Austin Hearing Services Warnings on Do-it-Yourself Hearing Care "Austin Texas, Austin Hearing Services announces its concern for the possible confusion of consumers in the light of some recently released over the counter hearing aids. It is concerned that people may be misled, perhaps not intentionally,but because they are not completely familiar with the specializedfield of personal electronics, such as hearing aids."Several important points to consider:1.” Digital hearing aids” are those in which the sound coming outis controlled by a microchip. Different hearing companies usedifferent chips; some are faster, and more able to execute morecommands (handle information) than others.2. There are several different uses of the term "program" in playwhen talking about hearing aids. A "basic program" is the one inwhich the hearing aid tries to duplicate the shape, orrequirements, of the hearing loss."Situational programs" are meant to handle different soundenvironments in which people find themselves. "Situationalprograms" and "basic programs" are similar, but differ in level offunction. A "basic program" might work okay in a face-to-face
situation in quiet, but may be impossible to hear through in arestaurant environment, for example.And finally, "programming" is something performed by a licensedprofessional, using specialized equipment, to ensure that thepotential hundreds of sounds and sound situations fit the exactneeds of that persons pattern of hearing loss. Having a basicprogram is better than nothing, but wont help people when theywant to go somewhere with groups of other people, and lack theother two meanings of "program" in their hearing aids.3. First-tier hearing aid companies have spent time developingsoftware and microchips that: a. reduce back ground noise, b. provide a boost for one speaker in a noisy background, c. change the settings of the hearing aid automaticallywhen the sound background changes.First tier hearing aids often have three-year damage warranteeson their products because their products hardly fail and needrepair. They have three year loss warrantees because they arehighly consumer-conscientious.In addition the Better Hearing Institute is warning consumersof the inherent risks associated with purchasing over-the-counter,one-size-fits-all hearing aids instead of consulting a hearinghealthcare professional. Hearing loss is sometimes the symptomof a serious underlying medical problem. All 50 states requirethat consumers use a credentialed hearing care professional topurchase hearing aids.
The Better Hearing Institute also points out that hearingdevices that are purchased over-the-counter or Internet withoutthe consultation of a hearing healthcare professional may resultin the devices not being accurately customized to the specifichearing needs of the individual."Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed tothe individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order toprovide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,” saysSergei Kochkin, BHI’s Executive Director. (Better HearingInstitute) “The process requires a complete in-person hearingassessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of acredentialed hearing healthcare professional in order toprescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computerprograms; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling.This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-allhearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”Extensive research shows that individualized hearing healthassessments and fittings programmed specific to the needs of thehearing aid user provide the best chance for optimal hearingenhancement and customer satisfaction.“The best advice BHI can give anyone purchasing a hearing aid isto find a state credentialed hearing healthcare professional and tocommunicate openly during the evaluation, fitting and trial periodto increase the likelihood that you are receiving the best possiblebenefit from your hearing aids,” says Kochkin. “It will make atremendous difference in your ability to hear and in your qualityof life.”
BHI has published a comprehensive consumer guide entitled,“Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids.” (See www.betterhearing.orgunder hearing loss treatment). The guidelines give confidence tofirst-time hearing aid buyers by providing a detailed, step-by-stepexplanation of what to expect, ask, and look for when selectingand visiting a hearing healthcare professional and purchasing ahearing aid.BHI also has published, “Your Guide to Financial Assistance forHearing Aids,” the first comprehensive guide on how people canobtain financial assistance to purchase hearing aids.More about Hearing Loss and Hearing AidsThe number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to morethan 34 million—roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. Overthe past generation, hearing loss among Americans has increasedat a rate of 160 percent of U.S. population growth and is one ofthe most commonly unaddressed health conditions in Americatoday.Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a widerange of physical and emotional conditions, including impairedmemory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness,increased risk of personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger,fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychologicaland overall health.But the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit fromhearing aids. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users reportimprovements in their quality of life, according to a survey by BHIof more than 2,000 consumers.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improvedhearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with bettersound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity,greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety ofenvironments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling andfeedback than hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggednessfor active lifestyles are common features.About BHIFounded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearinghealth education with the goal of helping people with hearing lossbenefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearingloss, visit www.betterhearing.org.About Austin Hearing ServicesAustin Hearing Services was founded in 1999 by MargaretHutchison. Dr. Hutchison has been an audiologist since 1983. Shehas done both clinical and research work.Margaret was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in HumanDevelopment and Communication Disorders from the Universityof Texas at Dallas in 1996. She has a number of publications andpresentations, including "Auditory Temporal Integration and thePower Function Model" in the Journal of the Acoustical Society ofAmerica (1990) and "Hearing-Impaired Theater-goers ExperienceDirect Sound Input" in Hearing Instruments (1993).
For More Information, Call Austin Hearing Services At: (512) 851- 0847 Or Visit Us At: http://www.hearing-aids-austin-tx.com