What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid makes sounds
louder. But it cannot single out one type of sound, such as a voice, and make
it louder. It makes all sounds louder. Although a hearing aid doesn't restore
normal hearing, it may make it easier for you to carry on your daily activities
and to talk with others.
You can wear hearing aids behind your
ear, in your outer ear, or in your ear canal. Most newer models fit in the ear
or ear canal. There are three major types of hearing aids:
- Analog adjustable
hearing aids are made based on your hearing tests. They make both speech and
other sounds louder in the same amount. Your doctor can adjust them a bit to
fit your hearing, and you control loudness. These are the least costly type of
- Analog programmable hearing
aids contain a computer chip that your doctor can program based on your hearing
loss and how you respond to louder sounds. These hearing aids can be changed
for different hearing situations, such as when you talk with one person in a
room or at a dinner party in a restaurant. You can change the settings with a
- Digital programmable hearing
aids can adjust themselves to different sounds such as a voice or noise. They
give you more choices in programming than analog hearing aids. They are the
most advanced and the most expensive type of hearing aid.
How can I find out if a hearing aid could help me?
If you think you have a hearing problem and are thinking about getting a
hearing aid, look for an ear, nose, and throat doctor (an
otolaryngologist or otologist). He or she can check to
make sure other problems aren't present and find out the cause of your hearing
loss. The doctor can also recommend possible treatments.
doctor finds that a hearing aid would help, ask for a recommendation for an
audiologist. This specialist can help you choose the
type of hearing aid that will work best for you. He or she can help you learn
how to get the most out of your hearing aid.
What are the benefits of wearing a hearing aid?
Hearing aids can help you hear better and feel connected to family,
friends, and others. They can also make you safer when you drive or when you
work around home. Hearing aids may help with your job, hobbies, and daily
activities such as talking on the phone. A hearing aid often can be programmed
tinnitus (a ringing in the ear).
a hearing aid also shows courtesy to others, because you don't have to keep
asking them to repeat what they just said. You can again enjoy talking with
your family without extra effort.
Will it be hard to adjust to a hearing aid?
take from several weeks to months for you to get used to your hearing aid. You
may find that:
- Your hearing aid makes all sounds louder, and
you may hear sounds you have not heard for a long time. Your own voice probably
will sound very loud. Background noises such as rustling newspapers, clinking
silverware, and other voices may bother you. You will have to learn to filter
out unwanted sounds.
- Your hearing changes as your situation
changes. How your hearing aid works will be different when you talk quietly to
a friend or spouse, enjoy a family dinner, or attend a presentation with a
large group of people. In each situation you will have to learn how to adjust
- Your hearing aid can be uncomfortable. It will feel
odd in your ear at first and may cause some pain and tenderness in the ear
canal. But you do not have to wear it 24 hours a day.
In most cases, you can try a hearing aid for at least
30 days before you buy it to see if it is helpful and if you can adjust to it.
If the hearing aid isn't helpful, then you can return it.
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