Frequently Asked Questions

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How will I recognize if I have a hearing problem? What are the signs?
Most of the time hearing loss begins gradually, without discomfort or pain. What's more, family members often learn to adapt to it, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether hearing loss is present:
  1. Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  2. Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
  3. Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I'm facing the speaker?
  4. Does it sounds like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
  5. Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
  6. Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
  7. Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
  8. Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
If I had a hearing loss, wouldn't my family doctor have told me?
Only about 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor's office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
Aren't there operations or medications I can take for hearing loss?
Only 5% of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss (95%) are treated with hearing aids.
Won't wearing a hearing aid make me look old or handicapped?

A lot of people who know they have a hearing loss are too embarrassed or feel they're showing weakness if they acknowledge the problem. While you are no doubt concerned about appearance, others will be much less aware of your hearing aid than you. Most hearing aids are very discreet (keep in mind that hairstyle can also play a role).

Ultimately, an untreated hearing loss—and actions like smiling or nodding when you don't understand what's being said—are far more obvious than a hearing aid. Most likely, once you have a hearing aid your quality of life will be so improved that cosmetics won't be as much of an issue for you.
Exactly how will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?

Receiving treatment for hearing loss can literally transform your life. Research on people with hearing loss and their significant others has shown that hearing aids play a significant factor in a person's social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.

More specifically, treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve:

  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Earning power
  • Sense of control over your life
  • Social participation
  • Perception of mental functioning
  • Emotional stability When you consider all the benefits of better hearing, you can see that hearing aids hold great potential to positively change your life.
  • Will a hearing aid actually restore my hearing?
    While no hearing aid (except in cases of very mild hearing loss) can restore your hearing to normal, hearing aids will allow you to hear soft sounds that you couldn't hear before, and will prevent loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud for you. Your ability to understand speech will also be improved.
    Will I be able to hear in noisy places?
    While no hearing aid can filter out all background noise, they can reduce some types of background noise so that you can enjoy conversation and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings and social gatherings.
    How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?
    There are several factors that will determine which hearing aid will be the right one for you. They include the nature and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, your job, your eyesight and dexterity, and the size and shape of your outer ear and inner ear canal. Ultimately, your hearing professional will be able to instruct you as to the best choice for you.
    How about advances in technology?
    Like many other products (TVs, personal music players, computers), hearing aids have experienced a major technological revolution in the past decade—and especially in the last couple years. These advances have made a huge impact in hearing aid performance and wearer satisfaction.

    State-of-the-art features include technology that allows your hearing aid to be programmed to the types of places you spend most of your time; hearing aids that automatically adjust when you go from one hearing environment to the next; directional hearing aids that help you zero in on voices in noisy areas; the virtual elimination of whistling and feedback; more "natural" sound; even hearing aids that tell you when it's time for your next hearing checkup.
    Is there an adjustment period?
    Yes, most people need an adjustment period of up to four months before receiving the full benefit from their hearing aids. You should, however, expect to notice demonstrable benefits during this trial period.
    Will I need a hearing aid in one ear or two?
    Two-ear hearing (called "binaural") is better than one. If you have hearing loss in only one ear, you may be fine with one hearing aid. Age- and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears, but your hearing profile for each ear is probably different. If there is a loss in both ears, you will probably benefit more with a binaural solution. Today, about two-thirds of new users opt for dual hearing instruments, and as a group they report a higher level of satisfaction than purchasers of a single instrument.
    So if I think I've got a hearing problem, what do I do?
    You need to make an appointment with a hearing professional for an evaluation, consultation and hearing test.  To schedule an appointment, call our Hearing Aid Center at (425) 339-5401.

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