On this page, please find the information and forms you might need for your visit to our office. We look forward to seeing you. If you have any questions or concerns prior to your scheduled appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
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What to Expect
At the first consultation, we review intake and case history information. We consider it very important to get to know our patients to determine what kind of lifestyle and hearing needs they have to help with recommendations. Do you need to hear better in an emergency room hospital setting? Or maybe you can’t hear your friends during a poker game.
We like to know that kind of information so we can make a good recommendation and possibly set up personalized settings for your hearing aids to accomodate for these special circumstances. During the initial consultation, we also conduct a hearing examination to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss. Based on all the information, we make a recommendation for what we believe may be the best fit for your needs and set up a fitting.
Am I Ready For Hearing Aids?
Your hearing test can be an objective way to determine need. Typically, we do not hear all pitches with the same level of loudness. Due to the rising and sloping nature of hearing thresholds based on different pitches, your hearing loss may be deceptive because you can hear some voices and sounds better than others. For example, you might be able to hear men’s voices better than women’s/children’s voices. Even a mild hearing loss can affect your daily communication and be bothersome enough to seek help with hearing aids. Getting a hearing test is the first step to get help and trying a set of hearing aids can help you realize what you’ve been missing.
While you might be in an initial state of denial over a recent diagnosis, it is our job to make recommendations to ensure you can hear your best with the intention of minimizing a long term negative impact of hearing loss.
I Wear Hearing Aids But Is It Time For a New Set?
There are a number of factors to consider when asking yourself if you could use new hearing aids.
While regular service and maintenance by a hearing healthcare professional can help prolong the life of hearing aids, they are mini-computers subject to a harsh environment (heat, sweat, wax, dust) on a daily basis and so they typically have a limited lifespan to work optimally after several years (~3-5 years). Once you start sending them in for repairs, sometimes the cost and inconvenience of these repairs can add up.
Your hearing may have changed significantly enough to justify a stronger set of hearing aids. Hearing aids have different power levels to accommodate fitting ranges, and certain styles, selections or configurations can have limited ranges that even re-programming cannot accommodate.
We live in a digital age in which technology is rapidly advancing based on cumulative research and development. Embracing newer technology means improved sound quality and new features that make life more convenient than ever (rechargeability, bluetooth, telehealth, etc.). Even though your hearing aids may appear to work, are they working optimally and up to date with technology that could help you hear even better? If it has been at least 3-5 years, the answer is most likely yes because manufacturers invest in continuous research and development to improve on previous generations of technology.
Why choose an audiologist?
People often assume that all hearing aid dispensers are audiologists but this is not the case. Audiologists help diagnose and treat disorders of the ear and balance systems and also specialize in hearing aids. An Au.D. (Doctorate in audiology) is the highest level degree one can attain in the field of audiology and it takes years of education and training to attain. Having enough time to spend with patients allows us to follow best practices within the scope of our practice as audiologists. This means we take the time to do a thorough case history, comprehensive audiological examination, make appropriate hearing aid recommendations, verification with real ear measurements (REM), maintaining a good follow up schedule and making referrals to primary care physicians or ENT specialists when appropriate.
For these reasons, ear, nose, throat (ENT) specialists typically prefer to work with audiologists and rely on their diagnostic testing to perform surgeries and recommend treatments. These ENTs and other physicians also often entrust and refer their patients to dispensing audiologists to recommend the best hearing aid options. When making a decision to find the right professional to handle your hearing needs, it is always a good idea to choose a trusted and reliable professional who will look out for your best interests.
For the minority who have insurance benefits, it is important to understand how a benefit may not truly be beneficial in reality. In order to accommodate costs for a growing hearing impaired population, a number of insurance companies, working with third parties, offer discounted packages with limited choices of providers, basic technology from limited brands, and bare minimum service plans (i.e. 1-2 total follow up visits during the first year) to keep costs down. As a result, in-network practices resort to volume-based healthcare model to make up for revenue and this is where the quality of service often degrades. This often translates to ten minute appointments and difficulty adhering to a higher standard of following best practices for quality long term care. It is important to be aware and understand how all of this can result in frustration, dissatisfaction, and overall negative experiences. At Concierge Audiology Las Vegas, we are not bound by limitations set by insurances or outside parties. Instead, we have the freedom to stay true to our beliefs by working with only top manufacturers and providing exceptional service through time spent, listening to our patients, and offering extra assistance to those who need it. While we cannot make this decision for you, a number of informed patients are opting out of the limited “benefits” offered by their insurance and have preferred the freedom to choose the best possible hearing healthcare available.
By providing convenient service visits on-site at homes and offices and multi-year service plans, we offer an exceptional value that sets us apart and is a bonus that our patients truly appreciate. This means no more coordinating rides with appointments, feeling stressed about driving across town, or waiting in a waiting room. Select senior facilities are eligible for extra service which is an added bonus. Given this unique offering and value added bonus, our price range is competitive and we invite you to experience what we can offer.
How do we prevent a set of hearing aids from ending up in the drawer?
It is good to touch base with your provider who can spend the time to address specific issues (i.e.discomfort, adjustments, reinstruction) to find alternative solutions and there needs to be periodic care and maintenance (cleanings, retesting and reprogramming) because wax can be a huge issue and hearing changes over time. A good provider can make a difference in guiding you through the process to ensure you have a successful experience and optimally utilize your hearing aids.
You may have an older set of hearing aids that appear to work but not as effectively as they did when they were new, may not be strong enough for your hearing loss, or lack the updated technology that can address background noise issues or enhance things you want to hear (i.e. speech, music, etc.)
