You can find answers to some frequently asked questions about our service here.
If I have a hearing loss do I really need to wear hearing aids?
The impact of hearing loss is often underestimated, especially in the case of mild hearing loss. Your audiologist will only recommend hearing aids if they feel they will help you and they are always fitted to a prescription so they will only offer you an appropriate level of amplification. It is free to try hearing aids on the NHS so it may be worth trying hearing aids if recommended to appreciate the benefit for yourself. Do I need to wear the hearing aids all of the time? Those that wear hearing aids most of the time tend to get the best results. The brain is only good at interpreting signals it is used to and the more that certain sounds are heard, the better the brain is able to deal with them. There are no hard and fast rules but the general recommendation is to wear hearing aids as much as possible apart from when sleeping, when getting wet or if advised otherwise (in the case of ear infections).
Why do I need to wear two hearing aids?
If both ears have some degree of impairment, far better results are achieved with two hearing aids than one. We are only able to effectively locate sounds if both ears are giving relatively equal inputs and this allows us to focus better on one voice when listening in background noise. It also means that sound is more natural and the tendency is to face someone when they are speaking rather than turning one ear with a hearing aid towards them. Leaving a hearing impaired ear unaided while aiding the other side can also lead to ‘auditory deprivation’ meaning reduced ability to recognize speech in the ear that has not been fitted with a hearing aid and which has therefore been exposed to significantly less input than the aided ear for a long time. This can mean that poor results are obtained if aiding is required in this ear later on.
Will my hearing get worse?
Most people’s hearing declines with age. However, purely age related hearing loss rarely results in profound hearing loss – there are usually other factors which cause this level of hearing impairment. Wearing hearing aids will not make your hearing any worse – in fact using hearing aids can help to maintain the brain’s ability to process sounds effectively so earlier fitting of hearing aids generally gets better results than when people wait until they are really struggling before seeking help.
What happens in an audiology appointment?
The audiologist will generally ask questions about your general health and any conditions which may relate to hearing. They will also ask you about how you feel your hearing is and whether it affects any aspects of your life. The audiologist will have a look in your ears and complete a hearing test which involves playing sounds through headphones and assessing which of them you are able to hear. The audiologist will explain the results of the test to you and answer any questions you may have. They may recommend hearing aids if appropriate but it is your choice whether you wish to proceed with this option.
If your question isn't covered here, you can Ask the Audiologist.