There are many things that can trigger or cause hearing loss. Thankfully, there are hearing devices, such as hearing aids, that can pick up some of the slack. Finding out that you need hearing aids may not be what you want to hear, but it's better than not being able to hear properly.
What Are Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are devices that assist a person experiencing hearing loss. They work by receiving noise through a microphone, amplifying it, and outputting it louder through a speaker. Hearing aids can be worn in the ear or behind the ear depending on the type you have.
Types of Hearing Aids
How you wear your hearing aid depends on the style you have.
Common hearing aid styles include:
- Mini behind-the-ear
Behind-the-ear hearing aids have a case that sits behind the ear while the speaker sits in the outer part of the ear. This type of hearing aid is good for someone experiencing mild hearing loss while in-the-ear hearing aids are best for moderate to severe hearing loss.
In-the-ear and in-the-canal hearing aids are generally not recommended for children with hearing loss because they are still growing. The in-the-ear aid is placed inside the outer ear while the in-the-canal aid is placed inside the ear canal. As a child grows, so do their ears, meaning the hearing aids would need to be replaced as they grow.
Hearing aids have a reputation as something only old people need, but that's simply not true. People of all ages utilize hearing aids depending on their level of hearing loss. Many things other than old age can cause hearing loss.
Cause of Hearing Loss
While aging is a cause of hearing loss, there are other things that play a part.
Other causes of hearing loss can include:
- Excessive loud noise
- Damage to ear
- Ruptured eardrum
- Earwax buildup
How to Determine the Need for Hearing Aids
If you go to your doctor complaining of hearing loss, they will refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist will use audiologic testing to determine if you have hearing loss, and to what extent.
Some of the hearing tests that can be conducted by an audiologist include:
- Pure-tone test: This test determines how well you can hear at different volumes and pitches.
- Speech test: There are a few types of speech tests. They determine your ability to hear and understand speech, or how well you separate speech from the background noise.
- Tympanometry: This is used to test for wax buildup in the ear using air pressure.
- Acoustic reflex testing: This is used to find the location of the hearing loss by seeing how the muscles in your ear react.
Benefits of Hearing Aids
The obvious benefit of taking charge of your hearing loss and getting hearing aids is that they help with your ability to hear.
Other benefits can include:
- Less likely to get dementia
- Improve mental health
- More independence
- Improve relationships