What Hearing Instruments Do:
Basically hearing instruments make sounds you can’t hear louder. They also use different filters to reduce some of the background noise, and soften sounds that may be too loud. With hearing instruments you will hear and understand speech better in many situations, hopefully making life more enjoyable for you and the people around you.
Do I Need Two Hearing Instruments:
We may be hearing with our ears, but we process all the information with our brain. The brain is “wired” to expect information from both sides of the head. If you have hearing loss in both ears, two hearing instruments will almost always be the best choice. In fact your hearing will be more natural because your brain will receive the information it needs to process speech better in difficult listening situations. When we are listening in challenging environments, location, where sound is coming from is what helps us understand. We mentally locate sounds in specific positions and then we can focus on what'[s important. Sounds reach one ear fractionally faster and louder than the other- and the brain registers these subtle differences. Having two hearing instruments allows the brain to use the naturally helpful cues.
Parts of the Hearing Instrument
1: Two microphones to pick up sound
2: A programmable amplifier to make sounds louder
3: A miniature loud speaker called a receiver that sends the amplified sounds into the ear for you to hear
4: A tiny battery that run the instrument
5: A volume or program button
How Does a Hearing Instrument Work:
The microphone picks up sound and carries it to the amplifier. The amplifier makes the sound louder and clearer based on your hearing test results. The receiver sends this stronger sound into the ear canal, where it travels the rest of the way into your ear and to your brain. Your brain processes the new signal and you hearing the sound.
Adapting to Hearing Instruments:
A hearing aid is an aid to better hearing, not a cure for hearing loss. Getting the most out of your new hearing aids means acquiring new skills. Hearing loss often occurs slowly and your brain becomes accustom to the poor signal from your ears. So adjusting to a new signal from your hearing instruments also takes time. In the first week with you hearing instruments, you’ll be listening to the strange, often loud, new sounds around you, including your own voice. Your audiologist will adjust the hearing aids to be comfortable and over the first several weeks you will work together to create the best sound possible and achieve the full benefit offered by your hearing instruments. remember your brain is acquiring new skills and adjusting to new sounds so the more you wear your hearing instruments the better your results will be.
Choosing a Hearing Instrument:
Before choosing a hearing aid there are a number of factors to consider. During your hearing instrument evaluation you and the audiologist will discuss these factors.
Three physical factors:
- Type and degree of hearing loss: How much hearing loss you have determines how much amplification you will need.
- Ear anatomy: Everyone’s ears are different so there may be some styles that are not possible due to your ear or medical recommendations.
- One or two instruments? If you have a hearing loss in both ears, you should wear two instruments. Not because they make things twice as loud, but because – by mimicking the natural hearing process – they give you a better sense of where the sound is coming from.
Four personal factors:
- Communication needs: Take some time to consider the situations where you would like to improve your hearing. What do you want to achieve at work and at home? Telling your audiologist about your needs will help them find an appropriate solution.
- Handling hearing aids: The smaller the instrument, the smaller the controls and batteries. So if your eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, or your fingers cannot cope with small batteries and controls, a larger instrument would be the solution.
- Cosmetic appearance: Hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes. You can discuss your personal preferences with your audiologist to find the style that suits you best.
- Price: Haring aids come in various price categories, and medical insurance plans differ greatly. Currently only a few plans cover the full cost of hearing instruments.