Understanding Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions

Many people have questions about their hearing and how hearing aids work. Below you will find answers to the most common questions we hear from first-time wearers and hearing aid veterans.

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Are there different types of hearing loss?

Generally, hearing loss is separated into three kinds.

Sensorineural Loss — the most common type of hearing loss, occurs when “hair cells” in the inner ear are damaged. Nerves are unable to transfer the sound vibrations to the brain, resulting in hearing loss. Aging, noise exposure, disease, birth defects and nerve damage are all associated with this form of hearing loss. Sensorineural loss can be improved by using hearing aids.

Conductive Loss — the second most common type of hearing loss, happens when there is damage to the outer or middle ear. This prevents sound waves from moving properly, and sound energy that reaches the inner ear is incomplete or muffled. Infections, earwax or fluid buildup, fractured ear bones, a perforated eardrum or ear canal obstruction can all cause conductive loss. Earwax removal, medicine, surgery or hearing devices may relieve conductive hearing loss.

Tinnitus — the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. Even though it may affect 1 in 5 people, it is usually a symptom of a more serious condition. For most, it is just a bothersome condition that can be treated to help make it less noticeable.

How do I know if I have lost my hearing? In general I think I hear fine. — While hearing loss occurs in most people as they age, other factors can also play a role. This may include being exposed to loud noises, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, a family history of hearing loss and a number of other causes. To take out the guesswork, you need to have a hearing assessment* from a trustworthy hearing care professional. We can talk to you about what this entails when you call (855) 569-7486.

There are many common indications for people experiencing hearing loss. These include:

What do hearing aids do?

Most hearing aids can make it easier to understand speech, amplify sounds and improve communication – and quality of life. All hearing aids have three parts – a speaker, receiver and amplifier. In addition, today’s hearing aids have minicomputers that offer connections to technical features. Hearing aids cannot cure ear disorders.

What should I do if someone says, "You should get your hearing tested?"

The information we gain from a hearing assessment* tells us several things, including the degree of your hearing loss and the location of your issue. Our staff uses that information to decide which assistive devices will give you the most improvement and work with your lifestyle.

Will my insurance or Medicare cover hearing aids?

Although you need to check with your individual plan (we can help you), as with glasses, only some insurance plans cover hearing aids. We are happy to assist you in filing reimbursement forms or answering other hearing-related insurance questions. We have several insurance partners and payment options. Traditional Medicare currently does not cover the cost of hearing aids. A few choice plans include hearing-related coverage – please contact us and we will help you get information on your particular plan. We offer other ways to keep hearing care affordable for most budgets.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a buzzing, ringing or other phantom sound without a known source. Several things can cause tinnitus, including exposure to abnormally loud noises, ear infections, foreign objects in the ear and allergies or other issues that create fluid or wax buildup. Genetic hearing loss may cause tinnitus, and some seniors experience tinnitus as they age. People may experience tinnitus due to a side effect of medications, including antibiotics, cancer drugs, antidepressants and over-the-counter medications like aspirin. However, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss.

What is an audiologist?

Audiology is the science of hearing. An audiologist is a person who has a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology. In 47 states, audiologists must be licensed or registered by their state to practice audiology.

Do hearing aids work when there is background noise?

While they cannot completely eliminate unwanted sound, modern digital hearing aids filter sound to minimize background noise. Tailoring an aid to your needs is part of the assessment/fitting process.

What are digital hearing aids and the technology behind them?

Digital hearing aids have microphones that “hear” sound waves and convert them into digital signals. Minute computer chips process those signals within the hearing aids and amplify the sounds accordingly.

While features vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, some options include:

Do hearing aids need batteries? How long do they last?

Yes. A battery’s lifespan depends on the amount of amplification, the type of battery and how many hours you use the device each day.

We are pleased to offer the latest ZPower™ rechargeable battery for certain hearing aids.

Why is an impression of the ear taken?

Depending on which hearing aids you need, your hearing care provider may take impressions of your ears to get their exact shape. The process, which is easy and painless, involves inserting a soft plastic mold into your ear canal. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and is done in our office. From this mold, the manufacturer will create an exact replica of your outer ear canal, which will house your hearing aid. This is also used for personalized hearing protection.

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