If you are suffering from hearing loss due to excessive ear wax in your ears, a cold, or due to pressure changes from flying or diving, then your hearing loss should only be temporary. If your hearing loss persists, or if you suddenly develop hearing loss, see your doctor immediately.
Most forms of hearing loss are caused by the natural aging process, and cannot be cured. However, don’t despair as there are many amazing options in hearing aid devices that can help you hear better, thereby dramatically improving your quality of life.
It’s important to understand that some forms of hearing loss cannot be helped with a hearing aid. If your inner ear or ear hair cells are too damaged a hearing aid will be ineffective.
What are Hearing Aids?
In their most basic form, hearing aids are devices that amplify the frequencies that you have trouble hearing.
Most hearing aids nowadays are digital, consisting of microphones, digital signal processors, amplifiers and speakers.
Hearing technology has undergone a radical rate of evolution in recent years. The introduction of digital signal processing technology has allowed chips to process multiple millions of calculations per second, resulting in un-paralleled sound quality. The durability has improved dramatically and comfort as well as aesthetics have been thoroughly addressed. Modern devices have shrunk so much in size, that they are barely noticeable – dubbed “invisible”.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
Although hearing aids do not cure hearing loss or restore natural hearing, they can help you live a normal live. Most people who get a hearing aid feel that it has radically improved their quality of life.
Once fitted, your hearing device will sit comfortably either behind your ear, or completely in your ear canal. Which of these you choose is entirely up to your own personal preference. Today’s hearing aids are tiny devices fitted with mini digital computers that amplify sound frequencies that you struggle to hear. They help in both noisy situations and quiet situations. The hearing aid will receive the sound through a microphone, convert the sound waves into electrical signals and then send them to the amplifier. This amplifier makes the signals stronger so that you are able to hear them, and sends them to a speaker fitted into your ear.
Digital hearing aids can be programmed with the ability to reduce background noise and amplify only the sounds you want to hear. For example, if you are having dinner at a noisy restaurant, you will only want to hear the people you are having a conversation with beside you, not the hub-bub from the people talking around you. Alternatively, you might be at a music concert, in which case you will want to clearly hear the music blasting from the band. Another program will adjust for when you are talking on the phone.
Everyone’s hearing loss is unique to them, so it’s important that you first test your hearing to assess both your level of hearing loss, and the exact frequencies that you struggle to hear. The results of this hearing test are called an audiogram. This audiogram will show your hearing loss plotted on a graph, and we can then program your chosen hearing aid to adjust for these frequencies.
Not all hearing aids are programmable. This means that they are set up with several preset programs that adjust for hearing loss on generic frequencies. Buying a non-programmable hearing aid is much like buying generic eye glasses from a store, they will help your eyesight but will not be designed to exactly match your specific short or far-sightedness. For some people this is fine, but for others the small cost difference between programmable and non-programmable hearing aids is worth having the ability to exactly program the amplifier to your exact hearing loss. This also means that if your hearing loss deteriorates further or changes in any way, we can reprogram your hearing aid again to exactly match your hearing loss.