What Is Mild And Moderate Hearing Loss
A person can go through different degrees of hearing loss,;depending on the severity and intensity of their hearing loss problem. Hearing loss problems can range from mild to a profound degree, and each degree has its sound level range. These levels of hearing loss are mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, moderate to severe hearing loss, severe hearing loss, and profound hearing loss. What degree of hearing loss a person is facing can be found out through an audiogram.
When an adult cannot hear quieter sounds than 25 dB, they have mild hearing loss. The range is 15 dB for children. People with mild hearing loss, they cannot hear sounds like dripping water, feet shuffling on carpets, leaves rustling, birds chirping, and even whispering conversations. Even though most people tend to struggle hearing high-pitched sounds, you might work to hear low-pitched ones too. People with mild hearing loss can carry on one-to-one conversations in quiet places, but find it challenging to do so when theres any background noise involved. The same goes for group conversations during social gatherings.
What Are The Benefits Of Hearing Aids
On a physiological level, hearing aids do much more than restoring speech recognition.
Multiple studies link age-related hearing loss to dementia, Alzheimers disease, depression, and other forms of cognitive decline. One proposed reason is social isolation; people with hearing loss avoid socializing. Why do they retreat? Even with mild to moderate hearing loss, the brain has to work harder to process speech, which can be exhausting and frustrating. Assuming the brain has limited resources, this increase in auditory processing may also impair memory. The cognitive load theory is compelling and well-studied, but its not the only possible explanation.
NCBI Hearing loss can trigger a number of consequences, but other factors, like genetics or lifestyle, can impact the outcomes.
Other potential reasons for the correlation of cognitive decline and hearing loss are much simpler. Hearing loss and mental decline could have a common cause, such as inflammation. The lack of sensory input could also lead to structural changes in the brain . Finally, over-diagnosis may be an issue, though recent studies clearly confirm the cognitive load theory and cascade hypothesis and suggest that a combination of causes isnt uncommon.
Hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline, reduce the risk for late-life depression, and thus improve the quality of life.
Regulations For Manufacturers Of Hearing Aids
Keeping public safety in mind, thegovernment has set some regulations that manufacturers have to follow. For a hearing aid to be safe, it shouldoperate at low energy levels and have a low SAR value.
In USA hearing aids are classified asClass I and wireless hearing aids areclassified as Class II. This means that wireless hearing devices shouldfollow the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission and theUS Food and Drug Administration .
The regulationsdetermine the safe ranges of frequency bands, broadcast strengths, andSAR.
Hearing aids that are manufacturedaccording to the regulations radiate very low levels of energy. Moreover, mostwireless hearing aids operate between 0.001-0.02 W/kg.This is far below the allowed levels of SAR by the Government bodies i.e. 1.6-2.0W/kg.
For ensuring public safety,Telecommunications Certification Body Laboratory measures a hearingdevice and certifies if it works in compliance with the regulations.
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What Are Frequency Shifting Hearing Aids And How Do They Work
Traditional hearing aids function like microphones, making sounds louder. Frequency shifting hearing aids help move sounds into a frequency that is easier for the wearer to hear, Angela Shoup, PhD, FAAA, FNAP, president of the American Academy of Audiology, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
People with hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss, often lose their hearing in higher frequencies first. This makes it harder to hear high pitched sounds, like childrenâs voices.
Different sounds in language are pronounced with different frequencies. Vowel sounds have low frequencies, while consonant sounds have higher frequencies.
âThis means that processing of consonant speech sounds is extremely difficult , leading to the experience of feeling like you hear sounds fine but they are muffled or difficult to understand,â Shoup says. Some people notice that the letters F and S sound muffled first.
Because frequency shifting hearing aids lower the frequency of high pitched sounds, they are also sometimes called frequency lowering hearing aids. These devices manipulate high frequencies, making them sound lower and, therefore, easier to hear.
Two different frequency shifting algorithms were tested in a 2019 study published in Trends in Hearing:
The small study, which included just 20 participants, found that frequency transposition may have more potential to help patients with high frequency hearing loss compared to frequency compression.
Get The Best Experience With A Hearing Aid
Cellular telephones contain radio transmitters that may interfere with hearing aid performance. To ensure that a particular hearing aid works well with a particular phone, use them together before making a purchase. If you already own an iPhone and a hearing aid, here are some tips to ensure that you have the best experience possible.
iPhone and hearing aids generally work best together in “M” or Acoustic Coupling mode. To use your hearing aid in this mode, make sure that your hearing aid is set to “M,” or Acoustic Coupling mode, and position the iPhone receiver near the hearing aids built-in microphone . In other words, hold your iPhone against your head as you would naturally hold the phone when making a telephone call. The hearing aid will receive audio from the iPhone through its built-in microphones. For the best results, try using the iPhone in different positions relative to your hearing aidfor example, placing the receiver slightly above the ear may result in better performance for hearing aids with microphones positioned behind the ear. If you have an iPhone 4 , activate;Hearing Aid Compatibility .
