Mid-Michigan's Most Trusted Audiology Expert:
Bieri Hearing Specialists
Why they are an Expert...
Restoring the Joys of Hearing in Your Life!
TRUSTED FOR 60 YEARS!
Our journey began in 1952 with Gottlieb Bieri & his wife, Marie Bieri who decided they wanted to help others like his parents, Helen & Gottlieb Sr. Bieri who had met at the Flint School for the Deaf in the early 1900's. Gottlieb was inspired to seek out technology that would help not only his parents, but others to enjoy life to its fullest and to interact easier with family, social situations and work environments.
Gottlieb and Marie Bieri's daughter, Cathy Bieri Ryan, Au.D./Doctor of Audiology continues the legacy as President of Bieri Hearing Specialists. It is her goal that everyone with a hearing impairment receives care form a knowledgeable and caring staff so that they may live a better life.
Marie Bieri, now age 92, has continued to work at our Saginaw location and still enjoys talking with our patients while they wait to see their Audiologist.
The family tradition continues with Cathy's son, Shaun Ryan, who received his Hearing Aid Salespersons license from the State of Michigan.
Presently, Bieri Hearing Specialists has 5 locations in Saginaw, Frankenmuth, Midland, Bay City and Clare. Home services are available for home-bound patients and hearing clinics are held at several local senior centers.
We accept all eligible insurance, major credit cards and have affordable payment plans.
At Bieri, we offer a 30-day return policy on hearing aid fittings and a standard one year warranty on hearing aids, with a extended two or three year option available.
Today's hearing aid technology can improve not only your life but the lives of the people who care about you. Once again, you'll be able to hear the reason for their laughter and understand conversations.
Bieri Hearing Specialists' experienced professionals will customize a hearing improvement program to meet your unique requirements... whatever they are. Call or email us for an appointment and let us show you how. You don't have to miss hearing the joys of life any longer.
Bieri Hearing Specialists offer: hearing evaluations, hearing screenings, hearing aids, hearing aid repairs, service, consultations, hearing aid trials, demonstrations of the latest hearing aid technology, speech maping, video otoscopy, and hearing aid batteries.
Questions and answers
Q: Are ALDs Only for People Using Hearing Aids?
A: No. People with all degrees and types of hearing loss — even people with normal hearing can benefit from assistive listening devices. Some assistive listening devices are used with hearing aids; some are used without hearing aids.
Q: What is Tinnitus?
A: Tinnitus is an abnormal perception of a sound reported by a patient but is unrelated to an external source of stimulation. Tinnitus is a very common disorder affecting over 50 million people in the United States. It may be intermittent, constant or fluctuant, mild or severe, and may vary from a low roaring sensation to a high pitched sound. It may or may not be associated with a hearing loss. It is also classified further into subjective tinnitus (a noise perceived by the patient alone) or objective (a noise perceived by the patient, as well as another listener). Subjective tinnitus is common; however, objective tinnitus is relatively uncommon. The location of tinnitus may be in the ear(s) and/or in the head.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are many types of hearing aids today and the type of hearing aid is dependent upon both the style chosen and technology chosen.
Styles of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology, miniaturization of the digital electronic part and a fresh focus on design among the hearing aid manufacturers. Many of today's hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative - offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.
When selecting style the following is considered:
•The degree of the hearing loss (power requirements)
•Manual dexterity abilities
Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) - The smallest custom hearing aids made, CICs sit deeply and entirely inside the ear canal. They usually require a "removal string" due to their small size and the fact that they fit so deeply into the canal. They fit a mild to moderate hearing loss and offer a high cosmetic appeal.
In-The-Canal (ITC) - The in-the-canal hearing aids sit in the lower portion of the outer ear's bowl and are slightly larger than a CIC hearing aid. Because of their slightly larger size, they often have a longer battery life than CICs and are available with more options depending upon the size of ear. They fit a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Half-Shell - The half-shell model fills half of the bowl of the outer ear and like ITC hearing aids, they allow more options and longer battery life due to the larger size. This size is ideal for people seeking a smaller hearing aid that may have potential dexterity concerns.
