Frequently Asked Questions

About Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, Tinnitus and more.

In our over 20 years treating people with hearing loss, we've come across a lot of great questions. In an effort to help those searching online for answers, we've answered our most frequently asked questions below. We believe an educated patient is a happy patient and encourage our patients to ask our audiologists anything they'd like to know. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact us.

Schedule a consultation: (314) 835-9996

Are there different types of hearing loss?

Most hearing loss can be categorized as conductive, sensorineural or mixed. Treatment options vary for the different types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the neurons within the inner ear or auditory nerve dysfunction. It is typically irreversible and permanent. It affects the intensity (or loudness) of sound, but more often results in a lack of clarity of sounds, particularly speech. The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is prescriptive sound amplification through advanced hearing aids.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a condition or disease that blocks or impedes the movement of sound waves throughout the outer or middle ear. The result is a reduction in loudness or clarity of sound that reaches the inner ear. The treatment for conductive loss can vary and may include medical or surgical intervention. Your audiologist has been trained to make the appropriate medical referral when appropriate.

What causes hearing loss? Is it just part of aging?

While hearing loss is common as we age, there are many factors that can contribute to hearing loss. The ear requires healthy blood flow and the many nutrients of the blood supply to remain healthy. Anything that disrupts the blood supply or alters the body chemistry may cause auditory side effects. Here is a list of some common causes of hearing loss.

  • Excessive Noise Exposure (prolonged loud music, gun shots, noisy machinery)
  • Infections
  • Head Injury
  • Genetics or Birth Defects
  • Drug or Treatment Reaction (antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation)
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke

I can hear people talking but can't always understand what they are saying. Why?

Hearing loss may be worse in certain pitches than in others. Many times people lose their ability to hear higher frequencies - which are often a part of normal human speech. When you have a hearing loss, the brain is always plugging in missing information (redundancy), allowing you to understand what is said.

This process is very similar to a spell check on a computer. When the brain no longer has enough of a signal to plug in the missing information, the result is poor understanding of speech.

Hearing aids can be programmed to treat your hearing loss in the specific pitch regions that you need. The result is a greater understanding of speech in a variety of environments.

How do I know I should get a hearing test?

It takes most people several years to notice the gradual onset of hearing loss. So if you are starting to have problems hearing certain voices, if you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, if others seem to mumble, or if you need to turn the TV volume up to a level uncomfortable for others to enjoy – these are signs that it’s time to test your hearing.

Hearing loss is not something to hide or ignore. In fact, untreated hearing loss is more visible to others than hearing aids. Hearing loss can negatively affect one’s emotional and social well being, which can lead to depression, isolation from others, strained relationships, and insecurity.

A hearing test is simple for the patient and the cost is covered by almost all medical insurances, including Medicare.

What is an Audiologist?

Audiologists are health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Doctors of Audiology obtain their degree following a minimum of seven to eight years of college specializing in hearing science, auditory disorders and auditory rehabilitation (hearing aids).

A doctor told me hearing aids won't help me. Is that true?

When someone states that you cannot be helped, get a second opinion! Most physicians are not experts in hearing science and treatments. It’s acceptable to seek the expert advice of a hearing care professional like an audiologist and obtain a second opinion.

Breakthrough technological advances in the design and performance of hearing aids have given many people the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of amplification.

You should see an audiologist to have a thorough test to evaluate your hearing and discuss your options for improvement in your everyday hearing ability.

Do I need two hearing aids or can I get by with one?

Generally two-ear assistance is superior to that of a single instrument. Even in instances where hearing loss between the ears differ, two hearing aids can provide more balanced hearing.

Two devices help you to understand speech in noise or when there is more than one person speaking. With both ears aided it is easier to get a sense of where sounds are coming from.

Our highly trained doctors of audiology will make appropriate recommendations based on the results from your evaluation. However, one hearing aid is always better than no hearing aid at all.

I struggle hearing in groups. Will hearing aids help me follow conversations?

Yes, you will hear better by allowing your brain to receive more speech information. The digital advancements in hearing aids allow for selective reduction of frequencies where competing signals exists without negatively affecting the speech frequencies. Advanced hearing aids can also automatically adjust the scope of what we hear, removing competitive sounds that challenge our understanding.

My hearing is getting worse. If I get hearing aids now will I have to replace them soon?

With advanced digital technology, we are able to adjust the hearing aids when changes in your hearing occur. Rarely would we need to change a hearing aid due to changes in hearing. On average, people upgrade their hearing aids every 4-5 years, usually to take advantage of new technology.

Does insurance cover hearing aids?

Almost all medical insurance covers the cost of the hearing evaluation. Some medical insurance plans provide coverage for a portion of the expense for hearing aids as well. Generally, you pay something out-of-pocket for better hearing. Our staff will assist you with discovering if, and what amount of insurance coverage is available to you.

Which type of hearing aids work best?

Hearing aids come in many sizes and styles and are packaged according to performance capabilities. Your individual hearing loss, listening environments, options needed, cosmetic concerns, manual dexterity, and budget factor in finding the best individual solution. Greentree Hearing & Audiology will take the time to guide you through the process.

Why do some hearing aids cost more than others?

Hearing aids are priced according to performance capabilities. As with most technology, the devices that do more, cost more. In general, noise reduction capabilities improve as cost rises. Greentree Hearing & Audiology will work with you to match the right technology to your lifestyle, listening needs, and budget.

How can I help my hearing aids last longer?

The following tips will extend the life of your hearing aid:

  • Clean hearing aids as instructed. Wax buildup can damage your hearing aid.
  • Avoid hairspray and other hair products while wearing your hearing aids.
  • Power off hearing aids when not in use. This will also extend battery life.
  • Keep your hearing aids away from moisture and heat.
  • Replace dead batteries immediately.
  • Store your hearing aids and replacement batteries in a secure location: away from pets and small children.
  • See your audiologist every six months for a hearing aid check up.

Contact Greentree Hearing & Audiology with any questions you may have. Our friendly and well trained staff will be happy to assist you. Greentree Hearing & Audiology provides on-site repairs, hearing aid supplies/accessories, and hearing aid cleaning for all patients.

Are hearing aids difficult to get used to?

Today’s advanced hearing aids offer a variety of discrete and comfortable options. Award-winning designs have proven to be aesthetically appealing, naturally comfortable, and virtually unnoticeable. Greentree Audiology can provide great acoustical performance that is completely discrete.

Do I need aftercare visits after getting hearing aids?

Follow-up care is the most important aspect of any hearing aid fitting. Hearing aids require a period of re-training your hearing. Follow-up visits are always part of your treatment plan.

Periodic adjustments may be needed to optimize performance as characteristics of your loss change over time and to accommodate your preferences in various hearing situations.

Your hearing aids should also fit comfortably. If you experience changes in your ability to hear or problems with how your hearing aid fits, call Greentree Hearing & Audiology to set an appointment.

What is a digital hearing aid?

Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into a desired response based on your degree of hearing impairment. It is able to automatically adjust the incoming sound making soft sounds louder and loud sounds softer. This allows you to remain comfortable with the response of your hearing aid without even using a volume control. The digital response also includes information about a sound’s pitch allowing the aid to be custom-programmed to amplify certain sound frequencies more than others. Digital circuitry allows more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user’s unique hearing loss and to certain listening environments.

Where do I go if I need a hearing aid?

Well Greentree Audiology in St. Louis is a great choice! It's important to see a local provider you can trust. That is why we pride ourselves in the reputation we have built in our community. Come see what others are talking about and schedule an appointment today.

hearing aids and insurance

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