Hearing loss is sneaky. It often begins subtly and progresses slowly. Other people tell you that you are missing things or that you have the TV up too loud. You feel tired at the end of the day because listening is hard work. Your grandchildren get frustrated with your hearing deficit and say ‘just forget it’. You begin to feel that it’s too much trouble to be in social situations where you will miss things and decide to stay home instead.
Hearing changes are a part of normal aging for many people. Hearing loss can also be caused by ear infections, heredity, medication and noise exposure. Sometimes it is even caused by earwax.
Symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Trouble hearing in groups or social settings.
- Difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise.
- Difficulty hearing women’s and children’s voices.
- Tinnitus or ringing in your ears.
- Trouble hearing on the telephone.
- Difficulty hearing and understanding TV.
Many treatments exist for hearing loss. Some hearing problems can be helped by your ENT doctor while others respond well to hearing aids. Hearing aids have come a long way from the bulky devices of the past. Today’s hearing devices are much smaller and can go undetected by others. Other options include: extended wearing hear aids. bone-anchored hearing aids, hearing aids featuring Bluetooth connectivity, and cochlear implants. Your doctor and your audiologist can recommend the appropriate treatment for your hearing problems. At WellStar ENT, we offer a no-risk 14-day test drive, so you can be sure that your chosen hearing device is the best fit for you.
What can I expect from my hearing aids?
No hearing aid will restore your hearing to normal or provide a perfect substitute for normal hearing. The benefits derived from wearing hearing aids, even the most technologically advanced, will vary from person to person. The greatest benefit will be experienced with consistent use of hearing aids.
What hearing aids can do:
- Hearing aids make sounds louder (amplify sounds) so that you can hear them. The goal is to make soft sounds audible, the sound of normal conversation comfortable, and loud sounds loud, but not too loud.
- Hearing aids improve a person’s ability to understand speech (such as conversations) by amplifying the sounds (such as high-pitched consonants) not audible to the individual. The extent a hearing aid can improve speech understanding will depend on the degree of the person’s hearing loss and how much noise is present in the listening situations.
- Some hearing aids can amplify high-pitched consonant sounds more than low-pitched vowel sounds to help you hear better in noisy situations.
- Some advanced hearing aid systems use multiple microphone technology to further enhance communication in noisy environments.
What hearing aids cannot do:
- Hearing aids cannot change how your ears and auditory system function. Hearing aids will not restore your hearing to normal.
- Hearing aids cannot completely eliminate troublesome background noise
- Hearing aids cannot stop the progression of hearing loss.
- Hearing aids cannot separate the sounds you want to hear from those you do not want to hear. That’s the role of the brain.