Many things can contribute to hearing loss. Some factors, such as earwax buildup, can prevent the ears from conducting sounds correctly. Other factors, like heredity and long-term noise exposure, can slowly damage hearing over time. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), nearly one-third of Americans over age 65 have some degree of hearing loss.
Unfortunately, nothing can reverse hearing loss when the ears are damaged in some way. However, with help from a doctor or hearing specialist, most people can improve their hearing with certain treatments. The best hearing loss treatment depends on the cause and severity of the problem.
Common Hearing Loss Treatments
When hearing loss is due to earwax blockage, removing the earwax can improve hearing. When inner ear damage occurs, hearing aids can make sounds louder, stronger and easier to hear. For people with severe hearing problems, cochlear implants are a possible option.
Most people with hearing loss treat the problem with hearing aids. Doctors, audiologists and other hearing specialists can discuss the benefits of hearing aids and recommend the best devices. Most people must try more than one hearing aid to find the best one.
All hearing aids contain small parts that carry sounds from the environment into the ear. However, these devices exist in many different styles and types. Knowing more about them can alleviate concerns and help people choose the right device for their needs.
In-The-Canal Hearing Aids
In-the-canal hearing aids are custom-molded to fit inside the ear canal. They are used to improve mild or moderate hearing loss in adult patients. Some styles fit completely in the ear, while others fit partially in the ear. In-the-canal hearing aids are easy to use with a telephone, and they are less visible than some of the other devices.
Half-Shell and Full-Shell Hearing Aids
Half-shell hearing aids are smaller versions of in-the-canal devices. They are molded to fill the lower part of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. Full-shell devices fill most of this area of the ear. Half-shell and full-shell hearing aids are used to improve hearing in people with moderate or severe hearing problems.
Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear hearing aids hook over the ear and rest behind it. They amplify sounds and are appropriate for people with all degrees of hearing loss. However, they are the largest and most visible type of hearing aid device. Smaller versions are designed with an “open” fit that is less visible than larger models. The smaller devices are best for mild or moderate, high-frequency hearing loss when low-frequency hearing is not damaged.
There are many brands of hearing aids and related devices. The Miracle-Ear franchise is an example of a trusted brand that most people have heard about. Companies like Miracle-Ear offer complete hearing loss solutions to fit every need and budget. Their sophisticated technologies ensure that people have a range of high-quality options to choose from.
In addition to hearing aids, most companies also sell accessories to help people clean and dehumidify their devices and recharge the batteries. Many companies offer free cleanings and adjustments, generous warranties, annual hearing tests and personalized customer service.
Hearing loss is a serious problem that is more than an inconvenience. It plays an important role in quality of life issues. Fortunately, people do not have to live in a world of distorted sounds. Hearing aids are an effective solution for most people with hearing loss.