Hearing loss is something that affects many people. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one in eight people experience hearing loss in both ears. Additionally, 8.5% of all adults aged 45-54 have disabling hearing loss.
You’re likely reading this page because you experience some hearing loss, and you’re wondering if it can be restored? The sad truth is when your hearing becomes damaged, the results cannot get reversed.
However, on a positive note, you can get help with managing your hearing loss. By seeking treatment as soon as possible, you’ll still enjoy all the benefits of full hearing.
How does your hearing work?
Three major components make up your ears: the outer, middle and inner ears.
Your outer ears have an external portion that is easily visible, and the ear canals are partially visible externally. The purpose of your outer ears is to get sound energy and direct that to your eardrums.
Once those sound waves travel through your outer ears and ear canals into your eardrums, some small bones inside your ears amplify the sound in your middle ears. Those sound waves then travel through to your inner ears via the cochlea – a snail-shaped structure.
The nerve cells and tiny hairs attached to the cochlea then convert all sound wave energy into electrical signals sent to your brain.
What causes hearing loss?
You might not realize it, but there are many ways that people can experience hearing loss. Everyone will experience hearing loss in their lives naturally due to the aging process. But, for some people, hearing loss can be much more extensive due to external factors.
Some of those factors include getting exposed to loud noises for long periods, either through work or socially. Others include medical conditions like ear infections, earwax buildup, meningitis, and even genetics can play a part in an individual’s hearing loss.
The importance of treating hearing loss early
If you’ve recently started noticing diminished hearing, the one thing you need to do immediately is have your ears and hearing examined. The trouble is, some people hold off getting their hearing checked and thinking that they’re “too young” for hearing aids.
The thing about hearing loss is that it’s a gradual process. The hearing loss you experience will worsen as time goes on, and you’re unlikely to notice significant day-to-day hearing degradation.
It’s worth keeping in mind that your brain can remarkably adapt quickly to any changes like worsening hearing. It can “reallocate” cells responsible for processing sounds to other senses in your body. When that happens, your brain can’t undo those changes.
Those are just a couple of reasons why it pays to have hearing loss treated sooner rather than later.
Hearing aid options
If you have a hearing test and your hearing instrument specialist (HIS) determines you need hearing aids, it might surprise you to learn there’s a variety of styles and options available:
- Behind the ear (BTE)
- Receiver in canal (RIC)
- In the ear (ITE)
- In the canal (ITC)
- Completely in canal (CIC)
- Invisible in canal (IIC)
The style that your hearing instrument specialist recommends will depend on the severity of your hearing loss. It’s even possible to have Bluetooth-capable hearing aids, thanks to advances in hearing aid technology.
The benefits of hearing aids
Regardless of the device style and options you choose, hearing aids will bring a plethora of benefits to your daily life. Undoubtedly the biggest advantage of all is the ability to enjoy crystal-clear hearing in virtually any social or work setting.
You’ll no longer find it hard to follow conversations when people are talking to you or near you. Plus, there will also be greater clarity in the quieter sounds that you may not have heard due to your hearing loss.
Hearing aids also bring a welcome confidence boost to those that wear them. Hearing aid users will feel more confident to carry out their day-to-day work and have greater freedom in social settings.
How to protect your hearing
Hearing aids undoubtedly make your daily life easier. But, it’s crucial that you take some reasonable steps to prevent any further damage to your hearing. For instance, this means wearing ear protection if you work with loud machinery and equipment.
You should also listen to music at home, in the car, or elsewhere at lower volumes – especially when you use hearing aids.
Are you ready to have a hearing test and select some hearing aids to help overcome the effects of hearing loss? Contact The Hearing Aid Place today on 510-768-7091 to schedule an appointment.