Stay in the Hearing Loop
The ability to hear through background noise and other difficult listening situations has most certainly come a long way with the creation of digital technology and inclusion of features such as directional microphones. However, most hearing aid users complain that maintaining clarity, even when their hearing aids have been adjusted, is still lacking. Telecoil technology, when paired with hearing assistive technology, is specifically designed to combat this issue giving peace of mind to hearing aid users in more public places.
Some hearing aid users may not fully understand what exactly a telecoil is. A telecoil, or t-coil, is a special, copper circuit located within the hearing aid that picks up electromagnetic signals. When used in conjunction with hearing assistive technology, the t-coil is especially helpful because it bridges the distance between you and the sound source. When the t-coil is activated (usually by the flip of a switch), hearing aids act as a wireless antenna that links into a sound system, bringing the sound directly to your ears. T-coil technology can be particularly effective when it comes to improving speech understanding in classrooms, places of worship, theaters, meetings and tour buses. T-coil technology is also beneficial when trying to prevent feedback from phone use.
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, hearing assistive technology is now available in multitude of public places. There are 3 types of hearing assistive technology: the hearing loop, infrared system and FM system. The hearing loop is the easiest of these technologies because it requires no additional equipment or setup. A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to the sound system. The loop transmits sound electromagnetically directly to capable hearing aids with the flip of a T-switch!
Please keep in mind that not every hearing aid comes equipped with telecoil technology. Be sure to speak with your hearing aid provider specifically about this feature when considering which hearing aids are right for you. While the inclusion of t-coil technology may add a small cost to the overall price of your hearing aids, it will make a huge difference during your everyday use.
Featured Product: Starkey Tour
Previous “Featured Product” blogs have focused on some of the industry’s newest and most innovative products; however, it’s important to remember that not everyone is a good candidate for top-of-the-line hearing aid models. The Starkey Tour models are a great example of a hearing aid line that offers patients affordability without sacrificing technology and performance.
The Starkey Tour products include all of the great technological features Starkey consumers love. This includes Feedback Cancellation, reducing feedback noise from talking on the phone or being touched, Noise Management, automatically lowering the volume of the hearing aids in noisy environments, and Directional Settings, filtering out unwanted background noise during conversations. Starkey Tour hearing aids are available in both wireless and non-wireless versions. The Starkey Tour wireless hearing aid allows you to take advantage of Starkey’s patented SurfLink Media and SurfLink Mobile programs. Starkey Tour hearing aids are also available in a number of styles making it incredibly versatile.
As a major player in the hearing aid industry, Starkey has been creating never before seen technologies for their hearing aids for the past 50 years such as the industry’s best feedback canceller and a truly water resistant hearing aid. Constant research ensures that Starkey continues to generate breakthrough advances in the hearing aid industry. Starkey is also one of the only leading hearing aid manufacturers that is entirely American made. When you buy a Starkey product, you’ll easily notice the “Starkey Difference” that has been changing patients’ lives for years.
The Starkey Tour hearing aids are a great combination of performance, simplicity and value! Call Hearing Aids Direct today to find a Starkey provider near you!
People have been riding their ears of earwax for decades, under a false impression that earwax is unclean. While earwax can be unsightly (even downright gross) to look at, underneath its yucky façade lays a truly beneficial substance.
Earwax, also known as cerumen, has an underserved reputation of being bad or dirty. Truth be told, despite its icky appearance, earwax is something we actually need and want in our ears! Earwax is not simply a buildup of bacteria and dirt, but actually produced by the glands lining the skin in the ear canal. The ears manufacture earwax as a defense mechanism to protect the sensitive ear canal from invading dirt, dead skin, and other foreign objects. It also adds a protective layer to the skin to ward off infections.
Wax buildup is a common concern for hearing aid users as too much can interfere with how well they work. Most hearing aids come equipped with wax guards to combat this issue; you can even find hearing aid vacuums to prevent the buildup of anything in your hearing aid parts, including earwax.
Healthy ears will actually rid themselves of earwax buildup; however, if you feel like you still feel the need to clean your ears, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO remember that wax is a natural and necessary part of your ears! Only remove wax on the outer part of the ear.
DON’T ever stick foreign objects into your ear canal! This will not only compound wax further into your ear, but you also risk puncturing your ear drum.
DO use a warm washcloth to wipe away any excess wax. Hot and cold water may irritate the sensitive skin of the ear.
If you still feel like you have an unusually high amount of earwax, contact a medical doctor for additional options available. There are a wide range of techniques they can use to remove earwax without damaging the ear itself.
