What causes hearing loss?

There are many causes of hearing loss and one of the purposes of the audiological evaluation is to see if you may have a type of hearing loss that would respond to medical management. If so we would recommend that you see an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist).

Other common causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud noise, heredity, or use of certain medications. Presbycusis is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing. About a third of those aged 65 or older have some degree of hearing loss. This is one of the reasons for “nerve deafness” or hearing loss from the inner ear or hearing nerve and generally hearing aids are recommended for this type of loss.

How can I tell if I need hearing aids?

If you are straining to hear, asking friends and family to repeat frequently, or think “that everyone has started to mumble” – it is time to consider a hearing aid evaluation. Ask your family – they often are the first to notice whether or not you are hearing well.

Isn’t one hearing aid enough? Why do I need two?

Most, but not all, people do better with two hearing aids. Our brains are used to hearing from both sides, and understand speech in noise better with two rather than one hearing aid. Hearing from both sides also helps to localize the sound.

How do hearing aids work?

One or two microphones pick up the sound and route it to the microchip/amplifier in the hearing aid. The sound is then processed according to the programming done by the audiologist for your hearing loss. Once amplified for your loss it goes to the receiver or "speaker" and into your earcanal.

My friend is not happy with her hearing aids, how can I be sure they will work for me?

Choosing the right professional to fit the hearing aids is the first step, which includes making sure that you have at least 30 days after being fit to return or exchange the hearing aids if they are not satisfactory. At Sumter Hearing Associates we routinely have a 45 day trial period, and will extend it to 60 days if requested.

If you are commonly in background noise, or have high expectations of hearing aids choose the appropriate level of technology to be sure you are satisfied with the results.

Your friend may have a different type or degree of hearing loss than yours, so what is possible with hearing aids may differ.

It takes time to become accustomed to sounds you have not heard recently, and your own voice will sound different. Your brain will learn to ignore the sounds you do not want to hear just as someone with normal hearing ignores them. So give yourself time to get used to them and return to your audiologist for adjustments if needed. At Sumter Hearing Associates we usually allow as many visits as you need during the first year.

Will wearing hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Properly programmed hearing aids limit loud sounds to protect your hearing, and to make sure that sound is not uncomfortably loud for you.

Why do some hearing aids cost more than others?

It is not the size or shape that determines the cost of a hearing aid. Two hearing aids can look identical but may have different microchips on the inside.

It is the microchip that allows the hearing aid to be programmed for your hearing loss. More expensive versions will work better in noise, and have more options available.

How do I choose a hearing aid that is right for me?

The professional who does the fitting is just as important as the model and circuit of the hearing aid. Today’s hearing aids have many adjustments that can be made to give you the best results, but those adjustments can only be made by someone trained and familiar with the software. So the first step is choosing an audiologist who will work with you.

The second step is choosing a hearing aid with the options and features that you need in a price range that you are comfortable with. At Sumter Hearing Associates we stay up to date with several major lines of hearing aids and spend time going over the various options to find instruments that are most suited for you and your lifestyle.

Will my insurance pay for hearing aids?

Most insurance companies do not provide coverage for hearing aids, although some may have an agreement with an internet provider. Find out as much as you can before calling the internet provider because:

  • Once you call them you are obligated to purchase through them unless you contact us first
  • It may or may not save you any money
  • It may restrict your choice on where you are fit with the hearing aids as internet providers have contracts with different local providers. You many have to travel up to 50 miles.
  • The service may be restricted to a few visits before you are expected to pay each time.
  • The warranty and loss and damage coverage may be reduced.

Will I hear perfectly in all situations?

Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to 100%. Even if we programmed them to do that, most people would find that much too loud. We try to set the hearing aids to give the best hearing for speech without making them uncomfortably loud.
It takes time to get used to hearing aids; your voice may sound different and you may be aware of them on or in your ears.

In addition you will be hearing sounds that you have not heard recently. It takes time for your brain to sort out which ones you want to hear, and which ones to ignore. This can take several weeks or months.
Many people find that after wearing hearing aids for 2 – 3 months they are ready to have them turned up slightly.

Please call us if you have any questions, we are happy to help you.




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