Questions Everyone Needs Answers For

What does a free hearing screening test entail? - Click for Answer

This is a core “air conduction” test that establishes your baseline hearing ability. It immediately tells us if your hearing is ‘normal’ or starting to show signs of decline, and what the consequences are. If any unusual factors are noted a full diagnostic test battery is done, sometimes leading to a specialist referral. These additional tests, if required, are charged at minimum medical aid rates.

Will I get used to wearing hearing aids? - Click for Answer

Modern hearing aids are small, light and discreet with exceptional sound quality. The aids are also comfortable and don’t create a voice-in-a-barrel sensation. Whistling is also a thing of the past. Nevertheless, a certain amount of rehabilitation is required to get used to amplification as well as the physical feel in your ears. However, once this is achieved after a few weeks, it actually feels desirable and normal to have your hearing restored. You feel disorientated and ‘fuzzy’ when you are not wearing your aids – a bit like walking through the day with a blanket over your head.

Are two hearing aids necessary? - Click for Answer

Would an Optometrist just fit you with one lens if you needed reading glasses? A binaural (both ears) hearing aid fitting creates a three dimensional soundscape – you can locate where sound is coming from and how high/low or far away it is. Wearing two aids also enables you to separate speech from background noise much better than only one. Balance is improved and both aids can be set to a more natural level. There are actually 15 scientific reasons why two ears are better than one. However, if one ear is notably worse than the other, it is fine to fit the worse ear as a start (providing it is not severely impaired).

Will wearing hearing aids make my hearing worse? - Click for Answer

No. The opposite is true. Because we hear with the brain, not the ears the auditory cortex actually interprets speech better the more you wear the aids. Like a foreign language that you no longer hear or speak, if you don’t hear it or practice it, you forget it. Hearing speech properly again actually improves understanding or “speech discrimination.” It is also for this reason that one should use your hearing aids all the time and not just for special occasions. The more the brain is trained to interpret sounds through a hearing aid, the better you do. (PS. The concern comes from spectacles where the muscles that accommodate the lens become lazy and eventually necessitate stronger glasses. There are no such muscles in the ear that gets lazy. Quite the opposite, hearing clearly is good for a multitude of factors, not just words: balance is improved, better memory, less risk of early onset dementia, less risk of depression.)

So, do I actually need hearing aids? - Click for Answer

Hearing loss does not mean one is deaf. When one is deaf, there is no sound detection at all. Most people, especially with natural ageing (and noise exposure), lose certain frequencies only, especially high frequencies or consonant sounds, the beginning and ends of words. This means that speech is loud enough, but not clear enough. Or putting the TV louder is just more disturbing, but not any clearer. In the same way that we accept reading glasses to ‘see clearly’ we should understand the eventual need for hearing aids to ‘hear clearly’. Better hearing means a better quality of life: less repetition, less misunderstanding, less frustration, less stress. Better connection with friends, family and co-workers.

My partner seems to mumble. Is it me or them? - Click for Answer

It’s true that when speaking to close family we tend not to project our voice deliberately, or just start talking when there is background noise or they are in another room. However, in our experience, it is also because one party has ‘selective hearing loss’ – this does not mean that they hear only what they want to! It means that selective high frequency nerve cells are damaged which leads to a lack of clarity. Hence hearing only part of the word or guessing the wrong meaning. A free hearing test will reveal all!

How much do they cost? - Click for Answer

We offer a range of instruments from about R9000 each to R35000 each. They all have different features and options depending on your needs, however all of them will achieve clinical targets and give you back your hearing. Advanced aids tend to have more setting options, use environmental classifiers, AI and have a very natural sound quality, as well as being better in background noise. However, there is a limit to how much you should pay for an ‘advanced aid’. Just because it costs a fortune (e.g. over R100,000.00 per set) it does not necessarily mean that it will perform better than an advanced, proven, mid-priced product using the very latest technology. We offer a real-life trial so that you can measure the benefits for yourself.

Sometimes I take my hearing aids out and I can hear fine. Has my hearing loss gone? - Click for Answer

Hearing loss of the nerves in the cochlea is permanent. But your brain (we hear with the brain) has revived its understanding of sound by wearing the aids. When you take it out, brain can temporarily remember the fine “cues” to which it is now accustomed, so you feel the hearing loss has improved. But if you were to stop wearing the aids, brain would lose the subtle elements in speech, again.

My friend doesn’t wear her hearing aids any more. She doesn’t like the sound, and she says they are uncomfortable. Will this happen to me? - Click for Answer

Too many hearing aids are lying in a bedside drawer, not being used. It is probably a minor adjustment that is required to make the fitting comfortable and the settings effective in helping the hearing loss. Keep going back to your practitioner until they really work! We have an open door policy without any consulting fees for the life of the aid. In this way you are assured of a great result without endless costs.

The hearing aids make background noise too loud. What can be done? - Click for Answer

Most hearing aids work very well in a quiet room with good acoustics (no echo). However, it is extremely challenging for technology to remove all background noise and leave only the speech signal. Billions are spent annually trying to improve this and huge strides have been made. More advanced aids definitely do a better job than older technology. Your dispenser can also improve the directional setting to improve speech in noise etc. The other factor is that some people’s auditory systems (the domino reactions from ear to brain) are very disrupted by competing signal from noise, other people have a more plastic and capable auditory processing ability and are not that thrown out by background noise. Hence, two people with the same degree of hearing loss can experience quite different results in challenging environments.

I can’t hear the TV. Shouldn’t the hearing aids be helping that? - Click for Answer

A good hearing aid will definitely help with hearing the TV better, but TV sound is generally poor these days, especially TV dramas and films, because the producers like to put music and sound effects behind the actor’s speech. Often this noise makes it impossible to make out what is being said. Even people with normal hearing have this difficulty now. Turning up the sound doesn’t help; the TV is then louder, but not clearer. Hearing aids can be connected to a wireless “Streamer” which enhances the speech on TV greatly. Dedicated TV ears can also be supplied. Speak to your practitioner about this.