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Frequently asked questions
about hearing aids and hearing loss

Helping a loved one

A number of factors can lead to childhood hearing loss and can occur if a child was born prematurely or had complications at birth, has a family history of childhood hearing loss, was exposed to very loud sounds or noises, suffered from infections such as meningitis, or was given medications that can contribute to hearing loss.
Batteries can be harmful if swallowed. Keep batteries and hearing aids out of reach of infants and children. If a battery is accidentally ingested, see a doctor immediately. For recommended treatment, call the National Button Battery Hotline at (202) 625-3333 in the U.S. or your local health care provider immediately.
Batteries are equally if not more harmful to pets. If you suspect your dog or a cat swallowed a battery, call your veterinarian immediately. It could be life threatening to your pet if you wait. 

Many people with hearing loss don't realize how much they're actually missing because you have become their ears. However, it takes only a short time for them to realize that they need your help. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your friend or loved one get the help they need: 

  • Repeat yourself
  • Raise your voice
  • “Translate” conversation
  • Act as their messenger on the phone

  • Communicate how their loss is affecting your relationship
  • Let them know waiting won't make the hearing loss go away or get better
  • Encourage them to get their hearing screened
  • Accompany them to their appointment

Daily use

Typically, the lifespan for a brand new hearing aid is 6 years. Ask your local hearing care practitioner about the warranty of your hearing aids in your market. 
To clean your hearing aids, use cleaning agents approved for hearing aids, or, a soft, damp (but not wet) cloth. Avoid using alcohol or solvents to clean your hearing aids. A soft cloth should clean the receiver tube and receiver dome in your 'Behind-the-Ear' style hearing aids. If ear wax builds up on your ear domes or custom ear molds, and it's difficult to wipe away, see your hearing care practitioner for assistance.
Turn off your hearing aid before you go to bed. If moisture builds up inside your hearing aids, leave the battery door open at night to allow internal components to dry. Keep your hearing aids away from heat or extreme cold. Remove your hearing aids before using, for instance, hairspray, spray perfume, or shaving lotions. Handle your hearing aids gently. If your hearing aids hit the floor, or strike a hard surface, it's a good idea to let your hearing care professional make sure they're undamaged. Even though your hearing aids are nano-coated, never immerse your hearing aids in water, or wear them while in a sauna. Protect your hearing aids from rain, as well. Keep your hearing aids out of the reach of children and pets! 
Excessive moisture may require a dehumidifier or silica-based drying agent that can be purchased from your hearing care professional. In severe situations, have your hearing care professional check your hearing aids.
Do not immerse your hearing aids in water, or wear them while in a sauna, or while showering or swimming. Protect your hearing aids from rain, as well. If your hearing aids got accidentally wet, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to dry your hearing aids.

Hearing aid batteries

Store batteries at room temperature 18°C (65°F) - 26°C (80°F). Hearing aid batteries will retain up to 97% of their power for a full year when stored at room temperature. Avoid storing in hot or humid places. Do not refrigerate, as refrigeration may loosen the tab, causing activation and loss of power. Open the battery compartment door of your hearing instruments every night. This prevents moisture buildup and saves battery.
Batteries can be harmful if swallowed. If you do, seek medical attention immediately.
Hearing aid batteries come in five sizes. The right one for you depends on the style and size of your hearing aids. The hearing aid industry has color-and-number-coded the packaging of batteries to make buying replacements easy (choose 5-red, 10-yellow, 13-orange, 312-brown, or 675-blue). The sticky tab on the back of the battery is also color-coded.
To enjoy maximum battery life, store batteries at room temperature. Heat exposure can shorten the life of hearing aid batteries, as can a humid environment, such as a bathroom or refrigerator. It is not recommended to carry batteries in a pocket or handbag where they can mingle with metal items like loose change or keys. Doing so can short-circuit your hearing aid batteries. For optimal performance, open the battery compartments in your hearing aids whenever you're not wearing them. This limits battery drain and helps alleviate moisture build-up. Turning your hearing aids off when not in use can also help extend battery life.
Battery life varies with hearing aid styles and usage. Some hearing instruments require more power to function at optimal levels. Digital hearing aids contain sophisticated circuitry to deliver near-to-natural hearing in a variety of environments, and this requires more power than analog hearing aids need. Typically, wearers of digital hearing aids can expect a battery to last from 5 to 7 days. If you experience shorter battery life, your hearing care professional can check the battery contacts in your hearing aids, as well as, test for battery drain. Most batteries have a “shelf-life” of about three years.
Used batteries are harmful to the environment. Please dispose of them according to local regulations or return them to your hearing care practitioner.
Batteries can be purchased from your hearing care office, most drug stores, and online. Some health insurance plans cover the cost of hearing aid batteries, either partially or in full.
The cost of hearing aid batteries varies and depends on your location and available purchasing options. 


