Hearing Assessment

Why bring someone to a hearing test?

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Hearing Aids

Hearing Aid Buyers Guide

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Why bring someone to a hearing test?

Recently, I made an appointment for my father’s hearing assessment with a local audiologist. The woman who confirmed the appointment reminded me that he needed to bring someone to the hearing test. It may seem like an unusual request, but bringing someone to a hearing test can help ensure a higher-quality outcome. It’s best to bring the person who speaks with him most to take part in the familiar voice test. So, last Thursday I joined my dad at the audiologist’s office and I’m so glad I went.

Helping Dad hear better means helping myself

Before I even called, Dad was already a bit reluctant to address his hearing loss. He had a lot of denial about how much he was missing. At 93 years old, he had survived a lifetime without hearing aids, but as his daughter I was tired of constantly having to repeat things, and explain what doctors, friends and even my kids say. Finally, I insisted that he get a free hearing assessment* and eventually he agreed to see what the audiologist had to say.

A hearing assessment starts with a conversation with the audiologist

As expected, the hearing assessment began with the audiologist asking routine questions about Dad’s health. He asked about how well Dad hears in various situations. It seemed the audiologist was not only trying to learn what his needs may be, but also how well Dad could follow along a discussion in a quiet space. 

In the booth

After our talk, the audiologist invited Dad to sit in a booth and listen to tones at different frequencies and volumes. Dad was asked to indicate when he heard something. From my vantage point (outside the booth), I could see the audiologist press buttons, which my Dad didn’t hear. As soon as it was finished, the audiologist explained what the audiogram indicated. As with many older seniors, Dad had below-normal hearing across all frequencies, but he had the most difficulty with higher-pitched sounds. Dad was a bit disappointed to see the results, but I don’t think he was surprised.

The audiologist explained the audiogram key to explain the results. The audiogram showed the conclusions of both the air conduction and bone conduction hearing tests. 

My part in a familiar voice hearing test

A familiar voice hearing test is the main reason to bring someone to a hearing test. It provides a chance for a hearing care provider to see how well an individual understands words spoken by someone close to them. This was when the family member or close friend takes a more active role in the appointment. The audiologist asked me to step into the hallway, about eight feet from where my Dad was sitting. 

Can you hear me now?

As I stood a short distance away, the audiologist asked me to read a list of high-frequency words and have my Dad repeat them.

I said, “pail.”

Dad said, “nail.”

I said, “face.” 

Dad said, “late.”

And so on. It was quite fun to see what I had suspected. His score wasn’t great. Without a hearing aid, Dad only heard three out of ten words correctly. When he heard the outcome, Dad was even more disappointed than with the audiogram. He couldn’t deny it. He couldn’t hear me speaking to him only a few steps away. The audiologist, my Dad and I all witnessed it. 

Getting a different result: a familiar voice hearing test with hearing aids

I have to admit I was feeling a bit vindicated. I’ve been complaining that my father can’t hear me for years. The audiologist popped fresh batteries in a pair of behind-the-ear hearing aids and had him try them on. They were light and comfortable, and a slightly beige color that matched my dad’s coloring. The audiologist asked me to go back into the hallway and repeat the test. 

I said, “cup.”

Dad said, “cup.”

I said, “peach.” 

Dad said, “peach.”

I said, “pew.”

Dad said, “few.”

This time, Dad heard 7 out of 10 words. It was a vast improvement. He was very pleased. 

Another familiar voice hearing test…

With my dad still wearing the hearing aids, the audiologist asked me to walk down the hallway, about 15 or 20 feet away. The audiologist turned off the hearing aids. He asked me to speak in a normal volume and talk about what we were planning to have for dinner. Dad didn’t notice that I’d said anything at all. Once he turned the hearing aids back on, I repeated that I was planning go to the grocery store, and then we would have chicken for dinner. This time Dad heard and repeated every word.  

Why bring someone to a hearing test? Because hearing loved ones matters

My dad lives with me. He is accustomed to the cadence of my voice. Without even thinking about it, he knows that my vowels sound a certain way. Across the United States, we have a variety of regional accents. Even people who grow up in the same town may use different intonations. With familiar voice testing, it is easier for the individual to understand speech in a familiar voice test. 

