Summer 2004
Not Your Grandfather's Hearing Aid!

It can happen so gradually that at first you may not even be aware of it. But slowly you begin to notice-you don't hear as many birds singing as you used to. It's harder to make out what your grandchildren are saying. When you go out for dinner, you find yourself constantly saying "What?…What?" Your friends and family have started commenting, ever so gently, that you don't seem to be hearing well. And talking on the telephone? That's something you'd rather avoid.

Eventually it sinks in: You should be thinking about hearing aids. Which reminds you of your grandfather, and the clunky-looking, tinny-sounding appliance he wore behind his ear. Way too elderly-looking for you!

Relax. Today's hearing aids are smaller, and amazingly more effective and natural-sounding, than the one your grandfather wore.

"Some hearing aids are so small, they fit inside your ear canal. People might not even notice you're wearing one," says Carol Caldwell, AuD (Doctor of Audiology) of Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers. "They come in several sizes, so you can chose the one that's right for you. And they can be programmed to respond to your particular situation-even if that situation changes from hour to hour."

With digital technology, hearing aids can now react quickly and automatically to turn the volume down when the front door slams, and up for quiet conversations. They have multiple microphones to help you understand what someone is saying in a noisy environment. You can control the way your hearing aid processes sound as you go from one type of environment to another, or you can select a hearing aid that does it all automatically. Bottom line: This is not your grandfather's hearing aid!

The first step toward hearing better than your grandfather ever did (and looking better at the same time) is an evaluation in the office of an otolaryngologist (a physician specializing in ear, nose, and throat conditions), or by an Ahlbin Centers audiologist, who will test your hearing in several ways. The audiologist, working with your physician, will determine

what is causing your hearing loss,
how severe it is,
whether therapy, medical treatment, or surgery can improve your hearing.
whether hearing aids will help you,
and what kind of hearing aid would work best for you.

You can ask your physician to recommend an audiologist, or you can make an appointment yourself.

While Medicare does not cover hearing aids, there is a wide range of prices that will meet most people's needs. And Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers offers payment plans to qualified clients and accepts charge cards to make payment easier.

So in a few weeks, you can enjoy your bird walks again, dine out with pleasure, join in the conversation with your grandchildren, and stay in touch by telephone.

To speak to an experienced audiologist at Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers, or to make an appointment for a hearing evaluation, call (203) 336-7338.

For a referral to an expert otolaryngologist, call Bridgeport Hospital Physician Referral at 888-357-2396. English/Spanish, 24/7.