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Hearing Assessment

Can you test for tinnitus?

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Understanding the 3 Appointment Types

Nobody likes going to the dentist. That’s just common knowledge. It seems to be mostly because there is always an unknown factor – what are they going to find…and how many fillings am I going to need?

We don’t want visiting a hearing care provider to be like that, so we thought we’d fill you in on what to expect at the various types of appointments we offer.

Up first is the hearing assessment.

We recommend annual hearing assessments after your initial assessment (unless you notice drastic changes, in which case, come in immediately). That helps us monitor changes and adjust the plan to help you hear better as we go.

When you first arrive, we will go over your case history. This will involve a series of questions that help us understand what you might be struggling with, where things can be improved, and what your general health history is. It’s helpful if you bring a family member or close friend with you to help you answer these questions.

From there, we usually do a few tests. They don’t hurt, and they are non-invasive.

These are the typical tests you can expect. How many we do depends primarily on your level of hearing.

  • Otoscopy is a simple visual examination of the outer ear canal or ear drum using a medical device called an otoscope.
  • Tympanometry measures how well the eardrum is moving. This test helps detect fluid in the middle ear, a perforated eardrum, or wax blocking the ear canal.
  • Audiometry consists of air conduction and bone conduction testing. It’s done in a soundproof room, where you will raise your hand or push a button when you hear sounds. Air conduction testing sends pure tones through every part of your ear to test your hearing across different frequencies. Bone conduction testing measures the sensitivity of your cochlea using a bone vibrator placed behind your ear.
  • Speech recognition testing evaluates your ability to understand words and sentences spoken at a normal listening level. This helps determine the degree to which background noise interferes with your speech understanding, an important factor when considering your different treatment options.

At the end of this type of appointment, we will review your results and make a recommendation for treatment options that are best suited to you and your lifestyle.

If you decide to do hearing aids, we will discuss financing and make molds of your ears, if the type of hearing aid you choose requires them.

It’s a very laid-back situation and we do our best to make it as easy on you as possible.

The next type of appointment is all about the hearing aids. We demonstrate hearing aids, do fitting hearing aids, or doing routine checkups for your hearing aids.

With the different types of hearing aids, its a good idea to get a demonstration of each kind, hear the pros and cons of each, and then make a choice based on your hearing challenges and your lifestyle. An appointment dedicated to just this process is a really good idea, because it helps us focus just on that topic and not overwhelm you with other information.

Fitting your new hearing aids, or doing a routine checkup on your existing hearing aids falls into this type of appointment too – anything that has to do with hearing aids falls into this category.

Finally, we also do repairs and adjustments for your hearing aids.

These little devices can be fragile, and let’s be honest sometimes things don’t work the way they should. We can help. We’ve got the tools and the expertise to get them running again, whether they got wet, are clogged, or limited dexterity keeps you from doing something on your own – we can help.

The long and short stories are the same. Your hearing care provider wants nothing more than to help you hear better, and if you’ve been avoiding that initial appointment because appointments in general are not your favorite thing, we promise – this one will be easy-peasy.

We suggest having your hearing checked even before you think there might be damage. That gives you a baseline to go off of – if you visit again in a year and there is a drastic change, you will know that you have to do more to protect yourself.

Your hearing care professional can help you determine what’s best for you and your lifestyle.

Protect your hearing now, before it’s too late!

If you want to learn more, or have questions, just let us know. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us.

We can’t wait to help you gain a better hearing lifestyle. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are committed to better hearing and committed to you! Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment.

Posted by Admin

What Your Hearing Care Provider Can Do For You

What prevents individuals from achieving better hearing? There are several answers. For many people, hearing loss seems to just sneak up slowly over time. Many do not even realize they have an issue until it becomes significant. And because it isn’t noticed, it isn’t mentioned at an annual physical, and even more time goes by without seeking help. In fact, on average, it takes a person 7-10 years1 to seek help for hearing loss. By the time a person realizes the full impact of hearing loss, they may just want a quick fix to a complicated problem.

