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Matching your hearing aid to your lifestyle

Superior Hearing Aid Center of Hancock offers latest technology in customized hearing instruments

July 7, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist Tammy LaBeske has been making a difference in the lives of her patients by fitting them with the right hearing aid and backing it up with service.

When patients arrive at Superior Hearing Aid Center in Hancock for their initial exam, LaBeske begins the evaluation by asking about their hearing history.

"I need to know about noise exposure, ear health and your family's hearing history," she said.

Article Photos

Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist Tammy LaBeske displays two different styles of hearing aids in her palms at Superior Hearing Aid Center in Hancock.

Next, LaBeske performs a video otoscope exam in which she examines the inner ear to determine whether the patient's hearing may be affected by wax blockage or other elements. Utilizing the video otoscope, she is able to show patients the inside of their ear, point out their eardrum and explain the wax inside their ear.

"Then we do a pure-tone hearing test, which consists of an air conduction test (hearing through your ears) and a bone conduction test (hearing through the vibrations in your head)," she said.

After that, LaBeske performs a speech assessment in which she reads words aloud and asks the patient to repeat them back to her.

Following the evaluation, LaBeske discusses her findings with the patient and asks questions about the patient's lifestyle.

"Whether you're active and on the go or living life at a more leisurely pace, we figure out what hearing aid you need based on your lifestyle," she said.

There are a few things to consider when selecting a hearing aid.

First is style. For some, a small, in-the-canal hearing aid works best. Others may prefer a small, over-the-ear style.

Once patients decide on a style, LaBeske discusses technology.

"Some people need background reduction, whistle cancellation, special telephone features," she said. "We select the features and technology based on your needs."

Once patients are fitted with the right hearing aid, they're asked to wear their hearing aids on a full-time basis for one week and, in the meantime, keep a list of likes and dislikes about their new hearing aids.

"This is where the customizing happens," LaBeske said. "My patient may tell me certain sounds are too sharp, paper is too noisy, speech may still not be clear enough. It takes just a few clicks of a mouse and I can reprogram their hearing aids with my computer, to be customized to work the way they want them to. No more putting up with whistling hearing aids, distortion, background noise. We can take care of all that. Hearing aids have come a long way."

Every three years, LaBeske mails a postcard to her patients reminding them it's time for their re-evaluation. During the exam, she finds out how the patient's hearing has changed.

"Then I can reprogram the hearing aid for where their hearing loss is at that day," she said. "All of a sudden, your hearing aids are updated, you're hearing better again and so we go another three years and we do the same thing again."

Hearing aids can be customized and changed as patients' hearing changes.

LaBeske said she prides herself on service.

"It's one thing to be fitted with the right hearing aid," she said. "It's another when your hearing aid works for you. That is what I do. I make sure that your hearing aid works the way that you need it to."

Along with encouraging follow-up appointments, LaBeske said she welcomes patients to bring their hearing aids in for cleaning, free of charge.

"I want to make sure their hearing aids are working well," she said. "Repairs are expensive so we work hard not to have that happen."

LaBeske, who has been working at Superior Hearing Aid Center for the past five years, said she loves what she does because of the relationship she has with her patients.

"I love to see the progress," she said. "When I can help somebody hear their little grandchild it makes a big difference."

Superior Hearing Aid Center is located at 422 Quincy St. in Hancock. For more information, or to set up an appointment, call 483-0356 or (800) 468-9192.

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Superior Hearing Aid Center of Hancock. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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