gtag('config', 'AW-807615734');

The Bend Oregon Hearing Tech Expo

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a full house in attendance at our Hearing Tech Expo on Wednesday, Feb 8, at the Mount Bachelor Village Conference Center.

Event Collage

Dr. Li began the day with a very well received talk on age-related hearing loss (her PhD thesis at the world renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden). The Doctor also reviewed new scientific studies which strongly linked untreated hearing loss and dementia. 

Dr. Odgear, also from Pacific Northwest Audiology, was the second batter, and he knocked it out of the ball park with his talk on hearing trends and the future of hearing tech. 

We convened for a hot lunch buffet, which consisted of Brisket of Beef Au Jus, baked beans, potato salad and a creamy coleslaw.  According to my polling, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the buffet!

We shook things up after lunch and reconvened in an adjacent room, which we had set up for interactive tech activities, led by Dr. Muto-Coleman from Resound. By the end of the session, everyone was able to put the pieces together…the past, present, and future of hearing tech.

Our next event will be the third week of May. Call Kat for early details at 541-678-5698

Pacific Northwest Audiology Sponsors Another Hearing Aid Luncheon in Bend Oregon

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a another successful “Dine and Demo” luncheon at Gregg’s Grill in Bend Oregon on October 26, co-hosted by Unitron. 

So, what is a Dine and Demo Luncheon? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for guests to sample the latest hearing enhancement technology in a real world environment over lunch. 

Greggs GrilThis event was NOT designed to meet a sales quota. Guests learned important facts about hearing loss while sampling the advantages of new hearing technology…hearing aids that push the limits of hearing!

Dine and Demo luncheons are limited to only 14 invited guests. The event was designed to be relatively small, informative, and friendly, a learning environment that allowed each guest to evaluate new hearing solutions with no outside stresses or obligations. 

For those selected to participate in the event we tested their hearing (or used their latest hearing test of record) and then fitted them with personally customized Flex:Trial hearing aids, diagnostic instruments that can be programed to different technology levels to suit the needs of individual patients. Flex:Trial hearing aids are particularly well suited for increased sound clarity in otherwise noisy environments like a busy restaurant, so our guests were able to verify the technology claims…which they did!

The picture (below) shows Dr. Li (Pacific Northwest Audiology, bottom panels) and Felipe Ovando (Unitron, top panel) discussing new technology to alleviate hearing loss while enhancing hearing and communication. The middle two panels show Dr. Odgear and Grace Gardner (both from Pacific Northwest Audiology) answering general questions from our guests. Grace is completing her externship with Pacific Northwest Audiology prior to becoming a full-fledged Doctor of Audiology.

Collage graphic 2

We were very pleased with the outcome of this event…the food was high quality, everyone had their questions answered, and all of us had a great time!

There will be one more Dine and Demo event this year: November 30. Call now if you want a seat… 541-678-5698-5698.

 

Pacific Northwest Audiology Hearing Aid Luncheon in Bend OR

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a very successful “Dine and Demo” luncheon at Gregg’s Grill in Bend Oregon on October 11, co-hosted by Widex High Definition Hearing. 

So, what is a Dine and Demo Luncheon? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for guests to sample the latest hearing enhancement technology in a real world environment over lunch. 

Greggs GrilBut we’re not talking about yesterday’s hearing tech. Guests sampled hearing aids that push the limits of hearing!

Dine and Demo luncheons are limited to only 14 guests. The event was designed to be relatively small, informative, and friendly, a learning environment that allows each guest to evaluate new hearing solutions with no outside stresses or obligations. 

For those selected for the event we tested their hearing (or used their latest hearing test of record) and then fitted them with state-of-art hearing aids so they could experience ground-breaking sound clarity in the real world.

The picture (below) shows Dr. Li (Pacific Northwest Audiology) and Dr. Antonio (Widex) discussing new technology approaches to hearing loss. The food was high quality, everyone learned what they came for, and all of us had a great time!

 

Collage.png

 

We will have two more Dine and Demo events this year: October 26 and November 30. Call to confirm your place.  541-678-5698.

