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Our Massachusetts Audiology Office Answers Questions About Hearing Tests and Hearing Aids

We have heard so many questions about hearing loss and hearing aids that we have decided to share the answers with the world. Visit our FAQ page to get the facts on common hearing aid devices, testing methods, types of hearing loss, tinnitus, and more.

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  • At what age does hearing loss start?

    Most people still think of hearing loss as an “old age” phenomena. While it’s true that many of our patients are senior citizens, the average age of our patients is getting younger and younger.

    I used to say that hearing begins to deteriorate at age 21. But, with the use of iPods and iPhones to listen to music, hearing loss has begun to occur much younger. Seven percent of teens have some permanent hearing loss.

    Will I Have Hearing Loss?

    One of the biggest changes that comes ever so slightly is a change in our hearing. If a close member of your family has or had a hearing loss, it is likely that you too will have a hearing loss as you age. We live is such a noisy society, it is likely that your hearing will worsen as you get older.

  • How can an audiologist help me?

    Hearing seems to be the sense we forget about. Most people don’t have their hearing tested on a regular basis. If you have not had your hearing tested since you were in grammar school, it is a good idea to have a baseline evaluation. For a baseline hearing evaluation for your medical record, it is best to see an audiologist.

    Audiologists Are Hearing Doctors

    An audiologist is licensed and trained to do diagnostic hearing and balance testing. Audiologists can do specialized hearing testing to determine the type of hearing loss a person has. If a person has an ear infection, the audiogram or picture of hearing will be different than a person with sensorineural hearing loss. A person with an acoustic tumor will usually show indications on the hearing test.

    Medical training for an audiologist includes the anatomy and physiology of the outer, middle, and inner ear. Checking the ear canals for wax, cuts, and perforations in the tympanic membrane and other abnormalities prior to a hearing test is part of the process. Audiologists can remove Cerumen or wax from the ear canal.

    There is extensive training in cochlear implants and programming of the devices. Cochlear implants are for people who have little help from the use of hearing aids, and have a profound sensorineural hearing loss. It involves surgery done by an ear, nose and throat physician. After healing, the implants are activated and programmed for each individual.

    Audiologists May Specialize in Different Areas

    Audiologists are trained in selling and fitting hearing aids. Some specialize in working with children. Others specialize in balance and dizziness. Some specialize in industrial audiology.

    Where Do Audiologists Work?

    Audiologists work in private practice, hospitals, the Veteran’s Administration, physician offices, and hearing aid manufacturers. Many audiologists work in an ear, nose, and throat physician’s office to test children with possible ear infections. Some work for hearing aid manufacturers to develop better hearing aids. And, of course, some audiologists teach and do research at universities. 

  • How often should I have my hearing tested?

    Girl taking yearly hearing testIt can be difficult for an adult to judge how often his or her hearing should be tested. For adults under age 50, once per year is generally a good rule of thumb for a hearing examination. However, age is only one factor when it comes to determining the frequency of necessary hearing exams.

    Patients who may need hearing testing more often than usual include:

    • Children. Most children under age 18 should have a short hearing evaluation at their regular yearly doctors' appointments. In the teenage years, these tests may be done every other year, but patients who have a family history of hearing problems should get tested at least annually.
    • Seniors. Patients over the age of 50 should have their hearing tested at least annually, but many will benefit from more frequent testing. Hearing loss risk increases significantly with age, so older patients should consider having a checkup twice yearly.
    • Those who work around loud noises. More and more patients are losing their hearing early in life due to excessive noise levels. Employees who work in construction, factories, industrial sites, branches of the military, or in the music industry should consider twice-yearly hearing screenings, and should always wear ear protection while on the job.
    • Hearing loss sufferers. Anyone who has a history of hearing problems or has begun to suffer hearing loss symptoms should schedule a hearing exam as soon as possible rather than wait for a regular yearly exam. Trouble hearing can be a sign of an underlying condition, so getting a hearing check-up can protect your ears and overall health.
    • People with hearing aids. Hearing aid users may need frequent adjustment of their devices as their hearing needs change. A hearing test every few months will allow your audiologist to reprogram and adjust the fit of the device to ensure optimum correction for your hearing loss.

    Call Us Today to Get Your Hearing Tested

    Our board-certified audiologists perform all of our hearing testing services for all ages, and advise each patient on the best treatment options for his or her lifestyle. Call the number on this page or fill out our online form to make an appointment in our Wakefield or Wilmington offices today!

  • How long will a battery last in a hearing aid?

    There are a variety of factors that affect the battery life in a hearing aid. You would think that since voltage of 1.45v is the same on all the batteries, the length of use would be the same. But, it is not true. If the person’s hearing is severe to pr ofound, the battery drain is higher and therefore less battery use length . As the physical size of the batteries decrease, there is less room for the ingredients needed to p ower the battery . The smaller the bat tery, the less the battery life will be.

    Some clients wear their hearing aids twelve to sixteen hours a day. They will have fewer days per battery because battery life is measured in hours of use. If you only wear the hearing aids for a few hours a day, the batteries will last a little longer. However, wearing the hearing aids only a few hours a day defeats the purpose of purchasing the hearing aids in the first place. A person purchases hearing aids in order to hear their family and friends better. They will be aware of their surroundings and keep more mentally alert. If a person chooses not to wear their hearing aids at home because they think they don’t need them they are only short changing themselves and their family members. Wearing hearing aids can keep the wearer alerted to signals such as smoke detectors, doorbells, phone calls and the like. Being able to hear others is important to stay connected to life’s wonderful sounds.

    Interestingly, humidity plays a factor in battery life too. If the humidity is too dry such as our homes in the winter months, the batteries can dry out, reducing battery life. On the other hand, high humidity can cause batteries to take on moisture and cause swelling. This also reduces the battery life.

    Low temperatures can affect battery voltage and red uces battery life. And, interestingly, if you live in the mountains where there is less oxygen, battery life will be reduced. Batteries for hearing aids today have a tab on them. Once the tab is pulled, it usually takes up to a minute for the battery to be “aired up” or activated.

    Use a fresh battery if you are going someplace special so you will not be caught with a low battery in the middle of the event.