Frequently Asked Questions about your hearing

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Signs of hearing loss include:

• Feeling tired and irritable after long conversations

• Struggling to understand what’s being said in groups or whenever there’s background noise

• Missing parts of conversations

• Frequently asking people to repeat themselves

• Feeling as though everyone is mumbling

• Your spouse or family members complain about how loud you listen to the radio or the television

Is hearing loss hereditary?

The short answer is yes, hearing loss can be hereditary. You can develop hearing loss from unsafe exposure to noise and due to aging, but there are genetic factors that make some more prone to hearing loss than others.

What are the common causes of hearing loss?

The most common causes include; the natural aging process, excessive noise exposure, chronic ear infections and certain medications (i.e.drugs used in cancer treatment).

How can listen to music without damaging my ears?

Avoid listening to music through headphones for more than 60 minutes a day, never use music players at more than 60% of the maximum volume, use over-the-ear headphones and avoid listening through your earphones in loud environments.

How loud is too loud?

Any noise that exceeds 85 dBA can harm your hearing. This harm can come from prolonged exposure or instantly depending on how loud the noise is.

Is the hearing assessment covered by OHIP?

No. OHIP no longer covers hearing testing. Hearing tests were delisted from OHIP in August of 2001. There are some exceptions to this rule, if you are being seen by an otolaryngologist or ear nose and throat specialist (ENT) and a hearing test is being performed during that appointment,the specialist can bill OHIP for the testing.

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids have largely varied costs per aid, so it is nearly impossible to give a general answer. Price can vary based on the needs of the client. Helix has payment plans to improve the affordability of hearing aids and there are other government programs available that can further reduce the cost (in Ontario).

Are there ways to assist with funding hearing aids?

Yes, in Ontario there is the Assistive Device Program which will help every 5 years. If you are not covered under ADP, there are also several third-party Insurances that can help, such as DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs), WSIB, NIHB and Social Services.

Are you able to repair hearing aids?

We work closely with hearing aid manufacturers and can submit your hearing aids to them for repairs. We do clean and checks in clinic,but the manufacturer repairs the hearing aid.

What services are provided at your clinic?

We offer a wide range of services including but not limited to:

• Hearing assessments using state of the art equipment.

• Hearing aid evaluations, prescriptions and custom fittings.

• Cerumen Management - ear wax removal at some locations

• Custom swim plugs, noise protectors and Musician’s earplugs.

• Assistive listening devices – amplified telephones and FM systems.

• Counseling for a wide range of hearing care needs.

What is involved in a hearing test?

The test takes no more than an hour and is detailed enough to determine if hearing aids are required or not. Expect to be asked questions about your hearing difficulties and health history in general. This allows us to better understand your specific lifestyle needs and goals. Your ears will be looked into with an otoscope and your hearing will be tested in a non-invasive or painful way.

Our clinician performs a range of tests to assess your patients hearing capabilities using state-of the-art equipment. The full assessment includes: Pure tone audiometry, Bone conduction testing, Speech audiometry test, and Tympanometry). The tests results are recorded, and reviewed with the patient.

Based on your results, we will make recommendations fortreatment if necessary.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus has commonly been described as a ringing in the ear, though the sounds resulting from tinnitus could also be described as a hissing, clicking or whistling. Those with tinnitus may experience a reduced ability to concentrate, a hypersensitivity to sound, and they may also experience depression and fatigue. In some instances, tinnitus can affect your social life as well.

In most cases, tinnitus isn’t caused by a serious condition or illness, but it’s commonly associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus is also commonly brought on by prolonged exposure loud noise.

Can tinnitus affect my hearing test?

Tinnitus can affect your hearing test by making it harder for you to identify certain words and pitches associated with the test, but the good news is that hearing professionals are trained to administer tests to those who have tinnitus.

When should I get my hearing tested and how often?

Helix encourages anyone who suspects they have a hearing loss to get a hearing test. Those over 60 should get their hearing checked annually as hearing loss affects those 60 years of age and older the most.

Are you ever too old to benefit from hearing aids?

No matter what your age, you rely on your hearing to maintain a connection with the world and communicate with those closest to you.

Will hearing aids restore my hearing to normal?

Just as their name suggests, hearing aids can only aid your hearing, whatever its condition. They can't restore hearing to normal nor slow the progression of hearing loss.

Do I need a doctor’s referral to schedule a hearing test?

No, you don’t need a physician’s referral to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Simply visit our clinic locations page to contact us by phone or book an appointment online.

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