A hearing test is simple and painless. It takes most people years to notice the gradual onset of hearing loss. So if you are starting to have problems hearing certain voices, if you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, if others seem to mumble, or if you need to turn the TV volume up to a level uncomfortable for others to enjoy – these are signs that it’s time to test your hearing. Hearing loss is not something to hide or ignore. In fact, untreated hearing loss is more visible to others than hearing aids. Hearing loss can negatively affect one’s emotional and social well being too and cause depression, isolation from others, breakdown of relationships, insecurity, and an overall sense of helplessness.

Hearing loss is an ‘understanding’ problem. Understanding words and sentences is a function of your brain and relies on receiving sound signals unaltered. Your ears collect sound, transform it into nerve impulses, and send it to the brain where understanding occurs. Most nerve loss in the inner ear occurs with high-pitched softer parts of speech, which give meaning to many of our words. Advanced hearing aids are engineered to help you reclaim a lost sensitivity to many of these higher pitched sounds with the goal to improve your ability to understand.

While hearing loss is common as we age, there are many factors that can contribute to hearing loss.

  • Excessive Noise Exposure (prolonged loud music, gun shots, noisy machinery)
  • Infections
  • Head Injury
  • Genetics or Birth Defects
  • Drug or Treatment Reaction (antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation).

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a condition or disease that blocks or impedes the movement of sound waves throughout the outer or middle ear. The result is a reduction in loudness or clarity of sound that reaches the inner ear. The treatment for conductive loss can vary and may include surgical intervention depending on the cause.

Sensorineural hearing loss results from auditory nerve dysfunction within the inner ear. It is typically irreversible and permanent. It affects the intensity (or loudness) of sound, but more often results in a lack of clarity of sounds, particularly speech. The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is prescriptive sound amplification through advanced hearing aids.

Most always hearing loss is categorized as either conductive or sensorineural. Most hearing loss is sensorineural and commonly referred to as “nerve loss.” A combination of the two types is called a “mixed hearing loss.” Unilateral hearing loss affects one ear; bilateral hearing loss affects both ears. Treatment options vary for the different types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be corrected by surgery or medication, but may be treated using advanced hearing aid technology.

How long does a hearing test take?

A hearing test (or a hearing evaluation) can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and that is from the moment you walk through our doors to the moment you walk out. A comprehensive hearing evaluation doesn’t take too long, and it is completely painless.

What if I am not sure if I have hearing loss?

If you aren’t sure if you have hearing loss, the best thing to do would be to schedule a hearing evaluation to know for sure. Maybe you have slight hearing loss or hearing loss in just one ear. Hearing loss varies from person to person so the type and degree of hearing loss can only be determined if you have a hearing test.

I’m sure my loved one has hearing loss – how do I convince them to get a hearing test?

Many people who experience hearing loss can attest to the fact that there is a sort of denial and mourning period. Because it says so here: Hearing loss. So many people mourn the loss of their hearing and what this means for them moving forward. The best thing you can do is help them work through their feelings, do some research on helpful resources, and tell them they should get a hearing evaluation from a professional. Sometimes, not knowing and being in denial is harder than knowing and deciding what you can do about it. Knowing if you have hearing loss can be liberating because they can fully understand how to improve their hearing moving forward. Once people start treating their hearing loss, they start to feel like themselves again.

How much do hearing aids cost?

The cost of hearing aids varies from type of hearing aid, brand of hearing aid and services included.

Some audiologists include services with the purchase of hearing aids while others bill services a la carte. If you buy hearing aids online without any professional guidance or through an office that does not have hearing professionals on staff, your pricing may be less, but so will your overall care.

We understand that hearing aids are a substantial investment – but the cost of hearing aids has been going down. Because your hearing ability is linked to so many other aspects of your overall health (like brain health, balance, and mental health) it really is crucial that you seriously consider the investment in yourself.

I’ve only heard negative things about hearing aids, like people experience whistling or feedback noises. Why should I get a hearing aid if they’re like this?

It is true that hearing aids can produce whistling sounds or feedback but there are several different reasons for this, all of which are easily resolved.

  • If your hearing aid doesn’t fit right or too loosely, it will allow the amplified sound to escape from your ear, causing feedback.
  • You may also receive feedback if you stand too close to a surface that reflects sound, such as a wall.
  • Some feedback problems occur because the device’s volume control is too high.

You can easily remedy most of these feedback problems on your own but if you find you need some additional assistance, one of our professionals can help you find a solution.

Are there other ways I can treat my hearing loss?

Possibly, but it depends on what type of hearing loss you have and its severity. There are several hearing-related tools like hearing amplifiers, amplified telephones, TV listening systems and personal listening systems. Plus, we also need to consider if you have any other underlying conditions (like tinnitus). We are always happy to develop a treatment plan that works best with your needs and lifestyle.

Have more questions? Contact us and we’ll discuss things in more detail.