5 Reasons To Choose a Hearing Aid Over a PSAP

Hearing Aids

You’ve most likely seen the commercials. The ones advertising PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, guaranteeing an improvement to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It appears to be a fantastic deal—particularly in comparison to the significant selling price of a hearing aid.

In reality, it’s not so much a great deal as it is clever marketing. The ads do their best to conceal some vital information while concentrating on carefully chosen talking points.

But the question remains: why would you want to spend more money on a hearing aid when less costly PSAPs are readily available? Here are five good reasons.

1. PSAPs are not medical devices regulated by the FDA

Listen carefully to the PSAP advertisements. You’ll hear all about “boosts” to hearing but never about treating hearing loss. The reason: PSAPs are not FDA-regulated medical devices and cannot be utilized to treat any medical ailment, including hearing loss. PSAPs are simply recreational products meant to produce advantages to people who can already hear normally.

Making use of a PSAP to address hearing loss is like wearing a pair of reading glasses to treat near and far-sighted vision impairment. Hearing aids, on the other hand, are FDA-regulated medical devices that can proficiently treat hearing loss.

2. PSAPs are not customizable

Hearing aids may not look very impressive on the outside, but inside they include state-of-the-art digital technology that can slice up, store, manipulate, and regulate any type of sound. Hearing aids can also create adjustments for pitch and volume so that amplification matches the patient’s hearing loss precisely.

A PSAP, in comparison, is a one-size-fits-all electronic device that amplifies soft sounds. Since every person’s hearing loss is a little different, PSAPs won’t amplify the correct frequencies. Instead, PSAPs will amplify all sound, causing distortion in noisy locations.

3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech recognition

Speech sounds are unique in that they are largely represented in the higher frequencies, particularly in comparison to background noises. Given that digital hearing aids can detect variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while repressing background noise. PSAPs, generally speaking, lack this function.

4. PSAPs could cost you more in the long-run

First of all, hearing loss is sometimes brought about by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for example, earwax buildup is generating your hearing loss, a simple professional cleaning can improve your hearing within minutes—and without a cent spent on any amplification devices.

Second, sometimes more serious medical ailments can result in hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional examination to rule this out. Because you can purchase a PSAP without any interaction with any healthcare specialists, you could be putting yourself in danger.

Third, if you do have noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, a PSAP will not function the way you would need it to. You’ll most likely invest in a hearing aid sooner or later anyway, so you might as well skip the extra cost of the PSAP.

And finally, unlike hearing aids, there is no mandatory trial period for PSAPs. If you buy one and it doesn’t get the job done, there’s no legal guarantee that you’ll get back your money.

5. PSAPs lack the features of a hearing aid

PSAPs, like we said, are simple amplification devices stripped-down of any enhanced functionality. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can enhance speech, reduce background noise, and adapt to different surroundings. Several hearing aid models can even wirelessly stream phone calls and music, and some can be controlled with smartphones and watches.

The choice is yours

PSAPs do have their uses. If you have healthy hearing, PSAPs are perfect for things like bird watching and eavesdropping on conversations, if that’s your sort of thing.

But for hearing loss, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Your hearing, and the relationships that count on it, are too valuable.

The Best Blogs on Hearing Loss

Blogging about hearing loss

In the US, hearing loss to some degree impacts 20 percent of the total population, or 48 million individuals. On average, therefore, one out of every five people you encounter may have hearing loss.

For those who truly want to have an understanding of the condition—or that suffer from hearing loss themselves and would like some personal perspective—there’s no better source than gaining knowledge from individuals presently living with diminished hearing.

The following is our list of the leading personal blogs on life with hearing loss.

Speak Up Librarian

Sarah, the writer behind the blog, is a librarian hoping to create a more accessible, communication-friendly world. In her blog, she recounts her experience of coming to terms with hearing loss and adjusting to living with hearing aids. Making use of humor and personal anecdotes, her hope is that individuals can discover more about hearing loss while benefiting from many of the resources she’s found over the years.

Top Posts

My Last Day of Blissful Ignorance or How It All Began

Speak Up Librarian is Born

A Whole New World

Grand Piano Passion

Grand Piano Passion is “an online oasis of articles, essays, and original videos for studying the piano as an adult, making music despite hearing loss, and claiming your passion, whatever it may be.”

