Hearing Aid/Hearing Loss FAQs



How do I know if I have hearing issues or a hearing loss?

Hearing changes begin gradually, whereas, at first, you may not even notice it.  However, there are many warning signs that may indicate hearing decline. These include:

  1. Asking people to repeat themselves
  2. Difficulty hearing someone if they are not looking at you
  3. Struggling to understand in crowded places or places with background noise
  4. Having a hard time following a conversation of two or more people
  5. Increased difficulty understanding/hearing television
  6. A perception that people are mumbling when talking to you

If you are experiencing any of the above, consider seeing an audiologist for an evaluation of your hearing.

What are the most common causes of hearing loss?

Most commonly, aging is the main reason for hearing loss.  However, there are many other causes. These include:

  1. Excessive noise exposure from work or hobbies
  2. Certain illnesses such as viral infections or diabetes
  3. Obesity
  4. Smoking
  5. Hypertension
  6. Ear infections
  7. Wax buildup

To help better define the nature of your hearing loss, an assessment is recommended.  

Do all hearing losses require hearing aids?

After performing a thorough evaluation of your hearing, your hearing healthcare professional will be able to determine the nature of your hearing impairment.  If the problem can be treated with medicine or surgical intervention, your provider will present those options to you.  Otherwise, hearing losses due to such things as aging and noise exposure are generally treated with hearing aids.

Aren’t hearing aids just for old people?

Hearing aids are designed for people with hearing deficits and are not age specific.  Sixty-five percent of individuals with hearing loss are under age 65.  

If I am deaf in one ear, can I still get a hearing aid for that ear?

When a person presents with single-sided deafness (SSD), a medical professional should first determine whether the deficit can be treated with surgery or medication.  If neither of those options are feasible, there are potential options for amplification including:

  1. CROS hearing aids: a type of device where sound is sent from the deaf ear to the good ear.  
  2. BAHA: A bone anchored hearing device uses a sound processor which connects to a surgically implanted titanium screw behind the ear with hearing loss.  The sound processor transfers the sound through the skull via bone conduction to the better hearing ear.  

Both of these options can be demonstrated in the office to determine if the patient notices benefit from either devices.  

How do I find the right hearing healthcare professional for me?

Please be sure to check your insurance when looking for a participating provider.  Insurances usually cover your office visit and hearing testing.  Some insurance plans cover a portion or all of the hearing aid charges.

More importantly, it is about finding a provider that you can trust.  Talk to loved ones or other medical professionals about where they would go for hearing healthcare.  Many local providers have been in practice for years, holding much experience and compassion to help people with all types of hearing needs.  Feel free to call your local audiologist or ENT to learn about what services are being offered.

How does a hearing aid work?  Isn’t it just an amplifier?

Years ago, hearing aids were simply making everything louder.  However, as technology has advanced over the years, hearing aids have advanced as well.  They determine if the signal is speech, background noise, or music, then process the incoming for optimal understanding based upon the environment.  With your specific hearing loss and hearing preferences programmed into the devices, the hearing aid can enhance your speech comprehension and sound awareness.

What special features do hearing aids have?

Hearing aids don’t just work with you, they work with each other to process and enhance speech in various difficult listening environments.

Some hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible.  You will be able to hear your cell phone calls directly in your hearing aids.  Additionally, this feature allows for remote control access through the phone to help you adjust hearing aids with ease.  

Rechargeable batteries have also become more widely available for patients who do not want to have to change the batteries for the hearing aids or for those who have dexterity issues.  

Will hearing aids cure my hearing loss?

Hearing aids can improve your ability to hear and communicate, but they do not cure hearing loss.  They are sophisticated devices that assist in addressing hearing issues.  There may still be some situations that are challenging; however, even those with normal hearing struggle at times in certain difficult environments.

Will hearing aids help with the ringing in my ears?

Tinnitus, or unwanted sound in your ears, affects many people.  The underlying cause of tinnitus is frequently hearing loss.  Through the use of hearing aids, many people report a reduction in tinnitus due to constant sound stimulation.  For those with more advanced cases, certain hearing aids are equipped with special listening programs to reduce the impact of the tinnitus in your ears.  However, hearing aids are not designed to cure tinnitus.  As a result, the purchase of hearing aids is fundamentally to assist your hearing.  Tinnitus reduction is a bonus.

Will hearing aids help my cognitive abilities?  Will it stop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?

Research has shown that there is a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline.  Those with hearing loss are more likely to have problems remembering and thinking than those with normal hearing.  Why is this?  Brain shrinkage, which occurs as part of aging, is sped up in those with hearing decline.  There is increased risk for dementia and mental health.   Yet if you are predisposed to dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other issue, wearing a hearing aid will not stop it from occurring.

Are there different types and styles of hearing aids?

Absolutely!  Technological advancements have allowed hearing aid manufactures to create many different types of hearing aids for many different needs.   Most importantly, there are different types depending upon your lifestyle, specifically how often you are in noisy or challenging environments.  When you discuss the purchase of a hearing aid, the professional you work with will discuss your lifestyle needs, dexterity, budget, and things of the like to help narrow down the best option for you!

What happens if my hearing changes when I have my hearing aids?

Hearing aids are programmable and adjustable; therefore, they can be adjusted if your hearing continues to gradually decline.   If you are experiencing increased difficulty hearing, your professional will re-test your hearing aid adjust the hearing aids for the loss.  

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids vary in price depending on the sophistication of the product. The best way to find a perfect pair for you is to contact a hearing aid professional near you.  

Do I have to get two hearing aids?

Most often, a person presents with hearing loss in both ears. Therefore, a pair of hearing aids is usually recommended. Wearing two hearing aids gives the brain a significant advantage, including sound direction, performance in background noise, separation of speech from noise, and giving the body awareness of where we are in space.  

Is it hard to get used to wearing hearing aids?

When we start to wear hearing aids, many of the sounds that we have forgotten return.  For some, this is an eye-opening experience.  Just as it took time for our hearing to decline, it takes time to get used to hearing again.  Your professional will work with you to ease you in to better hearing and provide a comfortable transition into the use of hearing aids.

Do hearing aids have warranties in case something goes wrong?

We work with all major hearing aid manufacturers. Their products come with a warranty for repair, loss, and damage. The loss portion of the warranty allows the user to replace the hearing aid one time in that warranty period if it is lost.

Should I buy a cheaper hearing aid or one that is online?

Cheaper hearing aids provide less benefit, as they are not capable of performing as well in the presence of background noise, assisting with multiple speakers, and finding specific sounds in more open spaces.  However, if your needs are basic, such as just hearing one-on-one conversation or the television, less sophisticated hearing aids may be an option for you. Through a comprehensive evaluation, the appropriate product will be recommended for you, which cannot be accomplished online.