Hearing loss is extremely common with around 30 million Americans, 12 years of age or older experiencing permanent hearing loss in both ears. In most cases, hearing loss happens gradually, often as a result of getting older. Other causes of hearing loss include an accumulation of earwax, a perforated ear drum, taking certain medications that cause hearing loss or trauma/damage to the ear.
Not all hearing loss is permanent. However, if you believe that you are having difficulty hearing or your hearing is unlikely to return, you should consider solutions that may make it possible for you to hear more clearly. One of the most effective treatments is using hearing aids.
A hearing aid is a small, electronic device that you wear either behind or inside your ear. It has three main components. These are: a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. A hearing aid receives sound through a microphone which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier works by increasing the power of the signals and sending them through a speaker to the ear.
The purpose of a hearing aid is to make some sounds louder so that a person suffering from hearing loss can listen and communicate more effectively, making it easier for them to participate in day to day activities.
There are many different styles of hearing aids, making it possible for you to find a variety that best suits you and your lifestyle. Most people are familiar with the conventional, behind-the-ear or BTE styles which hooks over the top of the ear and has a box behind the ear that contains the electronic parts. This is attached to a plastic earmold that transmits the sounds that is situated inside the ear. There is also a slight variation to the BTE known as the mini BTE. In a mini BTE, the box is much smaller and concealed completely behind the ear, while the part that goes into the ear canal is also smaller and enables some of the ear canal to remain open and unblocked.
In-the-ear or ITE hearing aids are a popular alternative to the conventional design. As their name suggests, they fit completely inside the outer part of the ear. However, they are often not recommended for children since their ears grow quickly and the molds would need to be replaced frequently so that they remain fitting correctly. Some ITE hearing aids can be used with induction loop systems. These are special sound systems used in public places to make it easier for those with hearing loss to be included in talks, shows and announcements. You may see movies playing in your local theater advertised as being available with an induction loop.
Choosing a hearing aid is a very personal decision and which kind will be best for you will depend on several factors including the kind of hearing loss you have and how severely you are affected. If you have hearing loss in both ears, you may benefit from a hearing aid for each ear. Our audiology team is comprised of specialists that will be able to discuss requirements with you and help you to find the ideal hearing aid.
Contrary to what you might think, it isn’t always easy to tell that you are losing your hearing, and it is much more complex than simply being unable to hear clearly anymore. Some of the most common indicators that your hearing is impaired:
Struggling to hear other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say
Asking people to repeat themselves
Relying on watching people’s face and lips to understand them
Having to have the tv or music up very loudly
Becoming tired when you have to spend a large amount of time concentrating on a situation to be able to hear and understand properly
It is important to note that hearing loss doesn’t necessarily affect both ears, or affect both ears at the same rate. However, if you have any concerns at all about your hearing, it is imperative that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.
If you think you might benefit from hearing aids, you will first need to have a hearing exam performed by our experienced team. To schedule an exam, please get in touch with our Southlake TX office by calling (817) 270-6400 today.