How is a hearing loss identified?
A trained professional will conduct a hearing test using an audiometer and calibrated headphones. You will hear a series of tones of varying pitch and you will be asked to respond when a tone is audible by clicking a button. An audiogram is then plotted. This plots the levels at which a tone is just audible to you to get an idea of your hearing thresholds. These thresholds are used to determine whether your hearing falls within normal limits or if there is a degree of hearing loss at one or more frequencies.
How do I know if I have a hearing loss?
Without an accurate hearing test it is difficult to know for sure that you have a hearing loss. Some other signs that you might not be hearing well may be that you ask people to repeat more often than you used to – especially in noisier environments or you may feel more tired/ irritable after listening to someone speak for a period. You may also notice a blocked or full feeling in one or both of your ears.
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device which transmits sound into your ear canal to help quiet speech sounds to be made more audible.
How can hearing aids help?
Hearing aids can help to make quieter sounds like speech more audible. They cannot however, restore your hearing back to normal levels.
How do I know that it will work for me?
Hearing aid technology has come a long way in recent years and not all hearing aids are equal in their ability to amplify sounds. The only sure way to know what difference a hearing aid can make to you is to have your hearing tested and arrange for a demonstration or trial of a hearing aid using the latest technology. There will be something out there which will suit you.
How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?
You will first need to have a hearing test carried out to see if your hearing levels could benefit from a hearing aid. The hearing aid audiologist will be able to advise you once they have these results. However, if you are having noticeable difficulties communicating with loved ones on a regular basis, there is a good chance that hearing aids will be prescribed to make communication easier.
Are there different styles of hearing aids?
Hearing aids come in a number of different styles. Some sit behind the ear and transmit the sound through a tube or wire into your ear canal. Others contain all the components of a hearing aid within your ear canal and/ or concha bowl (the hollow part of your outer ear).
Do all hearing aids work the same way?
No – different hearing aid manufacturers use different ways of processing the incoming sounds. Within a range of products from a particular manufacturer, some products will have more features than others and this will affect the cost.
Which hearing aid will work best for me?
The type of hearing aid which will suit you best will depend on your listening needs, your lifestyle, budget and level of hearing loss. It is vital that you discuss your needs with a hearing aid audiologist so they can work with you to recommend something to specifically suit you.
How can I adjust to my hearing aid?
A hearing loss often develops gradually over time so when one first wears their hearing aids the contrast between hearing certain sounds again and previously missing out on them can be quite noticeable. The best way to get used to your hearing aids is give yourself time to get used to hearing again.
How can I care for my hearing aid?
This largely depends on what style of hearing aid you choose but the main things to pay attention to are keeping the hearing aid dry and clean and ensuring the sound outlet doesn’t get blocked with wax or dirt. Your hearing aid audiologist will be able to provide you with more specific advice for your hearing aid.
Are new types of aids available?
At Leightons HearingCare we make sure that we only recommend the latest hearing aid technology available unless otherwise indicated. We work closely with our manufacturers to ensure we bring you the latest products as they are released.
Are you a national company or are you based in my area?
Leightons HearingCare can be found in 38 stores across the South of England. Click Here to locate one of our branches, Leightons HearingCare – Store Locator
How common is hearing loss?
According to the latest information available in the UK, one in seven adults experience some form of hearing impairment. More than 50% of people over the age of 60 have some degree of hearing loss but only one in three people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually has one.
Do all hearing aids go behind the ear and are they visible and bulky?
The latest hearing aids are very much more cosmetically appealing than a traditional hearing aid of a few years ago. Some are inserted into the ear canal and don’t fit over the ear at all. Others do sit behind the ear and sound is transmitted into the ear canal via a thin wire but they are very much smaller and more discreet than imaginable.
How old do I need to be before I need a hearing aid?
There is no specific age at which one is recommended to get hearing aids. Benefit from hearing aids is determined by your hearing levels on hearing tests and your listening needs.
If I start wearing an aid which amplifies sound into my ear, won’t it make the hearing worse?
