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Hearing Aids: What You Need to Listen and Learn

adjusting hearing aids

Spring is in the air, and as the weather warms and tax refunds are deposited, Jefferson Surgical Clinic audiologist Dr. Kim Lower starts to see more people who need hearing aids.

Hearing aids can range in price by the thousands, but Jefferson Surgical Clinic gives patients the most bang for their buck. (Literally, they will hear more bangs.)

These days, professional audiologists find themselves competing with online retailers advertising low-cost hearing aids for a few hundred dollars. However, these are on the lower spectrum of quality, and do not come with follow-up service from a specialist to fit a patient’s unique lifestyle needs.

Industrywide, the return rate for hearing aids is almost 20%. At Jefferson Surgical, our return rate is less than 5%. Dr. Lower goes out of the way to research and apply her expertise, making sure patients are properly fitted and treated with the right equipment, and continues this treatment with follow-up appointments.

These visits are important for instruction on how to use devices in various environments, and with everyday electronics, like smartphones and televisions. Follow-ups are included with your purchase of hearing aids at Jefferson Surgical Clinic. If you hear changes or your device is not properly configurated, our specialists can fix most technical issues on site, and if not, send them out to be repaired before they are returned to you.

We also work with patients to match your hearing aids to your evolving physician condition. 

Hearing Aids for All Ages

“The bulk of my patient case load is a demographic over 60 years old, but I’m starting to see college-aged and school-aged kids very often,” Dr. Lower says about her recent experience seeing younger and younger clientele. Dr. Lower says this is often nerve- or noise-induced hearing loss that can be caused by modern headsets and earphones often used for video games.

Recent publications from the Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also noted a spike in children experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss, which in some cases the damage is irreversible.

“If they’ve done damage to the cochlea, currently, with modern medical procedures, there’s really not a cure for that,” says Dr. Lower.

Common Misconceptions

1. It costs $5,000 or $6,000 or more to hear better.

Dr. Lower says hearing solutions are not always out of price range. Hearing aids are available in a wide range of models and prices. Medical professionals work with patients to find hearing aids within their budget.

2. People hate their hearing aids.

“That is so not true,” says Dr. Lower. “People always tell me they wish they’d gotten hearing aids sooner. Hearing aids are an investment in better quality of life.”

Multiple studies have discovered how untreated hearing loss leads to depression and anxiety. The barrier of communication can make people feel disconnected, which can be especially detrimental as we age.

Untreated hearing loss can also lead to other cognitive issues, like early onset memory loss and dementia. Research shows that short-term memory and pattern recognition suffer greatly when hearing loss is not addressed.

3. All hearing loss requires hearing aids.

“Get it checked. Not all hearing loss requires a hearing aid. There might be something easily corrected. You’re not going to get a hard sell here,” explains Dr. Lower.

At Jefferson Surgical Clinic, patients work with a medical doctor and audiologist, not salespeople who try to make a deal with amplification devices if you are not ready for that step.

4. My hearing aids will stick out to other people.

“Hearing loss is much more obvious to other people than hearing aids,” said Dr. Lower. “You think you’re getting by, and no one is noticing, but the truth is, everyone is noticing.”

Dr. Lower says hearing aids usually improve everyday social engagements, and lead to healthier relationships.

Using Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are getting easier and easier to use. The newer devices available today are very adaptable. Whether you’re in a noisy environment, or a quiet one, hearing aids can identify the degree of noise from the wind, large crowds of people, female voices, male voices, and can filter out to your desire.

Most devices connect to cellphones and through Bluetooth pairing.

Another advancement is that hearing aids are rechargeable. You won’t have to trouble yourself with changing tiny batteries or buying new ones. You can simply charge the device overnight while you sleep.

Hearing aids are also water resistant, so if you forget to take them off in the rain or before a shower, this is not detrimental to your device.

Since purchasing a hearing device can be an investment, it’s also important to know there’s a grace period when you order through a medical provider in Virginia.

“I encourage people during the trial period, the first 45 days, to wear them quite a bit in everyday life so we can take notes and have a follow-up,” says Dr. Lower.

Learn more about Jefferson Surgical Clinic’s ENT treatment options.