sounds of silence
People with hearing loss may
experience some or all of the following
• Difficulty hearing conversations, especially when there is background noise
• Hissing, roaring or ringing in the
• Difficulty hearing the television or
radio at a normal volume
• Fatigue and irritation caused by
the effort to hear
• Dizziness or problems with balance
IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT PAST, when someone talked about a hearing
aid, the image conjured was of Grandpa holding a large funnel-like device
called an ear trumpet to participate in conversation. Even after electric
hearing aids were invented around the turn of the last century, they were
often obtrusive and a source of embarrassment. People would even shun
diagnosis of a hearing problem for fear of being branded as “handicapped”
and, especially for children, being teased or misunderstood.
Today, hearing loss is out of the closet. According to the National
Institute on Deafness and Other Common Disorders, “approximately 28
million Americans have a hearing impairment.” It is “one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the United States, affecting people of all
ages, in all segments of the population, and across all socioeconomic levels.”
Thankfully, due to technology, hearing loss no longer has to attach a
stigma or a feeling of being a social pariah to the person afflicted. Today,
hearing aids come in different forms, many of which are almost unnoticeable. Since “one size fits all” does not apply, there are things you should
know if you think your hearing needs an assist.
If any of these symptoms apply to
you, visit your physician, who may refer
you to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose
and throat doctor) or audiologist. Visit
your local Costco Hearing Center for a
free hearing test to determine if you
could be helped by hearing aids.
Different kinds of hearing aids
Today’s hearing aids use digital programmable technology. A technician
programs the hearing aid with a computer and can adjust the sound quality
and response time on an individual basis. Digital hearing aids use a microphone, receiver, battery and computer chip. Digital circuitry provides the
most flexibility for the hearing professional to make adjustments for the
hearing aid and can be used in all types of hearing aids.
There are three basic types of hearing aids currently being used and
they come in various sizes.