How Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus
Tinnitus – the ever annoying ringing in the ears. While you could easily sub the words buzzing, humming or whooshing for ringing, one thing is certain: the discomfort and anxiety experienced by those who suffer from tinnitus unquestionably results in a lower quality of life. New evidence is indicating that hearing aids are becoming a more effective solution for tinnitus relief.
There has always been a noticeable connection between hearing loss and tinnitus. Past studies have indicated that certain types of hearing loss result in certain types of tinnitus. The specific cause of tinnitus is unknown but more recent research suggests that tinnitus is caused by misfiring in the brain. Hearing loss is a major cause of such misfiring and thus hearing aids have started to play a larger role in alleviating tinnitus.
It seems counterproductive to utilize a device most commonly used to amplify sound to help combat ringing in the ears. The use of hearing aids does seem to work as a source of relief for phantom noise in the ears and brain. The extra auditory stimulation masks tinnitus to make it less noticeable. Hearing aids will also help correct the hearing loss that most likely serves as a catalyst to the tinnitus to begin with.
Some manufacturers are designing hearing aids specifically for those individuals who suffer from tinnitus. For example, certain models in the Widex CLEAR line include the ZEN program. The ZEN feature generates soothing, harmonic tones and chimes meant to relax your ears from tinnitus. Starkey’s Xino Tinnitus line hearing aids are built specifically with a tinnitus manager. This feature allows you to choose and customize the best masking sound for your personal situation, giving you the most relief possible!
There is no cure for tinnitus, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with ringing in the ears! Hearing aids have evolved into sophisticated devices, so take advantage of what technology has to offer by taking care of your tinnitus and hearing loss in one step!
Silencing Social Stigmas Associated with Hearing Aids
Despite the fact that hearing loss is one of the most chronic conditions diagnosed today, many hearing impaired individuals refuse to use hearing aids. Several excuses are offered as to why, but one of the most common ones has to do with overcoming the social stigmas associated with hearing aids.
Association with age is one of the most common reasons why a stigma against hearing aids exists. When we age, both our mental and physical capabilities start to deteriorate. Hearing loss is no different and often serves as an unwelcome reminder of the aging process. In a culture obsessed with youth and beauty, many people view hearing aids as a blatant advertisement announcing “I’m old!” to the world. This is especially true for the Baby Boomer generation which visualizes hearing aids as the old, clunky pieces of hard plastic their grandparents wore. In addition to old age, hearing aids carry a negative image because they suggest a degree of disability for the wearer. Lack of prevalent hearing loss and hearing aid information reinforces these stereotypes. Because of this, thousands of people choose to suffer from impairment rather than wearing hearing aids.
What a majority of people fail to realize, is that untreated hearing loss is far more obvious than any hearing aid on the market today. In fact, allowing the stigma of hearing aids to influence the acceptance of help can be very detrimental to a person who needs it. Multiple studies indicate that untreated hearing loss can not only lead to further hearing damage, but can also result in social anxiety, isolation, depression, and even Alzeimers.
So how can we overcome the social stigmas associated with hearing aids? Increasing the amount of available hearing aid information is essential. While hearing aids are designed for a specific group of people, it’s important for the general public as a whole to have a basic understanding of hearing loss, how hearing aids work, and how they are beneficial to everyone involved. Technology also plays a major role in battling the social stigmas associated with hearing aids. As hearing aid technology progresses, hearing aids themselves become more and more discreet. A few of the hearing aid models currently available are completely invisible!
If you are still unsure about how you will appear to others when wearing hearing aids, consider how your hearing loss affects you at home, at work, and during your leisure time. Is it difficult to communicate with your friends and loved ones? Are strained interactions with coworkers and clients taking a toll on your job? Do you find yourself missing out on conversations and jokes? If so, schedule an appointment with a local hearing aid provider today and allow yourself to be proven wrong about the impression you give while wearing hearing aids. The only shame is missing out on the sounds in life!
