Brought to you by: Dr. Dana Luzon Written By: Drs. Neil and Shannon Aiello –
Doctors of Audiology
Why don’t people use hearing aids? If asked, many people are hesitant based on the fact that they have a friend, who has an aunt, whose husband spent a great amount of money on hearing aids that he ended up hating. There are indeed many “hearing aid horror stories” circulating the popular bridge clubs and local fishing holes. “They were uncomfortable, they made everything louder, they whistled, and of course, they costs so darn much.” There was a time that these were valid complaints from hearing aid users. However, we are happy to report that those times are over.
In 2011, it was reported that 74% of hearing aid users are satisfied with their hearing aids, a 55% increase from 2000. Furthermore, satisfaction with hearing aids that are less than one year old has increased to 81%. And believe it or not, 82% of hearing aid users would recommend hearing aids to a friend. The patient population of hearing aid users has not changed much in the past ten years. So what has changed to account for this increase in satisfaction? (MarkeTrak VIII, 2010)
There has been much advancement in the past ten years resulting in greater patient experience and satisfaction with their hearing aids. The hearing aid technology itself has exponentially advanced. Equally important, the Audiologists providing hearing care have also grown in their knowledge and patient care.
Technologically, hearing aids are much more advanced than those of even five years ago. As with every other modern technology, be it cell phones or computers, new hearing aid technologies are also rapidly emerging. These advancements have focused on increasing audibility of a speaker in a difficult listening situation, such as background noise. Hearing aids are now automatically processing when “noise” or unwanted sound is present and reducing it. Likewise it is also processing when “speech” or a desired listening signal is present and increasing it. Most of the hearing aids dispensed today have some amount of automatic adjustments making it so patients don’t have to adjust the hearing aids themselves. With new hearing aids performing countless adjustments per millisecond, it’s no wonder patients are hearing better in difficult environments.
Another emerging technology in hearing aids is Bluetooth. In its simplest form, Bluetooth technology allows patients to directly receive audio input through their hearing aids. For example, if a person is using a cell phone with Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, the signal from the phone is routed through the hearing aid rather than through the phone allowing the patient to “hear” the phone directly through the hearing aids. This technology is also available for the television, landline phones, or iPods. It can even help hear a spouse in a difficult environment, such as a restaurant or the car, by using a small lapel microphone. These advancements have added another level of satisfaction for hearing aid users and their families.
There has also been much advancement in the styles of hearing aids offered today. Gone are the days of the Grandma Monster Behind-the-ear or In-the-ear hearing aids. New digital hearing aids, even the behind the ear style, have become more streamlined and cosmetically appealing. In fact, there are now some hearing aids that fit completely down the ear canal and are 100% invisible. Now even the most cosmetically concerned patients can experience the benefits of better hearing without the embarrassment of others knowing they have a hearing aid.
More important than the technological advancements in the hearing aids or design of the hearing aids, patients are more satisfied with the care they are receiving from their Audiologists. Many Audiologists have now obtained their Doctor of Audiology, or Au.D., which has their increased the education and training. In addition to that, some Audiologists have obtained certification, such as AudigyCertification, in addition to the entry level requirements as a commitment to premier patient care. This certification assures patients that they are receiving expert advice by the highest trained and credentialed Doctors of Audiology. It also helps patients know that they will be recommended appropriate technology based on their unique needs and listening environments, and not be recommended technology that is the latest hearing fad or on a special one day sale. Additionally, by instituting patient-centered care, the Audiologist, patient and significant family members work closely with one another. The patient is routinely seen for aural rehabilitation, which involves retraining the brain to hear again, through the trial period and beyond to make sure that they are experiencing better quality of life through better hearing.
If you or your loved one has been hesitant to try hearing aids because of Aunt Betty’s hearing aid horror story, there has never been a better time to experience the benefits of advanced hearing technology and patient-centered care. Insure the best hearing possible by calling an AudigyCertified Doctor of Audiology today.
Audiology & Hearing Aids of the Palm Beaches, Inc.
4266 Northlake Blvd
Palm Beach Gardins, FL 33410