Becoming Master Artists of Better Hearing

Chicagoland Audible Hearing Aid CentersMany times when people ask why someone wants to become a hearing care specialist, they say a loved one was given the gift of being able to hear again and they want to share that with others. Yet rarely does anyone ask what it takes to become a practicing hearing specialist. Let’s take a look at the requisites needed to receive certification for dispensing and fitting hearing aids.

While every state has slightly different requirements for its hearing instrument specialist certification, there are still many common fundamentals for all specialists-in-training.  Just like other specialized professions, there is a governing board called the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. It requires examinations as well as experience working with a current, certified hearing instrument specialist.

The exam requires extensive time studying and preparing for questions on varying topics such as assessing patient needs, analyzing test results, fitting hearing aids, counseling practices and much more. Additionally, a letter of recommendation from a current employer confirming at least 15 months of supervised hearing aid dispensing is a mandatory requirement to even take the exam.  Once certified, continuing education is required to maintain our license and stay at the cutting edge of hearing technology and patient care.

We are very serious about the level of care given to our patients and hearing aid technology that assists your hearing difficulties. Our goal has always been, since we started down the path to a certified hearing specialist, to help you or a loved one with hearing needs. If you have hearing-related questions, reach out to us using our Contact Us page or call the office during business hours.

How to Buy the Right Hearing Aid

Chicagoland Audibel Hearing Aid Centers Hearing AidsWhen a hearing aid is recommended, the hearing healthcare professional tries to offer the best option for that particular patient’s unique listening needs. As part of that decision, consider a few important factors such as lifestyle hearing needs, technology features and cost. In this blog we discuss each factor to help anyone who is considering purchasing a new hearing aid.

The first consideration is how hearing needs interact with a lifestyle. For people who are active in the community or workforce, managing background noise is an important feature to consider. New hearing aid technology offers many levels of this sophisticated feature to help speech clarity in noisy settings. This allows for more comfortable listening experiences in social venues such as loud restaurants, meeting rooms or gatherings.

Also consider the overall sophistication of the technology. Not only does hearing aid technology help manage background noise, but it also helps with compatibility with media devices and with telephone conversations. For example, the new Audibel A3i™ hearing aids are Made for iPhone® devices which allow the user to wirelessly sync hearing aids to an iPhone® to stream music, television and phone calls.

Lastly consider cost. This is a significant concern for many people, but we advise not letting it be the primary decision-maker. There are many cheap, quality hearing aid solutions for anyone who needs hearing assistance. In particular, we offer no-interest financing plans to help manage the cost of new hearing aid technology.

We recommend always taking advantage of free hearing consultations to determine the degree of hearing loss and then discussing the most beneficial hearing aid technology options with a professional. To get started, simply call during business hours or submit your information on the Contact Us page.  We look forward to helping you find the right hearing aid technology.

Don’t Let Earwax Spook You!

Chicagoland Audibel_hearing-aid-wax-guards-blogThis Halloween we are going to discuss a topic that is very scary for many patients; earwax! Earwax isn’t just spooky because of its unsightly appearance, but it can also terrify in-the-ear hearing aid wearers for fear of repairs due to buildup. However there is reason to rejoice for Audibel hearing aid patients! The new wax guard protectors have alleviated most occurrences of earwax buildup that may cause damage to hearing aids.

Everyone’s ears produce earwax to different degrees. For some individuals, their earwax production is much higher than others, causing greater chances of damage to in-the-ear styles of hearing aids. Wax guards use plastic tubing that is placed within the hearing aid receiver. This catches any wax that would normally find its way into the hearing aid components when the devices are inserted and removed from the ear canal. These wax guards are simple to insert into the hearing aids and even easier to remove with a simple tool. While the cost for wax guard protection packs is minimal, the savings can be huge by avoiding potential costly out-of-warranty repairs.

Though earwax is nothing to be afraid of, it is important to protect your hearing aids from unnecessary repairs due to earwax on the components. If you are presently wearing hearing aids or considering a purchase and have concerns or questions about earwax protection, simply submit your inquiry on our Contact Us page or call our office during business hours. We’re always happy to answer your questions!

