Meet our Team: Stefanie Abdayem, Au.D.
Most of the time, hearing aids will help you hear and understand better in almost any situation. However, hearing is very subjective, and no two people will hear speech and environmental sounds the same way, even if their hearing loss is identical. I always tell my patients that I can have 5 people with the exact same hearing loss and the exact same hearing aid, and I will program that aid 7 different ways. Because of these differences, sometimes patients find they need a little extra help to help them hear their best. We have a wide variety of accessories that can help people hear TV better, hear in crowds or at church, or on the phone. We also have accessories to help people know when a phone is ringing, a smoke alarm is going off, or when someone is at the door. Below are examples of some of these devices:
Television - TV has become the most common complaint from people. As the size of the screens became thinner, the speakers got smaller and are often placed on the side or even in the back of the TV. This makes it extremely difficult for people to hear, and often find they turn the TV up to uncomfortable levels - yet still struggle. Many manufacturers have TV acces
sories that pair directly to hearing aids, which then shapes and amplifies the TV signal according to their hearing loss. This allows the person to hear TV more easily, while anyone else in the room can adjust the volume to their level (and many people report fewer arguments while watching TV…)
Another option for TV use is a portable wireless speaker, which plugs into the TV, has a rechargeable base, no wires to trip over, and has about a 40 foot range. This small speaker has a volume control and can be placed beside their chair, and allows the TV signal to be heard much closer to the person. Many of my patients have used this and found it to be extremely helpful (and again, fewer arguments!)
Hearing in crowds/church/meetings/distance - Although hearing aids are designed to listen for and decrease background noise, they don’t eliminate it. Some people have a more difficult time sorting the speech out of the noise, regardless of how aggressive the hearing aid is working. For these people, I’ve found that a wireless remote microphone has been extremely useful. This small microphone (about 3 inches long) can either be placed on a table in a restaurant, on a table during a meeting, or worn by a spouse or friend. The speech will then be sent directly to the hearing aids, while really cutting down the surrounding noise. One place many people have liked using this microphone is in the car - if your spouse has a tendency to talk towards the window, this gadget is for you!
Hearing on the phone - This has also been a common complaint, but luckily hearing aids do seem to help with this problem. However, for those who still are unable to hear well on their cell-phone and don’t have the aids that connect directly to an iPhone, there are accessories to help. Most manufacturers have a small device that can be paired to your phone which will allow hands-free use and direct streaming of calls to the hearing aids. For home use, we work with a company called Cap-tel, who provides telephones (free of charge!) if you have a hearing loss. These phones require landline service and internet, and allows the person to both hear and read what the caller is saying. These have been a huge hit with our patients.
Finally, some people have hearing loss that is very severe and they aren’t always able to hear sounds in their home. If it’s at night, or they live alone, it can become a safety issue. For them, we have accessories that can be used to alert them when their phone is ringing, the doorbell is rung, a knock at the door, or the smoke detector is going off.
This is only a small example of accessories and gadgets to help you or loved ones with hearing in different settings. The list really does go on and on - alarm clocks, watches, amplified stethoscopes, baby monitors, home alerting systems, personal listening systems… if you need it, we can probably help! Please give us a call if you have concerns about your needs or someone in your family, and we’ll be happy to assist you with it.
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