Frequently Asked Questions
If you have more questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to give us a call or schedule an appointment to consult with one of our audiologists. Call: 317-842-4901 or 800-818-EARS (3277).
How do I know if I have hearing loss?
Hearing loss often occurs so gradually that the individual may not be aware of a problem. Sometimes it is difficult to ask ourselves whether we are becoming a burden to our family and friends, even if we do not personally recognize difficulty hearing. Indicators of hearing loss include asking people to repeat things and perceiving that others are mumbling. In addition, difficulty hearing with background noise present, hearing women and children, and hearing the TV could also be indicators of hearing loss. Is the ability to hear, but not understand, adequate for your daily communication needs? If you or a family member suspects that you have a hearing problem, contact Medical Hearing Aids for an appointment and we will be happy to help you through this process. Addressing a hearing problem early is one of the most important things you can do.
Why is it important to see an audiologist at Medical Hearing Aids for my hearing healthcare?
Education, Experience & Expertise: An audiologist is a professional who assesses, diagnoses, and rehabilitates hearing loss for patients of all ages. Not just any Audiologist will do. The audiologists at Medical Hearing Aids, LLC have had 8 years of college and graduate school and have received their Master’s or Doctoral degrees in Audiology from accredited university graduate programs. The amount of time spent by an audiologist with a patient is very significant. This time is particularly critical for new users to assist during the acclimatization process. At Medical Hearing Aids, LLC, the audiologists are devoted to meeting your communication needs and they are easily accessible at any of our convenient locations.
If I do have hearing loss, how do I know if I could benefit from hearing devices?
It is important to realize that recognizing hearing loss is the first step toward improving the quality of your life. The goal of hearing devices is to help you obtain the best hearing possible in most situations given the conditions of your impairment. Only 10% of people with hearing loss may be helped medically and the remaining 90% can benefit from hearing devices. It is important to understand that even the most advanced hearing devices cannot keep your hearing from changing or completely restore your hearing to normal. However, the latest technology is designed to provide amplification to improve your hearing considerably and therefore improve your quality of life.
Hearing devices can make soft sounds audible, while at the same time making moderate or loud sounds comfortable. They are designed to provide relief in both noisy and quiet situations. Wearing hearing devices can put you at ease during conversations and can make you less likely to have to ask others to repeat themselves. They can help you re-establish connections to the world.
Do I buy one hearing device or two?
We hear in our brain, not in our ears. Hearing loss causes the brain to misinterpret sounds. The ultimate goal of hearing devices is not only to send sound into the ear but also to retrain the central auditory system in the brain. Hearing with both ears is what nature intended; it allows the brain to process sounds naturally so we hear sounds accurately as well as get a sense of balance and direction.
Approximately 80% of patients have hearing loss in both ears. Studies show that even when hearing loss is worse in one ear, wearing two hearing instruments produces the most benefit. When hearing loss affects both ears and only one ear is amplified, the brain is only receiving half of the accurate information. It is uncertain whether the ability to hear soft sounds will decrease if your ear is not stimulated adequately. However, research now suggests that there can be changes in the way in which your brain processes sound when it is "starved." The ear not amplified can become fatigued from straining to hear. Binaural amplification (wearing two hearing instruments) can help us hear as nature intended.
We have two ears for a reason. Amplifying both ears allows for better hearing in noise, increased ability for speech understanding and improved localization ability (detecting where sounds are coming from).
Increased Ability for Speech Understanding: Sound loses intensity (loudness) as it travels across your head, particularly for the high frequencies which are the most important for understanding of consonants, such as /s/, /t/, /f/, and /sh/. If you have a hearing device on only one ear, say the left one, and the person you wish to hear is speaking to you from the right side, the consonants may be decreased by nearly 20 decibels by the time it gets to your aided ear. Unfortunately, noise in the room may occur from any or all directions, so while the noise level is not decreased, the speech level is decreased. Wearing two hearing devices ensures that the speech sounds will not be diminished any more than necessary because of your position in the room.
