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The Process of Purchasing Hearing Aids at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute

Today we will be discussing the process of purchasing hearing aids through The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI).

 

STEP 1: Hearing Evaluation

The first step when purchasing hearing aids through JHBI is to schedule a hearing evaluation.  The comprehensive hearing evaluation will assess several levels of your auditory pathway.  Throughout the testing, we will assess your ability to hear different pitches and understand speech.  If you are found to be a hearing aid candidate, you will be scheduled to see an Audiologist at the Hearing Center for a hearing aid consultation.

 

STEP 2: Hearing Aid Consultation

The second step of purchasing hearing aids is the hearing aid consultation.  You are encouraged to bring a spouse or family member to this appointment to provide support with decision making and to be an active member of your hearing healthcare.  During this appointment, the Audiologist will explain the results of your hearing evaluation, discuss hearing expectations and needs, and review the latest hearing aid technology.  Based off of your individual needs, the Audiologist will recommend a specific hearing aid for you.  Once you select a hearing aid that meets your needs, a hearing aid fitting will be scheduled.

 

STEP 3: Hearing Aid Fitting

At the hearing aid fitting, the Audiologist will program and adjust the hearing aids to meet your specific hearing healthcare needs.  After the hearing aids are programmed, the Audiologist will instruct you on proper insertion and removal of the devices.  General care and maintenance will also be reviewed with you to promote the longevity of your hearing aids.

 

STEP 4:  Hearing Aid Adjustment Period

All hearing aids have a 30-day trial period to ensure that you are happy and would like to keep your devices. Since it often takes time to adapt to amplification, the Audiologist would like to see you for programming adjustments during this trial period.  A two week follow-up will be scheduled after your hearing aid fitting.  At this appointment you will discuss any difficulties you are having with the devices and work with your audiologist to overcome these obstacles.  It is our goal to have you realizing a maximum benefit once your trial period expires.

 

To schedule an appointment at JHBI you could contact our clinic at 904-339-0950

Troubleshooting Hearing Aids

If you are a full-time hearing aid user, you may have experienced a time when your devices have suddenly stopped working. While it is typical for hearing aids to require repairs periodically, there are some things you can try at home to get yourself back up and running.

Below, you will find some common hearing aid problems, possible causes and steps to remedy the situation.

Problem Possible cause Solution
The volume is reduced Wax or debris in the microphone or receiver Clean microphone port with a brush
Change wax filter
Tube or ear mold is blocked Clean the ear mold and blow the tube out with an air blower
Hearing may have changed Contact your audiologist
Hearing aid is whistling Hearing aid/earmold is not properly inserted Take hearing aid out and reposition correctly
Earmold is defective Contact your audiologist
Wax in ear canal Contact your ENT-specialist
Hearing aid does not properly function Battery is dead Replace battery
Battery compartment is not closed properly Close battery compartment completely
Wax or debris in the microphone or receiver Clean microphone port with a brush
Change wax filter
Hearing aid causes pain or discomfort Hearing aid/earmold is not properly inserted Reposition correctly. If problem persists, contact your audiologist.

 

If you are unable to solve the problem, contact your audiologist at (904) 399-0350 ext 246 for more assistance or stop by Walk-In Clinic: Tuesday, 10:00 am – 11:30 am or Thursday, 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm.

We strive to provide prompt service to our patients; therefore we recommend that you call ahead to verify availability of walk-in clinic.

 

 

Frequency Asked Questions about Lithium-Ion Batteries in Hearing Aids

Frequency Asked Questions about Lithium-Ion Batteries in Hearing Aids

  • Is a lithium-ion battery safe in hearing aids?

Lithium-ion is the popular rechargeable battery choice used in many everyday consumer electronics such as cellular phones and tablets. It is also the rechargeable solution for cochlear implants. Currently, it is the fastest growing and most promising battery technology and has been thoroughly tested. Note that the hearing aid must be stored within the operating temperature of 33 degs to 104 degs Fahrenheit (0 degs to +40 degs Celsius) to ensure safe conditions.

  • How many hours per day can lithium-ion hearing aids last on a single charge?

