Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your career to your relationships to your general well-being. Luckily, hearing aids can help!. Led by Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton, Hearing & Balance Center of Austin (located in Austin, TX) offers treatments for hearing and balance disorders. Read on to learn about the different types of hearing aids that are available from our office!
1. IIC Hearing Devices
Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) hearing devices that are designed to stay out of sight. They are placed deep into the ear canal and can easily be removed with a string. IIC models are a great option if you have an active lifestyle—or if you don't want your hearing aid to be visible to other people. IIC hearing devices may not be the best choice for patients with severe hearing loss since they do not provide the same amount of power that larger models do.
2. ITE Hearing Devices
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are appropriate for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, and they are placed in the ear canal. ITE hearing models are a good choice if you want an easy-to-handle device that has features that don't fit on smaller hearing aids, such as volume control.
3. BTE Hearing Devices
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing models are appropriate for people of all ages and are suitable for all types of hearing loss. BTE hearing models hook over the top of the ear and have small tube routes the sound down into the ear canal. BTE models are capable of more amplification than other styles, are easy to use, and comfortable to wear. They are less likely to produce feedback (whistling), even at higher volumes.
4. RIC Hearing Devices
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing models are suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss. RIC hearing devices are discreet and fit comfortably behind the ear. An RIV hearing aid uses a thin tube that extends from the body of the hearing instrument (housed behind the ear) over the outer ear and into the ear canal. RIC hearing devices are very popular largely due to their cosmetic appeal and physical comfort. RIC hearing devices are easy to maneuver and can house a variety of features.
5. CIC Hearing Devices
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing models are also a great choice if you want a hearing aid that’s virtually invisible to others. CIC models are worn in the ear canal. The close placement of the microphone to the eardrum provides a natural listening experience without a “plugged up” feeling. Because of their small size, they may not have as many advanced features as larger hearing aids.
If you need a hearing aid, why wait? We can help you today! Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin at (512) 258-2300 today to schedule an appointment in Austin, TX. Hearing aids hold great potential to positively change so many lives.
Are you dealing with ringing in the ears? Find out what it might be.
The CDC predicts that over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. If you’ve been dealing with this issue it’s not something you should just ignore. While this problem may just be a minor annoyance for some it can also greatly impact a person’s quality of life. From the office of our Austin, TX, audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton and our balance physical therapist Dr. Collette Rhoden, learn more about this condition, what can cause it and when you should come in for a further evaluation.
What causes tinnitus?
The most common cause of tinnitus is long-term exposure to loud noises. You might be surprised to know that many sounds that we wouldn’t exactly deem loud or damaging to our ears actually are. In fact, the majority of those with tinnitus have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. As you might imagine, there are certain professions that can put you at risk for developing tinnitus. Some of those professions include:
- Construction workers
- Military personnel
Even a single exposure to a very loud noise could be enough to produce tinnitus. Besides loud noises, other causes of tinnitus include:
- An ear infection or blockage
- Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; antidepressants; aspirin)
- Meniere’s disease
- Some medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure; anemia; allergies)
- TMJ disorder
- Head or neck injuries
Sometimes certain habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking or consuming caffeine can also bring on a bout of tinnitus. If you have tinnitus you may also notice that your symptoms get worse when you are tired or under stress.
How is tinnitus treated?
How our Austin hearing specialists decide to proceed with your treatment plan will depend entirely on the cause of your tinnitus. For example, if a medical condition such as high blood pressure or anemia is to blame then you will want to work with a doctor to get your condition properly managed with lifestyle changes and medication. Some medications such as anti-anxiety medication have also been known to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
If tinnitus is caused by loud-noise exposure, then you may be given a tinnitus masker, which looks similar to a hearing aid. This device will emit an ambient sound to mask the ringing in your ears. Sometimes tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is also recommended. This therapy is extremely effective but can take anywhere from 1-2 years to complete.
If you are dealing with ringing in the ears and living in Austin, TX, it’s important to have your hearing evaluated by one of our specialists as soon as possible. Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin today to schedule a consultation with us.
Is there REALLY a difference between an Audiologist and a Hearing Aid Dealer (Audioprosthologist/ Hearing Instrument Specialist)?
In one word, YES!
