Mild Hearing Loss: BTE Hearing Aids Are A Perfect Fit
In most cases, hearing loss doesn't occur all at once. It's not like one minute you hear fine and the next you're straining to hear the speaker standing right in front of you. No, in most cases, hearing loss is gradual. And cumulative.
It often occurs over time due to a combination of aging, genetics and repeat exposure to loud noise – and loud noise is everywhere today in this plugged in, revved up world in which we live. So, what if you've just started to notice a little less in the hearing department? Heck, you might not even be the first to notice a loss of hearing. So what can you do?
Learn about hearing loss, discover the signs of early hearing loss, undergo a hearing evaluation and get yourself fitted for a pair of ear gear (hearing aids) to help you get back into a rich, full life. You don't have to miss a thing.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Okay, if hearing loss doesn't hit you all at once, what do you look for? What are the early signs that you need to make an appointment with your audiologist or hearing aid practitioner for a hearing evaluation?
There are lots of small signals that indicate the start of hearing loss and it can start early – even in your teens if you ramp up the volume on that MP3 player.
One of the earliest signs that you've lost some of your hearing may come from a family member, a friend, a carpool buddy or the next door neighbor. You may not notice any loss of hearing but those around you may find that you're missing half the conversation – their half.
Have you been told by others that "you should have a hearing test"? Have you been told by more than one person? Yep, that's a good sign that there's something going on in there that needs some attention – like NOW.
Other signals that you're experiencing a mild loss of hearing?
There are lots of signs and signals that indicate hearing loss. However, the most likely source of indications is you! You know you position yourself directly in front of the speaker to pick up visual clues from the lips. You have trouble hearing people on your cell – and you've got the volume maxed out! You're the one who notices the little things that add up to one big conclusion.
Time to get your ears checked. The first step is to have a full hearing evaluation to determine type and degree of hearing loss. Based on the hearing test results, a hearing professional such as an audiologist or licensed hearing aid practitioner will be able to determine if you are a hearing aid candidate.
So you had your hearing tested. You're on the fence.
The hearing problem is there, you know that. But you also know that wearing hearing aids can be an investment and you aren't sure if you really need them yet. So you keep straining to hear the grandkids or your boss at work.
If you do experience mild hearing loss – hearing loss in the higher frequencies, for example – your hearing professional may simply recommend some changes in lifestyle to better help you adapt to hearing loss and experience less listening strain.
If you aren't ready for a technological solution, i.e. a pair of hearing aids, here are some recommendations that will help day to day:
Which gets us to the modern marvels of technology, computers for the ears – today's hearing aids!
Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aids come in a variety of types and styles to suit your personal preferences and your hearing loss. In fact, new hearing aids have been designed specifically for persons with mild hearing loss in the higher frequencies.
Hearing aids for mild hearing loss are referred to as open ear hearing aids. No, these are not the big beige behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids grandpa wore. Today, they're lightweight for all-day wearing comfort, they come in a variety of colors from flesh tone to violet and they pack a lot of features into a tiny, little casing.
All good. But the biggest reason open ear hearing aids are the number one choice of folks with mild hearing loss is the open-ear fit design. Open ear hearing aids consist of a mini behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid that sits discretely behind the outer ear and ultra-thin plastic tubing which routes sound into the ear canal. The tubing then connects to a soft tip which sits within the ear canal, without blocking it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip.
An open ear BTE delivers an open ear fit, a smooth, automated boost in volume as needed and a long list of automated features to simplify life, from automated whistling suppression (talk on the phone with that high-pitched squeal) to automated volume control programmed by the hearing professional.
One example of an open ear hearing aid is the Oticon Agil. Agil hearing aids offer a sleek and compact open ear hearing aid while improving the overall listening experience with sophisticated hearing aid technology.
When you think of hearing aids, you think of those clunky, screechy things that grandpa used to grumble about but, today, hearing aids are digital computers designed to not only improve hearing but also improve quality of life and help you enjoy life more without a major change in lifestyle.
Step one is easy: pick up the phone and call a local hearing professional as soon as you suspect hearing loss in yourself or a loved one. Don't know of one? Check out any of professionals in Healthy Hearing's directory of clinics.
Then, work with these hearing pros to find solutions in adaptive behaviors and state-of-the-art hearing aid technology to provide the most organic, au natural hearing experience available.
Don't sit on the fence any longer. Go proactive and see a hearing professional. You really ought to hear what's going on.