SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS:
This is the most prevalent kind of hearing loss accounting for 90% of hearing loss cases. It is caused by damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve of hearing. Often times the person with this type of loss will feel that they can indeed hear, however they report having difficulty understanding speech, especially in the presence of background noise. The number one treatment for this type of loss is a hearing device.
CONDUCTIVE HEARING LOSS:
This is a loss that occurs because of a blockage in either the outer or middle ear. Treatments can range from simple ear wax removal to medication or surgery by a medical doctor. The audiologists at HearCare are specially trained to assess the hearing system and refer to a physician if necessary.
MIXED HEARING LOSS:
This loss of hearing occurs when a patient has both a conductive loss and a nerve loss. Accurate diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment. Diagnosis would include a complete hearing evaluation and tympanometry to assess middle ear movement.
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Hearing devices are the number one treatment option for people suffering from hearing loss. There are so many different options and technologies available in today’s market, so it can be very confusing to decide which one is RIGHT for you.
One size does not fit all, so be cautious when researching a provider so that you can find one that is willing to consult and work WITH you so that YOU can make the best decision for yourself.
Things to consider:
- Your lifestyle
- Your ear shape and size
- Your hearing level
Make no mistake that hearing devices can be an investment–but you must think about them as an investment in YOU – they will keep you connected to the loved ones in your life, your social & daily interactions, co-workers, and clients.
Don’t let cost be the deciding factor in choosing the best hearing technology—do a field trial: most reputable hearing aid providers should offer a minimum of a 30 day trial period so that YOU can decide whether the investment is worth the value…and if it’s not, try something else.
YOU should decide what is right for you, and be educated before making a purchase as to what to expect from them before trying them out.
If you truly cannot afford hearing technology–don’t settle for the $99 or $250 ads we often see come through the mail or on TV.
There are options!
Some providers offer payment plans, and of course, there are foundations and nonprofits like HearCare Connection which are designed to help people who need & want to hear, be able to hear with the most appropriate technology.
MEDICAL TREATMENT OPTIONS
There are numerous medical treatments that can help if the hearing loss is conductive or mixed in nature. There are some surgeries available for certain medical conditions within the ear that may be attributing to hearing loss. Some hearing losses should have a medical clearance prior to fitting them which is why having a qualified, licensed Audiologist on site at your hearing provider is so important. Their schooling teaches them what to look for and therefore should always refer to a medical doctor or ENT in those circumstances. And of course, sometimes when a hearing loss is too severe to treat with hearing aids, a cochlear implant may be a good option.
There are numerous over the counter devices sold to help a person who is experiencing problems stemming from hearing loss.
Some simple devices are:
- Amplified Telephone – a simple telephone or addition to a telephone system to make talking on a standard hardwired telephone system easier. Often times a person with a hearing loss has a hard time having a conversation on the telephone, and amplified phone systems make this easier. They can often be used with our without hearing aids.
- TV listening System – a small device that connects to the television cable box and communicates “wirelessly” with a headset or hearing aids to make hearing the television more comfortable for you and those around you. People often say that their loved ones often complain of the TV being too loud all the time–TV listening systems can help with this.
- Personal Amplifiers – These are small pocket receivers with a microphone and are used with a headset. For people who may not wish to purchase hearing aids, or only need to hear in limited situations, these are an alternative short term solution.
- Alarms and Alert Systems – There are alarm clocks, alert systems, and fire alarms that are made specifically for people with hearing loss. The often use a lighting system or vibration alerts to notify the user of emergencies or when it is time to wake up. Check with your local Fire Station or with our local DeafLink for more information on these systems.
- Loop Systems – Recently a new push to Loop America has come right here to Fort Wayne. Loop systems are systems that can be for personal or public use. Small personal loops can be connected to television at home and then “looped” under a chair in a seat pad which will communicate with hearing aid T-coils so that the sound comes directly from the receiver of the Loop System. Your TV audio will come directly through your hearing aids without the need to increase the volume or interfering with family member’s listening pleasure.