Answering your questions

Below are answers to some common questions. If you have any other questions at all, feel free to give our team a call on 0800 700 851. You can also write us a message in our dedicated form.

About Bay Audiology services and care

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a health professional who specialises in diagnosing, treating and managing hearing and balance problems. Their duties can include performing hearing tests, evaluating any hearing loss or vestibular (balance) disorders, prescribing and fitting hearing assistance technologies, and providing rehabilitation techniques such as auditory training and listening skills improvement. Since hearing and balance problems are sometimes caused by other medical conditions, audiologists can also refer their patients to a specialist, such as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, to receive the appropriate treatment.

What after-sales service do you provide?

At Bay Audiology, we offer a worry free 90-day money-back guarantee. This entitles you to a full refund within 90-days of purchase or an exchange to find the right fit for you and your lifestyle. Additionally, all hearing aids come with a manufacturer's warranty. Bay Audiology offers a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty for hearing aids from Starkey, Bernafon, Oticon, Phonak and ReSound. Other manufacturers may have a different warranty period. Bay Audiology also offers additional warranty packages which are greater than the standard manufacturer's warranty for clients.

We will also provide support and advice throughout your hearing journey by providing free hearing aid clean and checks. You can always get in touch with your hearing specialist for any support with your hearing aids. 

About hearing health

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the technical term for hearing a sound which has no external source. Sometimes this is referred to as a ‘phantom sound’. Most often, this is heard as a constant high-pitched ringing noise, however it is also common to hear other noises like buzzing, cicadas, clicking, and humming, to name a few. With expert advice, tinnitus can improve.

Will tinnitus affect my daily life?

Although most people living with tinnitus learn to adjust to it over time, 1 in 5 people find that it significantly affects their quality of life. There are several ways to manage tinnitus and reduce the impact it has on your life. 

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease, but is best thought of as a symptom, like pain. It is a very common symptom of hearing loss. Sometimes it can be caused by a temporary hearing loss (for example, due to waxy ears or an infection), but most commonly is caused by some permanent damage to the hearing system.

How common is it to have tinnitus?

Tinnitus is quite common and affects millions of people around the world. Fortunately, this means that resources, professional advice and support groups are fairly easy to find in countries such as ours. For most people with tinnitus, the sound is merely an annoyance. But in severe cases, tinnitus can also cause problems with sleeping and concentration, interfere with personal relationships, and even lead to insomnia, irritability, poor work or school performance, and psychological distress. There is a lot of misinformation online, so if searching for resources it is best to discuss this with your hearing care professional.

About hearing aids

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?

While hearing aids can’t fully restore normal hearing, they can help immensely. At Bay Audiology, we support you as you adapt to your hearing aids.

Which brand of hearing aids are the best?

With several major brands and more than 1000 different devices on the market, choosing the best hearing aid for you can seem like a daunting task. Although personal preferences will vary, some of the most popular and well-regarded brands currently include ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Starkey and Bernafon. Audiologists will recommend the style of hearing aid that is most suited to your needs. This decision can be influenced by the type and degree of your hearing loss, the physical characteristics of your ear, and personal needs such as your eyesight and dexterity. They will also consider your lifestyle and listening needs to determine which features are required to meet your goals. These factors may influence the brand which they recommend to you.

What is the “best” hearing aid on the market?

The simplest answer to this question is: The one that fits, feels, and works best for you. There are a variety of factors we’ll discuss that help determine the exact model and programming that works best. In the end, you’ll have a hearing device that’s been created just for you to address your specific needs. Some of the factors determining which hearing aid is right for you include your type of hearing loss, your lifestyle, comfort level, and price.

What happens if malfunctions while travelling?

Bay Audiology has more over 115 locations nationwide. That means wherever you travel in New Zealand, you’re likely to be near a Bay Audiology clinic that will be happy to help you.

What funding is available for hearing aids?

Your hearing is priceless, but it doesn’t have to be expensive with personalised solutions for every budget. There are several different sources of funding for hearing aids in New Zealand. Your audiologist will be able to advise what type of funding you may be eligible for and can help you apply.

Most New Zealanders are eligible for a Government subsidy of $1,022 for a pair of hearing aids. If your hearing has been impacted from the type of work you have undertaken, you may be able to apply for funding through ACC. Veterans’ Affairs also provide financial support to eligible people for the cost of hearing aids and associated costs. If you want additional features that aren’t strictly essential to your hearing needs and they are not covered by your funding, you can simply choose to pay the difference to your service provider.