Next steps: getting a hearing aid and getting used to it

Even experiencing firsthand how well hearing aids improved his ability to understand a conversation and hear people speaking from afar, my 93 year old is very set in his ways. So, I gave a gentle push. 

Improving a senior’s quality of life

For 93 years old, Dad is in incredible shape. He has many activities where hearing well would improve his quality of life. He enjoys playing piano, eating in restaurants, watching Perry Mason and NOVA on TV, and, of course, spending time with family. All of these things would be easier if he could hear better. It wasn’t until I mentioned that he should be able to hear the announcer during soccer matches that he finally agreed that hearing aids would improve his quality of life.

I can’t wait until his new hearing aids arrive. After years of watching him miss a lot of the conversation at family dinners, I’m pleased he’s finally taking the opportunity to hear better. At 93, it might be an big adjustment for him, but after a few weeks he may wonder how he survived decades without hearing aids.

It might be time to book their appointment. Then you can enjoy it when they are asked to bring someone to their free hearing assessment.*

Remember: The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the patient(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.

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Hearing Aid Buyers Guide

Buying a hearing aid is not like any other purchase. It’s more of a process than a transaction. The industry has a lot of technical information, which can seem very overwhelming. We made this buyers guide to help simplify buying a hearing aid.

The Process – Step by Step

Do some research, knowledge is power!

Get familiar with different model types and features. Think about your needs. Do you need a more discrete aid? Or do you need one that’s suitable for wearing while engaging in sports.

Look into financial assistance.

Will your insurance cover any of the costs? If not, there are other avenues to explore. Veterans can contact the Veterans Administration. If you work, look for local vocational rehabilitation programs. Look for charities and check The Better Hearing Institute [] and the Hearing Loss Association [], which list Federal and State financial assistance.

Read reviews and testimonials for Hearing Care Providers close to you.

The American Academy of Audiologists [] lists providers by locale. Once you’ve found a provider, make an appointment to get your hearing tested so that you can learn more about the details of your hearing loss.

Check the contract for what is included in the price.

You will likely need a few adjustments after your initial fitting, and may possibly require repairs and maintenance/cleaning too. Ensure you check warranty period, aftercare instructions and information about loss and batteries. The Hearing Loss Association of America provides a good checklist [….

Look after your new hearing aids and your hearing.

If you find yourself turning the volume up, book in for a follow up appointment. Something may have changed either on your settings or your hearing.

Avoid these Mistakes

  • We do not recommend buying a hearing aid either online or over the counter. Studies show very clearly that satisfaction is much higher in people who have had proper fittings and support.
  • At your appointment, explain your lifestyle or cosmetic needs and your budget. Help the professional suggest the best hearing aid for you. Remember your research and buy what you need.
  • Do not miss follow up appointments. However good your hearing aid is, if it’s not properly adjusted for you it’s not going to do its job or be worth the investment.
  • Check if there is a Money-Back Guarantee or a Trial Period. Be sure to go back to the provider if you are not happy with your purchase.
  • Consider products from different manufacturers to compare what’s available in the market.
  • Used hearing aids are a bad idea. Don’t take chances.
  • Don’t get scared off by the initial outlay. Instead consider the value over time, the price covers skilled care not just the product. It is also an investment for a better hearing future which is priceless.

Hearing aids are a significant investment that can dramatically improve many areas of your life. Protecting your income if you are of working age, reducing your risks for health conditions such as dementia, depression and high blood pressure. And generally enriching your quality of life. Please don’t delay any longer, our caring professionals can support you through every step of the process. Call us today on 864-325-3584 or click here to request an appointment.

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Hearing Aids Can Keep Seniors Out of the ER

Hearing Loss is one of the most common conditions for those over 65. But is there a link between hearing aid use and how older people use the health care system?

A recent study by Elham Mahmoudi and her colleagues at the University Michigan (who have been personally impacted by hearing loss), has been looking into this.

Over a one year period, they looked at a group of 1,336 people between 65 and 85 who have a severe hearing loss. Of the study participants, only 45% of them were using a hearing aid.

