Hearing Education

Hearing aids are an important investment in your health and lifestyle. We want all our patients to have the information they need to make informed decisions about their hearing healthcare. Through the years, we have found that many of our patients have similar questions and concerns about hearing aids. To help you better understand what to expect from hearing aids and how to handle hearing loss, we've compiled the answers to some of these common concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When do I need a hearing test?

A: Everyone should have a hearing test to establish a baseline, especially those over 65 because two out of three people in this age range have hearing loss. If you're not sure whether you might have hearing loss, some of the common signs are having the TV turned up, other people telling you you're not hearing well, missing background noise and conversations around you, and not hearing women and children's voices. These are early signs of hearing loss. If you are unsure, it's better to check and be sure you don’t have hearing loss. You have nothing to lose!

Q: What kinds of hearing loss are there?

A: There are three main kinds of hearing loss, and depending on which hearing loss you have, your treatment plan will be different. If you have conductive hearing loss, that means something is blocking the sound. This can be caused by allergies, medication, sickness, or something physically in the way such as cerumen (earwax). This kind of hearing loss can be treated medically or by removing the cerumen. Sensorineural hearing loss refers to damage to the hearing nerve, which is irreversible, but it can be treated with amplification. Hearing aids are a great treatment option for most people with sensorineural hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two, and treatment is often a multi-step process that involves medical care for the conductive hearing loss and then amplification devices such as hearing aids for the rest.

Q: What is hearing aid maintenance like?

A: Hearing aids tend to last 4-5 years depending on how they're taking care of. We make sure that our patients are comfortable cleaning their hearing aids and changing the wax guard (we have a video demonstrating how). Ear wax is one of the most common reasons hearing aids stop working, so it's vital that the hearing aids be cleaned regularly. Patients should clean their hearing aids every day and change the wax guard monthly or bimonthly. We always give the hearing aids a thorough cleaning when patients come to see us. It's also important to keep your hearing aids dry at all times, which means never showering or swimming with them in your ears. It helps if you put your hearing aids in a special drying device overnight.

Q: Will I become dependent on my hearing aids?

A: Sometimes people fear that wearing hearing aids will make their hearing weaker, but that's not actually how it works. Your natural hearing won't change. What will change is how well you can hear the world around you, which is why so many people who wear hearing aids don't want to go without them. Hearing aids don't make you reliant, they make you more self-sufficient. Being able to hear and respond to your surroundings lets you be more successful on your own, so if you're concerned about being able to continue living alone and being independent, hearing aids can make that a better option for you.

Q: Why should I get hearing aids now instead of later?

A: People put off getting hearing aids for a number of reasons, but once they get them, their only regret is how long it took to give them a try. Sometimes people are in denial about having a hearing problem because they're afraid it means they've gotten older. But the fact is, if you have a hearing loss that goes untreated, you're going to appear much older than someone who wears hearing aids and is able to keep up with what's happening around them. Patients are also concerned about the cost of hearing aids, but if you take good care of your hearing aids so they last you for years, it works out to be a very good deal. Think of everything you have to gain! If you're on the fence, don't worry — we offer a 30-day free trial period so you can really see how the hearing aids work in your own environment and whether they really make a difference for you.

How to clean and Change Wax Guards

Adjusting to Hearing Aids

The biggest challenge with adjusting to hearing aids is retraining your brain to hear the sounds around you. Due to your hearing loss, you're not used to hearing all the sounds in your environment, and it takes a while to adapt to relearning those sounds again. Chances are it's been a while since you last heard floors creaking or refrigerators humming, but you'll get used to those sounds soon enough. Be patient and know that it's a gradual process, not something that will happen overnight. We will gradually increase your settings as you become accustomed to your new hearing situation.

Hearing your own voice through the hearing aid can also be an adjustment. That just takes a couple days of consistent use. To make the most of your hearing aids, you really need to wear them consistently. A lot of patients will try to use them only in situations where they think they really need the help, such as noisy environments, but if you don't let yourself adjust to hearing aids in quieter situations, the background noise might be overwhelming. Consistent use is key!

Man adjusting hearing aids via cell phone

Supporting Someone With Hearing Aids

If you have a family member with hearing loss, the most important thing is to be patient. Everyone realizes they need help at different times. A lot of people with hearing loss don’t know what they can't hear, so they have no idea what they're missing. It's very hard for some individuals to get to the point where they're ready. Patients need to be ready, and you have to let them come to that decision on their own time.

In terms of dealing with someone who has hearing loss that's untreated, speak slowly and clearly in front of the person, don't talk to them from behind, use good communication strategies on both sides, make sure there's no distractions (don't speak to them with the TV on), and don't expect them to hear you speak from a different room. You really need to meet them halfway and understand that they have hearing limitations. Even when they get hearing aids, these tips will still help make sure they can hear you as well as possible.

Make Your Appointment Today

We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your hearing needs:

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American Family Hearing Center logo
220 Monmouth Road, Suite 2
Oakhurst, NJ 07755

(732) 517-1200
Mon-Thur: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Fri: 9:00am – 1:00pm

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