AZ Hearing - December 2019

2627 North Third Street, Ste. 100, Phoenix, AZ 85004 | 14418 West Meeker Blvd., Bldg. B, Ste. 102, Sun City West, AZ 85375

December 2019

602-277-4327 |

A Hearing Loss FAQ

Your Patients’ Burning Questions

to make those frequencies come back. Instead, advise patients to tell their interlocutors that they don’t understand, which is much more likely to prompt them to rephrase what they said. Doing so gives the hearing loss patient added context to be able to understand. Can tinnitus be cured? Tinnitus, like diabetes, is not cured but managed. We cannot physiologically stop anyone’s ears from ringing, but we can help limit the effect the ringing has on a patient’s daily life. Many patients who treat their tinnitus can enjoy near-total relief even if their condition is not technically cured. Why doesn’t Medicare cover my hearing aids? When Medicare was signed into law in 1965, hearing aids were sold largely by door-to-door salespeople operating outside the traditional medical establishment. The government, perhaps understandably, didn’t want to line these folks’ pockets. While our treatment has evolved since then, the law has not evolved in kind.

evaluation than you are to know what car someone should buy without knowing how many children they have. Hearing treatment is not a commodity, and thinking of a hearing aid as a purchase is starting with the wrong mindset. Do I need one hearing aid or two? If a patient has hearing loss in both ears, they will respond much better to treatment involving two hearing aids. The effect of our two ears working together is synergistic. The way I phrase it to patients is, “When it comes to hearing aids, one plus one doesn’t equal two; it equals four.” How should I clean my ears? Nobody should clean their ears. There is no reason to ever put anything in the ear canal. If you look at a box of cotton swabs, you’ll notice that it says nothing about them being used to clean ears, and they may even include an explicit warning not to use the product for that purpose. Ear wax is totally natural. If a patient does not like the appearance of visible ear wax, they can clean the outside of their ears in the shower, but that’s it.

Over the course of my time in practice, I’ve spoken to countless patients dealing with hearing loss. Time after time, they ask the same questions. This speaks not only to the universality of our concerns about hearing loss but also to our failure to answer the most basic questions about a common condition. Since I’ve had the opportunity to refine my answers to these queries over the decades, I’ve gotten pretty good at providing succinct responses. To that end, I wanted to provide you with a quick FAQ covering the most common hearing loss questions I’ve gotten over the years. The next time a patient asks one of these, you’ll know exactly what to say. What brand of hearing aid should I buy? The answer is simple: whichever hearing aid a high-quality hearing treatment provider recommends. There are thousands of models of hearing aids, with new ones hitting the market all the time. Furthermore, no two patients’ needs are exactly alike. You’re less likely to pick the right hearing aid for a patient who hasn’t undergone a comprehensive

How should I ask people to speak to me if I have hearing loss? The impulse is to tell people to speak louder, but that’s the exact wrong advice. Most degenerative hearing loss attacks higher frequencies first. Yelling isn’t going

Hearing treatment is not a commodity, and thinking of a hearing aid as a purchase is starting with the wrong mindset.

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