What Does It Mean To Get Fitted For Hearing Aids
Unsplash Fitting a hearing aid takes more than just a physical fitting.
At a hearing aid fitting, you choose a hearing aid that suits your personal needs, and your hearing care professional will customize it for you. But before you get fitted for hearing aids, an audiologist must perform an ear exam and a hearing test. This doesnt take too long, and it can usually be done during the same appointment as the actual fitting.
During the fitting, the hearing care professional will help you choose the right type of hearing aid for your hearing loss and lifestyle. Then, theyll physically fit each hearing aid to your ear. This might involve an earmold impression or picking the right size dome for a receiver-in-the-canal type hearing aid. Next, theyll program each hearing aid based on your hearing loss and verify the settings with Real Ear Measures.
Pexels An ear exam prior to a hearing test ensures your ears are healthy.
Finally, your hearing care professional will show you how to use your hearing aids. The professional will make sure youre comfortable putting the hearing aids in and removing them, turning them on and off, adjusting the volume, and using any other features that come with it. Youll also learn how to properly maintain them, which might include replacing the battery. Many hearing aids have a companion mobile app, which you should also get an introduction to.
Indication Of Hearing Loss
How will you know that you are suffering from hearing loss? Well, the following signs will assist you in self-diagnosis:
- Frequent complains that people around you are speaking softly or mumbling when conversing.
- Often, you are straining to hear during conversation and this is common especially when its a group of people.
- You are unable to comprehend what someone is saying especially through a phone or when you are not facing each other
- You are becoming more impatient and feeling frustrated than normal.
- You cannot perceive or comprehend whats been said when in a meeting or worshipping hall.
- Its becoming hard to follow up the movie dialogue especially in a theater setting.
- Prefer to listen to the radio or television at a loud volume.
- Often asking people to come again in when conversing.
Level Of Hearing Loss That Requires A Hearing Aid
If you have experienced hearing loss, its necessary to get a complete evaluation to determine the extent of hearing loss and eliminate any additional health concerns.
A primary care physician can ascertain if the patient will need to seek more evaluation from a specialist, whether the hearing loss can be corrected with antibiotics, other medical procedures, and what type, if any, a hearing aid is needed.
Depending on the individual prognosis, hearing aids consider every diagnosis from mild to moderate, severe, and profound. While a hearing aid will assist with sound amplification, unlike glasses that will magnify and correct vision issues, hearing aids will not correct the damage. Eyeglasses have corrective lens while hearing aids do just that: aid hearing.
Hearing loss and impairment can have subtle side-effects such as irritability, social withdrawal, fatigue, and other mental health issues. A hearing aid will give the user a better standard of life with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Issues stemming from hearing loss can include:
- Irritability, especially in crowded environments
- Confusion and uncertainty in differentiating different sounds, noises, and speech patterns
- The conversation is incomprehensible and muffled.
- Safety concerns around dangerous machinery
- Depression and Social withdrawal
- Sub-standard way of life
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How Much Hearing Loss Requires A Hearing Aid
Everyone has trouble hearing sometimes. Maybe its due to a noisy environment or youre communicating with as oft-spoken person. But if you find yourself constantly asking people to repeat what theyve said or you are continually turning up the volume on your TV, you may actually have hearing loss.
Your level of hearing can be determined during a hearing test that graphs the sounds you can hear on an audiogram. An audiologist provides these exams. The intensity of sounds as well as varying frequencies are tested to determine your hearing sensitivities. These numbers are noted as decibels. Normal hearing falls into the decibel range of 0 to 25 dB.
What If Your Hearing Loss Is The Result Of An Injury
If your hearing is the result of an injury, you may be entitled to compensation, especially if the injury occurred at your workplace. The first process is get your hearing tested and your ears examined.
We have all the necessary high-tech diagnostic equipment to ascertain what type and degree of hearing loss you may have and the correct solution for you.
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D What If My Hearing Is Worse Only On One Side
It is very important you have your hearing checked out if one side deteriorates. Although rare, there are some serious causes of one-sided deafness which may need to be ruled out, such as acoustic neuroma. There are many sources of additional information on the internet, for example the Single Sided Deafness website linked here.
