So, You Picked Out Your Hearing Aid, Now What?

Well, you did it. You took the plunge, called the doc and had your hearing tested. With the results in hand, your American Fork audiologist recommended a pair of hearing aids to treat your hearing loss. After much deliberation over the style, additional features and price point, you and your audiologist finally settled on the right device for you. Now what?

Hearing Aid Fitting

hearing aid fitting

Now comes the hearing aid fitting, which involves programming your hearing aids and making adjustments to provide the correct levels of amplification for your particular hearing loss. Counseling is also provided in your fitting appointment to ensure you have realistic expectations. Both of these components are crucial for long-term success.

Preparing you for how hearing aids will change your life is important. Many people think that hearing aids work like glasses; all you have to do it put them on and your senses will be back to normal. Unfortunately, hearing aids take a little getting used to. If you are not properly prepared for the road ahead, you can easily become discouraged and give up on improving your hearing.

 Programing Your Hearing Aid

Next comes the actual fitting of the devices. Not only do the devices need to fit comfortably in your ear, they need to be programmed to match your degree of hearing loss. To do this the hearing aid will be placed in your ear and turned on. Your American Fork audiologist will then measure the sound coming through the device to make sure it matches your amplification needs.

 

Maintaining Your Hearing Aid

Finally, your American Fork audiologist will discuss how to take care of and maintain your devices. You will learn how to use them correctly and make adjustments for different hearing environments, insert and remove them from your ear, change the batteries and clean and care for them properly. You will also learn tips and strategies for better communication.

 

A follow-up visit will be scheduled a few weeks after your initial fitting. During this appointment, your audiologist will fine-tune and adjust your hearing aids as needed as well as answer any questions you may have. It may take a while to adjust your hearing aids to their maximum effectiveness, so additional fitting appointments may be needed.

 

You’re in the final leg of the race toward better hearing. These final few steps ensure that your hearing aids work as well as possible, which is really the whole point.

 

Concussions and Hearing Loss

Concussions and hearing loss Common Concussion Symptom: Hearing Loss

Car crashes, contact sports and falls are the leading causes of concussions in Spanish Fork. This type of traumatic brain injury is caused by a sudden acceleration or deceleration to the head.

Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, fatigue and vomiting.

Hearing loss is another common symptom that is typically not discussed. The force required to cause a brain injury can also damage the bones in the middle ear or fracture the inner ear or cochlea. An injury to the portion of the brain that interprets or processes sound can also lead to hearing loss.

After a concussion, your trusted Spanish Fork audiologist agrees that you need to seek medical attention immediately. The following series of tests are typically performed after a patient suffers a concussion:

  • Neurological evaluation. This measures your sensory and motor responses, including your vision, hearing, balance and coordination.
  • Cognitive tests. These evaluate your ability to think.
  • Imaging tests. Those such as cranial computerized tomography (CT) or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to see if there is any physical injury or bleeding inside your skull.
  • Observation. This is the simplest and most important test. Completed either in the hospital or at home, your symptoms must be monitored for at least 24 hours following the concussion in order to make sure symptoms do not get worse.

 

Treating Concussion Symptoms

Most concussion symptoms can be treated with rest. Avoiding physical activity, especially anything that could lead to another head injury, is also recommended. Unfortunately, rest will not take care of your hearing loss.

Your trusted Spanish Fork audiologist will first order a series of hearing tests to confirm your type and degree of hearing loss. Once determined, your Spanish Fork audiologist will be able to create an individualized treatment plan. This plan will most likely require the use of the best hearing aids Spanish Fork has to offer.

While this may seem like a lengthy process, it is necessary for a full recovery.

When Should You Upgrade Your Hearing Aid?

upgrade your hearing aid technologyWhen is the last time you cleaned out your closet? I’m thinking there is a pretty solid chance you still have a few articles of clothing you purchased while you were in high school hanging in the back. Maybe you are waiting for the right occasion to wear your prom dress or you think that the periwinkle blue suite will someday make a comeback. While you may be able to get yourself into the old clothes and they technically still work, covering your body to make it socially acceptable for you to be seen in public, they don’t fit nearly as well as your new clothes. So, the question is… When should you upgrade your hearing aid?

 

Why Upgrade?

If you are using a hearing aid that is more than a few years old to treat your hearing loss, then you should think of it as a piece clothing. Just because it still fits does not mean you should put off buying some new duds. A hearing device with outdated technology cannot provide you with the same hearing experiencing as the newer models. The technology powering older devices just can’t compete with newer models.

