Month: November 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Price Versus Value

There is a difference between the cost/price of something and the value of something.

Consumers have been conditioned through advertising to believe that getting the best price is the ultimate goal (can you say Black Friday?). But what if the best price doesn’t represent the best value? And is the definition of value the same from person to person?

We mentally compare like with like to determine what that item should ‘cost’ but this can be a terrible way to determine what things are ‘worth’. For example, you might not be willing to pay $50 for a professionally created 8×10 portrait when you know perfectly well that you can get an 8×10 print at the local drug store for less than $2.00. But the photographer isn’t selling paper; the photographer is selling their knowledge, expertise, and creativity. The same person who is unwilling to pay $50 for an heirloom quality portrait will gladly spend $50 on a pedicure and painted toenails that will chip in two weeks when a bottle of Wet’n’Wild is 99 cents at the same drug store they get their 8×10’s at.

What it comes down to is this…

What is important to you?

What is valuable to you?

What things are you willing to pay for and what things you are willing to skimp on?

For me, when I’m staying in a hotel I refuse to spend $4 on a bottle of water from the honor bar even if I’m dying of thirst. However, I’ll easily spend $15 on room service blueberry pancakes. I’ve figured out that when I’m traveling my ideas about value and the worth of goods is different than when I’m not traveling.

How does this relate to your hearing aids? Well, you can buy hearing aids from several sources; online stores, an audiologist, a hearing aid dispenser, a big box store, etc. The prices of the similar hearing aids can vary greatly from source to source. So, what is the difference and why would you pay more for what appears to be essentially the same thing?

If you are a person who makes purchases solely on the price, you may decide to purchase your hearing aids from super discount dispenser; you will get your hearing aids, and then you are are on your own. You may or may not be happy with the hearing aids but you got what you paid for, right?

If you are a person who values the expertise and knowledge provided by your hearing aid professional you may be willing to pay more for your hearing instrument knowing that your purchase price includes fitting, service, cleaning, adjustments, and batteries over the life of your hearing instrument.

The road to success is not just about cost. It is about the value derived from the best tools available according to your personal budget and the willingness for both you and your Audiologist to work together not just at the beginning but throughout the useable life of your hearing instrument(s). This is an investment (in money, time and personal perseverance) to improve the desired quality of your life.

If you or someone you know or love may need a hearing instrument, we at ihearingaids would love to help you select the best, most serviceable and beneficial hearing instrument(s) and take what could be a frustrating, stressful, and potentially alarming undertaking and turn it in to a highly satisfying foray into the future of better hearing.

Also, it would be really cool if you could share this with anyone you feel would be interested. 😉

 

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Traveling With Hearing Aids

It’s that time of year again…the holidays! For some, that means traveling and a lot of it. If you are a hearing aid wearer (or travel with someone who is) these tips can help get you through the airport, train/bus/subway station (these are places that can be hard on the hard of hearing) and perhaps help you find more enjoyment at the places of interest that you visit.

It’s always a good idea to have your travel plans actually planned but here are some things to think about this holiday season.decibel chart

  1. Protect your ears and your hearing while traveling. Trains and airplanes are very loud and can reach a decibel level of 130 or more. This level of noise can cause damage to your ears after only a few minutes of unprotected listening. Use ear muffs or ear plugs if you will be around noisy areas for a length of time.
  1. Find hearing-friendly locations before you leave home. There are many travel related venues that offer hearing loop technology. See this resource for an interactive map showing locations around the country with Assistive Listening Devices. It’s a good idea to call the travel agency you are utilizing and check their availability of technology for the hearing impaired (or check their website). This is also true if you plan on visiting any tourist attractions such as museums, galleries, exhibits, etc. Check websites and call if you can’t find the information you are looking for.
  2. Wear your hearing aids while traveling especially during layovers and at the beginning and end of each leg of travel. This is when you will need to hear announcements about your next plane/train, schedule changes, gate changes, etc. You might also want to hear your traveling companions, too!
  3. Tell the security officer about your hearing aids. Your hearing aids may set off metal detectors so it’s a good idea to let the security officer know beforehand that you are wearing them. If you’d like to do this more discreetly, you can use the TSA Notification Card. You can download and print the card before you leave. You ARE allowed to wear the hearing aids without having to remove them for the screening.
  4. Bring extras! Bring extra hearing aids (if you have them). Bring extra batteries as well. In fact, bring extra wax guards and volume controllers. Whatever you use with your hearing aids, bring extra!!! This is definitely the “Better Safe Than Sorry” tip and it seems like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning. Keep your extras with you and not in your checked luggage.  With so many travelers and so many pieces of luggage, it’s best just to keep your extras in your purse, backpack or carry-on bag.

