Many people do not want to admit that they are losing their hearing, even though today, one in ten Americans suffers from hearing loss. Randy Baker, Miracle-Ear franchisee who owns and operates a hearing center in Wilmington, says that it’s important for people in Wilmington to get hearing tests once a year, starting around the age of 50.
All Miracle-Ear stores offer patients a free initial hearing test. When patients come in for their hearing test in Wilmington, Baker or one of his hearing consultants will first give the patient a complete hearing evaluation, then a complete pure tone test, as well as speech mapping. If it’s determined that there is hearing loss present, the patient will then be fitted for hearing aids.
The type of hearing aids the Wilmington patient will be able to choose from depends on the level of hearing loss they are experiencing. With the advancements in technology today, Baker and his consultants can fit a lot of ranges of loss with many different types of hearing aids. Baker says “Certainly there are ones that are best suited for certain hearing loss.”
For example, Baker’s brother, Rob, wears hearing aids himself, and he actually wears a different hearing aid in each ear, because his hearing loss differs in each ear. In one ear, he has a customized mold behind the ear because that’s the type of hearing aid that’s best suited for the particular loss in that ear. In the other ear he wears an open tip hearing aid – a device that goes down in to the ear and is open all the way around the ear. With this particular hearing aid, Baker can actually turn it off without affecting how he hears naturally.
Commonly, after Baker or one of his consultants fit patients in Wilmington with hearing aids, the patient might have some questions about the device, often concerning if the hearing aid will actually work and help improve their hearing aid.
Patients will sometimes be concerned about the cosmetics of the hearing aid – they worry that others will see the hearing aid and know they have a hearing loss. However, in recent years the level of miniaturization that hearing aids have experienced has greatly improved. Many are very small, almost unnoticeable in most patients’ ears. Baker says that he hopes to make every patient’s hearing aid as cosmetically appealing as possible for them. Baker will fit patients with smaller hearing aids if that’s what they want, but he will also fit them with behind the ear hearing aids too; typically he bases the type of hearing aid on the person and their personality.