This simple quiz can help get you started on your path to understanding your hearing health.
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
We know that hearing is a tricky subject, and can come with some confusion. Read on and click to reveal the answers to some common questions!Q: What are some common signs of hearing loss?
A: It can be hard to admit that you might be experiencing hearing loss, but it happens to many people of all ages. Chances are that if you've noticed you have a hard time hearing or understanding other people, it's at least worth getting your hearing checked out. If other people in your family have hearing loss, there may be a genetic component, so it's especially important to have your hearing tested regularly.
If you have noticed that you have an especially hard time understanding conversations in noisy places or with groups of people, you've noticed you have to turn the TV up louder than you used to, you have to ask other people to repeat themselves on a regular basis, you give the wrong answers to questions, or you decide it's easier to nod and smile than to ask for clarification again, it's probably time for a hearing test just in case.
A: Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by nerve damage, whether that is because of exposure to loud noise, repeated ear infections, or other sources. Most sensorineural hearing loss can be treated by hearing aids. Another common form is conductive hearing loss, which means something is blocking your ears. Conductive hearing loss is frequently caused by cerumen (earwax) buildup, so it's important to get your ears cleaned regularly. Some hearing loss involves both and can be treated first by clearing the blockage and then prescribing hearing aids.
A: We like to see you one week after you first get your hearing aids to see if we need to make any alterations to the fit or the programming. We'll also bring you in at the end of your two-week trial period and find out what you like about the hearing aids and whether these are the right fit for you.
Once you've settled on hearing aids, we will ask you to come by every three months to have your hearing aids cleaned and check in on how they're working for you. Eventually we may ask you to come in every six months for a hearing test (so we can catch any change in your hearing loss and program your hearing aids accordingly) and for a cleaning.
A: Moisture is a problem for hearing aids, so keep them away from water (don't wear them in the shower or to go swimming). Don't store them in a bathroom or other place with a lot of humidity. We carry drying kits which can be a big help; we recommend using the drying kit overnight. As far as cleaning your hearing aids, we will show you how to clean the tip and tube during your appointment, and we'll recommend a cleaning schedule based on your ear.
A: It depends on the size of your hearing aids, how many hours a day you use them, and how severe your hearing loss is. Generally, hearing aid batteries need to be replaced every 5-7 days. Modern hearing aids can let you know when they are running low on batteries, and hearing aids that connect to phone apps can tell you specifically how many hours of power they have left. There are also rechargeable hearing aids available, so let us know if you think rechargeable hearing aids may be a good idea for you.
A: We can take a custom mold of your ears and use those to make hearing aids. Custom-fit hearing aids are not really any more expensive than other hearing aids, and they're not necessarily better in all cases. We'll determine at your hearing aid fitting whether custom hearing aids are right for you. Some models of hearing aids require a custom fit; others can be purchased off-the-shelf. If you have a hard time getting earplugs that fit, maybe because you have smaller-than-average ear canals, you may need custom hearing aids as well. Custom-fit hearing aids are also good for very active people.
A: It's hard to summarize this because it's different for everybody. We will make hearing aid recommendations based on your lifestyle and your hearing loss, which we'll discuss with you after your initial hearing test. We'll also discuss your budget and what you are hoping to get out of hearing aids. Based on all of these considerations, we'll suggest hearing aids that we think will work for you, and then we'll give you a two-week free trial to see if you like the hearing aids.
A: Be patient, relax, and be willing to repeat yourself. Don't get angry with them if they can't hear or understand you. It isn't their fault and you will both have a better time if you can stay calm. Take your time and speak clearly to make understanding easier on them. Talk to them while you're in the same room so they can see your lips and hear your voice without distance or closed doors getting in the way. Offer to help them look over hearing loss options so they don't feel overwhelmed or discouraged.
Hearing aids have changed dramatically over the past 10-15 years, but many people still have outdated ideas of what hearing aids are like. If you're worried about whether hearing aids are right for you, make sure you understand what modern hearing aids are like; you might be surprised by how small, comfortable, and convenient they can be.MYTH: If I had a hearing loss, my doctor would have told me.
FACT: Most primary care practitioners and ear-nose-throat doctors don't usually check your hearing during a regular physical exam. Always ask for your hearing or ears to be checked. Hearing loss is gradual and can be hard to notice on your own until it has become more pronounced, but your hearing loss will be easier to treat if you catch it early.
FACT: There are many, many reasons why hearing loss can occur, and it happens in people of all ages, from children to adults. Sometimes it's just a matter of genetics. It can be caused by repeated ear infections or by illness. It can also be caused by repeated exposure to loud noise, which is why it's important to protect your ears if your lifestyle involves loud sound - such as loud music, hunting, or construction. Hearing loss is very common, but fortunately that doesn't mean you have to put up with it.
FACT: A couple decades ago, that used to be true, but it isn't anymore. New technology is very powerful and can filter out room noise without losing speech clarity, so you can carry on conversations even in loud spaces. Many hearing aids also give you the ability to adjust the directionality of your microphones in real time so you can more easily focus on the person who is speaking.
FACT: These days, many hearing aids are almost invisible, and even the bigger options are still discreet and often won't even be noticed by other people. They can be changed to match your own skin tone, or you can choose a brighter color to suit your personal sense of style. Modern hearing aids are sleek and sometimes so lightweight that you will forget you're wearing them, especially CIC (completely-in-canal) models. New styles are emerging every day as are colors to fit your lifestyle and chosen aesthetic.
FACT: It's important to take care of your ears the same way you would take care of any other part of your health. Hearing loss can change before you notice a difference, but if we test your ears regularly, we can catch those changes and adjust your hearing aids to keep up with it. Not only will that make sure you can hear as well as possible, it also prevents you from losing any cognitive ability to understand what you hear, which can be a problem if hearing loss goes untreated for too long. Make sure to have regular check-ups with us at least every six months, even after you've gotten used to your hearing aids.
FACT: Think about the difference between reading glasses and prescription glasses. Reading glasses may be interchangeable, but if you really need glasses, you can't really get away with using someone else's pair - there are too many differences, both subtle and pronounced. Hearing aids are the same as prescription glasses. They are attuned to your specific hearing loss and your specific preferences. Your hearing aids are a medical extension of your healthcare; your hearing affects not only your ability to notice sounds around you but also how healthy your brain is, so it's very important to keep it in good shape.