Dave Ward is a Nationally Board Certified hearing specialist who runs Miracle-Ear hearing centers in St. George, and Cedar City, UT. At his hearing centers, he will regularly test patients for hearing loss and fit them for hearing aids.
Dave recommends that patients who have come in for their initial hearing test and have been fit for hearing aids should still receive an annual test, unless they feel there has been a significant change in their hearing between annual tests; then they should come in more often. If you have not had your hearing tested at all, Dave recommends 50 as the age when you should start thinking about coming in for a test. However, he says that age is becoming less and less of an issue, as a result of younger generations engaging in activities which can severely damage their hearing early on, such as using headphones and listening to live music.
Other noises that can cause hearing loss in patients of any age are military related sounds such as gun shots, chainsaws, motorcycles and lawnmowers. Dave says that any sound over 85 decibels, consistently and constantly, over an extended period of time, can create hearing damage.
Once it’s been determined that the patient needs hearing aids, there are many different types they can benefit from. Miracle-Ear offers Behind-the-Ear devices, Open Fit Behind-the-Ear aids, In-the-Ear aids and Completely-in-Canal hearing aids.
Different types of hearing aids will also treat different levels of hearing loss. Some, but not all, hearing aids can be customized to the patient and their level of loss. “There are some mild and moderate hearing losses that we don’t have to fit with a custom product,” Dave says. “We can fit them with something behind the ear that has a generic dome that fits the size of their canal, and those work extremely well; they’re very comfortable, very discrete.”
After the patient begins to wear their hearing aids regularly, they will need to properly care and maintain them. Dave suggests that patients come back to his hearing center every three to four months in order to have the hearing aids cleaned and the tubes changed. The hearing consultant will also make sure that nothing has changed with the device or with the patient’s hearing loss, in order to preserve the life of the hearing aid, and to ensure that the patient is receiving maximum benefit from their hearing aid.