Hearing Loss

About Hearing Loss

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center's Hearing Aid Center, we know that hearing loss can impact every part of your life – such as communicating on the phone, interacting with others and being productive at work – and this can be devastating.

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center's Hearing Aid Center, we know that hearing loss can impact every part of your life – such as communicating on the phone, interacting with others and being productive at work – and this can be devastating.

Hearing loss is most common among older adults, but it can occur at any age. Because Lahey offers medical care as well as audiology, you will have access to a wide range of solutions that best fit your needs.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss – This is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. Impacted earwax, eardrum perforations, middle ear infections, or problems with middle ear bones can all cause conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss – This is the type of loss we associate with aging, but it also can be caused by inherited conditions or by prolonged exposure to loud noise. It is the most common type of hearing impairment and is usually the result of damage to the sensory cells and/or nerve fibers within the inner ear. A hearing aid is usually the most effective treatment.
  • Mixed hearing loss – This is a condition in which both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss are present. A medical exam can determine the best treatment options.
Is Your Hearing Impaired?

One way to determine if your hearing is impaired is to take the following brief quiz, compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health:

  • Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
  • Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
  • Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
  • Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
  • Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
  • Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
  • Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
  • Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you answered yes to three or more questions, you may want to have a hearing evaluation. This can be scheduled through your primary care physician. Alternatively, to make an appointment directly with a Lahey Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist physician), please call 781-744-8467.

Hearing Aids

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center's Hearing Aid Center, we offer various types of hearing aids, including some of the newest technology available. Our highly trained Audiologists can help you decide which type is best for you.

Types of Hearing Aids

Each type of hearing aid offers different advantages, depending on its design, levels of amplification and size.

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – These are worn behind the ear and are connected to a plastic ear mold that fits inside the outer ear. The components are held in a case behind the ear. Sound travels through the ear mold into the ear. Today's BTEs are also much smaller than in the past and in many cases can be concealed by the ear and/or the hairline.
  • Open-fit hearing aids – These are worn behind the ear and are connected to a wire receiver that fits into the ear canal. The sound is processed in the behind-the-ear portion. A small dome or mold is attached to the receiver.
  • In-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-canal (CIC). These are worn in the ear rather than behind the ear but they may also be less effective for people with severe hearing loss. Your Audiologist will help you decide if an in-ear solution will adequately correct your hearing problem.
Innovative Offerings at Lahey

Innovative offerings in the Lahey Hearing Aid Center in Burlington include:

  • Lyric, the first completely invisible extended-wear hearing solution. Once placed inside the ear canal, it can be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months at a time – even when showering and sleeping. Lahey is among the few hearing aid centers in the greater Boston area to offer Lyric.
  • Esteem implantable hearing aid, a fully implanted hearing device specifically engineered to help improve the hearing of adults diagnosed with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss
  • Hybrid electro-acoustic hearing systems, allow people with high-frequency hearing loss to hear high-frequency sounds, which are important for understanding speech and for successful communication
Hearing Aid Accessories

Bluetooth technology is available in most hearing aids. Bluetooth connectivity allows for the hearing aids to sync with cell phones, television, MP3 players, landline phones and any other Bluetooth enabled electronic device. This can make all the difference in being able to use and enjoy your technology devices to their fullest.

We also offer FM systems, which can be useful for one-on-one conversations at home, in the car or if there is background noise. Some people also use an FM system for better speech clarity while watching television, communicating on the telephone, or listening to a MP3 player and other audio devices.

Surgical Hearing Implants

For people with hearing loss caused by severe damage to the ear canal, the ear drum, the middle ear bones or the inner ear, implantable hearing devices can provide significant hearing improvement.

A surgical implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sound. Implants compensate for damaged or non-working parts of the middle or inner ear, and can help individuals who are not candidates for traditional hearing aids.

About Implantable Hearing Devices

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, several types of implantable hearing devices are offered:

  • Cochlear Implant – A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that helps to restore hearing in people with hearing loss who no longer benefit from use of conventional hearing aids. This type of hearing loss is usually caused by damage or degeneration in the inner ear. The implant bypasses the damaged inner ear sensory cells and directly stimulates the auditory nerve to send sound information to the brain.
  • Bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) – BAHA technology can help people whose hearing loss cannot be restored with surgery and who cannot use conventional hearing aids. This implantable device bypasses the conduction pathway of the ear, sending vibrations directly to the inner ear on both sides. The Department of Otolaryngology at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center has the expertise and technology to implant all of these devices. To make an appointment with a Lahey Otolaryngologist, please call 781-744-8467.
Helpful Links

For additional information on hearing loss and its treatments, the Audiologists at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center recommend the following websites: