A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn inside or behind the ears. It enhances some sounds loud so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate and participate fully in daily activities. Hearing aid make people hear more in quiet and noisy situations.
Therefore, hearing aids benefit users with hearing loss and they bring a ray of hope for persons who have disabilities in hearing.
There are three components of a hearing aid, a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. This amplifier boosts the power of signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.
Hearing aids help people who have hearing loss resulting from damage to sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This damage causes sensorineural hearing loss. This damage occurs as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medications.
How to detect a need for a Hearing aid
An Otolaryngologist who specializes in ear, nose throat disorders will investigate the reasons behind hearing loss. He conducts a test to measure the degree of hearing loss.
5 types of hearing aids
Behind the ear
Mini Behind the ear
In the ear
In the Canal
Completely in Canal
Behind the ear aid has a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold that fits around the outer ear. The electronic part is held inside the case that lies behind the ear. Sound travels through the hearing aid’s earmold and then into the ear. In the ear hearing aid fits completely inside the ear. Some ITE aid have telecoils instead of the microphone this enables the wearer to hear conversations over the telephone.
Canal aids fit and hide into the ear canal when the type of in canal aid is used. A completely in the canal hearing aid is hidden completely in the ear canal. A complete in-canal hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used for mild to moderate hearing losses.
Analog and Digital signal-dependent Hearing aid
Hearing aids which are analog convert sound waves to electrical signals, which are amplified. Analog hearing aids are customized to meet users' needs. The aid is programmed by the manufacturer as recommended by an otolaryngologist. Analog aids are adjustable since they have more than one program or setting. An audiologist programs the aid using a computer, and you can change the program for the type of environment from a quiet room to a crowded restaurant. These are relatively cheaper than digital aids. Digital hearing aids convert sound waves to digital codes, like binary computer codes before amplifying them. These codes include information about the pitch of the sound. The aid can be programmed to amplify frequencies more than others. Digital circuits give audiologists more flexibility in adjusting the aid to the user’s needs or listening environments.
Hearing Aid care
Hearing aids must be away from heat and moisture
Regularly cleanse hearing aids. Earwax and ear drainage can damage a hearing aid.
Use of hairspray or hair care products should be avoided while wearing hearing aids.
When not in use hearing aids must be turned off.
Hearing aids must be kept away from children and pets.
Hearing aids selection tips for seniors
The proper quality and brand products should be chosen for seniors. The ease of wearing a hearing aid must also be taken into account for seniors since seniors might feel irritated in wearing hearing aids.
Features of a good hearing aid
Telecoils enable to make phonic conversation clearer using coils. The telecoils reduce sounds from the environment and pick up sounds from compatible telephones or mobile.
Nowadays hearing aids are compatible with Bluetooth-enabled devices like smartphones and computers.
If a user wears two hearing aids, then both aids can be adjusted and synchronized to maintain noise levels.
Microphones allow better pickup of sounds from front and back directions. Some aids reduce sound coming from behind thereby focusing only in one direction.
This feature enables the hearing aid to connect with a TV, Computer, or music device using a cord.
Hearing aids have a remote control to adjust without touching the plugged-in ear device.
Hearing aids consume the power of Zinc-air batteries which last from 2 to 14 days.
Hearing aids offer noise reduction at different levels. Some hearing aids provide directional control of noise that makes them clear sound provider devices.
Financial assistance for hearing aids
Hearing aids are generally not covered under health insurance but some companies offer them. Hearing aids are expensive often cost thousands of dollars. This price cost of hearing aids and professional services in detecting hearing tests and device fitting. Primary Health Insurance covering hearing aids.
A patient having Medicare’s Part B coverage involves annual wellness which includes hearing loss screening. Part B covers a hearing test if a doctor or medical practitioner orders it. Original Medicare covers a cochlear implant a small device that stimulates auditory nerves. Some people opt for Plan C in Medicare which covers most broad medical facilities at additional cost.
Medicaid covers the cost of hearing aids for adults and they cover the cost of hearing aids for children. The coverage in Medicaid is insured with different premiums in states of America.
Private Health Insurers
Only a few private insurers cover hearing aids. Let's have a look at three insurers covering hearing aid.
It is a private health insurer providing several types of Medicare plans, this Humana Medicare advantage plan in Los Angeles provides the following hearing aids.
Aetna offers both Medicare and non-Medicare plans. The non-Medicare plan does not include hearing aid coverage other than hearing screening.
Anthem sells Medicare and non-Medicare plans at an additional fee.
Hearing aid brands
Let's have a look at different companies manufacturing hearing aids.
Widex hearing aids
Widex makes hearing aids that sit behind or inside the ear. They have rechargeable batteries.
Resound manufactures different hearing aids, including digital, Bluetooth, and rechargeable. These devices mimic the ear's natural collection of sounds and transmit them to the brain.
Lively manufacture rechargeable battery-operated hearing aids. These can be purchased directly from the website. The company provides a 3-year warranty and 100 days money-back guarantee.
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