Hearing – Frequently Asked Questions
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is any alteration in hearing capacity and is categorized by degree and type. Degrees of hearing loss include mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Types of hearing loss are classified as conductive, sensory, mixed, or central. The most common type of sensory hearing loss is presbycusis, which is directly related to aging of the hearing organ. Hearing loss can occur due to any alteration in the outer, middle, or inner ear.
Do I need one hearing aid or two?
If you have a loss of hearing in both ears, it is in your best interest to be fitted in both ears (binaurally). The following is a list of the many advantages of listening binaurally:
- Improved speech understanding
- Better sound localization
- Decreased auditory fatigue and reduced listening effort
- Prevention of auditory deprivation
- Binaural input
What if my hearing gets worse?
Digital hearing aids contain chips that are programmed via computer. If your hearing loss changes, the overall amplification of the hearing aid can usually be manipulated to meet those changes.
Can hearing aids help me hear better in noise?
Today’s digital hearing aids contain sophisticated noise management systems and directional microphones. They can more easily respond to changes in the sound environment while maintaining settings optimized for speech understanding. The result is improved performance and comfort in more challenging listening environments.
How long should a hearing aid last?
A hearing aid’s life expectancy is typically 3–5 years. Technological advances in hearing amplification are continuously occurring to better meet the needs of those with hearing loss
Are there any consequences to delaying use of hearing aids?
After the first subtle signs of hearing loss, the average person waits seven years to get their hearing checked. A lot happens in those seven years. Your auditory cortex is the part of your brain that processes sound input from your ears. It’s excellent at its job, but only when it gets quality information. Even a minor hearing loss can garble sound clarity, so your auditory cortex can’t efficiently process speech.
Even in the early stages of hearing loss, you adopt coping skills: lipreading, increased dependence on reading facial expressions and body language, or leading with your “good ear.” You might not even realize you are using coping strategies. As hearing loss increases, you may find yourself nodding and laughing only because you notice others laughing. With further progression of your hearing loss, you may begin to avoid social situations.