Top Posts

Veteran Plays Piano Despite Suicide Bomber Attack

Top 5 Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids and Making Music

Hearing Health Affirmations from a Singer

Hear 2 Work

This blog is dedicated to assisting people to cope with hearing loss in the workplace. Tracey, the creator of Hear 2 Work, has been working with rising hearing loss over the last 20 years. Along the way, she’s learned numerous tips that she’s passing on to her readership.

Top Posts

Disclosing your hearing loss at work

Tips on managing phones

Lorraine Gailey: Supporting adults with hearing loss

Living With Hearing Loss

Shari Eberts, the author of Living With Hearing Loss, is a hearing health advocate, regularly writing and speaking on the subject and striving to end the stigma linked with hearing loss and wearing hearing aids.

She developed the blog to serve as an outlet for her own experiences with hearing loss as well as to develop a community for those coping with similar issues.

Top Posts

Hearing Loss – Know The Facts

Shouldn’t There Be A Law Against Second-Hand Noise?

Breaking the Stigma of Hearing Loss – The Who, What, Why and How

The Invisible Disability and Me

The Invisible Disability and Me is a blog about the author’s own experiences with significant hearing loss. The blog is attempting to increase awareness of hearing loss, describe how to spot the early symptoms, and reveal the charities and organizations that can help.

Top Posts

Coping with Silence

My Hearing Loss Journey

The Effects of Hearing Loss

What did we miss? If you have any personal blogs or hearing-related websites you’d like to recommend, include them in a comment below.

The Real Cost of Hearing loss

If you had the potential to prevent or lessen the risk of cognitive decline as you grew older, how much would you be willing to pay for it?

What would you say to 15 dollars per week? That’s about the cost of a professionally-programmed set of hearing aids, which the most current research shows can diminish the risk of developing cognitive decline in seniors with hearing loss.

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that “self-reported hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults; hearing aid use attenuates such decline.”

The study followed 3,670 adults age 65 and older over a 25 year period. The study observed that the rate of cognitive decline was higher in those with hearing loss compared to those with normal hearing. But the participants with hearing loss who used hearing aids displayed no difference in the level of cognitive decline compared to those with normal hearing.

Numerous studies out of Johns Hopkins University have likewise demonstrated that hearing loss is linked with more rapid cognitive decline, depression, and in some instances even dementia.
So, hearing loss can result in accelerated rates of cognitive decline, but using hearing aids can protect against this decline. The question is, how does hearing loss lead to cognitive decline?

A generally acceptable theory is that hearing loss has a tendency to limit social interaction and stimulation to the auditory portion of the brain, resulting in changes in brain chemistry and structure. These changes are thought to account for the drop in cognitive function as well as the onset of depressive signs and symptoms.

Hearing Loss and Mortality

Another study out of Johns Hopkins University examined 1,666 adults age 70 or older who had been given a hearing examination. The participants were put into three groups: (1) no hearing loss, (2) mild hearing loss, and (3) moderate to severe hearing loss. Then, mortality was examined for each group, with the following results, as announced by Johns Hopkins researchers:

“Interestingly, after adjusting for demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors, their results suggested that moderate or more severe hearing loss was associated with a 39% increased risk of mortality, while a mild hearing loss had a 21% increased risk of mortality, compared to those with normal hearing.”

This is not to imply that hearing loss directly impacts mortality rates, but instead that the consequences of hearing loss can. Hearing loss has been shown to bring on cognitive decline and decreased levels of social interaction and physical activity. This creates changes to the brain and reduced physical and social activity levels, which more clearly can impact mortality rates.

Hearing Aids Can Help

The real cost of hearing loss, therefore, is a great deal more than simply inconvenience or missing out on a couple of conversations. Hearing loss could mean sacrificing your mental, physical, and social health—and potentially even your life.

As additional research is performed, and as we come to be more educated on the real costs of hearing loss, $15 per week for a pair of top quality hearing aids will seem like nothing at all.

A Brief History of Hearing Aids

Ear Trumpets

We might take it as a given that our hearing aids are hardly visible, can be controlled with our cell phones, and can distinguish between speech and background noise. What we might not realize, however, is that those capabilities are the products of 400 years of research, design, and enhancement.

Even 5 years ago, hearing aids could not generate the clarity of sound generated today. To see why, let’s track the history of hearing aids—starting today and travelling backwards—to observe how hearing aids would have treated your hearing loss in four different years: 2016, 1985, 1940, and 1650.

2016 – Modern Digital Hearing Aids

It’s 2016 and you’re searching to address your hearing loss. You open up a web browser, search for a community hearing care provider, fill out a brief form, and arrange an appointment.

