Ask The Audiologist


What are the best hearing devices on the market?

The answer is “It depends”. What works for one person may not work for another. To answer this question takes a careful hearing evaluation by an audiologist to determine the degree of hearing loss and your individual lifestyle needs. The brand of instrument is secondary; we are concerned with how it works for you and improves your quality of life. If you or someone you know could benefit from a free consultation, call us. At Van Doorne Hearing Care you can try one for two weeks before you buy it!


Can herbal remedies cure my tinnitus?

Buyer Beware! There are many products being advertised claiming a “cure” for tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Research has shown no more effectiveness than a placebo. Just because a product may claim that it is “all natural”, does not mean it’s safe or effective. Be aware that herbal products can be expensive and claims about these products are not regulated. Demand a list of ingredients before you buy.


My spouse is hard-of-hearing. How can we improve communication?

There are many things you can do to facilitate communication with a hard-of-hearing person. Get their attention before you speak and face them so they can see you as they will instinctively do some lip reading. Remember to speak clearly, not just loudly, and slow down! Rephrasing is always better than just repeating the same word over and over, and don’t be afraid to manipulate your environment, like moving to a quieter place, or turning off the TV. But, most important, BE PATIENT! Remember that communication can be very frustrating and exhausting for someone with hearing loss.


Will wearing hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Hearing aids have output limiters and when programmed appropriately for your hearing loss, they will not cause your hearing to worsen. However, hearing aids are not hearing protection. When around loud noise such as concerts, guns, or power tools, hearing protection should be worn. Some people comment that they feel their hearing loss is greater after taking the aids off. This is because they have gotten used to hearing better! What they are experiencing is a perception of greater hearing loss, not an actual change.


What is earwax and how can I avoid earwax problems?

Earwax, or cerumen, is produced by glands in the ear canal to help keep the ear clean and healthy. It contains mild antibacterial and antifungal properties and gradually migrates outward, taking dirt and dead skin with it. For most people, it only causes problems when cotton swabs are used, pushing the wax further in the ear canal. The best thing to do to clean your ears is to do nothing – just let your ears clean themselves naturally. If you do get a build-up, you can try over-the-counter eardrops or ask your physician to remove it for you.


Should I wear one hearing aid or two?

For most people with hearing loss, two hearing aids are better than one. Your brain works best when it receives sound from both ears. It is easier to understand speech in background noise, localize where sounds are coming from, and hear from both sides. Sound quality and clarity is generally better. Additionally, it is important for both ears to stay active to maintain good speech understanding ability. There are times where one ear may not benefit from amplification, but for most people, two hearing devices are best. A hearing loss in only one ear would require a different approach.


Can hearing aids improve the ringing in my ears (Tinnitus)?

Often the answer is YES. Once a medical cause for your tinnitus is ruled out, hearing devices may be the next step to relief. One theory of the cause of tinnitus is that the hair cells that activate the hearing nerve died in the “on” position, thus causing your hearing loss and tinnitus.  Hearing instruments can improve the way you hear and understand people while at the same time minimize the tinnitus. These sound effects helps your brain learn to “tune it out.” Some users report a reprieve from their tinnitus for hours after taking the devices off.


I don’t like to fiddle with things. Can I just put on hearing device and forget about it?

Yes. Many of the newer technologies are designed to be fully automatic once customized for your needs. Your job is to just ensure the devices are clean, have a fresh battery and properly placed in your ears. The device “listens” to the environment around you and adjusts the amount of amplification to allow for the best speech understanding or comfort for your current environment .


Are hearing aids waterproof?

Water and electronics don't mix. However, there are new coatings and technology that allow hearing aids to be very water resistant. There is even one completely waterproof aid on the market and with the correct earmold you can even swim with it! However, with the waterproof aid there are some strict cleaning and maintenance requirements to retain the warranty. So the answer is: Yes! With all the new advances we are no longer worried about a little bit of rain if we get caught outside, or perspiration on those hot days or with exercise.


I feel isolated because of my hearing loss. How will hearing aids improve my quality of life?

It is proven that hearing aids can benefit you beyond just improving hearing. Hearing loss affects your social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being. We communicate to build relationships. When hearing loss is left untreated it causes isolation, the perception of not being "with it", or having emotional instability. If you are able to be involved in the conversation you have an increased sense of control over your life. Hearing aids will benefit you beyond just improving your hearing. Try a demonstration of amplification and hear what you have been missing.


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