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Ultimate Hearing Aid Resource: Learn About Hearing Aids Types

There are many people who are suffering from hearing problems. The revolutionary solution to the problem arrived with the invention of the hearing aid, which is to be fitted in or behind the ears of the wearer to help them hear. The hearing aid is basically an electroacoustic device. It functions by amplifying and modulating sounds so that users can hear them. During the olden days, the hearing aid was known as “ear trumpet” or “ear horn”. It was a funnel-like structure that gathers and redirects sound energy to the ear canal. Nowadays, hearing aids come in various designs and sizes.

Working Mechanism of Hearing Aids

Let’s take a look at the parts and functionality of the hearing aid. As far as the parts of the hearing aid are concerned, almost all the hearing aids have the same basic parts. A Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid has a microphone, an earhook, volume controller, on/off switch, and the battery pack. Now, let’s learn about the working mechanism of the device. The microphone is the front runner among all the parts. This is the part that catches and amplifies sound waves so that they could become louder and audible to the user. Depending on the intensity of the hearing loss and the design of the hearing aid, the pitches of the sound can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of the user. The internal controls or rather the computer programming of the device is controlled by the audiologist who adjusts the sound according to the need. Now that the sound is made louder, it passes on to the earmold through the earhook. The custom earmold is made up of very soft material according to the need of the user. The earmold is fitted to the outer ear and the ear canal. As it receives the sound wave from the earhook, it’s passed on to the ear canal and progressively to the ear drum, enabling the user to hear the sound.

A hearing aid is used when there is a hearing loss. The degree of hearing loss can differ from person to person so the hearing aid is prescribed according to individual needs. The three basic hearing losses are:

  • Conductive hearing loss, in which the sound wave fails to reach the ear drum and the ossicles through the outer ear canal. In this case, the sound level is reduced, causing hearing loss. This defect can be cured by surgical procedure or medicine. The use of hearing aids is also prevalent in conductive hearing loss.
  • The next is sensorineural hearing loss where in the inner ear or the cochlea gets damaged. It can also be caused by damage in the nerve pathway which carries messages to the brain from the inner ear. Sometimes, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and in these cases, it cannot be cured by surgical procedure or medicine. In less severe cases, hearing aids can help people with this type of hearing loss hear.
  • The third type is mixed hearing loss. It’s a combination of conductive hearing loss as well as sensorineural hearing loss. There’s damage in the outer or middle ear along with the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The treatment for mixed hearing loss is more complicated, depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, hearing aids can help people with mixed hearing loss to hear.

Different Types of Hearing Aids

Now, let’s take a look at the different hearing aids types and categories. These instruments vary in size, power, circuitry, and design.

  1. Body Worn Aids: The body worn aid was the first commercially produced type of hearing aid. The package contains a case with an amplifier, an earmold, and a cord. The size of the case is about the size of a pack of playing cards. It’s connected to the earmold by the cord. With the vacuum tubes, the device produces a loud amplification. A body worn aid is either kept in the pocket or attached to the belt. As technology advanced, the body worn aid has been replaced by modern and higher-end hearing aids. 
  2. Behind-the-Ear Aids: Similar to the body worn aid, the BTE consists of a tube, a plastic case, and an earmold. In this device, the case is to be fitted behind the ear and the tube comes to the front to the earmold. Just like the body worn aid, the case contains the amplification system and the amplified sound is being routed acoustically or electrically to the earmold via the tube. Unlike the body worn aids, BTEs are much sleeker and lighter.
  3. In The Ear Aids: This is another type of hearing aid which is fitted directly to the outer ear bowl. The main advantage of an In the Ear Aid is that it’s custom made for better fitting. The use of this device can be customized for people who are suffering from mild to severe hearing loss. It works by amplifying high frequency sound. In the Ear aids are not recommended for young children.
  4. Receiver in the Canal or Ear: If you see this device, the initial impression is that it looks like a Behind-the-Ear aid. Yes, it’s true. The main difference is that the receiver is directly placed inside the ear canal, and unlike that of Behind-the-ear hearing aid, thin electrical wires replace the acoustic tube. The main advantage of this device over Behind-the-Ear hearing aid is the smoother sound.
  5. Disposable Hearing Aids: As the name suggests, this device is for one time use only. The device comes with disposable battery. While it costs less than other types of hearing aids, the fact that it needs to be replaced means that it’s more costly to use disposable hearing aids in the long run. This type of hearing aid is suitable for people with an active lifestyle or people who travel frequently.