 

The View from Tomorrow

This was a wildly successful event …87 registered…15 on standby…engaging speakers, a highly responsive audience, and dancing during the breaks!

PNWA and Phonak Hampton 7.20.16

What we learned…

  • Tomorrow’s hearing technology is available today!
  • Hearing loss no longer means the end of a good life!
  • Hearing loss is no longer stigmatized!
  • Hearing technology is cool…even desirable!
  • Hearing care options have never been better!

What is the View from Tomorrow?

  • Streaming audio from HDTV, iOS, Android, and other devises
  • Connecting without wires to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
  • Controlling hearing aid settings with a smart phone
  • Communicating in any environment
  • Using Apps to enrich our hearing
  • And much more!

We still have special promotional deals from this event, and we are preregistering for future events…call 541-678-5698

Look for our Open House at the end of August…more to follow!

Hearing Aids Can Prevent Mental Decline

Hearing Aids prevent cognitive decline

An increasing number of research efforts are linking untreated hearing loss to thinking and memory problems, including dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Many of these studies indicate that hearing aids should be used as early as hearing loss symptoms can be verified, but evidence supporting hearing aids as a preventive therapy have been largely theoretical. That has changed recently, with new research just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by researchers at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux France. The study followed 3,670 adults, age 65 and older over a 25-year period.

The main findings of this ground-breaking research indicate that “Use of hearing aids attenuates cognitive decline in elderly people with hearing loss”. The study found that people treated with hearing aids for their hearing loss showed the same rate of cognitive decline as a control group with no prior hearing loss. As a contrast, people with untreated hearing loss scored significantly lower baseline scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a well-established test for determining cognitive function.

The bottom line? Hearing aids appear to have a positive effect on thinking and memory functions, by restoring communication abilities and promoting social interaction, qualities that are known to reduce isolation and resulting depression.

What does this mean to an aging population? “These results argue in favor of screening and rehabilitation of hearing disorders in elderly people,” said Prof. Amieva, a leading researcher in the Neuropsychology and Epidemiology of Aging at the University of Bordeaux, France. “We now have a set of data that is sufficiently robust to assert that hearing loss induces accelerated cognitive decline in the elderly, and hearing aids can attenuate this decline.”

Dr. Li-Korotky, AuD, PhD, F-AAA , is Board Certified in Audiology, and CEO of Pacific Northwest Audiology.

There was a Time…

…when hearing aids weren’t cool.

But that time isn’t now! The stigma of hearing loss is settling quickly into the past as hearing aids become cool. Why? Because Bluetooth technology allows hearing aids to communicate wireless with an iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch… directly or through the use of external streamers. That’s right..no wires..cool!

And you aren’t limited to IOS products! High end wireless accessories are also available with Android and Windows products. That means you can have all the benefits of wireless streaming with your favorite devises!

The bottom line: you can stream audio from Skype calls, TVs, MP3 players, smart phones, or other computing devices, or connect directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. That will let you bring the world to your hearing aids…and that is cool!

See our Brochure on new wireless technology, here.

We brought the World on November 12!

Event Collage

Pacific Northwest Audiology held a conference for the benefit of consumers on November 12 to demonstrate the new technologies for connecting hearing aids to a TV, MP3 player, smartphone, or other devices… including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

The theme of the conference was “Hearing Aids Just Got Cool”, and our intention was to show how the new connecting technologies were changing the perception of hearing loss for hearing aid users. With Apple in the mix, the old stigma associated with hearing loss is quickly disappearing into the dust of the past!

This was a very rare event because it made manufacturers accountable to consumers. Industry professionals from ReSound, Phonak, Starkey, Widex, and Lyric were on hand to present their technology approaches, followed by a panel discussion/Q&A session and individual demonstrations. There were morning and afternoon sessions, with a lunch buffet common to both.

Special conference offerings included:

  • Special discounts & risk free trials to sample the future of hearing aid connectivity
  • A coupon for FREE home support to get you connected
  • Two Kindle door prizes

We were very pleased with the turnout for the conference. Around 80 people attended, and the interaction was both lively and informative. We will definitely have more of these consumer-oriented conferences…look for one in the Spring.

 

The World In Your Hearing Aids!

