Q: Why should I see an audiologist (Au.D.) vs. a hearing instrument specialist/hearing aid dealer (HIS/HAD)?
Audiologists are health professionals who evaluate, diagnose and treat various ear disorders (hearing loss, tinnitus, auditory processing disorders, and/or balance disorders) in patients of all ages. Most audiologists hold a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree and work in a variety of settings such as outpatient facilities, clinics, private practices, ear nose & throat offices, schools, research labs and VA hospitals.
A hearing instrument specialist (HIS)/hearing aid dealer (HAD) is a professional whose primary expertise is solely hearing instruments. They hold at least a high school diploma and obtain training credit hours for distributing hearing aids.
Q: Do I need to see an audiologist?
If you are having trouble hearing or issues with balance, we encourage you to visit an audiologist. The frequency of your visits will depend on the severity of your diagnosis and your specific needs for optimal hearing and balance. A physician referral for diagnostic testing will likely result in only one appointment, while certain treatment plans may require regularly scheduled visits.
Q: I have an appointment scheduled at your clinic. What should I expect?
Your appointment at Dr. Rodriguez Audiology & Hearing Center will depend on your specific needs. Please remember to bring a photo ID and your insurance card to your first appointment and plan to arrive 15 minutes beforehand in order to fill out our medical forms. If you are able, please print and fill out the necessary forms prior to your visit.
If you would like your paperwork mailed to you, and if enough time allows, please call us at (575) 623-8474.
Q: Do you accept insurance?
Yes, Dr. Rodriguez Audiology & Hearing Center accepts most insurance plans including but not limited to: MCO, HMO, Medicare and Medicaid. We also accept cash, credit card or check as a form of payment. Financing options with interest-free plans are also available. Call us at (575) 623-8474 to find out if your insurance plan covers our services.
Q: Is the hearing loss normal for my age?
Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. Assuming hearing difficulties come with age will only further delay finding an adequate solution. Untreated hearing loss can result in significant issues in the future and increase your risk of falling and social isolation and affect your overall health. If you have any hearing concerns at all, call us at (575) 623-8474 today.
Q: Could it just be wax?
Take a moment to schedule a hearing test at Dr. Rodriguez Audiology & Hearing Center so we can determine if it’s really just ear wax or another form of blockage. More comprehensive hearing tests can be performed to determine other causes of hearing loss.
Q: It’s not my hearing that’s going. People mumble and speak too fast. Is that true?
Hearing “mumbled” speech is one of the first signs of a hearing loss. Key speech components, called voiceless consonants, deliver the clarity and crispness of speech. When we begin to lose high-frequency (or higher-pitch) hearing, we also lose our ability to hear these voiceless consonants, resulting in muffled speech. This inability causes the brain to work twice as hard to understand what’s being said.
Q: I have nerve deafness, will hearing aids help?
Hearing devices are meant to help those suffering from “nerve deafness”. While they won’t completely reverse hearing loss, properly fitted hearing aids will help you comprehend speech under most circumstances. Your degree of hearing loss and the time that’s passed before it was addressed will be factors in your success with hearing aids. The sooner you act, the better outcomes you’ll experience.
Q: I have a friend who hates their hearing aids. I don’t think they will work for me. What do I do?
There are numerous factors that play into one’s success with hearing devices. The time between discovering a hearing issue and getting help, the severity of the issue, consistent use of the hearing device, how well the device fits the patient’s specific hearing loss, the type of technology and overall expectations can all factor into how well someone benefits from amplifications.
Q: I’ve been told I need two hearing aids, but I only want one. Do I really need two?
Hearing actually occurs more through your brain rather than your ears. Our ears primarily serve as receptors that send sound to both sides of the brain, which then utilizes that information to determine where the sound is coming from and decipher any speech that was used. Without information delivered from both ears, you’ll have difficulty hearing in large or crowded areas with significant background noise. Your safety also becomes an issue when wearing only one hearing aid. Being able to localize sound helps with crossing the street and hearing emergency vehicles.
Q: What kinds of hearing aids are available?
Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some fit behind the ear and some fit completely in the ear. Digital and programmable hearing aids can be adjusted via a computer connection to fit your current hearing loss and acoustical properties of your specific ears. With a thorough discussion, we can find what best meets your needs and budget.
Q: Why do hearing aids cost so much?
There are several things that factor into the cost for hearing devices. Oftentimes, the price of hearing devices is not for just the devices themselves, but for all the things you’ll need to ensure you receive maximum benefit from the technology. This can include, but is not limited to, verification of the hearing aid fittings, adjusting or reprogramming the hearing aids as needed, patient and family counseling, and any additional follow-up and maintenance appointments needed. Cleaning and maintenance supplies are often included as well.
Q: What can I expect as I adjust to my new hearing aids?
Hearing through hearing devices will be an interesting experience. Not only are you hearing speech sounds that you haven’t heard in a while, but you may also notice environmental sounds you haven’t heard in a while. Your brain and auditory system will need time to adjust to hearing these new sounds. You likely didn’t lose these sounds overnight (except in specific circumstances) and so these sounds won’t seem natural overnight either. Your auditory system will need about 2-3 weeks of consistent use to retrain itself to understand what is being heard and how best to use that information.
We will schedule appointments to come in and help with adjusting the hearing aids to make them comfortable enough to wear, but different enough to give your brain the information it needs. With the bundled package, you’ve already paid for these visits, so you’ll be able to come in as often as you need.
Q: How can I troubleshoot my hearing aid?
The biggest culprit of a “dead” hearing aid is a plugged wax filter. These are the little white buckets that insert into the end of the receiver. You can use the applicators provided to change them or a soft bristle toothbrush to brush out the debris.
A second cause can be a dead battery. Replace the battery in each hearing aid once and see if you can hear again. If you have a rechargeable device, try placing the devices in the charger for a while and see if the devices turn on.
If neither of these solutions bring your hearing devices back, stop by our office to see if we can help.
Q: What if my questions were not answered above?
Give us a call. (575) 623-8474
To learn more about how the Dr. Rodriguez Audiology & Hearing Center can help you find a solution to your hearing loss, contact us to schedule an appointment today.