When Is Hearing Loss Irreversible?

When you learn you have loss of hearing, the first thing that most people ask is will I get it back? Whether it will or not depends on several factors.

There are two types of loss of hearing:

Obstructed hearing loss is when there’s something blocking your ear canal, you can show all the signs of hearing loss. This can be caused by a wide range of things, from earwax to tumors but the good news is, your hearing usually returns to normal after the obstruction is clear.

The other kind of hearing loss is the kind that is a result of damage. This is the more common type of hearing loss that makes up nearly 90 percent of hearing loss. Clinically this is known as Sensorineural Hearing Loss, this form of hearing loss is often permanent. To explain: there are little hairs in your ear (cochlea) that vibrate when hit by moving air (sound waves). These vibrations are then changed into an electro-chemical response and sent to your brain, your brain then translates the signals into the sounds that you hear. As time passes, your hearing can be permanently damaged by loud noises.

Sensorineural hearing loss can also be caused by damage to the nerves or to the inner ear. Cochlear implants can help improve hearing in some cases but are only recommended for those who have a specific extreme case of hearing loss.

Whether hearing aids will help improve your hearing can only be determined by getting a hearing examination.

Treatment Of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss has no cure. But it might be possible to get treatment for your hearing loss. The following are ways that you can get the correct treatment to help you:

Don’t push your hearing health to the side. Successfully dealing with any of the symptoms of hearing loss you might be having is the best preventative measure you can take.
Stay socially engaged! Isolation equals lack of stimulation. Your brain needs more stimulation not less as we get older.
Preserve and protect the hearing you still have.
Your hearing is important to your quality of life.
Prevent mental decline.
There are many ways of coping with a hearing loss. One of the simplest treatments is also one of the most common: hearing aids.

Prevention Is The Best Defense

If you can’t depend on recovering from hearing loss, you should focus on protecting the hearing you’ve got. Of Course, if you have something stuck in your ear canal, more than likely you can have it removed. But loud noises are hazardous even though you may not think they are very loud. That’s why it’s a good idea to take the time to protect your ears. The better you safeguard your hearing today, the more you prevent the possibilities of creating damage that will eventually lead you to be diagnosed with a hearing loss. Recovery is usually not an option but treatment can help you keep prevent further loss and get back into hearing what you have been missing out on.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW we would love to help you get your hearing back! Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

What’s the difference between Getting “Fit” VS. Being “Sold” Hearing Aids?

Local providers get many new patients from big box stores all the time.

The main reason is a hearing aid is a complex and advanced medical device, not a temporary accessory to be picked up alongside your groceries.

Many times, getting your hearing device from a big box store means you’re missing out on valuable services such as hearing aid programming, custom fit devices, regular maintenance, and other aftercare benefits. These are services that are essential to ensuring your hearing aid is properly treating your individual hearing loss and preventing your hearing loss from further deteriorating or worse, possibly damage your hearing even further.

Many individuals are tempted to turn to big box stores in search of a bargain. We can’t blame people for being bargain shoppers but price should not be the single deciding factor when selecting a hearing aid. We’ve all heard the old adage “You get what you pay for.”

Personalized Hearing Health Care

Utilizing the services of a local hearing provider means receiving personally tailored services long after you take your hearing aid home. Not only will a local hearing provider make certain you have selected the correct device for your level of hearing loss but they will also custom fit, program, and teach you how to fully utilize your new device. On top of all that, they can provide cleaning and maintenance services, performance updates, and conduct annual hearing tests to help you record and monitor your hearing loss.

If ever you have a question or concern regarding your hearing aid, you can be certain a local hearing provider will be there to assist you. Try calling the customer support line at a big box store and you will soon learn they are not the qualified hearing professionals you may have thought them to be.

Lack of Post-Purchase Services

Many large retail stores do not offer any services past the point of sale. This means if your hearing aid ever requires unique maintenance, adjustment, or cleaning (and they certainly will) you will be forced to pay for these extra services out of pocket.

Even worse, if a retailer does not have a hearing health care specialist on staff, you will have to ship your hearing aids to the manufacturer for maintenance. This could leave you without your hearing devices for possibly weeks and without a loner device while you wait.

