Is it earwax or hearing loss? See for yourself with our video-otoscopic ear exam!
An ear examination is done before every hearing test. With the use of our Video-Otoscope, you can see for yourself whether you have earwax or not. If your ears are impacted or partially impacted with wax, a referral to your family physician or the Ear, Nose, Throat department of a local clinic will be necessary to have the ears cleaned. A physician referral is also in order for ears that appear to be infected or have an abnormal growth, deformity, or a perforated eardrum.
Free Hearing Screenings!
During this quick air conduction test, pure tones are presented at 500Hz, 1KHz, 2KHz, and 4KHz via a head set or insert earphones. You press a button when you hear the tones. If hearing loss is found, then a more complete hearing test will be needed to determine whether medical intervention is necessary or if hearing aids will help you.
A complete hearing test can take up to an hour. There are several essential steps to this test:
Hearing Aid Fitting
Once the hearing test is complete, we recommend the best solution for your hearing loss and life style. Based upon the difficulties you are having with communication and the activities you participate in, a certain level of technology will be chosen. Style will be determined by hearing loss, cosmetic needs, dexterity, and desired features. An in-office demonstration of hearing aids will be done with non-custom hearing aids programmed specifically to your hearing loss, while in your ears. Having a spouse, or family member along so you can hear a familiar voice, is very helpful. The hearing aid demo models may be taken home to wear in your own environment for The Hearing Aid Test Drive™. Ear impressions will be taken for ordering a custom hearing aid or a custom earmold. Once ordered it takes up to two weeks for custom hearing aids and earmolds to come in. In stock receiver-in-the canal aids (RIC’S) or behind-the-ear-hearing aids (BTE’s) fit with thin tubes, can be fit right away, or if ordered, they take only a few days to come in. Most of the BTE’s are fit with custom earmolds which take longer to come in.
Real Ear Measurement (REM)
Real Ear Measurements are taken by placing a tiny probe microphone into your ear canal down by the eardrum, while wearing your hearing aids This helps verify the gain and output provided by the hearing aids based on the pitch and volume of the sound they pick up. First sounds are presented in your open ear to measure the effects of the open ear canal on the sound. Next your hearing aid is inserted into your ear and measurements are made of the same exact sound in the ear canal with the aid in place. The difference between the two measurements is the “real-ear insertion gain” of the hearing aid. This test takes into account, the physical effects of the ear canal, eardrum, and the hearing aid. The hearing professional can learn great deal about the quality of the sound you are receiving. The “real-ear insertion gain” can be compared to the amplification prescription that is being used. If there are differences in the prescribed sound quality and the measured sound of the aid, your provider can make necessary adjustments and take new measurements to fine-tune your hearing aid to provide the best possible sound, and therefore, the most possible benefit.
Another and almost more practical form of REM is Live Speech Mapping. Once again, sound is tested as it comes out of the hearing aid at the eardrum. Only this time the source of sound is the human voice. This is one reason why it is recommended to bring a spouse or significant other along to the hearing test, and fitting appointments. During this test, the sound waves of the familiar voice is seen on the screen both without amplification and then with the hearing aids turned on. If the person has a soft voice it will be seen on the screen. In turn, counsel will be given as to how the person should speak to the hearing aid user. While this test is being done the hearing aids can be programmed simultaneously, watching the improvements in amplification in real time. If the sound waves are so high that it could be uncomfortable, appropriate adjustments are made to bring the peaks of amplification below the user’s uncomfortable levels. By the time these tests are done the user should be hearing their spouse or significant other comfortably well.
Today’s quality hearing aids use digital sound processing and are programmed precisely to your hearing loss. There are many adjustments that can be made to the hearing aid, such as: increasing or decreasing the gain or volume, changing the output limits, increasing noise or wind reduction, adjusting the compression ratios, and more. Adjustments can be made to make the aids clearer, louder, softer, and to reduce more background noise. At Welsch Hearing Aid Company we can program the following brands: Starkey, Widex, Resound, Signia, Siemens, Unitron, Oticon, Phonak, and more. Franchised brand hearing aids, and private labels aids bought online or at big box stores, often have locked chips and may need to be programmed where they were purchased.
Pairing to Cell Phones & Wireless Accessories
Once the hearing aids are fit and programmed to your hearing loss, they are ready to be paired with your cell phone or smart phone. Resound, Starkey, Oticon, Signia, and Widex have made for iPhone hearing aids, which means they can stream sound directly to an iPhone and other Apple devices. To stream to any other Blue Tooth enabled cell phones, an additional accessory is needed. Unitron and Phonak use standard Blue Tooth in their hearing aids which enables them to stream directly to any cell phone that is Blue Tooth enabled.