Of course, sometimes plans go awry but if you set out as prepared as possible, with a good attitude you will ready for anything that traveling can throw at you.

If you need new hearing aids before you travel, contact us! We’ll get you all set up…it’s what we do. And we love doing it!! 🙂

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How to Communicate A Little Better (even without Hearing Aids)

Communication involves a speaker, a listener, a message, and an environment. To communicate effectively and meaningfully, one must take more than a passive role in the communication process. Can becoming a better communicator help someone who feels that perhaps they are “hard of hearing”.

According to wikipedia.com, hearing is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations,changes in the pressure of the surrounding medium through time, through an organ such as the ear. Sound may be heard through solid, liquid, or gaseous matter. It is one of the traditional five senses. Hearing is passive…it happens whether you think about it or not, whether you want it to happen or not.

Now, listening…listening is a whole nother story. According to linguist Roland Barthes, listening is a psychological act whereas hearing is a physiological phenomenon. Hearing is always occurring, most of the time subconsciously. Listening is the interpretative action taken by the listener in order to understand and potentially make meaning out of the sound waves. We’ve all had times where we felt we were talking to empty space because we either got no response or the listener seemed disengaged or uninterested. So what does it mean to really listen?

complicaton communicationWhat about ‘selective hearing’? At some point in our lives, it’s likely that we’ve been accused of having ‘selective hearing’…it sounds so horrible…to be “accused”…it makes us feel guilty…as if selective hearing is a crime (it’s not, by the way). There are actually several Wikipedia pages dedicated to the reporting on the study of selective hearing aka selective auditory attention – it’s quite fascinating.

Becoming an active and effective communicator can greatly enhance your quality of life whether you have any true hearing loss or not. The fact is, if you aren’t an active listener and a good communicator before you get hearing aids, you won’t be one after you get hearing aids. And, since most people don’t actually obtain hearing aids until ten or so years after they have a diagnosis of hearing loss, it would be a good idea to learn and use effective communication skills now…as in right now…this very moment.

As mentioned earlier, communication is more than just a speaker and a listener. Being a good speaker is just as important as being a good listener.

As a speaker, you have control over what you say. It’s up to you to make your message interesting to the listener. Your message should be something they want to hear or something presented in a way that they are interested and engaged enough to listen even if it’s something they didn’t want to hear. This can be true even in everyday conversation with your loved ones. Have you ever felt like your spouse was tuning you out? Or do you find yourself tuning them out? Sometimes we just grow into bad communication habits and we never take the time to reset or fix them…in the end, we feel we aren’t being heard. Instead of blaming the listener, take active steps to improve your speaking skills. For example:

  • Speak clearly; not too fast, not too slow, not too many “filler” words, know your topic.

    If your listener cannot understand you because you speak too quickly and jump from idea to idea they will lose interest in what you have to say because you are just too hard to follow. If you speak too slowly, they may just lose interest because it takes you so long to make your point. If you, like, use, um, too many “filler” words like, like, that would be, like, making yourself sound, like, uneducated (um, did I, like, make my point here?) If you sound like you don’t know jack about what you are talking about, it’s a sure way to lose the listeners attention and, perhaps, your credibility.

  • Make eye contact with your listener.

