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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

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Understanding the Price of Hearing Aids

Why do hearing aids cost so much? According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States (behind heart disease and arthritis).1 Every day, hearing aids help people enjoy a better quality of life by giving them an optimal sense of hearing. Yet it comes with a price – one that is a primary concern of many prospective hearing device wearers. These life-changing devices can be expensive, but don’t let ‘sticker shock’ dissuade you from hearing well.

Just as current wearers of hearing devices learned, many facets affect the price. You will encounter a plethora of options on the market across a wide range of prices – from cheap over-the-counter sound augmenters to the more expensive professionally fit and personally programmed high-tech minicomputers. The choice is yours and we are here to help you make a well-informed decision.

These are not your grandma’s hearing aids

Today’s hearing devices bear little resemblance to their predecessors. Packed with technological features that were even unimaginable only a decade ago, today’s devices offer better sound quality with many advanced functions that bring vibrant hearing to their wearers. The exact features will change with the make and model of your device and will also impact pricing.

The most up-to-date devices deliver a better listening experience that heightens the wearer’s quality of life every day. Many devices can automatically filter the sounds around you, allowing your brain to focus on what you need to hear. Some models connect with your cell phone or TV, emitting sound directly into your ears. Others will work with everyday electronics, like the lights in your home.

These features come with a price. Many years of research cultivated the current technology, design and production. To ensure optimal outcomes, health care professionals personalize each device for the individual person. The advantages of having your hearing properly assessed, receiving a device fitted personally for you, and the benefits of follow-up care all factor into the final cost of the device. Personalization has its benefits. Not only will you enjoy improved hearing, but you have a choice of advanced features. For instance, if you have a smartphone, you might want to spring for a hearing devices that will sync to it. If your version of a “smartphone” is your beloved landline, this feature (and its added cost) may not be of service to you.

Design innovations: now you see me… now you don’t

Many people refuse to even seek out a hearing assessment because they are concerned about the opinion of others. If even admitting to a hearing loss is a struggle, can you imagine what it would be like if you were told you needed a hearing device? Well, fear not as new technological advancements have made some models practically invisible to the naked eye. Whether you prefer hearing aids that would be completely hidden in your ear canal, or ones that would sit discreetly behind them, new designs have changed the stigma of these devices. Many models can even match your skin tone. But don’t let their size fool you as these smaller models deliver some of the clearest sound to your brain’s temporal lobe that is available today.

Take it from the experts… you are in good hands

From the countless engineers who built the varied stages of prototypes, or the designers who took those advancements and made these minicomputers stylish, producing hearing aids takes more than just time. It took a team of professionals that had one goal in mind: giving the world the gift of hearing well. And while you may never know many who have had some impact on your own device, the hearing care professional at your local clinic is an ideal representation of all their work. Each and every one of these people are part of the team that innovated this ancient electronic device to the 21st Century!

Offsetting the price of hearing aids

We have some good news

Some local and national agencies offer hearing aid banks and other sources of help.

The gift of hearing has many rewards

  • Hearing loss may be costing you money! Many studies have shown that those with untreated hearing loss earn less than those who hear optimally.
  • Hearing well means a better quality of life. Whether you need to hear well to be successful at work, or to enjoy leisure activities like dining out, going to the movies or traveling. Not hearing well means you are wasting money if you aren’t getting the most out of these activities.
  • Communicating with loved ones = priceless. Digital hearing aids cost $600-$3500. Flying to see your family across the country = $450. Hearing your granddaughter’s solo performance = priceless.

Hearing aids are an investment in your wellness

Never forget the reason you are even considering purchasing a hearing device: living a full and worthwhile life! Hearing well is crucial to having the best quality of life. To learn more, contact us or make an appointment at (770) 282-5025 today. We can discuss the right choice for your needs and lifestyle. Maybe a hearing aid isn’t the right choice. But if it is, it’s good to know what goes into the cost of hearing devices.

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Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Hearing Loss

According to the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), approximately 77,000 students between ages 3 and 21 have hearing loss severe enough to qualify them for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Consequently, public schoolchildren with disabilities have the right to special accommodations in elementary through secondary school. Sometimes this results in creating an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. But what happens after high school?

