Hearing Aids – Commonly asked questions
Hearing aids are important gadgets for any person suffering from hearing loss. They can not only help to enhance one’s appreciation of sounds around them, they also help to reduce the risk undesirable health conditions like depression and dementia. In this article, we discuss some of the most common questions people have regarding hearing aids.
Why should I wear a hearing aid
Hearing aids are life-enhancing gadgets. For individuals suffering from hearing loss, hearing aids are not just as simple as enabling one to hear better – it allows one to better appreciate the finer things in life.
For someone with hearing loss, daily activities such as talking to their friends and family members become more challenging. It becomes much harder to engage in a meaningful conversation. At work, if speaking to clients or customers is a necessary task, hearing becomes that much more important because you need to be able to listen closely to what is being conveyed to you, and missing out critical information would spell disaster.
Other daily activities that get affected include not being able to hear the television, listen to music, not being able to hear danger signals (like bicycle bells, or car horns), and others. Hearing aids can help prevent that and let you enjoy and appreciate life the way it’s supposed to be.
On top of that, if you have tinnitus – a medical condition where one constantly hears a ringing-like sound in silent environments, hearing aids can help you cope with it. In some severe tinnitus cases, hearing aids are necessary to help minimize the disruptions it brings to one’s daily lives.
Consequences of not getting a hearing aid
Living with unchecked hearing loss is often not a good prospect, especially if the degree of hearing loss is severe. Below are some of the common health impacts of hearing loss.
This is especially true for newborns, as not being able to hear hinders the child’s ability to develop language skills and thus social skills.
Most people with hearing loss experience some degree of social isolation, because communication with others became more difficult and they shun away from such interactions.
Even though dementia typically affects people who are older, social isolation can act as a catalyst and increase the risk of early onset dementia, where people are diagnosed with dementia before the age of 65.
Overall poorer quality of life
Needless to say, the manifestation of hearing loss introduces a wide range of problems, from poorer communication skills, to enjoyment of life, to undesirable medical conditions.
Who should get hearing aids
Hearing loss is not a medical condition exclusive to the elderly. People of all age ranges can have hearing loss. As such, anyone with hearing loss can get hearing aids.
Some newborns may have hearing loss due to a genetic condition. It would then be important for them to use hearing aids even from a young age because otherwise hearing loss will hinder their ability to develop language and social skills, which will affect them for the rest of their lives.
Anyone who’s regularly exposed to loud sounds are likely to suffer from hearing loss. If the hearing loss has become permanent, hearing aids are an option. Chemotherapy patients may also require hearing aids, if the treatment has had collateral damage on their hearing. Naturally, the elderly are also likely to require hearing aids because of old age.
Cleaning And Storage Tips
Hearing aids help with listening, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hearing aids today are very sophisticated gadgets that can even help the user listen better depending on the kind of environment they are in.
All hearing aids have the same 3 basic components – the microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The microphone picks up surrounding sound from the gadget, and sends a signal to the amplifier. In some devices, there are more than 1 microphone, which helps to pick up sounds from different directions, for example the front and the back.
The amplifier, like the name suggests, amplifies the sound’s volume before sending a signal to the speaker. The amplifier is customized specifically for the user, and varies in amplification depending on how much of the user’s hearing loss needs to be compensated in order to hear adequately.
Once the speaker receives the signal from the amplifier, it produces the sound directly into the user’s ear.
Some hearing aids use earmolds, which fit exactly into the user’s ear, ensuring minimal sound escape from the ear, but more importantly prevent feedback. The greater the proximity of the speaker is to the microphone, the greater the likelihood of feedback, because sound produced from the speaker is more likely to be received by the microphone, creating an endless loop of feedback sounds.
Additionally, some hearing aids also have the capacity to adjust to the environment the user is in. For example, in a noisy environment, sounds picked up in front of the user are amplified more, while sounds picked up from the sides or the back are reduced. This allows the user to hear what’s in front of them more easily, such as someone speaking.
These are just some of the many features hearing aids have today. Depending on what a user might need, a trained audiologist will be able to recommend one that best suits their needs.
Styles and Brands of hearing aids
There are many different types of hearing aids, but they can be categorized into either styles or brands.
Hearing Aid styles
There are 3 main styles of hearing aids – Behind The Ear (BTE), and In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids. BTE hearing aids are hooked over the top of the ear, while ITE hearing aids fit into the user’s ear canal.
Hearing Aid brands
If you’re interested in reading up more on the different styles and brands of hearing aids , check out our other article here.
Other frequently asked questions
We have compiled some of the commonly asked questions and concerns regarding hearing aids below.
“I have tinnitus, will hearing aids help?”
Yes, there are hearing aids that are capable of relieving tinnitus through masking. This is done through a production of white noise or environmental noise, in order to distract the user from the tinnitus sounds.
“How much do hearing aids cost?”
Price ranges widely differ from styles to brands. They cost about $900 to $7000 per piece (not pair) and their prices depend on their power, technology level, rechargeability and Bluetooth connectivity.
“How long do hearing aids last?”
They can last between 3 to 7 years, depending on how much they are used. Care and maintenance also goes a long way in extending the lifespan of hearing aids.
“Hearing aids look ugly and make me look old .”
These concerns usually stem from the social stigma around hearing aids. However, think of it this way – why do people wear glasses? They have poor eyesight so they need it to correct their vision to see properly. Hearing aids are no different – they correct one’s hearing because they have hearing loss. Users should not be overly concerned because hearing aids are meant to be functional, and no one should judge you for using it.
“How do I clean hearing aids?”
Cleaning and maintenance of your hearing aids is not a difficult task. A simple and short cleaning session with an alcohol wipe, especially on the earmold once or twice every week will suffice for hygiene purposes.
“When should I get a hearing aid?”