Hearing aids

 

What is a hearing aid?

Hearing aids are devices which reduce the effects of hearing loss, making soft sounds louder and make listening easier.

What are the limitations of hearing aids?

Although hearing aids reduce the effects of hearing loss, no hearing aid can restore normal hearing. The effectiveness of a particular hearing aid depends on the degree of hearing loss.

What steps should I take when choosing a hearing aid?

Your doctor should examine you to ensure that hearing loss is not temporary or the result of an ear infection. If the hearing loss is permanent a hearing evaluation should be completed by an audiologist, to ascertain the amount and type of hearing loss. A hearing aid evaluation is then made to determine which type of hearing aid you require. Then impressions of your ears will be made in order to mould the ear piece which should fit snugly into your outer ear. This final process is brief and painless.

Should I wear one or two hearing aids?

In cases where only one ear is affected, a single hearing aid can restore balanced hearing. More than 50% of people with hearing impairment are affected in both ears and so wear two hearing aids. The advantages of wearing two hearing aids include:

How many types of hearing aids are there?

Hearing aids differ in how they make sound louder. Methods of amplification range from basic linear amplifiers to multi-channel computer programmable circuits.

In-the-Ear aids - These come in two different types, ‘all-in-the-ear’ or ‘canal’ aids. All-in-the-ear aids are moulded to fit into the ear canal and include the outer bowl of the ear. They are suitable for people with a mild to moderate hearing loss. Canal aids are slightly smaller and fit in the ear canal. They are suitable for people with only a very mild hearing loss.

Behind-the-Ear aids - These aids come in two parts, the mould that is worn in the ear, which has to be custom made and a small plastic unit that fits neatly behind the ear. These two parts are connected by a length of tubing. These are suitable for most types of hearing loss.

Spectacle aids - These are hearing aids which have been built into the arms of a pair of spectacle frames. They can be used with a mould that fits into the ear or with a vibrator that covers the bone behind the ear. Suitable for people who frequently wear glasses.

Body Worn aids - These aids come in the form of a compact case usually worn on the chest, with a cord connecting the aid to the ear piece. Generally people with poor sight or arthritic fingers find the body worn aid more suitable as the control dials are easier to manipulate.

Which hearing aid is best for me?

There are many decisions to be made when selecting a hearing aid. Making the choice should be a team effort with a member of your family and an audiologist.

The main considerations to be taken on board include; one versus two hearing aids, the style of the hearing aid and other technical considerations. Now with advanced technology, hearing aids can be tiny. This allows the instrument to be inserted deeply into the ear's canal, making it virtually impossible to see.

How do I look after my hearing product?

Daily care is recommended to prolong the life of your hearing aids. Follow these simple guidelines:

Can I use a mobile phone?

Digital mobile phones produce interference in hearing aids which takes the form of an unpleasant hissing noise. Its intensity depends on the design of the hearing aid, the power of the mobile phone and the distance between the phone and the hearing aid. It is likely that the interference will be heard if the hearing aid is within 1.5m of the phone.

As such it is impossible for a hearing aid wearer to use a hand-held mobile phone. If you wear a hearing aid and wish to acquire a mobile phone, you need to ask for a mobile phone that uses the older analogue system.

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