    Your listener wants to feel like you care that they are listening. Making eye contact keeps your listener engaged and feeling as if they are a part of the conversation (even it you are giving a speech and no verbal feedback is necessary or required). Not making eye contact can also make you appear less trust-worthy and more shifty (and who wants that?)

  • Use your body language effectively (smile, eye contact, open posture, non-threatening hand gestures)

    Body language is often the first communication we experience with each other. When you approach someone to speak to them, you are less likely to speak confidently if the listener is standing there with a sour-puss look on their face and their arms tightly crossed. In the same way, a listener could be put off by tense body language of a speaker. Relax and say what you need to say.

  • Be kind with your words (no lying, gossiping, blaming, self-deprecation, etc)

    Remember the last time you were the topic of negative conversation? It doesn’t feel good so don’t do it to others. If you are always impeccable with your words, you will have no need to gossip about someone or lie (about anything). Keep these negative words from taking over your vocabulary including the self-deprecating words. If you are constantly telling yourself “I’m such an idiot” because you forgot one little thing or made one little mistake, pretty soon, everyone around you will view you as “such an idiot”. Mistakes happen…that’s why they are called that. Everyone makes them…shake it off, correct it to the best of your ability and move on.

  • Have a message worth listening to (would you want to listen to what you have to say?)

    Something as common place as announcing that dinner is ready is a message people want to hear. Even small talk is appropriate to the right listener.

  • Speak to your listener at appropriate times and in the appropriate setting(s)

    Does this even need more explanation? Obviously, you don’t want to speak to someone about a very personal matter in very public place. If your potential listener appears to be already engaged (in a book, at work, on a computer, etc), ask them if this is a good time to talk. If not, be respectful of their time and schedule. It’s OK to inquire as to when might be a better time. This is the “environment” part of communication.

As a listener, you can control how you listen. You can listen and pay attention to what is being said to you or you can let your mind wander. Try some of these ideas to become a better listener:

  • Body language (see above…all the same stuff applies, right?) 🙂

    As the listener, you can also use prompting body language such as a nod or eyebrow raise or smile to let the speaker know that you are listening (and, hopefully, understanding).

  • Try to listen without interjecting or interrupting.

    Interrupting someone speaking to you sends a message to them that you don’t care enough about what they are saying to listen fully and it can cause them to lose their train of thought. Make mental notes if clarification is needed and then, at a moment that seems appropriate (a pause or a facial expression that seems to invite questions or comments), ask your questions or make your comment. Remember, when you are the speaker, you don’t care to be interrupted so afford the same courtesy when you are the listener. You can, however, use minor verbal cues such as “uh-huh”, “hmmm”, or “I understand” to let the speaker know you are listening and paying attention.

  • Focus on what the speaker is saying right now, not what you expect them to say next.

    Try to stay focused on the subject at hand. Let the speaker express his ideas fully before moving on to a new subject. Try not to interject your own experiences as it can tend to invalidate the experience the speaker is trying to share with you. Ask good questions to prompt continued conversation and show that you are interested in what is being said.

  • Exhibit patience when listening

    Don’t use gestures and tics such as finger or pencil tapping, looking at your watch or smart phone, or gazing aimlessly, focused on anything except the speaker. This is a clear signal that you good give two shakes about what’s being said. Even if you don’t really give two shakes about what is being said, there are polite ways to end a conversation and exhibiting rude behaviors isn’t one of them.

Is this an exhaustive list of how to communicate? Not even close..barely even scratched the surface here. And the whole point I wanted to make is that maybe you (or your loved one) isn’t hard of hearing or in need of hearing aids. Maybe you’ve just lost your ability to communicate and you’re tuning each other out. Practice active listening skills and speaking skills and see if you don’t have some improvement in your ability to “hear” each other. If that doesn’t work and there are still too many “what did you say”s in your conversations, get your hearing tested by an audiologist.

If you have ideas to share about how to be a better communicator, use the social media share buttons and share your viewpoint. If you found this interesting, please feel free to share it with someone you love (or someone you want to send a passive message to…lol).

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