In the April 2013 edition of Discover Magazine we found an interesting article about the inner ear and the potential it has to create energy for small devices through its normal operation. The reason this is significant is because devices that help treat hearing loss require a power source, now they use some variation of a battery, and this research suggests the possibility of having your ear be a power source for your hearing devices might be in the near future. We've listed the article below along with a link to the original source.
Powered by the Inner Ear
By Adam Hadhazy
In your inner ear, a bony, snail-shaped structure called the cochlea acts essentially like a battery. An electrochemical interaction between two of the cochlea’s chambers helps translate sound vibrations into neural signals sent to the brain. Now, for the first time, scientists have tapped into this natural battery to charge a small wireless transmitter.
“No one’s ever extracted this power to do actual electronic functions,” says MIT electrical engineer Anantha Chandrakasan, who led the research along with Konstantina Stankovic of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The scientists implanted tiny glass electrodes in a guinea pig’s cochlea, which is similar to a human’s. The electrodes caused only a slight degradation in the hearing, a problem that might be avoidable in the future with thinner materials.
The experiment successfully reaped about a nanowatt of power for five hours. Although that’s nowhere near enough to power, say, a hearing aid, the technique could fuel small devices that therapeutically monitor the inner ear or deliver drugs.
Read the full article here at Discover Magazines website.
With winter storm Nemo dumping mountains of snow in the North East, we are reminded how harsh the climate during the winter months can be. This is especially true for those individuals who wear hearing aids. Whether you’re heading outside to shovel snow, hit the slopes, or make snow angels, consider these tips to protect your hearing and hearing aids this winter.
The drop in temperature is one of the first signs that winter has arrived. Cold temperatures can make hearing aid batteries less effective and more likely to die sooner. When out and about this winter, try keeping spare batteries in your pocket, or close to your body to keep them warmer. Make sure to wipe your hearing aid batteries off each night with a warm, dry cloth. Winter wardrobe staples such as earmuffs, scarves and hats will also help preserve hearing aid batteries from being adversely affected by the cold.
Whether from perspiration or precipitation, moisture and hearing aids simply don’t mix. Several hearing aid accessories are available to combat exposure to excessive moisture. One such accessory is the hearing aid sweat band! These inexpensive sweat bands come in a variety of colors and are great at repelling both water and wind on your BTE hearing aid. Previous blog entries have also praised the usefulness of dehumidifiers, or dry boxes, which safely remove moisture from your hearing aids while you sleep.
Prolonged exposure to loud noise can be damaging whether you suffer from hearing loss or not. Seasonal machinery such as snow blowers, snow mobiles and snow plows all operate at a decibel level much higher than the limit recommended by hearing health professionals. If you do wear hearing aids, make sure to use the setting specific to noisy environments. If you are not familiar with all the settings on your hearing aid, visit your local hearing aid provider to have them program one for you and show you how to use it. You may also consider purchasing a pair of noise-reducing earmuffs that will not only keep your ears toasty during your favorite winter activity, but can also significantly reduce the decibel level of surrounding noise.
Taking a few extra precautions will ensure that you’re not left out in the cold this winter!
Chances are you know someone who suffers from hearing loss – whether they know it or not. To the surprise of many, hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition among older Americans after hypertension and arthritis – with an estimated 37 million adults over the age of 50 being affected. While this fact may seem incredible to some, the most alarming statistic to those in the field concern the use of hearing aids. According to Dr. Frank Lin, assistant professor of otolaryngology at John Hopkins University, a mere 14% of the millions suffering from hearing loss actually use hearing aids.
Denial of hearing loss is one of the main reasons a majority of those afflicted go without hearing aids. Because hearing loss is a subtle and gradual change, most people refuse to accept the fact that they have a problem, often times accusing others of mumbling or talking too fast. In fact, the average adult endures years of hearing impairment before they even decide to get their hearing tested. There is also a common belief that having a significant degree of hearing loss is just part of getting older. Most people think that if hearing loss is normal, it can’t be harmful. While age-related hearing loss is common, the inaccurate assumptions surrounding hearing loss result in a delay of treatment which can lead to further hearing loss, social isolation, and is even linked to mental disabilities such as dementia.
