Find Your Sound – Dealing with Hearing Loss and Picking the Perfect Hearing Aid

August 17, 2023

By Albert Valino


When it comes to hearing health, each individual has a unique set of circumstances, needs, and lifestyles. Whether you’re an avid music lover who attends live concerts, a retiree who enjoys quiet afternoons in the garden, or a professional working in noisy environments, your hearing aids should cater to your lifestyle. 

Choosing a hearing aid isn’t just about the device itself—it’s about selecting a tool that can optimise your hearing experience based on your unique circumstances.

Hearing loss is a prevalent health issue in Australia. According to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, about 3.6 million Australians have some hearing loss, and more than 1.3 million people are living with a hearing condition that could have been prevented. These figures underscore the importance of proactive hearing health management.

Before deciding on a hearing aid, the first step is to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation from a qualified audiologist. This step is crucial in helping to identify the type and degree of your hearing loss and, therefore, helps determine the most suitable hearing aid for you.

But it’s not just about the hearing loss itself. Your lifestyle plays an equally important role. If you’re an active person who spends a lot of time outdoors, you might want to consider hearing aids resistant to dust and moisture. If you’re a tech enthusiast, you might prefer a hearing aid that connects directly to your smartphone or TV.

Understanding your hearing needs and lifestyle is the first step in finding the hearing aid that will work best for you. And with the help of a qualified audiologist, you can navigate this path more effectively and ultimately improve your quality of life.

Recognising the Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a widespread condition that can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life. Early recognition of the signs of hearing loss is crucial for seeking timely and effective treatment. Recognising these signs, however, can sometimes be challenging because hearing loss often occurs gradually. Let’s review some common symptoms that might signal a need for further hearing assessment.

One common sign of hearing loss is difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd. You might find that you often ask others to repeat themselves, speak more slowly, or speak more clearly. This can occur in one-on-one conversations, but it often becomes even more noticeable in more extensive group settings or noisy environments.

Another sign to look out for is increasing your television or radio volume. If family members or neighbours mention that your TV or music is too loud, it might signal that your hearing isn’t as sharp as it used to be.

Furthermore, some people with hearing loss notice a constant ringing, buzzing, or roaring noise in the ears, known as tinnitus. While tinnitus is not always linked to hearing loss, it often accompanies it and can be pretty bothersome.

Avoiding social situations is another common symptom, especially if you’re having difficulty following conversations and keeping up with what’s being said. This can lead to feelings of frustration and even social isolation.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing any form of ear discomfort, whether it’s pain, pressure, or a plugged feeling, it could also indicate potential hearing loss.

These are just a few signs of hearing loss. However, the only way to accurately diagnose hearing loss is through a comprehensive hearing test by a qualified audiologist. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t delay—reach out to a hearing professional who can guide you through the assessment and treatment process. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey; help is readily available.

The Different Types of Hearing Loss

When it comes to hearing loss, it’s not a one-size-fits-all condition. There are different types of hearing loss, each with its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Understanding these differences can be vital in finding the right solution for your hearing needs.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot pass freely to the inner ear. The cause could be a blockage in the ear canal, such as earwax or fluid, an infection in the middle ear, or abnormalities in the eardrum or the ear’s tiny bones. People with conductive hearing loss may find sounds to be muffled or softer than usual.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of permanent hearing loss and occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or to the pathway that sound impulses travel along to reach the brain. This can be due to ageing, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, or various health conditions such as Meniere’s disease or diabetes. Those with sensorineural hearing loss may struggle with understanding speech, even if it seems loud enough, as sound clarity is often affected.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, meaning there’s damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or auditory nerve. This can be due to a combination of factors from both categories.

These different types of hearing loss can significantly impact your daily life in varying ways. Whether you’re having trouble hearing conversations in noisy environments or finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy your favourite music or TV shows, seeking help is essential.

An audiologist can help identify the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, explore the possible causes, and guide you through your options for treatment. So, if you’re noticing changes in your hearing, remember you don’t have to navigate it alone. Reach out to a hearing professional who can provide the help and support you need.

How Hearing Aids Can Help

For many Australians with hearing loss, hearing aids serve as a lifeline to better communication and improved quality of life. But how do these small yet mighty devices help improve your hearing abilities? Let’s explore the mechanics of hearing aids.

At their core, hearing aids are small, high-tech devices designed to help individuals with hearing loss hear sounds more clearly and understand speech more effectively. They work by amplifying sounds, making them louder and easier to hear. However, they do much more than crank up the volume.

Hearing aids have a microphone that picks up sounds from the environment. A tiny computer chip within the hearing aid converts these sounds into a digital signal. The digital signal is adjusted based on the individual’s specific hearing loss, the listening environment, and the level of the sounds around them.

Once the signal is adjusted, it’s converted back into sound waves and delivered into the ears through the speakers. The result? Sounds that are tailored to your specific hearing needs, helping you to hear and understand them better.

It’s important to remember that while hearing aids can significantly improve hearing capabilities, they don’t cure hearing loss. They are tools that help manage it. The key to optimising the benefits of hearing aids lies in having them properly fitted and adjusted by an audiologist to meet your specific hearing needs.

If you’re experiencing signs of hearing loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to a hearing professional. With their expertise and the right hearing aid, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the sounds of life again.

Understanding the Different Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids come in various styles, each designed to cater to different types of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, and preferences. Whether you value discretion, convenience, or the latest technology, there’s a hearing aid out there for you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of hearing aids available.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

As the name suggests, BTE hearing aids sit comfortably behind your ear, with a clear tube directing sound into a custom earpiece that fits into your ear canal. They are suitable for all ages and can cater to almost all types of hearing loss, from mild to profound. While they are slightly more visible than other styles, they’re highly durable, easy to handle, and often have a longer battery life.

Invisible In-Ear (IIE) Hearing Aids

For those who value discretion, IIE hearing aids could be the perfect choice. These devices are custom-made to fit entirely within your ear canal, making them almost invisible to the naked eye. They’re most suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. While their small size may make them more challenging to handle, and they typically have a shorter battery life, many users appreciate the low-profile aesthetics.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Bluetooth hearing aids are the epitome of modern hearing technology. These devices can connect directly to your smartphone, TV, or other Bluetooth-enabled devices, allowing you to stream audio now into your hearing aids. This feature can significantly enhance your listening experience, especially in challenging environments. However, remember that using Bluetooth can consume more battery power than usual.

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Rechargeable hearing aids come with built-in rechargeable batteries, offering the convenience of not regularly changing tiny batteries. An overnight charge can power most rechargeable hearing aids for a full day. If you prefer the eco-friendly approach and want to save on the recurring cost of disposable batteries, rechargeable hearing aids might be for you.

Choosing the right hearing aid involves considering your type and degree of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, and personal preferences. Remember, an audiologist is your best guide on this journey. With their help, you can find a hearing aid that fits perfectly with your hearing needs and lifestyle, enhancing your quality of life and reconnecting you with the world of sound.

Your Lifestyle and Hearing Needs

The hearing aid that’s right for you depends on more than just the type and severity of your hearing loss. It’s also essential to consider your lifestyle – the daily activities you engage in, the environments in which you spend your time, and your communication needs. Let’s explore how these factors can influence your choice of hearing aids.

If you lead an active lifestyle, often finding yourself in different listening environments – whether it’s having conversations in noisy restaurants, enjoying outdoor activities, or attending music concerts – you might benefit from a more advanced hearing aid with features designed to enhance speech clarity in noisy environments and improve the quality of music.

Are you an avid technology user? Do you enjoy streaming music or podcasts or frequently have long video calls with family, friends, or colleagues? If so, a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid would allow you to connect your hearing aids directly to your smartphone or other devices, providing a seamless listening experience.

A basic hearing aid model may be all you need for those who spend much time at home watching TV or reading. However, enjoy watching TV with family members and often struggle with finding a volume that suits everyone. A hearing aid with TV streaming capability can make a world of difference.

