What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a small device worn on the ear that consists of a microphone, an amplifier or processor and a loudspeaker that transmits the optimised sounds into your ear. A small battery provides the necessary power. Hearing aids are customised to fit the shape of your ear, the degree of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your hearing requirements.
Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss, but rather, a remediation. Adjustments may be necessary after the initial programming of digital hearing aids and, no matter what type or style of hearing aid you purchase. Your audiologist will guide you through a learning curve to get used to listening optimally with your hearing aids.
Your audiologist will also consult with you to select an appropriate hearing aid solution. The Ear Institute offers many styles of hearing aids, with different technology to suit specific needs and degrees of hearing loss.
Can I wear only one hearing aid?
If you have hearing loss in both ears, you need to wear two hearing aids. We ‘hear’ with our brain, not with our ears! Our brains are designed to receive sound input from both our ears. Two hearing aids means better hearing in noise, enhanced sound quality, an increased ability to hear where sound is coming from, and prevention of degeneration of hearing in the ear not wearing a hearing aid.
There are many different types of hearing aids on the market. Points to consider before buying a hearing aid are:
- Do I get a money-back guarantee*?
- Are the hearing aids offered from an established supplier?
- Do they offer a fast, efficient and reliable after-sales service?
- Are the professionals regularly trained and updated on the latest developments in the hearing aid market?
- Are the professionals using the latest international standards for fitting and adjusting of the hearing aids?
- Do the professionals offer free hearing aid support after my initial purchase or do I need to pay for every visit?
How can a hearing aid help me?
Hearing and understanding provide a vital link to the world around you. Your ears enable you to communicate and interact with others and are a source of enjoyment and information. The sense of hearing is often taken for granted and its gradual deterioration can impact on your ability to actively participate in life – hearing aids can help you to regain the ability to participate fully in your life again.
Hearing aids have evolved into communication systems. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, they also incorporate a range of different technologies. They adjust to your environment automatically. The latest microphones in hearing aids do not only pick up environmental sounds, but can focus on speech in noisy situations, where it is often the most difficult to understand. Most people with hearing loss struggle to hear high pitched sounds. Soft, high pitched sounds like “s”, “f”, “s” and “t” play a key role in our ability understand speech clearly. Modern technology in hearing aids allows access to these soft, high pitched sounds, ensuring speech clarity and understanding – all this while ensuring loud sounds and noisy situations are comfortable to be in.
A range of wireless accessories are available for use with your hearing aids. Situations like watching television, listening over the cell phone or having conversations in very noisy situations can be enhanced by the use of a wireless accessory. Together with your audiologist, you can choose the best solutions to match your lifestyle needs.
For more information on hearing aids, visit www.phonak.co.za
Types of Hearing Aids
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
Myths About Hearing Aids
- MYTH: Hearing aids are big, ugly and uncomfortable.
- FACT: New generation hearing aids are smaller and more comfortable, with a range of styles to suit every lifestyle
- MYTH: Hearing Aids only make everything louder, not clearer.
- FACT: New generation hearing aids has directional microphones to enhance speech clarity in background noise.
- MYTH: My brain will become lazy if I wear a hearing aid.
- FACT: This is not true, in fact, hearing aids train the brain to regain lost hearing, as well as preventing further degeneration of hearing in the ear where the hearing aid is worn.
- MYTH: Hearing aids always whistle.
- FACT: Modern technology ensures that whistling hearing aids are a thing of the past.
Tips for getting used to your new hearing aids:
- Successful adjustment to your hearing aids in the initial stages is the foundation for success.
- First get used to the new sound quality by wearing your hearing aids in a quiet room at home.
- Wearing hearing aids and hearing a range of sounds may tire you at first. Make a commitment to get used to your hearing aids. If you get tired, take a break – but be sure to try again very soon.
- At first, your own voice is likely to sound different, because it is being amplified by your hearing aids. Over time you will get used to it. Read aloud to yourself in order to learn how to manage the volume of your own voice.
- Always keep in mind that it will take some time before you are completely used to your hearing aids – once you are, you will be able to fully enjoy talking and listening to others
- Wear your hearing aids as often as possible, even if you are by yourself.
- Remember to note situations in which you struggle to hear, as this will help your audiologist to adjust the hearing aids according to your individual needs.
- As you get used to your new hearing aids, start wearing them in more difficult listening situations, such as at group meetings or social occasions. Give yourself time to regain your ability to hear in these situations.
- Make your hearing aids part of your everyday life and be patient as your brain slowly starts to learn again how to interpret the sounds it hasn’t heard for a long time.
What does a hearing aid cost?
The cost of a hearing instrument varies depending on its technological features, as well as the degree of hearing loss of the patient. Prices can range from around R5 500 for one hearing instrument, up to R80 000 for a set of the most sophisticated hearing aids available on the market. These prices do not take into account medical aid contributions, and your audiologist will gladly assist you in corresponding with your medical aid to determine the extent of their contribution.