Buying hearing aids

Hearing problems can be medically corrected. One should always visit a physician who can refer you to an otolaryngologist, an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Again if one has ear pain, drainage, excess earwax, hearing loss in only one ear, sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss, or dizziness, it is especially important that one can see an otolaryngologist. Then, one should get a hearing assessment from an audiologist, a nonphysician health care professional. It is not necessary to have a screening test from a hearing aid dealer. Many otolaryngologists have an audiologist associate in their office that will assess your ability to hear pure tone sounds and to understand words. The results of these tests show the degree of hearing loss and whether it is conductive or sensorineural and also give other medical information about the ears and health. There are various sorts of hearing loss, namely, Conductive Hearing Loss & Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The first one is conductive when there is a problem with the ear canal, the eardrum and/or the three bones connected to the eardrum. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are a plug of excess wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery may be available for these and more complex forms of conductive hearing loss. The second one is sensorineural when it results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve, often as a result of the aging process and/or noise exposure. Sounds may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing aids may help one reclaim some sounds that you are missing as a result of nerve deafness.

Tips for buying a hearing aid

Because federal regulation prohibits any hearing aid sale unless the buyer has first received a medical evaluation from a physician, one is required to see the physician before purchase of a hearing aid. However, the regulation says that if one is more than 18 years old and is aware of the recommendation to receive a medical exam, they may sign a waiver to forego the exam. An otolaryngologist, audiologist, or an independent dispenser can dispense aids. Hearing aids should be custom fitted to one's ear and hearing needs. Hearing aids purchased by mail order typically cannot be custom fitted.


Usually, if one has a hearing loss in both ears, using two hearing aids is best. Listening in a noisy environment is difficult with amplification in one ear only, and it is more difficult to distinguish where sounds are coming from.

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