Technology is making strides in hearing aid quality and features.
“We actually have a brand new product, called Beltone Trust,” said Perry Ebel, president of Beltone South and owner of the Farragut location, 12744 Kingston Pike in Renaissance | Farragut.
“It’s the first production hearing aid that can be programmed remotely,” Ebel added.
“People who are infirmed or people on the opposite side of the scale, who are very active and have a difficult time setting an office appointment, can — through their hearing aid and cell phone — request a change to their programming,” he said.
“They go through a series of questions that help us understand what it is they want changed and then we can send those changes from our office back to the hearing aid and they get a notification on their cell phones,” Ebel said. “So, they don’t have to come in.
“Not only that, the wireless technology of [Beltone Trust] continues to expand with the hearing aids, their connectability to the Internet, to cell phones, to televisions, any music systems continues to expand,” he added. “And, the most important thing is that it is taking a new look at the way it looks at hearing.
“So now, the programs that are running inside that [hearing aid] give a much more natural experience to sound than they have ever been able to give before.”
Ebel said the goal of Beltone is to take someone who has hearing loss and help give him or her as normal an experience in the hearing world as it can.
“Beltone, nationwide, has seen massive interest in the [Beltone Trust] product,” he said.
One challenge the hearing aid industry is facing, he said, is a section of a bill, which is buried in U.S. House of Representatives’ HR2430 Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, which is trying to create a class of hearing aids that can be sold less expensively over the counter.
“We would like to see hearing aids become more affordable to more people,” Ebel said, but added he is opposed to the bill because it does not require evaluations.
“It would require people to self-evaluate their hearing loss and they may have some serious problems that would not be identified [if they are not tested by a certified audiologist or hearing aid dispenser],” he said.
Beltone South’s Farragut location recently won “Best Hearing Center” in farragutpress’ Readers’ Choice Awards.
“I’m so excited about that,” Ebel said. “Michael Murphy, our board-certified hearing aid dispenser, and Meshella Shelton, our patient care coordinator, do a great job.”
Beltone South opened its doors in Farragut almost two years ago. It has other hearing aid centers in East Tennessee and northern Georgia.
The center conducts hearing testing — any kind of testing needed to accurately fit and dispense hearing aids, Ebel said.
“Beltone is probably the biggest dispenser of hearing aids in Tennessee, so thousands of hearing aids a year,” he said. “In this office, they do an incredible job. We have the very best of testing equipment, and Michael being board-certified, it’s nice to have him here in the area.”
Board-certified is the highest certification a dispenser can get, and Murphy can do most of the things an audiologist does except the clinical end of the audiologist, such as identifying diseases, Ebel said.
“But when it comes to hearing aids, no question, they are the technical experts,” he said.
The Farragut center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call 865-630-2430.