How can I recognize hearing problems?
- Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually, without discomfort or pain. What's more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have hearing loss:
- Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
- Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I'm facing the speaker?
- Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
- Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
- Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
- Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
- Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?
- If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you do suffer from hearing loss.
If I had hearing loss, wouldn’t my doctor have told me?
- Not necessarily. Only about 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor's office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can determine the severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you could benefit from a hearing aid, and which type would be best for you.
What are the most common causes of hearing loss?
- There are several causes. The main ones include excessive noise, infections, genetics, birth defects, infections of the head or ear, aging, and reaction to drugs or cancer treatment.
Are there different types of hearing loss?
- Yes. There are two types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural: The most common type, it occurs when the inner ear nerves (and hair cells) are damaged and do not properly transmit auditory signals to the brain. Can be treated with hearing aids.
- Conductive: Is typically the result of obstructions in the ear. Can usually be treated medically or surgically.
Doesn’t hearing loss only affect old people?
- Hearing loss can occur at any time and at any age. In fact, 65% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65! There are six million people in the U.S. ages 18-44 with hearing loss, and around one-and-a-half million of those are school age.
Are there operations I can have or medications I can take for hearing loss?
- Only 5% of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss (95%) are treated with hearing aids.
Won’t wearing a hearing aid make me stand out?
- While you are no doubt concerned about appearance, compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding to people (or not responding at all), or even withdrawing from social situations is much more obvious than wearing a hearing aid.
- Today’s hearing aids are small, discreet and more stylish than ever before. Some are even invisible. And, chances are that once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won't be as much of an issue for you.
Do hearing aids really help my brain?
- Yes! The longer you wait to treat hearing loss, the more your brain forgets how to process sound. Over time, reduced stimulation to your ears and brain can actually impair the brain’s ability to process sound and recognize speech. Once speech recognition deteriorates, it can only be partially restored by hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids literally makes your brain more active!
What are the different types and styles of hearing aids?
- Today’s hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes and styles and feature different technology levels to match your specific needs and budget. Visit our Style Guide page to see more.
How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?
- There are several factors that will determine which hearing aid will be the right one for you. They include the nature and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle and the activities you regularly enjoy, your job, your eyesight and dexterity, and the size and shape of your outer ear and inner ear canal. Based on these criteria, we can recommend a hearing aid style that is right for you.
Do hearing aids still whistle, buzz, or give feedback?
- Our hearing aids come with industry leading WhistleFree Feedback Cancellation. For most wearers, this virtually eliminates all feedback. If feedback is detected, the hearing aid can stop it immediately.
Will hearing aids make everything louder?
- No. During the initial fitting process, your hearing loss is charted to the hearing aid's processor. At that point, the hearing aid knows exactly how well you can hear at each specific frequency. Hearing aids only give you what you need to hear, not what you don't. This is the main difference between a true hearing aid and an assistive listening device you can buy online.
Will hearing aids give me perfect hearing?
- Hearing instruments won't make you perfect. Even those without hearing loss have difficulty hearing sometimes. What hearing aids will do is give you the best possible chance to hear as you did before having a hearing loss, often providing dramatic improvements.
Should I get one hearing aid or two?
- Experts recommend two hearing aids. Wearing them in both ears provides a more accurate listening experience and greatly improves your ability to communicate. Wearing two hearing aids:
- Gives your brain the information it needs
- Helps you detect sound direction
- Contributes to better, more relaxed listening
- Reduces the need for volume
- Helps you separate voices from noise
- Delivers higher satisfaction with hearing aids overall
Should I update my current hearing aids?
- If your hearing aids are several years old, chances are the technology has improved dramatically since you bought them. It is also possible that your hearing loss has changed. If you feel that your hearing aids don’t work as well as they once did, or if you have trouble with feedback, noisy environments, or talking on the telephone, we recommend a hearing evaluation.
What determines the price of a hearing aid?
- The price of a hearing aid is primarily determined by the level of technology inside. The better the technology, the higher the price. To a lesser extent, the style of a hearing aid can effect the price.
Will insurance pay for hearing aids?
- Possibly! More and more insurance companies are providing hearing aid coverage. Some even cover the entire cost! We have a dedicated insurance representative who can determine exactly what benefits you may have. We can file the claim, bill insurance, and do all the paper work for you - making it as easy as can be.
Do you offer financing?
- Yes! We are happy to offer Care Credit and HealthiPlan financing for hearing aid purchases. They have a variety of financing plans available, including many with no interest!
Is there a trial period for hearing aids?
- Yes. We offer a 30-day trial period. If you're not completely satisfied with your new hearing aids you can return them.
Can I buy new hearing aids online?
- The short answer – No. Hearing aids are delicate instruments that must be prescribed and fitted to your precise hearing loss and ear canal shape. To do this, a proper hearing evaluation by a state-licensed specialist is needed. That's something that a website can't do. Digital, programmable hearing aids are tailored to fit your unique hearing loss using proprietary, dedicated software. In other words, you need a professional who knows what they're doing. Again, a website can't do this. There are many low-cost hearing devices available online but they are not true hearing aids - they are amplifiers. They simply make everything louder, including background noise. Buying hearing aids from a professional ensures a better listening experience with technology that’s right for you, and establishes a relationship for adjustments and follow-up care over time.
- What Audibel/Starkey says about buying hearing aids online: "Hearing aids are medical devices, and as such they need to be prescribed and fitted by someone trained and qualified to do this. Buying a hearing aid without an initial face-to-face consultation, professional fitting, and subsequent follow-ups could result in you purchasing an ineffective hearing instrument for your loss, or worse, damaging your hearing further. Additionally the consultation includes an examination, which can highlight other serious ear health conditions. For these reasons, Starkey Hearing Technologies does not endorse Internet Retailers who will sell instruments to customers without a face-to-face consultation, and will not supply those retailers."
How long does it take to get used to wearing hearing aids?
- Most people need an adjustment period of up to four months before becoming acclimated to — and receiving the full benefit of — wearing their hearing aids. However, you should expect to notice obvious benefits during this trial period.
How long do hearing aids last?
- The average lifespan for a hearing aid is three to five years, although in some cases they may last much longer. Hearing aids are tiny electronic devices that are constantly exposed to humidity, perspiration, earwax, rain, hairspray, and numerous others things that have the potential to damage them. Also, hearing loss tends to gradually worsen over time. In many cases, hearing aids can be re-programmed to accommodate changes in hearing, however, new hearing aids may be required depending on the amount of change. Finally, like computers and all other electronics, technology changes fast. Many people choose to upgrade their hearing aids every few years. Proper care and cleaning will ensure your hearing aids live a long, happy life.