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Listen Up: Hearing Aids Are Effective!

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"Many hearing aids are programmable and have different circuits, and professionals will work with you to fine-tune the characteristics," she tells WebMD. "You participate in your rehabilitation."

In addition, "hearing aids have improved significantly and are much more cosmetically acceptable," she says. "They are very small and comfortable but, of course, we shouldn't let cosmetics be more important than communication," Beck says.

According to Seth Dank, MA, CCC-A, a New York state-licensed audiologist, today's patients have numerous choices of size and technology, from basic amplifiers that have been around for 20 years, to modern-day digital hearing aids.

"It does take a while for someone to realize that they are experiencing hearing loss. Usually family members or friends might notice first. Hearing loss is a gradual process, and sometimes the person who has a loss gets used to it, so it is not noticeable to them," he says.

Usually people with hearing loss have some problems communicating and/or hearing people talking or hearing the television, or they may feel like they can hear but can't understand, Dank says.

But help is available.

"Once you notice hearing loss, come in to an audiologist for an evaluation where he or she will run several basic tests to determine the cause of the hearing loss and the degree of the problem," he says.

Then the audiologist can help the patient decide which available hearing aid is right for him or her -- factoring in both cosmetic concerns and price, Dank says.

 

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