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Audiology FAQ



I think I have hearing loss.  What steps do I follow?

The first step is to have a complete hearing evaluation by West Houston ENT and Sleep Center’s audiologist.  After your hearing assessment, you will be seen and examined by Dr. Ludwick.   He will recommend treatment options depending on the type and degree of loss.  Some types of hearing loss are amenable to surgery while others require amplification.


How do I know if I have hearing loss? 

The only way to be certain if there is hearing loss is to have a complete hearing evaluation conducted by our audiologist.


How much do hearing aids cost?

Many factors determine the cost of the hearing aids such as the type of the aid and accessories.  The hearing aids will include no less than a one year repair/loss damage warranty (some aids come with two year warranties).  We have a 30-day trial period for our hearing aids so if you are not satisfied you are entitled to a refund price of the aids minus a fitting fee per aid.


How will I know which hearing aid is best for me?

This will depend on the type and degree of hearing loss you have and your individual daily needs such as work and social situations.  We will work as a team to determine the best aids for your life style.


What is an audiologist compared to a hearing aid dispenser?

A hearing aid dispenser or hearing aid dealer is a person who is licensed to SELL hearing aids.  Dispensers are simply trained to interpret hearing tests, hearing aid electronics, specifications, modifications, and programming of hearing aids.

An Audiologist is a healthcare professional trained to identify, monitor, and treat disorders of the auditory and vestibular system.  They are trained in anatomy, physiology, hearing aids, cochlear implants, acoustics, and counseling.  Audiologists have no less than a Masters Degree from an accredited University; most have an Audiology Doctorate.  Audiologists are board certified by the state in which they practice.


Can hearing aids “fix” or “cure” my hearing?

A hearing aid does not cure your hearing loss.  In most cases, hearing aids improve your ability to communicate and interact.   


What is the best hearing aid on the market?

It is more important to ask, what is the best hearing aid for your hearing loss and lifestyle?  There are so many great hearing aids available today with different features and options.  After your hearing test, the audiologist will discuss the pros/cons of the different hearing aids in regards to your hearing loss and lifestyle.  Some popular hearing aid manufacturers include: Phonak, Siemens, Starkey, Oticon, and Resound


I have a ringing/buzzing in my ears.  What is this sound?

The ringing or buzzing noises in your ears is called tinnitus.  It is very bothersome for a number of people.   Tinnitus can be caused by a number of factors such as hearing loss, allergies, stress, and medications for example.  An assessment by our Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor, along with a complete hearing test, will help us determine the cause of your tinnitus and the most appropriate treatment route.


Do I need a hearing test?

Do you have problems understanding speech, especially in noisy environments? Do you find yourself asking those around you to repeat themselves constantly? Do those around you ever complain about your hearing abilities? Do you hear ringing or other noises in your ears? These are just a few of the questions in our Hearing Quiz located in the hearing portion of the website. If you answered yes to any of the above questions then the answer is yes, you should have your hearing evaluated.


What can I expect during my hearing test?

During the hearing evaluation a number of different tests will be performed. First, the audiologist will examine your ears using an otoscope. This is followed by a tympanogram, or an eardrum test that measures how well your eardrum and middle ear are functioning anatomically in correlation with your hearing nerve. You will have a probe tip inserted into the outer portion of your ear canal which will emit sounds and pressure. Next, an Otoacoustic Emissions test will be conducted which also involves placing a probe tip into the outer portion of your ear canal. This is to determine the physiological and anatomical functioning of the hearing nerve as well as the inner hair cells located within your organ of hearing. After these tests are completed, the audiologist will insert ear phones into your ears and ask you to repeat a list of words. Once the words are completed, you will hear a series of tones. When the tones are presented, you will click a button letting the audiologist know which tones are audible. This is the full audiological test battery that is performed on every patient complaining of hearing problems, ringing, and/or dizziness.


What are my options if I have hearing loss?

You have a number of options if you have hearing loss. Each one depends on how severe your hearing loss is, the type of hearing loss you suffer from and whether or not you feel your hearing loss handicaps your life. If the doctor determines that your hearing loss can be helped using surgical methods, then you would meet with him to discuss the surgery and potential risks. If you feel that your hearing loss does not inhibit your life whatsoever, you do not have to do anything and can continue to live with your hearing loss. However, if you feel that your hearing loss handicaps your life and you want to improve your hearing abilities then the next logical step is hearing aids.


Tell me more about hearing aids.

Are hearing aids of today like those that my grandfather wore back in the day? No. Hearing aids are just like every other technological device out there, i.e. TV’s, cameras, computers. They are constantly finding ways to improve them to better help those who need them. Today, hearing aids are a lot smaller, and a lot smarter. Many have blue tooth capabilities and artificial intelligence. They are capable of adapting to whatever listening environments you are in so that they can do all the listening work for you. Are they perfect? No. But they are designed to AID your hearing using the best possible technology available in order to IMPROVE your hearing. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors. Which is best for you is determined by sitting down with the audiologist and discussing what is most appropriate for YOUR specific hearing loss.


What can I expect if I purchase hearing aids?

When you purchase hearing aids, all of your appointments, hearing aid servicing, and hearing aid supplies will be bundled in cost with the price of the hearing aids. This means that the cost of each hearing aid includes a 2 year warranty, unlimited office visits for hearing aid follow ups and hearing aid checks, unlimited hearing aid supplies (i.e. tubing and ear tips), and 1 month supply of batteries. The average hearing aid user is seen about 2-4 times in the first month of wearing the aids, however, once the aids are fit and adjusted to the satisfaction of the patient, most hearing aid users are only seen once a year for an annual hearing evaluation and hearing aid check.



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