Not at all! Hearing aids are carefully set at your fitting appointment so that they never exceed a certain amount of amplification. This level can also be adjusted at follow-up appointments. Modern hearing aids contain very sophisticated ways of making sure that loud sounds are kept comfortable. In fact, the latest research supports getting hearing aids as soon as an aidable hearing loss is noted so that the auditory nerve does not become deprived of auditory stimulation.
What about the everyday costs after purchasing a hearing aid?
Hearing aids require batteries which need changing every 4 – 14 days depending on the type of hearing aid and average length of time it is worn for each day. Batteries cost £13 for 5 packs of batteries (6 batteries per pack) which works out to be about 50p per battery. They may also have parts which are disposable such as domes/ wax guards to keep the hearing aid speakers free of wax which cost about £8.50 for a pack of 10 depending on make and model of the hearing aid.
What do I get for my money?
All hearing aids are fitted by a fully qualified and registered hearing aid audiologist so their time and aftercare is included in the once off initial payment, for the life of the hearing aid. All hearing aids come with a 2 year’s guarantee supplied by the manufacturer. Leightons HearingCare has extended this warranty on some of our hearing aids to 3 or 5 years for no extra charge. We like to see you every 6 months for a free check-up and regular hearing tests and to provide you with your next 6 month supply of batteries. Batteries are supplied free of charge for the first 3 years after the hearing aids have been purchased. If a hearing aid is outside of its warranty period, we will try to repair the hearing aid ourselves for no extra cost, but if it needs to be sent back to the manufacturer for them to repair the hearing aid, there is likely to be a cost for this repair. Leightons HearingCare offers a 60 day money-back guarantee. All hearing aids will be refunded in full, if you are finding that cannot get on with them for any reason and we cannot resolve the issues for you.
Does the hearing test hurt?
No – once the audiologist has shone a light in your ears, they will ask you to wear a pair of headphones. That is as invasive as the test gets.
Will I be seen by a qualified person?
Yes, all of our hearing aid audiologists are fully qualified and registered with the Health Professions Council and British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists. They are trained to be able to conduct:
1. full hearing tests including middle ear tests,
2. hearing aid fittings, adjustments and verifications
3. to take ear impressions
4. carry out repairs of hearing aids or to advise when the manufacturers need to take over the repair
Can I wear my hearing aid when I’m asleep?
Some people do wear their hearing aids to sleep but it may be uncomfortable if you lie on the side with the hearing aid.
Can I wash my hearing aid?
No it is not advisable to get hearing aids wet and this will invalidate the warranty. Even if your hearing aid has specifically been marketed as a water -resistant hearing aid it is best to check with your hearing aid audiologist before getting your hearing aid near water.
How do I know when the battery is flat?
Hearing aid batteries do not ‘run down’. They will suddenly stop working and the hearing aid will seem ‘dead’. However, most hearing aids nowadays provide a beeping signal only audible to the hearing aid wearer, approximately ½ hour before they run out.
What are the different types of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be categorized according to whether or not the loss was sudden or gradual, whether one or both ears are affected and the degree of the loss i.e. mild/ moderate or severe. Most importantly, we look to see whether a hearing loss isconductive or sensori-neural. A conductive hearing loss normally means that something is stopping the sound being transmitted from the middle ear through to the inner ear e.g. a perforated ear drum, otosclerosis or a middle ear infection. A conductive hearing loss may improve with medical intervention. A sensori-neural loss means that the inner ear / cochlea itself is affected and generally there is nothing that can be done medically to improve the hearing if this is the case.
Should I wear one or two hearing aids?
If you have a hearing loss in both ears (as most people do) it is advisable to wear a hearing aid in each ear. This allows the brain to receive balanced information from both ears and therefore helps the brain to analyse the surrounding speech and noises.
Do you do home visits?
Yes – with prior arrangement one of our trained hearing aid audiologists will be able to visit you in your home if you are unable to come to one of our branches.
I have a NHS aid, and cannot get on with it, can you help me?
We are unable to make adjustments to hearing aids supplied by the NHS as they are different from our manufacturer’s hearing aids. However, we are still able to offer a free, no-obligation hearing test and consultation to advise you further.
Will insurance cover my hearing aid?
We advise all Leightons HearingCare customers to advise their household insurers to include the hearing aid in their policy.