Hearing Aids: A Hometown Experience

Richfield, MN isn’t Rachel Reynolds’ hometown, but since being referred to Sound Hearing seven years ago, she feels her experience traveling there from Savage, MN hasn’t lacked a welcoming, hometown vibe. “Sound Hearing offers a comfortable setting,” different from a big box or hospital setting. “Dale is so knowledgeable and personable, that I instantly felt comfortable there,” Rachel shares.

Rachel first heard about Sound Hearing when a family member passed along an article featuring Dale, owner of Sound Hearing. Knowing she had a hearing evaluation and recommendation of a hearing aid for her right ear, her brother-in-law referred her to Sound Hearing confident she would feel comfortable getting a second opinion from Dale.

I instantly felt comfortable there

puppy chewed hearing aids“I purchased my first hearing aid, a Starkey Destiny from Dale. A few years later, after a hearing aid was recommended for my other ear, there was no question I’d go anywhere else.” Rachel’s experience with Dale encompasses several extraordinary stories of kindness and Dale going out of his way to show compassion. When Rachel’s family’s dog got a hold of her Starkey hearing aid, Dale was able to salvage and repair the hearing aid for a nominal cost and help her avoid buying a brand new hearing aid. Dale effortlessly builds rapport with his clients, and Rachel appreciates the focus he places on “personal relationships. Dale explains every step, answers all my questions, and goes out of the way to show kindness. You just don’t find that anywhere else.”

Dale has always remained adamant that clients’ needs come first, beginning with really listening to the client. Rachel felt that she was really heard, and that Dale went out of his way to fit her with the best hearing aid for her situation. As clients share their stories, there is a reoccurring theme that Dale doesn’t follow trends or push specific hearing aid brands. Instead, he focuses on what is right for each person as evidenced with Rachel using two different hearing aids, brands, and styles in each ear. She has a Behind-the-Ear Widex Dream in her left ear and a Starkey Destiny that has been repaired and reconfigured for her right ear. It’s what works for her, and that’s what’s important.

Avoid this Hearing Aid Scenario

Having been in the hearing industry and hearing aid business for 36 years means we’ve helped a lot of people with better hearing. It isn’t uncommon to see scenarios repeat themselves, and here’s a common one:

We often see a person who has just recently purchased a hearing aid from a franchise company that has just moved into town. Now they are looking for someone to service their hearing aid. Sound Hearing would absolutely love to take care of them, program their hearing aids, and give them the best service in the Twin Cities. The problem is, they have a hearing aid that can only be programmed at that franchise. OUCH! It’s now too late to find out that they are locked into one provider and don’t have the freedom to go elsewhere if they are unhappy with the services provided. Sadly, Sound Hearing is forced to send them away to get their hearing aids programmed. We know that while they are getting their hearing aids programmed, they will be “sold” all kinds of propaganda about why they need new aids and how they could buy all kinds of (unnecessary) service. That’s heart breaking!

Are Hearing Aid Brands a Consideration?

Admittedly, Sound Hearing has our favorite products and brands that we like to fit and have become familiar. However, you may have a hearing loss or need the kind of hearing aid that one manufacturer doesn’t excel in. As an independent provider, we will know of a manufacture that makes the product that will work best for you. We will be more than happy to make that recommendation.

Since this blog post was developed by Sound Hearing Instruments, of course we will promote Sound Hearing and encourage you to contact us. However, knowing this can be read as far away as China, and as close as Richfield, this information is meant to be helpful no matter where you live.

Tips for Choosing Where to Buy Hearing Aids

With all the variables that you, the consumer has to look at, how can you possibly know where to buy the  right hearing aid? You are not alone. Many people have questions about what to look for and where to buy hearing aids. Here are our best tips to help you

