EarQ Hearing Aids: FAQs

Explore frequently asked questions about hearing health

Are hearing aids Bluetooth compatible?

Yes, many of today's hearing aids feature advanced Bluetooth technology. You can stream sound from your T.V., smartphone, laptop, or any other Bluetooth compatible device directly to your hearing aids. This creates a seamless listening experience without the interference of background noise or having to use an intermediary device.

Can I control my hearing aids through a smartphone app?

Yes! Hearing aids with Bluetooth compatibility are able to connect straight to your smartphone. This allows you to control your hearing aids through specific apps. With this control you can stream phone calls, music, videos, and navigation directly to your hearing aids, as well as control the volume level, check battery status, and more!

Talk to your local provider for instructions on how to connect your hearing aids to your smartphone.

Can I listen to phone calls and music from my hearing aids?

With Bluetooth compatible hearing aids you can stream phone calls from loved ones and listen to your favorite music directly from your hearing aids without the assistance of another device.

How do I connect my hearing aid to my iPhone?

If you have Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, you can connect to your devices with a few simple steps. Here are some general set-up instructions for pairing your iPhone with your hearing aids.

  1. First make sure your Bluetooth is turned on by going into “Settings” then to “Bluetooth” on your iPhone.
  2. Make sure your hearing aids are powered on so your iPhone can detect them.
  3. Go to “Settings” then “General” and then “Accessibility.”
  4. Once you’re in “Accessibility” scroll down and select the “MFI Hearing Devices” option.
  5. Select the name and model of your hearing aid when it appears. There will be a checkmark next to it once it’s connected.
  6. Select “Pair” to complete the connection. Note: if you are connecting two hearing aids you will receive two pairing requests.
  7. You’re all set! Enjoy music, phone calls, and more!
Are hearing aids difficult to maintain?

When you get used to making hearing aids a part of your routine, they can be quite easy to care for.

Moisture and earwax buildup are the two biggest reasons for repairs on hearing aids, so cleaning them regularly is important. The best (and the easiest) way to do this is by purchasing a cleaning and drying kit. Putting your devices into the kit at night will remove moisture while also killing germs and bacteria. You can also use a clean, gentle cloth to wipe excess dust and earwax off.

The most difficult part of maintaining your hearing aids is not losing them! They can be quite small and easy to misplace, so make sure that whenever you take them out of your ear, you're returning them to their case.

What are some common challenges when adjusting to hearing aids?

When you have untreated hearing loss, your brain gets accustomed to its current hearing ability. It forgets what it's like to hear at a normal volume. For this reason, sounds can seem startlingly loud or unnatural when you first start using hearing aids. However, this doesn't last long. The more you use your new devices, the more quickly your brain can readjust and define a "new" normal.

Do hearing aids set off metal detectors?

Since the majority of the parts in hearing aids are plastic, they shouldn’t set off any metal detectors.

If you’re at an airport and they ask you to remove your devices so that they can be x-rayed, you can tell the TSA official that you’d prefer to have a manual, physical inspection of the devices. Visit www.tsa.gov for more information.

What is an ear impression?

An ear impression is a silicone-based mold made from the exact shape of your ear or ear canal. It's needed in order to create in-the-ear, in-the-canal, or completely-in-the-canal hearing aids, as well as custom-fit earplugs, musician's earplugs, or swimmer's plugs.

The process for making an ear mold is easy and painless. Your hearing health professional will place a soft, doughy material into your ear and let it sit for a few minutes and mold into shape. Once it has hardened, they will remove the material and have a completely accurate model of your ear to send to the hearing aid manufacturer.

What are some common problems adjusting to hearing aids?

Hearing aids can take some getting used to. Hearing loss does not just reside in the ears, but in the brain as well. When someone has hearing loss, the auditory cortex in the brain adjusts in order to cope. When a hearing aid is used, sounds are sent to the brain at a closer to normal volume and clearness, causing the brain to react in a surprised way. This will result in things sounding too loud, or the tone of your voice sounding like you're talking in a barrel. Certain sounds, like the wind, might be alarming to you at first since it's been a while since you've been able to clearly hear. Don't worry though, the brain will adjust and everything will start to sound normal again. Be patient and realize that the more you wear your hearing aids the more your brain will get used to forgotten sounds. We recommend wearing them most of the time you're awake. Strike up conversations to see how it feels to be speaking to someone and wait a few weeks until you try them out in a noisy environment as it can be overwhelming for new users at first.

How do hearing aids work?

On a basic level, today's hearing aids receive sound through a microphone and transmit it into the ear through a speaker.