Seeking old hearing aids to help children hear…

chicagoland audibel hearing aid centerOne of our favorite patients (who are we kidding, we love them all!) came across a newspaper article from the Wheaton Leader that was written up about us a few years back and brought it into our office. They wanted to know if they could still donate their old hearing aids to help children around the world hear better. We said of course! We are quickly approaching our 6th year in partnership with the So the World May Hear charity of Starkey Hearing Foundation, and we feel like that is a reason to celebrate! In recognition of the upcoming anniversary, we thought it would be great to get the article and information out to our patients again – as a reminder that we would love to have you join in our fight to ensure quality hearing for ALL children in need! Thank you to all of the kind-hearted patients who have already joined us in helping children hear around the world. It is because of YOU we can make a difference. Read about the charity in the full newspaper article here:

Audibel specialist Benjamin Wright in Wheaton seeks old hearing aids to help children through So the World May Hear charity of Starkey Hearing Foundation, Wheaton, Ill.

Chicagoland Audibel specialist Benjamin Wright in Wheaton seeks old hearing aids to help children through So the World May Hear charity of Starkey Hearing Foundation Wheaton, Ill.

Audibel specialist Benjamin Wright in Wheaton seeks old hearing aids to help children through So the World May Hear charity of Starkey Hearing Foundation Wheaton, Ill.Do it Through a charitable project, you can donate old hearing aids of any style and vintage to be recycled into new hearing instruments for children in need within the United States and around the world. Coordinating collections at his three suburban offices is Benjamin Wright, the hearing instrument specialist who owns Chicagoland Audibel. He says the So the World May Hear outreach mission is under the auspices of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Starkey company manufactures the Audibel brand of hearing instruments, a newer term for hearing aids that Wright says reflects technological advancements within the last few years. Starkey has dedicated an entire department to rebuilding hearing instruments for charity.

“(I) partner with Audibel because of their technology and because of the philanthropic work that they do,” Wright says.

Whom it helps “We believe everyone deserves a chance to hear,” says Wright of the project. “By donating hearing aids and accepting other donations, we are able to help the whole world hear better. One child at a time, we can really make a difference and an impact in their lives. The goal is to fit 1 million children (with hearing aids) this decade.” He says in the last one, 335,000 kids were helped.

Wright says there are additional avenues for people to find assistance, and notes he offers free hearing tests to anyone in the community.

“We also have a Hear Now program, where we can help people who can’t afford new hearing aids (in) our area,” he says. “(There’s) a small fee for the application. As long as (they’re) approved, we can fit them with hearing aids at no charge. We’re a mom-and-pop family business trying to help the community.”

How to help Donate any hearing aids no longer being used. The project takes them apart for such components as microphone and receiver.

“No matter the age or the style, we can salvage it for parts (and) put it to use,” Wright says.

Also sought are monetary donations to help fund the work, as well as trips overseas to fit children with the devices that can open up the world to them. Gifts can be made through Wright’s offices or the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

–By Renee Tomell, rtomell@mysuburbanlife.com Wheaton Leader

Original article here: Audibel specialist Benjamin Wright in Wheaton seeks old hearing aids to help children through So the World May Hear charity of Starkey Hearing Foundation, Wheaton, Ill.


The Costs of Better Hearing

hearing-aid-pricesOne of the most common questions we receive from new patients is, “How much do your hearing aids cost?” Many are surprised to learn that the price can range from several thousand dollars to several hundred dollars, depending on how sophisticated the hearing technology is. We respect that an investment in hearing aid technology, for yourself or a loved one, can be a major financial decision. Yet, it is equally important to consider the personal costs of not purchasing a hearing aid when needed and going through life with limited hearing.

Too often the cost of hearing aids prevents an individual from taking the action they need to improve their hearing difficulties. Unfortunately, many patients realize the importance of better hearing after they have struggled to enjoy an important event, like a child’s wedding, a family gathering or a reunion. We want to make sure everyone is aware of the personal costs associated with missing out on these moments.