Choose Personalized Patient Care & Hearing Health

Bottom line; when you buy your hearing aids from a big box store, you really don’t know what you’re getting. A quality device? A fair price? Professional care? Probably not. But buying your hearing aids through a local hearing health care provider gives you peace of mind and professional compassionate care. Be certain you are getting all the focused hearing health care, reputable hearing devices, and the services you’ll need to support your hearing for the long term.

Choosing your hearing aid is not a decision that should be made lightly. You will be relying on it a lot, after all. Start your journey towards better hearing health with the help of highly trained professionals. We promise high-quality hearing aids paired with high-quality service, take charge of your hearing health today by scheduling a comprehensive hearing test with your local hearing health specialist.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

How often do I need to change my hearing aids?

That’s a great question! “Over the years we’ve addressed this question with many of our patients and their loved ones”.

On average a hearing device should typically be replaced about every three to six years or so.

The answer is usually a bit more involved. Several factors may figure into whether it’s time you update your hearing instruments.

⦁ Level of the hearing instrument technology
⦁ Condition and performance of your existing hearing devices
⦁ Quality of Care and Maintenance throughout use
⦁ Potential changes in your hearing ability or listening lifestyle

Potential signs you need new hearing technology:

Your Level of Hearing Has Changed

Your hearing changes over time because of age, loud sounds, or other health issues. Most often we can make adjustments to your programming, but sometimes your hearing changes so much that you require an advanced level of technology.

Technology is always Evolving

Now Hearing Aids have advanced background noise filtration, no need to replace rechargeable batteries any more, tinnitus software, Bluetooth streaming from most Smartphones and Tablets.  Even detection for falling, built-in voice translation, and many more features depending on the device.

Your Device is Malfunctioning

You’ve been good to your hearing aids. You do all the recommended maintenance, but things still aren’t right: Replaced batteries drain quickly or the charge doesn’t last long; sound is still muffled after a through cleaning. A repair may be needed from time to time, but regular malfunctions mean it’s time to replace your devices.

New Interests or Lifestyle Changes

When your lifestyle changes, your tech might need to also. Became more active or start an exercise program? You’ll probably need moisture resistance. New Job? You’ll likely experience a different noise level now.

Hearing at your best is more critical than ever today— If you think it might be time to update your hearing devices or just have questions and want real answers, please don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule a Free Consultation with one of our licensed specialists.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

‘World Report on Hearing’, from the World Health Organization

Did you know that there are currently around 430 million people around the world that require help for hearing loss?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, 700 million will require access to ear and hearing care! That’s a big increase. To better understand the current and future of hearing health, WHO published its first ‘World Report on Hearing.’ Reports like these are critical to not only professionals in the hearing industry but for the everyday person as well. Aging, disease, genetics, and injury-related hearing loss are difficult to prevent, nearly 100% of noise-induced hearing loss is preventable.

Let’s see what WHO found:
Almost 60% of hearing loss among children can be prevented through measures such as:
Immunization for prevention of rubella and meningitis
Improved maternal and neonatal care
Screening for, and early management of, otitis media – inflammatory diseases of the middle ear

In adults, hearing loss can be prevented through:
Noise control
Safe listening
Surveillance of ototoxic medicines
Good ear hygiene

Proactive and preventative care is essential to maintaining good hearing health:

Conduct hearing screenings at strategic points in life to identify loss as early as possible
Utilize recent technology advancements to identify hearing loss
Use timely and appropriate treatment
Get properly fitted for personal hearing technology (i.e. hearing aids)
Overall, the report concludes the most essential part in hearing health among individuals is that hearing care is not integrated into national health systems. This can make finding the proper care a little more difficult to find and navigate. At Absolute Hearing Care Centers, we are committed to helping people hear their best and will guide you along your hearing journey!

Please Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
(843) 839-1936

Read the full WHO report here: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/world-report-on-hearing

Your Hearing Aids Are Cool!


New Hearing Aid Technology is Amazing!

Automatically Adjusting: Although hearing aids have had the ability to automatically change programs since the early 2000’s, it started off as being able to jump between a speech in quiet and a speech in noise setting. Over the past few years, hearing aids are now able to analyze the sound environment that you are in, compare information about it between the left and right devices, and then adapt the settings for that specific environment. This has created much more efficient adjustments while providing a smoother listening experience.

