FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are answers to questions frequently asked by individuals with hearing and balance disorders and their loved ones, audiologists, researchers, and the general public. If your question is not listed, email us at info@hhf.org or search our site:

+ Q. I think I have a hearing loss. What should I do?

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We recommend that you see an audiologist, ENT, or your personal doctor to arrange a hearing test. Do not delay your visit.

+ Q. I think I have tinnitus. What should I do?

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We recommend you see an audiologist, ENT, or your personal doctor. He or she may be able to help directly or may refer you to another specialist, such as a neurologist, physical therapist, or psychologist. Do not delay your visit, especially if not yet received a hearing loss diagnosis. In almost all cases, tinnitus is the brain's reaction to a loss of hearing.

+ Q. What are the degrees of hearing loss and the characteristics of each?

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Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound. Hearing loss that borders between two categories is typically labeled as a combination of the two categories. Learn more about each degree and see a visible reprsentation of hearing loss by decibel level here.

+ Q. What type of hearing aid is best for me?

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HHF cannot make individual recommendations and advises you to consult your audiologist, who knows your hearing history. For information about purchasing hearing aids for the first time, read our guide, here.

+ Q. Is hearing loss permanent?

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Many instances of hearing loss are sensorineural (permanent), while few can be cured with drugs or surgery. HHF works daily to fund research to find better treatments and biological cures for hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hairs within the cochlea in the inner ear; sound not able to be converted into electrical signals for the auditory nerve. Treatments include amplification through hearing aids or cochlear implants, but a permanent cure does not yet exist.

+ Q. What kind of hearing loss can be cured by surgery? What are the procedures available?

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Conductive hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. It occurs when sound waves are not able to efficiently go through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the small bones of the middle ear. There is typically a reduction in sound levels or the ability to hear faint sounds.

Surgeries include:

  • Pressure equalization (PE) tubes: Small cylinders are placed through the eardrum to allow air into the middle ear.
  • Stapedectomy: Insertion of a prosthetic device designed to bypass abnormal hardening of the bone tissue in the middle ear. This surgery is used to treat otosclerosis.

+ Q. What are some of the latest advancements toward curing hearing loss?

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Through our collaborative Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), 15 top hearing scientists are conducting groundbreaking research toward discovering a biological cure for hearing loss and tinnitus. Birds, fish, and reptiles are able to restore their hearing. If the hair cells (the sensory cells that enable hearing) of a chick or a fish are damaged, new hair cells are formed spontaneously. Mammals are not able to regenerate hearing - yet! However, our scientists have recently observed regeneration in young mice, which is another positive step to a long process of hearing restoration in humans.

+ Q. Is there a cure for tinnitus?

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No, there is not a known cure at this time, but there are many excellent tools to reduce its bothersome effects. Both HHF's Hearing Restoration Project and Emerging Reserch Grants scientists are investigating better treatments and cures. See our list of available tinnitus treatments.

+ Q. Is there a cure for Ménière's disease?

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No, there is not a known cure at this time. HHF's Ménière's Disease Grants scientists are investigating better treamtents and cures. See our list of available Ménière's disease treatments.

+ Q. I'd like to know about HHF's fundraising efficiency. What percentage of each dollar donated to the organization supports programming?

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Our Board of Directors and endowment cover administration and fundraising expenses, so we are able to steward 100% of all donations designated for research to our hearing research programs.

All nonprofit charity watchdogs, including Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar, have recognized HHF with high ratings for transparency and efficiency. We have also been named one of the "Top 5 Best Charities in America" by Consumer Reports in 2016 and 2017.

For more, see our financials page.

+ Q. I would like to volunteer with Hearing Health Foundation. How may I help?

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We welcomes your help preparing letters and other constituent mailings in our New York City office. We are also looking for American Sign Language (ASL) volunteers for future events. Please contact info@hhf.org to discuss other possible volunteer opportunities outside of the New York City area.

+ Q. How do I subscribe to Hearing Health magazine?

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Visit www.hhf.org/subscribe and select “Magazine.” Input your full name and address to receive one free copy quarterly. Your confirmation email will explain how you can request additioanl copies for your office. Please note that subscriptions are limited to individuals in the U.S. only at this time.

