Hearing Aids

Every individual is different and has unique hearing needs, we will help you understand the various hearing aids and options available. At Hearing Specialists of Texas, we promote healthy hearing by tailoring a hearing solution to your specific lifestyle needs. With our extensive experience and selection, we offer you the very best in hearing technology. Our audiologists provide guidance and support to ensure enduring appreciation and satisfaction with your hearing aid.

Types of Hearing Aids

Premium Hearing Aids

Premium hearing aids are designed for “very active” individuals who engage in a variety of activities at home and at work, as well as active golfers or outdoor enthusiasts. This level of technology is recommended most often for patients who are often in the listening environments listed to the right.

Our audiologists will carefully explain the features and benefits of this top tier innovative hearing technology and how it will assist you in the most difficult listening environments.

Advanced Hearing Aids

Advanced hearing aids are designed for “active” individuals who engage in activities at home. They are most often recommended for individuals who are often in the listening environments listed to the right. 

If your daily hearing environment is consistent with this mid level hearing technology, our audiologists will explain the differences between the Premium and Advanced instruments to ensure you are fit with the appropriate hearing aid.

Standard Hearing Aids

Standard hearing aids best assist individuals who live a “quiet” lifestyle. They are the best fit for the listening environments listed to the right. 

If this technology relates to you, our audiologists will walk you through the differences in features and benefits of Premium, Advanced and Standard instruments.

No matter what your hearing loss, level of social activity or financial budget, Hearing Specialists of Texas offers the best hearing care in the greater Houston area. Click here to schedule an appointment today.

Binaural Hearing: Two Hearing Aids

If you have two ears with hearing loss, your Audiologist will generally recommend two hearing aids, as long as both can benefit from amplification. You will generally do much better with two hearing instruments. We need both ears to hear and even the best hearing aid can sound “flat” or “dull” when worn only in one ear.

There are many advantages associated with binaural (two ear) listening and importantly, there are problems associated with wearing only one hearing aid.

Localization

Determining where a sound comes from is only possible with two ears and is just about impossible with one. Localization can be a safety issue as it is important to know where warning and safety sounds (sirens, babies crying, etc.) are coming from.

Hearing in Noise

Binaural hearing impacts how well you hear in noise. Using two ears allows your brain to selectively listen to the desired signal (speaker or talker) while paying less attention to undesired sounds (background noise).

Changes in Audio Quality

Binaural hearing allows a quality of “spaciousness” or “high fidelity” to sounds, which cannot occur with monaural (only one ear) listening. Understanding speech clearly, particularly in challenging and noisy situations is much easier while using both ears. Listening becomes less stressful, and you can enjoy more natural sound quality. Additionally, using two hearing aids allows people to speak to you from either side of your head – not just your “good” side.

Other Assistive Devices

The term ‘assistive listening device or “ALD” generally refers to a group of devices that help overcome background noise or poor acoustics by amplifying sound. They do this through a variety of technologies ranging from a simple microphone wired to a speaker to sound broadcast wirelessly through a Bluetooth device. You have probably seen signs for personal FM systems at museums or conferences. But ALD’s can also be set up in your home to help to help with listening to the television, computer or radio.

These personal amplifiers expand the functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants as speech/sound is transmitted directly to the ear. This lessens the effect of distance and other ambient noise, making it easier for a person to hear a specific sound source.

At Hearing Specialists of Texas, we offer a wide range of assisted listening devices and keep updated on the newest technologies and integrations available. Talk to your audiologist about whether an ADL is a good fit for your needs.

Hearing Aid Styles

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

With this hearing aid style, all parts of the hearing aid are contained in a small plastic case that rests behind your ear. This small case is then connected to an ear-mold by a piece of clear tubing. This style is a great option for young children who are still growing or for temporary hearing loss.

Behind-the-Ear Aid: Open Fitting

The Open Fitting hearing style aid is made up of a small plastic case that rests behind your ear, and a very thin clear tube that runs into the ear canal. Inside the ear canal, a small, soft silicone dome or a molded acrylic tip holds the tube in place. If you would like to discuss the listening advantages of this type of hearing aid, contact us today.

In-the-Canal (ITC) and Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids

These types of hearing aids are contained in a tiny case that fits partly or completely into the ear canal. They are the smallest of the hearing aid styles and offer cosmetic and listening advantages. If you would like to discuss a fitting or how an In-the-Canal (ITC) or Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aid might benefit you, schedule an appointment with us today.

Custom Hearing Aids

This style of hearing instrument is built custom for your ear and your hearing loss. Our Audiologist will create an impression of your ear which will be sent to our manufacturers to build a hearing aid made to fit the contours of your unique ears.

Fitting Your Hearing Aids

Fitting techniques and technology have changed dramatically over the last 10 years. At Hearing Specialists of Texas, we focus on using only those tools that have been shown to provide exceptional benefits in the fitting of your hearing aid. Our audiologists are constantly improving their ability to guarantee the best fit possible.

One concern for every hearing aid wearer is the physical fit of the instrument. It is important that hearing aids fit comfortably in or behind the ear. Hearing aids should not fit so loosely that they fall off, nor should they feel tight or cause soreness to your ear. If your hearing instruments are causing any physical discomfort to your ear, call our Audiology Department at 281-897-6066 to schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists. We want to insure your comfort and success with your hearing aids.

Initial Fit

When you first get your hearing aid, they will be adjusted and programmed to provide the correct amount of amplification specific to your needs. One of our audiologists will then help you with proper alignment and placement of the hearing aid – based on the type and model that you and your audiologist have chosen. Adjustments will be made to ensure the fit meets your comfort and amplification needs.

