Hearing loss is a potentially debilitating problem that currently affects approximately 5 percent of the global population. Scientists estimate that, by 2050, nearly 1 in every 10 people may have hearing loss severe enough to affect daily living. At ENT Centers of Texas, we assist individuals with varying degrees of hearing loss with tools like hearing aids.
What Is A Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that, when worn in the ear canal, amplifies external sounds.
Who Is A Candidate for A Hearing Aid?
Everyone occasionally misunderstands what others may be saying and may ask for clarification. However, people with hearing loss often do this more than they are aware. The request to repeat a statement or question is often more noticeable to those close to the person with hearing loss, such as friends, coworkers, or a spouse.
You may be a good candidate for a hearing aid if:
- The voices of others sound as if they are mumbling
- It is difficult to understand what someone is saying if their back is to you
- You find yourself staring at people’s mouths to help you understand what they say
- You need to turn the volume up on the television in order to understand what is said
It is quite normal for people who could benefit from hearing aids to believe their hearing is normal. This is because only certain pitches may be affected. So the person with hearing loss can take in certain sounds but not enough sound to help them hear the various tones and inflections in the voices of others.
Benefits of Hearing Aids
Studies indicate that hearing aids offer psychological, social, and physical benefits that then correlate to a better quality of life. Specific ways in which this can happen include:
- Being more capable of engaging in conversation with loved ones and colleagues.
- Enjoying higher-quality relationships as a result of improved engagement.
- Feeling more confident in professional and social situations.
- Having a generally better sense of self-esteem.
- Increasing productivity at work and a better ability to concentrate on all types of tasks.
- Feeling more energetic, independent, and secure.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Almost all hearing aids function similarly, regardless of their fit or general style. This device works by taking in sound from one’s immediate environment and sending what comes in through a miniature microphone. This microphone amplifies the sound as it is converted into a digital or electronic signal in a way that meets the wearer’s individual needs. When you come for your consultation at The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas our audiologist will consider many factors and help guide you toward the best hearing aid style for you. For those with mild to severe hearing loss, hearing aids are usually the most common treatment option.
What Is the Typical Hearing Aid Selection Process?
After a thorough audiology screening, the audiologist discusses what type of hearing aids would be suitable to meet your particular needs. In addition to data from the hearing test, hearing aid selection takes into account your preferences and lifestyle. Most people need a hearing aid for each ear.
The hearing aid options that are suitable are discussed at length, and the hearing care professional answers any questions you may have. Options across various price points can be discussed at this time. Different models of hearing aids may be able to be tried on to help you experience what each feels and sounds like. Once you have decided on the hearing aid that meets your needs, one will be ordered for you. In some cases, it is necessary for the hearing care provider to make impressions of the inner part of the ear for use in the fabrication of custom-fit hearing aids.
Once the hearing aids are delivered to our center, they are programmed using a computer. This ensures that the hearing aids work according to your preferences and degree of hearing loss.
What are the Different Types of Hearing Aids?
There are numerous types of hearing aids that fit into specific categories. These include:
- Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids have two parts. One part sits inside the ear canal and the other sits behind the ear. The two parts are connected by a clear, thin tube.
- Receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aids are smaller than the behind-the-ear model and include a nearly invisible wire connecting the hearing aid to a receiver, or tiny amplifier, that is fitted within the ear canal.
- In the ear/canal (ITE/ITC) hearing aids are positioned either completely in the outer ear or at the opening of the ear canal, respectively. Neither of these types of hearing aid has a piece that sits behind the ear.
- Completely in the canal (CIC) and invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aids are situated more deeply in the ear canal, where they are very discreet. This type of hearing aid may not be noticed at all.
How Are Hearing Aids Placed?
The way that hearing aids are inserted depends on the type of hearing aid you select. All are easy to use. However, it can take some time to learn how to insert and remove new devices. Your hearing care professional will assist you in learning to use your particular type of hearing aid.
How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?
Hearing aids can last anywhere from approximately 3 to 7 years. The lifespan of a hearing aid will depend somewhat on the type of device and also on how well the device is maintained over time.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are experiencing hearing loss, call 972.984.1050 to schedule a consultation where one of our audiologists can determine the best treatment for you.