Hearing Loss Education

Two Ears are Better Than One

Animals in our world generally have two ears. Have you ever considered why?

Each ear picks up sound which is sent to the brain for analysis. With two ears working together, a sound can catch our attention even when other sounds are present in the environment.

There are very small differences in sound that is perceived by each ear, such as volume, timing, and pitch. These factors are interpreted by the brain to allow us to understand speech in environments where competing sounds may be present.

Advantages of two hearing aids include less stressful listening, better understanding in noisier situations, increased ability to know where sound is coming from, and improved understanding of softer or more distant sounds.

Generally, if someone has hearing loss in both ears, we want to provide amplification to each ear to maintain these discrete cues for better, less effortful understanding.

Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Did you know that someone with hearing loss is more susceptible to noise damage than someone with normal hearing? Sensorineural hearing loss is usually a result of damage to the hair cells in the cochlea (the “inner ear”). This impacts your normal ability to deal with very intense sound. Noise damage is also cumulative. It doesn’t matter if the damage occurred many years ago, it still can affect the ear’s ability to manage loud sound today.

There are lots of different types of hearing protection on the market today. Some are made specifically for musicians which allow them to hear themselves and others play; some are designed for hunters which allow them to hear quiet sounds in the woods while still protecting from the harmful sound of a gunshot. We play and work in a noisy world.

Talk with us about protecting your hearing!

Acuity and Understanding

“Hearing” and “understanding” are two very different things. The ear transmits sound information to the brain where it is interpreted so we understand. In order for us to understand, we need good information for the brain to process. People with sensorineural hearing loss (nerve loss or nerve damage) require amplification to provide complete, good quality sound for the brain to work with.

Unfortunately, as we age, the brain actually shrinks, reducing the brain matter which is available to process sound. If hearing loss is left untreated, the areas of the brain that are normally used for sound and speech processing can be used for other purposes that are still being stimulated. It’s like the old saying, “Use it or lose it!”

Family with dog
Communicating with hearing loss
helpful tips

Tips for Communicating with Someone with a Hearing Loss

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Speak up, but don’t shout.

Mature couple at home watching TV

Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot of confusion about hearing loss and the truth about hearing aids; read below to learn the answers to some of the common questions we receive in our office.

I went to my doctor and he checked my hearing by whispering to me and said my hearing was fine. Why do I need a test?

It is always a good idea to have a complete baseline audiogram at some point, preferably before you start having hearing difficulties. The “Whisper Test” is a very gross screen of hearing but hasn’t proved to be terribly useful for practical diagnostic purposes. A complete audiological evaluation (hearing test) will quantify your hearing, identify any areas where you may not be hearing sound well, and also identify if you have any issues that should be treated medically, such as an infection or earwax build up.

I was told nothing could be done for my hearing loss because I have nerve deafness.

Hearing instrument technology has improved to the point where almost all hearing loss can be helped to some degree. According to the Better Hearing Institute, 95% of people with hearing loss could be helped with hearing aids given today’s advanced technology.

“Nerve deafness” or sensorineural hearing loss means that the hair cells in the cochlea have been damaged and is therefore a permanent hearing loss. Hearing aid success depends (to some extent) on the degree of the loss and the ability of the brain to process the sound once it reaches the brain. The best way to determine if you will be successful is to try hearing aids.

I only use my hearing aids when I go out. Why do I need to use them if I’m home alone?

Your ability to understand is based not only on the amplification provided by the hearing aids but also by the ability of your brain to make sense of sounds. It is important to give your brain consistent auditory information as it “learns” to process the new sounds it is receiving. If you are using your hearing aids only some of the time, you will not be getting maximum benefit from the instruments in which you have made considerable financial investment. The pathways in your brain need to be stimulated consistently to work efficiently. It is recommended that you use your hearing aids during all waking hours. If there are reasons you are uncomfortable and cannot use them in all your everyday environments, you should come in to the office to assess the need for adjustments and or modifications to the instruments.

Your free hearing consultation starts here.

Fill out the form to request your appointment with Audiocare Hearing Services.

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