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Do Hearing Aids Ever Make Hearing Worse?

Question: Adam,my dad and I are having a disagreement over the usage of his hearing aids and I’m wondering if you can lend your expertise. Dad claims that he shouldn’t use his new hearing aids because by using them, they will make his hearing even worse. I don’t agree with him. Can you settle the argument?

Answer: Although I don’t like getting in the middle of family arguments, this question relates to better hearing so I’ll see what I can do.Couple-pattex1 The simple answer is no, hearing aids should not harm your hearing. For decades hearing aids have had loudness limits where the sound cannot exceed a certain level. So a properly fit hearing aid and a properly set hearing aid will not get loud enough to do any damage.

Why then, do some hearing aid users feel their natural hearing gets worse after just a few weeks of wearing their new hearing aids? This can occur once their brain has adapted to their improved hearing. And without their hearing aids, they feel like they hear worse than before. They’re addicted to hearing better.

There are, however, products that can harm your hearing. For instance amplifiers that you purchase over the counter at places such as Walgreens or CVS or even on the internet on sites such as eBay do have the ability to harm your hearing. These products are simple amplifiers and the loudness level is not based on your specific hearing. So turning up these amplifiers too loud may indeed do damage to your hearing.

Your question leads into another much bigger question: Do you know how loud sounds are and what sounds can actually damage your hearing?

Insect noise at night in an open field: 10 dB

Insect noise at night in an open field: 10 dB

Subdued conversation: 40 dB

Subdued conversation: 40 dB

Average office: 50 dB

Average office: 50 dB

Average conversation 60 dB

Average conversation 60 dB

Busy street: 70 dB

Busy street: 70 dB

Baby crying, heavy truck traffic and trombone 16 inches away: 90 dB

Baby crying, heavy truck traffic and trombone 16 inches away: 90 dB

Jack hammer: 96 dB

Jack hammer: 96 dB

Electric guitar amp at maximum volume, 6 inches away: 110 dB

Electric guitar amp at maximum volume, 6 inches away: 110 dB

Airport runway and inside a bass drum: 140 dB

Airport runway and inside a bass drum: 140 dB

Permanent damage to hearing: 160 dB

Permanent damage to hearing: 160 dB

Jet engine close up: 160 dB

Jet engine close up: 160 dB

Rocket engines: 180 dB

Rocket engines: 180 dB

12 Feet in front of a cannon below the muzzle: 220 dB

12 Feet in front of a cannon below the muzzle: 220 dB

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About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at adam@icanhearthat.com and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at www.icanhearthat.com.

One response »

  1. That’s a great way to put it “they’re addicted to hearing better”…That’s a nice explanation to a very common question.

    Reply

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