- Comprehensive Hearing Examinations:
The first step in improving your hearing is an assessment of your current hearing abilities. Our licensed audiologists are highly experienced in the accurate diagnosis of hearing loss in both adults and children. Using a carefully calibrated piece of equipment called an audiometer, we will determine the softest levels you can detect different tones as well as your ability to understand speech. Occasionally, additional testing is completed to help identify specific conditions that may be affecting your hearing. A comprehensive hearing examination typically takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.
Following the hearing examination, we will counsel you on the results to assure you fully understand how your hearing ability is impacting communication. Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including some losses that may be treated through medical or surgical intervention. In the event that such a hearing loss is detected, you will be referred to a local Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) doctor. More commonly, hearing aids are required to rehabilitate hearing loss. If hearing aids are determined to be the appropriate treatment option, our audiologists will discuss the different options available to you.
- Hearing Aid Evaluation:
Following a diagnosis of hearing loss, we will consult with you regarding your listening needs and lifestyle, physical capabilities, and personal concerns in order to make a recommendation for the most appropriate hearing solution. There is not a one size fits all solution for patients with hearing loss. Our audiologists will discuss the different options available and provide demonstrations of the different technology and styles available. Our pricing is fair and upfront, and we do not apply high pressure sales tactics that are far too commonplace in today’s marketplace. We also work with most insurance companies. If your insurance plan includes hearing aid benefits, we will verify your benefits and submit insurance claims on your behalf.
- Hearing Aid Fitting & Follow-up:
Once a decision is made to purchase hearing aids, your hearing aids will be ordered and you will be scheduled for a hearing aid fitting. At your fitting, the hearing aids are programmed based on your hearing loss. You will be counseled on the important aspects of use, care and maintenance, including how to put the hearing aids in and out of your ears, changing batteries, cleaning, etc. Although a lot of information is provided at the time of your hearing aid fitting, our audiologists are excellent in making sure you are not overwhelmed.
Follow-up programming and services are almost always needed to fine-tune your hearing aids to assure they are meeting your needs. It is common for individuals to take some time to adapt to all the new sounds you will hear, especially first time hearing aid users. Typically, you are seen within 1 to 2 weeks following the hearing aid fitting for additional programming as you become more comfortable with your hearing aids. Once you are comfortable with the hearing aids, our audiologists like to see patients every 6 months (or sooner if needed) for additional follow-up to clean and check the hearing aids. Unlimited follow-up appointments are included in the purchase of hearing aids, so you will never be charged for an office visit!
All hearing aid purchases come with a 30 day trial period. If you are not satisfied with the hearing aids, you can return them for a full refund.
- Real Ear Measurements
The size and shape of the ear canal can drastically affect how sound travels through the ear. In order to account for differences in ear canal geometry, real ear measurements are needed to verify the hearing aids are properly amplifying for each individual’s hearing loss. Real ear measurements are performed by placing a small microphone in the ear canal along with the hearing aid. We then measure how much sound is traveling to the eardrum, and programming changes are made to assure the hearing aids are meeting the prescribed amplification based on your hearing loss. Real ear measurements are the best way to objectively verify hearing aids are meeting your needs.
- Hearing Aid Cleaning & Repairs:
Hearing aids require routine maintenance and cleaning to insure they continue to provide maximum benefit. At Becker Audiology, appointments for cleaning and routine maintenance are free of charge. Even if you did not purchase your hearing aids through us, we are more than happy to service them for you.
Like all electronic devices, hearing aids tend to break down over time and need to be repaired. All hearing aids purchased through Becker Audiology come with a manufacturer’s warranty. The audiologists at Becker Audiology will troubleshoot any issues with your hearing aids, and often times, we can fix it in house. If your hearing aid requires repair from the manufacturer, we will overnight your hearing aid to the manufacturer to get them back to you and hearing as soon as possible.
- Hearing Assistive Technology:
Although hearing aids provide significant benefit for the user, they do not always help individuals in every situation. Hearing Assistive Technology, or HAT, can supplement hearing aids by providing additional help in situations where hearing aids alone are not meeting your needs. Devices include:
- Amplified Telephones: Telephones designed specifically for people with hearing loss can be used to improve your ability to hear on your landline phone. Through our association with the TEPP program, most patients are eligible to receive an amplified telephone at little to no cost through the state of Wisconsin. Contact our office for eligibility questions.
