Words of
Hellen Keller

“When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Words of
Hellen Keller

“When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Words of
Hellen Keller

“When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Words of
Hellen Keller

“When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Welcome to hearing sciences

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FAQs : Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on the questions for more information.)

What is the ringing or buzzing in my ears?

Ringing, hissing or buzzing sounds generated within the head is called “tinnitus”. It is the result of damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea. Unfortunately, although there are many claims of cures for tinnitus, there is no proof that any of these products are effective. There is no known permanent cure. Some people find temporary relief when wearing hearing aids. It is also worth noting that tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. So if you have tinnitus, a hearing test is recommended.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Many people find they are asking for repetition or turning TV up louder. Everyone seems to be mumbling instead of talking clearly and distinctly. You can hear people in a group talking but often miss critical words so you do not understand most of what is being said. Perhaps you are not able to hear children or women’s voices as well. You may notice that you don’t hear bird songs or crickets that others seem to hear.

How do I take the 30 second hearing test?

Answer these 8 questions to determine if you may have a hearing loss.

  1. Do you have difficulty hearing women’s or children’s voices?
  2. Does everyone seem to mumble?
  3. Can you hear but not understand?
  4. Is TV turned up louder?
  5. Do you have ringing or buzzing in your ears?
  6. Do friends or family members complain about your inability to hear?
  7. Have you worked in a noise, even for a short time period?
  8. Do you ask for people to repeat themselves?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have signs of hearing loss and should book a hearing assessment. Early detection is very important. Call our office for an appointment this week.

Why can I hear people in a group talking but not understand all the words?

Often a conversation is loud enough but you may mis-hear a few critical sounds within the word. Typically we lose our high frequency hearing first which means that you will be missing a lot of the high pitched consonant sounds in a word. This is where speech clarity comes from. When you are left hearing only portions of the word, you must “fill in the blanks” to make it understandable. Not understanding words or asking for frequent repetition is a sign of hearing loss.

Should I have my hearing tested?

If you feel that you are not understanding conversation as easily as you once did or have the TV turned up louder than others or ask for repetition on a daily basis, you should have your hearing tested. Hearing loss usually progresses slowly over a period of many years. Due to this gradual loss, often the family and friends of those with hearing loss notice the change first. They are more aware of word confusion or repetition. If your family or friends are noticing that you are struggling to hear, it is time to book a hearing assessment.

How do hearing aids help?

Today’s hearing aids are digital or tiny computers that are programmable to fit each person’s unique hearing loss. The Audiologist will select an appropriate device in consultation with the patient’s lifestyle and preference and then it will be programmed to improve the areas where the auditory system is damaged.

How easy are hearing aids to get used to?

The technology of today’s circuits is vastly improved. If you know anyone with a hearing aid that is over 4 years old, they most likely had more difficulty adapting than patients being fit today. I see patients that are getting their 2nd or 3rd pair of hearing aids so, every day I hear people delight in the improved clarity, comfort and naturalness of the current technology compared to the older instruments. Just think of the advances in cell phones and TVs in the last 4 years. Hearing aids are no different.

Will I become dependent on hearing aids?

Patients sometimes believe that they can “train” their hearing to improve. If they just focus harder they will improve their ability to hear. Although concentration is an important element in hearing, your hearing does not get “lazy” and everything falls “out of focus”. Hearing is not like a muscle. Once a permanent hearing loss is diagnosed, it cannot be trained to improve. Hearing aids when properly fit will enable you to hear speech clearly and with far less effort. There is an adjustment period as your brain adapts to the new sounds being heard. And yes, you will become dependent on your hearing aids. You will get used to hearing well and will not want to give that up!! Much like glasses, we get used to seeing clearly and wouldn’t think of trying to drive a car without glasses if they are required. The brain does not get “lazy” if you get used to hearing aids. It is quite the opposite. The brain has an easier job listening and it can relax and not have to concentrate so hard to understand the conversation.

What is the difference between the higher and lower priced hearing aids?

The difference between the value priced and the higher priced instruments is the sophistication of the digital circuit. Some circuits will perform better in noisy listening conditions, give a broader frequency range, may be important for listening to music and have additional features, such as automatic telephone features, improvement of speech listening, blue-tooth for compatibility with cell phones and TV devices. Much like today’s cars, a basic car that will get you from A to B but do you want the comfort of heated seats, GPS, larger engine, fuel efficiency, roomy trunk space etc. Extra features and added performance have a cost associated with them. The research and development of new digital circuits is quite extensive. Wearing hearing aids means you are wearing a pair of ultra tiny, very sophisticated digital computers on your ears! They are able to react to the changing environment as you go about your daily activities as well as adapt to different hearing losses or personal preferences for sound.

As a speaker, is there a way I can help my hearing impaired father hear better?

There are several tips to assist in communicating with a person that has hearing loss. Try following these tips:

  1. Get the person’s attention before speaking
  2. Talk at a slower rate
  3. Face the person
  4. Reduce background noise or move away from the noise
  5. Don’t shout, but speak clearly
  6. Get closer
  7. A well lit area is best

How much do hearing aids cost?

Everyone needs to be more aware of noise exposure. Have you ever gone to a concert or sporting event and had a ringing in your ears afterwards? This is an indication that you have traumatized your ears. Repeated exposure to loud sounds may gradually cause permanent hearing loss. In Ontario, the safety standards for exposure are 8 hours with average noise exposure limited to 85dB or less. 85dB is not very loud. Urban traffic noise is one example. 15 minutes of exposure to a rock concert at 115dB HL can lead to permanent damage. Years ago we were not aware of the permanent damage that noise was causing but now we are. If you work in a noisy area, protect your hearing when on the job and at home and during recreation. The noise exposure accumulates so that you may not experience the hearing loss immediately but the damage is still being done.

How much noise is damaging?

TBD

Should I be concerned about wearing my iPod/MP3 player?

There is a newly emerging standard that recommends you should limit listening to MP3 or any PLD music players to 5 hours a week if set at high volumes!! (According to a study completed for the EU in 2008- Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks. The alternative is to turn down the volume (half volume – good guide) or use noise cancelling headphones or ones that sit outside your ear instead of the smaller ear-buds. Noise cancelling headphones block out the surrounding noise which is often the reason the volume needs to be increased on the MP3 player. Listening at high volumes today may not result in an immediate change in hearing but is likely to show up later in life.