If Acoustic Coupling does not produce a satisfactory result, try using your hearing aid in “T,” or telecoil coupling mode. To use your hearing aid in this mode, make sure that your hearing aid is set to “T,” or telecoil coupling mode . If you have an iPhone 5 or later, activate;Hearing Aid Compatibility .
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Pros And Cons Of Over
Tommy McDonell used to have her aide take all her phone calls. The 67-year-old artist and retired educator couldn’t hear well enough to talk on the phone.
“The volume on my TV could probably kill the people next door,” she says of her neighbors in the retirement facility where she lives in Southern Pines, NC. Having multiple sclerosis makes her hearing loss worse. “If you test my hearing when my MS is good, then my hearing isn’t absolutely awful, but if you test me when my MS is having a bad day, my hearing gets worse and worse.”
When she decided to get hearing aids, McDonell had two choices: the traditional route that requires a medical evaluation and buying through a licensed professional hearing aid dispenser, or the relatively cheaper, but still costly, direct-to-consumer option.
Those costs and hurdles are what led to the passage of a federal law in 2017 that designates a new FDA-regulated category for over-the-counter hearing aids. But OTC hearing aids, which will be approved to treat mild to moderate hearing loss in adults ages 18 and older, aren’t here just yet. The FDA has until August 2020 to publish proposed guidelines for OTC hearing aids.
Could I Try Before I Buy
Some companies will allow try before you buy; with others you will have to pay, then have your money refunded if the system is returned undamaged within a certain period of time. The time is stipulated by the seller.
Some charities loan equipment, as do some Social Services, but you will have to check.
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Custom Programs And Artificial Intelligence For Different Environments
No single hearing aid setting is perfect for all occasions. When youre at home listening to quiet music, youll need different processing than when youre out with friends in a loud environment. To address this, most hearing aids come with different programs that let you switch from a default program to music-friendly processing or to a more aggressive elimination of background noise.
While your hearing care provider can customize these programs to your hearing, they can only cover a limited number of scenarios. And since youll be in a quiet environment for the hearing aid fitting, they have to guesstimate your preferences for different sound scenes. Thats where artificial intelligence comes in.
The Widex MOMENT My Sound AI can help users identify the best sound profile for every environment.
Equipped with machine learning abilities, the AI can learn about different environments, tap into the data from other users, predict the settings youll find most pleasant, and automatically adapt its processing.
About Hearing Aid Compatibility Requirements For Iphone
The Federal Communications Commission has adopted hearing-aid compatibility requirements for digital wireless phones. See the HAC ratings for iPhone devices that are hearing-aid compatible under FCC rules and learn about using iPhone with hearing aids.
Most iPhone devices are hearing-aid compatible with a broad range of hearing aids under the FCC requirements for hearing-aid compatibility . You can use Made for iPhone hearing aids with many iPhone models as well.
See the HAC ratings for hearing-aid compatible iPhone devices below. If you’re not sure, learn which iPhone model you have.
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Emf Radiations From Hearing Aids And Brain Cancer
There is a lot of debate going on therelation between EMF radiations from hearing aids and brain cancer. However,according to experts in Audiology, hearing aids do not use enough EMFradiations to cause a big health concern.
There is no evidence of any connectionbetween hearing aids and brain cancer.
As per the FDA and FCC regulations, thehearing aids are manufactured with low SAR values. Today, most companies aremaking hearing aids that have a much lesserSAR value than the recommended value 1.6-2.0 W/kg.
Moreover, the advanced models ofwireless hearing aids use a low-powerBluetooth chip. Therefore, a wireless hearing device with BLE is much safer to use than any other Bluetooth device. This makes them safer than even Bluetoothheadphones or smartphones.
Ask For Optional Accessories
Different types of hearing aids come with different accessories.
RIC hearing aids require a tip, which is either a custom earmold or an instant-fit-dome. Both cover the receiver and anchor it in the ear canal. Domes come in different shapes and sizes. Your hearing care professional will choose one that fits your ear and your hearing loss, but you can ask to try out different sizes and types of domes. If you cant get used to the sound of your own voice , for example, you could switch from a closed-fit hearing aid to an open-fit hearing aid.
Widex hearing aid carrying case and charger , Signia 2-in-1 charging and carrying case , and Oticon charging station .
You can also get a hearing aid tube for RICs and BTEs. The tube extends from behind the receiver and folds into the outer ear. It provides additional support, in case the main hearing aid unit drops out while you take off your glasses or your mask.
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How Does A Hearing Aid Work
A hearing aid is a medical device that helps people with hearing loss or hearing disparities to hear better. Let me first explain a little about how hearing aids work.