- Bluetooth Streamers: As our society has become more reliant on cellphones, hearing aid manufactures began to develop technology that allows phone calls and other audio signals (i.e. music) to be streamed from your phone directly to your hearing aids through the use of Bluetooth. These streamers, usually worn around your neck or clipped to your shirt, allow you to stream signals from any Bluetooth compatible device, including iPads, iPods and other tablets. These devices are great for people who rely on their cellphones as they provide a hands-free solution when talking on the phone. They are also enjoyed by the music lovers out there who want a simple and effective solution to streaming music. Almost all hearing aid manufacturers now make a Bluetooth streamer specifically designed for use with their hearing aids.
- Television Streamers: Trouble hearing the television is common complaint from individuals with hearing loss. TV streamers are available to wirelessly transmit the television signal directly to your hearing aids providing clear sound quality. This allows you to control the volume of the signal independent of the television, making many spouses and family members happy who have been complaining you have the television too loud! Ask for a demonstration of these technologies in our office to see if they are appropriate for you.
- Remote Microphones & FM Systems: Although hearing aids have come a long way in improving the user’s performance in noise over recent years, trouble hearing in noisy environments remains the most common complaint among those with hearing loss. Remote microphones help improve your ability to hear in noise by wirelessly connecting your hearing aids to a microphone worn by the person you are speaking with. This is particularly helpful in restaurants, group meetings, or noisy situations in which you cannot hear well due to background noise or distance from the speaker. FM systems operate on a similar principle to remote microphones, and can be utilized by both hearing aid wearers and non-hearing aid users.
- Alarm Clock Solutions: Many people with hearing loss cannot hear an alarm clock. There are variety of solutions available including amplified, vibrating, or flashing light alarm clocks.
- Amplified Stethoscopes: For doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, using a stethoscope is vital function of his or her job duties. Amplified stethoscopes are available that can be used with or without hearing aids.
- Custom Hearing Protection & Musician’s Plugs:
Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading contributors to hearing loss. Sudden impact sounds (i.e. gunshot) and prolonged exposure to loud noise (i.e. rock concerts, working in a factory) both contribute to noised-induced hearing loss. For individuals who are exposed to loud noise, the use of hearing protection is the best way to minimize the negative long term effects of noise on your hearing.
There are many store-bought solutions, including earmuffs and moldable foam ear plugs, which can be quite effective in protecting you hearing. However, many individuals require a custom solution. Becker Audiology offers custom earplugs that are made from an earmold impression of your ear. Custom earplugs are typically considered more comfortable and provide better protection for the wearer. For individuals who frequently need to use hearing protection due to occupational and/or recreational noise exposure, custom earplugs may be right for you.
Professional and non-professional musicians are often exposed to excessively loud noise levels. However, conventional hearing protection often does not provide an acceptable solution as it can muffle or alter the quality of music. Due to the unique needs of musicians, Becker Audiology provides custom musician’s plugs with specialized filters that provide protection for your hearing while preserving sound quality at the same time. Contact our office to learn about the different options available for your needs.
- Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT):
Millions of Americans experience ringing, buzzing or hissing in their ears or head. These sounds are known as tinnitus. Most people who experience tinnitus are not bothered by it. However, there are many individuals who experience significant anxiety caused by their tinnitus and it can be debilitating.
People who experience tinnitus may also experience decreased tolerance to sounds. This condition is referred to as hyperacusis. Hyperacusis can also be a debilitating disorder which can cause some people great discomfort. This may lead the individual to avoid situations that are in any way noisy, with some to the point where they become unable to function in the everyday noisy world. Tinnitus and hyperacusis can occur together or all by themselves.
Tinnitus and hyperacusis have no known medical cure. While some medications may provide temporary relief, there are none currently available that permanently cure these disorders. Some of these drugs have serious side effects and can actually make the tinnitus problem worse. Alternative treatments have also been tried by many with little to no success.
Dr. Tim Becker is trained and has significant experience in using Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis. TRT is a method of habituation (ignoring) the reactions of the body caused by the tinnitus signal. Our brain routinely ignores sounds far louder than tinnitus. The goal of TRT is to teach your brain to ignore the tinnitus signal as well. TRT consists of two components: Direct Counseling and Sound Therapy.
TRT has proven to be extremely successful in treating tinnitus patients. Studies of patients receiving TRT have shown between 80-90% rate of improvement. TRT has also been successful in treating hyperacusis as it has a similar neurophysiological basis to tinnitus.
TRT typically requires 12 to 18 months to complete. The patient is typically seen for an initial evaluation to assess their candidacy for TRT. Many patients seen for the initial evaluation do not require TRT. Less severe cases often only require proper diagnosis of the problem and small amount of counseling at the time of the appointment. Those requiring TRT typically are seen for an extensive initial counseling session and follow-up visits at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 18 months.
Learn about tinnitus and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) in the below video: