Thursday, July 30, 2015

What can I expect when purchasing hearing aids

When considering investing in hearing instruments, it’s important to establish reasonable expectations.  Obtaining hearing instruments is an on-going process.  It starts with the realization that you are missing sounds and conversations that are important to you.  Your motivation to hear well and stay connected to family, friends and co-workers is the most important motivation.  Here are a few things you can expect.

Expect others to notice your hearing difficulties before you do.  Trust family and friends when they suggest you have a hearing evaluation (audiologic assessment).  They are noticing something that you are yet unaware of or feel has other causes.  If you find yourself saying things such as people mumble or they don’t look at you when they are talking, know these are signs of hearing difficulty.

Expect your audiologist to listen to you and your concerns.  Your plan for improved hearing will be based on your hearing needs and lifestyle.   The hearing instruments recommended for you will be able to adjust according to your listening needs.  Expect that the hearing instruments will fit comfortably.  You will have an initial awareness of having something in and on your ears.  After a while, you should lose this awareness and not even notice there is something in your ear.

Expect that you will hear better with hearing instruments.  While hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, you will hear more easily. Conversations will flow more naturally with less work on your part.  Your awareness of your environment will increase. You will overhear children in another room laughing, birds singing outside and other sounds in and around the house. 

Expect it will take a period of time for you to adjust to your hearing instruments.  You will be more aware of all sounds around you, including background noise.  The increased background noise will hold your attention in the beginning.  Given time, you learn to ignore background noise just like everyone else.  Also, it takes time to get use to how your voice sounds to you.


Expect that Life Sounds Great! And
Expect that you will
Enjoy Every Moment!


Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848Fax: 440-205-9818
http://aacHEAR.org



Thursday, July 23, 2015

How long do hearing aids last?

The average hearing aid lifespan varies significantly due to the conditions they are used in and the way you care for them.  The older the hearing aids, the more often they tend to breakdown resulting in repairs.  When it comes to hearing aids, seven years may not seem very long, but the devices are considered ancient by that time.
The average lifespan is about 5 years.  There are several reasons for this:
·         Paying to repair older technology is a poor investment (typically being more expensive with age)
·         Repairs of older aids are not as reliable as newer ones
·         Parts replaced on older hearing aids may come from other older, and sometimes used, hearing aids
·         The technology is outdated
·         Old software often cannot be used on newer computers making it impossible to adjust older devices as hearing changes
·         Hearing may change so much that stronger hearing aids are needed
·         Hearing aids are not designed to last indefinitely
Hearing instruments can continue to perform very well, and last longer than the average five years, by giving them proper care.  Moisture is the leading cause of breakdowns.  Using a hearing aid dehumidifier can reduce the number of repairs and extend the life of your hearing devices.
Hearing aids eventually reach a point where it is no longer feasible to invest in repairs.  If you love the hearing aids you have, and aren't sure where you want to invest your time and money in new instruments, discuss the costs and benefits with your audiologist.  We work to support your hearing goals, including maximizing your investment in hearing instruments.  

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
 
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848Fax: 440-205-9818
http://aacHEAR.org









Thursday, July 16, 2015

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

Most hearing aids will have a 5-10 day battery life.  Today’s technology is great and it needs power.  We use many electronic devices daily.  Think about how long your cell phone or tablet run before needing to be recharged.  ?  Batteries for these devices typically only last hours.  Using these devices constantly for 10-12 hours as one would with hearing aids, they would need to recharged daily.
Hearing instruments are small and so are the batteries.  This leaves little room for an electrical charge. The estimated battery life depends on your hearing aids and the length of time you wear them.  Further, using a hearing aid streamer or other accessory places an even bigger demand for power on the battery.
Some hearing instruments use rechargeable batteries.  While this sounds like a good solution, there are some “bugs” in how rechargeable batteries work in hearing devices.  Often those who have tried rechargeable switch to disposable batteries. 
Your hearing instruments require a certain size battery, but not all batteries will work the same.  Hearing aid manufacturers typically recommend a specific brand of battery to use with their devices.  Find out what brand battery works best with your hearing instruments.  Using the recommended brand will give you the best possible battery life. 


