Treating hearing loss offers numerous benefits that are life-changing. From transforming hearing and communication, to strengthening relationships, enriching social life, to supporting overall health and wellness. The first step towards achieving this is to have your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist during a hearing consultation appointment. The follow up to this is the hearing aid fitting appointment – hearing aids are the most common way hearing loss is treated. These appointments are informative so you can expect to learn much more about your hearing health. A great way to prepare for these appointments is by developing questions that you can ask to better track the information being shared with you. Here are a few questions you can consider:
- What type of hearing loss do I have? There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. These types have different causes and treatment options. Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle portion of the ear as a result of obstructions that prevent soundwaves from being fully absorbed and processed. Causes include accumulated earwax, bone growths, and a perforated eardrum. These underlying issues can typically be treated in ways that restore hearing which means that conductive hearing loss is temporary.
This differs from sensorineural hearing loss which happens in the inner ear and is caused by damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noise, aging, medical conditions, head injuries and more. Sensory cells in the inner ear do not regenerate and cannot be repaired which means that this type of hearing loss is permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss accounts for 90% of the hearing loss that people experience today. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
- Is my hearing loss the same in both ears? In addition to knowing what type of hearing loss you are experiencing, it is important to know the specifics. This includes the degree of impairment in each ear. Hearing loss exists on a spectrum, from mild to profound and the specific degree of impairment can be different from one ear to the other. One ear can experience no hearing loss while the other experiences mild hearing loss – this is known as asymmetrical hearing loss. It is also possible to experience symmetrical hearing loss which is when the degree of impairment is the same or similar in both ears. Your hearing healthcare provider can also let you know the types of sounds and speech that are more challenging for you to hear. All of this information increases your understanding of your hearing loss.
- What is the best treatment option? There are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. Hearing aids are the most common treatment and these electronic devices provide tremendous hearing support. They are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech as well as sound which provides the ears and brain with ample support that alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity. Today’s hearing aids are more advanced than ever, offering a range of technologies that seamlessly integrate the device into everyday life while optimally supporting hearing health.
- Which hearing aid is best for me? There are different types of hearing aids and your hearing heater lace will recommend specific devices that can best meet your hearing and lifestyle needs. A few factors are used to identify the types of hearing aids that will work best for you. This includes the specifics of your hearing loss – type, degree of impairment – as well as lifestyle considerations like the type of environments you regularly navigate.
- How do I take care of my hearing aid? Another useful question to ask is about hearing aid maintenance. During your hearing aid fitting appointment, you will receive your hearing aids which will be programmed to meet your specific hearing needs. You will also learn how to insert, operate, and maintain your device. A maintenance routine is essential because hearing aids are impacted by daily wear and tear. Effectively cleaning and storing your device contributes to its longevity and optimal performance.
Asking these questions can help you learn all about your hearing loss and your new hearing aids. This supports your transition to stronger hearing health and wellness.