At your hearing exam, your hearing is screened using advanced computer technology that precisely measures your hearing. Then, with the help of your hearing care expert, you select a hearing aid that suits your needs from a wide selection of models.

Then, your hearing specialist programs your new hearing aids to amplify only the sounds and frequencies you have difficulty hearing, leading to crystal clear sound without distortion.

If you told anyone in the 1980’s that this would be the process, they wouldn’t have thought it was possible.

So what did render it possible? In essence, digital technology.

For most of their history, there was no way for hearing aids to discern between assorted sound frequencies. Hearing aids would enhance all inbound sound, including background noise, producing distorted sound.

The digital revolution addressed that issue. With digital technology, all information can be transformed, saved, and manipulated as permutations of 0’s and 1’s. Digital technology made it possible for hearing aids to convert sound frequencies into digital information, which could then be characterized in accordance with which sounds should be amplified (speech) and which should be suppressed (background noise).

The first all-digital hearing aid was manufactured in 1995, and since that time the technology has improved tremendously, eventually to incorporate wireless capability.

1985 – Transistor Hearing Aids

Now it’s 1985 and you’re planning to treat your hearing loss. You can forget searching for a local hearing care provider on the internet because the first commercial internet service provider won’t be founded until 1989.

You’d need to use the phone book, depend on recommendations, or drive around the neighborhood to find a hearing care practice.

After scheduling a consultation and having your hearing evaluated, your options for hearing aids are very restricted. With no microprocessor and digital technology, hearing aids were built with a sequence of transistors. This adds size and higher power requirements, leading to larger batteries and larger hearing aids.

Additionally, without the benefit of digital technology, the hearing aid cannot distinguish between different frequencies of sound. Hearing aids receive incoming sound and the transistors act as simple amplifiers, amplifying all sound. So if you’re in a noisy room, speech recognition will be just about impossible.

1940 – Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids

It’s 1940 and you’re interested in acquiring a hearing aid. Transistors haven’t been applied to hearing aids yet, so your options are limited to vacuum tube hearing aids.

Vacuum tubes utilize more power than transistors, so the hearing aids require larger batteries, making the hearing aids big, heavy, and cumbersome.

And once again, without digital technology, the hearing aids can only act as straightforward amplification devices, making all inbound sound louder. The hearing aids cannot enhance speech and can’t remove background noise.

1650 – Ear Trumpets

Let’s travel all the way back to 1650. There’s no digital technology, no transistors, and no vacuum tubes. That means no way to transform sound into electrical currents that can be amplified.

With electrical amplification unattainable, your only option is mechanical amplification by concentrating and compressing sound into the ear, much like what happens when you cup your hands around your ears.

By 1650, devices were developed that concentrated inbound sound into the ears, and these devices were called ear trumpets. They were prominent gadgets with a conical end that picked up sound and a narrow end that concentrated the sound into the ear.

This would be the only technology obtainable to those with hearing loss for the following 250 plus years.

Let’s return to 2016. Over more than 400 years of history, hearing aids have advanced from mechanical amplification devices to electrical amplification devices, from vacuum-tube-based to digital-based. They’ve become considerably more compact, lighter, and more effective and affordable.

They’ve also become much better at distinguishing between various types of sound, and in amplifying only selected kinds of sound (like amplifying speech while suppressing background noise).

Each generation of hearing aid has produced a major upgrade over the previous generation. The question is, what’s the next great benchmark in the history of hearing aids?

Will we soon be able to improve natural human hearing, rather than simply restore it?

5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You Can Stick With

New Year’s Resolutions

Envision your life in 2016 with half the stress and double the energy. Who wouldn’t be interested in that?

While nearly everyone aspires to improved health, it’s not a secret that most health-related New Year’s resolutions are unsuccessful. We tend to set resolutions that are too difficult or too complicated—all in the name of gaining fast, extreme results.

But in place of striving for the quick fix, the new year is an opportunity to establish lifestyle adjustments that are simple and easy to sustain—so that after some time they come to be habits, gradually but surely getting you closer to optimum health.

The following are five straightforward resolutions you can implement right now for a healthy 2016.

1. Institute a new health outlook

It’s a familiar story: you start the latest fad diet and you’re feeling pretty great. Then, a couple of weeks into the program, and you have a birthday party to attend. You get there resolved to be responsible, but you can’t refrain from the cake and ice cream. Diet over.