BrainHearing Technology: Oticon More  takes hearing healthcare to a new level. It’s the world’s first hearing aid with a Deep Neural Network (DNN) embedded on the chip. The DNN is trained on 12 million real‑life sounds to give your brain more of the information it needs to decipher the intricate details of relevant sounds.

Motion Sensors: One of the latest additions to hearing aids is the addition of motion sensors. This provides the manufacturers with several different options for improving quality of life. Starkey has used this technology in an interesting way, adding step counting as well as fall detection and alerting benefits for their users. Through their app, you can track your steps and activity, much like a Fitbit.

Other manufacturers, such as Signia in their Pure X products, are using this information to better evaluate listening needs. Here is an example of how motion sensors can help an individual hear better. Two hearing aid users are on the side of a busy road. One is sitting on a patio having dinner with their family. The other is walking with their spouse down the street next to the patio. For the first individual, being stationary in a noisy environment, they will likely want the hearing aid to focus on the person across the table from them that they are looking at, and decrease the sounds of the road noise and people walking by. For the person in motion walking, they will want the hearing aid to continue to offer sounds from all directions so they can hear the person beside them and also any other sounds for increased safety.

Music Programs: For a long time, all of the advancements in speech enhancement and sound smoothing that helped the hard of hearing understand speech better made listening to music somewhat of a challenge. In recent years, manufacturers have been working hard to maximize how music sounds as well. One of the things that has helped is that new speakers have more high frequency response, allowing them to amplify more of the sounds in music. The microphone technology is also improving, allowing more of the sound to be captured without distortion. Further to that, manufacturers are creating more programs (inside of the automatically adjusting and outside) to help with the sound quality of music. Widex  automatically offer different frequency responses for classical than for contemporary music. Signia has special manual music programs to select for live, recorded or while performing. Each of these offer different parameters to make it sound better for that intended purpose. Phonak can even classify its streamed signals as speech or music, making a significant improvement of the music quality.

Direct Streaming: The vast majority of new hearing aids (other than the smallest options that sit deep in the ear) now offer a direct connection to many of your different devices, such as smartphones and TVs. By connecting your hearing aids directly to these devices, it allows you to hear the sound at exactly the volume that you want while improving speech clarity.

The latest Phonak Paradise hearing aids can connect directly with almost all Android and iPhone smartphones. With these devices connected, you will be notified when a call is coming in by a ringing through the hearing aid. All you need to do is push a button on the device to answer the call and the other person’s voice will come right through the hearing aids. The microphone on your hearing aid will pick up your voice and send it back to the phone. This means there is no need to take the phone out of your pocket or purse when using it. A truly hands free solution!

GPS Tracking: We have been asked for years for a way to help find lost hearing aids. Making use of direct connection to smartphones and the GPS data within the phone, several of the new models of hearing aids can keep track of when the hearing aid was last within range of your cell phone. This location can then be shown on a map, making it much easier to track down a lost device.

3D Printing of custom shells: For any of the custom components of a hearing aid, the manufacturers are now using 3D printing technology to replicate the ear as accurately as possible. Phonak has even started using a 3D printed premium medical-grade titanium material for their smallest device, the Virto Titanium IIC. These titanium shells are only half as thick as a traditional acrylic shell, allowing us to fit all of the electronics into an even smaller space. They also provide 15 times the strength of a traditional material.

Real Time Language Translation: Through the Starkey Thrive App, the Livio Edge AI hearing aids are actually able to listen to someone speaking another language and then translate what they said using Google’s proprietary Google Translate. The hearing aids then have an automated voice that relays the translation into your ears. This is something straight out of a sci-fi movie not too long ago. At this point in time, unless the other person also has these devices themselves, it still isn’t possible to have a two way conversation with both people speaking their own language, but it should certainly make traveling to a foreign country much easier.

Understanding that not all of these features will be relevant for everyone, but there is no denying that the technology that is being built into them is advancing faster than ever and much of it is incredibly cool. We see people in our clinics daily who are excited about how these new technologies are improving their quality of life!

To Learn More about what new technology has to offer you, please call Absolute Hearing Care Centers. We are happy to offer a FREE consultation.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

How to Pair your hearing aids with Apple devices

Follow the instructions below to pair your hearing aids with your Apple devices. If you are having difficulty pairing your device to your hearing aids, Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation.

