Hearing aids relieve the strain of hearing. With the newer digital technology available, hearing aids also offer more clarity (less strain and more clear hearing).
When you get a hearing aid, however, you should experience:
Improved ease in listening environments (watching television, one-on-one conversations). Sounds like clocks ticking, refrigerators, computer noise, and footsteps will seem abnormally loud when first wearing hearing aids. This is normal. Your ability to tune out these insignificant sounds will improve as your brain adjust to hearing these soft sounds.
Less interference from a moderate amount of background noise. Loud background noise is still going to create a difficult listening situation, even with hearing aids. Choosing hearing aids with dual microphones is very important if this situation causes most of your struggle with hearing.
Comfortably snug fitting earmolds. It is normal to experience some occlusion effect (your voice becomes louder) when wearing hearing aids and/or ear molds.
Hearing aids can provide much help in communication, but the process does require a period of adjustment on the part of the wearer. Knowing what to expect can help immensely with your adjustment process. We encourage you to work with our hearing aid team to learn about this adjustment period and the benefits you should expect.
Who benefits most from hearing aids?
One-third or more of adults aged 65 or older have some degree of age-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss happens so gradually that many do not notice until it becomes a serious problem. Family and friends have to repeat themselves often and loudly in order to communicate, which is a source of frustration to everyone. Many of our patients remember thinking that everyone "mumbles" or "doesn't speak clearly". More often than not, hearing loss is a source of the problem... not the speaker.
Hearing aids won't restore hearing to normal or slow the progression of nerve or age-related deafness.
Benefits of having two hearing aids
It is okay to wear one hearing aid if you have a hearing loss in one ear. Otherwise getting two hearing aids is highly recommended. Two hearing aids provide the following benefits:
Localization: the ability to locate where sounds are coming from. If a sound arriving at one ear is very much different in time, loudness, and pitch, the brain has difficulty processing where sound is occurring.
You hear with your brain as well as your ears: when you supply sound to your ear via a hearing aid, it sends the information to your central nervous system and those cells become active and useful. If your brain is deprived of the sound on one side, the cells are not used and may atrophy.
Ability to hear better in noisy situations: with the introduction of dual microphones, we can cancel out much interfering background noise. This option is especially helpful if the hearing aid user has two hearing aids. If one ear without the aid is not supplied with directional and amplified sound, the background noise level on that side of the head remains and does not aid the listener in separating speech from noise.
If someone speaks to you on the side of your unaided ear, his or her voice loses power as it travels to the ear with the hearing aid (sometimes as much as 20 decibels). You may not be able to hear speech, especially if there is background noise coming from all directions in a room.