Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
Hearing loss is any alteration in hearing capacity and is categorized by degree and type. Degrees of hearing loss include mild, moderate, severe and profound. Types of hearing loss are classified as conductive, sensory, mixed or central. The most common type of hearing loss is sensory, directly related to aging of the hearing organ and is commonly referred to as presbycusis. Hearing loss can occur due to any alteration in the outer, middle or inner ear.
Anatomy of the Ear
Conductive hearing loss occurs due to problems involving the outer and middle ear.A� Examples of problems causing conductive hearing losses include: wax impaction of the outer ear.A� A hole in the tympanic membrane or ear drum. Fluid or infection of the middle ear, common with childhood ear infections. A problem with the auditory bones preventing the proper conduction of sound to the cochlea.
Sensory hearing loss occurs due to problems involving the cochlea of the inner ear.
Individuals with hearing loss will benefit from the use of a hearing aid. Todaya��s digital hearing aids contain sophisticated noise management systems and directional microphones. These sophisticated devices can readily respond to changes in the sound environment while maintaining settings optimized for speech understanding.A� The result is improved performance and comfort in more challenging listening environments.
If you have a loss of hearing in both ears, it is in your best interest to utilize hearing aids in both ears, also called binaural hearing.A� In a similar fashion, those with visual impairment in both eyes will benefit from eyeglasses in both eyes to maximize visual improvement.A�A� The following are some of the advantages of listening binaurally.
- Improved Speech Understanding
- Localization of sound (being able to localize who is speaking in a group, or where a sound is coming from)
- Restful Listening
- Preserving Auditory Potential or maintaining auditory stimulation
- Binaural Input
Digital hearing aids contain chips that are programmed with a computer.A� If your hearing loss changes or progresses, the overall amplification of the hearing aid can be manipulated to meet those changes.A� A given hearing aid will typically last 3-5 years or longer. Technological advances in hearing amplification are occurring continuously to better meet the needs of those with hearing loss.
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