What are different types of hearing aid features?

Advances in digital technology make modern hearing aids work better, adapt faster, and feel more comfortable than ever before. They’re like mini computers performing thousands of calculations a second. The new features include automatic feedback suppression, background noise reduction, and remote controls to name a few. The amount of features your hearing aid has depends on your needs and personal choice. We’ll help you choose which suits you best.

What are the different types of hearing aids?

When it comes to hearing aids, there are more options to choose from than ever before. In fact, the sheer number of options on the market today means that you could spend anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. However, price does not always reflect a difference in results; choosing the “best” hearing aid will ultimately depend on your specific needs, including the type and severity of your hearing loss, as well as your lifestyle, budget, and manual dexterity. These factors will all help to determine the best style (e.g. in-the-ear vs behind-the-ear) and most important features (e.g. telecoil, directional microphone) for your specific needs. Hearing aid accessories such as TV streamers, remote controls, and phone clips can be used in addition to your hearing aid to help improve performance in different environments.

What about background noise?

No hearing aid can completely eliminate background noise, but they can lessen the effects of non-speech noise. There are lots of options to help you hear in these environments. Bay Audiology can help you determine which hearing aid is the best fit for your listening needs.

Is it OK to sleep in hearing aids?

It is recommended that you do not wear hearing aids to bed for several reasons. It is important that your ear takes a break from your hearing aid. This will give your ear canal the opportunity to air out. Additionally, by removing your hearing aid overnight and leaving the battery door open, your hearing aid will dry out and will also help extend the lifetime of the battery. Alternatively, if you have a hearing aid dehumidifier, simply remove your hearing aid batteries, and place the hearing aids in this container to dry them out overnight.

How should hearing aid batteries be stored?

The easiest way to store your hearing aid battery is to keep them in their original packaging, as this will ensure they are easy to locate. When you have finished with the hearing aids for the day store the hearing aid at normal room temperature with the battery door opened.

How often should I clean my hearing aid?

Throughout the day, earwax, dirt and moisture will accumulate inside your ear canal. Although perfectly normal, these substances can affect the clarity of your hearing aid and, if left long enough, can even damage their components. For this reason, it’s generally a good idea to give your hearing aids a clean as part of your daily routine. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe your hearing aids and earpieces, making sure your hands are also free from dirt and moisture. You can also buy specialised picks and brushes to help clean those harder-to-reach places; but remember not to use any water, cleaning fluids, solvents or alcohol, as these can damage your device. Placing your hearing aids in a specialised dehumidifier is also a great way to dry out their digital circuitry while you sleep. This kind of daily cleaning, combined with routine maintenance from a hearing specialist, will help you to enjoy years of better hearing.

How long is it to adjust to new hearing aids?

It can take several weeks to completely adjust to your new hearing aids. Hearing tends to deteriorate gradually over time, so when sounds are reintroduced to the brain quickly, it can be a bit disorienting at first. This adjustment period is essential to get the maximum benefit from your hearing aids, and that is why Bay Audiology offers a 60-day money back guarantee and an initial guide to help you adapt to your new hearing aids.

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

This depends – the harder your hearing aid has to work to process the sound, the more power it will require. Anything from a couple of days to a week would be expected. If it is less than this, then let us know as your hearing aid may need to be repaired. Your clinician will let you know the average battery drain time for your type of batteries and hearing aids.

How do I know what size hearing aid I need?

Selection of hearing aid size depends upon your personal preference, your ear canal size, and your level of hearing loss. The smallest hearing aid is a custom device which can fit in the ear canal and can be removed by pulling a small, nearly invisible cord. At around 2 – 2.5cm in size the Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) is a small housing unit that sits behind the ear. Finally, the Behind-The-Ear (BTE) is approximately 3cm in size and sits neatly behind the ear.

How do I know if I need hearing aids?

If you struggle to have conversations over the phone, find yourself constantly turning up the volume on the television or can’t quite hear people during conversations, you could be experiencing hearing loss. To determine whether or not you have hearing loss, it is recommended to have your hearing checked. This initial check is free and only takes 20 minutes and is available for everyone aged 18 years and over. If the results indicate there is a loss, the next step is to have a full hearing test with an audiologist. This comprehensive test will help to determine what kind of hearing loss you are experiencing and decide how appropriate hearing aids are for you.