These are just a few of the hearing aids available in the market. There are many more such devices that are unique in their own way. All in all, the type of hearing aid that you select depends on your personal needs and requirements.

Hearing Aid Reviews: Hearing Aid Comparison for Best Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are meant for people who typically have some degree of hearing loss. There are different types of hearing aids, and they provide hearing to people with mild to severe hearing loss. The different types of hearing aids include amplifiers, hearing aids that have added technology, and regular hearing aids. Many people ask what’s the best hearing aid? The best hearing aids depend upon the person’s degree of hearing loss. So it’s important to check hearing aid reviews and hearing aid comparisons to see which hearing aid is best. There are 6 hearing aids that are considered to be the best, which are dependent upon what type of hearing aid one needs.

Songbird Disposable Hearing Aid

The Songbird Disposable Hearing Aid is meant for people with hearing loss within the range of mild to moderate. The hearing aid is not meant for people under the age of 18 years old. It is affordable, and can be used anytime one wants to increase their hearing. So it does not have to be worn all the time, if it is not needed. There is an on and off switch on the hearing aid to easily turn it on and off. The battery life of the Songbird has around 400 life hours, which typically equals to six months, depending upon how often the hearing aid is used. One advantage this hearing aid has is the price. It’s cheap considered the vast majority of hearing aids. The price was found at $79.90 to $99 and is a good quality hearing aid and people noticed a difference in hearing, while using it. Songbird’s Disposable Hearing Aid was rated 3.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon’s website.

Songbird Hearing Inc. Flexfit Disposable: This is the manufacturer, Songbird’s website. The Songbird Disposable Hearing Aid can be found here for $99. 

Songbird Disposable Hearing Aid: Amazon’s website that sells the Songbird Disposable Hearing Aid. One can buy the hearing aid at a discounted price for $79.90. 

Siemens Pure 301 PTE RIC Hearing Aid

Siemens Pure 301 PTE RIC Hearing AID is a good quality hearing aid that can either be rechargeable or used with a zinc-air battery. The hearing aid has the capability to hook into Bluetooth technology, as long as it has an output audio jack. It has a coating around the outside making it less vulnerable to moisture, which will make it last longer. Siemens offer a Feedback blocker with this hearing aid, which block out certain noises when you don’t want to hear it, such as whistling. Between the Feedback blocker and the Bluetooth capability, it makes this hearing aid an advantage over some of the other hearing aids. The technology does come at a cost, as the price is $1,165.00. On Amazon the hearing aid ratings were 4.5 out 5 stars. Siemens Pure 301 PTE RIC Hearing Aid was rated the best out of all of the other hearing aids here.

Precise Hearing Siemens Pure 301 Hearing Aid: Precise Hearing’s website offers Siemens Pure 301 PTE RIC hearing aid for $1,165.00, per hearing aid. 

MDHearingAid Acoustitone Pro Hearing Aid

The MDHearingAid Acoustitone Pro Hearing Aids come in a set of 2 hearing aids, for $329.99. People that have used this hearing aid have seen a big difference. It has also been said that the hearing aid is of very good quality. The increase one would get from this hearing is up to 45db, and can be used with any type of hearing loss. It provides two channels, one of which is to cancel out background noise. Hearing aid comparison between the MDHearingAid and the other hearing aids, the MDHearingAid is comparable to the hearings aids twice as expensive.

MDHearingAid Pro Hearing Aid: MDHearingAid’s website that provides the opportunity to order 1 or 2 hearing aids. 1 hearing aid can be purchase for $179.99, and 2 hearing aids can be purchased for $329.99.

MDHearingAid Hearing Aid Set of 2: This is Amazon’s website which provides 2 MDHearingAid Acoustitone Pro Hearing Aids for $329.98. 

Nexear 900 Hearing Aid

Nexear 900 Hearing Aid can found for around $559.99, for 1 hearing aid. The hearing aid is meant to amplify and detect sounds. It takes loud noises and quiets them down to hear them at a normal tone range. The hearing aid has a space around it to allow ambient sound to still get into the canal. The quality is good, and people have been able to hear things better. Nexear’s hearing aid was rated 3 out of 5 on Amazon.

Nexear 900 Right Ear Hearing Aid: Overstock’s website is selling the right ear hearing aid made by Nexear. Overstock also offers the left ear hearing aid too. 

Nexear 900 Left Ear Hearing Aid: Drugstore’s online website that provides the left hearing aid for $559.99. The right ear hearing aid is also available on this website.

