Advances In Hearing-Aid Technology Mean Options, Conveniences For Patients
Audiologist Jonathan Leiterman, Sc.D, specializes in diagnosing hearing loss and dispensing hearing instruments. He excels in providing the most technologically ad-vanced devices.
With the incredibly shrinking microchip, hearing aids have gotten smaller and continue to have functionality with Bluetooth technology.
This allows someone with hearing aids to use their cellphone, TV, ipad or iphone to help communicate with their hearing aids.
There has also been a release of technology in hearing devices that do not require batteries and are re-chargeable. This is great for patients who have dexterity issues, and for people with caretakers; so they don’t have to rely on someone changing batteries, Leiterman says.
There has also been a renewed push for LOOP systems, Leiterman says. These are systems installed in movie theaters, courts, playhouses, churches, synagogues, banks and other public areas that provide assistive listening.
The Americans for Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities require that buildings with fixed seating install the system for reverberation, as well as the desired “signal.”
Assistive listening systems, like those with Bluetooth capability, clarify sound by eliminating the negative effects of distance, noise and reverberation. Other assistive-listening devices allow for hands-free cellphone use in the car. These devices are especially timely given California’s requirement for hands-free cellphone use in cars.
Leiterman counters the stigma attached to hearing instruments— that they’re only for old people. He points out that hearing loss occurs at all ages. “If someone needs something to help them communicate, it shouldn’t be a negative thing.”
Leiterman is seeing more patients in their 30s and 40s and also onset of children with hearing loss. “With the world constantly on portable listening devices, there is more demand on the auditory system,” Leiterman says. “It is important for people to get their hearing tested annually and be aware of protecting their hearing.
“Also, there has been a huge push by big retailers to sell hearing aids. People think they’re saving money by buying cheaper technologies with minimal service,” Leiterman says.
“Although these stores offer a perceived discount, people don’t realize the care and service that goes into hearing aids. I always get patients who come in and say, ‘I bought my hearing aids at a big retailer; but I am not happy,’” Leiterman relates.
“Since I started my practice technologies have gotten smaller and more functional,” Leiterman says. The new extended-wear hearing aids are inserted into the ear for 90-120 days and then replaced. There is no battery changing.
Wearers can sleep, shower, go to the gym without taking them out and nobody knows they’re wearing hearing aids.
“These aren’t for everyone, but they provide another option for pati-ents,” Leiterman said.
What makes SoCal Hearing & Balance special, Leiterman adds, is that “it’s not a large corporation with multiple locations and long waits.” His patients always see him and get a customized personal experience from someone they know and trust. “I treat every patient like they were my own family member,” Leiterman said.
“I think it’s important for a patient that the provider knows about all different types of technologies and manufacturers, and gives the opportunity to try different technologies. Each person’s hearing loss is different and their lifestyles are different. There are a lot of factors that play into success with hearing aids, and the one major one is trust,” Leiterman said.
“People are bombarded with advertising these days and want to know what the latest stuff is, and if it will work for them. Families are getting more involved in the purchasing of hearing aids for their parents and grandparents; and I think being able to talk to someone who has grown up with technology and can demonstrate in the office how the technologies are used is a huge thing.”
Leiterman’s state-of-the-art office has all the newest technologies available for demonstration, and products for every budget.
He also offers personalized care. He sometimes visits patients’ homes when they are having problems with their hearing aids.
He also has a showcase of assistive listening devices that can be used as alternatives for TV and telephone.
Leiterman’s has been chosen among the top 250 practices in the country to become a member of Audiology Group. Audiology Group is a national organization that selects and certifies the best hearing care providers in the United States.
The organization’s “Patients For Life” program is designed to provide patients with end-to-end value that guarantees 100 percent service satisfaction. In the program, patients receive comprehensive materials that explain the testing, diagnosis and treatment options throughout the entire process.
“If people are unhappy, we’ll try something different or give a refund,” Leiterman said. “‘Patients For Life’ gives people who might be reluctant to try hearing instruments, the chance to try something out and understand how it can benefit them.”
Southern California Hearing and Balance is at 8500 Wilshire Blvd. at La Cienega. For more information, call 310-360-0332.
Leiterman has also added locations in Santa Monica and Torrance. He will soon be offering in home Looping services and will be installing Loops in public settings as well.