Hearing Healthcare

The Hearing Center Advocates For Audiology Patient Choice

[envira-gallery id="844"] The staff at The Hearing Center has been actively advocating for the Audiology Patient Choice act on behalf of our patients. Currently there is legislation in committee in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that will increase Medicare beneficiaries access to audiologists, with what is called ‘direct access’. Those bills HR 2276 and S.2575 will allow our patients with traditional Medicare to directly access our services.

Our staff met with the Newark, NJ staff of Senator Cory Booker in the summer. Just this past week we met with Congressman Leonard Lance of the 7th District of NJ at his Westfield office. Representative Lance voiced his support for the legislation.

It is of note that the APCA does not increase services currently offered by Medicare, and will NOT increase costs to the plan, it likely will reduce costs incurred by Medicare. Medicare advantage plans currently offer direct access to audiologists, unlike traditional Medicare. The act allows audiologists to practice within their scope of practice and to be reimbursed by Medicare for those services. Other Federal health benefit plans allow for direct access to audiologists. Reach out to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the APCA today!

Cochlear implant device restores hearing after years of hearing aid use



When it became clear that hearing aids weren't enough to help 9-year-old Emma Kriegstein, her parents and the audiologists at The Hearing Center knew it was time to turn to different technology to improve her hearing.

Emma, of Matawan, was born with progressive sensorineural hearing loss, permanent hearing loss caused by an abnormal or damaged inner ear. According to Dr. Eric Sandler, director of audiology at The Hearing Center, Emma's possibility to hear would likely improve with a cochlear implant, which utilizes an implanted electrode array to bypass the damaged portion of the ear and stimulate the auditory nerve.

"Patients need to meet audiological and medical criteria to receive the implant, and Emma was a perfect candidate," Sandler said.

Emma's hearing loss was confirmed when she was four-and-a-half, although she had expressed difficulties from a younger age. A neighbor referred them to The Hearing Center, which immediately recommended hearing aids. While the devices worked well for around three years, Emma's parents Elizabeth Feudale and Neil Kriegstein noticed diminished hearing in her left ear, a decline which continually worsened.

"We were shocked – even though there was a family history [of hearing loss] on both sides, nobody had trouble as a child," said Kriegstein. "We tried coming up with 1,000 excuses as to why it could be wrong, but there was no question that Emma needed help."

"We've been working with Emma and her family for several years, and we were constantly changing the settings on her hearing aids," added Dr. Stefanie Perle, The Hearing Center's lead audiologist on cochlear implant cases, and one of three audiologists working with Emma. "The hearing aid was no longer providing sufficient benefit. Her best option… was to consider a cochlear implant."

Emma received her implant this past July, and the device was activated by Drs. Sandler and Perle in August. Since activation, Feudale said that there has been a "drastic, positive" change in Emma's hearing.

"There have been major improvements large and small alike," Feudale said. "I can call for her from downstairs while she's upstairs and she can hear me. I can talk to her with my back turned and she will be able to answer me. These life improvements have made a huge difference."

"The implant has changed her life by leaps and bounds," Kriegstein added. "She has picked up on sounds we take for granted, such as a piano playing in a song, and she lights up with joy when she can hear them."

According to Feudale, The Hearing Center fought "tooth and nail" for Emma to receive the care and equipment she needed.

"The staff at The Hearing Center exhibits genuine care and concern for Emma's well-being," Feudale said. "We've been through a bunch of audiologists, and we haven't had the confidence and trust in others like we have for The Hearing Center."

"The Hearing Center has put Emma's quality of life at the front and center of her care," Perle added. "We are beyond thrilled about the progress she's made in such a short time."

Stefanie Perle, Au.D., Joins The Hearing Center, Offers New Services to Dramatically Improve Hearing

Audiology practice is one of the first in NJ to offer all services outside of a hospital setting

stefanie-perle

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J., Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Stefanie Perle, Au.D., an audiologist who has a special interest in auditory processing disorders and cochlear implants is joining The Hearing Center on 11/15/2016, making the full-service audiology center one of the first in New Jersey to offer all related services outside of a hospital setting.

