Losing your hearing can be a difficult event to go through. It may begin with you asking people to speak up more than usual, asking them to slow down and speak more clearly, or having to crank up the volume on a device. Because of this, you may begin looking into the benefits of hearing aids.
According to a 2019 article published by American Family Physician, more than 30 million adults in the United States have hearing loss. Hearing loss is a condition that is often underrecognized and hearing aids or other hearing enhancement technologies are typically underused. If a medical professional has diagnosed you with hearing loss, read the following list to find out more about the benefits of hearing aids.
Hearing aids are not one-size-fits-all. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), there are multiple types of hearing aids for different degrees of hearing loss and patient preferences:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE): An aid consisting of a behind-the-ear hard plastic case fastened to a molded plastic piece that sits in the outer ear. People of all ages with mild to profound hearing loss can use these aids.
- Open-fit: A new type of BTE hearing aid consisting of narrow tube, connected to a behind-the-ear component, that leaves the ear canal mostly open. Open-fit hearing aids can be good for individuals with earwax buildup.
- In-the-ear (ITE): An aid that sits fully inside the outer ear. These aids are used for mild to severe hearing loss. You can also install added features to make life with hearing loss run more smoothly in these aids.
- In-the-canal (ITC): These aids are molded to fit the unique size and shape of your ear canal. They're used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. The small size of these devices limit their power and volume. They're not recommended for young children or people with severe to profound hearing loss.
- Completely-in-the-canal (CIC): These aids sit completely hidden inside the ear canal and are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Like ITC hearing aids, their small size limit their power and volume. They aren’t recommended for young children or people with severe to profound hearing loss.
The Technology and Research is Constantly Evolving
“The latest technology provides exceptional performance while being very discreet,” Leslie P. Soiles, AuD, chief audiologist for HearingLife, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Currently, there is research being conducted on ways to improve sound transmission and reduce noise interference and feedback for hearing aids, according to the NIDCD. Additionally, research about directional microphones for hearing aids, which will make it easier for people to hear a single conversation—even in noisy places with multiple conversations taking place—is currently ongoing.
Improved Quality of Life
Soiles encourages individuals to work with an audiologist and get tested and fitted for a hearing device to enjoy a fuller and richer life. Doing so could address the possible feelings of isolation or discomfort that hearing loss can cause, and improve your overall quality of life.
Hearing Loss Can Be Managed and Treated.
The earlier you address the symptoms of hearing loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible damage. Get the answers you need to start treatment today.