Hearing Aid Accessories, Alternate Listening Devices, Custom Noise/Musician Protection and Custom Swim Molds
Hearing Aid Accessories
Hearing aid technology has seen many advancements and included with better performing digital technology is the incorporation of additional accessories for best speech clarity.
Bluetooth and/or like streaming technology accessories provide significant additional benefit with hearing aid use for land line phones, cell phones, TV, computer, iPad, iPod and other audio sources. Personal microphones and FM technologies are also incorporated into these remote control/streaming devices.
These accessories improve the signal to noise ratio allowing for enhanced speech clarity that assists in maintaining and improving academic and job performances as well as better enjoyment and comfort in social situations.
Alternate Listening Devices
Hearing aids may not be the sole or only solution for everyone and our professional staff recognizes this. Resources are provided for procuring devices that may be more suitable than hearing aids that are more appropriate for one-on-one conversations, TV amplifiers, amplified telephones and other needs.
Custom Noise/Musician/Swim Molds
Despite popular belief, 65% of individuals with hearing loss are under the age of 65.
Noise exposure is one of the leading causes of hearing loss.
Listening to personal listening devices (iPod, headphones, etc.) at high volumes over time can cause permanent hearing damage.
60% of the inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have hearing loss.
We offer fabrication of custom noise protection to all age groups to minimize the negative effects of noise and assist in the prevention of permanent hearing loss.
Custom swim mold fabrication is also available in providing protection for both the adult and pediatric population where water in the ears in contraindicated (external otitis, presence of PE tubes, presence of osteomas, etc.)
Also include the stock material for Bluetooth Hearing Aids.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Developers of hearing aids are always looking for new and improved ways of making hearing aids better and more useful in people's lives. Bluetooth technology is being used to make it easier for hearing aid users to connect their hearing aids to various devices for improved sound quality directly from the sound source.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids can be wirelessly connected to devices such as televisions, cell phones, FM systems, GPS systems, and PDAs, with the use of Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth technology works similarly to wireless Internet, where sounds are sent through an invisible electronic signal.
Bluetooth hearing aids come in most types, including behind-the-ear (BTE), mini BTE, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal styles, though each manufacturer provides a different array of products and accessories that are Bluetooth-enabled.
What are the Benefits of Bluetooth Hearing Aids?
As with any hearing aid, Bluetooth-enabled devices have some benefits and downsides. One benefit is that using Bluetooth technology allows you to obtain a better sound quality when using your hearing aids with your favorite electronic devices. Think of them as a wireless pair of headphones: they are convenient and cordless for high-quality sound.
The telecoil was a lifesaver for hearing aid users to adapt to new technologies like cell phones and MP3 players. Similarly, Bluetooth is quickly replacing telecoils. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids make connecting to modern technology even easier for hearing aid users. Making phone calls, conference calls, and technology use can be an enjoyable experience for the tech-savvy user. Bluetooth can also eliminate the annoyances of technology use with traditional hearing aids such as feedback and static noise interference.
What are the Disadvantages?
When Bluetooth is in use in a hearing aid, the microphone inside the hearing aid may be shut off, depending on the hearing aid you are using and the way it is set by your hearing specialist. This can have its disadvantages, as you won't have amplification of other noises around you during Bluetooth use.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids do require set up to work with electronic devices, so they are not for the gadget-shy individual. They also require the hearing aid wearer to use a small transmitter accessory. The transmitter converts the Bluetooth signal from the electronic device or mobile phone, to a technology that is understood by the hearing aid. Being out of range of the transmitter means that the Bluetooth signal will not reach the hearing aids.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids and accessories can also be pricey, and may not be worth it for someone who doesn't plan on using the Bluetooth technology that often.
If you are interested in Bluetooth-enabled hearing devices, talk to your hearing specialist about all of your options. Let your hearing specialist know the listening situations you are in each day, and the types of other devices you use throughout the day. Ask to see a model and experience a real-time demonstration. Talk to your hearing specialist about your current use of technology and ask how Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids could make that a better experience.
Cell Phone Accessories
Although the FCC now requires that hearing aid compatible (HAC) cell phones meet strict guidelines for quality, some hearing aid users wish to further improve their cell phone experience. Add-on devices and cell phone accessories can make cell phones even more compatible with hearing aids.
Many cell phones can be used with hearing aid telecoils. Hearing aid accessories that provide a hands-free option may also be helpful.
What is a Telecoil?
Telecoil (also known as t-switch or t-coil) is a telephone switch feature that is now built in to about 45% of all hearing aids. If you are unsure if your hearing aid has this feature, contact your hearing specialist or the hearing aid manufacturer.
HAC devices and accessories support hearing aids that have the telecoil feature.
You can use a Bluetooth accessory and have a Bluetooth signal sent to your telecoil through a neckloop or earhook silhouette from phones that support Bluetooth technology.
What is a Neckloop?
A neckloop is a necklace-sized wire that connects to many devices including HAC phones and accessories, and can be worn around the neck and adapted to telecoil hearing aids. Neckloops generate a weak magnetic signal that is recognized by the telecoil and amplified by the hearing aid. Neckloops are popular with many hearing aid users because they can drive both hearing aids and do not require wires running to the hearing aids.
What is an Earhook Silhouette?
Like the neckloop, the earhook silhouette creates a magnetic signal that can be recognized by the telecoil in your hearing aid. It can be hooked over your ear, and it nestles behind BTE hearing aids. It is attached to a thin loop of wire that can be plugged into many devices, including HAC phones and HAC cell phone accessories.
More About Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) Cell Phone Accessories
HAC cell phone accessories are beneficial to hearing aid users for several reasons. They put distance between the hearing aid and the cell phone, which can cut down on any buzzing or feedback, as well as decrease any interference between the two devices.
