In India alone, the number of people with hearing disabilities are in the range of 1.8 to 7 million people (range is due to inefficient census system). Why do so many people suffer from this disability? What are the major reasons behind hearing loss? Causes of Hearing Loss Many natural and unnatural causes can be attributed to hearing loss. Here are some of them:
- Presbycusis or weak hearing ability with age
- Extensive sound pollution
- Improper or Ototoxic medication
- Certain ear diseases like Otosclerosis
- Ear Infections
- Hereditary reasons
- Impacted earwax
- Fluid buildup in the middle of the ear
- Physical Head Injury
- Autoimmune Disorder
What Makes Untreated Hearing Loss a Serious Health Issue This might come as a surprise to you but an untreated hearing loss is considered as a serious health issue since it can lead to other health problems, some of them even acute in nature. Here are all that can go wrong if hearing issues are left untreated:
- Negative nature, anger, and constant irritability
- Depression - both in nascent and acute forms
- Fatigue, tension and stress
- Dementia or acute memory loss
- Loss of concentration
- Self-seclusion or withdrawal from social life
- Constant loneliness and or social rejection
- Increased risk to personal safety due to lack of alertness
- Inability to learn new concepts and tasks
- Reduced performance in the job
- Reduced mental and physical health
Hearing Aids and Assistive Hearing Equipments: Dedicated Solution to Hearing Issues If you have been suffering from similar hearing issues, a hearing aid can be your best friend in such a scenario. So lets understand,
What is a Hearing Aid? A Hearing Aid is a small electronic device that the patient can wear behind their ear. Its function is to amplify the intensity of the sounds so that a person with hearing difficulty can easily listen. Hence, communication is made easier and the subject can hear as clear as a regular person.
What is the mechanism of working of a hearing aid? A hearing aid works with the help of 5 key components:
1. Microphone: Picks up sound from the air and converts it into digital signals
2. Microchip: Present in high-end hearing aids. Customizes hearing solution
3. Amplifier: Strengthens the digital signals
4. Battery: Powers the hearing aid
5. Receiver: Converts digital signals into sound vibrations
Types of Hearing Aids and How to Choose the Right One Choosing the right hearing aid for your needs can be a bit confusing simply because there are multiple types or variants available in the market today. Heres a look at the types of hearing aids that one can go for and the use of casa es in which they are most suitable so that you can choose the best possible one for your needs:
- Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
As the name suggests, this type of hearing aid rests behind the ear with the help of tubing or wire and sends the amplified sound into your ear.
Suitable for: Patients with a mild and moderate level of hearing loss issues.
- In the Ear (ITE) or In the Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
These hearing aids completely fit into your ears since they have their working parts in the ear mould. Hence, they are less visible as compared to Behind the Ear hearing aids.
Suitable for: Patients with mild and moderate hearing loss who want a subtle hearing solution.
- Completely in Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
These hearing aids completely fit into the ear and are accompanied with very less visibility. The small size means less in terms of technology as features like hearing loop are lacking
Suitable for: Mild to moderate hearing loss such as the ones due to injury or old age.
- Invisible in the Canal (IIC) Hearing Aids
This type of hearing aid comes with virtually no visibility since they are fitted right into the ear canal and can be mostly removed by an audiologist.
Suitable for: People with mild to moderate hearing loss including Presbycusis and infection.
- Body-Worn Hearing Aids
As the name suggests, these can be clipped onto your clothes or be easily put in your pocket. This apparatus is then connected to an ear mould via a lead or soft tip.
Suitable for: Patients, especially seniors, who have both hearing and sight issues since it may be difficult for them to use small buttons.
- CROS/BiCROS Hearing Aids
CROS hearing aids pick up sound from the side of the ear with no hearing and feed the same into the hearing ear. BiCROS aids amplify the sounds from both the directions and feed the same into the best ear.
Suitable for: Patients, especially seniors, with one working and one non-working ear.
- Bone Conduction Hearing Aids
This type of hearing aid delivers the sound directly to the cochlea (the organ for hearing). This is done by imparting vibrations through the skull.
Suitable for: Patients with a Conductive hearing loss.
General FAQs About Hearing Aids
- What is the average cost of a hearing aid? Hearing aids come in a range of prices. The products on our website start from about INR 3,000 and go up to about INR 13,000 with the average cost lying about INR 8,300.
- What is the lifespan of a hearing aid? The average life expectancy of a hearing aid lies around 5 years. Though it mostly depends on the brand that youre opting for.
- What is the life expectancy of a hearing aid battery? You can refer to the following chart for the information -
- How do you Change the Battery in a Hearing Aid? The battery of a hearing aid can be inserted or changed in 4 simple steps as given below:
- Do you have to have a prescription to get a hearing aid? If you want the hearing aid to work in the best possible way for you, yes it needs to be prescribed by a medical practitioner, and preferably a hearing care specialist.
