Hearing Loss
Will wearing cheap hearing aids affect your health?

Will wearing cheap hearing aids affect your health?

Hearing aids will not have any impact on the health of the body. It is not cheap hearing aids that are not good. The only thing matter is whether hearing aids are suitable or not. Of course, cheap hearing aids are not comfortable to wear. If the matching is not good, it will have an impact on deafness.

If it is big, it will be ear shattering, but if small, it will not be heard. Therefore, hearing aids must be tested and matched in a professional agent, which is suitable for your own hearing aids. Only in this way can it be helpful to wear them, and they will not become more and more deaf.

Spectacle Hearing Aids Explained

Spectacle Hearing Aids Explained

A fair number of people ask us whether we supply spectacle hearing aids; perhaps because Jamie Murray Wells, the founder of GlassesDirect, is also HearingDirect’s chairman. I guess it would seem like a neat link up between the companies! Whatever the reason for the contact, it is apparent that there is a great deal of interest in this particular hearing solution, and I hope the following will be a source of information for those searching for further explanation. 

As the name implies, spectacle hearing aids are hearing aids integrated into the frames/arms of a pair of glasses. Spectacle hearing aids are most commonly associated with ‘bone conduction’ fittings, but some ‘air conduction’ spectacle hearing aids are also available. If the terms ‘bone’ and ‘air’ conduction need further explanation, a quick anatomy and physiology lesson is required. The ear can be divided into three parts: the outer ear (which is everything outside up to the eardrum); the middle ear (an air-filled cavity containing the three tiniest bones in the human body) and then the inner ear (where sound is converted to neural impulses to be sent up the auditory nerve for further interpretation in the brain). Sound passing through all three of these areas is said to be transmitted via air conduction.

 Our inner ear can however also be stimulated directly from vibrations in the skull – this is referred to as bone conduction. Bone conduction tests are performed as part of a standard hearing test, to rule out whether a hearing loss is related to problems in the middle or outer ear. Some conditions such as a wax build up in the ear canal, or a disease of the ossicles will mean that a person will hear sounds presented via a vibrator on the mastoid bone (the section of the skull directly behind the ear) better than the same sound presented through headphones.  So, back to spectacle hearing aids: bone conduction spectacle hearing aids may therefore be used if the inner ear is completely or nearly intact, but a hearing loss is present due to a problem in the middle ear and/or the ear canal. 

Sound is picked up via a microphone in the glasses frames and the amplified output is delivered to a vibrator component which lies against the mastoid bone. Contrary to how much these spectacle hearing aids seem to be advertised, many hearing healthcare professionals will only consider fitting these if the condition of the outer ear/middle ear does not permit the use of a conventional hearing aid. Some of these conditions are as follows:

* Severe skin problems in the ear canal (e.g. eczema)
A radical operation on the middle ear has been performed
Chronic otitis media (discharge)

The ear canal is closed or extremely narrowed (stenosis)

In the above cases a well-fitted bone conduction spectacle aid does offer the possibility of a successful outcome. As the transmission of the vibrations is crucial; the fit of these spectacles must be right; and can be difficult to achieve - one of the reasons why HearingDirect do not offer spectacle aids as online purchases. Air conduction spectacle hearing aids are also available, where the sound is delivered into the ear canal; through the use of an earmould. 

The only difference compared to a more traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid is that the hearing aid components are built into the frame of the glasses. For people who wear glasses already, these can appear like ideal solutions, particularly in bone conduction spectacles where nothing is put into the ear canal. It is however worth bearing in mind that this ‘combination’ device does mean that when one’s glasses are removed for any reason, amplification is removed as well. And, any faults with the hearing aid or lenses, may mean losing out on improved hearing/vision at the same time.

Used Hearing Aids - Should You, Would You?

Used Hearing Aids - Should You, Would You?

In more recent times, especially during a difficult financial period, second hand goods have become an increasingly popular choice for a large number of people. They offer the chance to buy an otherwise expensive item at a discounted price. If the item has been well maintained and kept in good condition; this can often be a very sensible alternative to buying new. 

On the other hand however, there are items, which are always better to buy new, such as hearing aids. There are some very good reasons why people should restrain from buying used hearing aids. Here are just a few: Warranty New hearing aids, like most electronic devices, come with a full manufacturer warranty. 