Hearing loss shouldn’t stand in the way of higher education

Picking among colleges may feel like a daunting task. So if you have aspirations for a degree, remember that you have options. To start, most colleges have departments that help students with needs design solutions. This may be similar to the IEP services you received in high school. If you are returning to college as a non-traditional aged student, it may surprise you how much easier it is to access help today. Remember, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public colleges and universities to offer equal access to all students. While support mechanisms may differ from one school to another, hearing loss should not impede getting an education.

Finding the right fit for students with hearing loss

Colleges and universities must provide appropriate academic adjustments to make sure students are not discriminated against based on disability. However, many programs go beyond that help students to get the most out of their learning experiences. And this includes hearing loss.

Prospective students have to face many choices. Is a large university or a small liberal arts college what you want? Or maybe an urban environment seems like a better fit. Perhaps an enclosed campus feels more at home. In addition, if you have hearing loss, maybe you prefer schools with exceptional accommodations for your needs.

While it may be hard to know where to start, here are a few programs. Most of these schools are especially relevant for students with severe or profound hearing loss:

Pursuing hearing-related research and education

Is audiology your passion? Maybe you want to consider a path researching audiology and hearing loss. Across the country, schools offer programs to train tomorrow’s audiologist. One resource is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s online directory of higher educational programs in audiology. Most noteworthy, prospective students may apply for scholarships to study audiology.

A few colleges also offer future educators tailored programs for working in deaf education, including a collaboration between Smith College and the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. In addition, there is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Center on Deafness. They published a guide for service providers with information that potential students and families might find useful.

Fall is peak season for applying

Most of all, if you are considering programs that start next year, now’s the time to get your ducks in a row. Our staff can discuss the latest in communication-focused technology. Even more, we can advise how to integrate hearing aids in certain learning environments. Finally, contact Waits Hearing Aid Center at (770) 282-5025 today to set up an appointment.

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Keeping your brain fit through hearing aids

One of the best ways to maintain brain fitness as you age is to stay mentally engaged through an active social life. You can achieve cognitive acuity through communicating with the world around you. When hearing loss interferes with your ability to connect with friends and loved ones, it increases your risk of cognitive decline. Fortunately, you may be able to improve your hearing, keep your brain fit and slow down the accelerated cognitive decline linked to hearing loss.

Think of your brain first

How is hearing health connected to your brain? Listening and understanding require your brain and your ears to work together, with the brain doing the heavy lifting. The auditory cortex (which is in the temporal lobe) sorts out and interprets the sounds your ears detect. Your brain translates the information from your two ears to orient you. It also deciphers where noise comes from. These processes help you focus on conversation and separate out unwanted noise.

When you have hearing loss, the sound signals your brain receives from your ears is compromised. Your brain doesn’t receive the sound information it needs, and it has to exert its energy to fill in the gaps. The extra effort to keep up with conversations can leave you feeling tired and frustrated. You may begin to withdraw and avoid the social connections that are so important to your well-being.

Avoid the risks of untreated hearing loss

Many studies have shown a link between untreated hearing loss and isolation, depression and a host of other health issues, including stroke¹. If you have hearing loss, you are also more likely to experience problems with thinking and remembering than older adults with normal hearing. Researchers have also found a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The study shows that if you have hearing loss and don’t use hearing aids, you may accelerated cognitive decline².

How hearing aids help your brain

Wearing hearing aids actively addresses hearing loss and reduces your risk of cognitive decline. That is what French researcher Hélène Amieva and her team concluded in a major study. The research involved nearly 4000 volunteers over a 25-year period. It found that people who utilized hearing aids and were socially active experienced cognitive decline at a rate similar to those without hearing loss. The researchers believe that the ability to hear better helps improve mood, increases social interactions and enables more participation in brain-stimulating activities³.

For best results, keep your hearing aids in your ears – not in a drawer

Hearing aids can only help you stay socially engaged and help keep your brain alert if you wear them. Today’s hearing aids give you both comfortable and stylish solutions that are easy to wear and can be tailored to your exact needs. Hearing aids can give an extra boost you need to follow social interaction. Staying alert will help keep your brain fit and slow down the cognitive decline linked to hearing loss. Plus, you can enjoy brain-stimulating social activities such as playing board games, cards and charades.

