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How Hearing Works

An ear being examined with an otoscope.

How Hearing Works

When sound approaches our ears, it is in the form of sound waves.  These pressure waves in the air bounce up against our eardrums, causing them to move.  This movement is transferred through the tiny bones (ossicles) in the air filled middle ear until they press into the oval window of the cochlea.  The cochlea is a spiral shaped, fluid filled opening in the temporal bone of the skull that contains our actual hearing cells.  The ossicles create a pressure wave within the fluid, that moves the hair cells of the inner ear, sending an electrical signal to the brain through the 8th nerve. 

Types of Hearing Loss

Many things can cause hearing loss, but it is primarily split into two categories: Sensorineural (nerve damage) or Conductive (blockage) hearing loss.  Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by genetics, noise exposure, or simply natural aging.  Common causes of Conductive hearing loss include cerumen (ear wax) build up, congestion leading to pressure or fluid behind the eardrum, or more severe problems like otosclerosis or disarticulated ossicles. 

Treating Hearing Loss

If you have a conductive hearing loss, this can generally be treated medically, restoring most of the function of the ear.  Sensorineural hearing loss is typically treated with the use of a hearing aid, or in more severe cases, a cochlear implant.  A free hearing test can determine which type of hearing loss you have, and whether you should be referred to your doctor, or discuss hearing aid options. 

How Hearing Aids Work

 Hearing aids take in sound through a microphone, process it digitally through a series of bands or channels (sections of the hearing loss) then send the sound to your ear through a speaker.  Your hearing care professional will adjust the sound levels through the bands or channels to match your hearing loss as closely as possible, meaning that we turn the sound up where it is missing to fill in the blanks. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

A man standing with his back to the camera with squiggly lines around him to indicate confusion.

What does a Hearing Test cost?

At Watson Hearing Health we want to remove any barriers you may have to maximizing your understanding, so the comprehensive hearing test and consultation are complimentary. 

How much do Hearing Aids cost?

The cost of a Hearing Aid is dependent on the technology inside. The technology level will be dictated by your needs and lifestyle as established during the case history and the consultation following the Hearing Test. If you are looking for Hearing Aids in Kitchener, give us a call. 

Do I need a referral from my Doctor?

Although many Doctors do refer their patients for a hearing test for various reasons, a referral is not required. If you are interested in having your hearing tested, just give us a call. We are always happy to help. 

When should I have my Hearing Tested?

It is a good idea to come in for regular Hearing Tests once you reach the age of 55, this way we can set a baseline normal result and monitor any changes over time. We recommend a new hearing test annually for patients with a hearing loss to monitor subtle shifts in hearing thresholds, and every 2 to 3 years for those without a hearing loss to check for changes. If you are under the age of 55 but have questions or concerns, and would like to come for a hearing test in Kitchener, give us a call. 

Do I have a Hearing Loss?

If you are unsure about booking in a full hearing test, try this free online hearing test from our Friends at GN ReSound. 

If your question still hasn't been answered give us a call or send us an e-mail.