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Livio AI: The very latest in hearing aids from Starkey

livio ai ric hearing aidIn May Starkey took the wraps off their vision of where hearing devices are heading next. The device was launched with a reference to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ launch of the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone changed the landscape of the smartphone market dramatically and showed people what was possible beyond a phone just being a phone. (more…)

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Vestibular Migraines: Headaches and headspins

Susan has always had migraines. Severe headaches that would almost incapacitate her half a dozen times a year. She could recover by resting in a dark, quiet environment for a while. Then the dizziness spells began. (more…)

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Help us help Queensland!

Help us help Queensland!

Help us help Queensland!

Northern and western Queensland have been absolutely devastated after the floods in early February 2019.

In Townsville:

  • A year’s worth of rain fell in just 8 days
  • 1,000 homes in Townsville have been severely damaged
  • 20,000 homes have been affected
  • 250 homes are unliveable
  • The damage bill is still being calculated

Out west:

  • Over five years of drought saw farmers on the brink
  • Floods for many was not the saviour but yet another challenge
  • Rail lines and roads were ripped apart
  • Flood waters created rivers kilometres wide
  • Hundreds of thousands of cattle have been lost
  • Losses and damage is estimated at over $500,000,000

Many in each community have been battered and bruised, but we hope not yet beaten.

Now is the time for us to stand together and reach out and help where we each can.

Clarity is supporting four charities and is urging our community of staff, patients, suppliers, friends and family to join in our support.

Clarity has donated $500 to each of the four following charities and urges you, if you are able, to support those struggling through this disaster. Click on the links below to donate to your chosen cause.

GIVIT

GIVIT work to alleviate poverty in Australia by ensuring every community service provider has what it needs through the simple act of giving. The GIVIT platform is free to use and makes giving easy by allowing you to see exactly what is required by vulnerable community members.

https://givit.worldsecuresystems.com/donate-funds

Queensland Country Women’s Association

Helping people in need is the heart of the QCWA. Donations to the QCWA will help support families in flood and drought-affected areas
http://www.qcwa.org.au/financial-help/

Sisters of the North

Sisters of the North is the brainchild of a group of women who want to encourage connection, community and empowerment as a means of developing resilience against any adversity potentially experienced. They have started a GoFundMe page to support those affected by drought.

https://www.gofundme.com/sisters-of-the-north-nq-flood-relief

BlazeAid

A volunteer-based organisation that works with families and farmers to rebuild after a natural disaster. BlazeAid has organised worker camps for Richmond, Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Winton.

http://blazeaid.com.au/donations/

 

Photos courtesy of Michael Chambers

 

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First Implant Surgery in Mackay for BAHA Implant Technology

One of Clarity Hearing + Balance’s patients has been the first patient to receive a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) implant at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Mackay.

The patient and Clarity audiologists worked with ENT specialist Dr Luke Reid who performed the surgery on 18 February to implant the bone anchor.

“This is a wonderful first for Mackay,” Mr Grant Collins, owner and Principal Audiologist at Clarity Hearing + Balance, said.

“We have been offering implant solutions in Mackay since 2014 but previously our patients who required BAHA surgery needed to travel to Brisbane or Townsville. With Dr Reid now offering his surgical expertise at the Mater, we can provide seamless, continuity of care right here in Mackay,” Mr Collins continued.

Unlike a cochlear implant, which transmits sound via electric impulses, the BAHA transmits sound by creating vibrations in the bones in the skull.

In this first case, a small magnet is attached to the patient’s skull and a small external processor attaches to that magnet. The processor sends vibrations through the bone to create sound. This mechanism bypasses the middle ear and any hearing loss issues present there. The cochlea is then able to pick up the sound and transmit it to the auditory centre for processing by the brain.

Clarity have worked hard to develop implant pathways to allow people with basic hospital cover to access implant technology for little to no cost.

“People have often thought that implant technology was out of reach financially, but with private health cover your implant, processor and surgery is covered barring any gaps your ENT and anaesthetist charge. Clarity bulk-bills all implant appointments if you have a referral from the ENT,” Mr Collins explained.

