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Operation Change: Changing the World One Hearing Aid At a Time

by: Dr. Kent Collins, Au.D.
Director of TeleHear℠

Operation_Change_LogoDid you know that All American Hearing Centers participated in a massive philanthropy effort that was the focal point of a series on Oprah Winfrey’s TV network OWN?  At All American Hearing Centers, our providers and patients are well aware of how we partner with Starkey Hearing Technologies to combat hearing loss and make a positive improvement in the lives of individual and families.  However, what you might not know about is the tremendous philanthropic work being carried out by Starkey Hearing Technologies and the Starkey Hearing Foundation around the world.

Operation-ChangeThe Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will has aired a 10-part documentary series called Operation Change.  This documentary showcases stories about some of the world’s most challenging issues and the organizations that are working to bring positive change.  During each episode, Starkey Hearing Technologies’ owner and Starkey Hearing Foundation’s co-founders Bill and Tani Austin, along with Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Steven Sawalich, and their team went to different parts of the world, immerse themselves in the local community, and worked to help empower and improve the lives of entire communities with the help of local organizations.

Everyday our great staff at All American Hearing change the lives of patients one individual at a time. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent treatable disabling condition behind arthritis and hypertension within the United Sates and globally is an epidemic impacting more than 360 million people. Every year within our network of All American Hearing Centers, we see more than a million Americans walk through our door for treatment services. These patients don’t realize it, but they are part of a small percentage of consumers globally that have access to hearing care. I am proud to say our network of All American Hearing Centers donates proceeds from every hearing aid sale to support the great work of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is not only working to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hearing loss, but they are also working to make a positive change in the global community with sustainable projects and empowering people to help themselves.

Please continue your support of Starkey Hearing Technologies & the Starkey Hearing Foundation by watching the Operation Change docu-series by clicking here.

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What To Know Before Buying Hearing Aids

by: Dr. Kent Collins, Au.D.
Director of TeleHear℠

I see all these newspaper ads…
I receive all these ads in the mail…
I don’t know where to begin…

Confused About Hearing Aids?

In today’s blog, we will help answer the common questions patients have about hearing aids.

Common Questions From Patients:

  • Do I have hearing loss?
  • Do I need hearing aids?
  • Can I just wait for a couple years?
  • How much do hearing aids cost?
  • How long do they last?
  • Do I need one or two aids?
  • Does insurance pay for hearing aids?
  • What are the future cost I need to put into hearing aids?
  • Why can’t I just buy hearing aids on the internet?

Do I have a hearing loss?
Many patients with hearing loss don’t notice the problem…..usually their loved ones do. Why is this? Hearing changes gradually over time and patients learn to cope and compensate for these changes. It is usually the family members of these patients that notice they constantly need to repeat themselves. If you are noticing that people mumble or if you ask others to repeat themselves, it is best to get your hearing checked by a professional.

  • Proper hearing healthcare history needs to be taken with a test…..even if normal hearing, always good to have a baseline test to monitor future changes.

Do I need hearing aids?

  • If you do have a hearing loss, hearing aids can help correct 90% of all hearing loss types.
  • If you fall within the other 10%, a medical referral will be made.
  • Your hearing healthcare provider will discuss treatment recommendations and the appropriate follow up plan will be discussed.

Can I just wait for a couple years?

  • You’re the patient, you can deny care for anything.
    • Possible consequences:
      • Progressive hearing loss
      • Auditory Deprivation
      • Continued communication difficulties

Proper treatment with amplification can slow/prevent these consequences. In addition, hearing aids can be reprogrammed to meet your future needs.

How much do hearing aids cost?

  • Digital hearing aids can range from $1000 to $3000 per aid.
  • Price varies by the “level of technology” NOT the size of the aid.

How long do hearing aids last?

  • THIS IS WHY PROPER FOLLOW UP CARE IS NECESSARY!
  • Custom made aids typically last 5-6 years.
  • Over the ear style aids typically last 8-10 years.

Do I need one or two aids?

  • Most patients have hearing loss in each ear and therefore need two aids.
    • Better understanding in noise
    • Localization
    • Ease of listening
    • Tinnitus reduction
  • Monaural aid only if:
    • Hearing is normal in one ear and not other
    • Dead ear on one side

Does insurance pay for hearing aids?

  • Medicare does not
  • Some private insurance may cover
    • We will check with your insurance to verify:
      • If they cover
      • If so, how much they cover

Why can’t I just buy hearing aids on the internet?

  • Plenty of opportunities:
    • Issues with doing so:
      • No adjustments
      • No cleanings
      • Shipping aids and being without them
      • No personal service
      • Getting charged when going into a local office
      • Having the local office not being able to program the aids…locked out of software
      • Online site going out of business

Most local offices have very similar pricing as online sites AND have offer the ongoing service!

Hearing and the Brain… Is there a difference?

Did you know that treating even the mildest form of hearing loss has been shown to delay the effects of cognitive decline and dementia associated with the aging process? We hear with our brains, not with our ears. When a hearing loss is present, at any degree of severity, the area of the brain used to hear and understand becomes reorganized. Therefore losing its ability to “understand” what, if anything it can hear.

