Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

At Associated Hearing Professionals, we often get all types of questions from our patients, from what level of hearing loss requires a hearing aid to whether or not they should clean their hearing aids at home. We want all of our patients to be well-informed about their hearing so that they can know when to come in for an evaluation.

Q: How do I know if I might have hearing loss?

A: Hearing loss often occurs gradually, so you may not even notice its effects. Some of the early signs of hearing loss include the following:

  • You have trouble hearing people on the telephone
  • You have difficulty keeping track of conversations in groups of people
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves
  • You have a ringing or buzzing in your ears
  • have difficulty understanding speech in public places, like restaurants

Q: What type of jobs might produce hearing loss?

A: Some of the professions that put people at risk for hearing loss include but are not limited to musicians, industrial workers, farmers, law enforcement, construction work, pilots, sports car racers, dentists, and motorcyclists. If you suspect that your job may be affecting your hearing, then we recommend scheduling an annual appointment to keep track of your hearing ability.

Q: What causes hearing loss?

A: In adults, two main factors cause hearing loss: noise and age. Over time, loud noises from motorcycles or even something as common as lawnmower engines can degrade your hearing due to damage to the inner ear. Age-related hearing loss, presbycusis, is common in older adults. This type of hearing loss affects higher frequencies of hearing. It can be genetic, and it cannot be reversed through medication.

Q: What is tinnitus?

A: Tinnitus occurs when you experience a ringing, clicking, or buzzing sound in your ears. It can accompany presbycusis or noise-related hearing loss.

Q: Can ear infections cause hearing loss?

A: An ear infection may sometimes cause a temporary loss of hearing. This occurs due to the swelling of the ear canal from the infection, essentially blocking sound from reaching the inner ear. This type of hearing loss should subside with proper medication.

Q: What should I do if I suspect I have hearing loss?

A: If you think you have hearing loss, consult one of our audiologists. We can perform hearing tests for patients ages 4 and up and conduct comprehensive hearing evaluations and pre-employment exams to determine your level of hearing loss.

Q: What can I expect from my hearing evaluation?

A: First, our quick and painless hearing test will help determine which type of evaluation you require. During your evaluation, our audiologist will examine your ear canals with an otoscope. Then the levels of hearing in each of your ears will be tested in a soundproof hearing booth. Afterward, we will sit with you, discuss your results, and make recommendations for whether or not you may need hearing aids.

Q: What types of hearing aids are available?

A: There are many different types of hearing aids available, including behind the ear (BTE), receiver in canal (RIC), in the canal (ITC), completely in canal (CIC), and invisible in canal (IIC). We can go over the specifics of each type, as well as the many different brands, during your hearing aid evaluation.

Q: How long do batteries last in hearing aids?

A: Because there are so many different types of hearing aids, each kind will have different life cycles for their batteries. Depending on the type and how often it is used, it can last anywhere from 3-20 days.

Q: Do I need to clean my hearing aids?

A: Most people don’t realize that one of the main reasons hearing aids malfunction is due to earwax. You should inspect and clean your hearing aids daily to make sure there is no debris preventing them from functioning optimally.

Q: Will hearing aids give me 100 percent hearing?

A: Unfortunately, hearing aids will not restore your hearing to 100 percent functionality. However, they will assist and enhance your hearing, allowing you to hear subtle sounds that were previously silent to you. They will also help you to better understand speech, especially in a large gathering or noisy public space.

Q: My hearing aid is not working. Do I have to buy a new one?

A: Hearing aids are often in need of repair due to normal wear-and-tear, age, or mishaps during use. There are some troubleshooting options you can do from home, like replacing the battery or the wax filter. If you’re still experiencing problems, you can bring it to us, and one of our professionals will see if it can be repaired.

Q: How do I schedule a hearing aid evaluation?

A: If you are 18 years of age or older, schedule an appointment with one of our hearing professionals. We can determine your level of hearing loss and get you on the track to hearing clearly.