What Is Hearing Impairment?

Sense of hearing is an important link in the chain of effective communication and plays a significant role in our social and emotional well being.

Millions of people worldwide are faced with hearing problems, only a minority wear hearing aids or even visit an audiologist. Hearing loss affects all age groups, without discrimination. Physiological changes that take place in hearing loss and is one of the most common causes for it.

Hearing loss does not only means the inability to hear loud enough, it may also means a ‘discrimination loss’ i.e. difficulty in understanding and differentiating various speech sounds.

Untreated hearing loss or delay in treating hearing loss can have far reaching effects like poor or no language development and learning disability in children.

Hearing problems often make it difficult to “keep up”, which can lead to a sense of isolation, fatigue and loneliness. Poor language acquisition due to hearing loss can often be misinterpreted as a lack of intelligence or mental deficiency usually affecting life at school and work, as well as social interaction. Hearing loss invariably affects quality of life.

WHAT IS A HEARING AID?

A hearing Aid is in simple terms a mini loudspeaker with a microphone, an amplifier and a receiver as its main components. It functions by helping pick up, intensify/amplify and deliver sound to our ears. The microphone picks up the sound waves and converts them into electronic signals. The signal is amplified by an amplifier whose strength can be adjusted by means of a volume control. A receiver reconverts the amplified electronic signals into sound. An ear mold rests in the ear and is made in such a way that it fits the users ears well,  giving wearing comfort and enabling the sound to be channeled properly in the ear.

Hearing Instruments – Every Hearing Aid Manufacturing company offers hearing instruments in a variety of styles, sizes, technology levels and even colors to help find the best instruments for your needs.

The Hearing instruments are especially suitable for quiet listening environments, and can help you Enjoy Everyday sounds like birds Chirping,  Watch Television at the same volume as others, Feel at ease in casual conversations and Look forward to a card game with friends.

When Is The Need For A Hearing Aid?

If you are having problems in your day to day communication or your work, you need a hearing aid. Many times people themselves don’t realize the need for an aid but their family members or co-workers find it very difficult to communicate with them. Hence, if either you or people close to you feel your hearing ability is diminished, you need to get it checked.

Do you hear LOUD & CLEAR ?

Do you keep T. V. Volume too high ?

Do you find it difficult to converse on phone ?

Do you have to ask the other person to repeat ?

Do you “NO MORE” enjoy social gatherings & parties ?

then you need…….Hearing Check

How is Evaluation of Hearing Loss Done By Audiologist?

 

Do you find it difficult to converse on phone ?

Do you have to ask the other person to repeat ?

Do you “NO MORE” enjoy social gatherings & parties ?

then you need…….Hearing Check

How To Protect Your Hearing?

When is noise harmful

There are differences in what is perceived as noise because some people are more sensitive to sound than others. You should always react if sounds feel uncomfortable or painful. Your ears are telling you that the sound is causing damage, this is the body’s own warning systems.

Protecting your hearing

Move away from the source of noise if you cannot eliminate the noise

Use ear plugs

Use earplugs at music festivals, concerts and discotheques, where sound level is often very loud.

Wear hearing protections

Wear hearing protection devices in noisy environments, such as certain workplaces like factories, airports etc.

What Is The Right Time To Go In For Hearing Test?

Typically the first sign of hearing problem are often noticed by the family of the hearing impaired person. Usually they have

1. Difficulty understanding speech in noisy situation

2. Having to turn up the volume

3. Difficulty when talking over the phone

What Is The Right Time To Go In For Hearing Test?

Typically the first sign of hearing problem are often noticed by the family of the hearing impaired person. Usually they have

1. Difficulty understanding speech in noisy situation

2. Having to turn up the volume

3. Difficulty when talking over the phone

Steps To Follow for Selection of Hearing Aid

  • Understand Cosmetic Classification as hearing aid can differ by look but performance of all hearing aids is almost same

  • Understand the technical Classification based on daily need & exposure to various environment e.g. theatre, traffic, restaurant, etc.

