Frequently Asked Questions Hearing Loss and Aids

About Hearing Loss

Do You Hear but Can't Understand?

For impaired listeners, speech may be both audible and comfortable only over a small range of sound levels. One of the best solutions is a hearing system which can automatically adjust to different sounds and speakers. This relatively new technology can be programmed to assist you with your individual hearing loss and can be reprogrammed as your hearing needs change.

Are You Concerned about Sudden Hearing Loss?

"Sudden hearing loss" is dramatic and upsetting. The term usually refers to sudden onset of "nerve" or sensorineural loss, almost always in one ear only and often accompanied by some dizziness and tinnitus (ear noise).

Viral infection, with or without a history of cold or flu, and vascular disruptions from any interruption of the blood supply to the ear are felt to be the most common causes. But, simple ear wax or barotrama (from changes in barometric pressure following an airplane flight) can cause similar symptom. Partial or total recovery may occur in a few days or even a few months. In other cases, the hearing loss is permanent. Proper medical and hearing evaluation should be obtained as soon as possible so that diagnosis and immediate treatment can be begun.


Can Noise Damage My Ears?

To reach the brain, sounds enter your outer ear and strike the eardrum; vibrations continue to deep inside the inner ear, where they pass over 30,000 microscopic "hair-like" cells.

Decibel and duration overloads kill your tiny, irreplaceable "hair cells". This may occur suddenly in an explosion, such as the use of firearms, or gradually, if you don't guard your ears against the source of too much noise.

Why Do My Ears Ring?

If noises such as ringing, roaring, hissing or even the sound of "crickets" and "cicadas" bother you--but no one else hears it-- you are not alone.

Tinnitus is the term for "head noises" ranging from very mild to very loud and so annoying that the victim hears little else. It can be persistent, intermittent or throbbing, depending on the cause. Tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, but it often accompanies it. Often tinnitus occurs alone. There are many causes (even ear wax) and a variety of treatment methods.

The first step is a professional evaluation. including medical and audiological evaluation and tinnitus measurement. Only then can recommendations be made to provide relief for the tinnitus sufferer.

Can Wax Block My Hearing?

Yes it can! Ear wax is formed about one-third of the way into the ear canal. It is supposed to move out of the ear along with skin cells that move off of the ear drum and migrate out of the ear canal. However, sometimes too vigorous cleaning with a cotton swab strips away skin oil and makes the process break down. Blockage can result. Hearing evaluation in my office includes seeing inside your own ear using a video otoscope which produces an image or picture of your ear canal and eardrum on a TV screen. Appropriate follow-up steps can then be taken.

Why Should I See an Audiologist?

You may need to see your audiologist if...

  • You are experiencing ear discomfort, pain, drainage, dizziness, or tinnitus (ringing).
  • You ask, or should ask, people to repeat what they have said.
  • Listening to conversations is tiring and you mistake one word for another.
  • You want the TV or radio louder than others in your family.
  • People mumble.
  • You have difficulty in restaurants, church, or public settings.
  • You hear fine in one-on-one situations but have difficulty when background noise is present.
  • It is difficult to understand whispers, female voices, and children.
  • You stay at home more than you would otherwise because you misunderstand what is being said.
  • Your hearing loss is hindering your social or work life.

About Hearing Aids

What is Provided with each Hearing Aid?

Repair Warranties and Loss & Damage Warranties come on new hearing aids. Batteries are provided at no cost for the warranty period as are annual hearing tests. Payment options are available.

Should I Wear Hearing Aids on an Airplane?

The following information can help you decide:

The noise inside an aircraft, particularly if you are seated toward the rear, can be quite loud. Hearing instruments may be most comfortable if turned down, or off, in this situation.
Changes in air pressure, especially when the plane is taking off or landing, can cause discomfort until your ears "pop". This equalizes the pressure behind the eardrum with the outside air pressure. Usually, wearing your hearing aid will not affect this process. However, if you have a cold or sinus problems, these pressure changes can be harder to equalize and the discomfort may last longer. 

Is there a Best Brand of Hearing Aid?

There are more than 28 major hearing aid manufacturers each producing quality products. Although some styles are heavily advertised, they may not be the best choice for you.

Your best hearing aid is determined by matching your hearing needs, based on hearing tests and your lifestyle or work requirements, with the available technology. In addition, proper "first fit" and periodic adjustment may be required to help you get the best performance from the hearing aid you do select.

Why Two Ears are Better than One.

Hearing with two ears or two hearing aids provides several benefits...

Better speech understanding in noise. When noise is heard with two ears, the brain can "cancel; out" some of the noise, but it can't cancel noise coming to just one ear.
Improved speech discrimination. Studies have shown that speech coming into both ears adds together and can yield about 30% improvement in discrimination over hearing with just one ear.
Localization of sound. This can only be done with two ears so the brain can determine which ear heard the sound first and at what intensity.
Ability to hear softer sounds. If a person with normal hearing can just barely hear a sound of 16 decibels (dB) with one ear, that same person could hear a sound of only 10dB with both ears.

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