What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses, treats and manages individuals with hearing loss or balance problems. Audiologists have received a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited university graduate program. Their academic and clinical training provides the foundation for patient management from birth through adulthood. Audiologists determine appropriate patient treatment of hearing and balance problems by combining a complete history with a variety of specialized auditory and vestibular assessments. Based upon the diagnosis, the audiologist presents a variety of treatment options to patients with hearing impairment or balance problems. Audiologists dispense and fit hearing aids as part of a comprehensive habilitative program. Audiologists may be found working in medical centers and hospitals, private practice settings, schools, government health facilities and agencies, colleges and universities. As a primary hearing health provider, audiologists refer patients to physicians when the hearing or balance problem requires medical or surgical evaluation or treatment.

Why should I see an audiologist?

By virtue of an audiologist's graduate education (audiologists hold either a master's or doctoral degree from accredited universities and are required to complete a full-time internship and pass a national competency examination), they are the MOST qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, refer patients for medical treatment of hearing and/or ear disorders and provide hearing rehabilitation services.

What is an audiogram?

An audiogram is a graph that represents your hearing sensitivity for individual frequencies. This is one part of a hearing evaluation. A full hearing evaluation is important because it not only shows your hearing sensitivity but it also determines your ability to understand speech, helps determine the type of hearing loss, and can help to rule out other medical problems that may need to be addressed by a physician.

What is an auditory processing disorder?

Auditory processing consists of a specific set of skills that most of us perform without any difficulty. These include determining from where a sound is coming, hearing the difference between words and sounds that sound alike, hear rhythm, stress and intonation in speech, and listen to different messages in each ear. If a person has difficulty performing auditory processing skills, often they will have difficulties that are noticeable to parents and educators. Some common symptoms of an auditory processing disorder (APD) include difficulty following long or complicated verbal commands, trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally and needing more time to process information.

If I had hearing loss, wouldn't my doctor have told me?

Only 13 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor's office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.

How often should I have my hearing tested?

Many primary care physicians will complete a hearing screen at the time of an annual physical. People who work in noisy environments are sometimes required by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) to undergo periodic evaluations. By about age 60 years, everyone should have an initial, baseline evaluation. If hearing is found to be normal, then repeat evaluations every two to three years is recommended. Once hearing loss is diagnosed, hearing evaluations should be completed every year.

What is the youngest age a child can have his/her hearing tested?

Newborn hearing screenings are generally completed in the hospital within a day or two of the baby being born. If a child is not born in a hospital it is important to have their hearing screening within the first three months of his or her life.

What causes hearing loss?

There are many conditions that may cause a hearing loss, including impacted earwax, fluid in the middle-ear space (behind the eardrum), middle-ear bones that are not connected properly or that have an abnormal growth, an abnormal growth in the middle-ear space, exposure to loud noises, exposure to certain medications, heredity, genetics and age. Following the hearing evaluation, the audiologist will be able to tell you if you have a hearing loss and, if so, how much hearing loss is present. However, she may not be able to tell you the exact cause of your hearing loss.

How can I recognize hearing loss?

Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually without discomfort or pain. What's more, family members often learn to adapt to someone's hearing loss without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have hearing loss.

  1. Do I / they often ask people to repeat themselves?
  2. Do I / they have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
  3. Do I / they have difficulty hearing what is said unless facing the speaker?
  4. Do I / they struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
  5. Do I / they have a hard time hearing women or children?
  6. Do I / they prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
  7. Do I / they experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
  8. Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you/they suffer from hearing loss.

Is hearing loss hereditary?

Not in most cases. The most frequent causes of hearing loss are infections, repeated exposure to loud sounds, and aging.

Is age a factor with sudden hearing loss?

No. Although hearing loss is very commonly connected to older people, sudden hearing loss is not connect age – young or old.

Can hearing loss happen from exposure to one loud sound?

Yes, a single loud noise can cause deafness, but usually will only last a few hours or a day. Repeated exposure to loud noise however can do significant damage.

Why can I hear some people talking and not others?