The World

The days of uncool hearing aids are gone!

and the stigma of hearing loss is settling quickly into the dust of the past. That is because Apple, the symbol of cool consumer electronics, is working with hearing aid manufacturers to pair hearing aids with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch through Bluetooth wireless technology. That’s right…no wires…cool!

But what if you don’t use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?

Don’t worry! Similar technology can, or soon will achieve the same results with other operating systems, including Android and Windows. Whether it’s streaming audio from Skype calls, a TV, MP3 player, smart phone, or other computing device, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can bring the world to your hearing aids…and that is cool!

How is this new technology changing everything?

Control! Traditional hearing aids offered limited user control because the electronics and buttons were restricted to hearing aids the size of a kidney bean. But that has changed with wireless connectivity, which allows hearing aid functions to be managed…without wires…by smart phones and other devices. Cool!

What does this mean to consumers?

Among other things, wireless connections allow users to view battery status, locate their hearing aids, change the settings of their hearing aids, and quickly apply an audiologist’s environmental presets when they enter different acoustic locations. With user controls outside the hearing aids, consumers can also listen to directions from a GPS while driving, participate in phone conversations, listen to music, and use a growing list of additional functions from iOS, Android, and Windows apps. Cool!

The Bottom line?

  • Wireless connections let users adjust their hearing aid settings with a smart phone
  • Connectivity provides apps to improve the lives of people with hearing loss
  • Hearing aids are becoming desirable, even for those who don’t need them
  • The stigma of hearing loss is gone…the future is filled with better hearing opportunities
  • This is very very cool!

Pacific Northwest Audiology Is Leading The Way

Connection productsWhether it’s streaming audio from Skype calls, a TV, MP3 player, smart phone, or other computing device, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch…we have a solution just for you.

Our Special Holiday Gift through December

  • A special discount and risk free trial for you to sample the future of connectivity
  • Free home support to get you connected with our products
  • We will bring the world to your hearing aids!

 We Bring the WorldThe World in your hearing aids!

Whether it’s streaming video and audio from your TV, phone, or computing devices, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch…we have a solution just for you.

What You Need to Know About Hearing Aids

Introduction

Untreated hearing loss can damage your physical, emotional, and social health and well-being, but studies by the National Council on Aging and the Seniors Research Group indicates that wearing hearing aids can lead to impressive improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people with mild to severe hearing loss.bouncy castle for sale

This document provides essential information on hearing aids…it assumes that a comprehensive audiologic assessment was conducted to:

  • identify the type and extent of hearing loss
  • determine the need for medical/surgical treatment and/or referral to a physician
  • determine the need and motivation for audiologic rehabilitation

Once hearing aids are selected to match the type and degree of hearing loss, lifestyle choices, and budget…they will need to be fitted and adjusted. Successful hearing aid fitting is a complex process and will be covered in a separate document.

Digital Hearing Aids

Digital hearing aids use a microprocessor to convert incoming sounds into digital information. Then they analyze and adjust the sounds to suit a user’s hearing loss characteristics and listening needs. More than 70 % of fitted hearing aids contain Digital Signal Processing (DSP).

Digital hearing aids contain a growing list of hearing-enhancing features. For example, they can suppress background noise so you can hear speech better. They can also detect whether you are in a quiet or noisy environment and automatically adapt to changing conditions. Wireless technology such as Bluetooth can stream desired sounds directly to your hearing aids from many electronic devices, including cell phones, TVs, MP3 players, iPods, computers, GPS devices, FM systems, and more. Current technology trends include truly invisible, extended wear hearing aids, and models with tinnitus management programs. A more thorough discussion of Digital technology can be found here.

Levels of Technology

Digital hearing aids are available with various levels of the technology listed above, each designed to fit specific lifestyles and listening needs. For example, it makes little sense to purchase top-level technology if your lifestyle doesn’t require it. On the other hand, an active social life may dictate a higher technology level. Since higher technology levels are progressively more expensive, many people need to compromise between listening preferences and personal budgets.