4 Tips for Choosing Where to Buy Hearing Aids

  1. The Five Year Test: Most, but not all practices that have been in existence over five years probably are qualified. In Minnesota, where Sound Hearing is located, we are regulated by a pretty good system governed by the Minnesota Department of Health. To be a practitioner, you have to be trained and tested in competencies and further your education each year with a required number of CEU’s. Peers and consumers help to regulate the industry by filing grievances or reporting illegal activities as they see inappropriate behavior take place. Should a practitioner fail to follow regulations required by law, most likely they are not practicing after five years. By this time they have been asked to discontinue practicing, or consumers have heard about the reputation of the practice and the business runs its course into non-existence.
  2. Question Your Provider: Make sure you have an opportunity to ask questions and find out about who is fitting your ears with hearing aids. Like any major purchase, you want to be acquainted with the provider and have a good, comfortable connection with them. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t buy anything. It sounds like common sense, but our “Minnesota Nice,” genetics sometimes gets in the way of our best interest, so we buy from the provider because it’s the nice thing to do.
  3. Value the Relationship: Purchasing a hearing aid is the beginning of a relationship with the practitioner. You will be seeing this person for cleaning, maintenance, repairs, reprogramming, re-testing of hearing, batteries, and of course, at Sound Hearing Instruments, cookies on Fridays! You want to be comfortable with the person you work with. You want them to know your hearing and know your unique environments that you participate in. You don’t want a person who will be gone in ten months and has taken the money with them. You also don’t want the tire sales person from the other side of the warehouse to be fitting you with a hearing aid.
  4. Verify Commitment to Service and Follow: Make sure you’re comfortable with the person who you are trusting with your hearing. They are the person who you will be relying on for a long time. If you select a provider who works with multiple manufacturers and is not locked into the franchise model, you have freedom to go where you want after your hearing aid purchase. This means, if you just moved from Florida, and you purchased your hearing aid from a provider who works with all the favorite companies in the industry, you can come to Sound Hearing. We will test your hearing, clean your aids, repair them, program them and you will walk out of our office knowing you’ll be taken care of for months and years to come and not be over-charged.

Sound Hearing values each person’s individual needs and unique situation. We will help you find the correct hearing aid, not by price, brand, or trend, but because it is the right one for you. Sometimes you just want to talk things through, and we’ll be happy to do that with you!

Don’t be disappointed with the hearing device you buy. You may be interested in the article, “The Right Hearing Aids for Less”.

Buy Hearing Aids: The Right Hearing Aids for Less

There are hundreds of hearing aids on the market backed by companies that make wonderful promises about their features and benefits, but the truth is, there is only ONE that is right for your unique needs.

Don’t be disappointed with the hearing device you buy

Buying the wrong hearing technology is common when consumers purchase without the professional, thoughtful guidance of a hearing aid professional. The result leaves them disenchanted by both their buying experience and end product. It’s saddening to know that many of these consumers will simply assume that nothing can be done about “their hearing”. Our mission to make sure we help as many people as possible avoid this scenario and save them from a lifetime of sacrificing lifestyle choices simply because they can’t hear in the environments of their choice

Sound Hearing Will Help You Cut Through the Noise

  • Hearing aids are not cookie cutter solutions
  • Not every hearing aid is designed for every hearing loss.
  • Not every technology is designed for every lifestyle.
  • Not every style and shape of hearing aid is designed for every person.
  • Not every brand or manufacturer has a hearing aid that will solve everyone’s need.

You have a unique hearing loss and unique needs. Your friend’s hearing aids won’t work in your ears. A hearing device you purchase at a big box store or via television, without a hearing evaluation and professional consultation, is the equivalent of purchasing dentures through the same medium. You want to buy hearing aids from someone you can trust, and Sound Hearing can help!

Hearing Aid Battery FAQ

Sound Hearing aims to provide the information you need about anything related to hearing aids and better hearing. The following FAQs will hopefully provide you with the answers you seek about hearing aid batteries, but always feel free to contact us with your questions. Our team is ready to help!

hearing aid battery faqHearing Aid Battery FAQ ‘s

Does Sound Hearing supply hearing aid batteries? Yes, when you purchase a hearing aid through Sound Hearing, your first year of batteries are free!

Does Sound Hearing sell hearing aid batteries? Yes, we sell batteries at a lower cost than what you pay our competition (including online battery suppliers) so make sure you check with us first. Need batteries? Let us know with this form.

How much can I expect to pay for a hearing aid battery? A typical package of 8 batteries is $5.00

If I am traveling and need to purchase hearing aid batteries elsewhere, where can I buy them? Most commercial retailers that sell commodity items sell hearing aid batteries, such as Walgreens, Target, grocery stores, Menards, etc.

What brand of hearing aid battery do you recommend? For the most part, Rayovac has made the best hearing aid battery, and Sound Hearing strongly recommends Rayovac hearing aid batteries over other brands.

How can I get the most life out of my hearing aid batteries? Hearing aid batteries are activated by oxygen mixing with the zinc in the battery. A sticker is placed on the battery when it is manufactured. Once the sticker is pulled off, the battery begins to charge. It is best to wait 5 minutes after the sticker has been pulled, so the battery will get a full charge. If you use the battery before the 5 minutes, you can lose a substantial amount of life on the battery.

Is there anything I can do to prematurely deplete the lifespan of my hearing aid battery?Yes, if you pull the sticker off the battery more than 5 minutes before you are ready to start a using a new battery, it will start to deteriorate and lose its shelf life before you are ready to use it. If your hearing aid is not working and you try a new battery, don’t keep changing batteries to see if it will work. The problem is more likely the hearing aid rather than the battery.

