hearing aids

Health Care Services in Hong Kong for Seniors with Hearing Problems

A survey in 2013 conducted by the Census and Statistics Department involving persons with disabilities and chronic diseases stated that there are 155,200 people who have hearing impairment in Hong Kong.


That accounts to 2.2% of the total population of Hong Kong and 117,600 out of the total 155,200 persons with hearing difficulty are aged 65 or above.


This includes people who perceived themselves as having long-term difficulty in hearing or using specialised hearing aids or rehabilitation tools at the time of survey.


A lot of elderly people lack the financial means to buy hearing aids, which could cost as high as several thousand to several tens of thousand dollars.


In Hong Kong, the government is providing subsidies to elderly people. They pay for the costs of hearing tests and hearing aids.


They impose no upper limit in the scope of application of the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme which aims to enhance the safety and quality of life of elderly people.


Hong Kong’s general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority (HA) refers patients with hearing difficulty to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists which shall follow-up according to their clinical conditions and needs. They will provide appropriate hearing assessment and treatment for persons with hearing difficulty.


The Hospital Authority has 29 audiologists and audiology technicians that help provide timely hearing tests and treatment according to the diagnosis made by ENT specialists and the needs of patients.


The Department of Health reviews the manpower requirement from time to time  to monitor the service demand. This ensures audiology-related services for everyone who needs it.


Eligible seniors may use health care vouchers to pay for healthcare services provided by healthcare professionals assigned under the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme.


This includes hearing assessment services provided by enrolled doctors.


Medical items which are not covered by the standard fees and charges in public hospitals and clinics are provided by the Hospital Authority thru the Samaritan Fund safety net.


They pay for hearing aids, and the replacement of external speech processors of cochlear implants and other accessories.


Patients who needed financial assistance for privately purchased medical items or new technologies required in the course of medical treatment will be referred right away to the Samaritan Fund to get immediate assistance.


Patients who have met the specified clinical requirements will be referred to SF for financial assistance because health care vouchers cannot be used for purchasing products such as medication or medical equipment.


To sum up, the Hong Kong government is really extending all the assistance to their elderly who are most prone to the effects of hearing impairment.


If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


How to Adjust Your Hearing Aid

Due to advances in the studies on hearing and hearing loss, there are so many types of hearing aid devices in the market today. Anyone using a hearing aid should learn a few things in order to adjust to the fact that one has to wear one .


Tip #1 Know your loss first

Some hearing loss are severe, some are so mild a hearing aid is hardly needed. Others are so profound that people may hear but could not understand. Hearing loss is as individual as individuals get. An in-the- (ear)canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal while an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is custom made in two styles — one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear (full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (half shell)  . The ITC is recommended for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults while the ITE is recommended for mild to severe cases.


Tip #2 Know your (psychological) fit

Whether one likes it or not, there is some kind of stigma attached to wearing hearing devices not only because it is associated with old age, and no one likes to go around announcing it, but also because hearing loss is a disability and no one wants to announce that, too.


Tip #3 Know your type

The type of hearing aid chosen should be dependent on the kind of hearing loss, the quality of the devices, and the price. Sometimes the quality of the hearing aid chosen make adjustment to the use of hearing aids less traumatic.


Tip #4 Know your device

There are several hearing devices now in the market. Some hearing devices called “Invisible In Ear Nano Hearing Aid Small Hearing Amplification Device” advertised as invisible hearing aids . Using and adjusting them sometimes come with RTFMYI (Read The F_ _ _ ing Manual, You Idiot) instructions. However, adjusting them comes with experience in using the device. Sometimes adjusting the device to one’s particular needs, like adjusting the volume, only require common sense after the device had been in use for some time.


Adjusting to hearing devices is a different matter. It needs technical understanding of how hearing aids can change one’s quality of life as well as a psychological acceptance of why only hearing aids could improve such life.



Hence, make sure that you get a hearing aid prescription if you think you need a hearing aid. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Questions to Ask Your Audiologist Before Buying Hearing Aids

The problem with hearing aids is of course whether it is the hearing aid for us and whether or not we need one in the first place. Obviously for this kind of decision, we need an audiologist’s advice.


The health care professional with expertise on hearing loss and, therefore, of hearing aids is called an audiologist.


How can audiologists help those with hearing problems?


There are two problems associated with hearing loss. First, unless a baby is tested for hearing problems at birth, people do not usually detect hearing problems until hearing is already 50 percent damaged; and, second, whether or not we believe there is hope for ever being to hear well again.


First, they can determine the type of problem, the degree of the problem, the probable cause of the problem, the possible relief, and how such relief can be achieved. So perhaps these are the first questions to ask and whether or not a hearing aid is a healthy option.


Second, since they must have knowledge of all products available in the market that can help those with hearing problems, they can professionally present options for treatment and choices of products to go with the solution chosen. Once the decision is to go for a hearing aid, the next question is what hearing devices are available, in the local market or even online. So questions like “should I go visible or invisible?” or “should I go for comfort of for hearing efficiency?” The other obvious question to ask is what to look for in a hearing aid.


