Frequently Asked Questions

Will hearing aids make my hearing worse?

It is a fairly common myth that hearing aids will make your hearing worse. If hearing aids are set properly to the prescription of your hearing loss, they will not make your hearing worse. What may happen is that when you wear new hearing aids for the first time, you are more aware of your hearing loss, so you realise what you are missing when you take the hearing aids out. This isn’t changing your hearing. What has changed is your perception of your hearing loss.

What does a hearing aid Audiologist do?

An Audiologist examines your ears, tests your hearing, and fits and adjusts your hearing aids to your prescription. It is important that you have a good relationship with your audiologist as they will need to understand what you need from your hearing aids so that they can personalise any programs and adjustments to suit your individual needs as well as provide specific help with acclimatising to new sounds.

Are all hearing aids the same?

There are many different shapes and sizes of hearing aids. Some are big, some are small. Some fit inside the ear, some have the main components behind the ear. Some are rechargeable, some are battery operated. Some can be connected to a mobile phone for adjustment and streaming. Some hearing aids provide you with more clarity of sound than others. Some reduce background noise more than others. Not all hearing aids are suitable for every type of hearing loss. You will need a hearing assessment to determine which options are best for you.

Is it unhealthy for my ears to rely on hearing aids?

No, it is actually the opposite. If you have a hearing loss and you don’t wear hearing aids, your hearing nerves will not be properly stimulated and it is possible that your hearing will deteriorate more quickly. If you have a hearing loss and you wear hearing aids which are set properly to your prescription, this can strengthen the hearing nerve which keeps it healthier for longer. This does not restore natural hearing and it won’t stop future deterioration, but it will probably slow down any future loss of hearing.

What causes a hearing loss?

There are many different causes of hearing loss. These include; side effects of some medications; prolonged exposure to loud noise, severe illnesses, complications in birth or pregnancy and severe head injury, and infection or virus. The most common cause of hearing loss is age related wear and tear. A healthy ear has thousands of tiny hair cells which respond to vibrations in sound. Over time these tiny delicate hair cells deteriorate which means certain sounds become unclear.

Can hearing loss deteriorate suddenly?

Yes. It is not very common but something called a sudden sensori-neural hearing loss (SSNHL) can occur when a virus reduces the blood supply to the inner ear. If treated within a couple of days with steroids, the hearing can be restored. If not, the effects are permanent. If you experience a sudden change in your hearing, please seek medical advice asap.

How much do hearing aids cost?

If you wish to purchase hearing aids or accessories, this will also incur a charge (approx. £500 to £5,000). It is often advisable to have a free trial before you purchase.

Are Private Hearing aids different to NHS hearing aids?

Yes, private hearing aid companies often have access to a wider range of different manufacturers and many different shapes and sizes of hearing aids. They can be expensive but the technology inside the hearing aids is often more advanced and can provide a better clarity of speech across a wider range of situations. They are often available as a free trial.

What is involved in a hearing test?

During your hearing test you will be asked a series of questions about your general health and about your hearing. A professional will examine inside your ears to check for any abnormalities. You will then be asked to listen to and respond to a serials of sounds. The quietest sounds that you can hear at a range of different pitches will be measured. If appropriate you will then be asked to listen to a pair of hearing aids so that you can hear what it sounds like to stimulate your hearing nerve. You will then have the option to order a pair of hearing aids and accessories where appropriate to trial for free for a week before you decide whether or not to purchase them.


How much does a hearing test cost?

Full hearing assessment £45. Only available at the Kings Hill clinic.

Basic hearing test £30.

Ear wax removal £60.

Are small hearing aids suitable for me?

Not all hearing aids are suitable for everyone. Technology has improved greatly in recent years. Smaller hearing aids that sit inside the ear are much more powerful than they used to be and are suitable for more people. However they still often produce an occlusion effect which means a patient’s own voice sounds like it is trapped inside their own head. This is worse for certain types of hearing loss. A hearing assessment is needed to assess suitability.

Do I need to wear two hearing aids?

Usually, yes. Most people with a hearing loss, need to wear a hearing aid in each ear because it is likely that both ears are affected by the hearing loss. Wearing only one hearing aid when you need two will make you feel unbalanced and the sound will not be clear. Modern hearing aids are designed to work together as a pair. If you only wear one, you will be missing out on many of the benefits of the system as a whole. However, some people have a unilateral, or single sided hearing problem. This means that they have a hearing loss in one ear, with no hearing loss in the other ear. People in this situation may benefit from wearing just a single hearing aid, or wearing a cros system which involves a standard hearing aid on one ear, and a microphone and transmitter on the other ear to transfer the sound.


Should I sleep in my hearing aids?

It is advisable not to sleep in your hearing aids in most situations. Your ears need to rest. The air needs to circulate freely in your outer ear canals. The hearing aids could be damaged if you lean on them in your sleep. There are some exceptions to this; if you need to be able to be alerted to a sound in your sleep, or if your tinnitus is unbearable without the hearing aids. If it is necessary to sleep whilst wearing hearing aids, it is advisable to alternate between wearing the left and the right aid each night.


What happens if I get my hearing aids wet?