Lee’s Major Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid

The Lee’s Major Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid has a rechargeable battery. The price for the hearing aid can be found at around $299.00. The price includes 1 hearing aid. Many people who only need 1 hearing aid still buy 2. This is so when the first one is charging, the second one can be used in its place. An advantage of this hearing aid over others are that it comes already charged, and the price. It’s a good price, for a decent quality hearing aid. 

1 Lee’s Major Rechargeable Hearing Aid: This website, Amazon, provides 1 Lee’s Major Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid for the price of $299.00.

Whisper Rechargeable BTE Hearing Amplifier

Whisper’s Rechargeable BTE Hearing Amplifier is priced at $39.95. The Whisper hearing aid is of average quality, and people do have to do some adjusting to get the earpiece just right. The hearing aid is rechargeable, and helps to amplify sounds. It is meant for people with mild, perhaps moderate hearing loss. The rechargeable hearing aid does not have to be worn all the time, people can turn it off, and turn it on when they need it. In terms of ratings, Whisper’s Rechargeable Hearing Amplifier was rated 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Whisper Rechargeable Hearing Amplifier: The Hearing Aid’s website provides the opportunity to purchase the hearing aid for $39.95. Its website all provides reviews so one can see what other people thought of the product.

Get Cheap Hearing Aids - Best Hearing Aid Prices on New and Used Hearing Aids

Hearing loss can be progressive and difficult to notice. A hearing aid can prevent the awkwardness of having to ask people to repeat themselves during conversation over and over, and can prevent you from needing the volume on television and radio turned up to extremely high levels when everyone else seems content with the volume set lower.

Only a doctor can diagnose your level of hearing deficit, but there are some common signs and symptoms to look for. Asking others to repeat themselves frequently along with the inability to understand or hear voices, women and children especially, is one of the most common signs that you may have a hearing deficiency. Some other common signs include: turning television/radio volume up to levels that others find extremely loud, background noise is difficult and frustrating during conversations, forgetfulness, irritability, becoming socially withdrawn, saying things that are irrelevant to the situation or not relating well in a group setting. A person must undergo a series of tests to diagnose hearing loss and understand what their options are with the specific hearing loss they are experiencing. Symptoms and signs alone do not mean that you require a hearing aid. Consult with a doctor before purchasing a hearing aid device to ensure best results.

Hearing Aid Pricing

The price of an item is much different than the value. Regaining normal hearing back after a loss is an invaluable tool to regaining normalcy in life. The price to get your hearing back can range from hand me down to $5,000 per ear. The majority of hearing aids fall somewhere in the range of $1500 to $3000. A good price can depend on many factors, including the severity of hearing loss, budget and personal preference. Cochlear Implants (a type of hearing aid device that is implanted directly in the ear) may be required for severe hearing loss where common hearing aids will not be of help, which are the most expensive of the hearing devices.

Before buying a hearing aid, it is important to have your hearing checked by a professional to see if a hearing aid will in fact be of assistance with your particular hearing deficits. As with any purchase, knowing your options before you buy is a great advantage. There are top of the line hearing aids, generic and everything in between. Before making a purchase, be sure to evaluate the different types of technology used and the features that will work best for your situation. Options do exist for every type of lifestyle, as well as every type of hearing problem. No matter what your situation may be, there is hope to regain hearing to a point that makes your life normal again.

 

Finding Affordable Hearing Aids

When a person decides to purchase a car, it is common to find a used vehicle with all the bells and whistles that will have a price that is much easier on your bank account. The same goes for hearing aids. Used hearing aids are available for a variety of reasons – owner upgraded to a newer model; the owner did not like the fit; or perhaps, has decided to forgo the use of hearing aids altogether. Like used cars, used hearing aids are much less expensive than brand new ones. This means it is possible to find a high-tech hearing aid with all of the desired technology and features of a brand new for an affordable price. Used hearing aids are a great option for retired seniors whom live on a tight budget or those who prefer to have complete control over which hearing aid they purchase.

If used is not your style, there are many other options for finding an affordable hearing aid. Most health insurance companies offer discounts, pay a portion, or in some cases, all of the costs for a new hearing aid. This option may limit choices in technology or features so this is a great option for those looking for a basic hearing aid. Each insurance company is different however, so options may vary by health insurance plans and coverage.

