I know I don’t hear well, but everyone mumbles so it’s hard to understand speech. Why is that so difficult for me?

At this time there is no treatment to heal or repair the cells in the ears responsible for transmitting sound to the brain where we interrupt the acoustical (sound) message. Therefore, hearing aids are the most appropriate treatment at this time. There are two very unique symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss: hearing poorly and understanding speech poorly. The philosophy behind amplification is the sounds around you will be amplified well enough enabling you to hear them. Despite the fact that there is no device that will discern the speech sounds for you, the louder speech provided by the hearing aid will allow speech understanding to become significantly easier. Therefore, amplification, especially with today’s innovative technology, can assist with both symptoms of hearing and speech understanding.

Will my hearing aid completely restore my hearing to average hearing limits as before?

This greatly depends on your current level of hearing ability. If treated early, as soon as you and others notice the concern, I am able to restore that hearing ability. If you waited until you have a severe to profound hearing loss, hearing will be greatly improved by the hearing aids, but restoring hearing to an average range becomes difficult. I counsel all guests so they may have realistic expectations of the hearing aid outcomes prior to your decision to pursue the hearing aids.

Why are hearing aids expensive?

Hearings aids are small computers which you wear around the ear. Autumn Oak only prescribes hearing aids developed by the six major hearing aid companies available in our market. These manufactures spend millions of dollars to provide innovative technology to reduce ambient (environmental) noises surrounding the speech signals. The aids are dependable, reliable, and are built to last many years when appropriately cared for. An array of engineers are involved in the production of the hearing aids, including software engineers, mechanical engineers, and other highly qualified professionals to constantly improve sound quality for the hearing aid recipient.

What are your thoughts on internet hearing aid sales and big box markets (e.g., Costco)?

This is a value over price consideration. Hearing aids, if not prescribed or fitted well, can actually damage your hearing. An audiologist should always be involved in the process. These are medically trained professionals who must achieve a doctorate and complete a residency before helping the general public. Yes, the aids are cheaper, but you get what you pay for. For example, although the brands are similar between these stores and a doctor’s office, the technology offered is not. Hence, the lower cost is provided. Hearing aids are prescribed by the doctor of audiology and are not “one size fits all”. Every person presents with their own unique hearing abilities and loss. Some aids, such as in the ear type, are not appropriate for everyone. They must be a candidate for the various styles of hearing aids. Only an audiologist has the extensive education and experience to immediately determine those factors.

Will hearing aids be covered by my insurance?

Yes, depending on your plan. Health insurance companies can often assist with the purchase, but not the follow-up and adjustment visits to gain optimal hearing from the aids. Medicare recipients will not be able to have their insurance cover their devices. However, Autumn Oak accepts Care Credit which allows payment over 12 months with no interest.

Will I hear perfectly once the aids are fitted?

Your hearing will definitely be better, but not optimal. It is important to follow the adjustment period set by your audiologist to obtain optimal hearing. It is my responsibility to ensure you feel and sense the amazing benefits that hearing aids can provide. This is an investment and I will assure you that your purchase will pay off when all of my recommendations are followed.

Do the aids still whistle and are they huge?

No and no. Today’s technology eliminates that unwanted whistle sound emitted from the aid, and micro research has enabled the aids to be much smaller and discrete.

Well, my friend has not been successful with his, so I will not be either.

Hearing loss is very unique to every individual – one cannot generalize outcomes to you. Too many variables have to be considered, including if the hearing aid style is appropriate for that type of hearing loss, were follow-up adjustment visits completed, or were there many brands of hearing aids available. One brand of aid does not fit all. If one brand does not meet your personal goals or the audiologist’s expected outcome, the aids should be returned at no cost and another brand fitted also at no additional cost. Of course this has to occur during the allowable timeframe. I cannot speak for other practices, but the protocol at Autumn Oaks is to achieve optimal hearing through your hearing aids.

How do I find a good audiologist?

Find a doctor who has experience with multiple hearing aid manufacturers, because as we stated earlier, one brand DOES NOT fit all. Autumn Oak has contracts with the six major brands on the market which gives you a variety of options. Also, ask a friend who has been successful with his/her aids and experience with the audiologist.

Why is there noise in my ear?

This is called tinnitus. It is sound present in the ear with no outside source. The sounds can be anything from ringing to music or crickets. Tinnitus and hearing loss often come together, as 80% of people with hearing loss have tinnitus and 80% of people with tinnitus have hearing loss. Usually, it can be the first symptom to hearing loss. There is no treatment for tinnitus; even all of the over-counter-medications have little to no effect. However, when you hear better with hearing aids those sounds help to reduce the perception of the tinnitus.

Will wearing hearing aids further damage my hearing?

No, research has actually proven that hearing aids stimulate the ear’s cells and nerves, encouraging maintenance and stability (when fitted well by an audiologist). Without hearing aids, the hearing loss with continue to decline due to a lack of stimulation. Hearing loss is progressive in nature; hence, hearing declines as the years pass.

Why does it feel like my hearing loss is worse and declining once I remove my hearing aids from my ears?

You just know the difference now between hearing well with the hearing aids and hearing poorly from only your ears. Your hearing is not getting worse by using the hearing aids. Rather, you just became very aware of the sounds you were missing prior to receiving the hearing aids.

What causes hearing loss?

Often it is noise induction, too much exposure to hazardous noise over the years, or genetics. Other times, we are just not sure of a definitive answer.

Can I just wear one aid even though both ears present with hearing loss?

Often times, my answer is just to save the money and not purchase just one. Usually, the outcome is very disappointing to the recipient despite spending the money. Honestly, buyer’s remorse often emerges. All creatures were created with two ears, and our ears work together to achieve natural amplification, better hearing of speech in noise, and sound localization (knowing where the sound is coming from). One aid working for two poor ears will not effectively achieve those abilities without the support of the other ear.