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Do I Need a Hearing Aid?

If you feel that you, or somebody you know, may be experiencing difficulty hearing, it is very important to schedule a hearing test with a qualified audiologist.

Your comprehensive hearing examination allows your audiologist to ascertain whether there is any hearing loss, investigate possible causes and, if necessary, set you up with a free hearing aid evaluation to help determine the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.

Each case of hearing loss is unique. Two people may have exactly the same hearing test results on paper; however, they will have different hearing needs.  This makes it very important to work with an audiologist who knows your hearing loss, life style, strengths, weaknesses, and specific needs to best match you with the hearing aid for you.

Hearing aids have improved vastly over the past few years. The sound processing technology used is now capable of filtering out unwanted sounds and honing in on what is needed. There are also many styles available including hearing aids that are much smaller and more discreet than ever before.

Signs You May Need a Hearing Aid

Certain behaviors and/or symptoms suggest it may be time to talk about hearing aids.  These include:

  • You can hear people, however, you have difficulty understanding what they say
  • You often have to ask others to repeat themselves
  • You have to turn up the volume when watching TV or listening to music
  • You have trouble understanding what people are saying, especially in gatherings, such as church services or restaurants
  • You face difficulty partaking in conversations in group settings
  • You have trouble with conversation or feel that others often mumble
  • You tend to stay away from social situations and gatherings because you have trouble engaging in conversation
  • You have to strain to listen to someone speak
  • You have trouble using the phone

Some people experience hesitation when they learn that they will need to use a hearing aid, however, there are many different options available and the correct hearing aid can make a vast improvement to everyday situations in life.

Hearing Aid FAQs

Here are some of the questions and concerns we are frequently asked about hearing aids and our advice and responses:

I receive information on hearing aids all the time.  Does it matter where I go to get hearing aids?

Because there are many options with hearing aids, it is important to build a relationship with an audiologist you trust.  Hearing aids are not a “one size fits all” concept.  Each patient and each hearing loss is unique.  Your audiologist will be able to not only help you choose the most appropriate hearing aid for your prescribed hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget, but also help you to adjust smoothly to using it, with personalized care and programming adjustments.  You will likely see your audiologist frequently, especially in the beginning as you are adjusting to your new, improved hearing.  You should feel comfortable with your audiologist to properly care for your hearing health both now and down the line.

Which hearing aid is best for me?    

There are six reputable hearing aid manufacturers as well as many off-brand hearing aids.  Your audiologist will make sure that you are provided with a hearing aid from a trusted hearing aid manufacturer.  Every person and every hearing loss is different.  There are many styles and technology levels available.  Once you have your hearing tested, you and your audiologist will sit down to discuss your options at your hearing aid evaluation. Based on your prescribed hearing loss, lifestyle, budget, and individual needs, you and your audiologist will pick a hearing aid which is the best fit for you. For further information, please see our page on How do I get a Hearing Aid.

I have a family member/friend who currently has hearing aids and does not wear them.  What if I don’t like my hearing aids?

It is important to note that every hearing loss is unique.  You may have two people, with the same hearing loss and fitted with the same hearing aids, who have totally different experiences.  This is why routine appointments with your audiologist are important to make sure your hearing aids are programmed appropriately for you.  There is also a trial period with hearing aids.  From the day you are fitted, you have 30 days to try your hearing aids and make sure that you are satisfied.

I remember the hearing aids my grandparents used to wear.  Are they still as big and bulky?

Hearing aids have come a long way in the past decade, especially in the past few years.  This applies not only to the look of hearing aids, but also to how they perform.  There are many different styles of hearing aids that are very discreet.  Sometimes untreated hearing loss can be more noticeable than the hearing aid.  It is best to see your audiologist to discuss improvements in technology as well as different hearing aid styles.  We do have demo hearing aids in office for patients to try on for an accurate representation of how they look, feel, and sound.  Set up a free hearing aid evaluation with your audiologist to see which hearing aid is best for you.

How much do hearing aids cost?

There is a range when it comes to hearing aid pricing.  Prices for hearing aids are determined by the technology inside the hearing aid.  There are four technology levels; the higher up in technology, the hearing aids become more automatic and do a better job in difficult listening environments, for example with background noise.  Other factors like rechargeable batteries and iPhone compatibility may affect price as well.  Discussing which technology level is appropriate for you with your audiologist will help determine the price. We understand finances are an important factor when it comes to hearing aids.  We offer financing options and work with several insurance plans to utilize different hearing aid benefits.  It is always best to call your insurance to see if you qualify for any hearing aid benefits.

I am not around a lot of people during the day.  Should I still be wearing my hearing aids?

Think of the pathway from your ear to your brain like working out a muscle.  The best way to exercise that pathway is through sound stimulation from your hearing aids.  Even if you do not find yourself engaging in much conversation throughout the day, your brain still benefits from hearing environmental sounds.  Untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline including Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Hearing aids can help strengthen that pathway to your brain and keep those connections healthy.  Consistent wear of your hearing aids also helps your brain adjust quicker to your hearing aids and the sounds around you.  This ultimately increases how well you do with hearing aids when you are in conversation.

Does it matter if I get one or two hearing aids?

This depends entirely on your hearing loss.  Having your hearing tested will let your audiologist know if you would benefit from one or two hearing aids.  Typically, if there is hearing loss on both sides, we recommend a hearing aid for each ear.  There are additional advantages in utilizing the technology of two hearing aids versus just one. For example, hearing aids constantly send information back and forth to help filter out unwanted noise and to focus in on what you do want to hear.  These, among other questions, are discussed during your hearing aid evaluation.

How long do hearing aids last?

Hearing aids do come with warranties that can extend up to 3+ years. The life of a hearing aid depends on a few things, including the maintenance.  If you are consistent with cleaning and routine checkups, you can expect about five years use out of a hearing aid.  It is around this time that the hearing aid may no longer perform to the best of its abilities, and there is usually a noticeable improvement in technology, so that it may be time to start thinking about new hearing aids.

How long will it take for me to adjust to my hearing aids?

Typically, hearing loss is a very gradual process. Generally, you do not notice it as it is happening.  With hearing aids, we bring back those sounds your brain is not used to hearing at once.  This may cause things to sound different.  The more you wear your hearing aids, the quicker your brain adjusts to the new sounds.  Everyone adjusts to hearing aids at different speeds, however, the sooner you address your hearing loss, the better chance you have for a smoother transition. Your audiologist will work with you to help you adjust at your own pace through programming adjustments and individualized care.

How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?

The best way to see if you would benefit from a hearing aid is to have your hearing tested by your audiologist.  Once it is determined by your audiologist and ENT physician which type of hearing loss you have, your hearing loss will be discussed with you.  Depending on your hearing loss, combined with any symptoms and/or difficulties you may be having, your audiologist and ENT may recommend hearing aids.  If hearing aids are recommended for you, you can then schedule a free hearing aid evaluation appointment with your audiologist to further discuss options and to work together to find the best hearing aid for you.

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