Questions on Diagnosing, Overcoming, and Coping with Hearing Loss
Our patients have a lot of questions, and we are happy to provide the answers before they set foot in our office. Visit our FAQ page for the most popular inquiries (and our solutions) about hearing loss treatments, ear injuries, hearing disorders, and methods to cope with hearing loss symptoms.
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How often should I have my hearing tested?
The answer to this question will depend on your age, environment, and level of hearing loss, but people of all ages should be getting hearing screenings on a regular basis. Sometimes these screenings are done in a work or school environment, but often you will have to seek out a hearing care clinic to get a complete hearing evaluation.
General Guidelines for Hearing Test Frequency
Most people do not need to have their hearing tested every year. In general, a hearing test every three to four years is sufficient—but there are some exceptions, including the following:
- Infants and children. By law, babies born in hospitals in the United States are screened for hearing loss at birth. Babies with normal results will not have to be tested again until around the age of four. Children should be tested every year after that until they are eight or nine years old; after that, a test every other year is sufficient. Childhood hearing screenings are often given at school for free. If a child is found at any point to have hearing loss, he or she will be tested more frequently.
- Anyone exposed to loud noises. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur at any age, and is becoming more common among teens and young adults. People of any age who are exposed to loud noises at concerts, work, in the military, or even doing yardwork around the house should be tested for hearing loss annually.
- Hearing aid wearers. If you are diagnosed with hearing loss and begin wearing hearing aids, your testing days are not over! You should see your hearing aid provider every year for follow-up testing so that your hearing aids can be adjusted or new hearing aids can be fitted as needed.
- People over the age of 60. Age-related hearing loss can begin at any age, but is most common in people over the age of 60. In fact, one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 and half of all people 75 and older suffer from disabling hearing loss. The sooner the impairment is diagnosed, the less likely the older person is to suffer from hearing-loss related conditions such as dementia, depression, and social isolation.
There are other health conditions that warrant annual or semi-annual hearing tests, and these should be discussed with your doctor.
Collier Hearing Center Offers Free Hearing Screenings
If you have not had your hearing tested since you were a child, make an appointment for a free hearing evaluation at one of our Naples office locations. We will discuss your results with you and develop a plan to get you on the road to better hearing.
How long will my hearing aids last?
Your new hearing aids were a significant investment and you’d like to keep them in good working order for as long as possible. At Collier Otolaryngology Hearing Center, we are dedicated to making sure your hearing care experience is the best it can be, and that includes helping you take care of your hearing aids so they last as long as possible.
There Are Limits to a Hearing Aid’s Lifespan
Even with the best care, hearing aids will last at most five or six years. This is mostly due to the fact that they are highly tuned and very delicate pieces of equipment and there is only so much wear and tear they can endure and still work at an optimum level. In order to develop small, light, and comfortable devices, manufacturers use tiny components and encase them in thin molded plastic, and, while they are impressively durable, they are simply not indestructible.
What You Can Do to Protect Them
A hearing aid’s worst enemies are dirt and moisture. Routine daily cleaning of your devices will help extend their life. You will be shown how to properly care for your hearing aids in our office, but, as a reminder, the following tips are good habits to keep:
- Use tools from your hearing aid cleaning kit to gently brush away dirt and grit, wipe off wax build-up, and clean the ear mold.
- Avoid any exposure to moisture by using hearing aid covers when around water or when exercising, removing them before showering or swimming, and drying them out every night.
- Check the batteries regularly and store the hearing aids in a protective case with the battery compartment open to allow moisture to escape.
- Be careful when inserting or removing your hearing aids. Always handle them gently and work over a counter top covered by a soft towel.
- Follow your hearing care provider’s specific instructions for caring for your particular hearing aid and visit your hearing care center for maintenance and tuning appointments as needed.
New Technology Emerges Every Year
While you may be able to extend the life of your hearing aids with proper care, you will not be able to update the features as new technology becomes available. For this reason, many people decide to upgrade to new devices before their current hearing aids are actually worn out. During the five years your hearing aids work, many new bells and whistles will become available on newer models of hearing aids, and you may choose to purchase new hearing aids before the five years are up.
Collier Is Your All-Purpose Hearing Care Center
Whatever you choose to do—baby your hearing aids for the longest life possible, or upgrade to new models every couple of years—we are here to support you. Call our office at 888-491-9331 with any questions you may have.
Can I wear my hearing aids in the shower or while swimming?
Most hearing aids on the market are moisture-resistant but not waterproof. This means that, while a few raindrops or sweat from a workout won’t damage them, they are not designed to be worn in the shower or swimming pool. However, there are options for people who are frequently in the water as well.
For people with active lifestyles, it’s not always easy to think about protecting hearing aids from moisture damage. You may want to opt for a water-resistant hearing aid. These devices will not be damaged by humidity, sweat, rain, or even splashes of water. Another option could be to have your hearing aid coated with a product such as NanoBlock, which is a very thin material that bonds to the surface of the hearing aid and prevents water from being absorbed.
Another less-expensive option is to purchase nylon, cloth, or disposable latex covers that can be put on hearing aids during exercise or when outside in the heat. These are not completely waterproof, but they will protect the hearing aids from sweat, dirt, dust, and splashes of water.
What to Do If Your Non-Waterproof Hearing Aid Gets Wet
As part of your daily maintenance tasks with your hearing aids, you should check that the devices are dry and remove the batteries before storing them. If you know they were exposed to sweat or rain, it is a good idea to take out the batteries and allow every part of the hearing aid to air out. If you do expose them to a lot of water, however, by accidentally jumping into a pool or the shower with them still on, all may not be lost. Take the batteries out immediately and throw them away. Then try one of the following to save your device:
- Leave the hearing aids on dry newspaper and let them air-dry for at least 24 hours before replacing batteries and trying them out. Placing them near a table lamp may speed the drying process. Do not place them too close to a hot light bulb, however, as that could further damage them.
- Place the aids in a sealed bag with a cup of uncooked white rice and leave overnight. Rice can work as a dehumidifier and draw moisture out of the devices.
- Use a fan or hairdryer on a cool setting to dry the hearing aids.
Collier Otolaryngology Hearing Center Is Here for You
As your hearing care provider, we are here to assist you not only in choosing the best hearing aid for your lifestyle, but also by offering maintenance and repair for your devices. Call now to learn more.
What is the next step if I have Tinnitus?
If you have discovered that you suffer from tinnitus you should set up an appointment with an Audiologist as soon as possible so that they may evaluate the severity and discuss possible options.
What can I do to help myself if I have Tinnitus?
Pay attention to the way you think about your tinnitus by asking some self-examining questions.
- Do you think tinnitus will destroy your life?
- Do you think you will never be able to sleep because of it?
- Do you think nobody else understands or knows what it feels like to have tinnitus?
- Do you think there is no solution for your symptoms?
How you think about your tinnitus will have a major effect on your emotional reaction to it. If you answered yes to any of the questions above it could lead to feelings of annoyance, depression, despair, anger or anxiety. There are many professionals that understand the dynamics of tinnitus and are willing and able to help you. There are varying forms of counseling-based approaches that have been helpful to many with tinnitus.
What causes Tinnitus?
There are many causes of Tinnitus. Many of which may be unknown. The most common causes of Tinnitus are:
- Noise Exposure
- A natural part of the aging process
- Head injury
- Side effect of medications
Tinnitus is almost always accompanied by hearing loss. If you are a tinnitus sufferer it is recommended that you have your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional. Currently some 30 million adults suffer from ongoing tinnitus. For 12 million, their tinnitus is severe enough that it impacts their day to day life. Since tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious disorder, it is important for a sufferer to have an appropriate health evaluation.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus simply put is “hearing” noises in your ears when there is no outside source of the sounds. The noises that are heard vary from individual to individual. They can be soft or loud. Some of the sounds that may be heard are: ringing, blowing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, humming, whistling, or sizzling. It may be a combination of sounds and for many people the sound of their tinnitus actually changes to where they can hear a variation of differing sounds.