Cost and social stigmas associated with hearing aids are the main culprits in opposition against hearing aids. As highly technical devices, hearing aids usually run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for a very basic, low-end model, to over $6,000 for a highly sophisticated set. Since most private insurance companies don’t cover hearing aids, they are too often disregarded as a viable solution against hearing loss. Socially speaking, hearing aids are portrayed as a sign of weakness or a general sign of old age. What most people don’t realize is that all of these concerns can be addressed with a visit to their local hearing professional.
There are a wide range of reasons people use to defend their decision against hearing aids, however, they are really only cheating themselves. People who use hearing aids report greater independence and happiness, improved mental health, and better relationships with friends and families. Despite their high cost, most hearing aid suppliers offer great financing plans with little to no interest. Continued technological advances have transformed hearing aids from the big, chunky plastic pieces we’re used to visualizing, to much smaller and sleeker devices that are practically invisible!
The bottom line is that an overwhelming majority of people are, and will be affected by hearing loss. There are few reasons why hearing aids may not be the answer for you, but you never know until you give them a try.
 Susan Seliger; April 5,2012; The New York Times; Why Won’t They Get Hearing Aids
Hearing aids have certainly come a long way from the exaggerated sound trumpets invented in the 19th century. Even in the last decade, hearing aids have evolved from clunky, uncomfortable pieces of plastic to the high-tech devices available today. Most of the recent advancements are directly associated with the progression of digital technology which revolutionized the industry back in the early 1990s. Such developments include better clarity of sound as well as a reduction of feedback. While the quality of hearing aids has increased, there are still areas for improvement. Directional hearing, or the ability to sense the direction of sound, is one of the biggest shortcomings of today’s hearing aids. Researchers are studying everything from microchips to insects to create a solution to this drawback.
The introduction of digital technology into the world of hearing aids had such a profound impact on their efficiency it only makes sense that new ways to boost the technology would be considered. In order to keep the momentum of technological advances in the hearing aid industry, researchers are exploring the idea of using multiple microphones in a single hearing aid. These microphones would be mounted on tiny chips called microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, chips and would help mimic the ear’s natural ability to detect the direction of sound while reducing background noise. Some models of hearing aids already use directional microphones, however, the use of these high tech MEMS chips are still beneficial because they are relatively inexpensive and use little battery power.
Other researchers are looking outside the technological box for inspiration to improve the quality of directional sound in hearing aids – enter the Ormia ochracea. The Ormia ochracea is a tiny parasitic fly recently discovered to have such a high level of acute directional hearing, it rivals that of humans. This is quite impressive considering the drastic difference in size between the two species. The highly advanced auditory apparatus of the Ormia ochracea serves as a model for a new generation of hearing aids currently under development in several laboratories, including one at Cornell University. Ron Hoy, Cornell professor of neurobiology and scientific consultant to engineers in the hearing aid industry, is quoted, “Individuals who use hearing aids often struggle to understand conversation competing with other sounds and noises in the environment. The biological lessons provided by Ormia's abilities in hyperacute time-coding and localization of sound promise to produce strategies for improved nano- or microscale directional microphones in hearing aids.”
Resolving the issue of directional sound, when relating to today’s hearing aids, will likely require a combined effort from both schools of thought. As hearing aids continue to evolve, more and more effort is put into creating a device that mirrors our natural hearing abilities. Stay tuned for future entries on the future of hearing aids!
(CNN) -- If you lose a leg, insurance will likely cover the cost of your prosthesis. If you lose your arm, it's the same. Even if you lose your ability to perform sexually, more than likely your Viagra is covered.
But if you start to lose your hearing, far too often you are on your own.
