Challenge #: Avoiding Water
Solution: Learn hearing aid care tips and sign language
Avoiding water can be hard to always remember to do, and I personally had a hard time giving myself the permission to take my childrens hearing aids out during these times. It made me feel like they were going to miss out on something.
Many hearing aids are water resistant, but not waterproof. This means that most hearing aids are made to handle sweat and light rain, but should not be immersed in water. They should be taken out for bath time, the pool and the beach. However, playing in sprinklers and splash parks can be OK, as long as their hearing aids are not fully immersed.
In general, hearing aids should be able to withstand rain, sweat and water splashes, but his hearing aids should not be worn in the shower or pool, according to Ask Anna.If he does jump in the shower or the pool and forgets he is wearing his hearing aids, you should dry the hearing aids and replace the battery as soon as you can. Most will spring to life again.
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In addition to practicing water safety with my childrens hearing aids, I also connect with my babies in other ways at the pool or beach, through my facial expressions and signing. I also used the times he was not wearing hearing aids to become an advocate for him. I reminded those around us of his hearing loss, and used it as a time to educate others and give strategies to help others communicate with him.
Can Babies Wear Hearing Aids
Many associate hearing loss with old age, but it can affect people of all ages. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one to three out of every 1,000 children are born with hearing loss, and more will develop the condition during childhood. The most common treatment for pediatric hearing loss is hearing aids.
Types Of Hearing Aids
There are several hearing aid styles. Some are worn on the body. Others fit behind the ear or in the ear. Most people with hearing loss in both ears wear two hearing aids.
Types of hearing aids include:
No single style of hearing aid or manufacturer is best hearing aid selection is based on a person’s individual needs.
Sometimes an audiologist might want to add an FM system to your hearing aid. An FM system is a great help in a classroom as it allows you to hear the teacher’s voice above any background classroom noise. Your teacher will wear a small microphone and transmitter that sends sound directly to your hearing aid and receiver using a wireless FM transmission.
Other programs can be added to your hearing aids as well. For example, if you want to play music, ask your audiologist about a program designed for amplifying music. Also, you can use wireless accessories with hearing aids to listen to TV or your music player, play videogames, or use your phone. Talk to your audiologist about your hobbies and interests so he or she can recommend programs for your specific needs.
You’ll also want to let your audiologist know when something is not working well. It might take several tries to adjust your hearing aid. This means you may have to visit your audiologist several times, but it’s worth the benefit of being able to hear your friends and what is happening around you.
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Do All Hearing Aids Work The Same Way
Hearing aids work differently depending on the electronics used. The two main types of electronics are analog and digital.
Analog aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are amplified. Analog/adjustable hearing aids are custom built to meet the needs of each user. The aid is programmed by the manufacturer according to the specifications recommended by your audiologist. Analog/programmable hearing aids have more than one program or setting. An audiologist can program the aid using a computer, and you can change the program for different listening environmentsfrom a small, quiet room to a crowded restaurant to large, open areas, such as a theater or stadium. Analog/programmable circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids. Analog aids usually are less expensive than digital aids.
Digital aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, similar to the binary code of a computer, before amplifying them. Because the code also includes information about a sounds pitch or loudness, the aid can be specially programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others. Digital circuitry gives an audiologist more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a users needs and to certain listening environments. These aids also can be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction. Digital circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids.
How Do We Hear
Each of our ears is made up of three sections:
How do ears work?
Sound enters your ear canal and hits your ear drum. This makes it vibrate. Three tiny bones in your middle ear link the vibrating ear drum with the inner part of your ear.
The last of these bones is connected to a tiny bone structure that looks a bit like a snail shell, but is about the size of a pea. It is called the cochlea . The cochlea is filled with a liquid that carries the vibrations to thousands of tiny hair cells. Each cell is tuned to a particular sound . as these little hair cells move in the fluid, they carry a message to the nerve which is connected to your brain, which turns this signal into what you hear. all this happens in a fraction of a second.
The outer ear
The outer ear consists of the pinna and the ear canal.
