You Have More Than One Option
While doing research on where you should go for hearing care, you may also see Hearing Instrument Specialists or Hearing Instrument Practitioner. Hearing Instrument Specialists are college-trained individuals who have completed their respective provinces clinical requirements. After doing this they are certified to conduct hearing tests on adults as well as fit and dispense hearing aids.
Another type of specialist one may encounter is an Otolaryngologist who are known as ear, nose and throat doctors or ENTs. Otolaryngologists are doctors who treat sudden hearing loss and extreme hearing loss, especially when surgical procedures or cochlear implants are needed.
Special Hearing Aid Features
Many of our devices come with special programming features, including noise management programs, automatic adjustments, ear to ear communication, function controls, directional microphones, wireless bluetooth controls, music programs and telecoil. These features make it easier to communicate. The telecoil feature is also useful in public facilities with induction loop systems. Consult with our hearing professionals to determine which features are best for you!
How Youll Get One
If you dont already know an ear, nose, and throat doctor , ask your regular doctor to send you to one. This specialist can evaluate and treat your hearing loss.
The ENT will do an exam to find out whats causing your trouble. You also will see an audiologist who will do tests to find out the type of hearing loss you have and how bad it is.
These specialists can give you a hearing aid if you need one. Avoid mail-order hearing aids. They often don’t fit well and don’t improve your hearing enough.
If you have hearing loss in both ears, its probably best to wear two hearing aids.
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What Is A Hearing Loop
A hearing loop is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to T setting.
The hearing loop consists of a microphone to pick up the spoken word an amplifier which processes the signal which is then sent through the final piece the loop cable, a wire placed around the perimeter of a specific area i.e. a meeting room, a church, a service counter etc to act as an antenna that radiates the magnetic signal to the hearing aid.
Below is a diagram of a hearing loop at a shop counter or bank
Below is a diagram of a room hearing loop
What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss
A sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Age-related hearing loss also known as Presbyacusis is a type of sensorineural hearing loss and so is a noise-induced hearing loss, which is a permanent hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of noise.
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Smart Features For An Improved Hearing Experience
The best hearing aids are able to amplify intelligentlyusing directional microphones, speech isolation and digital noise reduction to diminish background noise and distinguish the sounds we most want to hear. The noise cancelling hearing aids then process the sounds, making them clearer and removing other distractions for easier listening and comprehension.
Hearing Aid Tubing Decoration And Colours
You may be happy with a see through and transparent hearing aid tubing option but for some the idea of it being inconspicious is a little boring. There are a number of fun options to decorate your hearing aid without it harming your sound quality. You can get different coloured tubing options from a translucent pink to suit a skin tone to a bright pink to show off your personality. You can get blue, yellow, green and red tubing, different colour options are something you will need to purchase. You do need to be careful where you have bought it from and that you don’t just colour them yourself as you might find with moisture build up the colour rubs off onto your ear.
Other hearing aid tubing decorations are jewels and fun characters that attach around the tubing. In the UK there are couple of small bussiness out there that have developed such decorations as hearing aid wearers themselves or parents to children who are hearing aid wearers to add a bit more jazz to them. Ones to check out our tubtastic pimps, my lugs and the beautiful earring style designs by Hearrings.
What I would say is be careful of the weight of the item, if you choose to wear a decoration on your hearing aid tubing. You do not want to compress the tube preventing the sound from getting through.
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What Style Of Hearing Aid Should I Wear
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles. To find the right pair, you’ll need to consider features, size, visibility, and the degree of hearing loss. In general, hearing aids come in the following styles:
- mini behind-the-ear
In-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal aids are very small, so they may be more difficult to remove and adjust. However, they are the most discreet. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are bulkier and more visible, but they are also easier to handle and more appropriate for profound hearing loss. Since hearing aids cost a lot of money, it’s important to research the different companies and styles to ensure you’re getting the right hearing aid for your hearing loss. Reading a variety of hearing aid reviews can help you better understand the different styles and how people choose the best hearing aids for their comfort level and needs.
Get Expert Advice Today
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Jesses love for attending rock concerts without ear protection caused him to develop noise-induced hearing loss in his right ear. He now uses his personal experience and passion for words to write about hearing loss and the benefits of wearing hearing aids.
