Answers to common questions
I don't hear well. What should I do? What should I
Because some hearing problems can be medically corrected, first
visit an otolaryngologist
(an ear, nose, and throat specialist). If you have ear pain, drainage,
excess earwax, hearing loss in only one ear, sudden or rapidly
progressive hearing loss, or dizziness, it is especially important
that you see an otolaryngologist. Then, get a hearing assessment
from an audiologist (a nonphysician health care professional).
A screening test from a hearing aid dealer may not be adequate.
Dr. Woods has an audiologist associate in his office who will
assess your ability to hear pure tone sounds and to understand
words. The results of these tests will show the degree of hearing
loss and whether it is conductive or sensorineural and may give
other medical information about your ears and your health.
Where do I go to get hearing aids?
Because federal regulation prohibits any hearing aid sale unless
the buyer has first received a medical evaluation from a physician,
you will need to see your physician before you purchase a hearing
aid(s). However, the regulation says that if you are more than 18
years old and are aware of the recommendation to receive a medical
exam, you may sign a waiver to forego the exam.
In our office an otolaryngologist,and an audiologist, work closely
together to dispense aids. Hearing aids should be custom fitted
to your ear and hearing needs. Hearing aids purchased by mailorder
typically cannot be custom fitted.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A hearing loss is
conductive when there is a problem with the ear canal,
the eardrum and/or the three bones connected to the eardrum.
Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are a plug of
excess wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum.
Medical treatment or surgery may be available for these and
more complex forms of conductive hearing
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
loss is sensorineural when it results from
damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve, often as
a result of the aging process and/or noise exposure. Sounds
may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may
occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most
sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing aids may help
you reclaim some sounds that you are missing as a result of
How expensive are hearing aids?
Hearing aids vary in price according to style, electronic features, and
local market conditions. Price can range from many hundreds of dollars to
more than $2,500 for a programmable, digitalized hearing aid. Purchase
price should not be the only consideration in buying a hearing aid.
Product reliability can save repair costs and the frustration of a
malfunctioning hearing aid.
What kinds of hearing aids are available?
There are several styles of hearing aids:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are placed over the ear and
connected with tubing to custom-fitted earpieces.
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fill the entire bowl of the ear and
part of the ear canal.
- Smaller versions of ITEs are called half-shell and in-the-canal
- The least visible aids are completely-in-the-canal (CIC).
Hearing aid options, which are appropriate for your particular hearing
loss and listening needs, the size, and shape of your ear and ear canal,
and the dexterity of your hands will all be considered in deciding what
type of hearing aid is the best for you. Many hearing aids have special
telecoil "T" switches to aid in use of the telephone and certain public
sound systems. Discuss your need for a T-coil switch while you are
considering hearing aid options.
Will I need a hearing aid for each ear?
Usually, if you have hearing loss in both ears, using two hearing aids
is best. Listening in a noisy environment is difficult with amplification
in one ear only, and it is more difficult to distinguish where sounds are
coming from. If, however, the quality of hearing in one ear is very
different from the other, one hearing aid may be better than two.
What other questions should I ask?
- Ask about charges for the hearing evaluation, dispensing fee(s), and
future servicing and repair.
- Inquire about the trial period policy and what fees are refundable
if you return the hearing aid(s) during the trial period. We refund
all money that has been paid except for 100% of the total purchase
price or a maximum of $100.00, whichever is least.
- Ask about the warranty coverage for your hearing aids and the
consumers' protection program for hearing aid purchasers in your state.
What will happen at my hearing aid fitting?
- The hearing aids will be fitted for your ears.
- Then, while wearing your hearing aids, you will be tested to make
sure the hearing aids are providing the right amount of amplification.
- Next, you will receive instruction about the care of your hearing
aids, the batteries used to power them, a suggested wearing schedule,
general expectations, and helpful communication strategies.
- You will also practice properly inserting and removing the hearing
aids and batteries.
How should I begin wearing the aids?
- Start using your hearing aids in quiet surroundings, gradually
building up to noisier environments.
- Note where and when that you find the hearing aids beneficial.
- Be patient and allow yourself to get used to the aids and the "new"
sounds they allow you to hear.
- Keep a diary to help you remember your experiences.
- Report any concerns on a follow-up appointment.