Best Locally Owned Businesses in Saint Joseph MO - The Hearing Connection
Hi everyone, Rod Mollus with the Ramseier Realty Group. We're here today in St. Joseph, Missouri with Dave Neumann from The Hearing Connection. Dave, welcome, and thanks for having us in.
Thanks for having me.
Would you like to introduce us to your staff?
Absolutely. Well, the most popular person on our staff is our dog, Ollie. And this is my daughter, Abby. Ollie is Abby's dog. He is always excited for work. The highlight of his day is seeing our patients. He loves greeting our customers and bringing his toys out to them.
Yes, absolutely. We had to make sure we got Ollie out here for y'all. Because he is the star of the show. Now we're gonna talk for a bit about technologies and hearing. I wanted to give everybody an opportunity to know what the experience is like to have a hearing test and figure out what your hearing needs are. So you've seen the first part: we come in and we're greeted by the staff, by Abby and Ollie. And then we're brought back here and we meet with Dave. Dave can take us through his process about going through testing and figuring out hearing loss.
Absolutely. And so the first time a person comes back to my office, it's a big deal to get hearing aids because people typically procrastinate anywhere from 7 to 10 years before they even come in to see me. What usually happens is there's a loved one that gets tired of their loved one saying "Huh?" or "What?" or the television gets really loud. Or, you know, they can't hear their grandchildren. So you they start, what I call, losing the soundtrack of their life.
So people come back here and they want to get help, but they're kind of nervous because they're coming into something new. Also, there's a stigma about getting older and wearing hearing aids. But hearing aids, right now, are pretty cool because they hook up to your iPhone, your smartphone, and they have a lot of connectivity features. So it's really more than just getting hearing aids. So what we try to do here at The Hearing Connection, is make a really good experience for our patients. Rod happens to be one of my patients. And so when he came in for the first time, he didn't know who I was. And so what I did was I sat him down here in the office, and we asked him a series of questions. Then, usually, I'll walk them over to our sound testing booth. Then I will go to my computer give them a series of about six different sound tests. The most basic test I give is the beep test. That's where we test the right ear and then test the left ear and see how low we can go on that. But we don't technically hear in beats. We hear in language. So then we give a series of speech testing.
So that's a really core part of what we do. Because some people it's not that they can't hear, they just don't understand. And that's the big thing about what we tried to do here at the hearing loss is educate people. And that's why it's very important to come see a hearing care professional, whether it's me or somebody else here in the community, but to get educated about their hearing loss.
But there's a stigma to about wearing a hearing aid, you know, these big things hanging on your head and taking up, you know, beeping and buzzing wherever you walk by or you move your head the winds blowing, right? I mean, that technology is far, far past, I mean, that's.
So you have a very dense, and now you can't see that you have men, they're hidden behind your air, there's some nice little wire that goes in there. And they don't squeal. So the feedback quality, so the technology has gone into them. And the digital technology coming into them is been about every three to five years. Technology is just keeps getting better.
What it amazes me about them, this technology that I'm using is it makes the sound natural is not an unnatural sound. So it's not just an amplification of more volume. It is crystal clear. It's precise. You catch everything. I call it a marriage saver.
Yeah. Well, what happens is people come in and says, you know, I think I can still hear and the answer is yes, you can still hear but what happens is, when I do the hearing tests, I don't know if you can see up on the screen, but sometimes they can hear in the low frequencies but not so much in the high frequencies. Well, different languages. The speech letters are different frequencies. And sometimes you can't hear the high frequencies, and that's where speech letters are provided. And so you may miss the beginning of the word the PH is or the TH is. So those are Things were saying, huh? And they have to repeat it. So those are pretty important things.
And for me, it was, you can never catch back up in the conversation. So you're always at a lag in a conversation. So I'm always trying to catch up without the hearing aids and so short, you know, kind of show us a little bit about somebody who's hearing loss, what that might look like.
All right, so I have a phone screen, this is a typical audiogram. So these are the frequencies and the pitches we hear sounds in, this the decibel level. So zero to 20 is normal hearing 20 to 40 is a mild hearing loss, 40 to 70 is moderate to moderate, severe. So this patient has a mild to slips down to a moderate to moderate severe, almost to a profound hearing loss. So if you see right here in the speech letter, this is the beep test the speech letters, this is why people hear but they don't understand. They're not catching this. So that's how come sometimes it's hard to hear soft voices. So what the hearing aids do is they pick on the frequencies you're deficient on and bring them up into this normal level. And we do a speech test to see how well they are actually doing with their own speech to see if they have any word, understanding issues. And then I sit down, I put some hearing aids on. And we talked through those issues.
Dave, tell us a little bit about the levels of hearing aids, and then the amount of adjustments that you can do to fine tune these things.
Absolutely. Well, I'm gonna give you just a little brief history real quickly. I started this business about 10years ago, and when 10 years ago, they were battery, they had wires on the hearing aids. So every time I put a patient in the chair, I had to put wires on him. So every about every two years, technology has gotten better and better. And so. So the technology now is if the rechargeable. So now we don't have todo the batteries, the feedback, they've gotten smaller. The word understanding has gotten better the speech and noise understanding has gotten better because one of the biggest issues with most people is speech and noise. They hear what well one on one, but with this new technology that just came out several months ago, it has close to 40% better and speech and noise than the previous technology.