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Understanding The Various Parts Of A Hearing Aid
Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy HearingLast updated October 15, 20192019-10-15T00:00:00-05:00
Todays hearing aids are a lot like mini-computers for your ears. And although you dont necessarily need to understand how the technology works, its always a good idea to have a basic understanding of the various parts so you can troubleshoot if a problem should arise.
A receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid.
In that spirit, the following components are parts of a modern receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid, also known as receiver-in-ear or receiver-in-canal . Its the most common type of hearing aid sold today.
If you’re not sure what kind of hearing aid you have, see more on typical types and styles of hearing aids.
What Are The Types Of Hearing Loss
There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
Besides these two major types, there is also a mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of a sensorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss. A hearing loss can also be sudden, asymmetrical or hidden. The hearing loss can also be bilateral or unilateral.
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How Do I Get A Hearing Aid
To rule out other causes of your hearing loss such as an infection, ear wax, infection or rarely a tumor the FDA recommends people get a medical examination by either a general practitioner or, preferrably, an ear, nose and throat doctor. The FDA strongly recommends a medical examination for anyone under age 18: “For hearing aid consumers younger than 18 years of age, the FDA will continue to enforce the medical evaluation requirement to rule out medical causes of hearing loss prior to buying hearing aids,” the FDA said in a statement.
However, if you are 18 years or older and don’t think you need a medical evaluation, a hearing test is a must. Several companies also offer hearing tests online. In addition, a general doctor will be able to refer you to an audiologist, which is a hearing specialist, who will perform a hearing test. This test measures how loud a sound needs to be for you to hear it and how clear it is, according to Harvard Medical School. “People with normal hearing can hear sounds less than 25 decibels . If the softest sounds you can hear are 30 dB or louder, you may be missing a significant amount of what is said to you and are probably a candidate for a hearing aid.”
The audiologist will be able to guide you in which hearing aid would suit you best.
Hearing Aid Technology Is Rapidly Advancing
There are many types of hearing aids availablefrom completely invisible aids that rest in the ear canal, to hearing devices custom-molded to fit in your ear, to the familiar behind-the-ear hearing devices. There are even hearing aids that stream phone calls and music wirelessly from your iPhone and assistive devices for special hearing needs.
Hearing aids cant restore your hearing. But they can amplify sounds to help improve your hearing. Most hearing aids are digital. With small microphones, digital hearing aids collect sounds from the environment. They also contain a tiny computer chip with an amplifier that has a big job to do: convert sound into digital code.
The chip also analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The amplified signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears through speakers.
Hearing aids vary by price, size and special features. The right choice for you also depends on your hearing needs and your lifestyle. The best way to select the right one is to get guidance from your local hearing experts.
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Are New Types Of Aids Available
Although they work differently than the hearing aids described above, implantable hearing aids are designed to help increase the transmission of sound vibrations entering the inner ear. A middle ear implant is a small device attached to one of the bones of the middle ear. Rather than amplifying the sound traveling to the eardrum, an MEI moves these bones directly. Both techniques have the net result of strengthening sound vibrations entering the inner ear so that they can be detected by individuals with sensorineural hearing loss.
A bone-anchored hearing aid is a small device that attaches to the bone behind the ear. The device transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through the skull, bypassing the middle ear. BAHAs are generally used by individuals with middle ear problems or deafness in one ear. Because surgery is required to implant either of these devices, many hearing specialists feel that the benefits may not outweigh the risks.
Children And Hearing Loss
Children can also experience hearing loss. Hearing problems in smaller children are normally caused by genetic factors, physical abnormalities in the ear or it might be caused by certain diseases. In older children and especially teenagers, the hearing problems may often be a result of noise exposure. Read more about hearing loss in children.
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How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After An Ear Infection
A hearing loss that occurs during an ear infection is usually temporary. It typically disappears sometime after the infection is gone and the hearing will recover.
If you or your child still experience a hearing loss sometime after your ear infection is gone, you should contact a hearing professional.
Ite / In The Ear Hearing Aids
Recommended for: people with disabilities or dexterity challenges who have mild to severe hearing loss.
ITE hearing aids are true custom-designed hearing aids. The entire hearing aid is molded to match the contours of your outer ear. The hard plastic casing forms to the exact shape of your ear making to fit snugly. Theres also an ITE style available that only fills the lower part. ITEs do a great job of amplifying sound.