The onset of tinnitus is often related to exposure to loud sounds, which can cause damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear. It has also been associated with excessive ear wax, ear infections, high blood pressure, the aging process, and sensory nerve disorders. Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and some medications, such as aspirin, can also cause or worsen your tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the name for the perception of sounds, such as ringing, buzzing or hissing, when these sounds are not present in the environment. If you have tinnitus, you are not alone. 1 in 5 people in the United States experience tinnitus and nearly 12 million people a year seek medical advice.
Tinnitus has no cure, but there are ways to get relief from it: Try to avoid loud noise like concerts. Pay special attention to your blood pressure. Watch your diet, decreasing your salt intake and other stimulants like coffee, soda, tobacco and aspirin can help. Make sure to monitor your stress level. Make sure to get ample rest and work in some moderate exercise. Sometimes using a competing sound such as a radio, white noise maker or fan can help "cancel out" the noise you hear in your ears. Beltone offers a free app - Tinnitus Calmer app - on the iPhone App Store and Google Play Store. It features a variety of soothing sounds that not only help relieve tinnitus, but can also help relieve stress.
There aren’t any known cures for tinnitus. But there are different types of therapies that can be used that are very successful, one that we use most often is called Sound Therapy. Sound therapy introduces new sounds that help blend the tinnitus into the background. You can try sound therapy by downloading our free Tinnitus Calmer app here.
If you hear constant ringing, whistling, hissing, or other sounds that never seem to go away, you could be suffering from a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is suspected to result from several possible conditions, such as buildup of earwax and prolonged exposure to loud noise.
Sound therapy introduces new sounds that help blend the tinnitus into the background. You can try sound therapy by downloading our free Tinnitus Calmer app.
Approximately 36 million Americans report experiencing tinnitus on a regular basis.
Approximately 4 in 5 people with tinnitus also experience some level of hearing loss. The use of a hearing aid to amplify sounds has proven to help cover up the tinnitus and make it less distracting. Some of the hearing aids come with a built-in tinnitus sound generator feature, offering additional flexibility in treating both hearing loss and tinnitus.

About hearing loss

An estimated 10% of the world’s population has hearing loss and one in five people between the ages of 40 and 60 have hearing loss.
There are three main types of hearing loss and treatment options differ for each, which is why it’s important to address hearing issues the correct way based on an individual’s type and level of hearing loss. Hearing loss is categorized into three major types: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Read more about the different types of hearing loss here
The best thing to do is make an appointment for a hearing test with a hearing care professional. If you have a hearing loss, your hearing care professional will advise you on which hearing solutions are available for you.
Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors – the aging process, heredity, disease, exposure to noise and buildup of earwax, among others. Read more about hearing loss causes here
Sensorineural loss accounts for 90% of all adult hearing problems and can be caused by aging and exposure to loud noise. This type of hearing loss is caused by problems with the cochlea and the auditory nerve. It can be treated with hearing aids and occasionally surgery. Read more here
Certain infections can cause hearing loss at any age — and one of the most common culprits is bacterial meningitis. It is thought that over 30% of bacterial meningitis cases result in some degree of hearing loss - from mild impairment to profound deafness. In a 2006 study, the Gallaudet Research Institute reported that 3.2% of American youth with hearing loss had suffered meningitis, making the infection the second most common cause of hearing loss. Read more about hearing loss and meningitis here
A conductive hearing loss is often temporary and can sometimes be corrected. Conductive loss stems from problems in the outer or middle ear and can be caused by infections, buildup of wax or fluid, punctured eardrums, or otosclerosis – an abnormal bone development in the middle ear. This type of hearing loss can in many cases be treated with wax removal, medication or surgery. Read more about conductive hearing loss here
There are over 200 pharmaceuticals known to adversely affect the human auditory system; particularly the sensory cells of the inner ear. These include prescription medications as well as over-the-counter remedies. Because they can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, these drugs are described as ototoxic. Read more about medications and hearing loss here
Protect your hearing and wear earplugs whenever your surroundings are so loud that you must raise your voice to be heard. Extremely loud noises can cause permanent damage to the tiny hair cells inside the cochlea. Even moderately loud noise over a period of time can be damaging. Studies show that prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 90dB can damage hearing. 
Yes, noise can be dangerous. If it is loud enough and lasts long enough, it can damage your hearing. Read more about earbuds and hearing loss here.  

