HES Welcomes Tony Caligiuri!

Tony Caligiuri, a longtime radio personality at WBEN, is famously known as the producer of the Sandy Beach Show. Tony came to HES in the Fall of 2018 after finally getting fed up with his hearing loss and bothersome tinnitus.

His hearing difficulties were affecting both his home and work life as well as his recreational activities. Tony is passionate about his family and community and didn’t want his relationships to continue to be negatively affected by his hearing loss. Tony was fit with hearing aids to address both his hearing and tinnitus complaints and was so satisfied with his results and his experience at HES that he has become an official spokesperson for our organization.

You can listen to Tony’s story, and his continued experience of better hearing health on WBEN, 930 AM, Monday through Friday from 9 am – noon.

Five Fun Facts from our Certified Tinnitus Specialists

At Hearing Evaluation Services, our Doctors of Audiology have the expertise to manage your tinnitus and help you hear well again. HES is the only practice in Western New York to have four Doctors of Audiology who are all members of the American Tinnitus Association as well as certified by the Tinnitus Practitioners Association, making them uniquely qualified to help with tinnitus. Here are some fun facts to help you get to know our Specialists:

Nicole L. Ball, Au.D

• Joined HES in 2012.

• Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

• Bilingual.

• Studied at the University of Costa Rica and Nova Southeastern University

• Mom of Twin Boys

Alyssa Beaton, Au.D.

• Joined HES in 2015.

• Certified in Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment.

• Worked as an Audiology Assistant and completed her residency with HES

• Western New York native.

• Getting married June 2019.

Jennifer Sutton, Au.D.

• Joined HES in 2007.

• Has extensive experience in vestibular and pediatric testing.

• Specializes in non-sedated auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing for infants.

• Helps train Doctoral-level audiology students from the University at Buffalo.

• Mom of two boys and a girl.

Carolyn Yates, Au.D.

• Joined HES in 2013.

• Graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University at Buffalo.

• 2013 Recipient of the Tindle-Schupe Award for Clinical Excellence in Audiology.

• Participates in clinical research studies for Tinnitus, Dizziness, and Balance disorders.

• Proud Mom of two boxers.

Tinnitus – FAQs

Hearing Evaluation Services has developed a Tinnitus Management Program that is built off of treatment research and years of tinnitus treatment outcomes. Many patients we treat have suffered for years before seeking treatment because they didn’t know that getting help was even an option.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about tinnitus that may help you have a better understanding of this condition:

What is tinnitus? – Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus is often described as ringing, buzzing, hissing, crickets chirping, etc. It can be present constantly or occur intermittently and can fluctuate in volume or type of sound. Tinnitus is considered a symptom and not a disease.

What causes tinnitus? – The biological mechanism of tinnitus is still unknown; however, current research suggests it is a result of the brain’s reaction to a change within the auditory system. Roughly 90% of people who experience tinnitus have an underlying hearing loss. It can also occur temporarily because of ear wax that is plugging the ears, ear infections, exposure to loud sounds or as a side effect of certain medications. Tinnitus is also associated with other non-auditory conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder as well as head or neck injuries.

Is there a cure for Tinnitus? – Tinnitus that is the result of certain ear-related issues (including impacted ear wax and conductive hearing loss) will typically diminish once the underlying medical issue is resolved. Tinnitus that is related to permanent hearing loss is not generally curable but it is often manageable using sound therapy and counseling techniques so that is no longer bothersome. Our Tinnitus Management Program is extremely successful. Over 85% of patients reported a reduction in how bothersome their tinnitus was in just six weeks.

What options are available to help patients better manage their tinnitus? – The certified tinnitus specialists at Hearing Evaluation Services are trained in various aspects of Sound Therapy and work with patients to develop an individualized tinnitus management plan.

Current management options include:

• Hearing Devices

• Masking Devices

• Neuromonics™ Devices

• Combination Devices

• Counseling

• Stress and Sleep Management

If you are experiencing bothersome tinnitus, please call our office today to set up an appointment with one of our specialists.

