What is A Hearing Aid?

You may or may not be familiar with hearing aids. But even if you do, do you know why it is important to use hearing aids, who needs them, and how exactly do they work? This blog post will aim to help you better understand hearing aids.

What do Hearing Aids do

The name “Hearing Aids” alone tells us exactly what they do. They are used to help people hear better and clearer. They may come in different shapes and forms, but they are all designed with the same purpose in mind – to help people with their hearing needs.

Who uses Hearing Aids

People who have hearing loss need hearing aids. So what are the reasons people have hearing loss?

  • Aging

Most hearing aid users are the elderly. According to a study in the United States, 16.7% of men and 10.6% of women aged 45 to 64 had some difficulty hearing even when using a hearing aid, which increases to 30.9% of men and 23.5% of women aged 65 and over. The elderly are generally more likely to experience hearing loss because of deterioration in hearing function as one ages.

  • Long-term exposure to loud noises

Prolonged and long-term exposure to loud noises, either in one’s work environment or listening to music for leisure are major driving forces for sensorineural hearing loss. These people will most likely need to use hearing aids if the exposure persists.

  • Being on certain medications

In order to treat a person’s existing medical condition, certain medications are administered. Sometimes, the side effects from these medications include hearing loss. The most common example of medications causing hearing loss is patients undergoing chemotherapy for their cancer treatment, and the medication introduces a hearing loss side effect.

  • Physical trauma to the head

Sometimes, a physical impact on the head at the wrong location can cause hearing loss.

  • Genetic reasons

Children as young as newborns can experience hearing loss due to genetic reasons. Some may manifest as early as right after birth, while some may start to develop hearing loss as they grow pass certain development milestones. Hearing loss needs to be detected early and hearing aids are necessary for them for various health reasons discussed in the next section.

Why use Hearing Aids

For people who aren’t experiencing hearing loss, it may be difficult to appreciate how important hearing aids are for people experiencing hearing loss. Often times, even if people have hearing loss, they may not be fully aware and appreciate the health effects that hearing loss can have on them – otherwise more people will try to get hearing aids as soon as possible. Here are some reasons why people with hearing loss should use hearing aids.

  • Improved quality of life

Being able to hear the sounds around ourselves is very much underappreciated until one experiences hearing loss. By using hearing aids, one will regain the ability to hear what others are saying consistently and have more engaging conversations, enjoy music, and participate in and enjoy social events more.

  • Reduce loss of social communication skills

If one’s hearing is affected, one’s communication skills will be affected as well. One common way this happens is where someone with hearing loss interacts with others lesser than usual, due to difficulties in having engaging conversations. So in the long term, the reduced number of interactions with people will affect their communication skills.

In younger children, where social and language skills are still developing, untreated hearing loss can affect their development of these skills and become difficult to correct later on, and in worst cases permanently hinder their social skills for life.

Getting hearing aids should be a priority to prevent the deterioration of social skills.

  • Reduced risk of worsening of cognitive ability

Patients with hearing loss have to focus harder on what others are saying in order to compensate for their bad hearing. Unfortunately this will worsen their cognitive ability, or in other words mental processes involving the brain like memory and decision making in the long run. Using hearing aids can help minimize the risk.

  • Reduced risk of dementia

Coupled with the fact that hearing loss patients are more likely to face social isolation, the lack of communication and interactions with others will greatly increase one’s risk of dementia, especially if the patient is older.

How do Hearing Aids work

  • Hearing aids today may be very sophisticated electronic devices, but they all function with the same 3 basic components.

    • Microphone – This helps to pick up surrounding sound waves and send it to the amplifier.

    • Amplifier – Signals received from the microphone are increased to an appropriate volume for the user and sent to the speaker.

    • Speaker – Amplified sounds are played through the speaker and into the user’s ear.

    Over the years, some hearing aids can now be programmed to fit each individual’s needs, some can be recharged instead of replacing the batteries ever so often, or offer Bluetooth connectivity to one’s phone for custom hearing settings like places with greater background noise.

Types of Hearing Aids

No one pair of hearing aids will fulfill every patient’s needs. Depending on the user’s preferences and degree of hearing loss, there will be a type of hearing aid suitable for them.

  • Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

BTE hearing aids are hooked over the top of the user’s ear. Though they are less discreet than ITE hearing aids, they are suitable for patients with a wide range of hearing loss.

  • In-The-Ear (ITE)

ITE hearing aids are fitted nicely into the user’s ear canal. They may not be suitable for patients with severe or profound hearing loss, but they are discreet for users more concerned about how it looks.

  • Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)

BAHAs work by directly stimulating a bone inside the head where specialized cells called hair cells are present, so that sounds can be heard. These types of hearing aids are much less often used because of their specific mode of action, and the aforementioned BTE and ITE hearing aids are usually able to cater to the hearing issues the patient has.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

In The Ear Hearing Aids

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Bone anchored hearing aid

Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)

What brands of Hearing Aids are there

There are many different brands of hearing aids available in the market, but the best ones recommended by The Hearing Centre are Signia, Phonak, ReSound, and Starkey.

The Hearing Centre Singapore - Best Hearing Aids provider in Singapore

If you are keen on buying hearing aids in Singapore, look to The Hearing Centre. We are a pioneer in providing the top-quality hearing aids to the hearing impaired for over 17 years and counting. Our experienced team provides a full suite of hearing-related services from consultation, to assessment, hearing aid fitting, and post-care, all tailored to your individual needs. We provide customers with the best hearing devices at most affordable prices and are proud to operate with high standards of integrity. Get your hearing tested with us today!

Get the best hearing aids from The Hearing Centre.