FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HEARING AIDS

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Florida Gulf Coast Ear Nose & Throat_Hearing

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Aug 08, 2023

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Florida - Southwest

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Just because you’ve experienced hearing loss, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer through life without sounds. Hearing aids have long been used to treat hearing loss, and as the technology has advanced, these devices have become highly sophisticated to produce even better results. At Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center, we have years of experience fitting patients with hearing aids at our 3 locations in Southwest Florida locations. Hearing aids are not a “one-size-fits-all” product, but instead the right pair must be chosen for each individual patient. We will evaluate the type and severity of your hearing loss as well as your lifestyle and listening goals to determine which type of hearing aids best suits your needs. We’ll also schedule return appointments to allow you to give us feedback so we can fine-tune your hearing aids even further. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about what we can do for you.

IS IT TIME FOR A HEARING AID?

Answering this question requires you to be completely honest with yourself. Are you having trouble hearing people at a restaurant or in a crowd? Do you have trouble hearing in meetings, at church, work, or school? Are other people telling you that you aren’t hearing well? These are all signs that it might be time to consider a hearing aid. Visit us for a hearing evaluation today.

AM I CHOOSING THE CORRECT HEARING AID, AND AM I GETTING A FAIR PRICE?

Discuss the different styles and options available to you with your hearing specialist. You can also comparison shop to try to find the best deal. Just be cautious of devices with extremely low prices. The hearing aids may look the same as others you’ve considered, but the low price could signal they lack sophistication and features. Don’t be fooled by savvy marketing or misleading sales tactics.

WHY DO I NEED TWO HEARING AIDS? CAN I JUST BUY ONE TO SAVE MONEY?

Hearing affects your balance and direction, so it’s important for you to have hearing in both ears. Your brain must hear everything in order for you to balance properly and have the best quality of life.

WILL HEARING AIDS HELP ME TO CLEARLY UNDERSTAND SPEECH IN A CROWD?

For the most part, hearing aids will help with this difficulty. However, everyone has a different experience with this situation. Every new generation of hearing aid helps to tackle this problem a little better by using advanced sound processing technology, instead of just relying on amplification.

MY HEARING IS JUST GETTING WORSE. IF I GET HEARING AIDS NOW, WOULDN’T I HAVE TO REPLACE THEM LATER?

Hearing aids are like little computers, and as such can last many years with the proper care. Don’t put off hearing better for fear you may need to replace your devices later. We’ll teach you the proper maintenance techniques to help your hearing aids stay in good condition.

WILL HEARING AIDS HELP ME HEAR THE WAY I USED TO?

Unfortunately, hearing aids are not able to help you hear exactly the way you used to. While they do allow you to recover some of the ability to hear and give you a better quality of life, they will not completely fix your hearing.

DOES IT MATTER WHERE I GO FOR A HEARING AID?

Just as with any other important healthcare products, it does matter where you purchase your hearing aids. Be sure to find a medical professional who is highly trained and has experience you can trust. Don’t rely on any dealers who appear to just be out to sell you something. Instead, find a hearing center willing to answer all your questions and help you find the right devices for your needs.

I CAN SAVE MONEY GETTING A HEARING AID THROUGH THE INTERNET. IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center does not recommend buying hearing aids over the internet or buying used devices. For the best performance, hearing aids should be specifically sized and tuned for each individual, and buy purchasing online, you skip this important step. Improper fit can lead to further problems, including trauma to the ear, infection, and worsening ear function.

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Get to Know the Outreach Team at Pennsylvania Relay

