By: Barbara Madden, AuD
When hearing loss becomes a problem and interferes with discrimination of speech sounds, the solution often requires much more than just making sounds louder! Our ability to hear and understand speech is complex. Fortunately, the advances in today’s digital technology have enhanced the quality of the sound processing available to patients with hearing loss. As well, hearing instruments are smaller than ever before!
Treating a Hearing Loss
Treating a hearing loss begins with a thorough evaluation of your hearing by an audiologist, who is educated and specially trained in the areas of hearing, balance and rehabilitation of hearing problems. Based on the test results, the audiologist will investigate your specific communication challenges and what technologies can meet those needs.
If you are a candidate for amplification, together, you will explore the hearing aid options and styles that are available. Whenever possible, we suggest a personal listening demonstration of the latest digital hearing aid technology. Experience for yourself how well you can hear in various listening environments, including background noise.
Because so many of the activities we enjoy take place in noisy environments, such as restaurants, family gatherings and public places, we depend on the sophistication of the hearing aids’ microphones and sound processors to reduce the effects of background noise so that we can enjoy hearing
and understanding speech in those situations.
Choosing a Hearing Aid
Before committing to the purchase of new hearing aids, it is important to know that the model and features you choose are appropriate for your hearing loss and the activities which are most important to you. This can be achieved through a hearing aid consultation. During this session, the audiologist will assess your individual listening needs in various, challenging listening situations. At the same time, you will establish some realistic goals for improvement and have an opportunity to listen!
Premium, advanced, standard and basic. There is a hearing aid technology for every lifestyle and every level of need. How active you are throughout the day and how challenging your listening environments are will determine which technology will optimize your hearing and understanding of speech. Today’s sophisticated sound processors, combined with automatic features and adjustments equate to enhanced speech clarity and better comfort and control of background noise in almost every listening situation.
Regardless of lifestyle, listening needs, age or budget, there is a hearing solution for everyone! The audiologist will guide you towards the hearing aid model and technology which will best meet your communication needs and goals. And remember that you don’t have to be self conscious about wearing hearing aids. There are many different models and styles from which to choose!
Although no hearing aid can cure a hearing loss or restore normal hearing, they can significantly aid in your ability to understand those around you and help you to function more fully in daily communication situations.
So, what is the next step? If speech is mumbled, the TV volume is too loud, background noise interferes with conversation, contact the Audiology & Hearing Aid Center at Riddle Hospital to learn more about your hearing and a variety of solutions that can change your life!