Located in the Safeway Shopping Center off Missouri Flat Road, the HearingMed Hearing Aid Center is more than a hearing aid store.
“We offer hearing solutions, not just hearing aids, said owner Mark Moore. “We help people communicate better.”
“A hearing aid device is 60 percent of the solution,” Moore said.
HearingMed also has computer auditory training “to help rewire the brain.”
Moore said it takes an average of one month per month of hearing loss to regain full auditory understanding. “Our system short-cuts that down to four weeks,” Moore said.
Though the Safeway Center location has only been open 2 1/2 years, Moore has owned the business since 1990, which includes 11 other locations in the Sacramento area. The business he acquired has been in business since 1944.
The business also balances hearing aids and auditory training with proper nutrition and working with a customer’s doctor to rebalance prescriptions that may affect hearing.
“We work with the total patient to balance total health. We don’t just sell a device. We use proper training with a hearing device,” Moore said.
Shrugging off hearing loss can have damaging side effects that a person might not have considered.
“You’re causing cognitive loss. With auditory ability it is ‘use it or lose it’” Moore said, adding cognitive loss associated with hearing loss can lead to Alzheimer’s, current research shows.
“If you wait too long, your brain will forget how to hear,” Moore said. “It’s crucial to maintain your speech.”
He also added as much as 40 percent of Alzheimer’s dementia is really misdiagnosed hearing loss. And likewise “severe hearing loss is 400 times more likely to lead to Alzheimer’s dementia,” Moore said.
“If a person has lost 20 percent of hearing comprehension, a hearing device will not make up that loss. You need to stabilize it,” Moore said.
The hearing devices are not like “your grandfather’s hearing aid,” Moore said. Initially beginning with three transistors, hearing devices now have 3 million transistors.
“A hearing device is more powerful than three Pentium computer chips in your computer system,” Moore said, adding that the battery is bigger than the actual hearing device. The whole thing is about the size of one’s pinky finger, which you will need to pull it out and replace the battery every seven-10 days.
Treating the total patient begins with an auditory test that takes about an hour.
“We try to balance what you need and what you can afford,” Moore said.
He called it a patient’s journey that involves evaluating the success of the device and readjusting the plan for the patient, making sure the patient “is not getting stuck with something they don’t like and won’t wear.”
Moore said about 50 percent of the patients readjust, usually coming back for a lower price in six weeks. After trying a lower price device they often come back for a higher performance device.
“The higher the price you pay the more the device screens out background noise,” Moore said.
For a sedentary person who watches a lot of TV, with occasional appearance of chattering family members that person won’t need the “best” level. Someone who is more socially active will need a better quality device, though.
“What we’re providing is better communication,” Moore said.
The three stages after denial are vanity, stigma and cost. Cost is divided by the life of the device — seven years.
“It’s not a social problem. It becomes a medical problem and reduces a person’s quality of life,” Moore said.