How Can I Help My Mom
Hear Better?

Good hearing adds to the quality of life.

If your Mom, Dad or loved one struggles with hearing, how can you help?

AVA Hearing Center in Grand Rapids helps families to talk about hearing problems and find answers.

At right are some FAQs (frequently asked questions) that may help you and your loved one on your journey to better hearing.

Phone 616-365-1979

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Frequently Asked Questions
About Hearing Loss

•  When AVA Hearing Center opened in 1998 the name of the practice was Audio Vestibular Assessments, Inc. This long name was used to reflect that the practice provided HEARING and BALANCE TESTING. When we no longer provided Balance Assessment Testing, we shortened the name to AVA HEARING CENTER. It is a lot easier to pronounce!

•  Most often hearing loss affects certain frequencies more than others. This means that some things your loved ones will hear easily (like music or deeper male voices) but be unable to hear other sounds (like soft female voices or certain consonant in speech like /s/ and /t/). If this is happening your loved one may often say "what?, Oh, I heard your". It may seem like they are not paying attention or they may complain that you are mumbling.

•  Your loved one may have to concentrate to listen(a coping strategy called "vigilance". This concentration is hard work! By the end of the day your loved one may be tired of listening and need to withdraw from social settings for a break (a coping strategy called "respite").

•  Get a hearing evaluation from a licensed Audiologist. Doctors of Audiology have special training in evaluating hearing and communication disorders. They will be able to ascertain if the hearing loss is due to a problem which may be treated with medical intervention or those losses that will require non-medical treatment such as hearing aids or aural rehabilitation.

•  Most insurance companies will pay for a Diagnostic Audiometric Evaluation with a referral from you primary physician. If you are unsure if your insurance will cover the cost of a test, contact our office and we will help you investigate the terms of your coverage.

•  Don't delay in getting a diagnostic hearing test. Untreated hearing loss causes cognitive decline and the brain actually "forgets" how to identify and use some of the speech sounds (aural processing).

•  Call us today to schedule your evaluation (616) 365-1979.

•  Most people hearing and understand much better when in a quiet environment so reduce as much background noise as possible before having a conversation.

•  Look at the person doing the talking. Most of us are able to supplement our hearing with visual cues (lipreading and facial expression. The sounds that are typically most difficult to hear like /f/ and /s/, are easy to identify with lipreading.

•  Start a conversation by saying the listener's name. Most of us are wired to respond to our name. As soon as we hear our name we are "paying attention" to what comes next.

•  Speak SLOWER not LOUDER! This is important for people who wear hearing aid and even for those who don't even have hearing loss. Many times our brain will try to fill in the missing auditory signal with what it "guesses" to be the correct sound. This will take a second to process. When someone say "WHAT?" it provides a second for the brain to fill in the gap and formulate a response (

•  The price of hearing aids vary from around $1000 - $3500 per ear depending on the features and processing speed of the hearing aid. The more automation, the more adaptive, the faster the noise blocking technology, the more complex - the higher the cost will be.

•  Today's Hearing Aids are like powerful mini computers. In fact, many of them process information faster than the computers used on Apollo 13. These tiny computers now must fit into an area the size of a dime, be resistant to dirt and humidity (the ear canal is very humid and oily not to mention those external factors like dust, rain, hairspray, etc.) and be easy to use.

•  When you purchase hearing aids you are also paying for Research and Development of the next generation of hearing aids. Development of faster processors, better sound quality, more natural adaptation costs money.

•  You are also paying for the professional skills provided by your Audiologist. Your Audiologist has doctoral level training needed to understand your hearing and communication needs. Audiologists are uniquely qualified to assess and provide non-medical treatment for communication disorders such as hearing loss and reduced aural processing skills.

•  It should be illegal for Hearing aids to be sold over the Internet. It is a LAW in all 50 states that hearing aids must be fit by licensed professionals. The way the Internet Sellers get around this law is by stating that the hearing aid is being SOLD not FIT on-line.

•  Hearing aids are not designed as ON-SIZE-FITS-ALL products. They are made to be programmed and adjusted over time to the "prescription" appropriate for your hearing loss. Inappropriately fit hearing aids may cause further, unnecessary damage to your hearing sensitivity. They may also be uncomfortable comfortable and ineffective.

•  The cost of Hearing Aids is part COST-OF-GOODS and part PROFFESSIONAL SERVICE. If you look at the prices between Audiologist and Hearing Aid Dealers you will find that costs are comparable. Now ask yourself - do you want the PROFESSIONAL SERVICE COST to be for someone with a doctoral level education in hearing sciences or someone with a minimum of a High School ed