When Can Noise Damage Our Hearing
Our ears are constantly exposed to sounds, some of which can be damaging. Noise above 140 decibels, like a loud explosion, can lead to acute hearing loss. If the sound waves damage the eardrum, the middle ear and/or the inner ear, it is known as an acoustic trauma. This kind of damage is usually temporary, but some hearing loss may be permanent. Chronic hearing loss can also be caused by less loud sounds if someone is regularly exposed to them. Examples include hearing impairments caused by listening to loud music a lot , or working with pneumatic drills without enough ear protection.
You can protect your hearing in various ways. Foam ear plugs offer protection against occasional noise. Acoustic ear muffs are an alternative. They completely cover both ears and are easy to put on and take off. People who work with loud machinery, for instance in industry or road building, have to use hearing protection.
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Do Hearing Aids Need To Be Fitted
Hearing aids need to be fitted to each individual, because everyones hearing loss and physiology are unique. Moreover, most types of hearing loss are progressive and everyones hearing gets worse with age, meaning your hearing will continue to decline over time. Consequently, your hearing aids will need regular adjustments.
World Health Organization Hearing loss has many causes, and it affects all age groups, but you can often prevent it.
Uncorrected hearing loss can lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, and more. Poorly fitted hearing aids might not stop these consequences, especially if you continue to have trouble understanding what people say. For that reason, its not only important to have a good initial fitting, but also regular checkups.
While a poorly fitted hearing aid could theoretically damage your hearing further, its unlikely with proper fitting. Just keep in mind that hearing aids amplify external sounds and emphasizing the wrong frequencies or turning the volume up too much could cause noise-induced hearing loss.
What Are Some Of The Warning Signs That You Need To Be Aware Of That Might Give You A Clue That You Might Have Developing Hearing Loss
One of the first things you might notice is that you are straining to hear people when you are in an environment with a lot of background noise, such as a restaurant. As a person with mild hearing loss, this is one of the first things I noticed.
Another thing I realized I was doing after it was pointed out to me, is that I was doing a lot of half-listening to people and half reading lips. What I mean is, I was listening to them talk but because I could not hear them very well.
So, I read their lips at the same time to help fill in the blanks, so to speak. Sometimes this is the only way I can keep up with the conversation. Of course, asking people to repeat themselves is part and parcel of what we are talking about here. You might find yourself doing that a lot. That is a big clue.
Another thing to note is if your family complains that you have the television volume up too high. You may not realize how loud it is but your family is getting blasted out of the living room.
Another item that is interesting is not being able to hear people who have a very high or very low pitched voice. This is an odd one but it’s very true. You may find that you have a difficult time hearing those types of voices. It may be trouble with high pitched voices for one person and then low pitched voices for another. But, this may be something for you to watch out for.
But, the question at hand is, what level of hearing loss requires a hearing aid?
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Measuring Decibels And Perceived Volume
A linear scale is more relatable for most people as we often encounter it in our daily lives. An example of a linear scale is a ruler measuring distance. The markings on a ruler are of equal distance to one another, making them linear.
A logarithmic scale is not linear and represents exponents of a base number. You might remember exponents from maths class in school. An example is 5 to the power of 2, where 5 is the number and 2 is the exponent explaining how many times to use the number in a multiplication. In which case it is 5 x 5 = 25.
In the case of decibels , for every 10-dB rise, there is a 10-fold increase in sound intensity, and we perceive this as being 2-times louder in volume.
The below table shows the logarithmic scale in more detail.
|10 times the sound intensity||2 times as loud|
|Whisper at 1 m distance||20 dB|
A normal face-to-face conversation is about 60 dB. The siren from an ambulance is about 120dB, and its unsafe to listen to up close for longer than 9 seconds.
The increase in sound intensity or the extra energy it takes to produce the sound from 60 dB, and 120 dB is 1-million times! And you would perceive the volume increase as being 64 times louder.
All of this might sound a little complicated, but dont worry, it sometimes confuses the best of us! The important things to remember are:
How Long Does A Hearing Aid Fitting Take
Wikimedia Commons Hearing aids that fully sit in the ear canal require a custom-fit earmold.
A hearing aid fitting can take as little as 15 minutes or up to two hours. Your fitting will take longer if it includes a hearing test, real ear measurements, and a thorough introduction to using your hearing aid. If you choose a hearing aid that requires earmold impressions, youll have to return for a second visit to complete the fitting as the production of custom molds could take a couple of weeks.
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What Role Do Hearing Aids Play If You Have Hearing Loss
From the definition, hearing loss means some sound frequencies become difficult to comprehend. And this is where the hearing aids become useful. They amplify the sound to a level that is perceivable by the ears.
