Common questions

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn either inside or behind the ear.  It makes certain sounds louder so that the person with the hearing loss can communicate better within difficult to hear situations and increase overall life quality.

A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

If you think you have a hearing loss and might benefit from a hearing aid, you can visit an Audiologist or an Otolaryngologist. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.

An Otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in ear, nose and throat disorders and investigates causes.  Your General Practitioner will be able to refer to the closest Audiologist or Otolaryngologist.

Hearing aids can’t cure hearing loss, just as glasses do not cure your farsightedness or nearsightedness, but it CAN help you hear better in those difficult to hearing situations.

Hearing aids are tools to manage your hearing difficulties and improve overall life quality.

Hearing with both ears (binaural) is better than hearing with only one ear, IF there is a hearing loss in both ears. Noise induced hearing loss and age related hearing loss tend to affect both ears.

Two hearing aids:

  • Help you to detect the direction of sound
  • Reduce the need for extra volume
  • Prevent deterioration of hearing
  • Help you to hear speech better within noise
  • Deliver higher satisfaction with hearing aids overall
  • Mask Tinnitus

Hearing loss can occur at any time and at any age. It is reported that some adults from thirties years of age can start to loose functioning of the hair cells in the inner ear, which could be the onset of a hearing loss.

Research has shown that hearing aids play a significant role in a patient’s overall psychological, emotional, social and physical well-being.

More specifically, treatment of hearing loss has shown to improve:

  • Emotional stability
  • Ease in communication
  • Easy communication in relationships
  • Social participation
  • Warmth and intimacy in family relationships
  • Sense of control over life

Hearing aids are generally covered by medical aids in South Africa.  The hearing test is usually covered by most medical aids from your savings or day-to day benefits.  The hearing aids are usually covered by a separate appliance benefit while others use the benefit from the savings. Whether or not your medical aid covers hearing tests and hearing aids depend on the medical aid as well as the plan that you are on. 

It is best to contact your audiologist to discuss the procedure with your medical aid.  As an additional service we are willing to phone the medical aid on your behalf to confirm benefits.

Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid. Make it a habit to:

  • Keep hearing aids away from heat, moisture and water.
  • Clean hearing aids as instructed. Earwax and ear drainage can damage a hearing aid.
  • Avoid using hairspray or other hair care products while wearing hearing aids.
  • Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
  • Replace dead batteries immediately.
  • Keep replacement batteries and hearing aids away from children and pets.
  • Insert the hearing aids in a dry-aid kit every evening as instructed.
  • Make sure the dry-aid pellets are not discoloured.
  • Work over a soft surface when handling your hearing aids.

Adjusting programs and volume on your hearing aid is optional. Hearing aids take time and patience to use successfully. Wearing your aids regularly will help you adjust to them.

Become familiar with your hearing aid’s features. With your audiologist present, practice putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries. Ask how to test it in listening environments where you have problems with hearing. Learn to adjust the aid’s volume and to program it for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Work with your audiologist until you are comfortable and satisfied.

  • My hearing aid feels uncomfortable. Some individuals may find a hearing aid to be slightly uncomfortable at first. Ask your audiologist how long you should wear your hearing aid while you are adjusting to it.
  • My voice sounds too loud. The “plugged-up” sensation that causes a hearing aid user’s voice to sound louder inside the head is called the occlusion effect, and it is very common for new hearing aid users. Check with your audiologist to see if a correction is possible. Most individuals get used to this effect over time.
  • I get feedback from my hearing aid. A whistling sound can be caused by a hearing aid that does not fit or work well or is clogged by earwax or fluid. See your audiologist for adjustments.
  • I hear background noise. A hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear. Sometimes, however, the hearing aid may need to be adjusted. Talk with your audiologist.
  • I hear a buzzing sound when I use my cell phone. Some people who wear hearing aids or have implanted hearing devices experience problems with the radio frequency interference caused by digital cell phones. Both hearing aids and cell phones are improving, however, so these problems are occurring less often. When you are being fitted for a new hearing aid, take your cell phone with you to see if it will work well with the aid.

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