Ears Hearing

Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Services

Going to see an audiologist can be a stressful experience. You don’t know what to expect and probably have many different questions running around in your head. Read these frequently asked questions about hearing services to prepare for your visit.

Am I a Candidate for Auditory Aids?

One of the biggest questions everyone has the first time they go to a hearing services specialist is if they need aids. The best way to know if this is even a consideration is to ask yourself if you are experiencing difficulty communicating with the world around you. This includes not being able to understand or missing pieces of conversations. Having had an accident or near miss because you couldn’t hear the warning sounds around you is another indicator.

In the event that your inability to participate in everyday life has caused you to withdraw, it is time for you to seek help.

My Doctor Says I Need a Device. Which Type Should I Wear?

There are four primary styles of hearing devices. These include behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, in-the-canal, and completely-in-the-canal. The type that you should choose will be based upon your unique needs. Don’t choose one solely based on the way it looks.

For example, if you have dexterity issues, an in-the-canal device may not be your best choice. If you have draining problems, you want something that provides ventilation. Finally, if your canals are too narrow, or the shape of your outer ear is deformed, you may be restricted in the type of device you can choose.

In addition to physical factors, the type of loss you experience will also dictate the type of equipment you are able to use. For example, if you have severe loss, you may be better suited for a behind-the-ear system as it creates less feedback than other options.

Do I Have to Buy Two Auditory Devices?

Buying the recommended equipment from a hearing services specialist can be expensive. Those who are on a budget may wonder if it is necessary to purchase one for each ear. While you may be able to get away with one, binaural listening systems are better.

One reason is that they work better in noise. If both ears with the same amplification receive the amplified sound, the brain is able to cross-correlate and process the signals better than if only one side is processed.

Another reason is that binaural signals improve localization ability. The way the human brain processes sound is based on the difference in loudness between the two sides, the difference in pitch on each side, and the time in which it takes to get to both sides.

Signal versus noise level from the optimizing position improves with dual aids. Sound waves lose intensity as they travel across your head. If you wear only one system, say on the left, and the person who is speaking to you is on the right, the sharpness of consonants and vowels may deteriorate before they reach the device. In the event that you are in a crowded, noisy room, speech may deteriorate, making it even more difficult to process.

In the event you choose to have only one hearing device, you could be making your unaided ear worse. In reality, you don’t hear with your ears, you do so with your brain. These devices work to retrain your brain to process the signals transmitted by the aids. If you have one side unaided, it could make it more difficult for your brain to “hear” on that side.

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