“Our driver has always been to ensure as many people with hearing loss can access treatment and rehabilitation that’s right for them. We are delighted to be able to offer this BAHA implant technology and all associated services, including the implant surgical procedure, right here in Mackay. It will be a benefit to those patients with middle ear pathologies where traditional hearing aids no longer help,” Mr Collins continued.

Clarity Hearing + Balance is a North Queensland-owned, independent audiology clinic and have been serving the Mackay market for over 8 years. We have been providing cochlear and other implant services in Queensland and Mackay for over 5 years with our first cochlear implant switch-on in Mackay in 2016.

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Seize the Day with Oticon Siya

The right hearing loss treatment, paired with the right device, can help you hear more of what makes every day special.

Oticon, makers of Opn™, have introduced the feature-packed Siya. Combined with Clarity’s hearing loss expertise and advice, the Siya may be the right device to help you hear more of what makes every day special. There are Siya models suitable for your loss from mild to severe and profound hearing loss.

The Siya is built on Oticon’s fastest sound processing platform, the Velox, and is 50 times faster than Oticon’s previous Inium Sense platform. This means it can adapt quickly to your listening situation helping you hear better and enjoying some of the things you may be missing.

Oticon Siya Features

Direct streaming from iPhone or stream from Android with the optional ConnectClip

Oticon Siya includes 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® low energy in all models except the small IIC and CIC styles.
This provides wireless connectivity with high-quality streaming of sound and low battery consumption from your modern smartphones, TVs and many other devices.

RemoteCare Adjustments via a smartphone app (compatible smart device required)

If you need your audiologist to make an adjustment to your hearing aids, you can now request the changes and have them uploaded from the comfort of your own home. No need to travel to the clinic. Clarity’s RemoteCare options allow you the hearing support you need from the convenience of your own home or on the other side of the world if you like to go travelling.

oticon siya rechargeableRechargeable option (optional extra)

The Oticon Siya can use the ZPower rechargeable device system. Just plug your devices in overnight for a full day of hearing the next day. If you do happen to run out of power you can still use conventional batteries in the devices.

IP68 water and dust resistance

This is the highest level of water and dust resistance awarded by the International Electrotechnical Commission. This means your device should be ok if you accidentally drop it in water and fish it out quickly. The IEC test the device in 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes.

Tinnitus support

The Oticon Siya includes a tinnitus relief sound generator giving you a wide range of customisable tinnitus relief sounds.

Full range of styles

The Siya comes in a full range of styles to fit your hearing loss and preferences. From the small IIC (Invisible-in-Canal) to the powerful Power Plus BTE (Behind-the-Ear) styles.

HearingFitness™ App

Oticon’s HearingFitness App measures and analyses hearing data and allows you to set hearing goals and helps you reach them.

IFTTT connectivity

“If This Then That” technology allows you to connect your hearing aids to smart home devices. You can then set actions such as triggering turning lights off when you turn off your hearing aids and much, much more.

Oticon Siya Pricing

Clarity works hard to keep device pricing as low as possible. See the complete Siya range and Siya pricing here.

If you are a pension concession card holder, Government subsidies are available which includes free assessment, fitting and follow up appointments. See the OHS pricing in our catalogue. For devices fully subsidised by the government’s Hearing Services Program see our catalogue here.

Request an appointment or more information on the Siya

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Why choose Clarity for your hearing loss treatment?