Flexible spending accounts and financing are two other options for lowering the costs of hearing aids. Flexible spending accounts use pre-tax dollars to significantly reduce the price paid out of pocket for a hearing aid. Many companies also offer financing with short term loans to cover the costs of hearing aids. This is helpful in cases where a highly technological and feature packed hearing aid is desired. This option will take longer to cover the cost of the hearing aid, though it ensures that the buyer gets exactly what they are looking for at a rate that is affordable for their lifestyle.

  • Eligible Health FSA Purchases: A look at what health care items are eligible for purchasing with an FSA, including hearing aids and hearing aid batteries.
  • IRS- Health FSA: How to use an FSA account to fund hearing aid or cochlear ear implant costs.
  • State Funding Banks: Examples of state funded hearing aid banks.

As with any purchase, there are a lot of vendors and marketers who feel their product is the best and want you to choose their company. It is important to take personal preference, level of hearing deficit, budget and lifestyle into account before investing in a product that is so valuable to a person’s everyday life. Testing a hearing aid should be done in advance, before the purchase is mad

Hearing Aids

SoTheWorldMayHear.org

Contact the Starkey Hearing Foundation (HEAR NOW program) for information about financial assistance for hearing aids.

Hear USA

The HEAR USA® Advantage Network is a national network made up of local, regional and national hearing care centers just like yours! The mission of the Advantage Network is to advance timely, convenient and quality hearing services to all Americans by promoting an increase in the availability of hearing services. The Advantage Network is already the Premier resource for hearing care benefits in the country! It provides a link between hearing health care for consumers and physician networks, insurance companies, managed care, and other sponsor groups and organizations.

Hearing Aids 101

Hearing Aids 101 is an independent website designed to help consumers learn about the wide variety of hearing aids and related products on the market today.

Songbird 400 Hour Digital Hearing Aids

Finally, a simple, flexible, and affordable solution that makes it easy to start hearing better. Songbird 400 Hour is ideal for first time hearing aid wearers because it's designed for situational use. We know most people aren't ready to wear a hearing aid all the time. Now you can buy 400 hours of better hearing at a time to use when you want to. So you never have to pay for more than you need!

How Does a Hearing Aid Work: Guide, Hearing Aid Diagram, Hearing Aid Pictures

Over 35 million Americans suffer from some level of hearing loss and over ten million use hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sounds and can help people with hearing loss communicate more effectively. Hearing aids may be analog or digital. Hearing aids can be programmed with multiple microphones and channels customized to different listening situations. Hearing aids come in four main styles: behind the ear (BTE), in the canal (ITC), in the ear (ITE), and completely in the canal (CIC). Each style of hearing aid has advantages and some may be more suited to users with certain types of hearing loss. The following sections provide more information about each type of hearing aids, explain how hearing aids work, and provide diagrams and pictures of each type of hearing aid.

How does a Hearing Aid Work?

Analog hearing aids magnify sound by converting sound waves to electrical signals and amplifying those signals. Analog hearing aids are custom-made to suit the individual user and may be programmable with different settings suited to various listening environments. Users change the settings of their hearing aid by pressing a button. Digital hearing aids convert sound waves and other information, such as the pitch and loudness of a sound, into digital signals or code. Digital hearing aids reproduce the original sounds instead of simply amplifying all sound. Digital hearing aids may be programmed to amplify certain frequencies or focus on sounds from certain directions and may be programmed to meet an individual’s specific type of hearing loss needs. Digital hearing aids adjust their settings automatically to match the listening environment. Both analog and digital hearing aids may incorporate directional microphones, telephone switches that reduce “whistling” while using the phone, and feedback suppression.

  • How does a Hearing Aid Work?
    Explains how different types of hearing aids work, the difference between analog and digital hearing aids, and gives advice on which style might best meet your needs.
  • How a Hearing Aid Works:
    Explore the main components and functions of hearing aids and how they work, as well as the sizes and styles of hearing aids available. The site also gives tips on how to select a hearing aid and diagrams of each style.
  • How Different Types of Hearing Aids Work:
    Pictures of different types of hearing aids, information on how each type works, and tips on which one might best suit your needs.
  • Hearing Aids:
    An online guide for consumers that goes over the different types of hearing aids available, the difference between analog and digital hearing aids, and different hearing aid features.

Diagram of a Hearing Aid

  • Diagram of a Hearing Aid:
    A basic diagram of a hearing aid and explains how each part functions.
  • Hearing Aid Diagram:
    A diagram of a behind-the-ear hearing aid with explanations of each part and of different types of hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Pictures

  • Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Picture:
    A picture of a behind-the-ear hearing aid with parts labeled.
  • Hearing Aid Pictures:
    Detailed information on how different types of hearing aids work. Clicking on the name of a hearing aid type will bring up a picture of how the aid looks during use.
  • Pictures of Four Types of Hearing Aids:
    Pictures of behind the ear, in the ear, in the canal, and completely in the canal hearing aids.

