Aging is the most common cause of hearing impairment. Around 1 in 2 adults over 65 years experience some form of hearing loss. Some of the causes of age-related hearing impairment are as follows.
Age-related hearing impairment begins with an inability to hear high-pitched sounds. It will be difficult to hear the voices of children, women and background noises. They may also find it difficult to hear voices clearly.
Hearing loss can be treated with surgery or medical help but these treatments are not suitable for everyone. Technological advancement in hearing aids has significantly improved the quality of hearing and has been very helpful in managing hearing loss. Hearing aids are suitable for members with an open ear canal and a relatively normal external ear.
Hearing aid is a battery-powered electronic device, very small in size that can be worn in or behind the ear. Hearing aids are composed of a microphone, an amplifier and a receiver each with a specific function as follows:
Hearing aids help to hear better in noisy and quiet environments. They are suitable for those with impairment to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. There are several other options like surgery and medical treatment to manage hearing loss but they are not suitable for everyone. These devices are ideal for those with an open ear canal and a normal external ear.
A healthcare professional has to be consulted before selecting a hearing aid. He will conduct tests to identify the type of hearing loss and the extent of damage. The type of hearing aid you will need depends on the following:
The specialist might recommend any of the 2 kinds of hearing aids
Hearing aids cannot replace the natural hearing or what it used to be earlier. With practice, users can tune to the hearing aid and can improve the comprehension of sounds. It will need time and patience to get used to the device. Some hearing aid providers allow you to use the device on a trial period to see if it works for you. You can return the device with a partial refund if that does not fit your needs.
You have to work closely with your doctor to avoid the following problems:
Start using the hearing aid in quiet places initially and monitor the response.
Hearing aids have some delicate electronic components and should be handled carefully. Normally they can last for 3 to 6 years but you may have to replace it if your hearing loss gets worse. Some recommendations from the experts to increase the durability of the hearing aid:
Behind-the-ear devices have more flexibility as they are suitable for a wider range of hearing loss. Digital devices have an advantage as they can be upgraded based on the advances in computer technology.
Hearing aids are not suitable for everyone. A cochlear implant is suitable for those with severe hearing impairment from inner-ear damage. The implant restores hearing to a certain extent by stimulating the auditory nerve to provide the sensation of the sound.
Cochlear implants include an external component and an internal component that is coupled with a strong magnet. The external components include a microphone, speech processor and a transmitter. The internal component has a receiver. Sound signals are captured by the speech processor and are sent to the receiver. The signals are sent to the brain which is interpreted as sound.
Member who had cochlear implants report:
Cochlear implantation surgery is performed by a specialist and is normally safe. Some of the risks with the surgery are as follows:
The surgery will be performed under anesthesia so you will need to follow certain measures before the procedure. Your doctor will explain to you about the medications and diet to be followed.
After the surgery, there may be slight pressure or discomfort over the implanted ear(s) along with nausea and dizziness. You can return home on the day of surgery or the next day. You will need to visit the clinic again to get the stitches removed. Your specialist will perform certain tasks to activate the implant.
Hearing aids are suitable for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, they may not be suitable for those who are deaf or with severe hearing impairment. Cochlear implants may be ideal for them.
Hearing aids are removable and can be taken in or out by the user. They are small devices that are ideal for children with mild to moderate hearing loss. Cochlear implants need to be inserted through a complex surgical procedure by a specialist. They provide the sensation of sound for deaf individuals or those with profound hearing loss.
Both hearing aids and cochlear implants are suitable for those with hearing loss caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear and/or the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. This is also called sensorineural hearing loss.
A healthcare professional will evaluate your hearing loss and recommend a device based on the extent of damage and your preferences.
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