According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, “over 35 million children and adults in the United States have some degree of hearing loss.” Thankfully, many people that experience hearing loss benefits from the use of a hearing aid. A hearing aid is a small device that fits inside the ear to amplify sound from the surrounding environment. The Hearing Center at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center takes a look at a few things you should know about hearing aids.
Significant hearing loss has a major impact on one’s life. Hearing loss can result from aging, disease, noise damage, or even from taking certain medications. While a hearing aid does not completely restore natural hearing, many people with hearing loss improve their quality of life by using a hearing aid.
Selecting the right hearing aid will depend on the type and severity of your hearing loss. An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) will conduct hearing tests and examinations of your ears to determine the nature and extent of the hearing loss. Once it’s determined that you need a hearing aid, an audiologist will work with you to select the right type of hearing aid.
There are many different types of hearing aids, but all have three common components: a microphone, a receiver, and an amplifier. The microphone picks up sound from the environment and the receiver converts the sound into a signal that is then amplified inside the ear canal. “In the ear” hearing aids fit partially or completely inside the ear canal, while “behind the ear” aids have cases that sit behind the ear and amplifier tubes that extend into the ear canal. There are analog hearing aids, which convert sound waves into amplified electrical waves, and digital hearing aids, which convert sounds into binary code that allows better programming of the sound signal to suit the wearer’s specific hearing needs. Some hearing aids use directional microphones that help to clarify sound in noisy environments, and others have settings that enable easier use with other devices like cell phones, Bluetooth, and radio signals.
Different hearing aids are available at different price points, so cost is a factor when choosing a hearing aid. However, the highest-priced devices may not necessarily be the best for your specific hearing needs. Your ENT and audiologist can help you consider your specific type of hearing impairment within the context of your work and lifestyle to choose which device best suits your needs.
No matter what kind of hearing aid you have, it is important to have a good ENT and audiologist who can regularly check the function of the device make adjustments it to fit your needs. Schedule an appointment with our Audiologists at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center to learn more about your hearing health and finding the right hearing aid for you. The Hearing Center is staffed by nationally certified audiologists who work closely with the otolaryngologist to provide the best products for our patients’ quality of hearing.