+ Q. How do I subscribe to your E-Newsletter?

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Visit www.hhf.org/subscribe and select “Monthly e-Newsletter.” Input your full name and valid email address to receive hearing loss research and awareness news each month.

+ Q. I subscribe to Hearing Health magazine and my address has changed. How can I update you?

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Email us at info@hhf.org or call us at (212) 257-6140 or (888) 435-6104 TTY with your full name and previous adddress and we will update your record.

+ Q. Can I receive disability compensation if I'm a veteran with a hearing condition?

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Yes. Find your nearest Federal VA office and receive a rating for your condition(s). If you already have a rating, seek a reevaluation if at all possible to determine if your condition has worsened over time. If you have a service-connected disability you can learn more here.

+ Q. Do you accept guest articles to your magazine and blog?

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Yes, we accept educational, non-promotional blog posts and magazine articles, subject to editorial review and consideration. Please note we cannot guarantee publication. Please send editorial submissions to editor@hhf.org. Promotional content such as of a product or service is subject to pricing detailed in our Media Kit.

+ Q. Do you treat patients?

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HHF does not work directly with patients. Rather, our foundation funds scientists investigating treatments for their use by doctors. However, our website, magazine, and e-newsletter contain a lot of information on treatments and types of hearing conditions.

+ Q. Are you accepting candidates for clinical trials?

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No, our funded researchers work only with animal models. To learn about a clinical trial that is relevant to you, visit clinicaltrials.gov.

+ Q. Do you provide hearing aids or financial assistance for treatments?

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As HHF's funding goes to research and the organization does not work directly with patients, we unfortunately cannot help with individual financial assistance or hearing aid donations.

HHF recommends the following institutions for assistance:

  • Hearing Charities of America
  • Veterans Administration HLAA
  • Hearing Loss Association of America
  • Center for Hearing and Communication (in New York)

Please note that cochlear implants are covered under insurance while hearing aids are usually not.

HHF supports the sale of safe and regulated over-the-counter hearing aids as an affordable option for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

+ Q.What are over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids?

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OTC hearing aids were legislated as a new Food and Drug Administration category in August 2017. However, guidelines have yet to be set, prompting the FDA to caution that hearing devices cannot use “OTC hearing aids” in their marketing. The FDA definition of this new class that will address safety, quality, and labeling requirements and applications (severity of hearing loss) will be presented by August 2020, with a months-long period of public comment and FDA responses to follow. Ahead of the guidelines, HHF advises that consumers exercise caution when reviewing hearing devices or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) that claim to be an OTC hearing aid.

+ Q. Do you accept used hearing aid donations?

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Yes! We Through a partnership with Hearing Charities of America, we collect used hearing aids so they can be refurbished and given to those in need through the Hearing Aid Project. Please mail used hearing aids to us at:

Hearing Health Foundation
ATTN: Noemi Disla
363 Seventh Ave 10th Floor
New York, NY 10001

+ Q. How do I apply to your Emerging Research Grants (ERG) program?

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Please check this page to see if applications are currently open. If closed, you can learn about our policies before the next application cycle begins.

+ Q. Who qualifies for your Emerging Research Grants (ERG) program?

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For Emerging Research Grants in the “General Hearing Health” category, only early career investigators who are in the early stages of their careers may apply. To be considered in the early career investigator category:

The applicant must be no more than 7 years beyond the date that the first professional, advanced professional, or terminal academic degree was awarded, whichever is most recent.

And, the applicant cannot be a current or prior Principal Investigator (PI) on a major independent research award (e.g., R00, R03, R21, R01, VA Merit, DoD, or equivalent). Prior appointment on fellowship/training grants, or prior service as a PI on a mentored career development award, is permissible.

For Emerging Research Grants in specific hearing and balance topic areas (e.g. Auditory Processing Disorder, Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Ménière’s Disease), both early career and senior established investigators may apply. Please note that early career investigators will be given priority for funding in these categories.

For all categories, applicants must conduct their research at a U.S. institution.

+ Q. Do you review O-1 petitions for eligibility for O-1 visas and issue advisory opinions?

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No, we do not review applications for individuals seeking sponsorship in the U.S. to perform their research. We only fund grants to individuals who are currently based at a U.S. institution.