For Hearing Aid Information please call (956) 727-3801
Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing aid styles may be broadly classified as “standard” and “custom.” Standard hearing aids include behind-the-ear (BTE), mini-BTE, and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) devices. These products are designed to fit most ears and usually require some customization of the earpiece and the connection of the device to the earpiece. Custom hearing aids include in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-the-canal (CIC). These products require a custom-molded shell that houses the electronics. Standard and custom hearing aids come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
The choice of hearing aid styles and features is based on several factors including the exact type and degree of hearing loss, your individual needs (such as communication requirements, lifestyle, and manual dexterity), and your medical and audiological history and related findings.
Do I wear one or two hearing aids?
If both ears need amplification, your audiologist will recommend two hearing aids. Research has shown that two hearing aids provide superior benefits for the majority of people with regard to better word recognition in quiet and noisy backgrounds, better quality of sound, better localization ability, more natural hearing. Research has also shown that when both ears are candidates for hearing aids and only one ear is fitted, the unaided ear may lose speech recognition ability more rapidly than the fitted ear.
What about maintenance and insurance?
Your audiologist will review with you the details of your insurance coverage (if available), financing options, loss, theft and damage insurance, warranty, service protocols, maintenance advice, as well as introductory periods and return policies.
As with all electronics, hearing aids require care and maintenance. This includes handling them carefully, not exposing the hearing aids to water and chemicals, and keeping them very clean. Your audiologist will discuss and demonstrate proper daily care as well as maintenance techniques and maintenance products. The hearing aid user’s manual will review many of these same points. Given the hostile conditions (temperature extremes, high levels of humidity, ear wax, etc.) under which hearing aids operate, daily cleaning and maintenance is recommended. Proper care and maintenance clearly reduces the need for repair.
Expectations and Outcomes
Even with the best technology, it is important to maintain realistic expectations. While hearing aids make sounds easier to hear, they will not restore normal hearing. Hearing aids re-introduce you to a world of sound, and it takes time to become accustomed to the new sounds. Some people adjust quickly, others take longer. Your audiologist will discuss auditory training programs, communication strategies, and hearing assistive technologies to alleviate difficulties in these situations.
Untreated hearing loss impairs memory and may cause difficulty related to learning new tasks. Untreated hearing loss may result in decreased job performance and has been shown to negatively impact wages and earnings. Hearing loss treated with hearing aids has been shown to decrease fatigue, irritability, risk to personal safety, and withdrawal from social situations. Further, in many research studies, hearing aid use has been shown to increase the wearer’s quality of life.
Educational information obtained from: howsyourhearing.org
Please call our office at 956-727-3801 to schedule an appointment to discuss your options with one of our licensed hearing healthcare professionals.
Sudden or prolonged exposure to noise can cause damage to your hearing and is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Hearing loss from prolonged noise exposure is often detected too late, meaning the hearing loss is usually irreversible.
Hearing protection is extremely important for anyone who is regularly in a high-noise environment, including target shooters, motorcyclists, airline pilots, musicians, construction workers and factory workers. The truth is that anyone subject to noise exposure may need to wear hearing protection to protect their long-term hearing.
The following noises are especially dangerous with repeat exposure: lawn mowers, truck engines, motorcycles, garbage trucks, chain saws, pneumatic drills, rock concerts, gun shots, and jet engines, to name a few.
Though store-bought earplugs offer some protection, custom earmolds and earplugs offer maximum protection and a comfortable fit that is designed specifically for your ears. They offer more security in knowing that your ears have the best possible protection against hearing loss.
Earmolds come in a wide variety of sizes and types. Some earmolds are solid, and some are soft or spongy. The most popular styles are full shell and half shell. Full shell earmolds are generally for high-level noise exposure, while half shell are for mid-level noise exposure. The type of earmold your audiologist recommends will depend on your individual needs.