Our practice follows five principles for ethical treatment of hearing loss, which ensures you get the best hearing solutions for your hearing loss:

  • Accurate diagnosis: We only employ the best University Masters qualified and registered Audiologists and we take the time to ensure we accurately diagnose your hearing loss through a comprehensive hearing assessment, not just a hearing screen.
  • Evidence-based recommendations and treatment: We only prescribe treatment, hearing aids and features where there’s medical evidence it will actually help you and, importantly, suit your lifestyle. This means that if amplification via hearing aids won’t help with your specific hearing loss, we will not recommend or prescribe them. Hearing loss is a complex pathology and a one size fits all approach will never address your personal experience of hearing loss or damage.
  • Ethical and transparent pricing: Our margins are the same across our entire range of hearing aids. This ensures there is no incentive to over-prescribe technology other than what is best for you. We earn our income from our clinical time – our expertise – just like your GP or Physiotherapist. This also means we can keep our hearing aid pricing low with prices in some cases close to wholesale.
  • No sales commissions: Our clinicians are here to give you better hearing – not to sell you a hearing aid. By removing sales commissions and sales targets our audiologists can focus on treating your hearing loss, not selling you a hearing aid.
  • Independent since 2008: Being independent we can provide hearing aids and implants from all manufacturers to ensure we can select the right options for your hearing needs. We will offer you a choice of options at different price points that will treat your hearing loss and we will take the time to explain the benefits and features of each option.

If you are ready to act on hearing loss or damage, request an appointment today.

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NDIS, Townsville and the Floods

As we know Townsville has been flooded to a catastrophic level and it will take a long time to get things back to normal.

The NDIA has now released some information for NDIS participants relating to any assistive technology affected by the flood. (more…)

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Hearing aids and wet weather

Queensland has suffered from intense rain, not just recently but historically.

And while hearing aids are amazing devices, as with any electronics, they don’t mix well with water.

If you have a house in the tropics you know what a week of rain will do to your, your walls, your bags, your shoes.  mould starts to grow everywhere and on everything.

Water resistance of hearing aids has improved greatly over the last few years. But with the constant barrage of moisture, hearing aids will need some extra TLC to ensure they keep working flawlessly.

Like any electronics, if moisture does get in it can affect the electronics. Moisture can corrode the parts inside the device including the processing chip, as well as affect battery life.

In the current Queensland environment it is highly advised that you use some form of drying techniques to ensure your hearing aids dry out fully on a daily basis.

There are several methods you can use to dry small electronics like hearing aids. You can use a dedicated electronic dehumidifier. It has a built-in timer. Place your hearing aids inside and press the timer and the device will apply gentle heat and airflow to dry out your devices. Just remember to remove the batteries before popping your devices into the dehumidifier.

Some of these dehumidifiers also include an ultraviolet light that kills any bacteria accumulating on your hearing aid.

A simpler option is a small container with a desiccant pouch or drying tablet. Just pop your hearing aids into the container overnight and seal the container. You can get specific drying tablets that will last quite a few months.

Finally, in an emergency, pop some rice into a ziplock bag with your hearing aids. Rice has the ability to soak up quite a bit of humidity, which will help dry your devices as a last resort.

The last thing to note is that humidity can affect the life of your batteries. If you find your batteries aren’t lasting as long as they used to, try to dry your devices using one of the methods above. If that doesn’t improve the longevity, contact your audiologist for advice.

Treat your hearing aids well and they will stand by you in all kinds of weather.

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Phonak Audéo™ Marvel – A superhero of hearing aids?

The latest hearing device to land in Australia is the Phonak Audeo Marvel, which became available for pre-order this week. (more…)

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5 reasons to act on hearing loss today!

Let’s start with one shocking statistic:

Seven years is the average time it takes for someone to address their hearing loss.

Why is it better to get on top of hearing loss sooner rather than later? Hearing loss can have an effect in five areas of your life, and if you can avoid these effects, so much the better for you. (more…)

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Hearing Loss – The Bachelor host shares his experience

Osher Gunsberg is better known as the host of The Bachelor franchise in Australia. What many don’t know is that Osher wears hearing aids.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. One in six Australians suffer from some sort of hearing issue, and many, like Osher, take far too long addressing the issue.

Osher first noticed difficulties hearing when he was 17. In his late 20s he noticed he couldn’t tell the difference between the sound of an “f” or an “s” yet it took him another 10 years to seek help.

Osher has shared his experience in the video below.

Like Osher says, wearing hearing aids isn’t about hearing better… it’s about connecting better.