Features of an Ideal Hearing Aid An ideal hearing aid must tick as many boxes as possible in the following list of crucial features:
- Telecoil: To boost the sound signals through a magnet
- Digital Feedback Suppression: To suppress any secondary interfering sound
- Digital Noise Reduction: To cut down on unwanted background noise
- Directional Mic: To receive the sound from the required direction
- Low Battery Indicator: To know the ideal time to change the battery
- Volume Control: To adjust the volume according to the hearing ability
- Wax Guard: To protect the device from accumulated ear wax
- Data Logging: To keep track of usage statistics like time
- Memory: To remember the ideal configurations set by the user
- Audio Input: To receive the sound from the surroundings
- Wireless Connectivity: To facilitate maximum freedom of movement
- Frequency Shifting: To adjust to the varying wavelength of sounds
- Remote Control: To control the device with ease and accuracy
Important Things to Know while Buying Hearing Aids There are some important points that you should know about hearing aids before you invest in them. Heres a look: 1. There is a complete list of Dos and Donts that should be followed while choosing the most appropriate headphones: Before you opt for a hearing aid, get a proper hear inspection done from a doctor, preferably an audiologist.
- Learn about the best type of hearing aid for you depending on your condition.
- Learn how to use the hearing aid properly by understanding every feature.
- Learn how to maintain the product to prolong its lifespan.
2. Many hearing aids come with loss and damage warranties which can range anywhere between 1 to 3 years. This can also be coupled with a repair warranty. Whatever the case, make sure that your product comes with some sort of warranty to have a safety net. 3. Some products also come with a trial period. This is the period for which you can use the hearing aid and still return it if your ear is not able to adjust to it. 4. Proper ear wax management has to be carried out by the user so that the apparatus is not clogged. A device with an accompanying wax guard can also be preferred. 5. If you dont want the hassle of adjusting the volume of the hearing aid according to the environment that youre in, products with automatic volume control can be preferred.
When Do You Need a Hearing Aid Opting for a hearing aid or visiting the audiologist becomes a necessity when you notice the following changes in your daily activities due to hearing issues:
- You find yourself often isolated or in an ignoring mood more than often
- Your social activities are at a constant decline
- You feel like people are mumbling when they speak
- You cannot keep track of a conversation when multiple people are talking
- You cannot understand normal speech even with little background noise
Top Hearing Aids to Buy
Vita 118 Analog - Siemens
The Vita 118 from Siemens is one of the most popular body-worn hearing aids since it is also the most affordable choice. It comes with a max power output of 132 db spl and a gain of 65 db high power. The included microphone is omni direction with an electret condenser. High precision output and consistent voice quality make this a reliable product. There are 3 voice levels included within the adjustable voice feature. This is a pocket model of a hearing aid with a wire that can be used by patients of any age.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for all sorts of hearing issues ranging from mild, moderate to even severe.
Bte Lotus 12 Sp 1 - Siemen
This 100% pure digital entry from Siemens is a great Behind the Ear hearing aid to opt for and comes packed with the latest technology. It sports the digit acoustic fidelity output technology along with microphone noise abatement and an excellent feedback elimination system. The outward appearance of the hearing aid is moisture proof and the design is very robust for a product in this range.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for severe to profound hearing loss including severe injuries and hereditary cases.
The BTE Lotus 12P 1 from Siemens is another great behind the ear hearing aid that comes at a competitive price. Some useful features make this a powerful choice to go for. These include a rocker volume control, compatibility with FM language teaching system, moisture proof product body, microphone noise abatement, and two trimmers NH/MPO. The included feedback elimination system makes the sound much more clear.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for severe to profound hearing loss including severe ear diseases like Otosclerosis and cases of Ototoxic medication.
Another top-notch entry from the well-known brand of Siemens, this behind the ear hearing delivers superior sound quality and an advanced feedback elimination system for comfortable hearing. It is compatible with FM language teaching system and comes with a low distorted, low noise digit acoustic fidelity output. The powerful microphone can pick up relevant sounds in noise polluted environments and make sure that you dont miss out on any important conversations. The battery life is the best feature with a runtime of up to 240 hours.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for moderate to severe hearing loss including cases of Presbycusis and sound pollution.
This Behind the Ear hearing aid sits comfortably behind your ear. It comes with the feature of memory to remember your ideal configuration choices. The small design makes it non-obtrusive in day to day activities. The high end technology of Ace senses filters out any unwanted noise in the background and selects only relevant sounds with a natural backdrop. The choice of 48 available channels gives you the option of focusing on any type of sound.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for moderate hearing problems like the ones due to head injuries or fluid buildup in the ear.
The Signia Prompt P Behind the Ear hearing aid from Siemens features the best microphone in the list that can pick up sound from a dedicated direction before amplifying it. The product body is resistant to moisture, dust, sweat, and dirt to make it more durable. The aid works even when there is a lot of ambient sound in the environment with the speaker voice being directly fed into your ears via a mic.
Doctors Advice: Suitable for moderate to severe hearing loss including hearing problems due to sound pollution and Presbycusis.