Although hearing loss is extremely common - approximately 15% of adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss - it's not very well understood by many people. At Mid Island Audiology, we believe our role is to help educate patients like you on what hearing loss is, how it works, what hearing aids can do for you, and what you can expect from hearing solutions. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make decisions about your hearing and the more empowered you'll feel to take charge of your hearing treatment.
These are just some of the questions we hear every day. If your question isn't answered here, or you want more detail, don't ever hesitate to ask Dr. Recher. He's here to help, and he loves helping educate people to better understand hearing.
Q. How do I know if I have hearing loss?
A. Since hearing loss is a gradual process, some people don't even identify it right away. One day you may wake up and realize that these challenges have become everyday occurrences:
If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to get your hearing checked. A hearing evaluation isn't a commitment to get hearing aids, and you have nothing to lose by getting your hearing tested just in case.
Q. What are the kinds of hearing loss?
A. There are two basic types of hearing loss - sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Q. How do hearing aids work?
A. Today's hearing aids are complex pieces of digital technology. In their most basic form, a hearing aid is a small microphone, speaker, amplifier, and battery. The microphone picks up sound from outside of the ear canal, the speaker (receiver) converts that sound into electrical signals and then converts them back into sound, which is amplified into the ear canal. Digital technology allows the sound to be converted more quickly resulting in a crisper sound.
Q. Will a hearing aid bring back my hearing?
A. Unfortunately, once you have experienced a sensorineural hearing loss, there is nothing you can do to regain your hearing. The damage cannot be undone. But hearing aids are a powerful tool to overcome hearing loss, even if they can't change the underlying problem.
Q. Can hearing aids make me hear like I used to?
A. It's important to have realistic expectations for your hearing aids. No hearing devices will be able to make you hear exactly like you did when you were a child. However, modern hearing aids are far more sophisticated than ever before, and they do much more than just amplifying the sound. They can also help you preserve your brain's ability to process speech sounds into language, a process that can be lost if hearing loss is left unattended.
Q. Won't hearing aids make me look old?
A. Today's hearing aids are much smaller than your grandparents' models (not to mention more powerful by far). Many hearing aids will likely go unnoticed even if you're standing right next to someone. What people will notice instead is how much easier it is for you to stay involved in conversation, which will make you seem (and feel) younger.
Q. Why do other people tell me I should get hearing aids if it only affects me?
A. You might think that you're the only one who is affected by your hearing loss, but the truth is that it's probably affecting the people around you, too. Chances are that the people who love you are just as frustrated as you are. Frustration on both sides can lead to distance growing between you and others. People with hearing loss run the risk of becoming isolated. If your friends or family members are suggesting that you try hearing aids, they are probably trying to help you and also themselves maintain that close connection.