If anything goes wrong during the warranty period, you can benefit from the many advantages of this service in accordance to its terms and conditions – professional advice and help, free repair of manufacturing defects, etc. No return policy Few used hearing aids vendors offer a return policy. Therefore, if you buy a second hand hearing aid privately and you are not happy with the device, you will have to keep it, even if it turns out not be the best option for you. 

On the other hand, reputable hearing aid sellers often offer 30 days return policy, which means that if you change your mind during the period, you can simply return it and get your money back. Outdated technology Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving and improving in order to provide a truly exceptional level of service to the hearing impaired. Devices are becoming better, lighter and offer more features than ever. If you purchase an old device, you may be limiting your hearing improvement due to outdated technology and also depriving yourself of the possibility to enjoy a richer, fuller sound. Damaged hearing aids When you buy a second hand device, you have to rely on the seller’s personal assurance that it is in a good condition and all of its functionalities can be used to their fullest potential. 

You also have no evidence that the previous owner has maintained the device in a proper fashion. Custom made hearing aids It is possible to end up buying a device, which was specifically made to individually fit its previous owner’s ear and this important detail may not be fully shared. It is also likely that these devices have been custom programmed to suit a very individual hearing loss and as such may provide too little or too great a volume. 

Potential diseases We would recommend properly sterilizing or replacing ear molds of used hearing aids, as they may have traces of fungus or bacteria from the previous user. However, if you are determined to buy a second hand hearing aid, there are different ways to do this. At first, we recommend to consult an audiologist, as they may advise you on what to look for and how to make the best choice. Hearing aid forums are another great option to exchange opinions with other users. They also may have a section, where subscribers offer their old devices at a discounted price. Many people sell second hand hearing aids on popular platforms, such as eBay, etc. In any case, always make such a purchase with caution and consideration and after a thorough research.

What Does 'Hearing Aid Compatible' Mean?

What Does 'Hearing Aid Compatible' Mean?

We list some Assistive Listening Devices or ‘ALDs’ on our website as being ‘hearing aid compatible'. But what is the meaning of 'hearing aid compatible'?

What Does 'Hearing Aid Compatible' Mean?
Assistive Listening Device is the industry term used to describe any product which provides extra amplification for specific environments – such as hearing better on the phone or making sure someone is alerted to their doorbell ringing. When we list a device as hearing aid compatible it means that it can link into the telecoil or loop setting of any hearing aid.

For example, on a phone such as the Clarity P300 Amplified Photo Phone, it would mean that a hearing aid wearer can listen to the person speaking via their telecoil or ‘T’ setting. You will only need to switch your hearing aid to the T position. The phone is usually automatically set to transmit to the loop within the hearing aid so you don't need to do anything on the phone.

The important thing to note is that ‘hearing aid compatible’ in the context of ALDs doesn’t imply that all ALDs will be ok to use with all hearing aids. It specifically refers to the use of a telecoil setting.

Is there any advantage to using a ‘T’ setting?
Amplified products obviously are louder, but some people find it difficult to use a phone with a hearing aid. Especially if it whistles when the phone is near to the hearing aid. Switching the hearing aid to the ‘T’ position disables the hearing aid’s microphone. This prevents any chance of feedback or whistling. Bear in mind that a telecoil option is not supplied as standard on every hearing aid, so please do check this if the ‘hearing aid compatible’ feature is of interest.

For more information read our blog post on "Making the most of your Telecoil Settings"

About Hearing Direct
We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. Hearing Direct offers a wide range of affordable products, as well as information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:

* Hearing aids,
Hearing Aid Accessories such as earplugs,

and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.

When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?

When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?

"When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?" is a question I get asked a lot.

When we originally set up HearingDirect.com one of the questions that was often asked of us and still is today, is how can your hearing aids be any good if they are so cheap? It is a difficult question as the industry has always rated how “good” a hearing aid is by its feature set. How many channels it has, how many bands, what kind of processing, what kind of algorithms, how many programmes etc., etc., all of which mean very little to the customer.

