Hearing Aids & Audiologist in Madison

Hearing loss can occur at any age and may be triggered by biological or environmental factors. If you struggle to understand conversations in noisy environments such as restaurants, the audiology services provided by Alabama Hearing Associates in Madison can help. Our audiologists provide a comprehensive communication evaluation, assessing hearing from the ear to the brain. We offer personalized, compassionate care, along with a wide range of the latest in prescription hearing aid technology – devices with powerful sound quality and performance. Our extensive expertise provides real results and improved quality of life to our patients!


Hearing Test

Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates conduct tests including the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment, which provides a thorough evaluation of your hearing health, from your ears to your brain. This comprehensive 12-step assessment allows our audiologists to determine your specific type of hearing loss, and to develop the correct treatment plan for your listening needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

Which hearing test is the best?

Although the “beep-beep” test you may remember from elementary school is the most common basic hearing test, multiple diagnostic hearing tests are required to fully determine the severity and type of loss you are experiencing. At Alabama Hearing Associates, our comprehensive evaluation will assess communication from your ears to your brain and show how you hear in the real world. This includes evaluating the faintest speech that you can distinguish correctly, along with determining the minimum volume you hear at each frequency. Our audiologists will also evaluate how well you can hear speech in a noisy environment since hearing conversations in social situations is important for good communication with friends, family, and co-workers.

Can I test my own hearing?

Although it is possible to test your own hearing through online hearing tests, it is not advised. These tests may seem appealing because they are quick and can be conducted from the comfort of your own home, but the results provided are not comprehensive and won’t tell you if you have underlying causes that should be treated – or even which hearing aids are correct for your hearing loss, listening needs, and lifestyle.

The bottom line is that diagnosing hearing loss is complex, and is best done at an audiology office where trained hearing professionals can provide you with a thorough evaluation, and advise you on the right treatment plan for your hearing needs.

Are online hearing tests any good?

Online hearing tests are widely available, and although they are advertised to be a quick way to test your own hearing, they do not provide a reliable evaluation. Taking an online hearing test does not result in comprehensive results or context, which means you won’t be provided a clear path forward on how to address your hearing loss. They typically don’t show how well you are able to hear speech in a noisy environment, which is an important aspect of hearing. If you choose to purchase an over-the-counter hearing device based on online test results, chances are your selection will either over or under-correct your hearing loss. You may also miss out on the diagnosis of an underlying condition that requires treatment. Relying on online hearing tests alone can have long-term, negative impacts on your hearing health.

Tinnitus Evaluations

Tinnitus is defined as a perceived sound – such as a ringing or buzzing – that has no external source. Patients with tinnitus find it frustrating because they often have difficulty sleeping and concentrating due to the noise. While tinnitus is not life-threatening, the negative impacts on quality of life make it something that should be addressed by a health professional. Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates assist patients experiencing tinnitus by evaluating them for an underlying cause and providing recommendations for ways to effectively manage the symptoms.

Should I go to an audiologist for tinnitus?

If you are experiencing a ringing, buzzing, clicking, or roaring noise in your ear(s), you may have tinnitus. This can be caused by hearing loss, head injury, ear infection, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, medication side effects, or other health conditions. Although tinnitus itself is not considered to be a serious medical condition, it is best to make an appointment with an audiologist who can evaluate you to determine if an underlying cause can be identified. Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates can provide treatment options so the symptoms of tinnitus are resolved. Since tinnitus often negatively impacts quality of life by disrupting sleep and concentration, it is best to seek the help of one of our audiologists as soon as possible.

Is tinnitus a brain problem?

Tinnitus affects millions of American adults and is one of the most common health issues people face. Although the ringing or buzzing noise you hear seems to be coming from the ears, it is actually a creation of the brain. Scientists believe that in many cases, tinnitus is the brain attempting to adapt to a gradual change in hearing from aging, or as the result of a sudden hearing loss, such as from a head injury. Seeking the help of one of our audiologists is beneficial in determining what is causing your tinnitus and in identifying ways to reduce its symptoms.

