What makes Eastside Audiology different from all the other hearing clinics?
Hearing Aid Info Topics
What makes Eastside Audiology different from other clinics?
I've never done this before...
Will my hearing be normal?
I have one dead ear...
Pretty sure I only need one hearing aid...
Hearing aids didn't work for my friend...
Hearing aids are only for "old" people
How difficult is it to fit hearing aids?
How much do hearing aids cost?
We recognize that some of you may have come from places where the pressure to buy was worse than a Las Vegas time share condo (and sometimes the same approximate cost). You will NEVER experience that at Eastside Audiology. There are no commission sales at Eastside Audiology. Let’s repeat that (it’s kind of important): there are no commission sales at Eastside Audiology. We pride ourselves on being a cutting edge diagnostic audiology clinic and we have the equipment and education to prove it. We employ Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists, and Hearing Aid Practitioners. We can test all ages from pediatric to geriatric and everyone in between. If a hearing instrument is in your future we will give you multiple options. We deal with multiple manufacturers. We do this because each manufacturer can approach the same hearing loss from a different angle (it’s an algorithm thing). This is why people with the same hearing loss can have such different experiences with hearing instruments. Sometimes you just need a different approach. For us, this has been borne out by our lower than industry average return rate. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to give it a try yourself.
One more thing: It may seem like a little thing to others, but to us it is a philosophy thing. We pride ourselves on our diagnostic capabilities. Our audiologists use their educational backgrounds to evaluate all of our patients clinically, and combining this with any other underlying medical conditions they will prescribe the most appropriate course of action. It is also why we call the people we interact with "patients" as opposed to "clients". Hearing loss is a medical condition and sometimes that course of action involves hearing instruments but most times it does not. This is explained to our patients and no pressure to purchase a product is ever exerted by anyone at Eastside Audiology. A client, on the other hand, goes into an establishment with the underlying expectation that they are going to be ‘sold’ something. Our practice is built upon a certain level of trust between the audiologists here and the patients. We strive to ensure that our patients trust that we are prescribing what is appropriate for them, and secondly, our patients trust that we will be doing everything in our power to make the adaptation period go as smoothly as possible. In our experience once people understand this difference between ‘patient’ and ‘client’ and once the pressure to buy is eliminated, a greater level of trust can be established.
I’ve never done this before. Is getting a hearing aid like buying a TV at a box store? What should I expect when I come?
Dr. Debbie Davis explains the process involved with purchasing a hearing aid like this: it is a journey. We will start with a baseline hearing test – no pressure, no quotas, no commission sales. The first step is about educating you, the patient, on your individual hearing health and your specific hearing issues. Next we will determine your goals. We want to know what you want to achieve and those are the parameters that we will work within. We don’t expect every appointment to result in a hearing aid ‘sale’. Who knows? Your first goal may be to just get your family off your back! In time, it may develop into wanting to learn more about hearing aid options. Not everyone is ready for a hearing aid when the loss suggests it. Lifestyle is a significant factor. As Dr. Davis says, “I wore glasses to correct my vision for school – but only on a part time basis. It wasn’t until I started my career when my needs changed that I started wearing them full time, even though my prescription was still the same.” We respect the process because we want this to work as much as you do. I think we all can guess as to what the acceptance rate is going to be for an ‘unmotivated’ individual. At Eastside Audiology you can expect respect, and you can expect knowledge.
If I get hearing aids will my hearing be “Normal” again?
In a word: nope. Everybody is unique and so are their losses and ear structures. We’ll get you hearing better than when you walked in the door but the reality is that no hearing aid is able to completely restore your hearing. Having said that, the advancements in technology in the past few years has been nothing short of “amazing”. We encourage demo trials if you’d like to - ‘hear’ - what we are talking about.
….see what we did there? Didja? Sorry, turns out we are also passionate about bad humour…
I have one ‘dead’ ear. Is it true that nothing can be done to help me hear better?
No! That is not true! There is a type of hearing aid called a CROS or BI-CROS! It picks up the sound on the side of your “dead” ear with a microphone and can wirelessly route it to your other ear, to give you the sensation that you’re hearing sounds from that side! The options for this type of system used to be really limited but now there are multiple options. Additionally, there’s also a surgical option, called a BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) for single sided deafness.
I’m pretty sure I’m only going to need one hearing aid because I have one good ear and one bad ear. How would you handle that?
If that truly was the case then by all means we would do a monaural (single sided) fitting! Unfortunately, the reality is that nearly every patient that thinks they have one “bad” ear and one “good” ear usually has two bad ears. Generally speaking, we often favour the ear we think is “good” and feel that it’s the most normal. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears equally. The sad reality is that for the majority of people that you see with a single hearing aid - that was a choice that was driven by finances and not audiology (there are stats as to how successful those single sided fittings are and they aren’t good). In our opinion, there are better ways to address this problem. Our job is to get you hearing better and that usually means with a binaural (two ears) fitting. There is a reason you have two ears!
Hearing aids didn’t work for a friend of mine, so they probably won’t work for me…
There’s a certain type of irony here: we absolutely adore “word of mouth” referrals (it’s actually a BIG part of our practice) but we absolutely cringe when we hear the “negative friend experience”. Every one of these friends are well meaning and they really are trying to help you out but there are so many variables involved with hearing aids that it would make your head spin! For example, two people could have the EXACT SAME hearing loss and have vastly different experiences with hearing aids (different ear canal shape, size, wax production, biochemistry, ear development, were they a fulltime or part-time user? etc, etc, etc,).