As for the cost of hearing aid technology, every year the technology significantly improves to better meet the lifestyle demands of a wide variety of users. These advances include management of background noise in conversations, smaller styles for less visibility and even options to wirelessly stream audio of phone calls and TV. The millions of dollars that manufacturers invest every year into developing this technology contribute to the price of hearing aids today.

We understand every patient has a different budget and we offer many affordable hearing aid options as well as patient financing programs with no-interest plans. To get started with a free consultation to evaluate affordable hearing aid technology options, simply submit your information on our Contact Us page or call our office during business hours.


Small Buttons on Hearing Aids Causing Frustration?

Audibel_dexterity_tools We sometimes hear from patients with arthritis or other dexterity issues that they have a tough time operating the buttons on their digital hearing aids. We understand that it’s a real frustration and one that some people don’t consider until after purchasing a hearing device. Fortunately, we have a couple of options that will make it easier for you (or a loved one) to personally program and have success with your hearing devices.

While it’s exciting that hearing aids have become smaller and more trendy, the buttons have also become smaller, which can present problems for people with poor dexterity. There are two user-friendly smartphone apps available to help! If you download the free Audibel T2 Remote app, it will enable your smartphone to function as a wireless remote for adjusting your hearing aids. You’ll be able to adjust volume, switch memories and mute your devices if you would like. The other free downloadable app is TruLink™ Hearing Control, which is for our more technology savvy patients. This app pairs specifically with the Made for iPhone® Audibel A3i™ Hearing Aids. In addition to allowing you to easily change volume and memories, this app also remembers your favorite places and automatically switches to your preferred settings when at those locations. It offers a variety of other features worth checking out as well.


If you don’t have a smartphone, the SurfLink® Remote accessory is another option to consider. Keep it in your pocket or purse and change the settings on your wireless hearing aids just like a television remote.

We want you to have a satisfying experience with your hearing aids and these tools are one way to help you. If you need help deciding which option works best for you – give us a call or email us here. We can help you decide which hearing aids are right for you and your lifestyle.

Bluffing through Untreated Hearing Loss?

Chicagoland Audibel Hearing Aid CentersHave you ever noticed someone turning his or her ear when listening to a conversation?? Or have you seen someone request to sit in a specific seat in a restaurant so his or her ‘good ear’ is away from background noise? Or perhaps you’ve noticed someone listening to your conversation but they don’t really seem to understand or follow the dialogue? They are finding ways to bluff or ‘cope’ through situations that are difficult for people with untreated hearing loss, and often it is a subconscious behavior.

The coping stage, one of four stages in untreated hearing loss, is usually a common last effort at engaging in social situations while still avoiding proper treatment. No matter what the trick to try hearing better, coping mechanisms never provide a lasting solution as well as hearing aid technology. This type of behavior can also extend into workplace environments where individuals with untreated hearing loss may avoid large meetings and phone calls. This could potentially have a significant impact on careers and income. In fact, a study by the Better Hearing Institute found that the financial impact of untreated hearing loss in the workplace could result in nearly $10,000 in lost annual income; that’s up to $100,00 over the average seven to 10 years it takes most individuals to seek treatment!

If you or a loved one exhibit any coping behaviors to accommodate hearing loss, seek proper hearing health care. Often patients wait several years too long to treat their hearing loss and have negatively altered their lifestyle as a result. We want to make sure no one misses a priceless moment of his or her lives moving forward. To get started, simply submit your information on our Contact Us page or call our office to request a complimentary hearing consultation appointment.


Operation Change!

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.34.13 AMChicagoland Audibel Hearing is excited to announce that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will air Operation Change, a television documentary series that features the extraordinary work of philanthropic organizations, including Starkey Hearing Foundation. The 10-part series will begin airing on June 23 at 9 p.m. (CT).

Operation Change showcases stories of positive impact around the world. It takes viewers around the globe as it examines some of the world’s most challenging issues and some of the organizations that are attempting to help bring positive change. The series follows Bill & Tani Austin and their son Steven Sawalich from the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a global non-profit organization that gives free hearing aids to those in need, as they are joined by celebrities and philanthropists to tackle some of the most challenging issues plaguing our world today.

