CHI Health Audiologists provide a full range of hearing aid services for adults and children. Our recommendations for hearing aids are always made with the patient’s best interest in mind, and are made by considering many factors including the type and degree of hearing loss, the person’s lifestyle, and the person’s communication needs and goals. Hearing aid technology has come a long way over the last several years and the companies are constantly coming out with improved features. Some developments of the last few years include rechargeable batteries and bluetooth hearing aids that can stream a phone call or music from your cell phone.
The experience with hearing aids is unique for each person, so what one person does not like may work well for another person. Our Audiologist are here to help you navigate the process and find the solutions that work best for you. We offer a 30-day trial period on all hearing devices, which is designed to protect you in case you are not satisfied with the investment. Our prices include all services that you may need for the whole life of the hearing aid, including all appointments to clean, adjust, or troubleshoot the hearing aids. Remember that you are paying for more than just the device itself, but also the professional expertise and compassionate care from an Audiologist you can trust.
Digital Hearing Aids
The digital hearing aids do four basic things:
- Sound Processing: This is the basic function of a hearing aid. The sound is modified and amplified to make speech clearer to the damaged ear. One critical element in sound processing is harmonic distortion. Any time we process sound electronically, we introduce some level of distortion of sound. Today’s best hearing aids produce about a half a percent, down from 3-5 percent only abut five years ago.
- Noise Suppression: The processors in the best hearing aids can identify steady-state background noise, like fans, machinery, road noise and the hubbub of a crowd. The noise is then turned down without affecting speech. The purpose isn’t to control noise, but rather to enhance speech intelligibility.
- Directional Microphones: This technology uses two microphones to cut out sounds that come from the back and sides, which is very useful in restaurants, movies, church or any other situation when you only care to hear what is in front of you.
- Feedback Control: Feedback is that nasty whistling sound hearing aids can make. Feedback makes hearing more difficult and is annoying to everyone. It’s usually caused by too much amplification of a high-pitched sound. New computer algorithms can reduce or even eliminate this common problem.
Virtually all hearing aid batteries sold today are Zinc-Air. This means that they contain zinc and "burn" air to produce a current. Zinc-Air batteries should always be stored at room temperature. Never put hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator, as this will ruin them. From the date of the manufacturer, most batteries will store well for up to four years.
Batteries come in four standard sizes that are numbered and color-coded. Size 10 batteries are coded yellow, size 312 are coded brown, size 13 are coded orange, and size 675 are coded blue.
Custom Ear Plugs
Audiologists play an important role in educating patients on the risks of noise exposure and providing guidance on hearing protection. We offer a range of custom-fit earplugs for a variety of needs. Examples include swim plugs for keeping water out of the ears, hearing protection for musicians or frequent concert attendees, and hearing protection for hunters. If you are interested in discussing or ordering custom ear plugs, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our Audiologists. We will provide recommendations on the best options for you and take impressions of your ears.
Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids
A small percentage of people with hearing loss are potential candidates for a type hearing device called a BAHA, or a bone-anchored hearing aid. Part of the BAHA (the abutment) is surgically placed into the skull; the surgery is an outpatient procedure that is an hour or less in duration. The other part of the BAHA (the sound processor) is worn externally on the head. The sound processor is activated up to 12 weeks following the surgery.
Candidacy for a BAHA is based on the type of hearing loss. Some BAHA candidates have a conductive or mixed hearing loss. Patients with mixed or conductive hearing losses do not hear very well when sound is presented through their ear canal because structural problem(s) within their outer or middle ears significantly reduces the sound energy that reaches the inner ear. The BAHA works by directing sound directly to the inner ear, where persons with a conductive or mixed hearing loss have better hearing sensitivity. Other candidates for a BAHA have single-sided deafness, which is defined as normal hearing in one ear and a severe to profound hearing loss in the other ear. For these patients, the BAHA can detect sound on the side of the “bad ear” and redirect it toward the “good ear.”
BAHA candidates will meet with an Audiologist for comprehensive hearing testing and also an ENT Surgeon to discuss medical and surgical factors. Part of the evaluation includes a CT scan of the head.