How do I read an audiogram?
The audiogram offers formation regarding pitch and intensity. Pitch is on the horizontal axis and intensity in decibels is on the vertical.
- Responses between 1 dB and 15 dB HL are considered normal for that specific frequency.
- Responses above 25 dB at one frequency can be a significant loss at that frequency and depending upon responses at other frequencies can indicate communication compromises.
- Responses 40 dB H.L. or more indicates inability to even hear conversational speech.
Hearing and understanding are different aspects of the audiogram. Generally speaking any abnormal intensity response between 25 and 40 dB HL in the frequency range above 1000 Hz suggests problems understanding speech even though the person may hear speech.
An abnormal response above 40 dB HL at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz and above indicates that the patient cannot even hear or detect conversational speech.
How do I clean my ear wax?
The number one thing not to do is use Q-tips to clean your ears. In doing so, you can puncture your ear drum by going in the ear canal too deep. You could also be pushing the ear wax up against your ear drum.
To avoid this kind of thing from happening, you could do one of two things:
- Buy some ear drops and put them in according to the directions on the box. Examples are Debrox or Auro (brand names) and Carbamide Peroxide Otic Solution (generic brand). The ear drops naturally clean the wax (by loosening it up so there’s no buildup) out of your ears. If you go to bed and wake up the next morning seeing a clump of wax on the pillow, this means the drops are working.
- The second thing is you could go to your hearing specialist and have them cleaned.
Source- Rod Mser, PA, PhD, www.blogs.webmd.com
How do I take care of my hearing aid?
It is important to care for your hearing aids to ensure the maximum life expectancy of your aid. The better care you take of it, the longer it will last. Here is a list of how you should do so:
- Keep it clean and dry; wiping it with a tissue or soft cloth every time it is removed from the ear. A soft toothbrush is good to use each evening. Hearing aids should not be worn while swimming, showering, or bathing. They should also be kept away from steamy kitchens or bathrooms since moisture can not only pose a blockage problem but can provide a medium for bacterial growth.
- Check for wax in the small holes at the tip of the aid. Careful cleaning is required to unblock these holes. Consider purchasing a built-in wax guard on the hearing aid.
- Do not expose the aid to intense heat, for example, leaving it on top of a radiator or in the car.
- Store in a safe, dry, dust-free place. Purchasing a dehumidifying container will be worth having during night-time storage.
- Open the battery door when the aid is not in use. This will ensure that the aid is off and will make the batteries last longer. It also lets air in and moisture out.
- Do not drop the hearing aid. Place it on a soft surface just in case. Never leave it in a place where it can be accidentally knocked off.
- Have the hearing aid cleaned and serviced regularly – never repair it yourself. This can not only damage the aid but will void the warranty. If the aid breaks or malfunctions, notify your hearing aid dispenser. It is a good idea to schedule a semiannual routine cleaning.
- Source- innvista, www.innvista.com
Is it important to replace your hearing aid?
Hearing aids should be replaced every four years.
When dealing with kids and specific hearing aids, sometimes only their ear mold needs to be replaced as they grow and their ear changes in dimension.
If your hearing aids are programmable you may be able to keep them longer since your hearing care provider can usually adjust them to the degree of hearing loss you currently have.
Source- Better Hearing Institute, www.betterhearing.org
Are there any specific payment plans for purchasing a hearing instrument?
REM AUDIOLOGY can offer 12 months interest free for qualified clients. There are also interest plans for up to 36 months.
We also check any potential reimbursement that can be given to you through you medical insurance company. REM Audiology can bill your insurance company for you if so desired.
There are special community programs for patients who meet certain fiscal criteria, such as the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
See our Financial Assistance page for more information.
Do I get an opportunity to try the hearing aid before making a financial commitment?
The amplification devices can be returned after 30 days for money back minus a small restocking fee.
Usually, however, what is required is a change in instrument or device, and this change is of no extra cost for the same technology level.
After a hearing aid is fit, what should I expect from my audiologist/hearing aid specialist?
Today’s hearing aids are the best instruments ever available. They are easy to use and easy to maintain. Nonetheless they are instruments that REM Audiology consider to be valuable investments. As such we recommend checks and cleanings of the hearing aid every 6 months. Annual hearing screenings/ tests are also advisable. Also, any change in the audiogram will require a change in the hearing aid’s programming.
