How Hearing Aids Improve Hearing
Hearing aids are a common treatment option for individuals who experience hearing loss. Hearing loss can occur for many reasons and it can vary from mild to severe. If your audiologist has recommended hearing aids following a hearing assessment, you might be wondering what kind of a difference these innovative devices can make and how they help to improve hearing.
How hearing aids improve hearing
If you have signs and symptoms of hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend doing tests and carrying out examinations to determine a cause and identify effective treatment options. In some cases, hearing loss can be caused by temporary, treatable issues, for example, a build-up of wax or an infection. In other cases, when hearing loss is associated with damage to the delicate sensory cells in the inner ear, hearing aids may be the most effective solution. Hearing aids are small, intricate devices, which contain several components that work together to help you hear better. Wearing hearing aids isn’t a cure for hearing loss, but it can have an incredible impact on your hearing and your quality of life.
Hearing aids can be worn either inside the ear or behind the top of the ear. The parts of the hearing aid work to capture and amplify sounds, making it easier for you to hear. Hearing aids contain four main parts:
- Microphone: The microphone detects sounds, picking them up from the outside world and passing them to the processor
- Processor: The processor converts noises from sound waves to electrical signals
- Amplifier: The amplifier makes the signals more powerful
- Speaker: The loudspeaker receives the signals and transmits them to your ear
Sometimes, people assume that hearing aids work by making all sounds louder. In fact, hearing aids help you amplify useful sounds and filter out background noise, which can make it even more difficult to hear when you have hearing loss.
Adjusting your hearing aids for optimum performance
Everyone is different, and hearing loss can affect people in different ways. Therefore hearing assessments and hearing aid fittings are so critical. The main aim of a hearing aid fitting is for an audiologist to modify the settings and programs to cater for your needs. During your hearing aid fitting, your audiologist will adjust the settings and customize your hearing aids by asking you questions about how your hearing aids feel and determining how well you respond to different sounds. It can take a little time to get the volume just right and to ensure your hearing aids are set to amplify the frequencies you have difficulty hearing.
Hearing aids and background noise
Many people who experience hearing loss find it particularly challenging to keep track of conversations or to listen intently when there is background noise. If you have to ask people to repeat themselves when you’re out for dinner because there is music playing or other people chatting, you should find that wearing hearing aids has a positive impact. Hearing aids enable you to focus on the sounds that you want to hear by filtering out noises that make this task more challenging.
What to expect when you start using hearing aids
If you have hearing loss, and you’re used to missing parts of conversations, turning the TV to maximum volume or losing track of what is going on in meetings, hearing aids can make an incredible difference. When you first have a hearing aid fitting, it might take you a couple of days to get used to your hearing aids and to really get a feel for them. Your audiologist will program your hearing aids for you, so don’t worry if the result isn’t quite what you expected when you first put them in and you hear noises for the first time. Once the settings have been modified, and you get used to wearing your hearing aids, you should find that they help you hear much better, and after a while, you won’t even notice that they are there.
Do I need hearing aids?
Hearing aids are often recommended for people who have significant hearing loss in cases where there is no obvious underlying issue an infection. If you’ve had trouble hearing, and you think you might have hearing loss, the best thing to do is contact your audiologist. Using visual examinations and hearing assessments and tests, your audiologist will be able to determine if hearing aids would be an effective solution for you.
If you have any questions about hearing aids and how they work, or you’d like to book an appointment with a friendly, experienced audiologist, call Alexandria Audiology at 703-823-3336.