Hearing Myths

  • By proadAccountId-348042
  • 13 Jul, 2016

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Most people who wear hearing aids or know someone who wears hearing aids know that there are myths associated to hearing aids and what the technology offers. There are three big myths that actually keep people from trying hearing technology and miss out on communicating normally.

Myth 1 : “hearing instruments are just amplifiers... And I don’t need more loudness.”

Most old hearing aids attempted to help just by increasing the volume of every sound. But today's devices like Oticon’s new Intiga incorporate the latest breakthroughs in microprocessors design, audio signal processing technology and materials science. So rather than simply turning up the volume, they work by sharpening the focus of what you hear. With instruments such as Intiga, it's easier to understand and respond to a soft, high-pitched voice - a child or an elderly person, for example, because the work to help your brain recognize natural speech cues and noise distraction. Intiga even uses Bluetooth technology to let you stream sound from a TV, phone, computer, or other Bluetooth device, for a high-end audio entertainment experience. So this is not your grandmother’s ear trumpet. Nor is it your father’s case-and-cord hearing aid. A hearing instrument like the Intiga is exquisitely programmable to match your hearing profile. Intiga works with your brain to help you hear more naturally, even in difficult hearing situations.

Myth 2 : “Hearing instruments are uncomfortable and unattractive.”

Ironically, this myth persists because modern hearing instruments like Intiga 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. Instruments like the Intiga are an astonishing blend of camouflage and miniaturization that disappear, tinted to blend with your hair and skin color. They are ultra-light, and you barely feel the Intiga receiver as it hovers over your ear canal and delivers sparkling, vibrant sound.

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

People who believe they have only slightly impaired hearing often 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.

To dispel these myths and seek more information about your hearing loss click on the link below and fill in some information so that you can be evaluated on how well you can hear.
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016

If you have suffered hearing loss in one or both ears and don’t like the idea of wearing traditional hearing aids, Bieri Hearing Specialists can provide you with hearing screenings to determine if Cochlear Implants are right for your needs, in lieu of traditional hearing instruments. Our audiology experts are dedicated to making sure you get the right solutions for your hearing loss problems. Cochlear Implants are state-of-the-art devices that transmit signals that stimulate the cochlear nerve and improve your hearing.

Cochlear Implants work by bypassing the peripheral auditory system, picking up sounds and sending the appropriate signals directly to the cochlear nerve, creating the impression of sound. Most Cochlear Implants consist of the following components:

 

External

  • One or more microphones to pick up sounds in the environment around you.
  • A processor that works to filter sounds, prioritizing the sounds of audible speech.
  • A transmitter which uses electromagnetic induction to send power and signals of processed sound to the internal device.

 

Internal

  • A receiver/stimulator that received the speech processor’s signals and converts them into electric impulses.
  • An electrode array embedded directly into the cochlea.

 

The implant requires a surgical procedure and may require treatments and/or adjustmentsfor the first few months after the procedure to ensure that everything is working properly. We canmeet with you to discuss your hearing loss and determine if Cochlear Implants are right for you. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. 

By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Typically each battery size is the main determining factor in how long each battery will last while in use with the hearing aid. The different battery sizes are ones like 312’s, 13’s, 10’s, and 675’s you probably know what battery you’re using based on the type of hearing aid you have. Normally the bigger the batteries like the 675 and the 13’s the longer they can last.
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Common Misconception

“If I had a hearing impairment, I would know it.” This is a common quote heard by many Audiologists and is not necessarily a true statement. Hearing loss often develops over an extended period of time and the onset is gradual. Our brains naturally adapt over time which is why a hearing loss can sometimes ‘sneak-up’ on people. Audiologists often counsel patients that they cannot know what they are missing if they do not hear it. There may be sounds in your world that are occurring, but you don’t notice them due to your loss; therefore, you don’t know what you are missing. Straining to listen can make it more difficult to communicate with family and friends. It can become physically and emotionally tiring to hear conversation, especially in noisy situations.

-10dB to 25dB Normal to slight hearing loss:   Hearing is within normal limits. Amplification is not necessary.

26dB to 40dB Mild hearing loss:   Will begin to have difficulty understanding faint speech, may have some difficulty in noisy situations. Able to function without amplification, but could be useful to those who are frequently in social or noisy situations.

41dB to 55dB Moderate hearing loss:   Some difficulty in group conversations, noisy backgrounds, faint speech and normal conversational speech. Occasional irritability and withdrawal from certain situations. Slight feeling of confusion in communication situations. Amplification is most likely beneficial.

