Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | April 1, 2011

MP3 music and Noise Damage

Will a person who listens to music through headphones 8 hours a day / 5 days a week eventually go deaf?

Yes, extended periods of loud music can cause significant hearing loss (not complete deafness).  The amount of noise damage really depends on the intensity (loudness), type (steady or impulse) and duration of the sound.   Below is a link for a table showing the intensity and duration function of damaging levels of sounds.

Also, if MP3/personal player music is your main concern check out these “LoudEnough” noise limiting ear phones.  Although they are marketed for children, I think they are probably appropriate for all ages.

Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | March 28, 2011

Toilet Paper and Hearing Aids

5 HUGE reasons you should NOT buy your hearing aids at the same place you buy bulk toilet paper.

1.     Life and Death.  Ok, that’s over dramatic, but it is true that your hearing is part of your overall health. I recently reviewed an audiogram that had been done by a warehouse store, and was alarmed that the patient hadn’t been referred on to a medical doctor- this person had the red flag signs of an acoustic neuroma (auditory tumor).  While an acoustic neuroma won’t kill you, it will destroy your hearing over time.  Most “Free hearing tests ” will provide the tester just enough information to sell you a hearing aid.  At Audiology Concepts we complete a comprehensive evaluation and work closely with physicians when needed. Doctors of Audiology have 8 years of schooling, and supervised clinical requirements to ensure we are trained at diagnosing all types of hearing loss, and recognizing the signs of a more serious auditory or vestibular (balance) related problem.

2.     A bargain is only a bargain when it is the same product (same warranty, etc) at a lower price.   FACT:  The club warehouses do not sell top tier manufacturers.    Rather they sell a company that is affiliated with a top tier manufacturer.  They are not the same.  Beware of flashy marketing, or sales people that mention the top tier name, not the actual manufacturer.  Their hearing aids cost less for a reason- the technology is less superior.

3.     A hearing aid (at any cost) is worthless if it is not programmed correctly.   A hearing aid is like a miniature computer that is programmed specifically to a patients hearing loss, previous amplification experience, age, and ear canal characteristics.  Part of the cost of hearing aids is the expertise of the person (audiologist or dispenser) setting your instruments.  I’ve recently “re-fit” several hearing aids purchased elsewhere because they were set or fit improperly.  Audiology Concepts uses state of the art verification equipment to ensure you have the hearing you paid for.

4.     Physician trusted professionals.  Physicians refer their patients, family, friends and themselves to Audiology Concepts!   They know we have all their patients’ best interest in mind.  Physicians do not refer their patients to bulk retail stores, period.

5.     Service.  Unfortunately many new hearing aid users don’t understand how important the service part of a hearing aid purchase is.   Its all the little things we do to go above and beyond.  At Audiology Concepts we do these things because we care, not because our corporate manager told us to.   Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.  Here’s just a few of the services we provide that you wont find in the large retail stores:  loaner hearing aids (for instruments in repair), a pay it forward program, trade in options, demo hearing aids and accessories, complimentary insurance coverage check and claim submissions.

In today’s market consumers are bombarded with so many buying decisions.  While its smart to “shop around” for the best deal, its also imperative that you understand what you are losing at a big box warehouse compared to a medical based audiology clinic like Audiology Concepts.

Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | March 23, 2011

Hearing in Noise

Is there anything I can do to improve my auditory processing abilities? My ability to understand speech is decent, except in loud, busy, or fast-paced social situations, or with certain people. Is there any way to practice or improve?

There is a great program called LACE by Neurotone that is a listening excercise program to strengthen your ability to understand speech in noisy or difficult environments.  It’s similar to physical therapy in that you have to commit the time to the program.  I believe its 20-60 minutes a day for 6 weeks.  You use your personal computer with speakers for the program.

Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | March 14, 2011

Hearing Aids, How to buy smart

As an audiologist, I can tell you that there is not one manufacturer that can meet the needs of every patient. This is why in my opinion it is always best to choose a hearing care provider that works with multiple manufacturers. I choose to work with 4-5 of the top manufacturers in the world  for all reasons including technology, cosmetics, and flexibility for my patients. Almost every major manufacturer carries bluetooth technology these days.

Now here’s the REALLY important part… You can buy the very best, most expensive hearing aids available but if they are not programmed correctly they will do you no good, you won’t get the benefit you should, and ultimately you wont wear them.

TIP: When “shopping” for a hearing aid, choose a hearing care provider that works with multiple manufacturers, does not work on commission, and who uses REM (real ear measurement) verification equipment. REM is the only way to ensure the hearing aid is programmed correctly for your hearing loss and ear canal characteristics

Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | March 11, 2011

Hearing Loss, Noise Damage

Noise induced hearing loss is a permanent condition.  The hazardous noise actually damages the haircells in the inner ear.  Damage to haircells cannot be reversed- as of yet. 
Some people experience a temporary threshold shift after exposure to loud noise, which should recover within 48 hours after the incident.  A physician may prescribe a sterioid or other medication which could also help recover a sudden loss.  Generally these medications need to be taken within 48-72 hours of the damage, so it is extremely important to see a professional as soon as possible if you notice a sudden shift in hearing. 
The good news is noise induced loss is the most preventable type of hearing loss.  Whether its the cheap foam plugs,  ear muff style, or custom plugs, be stringent on wearing your hearing protection every time you are around dangerous levels of noise (more than 85dB). 
Fun fact: Iphones have a low cost “app” that is a sound pressure meter/measurer if you’re not sure if the areas you are hanging out in are “dangerously” noisy.  My best tip- if in doubt be safe and wear your hearing protection!
Posted by: Audiology Concepts of Burnsville | March 3, 2011

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