Albany Audiology Brings a Family Feel to Hearing Health Care
Monday, May 11th, 2015
Advances in hearing aids and devices have accelerated "from zero to 100 over the last three to four years," according to Dr. Doug Lorber, audiologist and owner of Albany Audiology. While the latest in hearing-related digital technologies may bring patients in to Albany Audiology, the warm family feel is equally important.
"Our office feels more like home than a medical office," Lorber said. "My wife and two sons work here along with me. We've been in private practice since 1996."
Doug Lorber has a doctorate in audiology and 27 years of professional experience. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and a fellow and past board member of the Georgia Academy of Audiology. His wife, Nancy Lorber, is the office administrator and manages hearing conservation programs for many local industries, which can include annual hearing evaluations, noise-level surveys and OSHA-compliant recordkeeping. Sons Mike Dent-Lorber and Josh Lorber are audiology technicians and help run the front desk.
"Insurance covers most hearing evaluations. And while Medicare doesn't pay for hearing aids, most other insurance does. Patients also have a month to try a hearing aid and return it if they aren't satisfied. Many people think if they buy a hearing aid, they are stuck with it and that's just not the case," Lorber said.
A growing awareness
People are more aware of issues related to hearing loss and more aware of the negative impacts of high noise levels, according to Lorber. That has led to growth in the number of hearing evaluations that Albany Audiology performs for people of all ages.
"We have a lot of hunters, farmers and factory workers in and around Albany. They typically have more exposure to high noise levels that can damage the hearing nerve," Lorber said.
"Hearing loss can affect people in many different ways. They may become more introverted and stay home more. Quality of life can really diminish."
Baby boomers are coming in more for hearing evaluations, according to Lorber. Albany Audiology also performs hearing evaluations on children and newborns.
"We perform electrophysiological testing to detect hearing issues in newborns. Catching any issues early can help improve language and speech development," Lorber said.
A Bluetooth connection
The advent of smartphones and new wireless technologies is changing how hearing aids operate. With Bluetooth, a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances, hearing aids can now receive audio signals directly from phones, tablets and televisions.
"Bluetooth hearing aids help people in the workforce who need to get information over the phone. It's hands-free and in stereo," Lorber said.
"Apple was the first company to work directly with hearing-aid companies to ensure that Bluetooth chips were included that work with their products."
In addition to new wireless capabilities, hearing aids also continue to get smaller and less noticeable. At the same time, they are becoming more powerful and more flexible.
"With everything now being digital, it's possible to reprogram a hearing aid to adjust to changing hearing ability. As a result, hearing aids now have a much longer useful life, from seven to 10 years," Lorber said.
More information on Albany Audiology is available at albanyears.com.