What to Expect from your Hearing Aids
When it comes to how hearing aids will perform, the expectations are varied. Some people are of the opinion that hearing aids will make no difference on their hearing abilities. Conversely, others assume that hearing aids will completely restore their hearing to normal. The truth is neither of these is realistic. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids, it’s important to have the right expectations.
Hearing loss is a complex problem, different for every individual. So it should come as no surprise that the overall process of choosing and wearing a hearing aid is equally as complex. When embarking on the journey towards better hearing, it’s essential to find a quality hearing aid provider. Expect to create a long term relationship with your hearing aid provider. The Audiologist/Hearing Instrument Specialist you choose will play a major role in helping you choose and use your hearing aids.
When it comes to performance, you can expect to hear a difference the instant you first put on your new hearing aids. You will most certainly hear sounds that you haven’t heard in a long time – birds chirping, small children’s voices, and your car’s turn signal to name a few. In fact, you may even feel bombarded with sound. This is where the adjustment period comes in. During this time, you can expect to deal with a few minor annoyances. Your own voice may sound louder than normal, or similar to an echo. Other background sounds such as papers ruffling, water running, and groups of people talking may also sound abnormally loud in the beginning. This is completely normal. It will take a few weeks for your brain to catch up to your ears’ new hearing ability.
The limitations experienced by first time hearing aid users can easily be overcome with a little patience and practice. Start by wearing your hearing aids for a few hours a day, and then gradually build up to the point where you are consistently wearing them for at least 8 hours a day. During the trial period for your hearing aids, it’s important to wear them as often as possible. Also, start by wearing your hearing aids in quiet environments such as your home. Once you are comfortable in those settings, start wearing your hearing aids in more loud environments such as your favorite restaurant. This ensures that when you go in for a checkup with your hearing aid provider, you can give them specific information about how your instrument is working for you, and what needs to be adjusted. You can expect to have multiple visits with your hearing aid provider before you find the optimal settings for your hearing aids.
Although hearing aids can be used to treat a wide range of hearing losses, they are highly sophisticated devices that require an adjustment period before their full potential can be reached. With the right expectations and motivation, you’ll be on your way to better hearing in no time! Contact your local hearing aid provider today to schedule a free consultation and hear what you’ve been missing!
Best Hearing Aids of 2013
Hearing aids have evolved significantly over the past couple of decades, and continue to do so each year. 2013 is no exception. Several hearing aids set to debut this year address 3 of the most popular criticisms cited by hearing aid users: appearance, extraneous noise, and limitations during activities.
Appearance has long been a concern for hearing aid owners, ever since the dawn of the clunky, oversized hearing aid that often lead to concerns with the social stigmas associated with such hearing aids in general. Today’s class of hearing aids come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and even colors to appease even the most style-conscious client. Some of the newer products, such as the Starkey IIC (Invisible in the Canal) are entirely invisible unless a hearing professional looks directly into your ear canal. Not only are today’s hearing aids smaller and sleeker, but the hearing aid technology is far more advanced.
Aside from the aesthetic qualities of hearing aids, another common concern is unwanted noise frequently experienced by those who wear hearing aids. The best hearing aids of 2013 are not only better looking, but better performing. For example, the Phonak Bolero Q model offers exceptional sound quality in the presence of background noise, a “wind block” technology that protects the microphone from irritating noise, such as wind, and a VoiceStream® technology that allows the hearing aids to specifically detect speech, and deliver the sound clearer to both ears. Several other hearing aid brands are also focusing their efforts on the clarity of speech. The ReSound Verso is another hearing aid model that prioritizes sound lucidity this year. This particular model comes equipped with a new technology called “binaural fusion” which allows the ears to work together to isolate important speech sounds from background noise. While sound clarity will always play a major role in hearing aid technology, it is a seemingly a moot point if hearing aids can’t be worn on a constant basis.
Now that more and more adults are wearing hearing aids at an earlier age, more thought is being put into how to make hearing aids more durable for an active lifestyle. The delicateness of hearing aids is often cited on our blogs as a major limitation to these amazing devices, especially when it comes to water. Siemens has addressed this issue by producing what they call the world’s first waterproof hearing aid. The Siemens Aquaris is completely sealed and comes with a custom earmold designed specifically for swimming. The waterproof membrane keeps out water while still allowing oxygen to flow in order to use zinc air batteries. In addition to being waterproof, the Siemens Auqaris is also dust proof and shock resistant making it suitable for patients who participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities.
