Nearly one-quarter of the United States population reports experiencing some degree of hearing loss. By the age 65, one out of every three people will report hearing loss. Even more startling, is that fifteen percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19, report hearing loss. Loss of hearing is typically insidious, occurring gradually over many years. Recognizing some of the early symptoms of hearing loss will help determine if hearing aids would be of benefit.
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Do you find yourself asking people to repeat things or think that others are mumbling? Do you have difficulty hearing the alarm clock, at the theater, or in a crowded restaurant? Do you turn up the volume on the tv or radio louder than you used to? Do you pretend that you heard what someone said because you’re embarrassed to admit you couldn’t hear or understand? These common reactions often lead to depression and withdrawal from social interaction.
Diagnosing Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be diagnosed by a primary care doctor or a specialist such as an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist). After the exam, you will know if you are experiencing hearing loss, what the cause might be, and if or how, it can be addressed. Sometimes it’s as simple as ear wax buildup or fluid in the ear. Typically, once diagnosed with hearing loss the physician will refer you for a professional hearing evaluation. After conducting audiometer tests the hearing professional can advise as to the type of hearing loss you are experiencing and if you would benefit by wearing hearing aid devices.
More Than One Choice
There are five models of hearing aid devices to choose from, including behind the ear devices, which are powerful and sit behind ear. In the ear models are custom-fit and worn inside the ear. In the canal are smaller than the previous two models. Completely in the canal devices are the smallest available and the most likely to be damaged by ear wax. The receiver in the canal has a microphone behind the ear and a speaker in the ear canal.
Your hearing aid professional will help you decide which model best meets your requirements and needs. They will also ensure that they fit properly which is vital to continued use. It is important to realize that hearing aid devices cannot fix hearing loss but they do increase one’s quality of life.