Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Good hearing contributes to your health and happiness in so many ways. If you–or others–have noticed changes in your hearing, you may have some questions about hearing loss and today's hearing aids. Having the right information at hand will help you understand how common hearing loss is, and how easy and “invisible” it can be to treat.

10 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

If you experience these warning signs repeatedly or in combination, they may indicate a hearing loss.

  • People seem to mumble more frequently.
  • You experience ringing in your ears.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves.
  • Your family complains that you play the radio or TV too loudly.
  • You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet.
  • You have difficulty understanding a conversation when in a large group.
  • You have trouble understanding all the words in a conversation.
  • You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
  • You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
  • You have been told you speak too loudly.

Your Hearing Health

Good hearing lets you savor life. When it's easy to hear, it's easy to stay involved. Sharing laughter with loved ones, excelling on the job, remaining independent—good hearing is the key.

Did you know that by age 55, one in four adults has hearing loss? And, by age 65, almost one in three has hearing loss. If you suspect you have a hearing loss, ignoring or neglecting it can make it worse. But, treating a hearing loss with hearing aids can dramatically slow its progression—helping you preserve good hearing for a lifetime!

Common Questions About Hearing Loss

How do I know if I need hearing aids?

Often, difficulty hearing stems from excess ear wax , an infection, or a physical irregularity, such as a perforated ear drum. These issues can be corrected medically, without the need for hearing aids.

A simple hearing quiz can tell you if your hearing should be checked. However, everyone over age 50 should have a baseline hearing screening. A proper hearing exam uses sounds, tones and speech to test your hearing. It must be performed in the right environment and analyzed correctly. Your results, which are plotted on an audiogram, will indicate whether or not you are a candidate for hearing aids.

Am I at risk for a hearing loss?

You could be at risk if you work or spend a lot of time around noise without protecting your ears. Professions at risk may include: musicians, construction workers, military personnel, firefighters and police officers.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors – the aging process, heredity, disease, noise and build-up of earwax, among others.

Can noise really hurt my ears?

Yes, noise can be dangerous. If it is loud enough and lasts long enough, it can damage your hearing.

How do I know if I have a hearing loss?

If you experience a number of warning signs, or if people often tell you that you're not hearing well, you may have a hearing loss.

If I suspect I have a hearing loss, what should I do?

The best thing to do is make an appointment for a hearing screening with a licensed Beltone Hearing Care Professional. The screening will tell you what you're hearing and what you could be missing.

What should I expect when I get my hearing tested?

Your Beltone Hearing Care Professional will first ask you about your lifestyle and hearing needs. You will then be given a comprehensive hearing screening, a video ear exam and a word discrimination test. These will explain whether or not you have a hearing loss, and will help decide the next steps to be taken.

How will I know which hearing aids are right for me?

Your Beltone Hearing Care Professional will make the best recommendation for you based on your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget.

How much do hearing instruments cost?

The price of hearing instruments varies depending on style and technology selected.

Can I try a hearing aid before I buy?

Yes. Beltone offers you the opportunity to “test drive” a hearing aid to see what it sounds like in a variety of listening situations… before you leave the office.

Do hearing aids really help reduce background noise?

Yes. Many of today's instruments use directionality and noise reduction features to help you hear better in noisy environments

What is digital technology?

Digital hearing aids convert sound received by the hearing aid's microphone from an analog to a digital signal. This allows the hearing instrument to produce the exact requirements for a particular hearing loss; always keeping the loudness at a comfortable level. It also allows for advanced noise reduction features that distinguish between speech and non-speech signals, and automatically decrease loudness of those non-speech signals, if needed.

Analog hearing aids, by contrast, are unable to automatically adjust for different loudness requirements outside of increasing or decreasing the volume control. As a result, many analog users complain of having to constantly adjust their volume controls in order to hear speech adquately in different environments.

What is open fit technology?

Open fit hearing aids are designed for cosmetic appeal, comfortable fit and natural sound quality. They do not give the wearer a “plugged up” sensation or distort your own voice.

Good Hearing Can Be Yours Again

Hearing loss can develop over time or suddenly. It can be caused by earwax, illness, or age. It can affect different people in different ways. The more you learn about the ins-and-outs of hearing loss, the more empowered you become.

Maintaining healthy hearing starts with a baseline hearing screening at Beltone. Just as you schedule annual physicals and dental exams, it's essential to schedule a hearing test every year. Knowing where you stand will help you hear your very best, at any age.

Hearing Conservation: Preventing Hearing Loss

Extremely loud noises can cause permanent damage to the tiny hair cells inside the cochlea. Even moderately loud noise over a period of time can be damaging. But just how loud is loud? Studies show that prolonged exposure to sounds at, or above, 90dB can damage hearing. The chart above graphically illustrates some common noises and their respective dB levels.

Protect your hearing and wear earplugs whenever your surroundings are so loud, you must raise your voice to be heard. It doesn't matter what the source of the loud sounds is–music, machinery, conversation—or other noisy environments.

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