How good a hearing aid is surely measured by how satisfied a user is with it. Our hearing aids have very many good features and do compare very favourably with those available on the high street but rather than revert into a feature-set war that means little or nothing to users we had to come up with an analogy that could be easily grasped. Sure our hearing aids do not have Bluetooth connectivity so will not link up to your iPhone but is that what the customer wants and is a hearing aid that isn’t Bluetooth enabled, therefore no good?

If someone wished to buy a car to use everyday for everyday tasks, would they be better off with a Ferrari or a Ford? We know that if they bought a Ferrari they would be financially worse off but what about everyday use? For some, a hearing aid is the difference between hearing and not hearing. For others, who may have been using hearing aids for a long time, they may wish to find aids that offer greater compatibility with their lifestyle - the iphone use or the need for bluetooth connectivity.

We know you can buy an expensive hearing aid in your local high street. And you may find that if you pop into the shop you will be steered towards a more advanced hearing aid.

Our argument is that most people would be very happy and very well served by a standard hearing aid at a cost-effective price. Our hearing aids may not yet have Bluetooth but if you want to hear more clearly and improve your ability to communicate with the world around you, they can do a terrific job at a fabulous price.

Now everyone wants choice so we don’t just sell basic hearing aids, there is a selection of hearing aids available to suit most pockets and to suit most requirements. You can chose which hearing aid is right for you without any pressure.

At Hearing Direct we believe in giving you the best choice, and the best price which is why we have such a wide range of hearing aids including our own cost effective range. We also include a 30 day money back guarantee. If you are not happy with your choice, then send it back within 30 days and we'll refund you. Did I mention we also offer free shipping on many orders? Click here to check out our range of cost effective hearing aids and our growing range of hearing aid accessories.

An Idiot Abroad or how I got frustrated with restrictive hearing aid sales

An Idiot Abroad or how I got frustrated with restrictive hearing aid sales

Last week Joan and I flew to Hanover in Germany to attend the biggest Audiology trade show in Europe, so my Blog has an international traveller feel to its title. OK, so I stole it from the Ricky Gervais TV show currently on SKY but as ever with the Blog and all communication I always like to start by pointing out that this contribution is from the unqualified compared to Joan’s highly professional opinion.

The 4 a.m. start was a bit of a shocker. The 344 bus from Battersea Park Road to Liverpool Street Station was surprisingly busy. The Stansted Express was depressingly grotty – terrible first impression for people arriving in UK. German Wings was crash free but that’s the limit to the positives from their service. The only pleasant part of the journey was the taxi from Hanover Airport but this had an unpleasant sting of €50 – ouch! International travel is far from glamorous.

We went to the audiology show to see the latest innovations from the manufacturers and to ensure that we keep abreast with technology. There has been such a marked improvement since I joined the industry in the mid-nineties and we can now provide brilliant solutions to really improve the lives of people that suffer from hearing loss. So my expectation was high.

While there were undoubtedly some great hearing aids and hearing aids accessories being displayed with these shows there is always one star product that captures the spirit of the industry. This year was a hearing aid that can only be fitted by specially trained sellers. It stays in your ear for four months at a time, after which you have to go back and have it changed. There will only be 25 centres in the whole of the UK. You have to be careful and manage your life to ensure it doesn’t get damaged – no diving in the swimming pool etc. I do not know the price yet but as each seller will have to pay around £10,000 for the privilege of being an approved centre I expect that it will be ferociously expensive, and this is part of my problem.

I love an analogy and on this occasion I will use the mobile phone industry. Early phones used to be the size of a brick, cost the earth, have limited functionality and were really only the remit of the well-heeled businessman. Nowadays mobile phone can do everything except cook your breakfast, are so cheap that they often come free as part of a user package and universally used. Hearing aids used to be large, with limited functionality and expensive. On the high street they are now small, have great technology but unlike progress in the phone world are still very expensive! The reason behind the price that the industry will quote is lack of volume. Well my argument is that while they bring out their latest technology and make it available through limited outlets at an eye watering price then we will never achieve “volume”.

Our philosophy has always been to provide an alternative to the prices of the high street retailers. We sell good technology at great prices. A hearing aid that has to be specially fitted and changed every four months, does not fit with our self-help, try it at home offering. I hope that through our approach to value for money we will help more customers achieve a very satisfying outcome than all those 25 centres put together.