What happens if tinnitus is not treated?

Untreated tinnitus can negatively affect overall well-being. People with tinnitus often complain of difficulty sleeping, which may lead to irritability and other secondary health concerns, including depression and anxiety. Although tinnitus itself is not considered serious, the impact it has on your life can be. It is therefore best to seek assistance from one of our audiologists if you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus. Alabama Hearing Associates can help you identify and treat the underlying cause of your tinnitus, as well as strategize ways to minimize and manage the symptoms.

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Ear Wax Removal

Earwax is generally beneficial for your hearing health, but on occasion, an overaccumulation of earwax can cause issues. Although numerous home remedies can be found online, it is best to have an audiologist remove any earwax blockage you are experiencing. As a trained healthcare professional with the appropriate tools, an audiologist is able to safely and successfully remove the earwax. If you are concerned that you have an earwax blockage, contact Alabama Hearing Associates to make an appointment for evaluation.

What is the best way to remove ear wax?

In most cases, removal of earwax is not necessary. Although people tend to think earwax indicates poor hygiene, the reality is that earwax is necessary for the health of your ear.

If, however, earwax over accumulates, it can cause a blockage, which may impact your hearing. A trained audiologist can assist by evaluating your ear and safely removing the earwax with the proper tools to ensure that the earwax is removed, and not pushed farther into the ear canal. If you think you have an earwax blockage, make an appointment with us at Alabama Hearing Associates for proper treatment!

Do ear candles work?

Ear candles can be found at many retail locations, advertising a home remedy for earwax removal. But do they work? Scientists indicate that ear candles are not effective, and in fact, can actually cause harm. Although numerous studies have been conducted, no study has shown ear candles actually remove earwax. The FDA warns consumers that there isn’t valid scientific evidence of a medical benefit, and in fact, the risk of injury is high. Burn injuries have occurred from people attempting to use ear candles. Instead of attempting a home remedy, seek assistance from one of our audiologists, who can safely remove any earwax blockage you may have.

What does dark brown ear wax mean?

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is naturally occurring and effective at protecting your ear by preventing debris and bacteria from entering the ear canal. The color of earwax can vary, with yellow-brown being the most common. If your earwax is dark brown, it indicates the earwax is older and has potentially built up more than it normally would. While this is not a cause for alarm, you may want to seek the assistance of one of our audiologists to remove it, especially if you are also experiencing an earache, ringing in your ear, or a decrease in hearing.

Real Ear Measurement 

Real-ear measurements (REM) are used by audiologists to verify a hearing aid is working properly and optimally for you. Skipping this important step may result in dissatisfaction with the hearing aids, so it is a vital part of the process. Alabama Hearing Associates recognizes the importance of real-ear measurements and always takes the time to complete this step to optimize hearing aids for each of our patients.

Are real-ear measurements necessary?

Real-ear measurement is a multi-step process and takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The first step is to clean any earwax out of your ear canal, so it doesn’t interfere with the acoustics of the ear. Then, a small microphone is inserted and measurements are made both with and without your hearing aid in place. The test results are compared to targets that incorporate your specific hearing loss, cognitive health, noise tolerance, gender, and age. Incremental programming modifications are made so that your hearing aids function appropriately for soft, medium, and loud sounds. This step is the most time-consuming but is vital for ensuring optimal hearing.

How long does real ear measurement take?

Real-ear measurement is a multi-step process and takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The first step is to clean any earwax out of your ear canal, so it doesn’t interfere with the acoustics of the ear. Then, a small microphone is inserted and measurements are made both with and without your hearing aid in place. The test results are compared to targets that incorporate your specific hearing loss, cognitive health, noise tolerance, gender, and age. Incremental programming modifications are made so that your hearing aids function appropriately for soft, medium, and loud sounds. This step is the most time-consuming but is vital for ensuring optimal hearing.

Which instrument can be used for REM measurement?