It is easy to become confused about professional nomenclature regarding hearing healthcare professionals. In Central Texas and the greater Austin area, it is becoming more and more confusing by the day. Often consumers are unaware of professional and educational differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser. This fact has only become more of an issue as hearing aid dispensers have taken to calling themselves audioprosthologists (sounds an awful lot like audiologist doesn't it). A white coat can be purchased off of Amazon, but the education, that is earned. Often patients may obtain a hearing test or screening and purchase hearing aids without the knowledge of what sort of education or certification the provider has. Here are some of the key differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser.
An audiologist is a professional with either a masters or doctorate degree that specializes in diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus and vestibular/balance disorders. Doctors of audiology complete a minimum of 8 years of schooling including undergraduate and doctoral degree. There is also a one year supervised residency that is completed prior to obtaining state licensure or certifications. Audiologists gain extensive training in anatomy and physiology of the ear and brain, psychoacoustics, amplification devices, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, and auditory rehabilitation. Audiologists also have the ability in working with all ages from new born to geriatric. Audiologists must pass a national state licensure exam and obtain continuing education requirements to maintain state licensure.
On the other hand, a hearing aid dispenser is trained in performing audiometric tests and fitting and dispensing hearing aids. The requirements to become a dispenser differ from state to state. In some states only a high school diploma and passing an exam is required prior to obtaining a state license. Other states require two years of college or post-secondary education prior to taking the exam. In Texas, only a high school diploma is required along with passing a written and practical exam. Hearing aid dispensers are typically only trained in working with adults. Many states place restrictions on their ability to dispense hearing aids to any child under the age of 18. In Texas, hearing aid dispensers are not at this time, allowed to fit children. Also, it is not within their scope of practice to treat tinnitus, and they are not able to diagnose the severity or origin of a hearing loss. Dispensers are also not qualified to recognize medical abnormalities and make appropriate referrals.
As you would when making any medical decision, choosing the most qualified professional to handle your health care is the most important. Moving forward with addressing your hearing healthcare needs is no small matter. Fitting a device is not as easy as pushing a button, and it is critical to your success to make sure that you receive the correct rehabilitation, validation and follow-up to ensure your success.
Next time you plan on getting your ears checked, make sure you ask if your provider is a licensed and experienced audiologist.
If you or a loved one have concerns about your hearing, tinnitus or balance function please call (512) 258-2300 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology today.
September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month #FightTheFall
It's no secret that the Boomer's are aging out. In general, we live a much more active life longer than generations that came before us. And that means that we most definitely need to take fall prevention seriously. Healthcare in the United States is volitie, and as services/reimbursements become more limited taking a proactive approach, rahter than a reacitve approach is definitey the prudent thing to do.
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury
- Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
- Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
- Falls are preventable.
A little known fact is that every year Medicare has a set value of Physical Therapy (PT) dollars that you have. Use them or not, they are there. Take the time to invest in your health and independance, before the fall happens.
To learn more visit: https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
Since it happens slowly over a long period of time, you may not realize you have hearing loss until it has progressed to an advanced state. Luckily, your audiologist can help you fully understand your options for hearing aids, how hearing loss can affect your daily life, and how you can overcome this diagnosis and take back your life. Find out more about your hearing aid options with Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton at Hearing & Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX.
Do I need a hearing aid?
There are some subtle yet common ways to tell if you are suffering from hearing loss. If you feel as though those around you mumble or if your housemates often tell you the TV or radio is very loud but you feel as though it is at a normal level, you may have hearing loss. Having difficulty hearing others, especially in a crowded place like a restaurant, or struggling to understand the other end of a phone conversation can also indicate hearing loss. If you begin to notice these instances occurring frequently, you should consult with your doctor to talk about your hearing aid options.
Hearing Aid Options in Austin, TX
- Behind-the-Ear: BTE hearing aids fit inside the ear and wrap up and around the backside of the outer ear. These common hearing aids are affordable and readily available.
- In-the-Ear: ITE hearing aids have smaller components, allowing them to fit into the ear without wrapping up the back of the ear. These aids are smaller and more compact, making them less noticeable at first glance.
- In-the-Canal: ITC hearing aids rest in the ear canal itself, almost completely out of sight to others and unnoticeable to those around you.
- Completely-in-Canal: CIC hearing aids fit completely in the canal with no visible parts on the outside of the ear.
If you think you can benefit from a hearing aid, your doctor can help you determine the best style and fit for you. For more information on hearing aids or your options, please contact Audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton at Hearing and Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX. Call 512-258-2300 to schedule your appointment with your audiologist today!
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