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
 
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848Fax: 440-205-9818
http://aacHEAR.org









Thursday, July 9, 2015

What is presbycusis?

Presbycusis (prez-bee-KU-sis) is hearing difficulty related to aging. It commonly starts in people in their 50’s.  Over time the hearing nerves (haircells) in the inner ear, begin to collapse causing gradual decrease in hearing ability.  We have about 15, 000 haircells in each ear.  These nerve fibers are pitch sensitive.  They're responsible for transmitting sound from the ear to the brain.  When they collapse, the ear no longer transmits sound correctly.  At first, high pitched sounds are affected resulting in a decrease in high frequency hearing.  Good high frequency hearing gives clarity or sharpness to words, allowing easy understanding of speech.

Over time more and more haircells collapse, causing greater and greater difficulty understanding speech. This slow gradual decrease in hearing ability creates the sense that it’s not you, it’s the way other’s talk.  You may feel people mumble which is one of the symptoms of presbycusis.  Others are: difficulty hearing soft talkers and understanding in noisy places. 

Hearing instruments can and do help.  They are tuned to match your hearing ability providing help specific to your needs. New hearing instrument technology has natural sound quality, separates words from background noise, cancels out room echo, improves hearing in a car, and much more.  Most hearing devices are small and sleek, and some are invisible!  People are very pleased with these devices.

Presbycusis typically runs in families.  If your parents had hearing difficulty later in life, you may also.  When you notice yourself making excuses for mishearing, such as people mumble or talk softly, it’s time for a hearing evaluation. Call to make an appointment.  You will be glad you did.  


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!
Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
 
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848Fax: 440-205-9818
http://aacHEAR.org









Thursday, July 2, 2015

What's new in hearing research?

Audiology is a young science and there is still much to learn about the ears and hearing. Here are few things hearing scientists have been working on recently.

At the University of Connecticut they have been investigating how humans judge the distance of a sound. We are good at figuring out which direction a sound is coming from, whether it's hearing where the keys fell or a baby crying. How we judge the distance of a sound has been a mystery. Researchers found that echoes and fluctuations in volume are the cues we use to figure the distance between us and the source of a noise.

The Australian National University (ANU) has shed new light on synesthesia -- the effect of hearing colors, seeing sounds and other cross-sensory phenomena.  These findings provide a better understand of synesthesia.  Those with synesthesia have stronger connections between different brain areas, particularly between what we think of as the language part of the brain and the color part of the brain. Those connections have a triggering effect, where a stimulus in one part of the brain causes activity in the other.


The University of Southern California, Health Sciences Department, has been looking into ways to help children born without a cochlea or hair cells (hearing nerve fibers).  Individuals who do not have a cochlea cannot be helped with hearing aids or cochlear implants.  These children are unable to hear sound, no matter how loud. The Auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is considered revolutionary because it stimulates nerves directly in the brainstem, completely bypassing the inner ear.


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
 
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848Fax: 440-205-9818
http:/aacHEAR.org







Thursday, June 25, 2015

Does every one experience a positive change with hearing aids?

Yes, everyone who needs hearing aids will benefit.  Often times, people experience life changing results when fit with hearing instruments. I applaud you for taking the steps to improve your life.  When you recognize hearing problems and address them, life can be more fulfilling.  Studies show that those who use hearing instruments are active, productive, effective, joyful, successful and social. 

Almost 40 million Americans have difficulty hearing.  They are pushing the hearing industry forward.  Technology is advancing quickly.  Even over the past year there have been tremendous developments in hearing devices.  People with hearing trouble can do the things they love with the people they love.  

Today’s hearing devices allow you to hear from all directions and in all sorts of listening situations. This means people hear better in the situations they need to hear.  The instruments are digital, wireless and virtually invisible.  There are even extended wear devices that are 100% invisible, hassle free and are worn 24 hours a day 7 days a week for up to 4 months at a time.

The secret is taking that first step, acknowledging your hearing is changing. Then have a hearing evaluation.  Just like you, the sooner someone gets started, the sooner their life is improved. 


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, Au.D.Paula Webster, M.A.
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818
http://aacHEAR.org