Why an Audiologist?
To be licensed as an Audiologist in every state, we need to meet academic requirements specific to Hearing Healthcare - Anatomy, Physiology, Evaluations, and Amplification and other classes related to Ears and Hearing. This usually requires a Masters Degree or in recent years, a Doctor of Audiology. And to learn the skills necessary to become a professional, we need to compile hours of practice under supervision of a licensed Audiologist. After completing the academic and practicum requirements, Audiologists then must pass a National Exam that indicates a good, working knowledge of Hearing Healthcare.
And then, each State requires passing a written and practical exam to meet their requirements for becoming licensed as an Audiologist.
So with this in mind, becoming an Audiologist is challenging but also insures that each patient will receive quality care in a professional setting, and hopefully, advice and recommendations that are in each patients best interests.
What are the benefits of Hearing Instruments?
I can detail all of the technical and research information about benefits of amplification, but in reality the most important benefit can be summarized by stating:
Amplification improves the communication ability between family and friends in most everyday listening situations. With that, the quality of life is improved substantially and users continue to be active socially, often times removing the effects of social isolation and onset of depression. Hearing Instruments are by no means perfect, but when considering the loss of contact with people as a result of hearing loss, the benefits of being involved in everyday aspects of life far outweigh the minor issues of wearing Hearing Instruments.
Styles of Hearing Instruments?
There are several styles of Hearing Instruments available – please go to the Products heading to view and gather information about various styles of Instruments.
In recent years, the most popular style is the small Behind-the-Ear receiver in the canal – which accounts for 75-80% of annual sales in the United States. Some of the reasons for this are the Instruments are stylish, difficult to be seen by others, and the improved quality of sound and performance.
Approximately the other 20-30% of annual sales is from regular Behind-the-Ear and Custom-fitted hearing instruments.
Technology of Hearing Instruments?
Hearing Instruments have improved significantly with the introduction of digital processing and the use of mini-computer chips – most products can process inputs at an amazing speed of 200 million calculations per second. Unbelievably fast, and then using complex algorithms to eliminate feedback squeals, suppressing noise, and then enhancing the speech signal for better understanding in difficult listening situations.
Most manufacturers have several levels of technology, from basic entry level technology, to advanced and then premium levels, with all the features and using the best speech processing technology available. Which level is best for each client depends on their social activity and lifestyle, and when discussing this with the Audiologist, most people can make a decision which they feel is best for them.
The price of Hearing Instruments are based on technology levels, so the above mentioned discussion with the Audiologist about social activity and lifestyle is very important in deciding which technology level is appropriate for each client, which in turn is directly related to the costs of the Hearing Instruments.
People who still are working, have many social interactions, and their lifestyle is very active, would probably be best served with Premium levels of technology. Conversely, seniors who are retired, few social interactions, and their lifestyle is not active, can probably do well at lower levels of technology.
Which Hearing Instrument is best for me?
Each person should gather information about Hearing Instruments and then make a decision which is best for them. A simple formula for help with that decision are the following ideas:
- STYLE that is appealing
- TECHNOLOGY that is appropriate
- COSTS that are affordable
Binaural vs. Monaural – do I need two?
- Improved Understanding of Speech in Quiet and Noise Situations
- Ability to Localize Sound Sources
- Less Listening Fatigue
- Less Overall Loudness or Volume Needed
These are the factors involved that I use to determine if the use of two Hearing Instruments would be beneficial to the particular client:
* Age – under 25 years old, absolutely no discussion – binaural only
* Hearing Levels – for the best use of two, hearing levels need to be very similar for both ears
* Social Activity and Lifestyle – still working, active lifestyle with many social events, better performance and satisfaction with two instruments
* Costs – affordable for that particular client
* Personal Preference – a recent study indicates some users prefer two instruments and some patients prefer one – your choice and you make the decision upon what is best for you.
Again, each individual needs to gather information and make a decision that is best for them, not necessarily what is best for the dispenser.
Why River Valley Audiology?
Small office in a Small town, with Small town values and exceptional service for every one of our clients.
I will provide each individual with a sincere, and understanding approach to providing them with the information needed to make a decision about Hearing Instruments and using my services, without any uncomfortable sales pressure. I understand the need to consider other options and I will accept your decision, either way. And if you decide to purchase from River Valley Audiology, I will absolutely do my best to meet your needs and be sure you are happy and satisfied with our products and services.