There are 48 million people throughout the country suffering from hearing loss. Of those people, only 20 percent who can benefit from the use of a hearing aid actually wears them. It turns out, living with untreated hearing loss can do more damage than originally thought and those who seek treatment see improvements in all aspects of their lives. Individuals who choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are known to have better overall health, professional success and emotional well-being than those who don’t. The following are some examples of how hearing aids can help improve lives:
- Improved Mental Health
- Improved Cognitive Health
- Improved Physical Health
- Improved Balance
- Improved Ability to Focus
- Improved Ability to Learn
- Increased Earning Power
- Renewed Confidence
- Increased Control Over Life Events
- Better Relationships
- Increased Social Interactions
Choosing a Hearing Aid
If you are experiencing hearing loss, odds are good that you’ll benefit from a hearing aid. But choosing the right one is no simple task. Today’s hearing aids are smaller and more feature-packed than their predecessors, offering an array of options.
Narrowing the choices down can be tough, but there are a few important things you should take into consideration before choosing a hearing aid.
What Are Your Hearing Needs?
The first step is to have an audiogram (hearing test) to assess your type and severity of hearing loss. Hearing loss can be structural (conductive), from nerve damage (sensorineural), or a combination of both (mixed). Sometimes conductive and mixed loss can and need to be addressed medically prior to hearing aid use. The severity of hearing loss is also important to determine prior to hearing aid use. A properly fit hearing aid will be programmed to your individual prescription based off of your audiogram.The first step is to have an audiogram (hearing test) to assess your type and severity of hearing loss. Hearing loss can be structural (conductive), from nerve damage (sensorineural), or a combination of both (mixed). Sometimes conductive and mixed loss can and need to be addressed medically prior to hearing aid use. The severity of hearing loss is also important to determine prior to hearing aid use. A properly fit hearing aid will be programmed to your individual prescription based off of your audiogram.
What Are Your Lifestyle Needs?
All of us live very different lifestyles and are in varying environments and types of background noise throughout the day. An individual who is primarily at home and communicating one on one needs something very different from a hearing aid than an individual who is working full time and in constant background noise. Different hearing aids can accommodate background noise more effectively than others.
Functionality is also important, with hearing aids coming with a variety of features. All modern hearing aids are digital and use directional microphones, and will come with feedback suppression. They can also be Bluetooth compatible, and rechargeable. Certain noise reduction features are available in certain hearing aids but not others. Speak with your audiologist to help determine which features would be best for you.
What Is Your Cosmetic Preference?
Cosmetic preference is a key factor in choosing a hearing aid. Since you’ll be wearing it every day, it’s got to not only feel good but appeal to your confidence.
Hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes and styles, some visible while others are implanted deep within the ear canal, rendering them virtually undetectable. Many are custom-molded to fit each individual’s ears.
What Is Your Budget?
Many consumers jump to the conclusion that hearing aids are too expensive. At the other end of the spectrum, they’ll point out advertisements for extremely inexpensive options. Be cautious of the product(s) you put in your ears. Some of the cheaper, entry-level products are not classified as hearing aids by theFDA, which requires devices to meet stringent guidelines. Having a professional assist you with the product decision ensures you are protecting your hearing health.
Hearing aids range widely in cost; finding the right product for your needs depends upon a thorough hearing evaluation by a qualified audiologist, who will provide a recommendation perfectly suited to your type and degree of hearing loss and budget, as well as other lifestyle factors.
Call Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery at (503) 581-1567 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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