How do I clean my hearing aid?

Every morning before putting the hearing aid on, you should brush the device with the provided brush. Every night when you go to sleep use a soft cloth or tissue to remove the debris and dust from the day. If you notice a build-up of ear wax in the tube, use the soft brush and ear pick provided to remove the debris. When showering or washing your face, be sure to remove your hearing aids and keep them from getting wet. A good investment is also a hearing aid dehumidifier, as a build-up of moisture may damage your hearing aid. Avoid chemical wipes or alcohol wipes when cleaning your hearing aids. Cleaning may also vary between styles, so be sure to ask your clinician on the best way to clean your hearing aids. If you have any difficulty with cleaning your aids, or aren’t sure what to do, please visit any of our clinics and we will be happy to assist.

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids include five key components: microphones, an amplifier, a speaker, a battery, and a microchip that has been specially programmed to suit the wearer’s needs. The microphones pick up sounds, which are then analysed and processed by the microchip. After being amplified, the sounds are sent to the loudspeaker which transmits the amplified sound into the ear. Here, the sounds are transformed into electrical impulses which are picked up by the brain and processed as sound.

Broadly speaking, hearing aids come in two forms: analogue and digital. Analogue hearing aids simply convert sound into an electric signal, amplify the signal, and then feed this back into the ear. Nowadays, digital hearing aids are much more sophisticated, and much more common. They process incoming sounds, refine these sounds for clarity, and then release each sound at an appropriate level. In effect, digital hearing aids are able to amplify more important sounds while reducing background noise.

How do hearing aids work for the deaf?

Just as people that wear eyeglasses aren’t necessarily blind, the vast majority of people that wear hearing aids are not deaf. Most people with hearing aids will have some degree of natural hearing left. Hearing aids will improve their natural hearing by amplifying sound to an audible level.

Hearing loss is different for everyone, and the degree of benefit received from hearing aids is influenced by the severity of the hearing loss, the duration of the hearing loss (the sooner you act, the better), and your brain’s ability to process sound. In cases of severe/profound hearing loss, the goal of hearing aids may be to improve awareness of sound for safety reasons. In very severe cases, people may require a cochlear implant to receive benefit. This looks like a hearing aid but works in conjunction with a surgically implanted device in the inner ear.

Hearing can also be improved in some cases with assistive listening devices, auditory training, and coaching in communication strategies. Your audiologist will be able to advise you on this, or may refer you to a hearing therapist.

Do I need two hearing aids?

If you have a hearing loss in both ears it’s recommended that you wear a hearing aid in each ear. We were all born with two ears for a reason. Two hearing aids will help you more than one if you have hearing loss in both ears.

Can you get waterproof hearing aids?

Waterproof hearing aids are frequently discussed by people who enjoy swimming or water sports, those who perspire heavily, live in humid climates, or work in dusty environments. Although most standard hearing aids offer some level of dust and water protection, in these scenarios, this generally isn’t enough to protect their delicate circuitry from damage. While many hearing aid companies have developed water-resistant hearing aids, there hasn’t been as much success in creating fully waterproof devices. Talk to your audiologist to discuss the latest developments in water-resistant and waterproof technology, or to discuss other ways to protect your hearing aid from moisture.

Can hearing aids get wet?

Unfortunately, hearing aids are not completely waterproof, but most hearing aids on the market today are moisture-proof, meaning a stroll in the rain or a sweaty workout won’t damage your hearing aid. These water-resistant hearing aids are able to endure a small amount of moisture for a short period of time. If your hearing aid is not water-resistant and gets excessively wet, try these at-home methods of drying out your hearing aid. Try to dry the remaining components either with a dehumidifier if the hearing aid still will not turn back on, visit your local hearing clinic.

Can hearing aids cause dizziness?

Although hearing and balance are connected, your balance is not affected by the presence or absence of hearing aids. In other words, hearing aids do not cause any dizziness. If you are experiencing dizziness or vertigo-like symptoms, visit your audiologist for a full audiology assessment.

Can hearing aids be donated?

Throughout your hearing health journey you may be recommended to change hearing aids or you may wish to change styles. Donated hearing aids will be cleaned, reconditioned and reprogrammed so they can be fitted to people who are suffering from hearing loss and may not be able to afford hearing aids. Bay Audiology use these donated hearing aids to provide hearing health services free of charge to people in Samoa who otherwise wouldn’t have access to audiological care.
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