The pinna is the external flap of skin that we can all see. it is not very important for good hearing but it does serve to collect or ‘funnel’ sounds into the ear canal and help us know the direction of sound.
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What Research Is Being Done On Hearing Aids
Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.
In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.
Another promising research focus is to use lessons learned from animal models to design better microphones for hearing aids. NIDCD-supported scientists are studying the tiny fly Ormia ochracea because its ear structure allows the fly to determine the source of a sound easily. Scientists are using the flys ear structure as a model for designing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids. These microphones amplify the sound coming from a particular direction , but not the sounds that arrive from other directions. Directional microphones hold great promise for making it easier for people to hear a single conversation, even when surrounded by other noises and voices.
Which Hearing Aid Make/model Is Best
Providing auditory stimulation at the earliest possible time is very important. Your audiologist is familiar with the âfeaturesâ that a hearing aid should have for your childâs type, degree, and shape of hearing loss. Your audiologist will be able to discuss the options that meet your childâs needs.
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Research To Improve Hearing Aids
Hearing aids available today are smaller and more powerful than ever, and researchers are aiming for even higher sound quality in the future. They’re looking for ways to better amplify the sound signal and reduce feedback using the latest computer technology.
One avenue of research is focusing on a very unusual subject — the fly Ormia ochracea. This tiny fly has very precise hearing, which allows it to determine the source of a sound with uncanny ease. Scientists are modeling directional microphones after the fly’s ears. The new microphones will help amplify sounds from certain directions, while suppressing sounds from other directions to help people focus on conversations when they are surrounded by background noise.
Do I Need A Hearing Aid
If you think you might need a hearing aid, the first step is to get your hearing tested. There are, however, some early warning signs and behavior changes that may be related to hearing loss. Keep an eye out for these.
- Complain that people are mumbling or speaking too softly
- Frequently ask people to repeat what theyve said, especially in noisy situations
- Prefer the television or radio louder than others
- Have difficulty understanding on the telephone
- Dont understand all the dialogue at the movies or during live theater productions
- Have difficulty understanding at your house of worship or other public gatherings
- Find yourself more impatient, irritable, frustrated, or withdrawn than before
- Have trouble understanding people when you cant see their faces
- Strain to hear conversations, especially in group settings
If youre experiencing any of the above, see an audiologist who can perform a hearing test and then talk to you about the results. An audiologist will help find the best hearing aid for your needs.
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How Can I Find Out If I Need A Hearing Aid
If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, visit your physician, who may refer you to an otolaryngologist or audiologist. An otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders and will investigate the cause of the hearing loss. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.
Keeping Your Hearing Aids Dry During Exercise
The biggest challenge facing hearing aids during exercise is the buildup of moisture/sweat and grime that can harm delicate internal circuitry. Some of the best hearing aids sold today are what’s called IP68 certified. This means that they can be can be “immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes”. They are not waterproof, but they are very water resistant.
In addition, if you might want to consider rechargeable hearing aids for two reasons: 1) They are completely sealed units so they are better protected and 2) The charging unit also functions as a drying box helping to dry and sanitize your hearing aids overnight. At Embrace Hearing, our X-Series rechargeables work this way.
So while you clearly shouldn’t deliberately take your hearing aids for a dip in the pool, with some basic steps they can accompany you on a ride, run or onto the court or golf course.
The biggest source of moisture while exercising isnt surprising: its sweat and the build up of grimeand it can harm your hearing aids if you dont take some simple precautions.
Researchers, including Ronald Schow at the University of Idaho, found that Behind-The-Ear hearing aids are vulnerable when beads of perspiration form in the hair along the top of the hearing aid and gradually seep inside an improperly sealed hearing aid.
Therefore, keeping sweat from reaching the circuitry of the BTE hearing aid is the most important step in keeping your devices working problem-free even as you exercise.
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What Do Hearing Aids Do
Is is a common belief that people with hearing loss just can’t hear sounds loudly enough, but the problem is much more complicated than that.
