Hearing Aid FAQs
An estimated 35 million children and adults in the United States have a hearing loss. For these people, selecting the most suitable hearing aids can be vital to enjoying life to its fullest. Less than 25% of all people who need hearing aids actually get them. Most people don't realize that the majority of hearing losses can be treated with hearing aids.
Untreated hearing loss can cause embarrassment, social stress, tension, and fatigue. This is true not only for the person with the hearing loss but also for family members, friends, and colleagues. New research suggests an association between hearing loss and dementia—another reason to have a hearing evaluation if you suspect a hearing loss. In the case of children, untreated hearing loss can affect school performance and social development.
Hearing loss doesn't have to restrict life activities and have a negative impact on your quality of life. Properly fitted hearing aids with appropriate communication strategies can help in most listening situations.
Hearing aids differ in design, size, the amount of amplification they provide, ease of handling, volume control, and availability of special features (such as Bluetooth connectivity to phones). However, they do have similar components that include the following:
- Microphone to pick up sound
- Amplifier circuitry to make the sound louder
- Receiver (miniature loudspeaker) to deliver the amplified sound into the ear
- Batteries to power the electronic parts
Some hearing aids also have earmolds (earpieces) to direct the flow of sound into the ear and enhance sound quality. In the case of children, the earmold will need to be replaced fairly often as the ear grows.
The best hearing aid for you depends on your listening needs, type of hearing loss, and lifestyle. Your audiologist will advise you on which of the basic hearing aid styles and features best meet your needs and their related costs.
In-the-Canal (ITC) and Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
These aids are contained in a tiny case that fits partly or completely into the ear canal. They are the smallest aids available and offer some cosmetic and listening advantages. Photo courtesy of Oticon
In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
All parts of the aid are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of the ear. These aids are larger than canal aids and, for some people, may be easier to handle than smaller aids. Photo courtesy of Oticon
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Aids
All parts of the aid are contained in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear. The case is connected to an earmold by a piece of clear tubing. This style is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons. Photo courtesy of Oticon
A small plastic case rests behind the ear and thin electrical wires runs into the ear canal. The speaker of the hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal, with a small plastic tip to hold the speaker in place. These aids offer cosmetic and listening advantages and are currently the most popular style used for adults. Photo courtesy of Oticon.
To obtain a hearing aid, you will need
- A comprehensive audiological evaluation within the last 6 months
- Medical clearance from a physician, preferably an otolaryngologist (ENT), is recommended
- A hearing aid consultation to discuss:
- The patient's hearing loss, needs, and lifestyle
- Hearing aid technology and styles
After the hearing aid has been dispensed to you, some follow-up visits will be needed to fine tune the device.
All hearing aid patients will work with our audiologist for their best outcome and benefit.
South Carolina ENT is pleased to participate with interest free financing options. Please speak with your Audiologist about these options.
For more information on hearing aids,
call Carolina Hearing Institute in Lugoff, SC (serving Columbia, SC) at (803) 736-3277 today!
Laws in most states, including South Carolina, require a trial period for all hearing aid sales. If you decide to return your hearing aids during this trial period, there may be a nonrefundable fitting/restocking charge which covers our professional services. Your audiologist will discuss these policies with you prior to purchase.
You may also choose to try a different make or model if your first choice is not satisfactory. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing but do offer substantial benefit to most persons with hearing loss.