56dB to 70dB Moderately-Severe hearing loss:   Will frequently ask for statements to be repeated. Will definitely have difficulty in group situations, formal discussions and lectures. Will try to lip read. Will benefit from amplification in everyday situations.

71dB to 90dB Severe Hearing Loss:   Hears only with amplification. Pronounced difficulties in all communicative situations. Will misunderstand many conversations. Their own speech will likely show defects and they will rely on speech reading. Will benefit from amplification in everyday situations.

91dB+ Profound Hearing Loss:   May still have difficulty understanding amplified speech. May not be able to use residual hearing for communication. Amplification may allow hearing of danger signals and important environmental noises, but may still have some difficulty understanding speech.

Noticeable Gestures and Questions when Someone is having Difficulty Hearing

Someone experiencing difficulty hearing or understanding speech will frequently ask you to repeat. They will frequently ask questions like, “what?, I’m sorry?, pardon?, huh?, come again?, aye?, etc….” Noticeable gestures may include cupping their ear toward sounds, leaning into sounds or leaning forward. You may also notice them watching your lip movements and paying special attention to your own gestures to try to comprehend what you are saying.

Unfortunately, it is not often that a person will seek help from an Audiologist or Hearing Professional on their own without prompting from their loved ones or friends. Reasons for this are because of old mis-perceived stigmas associated with the admission of a hearing difficulty. Many think it only happens if you are old and that everyone will see the hearing aid.

The truth is that trouble hearing can arise from many sources including something as simple as seasonal allergies, childhood illnesses or repeated exposure to loud noises. Hearing aids   today are very small about the size of a small paper clip or even smaller. Some ITE (In The Ear) hearing aids can be custom made and implanted directly into the ear canal. If you know someone who would benefit from hearing amplification, please urge them to seek help. At the very least, urge them to use hearing protection to protect what is left of their ability to hear at all. Most hearing aid companies are able to make custom ear plugs.

 *Source: Clark, J.G. (1981). Uses and abuses of hearing loss classification. Asha, 23, 493-500.


Written By: Jenae Schabel & Jennifer Drake, April 2012

By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Hearing evaluations are similar to having your eyesight tested yearly to check for any changes that may have occurred. If you were unable to see clearly, you would not go about your life as though you could see perfectly fine because one, others around you would know there is a problem; two, it would be difficult and; three, it could possibly even be dangerous. The same holds true with loss of hearing. The sense of hearing is one of your most important senses. Without it, you could be missing out on important words or sounds that change meaning of conversations, you could possibly not hear the car horn when crossing the road, you could miss what your granddaughter/grandson just said to you and she/he won't understand why you don't respond. It's like living with your fingers stuck in your ears.

Loss of hearing can be quite devastating not just to the individual, but also to the relationships that individual has with others. If you feel as though you may be having difficulty, gauge your decision to seek help based upon the responses you are getting from your friends and loved ones. The people who are closest to you tend to notice things that you are missing before you do, especially since you may not be able to hear the sounds or words you are missing.

Children should be tested prior to beginning school or even earlier, if they are experiencing difficulty learning. Most schools offer testing for free on specific dates prior to the beginning of the school year. You may also schedule an appointment with an ENT/Ear Nose and Throat doctor. Please be aware that all children with hearing loss are strictly regulated by the ISD/Intermediate School District to maintain their care and treatment in order to ensure the treatment is best suited for the well-being of the child and his/her ability to learn.

Getting a   hearing screening   yearly, is the first step towards ensuring that your sense of hearing is working properly. Sometimes a problem hearing can be as simple as too much build-up of ear wax. If there is a loss wouldn’t you rather hear what you have been missing? Rather than missing out? What are you waiting for? Getting your hearing screened takes only about a half hour to an hour, all you have to do is: sit, listen and respond. Don't delay; get your hearing screened by a hearing professional today!

By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Technology is continuously getting better and better. Cell phones are getting smarter, televisions are getting bigger and brighter, and hearing aids have continued to become smarter and more natural.

One of the really cool things that is now available with certain hearing aid technology is wireless connectivity. Wireless connectivity allows hearing aid users to access their cell phones, television, and portable music devices all with one remote control. Using a wireless Bluetooth connection, the hearing aid can isolate phone conversations and television programming so the user can get the clearest and most natural sound possible.

The wireless connectivity allows users to operate their cell phones hands-free, and the conversation is filtered directly into the hearing aid. It also allows for comfortable television volume for friends and family, whereas the user can control the volume of the television in the hearing aid while others can have the volume at their desired level. No more arguments over the television volume!