Some HAC accessories can give you hands-free cell phone usage, which is especially important if you plan on using your cell phone while driving. You may also be able to use the speakerphone function on some devices if you use the microphone mode on your hearing aid.
All major cell phone manufacturers are now required to make HAC cell phones available to hearing aid users, and many also have HAC cell phone accessories available as well.
It's a good idea to visit your cell phone carrier's local store and inquire about HAC phones and accessories, as well as try them out in the store with your hearing aid before making a purchase. Trying the phone with the device will give you a good idea of how well the accessory will work for you.
Keep in mind that some phones and devices may work differently once you leave the store, so it is also a good idea to find out about any money-back or satisfaction guarantees.
Earmolds and Earplugs (for hearing protection)
Sudden or prolonged exposure to noise can cause damage to your hearing and is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Hearing loss from prolonged noise exposure is often detected too late, meaning the hearing loss is usually irreversible.
Hearing protection is extremely important for anyone who is regularly in a high-noise environment, including target shooters, motorcyclists, airline pilots, musicians, construction workers and factory workers. The truth is that anyone subject to noise exposure may need to wear hearing protection to protect their long-term hearing.
The following noises are especially dangerous with repeat exposure: lawn mowers, truck engines, motorcycles, garbage trucks, chain saws, pneumatic drills, rock concerts, gun shots, and jet engines, to name a few.
Though store-bought earplugs offer some protection, custom earmolds and earplugs offer maximum protection and a comfortable fit that is designed specifically for your ears. They offer more security in knowing that your ears have the best possible protection against hearing loss.
Earmolds come in a wide variety of sizes and types. Some earmolds are solid, and some are soft or spongy. The most popular styles are full shell and half shell. Full shell earmolds are generally for high-level noise exposure, while half shell are for mid-level noise exposure. The type of earmold your audiologist recommends will depend on your individual needs.
Some earmolds come with a filtered attenuator, allowing for verbal communication while still protecting hearing, which is popular with musicians. These types of earmolds come in both electronic and non-electronic models. Earmolds are also popular for fitting over certain earbud headphones, under pilot boom-mic headsets, and other specialty uses.
As the name implies, custom earmolds are made custom to fit the unique contour of your ear. If you cannot get a comfortable or secure fit with traditional earplugs, custom earmolds may be for you. They offer some of the best hearing protection available.
Earplugs are hearing protection that are usually for the canal only. Some earplugs are solid, while others allow for more sound to pass through. Specialized earplugs are available for musicians and medical professionals who still want the ability to hear most of their surroundings while protecting their hearing.
Specialty earplugs can be custom fit for your ear canal, and are usually more comfortable than traditional earplugs. Custom earplugs come both with or without handles or detachable cords.
Earmolds and earplugs are not just for those who wish to protect themselves from high noise levels. Custom solutions are also available for other types of ear protection, such as custom ear plugs for swimmers.
Whatever your unique lifestyle, your audiologist has custom solutions to fit your needs. Your hearing is important. Take care to protect it for today and for the future. If you work in a high-noise environment, it's important to have regular hearing appointments to check for early indications of hearing loss. Speak with your audiologist today about the right solution for you.
Musician Ear Plugs and Monitors
Musicians have unique needs when it comes to hearing protection. They need to protect their hearing, but they also need to be able to hear their own music clearly, as well as hear other musicians’ music and voices while performing.
Conventional store-bought ear plugs are great at providing hearing protection. However, they often provide too much protection for musicians, muffling speech and sound in the process. They make music and voices very unclear and unnatural to listen to. While conventional hearing protection can reduce very high frequencies, this amount of hearing protection is typically not needed for musicians.
Most musicians do not need maximum protection. What they need is mid- to low-frequency protection. This can be accomplished through ear plugs that are specifically designed for musicians.
Musician’s Ear Plugs
Musician’s ear plugs come in both custom and non-custom options. Ready-fit musician ear plugs can reduce sound levels by approximately 20 dB, enough to reduce harmful sound without distorting speech or music.
These type of ear plugs are deep in order to allow the earmold to seal within the bony portion of the ear canal. This deep fit reduces what is known as occlusion, a hollow or boomy sound in the musicians own voice that is sometimes experienced with lower quality ear plugs. These type of deep-fit earmolds are popular with musicians because of the quality of sound they allow them to hear while practicing and performing.
Musician’s ear plugs are not just for musicians.
They are also a popular hearing protection option for:
- Sound crews
- Recording engineers
- Band teachers
- Airline personnel
- Athletic coaches
- NFL football players
- Medical professionals
- Construction workers
- Industrial workers
- Truck drivers
In-Ear Musician Monitors
For musicians who perform for large audiences, in-ear musician monitors (IEMs) are the current standard in musician technology. They allow the musician to clearly hear the music they are making as the audience would hear it while still protecting the musician's ears from extremely loud amplification systems and audiences.
IEMs work best if they are custom molded to fit each musician's ears personally. However, there is still the option of universal fit musician monitors. Universal IEMs typically come with interchangeable foam or silicone tips to allow for a semi-custom fit.
Both earmolds and IEMs can be custom made (using a mold) to fit your unique ear shape, usually by an audiologist or hearing specialist.
The ear impression that is used to make the earmold or in-ear monitor is the most important part of the process in getting a good custom fit. The quality of the ear impression material and technique directly impacts the sound quality, sound isolation, and comfort that is achieved with the earmold.
Because this part of the process is so crucial, it's important that you hire someone who is experienced and trained in making impressions for high-quality musicians earplugs. Most audiologists are trained in this process and know the importance of a good fit.
Speak with your audiologist about his or her experience in custom fitting patients with musician’s ear plugs and IEMs and about your options for high-quality occupational hearing protection.