THE EFFECTS OF HEARING LOSS:
Hearing is our most critical sense when it comes to our ability to communicate, and even small degrees of hearing loss can have profound effects on how we interact and connect with others. Being separated from that ability not only has consequences for our social lives — it can also have physical effects that can detract significantly from overall health.
Those suffering from hearing loss often begin to notice their difficulty in the following circumstances:
Party settings and even small family gatherings can strain hearing to the point where the additional mental effort required to decode what seems like broken speech can become tiresome. Eventually such social situations can become so difficult that those experiencing hearing loss may begin to withdraw from them altogether. Individuals instead begin to prefer less demanding, quieter settings — often away from the precious social contact that enriches our lives and draws us closer to the ones we love.
The stress of living with hearing loss, too, can have its own consequences:
Distrust of others
Anger at not feeling understood
Feeling socially marginalized
Reluctance to seek treatment or to wear hearing aids can cause additional stress when individuals — often unconsciously — wish to conceal their hearing loss, and potentially miss out on important communications. Compromised hearing in the workplace, for instance, can have significant effects on job performance and even earning potential.
Untreated hearing loss over extended periods of time can have damaging physical effects, as well, when the auditory system goes unused. Auditory deprivation, as an Audiologist refers to it, leaves nerves and portions of the brain underused, and — like other parts of the body — if the auditory system goes unused, it can begin to atrophy. Without fail, in our experience, the longer a patient waits to address their hearing loss, the more difficult it is to recover one’s ability to communicate.
COGNITIVE EFFECTS /DEMENTIA
Additionally, increasing evidence points to a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. According to a study published in January 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine, adults in their 70s and 80s with hearing loss developed cognitive problems at a rate 30 to 40 percent faster than those without hearing loss. While the reason for this apparent connect remains unknown, researchers have speculated that social isolation might be a factor. The additional mental demands of having to constantly decode speech might also be a contributing factor to the types of cognitive changes that, over time, can lead to the onset of dementia.
Since most hearing loss develops gradually over time, it can be difficult to know how well you are hearing now compared with how well you used to hear. Only an accurate hearing test can reveal if you are having difficulty with specific sounds, and if so, how you might be able to improve your hearing.
TYPES OF HEARING AIDS:
We can provide you with a range of the most advanced hearing aids from the leading manufacturers.
Hearing aids come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and models. Hearing aids today can be grouped under the following categories:
BEHIND THE EAR (BTE)
These hearing aids sit behind your ear and are connected to an ear mould placed inside your ear via tubing. BTE devices are fastened on the ear with an ear hook and the ear moulds are custom-made or non-custom made to fit the user’s ear. BTE hearing aids are known for being robust and durable. They have the ability to produce a lot of power, which accommodates all types of hearing loss.
RECEIVER IN THE EAR/MINI RECEIVER IN THE EAR (mRITE)
RITE models, also known as RIC (receiver-in-canal) models, are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RITE instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear
IN THE EAR (ITE)
These hearing aids are custom made to fit inside the ear of the wearer. They are often used by those who suffer moderate hearing loss. Some people who have extremely small ears may not find these models suitable.
IN THE CANAL (ITC)/ COMPLETELY IN THE CANAL (CIC)/INVISIBLE IN THE CANAL (IIC)
With ITCs , CIC and IICs, the whole hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal. ITCs are often larger than CIC devices. IICs are extremely tiny in size and are invisible in the canal. Some people due to their canal shape, canal size, or level of hearing loss, are unable to wear these types of devices.
Useful Information about Hearing Aids
Many people are excited to receive their new hearing aids. They want to be able to hear clearly again, and they know this is a great solution. But it doesn’t always happen right away. Your brain has probably been missing the high-frequency sounds around you for some time, and it needs a little while to get used to those sounds again. It takes time, commitment, a little knowledge and patience to adapt to your new hearing aids.
When you first get your hearing aids, wear them 8 to 10 hours per day to train your brain to get used to them. Listening to books on tape is a great way to practice hearing and understanding with your new hearing aids. The first few weeks can be tiring, so rest when you need to, then start again. But stick with it, because the payoff is huge.
As you are getting used to life with your new hearing aids, here are five important steps to help you transition into your new world of hearing.