There are also options for those who have hearing aids which are not wirelessly compatible. TV Ears work like your own personal speaker, allowing the user to control the volume of the programming without disturbing others in the room. There are also telephones for the hearing impaired which provide added amplification and the ability to transcribe conversations.

If you would like more information on these devices and their availability, contact a hearing professional at Bieri Hearing Specialists to get all of your questions answered.

By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Most people who wear hearing aids or know someone who wears hearing aids know that there are myths associated to hearing aids and what the technology offers. There are three big myths that actually keep people from trying hearing technology and miss out on communicating normally.

Myth 1 : “hearing instruments are just amplifiers... And I don’t need more loudness.”

Most old hearing aids attempted to help just by increasing the volume of every sound. But today's devices like Oticon’s new Intiga incorporate the latest breakthroughs in microprocessors design, audio signal processing technology and materials science. So rather than simply turning up the volume, they work by sharpening the focus of what you hear. With instruments such as Intiga, it's easier to understand and respond to a soft, high-pitched voice - a child or an elderly person, for example, because the work to help your brain recognize natural speech cues and noise distraction. Intiga even uses Bluetooth technology to let you stream sound from a TV, phone, computer, or other Bluetooth device, for a high-end audio entertainment experience. So this is not your grandmother’s ear trumpet. Nor is it your father’s case-and-cord hearing aid. A hearing instrument like the Intiga is exquisitely programmable to match your hearing profile. Intiga works with your brain to help you hear more naturally, even in difficult hearing situations.

Myth 2 : “Hearing instruments are uncomfortable and unattractive.”

Ironically, this myth persists because modern hearing instruments like Intiga 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. Instruments like the Intiga are an astonishing blend of camouflage and miniaturization that disappear, tinted to blend with your hair and skin color. They are ultra-light, and you barely feel the Intiga receiver as it hovers over your ear canal and delivers sparkling, vibrant sound.

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

People who believe they have only slightly impaired hearing often 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.

To dispel these myths and seek more information about your hearing loss click on the link below and fill in some information so that you can be evaluated on how well you can hear.
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Hearing hygiene does not mean listening to clean and wholesome sounds, it means making sure when exposed to noises that are loud or uncomfortable, you take precautions to protect your hearing. Ten million Americans can attribute noise exposure for their loss of hearing. Protecting and preventing the damage is relatively simple and cheap.

There are three ways to protect your hearing: walk away, turn it down, and protect your ears. For the majority of us, the work place or projects at home are where we get our most damaging sound exposure. While we may not be able to walk away from work, steps can be taken to protect your hearing with some simple, personal protective equipment.

The simplest form of hearing protection are foam rubber ear plugs. This type of disposable hearing protection is squeezed down by the user to make them narrower and then gently inserted into the ear canal where they expand. They are cheap, sold by the box, and are comfortable to wear. The next level is the re-usable ear plug made by Howard Leight and other manufacturers. These typically come attached to a plastic chord and may even be attached to the wearer’s safety glasses or worn around the neck. They typically consist of a silicone rubber sleeve with an expanding insert that the user compresses prior to placing in the ear. These are usually more comfortable and are sold in individual cases, so they cost a bit more than the foam ear plugs.

The next traditional level of hearing protection is earmuffs. They are the plastic headphones that provide the ultimate in hearing protection and are reusable. They simply are placed over the head and cover the ears to provide a wide range of noise suppression and safety. But for some users, even these are not enough or the right protection.

In instances where enhancement of natural sounds or voices is needed or channeling of radio communications to the user is a priority while still eliminating exposure to harmful sound levels, then the newest class of noise protection - electronic noise-canceling earplugs are a must. This user may be a police officer or hunter. They need to hear sounds and voices around them, perhaps even amplified, but yet have their hearing protected from the noise created by firearms. The electronic earplug is the unit that can do it all! These units can be found from manufacturers like Pro Ear, Peltor, and Walker’s Game Ears.

If you have questions on what type of ear protection you require, want to purchase hearing protection or find out more about being fitted for electronic earplugs then contact one of the certified hearing professionals or Audiologists at Bieri Hearing.
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
There are several ways to classify hearing aids; the most basic is the style or where the hearing aid is placed for use. The tiniest hearing aids are the Completely in the Canal (CIC) models which are about the size of half a dime and when in use are slid completely in the ear canal these models make seeing the device next to impossible and can ease any self-conscious feelings a person has about needing to wear a hearing aid.

The next types of hearing aids are similar in sizing but they are either In the Ear (ITE) or in the Ear  (Resound Hearing Aid Selection)  Canal. These are still typically smaller units that perform well at keeping people from seeing that the wearer has a hearing aid. The performance of these two models to that of the Completely in the Canal and the next type - Behind the Ear are very similar and extremely powerful.

