Discover the Life-Changing Benefits of Hearing Aids for Better Hearing Health
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear behind your ear or in your ear. It amplifies sounds, allowing someone with hearing loss to communicate, listen, and otherwise participate in regular life. A hearing aid can help you hear in both quiet and noisy situations. These devices have three main parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker.
The first hearing aid, an ear trumpet, was created in the 17th century and remained the only such invention until the late 18th century, when the collapsible ear trumpet took its place.
In 1876, the first electric hearing aid appeared. Since then, there have been many variations as technology improved, leading to the sophisticated and customizable options available today.
Who Needs Hearing Aids?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1% of adults age 45 and older use hearing aids. In all age groups, the percentage of men who need these aids is higher than the percentage of women.
Hearing loss can occur for many reasons, but the most common cause is age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). It is a gradual loss of hearing in both ears.
Chronic otitis media can be another cause. It is an infection or inflammation in the middle ear that can affect adults and children, leading to eardrum perforations.
Otosclerosis is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that can cause hearing loss. Treatment can be surgery or a hearing aid.
Hearing loss can also occur if you have an acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor that grows on the nerves that connect the inner ear to your brain.
You may also experience hearing loss if you have a skin cyst in the middle ear called a cholesteatoma. Some people are born with these cysts, while others can develop them as a result of multiple infections.
Sudden deafness is a condition that can make your ears feel plugged or lead you to experience ringing in the ears and dizziness.
The signs of hearing loss include:
- Trouble hearing in a group
- Muffled sound
- Failure to hear someone behind you
- Listening to the radio or television at higher levels
- Trouble hearing on the phone
- Trouble hearing your alarm clock
- Trouble hearing at the movies
- Needing to stare at people when they talk
- Fatigue from straining to hear
- Avoidance of social situations
- Ringing or roaring sounds in the ear
- Mumbling or talking too loudly
The early detection of hearing loss is crucial. Some types of hearing loss can be treated, so the earlier you catch the problem, the better the chances of the hearing loss not becoming worse or permanent.
People with mild to moderate hearing loss, as well as those who have trouble following conversations in noisy locations, can benefit from hearing aids. Because there are many types of hearing loss, there are also many types of hearing aids.
Types of Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids go behind your ear using a custom-made mold or thin tubing. They can help people with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids either partially fill the bowl of the ear or fill the entire ear and are excellent for people who have dexterity issues.
Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) aids are similar to BTE aids because the body of the device sits behind your ear and uses a receiver wire that goes to the outer ear. It is one of the hearing aids that can create the most natural sound.
In-the-canal (ITC) aids fit into your ear canal, making them less visible, and can be a good option for those with moderate to severe hearing loss.
For an almost invisible hearing aid, choose the completely-in-the-canal option, which fits even deeper into the ear canal than the ITC.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Hearing aids use a three-part system to amplify sound.
The microphone picks up sound and transforms it into a digital signal. The amplifier then increases the strength of that signal, leading the speaker to produce the amplified sound into the ear.
Choosing a Hearing Aid
The first step when choosing a hearing aid is to have a consultation with an audiologist. An audiologist will assess your hearing and make some suggestions about the best options for your individual needs.
You will want to consider your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time in busy and loud locations, the hearing aid you need will be different than the one someone with a quieter lifestyle would choose.
Think about the style of hearing aid you would prefer. Do you mind one that is easily visible or would you prefer one that fits deep into your ear canal?
Fitting and Adjusting Hearing Aids
Fitting the hearing aid is essential for comfort and to get the kind of results you want.
The hearing specialist will calibrate the aid to suit your needs and preferences during the fitting. You may also have to get a real-ear measurement to ensure the amplification levels are right. The fitting can take more than one appointment, depending on the complexity of your hearing loss.
Maintaining and Cleaning Hearing Aids
You want to clean your hearing aids every day. In the morning, use a soft brush or cloth to wipe them, and in the evening, wipe them clean again and place them in their dryer or charger.
You want to change the wax guards regularly to remove dust and wax that can distort sound quality. Remember not to wear the aids in the shower, a sauna, or a pool.
The exact type of hearing aid will affect how often you need to replace its batteries, but most people need to do so once a week.
Advancements in Hearing Aid Technology
One of the most important advancements in hearing aids is that you can now connect them to your smartphone using Bluetooth technology. This gives you more control over the hearing aids’ function and also allows you to route phone calls right to the devices.
Artificial intelligence has also made using a hearing aid easier by allowing you to amplify a person’s voice automatically, giving you better clarity in any environment.
Another huge stride forward in hearing aids is rechargeable batteries. They can save you money, create less waste, and make your life simpler.
Hearing aids now have directional microphones, which offer better performance and allow you to improve speech understanding in noisy settings.
Ever Wonder Why Providers Don’t Offer More Hearing Aid Options?
One of the main reasons other hearing aid offices don’t offer more hearing aids options is because they are either wholly owned or partially funded by certain hearing aid manufacturers, while others are committed to national buying affiliates. These contracts may lead to bigger profits for that particular business, but it means fewer and potentially sub-standard options for patients. This is important because one manufacturer may be great for certain types of hearing loss, but terrible for other types of hearing loss.
We have been fortunate enough to maintain our independence, which allows us access to all of the reputable hearing aid manufacturers, and not compromise our decision making when it comes to patient needs. Based on each individual’s hearing healthcare needs, we have the flexibility to select from the most reputable manufacturers in the hearing care industry. This means your investment is made to fit you, your hearing loss, and your lifestyle. We work directly with the following manufacturers on your behalf.
Transform Your Life with Clearer Hearing Today with Happy Ears
Hearing aids can vastly improve your quality of life and relationships. At Happy Ears Hearing Center, we are here to ensure you get the exact type of hearing aid you need. Because each type of hearing loss can require a different kind of hearing aid, we offer many options and many brands.
Get an evaluation at one of our Happy Ears Hearing Center locations today to gain the life-changing benefits of a hearing aid.