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The main cause of hearing loss is something we all have to come to terms with - our age. However, it can also be a result from disease,trauma or long-term exposure to damaging noise.
At the moment, some hearing losses can be treated by either drugs or surgery. Most people with hearing difficulties find that a hearing aid recommended by a Hearing Aid Audiologist will improve their hearing.
A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that amplifies sound. Each hearing aid contains a microphone that converts sound into electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of individual frequencies and the speaker sends the sound to the ear.
The loss of the ear's 'fine-tuning' causes many people to have difficulty when there is any kind of background noise such as the rumble of traffic or children playing in the same room. It is not deafness in the accepted sense, but a hearing aid could help improve your hearing. A hearing consultation with a Hearing Aid Audiologist would establish the extent of any hearing loss and they would be able to offer advice on the best hearing solution to meet your needs.
Old analogue types of hearing aid tend to suffer from whistling feedback and distorted noise. Some people who wear this type of aid find that they cannot hear conversations when there is any background noise. With a digital hearing aid, these problems are minimised and in some situations, solved together. Unlike an analogue aid a digital hearing aid contains a tiny computer which processes sound very precisely. This type of aid can continuously modify sound to match the user's hearing profile, helping improve the ability to understand speech, even in background noise.
Hearing loss occurs to most people as they age. Hearing loss can be due to the aging process, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (birth or prenatal) or hereditary factors, diseases, as well as a number of other causes. In the year 2001, there are some 28 million people in the USA with hearing loss. Hearing loss is the single most common birth "defect" in America. Hearing loss in adults, particularly in seniors, is common.
You can expect that after you have adapted and learned to use them properly (usually 4 to 8 weeks), many "speech sound" benefits from hearing aids will become available to you. You can expect your ability to perceive speech correctly will be enhanced. You can expect most conversations will be much easier with the hearing aids. You can expect more relaxed hearing, more confidence and more satisfaction from your conversations. Additionally, you can expect to hear warning sounds more readily with the hearing aids, than without.
If you have hearing loss in both ears (bilateral hearing loss), then you are most likely a candidate for two hearing aids. Let us see why two hearing aids are better than one.
Better understanding of speech. By wearing two hearing aids rather than one, selective listening is more easily achieved. This means your brain can focus on the conversation you want to hear. Research shows that people wearing two hearing aids routinely understand speech and conversation significantly better than people wearing one hearing aid.
Better understanding in group and noisy situations. Speech intelligibility is improved in difficult listening situations when wearing two hearing aids.
Better ability to tell the direction of sound. This is called localization. In a social gathering, for example, localization allows you to hear from which direction someone is speaking to you. Also, localization helps you determine from which direction traffic is coming or where your children or grandchildren are playing. Simply put, with binaural hearing, you will better detect where sounds are coming from in every situation.
Better sound quality. When you listen to a stereo system, you use both speakers to get the smoothest, sharpest, most natural sound quality. The same can be said of hearing aids. By wearing two hearing aids, you increase your hearing range from 180 degrees reception with just one instrument, to 360 degrees. This greater range provides a better sense of balance and sound quality.
Wider hearing range. A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two ears, rather than just one. A voice that's barely heard at 10 feet with one ear can be heard up to 40 feet with two ears.
Better sound identification. Often, with just one hearing aid, many noises and words sound alike. But with two hearing aids, as with two ears, sounds are more easily distinguishable.
Keeps both ears active resulting in potentially less hearing loss deterioration. Research has shown that when only one hearing aid is worn, the unaided ear tends to lose its ability to hear and understand. This is clinically called the auditory deprivation effect. Wearing two hearing aids keeps both ears active.
Hearing is less tiring and listening more pleasant. More binaural hearing aid wearers report that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two instruments, instead of just one. This is because they do not have to strain to hear with the better ear. Thus, binaural hearing can help make life more relaxing.
Greater comfort when loud noises occur. A lower volume control setting is required with two hearing aids than is required with one hearing aid. The result is a better tolerance of loud sounds.
Reduced feedback and whistling. With a lower volume control setting the chances of hearing aid feedback is reduced.
Tinnitus Masking. About 50% of people with ringing in their ears report improvement when wearing hearing aids. If a person with tinnitus wears a hearing aid in only one ear, there will still be ringing in the ear that does not have a hearing aid.
Consumer preference. An overwhelming majority of consumers who have hearing loss in both ears, choose two hearing aids over one, when given the choice to hear binaurally.
Customer satisfaction. Research with more than 5,000 consumers with hearing loss in both ears demonstrated that binaurally fit subjects are more satisfied than people fit with one hearing aid.
Logically, just as you use both eyes to see clearly, you need two healthy ears to hear clearly. Before you decide on one hearing aid, try two.
Tinnitus is an abnormal perception of a sound reported by a patient but is unrelated to an external source of stimulation.. It may be intermittent, constant or fluctuant, mild or severe, and may vary from a low roaring sensation to a high pitched type of sound. It may or may not be associated with a hearing loss. It is also classified further into subjective tinnitus (a noise perceived by the patient alone) or objective (a noise perceived by the patient as well as by another listener). Subjective tinnitus is common; however, objective tinnitus is relatively uncommon. The location of tinnitus may be in the ear(s) and/or in the head.