Hearing aids and assistive listening devices can be game changers for people with hearing loss. These devices aren’t luxury items—they’re necessities for those who use them. This is especially true for people with combined vision and hearing loss who may rely on their residual hearing for safety cues, travel and communication.
At HKNC, you’ll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a certified audiologist who has a unique understanding of the needs of people with combined hearing and vision loss. You’ll receive an individual hearing evaluation, and the audiologist will help you to select the devices that will best meet your needs.
Our services include:
- Complete audiologic evaluations including pure tone testing, speech discrimination and impedance measurements
- In-depth discussion of your hearing loss and how it will affect you
- Tactual audiograms
- Assessments to identify the most functionally appropriate hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices for you
- Earmold impressions for custom earmolds and in-the-ear-style hearing aids
Working closely with the audiologist, you’ll gain a better understanding of your particular situation. The more you understand how and why your hearing is changing, the better prepared you will be to use your remaining hearing to your best advantage.
With guidance from the audiologist, you’ll have the chance to try out new devices and explore how they can be paired with other assistive equipment to maximize your hearing. The choice of instrument can be the difference between success and failure. Battery size, battery usage, tubing and earmold options, and size of the hearing aid are just a few of the things that the audiologist will take into consideration when making recommendations for you.
And when technology isn’t the answer, the audiologist will help you to develop strategies to handle difficult listening situations.
You’ll learn about:
- How an assistive listening system might work in conjunction with your current hearing aid or cochlear implant
- Ways to use hearing aids with phones, radios and televisions
- Strategies to improve your access to aural information in a variety of environments
- Hearing aid, earmold and assistive device maintenance and troubleshooting
- Self-advocacy techniques
Links to information on audiology and hearing aids:
How to Find an Audiologist
It is important to be sure that the individual you are being evaluated by or receiving your hearing aids from is a licensed audiologist. The American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association can help you find an audiologist in your area.
Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance
The American Speech, Language, Hearing Association has information regarding the care of your hearing aids.
Selecting a Hearing Aid
The choices available for hearing aids are varied and plentiful – not all hearing aids are appropriate for all individuals. A licensed audiologist should work with you to help you determine what is most beneficial for your particular situation. Get advice from the Cleveland Clinic.
Communicating with People with Hearing Impairments
Get tips from HKNC (see below) and the Cleveland Clinic.
General Information on Hearing Loss
The Hearing Loss Association of America
Be aware of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation regarding the dispensing of hearing aids. (see below)
Resource: Communicating with a Person with a Hearing Impairment
Tips for Communicating with a Person with a Hearing Impairment
1) No need to shout.
Please do not shout. When you shout, it doesn’t help. Sometimes, it actually gets too loud, and it is uncomfortable. Raise your voice to a level that is louder than usual, but not so you are shouting.
2) Don’t speak too slowly.
When you speak really slowly, it can be confusing and unnatural sounding. It is better to slow down a bit, but not so much that you exaggerate too much.
3) Face the person—and please, turn off the water.
Very often, people will try to carry on a conversation with someone who is washing the dishes. This is not fair to either one of you. People naturally tend to “read lips” without realizing it, so face one another when speaking, if possible. Try to avoid having important conversations in places or situations where background noise is unavoidable.
4) “I can’t hear you—where are my glasses?”
It is true that a person with a hearing loss will hear better with their glasses on because of lip reading. This also means that good lighting is important—avoid glare and don’t stand so that the person has to look into a bright light to see you.
5) Try again with a twist.
If the person misses something, repeat it, then change it slightly and spell any words that are new to the person or difficult to understand.
Resource: FDA Regulation
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued the following regulation regarding the dispensing of hearing aids:
(a) Medical evaluation requirements --(1) General. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a hearing aid dispenser shall not sell a hearing aid unless the prospective user has presented to the hearing aid dispenser a written statement signed by a licensed physician that states that the patient's hearing loss has been medically evaluated and the patient may be considered a candidate for a hearing aid. The medical evaluation must have taken place within the preceding 6 months.
(2) Waiver to the medical evaluation requirements. If the prospective hearing aid user is 18 years of age or older, the hearing aid dispenser may afford the prospective user an opportunity to waive the medical evaluation requirement of paragraph (a)(1) of this section provided that the hearing aid dispenser:
(i) Informs the prospective user that the exercise of the waiver is not in the user's best health interest;
(ii) Does not in any way actively encourage the prospective user to waive such a medical evaluation; and
(iii) Affords the prospective user the opportunity to sign the following statement:
I have been advised by ____ ____ (Hearing aid dispenser's name) that the Food and Drug Administration has determined that my best health interest would be served if I had a medical evaluation by a licensed physician (preferably a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear) before purchasing a hearing aid. I do not wish a medical evaluation before purchasing a hearing aid.