If hearing loss were officially considered a disability, it would rank as the largest disability class in the country. Some 37 million people suffer from hearing loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number will only grow as the population ages.
Yet most private medical insurance doesn't cover the cost of hearing aids. While the Department of Veterans Affairs often pays for them, in most cases Medicare, which covers many more people, does not.
The Affordable Care Act expanded coverage to include newborn hearing screenings when it passed in 2010, but that was the single preventive-care expansion related to hearing problems. It would take an actual act of Congress to change it further.
Only 19 states require that health benefits plans in their states pay for hearing aids; most cover children only, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Only three states require coverage for both children and adults.
When private insurance does pay, it typically covers the cost of an exam to assess hearing loss, and that's about it.
The devices are expensive, sometimes costing in the $1,000 to $6,000 range -- and that's per ear. Perhaps this explains, at least in part, why 75% to 80% of adults with hearing loss do not get hearing aids, according to a recent study done by Virginia Ramachandran, a senior staff audiologist in the Division of Audiology of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Her study showed the only group that consistently got hearing aids had insurance that paid for them in full.
Hearing aids are considered elective, much like plastic surgery or liposuction. But unlike those cosmetic procedures, life without hearing can have devastating effects. It can leave people feeling isolated or depressed and may even lead to serious illnesses like dementia. It can put their safety at risk.
"It's really an invisible disability," said Laura Hansen, owner of Assist2Hear, a Littleton, Colorado-based hearing assistance company. She got involved in the profession after seeing her father struggle when he started losing his hearing. No one was there to really advocate for him, she said.
"You know, I think it stays invisible in part because of our culture," she said. "My parents' generation kind of accepted their hearing loss as just a way of life, and they didn't want to fuss with the technology, but ultimately they ended up isolating themselves."
Audiologist Virginia Ramachandran would agree.
"People don't always perceive that they need (hearing aids), because hearing loss comes on gradually. Usually they are the last person to know. Eventually, though, we all go through this," Ramachandran said.
We start losing our hearing as early as our 20s, but most people aren't aware of it -- or they're in denial.
"Maybe it's because it makes people think about their mortality, or it makes them feel old," Ramachandran said. "I had one 90-year-old patient who came to me and when I confirmed they did have hearing loss, they said, 'I don't understand what could have caused this.' I had to tell them as we mature, this is a natural part of the process."
Most people Hansen talks to are surprised that hearing aids aren't typically covered by insurance. She said she thinks that will change as her baby boom generation gets older and needs them more.
"Unlike our parents' generation, we are not afraid to complain. I do think you'll see a lot more pressure on the government and on private companies to pay for more," Hansen said.
But until then, don't expect to see this change any time soon. "There are 35 other mandated benefits you have to cover," said Susan Pisano, vice president of communications for America's Health Insurance Plans, a professional association that represents the health insurance industry. "To add something else -- especially with the high cost of health care, which will only continue to go up -- it is going to be a hard argument to make."
Where the argument might get easier is with children. "Hearing devices are an absolute necessity for children," Ramachandran said. "They are still developing speech and language, so they need to hear. Older people do need them, but they have an advantage over children with hearing loss. They already have experience with language, and their brain can sometimes fill in the gap with words they don't always hear. Children don't have that experience, and untreated hearing loss will severely hurt their development."
Jocelyn Ross knows that worry all too well. Her daughter Alyssa, born in 2009, is one of the 13,000 or so children born in the U.S. each year with congenital hearing loss. It is one of the most common sensory birth defects.
In South Carolina, where the Ross family lives, roughly 4% of infants fail the newborn hearing screening, according to Ross. Yet none of them receive any help under the state's public health law. Ross is trying to change that. She founded Let South Carolina Hear and helped persuade a state legislator to introduce a bill this year that would cover at least part of the cost. The legislation didn't make it through this session, but Ross is hopeful it will pass someday.
