Evaluation Counseling

On the basis of hearing test results the audiologist can determine whether hearing aids will help. Hearing aids are particularly useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people with sensorineural and/or conductive hearing loss. When choosing a hearing aid, the audiologist will consider your hearing ability, work and home activities, physical limitations, medical conditions, and cosmetic preferences. For many people, cost is also an important factor. You and your audiologist must decide whether one or two hearing aids will be best for you. Wearing two hearing aids may help balance sounds, improve your understanding of words in noisy situations, and make it easier to locate the source of sounds.

There are several types of hearing aids. Each type offers different advantages, depending on its design, levels of amplification, and size. Hearing aids come with either a one or two year warranty. Shea Center For Ears allows a 30-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund less a fitting and dispensing fee.

Today hearing aids come in a variety of styles, including ones that fit behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) and completely in the canal (CIC). The styles are designed for specific types of hearing loss as well as lifestyle and cosmetic considerations, and the audiologist can help choose which style may be best for you. The choice of hearing aids for a particular patient sometimes is limited by the amplification capabilities of the aid. The maximum amplification available with the ITE aid is somewhat less than that of the BTE aid. Usually, however, logistic considerations with limited dexterity may benefit more from the BTE aid, while others may choose the ITC aid for cosmetic reasons.

As a general rule, hearing aids can provide hearing that is short of normal acuity but more satisfactory than the uncompensated impairment. The prime function of a hearing aid is to amplify frequencies of sound selectively, so that the auditory nerve can transmit them more effectively.

Hearing aids are commonly prescribed for people with a mild to severe hearing loss. While some sounds of speech can be heard and understood with greater ease, some hearing aid users who have sensorineural loss continue to experience difficulty in understanding speech. If you have hearing loss in both ears, you can maximize the ability to understand speech and the direction of the sound source by wearing a hearing aid in each ear.

Adjusting to background noise may be a major issue for new hearing aid users. Advances in circuitry of hearing aids, specially designed ear molds, and adjustable features all have helped to ease the initial learning process for many patients.

There are three main types of hearing aids: analog, programmable and digital. Analog is the oldest technology for hearing aids and is no longer available. Programmable hearing aids give users greater flexibility than standard analog aids by allowing for computerized adjustments and remote control. They also can contain multiple response programs for use in different listening environments. Digital hearing aids are the most technologically sophisticated type of hearing aid and the most expensive. They also are programmable and provide advantages of greater adjustment precision and more complex sound processing. Volume adjustments are automatic. Many of these newer hearing aids have multiple microphones for better directional hearing and background noise reduction.

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