These are only a few examples of some of the best hearing aids of 2013 thus far. The wide range of finely tuned features for this year’s hearing aids are designed to not only increase the quality of your hearing, but the quality of your life. Consult a local hearing aid provider to determine which hearing aid is best for your individual lifestyle.
Featured Product: The Widex CLEAR
Widex has been a major player in the hearing aid industry for close to 50 years. The three core values Widex prides itself in maintaining - originality, perseverance, and reliability – have lead to an exciting innovation for today’s hearing aid patrons. A new generation of wireless hearing aids known collectively as Widex CLEAR is making hearing as close to natural as possible for users.
So what is it that sets the Widex CLEAR apart from other hearing aids? Per usual, it all starts with technology. The new digital transmission technology, that is the driving force behind these pioneering hearing aids, is called WidexLink; it is the first wireless technology designed specifically for hearing aids. WidexLink allows CLEAR hearing aids to communicate wirelessly with each other instantly and continuously – just like your 2 ears! This allows all the functions of your hearing aids to adjust instantly giving you clear, quality sound no matter the environment. Not only does WidexLink produce super clear sound with an almost non-existent transmission delay, but also uses less power meaning even your hearing aid batteries will benefit from it!
The Free Focus feature on the Widex CLEAR series tackles the difficulties associated with directionality and sound. CLEAR is the only hearing aid that allows the wearer to focus on sound in a selected direction without moving your head. This is especially helpful for tricky situations, such as driving, when turning your head in different directions isn’t so easy. The Free Focus feature all
The Widex CLEAR comes in 3 different levels of technology and benefits. The Zen feature on the Widex CLEAR 440 plays harmonious tones at certain settings to combat discomfort associated with tinnitus. Appropriate for any degree of hearing loss, the Widex CLEAR is also suitable for any age, including children!
If you’re looking for some of the best hearing aids the industry has to offer, the choice is CLEAR. Check out our website for more information on the Widex CLEAR series, or call us today to find a provider in your area that sells Widex products!
Hearing aids are already some of today’s most modern devices, and technology only continues to advance what they are capable of. Bluetooth technology has been around for years, but only recently has it become readily available when it comes to hearing aids. Bluetooth hearing aids can offer several advantages to any hearing aid user; however, it’s important to understand how they work.
Bluetooth hearing aids come equipped with a controller that receives and transmits wireless signals between Bluetooth enabled devices. No longer do hearing aid users have to listen to audio devices through sound waves traveling through the air. With Bluetooth technology, the sounds are transmitted directly to your hearing aids!
There are multiple advantages when it comes to Bluetooth hearing aids; the most obvious being the ease with which you’ll be able to operate, and listen to, electronic devices in everyday life. Take television for example. Most individuals who wear hearing aids find it difficult to watch TV at a level that allows them to clearly understand the sound without excessive volume that is bothersome to others. With Bluetooth technology, sound from your television will stream directly to your hearing aids at the perfect setting for your hearing loss, while remaining at a comfortable level for everyone. Bluetooth hearing aids are especially great when paired with cell phones. Ordinary hearing aids pickup a lot of feedback noises when in close proximity to cell phones. Bluetooth hearing aids allow you to use cell phones easily, and hands free! These are just two of the many devices that are Bluetooth capable. Bluetooth hearing aids can also be paired with most mp3 players, landline phones, and even car stereo systems! Not only will you find it easier to use these devices, but also switch between them with just the push of a button!
Overall, Bluetooth technology increases the freedom you have with your hearing aids both at home and in the workplace. The ease of which Bluetooth hearing aids increase the user’s quality of life is simply amazing! The difference is loud and clear. Contact your hearing aid provider today for more information on Bluetooth hearing aids!
Sound Advice: Travel Tips for the Hearing Impaired
It’s that time of year again! Turkey, family, gift giving…and travel. AAA projects more than 90 million Americans will travel during the end of the year holidays. Holiday travel at its best involves navigating through crowded airports and roadways, often times including need to hear situations. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile here are some travel tips for the hearing impaired – including hearing aid care!
Travel by Plane
Even though airports can be very noisy environments, it’s important to keep your hearing aids in while going through security. Hearing aids are not affected by metal detectors or x-ray machines, and wearing them will make it easier for you to communicate with airport personnel. Arrive to your gate early, explain to the staff that you cannot hear announcements made over the PA system, and ask the airline staff to let you know any pertinent information, such as gate changes. If possible, choose a seat near the podium so you can easily be seen in case an airline representative needs to find you. You can also opt to receive flight status updates via email or text if you don’t want to rely solely on airline staff. Once onboard, again let the steward/stewardess know that any important information should be relayed to you directly. Also, take advantage of any passengers sitting in your row by asking them to let you know when announcements are made. Most people are happy to help!
