Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is a miniaturised amplifying device worn at the ear to assist people with a hearing loss. Hearing aids are part of a hearing rehabilitation program and require personalised fine-tuning and ongoing maintenance support to achieve optimal results.

Our Melbourne-based hearing clinic provides a patient-centred service which is respectful of individual patient preferences, needs and values.  We believe that our patients should be given the necessary information and guidance to make their own hearing aid decisions.

We provide hearing assessments and a range of hearing aid services.

 

Hearing Aid Services

Our hearing aid services include:

  • Fully independent guidance, choice and selection of the latest hearing aids. We select hearing and listening devices from all suppliers in Australia.
  • Hearing aid fitting and expert, personalised hearing aid fine-tuning.
  • Support while adapting to amplification: our approach to hearing aid fitting allows you to be gently eased into the level of amplification required for optimal speech intelligibility.
  • A second opinion to verify if you are receiving optimal results from your current hearing aids: independent evaluation and fine-tuning of your hearing aids.
  • A comprehensive hearing rehabilitation program including as many appointments as needed for 12 months after fitting at no additional cost.
  • A comprehensive hearing aid cleaning and maintenance service at no cost.

For more information on our hearing aid services, contact us today.

 

Do I Need a Hearing Aid?

How do I know if I have a hearing loss?

We carry out a range of hearing tests that help determine whether you need a hearing aid. Our hearing tests range from a basic hearing screening test to a full hearing assessment. The type and cost of the hearing test will depend on the level of detail required.

We will clearly explain your results and advise you if your hearing test results indicate that you would obtain significant benefit from hearing aids.

Regardless of the degree of hearing loss, if you are experiencing significant communication difficulties, there will be a hearing aid suitable for you. If you have tinnitus and a hearing loss, hearing aids will be effective in both the management of your hearing loss and reducing your tinnitus awareness.

Assistive listening devices are available for the telephone, television, doorbells and alarms and can be used either instead of hearing aids or in addition to hearing aids.

 

Hearing Aid Fitting: The Big Picture

An Overview - Buying Hearing Aids in Australia

We receive many enquiries with regard to successful hearing aid fitting from both the medical profession and hearing aid users wanting a second opinion on their current hearing aids. It seems that despite the rapidly changing improvements in hearing aid technology, too many hearing aids are used infrequently in the wider community, often with disappointment at the level of benefit obtained.

To ensure our patients obtain a successful hearing aid fitting we consider the following appointments and services essential:

Over the first months, we work closely with you to complete the fine-tuning of your hearing aids, so they are optimally matched to your individual communication and listening requirements, and support your adaptation to amplification.

 

Choosing Hearing Aids

Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids are available in either a behind-the-ear (BTE) style, a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC: a mini BTE with part of the circuitry, the receiver, placed in the ear canal) or are fully contained in the ear.  They either use disposable batteries or an integrated rechargeable battery.

The choice of hearing aid style will be determined by the technology required for your communication needs and level of hearing loss; by your preferences with regard to the appearance and visibility of the hearing aids; by your manual dexterity ability; and by the size and shape of your ears. Inappropriate hearing aid choice can increase your level of hearing disability if you cannot manage the complexity, handling or size of your hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Technology

Digital signal processing hearing aids are able to:

  • Automatically and rapidly adjust and set the required volume for each sound in your environment – so that you don’t need a volume control (unless you want one!)
  • Help to highlight speech through competing noise
  • Provide multiple listening programs to suit different environments such as: speech in quiet, speech in noise, music, telephone, streaming via Bluetooth, telecoil, FM amplification
  • Provide wireless access via Bluetooth to devices such as Smartphones, iPads etc.
  • Automatically switch between different listening programs, depending on your environment
  • Provide multiple microphones and adaptive directional listening – where the hearing aid restricts amplification from the noisier parts of your environment

Hearing Aid Technology Levels

Hearing aid technology levels are set by the manufacturers to separate hearing aids into different performance and price categories.  These differences are largely based on noise processing features - the ability to detect and highlight a dominant speech sound in a noisy environment.  Despite some of the marketing claims, no hearing aids can fully separate a voice from background noise or other voices.