Full Shell or In-The-Ear (ITE) - The largest of the custom hearing aids made, full shell hearing aids fill up the entire bowl of the outer ear. This size allows the maximum number of controls and features and is able to fit mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Styles
Mini-BTE with slim tubes - This type of BTE is often referred to as an "open fit" hearing aid. The miniature hearing aid sits behind the ear and transmits sound into the ear canal via a thin plastic tube. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn't occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as air and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This style of BTE is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency loss and offers cosmetic appeal due to the small size of the hearing aid.
Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) - RITE hearing aids, also known as Receiver-in-canal (RIC) models, are similar to the mini BTE however the speaker of the hearing aid sits inside the ear canal versus the main body of the hearing aid behind the ear. Although it looks like a mini BTE when worn on the ear, the RITE style fits a higher degree of hearing loss (mild to severe), while still providing the "open" fitting.
BTE with custom earmold - BTEs with custom earmolds fit the widest range of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They are slightly longer in shape and are contoured to sit nicely behind the ear for a sleek, compact look. This style of hearing aid typically offers a wide array of features and options, as well as more control and power than custom models. BTEs are connected to the ear canal via custom-made plastic tubing and earmold. The earmold color and style, as well as the wearer's hairstyle will determine how this style looks on each person.
Hearing Aid Technology
A wide range of technology and a whole host of features are available in each hearing aid style. The cost of hearing aids generally depends on the technology and the number of features the instrument has, and not necessarily on the style selected.
Today's digital hearing aids are typically offered in various levels such as basic or entry-level to advanced or premium-level. Different technology and features are available within each level.
Basic digital hearing aids generally require the wearer to make some manual adjustments in certain listening environments such as turning a volume control up or down, or pushing a button to change listening programs. In contrast, a premium or more advanced hearing aid responds automatically to changes in the listener's environment, making changes based on the signals detected by the hearing aid. The hearing aid wearer is not required to make any manual changes.
As the level of the technology increases in hearing aids, so do the availability of advanced features. Examples of some of the advanced features found in today's digital hearing aids are shown below.
•Directional Microphones - Applies preference to sounds in front of the wearer and reduced sound from behind the wearer. This technology has been proven in studies to improve speech understanding with background noise.
•Noise Reduction - Determines if signal contains unwanted background noise and reduces level of background niose if present. Background noise is less annoying and hearing aid wearer's listening comfort is improved in noisy situations.
•Feedback Management - Reduces or eliminates whistling that can often occur with hearing aid use. Hearing aid wearer's comfort is improved with the reduction of the annoying whistling.
•Wind Noise Reduction - Reduces the noise created from wind blowing across the hearing aid's microphone(s). Designed to improve comfort for persons who spend a lot of time outdoors.
•Data Logging/Learning - This feature can track and learn the wearer's preferences in various listening environments. This information can assist the hearing professional in making future programming adjustments and allows the hearing aid to adapt to the wearer's preferences.
•Telecoil/Auto-telecoil - This feature picks up a signal from a compatible telephone so hearing aid wearers can listen to the telephone without whistling. Some hearing aids with this require a push of a button to activate. Other manufactuers offer an auto-telecoil where the hearing aid switches automatically when a telephone signal is detected.
•Bluetooth Interface - Establishes a wireless connection between hearing aids and Bluetooth compatible devices. Designed to improve wearer convenience and use with devices such as cell phones, Mp3 players, computers, etc.
Hearing Aid Battery Information
All batteries are toxic and dangerous if swallowed. Keep all batteries (and hearing aids) away from children and pets. If anyone swallows a battery it is a medical emergency and the individual needs to see a physician immediately.
One question often asked is "How long does the battery last?" Typically they last 7-14 days based on a 16 hour per day use cycle. Batteries are very inexpensive, costing less than a dollar each. Generally, the smaller the battery size, the shorter the battery life. Hearing aid battery sizes are listed below along with their standard number and color codes.
