Family Health How to Know if a Hearing Aid is Right for You By Ear Nose and Throat, February 11, 2014 Hearing loss can happen for a variety of reasons. Typically, hearing loss is caused by general aging and exposure to loud sounds throughout your lifetime. Hearing loss due to age occurs gradually at different rates and affects each person differently, while hearing loss due to exposure to noise may come on suddenly and unexpectedly. Do You Have Hearing Loss? Similar to other medical conditions, the sooner you address your hearing issues, the better treatment outcome you will have. The following are common signs that you may have hearing loss and would benefit from a hearing aid. You have trouble following conversations Have trouble hearing in a noisy environment Avoid being the first person to start a conversation Prefer having the television or radio louder than other people Complain that people are mumbling Misunderstand what people say Frequently ask people to repeat what they have said Have trouble understanding people when you cannot see their faces How Can a Hearing Aid Help? Hearing aids amplify sounds louder so that you can hear them. They will pick up soft sounds, make normal conversation comfortable, and reduce noises that are too loud. Hearing aids can be adapted to work with an individual’s personal degree of hearing loss and lifestyle needs. They have a number of pre-set programs that can be used in different situations, such as quiet conversations, concerts, or at parties where there is a great deal of background noise. Today’s hearing aids can distinguish between sounds that need to be amplified and unwanted noise that needs to be reduced. This differentiation allows wearers to distinguish similar sounding speech sounds much more clearly. » For more information regarding your options for hearing aids, contact the Center for Audiology at UPMC.