Is All That Technology Worth It?

There is a common misconception amongst individuals with hearing loss that if you are not very active, you do not need all of the great technology available in a premium hearing aid. Hearing aids are tools to help the ears hear sound and the brain process the information. Hearing aids are available in several different levels of technology. Each level up will have more technology available to the user to help with speech and noise processing. The goal is for the hearing aid to do most of the work before the user’s brain tries to process the information. Individuals, especially those with hearing loss, tend to not realize how much information the brain is processing even in what they consider to be a quiet environment. It is rare that someone is truly sitting in silence and not involved in any type of task. Even in a quiet environment it is likely that an individual with be listening to environment sounds around their home, the TV or their telephone. The brain is constantly processing the sounds it is picking up in the environment, therefore it is important for the hearing aid to be able to properly process all of those sounds. Premium hearing aid technology will give the user the best opportunity to hear speech sounds clearly and easily in a variety of dynamic environments. If the hearing aid cannot keep up with level of processing needed, then the user will become frustrated because they cannot understand information clearly or because ...Continue Reading

Why Do I Have Difficulty Understanding Conversations in Noise?

Hearing and understanding conversations in a dynamic environment can be very difficult. The brain uses several cues to help it focus on the sound source you are trying to listen to while trying to suppress the sounds you want to ignore. Social situations can be very dynamic. They often consist of multiple people talking, music and other background noise coming from items such as silverware or dishes. Our brain compares all of those sound sources by detecting time and volume differences at which they meet our ears. Interaural Time Differences (ITD) is difference between when a sound source reaches one ear compared to the other. For example, if a sound source was on the right hand side, it would reach the right ear quicker than the left ear because it has less distance to travel. Interaural Level Differences (ILD) is the same as the ITD except that the volume level is compared across the ears. When the ear detects a sound source coming from the right hand side, the volume level, would be louder on the right compared to the left because a sound’s volume level dissipates over the distance it travels. It would have to travel a longer distance to reach the left ear than the right. There are several studies that show significant differences in a normal hearing individual’s ability to detect ITDs and ILDs compared to the ability of individuals with hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss have greater difficulty detecting ITDs and ILDs when there are ...Continue Reading

Are Q-tips Safe for My Ears?

Everyone produces wax and oils in their ear canals. There are glands within the ear canal that produce the wax and oil on a regular basis. Some individuals produce wax at a very fast pace while others produce a minimal amount. There are also different consistencies of the wax. Some individuals produce a very thick and sticky wax that builds up and blocks the ear canal. Other individuals produce a thinner sticky wax that tends to stay around the sides of the ear canal. There are also some individuals that produce a very hard wax that is similar to a pebble that sometimes adheres to the ear canal walls. So, Are Q-Tips safe to use in my ears? The answer is NO! The reason is because you cannot see in your own ear canal and you cannot tell if you are going to push the debris and wax in your ear canal in deeper causing a blockage or even injury. The deeper the wax is pushed down into the ear canal, the more difficult it becomes to remove. Wax can be removed by a hearing care professional that can see in your ear with an otoscope. There are 3 methods that are safe for the hearing care professional to use to remove the wax. The first method is by curette. The curette is used to help pull the wax and debris out manually. The second method is by suction. The suction is used to help pull the wax and debris ...Continue Reading

How To Keep Your Hearing Aids In Good Condition

Hearing aids require simple, but very important, maintenance. Remaining diligent with keeping the hearing aids clean can increase the lifespan of hearing aids. There are several different types of hearing aids and each type will have different replaceable parts. On traditional Behind The Ear hearing aids, there will be tubing in the earmolds and filters that protect the microphones on the hearing aids that can be replaced. Those pieces should be replaced every 4 to 6 months. On custom In The Ear hearing aids, there will most commonly be a wax guard on one end that should be replaced about once per month. There will also be an air vent that runs the entire length of the hearing aid. It is important to keep that vent clear of debris. A good way to do that is to brush it out or run a small piece of line though it similar to fishing line. The vent helps control the sound quality that person will hear from the hearing aid. When it is blocked, that individual’s sound quality will be compromised and they may not hear as well. A third style of hearing aid is called a Receiver In the Canal. While it is similar to a standard BTE, its components are rearranged and the hearing aid receiver is seated in the ear canal. RIC hearing aids most commonly have a wax guard at the end of the receiver as well as a silicon dome that covers the receiver. Both the wax ...Continue Reading