There are simply a wide variety of hearing devices to choose from and without a health professional to help make a choice, the hearing problem may get worse . There are also fitting problems to deal with as well as adjustment problems. Making properly-fitted, affordable hearing aids and cochlear implants and providing accessible follow-up services in all parts of the world will benefit many people with hearing loss .


Third, since every treatment ends up with economic considerations, and most insurance already recognize hearing problems as a disability, then questions about insurance coverage and treatment plans must be asked and answered and whether or not counselling is part of the sales service.


If one is clear about all these considerations, then and only then can one can invest on a hearing device.


If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Does Hearing Deteriorate with Age?

1 in 2 adults over age 65 experience hearing loss in different levels. This age related condition is referred to as presbycusis or hearing loss due to aging.


Just like other age related conditions, it can also be caused by other health factors such as diabetes, poor blood circulation, use of certain medications and a family history of hearing loss


As for avoidable causes, this can seriously result from smoking and the most common culprit – exposure to loud noises.


The main symptom of presbycusis or age related hearing loss is difficulty hearing voices of females or children because of an inability to hear high pitched sounds. It will also be difficult to hear others speak clearly and it will be hard to hear background noises.


This occurs because the tiny hair-like sensory hearing cells in your cochlea (inner ear), known as stereocilia of hair cells are the first to get damaged and they don’t regenerate.


These hair cells  are responsible for translating the sounds the ears collect into electrical impulses that the brain will be able to read or interpret so the absence of these cells results to an inability of the brain to relate to the sound and it translates to us as difficulty in understanding what we hear or not hearing it at all because the brain couldn’t send a signal.


According to health journals, the hearing impaired person will then experience certain sounds seeming overly loud but at the same time have difficulty hearing in areas that are noisy. There is difficulty hearing the difference between “s” and “th” sounds and sometimes this is accompanied by Tinnitus or ringing in the ears.


The person will find himself having to always turn up the volume of the television or radio a little louder than normal because he can’t hear clearly.


He will always ask people to repeat themselves because he is unable to understand conversations especially over the telephone.


Even if age related hearing loss is unavoidable, it is still best to delay or stop it from happening by following basic prevention techniques like avoiding repetitive exposure to loud sounds, wearing ear protection in loud places and controlling one’s blood sugar since people with diabetes are most prone.


As for those who have it already, wearing hearing aids will help them hear better as well as assistive devices like telephone amplifiers.


Lessons in sign language or lip reading can also help those who totally lost most of their hearing go on with their daily routines.


If you have a hearing problem, it’s time you speak to a hearing specialist and if necessary, use hearing aids as they can definitely help. If you’re a teacher, pay close attention, and if you experience any difficulty hearing, go to a hearing professional immediately  to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


Tips for Hearing-abled Persons When Talking to Hearing-impaired People

Even with hearing aids, people with hearing impairments cannot perceive sound the way people with normal hearing can. This emphasizes the importance of knowing what to do and what not to do when conversing with hearing-impaired people, with or without their hearing aids.


With that said, here are a few effective tips in making your conversations with hearing-impaired persons more productive and enjoyable.


Face the Person

Facing away from whoever you’re talking to isn’t a good idea when you’re talking to a hearing-impaired person. While it works with people with normal hearing, perhaps in movies and television sitcoms, it doesn’t work in people with hearing loss for many reasons.


You have to face him so that he can actually see your lips for lip-reading purposes, as well as see your facial expressions, hand gestures and body language. This way, you’re giving him ample opportunity to actively engage in the conversation and make the appropriate responses.


Don’t just face the person either. You have to be on the same level as he is as well as ensure that you’re in a good light for him to see you well.


Get His Attention

Don’t speak without getting the other person’s attention, such as by tapping him on the arm or shoulder. You have to give him sufficient time to shift his attention to you and then to engage in the conversation. Other ways to get his attention are saying his name and using a hand gesture.


Maintain Eye Contact

Of course, eye contact is a must in effective face-to-face communication. But it’s even more so when talking with a hearing-impaired person. You can both determine the feelings of the other person by looking into each other eyes and taking into account each other’s words, facial expressions and body language.


Speak Normally

There’s no need to shout in front of a hearing-impaired person to be heard! Besides, that’s just rude and you won’t have a good conversation when you’re being rude from the start.


Instead, you should speak in your normal speaking volume. But don’t slur or hurry with your words. You should speak clearly, distinctly and slowly without exaggerated mouth movements, which will allow the other person to read your lips.


You may, of course, speak at a slightly higher volume of voice but don’t shout. Otherwise, the other person won’t be able to read your lips well, not to mention that it’s being rude.


Aside from avoiding exaggerated mouth movements, you should also avoid putting your hands in your face while you’re talking. Again, it has something to do with lip reading.  You may also make it a point to position yourself in the other person’s good ear (i.e., the one with better hearing capabilities).


In the end, you and your hearing-impaired friend will enjoy good conversations if you make the effort first. Keep in mind that he may be hesitant about initiating the conversation so you may want to start it.



HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


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HK Hearing & Speech Centre
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