Frequently Asked Questions
What symptoms indicate the need for a medical evaluation?
If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek the attention of a medical professional as soon as possible:
- Pain or ache in the ear
- Bleeding/draining from your ears
- Head trauma
- Sudden hearing loss
- Problems with your balance or dizziness
- Fluctuating hearing loss
- Ringing in ears
- Feeling of fullness or pressure in ears
Does earwax cause hearing loss?
earwax, also called "cerumen", is an oily substance your body creates to protect your ear canal. Many people are concerned they produce too much earwax, but there's generally no cause for concern. It's possible for earwax to build up and partially or completely obstruct the ear canal. This can result in a mild to moderate hearing loss. Most of the time, once the wax is removed the hearing is restored. Your Sonus hearing health care professional can let you know if you have a wax buildup and how it can be removed.
What is the ringing sound in my head/ears?
This is called tinnitus. It's usually an indication of some damage to your auditory system (especially noise damage). It can be constant or periodic and on one specific side or in the middle of your head. There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are methods that can minimize its impact. Sometimes hearing aids help by bringing more sound to the brain, thus distracting attention from the ringing. If you have ringing consistently on one side, you should ask your doctor about it.
Where should I go to have my hearing tested?
There are many options. Audiologists are university-trained hearing care professionals who hold masters and doctoral degrees in Audiology. Hearing Instrument Specialists (HIS) are hearing professionals that are specifically trained in hearing aids and their function. Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physicians specialize in hearing losses that are medically treatable. Most hospitals and many universities have an audiology clinic that provides testing. Sonus offers free professional hearing screenings. You can set one up at a Sonus location near you.
Fact v. Fiction
FICTION: Hearing Aids are expensive and not worth the money
FACT: Hearing aids do require an investment, but how much you invest is totally up to you. These days there are many choices including various levels of technology and styles to fit almost any lifestyle and budget. We recommend you find a licensed professional to conduct a thorough evaluation to determine your prescriptive needs and preferences based on your lifestyle. To ensure your satisfaction, most states offer an adjustment period during which you can return your hearing aids for a refund. California mandates 45 days. At Sonus, we provide a full 75 days to be sure we have plenty of time to get your fitting just right. If you’re not totally satisfied, we’ll return 100% of your money within the 75-day trial. It’s that simple.
FICTION: Hearing loss affects only older people.
FACT: People of all ages are affected by hearing loss. It can develop in young children and is becoming more and more common in people from the teenage years to age 40, probably due to an increase in environmental noise. An estimated 60% of people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
FICTION: My doctor would tell me if I had hearing loss or needed hearing aids
FACT: Unfortunately, only 15% of physicians routinely screen their adult patients for hearing loss. Most physicians receive very little, if any, training on hearing loss and treatment options. Also consider that a quiet doctor’s office is an ideal environment for conversation and usually won’t be a problem area for those affected by mild to moderate hearing loss. Hearing loss is easy to miss in quiet situations, especially at early onset.
FICTION: My hearing isn’t that bad. It won’t hurt to wait a while to get help.
FACT: Untreated hearing loss can cause auditory deprivation. The auditory center of the brain needs constant stimulation to remain healthy. If you’re missing any parts of words or environmental sounds, this area of your brain can get lazy and “forget” how to process sounds. This means that when you DO decide to get help, hearing aids won’t help as much as if you’d gotten them sooner. Recent studies have also connected untreated hearing loss to greater risks of Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression and other medical conditions that impact quality of life.
FICTION: My hearing is not the problem. People mumble and talk to fast.
FACT: Hearing and Understanding are different. Hearing loss typically occurs gradually over time and usually affects the high pitches first. People often complain of missing parts of words. It’s true. You may HEAR parts of the word, but without all the information, you may not UNDERSTAND what you’re hearing. To make matters worse, many words in the English language sounds very similar with only one letter or two difference. You may find yourself confusing words or misunderstanding conversations. Here are some common early signs of hearing loss: You frequently ask the speaker to repeat what was said. You have difficulty understanding telephone conversations. You turn up the volume on the radio or television to levels that are too loud for others (and sometimes for you too) You have difficulty following conversations in groups or in the presence of background noise. You have ringing or buzzing in your ear.
FICTION: Hearing loss doesn’t run in my family, so I should be fine
FACT: Hearing loss isn’t always hereditary. There are numerous causes of hearing loss and it can occur gradually over a number of years or suddenly. Some common reasons for hearing loss include:
- The normal aging process (Presbyacusis)
- Extended exposure to loud noise (military, hunting, music, power tools, industrial noise)
- Heredity Chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- Certain life-saving medications (ototoxic)
- Head injury
- Repeated ear infections
- Earwax buildup
FICTION: Hearing Aids will make me look old
FACT: Hearing Aids these days can be pretty small depending on how much amplification you need. In most cases, you’d have to look very closely to even see them. The symptoms of hearing loss are often more noticeable than any hearing aid. In fact, many individuals are mistakenly labeled as senile or assumed to suffer from dementia simply because they aren’t hearing things correctly and respond inappropriately or not at all. A visit to a hearing care professional for a demonstration of the latest models can quickly alleviate concerns related to appearance.
- Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate! Over six million people ages 18-44 have hearing loss.
- According to the Better Hearing Institute, nine out of 10 people report an increase in quality of life after getting hearing aids.
- Did you know more than 90% of hearing loss cases can be improved with hearing aids?
- Even mild hearing loss can require treatment and the longer you wait to seek it, the more time your hearing can further deteriorate.
- There isn’t one “best hearing aid” for everyone. The best hearing aid for you depends on your hearing loss, lifestyle and activities.
- Buying hearing aids online may seem cheaper, but they don’t include a hearing screening, hearing specialist consultation and check-ups to keep the device in optimal condition!
- Extended exposure to noise is one of the top causes for hearing loss.
- Your ears never stop hearing, even when you sleep! But our brain learns to ignore the sounds.