The Ultimate Guide to Hearing Aids 2018Published On: 21st September 2018
Last Updated On: 22nd September 2018
The Importance of Hearing
Consider the sounds you are hearing right now. The soothing softness of the rain, the thunder that follows it, a child’s laugh, the siren of an ambulance, the voice of your loved ones, your favorite song or even the chatter during your most awaited family dinner. Imagine all that – gone.
Hearing just simply matter. It is what makes our lives more colorful. Hearing allows us to live without limitations. It empowers us to work, communicate and helps us to stay connected to the real world and it holds us safe by alerting us to potential danger such as fire and flood and burglar alerts.
Hearing loss can become our sudden dislodge to life. It lets us lose our initial steps to communication because it affects our perception, thus, it affects our ability to respond.
5 Facts About Hearing Loss:
- According to World Health Organization (WHO) more than 360 million people in the world have disabling hearing loss and as the population ages worldwide, one in every three people over the age of 65 years lives with hearing loss.
- Noise is the leading cause of hearing loss and not age. According to NY Times Personal Health Blog, the ears are fragile instruments. Coming from the book of Katherine Bouton: “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 50 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You.” The sad truth is that many of us are responsible for our own hearing loss.”
- Hearing loss occurs in five out of every 1,000 newborns babies. According to healthy hearing, in the past, hearing loss in kids often left undetected until the child was around two years old when it became obvious that he or she wasn’t talking yet. As a result, newborn hearing screening has become universal. National Health Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated five out of every 1,000 children are impacted by hearing loss, with cases being diagnosed between ages 3 and 17.
- A child with a hearing loss may miss about 50% of what happens in the classroom discussion. If a child has even a mild hearing loss, he or she will miss a lot of what is said during a lesson, resulting in delayed language. Since the world is a noisy place it is not possible to avoid noise thus a child with a mild hearing loss can be expected to have more problems hearing in noise than their typically hearing peers.
- These days, nearly one in two people over the age of 50 have difficulty understanding what people say in noisy conditions. As our hearing usually changes slowly over the years, a hearing loss can be quite difficult to recognize.
Hearing aids can offer dramatic improvement for most people with hearing loss. In a recent statement from the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), a non-profit organization, the use of hearing aids is on the rise and consequently so is a perceived advantage thus the number of listening environments a hearing aid wearer feels their hearing has been improved the more benefit they feel they have received. And any consumer knows benefit translates into satisfaction.
What is Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid has three basic parts: an amplifier, a microphone and a speaker. It is usually worn in or behind someone’s ear. It makes some sounds fuller and louder so that a person with hearing loss can hear, attend, interact, and engage more thoroughly in their daily activities.
A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. According to hearing link, the hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.
It can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. Nonetheless, not everyone could benefit from it since some studies prove that only about one out of five people who would help from a hearing aid actually uses one. Most of the time, they’re for people who have damage to their inner ear or the nerve that links the ear with the brain.
Three major types of hearing aid
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) – BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. This consists of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. This hearing aid has the electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear. Usually, sound travels from the hearing aid through the earmold and into the ear.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – This one could fit entirely inside the outer ear and are usually used for mild to severe hearing loss. It is the largest of all custom hearing aids. In some cases, the case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic. Some LTE aids may have certain added features installed, such as a telecoil.
A telecoil is a small magnetic coil that allows users to receive sound through the circuitry of the hearing aid, rather than through its microphone. A telecoil can also help people hear in public facilities that have installed special sound systems, called induction loop systems. Extraction cords can be fitted to ITE hearing aids to help insert and remove them from the ear. This makes it easier to hear conversations over the telephone.
In-the-Canal – This one can be custom-made for you. It is usually for a mild to moderately severe hearing loss and totally invisible in most ears. It is so small that no one will notice you’re wearing them.
However, this may be difficult for a person to adjust and remove. hey usually are not recommended for young children or for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume. Only the tiny removal handle of the hearing aid shows outside of the ear canal.
How to choose a hearing aid for you?
Not all hearing aid works in the same way. You should first have your ears checked and consider the following factors before deciding on getting one. Remember that hearing aids are an investment and it will cost an ample amount of money.
See your doctor or have your hearing tested by a hearing specialist (audiologist) to rule out correctable causes of hearing loss, such as infection or earwax. You can also usually get a hearing aid with a trial period. It may take you a while to get used to the device and decide if it’s right for you.
Think about the future. What do you really need? Ask your hearing specialist if the aid you’ve chosen is able of enhanced power so that it will still be useful if your hearing loss gets more serious.
Be conscious of misleading claims. Hearing aids can’t return normal hearing or eliminate all background noise. Beware of pitches or dealers who claim otherwise.
Your lifestyle. This plays a big role in choosing a hearing aid. Most hearing aids would only address the basic hearing needs, but there are some which can also add delight to the user. Musically inclined users may probably enjoy hearing aids with Bluetooth and streaming connectivity.
Actual user experience. Not all hearings aids are created equal. Take the opportunity to avail of the manufacturer’s free-trial for you to better assess and compare different types of hearing aids. You may also want to refer to actual user reviews aside from those which appear on their websites.
Most importantly — plan for the expense. Check for a warranty. Make sure the hearing aid includes a warranty that covers parts and labor for a specified period.
Ultimate Comparison of Hearing Aids
Starkey, US hearing aid brand and a pioneer of Made for iPhone hearing aids – Starkey’s goal is to bring people together and make lives richer by empowering individuals to reach their full potential in life. They were innovated by helping millions of patients with never-before-seen hearing aid technologies. They are made to custom fit. This allows them to create a hearing aid that meets your specific needs and matches all lifestyles.
Phonak, Swiss hearing aid brand owned by Sonova – Phonak has been in the industry for more than 70 years. It has been dubbed as the company with state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices.
Phonak covers a complete range of digital hearing instruments, along with complementary wireless communication systems. With a worldwide presence, Phonak drives innovation and sets new industry benchmarks regarding miniaturization and performance.
Unitron, Canada hearing aid brand also owned by Sonova – Unitron becomes an extension of its customers’ teams and differentiates itself in the industry by being highly approachable, collaborative and easy to work with.
GN ReSound, Danish hearing aid brand now famous for Made For iPhone hearing aids – They are most well-known for releasing the first digital hearing aid with two microphones (directional microphones), the first wireless hearing aid, and more recently the first waterproof digital hearing aid.
ReSound is credited for creating a new sound processing system with wide dynamic range compression (WDRC). They were also the first major hearing aid company to introduce the open-fit hearing device, which is still widely popular today.
Widex, another Danish hearing aid manufacturer, famous for high-quality sound – They are known for their groundbreaking computer modeling and laser technology custom earpiece
Where can I buy hearing aids?
It is always advisable to buy hearing aids directly from the manufacturer because it can save you a fraction of what you will pay for if you will get it from a physical store or a hearing specialist. Although availing it from your specialist can also have its own advantages. It is not advisable to buy online or from TV shopping sites because there is no assurance of its quality and you might have a hard time availing of its warranty if needed.
Buying a hearing aid is an investment. It is your key to get you to the hearing quality that will let you communicate comfortably. It will serve you for at least 3 to 5 years depending on how you use it and it will cost you $1000 to $4000 on each ear. It is just as important to weigh your options and decide on the merits of the brand, the quality, the features, the warranty and the price.