Higgins Hearing Aid Service, Inc. | Hearing Aid Traverse City

Welcome to my blog



By higginshear24209522, Nov 17 2017 03:11PM

I am not talking about rechargeable batteries for your hearing aids, I am talking about actual rechargeable hearing aids. No batteries required.

Phonak, one of the top manufacturers in the world of hearing aids and related accessories, has recently come out with a line of rechargeable, over the ear style hearing aids. They come in a receiver in the canal style, and a traditional behind the ear style. Both styles have high quality digital sound. The great thing about these is that they last a full twenty-four hours on one charge. At night when it’s time to take them out for the day, the wearer puts them in their recharging case, which also acts as a drying case. What a genius idea! The recharging case gets plugged into a wall socket. The case is small, much like a normal hearing aid case. If you happen to forget to put them in their case, with a thirty-minute charge they will last six hours. I think that is a pretty great feature.

Repairs have been minimum, due to the fact that there is no battery door for moisture to get into, which is a great plus. No more buying and fumbling around with batteries too, which is great news for our arthritic patients.

As always, you may trial a pair of these here at Higgins Hearing Aid Service and see if they make life a little easier. Give us a call, or stop in for a chocolate break and make that appointment.

By higginshear24209522, Nov 10 2017 02:40PM

With the leaves falling and the breeze becoming quite cold, it’s that time of year to remind those of you who enjoy shooting sports to COVER YOUR EARS. Whether hunting birds in South Dakota or deer in Northern Michigan please be sure to protect your hearing.

Why does hearing protection matter? Many people believe that hearing loss is something that happens to old people, but the fact is young and old people can lose their hearing as the result of regularly shooting guns without ear protection. You see, a normal conversation between two people occurs around 60db. A blast from a gun often exceeds 140db. The loud noise permanently destroys the fine hairs in your ears that are responsible for stimulating auditory nerve fibers and once those hairs are damaged, that’s it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to repair them.

Hearing protection also helps with flinching. Since the blast is softened, it is less likely to startle you and cause you to flinch.

Losing your hearing doesn’t just affect the way you hunt, it affects the way you live. High-frequency sounds are usually the first to go. Such as s, f, sh, ch, h, or soft c sounds. Communicating with women and children becomes very difficult and frustrating as their voices tend to fall in higher-frequency ranges. Making communication with them a struggle and after a day in the woods when you are ready to come home to dinner with the family. The last thing you should have to work at is hearing.

So, when you head to the range, woods, or in some cases your backyard use protection…

Foam/Impulse Ear Plugs

Ear Muffs

Electronic Ear Muffs

Electronic Ear Plugs

And, if you want to be able to enjoy the sounds of the wilderness and your family when you are old and gray, protect your hearing now and throughout.

Please have a safe hunting season and the best of luck to you.

By higginshear24209522, Nov 3 2017 01:49PM

If this has been your experience, you may benefit from adding an accessory to your hearing aids.

Some people have what is called compromised speech discrimination. The speech discrimination test is usually done at your hearing evaluation, with one or two syllable, spoken or recorded words. This is done at a volume level that is sufficient, if not a bit loud for the person being tested, to test the ability to understand words. When a significant hearing loss is detected, quite often, the ability to understand words is diminished as well.

What can be done about it? Most manufacturers of today’s hearing aids also have available accessories to further aid you in understanding speech. I will outline a few of these:

TV Streamer: If you have trouble understanding the television, you may purchase a TV streamer from most hearing aid companies. This streamer is a small box that plugs into your TV and an electrical outlet for power and will broadcast your television program right into your hearing aids. You may turn up the television volume for only yourself, and not the whole room. The range for most is 25 feet, so you may walk about the room and still hear your television program. The streamer will have to be paired to your hearing aids, and can be done in your hearing care professional’s office, or quite often it is easy enough to do at home, with the assistance of the user manual.

Mini Mic: This small devise is usually worn on the clothing with a clip, and will send voices of your loved ones right to your hearing aids. There is an up and down volume on the mic as well. This can be used in many creative ways, such as clipping it to a glass and putting it in the middle of a conference table, in order to better hear the voices at the other end of the table.

Remote control: Another small devise, this one will control your hearing aid volume, program choice in the hearing aids, and in some cases, can control the TV streamer volume too, if you have one.

Apps: Many manufacturers also have applications for smart phones to complement their hearing aids. These apps give a lot of control with the aids, some even have a graphic equalizer so you can make adjustments on the fly, and GPS, just in case you lose your hearing aids too!