Quiting in this manner is a symptom of an all-or-nothing attitude to diet and health. Instead of surrendering when you cheat on your diet, think of your current level of health as resting someplace along a continuum. Every choice you make moves you nearer to one end (good health) or the other end (poor health).

The cake and ice cream pushed you to the wrong end of the continuum, but that doesn’t mean you need to advance in the same direction for the remainder of the day, week, or month. It’s okay to have that piece of cake every once in a while, as long as the bulk of your decisions move you towards better health.

Establishing healthy habits demands a short memory. You will slip-up every so often. What counts is your response, and how you’ll plan on making more healthy than unhealthy decisions going forward.

2. Institute a moderate, well-balanced diet

Fad diets almost never work. The reality is that they are not sustainable, which means that even if they do work in the short-term, you’ll most likely just regain the pounds.

Fad diets are focused on deprivation of some sort. No carbs, no fats, only 1,000 calories daily. It’s like if I proposed that you’d be more productive at work if you didn’t check your email for a month. Throughout that month, you would most likely get a lot more work accomplished.

But what would take place at the end of the month? You’d invest the majority of your time reading through emails, catching up, and losing all the efficiency you had achieved.

The same phenomenon applies to deprivation diets. In fact, studies show that individuals often gain more weight back than they lose after the conclusion of a temporary fad diet.

So what’s the remedy?

Moderation. Remember the health continuum? It’s perfectly okay to have a candy bar or a cheeseburger once in awhile. Individual foods are not as important as your overall diet. As long as the majority of your choices are healthy, you’re moving along the continuum in the right direction.

3. Combine exercise into your daily routine

If you want to write a novel, and you make yourself to write the entire thing in one sitting, you’ll never make it to the end. However, if you commit to writing one page daily, you’ll have 365 pages to work with at the end of the year.

Everyone realizes they should be exercising. The issue is the same as with fad diets: the adoption of an all-or-nothing mindset. You buy a gym membership and vow to devote to 7 days a week, three hours a day, for the remainder of your life. Two weeks in, you skip a few days, deactivate your membership, and never return.

All or nothing. You’re focused on the days you miss going to the gym when you should be focusing on the days you do go to the gym. Each gym trip pushes you closer on the continuum to good health.

You can also incorporate physical exercise at work and elsewhere throughout the day. Choose the stairway instead of the elevator, park farther away from the store entrance, do some pushups on your lunch break. All of these activities tip the balance to good health.

4. Limit stress

There are basically three ways to cope with stress:

  1. Eliminate the source of your stress, if possible
  2. Reframe the stress into something favorable
  3. Engage in relaxing activities more frequently

This will be different for everyone, but here’s an example of a resolution making use of all three strategies.

Eliminate – certain activities and responsibilities create more stress relative to the benefits achieved. If you notice, for instance, that you spend most of your time on social media, but the stress of updating your status supplies little reward, you might think about ditching your accounts.

Reframe – Have you ever noticed that the same experience can be stressful for one person, yet appealing for another? For example, some people dread public speaking while others love it. It is possible, but not easy, to reframe your thoughts of anxiety into positive energy you can use to defeat your fears.

Relax – What do you love doing the most? What is most relaxing to you? Listening to music? Reading? Camping? Meditating? Whichever it is, find ways to clear your schedule to do more of it and the stress will melt away.

5. Schedule regular hearing tests

And finally, consider booking a hearing exam this year. While this may sound insignificant, it’s not—one out of 5 people in the US suffers from some level of hearing loss and most do nothing about it.

Hearing loss has been connected to several serious medical conditions, including depression, cognitive decline, and even dementia. Not to mention the continual struggle to hear as a significant source of stress.

Strengthening your hearing is a great way to reduce stress, strengthen relationships, and enhance your all-around health and well-being.

10 Surprising Facts About Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Facts

Quick question: how many people in the US suffer from some form of hearing loss?

What was your answer?

I’m prepared to bet, if I had to guess, that it was well short of the correct answer of 48 million people.

Let’s consider another one. How many people in the United States younger than 65 are suffering from hearing loss?

Most people tend to underestimate this one as well. The correct answer, along with 9 other alarming facts, might change the way you think about hearing loss.

1. 48 million people in the US have some form of hearing loss

People are often shocked by this number, and they should be—this number is 20 percent of the total US population! Stated another way, on average, one out of each five individuals you meet will have some measure of difficulty hearing.