"Dr. Perle understands the importance of service," said Dr. Eric Sandler, Sc.D., of The Hearing Center. "Patients trust her, rely on her, and know that she is fully accessible. It's rare for patients to have good access to their healthcare providers. That's what The Hearing Center provides and what Dr. Perle will continue to do with us."

Perle earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Salus University in Philadelphia. She worked at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center, Edison, N.J., and St. Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., before transitioning to private family practice.

"Dr. Perle has been practicing for many years, and she brings two specific areas that we haven't offered before: implantable devices and auditory processing evaluations," Sandler said. "She will offer us the ability to further develop our Cochlear Implant and bone-anchored hearing apparatus (BAHA) program." 

Perle identifies candidates for the cochlear implant device and BAHA. Instead of amplifying sound like a hearing aid, a cochlear implant sends electrical signals directly to the brain. A surgeon will perform the procedure, and Perle will conduct follow-up visits at The Hearing Center to ensure the implants are working correctly and the user is acclimating to this new way of processing sound.

"It's rare to have a private practice where you can come for cochlear implants," Sandler said. "Now, there are no audiological services that we have to refer patients to other facilities for."

Perle has a special interest in auditory processing disorders. She diagnoses school aged children seven and older, including children who exhibit signs of auditory processing difficulties at school.

"Auditory processing has a great impact on a child's learning," Perle said. "Typically, the student with auditory processing difficulties has normal hearing, but material can seem like it's going in one ear and out the other, and it clicks the subsequent time it's presented. Why is there a delay? It could be because auditory comprehension abilities are impaired."

Perle's hiring comes just a few months after The Hearing Center hired Sarah Azer Elias, Au.D., to support the expanding practice.

"In a family-based practice like The Hearing Center, I have the opportunity to get to know patients," Perle said. "I'm looking forward to working in a collaborative environment, where I can draw from all of my colleagues' strengths and provide services with other professional, doctoral level audiologists who have such a high level of skill and education."

ABOUT THE HEARING CENTER

The Hearing Center is an advanced full-service audiology practice for children and adults with three New Jersey offices in Highland Park, Manalapan, and Clark. The state-of-the-art facilities are the first in New Jersey to offer all audiological services outside a hospital setting, including cochlear implants; auditory processing evaluations; hearing aid fittings and verification; tinnitus evaluations; noise protection; and specialized earplugs for musicians. The practice celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. For more information, visit www.thcaudiology.com.

Are your hearing aids locked and you do not even know it?

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Did you know that many places that sell hearing aids offer 'locked' hearing aids, and never tell their patients this fact? "What is a locked hearing aid?" you may be asking yourself. Well, let us explain. Some chain stores like Sam's Club, Costco, Audigy, Miracle Ear, as well as branded private practices sell private label hearing aids. With private label hearing aids, it is likely that only the chain store that SELLS the hearing aids can also ADJUST the hearing aids.
For example, let's say a provider that offers private label hearing aid sells their practice or goes out of business, then a patient may be VERY limited as to where they can get their hearing aids adjusted. A patient cannot just go to any office to have their hearing aids adjusted. They must go somewhere that has access to the software required to adjust the hearing aids. Places that offer private label hearing aids often use this as a selling point. They advise their patients they can go to any of their stores and have their hearing aids serviced. Often those stores are very regionalized and many in the past have gone out of business.
When you come to The Hearing Center, we only offer hearing aids from major manufacturers. We do not try to obscure who makes the hearing aids we offer or what specific technology level those hearing aids utilize. If you purchase hearing aids from us and move away, whether it is around the country, or around the world, we will work to find you a provider that will service those hearing aids for you.
Any provider that works with the major manufacturers such as Resound, Oticon, Siemens (Sivantos), Phonak, Widex, Starkey can adjust the hearing aids we offer. This allows our patients to receive the best possible hearing health care!
For 30 years, that has always been our goal as we continue to provide Central New Jersey with the best and most comprehensive hearing healthcare there is. For more information and assistance with a locked hearing aid or anything concerning your hearing healthcare, book an appointment at one of our conveniently located facilities today!
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