Discount Hearing Aid Buyers Guide

Many people who suffer from hearing impairment use hearing aids to improve their hearing. Nowadays, there are so many different kinds of hearing aids that it can be a little confusing to find the best one. How do you choose the best hearing aid? One major consideration is cost. Should you go for low cost hearing aids or the more expensive ones?

The low cost variety comes with many features in a standard quality that ensures better listening without any distraction in the sound. People also do not have to stretch their pockets too much to cope up with high hearing aid cost. It can help people to overcome recruitment problems where the sound becomes too low one moment, and all of a sudden, the sound becomes too high. Low cost hearing aids can also help patients to hear a clear telephonic conversation.

Wholesale dealers provide a good stock of discount hearing aids. Specialists and audiologists will be able to provide the guidelines to find the most suitable model for the person. Some websites offer up to 75% discount in hearing aid sales. Before you purchase anything, make it a point to research these sites, and go through hearing aid price list to find the best deal. Hearing aid costsvary depending on the research and development, features, size, digital or non-digital versions, battery life, and the brand. Best offers ranging from $25 to $100 hearing aidsare readily available in many online stores.

How do you decide whether it is better to buy a cheap or expensive hearing aid? The most important thing is to find a hearing aid that is best for your purpose. Different people have different degrees of deafness. A person who is suffering from acute hearing loss may need a higher quality hearing aid with more features than a person who is suffering from mild hearing loss. A suitable hearing aid not only enables better listening but also improves the quality of life, enhancing bonding in the family, especially for the aged.

Modern hearing aid costscan range from $1000 to $4000 but a little bit of net and market research will help in getting a desired model at a lower cost. Some wholesalers and retailers offer exciting discount rates on hearing aids during certain times of the year. Wait and grab that opportunity to buy a good hearing aid at unbelievable rates! The following links would be of great help to buy $100 hearing aids:

Links:

When going for discount hearing aids, remember these tips. Firstly, you should always check the battery life of the hearing aid. It is always wise to choose from the reputed brands with a guarantee or warranty. Thirdly, the instrument must be handy and lightweight so that it does not pose any problem while fitted on the ear. You also need to get accustomed to the hearing device so the dealer must provide help in adjusting the hearing aid. After buying the device, it is always better to get it checked by a doctor or a hearing aid expert.

 

Digital Hearing Aid Design Price & Comparisons

According to the statistics of Hearing Loss Association of America, 1 out of 10 Americans suffer from hearing loss. The most difficult part of the problem is not the hearing loss but convincing the hearing impaired to use hearing aids. Technology has advanced leaving behind those large and bulky ineffective hearing aid devices. Nowadays, Digital hearing aids are the trend.

More and more people have gravitated towards digital hearing aids as they represent the future of hearing aid technology. Digital hearing aids can effectively reduce and increase frequencies providing the user with a sound tailored to their individual needs. They are especially made to be sensitive to the frequencies commonly used in speech and eliminate the consistent background noises. Advanced digital hearing aid models have dual microphones that allow the user to hear clearly in noisy situations. Few even recognize the source of the noise and decrease it.

A digital hearing aid is a hearing aid that uses a digital circuit to amplify and process sound. Digital processing improves the quality of the sound: digitally processed sounds are crisper and clearer. They focus on bringing understanding of speech through the digital censors inside the aids. The sound is processed by the digital sensors and converted into a computer language, which is further converted into patterns understandable by an individual wearing that aid.

Hearing aids are commonly used devices with few designs that are mostly recognizable. The common characteristics of a hearing aid device are a microphone, a receiver, a battery and a digital circuit. There are four basic styles of Digital hearing aids; in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in –the-canal (CIC) models. BTE hearing aid’s receiver fits completely in the ear canal, but it conceals the working parts in a piece that fits at the back the ear. It is recommended for mild to extreme types of hearing loss and both children and grownups can easily use BTE hearing device. In-the-ear hearing device is used for minimal to severe hearing loss and it is worn in the outer ear. This style is not recommend for kids as the case that holds the working parts will have to be changed once the ear grows. In-the-canal hearing aids are also for mild to severe hearing loss. This is custom build to fit the ears and is not for children. Completely-in-canal hearing aid is hidden deeper inside the ear canal and is built for moderate to severe hearing loss.