2. More than 30 million Americans younger than 65 have hearing loss

Out of the 48 million individuals that have hearing loss in the US, it’s common to presume that the vast majority are 65 and older.

But the truth is the reverse.

For those suffering with hearing loss in the US, approximately 62 percent are younger than 65.

The fact is, 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), 1.4 million children (18 or younger), and 2-3 out of 1,000 infants have some form of hearing loss.

3. 1.1 billion teens and young adults are at risk for hearing loss worldwide

According to The World Health Organization:

“Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.”

Which takes us to the next point…

4. Any sound in excess of 85 decibels can damage hearing

1.1 billion people worldwide are in danger of developing hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds. But what is regarded as loud?

Subjection to any noise over 85 decibels, for a lengthy period of time, can possibly bring about permanent hearing loss.

To put that into perspective, a standard conversation is about 60 decibels and city traffic is around 85 decibels. These sounds most likely won’t harm your hearing.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, can reach 100 decibels, power saws can reach 110 decibels, and a rowdy rock concert can reach 115 decibels. Teenagers also tend to listen to their iPods or MP3 players at around 100 decibels or more.

5. 26 million people between the ages of 20 and 69 are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss attributable to exposure to loud sounds at work or during recreation activities.

So although growing old and genetics can trigger hearing loss in older adults, noise-induced hearing loss is just as, if not more, hazardous.

6. Each person’s hearing loss is different

No two individuals have exactly the same hearing loss: we all hear various sounds and frequencies in a somewhat different way.

That’s why it’s imperative to have your hearing assessed by a highly trained hearing care professional. Without professional testing, any hearing aids or amplification devices you acquire will most likely not amplify the correct frequencies.

7. Normally, people wait 5 to 7 years before pursuing help for their hearing loss

Five to seven years is a very long time to have to battle with your hearing loss.

Why do people wait so long? There are in fact many reasons, but the main ones are:

  • Fewer than 16 percent of family physicians screen for hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss is so gradual that it’s difficult to perceive.
  • Hearing loss is frequently partial, meaning some sounds can be heard normally, creating the impression of normal hearing.
  • People believe that hearing aids don’t work, which takes us to the next fact.

8. Only 1 out of 5 individuals who would reap the benefits of hearing aids wears them

For every five people who could live better with hearing aids, only one will actually wear them. The primary reason for the discrepancy is the incorrect assumption that hearing aids don’t work.

Maybe this was true 10 to 15 years ago, but certainly not today.

The evidence for hearing aid efficacy has been thoroughly reported. One example is a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found three prominent hearing aid models to “provide significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

People have also recognized the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after evaluating years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Similarly, a recent MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey found that, for consumers with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were pleased with their hearing aid effectiveness.

9. More than 200 medications can trigger hearing loss

Here’s a little-known fact: specific medications can injure the ear, causing hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance problems. These medications are considered ototoxic.

In fact, there are more than 200 identified ototoxic medications. For more information on the specific medications, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

10. Professional musicians are 57 percent more liable to suffer from tinnitus

In one of the largest studies ever carried out on hearing disorders linked to musicians, researchers found that musicians are 57 percent more likely to be affected by tinnitus—continuing ringing in the ears—as a result of their work.

If you’re a musician, or if you participate in live events, protecting your ears is crucial. Ask us about customized musicians earplugs that assure both safe listening and preserved sound quality.

Which of the 10 facts was most surprising to you?

Tell us in a comment.

Give the Gift of Hearing This Holiday Season

Christmas Present

With one out of every five individuals in the US afflicted with some degree of hearing loss, there’s a high probability that you know at least one person who has some difficulty hearing.

And considering the potent connections among healthy hearing and physical, emotional, and social well-being, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to provide an extremely meaningful gift.

If you do know somebody with hearing loss, here are a few fantastic gift ideas:

A Year’s Provision of Hearing Aid Batteries

Do you know anyone who genuinely enjoys shopping for batteries?

We don’t either.

Nevertheless, hearing aids will not accomplish much without the batteries, which makes them a necessity. By giving a year’s supply of hearing aid batteries, you can remove the responsibility and expense connected with the process of managing the supply.

Not certain which hearing aid batteries to order? Give us a call.

Customized Ear Protection

Are you buying for any musicians? Any hunters in the family?

The gift of custom made ear protection could reduce the risk of hearing damage and future hearing loss. And unlike the cheap foam earplugs available at the convenience store, custom earplugs are expressly constructed to reduce hazardous sounds while preserving the important sounds. This removes the “muffled” sound affiliated with foam earplugs.

