Audiologists are health care and educated professionals who identify, assess, and manage disorders of auditory, balance and other neural systems. Audiologists provide audiological (aural) rehabilitation to children and adults across the entire life span. Audiologists select, fit, and dispense amplification systems such as hearing aids and related devices. Audiologists prevent hearing loss through the provision and fitting of hearing protective devices, consultation on the effects of noise on hearing and consumer education. Audiologists are involved in auditory and related research pertinent to the prevention, identification, and management of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system dysfunction. Audiologists serve as expert witness in litigation related to their areas of expertise. (Courtesy of the American Speech Hearing Association)
Audiologists hold masters or doctoral degrees from accredited universities with special training in the prevention, identification, assessment and non-medical treatment of hearing disorders. Audiologists are required to complete a full-time internship and pass a demanding national competency examination. By virtue of their graduate education, professional certification and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests and provide hearing aid services. (Courtesy of the American Speech Hearing Association)
If you answer YES to any of the following questions, you should have a hearing test.
- Do you notice that people tend to mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do you hear words, but not understand them?
- Do you ask people to repeat themselves, or speak louder?
- Do you have a history of significant noise exposure from time served in the military or any work or recreational
- Do others complain that the television is too loud?
- Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in a noisy restaurant or crowded room?
- Do you experience ringing or noises in your ears?
- Do you find it difficult to understand speech on the telephone?
- Do you hear better with one ear compared to the other?
- Do any of your family members have hearing loss that began at a young age?
A hearing test, or audiological evaluation, is a diagnostic measurement of identifying the softest level (in decibels) that can be heard across a wide range of pitches (frequency). Additional components of testing involve specific speech tasks, which are used to determine validity of testing, as well as, your ability to understand speech at a given presentation level. Based on the results, recommendations may include referral for medical intervention with a physician or hearing device consultation.
The first step to determine if you could benefit from hearing aids is to have a hearing test. From the results of an accurate, diagnostic audiological evaluation, we can determine if you are a candidate for amplification or medical treatment. In our office, we work closely with the physicians regarding your case and recommend hearing aids if your audiological results reveal a hearing loss that cannot be improved with medical intervention or after you and your physician choose not to pursue medical treatment.
Research shows that hearing loss can have a negative impact on the quality of life for the person with hearing loss. With hearing loss, a person may become more withdrawn and isolated due to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment and low self-esteem. Additionally, untreated hearing loss may lead to auditory deprivation and may be linked to cognitive decline. The use of hearing aids provides stimulation to the auditory system, allowing the person with hearing loss to have more energy to be engaged in conversation and activity.
It is our philosophy here at Physicians’ Hearing Aid Center to provide the information and tools necessary to make the most appropriate decision as it relates to you and your unique needs. Your audiologist will discuss with you the different levels of technology and styles of hearing devices, as well as, realistic expectations as it relates to your specific needs.
We offer complete hearing healthcare for the lifetime of all hearing aids purchased from Physicians’ Hearing Aid Center. This means that all in-office visits for cleaning, programming and maintenance are at no cost to you. Additionally, all devices, regardless of style and technology level, include a two-year repair warranty and two-year loss and damage replacement coverage.
Unfortunately, there are some people who do not find appropriate benefit from hearing aids. There are several factors that may impact successful adaptation to hearing aids. The following issues may prevent successful hearing aid use:
- Does the user have a good, comfortable fit?
- Does the user have realistic expectations regarding the limitations of hearing loss and the technology/style chosen?
- Do the hearing aids function properly?
- Did the user receive appropriate counseling regarding the effects of motivation, adaptation and consistent use of the device during their initial adjustment period?
The biggest key to success is consistency of use. The more the device is worn—in both quiet and complex environments—the more successful a person will be with hearing aids.
To ensure success with hearing aids, our audiologists work closely with the patient to ensure that these issues are addressed.
At Physicians’ Hearing Aid Center we offer a no-risk, 30-day adjustment period for all hearing aids purchased.
(Please note that it is required by law in Texas that a 30-day adjustment period be offered when purchasing hearing aids, regardless of place of purchase).
The National average life of a hearing aid is around 5 ½ years. This can vary due to:
- Whether or not the technology is sophisticated enough to be reprogrammed
- How well the hearing aid is taken care of by the patient
- How well the hearing aid is maintained by the audiologist
- If the patient’s hearing changes dramatically (whether it’s expected or not)
- If the patient replaces their current instrument because new technology is released
To maintain our patient’s hearing aids, we offer FREE lifetime in-office cleaning, programming, and care for those who purchase their aids from us. For as long as you have the aids and come to us, we will happily take care of your complete hearing healthcare needs (and of course, having physicians in-house simplifies a lot of things when problems arise).
In most cases, if you have hearing loss in both ears, you will probably benefit from binaural amplification, which means wearing two hearing aids. Two hearing aids do the most for optimizing communication. Binaural amplification has been shown to improve one’s ability to localize sounds and to understand speech in noise. The brain needs input from both ears in order to separate sounds effectively. Two hearing aids also allow both ears to be stimulated to lessen the possibility of auditory deprivation. Remember, if you don’t use it you lose it! If you have reduced vision in both eyes, would you wear one lens? Not likely.
Everyone who gets a hearing aid must go through an adjustment or adaptation period. Usually, hearing loss occurs gradually over time, allowing the brain to gradually become accustomed to not hearing some sounds. It takes time to reintroduce those sounds, to allow the brain to acclimate and recognize these sounds. The time it takes to adjust to hearing aids varies from person to person, but is usually anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Being fit with hearing aids is not an overnight process—and the audiologists and Physicians’ Hearing Aid Center are here with you every step of the way.
Noise does not have to be that loud to damage your hearing. Lawn mowers, motorcycles, concerts (even those from decades ago), power tools, gunfire, and jet engines are all loud enough to damage your hearing. You should always wear protection (either form-fitted or disposable).
The best hearing protection is the one that is most comfortable and easiest to use. Hearing protection devices may be custom-fitted or disposable in-the-ear products or may be over-the-ear muff-type devices. Consistent use of a hearing protection device when in the presence of hazardous noise levels will help protect your hearing.
Ringing, also know as tinnitus, can occur in patients who have hearing loss and in those who do not. Tinnitus can be a sign or symptom of something serious, so always let your audiologist or physician know if you experience tinnitus. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, the American Tinnitus Association does a lot of research in this area and provides help to those who do suffer from tinnitus.