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Omak, WA, 98841
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Blog

How Hearing Aids Work

Brittani Cimorelli

The Parts of Hearing Aids

  1. Microphone- Located on the outside of the hearing aid. It picks up the sound from the air as it enters the ear and converts sound waves into digital sound.
  2. Microchip- A miniature computer enabling specialists to customize your hearing aid to your specific hearing loss.
  3. Amplifier- The amplifier strengthens the digital sound.
  4. Battery- The batteries power the hearing aid. 
  5. Receiver- Converts the digital sound into vibrations that travel to your inner ear. 

Hearing aids have a microphone, amplifier and speaker. Sound is received by the microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

Hearing aids are primarily useful to people who have suffered sensorineural hearing loss from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear known as hair cells. The damage can be caused by disease, aging or injury from noise or drugs.

A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into signals that are sent to the brain.

There are limits to the amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into signals to the brain.

 

 

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Sounds Commonly Missed by Those with Hearing Loss

Brittani Cimorelli

Hearing loss primarily begins with higher frequencies and works its way to the lower frequencies. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss you could be missing out on your favorite sounds without even knowing it. 

Seasonal

There are all types of sounds just waiting to be heard all day long everyday of the week. Seasons have a change in sounds just as the colors change too! Leaves rustling in the wind in the fall, birds chirping in the spring, grass whispering as a light breeze blows on by; these are a few of the seasonal sound changes.

Daily

What sounds or noises do you here that make up your everyday life? I can hear keyboards typing and and phones singing all day long, almost to a point of not noticing it anymore. A baby cooing would be a common option. Perhaps the alarm on your phone or alarm clock you rely on every morning, or more importantly the fire alarm hanging on the wall to keep you safe. The animal lovers I am sure, love to hear dogs bark, cats meow, cows moo, horses whinny, etc. There are an abundance of sounds floating around us daily that occupy our ears. 

Family and Friends

A grandchilds voice is a very common and very hard thing for grandparents to interpret. Children have a higher frequency to their voices and high frequency is the first to go in the world of hearing loss. Woman also have a high frequency voice, so in all honesty grandpa really can't hear grandma even though we always thought he was kidding. On a serious note though, not being able to hear your significant other or your daughter can lead to isolation of the family member whose hearing is impaired or unnecessary battles between family members. 

Music

Music is medicine for the soul. It is made to suite everybody with all the different genres and artists it would be hard to try and find someone who doesnt like music at all. With hearing loss, it becomes less understandable which makes it not enjoyable. Music is used to soothe people or to enjoy "peacefulness". I couldn't imagine not being able to hear my favorite songs. 

This list of random things affected by hearing loss can go on indefintly. We do know that once it is gone there is no medicine that can bring it back or make it better, but there are aids that can help. Hearing aids being an obvious solution are the leading solution to all different degrees of hearing loss. They aid you in hearing your car blinker again while waiting in line to go, or the laugh of your grandchild that lights up when he/she sees you. The little things are important too and there are ways to aid you and figuring out what the favorite sound of yours is.

What to Expect From Your Hearing Aids

Brittani Cimorelli

Most people don't know what to expect from hearing aids. Misconceptions and second-hand experience with bulky, whistling, old-fashioned analog devices continue to influence the way people think about all hearing aids. 

Hearing aids have changed dramatically from a generation ago -- from outward appearance to internal technology -- making them vastly more appealing and effective. 

This blog will hopefully help you set expectations for the performance of your new hearing aids- how they sound, feel and work. 

How Your Hearing Aids Should Sound

Getting acclimated to wearing your new hearing aids is different for each person. But once you are, you should notice a big difference in how the world sounds.

  • Your ability to hear and understand others should be improved
  • Other people's voices shouldn't sound distorted, harsh, tinny, sharp, booming or muffled
  • The sound of your own voice should be "normal", not sound like your in a barrel
  • The intensity and quality of familiar sounds should be sharp, bright and clear -- not dull or irritating
  • In a crowded room with many people talking at once, sound should be loud but not deafening
  • Wearing hearing aids in both ears should help you identify the location of a sound or voice
  • Hearing and communicating in quiet environments (home, work, doctor's office) should be improved
  • Your ability to hear and understand speech in environments with background noise (restaurants or dining parties, for instance) should be improved
  • Your hearing aids should help you understand speech in larger environments where there is reverberation (lecture halls, worship spaces, movie theaters) 
  • Loud sounds (sirens, traffic, construction sounds) should not be uncomfortable but you should hear them clearly

Five tips to get even more out of your hearing aids:

  1. If you wear directional hearing aids, sit facing the wall with the restaurant noise behind you

  2. Take them into your hearing professional for regular cleaning and maintenance

  3. Make sure to keep fresh batteries on hand

  4. Turn off hearing aids or remove battery when not in use

  5. In public places with acoustic challenges (theaters or conference halls), it is best to sit in the front and center of the room, where it offers the best acoustics

Smart steps for first-time wearers

  • Wear them at home in a quiet environment for the first few days

  • Practice having a conversation with your spouse or a loved one

  • Read out loud for 10-15 minutes a day

  • Wear them only a few hours each day for the first two weeks

  • Take breaks when you feel tired

  • Do online skills training exercises

  • Set realistic expectations: hearing aids won't restore your hearing to normal- but they will make listening easier and much more enjoyable again