If you are considering choosing a hearing aid from the above described styles, it’s advisable you consult an audiologist to figure out which type of hearing aid is best suited for your needs.

Top Hearing Aid Manufacturers

According to the Hearing Aids 101 site, approximately 10 percent of the population has hearing loss, some more severely than others. To combat these losses, there are many different kinds of hearing aids available to those who need them. Each works in a specific way to aid specific hearing losses and varying levels of deafness. Some of the kinds available are those that are completely worn in the ear canal (CIC, or completely in canal); those worn partially in the canal (ITC, in the canal); those worn only just inside the ear (ITE, in the ear); and those worn behind in the ear (BTE, behind the ear). The CIC is very small, and it fits completely in the ear canal, taking advantage of the ear’s natural abilities. This is most convenient for appearance and phone use. The ITC’s are a little larger than the CIC’s, and they use a bigger battery, so it is not so difficult for unsteady hands to change it. These are used for mild to moderate hearing loss. Due to their larger size, the ITE can accommodate features such as a telephone switch, and it will help with more significant hearing loss as well as milder cases. The BTE is recommended for children, can house a larger amplifier as well, and fits snugly behind the ear.

There are many manufacturers of hearing aids, producing several kinds of hearing aids. The following is a list of some of the more popular, and dependable, brands and companies:

Hearing Aid Reviews-Best Hearing Aid Ratings

In order to find the best hearing aid for you or a family member, it is often best to check out what others have to say regarding their own personal first-hand experience with a particular brand or model. You can ask friends or family about their experiences with to find the best hearing aids, but sometimes you may not have the proper resources to do so. When you don't know people to ask, the Internet is a handy place to find the information you need. Check out various websites to see what others are saying via hearing aid reviews. The following websites are good sources of information for hearing aid ratings:

Upon reviewing these website, you should be able to cull enough good first-hand information that you will feel much better armed to make a hearing aid purchase. Your doctor or audiologist who diagnoses the hearing loss should surely be well equipped to assist you in making a hearing aid selection or purchase. A hearing aid dealer will be able to also help to fit you with the right size and power and be able to explain the benefits and options of different models and manufacturers.

Hearing Aid Comparisons and Specifications

Hearing Loss & Impairment: Causes of Hearing Loss , Hearing Loss Prevention Tips

The ear is one of the sensitive organs of the body that plays a significant role in hearing and balance. There are several causes of hearing loss including genetics, ear injury, aging, exposure to excessive noise, and the use of certain drugs, to name only a few. Hearing impairment can be temporary as well as permanent in nature. Whatever may be the case, hearing impairment can pose heavy social and economic burdens on individuals, families, communities, and countries as a whole. It is therefore important to raise awareness among people regarding hearing impairment and the hearing loss prevention measures that are available.

What Defines Hearing Loss?

There are different degrees of hearing loss, but usually hearing loss is categorized into three fundamental types depending on the part of the ear that is affected. Conductive hearing impairment is associated with the outer or middle ear. The three small ear bones, called ossicles may not carry sound correctly, or the eardrum may not vibrate in response to the sound. People experiencing this problem often complain that voices and sounds appear weak to them. The fluid which is present in the middle ear may be the main cause of this type of hearing impairment.

Sensorineural hearing loss on the other hand is a problem which is caused when the inner ear nerves are damaged and fail to transmit signals to the brain. People experiencing this condition often complain that they can hear the sound, but they cannot understand what is being said. Aging is considered one of the main causes of sensorineural hearing loss.

People with both conductive hearing impairment and sensorineural hearing loss fall into the “mixed hearing loss” category. Deafness, on the other hand, is the complete loss of hearing ability in one or both ears; and hearing impairment is described as the total or partial loss of hearing ability.

Hearing loss is often a gradual process and therefore, may not immediately be noticed by an individual. Sometimes, friends or family members notice an individual’s hearing problems before the individual recognize it. For example, family members may notice that the individual with hearing loss listens to the radio or television too loud or often asks to repeat what is being said.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Many people don’t realize that they have hearing problems, while others might expect that they have some hearing deficiencies, but they feel too self-conscious to consult a doctor. One can identify the hearing problem by asking themselves some key questions, and if required, consult a doctor. If one ignores their hearing problems for a long period of time, the problems can worsen. One can ask some common questions before consulting a doctor.