Pennsylvania (PA) Relay is a free public service that provides telecommunication solutions to citizens who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind, or who have difficulty speaking. With support from PA Relay, these individuals can place and receive calls through assistive services and technology. PA Relay has a team of outreach coordinators who visit various communities throughout the state to bring more awareness to this valuable service. Outreach coordinators connect with potential PA Relay users, their loved ones, and community members and inform them about the available solutions that could help them, or someone they know, communicate more efficiently and effectively.  PA Relays outreach coordinators Jenny Pearson and Thadeus Graham took some time to answer important questions about the free public service and their roles on the outreach team to help people understand how they can benefit from PA Relay services and the educational opportunities available through the outreach program. Keep reading to get to know your outreach coordinators!What are the responsibilities of your role as an outreach coordinator?Jenny: As an outreach coordinator, my main focus is educating Pennsylvania residents and businesses about the services provided by PA Relay and how those services work. Its my pleasure to travel throughout the state educating people about PA Relays services and how businesses and organizations can benefit from using PA Relay to connect with potential clients who use accessible telecommunications to conduct business. To do this, the outreach team exhibits at community events, gives educational presentations to local organizations, and provides training to businesses and organizations.   Thadeus: I educate people about PA Relay as well as assist people in gaining access to the free public service. As an outreach coordinator my role is to both assist our relay users as well as introduce people who could benefit from the service to PA Relay. I answer questions, help with equipment installations, provide a point of contact for our users, host presentations, or attend expos and health fairs to make sure everyone is aware of the services that are available to them.  How can PA Relays services help people stay connected, and how do you help people learn more about these specific services?Jenny: In presenting this information at public and private events, the outreach team can inform people on how these services work and why they are important for accessibility and facilitation of communication for people of all abilities.   Thadeus: PA Relays services help people stay connected by returning independence and autonomy to our users. It empowers people who are deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, or who have speech differences to connect to standard telephone users directly through their adaptive equipment. I help people learn about these services through a variety of methods.  What kind of events do you attend as an outreach coordinator?Jenny: Some types of events the outreach team attends could be health fairs, senior expos, state and local fairs, church groups, chamber of commerce events, conferences, and virtual presentations.   Thadeus: I will attend any event that will have me and that will have a meaningful impact for my fellow Pennsylvania residents. I attend health fairs, senior expos, and host presentations at local organizations. I also work with community leaders to schedule town hall events or even host awareness nights at local sporting events. Ive met with PA Relay users in their homes to help them with their adaptive equipment on a more personal level.  What has been one of your favorite events that youve attended as an outreach coordinator? What made it so memorable?Jenny: I have been an outreach coordinator for six years and have experienced so many amazing events and interactions. Some of my favorite events involve educating seniors and their caregivers about PA Relay and how we can help maintain connections between those who use traditional telephone services and those who use relay services. Hearing loss is a common experience among those who are aging, and to be able to provide these folks with a solution like Voice Carry-Over or Captioned Telephone is incredibly rewarding, especially when they share their experiences with me. Thadeus: My first ever presentation will always be etched into my mind. It was a cold December morning just north of Philadelphia. I had just presented to a group of seniors about PA Relay. After the presentation I helped a few of them download and set up the Hamilton Mobile CapTel App on their phones. The joy they had calling each other and using their new adaptive technology made me realize how much of a difference this can truly make for people. I was hooked on wanting to help as many people as possible after that day.Do you offer educational presentations about PA Relay to local organizations?Jenny: Yes, we do! We provide presentations throughout the state, both in person and virtually. Some of the types of organizations we educate are service providers, health professionals, retirement communities, Deaf and Hard of Hearing support groups and organizations, local businesses and agencies, sporting groups, and church gatherings. All of our presentations are always no cost and can be scheduled at the organizations convenience.   Topics discussed during our presentations are general information about PA Relay, types of services provided and how they work, and how to use the service. The topics can certainly be customized based on the organization. For example, a group may be interested in services for those who are living with hearing loss, so we can tailor our presentation to address those specific services.Thadeus: PA Relay offers a variety of training as well as educational preparations to any interested organization across the Commonwealth. We can also provide training to organizations on how to properly handle relay calls. The Relay Friendly Business Training helps organizations identify relay calls and trains staff on how to properly handle these types of calls.During these presentations we discuss everything from the history of relay services to the different types of services. We discuss PA Captioned Telephone Relay Service and how to acquire adaptive equipment either through the states equipment distribution program, TechOWL, or other means. The topics and timeframe can be customized to meet the needs of the organization.  Is there anything else about your role as an outreach coordinator that youd like people to know?Jenny: As an outreach coordinator, the most important thing I do is connect people to resources they can use to make life a bit easier. Often, I present information to people who do not need PA Relays services, but they know someone who does. When this happens, its so rewarding to hear how they will share what theyve learned from me with those who really need assistance making and receiving calls. This ensures that connections remain strong, and people are able to live life as independently as possible.   Thadeus: The biggest thing I would like people to know is just how life-changing these services are. Even if youre not someone who could use PA Relay, its likely that someone you know could greatly benefit from the service.  How can an interested individual or organization reach you?Jenny: To learn more about PA Relay, feel free to email me at Jenny.Pearson@HamiltonRelay.com or call 610-737-7205! Thadeus: The best way to get in touch would be by emailing Thadeus.Graham@HamiltonRelay.com, or I am available by phone at 412-944-7424.  FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP) CAPTIONED TELEPHONES WITH THE CAPTIONS TURNED ON. Advanced speech recognition software is used to process calls, and, in certain circumstances, a live communications assistant may be included on the call. There is a cost for each minute of captions generated, paid from a federally administered fund. To learn more, visit fcc.gov. Third-party charges may apply: the Hamilton CapTel phone requires high-speed internet access (Wi-Fi capable) and in some cases, may require telephone service. When using Hamilton CapTel on a smartphone or tablet and not on Wi-Fi, a data plan is required. Hamilton CapTel may be used to make 911 calls but may not function the same as traditional 911 services. For more information about the benefits and limitations of Hamilton CapTel and Emergency 911 calling, visit HamiltonCapTel.com/911. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