The series features philanthropists joining forces including former President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Elton John and many others as they travel to some of the most dangerous and poverty-stricken places in the world. From the West Bank of Palestine to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, this raw documentary series reveals the untold stories of some of the world’s greatest heroes. Chicagoland Audibel Hearing  is a strong supporter of Starkey Hearing Foundation and its mission to realize its goal: So the World May Hear. For more information on Operation Change please click here to visit their website. Check out more abou the program on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/OperationChng

Skipping the Stages of Hearing Loss

stages-of-hearing-lossWhen it comes to hearing loss, good things come to those who don’t wait. All too often, individuals will wait 7-10 years before seeking treatment for their hearing loss. In this period the worsening of the condition can be significant and the benefits of hearing aid technology may not be as capable to achieve regular hearing levels. So what happens in these 7-10 years that causes so many people to put off getting a hearing consultation, even when they are free? In this blog we will look at the various stages of hearing loss and help you or a loved one identify where you may be at with hopes it prompts more immediate action.

Upon noticing early signs of hearing loss such as mishearing syllables and soft sounds, most individuals will enter the denial stage. In this stage, the effect of hearing loss is readily dismissed as not a serious issue or threat to their quality of life. While, these assumptions are correct in the short-term, the long-term ramifications are worth consideration early on. Most hearing professionals recommend that individuals, with or without hearing loss, should get a hearing test every year to stay on top of changes in their abilities, just as with vision and other regular checks.

As those in the denial stage continue to deal with their hearing loss difficulties they typically worsen over time. After a year or two, the hearing loss is now having more of an everyday impact on the individual. Due to this, most people will enter the coping stage, in which they pick up various coping mechanisms to accommodate the hearing loss rather than seeking treatment. Examples of the coping mechanisms include turning their head to use a good ear, sitting on certain sides of people and asking people to repeat themselves in conversations. Oftentimes, there is an overlap between denial and coping stages where one may state “Speak up, you’re mumbling!”

After using various coping mechanisms to keep up with listening in various environments the combination of continued worsening of their hearing loss and exhaustion from trying to cope becomes too much to handle. Thus, we all too often witness people slip into the withdrawal stage. At this point the effects of hearing loss have mightily impacted their quality of life as individuals in this stage will stop going to public gatherings and outings where the environment is too stressful for listing. Embarrassment also plays a major role in the withdrawal stage as not understanding conversations or requesting people to repeat themselves can be perceived negatively.

The last stage of hearing loss is acceptance, which usually occurs after many years struggle with the prior stages, as mentioned in the introduction. It is truly unfortunate that anyone should needlessly struggle with hearing loss when treatment options are readily available. If you, or a loved one, find yourself in any of these stages don’t wait a moment longer and simply contact our office for a free consultation today. Simple call us during business hours or submit your information through our Contact Us form.




The Joy of Outdoor Summer Activities by the Water

Chicagoland Hearing, Audibel, Hearing Test, Hearing Evaluation, Hearing AidsSummer has arrived! During the hot summer days nothing feels better than heading to your closest lake, pool or ocean. Whether you are catching some sun, fishing, boating, or merely splashing around it gives us all the opportunity to act like kids again. The water, for some, gives a sense of freedom. The endless view of the ocean or the feeling of weightlessness when you float in a pool can give you the ultimate sense of liberation.

In addition to activities by the water, we also enjoy all the wonderful and diverse sounds that water brings. It could be the giggles of your grandchildren playing in the pool, the gentle and rhythmic sound of the ocean rolling into shore or the gentle breeze of the wind coming off the water. Time spent by the water is visually beautiful but the accompanying sounds bring it to life and bring us back to a simpler time. A time when your biggest problem was to make sure your sandcastle didn’t get destroyed by crashing waves and a big ice cream cone could put a smile on your face for a week.

To make sure you’re enjoying all the sounds that summer provides, schedule a hearing evaluation today. Our hearing healthcare professionals will check your hearing, make sure you don’t have sand in your ears (we dislike that as much as you do) and determine a solution for your unique hearing challenges. To get started, give us a call or submit your information on our contact us page. After you do that, turn off the computer and enjoy the summer.