  1. Take your iPhone®or iPad® and go under Settings.
  2. Ensure that Bluetooth®is ON.
  3. Select Accessibility. For older Apple®devices, you may need to select General, then Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down and select Hearing Devices.
  5. Your device will search for your hearing aids automatically.
    • If your hearing aids use batteries:Open and close the battery doors for both of your aids while this is happening.
    • If your hearing aids are rechargeable:Hold the volume down button for 3 seconds to turn them off, then do this again to turn them on. They will be in pairing mode for 3 minutes.
  6. Your hearing aids will appear as an available device once they are found. Select the name of your hearing aids.
  7. Select Pairwhen you are prompted to do so by your device. You may need to do this twice.
  8. Phone calls will now automatically stream from your device to your hearing aids while Bluetooth is on.
  9. For faster access, you may access the accessibility shortcut by quickly pressing the home button 3 times while on the home screen. (If your phone doesn’t have the home button, use the side button.)

*You can adjust the volume of your hearing aids through the Hearing Aids menu on your phone*

*This will not work if your iPhone® is not version 5 or higher*

If you are having difficulty pairing your device to your hearing aids, Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation. We are more than happy to help you get your hearing aids set up so you can hear all your Phone calls, TV shows and Music from your compatible devices at  NO CHARGE!

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936


Why Can I Hear But Not Understand?

One comment we hear time and time again is, “I can hear people talking, but I can’t understand what they’re saying”.

Three reasons why this might be happening.

High frequency hearing loss

High frequency loss makes it difficult to understand the articulated high pitch consonant sounds that help you understand whether someone said, face and space. Those subtle sounds are important in order to correctly understand what someone is saying.

Our brains are very smart. The brain will use lip reading cues to determine the right letter but sometimes doesn’t always get it right.

Correcting with hearing aids is the best way to attain clarity to hear those sounds you are missing.

Noisy Environments

A second reason you may have trouble hearing what people say is because of a noisy environment. Even people without a hearing loss can struggle to hear someone when it is noisy.

This is known as the Cocktail Party Effect where competing sounds make it difficult for you to follow a single conversation.

Directional microphones in hearing aids combined with the computer processing that prioritizes delivering speech to your ears. These are a must have feature in modern hearing aids.

The brains ability to process sound

The third reason may not be your ears, your ears may be working just fine. The issue might be auditory deprivation. To understand words it is necessary to hear all the speech sounds, transmit them to the brain, and decode the meaning. If anything disrupts this sequence it is likely that you will hear but not understand.

This means the sound is going into your ears just fine but your brain is having trouble interpreting what you hear into things you can understand.

Over time people with a hearing loss can become less engaged in social environments. They may also switch off from life which results in depression, social isolation and increases risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW and take the first steps you need to find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids. Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Hearing Aid Cost in Perspective.

If you’re shopping for hearing aids, you likely have a number of questions about your investment, such as:

How much will my hearing aids really cost?

How can I be sure I’m getting the best price on my hearing aids?

Will insurance or Medicare cover hearing aids?

What payment options are available?

Price is a major consideration when it comes to hearing aids, as it should be. A hearing aid might be the most advanced piece of technology someone will ever own. Hearing aids are advanced computers that are meant to work as one with our bodies. Hundreds of millions of dollars go into their research and development every year. How we perceive sound is so delicate that a highly advanced piece of technology is required to do the job right.

Why is sound so complicated?  Sound can be perceived differently from one person to another. Just because you can hear well at some frequencies doesn’t mean that you can hear well at all frequencies.  Most people with hearing loss don’t have a problem hearing sound itself. Their difficulty lies in hearing it clearly among all the sounds of life that exists in the world. It’s not easy to listen to a child’s voice in a crowded room. A listener not only has to hear the child, they must be able understand them too.  We can close our eyes and know a car is driving by us or a plane is flying over-head. We’re able to distinguish the difference between the ocean waves from a hand clap. It’s possible to tell if something is in front of us or behind us, if it’s close or far away. The examples are endless.

What is this sense of sound and overall awareness worth to us?  Putting hearing aid cost into perspective. The average pair of hearing aids will last about 5 years. When you look only at the one time up front cost it may seem somewhat expensive at first glance. But when you break it down to the monthly cost over a 5 year period the value becomes obvious. Depending on what hearing aids you select, the monthly cost could be just over $100 for the higher end products or just under $50 for the more value oriented ones. Let’s keep it easy and split that right down the middle and say the 5 year cost of hearing aids is around $75 per month. What does that compare to? Hearing aids now become similar to a cable bill. You could be in a set of high quality hearing aids for the same cost as your daily coffee. If you decide on value oriented hearing aids, the monthly cost could be less than a tank of gas.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW and take the first steps you need to find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids. Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Why do I HEAR but not UNDERSTAND?

