Here you will find a list of commonly asked questions. If you click on the question, the drop down box will show you the answer! If there is something missing or something you would like us to add, please feel free to ask! If you are thinking it, you can be sure other people are! We aim to provide you with the most relevant information from hearing aid styles to the maintenance of them to make sure you get the full benefit of hearing aids. We are also keen to share knowledge of hearing loss  and patient experiences. As a family owned audiology clinic its important to us that you are informed every step of the way, from hearing loss to assessment to wax removal managment, Wigan Hearing is with you every step of the way.

Frequently asked questions

What is a hearing aid?


A hearing aid is a very small electronic device that is worn behind the ear or in the ear canal. It amplifies sounds so that a person with the hearing loss can hear sound better. Hearing aids have three main components to them: a microphone, amplifier and speaker. Sound comes through the microphone and is then converted into an electrical signal and sent to the amplifier. The amplifier then increases the power of the signals at certain set points and sends them to the ear through the speaker or receiver.Today’s hearing aids are much smaller and more powerful than the hearing aids our parents and grandparents wore even 10 years ago! There have been many advances in digital hearing aid technology that makes them better able to distinguish conversation in noisy environments; many are Bluetooth capable and connect with smart phones and other personal electronic devices we now use on a daily basis.




What should I look for when choosing a hearing aids?


That really all depends on your lifestyle and your budget to name a few things. A more active person who enjoys traveling and athletic activities will most likely need a different model of hearing aid than someone who spends most of their time at home watching television. We will ask a variety of questions to help you work out what type of hearing aid is best for you, then we work with you to make sure your hearing aid works properly to help you hear the sounds that are most important to you. Remember that friend who told you they keep their hearing aids in the dresser drawer? That just might be because they weren’t honest with their hearing healthcare professional about their expectations and lifestyle, or didn’t schedule follow up visits as requested.




How long will it take for me to adjust to wearing hearing aids?


Adjusting to hearing aids varies from person to person and depends upon how long you waited to treat your hearing loss as well as its severity. Although our ears collect noise from the environment, it’s actually our brain that translates it into recognisable sound. The longer hearing loss is left untreated, the auditory part of your brain can actually atrophy, in which case your rehabilitation may take a while longer. You’ll also want to wear them as recommended.




How long do hearing aids last?


With proper use and maintenance, hearing aids typically last between three and five years. I have seen hearing aids that have lasted a lot longer than that, the key is to keep them well maintained and serviced. We offer extended warranties on hearing aids at an extra cost. We also have a section on the website that shows basic maintenance procedures like wax traps and cleaning.




How often should I remove wax from my ears?


There is no standard course of action for preventing earwax buildup. Most people do not have to do anything unless too much wax develops.




How long do hearing aid batteries typically last?


A standard hearing aid battery lasts anywhere from 3 to 22 days, depending on the hearing aid type, battery type and capacity, and the amount of hearing aid use. We will doscuss the particular type of battery you have on the visit and what you can expect.




Are there different types of hearing loss?


There are three types of hearing loss including: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Most people lose at least some degree of their hearing as they age, and by the time they reach age 65 and older, one in three people has some type of hearing impairment.




Won’t wearing a hearing aid make me stand out?


While you are no doubt concerned about appearance, compensating for a hearing loss by asking people to repeat themselves, inappropriately responding to people (or not responding at all), or even withdrawing from social situations is more obvious than wearing a hearing aid. Today’s hearing aids are small, discreet and more stylish than ever. Some are even invisible. And, chances are that once you have a hearing aid, your quality of life will improve so much that cosmetics won't be as much of an issue for you. While hearing aids have helped millions of people around the world improve their hearing experience and quality of life, there are still some misconceptions about them. Don’t let these common myths keep you or someone you care about from getting help to overcome hearing loss.




Will a hearing aid restore my hearing?


While no hearing aid can restore your hearing to normal (except in cases of very mild hearing loss), hearing aids are designed to let you hear soft sounds that you could not hear before, and prevent loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud for you. They are also designed to improve your ability to understand speech, even in noisy environments. Hearing is a complex process that starts with the ears and ends in the brain where information is received, stored and "decoded" into something we understand.




Will I be able to hear in noisy places?


While no hearing aid can filter out all background noise, our advanced hearing aids are designed to reduce some types of background noise so that you can enjoy conversation and improve communication in places like restaurants, business meetings and social gatherings.




What are some advances in hearing aid technology?


Like many other high-tech devices (TVs, phones, computers), hearing aids have experienced a major technological revolution in the past decade and especially in the last few years. The best of today’s hearing aids are designed to virtually eliminate feedback, make listening in noisy environments easier and more comfortable, stream stereo sound from TVs and radios directly to the hearing aid itself, let you talk on your phone hands-free, and much more. Now, instruments are smaller (and in some cases, invisible), more comfortable and powerful than ever.




Is there an adjustment period to wearing hearing aids?


