Hearing Loss FAQs

Frequently asked questions

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss?

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss vary. People with hearing loss may start to notice trouble understanding speech in environments where there is significant competing background noise. Other sounds, not just speech, may start to sound muffled. People with hearing loss usually have to ask others to slow down and speak louder/clearer. Family members may report loud television and phone volumes. People suffering from hearing loss often avoid or withdraw from social settings due to an inability to communicate.

What are some causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors. It may be genetic in nature or acquired over a period of time due to aging. Noise exposure -- whether it be occupational, recreational, or military exposure -- over long periods of time can also cause hearing loss. Certain medications are ototoxic to the ears, causing hearing damage as a side effect. Hearing loss can also be the result of medical issues such as ear infections or ear disease.

I think I have hearing loss. What’s the next step? How is hearing loss diagnosed?

If you think you have hearing loss, schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test. Hearing loss is diagnosed using subjective or objective responses to audiologic inputs. Case history, behavior and a medical and audiologic exam will all be used to diagnose hearing loss.

Do I need two hearing aids?

Most patients have hearing loss in both ears that can benefit by amplification. Two hearing aids are best for natural hearing.

Will using hearing aids restore my hearing?

Hearing aids are only meant to be an aid and cannot restore hearing once it has been lost. They simply amplify sounds and speech signals for the purpose of aiding hearing.

Why should I see an audiologist?

Audiologists are the primary healthcare providers who evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists are licensed professionals, most of whom possess a clinical doctorate degree (Au.D).

Is there anything else, other than or in addition to hearing aids, that can help me hear?

In certain situations, hearing aids may not be enough. Assistive listening devices (ALDs) can provide an added boost when background noise, distance and poor acoustics are factors.

What can I do to protect my hearing?

Sounds louder than 85 dB can be harmful to your ears. Therefore, try to avoid loud sounds that occur over long periods of time. Wear protective hearing devices when loud noise is present. Avoid excessive noise exposure by turning down the volume when watching television or listening to music, especially when using earbuds or headphones.

How is the right hearing aid selected for me?

Hearing aids come in various styles which are selected based on the listening needs of the patient. We will take into account your type and degree of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, cosmetic preferences and budget when helping you choose a hearing aid.

What is an audiologist?

Audiology is the study of hearing, balance and related disorders. An audiologist is a professional who assesses and diagnoses hearing and/or balance disorders. Audiologists evaluate the need for and fit hearing technology that may include hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices. They are also involved in counseling patients and their families for hearing and balance related issues. Audiologists work in a variety of environments that include medical settings, schools and government agencies.

Are hearing aids covered by insurance?

Some insurance policies do include hearing aid coverage. Call your insurance company to verify whether you have a hearing aid benefit.

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