Regrettably, many people with hearing loss are lured into the supposedly “cheaper and easier” methods of correcting it, either through the purchase of hearing aids online, choosing a personal sound amplifier, or by visiting big box stores that are much more concerned with profits than patient care. In spite of the allure of these seemingly simple fixes, the fact is that a professional hearing care provider is your best resource to address your hearing healthcare.

What the big boxes and online hearing aid retailers aren’t telling you

Maybe you’ve heard that you can buy hearing aids similar to those from hearing care professionals from the big box stores for little money. These stores are only successful because they can sell a large volume of low-priced goods, often very cheaply, to gain larger revenue. They focus on efficiency, which is a polite way of saying “get as many people in and out the door as rapidly as possible.” Admittedly, this profit-centric model works well for many purchases, because you probably don’t need professional, personalized care to help choose your t-shirts or soap. Customer service simply doesn’t factor in to these types of purchases. But purchasing hearing aids is more complicated; you need a professional to guide you. Your ears deserve individual attention from trained professionals.

Looks can be deceiving

Beware of hearing aids from online retailers. They are probably not the same quality of product, even if they come from the same manufacturer. Models may differ slightly, making them eligible for discounted pricing, without the features that hearing care professionals can offer.

Hearing care experts use a customer-centric business model

Our hearing care providers are completely different. We are not obsessed with short-term profits because we focus on customer care. Have we identified your individual needs and found a solution that suits you? Are you willing to return to us for your future care? Would you refer us to your friends and neighbors? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have been successful in our approach to care.

We thrive on providing quality care, which benefits both the person with hearing loss as well as our team.

In contrast, what will happen if the big box stores can’t deliver quality care and happy customers? They will push more advertising to increase their flow of new customers, offering the same “quick and cheap fix” that lured the original customers.

Because individuals experience hearing differently, it’s important to choose your hearing care provider wisely

Hearing is complex; like our fingerprints, everyone’s hearing is unique. So the frequencies your friend may hear well could be the same ones that you can’t hear. In other words, you can’t just take the surrounding sound, make it all louder, pump it into your ears and expect good results. But this is in essence what personal sound amplifiers and over-the-counter hearing aid models do.

The truth is, the sounds your hearing aids amplify — AND the sounds they don’t — must complement the way you, and only you, hear. Hearing care professionals accomplish this through:

  • Assessing* your hearing to learn the EXACT nature of your hearing loss
  • Understanding the variety of hearing aids and their individual capabilities (as well as what they cannot do)
  • Identifying what works for your needs
  • Fitting and programming your hearing aids to boost the sounds you have difficulty hearing, while identifying and repressing the sounds you don’t want to hear (such as low-frequency background noise)
  • Providing follow-up care, especially in the first few weeks when the device is new and may need further adjustments

For the hearing care provider, acquiring this knowledge requires a lot of instruction and patient care experience. This is how we can conduct the appropriate assessment* to help patients pick the right hearing aid, professionally program the hearing aids and provide the coaching and aftercare necessary for optimal hearing. We don’t cut corners in providing comprehensive hearing care. That is why the results are well worth your time and effort.

Make the right choice for you

Who do you trust with your hearing? Someone who views you only as a transaction, consumer or a means to reaching sales targets? Or do you trust an experienced hearing professional who cares about the same thing you do — attaining the best hearing possible? We think the decision is easy: relationships are the lifeblood of successful hearing care.

Still have questions?

We welcome you to call (631) 993-4719 to make an appointment today. Hearing starts with a conversation. Our friendly team is there for you throughout the process of identifying your needs, finding the right hearing aid (if that’s right for you), fitting, adjusting and following up with you. Your hearing satisfaction is our goal – and we measure our success through your wellness.

Posted by Admin

Can you test for tinnitus?

How can I know if what I am hearing is real or phantom?

If you or someone you love has been experiencing ringing in the ears of other sounds that no one else can hear, it might be tinnitus. The first step for answers is to make an appointment for a hearing assessment*. After discussing your medical history with a hearing care professional, your provider will check for obstructions in the ear canal and clear out any built-up earwax.

