FAQ: frequently asked questions

All doubts about the world of hearing aids

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Hearing aids

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device worn behind the ear or in the ear canal. It amplifies sound so that a person with hearing loss can hear sound better. Hearing devices have three components: a microphone, amplifier and speaker. Sound comes through the microphone and is converted into electrical signals and sent to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and sends them to the ear through the speaker. Today’s hearing aid is much smaller and more powerful than the hearing devices our parents and grandparents wore even 10 years ago. Advances in digital technology make them better able to distinguish conversation in noisy environments; many are Bluetooth capable and connect with smart phones and other personal electronic devices we now use on a daily basis.

Can hearing aid improve my hearing?

That depends on what type of hearing loss you have:  Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by an obstruction in the ear canal, such as swelling due to an ear infection or a benign tumor. If your hearing healthcare professional determines your hearing loss is conductive, your hearing may return to normal once the obstruction has been removed. If your hearing does not return to normal, you may benefit from wearing a hearing aid.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the sensory hair cells of the inner ear. This damage can be caused by exposure to loud noise, illness, medication, injury or age. If your hearing healthcare professional determines you have sensorineural hearing loss, you may benefit from wearing a hearing aid.
Presbycusis, generally a subset of sensorineural, is the loss of hearing that occurs in most individuals as they age. This condition is common and can often be improved with hearing aids.

How should I choose an hearing aid?

That depends on your lifestyle and your budget. An active person who enjoys traveling and athletic activities will most likely need a different model of hearing aid than someone who spends most of their time at home watching television. Your hearing healthcare professional will ask a variety of questions to help you determine what type of amplification you need, then work with you to make sure your hearing device works properly to help you hear the sounds that are most important to you. Remember that friend who told you they keep their hearing aids in the dresser drawer? That just might be because they weren’t honest with their hearing healthcare professional about their expectations and lifestyle, or didn’t schedule follow up visits as requested.

How long it takes to adjust hearing aids?

Adjusting to hearing aids varies from person to person and depends upon how long you waited to treat your hearing loss as well as its severity. Although our ears collect noise from our environment, it’s actually our brain that translates it into recognizable sound. If hearing loss is left untreated, the auditory part of your brain can actually atrophy, in which case your rehabilitation may take a while longer. You’ll also want to wear them as recommended. Following your doctor’s orders improves your chances for success.

How long do hearing aid last?

With proper use and maintenance, hearing aids typically last between three and five years.

How can find out if I need a hearing aid?

The best way to find out if you need a hearing aid is to have your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional. A thorough hearing test will take approximately an hour of your time during which you will most likely be asked to provide your health history, undergo a series of hearing assessments and discuss your lifestyle and expectations for better hearing. Afterward, a hearing healthcare professional will discuss the results of your test with you and, if its determined that your hearing can benefit from amplification, discuss next steps. If your hearing has changed recently or you suspect you have hearing loss, make an appointment to see a hearing healthcare professional in your community as soon as possible. There’s a lot to hear in this world – laughing children, music, the sound of someone you love calling your name – and hearing aids may be able to help you hear them.
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Hearing loss

What causes hearing loss?

Most hearing loss is caused by the ageing process, however regular exposure to loud noises, heredity, and some illnesses can also cause hearing loss. Around 90% of all cases of hearing loss are because the microscopic hair cells in the cochlea (or inner ear) become damaged which limits their ability to detect soft, higher frequency sounds and means that they cannot send a complete signal to the brain. As a result, it becomes difficult to understand the consonants that allow us to understand speech.

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

The first sign of hearing loss is a difficulty in hearing certain sounds or tones clearly. For example, you may be unable to distinguish similar sounding words or hear higher pitched voices, such as those of children. Other signs include difficulty with cross-conversations, hearing at a distance such as in meetings, listening to the TV or radio, or hearing in large buildings where there may be echoes such as in churches or auditoria.

I think I have a hearing problem, what to do?

If you think you have a hearing loss, the first thing you need to do is have a free hearing test at your local Amplifon branch. It may be that a build-up of wax or an infection has temporarily affected your hearing, in which case our hearing aid audiologist can advise you on the best course of action. All our hearing aid audiologists are trained to identify cases where a medical opinion or treatment is required, so they would refer you, if necessary, for treatment by your GP or at your hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat department. If your hearing loss isn't due to these problems, then our hearing aid audiologist will be able to recommend hearing aids suitable for the level of your hearing loss and your lifestyle.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss in adults is acquired from diseases like otosclerosis and meniere, tumors, head injury or the aging process. Around 90% of all cases of hearing loss are because of the damage in microscopic hair cells in the inner ear which limits their ability to detect soft and higher frequency sounds.

How common is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a common disease affecting adults. It can affect your quality of life and it’s never too late to do something about it. If you have any concerns, consult a doctor or talk to one of our qualified hearing aid audiologists who will be happy to help you.

What signs indicate a hearing loss?

The first sign of hearing loss is difficulty in hearing certain tones clearly. For example, you might have difficulty understanding what people next to you are saying, especially when there are competing voices. Other symptoms indicating hearing loss are ear pain, irritation or fluid outflow from the ear.

Other questions and answer about hearing

Parties or in traffic noise

It is really difficult to live with a background noise discrimination problem. Nowadays, so much of our social communication takes place in noisy environments, making everyday communications a regular dilemma. This condition may be a sign of hearing loss or simply a problem of auditory discrimination.

I hear better in noisy environments. Why?

This common phenomenon is called the “Paracusis of Willis” and occurs with certain causes of hearing loss because in the presence of background sound, people tend to raise their voices. This initiates the ossicular chain of bones in the middle ear indicating a conductive hearing loss in a person.

Will my hearing worsen as i grow older?

Our hearing worsens as we grow older. Though, there is no known cause of age-related hearing loss; as it is caused by changes in the inner ear. A hearing test will establish whether you have a hearing loss and the hearing aid audiologist will then be able to make recommendations.

What happens if my test results show hearing loss?

If your test results show that you are experiencing hearing loss, your audiologist will treat you with the best hearing aid possible. We have a wide choice of hearing aids suitable for a range of hearing losses and budgets in store so you can hear the difference for yourself.

Hearing aids to wear in my infected middle ear?

If your hearing loss is mostly confined to the middle ear, we will provide you with hearing aids that will work best by transmitting amplified sounds through the mastoid bone to the inner ear, passing through the affected middle ear. These hearing aids are most commonly designed as part of a pair of spectacles.

Difference between 'hearing loss' and 'deafness'

The definition depends on how much hearing loss you have, because the symptoms may be moderate or severe. A patient with a mild hearing loss may have problems understanding speech, especially if there is a lot of noise around, while those with deafness may require the help of a hearing aid.

How long is the length of a hearing test?

A hearing test for people who want to have a regular checkup should take around 15 minutes of their time and can be conveniently organized. While people who are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss or people who wear a hearing aid, the test should take about one and half hour.

Somebody need to attend the hearing test with me?

During your assessment your audiologist will give you a great deal of information and discuss with you the best hearing aid for your loss. We recommend somebody attends the hearing test because some people find it more comfortable to have a family member with a familiar voice assisting them.

What if nobody can attend an appointment with me?

It is definitely better if you attend the hearing test with your family friend or a friend. But if nobody can attend the appointment with you, you don’t have to worry. You can still attend the hearing test, and we will explain the results and discuss the options with you

Support after purchasing hearing aids

Amplifon’s free Lifetime Aftercare Program looks after your hearing aids for life. It includes a regular evaluation of your hearing, free pack of hearing aid batteries and expert help of new hearing aid technology to make sure you continue to get the most of your hearing aid products.

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