Symptoms of Hearing Loss

1. Have a family history of hearing loss.
2. Have been repeatedly exposed to high noise levels.
3. Are inclined to believe that "everybody mumbles" or "people don't speak as clearly as they used to".
4. Feel growing nervous tension, irritability or fatigue from the effort to hear.
5. Find yourself straining to understand conversations and watching people's faces intently when you are listening.
6. Frequently misunderstand or need to have things repeated.
7. Increase the television or radio volume to a point that others complain of the loudness.
8. Have diabetes, heart, thyroid, or circulation problems, recurrent ear infections, constant ringing in the ears, dizzines, or exposure to ototoxic drugs or medication.

Types of Hearing Loss

A number of conditions can exist that cause a disruption in the hearing process and lead to hearing loss. The are three types of hearing loss: Sensori-Neural, Conductive and Mixed.

Sensori-Neural Hearing Loss
Sensori-Neural or "nerve" hearing loss results from damage to the hair cells, nerve fibers or both in the inner ear. This is the most common type of hearing loss and is often caused by aging or prolonged exposure to noise. It can also be caused by high fever, birth defects and certain drugs. People with Sensori-Neural hearing loss can hear speech, but frequently have difficulty understanding it. The problem is usually worse when background noise is present. Sensori-Neural hearing loss is most commonly treated by the use of a hearing instrument, and generally cannot be corrected through surgery or medicine.

Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss typically involves an obstruction in the outer or middle ear, which reduces transmission of sound vibration through air, bone or tissue to the inner ear. Fortunately, many conductive hearing losses can be treated successfully by medical or surgical procedures. Hearing instruments can also successfully treat conductive hearing loss.

Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed Hearing Loss occurred when both the sensori-neural and the conductive parts of the hearing system are affected. Most of these cases can be helped by either a hearing instrument, surgery procedures or both.

How Our Hearing System Works

The improved ability to hear has a tremendous impact on the quality of life for both those with hearing loss and their families. Having a good understanding of how your hearing works and then knowing your options for the best help available through today's advanced hearing aid technology will help you make the right choice in amplification and to use your new hearing instruments to their fullest potential. As sound passes through each ear, it sets off a chain reaction that could be compared to the toppling of a row of dominoes. First, the outer ear collects pressure (or sound) waves and funnels them through the ear canal. These vibrations strike the eardrum, then the delicate bones of the middle ear conduct the vibrations to the fluid in the inner ear. This stimulates the tiny nerve endings, called hair cells, which transform the vibrations into electro-chemical impulses. The impulses travel to the brain where they are understood as sounds you recognize.

Selecting a Hearing Instrument

Before purchasing a hearing aid, check to see if you have done the following:
- Consulted with your physician preferably an ENT doctor or had your hearing problem evaluated by a medical doctor.
- Evaluated the qualifications and services provided by your licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist.
- Carefully read the user instruction brochure and terms of your hearing aid contract.
- Made sure the instruments come with a warranty and that you understand its terms.
- Selected a model that fits comfortably, suits your individual needs and operates with ease.

Hearing instruments come in many types, designs and styles. Some provide a variety of special features such as programmability, telephone pickups, adjustable tone controls and microprocessors for noise filtration and bluetooth capabilities, etc.
Therefore, hearing instrument prices vary greatly, depending on the type of instrument, the number of special features and the services provided by your specialist.

Price should not be the primary concern, except for the limitations of your budget, when selecting hearing instruments. The objective is to select hearing instruments that will meet your needs by providing the most effective assistance for your hearing impairment.

Extensive laboratory and field research has scientifically proven that people benefit most from wearing a hearing instrument in each ear. This is commonly referred to as a binaural fitting.

Benefits of binaural hearing include an improved overall sound quality, clearer speech perception in normal listening environments, increased understanding in groups and noisy background situations, more relaxed hearing, no longer straining to use the best ear and a feeling of more balanced hearing, and better location where the sound is coming from.

At All Hearing Aid, Corp you will find the experience and expertise needed to assist you in selecting the hearing instrument that will provide optimal amplification for your individual hearing loss.

