Hearing Loss (Audiology)
Listening to the evening news. Hearing your grandchild share a proud accomplishment. Engaging with teachers or students in the classroom. The ability to hear puts you in touch with the environment around you, keeps you safe and allows you to interact directly with others. Hearing loss can really impact your relationships with family, friends and coworkers. It can leave you feeling frustrated, isolated, withdrawn and even depressed. And it’s common. Around 90% of adults in the United States between ages 50 and 80 say they don’t know what normal hearing sounds like.
If you or a loved one is having trouble hearing or communicating, it’s time to call in the experts. From newborns to octogenarians—and every age in between—Cleveland Clinic’s audiology (hearing) specialists are ready to help you hear clearly.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Hearing Loss Treatment?
We have one of the largest audiology programs in the nation with more than 30 hearing loss specialists on our team. Meet our team.
Your personal care team will include an audiologist and ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist (also called an otolaryngologist). If you need additional care, your team will work closely with other providers to make sure you get the right treatment.
Our team creates care plans with your entire family in mind. This family-centered approach keeps spouses, partners, children and caregivers in the loop so they can take an active part in your treatment.
We use the latest treatments and evidence-based practices to give you the highest quality of care. Our team was one of the first to offer shared medical appointments. These small group sessions let you meet with others being treated for the same condition. A provider leads the session, which focuses on sharing experiences, learning from each other and getting emotional support.
Managing hearing loss is a journey. You can feel confident knowing that we’ll help you every step of the way. We’re here if you have questions, need your devices readjusted or need to be re-evaluated at any point in the future to optimize your hearing. We also encourage annual visits to check the status of your hearing and verify your devices are functioning properly. Our team will make sure that you always have the best possible outcome and care.
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Hearing Loss Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
Are you asking people to repeat themselves? Complaining that people mumble? Having trouble hearing in a crowded space? A comprehensive hearing evaluation with an audiologist provides a picture of what type of hearing loss you have and how bad it is. This evaluation helps your healthcare provider create a treatment plan just for you.
Here’s what to expect when you meet with your audiologist:
To measure your hearing loss, your audiologist will do an audiogram. This hearing test does a few things. It lets your provider know the softest sounds you can hear and how well you hear both high-pitched (like a whistle) and low-pitched (like a rumble of thunder) sounds. Your provider will also evaluate how hearing across these pitches affects your ability to communicate with others. The results from this hearing test will let your provider decide on the best treatment for you and if you need to do a hearing needs assessment.
Hearing needs assessment
Your audiologist will talk with you and your family about your listening and communication needs. You’ll talk about the different kinds of hearing devices, the latest innovations and what you can realistically expect from a hearing device. Together, you, your family (if appropriate) and your audiologist will decide what’s best for you, while taking into account any physical, financial or lifestyle limitations.
Providers Who Treat Hearing Loss
LocationsOur office at Cleveland Clinic's main campus is located in the A Building - Crile Building: Audiology, Desk A71. Audiology services for hearing loss are also available at our regional locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
Hearing Loss Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
After your hearing test and hearing needs assessment, your provider will recommend the right hearing device or treatment for you. If your hearing loss is mild, they might suggest:
- Listening devices: These devices connect directly to things like your TV, cell phone, doorbell or smoke alarm to amplify the sound.
- Medications: If an infection caused your hearing loss, antibiotics may help. Corticosteroids can ease inflammation of cochlear hair cells after exposure to loud noise.
- Hearing rehabilitation: This therapy helps you adjust to hearing loss and wearing hearing aids. Your therapist can also teach you how to use visual cues and read lips to make it easier to communicate.
- Ear tubes: Ear tubes placed in your ear drum during this surgery can treat repeated middle ear infections that can cause hearing loss.
Hearing aids are a popular and common treatment for mild to more severe hearing loss. And they’re appropriate for all ages, from babies to adults. You wear these devices on or inside your ear. They help make sounds louder and easier to hear. There are several steps to getting a hearing aid, including getting fitted for one.
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are now available, but like “readers” for people with moderate vision loss, OTC hearing aids are an entry-level solution. We encourage you to see an audiologist for the best results.
Using devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants can have a long-term impact on your health. Recent research found that using these devices can lead to a decrease in long-term cognitive decline.
Sometimes hearing aids or other devices and treatments aren’t enough to improve your hearing. In this case, your provider may recommend surgery to place an implant (permanent hearing device) inside your ear. There are two main types of implants:
- Cochlear Implant: This device has two parts — an implant placed in your inner ear (cochlea) and an external piece (sound processor) worn on or near your ear. The external piece sends incoming sounds to the implant. The implant stimulates your hearing nerve to send the sounds to your brain.
- Bone-anchored implant: This device is placed in the bone behind your ear. It’s attached to a sound processor which sends sound vibrations directly to your inner ear bypassing (going around) your eardrum by using bone conduction.
Managing hearing loss is a journey. You can feel confident knowing that your care team will continue to be there for you every step of the way. We’re here to answer questions, adjust your device and teach you how to care for it. We’ll even show you how to fix any minor issues that might come up with your device.
If you live in Ohio, all hearing devices have a 30-day right-to-return policy. So, you have time to see if your devices are working well for you. During this time you’ll be scheduled to return for at least one follow-up with your audiologist. We also encourage you to see us once a year to check the status of your hearing and make sure your device is working the way it should.
We understand that improving your hearing is an investment. Medical insurance companies may provide coverage for your hearing devices. Please check with your insurance company to see if they provide coverage and if Cleveland Clinic is a provider for your plan. Many insurance companies now work with a third-party administrator and require you to get hearing devices from an office associated with that third-party administrator. You’re always welcome to use our services by opting out of using you’re your insurance benefit if you want.
If you can’t afford hearing aids, here are some options that might help:
If you’re enrolled in an Ohio Medicaid program, coverage may be available for hearing tests and cochlear implants, but not hearing aids. Each Medicaid program has its own rules, though, so be sure to check that your program is registered with your insurance as an authorized service provider. Medicare also typically covers testing fees, but not the actual hearing aids. The Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission/Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps also offer assistance.
Contact your local Veterans Administration hospital or office for more information.
Your health insurance provider, union or employer may provide financial assistance. You can also use a flexible spending account to buy hearing aids pre-tax. The Americans with Disabilities Act may also provide assistance if you need a hearing aid for you job.
Many social service organizations, such as Hear Now, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club International, March of Dimes, National Easter Seals, Rotary Club, Sertoma Club and Quota International, offer financial help for hearing testing and devices. Contact their local chapters for more information.
Taking the Next Step
You don’t have to live with hearing loss. Hearing better is an important part of your overall health and often one of the easiest conditions to improve. If you’re having trouble hearing clearly or communicating with the people in your life, it’s time to get help. Cleveland Clinic specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating all types of hearing loss. And they can refer you to another provider if an underlying issue is causing you to lose your hearing.
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s hearing loss team is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
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