These are the main findings…

  • Hearing aid users were less likely to have gone to an emergency room or spent time in the hospital within the past year.
  • If hospitalized, those with hearing aids typically stayed half a day less than those without hearing aids.
  • Hearing aid users were more likely to have gone to a doctor’s office in the past year.
  • They also tended to go more times per year.
  • Hearing aid users were less likely to have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Over the year, those with hearing aids had higher medical costs than those without. This was primarily due to to the expense of multiple appointments and the purchase of hearing aids or related accessories.

More research needs to be done to measure cost effectiveness, i.e. if hearing aids pay for themselves by enabling seniors to avoid the ER. The team are now looking at data covering a 5 year span. It is supposed that as office based visits are cheaper than hospital visits, those with hearing aids will ultimately end up saving in the long term.

How could hearing aids help your health and health costs?

  1. Hearing loss is associated with isolation and reduced communication. Hearing Aids improve this, and help provide renewed sense of confidence in their wearers. This can make individuals more likely to speak to someone about potential health issues sooner.
  2. Hearing aids can allow for a more active life. Helping to avoid common health conditions.
  3. Doctor visits are cheaper than hospital visits – so don’t put things off until they are so bad that you need emergency care.
  4. Having improved hearing keeps you safer in the workplace and in everyday situations. This can help wearers avoid accidents, such as trips and falls, thereby helping to reduce visits to the ER.

Hearing aids are often not currently covered by Medicare or insurance. Elham Mahmoudi hopes that the study, as well as the team’s ongoing research, will promote discussions on whether more insurance cover for hearing aids is needed.

The advice we would take from this study is to not delay if you have any symptoms of hearing loss. It really is in your best health and financial interest to start your better hearing journey today. We are “hear” to help guide you through the process. Call us today on 864-325-3584 or click here to request an appointment.

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Is there a link between Osteoporosis and Hearing Loss?

Osteoporosis can affect anyone. In the US, more than 50 million Americans either have Osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it. Osteoporosis causes bone demineralization which significantly weakens and damages bone structure. Making bones fragile and prone to breaking.

Why Would There Be a Link Between Hearing Loss and Osteoporosis?

Within the ear are 3 very small bones that are vital for hearing. Like any bone, they are susceptible to osteoporosis. The eardrum is a membrane that attaches to these bones. To hear sound, soundwaves need to strike against the eardrum. If any or all of the bones are damaged the structure fails to work well, resulting in conductive hearing loss. In 2013, a University of Illinois study reported this link to gradual hearing loss.

A Recent Hearing Loss Study

A more recent study in Taiwan has shown that people with osteoporosis may also be almost twice as likely to develop Sudden Sensorineural onset Hearing Loss (SSHL), compared to people without the bone disease. SSHL is usually experienced in one ear, and occurs either all at once or over a very short time span. Sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage of the inner ear or of damage to the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain.

This study compared people with osteoporosis to people without it, over a period of time. They found that those with osteoporosis were 76 percent more likely to develop SSHL. Women with osteoporosis were 87 percent more likely to develop SSHL.

In the US, 1 in 5000 people will develop SSHL every year. 50% regain their hearing without intervention, 85% regain normal hearing after prompt treatment; i.e. treatment within 2 to 4 weeks of the hearing loss. If you’re experiencing any sudden onset hearing loss, the faster you seek medical advice the better.

What To Do

More research is still required to fully understand the causes and effects of the link between osteoporosis and hearing loss. It is important for individuals who are at risk or suffering from osteoporosis to monitor their hearing and act quickly if they have any concerns. Ensure you’re getting regular check ups with a hearing specialists, and take additional preventative measures to protect your hearing such as:

  • Use earplugs around loud noises.
  • Turn the volume down.
  • Give your ears time to recover.
  • Stop using cotton swabs in your ears.
  • Keep your ears dry.
  • Manage stress levels.

If you want to learn more about the links between osteoporosis and hearing loss, or find out if you may be at risk, speak to one of our hearing specialists today. Call us on 864-325-3584 or click here to Request An Appointment now.

Posted by Admin

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