Major Milestone achieved for Dr. Ann E. Stadelmaier Hearing Aid Fund

Dr. Ann E. Stadelmaier

Hearing Evaluation Services of Buffalo (HES) is pleased to announce that they have now fit over 300 people in Western New York in financial need with a brand new digital hearing aid through the Dr. Ann E. Stadelmaier Hearing Aid Fund!

HES established this fund in memory of their former Executive Director, Dr. Ann E. Stadelmaier who passed away in 2006 after a long battle with cancer. Since its inception, the fund has been generously supported by 45 local Lions Clubs who donate to offset the costs of running the fund. Our staff is extremely proud of the Dr. Ann E. Stadelmaier fund, which has helped so many individuals in Western New York hear better. These members of our local community could not have afforded to do so without the help of the fund.

We would like to thank our local Lions Clubs for their continued support.  As a non-profit organization, HES is dedicated to helping all people hear better and looks forward to continuing to help more individuals in WNY.

The fund provides hearing assistance to individuals in  need who cannot otherwise afford these services in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

If you are interested in learning more about the fund or making a donation to help sustain it, please visit our website at HESofBuffalo.org or call our office at (716) 833-4488. 

It’s ‘Good to Hear’ us on the radio!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new radio campaign on WHTT 104.1 FM.  In addition to advertising on a new station, we also have a new series of commercials airing that  feature our wide array of programs and services.

We have also re-launched our television campaign on WGRZ – Channel 2!  In addition to highlighting the stories of our patients, John and Nanette, we have added a commercial about Missy from Youngstown, and her beautiful journey of enjoying life again!  We would like to once again thank John, Nanette and Missy for their help with our campaign, and letting Western New York know that – It’s Good to Hear!

Hearing Insurance Programs – FAQs

There are so many different kinds of insurance programs out there, many of which seem to change year to year.  If you are confused, you’re not alone!  We have asked the HES Insurance Specialist, Valerie Schmidt to share with us some frequently asked questions she receives when it comes to insurance – and some helpful answers:

What does insurance typically cover?

Nearly all insurances cover baseline hearing tests. There is no minimum age requirement.  Other diagnostic tests are typically covered as well.  This would include balance or dizziness tests or more extensive hearing testing, if necessary.  There are also several different ways that insurance companies support hearing aids but there is a wide variety of ways they go about it.  It all depends on your insurance program.

Are Hearing Aids covered by Insurance?

There are a wide variety of programs for hearing aids, depending on the individual insurance company and specific insurance policy. Some companies allocate a certain amount they will contribute towards hearing aids.  Others participate with hearing aid discount programs, but unfortunately these programs can be extremely limiting in the type of device a patient can receive with very limited choices.  Many patients will also use their flex dollars towards their hearing aids or use it to upgrade to a more advanced device than what their insurance covered.

What is the difference between a hearing aid benefit and a hearing aid discount program?

A hearing aid benefit is money paid by the insurance company to pay all or part of the cost of any hearing aid the patient chooses. It is similar to how insurance companies cover costs towards eye glasses. A hearing aid discount program gives the patient access to hearing aids at a reduced price that the patient pays for entirely.  The insurance company pays nothing.  These discount programs often have a very limited selection available with limited services included.

Can I use flex dollars towards hearing aids?

Yes! Flex dollars can be used towards hearing devices and any custom ear mold offered through Hearing Evaluation Services.  Many patients use this as a way to upgrade from their basic insurance contribution to get a hearing device with some of the newest technological features – such as Bluetooth connectivity, functional smart phone apps, and rechargeable batteries.

What’s the biggest misconception when it comes to insurance coverage?

Unfortunately, some people think that access to discounted hearing aids is the same as an insurance benefit. It’s not. Since the insurance company does not actually contribute to the cost of the hearing aids, the patient pays the whole bill.  Additionally, many of these plans try to limit where patients can go to get their hearing aids and they work with high pressure sales companies.  When you come to HES, we will check your insurance and make sure you know all your options, we honor your insurance benefits or discounts, and we never use high pressure tactics.

If you have any questions about your insurance program, we encourage you to call Valerie Schmidt at 716-833-4488, or you can attend one of our upcoming complimentary insurance seminars.

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