so don’t be afraid to test out a few different styles. Only after wearing them for an extended amount of time will you know if the device is right for you.
If you or a loved one are dealing with hearing loss, we can help provide the information and resources to ensure you receive the most advanced care possible. To get more information, or to find out about your options for the best hearing aids in American Fork, contact our staff at 801-763-0724.
As seasoned experts in the hearing health industry, our staff has witnessed many changes in the hearing aid market. The most recent has been the addition of big box and online retailers. This expansion of the market has inadvertently caused confusion among consumers. We often speak with patients who feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to purchase new hearing aids. There are more choices than ever before, but how do you know what device will work for you? In order to find the best hearing aids, you first need to find a well-qualified provider. We’ve explained some of the key things to look for when researching hearing health experts.
Find a Patient-Focused Practice
When considering where to see a hearing aid doctor, it is important to consider the institution as a whole. Perhaps the largest discrepancy between the chain stores and private practices is the level of care. You want to be sure that your clinic has your best interests at heart. Private practices and audiology clinics are more equipped than a big box retailer to handle a spectrum of hearing-related concerns.
Understanding Hearing Technology
Inventory typically varies between dispensers. Before going in for a consultation, consider asking the front office staff which hearing devices they carry. If they carry several manufacturers, you are more likely to receive a device that treats your specific type of hearing loss. Some institutions, including chain stores, only carry a limited set of hearing aids. This allows them to purchase them in larger quantities for a discounted rate; however, you might be fit with a device that is “one size fits all.” Do some research on the latest advances in hearing technology. That way, you can ensure the device you get includes all the features you’ll require.
When you purchase your hearing devices, you may have the option to go with a bundled or unbundled plan. A bundled plan includes additional fittings, repair and other services that your devices may require built into the total cost of your device. Unbundled plans allow you to purchase the devices at a lower fee, but may not include the same follow-up care. If you’re a first-time hearing aid buyer, a bundled plan may give you more flexibility to adjust to your new devices. Talk with your provider about the payment options and other services they offer
When you find a hearing provider that understands your needs, you can ensure you are getting the best hearing aids. American Fork is fortunate to have experts in the hearing health industry. For advice on issues concerning hearing health, hearing protection and balance disorders, we welcome you to contact our staff at 801-763-0724.
As health care professionals, we often receive questions about where to buy hearing aids. The hearing aid industry has changed considerably in the last decade due to the addition of big box outlets and online retailers, and many consumers are overwhelmed by the numerous options available. Despite these changes to the market, the process of finding the perfect hearing aid has remained relatively consistent. By following the steps outlined below, you can successfully navigate the world of hearing health.
Step 1: Find an audiologist in your area.
In order to receive the best treatment possible, you need an experienced professional. Audiologists are experts in the field of hearing health, specializing in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Having received a Doctorate of Audiology, their qualifications far exceed those of hearing aid dispensers and hearing aid specialists. When selecting your audiologist, be sure they will provide exceptional follow-up care.
Step 2: Schedule a hearing test and consultation.
Hearing loss is a condition that affects each individual differently. In order to find a product that will effectively treat your hearing loss, you must receive a diagnosis on your hearing loss.
Step 3: Prepare for your appointment.
There are a few ways you can plan for your consultation that will ensure you get the most out of the experience. Check with the front office staff to find out if your insurance will require a referral. The day of your appointment, be sure to bring your ID, insurance card, any previous hearing aids or hearing test results and a close companion. They will be able to provide further insight into your hearing loss.
Step 4: Be open to trial and error.
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a hearing device, your journey to improved hearing is well underway, but not yet complete. Keep in mind that it can take up to a month to acclimate to your new devices. Additional fittings and adjustments may be required in order for them to provide the maximum benefit.
The road to improved hearing health may at times seem daunting, but you don’t need to travel it alone. At Timpanogos Hearing & Balance, we strive to provide exceptional patient care and expertise that will make the destination well worth the journey. If you or someone you love is affected by hearing loss, contact our office at 801-763-0724.