Some earmolds come with a filtered attenuator, allowing for verbal communication while still protecting hearing, which is popular with musicians. These types of earmolds come in both electronic and non-electronic models. Earmolds are also popular for fitting over certain earbud headphones, under pilot boom-mic headsets, and other specialty uses.
As the name implies, custom earmolds are made custom to fit the unique contour of your ear. If you cannot get a comfortable or secure fit with traditional earplugs, custom earmolds may be for you. They offer some of the best hearing protection available.
Musicians Hearing Loss and Prevention
Musicians, from classical orchestras to rock groups, are exposed to high decibel ranges. Hearing is important to the livelihood of a musician. Musical performance may create sounds loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Some hearing loss in musicians may be considered occupational hearing loss, and it may interfere with the musician’s ability to perform the daily tasks of his or her profession (Sataloff, 1991).
Musicians suffer not just from hearing loss but also a ringing in their ears and various pitch-perception problems. Music lovers should be modest in the length of time and level of loud music to which they expose their ears. Many performing musicians use ear monitors to regulate the levels of sound they absorb on the stage while performing.
In-ear monitors are devices used by musicians to listen to music or to hear a custom mix of vocals and stage instrumentation for live performance or recording studio mixing. They are often custom fitted for an individual’s ears and provide a high level of noise reduction from ambient surroundings. Depending on the quality of the fit and length of the ear canal, a custom fit in-ear monitor will generally provide somewhere between 25 and 35 dB of noise reduction.
Musicians who do not need amplified playback in their ears may benefit from custom-fitted musicians’ earplugs. These are non-electrical earplugs fitted with custom filters to make specific sounds in the music spectrum softer, while not compromising the overall musical experience. Ordinary ear plugs cut off high-frequency sounds, making voices muffled and the timbre of music dull. The natural sound from musicians’ ear plugs solves this problem by reducing the volume you hear without distorting the sounds.
Both in-ear monitors and musicians’ ear plugs can be custom made and fitted by a licensed hearing-care professional to each musician’s personal needs.
Sataloff, R.T. (1991). Hearing loss in musicians. American Journal of Otology, 12(2), 122-127.
Hunters Plugs & Electronic Protection
People who hunt and use guns are more likely to have hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing impairments than those who do not. Further increasing your risk, or that of bystanders, is the reverberation of a gunshot. Adding a recoil compensator or other modifications can make a firearm louder. The ear that is closest to the muzzle of the firearm can experience more hearing damage. The opposite ear is partially protected by the head.
Exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL. The loud noise permanently destroys the fine hairs in your ears that are responsible for stimulating auditory nerve fibers. Almost all firearms create noise greater than 85 dB. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce around 140 dB, and big-bore rifles and pistols can create noise greater than 175 dB.
Digital Hearing Protection
Digital custom hearing protection is the most advanced way to prevent hearing loss from gunshot noise while enhancing ambient sounds for increased situational awareness. Digital models suppress high-level impulse sounds while enhancing low-level speech that is difficult or impossible to hear with traditional passive hearing protection.
Custom Hunters Plugs
Solid earplugs offer the maximum amount of hearing protection and are optimal for high noise environments. Professional lab custom molded earplugs for shooting are professionally custom molded to fit your unique ears. Custom molded ear plugs for shooting provide the very best fit you can get from an ear plug, because each pair is custom made to exactly fit your ears. Custom shooting ear plugs are also extremely comfortable, and are ideal for wearing for long hours at a time. Another advantage of full custom ear plugs for shooting is that these are the most durable ear plugs you can get; one pair can last for years.
Ear plugs for shooting have been evolving at a rapid pace, and today, we are proud to offer the best selection of shooting ear plugs you will find anywhere.
Specialty Ear Molds
Whether you need to plug in to your device with a perfect fit or if you need protection, there is a custom solution available to you. Typical applications for specialty ear molds include; medical listening devices, pilot headsets, motorcycle headsets, race car headsets, security and police, high noise level work, and swimming.
information coming soon