According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.1 Being unable to hear clearly can diminish quality of life and prevent you or your loved one from living life to the fullest. Fortunately, in most cases, hearing aids can significantly improve the ability to hear. And recent advancements in hearing aids provide better comfort and performance than ever before. Read on to learn three things you need to know if you're considering hearing aids for yourself or a loved one.
How hearing aids work
The basic function of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds so that they're audible, but not too loud, while minimizing background noise. Sound waves enter through a microphone, which converts acoustic signals into electrical signals. User controls let the wearer conveniently adjust volume and microphone settings. Hearing aids also improve the ability to understand speech, and recent technology makes it easier to hear clearly in noisy environments.
Types of hearing aids
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles, and depending upon the type of hearing loss, not all may perform in the same way. Most hearing aids used today are either in the ear (ITE) or behind the ear (BTE). Selecting the right style may depend on factors such as severity of hearing loss, shape of ear and personal preferences. In many cases, BTEs are more effective for those with severe hearing loss and for children whose ears are still growing.
While hearing aids can't completely restore hearing or stop the progression of hearing loss, with consistent use, they can greatly enhance quality of life by reducing background noises and amplifying sounds that were inaudible before. Even with hearing loss in only one ear, two hearing aids are recommended to improve the ability to locate the source of sounds as well as understand speech in background noise.
A life-changing improvement
Hearing aids have come a long way in recent years — from technology to comfort and style — and have been shown to significantly enhance the social, emotional and physical well-being of those with mild to severe hearing loss. If you're concerned about hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, schedule an appointment with an audiologist who can give you a comprehensive hearing evaluation and answer your questions. Use the Provider Locator to find an audiologist near you who accepts your CareCredit card.
Early warning signs of hearing loss
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you experience any of the following:
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they've said
- Preferring the television or radio louder than other people
- Difficulty understanding group conversations
- Straining to hear conversations
- Having trouble hearing on the phone
CareCredit provides information solely for your convenience. Please always consult with a physician on any medical decisions.
1"Quick Statistics About Hearing," National Institutes of Health, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing, accessed Dec. 16, 2016
"Do I Need Hearing Aids," Cleveland Clinic, http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/do-i-need-hearing-aids, accessed Jan. 12, 2017
"Treatments for Hearing Loss," WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hearing-loss-treatment-options#1, accessed Jan. 13, 2017
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