There are more than 30 million Americans that currently suffer from some type of hearing loss.
The most common type of hearing loss is a high frequency hearing loss. The process of aging is the predominant cause of this type of hearing loss. The natural process of aging may allow your sensitivity to low frequencies to remain the same, but you might experience difficulty hearing in higher frequencies, such as child’s voices, doorbells, and tv or radio. For many of us we don’t realize that our hearing is slowly deteriorating because hearing loss is painless and progressive. For many of us it takes a loved one to call it to our attention.
What can cause a hearing loss?Brian TannerTypical cause for hearing loss:
- Noise exposure
- Prebycusis (aging)
- Infections (Otisi Media, Otistis Externa)
- Head or ear trauma
- Congenitial abnormalities or genetics
- Ototoxic drugs (antibiotics, chemotherapy)
- Cerumen (wax) blockage
Are there different types of hearing loss??Brian TannerYes, there are three categories of hearing loss: Conductive This involves outer and/or middle ear. It can be a result from infection, wax, or physical trauma. This condition can often be treated medically. Sensorineural Can be result of aging, ototoxic drug, head trauma, disease, genetic, etc. Also known as nerve deafness. It involves the inner ear or auditory nerve. Usually treatable and permanent. Treatment is amplification through use of hearing instruments. Mixed Loss A combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Treatment is usually amplification through the use of hearing instruments.
How do I determine if I have a hearing loss?Brian TannerIf you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, it is recommended that you have a complete hearing exam conducted by a licensed hearing professional. They can determine if you have a hearing loss, the nature and severity, and possible treatment options. Since hearing loss is most often a very gradual process, may of its symptoms are subtle. As hearing loss progresses, not all sounds are lost at an equal rate. Most often, the higher frequency sounds, which contain consonant information, are most affected. Some symptoms are: difficulty understanding at public gatherings; straining to hear TV, radio, or telephone; asking others to repeat themselves; social life is hindered; smiling more and understanding less.
How do I select a hearing aid?Brian TannerHearing aids range in size, ear placement, sophistication of circuitry, and price. Which combination of circuitry and style is chosen depends on the individual’s type and degree of hearing loss, cosmetic appeal, their dexterity, and budget concerns. Typically, devices are designed to fit inside the ear canal (ITC) or over the upper ear (OTE). Your personal hearing needs may determine which drive is best suited for you.
How long does a hearing aid last?Brian TannerTypically, a hearing aid will last 3-5 years. This will vary based on several factors: amount of daily use, whether the device is in the ear or behind, routine maintenance, and exposure to ear wax. Earwax is the number one enemy of hearing aids regardless of cost. It can cause blockage and corrosion in hearing aids. Some individuals produce more earwax than others so it is recommended that your device provides some type of wax protection.
Will A Hearing Aid Restore My Hearing?Brian TannerUnfortunately, in most cases, hearing loss can be permanent. Hearing aids will aid "fill-in the gap" where your hearing loss occurs. If you are having trouble hearing high pitched sounds such as a child voice or TV, hearing aids will boos those making them easier to hear. With today's advanced circuitry, you will be able to better hear conversation in noisy places such as restuarants or other areas wear people gather.
What is a typical price for a hearing aid?Brian TannerThere are many factors that determine the cost of a hearing aid. To start, hearing devices are expensive even for the hearing professional. They may be small, but they are not cheap! Like most electronics, advanced features can cost more. Bluetooth and phone apps will add to the cost. Professional fees will vary, but they have to account for hearing exam, consultation, fitting and programming, and additional office visits. Internet hearing can be of benefit for individuals who may have a mild hearing loss and want to try an inexpensive device before spending a lot of money - custom devices will range approximately between $500 - $2500 each.
Are internet devices safe to use?Brian TannerSome brands can be quite safe and effective to use. Do a little research before buying to save money and possibility of purchasing a poorly made device. Check the return and warranty policy and how long the business has been open and what are they reviews saying about a particular device. Some cheap import devices can over amplify and even cause further hearing loss. Devices with a power out over 105 dB should be avoided.