Hearing impairment is a handicap and can lead to disruption of normal routine life. However, this condition is not beyond hope.
Causes for Impaired Hearing
Hearing impairment can occur due to many reasons. One is age. As one grows older, there is progressive impaired hearing. Older people cannot hear high frequency sounds and due to hearing impairment, people need to speak louder so that they can hear. Hearing impairment may also happen due to illnesses and injuries.
Measles, meningitis, mumps and syphilis are but a few of the diseases that can lead to hearing impairment. Impaired hearing can also happen in newborn babies due to genetic reasons and they are likely to be deaf for life. Listening to music at extremely high decibel levels greater than 110 dB may lead to impaired hearing in the young. Workers exposed to high noise levels in the range of 110 dB to 130 dB in industrial environments are also at risk of suffering hearing impairment.
Solution for Hearing Impairment
In some cases hearing impairment is permanent and nothing can be done to treat impaired hearing. Individuals with such impaired hearing may have to go in for hearing aids. Those with hearing impairment can choose a variety of hearing aids. One is the basic variety where you have a microphone, a pocket amplifier and an ear plug. Since this may be a bit inconvenient for those with impaired hearing, there are some sophisticated hearing aids.
Types of hearing aids
Those with hearing impairment can go in for devices provided through the NHS. Others with impaired hearing can buy sophisticated devices. One of the devices used by those with hearing impairment is a digital device with a microchip that processes audio waveforms and adjusts volume in relation to ambient noise. NHS usually provides digital hearing aids that are behind the ear types for people with impaired hearing. Such hearing aids for people with impaired hearing may have a small piece fitting inside the ear and another one outside the ear. Some may even have two microphones for better hearing in noisy environments for people with hearing impairment. Another type of hearing aid for people with impaired hearing is an in the ear aid, sitting outside the ear canal. Another type of hearing aid for those with impaired hearing is the in-the-canal devices that are not so visible and sit in the outer part of the ear canal. Another device is a completely-in-the-canal type that is suitable for people with acute hearing impairment.
A further refinement to help people with hearing impairment is a bone conduction type of hearing aid. The device has a vibrating transducer that sits alongside the mastoid, held in place by a headband and helps those with impaired hearing to hear sounds in a normal way but it is uncomfortable. Another device for those with hearing impairment is a bone anchored aid that needs an operation wherein a pedestal is secured to the mastoid bone. The person with impaired hearing can clip on and remove the device at will and it is somewhat more comfortable.
People with hearing impairment have access to cochlear implants or hearing devices surgically implanted behind the ear. Electrodes connect to the cochlea and stimulate the auditory nerve. An external processor converts audio signals to tiny electrical signals. Only people with impaired hearing having normal auditory nerves can use this device.