You have questions about hearing? We have answers.
Click the questions below to discover our answers to common hearing- and hearing aid-related questions!
What is getting hearing aids like?
It's very important to us that you're comfortable; the more you know about the process, the better the whole experience is. So we'll explain everything we do from the very start. First, we'll talk about what you've noticed and what your family has noticed, as well as any family history of hearing loss. We'd like to get to the bottom of any situations that you feel you're struggling in. We do a visual inspection of the ear canal to make sure everything looks good, structurally speaking. Then our specialist does a full audiometric examination (air conduction, bone conduction, and speech testing) on you, and we will sit down and explain the results to you. We'll look at what you've told us and the hearing loss we now know you have, and that combined information will help us determine the best treatment option for you.
The hearing aid fitting is a separate appointment. We always make sure to take as much time as needed to explain everything; we don't want you to feel overwhelmed. You'll learn how to use the device and also get an understanding of how your hearing is supposed to sound with the hearing aid. Our end goal is to help you hear what you actually want to hear, the way you want to hear, but when you first get your hearing aids, we'll still be figuring that out. When you take your hearing aids into the real world and get hands-on, first-person experience with them, then you'll learn what you like and don't like. And then we'll readjust your hearing aids as needed.
What are some common signs of hearing loss?
We like to say that if you've got a question about it, you probably should have gotten tested yesterday! Some things you might notice are turning the TV louder than other people want it, when you smile at conversations at parties because you don't want to ask what was said again, or when activities you used to enjoy aren't as much fun anymore.
What is "speech testing" and why is it an important part of a hearing test?
One of the components of our hearing test is "speech testing," where we check how well you can distinguish between spoken words. If you can't tell the difference between similar words, it's not that you aren't paying attention, it's just another part of your hearing loss. It lets us know how well your brain is understanding the information it receives so we can make a better treatment plan for you.
How often do I need to come in to have my hearing and hearing aids checked out?
We like to stay in as close contact with our clients as possible. During your 30-day initial trial period, we want to check in with you on the phone multiple times a week and see you in the office as needed. But our services run for the life of the hearing aid. We never charge people for follow-up visits for testing, checking, or cleaning your ears and hearing aids. We want you to come in even if it's just to say everything looks great. Seeing someone three years down the road is just as important as seeing them three weeks into the trial.
What can I do to adjust to wearing hearing aids for the first time?
Most hearing losses don't happen overnight; they accumulate over a period of years. So restoring your hearing overnight isn't something we want to do. Bringing people up to where they need to be can be a slow process that requires patience and communication. When you first get new hearing aids, go to places that had been a struggle for you, find out what is different, and take notes for us.
Ask your spouse or family member to note how you are reacting differently to the situation. We can't know how your hearing aids will fit your life until you have tested them in different parts of your world. We'll take that information and use that to improve your hearing so that it's closer to what you need and what sounds right to you, not just what your hearing test shows.
How often do I need to change my hearing aid batteries?
Your battery use will depend on how many hours a day you wear your hearing aids and what kind of batteries they take. Hearing aids now give you a warning hours before your batteries run out so you can be prepared to change them. In general, people have to change their batteries once a week, so some people prefer to change their batteries on the same day every week to make sure they remember.
How long do hearing aids last?
The average life of a hearing aid is 5-7 years, since we can make internal changes to the programming without needing to remake the hearing aid itself. We have patients with 15+ year old hearing aids and people who replace them every three years because that's their preference.
What can I do to support my loved one who has hearing loss?
Treating hearing loss requires teamwork. If one person has a hearing loss, everyone in the house has a hearing problem. It's important to talk about it and feel open about it, sharing what you notice with your loved one. Try not to let that person become isolated, and try not to cover up the problem; bring it up sooner. The sooner it's acted upon, the better result you'll all have. Remember that you are a team, and we are happy to become part of your team. We'll explain to you what you can specifically do to help when you come in for your loved one's hearing appointments.
Hearing Loss Myths
Hearing loss is generally a misunderstood topic. Click below to dispel some common myths on the subject.
MYTH: My hearing loss is caused by nerve damage, so hearing aids won't help me.
FACT: Actually, nerve damage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and it's often treated with hearing aids. Other causes of hearing loss, such as obstructions in the ear or damage caused by ear infections, are also treatable. If you suspect you have hearing loss, a hearing test can determine the nature of your hearing loss and what treatment plan would be most effective for it.
MYTH: The problem isn't me, it's that my spouse has started mumbling and kids talk too fast today.
FACT: It can be hard to admit that one of your senses isn't working as well as it used to, but if you've noticed a pattern, the simplest answer is often the right one. It might be your hearing, not the people around you. The easiest way to check is to get a hearing test and know for certain! Many people experience hearing loss, even young people, so there's no shame if it happens to you. And there are ways to get your hearing back.
MYTH: I don't have to have my ears tested every year.
FACT: A lot of times, people don't know that they've had a mild change in their hearing loss. A hearing test will let us know if there's been a slight change, so we can adapt your hearing aids and you'll experience the benefits of hearing better before you even knew there was a situation beginning. Staying on top of your hearing loss when it changes will prevent interruptions in your hearing and avoid developing some of the difficulties with understanding that people can experience.
MYTH: I don't need to get my hearing loss treated yet. It's not that bad.
FACT: Hearing and understanding are two different situations. Being able to hear doesn't mean you are able to understand. The earlier you are able to take care of your hearing loss, the better your understanding is going to be. Staying on top of it early will help prevent you from being in a situation later on where we improve your hearing but you can't understand what your ears are picking up. There's really no reason not to get treated earlier, and there are definite advantages.
Hearing Aid Myths
Likewise, there's a stigma surrounding hearing aid technology that we'd like to speak some truth to. Click below to read the facts in response to some common hearing aid myths.
MYTH: Hearing aids can't actually make a big difference for me.
FACT: Years ago, if we improved three out of ten situations our patients found themselves in, we would have called that successful. Modern advances in hearing aid technology have made it so that we can expect you to notice improvement in every aspect of their life when it comes to hearing and understanding. Some improvements might be dramatic and some may be smaller, but you will certainly notice a difference, whether your hearing loss is mild, severe, or profound.
MYTH: Hearing aids won't help me if I'm not comfortable with computers and technology.
FACT: It's true that hearing aids have come a long way in the past decade and many more technological advances exist than ever before. But that doesn't mean that all hearing aids require you to be comfortable using Bluetooth connections or programming your hearing preferences. There are many options for patients who prefer simpler hearing aids — and these aids still give you great clarity of sound. Talk to us about what you're comfortable with and we'll find hearing aids that are the right fit for you.
MYTH: Hearing aid batteries are too difficult to change and keep on top of.
FACT: Batteries are no longer the concern you might think they are! Depending on your comfort level, there are hearing aids with large, easy-to-change batteries as well as rechargeable hearing aids if you'd rather not deal with batteries at all. Let us know what you prefer and we will go over your options with you.