If you experience hearing loss, our audiologists help you select the best hearing technology for your listening needs and lifestyle. Duke audiologists conduct hearing evaluations and dispense the latest hearing aids and assistive listening device technology to people of all ages. We help improve your or your child’s ability to communicate effectively using a variety of amplification options including hearing aids and FM listening systems. We can also make recommendations for personal amplifiers, telephone amplifiers, and alarm or warning systems.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Advanced Hearing Aid Technology
Digital hearing aids are the most advanced hearing aid technology available and can be worn comfortably by people of all ages, from infants as young as two months of age to the elderly. Digital hearing aids are available in a variety of price ranges and styles, including small, discreet models that are virtually invisible. There are several options available to improve your hearing in specific situations.
These devices make it easier to hear in loud social settings, such as a party or noisy restaurant. This technology uses two microphones -- one picks up sounds from all directions, while the other amplifies sounds from just one direction. If you are having a face-to-face conversation, most hearing aids will automatically adjust the microphones, or you can activate the directional microphone to turn up the volume of sounds in front of you, such as the other person’s voice.
Also known as a T-coil or telephone adapter, this lets you switch between normal hearing aid settings and a special setting that improves your ability to hear phone conversations. The technology works with landlines as well as hearing-aid-compatible mobile phones. The telecoil also allows the listener to connect to a loop system, which is a hearing-aid-compatible sound system feature that is common in large auditoriums or places of worship.
Wireless and Bluetooth Technology
There are lots of ways to link your digital hearing aids to your mobile phone, television, tablet, or other devices. Certain manufacturer phone apps offer additional flexibility for people using hearing aids. Various Bluetooth-compatible accessories are available, too.
Feedback Cancellation Systems
These automatically block annoying squealing and whistling (feedback) before you hear it.
Many digital hearing aids have several listening programs stored in their circuitry. This lets you select various microphone or hearing aid settings via a remote control or program button on the hearing aid. You can use different programs for listening in noisy or quiet settings, listening to music, or watching television.
Digital Speech Enhancement
You can choose to increase the relative intensity of certain components of speech to make it easier to understand conversations.
To determine the type and degree of your hearing impairment and whether hearing aids are the best treatment option, our audiologists will perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation. It may include some or all of these painless, noninvasive tests.
Pure Tone Audiometry
This measures how well sound travels through the air to your inner ear and auditory nerve. You listen to sounds of various pitches (pure tones) played through headphones and signal when you hear them. The volume of each tone is reduced to determine the faintest level you can detect with each ear, with the results plotted on a graph called an audiogram.
This test, performed while you wear headphones, measures your ability to understand conversation. You will be asked to repeat a series of common words spoken at varying degrees of loudness to determine the faintest volume at which you can detect speech and also how accurately you can repeat common two-syllable words. The audiologist may test how well you understand speech in the presence of background noise. This helps predict how well you’ll function with hearing aids or other devices.
This series of tests assess the function of the eardrum and middle ear structures. They involve placing a soft tool in the ear canal to measure changes in air pressure.
Auditory Brainstem Response Testing
This measures the brain stem’s response to sounds that are presented to the ears. It also assesses hearing when behavioral testing cannot be performed in children due to age, lack of cooperation, or developmental level. (In these cases, general anesthesia or sedation is available.) During the non-invasive procedure, an audiologist will place electrodes on your or your child’s forehead and ears. A sound will then be presented to both ears through earphones. The response generated by the auditory neural pathway is recorded and analyzed by an audiologist.
Otoacoustic Emission (OAE) Testing
This test measures hair cell function of the inner ear to estimate hearing sensitivity. A small plug is inserted in your ear while you listen to a series of tones or clicks. The test takes place in a quiet environment.
During your initial consultation, an audiologist will evaluate your hearing loss and discuss which style and hearing aid technology are best for your listening needs. You’ll be asked to complete questionnaires to help inform how much you may benefit from hearing aids. For a precise fit, we may need to take impressions of your ears. It takes about two weeks to receive your hearing aids.
Your hearing aid fitting appointment includes fitting, programming, and learning about how to care for and use your hearing aids. You'll learn how insert and remove them, the best way to clean and maintain them for optimal performance, and how to change the batteries. Payment in full is due at this appointment.
Your Hearing Aid Purchase
Your purchase includes many benefits:
- Trial Period: If you choose to return your hearing aid during the trial period (usually 30 or 60 days), you will receive a refund minus a dispensing fee.
- One- to Five-Year Warranty: This timeframe depends on your hearing aid. It covers repairs from the hearing aid manufacturer as well as a one-time loss and damage warranty.
- Two-Hour Auditory Rehabilitation Course: This course covers how to make the best use of your hearing aids, other assistive devices that may be helpful in certain situations (such as personal FM listening systems to use at lectures or in classrooms), strategies to communicate and listen more effectively, and other information on coping with hearing loss.
We also offer resources for improving communication (like educational programs, apps, and online services) and repair services, including reprogramming, cleaning, and adjustments.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.