Hearing problems begin gradually most of the times, without discomfort or pain. What's more, family members often learn to adapt to someone's hearing loss, without even realizing they are doing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether hearing loss is present:

  • Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
  • Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless I'm facing the speaker?
  • Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?
  • Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls, and meeting rooms?
  • Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
  • Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
  • Do I experience ringing or buzzing in my ears?

If you answered "yes" to two or more of these questions, chances are you do suffer from hearing loss.

If I had hearing loss, why didn't my doctor tell me?
Not necessarily, only about 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor's office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem. Only a trained hearing professional can - after conducting proper hearing tests - determine severity of your hearing problem, whether or not you can benefit from a hearing aid and which type will be best for you.

What are the most common hearing loss causes?
There are several causes, the main ones include - excessive noise, infections, genetics, birth defects, injuries to the head or ear, aging and reaction to drugs or cancer treatment.

Are there different types of hearing loss?
Yes. There are three types of hearing loss:

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
    The most common type, it occurs when the inner ear nerves (and hair cells) are damaged and do not properly transmit auditory signals to the brain. Can be treated with hearing aids.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss:
    Is typically the result of obstructions in the ear. Can usually be treated medically or surgically.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss:
    A combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Doesn't hearing loss only affect old people?
Hearing loss can occur at any time, at any age. In fact, most people with hearing loss (65%) are younger than age 65!

Are there operations or medications I can take for hearing loss?
Only 5% of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The other 95% with hearing loss are treated with hearing aids.

Won't wearing a hearing aid make me look old or weak?
While you are concerned about appearance, compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding - or not responding at all - to people talking or even withdrawing from social situations is more obvious than wearing a hearing aid. Today's digital hearing aids are small, discreet and stylish than ever before, some hearing aids are even invisible. Once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won't be as much of an issue for you.

How will a hearing aid improve my quality of life?
Research on people with hearing loss and their life partners has shown that hearing aids play a significant factor in a person's social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being. More specifically, treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve:

  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Earning power
  • Sense of control over your life
  • Social participation
  • Perception of mental functioning
  • Emotional stability

When you consider all the benefits of better hearing, you can see that hearing aids hold great potential to positively change your life.

How do hearing aids work?
At their most basic, hearing aids are microphones that convert sound into electrical signals, an amplifier increases the strength of the signal, then a receiver converts it back to sound and channels it into the ear canal through a small tube or earmold. A battery is necessary to power the hearing aid and to enable amplification. Today's digital hearing aids are sophisticated, state-of-the-art instruments that require computer programming to adjust to your specific lifestyle and listening environments.

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing?
While no hearing aid can restore your hearing to perfectly normal (except in cases of very mild hearing loss), modern digital hearing aids are designed to let you hear soft sounds that you couldn't hear before and prevent loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud for you. They are also designed to improve ability to understand speech, even in noisy environments.

Will I be able to hear in noisy places?
While no hearing aid can filter out all background noise, most quality hearing aids are designed to reduce background noises so that you can enjoy conversation and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings and social gatherings.

What are the different types and styles of hearing aids?
Today's digital hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes and styles - from those that sit behind the ear to completely invisible hearing aids - that feature different technology levels to match your specific hearing needs and budget.

How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?
There are several factors that will determine which hearing aid will be the right one for you. They include the nature and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, activities that you regularly enjoy, your job, your eyesight and dexterity and the size and shape of your outer ear and inner ear canal. Our hearing professionals will be able to advise you as to the best choice for you.

What are some advances in hearing aid technology?
Like many other high-tech devices (TVs, Phones, Computers), hearing aids have experienced major technological revolution in the past decade and especially in the last couple years. The best of today's digital hearing aids are designed to virtually eliminate feedback; make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable; stream stereo sound from TVs and radios directly to the hearing aid itself and much more. All in instruments that are smaller (in some cases, invisible) and more comfortable and powerful than ever before.

Is there an adjustment period to wearing hearing aids?
Yes. Most people need an adjustment period of up to four months before becoming acclimated to - and receiving the full benefit of - wearing their hearing aids. However, you should expect to notice demonstrable benefits right away.

Will I need a hearing aid for both ears?
Two-ear hearing (called "binaural") is better than one. If you have hearing loss in only one ear, you may be fine with one hearing aid. Age and noise - related hearing loss tend to affect both ears, but your hearing profile for each ear is probably different. If there is a loss in both ears, you will probably benefit more with a binaural solution. Today, about two-thirds of new users opt for dual hearing aids and as a group they report a higher level of satisfaction than purchasers of a single hearing aid.

How much do hearing aids cost?
The fact is there are nearly as many technology and hearing aid price options as there are levels of hearing loss. Some very sound hearing aid technologies cost much less and others that cost well above a lakh - Each. Which hearing aid is right for you depends on the level and complexity of your loss as well as your lifestyle needs. Ultimately, we're trying to use technology to compensate for impossibly intricate entity : the human ear. This requires a lot of sophistication in hearing aid technology, the result of expensive research & development and some very powerful circuitry in a very compact device. The key is to strike the right balance between hearing aid price and lifestyle needs. For a mild hearing loss and quiet lifestyle a lesser price hearing aid may be just fine. However, a more severe loss and a lifestyle that includes gatherings with family, friends and coworkers, may require a hearing aid priced around 2 - 3 lakhs with latest technology that utilizes directional microphones, speech preservation and other advanced features. Whether you would qualify for low cost basic hearing aid or will be better fit with one that costs lakh or even more, we can assure you that your life will improve as you take the necessary steps to better hearing.

Are Analog hearing aids any good?
These inexpensive hearing aid models are simply hearing amplifiers that will make everything louder (including all the ambient noises around you). They will not, for example - separate human voices from background noises or hear directional sounds like today's more sophisticated digital hearing aids are designed to do.