  • Does the individual find they have a problem hearing what people are saying while talking on the phone?
  • Do they face problems hearing in a noisy environment?
  • Is it hard for the individual to start a conversation when two or more people are talking at once?
  • Does the individual often ask others to repeat themselves?
  • Do family members complain that the volume of the TV or stereo is too high?
  • Does the individual experience a roaring or hissing sound when others do not?

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are several causes of hearing loss in children and adults. Some people lose their hearing ability as they grow older, and this problem is known as presbycusis. Health professionals do not know why presbycusis occurs, but it appears to be hereditary in nature. Another cause is the ear infection otitis media, congenitally present at birth, or acquired after birth, otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear due to the upsurge of fluid, which may or may not be infected; however it can cause long-term hearing loss if not treated quickly. Congenital hearing loss is the lack of hearing at birth due to any of several possible reasons including genetics, premature birth, maternal diabetes, intrauterine infections, and toxemia during pregnancy.

Hearing loss can also occur as a side effect of taking certain medications. "Ototoxic" medicines can harm the inner ear, at times permanently. A few antibiotics are ototoxic, some pain killers including Aspirin, if taken in large quantities can also cause problems, but they are short-term. It is therefore advised an individual consults with their doctor if problems involving hearing problems or ear pain occur while taking medication.

Heredity is one of the causes of hearing loss, but not all hereditary forms of hearing loss occur at birth. Some forms may be seen later in life. For example, in the case of otosclerosis, which is thought to be a genetic disease, an abnormal growth of bone averts structures within the ear from working appropriately.

One of the main causes of hearing loss is loud noise. Loud noise can damage the inner ear permanently. Loud noise also adds to tinnitus, which is measured as a ringing, roaring, or buzzing sound in the ears. According to National Institute of Health, about 26 million American adults aged between 20 and 69 have damaged their hearing permanently due to the exposure to piercing noise at work or during leisure time.

Hearing Loss Prevention

Sounds above 85 decibels are considered loud and can damage the inner ear. It is therefore, advised to avoid noises above 85 decibels. Keep the volume of the stereo system and television low, and be sure to protect kid’s ears as well. Though awareness of noise levels is crucial, one should also be aware of how far one is away from the loud noise and for how long. If an individual experiences tinnitus or is suffering from hearing problems after noise exposure, then he or she has been exposed to too much noise.

There are other various ways to prevent hearing loss. If an individual is having earwax blockage then the doctor may recommend using mild treatments like mineral oil, glycerin, or eardrops to soften the earwax. The ear infection otitis media is very common in children, but adults can also be infected with it. One can prevent upper respiratory infections and a resulting ear infection by washing their hands regularly. If one still gets an ear infection then consult a doctor right away before it becomes severe.

If an individual is taking medications then it is advised they consult the doctor to know if the medicine is ototoxic, or damaging to the ear; also ask the doctor if there are any alternative medications which can be taken that are not ototoxic. The doctor may also give you medicine to minimize the side effects of ototoxic medicines.

Hearing Loss Treatment

There are various options available for the treatment of hearing loss, from medical treatments to devices meant to amplify sounds such as hearing aids; however, treatment mainly depends on the cause and severity of the hearing impairment. In cases of age related hearing loss, there are no treatments available, but individuals suffering from hearing loss can use hearing aids or other listening devices in order to improve their quality of life. 

When hearing loss is discovered in an individual, what treatment options are available, and how the treatment options vary depend on the degree of hearing impairment, and the cause of the impairment. Doctors recommend strategies to help minimize the effects of hearing loss. Scientists, on the other hand, are also trying to develop new and effective methods for the treatment and prevention of hearing loss. 

Many people suffering from hearing loss wear hearing aids. A hearing aid is an electronic device that generates sounds amplified above the actual volume to the wearer. A cochlear implant on the other hand, is a very small electronic device that is implanted beneath the skin behind the ear by a surgeon. The device lifts sounds, and then converts them into electric signals which are then sent past the area of the inner ear that isn’t working to the brain.

