Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids & Hearing Protection

Hearing and understanding provide a vital link to the world around you.  They enable you to communicate and interact with others and are a source of enjoyment and information. Hearing loss can creep up gradually, impacting your ability to actively participate in life.  Some sounds become difficult to hear while others remain audible.  Communication becomes more challenging and requires more effort, especially in the presence of background noise. Making the decision to have your hearing tested is the first step toward improving the quality of your life.

If you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, you should have your hearing evaluated by an Audiologist who can perform a thorough hearing test and offer advice.

Range of Hearing Loss

Mild hearing loss
Soft noises are not heard. Understanding speech is difficult in a loud environment.

Moderate hearing loss
Soft and moderately loud noises are not heard. Understanding speech becomes very difficult if background noise is present.

Severe hearing loss
Conversations have to be conducted loudly. Group conversations are possible only with a lot of effort.

Profound hearing loss
Some very loud noises are heard. Without a hearing aid or cochlear implant, communication is no longer possible even with intense effort.

Measuring Hearing Loss

An audiogram is a graphic representation of your hearing ability. During a hearing test, your hearing is checked at different frequencies/pitches. Speech testing is performed to measure your word recognition and speech discrimination abilities. 

Hearing Aids

Ear and Balance Institute offers complimentary comprehensive hearing aid evaluations.
Call for an appointment today.

There are many highly sophisticated hearing aids available today, and many factors to be considered when choosing the right hearing aid.  What works well for someone else may not be suitable for your hearing needs.

The following combination will assist in deciding which hearing aid and hearing aid features will be most beneficial in meeting your specific needs;

“Often, patients have had an unsuccessful or unpleasant hearing aid experience, or they have heard stories about expensive hearing aids that sit in a drawer. They are left with the misconception that hearing aids don’t work, but this is not true. With appropriate hearing aid technology customized to meet the patients hearing needs and an expert fit, a hearing aid can add quality to the life of someone with a hearing loss and those around them. I see it every day.”

-Dr. Harvey


Unilateral / Asymmetrical Hearing Loss & Single Sided Deafness

Patients with “one good ear and one bad ear” can benefit from a hearing aid system. The individual situation will determine an appropriate recommendation.

CROS / BiCROS is a stylish wireless solution that consist of two parts- a transmitter microphone for the ear that cannot benefit from a hearing aid, and a receiver hearing instrument on the better hearing ear. This means that your poorer hearing side is wirelessly sent to your better side.

BAHA - Bone Conduction Hearing Aid is a minimally invasive implanted system that drives sound using bone conduction. It is designed for people with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss or single sided deafness (one deaf ear) or those who cannot otherwise wear 'in the ear' or 'behind the ear' hearing aids. The name Baha is a trademark.

Cochlear Implant

When hearing loss exceeds the limit of benefits from a hearing aid, cochlear implantation may be recommended.

Cochlear Implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

Cochlear implants may help provide hearing in patients who are deaf because of damage to sensory hair cells in their inner ears. Cochlear implants can often enable sufficient hearing for better understanding of speech. The quality of sound is different from natural hearing with less sound information being received and processed by the brain. However, many patients are able to hear and understand speech and environmental sounds.

Hearing Conservation/Noise Protection

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. It can affect people of all ages, including children, teens, young adults, and older people. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as a gunshot blast, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as industrial related noise.

Recreational activities can also put you at risk for NIHL.  These activities include target shooting and hunting, ATV riding, using earbuds or headphones while listening at high volume levels, attending loud concerts and sporting events, exposure to live bands and clubs. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, weed eaters, power tools and woodworking tools are common encounters at home that increase your risk of NIHL.

We highly recommend custom-fit hearing protection for work and leisure noise exposure. Call for a consult today.

According the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD),   if you understand the hazards of noise and how to practice good hearing health, you can protect your hearing for life. Here’s how:

NIDCD list of average decibel ratings of some familiar sounds:

The humming of a refrigerator = 45 decibels 

Normal conversation = 60 decibels 

Noise from heavy city traffic = 85 decibels 

Motorcyles = 95 decibels

An MP3 player at maximum volume = 105 decibels

Sirens = 120 decibels 

Firecrackers and firearms = 150 decibels 

Reference: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/noise.aspx