Hearing Loss Isn’t So Invisible

Hearing loss is commonly referred to as an invisible health condition, and early warning signs are often overlooked. Unlike other medical conditions, you can’t physically see the signs of hearing loss. Often the most difficult step in improving your hearing is recognizing you need help.

Hearing loss can develop at any age and can be caused by a number of different factors. Individuals with hearing loss often have difficulty following conversations and understanding the voices of women and children. Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast and many also experience tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing in the ears.

Less than 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be treated medically or surgically, which means 95 percent of adults with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids are high-tech devices that help compensate for a loss of frequency by amplifying sounds and helping replace inaudible high-frequency sounds by replicating them with audible low-frequency sounds. Hearing aids today are small and incredibly powerful, available in a variety of options from invisible solutions that fit deep inside your ear to wireless Behind-The-Ear options that stream audio directly from your television, radio or telephone.

If you’ve noticed a change in your own hearing or the hearing of a loved one, the next step is to schedule a complete hearing evaluation with our Doctors of Audiology.

You may be wondering why it’s important to see a Doctor of Audiology when there are other options to purchase hearing aids online or at a big box store. You may also consult with friends, read online reviews, sort through detailed product descriptions, or ask for input on social media sites. Consumer data is just a click away on your smartphone or tablet. Who you see for your hearing healthcare is an important decision.

Audiologists are experts with the training and equipment necessary to inspect your ear, determine the degree and type of hearing loss, assess your unique listening needs, and prescribe hearing solutions to fit your lifestyle and budget. No person’s hearing loss is identical to another, and each person’s physical ear configuration is unique.

Only a Doctor of Audiology can help you accomplish the following accurately:

  • Give accurate hearing examinations and safe ear cleanings
  • Determine your degree and type of hearing loss along with possible causes
  • Help identify the most appropriate hearing solution for your hearing loss and lifestyle needs
  • Work with you to ensure your hearing aid settings are working for your lifestyle, help with repair and maintenance, and help track your hearing loss for any signs of decline throughout the year

 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the appointment.

At your appointment, the results of your hearing test will be explained to you by your doctor. Your Audiologist will ask about your lifestyle and the types of listening environments you frequent to determine the technology and product features that would be most beneficial. You will be able to see the different types of hearing aids and discuss your preference for size, color and invisibility. Your Audiologist will help you narrow down your choice of hearing instruments based on the degree and type of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, the investment you are comfortable making. Insurance coverage and payment plan options will also be discussed.

Good Sound Audiology also provides ongoing support and care for your hearing and your hearing aids. The biggest reason to see a Doctor of Audiology is to ensure that your hearing aids are personally customized for your unique lifestyle and hearing needs. Our doctors are invested in your success and your hearing journey, so you should always be open and honest about what you do and don’t like during fitting and adjustment appointments.

Finally, once you have your hearing aids, your Audiologist will walk you through proper care and maintenance. Hearing aids are advanced technological devices akin to a computer but in a very compact package. After your initial fitting, you will probably see your Audiologist for updated programming, repairs and cleanings as you adjust to and use your hearing aids more several times per year. This type of personalized care is not available if your hearing aids are purchased online.

Recognizing, diagnosing and treating hearing loss can profoundly improve quality of life. Acknowledging the presence of hearing loss is the first step toward improving communication with your family and friends. Take the next step to restore your hearing by contacting us  at Good Sound Audiology today!

 

Guide to Common Hearing Aid Abbreviations, Styles and Types

Selecting hearing aids can be hard if you’re unfamiliar with the large number of acronyms used to describe basic types. The following collection includes the majority of the acronyms you are likely to encounter when looking at hearing aids and provides a brief description of each. The best approach to really grasp the differences is to see them in real life, so if some of these explanations are unclear, please contact us to visit and examine the various styles.

This list is presented in approximate order from smallest to largest.

  • Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC style of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is invisible from the outside. IIC types are typically not advised for the elderly, but are an excellent choice in middle age.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it close to invisible. Because of its small size, the Completely in Canal style typically has fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal type doesn’t have space for directional microphones.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC design is a small hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is externally visible. Being somewhat larger than the models which fit deeper in the ear canal, directional microphones are possible with the In-the-Canal style.
  • In the Ear (ITE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the ITE design of hearing aid is easy to insert and appropriate for a wide variety of hearing losses. The ITE hearing aid is visible inside the ear, but its larger size offers more features, more power and an extended battery life.
  • Half Shell (HS) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the Half Shell is a custom molded hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is partly visiblefrom the outside. Because it is somewhat larger than the designs which fit further into in the ear canal, added benefits such as directional microphones are feasible with the Half Shell hearing aiddesign.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear design is the smallest among the externally worn hearing aids. The Receiver In the Ear type combines a very small case that sits behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear attached by a clear tube. The ear canal stays open for natural sound quality.
  • Open Ear / Open Fit – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Fit (also called Open Ear) model combines an exterior hearing aid case that fits behind the ear and a flexible clear tube inserted into the ear. The Open Fit model leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in many colors.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s more substantial case makes a greater number of functions possible and is a superb choice for anyone that has poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Large number of colors options are readily available. The BTE type is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.
  • Power – Formulated for individuals with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid has a larger external case that sits behind the ear. The larger physical size makes it possible for it to supply the greatest levels of amplification making use of the most powerful modern technologies.