Knowing when to adjust and replace your hearing instruments is vital to your prolonged hearing health.
When is it time to get my hearing instrument adjusted?
- You find yourself having more trouble hearing in noisy environments
- People have remarked that you are turning the TV volume up too high
- You are not enjoying music as much as you once did
- People are complaining that you frequently ask them to repeat themselves
- You have had chemotherapy or radiation treatment within the past six months
- You recently were hospitalized for a serious condition or had a major surgery
- You have not been in to see us in 6 months or more
If you experience sudden hearing loss, go to your nearest hospital emergency room immediately
An increase in tinnitus or dizziness should prompt a visit to an ear specialist (MD).
How often should I purchase new hearing aids?
Patients often ask me, “Is there anything available now that will work better than my current hearing aids?” Since hearing aid circuits are miniature computers and their changes parallel the advancements in computer technology, you will see marked improvements every two to three years. The leading manufacturers (Widex, Oticon, and Phonak) are focusing their research and development in the following areas:
- Better fidelity: Widened bandwidth results in a cleaner, more realistic sound quality due to refinements in microphone and receiver development.
- Better understanding in background noise: Improved directional microphones have a narrowed width of focus that shut out noises from the sides and rear. Refinement in computer microchips enables better separation of speech in background noise.
- Improved control of acoustic feedback: High-resolution phase cancellation techniques create a negative waveform to shift frequency and immediately eliminate feedback.
- Computer circuitry enhancements: Faster, more intelligent microprocessors and more efficient software identify and amplify the speech you want to hear and reduce the noises you don’t need to hear.
- Cosmetic advantages: Miniaturization allows for packaging more technology into smaller hearing aids.
- Connectivity: Hearing aids can connect effortlessly and wirelessly to other audio sources you use daily, such as cell phones, televisions, iPods, etc.
You’ll never know how much improvement you can experience from new technology without taking a “test drive.” I suggest you reflect on listening situations that you routinely experience. Ask yourself these questions:
Would you like to hear more clearly on the phone?
Is background noise interfering with your understanding in restaurants?
Does music sound as rich and full as you would like?
The newest hearing aids are designed to overcome many of the obstacles that older technology could not address. Together, we should evaluate how the benefits of new hearing instruments can optimize every listening situation you encounter.