Call us for more information about custom ear protection.

Hearing Aid Accessories

All hearing aids require periodic upkeep and cleaning to ensure sustained, optimum performance. And while this can’t be avoided, it can be made quite a bit easier.

Here are a couple of gift ideas to make hearing aid maintenance and cleaning easier:

  • Hearing aid sanitizers apply ultraviolet light to safely and thoroughly kill hazardous pathogens, such as harmful bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and molds.
  • Hearing aid dehumidifiers eliminate excessive moisture and extend the life of the parts of the hearing aids.
  • Hearing aid multi-tools consist of a magnet for battery removal along with other tools to clean the various parts of a hearing aid. This is the swiss army knife of hearing aid tools.
  • Hearing aid storage cases can protect the hearing aids when not being used and can make transport more convenient.

Not certain which accessories you’ll need for a particular hearing aid? Contact us and we’ll help you find the most suitable products.


This is a popular gift idea, as these devices turn a pair of hearing aids into a set of premium headphones.

Streamers are devices that will detect an audio signal—from a TV, computer, or other device—and will deliver the signal directly to the hearing aids for crystal-clear sound.

Wireless Control

Are you aware that numerous hearing aid models can be managed with mobile electronic devices like cell phones and digital watches?

A smartphone or digital watch is a superb gift to begin with, but for those with hearing loss, it’s even better. Together with compatible hearing aids, you can discreetly adjust hearing aid volume and can change the settings right from the portable device.

This is one feature that, the moment you have it, you’ll never go without it again. Give us a call and we’ll let you know which hearing aids are compatible with which devices.

Hearing Aids

Last but not least, if you want to go all-out this year, how about giving the ultimate gift of hearing—a set of digital hearing aids.

Admittedly, you can’t just venture out and buy a pair of hearing aids. Each individual’s hearing loss is distinctive and requires a professional hearing test, not to mention that each individual will have specific preferences in terms of hearing aid style and functionality.

But presenting a gift card to cover the cost could prompt someone to at long last get the hearing aids they know will ultimately contribute to a greater all-around quality of life.

And just how many gifts can accomplish that?

Need more gift ideas?

Let us know about the person you’re shopping for and we can help you find the ideal hearing-related gift.

Overcoming Hearing Loss – This Year’s Best Stories

Overcoming Obstacles

Throughout the year, we’ve searched for and posted remarkable stories about people overcoming hearing loss to our Facebook page.

These motivational stories remind us of what human determination and persistence can accomplish—even in the face of overpowering challenges and obstacles.

Of the countless stories we’ve encountered, here are our top selections for the year.

Emma Rudkin

At the age of 3, Emma Rudkin developed an ear infection that would cause her to lose a large amount of her hearing. During that time, doctors informed her parents that she was not likely to ever communicate clearly or attend a “normal” school.

After years of speech therapy and with the assistance of hearing aids, Emma not only learned how to speak clearly—she additionally learned how to sing and play three musical instruments. She would proceed to to become the first hearing impaired woman to win the Miss San Antonio crown as a sophomore at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Emma states that she wears her hearing aids “as a badge of honor” and is using her crown to motivate other people with hearing loss. She even created the #ShowYourAids social media promotion to urge others to flaunt their hearing aids with pride, and to help eliminate the stigma linked with hearing impairment.

Justin Osmond

Justin Osmond, son of Merrill Osmond, lead singer of The Osmonds, is 90 percent deaf. But that didn’t avert him from finishing a 250-mile run—occasionally through rain and hail—to raise money for hearing aids for deaf children.

In spite of being hard of hearing, Justin has in addition become an award-winning musician, motivational speaker, and author of the book titled “Hearing with my Heart.”

You can check out Justin’s website at www.justinosmond.com.

Derrick Coleman

Becoming a professional athlete is by itself an instance of defying the odds. Based on NCAA statistics, merely 1.7 percent of college football athletes and 0.08 percent of high school players get to the professional level.

Combine hearing loss into the mix, and you really have an uphill battle.

But Derrick Coleman doesn’t just play for a professional football team—he’s also the first hard-of-hearing NFL offensive player and the third hard-of-hearing player drafted in league history. Derrick didn’t allow hearing loss to get in the way of his love for football, which he observed at an early age.

