Frequently asked questions regarding hearing loss and hearing aids

What are the different types and causes of hearing loss?

Every type of hearing loss may have many different causes. Exposure to loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss and tinnitus. Infections are a common cause too, as well as genetic abnormalities, heredity, adverse reaction to medicines and, especially, chemotherapy and cancer treatment.
Listed below are the different causes of each type of hearing loss:

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL):

  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Exposure to excessively loud noise
  • Viral infections (such as measles and parotitis)
  • Herpes
  • Ototoxic medication (hearing-damaging medication)
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High fever or increased body temperature
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Acoustic tumors (Neurinoma)
  • Heredity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)

Causes of conductive hearing loss are typical “obstructions” such as:

  • Infections of the ear canal or middle ear that result in exuding fluids or pus
  • Drilling or wounding of the tympanic membrane
  • Cerumen buildup
  • Displacement of auditory ossicles
  • Foreign body in the ear canal
  • Otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the ear canal)
  • Abnormal lesions or tumors

Are there any surgeries or medications that can help me?

The vast majority of the hearing-impaired population (95%) is treated with hearing aids. Indeed, hearing aids can provide adequate help for most patients. Treatment through surgery or medication is recommended for only 5% of adults with hearing impairment. Hearing aids do not provide a cure but can help you hear without trouble once again, improving your quality of life.

What should I do if I suspect I have hearing problems?

You need to book an appointment with an otolaryngologist (E.N.T.) for an assessment, diagnosis and hearing test. It is important to get help with hearing loss as soon as you realize that you have a hearing problem to avoid social problems (the inability to communicate effectively with others leads to isolation and alienation), psychological issues (the effort required to communicate is exhaustive, causing fatigue, negativity, anger, tension, stress, and depression) and cognitive impairment (surveys show that the ability to think and perform multiple activities at the same time decreases when the brain works intensely to communicate).

What are the available hearing aid technologies?

In their basic form, hearing aids are microphones that convert sound into an electrical signal. An amplifier strengthens the signal and a loudspeaker converts it back into sound and delivers it to the ear canal via a small tube or earmold. The energy from a battery is needed for the amplification.
There are three hearing aids technologies: analogue, digital and nanotechnology.

What are the different types of hearing aids?

Contemporary hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes and types, ranging from the Behind-The-Ear (BTE) to the In-The-Canal (ITC) aids and Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC) aids, available at different technological levels. The Hearing Aid Dispensers at akouson are able to suggest the appropriate type based on factors such as the level of hearing loss, your aesthetic preferences, the necessities dictated by your lifestyle and your budget.
The types of headphones currently available are:

  • IIC – Invisible in the Canal
  • CIC – Completely in Canal
  • ITC – In the Canal
  • ITE – In the Ear
  • RIC – Receiver in Canal
  • BTE – Behind the Ear

How do hearing aids work?

Someone says, “Hi, I’m glad to see you again”
A microphone captures the sound and converts it into an electrical/digital signal.
An amplifier increases the signal strength. In more sophisticated devices, signals receive more advanced processing.
A loudspeaker converts the digital signal back into a sound and sends it to the inner ear. The brain “hears” and interprets the sound as speech
The user of the hearing aid finally listens:
“Hi, I’m glad to see you again”

Will I be able to hear in noisy places?

While no hearing aid can cut out background noise completely, our advanced hearing aids are designed to reduce some types of background noise, helping you enjoy conversations and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings, and social gatherings. Ask our Hearing Aid Dispensers about them.

What is directionality and why is it important?

When your hearing functions normally, the brain automatically cuts the background noises off, along with minor, insignificant information to allow you to concentrate on speech and other important signals.

This separation of speech from noise is a much greater challenge for a person who suffers from hearing loss. Due to the damaged microscopic capillary cells of the ear, hearing-impaired people find it more difficult to distinguish speech when they are in an environment with a lot of background noise. The same people often find themselves suffering from high-pitched noises.

One way of dealing with the difficulty of distinguishing speech from noise is directionality, a common feature of hearing aids by Starkey Hearing Technologies.

How will I know which type of headset is right for me?

At akouson, our in-house specialists can help you make the right choice of hearing aids according to your needs. The nature and severity of your hearing loss are the most important factors, when it comes to choosing an earpiece, as some types are not effective in cases of severe impairment. Your lifestyle, your profession, and your day-to-day activities are also important factors.

If you have difficulty seeing or working with small items such as selection buttons or volume controls, there are headphone models that can make it easier for you to handle. Finally, there are some things that cannot be changed, such as the size and shape of your ear and ear canal, which will also dictate the type of hearing aid you can wear.

Is there a period of adaptation to hearing aids?

Most people need an adaptation period of four to six weeks until they become fully accustomed to their hearing aids and start benefiting from using them. However, the advantages should be obvious even during this adjustment period. Remember that the Hearing Aid Dispensers at akouson are always at your disposal.

Will I need hearing aids for both ears?

If the hearing loss is in only one ear, you will not need a second one, whereas if there is a loss in both ears, you will benefit significantly from a dual application. Human hearing depends on the function of both ears. The technical term is ‘bilateral hearing’ and the sense of hearing is based on it, in order to provide the best possible hearing and perception of space.

If a professional assessment by a hearing specialist shows a hearing loss in both ears, you may need two hearing aids. Although it is tempting to try to reduce costs by choosing a single hearing aid, the truth is that it will not be enough to bring the same results as two would, since stereo sound is more natural and clear, fuller and richer. The use of only one hearing aid instead of two does not provide all the necessary information required by the brain.

Is it worth purchasing low-cost hearing aids?

Low-cost hearing aids are simple amplifiers that enhance all sounds, including the surrounding noises. They do not, for example, separate human voices from background noises, or pick up sounds coming from a particular direction, as the most sophisticated, modern hearing aids are designed to do.

Is there a warranty covering hearing aids?

akouson offers a reliability warranty for all its hearing aids. Our Hearing Aid Dispensers can consult you on product warranty conditions and the possibility of extending the warranty for two extra years.

Are there any preventative measures against hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a progressive, normal aspect of the aging process. However, exposure to excessive noise is always the main cause. Permanent hearing loss can occur within few minutes, through exposure to some sounds without protection, so the use of Pluggerz earplugs is essential under certain circumstances.

In addition, hearing damage can result from the use of foreign objects. For this reason, you should avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears, as this might push the cerumen further into the eardrum and thereby damage it or increase the production of cerumen by the ear. Also, it is advisable to avoid washing with unclean water to prevent infection to your ears.

Is there a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive impairment?

Several studies have shown that there is a link between hearing loss, decreased cerebral functionality and brain tissue loss. Brain “shrinking” is a natural evolutionary process of aging, but some adults with hearing loss seem to lose brain mass at a faster pace than adults with normal hearing.

A published study suggests that there is a growing list of health effects associated with hearing loss, including a high risk of dementia, falls, as well as reduced physical and mental health in general. In addition, it is argued that elderly people with hearing loss are more likely to experience problems like memory loss and thinking capacity degradation than people with normal hearing.