Not all hearing aids are created equally. There is such a range of technology on the market from straight over-the-counter amplifiers to the latest from top prescription-based hearing aid manufacturers. Even top manufacturers have tiered technology vary in sound quality and in handling noise. If you’re struggling to hear and your hearing aids don’t help in complex and dynamic noisy environments, sometimes a higher level of technology can make a difference.
What happens when hearing loss goes untreated or is ignored?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 15% of American adults (37.5 million) report difficulty hearing and 28.8 million of this population could benefit from using hearing aids. Many people do not realize how much their untreated hearing loss impacts them in ways that are not obvious. Hearing loss is a pervasive communication disorder that negatively affects many aspects of life including but not limited to physical health, emotional and mental health, social relationships, as well as school and job performance. Embarrassment, loss of self-confidence, frustration, anger, isolation and depression are just some of the results of untreated hearing loss. Many times the impact is felt even more by family members living with an individual who has untreated hearing loss. They feel frustration and anger when they have to yell and scream all the time and may feel less inclined to have conversations with the family member who can’t hear well. As a progressive condition that tends to get worse over time, hearing loss can easily have a detrimental “snowball” effect on one’s life but fortunately, there is help with hearing aids which keep people communicating and connected with the world. In recent years, bluetooth technology in hearing aids has been a major advancement, allowing people the ability to hear clearly with cell phones and use Skype/Facetime. At CALV, we take the time to help patients understand and utilize features such as bluetooth connectivity so they can stay connected with loved ones.
What is the relationship between hearing loss and dementia?
Auditory deprivation is a real condition that occurs when the brain is deprived of sound and progressively loses the ability to process sound. There is a “use it or lose it” effect and the result is brain shrinkage and atrophy. Numerous studies have revealed an association between untreated hearing loss and dementia. They have found that people with hearing loss tend to develop cognitive issues more than people without hearing loss. Other studies report brain shrinkage and decreased neural activity in response to complex sentences as a function of age in individuals with untreated hearing loss. Even a mild hearing loss results in as much as a 30% greater cognitive decline when compared with people without hearing loss. For people with moderate and severe hearing losses, the decline was 42% and 52% higher. Today’s hearing aid technology focuses on stimulating the brain as much as possible and minimizing the detrimental effects of hearing loss on the brain. Because hearing loss is a progressive condition, addressing it sooner than later is always best to minimize possible long term irreversible effects.
Can Hearing Aids Help With Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a very common condition and it refers to the perception of ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, etc. which can be constant or intermittent. Usually it is a result of some kind of damage or trauma to the auditory system and some of the most common causes include noise exposure, aging, medications, and medical conditions like Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis. Hearing loss is often present with tinnitus so a hearing test can be helpful. While there is unfortunately no cure for tinnitus, many people often find that hearing aids can alleviate much of this bothersome condition through the amplification of missing sounds and the ambient soundscape. In addition, special programs can be added to hearing aids in which a user can turn on a masking feature (usually a type of noise or ocean wave sound) to block out the bothersome tinnitus and provide some relief. The American Tinnitus Association cites hearing aids as a valid treatment option based and so we recommend trying them especially when hearing loss is present.
Is there a need for a sound booth?
According to an article entitled Thinking Outside the Booth from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), “eliminating the need for a booth increases flexibility in offering services. It also boosts consumers’ access and convenience in obtaining them.”
To ensure accuracy and reliability of our testing, we use special earphones that provide higher levels of noise attenuation, recorded speech tests, and request a quiet space for testing. In the same article, ASHA states that it was found that ER-3A insert earphones, with fully inserted ER-14 ear tips, can provide adequate noise attentuation to allow for testing to audiometric zero in a typical office noise environment. Insert earphones can provide adequate noise attenuation to precisely diagnose hearing loss for the purpose of hearing aid fittings (Margolis and Madsen, 2015) and are considered the recommended transducer (AAA, 2012). In addition, studies note that most hearing impaired individuals exhibit a hearing loss that typically exceeds ambient noise levels in a quiet space. Taking all these factors into consideration, therefore, our testing procedures are sufficient for the purpose of hearing aid recommendations and programming. Through today’s technology and our mobile hearing services, we make hearing more accessible to a greater population in need and those who seek convenience.
What is the difference between our hearing aid experience and devices that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC)?
Licensed hearing care professionals (HCPs), like audiologists provide much needed guidance and customization with a prescription-based hearing aid experience. A recent survey revealed 9 out of 10 current hearing aid wearers reported being very satisfied with the service provided by their HCPs. Using precisely calibrated equipment, a comprehensive hearing test provides valuable information about an individual’s hearing loss that varies by frequency (i.e. pitch) and is the basis for a prescriptive approach to fitting hearing aids. These tests can identify types of hearing loss, validate difficulty in noisy situations, and determine the need for medical follow up. Regular otoscopic exams can also determine the need for ear wax removal. At Concierge Audiology Las Vegas, you will work directly with a licensed and certified doctor of audiology who will enhance the journey towards hearing your best. As part of our exceptional service, we strive for proper fit and comfort and we personalize and program hearing aids according to an individual’s lifestyle and preferences. In addition to providing much needed professional support and counseling, there is long term maintenance, repairs, and other services to consider. Aside from the in-person professional service, the devices themselves are based on the result of decades of continuous research and development, incorporating the latest technology available. With OTC devices, there is a limited available range for mild-to-moderate losses, less personalization, a more generic “one size fits all” approach with limited professional guidance, and devices that may not be able to handle complex and dynamic listening environments. While OTC devices exist as cost effective solutions for a population with limited resources in need of options, we know that we can provide an experience that ensures optimal hearing. We offer a tiered range of multi-year hearing packages that take into account the best interests of our patients based on needs, lifestyle, and budgets, and we encourage everyone to select the best package they can reasonably afford.
Please read our blogs to find the answers to questions you might have or have yet to consider.
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