REM measurement utilizes a probe microphone to make acoustic measurements of the ear canal. The probe microphone is a very small microphone inside of a soft, flexible tube. It does not hurt when inserted; if anything, patients comment that it tickles! The first measurement is completed without the hearing aid installed, in order to verify appropriate placement of the probe microphone. Once verified, the hearing aids are added and incremental modifications to the programming of the hearing aids are made to ensure the devices are working properly for soft, medium, and loud sounds.

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Hearing Aid Fitting

Appropriate fitting of your new hearing aid(s) is an important step to ensure that you are satisfied with the way they work. At Alabama Hearing Associates, we always follow best practices, including utilizing real ear measurements to verify the hearing aid is programmed for your specific hearing loss and works in a way that is comfortable for your listening needs.

How long does it take to get fitted for a hearing aid?

Getting fitted for a hearing aid typically takes about 1 hour. Proper fitting is vital to ensure that you are satisfied with your hearing aid, so it is worthwhile to allow time for this appointment. Our audiologists will conduct a real ear measurement to ensure the hearing aid is programmed appropriately for your hearing loss and that the sounds you hear with the new device are comfortable for you. In addition, you will be trained on how to properly care for your new hearing aids and the appropriate use of any advanced features available.

How does an audiologist fit a hearing aid?


At Alabama Hearing Associates, our audiologists use real ear measurement (REM) to fit your new hearing aids. Not every audiology practice completes this process, but they should, as it is the best practice to ensure long-term hearing aid satisfaction.

Utilizing a probe microphone, our audiologists make measurements with your hearing aid in place and then compare the results to specific targets. Incremental changes are made to the programming of your hearing aid, so that the sounds you hear are comfortable when soft, medium, and loud. Using REM allows us to know that your hearing aids are programmed properly for your unique hearing loss.

Can you get a hearing aid without a test?

It is possible to get an over-the-counter hearing aid without a hearing test, but it is not advised. First, the devices that are sold over-the-counter are only available for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. In addition, anyone seeking a hearing aid – regardless of their level of hearing loss – should have their hearing tested by a certified audiologist. This hearing health professional will identify exactly which device is best for the hearing loss being experienced and then appropriately fit the hearing aid so it works properly for all levels of sound. Patients who seek an over-the-counter hearing aid without a test may find they over or under-correct their hearing.

Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing aid batteries can be rechargeable or disposable. They also come in a variety of different sizes, depending on the hearing aid selected. At your hearing aid fitting at Alabama Hearing Associates, you will learn how to handle and maintain your specific hearing aid batteries properly.

What is the 5-minute rule for hearing aid batteries?

The “five-minute rule” for hearing aid batteries is suggested for users of zinc-air batteries and is intended to extend the life of the battery. These batteries come with a plastic tab covering air holes at the top of the battery. Once the tab is removed, air can enter and activate the zinc, starting the lifetime of the battery. In order to prolong the life of the battery, users should wait 5 minutes from the time they pull the tab until they insert the battery into the hearing aid. This allows full activation of the zinc and extends the life of the battery.

How long does a battery last on a hearing aid?

The range of time a battery lasts on a hearing aid varies widely and depends on a number of factors, including the type of hearing aid, how long the hearing aid is worn each day, the type of battery, and the extent to which external accessories, such as Bluetooth, are used. For the typical person who wears their hearing aids for ~16 hours per day, the battery will last 4-6 days on average. However, some reports expand this range to anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks.

What is the 5-minute rule for hearing aid batteries? How long does a battery last on a hearing aid? Why are my hearing aid batteries dying so fast?