“I definitely feel more present in the room. I feel a lot more aware of the environment that I’m in.”

When you are ready to find solutions for your hearing issues, talk to Clarity, Queensland’s trusted, independent, hearing loss experts. Don’t leave it too long.

Request a booking today!

 

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I want to change hearing services providers!

People receiving hearing services under the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program may not be aware that there are a network of different providers who are registered to deliver these services Australia-wide (around 300).

This means that if you wish to change providers, for any number of reasons, you are able to seek out and relocate to someone you feel will better service your needs.

Certainly staying with one provider can be beneficial as you can develop a stronger relationship between yourself and your audiologist. It allows you to work through any problems or issues you may experience with your hearing loss. But in some cases your existing provider may no longer be suitable or convenient for you anymore, or you may just want a second opinion. This is when you can consider finding a new provider. So if you are not 100% happy, maybe it’s time to start looking around.

How do I change hearing service providers?

Once you have chosen a new provider it is a simple matter of contacting them, discussing your needs and ensuring they can meet them. Once you are happy let them know you would like to relocate to them for your hearing services. There’s nothing more for you to do until your first appointment when you sign the consent to relocate form. You do not have to contact your previous provider as your new provider will lodge a relocation notice with the Hearing Services Program on your behalf.

The Hearing Services Program will then inform the old provider that you have chosen to relocate and will request that your personal hearing health file is sent to the new provider. This ensures your new provider has access to your previous hearing health history and can consider this in the continuation of your hearing care.

If you have any difficulties in transferring to a hearing services provider, please contact the Hearing Services Program direct on 1800 500 726.

Remember, changing providers is your choice and your previous provider cannot contact you to try to entice you to return.

What happens to my batteries and maintenance agreement?

If you have a current battery and maintenance agreement in place, this agreement will continue with your new chosen service provider. You are not be required to enter into a new maintenance agreement or pay any additional fees for the period of your agreement. From now on though you will request batteries and maintenance from your new provider.

Good hearing is important and getting the best hearing health care is vital. Remember, it is your choice as to who provides your hearing services. The most important thing is that you are happy and getting the best service and treatment for your hearing health.

If you are looking for a second opinion or feel that you would be better served with a different provider than your current one, talk to Clarity today.

Request a booking today!

 

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Hearing loss support for farmers in drought

With nearly 60% of the state now drought declared and regions struggling after years of low or non-existent rainfall one of the first casualties is often the’ individual health and well-being of our farmers.

Better Hearing Australia and Clarity Hearing + Balance have announced the extension of eligibility to the BHA Hearing Access Program to Queensland farmers affected by drought and their partners.

The program allows those eligible access to modern, refurbished hearing aids for a low cost. With new hearing aids costing anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 a pair, addressing hearing loss can be out of reach for many struggling with the drought. Through the program the cost for a professional hearing loss assessment and the fitting of a pair of quality, refurbished aids is less than a quarter of what hearing aids would normally cost.

The program was developed by BHA and Clarity Hearing + Balance to increase access to hearing loss treatment for those people with clinical needs who would not normally be covered by existing programs like the Government’s Hearing Services Program or the NDIS.

BHA and Clarity have expanded the eligibility requirements to include farmers and their partners whose property is in a drought declared area of Queensland.

In times of struggle individual priorities, like health and well-being, often take a backseat to ensuring crops and livestock make it through the tough times. But research shows that untreated hearing loss can have a great impact on mental health as well. This impact can be even greater during times of stress.

‘Our aim has always been to reach and support as many people dealing with hearing loss as possible. By partnering with Clarity we are able to provide concrete, on the ground support in many rural and remote communities we would not otherwise be able to reach, Mr Tony Whelan, President of Better Hearing Australia said.

Grant Collins, owner and Principal Audiologist at Clarity Hearing + Balance, stated: ‘As a Charleville boy born and bred I have a strong connection to Queensland rural community. This program is only one small effort to help our farmers in this time of need, but we hope it can help lessen the burden for some of those needing an extra hand during this time.’

