Identifying Hearing Loss

It can sometimes be hard to admit you might have hearing loss, but it's very common among people of all ages, and it can be very easy to treat. Some of the symptoms are regularly asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV too loud (so that family members keep telling you to turn it down), or noticing that other people seem to mumble when they speak. You might also have ringing in your ears (tinnitus).

Ask yourself the following questions, and if you answer yes to one or more, then it may be time to make an appointment.

  • Do you hear, but not understand?
  • Do you have a hard time identifying speech in noisy evironments?
  • Do you often feel tired or stressed out during conversations?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding social situations?
  • Do you find yourself frequently denying hearing problems?
Friends in rock band

Causes of Hearing Loss

Contrary to what you may believe, hearing loss isn't just caused by getting older. Hearing loss occurs in all types of people, regardless of age. There are many different reasons why a person might experience hearing loss, but two of the most common are infections and exposure to loud noise. If you work in a loud environment, have attended loud concerts without hearing protection, or have fired a gun, your hearing may be damaged, even if it's been a long time since those events. That's why it's important to protect your hearing any time you are exposed to loud noise.

ENT doing ear exam with otoscope

Types of Hearing Loss (& How They're Treated)

There are three types of hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when a patient has a lot of wax buildup, ear infections, drainage in the ear, or another sort of obstruction. If we suspect conductive hearing loss, we'll refer you to an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) doctor to figure out what you need and get medical clearance for hearing aids in case the ENT can't fix the problem.

Sensorineural hearing loss means the ear canal is clear, everything looks good, but the cochlear nerve itself is damaged. In that case, hearing aids are the only solution, and we won't need to refer you to an ENT; we'll just work to help you find the right hearing aids for you.

The third is mixed hearing loss, which refers to a combination of the two. In that case, we refer you to an ENT for treatment and medical clearance for hearing aids. Most likely this will involve the removal of ear wax to eliminate some of the problem and then hearing aids to solve the rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

The decision to try hearing aids can be a daunting one for some; hopefully our answers to common questions below will help to show that there's really nothing to be afraid of.

Oticon Opn hearing aid

Q. Will my hearing aids be obvious to other people?

A. If you imagine that hearing aids are all large and bulky like they used to be, don't worry — modern hearing aids are actually quite small and discreet while being more powerful than ever. Some models of hearing aids are virtually invisible. The signs of hearing loss — such as constantly asking, ‘what?’ and not responding to people when they speak to you - are actually more obvious to others than your hearing aid would be.

Q. Do hearing aids work in loud, crowded environments?

A. Yes! Hearing aids in the past might just have turned the volume up on everything, but modern hearing aids are much smarter. These days, technology can reduce background noise and focus on speech, making conversations easy.

There are even accessories that you can hand to people during conversations, so you can clearly hear them even if there is a lot of noise around. When you come to your first appointment, let us know what sort of environments you find yourself in — whether you like going to concerts or want to attend your grandchild's sporting event — and we'll find hearing aids that will let you make the most of everything you love.

Q. What if I try hearing aids and I don't like them?

A. We at Virtue Hearing want to make sure you are comfortable with your hearing aids and that they're the right fit for you. Our 14-day trial means you have enough time to really test out a pair of hearing aids before you put any money down. Most of the time, if someone doesn't like their hearing aids, we can make adjustments to address their concerns — for example, if you don't like the sound or the fit, we can help make the acoustics and the feel of your hearing aids more comfortable.

We do recommend giving your hearing aids a fair chance by wearing them at least four to six hours a day for those two weeks and by letting us know if something specifically isn't working about them. However, if you decide that hearing aids aren't right for you, as long as you return them within that window, you won't have to pay a cent.

Q. Why do I need two hearing aids instead of just one?

A. It might seem like you could save money by purchasing only a single hearing aid, but then you run the risk of damaging your other ear because your brain might start focusing exclusively on the "better" ear and let the "worse" ear go. If sound is coming equally from both ears, you can hear just as clearly at a lower volume because of something called binaural loudness summation — both ears work together for a better result at a lower volume. Your brain will also be better able to identify where a sound is coming from if your ears let it work in stereo.

Q. How long do hearing aids last?

A. On average, hearing aids tend to last 4-5 years if they are properly cared for, which is why we make sure to teach all our patients how to clean and take care of their hearing aids. We can keep reprogramming the same hearing aids as your hearing changes over the years, which saves you money and ensures that if you find a fit you really like, you won't have to keep getting used to something new.

Q. How often do I need to come in for a check-up?

A. We suggest that patients come see us every three to six months just to make sure everything's as it should be. We'll clean your ear and do a little maintenance cleaning on your hearing aids. We also recommend a full hearing screening once a year to check for changes to your hearing and reprogram your hearing aids if necessary.

Family at hearing appointment

Supporting a Friend or Family Member

(Who is Getting Hearing Aids for the First Time)

Come with your loved one to the first hearing consultation! We like to speak with the whole family about how to take care of the hearing aids, how to use them, and what to expect if problems occur. We'll counsel you and your loved one in cleaning, maintenance, inserting the hearing aids properly, and adjusting the volume. That way you'll be equipped to help if your loved one runs into any difficulties.

Remember to give your loved one the benefit of the doubt that they're trying hard to get used to the hearing aids. Remember that things won't improve magically and it will take time. You may have been used to talking in a loud voice, but once your loved one has hearing aids, speak to them at a normal volume. The hearing aids are going to give them the amplification they need to hear closer to a normal level. That means no more shouting in the house!

Make Your Appointment

We offer free hearing tests, free consultations, and a 14-day free hearing aid trial for all new patients!

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We are open Monday-Friday, from 9:00am-5:00pm. We do take weekend appointments or late/early appointments by request. Call today at (323) 530-0223.

If you have insurance, bring your insurance card and ID so we can verify your benefits. We recommend bringing at least one family member to support you and offer another perspective on your hearing. Otherwise, just be prepared to talk about what you've noticed about your hearing and what you hope to change.

© 2018 Virtue Hearing Aid Center @ Montebello, California
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(323) 530-0223
134 S. Montebello Blvd, Montebello CA, 90640
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