Hearing Loss FAQ
Q – What are the common types of hearing loss?
A – Although there are many types of hearing loss, the most common type is sensorineural loss and the second most common type of loss is conductive loss. There are three types of hearing loss we encounter most frequently:
Sensorineural Loss – (also known as “nerve deafness”) is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. The inner ear is unable to transfer the sound vibrations to the brain and it usually occurs in both ears. It is the most common type of loss and it can result from aging, noise exposure, disease, birth defects and nerve damage. This type of loss is usually treated with amplification (hearing devices).
Symptoms of Sensorineural Loss:
- Difficulty understanding speech in background noise
- Speech and other sounds seem unclear
- Trouble hearing high pitched sounds
- Persistent or episodic ringing or buzzing sound in ears
Conductive Loss – is caused by damage to the outer or middle ear. Sound waves are blocked as they move through the outer or middle ear. Since the sound cannot travel effectively, the sound energy reaching the inner ear is weakened or muffled. Conductive loss may result from infection, earwax buildup, fluid in the middle ear, damage to the middle ear bones, a perforation in the eardrum or an obstruction in the ear canal. This type of loss is usually treated with earwax removal, medicine, surgery or hearing devices.
Symptoms of Conductive Loss:
- Perceiving speech and other sounds as stifled or distant
- Ear discomfort or discharge from ear – Swelling or redness of the outer ear
- Pressure or fullness in the ear
Q – What can a hearing aid do?
A – Hearing aids can:
- Make speech easier to understand
- Make sounds louder
- Help improve your quality of life by offering you the freedom to communicate more effectively
- Allow you the opportunity to participate more in life’s activities
Hearing aids WILL NOT:
- Cure speech understanding loss
- Allow you to hear speech perfectly in background noise
- Permit you to selectively hear only what you want to hear
- Change sound distortion into clear sound
Q – Does Medicare/Medicaid cover hearing aids?
A – Here in Nevada, Medicare usually does not have hearing aid benefits but Medicaid usually does cover the cost of hearing aids. However, Medicare Plus Choice may provide limited benefits for hearing aids. Generally, each state has different requirements for coverage. For instance, many states reserve benefits for children under the age of 18. We’ll be glad to research your benefits for you. Just bring your insurance card when you come.
Q – How often do I need to change the batteries in my hearing aids?
A – Battery life depends on several factors. The amount of amplification, the size of the battery and how often you wear the device all factor into the longevity of your hearing aid battery. You should remember to turn the device off at night to preserve battery life.
Q – What is tinnitus?
A – Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear is not a disease, but a symptom which can result from a wide range of underlying causes, including: prolonged exposure to abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal, ear infections, foreign objects in the ear, nasal allergies which prevent (or induce) fluid drain, or wax build-up. Tinnitus can also be noticed as part of the natural aging process, as a side effect of some medications or of genetic hearing loss. However, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss.