There has been a great deal of research towards treatment for hearing loss. As a result, there are now more options than ever before. Although this is certainly an advantage, this can also make it more difficult to know about and understand the various treatments that are available.
If you are dealing with hearing loss, though, your first step to improving your situation is to appreciate all the treatment methods that are available to you. This is especially important because the exact procedure or mechanism will depend on the kind of hearing loss that you have incurred.
Thus, on this note, here is your guide to the various possibilities:
One of the more basic – and common – treatments for hearing loss is either a hearing amplifier or hearing aid. So, what are these devices, what is the difference between them, and which one is right for you?
Well, a hearing amplifier is a device that increases the sounds around you. Thus, if you are hard of hearing, the quieter noises will be amplified to a suitable level for you. Now, with hearing aids, make the sounds louder as well as clearer.
Hearing aids can be designed to go behind the ear, in the ear, or in the canal. For the most part, these aids perform the same function – the main difference between them is visibility. The ones behind the ears are larger, with the in-the-canal aids being smaller.
Now, which one is right for you? Well, this decision would be up to your doctor and audiologist. While hearing aids tend to be the more obvious treatment, hearing amplifiers may be prescribed for individuals who can’t afford these.
In some cases, hearing aids and amplifiers don’t work. People with more advanced hearing loss or hearing loss due to auditory structural issues may require hearing implants. There are four main types – bone-anchored, cochlear, auditory brainstem, and middle ear.
If the sound is unable to reach the inner ear, then doctors will prescribe a bone-anchored hearing aid. Here, the hearing aid is attached to your skull. It functions by picking up sound and then sending it to your inner ear by causing the bones of your ear to vibrate.
This tends to be the treatment route for people who experience severe and permanent hearing loss. A cochlear implant works by converting sound into electrical signals and sending them to your cochlea, which is a part of the inner ear. The signals then travel to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.
It should be noted that cochlear implants are only effective in cases where the auditory nerve is still functioning properly.
In cases where the auditory nerve isn’t working properly, the next best option is an auditory brainstem implant. While there are similarities between this device and a cochlear implant, here, the signals are sent directly to the brain. There, it is heard as sound.
With this kind of implant, it is unlikely that hearing will be restored fully. However, there should be quite a bit of improvement.
There are some individuals that can’t use hearing aids because they are allergic to the materials or because the aid can’t fit in their ear. In this instance, middle ear implants would be considered.
This device is made up of two parts. The first is attached to the skin. This is the element that picks up sound and turns it into an electrical signal. The second component – a device under the skin – picks up this signal and sends it along a wire. The signal is then sent to the small bones deep in the ear, causing them to vibrate.
There are many instances in which hearing aids aren’t enough. In such cases, people with hearing loss will turn to assistive listening devices in their daily life. So, what are these devices?
Well, for the most part, they work as amplifiers. These exist for phones, televisions, and alerting devices. The goal here is to ensure that you can hear the noises from various devices more easily. Then, there are FM systems for public settings that can help people with hearing loss hear public speakers.
Such devices are great for when you have unique needs that can’t be addressed by traditional hearing aids. They can also come in handy for people who don’t quite need hearing aids but still need to amplify certain sounds.
This is what you need to understand about the various treatments for hearing loss. As you can see, the exact approach will depend on the kind of hearing loss that you are experiencing as well as the cause behind it. Once these have been addressed, you will be able to find the perfect fit for you.