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Frequently Asked Questions

The six most important questions regarding digital hearing instruments:

  1. How many channels does it have? How many do I need?
  2. What type of Automatic Signal Processing compression does it use? What type would best suit my lifestyle?
  3. How many memories does it have? How many various listening situations do I encounter?
  4. Does it come with a remote control? Do I need a remote control?
  5. Does it offer multiple or directional microphones for hearing in noise?
  6. Is it FM compatible? Do my listening situations indicate I would benefit from hearing aids with FM compatibility?

The most commonly asked questions:

What causes hearing loss?

The majority of hearing losses are a result of aging. Other possible causes are prolonged exposure to loud noises, heredity, certain illnesses, and medications. However, the most common form of hearing loss is called "nerve deafness". This comes about as a result of the fact that the cochlea (inner ear) and auditory nerves do not properly transmit their signals to the brain.

How common is hearing loss?

One of every eleven Americans currently has some degree of hearing loss. For those aged 65 or older, the ratio is almost one in three.

Four out of five adults with problems hearing need hearing aids, not surgery!

The majority of patients with hearing problems can be fully and most appropriately helped with the use of properly fitted hearing aids. Hearing loss in adults generally is not a medical condition - meaning that in the majority of cases, medical or surgical treatments will not provide relief. Approximately 80 percent of adult patients with complaints of hearing problems cannot benefit from medical or surgical treatment, but can be helped with hearing aids.

How does hearing loss affect individuals?

While each hearing loss is unique, most people share common results from their loss. They often feel isolated from their surroundings. It is often more difficult to meet new people or face new surroundings. They often complain of appearing incompetent or feeling insecure.

What should I do if I or a loved one has a hearing loss?

The first step should be a professional hearing examination conducted by one of our licensed hearing professionals. This will help to determine the level and type of your hearing loss. The proper treatment with either medical attention or a hearing aid will be recommended. With today's modern technology many hearing losses can be successfully corrected with a hearing aid. However, only about one-fourth of those people who could benefit from the use of a hearing aid actually do so.

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids fill the gap created by a hearing loss by receiving and amplifying sound. While there are many different types of hearing aid technology, four basic components are common to them all: (1) a microphone, which receives sound and translates it into electrical impulses; (2) an amplifier, which makes those electrical impulses stronger; (3) a receiver (speaker), which translates those new stronger impulses into louder sounds; and (4) a battery, which serves as a power source for the whole system. Hearing aids vary widely in their styles, sizes, and levels of circuit technology. Our dispensers will help you choose the hearing aid style and circuitry that is right for your hearing loss and lifestyle.

What about the complaints I have heard about hearing aids?

It is true that there are several complaints that are sometimes mentioned by hearing aid users. Here are three of the most common:

"My own voice sounds strange."

Hearing aids amplify some or all sounds. This includes the sound of your voice. Your voice may sound different because it is being amplified by the hearing aid.

"I have a problem with whistling sounds or feedback."

There are several common causes of this problem, all of which are easily solved. First, your hearing aid may fit too loosely. This allows the amplified sound to escape from your ear and be picked up again by the microphone, thus resulting in feedback. Second, some feedback happens when you are standing too close to a surface that reflects sound, such as a wall. Finally, many feedback problems are simply the result of a hearing aid's volume control being turned up too high. Most feedback problems can be easily remedied by the user. However, if you continue to have a consistent problem with feedback, your hearing aid should be check by one of our hearing professionals.

"I feel pressure in my ear."

Sometimes, excess air can become trapped between your eardrum and the hearing aid. If this feeling persists, our hearing professionals can alter your hearing aid to alleviate the problem.

Will my hearing aid amplify loud sounds and change my hearing further?

Your hearing aid will be preset to a safe level of maximum amplification. However, keep in mind that you may have to re-accustom yourself to loud startling sounds as they are amplified by your hearing aid.

What sort of changes or adaptations are necessary with a hearing aid?

First, you need to understand that it is not possible for a hearing aid to completely restore your hearing. What it can do is enhance sound and thus allow you to hear better. Since hearing loss is gradual, over the years you may have become unaccustomed to normal environmental sounds such as traffic noise, the hum of a refrigerator or air conditioner, nature sounds, or background conversation. Therefore, when you begin to wear a hearing aid, it is necessary to re-educate your brain to practice selective listening and learn once again to choose only those sounds which you wish to hear. It is important that you wear your hearing aids as much as possible. In order for you to get used to them and the way that they work. Frequent continuos wear also helps you to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction, learning what hearing aid settings work best in different situations, and using visual clues in difficult hearing environments.

Patience is the key and your friends and family can be very helpful in the whole process. Encourage them to speak to you in a normal voice without over enunciating or over-emphasizing their lip movements. These people can be very helpful to you as you become accustomed to your new hearing instrument. If, for some reason, you continue to find the adjustment to be difficult, our staff of hearing professionals will be happy to answer any questions which you may have and help you solve any of your hearing-related problems.

Two of my friends wear hearing aids that look the same, but each friend paid a different amount. They came from the same dispenser. Why are the prices different?

Hearing aid shells look alike, but it's the circuits inside that you are paying for. The least expensive circuits are Class A, Class B, Class D, and Class H. The moderately priced hearing aids are Entry Level Digital and Basic Digital; the most expense circuits are Advanced Digital and Premium Digital. To use an automobile as an example: within each body style the consumer has a choice of 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engines, a choice of radios, interiors and wheel covers. So although the outside of two same-model cars may look alike, they can be priced completely differently.

What is the best brand of hearing aid?

There are over 30 national hearing aid manufacturers, each producing exceptional quality products. Which brand is right for you is determined by the results of your audiogram, your lifestyle, your cosmetic requirements and your dexterity. We select the brand only after selecting the type of circuit best for your individual hearing loss as indicated by your audiogram.

What is the difference in the various types of hearing aid circuits?

The conventional Class A circuit amplifies each sound equally, whole the other types of circuits automatically manage loud sounds and quiet sounds in different ways. The goal of non-linear and digital circuits is to deliver a natural loudness throughout your entire listening range without under-amplifying or over-amplifying the sound.