Choosing to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids is a big decision, and patients come to us with many questions as they try to determine what the best choice for them is. We believe patients should always be fully informed, and we take the time to answer every question we're asked. If you are considering hearing aids, we encourage you to come to our office for a consultation, and bring your questions! We're here to help.
Here are some of the most common questions we hear from patients. Click each question below to find its answer.Q. What kinds of hearing loss are there?
A: There are three main kinds of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss (in which something in the ear is blocking the conduction of sound, such as earwax), sensorineural hearing loss (which refers to damage to the hearing nerve itself), and mixed hearing loss (a combination of both). Sensorineural hearing loss is most commonly treated with hearing aids. If you have conductive hearing loss, it may be treatable through medication or through cleaning your ears of any blockage. However, if you have permanent conductive hearing loss, you may be a candidate for a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA).
A: No, hearing aids will not make you hear exactly the way you did before you had hearing loss. It's very important that patients have realistic expectations before they get hearing aids. However, even if your hearing isn't perfect with hearing aids, it is very likely that you will see a significant improvement! It's amazing how clear and natural the sound is in today's hearing aids, and you'd be amazed how well you can hear. We like to let our patients wear demo hearing aids during their initial consultation. They're often astonished to find that we can stand twenty feet behind them and they'll still hear us clearly!
A: Many people purchase hearing aids from big retailers or online because they can get hearing aids at very low prices. However, those hearing aids simply aren't going to work well for you if they're not customized for your hearing. It's not just a matter of physical fit inside your ear; hearing aids need to be programmed to accommodate your specific hearing loss, and no two hearing losses are the same! If you haven't been satisfied with hearing aids you've purchased in the past, chances are that your hearing aids weren't properly programmed to fit you. A licensed audiologist like Dr. Kelly can give you a proper fit. The difference is like night and day.
A: Unfortunately, hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss. Think of it like getting glasses to correct your vision. While you're wearing the glasses, you will be able to see clearly again, but your actual eyes aren't affected. Hearing aids are devices that help improve your hearing as long as you're wearing them, but you do need to continue wearing them to benefit from them. That's why it's so important to get used to wearing your hearing aids as many hours of the day as you can.
A: Hearing aids are astonishingly complex pieces of technology in a very small size—even more so than your smartphone! Modern hearing aids have the ability to filter out background noise and can even mimic some of your brain's own processing to help you better understand what you hear. If you get high-quality hearing aids that will truly make a difference, they won't be cheap. But you will get what you pay for. Another thing to keep in mind is that hearing aids will last you years if you take good care of them, so even though there's an up-front cost when you first get hearing aids, you shouldn't need to buy replacements for years. Most hearing aids will last between 3-5 years with proper maintenance.
A: Almost all patients with hearing loss have hearing loss in both ears. The way our brain works is that we need input on both sides in order for our ears to truly be able to hear. If you're talking to someone in a crowded room with a lot of background noise, usually one of your ears is trying to hear what is being said while the other ear is trying to block out the noise. It's happening so fast that you don't notice, but both ears work together to help your brain understand what's happening around you. If you only get a hearing aid in one ear, you're relying on that one ear to do all the work. Again, think of hearing aids like glasses. If both of your eyes need are nearsighted or farsighted, you wouldn't just get a lens on one side and not on the other. Just as you need both eyes so you can fully see and process the world around you, you need both ears to fully experience what's happening.
Sometimes, just answering a few questions yourself can help get the wheels turning, and highlight a few areas that might point to hearing loss.
1. Do you have difficulty understanding the other person on the telephone?
2. Does it seem like most people around you are mumbling?
3. Is it difficult to understand one person's speech while there is background noise?
4. Do you find it difficult to understand the dialogue on TV unless you turn the volume up high?
5. Do you often need to ask others to repeat themselves?YES NO