When something is digital, it means that incoming signals (whether sounds or images) are converted into numbers that are then processed using complicated mathematical equations called algorithms. Instead of computer chips dealing with bulkier modes of information, digital signals can be broken down into minute parts that are manipulated much easier. For hearing aids, this means that when the chip in a device receives digital information, it uses complex algorithms to manipulate the sound. As a result, it's possible for a hearing device to keep the sounds that are important and eliminate the sounds that are not. This technology is so complex that it can actually reduce background noise in the tiny pauses between syllables of speech. It also means that the hearing aid has multiple settings that can be changed. If someone's hearing loss worsens, that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to get a new hearing device; the existing one can be reprogrammed for the current hearing loss. Devices can also be programmed to adjust to a user's different common environments.

How do hearing aids help in noisy environments?

Have you ever been talking at a party and noticed that you could barely make out what the people around you were saying? This happens because of the background noise. Today’s hearing aids are equipped to cut through background noise and use directional microphones to help you focus on the sounds you want to hear.

Do microwave ovens interfere with hearing aids?

No. If it were possible for a microwave to interfere with electronics, then this would also be an issue for cell phones. Your hearing aids will perform just fine when you are safely using a microwave.

Hearing Aid Style FAQs

Are hearing aid styles based on hearing loss type?

While all of today's hearing aids offer exceptional sound quality and comfort, certain styles may be preferable to others based on your ears and hearing ability.

For example, if you have profound hearing loss and require a more powerful hearing aid, behind-the-ear hearing aids would be best for you because they hold larger batteries. If you have dexterity issues, very small styles such as in-the-canal or completely-in-the-canal hearing aids may not be the right choice for you, because the controls on these devices are tiny. Your local EarQ provider can work with you to find the style that best matches your needs.

Analog vs. Digital Hearing Aids

Today's quality hearing aids are digital; however, people who have worn hearing aids—or known someone who has—for many years, may be familiar with analog hearing aids.

All hearing aids receive sound through a microphone and transmit it into the ear through a speaker. However, they process sounds in different ways. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals which then get amplified. They're custom built and programmed by the manufacturer based on recommendations from an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser.

Digital hearing aids, on the other hand, convert sound waves into number codes (like a computer) before they get amplified. This helps to make sounds clearer as well as louder, and it gives the hearing health professional more options to program and adjust the aid to your needs and environments.

Open Fit Hearing Aids

Open fit hearing aids do not completely fill your ear canal. Instead, an open fit device is usually a discreet, behind-the-ear hearing aid with a small tube or wire that connects to a speaker in the ear canal.

Key features:

  • Leaves the ear canal open; doesn’t plug the ear
  • Reduces or cancels out feedback
  • May use very small batteries
  • Better for those with tinnitus because plugging the ear can make symptoms louder
Custom Fit Hearing Aids

Custom fit hearing aids are just that—custom molded to fit inside your ear canal. They can be completely inside the ear canal, fit partly inside, fill the lower portion of the outer ear, or fill most of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear.

Key features:

  • Easy to insert into the ear
  • Easy-to-adjust volume control
  • Molded specifically for your ear shape creating a precise fit
  • Uses larger batteries, which typically last longer and are easier to handle
Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. They help people with severe or profound hearing loss or deafness. They work by avoiding the damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve then sends the signals directly to the brain so that you can recognize sound patterns.

Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)

As the name suggests, a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is surgically attached to the bone behind your ear. These small devices can transmit sound vibrations directly to your inner ear through your skull, avoiding the middle ear completely. Therefore, a bone-anchored hearing aid may be an option for you if your hearing loss stems from problems in the middle ear.

What are the differences in hearing aid styles?

BTE: Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have the majority of its parts resting behind the ear. In the piece behind the ear is a small, clear plastic tub that is connected to the part that rests inside the ear. The wearer can either have a custom ear mold (the part that sends the sound to the ear is shaped to the ear canal) or a tiny speaker piece that goes in the ear canal. These devices are small and discreet. Because the majority of parts are outside of the ear canal, repairs are needed less since the device isn't as susceptible to moisture and earwax build up.

ITE: In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids rests entirely in the ear canal. A mold of the ear canal is taken in order to create a custom shape to make sure the hearing aid fits properly. While this customization is available in a few different styles of hearing aids, ITEs are the largest of the custom aids. It may be more visible, but only marginally so, and that allows more technology to be included in the device.

ITC: In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are another type that utilizes the custom ear mold. Smaller than ITEs, ITCs have less power so they are not suitable for severe types of hearing loss. These also may be a little more challenging to use for those with dexterity difficulties.

CIC: Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) devices are extremely small in size and fit farther into the ear canal, making them less visible. Because of their small size the user must have fairly good dexterity to insert and remove these from the ear.

View pictures and learn about features of the above hearing device styles here.

Put Your Hearing to the Test

Sometimes, hearing loss happens so gradually that it can be difficult to notice at first. However, there are some common signs that indicate you may have hearing loss. Want some answers now? Take this short survey to determine if it's time for you to make a hearing appointment.

Take a 3-minute hearing test!

Read the following statements and select “yes” if they apply to you most of the time, “sometimes” if they apply once in a while, and “no” if they don't apply at all.

I have trouble hearing the other person on the phone.

YES SOMETIMES NO

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