What are the different types of hearing loss?
There are three types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss when hearing loss is due to problems with the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear and its little bones (the malleus, incus and stapes).
- Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) when hearing loss is due to problems of the inner ear; also known as nerve-related hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
For more information, visit our page on hearing loss.
Will my hearing loss get worse?
Unfortunately, most cases of hearing loss gradually become worse over time. The good news is that early intervention and regular communication with your hearing expert or audiologist allows you to find the best treatment solutions available for your individual hearing needs.
When should I get my hearing tested?
A comprehensive hearing evaluation can benefit patients of all ages, even those who do not show signs of hearing loss. Experts recommend having your hearing tested every 10 years until age 50. For those 50 and older, you should visit your audiologist for a hearing exam every three years.
How do I get my hearing tested?
The best and most accurate way to get your hearing tested is to visit a licensed and certified audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.
If you would like to do a quick 5-minute screener to check your hearing, visit our online hearing screener. We recommend that you follow up with an audiologist if your test shows poor results, or, if you feel you still have issues hearing even with favorable test results.
Do I need to see an ENT doctor first?
It is recommended that you see an ENT doctor before an audiologist if you are experiencing hearing loss, especially sudden hearing loss. An ENT doctor can help to determine the cause of your hearing loss, whether your hearing loss is related to another medical issue and can help remove excess earwax buildup (which might be the reason you can’t hear!). They can then refer you to an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation and hearing aid consultation.
What happens during the hearing evaluation?
A comprehensive hearing evaluation includes a physical examination, a review of your medical history and diagnostic tests that measure different aspects of your hearing. You will be given any or all of the following tests:
- Pure-tone testing (also known as pure tone audiometry) uses air conduction to measure your ability to hear sounds of different pitches and volumes.
- Bone conduction testing is another type of pure-tone test that bypasses the outer and middle ear and measures the inner ear’s response to sound. If there is damage or a blockage in the outer or middle ear, or the pure tone responses suggest a hearing deficit bone conduction audiometry testing will be used.
- Speech (or word recognition) testing is used to measure your speech reception threshold (SRT), or the faintest speech you can understand 50 percent of the time. These results are compared with your pure-tone test results to confirm a diagnosis.
Speech testing may be administered in either a quiet or noisy environment; results are recorded on an audiogram for easy visual reference.
- Tympanometry is a test of the middle ear used to detect fluid, abnormal ear pressure, eardrum perforations and tumors. It measures movement of the eardrum in response to air pressure; the results are recorded on a chart called a tympanogram.
- The acoustic reflex test measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear and is used to determine the location of your hearing problem (the ossicles, cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.) as well as the type of hearing loss.
How do I know if I need hearing aids?
If you are constantly asking people to repeat themselves, have difficulty understanding others on the telephone, complain that people are mumbling or speaking too softly, or find yourself turning the tv or radio up louder than other people, then these are a few signs that you may benefit from hearing aids. Comprehensive testing from an audiologist will help determine your hearing loss type and the degree of your hearing loss.
Do I need one or two hearing aids?
Some individuals might experience a type of hearing loss in which only one ear is affected more than the other. In this case, your audiologist will work with you to decide whether now is a good time to either go with a single hearing aid or invest in two if continued hearing loss is suspected in both ears. It is important to be balanced in your auditory processing to the brain.
How do I know if my hearing aids are working?
At The Doctors’ Hearing Center, we utilize Live Speech Mapping, or real-ear measurement verification, a method used to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed and working their best for your individual needs.
How much do hearing aids cost?
The cost of hearing aids depends on many different factors, including the style, technology and features available. Find out more about what to consider when purchasing hearing devices.
What will happen to the ringing in my ears (tinnitus) with hearing aids?
Though there is no cure for tinnitus, hearing aids have a variety of settings and options to either help minimize the ringing in your ears or make other sounds around you more apparent. Most patients with hearing aids have noticed a marked improvement in their tinnitus.
How do I maintain my hearing aids?
The most important thing you can do is keep your hearing aids away from dangerous elements, such as rain or snow that could increase moisture, in order to allow them to last as long as possible. Routine maintenance, tune-ups and repairs are also essential to get the most out of your hearing aids for the life of the devices.
Are hearing aids covered by insurance?
Depending on the type of hearing aid you have and the severity of your hearing loss, most insurance plans may not cover your new purchase, though some have exceptions. Be sure to speak with your audiologist and your insurance company representative to learn more.
Are hearing aids Bluetooth compatible?
Many new hearings aids from the top manufacturers are compatible with wireless Bluetooth devices that allow you to listen to music, watch TV and movies in a flash. Be sure to ask your hearing expert more about the many accessories that are currently available to give you the most interactive experience with your new hearing aids.
Can I use my smartphone to adjust my hearing aids?
Many new hearing aids and manufacturers offer custom smartphone apps that allow you to make small adjustments to your hearing aids. Your audiologist can tell you more about the apps available on the market and which hearing aids work best with this new technology.
Is there a trial period for hearing aids?
The Doctors’ Hearing Center offers a 30-day trial period of purchased hearing aids. If you are unsatisfied with your hearing aids, we are able to refund you the cost of your aids minus a restocking fee.
Do you offer financing for hearing aids?
At The Doctors’ Hearing Center, we understand that hearing aids can be an expensive investment. We want to be sure we are getting you the right hearing aid(s) for your needs. That’s why we offer special 6- and 12-month, no interest, financing through CareCredit to help with your medical expenses. Click here to find out more.