It is best to consult with us or your hearing aid provider before purchasing a smart or cellphone. You need to make sure your phone will is compatible with your hearing aid.. Both Android and iPhone compatible hearing aids have applications that can be downloaded to your phone to help you control your hearing aid. Some applications can track where you wear them so the phone can help you find the aids should you misplace them. Some apps allow you to adjust how the hearing aids sound in noisy environment, and more. Some applications only allow you to make minor adjustments like volume and environmental program change. Some cellphones are too old to download the available application for the hearing aid of choice. I have also had several people that started with an iPhone to stream their phone calls, and then they went out and bought an android phone instead—wanting us to make it stream direct to their made for iPhone hearing aid—-this just does not work that way. Do not rely on the employees at the various cell phone providers in our area. They do not know enough about hearing aids to advise you properly. Please note that these hearing aids do not need to have a smart phone to make them work.
At this time, we would pair any desired wireless accessories to your hearing aids. Wireless TV devices and microphones can stream sound right into your ears. Remote controls can help you adjust your hearing aids if dexterity is an issue and you don’t have a smart phone to help. Phone clips can allow you to pair your Android phone with your Made for iPhone hearing aid.
Our Red Wing Motor and dental drill are used for custom earmold and hearing aid modifications. If your custom hearing aid, earmold, or earplug is making your ear sore, bring it in and we’ll see if we can grind/buff your devices for a better fit. Sometimes modifications will not help enough, and the aids or earpieces will need to be sent in to the manufacturer for remakes with new impressions.
Hearing Aid Cleaning
Regular preventive hearing aid maintenance and service is essential to having your hearing aid last a long time. We recommend quarterly hearing aid cleanings.
Once disinfected, a needle vac is used to suction debris out of the microphone, receiver ports, and, the battery compartment of your hearing aids. Fine metallic picks are used to remove earwax and other debris that cannot budge with vacuuming only. Next, the hearing aid is placed in a vacuum chamber to take moisture out of the hearing aids. We also change the tubing in the behind-the-ear hearing aids. Even if the hearing aids are not dirty or full of moisture, the hearing aids sound clearer after being in the vacuum chamber for even a few minutes.
When you come in for your hearing aid cleaning, we also check your ears. If they are full of wax or debris, we will tell you to get your ears cleaned. Keeping your ears clean is a must if you don’t want to plug your hearing aids up with dead skin and ear wax.
Hearing Aid Repairs
Did your battery door or tubing break? Some minor hearing aid repairs can be done right in our office. Since 1965, Welsch Hearing Aid Company has collected many hearing aid pieces and parts. A well-stocked parts cabinet comes in handy, even for those who did not buy hearing aids from us. Several parts date back to the 70’s when custom hearing aids first entered the market-including many different battery doors for custom hearing aids. If you are having a difficult time getting ear tips or thin tubes for your hearing aids and need them in a hurry there is a very good chance that we might have the right one for you.
If your hearing aid is dead, we clean it first, vacuuming debris out of the microphone and the receivers. Quite often we can bring “dead” hearing aids back to life. If we cannot solve the problem, the hearing aids are either sent to the manufacturer for repair or replaced. Unfortunately, most hearing aids are only repairable up to 5 years from the date of purchase. Sending them to an all-make repair lab may be an option, however even if they come back working, they may not sound the same, as the original components may no longer be available.
Service for Veterans
Welsch Hearing Aid Company supports our Local Veterans by serving their hearing aid needs. Many of our local veterans have been provided with hearing aids from the Veteran’s Administration. This is a good thing as hearing loss is the #1 disability the veteran’s suffer from after serving our country.
Unfortunately, the veterans in our area must go to either, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, or the Milo C. Huempfner Outpatient Clinic in Green Bay to get their hearing aids serviced. As the veterans age, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to drive a whole hour for necessary service to their hearing aids. In addition, you may have found out that it is not convenient to wait for service when you cannot hear.
If you find yourself in that situation, Welsch Hearing Aid Company of Sheboygan welcomes you!
Services that we offer for our Veterans are:
If your VA hearing aids stop working or if you would like them to be cleaned and checked, we are here to help! Charges may be assessed for service, parts and minor repairs. Appointments are necessary.
Use the online form below or dial (920) 395-3501 to schedule your appointment today!