General Hearing Loss FAQs
What is hearing loss?
If you have a hearing loss, it means you can’t hear the full range of high-pitched and low-pitched sounds. According to the Better Hearing Institute, nearly 40 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss, so you’re not alone. Learn about the three common types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss – Happens when sounds are not able to efficiently make their way through the outer ear canal to the middle ear. If you have a conductive hearing loss, your sound level is reduced, and you may not be able to hear faint sounds. This type of loss can often be fixed medically or surgically.
- Sensorineural hearing loss – Is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. It happens when there is damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Hearing aids are the only type of treatment for this type of loss.
- Mixed hearing loss – Occurs when an individual has a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
At Diversified Hearing we provide comprehensive hearing evaluations for patients of all ages to help determine the type of hearing loss you may have.
What are some causes of hearing loss?
There are a number of medical and environmental factors that can affect your ability to hear. Following are a few examples:
- Noise-induced hearing loss — If you’ve repeatedly been exposed to loud noises, you could suffer a noise-induced hearing loss. Though it’s the most preventable, this remains one of the most common causes of hearing loss.
- Presbycusis — A fancy name for hearing loss due to aging. This is also a very common cause.
- Genetic hearing loss — Hearing loss that occurs because of genetic factors.
- Temporary blockage — Earwax, fluid and ear infections can cause a blockage in your ear that results in a temporary hearing loss.
- Disease — Various diseases such as meningitis, Paget’s disease or Meniere’s can cause hearing loss.
- Ototoxic medications — Certain medications and medical treatments that are toxic to the ear can result in hearing loss.
- Otitis media — Ear infections are the most common cause of hearing loss in children.
- Otosclerosis — Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear can cause hearing loss.
- Ear or head injuries — Tumors and ear and head injuries can lead to hearing loss.
How do I know if I have hearing loss?
Because it often happens gradually, it can be hard to know if you’re suffering from a hearing loss. If you experience some of the following, you could have a hearing loss:
- Struggle to understand conversations, particularly in large crowds
- Constantly turn the TV or radio volume up
- Feel like people mumble or speak too softly
- Hear better in one ear than the other
- Always ask others to repeat themselves
- Find it hard to hear on the phone
- Have ringing or buzzing in your ears
If you experience any of these, we recommend calling our office for a comprehensive hearing evaluation to positively determine any hearing loss.
What is the ringing in my ears?
In short, that annoying ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing or clicking sound in your ears is known as tinnitus. Millions of Americans experience this periodically or constantly in one or both ears. There is no cure for Tinnitus, though hearing aids and other treatments can help ease the symptoms. If you experience tinnitus, we welcome you to schedule an appointment in our office.
Can hearing aids restore my hearing?
Hearing aids can do wonders. However, they cannot fully restore perfect hearing. Today’s hearing aids can help reduce background noise, define speech in noise and deliver clear understanding, so you can have the most natural listening experience possible.
Which hearing aid style is best for me?
There are many different types of hearing aid styles, including completely-in-the-canal, in-the-canal, in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, inside-the-ear and more. There are many factors to consider when determining the best type of hearing aid for you. The experts at Diversified Hearing, will discuss with you your type of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, budget and desired features. Together we will determine which type of hearing aid will best suit your needs.
To help make the decision easier, we offer the Flex:trial program, so you can ensure your hearing aids fit your needs before committing to the purchase.
Is it better to have one or two hearing aids?
Because our human auditory system was designed to pick up sound signals from both ears, we always recommend that you wear two hearing aids. There are many advantages to this, including better sound sensitivity, enhanced ability to locate sound and improved listening.
What is flex trial?
Flex trial gives you the opportunity to try hearing aids before you buy them. We will fit you with the recommended hearing aids for you to try at home, at work and in social environments. Flex trial is your no-risk opportunity to make an informed decision on your hearing aid purchase.
How often should I repair and replace my hearing aids?
Routine care and maintenance is key for keeping your hearing aids working at their peak performance. We recommend you visit us every 3 to 6 months for a free clean and check-up. In addition, we can repair and service most brands should an issue arise.
Are hearing aids covered by insurance?
While some insurance plans will cover part of the cost of hearing aids and other hearing devices, many do not. Please contact us to find out if your insurance plan offers partial coverage for hearing aids. Diagnostic testing is a covered service by most insurance carriers.
Vestibular Testing FAQ
What is a vestibular test?
A vestibular test evaluates your vestibular, or balance, system. This test may be used for patients who experience dizziness, vertigo or other balance problems.
What should I do before my vestibular test?
Certain medications, such as for dizziness, pain, sleeping pills and cold medications, can interfere with the results of this test. Please contact our clinic with any questions regarding this. Do not discontinue medications before consulting with your physician.
On the day of the test:
- Wear comfortable clothing, pants are preferred.
- Don’t wear eye make-up
- Don’t eat for a few hours before the test. If you need to take medicine with food, choose something bland like toast.
Will the vestibular test make me dizzy?
Some people feel dizzy or nauseous, and some don’t, but even if you do, the symptoms are of short duration. We aim to make you as comfortable as possible. We do recommend having someone drive you to and from the test in case you experience any of these symptoms.
What happens during the vestibular test?
- We will ask you about your current symptoms and medications.
- We may perform a hearing test before or after the balance testing.
- You will stand and move with eyes open and eyes closed.
- You will be asked to wear special goggles so that we can monitor your eye movements
- You watch an object move on a TV screen so that we can determine how well you can visually track a moving object.
- You will be asked to lay on an exam table and move into different positions (roll onto your side, lay down quickly, etc.) so we can see how your system reacts to the movement.
- We will place warm and cool air in your ear canals to evaluate the response from your inner ear.
What happens after the vestibular test?
Depending on your results, your Audiologist will go over preliminary results and comprehensive results will be sent to your physician. Treatment and management will be determined based on your test results.
What is vestibular rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation may be recommended for you following vestibular testing. Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of treatment preformed by a physical therapist that will help to improve your symptoms by giving you specific exercises for your problem. Many times, you will be asked to preform the exercises at home as well.
I have BPPV. What is this and how is it treated?
BPPV is an abbreviation for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. BPPV is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning. With the proper diagnosis through our vestibular testing, most people can be successfully treated in the office with excellent results.