For individuals who, even with appropriate amplification, have difficulty understanding speech in noise, understanding degraded speech as fast presentation or dialects, or remembering auditory information, the audiologist/specialist needs to refer to aural rehabilitation programs such as the LACE, a computerized program easy to use at home which optimizes comprehension of speech.
After I am diagnosed with hearing loss, what choices do I have?
This is an exciting time. Today, individuals with hearing loss or hearing disorders have many options to choose from. An expert in the area of amplification and assisted listening devices can help guide you through those choices.
The discreet open fit hearing aids, custom made “invisible” hearing aids, and extended wear hearing aids that live in your ears for up to 3 months. Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated computers that enhance speech in noise automatically. Use cannot be easier and benefits are significant.
There are hearing aids with special programs for people experiencing problematic tinnitus. Hearing aids also are equipped with automatic interfaces with telephones and other technology, and there are many manufacturers of hearing aid devices. It is best if one chooses a professional that handles several manufacturers so that a customized recommendation can be offered.
I have been told that there is nothing I can do for my tinnitus. Is this true?
Nothing is more untrue. While there is no cure for tinnitus, people can learn how to react to their tinnitus. REM Audiology has options available.
What are some symptoms of hearing issues?
One of the more common symptoms is difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations.
Do you say “what?” or “huh?” often? Do you often need people to repeat what they just said?
If you said yes to these questions, you are using more energy than appropriate figuring out the words of a conversation. The goal is to use that energy in engaging with confidence in the conversation instead of figuring out what people are talking about.
Another common symptom is tinnitus, or ringing in the ear(s).
Other questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do you need to turn the TV volume louder?
- Do you have difficulty conversing on the phone?
- Do you have more problems understanding people when you are not looking at them?
- Do you often feel like you are guessing at what people are saying?
- Do you often desire not to attend group affairs or go to restaurants especially if noisy?
When should I get an audiogram?
You should get an audiogram done if you have trouble making out what people are saying, hear ringing in your ears, feel a plugged sensation, or have a family history of hearing loss.
Something you should be aware of is Otosclerosis. Otosclerosis is a genetic disorder that prompts abnormal growth of the bone of the middle ear. It is more prevalent in women and often surfaces when a woman is pregnant or between the ages of 15 and 30.
If your audiogram is normal, you’ll come back every two to five years for a follow-up test. If your audiogram shows you have high-pitch hearing loss, you may have more difficulty hearing certain voices and might need a hearing aid.
Source- Lambeth Hochwald
Do I need to see a medical physician before making an appointment with an audiologist?
The answer is no. A hearing test comprised of diagnostic tools such as otoacoustic emissions, tympanometry, acoustic reflexes along with the patient’s responses to tones and speech serve as an important diagnostic tool to determine the need for a physician referral.
This information will help the physician assist you and will facilitate the medical assessment process if given to the physician at your initial visit.
There are specific criteria noted on the audiogram that mandates a visit to an ears nose and throat physician:
- Significant difference between the pure tone thresholds of either ear
- Significant difference between word recognitions score of either ear
- Poor word recognition scores that cannot be explained on the basis of hearing thresholds
- Unilateral tinnitus
- Vertigo or balance problems
- Evidence of middle ear problems on audiometry—such as ear infection or otosclerosis.
What is an audiogram?
An audiogram is a graph that shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different pitches or frequencies. Normal hearing is from 0-20 dbl. Anything higher than 20 is considered loss of hearing. There are different levels of hearing loss that depends on how high those numbers go. The closer the marks are to the top of the graph, the softer the sounds that can be heard.
Source-Boys Town National Research Hospital, www.babyhearing.org
When should I get a hearing test?
Adults should have a base line hearing test at age 55. Hearing is related to overall wellness. Any change in this baseline can be an indication of health issues that need to be addressed with a physician.
Hearing changes can be related to diabetes, cardiac issues, autoimmune problems, and medication.
REM Audiology reaches out to the community by offering a free hearing screening to anyone 55 years or older.