Hearing loss can affect different pitches (frequency) and loudness (intensity). Therefore, if you have a hearing loss for high-pitched sounds, you may have difficulty hearing and understanding children and female voices but can understand men's voices just fine. Your ability to understand others may also depend on the situation. If someone is speaking to you from another room, you will probably have more difficulty because the person is far away from you and you cannot see the speaker's face. However, if that same person is speaking to you in the same room, you may have no difficulty at all.

How can I prevent hearing loss?

Sometimes hearing loss is not preventable. Hearing loss can be due to genetic disorders or even middle ear disease. However, you can help to prevent noise induced hearing loss by always wearing hearing protection in loud noise. A FEW examples of times when hearing protection should be used are: cutting grass, attending concerts, running power tools, at the racetrack, shooting guns, and even when working in industrial noise.

Are hearing aids covered by insurance?

Sometimes, but not all the time. We do our best to work with most insurance companies. Your health insurance may cover part of the cost of a hearing aid. You will need to contact your insurance provide to inquire about benefits.

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids vary in cost based off of the level of technology within the hearing aids. Many "low cost" hearing aid advertisements are for hearing aids that are extremely poor quality or not appropriate for your loss or lifestyle. Come in today to allow us to discuss hearing aids that are specifically recommended for you.

Is it difficult to adjust to hearing aids?

No, it is not difficult to adjust to hearing aids, but all hearing aids do require an adjustment period, usually one to two months. The adjustment period occurs because the hearing aids are bringing in new sounds that you are not used to hearing. Your brain (the part of our body that actually does the listening) must learn how to interpret this new information coming from the hearing aids. The best way to adjust to new hearing aids is to wear them as much as possible.

Will a hearing aid make me lose more hearing?

No, a hearing aid will not cause your hearing loss to get worse. Your audiologist will set your hearing aid so that the hearing aid does not amplify sounds above a level that could cause additional hearing loss. Actually, wearing a hearing aid may help prevent future hearing loss. Research studies have shown that wearing a hearing aid may slow down the progression of hearing loss because it is keeping your ears active by stimulating them with new sounds

Does a hearing aid help with background noise?

Hearing people speak in the presence of background noise, such as at a restaurant or family gathering, is always more difficult to understand, even for people with normal hearing. There are some hearing aids, however, that are specifically designed to help reduce the level of background noise. If you are frequently in situations in which there is background noise, talk to your audiologist about the most appropriate hearing aid for you and your lifestyle.

I have trouble hearing on the phone. Do you have something that can help me?

Many times addressing a hearing loss with hearing aids alone will improve your hearing on the phone drastically. However, there are accessories for hearing aids that can give additional help when needed. Schedule an appointment to talk to us more about these options.

How long do hearing aids last?

Users today are typically replacing their aids around three to five years, as their needs and technology advancements change.

How often do hearing aids need to be replaced and repaired?

Generally speaking, hearing aids should last for at least five years. The need for new hearing aids may occur if a patient's hearing status changes or if the hearing aid can longer be repaired. With the availability of programmable and digital hearing aids, changes can be made in the audiologist's office and should reduce the need to order new hearing aids merely because of changes in hearing status. The number of times a hearing aid needs to be repaired varies for each individual, depending on the style and care of the hearing aid. In-the-ear, in-the-canal and completely-in-the canal hearing aids tend to have higher repair rates than behind-the-ear hearing aids due to the electrical components being directly exposed to ear canal. Earwax is the No. 1 reason that causes hearing aids to stop working. There are steps that can be taken to ensure proper care of hearing aids and lessen the likelihood of repairs:

  1. Clean your hearing aid daily with the tools provided by your audiologist.
  2. Continue to see your audiologist for routine hearing aid checks about every six months.
  3. Keep the hearing aid away from moisture.
  4. Open the battery door at night to help dry out any moisture that may be in the hearing aid.

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

Battery life varies depending on the size of the battery, how much you wear the hearing aid and the amount of hearing loss you have. On average, a size 675 Hearing aid batteries do not last as long as watch batteries because a lot of power is required to operate a hearing aid. Hearing aid batteries generally last 5 to 7 days depending on size of battery, usage, and the types of environments that you frequent.

Should I consider purchasing a hearing aid online?

We believe that you will achieve the best possible results by consulting with us in person to get the right style and fit for your individual needs.