What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid (also called a hearing instrument or hearing device) is a miniature digital personal amplification system that can be worn in or over the ears. Hearing aids amplify only in the regions of hearing loss, as assigned by the audiologist, giving increased ease of listening both in quiet and background noise. These devices can be set for the wearer’s individual listening environments and lifestyle. Many devices can utilize ancillary products, allowing Bluetooth (wireless) connection to cell phone, TV, or computer. Many people are surprised to learn that their hearing aids can automatically adjust for volume in the surrounding area, lowering volume for loud voices and increasing amplification for quieter voices, as well as suppressing noise in the immediate vicinity to increase speech understanding. Some hearing devices can “zoom” to pick up a voice in the passenger seat or back seat of a car.
A contemporary hearing aid has two microphones to pick up sound (the difference in sound level to the microphones is an important cue to the device), digital circuitry to amplify and modify the signal, and a receiver to turn the electrical signal back into sound to deliver to the ear.
Will a hearing aid help me?
Studies have shown that hearing loss isolates people from their friends, loved ones, and community. This isolation can be manifested in withdrawal, depression, and worsening of physical medical conditions. People with uncorrected hearing loss in the workforce tend to earn a lower salary than their counterparts who have sought help.
Do I need a hearing aid?
Hearing loss can be objectively measured. This can be done as part of a brief evaluation by an audiologist. An audiologist uses specialized equipment to determine if you have hearing loss, how much hearing loss you have in each ear, as well as what part of the hearing system is not fully functioning. This knowledge can help direct treatment with an appropriate hearing aid or listening device.
Will I need a hearing aid for both ears?
Many patients have hearing loss in both ears. In these situations, optimal results are usually obtained with 2 hearing aids. Every patient is different. We work as a team to determine the best possible hearing instruments for your listening needs, budget, and abilities.
What do hearing aids look like?
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles. Some are custom-created and sit completely in the ear canal; others sit over the ear and have a tiny tube that extends into the ear canal. During the hearing education evaluation, we discuss the benefits of the different styles in association with the patient’s hearing needs (type and amount of hearing loss can influence these factors) and lifestyle to determine the most appropriate style and size. It is important to take into account a patient’s preference as well.
Can hearing aids help me hear in background noise?
Background noise is noise in the environment which is not a part of our focus. For instance if we are having a conversation with a friend outdoors, we would consider the birds, automobile traffic, conversations of passers-by all to be part of background noise. If all these noises are amplified equally it would be difficult to focus on the conversation we are having. Contemporary digital hearing devices have noise reduction circuitry and directional microphones which reduce the annoyance and audibility of background noise. This capability can be automatic.
Can I obtain financial assistance for a hearing aid?
Hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or by some health insurance companies. Some health insurance companies do give a hearing aid benefit.
There are some non-profit organizations which provide financial assistance for hearing aids. At Alliance Audiology, we will help you get in touch with these organizations when financial assistance is needed.
Where do I purchase hearing aids?
At Becker hearing Center we specialize in providing a full range of hearing instruments and listening devices. We strive to help you find the hearing device that best suits your hearing loss, listening needs, and budget.
What will happen at my hearing education session?
After determining the type and degree of your hearing loss, our Audiologists will work with you to choose hearing devices that fit you for comfort, style, budget, and sound quality. You may listen to a pair of hearing aids in a variety of listening situations to hear what they sound like. It may be beneficial to bring a loved one with you to the appointment for hearing a familiar voice.
How should I begin wearing the instruments?
As with any new assistive device, hearing aids may take a few days or weeks to get used to. Here are some tips on acclimating to new hearing aids:
- We recommend that you begin by wearing your hearing instruments in quiet surroundings, gradually building up to noisier environments.
- Get used to your hearing instrument by listening to a single person with whom you regularly converse. We recommend that you let your friends and family know that you are using new hearing instruments so that they will be patient with you as you get used to the new devices.
- As you move into noisier environments, try to separate background noise from the sounds you are focusing on.
- As you move into larger settings, practice locating the source of a sound.
- Pay attention to any difficulties adjusting to hearing instrument usage, and bring these to our attention at your follow-up visit. As with any new device, hearing instrument settings may require some fine tuning which we can do quickly and efficiently at your follow up appointments. We are committed to helping you learn to use your hearing instruments in a manner that provides a positive impact on your everyday living
How do I care for my hearing aids?
Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid. Some simple steps you can take are as follows:
- Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
- Clean hearing aids as instructed.
- Use hair care products before putting on the hearing aids, and dry hair before putting on the hearing aids.
- Open hearing aid battery doors to avoid draining the batteries when you are done wearing the devices for the day.
- Replace dead or dying batteries immediately.
- Wear the hearing instruments as full-time as possible.
- Call for an appointment to return every four to six months for maintenance and cleaning of the hearing aids.