Signs that it’s time to get started on your hearing health journey

It may be time for a hearing assessment*, especially if you have these signs:

  • Are people mumbling more than they used to?
  • Are you having difficulty hearing conversations?
  • Does your family complain about the volume on the TV?

Just by scheduling an appointment with Waits Hearing Aid Center, you are taking an important step to keep your brain fit. There are many modern, discreet hearing solutions available – far more than even 10 years ago. Today’s hearing solutions preserve as much natural sound and detail as possible so that your auditory cortex receives the information it needs to make sense of sound.

  1. www.healthyhearing.com/report/31633-Study-links-sudden-hearing
  2. www.asha.org/Articles/Untreated-Hearing-Loss-in-Adults/
  3. Amieva H, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct;63(10):2099-104
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Veterans and Hearing Loss

Returning home from duty, veterans face many challenges, especially those who have served in combat zones. Among them, is hearing loss – ranking among the most prevalent health issues for recently returning and former solders. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 933,000 veterans have received compensation for hearing loss and 1.3 million veterans are receiving disability benefits for tinnitus. Beyond hearing loss and tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) affects a high number of veterans who were exposed to blasts. APD impacts the brain’s ability to understand speech despite the sufferer being able to register sounds normally. While injuries to the ear or brain may cause physical damage, a communication breakdown with loved ones may be the greatest casualty of hearing loss.

Special risks for soldiers’ hearing

No matter where they train or deploy, soldiers face environmental factors that can be harmful to hearing. BioMed Central’s Military Medical Researchers looked at which environments were the loudest and biggest threat to noise-induced hearing loss. They found that the impact of noise on hearing in the military varies among the branches of service.

Yet almost every soldier, sailor, airman or marine will be exposed to very high levels of noise from:

  • Weapons – shotguns, rifles, pistols, grenades and anti-tank weapons
  • Armored vehicles
  • Engine rooms and carrier decks of navy vessels
  • Helicopters, fighter planes, transport aircraft and various jets
  • Jet propulsion fuel

For some, a single explosion with sounds exceeding 140 dB can cause irreparable damage instantly. This sort of acoustic harm to the ears results in permanent hearing loss.

For others, longstanding exposure to dangerous levels of noise can contribute to ear damage over time. Chronic exposure to high sound levels may lead to changes that soldiers don’t notice immediately.

Why veterans should address hearing loss

Many people associate hearing loss with the elderly. However people of all ages can lose their hearing – especially if they have had extraordinary exposure to noise. This is one instance when silence isn’t golden. Hearing well means communicating well. Think about it, if you can’t listen:

  • How can you engage with your loved ones completely?
  • Can you understand your colleagues or customers or participate fully in the workplace?
  • How can you really enjoy your favorite music, movies or television? Sure, closed captioning or subtitles may help but it’s not the same as hearing the intonation in voices.

Unlike the loss of sight, hearing impairment is usually more gradual. You may miss bits and pieces of sentences, but you think that your brain can fill in the missing information. Yet sometimes, the brain guesses wrong. You may believe you comprehended the information when you actually misunderstood it! This can lead to needless conflict and unpleasant rounds of “he said – she said.”

Stylish options for veterans

For hearing aids, design matters! If you have a hearing deficit, these devices may provide a vital service to your well-being just like eyeglasses aid your vision. As with glasses, you want hearing aids to fit well while looking great. Today’s models come in many colors and styles so we can be sure to match you with the right device for your individual needs.

Hearing loss is nothing be ashamed of and hide. But if you choose to, we offer many discrete hearing aids that are hardly recognizable to the naked eye. Whether you wish to wear a stylish mini-computer that sits subtly behind your ear or you hide your hearing aids in the ear canal, there are plenty of options.

Thank you for your service! Now, take time to focus on your needs now!

At Waits Hearing Aid Center we offer free hearing assessments* for veterans and non-vets alike. If you have concerns about your hearing or that of a loved one, we are happy to discuss your options with you. Make an appointment today to get started.

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