Hearing tests

Your Hearing Care Professional will first ask you about your lifestyle and hearing needs. You will then be given a comprehensive hearing screening, a video ear exam and a word discrimination test. These will explain whether or not you have a hearing loss, and will help decide the next steps to be taken.
An online hearing test is no substitute for a real hearing test by an audiologist or hearing care professional. It is always advisable to obtain a comprehensive hearing test from your local hearing care professional.
You can book your hearing test with a Beltone hearing care professional today by using our Request an Appointment form.
Just as you schedule annual physicals and dental exams, it's essential to schedule a hearing test every year. Knowing where you stand will help you hear your very best, at any age.

About hearing aids

The cost of a hearing test varies by country and venue where the test is administered. In many places around the world the hearing test will be free of charge.
No. Hearing tests are pain-free and non-invasive.

Modern hearing aids transform the sound waves that hit their microphone into digital binary code (0's and 1's). Once in the digital domain, the information can be manipulated in many sophisticated ways by the signal processing chip within the hearing aid. Once the signal processing is completed, the digital signal is returned back to an analog signal that is sent to the speaker of the hearing aid, and heard by the wearer.

Visit our ear anatomy page to learn  how sound is collected and processed by our ears, and interpreted by our brains.

The best approach is to wear your new hearing aids for an hour at a time, several times a day, and in different listening situations. When you're ready to leave the house with your new hearing aids, start by going to quiet environments and avoid large crowds and noisy places. Slowly but surely, the world will start to sound “in balance”. Most hearing care professionals recommend a visit about two to four weeks after you get your new hearing aids in order to fine-tune them.
Twenty-first century hearing aids are so small, they're virtually undetectable when worn. The delicate inner workings of custom hearing aids are contained in coverings known as shells. Shells come in a variety of shapes, styles and colors to better fit the user's hearing loss, daily routine and cosmetic needs. See our small and discrete styles here
Choosing the best hearing aid solution depends on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle activities, and technological and cosmetic considerations. Your hearing care professional will help you identify a hearing aid that best meets your individual needs.
The price of hearing instruments varies depending on style and technology selected.
Research shows that speech is much easier to understand when hearing aids are worn in both ears. That goes for listening in normal environments as well as in noisy situations. Simply put, while one hearing aid hones in on speech, the other diminishes distracting background noise. The combination makes it a breeze to hear clear conversation. Two hearing aids also help with localization or recognizing where sounds are coming from. 
Yes. Most of Beltone’s instruments use advanced directionality and noise reduction features to help you hear better in noisy environments.
If you buy a hearing aid online, you won’t get a product that is custom fit to your needs. This means you run the risk of owning an uncomfortable, ineffective product you are unlikely to wear. Buying a hearing aid is a huge investment in your future health and well-being. Make sure you go about it wisely, and limit your online purchases to the simpler things, like airline tickets and hotel rooms.
Beltone offers a variety of different hearing aids, each with different features and functions. Your hearing care professional will help you pick the right type of hearing aid that best meets your needs. 
To ensure you’re fit with hearing aids customized to your individual hearing loss, your audiogram and fitting recommendations will be reviewed and approved by a licensed hearing instrument specialist, or an audiologist.
Get personal assistance
Visit your local hearing care professional to get personal assistance.