With the support of his parents, coaches, healthcare specialists, and hearing aid technology, Derrick Coleman would stand out at football on his way to ultimately participating in the Super Bowl as a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Hannah Neild

In spite of her hearing loss, and with the help of binaural hearing aids, Hannah Neild, a high school senior, is a three-sport athlete, team captain, member of the National Honor Society, and coach/advisor for children with moderate disabilities.

On top of all of her obligations, she in addition has found the time to help others cope with the struggles she had to conquer herself. “I’m working towards moderately disability kids, to help them get through the things they need to get through, just like I had to do,” Hannah said.

Carley Parker

West Davidson High School graduate Carley Parker is in the small percentage of students who graduated with not one, but two, high school degrees.

In combination with her West Davidson High School diploma, she also received a diploma from the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.

“I feel like I got a really good education from both, ” Carley, 18, said. “It’s definitely rewarding. Some people laughed and told me it was going to be challenging. This shows just because I had a lot of challenges in my life, it didn’t stop me. You can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Carley acquired a hearing disability a couple of months after she was born, which has generated obstacles for her throughout her life. But despite the hearing difficulty, she says, “There’s been challenges, but nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Concerning her new challenge? She plans on studying pre-medicine at Wake Forest University.

Ryan Flood

“I proved them wrong,” said Ryan Flood. “Through hard work, I proved them wrong.”

At eight months old, Ryan developed bacterial meningitis, a dangerous neurological infection that can induce major complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. In some cases, it can be fatal.

For Ryan, the infection left him with hearing loss in both ears, which required hearing aids, and with mild cerebral palsy, which forced him to wear leg braces into his intermediate school years.

Despite the challenges, Ryan excelled as a Poquoson High School student, completing Advanced Placement Calculus and U.S. History along with other difficult courses.

Ryan will be studying kinesiology at James Madison University as part of his plan to become a physical therapist.

“I remember the therapists helping me, and I knew that was something that I wanted to do,” Ryan said. “I want to graduate and open a physical therapy practice with my brother.”

Sarah Ivermee

With a four-year-old named Freddie, who is profoundly deaf in one ear and moderately deaf in the other, mother Sarah Ivermee understands from experience the challenges in trying to get kids to wear their hearing aids.

And as Sarah met more people with children who had hearing aids, she realized that a great number of kids were ashamed to wear them and resented being different.

So this got her thinking, and, with her husband’s assistance, she founded her own business, named Lugs, that makes hearing aids stylish for kids.

Present designs include Batman, Toy Story, Minions, Hello Kitty, butterflies, Star Wars, Spiderman, and more.

Now, Freddie not only likes wearing his hearing aids, but his brother would like a pair too—and he’s not even hard of hearing!

Win Whittaker

“When I was teaching climbing school, I sometimes would have to ask a client to repeat a question,” Win Whittaker said. “It started to become very noticeable.”

Win is privileged to have turned three of his passions—mountaineering, music, and movies—into a prosperous career. But by pursuing three vocations that all require healthy hearing, hearing loss could have been career-ending.

Instead of throwing in the towel, Win worked with a local hearing care professional to obtain a pair of hearing aids that would match the intense needs of a mountain guide. The solution: an innovative pair of digital hearing aids with several key features.

Win figured out that he could control his hearing aids with his phone or watch, take phone calls, listen to music, and minimize wind noise, all while hearing the sounds he had been missing out on for years.

Concerning the stigma connected to a 49-year-old wearing hearing aids? Rather than deciding to be discreet, Win’s hearing aids are “Monza Red,” the flashiest of the 14 available colors.

“I’m flaunting them,” he said with a laugh.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids

To help keep your hearing aids functioning correctly for years to come, you’ll want to learn about proper care and maintenance. And though it may seem like an extra burden, with the right process your hearing aid care will become simple and automatic.

The key is building productive habits.

If you incorporate your hearing aid care into your day-to-day and nightly routines, before too long it won’t feel like any additional work at all.

Here are a few tips for the daily care of your hearing aids (which your hearing professional will also go over with you):

Clean your hearing aids on a daily basis – Aim to incorporate your hearing aid cleansing into your evening routine, so it will become as automatic as brushing your teeth. This is vital because daily hearing aid cleaning can minimize the accumulation of earwax, dirt, and dust into the various components of the hearing aid, which can result in distorted sound over time.

You’ll want to clean your hearing aid with a smooth, dry cloth, while avoiding any liquids that can destroy the hearing aid electronics. Consult with your hearing specialist for specialized directions on cleaning each kind of hearing aid.