She needs to be. Ross says each of her daughter's behind-the-ear hearing aids cost $2,500. The devices require constant adjustment and will need to be replaced every few years as Alyssa grows older. If Ross lived in neighboring North Carolina, at least some of the cost of Alyssa's devices would be covered, but because she lives in South Carolina, that cost comes out of her pocket.
"This is a major life function, especially for children," Ross said. "I don't want her to have any limits, and with the devices she can do anything she wants to do. This is an expense that would be hard for anyone, but you do what you have to do." She says she worries, though, about the families that can't find that $2,500, and wonders what happens to their children, because she's seen how much hearing aids have transformed her daughter's life.
"Even when she was 2, she would point to her ears if the batteries got low," Ross said. "She only takes them off when she wants to go to sleep. She wants very much to be a part of the world, and she needs them to do this -- and so do so many others."
Original Article found at http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/10/health/hearing-aid-insurance/index.html
Other sources for this articles information are sited within the links in the article
Hearing Aids Direct is pleased to announce that we will be offering multiple options of financing for hearing aids purchased within select network providers. Our hearing aid financing will open up our hearing aid brands to the hearing impaired that don't want to pay upfront in one large lump sum, freeing up cash flow and releiving some fiancial pressure.
Financing for hearing aids will be available immidiately and will be provided for any purchase over the amount of $1000.00. The hearing aid financing plans are listed below and will shortly be listed on each individual product as well.*
No Interest Plans
Example is for a purchase of $3,900.00 with 0% interest.
90 Days/3 Months .................................................... $1,300.00 per month
120 Days/6 Months .................................................. $650.00 per month
365 Days/12 Months ................................................ $325.00 per month
Standard Payment Plan Chart
* financing for hearing aids is on approved credit only
Hearing Aids Online – Getting Started
The internet is a wonderful smorgasbord of products and information available to anyone with a connection and a computer. They’re many ways the internet can make your life easier and provide you with better peace of mind especially when buying a product. Unfortunately like anything, the internet is not infallible. Let’s step back and take a look at the health industry for example; can you get a surgical procedure through the internet? Can a doctor perform a physical evaluation over the internet? Can you improve your hearing loss over the internet? The answer to all these questions is obviously no, you can’t. Please read below to find out why buying hearing aids online is not in the best interest of the consumer.
Hearing aids for sale over the internet
Many people think that it would be a great idea to buy hearing aids online. Maybe a hearing aid for sale over the internet will be a cheaper or easier transaction. Maybe you can get the same quality of service if you buy hearing aids online because if you can buy a TV or a computer or a jacket online and get great service, why you can’t buy hearing aids online and get the same type of results seems like a reasonable question. The answer to that question is simple; hearing aids are unlike any product available to consumers.
Let’s put it this way; a new jacket feels warmer; a new TV has a better picture quality. These types of results are instantly known to the user. There’s no adjustment period for the results of the new product to be clearly defined.
Hearing aids on the other hand do have an adjustment period. In fact this adjustment period and the fitting process of a hearing aid is a huge part of the success or failure of that particular brand or model.
Every hearing aid is individually fit or programmed to the individual wearing the hearing aid based on the hearing loss of the individual. Purchasing hearing aids online severely limits ones ability to fine tune that hearing instrument to the proper settings.
We’ve noticed that some vendors claim they can program the hearing aids for sale on their website if you send them an audiogram (hearing test), but that means that you still have to go into a professionals office (hearing aid dispenser, Audiology Center, or ENT Clinic) to get that test performed. Essentially, the vender selling the hearing aids online can’t give you all the services essential to fitting the hearing aid properly.
Hearing aids for sale online – Do you really save money?
The most common reason someone would choose to buy hearing aids online is price. If you can find a hearing aid for sale online that is significantly lower in price than in a Hearing Aid Center, Audiology Center, or an Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic it appears to be the best financial option, right? Wrong!
