If your eyesight is weakening, you get glasses. When we feel a tooth ache, we visit the dentist. and we never think twice about seeking a doctor’s care with a broken bone.
But when most people’s hearing starts to go as they age all they do is turn up the TV, strain to listen, and decide they just have to live with it. Why do we refuse to use hearing aids? The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports there are twenty-eight million people who suffer from a loss of hearing.
Hearing aids can help with a wide range of auditory issues. Yes, we all remember our grandparents and the hearing aids that looked like a small transistor radio complete with wires running from pocket to ear, but they have definitely improved them with digital technology just like computers.
Modern hearing aids are completely programmable, and are equipped with a computer chip, a microphone, a receiver, and a battery. This allows the audiologist the capability to customize the aid to your exact hearing needs. The newer hearing aids are much smaller and very discreet, as well as being programmed to each individual persons actual level of hearing loss.
Truly, no two people have the exact same degree of hearing loss. Some individuals will suffer the loss of ability to hear high-end frequencies while others become unable to detect low-end ones. Some people are unable to hear certain words when they’re talking with others and try to fill in the blank spots, due to the fact they just don’t hear sound frequencies (for instance, consonants are referred to as high-end, while vowel sounds are the low-end).
In other people volume is the problem. Everything they hear sounds softer than what it really is. As a result, they tend to turn televisions and radios up and are repeatedly asking others to repeat things they did not hear properly.
An audiogram or hearing test, is an important piece of information that enables the audiologist to program individual hearing aids to optimize a patients’ ability to hear. After a person has been found to be suffering hearing loss it’s suggested that they be re-tested each year. There are 3 kinds of hearing specialists. Doctors who are able to diagnose and then treat whatever medical reasons there are for loss of hearing are otolaryngologists, or ear, nose, and throat doctors.
A specialist known as an audiologist must gain at least a master’s degree and have a license in the state they practice. Those that dispense hearing aids also require a certification by the state, but they do not require the same education as an audiologist. These latter professionals are usually more like salespeople and tend to associate themselves with a particular hearing aid manufacturer. (SKIP THIS SENTENCE)–(ADDRESSED ABOVE–I DO NOT FEEL IT SHOULD BE REPEATED)
Hearing aids can be put into four categories. There are aids that are worn entirely inside the ear canal and are appropriately referred to as “completely in the canal” devices. In addition to being the smallest and most discreet hearing aid available, These smallest ones are also the most costly, and are not recommended for a severe hearing loss.
Then there are the “in the canal” devices. These are slightly bigger than those that fit completely in the ear, but will still fit quite far into the ear canal. These devices use a battery that is a little bigger and are designed for the person with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Next, you have the “in the ear” hearing aids. These can be seen by people around the wearer, and are designed to treat a large range of hearing impairments. A “behind the ear” device is placed behind the ear, it has a larger battery but is also capable of higher amplification than the smaller hearing aids. Although it is older technology, analog hearing aids remain appropriate for those who need amplification at a lower cost.
Hearing loss is known to affect twenty-eight million Americans of all ages. Let’s learn more about hearing loss. When you experience hearing loss, it’s usually due to aging, blockage in the ear, or disease. A hearing aid can assist about 95% of all hearing loss cases.
Also, among much younger generations, the statistics of hearing loss are rising. As a matter of fact people ages 18-44 years have had a 17% increase in hearing loss in the years from 1971-1990. Otitis media is the most common cause of temporary hearing loss. Of all infants and young children, 70% are affected with these types of ear infections.