Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids

As it depends on many factors, including your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget, choosing the right hearing aid can be a tricky process. 

There are so many options and considerations to consider. It is helpful to think about the following questions and discuss your answers with a hearing specialist to decide precisely what you need from a hearing aid.

 

What sort of hearing loss are you dealing with?

Everyone hears differently, so it’s essential to look for a hearing aid that will address your unique needs. When you work with a hearing professional, they will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your hearing and recommend a hearing aid that suits you perfectly. 

It is also essential to keep in mind your particular hearing loss, especially when considering the number of available channels in a hearing aid. Hearing aids have recently completed a shift from analog to digital. This has made signal processing more sophisticated. A provider may change the hearing aids to boost the lower frequency sounds, or vice versa, depending on the patient’s particular hearing loss profile. 

This is terrific news, especially for those with issues in particular frequencies, as problem areas can now be amplified more further than others. So wireless hearing aids have settings which allow for tweaks of several channels, like tuning an equalizer on a stereo. Current hearing aids have from about four channels up to 24 or more channels available. 

This doesn’t mean that everybody would benefit from more channels, however. A person with a hearing loss that is the same across all frequencies will do better with a standard hearing aid with fewer channels because they need equal amplification across the entire hearing spectrum. On the flip side, someone with hearing loss that is normal in lower pitches and much worse in higher ranges needs a hearing aid with more channels to more accurately boost where amplification is required.

 

What is the sound environment like at work?

Your work-life also plays a significant part in assessing the needs of the hearing aid. Musicians need to hear high notes and harmonies, for example, whereas people working in a noisy setting will benefit from a hearing aid that decreases background noise.

 

What kind of activities are you involved in?

Lifestyle is one of the most significant single factors to consider when buying a hearing aid. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you watch TV a lot? 
  • Are you a competitive swimmer and hiker? 
  • Do you chat over the phone regularly? 
  • Do you visit restaurants or bars often?

Consider the activities you most often engage to help you and your hearing specialist recognize what you need to hear, where you need to listen to it, and how much wear and tear your hearing aid will have to handle.

 

How to choose the right hearing aid

Deciding on a hearing aid type is the first step to selecting a hearing aid. Such choices will vary according to the extent of your hearing loss and what form of hearing loss you have. 

Once a preferred type has been chosen, you can move on to features. There may be a wide range of features on offer fingertips, but if you don’t need them, there’s no point wasting money on them. Additional spending on a hearing aid with Bluetooth integration, for example, might be unnecessary for an elderly wearer who only needs a basic hearing aid.

 

Find the right hearing aid provider

During the entire process, having a reliable hearing care provider is especially important during the whole process because it will provide advice and expertise to guide your decisions.

However, a hearing care specialist does give more than just advice. They will explain the features of hearing aids, show you how other models work, and even define your hearing goals. They will also assist with fitting the hearing aid, a crucial step in the hearing aid process. 

If you are looking for a right provider in San Mateo or San Carlos, look no further. We can help you get on the road to better hearing. Contact us today for a consultation. 

What to Ask During A Hearing Consultation

If you have booked a hearing appointment for yourself, then good for you! The first step toward better hearing is learning about your hearing and having it checked. With this awareness, you can be in a better position to choose the best treatment for your needs. 

You’ll want to know everything you can before you make such a significant investment. Upon going to your hearing test and appointment, you may expect your hearing professional to ask you some questions. But you should be armed with your questions too. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during a hearing consultation, particularly with such an important decision before you. For this purpose, carrying with you the following list of questions will be helpful. By doing so, you’ll leave the appointment wholly prepared for your journey towards better hearing.

Which sort of loss of hearing do I have?

Understanding the nature of your condition can help you decide on the most appropriate treatment. It’ll also help you learn how to protect your existing hearing. There are three different types of hearing loss.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss happens when the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain is impaired.
  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when the sound passes inappropriately to the eardrum through the outer ear canal;
  • Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both.

What hearing aids are best for me?

With your hearing specialist, you should be open about the kinds of situations you’re in where hearing is most difficult. For instance, your interests, your home environment, and the types of places you like to go out can include times where you are struggling to listen. By talking about the kinds of features that will support you in these settings, your hearing professional can hone in on the hearing aids that best fit your lifestyle.

Are both hearing aids needed?

You’ll probably need two hearing aids, one for each ear. You may assume you can hear very well from one of your ears, but both ears are likely suffering from hearing loss. 