Modern hearing aids are typically built with a nano coating which means they can repel a certain amount of accidental water. This includes occasional rain, perspiration, or accidentally wearing the hearing aids in the bath or shower for a short time. However, extended periods of exposure to moisture will damage the electronics of the hearing aids and start to affect the functionality. If this happens it is advisable to make an appointment with the Audiologist who fitted your hearing aids to have them checked.

Can my hearing aids connect to my mobile phone?

Often, yes. Many modern hearing aids can connect wirelessly to most modern mobile phones. It is usually done via Bluetooth. However there are some exceptions. For example some of the smaller hearing aids don’t have any wireless function. Also, some older mobile phones do not have the capacity to connect to any hearing aids. Once connected, two things are possible. Wireless, direct streaming can be done from a mobile phone to both hearing aids at once. This works for music, phone calls, and video calls etc. In addition to streaming, there is a free app that can be used to adjust the settings of hearing aids, to personalise the sound for each listening environment.


Do hearing aids prevent dementia?

Hearing aids alone can not stop someone from developing dementia. There are many factors involved. However, research has shown us that with accurate stimulation of the hearing nerve, important areas of the brain often involved in dementia, remain healthier for longer. Furthermore, people who have a hearing loss and don’t wear hearing aids have a higher chance of developing dementia than people who wear hearing aids when they need to.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Sometimes tinnitus can come and go spontaneously. But unfortunately there is no cure for tinnitus. However it is important to have a proper assessment to help to find ways to manage it. There are various options that can be used to reduce the effects of tinnitus, these include sound generators or tinnitus maskers, cognitive behavioural therapy, and hearing aids. It can also be helpful to have an awareness of what can make tinnitus worse. For example exposure to loud noise, stress, and trying to “fight” the tinnitus rather than accepting it, can all make it worse. Sometimes these things are difficult to avoid but having an awareness of them can help to reduce the effects.


What is the best hearing aid?

It depends on the individual. There are 6 main hearing aid manufacturers globally; Widex, Phoank, Starkey, GN Resound, Oticon, and Sivantos. Each offers a wide range of different shapes and sizes of hearing aids. The best one for you depends on a number of factors including the type of hearing loss, your lifestyle, your dexterity, and your ear anatomy. Each manufacture has their own advocates; patients who wear their hearing aids and claim that they are the best. This is probably because they are most suitable for that individual. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best for you. That’s why it best to ask for a free trial of any hearing aids before you purchase to make sure they are suitable.


What do hearing aids look like?

Modern hearing aids are available in many different shapes and sizes. Some of them may not be suitable for you. The smallest are almost invisible because they are inserted directly into the ear canal. The largest ones can be very powerful and they sit over the top of your ear with either a tube and a mould, or a wire, to deliver the sound into your ear.

What do I do if I have a problem with my hearing aids?

Whether or not you purchased your hearing aids from us, you are more than welcome to book an appointment to have them serviced. This service is free for existing customers. There is a charge of £30 for new customers.

Are hearing aids just for older adults?

No. Some people are born with a hearing loss or acquire a hearing loss at a young age. Usually the first place to seek advice for children’s hearing aids is usually through the NHS via your GP but you are welcome to contact Hearing Matters for advice and assistance. Regarding age related hearing loss, the average age for a person to start wearing hearing aids is decreasing. This is due to a number of factors, including hearing aids becoming more small and discrete with advances in technology, as well as health awareness and education within the general public.

Should I use cotton buds to clean my ears?

Definitely not. Cotton buds can be dangerous for our ears for several reasons. Mainly because we can not see inside our ear as the cotton bud goes in. Problems include pushing wax further into the ear canal, removing the top layer of natural oils from the delicate skin inside the ear canal which can cause itchiness and irritation, and in the most extreme cases, cotton buds have perforated ear drums which is very painful and can leave someone with a permanent hearing loss.

How should I clean my ears?

By doing nothing. Under normal circumstances the ears are self - cleaning. Inside our ear canals, close to our wax glands, we have another set of glands which produce a natural lubrication. This helps the wax to migrate naturally out of our ears. For some people, as we age, the lubrication gland can dry up which means the wax can stay in the ear and become impacted over time. Regular application of an olive oil spray can help the natural wax migration process but if this isn’t used enough, the wax will need to be manually removed by a professional using micro-suction or syringing.

Why do our ears produce ear wax?

Wax is good for our ears. It protects our ears and keeps them clean. If we spend a lot of time in noisy situations the ears will naturally increase their levels of wax production to block some of the sound from entering our ears. Any air pollution or dust etc. that enters our ear canals is captured by the wax and is removed when the wax migrates out of our ear canals. These mechanisms protect the ear drum which is a very delicate membrane.

How much ear wax is too much?

Ear wax becomes a problem when it builds up so much that it completely occludes or blocks the ear canal. This can cause a hearing loss because it blocks some of the sound, it can also cause pain, tinnitus, or even dizziness. Usually these negative side effects of the wax blockage will disappear completely as soon as the wax is removed.

How do I book a hearing test appointment?

Please visit and click Book an Appointment. Then choose the location and follow the link. Alternatively you can ring 01732 443655, or email [email protected]