Clarity Hearing + Balance travel to centres throughout Queensland on a regular basis. To check eligibility phone 1300′ 252 748.

If you have hearing aids floating around which are no longer in use, these can be donated to the program at any of our clinics or posted to BHA Hearing Access Program, PO Box 3808, Hermit Q 4812

 

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How much for hearing aids?

When it comes to hearing, many distraught people come to Clarity Hearing + Balance after being told they need to spend thousands upon thousands on premium hearing aids-even after subsidies for those eligible for them.

The fact is researchers at Memphis University found there was no significant difference in listening effort required between basic and premium hearing aids. The only difference between them are those nice to have extra features” like the heated leather seats or LED headlights in that new car you might want. But do you really need heated leather seats?

Some people will also say that you get what you pay for and that it is risky buying a cheap hearing aid. This also isn’t true.

Many of the entry-level, affordable devices from respectable manufacturers are the exact same physical device as the premium model. The only difference is the less expensive model has some features or options turned off.

Take Unitron for example. Their devices come in five technology levels. At Clarity we fit mostly the entry-level technology (free to eligible pensioners and veterans), and then later, if they desire, our patients can ‘unlock’ the higher technology levels without having to buy a new set of hearing aids. This means you get exactly what you need when you need it.

When it comes to hearing aids you don’t need to spend thousands and thousands to help your hearing. But if that is what you are being told, maybe it’s time to get a second opinion.

Request a booking today!

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Hearing aids and the winter cold

While most would agree that Queensland’s winter is a mild one in comparison to other locations around our country, it can still get pretty cold, wet and miserable.

Some regional centres regularly drop to minimums in the single digits and even at times heads in to the negative territories. We also usually think of our winter months as dry months but, on average, we will still see rainfall on over twenty days throughout winter.

This is when the cold and wet can play havoc with your hearing aids but these tips can help ensure you get the best out of your devices.

Keep your hearing devices dry

There’s nothing worse for your hearing devices and their batteries than a bit of moisture. While many new devices come with excellent water resistance it is always better to be sure than sorry.

In winter we often move from one temperature extreme to another and this can cause condensation inside your hearing aid including in the battery compartment.

Before you turn your hearing devices off at night, make sure to check them over for any moisture, including inside the battery compartment. Dry your device and any batteries with a soft dry cloth.

If you have a Behind-The-Ear style hearing aid with tubes, ensure you remove any moisture in the tubes as well. Remove the tube from the hearing aid and blow air through it to remove the moisture. You can use a can of compressed air available from stationery supply stores to do this as well.

One last point, always ensure you dry your ears really well after a shower or a swim before you insert your hearing aids. This can go a long way towards minimising the risk of damage to your hearing aids.

Invest in a dehumidifier if you don’t have one.

This is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that will get rid of any moisture in your hearing aids overnight while you sleep. You simply pop your hearing aids into the small dehumidifying box when you go to bed and it goes to work drawing out any moisture present in your hearing aids.

In a pinch, the old trick of placing your hearing aid in a bag of clean, dry uncooked rice may also work as the rice will absorb any moisture present in the device.

What if your hearing aids get damaged?

It’s so frustrating when hearing aids don’t work. Even more frustrating when you are not quite sure what’s wrong with them. Is it the battery? Is something blocking the microphone? Have they been moisture damaged?

Do some trouble shooting with some new dry batteries, replace the wax guards and ensure there is no wax or dust clogging the mic or vent. If they still don’t work or only work intermittently then head straight to your audiologist to have them looked at and repaired if need be.

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Put old hearing aids to good use

Clarity Hearing + Balance have recently partnered with Better Hearing Australia Brisbane (BHA) to develop the BHA Hearing Access Program.

The BHA HAP has been developed to give those people with hearing loss that may fall through the cracks left by other programs, including the NDIS, the ability to access low cost quality hearing solutions.

And this is where you can help. The program relies on donations of second-hand hearing aids, which Clarity’s audiologists will refurbish in readiness for fitting. If you have any hearing aids lying around you no longer use, why not donate them to this great cause.