Yes. Most people need an adjustment period of up to four months before becoming acclimated to — and receiving the full benefit of — wearing their hearing aids. However, you should expect to notice obvious benefits during this trial period. Remember, your hearing professional is there to help. Do not be afraid to call or visit to discuss your concerns. 1. Be realistic. Remember that your hearing loss has been gradual; over the years you have lost the ability to hear certain sounds in the speech spectrum and normal sounds of the environment, such as traffic and wind noise, the hum of machinery and other background noises. 2. Practice. When you begin to wear hearing aids, these sounds will be restored but your brain will need practice and reeducation in order to selectively focus on and filter sounds. Some sounds may even startle you at first. Know that your brain will acclimate to these sounds again over time. 3. Be patient. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Wear them as much as possible at first to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction and to learn which hearing aid settings work best for you in different situations. 4. Rest. The adjustment period may be tiresome. It’s a lot like retraining a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. But the benefits will be worth it after you’ve made the adjustment.




Will I need a hearing aid for both ears?


Two-ear hearing (called "binaural") is better than one. If you have hearing loss in only one ear, you may be fine with one hearing aid. Age and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears, but your hearing profile for each ear is probably different. If there is a loss in both ears, you will probably benefit more with a binaural solution. Today, about two-thirds of new users opt for dual hearing aids, and as a group they report a higher level of satisfaction than purchasers of a single hearing aid.




Are cheap hearing aids any good?


Inexpensive models are simply hearing amplifiers that will make everything louder (including all the ambient noises around you). They will not, for example, separate human voices from background noises, or hear directional sounds like today’s more sophisticated hearing aids are designed to do.




My friend has hearing aids but never wears them because she says they don’t work – is this true?


More often than not, this will just be a wrong perception and this can be down to a number of factors, virtually all of which can be overcome. It can take time. When you first get hearing aids, you will gradually need to build up the amount of time you wear them so you can get used to the new sounds and the feeling of them in your ears. Eventually, you should be able to wear them comfortably for most of the day, but this may take up to three months so you’ll need to be patient. When you get your hearing aids, the audiologist should advise you how to get the best from them. They should also show you how to use and look after them. Your friend should go and see her hearing specialist again.




My elderly father claims that my mumbling is the cause of him not always hearing me. No one else seems to have a problem. Is it me or him?


The fact that no one else has a problem with you diction would imply it is him. A common symptom of hearing loss is the impression that people aren’t speaking clearly because only part of speech is heard. Most of the English language is dominated by loud, low frequency vowel sounds. Without the softer, higher frequency consonant sounds at the beginning and end of words, they can begin to crash into one another. The listener can interpret this as mumbling. You will need to tackle this sensitively as most people believe that you can either hear or you are deaf. In reality there are many stages in between, but lots of people still have difficulty confronting yet another symptom that they are getting older.




I have two hearing aids from the NHS and whilst they are not as big as they used to be, I am still conscious of them and I am sure everyone can see them. Is there anything else I can try?


At Wigan Hearing we will be able to assess you for a new range of hearing aids called ‘invisible in the ear’. If your hearing loss and your ear canal is suitable, these clever instruments can literally disappear. In addition; it is now possible to locate the latest generation of digital circuitry in these hearing aids allowing you to hear as well as you can with amplification.




I'm having difficulty using my mobile phone when I am wearing my hearing aids. Is there anything I can do?


There definitely is. New technology is now available which allows certain hearing aids to connect to your mobile phone and some can be described as ‘made for iPhone’. What this means is that whilst wearing these hearing aids, you can connect wirelessly directly to the device and listen to music or whatever other type of streamed media you happen to be accessing. The sound quality has been reported to be good by people who own these hearing aids. Also the apps that you can download onto your mobile device mean that you are in total control of the way it performs. The even better news is that this level of sophistication is also available now for a wide range of android devices.




I hear that the NHS is no longer providing free hearing aids because of the cutbacks. Is this true?


Unfortunately this is almost entirely dependent on where you live. There is at least one area in the country, North Staffordshire, where GPs have decided that they won’t invest money in hearing aids for patients with mild hearing loss. One of the other ways to save money is to only offer one hearing aid. If you don’t know much about the benefits of amplification, it is easy to imagine that this is better than no help at all. But, how strange would it be if your optician only offered you a lens for the left or right eye?




What is an audiogram?


An audiogram is a graph, which plots the quietest level that you can hear at each frequency tested. This is your hearing threshold. In a hearing test, the Audiologist will test your hearing at a range of frequencies from 250Hz to 8000Hz. These are listed along the base of the chart, on the horizontal axis. The loudness of the sound is listed up the side of the graph, on the vertical axis. The loudness will be between -10dBHL, which is extremely quiet, and 120dBHL, which is extremely loud.




Interpreting the audiogram


Hearing thresholds measured for the right ear are plotted as circles and for the left ear crosses. Ranges are as follows: Normal hearing: You can hear quiet sounds of less than 20dBHL (although it is possible to have hearing difficulties even if your hearing is in this range) Mild hearing loss: Hearing loss between 20 – 40dBHL (typically you might find that you have difficulty following speech in noisy situations). Moderate hearing loss: Hearing loss between 41 – 70dBHL (you will probably find that you have difficulty following speech) Severe hearing loss: Hearing loss between 71 – 95dBHL (you will have severe difficulty following speech without a hearing aid) Profound hearing loss: Hearing loss over 95dBHL (you may have need of hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language and lip-reading)





Always Listening
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