All of these accessories must be purchased through the manufacturer that produced your hearing aids.

Overall, these accessories are a great addition for anyone still having a difficult time understanding speech, even with new technology. Sometimes it is the missing piece in your hearing health care system.

As always, we would be happy to help you in deciding which accessory will best help your situation.

By higginshear24209522, Oct 20 2017 02:19PM

Often when our patients bring in their hearing aids in because they just cannot hear with them anymore, the only thing they need is a good cleaning.

Microphone: The microphone is one of the most common places a hearing aid will get clogged. It’s a very small hole near the battery door on an ITE (all in the ear hearing aid), or on a BTE (behind the ear hearing aid) it will be toward the top of the aid, where it sits on the top of the ear. This is where sound enters the hearing aid to be amplified, and can easily get filled with environmental debris, sweat, and skin oil. Make sure you have a cleaning tool from your hearing aid dispenser. Use the brush end to go over the mic opening daily. A few brush strokes over those microphone holes will be helpful. If you are not sure where the opening is, ask your hearing aid professional.

Receiver: The receiver is another location that tends to get clogged. When the hearing aid is inserted, this is hole where sound comes out of the aid, and where wax production is heaviest. If sound cannot get out of the aid because it’s blocked by wax, it will seem dead. Use the wire end of your cleaning tool to clean this area. If you have wax filters, change the filter and see if this is all that is needed. So often those wax filters are ignored, or not changed because they were “just changed”, but if they are being put back in an ear full of wax, or partially filled, they will get clogged pretty much immediately.

Batteries: Many times, new batteries will be purchased and placed in a hearing aid and the aid won’t work. The wearer immediately believes the aid is dead, when the problem is the batteries that were bought, were dead, or close, when purchased. A good buy is a simple battery tester. This will save a lot of frustration. Also, because hearing aid batteries are now made without mercury, new batteries must be aired up for about one minute before placing them in the hearing aid, in order to complete the charge.

If you have checked all of these things, and are still having difficulty hearing, give your hearing care professional a call. They can take a better look at it, make sure you are cleaning the right areas, and determine whether or not it needs to be sent to the manufacturer for repair.

By higginshear24209522, Oct 13 2017 01:17PM

Let’s talk feedback. We have all heard that annoying, high-pitched squeal a hearing aid can make. Have you ever wondered why this happens, and how to avoid it? I will let you in on some secrets about squealing hearing aids.

A hearing aid that is feeding back, i.e. squealing, most of the time isn’t the fault of the aid. The physics of sound dictate that if sound is leaking out of the ear, then picked up by the microphone on the hearing aid, it will squeal.

Why is sound leaking out of the ear? There could be a few reasons:

1. The ear is full of wax. If sound does not have a clear path to the ear drum, it will find the easiest way out of the ear, through the venting, or any crack or crevice between the ear mold or ear bud. That sound hits the microphone and bam, you’ve got feedback.

2. The ear mold or bud isn’t fitting well. Maybe you’ve lost or gained weight, or maybe your ear mold is old, and time changes our bodies or maybe the fit wasn’t ideal to begin with. This creates those gaps between the skin of your ear and the outside. Gaps are where the sound is leaking out and hitting the microphone, creating feedback.

3. The mold is facing, or butting up against the wall of your ear canal. If sound is coming out of the hearing aid and immediately hitting the wall of your ear canal, that is not a clear path to the ear drum, and may make the hearing aid squeal. The mold may need to be modified by your hearing care professional.

4. If you wear a standard BTE, the tube may have a hole. Standard BTEs (behind the ear hearing aids) have tubes from the hearing aid located over your ear to the ear mold. This tube can split, creating a hole. Take it in to your hearing care professional so they can take a good look and change the tube(s) if need be.

5. If none of the above is applicable, it could be what is called internal feedback, meaning something inside the body of the hearing aid came disconnected and sound is no longer being directed out the receiver tube into the ear. This too will need to be addressed by your hearing care professional, and the aid may need to be sent in to the manufacturer for repair.

Nobody likes to wear a hearing aid that squeals, and with today’s feedback control it shouldn’t be a problem. If you are experiencing feedback, do not assume your hearing aid isn’t working properly. Your hearing care professional can tell you why it’s happening, and take steps to stop it.

RSS Feed

Web feed

                1211 West Front Street

Traverse City MI 49684    231-947-2420