For individuals who spend a lot of time talking on the phone, certain hearing aids offer t-coil or telecoil functionality. This feature allows you to connect directly with compatible telephones or loop systems found in many theatres and churches, helping to improve clarity when on the phone or in large gatherings.

Lastly, suppose you have dexterity issues or find handling small objects challenging. In that case, a larger hearing aid model such as a BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aid might be easier to handle when inserting or removing it or changing the batteries.

These are just a few examples of how your lifestyle and hearing needs can affect your choice of hearing aids. The best way to determine the right hearing aid for you is to have an open and honest discussion with your audiologist about your lifestyle and needs. This will ensure you find a solution that improves your hearing and fits seamlessly into your life.

Seek Professional Hearing Assessment and Personal Comfort

Choosing the right hearing aid isn’t simply selecting the most advanced model or the one that looks discreet. It’s a process that begins with a comprehensive hearing assessment and involves the expertise of a professional audiologist. At the same time, personal comfort – both in terms of how the device fits and how it feels to use – should be a key consideration.

Regular hearing tests and assessments are crucial to track your hearing health. Much like an eye test, a hearing assessment can detect changes in your hearing abilities over time, even before you notice them yourself. These tests are not just for individuals who already experience hearing loss; they’re a vital part of preventive healthcare for everyone, mainly as we age.

Once a hearing loss is identified, your audiologist becomes your guide and ally in finding the proper hearing solution. They’ll consider the type and degree of your hearing loss, lifestyle needs, and personal preferences. With their expert knowledge of the various hearing aid models and features available, they can recommend the ones most suited to your needs.

However, the role of the audiologist doesn’t stop there. They will also ensure that your chosen hearing aid fits correctly. An ill-fitting hearing aid can cause discomfort and not provide the optimum sound quality. The audiologist will fine-tune your hearing aid to ensure it’s comfortable and working effectively to enhance your hearing.

Moreover, personal comfort goes beyond just the physical fit of the device. It’s also about how comfortable you are with its functionality and features. Some people prefer hearing aids with manual controls that adjust volume and settings according to their preferences. In contrast, others may opt for devices that automatically adapt to different listening environments.

Your hearing aids are tools that help you connect with the world around you. They need to be something you feel comfortable and confident wearing daily. It’s worth spending time with your audiologist to explore different options, ask questions, and find a hearing aid that meets your hearing needs and fits comfortably into your lifestyle.

Personalised Care at Freedom Hearing

Navigating the world of hearing loss and hearing aids can be challenging, but you’re not alone in this journey. At Freedom Hearing, we pride ourselves on providing personalised care tailored to each individual’s unique needs.

We understand that hearing loss affects everyone differently and that the best solutions are the ones that are designed around your specific hearing needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Our approach is grounded in a deep understanding of you as an individual.

From the moment you step into one of our clinics, our goal is to make you feel understood and cared for. Our dedicated team of experienced audiologists will take the time to listen to your concerns and understand your needs. We conduct comprehensive hearing assessments using state-of-the-art technology to determine the type and degree of your hearing loss accurately.

But our care doesn’t stop at diagnosis. Our audiologists will guide you through selecting the right hearing aids, explaining the different styles and features, and recommending the ones that best fit your lifestyle and budget. We work with a wide range of top-quality hearing aids from reputable manufacturers, ensuring we can offer a solution that is right for you.

Once your hearing aids have been selected, we provide precise fitting and fine-tuning to ensure optimal comfort and performance. We also offer ongoing support and adjustments because your hearing needs may change.

At Freedom Hearing, we believe in building relationships with our clients. We’re here to support you today and in the future, helping you adapt to your hearing aids and ensuring that they continue to meet your needs.

Your journey to better hearing is unique, and it deserves personalised care. Reach out to Freedom Hearing today, and let us help you reconnect with the sounds you love.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended to be general, providing an overview of hearing loss and hearing aids. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice. Everyone’s hearing needs are unique, and the best solution for you should be determined through consultation with a qualified hearing healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of an audiologist or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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