The level of technological sophistication should be matched to your communication needs and budget.  People who rarely communicate in groups or significant levels of background noise may not need a sophisticated and expensive level of hearing aid technology.  

We encourage our patients to take their time to make their choice – we will provide the information and guidance that you need. 

 

Fine Tuning Hearing Aids

Hearing aid technology and programming software have become increasingly sophisticated, so that the skills required by the audiologist in fine-tuning hearing aids for a personalised optimal result have substantially increased. 

Loud and impact sounds, such as dishes clattering, are often distorted by a hearing loss so they may be uncomfortable or even painfully loud.  Careful fine-tuning of your hearing aids provides protection to these sounds, so even though they are amplified they are not uncomfortably loud or overly jarring.

We have extensive training, experience and expertise in fine-tuning contemporary hearing aids to individual communication needs.  This enables you to receive the best possible level of speech intelligibility as well as comfortable hearing of loud and impact sounds through your hearing aids.

 

Adapting to Hearing Aids

Because of the gradual onset of most hearing losses, a person with a hearing loss may not realise their concept of "normal" hearing continues to change as their hearing loss develops.  Additionally, our brain subconsciously selects and highlights sounds that are important to us. Unimportant sounds are heard, but not fully perceived, unless we consciously pay attention to them.

When you are being fitted with new hearing aids, your concept of "normal" hearing and the process of subconscious selection will need to be relearnt.  If you are being fitted with hearing aids for the first time, you will hear sounds that you may not have heard for a long time. Environmental sounds can seem unnaturally prominent or noticeable for the first few weeks. It takes time for the brain to re-learn all these sounds, which is why we gently ease you into the level of amplification you need.

It takes time to get used to the feel of your hearing aids/moulds/domes in your ears and the effect they have on your ear canal resonance.  They need to fit comfortably in your ears and not move out of your ears with jaw movement. Audiological support over this initial period is essential.

This adaptation or adjustment period may last up to a few months.  We work closely with you over this period to provide support as you adapt to amplification and to complete the fine-tuning of your hearing aids, so they are optimally matched to your individual communication and listening requirements.  Your aim is to have what you hear through the hearing aids become "normal".

Wearing your hearing aids most of the time will ensure that you adapt more quickly, and your concept of "normal" hearing will be successfully redefined. As a result, you will become reliant on your hearing aids and will find it harder to communicate without them.  This is an inevitable part of a successful hearing aid fitting and does not mean that hearing aid use has aggravated your level of hearing loss.

 

Hearing Aid Satisfaction In Our Clinic

Surveying carried out independently of our clinic has allowed us to compare how we perform compared to the group average of other participating audiology clinics in Australia. Results have shown that our patients indicate high levels of satisfaction with their hearing aids and the services we provide.

Our patients consistently provide us with highly positive feedback about the support they are given while they adapt to their hearing aids, their hearing aid performance, the expert, personalised fine-tuning they receive and the ongoing maintenance support we provide.

As a result, our patients wear their hearing aids! We have patients who have been coming to us for many years. They recommend their friends and family to our clinic, so we have a high rate of word of mouth referral.

 

Ongoing Successful Use of Hearing Aids

We recommend an annual review of your hearing levels to check for any changes in hearing. In this way, adjustments can be made to ensure your hearing aids keep matching your hearing loss. You are encouraged, however, to arrange a hearing assessment at any time if you suspect a change in your hearing has occurred.

A build-up of wax in your ear canals can damage your hearing aids, as well as affect hearing aid performance.  An increase in feedback from your hearing aid(s) may indicate that wax removal is required.

You will need to ensure your hearing aids are well maintained.

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