The Hearing Access Program will fit people in need with one or two single or both ears as needed with refurbished hearing aids as required. To ensure as many people as possible are eligible for the program eligibility criteria has been set as simple as possible with the only requirements being on a demonstrated clinical needs basis and holding a Health Care Card.

Clarity and BHA believe the program sets an industry benchmark with the focus being on clinical need rather than a minimum hearing loss threshold.

Clarity’s extensive reach with clinics throughout Queensland means that people can access this program throughout most of the state rather than having to travel to Brisbane to access the public hearing aid bank.

The Hearing Access Program will provide high quality, modern aids deemed suitable to be refurbished and refitted. This includes a full check and service, cleaning and sterilisation, new moulds/receivers/tubes and a housing change where required.

The program includes:

  • a full rehabilitative audiological assessment
  • an initial personalised comprehensive hearing rehabilitation program
  • ear wax/foreign body removal and management
  • hearing aid fitting and verification
  • rehabilitation
  • a report for licencing (if required)
  • a packet of batteries and a cleaning kit.

BHA will also continue to support recipients after fitting with access to a full range of hearing loss management support to ensure they get the most out of their hearing aid(s).

If you have any spare aids lying around you can drop them off to the following locations:

You can also send them to:

BHA Hearing Access Program
Better Hearing Australia Brisbane, Inc
PO Box 5334
West End QLD 4101

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When hearing aids are not enough!

You can treat severe to profound hearing losses successfully with hearing aids. However, there are people who have such damage to their hearing that speech nerves are unable to fire even when a hearing aid provides them with adequate amplification. And if your nerves aren’t firing then you won’t understand speech.

Generally speaking, if you understand less than half of spoken word you listen to under test conditions, even with quality, correctly chosen and fitted hearing aids, then implant technology is possibly your next step.

Implantation is also recommended for other types of hearing loss. Traditional hearing aids are not recommended, if hearing loss involves the middle ear, for medical reasons. For example chronically discharging ears or if you are born without an outer ear.   

‘But hang on’, you might say. ‘Implants are expensive. I can’t afford that!’

How much do hearing implants costs?

It is true that an implant and processor can cost up to $30,000. Any way you look at it it’s a lot of money. What you may not be aware of is that many basic private health insurance hospital policies will cover the implant and the processor as well as much, if not all of the surgery required.

Even if you do not have private health insurance then you may also be eligible to fitted through the public health system, however selection criteria is more stringent.

Best thing to do is to seek out an audiologist who will bulk-bill appointments and ‘mappings and who also work with ENT specialists who are willing to bulk-bill much of their cost. We find that in most cases our patients end up paying a few hundred dollars out of pocket rather than thousands.

So what kind of implants are available?

The cochlear implant, which you may be familiar with, was invented here in Australia. A cochlear works by implanting a tiny electrode in the inner ear. A sound processor (like a hearing aid) sits externally and signals for tiny electrical impulses to be sent along the implanted electrode to stimulate your hearing nerves.

bone conduction implant is the second type of implant and is suitable for people with outer or middle ear issues. A processor signals the bone anchored implant to vibrate, which sends sounds directly to your inner ear through the bones in your skull.

The final implant is a middle ear implant. This is similar to a bone conduction implant except instead of vibrating the skull, a small transducer is attached to the little bones within the middle ear (ossicles) and the implant stimulates those to create sounds.

Ongoing support

You need to be able to rely on ongoing support and expertise wherever you are, no matter which type of implant you get. Treating profound hearing loss with implants is an ongoing process working with your audiologist to retrain your brain to hear and decipher sounds again. It can also be stressful if you need to travel to another town to have implant surgery, so knowing your hearing loss team is nearby can be a great comfort.

A first step

If you are finding that hearing aids no longer work for you, make an appointment with Clarity to determine what options are available for you. Then you can carefully consider those options in your own time.

Request an appointment today!

Image courtesy Cochlear Limited

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