HEARING AIDS AND SMART PHONE (IN)COMPATIBILITY

Hearing aid technology is continuing to advance at rapid speeds.  These advances allow wearers to hear better in many situations where listening was previously difficult. Advancements have also been made in the compatibility of hearing aids and smart phones.  Many hearing aids can be linked with Apple and Android devices in order to give the wearer direct streaming between the aids and the phone.  Its important to remember though that the primary purpose of hearing aids is to assist you in hearing speech and other sounds in the environment that you are in.  The priority is not the streaming of audio from your phone.  While this capability is there, it is still far from perfected. There are many variables which can interfere with the connection between the aids and the phone.  One such interference is software updates.  Almost every time you take a software update on your cell phone, the pairing between the phone and the aids will be disconnected.  You will be required to re-pair the aids to the phone in this instance.  Other interferences can be caused by cell service interruptions, wi-fi interruptions, and even other Bluetooth devices that may be nearby.    In almost every situation, connectivity issues are caused by smart phones and not by hearing aids.  Hearing aids are always and will always be first and foremost medical devices and not just another cell phone accessory. This article was submitted by Ryan Oberholtzer, Hearing Instrument Specialist with Darrell M. Sipe Opticians and Hearing Aids.  

Pennsylvania Relay Makes a Difference in Communication

Pennsylvania Relay is a FREE public service that ensures everyone can easily and accessibly communicate by telephoneincluding those who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind, or have difficulty speaking. Through dependable services, like Captioned Telephone which allows users to read captions of what is said, Pennsylvanians can stay connected to those who matter most.Offered through the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Relay allows more people to access the telecommunication services they need to conduct day-to-day phone conversations. In addition to offering communication solutions, Pennsylvania Relay has an outreach team who travels throughout the state providing presentations to local organizations and participating in community events to promote the service to a variety of groups, including schools, community centers, businesses, nonprofits, veterans organizations, senior service providers, and more.These outreach coordinators are available as a helpful resource to you, your loved ones, and the community. Their role includes sharing educational presentations about Pennsylvania Relay services, exhibiting at events, connecting with community members, and assisting with Relay Friendly Businessa program dedicated to training Pennsylvania businesses and organizations of all sizes to successfully engage in Relay calls.Regional Outreach Coordinator Jenny Pearson representing Pennsylvania Relay at the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show.Connect with a Pennsylvania Relay Outreach Coordinator Today Interested in scheduling a custom Pennsylvania Relay presentation or inviting an outreach coordinator to your event? Email PARelay@HamiltonRelay.com to make a connection with the outreach teamand dont forget to be on the lookout for the Pennsylvania Relay outreach table at your next community gathering!