Common symptoms of hearing loss include: trouble hearing in crowds, difficulty understanding women’s or children’s voices, thinking people mumble, having to ask people to repeat themselves, turning the television up louder than others prefer, and family members telling you that you have a hearing problem. If you or your family thinks you have a hearing problem, schedule a hearing evaluation today.
If you think you have a hearing loss, the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to have a hearing evaluation to see if you are a candidate for hearing aids. You may not know what you are missing if you never give hearing aids a try. Better hearing makes listening less stressful and can improve relationships with friends and family.
Hearing aids come in various shapes, sizes and colors. Most hearing aids today are digital and can be adjusted specifically for your hearing by computer programming. The audiologist will explain your hearing test results and recommend a style that you feel comfortable with and that is appropriate for your hearing loss.
If you have hearing loss in both ears, it is usually recommended that you consider two hearing instruments. Most people receive maximum benefit with good hearing in both ears. The brain is designed to take input from both sides and merge everything together. This helps you to locate where sounds are coming from and focus on what you want to hear.
When you purchase hearing aids from Physicians Hearing Center, you will have a 45-day trial period to decide if the hearing aids are meeting your needs. This will give you time to adjust to using the hearing aids and to try them out in various places. Payment will be required when you receive the hearing instruments and will be refunded in full minus the fitting fee which we retain if you decide not to keep the hearing aids. The only exception is for custom fit molds which are used with traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids and are non-refundable.
Hearing aid batteries last anywhere from one to two weeks, on average. The exact number of days will depend on how many hours you use them each day, what types of noise environments you are around, and how much volume is required to meet your hearing needs. Be sure to turn the hearing aids off when you are not using them to maximize battery life.
Hearing aids are tiny computers that process sound. Instead of just making sounds louder, digital hearing aids make decisions based on every type of sound coming in, so they can help you hear best in various situations. Another reason for the relatively high cost is the service component. In many audiology practices, part of the cost covers the time spent with you during and after the initial fitting. An important but often overlooked aspect is all of the research that goes into developing this intelligent technology. Hearing aids are constantly changing for the better.
Most people with hearing loss can receive help from hearing aids. However, people who are profoundly deaf or who have very poor speech understanding may not experience the same benefit as others. It is important to see an audiologist as soon as you suspect hearing problems, since the best outcome is expected with prompt action.
Why see an audiologist?
Audiologists, hearing aid dealers, and hearing aid dispensers all try to do the best job they can of finding the right hearing aids for each patient. But only the audiologist is qualified to diagnose, treat, habilitate and rehabilitate someone who has a hearing loss. Many audiologists today are getting what is called an Au.D., which stands for “Doctor of Audiology”- the highest educational degree possible.
Audiologists are to hearing what a Doctor of Optometry is to seeing. A hearing aid dispenser must only have a high school diploma or GED and some correspondence courses on hearing loss and hearing aid fitting by the International Hearing Society to be a hearing aid dealer or specialist. Just because a professional might call themself a hearing aid dealer or a hearing aid specialist does not mean they are also an audiologist.
A good hearing aid should last about six to eight years if you take care of it. The audiologist will help you choose a hearing aid that should last you even if your hearing continues to decline over time. It should be expected that hearing aids may need repairs from time to time, but the overall lifetime can be up to a decade with proper care and maintenance.
There are a few common reasons why hearing aids may feedback, or “squeal.” The number one reason is usually a poor fit in the ear canal. If a hearing aid is not seated properly or is too loose, this allows sound to leak out. If the leaking sound is picked up by the microphone, it turns into feedback. The number two reason for feedback is wax buildup in the ear. If the sounding coming from the hearing aid has nowhere to go, it will often turn into feedback.
Some insurance plans do offer hearing aid benefits, some do not. Check with your insurance plan to see whether you have hearing aid benefits.
If background noise is present, no hearing aids can make it go away. Most digital hearing aids do try to help reduce the interference from background noise in order to help you hear speech. If you do purchase hearing aids, work with your audiologist to make sure you are getting the best outcome possible.
Hearing loss is a gradual process and many people don’t realize the extent to which their hearing has deteriorated until others point it out. Often, changes in their activities reflect their diminished ability to hear (such as turning up the volume on the TV or asking people to speak louder). As hearing worsens, people tend to shy away from social activities and get-togethers. Untreated hearing loss can lead to anxiety, insecurity, isolation and depression. Often, family members make compensations for the hearing impaired — but at some point, even that is not enough.
Yes! Putting off the inevitable can cause further damage. As your hearing declines, nerve atrophy and brain reorganization also occur. Just like muscles, the hearing part of the brain will forget its function if it doesn’t receive constant input. That’s why it is so important to get your hearing checked as soon as you notice a problem. Studies also show that elderly persons retain better cognitive function if they start using amplification in the early stages of hearing loss rather than later.
Yes! Here are some common concerns about hearing aids: “Hearing aids only amplify unwanted sounds, they are big and uncomfortable, and they always whistle.” And here are the facts: Digital hearing aids are programmed to only provide amplification at the pitches you need. This allows you to experience clearer speech, less bothersome background noise and an overall more enjoyable and natural listening experience. Today’s hearing aids are stylish and discreet. Finally, even the basic digital hearing aids come with “automated feedback suppression” to cut out the annoying whistle. To learn more about the latest in hearing aid technology call the professionals at Waco ENT’s Physicians Hearing Center.