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FAQs about hearing and hearing aids

1. What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • difficulty following conversation involving two or more people

  • people appears to be mumbling

  • ringing in ears (tinnitus)

  • others are complaining that you are not listening or the television is too loud

  • difficulty hearing women's or children's voices

 2. Can hearing loss be only due to wax in the ear canal?

Yes, Wax (cerumen) can be the sole cause of a temporary hearing loss and once removed, hearing is restored.  However, most of the time, there is underlying hearing loss even though significant amount of wax obstructing the ear canal has been removed and the patient experience subjective improvement of hearing.   .

3. If I purchase a hearing aid, will it make the ringing (tinnitus) in my ears  louder?

No, it should not and often times the opposite effect occurs.  Oftentimes, hearing aid user are less aware of their tinnitus when using the hearing aid; for many patients, using their hearing aid seems to diminish and sometimes eliminate the awareness of tinnitus, by their brain refocusing their attention to the amplified sounds.    However, once you remove your hearing aids out of your ears, the ringing may appear to be louder.  This is because you were less aware and heard the ringing less while wearing your hearing aids.

4. Why does a hearing aid whistle (feedback)?

There are two kinds of feedback - internal and external.  With internal feedback, something may be wrong with your hearing aid requiring repair from the hearing aid company.  There are a few reasons why you have external feedback.  It is common to hear the whistle while inserting or removing the hearing aid.  Also, if the hearing aid does not properly fit in you ear, you may have feedback.  Occasionally, wax can be the cause of the hearing aid whistling.

5. If I purchase hearing aids, will I have a trial period?

Yes.  In the state of Pennsylvania, you are required to have at least a 30 day trial period.  Most places will refund your money minus a fitting fee.  This is usually decided upon or before the purchase of a hearing aid, but read the fine print of your contract.

6. How long do hearing aids last?

On average, a hearing aid will last about five years.  If the hearing aid is older then 5 years and in need of repair, the hearing aid company may not have the necessary parts to fix it.  Therefore, it would be necessary to purchase a new hearing aid.

7. Why are two hearing aids better than one hearing aid?

Wearing two hearing aids gives you maximum benefit by:

  • better localization - being able to locate where sounds are coming from

  • better hearing in noisy environment

  • more balance and  natural hearing with two ears than one ear

  • brain is receiving information from both sides helping you process speech effectively

8. Someone I know bought hearing aids but does not use them.

Unfortunately this happens.  Everyone's hearing/ hearing loss is different.  Sometimes, people have unrealistic expectations of  hearing aid benefits.  A hearing aid will not restore your hearing to normal, but it will help you hear better than without one.  Wearing hearing aids takes time.  You may need to see your audiologist weekly to have adjustments made to your hearing aids.  But with the right attitude, it will be worth the investment, and you will be wondering why you didn't get hearing aids sooner.

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