Although you might save money up front buying hearing aids online, the long term cost will be much higher. Also keep in mind that a hearing aid for sale online might be used or out of warranty. There’s no guarantee with hearing aids for sale online because no major manufacture will support online sales of hearing instruments. As of now, none of the major manufacturers of hearing instruments support the sale of hearing aids online for the reason of patient care. An online vendor cannot support the capabilities of a hearing instrument unless the patient is physically in their office, which would eliminate the whole purpose of buying hearing aids online.
If you are able to find a hearing aid for sale online, that means that the vendor who is selling it to you does not have a direct account with the manufacturer, the product you are buying is not a hearing aid (assistive listening devices are not hearing instruments), or you are buying a used hearing aid. A lot of companies will boast that their assistive listening devices are just as good as hearing instruments, but they are not.
The Advantage of Hearing Aids Direct
You might be asking yourself:
“This whole article is trying to persuade me not to buy hearing aids online, but I thought this site sells hearing aids online… I’m confused.”
Let’s clear this up right away. Hearing Aids Direct does not sell hearing aids online. We have a national network of established, local Hearing Aid Centers, Audiology Centers, and ENT Clinics who provide the face to face programming and consulting for our customers. The hearing instruments are purchased in their office and programmed to the wearers hearing loss in their office by trained, fully licensed hearing aid dispensers. We provide great discounts to the customer through our website, but the patient still receives the highest quality of care possible in the local office.
Hearing Aids Direct truly provides the best of both worlds – The best prices on hearing aids while maintaining the highest quality of care.
The hearing aid industry has been promoting invisible hearing aids for a long time now, but not until recently have they actually become invisible. Now almost all the major manufacturers have some sort of truly invisible option, the next question is, will it be the best option for your hearing loss. Here are some pro's and con's to the newest invisible hearing aids today.
Pro's of invisible hearing aids:
- It's an invisible hearing aid !
- Invisible hearing aids typically sit closer to the tympanic membrane (ear drum), which can improve sound quality
- Deep fitting hearing aids (past the second bend, in the bony area of the ear canal) help eliminate the occlusion effect (stuffed up feeling in the head when you plug your ears)
- Some invisible hearing aids can be worn in the shower or wet environments
- Some invisible hearing aids last up to 3 months on one battery
Con's of invisible hearing aids:
- Invisible hearing aid prices are typically among the highest prices
- Most invisible hearing aids require a minimum ear canal size/volume which means that the majority of people cannot wear them due to their ears canals being to small
- Limited hearing range. Invisible hearing aids cannot typically fit severe or profound hearing losses and sometimes cannot even fit moderate/severe hearing loss (which is a very common level of hearing loss)
- Invisible hearing aids battery life is very poor with most models
- Some invisible hearing aids have a annual cost to them ranging from $2,400 per set/per year on up to $3,400 per set/per year, which is significantly higher than the cost of a standard hearing aid over a five year period
Some of the manufacturers that have invisible hearing aids available are:
Starkey, Lyric, Phonak, Siemens, Miracle-Ear, Audibel, and Unitron
So what's the best choice for me?
As with anything in life, we have to look at the problem and the solution relative to our own life and lifestyle. Invisible hearing aids can be wonderful for the right person, but just because it works well for one person doesn't mean that it's the best choice for you. There are a vast variety of hearing aids today that are discrete, comfortable, and nearly invisible, but without the large Con's list that invisible hearing aids come with.
The best recommendation we can give is to go to a local hearing health care professional and talk to them about your options. Consultations are free with any of Hearing Aids Direct's hearing aid providers so if you're curious about invisible hearing aids, call us today and we'll schedule you with a local hearing healthcare provider.
As always, thanks for visiting Hearing Aids Direct. We hope to hear from you soon!
Disclaimer - Information about cost, battery life, and any detail about invisible hearing aids in this article vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. All data will vary from user to user. For full details on specific cost, battery life, and all other details, contact Hearing Aids Direct or a local reseller.