Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

  1. Why aren’t my hearing aids able to restore my hearing to normal levels?  Hearing aids are just that- aids; aids to your existing hearing.  Their function is to greatly improve your ability to hear to the greatest extent possible. However, while we hope that we meet your expectations with new hearing aids, the reality is that even with the best technology, there will still be times that you don’t hear as well as you would like to, especially in noisy environments.  However, the current technology continues to improve in design and in addressing understanding of speech. We urge you to realistically focus on the vast improvement in your hearing and the resulting improvement in your everyday life. 
  2.  Why do I need two hearing aids instead of just one?  Our bodies are uniquely designed with two ears for a reason.  Utilizing two ears allows for better directionality and balance. Our two ears send complementary information to the brain where it is sorted and processed. With one hearing aid, you can expect to hear better in quiet situations, but as soon as you introduce competing noise, the information sent from the opposite ear to the brain helps to “supplement” and improve speech understanding.  With today’s hearing aids, two ears become even more important because it isn’t just the ears that are sending messages to the brain, but the hearing aids are able to communicate with each other so they know what sounds are coming in from which side and are thus able to process the speech sounds accordingly, resulting in the most clear and natural sound quality available. This feature of connectivity has been a significant benefit to many of our patients.
  3. My friends tell me that I am wasting my money on buying expensive hearing aids.   Every person’s hearing loss is unique.  Your hearing needs may differ from that of your friends.  Your audiologist will make the most appropriate recommendation based on your specific situation and requirements.  There are hearing aids manufactured to fit most budgets, but the old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies, and lower cost hearing aids often differ in performance. It is important to understand the benefits and limitations of the technology that you choose. Developing a good, open relationship with your audiologist will result in reasonable expectations and a satisfying hearing aid experience.
  4. What is the “best” hearing aid for me?  If there were one hearing aid that was best for everyone, the job as audiologists would be so much easier!  Fortunately, there are numerous options available, and we are able to recommend hearing aids that not only accommodate your hearing loss but also fit your lifestyle needs as well as your budget.
  5. How long should hearing aids last?  In general, hearing aids over five years of age are usually ready for retirement.  By this age, the fragile wiring and digital components wear out and the cost of frequent repairs may become prohibitive.  In addition, with technology advancing so rapidly, after 3 to 5 years, the available improvements are significant.  We all want to hear as clearly as technology allows, and that often means obtaining new hearing aids.
  6. Why do I still have trouble hearing in noise?  The primary focus of all hearing aid manufacturers is to address the number one issue of all hearing aid users – the never-ending quest to provide the maximum speech enhancement in the presence of background noise.  They have come far in the past few years, but alas there is still room for improvement.  In addition, it is not just the hearing aids that provide clarity in noise; it is also the processing performed by our brain. Our ears pick up the sound and our brain interprets the signal.
  7. Why can’t I just buy my hearing aids over the internet?  Of course you can do this, but you should likewise lower your expectations of performance.  Hearing aids purchased over the internet will not be programmed for your hearing loss. While the initial cost of the hearing aids often make it appear that you are saving money, the subsequent time and expense of having them properly programmed for your individual hearing loss will likely end up being greater than had you purchased the hearing aids privately.  The hearing aids we offer include office visits and programming for the first year, thereby ensuring that you obtain maximum benefit and pleasure from your purchase.  If you wish to have a successful experience in the purchase of hearing aids, we do not recommend buying over the internet. Understand your options.
  8. Why are there so many different styles of hearing aids?  Why are there so many different eyeglass frames?  There are so many different styles of hearing aids because each of us is unique in our hearing needs, … as well as our cosmetic or vanity needs.  There is basically, something for everyone – from totally invisible hearing aids to low visibility options for our patients with profound hearing loss.  There are daily wear hearing aids that are inserted and removed daily and there are extended wear hearing aids that remain in the ear canal 24/7 for months at a time, if you are a candidate.
  9. I don’t feel like I really need hearing aids at this point in my life, can I just wait and get them when I really need them?  We strongly recommend that you not put off purchasing hearing aids because every day you do is a day you live without hearing all that life has to offer.  In addition, when you have unaided hearing, you are putting your brain in a state of auditory deprivation.  A new study by Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Aging has found that men and women with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  It is considered to be vital to correct a hearing loss as early as possible after diagnosis. “If you don’t use it, you will lose it.”
  10. The key to a successful hearing aid experience is communication – communication with your audiologist, communication with your family, and communication with yourself in understanding what you should realistically expect from your hearing aids.  With today’s advancements in hearing aids, there has never been a better time to have your hearing loss treated and corrected. 
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