Modern hearing devices offer state-of-the-art technology to help millions of people in Utah and throughout the country with hearing loss reconnect with the world around them. These devices can improve your quality of life by helping you reconnect with others.

 

We know most people are not anxious to spend a few thousand dollars every couple years, especially when their current device seems to work fine. But even though your current hearing aid seems to work, it can’t compete with a new model.

Hearing Aid Technology

New devices contain features like Bluetooth® compatibility for added versatility and ease of use. They are also more compact and comfortable than ever before. Adaptive dual microphones offer outstanding directionality and sound localization, and advanced digital sound processing and ear-to-ear internal communications allow the devices to make automatic adjustments based on the environment.

 

The modern devices analyze the type of sound being received and use advanced algorithms to accurately apply and balance amplification. Important sounds are amplified, and background noise becomes more manageable. This makes it easier for you to understand speech in noisy environments, substantially reduces feedback and creates a more natural listening experience overall.

 

The hearing devices available today can do things that the older models could only dream of. Your Spanish Fork audiologist is able to help you determine the best device for your type and degree of hearing loss. Updating your device will ensure you are able to reconnect with your friends and family and enjoy a better quality of life.

Misconceptions and The Truth Behind Hearing Aids

There are 48 million individuals in Spanish Fork and throughout the country who suffer from hearing loss. Of those individuals, almost 80 percent don’t use a hearing aid. This can be for a number of reasons. Many people incorrectly think that using hearing aids will show the world that they are old. Others may think that using a hearing aid is admitting that they actually have a problem.

hearing aids truths and misconceptions

There are also a lot of preconceived notions about hearing aids that may prevent many from seeking treatment. Below are the common misconceptions and the truth behind each.

Top 5 Hearing Aid Misconceptions

Misconception: Hearing aids will make me look older.

 

Truth:Hearing aids don’t make you look older. Want to know what makes you look older? Not being able to properly hear, understand and communicate with others. If you are concerned with the appearance of the devices, many of today’s hearing instruments are so tiny they fit into your ear canal and are virtually invisible to others.

 

Misconception: Hearing aids aren’t worth the expense.

 

Truth:Can you really put a price on improving your quality of life? Research studies indicate 9 out of 10 people with hearing devices believe their quality of life has improved. Better communication is just one of the benefits of hearing devices; users report improvements in their relationships, emotional and physical wellbeing, self-confidence, sense of humor, mental and cognitive skills and sense of safety.

 

Misconception: Buying hearing aids from an audiologist is a waste of money when you can easily buy them from a big-box retailer or online.

 

Truth:While it is no secret that hearing aids can be purchased for less from a large store or online, it is important to understand what goes into the price at an audiology office. First, your trusted audiologist will perform a series of tests in order to determine your type and degree of hearing loss. This information is used to determine the best hearing aids for you. Once the correct device has been determined, your audiologist will use an extremely sensitive computer to program the device to match your degree of hearing loss. Follow-up visits will be scheduled as well. These visits give your trusted audiologist a chance to fine-tune and adjust the devices to make sure they are working well. This is also the time they would make any necessary repairs. You will never receive their level of care at a large retail store.
BTE-hearing-aids
Misconception: The smaller the hearing aid the better.

 

Truth:Hearing aids have come a long way since the ones you probably remember your parents or grandparents wearing. There are some that are so small they are implanted in the ear canal, making them practically invisible. A device this small can only help those with mild hearing loss. Since these devices are so much smaller, they typically have fewer additional features and a shorter battery life. The models that work for most people are behind-the-ear and receiver-in-the-ear. While slightly more visible, they are suitable for all types of hearing loss and let the user get more from the device. The variety of hearing aid models and styles is often overwhelming; fortunately, your trusted Spanish Fork audiologist will be with you every step of the way.

Misconception: Hearing aids can actually damage your hearing.

 

Truth:A properly fitted and well maintained hearing aid will not cause any additional damage to your hearing.

 

Don’t let your fear of the unknown get in the way of improving your hearing. Contact your local Spanish Fork audiologist to get started.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Better Hearing for the New Year

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.

treat your hearing loss

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.

