Many people assume that hearing loss is much more rare than it actually is. There are all kinds of reasons for this. One, it is an invisible liability, meaning, you can not tell that someone has hearing loss simply by looking at them. And secondly, hearing loss is vastly under-represented and misrepresented in popular culture. If you see a character with hearing loss in a television show or movie, chances are, this hearing loss is their defining aspect above all else. When in reality, with appropriate treatment, hearing loss should not impact anyone’s life more than wearing eyeglasses does.
More than 13% of the population of the United States over the age of 18 lives with some detectable degree of disabling hearing loss. Tragically, more than two-thirds of these people minimize the severity of their condition and choose to cope without seeking an appropriate treatment program. But among those that do deal with it responsibly, using a hearing aid is far and away the most common element of their treatment plans.
More than seven percent of Americans aged 45 and older use a hearing aid regularly. But studies reveal another sad trend: among those who do wear hearing aids, they wait an average of seven years to do so, from the moment that they first suspected they should until they actually made a habit of doing so. There is no good excuse for this.
Hearing Aid Basics
The most basic hearing aids of today work much more effectively than the most advanced models of the past. But the same four elements are still the basis for all hearing aids: the microphone, the processor, the receiver and the power source. It is relatively simple to understand the function of each part.
The microphone picks up the sound present in the environment and transmits it to the processor.
The processor cleans and boosts the signal and transmits it to the receiver.
The receiver conveys the sound to the ear canal.
And of course the power source powers everything.
The greatest advancements that have been made in hearing aid technologies over the last decades have all happened within the subtlety and sophistication of the processor. Choosing the exact right hearing aid model to suit your personal needs and priorities will involve all kinds of factors, but most of the features you will choose from all happen within the processor.
To choose the hearing aid model just right for you, specialists recommend starting with these four elements.
First, telecoils. Telecoils have existed for a long time, but advancements in their fidelity and an expansion of their availability have made them more helpful than ever before. Using a telecoil, your processor bypasses the microphone and directly receives electromagnetic signals. This improves the signal to noise ratio and diminishes the possibility of feedback when you are attending public performances, exhibits, or religious services.
Bluetooth is a more recent technological advancement that works similarly. Using bluetooth people can connect the processors in their hearing aids directly to their personal devices, such as their smart phone or TV.
Other significant advancements beyond the processor include rechargeable batteries, and the overall design of hearing aids has made them more comfortable and discreet than ever before.
More Features to Choose From
Directional Microphones boost the sound in front of you and diminish the sounds from behind to help with clarity and focus.
The binaural processing technology of wireless hearing aids synchronizes your two hearing aids to function as one unit.
Digital Noise Reduction systems analyze the signal to determine which noises are probably unwanted, like the roar of passing traffic, for example, and filter out these sounds.
Impulse Noise Reduction recognizes sudden loud noises, like the clinking of dishes, for example, and instantaneously cuts this volume.
Feedback Management Systems minimize problems with feedback.
Data Logging stores information about the different environments you visit and the preferences you select in each one. With access to these preferences your provider can customize your hearing aids even more precisely.
It’s Up To You
Because each person’s hearing loss is unique to them, each person’s needs will also be unique. Some hearing aids mask tinnitus. Others are waterproof for extended durations. Only you can say what exactly your needs and priorities are. Make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists today to experience the world at its fullest.
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