Four main problems caused by hearing loss
People with a hearing loss dont hear soft sounds. Consequently, the softer speech sounds, which are usually the consonants, may simply not be heard. For example, the sequence of vowel sounds i-e-a-ar may have belonged to pick the black harp but could be heard by a hearing-impaired person as kick the cat hard. To overcome this difficulty, a hearing aid has to provide amplification to make these soft sounds loud enough to be heard.
Key parts of particular speech sounds, such as the high frequency parts, might not be audible. To overcome this problem a hearing aid has to provide more amplification for frequencies where hearing loss is the greatest and where speech has the weakest sounds.
So a hearing aid has a big task. It must:
- Make sounds louder but not make loud sounds uncomfortably loud
- Provide more amplification for frequencies where hearing loss is the greatest and speech sounds are the weakest
- Try to keep unwanted sounds, such a background noise, out of the signal provided to the wearer
How do hearing aids work and compensate for the effects of a hearing loss?
Where Can I Find Additional Information About Hearing Aids
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you find organizations that can answer questions and provide information on hearing aids:
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How Can I Adjust To My Hearing Aid
Hearing aids take time and patience to use successfully. Wearing your aids regularly will help you adjust to them.
Become familiar with your hearing aids features. With your audiologist present, practice putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries. Ask how to test it in listening environments where you have problems with hearing. Learn to adjust the aids volume and to program it for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Work with your audiologist until you are comfortable and satisfied.
You may experience some of the following problems as you adjust to wearing your new aid.
Are Different Approaches Used In Cochlear Implant Centers
The team approach is used in many implant centers. The people on the team will evaluate your child and family to see if a cochlear implant is a good choice.
Here’s a list of people who may be on the team:
- An audiologist will test your child’s hearing with and without hearing aids
- A speech and language pathologist will test your child’s language skills
- An otolaryngologist will check to see if your child has an infection or other problem that would interfere with the implant. The doctor may order an MRI or CT scan to look at the structure of the inner ear
- A teacher of the deaf or educational consultant will tell you about educational programs for your child
- A social worker will talk to you about whether your family is able to do the work that is needed. The social worker may also help you figure out who will pay for the implant
- A psychologist will talk to you and your child about your goals, concerns and fears about cochlear implantation.
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Which Hearing Aid For My Hearing Loss
Your audiologist will help you select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Price may also be a consideration.
Its useful to ask yourself a few questions when youre looking to purchase a hearing aid. The NIDCD has a list of questions to consider before purchasing:
- What features would be most useful to me?
- What is the total cost of the hearing aid? Do the benefits of newer technologies outweigh the higher costs?
- Is there a trial period to test the hearing aids? What fees are nonrefundable if the aids are returned after the trial period?
- How long is the warranty? Can it be extended? Does the warranty cover future maintenance and repairs?
- Can the audiologist make adjustments and provide servicing and minor repairs? Will loaner aids be provided when repairs are needed?
- What instruction does the audiologist provide?
What Is Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder
Im so excited for scientific research to crack the code and be able to pinpoint the site of lesion for Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder . Were getting closer and starting to realize that certain genetic forms of ANSD are likely not going to resolve/improve . Between that and an MRI to determine if there is a thin or absent nerve we can give slightly better guidance about the plan of action. Beyond that there can be a lot of gray area and questions marks. Starting early intervention right away is going to be the best thing you can do!
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Bone Conduction Hearing Device
- A Bone Conduction Hearing Device delivers sound vibrations through the bones of the skull directly to the inner ear, bypassing the outer and middle ear. This process is called bone conduction.
- A Bone Conduction Hearing Device may be recommended for a child who is unable to use a conventional hearing aid . There are surgical and non-surgical BCHD options.
- Non-surgical options include wearing the device on a soft or hard head band or attached to the skin with a sticky adhesive.
- Surgically implanted BCHDs have two parts: an internal component and an external processor. Options for surgical BCHD can include either an external post or a magnetic attachment that connects the internal implant and the external BCHD processor.