|How common is
|What should I do if I think
I have a hearing loss?
|How do hearing|
|Are two hearing instruments|
better than one?
|Is it difficult to get used
to wearing hearing instruments?
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be caused by many things. Hearing loss may be due to a single cause, occuring over a long period of time or happening very rapidly. Hearing loss in many instances is the result of more than one cause. Some common causes of hearing loss are listed below:
- Repeated exposure to loud noise.
- Aging of the hair cells (sound receptors) within the cochlea (inner ear).
- Prenatal and birth-related problems.
- Viral and bacterial infections (respiratory infections, measles, scarlet fever, mumps).
- Hereditary Conditions.
- Use of certain medications.
- Middle ear fluid or pressure.
- Chronic middle ear pathologies.
- Chemotherapy agents.
How common is hearing loss?
Hearing loss affects more than 25 million Americans - about 10% of the population.
More than one in every four people over 65 have a hearing disorder, one in three by age 75.
90% to 95% of those with hearing loss can be helped by hearing instruments.
What Should I do if I think I have a hearing loss?
Our web site contains a Five-Minute Hearing Test that may help you to determine whether audiologic testing leading to the purchase of a hearing instrument might be warranted. The test was developed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. If your test score indicates you may have a hearing loss, a full range of testing, evaluation, and hearing instrument fittings are available from your local hearing health professional. To obtain a list of hearing health professionals in your area:
- Look in your Yellow Pages under Audiologist or Hearing Aids.
- Call the Better Hearing Institute's HelpLine at 800-Ear-Well (800-327-9355).
- Visit the Better Hearing Institue's web site at www.betterhearing.org.
How do hearing instruments work?
Each hearing instrument is a custom-built, miniature amplifying system. The most basic components are:
Other controls are available to allow the hearing health professional to adjust the hearing instrument to fit your hearing loss and lifestyle and, in some cases, to allow the wearer to select operating characteristics that best suit the current listening environment.
- A microphone picks up sound and converts it into electrical signals.
- An amplifier increases the strength of the signal.
- A receiver changes the electrical signal back to sound waves.
- A battery provides the energy to operate the hearing instruments.
Are two hearing instruments better than one?
Approximately 65% of all new hearing instrument fittings are binaural (one in each ear). Clinical studies have shown that binaural hearing aids enhance satisfaction and provide better overall hearing in more difficult listening situations such as small and large groups, outdoor activities, and in cars.
Is it difficult to get used to wearing hearing instruments?
Patience and practice are the keys to success in adapting to hearing instruments. It will probably take you a while to adjust to wearing a hearing instrument. Be realistic about your expectations. Hearing instruments will not cure hearing loss any more than eyeglasses will cure vision problems. Hearing instruments provide many benefits. Your hearing health professional can provide expert guidance and programs to help you become accustomed to hearing again. The first week is often the most trying period. You may hear sounds you have not heard for a long time. The hum of a refrigerator or air conditioner or sound of a fork on a dinner plate may distract you. by the second week, you should be more comfortable wearing a hearing instrument and more adept at identifying sounds. After the third week, you may get the feeling that your hearing is worse when you remove the hearing instrument, but it's only because you have regained your listening skills!