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Hearing Assessment

Why bring someone to a hearing test?

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Hearing Aids

Do You Need a Backup Hearing Aid?

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Why bring someone to a hearing test?

Recently, I made an appointment for my father’s hearing assessment with a local audiologist. The woman who confirmed the appointment reminded me that he needed to bring someone to the hearing test. It may seem like an unusual request, but bringing someone to a hearing test can help ensure a higher-quality outcome. It’s best to bring the person who speaks with him most to take part in the familiar voice test. So, last Thursday I joined my dad at the audiologist’s office and I’m so glad I went.

Helping Dad hear better means helping myself

Before I even called, Dad was already a bit reluctant to address his hearing loss. He had a lot of denial about how much he was missing. At 93 years old, he had survived a lifetime without hearing aids, but as his daughter I was tired of constantly having to repeat things, and explain what doctors, friends and even my kids say. Finally, I insisted that he get a free hearing assessment* and eventually he agreed to see what the audiologist had to say.

A hearing assessment starts with a conversation with the audiologist

As expected, the hearing assessment began with the audiologist asking routine questions about Dad’s health. He asked about how well Dad hears in various situations. It seemed the audiologist was not only trying to learn what his needs may be, but also how well Dad could follow along a discussion in a quiet space. 

In the booth

After our talk, the audiologist invited Dad to sit in a booth and listen to tones at different frequencies and volumes. Dad was asked to indicate when he heard something. From my vantage point (outside the booth), I could see the audiologist press buttons, which my Dad didn’t hear. As soon as it was finished, the audiologist explained what the audiogram indicated. As with many older seniors, Dad had below-normal hearing across all frequencies, but he had the most difficulty with higher-pitched sounds. Dad was a bit disappointed to see the results, but I don’t think he was surprised.

The audiologist explained the audiogram key to explain the results. The audiogram showed the conclusions of both the air conduction and bone conduction hearing tests. 

My part in a familiar voice hearing test

A familiar voice hearing test is the main reason to bring someone to a hearing test. It provides a chance for a hearing care provider to see how well an individual understands words spoken by someone close to them. This was when the family member or close friend takes a more active role in the appointment. The audiologist asked me to step into the hallway, about eight feet from where my Dad was sitting. 

Can you hear me now?

As I stood a short distance away, the audiologist asked me to read a list of high-frequency words and have my Dad repeat them.

I said, “pail.”

Dad said, “nail.”

I said, “face.” 

Dad said, “late.”

And so on. It was quite fun to see what I had suspected. His score wasn’t great. Without a hearing aid, Dad only heard three out of ten words correctly. When he heard the outcome, Dad was even more disappointed than with the audiogram. He couldn’t deny it. He couldn’t hear me speaking to him only a few steps away. The audiologist, my Dad and I all witnessed it. 

Getting a different result: a familiar voice hearing test with hearing aids

I have to admit I was feeling a bit vindicated. I’ve been complaining that my father can’t hear me for years. The audiologist popped fresh batteries in a pair of behind-the-ear hearing aids and had him try them on. They were light and comfortable, and a slightly beige color that matched my dad’s coloring. The audiologist asked me to go back into the hallway and repeat the test. 

I said, “cup.”

Dad said, “cup.”

I said, “peach.” 

Dad said, “peach.”

I said, “pew.”

Dad said, “few.”

This time, Dad heard 7 out of 10 words. It was a vast improvement. He was very pleased. 

Another familiar voice hearing test…

With my dad still wearing the hearing aids, the audiologist asked me to walk down the hallway, about 15 or 20 feet away. The audiologist turned off the hearing aids. He asked me to speak in a normal volume and talk about what we were planning to have for dinner. Dad didn’t notice that I’d said anything at all. Once he turned the hearing aids back on, I repeated that I was planning go to the grocery store, and then we would have chicken for dinner. This time Dad heard and repeated every word.  