Higher technology levels allow greater listening clarity, especially in challenging environments. People with active social lives may require this added flexibility to fully embrace their listening needs. Mid-level technology may be sufficient to fully accommodate the needs of moderately active people. Most people fall into this category. Basic technology will tend to limit speech clarity to relatively quiet environments. Lower technology levels may be more appropriate for less active individuals and/or budget-restricted consumers. A more thorough discussion of hearing aid features vs. lifestyle and cost can be found here.

Hearing Aid Styles

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)

The smallest hearing aid on the market. It usually requires a “removal string” due to its small size and the fact that it fits so deeply into the canal. Accommodates mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-canal (ITC)

This is slightly bigger than the CIC. It provides more options than a CIC. Accommodates mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-ear (ITE)

This fills the whole “bowl” of the ear. It may be easier to handle due to the larger size. Accommodates mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

The BTE sits behind the ear and transmits sound into the ear canal via an ear mold. One of the more flexible hearing aids. Accommodates mild to profound hearing loss.

BTE Micro

The BTE micro can be open fit or fit with a conventional ear mold. It is micro-sized for greater discretion. Accommodates mild to moderate hearing loss.

Open Fit

A small plastic case rests behind the ear, and a very fine clear tube runs into the ear canal. Inside the ear canal, a small, soft silicone dome or a molded, highly vented acrylic tip holds the tube in place. These aids offer cosmetic and listening advantages and are used typically for adults.

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)

With this BTE, the speaker of the hearing aid sits inside the ear canal providing more natural sound. Accommodates mild to severe hearing loss.

Invisible (extended wear) Hearing Aids

These hearing aids are non-surgically placed deep in the ear canal by a qualified audiologist. They are worn continuously for several months at a time without removal and then replaced with new hearing aids.. The devices are made of soft material designed to fit the geometry of the ear. They are very useful for active individuals because their design protects against moisture and earwax, and they can be worn while exercising, showering, and other daily activities.

Let the Buyer Beware

Don’t make a purchasing decision based only on price, stated technology, or emotion. Some of the low priced digital hearing aids cut important corners to reduce their price, by reducing or eliminating most of the benefits of digital technology. Also, you can’t assume high quality merely because a hearing aid is advertised as “digital”. It is possible for an analog hearing aid to produce better hearing quality than a budget digital hearing aid…and that isn’t saying much! On the other hand, high-end, high quality digital hearing aids can create a bad listening experience if they aren’t programmed and fitted correctly, or fine-tuned during follow-up visits.

There is no substitute for a well-qualified Audiologist using state-of- the-art hearing aid fitting technology with effective post-fitting counseling!

The Bottom Line

Hearing aids have become smaller and less conspicuous while offering an array of advanced features such as digital signal processing, automatic switching between listening programs, adaptive directional microphones, noise management, and remote controls. Some of these features are for convenience and ease of use, while others are designed to improve your speech understanding or listening comfort. An audiologist will work with you to find the best hearing aids for your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and personal financial goals. Information eGuides from the Better Hearing Institute can be found here

About the Author: Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), based in Bend, Oregon (see back inside cover). The Doctor is a nationally acclaimed clinician and research scientist, with AuD, PhD, and MD credentials and more than 100 scientific publications.

Need Hearing Care? Choose A Business Model!

Audiology Business Models

Introduction

You may not be aware of it…but when you choose a hearing provider you are also choosing a business model. One model works off the proposition that profits alone are the bottom line for generating future profitability. This model is exemplified by “Big Box” stores such as Costco and a legion of minimally trained hearing aid dispensers. The competing business model proposes that customer satisfaction drives customer loyalty…and customer loyalty drives profitability and growth. This business model is typified by audiologists trained in an end-to-end process of patient-centered hearing care. The following paragraphs will show that business model implementations are strongly related to the education requirements necessary to lawfully provide various audiological services. Well credentialed audiologists can pursue a full course of professional services…but less credentialed hearing aid dispensers are legally bound to a limited set of services focusing on the sale of hearing aids East Inflatables.

