Hearing Aids 101

The brain cannot understand what the brain cannot hear.

Did you know we actually hear with our brain and not our ears? Our ears just funnel the sounds we hear to our brain which then classifies those sounds into useful information. If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss in your cochlea (the most common diagnosis), the only way to get speech sounds back to your brain is through hearing aids. However, hearing aids do not restore your hearing. That is why they are called “aids.” Hearing aids can only be effective if used in combination with comprehensive communication plans. Everyone’s experience with, and amount of benefit from hearing aids, is very individualized and depends on the following factors:

  • How well you follow your communication plans

  • How dedicated you are to wearing your hearing aids all waking hours

  • How long your hearing loss went untreated before pursuing hearing aids

  • How much hearing you have left to work with

  • How well you maintain your overall health

  • How you commit mentally, emotionally, and socially to treating your loss

  • How open you can be with your frequent communication partners about your hearing needs and how committed those individuals are to helping you hear your best

HEARING BETTER TAKES TIME

For many people, their hearing has been progressively worsening over several months or years. It takes time for your brain to relearn how to hear. Have patience. Dr. Link will be your coach, cheerleader, and accountability buddy to help you progress to the point where you can hear your best.

How does Dr. Link select the best hearing aids for your needs?

In addition to looking in your ears and completing a comprehensive hearing test, she completes an evidence-based Functional Communication Needs Assessment to determine what brand, style, and level of hearing aids best meet your individual needs. During the Functional Communication Needs Assessment Dr. Link will assess the following:

  • Rating how well you feel you communicate in day to day activities

  • Setting your personal communication goals and expectations

  • Measuring your individual discomfort levels to loud sounds

  • Examining your speech understanding in noise abilities

  • Evaluating your finger and hand abilities to manipulate small objects, as needed

  • Screening your vision, as needed

  • Determining your need for a communication plan, hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices, group rehabilitation workshops, or medical referrals

  • Discussing your financial considerations when hearing aids are recommended

There are 6 standard styles of hearing aids. What style is best for you is dependent on many factors including the degree of your hearing loss, the size and shape of your ear canals, your dexterity, and your vision. Dr. Link works with you to determine which is the best for you. Take a peek at the 6 standard styles:

 
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Invisible In Canal (IIC)

Completely In Canal (CIC)

In The Canal (ITC)

 
 

In The Ear (ITE)

Behind The Ear (BTE)

Receiver In Canal (RIC)

 

There are many different brands of hearing aids. All major brands of hearing aids are now smartphone compatible and rechargeable and some brands are truly invisible. Everyone’s brain processes sound differently and every brand of hearing aid processes sound differently too. It is important to work with your audiologist to find a brand that works the best with your brain’s processing. Dr. Link works with many different brands of hearing aids including, but not limited to, the major hearing aid brands listed below.

Once hearing aids have been selected, it is important that they are fit using best practices to ensure you maximize your benefit from your hearing aids as well as ensure the aids do not contribute to you experiencing further hearing loss. Evidence based best practices for hearing aid fittings include the following:

  • Electroacoustical analysis testing

  • Real ear speech mapping verification testing

  • Education and training regarding insertion and removal of devices, how to change batteries, and how to keep hearing aids clean and functional


Do you need help with the hearing aids you already have?

You have come to the right place. Since we operate in an unbundled hearing healthcare model, unlike many practices in the country, we don't need you to purchase hearing aids from us to help you. We are happy to help you:

  • Clean and make minor repairs to your hearing aids

  • Send your hearing aids in to the manufacturer for more major repairs

  • Evaluate your aids’ internal electronical function through electroacoustic analysis testing

  • Ensure you are getting maximum benefit from your aids by performing real ear speech mapping verification testing

 

“I have worn hearing aids since 1989. During that time to the present, I have been treated by many Audiologists and hearing aid providers. I was referred to Dr. Julie Link about three years ago. Her talent, ability and product knowledge has made a huge difference in my battle to be able to hear in a large variety of difficult hearing situations. Dr. Link is highly meticulous in her practice and treatment of her patients. I highly recommend Dr. Link as a devoted hearing doctor. Simply put, she is great! Thank You Dr. Julie Link.”

— K.A., current patient