 

The Importance of Speech Sounds to Your Hearing

In addition to being restorative to a person’s spirit, engaging in regular social interaction can also positively affect health. Several studies have highlighted the impacts of socialization on the body. Without it, individuals are at a higher risk of developing serious health conditions, including depression and elevated blood pressure. The health benefits of social bonds even extend to our auditory system. To better understand this phenomenon, a research team at Georgia State University conducted a study on the impacts of socially significant sounds on hearing ability.

hearing loss and sound

Using green tree frogs, which have relatively simple forms of communication, the researchers examined the consequences of social isolation on sound perception. For 10 consecutive nights, two groups of frogs, a control group and test group, were subjected to varying sounds. While the control group heard a series of random sounds, the test group heard socially important sounds—their species’ calls—just as they would in the wild.

 

Just as humans rely on speech, the species-specific calls have great significance to the green tree frog, as they facilitate social behavior. When the test group was exposed to these socially meaningful calls, they were shown to be more sensitive to these sounds than the control group.

 

The study suggests that more social interaction increases your capacity to understand social sounds. It also shows that these sounds can physically modify the ear to increase sensitivity, though the precise location of this change is unknown.

 

The research has substantial implications for socially isolated humans, such as individuals in nursing homes and prisoners, who are likely to communicate less frequently. It could also have importance for the hearing impaired community as well, who sometimes struggle to hear speech frequencies.

 

Our ability to hear keeps us connected to the world around, so the maintenance of our auditory system should be a priority. In order to prevent hearing loss from impacting your life, you should use hearing protection in environments with unsafe noise levels and receive annual audiology tests to monitor your hearing. To schedule a consultation with a local Spanish Fork audiologist, we encourage you to contact our staff at 801-763-0724.

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Have You Heard? Exercise is Good for Your Hearing

To say exercise is beneficial isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Chances are, you already know it is good for you. But do you know how good? In addition to improved mood, a healthier heart and reduced risk of weight-related illness, regular physical activity may also be beneficial to your hearing. A recent study conducted as University of Florida has shown exercise to decrease the likelihood to developing age-related hearing loss in mice.

hearing loss and exercise

Age-related deterioration of the auditory system is one of the most common hearing loss causes. Hearing loss occurs gradually over many years as the result of damage to delicate hair cells of the inner ear and other parts in the auditory system. Loss of hearing is one of the most common conditions impacting seniors, as approximately 70 percent of individuals over 69 years of age have some degree of hearing loss.

 

Our auditory system needs to be well oxygenated in order to be healthy.  The researchers at the University of Florida, among other things, studied the effects of oxygen on our hearing. Using two groups of mice, one with access to an exercise wheel and one without, the research team examined the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle on the animals.

 

The results of the study show that age-related inflammation results in damage to the the cells of the auditory system, a factor the active group were able to reduce by about 50 percent. The active group also had a much lower rate of auditory damage. While the sedentary mice experienced hearing loss at a rate of about 20 percent, only 5 percent of the active group had hearing loss.

 

The medical community hopes that these findings may also be applicable to humans. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (HIH) has already placed their bets on this theory. They are currently funding research to explore the molecules released during exercise and how they could be utilized to preserve hearing health.

 

While these solutions are not yet available to the general public, there are ways to maintain your auditory system. Audiologists recommend that people over the age of 50 receive annual hearing tests to monitor their hearing. Getting regular hearing exams can help individuals take control of their auditory health and, when necessary, treat hearing loss before unwanted complications arise. To find an audiologist in American Fork, we encourage you to contact our team. Our team of expert providers have been offering exceptional patient care to the American Fork community for years. To learn more about our services, call 801-763-0724.

 

A Senior’s Guide to Hearing Tests

Experts recommend that individuals over 50 should get an annual hearing test. If you haven’t already heard the news, you might be overdue for your screening!

hearing test spanish fork

Why You Need to Be Tested

It is true that hearing loss affects individuals of all ages and demographics. However, the correlation between hearing loss and aging is particularly strong. Throughout our lifetime, we are knowingly or inadvertently exposed to unsafe noise levels. This has a cumulative effect that can increase the risk of hearing loss in people over 50.

 

The Risks of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not an isolated condition. When left untreated, hearing loss can impact other areas of your health, including your mental, emotional and physical health. Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, heightened anxiety and a decline in cognitive function. It also has social impacts and has been shown to negatively impact relationships and work performance.

 

Types of Hearing Tests

A variety of hearing tests available to the public, ranging in sophistication.

Basic Hearing Screener: These types of tests can be conducted online, over the phone or in your primary care physician’s office. These test are designed to determine if there a hearing loss might be present on a pass/fail basis. If the test suggests some degree of impairment may exist, further testing is required to formally diagnose the hearing loss.