This depends on the hearing loss, the power of the receiver, and the amount of streaming. However, this usually ranges from 20 hours to 24 hours.

  • Will the performance of the lithium-ion battery deteriorate after 1 year and require replacing?

No. With the Phonak system, the electronics surrounding the lithium-ion battery have been specially designed so that the battery will last up to 4 years. After 4 years, the performance of the battery may deteriorate slightly, but this should not have a large impact on use.

  • Are lithium-ion hearing aids safe to use during air travel?

Yes. Airline rules state that lithium-ion batteries less than 25 grams may be brought on to the plane in carry-on luggage. Phonak rechargeable hearing aid batteries are less than 1 gram and therefore fall far below the dangerous goods level. Commercial airline regulations do not permit lithium-ion batteries to be placed in checked luggage.

  • How do I dispose of a lithium-ion hearing aid?

Lithium-ion batteries are 100% recyclable and can be used to create new products. If you wish to dispose of the hearing aid, please return it to your audiologist or contact Phonak for more information.

 

 

 

Tinnitus Seminar

Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Tinnitus

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be hosting an informational seminar about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of tinnitus. Dr. J. Douglas Green and Janelle Kelley Au.D., CCC-A will be speaking. You will also get the chance to hear from individuals who live with tinnitus on a daily basis and the steps they have taken to manage their tinnitus.

Where: Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Room A

When: Saturday, February 3, 2018

Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm

Seating is limited! Please RSVP by contacting Judy Martin by telephone at  (904) 778-2265 or email at hlaa.jax@gmail.com. We look forward to meeting all those in attendance.

The Lifespan of a Hearing Aid

How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

One of the most common questions we hear during a hearing aid consultation is “how long will these devices last?” It’s a smart question to ask given the investment that is required for a new pair of hearing aids. Many long-term hearing aid users will also start to worry that their devices will fail suddenly, leaving them without sound.

The average hearing aid user will upgrade their technology after 5 to 6 years. Some people will continue to use a hearing aid for 8-10 years, while others will choose to buy new technology after just two years. Let’s take a look at what might affect how long someone uses a hearing aid:

  1. Repairs: Like all electronics, hearing aids are more prone to requiring repairs the older they are. After the initial manufacturer’s warranty expires on the hearing aid (typically at 2 to 3 years), all repairs are out-of-pocket costs. Depending on what has gone wrong, repairs can range from $50 to $300+. In most cases, frequent repairs also mean time spent without the hearing aid, which can be very difficult for people who have grown dependent on their amplification. If repairs become too frequent, a person may opt to put their money towards updated technology. Also keep in mind that eventually, a manufacturer will run out of replacement parts for older models of hearing aids, so it become more difficult to get an 8-10 year old hearing aid repaired.
  2. Updates to technology: Hearing aid technology turns over very quickly. Most manufacturer’s release at least one new product every year, if not more often. It usually takes about five years for someone to notice a significant increase in sound quality and functionality of the hearing aid in order to justify upgrading technology.
  3. Loss/Damage: New hearing aids usually have a loss and damage warranty for 1-3 years. During that time, if you lose a device, the manufacturer will replace it with a new one for a small fee. Outside of the warranty, if you lose the hearing aid, you have to purchase a new one to replace it.
  4. Hearing changes: Most hearing aids can be reprogrammed to fit a large range of hearing levels. In rare instances of severe and sudden hearing deterioration, it is possible that someone would need to purchase a power device, which would be a new hearing aid designed to fit worsening hearing.

 

If you are wondering if newer hearing aids are appropriate for you, or you are noticing increased difficulties hearing, it’s a good idea to visit your audiologist. He or she can make recommendations for improving your current devices or moving forward with purchasing new technology. Remember that this is your journey, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and state your preferences. We look forward to helping you along the way.

Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids?

The Benefits of Binaural Listening

The question regarding whether to purchase one or two hearing aids is an important topic to address with your audiologist during a hearing aid consultation. Hearing aids are an investment in your hearing health that can contribute to improved communication with family and friends and lead to better quality of life. Hearing aids are also a financial investment and it makes sense that many people want to weigh the benefits versus the cost.

