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How to choose a hearing specialist

Important Points -- In order to benefit from hearing aids, you have to first admit that you have a permanent hearing problem. -- Make a personal choice to seek help with a good attitude. The fundamental requirement to overcome your hearing proble...

Important Points

-- In order to benefit from hearing aids, you have to first admit that you have a permanent hearing problem.

-- Make a personal choice to seek help with a good attitude. The fundamental requirement to overcome your hearing problem is your desire and determination to hear better.

-- Learn all you can about your hearing problem.

-- Set realistic expectations. Your hearing aids¹ job is to help you hear better, not perfectly.

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-- The keys to success with hearing aids are practice, time and patience.

Questions to think about

-- How do hearing aids work?

-- What is the difference in the various types of hearing aid circuits?

-- Why do hearing aids that look alike cost differently?

-- Is there a trial or adjustment period?

Find a clinician you feel comfortable with It is in the quieter details of life that we find the greatest pleasure:

the piano recital of a grandchild, dinner conversation with close friends, a morning of golf with a son or daughter. But as time passes, it is the quieter details which become harder to hear. The majority of hearing losses are a result of aging. Other possible causes are prolonged exposure to loud noises, heredity, certain illnesses and medications. However, the most common form of hearing loss is called nerve deafness. This comes about as a result of the fact that the cochlea (inner ear) and auditory nerves do not properly transmit their signals to the brain. One of every 11 Americans has some degree of hearing loss. For those aged 65 and older, the ratio is almost one in three.

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Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss is grouped according to the location of the damage or defect. The types are: conductive and sensori-neural. Conductive losses occur when sound waves are blocked by damage or obstruction in the outer or middle ear. Voices and sounds may sound faint, distorted or both. Approximately 20 percent of people with complaints of hearing loss suffer from this type of loss. Conductive losses may be treatable either medically or surgically. Sensori-neural, also known as nerve-type hearing loss, is commonly associated with the aging process. The inner ear or audiotory nerve cannot deliver signals to the brain correctly, due to damage or improper formation. This will cause sound to be distorted. Patients may complain that people seem to mumble or that they cannot hear speech well. Approximately 80 percent of adult patients with complaints of hearing loss suffer from this type problem. Sensori-neural losses may be helped by a dispenser with proper assessment and fitting of hearing aids. While each hearing loss is unique, most people share common results from their loss. They often feel isolated from their surroundings. It is often more difficult to meet new people or face new surroundings. They often complain of appearing incompetent or feeling insecure. There is good news. This type of hearing loss can be helped with the use of properly fitted hearing instruments.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids fill the gap created by a hearing loss by receiving and amplifying sound. Hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to what it once was, but if treated early, hearing aids can dramatically improve your quality of life. Today, we have many different styles and circuitries available, from the all-in-the-ear model to the completely-in-the-canal model. Also available are the 100 percent fully digital hearing aids with multiple features including directional microphone technology. This technology actually allows you to focus in on the speaker and reduce the background noise. It is important to note that when you get hearing aids, you wear them as much as possible. This is the best way for you to get used to them and the way they work. This also helps you to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction, learning what hearing aid settings work best in different situations, and using visual clues in difficult hearing environments.

Patience is the key. Your friends and family can be very helpful in the whole process. Encourage them to speak to you in a normal voice without over enunciating or over emphasizing their lip movements. This will give you the practice you need learning how to use your hearing aids.

Where to seek help

The first step should be a professional hearing examination conducted by a state licensed clinician. This will help to determine the level and type of your hearing loss. The proper treatment with either medical attention or a hearing aid will be recommended. With today¹s modern technology many hearing losses can be successfully corrected with a hearing aid. However, only about 25 percent of those people who could benefitfrom the use of a hearing aid actually do so. The most important thing to consider is how comfortable you are with the audiologist or dispenser who is treating you. Audiologists and dispensers are trained to diagnose and treat hearing loss. When looking for a competent dispenser, be sure they are licensed by the State and provide you with a trial period. Be sure you are comfortable with the dispenser you choose and that they are willing to work with you. The clinician¹s responsibility is to help you select the hearing aid that is right for your hearing loss, not just sell you a product.

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