The patient should get his ears examined by ear specialist and an audiogram should be obtained to know the degree and type of hearing loss.
If hearing loss is not treatable by medicine/surgery then a hearing aid is prescribed.
A hearing aid which matches with the audiogram need can be purchased after a thorough trial. Hearing aid should be customized according to individual needs.
For better fitting an impression of patient’s ear is taken and ear-mould prepared.
What factors to consider for choosing a hearing aid?
The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss matching your audiogram
Type of hearing instrument and technological features beneficial for your particular type of hearing loss and life style
Price is a factor to consider but price alone is not the factor to determine the best hearing aid for you. More expensive hearing aid does not necessarily mean that it will better suit you.
Hearing aid should be easy and convenient for you to use.
For hearing loss in both, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural and directional signal to the brain and help to understand speech.
Work with your hearing care professional until you are comfortable and satisfied.
Why Binaural (both ear) fitting of hearing aid is so important?
* Natural hearing with both ears
* Better sound quality
* Better sound of music
* Better speech understanding from distance and in noisy surrounding
* Better directional sense of sound (sound source localization)
* Less listening effort and more hearing comfort
What is Hearing aid?
Hearing-aids are instruments to amplify the sound so that you hear well.
Hearing aids consist of 3 main components -
Microphone- picks up the sound and converts it into electrical energy.
Amplifier-magnifies the electrical energy
Receiver-converts the amplified electronic signals back to sound
The hearing aid has a battery which provides power to the amplifier.
What are different types of hearing aids?
Body-worn hearing aids (Pocket )-Body-worn hearing aids consist of an earpiece connected by a wire to a small box that can be attached to clothes or placed in the pocket.
Behind the Ear-BTE hearing aid sits behind the outer ear and connects via a plastic tube to a custom made ear-mould. It is easier to manipulate and it is generally used for a variety of hearing –losses..
In-the-ear (ITE) - ITE hearing aids sit in the outer ear and may be used for a variety of hearing losses.
In the canal (ITC) - Fits into ear canal
Completely in-the-canal (CIC) - Fits entirely in the ear canal and least visible. However, it’s not suitable for severe hearing loss.
Digital hearing aids Advanced digital technology for amplification of the sound thus amplified sound is clear and distortion-free as compared to that of the analogue / non-programmable hearing aids. Available in BTE, ITE, ITC, and CIC
Over-The-Ear (OTE) or Open Fit BTE -miniature digital BTE device, automatically adjusts to ever changing sound environment and offer clarity of speech into the ear without blocking the entire the ear canal natural sound, without an echo.
What are the implantable hearing aids?
Implantable hearing aids are designed to increase transmission of sound Vibrations entering the inner ear; Surgery is required to implant either of these devices.
Middle ear implant:
A small device attached to one of the bones of the middle ear. Rather than amplifying the sound traveling to the eardrum, an MEI moves bones thus strengthening sound vibrations entering the inner ear so that they can be detected by individuals with sensorineural hearing loss.
Bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA):
In cases with conductive or mixed deafness like bilateral canal atresia and middle ear problems or severe one sided deafness which cannot be corrected by regular hearing aids BAHA can be used.
It consists of a digital sound processor and works directly via stimulating inner ear via bone conduction bypassing the middle ear.
BAHA is implanted over scalp by a simple surgery (FDA approved in child above 5 years of age); in children below 5 years BAHA soft headband can be used.
Cochlear implant is an electronic device which directly stimulates the nerve of hearing allowing individual with profound hearing loss to receive sound. It is surgically implanted in the inner ear (cochlea) and activated by a device worn behind the ear.
Child born with or adult having profound deafness which can not be benefited from conventional hearing aids may benefit from a cochlear implant.
What is the difference between analogue and digital hearing aid?
Analogue hearing aids use conventional electronics. A microphone picks up the sound which is amplified and then reproduced by a ‘receiver’, which is basically a very small loudspeaker.
Digital hearing aids use a tiny computer to process sound programmed to suit your particular type of hearing loss. Some digital aids can be programmed for different listening situations according to your lifestyle.
Analogue Hearing Aids
Digital Hearing Aids
Convert sound into electrical signals that are amplified
Convert sound to digital signals (data) that are processed precisely by a tiny computer
Some are programmable for different environments
Can be programmed to suit each person’s hearing loss
Make sounds louder but may not discriminate between them
Suppress background noise so that speech is clear and distortion-free and easier to understand.
Usually less expensive
Usually more expensive
What is FM system?
With use of Hearing aid trouble may persist in-
In conference rooms
In cars while driving (without lip reading and facial expression advantage)
At telephone/cell phone
Watching television/ listening ardio/
FM system is right for these people. FM improves speech understanding in difficult listening situations cutting through background noises.
FM transmitter picks up vice from speaker and sends the sound wirelessly to FM receiver connected to hearing aid.
Telephone or mobile phone should be compatible (should have headset jack) with hearing aid FM system.
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