Many people, at one stage of their life experience hearing loss, either minimal, moderate or severe. Hearing aids are the most effective gadgets to help with the hearing loss, but it is important to have an audiologist examine the type of hearing loss before getting a hearing aid.
There are different features that come with different aids, and depending on your goals and hearing needs, the audiologist will help you choose the best. Learn more about the best hearing aid brands.
Parts Of A Hearing Aid
•Microphone- Picks up sound.
• Amplifier- Makes the sound louder.
• Receiver- sends the loud sounds into the ear.
• On/off switch.
- Directional microphone- picks up sounds from specific directions.
- Telephone/ telecoil switch- Helps in better understanding of speech when you are using the telephone.
- Direct audio input- Makes it possible to plug in a microphone into the hearing aid to use with your computer, TV, and radio.
- Wireless connectivity- Makes it possible to connect the gadget to devices like computers, cellphones and televisions.
- Noise reduction- Helps reduce the amount of noise from outside sources.
- Volume control- allows you to adjust the sound’s intensity.While the aids are good to help in better communication, it takes some time to get used to them; practice makes perfect. At first, you may not even recognize your own voice with the aids in.It is important to seek support from family and friends or even from people who have previously used the devices. That way, you can tell your listening skills progress. You should also go in for follow-ups with your audiologist so that you can get any needed adjustments to your aid.
- For better and faster adaptation to the device, practice using it in different environments to ensure that you can differentiate the different types of sounds.
Taking Care Of Hearing Aids
Just like any other devices, the aids need regular and proper for longer life. Your audiologist will teach you how to take care of your aid and ensure that it is working properly. You can also learn how to store, clean and change its batteries if it has changeable batteries.
The audiologist may also give you some tools like rechargeable batteries, battery testers, drying container and listening tube. Some of the practices to ensure proper care of your aid include:
- Clean it according to the given instructions.
- Often check the batteries and have the spare batteries near you.
- Always keep it dry.
- Ask your audiologist how to conduct listening checks on your device.
Myths And Truths About Hearing Aids
Even with the population using hearing devices increasing over the years, there are still some myths about them and how they work.
Majority of those myths are not true, and it is important to ensure that you have all the facts, especially if you have someone close to you using the hearing devices, or if you are using them yourself.
Myth 1: They are bulky, ugly and all the same
Truth- with the evolving technology, there are some hearing aids that are as tiny as coffee beans and are not visible to other people. Some are designed to look sleek, elegant and stylish on you.
There are different styles and sizes of hearing aids, depending on your preference and needs.
1. Completely into the canal (CIC)/ mini CIC
These types of hearing devices are designed to perfectly fit in your ear canal, which betters mild to moderate hearing loss.
- They are small are not visible to other people.
- They hardly pick up wind noises.
- Use small batteries with shorter life and may be hard to handle.
- Mostly do not have additional features like directional microphones or volume controls.
- Are prone to speaker clogging from earwax.
2. In the canal (ITC)
These are custom made and partially fit into the ear canal. They can better mild and moderate hearing loss.
- Less visible.
- Has additional features.
- May be hard to adjust because of the small size.
- Prone to speakers clogging from earwax.
3. In the ear (ITE)
These ones come in two styles; full shell that covers a larger part of the bowl-shaped outer ear area, and a half shell that covers only the lower part of the ear. They are helpful if you have mild, moderate and severe hearing loss.
- Has additional features like directional microphones that don’t fit the smaller aids.
- Easier to handle.
- Uses larger batteries with longer life and has different options for a rechargeable battery.
- More visible.
- Earwax may clog the speaker.
- Picks up more wind noise than the smaller ones.
4. Behind the ear (BTE)
These hook on the top of the ear and rests behind it. They have a tube that connects them to an ear mold, a custom earpiece, which fits in the ear canal. They are the best for anyone, regardless of the age and the type of hearing loss.
Traditionally, these hearing devices were large, but there are new designs which are barely visible and streamlined.
- Capable of higher sound amplification than other types.
- Has directional microphones.
- May come with a rechargeable battery.
- Picks up more wind noises.
5. Receiver in the ear (RITE) / receiver in canal (RIC)
They are similar to BTE aids, with the receiver or speaker sitting in the ear canal. A tiny wire connects the receiver or speaker to the piece behind the ear.
- The behind-the-ear portion is less visible.
- Has options for manual control.
- Equipped with directional microphones.
- Available with a rechargeable battery.
- Speaker may clog from earwax.
6. Open fit
This is a variation of the BTE aid or RIC or RITE aids with an open dome inside the ear canal. It keeps the ear canal open, which allows low-frequency sounds to naturally enter the ear and amplification of high-frequency sounds by the aid.
That makes them perfect for someone with mild-moderate high-frequency hearing loss and better low-frequency hearing.
- Does not plug the ear, which does not change how you hear your voice.
- May be hard to insert in the ear because of the non-custom dome.
Myth 2: They are for old people
Truth- Although hearing loss is mainly age-related, anyone can suffer hearing loss, no matter their age. There are even some children who need hearing devices to help better their hearing.
Actually, some reasons like listening to loud music or excessive use of earphones and headphones may make young people depend on hearing devices for better hearing.
Myth 3: You can have hearing devices at any time and everywhere
Truth- It is not always healthy to have your hearing on all the time or when doing everything, for the health of your ears and the durability of your hearing aids.
It is advisable to always ensure that you take off your hearing devices while sleeping to let your ears breath. Taking them off, opening the battery doors and having them in their case at night will make them last longer too.
It also ensures that you sleep comfortably because your ears rub against the pillow a lot at night, which may result in them falling off or even irritating your ears.
You should also not have them on while taking a shower and if they accidentally get any moisture in them, ensure to place them in their cases and open the battery doors for them to dry.
Also, avoid having them on while getting ready, especially when styling your hair, cutting your hair or using any kinds of body or hair spray. The hairs and the spray fumes may affect the microphones.
Myth 4: If a hearing aid doesn’t work for someone else it can’t work for you
Truth- Just like everyone’s hearing is different, so are the hearing device’s needs. If a hearing aid does not work on your family member or friend, it does not necessarily mean that will not work for you because you may have different types of hearing loss.
They may also not work on them because they do not fit them well.
Myth 5: Hearing devices fix your hearing problems
Truth- No hearing device can restore your hearing completely. However, the type and quality of your device will determine how good they will help you deal with the problem.
Ensure that you get expert advice from an audiologist as to what type of hearing loss you are suffering from, in order to get the perfect hearing device. Using hearing aids as soon as you start experiencing signs of hearing loss will also help slow down the hearing loss progression.
Myth 6: To change the device’s settings, you need to see an audiologist
Truth- Modern hearing devices make it possible for you to make adjustments from your phone. Also, the devices automatically minimize distracting noises from your background and adjust to whatever environment you are in.
Myth 7: Hearing aids are pricy
Truth- Hearing devices vary according to the type, sizes and brands and they all come with different prices. They are also different financing options in case you need to get one at a lower price.
There are some companies that allow you to pay a little each month. You can also benefit from getting an insurance cover that will help with the payment.Check out the list of the best hearing aid brands.
Myth 8: It does not matter where you get your hearing aid
Truth- Where you get your hearing device and whoever recommends and fits it affects the success of the device. Ensure to visit a professional audiologist to get your hearing problem properly diagnosed and your device perfectly fitted.