What is the average lifespan of a hearing aid battery? Shelf life on batteries is 3-4 years, assuming the sticker has not been pulled off the battery. Once the sticker is pulled, based on 12 hours of use per day, a typical size 312 hearing aid battery should last a week. Smaller batteries like number 10 batteries will last 3-4 days. Larger batteries like number 13 batteries will last closer to 2 weeks.

How do should I dispose of hearing aid batteries? As of October 1 2015, all hearing aid batteries will be mercury free. Hearing aid batteries will be completely safe to throw in the garbage. They are biodegradable.

Is there such a thing as rechargeable hearing aid batteries? Some companies have rechargeable batteries, but they are not yet perfected to provide value to the consumer. Soon we will be seeing a company, new to the industry, that will provide a better solution to rechargeable batteries; This company is designing a battery that does not require a specific device to recharge that battery, but will only work with certain manufacturers. Their product is designed to work as a generic charger and a better battery that will work with most hearing aid manufacturers.


Why I Decided on Widex Hearing Aids

widex hearing aids reviews by customerA customer of Sound Hearing recently shared why he switched to Widex hearing aids, and you’ll be surprised by the reason. “I’ve known Dale at Sound Hearing forever. I bet I’ve been trusting him for hearing aid help for over twenty years,” says MT. “I consistently look to Dale for recommendations, knowing that taking advantage of his expertise and hearing aid knowledge is in my best interest. Dale avoids fads. I want the best in hearing aid technology, so every four years or so I visit Sound Hearing to upgrade.” When Dale asks how he can help, MT tells him to select the best product for his needs. “You tell me, Dale” MT tells him. “The reason I switched to Widex hearing aids was two-fold; first, the technology was right for my needs, and second, Dale recommended them. I trust Dale.”

“I am able to hear word pronunciation better (with Widex) without losing other sounds around me.”

“When Dale suggested I try Widex hearing aids, I was able to tell an immediate difference. For me, I feel the words (people speaking) are clearer. I am able to hear word pronunciation better without losing other sounds around me. Other hearing aids don’t necessary allow me to have both, but with Widex hearing aids, I do!” MT has appreciated the technology of several other hearing aid manufacturers over the years as technology has advanced. He has had very good experiences with Starkey and Phonak hearing aids. However, right now for his specific hearing needs and technology available, Widex is the right choice. Dale, and his team at Sound Hearing is always focused on customer needs, knowing that each person is different and that it’s critical to listen to their needs.

“The thing about Dale and his team is that they know hearing aids. It is their primary and sole focus, so the staff is very customer oriented. They truly care about my needs, and I am confident they won’t take advantage of me or anyone else. When a hearing aid breaks down, and they do, Sound Hearing is right there to fix it and make it right without nickel and diming. Dale really knows how to take care of his customers. I strongly encourage anyone seeking hearing advice or hearing aids to contact Sound Hearing. I guarantee you that you can’t go anywhere else with a question or problem and get immediate assistance like you’ll get at Sound Hearing. With Dale’s knowledge of hearing aid technology and onsite hearing aid repair lab, I feel like I get instant attention when I stop in.”

Do you have a story or hearing aid experience to share with us that will help others? Let us know!

Pulsatile Tinnitus: What is it?

pulsatile tinnitusWhile Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that can result from a wide range of known and/or unknown causes, pulsatile tinnitus refers to an identifiable cause to the ringing sensation. Furthermore, the cause of pulsatile tinnitus is likely a physical sound, unlike non-pulsatile tinnitus that is usually a perceived sound. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears effects about one in every five people, so it is quite common.

We do know that hearing loss is one of the main causes of tinnitus, and anything that reduces hearing such as ear wax build up, ear infections, etc can make tinnitus worse. There is treatment for tinnitus and hearing aids is often a solution, but first anyone experiencing tinnitus needs to have proper medical diagnosis.

Sound Hearing has helped many people with tinnitus treatment, and we can help you understand what to do next. It’s important that you find the peace and tranquility you deserve.

Are There Waterproof Hearing Aids?

waterproof hearing aids possible and careWhile technology continues to astound and hearing aids have advanced considerably, they are not 100% waterproof. It’s helpful to know how to get the most out of your hearing aids and protect them from water damage. Today’s hearing aids are water resistant, which is quite different than saying that they are waterproof hearing aids.

Living active, healthy lifestyles while at home, work, and leisure means coming in contact with activities and weather than can be challenging to the protection of hearing aids. Humid weather, rain, swimming, and perspiration are all common situations for everyone.

While hearing aids are not waterproof, there are a few tricks you can use to protect them from moisture or perspiration.