The traditionalor analog hearing aid has a microphone that gathers sound, an amplifier thatmakes it loud, and a receiver that transmits the sound to the ear canal.
However, today, wireless,digital hearingaids are more popular because of their advanced features. In a digitaldevice, the microphone transmits the sound it picks to a chip. The chip adjuststhe sound and the volume to provide an improved hearing experience.
Digital hearing aids use radiofrequencyand microwave EMF radiation to operate. They are wireless and provide a betterhearing and connectivity experience.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Tinnitus
Did you know that 90% of people with Tinnitus also have hearing loss. Partial, hidden or sometimes full hearing loss is the most common cause of Tinnitus, after loud noise exposure, ear wax buildup and other causes.
When your hearing starts to fail, even partially, your brain registers a drop in the volume of auditory signals passed on by your ears.
Normally, sound waves make hair like cells in your cochlea dance and sway with vibrations. These vibrations are then converted into electrical signals that are passed on through the auditory nerve to your brain, for processing as sound.
Because of many reasons like age or damage caused by loud or chronic noise, these tiny hair cells in the cochlea begin to die. These are cells in the human body that do not regenerate. So, hearing loss resulting from the death of these hair cells is usually permanent. There are some Tinnitus stem cell treatments that attempt to rejuvenate these hair cells but the treatment method is still very experimental in nature.
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How We Can Lose Our Hearing
The path between your outer ear and your brain can be blocked ordamaged in many different places and in a number of different ways,so people can become deaf or lose some or all of their hearing forlots of different reasons. One of the most common types of hearingloss happens when the hairs in the cochlea become damaged. If thereare fewer hairs, sounds produce less stimulation in your brainsothings need to be louder for you to hear them. That’s where hearingaids come in. They can’t help everyone with impaired hearing, butthey can often make a difference to hearing problems caused by a lossof cochlear hair cells or damage to other parts of the inner ear..
Worried You Have Hearing Loss
If you suspect you have hearing loss, use our online directory of consumer-reviewed hearing clinics to find hearing aid centers near you and make an appointment to get your hearing tested. Research indicates most hearing aid wearers are satisfied with their hearing devices and enjoy a richer quality of life than those who decide not to seek treatment.;
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Unique Pushes The Limits
With the WIDEX UNIQUE hearing aid we have refined the entire process of digital sound processing to push the barriers of performance.
Improved A/D convertors for incredibly wide input, a sound classifier for intelligent listening and the Wind Noise Attenuation system that dramatically reduces wind noise by 8.4 dB UNIQUE is like no other hearing aid.
Frequency Lowering Transposition Compression & Shifting
These four terms are often used interchangeably when describing frequency lowering technology, but their goal is the same: to make inaudible high frequency sounds audible, by presenting them as low frequency sounds to the hearing aid wearer. The way this is actually done, and the differences between each of the above four terms, is a bit more technical than I think most folks would like to get in to here.
At the risk of over-simplifying frequency lowering- this feature captures those high frequency sounds from your environment, and then lowers them, or changes them, into low frequency sounds. If youre like most folks, your low frequencies are quite a bit better than your high frequencies, so the logic here is that if these originally high frequency sounds are presented through your hearing aid as low frequency sounds, then youll have an easier time hearing them.
We made the image below to better illustrate what frequency lowering does.
In fact, my experience with frequency lowering has been that often when I activate it for a patient that I think would benefit from it, they do not initially like it. However, if a patient will stick with it for a few weeks, it is very rare that they ask me to turn the feature off, as it does improve audibility significantly. There is no question that things sound unusual for a while, but most of the time the benefit of hearing those high frequency sounds outweighs the fact that they dont quite sound normal.
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Can I Obtain Financial Assistance For A Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are generally not covered by health insurance companies, although some do. For eligible children and young adults ages 21 and under, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids, under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment service. Also, children may be covered by their states early intervention program or State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults; however, diagnostic evaluations are covered if they are ordered by a physician for the purpose of assisting the physician in developing a treatment plan. Since Medicare has declared the BAHA a prosthetic device and not a hearing aid, Medicare will cover the BAHA if other coverage policies are met.
Some nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance for hearing aids, while others may help provide used or refurbished aids. Contact the;National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse;with questions about organizations that offer financial assistance for hearing aids.
Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results;to the public.;She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
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Which Hearing Aid Brands Offer Frequency Lowering
There are several hearing aid manufacturers which offer this as a feature in their hearing aids. If youre thinking this might be a valuable feature to have, you might want to visit some of the manufacturer websites and check out some literature on their products to find hearing aids that have frequency lowering. Note, there is no downside to getting a hearing aid that has this feature, if you dont like it, it can be turned off with the click of a button. Like most hearing aid features, all manufacturers have a different name for their frequency lowering technology, so Ive provided a short list of the major hearing aid manufacturers that offer this feature, and what they respectively have named that feature.
- Phonak: SoundRecover