Frequently Asked Questions

Hearing loss is confusing and disorienting, but don’t worry, that’s what we are here for. Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions about hearing aids and hearing loss.

How loud is too loud?

How can I recognize hearing problems?
Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually, without discomfort or pain. What’s more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether hearing loss is present:
Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I’m facing the speaker?
Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you do suffer from hearing loss.
If I had hearing loss, wouldn't my doctor have told me?
Not necessarily. Only about 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
What are the most common hearing loss causes?

There are several causes. The main ones include excessive noise, infections, genetics, birth defects, infections to the head or ear, aging, and reaction to drugs or cancer treatment.

Are there different types of hearing loss?
Yes. There are three types of hearing loss:
Sensorineural: The most common type, it occurs when the inner ear nerves (and hair cells) are damaged and do not properly transmit auditory signals to the brain. Can be treated with hearing aids.
Conductive: Is typically the result of obstructions in the ear. Can usually be treated medically or surgically.
Mixed: A combination of sensorineural and conductive.
Doesn't hearing loss only affect old people?
Hearing loss can occur at any time, at any age. In fact, most people with hearing loss (65%) are younger than age 65! There are six million people in the U.S. ages 18-44 with hearing loss, and around one-and-a-half million are school age.
Are there operations or medications I can take for hearing loss?
Only 5% of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Canadians with hearing loss (95%) are treated with hearing aids.
Who treats hearing loss?
Audiologists are professionals with a master’s degree, Au.D. or Ph.D. in audiology, the study of hearing. They specialize in testing, evaluating and treating hearing loss. An audiologist may also fit hearing instruments.
Hearing Aid Dispensers are trained in fitting and dispensing hearing aids. Hearing aid specialists are often state-licensed and board-certified to test for hearing loss and to fit consumers for hearing aids.
Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, head and neck disorders.
Otologists treat disorders of the ear and its related systems.
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists can determine if there’s a medical condition causing the hearing loss, or whether medical treatment, such as surgery, could be helpful.
If I think I have a hearing problem, what do I do?
You should make an appointment with a hearing professional like an audiologist, hearing aid specialist or ENT doctor for an evaluation, consultation and hearing test. Many hearing care professionals offer this evaluation at no charge.
Won't wearing a hearing aid make me look old or weak?
While you are no doubt concerned about appearance, compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding — or not responding at all — to people talking, or even withdrawing from social situations is more obvious than wearing a hearing aid.
Today’s hearing aids are small, discreet and more stylish than ever before. Some are even invisible. And, chances are that once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won’t be as much of an issue for you.
How will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?
Research on people with hearing loss and their significant others has shown that hearing aids play a significant factor in a person’s social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.
More specifically, treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve1:
Communication in relationships
Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
Ease in communication
Earning power
Sense of control over your life
Social participation
Perception of mental functioning
Emotional stability
When you consider all the benefits of better hearing, you can see that hearing aids hold great potential to positively change your life.
How do hearing aids work?
At their most basic, hearing aids are microphones that convert sound into electrical signals. An amplifier increases the strength of the signal, then a receiver converts it back to sound and channels it into the ear canal through a small tube or earmold. A battery is necessary to power the hearing aid and to enable amplification. Starkey’s hearing aids are sophisticated, state-of-the-art instruments that require computer programming to adjust to your specific lifestyle and listening environments.
How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?

There are several factors that will determine which hearing aid will be the right one for you. They include the nature and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle and the activities you regularly enjoy, your job, your eyesight and dexterity, and the size and shape of your outer ear and inner ear canal. Ultimately, your hearing professional will be able to advise you as to the best choice for you.

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