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Frequent Questions About Hearing Aid Models, Testing, and More

We hear a lot of questions on hearing loss conditions and devices. That’s why we have compiled the most popular inquiries and our solutions onto one page, to help customers make the right decisions about their hearing health before they walk through our doors. Visit our FAQ page to learn more.

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  • What are the symptoms of tinnitus?

    Most patients suffering from tinnitus share one common symptom: a persistent noise in their ears that they cannot control. Although it is often considered a condition, the truth is that tinnitus itself is actually a symptom of a larger cause. In most cases, head noise is caused by hearing loss, which in turn is a result of degeneration of the structures in the inner ear. As a result, people are most likely to suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss later in life.

    What Is Causing My Tinnitus Symptoms?

    The common term for tinnitus is “ringing in the ears,” but the noises experienced by patients can sound like buzzing, whistling, or a high-pitched tone similar to feedback. Tinnitus can be temporary or permanent, and can be intermittent or constant. The degree and regularity of tinnitus will often depend on what is causing the condition, such as:

    • Head injury. Patients may suffer from temporary tinnitus after a brain injury or trauma to the inner ear. This type of tinnitus will often come on suddenly, and last until the injury has healed.
    • Blockages. Earwax, swelling, fluid buildup, and other obstructions in the ear canal will often result in tinnitus, most commonly affecting one ear. Tinnitus that is caused by an obstruction will likely continue until the obstruction is removed.
    • Circulatory problems. Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when the ringing in the patient’s ears is actually the sound of his or her heartbeat. High blood pressure, neuropathy, anemia, and other problems that cut off or otherwise affect blood flow can cause this kind of tinnitus.
    • Blood clots. Tinnitus can result if the blood flow to a patient’s ears is restricted or interrupted. A blood clot can not only cause ringing in the ears, but also heart attacks and strokes—so it is vital that patients with tinnitus undergo testing as soon as possible.

    Are you ready to rid yourself of your tinnitus for good? Our hearing care professionals can perform painless hearing exams to find the most effective treatment for you. Use our quick contact form to make an appointment with our hearing care professionals today!

  • What is the whistling sound I sometimes hear through my hearing aid?

    The squealing or whistling noise that hearing aids sometimes make is called feedback. You may have heard this type of screeching or loud tone if you have ever spoken through a microphone while standing too close to the speaker system. In a hearing device, feedback is created when the sound coming out of the hearing aid’s speaker is directed back into the microphone—and unlike a handheld mic, you cannot simply move the two further apart.

    How to Fix Feedback Problems in Hearing Aids

    Many high-end hearing devices are outfitted with feedback suppression systems to prevent these problems from happening. If your device is making these noises regularly, it can be helpful to identify the type of feedback to fix the problem.

    In general, hearing devices can give off three different types of feedback:

    • Acoustical feedback. Acoustical feedback is generally caused by a blocked microphone or ill-fitting device. If cleaning both your ears and your device does not stop the feedback, the direction of the receiver may be off. Your hearing care provider can adjust the speaker placement of your device and ensure a snug fit.
    • Mechanical feedback. This type of feedback is caused by contact between the hearing aid’s casing and speaker, which are then transmitted back to the microphone. This problem should only be corrected by a hearing health professional, as it involves changing the placement of the speaker.
    • Electronic feedback. Electronic feedback is a result of a malfunction in the computer components of the device. The solution involves opening the case and determining the source of the problem and possible replacement of the electronics of the device, and should only be attempted by a hearing device specialist.

    Our hearing care specialists can examine your device to determine the source of the feedback. If you need a new device, we can help you explore hearing aids equipped with feedback cancellation, freeing you from those annoying whistling sounds for good. Call or visit us today to have our technicians solve your hearing aid problems.

  • Can I wear my hearing aid in the shower or while swimming?

    Hearing aids rely on finely-tuned technology to deliver clear sound, but they are also placed very close to a wearer’s body. Even if a hearing aid protects the device from getting wet, the device may still suffer damage due to perspiration or exposure to a sudden rainstorm. Each device will handle water and moisture differently—and in most cases, it’s easy to tell how resilient the hearing aid will be.

    How to Check the Water Resistance Rating of Your Hearing Aid

    Many hearing aid providers use the Ingress Protection (IP) Code to rate a device’s ability to withstand certain penetrative damage. The IP Code rates the level of protection against water, dust, dirt, and debris provided by the device’s case. The two numbers that follow the initials “IP” on your device describe how well the electrical components are protected from:

    • Solid particles. The first number is a rating of protection from solid objects, such as dirt and dust. These numbers range from 0 (no protection) to 6 (no dust can enter the casing). Lower numbers indicate protection from larger objects (such as fingers), with each increasing number offering protection against smaller and smaller objects.
    • Water. The second number indicates the water resistance of the case, on a scale of 0 (no resistance) to 8 (immersion in water deeper than 1 meter). The lower the number, the less water resistant the device will be. The higher the number, the more likely the device is to work again once the device has been allowed to dry.

