Nobody wants a hearing loss. But by the time you reach the age of 30, most people are beginning to lose some of their hearing. By the age of 65, one in three people have a hearing loss. In fact, 36 million Americans suffer from some sort of hearing problem yet only 20% of these people have sought help and currently have hearing instruments. The other 80% have done nothing. But there is a reason for this.
The most common type of loss is a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. You hear but have trouble understanding in more difficult listening situations where background noise interferes with one’s ability to follow conversation. You may also struggle to hear soft spoken people such as children.
Up until 2004, when someone with a mild-to-moderate loss was fit with aids, they had to put up with several hassles in order to wear them. Some of these hassles included the unnatural sound of one’s own voice. People would often say, “I can’t stand the sound of my own voice.” There was also the complaint of everything sounding too loud especially background noise. Thirdly, when wearing an aid down in the ear canal you literally are placing an ear plug in the ear which destroys some of the good hearing.
In essence, to treat a mild hearing loss, we had to give you an even worse hearing loss and then replace it with even more amplification. This often sounded artificial for someone with a mild loss. That’s why people would credit return their hearing aids. Worse yet, they would try to tolerate their new hearing instruments but ultimately, give up and take them out. Thousands of dollars invested in aids would end up in the drawer and people would still be struggling with their hearing. No wonder so many people are reluctant to get hearing aids.
But here’s the good news. Technology has continued to improve. Digital technology with noise management, directional microphones and high-tech phase-cancellation feedback systems allows hearing aid manufacturers to build OPENFITTING instruments that work well for people, even those with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. We now have hearing aids that you are going to like!
Imagine a tiny, behind-the-ear device, approximately one inch long, weighing as little as a dime. Place that on top of your ear where your glasses fit. You don’t even feel it! Then, imagine an extremely thin, almost invisible tube hooking over your ear and down into your ear canal, following the shape and contour of your ear. The little speaker of the hearing device sits down in your ear canal but the rest of the components sit behind your ear.
The receiver attaches to a soft, pliable plastic dome that fits comfortably in your ear canal. There’s lots of space left over for your natural, unprocessed hearing to enter your ear. Couple this with the additional amplified high frequency sounds that you need, and you get clear, clean amplification that sounds natural. Speech comes in clearer especially when in the presence of background noise. An additional benefit is that open fitting instruments are so light and comfortable; no one notices you’re wearing them, not even you!
So if you are one of those people who tried hearing aids in the past and they were more of a hassle to wear than not, this may be what you have been waiting for. If you have a mild to moderate hearing loss and have been concerned about having a bad experience, hearing technology has finally caught up to your type of hearing loss. Now is the time to find a competent and caring Hearing Healthcare Provider and discover if the Open Fitting / Receiver-in-the-Canal technology would work for you. You can even try them before you buy them to be absolutely sure.
In the meantime, I have fit hundreds of patients with Open Fitting instruments so far, and it’s unanimous. They really like their new hearing aids! In fact, most of them say they love their hearing aids!