Answers to common questions by Gayle L'Etoile
Owner and Audiologist at Hearing Sense
How do I know if I have hearing loss?
Because hearing loss typically occurs slowly most people adapt, but find that conversations are more difficult to follow. Television is quite difficult to hear, and often family members complain about the loud volume. Most hearing loss can be attributed to noise exposure, or aging. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) is a certain sign that there has been some damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. There are many causes of hearing loss, but it is my job to ascertain how the loss occurred, if medical intervention is necessary, and whether or not hearing aids are the correct solution.
Do hearing aids really work?
Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, however if fit and adjusted appropriately, they significantly increase ease of understanding in all situations. The newest hearing aids do much of this automatically and even talk to each other. I also like to adjust hearing aids on a regular basis as the brain begins to make better use of incoming sounds.
What is a digital hearing aid?
The term "digital" is used so often today that it can be confusing. When a hearing aid is termed digital, it generally means the hearing aid uses 100% digital processing. In other words, the hearing aid is actually a computer that I adjust based on your individual needs, and that I continue to re-program to address your listening situations.
Don't hearing aids amplify background noise?
Virtually all patients wearing hearing aids complain about background noise at one time or another. There is, unfortunately, no way to completely eliminate background noise. But even people with normal hearing hear background noise; they just learn to filter it down.
Modern digital hearing aids contain a computer that focuses on voices in front of you, and reduces sounds behind you. Once you become better at re- discovering what you DON'T want to hear, you will hear better and better in both groups and in noise.
What other kinds of hearing aids are there?
Almost all hearing aids today are digitally programmable and come in different styles. Many hearing aids today are also water resistant. There are additional technologies (remote controls, mini microphones, television transmitters) that can be added to the hearing aids if wanted or needed. Size and style, as well as level of technology are based on your hearing loss and lifestyle and will be discussed at your visit.
How long do hearing aid batteries last? Can I recharge them?
Although there are hearing aids with rechargeable batteries, if not recharged overnight they will not work the next day and the charger is an added expense. "Normal" hearing aid batteries last 7 to 10 days. One hearing aid manufacturer has just come out with hearing aids with batteries you recharge through a USB connection. These batteries last 16 hours.
Although hearing aid batteries no longer contain mercury, medical intervention should be taken if ingested by a child or pet.
I work in a loud environment. Store-bought ear plugs are uncomfortable. Can you supply me with ear protection?
The problem with foam ear plugs is that you tend to remove them in order to communicate, thereby defeating their purpose. Custom filtered earplugs allow you to hear speech AND protect you from dangerous noise levels. Musician's ear protection attenuates sound without affecting the full spectrum of bass to treble, and, of course, there are custom ear molds for muscian's monitors, or any special communication need (pilots, police officers, news anchors). There are also hearing aids that can be used by hunters to track prey, but shut down to protect hearing when a gun is fired. The newest versions are virtually invisible.
What's an Assistive Listening Device (ALD) ?
ALDs are any device that helps you hear, or be more aware of sound in your environment. ALDs range from home alerting devices to hand-held amplifiers with remote microphones. There are also infrared devices to transmit television wirelessly to headphones. "Hearables" are the latest category of assitive devices made to look like cell phone ear pieces or wireless speakers. Additionally, most new hearing aids come with Bluetooth capability so that television, cell phones, computers, or someone speaking into a lapel microphone will transmit directly into the hearing aids.
What insurance do you take?
We accept Medicare and all PPO's.
What an is Audiologist?
Audiology is the science of hearing, its measurement, and non-medical diagnosis. An Audiologist holds at least a Masters Degree in Audiology, after having received extensive clinical and academic training. The Audiologist is then required to pass both national board and state licensing examinations. A Clinically Certified Audiologist (such as myself) has successfully completed over 2000 supervised clinical hours and a Clinical Fellowship Year. In addition, Audiologists are required to undergo extensive ongoing continuing education courses and activities in order to maintain State Licenses for both Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing.
Why should I choose Hearing Sense?
We provide compassionate, supportive service in a good-natured environment. We are professional and know our stuff. Plus, we have a dog as our mascot!