Tough Questions About Hearing Loss: Ask the Expert

Last update on Nov, 06, 2019
Heather Hellberg

Heather Hellberg

Miracle-Ear Audiologist

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Hearing aids can make a world of difference in coping with hearing loss and in the way you experience your environment. That said, you may still be curious about details such as hearing aid fitting, how much hearing loss requires a hearing aid, and how long to wear hearing aids. Every question is important and worthwhile, so let’s take a look at a few of the things you may be wondering about but are perhaps reluctant to ask.

Are there natural remedies for hearing loss?

Unfortunately, if the auditory nerve and stereocilia (key parts of the ear) are damaged, the damage cannot be reversed. In these instances, hearing aids can be a great help. On the other hand, if the hearing loss is caused by a blockage, like wax, infection, a growth or foreign object in the ear, hearing can often be restored by removing the blockage. Some people have reported success using herbs and essential oils, but there is minimal scientific research to support this.

How much does a hearing test cost, and how long do

At Miracle-Ear, every hearing test is free of charge. Our hearing tests are comprehensive and typically take 60 to 90 minutes. During each appointment, we review and discuss health history, perform an ear canal inspection and do a hearing threshold and speech discrimination test. Your Miracle-Ear specialist will then examine and explain the results. Taking an initial hearing test will help you understand the status of your hearing health and determine whether hearing aids could help. Regular evaluations are a wonderful way to prioritize your health, and since they’re non-invasive, you have nothing to lose. 

Do hearing aids hurt?

While it’s normal to need a little time to adjust to wearing hearing aids, they should feel comfortable (and enjoyable!) for all-day use once you’ve adapted to the new sensory experience. When you receive your new hearing aids, the hearing specialist will help you practice putting them on and taking them off to make sure you feel confident using them on your own. Our expert specialists will also do a hearing aid fitting to ensure the devices sit in your ears correctly.

These important steps can often prevent issues with comfort or fit later on. But if you do find that your hearing aids are causing pain, it could mean they aren’t fitted properly or that your ear is infected. The good news is that hearing aid assistance is readily available—Miracle-Ear’s professionals are always ready to help when concerns arise.

Do you need two hearing aids?

If you have loss in both ears, it’s best to use two hearing aids instead of one. If hearing in one ear is improved by a hearing aid while the other ear is missing sounds, the ear without the hearing aid may be at risk for auditory deprivation. This happens when sounds aren’t fully heard, causing the auditory nerve pathways and associated brain centers to weaken with time. It makes it harder to process sounds even if they are at an audible volume. We recommend treating both ears with hearing aids to improve sound quality and make sure speech can be understood.

What if I don’t want people to know I wear hearing

Hearing loss is a common condition—and it’s wonderful to empower yourself to hear better with hearing aids—so they don’t necessarily need to be kept secret. However, if you feel more comfortable keeping your hearing aids private, you’re in luck. Thanks to modern technology, coping with hearing loss is easier than ever, and most hearing aids are small enough to go unnoticed. If you’re looking for a model that’s particularly discreet, Miracle-Ear has a variety of in-the-ear hearing aid options that are designed with this preference in mind.

How long does it take to get used to wearing heari

The amount of time it takes to get used to wearing hearing aids varies from person to person, depending on factors, such as the degree and type of hearing loss. As you start wearing your hearing aids, the brain will relearn certain sounds that you haven’t heard before or haven’t heard in a long time. It’s perfectly normal to go through a transition period—a good estimate is two weeks to one month. Talk to your hearing care specialist about how long to wear hearing aids during the initial few days. Though it’s best to wear them as much as possible, it may be necessary to wear them for just a few hours a day as you work your way up to wearing them all day.

What if I can’t get used to wearing hearing aids?

When you first start wearing hearing aids, you can expect to experience a certain level of discomfort—that’s part of the process of your brain adjusting to the new sounds. Background noise (think: air conditioning, rustling papers, distant traffic), and other everyday sounds may have been missing before, but you will likely get used to them in due time. You may find that certain sounds seem too loud—this is a common sensation at first. But if you feel that certain sounds are painfully loud, seek hearing aid assistance from your hearing care specialist so he or she can fine-tune the sound to a comfortable level. Your Miracle-Ear expert is there to help you through this adjustment, and they can make changes to the programming if needed.

Will hearing aids make the ringing in my ears loud

No. Rather than making that unpleasant ringing in the ears known as “tinnitus” louder, hearing aids can actually minimize the effects of the bothersome condition. Though there isn’t a cure for tinnitus, wearing hearing aids allows you to hear more of the sounds in your surrounding environment instead of the ringing in your ears. The improvement to your hearing makes the tinnitus less noticeable. So, if you’re curious about possible side effects of wearing hearing aids, keep in mind that tinnitus irritation isn’t one—expect some relief instead.

Are hearing aids difficult to use or maintain, and

Modern hearing aids come in a variety of styles. When deciding on which model to purchase, you’ll likely put more consideration into your personal lifestyle than which is easiest to use and maintain. (They are all easy to use!) Though hearing aids will eventually wear out—similar to other electronics—there are simple ways to keep them functioning well for many years. Some tips to extend the life of your devices: Keep them dry; if applicable, change batteries on a regular basis; and schedule regular cleanings.

How will I know if my hearing loss is changing?

Hearing loss varies from person to person. Many types of loss exist, and it can develop or progress for a variety of reasons. When it comes to older adults, age-related hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions, affecting around one-third of people between ages 65 and 74 in the U.S. Since age-related hearing loss usually develops over time, using hearing aids as soon as the loss is detected can help you avoid problems down the road. If you’re wondering what degree of hearing loss requires a hearing aid, talk to a professional.

After seven years of hearing loss, our brains lose the ability to understand the sounds we’ve been missing–even if we can hear them with the help of a device. While scientists don’t currently have a solution for preventing hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss—caused from excessive exposure to sounds that are too loud or last too long—can be minimized by wearing ear protection like earplugs or earmuffs. This can reduce the likelihood of eventual deafness.

Is hearing loss related to other health issues?

It can be. Unfortunately, if left untreated, hearing loss can cause the brain to start to lose its processing abilities at a faster rate. Studies have shown that hearing loss can eventually lead to social isolation, dementia and even balance issues. This is where hearing aids can make a big difference not only in improving quality of life, but also overall health. If you’re wondering, “do hearing aids hurt your hearing?” you may be pleased to know that actually, the opposite is true. They’ve only been shown to help.

Everyone's hearing loss and needs are different, so the best place to go for precise answers to your questions is a hearing care professional. They will be able to give specific feedback and recommendations for your hearing health care needs.

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