Follow-Up

Follow-up appointments are meant to get you to a position where you no longer have to think about your hearing aids – they are simply part of your day. We work with you during this time, to educate and make any needed adjustments to your new hearing instrument. Our audiologists will answer questions and provide you with additional materials if needed. We encourage our patients to think of our audiologists as members of their healthcare team – long term partners in ensuring the best sound quality and comfort possible.

Batteries

Today’s hearing aids still use batteries and each model is going to have a specific type/size of battery. Along with getting the proper battery for your hearing aid, it’s equally important that these batteries are inserted into the hearing aid correctly. Our audiologists will make sure you have a full grasp of how to best care for and change the batteries on your new hearing aid.

The average life of a hearing aid battery is between five days and three weeks depending upon the sizes and power of the hearing aid. Volume control and usage can also effect the life of your hearing aid battery.

Zinc-Air Batteries

The batteries currently on the market are called “Zinc-Air”. A Zinc-Air battery typically lasts longer that the outdated mercury batteries and are much less toxic to recycle. They come with a protective tab at the top which protects the energy inside the battery from being lost in transport and packaging. You must remember to remove this tab before inserting into your hearing aid. It is best to allow battery to sit 3-5 minutes after you remove the sticker and before closing the battery door. Our audiologists will make sure you understand the proper placement and care routine best suited to your hearing aid and it’s batteries.

Storage

Hearing aid batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place just like other batteries – however because hearing aid batteries operate at full power until they are fully drained, they tend to lose power quite abruptly. It is always a good idea to carry extra or spare hearing aids – just in case!

Batteries are available at all of our locations so feel free to drop by during business hours to restock. And sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know of our occasional discounts and monthly specials.

Maintenance & FAQs

Most hearing aid repairs occur due to moisture and the accumulation of earwax. Our especially hot and humid climate in the Houston area can increase your hearing instruments’ susceptibility to moisture related problems. It is important to perform preventive maintenance on a daily basis to avoid these problems. It is recommended that you get into the habit of wiping your hearing instruments off after each use. Hearing aids should be placed in a Dri-Aid kit every night which will absorb moisture that has built up inside of your hearing aid. A well maintained hearing instrument can easily last 3 to 5 years, maybe longer.

Background Noise

Almost all patients who have some degree of hearing loss complain of difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise at one time or another. Unfortunately there is no way to completely eliminate background noise, but our newer hearing instruments have advanced noise reduction systems that work better than ever at reducing the impact of unwanted background noise.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I have hearing loss in both ears, do I need one or two hearing aids?

If you have hearing loss in both ears, you will benefit from having a hearing aid for each ear. Wearing a hearing aid in each ear will help you localize or determine where sounds are coming from in the environment and will increase your ability to understand speech in noisy environments.

Why is it that I can hear people talking, but I can’t understand what they are saying?

If you find yourself hearing people talk, but experiencing difficulty understanding the words clearly, it is likely that you have hearing loss. It is common to lose the ability to hear high pitch sounds (consonants), yet still hearing the low pitch sounds (vowels). This type of hearing loss results in the inability to understand speech clearly and can be even worse when in noisy environments such as a restaurant or party.

Do hearing aids help with tinnitus?

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be caused by a number of factors, one of which is hearing loss. Although there is not one solution in particular that will help with tinnitus, in some cases hearing aids have been known to help mask the unwanted ringing. Hearing aids do not stop the tinnitus or ringing.

Will hearing aids help me hear better in noise?

Most hearing aids dispensed today have multiple microphones, which allows the hearing aid to constantly analyze background noise levels. The hearing aid will then adjust speech accordingly and provide the best signal to noise ratio possible. Older model hearing aids simply made all sounds louder which was difficult for the wearer to tolerate. With advanced digital technology, hearing aids are able to do a better job and not amplify the background noise while enhancing speech signals. This allows the wearer to understand speech better in the presence of noise.

Do hearing aids help on the telephone?

Hearing aids do help you hear better on the telephone. Our latest technology utilizes Blue Tooth connectivity for use with cell phones. Additionally hearing aids can be equipped with a telecoil to allow amplification of ONLY the signal coming from the phone without amplifying the noise in the room. This would allow the listener to hear over the telephone, even when in a noisy area.

Will hearing aids help me hear the TV better?

Hearing aids will help you hear the television better. While wearing your hearing aids you should be able to set the television volume at a comfortable listening level for others and still hear if comfortably.

What’s the life of a hearing aid? How long will they last?

Typically, with proper cleaning and maintenance, the life of a hearing aid is about 3 to 5 years. Annual hearing tests are recommended to determine if your current hearing aids remain within the appropriate prescription range. Life style changes may also lead to recommendations to obtain new hearing aids.

Which is better, earbuds or headphones?

In terms of comfort, earbuds can offer a more custom fit than standard earphones since most earbuds come with inter-changeable tip sizes. This snug fit can also help keep out background noise which, in turn, allows you to enjoy the music at a safer volume level. It should be mentioned that both products can be damaging to your hearing should you turn the listening device up to very loud levels.

Do iPods really cause hearing loss?

When used properly, iPods do not cause hearing loss. However, hearing loss can and does occur when listening at high volume levels for extended periods of time. iPods are capable of putting out volume in excess of 100dB when set at maximum volume settings. Listening at this level for as little as 10-15 minutes can cause irreversible damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear. When listening to your iPod at or less than 50% the maximum volume, you can listen as long as you like without causing damage to your hearing. However, if you listen at 70-80% of maximum volume, it is best to limit your exposure to about 60-90 minutes a day.

As with any type of MP3 player, it is important to remember that hearing loss caused from too much noise exposure damages the inner ear, or the part of the ear that has specialized hair cells that lose their function if they have repeated overexposure to high levels of sound for too long. There are many factors that should be taken into account, like the length of time, the level of sound, and even genetics.