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Your Hearing Aid Specialist 

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About Hearing Loss

Unfortunately hearing loss is more common than we would like. More than 500 million people worldwide have hearing impairments. This figure is increasing yearly primarily due to our continually exposure to the increasing noise of our environment. Regrettably people can’t walk around with ear plugs to prevent exposure to this form of everyday noise. At one time hearing loss was primarily prejudged as being an ailment only effecting the elderly. More than 50% of those with hearing loss are children, young people and pre senior adults.

Determining Hearing Loss:

There are so many reason for hearing loss, the most common type of hearing loss is associated with excessive noise exposure or the normal aging process. Hearing loss of this nature can be easily diagnosed and treated with a hearing aid as well as discussions on how to prevent further hearing loss. Progressive hearing loss during adulthood may be normal aging or indicate a more serious process. There are symptoms such as ear pain, drainage, ringing or roaring in the ear, dizziness and balance problems which can also indicate a more serious cause for the hearing loss and should be investigated. Occasionally a surgical procedure can correct or improve the hearing loss without the need for a hearing aid. Disorders such as infections, allergies or tumours can as well cause hearing loss which makes it important a patient to see a hearing specialist ruling out these causes before a hearing aid is prescribed.

Hearing Loss in Children:

It’s very important hearing loss is identified as early as possible. Hearing is very critical to our speech and language development. Therefore in the case of a child hearing loss could greatly deter their communication skills. It’s difficult for a parent to come to the realization their child has hearing loss. Decisions to be made, information to absorb as well as the emotional issues. The most important thing a child with hearing loss needs is Support, support from their parents, family, healthcare professionals and teachers. The way the family and friends deal with a child’s hearing loss can have great influence on a child’s self-image and self-confidence.

Did you know:

That 3% of all children in the world have a form of hearing loss.

With the noises of society today children hear worse now than ever before.

It is documented that one out of ten children starts school with a hearing loss.

How your hearing aid technician can help:

With the technical advances of hearing instruments today 90% of people with hearing loss can be treated with hearing instruments. Most people the way to improve hearing loss is with amplification. With hearing instruments the extent of success is not only determined by the severity and the type of hearing loss but by the motivational level of the person with the hearing loss.

Hearing Aids:

Hearing aids are not just an instrument that’s stuck in your ear and you can hear again.

We begin by reading your hearing assessment to determine the degree of hearing loss.

We then establish the type of hearing aid required for your degree of hearing loss.

Impressions are made of your ear canal in the form of an ear mould to assure the proper fit.

The selected hearing aid and the moulds are sent away to be made to your specific needs.

Hearing aids take several weeks of adjustment followed by continued improvement.

Hearing aids don’t necessarily eliminate all hearing problems but they do lessen communication difficulties.

Something you should know:

Small pets such as dogs and cats like the salt taste on the hearing aid they have been known to chew and destroy hearing aids. Hearing aids when not in use should be kept in a clean dry container away from the reach of pets.

What research is being done on hearing aids?

Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.

In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.

Another promising research focus is to use lessons learned from animal models to design better microphones for hearing aids. NIDCD-supported scientists are studying the tiny fly Ormia ochracea because its ear structure allows the fly to determine the source of a sound easily. Scientists are using the fly’s ear structure as a model for designing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids. These microphones amplify the sound coming from a particular direction (usually the direction a person is facing), but not the sounds that arrive from other directions. Directional microphones hold great promise for making it easier for people to hear a single conversation, even when surrounded by other noises and voices.