You might also wish to consider buying a hearing aid sanitizer, which utilizes ultraviolet light to safely and thoroughly kill harmful pathogens. Hearing aid cleaning kits are also available with all of the instruments you’ll need to safely clean the device without damaging the electronics.

Always check the batteries – Hearing aid batteries should be checked and replaced frequently to assure peak hearing aid operation. Consider using a battery tester each morning to assure you have an adequate amount of power for the rest of the day, and keep a spare set of batteries with you.

Before bedtime, when your hearing aids are not in use, turn them off and store them in a cool, dry location with the battery door open.

Store your hearing aids in a secure place – With respect to storage, you’ll want to remember three things:

  1. Keep the hearing aids away from moisture. This means that storing your hearing aids in the bathroom is probably a bad idea.
  2. Try to avoid subjecting the hearing aids—and hearing aid batteries—to extremes in temperature. You’ll want to store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place.
  3. Avoid storing your hearing aids out in the open, where they can become damaged.

We highly recommend keeping your hearing aids in a container or drying kit inside the drawer of a bedroom side-table. This will defend the hearing aids from dampness, temperature extremes, and damage from being pushed off the table.

In addition, remember to remove your hearing aids before taking a shower, swimming, or using a hair dryer or hair spray.

Maintain ear hygiene – Even though earwax has several advantageous properties, like protection and lubrication of the ear canal, it can cause severe damage to your hearing aids. As it gets lodged within the hearing aid components, sound can become distorted.

Make sure you’re sustaining appropriate ear hygiene, and if you experience excessive earwax, think about booking a visit with a professional.

Properly put in your hearing aids – While inserting your hearing aids, lean over a table or soft surface in case the hearing aids fall. Hearing aids contain vulnerable electronics, so a fall on a hard surface could bring about severe damage.

Even with vigilant cleaning and maintenance, after a while the hearing aid will require more detailed cleaning or repair.

To assure that you consistently yield the best sound possible, we highly recommend getting your hearing aids professionally cleaned by a hearing professional at the least two times per year.

Hearing care professionals can provide a deep cleaning, a tune-up, and will on occasion replace parts. Staying on top of this regular maintenance will expand the life of your hearing aids and will assure that you get the best sound.

Do I Need Two Hearing Aids or One?

Hearing Aids

Are two hearing aids better than one?

If you’re hunting for the short answer, then yes, almost all cases of hearing loss are best managed with two hearing aids.

If you want to understand why, or are curious about exactly why we have two ears in the first place, then continue reading.

The Benefits of Stereoscopic Vision

Let’s begin with eyesight.

When we view an image, each eye receives a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then compute the differences between the two copies to develop the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—along with height and width—allows us to experience the world in three dimensions.

If we had only one eye, our ability to perceive depth and distance would be immensely compromised.

The benefits of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)

The same applies to our ears and our hearing. Although we might not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can typically judge both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.

Each ear obtains a slightly different copy of each sound, and those differences are interpreted by the brain in a way that signifies location and distance. This allows us to hear in three dimensions, so that we recognize how far away and which direction sound is originating from.

In combination with being able to evaluate depth, distance, and location, having two ears also heightens the quality of sound and enhances the range of sounds you can hear.

To verify the theory of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in the car, disable both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.

The Advantages of Two Hearing Aids

If our eye doctor tells us that we have vision impairment in both eyes, we don’t honestly consider the benefits of getting fitted with one lens.

So when our hearing specialist tells us that we have hearing loss in both ears, why do we need to be convinced to use two hearing aids?

As we’ve seen, our ears collaborate so that our brains can best interpret the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.

With the ability to identify the exact location of sound from using two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:

  • focus on speech during a discussion even with substantial background noise.
  • identify specific voices among many.
  • enlarge the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
  • hear sounds without straining, which is less tiring.
  • listen to sounds without the unnatural sensation of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
  • Prevent the weakening of hearing in the non-fitted ear.

That last point is important. If you have hearing loss in both ears but wear only one hearing aid, your hearing in the non-fitted ear can become even worse as time passes. This will promptly limit your capability to achieve all of the benefits just explained.

If you believe that you have hearing loss, the initial step is to schedule a hearing examination with an experienced hearing specialist. Shortly after your hearing is examined, your hearing specialist will share the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.

The audiogram will demonstrate if you have hearing loss in one or both ears, but the majority of cases of hearing loss are in both ears.

If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will probably suggest binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great chance to test for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.