So, depending on the impact of your hearing loss, you can choose hearing aids that will cover your need. For instance, if you are in the mild phase you can use the manual or simplest hearing assists. But as it progresses from moderate to profound level, you need advanced hearing aids.
These kinds come with personal sound amplification for better comprehension of sound. But note, the hearing aids are simply there to amplify the sound. So if you need treatment, a surgical transplant may work.
Does Mild Hearing Loss Require Hearing Aids
While the term mild hearing loss may sound like its no big deal, those with mild hearing loss often have difficulty following a conversation in a noisy environment or group setting, may not be able to hear soft sounds like whispers or rustling leaves, and may experience listening fatigue which can be very tiring and demoralizing.
When people hear the term mild hearing loss, they may interpret it to be no big deal, and something that is easily overcome simply by turning up the volume on the TV. But the truth is, individuals with mild hearing loss often have difficulty understanding speech and engaging in conversations, especially when there are other competing sounds around.
What is Mild Hearing Loss?
Mild hearing loss is usually defined as being unable to hear sounds softer than 40 decibels. To put this in context, a whisper is about 30 decibels, and rustling leaves are about 20 decibels. This might not sound like a problem, but the numbers dont tell the whole story.
Someone with mild hearing loss may not have trouble following a one-on-one conversation in a quiet room, but noisier environments, group settings, or talking on the phone can lead to difficulty communicating.
Hear But Not Understand
Mild hearing loss doesnt only mean sounds arent loud enough. It could manifest in a way that allows an individual to hear conversations, but not understand whats being said.
Hearing Aids For Mild Hearing Loss
Smaller, Discreet Hearing Aids for Mild Hearing Loss
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Hearing Aids For Mild To Moderate Hearing Loss In Adults
We reviewed the evidence on the effects that hearing aids have on everyday life in adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. We were interested in a person’s ability to take part in everyday situations, general health-related quality of life, ability to listen to other people, and harm, such as pain or over-exposure to noise.
Hearing loss is very common and adults with hearing loss may be offered hearing aids. These devices increase the loudness, and may improve the clarity, of sounds so that they are easier to hear. The main goal of hearing aids is to reduce the impact of hearing loss and to improve a person’s ability to take part in everyday life. Although hearing aids are the most common technology for adults with hearing loss and are in widespread use, it is not clear how beneficial they are.
The evidence is up to date to 23 March 2017. We found five clinical studies involving 825 adults with mild to moderate hearing loss who were randomly given either hearing aids, no hearing aids or placebo hearing aids. Studies involved older adults with the average age within studies between 69 and 83 years. The duration of the studies was between six weeks and six months.
Only one study attempted to measure harms due to hearing aids. None were reported.
Quality of the evidence
Hearing Loss And Deafness
A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing hearing thresholds of 20 dB or better in both ears is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.
‘Hard of hearing’ refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. People who are hard of hearing usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices as well as captioning.
‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. They often use sign language for communication.
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Bring All Your Questions To Your Hearing Aid Appointments
Dont hesitate to ask questions during any of your appointments, but be sure to raise questions during the final appointment at the end of your trial period. If you can, keep a record of all the issues you run into with your hearing aids, and use this appointment to discuss them with your hearing care provider. The provider will be able to make adjustments to the programming or show you any settings you may have missed.
What Is An Audiogram
An audiogram is the result of a pure-tone hearing test to measure hearing sensitivity. The audiogram plots sound you can hear at different frequencies and decibels .
Frequency is a measure in hertz . Humans with normal hearing can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz.
An audiogram will describe hearing sensitivity from normal to profound loss.
The stylised audiogram below plots normal hearing and all levels of a sloping hearing loss concerning:
- a speech banana
- face to face conversational speech between two adults
- the frequency of various letters when spoken
- the volume and frequency of multiple sounds like a bird singing and a band playing.
A speech banana is not a delicious snack for audiologists, but the audible region of phonemes or various human speech sounds is plotted on an audiogram. You can see how isolated sounds from speech cover a wide range of frequencies and volumes.
Try this out for yourself! Phonetically sound out some parts of speech:
- e which is in words like, say or eight
- t such as in, check or church
- for example, boy or join.
Notice the difference in both volume and frequency .
People with normal hearing can hear all the frequencies at all the volumes on an audiogram.
People with mild hearing loss fail to hear the sounds above the pink line, such as birds chirping and leaves blowing in the wind.
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