Hearing Evaluation: A formal evaluation needs to be conducted by a doctor of audiology. This process is more involved than a basic screener and provides a detailed analysis of your specific type hearing loss.

 

How to Get Tested

A baseline test should be conducted by a local audiology professional to determine your current level of hearing capabilities. The baseline test will be used to as a way to compare your hearing results over time. After getting your baseline exam, ask your hearing professional if you should receive a full examination every year or if a basic screener would be sufficient. If you are more at risk for hearing loss, your audiologist may suggest complete annual examinations.

 

If you haven’t had your hearing tested in the last year, schedule a consultation with a hearing health provider today. To find a trusted audiologist in American Fork, contact our team today. Our highly skilled professionals provide exceptional patient care, working to fit each individual with the best hearing aids for their specific type of hearing loss. Learn more about our services by calling 801-763-0724.

 

Did Your Pet Eat Your Hearing Aid?

Our pets fill many roles in our lives. They are simultaneously our friends, adventure partners and furry children. When we welcome pets into our homes, we welcome all of the joy, frustration and heartbreak that accompanies them. It’s no secret that animals—looking at you, puppies—can wreak havoc on our homes and prized possessions. Often, this is harmless, but on occasion your pet might get into something that has the potential to harm them, such as hearing aids or hearing aid batteries. If you own a pet, be sure you know how to identify and treat an animal who has been exposed to toxic hearing aid components.
 
hearing aids are bad for pets

Cases of animals ingesting hearing aids are more common than you might realize. This is problematic, as hearing aid batteries are highly toxic to pets. If your dog or cat has eaten a hearing aid battery, they may exhibit the following symptoms:

 

  • Red, raw appearance or white/gray coloring of the tongue
  • Heavy drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lack of appetite, or eating very slowly/carefully
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Whimper or crying

 

When pets ingest batteries of hearing aids, the corrosive battery acid may cause damage to their insides. For this reason, it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet. The Pet Poison Hotline recommends flushing your pet’s mouth with lukewarm water for up to 20 minutes, but urges pet owners NOT to induce vomiting. Due to the destructive nature of the battery liquid, vomiting may cause additional harm to your pet’s esophagus.

 

If you wear listening devices and are concerned about your pet’s safety, an audiology professional will be able to provide tips on the safe storage of your devices. To schedule a consultation with one of the premier hearing aid doctors in American Fork, contact our office today. Our patient-focused staff provides a range of hearing and balance services, including custom hearing protection products, advanced diagnostics and treatments, and the distribution of the industry’s best hearing aids. Schedule a consultation today at 801-763-0724.

How Insects Are Shaping the Future of Hearing Aids

Experts in the field of hearing health have long studied the intricacies of the human ear in order to improve the functionality of hearing aids. As a result, digital technologies have adapted to how our auditory system functions in order to more effectively treat cases of hearing loss. However, inspiration also derives from the natural environment. Recently, scientists have begun to look at insects. By gaining a better understanding of their biomechanics, we may be able to improve our current hearing aid technology.

insects and hearing aids

In an effort to improve current hearing aid technology, researchers have started looking at different insects with efficient sound delivery and processing methods. One of the notable insects they are studying is the cricket. Crickets are able to transmit loud chirping sounds by rubbing their stiff, jagged wings together. Scientists are attempting to replicate these bio acoustics in order to create a more powerful hearing aid speaker. Laser vibration and computer simulations are being used to test this concept.

Experts are also interested in the way insects are able to process sound. Hearing aids use a digital signal processor (DSP) to convert sounds into digital information. The sounds are then amplified or filtered to create the desired hearing environment. The locust is known to have an advanced ability to amplify incoming sounds, and scientists are interested in using these mechanics in the microphone of the hearing devices.

Additionally, the locust has a membrane that is capable of filtering out specific frequencies. If scientists are able to replicate an automatic frequency separation in the hearing aid microphone, this could make devices more efficient, smaller in size and help preserve battery life.

When it comes to treating hearing loss, there is still a lot to be learned. As the medical community delves deeper into the world of creepy-crawlies, the hearing health industry may reap the benefits. In the meantime, it is important to remain proactive about your hearing health. If you suspect you or a loved one may have some degree of hearing loss, we can help. At Timpanogos Hearing & Balance, our team of trusted audiologists perform hearing diagnostics, provide personalized treatment options and dispense the best hearing aids in American Fork. To learn more about our services, contact our team today!