In some cases one hearing aid truly is the best option. For example, a person may have a hearing loss in only one ear and normal hearing in the other ear. Another example is a person who has very little useful hearing in one ear; in this case a hearing aid may not provide any benefit at all and a cochlear implant may be the better option.  In most other cases if both ears have a hearing loss then two hearing aids are better than one.

Binaural hearing is the term used to refer to hearing with two ears (whether with two normal hearing ears or with two hearing aids). Bimodal hearing applies to people who wear a hearing aid on one side and a cochlear implant on the other ear. Studies have shown that binaural/ bimodal hearing have many benefits and leads to improved communication ability.

Detecting Location of Sound

The ability to detect where sounds are coming from is called “localization” and is a function of the brain that is dependent upon sound being heard well by both ears. The brain uses timing and loudness cues to determine which ear received the sound first and at which ear the sound was louder in order to determine where the sound is located. The brain is unable to detect the location of sound accurately with only one (amplified) ear.

Understanding in Noise

When sound reaches the ears, the signal travels to the inner ear and is then transferred to the hearing never. It then travels up the brainstem to the hearing centers of the brain. The brain analyzes and combines the sound heard from both ears to help “tease out” the speech signal from the unwanted background noise. If the brain only receives sound from one amplified ear it has much more difficulty separating speech from noise.

Louder Volume

When sounds are received by both ears the signal travels through multiple pathways in the brainstem. This double input of information to the brain creates a boost in the volume of the speech signal making it easier to hear. This boost or summation of volume does not occur with one ear.

Easier Listening

Studies have shown that when the brain listens with two ears, less effort is needed to hear and understand speech which helps to reduce fatigue.

For more information about the benefits of listening with two ears or about bimodal benefit for cochlear implant users call Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute at 904-399-0350 to set up a hearing aid consultation.

 

What’s New with Hearing Aids

The Phonak Belong Platform: An Overview

Audeo B-Direct:

Last week Phonak launched their ‘Made for All’ direct connect hearing aid, the Audeo B-Direct. Using a new proprietary 2.4 GHz radio chip these devices allow users to stream phone calls directly to any cell phone with Bluetooth without an intermediary device. Current technology from other hearing aid manufacturers allows only users of an Apple phone the ability to stream phone calls. The Made for All technology will allow Android, iOS or other Bluetooth cell phone users access to hands-free phone use. By utilizing built-in microphones as a voice pick-up feature, the Audeo B-Direct is able to function like a wireless Bluetooth headset. Once a phone call is received by the user, they are able to answer calls with a push of a button on the hearing aid. At this time, streaming of the phone call is only heard on the user’s preferred side, not to both devices. Patients will also have the ability to balance environment noise when background noise is present by either using the volume control on their phone or directly on their hearing aids. Using a streaming protocol called AirstreamTM Technology, the new TV Connecter from Phonak offers a “plug and play” solution that turns Audeo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. This device allows users to stream content from their TV without having to wear a body-worn streamer and is capable of streaming to multiple hearing aid wearers at the same time.

Virto B Biometric Calibration:

Another recent launch from Phonak is the use of Biometric Calibration in Virto B custom hearing aids. Using 3-D modeling software 1,600 biometric data points are identified from an earmold impression and are used to calculate calibration settings that are unique to each user. This technology allows individual ear anatomy and its effects on the acoustics of the incoming sound to be accounted for which provides a 2dB improvement in directionality. Another available option is the Virto B- Titanium invisible in the ear (IIC) option, which is made from medical grade titanium. Titanium is stronger and thinner than acrylic, allowing for significantly reduced device size.

Audeo B-R and Bolero-PR Rechargeable Options:

Phonak continues to offer a built-in rechargeable device option (Audeo B-R and Bolero B-PR). With a single charge, the device is powered for up to 24 hours. Smart charging options are also available, which allow on the go users to charge from anywhere, without having to worry about running out of power.

 

If you or someone you love is noticing hearing difficulties and would like to discuss hearing aid options, contact The Hearing Center at JHBI at (904) 399-0350 ext 246 to schedule an appointment to speak with an Audiologist about your options!