  • Understand economic classification by considering ambient noise level of the environment.                                  

  • Understand the difference between Entry, Basic and Advance Hearing Aid instruments.      

  •  Hearing Aid Improves your Quality of life, Social Life-Relations, Reduces Miscommunications.

  • Depending on the type and degree of loss one has to decide the type of aid to buy. The most important factor to be considered prior to hearing aid purchase are the communication requirements of the User.

10 Things to Know While Selecting A Hearing Aid

1) RCI 1972 ACT states that Only an Audiologist can dispense or sell an Hearing Aid.

2) Beware of fraudulent practice like Hearing Aid being sold on T.V, Railway Station, Home Visits, Pharmaceutical shops etc. Hearing Aid requires Fine Tuning and Calibration by an Audiologist.

3) Choose an Audiologist’s Clinic that offers 2-3 Co.’s Instruments to select from.

4) Audiologist must have sufficient time for counseling & answering all your questions on technology, care & maintenance of Hearing Aid.

5) An Audiologist should be able to give most comfortable fitting by fine tuning the Hearing Aid.

6) For Best Tuning of Hearing Aid Minimum 3 sessions are required in the 1st month required for best tuning.

7) Advance Hearing Aid of all top 10 Co.’s are good but price varies. So compare Price Vs Technology.

8) Every Company has their Domain expertise for e.g. fitting range, cosmetic look, etc.

9) Trying to hide hearing loss is like trying to hide your Age, other people will realize somethings amiss.

10) Hearing aid test should be conducted in Sound Treated Room is a myth, because ultimately you will be using the hearing aid in your day to day activities and therefore fine tuning and adjustments needs to be done in regular environment.

Why you should choose Digital Hearing Aid?

 

1) Analogue Hearing Aid users biggest complain about the hearing is that they need to turn the volume up and down all the day long. That’s why ‘Digitally Programmable’ hearing aids have no volume control. It doesn’t need one. Instead, Digitally Programmable, automatically adjusts to changes in listening environment – strengthening of softening amplification according to his individual needs.

2) Unlike most hearing instruments, it automatically separates incoming sounds into low, medium & high pitched channels. These sounds are amplified differently, because your hearing ability differs according to the pitch, not just loudness of the sounds you hear.

3) Audiologists uses a computer to preset the Digitally Programmable hearing aid so it automatically adjusts to your unique loud and soft hearing comfort needs. Because Program continually fine-tunes sound volumes, you don’t have to. The result is a pleasant, comfortable listening experience all day long, wherever you are.

4) Programmable Hearing Aid comes in for both, in-the-ear and behind -the-ear models.

5) With so more interference and distractions, today more of life’s activities depend on accurate understanding and communication. Digital Hearing Instruments with increased sophistication provides you with a significantly more effective hearing solution.

6) Even better, digital Hearing Instruments unmatched flexibility lets us more precisely fine-tune its performance to complement your lifestyle needs and situations.

What Are The Types Of Hearing Loss Treatment?

Conductive Loss

1) Conductive hearing loss is the generic term for a decrease in hearing levels as a result of any pathology of  the outer ear or middle ear systems. The specific site of the disorder can be in the ear canal, middle ear cavity, tempering membrane, ossicles or Eustachian tube, or can co-exists in several of these areas. This prevents the efficient conduction of sound to the inner ear.

2) Conductive hearing loss generally produces a mild to moderate level of hearing loss. It can affect hearing in all frequencies relatively equally, or be present just for the lower frequency sounds.

3) Conductive Hearing Loss is a result of sounds being reduced on their way from the outer ear to the inner ear. Generally persons with conductive loss benefit from medicine or surgery. If surgery is not possible, Hearing aids tend to benefit.

4) Any kind of external or middle ear diseases or disorders can cause conductive loss and In most of the cases it can be treated either medically or surgically. In rare cases hearing aid is required.

