We want all our patients to feel comfortable asking questions at every step of treating their hearing loss. Choosing how to most effectively manage your hearing loss is in your hands: we provide you with expert opinion and recommendations, but bottom line, it's up to you . Our job, at Craig Barth Audiologist, LLC, is to equip you with the professional advice that is needed so that you can make an informed, well-reasoned decision
We, at Craig Barth Audiologist, LLC, are available to answer your questions, no matter how large or small. We take the time to listen to your questions and concerns and address them with easy to understand answers. This is best done with face-to-face consultations and appointments. Initial “meet and greet” appointments are performed on a complimentary basis. Our patients are welcomed to ask questions if there is something not understood during an appointment.
Hearing Questions & Answers
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss means that for some reason, you are not able to hear, discriminate or differentiate some or all the sounds around you. Often this also comes with having trouble understanding speech, but not always. The three kinds of hearing loss are:
- Conductive hearing loss: This means that something is preventing sound vibrations from traveling through the outer and middle ear system and into the inner ear. It could be caused by an ear infection, cerumen (earwax) buildup, even a head cold or allergies. Rarely, a conductive hearing loss can be due to a hole in the ear drum or bony overgrowth in the middle ear bones. For most forms of conductive hearing loss, after the workup performed by the Audiologist, most forms of treatment are medical in nature.
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This refers to a disruption in function of your inner ear or hearing nerve. There are many origins to sensori-neural hearing loss, but the most common origins are loud noise or a natural consequence of aging. Sensori-neural hearing loss is permanent, so it cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Many forms of sensori-neural hearing loss respond well to the use of hearing aids.
- Mixed hearing loss: Some patients present with a combination of both conductive and sensori-neural hearing loss. For those patients, following a Comprehensive Audiological Evaluation, we will recommend medical assessment for the conductive portion of the hearing loss then entertain the possibility of hearing devices for the sensori-neural portion of the loss.
- Central Hearing Loss: This is a relatively rare form of hearing loss when someone says that the words sound “jumbled’. Although the perception of “jumbling” is not unique to central hearing loss, when there is jumbling, and there is no other form of hearing loss, then chances are is a central hearing loss.
How do I know it's time to get my hearing checked out?
If you think you might have a hearing problem, or if your friends or family members have expressed a concern, then it's time! It's better to know, than to wonder. The sooner your hearing can be assessed and possibly treated, the better. Anyone who has been exposed to loud noise, will likely be exposed to loud noise, or are over age 60, then a base-line hearing test is advised.
Hearing Aids Questions & Answers
Do you have advice for getting hearing aids for the first time?
Be patient and don't expect an immediate, overnight, perfect cure. Be truthful and honest with your audiologist about your hearing challenges and how well your hearing aids are working. You have our full expertise to help you, but we also need you to communicate about your experience. To get the most out of hearing aids, we need to have a two-way conversation with you.
Why can't I just buy hearing aids from a big-box store or online?
Properly fit hearing aids are not like a set of tires for your car. They're not even comparable to a pair of reading glasses. Every patient's hearing loss is unique, and digital hearing aids can (and should) be programmed specifically for your individual hearing loss. This programming process is best done by an Audiologist, sitting across the table from you, with your hearing aids connected “live” to their computer, with real-ear speech-mapping data at hand. Buying a device over-the-counter does not allow for a personalized customization. Yes, you can find stripped-down hearing aids online, but that does not provide the personalized, direct customization described above.
What is behind the expense of a hearing aid?
Hearing aids are tiny, personalized computers that fit behind your ears. They aren't just amplifiers. Modern digital hearing aids customize their performance in a situation-by-situation basis to help you to hear optimally even under difficult environments. Manufacturers who dispense in the United States have to adhere to strict Food and Drug Administration standards for safety and reliability. With hearing aids, you get what you pay for — it's an investment in your ability to communicate effectively with the people you love. Consider them to be investments which can last years.
How do I take care of my hearing aids?
Like most sophisticated pieces of technology, hearing aids do require daily care and regular maintenance. If you take good care of them, they'll continue working for years to come. Hearing aid maintenance include:
- Clean them daily. We make sure our patients are proficient with cleaning their hearing aids before we send them home with their new sets.
- Don't get them wet. Remember to take off your hearing aids before hopping into the shower or jumping into the swimming pool.
- Store them in a dry environment. Don't leave them overnight in your bathroom. If humidity is a concern, there are drying devices can be purchased from your Audiologist.
- Keep them out of range of pets or children. Animals might think they're a snack, and curious toddlers have been known to damage their delicate parts.
- Change the batteries regularly. How regularly depends upton the specific make and model of device. Modern hearing aids will give you a warning tone notice when the battery is running low. Some hearing aids can even be recharged overnight.
- Bring your hearing aids for an annual checkup. Again, annual maintenance by your Audiologist is recommended We will give them a professional cleaning and make sure everything is working the way it should. Many times that includes an update of the hearing aid’s software!