Why bring someone to a hearing test? Because hearing loved ones matters

My dad lives with me. He is accustomed to the cadence of my voice. Without even thinking about it, he knows that my vowels sound a certain way. Across the United States, we have a variety of regional accents. Even people who grow up in the same town may use different intonations. With familiar voice testing, it is easier for the individual to understand speech in a familiar voice test. 

Next steps: getting a hearing aid and getting used to it

Even experiencing firsthand how well hearing aids improved his ability to understand a conversation and hear people speaking from afar, my 93 year old is very set in his ways. So, I gave a gentle push. 

Improving a senior’s quality of life

For 93 years old, Dad is in incredible shape. He has many activities where hearing well would improve his quality of life. He enjoys playing piano, eating in restaurants, watching Perry Mason and NOVA on TV, and, of course, spending time with family. All of these things would be easier if he could hear better. It wasn’t until I mentioned that he should be able to hear the announcer during soccer matches that he finally agreed that hearing aids would improve his quality of life.

I can’t wait until his new hearing aids arrive. After years of watching him miss a lot of the conversation at family dinners, I’m pleased he’s finally taking the opportunity to hear better. At 93, it might be an big adjustment for him, but after a few weeks he may wonder how he survived decades without hearing aids.

It might be time to book their appointment. Then you can enjoy it when they are asked to bring someone to their free hearing assessment.*

Remember: The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the patient(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.

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Do You Need a Backup Hearing Aid?

Hearing aids are delicate and intricate pieces of technology. While it is never necessary to have a backup or spare hearing aid, it is definitely a good thing to have. Today, we will cover some of the reasons why you should keep a backup hearing aid and tell you how to manage keeping a spare one.

4 Reasons You Should Have a Spare Hearing Aid

  1. Never miss a moment. If you carry a spare pair of hearing aids with you as a backup, you never have to miss out or worry about not hearing if your main pair of hearing aids stop working unexpectedly or the batteries die.
  2. You can also use your backup pair of hearing aids while your main hearing aids are charging.
  3. If you have travel planned, you can opt to take only your backup pair or bring both along so that you are sure you will hear everything as you travel. When you travel, having two pairs of hearing aids can be a big help if one stops working properly and you aren’t near our offices to come in and have them adjusted.
  4. Recycle and reuse are an excellent reason to keep your old pair of hearing aids as a backup rather than just throwing them out, make use of them.

How to Get a Backup Hearing Aid

You can always purchase an extra pair of hearing aids. This will ensure you have a backup hearing aid whenever you need one. The more common way to get a backup hearing aid is when you keep your old pair after upgrading to a new one. Just because your hearing aid is the “old” one doesn’t mean it’s outdated or not useful. Keep an open mind so that you can always have that safety net. Once you get used to using your hearing aids, you realize what you were missing out on and want to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

Consult with the Experts at Smithtown / Sayville Hearing Services

If you want to learn more about hearing loss evaluations and treatments, just let us know. Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are dedicated to your hearing health and all aspects of your life, living with hearing loss! We have two convenient hearing center locations on Long Island: one in Sayville,NY and the second in Smithtown,NY.

Posted by Admin

Do Changes in Weather Affect Your Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids?

Fall is fast approaching and with it come seasonal weather changes. Is there anything you need to do to prepare for the changes in the weather? Do changes in weather affect your hearing or hearing aids? For many patients, weather changes like changes in pressure and especially colder weather can bring about some hearing problems and when the temperatures drop, that can affect hearing aid functions too.

Changes in Barometric Pressure

When the seasons change, weather fronts bring about changes in barometric pressure. When barometric pressure drops quickly, the pressure outside your ears goes down before the pressure inside your ears can acclimate. The fluid in your ears is very sensitive to these changes and can cause the sensation of ears popping due to the pressure imbalance.

Increased Risk of Ear Infections

Long term exposure to cold weather can increase chances of ear infections. This is because the cold weather decreases circulation in the ear. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists chronic ear infections a main cause of hearing loss. To prevent ear infections due to the cold weather, make sure to wear hats, ear muffs and other gear to keep your ears warm.