The RNID quote that there are 4 million people in the UK who could benefit from hearing aids. If those 4 million people wished to access this latest technology, each of the approved sellers would have to deal with 160,000 customers. It is not going to happen. Let’s develop good technology and be brave enough to provide it to everyone at affordable prices because there are 4 million people whose lives could be vastly improved.

Buying Hearing Aids: 20 Things You Should Know

Buying Hearing Aids: 20 Things You Should Know

Hearing aids are often the most effective means to manage hearing loss. Unfortunately, they will not cure your hearing loss, but rather make your hearing loss manageable provided they work well for you. In this blog post, we cover the top things you need to know before you think about purchasing one.

20 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids
So, before buying, here is a list of 20 useful things to know about hearing aids:

1. Do you really need one - If you have any doubts about your hearing, get it checked and diagnosed. You can take our free online hearing test which will indicate if you should take further action to protect your hearing.

If you already have an audiogram and you have questions about it or would like to use it for ordering purposes, then please do get in touch on email: audiology@hearingdirect.com we’d love to help!

However, most hearing aids can provide only little benefit in cases of profound hearing loss.

2. Know your rights - Although Medicare does not cover hearing aids, you can get hearing tests and other hearing services with Medicare.

Medicaid often covers hearing aids for adults. Medicaid must pay for hearing aids for children. You may qualify for Medicaid if you have a disability or do not make a lot of money.

3. Hearing centre - If you decide to purchase a device privately, you do not have to buy them at the hearing centre where your hearing test took place. Take your results and explore your options. Use the internet to research your options, it is a powerful tool.

4. Private hearing aids vary in price - Make sure to allow plenty of time to research well. Prices can vary and the difference can be in the thousands. Pay attention to over-engineered, over-priced and over-sold hearing aids on the private market.

5. Decide on the type - Hearing aids vary in the way in which they fit your ear. Some fit inside your ear, others behind and so on. Be sure to research your options. Learn more about different types of hearing aid here.

6. Understand the difference between the models - Models will often vary in terms of their functionality. Pay attention to battery life and specific compatibility which you might require such as telephone use.

7. Check the return policy - If the hearing aid does not come with a full money back guarantee, then it may be wise to look elsewhere. You should not be faced with paying for something that does not deliver tangible benefit.

8. Check for warranty - Look for devices that include a manufacturer warranty. The standard warranty is 12 months and normally can be extended nearer the expiry date.

9. You have options when buying privately - If you decide to go down the private route, hearing aids are available from high street chains and online where you will get better value for your money.

10. Hearing aids won’t make your hearing loss worse - A myth in some circles, wearing hearing aids does not make your hearing loss worse, in many cases, it can reduce the onset of hearing loss.

11. Two are better than one - Wearing two hearing aids will help manage your hearing loss better. There are many binaural benefits, in the same way as you are unlikely to buy a monocle to help with visual correction required for both eyes. We have two ears and two eyes for a reason!

12. Too loud can cause hearing loss as well - Too much amplification can damage your hearing, so it's important to have a hearing test before you buy.

13. Hearing aids can be worn with glasses - Just pay attention when removing the glasses so not to dislodge the behind the ear styles.

14. Battery life varies - The longevity of the battery will change from one device to the next and will greatly depend on how often the device is used.

15. Hearing aid batteries should not be placed in the bin - Safely dispose of batteries. Many retailers who sell batteries collect them for recycling, check with a local store.

16. Be mindful of pets - Don't let your cat get your hearing aid. Some cats and dogs seem to favor the taste of hearing aids, or object to the high-pitched noise they can make if left turned on when out of the ear. Make sure to store the device safely and away from pets.

17. Broken hearing aids can be repaired - But... if the device is outside of its warranty, consider a new one as the cost of repair can sometimes equal a new aid especially those available online.

18. Invisible hearing aids are not magic - These are merely normal digital hearing aids which fit inside the ear canal and not necessarily expensive. Be wary of those offering them for inflated prices.

19. Used hearing aids are a bad idea - They will often include outdated technology and no return policy. Don’t leave your hearing improvement to chance and buy new.

20. Keeping moisture at bay - All hearing aids can be affected by the build-up of moisture. This will stop the device from working. Make sure you store the device in room temperature conditions and if possible using desiccant storage such as the Cedis Drying Capsules and Pot Kit.