 

 

Hearing Aid Accessories and Bluetooth Connectivity

Boosting Your Hearing Aid Performance with Wireless Technology

Even with the best hearing aids, it can still be difficult to enjoy your favorite song or your favorite TV show, or hear a speaker clearly in a business meeting or at a restaurant. It may even still be difficult to hear someone talking to you on the phone. Over the past 10+ years, hearing aid manufacturers have developed wireless accessories to accompany hearing aids. These devices can be used in even the most complex listening environments. Today, some hearing aids will even connect directly to iPhones. Below is a list of outlined accessories and their uses as well as more information regarding direct connectivity options.

Direct Connectivity:

Several hearing aid manufacturers now offer direct-to-iPhone hearing aid options. Starkey, Oticon, Resound, and Widex hearing aids can be connected via bluetooth straight to your cell phone and most apple devices! Each manufacturer has their own free, downloadable, and user-friendly app which can control your hearing aids, including volume control, program changes, and some even allow you to control the directionality of your microphones in different listening situations. Phone calls are streamed directly to your hearing aids; your music, a video, a movie, anything streaming on your phone…that’s right! It goes straight to your hearing aids! They have now become wireless headphones!

Cell Phone Accessories:

With the technology of bluetooth, connecting your world to your hearing aids has become easier than ever. Several manufacturers offer wireless accessories that either clip to your lapel or hang around your neck. These intermediary devices allow your cell phone to talk directly to your hearing aids. As long as you are wearing your clip-on or your neck loop, your phone calls can stream directly to your hearing aids, as well as any other audio streaming from your cell phone. All it takes is a simple pairing procedure which your audiologist can help with!

 

TV Accessories:

With a TV Link, you will have the audio from the TV streaming directly into your hearing aids. All you have to do is hook up the accessory to your TV. Enjoy the comfort of listening to your favorite show at the volume you prefer while your loved ones can still enjoy the show at their preferred volume. Most TV Links require an intermediary device, however, which connects to the hearing aids and the TV Link then connects to the intermediary device.

 

Microphone Accessories:

 Many manufacturers make accessory options in the form of a remote microphone. Remote microphones significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio in noisy environments. Although most hearing aids at all technology levels reduce background noise levels in noisy environments to some degree, a remote microphone brings the speaker’s voice directly to the hearing aid users’ ears. The speaker wears the remote microphone and the listener wears an intermediary device which streams the signal to the listener’s hearing aids. This makes for exceptional speech understanding in noise and better understanding over longer distances. Some remote microphones can transmit to the users’ hearing aids from up to 80 feet away!

 

 

 

If you would like to learn more about these devices for your hearing aids and learn what your options are, schedule a hearing aid consult with an audiologist today! They should be able to answer any questions you might have! Just call: 904-399-0350

Protection and Maintenance of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids: Protecting Your Investment

Congratulations! You should consider your decision to purchase hearing aids to be a smart investment of both your time and money. As you continue to get used to your new devices, you will likely develop a strong bond with your hearing aids, and will want to be without them as infrequently as possible. It is important that you develop a basic hearing aid maintenance plan that you routinely follow to ensure peak performance of your devices. You should also be familiar with common causes of hearing aid damage so that you can avoid exposing your hearing aids to hazardous conditions (although even the most meticulous hearing aid wearer will need a repair at some point in time!)

Damage to Hearing Aids: What to Expect

Moisture and earwax are two of the most common causes of hearing aid damage. It is estimated that as many as 75% of the hearing aid repairs seen in our office are related to these two items.

