Valencia Hearing offers service five-days a week at LL office

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Just like everything else in our society, technology has revolutionized the world of hearing aids, transforming them from basically amplifiers to customizable devices so sensitive they can be adjusted for individual tones.

Dana Bowley-News-Bulletin photo: The computer plays a big role in Pasqual Armijo’s day at Valencia Hearing Associates. It not only keeps track of patient records, but is now a tool in helping to program and personalize each individual hearing aid.

 

“Modern hearing aids are sophisticated, adjustable and programmable,” said Pasqual Armijo III, licensed hearing specialist at Valencia Hearing Associates in Los Lunas. “We are able to fit everyone’s needs individually. That’s why there are so many different kinds of hearing aids.”

Armijo said that in the “old days” of hearing aids just a few years ago, most devices were little more than an amplifier that made everything louder. The problem, he said, is that most people’s hearing loss only involve some, but not all, tones, so when you amplify everything, some tones are now to loud for the wearer.

“That’s why a lot of seniors used to complain about their hearing aids,” he said. “They were only deficient in some tones, but all tones were being amplified.”

Some people would blame that on the device, Armijo said, but more likely they would blame it on the person selling the device. That caused many to view hearing aid salespeople as less than trustworthy.

“Those past issues were probably due to the technology,” Armijo said. “Now hearing aids are so sophisticated. We program them with a computer, and we can program for every tone.

“So now if someone comes to us and says they’d like to hear this a little better or that a little better, we can adjust that specific tone without changing anything else,” he said. “We can translate their needs to the device.”

Besides being able to personalize every device, technology has brought other changes to, most remarkably in miniaturization. Some hearing aids are now so small they are virtually invisible.

“And,” Armijo said, “you remember hearing stories of people’s batteries going dead at the worst possible time? Well, now some hearing aids are rechargeable. Charge it while you’re sleeping and you never have to replace a battery again.”

Depending on the level of sophistication the individual wants, a set of hearing aids can cost anywhere from about $800 to as much as $6,000.

Valencia Hearing Associates has been open about a year and a half and, according to Armijo, is the only five-day-a-week hearing aid sales and service facility in the county.

“It’s tough on seniors to have to go to Albuquerque for service,” he said. “And other companies are only here a couple of days a month. We’re here five days. It’s a lot easier for them to come here for service and adjustments.”

Armijo is a hearing aid specialist licensed by the state of New Mexico to conduct auditory tests and fit and service hearing aids.

He said all hearing tests and evaluations at his office are free, as are most services and all adjustments after the sale.

Armijo said the technology is enabling and encouraging people to turn to hearing aids at a younger age when signs of hearing loss first appear, whereas people used to often wait until they were nearly deaf.

What are some tip-offs you should see a hearing specialist?

“If it sounds like people are mumbling or whispering, or you’re only catching parts of words,” Armijo said. “Another good tip-off is if background noises are overriding the sound of the person you’re with.”

Most hearing loss, he said, involves high tones, with low tones being heard normally. Crowd noise is mostly low tones, so they’ll tend to drown out a single voice, especially that of a woman or child, who generally speak in higher tones.

“I encourage everyone to at least get tested and find out where you’re at,” he said. “Think of it like vision. If your sight was getting worse, you’d get it checked out. Same with hearing.”

Valencia Hearing Associates is located in the shopping center at 3459 N.M. 47 in Los Lunas, in the last office across the parking lot from Baskin-Robbins (the locations of the News-Bulletin Los Lunas office for many years).

Hours are 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 866-0914.

 


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