Learn About Hearing Aids
Updated: Mar 21
“If I had to do this all over again, I would have purchased hearing aids 10 years ago. I never knew how much I was not hearing until I got hearing aids.”
Today’s best hearing aids are intelligent and provide life-changing benefits. By amplifying sounds you want to hear and diminishing sounds you don’t, they offer the best sound quality designed to ensure you never miss the moments that matter most.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It is primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech communication of people who have hearing loss due to damage caused to the inner ear. This damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from loud noises or certain medications. People may be born with hearing loss or they might develop it later in life. Permanent or temporary, it can be improved with hearing aids.
It makes sounds louder so that the person with hearing loss can listen, communicate and participate more fully in daily activities in both quiet and noisy situations. It can make a big difference, especially if you pick the right ones and get help adjusting to them. Hearing aids also reduce tinnitus, ringing or other noises in one or both ears. It amplifies background sounds and masks tinnitus sounds. Your brain can focus on the sounds you want to hear, instead of the sounds of your tinnitus.
A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone that picks up sound around you, an amplifier that makes the sound louder and a speaker that sends these amplified sounds into your ear. There are different styles of hearing aids: behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, and canal hearing aids. They differ in size, placement in or on the ear, and how well they make sound louder. Hearing aid technology keeps evolving, so there is a growing variety of styles and features to consider.
Behind-the-ear aids consist of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. It is generally the largest hearing aid style and is often chosen for young children because it can be adapted as they grow. In-the-ear aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. They don’t work as well for children whose ears are still growing.
Canal aids are the smallest hearing aids currently available. They fit into the ear canal, either to fit the size and shape of the person’s ear canal or to be nearly hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss, but it isn’t ideal for children or adults who might have problems with very small devices. However, some might like them because they are less noticeable.
Today’s hearing aids also come with a variety of features. Directional microphones focus on sound from a specific direction. They could help hearing face-to-face conversation over the noise around you. Telecoils pick up sound directly from compatible phones or sound systems in public places such as theaters and houses of worship. Wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth allows hearing aids to interact with televisions, phones, computers or tablets for example.
The hearing aid that works best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. It will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.
Before buying a hearing aid, you should ask your audiologist some important questions: What features are most useful to me? What is the total cost of the hearing aid? Is there a trial period to test them? How long is the warranty? Does it cover future maintenance and repairs?
You and your audiologist should select a gearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. The right device for you depends on the type of hearing loss you have and its severity, your age, your lifestyle, and how well you can manage small devices. Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousands of dirhams depending on the style and features. However, choose smartly because if one hearing aid is more expensive than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will better suit your needs.
It’s important to understand that your hearing aid can’t make your hearing what it used to be. With practice, however, it will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources, thus reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life. Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid, so make it a habit. Hearing aid batteries may last several days to a couple of weeks. The life of the batteries depends on the battery type, hearing aid requirements and how often you use it. In general, hearing aids can last for 3 to 6 years. You may need a new one sooner if your hearing loss gets worse.
You might face some problems while wearing them: you might feel it’s uncomfortable at first, your voice will sound too loud or as if there is an echo, a whistling or a background sound might be heard, or you might hear a buzzing sound when using the phone. You have to be patient! It may help to start wearing them in quiet areas at first. Will it be easy? No. worth it? Absolutely!