However, with the use of hearing aid you can regain much of the confidence and independence that you have lost as a result of the loss of your hearing. It’s important to realise that it is not necessarily going to give you your previously good hearing back, but more often than not it will give you a much better quality of hearing and consequently a much better social life.
Hearing aids are available in a wide range of different shapes, sizes and types. However, all of the hearing aids available on the market work in a similar manner. Inside the hearing aid, they have a built-in microphone that picks up sound, which is processed electronically in the hearing aid. The resulting ‘signals’ are then passed on to a receiver, like a miniature loudspeaker, where they are converted back into louder sounds that you can hear. A common misconception about hearing aids is that by using them you will end up making your hearing worse with the famous phrase “use it or lose it!”. Thankfully, it doesn’t work like that and you will not damage your hearing any further with the use of a hearing aid.
The NHS now offer completely free hearing aids for those who require them but there are various different types of hearing aids available including:
1. “Completely-in-the-canal” hearing aids. These are moulded to fit inside your ear canal and can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. These are the least noticeable as they are fully inside the ear.
2. In the canal hearing aids. An in-the-canal hearing aid is custom moulded and fits partly in the ear canal, but not as deeply as the completely-in-the-canal aid. This hearing aid can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults and is still quite unnoticeable (www.tinyurl.com/3uezm44)
3. Half-shell hearing aids. A smaller version of the in-the-canal hearing aid, the half-shell is custom moulded and fills the lower portion of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. This style is appropriate for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
4. In the ear/full-shell hearing aids. An in-the-ear (full-shell) hearing aid is custom made and fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. This style is helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
5. Behind the ear hearing aids. Behind-the-ear hearing aids hook over the top of your ear and rest behind the ear. The hearing aid picks up sound, amplifies it and carries the amplified sound to an ear mould that fits inside your ear canal. This type of aid is appropriate for almost all types of hearing loss and for people of all ages. A behind-the-ear hearing aid is the largest, most visible type of hearing aid, though some new versions are smaller, streamlined and barely visible.