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Patient Resources

Misconceptions about Hearing Aids

Myth 1: They are uncomfortable and unattractive

Ironically, this myth persists because modern hearing instruments are so well concealed that most people never see them. The styles most people see in public are actually older generation units worn either directly in the ear or in a large behind-the-ear-case. Today's instruments are an astonishing blend of camouflage and miniaturization that disappear behind the ear, tinted to blend with your hair or skin color. They are ultra-light, and you barely feel the receiver as it hovers over your ear canal and delivers natural, vibrant sound.

Myth 2: They will make me look old

The people you meet may not even notice you're wearing a hearing device. But, you'll notice a huge difference in how you communicate with them. Today's hearing devices let you hear what you need to hear with greater comfort and convenience. They are discreet and elegant.

Myth 3: Hearing instruments are not for me. Not yet anyway...

People who believe they have only slightly impaired hearing make the mistake of thinking that they don't have much to gain from a hearing instrument. It's a shame, because they waste years of their lives coping and adapting, and missing out on the joy of being more fully engaged with family, friends and colleagues. The only way to understand what you're missing is to try these state-of-the art hearing instruments in your own home, your own office and your own daily life. If you're suffering from hearing loss, you'll see how these devices can pull you back into the more vibrant life you love, in a way that adapting, coping and older hearing technology cannot.

Hearing devices can adapt to the environment so you can follow conversations in a variety of situations—restaurants, phone calls, sporting events. Break out of your shell and redefine your expectations of style and comfort.

Myth 4: They cost a lot of money

While some premium hearing aids can sell for several thousand dollars per pair, there are affordable options available in every price range. Also, more insurance plans now offer a benefit to help with the purchase of hearing aids and easy payment plans are available. Your audiologist can advise you on the best choices and options for you.

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What to expect from a Detailed No-charge Hearing Device Consultation at our Office

  • You should consult a physician (preferably an ENT) first to rule out any underlying medical condition
  • At your first appointment with the Audiologist
    • Consists of Hearing Testing and Hearing Aid Consultation
    • Communication Needs Assessment

      What problems are your hearing loss causing in your life?
      Will you need help with the telephone or the cell phone?
      Do you attend classes, meetings, worship services?
      Can you hear the television well at a normal level?
      Do you eat out at restaurants frequently or do you live in a residential facility? Your audiologist needs to know the answers to all this about you and more in order to make the best recommendation.

    • Hearing Assessment
      • Ear Inspection to make sure there is no excessive wax or reason to refer to a physician
      • Testing – Tone testing for air and bone, and speech understanding as a minimum
    • Review Test Results – explain results in language you can understand and explain effects of hearing loss on daily life
    • Treatment Options

      While hearing aids are usually the recommendation, they aren’t the only answer. You might need accessories to help you hear better on the telephone, cell phone, to listen to television more easily or to hear a companion’s voice in a crowded place. In fact, hearing aids might not be the answer for you. Some other assistive listening device may work better in your situation. Again, your audiologist can best advise you.

    • Demonstration

      Just like a test drive, a demonstration of hearing aids programmed for your hearing loss is the best way to experience what it would be like to wear hearing aids. Often, you have the option of taking the aids home for a few days to try them out in your own surroundings with your family and friends.

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Differences Between an Audiologist and a Hearing Aid Dispenser

While both are hearing healthcare professionals, an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser differ in training, credentialing and scope of practice.

Audiologists are non-physician professionals who identify and assess disorders of the hearing and balance systems of children and adults. Audiologists select, fit, and dispense amplification systems such as hearing aids and related devices; program cochlear implants; and provide instruction, rehabilitation, and counseling services to enhance human communication.

Audiologists must hold a university graduate (doctorate or master) degree in order to practice. They are educated in all functions of the ear and hearing. In the state of California, they must also hold a supplemental certification in order to dispense hearing aids, with the designation, Dispensing Audiologist. Many of the audiologists that dispense hearing aids work with an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor’s office. State laws mandate and define the extensive scope of practice of an audiologist. Audiologic evaluations performed by an audiologist are considered medically diagnostic and can be used by a physician or surgeon to diagnose and treat a patient’s illness, injury or need for surgery. The testing is reimbursable by most medical insurance companies. Audiologists may also be further trained in balance testing and auditory rehabilitation.

In contrast, a hearing aid dispenser must be a high school graduate and 18 years old. Hearing Aid Dispensers are not required to have a college education, however, if they are licensed and Board Certified, they have passed the hearing aid licensing examination, or have undergone a national certification process. Most states also require a number of years working as an apprentice or associate before being eligible to become fully licensed. Testing done by a hearing aid dispenser can only be used for the sale of a hearing device.

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