Hearing: The Beauty Of Improving Your Life Through Technology
After hearing a loud noise in one ear, people often fear the worst and rush to the doctor for answers. They may receive some good news, though: hearing loss may not be an inevitable part of aging after all. There are impressive modern hearing device features which can make your life easier.
The cochlea is a sensory organ in our inner ear that helps us process sound as it enters our body. Within the cochlea are thousands of tiny hair cells that vibrate in response to different sound frequencies, sending signals through nerves into our brain, which associates those vibrations with sounds like music or conversation. However, hearing loss can result once these delicate hair cells are damaged by exposure to loud noises or other causes. When hearing loss occurs gradually over time, we call this presbycusis.
Age-related Hearing Loss
The hearing loss that comes with age is often irreversible, but modern hearing aids can amplify sound and make conversation easier once the hearing loss has occurred. With hearing aids, you don’t have just one hearing aid: there are several options you can consider to find the best match for your lifestyle. Hearing aids all work the same way, by amplifying sounds before sending them into your ear. Still, some hearing aids are designed specifically for hard-of-hearing people in one particular ear (monaural) or both ears (binaural). People who use hearing aids often say their lives improve because they can participate in conversations more efficiently, especially if they’re not already completely deaf. Hard-of-hearing people may also benefit from hearing aids by listening to sounds they have not heard in years, like the voices of their children.
In some cases, hearing loss can be prevented. To protect your hearing while you work, make sure to wear ear protection in loud environments and avoid exposure to very loud noises altogether if possible. If you are experiencing hearing loss, talk with your doctor about hearing aids or other ways to cope with your hearing impairment. Most people first experience hearing loss as a decrease in how well they hear a high-pitched sound, but it can affect all hearing frequencies over time. Fortunately, modern hearing aids offer many benefits for those who try them out.
How hearing devices work:
- tiny microphones which collect sound
- tiny microprocessors that take digital sound samples
- a speaker that emits sound into the ear canal
- amplify sound before sending it into the ear canal
Types of hearing devices:
- hearing aids – amplifies all sound frequencies
- hearing earpieces – amplify certain sounds like voices or music
- hearing loops – worn around the neck to pick up sound and direct it into hearing aids
People who wear hearing devices:
- hearing-impaired people
- musicians who play in loud environments
- construction workers
- people who work in noisy environments
Hearing devices downsides:
- hearing loss can’t be reversed
- hearing, in general, isn’t improved; only specific frequencies
- hearing devices can be expensive and are sometimes covered by insurance
Hearing aid benefits:
- hearing aids are adjustable
- hearing aids have many styles to choose from
- hearing-impaired people can hear sounds they hadn’t heard in years, like voices of children
- hearing aids are easy to wear and take care of