If the tinnitus is reported as being unilateral (only in one ear) you may need to speak with a physician. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist may order an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan to rule out larger issues. If no obstructions are present in the ear canal and no other potential causes are discovered, an audiologist or other hearing care provider will consider other causes, including hearing loss.

Professional hearing assessments

Your hearing care provider may conduct a pure tone audiogram, especially if your tinnitus is unilateral or accompanied by loss of hearing. A pure tone audiogram plays different frequencies at varying volumes. Even if you haven’t noticed reduced hearing, an audiogram may show areas of weakness that you may not have noticed before. In addition to an audiogram, your audiologist may consider performing speech audiometry, which looks at how well a patient can hear and repeat certain words.

Sound matching and other methods

Since generally tinnitus’ perceived sound cannot be heard by another person, audiologists use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. Sound matching consists of playing a series of audio clips to identify which sound is closest to the internally perceived sound.

A hearing care provider may use minimum masking levels to determine if a patient is experiencing tinnitus. This also determines how loud a sounds seem. The audiologist or hearing care professional plays audio clips at increasing volume levels until the patient registers that the external noise entirely conceals the phantom sounds.

How is tinnitus impacting you?

You may be asked to fill out a self-assessment form or questionnaire. This will establish how your symptoms are impacting your life and emotional well-being.

Tinnitus is not an illness. If you are experiencing buzzing, ringing or other sounds you cannot identify, and want to discuss options for relief, contact our professionals so we can discuss your challenges – and provide solutions. Make an appointment for a free hearing assessment* today.

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Is hearing loss like vision loss?

Why do we pay more attention to our vision than our hearing?

Both are very important senses, and both cause us great difficulties if they don’t work effectively. But due to the way we use them, their loss affects us in different ways. Many adults get their vision checked regularly, so why do so many people ignore their ears?

Addressing vision loss

When you go to an optician, you look at a letter chart. If you have a loss of vision, you may not be able to read the lower lines of smaller letters, because they become blurry. Your eyes can’t focus on them.

Another way to understand vision loss is to think of how we age. Over time the eyes gradually lose their ability to focus so close objects become blurry. If you are farsighted you know that seeing things close to you – like reading – become more difficult. This loss of sensitivity to nearby objects does not vary; it is uniform.

Comparing to hearing loss

Like vision, our ears often gradually lose the ability to hear high frequencies, both through damage and aging. However, unlike with vision loss, the actual effects of this are not uniform.

Speech is made up of many different frequencies and tones. If we can’t hear high pitched sounds, we find it hard to understand specific letters such as f, s and t. This is because they contain high frequencies. Such letters can also be drowned out by louder, low-pitched vowels like a, o and u.

In contrast to vision loss where we miss chunks of vision (such as the lower rows on a vision chart), the loss of hearing sensitivity affects many different parts of speech that are scattered throughout the conversation, so random bits of conversation get lost.

Are there similarities with vision and hearing loss

There are clear differences between hearing loss and vision loss. But there are many similarities too:

  • Healthcare professionals offer solutions for both
  • Both have stylish and discreet options
  • Treatment makes it possible to live life fully
  • The consequences of not treating the problem are similar for both, including tiredness, mental decline and social isolation

Vision aids (glasses) versus hearing aids

When people struggle to see, they wear glasses. These “vision aids” help a broad range of people. Whether you wear them for distance, computers, reading or a combination, they work best when an optometrist or ophthalmologist checks your vision, writes a prescription and a professional, such as an optician orders lenses specifically addressing your individual needs – whether you are near-sighted, far-sighted, have astigmatism or a combination of challenges.

The same holds true with solutions for hearing. Since modern hearing aid designs are discreet and stylish – and come in a range of subtle colors – many people find any stigmas to be silly. That’s why our hearing aid wearers are happy that today’s technology-packed aids are cool. Besides, if you hear and see well, your entire world is brighter.

Getting a hearing assessment* is as easy as a vision test. And no drops in your eyes. Plus, with us, it’s free. Contact us and make an appointment to get started.

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