So that's a big jump in technology boost. So basically, this is rechargeable, you just take them out, we got red, right blue left, and you just put them in the case, and they charge at nighttime, and then they're good for 24 hours charge. And then every night you put them in. And the technology is just amazing. They hook up to your smartphone, they have an app, which becomes your remote control. So you can stream the, to your actually audio gram loss or your hearing loss. So you're actually hearing a YouTube video with the Enhance hearing of the hearing aids. So it really does break a lot. And so when you get a phone call what happens?
I stream it right through here, I hear everything I'm not changing ears from side to side, trying to figure it out, which is the best way to get it. It's all coming straight in. I've gotten. I got hands free.
Yeah, so it's pretty amazing technology.
It's phenomenal. And I was just as I sat here and went through the process, I'm just amazed at all the adjustments in the fine tunes that get it and all the different things that we talk about that we can't hear that we don't even know that we can't hear.
So one of the big things is happening in our marketplace too because there's just what I call disruptions in the marketplace right now, over the counter hearing aids is a big, big topic right now. And so with people that are because hearing aids, they're not the cheapest thing in the world. But they can change your life so much for the better. And so put some people in you can't help but people wanting to get maybe something cheaper. So the over the counter market is for people that are in the early stages of they don't know if they really need the most expensive air kind of like cheater glasses. But so that's still kind of a new place. But what you don't get is you're not going to get the hands on the experience, you're not going to get an experience, hearing professional telling you what you really need, and what your how your hearing loss is, and how the equipment actually works. You're going to deal with clerks or 800 numbers, and you're not going to get the full experience, and then from a service standpoint, right convention, this is, they need service, you know, you have wax in your ears you have you know, sometimes the electronic components need to be replaced and we can do that all right here in your community that you live in.
Yeah, I think one of the things I experienced with the new technology was me getting used to it, but me trying to explain to you what I'm hearing what sounds is coming through, and I don't knowhow you can do that with an over the counter. Calling an 800 number and getting a customer service person.
You get very frustrated.
I would because I have a difficult time explaining that. So I needed to explain to somebody that knows the issue well.
And what happens sometimes, especially with some of the technology that you can get over on the 800numbers. A lot of times people will spend several $100. And they send up, they sit in their sock drawer. And they don't send them back because it's a hassle send them back.
Nothing's worse than a tool that you can't use. It's frustrating.
So you want to talk about some of the accessories that go with it.
Let's tell us a little bit about some of the things. Especially we're here at the end of December, we got people got some flexibility money left to use. So where can they spend it at?
Absolutely. So really, the main thing you have to do is the hearing aids are by far the most expensive, but there are some tools that can help. So sometimes the speech noise can begin to issue, there is a tool called a multi mic. And multi mic is just a little device that you can carry in your pocket. And you can put on a person that you're hearing. So let's say you're traveling, going to pick somebody up from the airport, they're in the backseat, and that person in the backseat has the hearing loss. So you would put that on you. And you would be able to talk and it would be like streaming right into their ears. So it is incredible technology, then let's say you come home to watch television. And they have a hard time understanding television, because of the sound. So there is what we call a TV Streamer. And that's this device right here. And it just hooks up to your TV. And then with your smartphone, you just push the button, and it streams right into your hearing aids.
So it works like a loop.
Absolutely. So there's just some really unique technology. And what we do is we kind of walk through people through the stages of that. And when they're ready, because sometimes you need the tool, sometimes you don't need the tool, right?
So when you're looking at these different levels we're seeing here, level five, tell me a little bit about the levels, I know, there's probably an entry level and more advanced levels, but what would make somebody want to go from one level to another?
So there's different levels of technology. So there's a good, better, best. So in our line of work, we have a five level of seven level, and a nine level, the nine level being the best level. And the best level is going to do better in speech noise. So one of the things I always ask people is because not everybody needs the best. So if some people I always ask about lifestyle, so we do a lot of questions to see. If they're active, if they're just you know, do they just go to, if they go to the church, they go out to dinner once in a while, but mostly sit around watch television and talk to family. They don't need the best technology. But if somebody is, is still in the workforce, very active in social events, goes to a lot of meetings, and they have a lot of background noise, they need something that's a little bit more sophisticated. And the technology at the nine level technology has much better speech and noise technology in it to make that experience much more user friendly.
That's the important part is a speech. That's really what we all want to hear.
Yeah. So that's one thing, what the over the counter some of those will just amplify everything where these will hit the speech side of it.
So you're not just getting more volume. You're getting accurate.
Correct. And that's what you definitely get with the nine level technology.
That makes a big difference in figuring words. And not being behind, like I spoke about earlier.
Yes. And so that just brings everything to light.
That's awesome. It is quite an experience. And I'll just tell everybody, the old stigma things of hearing aids, and that's gone. This long gone. This is an enhancing tool. I mean, we go out by all kinds of tools, and hearing aids are just a tool to help us have a better lifestyle. And I would encourage anybody that thinks or having any hearing loss, having some troubles, you notice things. Hey, come talk to Dave, meet Abby, meet Ollie, give Ollie a treat and get your hearing tested and let Dave, walk you through.
We're happy to do that. One thing too about hearing loss. One less thing is hearing loss just doesn't affect the person that has hearing loss. It affects the whole family dynamics. Friends, people are like, you know, he can't hear and the deal is a person that can hear doesn't want to know, doesn't want to hear they can't hear because they can they just don't understand and that's where I can help with.
Absolutely. Thanks, everybody. Dave, thanks for your time.
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