A hearing aid is the best known device to help those who are hard of hearing. However, it is important to realize that hearing aids are not like glasses, which may correct eyesight back to 20/20. Hearing aids can improve hearing, but the degree of improvement will depend upon each person’s hearing loss. Some types of hearing loss respond better to amplification.
No two people have exactly the same hearing loss, so it is important to seek professional help to select the appropriate hearing aid for you.
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a battery-powered, electronic device that makes listening easier for people with a hearing loss. It consists of a microphone, receiver, amplifier, battery and an ear mold.
The microphone picks up sound and turns it into an electronic signal which is sent to the amplifier.
The amplifier selectively increases the volume of the sound and sends it to the receiver.
The receiver changes the electronic signals back into sound and delivers the sound to the ear.
The battery provides power to the hearing aid.
Hearing aid technology is continually changing. Today’s hearing aids are not the kind you remember your grandma having decades ago. From In-the-Ear hearing aids to Completely-in-the-Canal hearings aids, there is something for everyone. To learn more about the different types of hearing aids available, click here.
Adjusting to Hearing Aids
It is important to note that very few people can put on hearing aids and hear comfortably right away. Just like adapting to bifocal glasses or contacts, it takes time to get used to anything new. One of the major adjustment issues for first time hearing aid users, is that hearing aids amplify sounds that you want to hear, but they also amplify background noise. Part of learning to live with your new hearing aids will be learning to adjust to hearing sounds that you probably have not heard for a long time. These new sounds can be as a mundane as a clock ticking, the motor of a refrigerator or the sounds of heating and lighting systems. This can be frustrating, but it is important to continue to practicie listening to these sounds. Over time you will get used to them. Click here to learn more about “In the Drawer Syndrome” and adjusting to hearing aids.
Millions of people wear hearing aids. While some people get used to wearing hearing aids right from the start, others take a longer time to get us to them. Your hearing aids may have to be adjusted a few times to get things right. It is completely acceptable to continue to seek the advice and counsel of your hearing care professional until you reach that point. It is a good idea when you purchase your hearing aids to clarify with your provider their adjustment policy. Most hearing care professionals recommend a visit about two to four weeks after you get your new hearing aids in order to fine tune them. Many hearing aid professionals offer free adjustments on a 1, 2 or 3 year basis corresponding to the warranty of the hearing aid. Other providers offer a lifetime of free adjustments. Just make sure you understand where you stand.
How Other Devices Can Help
While hearing aids can be tremendously beneficial in assisting individuals with a hearing loss, they are not the only option. In some cases, cochlear implants may be a better solution for those with severe to profound hearing loss. To learn more about cochlear implants, click here.
Modern technology also offers a variety of other devices that can be used in addition to or instead of hearing aids, if you so choose.
There are a range of products that alert an individual to a specific sound or that can enrich communications. These include doorbell, smoke alarm and telephone signalers.
Other assisted communication devices can help improve speech understanding in difficult listening conditions. These include amplified telephones, television and radio headphones that send sound directly to a user’s ears and FM systems to help the hard of hearing in meeting spaces. These devices can help reduce problems relating to background noise and reverberation.
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