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FAQs

What causes hearing problems?
What are the signs of hearing loss? 
Are hearing problems permanent? 
What will a hearing test do? 
Will I need to see a physician as well as an Audiologist? 
How can an Audiologist help me? 
What happens during a hearing test? 
Will a hearing aid give me perfect hearing? 
What hearing aid will work best for me? 
Do I have to have two hearing aids? 
How do I maintain a hearing aid? 
Will Medicare, Medicaid or insurance cover testing, treatment or assistive hearing equipment? 
Where can I learn more about hearing loss? 

What causes hearing problems?

Recent studies have shown that some 30 million people in America suffer from some degree of hearing loss. The vast majority of hearing problems are a result of damage to parts of the ear, such as the inner ear and eardrum. This damage can be a result of injury, infection, repeated exposure to loud sounds, genetics, disease, infection, and/or the wear and tear of the aging process on the ear. The three most common forms of hearing loss are:

  • conductive hearing loss, when there is damage to the middle or outer ear
  • sensorineural loss, caused by damage to the inner ear or acoustic nerve
  • a combination of these two conditions.

Other factors, such as obstructions from ear wax, are common causes of hearing loss.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Hearing loss is gradual, and it is often difficult to know when you have lost hearing. Among the more common signs of hearing loss are:

  • the inability to hear people clearly in normal conversation
  • difficulty in understanding telephone conversations
  • the need to turn radios or TV up loud
  • asking people to repeat themselves

You may also hear a buzzing or ringing in your ear. This can indicate a condition known as tinnitus. This is caused by damage to the auditory nerve or simply from aging. There is no cure for tinnitus, but hearing aids can help diminish the problem in most cases.

Are hearing problems permanent?

The most common types of hearing loss are permanent. However, some structures of the ear can be medically treated and repaired. Your Audiologist will be able to determine the cause and severity of the problem.

Will I need to see a physician as well as an Audiologist?

The hearing evaluation will help determine if you need to see a physician who specializes in treating the ear. In some cases, you may have already been seen by a physician who recommended the evaluation to help determine treatment. Your Audiologist will inform you if you need to visit a physician specialist.

How can an Audiologist help me?

The goal of an Audiologist is to help those with hearing deficits improve their quality of life. Choosing a hearing professional is one of the most important decisions a hearing-impaired person can make. Like eye glasses, proper hearing aid recommendation and fitting depends on the judgment, skill, education and experience of the professional working with you to select the best instrument.

What will a hearing test do?

A comprehensive hearing evaluation will show if you have a problem, the extent of the problem, and specific areas where you may be experiencing hearing difficulty. It will also help an Audiologist to determine the best approach to diminish the effects of the problem. These approaches may include assistive listening devices, protective devices, hearing aids and rehabilitative therapies.

What happens during a hearing test?

You will sit in a soundproof room wearing headphones. Your Audiologist will play a series of tones at different volume levels to determine which ones you can hear. The Audiologist may also read a series of words to evaluate how well you can hear spoken sounds. The results will help show what type of device or service is needed to improve your ability to hear.

Will a hearing aid give me perfect hearing?

Hearing aids will not provide the same natural hearing that you likely had before your problems occurred. They are designed to help you hear better, especially in conversations.

What hearing aid will work best for me?

There is no one right hearing aid for everybody. Your Audiologist will help you find the style and strength of hearing aid that best suits your individual needs and lifestyle. Some of the features to consider are size, style, and degree of adaptability for future adjustments.

Do I have to wear two hearing aids?

While most people can benefit from wearing two hearing aids, it is not always necessary to wear two aids. The decision is based on the degree of hearing in each ear. While there can be physiological benefits to having two hearing aids, if one ear has adequate hearing, it may not be necessary to use a second hearing aid.


How do I maintain a hearing aid?

Most hearing aids can work adequately for years; however, this depends on changes that may occur in your hearing ability, For best results, wipe the in-ear portion of the hearing aid with a clean cloth when it is removed at the end of the day. It is also advisable to have hearing aids cleaned by your Audiologist two or three times a year.

Will Medicare, Medicaid or insurance cover testing, treatment or assistive hearing equipment?

In most cases, hearing aids are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance. However, some insurance policies may cover some of the treatment. Consult your policy or insurance agent for your specific coverage.

 

Where can I learn more about hearing loss?

For more information, please visit the following sites

Hearing News

Hearing Library

MOSA Hearing Aid Centers & Audiology Services is a division of Michigan Otolaryngology Surgery Associates
located on the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital campus.