  1. Try to be as careful as possible to keep hearing aids dry. Avoid wearing them in extreme wet conditions or activities.
  2. If the hearing aids have been exposed to moisture or you think they may have been, store them overnight in a sealed container with uncooked minute rice. This method seems overly simple, but it can be quite effective. The rice will draw out moisture.
  3. For hearing aids worn behind or on top of the ear, take a preventative approach prior to exercising. Use your finger to rub a little antiperspirant behind the ear before using the hearing aid. This will help protect and prevent perspiration from coming in contact with the hearing aids.

Why Aren’t There 100% Waterproof Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are comprised of incredible electronics with impressive computing capabilities. The piece that has the tiny microphone used for hearing sound waves needs to have an opening, even if extraordinarily tiny. This is how sound is transmitted to the computer chip in the hearing aids. As much of the remaining portion of the hearing aids is as waterproof and water resistant as possible, but they can’t be 100% waterproof.

Sound Hearing is here to answer any of your questions and help with any needed repairs. Don’t wait to contact us if you are concerned about the condition of your hearing aids.

Another Landmark Hearing Aid Emerges: Widex

Having worked in the hearing aid industry over 36 years, I am honored to watch new technology emerge that helps millions of people live happy, healthy lives. During this time, there have been a handful of hearing aids that have stood out as truly revolutionary and extraordinary. These hearing aids were each unique in their own way, and looking back, they’ve set a standard for manufacturers to build upon. I’ve found another landmark hearing aid, Widex, which many manufacturers are benchmarking for their own technology, and I would like to share a piece of the history that makes this finding so noteworthy.

Hearing Technology Evolves Around the User Experience

I’ve been working in the hearing industry since 1979, and 3M™ was briefly in the industry in the late 1980’s with their model “Memory Mate.” It was a two channel hearing aid with eight separate memories. This allowed a consumer to choose between eight selections of sound designed specifically for environments the consumer typically would experience. It also kept track of how long the consumer would use the hearing aid and how long they spent in each memory. This data logging system and multiple memory programming has carried on even in today’s hearing aids. Ironically, we found people would only use one or two memories and the remaining six would be forgotten or really didn’t sound much different than the two they used most often. What was impressive was the fact that having these choices allowed the consumer to be the driver of the sound. It gave them more control, and they could find the sound they preferred rather than having it set and being told, “this is the setting for you.”

Hearing Innovations Advance to Help More People

3M™ sold the hearing aid division to a new company called ReSound in the mid 1990’s. ReSound already was making a strong mark in the industry, and when they took over the 3M™ product it made ReSound even stronger. I still see some hearing aids that were built during this era and they still have a soft spot in my heart. I don’t think there was a better hearing aid on the market at the time, although there was close competition with another new company called Sonic Innovations. I liked both companies because they were innovative, made a solid product and it allowed people to hear well.

These hearing aids carried a strong presence in the industry until one of the older companies came out with a product that leapfrogged all the others with their new developments. In 2006, Starkey Labs (Now Starkey Hearing Technologies) introduced the Destiny 1200 that seemed to magically control background noise and clarify close up speech like no other model in the industry.
Soon other companies had their own competitive models and we could count on most all the leading companies to work well in difficult environments.

landmark technology widex hearing aids reviewThose Who Wear Widex Hearing Aids Give Approval

Today I am happy to have found another landmark hearing aid that many manufacturers are benchmarking for their own technology. For the last year and more, we have been fitting a majority of our products from Widex. When consumers honestly give me feedback that is noticeably telling, I take careful notice. Our patients have been commenting far more about the Widex products than what I have been hearing since 2006. The hearing aids are fantastic, and patients are writing emails, sending texts and calling to let me know they are in meetings, plays, concerts, restaurants, church and many other environments and the sound is allowing them to engage in the events they have been missing. Once again, I feel we are fitting products that are exceptional. Your voice is what convinces me.

If you have been wearing the same hearing aids for 5 years or more, it might be time to try Widex. Call (612) 824-8698 to make an appointment to find out what makes these products that much better. You can also fill out this online form anytime, and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible to schedule an appointment

Sound Hearing Launches Newsletter

The advancements in hearing technology are astounding. It is important that our customers be kept up-to-date on what matters most, and we’re committed to providing helpful news and resources to help people are able to live healthy, active lifestyles.

Sound Hearing will be launching its first electronic newsletter filled with hearing aid news, reviews, helpful tips for maintaining hearing aids, interesting products and stories, and more.

If you’d like to get on our e-newsletter mailing list, add your name and email to the sign-up at the right.

If you have topics you’d like covered in our newsletter or on our blog, fill out our contact form. We appreciate your thoughts on what would be helpful to you as a customer or as a family member of someone with hearing loss.