Hearing and communication are essential for avoiding isolation and being able to fully participate in the activities that contribute to your quality of life. The DuPage Medical Group audiologists are doctoral or master’s-level professionals, each member of our team has a passion for providing an outcome that improves your life. Your audiologist and otolaryngologist are in close contact and will work together to oversee your care. The goal of your care team is to ensure you are satisfied with your hearing solution while maintaining competitive costs and state-of-the-art technology.
Your audiologist will advise you on styles appropriate for your lifestyle, hearing loss/listening needs, desired budget, physical and visual capabilities, as not all styles are appropriate for every patient. It is important to remember that like glasses, hearing aids are a prescription with different requirements from patient to patient. What works for a friend may not be the otpimal solution for you. Your hearing loss dictates your “prescription,” however, your lifestyle and expectations predict features necessary to best improve your overall communicative abilities. After your evaluation,our audiology experts will discuss treatment options appropriate for your specific hearing loss that will best address all the factors that contribute to successful hearing aid use.
See below to learn about hearing aid styles, care and helpful accessories.
- How to Obtain a Hearing Aid
The process of obtaining your hearing aids begins with an evaluation with an audiologist to review your needs and hearing issues, together you can reach the decision as to which type of hearing aid is best suited for you. An audiologist is a professional who is trained to evaluate and treat adults, children and infants with hearing loss. Your audiologist may use a variety of hearing tests to make the recommendation for the best amplification option for your lifestyle and diagnosis.
Once your hearing aids are ordered and received from the manufacturer, you will return to your audiologist for a fitting. You will learn about the use and care of your hearing aids and batteries, you will work with your clinician to learn how to change settings and make your hearing aids function.
Next, you will wear your hearing aids for two weeks, followed by a return appointment to evaluate how you are acclimating to amplification. Adjustments are made at this appointment and if you require any further acoustic testing it will be performed at this time. To obtain the best results, plan to follow up annually with your audiologist to check their hearing sensitivity and the function of the hearing aids.
- Hearing Aid Style: Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
Components of this hearing aid are housed in a small case that rests behind the ear. Sound is directed into the ear through a tube held in place with a custom shell, called an earmold, that fits into your ear. This hearing aid style allows for the greatest amount of amplification and is especially necessary for patients with severe or profound hearing loss. Often patients with limited physical dexterity appreciate the easier-to-manipulate size and durability of this style of hearing aid case. Due to growth, safety, and the likelihood of using an additional assistive listening device in school, this style is often recommended for children.
- Hearing Aid Style: Micro Behind-the-Ear (Mini BTE)
Also referred to as “mini behind-the-ear,” these hearing aids offer the benefits of a standard behind-the-ear aid with the addition of improved cosmetics and smaller size. Most features are the same as behind-the-ear models offer, in some cases even Bluetooth capabilities are an option. Rather than a custom earmold, the micro behind-the-ear aids often direct the sound into the ear canal through a thin tube and a small dome appealing to the desires of our most cosmetically concerned patients.
- Hearing Aid Style: Receiver in the Canal (RIC)
Receiver in the Canal hearing instruments have quickly become one of the most popular products in recent years. This hearing aid model places a speaker in the ear canal allowing reduction in size of behind the ear component and a more direct transmission of sound to your eardrum. Due to the physical separation of the amplifier and microphone from the speaker, these hearing aids provide the advantages of smaller case size for improved cosmetics and comfort, a more natural sound quality, and reduced issues with feedback. Several products are now available that allow Bluetooth capabilities allowing wireless streaming of phone, music or TV signals.
- Options for Single-Sided Deafness
In some patients, hearing loss develops in only one ear, often with a very sudden onset, while the opposite ear continues to be able to hear sound normally. This type of hearing loss can lead to problems with detecting conversation on the side of the poor ear as well as understanding speech in loud environments. Illness, exposure to sudden loud noises or traumatic injuries to the ear may be the cause for this type of hearing loss. Fortunately, there are both surgical and non-surgical options for addressing the communication difficulties with this type of hearing loss.
New onset of single-sided hearing loss always necessitates an evaluation with our otolaryngology team. Following this consultation, an appointment may be scheduled with an audiologist to explore options that may ease your communication challenges.
- Batteries and Maintenance
Like any piece of technology, hearing aids can break down and may need to be repaired. Sometimes the repairs can be performed in the office and other times they may need to be sent out to the manufacturer. There are different sized batteries for different styles of hearing aids. Batteries are very inexpensive and can last anywhere from five days to two weeks, depending on the size of battery and the use of hearing aids.
- Amplified Phones
Amplified phones have speakers that generate a stronger magnetic signal than a typically manufactured phone. This device is appropriate for all patients of any age with all degrees of hearing loss. If you are interested in this technology, discuss it with your audiologist at your evaluation for hearing aids or one of your follow-up appointments.
- Cellular Hands-Free Devices
Many hearing aids have accessories available that allow cell phone signal to be transmitted directly to the hearing aids. In this way, it allows for hands-free streaming of phone calls or music from your Bluetooth-equipped cell phone. If interested in this technology, talk with your audiologist at your next appointment to learn about appropriate devices for your specific cell phone.
- Dry & Store
Hearing aids are investment, how you care for them will determine how well they perform and how often you have to seek repair work. The benefits of using a Dry & Store electrical appliance include alleviating itchy ears, prolong battery life, improving sound quality and needing fewer repairs. Your hearing aids will remain in a drying compartment overnight and the device works by removing moisture, reducing earwax build up and deodorizing the components of your hearing aids.