Types of Hearing Loss - Sensorineural & Conductive Hearing Loss, Unilateral Hearing Loss

Hearing loss or hearing impairment refers to hearing difficulty in one or both ears. Another term which is used to describe hearing loss is deafness. According to research, 3 out of 1000 people suffer from hearing loss. A person may be born with hearing loss or it can develop later. Here’s a look at some of the different types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss which is caused by the vestibulocochlear nerve or cranial nerve which resides in the inner ear. This part is the central processing center of the brain. There are three types of sensorineural hearing loss. It can be mild, normal or severe. In severe cases, there’s a high possibility of total deafness. In most cases, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by deformities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti, which is located in cochlea. The working function of hair cell may be abnormal from birth or it may develop in the future. These damages may be caused by external factors like infection and noise trauma. Sometimes, it can be caused by intrinsic factors like deafness genes. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be caused by abnormalities of the eighth cranial nerve. Some unusual type of sensorineural hearing loss can occur due to the cranial nerve, which is the auditory portion of brain. This is a rare case of sensorineural hearing loss where only the auditory portion of the brain is affected. Other causes of sensorineural hearing loss are aging, exposure to loud noise, infections, trauma, toxic medications, and chemotherapy.

There are many differences between sensorineural hearing loss and other types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss can be corrected with the help of hearing aids. The function of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds at a frequency which is preset so it can be used to treat sensorineural hearing loss up to certain range. An experimental treatment is the use of idebenone to delay or reverse the hearing loss. It can be used alone or in combination with vitamin E. There are also other experimental treatments involving a course of steroids or high doses of vitamins A, C, and E, together with Magnesium.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a mechanical difficulty in the outer and middle ear. This may mean that the ossicles fail to conduct sound effectively, the eardrum is not responsive to sound or the existence of fluid in the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss may occur along with sensorineural hearing loss or it can occur on its own. The most common causes of conductive hearing loss in the external ear are Cerumen, which is also known as earwax and Otitis externa, which is a type of ear infection. The uncommon or rare causes of conductive hearing loss are Exostoses, Congenital atresia, and tumor of the ear canal. If it occurs in the middle ear, the main causes are otitis media and acute otitis media. The simplest way to treat conductive hearing loss is to use hearing aids, which can be quite effective. Another option is to undergo surgical treatment to rectify the mechanical problem.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. The middle and inner ear parts are associated with this type of hearing loss. The conductive hearing loss is usually developed in a person suffering from permanent sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, these two types of hearing loss cause mixed hearing loss in the person. In mixed hearing loss, both the outer and inner parts of ear are malformed. The treatment for mixed hearing loss is more complicated. While it’s possible to treat conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss remains permanent, and in most of the cases, it cannot be treated.

Unilateral Hearing Loss

Unilateral hearing loss refers to hearing loss in one ear while the other ear is normal. Since people with unilateral hearing loss cannot hear with the impaired ear, their condition represents a unique condition. This imbalance also cause the patients to lose orientation, especially when they are trying to figure out the direction from which the sound comes from. In situations where the background noise is “loud” enough, the patient may struggle to understand speeches. Unilateral hearing loss can be caused by acoustic neuroma, physical trauma, measles, meningitis, microtia, Ménière's disease or mumps. The main difference between unilateral hearing loss and other hearing losses is that patients cannot hear in one ear while people who suffer from other types of hearing loss cannot hear in both ears. Unilateral hearing loss can be treated in two ways. The first way is to use “Contralateral Routing of Signals” (CROS) hearing aid. This device works by taking sound from the ear with bad hearing ability and transmits it to the normal ear. The second way is to use the “Bone Anchored Hearing Aid” (BAHA). The device works by transporting sound by the process known as bone conduction.

Bilateral Hearing Loss

If there’s hearing impairment in both ears, the condition is known as bilateral hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is in contrast to unilateral hearing loss where there’s hearing impairment in only one ear. This is the only difference between bilateral hearing loss and unilateral hearing loss. In most cases, bilateral hearing loss is treated with hearing aids. To get the best results, doctors recommend two hearing aids for both ears. Using one hearing aid can cause serious problems so it should be avoided for people who suffer from bilateral hearing loss.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss is characterized as a hearing reduction of 30 dB. This type of hearing loss usually occurs in people aged between 30 and 60. Males and females suffer from it equally. It’s known as sudden hearing loss because it can be caused in 72 hours or less. 60 percent of the cases of sudden hearing loss are caused by viral disease or vascular disease. If the sudden hearing loss is minor, it’s not necessary to go for any treatment. For severe cases, it’s best to consult an audiologist and ask for treatment.

Proper treatment has to be taken at the primary stages of all kinds of hearing loss. If anyone ignores it, there is a huge chance of getting seriously affected in the future. Consult a doctor immediately if you encounter any problem related to hearing ability.

The original deaflinx.com site was written and authored by Amy Frasu. Deaf Linx is now run by Ericka Wiggins. Here are the Facebook and Twitter pages for Deaf Linx.