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Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?

No, nor will it prevent any further loss of hearing. Hearing aids are designed to make things easier to hear; however they do not restore the normal functioning of the ear.

Will a hearing aid last forever?

The life of a hearing aid is approximately five to six years. Many hearing aids are still functioning well after six years, while others may need some tune-up and repair services.

Do hearing aids use special batteries?

The majority of hearing aids today use zinc-air batteries. This kind of battery is made specifically for hearing aids and comes in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of the hearing aid. Hearing aid batteries can be purchased at almost any store that sells regular batteries, including your pharmacy and grocery store.

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

This depends on the number of hours per day the hearing aid is worn and the type of battery. The larger the battery, the longer it will last. Smaller hearing aid batteries need replacing within one week, while larger batteries may last 2-3 weeks.

I have hearing loss in both ears, is it necessary to wear two hearing aids?

There are a few main reasons why two hearing aids can be better than one.

  • Better Hearing In Noise: Hearing in noise can be improved if the signal reaching each ear arrives at a slightly different moment in time. This time difference can help the brain process a speech signal more efficiently.
  • Improved Signal vs. Noise Level: This is related to the position of the ear in relation to the sound source. If you have a hearing aid in only your left ear and the person speaking to you is on your right side; much of the speech signal is lost by the time it gets to your aided ear, while the level of the noise in the room enters the aided ear at its normal volume level.
  • Improved Localization Ability: The brain uses the sound entering the ears from the right and left side of the head to determine the direction of the sound source. Having a hearing aid in one ear can alter this sense of direction.

How much time is needed to adapt to hearing aids?

While each person’s experience will vary, hearing aids may allow a person to hear certain sounds they have not heard before (or have not heard for many years). Relearning takes place in the central auditory nervous system and the brain needs some time to sort out this new information entering the ears. You will have a 60-day trial period that allows you time to adjust to your hearing aids and evaluate their benefit.

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

One reason is that hearing aids are sold in relatively low volume (approximately 1.7 million hearing aids for some 30 million people with hearing loss). Also, the amount of time and money spent by manufacturers on research and development is considerable. There is also a 1 to 2 year warranty for loss and repairs included within the purchase price of hearing aids.

How do I determine if I am a candidate for a hearing aid?

You must first determine whether you are experiencing difficulty hearing and if it is having an impact on your daily function. Your family may have noticed you are not hearing as well as in the past. The degree of hearing loss and the amount of communication difficulty you are experiencing may have an impact on your decision. By having your hearing tested, your audiologist can help determine how much hearing loss is present and discuss the options available to you.

What determines the style of hearing aids I should wear?

Many factors determine which style is most appropriate for you, including: the degree of hearing loss, the shape of the outer ear, the size and shape of the ear canal, manual dexterity, space requirements for special features, excessive wax in the ears, and drainage from the ears.

What manufacturer will make my hearing aids?

Most audiology practices work with a large variety of hearing aid manufacturers. We work with four or five manufacturers on a routine basis based on the quality of the product and customer service. Some hearing aid manufacturers are better for more advanced technology or specialized products that may not be available through another manufacturer.