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Education/FAQ

Answers for your hearing related questions.

Hearing aids are an investment. We will be happy to discuss what is most appropriate for you at your free hearing test. During the hearing test you will gain an in-depth understanding of your hearing. If you wear hearing aids, we will ask if your current hearing aids are meeting or not meeting your needs. You will also learn, in-detail, how hearing engineering might benefit you.

The price you pay for the hearing aid consists of:

  • The cost of the hearing aid to us
  • Our ongoing hearing engineering services
  • Maintenance services for the life of the hearing aids

Unfortunately, today’s practitioners are not trained with sound-engineering skills. The hearing aid measurement instrumentation we use is not available at other offices.

If you do purchase hearing aids elsewhere, we recommend that the hearing aids pass our Whisper and Hearing-in Noise Tests.

Besides our Whisper and Hearing-in Noise Tests, take the hearing aids off in every setting where you have difficulty. Determine if the hearing aids bring you to a level of hearing equal to normal hearing individuals.

Individuals with poor speech intelligibility scores will have a much harder time understanding speech in real-life situations than those with normal scores.

The Hearing Engineer must customize the hearing aids special sound-processing features to the individual’s unique capabilities. Controlling the full spectrum of sound, optimizing directional microphone, and speech-in-noise managing features, a speaker’s voice can be enhanced to an individual’s best advantage.

We offer a trial period that exceeds the 45-day period mandated by the state of California. We will extend your trial to give you all the time you need to evaluate the hearing aid before making a purchase. Do not keep a hearing aid if it does not add significantly to your quality of life. If you decide not to purchase the hearing aid, you will be fully refunded.

Most people replace their hearing aids every 5-10 years.

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"Hearing Loss" Vs "Hearing Impairment"

The most common complaint of those with a hearing deficit is not, “I can’t HEAR sound” but rather, “I hear the SOUND, but I don’t understand the WORDS, especially in noisy places.” Conventionally fitted aids don’t solve the problem. Difficulty understanding conversations persists.

Tone Hearing Test at Hearing Engineering in Walnut Creek, CA

Dr. Gil Magilen makes a clear distinction between “hearing loss,” the loss of audibility of sound, and “hearing impairment,” loss of the abilities to understand WORDS and to clearly separate the speaker from surrounding noise.

The root of the problem individuals face is not their “hearing loss” per se; it is their brain’s difficulty in turning sound into meaningful words. Hearing WORDS requires three indispensable components: audibility of sound, neural processing and cognitive processing.

When sounds are made audible they become available to be processed into words. The neural processing transforms the sound into information that can be used by the brain to make words. The cognitive processing puts the correct word to the sound that was spoken. The end result is the experience of “hearing words.”

When a person acquires a loss of audibility for soft sound, it creates a challenge to the cognitive processing of the brain to make up for the loss of information.

The hearing-impaired experience great difficulty with speech spoken quickly even when it is spoken loudly. The words seem to blur and run together, making it difficult to separate the speech stream into meaningful words. Understanding words is far more complex than hearing sound.

There are other factors affecting the ability of the hearing-impaired to understand spoken material. The pitch of the speaker’s voice, acoustic reflections from walls, background noise and topic familiarity can all significantly impact speech comprehension. The hearing-impaired often require face-to-face communication in which the movement of the lips, jaw and mouth aid in the process of decoding the spoken message. However, this cognitive-sensory integration demands considerable mental effort and may leave the listener exhausted.

Seniors on a walk talking about hearing loss

The likelihood of hearing impairment increases as a person ages. It is far more common among those over 70 than among the young or middle-aged. Compounding the hearing problem is the challenge of recalling words from memory. Hearing and memory work together to decode spoken language. Conventionally fitted aids don’t solve the problem, and people still find difficulty understanding conversations.

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