Posted January 21, 2011
Hearing loss is common for individuals of all ages and often results from disease, injury or aging.
With hearing loss, individuals may notice a difference in the frequency or range of sound. Many do not want to admit, or let others know, that they have a hearing issue. They frequently put off dealing with specific hearing concerns and instead, make adjustments to accommodate their hearing difficulty, such as avoiding noisy environments, limiting social gatherings, turning up the TV volume, or asking people to speak up during conversations.
Sometimes hearing loss may be related to a medical concern, so it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to evaluate the problem and rule out correctable causes of hearing loss, such as a buildup of earwax, infection, or tumor. If hearing loss has occurred, a referral to a specialist may be necessary to determine if a hearing aid is a viable solution.
Typically, hearing aids are available in two styles:
- Analog aids – converts sound waves into electrical signals and amplifies sound; may be personalized to suit specific needs of the user
- Digital aids – sound waves are converted into numerical codes before being amplified; typically more expensive, but features higher degrees of versatility to suit the user’s specific needs
Hearing aids are available in three styles with several design options:
- Behind-the-ear – fixed behind the ear, suitable for mild to extreme hearing loss; relatively cheaper than other models
- In-the-ear – fixed in the outer ear, easy to use during telephone conversations, good for mild to severe hearing impairment
- Canal – miniscule in design, but inconvenient to handle; not recommended for grave hearing loss; popular style due to its low visibility in the ear
Hearing aids are an excellent solution for individuals with hearing impairment concerns. For more information on hearing aids, review this article by the Mayo Clinic.
If you have experienced hearing loss, what was the cause? What were the symptoms? What solutions were pursued? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group