An Audiologist specializes in evaluating and treating people with hearing loss. Audiologists hold a masters or doctoral degree from an accredited university and special training in the prevention, identification, assessment and non-medical treatment of hearing disorders. Audiologists dispense and fit hearing aids, administer tests of balance to evaluate dizziness and provide hearing rehabilitation training.
To practice audiology as well as dispense hearing aids in North Carolina an Audiologist must be licensed by The Board of Examiners in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology.
The most common cause of hearing loss is the deterioration of inner ear structures due to aging or noise exposure. Heredity, certain heavy-duty antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs or radiation treatments can also affect your hearing abilities.
If you suspect that the person you are speaking with has hearing loss, the following tips can help make understanding better and conversations easier on everyone.
- Reduce background noise, turn off the TV or Radio
- Gain the person’s attention before speaking
- Sit or stand within 3-6 feet from the person to maximize hearing
- Converse at eye level, this maximizes their ability to use visual cues
- Use facial expressions and gestures to give visual clues about your message
- Speak slowly and distinctly, note that raising your voice tends to distort sound and will sound like you are shouting
- Before conversing, provide information on the topic you will be discussing
- Use short sentences. Rephrase if the person does not appear to understand
- Avoid speaking into a person’s ear because this distorts speech and hides visual cues
Ear wax is an oily, fatty substance that is created to protect the ear canal. Every person creates different amounts of wax. Ear wax can partially or completely block the ear canal resulting in a mild to moderate hearing loss. Once the ear wax is removed, hearing is restored.
We are very familiar with earwax, and have many strategies for managing earwax, both in the ear and in hearing aids. In and of itself, earwax is a good thing! We can help keep it from getting in the way.
- You hear voices but they are not clear, people sound like they are mumbling
- Others may tell you that you are not hearing well
- Children or female voices are harder to hear than male voices
- You have difficulty hearing/understanding in groups, restaurants, background noise
- You find yourself missing parts of what people are saying
The ringing, roaring, tea kettle, cricket-like sounds in your ear(s) is called Tinnitus and is usually an indication of some damage to your auditory system. These sounds can be constant or occasional, in both ears, one ear or in the middle of your head. There is no cure for tinnitus, but thanks to emerging research we have many new strategies to help reduce its impact on hearing, stress, and quality of life.
Hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal nor prevent your hearing sensitivity from decreasing over time. What they they can do is give you access to missing sounds and deliver them in a clear and useable way.
The level of improvement you receive from hearing aids will vary from person to person, will vary with the extent and nature of your hearing loss as well as the amount of auditory deprivation you have experienced.
Excessive amplification can worsen hearing, and that is why we measure every hearing aid before it leaves our clinic to ensure that they are not capable of delivering sound loud enough to cause damage.
We do see that when people adopt use of hearing aids earlier, they do not experience extended periods of auditory deprivation where the brain loses the ability to process incoming sounds.
Hearing aids range in cost from as low as $700.00 to over $3000.00 based on the level of technology and the features of the product. The more sophisticated the technology, the better the hearing aids will help you hear in challenging and noise environments.
Our experience has helped us select the best and most reliable hearing aids in the market. We use only the highest quality products available and work with all six of the top hearing aid manufacturers in the world, Resound, Phonak, Oticon, Starkey, Signia (formerly Siemens) and Widex. Each manufacturer offers different benefits and limitations, and may be better suited to an individual based on his or her needs.
Most standard health insurances do not cover the cost hearing aids. However there are many health insurance policies which will cover a portion of hearing aid costs. We will be happy to check with your insurance company regarding your hearing aid benefits as well as submit all necessary paperwork so you may be reimbursed by your insurance company.
To ensure all your questions are answered, please feel free to call us to schedule a personal hearing consultation at 919-489-0995
Although you may know someone who has had a bad experience with hearing aids, this does not mean you will. There are many reasons why a person does not wear their hearing aids or feels that hearing aids don’t work well:
- The hearing aids were not fitted properly and the person was not counseled on how to use them
- The technology chosen was not appropriate for that person’s listening environments
- The hearing aids were not worn on a daily basis but only when “needed” which never allowed the brain to become acclimatized to sounds.
Everyone should have a baseline hearing evaluation at the age of 50, and then every five years unless concerns arise. Individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular issues, or cognitive decline should have their hearing checked more frequently due to the high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.