You can add features to an ITE hearing aid to make it hassle free including telecoil , ear to ear communication and automatic programming. ITE hearing aids come in a variety of colors to match your skin tone including pink, beige, cocoa and brown.
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Hearing Aids And Devices For Children With Hearing Loss
Children with hearing loss often benefit from using/wearing a hearing device. There are different types of hearing devices. Your audiologist may recommend a device based on a variety of factors, including your childs age degree, type and severity of hearing loss and physical factors, such as the shape of your childs ears. If medicine and/or surgery cannot correct the hearing loss, a hearing device may be an option for your child.
Hearing devices can improve the ability of a child with hearing loss to communicate with friends and family, learn to speak more clearly and understand their teachers at school. The goal is to reduce delays in speech and language development, improve communication and lessen the risk of academic difficulties.
Hearing aids and devices are battery-powered and most are worn on and/or in the ear to help children with hearing loss hear more clearly. They pick up speech and other sounds through tiny built-in microphones, make them louder, and send them into a childs ears. Hearing aids and devices help to make speech more clear.
Hearing devices are digital”, which allow audiologists to use computers to tell the digital chip inside of hearing aids how much loudness to add at different frequencies or pitches based on your childs hearing loss. Think of digital hearing aid programming like adjusting the bass or treble controls of your stereo, rather than simply just turning the overall volume up or down.
Directionality: What Is It And Why Should You Care
Hearing is an amazing process. At the most basic level, your ears receive sound, which travels down your ear canal, through the middle ear and into the cochlea, where the small hair cells that reside there vibrate to the different frequencies. Those signals are sent to the brain, which decodes the incoming messages and makes sense of them. When you have normal hearing, your brain automatically filters out the background noise and non-important information to allow you to focus on speech and other important signals.
One way to combat the issue of distinguishing speech in noise is a feature on many hearing aids called directionality. Directional systems all have two or more microphones separated by a specific distance on a hearing aid. The difference in the arrival time of sound to each of these microphones dictates how the hearing aid responds to the sound. One note: directional microphones in general focus on amplifying the sound in front of a listener.
So thats the short version.
Heres where it gets complex and interesting! Directional systems are different depending on the brand of hearing aid. Here are some glossary terms you might not be familiar with:
Now, heres a quick overview of directional systems:
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Adjusting To Hearing Aids
It’s important to understand that your hearing aid cant make your hearing what it used to be. But as you use it, youll become more aware of sounds and where they are coming from.
When you first get your hearing aids, be patient. It may take some time to get used to them. In most states, you are allowed a trial period after you buy a device. Then, if yours don’t work out for you, you may get a partial refund and be able try a different type that works better for you. Also ask about warranty coverage.
Take time to learn how your hearing aids work and insist on a good fit. Work closely with your audiologist to avoid problems such as:
- Echo-like sounds from your voice
- Feedback or a whistling sound
- Background noise
- Buzzing with cell phone use
It may help to start wearing your hearing aids in quiet areas and to keep a diary about how you feel.
Caring For Your Hearing Aid
Your hearing aids will last much longer if you take good care of them. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep them away from heat, moisture, hair care products, children, and pets.
- Clean them as directed.
- Turn off your devices when you are not using them.
- Replace dead batteries right away.
Hearing aid batteries may last from several days to a couple of weeks. Battery life depends on the battery type, hearing aid power requirements, and how often you use it.
In general, hearing aids can last for 3 to 6 years. You may need a new one sooner if your hearing loss gets worse. Behind-the-ear hearing aids give you more flexibility since they can be programmed for a wider range of hearing loss.
Digital hearing aids get stronger and better every few years as computer technology improves. This often prompts people to upgrade their devices.
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Advancements In Hearing Research
Hearing aid manufacturers are working to continually update the technology in their hearing aids. Bluetooth and rechargeable hearing aids, as well as advancements in speech understanding and noise reduction have been at the cutting-edge of hearing aid technology in the last decade. Now, advanced hearing aids come with Artificial Intelligence and the ability to have flexible appointments with your hearing specialist with tele-audiology. Hearing aids are also becoming health trackers, with the introduction of Starkeys AI hearing aids healthable hearing technology.
The science of audiology isnt only involved with developing hearing aid technology. Research into all the aspects and conditions of the auditory system is ongoing. Study results are constantly emerging on many topics, including possible ways to restore hearing, tinnitus treatments and the links between hearing loss and dementia.