Not only will you be able to hear from both ears while you wear two devices, but you’ll also get enhanced binaural hearing, and your brain will have an easier time understanding all the sounds around you.

How do I cope with my new hearing aids?

It may seem obvious that to protect your hearing aids, you will need to do some necessary cleaning, but there are other steps you need to take to make sure they last as long as possible. 

Beyond a simple wipe-down with a clean cloth to remove debris, specially crafted tools are available to clean the tiny crevices of hearing aids where earwax other buildups can accumulate. Learning how to do this yourself will help you to understand how best to keep your hearing aids working for years to come.

How do I operate my new hearing aids?

You’ll want to understand how to replace the batteries. How frequently will the batteries be charged or replaced? Do you need to handle manual controls, or are they a rechargeable option that only needs to be plugged in? How do you change the volume on the hearing aids, and how can you insert and remove the hearing aids without damaging them?

How long does it take me to adjust to my new hearing aids?

Hearing aids can make a difference when you can no longer hear well on your own, but unlike correcting your vision with prescription eyeglasses, it takes time to get used to wearing a hearing aid.

If you’re wearing a device for the first time, ask your hearing professional how you can speed up the adjustment time. Ask for a hearing schedule that you can use to ease yourself into wearing your new devices. You will need to be patient with hearing aids, but the payoff will be worth it.

At the California Hearing Center, we’re on hand to help you on your journey towards better hearing. We trust our understanding and help will help you get the best care to fit your needs. If you think you are affected by hearing loss, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What to Expect at a Hearing Test

The purpose of a hearing loss test is to decide whether you have hearing loss and how severe or mild it is. Hearing loss has far-reaching health implications, and having a baseline hearing check and a regular follow-up check will help you detect it early.

 

A hearing consultation

We start by asking a series of questions to learn more about your hearing experience.

Questions may cover many areas, and some may seem insignificant, but they are all critical. A standard question, for example, like “Which ear do you use when listening on the phone? “May seem insignificant. Knowing what ear you are using, however, might be a hint to the audiologist that one ear performs better than the other.

Also, a health history interview is likely to answer concerns about your medical history, current medications, family history of hearing loss and disease, noise sensitivity, work history, interests, and any hearing problems you or your family members note.

The responses to these questions help give us an overview of your current hearing condition, help us decide which tests are appropriate, and how you will respond to various treatment options.

 

A series of tests

A hearing test is not just one test, but a series of different tests. Such tests help determine the range of sounds you can hear. During a hearing test, you are never at risk of pain.

Below is a list of potential hearing tests, as well as a description of what happens during each test.

  • Ear exam:Most examinations begin with a visual evaluation using a small tool called an otoscope. It helps the audiologist to look into the ear to see if any noticeable problems, such as earwax blockages, exist.

 

  • A pure tone test:This is a crucial hearing check used to identify hearing thresholds, as well as the size, degree, and nature of the hearing loss. During the test, you’ll wear headphones linked to an audiometer playing a range of tones. Your doctor will monitor the volume and will lower it until you can no longer hear the sound. Then, when you listen to it again, the doctor will increase the volume. By pressing a button or raising your head, you’ll show that you can hear the sound.

 

  • Speech recognition test:We use this assessment to determine how well you hear and understand speech. At different volume rates, you’ll listen to a collection of common words and repeat the ones you hear.

There may be other tests performed, but these three tests form the core of any hearing test we’re likely to administer.
 

Reviewing the results

The final results of your assessment will show several things: whether you have hearing problems, which ear listens better and how well you hear low and high pitched sounds.

The speech assessment helps provide useful details about your ability to understand speech clearly in noisy environments. To obtain the most accurate hearing profile for you, we may conduct additional tests to determine other aspects of your hearing ability.

If the tests show you might benefit from hearing aids, we’ll show you a few sample models to illustrate how they work. We’ll also explore appropriate options for your hearing loss and lifestyle.
 

How to prepare for a hearing test

Many people are very nervous about the idea of a hearing test. Unfortunately, anxiety can have a detrimental effect on the test. How quickly a sound is recognized depends on the sensitivity on the day of the test, but also your mood.

On the day of your test, allow yourself plenty of time, and try to get in a comfortable frame of mind for your hearing test. Tell someone to come with you to help you stay calm and to help you recall details we provide.

If you have hearing loss, it is vital to seek treatment from a specialist you can trust. Our audiologists will advise you, test your hearing, prescribe a hearing aid, and tailor it to your personal needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment.