Educating you on hearing care solutions.
Hearing healthcare is a partnership between the audiologist and the patient. We want to make sure you’re informed and confident that you understand your hearing situation as well as your treatment options. If you ever have any questions about your treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help, and we promise there’s no such thing as an unnecessary question, especially when it comes to your health or your child’s health.
We find that many patients have the same questions, so we have put together this collection of answers to address the most common questions we hear. If your question isn’t included on our list, let us know.
Hearing loss means that something in your hearing system is not working as well as it should be. Your hearing system includes the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear, and the brain, which handles auditory processing, or understanding and interpreting the sounds you hear. If any part of this system has a problem, you won’t be able to fully hear and understand the world around you.
Hearing loss can be caused by many things. Sometimes it’s just a part of aging or the result of a part of your ear or your child’s ear not developing properly. It can also be caused by illness, exposure to loud noises, or something clogging your ear, among other reasons.
Hearing loss falls into three categories:
- Conductive hearing loss, which means that something is blocking sound in your outer or middle ear. This can be a result of cerumen (earwax) buildup or fluid caused by infection. Treatment includes medicine or surgery to remove the blockage.
- Sensorineural hearing loss, which indicates a problem with your hearing nerve. This kind of hearing loss generally can’t be fixed by surgery or medication, but it can be treated with hearing devices that help overcome the loss.
- Mixed hearing loss, a combination of the other two. Usually patients with mixed hearing loss see a doctor to treat their conductive hearing loss and then an audiologist to find a device that can help with the sensorineural damage.
We know some of our patients feel that there’s still a stigma around wearing hearing aids. But our youngest hearing aid patients are three months old, and our oldest are one hundred!
Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate between ages, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve gotten old. In fact, consider how much younger you’ll feel if you can hear the world around you and stay active, instead of having to ask people to repeat themselves or not taking part in conversations.
We want our patients to understand that hearing aids aren’t an immediate, instant cure. There’s definitely an adaptation process. Your brain has slowly lost your sense of hearing over a long period of time, so when we start providing amplification, we have to do it slowly over a period of time too. Typically over the period of a month, we gradually ease people into hearing aids until they reach their prescribed setting so it’s never too much at one time.
We customize the process for each patient because everyone adapts differently. Some people adapt right away; some people may take longer than our usual month. When you get your hearing aids, you’ll notice many details that you might have forgotten about – the world is full of so many sounds you haven’t been able to hear for a long time!
Give it a chance and know that it’s normal to notice things like the refrigerator humming or the floor creaking around you. Make sure you continue wearing your hearing aids regularly and eventually your brain and your ears will adjust.
These devices are incredibly powerful and life-changing, but because they require surgery, we understand that choosing to get them is a big decision. We specialize in working with patients who need cochlear implants or BAHAs, and we have the expertise to tell whether they would make a difference for you. If we think you or your child might benefit from these devices, we’ll walk you through the entire process so you understand what they would mean for you and what you can expect. We’ll make sure you have all the information you need to make an educated decision.
Most of the time, the answer is yes. But as hard as that can seem, it means that your child will be able to develop speech and language and communicate like their peers. Just like some children need to wear glasses to see clearly, some children need hearing aids to hear – but having that extra bit of assistance allows them to get the most out of life.
Learning that your child has hearing loss can be overwhelming, and it’s natural to have a lot of questions. We’ve worked with many children with hearing loss over the years and have seen them grow to lead happy, active lives. We want you to feel comfortable asking questions and relying on us as your partners in your child’s hearing healthcare journey.
When we opened Hearing Professionals of Alabama, one of our goals was to enable families to have one single hearing professional who can help with every step of the process, from diagnosis to fitting devices to ongoing treatment.
Early Detection is Important
- Does not startle to loud sounds (0-3 months)
- Does not calm or respond with cooing at the sound of a familiar voice (0-3 months)
- Does not make babbling sounds (4-9 months)
- Does not turn to sources of sound (4-9 months)
- Does not smile when spoken to (4-9 months)
- Does not respond to his/her name (9-15 months)
- Does not say single words (ex: “mama” “dada”) (9-15 months)
- Does not understand simple requests (9-15 months)
- Does not point to/name body parts (15-23 months)
- Does not follow simple commands (15-23 months)
- Does not name common objects (15-23 months)
- Does not put two or more words together (15-23 months)
- Does not listen to stories, songs, and rhymes (15-23 months)
- Is difficult to understand due to speech/articulation problems
- Does not reply when called
- Responds inappropriately to questions
- Often asks for repetitions “huh” or “what?”
- Has difficulty with academics
- Does not appear to follow directions