If you believe your hearing aid batteries are dying faster than they should, consider the following four tips to increase battery life:

  • Do not remove the tab from the battery until you are ready to install the battery in the hearing aid. Once it is removed, wait 5 minutes, and then place it in the hearing aid.
  • Avoid storing your hearing aids or batteries in a bathroom, as the moisture can reduce battery life.
  • Open the battery door when you are not using your hearing aid to allow any moisture to escape.
  • Minimize your use of external accessories – such as streaming – directly to your hearing aids.
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Auditory Processing Disorder Treatment

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) occurs when the brain doesn’t interpret sounds in the typical way.  Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates can diagnose APD through advanced listening tests.  Although a cure does not exist for APD, a specific treatment plan can be formed to help improve communication.

How can auditory processing be improved?

Though a cure for auditory processing disorder does not exist, improvements to its symptoms can be made with an individualized treatment plan.  Children generally benefit from classroom support, including utilizing hearing assistive technology and moving the student closer to the front of the class.  They may also benefit from written and/or picture-based instructions in addition to the verbal instruction typically provided.  Sound recognition and conversation skills can be improved through speech therapy.  Auditory training provides exercises to determine where sound is coming from and to focus on certain sounds even with background noise present. Finally, changes to the home environment – such as avoiding fan use – may also be helpful.   

Does medication help auditory processing?

Auditory processing disorder is caused by a neurological issue, so medications are generally not helpful.  However, treatment options do exist to improve communication.  For example, hearing assistive technology and speech therapy can both be implemented to help with sound perception.  Active listening skills can be taught to help individuals with APD compensate for listening difficulties.  Re-evaluating the environment and removing noise-generating items, such as air purifiers, can be beneficial. Working with one of our audiologists, a speech-language pathologist and/or a psychologist to develop and implement a treatment plan often yields successful improvements for both children and adults with APD.

How do they fix auditory processing disorder in adults?

Although auditory processing disorder is generally identified in childhood, it can also be diagnosed in an adult.  Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates can correctly identify APD in adults and offer customized treatment options. Auditory training through speech-language therapy can be beneficial, especially when coupled with assistive listening devices.  In addition, coping strategies – such as avoiding environments with significant background noise, or learning how to lip read – may be helpful.  If hearing loss is present, our audiologists can prescribe hearing aids as a valuable treatment option.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most commonly experienced type of hearing loss.  It is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear or to the auditory nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain.  The severity of sensorineural hearing loss varies from mild to profound and is often caused by aging, but it can also be the result of a tumor, medication side-effect, viral infection, head trauma, or exposure to loud noise.  Our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates can diagnose and appropriately treat sensorineural hearing loss.

Can sensorineural hearing loss be corrected?

Sensorineural hearing loss is not reversible, but treatment options are available to improve hearing.  A thorough hearing examination conducted by one of our audiologists will first identify the cause and severity of the hearing loss.  This information is then used to create a specific treatment plan for the patient.  Most commonly, hearing aids are prescribed and programmed for the exact hearing loss being experienced.  If medication, infection, or exposure to loud noises is causing the hearing loss, our audiologists will work with the patient to identify ways to avoid further damage.  This may mean a change in medication or adding hearing protection.

Will sensorineural hearing loss get worse over time?

If your sensorineural hearing loss is caused by age-related or genetic factors, it is likely that your hearing will continue to degrade.  This progression with age is common, so regular hearing checks at our office are essential to ensure your hearing aids can be reprogrammed appropriately to meet your ongoing listening needs.  

While sensorineural hearing loss that is caused by loud noise exposure or medication is also permanent, it may be possible to prevent further decline.  Checking in with your physician about changing medications, or consulting with our audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates about utilizing hearing protection can help you preserve the hearing you have.  

How do you prevent further sensorineural hearing loss?

Loud noise exposure is the most common preventable form of sensorineural hearing loss.  This type of hearing loss is not reversible, so it is best to prevent it as much as possible.  Avoiding loud sounds by turning down the volume or moving away from the source of the sound is recommended.  If you must work in a noisy environment, consider utilizing hearing protection, which will help reduce the sound to a safe level.  Keep in mind that you may be exposing yourself to unsafe loud sounds in your home environment as well.  Consider wearing hearing protection when mowing the lawn or using a power tool, such as a power saw.  

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