Adjustment to hearing aids can take many months. Realistic expectations regarding your hearing aids are critical to your success. You must wear your hearing aids on a regular basis to allow your brain to adapt faster to the “new” world of sound and improve your ability to focus on speech. Keep in mind that you will be hearing sounds that you haven’t heard for years. A positive attitude is absolutely one of the keys to success. While your friend may be well-meaning, their experiences really have no audiological bearing on your personal success.
Hearing aids are only for “old” people and I’m not THAT old, right?
You might want to sit down for this one: Hearing loss is not just an age-related disability. The reality is that hearing loss is affecting people at younger and younger ages. A study for WorkSafe BC found that 25% of young people entering the workforce already had the early warning signs of hearing loss, with a further 4.6% showing “abnormal” results on hearing tests (WorkSafe BC, 2005). Only 35% of people with hearing loss are older than age 64. There are close to six million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss, and more than one million are school age. Hearing loss affects all age groups. (Kochkin, Betterhearing.org)
We once had a person tell us “a monkey could fit hearing aids”. You just ‘pop’ them on and walk out the door. Is this true? How difficult can it be?
In order to understand how difficult it can be to fit a hearing aid, you first need to be able to understand the basics of the ear:
“The external ear consists of the auricle (or pinna) and external acoustic meatus. The external acoustic meatus, lined with skin, leads inward from the bottom of the concha of the auricle to the tympanic membrane. The stratified epithelium of the skin in the canal is supplied with specialized ceruminous (wax) glands. The first part is supported by the cartilage of the pinna, while the medial 1.5 cm is supported by the temporal bone. Disorders of the external ear include inflammatory, traumatic, and neoplastic lesions. Congenital malformations are not uncommon. The middle ear, or tympanic cavity, is a narrow, air-filled chamber lined with mucous membrane and is situated between the external acoustic meatus and the labyrinth. It communicates with the mastoid air cells and with the nasal pharynx via the Eustachian (auditory) tube. The auditory ossicles, forming a chain of three small bones, connect the tympanic membrane with the inner ear. The manubrium (handle) of the malleus is attached to the tympanic membrane. The tensor tympani muscle, acting on the malleus, regulates the tension on the tympanic membrane, resulting in two identifiable regions of the tympanic membrane: pars tensor and pars flaccida. The incus is attached to the malleus and to the third ossicle in the chain, the stapes, which in turn is attached via its footplate to the oval window of the cochlea. The stapedius muscle regulates the range of motion of the stapes; the two muscles (tensor tympani and stapedius) thus regulate to some extent the amplitude sensitivity of the ear. As a result of its development, the Eustachian tube connects the tympanic cavity with the pharynx, and thus provides an important mechanism for equalizing external and internal pressures acting on the tympanic membrane. It also provides a convenient pathway for infections of the pharynx to invade the middle ear. The middle ear is susceptible to inflammatory disease, trauma, and neoplastic disease. It is also the site of the degenerative disease, otosclerosis. Congenital malformations of the middle ear frequently accompany those of the external ear. The inner ear is called the labyrinth because of the complexity of its shape. It contains six mechanoreceptive structures: three semicircular canals, utricle, and saccule, which serve the sense of equilibrium, and the cochlea, which is specialized for detection of sound waves. The inner ear consists of two parts: the osseous (or bony) labyrinth, a series of cavities within the petrous portion of the temporal bone, and a membranous labyrinth, which is a series of communicating sacs and ducts within the bony labyrinth. The inner ear is easily damaged by intense sound, head injury, and ototoxic drugs. It can be affected by microorganisms and is susceptible to degenerative and metabolic disease. It may also suffer abnormal development.”
...got it? We haven’t even really touched on sensorineural vs conductive loss, ear canal resonance, or Real Ear Measurement verification (among others). The last we heard, Washoe the Chimpanzee maxed out at 350 words and we’re pretty sure that ‘ceruminous’ wasn’t in that list. This isn’t to minimize what Washoe can do – on the contrary, we have a ton of respect for his accomplishments. Likewise, we believe that your hearing deserves respect. That starts with a proper diagnosis, proper remediation, and proper follow up. Hearing loss is a journey and not a ‘buy and go’ type of industry. If you aren’t prepared for that, we can also supply you with those basic over-the-counter amplifiers (which may be more your speed). In our humble opinion quality care requires quality service and THAT is what we do
How much do hearing aids cost?
This is a difficult question to answer….probably why we left it to the very end! :)
At Eastside Audiology we deal with about 8 different manufacturers. Why do we do this? Because individual people require individual solutions. In our opinion, we feel that not every manufacturer can deal with every type of hearing loss. Each manufacturer has a portfolio ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 different circuits and every one of these manufacturers approaches hearing loss from a different perspective, such as using their own proprietary algorithms inside their own proprietary circuit. Different algorithms affect hearing loss in different ways. One circuit may be appropriate for Hearing Loss X but it may not necessarily be the best for Hearing Loss Y – this is why two different people with similar hearing losses can have vastly different experiences with different manufacturers. This is also why it is very difficult to answer a basic “how much?” question. We take into account so many different factors when we prescribe a hearing aid that you really do need to come down to find out for yourself. We are proud of the fact that we can fit almost any lifestyle from the thrifty, economical, bargain hunter to those that need to have the latest and greatest. Our hearing aids start at $975.00 ea and then they vary as they work their way up from there.