For many people, hearing loss seems like a mystery. There can be a lot of misinformation out there and we place a high importance on educating our patients. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about hearing loss:
How do I know if I have hearing loss?
Hearing loss usually develops gradually without discomfort or pain, making it hard to recognize. Family members usually notice it first, and people with hearing loss often find ways to compensate.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device worn in or behind the ear. Hearing aids contain a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. These components are used to detect sound, make portions of it louder and send the enhanced signal to the ear. The louder sound makes hearing easier and allows people with hearing loss to listen, communicate and participate more fully in daily activities.
Most types of hearing loss are classified as sensorineural hearing loss, where the nerve cells of hearing have become damaged. The bad news is that hearing loss of this kind cannot be naturally recovered, but the good news is that you can make better use of the hearing you still have with the right hearing aids.
If you think you may have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing evaluation at our office to get your hearing tested. Our audiologist, Dr. Sherman, is trained to measure your hearing loss and provide expert recommendations for treatment.
There are many styles of hearing aids; some sit behind the ear while others fit completely inside the ear canal, making them nearly invisible. Today’s hearing aids also come equipped with a host of features that allow you to talk on the phone, stream music, and listen to conversations in noisy environments.
Honestly, it depends. The right hearing aid will be selected based on the characteristics of your hearing loss, which can only be determined by a complete hearing evaluation.
Once we have your hearing test results in hand, we’ll know how much amplification you’ll need and which features will be beneficial to you and which won’t. For example, you may need two hearing aids if you have hearing loss in both ears, you may need telecoils if you speak on the phone a lot, and you may want completely-in-the-canal hearing aids if appearance is a concern.
The benefits of better hearing are worth the effort, but you need to understand that, like anything new, it’s going to take some time and patience to get used to them. On average, most hearing aid users feel comfortable in their new hearing aids within a couple of months.
Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aids. Make it a habit to:
- Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
- Clean hearing aids as instructed. Earwax and ear drainage can damage a hearing aid.
- Avoid using hairspray or other hair care products while wearing hearing aids.
- Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
- Replace dead batteries immediately.
- Keep replacement batteries and small aids away from children and pets.
Just like other digital technology (computers, TVs, cell phones), hearing aids are becoming smaller and more powerful. Today’s hearing aids are discreet (some are essentially invisible), filter out background noise, allow hands-free phone calls, stream music and sound directly to the hearing aids, enhance speech comprehension, interact with smartphones and much more.
The effectiveness of your hearing aids is dependent on how they’re programmed, which in turn, is dependent on the unique characteristics of your hearing loss. Online sales of hearing aids is not supported by any of the top hearing aid manufacturers which means that the warranties are not supported. Even if you know exactly which hearing aid you need, the key to making it work is in fitting and programming it, something only a trained hearing expert can do. Making a purchase without having your hearing tested is a big mistake and you’ll likely end up with a hearing aid that won’t work for you.