Frequently Asked Questions

If you are looking for more information on hearing aids or hearing loss, our experts at Accent Associates Hearing Aid Services Ltd would be glad to help. On this page, we have provided answers for commonly asked questions, but if you do not see an answer to your specific questions, please feel free to contact us.


What is a Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about 1 out of 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one. A hearing aid has 3 basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.


How Can Hearing Aids Help?

Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.


A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person’s hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.


How Can I Find Out If I Need a Hearing Aid?

If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, visit your physician, who may refer you to an otolaryngologist or audiologist. An otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders and will investigate the cause of the hearing loss. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.


7 Tips to Better Communication


1. Realize that large social groups, especially around a large dining room table are one of the most difficult environments for a person with hearing loss.


Be kind to yourself. Focus on the positive things that you can do and not on the negatives of what you have difficulty doing. Think the glass is half full, not half empty.


2. It is easier to talk with people one-on-one in a quiet environment than in a noisy living room.

  • Find a favourite friend or relative, and move the conversation into a quiet room or a quieter corner. Or play a game or read a story to a child, if that’s an option.
  • Help out in the kitchen where there are usually less people gathered. And if you help with some preparations, you’ll be doing something besides trying to hear.


3. When sitting down to dinner, make sure you choose a seat that is best for you! Here are some seating suggestions:

  • If you have a “better side”, seat yourself so that most people are on that side.
  • Seat yourself next to a person you usually have the least difficulty hearing or lip reading (avoid those folks with bushy mustaches and beards).
  • Seat yourself next to someone who usually has the patience to clue you in on what the conversation is about or the punch lines you’ll miss.
  • Try not to seat yourself facing a window, because the glare could make it difficult to see people’s faces.
  • Ask your host to turn off any background music during dinner. And if a football game is blaring from a TV, turn it off, or if that’s not an option, set it on mute.
  • Remember to be assertive about your needs, pleasant and polite, but assertive!


4. Conversation tips:

  • It’s inevitable that you will not be able to hear the conversation with many people talking and laughing at once. Content yourself with speaking with the people on either side of you.
  • If you start a conversation, then you’ll know what the topic is, so it will be easier to follow.
  • If you miss something, try to ask only for the part you missed, instead of just saying “what?”
  • Stay calm – you have a few options:
    • Ask the person next to you to tell you what was so funny.
    • Ask the person next to you to remember what was so funny, so they can tell you later.
    • Say “excuse me” to everyone at the table, and ask for the joke to be repeated, so you can get it too.
  • Remember that if you do this with a pleasant attitude, then people will usually want to help you out.


5. After-dinner strategies:

  • Volunteer to help out in the kitchen to get yourself away from that dining table with all the conversations and jokes you’re having trouble following.
  • Do not offer to wash the dishes! This will put your back to everyone in the kitchen, and you won’t be able to lip read. Offer to dry the dishes or put food away. Or just keep everyone company.
  • Offer to wash the dishes if you want to take time out from trying to hear everyone, and you still want to feel useful.


6. To drink or not to drink?


Some people’s lip reading skills tend to get worse when they drink. Some people’s lip reading skills tend to get better when they drink, because they’re more relaxed. And, of course, there are pros and cons of drinking that have an impact on mood. Be aware of what works best for you. And remember, if you do drink, do so responsibly and never drink and drive.


7. Assistive listening devices


There are assistive listening devices, such as personal amplifiers and auxiliary microphones that can help you hear in noisy environments. These can work either in conjunction with your hearing aid or cochlear implant or directly in your ears. They have been particularly helpful for older relatives who are left out of the loop in large family gatherings. If you need more information about these devices, please ask us!

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