For the appropriate selection of a hearing instruments we must consider a series of factors such as degree and type of hearing loss, occupation, lifestyle, environment and physical limitations (because of the dexterity needed to handle the hearing aids, change the batteries, etc). Expert, personal assistance is required in the evaluation of your hearing, the selection and fitting of the hearing instrument and the follow-up services needed for the successful use of your hearing system. This can only be accomplished through a professional relationship between you and your Hearing Instrument Specialist at All Hearing Aid.

Hearing instruments today come in different styles and different circuit-types to improve hearing for individual hearing needs. Digital and microprocessor technology are part of the newer hearing aid designs. The cost of hearing aids reflects differences in size, advanced technology and professional services. As a result, the range of prices will vary for each aid. Allow your Hearing Instrument Specialist to advise you of your options. They will combine their expertise of fitting hearing instruments with your personal needs for hearing.

Using and Maintaining Your Hearing Instruments

Now that you have hearing instruments, you may notice sounds you haven't heard in a long time. Background street noises, a chirping bird, children playing... these are all sounds that gradually faded out of your life as your hearing diminished. Your decision to explore this new world of sound will enhance your quality of life.

The key is to remain optimistic during the adjustment period. You must give yourself time to adjust to better hearing. Daily use of your hearing instruments will be essential to that process. Through it all, your Hearing Instrument Specialist will be there to:
- Instruct you on the proper insertion and removal of your new hearing instruments.
- Show you basic care and maintenance of your instruments.
- Provide an individualized program to help you adjust to your newfound ability to hear.
- Consult with your family and others to help them better communicate with you and help you adjust to your new hearing system.

Service and Repair

A hearing instrument is a delicate, high-tech, electronic device and its operating lifespan depends greatly on its proper care. Gentle handling, occasional preventive maintenance, and a few simple precautions will result in longer life and less expense to its owner. It is important that your instrument be serviced by the office where you purchased it. Hearing Instrument Specialists at All Hearing Aid will provide you with continuing service.

Here are a few general suggestions for the proper care of your hearing instrument:
- Keep the hearing instrument dry and avoid excessive heat.
- Remove spent batteries immediately.
- Do not drop on hard surfaces.
- Protect the hearing instrument from hard knocks.
- Do not use hair spray while wearing the instrument.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What types of hearing aids are available today?
A: There are five basic types of hearing aids available today. They are described generically as invisible-in-the-canal (IIC), completely-in-the-canal (CIC), in-the-ear (ITE), receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) and behind-the-ear (BTE). Another alternative is the disposable hearing aid. This type of unit fits in the ear canal and is discarded when the batteries wear out.
Q: How do patients choose the right type of hearing aid?
A: The degree of hearing loss is a major factor in deciding what type of hearing aid best suits a person's need. Personal preference and lifestyle are also factors that should be considered. Hearing Instrument Specialists should guide hearing aid selection.
Q: How does a hearing aid work?
A: The microphone in the aid picks up the sound in the environment and changes it to electrical energy that goes to a set of amplifiers and other modifying and adjusting circuits. The modified electrical signal is then sent to a miniature speaker (called a receiver) and delivered to the ear. The newest aids are smart enough to amplify certain sounds or frequencies that are tailored to each hearing loss.
Q. What kind of research is taking place to improve hearing aids?
A. Engineers and scientists are designing components to deliver sound to the ear that replaces lost or distorted cues which contribute to the understanding of speech. Changes in directionality of microphones, the nature of the amplifier and fidelity of the sound in noise remain the main focus of most research.
Q. How do hearing aids perform with background noise?
A. Background noise is present in everyone's life. Unconsciously, the brain filters out most background noise. During hearing loss, the brain becomes lazy in this process because all sounds are reduced or inaudible. When an individual begins using the hearing aid all sounds are once again heard and it is necessary to retrain the brain in selective listening skills. It is critical that the hearing aid consumer participate in follow-up and counseling sessions during this period of adjustment.
Q. How much do hearing aids cost?
A. The cost of hearing aids varies depending on the type of hearing aid, the number of special features and the professional services provided. As a result, the range of prices varies.