    Even if your chosen hearing aid has a high moisture resistance rating, it is not a good idea to wear these aids in the shower or while swimming. Modern water resistance ratings are based on how well the device will work after it has been removed from water and completely dried—not how well it will work while still underwater.

    If you are looking for a hearing aid to suit your active lifestyle, our hearing care providers will be happy to walk you through the capabilities of each of our devices. Call or visit us today, or use our location page to find our office nearest you!

  • How long do hearing aids last?

    Hearing aids are highly-developed pieces of technology, and their lifespan will vary depending on the type of device. In general, a properly maintained hearing aid will last for up to six years. After this point, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new device rather than make continual repairs to the old one.

    Tips to Make Your Hearing Aid Device Last Longer

    From dropping to losing a small device, there are plenty of things that threaten the life of your hearing aid. Here are a few tips that can keep your device working longer and more reliably:

    • Keep it clean. Hearing aids stay in close contact with a wearer’s skin, hair, and ear canal, making it perfectly situated to build up dirt and residue. Be sure to clean the inputs, battery compartment, and housing regularly with the wax pick that came with your device, and wipe the hearing aid down with a dry tissue to remove oils.
    • Ban moisture. Moisture is the number one reason hearing aids need early replacement. A hearing aid is an electronic device, so it must be kept as dry as possible. Never wear your hearing aids while playing sports or at a pool, and do not leave them in the bathroom while showering. At night, open the casing to encourage moisture to evaporate, or store your aid in a dehumidifier.
    • Conserve battery life. Hearing aid batteries need to be replaced every few weeks, especially if the device is worn every day. When storing the device for the night, remove the batteries to extend their life.
    • Avoid damage. Always store your hearing aids in a safe place away from children and pets. A hard-shell case can protect the hearing aid if you need to remove it while you are out, and writing your name and phone number on the case will also help the finder get your device back to you if it has been lost.

    If your hearing aid is not functioning as well as it used to, our hearing care providers can examine your device and get to the root of the problem. Call or visit us today to have our specialists clean and repair your existing hearing aid, or to take a look at a possible replacement device.

  • How can I help a relative with hearing loss?

    Many people are inspired to take control of their hearing conditions by their relatives and friends. However, the situation must be approached carefully and constructively in order to produce positive results. Here are a few questions that can prepare you to have a conversation about hearing loss:

    • Who? Although you may genuinely want to help someone you love seek treatment for hearing loss, you may not be the right person to start the conversation. Consider carefully which friend or member of the family can offer support that the patient will listen to. For example, a friend who has a hearing aid or has recovered from an injury can offer tips and experience without condescension.
    • When? Once you have chosen the right person, you should choose the right time to approach the topic. One-on-one is often best, as the patient may be unaware of his condition, and privacy will lessen the chances of any shame or embarrassment he feels. Resist the urge to bring the topic up at a large gathering, or if you only have a few moments to talk; you have to be fully present for your loved one in order to make a positive impression.
    • How? You may find that you don’t need to say very much in order to get your point across. You should have more information ready in case your loved one requests to know more, such as a booklet on hearing loss and possible treatments that she can read later. Above all, you need to be supportive and constructive; avoid using language such as “you have to” or “we are going to,” which may seem to be bullying your loved one into taking action rather than empowering her to make a choice.
    • What next? You should have a clear objective in mind when you start the conversation. It could be to convince your loved one to visit her doctor, to submit to a hearing test, or even just to make a date to talk about it again in the future. Many patients who are embarrassed by the topic initially will warm to the idea of a hearing test once they have a chance to process their feelings.

    A Hearing Test Can Be the First Step Toward Relief

    Hearing restoration can make a significant improvement in the you loved one’s quality of life, and it often begins with a simple hearing test. Help your loved one learn more about successful hearing loss treatment by ordering our free informational guide, or call us today at 888-262-2613 to make an appointment at the Sound Advice Hearing Aid Center nearest you.

  • What is hearing loss?

    Hearing loss, or a hearing impairment, occurs when a person’s ear has decreased sensitivity to normally produced sounds. The level of hearing loss for a given person is measured generally by the increase in volume needed for a person to detect the sound.

    There are three types of hearing loss, and each of those types can occur in either both ears (bilateral) or a single ear (unilateral)

    • Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound isn’t reaching the inner ear adequately
    • This can be the result of any number of causes for obstruction, such as scar tissue or dysfunction of the middle ear


    • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs from damage to the inner ear, or cochlea, and therefore in what is communicated to the brain
    • This can be caused by general aging (and the impact to the cells of the cochlea), noise exposure, head trauma and more


    • Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss


    Hearing loss is determined by measuring the volume level at which a sound must be amplified (above the normal threshold) before a person identifies it. The ability (or inability) to detect a sound can also be related to the frequency of the sound. As such, the varying levels of volume are tested against different frequencies.

    Learn more about testing services at Sound Advice