Frequently Asked Questions
You should make an appointment with a hearing professional like an audiologist, hearing aid specialist or ENT for an evaluation, consultation and hearing test. Many hearing care professionals offer this evaluation at no charge.
At their most basic, hearing aids are microphones that convert sound into electrical signals. An amplifier increases the strength of the signal, then a receiver converts it back to sound and channels it into the ear canal through a small tube or earmold. A battery is necessary to power the hearing aid and to enable amplification.
Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually without discomfort or pain. What’s more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have hearing loss.
1. Do I / they often ask people to repeat themselves? 2. Do I / they have trouble following conversations with more than two people? 3. Do I / they have difficulty hearing what is said unless facing the speaker? 4. Do I / they struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms? 5. Do I / they have a hard time hearing women or children? 6. Do I / they prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others? 7. Do I / they experience ringing or buzzing in my ears? 8. Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you suffer from hearing loss.
Only 13 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
There are several causes. The main ones include excessive noise, genetics, birth defects, infections of the head or ear, aging, and reaction to drugs or cancer treatment. Each type of hearing loss has different causes.
There are three types of hearing loss including: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Most people lose at least some degree of their hearing as they age, and by the time they reach age 65 and older, one in three people has some type of hearing impairment.
Yes, hearing aids are available for those with single-sided hearing loss. The Starkey CROS System delivers solutions for:
- Those who are unable to hear in one ear and have normal hearing in the other ear (CROS)
- Those with little to no hearing in one of their ears, and a hearing loss in their better ear (BiCROS)
Hearing loss can occur at any time, at any age. In fact, most people with hearing loss (65%) are younger than age 65! There are 6 million people in the U.S. ages 18-44 with hearing loss, and around 1.5 million are school age.
Only 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss (95 percent) are treated with hearing aids.
Yes. Most people need an adjustment period of up to four months before becoming acclimated to — and receiving the full benefit of — wearing their hearing aids. However, you should expect to notice obvious benefits during this trial period. Remember, your hearing professional is there to help. Do not be afraid to call or visit to discuss your concerns. 1. Be realistic. Remember that your hearing loss has been gradual; over the years you have lost the ability to hear certain sounds in the speech spectrum and normal sounds of the environment, such as traffic and wind noise, the hum of machinery and other background noises. 2. Practice. When you begin to wear hearing aids, these sounds will be restored but your brain will need practice and reeducation in order to selectively focus on and filter sounds. Some sounds may even startle you at first. Know that your brain will acclimate to these sounds again over time. 3. Be patient. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Wear them as much as possible at first to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction and to learn which hearing aid settings work best for you in different situations. 4. Rest. The adjustment period may be tiresome. It’s a lot like retraining a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. But the benefits will be worth it after you’ve made the adjustment.
The price of a hearing aid will vary depending on the specific model and features you need, and how effective it is in various noise environments. Whatever the final cost, most hearing professionals do offer financing plans. You should also check to see if you qualify for free hearing aids or discounted hearing aids from your employer, union, the Veterans Administration, insurance provider, HMO or local charity (such as Lions Club).