Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of our most commonly asked questions below

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Is hearing loss preventable?

In most cases, hearing loss is not preventable. Hearing loss caused by injury, disease, aging or genetics cannot be prevented. However, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is preventable. Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by an intense pulse of sound such as an explosion or gunshot or regular, repeated exposure to unsafe sounds and volume levels. Common examples of this would be not wearing ear protection while attending multiple musical concerts or working in a noisy environment for work such as construction workers 

There are three key factors to noise-induced hearing loss: the loudness or decibel (db) level of the sound, the proximity to loud sounds, and/or the duration of exposure.

Sounds that result in noise-induced hearing loss include any noise at or above 85 dB. The louder the sound, the less time it takes for hearing damage to occur. Additionally, the distance from the source of the sound to your ears and the length of time you are exposed to all factor in to determining the amount of damage that occurs.

How do I know if I need a hearing aid?

You need a hearing aid if:
  • you frequently ask others to repeat themselves
  • you turn the TV to a volume others find loud
  • you have trouble understanding conversations in noisy places
  • you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices
  • you feel like others are mumbling
  • you have trouble hearing on the phone
  • you avoid social situations that were once enjoyable
  • you have ringing in your ears
  • you are told by others that you have hearing loss

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?

Most people with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. However, a hearing aid will not completely restore your hearing to normal, but can help you to hear your best. Hearing aids are designed to let you hear soft sounds that you could not hear before and eliminate the background noise you do not want to hear. Hearing is a complex process that starts in your ears and ends in your brain where the information is received, stored and processed into something we can understand. Hearing aids are tools to help you manage your hearing loss, and while they can contribute significantly to an improved quality of life, they are not perfect. Even with successfully fitted hearing aids, you may still have difficulties hearing well in some situations. You will find ways to adapt to your new hearing aids so give it time to acclimate to your body.

How long will my hearing aid last?

If you use your hearing aids properly and maintain them, your hearing aids will typically last between 3-5 years. Here are a few easy things you can do at home to keep your hearing aids in tip top shape:

  • Always handle your hearing aids with care
  • Wash your hands before handling your hearing aids
  • Store your hearing aids in a safe, dry place away from children and pets
  • Turn off your hearing aids when you are not using them
  • Periodically clean the battery contacts and remove any visible earwax or debris with a clean cloth
  • Change filters or wax guards to remove wax and dirt that may deter sound quality
  • Schedule routine checkups with your hearing professional for professional cleanings
  • Don’t wear your hearing aids in the shower, while swimming or while using a hair dryer or hair spray 

It’s not uncommon for hearing aids to require some degree of professional service, which is why hearing aids are often sold with warranties and repair coverage. All hearing aids are exposed to environmental factors that can adversely affect performance including humidity, earwax, moisture, and debris. Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC) and In-The-Ear (ITE) devices are especially susceptible to wax, and hearing aids worn over the ear are especially exposed to damage from sweat, water and physical debris. Cleaning your hearing aids every day can drastically reduce the number of repairs required during the lifespan of your hearing aids and help keep sound quality high!

Do hearing aids use special batteries?

Hearing aid batteries come in four sizes and the size is determined by which hearing aid you get. Standard hearing aid batteries can last anywhere from 3 to 22 days depending on the type of hearing aid, how often the hearing aid is used and how much streaming you do. If you do not like changing batteries or you have dexterity issues some of our hearing aids come in rechargeable versions. The rechargeable battery delivers up to 24 hours of power in a single charge.

How long does it take to adjust to a hearing aid?

Adjusting to your new hearing aids will vary from person to person. It also depends on how long you have waiting to seek help for your hearing loss. It could take longer to adjust to your hearing aids if you have a severe hearing loss and it could be shorter if you have a mild hearing loss. It all depends on how quickly you treat your hearing loss. The ears hear the sounds and send those sound waves to the brain to translate it into recognizable sounds. If you wait to treat your hearing loss, the brain can atrophy which can give you a lot longer adjustment period.

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

When you purchase a hearing aid or a pair of hearing aids from Southwestern Hearing Centers you are paying for the aids themselves as well as lifetime maintenance and service of the hearing aids. It includes follow-up visits, hearing evaluations every year, batteries and filters and in-house repairs. Details here.

What style of hearing aid should I wear?

The style of hearing aid will be determined by your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aid should fit your ear perfectly and allow you to hear even the soft sounds. After your hearing is tested by our hearing instrument specialist, they will go over the styles of hearing aids that best fits your loss and your lifestyle. 

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn behind the ear or in the ear canal. It amplifies the sound so that someone with a hearing loss can hear sounds better. There are 3 components to a hearing aid: a microphone, amplifier, and a speaker. Sound comes through the microphone and then converted into sound waves and then sent to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and send them to the ear through the speaker.

What should I look for when choosing a hearing aid?

When you are choosing a hearing aid, you need to figure out your budget, what level of technology you would like, and if it fits your lifestyle. You should look for a hearing aid that is made in the United States to ensure quality of the device. You should sit down with your hearing instrument specialist to determine what type of amplification you need to fit your level of hearing loss. They will work with you to ensure that your hearing aids work properly to help you hear the sounds that are important to you. 

Can I return my hearing aids if i’m not satisfied?

If after your 30-day Risk Free Trial you are not completely satisfied with your hearing aids call our office and speak to our patient care coordinators. We will get you in to see our specialist so we can see if it is an adjustment issue or if we need to try another hearing aid. We will be happy to help you to hear better. 

How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?

In order to find out if you have a hearing loss we ask you to come into one of our 30 convenient locations to get your hearing tested for free. We will go over your hearing loss and show you all available options to help you to hear your best. If you need to schedule a hearing evaluation, you can email us at info@southwesternhearing.com or call us at (855) 594-5119 or fill out a form request.

How do I take care of my hearing aid?

Taking care of your hearing aid is vital to keeping it working properly for you for years to come. Check out our section on maintenance and care here.

What can I expect from a hearing evaluation?

When you arrive at our office, you will be asked to fill out some paperwork if you have not received it electronically. The hearing specialist will look inside your ear canal during the simple and painless hearing exam. You will be checked for ear wax, blockages or any medical problems in your ear canal or eardrum. You will be asked about your hearing history, what issues you are experiencing, and talk about your expectations. You will then be tested in a hearing booth for sounds and beeps at different levels and frequencies. This allows our hearing specialists to determine your degree of hearing loss. Once the test is over, your hearing loss will be explained to you in a way that is easy to understand. At this point you will be shown the styles and levels of technology to best fit all of your hearing needs.

What are some advances in hearing aid technology?

Technology is ever changing, and that is no different in today’s hearing aids. The best hearing aids available today are designed to track body and brain health, eliminate feedback, make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable as well as stream music and TV directly to your hearing aids. Hearing aids are bluetooth capable and can connect with your smartphone or other personal electronic devices so you can talk on your phone hands-free and much more.  Hearing aids are much smaller, more comfortable, rechargeable and more powerful than ever.

Is there a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline?

In recent studies hearing loss has been directly linked to dementia, balance issues, isolation, depression, and cognitive decline. The study was published by a team of physicians at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging. According to the study, “older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal.” Read more about the connection here.