April 30, 2013–This May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” an annual event for raising awareness about communication disorders and available treatments that improve quality of life. Audiology Associates (temporarysite.info) and Dr. Peter Marincovich reach out to educate the public on hearing protection, hearing loss, balance and tinnitus and the latest available hearing technologies, and how to best assure that patients are fit with technological solutions that maximize hearing well-being.
Hearing aid technology has remarkably improved in recent years. Patients of all ages, lifestyles, budgets, and degrees of hearing damage can now reasonably expect to find substantial relief from their hearing problems and begin to rediscover the joys of sound. The first step towards relief begins with scheduling an appointment with an experienced audiologist near you. For people suffering from hearing and communication difficulties in the Northern California region, Audiology Associates offers comprehensive hearing solutions with the latest available technologies at 4 different offices in Mendocino, Santa Rosa, Novato, and Mill Valley.
Audiology Associates owner and lead audiologist Dr. Peter Marincovich earned his graduate degree in communicative disorders from Louisiana State University, and his Ph.D. in Audiology from the University of Memphis. A Santa Rosa native, Dr. Marincovich has practiced in his hometown since 1984, working with patients of all ages and levels of hearing loss.
“The new hearing protocol we offer at Audiology Associates is designed with the primary goal of catering to each patient’s individual hearing needs.”
~ Peter Marincovich, PhD, CCC-A
A frequent presenter at seminars and academic conferences, Dr. Marincovich’s philosophy of care emphasizes the importance of keeping patients engaged from their initial appointments throughout the rehabilitation of their auditory systems. In accordance with this philosophy, Dr. Marincovich regularly conducts “Lip Reading and Listening Skills” courses at Santa Rosa Junior College for people with hearing loss and those close to them.
Dr. Marincovich explains the ways in which patient-focused care benefits people contending with difficulties of hearing loss, “Throughout my career, I have never thought of a hearing aid as the end-all solution to treating patients’ hearing problems. It is not our goal at Audiology Associates to simply be salespersons for hearing aid manufacturers. Indeed, today’s hearing aid technology is incredibly effective at reintroducing patients to the sounds life has to offer, but the ear is just one part of the human body’s complex auditory system. Adapting devices to fit patients’ individual needs requires fine tuning from an experienced audiologist trained to recognize the indicators of effective and ineffective treatment.
The new hearing protocol we offer at Audiology Associates is designed with the primary goal of catering to each patient’s individual hearing needs. People who have lived with hearing loss for extended periods of times often forget what hearing clearly sounds and feels like. Advanced hearing tests like pitch matching, loudness balancing and extensive, patient-centered interviews with our audiologists help determine the level of hearing loss and best treatment for the individual.
It is common practice amplification hearing aids conduct hearing tests, and then send the test results to the hearing aid manufacturer or base the fitting on the manufacturer software for custom fitting. The problem with this practice is that these “first fits” are based on averages and the patient’s auditory system, at this point in their treatment, has not yet had a chance to relearn what it is like to hear a full spectrum of sound.
At Audiology Associates, we conduct tests to measure soft sounds, comfortable sounds and loud sounds. Although counterintuitive, as hearing loss develops, individuals become less sensitive to soft sounds but actually more sensitive to loud sounds. Then with the unadjusted, “new” hearing aid device in the patient’s ear we tune it to make sure we are making soft sounds audible, while at the same time preventing loud sounds from becoming too loud and enabling speech to remain at a comfortable level. While the manufacture adjusts the device based on statistics and averages, our in house real ear aided testing circumvents the need to rely on industry averages for custom-fitting. This approach ensures that hearing devices are matched to amplify, and in some cases dampen sounds, according to each patient’s unique auditory system and lifestyle.
Follow-up appointments, and “active” communication skills training held after the initial fitting when the patient’s auditory system has had ample time to relearn what it is like to hear clearly, are as important as the initial hearing aid fitting. Our audiologists work with patients to determine the effectiveness of the hearing aid, and then make adjustments to improve hearing even further. In other words, as the patient adapts to the hearing aid, we adapt the hearing aid to the patient.
By themselves, amplification hearing aids do not always meet patient hearing needs. There are other technologies such as ‘Assisted Listening Devices’ (ALD’s) for personal use. Audiology Associates helps patients determine how they may benefit from ALD’s, and works closely with certified loop installers who install the devices in patients’ homes and commercial applications.
“The complexity of the auditory system requires that audiologists remain diligent in their approaches to providing hearing solutions. All of us at Audiology Associates are proud of the comprehensive, personalized hearing care we offer our patients, and we sincerely hope that all people living with hearing loss discover today’s available hearing solutions.”
With Dr. Marincovich leading the way, Audiology Associates delivers quality, personalized care in order to help patients protect their hearing, evaluate their hearing and find the perfect technology to suit their needs. Known to always have the latest digital hearing aids on the market, Audiology Associates has provided comprehensive hearing diagnostics and treatment to patients for over 29 years. To schedule an appointment with Audiology Associates for expert hearing care, call 707-523-4740, or visit our website for more information on hearing care services in Northern California.