With hearing loss being the 3rd most prevalent health condition in older adults, it is important that people receive regular hearing evaluations just as you would an annual health check up with your physician. Consulting with a hearing healthcare professional will allow you to understand if you have a hearing loss present and whether any treatments are recommended.

 

Now what?

For many adults, even those with mild hearing loss, sound stimulation through the use of hearing aids can provide the ability for many to restore the use of brain function used in hearing if treated quickly. Think of hearing as the easiest exercise anyone can ask you to do. Maintaining full stimulation of the auditory system (hearing mechanism) allows the brain to more easily focus on other demanding tasks instead of TRYING to understand what your friends and loved ones are saying to you. Remember, life is worth hearing!

We encourage you to take the first step towards better hearing and better overall health. Consult directly with one of our nationally accredited hearing healthcare professionals today.

Johns Hopkins Study on Cognition and Hearing Loss – Hearing loss accelerates brain function decline in older adults (2013) https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_accelerates_brain_function_decline_in_older_adults

TeleHearing: The Future of Hearing Aids

Dr-Kent-Collins
Kent Collins, Au.D., FAAA, CCC-A
Doctor of Audiology
Director of TeleHear℠ing

Today’s digital hearing aids are far more sophisticated, work much better, and have the highest patient satisfaction rate in history. As hearing aid circuitry is improving by leaps and bounds, very little attention is being paid to the delivery model of where you can purchase them. I had the great opportunity to interview Dr.Kent Collins, Director of TeleHear℠ing at the All American Hearing Network, who created a virtual consultation program he named TeleHear℠, www.telehear.com. Similar to the ever expanding telemedicine programs where patients can be seen over the internet by a physician, Dr. Collins developed a consultation system where Nationally Known Hearing Aid experts and Doctors can consult directly with patients with hearing loss.

What benefit to the consumer does this bring?

Dr. Collins: “Similar to how the Mayo Clinic uses teams of physicians to diagnose and treat patients, TeleHear℠ing allows our Doctors of Audiology to consult with local providers to best manage patient care. Patients and their family members who have the opportunity to participate in this care delivery model get the benefit of years of combined experience between our providers who specialize in hearing loss and tinnitus treatment. They also receive consultations on the most up-to-date cutting edge technology and benefit from live demonstrations of state-of-the-art hearing aids combined with financial discounts not offered to other patients.”

Do you get patient feedback on why they either like it or don’t?

Dr. Collins: “Absolutely. After the initial awkwardness of communicating with a provider over the TV, patients reported that they loved the interaction and it felt like our Doctors are right in the room sitting next to them throughout the consultation. Patients and their family members enjoy the ability to ask questions directly to our experts who can address their individual needs and customize a treatment plan. They liked that we can work directly with the local provider to optimize fitting prescriptions and follow up care.”

How long does this portion of the selling stage take?  (typical appointment time)

Dr. Collins: “Our TeleHear℠ing consults generally last 20 – 30 minutes with the Doctor of Audiology. The Doctor reviews the medical and hearing history as well as the current test results during the consultation. The patient is then counseled on the treatment options that are available and the best rehabilitation plan is chosen.”

What type of patients/prospects do you see?

Dr. Collins: “Our Doctors see all new patients who are scheduled in our clinics. Even if patients are current users of hearing aids, our doctors will consult with them at their first visit to our offices. We also encourage patients who may be frustrated with their current hearing aids or patients who are experiencing repair issues to consult with our TeleHear℠ing experts. Our Doctors have been authorized by the manufacture to offer trade-in incentives on old hearing aids. This can save patients thousands of dollars on new top-of-the-line hearing aids giving them the best treatment solutions we have available.”

Telehearing is not an online retailer where patients can purchase hearing aids and have them shipped directly to their house. Dr. Collins has analyzed the hearing aid market and determined that online internet sites may have low prices but did not result in patient satisfaction. “Quite simply, hearing aids require ongoing maintenance and care” says Dr. Collins “most new users of hearing aids prefer to have approximately 75-80% of their prescriptive levels programmed into their hearing aids. Over the first few weeks as patients acclimate to better hearing, we reprogram their hearing aids until we get their full prescription.” Online hearing aid sites cannot offer this type of reprogramming without inconveniencing their patients by having them mail their hearing aids to some online retailer every time they need an adjustment causing patients to be without their hearing aids for weeks. More importantly, “Hearing changes over time, with our TeleHear℠ing program, we can retest patients hearing annually in a local office and simply reprogram their hearing aids in ten minutes” says Dr. Collins. Again, something online sites cannot do for their patients.

“I modeled TeleHear℠ing to offer our patients great local service with the low cost pricing offered online.”

“I modeled TeleHear℠ing to offer our patients great local service with the low cost pricing offered online. When people are shopping for better hearing, they are not looking for the cheapest hearing aid. Rather, they are searching for the most advanced hearing aid at the lowest price. That is what we are offering at www.telehear.com. More importantly, we follow best practice guidelines and make sure we combine this low pricing with ongoing local follow up care” says Dr. Collins “our happiest patients are those that we see on a regular basis so we can clean, reprogram, and download updates to their hearing aids”.

The future of hearing aid dispensing is changing. www.TeleHear℠.com is the first and most popular virtual hearing aid consultation program offered.

Start video consulting with a TeleHear Consultant today

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