The Behind the Ear (BTE) model keeps the hearing hardware in a small device that slips over and behind the ear with only a small ear insert used to conduct the sound to the ear. While larger and more obvious this model does offer easier to use controls and in some instances added functionality like Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to pair your hearing aid to music players and to your cell phone.

But besides the type or style of hearing aid being available, you, the wearer, have to determine how advanced or how much hearing assisting technology you want your new hearing aid to have.

Typically you can break down the choices into Quiet, Moderate, and Demanding environments with the amount of technology available in the hearing aid increasing as you expect more from the device.

Questions to consider when deciding what level of technology or assistance you need are:
  • Are you actively working and communicating with multiple people during the day?
  • Do you like to go to sporting events or concerts where there is a lot of background noise?
  • Do you attend large parties or go to busy restaurants?
  • Do you go shopping or spend time in public areas where you need to be able to communicate?
  • Are you involved in religious services where you need to be able to hear
  • At social meetings or work, do you need to be able to communicate?
  • Do you need to hear in quiet restaurants or in small group settings?
  • Or, do you spend quite a bit of time involved in quiet home activities?
There are a lot of questions to ask and to weigh as well as to consider the style of device you prefer or if you want extra benefits such as having the devices sync together (if you wear two) so you get a better sense of real 3D sounds in your environment and again if you want to have the ability to pair your device to a cell phone or iPod, etc. But never fear, the experts at Bieri Hearing will help determine how much hearing assistance you need with a thorough exam and then discuss with you the options you require to have a full and happy social life with your new hearing aids.  Contact us  today for a consultation and exam!
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Children can benefit from hearing checkups perhaps more than adults. A young child does not know that they are not hearing well or if they have ever heard well. Schools do conduct hearing tests on children but these tests are not highly detailed nor are they conducted in a low sound setting. Much could be missed because the child was given a hearing test while there were background noises and distractions.

Children should have a hearing examination before starting school because what may be a cute mis-pronunciation of some letters or words may not be due to teeth that are coming in or have fallen out. It may be because the child does not hear the sounds or words properly. Bieri Hearing’s certified specialists, licensed audiologists and speech pathologists can determine if speech issues are because of a hearing problem or because of another condition like growing in adult teeth. If an issue is present, early intervention can occur and treatment with the most appropriate hearing aid or assistive devices can be started to prevent any long-term impact on the child’s ability to succeed in school.

If the child is currently in school but having behavioral problems or is being labeled ADHD or ADD, they should have a hearing evaluation by an experienced audiologist. No one wants to put their child on attention deficit disorder medication, especially if unneeded, because they are merely bored in class, can’t hear the teacher well, or can’t seem to grasp concepts because verbal instructions are not clear to them. Give them what they really need, a means to better hear and understand what is happening around them with an assistive device or hearing aid.

If you have questions or think maybe a child in your life could benefit from a professional hearing examination, please contact us at Bieri Hearing Specialists.
By proadAccountId-348042 13 Jul, 2016
Getting checked for a hearing problem or issue may make you feel nervous or anxious about what type of testing will be done. To check your hearing performance, a certified hearing professional or audiologist will conduct a couple of relatively easy tests. There are two tests involved in a typical hearing check - the air conduction test and the bone conduction test. Together they generate an accurate picture of how the structures and nerves in your ears are working and how well they can pick up sounds in your environment.

Both hearing tests start out with you sitting in a quiet, noise resistant chamber which eliminates even the smallest background noise. Keeping these ambient noises out of the test is important because a lot of the noises and sounds we need and want to hear can be in the same frequency ranges as that of the everyday noises around us. Having to strain to hear the sounds we are being tested for over the ambient noise would interfere with the results of your test.

Once in the room the audiologist will either place headphones onto your head or place a special speaker device directly on the skull bone behind your ears.

The headphones are used for the air conduction testing. The audiologist will begin by making tones from the low-end of the audio spectrum up to higher pitched sounds to see what you can hear. You will sit in the chamber with a trigger or thumb button to press whenever you hear a sound. This test measures how well your middle ear or ear drums function with air conducting the sound waves through your hearing organs. This test only takes a few minutes per ear and when complete the audiologist will come back in and switch the headphones for the device that goes behind your ears.

This device is for the bone conduction portion of the hearing test. During this test, in place of air bringing the tones and sounds into your ears for hearing, the skull bones behind your ears are vibrated to see if the sound is heard in the inner ear or cochlea. The test repeats in the same manner as before, with you sitting and listening for sounds, pressing the button when you hear the tone one ear at a time.
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