We live in a culture that seems to be obsessed with age; and not just the concept of aging, but the desire to stay young, and since the slow deterioration of one’s ability to hear is traditionally seen as a problem that ‘old people’ contend with, admitting to needing help hearing is tantamount to admitting that you are growing old, and in western society when you grow old, you are seen as useless and washed up.
This was not always the way that it was viewed, and in some cultures, even today, you still see a healthy respect for ‘elders’; those individuals who have gained knowledge and understanding through life’s experiences and are seen by their society or tribe as being a detrimental part of the community.
You see this attitude more in Eastern societies as well as in indigenous cultures.
But somehow, here in western society, we’ve lost our ability to appreciate our elders, and we are a society that has lost much because of it.
Not only are we fixated with not growing old, we are also obsessed with our looks and how we appear to other people.
This is another reason why hearing aids are seen as something to avoid; something to shun.
For many people even if hearing aids don’t conjure up images of 80 year olds shuffling down the halls of nursing homes, it does conjure up the image of being less than perfect; of having a disability or impairment that can be disfiguring and ruin one’s image.
This is another reason why so many people avoid opting for hearing aids (even if the damage occurred due to an accident or illness.
They don’t want to appear weak in front of others, so they avoid anything that could possibly be construed as such.
While this makes no sense from a logical perspective, if you are living a shallow sort of life where the opinions of others are all that matters to you, then it does make a difference. Unfortunately, there are also those who judge another based on their appearance; including if they look as if they appear to be weak or not entirely whole or fit.
Whether it is judging another individual by the clothes they wear or how they look you in the eye (or don’t) appearances can say a lot about a person, and many managers and executives have been trained to watch for signs or cues that the person may not fit the part.
This is especially true when they are looking to hire a new individual, and an obvious hearing aid can simply send the wrong impression.
Even if your condition is completely nullified by the hearing aid, simply having one can, in many people’s eyes, make you a lesser person; more apt to make mistakes; less able to hear you clearly or respond properly, and which they use to make snap decisions regarding whether or not to hire you for the position, give you the promotion, or consider your loan application.
This may not be fair or even logical, but it is prevalent and something as simple as a visible hearing aid can sometimes (sadly) makes all the difference.
Hearing Aids Aren’t All The Same
The fact is that as our population ages, hearing aids are becoming ever more common, however, not all hearing aids are the same. The kind of hearing aid you might need all depends on your lifestyle and the degree of hearing loss that you’re experiencing.
Some models of digital hearing aids are completely enclosed inside the ear so you can hardly see them.
A lot of people like these because it’s so hard to tell that you’re wearing a hearing aid. These devices are usually only for those with a minor hearing loss, however.
As well, there are more limits on the features available, like volume control for example, for some people, this just might not be a good solution.
Another type of hearing aid is one that fits partly into the ear canal, this style is barely noticeable, but still maintains some important features such as volume control.
Some of these hearing aids even come with remote control devices to help with the volume issue. Because these devices have more options, they can be used by people who have mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Most hearing aids are fitted either into the ear or just behind it.
In the ear devices fill the space in the cup of the ear.
With the behind the ear models, one piece goes into the ear.
The volume control and battery units fit behind your ear.
The downside of these models is that they are more visible. On the bright side, they feature longer batter life, plus they feature more options for control so you can maximize the benefits of this technology.
Hearing aids are comprised of three components: the microphone, amplifier and speaker.
The microphone is the part of the device that picks up the sounds that are emitted around you.
The amplifier helps you hear better by increasing the level of sound around you.
The speaker component relays the enhanced sound to the ear so you can hear it easily.
In The Ear (ITE)
These models slip into the outer ear bowl known as the concha, these are generally visible anytime your situated face-to-face with someone.
ITE hearing aids are going to be made to order to fit a persons ear.
They are used in mild towards severe hearing loss. Feedback, a squealing or whistling activated through sounds, particularly high frequency sound, leaking and basically being amplified once more, can be quite a concern in relation to severe loss of hearing.
A handful of advanced circuits can combine feedback control or cancelling may help with that.
BTE, Behind The Ear
BTE aids consist of a case, an earmold or dome as well as a link between them.
The casing contains the technology, controls, battery, microphone/microphones and even the loudspeaker.
Typically, the case is positioned at the back of the ear and the link out of the case coming down front side into the ear. The sounds right out the appliance is usually directed towards the ear.
A cochlear implant could help provide hearing to those that have severe hearing loss attributable to damaged sensory hair cells to their cochlear. With regards to to the patients, the implants in general would permit acceptable hearing for better perception of conversation.
The quality of sounds is different from standard hearing, by much less sound information being gathered and processed via the brain.
Although, many people are able to hear and recognize conversation and peripheral noises. More modern models and processing procedures allow users to hear a lot better in conversation and take pleasure in music.
BAHA, Bone Anchor Aid
Bone anchor assistive hearing aids use a surgically implanted point in so as to deliver sounds through direct conductivity through bone towards the inner ear, bypassing the exterior auditory canal and middle ear.
A titanium prosthesis is operatively incorporated within the head having a little abutment exposed outside the surface.
A sound processor is located about this point and transmits sound sensations towards the titanium implant.
The implant vibrates the skull and inner ear, which arouse the nerve endings within the inner ear, which allows hearing.
ABI, Auditory Brainstem Implant
The ABI is really a surgically implanted electronic component which provides a awareness of noises for the beneficiary who is profoundly deaf, due to sensorineural hearing impairment attributable to illness or injuries damaging the cochlea or auditory nerve, and thus precluding using a cochlear implant, the majority recipients have neurofibromatosis type 2, NF2.
Through NF2, both cochlear nerves will no longer have the ability to perform.
The ABI includes similar technologies as the cochlear implant, though as opposed to electrical stimulus applied to stimulate the cochlea, it’s instead designed to stimulate the brain stem within a recipient.
ABI patients have only an perception of sound in conversation and music is merely a beat.