Improved Localization Ability: When the brain receives sound from both the right and left ears it makes it easier to locate the direction of sounds (localization). We determine where a sound is coming from on the basis of the time the sound arrives at each ear, and the difference in loudness and pitch of the sound at the two ears. When there is a large difference in hearing between two ears (as might occur when a person with similar hearing in both ears only wears one hearing aid) the brain cannot make use of these subtle differences and their ability to locate sounds may suffer. Localization is important in daily situations including being able to tell from which direction traffic is coming.
What types of hearing devices are available?
Hearing devices are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. Hearing technology has advanced significantly over the years, allowing patients greater sound comfort and improved speech recognition in noisy situations. Advances in technology include wireless connectivity to computers, televisions, cell phones, and MP3 devices. Digital hearing devices are adjusted using a computer and provide the most flexibility. This allows your audiologist to custom fit the response of the device to your specific hearing loss. Digital hearing devices can be modified if your hearing changes or as your listening needs change. Your audiologist will help you choose the best instrument according to your hearing loss, communication needs, and lifestyle.
How much do hearing devices cost?
The cost of hearing devices varies depending on if you choose an optimal or an adequate solution for your hearing loss. Purchasing hearing devices is not just a one-time transaction; it involves a relationship between you and your audiologist. The audiologist's responsibility is to ensure that a suitable device is selected based on your hearing loss, communication needs, personal preferences, and lifestyle. They also provide an understandable explanation of its benefits and limitations. The audiologists at Medical Hearing Aids are committed to your aural rehabilitation because they know that it is an essential part of your hearing healthcare. Mail order and discount centers may sell hearing aids at lower prices because they are often placed on the user with minimal or no instructions and/or adjustments. Sales people with minimal technical training often staff these discount centers. Therefore, it is important to do your research.
Communication is one of the most important skills humans have. So if wearing hearing devices allows you to resume activities you enjoy, improve relationships with family and friends, and retain your independence, then the cost becomes a lot more justifiable.
How often do I need to buy new hearing devices?
Generally speaking, hearing devices typically last about five years. The need for new hearing devices may occur if a patient's hearing status changes. In some cases the device may not need to be replaced but rather adjusted. A consultation with one of our audiologists can help you determine the best course of action for your device.
What can I expect as I adjust to my new hearing devices?
Learning to listen with hearing devices takes time and patience in the beginning. You may need to learn to filter out unwanted sounds, just as you used to do with normal hearing. Your listening skills should improve gradually as you become accustomed to amplification.
Besides helping you to hear and understand voices better, properly adjusted hearing devices will allow you to hear sounds that you haven’t been able to hear in a long time. The sound of wrinkling newspaper or water running may be annoying at first. However, after about 2-3 weeks, you will adjust to these sounds. Gradually increasing the amount of time you wear the hearing aids and following the schedule provided by your audiologist will result in an easier transition to amplified sound. During the initial adjustment period, you may be asked to visit your audiologist several times so that she may monitor your progress and adjust the controls of your hearing devices, if needed. These follow-up visits are crucial to your success with amplification.
How often should I have my hearing evaluated?
Hearing evaluations are recommended annually just like eye exams. Hearing evaluations are especially important if you have a family history of hearing loss, history of noise exposure, or if you are noticing any changes in your hearing. A baseline hearing evaluation is recommended at any age.
Why do so many people have hearing instruments that they complain about or do not use?
The choice of the best hearing instruments depends on many factors and can often be confusing. Our audiologists are experts in choosing the most appropriate hearing assistance and providing support and counseling throughout the adjustment period. Some of the common reasons people complain about their hearing instruments purchased elsewhere include poor choices in style, circuitry, programming, cosmetic appeal, or unrealistic expectations of the device. Hearing instruments will not restore normal hearing, but they can greatly improve the ability to hear and communicate in a variety of situations. Our experts will help you understand what to expect out of your hearing instruments so that you have the best experience possible.