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Audiology FAQ's

What a hearing aid can  do?

  1. Hearing aids make sounds louder (amplify sounds) so that you can hear them. 
  2. Some hearing aids can amplify high-pitched consonant sounds more than low-pitched vowel sounds to help you hear better in noisy situations. The extent a hearing aid can improve speech understanding will depend on the degree of the person’s hearing loss and how much noise is present in the listening situations.
  3. Some advanced hearing aid systems use multiple microphone technology to further enhance communication in noisy environments.
  4. Improves quality of life and enable you to participate in more fully in life’s activities.

What  a hearing aid can’t do?

  1. Hearing aids will not restore your hearing to normal.
  2. Hearing aids cannot completely eliminate troublesome background noise
  3. Hearing aids cannot stop the progression of hearing loss.
  4. Hearing aids Transform distorted sound into clear sound
  5. Hearing aids cannot separate the sounds you want to hear from those you do not want to hear. That’s the role of the brain.

Why I hear people speaking  but not understand them?

This is quiet common in high pitched hearing loss cases in which case low and mid pitch hearing is normal or near normal. The high-pitched consonant sounds carry the meaning of words so they help us understand speech, but tend to be very soft in volume. The low-pitched vowel sounds carry the volume of speech, but do not have much meaning. Therefore, vowel sounds help us hear speech, but do not help us understand what is said.

 In normal conversation, speech might sound loud enough but not clear enough if a hearing loss is present. This problem is worse in background noise, since background noise interferes with and covers up speech. This problem is often associated with sensorineural hearing loss, which results from damage in the inner ear and/or in the auditory nerve endings.

Are there hearing aids that are invisible? 

Yes, there are a variety of hearing aids that are invisible, including IIC (Invisible in-the-canal) hearing aids and LYRIC. Lyric is an extended wear hearing aid that is completely invisible (similar to contact lenses for the eye), and stays in a persons ears for approximately 2 months. There are no batteries to change, and you can shower and sleep in them. They are much cheaper than regular hearing aids and are subscription based. Most people report they enjoy the sound quality much more because the device uses the natural acoustics of the ear canal to funnel sound into the ear.

Are all hearing aids the same?

NO! Hearing aids are not all the same. There are many different brands and some brands are better than others depending on the type of hearing loss you have. It is important to go to an audiologist who works with all hearing aid manufacturers and not just one. If they work with just one, they are usually obligated to sell only that manufacturers hearing aids, which is not in the patients best interest.  

Are there hearing aids that can help me understand speech, even when I’m in a noisy environment?

YES. There are many hearing aids that help to understand speech while in noisy environments. This is where the level of technology and the skill of the person programming the hearing aids comes into play.. Many manufacturers offer noise reduction technology to help in background noise. Some manufacturers are better than others with this technology, which is also why it is important to have options with multiple brands. 

Are two hearing aids better than one?

If you have a hearing loss in both ears we generally recommend two hearing aids instead of one.Your brain processes sound from both ears. If you are using only one hearing aid, your unaided ear tends to lose its ability to hear and understand(auditory deprivation).Your brain adjusts better when it receives information equally from both sides, especially in background noise. Having two hearing aids also improves sound localisation.

Are there any surgical options to treat my hearing loss?

Surgery is only used in cases where it is needed. There are several procedures, each one dependent on the cause.If you have conductive hearing loss, surgical options like myringotomy, stapedectomy, etc are available to correct your hearing.Implantable devices like cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids middle ear implants etc help to restore hearing to individuals who don’t receive much help from hearing aids.

How does noise damage my hearing?

Our inner ears are filled with fluid which travels in a wave form when sound is present. The wave of fluid stimulates delicate nerve endings within the inner ear. The louder the sound, the stronger this wave becomes. A very strong wave, caused by a very loud sound, can permanently damage the nerve endings in the inner ear just as a strong wave at the beach can permanently erode the sand and dunes on the shore.

What is age-related hearing loss? 

As we get older, the hair cells in the inner ear, tend to become damaged and die. This process can be exacerbated by exposure to loud noise, a family history of hearing loss, and by smoking. Once these hair cells are gone, a person’s hearing is permanently damaged. Hearing loss commonly starts around age 55, though someone who has had a noisy occupation for much of their life may have noticeable hearing loss at a much younger age. As many as half of individuals over the age of 75  have permanent hearing loss.

 Will the hearing aid make my tinnitus louder?

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is often more annoying when you do not hear well. With external sounds made louder by the hearing aid, you are much less likely to notice the tinnitus. Amplification works very well for people who have tinnitus.

Can I use hearing aids with my cell phone, MP3 player, computer, etc?

Many hearing devices have Bluetooth capabilities as well as telecoils and direct audio input, allowing for connecting with regular consumer electronics. These devices are usually surprisingly easy to use and very effective.

Will a hearing aid make me lose more hearing?

No. Hearing aids simply amplify sounds within a comfortable range for you. In fact, research has found that hearing aids may help preserve the ability to understand speech because they allow the sensory cells in the inner ear to stay active. 

How often do hearing aids need to be replaced?

The life span of a hearing aid depends on many factors. In general, hearing aids have an average life of four to six years. Care of the hearing aid  is an important factor. If hearing aids are protected from ear wax and moisture damage, they may last longer than the above estimates. 

How often do hearing aids need to be repaired?

Hearing aids are fragile instruments that need daily maintenance. The majority of hearing aid problems are caused by ear wax and moisture. Hearing aids can be repaired either at your audiologist’s office or by the manufacturer. In order to insure proper operation of your hearing instrument it may be necessary for you to return to your audiologist several times per year. These visits may include cleaning and checking your hearing instrument, as well as annual hearing tests to insure the hearing aid is set appropriately for you.

Manufacturers offer warranties of generally one year to three years on new instruments, and typically six months to one year on repaired hearing aids. Many offices offer extended warranties on their new and/or repaired instruments. Talk with your audiologist about warranty options. 

What is the youngest age a child can have his/her hearing tested?

Audiologists can test children of any age, including newborns. Newborns, infants and toddlers can be tested using non-invasive methods that either record the brain’s response to sound [Auditory Brainstem Response Audiometry (ABR)], or by introducing sounds via a probe in the ear and measuring the ear’s response to those sounds [Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)]. When a child is old enough to localize sounds, he/she can undergo behavioural testing in a sound booth using visual reinforcement and/or play audiometry. Children three years old and older can generally be tested much like adults.

Will hearing aids make everything sound too loud?

Nowadays, hearing aids can be adjusted in extremely minute increments. Many have a variety of programs you can use for various situations: some will adjust automatically, and some have remote controls for discrete adjustment. It’s important to continue working with your audiologist until you’ve got the right fit.

How can I listen to music without damaging my hearing?

Avoid listening to music through headphones for more than 60 minutes a day, never use music players at more than 60% of the maximum volume, use over the ear headphones and avoid listening through your earphones in loud environments.