Frequently Asked Questions
Q I’m thinking about getting hearing aids, but I don’t want something that someone can see. Do they make them smaller than the ones my grandfather wore?
A Hearing aids now come in many shapes, styles, and colors. Cosmetics have always been very important, and now there are many styles that are almost invisible. Some are custom made products that sit deep in your ear canal. Many people really like the new open products that have a mini hearing aid behind your ear and an almost invisible tube that delivers the sound down into your ear. That’s where color is important. Many times we try to match your hair color.
Just remember, your friends will notice your hearing loss more than they will notice your hearing aids.
Q I’ve got this buzzing in my ears that just won’t go away. I don’t hear as well as I should, but if the buzzing would stop, I know I would hear much better. How can I get rid of this head noise?
A Your head noise is called Tinnitus. Tinnitus is a sensation of noise, which means that in most cases it is a sound only you can hear. Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss so you should start by having your hearing tested. In the last few years there have been many advancements in alleviating Tinnitus. Your audiologist can discuss with you these options and other methods of coping with this aggravating condition.
Q I haven’t had my hearing tested since grade school, and my husband hasn’t had his tested since he got out of the army. Do we need to have our hearing tested or should we wait until we are sure we have a problem?
A For 99% of the people with hearing loss, it is a gradual change that takes place over many years. So gradual that you don’t really notice until the problem becomes obvious. The sooner that you have your hearing tested, the better. Getting your hearing tested will establish a baseline for future comparisons, and problems can be addressed as early as possible. According to the National Council on the Aging, untreated hearing loss can lead to a lower quality of life including: Depression, Anger, Less social activity, Anxiety, & Loss of Self Esteem.
Additionally, a study from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, showed an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease due to a hearing loss.
Q I tried hearing aids a few years ago and I could not stand the way they made my voice sound. I felt like I was in a barrel. Have hearing aids gotten any better?
A Yes they have. What you were experiencing was occlusion. When you stop up your ears completely with a hearing aid or just your finger and talk, you will experience occlusion. Over half the hearing aids fit today are what we term “open-fit” hearing aids. This type of fitting leaves the ear canal more open to alleviate the stopped up feeling and barrel effect. Open-fit hearing aids are easy to demonstrate. Schedule an appointment with us and see if open-fit hearing aids are for you.
Q I do pretty well with my hearing aids, but I don’t hear the TV as well as I would like. I don’t want to turn up the TV because it makes my wife mad when I do. Can you help me?
A Recently hearing aids have been released that are able to connect wirelessly to your television and even your cell phone. You can even adjust the volume to your individual needs without interfering with other family members. These hearing aids are even designed to allow you listen to music or other interests from your cell phone/tablet. See your audiologist to learn more about this amazing technology and bring your wife.
Q When we go to church, many times my mother’s hearing aid whistles. She doesn’t hear it, but it embarrasses her when people tell her it’s whistling. Can we do anything about it because she really needs the hearing aid to hear in the community and to hear us at home.
A Whistling hearing aids have been a problem for many years, but recently new digital hearing aids have almost completely eliminated whistling. Engineers call whistling, acoustic feedback, and they have designed feedback cancelation circuitry that works much like noise cancelation headphones to cancel this annoying sound. With older hearing aids there are adjustments that can be made that may reduce this annoying whistling. See your audiologist to explore the solution to your mother’s whistling hearing aids.
Q Is there an easy way to decide whether I should have my hearing tested?
A The Better Hearing Institute has come up with a list of questions that will give you a Quick Hearing Check. I advise that you review these statements with someone who is close to you because many times they can be more objective than we are to ourselves.
- I have a problem hearing over the phone
- I have trouble understanding things on TV
- I have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy background such as a crowded room or restaurant
- I especially have trouble understanding the speech of women and children
- I avoid social activities because I cannot hear well
- Family members and friends have told me they think I may have a hearing loss
Q I feel I cannot deal with my hearing loss while I have other health problems that seem so much worse. My family keeps bothering me about getting hearing aids, since they don’t like the fact I never understand them. Why won’t they just leave me alone. Someday, I will feel better and then I might agree to what they want.
A I have worked with patients, like yourself, who are going through more than one issue with their health. They also have questioned whether they can take on another problem, like hearing loss. Their experiences have taught me that taking care of a hearing loss has not added to their problems. Improving communication skills has helped them to cope with their other problems. Hearing loss adds stress to our lives by impairing communication skills. This breakdown in communication affects not only our relationship with family and friends, but very importantly, communication with professionals, like health care workers. Clear communication reduces the stress and strain of everyday life and improves your morale by empowering you with improved understanding. Listen to your family. They only have your best interest at heart.