By definition SPEECH is a complex series of sounds that we make to verbally communicate ideas. We produce a full spectrum of speech sounds from low pitches (voiced sounds from our vocal cords – “ay’ “ee’,’ “I’,’ etc.) to high pitches (ar-ticulated speech sounds from the front of our mouths, lips, tongue, and teeth – “ch”, “f’,’ “sh’,’ “t’,’ etc.) to form our words. To be HEARD those sounds travel through the air to the listener’s ears where the sound vibrations are transmitted through the ear canal, ear drum, and ossicles into the cochlea (the “hearing organ”). Inside the cochlea are micro-scopic hearing hair cells that pick up these sound vibrations and activate nerves to send impulses to the brain for pro-cessing into UNDERSTANDING.

When a person states, “I hear, but can’t understand” it’s important to determine if the problem relates to 1) incom-plete sound pick up (i.e. damaged hearing hair cells), or 2) difficulty processing (i.e. nerve damage, auditory depriva-tion). A thorough hearing evaluation will include, among other things, both pure-tone audiometry tests (to see if there is difficulty hearing certain pitches) and speech testing (to see how well the brain can discriminate speech sounds when they are made loud enough to hear).

When a patient states, “It’s not me, I can hear a pin drop, everyone just mumbles” pure-tone audiometry will usually find that the patient has normal low pitch hearing but that they have hearing loss in the high pitches. Though the pa-tient thinks they hear well, they unknowingly have damage to the part of the cochlea responsible for picking up high pitches, the most important pitches for clarifying speech de-tails!

Call us today to schedule a thorough, no-cost hearing evaluation with one of our licensed providers and get honest answers about your hearing.

Paul Retey is the founder and a hearing aid specialist at Absolute Hearing Care Centers.

Why a hearing aid and not just an amplifier?

When your hearing healthcare provider has determined that no pill or surgery can restore your damaged hearing, amplification simply becomes the best option versus the alternatives of lip reading, sign language, or doing nothing.

Inexpensive personal sound amplifiers pick up incoming sounds and indiscriminately increase the volume of all those sounds to make everything louder for the wearer. For some types of hearing loss (usually similar/constant decibel hearing loss across all pitch ranges) and in quiet environments results can be quite astounding. For those whose hearing has gone undiagnosed for a long time, the sensation of hearing soft sounds like papers rustling, birds chirping, and even footsteps will be amazing upon initial trial of these devices. However, without the advanced features of hearing aids, these sound amplifiers cannot achieve satisfactory results of clarity and speech understanding in life’s real world varied situations and quickly end up as a waste of money “in the drawer”.

Your hearing healthcare provider will, after a thorough evaluation and consultation, recommend digital, programmable hearing devices that can correct your loss and match your lifestyle needs across all of your listening environments. Only hearing aids contain technological features enabling your specialist to custom tailor the devices to achieve these results. For example, hearing aids are safely programmed by your specialist to frequency match the hearing aids outputs to your unique measured hearing loss at each frequency. This means you get amplification where you need it – CLARITY -, not just everything being louder. Hearing aids also feature automatic gain control where your specialist can set the hearing aids’ response to soft, moderate, and loud sounds independently for how your auditory needs to receive these signals. This enables hearing aid wearers to transition in and out of quiet and loud environments seamlessly. Hearing aids also employ automatic noise reduction. The complex computer circuitry of hearing aids is designed to analyze incoming sounds to distinguish between speech (to be made audible) and non-speech noise (to be suppressed). It’s then obvious that wearers with such technology enjoy better speech communication in challenging noise environments – groups, restaurants, and environments with background noise.

These are just a few illustrative examples of technological features available to your specialist when you are fit with modern, digital, programmable hearing devices. If you suspect hearing loss, call us to schedule a thorough, no-cost hearing evaluation and consultation with one of our licensed providers. We’ll give you honest answers about your hearing and you can find out which hearing aid technologies may be available to enable you not only to hear – BUT TO UNDERSTAND.