Here are answers to some of the most commonly-asked hearing aid and hearing loss questions.
Hearing aids are basically electronic devices that pick up and amplify sound. They increase the volume of sounds that you normally wouldn’t hear, so you can. Siemens hearing aids do much more than amplify sound. Our sophisticated circuitry is programmed by your hearing care professional to suit your unique hearing loss, and our high-tech features are selected based on your lifestyle. Our state-of the-art hearing aids are designed to not only improve your hearing, but your life.
Consumers who buy hearing aids are entitled to a trial period, usually 30 days from the time of fitting. During this trial, your hearing care professional will work with you to ensure your complete satisfaction. You will have follow up visits to fine-tune your hearing aids, and if necessary, make any changes to the style or circuitry.
Most of the time hearing loss begins so gradually that it goes unnoticed. Here are the top warning signs of hearing loss:
- People seem to mumble all the time
- You hear, but have trouble understanding
- You often ask people to repeat themselves
- Telephone conversations are difficult
- You can’t hear household sounds, like a faucet dripping or a clock ticking
- It’s hard to hear without seeing the speaker’s face
- You are told you speak too loudly
- People say your television or radio volume is set too high
- You have ringing or buzzing in your ears
- Conversations are difficult in a large group
- You have trouble following conversations with more than two people
- You struggle to hear in crowded places, like restaurants and malls
- You have a hard time hearing women or children
Prices vary widely depending on the technology incorporated into the hearing aids, the features selected, and the services included with the purchase. The hearing aids chosen will depend on your specific form of hearing loss and other needs and preferences. Many hearing care professionals offer financing plans and options to meet all budgets. You should also check to see if you qualify for free or discounted hearing aids from your employer, union, the Veteran’s Administration, insurance provider, health maintenance organization (HMO), or local charity.
Hearing aids can improve your quality of life by boosting your self-confidence and reducing your stress level. It’s hard to be confident and relaxed when you are unsure of your hearing.
They also can improve:
- Personal relationships. After all, successful relationships depend on successful communication.
- Job performance. Hearing aids eliminate the need to constantly ask “What?” or “Can your repeat that?” and keep you on top of your game.
- Safety. You don’t want to miss hearing a smoke alarm, a window breaking, a dog barking at a stranger, an oncoming car when you’re walking, or a siren when you’re driving.
If you are 18 years of age or older, you should make an appointment with an audiologist or other hearing care professional to determine the type and amount of your hearing loss. Depending on the test results, they may also recommend that you see your physician or an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) prior to getting fitted with hearing aids. If you suspect your child has hearing loss, it’s best to talk with your pediatrician first, who can then refer you to a pediatric audiologist for testing and treatment if necessary.
Exercise caution with firecrackers and at clubs, concerts, video arcades, shooting ranges, movie theaters, and auto races. Also use hearing protection when riding motorcycles, snowmobiles, motorboats, and lawnmowers.
The majority of hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear. Most commonly, hearing loss occurs because aging and/or long-term exposure to loud noise has caused wear and tear on hair cells that send sound signals to the brain. Scientific research has also linked hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes to hearing loss since they constrict blood flow, which can cause damage to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can only be treated with properly-fit hearing aids and cannot be reversed.
Some other causes of hearing loss are temporary and may be treated medically. These include excessive ear wax (cerumen), infections of the middle ear, and malfunctions of the middle ear bones (stapes). A complete diagnostic hearing test can identify which type of hearing loss you have and whether medical treatment will help.
Some occupations put you at greater risk of hearing loss, including: trades work, factory work, firefighting, law enforcement, farming, construction work, military service, heavy industry, music and other entertainment professions.
No hearing aid can restore your hearing 100 percent. However, our hearing aids will let you hear soft sounds that you couldn’t hear before. Your hearing aids will also help you better understand speech, especially in noisy environments.
Most people who lose their hearing due to inner ear damage will have about the same degree of loss in both ears, and will need to wear two hearing aids. If you only have hearing loss in one ear, you may only need to wear a hearing aid in your bad ear.
However, wearing two hearing aids has been proven to improve speech understanding in noise, localization (finding the source of sounds), and overall sound quality when compared to wearing only one aid. Today, more than 80 percent of all hearing aid fittings are binaural, or involve both ears.
Today’s hearing aids are smaller and designed to be discreet. Many are nearly undetectable even close up. One model actually sits completely in the canal of your ear and is practically invisible when worn. Alternately, fashionable, meant-to-be seen hearing aids in fun color combinations and exotic flowery flourishes are available.
Few physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing difficulties hear fine in quiet environments, it can be a very difficult problem for you to notice, or for your doctor to diagnose.