Which are the Best Hearing Aids for Severe Loss of Hearing?
There are several different levels of hearing loss that we can experience. These range from mild hearing loss, in which you may struggle to hear some speech in noisy environments and from distance, to profound hearing loss, which tends to mean that people can only hear the very loudest noises unassisted.
Naturally, the level at which a person’s hearing loss is measured will have implications for the level of assistance that is recommended when they are assessed by an audiologist. While those with mild loss may not need any meaningful assistance to proceed with their lives as usual, the more severe the loss gets, the more considerable the assistance will need to be.
For people with severe hearing loss, the reality is that they can hear some noises unassisted, but they can’t hear them especially clearly. Speech, even in a loud, clear voice can be hard to understand. Therefore, people with severe hearing loss will, typically, seek to find a hearing aid that helps them overcome the challenges their hearing loss presents.
What should you look for in a hearing aid if you have severe hearing loss?
The severity of your hearing loss will have a definitive impact on the types of hearing aids that will work best for you. In the case that you have severe hearing loss, this does mean that some hearing aids are not going to work as well as others, and some will not be appropriate for you at all. For people with severe hearing loss, a more powerful hearing aid will be needed, and this tends to rule out the smaller, more cosmetic hearing aids such as in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids.
Most usually, the ideal hearing aid for someone with severe hearing loss will be a behind the ear (BTE) model, which as the name suggests will sit behind the ear attached to a full ear mold. Newer models of these hearing aids are increasingly unobtrusive, with some of the latest innovations even being available to fit on babies with hearing loss.
Make sure the hearing aid is well fitted
Because users with severe hearing loss will need more powerful hearing aids, it is all the more important to choose one that avoids feedback. Typically, the more powerful an auditory device, the greater the risk of feedback and the worse the impact it will have. Fortunately, there are ways and means of not only minimizing that risk but removing it entirely. When wearing a hearing aid, the cause of feedback is noise escaping the affected ear and then being picked up and further amplified by the microphone. The solution is to ensure that the hearing aid is fitted carefully, avoiding a situation where noise can leak out of the ear.
By consulting closely with your audiologist, you can ensure that the best possible ear mold is made so that when you wear the hearing aid, no noise can escape and be re-amplified. This will make the hearing aid not only more comfortable to wear, but also more effective in delivering only the right sounds.
Ask about assistive technology
The more severe your hearing loss, the more you might benefit from the additional assistive features that are available with the latest generation of hearing aid models. In consultation with your audiologist, you can find out all you need to know about which hearing aids will have the greatest benefits for you and allow you to clearly hear speech and other important sounds.
Some hearing aids will use an additional microphone to help them differentiate speech from extraneous noise. Others can be connected to smartphones, allowing you to better hear a phone conversation or even make use of the increasing range of apps that can be used to get the most from your hearing aid. Always be ready to ask as many questions of your audiologist as you need to, in order to make sure you get the right model for your needs. A trained audiologist will have worked with plenty of people in the same situation you are in, and will have helped them get the most from their hearing aids. They can do the same for you.
In order to find out more about what hearing aids can do for you, or to arrange an appointment to get your hearing tested, feel free to give Ashland Audiology a call at 715-682-9311. An audiologist will be only too happy to take you through the hearing test process and advise you on the models that may suit you.