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Hearing Research

Hearing Research If you suffer from hearing loss, you are likely to wonder what  hearing research is being done by medical science.   And how is hearing research being conducted?The hearing organ and complex nerves that allow one to hear are located deep inside the brain.  While imaging techniques such Read more

Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing Aid Batteries Hearing devices can be life-changing, but they can’t help you if the hearing aid batteries are dead. Hearing device users know when they hear that little beeping noise, they’d better have a spare pack of batteries handy. Hearing aid batteries typically last between 3-7 days, depending on factors like:The type Read more

Can Hearing Be Restored?

Can Hearing Be Restored With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored?  It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired.  The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements Read more

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.  Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also Read more

What to ask before you Buy Hearing Devices

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Aid Technology Advances, Hearing Aids

With so many advertisements and models of hearing devices, knowing what to ask before you buy hearing devices can seem like a daunting task.  Being prepared can help you through your first visit with your hearing care provider.

The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has as age-related hearing loss (known as presbycusis).

Fortunately, most cases of presbycusis can be treated with hearing aids. And, since research has proven that untreated hearing loss can put you at greater risk for developing other health problems, including social isolation, wearing hearing aids can be a healthy thing to do for one’s self.

First steps

The first step is to admit you’re having hearing problems and make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. Ask your family physician for a referral.

Before your appointment, do some research to educate yourself so that you are informed with some of the questions you want answered about what to ask before you buy hearing devices.  Make a list of questions to take with you to your appointment. Make a list of your hearing priorities as well. Do you want phone calls to be easier? Do you want to be able to hear the television or favorite music better? Do you use personal electronic devices frequently, such as a smartphone or computer?

If possible, take a friend or family member with you to your appointment, and ask them to take notes. It’s always helpful to have a second set of ears when you’re navigating medical situations — especially when yours may not be working as well as they used to.

Be prepared for a hearing loss diagnosis

If the hearing professional determines you have a sensorineural hearing loss like presbycusis, hearing aids may be the recommended course of treatment. Although these medical devices won’t restore your hearing to normal, they will improve your listening, speech comprehension and overall communication.

Like most health issues, research shows that the sooner you begin treating hearing loss, the happier and healthier you’ll be. But before you make the purchase, here is a list of questions you’ll want to ask to make sure you’re investing in the right type of hearing devices for your budget, lifestyle and degree of hearing loss.

What type of hearing aids do you recommend for my hearing loss?

Hearing aid manufacturers offer many different models with various features.  Ask the audiologist to provide you with clinical studies and evidence to support which features and models will work best for your particular hearing needs.

How much do they cost?

Hearing aids range in price from $1,900 to $4,000 each, depending upon the type of technology they use. Most people with presbycusis will need two hearing aids, as this type of hearing loss is usually bilateral. Hearing aids aren’t usually covered by insurance, but don’t let this stop you from getting treatment. Ask about financing options.

Is there a warranty?

Hearing aids typically include a warranty. Make sure you understand what components and services are covered on your hearing devices before the purchase.

When should I expect to replace them?

Most hearing aids last indefinitely.  Manufacturers will service them for up 5-7 years.  After that time they can often times be serviced by repair centers that specialize in hearing device repairs.

What kind of trial period do you offer?

Most hearing centers offer a trial period of 30- days.  There is not test that can provide you with the value you will receive with improved hearing, so this period  gives you time to experience the difference hearing aids can make in your day-to-day activities and ensure they meet your needs.

How often do I need to have them adjusted?

You’ll want to make sure your hearing devices keep up with any changes in your hearing, so ask how often you’ll need to come in for a check up. Most devices today are manufactured with special coatings that have greatly increase reliability and hearing  is typically stable for 5-7 years.


As you have just read, there are quite a few topics to address regarding what to ask before you buy hearing devices.  Many first time hearing device users comment  “I wish I would have done this sooner.” The key to hearing your best is to acknowledge you’re not hearing well and see a qualified hearing healthcare professional for assessment- you will find relief knowing whether you truly have hearing loss or not.

SOURCE:  edited from an article contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing.  May 11, 2017


Peninsula Hearing Services ABR


An ABR is short for Auditory Brainstem Response, a type of test to estimate hearing sensitivity and evaluate auditory nerve pathways.  It is an objective test that is non-invasive and uses several electrodes on the face and head to measure tiny electrical responses from the hearing nerve in response to sound.

Uses of ABR Testing

Use of the ABR was widely used in the 1980’s to primarily determine hearing sensitivity in small infants and children/adults who could not voluntarily participate in a conventional hearing evaluation. The ABR was also used to determine irregularities of the hearing nerve, primarily growths termed acoustic neuromas.  With the  advent of MRI technology, ABR’s are used less frequently to evaluate for acoustic neuroma’s.  Today the ABR is used for the following:

  1. Screening for irregularities of the hearing/balance nerve
  2. Newborn hearing screening for those babies who suspected of hearing loss.
  3. Intraoperative monitoring for surgeons working on or near the hearing/balance nerve
  4. Diagnostic information for those with hearing loss, tinnitus and/or fullness of an ear that is much worse on one ear than the other.

ABR picture

As noted by Medscape (see reference below), although the ABR provides information regarding auditory function and hearing sensitivity, it is not a substitute for a formal hearing evaluation, and results should be used in conjunction with behavioral audiometry whenever possible.

Further reading

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)-ASHA
Auditory Brainstem Response Audiometry. Bhattacharyya, Neil; Medscape (2017)

Auditory Processing Disorders

Peninsula Hearing Services Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory processing disorders (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a hearing problem that affects approximately 5% of school age children and 1-2 % of adults, although statistics are not strong with adults, especially older adults.

Trouble Understanding Speech

Individuals with this condition, many of them with “good” ability to hear the presences of sound, can’t process what they hear because of processing problems between the ear and brain.  Something interferes with the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, especially speech in the presence of  background noise. Many individuals with Auditory Processing Disorders can understand speech well in quiet.


Symptoms can range from mild to severe and take many different forms.  If you believe you or someone you known might have a problem processing sounds, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the individual easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?
  • Are noisy environments upsetting”\
  • Does behavior and hearing performance improve in quieter settings?
  • Does the individual have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated?
  • Is the individual disorganized and forgetful?
  • Are conversations hard to follow?


APD is often misunderstood because many of the behaviors can also accompany other problems, like learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and  even depression or cognitive impairment.


Often the cause of Auditory Processing Disorders is unknown.  Evidence suggests that head trauma, lead poisoning and chronic ear infections could play a role in children.


If you suspect APD, have an audiologist perform an exam.  They are training in the testing and diagnosis of hearing and hearing related disorders.  Audiologist perform specialized tests for APD that present sounds and noise to one or both ears at a time, which requires different parts of the brain to process sound and speech and evaluates the ability of the  ears to work  together.


There are few scientifically, medical based  treatments for Auditory Processing Disorders.  The most common treatments emphasise changing the  communication environment and some kind of therapy with an audiologists who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of APD.

Reference:  Portions of this article were edited from the website, auditory processing disorders (author and year unknown)


Further reading

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children (American Speech Language Hearing Association)