•Size 5 RED
•Size 10 (or 230) YELLOW
•Size 13 ORANGE
•Size 312 BROWN
•Size 675 BLUE
Today's hearing aid batteries are "zinc-air." Because the batteries are air-activated, a factory-sealed sticker keeps them "inactive" until you remove the sticker. Once the sticker is removed from the back of the battery, oxygen in the air contacts the zinc within the battery, and the battery is "turned-on". Placing the sticker back on the battery will not prolong its life. Since many of today's automatic hearing aids do no have "off" switches, removing the battery at night assures that the device is turned off. Zinc-air batteries have a "shelf life" of up to three years when stored in a cool, dry environment. Storing zinc-air hearing aids in the refrigerator has no beneficial effect on their shelf life, in fact, quite the opposite may happen. The cold air may actually form little water particles under the sticker. Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen. If the water vapor creeps under the sticker, the oxygen may contact the zinc, and the battery could be totally discharged by the time you peel off the sticker! Therefore, the best place to store batteries is in a cool dry place, like the back of your sock drawer, not the fridge!
How do I know if I have Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can be due to the aging process, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (birth or prenatal) or hereditary factors, diseases, as well as a number of other causes. Recent data suggests there are over 34 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss.
Hearing loss often occurs gradually throughout a lifetime. People with hearing loss compensate often without knowing they have hearing loss.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
•You hear people speaking but you have to strain to understand their words.
•You frequently ask people to repeat what they said.
•You don't laugh at jokes because you miss too much of the story or the punch line.
•You frequently complain that people mumble.
•You need to ask others about the details of a meeting you just attended.
•You play the TV or radio louder than your friends, spouse and relatives.
•You cannot hear the doorbell or the telephone.
•You find that looking at people when they speak to you makes it easier to understand.
•You miss environmental sounds such as birds or leaves blowing.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a hearing professional to have an "audiometric evaluation." An audiometric evaluation (AE) is the term used to describe a diagnostic hearing test performed by a licensed hearing professional. An AE is not just pressing the button when you hear a "beep." Rather, an audiometric evaluation allows the hearing professional to determine the type and degree of hearing loss, and tells the professional how well or how poorly you understand speech. Speech understanding testing shows the professional how successful amplification may be for your hearing loss. The AE should also include a thorough case history (interview) as well as visual inspection of the ear canals and eardrum. Further tests of the middle ear function may also be performed. The results of the AE are useful to the physician should the hearing professional conclude that your hearing loss may be treated with medical or surgical alternatives. Result of the AE are plotted on a graph referred to as an audiogram. The audiogram provides a visual of your hearing test result at various frequencies.
ANY AGE IS THE RIGHT AGE FOR A HEARING EVALUATION
Getting a hearing evaluation by a hearing professional is quick, simple and painless
Hearing evaluations are similar to having your eyesight tested yearly to check for any changes that may have occurred. If you were unable to see clearly, you would not go about your life as though you could see perfectly fine because one, others around you would know there is a problem; two, it would be difficult and; three, it could possibly even be dangerous. The same holds true with loss of hearing. The sense of hearing is one of your most important senses. Without it, you could be missing out on important words or sounds that change meaning of conversations, you could possibly not hear the car horn when crossing the road, you could miss what your granddaughter/grandson just said to you and she/he won't understand why you don't respond. It's like living with your fingers stuck in your ears.
Loss of hearing can be quite devastating not just to the individual, but also to the relationships that individual has with others. If you feel as though you may be having difficulty, gauge your decision to seek help based upon the responses you are getting from your friends and loved ones. The people that are closest to you tend to notice things that you are missing before you do especially, since you may not be able to hear the sounds or words you are missing.
Children should be tested prior to beginning school or even earlier, if they are experiencing difficulty learning. Most schools offer testing free on specific dates prior to the beginning of the school year. You may also schedule an appointment with an ENT/Ear Nose and Throat doctor. Please be aware that all children with hearing loss are strictly regulated by the ISD/Intermediate School District to maintain their care and treatment in order to ensure the treatment is best suited for the well being of the child and his/her ability to learn.
Getting a hearing screening yearly, is the first step towards ensuring that your sense of hearing is working properly. Sometimes a problem hearing can be as simple as too much build-up of ear wax. If there is a loss wouldn't you rather hear what you have been missing? Rather than missing out? What are you waiting for? Getting your hearing screened takes only about a half hour to an hour, all you have to do is: sit, listen and respond. Don't delay; get your hearing screened by a hearing professional today!