Surfer’s Ear

Another reason you should protect your ears from cold weather is to help prevent a condition called exostosis, commonly known as ‘surfer’s ear’. Prolonged exposure to strong winds, cold water, and cold, damp conditions can promote abnormal growth on the bones inside the ear canal. The bone growth can block the passage and interfere with hearing.

Hardened Earwax

You know that it’s cold out when the temperatures drop enough to harden your earwax. This can cause discomfort and even a blockage that can interfere with your hearing. Remember not to try to remove earwax using a cotton swab tip. Although his seems to be a common habit, it’s a bad one and can cause further damage, instead follow our tips for safe earwax removal.

Inclement Weather and Hearing Aids

We already discussed about the dangers of water and hearing aids. Even a bad rain storm can damage your hearing aids if water gets in and interferes with the inner workings of these sensitive devices. However, it isn’t just wet weather that you need to protect your hearing aids from. The cold can also pose a threat to your listening devices. The cold weather can impact hearing aid functions. Hearing aid batteries, like other electronic devices also usually don’t keep a charge for as long as they do in warmer weather.

Consult with the Experts at Smithtown / Sayville Hearing Services

If you want to learn more about hearing loss evaluations and treatments, just let us know. Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are dedicated to your hearing health and all aspects of your life, living with hearing loss!

Posted by Admin

Celebrities with Hearing Loss

Celebrities get hearing loss too. It is something that can affect anyone; and some of your favorite actors or musicians are among the 48 million Americans coping with hearing loss. As you will see, there are many different reasons for hearing loss and much of it is preventable. In fact, many of them admit that their hearing problems are due to noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus resulting from loud scenes or pyrotechnic accidents on set. You may not have know that these celebrities have hearing loss or are dealing with tinnitus.

  1. Marlee Matlin: She is probably the most well- known deaf actress and spokesperson often quoted as saying that “deaf people can do anything except hear”. She has many acting accomplishments including an Oscar and danced beautifully showing everyone just how much she can do on Dancing with the Stars in 2008.
  2. Nyle DiMarco: He is the 2015 winner of America’s Next Top Model and has been enjoying a great modeling career ever since. He also brought a great deal of awareness for the accomplishments that deaf people can achieve on Dancing with the Stars, when he won in 2016. DiMarco was born deaf and has a multigenerational deaf family.
  3. Jane Lynch: As a result of a high fever as an infant, the comedic actress has been dealing with almost complete deafness in her right ear.
  4. William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy: The pair, most well-known as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock both incurred damage due to an accident on the set of Star Trek and have dealt with tinnitus as a result.
  5. Halle Berry: Known as the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, Halle Berry lost almost all her hearing in her left ear during a domestic violence incident. As a result, she is now changing the face of what it looks like to have hearing loss and also advocating for awareness about domestic violence.
  6. Rob Lowe: It is believed that his profound hearing loss is a result of an undiagnosed mumps diagnosis when he was 8 or 9 months old.
  7. Eric Clapton: Just one of many legendary performers on our list who have hearing loss that developed over years of performing loud concerts and not wearing hearing protection.
  8. Derrick Coleman: The first deaf offensive player in the NFL. He has had hearing loss since a very young age, it was diagnosed at 3 years old and he now wears hearing aids in both ears.
  9. Lance Allred was the first legally deaf player in the NBA. He wears hearing aids in both ears.
  10. Pete Townshend: You may not know the name Pete Townshend, but you likely know the band he play lead guitar for, The Who. He is deaf in one ear, has partial hearing in the other and also has to cope with tinnitus. He attributes his hearing loss and damage to wearing earphones during recording studio sessions and his years on state with one of the loudest rock bands in history. He wears hearing aids now and uses assistive technology.

Consult with the Experts at Smithtown / Sayville Hearing Services

If you want to learn more about hearing loss evaluations and treatments, just let us know. Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are dedicated to your hearing health and all aspects of your life, living with hearing loss!

Posted by Admin

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