Audiologists

Audiologists must earn a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree. This requires 4 years of undergraduate study in Communication Sciences (speech and hearing) and an additional 4 years of specialized academic work, including high-level training in the prevention, identification, assessment, and treatment of hearing disorders. Their extensive academic credentials, professional certification, and licensure, allow audiologists to provide a full range of patient-centered care, including a thorough patient assessment, comprehensive diagnostic tests, treatment options, and post-fitting counseling. Profit is important to independent audiologists but it doesn’t generally dictate the patient process. Many of the diagnostic and counseling efforts that define the standard of patient-centered care offer low-profit margins compared to hearing aid sales…but these are critical elements of comprehensive hearing care. Take away any of the links in the patient-centered chain and you also disrupt the process of end-to-end care.

Hearing Aid Dispensers

By contrast, hearing aid dispensers, (AKA hearing aid specialists), can recommend, select, or adapt hearing aids and may alter, adjust or reconstruct hearing aid specifications for functionality, such as taking ear impressions for proper fit. Hearing aid dispensers can sell hearing aids in many states if they have a high school diploma or GED Certificate, pass a license exam, complete a brief apprenticeship with a licensed hearing aid specialist, and earn continuing education credits (usually from correspondence courses). The reduced requirements for hearing aid dispensers has led to a proliferation of clinics staffed by individuals with superficial training whose primary lawful focus is hearing aid sales…not audiological services.

ENT Physicians

An increasing number of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) physicians are using audiology as a supplementary service to boost their bottom line profits. This is accomplished by hiring audiologists and/or dispensers to administer basic audiological exams, often with dated equipment, to support their surgical requirements. Since ENT physicians focus on surgical solutions, you shouldn’t expect broad audiological support at an ENT clinic.

Corporate Hearing Centers

The market for treating hearing disorders is expanding. In response…the number of corporate hearing centers is also increasing. Why is this important? Because corporate hearing centers (many owned by hearing aid manufacturers) are motivated by bottom-line profits, and these profits are achieved through hearing aid sales…not diagnostic or rehabilitative services. Large corporations are purchasing independent practices across the country, often stripping them of important diagnostic capabilities, and staffing their new hearing centers with non-audiology staff, including hearing aid dispensers.

“Big Box” Stores

Using the power of their marketing wealth, corporate retail giants like Costco are repositioning hearing care as a commodity based solution. These stores are typically staffed by hearing aid dispensers, and their business model is dominated by profit concerns...so don’t expect a full range of audiological services at any of these Big Box giants.

The Bottom Line

Hearing aid dispensers and audiologists are both licensed to fit and program hearing aids…but that is where the similarities end. There’s a vast difference in education and training requirements between Doctors of Audiology and hearing aid specialists. This training edge allows audiologists to pursue a rigorous process of professional diagnosis, treatment (including hearing aid fitting, programming and verification), and rehabilitation. In contrast, most hearing aid dispensers work for large corporations such as Costco, and must, by law, concentrate their efforts on a narrow range of services, including hearing aid sales, fitting, and programing. It is important to understand that corporations are motivated to control the distribution of hearing care, and profit margins dictate their treatment process. They are not in the business of marketing comprehensive audiological services to consumers or exclusively using audiologists as their providers. They are “bottom liners” so they are in the business of selling hearing aids.

Choose Your Business Model

There’s an ongoing struggle between opposing business philosophies to define the scope and practice of hearing care. Most Audiologists believe hearing care should be patient-centered and managed by Doctors of Audiology. This business model emphasizes an end-to-end process of professional services, including consultation and diagnosis, hearing aid fitting and programming, validation of hearing aid functions with advanced technology such as Speech Mapping, and post-fitting counseling and rehabilitation. The opposing business model is much more focused on high profit margin sales, and is represented by hearing aid dispensers, hearing aid manufacturers, and retail giants such as Costco. Under this business model, hearing care is managed primarily by non-audiologists and hearing aid sales defines their bottom line …often at the expense of professional audiological services. Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) practices are also in the mix, as they increasingly train technicians to perform basic audiometric and vestibular testing under minimal supervision to support their primary focus of surgery. So…if you need hearing care…choose your business model!

About the Author

Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), based in Bend, Oregon. The Doctor is a nationally acclaimed clinician and research scientist, with AuD, PhD, and MD credentials and more than 100 scientific publications.