What is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid comes in three levels of sophistication. There are basic, mid-level, and high-end technologies available at different cost levels. Enhanced digital, programmable, self regulating hearing aids with bluetooth connection, smart phone control and direct iPhone connection are an example of the technology that are now available.
Hearing aids also come in many shapes and sizes. Small instruments hidden in the canal, instruments that fill the visible ear, ones that fit behind the ear, along with other options.
The right level of technology and cosmetic aspects are something that is personal as well as related to your type of hearing loss and ear drum issue. The detailed evaluation by Dr. Slaughter and William J. Boggess, M.S. in our office, is necessary to inform you of all of your options.
Who is a candidate for a hearing aid?
Patient’s who have hearing loss that affects their ability to communicate with friends, family, and coworkers can benefit from the modern hearing aids, even if the amount of loss is mild. If you or your family have felt frustration at your lack of understanding, it is worth having a thorough evaluation of your ears and hearing to see the cause and options.
How do i know if i have hearing loss?
A hearing loss can manifest itself in many different ways. Sudden hearing loss can be from simple issues such as a wax occlusion or from more serious conditions such as sudden hearing loss syndrome. Most hearing loss progresses at a very gradual rate. Many people won’t realize they have a hearing loss until a friend or family member makes a comment about their hearing. Some people have a lot of demands placed on their hearing and as such are “tuned in” to any minor changes in hearing.
If you feel that your hearing may have been reduced or a friend or family member has noticed hearing loss, it should be evaluated right away.
What are the three levels of hearing loss?
There are three types of hearing loss.
- Conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is caused by a mechanical problem such as wax in the canal, ruptured ear drum, fluid behind the ear drum, or broken middle ear bones. Many times medical or procedural therapies can correct this type of loss.
- Sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss occurs in the inner ear (cochlea) and may be permanent if not treated early enough. It may be related to genetics, inner ear diseases, viral inflammation, noise exposure, or other causes. Some people refer to this as a “nerve hearing loss”. Medical therapy and some procedures can correct this condition but many times a hearing aid is the only option.
- Mixed hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is a mixture of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It is part mechanical and part sensorineural in nature. Many times this type of loss can be corrected with medical or surgical therapy or with hearing aids.
Our office offers the convenience of having Dr. Slaughter to provide a thorough medical evaluation of your ears as well as Bill Bogess our audiologist who has the state of the art in hearing testing and hearing aid evaluation equipment.
How can hearing loss impact my life?
Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can affect your overall health. Hearing loss can be indicative of a larger health issue. Many diseases can produce hearing loss. Inner ear viral inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and brain tumors are just a few examples. Left undiagnosed these conditions can worsen over time.
Communication is critical to social interaction. Studies have shown that people with hearing loss can become socially withdrawn and depressed.
Job performance, income potential, and the ability to learn in a changing work environment are all issues common with hearing loss. Coworker’s perception of the person with hearing loss can suffer as they mistake hearing loss for lack of ability or knowledge.
How To evaluate someone for a hearing aid
We start with a detailed hearing evaluation by our Audiologist, William J. Boggess. This is performed in our state of the art sound proof booth, using an audiometer and special headphones, to identify the type and degree of hearing loss.
If a hearing loss is identified you will be evaluated by Dr. Slaughter to identify if any medical or surgical therapy could correct the hearing loss.
If a hearing aid is the right treatment option for you, our audiologist will spend a hearing aid evaluation appointment with you. He will review all the modern hearing aids, levels of technologies, types of fit and visibility. This will also take in to consideration the situations where you need the amplification the most, your level of activity, your level of manual dexterity, the costs implications and insurance coverage, among other factors. This critical step assures a successful fitting with the right instrument for you.
Sinus & Snoring Specialists is a full service ENT medical practice that can serve all of you ear, hearing, and hearing aid needs in one convenient location.
Schedule a consultation
If you are suffering from hearing loss, hearing aids might be the right option for you. Call (512) 601-0303 to schedule a consultation at our office in Austin, TX.