Hearing FAQ

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Questions & Answers About Hearing

When it comes to hearing, there's a lot to learn and a lot to understand. Education is a key part of the process, and we are always open and honest with you about everything you need to know about your hearing. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions about your hearing for yourself. If we've done our job right, you'll leave our office more knowledgeable than when you arrived.

Never feel like any question is too simple or too complicated to ask. We're here to help you however we can. Below, we've gathered some of the common questions we hear from patients every day.

Hearing Aid FAQs

Click each question to learn more.

You may not realize just how quickly hearing technology changes and how different today's hearing aids are from what we had 20 or even 10 years ago. Hearing aids are little computers, which have gotten more advanced and physically smaller over time. They are subtle, discreet, and often even invisible to people speaking with you. They're also much more powerful and effective. If you're thinking of what your parents' or grandparents' wore, you will be surprised.
Different hearing aid brands have different strengths, such as more complex features or more focus on beautiful sound. When we recommend hearing aids to you, we think about which one will best suit your needs. But the most important thing isn't what brand you wear, it's who fits you with those hearing aids. A hearing aid that isn't tuned right won't be any better than a simple amplifier.
No, we see patients of all ages. Hearing aids aren't just for seniors, they're for everyone.
Hearing aids aren't cheap, but the right hearing aids are a great value that will improve your quality of life. We always provide options so you can see the different features you get at each price point. We only carry top-quality hearing aids, but they're available for every budget. There are many different ways to balance between price and quality so you can get the best value for your money.
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices aren't the same as hearing aids. They have their uses, just like reading glasses do. But they aren't capable of the same level of personalization and customization that makes hearing aids so effective. If you're going to purchase something to help with your hearing loss, you should put that money toward something that will truly help you. If you need hearing aids, over-the-counter devices aren't going to be enough for you.
You won't get the same level of service at a big-box store as you will at a private practice like ours. We take the time to custom fit your hearing aids so they can address your specific hearing loss and lifestyle. You'll also get better results from your hearing aids if they're fitted by someone with great skill and who takes the time to do it right.
It can take a little time to get used to new hearing aids, especially if you've never worn any sort of hearing device before. Make sure you're wearing them as much as you can in those first few days. If you can wear them all day and only take them off to go to bed, that will help you adjust to them. They shouldn't be painful or uncomfortable. Let us know immediately if there's a problem, especially in the 30-day trial period. We want your hearing aids to work perfectly for you.
If properly cared for, hearing aids can last for years. However, many people replace their hearing aids before the devices stop working. Hearing aid technology continues to improve every year, and you'll usually see major improvements within 3-5 years. Choosing when to replace your hearing aids depends on your budget, your insurance coverage, and your personal preferences.

Hearing Questions

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What causes hearing loss?

Many people don’t know what caused their hearing loss unless it’s linked to a specific noise-induced trauma, disease or illness. The truth is, we all are exposed to loud noise every single day, and hearing loss doesn't usually occur from a single incident. Hearing loss can be broken into three groups:

  • Conductive hearing loss: This is when the hearing loss is caused by something physically wrong with the earlobe, ear canal, ear drum, or the bones of the ear. Having excessive earwax buildup is one of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss. Some other causes can include having a hole in your eardrum, breaking one of the bones of the middle ear, having an ear infection, having fluid draining from the ear, or having a foreign object in your ear. Most conditions of conductive hearing loss require medical attention.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This is the hearing loss that occurs in the inner ear, or the cochlea, and is most frequently due to either aging or noise exposure. The cochlea is completely filled with fluid, and inside the cochlea there are thousands of stereocilia (pictured above) or little hairs that work like fingers extending from the auditory nerve. The incoming sounds will move the fluid in the cochlea back and forth, and when these little "fingers" feel the motion, they will relay it back to the brain. When these fingers receive too much sound exposure, they can fracture, break, and even die off completely, meaning they can no longer grab the sound.
  • Mixed hearing loss: This has components of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This can occur, for example, when someone with a mild hearing loss gets an ear infection. During the infection, the loss may grow to mimic moderate or severe symptoms, but after the infection clears up, it generally jumps back up into mild range.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is defined by the American Tinnitus Association as "the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present... tinnitus can manifest many different perceptions of sound, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. In some rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music" (ATA, 2018).

The United States Center for Disease Control estimates that around 20 million Americans deal with chronic tinnitus, while 2 million have debilitating cases of it. Most cases are often a neurological reaction to hearing loss (ATA, 2018).


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What options are available if I only have hearing loss in one ear?

For years, those with single side deafness have been forced to deal with a one-sided fitting of hearing aids. This is an OK solution for many patients, but can be a struggle for others, as a one-sided fit can cause serious problems with directionality. Often times, people with a single hearing aid have to turn their head or sit strategically to maximize their limits with directionality. In worst case scenarios, people with a one-sided fit may be able to hear, but have no clue where the sound is coming from.

In the last decade, the hearing aid industry has come up with a new solution for those dealing with single side deafness. CROS and biCROS systems are designed for individuals with complete deafness in one ear, and lesser or no impairment in the other ear. CROS stands for "Contra-lateral (opposite side) Routing of Sound." When patients use a CROS transmitter on the bad ear, the incoming sound will be recorded on the bad side, but then directly routed over to the better ear. This will allow both sides to be funneled to the good ear, so sound can be heard in all directions, just like normal hearing.

Here at Nova Hearing Center, our Signia Nx line has CROS and biCROS solutions available at multiple price points for those who have not been successful with a single-sided fit.

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