Travel by Car
With the increase in traffic, everyone on the road can benefit from being more alert. Extra-wide rearview mirrors are available making both backseat passengers and cars driving behind you easier to see. You can also consider FM systems that deliver conversations directly to your hearing aids.
Travel by Bus/Train
If you’re traveling by public transportation, ideally, individual stops will be visually displayed as well as announced. If this is not the case, you can try counting stops or again, ask a neighboring passenger to let you know when your stop comes up.
Hearing Aid Care
Taking good care of your hearing aids is always important, but it becomes even more essential when you are away from home. Be sure to pack spare parts, such as tubing, and batteries since most stores have limited hours during the holiday season. Also, avoid keeping your hearing aids, and any parts, in luggage where it runs the risk of getting lost. Rather, keep them on hand to ensure you won’t have to go days without your hearing aids. It’s also worthwhile to pack a dehumidifier or dry box for your hearing aids; particularly if you are traveling to an area with especially wet or humid conditions.
The most important thing to remember is that communication is key! If you don’t properly communicate your needs, you won’t get them. Don’t let hearing loss slow you down this holiday season! Be prepared and travel safe everyone!
Featured Product – Unitron Moxi
Unitron is one of the principal hearing instrument manufacturers in the world. With almost 50 years experience and a reputation for being one of the leading global innovators of hearing aid technology, it is worth highlighting of their most advanced product lines to date, the Moxi series.
The hearing aids available through Unitron’s Moxi series include features that combat one the most frequently cited complaints by those who wear hearing aids – understanding speech in noisy environments. All of the products in the Unitron Moxi series come equipped with SmartFocus. SmartFocus is the technology created by Unitron that works with their Automatic Program to maintain the clarity of sound in changing environments. Take that a step further and you have another Unitron signature technology, SpeechZone. SpeechZone is enabled by binaural spatial processing, meaning both hearing aids continuously process information and communicate with each other to pinpoint the origin of sound. With both instruments zoning in specifically on speech, the wearer can easily enjoy conversation even in the toughest listening situations without having to manually adjust their hearing aid.
These industry leading enhancements only reiterate the Unitron Promise: “We care deeply about people with hearing loss and the professionals who support them. Together, we pursue fresh and imaginative ways to improve lives and make these advances available to everyone. This purpose-driven innovation is a priority in everything we do. Because hearing matters.” Several of our local hearing aid providers offer products in Unitron Moxi line. Go to www.hearingaidsdirect.com for more information on certain Unitron Moxi products, or call 877-828-HEAR (4327) to find a provider near you!
*The “Unitron Promise” was taken directly from Unitron’s website
Should I buy hearing aids online?
Consumers use the Internet every day to buy anything from clothes to cars - so why not hearing aids? The question regarding whether or not individuals should utilize the Internet to buy cheap hearing aids is becoming more and more frequent. The Internet is an excellent resource to find information about hearing loss and to compare different brands/products; however, most experts agree that purchasing quality hearing aids through your local hearing aid provider is far more beneficial than relying on cheap hearing aids bought online.
Price is often cited as the major advantage to buying hearing aids online or through the mail. While it may be easy to find cheap hearing aids advertised online, saving money up front will most likely cost you in the long run. Several states have made it illegal to sell hearing aids online, and many big manufacturers are following suit by refusing to sell their products to online retailers. Hearing aids are not simply sound amplifiers, but complex medical devices. Customers who purchase cheap hearing aids online often find low quality products with hidden, excessive fees as well as inferior warranties. In addition to this, foregoing the personal counseling and education that go along with buying a hearing device from a hearing aid provider often means sacrificing comfort and safety.
Hearing aid providers don’t simply sell hearing aids; they offer a comprehensive service to help patients overcome hearing loss and restore the quality of life that has been lost due to it. Success is more than the device itself, but also everything else in between including the initial fitting, adjustments, follow-ups, cleanings and more. Hearing aid providers offer these services in-office meaning the patient can give immediate feedback to help get any complications taken care of as quickly as possible. Online providers often require customers to mail in their hearing aids for any services needed meaning patients could go days without their hearing aids. The high quality products, available only through hearing aid providers in combination with the level of service you’ll receive from an experienced hearing care professional are without doubt, worth any extra cost up front.
Cheap hearing aids advertised online may seem like an amazing deal but, when all things are considered, face-to-face care from a knowledgeable professional is essential to improving your hearing. To find a qualified hearing aid provider in your local area, check out www.hearingaidsdirect.com today!