It’s estimated that one out of three of those 65 years of age and older will become hearing impaired. Fortunately, technology has redefined how we help those with hearing loss.Hearing AidsToday’s hearing aids have diminished the effects of background noise and the buzzing and whistling that early models did not address. Most contain a microcomputer that responds to noise in the environment so that there is no feedback or echoes. Some are specifically designed to improve speech audibility in difficult listening situations. They diminish distortion and automatically adjust the volume. Some even offer technology that can reduce tinnitus—a constant ringing in the ears.Types of Aids
Completely-in-the-canal. These smallest of hearing aids are also the least visible. Due to its size, there are no added features such as volume control or directional microphone. Because of its insertion into the canal, wind noise is diminished.
In-the-ear. This model is still almost invisible. It has a few more features, though they can be difficult to adjust.
Receiver-in-the-ear. This model is more visible. It also includes volume control. These models start to increase the issues with wind noise due to their location outside of the ear.
Behind-the-ear. This style is capable of more amplification. It also picks up more wind noise.
Additional ImprovementsIn addition to the technological advances, present hearing aids are not only better performing but better looking as well. They are easier to wear and are much smaller, becoming almost invisible with some models. Each is now tailor-made for the individual instead of mass produced, computer-programmed to match each person’s hearing loss. The directional microphone is the most important advancement as it helps people hear in noisy environments. The only present downfall is that it will not fit into the smallest of models.Hearing Loss and Changes in LifestyleHearing loss can affect the elderly in a number of ways. They may become increasingly home-bound due to the frustration of trying to hear others when out in public. This affect intensifies if their hearing aid has been incorrectly fitted, adjusted, or designed. If your elderly parent complains of background noise or difficulty making out words even when wearing their hearing aid, be sure to make an appointment with their auditory specialist to discuss options. If your loved one spends time with a home care provider, they can help with transportation to social events as well as attend a few to determine what the issue might be that your loved one is encountering.