Sensory Neural Loss

1) Impairment originates from disorders involving sensory cells in the cochlea and / or the auditory nerve fibers of the VII cranial nerve.

2) A Sensorineural Hearing Loss is caused by damaged sensory cell and nerve fibers of the inner ear contrary to conductive loss where damage occurs in the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear. This kind of loss cannot be treated by medicine or surgery and may benefit  most from hearing aids.

3) Presbycusis or Acquired Sensory Neural Loss or Age induced hearing loss, is the most common type of hearing loss & is associated with the ageing process.

   a)  A gradual decline in hearing sensitivity sets in at the age of 18 years, but it is around the age of 45 – 50 that a noticeable change in hearing sensitivity for speech and environmental sound occurs, Sound is perceived but the sound Discrimination is difficult (what exactly is being said is not clear). Talk on one to one basis is perhaps understood but when it comes to “one is to many” that is in group situation it is difficult to recognize what has been just said as well as to locate the sound i.e. who said it from the group of friends talking.

b) Age induced hearing loss has an individual progression, which means that some may experience hearing problems quite early in life, while others experience it later in life. Loss in hearing sensitivity is most often bilateral, symmetric, progressive & sensorineural in nature. It is generally greatest in the higher frequencies, but present across all frequencies.

    c) Most of such cases whether since birth, or adulthood or due to aging – all cases benefit very well with Hearing Aid. In rare cases where the loss is due to impairment in the cochlea ( Inner Ear Organ ) Cochlear Implant ( Expensive Inner Ear Surgery ) could be suggested.

   d) Hearing Aid amplifies sounds in frequencies where the hearing loss is prevalent. They are primarily used to correct sensory neural loss, but can be used to rectify problems in the middle ear that cannot be alleviated through surgery. 

Mixed Hearing loss 

It is one which contains elements from both the hearing loss referred above. These cases may be helped with surgery, but most benefit by wearing Hearing Aid

What Are The 7 Advanced Features Of Hearing Aids ?

 

1)  Natural Sound and Incredible Features – With its unique features, Advanced Hearing Aid makes it easier to experience a world of natural sound, no matter what the situation

2)  Not only is speech more intelligible but you can hear a wide range of sounds too.

3)  Speech is much easier to hear as it moves otherwise inaudible sounds into lower frequencies where you can better understand them.

4)  Hearing high frequency sounds such as birdsong or music can sometimes be a challenge for those with a hearing loss, advanced hearing aid makes high frequency sounds audible again.

5)  Annoying whistling or feedback is easily dealt with and eliminated in both ears.

6)  A dedicated relaxation and tone program plays a range of random harmonic tones that can help you relax. It can also help manage the effects of tinnitus.

7)  Hearing Aids are Designed for more comfort and clarity.

Whether One Should Wear One Or Two Hearing Aids?

 

The brain is wired to receive input from both ears. Academic literature supports binaural (“two-eared”) amplification. When you are using hearing aids on both ears

(a) You enjoy better sound quality giving yourself better life quality.

(b) You get better understanding under different circumstances especially in noise 

(c) You get much better depth perception in both the horizontal and the vertical zone

(d) You may be safer because you will have a better idea of where warning sound are coming from.

But the final decision for the same is determined on the basis of the degree, type of hearing loss and communication needs of the User.

Psychological Consequences Of Hearing Loss?

Some people can develop emotional or social difficulties due to their hearing loss. The inability to understand what is being said can lead to isolation, loneliness or depression. It can therefore mean a great deal if the people around them are supportive and encourage them to seek professional advice if necessary.

Some people with a hearing loss struggle with a feeling of embarrassment if they misunderstand what is being said, or respond inappropriately. Your support and understanding in such cases can make a big difference.

People with hearing difficulties often spend a great deal of their energy just in concentrating on listening, which can lead to tiredness and stress. So it is important that others are equally understanding, for example colleagues and management at their workplace.