Hearing Questions & Answers

Hearing loss and hearing aids can seem complicated, and if you don't understand your individual hearing loss or know what to expect from hearing aids, it can be hard to confidently make a decision about treating your hearing loss. At Coastal Hearing Clinic, we're here to help educate you about hearing so you can make informed decisions. We aren't salespeople who want to push you into buying expensive hearing aids. We want you to understand our recommendations and be able to make a choice yourself.

Hearing Loss FAQ

Sandwich, MA friends having coffee together

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

The best way to be sure is to have your hearing tested. We provide audiological evaluations free of charge, so if you're not sure, we can help you get an answer. In general, these are some signs of hearing loss:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Having trouble understanding what people say in a noisy environment
  • Mixing up the words you hear other people say
  • Turning the television up louder
  • Avoiding telephone calls because it's hard to hear
  • Not understanding the jokes everyone else is laughing at

Why can't I just wait until my hearing gets really bad?

New studies have shown that your brain's ability to understand speech will deteriorate if you don't treat your hearing loss. On average, people put off getting hearing aids for 7 years, which isn't good for your long-term hearing health. Once your brain loses that ability to process and understand speech, a hearing aid cannot bring that back. Even though hearing aids can amplify sound, if your brain can't make sense of it, you won't understand what you hear.

Waiting a year or two may not be the end of the world, but waiting longer can have serious consequences. It breaks our heart when someone has waited years and years and then we're not able to help them. So we encourage patients to get hearing aids sooner rather than later. If you do decide against hearing aids, we recommend coming back for an annual hearing check to keep an eye on your hearing loss.

How do I support my loved one with hearing loss?

We always encourage you to come in with your loved one so you can learn more about their hearing loss and how to help them take care of their hearing aids. We'll explain the hearing aids to you so you can help your loved one with troubleshooting if necessary. We will also try to help you and your loved one understand what you can expect from hearing aids. For example, hearing aids won't restore their hearing back to how it used to be. You'll still need to try to make it easier for your loved one to hear and understand you by doing things like standing nearby and making sure they can see your lips.

Hearing Aids FAQ

Do I really need hearing aids?

We can't tell if you need hearing aids until after we've completed an audiological evaluation. Even if you do have hearing loss, it may not be the kind of hearing loss that is treated by hearing aids. There are three kinds of hearing loss, and an evaluation will be able to tell us what kind you have.

Woman getting a hearing test
  • Conductive hearing loss means there's something blocking the sound in your ears. This can be a buildup of wax or fluid, a tumor, or something else. Conductive hearing loss sometimes needs medical intervention. If this is the case, we'll refer you to a physician.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss refers to damage to the hearing nerve. This is the kind of hearing loss that usually responds to hearing aids. If you have sensorineural hearing loss, we'll talk to you about whether hearing aids are right for you.
  • Mixed hearing loss means you have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. The first step is getting your conductive hearing loss treated by a physician. After that, come back to see us and we'll help you explore what hearing aids can do for you.

How long will my hearing aids last?

If they're taken care of properly, hearing aids should last between 5-7 years. Most people choose to replace their hearing aids at the 3-5 year mark because hearing aid technology changes every year and that's the timeframe when they see enough improvements that they want to take advantage of with new hearing devices.

Is this covered by my insurance?

We are happy to call your insurance to see whether or not your plan includes hearing coverage. If so, we'll help you get your claim form together and make sure you have everything you need to file for coverage.

Man with hearing aids on phone

What if things sound strange to me when I'm wearing new hearing aids for the first time?

That's perfectly normal! If you haven't worn hearing aids before and you've had some hearing loss for several years, your brain has gotten used to not hearing a full range of sound. When you put hearing aids on, you'll hear sounds that may seem exaggerated and strange because they seem new and surprising to your brain. That will go away. It just takes a few days wearing the hearing aids all day every day so that you can get used to it. Be patient.

Do hearing aids even work? My friend leaves them in a drawer because they don't do any good.

Hearing aids can't help you if they're in the drawer! Sometimes it just takes patience and wearing them for a few days so you can get used to them. While hearing aids won't give you back your healthy hearing, they should make a big difference and improve your quality of life. If you're not seeing benefit from them, or if they're not comfortable to wear, please bring them back to us. Properly fitted and programmed hearing aids can make all the difference in the world. It's important to us that all our patients are satisfied with the devices they purchase and with our services, and we'll do everything we can to make it right.

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33 Jarves St, Sandwich, MA 02563
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