Frequently asked questions
Does your practice staff Audiologists or Hearing Instrument Specialists
At Applied Hearing Solutions, all of our providers are Doctors of Audiology. Education may very well be the largest difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist. Audiologists are now required to earn a doctorate, which means eight additional years of education beyond a high school diploma. The best programs are very selective and competitive to incoming students, and the programs are very rigorous and require a full understanding of hearing healthcare in order to pass the program.
What should I expect during a hearing test?
#1. Otoscopy - Basically looking in your ear to make sure there is no wax or other problems preventing sound from entering your ear.
#2. Air Conduction Testing - Usually while wearing Headphones or Insert Earphones, this is where an Audiologist will play you "beeps" to see if you can hear them. They are trying to find out the softest sound you can hear.
#3. Bone Conduction Testing - This is where we send sound into your ear by vibrating your skull. This will help the Audiologist identify the part of your ear that is causing a hearing loss, if you have a hearing loss at all.
#4. Speech Recognition Testing - This is where you repeat words until the audiologist finds the softest level of speech that you can hear.
#5. Word Recognition Score - This is where you repeat words at an audible level and the audiologist determines how accurate you can understand them. They may need to be amplified if you have a hearing loss.
If you haven't had a hearing test in the past 5 years, you should. Find an Audiologist near you to see how well YOU hear.
What hearing aid brands do you offer?
As an independently owned and operated audiology clinic, we have the flexibility to recommend devices from any manufacturer. Consequently, we routinely recommend hearing aids from any of the leading manufacturers depending on the best interest of the patient. Before recommending a device, we take into account each patient's unique situation and hearing loss. Phonak, Widex, Signia, Oticon, Resound and other options are available at Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix.
What happens during a hearing aid fitting?
#1. Subjective Questionnaire - Pre and Post questionnaires are a great way to determine how much success you are having with your hearing aids in your natural environments.
#2. Physical Fit of your Hearing Aids - Get this part wrong and nothing else matters. Fit affects more than comfort. It can dictate how well a hearing aid can be programmed and functions.
#3. Real Ear Measures - REMs are the only way to ensure proper programming of your hearing aids. Watch my Real Ear Measurement Video in the next FAQ.
#4. How to use your new hearing aids - It would probably be a good idea if you knew how to put them in your ears and turn them on.
#5. Realistic Expectations - Getting used to hearing aids takes time, and it isn't always easy. There will be some sounds that you hate, but it will get better. Your hearing care provider should discuss these with you so you know what to expect.
What are Real Ear Measurements (REMs)?
Real Ear Measures, or Real Ear Verification, is the only way to ensure your hearing aids are fit appropriately. Real Ear Measurement is the gold standard method of verifying these hearing aid prescriptions. With this process, your hearing care provider will place probe microphone tubes inside of your ear canals along with the hearing aids that they are programming. These microphone tubes will record the level of amplification coming out of the hearing aids. By playing a known calibrated signal from a loud speaker in front of you, we can measure to see if the amplification coming out of the hearing aids is meeting your prescriptive targets.
Once I have hearing aids, is follow-up care necessary?
There are 4 main reasons why you should be seeing your hearing care professional no less than 2 times per year.
1) Most people produce significant amounts of earwax and this earwax can block your ear canals and stop sound from your hearing aids which can limit your benefit.
2) Hearing aids are precision medical devices that are not intended to go for long periods of time without maintenance and proper cleaning.
3) Your hearing aids will eventually malfunction. Your hearing care professional can perform Electroacoustic Analysis (EAA) to ensure that your devices are performing up to specs.
4) Your hearing can change. - Just because your hearing loss was at one level last year, doesn't mean that it hasn't changed since then. If your prescription has changed, then your hearing aids need to be reprogrammed.
How long do hearing aids last?
You can't determine how long hearing aids will work based on how many years you've had them. However, you can make a logical decision on when the time is right based on the following 5 KEY FACTORS:
1. Are your hearing aids capable of handling your hearing loss? - Hearing losses can change. Whether this is gradual or sudden, if you don't have a hearing aid capable of providing you will the level of amplification you need, you will need new hearing aids.
2. Will Insurance cover the cost? - Despite popular belief, more insurances are covering a portion of hearing aid costs. Some cover a significant portion of new hearing aids every few years.
3. Warranty & Repair costs - Most hearing aids come with a 1-3 year warranty. You can continue to extend the warranty, but this can get expensive. However, paying repair costs can be expensive if you are out of warranty. The last thing you want to do is pay high warranty & repair costs for old hearing aids when you could put that towards a new set.
4. Technology Improvements - Technology is continuously improving. When there is a new feature that will have a massive improvement on your ability to hear, it makes sense to consider it. When the made for iPhone technology was introduced, it dramatically improved hearing on the phone and music. When the Oticon OPN came out, it changed how well people could hear in background noise. To maximize the benefits of new technology, you need to make sure you have real ear measures performed.
5Are you still in a service plan? - If you pre-paid for service in a "bundled" model of care, you don't want to purchase new hearing aids until you've exhausted your service plan. For instance, if you paid $8,000 for hearing aids and are promised 5 years of service, you shouldn't purchase new hearing aids sooner than 5 years. To avoid this issue, purchase your hearing aids "un-bundled" so you never over pay for service costs.