Hearing aids may be an option for you if you’re experiencing hearing loss, but understandably, you may be hesitant to take the plunge. You’re far from alone — at I Love Hearing, we speak with patients every day who have concerns or need guidance. There are a lot of questions about adjusting to life with hearing aids, some of which may seem a little silly or downright ridiculous to ask.
Rest assured, that there are no bad questions when it comes to hearing aids! Here, we’re answering some of the most commonly asked questions about hearing aids that you might be afraid to ask.
Why do I need two hearing aids if I only have hearing loss in one ear?
There’s a simple biological explanation for this: The reason that two hearing aids are always better than one is due to a process called binaural hearing. This process entails the brain processing audio input from both ears simultaneously, because the signals that both ears send to the brain are roughly equal in strength.
If you have hearing loss in your right ear, your binaural hearing balance is thrown off, but if you use a hearing aid in only your right ear to address this imbalance, you can actually make it more difficult for your left ear to hear. That’s because, due to binaural hearing and the amplified volume entering your right ear, the brain will process the sound going into your left ear as quieter than the room’s background noise. Additionally, this imbalance can make it difficult for your brain to pinpoint the exact location from which a sound that enters your left ear originates.
Does my insurance company cover hearing aids?
Although at I Love Hearing, we participate in and accept most insurance plans, it’s possible that your insurance – even Medicare – won’t cover your hearing aids. Some insurance companies view hearing aids as elective technologies rather than medically necessary devices, and others won’t cover hearing aids since too many Americans are at risk for hearing loss for insurance companies to have the incentive to pay for hearing aids.
I bought hearing aids OTC (over the counter). Will they work?
Although it’s possible that OTC hearing aids will work with mild hearing loss, they’re more risky to buy. Due to the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, the FDA is due to roll out proposed guidelines for OTC hearing aids, but even these guidelines will be proposed rather than final. For the time being, OTC hearing aids may not be a trustworthy option.
I bought a Personal Sound Amplification Product (PSAP). Do I really need a hearing aid?
PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) are similar to OTC hearing aids in that the FDA does not permit them to be labeled as devices that can improve hearing.
When you’re looking to decide which device is right for you, the best way to make a fully informed decision is to make an appointment with your licensed hearing aid specialist, who can thoroughly review the differences between PSAPs and hearing aids.
Does it hurt to be fitted for hearing aids?
No, it does not hurt to be fitted for hearing aids. Professionally trained hearing aid specialists such as those you’ll work with at I Love Hearing ensure that your hearing aids fit properly and will not cause itching, discomfort, or sweating around you ears. If you experience any of these issues after your initial fitting, you can always contact us to book a follow-up appointment.
Will my hearing get worse over time?
Since aging is a leading cause of hearing loss, many people assume that their hearing will get worse over time. This is sometimes, but not always, the case. With most cases of the sensorineural hearing loss that underlies most hearing loss, your hearing will degrade over long periods but eventually hit a threshold below which it cannot decrease. Even if your hearing loss stops progressing, chances are that it will have nevertheless gone far enough that hearing aids will prove helpful to you. Either way, consult an audiologist to determine your options.
Will my hearing improve over time?
In most cases, hearing loss is progressive degenerative disease. All sensorineural hearing loss, for example, is irreversible, so your hearing will not improve over time if you have this form of hearing loss. If you have congenital hearing loss or mixed hearing loss, you may sometimes be able to reverse your hearing loss. No matter your type of hearing loss, an audiologist can determine how to address your hearing loss, whether via ear wax removal or hearing aids.
How often do I need to visit a hearing aid specialist?
You should visit your hearing aid specialist regularly just as you would with your physician, dentist, or eye doctor. Often, when you book appointments with these other doctors, you’re not seeking to treat any active symptoms but to prevent future health problems, and you should be just as proactive in caring for your hearing. Since most hearing loss occurs gradually rather than suddenly or acutely, if you don’t regularly visit a hearing aid specialist, you might begin treating your hearing loss – a condition that one in every eight Americans above the age of 12 has – long after you should have started.
I’m scared I’ll feel “old” wearing my hearing aids.
Although it’s fair to feel worried that hearing aids will make you feel “old,” hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age. Chances are that other people might be more likely to call you “old” if you keep asking someone to repeat themselves or turn the volume way, way up on your television. Hearing aids don’t just lessen the frequency of these occurrences – many models are so discreet that other people won’t even notice you’re wearing them. No matter your age, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, then hearing aids may well be the best solution for you – and a hearing aid specialist can help you decide.
Book an appointment with I Love Hearing for all your other hearing aid questions
At I Love Hearing, our audiologists and hearing aid specialists can help you decide whether you’ll benefit from hearing aids. We work closely with you to determine the best hearing aid model for your needs, fit them properly, and educate you on proper care and maintenance.
Our team has decades of hands-on experience with many hearing aid manufacturers, and we make our knowledge base accessible to all our patients. We make reaching us easy with five offices located throughout the New York Metro areas, including four in Nassau County and one in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. At your appointment, we’ll discuss the levels of noise to which you’re regularly exposed, test your hearing, and go over your hearing aid options with you. Contact us to book an appointment, and bring your questions large and small — we’re here to answer them.