Hearing loss is fairly common, and many of us experience at least temporary changes to our hearing, such as tinnitus, at some point during our lives. It can be caused by different factors and affect our lives in different ways. 

Sometimes, the hearing loss that we experience is temporary. Infections, eardrum damage, illness, medication and exposure to very loud noises can all temporarily affect our hearing. But, it’s still worth getting checked out by an audiologist, just to make sure. You may need medication to treat infection, but your hearing often returns to normal on its own without the need for a hearing aid. 

On other occasions, our hearing loss is more permanent or profound. The hearing loss that occurs as we age is usually permanent and can become more profound the older that we get. It’s in these cases that wearing a hearing aid can be most beneficial. But, buying a hearing aid isn’t the same as popping out to buy a new pair of shoes. There’s a little more to it than just picking one that you like. Let’s learn a little more. 

Do you need a hearing aid?

If you need a hearing aid, it can be massively beneficial, and certainly worth the cost. But, if you don’t need one, other options, such as medication or lifestyle changes, might be better. 

If you are wondering if you need a hearing aid, you should visit an audiologist for confirmation and further support. But, first, ask yourself what’s caused your hearing loss, how long you have had it, and whether you have any other symptoms. 

How does a hearing aid work?

A modern hearing aid is basically a tiny computer that sits on, or in your ear. They are made up of three different parts, these are:

  • The microphone
  • The processor
  • The receiver or loudspeaker

The microphone picks up sounds and sends them to the processor. This analyzes the sounds, separating background noises from speech and other important sounds before sending them to the loudspeaker in the form of electronic signals. These signals are then passed to the loudspeaker, where they are turned into sounds for your ears to hear. 

Are there different kinds of hearing aid?

There are three main kinds of hearing aid, all with different features and advantages. Your audiologist will be able to help you to find the one which suits your lifestyle and would be most beneficial to your hearing. The three main kinds are:

  • Behind the ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids are the most common, and probably the first ones that you think about. These sit behind the ear and attach to the inner ear with a tube or soft tip, which sits on the outer ear. Modern hearing aids are a lot smaller than older models and far less noticeable. These are often used for more profound hearing. 
  • In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are less noticeable as they sit inside the outer ear directly. These are made from hard plastic and can be particularly useful for hearing on the telephone. 
  • In the canal (ITC): These are also known as invisible aids as they sit inside the ear canal. They are only usually used for relatively mild ear loss, and despite the name aren’t completely invisible, just far harder to spot. 

Within these kinds, different hearing aids have different functions. Some can even be connected to your smartphone via an app, to give you greater control over your own hearing and most come with different programs and settings which you will be able to adjust yourself. Speak to your audiologist to find a hearing aid which will be most beneficial for your lifestyle and your symptoms. 

Debunking myths

There are a few common myths regarding hearing aids. Many people have heard that hearing aids will make their hearing worse, as they take over and do the work for your ears. This isn’t true at all. Hearing aids are designed to help and won’t limit or hinder your natural hearing. You may wonder if a behind the ear aid can be worn with glasses; it can, perfectly comfortably. 

Another big myth is that hearing aids will give you perfect hearing again. They won’t. They’ll improve your hearing, and make life more comfortable, but it will never be the same as it used to be. 

If you are ready to learn more about hearing aids or have other questions for an audiologist, get in touch with The Hearing and Tinnitus Center today at 303-534-0163.