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Hearing FAQ

Hearing FAQ

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How does the Lions AHAP program work?
A Lions club decides the income eligibility of a person with a hearing impairment, and the person is tested by a hearing care professional. After the level of hearing loss is determined and proper forms are complete, the Lions club sends the order to Lions AHAP, which notifies Rexton, Inc., the hearing aid manufacturer. The hearing aid(s) are then shipped directly to the hearing care professional listed on the order form. The hearing care professional contacts the person to fit them for their brand new Rexton hearing aid(s).

Individuals cannot apply directly to LCIF for AHAP; he/she must be sponsored by his/her local Lions club.

What are the criteria for eligibility?
The criteria for eligibility are income-based. Lions Clubs can use the federal government's poverty guidelines and adjust it to the local economy. The hearing aids are for the segment of the population who would never be able to purchase hearing aids.

I understand the hearing care professional needs cables and a software program to fit the aid. Where do I get the cables and software?
If the hearing care professional doesn't have Rexton or Siemens cables, check the corresponding boxes on the hearing aid order form and these will be provided one-time free of charge.

The Rexton hearing aids have t-coils. What is a t-coil?
It is a small coil of wire in the hearing aid, which allows the hearing aid to pick up signals directly. A t-coil is an effective way to communicate on a telephone and with assistive listening devices. Though hearing aids are effective, many hearing aid users still experience difficulty hearing in various situations. For these individuals, assistive listening devices prove invaluable in helping to lessen the difficulties.

How does the hearing care professional “program" or "fit" the hearing aid?
A programmable hearing aid contains a tiny computer. Software on a desk computer sends information to a Hi-Pro box, which forwards the information to the aid.

What is "adjusting" to hearing aids?
Hearing aids help individuals hear better but do not cure hearing loss. First time users think hearing aids are like eyeglasses: put them on and the world is clear. This doesn't happen. The brain needs time to relearn to hear, process new sounds and become familiar with sounds it hasn't heard in years. The user needs to allow 30 to 90 days or even longer to become comfortable with the aid.

What are the types of hearing loss?
When someone loses hearing, the sounds are not only softer but speech sounds fuzzy. Noise and distance exaggerate the loss. Hearing loss is due to damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. The sensory deprivation causes the brain to lose the ability to process sound.

Hearing loss is measured by the degree of loudness a sound must attain before being detected by an individual. It is common for a person to have more than one degree of hearing loss. The levels of hearing loss are identified as mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound.

  • Normal hearing: 0 to 25 decibels (dB)
  • Mild: for adults it is between 25 and 40 dB for children the loss is 15 and 40 dB
  • Moderate: it is between 41 and 55 dB
  • Moderately severe: it is between 56 and 70 dB
  • Severe: it is between 71 and 90 dB
  • Profound: this loss is 90 dB or greater

What is an audiogram?
An audiogram is a graph showing the results of a person's hearing test, which demonstrates how well the person can perceive different sound frequencies.  Hearing care professionals use the audiogram to program hearing aids.

What is a hearing aid dispenser?
Licensed to prescribe and dispense hearing aids, a hearing aid dispenser is either an audiologist or a board certified hearing instrument specialist.

What is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a university-educated specialist who diagnoses and treats hearing problems for individuals of all ages. Since 2007 audiologists are required to have a doctoral degree in audiology from an accredited university. Audiologists may also carry national board certification. All states require licensing.

What is a board certified hearing instrument specialist (BC-HIS)?
A board certified hearing instrument specialist is a hearing aid dispenser who has passed the National Competency Examine. The dispensing trainees must work under the supervision of licensed hearing aid dispensers for 2 years before being eligible to take the exam.

Why go back to the hearing care professional a few weeks after getting the aids?
Hearing aids are adjusted to fit a person's life style.  After wearing the aids for a while, the user identifies areas where there is difficulty in hearing. The hearing care professional adjusts the hearing aid accordingly. This often takes more than one follow-up visit (usually at no charge).

Why should I see an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor?
Some types of hearing loss can be medically corrected. Hearing care professionals are not qualified to decide what is medically treatable. The decision is made by an ENT, a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders.  Many states require people to see a medical doctor before purchasing hearing aids.

Why do I need annual hearing check-ups?
The check-ups identify any changes in a person's hearing. Programmable hearing aids are adjusted to the new loss. Non-programmable hearing aids may need to be replaced. The check-ups also allow for maintenance of the hearing aid. Brittle and yellow tubes are replaced and sometimes the ear molds are replaced. The hearing care professional also gives the hearing aid a thorough cleaning to extend its life.

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