LIVE: Jennifer Laborde and Margaret Richards Discuss OTC Hearing Devices

05/07/2021 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources | 0 comments

Just recently, we got the chance to present on TV on our own new show.

Combining the expertise of Jennifer Laborde and Margaret Richards, we discuss all things hearing, including the treatment, diagnosis, myths, and what to do about it.

From our many years of practicing, we have learned one thing. Understanding you have a hearing loss can take time.

And with a plethora of information available on the internet, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. That’s where we come in.

On this show, we discuss OTCs, obstacles, and hearing aids, as well as key advice from our 20 years of practicing.


== Prefer to read rather than watch? The transcript below is for you. == 

We’re very excited to talk to you today about the treatment of hearing loss. If you’ve seen our show in the past, you’ve heard us talk about new technology very often and the services we offer at the Medical Center Clinic.

But one of the integral parts of our practice is the treatment of hearing loss. For many people, regardless of the etiology of the hearing loss or the degree of their hearing loss, the primary treatment is hearing aids.

There’s so much information out there, especially because healthcare has become so consumer-driven that it can be difficult to weed through.

But having a professional, like us, who have been to school for a very long time, is the best starting point.

There’s a big misconception that you can just treat hearing loss with a device. Many factors go into hearing loss and properly treating it; it is so much more than just hearing aids.

So Why is Hearing Loss Such a Problem?

Because they don’t realize they have a problem.

Speaking from personal experience, I had no idea I had a hearing loss before I decided to go into the field of audiology. And once I was then able to hear some of the tones we use to test patients, then I realized I had a problem.

That’s why on average, it takes 5-7 years from the initial diagnosis of hearing loss to the follow-up of treatment.

So, we really just try to educate the community as much as possible to combat that because early prevention is key when it comes to hearing loss.

Touching on what we said earlier, there’s such a heavy focus on the technology itself. It’s not just the device that treats hearing loss, but it’s the professional service that goes along with two key components in a successful hearing aid fitting, validation, and verification.

A New Type of Device

So, the government recognized that there are these obstacles to accessing healthcare for so many Americans.

In August 2017, a legislation was passed that actually approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids.

At first, there was a little bit of hesitancy, as we wanted to know what those parameters were going to be for people who could potentially fit based on a perceived loss.

But it’s also exciting to know that over-the-counter hearing aids could take away a little bit of the stigma.

We plan to educate the community about what options are out there at the Hearing Center.

If you do choose a direct-to-consumer, over-the-counter, personal sound amplifier device, the knowledge and expertise that we have in hearing treatment is essential, and we can still fit into that picture.

Personal Sound Amplifier 

They generally amplify in an omnidirectional mode; they’re amplifying all around, and they have a particular frequency response.

Everyone has a different hearing ability, not only in terms of loudness, but some people may have a mild hearing loss or more severe hearing loss and configuration.

By configuration, we mean which frequencies do you hear better?

With some PSAs, they have a particular frequency response that may amplify certain frequencies that don’t address any of the other frequencies.

When you’re going to consider something like a PSAP, it’s helpful to have any type of Bluetooth connectivity, as it could help connect to the phone and just help with better stereo sound.

Maybe you’re a business owner, and you’re on the phone a lot.

You might have normal hearing, but you need something to help with better clarity on the phone no matter what environment you’re in. PSAPs could work well in those types of situations.

What We Have Learned

Over the past year, we have had many patients show up to our clinic disappointed in their device. They say it didn’t work for them, or it wasn’t reprogrammed to their hearing status at all.

Unfortunately, this might be their first introduction to a hearing device.

When you look into these types of options, you also have to consider what type of care you like to receive, if you like to be seen by an audiologist, and many other factors.

Of course, we will be with you every step of the way, no matter what you choose.

And there you have it – you’re all caught up! Thanks for listening.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Jennifer LaBorde Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Jennifer LaBorde is an audiologist who has been in practice since 1999. She has a Masters in Communication Disorders from University of South Alabama, Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Mississippi, a Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology.
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