  • Earwax: Although the degree to which a hearing aid is exposed to earwax is determined more by body chemistry than good cleaning practices, cleaning your hearing aid regularly with a lint free cloth or hearing aid cleaning wipe will limit the problems resulting from earwax. Cleaning your hearing aid with a solvent or household cleaner is not recommended and can result in damage to the hearing aid casing or components.
  • Moisture: Moisture problems related to the environment are difficult to avoid, and the use of a hearing aid drying system (discussed below) is the best solution for this. To avoid accidental moisture damage, avoid storing your hearing aids in your bathroom or kitchen where moisture levels are high. We recommend storing in the original case on your dresser or nightstand. In addition, posting a note on your shower door can help prevent accidentally wearing your hearing aid into the shower.
  • Other: Other common reasons hearing aids become damaged include:
    • Pets (many pets love to chew hearing aids)
    • Hairspray or other hair products
    • Dropping the hearing aid
    • Incorrect battery insertion
    • Exposure to excessive heat (being left inside a car, etc)

Hearing Aid Care Products

Routine Care = Longer Hearing Aid Life and Better Hearing Aid Performance

There are many products designed to help you care for your hearing aids. Listed below are some of our most commonly recommended products:

  • Hearing Aid Dryers (Desiccant jars): Basic dry jars cost as little as $10.00. More sophisticated electric dryers are also available for purchase and contain UV lamps which have antimicrobial benefits.
  • Cleaning Wipes: Wipes designed specifically for use with hearing aids help control wax build-up.
  • Tubing Blowers: Tubing blowers are used to clean the tubing of behind-the-ear hearing aids. This also helps with moisture build-up which often occurs in hearing aid tubing, which may help reduce how often tubing needs to be changed.

 

Establishing a good maintenance plan is an essential part of your hearing aid journey and will help ensure that your hearing aid functions at peak performance for many years to come. If you are unsure of cleaning procedures for your hearing aid or are in need of a hearing aid repair, make an appointment with your audiologist to discuss the proper plan for you and your hearing aids!

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Hearing Aid

Do I need a hearing aid?

This is a question that the audiologists and physicians hear every day at The Hearing Center and JHBI. Let’s take a look at what matters (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to making that decision.

  • Hearing Loss:

    The first step to deciding whether or not it’s time to try hearing aids will depend on your hearing loss. Hearing aids can be programmed to fit all different degrees and configurations of hearing loss, from mild to profound. However, you have to keep in mind that what your hearing loss looks like will greatly affect your outcome with amplification. For example, patients that have very little usable hearing left may be better suited to a cochlear implant. Patients with middle ear problems may want to try a bone-anchored hearing device. So how do you know what’s right for you? That’s an easy one to answer- you just have to ask an audiologist. Come in for a hearing aid consult. If hearing aids aren’t the correct choice for you, we promise to guide you to whatever is.

  • Hearing Difficulties:

    Most people with hearing loss know that they have trouble hearing. In fact, that is usually what drove them to get a hearing test in the first place. However, even with severe hearing loss, some people will deny any hearing difficulties. Hearing aids are a process that involve both commitment and work on the part of the new user, so that person has to be invested in a positive outcome. In other words, it is important that you feel like you have something to gain from wearing a hearing aid. If you are convinced that you are not having any difficulty hearing, it will be hard to justify using hearing aids. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it is actually the people you are talking to that take the brunt of a hearing loss. Are they frequently repeating or speaking up so that you can be apart of the conversation? Look to those closest to you for honest opinions about how they are affected by your hearing difficulties. If they are expressing frustration, that might be a reason to consider trying hearing aids.

  • Age:

    Hearing aids are for people with hearing loss, no matter their age. It does not matter at all how old you are- If you have a hearing problem, it is time to consider a hearing aid. Please do not wait until you reach a certain age to start considering a hearing aid.

  • Cosmetics:

    It’s okay to be worried about what a hearing aid will look like. We are all human, and we want to present our most confident self to the world. For some people, it’s scary to think about what a hearing aid will look like. The good news is that we have come a long way from the large devices that used to be the industry standard. Most styles are nearly invisible these days. Depending on your ear canal size and hearing loss, your audiologist can guide you into the most discrete style possible.

  • Price:

    For many people, the price of hearing aids can be very intimidating. At JHBI, we offer different levels of hearing aids at varying prices to meet the needs of everyone that comes through our door. We also have some financing options that may help. We encourage you to come in and see what we have to offer and talk about what your budget allows. Even if a hearing aid isn’t an option for you currently, we may be able to find some ways to help you hear better that are within reach.

For more information on hearing aids, click on the following link: https://www.betterhearingjax.com/hearing-technology/our-hearing-aids/